– Avalon Myanmar – Myanmar River Cruise – April 2017
*Azamara Club Cruises – Azamara Journey – Singapore to Dubai (April 8, 2018)
* Azamara Quest – Southeast Asia and Japan (February 2015)
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Part I
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part II
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part III
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? Part IV
– How Close to Luxury Can Celebrity’s Smallest Ship Get? – Some Final Observations and Thoughts
– The Prologue to the Travelogue
– The Adventure Begins…With a Bump or Two
– Settling In Made Easy
– Luxury Touches Here, There and OK, Not, Everywhere…But There Are Lots of Them!
– Asian Flair Onboard and On Shore
– Private Tours, Israel and Conflicts in Perceptions and Perspective
Celebrity Equinox 2009 – Egypt…Impressive and Depressing
– Dining With the Captain and the Reidel Wine Seminar
– The Last Dinner (Tuscan Grille) and Disembarkation
– What Happens When A Class Act Meets Highly Discounted Cruise Fare
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part I
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part II
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part III
– Lisbon to Monaco: Crystal As a “Move Up” & “Move Over” Luxury Option – Part IV (Food & Wine!)
– Princess Cruises Doesn’t Treat You Like Royalty; Celebrity Cruises Does! Which is a Better Value for the Upscale Cruise Guest? Part I
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. -Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part II: The Standard Veranda Staterooms
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part III: Treating You Right From The Start
– Celebrity Silhouette vs. Royal Princess – Which Is A Better Value For The Upscale Cruise Guest? Part IV: The Wine Lists Speak Volumes (As Do The Beverage Packages)
Regent Seven Seas Voyager – August 2017
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part I
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part II (Getting There, The Stateroom and First Impressions)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part III (“You Can’t Teach Five Star Service” and Bonafacio, Corsica)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part IV (Calvi, Monaco, Portofino, Porto Azzurro…and Stale Bread)
– Italy and Corisca 2014 – Part V (My Last Day…and How The Chef’s Team Makes It Happen)
After months of Regent Seven Seas (luxury) claiming that is not and will not be Oceania (premium), and being blasted by loyalists on such message boards as Cruise Critic that I was just stirring the pot, reality is setting in and, to be sure, I was correct; but alas it is bittersweet.
As reported in Seatrade’s Cruise Community, Mark Conroy has announced (admitted?) that not only has the hotel services been turned over to Oceania’s vendor, the catering is also being transitioned, as is its reservations system (admitted no loss there!).
But probably bigger news is that the grand plans for its possible new ship has now apparently gone by the wayside. It is reported that Regent may use the Oceania platform for the ship’s technical basis (Decks 3 and below…which would be a significant cost savings) and building the accommodations and public areas as a Regent product with large suites and a spa deck, possibly with a retractable glass dome over the pool. (Compromise in design can be a dangerous thing. I say this not as a travel agent but as a yacht lawyer having a bit of experience in that area.)
For many months I have heard, read and listened to esoteric visions of grandeur of a new ship being delivered in relatively short order with incredible facilities while providing truly luxury service to 1,000+ passengers…something heretofore unachievable by anyone in the industry…while I have been observing Regent making mistake after mistake covering it by marketing.
As a court just observed today in a very important decisionn, just because you repeat it three times (or more) it doesn’t make it true. It looks, smells and feels like Regent is becoming Oceania or Oceania+. Does one need to taste it to know it is it? Me thinks not!
I have, as many know, been very skeptical of Regent’s plans as I have watched its service and consistency slide over the years…while its pricing has skyrocketed. What is amazing to me is that what has seemed so obvious apparent was so easily masked by Regent’s unbelievably costly marketing plan. (I guess it worked…at least in the short term.)
But there is a silver lining in the cloud of what may be the slow demise of Regent as a true luxury product: The emergence of Oceania as a strong value product.
As a travel agent, can I comfortably stand behind a Regent cruise as I do a Seabourn cruise? Not a chance. Can Regent provide a very good cruise experience? Yes. The problem is not in what it may be able to do, but in its inability to provide a consistent cruise product.
Would you be comfortable booking a Regent cruise today and believe the product in late 2009 or 2010 will be of the same or better standards as today after reading this blog or would you first ask what are my alternatives considering itineraries, service and, of course, price?
If you want to cruise Regent I will take excellent care of you, having cruised on four of Regent’s ships, but I would not do so without disclosing the foregoing and suggesting you consider alternatives. To me, that is what my job is about.
Goldring Travel LLC
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