The World’s Most Expensive Christmas Cruise: Interview with John Barron on board Regent's Seven Seas Splendor
By Claire Benktander | 17 Dec 2021
We caught up with Cruise Director John Barron on board Regent’s Seven Seas Splendor as he and the crew prepare for the festive season. The ship’s famous Christmas Caribbean voyage will feature on The World’s Most Expensive Christmas Cruise, which will air on Channel 5 on Christmas Eve.
Known as one of cruising’s most luxurious vessels, Regent’s Seven Seas Splendor will once again feature in The World’s Most Expensive Christmas Cruise on Channel 5 on Christmas Eve. To discover what goes into creating an unforgettable Christmas for guests on board, we spoke to Cruise Director John Barron, who discusses the preparations that go into transforming the ship.
What was it like behind the scenes of filming?
I’m getting used to the filming now as this is the sixth episode of the series. We did a full series of four episodes in 2019, and a Christmas special that same year all on board Seven Seas Explorer – it was busy!
We had started filming a second series in 2020 focusing on the launch of Seven Seas Splendor, but that of course was postponed. I’m thrilled that we have been able to film another Christmas special this year, showcasing everything we do for our valued guests on board.
How are you feeling about Regent’s return to sailing?
I am delighted to be back at sea, it has been wonderful to welcome guests back on board so they can experience the unrivalled Regent experience once again. We are lucky to have many repeat cruisers and you do build such a close relationship, so it has been really lovely to see them all again.
What do you most look forward to during the festive season on board Regent’s Seven Seas Splendor?
I love the social interaction with guests and making sure that guests have an unforgettable experience with festive-themed nights and other fun activities. From the moment guests step on board the ship, the festive spirit will be present throughout their entire experience – from start to finish.
How long do preparations take?
Well, we ordered the decorations for the ship back in June, and we have been planning the activities a few months in advance. In short, preparations take a long time – but for the holiday season and Christmas it has to be perfect!
We know you are transforming the ship with 70 boxes of Christmas decorations at a value of almost £70,000 – what else goes into creating the ultimate festive feel on board?
The ship’s festive look will also include three Christmas trees in the atrium and Christmas trees throughout the rest of the ship plus a 260-foot garland wrapping around the central staircase.
Guests can also indulge in a delicious feast, as Seven Seas Splendor will have approximately 200lbs of geese, 600lbs of turkeys, 200lbs of ham, 20 different types of cheese and over 38,000 bottles of wine onboard – all included in the fare price of course! In addition, there are 8 varieties of Christmas cookies, 1,000 portions of pumpkin pie and 200 logs of Bûche de Noël on board.
Do you get many return cruisers who return every year on a winter sun cruise?
We have a very large Regent Family because our guests love the unrivalled Regent experience and return cruise after cruise. Our guests who have Commodore status have travelled with us collectively and incredibly over 3000 nights!
It makes my job easier because I can form true friendships with them – many have even met my family from back home!
What is life like on board for guests during the festive season?
It is a truly magical experience and all luxuries are included like any Regent cruise. The dining and entertainment is tailored so that guests can experience a warm, cosy festive atmosphere.
Plus, guests can expect lavish decorations, incredible festive flower arrangements and world-class dining.
Do you have traditional Christmas food and carols or is it a little different?
Yes, guests can enjoy days packed with activities, culinary delights, carolling and incredible festive decorations. Guests will also enjoy an incredible Christmas Eve Variety Show and the Christmas Cocktail Party in the heart of Splendor under the majestic Chandelier (with the 5 Gold Rings) in the Atrium.
These entertainment options feature lots of classic favourites and some new modern hits. We also have the famous Dickens Carollers carolling away as guests embark the ship in Miami – very classy!
What makes Seven Seas Splendor and this cruise different to other ultra-luxury cruise lines and journeys?
A major differentiator is all the associated benefits that come with sailing with Regent such as spacious, lavish suites, expansive social areas, multiple gourmet dining venues and discreet and personalised service. Then, of course you have the fact that we have more inclusions than any other line, including over 2000 shore excursions across the 450 destinations we travel to.
But what truly makes us different is the warm, friendly and professional service that our crew provides – it makes the whole experience for the guest luxuriously care-free. Regent always embraces the spirit of the season creating a warm and festive atmosphere. Our guests and crew are like an extended family and this comraderie is even more exemplified at this time of year when everyone looks forward to connecting again and celebrating at Christmas.
Will Santa be visiting the ship?!
I have a sneaky suspicion that Santa may be making appearance on board Splendor this year!
What can we look forward to from Regent in the future?
You can look forward to the construction of our newest ship, Seven Seas Grandeur, which is underway following its steel-cutting ceremony in November.
Next year, we will have five of our ships back at sea by mid-February offering even more opportunities to enjoy the unrivalled Regent experience in incredible destinations.
The World’s Most Expensive Christmas Cruise will air on Channel 5 on Christmas Eve. The documentary will capture the ship as she departs from Barcelona and then her arrival in the Caribbean for Christmas.