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Seabourn and the current issues surrounding the Corona Virus

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It came out today, there is now a test that one could get results back in 45 minutes. If this thing doesn't subside, cruise lines could test everyone before they get on board. This bodes well for smaller ships like Seabourn HAL's midsize ships. Testing 6000 people would be a logistics nightmare. 

So do you have to test in every port of call?



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Testing will help but let’s face it, there needs to be herd immunity in the population before it will be safe to travel again. If we’re lucky, the world will have a vaccine in about a year and then the cruise industry can resume operations. 

 

The big problem for them is Carnival and most other lines have registered their companies in places like Panama to dodge taxes and I don’t know how excited people will be to bail them out when they declare bankruptcy. 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, wesport said:

It came out today, there is now a test that one could get results back in 45 minutes. If this thing doesn't subside, cruise lines could test everyone before they get on board. This bodes well for smaller ships like Seabourn HAL's midsize ships. Testing 6000 people would be a logistics nightmare. 

 

Wish it were that easy but that will never happen economically or logistically, even on a smaller ship.  IMHO, cruise ships will not sail again until the world as a whole is past this pandemic - for the well-being and health of those onboard as well as those in all the places the ships visit.

Edited by zelker

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1 hour ago, Mark56 said:

Testing will help but let’s face it, there needs to be herd immunity in the population before it will be safe to travel again. If we’re lucky, the world will have a vaccine in about a year and then the cruise industry can resume operations. 

 

The big problem for them is Carnival and most other lines have registered their companies in places like Panama to dodge taxes and I don’t know how excited people will be to bail them out when they declare bankruptcy. 

It is my understanding that although the ships are registered outside the US to avoid having to follow US regulations, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and other corporations call the US home. "The US entity Carnival Corporation is incorporated in Miami, and its operational headquarters are located in the city of Doral, Florida."

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11 hours ago, Derby Street said:
8 hours ago, Derby Street said:

 

I never said that I had a booking for this cruise - what I commenting on was Seabourn only offering the poster a FCC6

Sorry but I hit the wrong quote. I meant to refer to the couple who said they only received a FCC. I do not think they have replied to that but wish they would since I am still booked on this cruise. 

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Not wanting to be the bearer of bad news, survival is all that concerns Carnival, and getting billions from various governments around the world who have a vested interest in the cruise industry is where their concentration lies. I am a full supposed of Seabourn, as i don't see a better way to see the world , but corporately, their real customers and customer interest came somewhere behind their profit issues. Somehow, Viking seem to beat them to a logical end to the season, and although they are part of the Carnival group, their regular clients are not. 

   I have to say that i have always expected them to do the right thing concerning our type of mystery cruise passenger, but up to now, ands since we have left the Seychelles, there has not been a word from them about compensation of any type. There was supposed to be a claims sheet, i never saw it. I gather i have time, as they are trying to survive, but there better be a letter or email coming very shortly, as they gambled with the lives of their crew and us passengers that things would work out, and probably knew before they gave us the word that we were never going to the Maldives nor Sri lanka when we could have stopped and disembarked in the Seychelles.  I happened to ask them five times before departure if we were going and they said all was ok. 

  Bottom line is the cruise business is in big trouble, needs billions, and probably will not get going until we all feel its safe to travel, and so its up to us to decide when that will occur, as its going to be our money at stake. 

Now that I've been two days in quarantine at home after two days in Perth and 17 days at sea, I vote all quarantine be done on a Seabourn ship, it sure beats the alternative. 

For those who were able to choose going Seabourn back to San Francisco over 55 days, you are way smarter than all of us. 

Funny thing in Qatar, as we were checked three times through different security checks for guns or bombs, but coughing or temperatures was never an issue, different strokes for different folks. 

  Watched President Yoda today report on events of the day, and although we didn't have CNN for 45 days while on the ship, it can now  be reported that CNN is not the problem. 

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46 minutes ago, westmount said:

Not wanting to be the bearer of bad news, survival is all that concerns Carnival, and getting billions from various governments around the world who have a vested interest in the cruise industry is where their concentration lies. I am a full supposed of Seabourn, as i don't see a better way to see the world , but corporately, their real customers and customer interest came somewhere behind their profit issues. Somehow, Viking seem to beat them to a logical end to the season, and although they are part of the Carnival group, their regular clients are not. 

