THREE OF THE BEST; UPCOMING NEWBUILDS FOR 2016

As 2015 goes full steam ahead into it’s second half, I thought now might be a good time to look forward to some of the new builds coming on line in 2016.

All three represent a pioneering new class of vessel for their respective owners. And, while two of these could well simply prove to be the lead ships of a new platform over time, one of them is almost certainly a total one off, a ship as individual as each of her three current fleet mates.

Firstly, Holland America Line has the superb new Koningsdam.  Coming on line in February, she is the first of a so-called new ‘Pinnacle class’ of vessels. Due to be delivered in March 2016, the 99,500 ton, 2,650 passenger Koningsdam will be the largest vessel ever delivered to Holland America.

Also being built in same Fincantieri yard as the Koningsdam is a larger, first of class vessel for parent company, Carnival Corporation. The brand new Carnival Vista is scheduled for an April delivery. Her maiden, thirteen night Mediterranean sailing on May 1st will mark not only the formal start of her career, but the first series of Carnival cruises anywhere in Europe for several years.

Carnival Vista is essentially an expanded and updated version of the very popular Dream class trio; she will have a gross tonnage of 133,500, and a passenger capacity of 3,936. After an inaugural season of Mediterranean cruises, the Carnival Vista will cross from Barcelona to New York in late October, prior to starting a season of winter cruises from the American east coast.

Definitely set to make a big splash- in every sense of the word- is the new, ultra deluxe Seven Seas Explorer, also fitting out at the ubiquitous, seemingly all conquering Fincantieri yard in Italy.

The first new build for Regent Seven Seas Cruises since 2003, this ultra luxury ship is setting its sights firmly on being, quite simply, the most luxurious ship in the world. Coming in at around 54,000 tons, the 700 guest ship will feature all balcony suites, making her one of the few ships in the world that can make such a claim.

These three ships offer a trio of very diverse products that largely cross the spectrum of the modern cruise industry. Each will be a trailblazer in it’s own way. And it is for certain that the progress and performance of each vessel will be very closely monitored by the competition.

Interesting times. As ever, stay tuned.

Regent's new masterpiece, Seven Seas Explorer, is set to be unveiled in 2016

Regent’s new masterpiece, Seven Seas Explorer, is set to be unveiled in 2016

LUXURY REDEFINED- THE NEXT WAVE OF SIX STAR SHIPS IS COMING….

The announcement this week of a long awaited new build from luxury cruise operator, Silversea, has gone a huge way to confirm the resurgence of the luxury cruise market which is now evident to even the most cautious of commentators. Due for delivery in 2017, the 40,000 ton, 586 guest Silver Muse will be the largest ship yet for the fleet.

We know that she will be a ‘slightly improved’ version of the very popular Silver Spirit of 2009. Rumours say that the main difference will be the relocation of the popular main bar back to its traditional aft location on the main deck. On Silver Spirit, this same room was given a midships location, just behind the reception area, which was not well received by some

In any event, this new ship- one tenth larger than Silver Spirit- represents a logical evolution of the line’s highly styled philosophy. And her genesis is the final shot (for now at least) in a very salubrious volley of new builds announced and set in motion by the main players.

New tonnage became something of a priority with the debut of Hapag Lloyd Cruise Lines’ stunning Europa 2 back in 2013. With all suite accommodation, including the largest standard balconies of any line, and no less than eight restaurants, the 42,000 ton, 516 guest ship threw down the gauntlet in truly spectacular style. This stunning ship (see previous blogs) upped the ante by light years for every rival line. She is, quite simply, without peer.

So, when Regent Seven Seas came out of the blocks and announced the construction of the brand new, all-suite Seven Seas Explorer, people really sat up and took notice. At 54,000 tons, this 700 guest vessel is due to emerge from the Fincantieri shipyard next year. She will give the Regent fleet it’s third all balcony new build- quite a stunning coup in its own right.

The Seven Seas Explorer will represent evolution rather than revolution; all the tried and trusted trademarks that have made the line so popular- wildly so over the last few years- will be present, with some subtle fine tuning, to provide what will be a truly remarkable ship. The claim that she will be ‘the most luxurious ship in the world’ can be taken with a pinch of salt, though as a statement of aspiration, it’s entirely understandable.

And the opposition might have something to say about that, too. No doubt Crystal Cruises, who have finally announced a long awaited, third vessel, will do so in it’s usual, subtly elegant style. This is possibly the most eagerly awaited new ship of them all.

