Silver lining: Silversea’sSilver
Cloudglides through Norway’s
While much of the cruise
industry relentlessly pursues a “bigger is better”
philosophy, a quiet, more intimate world of small, upscale ships
also is thriving. These fleets of jewel-like vessels provide
services and amenities -- high guest-to-staff ratios; premium wines
and spirits; gourmet cuisine (that participants order from a menu);
toiletries from the likes of Hermes and Bvlgari; and elegantly
appointed guest quarters, often with balconies -- that rival the
finest offerings of five-star hotels, and at all-inclusive
In addition, the ships’ compact stature (each of the vessels
profiled here carries fewer than 500 passengers) is especially well
suited to small, high-level corporate meeting or incentive groups.
In fact, all of the members of this fabulous flotilla have meeting
facilities as well as dining areas that can hold a crowd for gala
evenings or award ceremonies.
Following are details about four upscale cruise lines that
specialize in the small group market.
Seabourn Cruise Line
6100 Blue Lagoon Drive, Suite 400
Miami, Fla. 33126
Contact:Tanya Barnette, director,
charter and incentive sales
(773) 276-7601; www.seabourn.com
Fleet:Seabourn Legend, Seabourn Pride,
Seabourn Spirit; each accommodates 208 passengers
Greek idyll: The Seabourn
Spirit in Santorini
These identical vessels were designed
to give guests the feeling that they are sailing on their own
private yachts. Seabourn ships feature all-suite accommodations, a
full line of aromatherapy bath products (with baths personally
drawn by the guest’s cabin steward) and tempting cuisine designed
by renowned Chicago chef Charlie Palmer.
Amenities include a spa, salon and gym; a water sports marina;
a private motorboat for waterskiing; a business center with e-mail
and Internet access; and Wi-Fi access in most lounges and in all
suites. (Note: Internet charges are not part of the all-inclusive
pricing at Seabourn or the other cruise lines featured in this
According to Tanya Barnette, Seabourn’s director, charter and
incentive sales, fully 85 percent of the line’s business is
charters, mostly for incentive programs.
For groups that do not want to charter the entire vessel, the
largest block they can secure on any one of Seabourn’s ships is 40
cabins (for up to 80 passengers). If a group does choose to
charter -- typically for seven nights -- Barnette recommends a lead
time of nine to 18 months for preferred sailing dates.
If the ships’ itineraries have not yet been finalized (2007
dates were established this past March), Barnette says clients can
customize their itineraries, within reason: “We can’t reposition
from Australia to the Mediterranean, for example,” she notes.
For 2007, seven-day cruises can be arranged in the Caribbean
and Mediterranean, Barnette says. “We also are getting a lot of
interest for incentive programs on our Baltic cruises. These
typically last nine to 12 nights. The longer ones work well for
large groups that can be split into two, for cruises of six nights
Although Seabourn will offer sailings in Asia and South and
Central America in 2007, these exotic itineraries typically are too
long (14 days) for the corporate and incentive markets.
All three ships were in dry dock over the past few months and
were refurbished, according to Barnette.