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The Most Luxurious Ship Ever?

Seven Seas Explorer wins raves with spacious suitesand spare-no-expense features and amenities

The atrium aboard the Seven Seas Explorer.

By Theresa Norton, Travel Pulse
   
Does Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ new Seven Seas Explorer live up to its advance billing as “the most luxurious ship ever built”?

“It’s magnificent,” says top agent Eric Maryanov, president of All-Travel in Los Angeles. “Frank Del Rio delivered on his promise to build the most luxurious ship ever. The diversity of dining is quite spectacular. The staterooms are magnificent and the spa delivers a true Canyon Ranch experience.”

[post_ads]Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Regent’s parent company, gave designers free rein and plenty of cash for over-the-top luxury features – such as the $90,000 Savoir No. 1 mattress in the über-opulent Regent Suite, the acre of marble throughout the ship and the $7 million art collection, including works by Chagall and Picasso.

Fanciest Accommodations: The Regent Suite encompasses 4,443 square feet atop Deck 14, including a 1,000-square-foot wraparound balcony overlooking the ship’s bow. Clients who don’t blink at the $10,000-per-night tab get a private car and driver in every port, unlimited dry-cleaning and laundry, and unlimited services in the in-suite spa retreat that boasts a sauna, heated loungers and multi-jet shower.

Most Common Accommodations: The 140 Concierge Suites measure up to 460 square feet and have the spacious, residential feel of a luxury hotel suite with a sitting area and walk-in closet. The king-size bed faces outward toward the veranda. The marble bathrooms have a big tub and separate shower; marble also tops the desk in the living area. Every suite on the ship has a private balcony – 138 square feet on average – with room for a lounger and cushioned chairs around a table big enough for dining.
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What’s Included: Fares include air, all beverages, unlimited Internet, excursions in every port, gratuities, specialty restaurants and a pre-cruise luxury hotel package for those staying in concierge and higher suites. Beginning in summer 2017, Regent will also include business-class air for intercontinental flights.

What’s for Dinner? The cuisine in the Compass Rose main restaurant, casual buffet/grill and three specialty restaurants is superb. In fact, Del Rio thinks the ship deserves a Michelin star or two (some of the chefs make more money than the captain!).

Compass Rose is a stunner with cascading aqua-blue chandeliers and sophisticated Versace china. It serves European-inspired Continental cuisine with daily chef’s selections and an extensive always-available menu. The specialty restaurants include Chartreuse for classic French cuisine with a modern twist, Pacific Rim for Pan-Asian dishes and Prime 7, a traditional yet glamorous steakhouse.

La Veranda offers a buffet for breakfast and lunch, and transforms into a fine-dining restaurant for dinner. The Pool Grill features a buff et of salads and sandwiches as well as cooked-to-order burgers, grilled fresh seafood, paninis and the like.
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Best Entertainment/Excursions: The production shows didn’t draw rave reviews during the christening cruise. What did was the Culinary Arts Kitchen, which has 18 cooking stations and offers hands-on classes ($89) by the line’s professional chefs. Culinary shore excursions include artisanal cheese-making near Sorrento, Italy, Provençal wine tasting and a visit to a Michelin three-star restaurant in Saint Tropez. A chef instructor and local guide accompany the Gourmet Explorer Tours; cost is $79 to $799 per person.

Relax and Recharge: The Canyon Ranch SpaClub offers pampering treatments amid posh surroundings. An outdoor teak terrace features an infinity-edge plunge pool. The spa has eight treatment rooms, a waiting area with ergonomic heated loungers, an infrared sauna, aromatic steam room and a cold room kept at 54 degrees. The fitness center includes free classes, such as morning walks and stretch classes.

Who Goes on This Ship? Del Rio says 80 percent of Regent’s clients are couples from North America with a net worth of about $2 million and up. About 60 percent are repeaters; less than 4 percent are first-time cruisers. “They’re not here to show off , they’re not wearing $6,000 diamond earrings,” Del Rio explains. “Have you heard of the book ‘The Millionaire Next Door’? They’re nice people who become friends with our staff and officers. It’s very much a family feeling on board.” They’re also not bringing youngsters.
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“We’re not looking for multi-generational groups. This is a couples’ cruise,” he says. “Our guests love their grandkids, they just don’t love everybody else’s grandkids.”That said, Regent does offer supervised Club Mariner kids programs on select departures. Two are scheduled next year on Seven Seas Explorer – an 11-night itinerary roundtrip from London departing June 3 and a 15-night London-to-Iceland voyage departing July 25.

Key Selling Points: Regent President Jason Montague suggests agents do a full comparison of the costs. “When you look at comparable-sized suites on a premium ship and package everything in, including air, onboard charges and shore excursions, the cost is roughly the same but the experience is not even close,” he says. “Our travel partners get a higher commission, so they win and their clients win.” Also: the sole smoking area (outside of the cigar lounge) is glass enclosed, so smoke doesn’t waft onto the pool deck.
 
JUST THE FACTS

Cruise line: Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Ship:
Seven Seas Explorer

Size: 750 guests, 55,254 gross registered tons

Entered Service: July 2016

Itineraries: The ship is in the Mediterranean this fall and will reposition to Miami in December for Caribbean and Panama Canal voyages. Next spring, it’s back to Europe for Mediterranean and Baltic cruises.

Price: The eight-night Oct. 4 voyage from Monte Carlo to Athens is priced from $6,799.

Contact: www.RSSC.com, 844-4REGENT
       

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Travel Magazine: The Most Luxurious Ship Ever?
The Most Luxurious Ship Ever?
Seven Seas Explorer wins raves with spacious suitesand spare-no-expense features and amenities
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Travel Magazine
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