Our Head of Chairman’s Club, Natalie Russell-Blackburn Perkins, steps aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer for her first experience of a luxury cruise ship…
“Having never cruised before, I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived into the port of Rome. But from the minute I stepped aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer, I just knew I was going to love it.
The first thing to welcome me was the smiling faces of the international crew offering champagne and canapés as they directed us to our suite (not a cabin…no such thing exists on this ship!). The suite was complete with a beautiful balcony, sumptuous double memory foam mattress on the bed, a fully stocked and replenished mini-bar and l’Occitane bathroom products. I was impressed already and we hadn’t even left port!
The food was something I was interested to experience, as being a cruise novice I was concerned this would be a feature of the trip that would let it down...how wrong was I! With every taste catered for, from fine French dining to modern Asian twists, or just a simple pasta (plus many more) each meal I sampled was cooked and presented in a way reminiscent of a Michelin-starred restaurant. Each of the restaurants had its own sommelier and the wine choices were vast, with most of them included within your rate!
I particularly loved the flexibility of how Regent offered breakfast; you could either have it in your suite, in the main restaurant (complete with al fresco tables) or even grab a coffee and pastry in the coffee lounge. Whatever you fancy, staff aboard the Explorer were all too willing to sort for you. I was really impressed that when I ordered breakfast for between 7am to 7.30am, there came a knock on the door at 7.01am; with freshly poached (still runny) eggs, piping hot toast and cappuccino…how they did it I will never know (I can only presume they sprinted from the kitchens) but it was the best room service breakfast I have ever had!
Pre-dinner, I always think it’s nice to have a little tipple and there are numerous choices on board, but my favourite was the Observation Lounge which was complete with a live pianist playing contemporary music, dimmed lights and a real buzz, perfect to get you in the mood for an evening of fine food and great company!
And certainly one of my favourite restaurants was the Pacific Rim, an Asian-fusion eatery with a modern twist. The atmosphere was wonderful; I loved everything about it, the décor, the staff and the food, such as tempura lobster, sashimi, sushi and delectable curries, plus little surprises throughout, such as a welcome aperitif and delicious nibbles.
Post-dinner, I was intrigued to know what happened on board and was blown away with the shows on offer in the amazing theatre, which on one night included a toe-tapping dance spectacular and on another night was a live and very funny comedian (he should be on television as he had the theatre in hysterics!)…and this was just a taste as there is a full programme of entertainment, so I am sure you would not get bored! If theatre is not your thing, the casino was a great spot to spend some cash which is just across from a very lively bar, again with a singer and pianist.
I was lucky enough to sample some beautiful ports of call on my luxury Regent Seven Seas Explorer cruise, including Monte Carlo and Portofino. The shore excursions ran like clockwork, all with local guides and included in the rate. It was a great way to see all these many destinations without having to worry about packing and unpacking! In fact, one of the biggest draws for Regent is that they have a hugely inclusive portfolio of shore excursions. I loved heading into Portofino to have a guided tour of the beautiful monasteries, complete with stop off for real Italian coffee. It was so well organised and smoothly run.
If you fancy relaxing on board you will be spoilt for choice; with a beautiful pool area, top of the range spa with gym and golf…all delivered with top-class service. I really enjoyed the outdoor running track followed by a few rounds of mini golf, a great way to get fresh air and take in the magnificent scenery! For those that prefer something more relaxing, then my second favourite thing to do would probably be the spa, comparable to some of the world’s best spas I have visited and offering a whole range of treatments.
This ship exudes luxury in every way physically possible, but for me it also has a spirit, a soul which creates a buzzy atmosphere and this is down to the crew. From housekeeping and waiters to the captain, each one is there to look after you, going above and beyond at every opportunity. Certainly one of the most luxurious start to finish experiences I have been lucky enough to have in the world of travel.”
To book your Regent Seven Sea cruise, speak to a member of our team on 01244 355 600 or download a copy of our Cruise brochure here.