About Regent Seven Seas Cruises
The current company, based in Ft. Lauderdale, 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. The 700-guest 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, 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. Regent Seven Seas is anticipated to continue, business as usual, from its Ft. Lauderdale headquarters under the leadership of Mark Conroy, the cruise line's longtime company president.
Changes in Regent Seven Seas Cruises' ownership shouldn't affect passengers too much. But over the past few years, more significant evolutionary features have indeed taken place. For one, the fleet of four ships has received significant upgrades that include wireless capabilities (and improved computer connections), new bedding featuring down comforters and Egyptian cotton linens, and Regent-branded bathroom amenities. Staterooms also got flat-screen televisions, DVD players and new clocks. Higher-end suites received iPod music systems (with Bose speakers) as well. And cell phone access is now available even at sea.
Historically, RSSC had the distinction of having ships with vastly differing architecture and style while still maintaining a consistency in programs and services. However, the fleet is much more homogenized now that Radisson Diamond has left the fleet. Paul Gauguin, which incorporates the sultry atmosphere of French Polynesia into nearly all facets of the onboard and onshore experience, had been expected to leave the fleet but will continue to operate through 2010. It's the only ship left with a dramatically different design than its sisters.
The three most recent ships — Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager — all offer slightly different interpretations of a floating luxury resort, but the emphasis is on "slightly." Meanwhile, RSSC is planning a newbuild, but a contract has yet to be signed. In early 2008, the line hosted a special "Build Your Ship" cruise asking longtime Regent guests to weigh in on the sorts of features and amenities they want to see on the new ship.
RSSC ships are known for spacious, elegantly appointed staterooms, and outstanding service and dining. The company boasts some of the industry 's highest space-per-guest and staff-per-guest ratios. Its standard cabins — all of which are called suites — are among the most spacious in the industry. Each ship in the fleet features an Internet center as well as a Carita of Paris spa. Alcoholic beverages, an in-suite bar setup and gratuities are all included in the cabin fare.
Setting the tone for a relaxed cruise experience is RSSC's all-open-seating dining policy in its onboard restaurants. Each ship has the usual main restaurant (though names and themes vary), and operates on a high level that incorporates luxury atmosphere with cuisine. All also offer their own interpretations of alternative restaurants, from a more casual Italian trattoria with singing waiters to intimate Le Cordon Bleu-run establishments. House wines and other liquor-based drinks are poured on a complimentary basis at dinner and all non-alcoholic beverages (cold and hot) are always complimentary throughout the cruise.
Popular features spread across the fleet include a "gratuity included in the fare" policy, butler service in uppermost category suites, and sophisticated entertainment and lecture programs.
RSSC offers globe-spanning routes, touching some 300 ports on every continent, including Antarctica. Voyager sails Mediterranean, Baltic, Caribbean and Panama Canal voyages, as well as a world cruise. Navigator's itineraries include the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Canada, New England, and Top of the World sailings to Iceland and Scandinavia. The Seven Seas Mariner visits Alaska, Caribbean, Pacific, South America, and Panama Canal/Costa Rica. Paul Gauguin remains in French Polynesia year-round. New for 2009, RSSC will offer two world cruise itineraries, the first luxury cruise operator ever to offer two global winter cruises in the same year.
While the age range encompasses couples from the mid-30's to -80's, RSSC primarily attracts professional and retired couples, aged 40+, who are affluent and seasoned travelers (mostly from North America, with a handful of passengers from the rest of the world). The itinerary of the ship tends to drive the age and activity levels of individual sailings.