Seven Seas Splendor’s 15 Suite Categories Unveiled

By Staff Writer

Seven Seas Splendor, Regent Seven Seas’ latest luxury vessel, is offering not one, but fifteen different onboard suite options. Expected to debut in February 2020, the impressive cruise addition stands 4,275 square metres, with each of its 375 suites adorning Italian marble-detailed bathrooms and generous balcony space.

The Master, Grand, Splendor and Seven Seas Suite categories represent the 32 Distinctive Suites on board Seven Seas Splendor. Guests in Distinctive Suites enjoy personalised butler service, guaranteed dining reservations and customised pillows and bath products, among other amenities. The lavish suites are designed by Studio Dado, Tillberg Design and Total Solution Interiors.

 

Master Suite

A Park Avenue-inspired oasis, the Master Suite ranges between 176 and 195 square metres and houses two bedrooms. With only four suites available onboard, each treat guests to unobstructed views of the horizon, an expansive living area, a bar for entertaining, spacious balconies and two full ornate marble and stone bathrooms.

 

Grand Suite

The emerald-accented Grand Suite offers a 118 to 170 square-metre space, complete with a private balcony, two majestic baths and living areas with curated furniture based on haute couture fashion. The unique suite also has an upholstered leather wall and a wrapped-leather floor-to-ceiling bar – perfect for entertaining.

 

Splendor Suite

Standing 76 to 85 metres, the Splendor Suite is an elegant one-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bathroom accomodation. The more intimate setting provides a dining table for in-room service, ample closet space and a marble and stone-detailed bath.

 

Seven Seas Suite

Though the smallest of the four, the Seven Seas Suite boasts a cosmopolitan feel with its oversized bedroom, walk-in closet and sliding glass door-led balcony. Additional features include a comfortable living room, dining area and marble bathroom.

 

Deluxe Veranda and Veranda Suites

The Deluxe Veranda and Veranda suite categories are purposefully designed to maximise ocean views, taking advantage of the ample on-board balcony space. Along with the comfort of Elite Slumber beds, guests can find comfort in the generously-sized closets, plush bathrobes and slippers, an included mini-bar stocked daily and many other prime amenities.

At up to 33 and 28 square-metres respectively, they are among the most spacious entry-level suites at sea. Treating guests to a warm, island-manor feel, each suite includes curtains that separate the bedroom, a vanity and sitting area outfitted with a plush sofa, a coffee table large enough for in-suite dining and a large desk space.

 

Penthouse Suite

Conjuring elegance from floor to ceiling and complete with personalised butler service, the 55 sapphire-inspired Penthouse Suites come in three categories that range up to 60 square-metres, with an entertainment centre that separates the living room and bedroom. Sleek sliding glass doorways in both the bedroom and living room lead to an oversized balcony with comfortable outdoor furnishings.

Even the smallest of luxury details are included such as lined jewellery drawers to designated spaces for designer handbags. This Seven Seas Splendor offering will include even larger walk-in closets with two feasible entries from the bathroom and living room, and bathrooms strategically designed for additional storage and counter space.

 

Concierge Suites

Concierge Suites are backed by a cream and blush-colour palette and come in two different categories. These 43 square-metre suites are particularly prime for sightseeing, with the custom-crafted Elite SlumberTM Beds facing the private balcony for a constant view. Details, such as the shagreen leather headboards and Italian fabric furniture furniture make it an elegant, higher-caliber stay. Guests who opt for this suite or one higher are additionally treated to a free one-night pre-cruise hotel package.

 

Superior Suite

The accurately-named Superior Suite is nothing but spacious and chic. Similar to the Concierge Suite, it is 43 square metres and offers stunning ocean views. Notable additions include the grand balcony, generous sitting area and walk-in closet.

 

In addition to suite designs, the Observation Lounge takes inspiration from an enchanting English garden. A light and airy colour palette fills the space, with a chandelier centerpiece comprised of hand-painted porcelain flowers, peonies and roses as the main attraction. Traditional English architectural molding adorns the walls and hand-painted English roses and flowers on glass screens – an art piece specially commissioned by Gorman Studios – reflect the look of porcelain chandeliers.

 

A limited number of suites are available for sailings during Seven Seas Splendor’s inaugural season.

For more information, visit www.RSSC.com.

Regent Seven Seas Announces Third Explorer-Class Ship

Compass Rose, Dining Room, Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has announced an order with Italy’s Fincantieri S.p.A. to build another luxury cruise ship, with delivery scheduled in late 2023. The new vessel will accommodate up to 750 guests and will be a sister ship to the award-winning Seven Seas Explorer, “The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built” and Seven Seas Splendor. The cruise liner will be Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ sixth all-suite vessel.

Frank J. Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said the new ship would further strengthen the company’s “robust yet measured growth profile”, expanding its presence globally in a time when cruising is booming. The intimate new ship will accommodate up to 750 guests and will be Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ sixth all-suite vessel.

“We are excited to build on the spectacular success of Seven Seas Explorer and Seven Seas Splendor as we embark on bringing to life a new vessel that will set an even higher benchmark for elegance, luxury, and style,” he said.

