Luxury line Seabourn unveiled its newest ship to the UK trade at the weekend in Singapore.
Soprano and theatre star Sarah Brightman named the ship at a ceremony held in the Singapore Cruise Centre for 1,500 people, consisting of guests, press and trade partners.
The line hosted a dozen of its top sellers from the UK at the naming ceremony.
The ship is the first of two new builds for the brand, following the sale of the 200-passenger ships Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Spirit.
Richard Meadows, president of the brand, said: “The launch of Seabourn Encore not only marks the start of a new era in ultra-luxury cruising but also a major step forward in terms of growth for our company.
“I know guests are going to be absolutely captivated as they step aboard. They will feel the connection with the rest of the fleet – but also the evolution.”
Meadows reiterated the importance of the consistency through the fleet, and also about the brand’s “signature” – personal recognition.
He said the line had built up a reputation for staff knowing customers by name and their preferences onboard. He insisted this personalised service would remain despite the increase in passenger numbers.
“Personal recognition is a signature on Seabourn,” he said. “We had the three smaller ships and before we had the Odyssey, Sojourn and Quest we were told we could never do that for 450 guests.
“But this is absolutely critical and front and centre for us. We have a number of ways to help our teams know guests names. We know that personal touch is important.”
Speaking at the naming ceremony, Carnival Corporation’s chief executive and president Arnold Donald spoke of his delight of Encore being launched in the “golden age of cruising”.
Agents who attended the ship naming said they believed the new vessel would please existing guests, but could also potentially help the brand reach a new-to-brand audience.
Encore is similar to the rest of the fleet, however it has one extra deck, a new retreat area and several new dining options.
Simone Clark, managing director at Iglu.com, said: “Past guests will like that Encore feels like a Seabourn ship. It’s consistent with the rest of the fleet.
“Everything that is loved on Seabourn is still there but it’s just been enhanced to be made even better.”
Edwina Lonsdale, co-owner Mundy Cruising, added: “This is an evolution of the Seabourn brand. When some lines launch new ships the massive change on the newer vessel isn’t always a good thing. It means that there won’t be a preference among the ships because everyone will love each of them.
“The leap from 250 to 450 passengers was big, but the leap Seabourn is taking now up to 600 isn’t as big, so guests will enjoy the ship and they won’t notice too much of a difference in terms of the size.”
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