Channel Five dubbed Seven Seas Explorer ‘the most expensive cruise ship’ so its new sister ship Seven Seas Splendor had a lot to live up to. Would she be just as amazing as her predecessor and did she have some surprises on board, too?
I was one of the first lucky journalists given a private preview cruise this week on Seven Seas Splendor from Rome to Barcelona before she sails to Miami today for her official christening with godmother Christie Brinkley.
Stepping aboard, I got the real wow factor as the reception dazzled in glamorous shades of taupe and gold with sparkling chandeliers everywhere you turned. Here on deck five is the stylish Coffee Connection (think Parisian coffee shop) and the insta-fabulous dragon that stands at the entrance of Pacific Rim.
On deck nine, my roomy Veranda Suite with a very generous balcony and walk-in wardrobe is a five-star delight. In shimmering golds and bronzes, it looks like a gorgeous boutique hotel and the wow factor gets even better when I open my bathroom door to an all marble delight. Somehow, they have managed to fit in a generous sized shower and bathtub too, with gorgeous L’Occitane products on every shelf.
At a press conference, Jason Montague, president and chief officer of Regent Seven Seas, explained how he and his team worked on every detail of the rooms to ensure that the plugs were in the right place and the beds were the best they can be.
Franco Semraro, who is the senior VP of hotel operations, also added that the team had lightened up the palette on Splendor to reflect modern tastes. In terms of size, Splendor hits the jackpot.
With a maximum of 750 guests on board, and 14 decks, she is certainly big enough to keep you busy and entertained on sea days while being compact enough to make getting around a breeze.
On board, you’ll discover a $5 million art collection, more than 500 chandeliers and more than an acre of Italian marble. It’s no wonder that she cost a cool $450 million to build.
Regent has been lauded for its high-class cuisine and they deserve every plaudit. During my three-night stay, I got to enjoy dinner at American-inspired Prime 7, French focused Chartreuse and the spectacular Compass Rose. All restaurants offered high-class cuisine with great wine pairing, but my particular favourite was Prime 7 with its faultless surf and turf and delicious key lime pie.
All guests on board are offered the chance to dine in all five restaurants so I’ll just have to come back to at Pacific Rim and the Italian inspired Sette Mari at La Veranda.
Are you a bit of a foodie? Then don’t miss a chance to visit the Culinary Arts Kitchen, where under the supervision of some great chefs including Chef Kelly, you can learn to cook some great dishes including Caribbean and Mediterranean favourites.
More of a barfly? Then don’t miss trying out the new cocktail list in the Meridian Lounge or perhaps a classic martini at the top of the ship in the Observation lounge. The staff in all the bars on this ship really know their stuff and having a pre-dinner cocktail at many of these fab venues is a great way to meet your fellow guests too.
What was really apparent is how the Regent bosses are not content to rest on their laurels when it comes to luxury cruising.
From removing plastics on board wherever then can, to perfecting their food and drinks offering and offering lucky guests multiple complimentary excursions, they are working very hard to as they like to say, ‘perfect luxury’.
On a fun afternoon out when we docked in Livorno, we got to see a local winery, sampled some of their great wines and also took a trip to the delightful Tuscan village of Bolgheri. Cruising on any Regent ship is, of course, going to be expensive, but when you factor in what you get for your money, you can see how the figures stack up.
While on board, I was also lucky enough to get a tour of their famous Regent Suite. At a whopping 4,443sq ft, it boasts a $200,000 bed, its own hot tub, an original Picasso and best of all, unlimited in-suite spa treatments.
Rumour has it many famous guests have holidayed in style in Explorer’s Regent Suite and I’m sure they will do the same on Splendor, too. At $11,000 a night, it’s a snip for the world’s wealthy and a ‘must-do’ for the rest of us if we win the lottery.
Back in the real world, I loved the ship’s elegant new spa Serene and its seriously impressive art deco inspired Constellation Theater where you’ll get to see some great live shows from the on-board singers and dancers and also visiting comedians and musicians.
As I sat in the Observation Lounge with an expertly mixed Negroni in hand last night, I realised the sunset I was enjoying as it set over the Mediterranean was as vibrant as my cocktail. And Splendor is equally impressive. The answer as to whether she lives up to her name is a resounding yes.
Lucky Christie Brinkley and the guests who are booked to travel on this truly luxurious ship have a first-class treat in store.
For more on Splendor, see the cruise review in the March issue of World of Cruising.
Visit rssc.com for information and bookings.