Regent to move from Fort Lauderdale to Miami

Regent Seven Seas Cruises will shift operations to Miami from Fort Lauderdale next fall, bringing regularly scheduled luxury sailings to a port that has been seeking to diversify its offerings. The Port of Miami hosts ships from the world's three largest cruise ship companies – Carnival, Royal Caribbean (including Celebrity) and Norwegian Cruise Line – but doesn't have any regular sailings on top-of-the-line brands. Crystal Cruises, another luxury line, has a ship in Miami on rare occasions. Regent – an all-inclusive luxury line that sails regular voyages to the Caribbean from South Florida in the winter – will add another 19 calls to the Port of Miami during the season that starts next fall, mostly on its 490-passenger Seven Seas Navigator. "It's just another step up in the direction we want to go," said Port of Miami director Bill Johnson. The three-ship line will join sister company Oceania Cruises, which also sails the Caribbean and other destinations from Miami. Both are under parent company Prestige Cruises Holdings, which is controlled by Apollo Management. Apollo is a part owner of Norwegian Cruise Line, which also bases ships in Miami. Both Oceania and Regent will sail from Terminal J on the port's south side, where a nearly $3 million improvement project is just about complete. Regent president Mark Conroy said having a dedicated terminal – and sailing from the same place as Oceania – will be more convenient for the line and its passengers. At Port Everglades, he said, heavy traffic sometimes forces Regent ships to use different terminals and to limit the days ships can sail in and out. The closer proximity to Miami International Airport, Conroy said, will also be helpful for international visitors. "It just makes considerable sense for them to be in the Port of Miami with the proximity to one of the largest international airports in the United States," said Miami cruise industry expert Stewart Chiron, CEO of Cruiseguy.com. A Port Everglades official said the news was not surprising, given Regent's common owner with Oceania. Regent's headquarters will move in north Broward to Prestige's current offices in west Miami-Dade this fall. "We have expected this consolidation for some time," Port Everglades director Phil Allen said in a statement. Chiron said Miami has lacked a regular "six-star" tenant of Regent's caliber, a class that includes Crystal, Seabourn and Silversea. The last two brands sail from Port Everglades. "Is it a big loss to Port Everglades?" Chiron asked. "Not really. Is it a boost to Miami? Yes."

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