Currently known as the China Star for China Cruises Company, but better known as the Radisson Diamond. This unique little cruise ship is not well known, mainly due to its operation in the Far East.
The Radisson Diamond was constructed at the now closed Rauma Yard in Finland. Built for Diamond Cruise Line, later Radisson Diamond Cruise Line part of Carlson Corporation. In 1995 Radisson Diamond Cruise Line acquired Seven Seas Cruises, becoming Radisson Seven Seas operating both the Radisson Diamond and the Song of Flower, later chartering the Paul Gauguin in 1997. The line added Seven Seas Voyager in 1999 which was the substantial rebuilding of a incomplete Soviet satellite tracking ship.
Radisson Diamon is unusual in her construction, being the largest SWATH ship in the world. Cruise Industry News has some great pictures of her construction, see the link below. At 11,500 GRT this is not a large cruise ship, her unusual design allows for improved stability at sea. However she is also quite slow, with a maximum speed of only 14 knots.
Carrying 350 passengers mainly in balcony cabins the ship was extremely forward thinking, and her design allows her to have some brilliant public areas, the lounge at the front of the ship is two decks high with huge glass window looking out over the sea (you can see this in the main image for this article). I imagine this would be a great place to relax and sail into the sunset, or watch an approaching new destination.
The ship was never owned by Radisson Seven Seas and was chartered from a group of investors, a model of cruise ship finance which is occasionally used. In 2005 the vessel owners sold the ship and the charter was cut short, with Radisson Seven Seas taken by surprise at the speed of the sale having to cancel a well sold summer season in Europe.
Following the sale the ship headed to Hong Kong, conducting casino cruises as the Asia Star and later the China Star. The ship has undergone several refurbishments during this time however continues to maintain her smart and unique design, with a slightly more high profile livery.
I for one would welcome the return of the Radisson Diamond to regular, non casino, cruises. I think the ship would make a good addition to Windstar cruises. Their fleet of high quality unusual smaller ships would make her an interesting addition, one to which I think Windstar passengers would enjoy.
Radisson Diamonds design, with large open deck spaces and an abundance of balconies has made her practically timeless, benefiting from substantial forward thinking in her design like the Royal Princess the ship has a long life ahead of her.
Have you sailed on Radisson Diamond? We would love to hear your cruise story! Please comment below.