The announcement comes after a $125 million upgrade to Regent Seven Seas’ fleet, and a number of enhancements to itineraries and shore excursions. “Over the past 12 months Regent Seven Seas Cruises has completed a remodelling of our fleet, started construction on Seven Seas Splendor, unveiled our 2020-2021 Voyage Collection with 167 itineraries and new ports, introduced new relaxed outdoor evening dining venues on our ships, debuted the most immersive luxury Cuban voyage itineraries, revealed Go Local Tours and Regent Choice small group shore excursions, and now we announce one more category-defining luxury cruise ship. These are exciting times for everyone associated with Regent Seven Seas Cruises and we can’t wait to show you what’s next,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Fincantieri is currently building Seven Seas Splendor at its Ancona, Italy shipyard, with relentless focus on perfecting every detail during construction so the ship’s inspired design truly dazzles guests as a work of art.

Details about Seven Seas Splendor’s new sister ship’s itineraries, suites, restaurants, amenities and onboard experiences will be revealed leading up to her 2023 debut, with voyages for the ship’s inaugural season going on sale in 2021.

www.rssc.com

‘The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built’ to Sail Australia and New Zealand in 2020/21

By Staff Writer

Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) has announced that Seven Seas Explorer, trademarked as The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built, will sail around Australia and New Zealand as part of her 2020/21 season for the first time since debuting in 2016.

Seven Seas Explorer will enter Australian waters for the first time on the 28th December 2020, visiting Darwin before she sails down to Sydney on the 6th January 2021. All up, nine entirely all-inclusive itineraries exploring regional waters throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia and The South Pacific from November 2020 until April 2021 will be on offer, with several of the voyages departing from or disembarking in Sydney during her inaugural local season.

These include the 17-night Singapore to Sydney ‘Balinese Celebration’ sailing; the 15-night Sydney to Auckland ‘Majesty of Milford’ cruise; the 14-night Auckland to Sydney ‘Grandeur of New Zealand’ sailing; the 18-night Sydney to Bali ‘Koalas to Komodos’ cruise; and a 15-night sailing from Bali to Hong Kong on the ‘Radiance Of Thailand’ cruise. Select sailings also offer a free three-night pre- or post-cruise land program to deliver guests an even more immersive experience.

With over USD $450 million spent on building the exclusive, 375 suite ship, the Vice President of Sales, Australia & New Zealand at Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Lisa Pile, said Seven Seas Explorer was built “for the 1-percenters. With no expense spared, every detail was meant to create an everlasting impression on her guests.”

To that end, the ship features over an acre of marble, an almost unfathomable US$7 million art collection, and one of the biggest suites at sea.

“We are incredibly excited to be able to share her unrivalled elegance with local Australian and New Zealand travellers as part of her inaugural season, and to give them a taste of what a truly all-inclusive, luxury cruise ship offers.”

Pile added that among the things that set Seven Seas Explorer apart from the droves of other cruise liners at sea is her spacious, all-balcony and all-suite accommodation, free gourmet dining across all her restaurants, free fine wines and premium spirits, free unlimited shore excursions in every port of call – and a near one-to-one staff-to-guest ratio so guests can expect unrivalled personalised service – all of which are included in Regent’s all-inclusive fare.

Seven Seas Explorer’s suites feature top of the line European beds, marble bathrooms, luxury amenities from L’Occitane, Bvlgari, Guerlain and Hermes, some of the biggest verandas at sea and a mini-bar that is replenished daily, free-of-charge.

And as the absolute pinnacle is the Regent Suite, which features two bedrooms, a living room and a dining room, 2 rare Picasso lithographs, a USD $250,000 custom Steinway piano designed by Dakota Jackson, an in-suite spa retreat – including heated tile loungers, sauna, and a hot tub on the veranda – unlimited in-suite treatments from the ship’s Canyon Ranch spa and a private car with driver in every port.

Guests are free to choose from one of the ship’s seven on-board speciality restaurants on a whim, each and every day, with no additional cover charges. From laidback al fresco lunches at the Pool Grill and succulent steaks in the sophisticated Prime 7, to the zen-like surrounds of Pan-Asian newcomer Pacific Rim and more.

Those looking to sharpen their skills in the kitchen also have the chance to learn from top chefs in Seven Seas Explorer’s exclusive Culinary Arts Kitchen – a new onboard offering for RSSC – or savour the authentic local flavours onshore during one of the bespoke Gourmet Explorer Tours. RSSC is also the only cruise line offering unlimited shore excursions in every port.

For more information on Seven Seas Explorer’s Australasian itineraries, visit:  www.rssc.com/explorer2020-21

The Most Exciting New Trends in Cruising

By MICHAEL GEBICKI

A decade ago, I cruised from Iceland to the fiords of Greenland and then to Norway on a Russian ice ship. The adventure factor was five-star, but cabins were basic and the first course at dinner was borscht. Today, you can do the same cruise on a super-luxury liner with suites, an array of fine-dining restaurants and a signature spa. How times have changed.

Authenticity, cultural immersion, bespoke tours and fine regional food and wine experiences – the very things travellers are looking for in a land-based luxury holiday – are now delivered in extraordinary style on a cruise. And, according to leading Australian luxury cruising experts, trends are emerging.

 

The new (and younger) cruise passenger

“Our passengers are not only getting younger, they’re much more active,” says Lisa Pile, Vice President Sales of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “We’re not quite seeing millennials yet, but the demographics are definitely changing. I’ve seen this on our Alaska cruise personally.

I went down for an early morning spin class and the gym was packed, I couldn’t believe it. Super fit people, it’s just fantastic.”

