A Review of Regent Seven Seas Explorer
December 1 -9, 2021 Sailing
This was a last minute trip but I was very excited to be travelling again. The itinerary was from Barbados to Miami on board the Regent Seven Seas Explorer.
The Explorer is all inclusive and although the ship accommodates 750 passengers our departure had only 450 guests.
To begin with, travelling during a pandemic takes extra planning. In preparation we had to be fully vaccinated with proof and have a PCR test for entry into Barbados. Many countries have an app where you need to upload your vaccine certificate and negative PCR or antigen test proof. Once done, I also made sure I was travelling with printed copies of everything just in case I could not access the information from my phone. The cruise line also has an app where you upload all your information and you need to confirm that you have reviewed the Health and Safety Video.
Christmas Tree in the Atrium
Arrival & Our Suite
When we arrived in Barbados at the pier there was a tent set up to take a rapid antigen test prior to embarkation. Once results were confirmed as negative we were allowed to board
We were greeted with a very warm welcome and a chilled glass of champagne from our crew.
When travelling in December I always look forward to seeing how the ships are decorated and the Explorer did not disappoint. There was a huge beautifully decorated tree in the atrium as we boarded as well as one in every public room
After checking in we were on our way to our suite.
The Explorer has some of the largest suites at sea, all with balconies.
We were in a superior suite that was over 400 sq. ft. with a walk in closet. The bathroom was definitely large enough with double sinks and plenty of storage space. The separate shower had a rain shower head and was large enough to turn around without bumping an elbow.
Our balcony was spacious enough for two comfortable chairs and a table where we enjoyed breakfast on our first morning as we had an early tour booked.
Our Stateroom Bed
Our Stateroom Sitting Area
The Many Dining Options
During our time on board we experienced each of the restaurants for dinner. Service was outstanding and as I am gluten free, I always check with the maître d to confirm what is available. I had no problem as a menu for the dining room I was eating in every night was placed in my suite the night before and I could choose what I would like. The Explorer has 3 specialty restaurants: Chartreuse (the French restaurant), Prime 7 (Regent’s signature steakhouse), and Pacific Rim (Asian fusion restaurant). These restaurants require reservations but they are included in the cost of your cruise.
The Compass Rose is the main dining room on board and guests can choose from the specialty items listed on the menu or the “always available”. Whichever you choose, the food in all of the restaurants is delicious and beautifully presented, ( I actually had to take pictures of some of our choices.)
La Veranda was a favourite for breakfast. Omelettes made to order, with fresh fruit and coffee was usually my choice. What Canadian can resist having breakfast on this outdoor terrace knowing how cold it is back home.
The Pool Grill was not just a place to grab a quick lunch. The menu always had a feature of the day which was sometimes a grilled fish specialty. This was a popular spot during our day at sea
Prayer Wheel at Entrance to the Pacific Rim restaurant
More Ship Pluses
Throughout the ship there are displays of art including works from Pablo Picasso, and Murano glass chandeliers.
Wherever we were on board the service was impeccable and the crew were always happy to accommodate ( even when I wanted a specialty coffee order at the Coffee Connection).
With Regent, most shore excursions are included along with free Wifi, gratuities, on board beverages as well as business class air on international flights from Canada and US.
Dominica – this was our first port of call. We had a Dolphin and whale watching tour booked. Dominica was not open for tourists to exit the ship and walk around. Due to the pandemic the roads were blocked. All guests were required to wear their face masks once we disembarked for our tour. We did not see whales but that is never a guaranty although we did stop to watch a pod of dolphins at play
Antigua – for this island we were too late to get tour availability but we disembarked and walked around. Once again masks were worn when entering any building or restaurant. St John’s is the capital of Antigua and has quite a few shops and restaurants. Antigua is a popular yachting destination as well.
St. Barts – For this port we had a semi submersible sub tour booked. We boarded our sub and were taken just outside the harbour area to explore the marine life and the importance of preserving the marine ecosystems We were shown how they were regrowing coral for the preservation of the coral reefs. St. Barts is no stranger to celebrities. As you approach the harbour you notice the many large yachts anchored here. The island is small but has many luxury boutiques and restaurants on its Main Street
St. Maarten– We booked a tour to go to the French side of the island, St. Martin, but it was a Sunday and nothing was open. Once back in St Maarten we walked down the Main Street once vibrant with many jewelry and clothing shops now closed due to COVID and some because it was Sunday. Along the boardwalk we found the same but the weather was warm and the sun was shining. The locals were always pleasant and welcoming. Like us, they are waiting for times to return to normal and hoping that tourism will open up.
San Juan – Puerto Rico is one of the largest islands in the Caribbean, and old San Juan is the second oldest European settlement in the new world. Tours were limited but if you have never been to this island the El Yunque Rain Forest is a great tour. If you are not taking a shore excursion then the San Felipe El Moro, the fortress you see when entering the harbour is an east walk from the pier. San Juan has many sites within walking distance and it is always fun to meander and enjoy the ambience in the old town
Our last port was Great Stirrup Cay which is a small island in the Bahamas. This is where the ship takes guests to their private beach area. Excursions offered were paddle boarding, zip line, kayaks and a Swim with the Pigs. The swim with the pigs was cancelled so most enjoyed the beach for a couple of hours and headed back to the ship.
On the last day besides having to pack Canadians are required to complete the ArriveCAN app and have a PCR test. Wifi on board is free so you can complete this prior to disembarking the next day. Regent provides the PCR test on board and you have your results prior to disembarking.
Back to reality!
There are five ships in the Regent fleet – the Seven Seas Explorer and the Seven Seas Splendor are sister ships along with the Seven Seas Navigator, Seven Seas Voyager and Seven Seas Mariner. Which ever ship and itinerary you choose to sail on Regent will not disappoint!
All images courtesy of the author. Carol is co-owner of Cruise Holidays of Burlington.