Visiting the Voyager

Click for Pic From left to right are: Frederik Gustafsson, Hotel Director Seven Seas Voyager; Voyager Captain Dag Dvergastein; Mark Conroy, Radisson President and CEO; Trond Sigurdson, Architect SS Voyager, Yran & Storbraaten and Raffaelo Putti, SS Voyager Project Manager, V. Ships

Anyone who loves ships can appreciate the excitement of touring a new vessel under construction. Near Genoa, Italy is the T. Mariotti shipyard, where Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' newest ship, the 42,000-ton Seven Seas Voyager, is nearing completion. Carrying 700 passengers, the new luxury ship is scheduled to make her maiden voyage April 1, 2003.

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Donning a hard hat, I joined the ship's architect as we carefully stepped over cables and ducked under hanging wires, walking through public rooms that were little more than steel beams.

Radisson Seven Seas Cruises president Mark Conroy gave a visual tour of the finished ship. Conroy, who has been in the passenger shipping business for 30 years has been the vision behind all of Radisson Seven Seas ships since Seven Seas Navigator was constructed. He explained that feedback from passengers will determine man design features in the next vessel. For example, the large demand for the Judith Jackson Spa aboard Mariner and Navigator has resulted in enlarging this space on Voyager. Negative comments about Mariner's small tubs and low ceilings caused him to rectify these features on Voyager.

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Seven Seas Voyager will be similar in size and in amenities to Radisson's other newer ships, the Navigator and Mariner. With an exceptionally high passenger-to-space ratio, the new vessel will offer cruisers open seating in four gourmet restaurants and ample personal space in large staterooms and suites. Unlike the smaller luxury ships built in the last few decades, these are large enough to accommodate a full-sized theater, casino and spa. And the essentials of luxury cruising will be in place--all balcony staterooms; single, open seating dining; and a fare that includes tipping, wine with dinner and a bar in your cabin stocked with your personal preferences--ensuring that Radisson remains the leading luxury line.

Personally, I was most interested in Seven Seas Voyager's dining venues, and found this ship will deliver the same high levels of cuisine and service found on the line's other ships. Like Seven Seas Mariner, the new Voyager will boast four elegant restaurants, including the 110-seat Signatures, directed by the prestigious Le Cordon Blue of Paris. Other specialty restaurants include Latitudes, with an Asian influence; La Veranda, with Mediterranean fare; and Compass Rose, the main restaurant with international cuisine.

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The 578-seat Constellation Theater will host production shows, and passengers can also choose among several smaller venues, including the forward Observation Lounge and the Voyager and Horizon lounges. The new ship's Club.com room is a large cyber cafe, adjacent to the library.

The best spas I have experienced on a ship were those run by Judith Jackson of Westport, Ct., aboard Radisson's Navigator and Mariner. Her spa on Seven Seas Voyager will be even bigger, large enough to handle the growing passenger demand for massages and other treatments.

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All of Voyager's staterooms will have balconies, and at 356 sq.ft., even the minimum-grade cabin will delight most cruisers. Standard amenities include a bathroom with separate shower and full tub, TV/VCR, twin/king beds, walk-in closet, refrigerator stocked with soft drinks, in-suite bar setup, bathrobes and hair dryer. For categories above the standard stateroom, butler service is included. At 370 sq. ft., Penthouse suites are significantly smaller than those aboard the Mariner. The 876-sq. ft. Grand Suite boasts an enormous sunken bathtub with ocean view.

Seven Seas Voyager's inaugural voyage next April will be a 13-day sailing from Monte Carlo to Venice. The ship is scheduled to cruise the western Mediterranean on seven-night itineraries through June 3 before moving to the Baltic for a series of Scandinavian sailings.

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On Sept. 11, 2003, Voyager returns to the Mediterranean. For additional information, contact Radisson Seven Seas Cruises at 800-285-1835 or visit www.rssc.com.

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