Seven Seas Explorer Cruise Review by Cruiser from Indy
- Sail Date: September 2017
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Penthouse Suite
I would agree with other reviewers service was so-so. Some of the staff were excellent - would address you by name, have a great conversation and remembered your preferences. Those staff members made the cruise super enjoyable. Other staff members, mostly assistants in specialty, staff in the main dining room and at breakfast were fairly checked out and didn't really care.
The complimentary beverage selection was very good and fairly large, we never felt a need to order a paid item. There was a huge variation on the wine availability. Some staff would only serve the "one" featured wine. 3 ports in we learned from another passenger who had complained to f&b manager about beverages and food, learned and told us they had a wine list that you could order from. Once we discovered that and ordered our wine by name it was much more pleasant. Other than staff convenience and budget, I'm not sure why they keep that such a well guarded secret. So be sure to ask to see the ship's wine list!
Food was average. While the menu was massive in the main dining room, the quality and taste was average. I will throw kudos their way - we ate in the main dining room only twice on a 12 night cruise and both times they allowed my husband to order a dish he made up with ingredients they had on board. That, in itself, says something about the ship. Specialty restaurant food was equally just average. The chef at the French restaurant comes out and chats with each table, a very nice touch. I will say almost every passenger we met had a different opinion on food quality, so it must be driven by what you are accustomed to. We live in a large city and eat in top restaurants so perhaps our expectations are high. The pool buffet offered a rotating menu and the food was great. They did a specialty buffet on sea days. Eating in specialty restaurants more than once is not a problem. If the main dining room is busy they will offer that up as an option or ask to get in again once you board.
Theater shows were good - no problem getting a seat with good sight lines - the theater has ample seating. Avoid the balcony as another passenger suggested. Lounge entertainment is all geared to those passengers 70 plus with no variation. Regents has some work to do to appeal to anyone under 70 and should really focus some time on that. Their target audience goes to bed after the show (10:15). By 11:30 only the one front desk person is up. There were times when we wanted to be at the casino and it was closed. They have improved since our last cruise - now in one lounge they have a self service iPad that you can play music from. We met the 2 other couples on board under 70 and made our own fun. Our takeaway is sail with a group of friends if you are under 70.
Pool was heated to about 90 and very enjoyable as we had fall type weather with plenty of sunshine. The nice thing with the older crowd, there were plenty of chaise lounges at the pool. Pool service was good and it was very enjoyable to just relax and read.
Canyon Ranch needs to ease off the push to sell products. I was a bit disappointed in my ritual massage/scrub experience I booked with them - not quite up to par. Same for hair salon - I paid $120 for a blow out for short hair and got shamed because I didn't want to order Kerastase products - hello I can get them in the US.
Shore excursions we did all private, except for 3, as we knew there would be a lot of older folks on board. I loved the overnights we had in two ports as you could really get out and explore in much more depth or enjoy a nice dinner off ship. We did the dinner at Chateau de Tetre - very nice tour and appetizers. Dinner was ok - chicken. If I did it again I would have dined in Bodeaux. We also took the Santiago de Compostela tour with the ship - I would not recommend - there was no need to be in town so long and the food was again a bit of disappointment (chicken). Lastly chef market tour and tapas cooking class. Can't recommend that either - we grilled bread with olive oil on it. I don't quite understand the culinary kitchen - it takes up quite a bit of real estate but all of the classes except the one I took were booked 10 months prior to sailing and there were not that many in total. I would think they should use that venue every day as it is a revenue generator. I did hear from another passenger that the class she took they actually made something. I booked all of my tours on Tours By Locals. The ship's schedule allowed ample time in port to explore. I could not find a tour guide for St Malo so we took a cab to see St Michel and Cannacle. It worked out great and was only 300 euro. We could not tender in St Jean de Lux so we had 2 days in Bilbao. We got off the ship that night for a local dinner at the port town which was quite fun.
We took the air credit and booked our own first class air so no issue with that. Langham London was lovely and had a great location. We came in several days early and the hotel worked with our 2 reservations and kept us in the same upgraded room. Regents paid for breakfast and the transfer to Southampton, which was about a 1 1/2 to 2 hour bus ride. In Barcelona, super simple to get off the ship and take a cab to the airport.
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