Seabourn President Josh Leibowitz talks about luxury expedition sailing and new amenities for 2022

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The cruise industry has been through a lot in the past couple of years, but that hasn’t stopped many lines from innovating, adapting and growing. After a pandemic-induced 26-month hiatus, all Seabourn ships are sailing again. This includes the newest expedition ship, Seabourn Venture. Seabourn Chairman Josh Leibowitz shares the latest from the luxury brand, how it has weathered the pandemic and into the future as it dips its toes into expedition cruising.

What ports will you add with Seabourn Venture?

In its inaugural year, Seabourn Venture will visit a number of fascinating locations and remote destinations in the Arctic and Antarctica, as well as the Amazon, Central and South America. It is planned to visit more than 100 unique and fascinating destinations around the world, many of which few travelers have experienced.

These include Scoresby Sound, Greenland, which is home to the largest and longest fjord system in the world and Sermilik Fjord, located in southeastern Greenland, famous for the many icebergs that flow from several glaciers at its head in the Denmark Strait.

For the first time, Seabourn will add the Falkland Islands to its list of destinations. These remote, windswept islands are home to nearly 65% ​​of all black-browed albatrosses on the planet. Depending on the day’s weather and the most favorable anchorage positions, Seabourn Venture may also call at remote Saunders Island; Jason Bell Tower Island; West Point Island; and New Island.

Of course, the highlight for many guests is the wildlife, including penguins in the Antarctic and polar bears in the Arctic.

How important are expedition cruises to Seabourn?

The demand for expedition travel by luxury travelers has grown and continues to grow. We saw it with our own eyes when we launched our Antarctic voyages in 2013. The success of that season led to the decision to return every year since, and the crossings have been a great success.

This success led us to develop the Companies by Seabourn expedition-style shore-based experiences program using Zodiacs and kayaks, which have grown to operate in a number of global destinations such as Alaska and British Columbia, Northern Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Two new purpose-built expedition vessels build on the success of our Ventures by Seabourn program, which has given thousands of guests the opportunity to explore destinations in more meaningful ways. Seabourn Venture (currently in operation) and Seabourn Pursuit (scheduled for delivery in September 2023) will offer an active, luxury expedition product unlike anything on the market today.

These expedition ships and itineraries are specially designed to appeal to travelers who typically choose a land-based experience, such as a safari. Expedition ships are positioning Seabourn well to attract new cruise passengers. Expedition trips are of great interest to many people in their late thirties and older.

What can guests expect on an expedition trip?

There are only 264 guests on board in 132 suites plus 26 expedition team members to serve those guests, or nearly one for every 10 guests. There are 24 Zodiacs on the ships so guests can experience landings or go kayaking and snorkeling.

There are eight different dining options and facilities such as the Bow Lounge, where live streams of wildlife from up to four nautical miles away can be projected onto the big screen for the ultimate wildlife experience.

Some remote destinations are better seen or only accessible by boat. These ships are designed to go anywhere in the world, with reinforced steel hulls, which allow them to cross ice that is five feet thick.

What are the most popular ports in Seabourn?

With the new Expedition Vessels, Seabourn has opted to return to the brand’s roots of smaller, more intimate, purpose-built vessels with no more than 264 guests. Due to their size, Seabourn ships often share ports with private yachts and dock in the heart of the city, allowing our guests to visit less populated places that few travelers have the opportunity to explore.

Some of the most popular small ports include: Misty Fjords in Alaska; Sete, France; Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands; Spetsai, Greece; and Lipari, Italy.

How does the Seabourn Loyalty Program work?

Seabourn Club rewards members with “Day Sail” credits (each day sail earns one credit). For every 140 credits earned, members earn a free cruise for up to 7 nights. Or they can choose to wait until they reach 250 credits to redeem them for a free cruise of up to 14 nights.

The program also offers Milestone Awards with special Tiffany & Co. gifts on board when passengers reach different milestones. These start with 100 “Sailing Day” credits and increase up to 2,500 credits.

There is an elite status program based on a points system. Members earn points in several ways. Each sailing day earns one point, and those in a premium penthouse or suite earn double points per day. Members also earn one bonus point for each night on an escorted Seabourn Journey (land itinerary) as well as for every $500 of qualifying onboard and online pre-cruise spend.

Elite levels range from Silver to Diamond Elite and include benefits such as onboard discounts, free laundry, spa services and premium spa access, suite upgrades or welcome amenities.

What is the process for hiring and training staff?

One of the hallmarks of Seabourn is the incredible team of members and the personalized service they provide to customers, including name recognition and remembering individual preferences. Seabourn’s New Hire College for onboard crew members helps them develop practical skills and learn about the brand. The onboard program combines classroom training with on-the-job training focused on performance and service standards.

To reinforce the culture, there is also a management-led virtual coffee hour for all levels of staff to discuss core values ​​for operating safely, protecting the environment, delivering “Seabourn moments” and supporting each other. mutually.

What is the “caviar in the surf” experience?

The ‘caviar in the waves’ experience involves fully uniformed staff wading through the water with platters of champagne and caviar to everyone’s applause. It is a unique experience for passengers sailing to the Caribbean. While they could already enjoy champagne and caviar on a private beach, Seabourn takes it to another level.

Having team members wade through the water in uniform and serving guests has been incredibly popular with guests and team members alike as it is such a memorable experience.

What changes has Seabourn made in recent years?

Many changes have been made to the onboard experience, including the development of over 300 new recipes with many healthier and lighter options. The pre-dinner happy hour now features a new small bites menu that changes daily. Breakfast at Le Patio also offers an updated menu with more vegetarian, vegan, and plant-based options.

There are new production shows, including a Latin American-inspired show aboard the Seabourn Ovation showcasing the dances and music of the region, and a classical concert on deck at events at sea aboard the Seabourn Serenade. Other changes include a new two-person housekeeping crew to look after each guest suite (replacing the solo flight attendant position).

Improved onboard Wi-Fi is another change. This involved tripling the bandwidth so that passengers could enjoy unlimited, free access while browsing. A new app also provides passengers with the daily schedule, the ability to book restaurants, spas and excursions, and a simplified check-in schedule. Muster station drills are now electronic, eliminating the need to witness a drill on board.

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