Seabourn’s Leahy: Connections and Communities

Seabourn Venture in Antarctica

With a second expedition ship entering service and new leadership at the helm, Seabourn is forging ahead in 2023.

Natalya Leahy, who was appointed president of the luxury brand in March, believes that cruising is about more than just reaching destinations; it’s about creating a sense of community among passengers and crew.

“It’s about meaningful connections with like-minded guests and crew members who are dedicated to providing the best possible experience,” she said, noting that Seabourn employs crew from 90 countries around the world.

When it comes to deployment, Leahy believes in striking a balance between marquee destinations and off-the-beaten-path ports of call.

[For a complete overview of the luxury cruise market, see the 2023 Luxury Market Report by Cruise Industry News.]

“We’ll continue to take guests to iconic places like Barcelona, but we’ll also explore other destinations, such as boutique ports,” she said, speaking in Florida in March at a cruise conference.

With its second purpose-built expedition vessel, the Seabourn Pursuit, set to debut in August, Seabourn is expanding its presence in polar and remote destinations.

One of the new areas being visited by the company’s new ships is the Kimberley region in Australia, which Leahy described as a unique and culturally immersive experience that offers outstanding wildlife and a population of only 35,000 people.

Leahy noted that the expedition product is particularly appealing to guests who want to visit destinations that can only be accessed by ship, making it an effective tool for attracting new cruisers. Meanwhile, onboard, passengers continue to seek a high-end service experience with attention to detail and a personal touch.

“People really care when they have genuine connections and are called by their names, and when their special requests are attended to,” she explained.

Leahy added that guests are also looking for a more simple, unpretentious, and authentic elegance, which is a trend in the luxury segment.

“We’re trying to deliver these experiences in a more relaxed, elegant, and accessible environment.”

As the industry works towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, Seabourn is investing in new green features and exploring alternative fuels, Leahy said.

“We’re making investments in technology that will move us towards our goal, as well as installing food digesters onboard our ships,” she noted.

Sustainability is also a culture that must be built onboard the ships and in shore-side communities, Leahy added. “Our guests care not only about what we do, but also why we do it. Our team members need to be able to explain what they do, why they do it, and how they do it,” she said.

The industry as a whole needs to do a better job of telling its sustainability story, she added.

“We’re making tremendous progress in this space, but we need to do a better job of sharing our achievements with the world.”

[For a complete overview of the luxury cruise market, see the 2023 Luxury Market Report by Cruise Industry News.]

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