22 Jul July 22, 2016 by Vision Travel in Featured, Small ship cruising, Travelling With Vision The Regent Seven Seas Explorer The Culinary Arts Kitchen The staff and crew Regent at Night! Anytime a new ship is launched it is very exciting for everyone involved: the lucky guests that are the first few to experience it; the CEO of the cruise line; the cruise line sales staff; the staff and crew on board; the travel agents that sell it. There is an anticipation of what we will all find when it is finally revealed. On Regent Seven Seas Explorer they thought of everything. It is one of the reasons they can call it “The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built”. A few of the other reasons: the table settings, the linens. the pool side grill, the theatre setup, the lighting throughout the ship, the magnificent foyer, the amenities in our suite, the new twist on the main dining room menu, tea time, the incredible artwork, the remarkable food in EVERY restaurant. Everything was clearly thought through and built to exceptional standards. Our 5-day inaugural cruise on board the Explorer exceeded my expectations and cemented Regent as a leader in luxury cruising. On the page ahead I hope a mix of words and photos can re-create my experience and help you decide if the Regent Seven Seas Explorer is going to be in your future travel plans. The Anticipation of Embarkation People say that the anticipation leading up to a cruise is almost as good as the cruise itself. While I completely agree with this I also believe that the day you board your ship sets the tone for the entire cruise. Our cruise embarked from Barcelona. The cruise port in Barcelona is about 30 minutes from the airport. When we pulled in we were greeted by smiling faces eager to help with our bags in a very orderly manner. The embarkation process was smooth and we were on board in 30 minutes. For anyone who cruises regularly you are aware that the majority of people head straight to the food when they get on board. It is typically around lunch time and your cabin is not ready – so food is clearly the obvious choice. It is also typically very crowded and a bit stressful as you have a carry on of some sort and you need to find a table. On Regent Seven Seas Explorer, Le Veranda is located on the 11th deck at the aft of the ship and is was not crowded, the food was spectacular and there was a nice variety. The staff was ready to help and there were plenty of tables available – both inside and on the “veranda”. A refreshing and civilized way to begin a cruise. The Suite The first thing that struck me as I entered into my suite was the space. Nothing was cramped or tight, nothing was awkward because they had to figure out how to fit it in. We were lucky enough to enjoy a one bedroom Seven Seas Suite onboard the Seven Seas Explorer. It has a foyer with a powder room (which was very useful when my wife was busy “getting ready”) and a living room area with a sofa and two chairs, a wet bar, a dining table and a desk (which overlooked the balcony – a very peaceful way to get a bit of work done). The bedroom is perfect. It starts with the bed. Regent obviously believes every guest should get a perfect night’s sleep and their beds certainly achieved that for me. It is extremely comfortable and the linens are of the highest quality. There is a vanity beside the bed with plenty of space and two bedside tables – each with storage in them. One of the best features of the suite is the bathroom. With a Jacuzzi tub, two sinks and a sizeable shower, the bathroom is as comfortable as my ensuite at home – maybe even more so. The walk in closet provides plenty of space for outfits for 10 nights. Given that we were only on board for 5 nights, we actually had empty shelves and an empty drawer. My experience in cruising is that a cabin is always well thought out from a storage perspective but not always convenient. Ship designers have a way to make every small space useful for good reason. The difference in our Regent suite was that every single piece of storage was convenient and it was plentiful. The impact this has on your everyday life on board the ship is remarkable. I never really felt like I was on a cruise ship – and I mean that in the most positive way. I would be remiss not to mention the incredible butler that accompanies the Seven Seas Suite. Our butler was incredibly attentive without being overbearing and his attention to detail was impressive. I expected a high level of service on board the Regent Seven Seas Explorer but a butler took it to a new level. The Restaurants and overall food experience I have dined on many cruise ships and for the most part the food experience has been outstanding. I was curious as to how Regent could elevate my food experience to be that much better than the premium cruise lines. They did not disappoint. The food was outstanding. I was not able to dine in each venue but here was my experience: Compass Rose Compass Rose Captain’s Table – Look up! Compass Rose Cappuccino Parfait – Delicious! Compass Rose is the main dining room and it was amazing. The décor was magnificent and was highlighted by a central lighting feature that was stunning. I would try and describe it in words but it would not do it justice – you will just have to go find out for yourself. The highlight for me is the new menu concept. You can essentially build your own meal from a plethora of options. The possibilities are endless and any compromises are completely removed. They still have the chef features, which are typically off the charts in appearance and taste. I ate the lamb with a perfect wine pairing chosen by the