   I have to say that i have always expected them to do the right thing concerning our type of mystery cruise passenger, but up to now, ands since we have left the Seychelles, there has not been a word from them about compensation of any type. There was supposed to be a claims sheet, i never saw it. I gather i have time, as they are trying to survive, but there better be a letter or email coming very shortly, as they gambled with the lives of their crew and us passengers that things would work out, and probably knew before they gave us the word that we were never going to the Maldives nor Sri lanka when we could have stopped and disembarked in the Seychelles.  I happened to ask them five times before departure if we were going and they said all was ok. 

  Bottom line is the cruise business is in big trouble, needs billions, and probably will not get going until we all feel its safe to travel, and so its up to us to decide when that will occur, as its going to be our money at stake. 

Now that I've been two days in quarantine at home after two days in Perth and 17 days at sea, I vote all quarantine be done on a Seabourn ship, it sure beats the alternative. 

For those who were able to choose going Seabourn back to San Francisco over 55 days, you are way smarter than all of us. 

Funny thing in Qatar, as we were checked three times through different security checks for guns or bombs, but coughing or temperatures was never an issue, different strokes for different folks. 

  Watched President Yoda today report on events of the day, and although we didn't have CNN for 45 days while on the ship, it can now  be reported that CNN is not the problem. 

I don't think we will be cruising again (if Seabourn even exists by then) until there is a vaccine.  Our county has, as of this afternoon, ordered everyone to "shelter in place" with only essential businesses open.  We have self isolated ourselves rurally and it is ok---but I will be looking for ways to make each day different.  

 

How many passengers do you think were able to stay onboard until San Francisco?

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49 minutes ago, westmount said:

it can now  be reported that CNN is not the problem. 

That is understatement

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6 hours ago, SLSD said:

I don't think we will be cruising again (if Seabourn even exists by then) until there is a vaccine.  Our county has, as of this afternoon, ordered everyone to "shelter in place" with only essential businesses open.  We have self isolated ourselves rurally and it is ok---but I will be looking for ways to make each day different.  

 

How many passengers do you think were able to stay onboard until San Francisco?


SLSD, hope your mom is ok?

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Posted (edited)

Seabourn is owned by Carnival. Carnival Cruise lines has had one of the largest decreases in its stock value in the world, decreasing from $52 a share in February, to $12 last Friday. It will probably go lower.  It has a huge debt burden for all of the ships it owns. It is losing an enormous amount of money.  It is HIGHLY unlikely that any Seabourn, or any Carnival ships, will sail for quite a while. There is just no place to go, as most ports won't take cruise ships. There is also no way for passengers to fly to embark/debark destinations, and not many hotels that will be able to remain open.  If a ship  DID sail, and reach a port, they would not find many restaurants of places of interest remaining open, as crowds aren't allowed. Certainly the shore excursions, via bus, would be curtailed or eliminated. That said, those of us who have paid in full for our trips may not get our money back, even if Seabourn finally cancels some of the few cruises that still show as scheduled.  Mine, from Auckland to San Francisco on April 29 is an example. Qantas has cancelled international flights. New Zealand doesn't want cruise ships. Some of the places we were supposed to stop along the cruise  have blocked cruise ships for the foreseeable future. Will Carnival declare bankruptcy if it doesn't get an enormous bail-out? I think it might. They can re-form after the crisis  is over and start anew. If that happens, we won't get refunds. There's no money to pay us with. If they remain in business, we'll get FCC. if they go bankrupt, no FCC will be worth much.  I prepaid air via  Seabourn Air, so they may not refund that, either.  We'll see what the airlines do. They are almost in the same position as cruise lines. No passengers...nowhere to go for tourists. Bottom-line is that I think we won't be cruising for a while, and that it is possible we will not get refunds...the money just isn't there.  

Edited by HappyFeet13

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5 hours ago, ab21au said:


SLSD, hope your mom is ok?

You are so kind to ask ab21au.  I was a bit stung by another poster not wanting to hear anyone's local situation.  As of this moment, my mother is fine.  I call and check on her every day as her retirement residence is on lockdown with no visitors.  

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2 hours ago, HappyFeet13 said:

 Will Carnival declare bankruptcy if it doesn't get an enormous bail-out? I think it might. They can re-form after the crisis  is over and start anew. If that happens, we won't get refunds. There's no money to pay us with. If they remain in business, we'll get FCC. if they go bankrupt, no FCC will be worth much.  I prepaid air via  Seabourn Air, so they may not refund that, either.  We'll see what the airlines do. They are almost in the same position as cruise lines. No passengers...nowhere to go for tourists. Bottom-line is that I think we won't be cruising for a while, and that it is possible we will not get refunds...the money just isn't there.  

