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Regent Seven Seas Voyager World Cruise Problem – Oh Nets!

It seems the Regent Seven Seas Voyager, the flagship of the cruise line, cannot avoid problems. It hit the dock in Rhodes, it snagged a fishing net on its transatlantic voyage about four months ago and now has another fishing net apparently wrapped around one of its pods. (I also heard the Crystal Serenity presently has a pod issue, but it is electrical.)
As I understand it the pod was disabled by the net outside of Singapore during a 14 day segment of its World Cruise. It is not known what damage has been done to the pod itself, if any, but the fact that manufacturer’s representatives/technicians have been flown to the ship leads one to believe that there is going to be far more done than merely cutting away the entangled net.
This is supported by the comments by some that the ship may be going into drydock in Dubai. This has not been confirmed anywhere that I can see. Frankly, I am not sure why the ship will need to be drydocked unless there has been serious damage to the pod. Many repairs can be made without having to haul a ship. I could speculate on damaged bearings or propellers, but I really don’t have a clue. One thing is for certain, there are very limited parts worldwide for pods (and each is essentially a custom made item) so it is not like you just take out the old and put in the new.
Obviously the World Cruise itinerary is being severely modified – on this segment only so far – as Regent has to consider the long term effect on the its itineraries rather than simply this one short 14 day segment. As this is a case where most of the passengers (especially those that booked just this segment) have placed the itinerary over the ship as the reason for this cruise, there is going to be lots of frustration and disappointment…and little sympathy for Regent’s need to minimize the same feelings for those booked on subsequent segments. (It is their cruise, after all.)
From what I understand the port calls in Penang and Phuket, Thailand were late and shortened and will be a day late in Cochin, India; thereafter omitting Mumbai, India and Abu Dhabi, heading straight for Dubai. With Sri Lanka omitted just prior to this segment due to the ever-continuing conflicts, port calls in Penang, Malaysia and Phuket, Thailand but a few hours, the longer overland excursions in India probably (but not confirmed) to be cancelled, things cannot be good. If there is a bit of good news, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are about 1 1/2 hours apart by bus or car, so there is literally nothing that the guests will not be able to do if the ship arrives in Dubai on or about on schedule.
The tricky thing is that Regent is trying to reschedule ports, arrange for dock space, figure out what parts are possibly needed, get the parts and technicians there on time (for dock space with no parts is very expensive in time, money and guest relations!)…and make arrangements for its guests. I am not onboard so I cannot comment on the quality of what is being told to the passengers and informations seems to be coming from both “upset” and “go with the flow” type passengers (possible with Segment versus World Cruise perspectives).
While this is an unfortunate example of the complexity of the cruise industry and the competing needs and desires of the passengers, it does highlight the delicate balance which the cruise lines must deal with on a minute by minute basis. It isn’t easy and it isn’t necessarily someone’s fault. But in the end, the customer is always right and here the customers clearly were not interested in a boat ride, but rather an elegant journey to visit some exotic locales. Instant results are not going to be happening, but with a little patience and understanding of the complexity of the situation, the time those passengers have on the Regent Seven Seas Voyager are still going to be on a really nice ship with some wonderful things available for them.
As a final, for now, comment: We need to understand that as the populations around the world grow the resource we know as the Ocean is being exploited with greater and greater intensity. Whether it be local fisherman or mega-fishing fleets trying to increase their catch, there are going to be increased conflicts with cruise and other ships that ply the same waters. There are some technologies available to reduce these conflicts, but they are not perfect or omnipresent. Do not be surprised if these type of events increase in frequency.
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