Twin blue-white flames in the noonday sun signaled the simultaneous welding of coins yesterday onto two steel keel blocks that will become the sleek hulls of two new, ultra luxury cruising yachts in 2010 and 2011. In an innovative variation on a traditional ceremony, The Yachts of Seabourn solicited good fortune for both of the as-yet un-named sisters and symbolically redoubled its commitment to the line’s unique formula of intimate vessels, highly personalized service and exceptional delivery of the world’s most desirable destinations.

The ceremony, which was officiated by Seabourn’s president & CEO Pamela C. Conover and Marco Bisagno, president of T. Mariotti S.p.A., marks the beginning of the next stage in a three-vessel expansion project that will increase Seabourn’s capacity of luxury cruising accommodations by over 217 percent in the next three years.

“The level of enthusiasm we have seen from luxury cruisers for our new class of Seabourn yachts has frankly got us excited,” said Conover, “and so we decided to start these next two sisters off together, with a special sort of celebration.”

The first of the three hulls, which will become Seabourn Odyssey, was delivered to Mariotti’s shipyard in Genoa, Italy at the end of May, where it will be finished and fitted out over the next year, prior to delivery in June of 2009. It will represent the first newly built capacity in the ultra luxury end of the cruise industry in over six years. Carrying just 450 guests, it will be especially notable for its intimate size, which embodies Seabourn’s commitment to yacht-style vessels at a time when most other brands are engaged in building ever-larger ships. The new yacht promises to further embellish Seabourn’s peerless reputation for superb onboard experiences with an unmatched ratio of space per guest, encompassing a wide range of sumptuous ocean-view suites measuring from 295 to over 1,600 square feet, 90 percent of which will boast private verandas. Additional features include five inviting dining alternatives, an innovative concierge lounge called Seabourn Square and an indoor/outdoor spa facility of over 11,400 square feet, spread over two decks.

Seabourn Odyssey’s maiden season, which will start in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, has been selling briskly since it became available for booking in October of 2007. The latest Seabourn yacht will also embark on a 108-day World Cruise in January, 2010 from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Athens, Greece. Reservations for that voyage are likewise available and selling well.