Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Regent Seven Seas - Upscale But Not Luxury...Its In The New Dress Code

Like its sister brand, Regent Seven Seas is going casual.  Gone are formal nights for any cruise less than 16 days.  In other words, other than World Cruise and World Cruise Segments, formal nights will be a rarity.

This is the language used by Regent when making the announcement.  Read it carefully:

Effective with the 2009/2010 New Year's cruises, guests are respectfully requested to adhere to the following guidelines:


Daytime Dress Code (until 6 p.m.) - During the day, resort style clothing (including shorts, warm-up suits, jeans and sneakers) is acceptable in all public areas. Bare feet are acceptable only on the Pool Deck. Note: Bathing suits, while acceptable at the Pool Bar and Grill, are not considered appropriate in any indoor venue.

Evening Dress Code (after 6 p.m.) - Two types of dress code have been established for evenings in public areas: Elegant Casual and Formal Optional. The number of Formal Optional nights is dependent upon the length of the cruise, as follows:


• Cruises of fifteen nights or less will be Elegant Casual for the duration
• Cruises of sixteen nights or more will have two Formal Optional nights


Elegant Casual: Skirt, or slacks (no jeans) with blouse or sweater, pant suit or dress for ladies; slacks (no jeans) and collared shirt for gentlemen. Sport jackets are optional. Note: Jeans, T-shirts, baseball caps, shorts, sneakers and bathrobes are not considered appropriate in any public area after 6 p.m.


Formal Optional: While guests are welcome to dress each evening as per the Elegant Casual dress code, during Formal Optional evenings, guests may opt for a more formal choice of clothing including gowns and cocktail dresses for ladies; tuxedos, dinner jackets or dark suit with tie for gentlemen.

The first thing I did when I read this was pause at the instructions regarding bare feet.  Are there really that many people that cruise Regent that need to be instructed that bare feet are not acceptable other than at the pool?

Then I read the repeated use of the term "jeans".  Once again, I paused and wondered from where did the issue of wearing jeans become an issue on a luxury line?

It was then time to read about bathrobes not being acceptable in the public areas in the evenings, but only bathing suits are not acceptable at indoor venues at any time.  So I pondered, where would one where a appropriately wear a bathrobe when inside the ship?

All of this leads me to be wonder who it is these rules are focused on addressing.  The rules themselves are fair enough and I know there are many that will applaud the "no formal nights" policy, but I do wonder about the need and focus on rather questionable practices...questionable on most all cruise lines. 

BTW, I am aware there are already disputes and discussion about whether a tennis or polo shirt qualifies as a collared shirt.  And, as I have written and cautioned about before, the "slippery slope" has now been stepped onto. 

So with FREE air,  FREE drinks, FREE gratuities, FREE tours and an explicit NO JEANS and NO FORMAL NIGHTS policy, I have to ask myself what the heck happened to the philosophy that luxury travelers seek value and style?  I believe the answer is that Regent is abandoning its desire to focus on luxury, but rather is focusing on providing an upscale experience.  You know, like it sister Oceania does.

And if you think I am being negative, I am not. I believe that is exactly the market Regent should be focused on.  It is a market they can exceed the expectations of...and Regent can stop spinning its wheels trying to be that which it is not. 

Now, if Regent would only bring its pricing down a bit.