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MJfromCA

May 2020 Ovation cruise just cancelled - is this normal for Seabourn?

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Our May 9, 2020 Ovation "Spanish and Moroccan Sunsets" cruise Barcelona to Lisbon just got cancelled. It was almost fully booked already, with a great set of ports! Has anyone else experienced this, i.e. is this normal for Seabourn to cancel a published full cruise nine months out?

 

Here is what they said: We are writing to inform you, this sailing has been canceled. We have changed our European itineraries to enhance the guests experience and to allow for better allocation of guest capacity for our 2020 season. What does that mean?

 

This would have been our first cruise with Seabourn, and we moved a Tauck trip we had already booked in that timeframe so we could go on this one because of the ports. They have now created a different Ovation cruise on May 9 between Barcelona and Lisbon, called "Idyllic Iberian and Riveria", omitting several key ports we wanted and substituting others we don't want. So frustrating!

 

We had hoped Seabourn would be our cruise line for most of our future cruises if we enjoyed this first one (since so many of you rave about Seabourn), but this has definitely colored our feelings about the company. If this is their new normal under Carnival, I'm not sure we want to try them.

 

A very disappointed MJfromCA

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MJfrom CA,  I am so sorry you are experiencing this.  Would you tell us which ports were cancelled and which were substituted i their place.  I think knowing that would help many who might want to comment.  

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SLSD,

 

There are no Ovation cruises listed on the Seabourn website now from April 25th to May 23rd 2020, so all I can go by is the map they sent in the letter.

  • They dropped Gibraltar, Motril/Granada/Alhambra and Cadiz/Seville in Spain, and Porto in Portugal.
  • They substituted St Tropez (in addition to Le Lavandou 45 minutes away), Portovenare and Portofino in Italy, and Palamos and Valencia in Spain.

It is also likely they cut one of the two days in Casablanca to accommodate the extra port, but until I can actually see the new itinerary, that is a guess. So 4-5 of our 12 ports changed, and we had specifically picked this itinerary for these ports in combination with Morocco.

 

I've had a single port on a cruise change at the last minute due to terrorist incidents or weather, which is understandable, but never this many this far ahead purely by choice of the cruise line with an already-published full ship. What if I had already booked our flights? That is why I am hesitant to try Seabourn again, if this is what is normal for them.


Thanks for any help anyone can give on what (if anything) I can do, and if this happens often.

 

MJfromCA

 

 

 

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We also received notification today that our Ovation cruise in August has been canceled. An alternative cruise was suggested which is nearly the same with a different end port.  When I got in touch with our TA and he got in touch with Seabourn he was told that the new cruise was not "loaded into the system" for booking yet.  We are extraordinarily picky about the cabin we will sail in and I was told I could not be guaranteed of one of those when the cruise is finally "loaded in" to the system.  I personally find it irrational to send an e-mail announcing a cancellation, offering an alternative, and asking for a decision w/i 2 weeks if we want to rebook the alternative then being unprepared (Seabourn) to book it.  I might not be so upset were it not for the fact that the cruise we booked on the Ovation includes our actual 50th wedding anniversary, a major event in my simple mind.

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2 hours ago, MJfromCA said:

SLSD,

 

There are no Ovation cruises listed on the Seabourn website now from April 25th to May 23rd 2020, so all I can go by is the map they sent in the letter.

  • They dropped Gibraltar, Motril/Granada/Alhambra and Cadiz/Seville in Spain, and Porto in Portugal.
  • They substituted St Tropez (in addition to Le Lavandou 45 minutes away), Portovenare and Portofino in Italy, and Palamos and Valencia in Spain.

It is also likely they cut one of the two days in Casablanca to accommodate the extra port, but until I can actually see the new itinerary, that is a guess. So 4-5 of our 12 ports changed, and we had specifically picked this itinerary for these ports in combination with Morocco.

 

I've had a single port on a cruise change at the last minute due to terrorist incidents or weather, which is understandable, but never this many this far ahead purely by choice of the cruise line with an already-published full ship. What if I had already booked our flights? That is why I am hesitant to try Seabourn again, if this is what is normal for them.


Thanks for any help anyone can give on what (if anything) I can do, and if this happens often.

 

MJfromCA

 

 

 

We are booked on the cruise leaving Barcelona on May 9th ending in Amsterdam June 6th, and, after reading your post I logged into My Seabourn, to find our cruise is still there with ports unchanged..................so ???????????

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1 hour ago, Laylam said:

We are booked on the cruise leaving Barcelona on May 9th ending in Amsterdam June 6th, and, after reading your post I logged into My Seabourn, to find our cruise is still there with ports unchanged..................so ???????????

