The Rise and Fall of : Regency Cruises

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62 Responses

  1. Latisha Crubaugh says:

    I was one of the employees that worked in the NY office and was 8 months pregnant on the day they announced that Regency Cruises had filed bankruptcy and we no longer had jobs or benefits.
    I would suggest having someone else look over your article to spot the typos for you.

  2. crociereuk says:

    That’s such a shame, was the news expected in the end, or was there still hope of the company surviving the problems? and at 8 months pregnant, losing your job is bad at any time, but with a child on the way can only be worse.

    You’re right about the spelling/grammar, unfortunately the person who usually tries to do this for me is on holiday 🙁

  3. Latisha Crubaugh says:

    I was one of the ship supervisors in the NY office and we had heard some rumors throughout the company. But of course you never think it’s really going to happen. Suddenly one day we were all called into one big room and told at one time that we no longer had jobs and/or benefits of any kind. It all turned out for the best for me as I was not planning on returning to commuting into NY after I had my daughter anyway.

    No worries. I just thought I would mention that you might want to have someone else look it over to spot errors. 🙂

    • crociereuk says:

      I know the feeling, I used to work at a department store which suffered the same fate, and you never expect it to happen, even when it has happened you dont believe it! 😀

      • Latisha Crubaugh says:

        The constant buzz within the NYC office was that the newer owners that had purchased Regency Cruises weren’t interested in growing the company, but in taking the profits from Regency to build on their existing businesses in Greece. Hence the demise.


    Hi Liam
    I was on board the Regent Star during the fire, Alaska july 21 1995. II was on board from Cartagena up to Alaska. almos 4 monhts so l guess I have some memories ti share.
    Adriana JImenez

    • crociereuk says:

      Hi Adriana,
      Thanks for the comment, Yes, if you have anything to share let us know, Did you enjoy being onboard? Was you a passenger or crew member? Was you expecting the companies downfall?


  5. Paul Myers says:

    I spent a couple of very happy years on the Regent Sea and Star. Professionaly my time was frustrating but socially vibrant. The reason i enjoyed my time there so much was the camaraderie amongst the crew and staff, plus interesting intineries. I made several life long ffriendships whilst on board these ships, unfortuanetly the product was devalued as time progressed and its demise was inevitable.

    • crociereuk says:

      This is what many people have said, the onboard experience was comparable to a large family, I just wish we could experience this now. Most people have also said that there was a significant decline in the quality of the product, such a shame, who knows if Regency could have survived if this hadn’t happened.

  6. Gaby Villiotis (Terschluesen) says:

    Hi Liam,
    I worked on the Regent Sun, Regent Star and on the Regent Sea (1989-1993) and I worked as well in the Office in Miami and New York ( 1993 till the office closed in NY).
    Those years on the ship between 1989 and 1993 were very intense in any way.
    I don’t think that one can compare the life on board as a crew member today with what we
    had those days.
    Regency ships where older, our ships were relatively small ships, the atmosphere between
    Crewmembers and passengers where really more like a big family. You cannot find this anymore
    on big, huge modern ships today. More than 27 nationalities worked together and we faced
    many problems like hitting an iceberg in Alaska, an Engine fire in the Caribbean and many more
    Incidents. But we were an exceptional team. Passengers loved our ships, the crew , the service and the outstanding food.
    The fact, that this, over years successfully operated cruise line, had to close, remains
    still a mystery to me and shame on those people responsible for it !! But, looking back, I am very
    thankful, that I was part of Regency Cruises greatest crew!

    • says:

      hi Liam,
      Just wondering why this company failed when it had so many creditors. Was it 30,000 ?
      Also is the louiis cruise line still operating and if so with what ships ?

      • crociereuk says:

        The company failed as it became a budget cruise line, the creditors in the main where the Holiday makers who lost thier money following the collapse of the line, this was a bad time in the cruise industry, with NCL being finanacial supported by Carnival Corp.

        Louis Cruises are still operating, they provide a few ships to Thomson Cruises, and operate some ship themselves, the are related to Louis Hotels in the Eastern Med.


    • crociereuk says:

      It sounds like you enjoyed your time at Regency, did you stay in the cruise industry afterwards? When you check the messages boards across the internet, like I did when researching this post I found many people saying the onboard experience was like a large family, and one viewpoint that is echoed in these comments.


    • Jana Seale says:

      This is not quite off-topic, but….
      Gaby – trying very hard to remember you!
      I feel like I should know who you are.
      I was on the Regent Sea 89/90 as a photog.
      When we hit the iceberg I was photographing in the dining room.
      I work on ships today (as a musician)
      There are many differences between working then and working now on ships – some things are much better – some far worse.
      And the size of the ships today definitely makes it a lot tougher to have the close bonds with all the crew, as we did back then.
      I hope you are well – even if I can’t quite place you!

