Review of Seabourn
Seabourn is a luxury cruise line, founded in 1986 (operational since 1988), with headquarters in Seattle WA (USA). Seabourn Cruise Line operates all around the globe, from short 7-day Caribbean cruises to exotic 100+ day world voyages. It is owned by Carnival Corporation and is part of the "World's Leading Cruise Lines" group, which also includes AIDA, Carnival, Costa, Cunard, Holland America, Princess, and P&O Cruises.
Seabourn Cruise Line was founded in 1986 under the name "Signet Cruise Lines" by the Norwegian private investor Atle Brynestad and Erland Raastad (president of the companies "Kloster Cruise" and "Royal Viking Line"). The name "Seabourn Cruise Line" was adopted shortly afterward following objections over trademark ownership by Signet Oil.
Seabourn Pride (company's first liner) entered service in 1988. It was followed by Seabourn Spirit, an identical sister, in 1989. A third ship (originally planned for 1990) had to be delayed due to financial constraints and was eventually purchased by Royal Viking Line as Royal Viking Queen in 1992. In 1994, the ship was transferred to Royal Cruise Line as Queen Odyssey.
In 1991, Carnival Corporation purchased a 25% stake in Seabourn. In 1996, Carnival upped its stake to 50%, providing Seabourn with the needed capital to buy Queen Odyssey. The ship was renamed Seabourn Legend. In 1998, Carnival Corporation purchased the remaining 50% stake in the line, acquired the time-honored Cunard Line from Kvaerner ASA, and finally merged the two brands into the Cunard Line entity.
In 1999, three Cunard ships (Royal Viking Sun, Sea Goddess I, Sea Goddess II) were transferred to Seabourn under new names (respectively, Seabourn Sun, Seabourn Goddess I, Seabourn Goddess II). In 2001, Carnival Corporation bought out the NCL-Norwegian shares. Seabourn's parent company became Carnival's wholly-owned subsidiary. Seabourn Goddess 1 and Seabourn Goddess 2 were purchased for SeaDream Yacht Club by Seabourn's original founder - Atle Brynestad.
In 2002, Seabourn Sun was transferred to Holland America Line (Carnival Corp-owned subsidiary), thus reducing Seabourn's fleet to the three original vessels. The company was demerged from Cunard and reorganized as an independent brand (still part of Carnival Corporation). On March 31, 2011, Seabourn Cruise Line ceased operations from Miami FL and transferred its operations to Holland America's headquarters in Seattle WA.
In 2014, Seabourn Pride left the fleet and was transferred (as Star Pride) to Windstar. In 2015, Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Spirit were also transferred to Windstar (as Star Legend and Star Breeze).
Since 2018 are offered fleetwide "K+M Chocolate" products. These are high-quality chocolates by the "Keller Manni Chocolate" company (founders Michelin chef Thomas Keller and Armando Manni / olive oil producer from Italy). The custom-made for Seabourn chocolates are hand-crafted (produced in Napa Valley, California). Among the signature flavors are the milk-based hazelnut, smoked chili, blood orange, cherry, as well as the dark chocolate "sea salt".
In late-March 2019, Seabourn signed a partnership with Pixvana Inc (Seattle-based company) to create TableVision (virtual reality/interactive training platform based on Pixvana's SPIN Studio) for Main Dining Room waitstaff training.
On August 15, 2019, Seabourn opened bookings for company's new "Private Air" program (privately chartered jet service) that allows its customers to fly to homeports/departure cruise ports via private jets rather than commercial airlines. The new service is global and offers a variety of private jet aircraft (as models and sizes) to charter, accommodating groups of any size (upon request) and plane capacity 5 to 16 passengers. Seabourn's fly-cruise packages offer access to thousands of airports (private and commercial) worldwide. Pricing varies by aircraft and itinerary and is inclusive of cruise and flight fares, valet luggage service, onboard food and drinks (including caviar, champagne and premium spirits by the glass), onboard Wi-Fi, transfers (to/from home, airports, seaports) and next-port protection (up to 1000 mi).
Compared to the Odyssey-class vessels, the new ship is about 1/5 larger in size (210 m, 40350 GT tons), 1/3rd bigger as passenger capacity (638 max), with 1 additional deck (12 decks), re-designed venues, expanded public spaces, biggest Spa at sea, new onboard programming. Traditionally for Seabourn ships, all passenger cabins (all-suite categories) are with private balconies.
