'We want to make the ultimate ship,' SeaDream Owner, Chairman and CEO Atle Brynestad told Seatrade Cruise News.
'Amazing way to see the world'
'Our guests want to see the world. They want to explore new things, not on a big ship but a small ship with high quality and personal service. [SeaDream Innovation] will be an amazing way to see the world.'
With a Polar Class 6 rating, Innovation can 'do any itinerary an expedition ship can do,' but besides Antarctica and the Arctic, it will visit places like Japan, Korea, Bali, Fiji, New Guinea, Sydney and beyond. 'That's why we call it "Global Yachting,"' Brynestad said of the ship's new motto. 'We'll go all over the world with the same level of luxury service' as on SeaDream I and II.
The 15,600gt ship will carry just 220 passengers (200 in Antarctica), with a one-to-one crew-to-guest ratio.
SeaDream Innovation will focus on outdoor life but, true to its yachting style, 'You can be active if you want to be active or relax if you want to relax,' Brynestad said.
With an open-air restaurant spread across three levels overlooking the pool, travelers will be able dine outside for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with great views from every table. Heaters will take the edge off cool days.
The ship also has a 'great indoor restaurant,' Brynestad said, 'but for our guests it is so important that they can participate, feel and see amazing nature.'
SeaDream Innovation is bucking the trend of specialty restaurants.
Brynestad thinks it's 'old fashioned that you have to go to a specialty restaurant and book a table and often wait for days to get a table to have a particular cuisine. For us, it is natural that you will have the best cuisine every day. You do not need to go to a meat or fish restaurant to get good meat or fish. All this is available every day at the highest quality whenever our guests want to have their meal served.'
Having a celebrity chef affiiliation isn't SeaDream's style, either.
'Most of the time they do not sail with the ship; they just make the menu and never make the food,' Brynestad said. 'For us, every chef is trained to cook the best cuisine possible for every meal at any time 24/7. The best meat, fish, French or Asian cuisine or whatever our guests want to have at any time, any day. That includes also the best raw food [which SeaDream introduced in 2012] or the best vegan or vegetarian food.'
And alfresco sleeping
Top deck Balinese beds for relaxing by day and sleeping out by night have been a SeaDream signature since the start, and that will be expanded on the new ship to accommodate more than 40 people.
Sleeping under the stars or the midnight sun will be an 'amazing experience ... out in nature but in a very safe environment,' Brynestad said. In cold weather the Balinese beds will have heated blankets.
SeaDream Innovation will offer separate marinas for motorized and nonmotorized water sports, with a third marina for swimming in the ocean in a secure pool.
Brynestad described the all-suite accommodations as stylish, with Scandinavian decor and light colors, adding: 'We are not competing to have the biggest suites.'
The entry-level Journey Suites have windows and measure 29 square meters/312 square feet. Discovery Suites with balcony measure 31 square meters/323 square feet. Adventurer Suites with balcony have an enclosed bedroom and walk-in closet and are 42.3 square meters/456 square feet.
The premium suites, which add a dining area, powder room, double sinks in the bathroom and other features, are Archer, 46.8 square meters/502 square feet; Sverdrup, 55.8 square meters/600 square feet; Amundsen and Nansen, 56.4 square meters/607 square feet; Eriksson, 91.3 square meters/982 square feet and Heyerdahl, 93.7 square meters/1,008 square feet.
Working with Damen
The Innovation order was a cruise ship breakthrough for Damen Shipyards which, like SeaDream, is a family business and, Brynestad noted, has built yachts of 'extremely high quality.'
The SeaDream vessel will be constructed and outfitted at Damen's large Mangalia shipyard in Romania on the Black Sea, with the engines, other technical components and interiors from 'very experienced suppliers from all over Europe.'
Seasoned newbuild team
Brynestad, who founded Seabourn in 1987 and built its original fleet, said he's 'into every detail' of Innovation's design, and he's got a seasoned team working for him. It's headed by SVP Joonatan Haukilehto, a naval architect who joined this year from Carnival Maritime in Hamburg after earlier experience at AIDA Cruises and Deltamarin.
Other members include Willy Kristensen, who's worked with Brynestad for 30 years and was in charge when he built the Seabourn ships and when he converted the Sea Goddess vessels into SeaDream I and II.
Kjell Sande also has a 30-year association with Brynestad, most of the time aboard ship as chief engineer. And Larry Rapp, who is overseeing the hotel operation plans, was with Brynestad from the early Seabourn time.
Counting Brynestad, the newbuild has a combined 120 years’ experience operating top-end luxury ships serving 112 to 212 guests.
The expedition team is currently being recruited. As Brynestad put it: 'We are Norwegians. Expeditions are in our bones.'
SeaDream Innovation will be flagged to the Norwegian International Ship Register, and carry a multinational crew. The classification society is DNV GL.
The ship is scheduled to be christened in London on Sept. 18, 2021, before setting off on a 70-day maiden voyage via Spain, the Azores, Bermuda, Bimini, Miami, Havana, Belize, Honduras, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Cape Horn, Argentina, the South Shetland Islands and Antarctica, ending at Ushuaia.
Fares start at $41,999 plus government, port, document and service fees of $2,800 per person.
Bookings above expectations
According to Brynestad, there have been 'many bookings' for this odyssey.
In fact, bookings overall have been 'far above expectations,' he said, from both SeaDream Club members and travelers new to the brand.