    • Patty Tusay says:

      Hi Gaby! How wonderful to see this site.. I worked in the NY office for a few years with great people and I believe we met on several occasions as I worked clearing the Regent Star and did Ticketing before I left in 1992. I heard it went under a short time later. I always visited the crew in NY! I think a Micheal was there on occasion as well from the FL office? Wow, so long ago! Great times and crew! I

  7. Bradley says:

    Hi Liam, I also worked in the New York office, when we recieved the news, like Latisha my fellow co-worker at the time stated although there were rumors of the ships being taken over due to non payments, we couldnt believe how quickly we recieved the news. Its one of the most memrorable places I ever worked till this day. Miss the great friendships and the great crusies. Once the Lelakis Group took over we noticed it was never the same again and because of them this Cruise line doesnt exist. Very sad moment.

    • crociereuk says:

      Hi Bradley,

      Thanks for your commet, It appears that Regency had an excellent working environment, with both people for shoreside and ocean based parts saying it was a great place to work, such a shame that the company was ran into the ground. Thanks for your comment. Did you stay working in the cruise industry? Although there is no modern day equivilent to Regency Cruises today, do you still cruise?


  8. AL Everitt says:

    I worked onboard the Regent Sea 1992- 1994 as a Styliner (Singer-Dancer-Cruise Staff) it was the best years of my life. My cast had a great time,and I learned a lot about cruise ships and went on to work for RCCL years later as a Stage & Production Manager. Regnet Sea was a close family I remember Christmas onboard the owners wife would come out and do all the trees. I have only good memories working on her. working on bigger ships was not the same.

    One of my first boat drills onboard turned into a funny event that I am sure guest still talk about.
    On the back of the bright orange life jackets is a whistle, and on the back it gives you a code to call for help.
    *** — — *** three short two long three short. ( i think that was it) I had life boat #1 that day just under the bridge so before the captain started his welcome speech I told the guest about this info. and I said lets see if it works!!! yep we did!!!!! I have never seen the officers run so fast. and then the Captain followed, “who did this” I did sir to show our guest that it does work and we are safe..He looked at me and smiled and just said “Carry on” everyone started clapping the next day I was put on the safety board…

    I can only recall one time when we did not sail on time due to the chief Pursuer setting shorside with the keys to the safe waiting for cash to arrive from Miami to pay the crew.

    The Greek Captain was ready to go and she jumped off the ship before the gangway was pulled in and shouted up to him ( not without our money) bless her heart she was a jem,

    Her key ring also had the guest second key to open there safety deposit boxes so there we waited Two hours tell the money arrived by plain.

    I think of Regent Sea offen, miss her warm glow of family and home.


    • crociereuk says:

      Sounds like you had a great time working at Regent, It really does sounc like people enjoyed working there such a shame its gone. Thanks for sharing your stores of the company and Regent Sea!

  9. Constantina says:

    I used to work on Regent Star ( Morning Star used to be the first name of the ship) as an Officer. I had a great time as I spent more than a year In Singapore Malaysia etc. The ship was a casino although things were not going very well the crew was awesome!!! Unfortunately for a long period of time we had to stay anchorage in Malaysia and in Singapore but we were a big nice family and we had a great time. Officers crew and staff were great . On board Regent Spirit I felt like being at home…..

  10. Lee Stoddart says:

    Nice article. I worked in the casinos on the Regent Spirit twice, the Regent Rainbow, the Regent Sun and was then on the Rainbow again at the time the company went under. Some of the best years of my life!

    I was also on the Crown Dynasty when Crown Cruise Line went bankrupt. couple of days after Christmas if I remember correctly. any plans to do an article on Crown?

    • crociereuk says:

      Hi Lee,

      In this current series of ‘Rise & Fall of’ I only have Royal Olympic Cruises left, however I intending to do a short book on the collapse of various cruise lines for release early next year, it will be a bit more indepth than these articles, but cover around 10 cruise lines, Crown and Commadore being amougnst them, so it would be great to hear any of you memories from Crown Cruise Line.


