2nd December 2016: When a ship says it is the most luxurious ever built, expectations are high but does it deliver? It is not everyday I get an invitation to try the most luxurious cruise ship, so the decision to travel was therefore not a difficult one! Given its billing, would it delight or fall flat?
On arrival in Monte Carlo, our first sight of the ship was surprising. It was bigger than I thought and certainly stylish with chic lines. After a lightening quick check-in to say the least, we were soon on the gangplank. The tone was set right from the first step aboard, "champagne sir?” now that's a welcome, as was the crew greeting us alongside. We made our way quickly to our cabin through a number of public areas; this is more like a 5-star hotel than a ship.
The cabin was large, including a beautiful marble bathroom with large bath, separate shower and a generous dressing room. The bed was massive both in width and depth of mattress, comfort was certainly assured. The balcony contained two large wicker chairs; with thick padded cushions it was pure luxury...
Having recently travelled on a much larger ship, it was great to find it so easy to get around but still with lots of space and room for all.
The swimming pool aboard is a generous size with a large selection of loungers, including double cabana style for two people, cushions you simply sink into and towels a plenty. The spa is large, modern and inviting with again excellent smiley staff.
At the rear of both the spa area and the ship is a small infinity pool, a lovely touch with plenty of staff on hand to service your every need.
After dinner we took in a bit of the show and a nightcap in one of the bars aboard. All the bars have their own personality and are a lovely size, large enough to not be too pokey, but still with an intimate feel.
We definitely made the most of the dining on board, sampling as many restaurants as we could. First stop was the La Veranda buffet restaurant, the perfect place for a lunch stop, with a great selection of food, wonderful tables and chairs on the aft deck. It was there we had our first true interaction with the staff onboard. They were immediately over for our drinks order and returned with the drinks at lightening speed. This quality and speed of service was not a one off but repeated throughout our trip, first class.
Dinner that evening was in the main restaurant, the Compass Rose. Often these main restaurants can be a bit over large and impersonal, but not on the Explorer. The dining room was a lovely size with a great atmosphere and that service shone again. I am delighted to report the food matched it!
We tried the Pacific Rim Asian restaurant next. Booking late, we could only get a table for 4 sharing with two fellow passengers, this worked out very well but we did wonder what happens if not... Food was stunning and a visit to that restaurant would be essential.
We simply couldn’t leave without trying the specialty steak house onboard, Prime 7. This time we had a table for just the two of us, but the restaurant also had larger tables for up to 8 if you are travelling in a large party. Maria from Croatia was a superb waitress and backed up with simply stunning food and wine, it was a night to remember, full marks.
Now travelling with Regent Seven Seas really is an all-inclusive experience, all your food, drinks and even excursions. Our arrival in La Spezia, Italy gave us the first chance for a trip ashore. Throughout our 4 days onboard this was our only negative experience. We waited an hour in the show lounge for our trip to leave, with little communication and a feeling of "what's going on?" Giving the rest of our time aboard I think we can put this down to a blip, and the excursion to the Cinque Terre ended up being excellent and highly recommended.
Our arrival in Livorno gave us the opportunity to see Florence and Pisa; this was too good to miss. It was a very long 10-hour day trip, which may be a little too long for a lot of people, but we loved it.
It's tough to live up to expectations when you bill yourself so highly, but Regent Seven Seas Explorer certainly did deliver. Yes, I knew it would look great but the thing that matters most is the service and they certainly have that right. Big smiles, genuine welcomes and a strong desire to make sure you have a great cruise, well done Regent.