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Iamboatman January 7th, 2011 09:31 AM

Seabourn Moving to Seattle - Rick Meadows is New President
Miami, Fl., Jan 7, 2011 – Seabourn has announced that the company’s headquarters will move from Miami, Florida to Seattle, Washington. The transition will take place over the next few months.

As a part of a reorganization plan, Seabourn will join sister brand Holland America Line, expanding further the cruise industry presence in the Pacific Northwest. Seabourn and Holland America Line will maintain independent brand management teams while leveraging efficiencies from shared resources including a unified field sales force and state of the art technology platforms.

Seabourn’s President, Pamela Conover, will continue to serve in her role during the transition period but has chosen not to move to Seattle at this time. Following the transition, she will continue to serve as special advisor and brand ambassador for Seabourn. Richard Meadows, who has held a number of executive positions at several Carnival Corporation& plc brands during his twenty-five year tenure with the company, will assume Seabourn’s presidency once the move to Seattle is completed. Meadows previously served as Seabourn’s senior vice president of sales & marketing where he played a significant role in developing the ultra-luxury brand. He will continue in his role as executive vice president of marketing, sales & guest programs for Holland America Line.

“We are proud to welcome the Seabourn headquarters to Seattle,” said Stein Kruse, President and CEO of Holland America Line. “Seabourn and Holland America Line will benefit from the proximity of two award winning brand teams, while also enjoying more streamlined operations resulting from shared technology such as reservation and customer relationship management systems. We are fortunate that Pam will continue her association with Seabourn, and Rick’s prior experience with the company makes him the ideal candidate to lead Seabourn into the future.”

Seabourn provides ultra-luxury cruises on smaller, more intimate ships to the most desirable destinations in the world. Seabourn cruises are exceptional vacations, satisfying the highest expectations of its discerning guests. Throughout its twenty year history, Seabourn has consistently been rated not only among the top cruise lines, but also among the world's premier vacation choices. The Seabourn fleet currently includes Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit, Seabourn Legend, Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Sojourn. The Seabourn Quest will enter service in June of 2011.

Seabourn’s sister company, Holland America Line, operates a fleet of 15 premium ships offering more than 500 cruises to 350 ports on all seven continents. The company’s Signature of Excellence enhancements, a commitment totaling more than $566 million, showcase the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine magazine — a state-of-the-art onboard show kitchen where more than 60 celebrated guest chefs and culinary experts provide cooking demonstrations and classes — Explorations Café powered by The New York Times, Digital Workshop powered by Windows, teens-only activity areas and all new stateroom amenities highlighted by flat-panel TVs and plush Euro-top Mariner’s Dream Beds.

Paul Motter January 7th, 2011 10:45 AM

Both Seabourn and Cunard have had quite the rides - revolving doors for CEOs and headquarters.

First Cunard was in New York, then in Cailifornia with Princess and now they are in Miami.

Seabourn has been part of Cunard, then independent, and now it looks it is going more under the Holland Umbrella - just like Windstar was.

Seabourn expanded VERY quickly and I knew it would take a smart CEO to manage this growth. I wounder what is prompting this change at Carnival Corp. that they feel the line will do better in Seattle rather than close to home in Miami.

They must feel the line will get more attention in Seattle than it will in Miani, but moving to Seattle is a big cultural change from Miami.

Iamboatman January 7th, 2011 12:20 PM

The fact is Seabourn has, in my opinion, the best product at sea AND the worst marketing.

If you want to see what excellent marketing can do, look to Regent.

I have expected a big move (actually hoping for one) for quite a while.

Paul Motter January 7th, 2011 12:27 PM

I saw that Regent says it won another Conde Nast award for best large cruise line value. Just out today.

I really don't give awards much credence because you never know how they are tabulated, but that does imply decent marketing.

Iamboatman January 7th, 2011 12:32 PM

It was not a Conde Nast award, but it mentioned them. It was from an esoteric website/group. Don't get me started about the garbage that goes into such things.

Iamboatman January 7th, 2011 01:31 PM

I just posted this blog article: What Does Seabourn's Move to Seattle and Working With Holland America Mean?

It spells out a bit more of what it may or may not mean.

Paul Motter January 7th, 2011 01:56 PM

I have to admit I find it a bit baffling. If Cunard and Princess can be well-run together in California why not send Seabourn there?

