Jason Montague: We witnessed the new standard in luxury suites

IMG_9868A few days ago, I was honored to welcome an intimate group of Seven Seas Society members currently sailing aboard Seven Seas Mariner to the Fincantieri shipyard in Genoa for an exclusive preview of Seven Seas Explorer. As you can imagine, building the world’s most luxurious cruise ship is a team effort – from senior leadership and the incredible design teams to our officers, staff and crew that will call Seven Seas Explorer home. But no project of this magnitude can properly move forward without the input of our esteemed guests. This was the thought that inspired us to host this event, as there is no better group that could provide us with their candid feedback than our very own Seven Seas Society members.

As our guests arrived, they were able to witness first-hand Seven Seas Explorer taking shape. At the time there were still several blocks of the ship waiting to be positioned, including the bridge and the top of deck fourteen, which is where our 3,875 square foot Regent Suite will be located. The timing of this event was perfect as it gave our Seven Seas Society members a glimpse into the shipbuilding process, as our ship comes together to form one beautiful masterpiece.

It was my distinct pleasure to personally welcome each Seven Seas Society member to the shipyard and present them with a personalized hard hat in recognition of this exclusive event. I shared a few words with our esteemed guests and provided an overview on Seven Seas Explorer’s progress before introducing them to our amazing designers. These talented and creative individuals came up with the vision of our Penthouse Suites, designed by RTKL & Associates, and our Concierge Suites, designed by Tillberg Design, and we were delighted to have them on hand to walk each guest through the two full scale mock-up suites.

Upon the reveal of the 626-square-foot Penthouse Suite, our Seven Seas Society members raved about the sapphire jewel-inspired décor with separate dining and spacious living space including a beautifully elegant marble bathroom with dual vanity sinks. A huge hit with everyone was the largest verandas at sea, totaling 176 square feet. Everyone agreed it was like having a whole additional room to the suite.

Another huge hit was the design choice of the Concierge Suite’s bed facing the balcony. At 464 square feet, the Concierge Suite is larger than our typical Penthouse Suite and also features a gorgeous marble bathroom with two dual vanity sinks and an oversized veranda, all characteristics that enthused our Seven Seas Society members.

The feedback I received was invaluable and I believe all of our guests easily understand why Seven Seas Explorer deserves the honor of the Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built. After our tour, I remained at the shipyard for a few meetings, but our guests went on to enjoy a delicious lunch at a local restaurant in Genoa. Although I wished I could’ve been there, I knew they were in excellent company with Randall Soy, our Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing, and other key members of our management teamI’m deeply grateful to those that shared this day with us and I hope that this experience was just one of the many highlights of their journey from Lisbon to Rome.

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We look forward to keeping everyone updated on the progress of Seven Seas Explorer and are counting the days until she set sails on her Maiden Voyage on July 20, 2016.  If you would like to view Seven Seas Explorer’s latest renderings please click through the following slide show.

Voyage Spotlight: Cherry Blossoms & Lotus Flowers

From Tokyo to Beijing in 18 unforgettable nights, guests aboard Seven Seas Voyager® will relish the opportunity to explore the magnificent cities of Japan, Taiwan and China with nearly 70 FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions.

Highlights of Japan

Departing Tokyo, guests will call on Shimizu where, on a clear day, they can see majestic Mount Fuji from the port. However, for true adventurers, there are plenty of opportunities to get closer to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Later in Osaka, where guests enjoy an overnight call, you may explore the third largest city of Japan and the famed Osaka Castle, as well as journey to Kyoto where the impressive Golden Pavilion and Nijo Castle awaits. The time in Japan culminates with a call on Okinawa, where its scenic countryside is the backdrop for poignant WWII memorials.

Highlights of Taiwan

Upon arriving in Taiwan, the blend of mountainous terrain with a beautiful coastline belongs to Keelung. Among its breathtaking landscape is a place named Heping Island, with rock formations that arouse intrigue and curiosity. Guests who enjoy Asian fare will rejoice at the food market surrounding the Denji Temple, which has a myriad of delicacies to sample from. Not to be outdone by Keelung, the next day Taiwan presents Kaohsiung, the second most populous city known as the Harbor Capital. Here, guests enjoy visits to the Fo Guang Shan monastery, with its hall of giant Buddhas, and the beautiful landscapes of Kenting National Park.

