MIAMI – A suite with almost 3,000 square feet of interior space. 493 chandeliers. And two original Picasso drawings.
And if you asked for a partridge in a pear tree they’d probably get that for you, too.
I had the chance recently to tour the Regent Seven Seas Explorer ship. It’s billed as “the most luxurious ship ever built,” and I’m in no position to dispute it. I’ve only been on a handful of cruises, but if there’s a more elegant, refined and beautiful ship on one of the world’s oceans I can’t imagine it.
They also have introduced a new partnership with the renowned spa experts at Canyon Ranch, but more on that (and my silky, soft legs) in a bit.
The first thing we saw upon entering the ship were chilled bottles of Champagne in front of a magnificent pair of sweeping staircases, topped by a chandelier the size of a small house. The check-in area features gorgeous sofas and chairs and original art, a mainstay of the Seven Seas Explorer and almost all chosen personally by the CEO and his wife.
The details throughout the ship are amazing; whether it’s the see-through, metal partitions in the dining room that provide a sense of privacy or the curved floor design in the spa, which makes you feel like you’re entering a sanctuary or walking along a stony river bank.
Even the most basic rooms are billed as suites, with the smallest being 219 square feet with an 88 square foot balcony. The lowest level of suite, the Veranda Suite, features marble and stone in the bathroom, a sitting area, a king-size European bed, a flat-screen TV, L’Occitane amenities and lots more.
Oh, and here’s a great feature with Regent: it’s ALL included. That means your air fare, all excursions, all the fine wine and premium spirits you want, access to specialty restaurants, free pre-paid gratuities and even, bless their hearts, free Wi-Fi everywhere on board. There’s plenty more included on top of that.
Of course, the cruises aren’t cheap. But with everything included and ships like Regent has, you’re getting an experience that’s beyond first class with no hidden costs to bite you on the behind when you get home and open your credit card bill.
A group of us got to tour the Regent Suite, which is almost enough to render one speechless. It’s nearly 3,000 square feet of luxury, including a $150,000 U.S. bed apparently stuffed with curled Arabian horse tail and other goodies, as well as a custom-made piano. There’s even a private spa retreat with gold leaf doors where folks who rent the suite (it’s, ahem, $10,000 USD a night) can have whatever spa treatment they like. There’s a private hot tub on one of the two balconies, and the balcony space measures a full 958 square feet.
Folks who rent the suite get free first air fare for all domestic (U.S.) flights and free business class air for international flights, as well as a free personal car and guide to explore ashore, free laundry and a private garden.
“It’s not inexpensive,” a Regent spokesperson said. “But it’s great value.”
The other suites are nothing to sneeze at. The Master Suite has around 1,000 square feet of interior space and roughly 900 square feet of balcony space. (I was tempted to write “balcony acreage” but that’s a bit of an overstatement.) The Grand Suite has around 920 square feet of interior space and a balcony that’s almost as big. And so on…
I don’t know about you, but I could get used to that sort of thing.
The Seven Seas Explorer has a two-tiered Constellation Theatre that “pays homage to the ornate show palaces of Hollywood’s Golden Age,” as well as an Observation Lounge with rich mahogany wood columns, heavy leather chair and more. There’s also a culinary arts kitchen with 18 stations, where folks can learn to cook all sorts of cuisine and pick up tricks of the trade from the ship’s cooking staff. You might expect such a facility to be buried inside the bowels of the ship, but they’ve put the culinary centre on a top deck with glorious windows, so you can look out at the coast of Italy while learning to make that pasta sauce or the tiramisu you’ve always dreamed about.
The spa is gorgeous, with an “Experience Shower” with a variety of settings, a sauna, a steam room, a cold room and more.
The Seven Seas Explorer also now has Canyon Ranch spa treatments, starting this year on its Mediterranean cruises. The program pairs a collection of 10 wellness-themed Mediterranean excursions (such as a Tai Chi class in the garden courtyard of the Pharo Palace in Marseille, France) with five, 50-minute Canyon Ranch spa services, including Body Buff and Ocean Scrub. I had the Sole Rejuvation, an exfoliation treatment that took all that nasty, dead skin off my legs and then a rubdown with peppermint cream and a foot massage that was insanely relaxing. Sadly, my wife wasn’t around to feel how soft my legs were. But one of the female journalists on my tour said she thought the facial moisturizer I applied in the spa was divine.
I can’t attest to the food on a daily basis, but we were treated to lovely sea bass, butternut squash soup and gorgeous, rare beef, as well as tasty desserts and fine wine at a fancy lunch on board the ship.
When it comes to your meals, you can pretty much have everything you want any night you want it.
“If you want your surf and turf to be lamb and lobster, you can have it,” I was told. “If you want foie gras every night, it’s yours. Our motto is ‘All the choices, all the time, for everyone.’ If we have it on board, and invariably we do, we’ll put it in front of you.”
The Explorer was launched in 2016 and was the first new Regent ship in more than a decade. They certainly seem to have made it worth the wait.