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This was our 3d cruise on Regent after a 7 year gap, having taken 2 river cruises, sailing cruise, and travelled independently in Europe and Asia. We enjoyed it and will probably take another Regent cruise as our next excursion aboard a ship. We didn't pick Regent as our first cruse, but rather made a yes-no decision to accompany friends who had booked on Regent. Once we had the Regent experience we booked the following year to get the on-board discounts and repeat the wonderful experience. By anecdotal comparison to my colleagues positive experiences on other lines, I cant imaging stepping down to the nickel and dime business model of other cruise lines. All inclusive really is all inclusive on Regent.coffees, cappuccinos, imported beer, nice wines, top shelf liquor all flow without charges, chits, or gratuities, or special bracelets or beverage cards. No tipping. Yet despite that, the staff all smile, and ask how they can help satisfy your request. For ,us a discriminator was asking for blue cheese stuffed olives in our evening cocktail. Except for one bar right outside the compass rose, the request was always--"yes, absolutely, but it may take a bit longer to get the blue cheese." And there was no gratuity for going out of the way to honor our request. On the other Regent experiences we could make reservations to dine in the specialty restaurants once per cruise. (Again, all inclusive, no up-charge.) On the Explorer they had a reservation desk to enable multiple reservations in the specialty restaurants after ensuring everyone had a chance to go to every one. That was a nice touch. Plus they were open for lunch on a rotating basis with a similar but lunch sized menu. One day there was a line at Compass Rose and the matre'd looked at the computer and asked if our group of 4 wanted to go to Chartreuse French restaurant where there was no wait. Very professional and quality service to do that. We thoroughly enjoyed the Italian themed dinners on La Veranda when not dining in the specialty restaurants. In fact we preferred it to dinners in Compass Rose (which were always wonderful offerings of daily specials or standard offering of fillet, lobster...) because we could sit outside on the stern with full waiter service, linens, stemware, and a sommelier at the ready. Their menu changed every couple days as well. As a negative, I was surprised an the number of physical problems on such a new ship. We saw a fire suppression sprinkler open and saturate hallway on the 11th deck. Just a mechanical fault that was remedied and the carpet dried with fans for a couple days. A doorhandle came off the pool deck entry and was missing for days. The pass card lock cover from our room fell off twice and was ultimately glued back in place. a fresh water pipe leaked in our corridor and the engineers spent a 1/2 day fixing it and drying the carpet. Teak work was peeling. Hinges and latches on the sporting deck were being repaired. It was just strange to see so much repair work--not the routine maintenance of a ship in salt water--on a new vessel. One oddity was the blocked stairwell from deck 5 down to deck 4 at the stern where it led to the Compass Rose restaurant. back end. That's a design flaw because other Regent ships have front and back entrances to Compass Rose with matre'd stations while Explorer only has a front entrance. So it was strange to see straps and a cone blocking one flight of a multi-deck public stairwell. Entertainment was pretty good. The guest musicians and magician varied from outstanding to good. The orchestra was outstanding, whether playing music in a venue or for one of the stage productions. But the song and dance troupe wasn't any where near as entertaining as we experienced on other cruises. It seems there were a guy and gal couple who were being featured and given leading roles when some of the other singers who had less seniority were clearly more talented and enjoyable to watch. Our shore excursions were fine. They are masters on Regent at organizing and controlling the different tour groups from the show lounge. Very smooth. But probably because we were touring very poor areas of Central America there was a limit to desirable venues and sights so it got crowded once there with multiple tour busses and groups from Regent and other cruise ships. There wasn't much orchestration to deconflict 16 busses from arriving or departing a venue at the same time. We didn't have that kind of disorder on our previous Regent shore excursions. But they do a great job of finding interesting venues and quality guides. The enhancement activities were multiple and age appropriate for almost-retired and early retired. The 2 lecturers were under the "Smithsonian" banner and delightful and informative. Unfortunately one day the speaker was in a lounge and a corn-hole/baggo tournament was scheduled right outside the entrance with open doors so the cheering was a bit disruptive to the lecturers discussion session. A small detail with consequences. There was a wide variety of things to do or attend, especially during at-sea days. Explorer also has teaching kitchen with about 14 individual stations. We signed up for 3 of the courses and found them a great addition to their on-board offerings. Yes, there was an up-charge but it was appropriate. My wife is a an accomplished cook for entertaining groups but she too learned fully enjoyed the teaching sessions with a great chef/instructor, Two asst chefs prepare, portion into small cups, or chop the ingredients in advance. So participants are doing something new and different in preparation and not standing there chopping and peeling. Of course, appropriate wines are served. But when we did have some small amount of knife work or grating to do, the wine didn't come out until that was done. We'll do more of these again. It was unique, fun, informative, and you ate what you prepared. Regent is just a wonderful cruise experience,. But somehow it's just not the same flawless perfection with nothing left to chance that we had on our earlier cruises with them. So we'll continue to try other travel options, such as river cruises, sailing, and large yacht trips and not just keep booking every trip as a Regent ship excursion.