Highlights of China

After cruising the Strait of Taiwan, guests arrive in China for four overnight calls in Hong Kong, Xiamen, Shanghai and Beijing. Taking advantage of these evenings in Asia, guests may choose to take in the spectacular views from the top of Victoria Peak in Hong Kong and later compare them to the view from the 88th floor of the Jinmao Building, which is the best place to witness Shanghai’s skyline lit up on both sides of the river.

Cherry Blossoms & Lotus Flowers departs Tokyo on March 7, 2016. In addition to Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ all-inclusive amenities, this voyage also features the new lower fares of early booking savings of up to $12,000 per suite. Guests in all suite categories may also enjoy a FREE Pre- or Post-Cruise Land Program and specially-priced Business Class Air upgrades for only $999 each way.

Côte d’Azur in the Fall

Glamorous coastal cities and villages have made the French Riviera the Mediterranean’s biggest draw for summer holidays. Yet, many travelers are not aware that when the summer begins its retreat to give way to the milder weather of the fall, the Côte d’Azur continues to captivate with irresistible charm.

Below we compiled our top three sites of the Riviera best enjoyed in the fall.

The Walled City of Carcassonne in Sète, France

The normally busy port town of Sète is a little quieter in the fall, which is perfect for travelers wishing to explore further inland, where the landscape becomes even more scenic. Sète is home to Carcassonne, a fortified medieval city so culturally important that it has been deemed a World Heritage Site. Its wonderfully restored fortifications consist of a double ring of ramparts, more than 50 towers, and a castle, all of which belong to the French state. Regent Seven Seas Cruises offers a FREE Unlimited Shore Excursion to Carcassonne with a guided tour of the old city, the signature Narbonne Gate with its defensive flanking towers, and the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire known as the “The Jewel of the Old City.”

The Pope’s Palace from Provence (Marseille), France

In autumn, the weather is adorably refreshing, encouraging outdoor exploration, which is perfect for touring the largest Gothic palace in Europe, the Pope’s Palace. In the heart of Provence is the former home of the Sovereign Pontiffs, with its ceremonial rooms, chapels and private papal apartments. Although they only stayed for 70 years their legacy can still be seen on the beautiful streets of Avignon. Guests may tour the Palace and surrounding village of Avignon, with its wonderful mix of history and culture set on the banks of the River Rhone, on a FREE Unlimited Shore Excursion.

St. Paul de Vence from Monte Carlo, Monaco

The views and the temperature change dramatically from coastal to rural as you drive toward St. Paul de Vence from Monte Carlo. The historical and cultural heritage of Saint-Paul de Vence never ceases to amaze. This haven for artists boasts a number of fine museums such as La Fondation Maeght, which features contemporary works from Braque and Giacometti, among others. The local artisans are highly regarded for their weaving, woodwork and jewelry pieces, which are on display in the many galleries. On a FREE Unlimited Shore Excursion to this area, gusts enjoy exploring the village’s small markets, repositories of fresh-cut, locally grown flowers and irresistible gastronomic treats.

Whether you are a first-time traveler or a seasoned explorer, this part of the world consistently inspires and beckons for your return. Interested in visiting the glamorous French Riviera this fall? The 11-night Treasured Antiquities itinerary calls on these and many more Mediterranean ports aboard Seven Seas Voyager® as she makes her way from Barcelona to Venice.

2016 Europe Collection Highlights

Regent Seven Seas Cruises® 2016 Europe Collection, which spans from March through November, includes impressive itineraries on three of the line’s all-suite ships.

  • The most luxurious ship in world, Seven Seas Explorer®, makes her much-anticipated debut, where guests can be a part of historical inaugural calls on Sanary-sur-Mer, Agadir and Catania.
  • Europe is also where the intimate 490-guest Seven Seas Navigator®, makes her triumphant return, bringing guests alongside the yacht-filled harbors of the glamorous ports of the French Riviera.
  • The elegant all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Voyager® sets her course toward Northern Europe where she will be enveloped with endless summer light and guests may enjoy overnight stays in St. Petersburg during White Nights and beyond.

