Posted on Friday, April 24, 2009 by Peter Knego
SEVEN SEAS MARINER Decked!
(A Before And After Look At One Of The World's Highest Rated Luxury Ships)
Owners: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Builders: Alstom Chantiers de l’Atlantique (hull #K31), St. Nazaire, France
Registry: Nassau, Bahamas
Gross Tonnage: 50,000
Length: 709 feet
Beam: 93 feet
Draft: 21 feet
Service Speed: 20 knots
Propulsion: twin, diesel powered mermaid pods
All photos by Peter Knego unless otherwise noted. Please click image to view an enlarged version.
One of a kind, versus the plethora of “common platform” identi-ships that have been commissioned in recent years, the MV SEVEN SEAS MARINER was built for Radisson Seven Seas Cruises (a luxury line that was formed in 1995 by the merger of Radisson Cruise Lines with Seven Seas Cruise Lines) by Chantiers de l’Atlantique (hull number K31).
The MARINER featured only balconied suite accommodation in a wide range of categories, two specialty restaurants, a large open seating dining room, a Mediterranean-style buffet, a panoramic observation lounge, an eight deck Atrium, a nightclub, casino, cabaret show lounge, shopping arcade, coffee bar/library, meeting rooms, a well-equipped gym and spa and a double deck show lounge.
I visited the ship in Los Angeles on the occasion of her naming on May 22, 2001. It was a gala affair attended by travel agents from all across the U.S. and the maritime press.
Godmother, Arleen Carlson, made a laudatory speech and then cut a ribbon that sent a magnum of champagne crashing into the ship’s bow.
Despite Mrs. Carlson’s heartfelt effort, the bottle did not break.
Visiting guests had the entire afternoon to explore the ship from top to bottom. The MARINER was elegantly appointed and extravagantly spacious with wide passageways, vast open decks and abundant full length windows infusing the ship with light and an undeniable feeling of airiness.
The expensive, restrained decor was the height of style and luxury for the time. A slight Art Deco influence and a limited palette made each public room stand out from the ordinary, but something was missing…
Perhaps she was too restrained or too sophisticated. Could it be that she was just too spacious? Somehow, despite her many assets, the SEVEN SEAS MARINER felt a bit cold and clinical.
Many have likened the MARINER’s original decor to an airport or hotel lounge: pleasant but without distinction.
The Le Cordon Bleu French specialty restaurant Signatures still exists today, albeit in an altered, modernized state.
Originally, the ship had an Asian Fusion specialty restaurant called Latitudes.
The Horizon Lounge on aft Deck Five was originally divided into a forward bar section…
…and a cabaret style lounge with a large dance floor and small stage.
An interesting feature was the open deck aft of the Horizon Lounge on Deck Six. Its original teak furniture was certainly durable but not terribly comfortable to linger in.
The Mariner Lounge on midships Deck Five was one of the more elegant and inviting spaces on board, with its rich gold and cool blue soft fittings offset in warm wood tones.
Originally, the Compass Rose Restaurant had an almost Santa Fe-inspired ambiance.
And so it was on May 22, 2001, the day of the MV SEVEN SEAS MARINER’s Los Angeles, California christening. After we disembarked, we watched as she sailed off, accompanied by a fireboat’s salutatory spray.
In the period since my first visit, the SEVEN SEAS MARINER earned a dedicated following and excellent reputation in the luxury cruising sector. She is among the highest-rated ships in the world.
In 2006, Radisson changed its name to Regent Seven Seas Cruises and in early 2008, RSSC was purchased from original owners, the Carlson Corporation, by Apollo Management, Inc. (which also owns Oceania Cruises and a fifty percent share of Norwegian Cruise Line) for $1 billion USD. A $40 million dollar refurbishment was soon announced for Regent’s three ships, which include the 1999-built, 33,000 ton, 490 passenger SEVEN SEAS NAVIGATOR and the MARINER’s near sister, the 2003-built, 46,000 ton, 700 passenger SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER. The VOYAGER was the first to proceed to Freeport’s Grand Bahama Shipyard for a comprehensive makeover from December 8 through 18, 2008, followed by the MARINER, between January 5 and 15, 2009. The NAVIGATOR will get her refit in April of 2010.
The similar VOYAGER and MARINER were enhanced with richer, more contemporary soft fittings in their suites and most public areas, given new Prime 7 Grills in place of their Latitudes Asian Fusion specialty restaurants and fashioned with a few tweaks, such as pizza ovens and ice cream bars. At the decorative helm were Oslo-based marine architects, Yran and Storbraaten, who are currently designing Oceania’s new MARINA class ships as well as having just completed work on Holland America’s EURODAM and a number of other well known cruise ships and luxury yachts.
The MARINER has eight passenger levels, ranging from the uppermost Deck Twelve down to Deck Five. Flow is excellent with a forward stairtower and three panoramic elevators linking Decks Twelve to Five and an aft stairtower and two standard elevators linking Decks Eleven to Five. Public areas are concentrated on Decks Five through Seven, aft Deck Eleven and Deck Twelve.
At the top of the ship on Deck Twelve, the 162 seat Observation Lounge offers marvelous views through full length windows on three sides.
The new color scheme of beige and deep blue is “sand and sea” themed.
Its central bar area is yacht-inspired with blond wood tones and brushed steel surfaces.
Just aft is the uppermost level of the soaring eight deck atrium, followed by an open air jogging track that encircles the pool area.
On the starboard side of the funnel casing, there is a shuffleboard court and on the port side, two golf driving nets. A netted-in paddle tennis court is located far aft.
Following a block of suites, the Deck Eleven pool area features a large, tiled pool, three jacuzzis, rows of cushioned, wooden deck chairs (each with its own small drink table) and the Pool Bar.
On either side, newly refreshed outdoor seating and a curtained, cabana-like lounging area accompanies the Pool Grill.
Continuing inside, there is the 212 seat U-shaped La Veranda Restaurant. Yran and Storbraaten have given the casual eatery a new palette of jade and warm wood tones with arm chairs in blue velvet on the starboard side and lime green ones to port.
An outdoor terrace accommodates 52 in the shelter of canvas awnings overlooking the stern.
Deck Ten begins with the bridge and officers’ quarters, leading to suite accommodation and a passenger self service launderette.
Decks Nine is dedicated to suite accommodation. It also features a self service laundry furnished with chairs from La Veranda’s original incarnation.
Deck Eight is also dedicated to suite accommodation and has a self service laundry, as well.
Deck Seven begins at the fo’c’sle head, which is a crew area.
Inside, the first public space is the Carita Spa, with eight treatment rooms, a sauna and a salon.
The aerobics room and gym are on the port side of the Carita Spa.
Aft of the atrium is a shopping center and the Casino, which is divided into an arcade with 62 slot machines and a roulette, craps and card gaming room overlooking a semi-spiral staircase that leads to the Stars Nightclub on Deck Six. More suite accommodation completes Deck Seven.
Deck Six begins with the upper level of the 580 seat Constellation Theater.
Finite promenades are accessed by the forward and aft vestibules on Deck Six.
A wide gallery on the starboard side (with a view of the promenade) heads aft along the 106 seat Stars nightclub to the Coffee Connection, the ship’s coffee bar and internet center adjoining the Library on the port side.
The enclosed, 14 station computer (13 PCs and 1 Mac) room, Club.Com, is forward of the Library, which is followed by a 70 seat Conference Center.
On the starboard side, the Garden Promenade provides access to the 30 seat Connoiseur Club smoking room.
On the port side, just forward of the Horizon Lounge is the 84 seat Signatures Le Cordon Bleu French specialty restaurant. Signatures is especially appealing in its new, rich gold and blue velvet seating, amber-hued lighting and charcoal gray curtains.
The 150 seat Horizon Lounge cabaret show room follows, sporting a mellow new palette of champagne, slate, beige and pale magenta) and an open terrace with new, cushioned wicker seating at the stern. Fixed counters in the forward/starboard section of the Horizon Lounge were removed in the refit, opening up the space considerably.
Deck Five begins with the lower level of the Constellation Theater, continuing with the Reception and Destination Services (shore excursions) offices on either side of the soaring, cylindrical Atrium.
On the starboard side, the 80 seat Mariner Lounge boasts a new autumnal color scheme of pebble gray, charcoal and tan, leading to the 452 seat Compass Rose Restaurant. Plush velvet arm chairs in tones of chardonnay and merlot add a newfound richness to this dining room, which offers some of the best cuisine afloat.
On the port side, the 74 seat Prime 7 is a chic metropolitan-style steakhouse with posh brown leather chairs and a palette of burgundy, gold, ochre and off-white.
A total of eight suite categories comprise the Mariner’s accommodation, from the 2002 square foot Masters all the way down to the more than adequate 301 square foot, balconied Deluxe Suites.
All suites are oceanviews with balconies, featurin
g individual temperature controls, European king sized beds (or in a twin configuration), Ainichini linens and feather-down duvets, walk-in closets, marble-appointed bathrooms with tub and/or rain shower, TV, refrigerator stocked daily, in-suite bar setup upon embarkation and personal safe. Butler service is offered for guests in Master, Grand, Mariner, Seven Seas, Horizon View and A & B Penthouse Suites.
Two 2,002 square foot Master Suites with two bedrooms, two and a half baths, two balconies (the forward one is a whopping 727 feet with its own glassed-in midsection), a huge living room and dining area (with butler service) are located on forward Deck Nine.
Two Grand Suites on forward Deck Eleven measure 987 square feet and feature two bathrooms and an 84 square foot balcony.
Six 739 square foot Mariner Suites located on Decks Ten, Nine and Eight are adjacent to the atrium and feature one and a half bathrooms and 89 square foot balconies.
Seven Seas (aft) Suites
Eight 847 square foot Seven Seas (aft) suites are located at the stern of Decks Ten, Nine, Eight and Seven, featuring one and a half baths and a 286 square foot balcony. Not available for photographs during our visit.
Seven Seas (forward) Suites
Two Seven Seas (forward) Suites are located on Deck Ten and feature a 97 square foot balcony.
Horizon View Suites
Twelve 627 square foot Horizon View Suites are located on aft Decks Ten, Nine, Eight and Seven, featuring 268 square foot balconies.
Sixty 449 square foot Penthouse Suites are located on Decks Eleven, Ten, Nine and Eight and feature 73 square foot balconies.
Two hundred sixty 301 square foot Deluxe Suites are located on Decks Ten, Nine, Eight and Seven and feature 49 square foot balconies.
Wheelchair Accessible Suites
Six Deluxe Suites are specially adapted for wheelchair travelers, featuring modified doors, controls, bathrooms and showers. These are located adjacent to the atrium on Decks Ten, Nine and Eight.
Special thanks: Martin Cox, Rob Di Stefano, Andrew Poulton, Tim Rubacky