Little has been said about her but, like the Seven Seas Explorer, I expect that she will represent evolution rather than a seismic shift from the beautiful, highly personalised style of voyaging that Crystal does so well. For sure, we may well see larger cabins and suites, perhaps an extra deck, and one or more new eateries. But essentially, I think the as yet un-named vessel will represent gracious, genteel expansion and emphasis of the current Crystal philosophy. I certainly hope so.

Thus it is against the backdrop of these splendid new competitors that Silversea, after a long period of deliberation, has finally gone for a new ship, too. And anyone who thinks that the line will sit quietly back and play second fiddle to any competitor in the luxury market does not understand the basic ethos of Silversea, which is always about being, quite simply, the very best.

This exciting trio of vessels will take six star cruising into the next realm. Each will be a spectacular, floating fantasy island, swathed in sybaritic levels of luxury that few land based hotels can get near.

So, who will be the real winner in this glorious, gilded maritime equivalent of an arms race?

Quite simply, the customer.

Midships Bar on the Silver Spirit

Midships Bar on the Silver Spirit

AND FINALLY, SILVERSEA ORDERS A NEW SHIP

After two years of ‘will they, won’t they’ musings and mutterings, Silversea yesterday finally announced an order for a new ship, the sixth dedicated newbuild in its twenty-one year history.

The evocatively named Silver Muse will be built by Fincantieri in Italy, and is slated to enter commercial service in 2017. At around 40,000 tons, the new ship is roughly ten per cent greater in size than the last newbuild, the Silver Spirit of 2009. The new vessel will have a capacity for 596 guests.

The relationship between Silversea and Fincantieri is quite long and historic, and dates back to the building of ships for the then Sitmar Cruises back in 1987. Silversea CEO, Enzo Visione, hinted to me back in 2013 that a newbuild would be on the cards in the near future. Now his words have come true.

The new ship will take the Silversea brand up to a nine strong fleet, inclusive of the trio of currently operated expedition ships. And, while actual details on the new ship are not yet in the public domain, Visione envisages a vessel built on roughly the same platform as the popular Silver Spirit.

Now that the Silversea fedora has been formally thrown into the ring, we can look forward to a string of interesting luxury ships over the next few years. With the new Seven Seas Explorer coming on stream for Regent Seven Seas next year and a new Crystal ship also in the mix, the options for the deluxe market are once again beginning to look up.

Good news all around. As ever, stay tuned.

Silver Spirit off Lipari, Italy

Silver Spirit off Lipari, Italy

EXPECTATIONS RISE FOR SEVEN SEAS EXPLORER

Regent has a new ship coming in 2016

Regent has a new ship coming in 2016

Regent Seven Seas has announced that the inaugural programme for it’s latest, ultra luxury new build, Seven Seas Explorer, will be announced on January 15th, going on sale to the general public in February.

The $450 million ship, currently under construction at the Fincantieri yard in Italy, will enter service in 2016, and will be the first dedicated new build for the line since 2003. She will join her siblings, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner, in a fleet that will give Regent three of the only four all suite, all balcony luxury ships in the world.

Like her siblings, the 54,000 ton Explorer will accommodate around 750 guests, representing an approximate forty per cent increase in the line’s current passenger capacity.

And, while actual specifics and hardware are sketchy at the moment, the company is claiming that the ship will feature a ‘museum quality’ range of art works, as well as the highest passenger space ratio of any ship afloat, and also the highest ratio of staff to guests of any ship at sea.

There will be six gourmet restaurants, and some 369 suites, varying between 300 and 1500 square feet in size.

In building, outfitting and running the Seven Seas Explorer, Regent Seven Seas is setting it’s sights quite firmly on building what it claims will be ‘the world’s most luxurious ship’- quite a statement of intent.

More details will appear here as and when they become available.

As always, stay tuned.

WHAT’S NEXT? MUSINGS ON THE LUXURY CRUISE SHIP MARKET

Silver Spirit off Lipari, Italy

Silver Spirit off Lipari, Italy

With the arrival in Europe of Oasis Of The Seas for the first time and the imminent launch of her much anticipated sibling, Quantum Of The Seas, plus the looming debut of the new Costa flagship, Costa Diadema, the emphasis of media attention has been firmly focused on the mega ship sector of the market over the last several months.

Hence now might be a good time to recap some of the ongoing developments in the small, luxury sector of the cruise market. For, while it has not been making waves on the same scale as the big ships cited above, there is an interesting series of developments. across several lines, that are worthy of recounting.

