(4:05 p.m. EDT) -- The luxury line Seabourn has announced it will be pausing the remainder of its 2020 cruise operations, delaying the restart of most of its global fleet until 2021, as well as pushing back delivery of its eagerly-anticipated expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, by six months to December of next year.
Seabourn will be pausing operations aboard Seabourn Ovation through January 3, 2021. Seabourn Encore will be paused with all sailings cancelled through January 6, 2021 and Seabourn Quest will be in an operational pause until May 10, 2021.
Seabourn Odyssey has already been paused through December 5, 2020. Seabourn Sojourn was paused through May 24, 2021 following the cancellation of the line's 2021 World Cruise.
Seabourn's first purpose-built, ultra-luxury expedition vessel will be delayed until December 1, 2021. The ship, which is currently under construction a tht eT. Mariotti shipyard in Italy, was due to enter service in June.
"The delay is because of shipyard closures at T. Mariotti earlier this year as part of responses to COVID-19, which resulted in disruptions to the overall construction and finishing process for the ship," Seabourn said in a statement.
Seabourn also announced that Seabourn Quest will be operating the line's Antarctica sailings for the 2021-2022 season, which had previously been scheduled for Seabourn Venture. The new ship will instead redeploy to Norway to offer a series of inaugural "Norwegian Winter" voyages -- a first for Seabourn -- that will allow passengers to view the fabled Northern Lights.
Details surrounding Seabourn's new Norwegian Winter itineraries will be announced in October. A waitlist is also available for passengers interested in the new voyages, which will depart between December 2021 and April 2022. Passengers booked on the current inaugural voyage for Seabourn Venture will be given first priority for the new inaugural itinerary in Norway before sailings are open to the public.
Additional information on rebooking other affected Seabourn Venture voyages will be offered in mid-October for both passengers and travel advisors.
Because of the redeployment of Seabourn Quest to Antarctica for the winter 2021-2022 season, Seabourn has now cancelled all of Seabourn Quest's Panama Canal sailings between November 7 and December 19, 2021.
Passengers on affected sailings aboard Seabourn Quest will be rebooked in the same suite on the same voyage during Seabourn Quest's 2021-2022 season, at the existing rate paid, within the next 30 days. Seabourn Quest passengers will also receive a shipboard credit that is calculated based upon voyage length. The shipboard credit is $300 per suite for voyages up to 20 days in length and $500 per suite for voyages of 21 days or more.
For now, Seabourn is still "continuing to assess" the resumption of service in the Caribbean aboard Seabourn Odyssey. Voyages on that ship have only been cancelled through December 5, 2020. The line states that all passengers booked on Seabourn Odyssey's December voyages will now only have to make final payment 60 days prior to departure.
"Our utmost priority is the health, safety and well-being of our guests, crew and the people in destinations. We recognize the long lead time for planning an ultra-luxury Seabourn experience and with that in mind, we proactively announce the cancellation of these additional voyages," said Josh Leibowitz, president of Seabourn. "We are working very closely with science and medical advisors as well as our source and destination markets to develop protocols for the ultimate return to operations."
Passengers on affected cruises aboard Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation will be automatically cancelled and turned into a 125 percent future cruise credit which can be used on any sailing up to December 31, 2022. Customers who have paid in full will receive 125 percent of the paid amount, while deposited bookings will receive 125 percent of the paid deposit.
Full refunds are available upon request.
Seabourn is asking passengers and travel agents to utilize self-service options for managing bookings on the company's website first before ringing the call center.