Seabourn Sojourn entering Valetta Harbour, Malta
For many of us, the first hints of summer are synonymous with the arrival of an armada of some of the world’s leading cruise ships. This year is no exception with the arrival of Holland America’s Zaandam on Wednesday this week, followed by Eurodam today (Friday) and Oosterdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Carnival Legend and Noordam over the weekend. Thursday June 1 will also see the arrival of the Seabourn Sojourn for her maiden Alaska season based out of Vancouver.
Delivered in 2010 by Mariotti Shipyard, Genoa, Italy
Owned and operated by Seabourn Cruise Line, Seattle, Wa.
GRT 32,346 tons
Speed 21.6 knots (cruising)
Capacity: 450 guests
Sister ships: Seabourn Odyssey & Seabourn Quest
Seabourn Sojourn is advertised as being among the most luxurious cruising vessels in the world. Despite her modest size, she has a large two-deck spa facility of over 11,000 square feet, two outdoor swimming pools and six outdoor whirlpool spas. The four restaurants and six bars and cafes have seating capacity for over 800 diners, though the vessel carries just 450 guests. Alaska itineraries are a mix of 11 and 14 days one way cruises from Vancouver to and from Seward Alaska providing time to explore some of the less frequented nooks and crannies of the BC and Alaskan coast lines including six calls to the Port of Prince Rupert.
Seabourn Cruise Line was originally founded in 1987 by a consortium of Norwegian investors headed by Mr. Atle Brynestad under the name Signet Cruise Lines but adopted the name Seabourn Cruise Line after objections over a trademark ownership. Seabourn Pride entered service in 1988, followed by an identical sister, Seabourn Spirit in 1989. Carnival Corporation purchased an initial 25% stake in Seabourn in 1991, increasing this to 50% in 1996 at a time when the company was developing a reputation for unrivalled service quality.
In 1998, in partnership with a consortium of new Norwegian investors, Carnival purchased the remaining 50% stake in Seabourn, as well as acquiring Cunard Line from Kvaerner ASA, and merged the two brands into Cunard Line until in 2001 Carnival bought out the Norwegian shareholders, and Seabourn's parent company became a wholly owned subsidiary of Carnival Corporation. In 2011 Seabourn transferred its base of operations from Miami to the Holland America headquarters in Seattle. The highly acclaimed Seabourn Encore (above right) at 40,350 GRT joined the fleet in December 2016.
The global cruise industry has grown from 19.1 million passengers carried in 2010 to 22.9 million in 2016 and is forecast to reach 25.3 million in 2019. To meet this growth, there are currently 157 significant cruise ships on order stretching to delivery as far ahead as 2026. About 60% of business originates in North America, 25% in Europe and the balance spread over other markets. Cruises to Alaska represents 4.5-5% of the global market.
Ship of the Week contributed by Captain Stephen Brown, West Pacific Marine Ltd.