Editor's Note: It's been a tough month for everyone, given COVID-19 concerns and precautions. The situation has caused major cruise companies to voluntarily suspend operations across the globe, at least for a month or so, varying by line. In many ways, the situation is akin to unexpectedly running into this fierce dragon above (an art piece and favorite "selfie" spot on Regent Seven Seas Cruises' new Seven Seas Splendor).But whenever major cruise lines re-start service and whenever readers are ready to sail in the future, it's great to know that luxurious new ships are out there. Hence, here's part two of our look at that 750-passenger ship.
Two weeks ago, we ran a story about Seven Seas Splendor's new 4,443-square-foot Regent Suite. In this second piece, we provide visuals of other spaces.
Guests enter the Atrium of the new ship on Deck 5 adjacent to the Purser's Desk and the Grand Staircase. From the moment of entry, one has a sense of opulence, attention to detail and space. The ship features more than 46,000 square-feet of Italian marble and a $5 million curated fine art collection.
Check out the magnificent chandelier above. It's the largest of 500 crystal chandeliers on the ship and hangs above the Grand Staircase. It's close to the elevator lobby in the left background of this photo.
Since we were aboard for just a short cruise and it wasn't the typical cruise experience, we've opted to concentrate in this piece on two things – the visual look of some of the new spaces, and also how Seven Seas Splendor differs from its sister Seven Seas Explorer.
What's changed? First, the new ship doesn't have as many dark woods as Seven Seas Explorer. Among the spaces with a light look is the comfortable seating area near the Purser's Desk on Deck 5 (see photo below).
Another change is that the line "reversed" the way the Grand Staircase is positioned. So, instead of walking down the staircase from Deck 5 to Deck 4 and arriving at a space "facing" the elevator bank area, now guests will arrive on Deck 4 and stroll directly into the grand promenade leading to Compass Rose.
Once guests reach that Deck 4 level, they'll find Splendor Lounge off to one side, the Casino on the other, and this pleasant, comfortable seating (shown below) outside those venues along the promenade's edges.
Also, on Deck 5, the Coffee Connection was expanded, and that now leads to Pacific Rim, "an incredible change for the better," emphasizes Frank Del Rio, the president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH), parent company of Regent Seven Seas.
He also says the luxury line has changed "the crazy landing on Deck 5 leading to Pacific Rim." Previously, "if you stepped too quickly off the elevator you fell into the abyss," said Del Rio. Now, that landing is gone.
As with Seven Seas Explorer, though, art is an important décor element. Seven Seas Splendor has a $5 million curated art collection. Shown above is the "mythical dragon" that guards the entrance to Pacific Rim.
Here's a look at the Pacific Rim's interior. For guests dining in this specialty restaurant, Regent Seven Seas Cruises added a significant number of new menu items. We asked the line for a few examples, and here they are:
Another change from Seven Seas Explorer? On Seven Seas Splendor, the line enhanced sightlines for those seated in the theater's upper deck. In the future, look for Regent Seven Seas Cruises to similarly renovate Seven Seas Explorer's theater to incorporate these sightline improvements.
Luxury is in the details. For example, Del Rio and his executives told AvidCruiser.com that Regent Seven Seas Cruises employees spent six hours at the shipyard looking at every aspect of the Penthouse Suite and Concierge Suite mock-ups – evaluating every plug, outlet and light, just to perfect the detail.
As a result, when compared with Seven Seas Explorer, Seven Seas Splendor has more 110V and USB plugs and a dedicated outlet with a higher-grade electric line to power the Tyson Supersonic hairdryer.
In the Penthouse Suite, the closet also was reconfigured and enlarged 50 percent over what it is on Seven Seas Explorer. Now, travelers will find lots more storage and cubbyholes, plus two entrances – from the master bathroom and the living area.
Seven Seas Splendor's Compass Rose Restaurant has sizably updated menus, which the line tells us will be extended to other ships in the fleet as the crews are trained. For example, new Compass Road menu choices include:
The good news for those who like to sail longer cruises or back-to-back sailings? Now the cycle of changing out dishes is longer. So, no nightly menu will be repeated for 28 days, giving guests much more diversity of choices.
The ship also has a slew of more intimate, specialty eateries such as Chartreuse, serving French cuisine; Sette Mari at La Veranda with Italian dishes; and Prime 7, the ship's steakhouse (shown in the photo below).
Between eight and 15 recipes were changed or updated in all specialty restaurants; those changes will "navigate" over to other Regent Seven Seas' ships after crew members on those ships have been re-trained.
There is a small, comfortable bar at Prime 7's entrance with just a few seats, as well as bar stools. The wall art here has an interesting back story. One work in the background is Joan Miró's "The Bullfighter Move."
