We had been lucky enough to sail on the Explorer on the second leg of her inaugural cruise in September 2016. We thought the service and facilities could not be improved upon but how wrong could we be. There has been some fine tuning such as changing the time of the evening shows to 9.30 which allows everyone to eat before seeing them and more use of The Cafe with permanent barristas in there - including Dragan who always smiled and was always very helpful. Most importantly the internet was so much better, so that if you want to stream anything you pay extra but for general emails and web browsing it was free and worked very well, particularly in the public areas. I was even able to continue with my French lessons on Duolingo sitting in the coffee shop with my head phones on.
We stayed the first night in the Four Seasons Miami as part of the pre-cruise package - a lovely hotel but unfortunately the whole bar area and restaurant had been hired out privately which meant we had to go out. However, there were some lovely restaurants within walking distance - the concierge recommended a very good Italian. Embarkation was extremely smooth.
The standard of the entertainment has also gone up another level with outstanding singers, dancers and musicians who seemed to be able to play every instrument.
Firm favourites Boogie and Kasia got everyone up on the dance floor - no-one felt embarrassed making a fool of themselves. David Nevin, the excellent assistant cruise director is a first class singer and a great 'go to' person in the event of any difficult issues, as we discovered. He also did Karaoke which was really well attended and Deborah the pianist and singer did music trivia every other day as well -always good fun and the chance for more Regent Rewards!
Andy the cruise director and his wife Tammy are a delight and truly lovely - they do a great trivia quiz every afternoon and Andy is firm but fair. They are also great entertainers, with a brilliant last night Beatles session with David which had everyone out dancing in the foyer and the professional dancers also joined us to indulge those of us who like to dance - none of them had any airs or graces, they gave every impression that they wanted to join in.
We had not sailed with Captain Stanislas Mercier De Lacombe before and a ship always takes its lead from their Captain. He was friendly, funny, but authoritative and calm, which was very evident when the weather deteriorated and a huge wave hit the ship one evening, giving everyone great confidence that we were in safe hands.
We did not find the content of the lectures to be of interest to us, but that just might be because we are huge Terry Bishop fans and so no-one else stands a chance! We had rather hoped for pirates, the rum trade and sugar cane story rather than politics - many of us go on holiday to get away from that! However, they do have the culinary kitchen which is an excellent addition.
Although Regent had had to change the itinerary because of the devastation of the Caribbean, the excursions were great - swimming with dolphins in the Bahamas, and great general tours in St Kitts, St Lucia (great land and sea tour) and Antigua with three first class guides showing us a great range of both historical and panoramic sites with time for the beach as well in Antigua. In French speaking St Barts you could just walk around to browse the very expensive shops and have a spot of lunch - although everything on St Barts is expensive, be warned!
The quality of the wines has also gone up a level. This might account for why 4300 bottles were drunk in 10 days! When the Captain joked on the last night that we should be ashamed of ourselves, we decided that as a Frenchman he thought perhaps we had not made maximum effort.
The food has always been good but the chocoholics teatime was amazing. Pacific Rim remains our favourite restaurant with Prime 7 and Sette Mari coming a close second. Martina who works mainly in Sette Mari provides the best entertainment and is a great addition.
The bar staff were equally brilliant, making you whatever you wanted, quickly and efficiently. They were under the watchful eye of Elena, promoted last year, and she was always everywhere.
All in all, a great trip, with a first class ship and first class service.
Lovely size, always spotless, very large balcony. Great choice of films and entertainment on their state of the art TV system.
We did the hop on hop off bus with our guide Michael who was brilliant
We were taken by boat to the Blue Lagoon which is very sheltered. We had the chance to touch and meet the dolphins and although we are not that keen on animals in captivity they looked genuinely happy and content and the handlers are so good with them. We than had free time to enjoy the beach/a drink.View All 127 Blue Lagoon Dolphin Swim Reviews
A great tour of the island, including Brimstone Hill Fortress which is a world Unesco Heritage site, which was a real surprise. Excellent guide, great tips (including where to go for lunch)View All 293 Island tour Reviews
Excellent, down to Nelson's dockyard in English Harbour, sampling rum punch and great views. Much less developed than expected which was lovely.View All 194 Island Tour Reviews
We drove to the Pietons stopping at various places including the beautiful botanical gardens. We then sailed back to the ship which was lovely - with the chance to swim and then afterwards to have some rum punch.View All 300 Island Tour Reviews