|Ponant Cruises||Regent Seven Seas|
|Where do they cruise?|
|What type of ships do they have?||Small & Expedition Ships||Small Cruise Ships|
|How many passengers are on board?||184 - 270 (200 in the Polar Regions)||490 – 750|
|What type of cruise line are they?||Luxury||Luxury|
|What are they known for?|| || |
|What is the average cost per day?|| || |
|Are fares all inclusive?||Ponant position themselves as an all-inclusive line, however, shore excursions on classic cruises are not included and top shelf premium spirits and champagne are not included in the Open Bar. Gratuities are also not included||Yes|
|Are gratuities included?||No. Tipping the staff is customary but is completely at guest discretion. Guests will find an anonymous envelope in their stateroom which they can drop in the box provided at reception. Ponant guide that this is generally in the range of €10-12 per day per passenger||Yes|
|Are there any additional gratuities payable on board?||No. Gratuities are at guest discretion||No|
|Can I get any reciprocal loyalty club benefits?||No. Ponant Yacht Club only||No. Seven Seas Society only|
|What is the onboard currency?||EUR||USD|
|What language is spoken on board?||French & English||English|
|Who cruises with them?|| || |
|What is the average passenger age?||Primarily 50+||Primarily 55+|
|Are they good for families?||Children must be three years of age to embark on Ponant ships. Children must be six years of age for Polar Expedition cruises. Children must meet height requirements and the ability to receive and respond to instructions on Zodiac excursions and have their own parkas for polar excursions||Children are accepted from 6+ months (or 12+ on select sailings), however, Regent Seven Seas Cruises does not provide for the care, entertainment or supervision of children on most cruises. Select journeys offer the Club Mariner program for 5 – 17 years|
|Are there children’s programs?||Every Sister Ship and Explorer Ship has a space dedicated to children called Le Kids Club. However, there are no planned activities or babysitting services except on select themed Ponant Kids Club sailings in the Mediterranean where staff run organised children’s activities||No, except on select sailings on which the Club Mariner program is available|
|Is there childcare and/or babysitting?||No||No|
|What are the accommodation options?|| ||Balcony & Suites - (Seven Seas Navigator also has Oceanview)|
|Are there accessible staterooms?||Yes||Yes|
|Are shore excursions included?|| ||Yes. Free Unlimited Shore Excursions. There is also an additional Regent Choice collection available for purchase|
|What types of onboard activities are available for free?||Guest lectures and naturalist specialist lectures, live music in lounges such as piano and duets, dance shows, and film screenings||Activities such as trivia and bocce ball, and an enrichment series with classes and lectures offered onboard. A destination expert will provide information on every voyage, and special interest lectures will be offered on select journeys|
|Are there any onboard activities that I need to pay for?||No. All onboard activities are included||Yes. Things like cooking classes in the Culinary Arts Kitchen and specialty seminars incur additional charges|
|Is there free evening entertainment?||Yes. Evening entertainment is in the onboard theatre as well as in the two lounges||Yes|
|Is there any paid evening entertainment?||No||No. All onboard shows are included in the cruise fare|
|Are there complimentary dining options?||Yes||Yes|
|Are there specialty restaurants?||No||Yes. Complimentary|
|Are there dining packages for purchase?||No||No|
|Are non-alcoholic beverages included?||Yes. Mineral water, soft drinks, coffee and tea||Yes. Bottled water, soft drinks, fresh juices, specialty tea and coffee|
|Are alcoholic beverages included?||Yes. There is an Open Bar for beer, wine and spirits – excludes premium label spirits and champagne||Yes. Select spirits, wines, champagne and beer (includes fine wines and premium spirits)|
|Can I purchase a beverage package?||Yes. Guests can purchase the Premium Open-bar to enjoy top-shelf spirits and Veuve Clicquot.||No|
|Is there room service?||Yes. Complimentary 24/7||Yes. Complimentary 24/7|
|Is there Wi-Fi on board?||Yes. Complimentary||Yes. One complimentary login is provided per suite|
|Can I purchase Wi-Fi packages?||No||Yes. Upgraded streaming plans are available for a nominal fee|
|Is there a Spa?||Yes. Access to the steam room is complimentary||Yes. Complimentary access|
|Are spa and salon services available?||Yes. Charges Apply||Yes. Charges Apply|
|Is there a gym?||Yes||Yes|
|Are there group fitness classes?||Yes. Occasional group fitness sessions may be offered and may incur charges||Yes. Some specialised programs may incur charges|
|Is there personal training available?||No||Yes. Charges Apply|
|Is there a self-service laundry?||No||Yes. Complimentary|
|Is a laundry service available?||Yes. Charges Apply||Yes. Charges Apply|
|Is there a casino on board?||No||Yes. Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Oceania Cruises share the same Casinos At Sea rewards program|
Please Note: There may be additional inclusions and privileges for select stateroom and suite guests or select loyalty member tiers. Activities and entertainment vary by ship, itinerary and departure and are a guide only.
