File this under “it’s hard to launch a new model.”
Seabourn’s new expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, is headed to drydock to fix its stabilizers, leaving five canceled cruises in its wake.
The unscheduled drydock will last from April 7 to April 30, 2023, said a letter sent to booked guests and travel advisors.
The affected cruises include an expedition to the Amazon, a transatlantic crossing, and two Northern Europe itineraries. Canceled cruisers will receive full refunds on the sailing, flights booked through the Seabourn’s Flight Ease air program, pre- and post-cruise hotels, transfers, shore excursions, onboard amenities, and air change fees, plus a 25% Bonus Future Cruise Credit good through December 31, 2023.
The 264-passenger Venture, Seabourn’s first purpose-built expedition ship, first set sail in July in Northern Europe. It is currently sailing its inaugural season in Antarctica, home of what many call the rockiest of all crossings, the Drake Passage (aka the Drake Shake). The 500-mile stretch between the tip of South America and Antarctica, where the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern Oceans collide, takes about two days to cross on an expedition ship.
Travel advisors who have sailed Venture give it high marks. “We were on her as she was headed through the Panama Canal on the way to Antarctica,” says Trapper Martin, owner of a Dream Vacations franchise in Florida. “Sorry for the canceled bookings, but ‘ship happens,’ and she is certainly a beautiful ship.”
Some say they always wait a bit before booking clients on a new ship, giving it a chance to work through any kinks.
“It’s like buying a new car model,” says Rob Walters at Worldwide Travel Associates, Inc., in Avondale, PA. “History gives us so many examples of issues with new ships.”
“Not only cruises but also new resorts,” agrees Geoff Millar, owner of Ultimate All-Inclusive Travel in Gilbert, AZ. “We try to not book clients at brand new resorts for the first three months, as there is a large learning curve every new resort and the staff goes through.”
Still, some note, perhaps the Drake itself is at fault for the damage. It experienced some unusually rough weather in November that might have damaged the ship unexpectedly.