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Mark Conroy Speaks About Regent Seven Seas Cruise’s Highest Prices in the Industry

Sometimes it is just better to say nothing.  It is a hard lesson to learn.  Before writing this post I thought about not saying anything.  But then I thought, “I am not going to say anything I haven’t said before.   All I am doing is confirming its accuracy by an irrefutable source.”

As you know I have long complained that Regent Seven Seas Cruises charges the highest prices in the industry and does not provide the true luxury experience that justifies them.  I also looked cautiously at the new “inclusive tour” policy, noting that having 4 buses of passengers going to what used to be visited by 1 or 2 buses, changes the tour experience from a luxury one to a mass-market one…assuming the passengers aren’t put off by paying for group tours when they prefer the luxury of private tours and the tours are not otherwise compromised in quality.

Mark Conroy, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises just gave an interview to Travel Weekly which was posted today on the internet.  In it he states that Frank Del Rio, head of Prestige Cruise Holdings stated, quoting Mr. Conroy, “Our prices look higher than everybody else’s because everything is included.  If it is not explained, people will get sticker shock.”

Let’s review:  Regent provides nothing more than Silversea, SeaDream or Seabourn (other than the tours) and it has 700+ people versus one fifth or one half the number of people.  It has admitted and is now working on its service and cuisine issues which are not at the levels they should be.

So, I ask the question:  If Regent’s prices “look higher than everybody else’s” and it is not providing anything of significant value more, what is the motivation for me – as a responsible travel agent trying to assure my clients that they will, in fact, be provided with the highest quality cruise experience their dollars will allow – to sell Regent over Seabourn?  Could it be anything other than a selfish motive of earning a higher commissions?  I am befuddled!

But, alas, there is more that Mr. Conroy had to say.  He claims that discounting “does not go well with the luxury product.”  Until the past few months I would have strongly supported that comment if the word used was “Sale”.  In fact, I do believe that when the economy rebounds the luxury market will be the first to reduce the use of the word, “Sale”.  BUT (don’t I always have one?!) I must ask you, “Have you have ever paid Brochure Rate for a cruise?”  Let me answer:  NEVER.  The reason:  No one does…ever.  Why?  Because everyone…even luxury market clients…likes a discount.

Mr. Conroy goes further, stating:  “Discounting is basically a marketing plan that went wrong.”  Huh???? The last time I looked every single Regent cruise shows a discount.  Every one!

So, rather than turn Regent Seven Seas into a premium line that prices itself as a very expensive “package”, I would suggest maybe, just maybe, you start asking the questions:  How much extra would you pay per day for drinks and gratuities?  A suite vs. a cabin?  A few tours? 

This is where I have learned it is better to say nothing.  You already know the answer!

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