Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Upgrades to Regent Seven Seas Voyager and Mariner

There was a very brief article of a mere seven (7) lines yesterday in Travel Weekly about upgrades to the Regent Seven Seas Voyager and Mariner, but interesting silence as to the Navigator.  Also, while the $40,000,000 figure was used, it is hard to tell where the money will really be spent since Mariner is going to have its damaged pod replaced during its drydock. 

According to a quote of Frank Del Rio both of the specialty restaurants (Signatures and Latitudes) will be "redesigned" and the public spaces will be "completely refurbished".  He states that under Prestige Cruise Holdings there will be "significant improvements" and Regent will be "raising the bar".

What struck me, however, was not the positive comments by Mr. Del Rio, but rather the impression expressed by Travel Weekly, "The implicit message is that Regent needs to be better."

Personally, I ever really had a problem with the public areas on the two ships.  They worked just fine.  I don't mind them being refurbished, obviously, and I am sure there will be some pretty interesting things done. 

I am, however, pleased that Signatures and Latitudes are being "redesigned".They need it...from top to bottom.  The spaces were OK, but nothing special.  Walk into the specialty restaurants on Celebrity and you get a much bigger "WOW factor".  I also found the Latitudes menu to be lacking and the Signatures Le Cordon Bleu claims overblown.  I believe there have been discussions of a high quality steakhouse which many (if not myself) would find a popular alternative for those seeking out basic American comfort food.  We shall see, but I hope the cuisine is put to the fore...not hype or glitz.

But with this good news I cannot help but wonder about the training and service aspects of the ships.  That is where I find Regent actually suffers.  To me better "software" is far more important than better "hardware". 

Finally, I am not sure if the upgrades are going to be a springboard for yet higher prices, but I hope not.  I am just finding Regent's present pricing to be cost prohibitive not only for myself, but my clients.

It is a step...a good one...but I look forward to more.