In July 2018, Seabourn signed a letter of intent with "MARIOTTI DAMEN Cruise" for building 2 polar-class expedition ships with the following vessel details:
- length 170 m
- GT tonnage 23,000 tons
- ice-strengthened hull (PC6 ice-class)
- 132 balcony cabins
- capacity 264 passengers plus 120 crew (including 26 expedition crew of experts - scientists, historians, naturalists)
- 2 submarines, sea kayaks, 24x Zodiacs (inflatable motorized boats used for landings)
- shell doors (at waterline level) allow convenient access to the Zodiacs.
- Ship's total open-deck space is approx 2750 m2 (29,600 ft2).
The first liner (Seabourn Venture) is scheduled for June 2021, the second (yet to be named) - for May 2022.
Seabourn's 30th Anniversary (2018)
In 2018, the company celebrated its 30th Anniversary featuring as highlights:
- Fleet expansion - from 4 to 5 vessels with the launch of Seabourn Ovation in May 2018.
- Adding new onboard cocktail offerings, including "Passion Pearls" cocktail by Brian van Flandern.
- Introducing a new "30th Anniversary Wine Package" with price-inclusive quality champagnes and wines.
- At the shipboard Shops were available for purchasing a unique collection of pearls and 30th Anniversary themed logo merchandise.
- Passengers on all ships were offered Seabourn company history-themed trivia games.
- Also in 2018 were introduced new onboard programs, including two Wellness Cruises (led by Dr. Andrew Weil).
- The company's 2018 itinerary program included over 170 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and a selection of Seabourn Journeys (shore tours).
Seabourn cruise experience
Seabourn Cruise Line was founded on the principle that personal service in stylish surroundings would appeal to independent-minded, sophisticated passengers with lifestyles that demand the best.
The original Seabourn megayachts and their new fleet mates have been lovingly maintained and proved to be a great success over the years. Recognized as a leading small-ship luxury line, Seabourn delivers all extras, expected by its clientele - a stocked minibar in all suites, elegant amenities, complimentary wines, and spirits.
Seabourn Cruise Line's guests may also expect the unexpected - from exclusive luggage tags and travel-document portfolios to the pleasure of a complimentary massage while lounging at the pool. Seabourn will even arrange your luggage to be picked up at home and delivered to your suite.
The line presents an intimate and exceptional cruising experience. The smaller size of its vessels allows calling at smaller ports and up-close-and-personal encounter with the destination.
The atmosphere onboard is elegant but unpretentious. All rooms are suites, equipped with designer soaps, and the latest amenities, such as flat-screen televisions and Bose Wave sound systems. A bottle of champagne greets all guests in the cabin. Beds are dressed with Egyptian cotton linens and fluffy duvet covers with feather pillows. A well-stocked in-suite bar and Pure Pampering therapeutic bathing menu are provided in each suite. In addition, guests benefit from the services of a Personal Suite Stewardess, ready to cater to every need.
The abundance of public space makes passengers feel as if they have the vessel to themselves - no annoying lines or crowds here. Bar drinks are complimentary. Seabourn cruise ship passengers may choose to dine when and where they want on any of the luxurious ships of the line. Each dining venue offers a different atmosphere and different dishes, but all use innovative cooking techniques and perfect ingredients like Black River Ossetra Caviar.
Daily team trivia contest, lectures, wine tastings, and other quiet pursuits are usually scheduled, but most passengers are satisfied to just do what pleases them. Focused on personalized service, the line has designed unique programs like Caviar in the Surf and Shopping With the Chef, to further enhance onboard experience.
Seabourn's liners attract a broad mix of ages (40-something and above), and offer a variety of itineraries from more mainstream calls to the offbeat, in order to continue to draw new passengers.
While most of the cruisers are likely to be American, Seabourn appeals to well-off and well-traveled vacationers from a variety of countries, particularly English speaking Great Britain, South Africa, and Australia, among others.
In 2019, Seabourn signed a partnership deal with the company "Shaoching Bishop and Chef Thomas Keller" to provide fleetwide the Regiis Ova Caviar brand. The company partners directly with selected sturgeon farms to source the high-quality caviar.
