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Seabourn sells 3 small ships to Windstar

Seabourn, which in recent years redefined its luxury fleet with the addition of three larger ships, has sold its three older ships to Windstar Cruises and announced it will build a fourth ship.

The sale will double the size of Windstar’s fleet, which just two years ago was purchased out of bankruptcy proceedings.

The sale, announced Tuesday, involves three 208-passenger ships that were built between 1988 and 1990. The Seabourn Pride will be transferred to Windstar after its published schedule ends in April 2014; Seabourn Spirit and Seabourn Legend will change hands in spring 2015.

The sale will leave Seabourn with three 450-passenger ships — Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest — that were delivered between 2009 and 2011.

The three Odyssey-class ships “have raised the bar for ultra-luxury cruising and we intend to add a fourth ship of similar design” that would allow Seabourn to maintain most of its current guest capacity, said Richard Meadows, the line’s president. Talks with a ship builder are already under way, he said.

The acquisition of three ships is a big boost for Windstar, which was in bankruptcy in 2011 when it was purchased by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, a hospitality company whose primary business is as a national parks concessions operator.

Windstar’s fleet consists of three sailing yachts, two of which can carry 148 guests and one with a capacity of 310 guests. Xanterra said buying the three motorized Seabourn ships will expand double Windstar’s capacity to 1,230 berths and allow it to expand to new destinations in Asia and South America.