By Simon & Susan Veness
It’s been a while since we provided any feedback or comment on one of the most exciting developments in the ultra-luxe cruise world from earlier this year, but we’re ready to put that right this week.
Back in March, we told you about the forthcoming new SeaDream Innovation that was due to be added to the SeaDream Yacht Club fleet in 2021. It was a bold and innovative design that really caught our attention, and it sent out a firm statement of intent from this boutique, two-ship fleet that they weren’t going to be left behind by their larger-scale rivals who have all invested in new tonnage in recent years (with more on the horizon).
But, while they set out to be audacious and creative, they also weren’t going to leave their roots behind, with the newcomer set to maintain the company’s standards for a distinctive and individual style, as well as maintaining their yacht-like traditions.
All well and good, we said at the time. There was, however, a lot of detail that still needed to be filled in about what the Innovation would actually, well, innovate, as well as adding more information about the onboard amenities and style.
Happily, SeaDream has continued to pass on some meaningful info in recent weeks, hence we can now start to put some meat on the not-insubstantial bones of the new vessel.
Just to start with, one of her watchwords will be sustainability. The third ship of the fleet will be designed to be as environmentally friendly as possible, incorporating hybrid battery power into its propulsion system to lower emissions and reduce its impact on the more fragile maritime ecosystems.
With its extended battery power, the 15,600-ton vessel will be able to cruise virtually silently and with no emissions for up to three hours, drastically reducing any impact on local wildlife, especially in the polar areas where she will operate seasonally as a true global wanderer.
To that end, SeaDream has received a $1.8million grant from the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment’s special organisation Enova, which promotes environmentally friendly production and consumption of energy.
Innovation will also feature a high-tech Organic Rankine Cycle converter that takes waste engine heat and turns it into electricity. It can produce up to 150KW of electrical power and thereby further reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions. In port, the hybrid engine can be plugged into shoreside grids by using a multi-voltage connection system.
Okay, that’s all well and good for the environment, we hear you say, but what about us? Well, there are definitely some distinctly decadent creature comforts on the way, too.
There will be four decks of lavish accommodations and public rooms, with suites on each of the four – the top three with balconies, and all with sweeping sea views. There will be a full show-lounge on board for the first time, and a generous, full-service Spa.
For the more active, there will be three retractable marinas that can be deployed simultaneously to provide a veritable cornucopia of watersports at every stopping point, offering kayaks, Zodiacs, sailboats, paddleboards, wakeboards, waterskis and wave-runners for guest use straight from the ship. It will also carry its own seaplane, a genuine first for any ultra-luxe vessel.
The top deck will include purpose-built alfresco spaces for the signature Balinese Dream Beds that allow guests to sleep “under the stars” for a truly indulgent yacht-type experience.
Its 220 passengers will also be cosseted in some of the most sumptuous suites at sea in six categories, from the non-balcony Discovery Suite at 312sq ft to the monumental Heyerdahl Suite at a whopping 1,008. The Journey Suite (323sq ft) adds a balcony, while the Adventurer Suites (456sq ft) have a separate bedroom and living room spaces. The six top-of-the-range suites (from 502-1,008 sq ft) add even more opulent spaciousness, with dining areas, walk-in closets and large bathrooms.
The initial renderings all show a gorgeous level of light, sharp furnishings and decor, with that unerring Scandinavian eye for ergonomic design and fresh living space that envelops guests in airy originality; a sense of lightness of being, if you like.
SeaDream makes the bold claim that the new-build will deliver “unparalleled boutique luxury to the seven continents of Planet Earth,” and it’s hard to argue with that lofty ambition from what we’ve seen so far.
At the time of Innovation’s announcement, founder and chairman Atle Brynestad insisted: “We’ve been looking to expand the fleet and we feel the time is right to introduce a new concept of global yachting with a ship that can do anything. Luxury today is not decided by a high-end company anymore, it is decided by the consumer, so they can choose what they want to do during the day.”
It very much seems like he is well on his way to fulfilling that goal.
Bahamas Update: Further to last week’s blog about the devastation of the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian, the cruise lines continue to lead the way in drumming up relief support for the stricken islands of the Abacos and Grand Bahama.
Latest estimates put the total number of homeless at just north of 70,000, which is a staggering figure for such a relatively small population, but Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has increased its commitment to the Hope Starts Here relief campaign to $2million, and has deployed two ships to carry emergency supplies and equipment on a weekly basis.
Likewise, the Carnival Corporation, Royal Caribbean and Paradise Cruise Line have all raised their promises of financial support and deliveries of aid and supplies, as well as helping to evacuate the most hard-hit islanders to other parts of the Bahamas and the Florida mainland.
We hope our readers will continue to hold the people of the Bahamas in their thoughts and prayers and continue to support the relief agencies in any way possible.