Silversea’s Silver Galapagos Sets Sail

Silver Galapagos  Photo courtesy of Silverseas
Silver Galapagos
Photo courtesy of Silverseas

Prior to setting sail, a christening ceremony was held on board, attended by local dignitaries and company executives. Highlighting the occasion were speeches by Manfredi Lefebvre d’Ovidio, Silversea’s chairman; Santiago Dunn, vice president of Silversea, Ecuador; and Conrad Combrink, Silversea’s director of expedition cruises. Following the traditional blessing by a priest, the chairman’s daughter, Costanza Lefebvre d’Ovidio, the ship’s godmother, officially welcomed Silver Galapagos into the Silversea fleet by cutting a ceremonial ribbon.

The all-suite Silver Galapagos has just completed a major stem-to-stern refurbishment. All public spaces and guest suites have been refreshed with new upholstery, carpeting, curtains, and wall treatments. Each suite is highlighted by a totally renovated bathroom, enhanced with rich marble detailing. Besides a new walk-in rainforest shower, each bathroom features a new vanity, shelving, mirrors, lighting fixtures, and wood flooring. Plus, all guest suites have been outfitted with new flat screen TVs, new mattresses (custom-made exclusively for Silversea), and luxurious Pratesi bed linens.

Other ship enhancements include the installation of Wi-Fi access throughout the ship (including all suites) and a new complimentary service providing streaming movies and live television news broadcasts for guests to enjoy on their portable devices.

And rounding out the renovations are a new fitness center, massage room, beauty salon, outdoor Jacuzzi, outdoor furniture, and Silversea’s signature outdoor dining venue, The Grill.

In his remarks at the christening ceremony, Lefebvre d’Ovidio stated, “It is our aim that this ship will not only offer our guests the highest level of comfort and service, but also enlighten them to the rarity and beauty of the Galápagos Islands.”

Silver Galapagos sails Saturday to Saturday on seven-day roundtrip voyages from Baltra Island, following either a western or north central route. These expedition cruises offer adventurous travelers the life-enriching chance to discover a wild, pristine paradise that has long been regarded as a natural laboratory of evolution. On complimentary expeditions ashore guided by an experienced expedition team (certified by the Galápagos National Park Service), Silversea’s guests may experience up-close encounters with an abundance of wildlife that includes sun-basking land iguanas, giant tortoises, blue- and red-footed boobies, colorful marine iguanas, sea lions, penguins and Darwin’s famous finches.

For more information go to Silverseas.com

Silversea buys the Galapagos Explorer II, will be refurbished and renamed

The Silversea Group has purchased Canodros S.A., the premier Ecuadorian tourism company that operates in the Galapagos Islands, and their upmarket expedition ship, Galapagos Explorer II.

Silversea plans to add Galapagos Explorer II to its ultra-luxury fleet of six ships next year, after the all-suite, 100-guest vessel undergoes a major refurbishment in September 2013 and is given a new name, steps that will ensure consistency with the standards of the Silversea fleet.

Until that time, Galapagos Explorer II will continue on its planned schedule of cruises and will continue to be operated by Canodros, which is based in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Canodros will also continue handling reservations for Galapagos Explorer II, as well as sales and marketing through its established network of travel companies and tour operators.

Its existing expedition ship, Silver Explorer, is regularly deployed in the polar regions, and the addition of a second vessel, offering year-round unique luxury expedition cruises in the Galapagos archipelago, means Silversea will have the opportunity to offer the adventure traveler a broader portfolio of itineraries, encompassing some of the world’s most desired and least explored regions.

The 4077-ton Galapagos Explorer II offers the stylish elegance of a mega-yacht, attentive onboard service and an enriching naturalist education program. All of its 50 spacious suites feature ocean views and 24 include private balconies. Public spaces include a restaurant, piano bar, library and Internet station, main lounge, outdoor bar, two outdoor whirlpools, and a marine observation deck.

