When Regent announced the launching of a new ship several years ago, like most Regent cruisers, my wife and I were very excited, and had cruises booked on it for September of 2016 and March 2017. Life intervened, and we had to cancel ... Read More
When Regent announced the launching of a new ship several years ago, like most Regent cruisers, my wife and I were very excited, and had cruises booked on it for September of 2016 and March 2017. Life intervened, and we had to cancel both of these cruises. So when we were finally able to book another cruise on it, we were chomping at the bit to experience it, wondering whether our high expectations would be met. Clearly from the title of this review, they were... although with a bit of an asterisk.
The ship- Regent hypes this ship as "World's Most Luxurious Ship". As I have not been on every cruise ship in the world, I cannot validate this statement, but if there is a more beautiful ship at sea, I would love to see it. The ship is, in a word, breathtakingly beautiful. OK, 2 words. But I cannot say enough about how impressive this ship is. Prior to this voyage, I thought the most elegant ships I have sailed on were Oceana's Riviera/ Marina, but I think the Explorer has them beat. From the stunning atrium, to each and every restaurant, lounge, theater..even the men's rooms were beautiful. (And I assume the same for the ladies' room, although I have no first hand knowledge of such and will take DW's word for it. ) The hallways of stateroom decks have lovely black and white photographs. The ship is a pleasure to walk around on.
Cuisine- I have long been a fan of Regent cuisine, but I am now an even bigger fan. Every cruise line's main dining rooms offer "always available" items, usually steak, chicken, salmon, and perhaps a vegetarian dish. , The main dining room on Regent,, Compass Rose, now offers as always available:
Meats: Black Angus New York Strip, Black Angus Rib Eye. Black Angus Filet Mignon, New Zealand Lamb Chops, Veal Medallions, Half Roast Chicken, Pork Chops
Fish: Jumbo Shrimp, Maine Lobster Tail(!!) , King Sea Scallops, Norwegian Salmon, Whole Dover Sole(!!), Branzino.
With a cornucopia of sauces and sides to mix and match with them.
AND with a whole array of appetizers, soups, salads, such as crab salad, Norwegian gravilax, escargot....well, you get the idea.
So in the unlikely event that there is nothing on the daily menu that sounds tempting, you can order something wonderful from the always available menu. For me, this is a game changer. No more checking the daily menu and having to try for a specialty restaurant reservation if there is nothing to your liking. The only problem- major difficult decisions need to be made every single night! Life is tough.
Speaking of specialty restaurants, the Explorer has 4 of them, and IMHO, all are superb.
Entertainment- Several years ago, Regent changed the company that managed the entertainment talent and production shows, and I must say that for us it is a change for the better. The talent of the singers and dancers has always been wonderful, but the production shows are at a new level. They are inventive, and creative, not typical cruise ship fare. And the LED backdrops and lighting in the Constellation Theater adds greatly to the enjoyment of the show. The only downside- it seems to me that the sightlines of the theater do not seem to be quite as good as I remember them being on the other Regent ships, but we never had any problem getting seats, provided that we got there at least 10 minutes ahead.
There is nice entertainment in the lounges, the Regent Signature Orchestra for ballroom, a pianist, Deborah, who has a lovely voice, and our very favorite Regent talent, Boogie and Kasia, who played 2 or 3 sets every night in the Explorer lounge. Their later set provides great fast dancing music, and the delightful Kasia gets down on the dance floor and really gets the crowd dancing.
Internet- The ship had the least horrible internet experience I have had on a cruise ship to date. I guess that's as good as one can expect at sea. Sure, it was still painfully slow, but the agony was far less than I have experienced in the past. Service much better in public areas than in my state room, where it was truly agonizing. Log in and out was a breeze, and my wife and I were both able to be on at the same time.
Gym- best I have ever seen on a ship. When I first walked in, I did not see any treadmills in this rather large gym, only to find out that there was another room, separated by a hallway. Plenty of cardio machines, and strength- resistant machines.
And now for the asterisk- Sadly, I think that the service has slipped a tad since my last Regent cruise. Not the stateroom attendants, nor the restaurant wait staff, they were still top notch. But in the lounges and pool deck, I frequently had a hard time getting service. I do not think that this is the fault of the staff- the crew is as hard working, friendly and accommodating as ever. I think the problem is in numbers- it seemed as if there was just less staff. I have no data to support this, it is just an impression. However, this was in no way shape or form anywhere near enough of a problem to put a damper on this wonderful cruise experience.
One final word- these reviews are obviously very subjective matters, everyone's opinions are different and equally valid. But I always make it a point to ask people that I meet on board how they are enjoying their cruise, and for what it's worth, I did not get one response that was not ENTHUSIASTICALLY positive.
The only grumbling I heard all cruise long was about chair hogs. So what else is new? Read Less