PHOTO: The Seven Seas Mariner, pictured in Kotor, Montenegro, will visit Cuba in April.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with a host of enhancements – a luxurious new ship, a $125 million fleet renovation, new dining room menus and an expanded collection of online resources for travel agents.
As the line begins a yearlong silver anniversary celebration, it’s worth remembering how it began with a very unusual ship. “It was May 26, 1992, when the twin-hulled, 19,000-ton, 354-passenger Radisson Diamond was christened, officially launching what would become Regent Seven Seas Cruises,” said Jason Montague, president and CEO of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
Three years later, Radisson Diamond Cruises – which was started by Carlson Worldwide, founder of Radisson Hotels – merged with Seven Seas Cruises and the company name changed to Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. In 2006, the Regent name replaced Radisson to better reflect the ships’ upscale nature.
As new ships were built, the Radisson Diamond left the company, along with another sentimental favorite, Song of Flower. Regent also operated the Paul Gauguin in Tahiti for more than a dozen years.
Today, the Regent fleet includes the 700-guest ships Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner, the 490-passenger Seven Seas Navigator and the 750-guest Seven Seas Explorer, delivered in July 2016. A sister ship to Explorer is scheduled to join the fleet in 2020. Regent Seven Seas Cruises is now owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
The company is celebrating its anniversary with 25 special voyages that will feature exclusive activities and special events, including lunch buffets in the restaurant galleys and complimentary wine, whiskey and cocktail tastings. Guests sailing on the anniversary cruises will receive a commemorative pin and are encouraged to share their favorite Regent moments on a dedicated microsite (http://Regent25.com).
Another noteworthy development for 2017 is the line’s first calls to Cuba. Departing on April 11 and April 18 out of Miami, the seven-night cruises aboard Seven Seas Mariner are virtually sold out, with just a few suites on waitlist, according to the company website at press time in early January.
The Seven Seas Mariner will undergo a bow-to-stern refurbishment in March 2018, the final phase of the $125 million fleet-wide refurbishment program. It was originally scheduled for this spring but was postponed after Hurricane Matthew impacted the Grand Bahama shipyard. “We were unable to locate reasonable accommodations for the more than 1,300 workers needed to accomplish the complex, high-level craftsmanship required for Seven Seas Mariner’s refurbishment, originally planned for April 2017,” the company said in a statement. “It was fortuitous that Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. gained approval to offer cruises to Cuba, thus allowing the line to replace the intended 2017 drydock days with new and exciting inaugural Cuba cruises.”
Seven Seas Voyager underwent a major renovation in November and Seven Seas Navigator did so earlier in 2016. The renovations updated both public spaces and suites to bring them up to the standard set by Seven Seas Explorer, which the company bills as “the most luxurious ship ever built.”
“The Seven Seas Explorer reset the bar when it comes to luxury cruising,” said Randall Soy, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “We’re investing $125 million to bring the rest of the fleet up to the same level. It is incredible to walk into the Seven Seas Navigator’s Compass Rose; it was beautiful before, but with new lighting, flatware and linens it’s a completely new space and absolutely magical. It’s about continually raising the bar while recognizing the soul and spirit of those ships that are loved by our guests.”
The Compass Rose restaurants were the recipients of new crystal chandeliers, rich wooden accents, celestial blue furnishings and a completely new menu that Regent says makes it essentially “the largest specialty restaurant at sea.”
Many ship menus offer “available anytime” selections, but Regent took it to a new level. On the left-hand side of the menu, guests can choose from six seafood entrées (jumbo shrimp, Maine lobster tail, Norwegian salmon fillet among them) and seven meat selections (including Black Angus rib-eye, New Zealand lamb chops and Smithfield pork chops). The entrées can be grilled, baked, broiled, poached or roasted and served with any of 19 sauces and 15 side dishes. The right-hand side of the menu features daily specials, including a six-course degustation menu prepared by the executive chef and healthful selections developed by Canyon Ranch, which operates the onboard spas.
“The new Compass Rose menu is so encompassing and customizable that guests with special dining requests no longer need to make them in advance, because our chefs can prepare whatever [guests’] hearts desire à la minute,” said Bernhard Klotz, senior director of culinary.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises includes all-suite accommodations, roundtrip air, fine wines and spirits, unlimited Internet access, sightseeing in every port, gratuities, ground transfers and a pre-cruise hotel package for guests staying in concierge-level suites and higher. Beginning this summer, Regent also will include business-class air for all intercontinental flights.
Call 844-473-4368 or visit www.RSSC.com.
REGENT ENHANCES AGENT OFFERINGS
Regent Seven Seas Cruises updated its online travel agent education program and marketing materials.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises University, available at www.RSSC.com/agent, includes revamped modules titled “Regent Experience” and “Selling Luxury.” Upon successful completion, agents receive two CEU credits from The Travel Institute and a $250 bonus commission on a new booking made within 90 days.
The new Marketing Central includes customizable, downloadable flyers, print ads, emails, web banners and social media posts. The Sales Resource section posts quarterly video updates on new developments. Also new is a bi-monthly travel agent newsletter called “Luxe Agent.”