Seven Seas Mariner
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
A Ship Preview
in Charleston, South Carolina
700 passengers (double capacity)
by Linda Coffman
all southern cities were invited to a cotillion, Charleston would be
the belle of the ball. Known for her graciousness and hospitality,
there could be no more fitting port of call on the southeastern
coast to greet the brand-new Radisson Seven Seas Mariner.
Sandwiched between Sunday's dreary rain and Tuesday's chilly
wind, Monday dawned sunny and clear. Truly a perfect day to welcome
the Mariner's passengers ashore in one of the south's most historic
Located on the Cooper River, Charleston Harbor is always a busy
place; however, with the arrival of a luxurious new cruise liner,
there was a buzz amongst the shopkeepers along East Bay Street where
I browsed a bit before my scheduled tour and luncheon on board. At
the foot of Market Street, there she was. More than once, I was
asked "Did you see that beautiful ship?!?"
Staircase (click photos for larger
Coming aboard, my first impression of the reception area was that
marine architect Peter Yran & Bjorn Storbraten of Oslo, Norway
surely must have visited Charleston for inspiration. From "peach"
accents in the "Carolina" blue carpeting underfoot to the skylight
eight decks overhead (a semicircular fanlight reminiscent of those
found over the entry doors to many of Charleston's most
distinguished mansions), the atrium was awash with sunshine and
hints of subtle coolness and warmth beyond.
Light floods the Seven Seas Mariner's interior spaces yet can be
controlled with the use of horizontal blinds similar to
plantation-style shutters that are all the rage in southern homes.
From the deepest navy to pale pastel, cool blue tones flow easily
into delicate shades of cream throughout public rooms. The generous
use of teak paneling, stair rails, and stair landings further warms
the decor. With Impressionist-style paintings and still lifes,
abundant flower arrangements and greenery, and the occasional use of
jewel toned fabric accents, the decor is soothing and serene.
Starting at the top, the Observation Lounge is ideally suited for
Seven Seas Mariner's destination-rich itineraries and offers forward
facing areas indoors and an outside deck for her guests to enjoy the
passing scenery. The view of Charleston Harbor, the Battery, and
Fort Sumpter was stunning from this vantage point.
The jogging track &
expansive pool deck below
Outside and immediately aft, the impressive passenger
space-to-guest ratio of 71.4 is readily apparent when one views the
vast Lido deck from the circular jogging track above. Further aft
are a paddle tennis court and golf practice nets, for those who
didn't get enough play on the links in Bermuda.
Down a deck, La Veranda Restaurant serves breakfast and lunch in
a casual buffet. Transformed for evening dining into a Mediterranean
bistro, guests may choose seating indoors or al fresco beneath a
canvas awning, all on fine china and silver. The outdoor teak deck
is complemented with teak dining tables and chairs.
For passengers enjoying a day in the sunshine, the poolside grill
offers another even more casual luncheon option. From aft to
forward, a stroll along the pool deck seems endless. Dotted with
loungers sporting thick green and white striped cushions, there
won't be any problem finding a place in the sun on the Mariner.
Forward, down on Deck Seven, the Judith Jackson Sea Spa & Salon
provides a tranquil haven for relaxation and rejuvenation. Spa
treatments and salon services use only pure, plant based products.
While the menu of services is quite extensive and the spa treatments
very reasonably priced, the salon services seem a bit on the
expensive side. Adjacent to the spa is a well laid out gym, large
aerobics room, and saunas. Moving aft are boutiques, the photo
gallery, and the nicely appointed casino, which has the appearance
of a private gaming club.
The dramatic staircase
from Stars to the Casino
Descending a spiral staircase from the casino to Deck Six, one
makes a grand entrance to Stars Nightclub, a late night dance club.
I was particularly intrigued by the combination of fabrics and
textures in this ample, yet intimate feeling room. Wood
paneling, a granite colored wall covering, and contrasting blue tub
chairs and high backed square chairs in paler shades create an
interesting and eclectic mix of styles. The room's highlight is the
staircase with an almost industrial feel to the chrome balusters
below the teak hand rail.
Aft is Club.com, the computer learning center where guests can
brush up on their computer skills or simply check their email, the
well-stocked airy library with more computer terminals, and separate
card room and conference center beyond.
Moving through the aft foyer portside, Signatures Restaurant is
the 100-seat reservations-only restaurant featuring Cordon Bleu
chefs and traditional French, regional, nouvelle, and fusion fare.
The white table linens are so crisp they fairly snap. Burgundy
chairs and etched glass panels create an elegant backdrop for quiet,
Starboard, opposite Signatures, the Connoisseur Club is a
deliciously comfortable "gentleman's lounge" for the enjoyment of
cigars and brandy. A true southern tradition, this very masculine
setting has oversized buttery soft leather chairs, huge cigar
proportioned ashtrays, and even a faux fireplace. Between blockade
running during that unpleasantness Between The States, Rhett Butler
would have felt right at home here.
All the way aft, from port to starboard, Horizon Lounge harkens
to 1935 and the unorthodox design of the Orion, which
included adjacent indoor and outdoor spaces for passenger enjoyment.
In the Horizon Lounge, Mariner passenger are treated to a variety of
diversions, from afternoon tea to a piano duet at night and dancing
either on the recessed circular dance floor inside or just outside
under the stars.
Once again moving forward, the Gallery is located along the
starboard length of Deck Six. Wicker furnishings and plantings
effectively produce a winter garden atmosphere. All that's missing
are tropical birds.
Forward on Deck Five is the lower level of the Constellation
Theater, an elegant understated show lounge with excellent
sightlines from the main floor and balcony. Back in the atrium are
the Reception & Concierge Desk, Tour Office, and a Cruise Office
where passengers can plan their next Radisson Seven Seas Cruise.
From the atrium, three glass elevators climb skyward past human
shadow sculptures mounted on the opposite wall and lit by rotating
and changing spotlights. These are remarkable and intriguing works
of art... so mesmerizing that I nearly forgot to get off the
Amidship on Deck Five, Latitudes Restaurant, the 70-seat
reservations-only restaurant offers tableside preparation, as well
as caviar tastings, and other special culinary events. The colorful
and creative native artwork of a variety of indigenous peoples is
displayed in what would otherwise be a rather plain room. The effect
The majority of Seven Seas Mariner's guests dine in the 570-seat
Compass Rose Restaurant. The largest restaurant on board is
uncrowded, with plenty of space between tables and wood partitions
topped with etched glass giving the effect of an intimate smaller
room. Decorated in soft tones of yellow, modern art highlights the
walls with bright splashes of color. An Austrian crystal chandelier
above the Captain's Table reflects a rainbow of changing colored
light. With open seating dining, the abundance of tables for two is
most appreciated. For our luncheon, I chose light fare--a delicious
chilled passion fruit soup, cod with an interesting zesty sauce, and
refreshing ice coupe with mango. The service and presentation were
Sated after leaving the Compass Rose, we passed through the
circular marble floored area that serves as a dining foyer and
stopped for a rest in the Mariners Lounge. This lovely area with
comfortable seating serves as a piano bar and a delightful spot to
meet for pre-dinner cocktails and conversation. Paneled walls
separating the bar from the groupings of deep navy chairs and
loveseats contain niches with classical bronze sculptures.
Suites & Photo Gallery -->
photo courtesy of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises, others © Linda
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