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Seven Seas Explorer cruise ship review interior photos
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Introducing Seven Seas Explorer
Directly after boarding Seven Seas Explorer we roll into Regent Seven Seas' unique "block party" where guests are encouraged to open the door of their suite, step out in the corridor and bring a glass. As waiters stroll the passageways serving wine and snacks, we chat with our neighbors until we see three officers run towards us. They turn out to be the Captain, Hotel Director and Cruise Director who shake our hand and welcome us on board before sprinting towards the next cluster of guests. It is the first sign that Regent really does things differently.
Seven Seas Explorer in Ibiza, Spain Seven Seas Explorer in Ibiza, Spain Seven Seas Explorer in Livorno, Italy Seven Seas Explorer in Monte Carlo, Monaco Seven Seas Explorer in Ibiza, Spain
Seven Seas Explorer is the first new Regent ship in 13 years, joining fleet mates Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Mariner and Seven Seas Navigator. The 54,000 ton vessel has a capacity for 738 guests, looked after by a crew of 542. Billed as "The Most Luxurious Cruise Ship Ever Built" by her owners, she was designed to be the epitome of contemporary seagoing luxury. Nearly everything is included here: drinks, tips, Internet and even a choice of shore excursions in every port on every cruise. Not included though are formal nights; the atmosphere on board is remarkably easy-going with a relaxed dress code to match.
Seven Seas Explorer docked in Monte Carlo the night before het christening
Before we take you on a guided tour of this exquisite ship, we need to tell you about the memorable naming ceremony. It all started with a gala dinner for all guests which was served simultaneously in all restaurants on board. We dined royally on caviar, lobster, prime beef and Valrhona chocolate complemented with fine wines. Then it was time to make our way quayside for the ceremony which started at 9 PM sharp. There were speeches from Jason Montague, President of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and Frank Del Rio, President of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. The passion and pride of these two gentlemen was all too visible, which made the moment even more special. It was up to Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene of Monaco (accompanied by her husband Prince Albert) to do the honors and officially name Seven Seas Explorer. And if all of that was not enough, Andrea Bocelli performed for 45 minutes, singing some of most famous songs which brought tears to the eyes of many. Back on board, the party continued on the Pool Deck where CEO's, dignitaries and guests were swinging the night away under the stars. Unforgettable? Absolutely!
Seven Seas Explorer naming ceremony Princess Charlene names Seven Seas Explorer The bottle breaks Andrea Bocelli at Seven Seas Explorer naming ceremony Seven Seas Explorer naming ceremony
Welcome On Board
It is time to take you all on a tour of Seven Seas Explorer. Most guests will enter the ship on deck 4 in the opulent two-deck atrium, which makes quite an impression with its giant chandelier, zebra-like carpeting and robust double grand staircase. It is quite clear that no expense has been saved. The difference is in the details, really. Look at the exquisite ceiling treatments, beautiful mosaic flooring and unique art collection. And since first impressions count, the design team has pulled all stops in the gallery that connects the atrium to the ship's main restaurant. It is stunning. With its high ceiling, art objects and large glass doors leading to the bar and casino, it reminds me of an ocean liner or perhaps a shore side grand hotel.
Seven Seas Explorer Lobby
Seven Seas Explorer entrance lobby Seven Seas Explorer entrance lobby Beautiful art object adorn Seven Seas Explorer's entrance lobby Seven Seas Explorer's beautiful lobby Seven Seas Explorer grand staircase
That sense of being in a grand hotel lingers as we enter the breathtaking Compass Rose Restaurant. Again, the ceiling is very high making the room very light and airy. The color scheme is very elegant and there is a lot of room between tables. No reservations are necessary to enjoy a meal here. The dinner menu reads like a novel; I have never seen a more extensive menu on any ship. There are some innovations, too. Like the "build your own dish" section where you choose your own meat or fish and add sauces and the sides to your liking. That's true a la carte! And for gourmets, I would recommend the nightly 6-course "Chef's tasting menu". Once you are done eating and leave the restaurant, the doors to the Casino and Explorer Lounge will be open. I was particularly impressed with the latter, having an instant atmosphere and jazzy tones by the Explorer Show Band. Oh, did I mention most drinks are included in the cruise fare?
