Seven Seas Explorer Cruise Review by daetchief
- Sail Date: August 2017
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Penthouse Suite
The greatest responsibility after your wonderful cruise is to try to pay amaige to all the professionals that ensured that every element was on point, every meal was a joy and every day was a life fulfilling experience. Unfortunately, words fail in fully expressing how truly gratifying the decision was to once again trust Regent to deliver the perfect vacation.
My wife and I accompanied the RSS Explorer from Stockholm to London. The ship was everything that has been praised in past reviews - and more! You truly feel like you are the crew's primary concern on your own personal mega-yacht. The Explorer is small enough to literally transition from fore-to-aft, atrium-to-pool deck in minutes, yet large enough to feel like no matter where you were, you still felt there was a whole ship to explore. Never was there a crowd at any venue. Always there were options where to grab a bite, to enjoy a drink or to find a calm place to sit and absorb the ambiance of the ship. We had a couple of evenings where the seas were up and you could feel the motion of the seas, but the Explorer always performed excellently and nothing moved from any spot.
We were staying in Penthouse "B" Suite 818 which is perfectly located just forward of the atrium elevators/stairs but also secluded enough to be very quiet and peaceful. It was our first exposure to being afforded a Butler and found the experience to be warming and gratifying - but not a necessity. Our butler, Prakash, was never in our way but always present moments after we expressed a need or desire. The high point was Prakash's ability to provide a short notice balcony party for leaving Amsterdam. He setup high end canapés, wine(s) of choice and a semi-formal table setting. Later - it all disappeared like we had been alone in our suite. The layout of the Penthouse suites is unique to the Explorer and has been criticized, but we found it comfortable and functional. The walkin closet is sufficient for any cruise lasting up to 16-20 days.
The dining venues were all exceptional - including in-suite - and match your mood at the moment. All were equal in quality and service but these subtle points are noted:
Compass Rose was an enjoyable option for Breakfast or Dinner. The very competent Matire'de, Alen, and his staff always provided a welcoming atmosphere and excellent service. Alen repositioned himself at lunchtime to the La Veranda and did a equally good job of overseeing the mostly buffet venue. La Veranda was always our choice for lunch as long as we were able to return from an excursion in time. The Pool Grill which is in operation until 4:00 was a suitable option if La Veranda was missed. In addition to the buffet line offerings they also offer sandwiches and burgers to order and small entrees.
One small criticism of a venue is that the portions are extra large and difficult to finish unless you limit the anti-pasti and bread, and still, might be too much.
Of the specialty restaurants, the best was Prime 7 and least enjoyed was Pacific Rim - mostly because it is Asian inspired rather than authentic Asian cuisine. So, you can expect to be offered similar fare to other restaurants but with an Asian sauce. Example: Korean barbecue Lamb Chops... That didn't workout like someone might have intended.
Chartreuse was a true joy - closely paring in satisfaction to Prime 7.
The Coffee Connection seemed to always be ready to fill the void if you were peckish or in need of a craft coffee drink. Martina was an artist making Irish Coffees and Russian Chocolate concoctions. The Coffee Connection was also a perfect express breakfast option.
We didn't hit all the production and featured performances presented in the Constellation Theatre but those we did attend were very well performed any very enjoyable. An outstanding performance one night was presented by our Cruise Director Andy Heath and his Social Hostess wife Tammy. Both are accomplished singers and were ever present throughout the cruise as the inspiration for enjoying life to its fullest.
As I already stated, the services received in all the venues was exemplary and many of the staff went even above and beyond that to ensure that the passengers were very well cared for. Honestly, I can't think of any of the crew that failed in performance and maybe only one that might have needed more polishing.
The ship's itinerary was " Port Intensive " with only one 'Sea Day' out of the twelve days aboard. Helsinki Finland was experienced at a leisurely pace, visiting the town market and other venues in the area. The food was interesting - if not challenging. Who knew smelt can be cooked so many ways? Saint Petersburg, which we spent three days/two nights was a treasure trove of history, architecture and culture. The Russian people treated us warmly and we were impressed with their openness and candor. On the second day my wife and I fulfilled a lifelong goal of visiting Moscow. Although this was a Regent Choice excursion and was an additional fee, it was the best 18 hours of my life. Four hours on a high-speed train to Moscow, paired with visits to the Kremlin, Red Square, the Metro Station as well as other venues filled the day with memorable sights, sounds and tastes.
Visiting the previous Soviet States of Estonia (Tallinn) and Latvia (Riga) offered further insight to the wonderful people and culture of that region.
Copenhagen and Amsterdam offered us beautiful vistas of wonderful architecture and quaint canals.
Brussels was equally welcoming and we enjoyed experiencing the brews and concoctions of the country. The last and disembarkation port was Southampton UK which lead us to London for two nights which was a couple of nights too few to see and experience this cosmopolitan city. Saw a bunch, didn't get to experience enough.
The 12 night cruise was a pleasure to take and Regent did an outstanding job.
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