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Cruise Critic Chris

SeaDream Innovation canceled

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Hi all - 

 

We at Cruise Critic just received word that SeaDream is canceling their contract to build SeaDream Innovation. Here's what they told us: 

 

"SeaDream Yacht Club and Damen have in good faith and with mutual understanding decided not to proceed with the building of a new ship for SeaDream. Both parties are open to potential future projects and collaboration.

 

All guests booked on SeaDream Innovation will be contacted and issued full refunds in the coming days. SeaDream is actively pursuing other newbuild opportunities and hopes to announce a new ship in 2020.

 

The existing fleet of two ships, SeaDream I and II, continue performing well, with the company seeing record revenue years. Current plans of refurbishing the suites on SeaDream I and II will proceed as previously announced and planned – starting with SeaDream II in spring 2020."

 

We're getting a story out and will put up a link when it's live. 

 

Some context that a lot of the small ships are having trouble being built on time and to spec. That's because the cruise business is booming, and the big shipyards like Meyer-Werft and Fincantieri are booked up for years. Expect even more delays for Ritz-Carlton, for example. 

 

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Wow, that is very interesting news. 

Chris it was great to meet you last week - I will certainly continue to follow your posts as you are very much in the know.

Glad the Tiki's did not book that 75 day maiden voyage haha.

Cheers

Mark

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2 hours ago, Cruise Critic Chris said:

Here's our article. Not much more to add, unfortunately: https://www.cruisecritic.com/news/4817/

Thank you Chris.  Innovation would have been a very interesting ship but I am happy to see that the owner may "spiff up" both 1 and 2 as far as the suites are concerned (Please make the bathrooms a wee bit bigger).

Love both SD1 and SD2.

Cheers

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Thanks for the article and the information. 

 

We put down a deposit for a cruise in 2022 on Innovation, and bought trip insurance within a few days after paying the deposit to get "pre-existing conditions" covered.  I fear that the premium is non-refundable.  

 

 

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16 hours ago, Tiki_Man said:

 (Please make the bathrooms a wee bit bigger).

 

 

The new plan includes serving less food.  The bathrooms will then seem bigger.

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1 hour ago, BeignetBoy said:

Thanks for the article and the information. 

 

We put down a deposit for a cruise in 2022 on Innovation, and bought trip insurance within a few days after paying the deposit to get "pre-existing conditions" covered.  I fear that the premium is non-refundable.  

 

 

I would let SD know what you spent on the trip insurance.  When we had a cruise cancelled, they made sure to make us whole.  Doesn't hurt to ask.

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1 hour ago, BeignetBoy said:

We put down a deposit for a cruise in 2022 on Innovation, and bought trip insurance within a few days after paying the deposit to get "pre-existing conditions" covered.  I fear that the premium is non-refundable.  

 

Maybe not refundable, but I think transferable.

 

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55 minutes ago, TrapperZimmy said:

I would let SD know what you spent on the trip insurance.  When we had a cruise cancelled, they made sure to make us whole.  Doesn't hurt to ask.

Agree.. Will do so.

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Wow! We we were just at a SD party in LA for past cruisers and all the talk was about Innovation. We were ready to book 2021 to Antarctica! Big flashy mailings, catalogues, etc. Sort of disappointed as it looked to be a FANTASTIC ship....

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Has anyone who was booked on Innovation heard from SeaDream directly yet? Just wondering if there is anything additional to report.

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Nothing official, but I did call them when the word first came out to confirm what I'd heard, and they did verify it.  I wonder how much money this has cost them.  The promotions that did, along with the videos and brochures, weren't cheap.  And I am certain that there was a number of legal costs that they had to eat.

 

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Yes, after all the hoopla regarding the new ship; it's many amenities (planes, helicopters), destinations, cruise lengths and costs, etc., to just up and cancel the ship with, apparently, only an anticlimactic "oh well" from SD, does seem curious and/or suspicious (even for SD).    

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As I think the Cruise Critic editor’s story stated, and a Bloomberg story confirmed about a week ago, there is a 4+ year backlog at the main shipyards that specialize in cruise vessels.  (The Bloomberg story focused on existing smaller ships being cut in half with pre-fabricated center sections added - a process that takes around 4 months.).  SD likely chose Damen, which doesn’t specialize in cruise ships, because they were available.  But since these ships aren’t their specialty, and actual construction was to have started a few months ago, it seems reasonable to speculate the shipyard wasn’t up to the task, at least not on time and on budget.  To be clear, this is all speculation on my part.  Given how enthusiastic SD management was about the new project, no doubt they are as disappointed as the rest of us at this news.  In the final analysis, they now need to concentrate on reassuring us all that the future is still bright for what they are now calling the classic vessels we all love.  The confirmation that SD2’s renovation will proceed next Spring is encouraging.  Welcome other points of view and input, as always!

Edited by JES4845

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On 12/9/2019 at 11:11 PM, Jim Avery said:

Has anyone who was booked on Innovation heard from SeaDream directly yet? Just wondering if there is anything additional to report.