ntrance to Compass Rose Restaurant Compass Rose Restaurant Compass Rose Restaurant Compass Rose Restaurant HCompass Rose Restaurant
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Explorer Lounge Explorer Lounge Entrance to Explorer Lounge Explorer Casino Explorer Casino
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From the Atrium, you can do a little shopping in two upscale boutiques before entering the double deck Constellation Theater. The show lounge is as spacious as it is comfortable. The entertainment (which has always been quite good on Regent), has been put in a higher gear of Seven Seas Explorer, with high tech stagings and some novel approaches to traditional shipboard revues. Some of the shows were really not my cup of tea but I must say that the cast was universally good, with some great singing and dancing.
Explorer Theater
Let's move up one deck. We ascend the grand staircase to arrive at the administrative heart of Seven Seas Explorer. Here you will find the Reception Desk, Purser's Desk, Concierge Office, Business Center, Cruise Consultant and Destination Services. It is like a town square really. Although most town squares don't feature oversized sofas and priceless art objects. By the way: did I mention most shore excursions are included in the cruise fare? This is the place to book them (if you havenít done so already before departure). The Destination Services staff are really friendly and going on shore excursion has never been easier or more enjoyable as Regent Seven Seas Cruises never crowds its tour buses.
Entrance Lobby Entrance Lobby Reception Lobby Reception Lobby Reception Lobby
Walking aft, we stumble across The Cafe, Seven Seas Explorer's upscale coffee shop. It features a small buffet so there is no need to go to the restaurant if your idea of breakfast is a muffin and a cup of really good coffee. Just let the barista prepare any of the dozens of coffee varieties listed in the menu for you, grab a cereal, a croissant and an orange juice and sink in one of the huge chairs by the window.
The Cafe The Cafe Meridian Lounge Meridian Lounge Meridian Lounge
If you like Asian food, you will want to visit the Pacific Rim Restaurant over and over again. It is located aft on deck 5, its entrance almost obscured by a massive Tibetan prayer wheel (you canít help but touch it). From the entrance the floor slopes down to another boutique hotel-like high-ceiling restaurant, which is a rarity on today's cruise ships where space is at a premium. As in all specialty restaurants on board Seven Seas Explorer you will be welcomed with a cocktail that is unique to this venue only. Interesting detail is that Pacific Rim has an all-female staff, dressed sharply and looking extremely elegant. The menu is very extensive and I had difficulty choosing. Should I order the tuna tartar with a carrot and ginger dressing or Tom Kha Gai soup? In the end I ordered both and I was glad I did. It was divine, but then all food on board is just that. Divine.
Pacific Rim Restaurant Pacific Rim Restaurant Pacific Rim Restaurant Tuna Tartar appetizer Tom Kha Gai soup with truffle and foie gras
To work off all the glorious food, you might have to visit the Canyon Ranch Spa which is spread out over two decks. You enter the spa on deck 5, where you will find the hairdressing salon, treatment rooms, relaxation areas, saunas and ice rooms. Take the stairs up for the huge fitness center which boasts floor to ceiling windows. And make sure you visit the aft deck (accessible from the spa or via the Promenade Deck). It has a superb infinity pool surrounded by thick cushioned lounge chairs. While the pool is not large, I cannot think of anything nicer than to dip in that pool and watch the ship make its way across the oceans. By the way, Seven Seas Explorerís promenade deck is of the "wrap-around" kind!
Canyon Ranch Spa Canyon Ranch Spa Fitness Center Spa Sun Deck Infinity Pool
The Suite Life
Forget all about inside or outside cabins. On Seven Seas Explorer you always stay in a suite with balcony. It's as simple as that. Take the Concierge Suites. Done in a very soothing blue and cream color scheme, the generous suites are the ones to choose when you want to wake up and see the sun rise as the bed faces the large windows that lead to an equally large balcony. The walk in closet is one of the roomiest and most practical I have seen and the same can be said for the extravagant bathroom. It features a deep tub and rainfall shower, plus double sinks. With this ship, Regent Seven Seas Cruises have introduced a new line of L'Occitane toiletries called "Mer & Mistral" which is available in all suites. And let's not forget the most important thing: the bed. It's heavenly.
