I have always thought that somehow the Seven Seas Explorer was my ship. I know I can’t even come close to being able to own a ship or even a minority interest in the company that oversees operations (maybe a share of stock?). But I had traveled Regent Seven Seas ships before and when I saw that they would be launching a new ship in 2016, I jumped at the chance to travel on the Seven Seas Explorer. Sure it was costly. But it was an inaugural cruise, with lots of splash and a great Mediterranean itinerary. The Seven Seas Explorer also promised to be the most luxurious ship on the seven seas. I could travel on something akin to the Titanic without the iceberg and sinking part.
We had a great cruise. The ship was new, bold and exciting. It was an exceptional vacation that exceeded most of my expectations. Although there were no fireworks or special events, and I wasn’t actually the first person to sleep in the bed (there was a pre-cruise cruise for travel agents), I still felt that somehow I was doing something memorable that I could tell my grandchildren about.
This year I decided to reconnect with “my ship” on an itinerary from Lisbon to Southampton. Again, we experienced great ports, and the Seven Seas Explorer still seems new and continues to shine. Here are the things I love about the Seven Seas Explorer:
- The attention to detail – The Versace china in the main dining room, the crystal chandelier in the center of the large and lobby with big chairs and an inviting spiral stair case, the beds that are comfy, large and face out to the water, the cafe with premium coffee drinks, small bites and a coffee shop ambiance, the dining area on the back of the ship where you can have breakfast outside in the morning, the specialty pasta bowls that just hold enough and The Canyon Ranch spa on board.
- The all-inclusive nature of the experience – The tips are included, there are no upcharges for the specialty restaurants (don’t miss Prime 7–the food is great and the ambiance is even better), the wine and cocktails, coffee drinks and ice cream bar, and the fact that many excursions (not all) are included in your price.
- The culinary kitchen, cooking lessons and the gourmet featured excursions – You can take short cooking classes (we had one for paella, one for tapas and one for tea), but better yet are the excursions geared to foodies (in Bilbao we went to the market, were assigned items to purchase and then had an incredible and fun class back on the ship making pintxcos (Basque country tapas).
So what needs to be improved? Service is good, but not great. The internet connection is better and is included (for a specified number of devices depending on suite category and status), but the free excursions are predictable and not really special. And for the ones that are special, you have to pay an additional fee (including the gourmet experiences). The included wines in the dining rooms need to be upgraded (it took a lot of time to find a white wine that was even worth the calories). Also, the main restaurant can get very noisy and it is difficult to get into the specialty restaurants (you can only reserve each one once on the cruise). The shows are okay, but not great. And English tea should have loose tea and not tea bags.
Would I go again? Of course! I do feel like an owner. And isn’t that saying how much this ship has captured my heart? But make sure there are some sea days on your itinerary so you can really enjoy the Seven Seas Explorer.