Seven Seas Explorer Cruise Review by DenEsq
- Sail Date: February 2019
- Destination: South America
- Cabin Type: Master Suite
This cruise, on Regent SS "Explorer", was chosen by us more than two years ago. It takes a lot of discussion, a lot of planning, a lot of 'buyers' remorse, a lot of tender anticipation before deciding on the correct fit that an Ocean Going Cruise will make.
Two years ago a significant birthday, for myself, was looming on the horizon and the two of us (TC2 and myself) wanted a cruise that would meet the requirements of that birthday. Since my birthday, by default, had two distinct dates ( another story, another time) the 2019 Explorer Cruise from Santiago to Los Angeles would be a perfect fit for both dates.
Since we live in the northern area of the USA it can and does have very obtuse weather conditions during the winter. Our weather assumption, unfortunately, proved correct and caused us to change flights, incur unexpected hotel stays and invoke extra costs to an already expensive cruise. But, if we did not accomplish this we would never have reached the ship on time for embarkation.
Taxi scams at the Santiago Airport added more frustration to our journey and being 'World travelers' we should have known better.
The flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to Santiago, Chile. was made on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Comfortable and on time flight but we would never have made that flight had we not changed out flight from Vancouver to be one day earlier. However, our luggage arrived with us and having that not happen more than once, we were surprised.
Boarding the "Explorer" ship and climbing the gangway to be greeted with a Champagne "Welcome Aboard" is always exciting, even though we have done this so many times. We have told each other, "do not take it for granted".
We were, indeed, fortunate to obtain a 'Master Suite' due to a last minute 'upsell' which we offered to accept. It is a fine example of what Regent can put into a luxury ship. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one full) and a deck that commands more than 180 degree view as well as an expanse that would accommodate a Rothchild party. Put this together with Butler Service and it would be hard to find an equal.
It just so happened that the "Discovery Channel" camera crew were on board with us filming for one of their episodes of "Mighty Cruise Ships". In order to cover the complete ship they need to film a Butler served dinner service en Suite. We were innocently chosen to be the couple that was provided this service. The episode will not air for about eights months but it certainly should be interesting and also give a boost to Regent.
The Discovery Channel film crew attended my birthday get together. Balloons, festoons and canapes together with a full Marzipan cake for me and an Opera cake for TC2, baked by the Regent Pastry chef, all made it a Happy Birthday and unforgettable memorable occasion.
The crew is always our second family and we look forward to greeting each one of them on our regular Regent cruises. General Manager, Massimo, met and greeted us as we boarded the ship and made sure that attention, care, service and safety were all prime. We particularly enjoyed being invited to an Explorer Suite on Deck Eight where we met and became extremely close with the guest of that suite. We also were fortunate to join, for cocktails in the Explorer Lounge, two outstanding guests, 'Master and Madame Echo'.
I would like to comment on some items that Master Echo has reported on in his cruise critic review.
1) Electric cut off when you leave the suite. This items is about par for most hotels. I presume it is a method of conservation. However, since the ship provides its' own electricity you would think it is not necessary. It is most likely a safety item especially for batteries and chargers that are left plugged in. Because we don't want to keep putting the card key into the slot each time we enter we chooses to use either a cardboard or stiff paper insert and leave it is as long as we "own' the suite. It works fine for us.
2) Cabin cleanliness. I was surprised to learn that some funnel smut had collected in the room and also that a solitary and wayward grape had not been cleaned away. For our own experience we have found housekeeping to be above par but understand that some items can be missed. Where's that 'white' glove?
3) Vibration. Like individuals, we are different. So it goes for ships. We expected big things from Explorer when she came out. "This one is not going to vibrate and she is not going to have dischordent frequencies. She is going to be so stable you won't know your on a cruise!" Obviously not so. Every ship, again like ourselves has its' idiosyncrasies. They all creak, they all sway and they all have haunting vibrations. A super example of this is the "Navigator". It has always had problems. They have 'fixed' it several times, but it still has problems. If you 'fix' one frequency in one place it transfers to another. That is the ship world. Given the amount of weight on the Explorer, with glass, marble alloyed Prayer Wheels, etc. etc. it is a wonder that she even got our of Italy.
3) Water quality. Water quality on the ship is always a concern. It is conserved and osmetically re-cycled. Problems to emanate from rusty boilers but while it is unsightly it does affect the cleaning power. Personally, I found the shower water to be so clean that it left my shampoo squeaky clean. Most people do not realise that 'conditioners' change the structure off the hair and eradicate its' history. I do not think you can get away without putting chlorine into a swimming pool. It is ubiquidous. I found the Infinity Pool to be quite strong with this additive.
4) Gratuities. Regent classifies itself as "All Inclusive". Therefore you should never have to dig into your pocket for anything. Coming from the U.K. I am very stingy. I work for my money, I get a salary, I do expect anything else. The early coffee house in Britain in the 17th Century gave rise to the TIP. (To Insure Promptness) It has now grown, due mainly to American influence, some that is not just expected but demanded. It seems that if you do not give a 'Tip' you are embarrassed and the worker relies on this embarrassment. Regent contracts their employees. Their employees get paid well for what they do. Nowhere in the contract does it say, "Thou shalt receive a tip or extra awards for doing your job". Should you wish to contribute to a crew 'welfare' fund then do so, but you can do it without be embarrassed by it.
I was extremely upset to see a head-waiter canvassing every table in Compass Rose, on the penultimate night, shaking hands with each customer and instructing them to make note of his name in the 'Comments' report. It was also noted that some exchange of dollars was taking place.
5) Explorations. The Ships' Destination Services has historical problems. Each of the port and each of the tours brings it's own problem. Dealing with contractor busses, variable languages, countries, ethnicities, safety, reliability, comfort, needs a lot of tact and experience. Transform this into on-board guests who always want to be first in the line at the supermarket and it can be a bee-hive to avoid. But, seeing the world and it's history is why we cruise. Patience!
6) Internet. On board Internet is almost a permanent failure. Contacting Satellites hovering 25,000 miles above the Earth is expected but cannot always be justified. Nature is, however always present. Climate, Gravity, Sun Spots and a myriad of galactic and global influences have a big influence on our Internet system. Just like the movies, we expect instant response but even electricity takes time to get from one place to another. Again, it pays to be patient and through in a little levity. I just wait until I get home.
Just a word or two on Dining. The Pacific Rim on Explorer was a new and exciting addition. Being our fifth cruise on Explorer we had eaten in Pacific Rim several times. It took us four or five of those visits to finally grasp what the menu is about. Now, when we attend, we know what it is that we like and we have adjusted ourselves to the Asian Infusion method that type of cuisine. Service is always impeccable as provided by mostly Russian servers.
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