When we were invited on a two-day press trip by Regent Seven Seas to experience the new Seven Seas Explorer, we knew that we would not have enough time on board to thoroughly evaluate the ship and crew. Nevertheless, we did have a brief look at what Regent Seven Seas refers to as "the most luxurious ship ever built." That's a pretty bold statement, and one that deserves further investigation.
Seven Seas Explorer
It does not take long after stepping aboard Seven Seas Explorer to recognize that the ship's designers were given a wide berth to make the vessel a showplace. The main lobby is highlighted with twin curved staircases facing two elegant glass elevators rising up several decks. A spectacular crystal chandelier hangs from the ceiling.
Every public space that we explored revealed an attention to detail not often found on modern cruise ships. Even the public restrooms look as though they were designed for a 5-star hotel. Furnishings, carpeting, and finishes throughout the ship are of the highest quality. Special attention has been given to light fixtures throughout the ship. Even the stateroom hallways have elegant ceiling fixtures. When it comes to decor, Seven Seas Explorer certainly has the look of the most luxurious ship ever built.
For accommodations, we were assigned to a Concierge Suite on Deck 6. The Concierge Suite measures 332 sq. ft. and has a balcony which can range from 83sq. ft. to 132 sq. ft., depending on the suite's location. A very large bathroom with dual sinks, a full-sized bathtub/shower and a separate shower stall is one of the nicest we have seen on a cruise ship. The inlay tile accent on the bathroom floor was beautiful.
Large, well-appointed bathroom
Just past the bathroom is the walk-in closet concealed behind a pocket door. The closet light comes on automatically when the door slides open. The closet is large enough to hold all the clothes you would ever need for a 30+-day cruise and contains a dresser with large, soft-close drawers. This is also the location of an electronic safe. There are plenty of wooden hangers and two bathrobes with slippers are provided for onboard use.
The king-sized bed is custom made for Regent Seven Seas Cruises and is extremely comfortable. Top-quality bed linens, comfortable pillows and duvet round out the sleeping arrangements nicely. Nightstands have soft-close drawers and there are reading lights on each side of the bed. Gadget-freaks will appreciate the two USB charging ports next to each nightstand along with electrical outlets next to each nightstand, and even inside the nightstand cubby.
The custom-made king-sized bed
The bed faces the sitting room which can be separated from the sleeping area by drawing a curtain. The sitting room has a large sofa, nice-sized coffee table (large enough for in-suite dining) and a bar/mini-fridge wall unit with large flat-screen TV. The TV is mounted to a hinged wall that can swing out 90 degrees so it is visible from the bed.
Mini-Bar and TV
There is a very large desk/dresser with lighted makeup mirror, telephone and leather desk chair. The suite is intelligently designed so that Rickee could sit at the "desk" to do her makeup and I could easily walk behind her to get to another part of the suite. The room never felt cramped or uncomfortable. The dresser has eight large, soft-close drawers. In fact, this suite has more storage space than any comparable-sized suite we have seen on any other ship. Everywhere you look there are large drawers, cubbies or shelves, including in the bathroom.
Our balcony was huge and featured a padded chair, sun lounger and table. The balcony had the nicest outdoor furnishings we have seen so far.
Balcony - Concierge Suite 664
Bargain hunters should know that the Superior Suite category is essentially the same design as the Concierge Suite, but at a lower per diem cost. The difference in price is based on suite location and a few extra amenities that Concierge Suite guests enjoy, such as one free hotel night stay, free porterage, complimentary ground transfers and advanced booking of specialty restaurant reservations and shore excursions, to mention a few.
As for food and dining, we only had the opportunity to dine in two specialty restaurants. We had dinner at Pacific Rim, the ship's Pan-Asian restaurant that puts a European spin on Asian cuisine. This was an elegant and innovative dining experience. We had lunch one afternoon at Chartreuse, a very upscale French restaurant. The food and service in both restaurants were very good. Unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to try La Veranda Buffet or Compass Rose, the ship's main restaurant. We did check out the Pool Grill after embarkation which offered a large buffet selection, fresh-baked pizza and flatbreads as well as an a' la carte menu with burgers, sandwiches, wraps and hot dogs.
Pacific Rim is the Pan-Asian restaurant on board Seven Seas Explorer
Prime 7 is the ship's signature steakhouse serving a variety of USDA Prime beef steaks and chops. Sette Mari at La Veranda transforms a section of the La Veranda restaurant into a candlelit Italian bistro each evening with a menu of alluring antipasto, homemade pastas, enticing main courses and desserts hailing from all over Italy. Seven Seas Explorer also offers a significant room
service menu and guests may order room service from the Compass Rose
restaurant menu during evening dining hours. We look forward to a longer stay aboard Seven Seas Explorer so that we can accurately report on all of the dining options.
One area that Regent Seven Seas has focused on is entertainment. We attended a production show one evening and were very impressed with the quality of the singers, dancers and musicians for a ship this size. The Constellation Theater is situated on two decks and offers very comfortable seating and a large stage flanked by large video screens that are used to enhance the show. There are a few very large support columns that could play havoc with sightlines, however, so guests are advised to arrive early and get a seat in front of these obstructions.
Constellation Theater lower level
Musicians also perform in lounges around the ship. Our favorite lounge was the Observation Lounge on Deck 11 forward. We found it to be a perfect spot to enjoy a before-dinner cocktail while listening to piano music. Musicians also perform in the Meridian Lounge on Deck 5 midship and the Explorer Lounge on Deck 4.
During the daytime, Deck 11 is a popular spot due to the beautiful main pool surrounded by sun loungers with fitted terrycloth covers. The Pool Bar is nearby and wait staff are always ready to bring your favorite beverage, all of which are complimentary on Regent Seven Seas.
The pool on Deck 11
One activity that I did get to experience was the Culinary Arts Center. Regent Seven Seas has brought this popular concept from sister cruise line, Oceania Cruises. The Culinary Arts Center is a demonstration and hands-on kitchen where guests can test their cooking skills, and learn new skills. An Executive Chef guides guests through a 90-minute session where attendees learn to prepare a variety of dishes. You can read all about my experience on Day Two of our cruise blog. The venue has 20 individual cooking and prep stations, each with its own two-burner stove top, cutting board, utensils and sink. The cost for the class is $89 per person, and it is a great value. It is one of the most interesting activities I have experienced on a cruise ship.
Culinary Arts Center
Our two-night stay aboard Seven Seas Explorer was too brief for us to confirm that this is, in fact, "the most luxurious cruise ship ever built." We would need a full week or more to explore all that this ship has to offer under normal operating circumstances. A two-night media/travel agent cruise simply does not reveal what Regent guests will experience. It is like trying to review a movie after having only seen the trailer. That said, Seven Seas Explorer is certainly one of the most beautiful ships we have ever seen, and perhaps, the most beautiful. The luxury cruise segment is getting very interesting, and very competitive. Seven Seas Explorer is at the leading edge of luxury cruise ship design. Regent fans have a lot to be excited about.