Seabourn Cruises smoking policy
According to the new Seabourn Cruises smoking policy (implemented in 2017), smoking is not allowed in all the ship's indoor venues, also in cabins and on cabin balconies.
- Smoking is also banned in the ships' Observation Lounge (previously allowed after 8 pm). Smoking is allowed on Sky Bar's open-air starboard area (midship Deck 9 / Deck 10 on Encore and Ovation ships) and also on the starboard open-air pool terrace of The Club lounge (Deck 5 aft).
- Smoking cigarettes, as well as cigars and pipes smoking is allowed on Seabourn Square lounge's open-air terrace (deck 7 aft).
- Smoking E-cigarettes in cabins is allowed.
- Passengers who don't comply with the company's smoking policy are fined a cleaning fee (USD 250 per day).
“Seabourn Source” Web App
The Seabourn Source app was launched in August 2017. It can be accessed by all passengers (on a complimentary basis) and fleetwide. Seabourn Source offers up-to-the-minute access to voyage's daily details directly on passengers' smartphones, tablets or laptops. Users can tap the new app to instantly:
- stay on top of shipboard account records;
- review daily activity as well as entertainment schedules;
- track port times (arrivals and departures);
- peruse meal times and menus for all dining venues;
- browse and book shore trips;
- learn about wellness classes and spa treatments;
- connect to paid satellite internet.
The mobile app further connects cruisers to company’s complimentary digital newspaper-magazine PressReader Offline, which offers full editions of 2500+ global media sources. They can be downloaded to personal Android or iOS devices while at sea or in port. Seabourn Source operates on a shipboard network, so users do not incur additional Internet/cellular data charges while in use.
Seabourn Cruises loyalty program
Company's loyalty program ("Seabourn Club") allows earning membership points for each day. Accumulated points (onboard days) count toward Milestone Awards. The most expensive offer is a free cruise - up to 7-day itinerary (with 140 Sailed Days) and up to 14-day itinerary (with 250 Sailed Days). Every Milestone is also celebrated with an onboard event and a jewelry gift (by Tiffany & Co)
In addition to Milestone Awards, passengers earn Seabourn Club Points qualifying them for bonus perks. Seabourn points establish the membership levels.
- Each onboard day earns 1 Club Point.
- Each onboard day in Penthouse or Premium Suite cabin earns 1 additional Club Point.
- Each night on escorted Seabourn Journeys (shore excursions) earns 1 Club Point.
- Every USD 500 spent on onboard and pre-cruise online purchases earns 1 Club Point.
Next table shows all the benefits provided by the Seabourn Club loyalty program.
|SILVER MEMBER||GOLD MEMBER||PLATINUM MEMBER||DIAMOND MEMBER|
Pre-cruise available perks include: advanced information on new itineraries and special offers, booking discounts on select voyages
(20-69 points) Club Member benefits plus ONE of the following perks:
Pre-cruise available perks include Club Member benefits, plus luggage tags
(70-139 points) Club Member benefits plus TWO of the following perks:
Pre-cruise available perks include Club Member benefits, plus luggage tags, 10% discount on luggage shipping services, advanced invitations to hosted voyages, a magazine subscription (Travel+Leisure or Conde Nast Traveler)
(140-249 points) Club Member benefits plus THREE of the following perks:
Pre-cruise available perks include Club Member benefits, plus luggage tags, dedicated Concierge, 15% discount on luggage shipping services, advanced invitations to hosted voyages, a magazine subscription (Travel+Leisure or Conde Nast Traveler)
(250+ points) Club Member benefits plus ALL of the following perks:
Pre-cruise available perks include Club Member benefits, plus luggage tags, dedicated Concierge, 20% discount on luggage shipping services, advanced invitations to hosted voyages, a magazine subscription (Travel+Leisure or Conde Nast Traveler)
Cruise travel awards 2016
In 2016, Seabourn wrapped up the year with a total of 22 cruise travel industry awards, several of which were readers' choice nominations. Over the years, the cruise line has consistently been rated a "top choice" in the luxury travel segment.
Follows the list of the company's 2016 awards by industry's most renowned online publishers and brands.