Elegant ship, superb dining, great enrichment, good entertainment

Seven Seas Explorer Cruise Review by LakeGastonRetired

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was our 3d cruise on Regent after a 7 year gap, having taken 2 river cruises, sailing cruise, and travelled independently in Europe and Asia. We enjoyed it and will probably take another Regent cruise as our next excursion aboard a ship. We didn't pick Regent as our first cruse, but rather made a yes-no decision to accompany friends who had booked on Regent. Once we had the Regent experience we booked the following year to get the on-board discounts and repeat the wonderful experience.

By anecdotal comparison to my colleagues positive experiences on other lines, I cant imaging stepping down to the nickel and dime business model of other cruise lines. All inclusive really is all inclusive on Regent.coffees, cappuccinos, imported beer, nice wines, top shelf liquor all flow without charges, chits, or gratuities, or special bracelets or beverage cards. No tipping. Yet despite that, the staff all smile, and ask how they can help satisfy your request. For ,us a discriminator was asking for blue cheese stuffed olives in our evening cocktail. Except for one bar right outside the compass rose, the request was always--"yes, absolutely, but it may take a bit longer to get the blue cheese." And there was no gratuity for going out of the way to honor our request.

On the other Regent experiences we could make reservations to dine in the specialty restaurants once per cruise. (Again, all inclusive, no up-charge.) On the Explorer they had a reservation desk to enable multiple reservations in the specialty restaurants after ensuring everyone had a chance to go to every one. That was a nice touch. Plus they were open for lunch on a rotating basis with a similar but lunch sized menu. One day there was a line at Compass Rose and the matre'd looked at the computer and asked if our group of 4 wanted to go to Chartreuse French restaurant where there was no wait. Very professional and quality service to do that.

We thoroughly enjoyed the Italian themed dinners on La Veranda when not dining in the specialty restaurants. In fact we preferred it to dinners in Compass Rose (which were always wonderful offerings of daily specials or standard offering of fillet, lobster...) because we could sit outside on the stern with full waiter service, linens, stemware, and a sommelier at the ready. Their menu changed every couple days as well.

As a negative, I was surprised an the number of physical problems on such a new ship. We saw a fire suppression sprinkler open and saturate hallway on the 11th deck. Just a mechanical fault that was remedied and the carpet dried with fans for a couple days. A doorhandle came off the pool deck entry and was missing for days. The pass card lock cover from our room fell off twice and was ultimately glued back in place. a fresh water pipe leaked in our corridor and the engineers spent a 1/2 day fixing it and drying the carpet. Teak work was peeling. Hinges and latches on the sporting deck were being repaired. It was just strange to see so much repair work--not the routine maintenance of a ship in salt water--on a new vessel. One oddity was the blocked stairwell from deck 5 down to deck 4 at the stern where it led to the Compass Rose restaurant. back end. That's a design flaw because other Regent ships have front and back entrances to Compass Rose with matre'd stations while Explorer only has a front entrance. So it was strange to see straps and a cone blocking one flight of a multi-deck public stairwell.

Entertainment was pretty good. The guest musicians and magician varied from outstanding to good. The orchestra was outstanding, whether playing music in a venue or for one of the stage productions. But the song and dance troupe wasn't any where near as entertaining as we experienced on other cruises. It seems there were a guy and gal couple who were being featured and given leading roles when some of the other singers who had less seniority were clearly more talented and enjoyable to watch.

Our shore excursions were fine. They are masters on Regent at organizing and controlling the different tour groups from the show lounge. Very smooth. But probably because we were touring very poor areas of Central America there was a limit to desirable venues and sights so it got crowded once there with multiple tour busses and groups from Regent and other cruise ships. There wasn't much orchestration to deconflict 16 busses from arriving or departing a venue at the same time. We didn't have that kind of disorder on our previous Regent shore excursions. But they do a great job of finding interesting venues and quality guides.