Guests sailing aboard Galapagos Explorer II will continue to enjoy the same exciting itineraries, luxury accommodations, shipboard amenities, informative lectures and sustainable tourism for which Canodros is known.

Potential guests and travel agents interested in booking a Galapagos Explorer II voyage should visit galapagosexplorer.com for more information.

Guests currently booked on Galapagos Explorer II, and travel agents or tour operators with clients booked on the ship, should continue to liaise through their normal channels with Canodros for any needed assistance with their reservation.

In the coming months, Silversea will announce more details concerning plans for the ship after it is renovated and renamed.

Crystal Serenity to receive face-lift

By Michael Coleman

One of cruise travel’s most luxurious vessels is scheduled for a face-lift.
Crystal Cruises will be spending more than $25 million this spring to keep its largest ship, Crystal Serenity, on the cutting edge of luxury style.

Some 400 expert technicians flown from around the world, working round the clock for just 14 days, are scheduled for the massive redesign of her 531 deluxe staterooms, penthouses and penthouses suites; retail centers; expansive outdoor pool deck and other design projects during a May 8-22 dry dock at Hamburg’s Blohm + Voss shipyard.

“In the past two years, we have invested well over $50 million in our ships,” says Gregg Michel, president, Crystal Cruises.  The line also operates the 922-passenger Crystal Symphony.

“Our guests can look forward to dazzling new spaces, which will serve as a stunning  backdrop to the incomparable service and choices that always characterizes a Crystal vacation.”     

Interior designer, Keith Rushbrook, principal at the Toronto-based II BY IV Design Associates, summarized the vision: “We wanted modern classic elegance.  We wanted Fifth Avenue — crème de la crème New York-inspired living and retail spaces that people love and look forward to spending time in.”

All of the ship’s deluxe outside staterooms, penthouses, and penthouse suites will sport new, floor-to-ceiling tufted headboards, bedside cabinets, wallpaper, sofas, curtains, pillows, and custom carpets in contemporary lines and classic stone, silk, velvet, leather, and crisp linen textures.  New modern lighting features and electronic “do not disturb” and doorbell system will allow guests greater personalization of their home-away-from-home. 

Serenity’s retail shops will receive a similar, sophisticated metamorphosis.  The Facets fine jewelry store will mirror a jewelry box, with mother-of-pearl feature wall, beveled chrome vitrines, and new, private sales area.  The Apropos boutique will become three-shops-in-one, with a flagship Christian Dior cosmetic/skincare area showcased amongst rich Zebrano wood and herringbone rosewood, arresting black-plum-magenta carpeting, and tufted leather seating.

Inspired by Symphony’s recent transformation, the Seahorse Pool teak deck will be refashioned with circular pod beds, plush sofa groups, and lounge chairs in a kaleidoscope of lime green, azure, and mango.

The corridors throughout the ship will be transformed with new, custom carpeting, inspiring artwork, and mood lighting.  Dramatic new lighting will also be installed in the Crystal Dining Room, as will new furniture on all stateroom verandahs.

Following the dry dock, Serenity will embark on a series of Baltic, North Cape and British Isles cruises before heading to the Mediterranean for late summer and fall.

Cruise Guide: Luxurious Navigator poised for upgrade

The luxurious, 490-guest Regent Seven Seas Navigator will undergo an extensive, multi-million dollar refurbishment next month. She will then operate a series of seven- to 11-night cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America this winter followed by a summer season of seven-night Alaska cruises between Vancouver and Anchorage. In the fall, look for Navigator to embark on a 96-night Grand Asia Pacific cruise featuring port calls in Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.  Image courtesy Michael Coleman
The luxurious, 490-guest Regent Seven Seas Navigator will undergo an extensive, multi-million dollar refurbishment next month. She will then operate a series of seven- to 11-night cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America this winter followed by a summer season of seven-night Alaska cruises between Vancouver and Anchorage. In the fall, look for Navigator to embark on a 96-night Grand Asia Pacific cruise featuring port calls in Japan, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand. Image courtesy Michael Coleman

By Michael Coleman

A stem-to-stern, multi-million-dollar refurbishment is in store for the luxurious, all-suite Regent Seven Seas Navigator.

