Trade marking the slogan 'The Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built' is a bold boast but Regent Seven Seas Cruises' new US$450 million Seven Seas Explorer lives up to the promise. Here are seven ways that Regent delivers on the hype.
Every room is a suite, up to the extraordinary Regent Suite. At 360 square metres this is larger than the average Australian home of 243 square metres. At this level guests get two balconies, a peresonal spa, the services of a butler, a US$250,000 Steinway piano and artworks such as two Picassos. On port days guests get a private car with guide. The master bed in the highest level suite cost US$150,000. Entry level and mid-range suites are superb without the show stopping prices - budget on $1000 per night, per person.
Lost in space
The 51,000 ton ship carrying 750 guests claims one of the biggest space-to-guest ratios in the industry, and with 542 staff there is no skimping on service. Frank Del Rio, head of Regent's parent company Norwegian Cruise Line, talks of the ample 'elbow room'. The public spaces and even corridors are large. There are substantial chairs in the restaurants and lounges, with no bumping. Granite and marble, plush fabrics, dark woods, crystal chandeliers and subtle Art Deco designs add to the elegant atmosphere.
Wine and dine
The promise of luxury includes five main restaurants, as well as a casual cafe and relaxed poolside grill. Pacific Rim is spicy Asian fusion, Chartreuse for French, La Veranda for Italian, Prime 7 for steaks while Compass Rose is the main contemporary restaurant. Each is a genuine night out. The Culinary Arts Kitchen is a great experience for budding master chefs, and the advice from qualified chefs overseeing classes is of the common sense variety.
Sunshine and swimming
The main mid-ship pool has double sun lounges, ideal for curling up with a partner, plus two whirlpools. Don't fret about finding a spot, 'elbow room' means plenty of sun lounges for all. The smaller aft infinity pool gives the illusion of floating in the ocean. But don't drift off - it's next to the Canyon Ranch SpaClub where indulgent treatments await.
The Constellation Theatre is home to lavish production shows paying homage to the likes of the golden era of Hollywood musicals. Murano glass lamps on the tables add to the cabaret feel. The Meridian Lounge is clubby; the large Observation Lounge has views as well as dancing, while the Explorer Lounge is more intimate for live music. The Connoisseur Club has thick leather chairs for cigars and drinks and there is a library and casino.
Regardless of its extravagant claim to luxury, this vessel is geared towards glamour, not glitz. Fellow guests are likely to be well-heeled without bragging about it, which means everyone will have interesting stories to tell. Over a cocktail these chats contribute to the experience. In a casual moment Frank Del Rio dropped a line, with a mischievous grin, "I've never sailed on a ship I haven't owned." A memorable conversation indeed.
Spa treatments aside, you are unlikely to put your hand in your pocket. Drinks, dining, Wi-Fi, gratuities, entertainment and shore excursions are covered. Depending on suite class a pre-cruise hotel night is included, as are transfers. L'Occitane toiletries are among touches adding to the VIP feeling.