The famous Seabourn Cruise line is a truly wonderful option for a luxury cruise. Founded nearly 30 years ago, the company was founded on values of excellent service, fine experiences and a desire to provide guests with “exceptional Seabourn Moments that delight”. Here we take a look at the history of this majestic cruise line.
In 1986, a consortium of Norwegian investors, led by Atle Brynestad, formed Signet Cruise Lines. This was soon changed to Seabourn Cruise Line, following concerns over a trademark held by Signet Oil. The first ship in the fleet launched in 1988, two years after the company was first created. This was soon followed by a sister ship, the Seabourn Spirit, just one year later.
The third ship was due to launch again just one year later, but there were financial issues meaning the ship was eventually bought by the Royal Viking Line in 1992, and named the Royal Viking Queen. It was then transferred to Royal Cruise Line and renamed the Queen Odyssey. By this time Carnival Corporation had invested in Seabourn, initially in 1991 as 25% owners and then raising this to 50% in 1996, freeing up enough cash for the Queen Odyssey to be bought and named the Seabourn Legend.
Three more ships followed as Carnival eventually took over 100% of the company, the Seabourn Goddess I, the Seabourn Goddess II and the Seabourn Sun. These have all since been sold, with three newer ships added in 2009, 2010 and 2011 – the Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest respectively.
For a time, Seabourn was merged with Cunard, although it is now recognised as its own standalone brand as part of Carnival Corporation. It was announced earlier this year that the three original ships are to be sold to Windstar, with a possible new sister ship to the three newest ships being added to the fleet as their replacement.
In terms of awards, Seabourn has won the Travel & Leisure Magazine ‘World’s Best Small-Ship Cruise Line’ award for four years running, as well as in 2007, as well as being recognised in the Conde Nast Gold List for 17 years straight. Overall the continued excellence that was first dreamt up in 1986 is what ensures both a magnificent experience for guests, and the unrelenting success of this six star cruise line.
By Ian Lewis