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TravelAge West caught up with Seabourn’s senior vice president of marketing and sales, John Delaney, during his recent visit to Los Angeles, during which the Seabourn Quest was being honored by Travel & Leisure with a World’s Best award for Best Small Ship.
How has your newest ship, the Seabourn Quest, been received in the market?
The ship has been received really well. The Odyssey was a bit late leaving the shipyard. With the Sojourn, things were much better, but the Quest actually finished early. The launch of this ship had some advantages since we now have a much more experienced crew and officers, and there was a smaller passenger increase in comparison to the Sojourn and the Odyssey. During the inaugural, we recognized some of the crew who had worked on all three of the inaugurals. There was a genuine sincerity and excitement among the crew with the launch of this ship.
How does the ship compare to the Sojourn and the Odyssey?
The Quest looks the same, but we have made some minor changes in the appearance of the softgoods. Other than that, she is a mirror image of the Sojourn.
Where was the inaugural held?
The maiden sailing began in Barcelona, Spain, and finished in Monte Carlo, France. Guests received special gifts, and Blythe Danner, who serves as godmother, was at the naming ceremony. The Quest is a great fit for her. She is an environmentalist and did a lot of research about the environmental aspects of the ship.
Are there plans for any future ships to enter the Seabourn fleet?
This is the last one for now. We are taking a hiatus to absorb our new inventory.
What plans does Seabourn have in mind in terms of itineraries?
Right now, all six ships are in Europe. We have seen a rising popularity in our world cruises. There are actually less of them being offered next year, so bookings for these are really good. While we aren’t offering many new itineraries, with our increased capacity and more ships, we are able to be in more places now. On Jan. 5, 2012, Seabourn Quest begins a 109-day World Cruise from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Venice, Italy, on a unique eastbound course via South America, South Africa, the Indian Ocean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
Are you seeing a lot of new or repeat guests?
We are seeing a lot of both. New guests are coming onboard, which makes sense with the added capacity, but there also a lot of repeat customers who sailed with us previously and are returning to sail on the newer ships.