“Many more people in the 45-plus age group are considering luxury cruising,” says Diane Patrick, a leading Sydney-based cruise specialist for Wiltrans International, representing Paul Gauguin Cruises, which sails in Tahiti, French Polynesia and the South Pacific. “That puts Paul Gauguin in the spotlight because we can offer luxury yacht cruising in some of the most wonderful parts of the South Pacific, all within very easy reach for Australian cruisers. They can fit an exceptional seven-night luxury cruise into an eight-night trip out of Australia.”

Millennials are even getting on board river cruising. “Uniworld has launched a new adults-only river cruise experience in 2018,” says Fiona Dalton, Managing Director of Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection in Australia. “U by Uniworld is aimed directly at a younger generation, with its very own sleek black ships and using the ships in a very different way – part waterfront hotel, part taxi, part nightclub, part yoga studio, part café. We’ve had fantastic feedback following our launch in April.”

 

Extraordinary ships or extraordinary destinations?

“Both,” says Jane Moggridge, General Manager Marketing and Communications of Viking River Cruises. “Many luxury cruisers have travelled extensively and they’re seeking new and immersive cultural experiences. Places that retain cultural integrity and offer an incredible experience untainted by crowds. We’ve seen some lines building bigger and more over-the-top ships, but at Viking we think travel should be about exploration, cultural immersion and personal enrichment. That’s why our ships feature open and airy, serene and unpretentious design, have guest lecturers, a Viking Resident Historian and, on Viking Orion, a Resident Astronomer.”

Other cruise experts agree. “People are looking for something different in the ships they are travelling on, for destinations that are being done differently and there’s a big appetite for completely new destinations,” says Mandy Dwyer, Communications Manager of Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours. “Next year Scenic will be visiting northern Russia, the Norwegian fjords, the White Sea, and do a complete lap of Iceland. But cruisers are also looking at the quality of the ship, the amenities and dining options – those are also major factors.”

Vintage wine and food experiences

In 2018, luxury cruising is all about immersion in both the ship and the destinations it’s sailing to, especially when it comes to quality food and wine. Locally sourced produce, regional menus that reflect the ship’s itinerary, wines from the country, and interaction with the on-board chefs are all in high demand.

“There’s a desire for even more regionally paired food and wine experiences that bring our guests even closer to the destinations they’re sailing in,” says Uniworld’s Dalton. “For example, our ship in Paris boasts a fabulous restaurant, a French bistro and a Parisian supper club, while the SS Beatrice, our newest ship on the Eastern Danube, has a number of new dining venues all reflecting a very Austrian and Hungarian style of dining.”

“It’s all about variety at every mealtime,” says Viking’s Moggridge.

“One of our most popular dining experiences is The Kitchen Table where the ship’s executive chef takes guests on an interactive culinary adventure. They’ll handpick ingredients from local markets and help prepare regional dishes before dining with the ship’s culinary director. These excursions are incredibly popular and the dinners often go late into the night.”

Market tours with the chef are also popular. “We offer the Scenic Culinaire on some of our French itineraries,” says Dwyer. “Guests visit the local market with the chef, help select the produce and back at the ship they’ll reproduce some of the local dishes. That’s always booked out.”

 

A voyage to health and wellness

In a world of personal trainers, gym memberships and paleo diets, cruise ships are going head-to-head with luxury spa resorts in the wellness stakes.

“Uniworld’s Wellness on the Water program was ground-breaking when it began five years ago and it has been evolving ever since,” according to Dalton. “Every cruise has its own wellness coach and the wellness experience includes morning yoga, TRX or tai chi on the ship extending to our ‘Let’s Go’ ground program.”

Regent Seven Seas is also focused on health and wellness. “Our wonderful spas and wellness centres on are run by world-renowned Canyon Ranch Spa,” says Pile. “They also have a spa menu on board with programs for people who are watching their weight or want to work on specific aspects of their health.”

Aboard some vessels the on-board spas reflect the origins of the cruise line. “The Scandinavian-style spa on board our Viking Ocean Cruise ships is inspired by the Nordic approach to holistic wellbeing,” says Moggridge. “Quality time in a sauna followed by a cold dip in an icy lake is the embodiment of Scandinavia and this tradition is emulated in Viking’s Nordic Bathing Ritual, a traditional hot sauna followed by a cold bucket shower, a cold plunge pool or a visit to Viking’s exclusive Snow Grotto.”

“All of Scenic Space Ships have wellness centres,” according to Dwyer. “Scenic Sapphire and Scenic Diamond feature a vitality pool and a Salt Therapy Lounge and our clients can spend as much time as they like there.”

“People are looking for a more immersive onshore experience, not just seeing the sights…In Naples, some want to see Pompeii, others might want to see Sorrento and the Amalfi coast, and others might want to do a wine-tasting or visit markets and do a cooking class. They want to feel like a local, not an onlooker.” –  Lisa Pile, Vice President of Sales, Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Luxury is a shore thing

“People are looking for a more immersive onshore experience, not just seeing the sights, and that’s exactly what Regent Seven Seas offers,” according to Pile. “In Naples, some want to see Pompeii, others might want to see Sorrento and the Amalfi coast, and others might want to do a wine-tasting or visit markets and do a cooking class. They want to feel like a local, not an onlooker.”

Says Moggridge: “Guests want more intimate and meaningful onshore experiences, including private access to privileged experiences. Our Viking Culture Curriculum offers unique experiences, like visiting the home of a local family to break bread and share homemade vodka over a traditional meal, to exploring sealed vaults at the Hermitage.”

