Seven Seas Navigator -


Radisson Seven Seas Cruises is expanding into the up-market executive level of cruising with its new fleet addition the Seven Seas Navigator. The 25,000gt vessel has been completed at the T Mariotti yard in Genoa, Italy. It is arguable whether the US$200 million cruise liner is actually new at all although this is the first time she has sailed commercially. The vessel was previously known as the Blue Sea and her hull was bought in 1996 by the Italian yard as she was lying unfinished in St Petersburg, Russia. A final contract for fitting and delivery was signed with the yard in March 1998 with delivery in September 1999 and newbuilding technical supervision was assigned to V Ships Leisure. At the time of delivery, Radisson claimed she had the highest private balcony ratio of any cruise ship afloat and the largest standard suites in the industry.

Radisson Seven Seas Cruises is part of the Minneapolis-based Carlson Companies, Inc, a group operating in travel, hospitality and marketing. Carlson Hospitality Worldwide includes nearly 1,000 hotels, restaurants, resorts and cruise ships. The vessel is owned in a 50:50 joint venture by the Carlson/Vlasov groups, with technical day-to-day management and hotel crew manning by V Ships Leisure. The hotel operations and marketing is undertaken by the cruise line itself. Although essentially an American organisation, the ship will fly the Italian flag. The company aims to bring in new people who have never been cruising before, and says that 25 per cent of its business is from first-timers.

DESIGN

The Seven Seas Navigator is a standard hull design, unlike her twin-hulled predecessor Radisson Diamond. The company says this design would not be economic to build and, although ideal for deployment in Europe, its deep draught and slow speed is not suitable for planned operations. Interior design has been managed by the Scandinavians Petter Yran & Storbraathen and draws inspiration from contemporary designs of the 1930s.

FACILITIES

Passenger accommodation is provided for 490 in 245 suites. Each has floor space ranging from 28m² to 109m² excluding balconies, with separate living and sleeping areas that can be screened off by a deep curtain spanning the width of the cabin. Some 90% of the suites have a 5m² private balcony although all accommodation faces the outside. There are also full baths and a separate shower in each suite.

There are 12 decks, eight of which are devoted to passenger facilities, with Decks 8 to 11 containing the suites.

The company has chosen to keep the single seating dining arrangements within the compass rose restaurant and added an alternative restaurant – the portofino grill - offering Italian cuisine. Apparently, this was the most popular choice among a passenger survey.

Public rooms include the seven seas lounge, galileo piano bar, vista lounge (on the top deck), connoisseur club, navigator lounge, casino, library, health-club and spa and boutiques. The swimming pool is situated amidships on Deck 10, while the main public areas and restaurants are located lower down in the ship between Decks 5 and 7.

PROPULSION

The Seven Sea Navigator packs in four main engines, two to port and two to starboard, each a Wärtsilä 8L38 designation, manufactured in Finland and developed 5,280bhp – in total, an output of 21,120bhp. Propulsion is by way of fixed-pitch propellers. Her service speed is registered as 17.5 knots