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Regent Seven Seas Cruises vs. Seabourn Cruise Line (Photo: Regent & Seabourn)
Regent Seven Seas Cruises vs. Seabourn Cruise Line (Photo: Regent & Seabourn)

Regent Seven Seas Cruises vs. Seabourn Cruise Line

The choice between cruising with Regent Seven Seas or Seabourn can be difficult -- if you don't know the subtle differences that make each line uniquely special. Both cruise lines place a high value on beauty; you'll see that in the architecture of the ships, suites, dining venues and other public areas. If you want to drink in beautiful interiors and landscapes, you can't go wrong with either option.

Let's discuss some of the other differences between Regent vs. Seabourn.

Updated December 27, 2018

Fleet

Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Regent Seven Seas has four cruise ships. Its flagship is the 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer, which made its maiden voyage in July 2016. The 700-passenger Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner launched in 2001 and 2003, and the 490-passenger Seven Seas Navigator launched in 1999. Through the beginning of 2018, Regent spent $125 million upgrading and refurbishing Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner.

Seven Seas Splendor -- Explorer's sister ship that will also accommodate 750 passengers -- will debut in 2020.

Seabourn Cruise Line

Seabourn sails five ships. Seabourn Odyssey (2009) and Seabourn Quest (2011) accommodate 458 passengers and Seabourn Sojourn (2010) accommodates 462 passengers. They are sister ships; Quest was refurbished in 2016 and the other two were done in 2017. The line also has two newer 600-passenger sister ships: Seabourn Encore (2016) and Seabourn Ovation (2018).

Additionally, Seabourn plans to enter the expedition niche with two new ships debuting in June 2021 and May 2022. Both ships will meet PC6 Polar Class standards for Antarctica and Arctic itineraries and will each sail with two submarines, two dozen Zodiacs and a kayak fleet. The 264-passenger, 23,000-GRT vessels will offer 132 balcony suites.

Price

Regent is almost always more expensive than Seabourn. That is because Regent packages airfare, shore excursions and other perks into its cruise fares, so you'll need to carefully compare pricing between these two lines in order to determine what's best for your pocketbook. Both lines include open bars throughout the ship that serve beer, wine and spirits, and both lines say tips are neither expected nor required (i.e., they're already baked into the cruise fare).

Choose Regent if you want the most all-inclusive experience.

Seven Seas Explorer Dining

A few years ago, Regent made the decision to go fully all-inclusive. When you look at the list of what's included in the fare, it's pretty extensive and includes things such as round-trip air from certain U.S. gateways; round-trip, business-class air on intercontinental flights; transfers between the airport and ship; unlimited shore excursions; Wi-Fi; all specialty restaurants; wines and premium spirits throughout the ship; an in-suite mini-bar that's replenished daily; gratuities; and even a pre-cruise luxury hotel night for those booked into Concierge or higher cabin categories.

Choose Seabourn if you're looking for a lower per diem.

(Photo: Seabourn)

Seabourn doesn't include airfare, shore excursions or Wi-Fi in its inclusive cruise fares, but depending on where you're traveling to and your cruise style, you might not want the cruise line to book your flights and you might not want to take the line's tours.

Because of Regent's inclusions, in most cases you'll find the daily rate on Seabourn to be lower than a comparable voyage on Regent Seven Seas. For example, a 10-night Mediterranean voyage (Rome to Barcelona) on Regent's Seven Seas Explorer will run $10,399 per person (about $1,040 per day) in the ship's Deluxe Veranda category (253-square-foot interior plus a balcony). A similar seven-night, May 2019 voyage aboard Seabourn Encore (Athens to Valletta, Malta) in the Veranda category (the smallest of which is 246 square feet plus a balcony) costs $4,499 (a per diem of $643).

Itineraries

Regent Seven Seas Cruises lives up to its name and sails itineraries across the globe each year. Likewise, Seabourn also offers a rich cruise calendar with voyages that can take you just about anywhere you wish to go. Regent has long offered world cruises while Seabourn offers a world cruise in 2020. Both lines sail Alaska, Asia, the Baltic, Northern Europe, the Caribbean (including Cuba), Greece and the Mediterranean, Mexico, the Panama Canal and Central America and South America.

Choose Regent if you're looking to book a world cruise before 2020.

While Regent had bowed out of the world cruise game for six years, it roared back with a 128-night voyage aboard Seven Seas Navigator in 2017 and has been offering a world cruise voyage every January since then. Seabourn won't offer an official world cruise until 2020.

Or if you want to visit French Polynesia.