And according to Dalton: “Guests want to understand more, and that comes from personal engagement. Usually it’s about understanding local life, significant historical events that have led to today’s world, or exclusive experiences that are only possible with Uniworld, such as early opening visits accompanied by a curator to the world’s great art galleries and museums in Europe.”

 

Sustainability is the word

In a world where coral reefs, fish stocks, ice caps and shorelines are under threat from climate change, eco-conscious travellers are looking for evidence that their chosen cruise line is operating with the same awareness and integrity.

“Paul Gauguin has a Stewards of Nature program for children and families,” says Wiltrans’ Patrick. “It operates in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society and it’s all about educating guests about coral reef and Pacific islands ecology with naturalist-led island and beach excursions. We’re operating in remote and often pristine places and we take great care to leave as small a footprint as possible.”

At Viking, the relatively young fleet was built with sustainability in mind, explains Moggridge. “Viking’s ocean ships were designed from the start with the environment in mind, feature energy-efficient hybrid engines, streamlined hulls and bows for maximum fuel efficiency, on board solar panels, and equipment that minimises exhaust pollution,” she says.

At Uniworld guests are given metal refillable water cannisters, which saves over 500,000 plastic water bottles per year, according to Dalton. “Our parent company, The Travel Corporation, has announced its commitment to phase out single use plastics in all our operations by 2020, and we in Uniworld are already taking steps to do as much as we can by removing plastic straws and many other single-use plastics,” she adds.

Scenic is also implementing policies to reduce single-use plastic as part of a broader program. “We’re putting funds into local communities to develop clean water initiatives,” says Dwyer. “Cruise operators can set an example for good environmental practice particularly where they visit remote communities, as Scenic does on some of its Asian itineraries.”

 

The Details

Regent Seven Seas Cruises, rssc.com

Paul Gauguin Cruises, pgcruises.com

Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, uniworld.com

Viking River Cruises, vikingrivercruises.com.au

Scenic Luxury Cruises & Tours, scenic.com.au

Welcoming the Alaskan Wilderness

By Sally MacMillan

Sailing out of Canada’s spectacular port city of Vancouver on a crisp spring evening, toasting the occasion with a glass of perfectly chilled Champagne, sets the tone for a leisurely seven-night cruise to Seward, Alaska.

We’re onboard the recently refurbished Regent Seven Seas Mariner, an exceptionally spacious and luxurious ship for only 700 passengers – and, of course, the 445 crew members offering an uncompromising level of service.

A day’s scenic cruising through the Inside Passage allows time to explore the ship, take in an entertaining lecture by anthropologist Terry Breen about the history, culture and wildlife of the vast 49th state, then meet the captain and officers for cocktails in the evening.

Seven Seas Mariner is elegant, inside and out. Over the course of the cruise, we sample just about every restaurant, cafe, lounge and bar; I didn’t manage to squeeze in a massage or facial, but the Canyon Ranch Spa is a beautiful, calm space and offers an extensive spa menu.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) has invested US$125 million on ‘Explorer-ising’ its fleet of sister ships – Seven Seas Mariner, Voyager and Navigator – since launching its uber-luxury flagship Seven Seas Explorer in 2016, and Mariner looks and feels magnificent.

While the entire ship received a facelift, its restaurants were stripped to the steel and completely rebuilt – the main dining room, Compass Rose, is decked with crystal chandeliers and chic marble walls; Prime 7, the ship’s specialty steakhouse, features dramatic lighting and a rich cream-and-blue colour palette; and Chartreuse, the French restaurant that made its debut on Seven Seas Explorer, replaces Signatures. The standard of wining, dining and service in all venues is exemplary, although being something of a Francophile, Chartreuse is my favourite.

Mariner’s luxe all-suite accommodations range from two extraordinary 260-square-metre master suites through 13 categories of beautifully appointed sanctuaries.

All suites have private balconies, 24-hour room service, a minibar that’s replenished daily and free WiFi; guests staying in Concierge Suites and above have a free night’s pre-cruise accommodation and those in Penthouse Suites and above have a personal butler.

Our deluxe veranda suite on Deck 8 is gorgeous, decorated in stylish, restful shades of blue – and it’s always lovely to be greeted with a bottle of Champagne and a bowl of fresh fruit when you embark.

At our first port of call, Ketchikan, a few hardy sun-lovers bask by the newly minted mosaic-tiled pool, even though we are surrounded by rugged snow-streaked mountains.

RSSC offers an impressive range of complimentary shore excursions at every port (plus optional ones for an extra cost if you want to elevate your onshore experience).

In Alaska, the focus is on adventurous activities such as fishing, flightseeing, wildlife-spotting, dog-sledding, canoeing and hiking as well as cultural tours encompassing ancient Native Indian culture and more recent history.

Ketchikan, like two other ports we visit – Juneau and Skagway – is a former gold-rush town. It’s also known as the salmon capital of the world, so fishing expeditions are popular; floatplane and boat trips to nearby Misty Fjords, part of the massive Tongass National Forest, are among other exciting excursions on offer.

The Totem Heritage Center is a short walk beyond Ketchikan’s busy waterfront boardwalks and well worth a visit. It houses one of the world’s largest collections of original, 19th-century totem poles along with contemporary Northwest Coast art and traditional artefacts made by Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian people.

Alaska’s intriguing capital, Juneau, has a smaller population than Anchorage and can only be reached by sea or air, but its citizens have long resisted attempts to move the capital elsewhere.

