The Regent Seven Seas Explorer raises the bar on luxury cruising.
One of the perks of being a travel journalist is being offered the opportunity now and then to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a new destination or experience.
Last week, Jerry and I were part of a small group of journalists privileged to visit the Fintcanieri shipyard in Genoa, Italy where Regent Seven Seas Cruises is building an incredible new ship. The line promises that the Seven Seas Explorer will be the “most luxurious ship ever built.” From what we witnessed during our visit, this doesn’t sound like P.R. hyperbole.
We were asked to don hard hats for the tour because the ship is still under construction, actually being worked on by an army of some 1500 men. While it was too early to see the public spaces, we were dazzled by the mockups of the two suites we saw, the Penthouse and Concierge Suite, which represent ¾ of the cabins onboard the all-suite ship.
Both stateroom categories were extremely spacious and beautifully appointed. We also walked through a faux corridor, where we saw one of 200 crystal chandeliers that will illuminate the deck corridors.
Penthouse Suites (of which there are 55 on the ship) have living rooms and bedrooms divided by an entertainment center with wide screen TVs on each side. Using natural materials (wood, leather, stone, etc.) and accents like heavy wood moldings, these suites looked more like vacation homes than ship cabins.
The same suite had a marble-topped wet bar and a luxurious bathroom with a shower large enough for two. I also loved the idea of a glass-door medicine cabinet (which we had last seen in the Four Season Ritz in Lisbon) and the beautiful Hansgrohe fittings.
There will be plenty of room for guests to stow belongings with a massive walk-in closet and at least 12 drawers in the cabinetry outside. However, the real “wow” factor was the private veranda that stretched 10 feet from the stateroom—nothing short of revolutionary in its design for a ship. There will be no need to carry on extra power strips because the interior designers have placed outlets and USB ports all over the cabin.
Concierge Suites, of which there will be 140, will account for the majority of the accommodations on board the 750-passenger ship. Sized at 464-square-feet (including the veranda), they are extremely spacious and comfortable. I actually preferred them to the larger suites, smitten by the soft color palette that seemed to mirror that of a traditional Nantucket cottage.
The king-sized bed with a tufted leather headboard faces the water offering expansive views of the sea (We had never seen that before either). The sitting area has an entertainment center with a 42” large screen TV that pivots from its perch, depending on the location from which you are viewing it. These suites, too, offered oversized furnished balconies.
The ship will also house an infinity pool at the onboard Canyon Ranch Spa, and a Culinary Arts Kitchen that will complement the bespoke culinary shore excursions that are being designed to attract food and wine lovers.
Regent Seven Seas has set a standard in the industry for its all-inclusive pricing that includes round-trip air, free ground transfers between the airport and the ship, a one-night luxury hotel package pre-cruise, and between 200-500 minutes of free Wi-Fi (varying with the suite and length of the voyage).
The new ultra-luxury Regent Seven Seas Explorer, which will blend all-inclusiveness with unprecedented levels of design and service, will float out on June 30, 2016.