Bora Bora (Photo: wilar/Shutterstock)

Throughout 2019 and 2020, Seven Seas Mariner and Navigator offer a total of 16 itineraries that call on the exotic South Pacific. Ten- and 11-night round-trip voyages from Papeete will visit places including Moorea, Rangiroa, Bora Bora, Raiatea and Huahine in the Society Islands; Fakarava in the Tuamotus; and Nuka Hiva in the Marquesas Islands. No Seabourn ship will visit French Polynesia during this same time frame.

Choose Seabourn if you have your heart set on visiting the White Continent.

When you're dreaming of an expedition to Antarctica, you might not immediately think that an elegant luxury cruise ship like Seabourn Quest can take you there -- but it can. In fact, Antarctica and Patagonia voyages are a specialty of that particular ship, which has a reinforced hull that is certified Ice Class (something you need when sailing the icy waters of Antarctica).

While you'll receive the same excellent service and care from the crew, the same onboard entertainment options and the same spectacular dining venues as you would on any other Quest itinerary, you'll also enjoy Ventures By Seabourn, a program that brings aboard naturalists, scientists and scholars to offer context to your voyage. Ventures By Seabourn staff also lead complimentary Zodiac landings to select Antarctic locations and even offer some sea kayaking adventures. There are digital photography workshops and plenty of opportunities to see wildlife from the ship or shore. The enrichment program in this region is nothing short of extraordinary.

Or if you're interested in an in-depth exploration of Australia and New Zealand.

Nature's Window, Kalbarri National Park, Western Australia (Photo: Nicole Kwiatkowski/Shutterstock)

While you can start or end a Regent cruise in Sydney or Auckland in 2019 and 2020 and then visit ports in Asia, there are only three Regent sailings that both start and end Down Under. Seabourn Encore, on the other hand, spends several months a year exploring Australia and New Zealand in-depth with a variety of itineraries, including 14- and 16-night Auckland round trips, a 14-night round trip out of Sydney, a 16-night Auckland to Sydney (and reverse) route, and even a monthlong Auckland to Sydney voyage. If learning about this part of the world is important to you, Seabourn has you covered.

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Shore Excursions

Regent and Seabourn pay close attention to the quality of the shore excursions they offer. Both use knowledgeable guides, keep tour groups small and ensure that transportation options are comfortable and air-conditioned.

Choose Regent if you plan to take a lot of shore excursions.

The Blue Lagoon, Iceland (Photo: Puripat Lertpunyaroj/Shutterstock)

The line conveniently packages all shore excursions within its fare. If you plan to partake in many guided tours, Regent is for you. You can sign up for as many shore tours as you wish from its list of free tours in every port. (There is also a short list of paid options in most ports of call.)

In Reykjavik, Iceland, for example, Regent offers seven complimentary options and six paid. The freebie options include bathing at the Blue Lagoon, a visit to three geysers along the Golden Circle plus lunch, two versions of a city tour, a photography excursion and a trip to Hengill volcano. The paid tours include things like a flightseeing ($499), a horseback ride ($109), 4-wheel drive glacier safari ($299), a 4x4 countryside adventure ($169) and a visit to various geothermal pools paired with a lobster lunch ($129).

Choose Seabourn if you enjoy festive, VIP-type experiences with your fellow passengers.

Caviar in the Surf by Seabourn (Photo: Seabourn)

On select sailings, Seabourn offers some extraordinary fetes. For example, in the Caribbean, Seabourn is known for its Caviar in the Surf beach barbecues that pair a traditional beach picnic with fine caviar and Champagne served by tuxedo-clad waiters wading knee-deep in the waves to serve you, with a surf board holding the caviar. (The same event is held on deck during colder sailings and is dubbed "Caviar on Ice.")

In Alaska, some sailings include a Klemtu Cultural Experience, and for foodies, a Shopping with the Chef tour is available in some ports, always on a complimentary, first-come first-served basis.

Cabins

Architects for both Regent and Seabourn designed incredible accommodations that are a pleasure to spend time in, and both offer a range of ensuite amenities. The difference is in who gets what on each cruise line.

Seabourn offers two tiers of in-suite amenities. All suites are outfitted with Egyptian linens, hypoallergenic pillows, robes and slippers, a bar setup and bath products by Therapies by Molton Brown. Those staying in premium suites also get extras such as an invitation to visit the bridge, fresh fruit and flowers, an espresso machine and free Wi-Fi -- among other perks.

Regent takes the amenities concept even further by breaking down its offerings lineup into four categories. All suites, however, feature a welcome bottle of Champagne; European king-size "Suite Slumber Beds"; a personalized full-liquor bar setup and minibar replenished daily with soda, beer and water; L'Occitane bath products and a plush bathrobe and slippers; and 24-hour room service served course-by-course at dinner.