  11. Peter M says:

    Thanks for researching Regency Cruises. I was told that in 1992 Mr. Lelakis was able to buy enough shares of stock in the company that made him majority shareholder. This was in addition to being the “landlord” of the company’s first two ships, Regent Sea, and Regent Star.
    The Regent Sun had been purchased from her previous owner, Royal Cruise Line (another Greek company which was shut down only 7 years after being bought by NCL)..
    To validate the previous comments, yes, there was something fantastic, yet simple about the atmosphere onboard those 30 plus year old ships. It should also be noted that the cuisine was superb up until the end of 1993. From 1985 till 1993 the food and beverage supplier was a company called Apollo Catering. Considering the reasonable price of the cruise, and the old, sometimes worn-out nature of the ships, Regency passengers (from 1985-1993) often found the food quality to be astoundingly impressive.
    Having worked for on three of the vessels from 1990-1995 I would have to say that the company’s truly (reputation saving) asset had to be that some of the cruise industry’s veteran professionals who made the company shine. Please do more research and write more about this unique line. Also…..any plans to discuss Royal Cruise Lines?
    Thank you so much for bringing back some great memories for those of us who were able to experience Regency.

  12. Linda says:

    Thank you Liam for answering my many questions of how this happened. My husband and self sailed with friends on the MV Regent Sun in the Spring of 1995. Like many former passengers we felt shock and saddened when the news of foreclosure was announced. Our thoughts were of the helpless cruise members left stranded and unpaid. An unkind end to those who were so dedicated.

  13. joal paraiso says:

    Hi there,

    I used to work on board Regent Sea, Regent Star and Regent Sun as Hotel Storekeeper (Inventory Controller) from 1993 to 1995. I was supprised of company’s foreclosure, I was on board Regent Sea when they announced that the company was no longer running. We were sailing to South America for world cruise when the ship suddenly changed course and went straight to free port Bahamas and stayed there for 2 weeks, but the good thing was we got paid and we even gets the bonus for the one who stayed in dry dock at Vancouver Canada. It was amazing experienced, great company and I had fun working with my then colleagues.

  14. Mary Going says:

    My husband and I sailed the Regent Sun, Regent Sea, & Regent Star a total of 11 times during the late 80’s & early 90’s. We loved those grand old ladies of the sea. The service was impeccable and food was of the highest quality.
    We were shocked when we learned that Regency was going bankrupt, and many of us who were loyal fans thought that they had done so by offering so much to passengers, for so little a price.
    For example, all winners of onboard contests and trivia games were rewarded with bottles of quality champagne. Now cruiselines offer plastic trinkets.
    To all past employees of Regency, I thank you for your white glove service and your wonderful personalities. Because of you, we older cruiseaholics have many wonderful memories of a lavish bygone era.
    Mary Going

  15. Kristina Kelecic says:

    I worked on board Regent Sun and Regent Star from 1992 – 1995 as a Cabin Stewardess. I was only 18 when I came to the Regency Cruises. I was (I think) on board Regent Star when the Company went bunkrupt, we were crossing Atlantic for 11 days, run out of water supplies and some food. Went to Madeira Island, France, Spain all the way to Greece. We stayed there for over a week, got the tickets to go home. I remember that they had to move the ship on the anchor, because the greeks technicians were steeling parts from the engine room…. So many memories… met so many nice people from all over the world…
    Thanks for bringing it back 🙂

  16. Gilles says:

    my first cruise was on the Regent Sea. It’s amazing to see the pictures of this old ship.

    Does anyone know how many passengers this ship held? (passengers/crew)

  17. Linda(Reaves) Sala says:

    I worked on board as the Chief Housekeeper for a short duration on the Regent Star and th Regent Rainbow, and as an Ass’t Chief housekeeper on the Regent Sun . Starting in November of 1992 to August of 1993. I felt that I got off the ship at a good time. I enjoyed working on board the cruise lines. And would do it all over again if the chance cane about.

  18. Nicola says:

    I worked on the Rainbow as a Purser…. Fond memories, great stories and fantastic officers and crew contributed to 7 years of fun filled magic times……

  19. Monica Boehler says:

    hello, we had a great time aboard the regent star of 1988 until 1991.
    I miss a lot former colleagues from that time. We “organized” many useful things, so you could have a wonderfull life on the ship.