The Russians famously sold Alaska to America in 1867 for US$7.2 million, or about two cents an acre. Evidence of both cultures abounds, from the Russian Orthodox St Michael’s Cathedral to Totem Park, a battleground where Tlingits fought the Russian fur hunters in 1804.

Seven Seas Mariner offers 24 signature excursions: the helicopter glacier trek, which drops guests on the mighty Mendenhall Glacier for a two-hour guided walk on the ice, is a thoroughly exhilarating experience. Even more popular is dog-sledding on the glacier, which also involves a scenic helicopter flight (make sure you sign up well in advance).

Then there are brewery tours, canoeing on Mendenhall Lake, salmon bakes and gold-panning adventures. Whale-watching in the evening is another unusual option – Mariner stays in port until 11pm when it’s still light in midsummer Alaska. Local operators guarantee whale sightings and give guests a US$100 refund if the humpbacks don’t come out to play.

The historic White Pass Scenic Railroad is Skagway’s main attraction. Built between 1898 and 1900, the railway winds its way from sea level to about 915 metres at the summit.

Immaculately maintained trains haul vintage and reproduction carriages along 32 kilometres of vertiginous mountain passes and gorges, through tunnels and past what was once the world’s tallest cantilever bridge.

It’s a thrilling journey, and humbling to learn how thousands of desperate gold prospectors in the 1890s made their way on foot along the hazardous Chilkoot Trail.

Our final landing is at Sitka, a picturesque port that only allows a limited number of smaller cruise ships to dock there. Sitka’s history is a rich and bloody entanglement of thousands of years of Tlingit ownership and a century of Russian colonisation.

The Russians famously sold Alaska to America in 1867 for US$7.2 million, or about two cents an acre. Evidence of both cultures abounds, from the Russian Orthodox St Michael’s Cathedral to Totem Park, a battleground where Tlingits fought the Russian fur hunters in 1804.

Our guide takes our small group in and out of misty bays, where silence drips from ancient spruce and hemlock trees and reflections hardly waver on the still water. It’s magical, but sadly we don’t spot any bears.

Over the past few days we have seen bald eagles, ravens, porpoises, sea lions and dozens of Dall sheep, but I’m still hankering for a bear-sighting.

While we are sailing close to the magnificent Hubbard Glacier the next day, I’m advised by Dagmar, Mariner’s destinations services manager, that the best time for bear-spotting is late July, when the salmon are running – which gives me the perfect excuse for booking a return voyage on Mariner to one of the world’s most awe-inspiring wilderness areas.

 

The Details

Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering an array of seven-day Alaska sailings aboard the newly renovated Seven Seas Mariner between Vancouver and Seward from June to September 2019.

Fares start from $6480 per person (twin share), based on a Deluxe Veranda Suite. For more information and fares on all Regent Seven Seas Cruises, call 1300 455 200 or visit rssc.com.

Why you Should be Booking an Alaskan Cruise Right Now

Few experiences can top seeing the stunning U.S. state of Alaska up close from the comfort of a luxury cruise liner on the high seas, and now is the perfect time to book

By Staff Writer

More than 37,000 Australians took an ocean cruise to Alaska in 2017, according to CLIA’s Cruise Industry Source Report. This scenic destination is more popular than ever, and with the 2018 Alaskan May-through-September cruise season complete, 2019 voyages are cruisers’ radar, with the peak booking period for Alaskan cruises for next year already underway.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has responded to this traveller demand by offering 17 Alaskan voyages aboard Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner vessel from the 16th May through to the 30th September, 2019, ranging from seven to 12 nights.

During the voyages, Seven Seas Mariner will cruise the Inside and Outside Passage, visiting ports in Anchorage, Icy Strait (Hoonah), Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka, Skagway and Wrangell, as well as the majestic Hubbard Glacier. As the only cruise line to offer free unlimited shore excursions in every port, this is one of the most magical and memorable ways to see Alaska.

“Luxury travellers are increasingly interested in visiting Alaska and a cruise is truly the best way to see all of the beauty the destination offers,” said Regent Seven Seas Cruises President and CEO Jason Montague. “Guests who voyaged to Alaska return home and post their awe-inspiring pictures and stories on social media, prompting people who haven’t yet sailed to The Last Frontier to book their own luxurious Alaskan cruise for next year. It’s a trend that becomes more pronounced every year, especially after the season ends. No camera lens, Facebook post nor tweet can truly capture the beauty and sheer awe of what it feels like to sail up close to a glacier or see an eagle soar overhead.”

In 2019, the cruise line’s Alaskan voyages will feature guest lecturer Terry Breen, a renowned, published Alaska specialist who has been sailing the Inside Passage for over 20 years. And off-board and back on solid ground, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ immersive land experiences create a deep connection between the guest and the destination. The plethora of adventure-style shore excursions, all included in the voyage’s one all-inclusive price, include:

Mendenhall Glacier River Float

Guests experience Alaska’s spectacular natural beauty on a scenic rafting adventure down the Mendenhall River, with stunning views of floating icebergs and mountain peaks.

 

Tongass Rainforest Nature Hike

Passengers can discover the diverse flora, fauna and history of the world’s largest temperate rainforest, on display as one of Earth’s vital ecosystems.

 

Ocean Raft Adventures

On this exciting and memorable ocean rafting adventure in Sitka, guests board an Adventure Raft, flying over ocean swells at speeds up to 80 kilometres per hour, and feel blasts of fresh air in the open seating raft. Along the way, seabirds, whales and sea otters appear en route to the ravaged volcanic coastline of Kruzof Island.

