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Goldring Travel Blog – Making Waves

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Seabourn Cruise Line is, IN FACT, For Sale

Seabourn Odyssey

Yes, Seabourn Cruise Line is for sale.  No, it is not my being “anti-Seabourn”.

Seema Mody, of CNBC, tweeted today, 

Carnival in discussions to sell Seabourn brand to the Saudi sovereign wealth fund, per sources. Talks are still ongoing, no deal finalized as of yet. Comes <1 week after Carnival went to the debt market to raise $1b at 10% yield. Saudis currently own 5.1% stake in $CCL.

I know there are some – and some who have written me some pretty harsh emails – who have claimed my reporting and analysis were unfair and based upon Seabourn “blacklisting” me.  The reality is that it has all been pretty unemotional for me from the standpoint of whether Seabourn is for sale. 

Knowing this, please take a fresh look at my most recent article: Is Seabourn Cruise Line for Sale? I’m Not The Only One Wondering! – Goldring Travel As well as the portion of my May 3, 2022 article about the news out of the Seatrade Cruise Global Conference:

No New Cruise Ships for Seabourn – During the Luxury Cruise panel discussion I asked a question with two purposes. The second one was to confirm that Seabourn has no plans to build any more classic luxury ships. And Josh Leibowitz confirmed that to be true.  (Remember the Seabourn Venture and Pursuit were supposed to be sailing for two years now, so one must truly discount their addition as offsetting new classic luxury ships into the future!)

In contrast, Silversea just launched the Silver Dawn, Silver Moon, and has the Silver Nova and another yet unnamed ship under construction. Explora Journeys has at least four ships coming with two under construction, Ritz Carlton has just announced two more ships to be built. Ponant has more than doubled its fleet and is still growing. Regent Seven Seas has the Grandeur and Oceania has the Vista just out or coming out. But not Seabourn! 

So does this mean that Seabourn does not see it expanding its offerings for at least a decade while virtually (if not literally) all of the other luxury brands expanding their classic luxury cruise ship fleets?  I mean adding two small expedition ships doesn’t really add much inventory (both ships combined are equal to one classic luxury ship) and after those are operational in the next year there is nothing.

Clearly, the idea of no growth is not normal; especially for a publicly-traded company like Carnival Corp.  So does it mean something else?

You will see that I have looked, as I always try to do, at the facts. (That is what you count on me to do, isn’t it?!)

Obviously, I think the sale of Seabourn happening – rather than its prospect looming over the brand – is a positive. As I have said for decades, “The only thing that happens if you sit on the fence is: You rip your pants!” And, to me, I’ve been seeing small tears happening.

I know that the Saudis have been very interested in the cruise industry of late. During the peak of the Covid pandemic Saudis chartered a Silversea ship as well as the Scenic Eclipse. Was that done to test the Arabian cruise market? Or was it to become more educated in how to operate a cruise ship? Or a combination of both? Or totally unrelated?  At this point, I don’t know, but it certainly raises some interesting thoughts.

I don’t have any concern that if the sale goes through Seabourn will become an Islamic-focused product. I am sure alcohol will continue to be served, pork will be served, etc. And the product will remain very Western-focused.  Heck, I am all for the most culturally diverse experience possible!

Where I think the changes will come are more related to rational pricing, addressing the increase in customer service lapses, onboard cut-backs, employee retention, better itineraries, and more relevant marketing.

Might there also be a move to purchase the two Crystal Cruise ships which are going to auction on June 7, 2022?  Alas, that is a long shot, but Ya Never Know! 

Interested in a Cruise, Expedition or Land Journey?

Give me a call, drop me an email, or send me a Facebook message!

 US: (877) 2GO-LUXURY (877-246-5898)
  UK: 020 8133 3450
 AUS: (07) 3102 4685
Everywhere Else: +1 530 562 9232

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