Seabourn President Josh Leibowitz says he is optimistic luxury cruising will lead the way in terms of recovery for the sector in the ‘new normal’.
Leibowitz took over the leadership position with Seabourn from Rick Meadows in June last year.
“Historically speaking, luxury travel has always helped lead broader market recovery when we experienced downturns,” He told Forbes earlier this month.
“The situation with COVID-19 is unprecedented during our lifetimes but we’re confident that luxury travellers will be poised to help energize the industry as it reopens.”
“We know firsthand that there is quite a bit of pent-up demand and we’re already seeing strong interest in 2021 and 2022 across the board, with Europe, the Mediterranean, and Alaska all seeing significant interest next year. Our World Cruise 2022 launched recently and the voyage is filling quite nicely considering it’s more than a year away.”
Leibowitz said Seabourn was focused on “reimagining and redesigning every aspect of the experience” to ensure future guest health and safety.
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“One of the most important lessons I believe we have all learned is the importance of putting health and safety first in everything we do,” he said.
“I’m grateful to be running an organisation that prioritises our responsibilities of compliance, environmental protection, and health and safety above all else.”
Leibowitz recognised the wider cruise industry’s voluntary pause in operations for some nine months as it worked towards new stringent health and safety protocols.
Despite the pandemic and the challenges 2020 presented, he said Seabourn was optimistic in the future growth of the expedition travel sector. The luxury line will tap this market with two purpose-built vessels, Seabourn Venture and a yet to be named sister-ship.
The first of the two expedition ships is slated for delivery in December 2021, the second in April 2022.
“I’m confident these two ships will set a new bar in the ultra-luxury expedition category in a way that has not been seen before,” Leibowitz said.
The cruise chief is also bullish that cruising will resume in some parts of the world in 2021.
“We’re grateful to all of the incredible work that’s been done by so many in the fields of medicine and research that contributes to our sense of optimism. For now, we do have 2021 itineraries open and available for booking in Alaska/British Columbia, Europe, the Mediterranean, and beyond. We continue to monitor the situation as we prepare for a return to service and we’ll adapt when and if it’s necessary,” he added.
Lead image: Seabourn Encore at sea