Seabourn Ends Luxury's New-Ship Drought

October 19, 2006

Seabourn Cruise Line's order for two new ships, announced today, is the first sign of movement in the rather moribund new-build area of luxury cruising. The order calls for two 32,000-ton, 450-passenger vessels. To be built at Genoa's T. Mariotti S.p.A. shipyard, they'll cost $250 million each. The ships will be delivered in 2009 and 2010.

Seabourn has long operated with a series of three identical triplets -- Seabourn Legend, Pride and Spirit. These ships measure 10,000 tons and carry 208 passengers.

While it's still a bit early for design details, the ships will have a 90 percent balcony ratio, a big deal for Seabourn, whose existing vessels do not have verandahs (they do offer what is euphemistically called a French balcony, but though these windows open, there's no actual "balcony").

More specifics are available in terms of the structure and operation of the ships, and the announcement reports that the design specification calls for hulls 650 ft. long, with a beam of 84 ft. and a draft of 21 ft. The ships will be powered by diesel-generated electricity and operate with twin screw propellers, with a service speed of 19 knots. They will be equipped with two bow thrusters to enhance maneuverability and two stabilizers. The ships will also be "green ships," employing advanced wastewater treatment technology.

The new Seabourn twins will be designed by Bjron Storbraaten, who is also known as the designer of Silversea's ships, Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Mariner, Voyager and Navigator, and a refurbishment on Windstar's Wind Surf. Oh, and yes, he also handled design for Seabourn's Pride, Legend and Spirit.

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--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor