Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Seven Seas Navigator

The Seven Seas Navigator has made several calls in Halifax this year and is due for two more before the end of the cruise season. Since I hadn't attempted a photo of her yet this year, I was pleased when she got away from pier 22 and made course northbound around George's Island before turning south for sea and her next port of Bar Harbor. On an fairly dismal evening with mist in the air, she still looked pretty good.
As I am not a close follower of all developments in the cruise industry, I had missed the fact that she had a duck tail and sponsons added in a major refit in 2009-02010. These do nothing to improve her appearance, but did have other benefits.
Originally laid down as  naval support ship for the USSR, her hull was launched by Admiralty Shipyard in St.Petersburg. She was towed round to the T.Mariotti SpA yard in Genoa for completion as a luxury suite cruiser for Radisson Seven Seas Cruises in 1999. As a sort of Eliza Doolittle in the luxe cruise world she was noted for her excellent amenities, including mostly all verandah cabins, and high crew/guest ratio. Nevertheless there were many complaints about the build quality, systems, vibration and stability/comfort.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises took over in 2006 and have made numerous upgrades, including the big refit at Lloyd-Weft, Bremerhaven in 2009-2010.
The duck tail and associated sponsons (and new stern geometry) coupled with new high lift rudders and new props have by most accounts reduced the vibration issues to tolerable levels. New water tankage (whether for ballast or potable I don't know) have improved stability, maneuverability and speed. More recent renos in early 2012 have seen many cabins refurbed too.
Originally to be delivered as Akademik Nikolay Pilyugin, the Seven Seas Navigator measures 28,550 gross tons (this may not include the added sponsons and duck tail) and now carries an advertised 490 passengers with 345 crew (that's a 1:1.5 crew/pax ratio).
2. A large duck tail and sponsons added on each side did not improve the ship's appearance but had some other benefits. 

3. As the ship looked in her pre-sponson days, sailing on a brighter day in October 2004.

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