Historically, Regent Seven Seas Cruises had the distinction of having ships with vastly differing architecture and style while still maintaining a consistency in programs and services, but the fleet has become more homogenized.
The three current ships, Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager, offer slightly different interpretations of a floating luxury resort, but the emphasis is on "slightly." Seven Seas Explorer is due to join the fleet in July 2016. The cruise line says it will be the most luxurious ship at sea. Its highest-level suite, the Regent Suite, includes in-cabin spa treatments and a personal driver in every port for private excursions. A sister ship to Explorer is scheduled to debut in 2020.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which is based in Miami, was formed in 1992 through the merger of two one-ship lines -- Radisson Cruises and Seven Seas Cruises. The former contributed the Radisson Diamond, the industry's only twin-hulled ship, and the latter operated Song of Flower. Both have been retired from the fleet.
Since the late 1990s, the line has grown steadily, adding Seven Seas Navigator in 1999 and Seven Seas Mariner, the world's first all-suite, all-balcony ship, in 2001. Seven Seas Voyager, the line's second all-suite, all-balcony ship, entered service in April 2003. In 2006, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises underwent another name change to become Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
During this time, Minneapolis-based Carlson Hospitality Worldwide owned the cruise line. But in late fall 2007, New York-based Apollo Management, L.P., signed an agreement to acquire Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The deal closed in winter 2008. At the time, Prestige Cruise Holdings was created to manage the cruise portion of Apollo Management's portfolio. In November 2014, Norwegian Cruise Line acquired Prestige, which now falls under the broader Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings parent brand.
Great effort has gone into providing consistency across the fleet. The ships have received upgrades that included the addition of wireless capabilities (and improved computer connections though it's still slower than it should be). Cabins have flat-screen TVs with on-demand movies available for free, and higher-end suites have iPod music systems (with Bose speakers) and free-to-borrow iPads. Cell phone access is available, even at sea.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises, owned by Prestige Cruise Holdings (which also operates sister line Oceania Cruises), is a luxury line that balances traditional onboard ambience with contemporary features and amenities. One of the most value-oriented cruise lines in the business, RSSC is uniquely inclusive: fares cover cruise prices, pre- and post-cruise tours and hotel stays, gratuities, shore excursions and beverages, from liquor to sodas.
This inclusivity has an interesting impact on the onboard ambience of the three-ship fleet of Mariner, Voyager and Navigator. (Explorer joins the fleet in July 2016.) Because passengers travel together, whether on pre-cruise land portions or on the vast menu of free shore excursions, there's a lot of bonding on the typical Regent Seven Seas cruise. That results in a wonderfully social ambience onboard, and people get friendlier as the trip proceeds.
While some facets of the RSSC experience are quite traditional (passengers typically dress elegantly for dinner, whatever the dress code, and entertainment tends toward karaoke, trivia and Broadway-esque performances), the ships themselves offer relaxed luxury experiences.
Each ship has four open-seating restaurants: The main restaurant venue, Prime 7 steakhouse, haute French spot Signatures and the Italian-influenced Sette Mari at La Veranda. Chartreuse, another French restaurant, will replace Signatures on Voyager and Navigator in 2016. It also will be included on Explorer, along with Pan-Asian restaurant Pacific Rim. Food and service are superb, and choice is plentiful. House wines, of a higher quality than we've seen on other luxury lines that offer free drinks, are poured at lunch and dinner, and other liquor-based drinks, with premium spirits, are poured on a complimentary basis throughout the ship.
Regent Seven Seas offers all-suite accommodations and are among the most spacious in the luxury sector. On Mariner and Voyager, all suites have private balconies.
Investments in the fleet include a partnership with Canyon Ranch Spa Club, which operates the fleet's small spas and gyms, a concierge-level accommodation category with additional perks and a combination of "free" and extra-fee shore excursions. Regent is investing $125 million to upgrade and refurbish Navigator, Voyager and Mariner in 2016 and 2017 with new furnishings and decor in suites and public spaces.
While the age range encompasses couples from the mid-30s to 80s, Regent Seven Seas Cruises primarily attracts professional and retired couples, aged 60-plus, who are affluent and seasoned travelers. The line, which traditionally has marketed to North Americans, has begun to court travelers from other parts of the world, including the U.K., Spain, Japan, France, Portugal and Brazil, among other places.
The itinerary of the ship tends to drive the age and activity levels of individual sailings, so seven-night Mediterranean voyages attract a slightly younger, more active demographic than do lengthier cruises, which are more appealing to its core audience. More than 50 percent of passengers are Regent repeaters on 14-plus night cruises.