This will give my husband and I something to talk about while we are in self quarantine.  He retired a couple of years ago from a 40 year career as a corporate/business bankruptcy attorney  Lots of legal issues here--of course we don't know all the facts, but we can imagine them.  He thinks their lenders are probably asset based lenders who generally don't budge for anything.  

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The good news is the cruise business is run by just a few firms with probably the same lenders, suppliers and customers. Firms file for protection to hold off from creditors making claims. The stock is already down 75%, and the guys who know the business are already running the show. I don't really see anyone putting the squeeze on the cruise lines as the shipbuilders need them, the port countries need them, and of course the travel workforce needs them, and Yoda seems to want to take care of them ( must be Maralogo members)  so liquidation doesn't seem to be an answer.

  Let's presume there will be a cruise industry, maybe a bit smaller, but we know Seabourn has an market for 1000 rooms a week to go somewhere at $1000 a night, let's presume the Sojourn or Ovation type will be there for us when the dust settles, that i promise you. 

 

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My TA asked me today what I thought of the future of the cruise industry.  I struggled to come up with a prediction.  There are so many loyal customers who would rush to book again.  Cruising can be such an affordable, or fabulously luxurious vacation, either one is attractive.  On the other hand, the brands have been damaged, especially Princess, and attracting new cruisers will be a push.  On the other hand, there is such a huge investment in ships, such expensive assets and they are worth something.  On the other hand, the corporations have placed orders for too many additional ships that now cannot be filled.  I guess my prediction is that this is a fragile industry that will eventually sort out to be something quite different than what it was in February, 2020.

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39 minutes ago, tv24 said:

I guess my prediction is that this is a fragile industry that will eventually sort out to be something quite different than what it was in February, 2020.

I agree with that conclusion.

Cruises will be more expensive and offer less, in general, to try to become profitable again and make up for some of the losses.

Bottom line - they might offer some great deals to start with but eventually we are likely to pay more and get less.

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Posted (edited)

My 2c

 

We have just finished our "Capetown to Singapore" part of the Sojourn World Cruise.

 

BACKGROUND
As a bit of background, my wife and I used to be died-in-the-wool Seabourn fans and have Diamond (250+ days) status. We loved the experience. That all fell apart on a cruise in 2016 when they were introducing Thomas Keller (but before they had the separate TK Grill). The quality and variety of food dropped so bad that we started doing a lot of Silversea and Regent. We did not regret changing cruise line.

But rather than be dogmatic, we decided destinations were the most important criterion, and we booked the above cruise on Seabourn - as the great majority of the destinations were new to us. And who knows - maybe the food quality was indeed as good as the brochure says. It is fair to say that we got onboard with an attitude "This is Seabourn's last chance".

 

Well? They blew it, and our next cruises are now booked on Silversea and Regent (presumably delayed now). We are departing with a few $1,000 Future Cruise Credit (FCC) that we will not be using.

 

My review and comments follow. The elephant in the room was the Corona virus effect with cancelled ports and final destination changes. It is important to note that we had formed the "They Blew It" opinion BEFORE the massive port disruptions, and our decision was based on food quality; MDR & TK. Seabourn's handling of the port disruptions only reinforced our "Never Again" decision.

 

FOOD
The MDR certainly serves great quality 3-star restaurant food and wine. But we booked and expected 6-star, as it used to be. The dishes were unimaginative. The prawns and scallops were tasteless (too watery). The beef was not as tender or tasty as it should been. 


The Thomas Keller Grill was disappointing. Service was average. Food was better than the MDR - but presentation was disappointing. Have a look at the photo of the (delicious) cakes: This presentation is worthy of a cafeteria; not a 6-star restaurant. Maybe that is how Thomas Keller was served cake in his childhood, but I don't care.

 

WINE
The wine was average at best, unless you sprang for 'Revenue' wines. Long gone are the days when they happily served Sancerre, Chateau Neuf du Pape, ...

 

PORT DISRUPTIONS.
Through no fault of Seabourn, what we got was a lot different from what we paid for.
Cancelled Ports: Mombasa, Maldives, Colombo, Hambantota, Chennai, Sabang, Phuket, Langkawi, Penang, KL, Singapore
Added Ports: Fremantle (Perth)

 

The cruise was basically cancelled, and we were re-routed to Fremantle (Perth)/Australia and disembarked 4 days before the scheduled end of the original cruise. [Note: Glad they did get us off early as around this time, borders started to shut rapidly.]