 

Yes, MySeabourn still shows my original ports and itinerary too. I would call your TA tomorrow - the email came to her.

 

I called Seabourn directly, who confirmed the cancellation and pointed me to my TA. They also transferred me to Guest Relations, where I got voicemail.

 

 

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4 hours ago, alwaysonaship said:

I used to live in Sevilla. That is a BIG disappointment and do not care for their choice of substitutes 

 

Exactly! Thanks for confirming.

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It looks like they aren’t cancelling cruises (for charters or a dry dock) but completely overhauling some itineraries with different departure ports, arrival ports and ports of call.  Perhaps the previous itineraries weren’t selling well?  

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4 hours ago, MJfromCA said:

 

Yes, MySeabourn still shows my original ports and itinerary too. I would call your TA tomorrow - the email came to her.

 

I called Seabourn directly, who confirmed the cancellation and pointed me to my TA. They also transferred me to Guest Relations, where I got voicemail.

 

 

Yes, I contacted my TA and he confirmed he had an email from Seattle overnight and will get back to me when he knows what is going on.   We have already booked our airfares.  We are due to board the Quest in Reykjavik next Tuesday so I'll see if I can learn any "inside gossip"!!

 

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On 7/31/2019 at 4:12 PM, Sunviking said:

We also received notification today that our Ovation cruise in August has been canceled. An alternative cruise was suggested which is nearly the same with a different end port.  When I got in touch with our TA and he got in touch with Seabourn he was told that the new cruise was not "loaded into the system" for booking yet.  We are extraordinarily picky about the cabin we will sail in and I was told I could not be guaranteed of one of those when the cruise is finally "loaded in" to the system.  I personally find it irrational to send an e-mail announcing a cancellation, offering an alternative, and asking for a decision w/i 2 weeks if we want to rebook the alternative then being unprepared (Seabourn) to book it.  I might not be so upset were it not for the fact that the cruise we booked on the Ovation includes our actual 50th wedding anniversary, a major event in my simple mind.

 

Sunviking, I'm sorry your cruise was affected also, and for your 50th anniversary too! Was this for August 2020? That makes at least 3 Ovation cruises they have cancelled. I wonder if there are others.

 

Yes, they have handled this very poorly. I don't have any details for my "alternative cruise" either - just a map which shows the ports they substituted, and the same 2 week deadline as you to decide. This is so untenable, not at all what I expected from Seabourn.

 

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Hmm, I wonder if this announcement from Royal Caribbean that popped up on Facebook has anything to do with it ?

 

More than 30 Royal Caribbean cruise itineraries have been altered in response to a propulsion pod issue on Allure of the Seas. The problem has caused the ship to sail at reduced speeds, prompting itinerary changes.”

 

So, to ensure our guests have a wonderful time in each destination with less crowds, we've rearranged the order some of our other ships will be visiting some of our destinations."”

 

https://www.cruisecritic.com.au/news/4299/?source=99360&fbclid=IwAR37zZ9bp3QeUIX956hMVNAdLlNILRwU_KYFJrTzN2l63TlhNfiastTSjyc

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My 22 day Seabourn Ovation Sept 26, 2020 Western Europe and 

Spanish Splendours was just just canceled.

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I just read on another board that the itineraries are being shortened.  (Just reporting what I read here.)  

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10 hours ago, SKP946 said:

Hmm, I wonder if this announcement from Royal Caribbean that popped up on Facebook has anything to do with it ?

 

More than 30 Royal Caribbean cruise itineraries have been altered in response to a propulsion pod issue on Allure of the Seas. The problem has caused the ship to sail at reduced speeds, prompting itinerary changes.”

 

So, to ensure our guests have a wonderful time in each destination with less crowds, we've rearranged the order some of our other ships will be visiting some of our destinations."”

 

https://www.cruisecritic.com.au/news/4299/?source=99360&fbclid=IwAR37zZ9bp3QeUIX956hMVNAdLlNILRwU_KYFJrTzN2l63TlhNfiastTSjyc

 

I can't see how a problem with the Allure of the Seas which does 7 day cruises around the Caribbean would have any impact on itineraries of the Ovation which doesn't sail in the Caribbean.  When they refer to other ships being impacted the article mentions other company ships which would be Royal Caribbean and Celebrity ships I assume.

