Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Seabourn Cruise Line: Some Changes You Should Know About - Dress Code and Penalty Periods/Fees



Seabourn has quietly put in place two noteworthy changes you should be aware of.  One concerns the always popular topic of Dress Code and the other Penalty Periods and Fees.

Dress Code

Starting with the October 17, 2014 sailing, the Dress Code is changing. It is going to be simplified and brought more in line with what its guests now desire.  Gone are three types of dress and formal optional (never did understand that!).  

A short summary:  

Men, if you don't want to bring a tie or jacket you don't need to.  You can dine anywhere on the ship other than The Restaurant on Formal nights.  Want to dine there on Formal nights, bring a jacket...but you don't need a tie.

Ladies, dress as elegantly casual or formal as you wish

Jeans are  allowed, but not in The Restaurant during the evening or about the ship on Formal nights.

Here are the specifics:

Elegant Casual:  This is the dress standard for all dining venues except in The Restaurant (and only The Restaurant) on formal nights.  

Men: slacks with a collared dress shirt or sweater; Jacket Optional
Ladies: slacks / skirt, blouse, pant suit or dress.

Note:  Jeans are welcome in all dining venues during the day, but are not appropriate in The Restaurant after 6:00 p.m.

Formal: In the Restaurant:
Men: Tuxedo, suit or slacks and jacket required (tie not required)           
Ladies: evening gown or other formal apparel

Dress in other dining venues is Elegant Casual.

Note:   Jeans are not appropriate in any public venues after 6:00 p.m.

I like the changes and believe them to address  everyone's desires for their cruise experience.  If you never want to wear a tie you do not have to, but you can still share in the formal night experience by wearing a jacket or skip it and enjoy 95% of the ship.  If you enjoy formal nights, you can do so and look across the The Restaurant seeing tuxedos, jackets and no jeans.

It is hard to find significant reason to complain...though I am sure some will some.  For some the history and ambiance of elegant cruising is very important.  And I do enjoy it to a degree.  But just as I used to wear a jacket and tie to work every day (even when nobody was coming into the office to see me), I am writing this wearing a Seabourn Pride t-shirt, a pair of jeans and boat shoes.

Penalty Periods Are Expanding

Seabourn is addressing a problem that has been growing over the past few years and now, with there being less ships the time to address it is here.

In response to a number of people holding onto cruises they are not going to take until the last possible minute and, thus, leaving Seabourn with new inventory only 90 days prior to sailing, it is instituting a longer and more penalizing penalty period.

Now before you get all upset, I need to point out that the new penalty periods, while more in line with the other luxury cruise lines, are still more liberal than most and do not have any nickel-and-diming $100 or $200 "administrative fees" associated with them.

For all 2015 cruises and beyond booked starting August 1, 2014, on cruises up to 31 days in length, the penalty periods and penalties are as follows:

120 Days 15% Penalty
90 Days  50%
45 Days  75%
30 Days 100%

For cruises of longer than 31 days:

150 Days 15% Penalty
120 Days 50%
90 Days  75%
75 Days  100%

The irony of this change is that folks will blame Seabourn for becoming too strict, but the fact is that this will only affect a very small portion of the thousands of Seabourn guests every year because they either are going on their cruise or cancel when they know they cannot go rather than waiting until the last minute before their final payment is due.