Sunday, March 29, 2009

Regent Voyager World Cruise - Pod Problems Update No. 3

I had a long conversation with Prestige Cruise Holdings today and, before I give the details, I would like to say that I am quite impressed with how Regent Seven Seas is now responding to the situation.  It is, it would seem, a refreshing return to the former Radisson levels of customer service, or quite possibly, just a new and long awaited approach consistent with that which is expected of a luxury cruise line.  Yeah!

Now for the details:

First, I have been told that Mark Conroy is going to be meeting the ship upon its arrival to address the passengers' concerns.  That is a very welcome acknowledgement of Regent's guests' importance.  (It is not known if he will sail with the ship from Dubai for one or more ports.)

Second, Regent is going to be refunding the full cruise fare for all guests for the Singapore to Dubai segment.  In addition, World Cruise passengers are going to be given the option of transferring from the Voyager's World Cruise to the Mariner's World Cruise at no cost or expense.

Third, for the guests planning on embarking in Dubai they will have a number of options.  They can cancel without penalty; or, They can stay with the sailing and if there is a problem either delaying the Dubai departure or after departing (more below on that) they will receive a 25% refund and a 25% future cruise credit; or, they can transfer to the Mariner World Cruise for its next 14 or 28 day segment (their choice as the next Voyager segment, I believe 17 days) at no additional cost.

Regent will be taking care of all flight changes and assoicated arrangements.

Now, here is the news on the pod repairs.  Regent is planning on constructing a watertight cocoon around the pod so work can be completed in the necessary dry environment.  (I am told a similar arrangement was used when the Oceania Nautica had a propeller issue in Livorno, Italy last year.)  The technicians are all scheduled to arrive on March 30th and the ship will be arriving either late on the 30th or very early in the morning on the 31st. 

Work will start quickly as it will, regardless, be dark under the ship so underwater floodlighting will be used. The key is to get the seals appropriately seated so that there is no water infiltration into the pod.  The problem...if it is a problem...is that the repairs cannot really be tested at the dock.  The seals can be tested with the pod motor at idle speed and the main engines running at the dock, but until a load is put on the pod motor the new seals cannot be tested.  So Voyager will have to sail away from Dubai to test the repairs.  The plan is to keep sailing with all being well.  The alternative is to return to Dubai for further repairs...which nobody wants.

So keep your fingers and toes crossed.  When I have more info I will pass it along.