Seven Seas Explorer Cruise Review by Portolan
- Sail Date: March 2017
- Destination: Transatlantic
- Cabin Type: Superior Suite
Bottom Line Up Front: If (as impossible as it would be) all of Regent’s ships were doing the same itinerary, we’d choose Explorer, then Voyager, Mariner and Navigator, in order. Explorer because the Big Wins listed below outweighed the Big Fails. Explorer did not, however, deal a knock-out blow which we actually view as good. If it were perfect in every way, we’d probably feel diminished if we had to “settle” for one of the other ships. As it is, itinerary wins: we booked cruises on Voyager, Mariner and Explorer while on-board.
Suite design for F (and D & E) – love the feet outward layout, lots and lots of storage space in neat drawers and cabinets that draw themselves closed when pushed nearly closed (we can’t break ourselves of this habit at home and are leaving things only mostly shut!), lots and lots of power points including USB charging at both nightstands, large verandahs even with F2 (which we had), great bathrooms with tub and rainforest shower.
Pacific Rim – our favorite restaurant (6 times in 22 nights!...yes, you can only make one advance reservation per restaurant per segment, but if you are willing to share and flexible on times, no problem), we were great fans of Latitudes and are happy again. At the on-board Town Hall with Regent President Jason Montague, I cited this great addition and suggested that, since they can’t create a Pacific Rim space on the other ships, they might at least add some of the signature dishes to the “All the Time” menu in Compass Rose.
Compass Rose menu expansion – we used to sometimes end up in the former Compass Roses and have to choose the item we disliked least…no longer with the huge “All the Time” section. The chairs are more comfortable, as well.
Culinary Kitchen – we did two, “Majestic Mediterranean” and “Healthy Modern Greek,” and both were great. We’d reserved the first in advance and enjoyed it so much that we added the second. Surprised and pleased in how comprehensive each session was: starter, entrée and dessert. They are popular, especially as a great activity on a sea day, so it’s advisable to book them before you board.
Restaurant Reservation desk – very nice to have a single place to go to deal with additions/changes to restaurant reservations.
Setti Mari – already a favorite, it benefits from much more outside dining space with some very sheltered locations and infrared heaters for enjoyment while under way.
Specialty Restaurant availability – Explorer carries 50 more passengers than Voyager/Mariner. Our impression is that Compass Rose is similar in size and that Chartreuse and Prime 7 are larger. Add the new capacity in Pacific Rim and it certainly was the case for us that we could eat pretty much in any restaurant we wanted (with the above-citied willingness to share or be flexible on times).
Chartreuse – hard to say why, but we liked it more than Signatures. Seemed less pretentious.
Décor and artwork – clearly a hugely subjective area. The décor is startlingly different from the other ships—sort of grand era of cruising retro—but we neither adored it or hated it. Similarly OK with most of the artwork. It’s not like we view the ship as an art museum where one sits and ponders the artist’s work.
Minor Fails (correctable):
Beer Selection – is totally pedestrian. Nothing you can’t find at the local 7-11. Regent seems to respect wine drinkers as having reasonable palates, but not if you like quality beer. They’ve even dropped the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (a widely available, pretty decent large craft beer). If you want it, put in a special request. Once upon a not-too-long-ago time they also had Guinness and Bodingtons in the nitro cans…avoid the export Guinness at all costs! Not expecting true micro-brews, but please, something not distributed in tank cars.
Major Fails (not correctable on Explorer, but could be addressed on Explorer 2…many noted before by others):
NO OUTSIDE FORWARD DECK AREA – hugely disappointing! Other than the Observation Lounge, it is nearly impossible to see where the ship is headed. On our recent Miami-Venice cruise, this was particularly painful while sailing into the Kotor fjord and the morning sail into Venice. I brought this up at the Town Hall and it received quite a round of applause (as did the next item), so not just my view. It would/will be challenging to fix this on Explorer 2 since it was caused by creating the high value real estate on deck 12 forward.
NO REAR FACING LOUNGE – we really like the Horizon Lounges on the other ships. Nothing on Explorer faces the rear since the obvious space was given over to the spa and the fitness center. I think that later, at least, could be placed elsewhere. The lack of this second “formal” lounge (along with the Observation Lounge) means that events like tea time end up in the Observation Lounge where many, like us, spend a lot of time. Not so comfortable when they are setting up tea time all around you. This, too, received a good round of applause when I brought it up at the Town Hall.
Theater sight lines, cramped rear stairwells – all mentioned by others and specifically recognized as something to deal with at the Town Hall.
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