 

COMPENSATION OFFERED
1) USD500 pp (Refundable, onboard credit) for Mombasa which was cancelled for safety/security reasons. [I am OK with this as it is fair.]
2) If we stayed on until Perth: 25% of our 'fare paid' for the port disruptions. This as a Future Cruise Credit (FCC) that must be booked within 12 months. We chose this option.
3) If we disembarked in Seychelles: 100% FCC of the unsailed days, but must be sailed within 12 months.

Later - when the cruise was cut short by 4 days, we were offered 4 days compensation, on a pro-rata basis of the cruise fare paid, as

  • 100% as refund , or
  • 125% as FCC


BOUQUETS

There were many things we did like on this cruise.

 

THE GUESTS: Many interesting, charming, interesting people with whom to have dinner.

 

THE LECTURERS: Seabourn often gets great lecturers. [I have problem calling a 1-way interaction a 'Conversation']. This cruise was no exception. The stand out was Richard Stone ('Royal Portrait Painter') who had both fascinating content to pass on, but a wonderful method of delivery.

 

THE COLONNADE FOOD: Excellent variety each day. All well done and tasty. Themed meals such as: French, American, Indonesian, Italian, ...

 

WAIT-STAFF: Most were great. Some (including MDR) are clearly are in the wrong job and way beyond their level of competence. This was a surprise as in the past Seabourn has stood out with its consistently good service.


BRICKBATS

 

THE PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES: Under the pretense of being environmentally responsible, SB has banished single-use water bottles. OK, I get it. But the replacements are an epic fail for a number of reasons.
1) For reasons I don't understand, 90% of them have had the 'O-ring' seal in the cap removed. No problem if you keep them vertical. But no fun when you return from an excursion to find the bottom of your bag wet. [After a few days we worked out the problem and commandeered some with O-rings.]
2) They are stored in the cabinet above the room fridge. So water always 'warm'. [Yes - I know you can store them elsewhere. We did.]
3) The water used to fill them is generated onboard. Not necessarily a problem ... but for a few days the taste was terrible! It later improved, Wonder what we were drinking? BTW - same water served at dining venues. We started asking for Evian for a few days, simply as the onboard water tasted bad.

 

THE MDR: Both food and service notably below par. See comments above. This straw broke the camel's back for me.

 

COFFEE IN THE SQUARE: Why is the line so long at times? Why don't they add a self-serve, automatic machine as an OPTION for those not wanting to wait?

 

THOMAS KELLER GRILL: Hits and Misses. They should all be hits. Glad this is free, as some plates I would not pay for. Presentation also poor overall. The decor is more laminex train carriage than high end restaurant. One time we were not asked if we wanted wine until the starters arrived!!!!!

 

PORT DISRUPTION HANDLING: I have no complaint at all with the fact that Seabourn had to re-route us as we were sailing during the great cruise industry shutdown of 2020. The 2nd leg of the cruise transformed to one with 16 days at sea with ZERO ports of call (except the embarkation and disembarkation ports). Again - no complaint there.

 

We booked a 2-leg part of the World Cruise: Capetown-Seychelles, and Seychelles-Singapore. I have no complaints about the 1st leg ports/routing. But - and this is a big but - during the 2nd leg we were not given full information and if we had received that information, we would have flown home from the Seychelles, avoiding 16 days at sea.

 

Let me explain:

  • 22-Feb: We are advised of some itinerary changes with final destination changed from Singapore to Fremantle. Male/Maldives not cancelled on this new itinerary. If we disembarked in Seychelles, offered 100% Future Cruise Credit (FCC) of the un-sailed days on any sailing before 22-Feb-2021. As we wanted to see The Maldives and Sri Lanka, we made the decision to stay onboard.
  • 26-Feb: Male/Maldives announced publicly that they had closed the port to cruise ships.
  • 27-Feb: Male/Maldives closure known to Seabourn/Seattle. Seabourn started negotiations with The Maldives to get exemption to dock in the port. This was ultimately unsuccessful. Passengers not told of this (yet).
  • 1-March: While in the Seychelles, we went on a full day tour. Came back to the ship about 2 hrs before departure, and found a letter in the room announcing the Maldives port cancellation. At this point, simply impossible to pack, disembark, book hotel & air, etc.

 

If Seabourn had told us on, or about, 27-Feb that "the current situation is that we can not dock in The Maldves, but we are trying to change that", then we would have absolutely disembarked and taken the 100% FCC.

In a crisis, information is critical. We were kept in the dark way too much.

