After an uncertain couple of years, there are exciting things ahead, says Steve Odell, senior vice president and managing director Asia Pacific at Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
The travel industry has had to evolve during the COVID-19 pandemic. How have things changed for your company?
The past two years have been some of the most challenging times we’ve ever faced as an industry. During our suspension of sailings, we built upon our existing comprehensive health-and-safety protocols by establishing the SailSAFE Health and Safety Program, a robust and science-backed strategy that creates multiple layers of protection against COVID-19. Most importantly, we’re mandating 100 per cent vaccination of passengers and crew members, at least two weeks before boarding. That’s a real safeguard for all of our guests, staff and crew.
How have guests responded to the changes? And are they booking ahead?
We are currently offering sailings departing all the way through to June 2024 and forward bookings have been incredible. Perhaps the pandemic has made Australians more adventurous and eager to make up for “lost time” by taking those bucket-list holidays. We’re encouraging guests to book early for their preferred suite and sailing and we’re giving them flexibility to secure their dream cruise holiday early with low deposits.
What are your priorities going forward?
Right now, we’re focusing on getting all of our ships back in the water and continuing to provide our guests with the unrivalled experience that they’ve come to know and love. Regent celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2023 – a momentous milestone for us.
What can guests – new and returning – expect from the Regent cruising experience?
What sets Regent apart is that almost every luxury is included. We’re the only cruise line to include unlimited shore excursions in every port of call and there are thousands of unique and inspiring shore excursions to choose from. Fares also include exquisite cuisine in a range of specialty restaurants and alfresco dining venues, fine wines and spirits, and much more. Our spacious luxury ships carry no more than 732 guests, exploring more than 450 immersive destinations globally.
How do you maintain passenger trust post-pandemic?
We’re proud to be mandating vaccination for guests and crew on board all of our ships. We mean it when we say the health and safety of our guests, crew, shoreside team members and the communities we visit is our number one priority – and I know that goes for every other cruise line operating right now.
What do you most look forward to in 2022?
The future of luxury cruising is bright. At Regent, we have three out of our five ships back in the water, with the rest of the fleet due back this year. We’re finally moving towards a time where our guests can explore the globe once more.
7 Reasons why cruising is now better than ever
From enchanting new destinations and enhanced health and safety measures to unveiling the most exclusive suite at sea, Regent Seven Seas Cruises continues to innovate.
In safe hands
“With a comprehensive series of health and safety protocols in place and a worldrenowned team of leading health experts advising us, we truly believe that cruising provides a uniquely safe holiday experience,” says Regent Seven Seas’ Steve Odell. In addition to requiring all guests and crew be vaccinated against coronavirus, Regent’s SailSAFE Health and Safety Program comprises daily ship wide cleaning and disinfection measures, medical-grade air filtration, continuous temperature and health checks for guests and staff, reduced guest numbers, additional pre-embarkation health screening and more. “We are proud to be mandating 100 per cent vaccinated guests and crew onboard all of our ships, which should provide assurances to existing and first-time Regent guests.”
Cruise connoisseurs and first-timers alike will thrill to Regent’s list of maiden ports for 2023/24: discover speck-in-the-ocean Mystery Island in Vanuatu; gaze at the glittering Aegean from the shores of Syros in the Greek Cyclades; see the snow-dappled mountains and colourful coastal towns of Norway’s Lofoten Islands; and wander the vibrant streets of Puerto Banus on Spain’s glamorous Costa del Sol.
Celebrate at sea
Forget about cooking Christmas dinner for long-lost cousins or finding somewhere to watch the fireworks on New Year’s Eve – instead, make memories on one of Regent’s seasonal voyages. Pack all the presents and board Seven Seas Explorer in Singapore to see Java, Bali and Thursday Island before spending a sun-soaked Christmas Day 2022 on Whitsunday Island and disembarking in Sydney. In 2023, wait for Santa and coast towards the new year on a 14-night cruise from Sydney to Auckland. Aussie stops include Geelong in Victoria and Burnie in Tasmania, while across the ditch you’ll visit Napier and the Bay of Islands, and count down to 2024 on the waters between Christchurch and Wellington.
Choose your adventure
At a time when the freedom and privilege of travel feels more precious than ever, Regent’s 139 new voyages for the 2023/24 cruise season offer authentic and immersive experiences guests won’t soon forget.
Spanning Alaska, Arabia, Australia, Canada, the Caribbean and many more exotic locales, itineraries range from seven to 132 nights and include four Grand Voyages – Arctic Adventure, European Sojourn, Circle South America and Grand Asia Pacific Journey.
The latest in luxury
When the world’s most luxurious fleet announces that a new ship is in the works, expectations are high. Construction of Seven Seas Grandeur began in Italy in November 2021, promising a spectacular setting for 732 guests and among the highest staff-to-guest and space ratios in the industry. In the works are 15 lavish suite categories, gourmet restaurants Prime 7, Chartreuse and Compass Rose (the largest specialty restaurant at sea), an expansive, chandelier-lit observation lounge and the ship’s crown jewel, the 413-square-metre Regent Suite. Due to set sail in November 2023, Grandeur will “exemplify our heritage of perfection with unrivalled space, unparalleled service, exceptional cuisine and transformative experiences that will begin the moment you step aboard”, says Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
The suite life
As Seven Seas Grandeur sets sail on its inaugural voyage in November 2023, every guest will experience all-out splendour. But the lucky residents of Grandeur’s $14,000 per night Regent Suite (for up to six guests) will be ensconced in the extraordinary: a master bedroom with four-poster bed, walk-in robe and ensuite; a vast wraparound verandah offering 270-degree views; two-and-a-half marble bathrooms, one boasting a steam room and sauna; a private pool; plus, a personal butler on board and a car, driver and guide for onshore excursions.
Clear space at the top of your bucket list and start planning a sabbatical: Seven Seas Mariner begins its 132-night Navigate the World voyage on 6 January 2024 and will visit 66 ports in 31 countries across four continents. “We believe our 2024 World Cruise is our most enriching to date,” says Montague. The five-month adventure takes in 61 UNESCO World Heritage sites (such as the Medici Villa and Gardens in Tuscany), crosses both the Panama and Suez canals, includes 12 in-port overnight stays and offers 442 free shore excursions. And it all kicks off with a pre-cruise gala in Miami.