Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced today that it will cancel two cruises aboard its Seven Seas Voyager -- the April 18 sailing, which was to be the last segment of a 115-night world cruise, scheduled to end in Ft. Lauderdale on May 8, and the May 8 sailing, a 23-night transatlantic voyage to Southampton via Reykjavik.
As we reported earlier, Seven Seas Voyager had to skip two calls on its March 18 voyage, a segment from Singapore to Dubai, due to damage to one of the ship's propulsion pods after a piece of fishing line became entangled in the ship's propeller. After inspection in Dubai, the damage has been deemed greater than originally thought, requiring the ship to go into dry dock in Rome for repairs.
Interestingly, this is the second world cruise this year to run into mechanical trouble resulting in significant itinerary changes. Britain's P&O Cruises ran into trouble with its Aurora last month, resulting in five port cancellations and rumors of passenger upheaval. In this case, however, the timing of the damage and subsequent repairs means Seven Seas Voyager's world cruise will be cut short.
Seven Seas Voyager will depart from Dubai on its April 1 world cruise segment today as planned, but will be sailing a modified itinerary that calls in Muscat, Safaga (for Luxor, where Regent will host a special shoreside event for all passengers), Aqaba and Alexandria en route to Rome. The ship is expected to arrive in Rome on April 18. Once in Rome, Regent will arrange for passengers to stay in hotels until new flights can be booked and will facilitate the shipping of the significant amount of world cruise luggage.
Passengers on the April 1 world cruise segment will receive a 50 percent refund of their cruise fare and a 50 percent future cruise credit. Also, all passengers on the March 18 voyage from Singapore to Dubai -- during which the ship incurred the damage -- were refunded the value of the segment, due to the missed ports. Regent also offered full world cruise travelers and those scheduled to embark in Dubai several options. Passengers already onboard could choose to disembark in Dubai or switch to Seven Seas Mariner's world cruise (the ship is sailing the Far East before heading to Alaska and Canada). Alternately, travelers scheduled to embark in Dubai could choose to cancel without penalty.
Although Regent has not revealed additional compensation details, spokesman Andrew Poulton told us that the company will compensate all travelers on canceled or altered itineraries: "We will be very generous and make sure everyone gets home safely."
Indeed, member le tilleul posted this weekend that the line's generosity went a long way in making an unfortunate situation easier to swallow: "The captain has just made a general announcement that Regent will be refunding the cost of the segment between Singapore and Dubai to all passengers ... the passengers are more than delighted and all are now talking of booking future cruises with Regent. The entire mood of the ship has changed from general disappointment and complaints to elation."
Travelers on affected sailings can call a special toll-free number, 877-505-5632, to ask questions and learn more about compensation packages and alternate itineraries.
--by Erica Silverstein, Senior Editor
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Regent Seven Seas Cancels Two Cruises Due to Voyager Repairs
April 1, 2009