Monday, September 15, 2008

Regent Seven Seas Announces Major Upgrades to Two Ships

Regent Seven Seas Cruises announced that the refurbishments it has been contemplating will commence in December 2008 with the dry-dock of Seven Seas Voyager, followed by Seven Seas Mariner in January 2009.  (The Seven Seas Navigator will not have any of the upgrades until the first half of 2010 and details of those upgrades will be announced later.) 

In addition to the scheduled technical work (like fixing the Voyager's bottom damages and vibration issues and the Mariner's pod being replaced), the press release announces that "almost every area of the ships will be refurbished", with public rooms being substantially redesigned with new furniture, using "sumptuous materials" such as leathers, suede, and mahogany, along with warm color schemes and rich fabrics offset by marble and granite accents. In other words, the Voyager and Mariner will be transformed from rather bland and blue spaces to more appropriate upscale and elegant ones.  For me this is very good news, indeed!

The highlights of the refurbishment program for Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner include:

1.  The creation of a new alternative dining concept and venue - a steakhouse named Prime Seven -that will replace the current "Asian-fusion" Latitudes restaurants.

2.  The redesign of lounges and public rooms to create more spacious areas for relaxation

3.  The creation of elegant new lounge and dining areas around the Pool Grill

4.  New carpeting, wallpaper, upholstery, light fixtures, and drapes in most public areas and guest suite accommodations

5.  More casual dining options with the addition of pizza ovens and ice-cream bars

6.  The creation of an extended coffee and snack bar area on Seven Seas Voyager, similar to the very popular Coffee Connection on Seven Seas Mariner

I think each and every one of the announced changes are improvements that were necessary and are very positive. 

BUT - and isn't there always - if you look carefully at the announcement, don't expect $20 million dollars to be thrown at the interiors of each ship.  There are some VERY expensive technical repairs and upgrades that are going to be eating up a good portion of the improvement funds.

Also, if you look at what is being done in an overall feel of the ship, there is much more in the way of soft goods rather than physical changes in the ships that is going to be happening.  That is probably the most efficient use of an improvement budget and I look forward to seeing what will be happening in the next few months as far as the release of any details. 
I hope, but have no information that it will be happening, that part of the renovation of the public spaces will create changes in the main dining rooms, the Compass Rose, to improve seating (to eliminate waits for tables), improve service (with better flow and distribution of work) and menu (with higher quality food and menu items.)

With the focus by many on new ships and Regent's plans for a new ship either on hold or delayed, this signals to me an improvement in its offered product that is very welcome.

I will keep you posted.