    In this way, greetings to Martina, Lizzy , Gaby, Irena, Elisabetha, Annette (NL), Vivienne (MALTA), Michelle, Francizka (Scottl), Marion. And to some of the nicer Greek colleagues (you know :-))

  20. gabriel galvis n says:

    este el regent star buenos recuerdos en caratgena de los años 80s y 90 s llegaba todos los jueves algo curioso de los pasajeros eran muy buenos en el campode las compras de artesanias y demas

  21. Carolyn Lehmann says:

    I also was one of the employees that worked in the NY office as a reservationist. I worked over the phone with many travel agents and the general public in booking their cruises. We had the best team their in the NY office. I haven’t been on a cruise for a while and was thinking about my first cruise. It was on the Regency Rainbow on the 5-day Yucatan going to Playa Del Carmen, Cozumel, Mexico and Key West, FL. I remember work there till the end. It was a Saturday and all the bosses where there behind closed door. Didn’t know what was happening, my fellow co-workers an I just continue to book those cruises. I believe by 4pm on that day, Regency closed down and told us workers. We came back on Monday to get our belonging. I have nothing but fond memories working at Regency Cruises.

  22. Louann (Sciarra) Harbaugh says:

    Reading your article and the above comments brought back so many memories. I also worked in the NY office in the Group Reservations office and just before the end took care of orders for gifts for passengers on all the ships. Great memories! Just wondering… does anyone know the Alaska intinerary from Vancouver to Anchorage via the Regent Sea??

  23. Jacqueline Mueller says:

    Hi Liam;

    Just looking over your article and it brought back many memories. I was a passenger on the Regency Sea back in the early 90’s and the reason I booked that cruise was because of it’s interesting itinerary. Way before the larger cruise lines were in Belize or Costa Rica, Regency’s smaller ship were there. As for mentioning the air conditioning incident, I guess that was an occasional story. It was kind of scary and during those first days out it sounded like a mutiny(of the passengers) would erupt. Can’t say enough about the staff and service, it did feel like a family and this made the rest of the cruise unique.

  24. Jan McNeill says:

    I worked on the regent sea and star from 1987 to 1991′ I was a performer and later shore excursion manager as well. I remember those days with real fondness. I remember cruise directors Ivan Kivett, Dan Stapleton, Freddy Davies, Bernard Reid, entertainers Pat Murray, the Styliners (or as we used to call them the binliners!) Lots and lots of happy memories. Jan Myers ( now McNeill)

  25. The Lelakis group was owned by a cousin of the Onassis family,
    they were crooks, the guy is a billionaire, he opens corporations, stiffs the vendors, opens bankrupcy and opens a new corporation under a different name soon after, because they are in with the Kennedys, they are untouchable…

    He did not want to pay the Money owned to Stellar, the Corporation that provide the catering to Regency and Premier, because he said he did not had the Money, about a million dollars.
    Now, the guy bought a 5 million dollar cruise ship, the Sea Escape.

    He´s the richest Greek living in America!!!

  26. i worked on regent star from 1993 to 94 as a room steward was wonderful experience i would like to reconnect with some of my colleagues i am from Belize

  27. redbuay says:

    I worked on board the regent star in 1986-87
    It was awesome being there meeting folks from around the world. Great times.

  28. Hi Dear, I worked for Commodore Cruise Line, any article for this Company?

  29. My second cruise on a ship was on the Regent Star in 1990 or 1991.
    We got the scare that we would not see the Panama Canal but in the end we did go in, turn around in Gaton Lake and went to Aruba
    The food and crew were remarcable. For one thing, the first day for breakfast I had two pankakes and I asked for a third one. The next morning the girl brought me three whitout asking. with a big smile She remembered Me.

  30. Samantha says:

    We were on the Regent Star 1989. Worst cruise experience for us on our first ever cruise. A Chinese freighter hit the side of the ship before we could leave port in Jamaica. It left a hole in the side of the Star. It took hours for them to patch the ship. We eventually left port late in the evening no parade/ fan fair. Ship next to us had the party on the decks. They then took the stabilizers off so to make up time. The ship list horribly. Elevators wouldn’t close. Glass broke in the gift shop windows. Had to shower with one hand because you had to hold on for dear life with the other and the shower curtain swayed horribly. Everywhere you looked barf bags in the hall railings. So many people slept on deck in the deck chairs because you felt less nauseated. I also remember folks putting the food trays on the table and the trays sliding right off the tables onto the floor. Looking out one side of the ship seeing nothing but water. Looking out the other and seeing nothing but sky. The decks were so tilted the water in the pool was mostly gone. Everyone looked like the old V8 commercial – walking at a slant. At one port a Navy ship behind us yelled up to us on deck is that the love boat? A bunch yelled back more like the barf barge. Once we were home a year or two later we heard about a cruise ship in Philly harbor that caught on fire or ran a ground. We teased about it being the Regent Star. When the news said it was the Regent Star we nearly died laughing. I was 14 during the cruise and remember it so vividly. Years later I honeymooned on Disney Cruise line. Which was the best experience. My mother had a equally good experience on a Carnival ship.
    So what came of the Regent Star? Did they sink it? Scrap it? Is it sitting somewhere. Would be cool to see old erie picture of it.

