Onsite: Seabourn Odyssey Accepting Reservations

NEW YORK-Seabourn Cruise Line's newest ship, Seabourn Odyssey, is still being assembled, but that isn't stopping the luxury line from opening the books. Pam Conover was on hand in New York Wednesday to tout the luxury line's next addition. The ship will debut in Venice in June 2009, but the general public can begin reserving space on November 5. There already is an initial wait list and Conover, Seabourn's president and CEO, says that people already are putting money down without even knowing the ship's 2009 itineraries, which are forthcoming.

Seabourn is, in fact, building two new ships--the other to debut in spring 2010--and Conover says the reason that the line, which currently operates three ships, is building two more is because of pent-up customer demand. "We were constrained by lack of availability," Conover said. "People were complaining about why they couldn't get on."

Conover said guests come back for the small-ship ambiance, food, destinations and, most important, the personalized service. Half of Seabourn's guests are repeaters and 67 percent come back and sail with Seabourn within 18 months of their last trip.

Seabourn hopes guests will be impressed by Odyssey, which will have a capacity of 450 passengers--almost double Seabourn's other ships. There will be 225 suites altogether and 90 percent of those will include balconies. "Verandas are very important to luxury travelers," said Conover, who added that balconies will measure 32 square feet and up to as much as 301 square feet.

Dining outside on balconies also will be available, as Conover pointed out that al fresco dining is trending upward.

Pricing isn't cheap, though. The Grand Suite for the inaugural 14-day sailing from Venice will run at $49,000 per person. Pricing for lower-end suites begins at $11,000 per person. Visit [www.seabourn.com]. (DE)

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