Less than 12 weeks from launch, the 32,000-tonne, 450-passenger Seabourn Odyssey is a hive of activity. Hundreds of workers at the T. Mariotti shipyard in Genoa, Italy, are busy welding, hammering, painstakingly laying the teak decks and doing miraculous things with endless bundles of colored wire dangling from the ceilings. When Odyssey blasts off in late June, it will become the first luxury new-build to debut in more than six years, a solid sign of growth for a luxury cruise market long silent on the new cruise ship front. A sister ship, Seabourn Sojourn, will enter service in 2010.
Cruise Critic's U.K.-based correspondent, Sue Bryant, was one of the first journalists to visit the under-construction luxury ship, where she was shown around by Seabourn's president and CEO, Pam Conover.
As Bryant tells us, despite how close we are to the 24 June maiden voyage, "Seabourn Odyssey is very much a hard hat zone at the moment, and you need a lot of imagination -- but glimpses of its luxurious final state are just beginning to emerge: acres of creamy Italian marble and polished granite; beautiful alabaster columns in The Restaurant; and in a nearby warehouse, life-sized mock-ups of some very attractive staterooms.
"Odyssey is the fourth ship for Seabourn, and although it's three times the size of its smaller fleetmates, Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Legend and Seabourn Spirit, it's still going to be referred to as a 'yacht' -- after all, the vessels of some Russian oligarchs are even bigger and they're called yachts.
"And, interestingly, while the size has been tripled -- 32,000 tonnes as opposed to 10,000 -- it will take just over double the number of passengers of Seabourn's trio of smaller ships (450 as opposed to 208). So there's a lot more space for everybody. The most significant use of this is the balconies; 90 percent of the 250 staterooms have balconies, and big ones at that. There are also four dining venues, the biggest spa on any luxury vessel, huge open deck 'spa villas' and Seabourn Square, a concierge lounge that replaces the traditional reception area."
Curious about what the ship looks like just a few months from launch? Check out Bryant's first-hand look in our Seabourn Odyssey slideshow, with photos of cabin mock-ups, open deck spaces and more.
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Photos: Seabourn Odyssey Shipyard Tour
April 8, 2009