Year Started: 1990
Ships in Fleet: 3
Summary: Often called the "best cruise line" in the world. Drinks, tips, tours, all included in the cruise fare. Three luxury ships with a new one coming.
Regent Seven Seas is the most all-inclusive cruise line ever; tips, drinks, tours, hotels all one price.
The biggest difference between Regent and other cruise lines is the most inclusive cruise experience for the fare possible. Every cruise comes with a pre-cruise hotel stay in the city of embarkation and "free" shore tours in every port of call included in the fare. No other cruise lines (except river cruises) include shore excursions. The base value for these included shore tours is about $220, so a more elaborate tour may have a charge, but in general it will be $220 cheaper than a similar tour offered by a competing cruise line.
As a leading luxury cruise line, Regent has some of the best service and cuisine at sea. Its ships are complete but not overdone, there isn't much frosting, just the best quality ingredients. For example, its standard cabins -- all called suites -- are among the most spacious in the industry. The alternative dining rooms, operated by France's famous Le Cordon Bleu, are as adventurous and they are accomplished. The same can be said for the line's travel concierge program, which helps passengers devise the most exotic shore excursions they can imagine.
In 2014 the line announced a new ship, the first built for the fleet since 2003, will come into service in 2016 as the fourth ship in the fleet. The other three ship were built in 1999, 2001 and 2003, but all were extensively refirbished in 2009.
The 1992 marriage of Regent and Seven Seas Cruises is a kind of fairytale wedding for cruise aficionados who remember such the lines earliest classic ships such as Radisson Diamond, with her distinctive twin hull, and Seven Sea's Song of Flower. In fact, Song of Flower was as popular in her day as any ship can be, and when the people who knew her talk about her, you are sure to see glistening in their eyes. Today she is an expedition ship for a German cruise line.
The then-named Radisson Seven Seas Cruises created a hybrid line with five ships, including one permanently positioned in Tahiti called the Paul Gauguin (now a separate cruise line), which is much beloved by well-heeled cruisers with a taste for exotic ports.
The cruise line was renamed in 2006 as Regent Seven Seas, (handy, the RSSC acronym continuing to work, not to mention www.rssc.com!), they are celebrated for such luxury innovations as all-outside staterooms, ships with all-balcony suites, and butler service. The line was acquired by Prestige Cruise Holdings, the same company that owns Oceania Cruises in 2008, and Prestige was acquired by Norwegin Cruise Line in 2015.
But don't let any affiliation with a mainstream cruise line like NCL deter you from seeing either Regent (or Oceania) as top quality cruise lines. In fact, after the acquisition the CEO of NCL was let go so that the CEO of Prestige could take over as CEO of all three cruise lines. That is Frank Del Rio, a cruise industry innovator in the best sense.
Many elements of the Regent that formerly were not considered up to luxury snuff were vastly improved in 2009 when Del Rio got involved, especially the food and itineraries. The older ships were all sold off (including Song of Flower and Paul Gauguin) leaving only operated only Mariner, Voyager and Navigator - and then adding Explorer starting in 2016.
Former CEO Mark Conroy left the helm of Regent in 2012 - although he remains on the Board of Directors. He ran the company for nearly 20 years and remains in good standing.Dining
Regent offers some of the best cuisine at sea - this is a luxury cruise line. All meals include wine pairings at not added cost, plus after dinner drinks and special coffees on request.
The average is generally well over 55 and well-traveled. The onboard atmosphere is low-key, with few feeling the need to dress to the nines at night. They prefer to dress tastefully yet comfortably. They are worldy in their knowledge and experiences, and look forward to the line's remarkable schedule of guest lectures.Shore Excursions
This is one of the few cruise lines where shore excursion are included in the cruise fare - up to a point. In general, any tour that the line would sell for about $220 is included in the fare, and more expensive tours are discounted by that amount.
Naturally - nothing in life is truly free, and so this all comes with a higher initial cruise fare, but it is a facet of Regent that many of its regular cruisers find appealing.Kid's Excursions
The "Club Mariner" children's program operates only in the summer months in Baltic, Alaska and some holiday sailings. It is for children aged six to 11 and 12 to 17. The Compass Rose dining room has a dedicated children's menu. During the summer, Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ocean Futures Society offers a special "Ambassadors of the Environment" program for kids aboard Paul Gauguin.Past Passenger Programs
Regent has a five tier program called the Regent Society:
We rate Regent as a top luxury loyalty program because the line is already inclusive for beverages and gratuities so the free internet access and phone service, laundry services and free daily newspapers delivered to your door daily are all icing on a very sumptuous cake.
Some of the aspects we like about Regent include complimentary Internet access after just 21 days onboard. This is especially enticing to people who use a lot of Internet since Regent also boasts some of the most technically efficient Internet access equipment in the cruise world. They have implemented special technology to make web surfing faster as a service to their guests. Unlike most cruise lines, they don't strive to make money from access. At CruiseMates we especially respect this approach because we regard Internet access as a necessity of life, not a luxury.
Add in the hour of free phone time to the free Internet access at the Silver level, which many cruise ships would charge you as much as $500 for alone. The only thing we would change about this program would be free laundry services at lower levels. This is an important amenity, but in the long run you save far more money with the free Internet and phone access than you do with the laundry services.
These are resort casual ships. Men should bring a jacket for dinner but ties are not necessary. Women can dress up as much as they plase however one should not attempt to make the cruise a fashion show.Tipping
Gratuities are included in your fare.