Seven Seas Explorer Concierge Suite
Corridor Concierge Suite bathroom L'Occitane toiletries Concierge Suite walk in closet Concierge Suite balcony
One category up from the Concierge Suite is the Penthouse Suite. Measuring a very generous 599 sq. ft. (52 m2), this suite has a separate living room and bedroom, two televisions, plus a walk in closet (smaller than in the Concierge Suite) and a large bathroom with shower only (whereas lower grades have a tub as well). I love the balcony with its lounge sofa and table with chairs. Ideal for a private cocktail and dinner! Did I mention 24-hour room service is included, too?
Seven Seas Explorer Penthouse Suite
Seven Seas Explorer Penthouse Suite balcony
We are moving up the social ladder to the remarkable 1,276 sq. ft. (118 m2) Explorer Suite. It was designed by Dakota Jackson and its main color is green, which makes this suite unlike anything on the Seven Seas. A large living room leads to an equally large bedroom and not one but two bathrooms. In the suite we viewed the balcony runs the entire length of the suite, but it is quite narrow when compared to other high-end suites.
Seven Seas Explorer Explorer Suite living room
Seven Seas Explorer Explorer Suite bedroom
Things are getting really elaborate in the 147 sq. m (1,586 sq. ft.) Grand Suite. The one we visited was all the way forward on deck 12 with a stunning balcony perched on top of the navigational bridge wing, meaning you have commanding views forward and even along the side of the ship. That alone would be reason enough to book this suite. But let us not forget the gorgeous bathroom (with sea views), the huge living room (again with green accents) and dual bathrooms.
Seven Seas Explorer Grand Suite living room
Seven Seas Explorer Grand Suite bathroom
Seven Seas Explorer Grand Suite forward facing balcony
We are not done yet. There is Seven Seas Explorer's Master Suite to inspect. The term "town apartment" comes to mind. Probably the best thing about this suite is the sweeping balcony with various beautiful seating and lounge areas. And is that a piano in the living room? Yes, it is!
Seven Seas Explorer Master Suite living room
Seven Seas Explorer Master Suite bedroom
Seven Seas Explorer Master Suite aft verandah
Nothing can prepare you for the sheer extravagance of the Regent Suite, the largest suite afloat. It is located forward on deck 12 and spans the full width of the ship. It has several balconies, with or without Jacuzzi. It has a bar, a sitting room, dining room, observation area (with Captainís view) and a wonderful master bedroom with adjoining spa bathroom. Unlimited spa treatments in the suite are included. The Regent Suite also features a second bedroom and bathroom for children, friends or staff. Staying in the Regent suite on Seven Seas Explorer means that in every port of call, a private car and guide are waiting at the quayside to take you anywhere you like. It doesn't get more extravagant than this.
Seven Seas Explorer Regent Suite living room
Regent Suite living room Regent Suite master suite Regent Suite Observation Area Regent Suite spa bathroom Regent Suite master bedroom
The Upper Decks
Inspecting all these suites has made us hungry, so we head for deck 10 aft where you will find two specialty restaurants. Or better, make that three restaurants. The lower ceilings make the restaurants on deck 10 more intimate than the grand dining rooms on decks 4 and 5. If you know Oceania's Marina and Riviera, you probably know there is a small private dining room nestled between the two specialty restaurants. Here on Seven Seas Explorer the arrangement has been repeated in an attractive country house hotel look and feel. On starboard side is Prime 7, the line's signature steak house. Done in a striking grey and white color scheme (look at that ceiling!) with great artwork, it has an small bar and is one of the most popular specialty restaurants on board. And with good reason: the dinner we have here is nothing short of sensational. Occupying the same space on port side is Chartreuse, unique to Seven Seas Explorer. This upscale restaurant serves French specialties with one of the most beautiful table settings I have ever seen. And of course the food matches the dťcor: the proof is in the photo below.
