Docked for one day only a few miles from Newhaven Harbour, the Seven Seas Explorer – touted as the world’s most luxurious cruise ship – dropped its anchor at a Scottish port for the first time.
As guests disembarked for a taste of the city, day passengers keen for a peek aboard the luxury cruise liner, battled the choppy conditions on a 20-minute journey across the Forth to the £340 million ship.
At 55,254 tonnes, the Explorer, which launched in July last year in Monaco, made its debut in British waters on Saturday with a cruise around the UK and Ireland steaming into Edinburgh yesterday.
And behind the no-expense-spared interior design is a 552-strong crew of 50 different nationalities who ensure the ship runs like clockwork.
With a staffing ratio of nearly one-to-one, the day-to-day operation on board ensures every want and desire of the 750 guests is catered for. General manager Franck Galzy said: “I oversee the entire operation including all the guests’ interactions and whatever we can afford to do for them, we do.
“We make sure that we pamper them – we are promoting our ship as the most luxurious ever built which comes with a lot of responsibility.
“There are a lot of demands – they pay a lot of money to be on board, so we need to look after them very closely, which is something we try to achieve every day. Guests can ask for nearly everything – crazy requests and we will try and do it, such as special food requirements to helicopter trips.”
Every room on board is a suite with the three largest options – the Regent, Explorer and Master – currently setting cruisers back almost £28,000, £13,000 and £10,000 respectively, for a ten-night cruise.
The 4,443 sq ft Regent Suite features two bedrooms, a balcony that loops around the front of the ship and its own therapy room with ocean-view shower and spa. The master bed took a year to make and is fitted with a Savoir mattress made from bred-for-this-purpose horse hair and as with all suites it includes food from five top-class restaurants, drinks, entertainment and on-shore excursions.
Cruise director John Barron, from Newcastle, is in charge of the vast entertainment programme ensuring there is never a dull evening on board.
As well as comedy acts and ballroom dancing, Broadway shows are staged in the ornate Constellation Theatre by 12 performers, accompanied by a seven-piece orchestra.
“Before the ship was even launched we announced a big enhanced entertainment programme because we wanted to make it in line with the food, the beverage, the service and the high standards the suites have as well and that includes high-energy productions – it’s a real extravaganza,” said Mr Barron.
On a typical 14-day cruise, 2,000lbs of lobster is consumed from any of the three gourmet restaurants on board, and some from the 400 Versace place settings in the signature dining room, Compass Rose.
Chef Aurelin Duneylet, a native of Limoges, France, who was previously chef saucier in the famous Hotel Martinez in Cannes, tries to load fresh produce from local ports.
“Depending on the ship’s itinerary, we’ll bring local goods such as fish and local specialities – including maybe some whisky from Edinburgh – on board for our guests.”