Among the highlights of the collection are several new additions to our FREE Unlimited Shore Excursion menu. For instance, if your voyage calls on Venice, you may want to take the Romantic Verona tour to witness Juliet Capulet’s balcony. Or if your cruise arrives in Reykjavik, you will be able to experience the region’s most spectacular scenery on the Picture Perfect Iceland tour. In addition to our award-winning shore excursions, immerse yourself into each European destination with exciting options for an unforgettable experience.

Or, personalize your cruise with a wide range of unique, exciting supplemental options created to enhance your cruise vacation.

Regent Choice Shore Excursions

Carefully chosen for their inspiring and distinctive settings, every optional Regent Choice Shore Excursion is an enriching experience for the senses. The possibilities are endless, from private behind the-scenes tours of world-renowned places, as in A Private View of the Vatican while in Rome, to savoring the local flavors of esteemed wineries and restaurants, like the Exclusive Cooking Class from Livorno, or witnessing majestic wildlife like the Whale Watching From Husavik excursion. These authentic, in-depth, expertly guided adventures, available at a highly discounted supplemental fee were created just for travel connoisseurs.

Pre- and Post-Cruise Land Programs

Before or after voyages, guests may choose an optional enriching land-based vacation that reveals both the highlights and hidden treasures of mystical lands for a beautiful prelude or grand finale to their holiday. They may choose the 3-night Culinary Creations: Tastes of Barcelona, where they can shop alongside a local foodie at the famed Santa Caterina Market, and then participate in a hands-on cooking workshop and prepare an authentic Spanish meal that includes paella. Or explore Reykjavik on the 3-night Glaciers, Lagoons & Waterfalls, where they may witness a gorgeous landscape of thundering waterfalls, ancient glaciers and geothermal hot springs in unforgettable Iceland.

Adventures Ashore

During their voyage, guests may enjoy a rare opportunity to explore the world’s most fascinating destinations in small, private groups, with knowledgeable guides to help them discover off-the-beaten-path gems they might otherwise miss. On an Adventures Ashore overland program they’ll disembark the ship to enjoy a more authentic insider’s view that allows them to experience first-hand colorful cultures, dramatic landscapes and exquisite landmarks before rejoining the ship. This is especially exciting if their itinerary includes overnight calls in Egypt, as they can enjoy Adventures Ashore programs, such as Luxor & The Valley of the Kings or Land of the Pharaohs – Cairo, both available for purchase on select voyages.

From colorful Dutch tulips to aromatic Provençal lavender, Europe offers a vast and ever-changing landscape that begs to be explored. And with stellar six-star service and 2-For-1 All-Inclusive Fares aboard the luxurious ships of Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, there is no better way to experience Europe than by sea.

More to Explore: Pumba Game Reserve

A journey to Cape Town would not be complete without experiencing an African safari. And with Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ extraordinary offer of a FREE Pre- or Post Land Program in all suite categories on select voyages, this is an opportunity that simply cannot be passed up.

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Among the game reserves available on the vast menu of African Safari Land Programs is the award-winning Pumba Msenge Lodge, which was recently named among the Top 10 Safari destinations of the world by CNN.

Here, guests discover the serenity of the African bush in their own private glass-enclosed chalet. On several game drives into the bush, hippos, hyenas, wildebeests, kudus, elands and antelopes can be seen and perhaps a chance encounter with the rare and breathtaking white lion. Pumba is one of the only places in the world dedicated to protecting and breeding this magnificent big cat.

Photo Credit: Pumba Private Game Reserve & Spa

Below is a list of voyages that include a FREE African Safari Land Program in all suite categories:

Natural Wonders of South America

Encounter South America’s ever-changing landscapes in a continent of sublime contrasts. Silver-blue Chilean Fjords give way to lush, emerald lagoons. The searing hot rhythms of Buenos Aires echo the shaded cool whisper of Peru’s colonial Spanish cathedrals. And the natural wonder of Petrohue Falls will take your breath away. Here is fire and ice, the wild pampas, indigo mountains at the bottom of the world, ancient empires in the clouds, and the down-to-earth pleasures of vibrant, inviting ports.

Pisco, Peru – Paracas National Reserve

Considered one of the richest ecosystems in the world, this protected park is home to abundant marine and bird life.

Puerto Montt, Chile – Petrohue Falls

Take in glorious views of the Osorno Volcano and emerald-colored waterfalls of Petrohue.

