First look: The new, $11,000-a-night cruise ship suite that's bigger than a house
For the record, I'm the kind of guy who rarely spends over $10,000 a night for a cabin on a cruise ship. And by rarely, I mean never.
Shave a couple zeros off that number, and you're getting closer to my idea of a reasonable per-night charge.
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Apparently, not everyone is like me. The new Regent Suite on luxury line Regent Seven Seas Cruises' just-unveiled Seven Seas Splendor, which Regent executives showed off to U.S. media for the first time on Sunday, already is booked solid through November at $11,000 a night for two.
Yes, you read that right: $11,000 a night.
Given that many Seven Seas Splendor sailings run 10 to 16 nights, we're talking about a total spend here of $110,000 to $176,000 in many cases.
What do you get for that kind of money? For starters, a suite that is very, very big.
The sprawling complex measures 4,443 square feet -- nearly twice the size of the average American home.
For those of you keeping track, that makes the suite more than three times the size of the much-ballyhooed, two-deck-high Ultimate Family Suite that Royal Caribbean recently put atop Symphony of the Seas, the world's biggest cruise ship. It's also way bigger than the giant Sky Suites that Princess Cruises just unveiled on its new Sky Princess.
As I saw during Sunday's preview, the Regent Suite features two bedrooms, three bathrooms, a living room, a separate dining area and what is perhaps the most spectacular balcony at sea.
"It's unique," Regent president and CEO Jason Montague said of the suite when I asked him where he thinks it falls among the list of top suites at sea. "There's nothing like it, not just in the cruise industry but the overall [travel] industry."
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That's a big boast. But, having seen quite a few super-suites in my 20-plus years of travel writing, I can say that Montague may have a point.
As Montague noted, there aren't any super suites on land where you can get a sweeping view of a different iconic destination -- Monaco, Portofino, Venice -- every few days.
"Look at that view behind you," Montague said, pointing to floor-to-ceiling windows framing a vast expanse of island-dotted water (the suite unveiling was taking place during a short sneak-peek sailing for travel agents from Miami to the Bahamas). "You're going to wake up [to a view of] a different port almost every day."
Located at the very top of the ship, the Regent Suite really does have one of the best views at sea. Even the captain of the vessel, three decks below on the bridge, doesn't get quite the line of sight that a Regent Suite guest can get through its seemingly endless glass walls.
The bridge also doesn't have such luxury touches as a Steinway grand piano, designer furniture and an art collection worth thousands of dollars.
Cruise suite connoisseurs will tell you the footprint of the Regent Suite is similar to the footprint of a suite of the same name on Regent's 3-year-old Seven Seas Explorer. Until now, that suite has widely been considered the be-all and end-all of suites at sea. But some of the new Regent Suite's features are even more extravagant.
Among the craziest things that I saw: A bed with a handmade mattress that Regent executives claim cost more than $200,000. I didn't see the receipt, so I can't confirm it really was that pricey. But, given the way they described its making, I'm taking their word for it.
Regent says the bed was handcrafted by four artisans at the renowned Hästens workshop in Köping, Sweden. It's made with horsetail hair, layered in with flax, and cotton and wool batting. The frame, I was told, was made of pinewood. That last part seems a little Plebeian to me, given the cost of the bed. No rare black walnut or 1,000-year-old redwood?
Pine frame or not, the bed is quite comfortable. I know this because, when nobody else was looking, I sneaked a dive right on top of it.
Before you chastise me, know that I did fluff the comforter back up and straightened out the top sheet.
The super-pricey bed is within the Regent Suite's master bedroom area, which is the centerpiece of the complex. In addition to a main bedroom and adjacent lounge space, there's a massive master bathroom that doubles as a personal spa, complete with its own sauna and steam room. It's big enough that it also can be used as a personal spa treatment room.
To that end, the Regent Suite -- get this -- comes with its very own spa therapist on call. Unlimited spa treatments are included in the cost of the suite.
Need we even mention that the suite comes with its own private butler?
The master bath also has a walk-in shower so big that we suspect a couple of the other writers at Sunday's event got lost inside and are still there. Notably, the shower has a floor-to-ceiling glass wall overlooking the ocean. You can also enjoy the view from two heated relaxation loungers.
Still, the best view of the ocean from the Regent Suite is from its forward-facing, glass-enclosed solarium (which comes with a fully stocked bar).
That is, unless you walk out on the adjacent wraparound balcony. You can watch the sunset on the balcony from a custom Treesse minipool spa. Just don’t forget to grab an always-on-hand, complimentary bottle of Veuve Clicquot first.
If, like me, you're still a little blown away by the fact that anyone is shelling out $11,000 a night for a room on a cruise ship, one other thing to remember is the Regent Suite comes with a lot of extras.
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In addition to unlimited spa treatments, perks of staying in the complex that come at no extra cost (well, after the initial five- or six-digit payment for the sailing) include first-class domestic flights to reach the ship. Those staying in the suite also get a personal car, driver and guide in every port. They have a concierge on call before they sail to help them plan their trip and, of course, the dedicated butler to help make arrangements once they're onboard.
The butler isn't just any butler, mind you, but the head butler for the entire vessel.
Built at a shipyard in Ancona, Italy, Seven Seas Splendor was christened on Friday in Miami by American model and actress Christie Brinkley. It will sail from Miami with paying passengers for the first time on Tuesday, Feb. 25.
Seven Seas Splendor will spend the next couple months sailing out of Miami, San Diego and New York City before moving to Europe for the spring, summer and fall. European itineraries will include voyages to the French Riviera, Greek Islands, Iberian Peninsula and United Kingdom.
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