Seabourn Cruise Line announced today that they have sold the line’s three original small cruise ships SEABOURN PRIDE, SEABOURN SPIRIT and SEABOURN LEGEND (ex ROYAL VIKING QUEEN, QUEEN ODYSSEY) to Windstar Cruises. All were built between 1988 and 1992 and measure 439 feet long with a 63 foot beam, carry 212 passengers each and have a gross tonnage of approximately 9,975 tons. Company president Rick Meadows said “Our three newest vessels, SEABOURN ODYSSEY, SEABOURN SOJOURN and SEABOURN QUEST have raised the bar for ultra-luxury cruising and we intend to add a fourth ship of similar design. Seabourn is already in discussion with shipbuilders and an order is likely to be announced within the current fiscal year. The new ship will allow Seabourn to maintain much of its current guest capacity.” Each of the newer vessels is more than double the capacity and triple the tonnage of the original trio, holding 450 passengers each and measuring 32,346 gross tons.
Windstar Cruises has made a phenomenal comeback from the bankruptcy of its previous owners, since the company was purchased by Xanterra Parks and Resorts. Xanterra is controlled by Denver billionaire Phillip Anschutz. The addition of the three Seabourn ships will double the size of the Windstar fleet which presently consists of the 148-passenger WIND STAR and WIND SPIRIT, plus the larger 312-passenger WIND SURF (ex CLUB MED 1). The three newly acquired ships will be integrated into Windstar beginning in April 2014 when the SEABOURN PRIDE will be renamed, followed by the LEGEND and the SPIRIT in April, 2015 and May, 2015 respectively. Each will begin their service in the Mediterranean but with a fleet of six ships, Windstar will now have a worldwide presence. Windstar Chief Executive Officer Hans Birkholz stated “Windstar is proud of its heritage in sailing, but what our guests are most enthusiastic about is our intimate, yacht style of cruising. This style is the core of our brand experience and the new ships are a perfect fit to build on that foundation.” Windstar plans to reduce the capacity of the new ships slightly to 208-passengers each, giving them a total of 1,230 berths across the fleet. The purchase was finalized on February 15, 2013 and makes Windstar the leading small-ship luxury line in the 300-berth and under category.
Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years. A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary. A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs. Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America. With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.