Context: This was our first cruise with Regent and, thus, first time on Explorer. We did a Holiday cruise, two weeks spanning Christmas and New Year’s, doing a circular itinerary around the southern and then eastern Caribbean. As context for this review, we had cruised pre-pandemic with mainstream lines including Princess (Elite level), Celebrity, and MSC, generally in suites in later years. Regent was our first foray into luxury ocean cruising, although in the two months prior to this cruise we did a Danube River cruise with Crystal and a Galapagos expedition with National Geographic/Lindblad.
Overall: In total we enjoyed our cruise and the new experience with Regent. It was nicer than our previous cruises (with the exception of our Crystal river cruise) in terms of how beautiful the ship was, the inclusion of just about everything, and the level of service and expertise of the staff. We found ourselves wondering, however, if it was proportionately better than mainstream cruises and the extra level of amenities and services one receives when sailing in a suite.—especially as the price is significantly higher than on mainstream cruises. We also cruised just as the omicron variant of COVID-19 began to hit cruises, with numerous cases among passengers and staff on our sailing, so it is difficult to judge if what we experienced was “normal” for Regent. We did put down a deposit for a future cruise while onboard, so we have sufficient faith in Regent to give them another try when (we hope) things settle down.
Pre-Boarding: Per information from the Regent Seven Seas Cruises website (https://www.rssc.com/HealthSafetyProtocols), we took a PRC test for COVID-19 within three days of travelling to the ship. It could have been an antigen test, but we’d had luck with testing at a local pharmacy and obtaining test results within 48 hours for other foreign travel in late 2021. The negative results gave us confidence in traveling to our cruise port as well as some assurance that we would be able to obtain FCCs from Regent for our cruise should we test positive at the pier prior to embarkation and be denied boarding. We found the new online check-in for Regent easy to complete—but were surprised to find we had to fill in the same information on forms at check-in at the cruise terminal. Information provided on Regent’s website on testing required for different port calls also ended up not tracking with what we experienced on the cruise—testing cited as required before the cruise did not happen.
Suite Review: It appears suite Deck 8 (Category Code: D, Concierge Suite, Port side) is fairly typical for that category. The balcony had two reclining chairs, a table, and a chaise lounge. (The stewardess would bring the cushions from the furniture inside at night and store them behind the drapes. Several times she did not put them out when she serviced the cabin in the morning.) The entry to the suite was on the aft side and the bathroom and closet fore. The sofa was on the aft side—so when you looked outside you saw the direction the ship was tra
velling—as was the desk and the minibar to the fore. The mattress was very comfortable, and the bed had very nice pillows and sheets. One thing to mention is the U.S.-type outlets are scarce—there is only one at the desk area and one under each nightstand. (There may have been another at the bar area.) We were glad we had brought a power strip (without a surge protector) and a plug that had extra outlets plus two USB ports. If we had not, we would not have had enough outlet capacity to charge our phones, cameras, laptop, etc. The desk area also has a European pin outlet, so if you had adaptor plugs that would be another solution. The closet was great and we loved the four hooks along the wall. We had plenty of coat hangers and drawer space (both in the closet and the dresser by the desk) to spare. Drawer space in the bathroom was also plentiful and there were two shelves in the shower plus a little bar to rest your foot for washing and/or shaving. I brought my usual assortment of suction hooks and magnets. I put a suction hook on the cabin door to hold our masks (there are also hooks on the wall opposite the bathroom here) and found it to be a good reminder to wear them when leaving the cabin. Most of the cabin walls are textured, which made the suction hooks of no use there and also affected the performance of some of the magnets. I had to move them around to find places where they would hold my papers, etc. Lighting switches for the cabin were complicated and took us a while to figure out. Would have liked more lower-level lights rather than overheads. Overall the suite was well designed, nicely furnished, and well maintained. Valet laundry is now included in fares for all suites. The first bag we sent about—about a third into the cruise—was returned the same day, albeit after the 2100 hours time as promised. A second bag—sent out four days prior to disembarkation—was not returned for over two days and we had to call about missing pieces. (We heard—do not know—that the laundry staff was hit hard by COVID cases or quarantining due to contact tracing.)