Now that the pandemic and an 18-month shutdown are largely astern, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is launching a phased roll-out of its fleet of five uber-sleek ships.
It’s also prepping for the launch of its sixth all-suite vessel—in 2023.
At dock since March 2020, the luxury brand for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings slipped its first ship back onto the ocean this fall. The re-launch of the Seven Seas Splendor was followed by its sister ship, the Explorer. Next up is the Mariner, then the Navigator, and the Voyager.
The Splendor actually launched in 2020, but its itinerary was reduced to just two-and-a-half cruises by the pandemic. So it’s back on its inaugural season now.
“It’s better to do this slowly, rather than all at once,” says Jason Montague, Regent’s president and CEO. “But we have record bookings for voyages—there’s a bunch of pent-up demand.”
Regent boasts 450 destinations worldwide. During summer, four of its five ships will be in northern Europe and the Mediterranean. During winter, they’ll be in the Caribbean, South America, and on a world cruise out of the states—to Asia, Australia, New Zealand or Africa.
The average length of a cruise is 12 days, though a world cruise can last 120 to 140 days—and they’ve got a loyal following. “The 2024 world cruise just went on sale and sold out in two-and-a-half hours,” he says. “The demand for longer itineraries has never been better.”
He attributes that popularity to people being cooped up for so long because of Covid 19. “They realize that time is precious,” he says. “And they want to get the most out of their investment—and our return on investment is off the charts.”
That’s because amenities are lavished upon any Regent cruise ship experience—the most inclusive in the vacation industry. There’s free business-class air travel to Europe or Asia, free land passes—like a three-day safari in South Africa—and (refreshingly) no beverage charges throughout the ship and no charges for cuisine in any of the gourmet restaurants.
Stops ashore are equally generous. “We have free unlimited shore excursions for guests to fully immerse themselves in the destinations we visit,” he says. “And there’s a 4,443-square-foot Regent Suite that comes with a private car and driver in every port of call—and that’s unique.”
Onboard, the level of service creates a family-focused culture where guests and staff form lasting bonds. That means they have guests who have sailed with the cruise line for more than 2,000 or even 3,000 nights. “Luxury on board is defined by the individual—the focus is on customizing how guests want to experience the world.”
The fleet’s largest restaurant—in fact, the largest specialty restaurant at sea—is the Compass Rose on each Regent ship. Theaters offer four production shows throughout a cruise, along with guest lecturers and entertainers. Plus: casinos, gyms, spas, boutiques and multiple lounges with a variety of entertainment.
The Regent fleet is known for keeping up with trends, if not setting them. “The new ships have infinity pools on the outside decks and spas,” he says. “There are putting ranges, driving ranges, and paddle tennis.”
The largest ships in Regent’s fleet are the Explorer and Splendor, with 375 suites each, ranging from 350 to 4,443 square feet. Prices range from $1,600 per night for two at the entry level, up to $11,000 per night for two in the Regent suite. Still, guests will pay no onboard charges, except for purchases in a boutique, casino, or spa.
When it launches in November 2023, the Seven Seas Grandeur will be a 750-passenger vessel like the Splendor and Explorer. “We’ll take delivery in Europe, then cross the Atlantic to Miami to be christened, and then sail to the Caribbean and the Mediterranean in 2024,” he says.
Designed by Coral Gables-based Studio Dado, the Grandeur is the third and final ship in Regent’s Explorer class. It will have a gross tonnage of 55,000, with some of the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios in the industry.
The firm’s architectural objective for the new vessel was to establish a design language built on the luxury cruise line’s 30 year heritage of perfection. “We set forth to create memorable spaces that resonated with the brand’s well-established guests, while inspiring a new generation of travelers,” says Yohandel Ruiz, founding partner at Studio Dado.
Studio Dado designers and curators sought to bring the outside in by using natural materials like wood and marble, along with antiqued lighting fixtures and custom art installations. “The effect enables guests to breathe in elegant design while feeling at ease among the ship’s luxurious interiors,” he says. “A canvas like Seven Seas Grandeur is a designer’s dream.”
It’s also a canvas designed to deliver a dream-like backdrop for each of its guests, 750 at a time.
For more information, visit rssc.com.
Photographs courtesy of Regent Seven Seas