Cruise Ship Space To Guest Ratio One Factor To Consider

Seabourn has two ships under construction.  Seabourn Encore will debut late this year.  Seabourn Ovation is set for 2018.  Both new ships will support a high ratio of space per guest, purposefully tagged as a top feature of the ultra luxury line.  It’s one of Seabourn’s talking points.  The space to guest ratio appears in advertising, brochures, on press releases and more. But what does ‘space to guest’ ratio really mean?  How important is that?

By definition, space to guest ratio is a measure of the relative spaciousness guests will enjoy aboard any given cruise ship.  A quick calculation can be done dividing the gross tons of a ship by the number of passengers it can carry at double occupancy, the industry standard.  A ship of 90,000 tons, for example, with a capacity of 2,000 guests will have a space ratio of 45.

The current fleet of Seabourn Odyssey class ships are right at 32,346 tons and carry 450 passengers for a space to guest ratio of 71.  Seabourn Encore will be larger at 40,350 tons but carry 604 passengers for a slightly reduced space to guest ratio of 66.  That’s still significantly more space per guest than most other ships.  Few ships have a higher space to guest ratio. Big ships come in around half that number.

Translating that high space to guest ratio to Seabourn Encore brings a number of features unique to the ultra luxury line.


Seabourn Encore Observation Bar

Seabourn photo

The Observation Bar will be the highest indoor viewing point on the ship. Featuring 270-degree forward-facing views, Seabourn guests can enjoy the space at sea and in port. Putting a spotlight on that spaciousness, a semi-circular skylight will cast sunlight and moonlight over the bar area. Comfortable leather lounge chairs and handsome high-backed barstools will surround the square bar.

“The Observation Bar is a stunning space that our guests will be able to enjoy throughout the day,” said Richard Meadows, president of Seabourn. “It will be an ideal place to relax and share conversation with fellow guests while enjoying remarkable views.”

The Observation Bar is also a transitional venue that will feature a variety of culinary and beverage services throughout the day. The morning will bring Early Morning Riser continental breakfast. Afternoons will feature the line’s popular daily white glove tea service. The evening will bring a destination for cocktails, canapés, and piano entertainment before and after dinner.


Seabourn Retreat

Seabourn Photo


Another area of Seabourn Encore that highlights the amount of space per guest is the Retreat, an ultra luxury rooftop space.

Perched high up on deck 12, The Retreat is a new sanctuary that will debut on Seabourn Encore this December.  Custom designed to create the ultimate serene space, The Retreat features 15 private cabanas designed as individual luxury living rooms.  Step inside these pleasant spaces to find a large HD flat screen television, a refrigerator stocked with a personalized selection of beverages, all circled around a central whirlpool with step-up access to water maintained at an optimal temperature to encourage relaxation.


SEA Ship Shots - 078


Space To Guest Ratio
Not Even Close To The Whole Story

A reasonably accurate way to compare ships as far as livability goes, Space to Guest ratio has limitations. Regardless of the space per guest, fill that ship with surly crew members and the passenger experience will be less than the best.  We commonly see that situation on larger ships as crew members try to get the basics of their job done with little time for anything else.  Stretched to the limit of their abilities, pleasant interaction with passengers takes a backseat.  This is absolutely the number one element of the onboard experience I watch on every single ship I sail.

Designers of interior spaces know that “darkness covers a multitude of sins”.  In any given room, physically spotlighting a work of art draws our attention away from the wall socket full of electrical cords. Reducing illumination of the somewhat worn sofa under that work of art helps too.

A happy crew, pleasantly interacting with passengers on board covers shortfalls in other areas in the closed environment of a cruise ship as well.  Still, that’s a really hard-to-rate factor of the experience while Space:Guest Ratio is just a mathematical calculation.

Seabourn rates highly in the space to guest ratio area, as mentioned above.  In the world of ultra luxury cruises,  this is the one and only cruise line that has earned my subtle but important distinction carrying Seabourn Guests (‘Guests’ capitalized) in the past.  That was due to a number of factors highlighted in Seabourn Sense Defined.

But unlike space to guest ratio, a permanent rating based on ship design, ‘happy crew’ is a far more organic element of the experience.  It’s a direct reflection of the people who operate the cruise line at any given moment in time, the humans involved.

Considering space to guest ratio is serious fine tuning in a search for the perfect cruise line.
Considering the people element?
That’s the future and another story altogether.

Stay tuned.  I’m working on that.


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