With pomp and plenty of elegant adjectives, the 750-passenger luxury cruise ship, Seven Seas Explorer, officially joined the Regent fleet this week in an impressive and regal naming ceremony in posh Monaco. The ship’s maiden voyage is July 20 from Monte Carlo.
No one could have asked for a better evening to focus on a stunning new ship.
Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco attended, and the Princess, who is godmother of the ship, cut a red velvet ribbon that sent a bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne smashing against the ship’s hull. Monaco’s orchestra played. The famed opera singer Andrea Bocelli sang for about 40 minutes during the kind of performance that would have been a costly ticket, had tickets been available, which they were not. The invitation-only crowd numbered about 700.
The naming affair was held dockside in as formal a setting as a marina would allow. The backdrop of famous Monte Carlo certainly helped. The cruise crowd and invited guests were decked out in black tie and ball gowns.
All of which seemed fitting for the Explorer, which is billed by Regent as the most luxurious cruise ship in the world, and it may be.
You could spend $10,000 a night
Like Monaco, the Explorer is a wonder of opulence, with an abundance of finery, art, and upscale dining. The $450-million ship houses 375 suites, topped by the cruise world's largest and most luxurious Regent suite, which costs $10,000 a night. The average rate onboard is closer to $1,000 per person per night, and is highly inclusive of all cruise expenses.
Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which owns Regent Seven Seas, was asked whether there are enough wealthy travelers to spend $10,000 a night for such digs on a cruise ship. He responded that the suite is fully booked for this year and into the next. He said he is thinking about raising the daily rate for the suite, which includes a car and driver at each port of call. How much will the new rate be? "Whatever the market will be bear," he said.
I spent six nights on the Seven Seas Explorer before the naming ceremony, and I will tell you more about this upscale playpen in the coming weeks.
David Molyneaux writes regularly about cruising news, tips and trends at TravelMavenBlog.com. His cruise trends column is published in U.S. newspapers, including the Miami Herald, Dallas Morning News, and on Internet sites, including AllThingsCruise. He is editor of TheTravelMavens.com