Chilean Fjords – Pacific Ocean

Covering more than 1,000 miles and offering incandescent glaciers, massive icebergs and stunning vistas from the magnificent Andes, the Chilean Fjords is a must-visit destination.

Ushuaia, Argentina – Tierra del Fuego

This 150,000-acre park gets its name from the forest were damaged by fires long ago and are almost ghostlike today, with stark pale gray trunks standing in contrast against the backdrop of lush green vegetation.

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands – Bluff Cove Lagoon

On Bluff Cove Lagoon are 1,000 breeding pairs of Gentoo penguins and a growing colony of King penguins and their chicks.

Punta del Este, Uruguay – Sea Wolves Island

Sea Wolves Island, known locally as Isla de Lobos, is home to the world’s largest colony of non-migrating sea lions.

Experience all of these wonders on the 21-night Passage to Patagonia voyage aboard Seven Seas Mariner® departing Lima on January 31, 2016.

Voyage Spotlight: Exquisite Lands & Idyllic Shores

Navigate across exotic and dynamic countries, from Singapore to Indonesia and from Myanmar to Thailand in all-inclusive luxury. The 16-night Exquisite Lands & Idyllic Shores voyage offers 55 FREE Unlimited Shore Excursions that allow for complete immersion in the vast cultures and traditions of Asia.

Below are samples of the tours that await you on this wondrous itinerary:

Penang, Malaysia: Batik Creation Experience

A local artisan will teach you the traditional way to make your own hand-drawn, 36 x 36-inch Batik cotton voile scarf using wax and dyes. After the necessary treatment to set the colors, your handicraft design will be packed and mailed to your residence.

Sabang, Indonesia: Charming Ride Through The City

After departing from the pier in your rickshaw, known as a “becak,” you will soon arrive in Sabang’s energetic downtown. For a revealing glimpse into daily life, you will have the chance to stroll through the bustling Market Place, a collection of shops and stalls offering garden-fresh produce, seafood and meats.

Yangon, Myanmar: Shwedagon By Night Tour

Take advantage of your two-night stay and enjoy an evening exploration of Yangon that showcases its fabulous and famed jewel-studded Shwedagon Pagoda, which lords over the city from atop Singuttara Hill. Its glistening dome is covered with thousands of priceless gold plates, rubies, sapphires and other precious gems, and a single 76-carat diamond crowns the tip.

Phuket, Thailand: Scenic Phuket & Elephant Camp

On this excursion, enjoy a short trek through the tropical jungle on a majestic elephant, an experience not to be missed. Elephants are an important part of Thai history and culture, regularly featured in Buddhist art and architecture.

Langkawi, Malaysia: Cave & Mangrove Adventure

Explore the relaxed charm of Langkawi with its farms and fishing villages as you cruise through a wonderfully serene nature park, where you will observe thousands of bats in a cave, eagles feeding, and several species of Malaysian fish being farmed in the river.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: Klang Heritage & Home Visit

Visit a traditional Malaysian home, where you will observe the lifestyle of a typical family. While savoring local beverages and cakes, feel free to ask the family members about their daily activities or most anything else. The family is happy to entertain your questions and an interpreter is on hand to keep the conversation flowing.

Sihanoukville, Cambodia: Sihanoukville in Depth

This intriguing excursion showcases the charm and beauty that abounds around Sihanoukville and gives you a wonderful view of daily life here, as seen through the eyes of the local villagers. Your guide will explain how they raise domestic animals, prepare traditional dishes, and worship their ancestors in the pagodas. If school is in session, the teachers and students will be happy to talk about their education and daily routines.

In addition to these experiences during the voyage, Exquisite Lands & Idyllic Shores offers guests a Pre- or Post-Cruise Land Program in all suite categories. Choose from the 3-Night Sampling of Singapore or the 3-Night Temples of Angkor Wat from Bangkok, for an unforgettable experience. Best of all, this voyage also features New Lower Fares including early booking savings of up to $9,000 per suite, as well as Business Class Air upgrades for only $999 each way. For complete details on this magnificent voyage, visit www.RSSC.com or call your Travel Agent. Exquisite Lands & Idyllic Shores departs Singapore on January 18, 2016.