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Seabourn Odyssey – What is Next for Her?

It was pretty big news that Seabourn sold the Seabourn Odyssey to Mitsui O.S.K., though she will remain sailing for Seabourn under charter until August 22, 2024. But what is her future?

Normally, when a ship is sold it is to a cruise line that is not a competitor, and, in its current state, that is probably true. But will it be so when the Seabourn Odyssey is finally turned over to Mitsui O.S.K.?  It would seem that may not entirely be the case.  But then again, the luxury cruise market is quite small, so avoiding competition isn’t so easy.

The plan for Seabourn Odyssey is for her to be at the fore of Mitsui O.S.K. expanding her now one ship line (the Nippon Naru – a 1990 launched cruise ship that sails intensive Japanese itineraries, focused on the Japanese market), but intends to expand into the international luxury market, providing an immersive Japanese experience before expanding with two more 600 guest ships and, eventually, more international itineraries and a broader marketing plan reaching the US and Australia in addition to its current Asian market. 

Nippon Naru (photo courtesy of Cruisemapper.com)

Assisting with this shift in its market plan, Mitsui O.S.K. has hired Tony Kaufman, who had previously been Carnival Corp.’s executive vice president, general counsel, and chief ethics and compliance officer before departing the company, as its senior executive advisor.

My understanding is that the Seabourn Odyssey will undergo a significant refit to more align with the Asian market, including a significant modification of the dining experiences and some in-suite amenities. According to Travel Weekly, this includes such as modifying electrical outlets and installing bidets.

Interestingly, and possibly part of the rationale for the sale, Seabourn does not have a robust history of visiting China or Japan.  Instead, Seabourn has – as in the past – focused on Hong Kong and south through its published 2025 itineraries. Other luxury lines, such as Windstar, Silversea, and Regent Seven Seas (along with Oceania) have been developing the China and Japan itineraries over the years. 

But if things go according to plans, the Seabourn Odyssey will soon be part of a plan to provide the international market with immersive Japanese experiences, not only on land, but while onboard as well. 

Very interesting…and a new, possibly more exciting, life…for Seabourn Odyssey!

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