The ship will enter dry dock next month and according to company officials will emerge “radiating elegance and sophistication, resplendent with rich fabrics, textures and elegant furnishings.’’

“Navigator is beloved by our loyal repeat guests because it feels like you are cruising aboard a world-class luxury yacht,” said Regent President Mark Conroy. “After her makeover she will sport a stunning new look and feel, two new dining venues and a spa operated by the renowned Canyon Ranch.”

New Dining Options

Regent will build a steakhouse aboard Navigator. Dubbed Prime 7, it will feature stylish décor and fine, prime-aged steaks and chops along with fresh seafood and poultry. Rivaling elegant restaurants ashore, a rich palette of green and golden hues will create an ambiance of glamour and intimacy. Supple leather, polished granite and burnished woods will set an impressive stage accented by custom-designed china, flatware and crystal.

Compass Rose, the ship’s main dining room, will appear dramatically different. New and sumptuous armchairs in rich jewel tones of cranberry and opal atop plush carpets of russet and cocoa will create a regal setting for gourmet dining. New draperies, china, silver and glassware will complete the redesign.

La Veranda, meanwhile, will offer indoor and outdoor seating, replacing the ship’s current Portofino’s restaurant. New furniture, carpeting and window treatments will be complemented by signature table settings. The new restaurant will serve breakfast and lunch in a casually elegant atmosphere and, in the evening, feature regionally-themed specialty dinners.

High atop the ship on Deck 10, a new Pool Grill will be added featuring a barbeque grill, hot and cold buffet, panini sandwich station plus a coffee and dessert area. The casual, al fresco dining option will be open throughout the day.

The ship’s bars and lounges will also be transformed.

A mix of traditional and contemporary furnishings with complementary upholstery, carpeting and curtains will give Stars Lounge an eclectic ambiance reminiscent of a chic designer estate home.

Galileo’s will sport bold new interiors of burgundy and gold offset with accents of soft lavender, sky and moss while a sleek new bar area is awash with rich, tufted textiles and polished stone flooring. A new al fresco lounge will be created on the terrace featuring comfortable seating areas with plump sofas and chaises overlooking the sea.

The Navigator Lounge will also feature a new décor with rich hues of cappuccino, camel and navy accented by bold apple-green and lemon to create a vibrant, urbane feel. The ship’s card room and library plus public spaces will also be redecorated and refreshed.

Look also for the debut on Navigator of The Canyon Ranch SpaClub.

It will feature a state-of-the-art spa, wellness and fitness facility, plus a luxurious full-service beauty salon. SpaClub will offer massage, body and skin-care treatment rooms, a gym and weight room with cardio and weight training equipment, a juice bar, men’s and women’s locker rooms, thalassotherapy, sauna and steam rooms.

On the Web: rssc.com

Follow the Dawn Princess’ makeover online

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Following the response to its unprecedented online Golden Princess Drydock Journal last month, Princess Cruises is again inviting cruise enthusiasts to go behind the scenes as Dawn Princess undergoes a similar makeover. Visitors to princess.com will be able to watch daily as the ship receives new interior furnishings and finishes, plus adds two Princess signature features — the Movies Under the Stars giant poolside screen and the relaxing adults-only Sanctuary. Continue reading “Follow the Dawn Princess’ makeover online”

Carnival Ecstasy to receive waterpark, more balconies and other new features

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The 2,052-passenger Carnival Ecstasy will undergo an extensive, multi-million-dollar refurbishment this fall that will include the addition of an expansive new water park, an exclusive adults-only retreat, a Circle “C” facility for 12- to 14-year olds, and a redesigned resort-style main pool area. Additionally, 98 balconies will be added to existing ocean view staterooms. Continue reading “Carnival Ecstasy to receive waterpark, more balconies and other new features”