 

When the (overworked) Seabourn Square staff fielded the many questions from the guests, they did an outstanding job, but their hands were tied and all they could say is we will pass your concerns onto Seattle. They also said that you will not get a reply until AFTER YOU DISEMBARK. Excuse me!? As I write this (1 week after disembarking) have yet to receive even an acknowledgement that they have received the complaint email we send while onboard ; let alone an answer.

 

CREDIT CALCULATIONS
We booked Capetown->Singapore (2 segments, back-to-back) and here is the exact text we were given in a letter on 22-February giving us the option of getting off in The Seychelles and claiming a credit:
"In recognition of these significant changes to your voyage, you will receive a Future Cruise Credit of 25% of the cruise fare paid for the 12-day portion of your cruise that has been revised".

Importantly, Seabourn did not do the 25% calculation for us and different guests had different understandings of what this meant. Different interpretations included:

  1.  A 3-day credit (25% of 12-days)?
  2.  25% of the full Capetown-Singapore fare paid?
  3.  25% of the Seychelles-Singapore fare?

When I forced them to give me a dollar figure, it turns out the correct interpretation was (2) above, even though 12 days represents 31% of the 39 cruise-nights. Why is this important? Because guests were making Get-Off/Stay-On decisions based on this letter. Again - poor (and confusing) communication.

 

BTW - as I write this, if my wife or I login to our seabourn.com acct, there is no FCC shown at all. Again, poor communication.

 

SUMMARY
Sorry Seabourn. You blew it. We will wave at you from our future suites on SilverSea/Regent as you go past.

 

TK_presentation.jpg

WC2020.jpg

Edited by Ubiquiti

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What a shame to post this at this difficult time.  I imagine the staff were doing their very best in the most exceptionally difficult unprecedented circumstances they had ever encountered.

 

 

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19 hours ago, SLSD said:

You are so kind to ask ab21au.  I was a bit stung by another poster not wanting to hear anyone's local situation.  As of this moment, my mother is fine.  I call and check on her every day as her retirement residence is on lockdown with no visitors.  

I'm sure that's tough on you and her but keeping retirement residences locked down is about the best thing can possibly be done for the residents at this point. My mother is climbing the walls at home (she lives by herself and is fortunately in good enough health to do that perfectly well) and we have to remind her daily she needs to stay in if at all possible. She knows it well enough and has been doing so, but if this continues in the UK much longer she's going walkabout. 

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11 hours ago, westmount said:

 The stock is already down 75%, and the guys who know the business are already running the show. I don't really see anyone putting the squeeze on the cruise lines as the shipbuilders need them, the port countries need them, and of course the travel workforce needs them, and Yoda seems to want to take care of them ( must be Maralogo members)  so liquidation doesn't seem to be an answer.

  

 

Many times, bankruptcy results in reorganization instead of liquidation.  Either the company reorganizes itself, or there is a buyer who reorganizes the company.  Because the assets of a cruise line (such as its multimillion dollar ships) derive  a good part of their value from goodwill, it is somewhat likely that a federal bankruptcy judge will factor this into any case.  And this would mean that things like FCC and refunds might be available even in bankruptcy.

 

 I've seen this happen in cases we've observed and in cases my husband handled during his career.  (An example---a retirement community (independent apts and assisted living) filed for bankruptcy. The residents had "bought in" to the community--each paying $130,000--with the buy in to be returned to them if they moved out of the community.  The bankruptcy judge ruled that the buy-ins would be honored even in bankruptcy because the continuance of the community depended on goodwill, which would evaporate if the residents lost their buy-ins.)  

 

I think the result might be similar if a cruise line filed for bankruptcy.  

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Perhaps HAL will accept current events as an opportunity to get Seabourn back on track to being a luxury line.  Rid SB of the two larger ships that will enable it to maintain the quality crew its reputation depends upon.   Maybe install a leader with a spine.

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I think we will all continue to armchair quarterback this situation until Seabourn is back out in front of it again.

 

Meantime, this story (local to me in DFW) popped up in my newsfeed today concerning Silversea and what they arranged after flying some of their passengers back on a charter flight.  I've not considered them as a viable option since I first picked (and stuck with) a preferred line but I might reconsider that in the future if this is indicative of how they treat their passengers in a time of trouble.

 

Silversea passengers welcomed back to DFW with gourmet meal after charter flight

 

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Jeni, the link goes to a picture of Halloween chocolate cake on msn, when I click on it.

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1 hour ago, Hanoverian said:

Sorry, Jeni, but the link does not seem to work

 

In Jeni I assume being away from her computer, I have found this LINK which I think may be the one she meant (unless there is a problem with msn links)..

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