Q – We are currently booked on a Greek Islands cruise on Seabourn this summer. We’ve read about the changes at the line several years ago, and we’re concerned. Should we change our plans given that the ship is now run by Carnival Cruises? We booked directly with Seabourn so they are not going to be very forthcoming with advice.

A – Every luxury cruise line suffers from, what we refer to as, the “past guest change reaction”. Old-timers on every line seem to think that new policies, new ships, and enlarged crews spell the end of cruising as they knew it. In fact, given injections of serious capital, just the opposite is often true.

The Carnival Corporation owns many cruise lines. Carnival ownership is a good thing because it carries with it a great deal of management expertise and unusually strong financial backing. Seabourn had been operated as an independent division. It has been moved to Holland America headquarters in Seattle. You should not notice any differences.

We see absolutely no reason to change your plans to sail Seabourn. However, since you have not yet made your final payment, we would recommend that you transfer your current booking to a consultant who is familiar with the Seabourn product. Like every other line, Seabourn charges the travel agent commission to consumers foolish enough to book with them directly. It makes sense to take advantage of the many benefits you will receive by working with an informed consultant. And the chances you’re your consultant’s services will be offered on a “No Fee” basis. The consultant comes free. If you book directly, the 10-15% commission is still charged and the line simply pockets it. Booking through a travel consultant will also keep you in the loop regarding any changes at Seabourn. As per our ratings, Seabourn remains one of the world’s top three cruise lines and we see it on an upward trajectory. They have two 450 guest ships on order scheduled for delivery in the next 36 months.


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