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New ship No. 7 — Seven Seas Explorer

Seventh in a series of new ships for 2016

A year and a half ago, Regent Seven Seas became the luxury wing of Norwegian Cruise Holdings, which owns two other cruise lines, Norwegian and Oceania. The Explorer will become Regent’s poster child for luxury, according to parent CEO Frank Del Rio, who said the Explorer will be “the most luxurious cruise ship ever built, boasting one of the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios ever seen in the modern era of cruising.”

Launch date: July 20

Capacity: 738

Sister ships: None

Maiden voyage: Monte Carlo to Venice (14 nights)

Home port: None

Ships then in Regent Seven Seas fleet: 4

Interesting: The Explorer, physically, is about 15 per cent bigger than the fleet’s largest ship, the Seven Seas Mariner, which years ago became the first all-balcony, all-suite cruise ship in the world. However, Explorer will carry only 38 more passengers (738) and will display luxury at every turn: exotic stones and polished woods in its design, six gourmet restaurants, a Culinary Arts Kitchen that mirrors world-renowned French cooking schools, and wine-and-food Gourmet Explorer Tours in the south of France that can run as high as $799 per person. For most rank-and-file cruisers, it’s too affluent unless they win Powerball tomorrow night.

In the news…

• Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian 1-2-3 in passenger capacity for 2016
• MSC Opera to cruise from Havana, Cuba year-round beginning next year
• Two consecutive years of processing a million passengers for New Orleans

Today at portsandbows.com: Cruise advertising slogans


Crown Princess
7 nights
February 27, 2016
San Francisco (return): Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas
Inside: $509
Cost per day: $72
www.princess.com

Regent Entertainment: Cirque's The Word

In the course of refurbishing its three ships, luxury line Regent Seven Seas has addressed the growing need for cruises to include entertainment (that's with a capital 'E'), even when space is at a premium.

For those of us who have never sailed Regent Seven Seas, they are small ships by traditional ocean standards. The Mariner and the Voyager are the biggest, each carrying 700 passengers. Little sister Navigator carries 490. So, when you have small ships and large accommodations (the ships are all suites and balconies), by the time you have places for customers to eat and drink and lounge, theaters are at best modest.

But all three ships have been renovated — okay, refurbished — since May 2012, the Mariner having just emerged from its remake. Also renovated was the cruise line's Cirque Rock n Rollentertainment program. Building on what seems to be attractive on the ocean industries big ships, Regent Seven Seas has focused on the "cirque" of Cirque du Soleil, the world-famous aerial conglomerate that doesn't have a trademark on the first word of its business, cirque. As a result, you will see "cirque" style shows elsewhere, and one of those places is on the Regent ships.

On the Mariner, it's Cirque Rock 'n Roll, which the cruise line describes as "a musical tour through history" from Elvis to Beyonce featuring "jaw-dropping aerial performances." Those of us who were introduced to cirque shows and pop music can't help but think all this started with Love, and the music of The Beatles, in Las Vegas.Navigator

On the Voyager, it's Cirque L'Amour, a tribute to the city of love, Paris, and "its renowned nightlife featuring a stunning aerial ballet with romantic displays of human power and trust." Hmm…

Both ships have the Constellation Theater, built overt two decks and with a new LED wall to enhance the productions and assorted upgrades to make the audience more comfortable.

On the Navigator, it's Cirque Navigator in the Navigator Theater. Since this is the smallest ship (just 566 feet long) we have to assume it's the smallest show…taking "the audience to a fantasy forest with choreography showcasing modern dance, aerial feats, Celtic dance and classic ballroom routines."

Regent is introducing a dozen new productions in all and it's clear that "cirque" is the headliner. What will be interesting now is what the cruise line does two years from now on Explorer, the first new ship since it became known as Regent Seven Seas, because there will be no existing space limitations when it comes to entertainment.

Today at Phil Reimer's portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Holland America Noordam
11 nights
July 1, 2014
BarcelonaMarseilleMonte CarloCalviFlorence, La Goulette, PalermoNaplesRome
Inside: $999
Cost per day: $90
www.hollandamerica.com

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