Choose Regent if you're splashing out for a top named suite.

Seven Seas Explorer Cabins

While Seabourn ships offer more space in its entry-level accommodations than Regent's Explorer, Regent excel when it comes to top suites. If you're planning on splurging, you can't do better than the top suites aboard its flagship.

For example, the Regent Suite covers 3,026 square feet plus a 1,417-square-foot balcony; that's larger than most New York City townhouses! Compare that to Seabourn's top suite, the Wintergarden, which is only about 1,000 square feet. Explorer's Regent Suite comes at a premium, but it also includes an incredible array of perks such as a free one-night, pre-cruise hotel package with ground transfers, breakfast and porterage; a personal car and driver to explore each port; and unlimited in-suite spa services.

Or for more spacious entry-level cabins on its older ships.

If you're choosing between a sailing aboard Regent's Navigator, Voyager or Mariner versus one on Seabourn's older trio of ships -- Odyssey, Sojourn or Quest -- you're better off with Regent. Entry-level cabins aboard Voyager and Mariner are deluxe verandas ranging from 252 to 306 square feet of interior space and balconies that are about 50 square feet. (Navigator's entry-level cabin is a 301-square-foot deluxe window suite.) On Seabourn's trio, entry-level cabins are 295-square-foot ocean views.

Choose Seabourn if you want a spa suite that doesn't break the bank.

(Photo: Seabourn)

Yes, it's true that Regent's one Regent Suite aboard Explorer is outfitted with its own private spa treatment room (complete with two ceramic heated loungers), but those accommodations also come with a hefty price tag (which can be as pricy as $10,000+ per person, per day). Seabourn offers a more value-oriented solution for travelers who want to combine a high-end suite with unlimited spa service: the Penthouse Spa Suite.

There are only a handful of these suites on each ship -- for example, Quest has four -- so book early if spa amenities are important to you. You can get all the perks of the Penthouse Suite plus complimentary full-day access to The Spa at Seabourn's "serene area," which features indoor and outdoor space outfitted with a gurgling fountain, chairs and loungers. There is also a Kneipp hydrotherapy pool.

Other in-suite perks include access to a spa concierge plus a second in-suite minibar (stocked with water, juice and healthy snacks), additional Molton Brown specialty spa products and a menu of bath sponges. If you're into aromatherapy, you can select a L'Occitane fragrance to be diffused in your suite.

Dining

Both lines offer some tremendous options when it comes to mealtime, and neither charge extra fees for specialty restaurants. The main dining rooms on both lines are elegant with menus that appeal to both self-described "foodies" and those who enjoy more basic fare.

Regent offers a steakhouse and several themed restaurants where you can indulge in French, Asian or Italian cuisine. Menus seem to have more choice than on Seabourn, especially for vegetarians.

Seabourn, on the other hand, takes a more global approach to its menus and you can find a range of cuisines on menus throughout the ship. Its fleetwide Thomas Keller-designed restaurant, The Grill, is also a standout. New on Seabourn Ovation and rolling out to the other ships in the fleet soon is Earth & Ocean. In the evening, The Patio transforms into Earth & Ocean, a lovely spot to enjoy world cuisines with a menu that changes nightly.

Choose Regent if you love a good steak.

Prime 7 on Seven Seas Explorer (Photo: Cruise Critic)

The specialty restaurant Prime 7 is a mainstay on all Regent ships, and it rivals any steakhouse you've visited on land. The menu features USDA Prime beef as well as cuts that have been dry aged for 28 days. Traditional starters including jumbo shrimp cocktail and clam chowder are juxtaposed next to options such as foie gras sliders with rhubarb chutney and tuna tartare with a pomegranate-soy dressing.

Meat lovers will opt for one of the excellent cuts of beef, from New York strip or porterhouse (for two to share) to a bone-in, ribeye steak, filet mignon or a slow-roasted prime rib. Surf and turf is available along with seafood specialties such as Alaskan king crab legs, whole Maine lobster, Dover sole and barbecue-glazed salmon. Leave room for dessert; the Key lime pie is excellent.

Seabourn cruisers can enjoy USDA Prime beef at The Grill by Thomas Keller, but the cuts are limited to a rib-eye and New York strip.

Choose Seabourn if you've always wanted to dine at one of Thomas Keller's restaurants.

