Seabourn Cruise Line was founded in 1987 to compete in the ultra-luxury cruise market. It was originally intended to be named “Signet Cruise Line,” but a ferry company in Texas owned that name and refused to give it up.
Seabourn’s first voyage was in November of 1988 on the newly built Seabourn Pride. Another huge milestone for the company: Carnival Corp. purchased 25 percent of Seabourn in 1991 and an additional 25 percent in 1996. In 1998, a consortium, which included Carnival Corp., purchased Seabourn and merged its operations with Cunard Line. Carnival Corp. bought the company outright in 1999 and Seabourn became one of their “world’s leading cruise lines.”
Onboard, Seabourn is at the top of the luxury cruise game with intuitive service, superb cuisine, relatively inclusive extras , and an atmosphere that is elegant, but unpretentious.
All cabins are suites, and they are well equipped with designer soaps, and all the latest and greatest amenities (flat-screen televisions, Bose Wave sound systems, and so forth). A complimentary bottle of champagne greets you in your cabin. Bar drinks are complimentary and refilled promptly. With an abundance of public space and few fellow passengers, you may feel you have the vessel to yourself — no annoying crowds or lines here.
Up until February 2013, Seabourn’s fleet consisted of two styles of ships: an older, smaller trio — Pride, Legend and Spirit — and a larger, newer trio — Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest. Seabourn Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, are identical siblings and began to be introduced to the Seabourn fleet from 2009. They are three of the most luxurious ships afloat, featuring numerous contemporary amenities, such as vast spa, open deck sunning and pool areas, a variety of restaurants, and spacious 300 square ft. standard cabins (which are more like suites). Private balconies and expansive suites are plentiful. With a capacity of 450 passengers, the ships are by no means too big! And can still access many of the world’s exotic ports, especially those that large ships cannot get into.
Hallmarks of Seabourn include superb, intuitive service; high quality cuisine that includes innovative and traditional dishes; and a more inclusive experience, in which cocktails, coffees, and spa classes are all included in cruise fares.
Seabourn’s three older ships attracted an ultra-loyal group of traditional, older clientele, and it’s unclear at this stage whether that group will go over to the younger, more modern — and crucially, larger — vessels. They may, of course, have no choice now since the older three were sold to Windstar Cruises in February 2013.
The younger trio, while appealing to a broad mix of ages (from 40-something and above), offer relatively shorter voyages and more mainstream calls (compared to the older three), so it attracts a new passenger to the line.
While most of your fellow passengers are likely to be American, Seabourn appeals to travelers from a variety of countries, particularly the English speaking South Africa, Australia and Great Britain, among others. All are likely to be well-off and well-traveled.