 

Spasski River Valley Wildlife and Bear Search

Regent Seven Seas passengers will get to observe bears, deer and bald eagles in their natural habitats from an elevated observation area in the remote Spasski River Valley.

 

Craft Beer and Spirits Tasting Adventure

Guests can sample a wide selection of beers and spirits at a brewery and a distillery, both of which use glacial water and local ingredients to produce remarkably flavourful beverages.

 

Regent also offers pre- and post-voyage land programs for Alaskan cruises, with an all-new Ultimate Rocky Mountaineer Land Program being introduced to the 2019 program. A five-to-six-night experience, guests will embark on a train ride through the iconic towns and cities of the Pacific Northwest, along the spectacular Canadian Rockies. Soak-up dramatic scenery from the comfort of custom-built glass-domed carriages, complete with award-winning service and exquisite five-star dining thoughtfully created by executive chefs and presented in astonishing surroundings.

To make this peak Alaska booking season even more appealing, recently Regent Seven Seas Cruises has introduced special youth rates on Alaska sailings and a special limited-time package when guests combine their Alaska voyage with a pre- or post-cruise land program.

Young travellers can enjoy Regent’s Club Mariner  Youth Program aboard all 2019 Alaskan sailings, while children ages 5 to 17 can participate in a range of specialised enrichment activities that educate youth on Alaskan culture, wildlife and nature, and includes games and movie nights. Each program is designed and supervised by friendly and professional youth counsellors.

The Details

All-inclusive Alaskan fares start at $7,370AUD per person, which include unlimited shore excursions, WiFi, fine wines and spirits, fine dining, pre-paid gratuities, and a host of other amenities.

Youth age 17 and under can sail free on select 10- and 11-night Alaska voyages, and for $675AUD on select 7-night Alaska voyages in 2019.

For more information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises or to receive a brochure, guests can call 1300 455 200 (AU) or 0800 625 692 (NZ), or visit www.rssc.com.

Regent Seven Seas Sets Sail to Cuba

By Staff Writer

Luxury Cruise Line Regent Seven Seas has released a second voyage to Cuba, after the first voyage, which was released just last month for a March 2019 sailing, sold out. The ten-day Miami to Miami Cuban Immersion cruise  aboard Seven Seas Mariner will set sail on 22 October 2019 and will be one of the most comprehensive Cuban itineraries currently available in luxury cruising. The voyage will include visits to four Cuban ports of call, three of which are overnight stays in Havana, Santiago de Cuba and Cienfuegos, plus a maiden call to Isla de la Juventud.

“Luxury travelers are demanding to experience Cuba in a deeper, more meaningful and culturally-relevant way,” said Jason Montague, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ president and chief executive officer. “Regent Seven Seas Cruises is moving rapidly to meet this demand… We are excited to make these additional Cuban destinations beyond Havana accessible to luxury cruisers and their travel advisors.”

It’s all about immersive travel these days, and Regent Seven Seas’ shore excursions in Cuba won’t disappoint. Passengers will get to experience the usual visits to museums and historical sites, but also connect with Cuba’s local art and culture scene through exclusive shoreside activities. On board, guest lecturers will inform passengers about Cuba’s history, society and modern-day politics to help them connect with the country’s past and present.

While there are slight variations in the itineraries between the two Cuban voyages, both the Seven Seas Voyager in March and the Seven Seas Mariner in October will sail to these Cuban destinations:

 

Havana

Guests will have the chance to see the real Havana both by day and night with Regent’s OFAC-compliant tours. Tour the city’s cobbled streets, stroll down the iconic Malecón, and perhaps get that quintessential Cuban photo of coloured building and vintage cars. As the sun goes down, purchase hand-made authentic Cubans, order a mojito at Hemingway’s favourite bar, El Floridita and dance the night away at a salsa club. Take a private visit of the F.A.C. – Fabrica de Arte Cubano – a unique art and photographic gallery and cultural centre, dance space and cinema – outside of normal operating hours, and then meet and chat with currently showcased artists.

Santiago de Cuba

The capital of Cuba for almost 100 years before the Spanish decided to shift it to Havana in 1607, Santiago is Cuba’s second largest city and a cultural epicentre, having played an instrumental role in the evolution of Cuban music, literature and architecture. Among Regent’s OFAC-compliant tours, guests will be able to visit Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca and the Cementerio Santa Ifigenia, where Cuban hero José Martí and Emilio Bacardí Moreau of the famed rum dynasty are both buried. Travellers will get to feel the rhythm and energy of live musical performances at the pioneering Iris Jazz Club, one of the few venues in Santiago de Cuba that only features jazz, and experience Plaza de Marte, also known as Freedom Square, which pays tribute to the independence of Cuba.

 

Cienfuegos

A UNESCO World Heritage Site on the southern coast of Cuba, the historic and glamorous Cienfuegos is peppered with Spanish colonial buildings and long stretches of oceanfront, palm tree- trimmed promenade. A Regent OFAC-compliant tour will see Regent passengers head off on a tour of the Anastasio Cardenas tobacco factory, and visits to the colonial downtown; architectural treasures such as the Arch of Triumph and Casa del Fundador; and the grand Tomás Terry Theatre overlooking Cuban national hero Jose Martí Park are on the agenda here.