  31. What year did the line go under?

  32. I Was Working In The Regent sea.IN The bars.Like barboy.Great Memories.

  33. Yo Eneida Santamaria trabaje en el Crucero Regent Star año 94-95 de LINNENKEEPER buena experiencia andar en alta mar, conoci muchos paises entre algunos Jamaica, Cartagena, Aruba, Costa Rica,y muchos mas. RENATA ERA MI JEFA DE PERSONAL, ELLA ERA DE CROACIA. CONOCI MUCHOS COMPAÑEROS DE DIFERENTES PAISES. BENDICION.


  35. Patty Tusay says:

    This is good to see. I also worked in the NY office! What a great staff! Vincent ran reservations and I was doing reservations when I started, then cleared the Regent Star and then the Supervisor of Ticketing! I met so many wonderful people in the NY office and the Travel agents were also fun and the Ship staff and crew were so good! I spent the Saturdays at the pier/ on board sail day helping etc etc.. It was a good family! I was on board the Regent Star when it ran aground outside of Philadelphia. It was my only “free vacation” and I wound up helping with luggage and passengers ! What a hoot – I met great passengers one of whom I have been friends with ever since. Great days when it truly was family at a work place. I would love to know where everyone went! Thanks for the memories!

  36. kidd paraiso says:

    yah mAn..! i worked on Regent Sun & Regent Sea from 1990 to 95 as a Hotel Storekeeper, with so many Hotel Managers & Chief Housekeeper i worked with..Steve Furness, Lizzy Beck, Frank Ebanks, Ludmila Duedozenska.. fond memories.. a wonderful experience

  37. coramdude says:

    My wife and I honeymooned on the Regent Sea, leaving NYC August 2, 1992. We were in our mid-twenties, and by far the youngest onboard. On night we had just finished watching a movie when all the lights on the ship went out. And by all, I mean, all. We felt our way back to our room and in the morning the lights were back on. We were told that both the main engines went out, the back-up engine went out, and the generator went out (thus not even emergency exit sign were dark.) An attorney gathered several hundred passengers in the lounge to talk to us about our options, when the Captain came in, speaking Italian, and very agitated. Only one engine was fixed and so we had to skip the fjords, had a very short stay in Quebec City, and then had to take a bus instead of the ship to Montreal. It was annoying to have everything be so slipshod, but we were young and thought it all an adventure. Do any of you who worked the Regent Sea in 1992 remember that trip?

  38. Barbara Jean Amato says:

    It is so funny to see this article from 2011 and people still responding to it. I was curious to know what happened to the owner, Captain Lelakis as we called him. I actually worked for him as his secretary for a while. His secretary was Greek went on a vacation to Greece and asked me to fill in for her. She never returned to NY and now I am wondering if she knew they were going under. I started in reservations and ended up working for the accounting manager in the brochure dept. I loved working there everyone was so nice. When Capt. Lelakis secretary did not come back he wanted me to keep working for him. My manager was furious and try to get me back. Lelakis ended up closing the door to his office and would not let me go back to accounting. His nephew worked with him and they were very generous and nice, to me at least, but they did not know how to run an office. I think there was a lot of chaos in the in the company. I heard he was a very rich Greek shipyard owner.

  39. Dan Stapleton says:

    Hello Liam-
    Read with great interest your blog about Regency Cruise Line.
    I was the longest running (employed) Cruise Director (and magician) for that company (7 1/2 years) and have fond memories, along with a few quite, frightening, moments aboard five of the Regency vessels I was on at various times.
    I started up the Rainbow and was fortunate to be on that ship also at the end of Regency’s brief history with the company going out of business on my birthday (or at least, when I departed the Rainbow) in Tampa, for the last time. Luckily, we had no passengers aboard that fateful day as we were between cruises and had not boarded the passengers for that cruise.
    The Sea and Star (and Sun) often had its mechanical problems and I was aboard a number of times with either fires, floods or mechanical nightmares. The Rainbow was my favorite and I enjoyed those short 2/5 day cruises out of Tampa most likely because Tampa was close to my home. The only encounter I ever had with a ghost took place aboard the Regent Sea. After twenty three years at sea, I am presently writing my memoirs which I intend to complete and publish in 2023. Lots of stories with mostly great memories. I feel so fortunate to have sailed aboard the smaller vessels, compared to the amount of passengers the new “monster” ships hold. Regency Cruises holds a wonderful place in my heart.
    Dan Stapleton

  1. 11/08/2011

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