Regent Seven Seas Cruises
OnboardRegent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC), now owned by Prestige Cruise Holdings (which also operates sister line Oceania Cruises), is a luxury line that balances traditional onboard ambience and contemporary features and amenities. One of the most value-oriented cruise lines in the business, RSSC is uniquely inclusive; its cruise fares cover pre- and post-cruise tours, as well as hotel stays, gratuities, shore excursions and beverages, from liquor to soda.
This inclusivity has an interesting effect on the onboard ambience of the three-ship fleet of Mariner, Voyager and Navigator. Because passengers travel together (whether on their voyage's pre-cruise land portion 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 and 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 ship itself offers a relaxed luxury experience.
Each ship's four restaurants operate on all-open-seating dining policy, from the main restaurant venue to Prime 7, the ultra-popular steakhouse, and from Signature, a haute French place, to the delightful Italian-influenced Sette Mare. Food and service are superb and choices, on any menu, are 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 are poured on a complimentary basis throughout the ship.
Regent Seven Seas offers all-suite accommodations (on Mariner and Voyager all suites have private balconies), and they're among the most spacious in the luxury sector.
Regent's new parent company has invested in the cruise line, notably adding a Canyon Ranch Spa Club to operate its small spas and gyms, a new concierge-level accommodation category with additional perks, and a combination of "free" and extra-fee shore excursions.
About Regent Seven Seas CruisesLuxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which is based in Miami, was formed in 1992 as a result of the merger between 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 since been retired from the fleet.)
Since the late 1990's, the line has grown steadily, adding Paul Gauguin in 1997, 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. (Paul Gauguin's Tahiti-based cruises are now operated by another line, Paul Gauguin Cruises.)
In 2006, Radisson Seven Seas Cruises underwent another name change to become Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
During this time, the cruise line was owned by Minneapolis-based Carlson Hospitality Worldwide, one of the travel industry's largest hospitality companies. 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.
Changes in Regent Seven Seas Cruises' ownership haven't affected passengers too much. Still, more significant evolutionary features have indeed taken place. For one, the fleet of three ships has received major upgrades that have included the addition of wireless capabilities (and improved computer connections, though it's still slower than it should be) and new bedding, featuring down comforters and Egyptian cotton linens. Staterooms also gotten flat-screen televisions, DVD players and new clocks. Higher-end suites received iPod music systems (with Bose speakers) and free-to-borrow iPads, as well. Additionally, cell phone access is available even at sea.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises FleetHistorically, Regent Seven Seas Cruises has had ships with vastly differing architecture and style, while still maintaining a consistency in programs and services. The fleet is much more homogenized, though, now that Radisson Diamond and Paul Gauguin have left. Under its Prestige management, great effort has been made to provide more consistency across the three-ship fleet.
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."
Fellow PassengersWhile the age range encompasses couples from the mid-30's to 80's, Regent Seven Seas Cruises primarily attracts professional and retired couples, ages 60-plus, who are affluent and seasoned travelers. The line, which traditionally is 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 level of individual sailings -- so seven-night Mediterranean voyages attract a slightly younger, more active demographic than lengthier cruises, which are more appealing to its core audience. (You can easily find more than 50 percent of passengers are Regent repeaters on cruises of more than 14 nights.)
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