The most luxurious ship ever built is on her way to Australia – and already, Australians and New Zealanders are showing they can’t get enough of its gorgeous art collection, specialty restaurants and exclusive shore excursions.
Unashamedly offering the most expensive suites at sea, Regent Seven Seas believes it can make Australia its second biggest market outside the US.
And that, as Lisa Pile, Vice President of Sales in Australia and New Zealand admits, is a testament to Australia’s increasingly sophisticated travellers.
The line has been sailing in the region for years. But Regent Seven Seas Explorer, the all-suite flag ship which boasts an acre of marble, a US$7 million art collection, lifts the game.
Expect Picassos, lobster and foie grass and everything in between. The US$10,000 a night 413 sq metre Regent Suite has two bedrooms, a living room and a dining room, 2 rare Picasso lithographs, a custom Steinway piano and an in-suite spa with gold leaf taps.
“She’ll do very very well,” says Ms Pile. “Singapore to Sydney is going to be an incredibly exciting cruise”.
There will be a raft of new shore excursions, including go-local, which involves going to people’s homes.
“Go Small and Go Local is based on research and feedback we got for our guests,” says Ms Pile. They want authentic experiences.”
And there is usually a blockbuster. Ms Pile recalls giving 300 guests a dinner and night at the Australian Open Tennis Championships as a surprise.
Regent Seven Seas recently spent US$125 million upgrading its five-strong fleet. This week it ordered a new Explorer class ship. Another, The Spendor will come on stream in 2020.
Regent isn’t alone in noticing Australia’s predilection for the finer things in life. The surging growth in luxury cruising has seen a huge expansion of offering to Australian cruisers, with Silversea bringing its flagship Silver Muse, Cunard homeporting Queen Elizabeth, Ponant sailing Le Laperouse.
But the line is unruffled by the competition. This week, it changed its slogan to: “Unrivalled experience”. It’s trade-marked “The most luxurious ship ever built”. The Splendor has the tag line “Luxury perfected”. It seems to be working.
“There has been a 300% increase in sales since we opened an office in Australia in 2016,” Ms Pile tells Cruise Passenger. “We are the third largest market outside of north America, behind UK and Europe. And New Zealand is the eighth largest.”
Ms Pile believes Australians have changed and are now sophisticated travellers.
Ms Pile, a former luxury hotel executive, is looking for “the 1-percenters” – people for whom the phrase was invented: “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.”
But that’s not putting anyone off.
When the new Regent Seven Seas Splendor went on sale in Sydney in April, the company’s new offices here and in New Zealand has their biggest ever sale day. Over 70 per cent of guests repeat – an incredibly high figure.
Bookings for The Explorer are about to start, but already the journey from Singapore to Sydney is looking to be a sell-out. “We now have itineraries to 2021 that are selling out, Japan is on wait list already,” says Ms Pile.
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