Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Seabourn Pride, Legend and Spirit - Long Range Plans

There has been in further inquiry about the plans for Seabourn's current fleet of three small yachtlike ships with more than enough false rumors and innuendo that their end is near. The fact is, as I had previously posted, the triplets are part of Seabourn's long range plans.

Here are some truths:

1. The smaller triplets are loved by many passengers and there is a style and comfort level that makes the larger Odyssey just not attractive to them.

2. Many Seabourn passengers (not all by any extent) could care less about the new bells and whistles.

3. There are many unique ports that the Odyssey cannot visit and, therefore, the triplets remain as a real asset for those destinations.

4. There are itineraries that may well support 200 guests, but not 450 guests.

5. The Seabourn Pride will be focusing on Asia with new ports and extended itineraries. Seabourn has not advised what its plans are for the Legend and Spirit, but I would not be surprised if there was a Caribbean/South American presence as well as one in Africa and parts of Australia/New Zealand. I don't know, but I would put my money on the latter!

6. There is a need for capacity, as Seabourn's ships consistently sail at or near capacity. So with one ship in 2009 being delivered, the present demand for capacity might be met to a degree, but assuming any sort of growth, additional capacity will be needed into 2010 and 2011.

7. With the new ships in place, it may well be possible for there to be truly extensive refitting of the older triplets so that its machinery and environmentally related systems can be replaced, and some older design elements changed, at a fraction of the cost of new ships while there is sufficient capacity to meet the demands of Seabourn guests. (BTW, I do not know this to be true, but it is not a large jump for me to get there...in my mind).

One other bit of speculation to be addressed: Pricing. It is something that is based upon demand and costs of operation. If you want exotic ports, it is gonna cost you. No matter how you cut it, the Caribbean will cost less than Africa. Asia will cost you more than France. If you are looking for a deal, I would be looking at low demand seasons for particular locations rather than new versus old ships.