Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Regent Seven Seas Navigator - Some Details on Her January 2010 Drydocking

There is no question that the Regent Seven Seas Navigator has been the ugly duckling of the fleet for some years now. She has had problems with vibration, air conditioning and plumbing, tired interior spaces and, to be sure, service issues as well.

Prestige Cruise Holdings, parent of Regent Seven Seas, has made a huge commitment to transform this ugly ducking into a beautiful ship both where it can be seen and where it can't. As has been explained to me, during the almost 30 day drydock "the Navigator will be refurbished from stem to stern and keel to mast".

Even in advance of the drydock Regent has undertaken an unexpected, but sorely needed, expedited repair and maintenance program on the ship so that some issues like plumbing, electrical and air conditioning works more consistently...and consistently throughout the ship.

During the drydock the problems with Navigator's electrical problems, inconsistent air conditioning and plumbing (from brown water, to leaks to even the occasional showerhead that falls off) will be fully addressed. What that actually means really cannot be fully stated because until things are well and truly opened up and examined they cannot be known.

For me these are huge issues that can do much to transform a tired ship into a classy one. I know this first hand. During an extended refit of the superyacht MSY Islander I had to address the very same issues and, when accomplished, she went from a laughing stock of the industry to a very successful charter yacht. A nice shower, comfortable room temperatures and lights that work go a long way to making guests receptive to the other good stuff onboard.

The Italian restaurant, Portofino, will be history with the space being transformed into the same sort of casual dining area, La Veranda, found on the Voyager and Mariner.

Prime 7, the very popular (if not truly to my taste) steakhouse will be installed. (I am not sure where at this point, but will let you know when I find out.)

All of the public spaces will receive new carpets and upholstery, marble and wood floors will be stripped and refinished (replaced where appropriate) and cabinetry will be French polished. The pool will even be re-tiled.

The suites, which I have always said are excellent, will remain as they are, but the soft goods will all be replaced.

(I will discuss the positive changes in service, but will do so in another post.)

If all of the foregoing is accomplished I would be more than thrilled. Navigator presently has too many quirks to make her attractive to me or able for me to recommend. When the transformation is completed - and assuming it is done with the same high quality Regent has been using under its new ownership (and I have no reason to believe otherwise) - Navigator will be an attractive alternative due to her modest size, nice suites, more appropriate public spaces and itineraries.

You just might want to start considering booking her for 2010...before the secret of her success is known to all.