(Photo: Seabourn)

Celebrity chef Thomas Keller's reputation usually precedes him. He rose to fame as the culinary mind behind The French Laundry in Napa Valley and New York City's Per Se, and is the only American-born chef to hold multiple three-star ratings from the Michelin Guide. The Grill debuted on Seabourn Quest in May 2016 and soon rolled out fleetwide. Today, cruisers clamor for reservations at this fine dining restaurant that focus on comfort food with panache.

Entrees run the gamut of eggplant Parmesan, Dover sole meuniere and lobster thermidor to a broiled veal T-bone and medallions of Elysian Fields Farm lamb. USDA Prime-grade Snake River Farms rib-eye and an extra-thick cut of New York strip steak are also available. Mains are paired with sides such as mac-n-cheese, steak fries and glazed carrots with citrus butter. Delectable desserts like seven-layer coconut cake and Meyer lemon meringue tart will ensure you enjoy sweet dreams after dinner.

Entertainment

When it comes to keeping you entertained day or night, Regent and Seabourn have you covered. Both have gorgeous sun decks and a variety of daytime activities including trivia sessions, wine tastings and guest lectures.

In the evening, both offer several lounges that act as pre- and post-dinner gathering spots. On both lines, you can listen to live music, go dancing or play a hand of poker in the casino. Both offer Broadway-style theater performances and nightclubs (though Seabourn gets higher marks for the caliber of its shows and musicians). Since complimentary alcohol is included in both line's cruise fares, everyone tends to be out and about in the evening to enjoy a cocktail and mix and mingle.

Choose Regent Seven Seas Cruises if you'd like to go to cooking school at sea.

Culinary Arts Kitchen on Seven Seas Explorer (Photo: Cruise Critic)

If your voyage is aboard Seven Seas Explorer or the forthcoming Seven Seas Splendor, you can attend cooking school. More than mere demonstrations by the chef, the Culinary Arts Kitchen is outfitted with 18 workstations where participants learn techniques and recipes that they can take home with them. Classes charge a per-person fee with topics ranging from brunch classics to regional favorites of Spain.

Choose Seabourn if you're interested in an onboard watersports platform.

Seabourn's Watersport Platform (Photo: Seabourn)

All of Seabourn's ships except Quest are outfitted with an aft marina with a deployable watersports platform. From the marina, you can frolic in the in-sea pool and enjoy complimentary sports equipment including kayaks, two-person pedal boats and sailboats. You can also try water skiing and take a rollicking banana boat ride. (Watch out -- the ride can be rough and you might get tossed into the sea. But that's half the fun!) You'll generally find one or more "marina days" on itineraries in warm-weather locales such as the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Southeast Asia.

Or if you love the music of Tim Rice.

Seabourn presents "An Evening With Tim Rice" aboard its ships. and if you're a fan of Mr. Rice's work, you won't be disappointed in the show. The Broadway-style revue includes live singers in concert as well as a video screen that shows Mr. Rice telling stories about how his favorite songs -- including Lion King's "Hakuna Matata" and Evita's "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" -- were created. This free show wows.

Family

Choose Regent if you are traveling with young children.

Hiking Spot in Salmon Glacier, Alaska (Photo: Galyna Andrushko/Shutterstock)

Regent Seven Seas Cruises operates a well-organized and free Club Mariner Youth Program on certain holiday sailings, as well as through June, July and August in Alaska, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Baltic. The Club Mariner Youth Program splits kids into three age groups: 5 to 8, 9 to 12 and 13 to 17.

There is no kids club per se, so activities take place in the Stars Lounge during the day or on deck at spots like the paddle tennis court for pickup games of dodge ball or tag. Group activities are age-dependent and can range from storytelling and board games to arts and crafts projects and baking cookies with the pastry chef. Teens are more apt to spend time playing video games and watching movies.

Choose Seabourn if you are sailing with older teenagers or adult children.

Main Pool on Seabourn Ovation (Photo: Cruise Critic)

Seabourn does not offer any sort of permanent children's program or facilities onboard, and its restaurants don't offer a kids menu. On certain sailings during the summer months, when more children than usual will be onboard, the line might hire one or two counselors for an ad hoc program.

Even then, it's not the ideal choice for anyone traveling with small children or tweens. But it can be a good option for families traveling with respectful older teens or adult children who will enjoy things like the pool deck and aft marina water sports platform as well as the different dining venues and spa.

Bottom Line

Choose Regent if you want an absolutely all-inclusive cruise experience with free shore excursions, the most over-the-top suite afloat or a steakhouse dining experience with a huge menu.

Choose Seabourn if you adore caviar, want to explore Antarctica, love the music of Tim Rice, want to dine in a restaurant by Thomas Keller and love being in the water, whether by kayak, Zodiac, pedal boat or sailboat.

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