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Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) has announced additional upgrades as part its multimillion-dollar fleet-wide Seven Seas Signature initiative. President Mark Conroy said more updates and enhancements will be announced in 2012.During the first phase of the Seven Seas Signature program from 2008-2009, the company invested $100 million in its three vessels. Almost every area of the ships was refurbished, with public rooms substantially redesigned by the Yran & Storbraaten of Oslo, Norway.
RSSC then introduced unlimited free shore excursions as part of the all-inclusive package (Regent Choice excursions, including a private tour of the Vatican, are offered at about half price). Conroy said that customers were surprised by the quality and quantity of the offered excursions, which number more than 20 in some ports. In St. Petersburg, Russia, where the ship stays for three days, passengers could fit in as many as nine free excursions of their choice. The move has also raised the level of guest feedback in ports, since they now experience the surrounding areas and appreciate the itineraries more fully, according to Conroy.
In October 2010, the company added phase two of the initiative, announcing a complimentary night in a luxury hotel night before every cruise. The move was guest-driven — RSSC’s strong loyalty program, which accounts for around 60 percent of guests per cruise, is quite vocal in its desires. Angst about air connections are now substantially reduced, since guests receive a night’s stay in a hotel with breakfast before each cruise. Those who choose not to use the free night receive a $300 credit.
Also, Coffee Connection was added to all ships, and the new Suite Slumber Beds were added to all suites in addition to L’Occitane toiletries. Penthouse suites and higher feature Herme toiletries.
The third phase of the fleet-wide program includes renovating select public rooms and suites. Penthouse and higher category suites will be equipped with iPads. Butlers will show guests how to use the iPads if needed and will maintain the devices.
In addition, beginning with the 2012 summer season, guests in concierge-level suites and higher will enjoy a range of benefits from priority online shore excursion and restaurant reservations to 15 minutes of free phone time and an hour of free Internet access upgrades and complimentary amenities.
“We sell very quickly at the top and bottom,” Conroy said. “This feature should give agents ammunition to up-sell their clients in that middle area.”
Conroy also discussed RSSC’s pricing policy, in which those who book first get the best deals.
“We found that when we were discounting heavily we got about the same business — they just paid less,” he added. “The new people who came in were mostly once-in-a-lifetime guests. So we offer two-for-one fares and bonuses early and don’t do last-minute discounting.”
RSSC examines results every 90 days and raises fares on cruises that are doing well. He said the line raised rates on about 75 percent of its cruises on March 31 and expects to raise more this summer.
He added that RSSC is 82 percent sold for 2011 and, that in 2010, only 14 cruises were not sold out. The return to the Northeast and Canada this year has sold out, and the line will return there in 2012.
“We are working hard to remain competitive and fresh, to renew our ships and give customers more reasons to book with us,” Conroy said.