Seabourn has a fourth, slightly larger vessel in its Odyssey class coming into service in the second half of 2016. Said to be coming in at around 40,000 tons, this new vessel is currently under construction at the Fincanitieri shipyard in Italy. Every room on this as yet nameless vessel will feature a private balcony.

For the recently re- monickered Ponant, a fourth in their highly successful Boreal class vessels will debut in 2015. Le Lyrial will give the French company a handsome, highly styled quartet of luxury vessels, each around the 10,000 ton mark.

Meanwhile, also at Fincantieri, the new Seven Seas Explorer continues to take shape for Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The spectacular new ship, scheduled to debut in 2016, will also be all suite, all balcony, and is currently expected to come in at around 54,000 tons.

And, of course, the first of the Viking Ocean cruise ships- Viking Star– promises to deliver a kind of sublime, ‘back to the future’ traditional luxury cruising when she debuts next April. Two sisters are already firm orders, and a fourth seems likely. With the emphasis placed firmly on a far more traditional, gimmick light type of cruise experience, these ships will certainly add momentum and choice to the upper echelon.

Regent has a new ship coming in 2016

Regent has a new ship coming in 2016

Those are the vessels actually under construction as I write this. Of course, the rumour book also has a healthy amount of tonnage on its pages, too. Among the most prominent of these:

Silversea are reportedly close to ordering another new build, similar is scale to the 2009 built Silver Spirit (look out for a voyage report from that ship in the next few weeks). The new ship is expected in two or three years’ time, so placement of an order can be considered to be imminent.

Even before its acquisition by Norwegian, Oceania Cruises was said to be on the verge of ordering another pair of sister ships in the same class as their hugely successful, 66,000 tons sisters, Marina and Riviera. With the financial clout afforded it by the new ownership, it seems likely that at least one of these ships- and more likely both- will translate into firm orders in the not too distant future.

Lastly, but by now means least, those seriously luxurious scions at Crystal Cruises are hoping to announce an order for a new build before the end of the year. New CEO, Edie Rodriguez, has stated publicly that she will be lobbying the parent company, NYK, for funds for a new build. A third Crystal ship would take the line back up to a three ship fleet-something it definitely needs to be in order to offer year round deployments across the world.

In terms of revamps, Windstar will be massively bolstered by the addition of the two remaining smaller Seabourn yachts to the fleet. This means that the line has effectively doubled in size in just three short years; a quite remarkable achievement.

As ever, stay tuned,

SEVEN SEAS EXPLORER IS BORN…

Pool and hot tubs, Seven Seas Voyager

Pool and hot tubs, Seven Seas Voyager

The first keel plates of the ultra luxury Seven Seas Explorer were laid today in Italy’s Fincantieri shipyard.

The 54,000 ton ship, due into service in 2016, will carry just 750 guests, and will be only the fourth all outside balcony suite vessel in the world. She joins her sister ships, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager, as part of a very exclusive quartet.  Interestingly, the only non -Regent member of this club is Hapag Lloyd Cruises’ superb new Europa 2.

Seven Seas Explorer is the first new ship to be built for Regent Seven Seas since 2003, and it is interesting to note that she is only marginally larger than her two fleet mates mentioned above. And, with a capacity of only fifty in excess of her siblings, it is obvious that Regent has decided to stick with a tried and tested style and size of ship design.

This is hardly surprising, as the rest of the fleet has been sailing at near capacity for quite some time. People gravitate to the Regent brand, with its hallmarks of casual, indulgent luxury, all inclusive fares including drinks, shore excursions and non extra tariff dining, as well as the smart casual dress codes that distinguish the ships.

While the new vessel might include some as yet to be revealed twists on the previous ships, it is obvious that consolidation is the name of the game here. It makes for an interesting comparison with the other luxury lines.

For instance, the sublime Seabourn new builds were each three times the size of their predecessors, mainly to accommodate extra dining options, plus the balcony suites lacking on the earlier ships. And each new generation of Silversea  ships has been on average half as large again as the generation before her; a trend maintained with the 2009 debut of the Silver Spirit.

Interestingly, both Seabourn and Silversea also included several window-only suites on all of their new tonnage. But Regent obviously thinks it is worthwhile to stick with the all balcony suite concept, for now at least.

