6 KEYNOTE Extraordinary horizons Seabourn is revered for itineraries that surprise and delight. Jon Ingleton asks Josh Leibowitz about stepping into the top end of the expedition sector and taking passengers to extraordinary places S eabourn pioneered small-ship luxury cruising in the late 1980s and is still at the top of its game. The cruise line’s calendar had an expedition component long before it became a mainstream cruise segment. Its itineraries around the Arctic and South America, including forays into the Amazon and Antarctica, are iconic and uniquely memorable voyages. Seabourn is now poised to step into the top end of the authentic expedition sector. “We’re very excited about the two polar-class expedition ships coming into the fleet which are going to be state-of- the-art, ultra-luxury vessels with the latest technology and toys, including two submarines onboard,” says Josh Leibowitz, the line’s president. “For explorers we have an amazing catalogue of expedition itineraries such as Antarctica and our recently announced ‘Norwegian Lights’ cruise, which will be the inaugural sailings for Seabourn Venture.” Scheduled to launch in December 2021 with an eagerly anticipated inaugural voyage from the historic Royal Borough of Greenwich to the winter wonderland of the Norwegian coast, Seabourn Venture’s 12-day cruise calls at Alesund, Trondheim, Svolvaer, Andenes, Alta and Honningsvag, then concludes in Tromsø. In September the first steel was cut for Seabourn’s second, yet-to-be-named, new ultra-luxury expedition ship, due in 2022. Both ships have been designed and built to Polar Class 6 standards for expedition travel and have ultra-luxury interiors conceived by Adam Tihany. While passengers eagerly await Venture’s delivery, Seabourn has a compelling selection to tempt prospective passengers. “We have an eclectic menu of vacation experiences for every consumer preference with our fleet of five luxury ships,” says Leibowitz. “And within two years we’ll be up to seven ships and be able to offer an even wider choice. Our guests will be able to look at our itinerary map and say ‘where do I want to go in the world?’ to find a cruise perfectly suited to their travel aspirations.” The itinerary building process at Seabourn has changed over the years. “It used to be entirely the remit of the port operations and itinerary planning departments. Now it’s a much more collaborative endeavour, everyone has a voice – an opportunity to share personal experiences and perspectives,” says Leibowitz.