Regent Seven Seas President Mark Conroy promised the line's loyal passengers that the new Regent ship would have more alternative restaurants, additional single-occupancy cabins and more space per passenger than the already spacious Regent vessels.

But the audience mostly wanted to talk about bathtubs.

Several guests told Conroy that the Mariner's tubs were difficult to get in and out of, and Conroy promised that the problem would be solved on the upcoming new-build.

Seven Seas MarinerThe event took place during a special "Build Your Ship" cruise form Fort Lauderdale to Cozumel, Mexico, on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner. At least 200 passengers signed up only to be part of the shipbuilding process, which was attended by top Regent brass and executives from Oceania Cruises, now Regent's sister company under Prestige Cruise Holdings.

Frank Del Rio, Prestige CEO, and Bob Binder, Oceania president, were both on their first Regent cruise.

Guests onboard were asked to fill out a survey, speak up during the town hall meeting and attend subsequent focus groups throughout the week.

The new ship will be slightly bigger than the 700-passenger Seven Seas Mariner, but only by about 100 to 150 passengers. 

The guests were able to see a proposal from Fincantieri, one of four shipyards vying for the new-build contract. Conroy also said that Aker Yards and T. Mariotti were candidates. Conroy said the order should be made by the third quarter of this year and would likely be delivered by 2011 or 2012.  

Due to the plummeting value of the dollar, the ship, which will be paid for in euros, will cost the line far more than it would have when it built its other ships. Conroy said the new ship would cost about $450 million, compared with the $207 million it paid for the Voyager, which entered service in 2003.

To contact reporter Johanna Jainchill, send e-mail to [email protected].

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