None the less, the 2016 debut of the Seven Seas Explorer adds a new, very welcome addition to the small, select family of upscale vessels in the top end luxury market. Recent, expensive refurbishments of both Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Voyager have greatly enhanced and expanded the appeal of this already hugely popular pair of sisters, offering a foretaste of the new ship in many of their signature elements.

As always, stay tuned for future developments.

FOUR NEW ORDERS FOR FINCANTIERI?

MSC look set to confirm yet another two ship order from Fincantieri

MSC look set to confirm yet another two ship order from Fincantieri

I mentioned in a previous blog that MSC Cruises were very strongly rumoured to be about to announce a second pair of new builds, in addition to the pair of new mega ships just ordered from the French shipyard, STX. It now looks like that announcement could be imminent.

The two new Italian builds are bruited to be of around 152,000 tons, with a length of some 310 metres each, and a projected total cost of some 1.4 billion euros. The first ship could be slated for delivery as early as 2017.

And- as previously alluded- the same yard is also expected to announce confirmation of yet another order, this time for a brace of sister ships for Oceania Cruises. Unlike the new MSC designs, these two vessels are reported to be another pair of sisters for that company’s first two, highly popular new builds, Marina and Riviera.

The Italian yard has been fantastically busy, and indeed it still is. As well as the above projected announcements, Fincantieri is also cutting the steel, ready for all four of the Lirica class lengthenings. Beginning at the end of the autumn, each ship will be cut in half, then have a new mid section inserted.

The yard is also in the process of putting the finishing touches to the rival Costa Cruises new flagship, the Costa Diadema, which is due to debut this coming November, and is also building the fourth, expanded Odyssey class ship for Seabourn, as well as the new Seven Seas Explorer for Regent Seven Seas, the first new ship for that line in more than a decade.

The yard has literally just delivered the second of class Regal Princess, and is working now on outfitting the Britannia for P&O Cruises, a vessel built to the same design. In addition, the yard is also building the 47,000 ton cruise ship, Viking Star, for Viking Cruises, and also two similar sized sister ships which have recently been confirmed.

This construction programme amounts to a quite astonishing coup for the Fincantieri yard. While the likes of Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean continue to favour the Meyer Werft yard at Papenburg for their new builds, and the once dominant shipyards of Finland seem to be floundering, it is the Italian yard that is picking up orders for a whole raft of diverse new cruise ship designs, ranging from the mass market to the ultra luxury products.

With an enviable record for delivering superb quality vessels, on time and within budgets, the dominance of Fincantieri as the world’s pre eminent builder of cruise ships seems assured, at least for the next few years.

As always, stay tuned.

IT WASN’T ALL BAD: MY MARITIME HIGHLIGHTS OF 2013

The classics are back, courtesy of Portuscale Cruises

The classics are back, courtesy of Portuscale Cruises

In my previous post, I wrote about the string of maritime casualties that have begun piling up like so many car wrecks over 2013, from the plain sad to the simply absurd. Thankfully, that has not been the whole picture for the cruise industry during the course of the year. There have indeed been a number of outstanding events, and some cracking new ships have arrived. Here’s some of my personal highlights.

Firstly, the Lazarus style resurrection of Portuscale Cruises from the wreckage of Classic International Cruises will have warmed the hearts of anyone that appreciates the simple pleasures of classical, well run ships. There has been no more resolute-or miraculous-statement of intent than the return to service of the flagship, the doughty, dignified little Funchal. And, with the rest of the fleet on course for a 2014 relaunch, the outlook is very promising.

Big ship of the year was unquestionably the stunning new Norwegian Breakaway, the Peter Max mentored floating tribute to New York style that debuted at the end of April. Brimming with life, and beautifully styled by Tillberg Design’s Fredrik Johansson throughout, Breakaway brings a whole host of outdoor eateries and bars to the balmy Bermuda run. With cutting edge entertainment and an easy, freewheeling vibe, this ship ups the ante for the contemporary mega ship experience by a long mile.

Stylish Regent has something new coming soon

Stylish Regent has something new coming soon

The announcement of a new ship for Regent Seven Seas is very exciting, and way overdue, too. Seven Seas Explorer will build on the obvious success and sumptuous style of her well established trio of upmarket siblings. And I had a delightful preview of the new ship, with some of her soon-to-be signature elements showcased aboard Seven Seas Voyager after a $25 million, bow to stern refurbishment. The whole look is more open and vibrant, with fresh carpeting and new artwork everywhere, while the new, cushioned comfy chairs on the balconies make them sublimely relaxing little enclaves.

