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New ship No. 8 — Seabourn Encore

Eighth in a series of new ships for 2016

Seabourn is an ultra-luxury cruise line that has been around for 30 years but effectively became a player in 2009 when the revolutionary Seabourn Odyssey arrived. With selling older ships Pride, Spirit and Legend to Windstar, the Encore is now Seabourn’s fourth ship and will be followed by a fifth in 2018 — the Ovation. So how does “ultra luxury” move to something better, such as “infinite luxury?” It hires a master designer named Adam D. Tihany, who is known for his elegant design of high-class resorts, hotels and restaurants.

Launch date: December 4

Capacity: 604

Sister ships: None (yet)

Maiden voyage: Athens to Dubai

Home port: Several in Asia and Australia

Ships then in Seabourn fleet: 4

Interesting: The plan is what will be this small-ship line’s biggest ship at 40,000 gross tonnes is for it and the Ovation to be regarded as kings of the luxury business. Yet as Seabourn points out that architecturally it will not be significantly different than the other three ships, the Encore designed by Tihany will be “softer” and “curvaceous” with unexpected surprises and subtle transformations that “are not meant to be described but rather discovered.” In other words, seasoned Seabourn customers will expect the traditional exclusivity and privacy traits that has made the line ultra luxurious, but find a few new touches to what will be a larger private yacht than they’ve previously experienced.

In the news…

• High-diving comedy among shows planned for Harmony of the Seas
• Norwegian’s Harvest Caye opening delayed nine months until November
• Azamara’s first world cruise — 61 ports, 29 countries — set for 2018

Today at portsandbows.com: Another new ship coming for AmaWaterways


Royal Caribbean Vision of the Seas
7 nights
March 19, 2016
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $679
Cost per day: $97
www.royalcaribbean.com

Windstar's Star Pride

There's an asterisk (*) beside this "new" ship because it's really an old ship being made new, which seems to be becoming a more economical way for cruise lines to expand their fleets. The Star Pride is the first of three ships from Seabourn Cruise Line that are moving to Windstar…in fact, the one is still sailing as the Seabourn Pride until April. Then it will undergo a "Windstarization" and emerge with a new name under a new flag, the third one to fly from its mast since it was, indeed, a new ship 25 years ago.

Launch date: May 5

Capacity: 212

Sister ships: None (yet…next year)

Maiden Voyage: Barcelona to Rome

Home Port: None

Ships in Windstar fleet: 4

Interesting: While it has no siblings for the time being, the Star Pride will welcome its two sister ships from Seabourn (the Legend and the Spirit) next year. All three will be all-suite ships that carry 212 passengers and together they will double the size of the Windstar fleet and raise its fleet-wide capacity to 1,230 berths. Besides accessing intimate ports — in the beginning in Europe — the Star Pride will feature more interaction with villagers, with local musicians entertaining on board and local market purchases to be served in the buffet for dinner. Each suite will have extras that include both a tub and a shower.

Norwegian Sun
7 nights
May 26, 2014
VancouverKetchikanJuneauSkagwayGlacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier, Anchorage
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $75
www.ncl.com

 

And The Ships' Names Will Be…

Windstar announced this week the name of its fourth ship, the first of three the luxury line purchased from Seabourn and scheduled to begin its new life one year from now. It currently sails as Seabourn Pride (right) and next year will become Star Pride (below).

Now this is just a wild guess…but when the Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Spirit join the Windstar fleet, in April and May of 2015, they will surely be known as the Star Legend and Star Spirit. The names will become official in the coming weeks, but the opportunity to be one of the Pride's 212 passengers comes first.

As in, two weeks from now.

Bookings start on May 14th and it's likely the "yacht's" cruises will fill up quickly. Philip Anschutz didn't quietly become one of the 50 richest men in North America by making risky moves, and the three-ship purchase from Seabourn will double the size of his Windstar fleet (When you drill down through the companies Anschutz owns, you'll find Windstar Cruises.). 

Can you say recession over?

“Star Pride and the additional two yachts will fit perfectly into Windstar’s intimate, yacht-style cruising by offering a small-ship luxury cruise with 300 passengers or less in a casually elegant style going to places bigger ships cannot go,” said Windstar's CEO, Hans Birkholz. “We are thrilled to be able to offer even more intriguing choices in Europe for the 2014 season.”

The three yachts currently sailing under Windstar's flag until next year are called Wind Star, Wind Surf and Wind Spirit. The Anschutz conglomerate purchased them for a reported $39 million at a bankruptcy sale two years ago and, since then, all three ships have been refurbished. Now they have three siblings and if anybody thought recessionary times were going to deplete the luxury cruise market, guess again.

Let's see now…is that tougher or easier than guessing the names of the new ships?


Carnival Glory
2 nights
November 1, 2013
Miami (return): Nassau
Inside:  $159
Cost per day: $79
www.carnival.com

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