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Seven Seas Voyager cruise ship review

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Seven Seas Voyager Facts & Figures

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Nice, French Riviera. Eleven shining white decks and 360 private balconies reflect in the azure waters of the old harbor. We are boarding the brand new six-star Seven Seas Voyager for a short cruise around the Western Mediterranean. This is the world's second "all-suite, all-balcony" ship, where every cabin is a suite and every suite has a private verandah. In short: a true floating luxury hotel. Welcome on board!

Docked in Nice Docked in Nice Anchored off Cannes

The story of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises starts in May, 1992. It is then that the revolutionary cruise-catamaran Radisson Diamond is put into service by the Radisson  hotel corporation in a successful attempt to enter the cruise business. With her two hulls, flat bow and flaring funnels, she is perhaps not the most graceful ship from the outside. But her comfortable cabins, great cuisine, pleasant atmosphere and innovative itineraries are a big hit with her passengers. Plans for a sister ship to Radisson Diamond are shelved in favor of a cooperation with the small Norwegian operator Seven Seas Cruises. Thus Radisson Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) is born, adding the 8,282 ton, 180-passenger Song of Flower to the fleet.

Aft decks Docked in Nice Docked in Nice

Backed by the Carlson Hospitality Group the cruise line invests heavily in new tonnage in the late nineties. The purpose-built Paul Gauguin is put into service in January of 1998 on luxury cruises in French Polynesia, operating weeklong voyages from Tahiti. A little more than a year later we see the 33,000 ton Seven Seas Navigator appear on the horizon. On this ship, nearly 90% of all suites is equipped with a private balcony; a record in the cruise industry at that time. In March, 2001 that record is broken when fleet mate Seven Seas Mariner enters service; the world's first "all-suite, all-balcony" ship with a capacity of 700 passengers. Where other ultra-deluxe lines emphasize their small-ship ambiance, RSSC is keen to point out that they operate ships in all sorts, shapes and sizes for an equally diverse range of guests.

Builders' plate Funnel Bridge

The onboard concept reflects Radisson Seven Seas' desire to operate in the upper regions of the cruise industry. To start with, wine is poured freely during meal times. Tips are not expected. On departure, the mini bar in the suites is filled with liquid refreshments of your choice. And there is a multitude of dining venues available, heralding the cruise line's reputation for excellent food. Many passengers have already fallen victim to the shameless luxury on board, and with a healthy repeat passenger percentage RSSC found itself in dire need of  yet another ship. Enter the brand new Seven Seas Voyager! This beautiful ship is a combination of the good things of all its fleet mates. Though her capacity and dimensions are roughly the same as those of Seven Seas Mariner, she is in no way an exact replica. On the contrary, Seven Seas Voyager has turned out to be a unique stylish floating luxury hotel with gorgeous suites, modern, fresh interiors and a wonderful crew.

Funnel mast View over the bow

On March 31st, 2003 Seven Seas Voyager was christened in Monte Carlo under the watchful eyes of Prince Albert of Monaco. To prepare her crew for the official Maiden Voyager on April 1st, a series of "shakedown cruises" was organized in the Western Mediterranean. I was one of the lucky ones to embark the ship on March 9th, 2003 for a 5-day cruise. Together with my good friend Barbara I sailed from Nice to Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Cannes, getting a good feel for this fine new ship.

 
   

Photos and text: 2003-2011 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

First published on April 6, 2003

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