Seven Seas Explorer Chartreuse dessert
Chartreuse French Restaurant Chartreuse French Restaurant Chartreuse French Restaurant Chartreuse French Restaurant Private Dining Room
Private Dining Room Private Dining Room Prime 7 steakhouse Prime 7 steakhouse Prime 7 steakhouse
One deck up is another splendid room: La Veranda. Hands down, it is probably the most elegant buffet restaurant I have seen. Done in white and blue, it features a spacious central buffet section and a wonderful spacious outdoor terrace. Breakfast and lunch are served here. At night, the port side of the restaurant transforms into the Setti Mare, a trattoria that is nothing like your local Italian restaurant. We venture up here one evening (reservations not required) and are shown to a table for two outside. We are welcomed with prosecco (what else) and the menu is almost too much to cope. Salads and desserts can be picked from the buffet, but all other courses are served. And boy, is it magical to sit here in the warm Mediterranean breeze as the sun set over Ibiza.
Seven Seas Explorer La Veranda buffet restaurant
La Veranda buffet restaurant La Veranda buffet restaurant La Veranda buffet restaurant La Veranda buffet restaurant La Veranda buffet restaurant
La Veranda outdoor seating La Veranda outdoor seating La Veranda outdoor seating Pool Grill Pool Grill
There's more ďto buffet" by the way. On Seven Seas Explorer's pool deck there is another large buffet outdoor buffet area. Go there in the morning for a fitness breakfast (order one of the custom made smoothies) or visit in the afternoon when you are urged to choose from an extensive menu that include steaks, fish, pizza, gourmet burgets and Ö lobster nachos! Oh, and there is the ice cream bar. All the ice cream here is homemade and there are eight varieties to choose from. And they make a mean milkshake, too. So go ahead. It's all included.
Seven Seas Explorer Pool Deck with oversized swimming pool
Focal point on Seven Seas Explorer's Pool Deck is the swimming pool. It is larger than average and surrounded by plush cushioned lounge chairs and two Jacuzzis. One deck up there are many more double sun beds, shaded by an ingenious construction that can be opened or closed on demand. The feeling of space is apparent here; there is never a battle for a place in the sun. It is all so decadently luxurious. And sooooo relaxing.
Seven Seas Explorer Pool Deck
Pool Deck Sun Deck Sun Deck Sun Deck Pool Deck
Itís hot outside so we move inside for a look at the rooms at the top of Seven Seas Explorer. On deck 11 forward, you will find a cluster of public rooms. There is the Cigar Room, the Card Room (not completed yet when we were on board) and the Culinary Arts Center, a concept borrowed from sister company Oceania Cruises. Even Oceania's Chef Kelly moved along to Regent. You will also fond an exquisite Library which is quite large for a ship of her size and features an intriguing leather floor.
Seven Seas Explorer Observation Lounge
When I saw the artist renderings of Seven Seas Explorer's Observation Lounge, I wasn't sure but now that I see the final result with my own eyes I can only applaud the design team. Near the floor to ceiling windows the dark carpeting is nicely offset by white furniture, while the center section remains dark and gets roaring at night. This is a true multipurpose room. In the morning, you can read a book here and gaze out over the ocean, in the afternoon you will enjoy a lavish high tea. But it is after sunset that the Observation Lounge comes to live. I was pleasantly surprised by the hi tech light & sound system, the contemporary dance music and the crowds on the dance floor. Needless to say, our party continued into the wee hours!
Library Observation Lounge Observation Lounge Observation Lounge Observation Lounge
And so the time has come to say goodbye to this drop dead gorgeous ship. I have grown fond of Seven Seas Explorer in just a few days. Of course, the hardware is sensational. Seven Seas Explorer is large enough to offer diversity, yet offers respite from a busy life for those who want it. Her interiors are quite dark, but they create an instant atmosphere. Her suites are unrivalled. The food is sensational. The ship is contemporary, yet comforting. But what hit me halfway in the cruise is that Seven Seas Explorer is refreshingly devoid of aspects so dreaded by non-cruisers. I have no seen no line of butlers welcoming guests, I was not accompanied to my suite after boarding and I carried my own tray in the buffet restaurant. It was just as I like it. But I am sure that should I have wanted it any other way, it would have been there for me. This ship (by means of its superb crew) manages to adjust completely to your lifestyle; not the other way around. You will feel at home on this ship. And isnít that the ultimate luxury?


Photos & Text:
Bart de Boer

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