Last Updated on December 13, 2023
The charming young crew member from Ukraine obviously loved her job – offering unlimited breakfast caviar to guests on Regent’s newest and most glamorous ship, the Seven Seas Splendor.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises holds a unique place in the world of cruising. The brand is one of the few in the ultra-luxury category, offering a complete all-inclusive package.
Included in the price are a spacious suite with a balcony, all meals (including specialty restaurants), drinks (including beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails), tours (with a wide variety of choices in each port), airport and hotel transfers, even laundry and pressing. In some categories, business-class flights and pre-cruise hotels are included.
Regent’s VP for Creative and Brand Management, Janice Davidson, told us her greatest marketing challenge is price. “We’re trying to educate people about what comes with all inclusive,” she said. “With our single up front cost, guests could actually pay less than on other lines.”
Seven Seas Splendor, A Luxurious Ship
The luxury, service, and no-cost inclusions stood out when we boarded Seven Seas Splendor in Miami for a week-long Caribbean cruise. More than 46,000 square feet of fine Italian marble on walls and floors and more than 500 stunning chandeliers created an ambiance unlike any we’ve experienced in 25 years of cruising.
The ship, launched in 2020, has a capacity of just 750 guests. All enjoy balcony suites ranging from an impressive 307 to more than 4,000 square feet. The crew of 550 provides the best staff-to-guest ratio at sea. Their friendliness, training, and attention to guest needs were evident all week.
We were in one of the Splendor’s smaller suites. But, nevertheless, it was impressive with its layout and generous storage spaces, including a walk-in closet. Privacy blackout curtains separated the long couch and convenient work desk from the bed area. The balcony, with its generous table and two cushioned wicker chairs, was one of the largest we’d ever seen.
The bed was extremely comfortable, with high thread count sheets and excellent adjustable reading lights. There were several convenient USB and power outlets. The thermostat control is up and down arrows – warmer and cooler – rather than an actual temperature setting.
We could fill the small fridge with whatever complimentary drinks we wanted. The marble-lined bathroom had just one smallish sink but a large shower area with a regular shower head and a rainforest-style shower.
Cleaning and refreshing of rooms is done twice daily. Newspaper summaries (from the USA, Canada, Britain, and other countries) are also put on the bed each evening along with tomorrow’s schedule (the excellent library includes a daily, complete edition of the New York Times). The large, high-resolution TV had many free movies available, but broadcast channel choices were minimal.
One Negative Aspect
One negative aspect of the suites and the ship was the poor internet service. Regular, free, but slow internet is available for all guests. We booked the Splendor’s premium, extra-cost package, but it was only marginally better. Email and YouTube worked fairly well, but posting photos on Facebook was impossible. The technical head of the ship told us that satellite improvements were coming.
Also,our suite was near the back of the ship, so we occasionally heard engine rumble, especially when getting underway or docking. But we think the general room soundproofing is very good since the ship was full, and we didn’t hear a sound from any of our neighbors.
Regent continues to excel in its culinary program. The Hotel General Manager, Anatoli Makaev, told us that food costs per person are the highest at sea. He said Regent is spending three times more on food than before the pandemic.
However, unlike other lines, there have been no cutbacks in quality or quantity. Guests can enjoy Canadian lobster or aged prime filet mignon every evening if they wish. Chefs continued to receive their salaries during the Covid years, so their commitment to guest satisfaction is evident.
Seven Seas splendor’s restaurant and menu choices were remarkable for a ship with fewer than 800 passengers. Every evening in the main dining room, Compass Rose, guests could choose from an “Always Available” menu. It included a variety of offerings from Alaskan Crab to New Zealand lamb chops. There are also daily specials, including the Executive Chef’s six-course “Gourmet Tasting Menu.”
A healthy Spa menu was also available. Good quality red, white, rosé, or sparkling wines are offered without extra cost each day, even non-alcoholic wines if you wish. In addition, three uniquely decorated specialty restaurants offer French cuisine (Chartreuse), Asian fare (Pan Pacific), or steak and Seafood (Prime 7).
The Splendor’s extensive buffet restaurant on Deck 11, La Veranda, has an excellent selection of breakfast and lunch items. White tablecloths are standard throughout the area (most unusual for a cruise ship buffet). They are a classy touch in the evening when much of La Veranda becomes a fine Italian restaurant, Sette Mari. Coffee quality in the buffet was only fair, but outstanding brews were always available at the 5th deck Coffee Connection.
Entertainment and Fitness on the Seven Seas Splendor
Entertainment on the Seven Seas Splendor was, as expected, of a high caliber.
It includes a dozen talented singers and dancers, accompanied by the ship band. They put on several complex main-stage productions in the evening.
The Regent Signature Orchestra, the Cocktail pianist, and a DJ played music for listening or dancing each evening in several lounges throughout the ship.
On our final evening, a few band members and singers put on a lively Beatles music night in the Atrium.
It was disappointing that the ship’s entertainment did not include a string quartet or even a solo cello or harp. Classical music would have been a lovely touch in the pre-dinner period.
Seven Seas Splendor has a well-equipped fitness center and a Spa at the stern. We discovered the uncrowded Infinity Swimming Pool as part of the Spa and preferred it to the large main pool on Deck 11.
There was no shortage of games and puzzles throughout the ship. Trivia, Bingo, darts, shuffle golf, and beanbag toss were among several ways guests competed for coveted Regent points and prizes at the end of the cruise.
We were also pleased to see and hear a retired history professor give illustrated lectures about subjects ranging from Mayan civilization to the Caribbean connection in World War 2.
Another special treat was seeing actor John O’Hurley (best known as J. Peterman on Seinfeld) perform his brilliant one-man show – music and musings – called “A Man With Standards.”
A Fascinating Itinerary
The ship was clearly the star of our week-long cruise from Miami, but the itinerary was also fascinating. We docked in Roatan, Honduras, for an island tour and swim, then stopped the next day in nearby Belize, the only English-speaking country in Central America.
Sandra joined a tour of a spice farm where the two chefs from the Culinary Arts Kitchen collected spices for a hands-on cooking class back on the ship. Guests prepared prawn biryani with garam masala, white pepper crepes, and cardamom ice cream. In the meantime, John visited a typical Mayan village off the grid where a chocolate maker showed how cacao beans were harvested and turned into popular sweet treats.
Our planned stop in Costa Maya, Mexico, was canceled because the seas were too rough to dock. Still, Cozumel was more tranquil, and we relived our youth by boarding a two-person mini speedboat and racing through choppy water with other boats before stopping for a snorkel in warm, pristine waters filled with tropical fish.
Seven Seas Splendor has been called “the most luxurious cruise ship in the world.” In many ways, it’s true. But late in 2023, Regent is launching Seven Seas Grandeur, a sister ship to Splendor. With subtle improvements, Grandeur will likely claim the “most luxurious” title.
It will be fun to find out…and enjoy luxury refined.