On Wednesday, Regent Seven Seas Cruises officially launched its 2024-2025 season of 160 sailings that include new ports of call, itineraries in every continent in the world, two brand new 14-night Alaska sailings, and a full season from its new ship Seven Seas Grandeur.
The sailings will open for sale on Aug. 24, 2022, and guests can pre-register starting today.
Regent chief sales and marketing officer Andrea DeMarco spoke to TMR this week ahead of the season’s launch. Here’s what she had to say:
Not many consumers would think of Regent as a value brand, and, by all measurements, it’s far away from the typical value pricing. However, Regent’s lean into all-inclusive pricing means that guests onboard are getting a value that adds up to a lower spend per day per person than other luxury cruise lines, and close to some premium cruise lines.
“The inclusive nature of Regent compared to other luxury or even premium lines, with the additions of WiFi, shore excursions, dining, drinks, and more means that Regent is sometimes cheaper than even the luxury or premium lines,” DeMarco said.
For instance, if you compare a seven-night sailing on Seven Seas Mariner with a similar sailing on a luxury line that doesn’t include what Regent offers (roundtrip air, transfers, excursions, WiFi, gratuities, dining, drinks, and fees and taxes), Regent costs less at $857 per person per day compared to $978 per person, per day.
When compared to a premium cruise line, Regent costs more ($857 compared to $625), but not by as much as regularly perceived.
“The value we offer is a lot richer,” DeMarco added.
For travel advisors, this means two things—the first is that it is an “opportunity for partners to bring first-time Regent guests into mix,”, especially during a time when consumers are spending more on travel, DeMarco said.
“The appeal of trading up into luxury, having more space onboard, all of the inclusive experiences we offer…travel partners play a key role in this,” she said. “A couple may be sailing on the highest level suite on a premium cruise line can trade up and explore a much richer value.”
“Travel partners help us tell that story,” she added.
The second is that advisors, who are able to communicate that kind of value, are able to earn commission on that fare without those ancillary charges being removed.
The World Cruise has long been one of the signature offerings for Regent, and for good reason.
Regent saw that demand come in even during the early periods of the pandemic. And now, coming out of the pandemic, DeMarco said that Regent guests want to travel farther for longer and to more exotic destinations, which is exactly what its World Cruise offers.
The new World Cruise for 2025 will be Regent’s longest sailing ever—150 nights, visiting 97 ports of call across 5 different continents, with 395 shore excursions included, and 16 overnight stays for “extended exploration,” DeMarco said.
The bad news for potential guests is that Regent’s 2025 World Cruise sold out even before officially opening for bookings—DeMarco said all cabins were taken during pre-registration, and it wasn’t just from past sailors. One-third of the bookings on the 2025 World Cruise came from new-to-Regent guests.
Travel Advisors and Demand Rebound
The nature of just how unique the Regent product is creates a need for travel advisors to sell the product, and DeMarco stressed that “travel advisors play a critical, critical role in our success.”
DeMarco said that, while Regent takes care of the middle point, the story of a vacation is introduced and then bookended by the work of travel advisors.
“When you are booking a cruise, we take care of the middle point onboard, and travel partners take care of the rest,” she added. “The majority of the distribution for us is through travel partners because of that more complex purchase. Our guests do want that attention.”
Just like a lot of the industry, Regent saw a lot of demand snap back once the cruise industry was able to sail again. DeMarco told TMR that the snapback has lasted and “demand for luxury cruising is still strong,” despite worries about economic contraction or inflation.
“When you think about the Regent clientele, we’re not booking 2022. Our product books so far out, so whether it is a good time or a challenging time, people still want to book,” she said.
DeMarco has seen the same trend with the travel advisor community, too.
“Travel partner community has been really resilient for us over the past couple of years – their success if our success,” she said.