Friday, April 10, 2009

Oceania Cruises - More Like Regent Seven Seas Every Day...Or Is It The Other Way Around?

Oceania Cruises makes a concentrated effort to let people know it is not a luxury product, but rather an excellent premium product where you are going to pay for pretty much everything ala carte.  Well, that is starting to change.

Oceania has announced that guests sailing on its 2010 European Collection voyages will receive free unlimited soft drinks and bottled water

That may not sound like such a big deal, but let me tell you having to pay $1.50 for a bottle of water you can purchase (retail) at Costco for 13 cents is considered a very large insult by a good few people.  (Ironically, I had said to Azamara when it sought my input as to how to tweak its product it should do exactly this!)

So now, comparing Regent Seven Seas to Oceania the differences have shrunken just a bit more.  Open seating, quality cuisine (more-so on Oceania, I believe), inclusive soft drinks and water, essentially interchangeable staff and crew, etc.  So Oceania has overall better public spaces and itineraries and Regent has better suites (and far, far, better bathrooms) and is liquor inclusive.

My question is:  "When is the merger between the two products going to be complete?"  When there are far more elements in common then there are distinctions, it only makes sense.  Too far fetched?  Take a look at Seabourn.  It has found a way to market and operate two different classes of ships with different offerings by maintaining a very strong consistency when and where ever possible.

With the recent release of so many of Regent's sales and marketing people, the combination of purchasing, provisioning and staffing, the Oceanification of Regent is, to my mind, almost complete.