- (Conde Nast Traveler) - "Best Small Ship Cruise Line", "Favourite Cruise Line - Small Ships"
- (Travel Weekly) - "Best Cruise Ship - Under 1000 Berths"
- (Cruise Awards International) - "Best Boutique Cruise Line"
- (Cruise Critic) - "Best Luxury Cruise Line"
- (Magellan Awards) - "Small Cruise Ship", ""Spa Design", "Seabourn Blog", "Shore Excursion", "Itineraries", "Direct Marketing", "Luxury Ship" (Seabourn Quest), "Loyalty Program", "Entertainment"
- (Luxury Travel Advisor) - "Luxury Small Ships"
- (Porthole Magazine) - "Best Small Ship" (Seabourn Sojourn), "Best Service"
- (SHAPE Healthy Travel) - "Best Cruise to Refresh and Rejuvenate"
- (Town and Country Travel / "Classic Luxury" category) - "Design", "Active Travelers", "Food", "On-Shore Activities".
Itinerary of Seabourn
Seabourn Venture (new-class polar expedition ship planned for May 2021) cruises on Arctic itineraries (in summer 2021) followed by Antarctica itineraries (winter season 2021-2022). The inaugural cruise (themed "Northern Isles and the Viking Homeland") departs from Greenwich-London on July 15, 2021. The inaugural season (July 2021 through April 2022) has a total of 35 itineraries planned.
- The pre-inaugural voyage ("Highlights of the English Channel") is from Lisbon to London and departs on July 5, 2021.
- In summer 2021 are offered itineraries along the coasts of Norway, Iceland, Greenland, the Arctic. In October 2021, the ship cruises from Europe to the Caribbean (Barbados) and after passing the Panama Canal, along the coasts of Peru and Chile to Antarctica (November 2021).
- Winter 2021-2022 itineraries are along the coasts of Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falklands, then north to Brazil and Amazon River.
- In April 2022, Seabourn Venture repositions back to homeport London-Greenwich through Cape Verde, Casablanca, and Lisbon.
Seabourn returns to Asia via a schedule of cruises aboard its newest vessel, Seabourn Ovation. From the natural beauty of Thailand and Vietnam to the modern skylines of Singapore and Hong Kong, the yacht-like ship is due to visit an array of fascinating cities and exotic destinations, as well as offer various optional shore trips and pre-/post-cruise Seabourn Journeys to popular UNESCO Sites.
- The first season of Seabourn Ovation in Asia begins in Singapore with a series of two-week Vietnam and Thailand cruises between Singapore and Hong Kong (departing Jan 5, Jan 19, Feb 16 and Mar 2, 2019).
- The itineraries feature an overnight at Saigon (the gateway to Mekong Delta). The voyages also offer Seabourn’s popular beach parties at Thailand's Ko Kood island and an extended day at Halong Bay, allowing for optional excursions to Hanoi.
- The season includes a 14-day Gems of the South China Sea cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore (departing Feb 2, 2019), visiting destinations like Xiamen and overnight in Manila, providing options for 28-day combo cruises via Vietnam and Thailand voyages.
- Line's Seabourn Sojourn also sails in Asia as part of the Extended Explorations voyages, allowing in-depth experiences in particular regions. The season includes 18-day “Jewels of Southeast Asia”: from Singapore to Shanghai (departing April 10) to ports in Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan.
- In addition, due to Seabourn’s relationship as an official cruise partner of UNESCO World Heritage, its itineraries offer optional shore trips to a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
- Seabourn also offers in-depth immersive pre and post-cruise experiences connected to its Asian itineraries. Seabourn Journeys include: “UNESCO Treasure of China: Beijing, Xi’an and Hong Kong,” as well as “UNESCO Cambodia: Phnom Penh and the Temples of Angkor”.
The company introduces 4 new Seabourn Journeys for 2020 in Europe available as pre- or post-cruise extensions on select voyages. Seabourn Journeys consist of 14 specially crafted pre-/post- land-based experiences in locations around the globe designed to highlight local history, culture, hospitality, relaxation, and beauty. The fully-escorted Journeys, in locations like the Great Barrier Reef, Machu Picchu, and Cape Town. The packages are inclusive of gourmet meals, transportation, guided tours for 2-10 guests at each location. Luxury lodges and hotels have been hand-selected to offer accommodations at the finest local properties. The 4 newest Seabourn Journeys in 2020 include:
- 10-day pre-post-cruise UNESCO Imperial Heritage of Europe
- 6-day pre-post-cruise UNESCO Lakeside Gems of the Swiss Alps
- 6-day pre-post-cruise UNESCO Treasures of Tuscany
- 6-day pre-cruise Venice Simplon-Orient-Express
In November 2019 were announced worldwide itineraries scheduled for fall 2020 through spring 2021, with 60+ voyages to marquee landings, small harbors and some that are accessible only by smaller ship locations. The three seasons are based on itineraries from 7 to 140 days in length and to exotic destinations on 7 continents.
