Seven Seas Explorer Cruise Review by Fiona Goddard
- Sail Date: November 2018
- Destination: Africa
- Cabin Type: Superior Suite
We chose the pre-cruise experience on offer in Lisbon as the post cruise with a Safari meant coming home on Christmas Day! Pre-Cruise - Lapa Palace - good hotel but too far out of town and no good bars or restaurants nearby. Also, the buses couldn't get to it causing problems for excursions and transfer to boat. Not well organised. the second excursion was a disaster! Sintra was vaguely interesting but poor organisation meant a mile walk for coffee, loads of food which no one wanted and long delays resulting in lunch not arriving until well into the afternoon. The transfer to the boat was also poor. This is not the first time we have felt that Regent need to vet the pre and post tour operators more carefully.
Initially the Explorer is much more impressive than any of the other three Regent ships despite their valiant attempts to upgrade them to match. You do feel this is luxury. Sadly, the ship did not live up to expectations. Suite, service and food were good, but lack of outside space spoilt the voyage. Very lush inside but if you wanted to sit outside it was a sunbed or one of ten or so seats at the pool bar. We enjoy sitting on deck during the morning and early evening with a coffee or drink. There is nowhere to do this other than the very limited seating round the pool bar which does not get the sun. Eating on the balcony of Veranda was good when the weather was fine, and it was open, but it shut for three days with no good explanation given! Something to do with a crew member getting bitten we heard eventually. Strange because we never saw an insect on the boat! The Pool Grill is mainly covered in. It was good to see they have got rid of the sauce bottles and some of the food was very good e.g. prawn skewers but the main choice was largely burgers (we don't consider that five-star luxury) and the whole place in our view resembles a diner. We did appreciate the speciality restaurants opening at lunchtime.
The itinerary was as expected but not as interesting as East Africa, partly because the ports had little to offer (not Regent's fault). Destination Services did a good job in a difficult part of the world and we enjoyed the excursions. We were, however, disappointed not to go to Togo. Togo was taken out at what was said to be the last minute with no alternative provided. There has been unrest in Togo for a considerable time and with elections coming up on the 20th December this was clearly unlikely to abate. Regent are risk adverse at the best of times (which I understand although I do not necessarily agree with decisions) so it would seem clear that the chances of going to this port were slim. If indeed this was a last-minute decision, as said, then I agree it would be difficult to provide an alternative. However, the decision not to go should have been taken much earlier and provision other than sailing around the Atlantic in a circle made! Sao Tome early and Walvis for two nights perhaps. We choose cruises for the itinerary and while we are aware that ports may be omitted it appears to be quite a regular occurrence with Regent (more than with say Silversea or Seabourn).
Entertainment was similar to other Regent Cruises - we don't generally participate in this and find daytime activities very uninteresting unless an early show is put on. Sally Jones was good, as usual and we appreciated her re-arranging her show due to illness. We did feel that there was an overemphasis on the classical pianist. It would be nice to see something other than Trivia, cooking demonstrations and bingo.
Disembarkation in Cape Town was efficient, and the City tour we booked to fill the time before the flight good.
Overall a good cruise but not one of Regent’s best.
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