The one thought I have is that Carnivall Corp sees Holland America as an under-utilized asset and they feel they can get more bang for Seabourn up there than they are getting in Miami. Plus Miami doesn't have another lux operation so mkaybe they don't "get it" that those kinds of calls require a higher level of service than the call center for Carnival Cruise Lines.

Obviously, they wanted a change in something, and my guess it has to do with the back-end services for travel agents Eric outlines in the Blogpost he linked to.

GrannyLorr January 8th, 2011 05:07 PM

Eric, I am sure after all these years you have a "good relationship" with some of the personell from the Miami office. Hopefully the "personell" who is in a position to also benefit your my question is.....what happens now? Do you have to start from scratch to foster these relationships with new personell? I wouldnt imagine too many people would be moving from the tropical "jungle" of Miami to the frozen north! Or will your "reputation" preceed you, and we will still get all the dozens of extra benefits we are expecting!! ;)

Iamboatman January 8th, 2011 05:19 PM

Not to worry, I already have had long - and positive - conversations with the Executive VP (a long and very friendly relationship with a great guy) and the Regional Manager (who actually called me from Asia) as well as a number of the reservations folks who may telecommute. (BTW, Holland America has over 100 reservations agents that telecommute from home.)

Remember there is nothing special that happens without the approval of those at the top! Does anyone think they would risk their job doing favors for me that they shouldn't do?

I think there are many good things that are going to come out of the move as I wrote on my blog. I am concerned for some of those who have been let go, but quite happy that others FINALLY have. There was a strange situation for quite a while where the product at sea fortunately didn't match what was happening in Miami. It has been a combination of my status (which I have earned!!!) and my ability to work around the issues ttalent??) that has created the results.

Now I am looking foward to working more efficiently...which benefits everyone.

Kuki January 8th, 2011 09:15 PM

I'm a bit surprised that they would have Mr. Meadows retain his VP position with HAL, while taking on the extra work of President of Seabourn.

Seems they either thought President of Seabourn wasn't a full time position, or VP of marketing and sales at HAL wasn't. Odd :)

Wonder if Bruce Good will make the move to Seattle, and stay on as their PR person, or if it turns over to HAL's larger dept?

Iamboatman January 9th, 2011 05:08 PM

Time will tell and, to be sure, I cannot tell all just yet.

What I can say is that marketing has been the biggest issue with Seabourn , rather than the product, so you should expect some significant changes in that area.

Marketing is Rick Meadows specialty and with his prior experience with Seabourn he hits the ground running. That said, I would figure (JMHO) it will be about 90 days before the landscape really shows its permanent changes.

Paul Motter January 9th, 2011 05:15 PM


He said he knows Bruce Good (Bruce sends him on Seabourn all the time;)) So Geoff called Bruce to see if he was staying on. Bruce replied "that remains to be seen..." according the Geoff.

My guess is a little morer pragmatic, Kuki. Carnival saw Princess and Cunard working well integrated, and fugured Holland America's people could handle a little more work without too much strain. So they are sending Seabourn there.

Iamboatman January 9th, 2011 05:21 PM

Remember Seabourn was coupled with Cunard just a few years ago, but when Cunard when from smaller, upscale, ships to the larger mass market types, Carnival paired Cunard with Princess.

If you think about the demographic for the premium HAL and it smaller large ships, and the excellent marketing HAL has, it's pairing with Seabourn makes a lot of sense.

Paul Motter January 10th, 2011 10:50 AM

That makes sense, Eric. There are a LOT of regular HAL cruisers who want small, quiet ships with long cruises, comfortable cabins, etc. They like to be out for 12-16 days, and like exotic destinations.

Those people especially like the small Holland merica ships. Seabourn gives them an even smaller ship, but actually with more things to do onboard - better restuarants, better shore experiences.

Marc January 11th, 2011 01:06 PM

As Seabourn has left their small ship heritage, will this move to a merger of HAL and Seabourn? I would expect that a lot of fans of the triplets were disappointed first with the much larger ships and now this merging of back office (initially) with HAL won't sit any better.

Iamboatman January 11th, 2011 01:21 PM

I think they are different animals. The back office is what is supposed to support the ships...which have been doing an outstanding operational job despite the inside shortcomings (and the yeoman efforts of so many of those inside folks!)

As I mentioned with Oceania's jettisoning of Insignia (they say it is only a 2 year charter and they will take her back, but I have a bridge I would like to sell you!) the Oceania ships are seriously different in philosophy and execution. The Seabourn ships, however, have really found their synergies and I have many clients that originally said the large ships were Seabourn's downfall, but now sail on both small and large ships.