What's interesting is that the Catalan artist served as a mentor to Spanish artist Eduardo Arranz-Bravo, whose work "Bull" with the light blue hue (in the photo above) is displayed on the bar's adjacent wall.
Another "must see" art piece is behind Prime 7's check-in podium; it's a rare vintage lithograph print, Pablo Picasso's "Le Taureau Noir" (translated, the black bull), shown in the photo below.
While the cuisine at Prime 7 and other specialty restaurants was superb every evening, sometimes guests may desire a more casual experience. One day for lunch, we headed to the pool deck for the seafood buffet (see photos below).
Also new on this ship? The Meridian Lounge (shown in blue and tan décor below) was turned into a mixology bar – with new gin drinks and new recipe drinks with juices and fresh herbs. Guests seem to be loving it, based on what we observed.
Executives told us it will be extended to the rest of the fleet. They're currently mulling over which bar on each ship fits best with the concept.
Seven Seas Splendor also offers a new Culinary Arts Kitchen with 18 stations for hands-on gourmet cooking classes presented by master chef instructors. Photo below by Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
One spot I loved was the ship's Library, totally empty when I visited. It's roomy and well-stocked with rows of books, games and plenty of small seating spaces to curl up with some good reading material – perfect on a couple of days at sea.
I also loved the two humongous jigsaw puzzle tables outside the Meridian Lounge and near the Coffee Café. Here's a look at one of those below. Working on a puzzle proved a great way to meet new people and talk about the day's adventures.
Seven Seas Splendor has 375 all-balcony, all-suite accommodations ranging from 307 to 4,443 square feet, including the balconies, which are among the cruise industry's largest. We stayed in Concierge Suite, #727.
Typically, square footage for this suite category ranges from 415 square feet to 464 square feet. Concierge Suites are located on Decks 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 and 14. Guests who need an "accessible" Concierge Suite should choose 822 or 823.
We loved that the king-sized Elite Slumber bed faced the window; it was also exceptionally comfortable (no, it's not the $200,000 bed in the Regent Suite but the bedding, mattress, pillows and linens were very luxurious). We slept very well.
Guests can choose from a pillow menu. Adjacent to the bed, are the wireless phone, reading lights and outlets for charging techie devices while you sleep.
Across from the bed, along the wall, is a long desk and armoire area (shown above). It features storage drawers, a lighted make-up mirror and plenty of surface space. A curtain can be pulled to section off the bedroom from the living area and outside light.
In that living room area, guests can relax on a comfortable sofa with pillows, and enjoy in-room dining on the round table. See the photo below. We liked the lovely "live" orchid plant, the champagne, two champagne glasses and a bottle of Woodford Reserve waiting for us upon entry into our suite.
Could be improved? I understand that the line probably desired a substantive table that wouldn't move around in case of rough seas, but, for me, I would have preferred something just a tad lighter; it was a bit difficult to maneuver.
Across the living room is a large credenza with a surface-top illy espresso machine, bowl of fresh fruit (replenished daily) and two Regent Seven Seas Cruises reusable water containers for guest use; they're refilled by the line daily and guests can take them home at the end of the cruise.
Within the cabinets, cruisers will find a mini-fridge with a bar set-up (customized for guest preferences), storage shelves and drawers. A large flat-screen monitor for the interactive entertainment system is mounted on the wall above.
Just tell your suite steward about preferences; the refrigerator shown below shows what I found within it – sodas, waters and beers — prior to my personalization.
The Concierge Suite's walk-in closet – located between the bathroom and the bedroom — is long, with plenty of storage space as well as Regent bathrobes and slippers.
The Concierge Suite's elongated bathroom features marble and stone, two sinks, luxurious bath amenities, a walk-in glass shower and large tub. Storage was very good. It included small, multi-tiered glass shelves at the vanity's corners, plus multiple drawers and an under-sink shelf.
All in all, our short cruise was very satisfying and gave us a "taste of the experience." Still, with the line's VIP guests, media and travel partners onboard during our short preview cruise, and programming and meetings designed for those audiences, this isn't meant as a ship review as we might do on a normal cruise. It's just a chance for readers to see some of the photos of luxurious spaces on this new vessel.
In the inaugural 2020 season, the 55,254-gross-ton Seven Seas Splendor was scheduled to sail the Caribbean and Mediterranean, helmed by 30-year veteran Captain Serena Melani with a crew of 542.
That said, earlier this month in response to the global COVID-19 situation, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, parent company of Regent Seven Seas Cruises, announced a voluntary, temporary suspension of global cruising. So, currently, the luxury line is in "holding pattern." No cruises with departures through April 11, 2020, will operate.
Also, because the situation with the COVID-19 response is quite fluid, readers with questions about any upcoming voyages should contact their travel agent or the cruise line. Keep watching here too for updates from Avid Cruiser.
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