My stateroom on Seven Seas Voyager was one of the best I’ve ever had – not just because it was a good size, but because of its location, at the aft end of the ship with a view over the wake.

The suite was called a Horizon View – not the best accommodation by any means, but it had a large balcony, a walk-in wardrobe and good size bathroom.

It was let down by a chunky TV and DVD, which vibrated when the ship was manoeuvring into port, but I forgave it on account of the huge – and free – DVD library on board.

Seven Seas Voyager has four restaurants including a self-service eatery, which becomes an Italian bistro at night and was my favourite non-bookable dining venue,  because the food was good and for the ambience.

The main restaurant has open seating but it lacked atmosphere. Latitudes, an Indo-Chinese restaurant and Signatures, which serves food created by chefs trained at the Cordon Bleu culinary school in Paris, are free but require reservations and were fully booked by the time I got on board.

Fortunately, cancellations came up, because the food in both was amazing. The cruiseline has an all-inclusive drinks policy, which made life easier and boosted its standing considerably in the luxury stakes.

I had a couple of bad experiences at breakfast with confused orders and food that never arrived, but overall, the service was efficient and friendly. Waiters remembered faces, likes and dislikes, which added a six-star touch.

 

Seven Seas Voyager fact sheet

Ship statistics: 46,000 tons, 350 suites, all with balconies. Holds 700 passengers.

Passenger crew ratio: 1.6:1.

On-board culture: Very American, but also very relaxed. Outside formal evenings, passengers were smart but definitely casual.

Facilities: The main dining room Compass Rose, La Veranda self-service, Latitudes and Signatures. All dining is free. Also a pool-side grill, three lounges, a Carita-run spa and fitness centre.

Cost of excursions: From $35 for a four-hour Russian shopping trip to $259 per person for a three-hour, high-speed boat ride around Helsinki archipelago or $659 for a day trip to Moscow from St Petersburg.

Sample package: A seven-night cruise from Stockholm to Copenhagen in August 2008, including two nights in St Petersburg, costs from £2,661
per person cruise-only.