The promise was bold. With a price tag of $450 million, the 750-passenger Regent Seven Seas Explorer would be the most luxurious ship to ever set sail. It would have some of the most lavish accommodations at sea—including the $10,000-per-night Regent Suite—as well as Picassos on the walls, over an acre of marble, and a 1.36:1 guest-to-crew ratio. It would also be the first new build for Regent Seven Seas Cruises in 13 years, and a benchmark for where the brand is headed as it rolls out $125 million worth of enhancements to its other three ships.
Travel + Leisure was invited on board as a guest of the Seven Seas Explorer as it made its debut, sailing from Barcelona to Monte Carlo. If there were doubts that the ship would live up to the hype, they were dispelled during the course of the trip. From the caviar service at breakfast in the airy main dining room, Compass Rose, to our Concierge Suite’s spacious marble bathroom with both tub and shower, this was a ship had been laid out with comfort, elegance, and timeless design in mind. The balconies are some of the largest in the industry, averaging at 138 square feet. Unlike many a cruise ship balcony, these are truly spaces where you could kick back and relax with your feet up. The food was some of the best you can get on the high seas right now. Standouts include the Pan Asian dishes (think lobster tempura and Korean barbecue ribs) at Pacific Rim, a new dining concept for the brand, and the more traditional French fare (Emmental cheese soufflé; escargots) at Chartreuse, a polished, 21st-century take on the classic Parisian brasserie.
One could argue that luxury today means not being nickel-and-dimed. Who wants to spend their vacation signing for every little charge, like a bottle of Evian delivered to your cabin after you’ve had a long day at the beach, or a glass of wine by the pool? Regent goes above and beyond to provide their guests with inclusions, which makes for a seamless travel experience. When you book a Regent cruise, food, wine, spirits, gratuities, shore excursions, entertainment, Wi-Fi, and airfare are all included. In 2017, business class airfare will be included for U.S. passengers on long haul voyages (for now, it’s applicable for Penthouse Suites and above). In addition, passengers in Concierge Suites and above get one free night at a hotel in port with transfers, breakfast, and porterage.
For all the over-the-top amenities, these inclusions might be the Seven Seas Explorer’s biggest asset. Because when you eliminate the stress of adding up the cost of your meals, drinks, and activities on vacation, you truly start to relax. Here, our top takeaways and highlights from the ship.