The start up of new, traditionally styled Viking Ocean Cruises is a real, refreshing example of a new cruise line, actually listening to, and acting on, the ideas of potential passengers. With an identical quartet of traditionally styled , 47,000 ton siblings coming on line from 2015 onwards, there’s a firm emphasis on elegance rather than excess, and more than just an echo of those sybaritic Royal Viking Line stalwarts of the past. Certainly one that bears watching, for sure.

But, without doubt, the highlight of 2013 has been the debut of the sensational, stand alone Europa 2. With balconies for every single room- and even the smallest of those half as large again as on her nearest rival- this brilliant, uber-elegant new ship is designed to appeal to families of all ages, with many inter- connecting suites. Internally, the decor is sharp, linear and bright; a true ‘grand hotel’ on the ocean that offers no less than eight sumptuous, open seating restaurants for a maximum of 516 guests.

Pool area on the Europa 2

Pool area on the Europa 2

Owners Hapag Lloyd Cruise Lines have created what is, quite simply, the most diverse and dramatic luxury ship afloat. From her indoor/outdoor nightclub to her central pool with its sliding glass dome, the Europa 2 feels like as much of a clean break with traditional maritime luxe as did the Normandie back in the thirties. Time and tide might prove her to be every bit as epochal.

So, no, it’s not all doom and gloom out there. While there’s not yet as much diversity across the cruising spectrum as there once was, those ships that are emerging are more chock full of delightful innovations than anything that has preceded them before. At the same time, a slowly growing realisation is gathering pace that the industry per se is not a one size fits all shop. Lines are responding to demand, and that can only be good for all concerned.

As ever, stay tuned.

A TRIO OF SWELLS; EUROPA 2, SILVER WHISPER AND SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER

Pool area on the Europa 2

Pool area on the Europa 2

2013 has been a bit of a banner year for luxurious, albeit brief opportunities to look at a spectacular, highly styled trio of luxury cruise icons- Europa 2, Silver Whisper and Seven Seas Voyager, in order of encounter. With a bit of time to reflect on this true trio of swells, here’s a few observations I harboured in respect of each.

To my mind, Europa 2 is much more aimed toward those who usually take time out in high end, luxury resorts and hotels, rather than on traditional cruise ships. The ship offers a phenomenal eight dining venues for a maximum of 516 guests, and sublime, beautifully sculpted, modern hotel style interiors. The suites all come with commodious, lavishly furnished balconies and- unlike the other two ladies in this piece- Europa 2 is not a truly all inclusive experience. Hapag Lloyd Cruise Lines are adamant that this policy would not change, but so were both Regent and Crystal in the past.

The real change in emphasis is the child friendly nature of this stunning new ship, with interconnecting suites for families, and no less than six nannies on hand to look after the little ones. On our cruise, we saw virtually nothing of the fifty children that we knew to be on board. And, with a smart casual dress code throughout, Europa 2 neatly side steps one of traditional cruisings most oft perceived bugbears.

Silver Whisper is, without doubt, one of the finest ships afloat anywhere, and the service and ambience on board is right up there with the Adlon and the Ritz. As a product, Silversea continues to emphasise it’s Italian heritage and fine, European style of service.

But there are changes; the dress code is no longer quite so formal as it once was, although passengers still dress very smartly for dinner. The entertainment menu has been rethought, with much more intimate performances where the singers and dancers interact, singing, dancing and chatting to the passengers.

On board the Silver Whisper

On board the Silver Whisper

The Italian heritage is most apparent in the evening emphasis towards Mediterranean style dining, and the Hot Rocks alfresco dining venues, where guests can barbecue their own steaks or chops, is a fun, interactive venue unique to Silversea.

Like her fleetmates, Silver Whisper remains a largely all inclusive product. The line still offers stylish, intimate touches, such as welcome mimosas, canapes and live jazz on deck on our recent arrival in Tallinn. Almost a full decade after it’s inception, Silversea remains a paragon, very much a premier exemplar of stylish, seagoing panache.

Now, Voyager. Newly renovated with a sweeping, $25 million eight day dry docking in Marseille, the ship now showcases areas intended to presage the forthcoming Seven Seas Explorer.

Stunning new, eggshell white seating and gorgeous, beautifully etched new light fittings adorn the Observation and Horizon lounges. New carpeting is featured right through the ship, and all teak decking- including that on all of the 350 balcony suites- has been replaced.

