At our initial cocktail party, it was announced that 390 of the 750 passengers on board had cruised from 75 to well over 400 days on Regent. This gives you an idea of the loyalty of these cruisers to the company. Yet, while perusing Cruise Critic reviews, this loyalty and love of Regent does not seem to correlate with the reviews. Why is this? I believe that these avid cruisers rarely write reviews for Cruise Critic. As one of the repeat Regent cruisers, I decided to submit my first review to delineate my observations on this trans-Atlantic cruise. This is intended to be a general overview of the ship. Specific details and issues can be found on the numerous forums on Cruise Critic.
Having sailed on all the Regent ships, I was anxiously anticipating my cruise on the Explorer. I was not disappointed. In my opinion, the Explorer is the most luxurious and beautiful ship I have ever seen by direct experience, photos or videos. While taste is a matter of preference and some people might find Ikea to be their style – the lighting, cabinetry, flooring and hardware on the Explorer are extraordinary. Like the St. Regis in New York or the Four Seasons George V in Paris, the materials and décor are stylish, beautiful and of the highest quality. From Dornbracht fixtures in the bathroom, to Italian lacquered cabinetry, to a myriad of colors and textures of marble and granite used throughout the ship, the end product will astound you.
I am not one of those cruisers who finds fault with every little detail and allows that to diminish my enjoyment of the cruise. Whether you are in a hotel or resort or on an airplane or cruise ship, perfection simply does not exist. There will always be glitches in service, dining or the physical product, however, those brands which rise to the top will be those that have the greatest consistency. To be fortunate enough to cruise on Regent ensures that every day on board will bring me some joy and happiness. That said, I found the overall service and dining on the Explorer to be excellent. Having dined at Michelin starred restaurants around the world, I would say the service and food, for the most part, were quite comparable, especially in the specialty restaurants. In comparing the cuisine to Oceania (often purported to have the best cuisine at sea), I thought the Explorer was a notch better. The specialty restaurants – Chartreuse, Pacific Rim, Prime 7 and Sette Mari were all outstanding. The new menu in the main dining room, Compass Rose, allowed an exponential number of appetizers and entrees to satisfy even the most finicky eaters. Rotating opening the specialty restaurants and Compass Rose for lunch was pure genius – allowing a variety of menus to compete with the standard lunch buffet. The buffet, however, is no longer standard, as it now offers an incredible array of made to order meats, seafood, pastas and whatever is the cuisine of the day. While I don’t consume much alcohol, my dining companions said the wine was superb and clearly superior to what was served on previous Regent cruises. All in all, I believe even the harshest food critics would find something to enjoy on the Explorer.
Beautifully appointed room with a living/dining area, separate bedroom and one and a half bathrooms. The walk-in closet had multiple drawers and shelves to easily store all our belongings.
A great walking city with virtually all the major sites within walking distance of each other. Use Yelp to find restaurants and directions to get there.
Gateway to Saint-Tropez. Unfortunately, most of the shops were closed as it's a seasonal city.
Left the ship to walk La Rambla - a must do in Barcelona.
Funchal is a charming coastal town.