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A Very Unique Cruise Ship: The ssv Radisson Diamond

Radisson's 350-passenger Diamond is a unique ship that offers small-ship intimacy and large-ship amenities. She is the only SWATH (small, waterplane, area, twin, hull) cruise ship in the world, which has the benefit of less vibration and a smoother ride in most sea conditions—a great ship for those who fear seasickness.


All of the Diamond's staterooms are outside cabins, with 70 percent being balconies. At 243 square feet, my verandah stateroom was beautifully decorated offering a large marble-lined bathroom with tub/shower and plenty of closet and drawer space. Radisson is renowned for it's wonderful cabin amenities, including VCR, down duvets and pillows, terry cloth robes, fresh flowers, and cushioned reclining deck chairs. Each stateroom includes a refrigerated bar stocked with soft drinks and bottled water as well as an in-room bar with premium liquor. In addition to the standard staterooms, there are four 522-square-foot suites.

Diamond's Refined Elegance

The ship's understated décor of blond woods and brass creates an unassuming ambiance. There is a modest library and video center, a computer room (offering e-mail only), several lounges, plus a lobby, gift shop, and casino. Adorned with hand-painted frescos and gold pillars, the grand dining room, located at the stern, is the ship's most beautiful room. The other spectacular room is the entertainment forum Windows Lounge, which has its set of two-story windows located at the very front of the ship.

Service and Cuisine

Dining on the Diamond is unstructured, offering single, open seating at all meals. Service onboard is impeccable, and the highly trained staff is efficient and exceptionally friendly. No small detail is overlooked, as you'll find them passing out dry towels and cool lemonade to sunbathers, and changing towels twice a day in your stateroom. You don't need to worry about tipping on Radisson Diamond because gratuities are included in the cruise fare.

Complimentary wines are served at lunch and dinner, and guests enjoy soft drinks, mineral waters, and juices throughout their cruise at no additional charge. In most cases, food is gourmet with lobster and caviar being the highlights. Alfresco breakfast and luncheon buffets are wonderful in The Grill restaurant on deck, adjacent to the pool. You can dine in the glass-enclosed restaurant or at a table overlooking the ocean. Once per cruise, passengers attend a casual multi-course Italian feast at Don Vito's (The Grill during the day), complete with singing waiters—for me, this was the dining highlight of the cruise. Room service is available 24-hours with an extensive menu, which is served in courses by your own personal waiter.


Entertainment is very limited on the Diamond, which is typical for small ships. The Club, with a piano bar was the most functional and luxurious lounge, and onboard shows were located in the panoramic Windows Lounge where acts include several cabaret-style productions and comedians. To stimulate the mind, several interesting enrichment lectures were available on the history of the Panama Canal.


On the top deck, there is a small swimming pool and Jacuzzi. For, those who like to keep active there is a jogging track, exercise room with equipment, golf cage, and shuffleboard. There is a foldout water sports marina that is used for swimming, along with complimentary jet skis, water skiing, and banana boat rides. For pampering, there is a small Steiner spa offering massages, and beauty and hair treatments.

This cruise suits those more inclined toward soft-adventures. Tours offered included historical highlights in Cartagena, Columbia, and the Panama Canal's Gatun Locks. For the more adventurous, there were several diving expeditions including hand-feeding sharks in Curacao, rainforest walks in Panama, and climbing to treetop rainforest observatory in Costa Rica. A memorable day was when the ship anchored off Panama's San Blas Islands where passengers were able to have a beach day in addition to interacting with the Kuna Indians.

Real Traveler Thoughts

The ship is great for seniors and couples, but is not recommended for families, as there are no onboard facilities for children. Nevertheless, there were a few children onboard who seemed to have a great time regardless. Those who relish abundant nightlife activities might get bored with the limited entertainment offerings as most guests retire early. This is ultra-luxury cruising that is all about quiet sophistication. This cruise is best for people who want high quality food and service in a low-key, relaxing environment.

If You Go

ssv Radisson Diamond is one of five vessels in Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' fleet. From December through April, the Radisson Diamond operates a distinctive Panama Canal program featuring extensive land options in Costa Rica, Mexico, Central America, and Caribbean ports, with summers devoted to Mediterranean cruises from Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Istanbul, and Nice. Depending upon the itinerary and length, prices range from $995 per person in the off-season to over $8,000 per person during the high season. Visit Radisson Seven Seas Cruises' (RSSC) website for more details.

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