When Seabourn Odyssey debuted in Venice last month, the intimate, 450-guest vessel was hailed by one cruise expert as “…a game-changer.” And as its maiden season continues, one of the ways the first new luxury cruiser in over six years is actually changing the game is quickly becoming clear -- by attracting younger, affluent travelers to cruise with them for the first time.

Seabourn Odyssey’s first two sold-out, seven-day voyages, sailing among the Greek Isles and along the coast of Turkey, carried nearly 40 percent more first-time guests than Seabourn’s average. And those guests averaged 10 percent younger than the line’s long-time loyal following---the number of guests under 45 years of age exceeded the norm by 64 percent.

“From the very beginning, we designed our new class of yachts to appeal to a young, sophisticated traveler,” said Pamela Conover, Seabourn’s president and CEO. “We took the personalized service and attention to detail that Seabourn has always offered, and added features and amenities that younger guests appreciate,” she continued. “We are delighted to see our target audience flocking to Seabourn Odyssey.”

Odyssey is rich in details that appeal to a new breed of upscale travelers: expansive outdoor dining venues, a state-of-the-art gym and the largest spa facility on any luxury vessel; complimentary watersports from Odyssey’s own marina; the relaxed, club-like atmosphere created by all-inclusive beverage service and open-seating dining. And there are savvy touches that delight a hip, worldly crowd, such as the avant-garde tasting menus served in the intimate Restaurant 2, the pizza oven and gelateria by the pool and the European-style coffee bar in the comfy confines of Seabourn Square.

Another feature that attracts younger travelers is Odyssey’s ability to visit smaller ports such as Kotor in Montenegro or the Greek isle of Khyos that are off the usual tourist track, making for a more authentic travel experience.

Ralph Grizzle, who publishes the online blog and video site The Avid Cruiser, said “Seabourn Odyssey is where South Beach meets Palm Beach.” He goes on to explain that Odyssey “…marries the best of South Florida’s trendiest beach resorts with one of America’s poshest cities,” and describes the yacht as, " …the pinnacle of innovation.”

Fran Golden, on her blog “Get Away with Fran” called Odyssey “…a contemporary stunner,” and said it is “…anything but old fashioned.”

There is also good news for those younger guests who love Seabourn Odyssey — it’s only the first of three. The second sister, Seabourn Sojourn, is already in the fitting-out stages at the T. Mariotti shipyard in Genoa, Italy, being prepared for a June 2010 debut at Greenwich, England, and a maiden season in Scandinavia and the Baltic. A third new yacht, yet to be named, will debut in 2011.