Those same balconies now boast funky, commodious new, resort style seating, as do the terrace decks at the stern. New artwork right throughout the ship is outstanding and, in terms of entertainment, no less than eight new production shows are almost ready for ‘curtain up’.

Style wise, Regent has always had a smart casual dress code and, with all shore excursions included right throughout the cruise, it is unquestionably the most all inclusive, value loaded of the three products mentioned here.

New outdoor terrace furniture on the Seven Seas Voyager

New outdoor terrace furniture on the Seven Seas Voyager

All things considered, these three ships represent some of the most fabulous and self indulgent travel experiences afloat anywhere today. It is safe to say that any of these ships will offer you an incredible travel adventure, long before you even consider the idea of stepping ashore.

Such differences as there are lie in terms of some of the things noted above. All have space, grace, and are suffused by a sense of calm, casual ease. For lovers on the luxury cruising lifestyle, the industry as a whole has never been so deliciously diverse.

THE NEW LOOK SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER

New look Observation Lounge, Seven Seas Voyager

New look Observation Lounge, Seven Seas Voyager

Regent Seven Seas unveiled the exquisitely refurbished Seven Seas Voyager to media from several European countries on the opening leg of her first post dry dock cruise last week. Following an eight day, $25 million makeover in Marseille, the 42,000 ton Voyager dead headed overnight to Rome’s port of Civitavecchia to embark a capacity load of seven hundred passengers for a ten night cruise to Venice.

Prior to sailing, Regent/Oceania CEO Frank Del Rio invited a small group of UK media to an informal Q and A to discuss the refurbishment, as well as the forthcoming new build- Seven Seas Explorer- due to debut in 2016. While remaining deliberately coy about many of the features of the new ship, Del Rio did venture the information that the ship would have an additional restaurant compared to fleet mates Voyager and Mariner. The as yet nameless venue will be Asian themed and- like all Regent dining options- will be reservations only, but at no surcharge,

Elsewhere, the new ship will feature a single exclusive signature suite. the work of an as yet unannounced top designer. And Del Rio also noted that many of the new furnishings, decor and artwork showcased aboard Voyager will be a precursor for the new ship, as well as a blueprint for Mariner, due for an overhaul in March, 2014.

New outdoor terrace furniture

New outdoor terrace furniture

As for Voyager herself, a thousand workmen laboured for eight days and nights to totally transform the Observation and Horizon lounges with new lighting, much more commodious soft furnishings, fresh carpeting, and brand new bar installations. New carpeting was laid right throughout all the public areas on Seven Seas Voyager, and a whole new range of artwork is now showcased throughout.

Plush, new resort style furnishings were added to the outer deck terraces, and all teak decking- including that on all 350 suite balconies- was replaced. And all of those balconies received plush, funky new balcony furnishings that can safely be described as a real hazard to activity of any sort.

While the new work has revitalised and energised this beautiful ship no end, it was also reassuring to find that many much familiar, fondly remembered highlights remain intact. The eight storey atrium lobby, with its sweeping staircases accented in brass, glass and marble highlights, is still one of the most glorious public spaces of any ship afloat. And the aft terrace of La Veranda still remains of of the most exalted indoor and outdoor dining experiences afloat.

On board dining was well up to the Escoffier style levels of old. A ten ounce tranche of kobe beef I sampled in the Prime 7 Steakhouse was so tender that it literally crumbled on contact with the cutlery. And there are few other places where you can enjoy steak and champagne for an outdoor breakfast, with the stunning Monaco skyline as a backdrop.

Kobe beef table art in Prime 7

Kobe beef table art in Prime 7

Elsewhere, legendary producer and entertainment guru Jean Ann Ryan was on board to exclusively reveal the details of no less than eight new shows in production, exclusively for Regent. The obvious aim here is to give the already extensive entertainment roster across the fleet a whole new level of creative momentum and scope.

Sister ship, Seven Seas Mariner is due to receive the same upgrades next spring, following her South America season of cruises this coming winter. In an all too rare moment, Voyager and Mariner were both in Monte Carlo together on October 24th; Mariner was at the dock while Voyager tendered people back and forth to the same quay all day.

Overall impressions? This is elegance refreshed, excellence redefined. I’m still not sure about the new blue stripe along the hull, but there’s no questioning the imagination, care, quality and craftsmanship that has gone in to revitalising the Seven Seas Voyager for her tenth anniversary. Very highly recommended for sure.