Friday, October 18, 2013

Seabourn Announces a New Ship - Details To Follow!

Seabourn Cruise Line has announced, finally, what we all knew was coming:  A new ship!

The new ship will be "modeled" after the Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, but while incorporating many of the features of them, will have some improvements and changes.  Times change and improvements are made...and it will be seven years since the delivery of the Seabourn Odyssey, so if everything remained the same personally I would be worried.
Alas, my fears addressed, let me address some of the ones others may have.  First, Seabourn's President, Rick Meadows states, "We are pleased to be moving forward with the plans we announced earlier this year to build a fourth ship similar to the highly regarded new design we introduced with Seabourn OdysseySeabourn Sojourn, and Seabourn Quest," Similar means just that:  Not identical.  But what it also means is that it will not be another class of ship (Odyssey-plus, mega-Odyssey or anything like that).
What I can say is that if you have sailed on the Seabourn Odyssey-class ships you know that there are areas on the ship that you probably have never physically visited and other areas where virtually nobody uses them.  I can think of the area where the putting green and outside lounge are, the deck above the Sky Bar and the outdoor quiet area of the Spa.  While that latter has been transformed into four Spa Penthouses on the Seabourn Quest and will be on the Odyssey and Sojourn, the others do need a redesign.
Will there be more guests than on the present three Odyssey-class ships?  The answer is "Yes". But will there be 100 more guests, I cannot confirm or deny it, but I firmly believe the answer is unquestionably "No"; there will be far less.
So what does that mean for passenger to space ratios?  Not much.  You probably are not aware that the Restaurant is actually designed to seat all 450 guests at one time.  But you  probably are aware that there is never a time when all 450 guests dine in the Restaurant.  Many dine in the Colonnade, Patio Grill or Restaurant 2...leaving excess capacity in the Restaurant.  So there is extra capacity...and that is without any changes being made to the design.
Ever have a problem finding a lounge by the pool?  Finding a seat in The Club? What about in Seabourn Square?  Didn't think so. So for all of you feeding on false rumors:  Breathe!
Think Restaurant 2 might be due for a makeover?  I do.  I can't say for sure that the new ship will be offering a different culinary experience, but knowing Seabourn and the driving forces behind it, I am very confident a new and exciting dining venue (or two??) will be announced. 
I know you are probably tired of hearing me say the best idea is to book your cruise as early as possible and then let me adjust the price if it goes down.  But I am repeating it now!  Why?
Because with the Seabourn Pride leaving the fleet in April 2014 and the Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend leaving the fleet in the Spring of 2015, Seabourn's capacity is going to drop significantly until the new ship is delivered...over a year later, in the second half of 2016.  That means that if you don't book your cruise early you may be subject to being sold out or higher prices.  
On the latter note, while Seabourn is keenly aware of adjusting its prices based upon sales and demand...as is very other cruise line and airline...I have been assured that Seabourn is looking at the long term and has no intention of alienating its guests with very significant price increases. Remember, Seabourn wants to retain its guests' loyalty; not anger them with exploitative pricing.
One thing I am quite pleased with is that the new ship will be built by Carnival Corporation's favorite shipbuilder: Fincantieri...though I do not know which yard.  Why am I pleased? Because she will not be built by T. Mariotti Shipyards.  I am not a fan of that facility or its owners/managers and, behind the scenes, there just were far too many issues with the delivery quality and responsiveness of that yard.
But this also explains, at least in part, why the delay in the new ship...which has been on the drawing board since long before the triplets were to be sold:  Seabourn is part of Carnival Corporation, so the negotiations for this ship clearly were based upon Carnival Corporation's negotiations for a number of new ships.  Without getting to complicated, factors involving timing for all of the sister brands, availability of build slots (places to build the ship with sufficient staffing), contemplated exchange rates, financing, etc. all come into play and, thus, it becomes a chess match rather than a simple decision to build a new ship and getting it done.
I wish I had all the answers, but alas, I don't.  As I receive more information I will most certainly not only pass it on to you, but will explain what I think it all means.
Ready to start looking and booking that Seabourn cruise?  Give me a call at (877) 2GO-LUXURY or email me at eric@goldringtravel.com.