Zigging When They Zag: Seabourn Builds Its Future on Small Ships

At a time when cruise lines are building bigger and bigger ships, The Yachts of Seabourn is purposefully bucking the trend, and instead building intimate, yacht-like vessels that will allow it to maintain its position at the top of the ultra luxury segment of the travel industry. Amid all the excitement about whose next ship will be the world’s largest, the company’s elegant, all-suite Seabourn Odyssey, due to be launched in June of 2009, will extend the company’s commitment to providing the sort of highly personalized service and exceptional delivery of destinations that is only possible on small ships.

Seabourn Odyssey and the two other new vessels that Seabourn has on order will each carry just 450 guests at double occupancy, where other ultra luxury ships are being designed for up to 750 guests, and the industry’s newest mega-ship, once launched, will hold 6,400.

“I think there is a line between a small-ship and a large-ship experience,” said Seabourn president & CEO Pamela C. Conover. “We choose not to cross that line,” she continued, “because we are committed to providing the sort of individualized experience that is the reason Seabourn guests choose to travel with us. We are building for a particular sort of very discerning traveler who understands the equation between intimacy and luxury.”

The new ships, Seabourn Odyssey and her un-named sisters-to-be, will provide among the highest ratios of space per guest in the industry, and they will take advantage of that space to lay on amenities such as an expansive 11,500-square foot indoor/outdoor spa, spread over two decks, that will be the largest on any luxury ship. Ninety percent of the ship’s guest accommodations will have private verandas, and the ships will feature four alternative dining venues, again unheard of for ships of this size. But for all their spaciousness, the new Seabourn yachts are designed to engender the relaxed, sociable lifestyle that characterizes life aboard their smaller sisters. Lounges are scaled for informal gathering and conversation, which are also encouraged by  Seabourn’s all-inclusive fares, which provide complimentary service of beverages including wines and spirits throughout the cruise. Their intimate size will allow them to call at ports and harbors where larger ships cannot follow, giving Seabourn’s privileged guests access to the sort of authentic experiences they seek when they travel.

Seabourn Odyssey will begin her maiden season sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Seas, visiting marquee ports such as Venice, Dubrovnik, Istanbul and Yalta, as well as newly-discovered gems including Batumi, Georgia; Sochi, Russia and the Greek Isles of Khyos and Symi. Like her smaller sisters, Odyssey will take advantage of secluded anchorages in Triluke Bay on Croatia’s Dalmatian coast and the Greek island of Amorgos to deploy its signature water sports marina, offering guests the pleasure of a day spent enjoying the Seabourn yachting lifestyle in the warm, clear waters, right from their own luxurious craft.

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