Regent Seven Seas Cruises®, the leading luxury ocean cruise line, announced that Captain Serena Melani will helm the cruise line’s newest ship, Seven Seas Splendor™, making her the first woman in cruise industry history to captain a new ocean cruise ship at launch.
Captain Melani, 45, has progressed quickly in her nearly 30-year career to roles of cruise ship leadership. She began her nautical career at age 16 as a cadet while attending school working on cargo ships in her hometown of Livorno, Italy, along the Tirrenian Sea in the Tuscany region.
After graduating from Nautical College in 1993, she was one of only a few females to hold roles of increasing responsibilities on oil tankers, cargo and container vessels. Captain Melani joined Regent in 2010 as a Bridge Officer, then served as Navigation Officer, Safety Officer and Staff Captain on Seven Seas Voyager. She became the company’s first female Master Captain in 2016 and has led Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator during her tenure.
“Captain Melani has distinguished herself as a trailblazer in the maritime and cruise industries,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises. “She is an international role model and admired by our guests and crew. We are proud to appoint Captain Melani as the industry’s first female captain to deliver a new cruise ship and look forward to her many future successes leading Seven Seas Splendor™in the years ahead.”
“There is a growing number of very talented female captains emerging in our industry, and we’re proud to be pioneers for those women who aspire to lead the Bridge,” Captain Melani said. “Exploring the world and leading ship teams has been a love of mine and I enjoy sharing this passion with everyone who sails with us. I’ve always believed in the motto that the cure for everything resides in salt water — sweat, tears and the sea.”
Captain Melani, who lives with her husband on the quaint Croatian island of Korcula when not sailing the world, will spend much of this year in the Ancona, Italy shipyard where Seven Seas Splendor™ is being built, collaborating with engineers and designers to ensure the ship’s form and function is perfect from a captain’s perspective. In this capacity she will have an influential role in the ship that perfects luxury, even before she sets sail.
At approximately 55,000 gross-registered tons and carrying only 750 guests, Seven Seas Splendor™ will boast one of the highest space ratios and staff-to-guest ratios in the cruise industry. She features the Regent Suite, which will be the largest suite constructed on a luxury cruise ship with more than 3,000 square-feet of interior accommodations and a 1,300 square-foot wraparound veranda, complete with an in-suite spa retreat showcasing a personal sauna, steam room and treatment area with unlimited spa treatments, unobstructed 270-degree views over the ship’s bow and a glass-enclosed solarium sitting area on top of the Bridge for a Captain’s view. Regent Suite guests enjoy a dedicated personal butler to manage all the details of the guests’ experience, a personal car with driver and guide in every port, and the exquisite comfort of a custom, hand-crafted $200,000 Vividus bed from the renowned Hästens brand. The comfort and style found in the Regent Suite sets the tone for all suite categories on board, where guests will enjoy the most indulging accommodations and the largest balconies in the cruise industry. The 14 other suite categories range from 300 square-feet to 2,100 square-feet – all elegant, plush and stunning. Throughout the ship, abundant crystal chandeliers, vibrant paintings and sculptures, imported Italian marble and custom-designed, hand-crafted furnishings will create captivating surroundings for guests.