Seabourn‘s new ultra-luxury expedition ship, Seabourn Venture, will be out of action for most of April and May 2023 as the vessel heads into dry dock for repairs to its stabilisers. The decision will see five sailings scrapped, including an expedition to the Amazon, a transatlantic positioning cruise to Europe and two Northern Europe itineraries, falling between 7-30 April 2023.
The move comes after Seabourn gave notice to guests scheduled to sail to Antarctica in late December that the ship’s stabilisers – which reduce movement during rough weather – were “not operational”. Seabourn said Seabourn Venture is designed to safely sail with or without the use of stabilisers. However, the stabilisers do make the ride more comfortable for passengers, especially in traditionally rough stretches of water, such as the infamous Drake Passage.
“Seabourn Venture will be undergoing dry dock maintenance to conduct repairs to the ship’s stabilizers,” Seabourn told travel agents.
The cancelled 2023 sailings include the 22-day Heart of the Amazon & Two Great Continents sailing on 7 April; 12-day Bridging Two Great Continents on 18 April; 24-day Two Great Continents & Western European Waterways on 18 April; 12-day Western European Waterways on 30 April; and the 23-day Western Europe & Celtic Lands option, also on 30 April.
Impacted passengers will receive a full refund, including non-cruise fare purchases such as flights booked via Seabourn, pre- or post-hotels, transfers, shore excursions and more. A 25% Bonus Future Cruise Credit is also being offered to those affected guests, for use on a future voyage or expedition that sails before the end of this year.
Refunds are being processed this week, Seabourn said, with payments expected to appear in clients’ accounts within about two weeks.
Seabourn is also understood to be offering to reimburse reasonable non-refundable expenses on a case-by-case basis.
Since the issue with the stabilisers arose, Seabourn has been managing the timing of crossing the Drake Passage “to take advantage of the most optimal weather windows,” the luxury cruise line told travel partners.
“We applied this approach during our recent Antarctica sailing with positive results. Once we reach Antarctica, we are in more sheltered waters,” Seabourn said.
The situation with the stabiliser has resulted in expeditions to South Georgia being put on ice due to the destination’s “heavy seas with large swells”. Itineraries to South Georgia have instead ventured further south and spent more time in Antarctica (up to 10 days). Guests on the scrapped expeditions to South Georgia were provided a US$1,000 refundable onboard credit, and a Bonus Future Cruise Credit of 15% of the cruise fare paid. For guests that preferred not to travel, Seabourn said it would work with them to move their booking to an alternate future voyage.
Seabourn Venture was delivered by the T. Mariotti shipyard in late June, launched in late-July 2022 in Northern Europe and was officially named by explorer Alison Levine in Antarctica two months ago, on 20 November.