Seabourn President and CEO Pamela Conover talks exclusively to World of Cruising magazine on the ethos behind their first new ship in 20 years
There will be very little that is radical or drastically innovative about Seabourn Odyssey when she sets sail for the first time from Venice in June 2009.
Forget glitzy, multi-tiered theatres, rock-climbing walls and other gimmicks, the newest (and largest) member of the fleet will simply be an evolutionary enhancement of Seabourn’s greatest assets – the onboard service and refined style. Pamela Conover made this clear in July when she spoke to editor Simon Veness on the subject of the new ship, which at 32,000 tons will be three times the size of the existing trio but with only two times the passenger complement. Here’s what she had to say.
“We chose the size to make sure we could still deliver the kind of service our customers expect and we felt this was the maximum we could go to and still deliver that. Right from the very beginning it was done with that in mind.
“What the size does for us is simply to allow us to provide more options. You will notice from the design it is designed to look and feel very similar to the existing yachts.
“Also, in terms of the design of the interior spaces, they have been done not to be hugely expansive but to still have that more intimate feel and atmosphere we have on board already.
“For us, the key is our service and that personalised, one-to-one attention from our crew. So, this is all about being able to continue to provide that for our guests.
“The additional space allows us to manipulate things that were limited in terms of public room options and larger categories of suites, with verandahs, on our existing vessels. Add it all together and the space is significantly more per guest.
“I think the most spectacular feature will be the Spa, at 11,500sq ft. It is going to be just fabulous. It will feature a sliding glass wall to it can be an indoor or outdoor facilities, and this will be a great feature. Consequently, I think the Spa Villas are going to be in particularly high demand “Also, the fact we have a whole new concept for the Seabourn Square, rather than a traditional purser’s lobby, will make it feel more like the concierge level of an upscale hotel.
“We have added 23 Penthouse suites which we see strong demand for. People definitely want to treat themselves these days. They are 1”-times the size of regular suites and they will be truly beautiful.
“With these suites and the balconies, they are so spacious there is certainly room to dine out there and I think in-suite dining, course by course, will be a really popular feature as a result, and one of the most romantic places on the ship. All suites also now feature the separate bath and showers.
“In terms of the naming ceremony we have announced she is going to be christened on her maiden voyage by ALL the guests who are on board. Everyone will get the chance to participate and be ‘godmothers’.
“It seemed to us that the people who are the most involved with Seabourn have been our guests who have supported us in the last 21 years, and their support is the reason we have been able to build these three new ships. And so we wanted to honour them and let them be a part of launching the ship.
“Of course, our focus is very much on the guests and providing them with the sort of service they expect from Seabourn, so it seemed only appropriate; after all, what we are all about is service to the guests, so we should include them.
“I think ultimately what we try to do is listen to our guests, because the world is not static; things change and we constantly need to understand what our guests may be seeking and adjust accordingly.
“It is a continual process of raising the bar on ourselves and continuing to ask our staff to be aware and on the lookout for what our guests are looking for.”