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Our August 2020 cruise is the one which has been canceled.  Given the fact that the alternative suggested to us is another of the same length (21 days) in the same month, it would not appear that the cancellation is because itineraries are being shortened.  As of this morning the suggested alternative is still not available to book. 😞

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45 minutes ago, Sunviking said:

Our August 2020 cruise is the one which has been canceled.  Given the fact that the alternative suggested to us is another of the same length (21 days) in the same month, it would not appear that the cancellation is because itineraries are being shortened.  As of this morning the suggested alternative is still not available to book. 😞

Well, that's good news.  I am not a fan of all the little short 7 day segments--but that appears to be what most are (with longer cruises being sold which include the 7 day itineraries. ) 

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Ours was canceled as well ... the September 12, 2020 - 26-Day British Isles & Western Europe itinerary.  

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7 hours ago, zelker said:

Ours was canceled as well ... the September 12, 2020 - 26-Day British Isles & Western Europe itinerary.  

Sorry to hear that.  I was keeping an eye on that one as a possibility for next year 

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6 hours ago, galeforce9 said:

Sorry to hear that.  I was keeping an eye on that one as a possibility for next year 

We were looking at the British Isles/Western Europe cruise as well.  Now, I am hesitate to book a 2020 cruise until all of this resolves.  

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On 8/2/2019 at 8:38 AM, SLSD said:

Well, that's good news.  I am not a fan of all the little short 7 day segments--but that appears to be what most are (with longer cruises being sold which include the 7 day itineraries. ) 

 

SLSD, you're right, it turns out that is exactly what they did! Seabourn's recommended alternative leaving the same day from Barcelona as our cancelled 14-day cruise looks like two 7-day cruises of very different types stuck together, each starting in Barcelona. They dropped 4 of the best of our 12 original ports, cut Casablanca down to one day, and substituted in mostly resorts or beach towns and that crossover day needed in Barcelona. The first segment is now basically resorts and beaches. They kept some historically interesting cities in the second segment, but they cut Seville, Granada, Gibraltar, Porto, and the second day in Casablanca. This is absolutely not an equivalent itinerary.

 

Did the other board you read say that Seabourn is only doing 7-day cruises now, with longer cruises being those segments stitched together? That would be very disappointing, and I believe would hurt them in the long run - the high quality and length of the itinerary for my cancelled cruise gave Seabourn a real competitive advantage in the Mediterranean, imho.

Edited by MJfromCA
added "looks like"

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15 minutes ago, MJfromCA said:

 

SLSD, you're right, it turns out that is exactly what they did! Seabourn's recommended alternative leaving the same day from Barcelona as our cancelled 14-day cruise looks like two 7-day cruises of very different types stuck together, each starting in Barcelona

 

 

Did the other board you read say that Seabourn is only doing 7-day cruises now, with longer cruises being those segments stitched together? That would be very disappointing, and I believe would hurt them in the long run - the high quality and length of the itinerary for my cancelled cruise gave Seabourn a real competitive advantage in the Mediterranean, imho.

The other forum did not say if they are only doing 7 day cruises now.  

 

We have not booked our next cruise yet, but as I said above, I am seeing mostly 7 day cruises---and if a longer cruise is being sold, it is a combination of shorter cruises.  I agree with you that this is not ideal.  

 

Have you decided what you are going to do?  

Edited by SLSD

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I am beginning to wonder if Seabourn is struggling (financially).  Why do I wonder this?  First, we have these cancelled cruises--which now seem to have been shortened to 7 day itineraries.  Next, we have the fact that the 2021 itineraries have still not been released. Perhaps this is because those itineraries are being shortened to 7 day cruises as well.  Then, like many of you, I received an email survey yesterday from SB concerning the World Cruise (which had already been set).  As you know, the survey asked all kinds of questions about would you take a world cruise, what length?, desired destinations, etc. etc.  I found it a bit strange as the World Cruise itinerary had already been announced.  It made me wonder if it has not been selling well. 

 

My husband (a retired business bankruptcy lawyer) has been saying that he thinks the economy (US) is not doing as well as many think.  He sees some evidence of downturns and thinks we just may be headed into a recession--which would not be good news for the cruise industry. 

 

Your thoughts?  

Edited by SLSD

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I don’t know how my observations will sit with everyone, how valid they are for most or even many cruisers, or how Seabourn is behaving lately in terms of the concerns we have about the economy globally, but your husband’s observations are certainly valid. People may become more cautious these days about booking expensive discretionary purchases and that may mean shorter cruises for some and back to backs for others.

