Does ‘the most luxurious ship ever built’ live up to the hype? A photo tour of Regent Seven Seas Explorer


Comfort: Sun loungers surround the pool

The cruise ship billed as ‘the most luxurious ever built’ made its maiden call to the UK today at the start of an 11-night voyage round Britain and Ireland.

And it was clear soon after I boarded Regent Seven Seas Explorer in Southampton that the £350million ship lives up to its hype, dripping opulence and elegance which sets it apart in the increasingly competitive luxury cruise market.

Take as a starter the 4,443 square foot Regent Suite, which you enter through ornate doors bordered each side by a Picasso. This two-bedroom apartment has its own spa retreat, sauna, outside hot tub, bar, £113,000 bed – and £390,000 Steinway piano designed by Dakota Jackson. The walk-in wardrobe to the master bedroom alone could rival some other lines’ smaller cabins for size.


Just one corner of the Regent Suite


Artwork surrounds a dining table in the Regent Suite


A good night’s sleep is guaranteed in the £113,000 bed


Hanging room: The main walk-in wardrobe in the Regent Suite


Your own bar in the Regent Suite


Steinway to heaven: The £390,000 piano


The Regent Suite’s bathroom, spa area, sauna, outside hot tub and deck

The lucky occupants are offered a private luxury car and driver in every port and, along with guests in the next two lower grades of suite, have access to a private dining room.

No wonder the price of this apartment is an eye-watering $10,000 (£7,750) a night.

It’s easy to see where some of the millions were spent on Seven Seas Explorer. Another £390,000 went on a two-ton Tibetan prayer wheel at the entrance of the Pacific Rim restaurant. An unexceptional-looking vase cost £15,000. Oh, and look, there’s another Picasso.


The £390,000 Tibetan prayer wheel at the entrance to the Pacific Rim restaurant


Entering the Observation Lounge


Steak out: Prime 7


Parisian: Chartreuse

Of course, only plates by Versace would be good enough for the excellent food.

Each of the six restaurants has its own distinctive character. As well as the pan-Asian dishes in Pacific Rim, guests can enjoy Parisian dining in Chartreuse, steaks in the surroundings of a private London club in Prime 7, the contemporary look of Compass Rose and the feel of the 1960s Italian Riviera in La Veranda.


Hidden: The ‘secret’ dining room for top-suite guests

Even the Pool Grill serving burgers, pizza and fresh salads has a refined air.

No expense or trouble is spared for the 750 passengers. With 552 international crew, the pool and the surrounding loungers are kept sparkling clean. The spa has its own corridor. All the lounges are discreetly inviting and the theatre seating has the vibe of an upmarket jazz club.


Rehearsing for the evening in the Explorer Lounge


The chandelier in the atrium


Grand entrance: Heading to Compass Rose

With artwork and sculptures everywhere, this isn’t the glitz and bling you get on some cruise ships. Everything looks valuable, impressive, sophisticated rather than showy.


Really cool: An ice room in the spa

Every cabin is a suite with a balcony. And if you think it all sounds too grand and expensive, you might be wrong. Because Regent’s fares include flights, shore excursions, premium drinks, speciality restaurants and free wifi, it claims the cost per person per day can actually work out cheaper than taking a smaller suite on a ‘premium cruise line’ ship twice the size.


Stage right: The theatre

Seven Seas Explorer will call in to Newcastle on Monday then continue its voyage with stops including Edinburgh, Belfast, Dublin and Liverpool before returning to Southampton on June 14. The ship will be back in the port again for a ten-night cruise in September.


Round-Britain voyage: Seven Seas Explorer

All pictures by author, except for exterior shot. 

2 thoughts on “Does ‘the most luxurious ship ever built’ live up to the hype? A photo tour of Regent Seven Seas Explorer

  1. I would love to be able to play piano while on a cruise. I don’t think I’m willing to pay those insane prices though!

    Really interesting post, thanks for letting us all have a look around.

    • Thanks! I remember we were on one cruise and we met a couple we’d seen the night before and asked where their daughter was. ‘She’s in the cabin playing the piano,’ they said matter-of-factly, as if it the thing everyone did on a cruise!

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