Choosing between Regent Seven Seas and Ponant may depend greatly on your desired destination. Both brands offer luxury small ship cruises around the globe, and there are some similarities when visiting mainstream ports. However, further afield in remote destinations, guests can expect a different experience on Ponant’s expedition fleet than they’ll find on Regent’s larger classic vessels.
Regent Seven Seas cruises to more than 450 destinations and provides guests with a classic luxury small ship experience. Popular cruise regions include Alaska, Northern Europe, the Mediterranean as well as Japan, and voyages through the Panama Canal. Regent also offers more Transatlantic crossings as well as longer worldwide cruises not available with Ponant. For guests looking to cruise around Australia, Regent has a collection of cruises along the East Coast as well as itineraries that cruise to New Zealand and Asia.
Despite not having dedicated expedition cruises, Regent’s small ships do allow them to access lesser travelled destinations and smaller ports than larger liners. In these destinations, the style of excursions offered may be more adventure focussed – think whale watching in Greenland and kayaking fjords in Iceland. Without their own dedicated expedition equipment (such as Zodiacs or kayaks), Regent relies on local operators for these excursions. Regent’s sole voyage into Antarctic waters offers scenic cruising only, with no excursions or onshore experiences.
Regent has destination focussed itineraries and prides themselves on offering overnights and longer stays in port. These port stays give guests the opportunity to explore popular destinations after dark, either independently or on an organised evening excursion. Regent’s 2020-2021 season features 114 overnight port stays, including St. Petersburg where guests can enjoy an evening at the Russian ballet and Venice where an orchestra performance awaits.
Ponant visits all seven continents and offers both small ship luxury cruises in mainstream destinations and expedition style voyages in more remote regions. Ponant specialises in luxury expeditions with their top destination being Antarctica, followed by Australia’s Kimberley Coast (a popular favourite for those wanting to cruise from Australia) and the Arctic. Ponant really stands out where they use their Zodiac fleets for remote exploration on their polar and tropical expeditions.
Ponant also has a collection of National Geographic cruises, where two experts from the National Geographic team (a photographer and a specialist from another field) will share their expertise with guests. Another standout for the line is their voyages to the Geographic North Pole (from May 2021) where their Polar Class 2 Icebreaker, Le Commandant-Charcot, will go where no other luxury small ships can, offering unique itineraries to expedition cruisers.
In mainstream ports with established infrastructure, Ponant guests can expect a more similar experience to that offered by Regent. Onboard programming and shore experiences are tailored to suit these regions, with a greater focus on culture, history and iconic sights. Guests can join optional shore excursions or head ashore to explore independently, with Ponant’s small ships granting them sidewalk access in the heart of popular destinations. Guests with specific interests can tailor their experience with themed journeys that focus on food and wine, music, art, theatre and literature, or golf.
Guests cruising with Regent Seven Seas can enjoy unlimited shore excursions included in their cruise fare. The complimentary collection includes visits to some 350 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and depending on your destination, may see you enjoy a tango show in Buenos Aires, whale watching in Alaska, kayaking along Norway’s Geirangerfjord, or wine tasting in Porto. Guests can partake in as many of these complimentary shore excursions as time in port permits. There is also a selection of for-fee Regent Choice excursions which tend to be of a more specialist nature or private driver/guide experiences.
On classic style cruises where Ponant docks with easy access to mainstream ports, guests have the option to explore on their own or join a for-fee shore excursion. These experiences are curated with cultural and historic value in mind, such as a visit to Pompeii, a cooking class in Italy, or a tour of the archaeological site of Delphi in Greece. On expedition itineraries to more remote regions where ports lack the infrastructure for independent exploration, Ponant includes excursions. These complimentary experiences include Zodiac cruises and on shore experiences such as nature hikes. On some expedition cruises, there are also optional paid excursions in select ports of call.
Being a French company guests will find French touches throughout the Ponant ships, from the bath products to the cuisine. Macarons are served for afternoon tea, and Veuve Clicquot champagne is served during gala dinners. Euro is the designated onboard currency, lectures are presented in both English and French, and announcements made on board are bilingual.
There tends to be a more international clientele on Ponant cruises than on Regent, but this will depend on the destination. Travellers looking to explore remote locations are drawn to Ponant’s reputation for luxury expeditions, and the average age also tends to be ever so slightly younger on Ponant (again, this may change depending on the destination and style of cruise).