 

Seabourn must have all kinds of consumer behavior studies to overlay on current events, and if they are asking lots of questions about your intentions, it’s because their projections are unclear and mixed. They cannot take any demographic for granted and the younger ones they want and need may have fewer days to commit. My own sense is that the 2021 world cruise is selling well, particularly the Miami to Sydney segment of 59 days since I know 10 couples on that route as booked. The westbound direction and those fabulous ports are a winning combination. And none of us would claim to be young... So that’s less of a concern to Seabourn, possibly, than Med cruises may be.

 

If we are heading towards a recession - and recent indicators point this way - times will be tough. It may take another political cycle (and I will say no more about that) to relieve the uncertainty that has contributed to our circumstances. What a mess.

 

But if you are of the school “if not now when?”, maybe because you are not “younger” either and have a more relaxed view of money than you used to have, well, there may be some good value options to book. I recall kinda fondly when I was discussing the price of a future cruise that I thought was awfully high with another passenger she rounded on me with “whaddya mean? It’s only money” and I got her point. She was at that stage of life where I was heading as well. So I booked. No regrets either. PS-  she did not show on that cruise but then she never promised me she would!

 

Good luck with your cruise planning. And bear in mind that Seabourn’s competition is similarly preoccupied, no doubt.

 

Happy and healthy sailing!

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4 hours ago, SLSD said:

I am beginning to wonder if Seabourn is struggling (financially).  Why do I wonder this?  First, we have these cancelled cruises--which now seem to have been shortened to 7 day itineraries.  Next, we have the fact that the 2021 itineraries have still not been released. Perhaps this is because those itineraries are being shortened to 7 day cruises as well.  Then, like many of you, I received an email survey yesterday from SB concerning the World Cruise (which had already been set).  As you know, the survey asked all kinds of questions about would you take a world cruise, what length?, desired destinations, etc. etc.  I found it a bit strange as the World Cruise itinerary had already been announced.  It made me wonder if it has not been selling well. 

 

My husband (a retired business bankruptcy lawyer) has been saying that he thinks the economy (US) is not doing as well as many think.  He sees some evidence of downturns and thinks we just may be headed into a recession--which would not be good news for the cruise industry. 

 

Your thoughts?  

 

To be fair Seabourn has always, to my memory, sold especially the summer med cruises initially as 14 or longer days but eventually broken them up into 7 night segments to fill up the ships. A lot of people can only take 7 days and it's always been a way of filling ships after the 14 and 21 night segments have been booked. Our last Ovation cruise I think 90% of the ship turned over on the middle Saturday and we were part of the 90% which got off at the end of the second week (we did two weeks). I don't totally love those cruises,  I find people mix less and you don't get the chance to make friends, and the staff are run ragged learning new preferences every 7 days. I've only really found the summer med cruises to be like that however. 

 

I think it's also hard to extrapolate that Seabourn is struggling. For a start Seabourn is just one piece of a larger empire which caters up and down the market. I've seen no more discounting than I have in previous years and have always received a lot of marketing material. Perhaps a couple of the summer cruises which always used to be sold out (round the UK for instance) have made it onto the offers list but to me it feels much like business as usual. It's quite possible this particular itinerary didn't resonate with enough people and they decided to act early and change it. I'm terribly sorry for the original poster who clearly booked a great cruise .. and the first with Seabourn .. I could not blame them, even if they have a nice cruise, to view Seabourn in the future with a little skepticism. 

 

One thing which I do think is a factor .. well two things. One, Seabourn now has a full complement of ships since Encore launched and they have a lot of suites to sell. When they just had the Odyssey class ships and had sold the originals, discounts were not so apparent, Ovation added some capacity, Encore added a chunk more. I feel they have as many non-expedition cruise cabins to sell as they can in fact probably sell and I think they have become a little more aggressive about it. Two, and I made this point nearly a year ago, my impression was they were having to discount Encore and Ovation slightly more both because they have more suites to sell and some long time Seabourn cruisers, myself included, would pay more to sail the O-class ships. I read your very fair review and know you just prefer the newer ships, absolutely fine; my feeling is that they're having to do a little more discounting and offer 7 day itineraries to keep the new ships full. I also hope that brings new people into the Seabourn brand, I want them to be successful, my cruising habit depends on it. 

 

I see all world economies taking a breath, US, Europe, Asia, here in Singapore we're definitely feeling the effects of a trade war between other people. We've sailed Seabourn, and Silversea, through good economies and bad; we've paid a little more and a little less to do so; they have continued to sail and offer a good product. I myself doubt that Seabourn is 'struggling' but may very well be adapting to current market conditions to ensure they keep their share of the 'luxury' cruising segment. 

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