Seven Seas Explorer may be the most lavishly designed ship in modern cruising.
With a marketing tag line as the “Most Luxurious Ship Ever Built,” Seven Seas Explorer would seem to have quite a lot to live up to. But Regent Seven Seas Cruises appears to have met the expectations of most of the travel agents and media attending the pre-inaugural sailing of its new ship this past weekend.
On Seven Seas Explorer’s initial five-night shakeout cruise from Barcelona to Monte Carlo, Regent showcased the top features of its new vessel, worked to fix some small design and infrastructure issues, and focused on getting its new crew up to speed on service. But most agents onboard raved about the décor, the exquisite materials used, the suite space, the gourmet food and the museum-quality art on the ship.
For its part, Regent executives point out that their new vessel has one of the highest space-to-guest ratios in the cruise industry, the highest crew-to-guest ratio, and the highest cost-per-suite in cruise history. The ship’s list price was $450 million, but it may have cost nearly $500 million on delivery.
Seven Seas Explorer has 552 crew members for its 750 guests, including roughly 102 in the culinary staff alone, for a 1.36 guest-to-crew ratio. It has 51,909 square feet of balcony space for an average of 138 square feet per suite, the largest in the cruise industry.
There are 158 crystal chandeliers throughout its various restaurants, lounges and other public spaces, as well as 97 crystal chandeliers inside the larger suites and another 218 in the corridors. Some 45,876 square feet of marble can be found throughout the ship, more than half of it Carrera marble from Italy, used in all public spaces and suites.
Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Regent parent Norwegian Cruise Holdings, personally selected most of the art on the ship—among which are works by Picasso and Chagall, giving the vessel a gallery-like feeling in the public spaces, restaurants, corridors and suites.
Why build it?
Asked why Regent built such an extravagant ship, Del Rio was quite succinct: “No one had ever done it before,” he said at a press conference onboard. “The Regent brand stands for luxury. We hadn’t launched a new ship in 13 years. The new one couldn’t just be a regular cookie-cutter luxury ship. It had to be something extraordinary.”
And when asked what Seven Seas Explorer has that qualifies it as the “most luxurious ship ever built,” Del Rio was quick to respond. “What doesn’t it have? We wanted to put a package together that reeks of luxury and everything you’d ever want on a cruise ship. We are, after all, on a cruise ship. The limitations on building the spaces are significant. The goal was to deliver a product to our intended audience,” which he described as very well traveled upscale people around the world.
Here’s a rundown of the ship’s suites, cuisine, entertainment, spa facilities and schedule:
Seven Seas Explorer features 375 luxury suites across 10 different categories. The showcase 4,443-square-foot Regent Suite, located on the top Deck 14, has two bedrooms, a living room, dining area and bar. It also features an in-room spa retreat that comes complete with unlimited free spa treatments from Canyon Ranch; a personal sauna, steam room and treatment area; and a vista garden with floor-to-ceiling views of the ocean.
An outdoor, glass-enclosed sitting area off the dining room provides 270-degree views over the ship’s bow. The living room features a black marble bar with chic black lacquered stools and a custom $250,000 Steinway piano by designer Dakota Jackson. And the master bedroom features a $150,000 Savoir No. 1 with a mattress that retails for $90,000. The suite is being sold for $10,000 a night.
After the Regent Suite, the top categories are the Master Suite, Grand Suite, Explorer Suite, Seven Seas Suite, Penthouse Suite, Concierge Suite and Superior Suite. All suites feature all-marble bathrooms, king-size beds, sofas, large flat-screen TVs and large patios.
Guests on Seven Seas Explorer can choose from a selection of fine dining venues, including signature main restaurant Compass Rose, which now has a revised and expanded menu, and La Veranda, offering buffet with white tablecloths and served meals as well.
New dining venues include Pacific Rim, offering Pan-Asian dishes in an elegant dining room on Deck 5, and Chartreuse, a gourmet restaurant on Deck 10 with a classic French menu. Agents and media on the pre-inaugural cruise raved about both dining venues.
Then there’s Prime 7, Regent’s signature steakhouse, also on Deck 10. It offers a classic menu of steak, lamb, veal, fish and traditional side dishes. And while it isn’t exactly another restaurant, the Culinary Arts Kitchen on Deck 11 is a hands-on cooking school where guests can learn new culinary skills and eat what they cook. The venue also serves as the base for a new series of Gourmet Explorer food tours.
Seven Seas Explorer’s two-tier 694-seat Constellation Theater features four new production shows developed by a theatrical team with extensive Broadway experience. Peggy Lee is an original show that pays tribute to the American jazz and popular music crooner.
My Revolution, a dance production by Burn the Floor, is a musical that takes the audience back to the days of the Beatles, other British rockers and more. Paradis is a Parisian-style burlesque show that blends dance, song and spectacular costumes. Finally, A Day in Hollywood, based on the Tony Award-winning musical comedy, brings to life Hollywood’s golden age.
Beyond Constellation Theatre, performers in the four main shows double as cabaret acts in the ship’s lounges, including the Observation Lounge on Deck 11, the Explorer Lounge on Deck 4 and Meridien Lounge on Deck 5.
Spa and pool
Canyon Ranch SpaClub, offered on other Regent and Oceania ships, offers a selection of treatments developed by Canyon Ranch in partnership with lifestyle and beauty experts Red Flower, premiering exclusively on Seven Seas Explorer. Eight treatment rooms offer massages, body scrubs and wraps, facials and more.
The spa, on Deck 5, also has two fitness rooms on Deck 6 with a large selection of the latest TechnoGym equipment. There are changing rooms, sauna and steam rooms, and a relaxation area and outdoor infinity pool in the stern of the ship.
Seven Seas Explorer also features a main pool with two Jacuzzis on Deck 11, as well as a dedicated sports area on Deck 12 with shuffleboard, putting greens, golf nets, bocce court, paddle tennis and jogging track.
Princess Charlotte of Monaco will christen Seven Seas Explorer on July 13 in Monaco. The first revenue sailing will depart July 20 on a 14-night Monte Carlo-to- Venice voyage.
After its maiden voyage, Seven Seas Explorer will sail 10 Mediterranean itineraries before moving to North America on a 16-night Atlantic Retreat voyage from Rome to Miami. From Miami, the ship will begin a series of Caribbean cruises before embarking on a 16-night Grand Canal Crossing from Miami to Los Angeles.
In 2017, Seven Seas Explorer will feature a 10-night sailing from Barcelona to Venice in honor of Regent’s 25th anniversary. After spending the spring in the Mediterranean, the ship will head north to the Baltic with stops in Copenhagen, Stockholm and St. Petersburg.