The enhancement activities were multiple and age appropriate for almost-retired and early retired. The 2 lecturers were under the "Smithsonian" banner and delightful and informative. Unfortunately one day the speaker was in a lounge and a corn-hole/baggo tournament was scheduled right outside the entrance with open doors so the cheering was a bit disruptive to the lecturers discussion session. A small detail with consequences. There was a wide variety of things to do or attend, especially during at-sea days.

Explorer also has teaching kitchen with about 14 individual stations. We signed up for 3 of the courses and found them a great addition to their on-board offerings. Yes, there was an up-charge but it was appropriate. My wife is a an accomplished cook for entertaining groups but she too learned fully enjoyed the teaching sessions with a great chef/instructor, Two asst chefs prepare, portion into small cups, or chop the ingredients in advance. So participants are doing something new and different in preparation and not standing there chopping and peeling. Of course, appropriate wines are served. But when we did have some small amount of knife work or grating to do, the wine didn't come out until that was done. We'll do more of these again. It was unique, fun, informative, and you ate what you prepared.

Regent is just a wonderful cruise experience,. But somehow it's just not the same flawless perfection with nothing left to chance that we had on our earlier cruises with them. So we'll continue to try other travel options, such as river cruises, sailing, and large yacht trips and not just keep booking every trip as a Regent ship excursion.
LakeGastonRetired’s Full Rating Summary
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Entertainment
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Veranda Suite
Cabin G2 642
Our balcony suite was one up from steerage category (also balcony suites on Regent) and was a wonderful and comfortable cabin. We sleep in a king size bed at home and the bed here was excellent. When travelling in Europe we often request 2 double beds in hotels because we no longer sleep well together on a queen or the contintentinal size equivalent, so this Regent size was especially comfortable. Ample room to move on either side with side tables, and a 110 outlet and 2 USB plugs on each side, plus light switches on each side. Nice appointments and stocked fridge, which was replenished "on request."

However some aspects of our Explorer cabin compared less favorably to our last Regent cruise on the Voyager in a deluxe veranda suite. Then we had 2 or 3 chairs plus a couch in the sitting area. This time there was only the desk chair and the couch, so when we had company in the suite a couple of times, one person would have to sit on the bed or outside on the balcony. Small thing, but it was a difference that was better on the older Regent ships. Also on the Voyager, the coffee table had a booster stowed under the couch so that room-service in-cabin dining was made nicer by a higher table that was made up with linen cloths and 2 chairs to sit in while we had a breakfast. That didn't happen on the Explorer with only a small coffee table and 1 single chair.

The curtains dividing the bed from sitting area were very useful when one of us wanted to stay up reading while the other slept. And while we mostly use a Kindle or tablet readers, the divider curtain and the goose neck reading lamps were very nice features. The balcony curtains effectively blocked the light from 0600 sunrises while in the tropics.

The walk-in closet was just right, with drawers, shelving, hooks, hanging space, and shoe rack. The sliding pocket door with automatic light was ideal. Suitcases stowed perfectly under the bed platform. Very well designed and thought out.

The appointments, linnens, robes, and shampoos were all very nice. The bathroom had his-and-hers side shelves on either side of the mirror to stow our toiletries and a 2 clever tooth brush holder/cups.. I also appreciated an in wall nitche just right for my shaving kit so it didn't clutter the counter.

Our basic balcony wasn't the largest size with chaise lounges, but just 2 chairs with cushions and reclining backs and a side table. It was perfect. We thoroughly enjoyed reading on the balcony while at sea or sitting looking out on the night time ocean with beverages from our fridge. There was an ice bucket, stored in the fridge, that the staff replenished daily without asking. But unlike our last Regent cruise 7 years ago, we had to request replenishment of the diet cokes, sparkling waters, and red wine we drank vs having it just appear after the presence of empties on the trash can. Its a small detail but one of those things that used to distinguish Regent's level of near flawless service.
Deck 9 Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    We booked one of the multiple guided bus tours that included seeing the cliff divers. I highly recommend going on something just to see the divers. It's a show, but quite spectacular. The jump off a cliff in a place not readily seen by the public and where you must be in an admission reqyured venue. Regent orgaiized a special show at other than the published times for our ships tour buses. You cant miss this. Outstanding, The little folk / Mayan dance demo done before the divers was OK but really a shill for tips.

