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Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Postby Camela » 12 May 2018 15:48

April 2018 Barcelona, Valencia, Palma, Sete, Marseille, Monaco, Portofino, Livorno and Rome/Civitavecchia on the "Most luxurious ship ever built" - their words, not mine!

We usually book cruise only so always need to arrive at the embarkation port the day before. Flew in BA and took the Aerobus to Placa Catalunya . For convenience I'd booked a hotel a short walk away, good clean and very personable staff. They recommended a Tapas restaurant nearby but warned we'd have to wait as it's popular however it was worth waiting 40 minutes for good authentic dining. We spent the morning in the La Rambla area and visited the Market which we'd previously omitted, had some oysters and freshly squeezed juice concoctions.

Taxi to port and on board 30 minutes later all formalities completed. Entrance to Explorer is stunning, 2-story atrium with huge crystal ceiling light and twin circular staircases. A lot of dark wood which is offset by cream walls, furnishings and marble. Welcome glass of champagne then buffet lunch in La Veranda as suites not available at 1430.

Accommodation. We were upgraded to a Veranda 2 - same as a 1 but balcony twice the size which was used a lot. Suite smaller than that on Voyager last year and definitely noticeable, 253 sqft as against 306 sqft (excluding balcony). Well appointed and my only gripe was no bath but knew when booking that would be the case. L'Occitane toiletries. Welcome champagne in ice bucket, fresh fruit basket and flowers all refreshed during the cruise. Fridge can be stocked with whatever you wish. Looked after by a Suite Stewardess with an Assistant Steward. A big tick for Regent is free unlimited WIFI though only one device can be logged in at a time. Muster. We went to muster station, put life jacket on, heard some general safety instructions but no "proceed to lifeboats" which I prefer to do and think it's invaluable for first time cruisers. Pool Bar for sailing but nothing is made of sailaway, not even a peep from Captain or Cruise Director. Pity.

Bars, Restaurants, Public areas For a comparatively small ship (750 guests), there is a good choice of bars throughout. We found an inconsistency in the mixing of drinks. Rum missing from a Mojito, speciality cocktail and a Campari soda over diluted with soda and orders being wrong. This may be due to an influx of new bartenders and waiters. To be fair, we and others drew attention to this and it was courteously addressed by the Head Sommelier. Regent's complimentary wine selection is good and varied sourced from many countries. There are fine wines available to purchase.

Breakfast and lunch buffets in La Veranda are extensive with tables outside too. Lunch finishes at 1400 which means on some later morning tours the only option left is the Pool Grill. One lovely space is The Café. Open from 0630 to 1800. Small buffet for continental breakfast and later sandwiches, cold cuts, fruit, cakes. Good hot beverages and a barista who'll make speciality coffees and serve drinks. It is comfortable and feels like a quality coffee shop.

Dining in all restaurants doesn't carry any surcharge but is restricted to one reservation in each, though I guess on longer cruises you could have more. Compass Rose (the MDR) and Sette Mari (La Veranda during the day) are open seating. Compass Rose has an a la carte menu which doesn't change plus extensive daily choices. We choose to join tables and on a ship this size you tend to see people you've met again which is very sociable. Equally choosing to dine a deux is fine.
Le Chartreuse is French themed, Prime 7 American steakhouse and Pacific Rim pan-Asian. Each have maitre d's, head waiters and waiters trained for that specific dining experience, though of course they work in other locations during the day. This attention to detail is evident as they are knowledgeable about the food. Pacific Rim was our favourite this cruise, faultless. Sette Mari is Italian themed and it is first come first served with no booking. Unless you go early for dinner there is always a wait so we didn't bother.
Entertainment Constellation Theatre on 2 levels spacious and well appointed. The performers were polished though we didn't go every night as shows start at 2130 and if we were in good company we didn't want to leave dinner early. The best was a 1960s themed production which we thought the best we'd ever seen at sea. For a nightcap we preferred the Observation Lounge and pianist especially because you could hear yourself speak. The Meridian and Explorer lounges had louder music. All have small dance floors.

Now something we'd not come across before. On the 3rd evening at 1800 The Block Party - meet your neighbours! All go into the corridor with an empty glass. Steward and Assistant serve wine and canapes. Captain, CD and Gen. Manager dash through all corridors shaking hands with everyone. It was great fun and a way to meet people you passed in the corridor.

Plenty of sunbeds around the pool and on deck above and small infinity pool at the Spa. Ship was pretty full and it never felt crowded but no sea day so can't tell how busy it might be with everyone on board.
Excursionsare included (also some available to purchase). We booked in Valencia, Palma, Portofino and Livorno and were very satisfied with the content and guides and very little pointing in the direction of specific shops!! In Marseille smaller ships used to dock at old port. Now it is a 45 minute drive there and as we've been several times we had a restful day on board. Sete, Palma and Portofino were new destinations for us, part of the reason for the choice of this cruise.

For spotters!! Ships that joined us in ports during the cruise: The World, Costa Diadema, Sovereign, MSC Divina, Mein Schiff 2, Costa Magica, Marella Spirit, Koningsdam, Costa Victoria, 2 Aida (couldn't identify and they don't appear on CruiseCal.

This was our second Regent Seven Seas cruise and Explorer is indeed a luxurious ship. The cruise delivered what was expected and more. Of course there is inevitably the odd niggle but nothing that will stop us booking further cruises with them.
"Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise"
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Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Postby Dave » 12 May 2018 17:36

A very interesting review Camela, thank you. :D :thumbup:

You may have noticed that I did a visit to Voyager about five years ago (we don't have many Regent reviews so my report is easy to spot!). It's certainly good to read about and/or do a visit to get an idea of what upmarket cruising is like. I'm sure we would love to cruise with Regent, but I'm not so sure we would want to draw that heavily on our savings!

I remember you've cruised with some other high-end lines; how does Regent compare?...
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Re: Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Postby tomvet » 12 May 2018 18:33

Enjoyed the read Camela - Don't see us cruising with RSS for a while, if ever! Anyhow, if I did, I'd lose my title as a cheapskate cruiser, something I don't wish to relinquish too easily!

I thought Hapag Lloyd's Europa 2 was the most luxurious cruiseship ever built - well I'm quoting the Oracle!
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Re: Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Postby Camela » 12 May 2018 20:34

Thank you. I think when you take into account what is included on the so-called high end lines they can represent good value especially if you don't take too many cruises. The fare you see is what you pay. No add-ons like port taxes, gratuities, charges for speciality restaurants and all drinks. In Regent's case excursions included and their brochure prices also include flights but we tend towards cruise only as we have air miles or similar to use. Yes, we've done several Silversea - last one 3 years ago - and feel that Silversea give the more personal service. Staff who you've interacted with remembering where you like to sit, drinks etc. Yet given the excursions and unlimited WIFI Regent is probably shading it for us at the moment.
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Re: Regent Seven Seas Explorer

Postby Toongirl » 12 May 2018 22:46

I’ve enjoyed reading your review, Camela. We sailed on Regent’s Mariner a few years ago and we thought it was really good value, for what it included.
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Postby judgegeoff » 13 May 2018 06:32

I really enjoyed your most interesting and informative cruise review Camela, thank you very much for taking the time to post it. :clap: :clap: :clap:
Geoff

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Postby Gillzajoker » 13 May 2018 09:29

Very interesting and comprehensive review, Camela ;)
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