sommelier and it was spectacular. La Veranda A buffet that does not feel like a buffet. Well laid out with a nice variety of food for breakfast and lunch and never a challenge to find a table that suited my mood (inside, outside, quiet, etc). The service was really a highlight at La Veranda, always attentive to drinks and clearing away dishes and engaging in conversation when appropriate. The staff on board the Regent Seven Seas Explorer really made you feel like you are at home. Sette Mari La Veranda by day turns into Sette Mari at night, a fine Italian restaurant with the option of eating outside. We started with a delightful compilation of anti pasto followed by our appetizer, a tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad, pasta, dessert and coffee – a true Italian feast. Chartreuse Chartreuse Decor Chartreuse – our table The lamb…mmm… A beautiful setting that made me feel like I was in the middle of Paris. Chartreuse is the French restaurant and it features a very traditional menu with Soufflé, rich foods and fantastic wines. While this is the least adventurous menu, the food was delicious. Room Service Breakfast in our room We ordered room service twice. Once for breakfast and once late at night. The breakfast came promptly at 7:30am and it was hot, fresh and our butler laid it out for us. This is when the extra space of a Regent Suite can be appreciated. We were able to sit and enjoy our breakfast before heading out on our 8:30am shore excursion. At night we ordered and simple sandwich and it came on time and was clearly made fresh upon ordering. Pool Side Grill I love a freshly made hamburger. The Pool Side Grill features a menu of 8 different burger options including basic, salmon, chicken, veggie and more. You find your table, order your burger at the grill and someone brings it to you. You can really order any variation of burger you want and they will make it. Fresh. Accompany it with an ice cold lager and you have yourself and fantastic lunch at sea! The Café The Café features all your typical coffees and teas but also a nice array of food, both fresh and sweet. The baristas are available throughout the day and you can use the self serve machine late at night Public Spaces Top Deck lounging The theatre Sports court By the pool The Pool Deck The lobby One of the highlights of Regent Seven Seas Explorer is the public spaces and décor. I would describe it as a 1920’ s design with a modern twist. The public spaces are very open and welcoming. All of the lounges are spacious but intimate, the Casino is small but had a nice energy to it after dinner and into the night. The theatre is outstanding – almost a cross between a 1920’s café and theatre. The seating is arranged is 2’s 4’s and 6’s with tables so that you can sit on your own or with a group of friends and have a drink and be comfortable as you enjoy the entertainment. On the top deck they have a sports area with a sports court for tennis and basketball and a 9 hoe mini putt as well. A great facility to spend an afternoon at sea. One of the highlights was the puzzle table. It was in a very public space so that it drew attention and would not be missed but set back so that it was not in the way of those passing by. Very well done. I found the ship very easy to navigate the first day as the layout is straight forward and logical. This may seem like a minor statement but I have been on many ships that take a few days to become familiar. The Canyon Ranch Spa and The Gym Spa treatment room Spa Staircase Spa Heating Beds Spa Sauna I could write a blog on the Canyon Ranch Spa alone. While I did not have a chance to experience one of their services, the spa and their water treatment rooms are open to all guests – you just need to book a time. I had a tour of the spa and the treatment rooms are spacious and they even have a couples treatment room – a perfect way to start your cruise! The water treatment rooms are spectacular. They have a sauna, a cold room, a steam room and a showering system with multiple stations – very cool. I personally enjoyed spending time in the steam room with aromatherapy followed by the cold room and back and forth. After my hot and cold treatment, I laid down on the mosaic heat beds to read for a while before heading out to the infinity pool on the deck. A perfect way to spend the morning before my previously mentioned burger and lager at the Pool Side Grill. The gym was enormous – I have never seen a gym like this on a cruise ship. The equipment was state of the art and view off the stern of the ship made you forget the workout you were putting yourself through. They have spinning classes and yoga classes all lead by professionals. They will also spend time curating a personal workout regime for you. The thing that stands out the most about the spa and gym are the amount of space they have allocated – even the spa lobby is wide open and welcoming. Combined the two facilities take up almost a third of the ship on two decks. Overall Atmosphere When you think of a luxury ship you might think of it as being stuffy and lacking atmosphere. Quite the opposite is true of Regent Seven Seas Explorer. From Cruise Director Ray’s opera singing at tea time to the deck party on the last evening to live music in all of the lounges, there is always something to do or somewhere to go to be entertained or to unwind. Regent Seven Seas Explorer absolutely lived up to “The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built” but it goes beyond the physical ship; the overall experience is one you will never forget and will be calling your travel advisor to plan your next cruise as soon as your return!