- Sojourn and Odyssey ships cruise in the Caribbean, visiting Soper’s Hole Marina (Tortola BVI), Rodney Bay, Charlestown, Iles des Saintes (Guadeloupe).
- The cruise from Piraeus to Dubai on Encore visits Israel (Ashdod, Haifa, Bethlehem), Petra and Sir Bani Yas Island (Beach BBQ).
- In Southeast Asia, Ovation visits Sihanoukville to Angkor Wat (temple complex in Cambodia) and Halong Bay (Vietnam).
- In fall 2020, the Quest ship heads south and along South America's western coastline.
Seabourn cruises to Cuba
In August 2018, Seabourn received approval to start ship cruises to Cuba leaving from homeports Miami FL and San Juan Puerto Rico. The inaugural 12-day voyage (Seabourn Sojourn) was scheduled to leave from Miami on November 4, 2019. Seabourn is Carnival Corporation's 3rd brand approved to visit Cuba.
Seabourn customers can choose from 4 different itineraries with various departure dates. The 11-12-14-day cruises visit 5 ports in Cuba (Antilla /Nipe Bay, Cienfuegos, Havana /La Habana), Punta Frances /Juventud and Santiago de Cuba), calling at 3 or 4 on each itinerary. All 5 itineraries feature overnights in Havana.
The current list of passenger shipping lines offering cruises to Cuba includes:
- Carnival Paradise leaving from Tampa Florida - cheapest prices (from USD 480 pp) since June 2017
- Royal Caribbean (ship Empress of the Seas) from Miami and Tampa since April 2017
- MSC Cruises (ship MSC Opera, leaving from Havana)
- Holland America (ship Veendam) leaving from Fort Lauderdale since December 2017
- Oceania Cruises (ships Marina and Regatta) starting in 2017, Cuba circumnavigation, stops in Cienfuegos and Havana, also part of some Panama Canal transition itineraries.
- NCL (ship Norwegian Sky) 4-day itineraries with Havana overnights - starting May 2017
- Azamara Cruises (ship on Azamara Quest from Miami)
- Compagnie du Ponant (yacht Le Ponant, leaving from Miami Florida)
- Pearl Seas Cruises (ship Pearl Mist, leaving from Fort Lauderdale Florida) since January 2017
- Thomson UK / Marella Cruises (ship Marella Dream) 7-day, leaving roundtrip from Jamaica (Montego Bay) to Havana
- Lindblad Expeditions (chartered sailing ship MS Panorama II, leaving from Havana)
- Celestyal Cruises (ship Celestyal Crystal, leaving from Havana and Montego Bay Jamaica)
- Grand Circle Cruise Line (ship MV Clio / ex Tere Moana) one-way from Miami to Havana, or the reverse from Havana to Miami (embarkation/disembarkation in port Cienfuegos).
- International Expeditions (leaving from Havana, charter flights out of Miami)
- Victory Cruise Lines - MS Victory I (former MS Saint Laurent) - fly-cruises from Miami to Havana (home-port Cienfuegos /departures)
- Note: According to the current Cuban law, US citizens of Cuban origin (born in Cuba) are not allowed to visit the island country (including on cruise ships). Regardless of their US citizenship status, Cuban-born Americans were denied booking on cruise itineraries visiting ports in Cuba. However, the situation changed in April 2016, after Carnival Corporation negotiated with the Cuban government for allowing ships with Cuban-born passengers, as such US citizens are allowed to visit the country on USA-Cuba charter flights. The Carnival-fathom cruise line started Miami to Cuba cruises in May 2016 with the transferred from P&O UK ship Adonia (now Azamara Pursuit). The brand was terminated in April 2017.
- Alaska Airlines offers regular nonstop flights to Havana from Los Angeles (California USA). An 80-min ling JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale (Florida) to Havana costs less than USD 100. Previously, air travel from the USA to Cuba was thought charter flights only.
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