Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Regent Seven Seas Cruises - Reported Earnings for Second Quarter 2014: A Lesson In Making the Bad Seem Good

Today Regent Seven Seas Cruises, the world's most expensive (and purportedly most inclusive) cruise line, announced its earnings for the second quarter of 2014.



I find it interesting that in its press release Chairman and CEO, Frank Del Rio stated, "We are pleased with our financial results, including record revenue... In July, construction began on Seven Seas Explorer [which] marked the beginning of what we believe will set the standard for luxury cruising when Seven Seas Explorer joins the fleet in the summer of 2016. Our strong financial performance and new construction are a reflection of our commitment to providing our guests with an extraordinary experience."

I, of course, pause.  And then I ask, "OK, with 'record revenue' how is it that you parlay that into 'providing our guests with an extraordinary experience'?"  So I took a harder look at the figures!

The first thing I saw was that occupancy was down to 95.4%...from 96.9% for the same period last year.  But then I saw that the available guest nights were also down almost 3% since the Seven Seas Mariner was in dry dock this past April.  That means last year there were 166,658 guests and this year there was 160,071 guests.  Sooo....Regent Seven Seas generated record revenue with 3.6% less passengers.

What does that mean for you, the cruising public:  Regent is charging a whole lot more and over this past year it has not provided you with much of anything extra...other than a larger bill.  (Yes, Regent' did have a "big" announcement that for its highest paying guests it was giving free internet.  Not so big, huh?) I am just not sure how that amounts to providing its "guests with an extraordinary experience".

Let me be fair:  Regent Seven Seas provides most everything in hardware that you might want.  It provides you with tours that some love, but many think are too far too basic and far too crowded and for which you pay for whether you take them or not. It provides you with very nice suites as well.

But where Regent Seven Seas consistently fails is service, service and cuisine.  (Did I mention service twice????)

I regularly receive unsolicited emails from people telling me that they wished they had read my articles before they took their Regent cruise and then they go on to complain about the service and the cuisine. (OK, one of my last emails said that after five cruises, they did notice the cuisine had improved.  Not sure I would take five cruises with marginal food, but the marketing of all the alleged "free" stuff works!) Note that my most read article on the subject was written four (4) years ago...and it still is ringing true.  I don't consider that to be a good thing.

To me this signals an even larger problem:  Why would people be finding my articles AFTER they have cruised on Regent?  The answer is, obviously:  Dissatisfaction.

So Regent's reduced occupancy on reduced capacity says one thing.  And its record profits off the backs of less passengers says something else.  I receive emails from sites pitching the world's most expensive restaurants and hotels.  I am sure there is a market for those that want to claim spending the most money for something, but honestly, that is not Goldring Travel's market and I, personally, don't want to be in the business of price gouging.

Goldring Travel is in the business of assuring its clients receive the best value on the cruise or land vacation that meets and, hopefully, exceeds their desires.

Frank Del Rio, please tell me what exactly is it that you are providing your guests that makes it "an extraordinary experience"?