I also enjoyed having Regent’s destination staff help plan my activities in each port, including changing or canceling excursions, sometimes at the last minute. At our stop in Cozumel, I decided to forego an official excursion in favor of exploring the town’s shops and restaurants; the concierges at the ship’s destinations desk gave me the lay of the land, including what would be walking distance from the cruise port, where the best beaches were, and how to get a taxi to see attractions that were farther away. As I was a rusty traveler, it was nice to have someone guiding me along the way.
Buffets are back
Self-serve buffets—a cruise favorite—are making their returns to ships. On Seven Seas Explorer there were two of them available: one in the pool area, the other in the Veranda restaurant. Both served eclectic fare, including sushi, Tex Mex, and antipasti. If sit-down service is more your speed, the buffet areas also offer that as an option, too, with a separate menu of dishes like lobster nachos, impossible burgers, and fresh house-made pasta.
The real showstoppers, however, are Regent’s specialty restaurants, which are open for dinner and require a reservation. Don’t miss a meal at Pacific Rim, the line’s Asian-fusion spot, which offers delicacies like Peking duck and watermelon salad, chicken and foie gras gyoza, Korean barbecue lamb chops, and miso black cod.
The main pool deck also features hot tubs, a walking track, and a pickle ball court.
Days at sea can be the most enjoyable
During the voyage, some of my favorite days were the ones when I didn’t leave the ship at all. Seven Seas Explorer may only be five years old, but it already feels like a Grand Dame of the ocean, with most decks a visual Feast of marble accents and crystal chandeliers. Its stunning pool area feels like a destination in its own right, with a blonde hardwood deck, glittering tile work, plenty of day beds, and a bar serving creative cocktails (I recommend the “Mango-licious,” a mix of mango puree, gin, and hibiscus). On board, no space ever felt too crowded—even while others were outside without masks, which were still required indoors while I was aboard. At full capacity, the ship holds 732 passengers with 567 crew, ensuring each guest gets plenty of personal attention and care from staff. I certainly felt this, whether it was speaking in-depth to my sommelier about the bottle of Brunello I ordered at dinner or a steward bringing me a nightly serving of pre-sleep peppermint tea.
While for me, a voyage closer to home was a nice way to restart my international travels, later this year, Seven Seas Explorer will be crossing the Atlantic. Summer itineraries call upon Barcelona, Istanbul, Athens, Jerusalem, Venice, and Rome.