    The rest of the tour was a long ride to see principal features of the area, in traffic, on conjested roards. We had 2 stops for "local shopping" which was a pathetic experience in defunct facilities where you could be solicited to buy silver and local trinkets but in a safer controlled environment than on the street. It wasnt normal Regent quality, but if you wanted to bargain with a Mexican who spoke English, for a silver bauble or cloth, you could do so without fear of being rolled or pick pocketed. I wish I could have skipped the tour with shopping and just seen the cliff divers and had a beer.
    View All 21 City Tour Reviews
  • Camel Ride
    This was an up-charge excursion but we loved it. You remember the "pony rides for little kids" in city parks & zoo's, where the kid sits on a pony and is led around a course or path? Well this was the equivalent of "camel rides for retirees." It was simple but alot of fun. I recommend it, but with advance warning on what to expect.

    The animals must get shampoo'd because there was no livestock smell. You climb board the back of Unimog 4WD trucks with a crude 2 step ladder and a step box and then drive out to the sticks to a stretch of beach in a preserve. Up the steps to a platform where its easy to step over and onto the camel with hand holds and saddle for 2. Then a guide leads each camel around a course and across the beack with waves crashing in the surf. Then a pro-photographer only photo session of individuals with a camel and feeding a carrot in your teeth to "kiss the camel," . And surprise surprise there are $99 photo packages to be purchased or a DVD taken of the caravan by drone. The photo up-sell was cheezy and we didnt bite.

    This also included a short nature walk, which was fine but really a time filler so that each small group would be occupied until time to ride the camels.

    It concludes with tequila tasting, corn tortilla grinding demo, and a Mexican lunch. That was all great fun, even the tequila tasting because there were discernable differences explained and it wasn't just an event for college kids to bang back shots of liquor. It was rather enjoyable to be in the open air, under a roof, and on the beach near the spray of the ocean.

    But the Regent booking price for this optional excursion was ~$199 per person, which was double the rate for the very same excursion on Trip Advisor. But after bein wait listed, I tried booking before sailing on Trip Advisor, but that was only for "hotel pick up" and nor "cruise terminal' pick up. I'd recommend booking it yourself on trip advisor and getting a cab or taking a shuttle to a hotel. I didnt because I wasnt sure I'd get back to the ship on time if I want separate, but having seen the set up, I'd recommend booking it independently.
    View All 14 Camel Ride Reviews
  • Cartagena (Colombia)
    Miami beach like place. Mix of old and new. 1600s Monastery was pretty amazing and not a ruin. Great view, Lots of police and tourist police ensuring your safety along the tour route.
    View All 724 Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Los Angeles
    Boarded the ship here. Our Regent motor coach transit from LAX to the cruise docks was simple and easy. But it was odd to pull into the virtually empty and uncrowded cruise terminal vehicle reception area and be told by a port of LA long shoreman "we were slammed with work" that we had to wait until the one single bus ahead of us was offloaded. We waited about 20 minutes before our 1/3 full bus was allowed by a port organizer (Not a Regent agent) to pull up to the curb amongst the block long stretch of empty curb. It appeared to be some sort of union rule / organized inefficiency as they were the olny ones who could pick up our bags. The driver took them off the bus, we carried our bags about 2 steps to the long shoreman, and he put them on a group baggage cart. Sad to see such a thing.
    View All 520 Los Angeles Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)
    Great tour guide. Great to see a bit of colonial Guatemala. But lots of poverty. Sad.
    View All 303 Puerto Quetzal (Antigua) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)
    Great port to visit on your own or just grab a towell and head to the beach. You wont need an escort here. Linked up with an EXPAT family friend, Had a typical Tico lunch at an open air eatery. Drove inland and saw an organic coffee plantation where the beans we selected were roasted and then ground for us. Then watched sunset into the pacific from terrace of a high end resort's restaraunt, Of all Central American venues, you are very safe to go off on your own or hire an independent guide to leave the group and see things off the beaten path. Nice people, universally friendly, if poor, but not the poverty of Nicaragua or Guatemala port calls. Very stable area and English spoken widely.
    View All 276 Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • City Tour
    We took the trolley tour and I highly recommend it. We'd been to SD on business trips previously and visited some of the sights but never a tour. This 2 hr trip was perfect. Its the hop-on-hop off tourist excursion but Regent booked whole trollyes for our private use. We could get off to look at a given site and get back on one of the continually running trolleys, but everyone stayed aboard for the 2 hrs narrated drive. It was surprising how much we learned on the tour after going there for years on short trips.
    View All 30 City Tour Reviews