Seabourn Cruise Line started out as a small and exclusive Norwegian line with he
initial goal of creating almost yachtlike cruise ships for the upper crust. The
line was partially purchased by Carnival in 1991 which also acquired Cunard in
1998. At that point, three Cunard vessels were transferred to the new company,
two even smaller vessels named Sea Goddess I and II, and the former Royal Viking
Sun, renamed Cunard Sun, and then Seabourn Sun. Now that Seabourn is wholly
owned by Carnival Corporation, the line has been de-merged from Cunard and now
operates independently again, rather pointedly referring to itself as The Yachts
In the meantime - some of the ships were divested, selling the Sea Goddesses,
and transferring the former Royal Viking Sun to Holland America to become the
Today, Seabourn is once again comprised of the three small ships built in the
early 90s; Spirit, Pride and Legend. Holding but 208 passengers and containing
only six suites with private verandas, as time went on and other luxury lines
introduced all-suite with balcony ships, the line rather embarrassingly added
"French balconies" to 44 of the standard suites onboard. These are nothing more
than sliding glass doors with maybe a few inches outside of them, really not
enough to step outside. Surprisingly, though, it is quite enough to be able to
open the window and get a breath of fresh air and plenty of sunlight. Most
people will not miss the actual balcony so much. The new nomenclature for this
is a "Seabourn Balcony" Suite. Most passengers admit this is an improvement, but
the few who remain disappointed taking consolation in the fact that they are
still aboard one of the finest small luxury ships in the world.
Seaboard's three vessels carry 165 crewmembers to their 208 guests, possibly
of the highest crew to passenger ratios at sea (things change all the time).
During a 2006 dry-dock and interior refurbishment, the company installed DVD
players and flat-screen televisions in all suites, and made improvements to the
Veranda Cafe Lido dining area.
The Seabourn Experience:
All cabins are on Seabourn are suites, each coming with a complimentary bottle
of champagne to welcome you aboard. Inside are designer soaps by Bronnley,
Chanel and Hermes, flat TVs with DVD players and Bose Wave sound systems, and
aromatherapy bath products. And although the service and surroundings are
elegant, the actual watchword for the passengers is still casual, as this is
meant to be a vacation experience, with plenty of languid, free time to relax
with a book, massage or nap. In fact, free neck & shoulder massages may be
available on deck on any given sea day.
Count on dining at least once per voyage with the Captain, hotel manager and
cruise director, each certain to have a charming European accent. You'll also be
able to attend lectures by esteemed guest speakers on these ships, and shore
excursions to private villas, savor collections of art and wine tastings, or
avail yourself of an exemplary onboard enrichment program featuring the Chef's
Circle culinary program.
Complimentary wines and spirits are offered throughout the entire ship, as
too, for two hours per day, on deck, are mini-massages. Upgraded suite amenities
are now standard on these vessels, which also award each passenger one
complimentary shore event per cruise. These may include, depending on your
destination, an outdoor folkloric dance performance in Nafplion, Greece; a visit
to a private villa in Malta; or a glass-roofed canal boat ride in Amsterdam.
Petite as they are, these ships are able to visit relatively untouristed
Caribbean ports that larger ships can't. The downside being that shallow drafts
mean rocky seas; the Yachts of Seabourn can get tossed around a lot more (and in
calmer water) than larger vessels.
Passengers used to be primarily 60 and over, and not very interested in pool
games or deck parties. However, as the line has begun offering more 7-day
itineraries making them more available to the younger working class with little
discretionary time but more discretionary income, the average age has skewed
lower. They still have their generous single occupancy policy, but because of
the younger crowds they no longer have quite so many widows aboard, and as a
result the gentlemen hosts programs have been eliminated. By day, elegant casual
dress is encouraged, though shorts are allowed in the Veranda Cafe during
breakfast and lunch. The evening dress code is either formal or elegant casual.
Tours are targeted to please their audience. In keeping with the desires of
their recently acquired younger cruisers, a new slate of shore excursions
includes a menu of active tours; cycling, hiking, rafting, zip-line canopy tours
and even some canyoning tours in Europe. For the oldsters there are still
wine-tasting and other culinary treats, as well as visits to private villas
that, needless-to-say, would never accommodate a busload of Carnival passengers.
Taking The Kids:
There are no facilities or counselors for them. If you bring them, you will have
to watch them, or else bring your nanny.p>
Past Passenger Program:
The "Seabourn Club" members now are offered savings of 50% on an array of
cruises throughout the year. Those savings are also available to past guests of
Holland America, Princess, Costa, or Cunard. Think of it as an opportunity to
try an all-suite, small ship cruise at least once. You also get a 5% onboard
booking savings if you book you next cruise on board.
Theme Cruises & Special Programs:
Every cruise features the Dress Circle enrichment program presenting leading
figures from history, geography, politics, television, journalism, music,
theater, film, literature or culinary (including wine, of course).
Gratuities are included in the fare. If you see an outstretched palm, give it