Those lucky enough to book a spot on Seven Seas Voyager’s March 2019 journey will also call on the Caribbean nation of Isla de la Juventud. Once home to pirates, natives and the American Crocodile, Cuba’s second largest island known as the fabled “Island of Youth” is believed to have been the inspiration for both Treasure Island and Peter Pan. Today it is home to the historic Presidio Modelo cultural museum, which was originally a prison that held both Fidel and Raúl Castro prior to the Cuban Revolution, then their adversaries in the years following.

In addition to these two Cuban exploration cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises is offering over 20 voyages that call on Havana through 2021.

The Details

The 10-night Cuban Exploration voyage in October 2019 aboard Seven Seas Mariner to the Caribbean country is roundtrip from Miami. All-inclusive fares start at AU$7,250 per person, which include unlimited shore excursions, WiFi, fine wines and spirits, fine dining, pre-paid gratuities, and a host of other amenities.

For more information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises or to receive a brochure, guests can call 1300 455 200 (AU) or 0800 625 692 (NZ), or visit rssc.com.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises Unveils 30-Country World Voyage for 2021

By Staff Writer

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has announced its World Cruise for 2021 providing guests with access to no fewer than 56 UNESCO-designated world heritage sites across the globe.

For those wishing to explore almost all corners of the planet in one epic voyage, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ 2021 World Cruise sails aboard the world’s first all-suite, all-balcony ship, Seven Seas Mariner, for 117 nights from Miami to Barcelona – visiting six continents, 30 countries and 61 ports from South America to French Polynesia, Australia, Asia and the Mediterranean.

This journey brings guests to famous cities including Singapore, Dubai, Barcelona, Rome, Miami and more, yet it is the lesser-travelled places that truly make this voyage a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“We thoughtfully design world cruise itineraries to bring guests to sites they desire to explore, ranging from iconic destinations to the hidden gems that can only be accommodated on a cruise of this length,” says Jason Montague, Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ President and Chief Executive Officer.

“Guests embark on world cruises to discover many destinations in one voyage with immersive experiences, visit museums, see historic sites, appreciate local arts and culture, and enjoy exclusive shore activities offering a unique way to understand our world,” he adds.

“Destinations such as Colombo in Sri Lanka, Jerusalem, Israel, and Limassol, Cyprus, and each night return to their spacious and luxurious suite and enjoy personalised service on board. We’ve also scheduled  11 overnight stays in some of the world’s premier destinations, so world cruisers feel fully immersed in these ports of call.”

The 117-night voyage departs Miami on January 5, 2021.

The world’s first all-suite, all-balcony ship, Seven Seas Mariner recently completed a multi-million dollar bow-to-stern refurbishment, elevating her to a new level of elegance with new culinary experiences, sophisticated new suite designs and furnishings, and completely refreshed public guest spaces.

Considered one of the world’s most luxurious cruise ships, Seven Seas Mariner features a sleek, light, modern look and a warm, comfortable ambiance, luxurious décor and intricate design details.

Accommodating only 700 guests, Seven Seas Mariner offers a staff-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.6, ensuring the highest levels of personal service at sea and an intimate, yet spacious setting to navigate the world.

 

For more information about Regent Seven Seas Cruises or to receive a brochure, call 1300 455 200 or visit rssc.com.

A First Look at the Regent Seven Seas Splendor

Coffee Connection
Coffee Connection

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has unveiled a first look at the lavish new Seven Seas Splendor, to debut in 2020.

Regent Seven Seas Cruises has unveiled a first look at its brand new cruise liner, Seven Seas Splendor, and a look at the image renders reveals public spaces that don’t skim on the luxury trimmings. With ten sophisticated suite categories and a grand, contemporary design, the cruise line has promised travellers that the Seven Seas Splendor, to debut in 2020, will exceed their expectations, as they indulge in all-inclusive luxury across the globe.

The second ship to launch in Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Explorer Class following the debut of the Seven Seas Explorer – announced as the “most luxurious ship ever built” by the cruise line on its launch – the Seven Seas Splendor will offer an inclusive cruise fare that covers most round-trip flights, transfers to and from the airport, unlimited shore excursions, nonalcoholic beverages plus wine, beer and spirits, in-cabin mini-bar, prepaid gratuities, Wi-Fi, and meals at all specialty restaurants.

Several popular areas from its sister ship’s Decks Four and Five will see some significant revisions on the Seven Seas Splendor, with the most notable being the Grand Staircase, which will now face the entrance to her largest restaurant, Compass Rose, evoking an enchanting sense of arrival for guests as they’re greeted by extraordinary decor.

Fleet favourite, Coffee Connection is moving to the port side of the ship and is being expanded with a new al fresco seating area, allowing guests to savour their custom coffee creations and pastries while enjoying calm ocean breezes.

Seven Seas Splendor offers 375 airy suites, ranging from the 28 square metre, entry-level Veranda Suite, to the lavish 413 square metre Regent Suite. Each suite category has a distinctive look, with intricate design details that create an elegant and relaxing space for guests. Each well-appointed suite boasts a private balcony – some of the largest in the cruise industry – along with European king-sized Elite Slumber Beds adorned in sumptuous linens, and oversized bathrooms outfitted with rich marble and decorative tile.

Reservations for Seven Seas Splendor’s inaugural season open Thursday, April 12, 2018.

 

www.rssc.com

The Most Luxurious Cruise Ship Ever Built

Compass Rose, Dining Room, Regent Seven Seas Explorer
Compass Rose, Dining Room, Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Kelly Allen discovers the beauty in the understated luxuries aboard the new Seven Seas Explorer.

