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You can have whatever you want, whenever you want it,” said Jason Montague, president and CEO of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, during a fall press event onboard Seven Seas Mariner. “If you want lobster every night, it’s yours.”
By replacing the usual menu cycle with customizable options, Regent delivers a dining program that even land-based restaurants are hesitant to offer. And now, the company is rolling out the culinary transformation that debuted on Regent Explorer to its entire fleet.
“It’s important when you bring out the most luxurious ship ever built that there is no disparity with the existing ships,” Montague said.
To ensure consistency fleetwide, Regent is spending $125 million on refurbishing the remaining ships.
The main dining room of all the ships, Compass Rose, will have two sides to the dinner menu. The left side will be completely open for guests to customize their choices and dinner combinations; the right side will include the executive chef’s specials along with healthful dishes from Canyon Ranch, plus a five-course menu degustation. The dishes that take a long time to prepare, such as prime rib and duck, are in a class by themselves, since Regent prepares everything made to order. The only drawback will be the time it takes to make a decision, even without going completely off the menu, which approaches the size of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
“People today want to eat exactly what they want,” said Franco Semeraro, senior vice president of hotel operations for Regent.
And Regent will be giving guests what they want on Versace tableware made exclusively for the line — accompanied by 12 to 14 complimentary wine selections.
Chefs will plan their purchases so that ingredients are available to satisfy their guests’ every whim.
“We spent so much time on this beforehand,” Semeraro said. “Now, we can predict very accurately what we will need. We just have to make adjustments for different nationalities onboard.”
He finds that today’s guests have changed in their tastes, ordering more vegetables and seafood and less red meat. Whether they choose meat, chicken, seafood or pasta, they will have a long menu of sauces to choose from — from green peppercorn and hollandaise to Madeira truffle — as well as a formidable list of side dishes to tackle, from asparagus and Brussels sprouts to sweet potato fries, baked potatoes and beets. And yes, expect a daily choice of cruise favorites such as lobster, Dover sole, scallops, shrimp, pasta and risotto.
Guests also dictate how they want their choices prepared: poached, roasted, grilled, baked or broiled.
Vegetarian, vegan and allergy-sensitive options are plentiful, and selections for passengers with allergies will be cooked separately to avoid any contamination. Guests should notify staff in advance, and both the chefs and servers will keep a watchful eye on ingredients and cooking methods. Passengers can also request low-fat or fat-free preparation, as well as low-sodium and sugar-free dishes.
“The truth is, we have always prepared special requests with notice in advance,” said Bernhard Klotz, senior culinary director for Regent. “Now we can give them whatever they want a la minute.”
Guests can even receive Compass Rose dinners delivered to their rooms, served course by course inside the room or on the balcony.
The new lunch menu is a tour of Regent Explorer’s restaurants, including two selections each (appetizers and entrees) from Prime 7 steakhouse, Chartreuse French bistro and the pan-Asian Pacific Rim.
Seven Seas Navigator already has the new dining system in place; it will be launched Nov. 9 on Voyager and May 13 on Mariner, following each vessel’s drydock.
“By next spring, we will not only have the industry’s most luxurious ship — we’ll have the most luxurious fleet,” Montague said.