Why was the hull built elsewhere? We caught up with Seabourn spokesman Bruce Good, who told us that having different parts of the ship constructed simultaneously in separate locales was a time-saving technique (the hotly anticipated ship is due out in June 2009). "In this day and age," Good says, "if you want to get your ship built quickly, you need to be ingenious."
Good tells us that T. Mariotti teamed up with an Italian steel fabricator to form a brand-new company in San Giorgio di Nogaro, in the Gulf of Venice, which handled the fabrication of the hull. The hull was built in two separate pieces, which were then mounted on a special semisubmersible barge. The barge brought the hull halves 100 nautical miles to Croatia where they were joined with the help of heavy duty equipment -- including cranes built expressly for this project. Finally, the intact hull was towed to Genoa.
Now that the hull has arrived, the ship has entered the final stage of construction and will be fitted out over the next year in preparation for its June 2009 launch. The ship will feature a two-story spa (the largest on a luxury ship), roomier accommodations (90 percent of which have verandahs), menu items created by Charlie Palmer, and Seabourn Square (a new public area that will encompass a coffee bar, Internet cafe and concierge).
The ship's 14-day maiden voyage on June 24, 2009 will sail from Venice to Istanbul, visiting ports in Croatia, Turkey and Greece. After a season of Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean cruises, Seabourn Odyssey will winter in the Caribbean before beginning the line's maiden world cruise (a 108-nighter) on January 5, 2010.
We'll continue to report on new information as it is received -- stay tuned!
--by Melissa Baldwin, Managing Editor