If splashy ship new-building projects like Celebrity Solstice and Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas are garnering a lion's share of headlines, the industry's quieter trend toward fleet refurbishments is also gaining traction.
Regent Seven Seas' announcement yesterday that it plans to spend $40 million to enhance and refurbish its fleet was the second such development this month. Holland America recently revealed details of its own ambitious plans to refresh its S- and Rotterdam-class vessels.
In this case, all three RSSC ships -- Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator -- will undergo stem to stern improvements. The effort begins in December with Seven Seas Voyager; Seven Seas Mariner will go into dry dock a month later (more details on Seven Seas Navigator's refurbishment, which won't take place until 2010, aren't yet available).
Specifically, changes to Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager include redesigns (and redecoration) of public rooms. A new alternative restaurant -- Prime Seven -- will replace the current Indochine-influenced Latitudes. The Pool Grill will be upgraded with new lounging and eating areas. The ships' all-suite accommodations will receive cosmetic revamps, from new carpet and lighting to upholstery and wallpaper. Seven Seas Voyager will get a larger coffee and snack bar (Seven Seas Mariner already has the Coffee Connection), and both will receive extra informal dining options, such as pizza ovens and ice cream bars.
The refurbishment for both ships will take place at Freeport's Grand Bahama Shipyard; other notable cruise ship projects that have taken place there include the transformation of Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, and Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas. The design work will be supervised by Oslo-based Yran and Storbraaten, a firm whose work is displayed on fleets such as Seabourn, Silversea and Disney, not to mention half of Holland America's new Eurodam -- and Regent Seven Seas itself.
Interestingly, this latest major project for Regent Seven Seas comes relatively soon after the line invested some $20 million in upgrades. Unlike some other relatively comparable cruise lines, such as Seabourn, Silversea and even Oceania, however, Regent Seven Seas has no ships under construction at this time.
--by Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Regent Seven Seas Cruises Plans Major Fleet Upgrade
September 16, 2008