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Regent Seven Seas Cruises has brought its three all-suite ships through refurbishment programs totaling $100 million. The line’s Mariner, Navigator and Voyager, spent a total of 80 days in drydock, using 90,000 man hours to make substantial changes to the ships. Regent described the move as the greatest investment in existing tonnage by a luxury operator.
The alterations were largely a result of guest input through comment cards and regular town hall-style meetings, as well as through the online community. Staterooms received new soft goods, and back of the house improvements were made, but the focus was mainly on the ships’ public rooms. Yran and Storbraaten of Oslo, Norway, oversaw the design work along with Regent Seven Seas Cruises' vessel operations team, and the result is a very livable luxury, quite similar to the residences of many Regent passengers.
Voyager and MarinerThe 2001-built Seven Seas Mariner and 2003-built Voyager, both carrying 700-guests, replaced the former Latitudes restaurant with a very elegant steakhouse, Prime 7, which has been a very important home run for the company.
The menu features prime-aged steak and chops along with fresh seafood and poultry specialties. Features include steak tartare and foie gras sliders with rhubarb chutney. and traditional favorites such as oysters Rockefeller and jumbo lump crab cake. They offer eight USDA Prime, dry-aged steaks plus a selection of lamb, pork, poultry and seafood specialties. Desserts are decadent: Chicago-style cheesecake with sweet raspberry sauce, a monumental 14-layer Valrhona chocolate cake with roasted pistachio sauce, banana cream pie with peanut butter crust and apricot-caramel glaze, key lime pie with vanilla mousse and warm apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. The leather furniture, polished granite and burnished woods set off the custom Prime 7 china, silver and crystal.
Each meal is accompanied by complimentary pairings of California white and red wines, and there is an extensive list of exceptional American wines available for purchase by the glass.
As with all alternative-dining venues on RSSC, there is no supplemental charge, but reservations are required and, since they can be made 75 days out, clients would be well advised to make their plans ahead of time. President Mark Conroy said there is sometimes a problem meeting demand for the 50-seat restaurant, despite extending its hours.
The other alternative restaurant is the exquisite Signatures, run under the auspices of La Cordon Bleu. The new black-and-white Versace china draws raves from guests, and the open kitchen, with Cordon Bleu cooking classes, is an attraction in itself. Signatures is open for dinner only, with dishes from a foie gras terrine with plum marmalade to cream of mushroom soup with candied garlic and beef tournedos Rossini to Magret duck filet with apple tart and foie gras.
On the casual dining side, new pizza ovens and ice-cream bars are well patronized, and an extended coffee and snack bar area placed on Voyager is similar to the well received Coffee Connection on Mariner. In addition, Very attractive new lounging and dining areas now are adjacent to the Pool GrillThe ships have new carpeting, wallpaper, upholstery, light fixtures, and drapes in most public areas and guest suite accommodations
Seven Seas Navigator // (c) 2010 Regent Seven Seas Cruises
The main dining room, Compass Rose, is dramatically different on Navigator. The keynote is warmth, and the new armchairs are beyond sumptuous in jewel tones of cranberry and opal russet and cocoa carpets. There is also new china, silver and glassware.
La Veranda, offering indoor and outdoor seating, replaced the former Portofino’s restaurant, with new furniture, carpeting and window treatments, plus signature table settings. Breakfast and lunch are available and in the evenings regionally themed specialty dinners are served.
On Deck 10, Navigator has a new Pool Grill featuring a barbeque grill, hot and cold buffet, panini sandwich station and a coffee and dessert area, all open throughout the day.
The ship’s bars and lounges in general are a pleasing mixture of traditional and contemporary furnishings, with the Stars Lounge resembling a chic designer estate home. The Navigator Lounge combines cappuccino, camel and navy with accents of apple green and lemon.
Galileo’s look is more dramatic, with burgundy and gold offset with accents of soft lavender, sky and moss. A new bar area is has polished stone flooring. A new al fresco lounge has been created on the terrace with cushy sofas and chaises from which guests can enjoy sea views.
Technically, Navigator was given sponsons and a ducktail, along with two high-lift rudders for enhanced maneuverability and the ship is faster now, with twice the water-carrying capacity and a new air conditioning system.
Passengers’ PreferencesRegent customers like the new colors and Prime 7 most of all, Conroy said. He added that all ages do sail on the line; in summer a Regent ship may have as many as 90 passengers under 17, and the line’s Club Mariner programs get very good reviews. Passengers who sail more than 21 days on a Regent cruise are given free Internet use among other perks, which are also highly appreciated. Another guest-pleaser is the block party held onboard the second night if the ship is at sea. Passengers are asked to step into the corridors outside their rooms, where they are served drinks and snacks and get a chance to actually meet their “neighbors.” On the other hand, movies with popcorn on board are not attracting many guests, probably because there is an extensive supply of movies On Demand in the staterooms.
The average Regent passenger is 56, and there is a very strong loyalty factor, with an average of 40 percent repeat rate across the board, rising to 60 percent on the World Cruise.