Executive reaction to Seabourn ship sale
The news that Windstar was buying three of Seabourn’s ships – that’s half its fleet – has sent ripples throughout the industry. But what is the truth behind the decision to sell the vessels? We spoke to executives on both sides to find out more…
Lynn Narraway managing director of Seabourn
Of the three ships, the oldest one we’re selling – the Seabourn Pride – was built in 1988. The Seabourn product has evolved from those days and since then we’ve built the Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest, which have seen Executive reaction the brand evolve even further. We’re now a far more contemporary product and it was time for us to move forward. Our new ships are all bigger and have more balconies – and that’s just as a starting point. We want to take ultra-luxury to the next stage. The three smaller ships have a capacity of 624 guests in total but it’s also important to say that we’re expecting to announce a fourth addition to our fleet before the end of our financial year, which is in November. That new ship would be around the same size as the Sojourn, so another 450 passengers. In that sense we don’t see it as halving the fleet – rather an evolution of the brand. From an agent point of view it will be much easier to understand and sell Seabourn because there will be a greater consistency across the fleet too.
Our level of service will continue as we move forward. We are a brand which is renowned for its hospitality – to the point that we like to think our crew are clairvoyant. Our service is simply unparalleled. However while we run at an extremely high standard there is always room for improvement. That is why we’re excited by this news; it’s a big step forward for the company.
Dan Chappelle vice president of sales at Windstar Cruises
We are working towards bringing Windstar Cruises back to being a brand that people aspire to be on – and we believe we’re making real progress in doing that. We are doubling our capacity, as well as the number of yachts in our fleet, so this is fantastic news. We were originally known as a private yacht experience but we’ve been repositioning that brand image over the last year and a half. It’s important to realise that a private yacht doesn’t have to have sails.
And by offering that as a choice we’re giving a much broader product offering. There was a time, before Carnival bought the brand, when Windstar was the brand that people aspired to be on. It was a unique experience that was different from any other luxury product at the time. It was boutique style coupled with exclusivity. This is a very historical time for our company and nothing but positive news. Everything that’s happening at Windstar is part of us moving forward and we’ve got momentum. There is some serious investment behind us, our office staff in Seattle is new and the management that’s leading us is very dynamic. There is nothing but great things out there for Windstar.