Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Seabourn in Seattle: A Visit to Seabourn's New Offices and The Launching of the New Seabourn Website

This afternoon I took a tour of Seabourn’s new offices and chatted with a number of the Seabourn staff, both old and new. Actually, I was the first official visitor of Seabourn’s new offices! They are still unpacking boxes, but the offices are up and running. (I even had a chance to welcome Bruce Good – whom many of you know – as he just arrived in Seattle the other day, who was busy unpacking.)

Most of my time was spent with John Delaney, Seabourn’s Senior Vice President discussing not only some of the behind the scenes issues that he, Seabourn’s President, Rick Meadows, and the staff are addressing, but the vision of Seabourn moving forward. The vision is, unequivocally, that Seabourn is going to “improve”; not “change”. While the past few months have involved back office changes and improvements of monumental proportions, in the coming weeks there will be some changes that guests will see.

What do I mean: Check out Seabourn’s new website: http://www.seabourn.com/ . It was just launched this afternoon! It is not shockingly new, but it has far greater usability and a logical flow of information. I will review it shortly, but my first impressions are very good…and it does not shock your senses of what Seabourn is about.

So to answer the skeptics and those that just are curious:

Yes, Seabourn’s offices do have their own front door – located on the third floor of the building which houses Holland America. And, yes, Seabourn’s name will be on the outside of the building.

No, not all of Seabourn’s operations are totally separate from Holland America’s…but that was never the idea. The concept is to utilize the resources of Holland America, not be Holland America. To that point, in every single area of operations there is a sign overhead identifying the areas where people are working primarily or exclusively on Seabourn from finance to reservations to e-marketing. (And trust me, Seabourn signs were not mounted from the ceilings in honor of my visit!)

Yes, Seabourn is different from Holland America and it will never be treated the same. Without question there is a concentrated and effective effort for those who did work for Holland America to think “Seabourn” and not “Holland America”. There is no question that confusion or melding of the product is not going to happen.

And, for the big YES: The triplets: Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend are staying in the fleet! I can’t get into the specifics, but the ships are going to be invested in so that they can provide some truly unique experiences on itineraries that they were made to (and used to) cruise: small ports, exotic ports, and extended cruises. It is going to take some time to put all of this in place, but not that long.

Seabourn sees great things coming and I believe the new management has a lot of surprises coming. The amount that has been accomplished in such a short period of time is, to be sure, remarkable. Once that infrastructure change is completed the good stuff will follow.

And while all that is happening you will continue to have the same excellent experiences you have been enjoying on your Seabourn cruises.