Seabourn is one of the world’s preeminent luxury lines. With intuitive service, superb cuisine, relatively inclusive extras and an atmosphere that is elegant but unpretentious, it is the cruise line against which other luxury operators benchmark themselves.
Seabourn was founded in the 1980s, with its first ship, Seabourn Pride, then brand new, taking its first voyage in 1988.
The first few years proved hugely successful and Carnival Corporation started to take an interest, initially buying a 25% stake in the company in 1991, and another 25% in 1996.
Two years later, its operations were merged with Carnival Corporation.
At that time the fleet included Seabourn Goddess I and II (which left in 2002 and are now SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream I and SeaDream II) and Seabourn Sun (which left in 2002 and is now Holland America’s little cruise liner Prinsendam).
The cruise line’s existing tonnage (at that time its six-strong fleet had been built in the 1980s and early 90s) was nearing the end of its usable life.
Plans were put in place for a major fleet rejuvenation and just over ten years later, in 2013, the decommissioning began.
The fleet was halved in February 2013 when Windstar bought its three original vessels, and it now operates a series of three, nearly identical 32,000-ton, 450-passenger ships.
Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest debuted in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively.
Two further cruise ships were ordered in the middle of the previous decade, with the first, Seabourn Encore, debuting in 2016. A second, Seabourn Ovation, was launched in 2018.
Encore and Ovation are slightly larger sisters to the three existing Odyssey class ships, boasting an extra deck and carrying 150 more passengers.
Seabourn facilities and amenities on-board
Across the fleet Seabourn has now achieved total homogeny in terms of facilities and on-board atmosphere.
All cabins are suites, appointed with designer soaps and shampoos, and all the latest amenities from flat-screen TVs and USB points to Bose Wave sound systems.
A complimentary bottle of Champagne greets you in your cabin. Bar drinks are complimentary and refilled promptly.
With an abundance of public space and few fellow passengers, the experience is intended to mimic that of being aboard a private yacht, except with more room and facilities than a smaller ship would provide.
Seabourn destinations and cruise itineraries
Seabourn uses its fleet well, sailing to an impressive number of destinations every year.
It is a regular visitor to Cape Town in South Africa and Dubai in the Middle East, with both of these destinations featuring at least once as an embarkation port each year.
In 2018, the brand new Seabourn Ovation will cruise to China from Dubai.
Types of passengers on a Seabourn cruise
Seabourn, because of its luxury, tradition, innovative food concepts and modern ships, appeals to a broad mix of ages (from 40-something and above on its shorter weeks-long cruises in the Med and Caribbean to 60-plus on longer voyages).
Most passengers are American, but Seabourn is also popular in the rest of the English-speaking world, particularly South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Europeans from the major cruise markets of Germany, Italy and France are also not uncommon. All are likely to be affluent and well-travelled and many will be repeat Seabourn cruisers.
Cruise ships in the Seabourn fleet:
Categories: Cruise Line Focus