Seven Seas Explorer
Launched in July 2016, the 750-passenger Seven Seas Explorer stands out as an exciting new build even in a year full of exciting new cruise ships. It’s the first new ship by Regent Seven Seas in 13 years, and certainly the first since parent company Prestige was acquired by Norwegian Cruise Line two years ago. But, perhaps most auspicious, it’s the ship that Regent has declared to be “the most luxurious ship in the world.”
What We Love
The Elegant Interiors: The décor throughout is as opulent as you would expect from a brand new luxury ship in 2016 launched by a top-tier line. The designers from the three different architecture firms hired by the line declared that their mission was to design the ship around the artwork, a decision that makes many spaces feel seamless and elegant. Carefully chosen materials also add to the high-end feel of the ship. An acre of carrara marble graces the ship, and there’s myriad of other natural stonework throughout, some of which is breathtaking (especially the brown-and-cream mocha-inspired marble in the café). We could write a whole essay about the custom chandeliers alone, which were created with handmade crystal commissioned from three different European companies.
Well-Designed Suites: This all-suite, all-balcony ship has thoughtfully designed cabins with impressive details, even in the lower-level categories. Our concierge-level suite had thick silk curtains separating the bed area from the living room, to make sure that no sunlight disturbed our sleep. The walk-in closet was spectacularly large — as was the marble bathtub — and the bed was framed with a striking tufted leather headboard. Still, the little touches — gorgeous sconces, L’Occitane bath products (including bubble bath), more drawers than you could ever fill, and reading lights on both sides of the bed and both sides of the couch — are what stood out.
Best Known For
Truly All-Inclusive Pricing: Regent Seven Seas sets the industry standard for all-inclusive fares, and everything from airfare to pre-cruise hotel stays, alcohol, shore excursions, and gratuity are included. This sets the line apart definitively from their luxury-line competitors, none of which offer all of these things to all passengers on every sailing.
The Most Expensive Suite at Sea: This $10,000-per-night suite — with its private in-room spa and unlimited spa treatments, as well as a private car and driver in every port — is an easy winner. There’s as much gold leaf as you would expect in such a space, plus a Hamptons home-inspired aesthetic and impressive artwork, including two Picasso paintings flanking the entrance. The bed itself cost $150,000 and the piano is a $250,000 Dakota Jackson original Steinway. But it was the bathroom, with its sauna, steam shower, heated lounge chairs, and on-deck Jacuzzi tub, that struck us immediately with cabin envy.
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Who It's Best For
Sophisticated Couples: This ship has a very special-occasion feel, from the gorgeous Versace china in the main dining room to the Murano glass chandelier in the foyer and the French restaurant, Chartreuse, with a design inspired by a romantic stroll through the mist in Paris. Couples looking to celebrate, say, a birthday or an anniversary will feel that Explorer offers the right celebratory tone. After all, unlimited Champagne is included, so you can order a bottle at night to sip on your balcony after dinner or at breakfast to start the morning together with a toast in bed. It really is a ship designed for duos. As Frank del Rio, the head of the line, says "The couples who come on here love their grandkids. They just don't love anybody else's grandkids."
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Entertainment Was Never a Core Strength: During the day, entertainment ranges from a puzzle set up in a public space to card rooms, shuffle board, and a putting green. While luxury lines don't typically compete with the bells and whistles found on the mass market ships, you also won't find a submarine on this ship or a giant awe-inspiring thermal suite in the spa.
Nights are a similar story. In the past, the stage shows on board Regent Seven Seas ships have paled to those, say, on Norwegian’s more mainstream ships, where Broadway shows include the jazzy “After Midnight” and cheeky dinner theater experiences include “For the Record: The Brat Pack,” an ode to the 80s music featured in director John Hughes’s nostalgia-inducing films. However, since Regent was acquired by Norwegian, one of the missions has been to up their game in that regard. They have: They're a step up, especially the nostalgic "My Generation," but they're still not yet as ambitious or as successful as what you found on Norwegian Escape on day one.
That “Most Luxurious Ship in the World” Title Is Tough to Prove: However exciting the declaration may be, when you call a ship “the most luxurious ship in the world” you set the bar impossibly high. Luxury should touch every aspect of a travel experience — from the quality of the cooking and decadence of the ingredients to the level of the service and design. If everything goes right, and you have a perfect day starting with, say, freshly squeezed orange juice and a gorgeously stiff cappuccino at breakfast on the sun-dappled terrace (as we did), then you have only just delivered on your promise. And if, for example, the toast at breakfast doesn’t seem toasted at all and the crew member taking omelet orders is officious rather than service-oriented, saying “I cannot deliver your eggs without your table number, so please go get it,” (yep, this also happened the first morning of our pre-inaugural sailing) then you have stumbled on things that might otherwise seem trivial. That said, the Champagne and Osetra caviar on the breakfast buffet — a feature we have never seen before — went a long way to convincing us that we were on a ship that was designed to be glamourous.
Sherri Eisenberg is a New York City-based writer and editor. She is the former editorial director of ShermansCruise.
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Seven Seas Explorer at a Glance
- Line: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
- Number of Passengers: 750
- Ship Size: Medium
- Launch Date: 2016
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- Alaska - Inside Passage
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- Mekong River
- Repositioning Cruises
- Southeast Asia
- The Black Sea