Seven Seas Navigator
The first visit of the Seven Seas Navigator to The Netherlands was at the 22nd of july in 2018, when she sailed past IJmuiden in the very early morning.
The fall of communism and the end of the so-called Cold War came very abruptly. At the 9th of november 1989, the Berlin wall fell after a chain of protests by the people of the European countries in the Eastern block. Even at that day still, it was truly the will of the people who brought the wall down and put an end to 44 years of separation. The years before had seen an increased tension between the two blocks, and the Sovjet navy was building a large array of spyships to keep an eye on the West. In the beginning of that same year, at the Okean wharf in the Ukrainian town of Nikolajev a researchship was laid down for the tracking of Western submarines, although before completion as such, the need for such a ship wasn't there anymore and she later became Swan Hellenic's Minerva.
The rebuilding had been taken out at the Mariotti-wharf in Italy after the ship had been bought by V-Ships, former owner of Sitmar Cruises that had been sold to P&O in 1988. Minerva was completed in april of 1996 and meanwhile, V-Ships also had found another former Sovjet spy-ship that could be rebuilt into a luxury liner and this ship became available in 1993. Minerva had become very succesfull in her new role and V-Ships had gained good experience with the rebuilding. Needed, as this second ship was quite a bit larger.
Construction and general statistics
Intended as one in a class of three, the Akademik Nikolay Pilyugin was laid down as yardnumber 0210 at the Admirality Yards in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) at the 12th of april in 1988. The first of her class, although the events of the time were the reason the second and thirth ship were never completed. The Akademik Nikolay Pilyugin was to be the largest spy-ship in the Sovjet navy and she was to be fitted with a powerfull satellite antennae to follow the movements of Western navies. In contradiction with the ship from Okean, building continued after the fall of the Berlin wall and on the 24th of august 1991 the ship was launched. It was only in november of 1993 that work on the Akademik Nikolay Pilyugin was suspended, after the Sovjet Union had fallen apart and was replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States from december 1991 onwards. The newly formed state of Russia was not intersted anymore in its fleet of spyships and the half finished ship was sold to V-Ships instead.
V-Ships had the ship towed to the Mariotti-wharf in Genoa where she arrived at the 5th of july in 1997. Her upperworks, bridge, funnel, livingspaces and antennaeplatforms were already in place, just like the main engines and auxiliary equipment. Before the voyage, she had lost her Sovjet name and was called Blue Sea and for a brief moment she was registered at St. Vincent & Grenadines flag, before being brought under the Italian flag with homeport Genoa. As she of course was built for a totally different purpose then V-Ships intended, the ships upperworks were scrapped up to the main deck, and she also lost the big, powerfull antennaeplatforms. Well, V-Ships just didn't think they needed those for spying on the route's of other cruisecompanies I guess...
Gutting was finished at the 12th of may in 1998 and the ship entered the drydock for her true rebuilding. The original Pielstick engines were replaced by two pairs of Wärtsilä 8L/ 38 diesel engines, geared to a shaft that also provided energy for the 2500 kW generator in addition to three Wärtsilä-Vasa/ Leroy-Somer diesel generators of 2000 kW each. The two propellers could now drive the ship at 20,5 knots through the seas, although servicespeed was going to be one knot slower. The whole rebuilding was overseen by naval architects Ken Norman and Arnold Brereton, together with Roberto Fazi the most talented designers of the V-Ships newbuidling department.
After rebuilding, the ship had a tonnage of 28.550 and she measured 170,69 meters in lenght, was 24,80 meters wide and reached some 6,80 meters in depth. There is space aboard for 557 passengers in 253 cabins, next to 325 crewmembers. This shows the amount of luxury that V-Ships wanted to achieve. Officially, her owner became Golden Ocean 2, which was a joint venture between V-Ships and Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. At the 25th of august in 1999, the ship was finally delivered to Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, as she was going to sail under their flag as their largest ship to date. She was named Seven Seas Navigator for them, bringing back the Seven Seas-name to the company, that had been a joint venture between the two smaller companies Diamond Cruises and Seven Seas Cruises since 1993.
The company had awarded the interiour design to Soren Storbraaten of the very well company Yran & Storbraaten of Oslo, Norway. Ten of the ships fourteen decks contain the passengercabins, and all 215 outside cabins do have their own balcony. On decks 6,7 and 12, the public rooms are situated. A central atrium connects deck 4 to 12 with panoramic elevators. The highest deck 12 is almost totally devoted to a health club and spa-area, making this very vast for a rather small vessel. For less healthy passengers, the 'Connoisseur Club' is a smokingroom, or more apropriately named cigar lounge. The ship also offers the two-deck Seven Seas Lounge, a casino and a shoppinggallery, the Navigator Club which is a readingroom annex library, and the Galileo Panorama Lounge overlooking the stern at deck 11, offering breakfast while giving the ability to look out over the ocean through deck-to-deck glass walls. Its forward counterpart at deck 12 is the Vista Lounge, decorated with many maritime artefacts like wheelhouse instruments as well as real-time nautical maps and GPS.
The main restaurant is named Compass Rose and it offers tables from two to eight in a open single seating. Whennot able to be there, a 24-hour roomservice is also available for breakfast, diner and lunch. Then, there also is the Portofino Grill lounge that becomes an a-la-carte restaurant by night and a barbeque buffet next to the swimmingpool.
To be able to get to more pristine places, the ship was fitted with modern sewage and garbage treatment systems making the ship able to sail in protected areas all over the world. Because she is intended for the roaming of the seas instead of seven day milkruns, she has also large storage spaces for at least six weeks and is able to sail 7500 miles at cruising speed before the need arises for restocking.
Seven Seas Navigator was named in the port of Fort Lauderdale at the 19th of october in 1999 and started to sail worldwide cruises in quite a bit of luxury. In 2005, she was used as a luxury extra hoteloption for the superbowl in Jacksonville, Florida. When Radisson Hotels pulled back from the combine in early 2006, the ship was sailing under the ownership of the Carlson company and was bought by Apollo Management in february 2008. As such, the company was combining forces with Oceania Cruises under the umbrella name of Prestige Cruises, which in total was aquired by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in 2014. The ship was reflagged to the Bahamas in 2011, recieving Nassau as her homeport.