Personally, and I have no inside knowledge about this, I think the smaller ships will start to focus on more unique itineraries and the larger ones will sail more diverse itineraries, but with a focus on the more standard ports of embarkation and disembarkation.

Saving $25,000,000 using HAL's software (which is, in actuality also shared with Princess, Cunard and P&O Australia) coupled with a larger marketing team (both to the public and travel agents) should result in some real positive news; not the disappearance of Seabourn.

Iamboatman January 15th, 2011 04:42 PM

I know there are some that are concerned about Seabourn and Holland America combining more than back-office stuff.

It was just announced that Mark Kammerer has just been appointed as Holland America Line's Senior Vice President of Marketing and North American Sales.

Seabourn announced last week that John Delaney, who did work for HAL, is now its svp marketing and sales.

I think this is an important announcement as it is clear that things may be related, but they are certainly going to remain separate.

Iamboatman January 17th, 2011 10:19 AM

I have been waiting for Seabourn to announce what I have been hearing from within, but have not been able to publicly report for lack of Seabourn's overt endorsement, but now I can...and it is great news for all of you who have been wondering what the effect of the move to Seattle will have on Seabourn's ship.

Today Seabourn, in the strongest possible words, has announced that nothing will change. I have highlighted the most important words:

"For our guests, the award-winning Seabourn onboard experience will not change in any way. Guests will still experience the superlative service of our same onboard staff and the professional and personal attention of our dedicated officers. Seabourn will continue to be the ultra-luxury line our guests have voted the World’s Best, delivering everything you expect and more. Quite simply, no aspect of your experience will change –not our ships, not our officers or crew, not our world-renowned cruise vacations. The headquarters move will enhance the shoreside support areas of our organization, enabling us to focus more attention on what matters most: our guests."

As I have been saying, the move is related to back-office and marketing; not the onboard product.

lord of the seas January 19th, 2011 06:21 AM

I understand that there is nobody being kept on that works in the Miami office.

Your previous post is however the important info that tells everyone that you will not see any changes on the ships, which is an obvious announcement to make to calm those that think that the world is coming to an end.
Life goes on.

Iamboatman January 19th, 2011 09:00 AM

Actually, there is a good bit of misinformation out there and, for some reason, sites like Cruise Critic have actually deleted accurate information. It seems that controversy and panic sells, so why let the truth get in its way.

I do, obviously, have some inside information and other information that is second-hand so I cannot confirm either. But what I can say is that, in fact, there ARE people in Miami that will be retaining their jobs. Some I understand why and some others I can't figure out. To be sure, the majority will be out of jobs, and others (like some in reservations) will be telecommuting (as Holland America does with hundreds of reservation agents), so the numbers moving to Seattle will be quite limited.

I think everyone needs to keep in mind that areas like Marketing, Port Operations, Shore Excursions (not Private Journeys, though), Provisioning, etc. do not need duplicative staffing. It does not take two people to say, "OK, we need sirloin steaks for HAL and fillet mignon for Seabourn." Clearly the same person can place the two orders.

And, to be sure, Marketing has been a disaster, IMHO, so why continue on in the same manner?

Where I am not happy is that - at least at the start - they are trying to have HAL sales representatives provide support for Seabourn travel agents. Now, I don't really need much support to begin with (except for some special circumstances), but me thinks I might know just a tad more about Seabourn than my HAL he will, not his fault, be pretty worthless. That may, I hope, change.

That, however, will not affect what is happening on the ships...which is what Seabourn's guests are most concerned with.

I will note there are a few...a very few...that worry about the bartender marrying the stewardess and that they are thinking of moving to some obscure town in central Uruguay to live with a distant relative that has a secret recipe for cookies and wish to have blonde-haired children, but can't due to a rare genetic defect :rolleyes:...but for the most part, Seabourn guests are focused on making sure they are greeted with a smile, intuitive service and excellent cuisine with enough familiar faces present to make them feel at home. That is not going to change.

Iamboatman January 20th, 2011 10:43 AM

I spoke with Rick Meadows, Seabourn's new president yesterday. You can read about his assurances concerning Seabourn remaining Seabourn on my blog: This Is My Yacht

Paul Motter February 2nd, 2011 11:13 AM

This Is My Yacht - Luxury Cruising and Travel: Some Assurance from Seabourn's New President - Seabourn Will Remain Seabourn

Here is the right link to his blog about Rick meadows. I am not sure why anyone would have changed it.

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