This Week in Cruise: New Ships Prompt New Fleet Renovations

regent seven seas cruises2016 is set to be a big year for new cruise ships, with even more over the horizon. This week Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line and Tauck all announced plans to update their existing fleets to keep pace with new and upcoming cruise ships. 

Regent Seven Seas Cruises will be rolling out a $125 million fleet-wide refurbishment program. Beginning with Seven Seas Navigator this spring, the public spaces and suites of the Regent fleet will be updated to match the style of the new Seven Seas Explorer, which is scheduled to launch this July. Regent says the update will provide guests with a consistent look and feel across all of the line's ships. 

The two-year, $125 million investment includes significant renovations of most public spaces, along with a complete redesign of all categories of suites. Seven Seas Navigator will be the first to receive the upgrade, followed by Seven Seas Voyager in late 2016 and Seven Seas Mariner in the spring of 2017.

With Norwegian Cruise Line fresh off the launch of Norwegian Escape, the line is launching The Norwegian Edge, a new two-year, $400 million investment project that will include an extensive ship refurbishment initiative and new additions to the guest experience. 

The refurbishment program began in October 2015 with a full refresh of Norwegian Epic that included the debut of brand new venues like The Cavern Club; complete restaurant makeovers in La Cucina and a new look for Cagney’s, Le Bistro, Moderno Churrascaria, The Manhattan Room and the Garden Café; and refreshed décor, furniture and flooring in many public spaces, including The Haven Courtyard, Lounge and Restaurant. Norwegian Gem followed in November, with a total of seven additional ships scheduled to go into dry dock for both guest-facing and technical enhancements: Pride of America and Norwegian Sun in spring 2016; Norwegian Dawn in summer 2016; Norwegian Spirit , Norwegian Sky and Norwegian Pearl in winter 2017; and Norwegian Jade in spring 2017. 

In river cruise news, Tauck is set to reconfigure more than half of its Europe river cruise fleet over the next two years in order to put its Jewel Class vessels -- Swiss Emerald, Swiss Sapphire, Swiss Jewel, Esprit and Treasures -- on an equal footing with its newer Inspiration Class ships, Grace, Joy, Inspire and Savor. Grace and Joy are set to launch later this year. 

The plan will see Tauck’s five Jewel Class riverboats enhanced with larger cabins, reduced overall passenger capacity, and upgrades to each ship's second onboard dining venue. Following the upgrades Tauck has said it will drop the Jewel Class / Inspiration Class distinction, referring to its ships collectively as the Tauck Destination Fleet to emphasize Tauck's destination experience. 

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