Cruise Guide: From Radisson to Regent: Line changes course

By Mike Coleman

It seemed only a matter of time before a luxurious cruise line aligned itself with an equally prominent, global hotel partner. And that’s exactly what happened earlier this year when Radisson Seven Seas Cruises became Regent Seven Seas Cruises. 

The merger was orchestrated by the Carlson Companies, a world-wide leader in hospitality services, encompassing more than 1,780 hotel, resort, restaurant and cruise ship operations in 82 countries.

“When the cruise line was formed in 1992, it was an extension of the existing Radisson brand,” said Sophie Vlessing, vice president of guest strategy and marketing for Regent cruises and hotels. “As the cruise line distinguished itself in the luxury segment, the branding no longer aligned. It was time to move the brand to a different level and we decided to align with another luxury brand in the Carlson portfolio, Regent International hotels.”

Regent has inherited a fleet of four medium-sized luxury cruise vessels – the 700-guest Seven Seas Mariner, the world’s first all-suite, all-balcony ship; her sister ship, the Seven Seas Voyager; the all-suite, 490-guest Seven Seas Navigator; and the intimate, 19,200-ton Paul Gauguin, based year-round in Tahiti and French Polynesia.

The new look, however, is more than just a name and a few cosmetic twists. The possibilities are endless for Regent to now combine seamless luxurious travel opportunities on land – and at sea – for its well-traveled, sophisticated clientele.

Onboard, look for a host of new enhancements, including furniture upgrades in all suites and public areas; new luxury Anichini bedding, including linens, comforters, throws and pillows; new luxury towels, bathrobes and Regent bathroom amenities; iPod players with Bose speakers in butler suites; clocks and flat-screen televisions, plus Wi-Fi and cell phone service fleet-wide.
The line also features top-shelf enrichment programming. The Regent “Circles of Interest” program links both ship and shore-side guest activities via 10 common themes on select sailings: from food and wine; performing arts; photography; history, archaeology and literature; the environment and marine life; antiques, jewelry and shopping to active exploration and wellness; art design and museums; families and friends and romance.

The pampering does not stop there. Regent has even partnered with Travel + Leisure magazine to provide guests with “Insider Lists,” featuring the magazine’s picks for the must-see attractions in select locations, including lesser-known spots and local favorites. The concierge team, in keeping with the brand’s philosophy, can also personalize guests’ experiences by creating customized itineraries.

Once onboard, however, guests simply soak up the line’s elegant splendor. Mariner, launched in March 2001, at 50,000 tons, accommodates her guests in oceanview suites from 301 to 2,002 sq. ft., with private balconies. She boasts the first Le Cordon Bleu restaurant at sea and four single, open-seating dining venues. Voyager, which debuted in 2003, features the largest lead-in suites at sea: 356-square feet including balcony plus four palate-pleasing dining venues.

The 33,000-ton Navigator features all ocean-view suites (90 percent with private balconies), and fine dining options. The Paul Gauguin features all ocean-view staterooms – 50 with private balconies – a casual dress code and cuisine inspired by a two-star Michelin French chef.

Regent’s all-inclusive fares include shipboard gratuities, all non-alcoholic beverages, wine with dinner and an in-suite bar set-up. Look for seven to 11-night sailings in 2007 to some 300 ports on seven continents.

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