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Update (as of April 21, 2021): In addition to Seabourn's planned sailings in Greece, the luxury line plans to resume Seabourn Odyssey sailings roundtrip from Bridgetown, Barbados, beginning on July 18, 2021. Southern Caribbean itineraries will be seven days in length or combinable to 14 days, including port calls in Antigua, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Maarten and St. Kitts. Guests will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for these cruises as well.
Between the announcement that Seabourn Cruise Line will make its comeback this year in Greece and the appointment of Steve Smotrys as the company’s new vice president of global sales, Seabourn has had plenty of good news to share.
Here, Smotrys offers an inside look at Seabourn’s return to service, along with insights for travel advisors working with the luxury line right now.
What is the current status of the Seabourn fleet, and when is each ship now expected to resume service?We are very excited that Seabourn has received approval from Greece to relaunch service [starting] July 2021. We’ve been anxiously waiting for this day and are thrilled it has finally arrived. Together, with the government of Greece, Seabourn is developing plans to restart operations in the Mediterranean onboard Seabourn Ovation with a series of seven-day voyages sailing roundtrip out of Athens between July 3 and Oct. 16, 2021.
Seabourn Ovation will operate seven-day combinable sailings exploring beautiful and historic ports throughout the Greek Isles. On one itinerary, the ship will take guests to the beautiful and charming ports of Agios Nikolaos, Rhodes, Mykonos and Nafplio, as well as Limassol and Cyprus. On the other itinerary, guests will have the opportunity to experience Patmos, Rhodes, Thira (Santorini) and Spetses, along with a call at Paphos, Cyprus. The voyages opened for booking on April 12.
Seabourn Sojourn’s next scheduled departure is now set for July 3, 2021; Seabourn Encore is now set for July 3, 2021; and Seabourn Quest is next set to depart Nov. 7, 2021.
How will your time at Cunard Line and Princess Cruises inform your sales approach at Seabourn?I have been fortunate enough to build a diverse experience base in my 20 years with Carnival Corporation. Not only have I worked on several brands, but I have also worked in varied areas such as revenue management, market planning, shore excursions and, of course, sales. I can’t think of a better background for sales than to have various perspectives of the business and where opportunities may lie.
My time at Cunard was particularly valuable. As both a luxury and a globally sourced brand, it required me to really delve into the global luxury market to understand what guests and advisors view as most important. I gained a great appreciation for the nuanced differences of various markets by listening to both colleagues and advisors. Seabourn is, without a doubt, a global luxury brand with tremendous appeal and potential.
How is your team supporting travel advisors at this time?I have been talking to travel advisors since I came to Seabourn, and it is clear that the line is held in a very high esteem. The next step is understanding how we can support them better and make doing business together simple. Advisors are at the heart of our business, with the majority of our bookings coming through the travel advisor network worldwide. Our success is tied to their success. We understand what they are facing — we are facing it, too — and we are partners in this path to recovery.
Advisors are at the heart of our business, with the majority of our bookings coming through the travel advisor network worldwide. Our success is tied to their success.
We have protected commissions and put in place several programs and policies to assist travel advisors during this challenging time. These include our Early Bonus Savings offer, which provides an additional 10% savings on the base cruise fare when guests pay their bookings in full. Not only does this provide savings for travelers, but travel advisors will earn commissions now, rather than later — another valuable benefit for our trade partners. This helps to put commission in their pocket today, and gives their clients an incentive to book now. We’ve received positive feedback from advisors who appreciate our efforts to help them earn revenue at this time.
How should travel agents be approaching bookings during this time of transition?We encourage travel advisors to focus on the future. We are excited to be returning to sailing this July in Greece on Seabourn Ovation, and hopefully we can restart operations for the other ships soon. The signs are good that we are close, and future bookings are extremely encouraging. We have been seeing excellent signs of pent-up demand since the beginning of the year. Clearly, the rollout of vaccines and the implementation of enhanced health and safety protocols is building consumer confidence, and they are ready to travel again.
We have opened a number of itineraries into 2023 because travelers are yearning to sail again. We encourage them to continue to plan ahead. At Seabourn specifically, we are seeing experienced travelers continue to voice their support for our company and the cruise industry through bookings into 2022 and beyond. We certainly appreciate their dedication, given the challenging circumstances we have faced.
Clearly, the rollout of vaccines and the implementation of enhanced health and safety protocols is building consumer confidence, and they are ready to travel again.
Can you give any insight into whether Seabourn will require vaccinations for its guests?First and foremost, I want to emphasize that at Seabourn, our highest responsibility and top priorities are compliance; environmental protection; and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, team members and the people and communities our ships visit. We will have a number of enhancements to our product when we resume sailing to create a safe and healthy environment.
We, along with all Carnival Corporation brands, are focused on a safe return to sailing while still delivering a wonderful travel experience. These are not just words. This is at the core of everything we do.
In line with this, our just-announced sailings this summer in Greece will require all guests to be vaccinated. Beyond these voyages, we are consistently reviewing the various vaccines and conferring with the various countries we sail to and their associated health authorities. Beyond Greece, we have not made any decisions on next steps at this point. We will share more information when we have more updates.
The DetailsSeabourn Cruise Linewww.seabourn.com