Regent Seven Seas’ new Seven Seas Explorer has been touted as “the most luxurious ship ever built”. Crafted at a cost of US$450 million (about A$569 million), it oozes extravagance, with hundreds of crystal chandeliers, custom-made Versace place settings, and 2,500 pieces of art including works by Chagall and Picasso. No expense has been spared.

My daughter and I are on a voyage from Rome to Barcelona, and we are both eager to see what all the hype is about. Embarkation is seamless and we are soon standing in the grand atrium with a glass of bubbles, our mouths hanging open in awe of our surroundings. The first impression is very good indeed.

This might sound silly, but my biggest worry about cruising is the feeling of confinement often felt aboard a ship. I needn’t have worried on Explorer. Here in the atrium, open, curved staircases climb opposing walls under the gaze of the largest crystal chandelier I have ever seen. Italian marble gleams underfoot. The area is spacious and bright, and feels more like the lobby of a luxurious hotel than a ship. It makes sense – Explorer has one of the highest space-to-passenger ratios in the industry.

Prior to Explorer, Regent hadn’t launched a new ship since 2003, and it appears they have spent that time well – perfecting this beauty. All of the ship’s 375 suites have spacious balconies, a separate sitting area, walk-in wardrobes and marble bathrooms. Our Superior Suite on Deck 8 was large at just under 40 square metres and stylishly decorated with dark-wood panelling and furnishings in cream and soft blue. The bathroom had a separate tub, double sinks, plenty of drawers and more than enough counter space, and the walk-in closet was very generous in size.

The ship’s masterpiece is the 412-square metre Regent Suite. The two-bedroom suite comes with an in-room spa (and unlimited complimentary treatments), a US$250,000 Steinway piano, and a glass-enclosed sitting area providing views over the ship’s bow. And to ensure a good night’s sleep, there’s a custom-made bed that took one year to construct (rumour has it the Queen of England has the same bed).

Theatre Detail, Seven Seas Explorer, Regent Seven Seas
Theatre Detail, Seven Seas Explorer, Regent Seven Seas

The Explorer carries 750 passengers and has a near 1:1 guest-to-crew ratio. This level of service was a welcome bonus when looking to change dinner and excursion plans. We never waited in any lines while on board, even when settling our bill. Regent is known for their all-inclusive offering, which makes for no unpleasant surprises at the end of a beautiful holiday. Premium wine and alcohol, all dining (including specialty restaurants), most excursions, WiFi and gratuities are all included.

Wanting to see as much as possible, we booked excursions at every port and found them all top notch. Luxury coaches with knowledgeable tour guides seamlessly shuttled us around the sights without any hiccups. Our favourite was a half-day trip to the ancient walled city of Lucca in Tuscany. One of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen, Lucca was settled by the Romans in 180BC, and much of the original layout has been preserved. We had an unforgettable guided bike ride along the top of the old city wall with free time to wander through the narrow cobblestone streets. My only complaint is that I would have loved to stay all day, with so many boutiques and cafés to explore.

We had one full day at sea during our voyage, and I must admit, at first I was a little apprehensive, wondering how we were going to occupy our time. After a wander around the ship, my daughter and I discovered the state-of-the-art fitness room and Canyon Ranch spa and decided to have a health retreat day. The gym has every fitness machine you could imagine. We started with an abs class and then made the most of the Technogym machines (which keep count of your reps, just like having a personal trainer). After that, we spent several hours enjoying the spa’s steam room, sauna, pulsating rain showers, cool room and private infinity pool on the back deck. Surprisingly, except for the treatment rooms, the gym and the rest of the spa facilities were virtually empty. We finished the day with a massage and decided it was too much effort to get dressed for dinner, so ordered room service followed by a movie.

Library, Seven Seas Explorer, Regent Seven Seas
Library, Seven Seas Explorer, Regent Seven Seas

The ship’s masterpiece is the 412-square metre Regent Suite. The two-bedroom suite comes with an in-room spa (and unlimited complimentary treatments), a US$250,000 Steinway piano, and a glass-enclosed sitting area providing views over the ship’s bow. And to ensure a good night’s sleep, there’s a custom-made bed that took one year to construct (rumour has it the Queen of England has the same bed).

Prime Restaurant, Seven Seas Explorer, Regent Seven Seas
Prime Restaurant, Seven Seas Explorer, Regent Seven Seas

For me, food is always one of the most important elements of a trip and every meal on Explorer was outstanding. The choices were plentiful with eight restaurants available. The elegant Chartreuse impressed with foie gras and lobster while Prime 7, an upscale steakhouse, served the biggest and most succulent rib-eye I have ever eaten. Our favourite restaurant was Pacific Rim. To enter, you walk past a huge bronze sculpture inspired by a Tibetan prayer wheel, before descending into the spacious dining room lined with dark timber and with pops of brass, olive green and grey. The pan-Asian menu offers delights such as beef tataki, soft shell crab, lobster tempura and miso black cod.

While we were usually exhausted from sightseeing every day, there were some great after-dinner entertainment options. The casino always looked lively and there are four glamorous lounges that often have live music. The highlight each evening was a performance in the two-tiered, 694-seat Constellation Theater, with entertainment ranging from magicians to Broadway-themed shows. If you see only one, make it My Revolution, a new production from Burn the Floor themed around Beatlemania. The show was fantastic, with talented singers and dancers performing all of your favourite songs from the swinging ’60s.

It’s a big claim to declare a ship the most luxurious ever built. But as we disembarked in Barcelona, after five exceptional nights on Explorer, I think I agree.