I received a call within a day or two of the announcement.  The purpose of the call was to determine how they were going to refund the deposit we had paid.  The SD rep promised that my card would be credited promptly which came as a surprise to me based on prior experiences waiting and waiting and waiting for SD to process credits for cancelled cruises.  On the other hand, as I'm sure most of you know they're lightning fast at charging our accounts when we sign up for a cruise.  Needless to say, 10 days later there's no sign of the credit that was to be posted promptly.  I'm neither surprised nor impressed with this turn of events.

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3 hours ago, ctbjr1309 said:

I received a call within a day or two of the announcement.  The purpose of the call was to determine how they were going to refund the deposit we had paid.  The SD rep promised that my card would be credited promptly which came as a surprise to me based on prior experiences waiting and waiting and waiting for SD to process credits for cancelled cruises.  On the other hand, as I'm sure most of you know they're lightning fast at charging our accounts when we sign up for a cruise.  Needless to say, 10 days later there's no sign of the credit that was to be posted promptly.  I'm neither surprised nor impressed with this turn of events.

Thanks for the info.  Right on about the credit card charges.  Not just SD but they all have the charge posted before you can hang up the phone.  Last year we had a refund due after a long cruise and were told "they will mail a check 10 days after the end of your cruise".  Short version is it took 2 months and 10 days along with about 4 phone calls.  I am disappointed in SD cancelling Innovation as I had hopes it would be a good continuation of the product we here all have enjoyed so much.  As far as the way it is being handled, if it were my company I believe I would have announced it directly to my customers first, not let them hear about it round about from Cruise Critic.  Good job on CC for picking up on it though.  We shall see what the "refreshment" is but our favorite old ships are getting a bit long in the tooth for just fluff and buff type refits.  Structural changes (larger bathrooms) are unlikely as they would be very expensive to do.  Not to mention the extra space would have to come out of the already cozy cabins.  

On a broader topic, like most of y'all I have been covered up with "Expedition Ship" brochures.  It seems that all of them are currently premium pricing  as if they were the only ones being built.  It is going to be a very crowded market aiming for a smallish group of travelers willing to pay more to travel to some of the roughest, most inhospitable places around.  I see a major shakeout after the first year or two of these ships operating.  Maybe SD had the same thought and are working in a different direction now?   Ever the optimist.  Haha, DW just slapped me for that one......😱  

All the best to SeaDreamers for a Merry Christmas.🍸😎

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Jim... You and JES4845 make good points about the market being crowded for this type of ship in the not too distant future. 

 

Innovation seemed to be a very complex ship with both a helicopter and an airplane aboard.  I don't know what other competitors are offering in this area, but this seemed to be a very expensive and low ROI addition in my opinion.  A few of the details about these options have always concerned me.  For example, SeaDream would need two pilots aboard if they were certified in both types of equipment, qualified maintenance personnel, separate fuel for them, etc. Plus the cost of the equipment and the needed changes to the ship to accommodate them.   I am certain that they were planning on a number of excursion trips with them, that would be rather expensive.   Other than the prestige value of these additions, I wonder if they are financially justifiable.  

 

Hope all of our fellow SeaDream buddies have a good holiday season.

 

 

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On 12/12/2019 at 9:46 PM, ctbjr1309 said:

Needless to say, 10 days later there's no sign of the credit that was to be posted promptly.

 

In the spirit of full disclosure, the credit was posted to my account yesterday.  So, I'll quit griping now but I sure do wish that SD could figure out how to post credits as quickly as they process charges!

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I'm hoping we still see Innovation come to market.  SeaDream obviously spent a lot of time and money to design this new ship and all its amenities.  I felt it fit the brand beautifully.  They even started the marketing and produced a beautiful brochure.  All seemed to be full steam ahead.  The issue seems to be the choice of shipyard.  Hopefully 2020 will see a new shipyard designated and SeaDream Innovation back on track.  

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Hope so too, but as the saying goes hope is not a strategy.  We had booked the new ship and share the profound disappointment.  As reported and documented here and elsewhere, the shipyards that do this kind of work are booked up solid for many years to come, as far as four to five years out.  That is probably why SeaDream went with an unconventional shipyard for a passenger vessel in the first place.  That all said, SeaDream is to be commended for recommitting to the classic ships we love and enjoy.  We look forward to our 2020 voyages.

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Posted (edited)

I will be on Seadream I this time next Saturday, for 2 weeks.  Absolutely can't wait, and haven't missed a year in over 15.

We are also booked for our first Med in August.  We received notification, a couple weeks ago, that our trip was being cancelled due to a charter, the first time that has happened to us, knowing it could have always been a possibility.  We switched ships, same dates, same embarkation city, but new departure town.  Our flights had been booked and we needed to have those changed.  We were flexible, and Seadream went out of their way to ensure we were satisfied.  The cost for changes was almost immediately wired to us.  I am extremely pleased with how this was handled and do not feel slighted in any way.  We are very much looking forward to our 3 weeks on board in 2020.  Thank-you Seadream and see you soon!

 

Edited by loving life

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