Traveller’s resident Cruise Director, Sally Macmillan is a relatively recent cruise convert and long-time journalist who has a serious sailing habit. Sally has edited Cruise Passenger magazine for four years, and writes a weekly cruise column and cruise-related features for Traveller. This time she describes her experience onboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer: one of the most luxurious cruise ships ever built.
The big end of town in the cruising world is going gangbusters. All the luxury ocean cruise lines – Crystal, Hapag-Lloyd, Seabourn, Silversea and Regent Seven Seas – are investing billions of dollars in building new ships. That’s on top of the recently launched Seabourn Encore, Regent’s Seven Seas Explorer and upcoming Silver Muse.
Seven Seas Explorer set sail in July 2016, billed as “the most luxurious cruise ship ever built”. That’s a big call in this highly competitive market and when I join the ship in Civitavecchia I’m keen to discover whether it will live up to the hype.
Crew members are on hand in the atrium to greet embarking guests, bearing cool facecloths and a welcome glass of icy champagne (tick!). The soaring atrium makes a powerful first impression – a vast crystal chandelier hangs over a dramatic curvy double staircase and the circular inlaid marble floor piece looks like something you’d see in an Italian palazzo.
A quick guided tour of the ship reveals a wealth of detail – there are 473 handmade chandeliers in the restaurants, lounges, bars, suites and even the corridors; some 2500 artworks, including contemporary paintings and sculptures as well as pieces by Chagall and Picasso; and 4262 square metres of marble, which is enough to cover the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza five times over. I particularly like the chocolate-coloured leather floor tiles in the library, although I worry about how they will survive spiky heels.
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