Aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer-After a quick tour of Barcelona, including a stop at Gaudi’s iconic Sagrada Familia, I boarded the brand new Regent Seven Seas Explorer for a brief shakeout cruise (that means not everything will be perfect) that will sail to Monaco for the ship’s christening. (For the maiden voyage that sails on July 20, everything is expected to be perfect.)
As the Explorer has been described at the most luxurious ship ever built, I was prepared to be dazzled.
The first “wow” came when I scanned the dinner menu at the principal dining room, the Compass Rose. Along with the chef’s tasting menu, which offered various choices, there was a “pretty much anything you want” menu that listed a stunning array of appetizers, soups, salads, meat entrees, fish, vegetarian choices, along with various sauces and side dishes. I could have any entrée with any sauce and any side dishes. I chose escargots, filet mignon with Béarnaise sauce, mashed potatoes and spinach, but there were so many other temptations – like lobster tails, Dover sole, foie gras, etc., etc.
As I was exhausted from my flight and lack of sleep for 24 hours, I passed up the show and went straight to sleep. (The bed was, as predicted, luxurious.)
I always test room service on a ship, and my breakfast, which arrived dead on time, was impressive. The waiter who delivered it spread a tablecloth on my coffee table and laid out dishes and silverware just as if I were dining at a restaurant. Coffee was piping hot, my cereal was creamy and the French bread was simply perfect. Must be because the flour (as well as butter) is imported from France.
As this is a pre-inaugural cruise, I was able to visit the famous two-bedroom Regent
Suite, which costs $10,000 a night and is fully booked through the year. Where to start? The bed in the master bedroom cost $150,000, the custom-made Steinway piano cost $250,000, the Lalique vases and decorative items cost $125,000, the crystal pieces in the light fixture were made individually by hand. The walls of the bathroom, which includes both a sauna and a steam room and heated lounges facing the ocean, are covered in a gold material. Just outside the bathroom, on the enormous wrap terrace is a sheltered Jacuzzi, as well as lounges and a dining table and chairs.
There is a full dining room, a lovely living area and a viewing area of the sea that houses a navigation system, so you can see where you are. The fabrics covering the furniture are all imported and sumptuous. The big flat-screen TVs are not “naked”—as they would be on other ships, but framed with custom wood finishes.
Occupants of the suite can have all the complimentary spa treatments they like, in the privacy of their home-away-from home. They have a private car at their disposal at every port and they can have meals sent up from any of the ship’s dining rooms. In short, they never have to leave their elegant surroundings except to explore the destinations they visit.
In short, for those who have $70,000 to spend on a week’s cruise, the suite is a bargain.
So far, I think the Explorer is living up to its “most luxurious ship” designation.
July 7/8, 2016