Posted by: Tom Baker | July 31, 2016

A Most Luxurious Ship Indeed…


 

While regent Seven Seas Explorer is marketed by its owners as the “most Luxurious Ever Built” and Trade Marked as such, this is really the perception of the traveler and their idea as to what luxury is. Luxury is defined differently by many and is a matter of perspective…

Having spent 8 day on this amazing new ship, I will attest that Seven Seas Explorer is indeed extremely luxurious and likened to a Four Season or Ritz Carlton hotel ashore. The décor of the ship is both traditional and contemporary and built to match timeless style to be a trendsetter for the next 20+ years. She is 56,000 tons, 735 feet long and carries only 750 maximum guest pampered by a crew of 542. The space per guest alone belies luxury but this ship is stylish, appointed with amenities for really discriminating travelers and follows the parent companies all-inclusive motto of providing business class airfare roundtrip overseas, all beverages onboard, gratuities, and most shore excursions. This takes away the nickel-and-diming approach so many cruise lines follow today and caters to a highly affluent guest seeking fine dining with many added restaurants (all-included of course), large suites-this ship is an all-suite configuration, higher to normal crew to passenger range nearly 1 to 1, and space-no lines, no waiting, no inconveniences of any sort-ever!

I was privileged to sail with some 700 VIP travel agent partners, press, and shareholders of Regent Seven Seas parent company Norwegian cruise Line Holdings which also includes Contemporary brand Norwegian Cruise Line and upper premium brand, Oceania Cruises. This portfolio is managed by competent CEO Frank Del Rio, who started Oceania Cruises in 2003 during challenging times and carried

The company to great success. He is a true visionary and leader. Frank also does not miss a beat and has impeccable style as he was constantly around the vessel fine tuning the most intimate details making sure this exquisite vessel was ready to take on her wealthy clients and pamper them in the style promised to deliver.

The ships Christening took place in Monte Carlo on a breezy July night by Princess Charlene (wife of Prince albert-also in attendance), and followed by a touching concert by Andrea Bocelli. It could not have been any more romantic and stunning. A large black tie crowd joined pier side for a number or proceedings by companies management before Princess Charlene cut the ribbon that sent the bottle of my personal favorite, Vueve Clicquot champagne hurling towards the bow of Seven Seas Explorer and resplendently smashing. I can caught a bit of champagne splatter on my tuxedo…

The Ship

Has an amazing array of public rooms, gift shops, dining venues (at least 6), large lounge for Broadway Style entertainment (shows are produced by Norwegian cruise Line) and while not all my style, they were quite professional with excellent singers and dancing! There is a casino, huge Canyon Ranch Spa at Sea-complete with a gorgeous infinity pool at the aft end of the vessel, a large true swimming pool, and oh, so much more for the few 750 guests who will have the pleasure of sailing onboard. The lobby is perhaps the most elegant I have ever seen and the ship boast some 200 chandeliers, acres of intricate marble and granite- and the list goes on… you can judge for yourself from my personal Smugmug picture to follow in two links below.

Suites

The all-suite configuration falls in line with Regent’s policy of having an al suite ship in its small 4 ship fleet. The Explorer has suites that range in the smallest at 219 square feet (well, not really a suite) to over 3875 square feet. A majority of the suites are in the 415-464 square feet in size. This was the category I was in and I loved the layout. The colors were done in dark blue and gray hues with a dark blue carpet (unfortunately, this carpet color showed every speck of dust and item dropped on it). The cabin was decorated in rich lighting and moldings, had beyond excellent drawer space a small sofa and coffee table, large vanity for the ladies, a huge walk-in-closet with even more drawers, and a safe, a bar set up, complimentary stocked refrigerator, 24 hour full menu room service, massive marble and granite bathroom with twin sinks excellent storage, full sized bathtub, and a separate shower. It was gorgeous but did not have heated floors and at night I had to place towels down as it got very chilly on the feet. The suite is well supplied with supple towels, robes, slippers, umbrella, and plentiful L’Occitaine toiletry amenities. The balcony was massive and had plenty of elegant furnishings in high end wicker style. The doorbell was a nice touch but oddly missing was the electronic Do Not disturb or Make Up My Room signal. One had to hang an old fashioned plastic coated paper on the door which did not fit and tore easily. Nonetheless, the suites are lovely and the bedding as comfortable as any true luxury hotel anywhere in the world!

Service

The Seven Seas Explorer has an amazing multinational crew onboard but a bulk of her cabin and dining room staff hail from the Philippines and Indonesia. At first, I was concerned that they may lack the training that other all European crewed ships in this luxury category usually employ and at least most staff hail from Europe, but this did not deem to be an issue at all and I found the service quite good across the board-especially in the dining room. The exception was my cabin steward who was never particularly friendly and always seemed bothered and overworked. All-in-all, my service was quite good with the exception of some meals taking exceedingly long to serve dinners but hey, on vacation who really cares and fine dining is about TAKING YOUR TIME!!!

Cuisine

The overall dining experience rated an 8.5 out of 10 for me personally. I found the food quality and taste excellent in all the dining venues and had the chance to dine in every venue onboard. I had two entrees that were not to my liking but that is my taste. Otherwise, I found the food very good, served nicely, and most of the time, it was downright excellent. There is still some room for improvement and other guests had issues that were conveyed pretty constantly, but I did not encounter and serious flaws in the food and felt the quality, presentation, and taste mostly excellent. Mr. del Rio is going to take this brand for Michelin Star ratings so perfection must take place and I know they will work quite hard to obtain this coveted award… The ships main dining room was never full and the food there was as good as any of the alternative dining venues which included. Italian- Sete Mari, Asian- Pacific Rim, Steakhouse- Prime 7, and Modern French- Chartreuse. There is also a huge buffet area both indoors and outdoors by the massive pool, gelato bar, and casual café and coffee bar open breakfast until dinner time! Don’t forget if you get puckish in the wee hours, there is an excellent 24-hour full menu room service choice…

Shore Excursions

While regent Seven Seas offers unlimited complimentary shore excursions, I enjoyed about half of the ones taken and walked off of two due to the guides not really speaking to the group but to individual travelers instead of the whole. This seems to be a continued weak link in this brand as far as I am concerned and I find most well-traveled folk want private or small group arrangements vs. organized large group travel when sightseeing… Nonetheless, my concerns do not seem to hurt this brand…

Lasting Thoughts

This magnificent ship is a welcome addition into the high luxury category and I know she will win the hearts of her affluent travelers as she sets sail on the World’s Seven Seas…

Toms Picture links:


Responses

  1. Hi Tom,
    I was the old f… with you, John Simonds and Dan Swilley on the fantastic Cuba cruise last Jan (sorry to have missed the India trip with you, Mark and them.) We’re booked on a NCL cruise around Cape Horn in Nov.
    I wish I could find a cruise that includes Malta and the Dalmation coast. Any upcoming summer 2017? Thanks Quentin Smith


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