Ponant has a fleet of 11 small ships which accommodate just 184 – 270 guests. There is an understated elegance in the design across the fleet and life on board is intended to feel like you are on your own private yacht. With low passenger numbers and almost two staff for every three guests, there is an intimate ambiance. The line aims to make guests feel at home with a sophisticated, yet relaxed ambience and you’ll find service staff attentive, yet unobtrusive.
Regent’s five-strong fleet are also considered small ships, although they are considerably larger than Ponant’s vessels. The smallest is the Seven Seas Navigator which accommodates 490 guests, while the others all welcome between 700 and 750 passengers. Despite having more guests, there is still two staff to every three passengers. Guests will find a sophisticated design with refined, modern touches and more lavish features than on Ponant ships, including crystal chandeliers, vast quantities of Italian marble and artwork from the likes of Picasso and Chagall.
Larger ships afford Regent the space for some extra amenities. Regent has between four and seven complimentary dining venues depending on the ship, while there are just two options (both complimentary) on each Ponant vessel. Both lines offer a fitness centre and pool area, a theatre, and a salon and spa. Guests will find more facilities in Regent’s spa, particularly on Explorer and Splendor which come complete with a sauna, cold room and an aromatic steam room in the hydrothermal suite. Regent also has a casino on all its ships, as well as a self-service laundry (neither are found on Ponant vessels).
Designed primarily for luxury expeditions, Ponant ships are equipped with some unique facilities that guests won’t find on the Regent fleet. While these won’t be as relevant in mainstream ports, there are more remote destinations where both Regent and Ponant cruise (such as Iceland and Greenland, or South America and the Falkland Islands) where the experience will differ due to the expedition nature of the Ponant line.
Each Ponant vessel has a fleet of Zodiacs for remote explorations, and the Ponant Explorers (Le Jacques Cartier, Le Bellot, Le Dumont d'Urville, Le Bougainville, Le Champlain and Le Laperouse) boast an adjustable marina that allows guests to enjoy a refreshing swim straight off the ship, or to take part in water activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding from the integrated mini port. The Ponant Explorers also have the unique Blue Eye Lounge which sits beneath the waterline with two glass panels to showcase the underwater world around the ship. Guests will also find standout expedition facilities on Le Commandant-Charcot, such as an onboard research lab, hovercraft, a tethered hot air balloon and snowmobiles further Polar exploration than Regent offer.
Regent ships are marketed as all-suite, and they have spacious accommodation across the fleet. The smallest suite already comes in at a generous 28 m² (301 ft²) and the Master Suite will give guests anywhere between 95 – 195 m² (1,022 – 2,098 ft²) of space depending on the ship. Guests cruising on Seven Seas Splendor or Explorer can opt for the grand Regent Suite spanning 412 m² (4,435 ft²) across two bedrooms, living space, an in-suite spa, marble bathrooms, and two balconies.
Ponant’s staterooms are more modest, with entry level options coming it at 18 m² (194 ft²). Accommodation ranges from these staterooms through to the Owner’s Suite which offers 45 m² (484 ft²) of space, except on Le Lyrial where the Owner’s Suite is 54 m² (581 ft²) and Le Commandant-Charcot with a more expansive 114 m² (1,227 ft²).
Regent Seven Seas and Ponant are considered all-inclusive luxury lines, and guests will find amenities such as Wi-Fi, complimentary dining, and a selection of non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages included in the cruise fare. When it comes to guests’ choice of alcohol, Regent includes fine wines and premium spirits while top shelf premium spirits and champagne are not included in Ponant’s open bar.
Regent Seven Seas includes complimentary shore excursions at every port, while these come at an additional cost with Ponant in mainstream destinations (where much of the overlap between these brands occurs). Ponant includes expedition excursions in remote destinations.
Regent Seven Seas also includes gratuities in the cruise fare which Ponant does not. Tipping on Ponant cruises is completely at guest discretion and there is no obligation to do so. However, it is general practice for an envelope to be left in each stateroom at the end of the cruise for guests to return to the box at reception should they choose. For those who wish to, Ponant guide that tipping is generally in the region of €10-12 per day per passenger.
Along with the inclusions of each line, it is important to consider the deals available at the time of booking. Regent Seven Seas’ special offers may include discounted cruise fares, free pre or post land programs, or reduced single supplements. Ponant’s solo passenger offering is a standout, with no single supplement at all on a considerable number of itineraries. Ponant also has the Ponant Bonus which sees their cruises released at a 30% discount, and then the discount is tiered to 25%, 20% and so on depending on availability. It’s recommended to book as early as possible to get the best value cruise fare, as well as to avoid missing out on your dream trip.
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