Regent Seven Seas Splendor Returns to Sailing
The wait is over! We have been waiting so long to get back to cruising, and we were delighted to be invited on board the Seven Seas Splendor cruise ship by Deluxe Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises for a four-night test cruise before she resumed service. Seven Seas Splendor is the first ship in the Regent fleet returning to sailing, and this was a round trip Southampton voyage.
It is a testament to the importance of the safety of crew and guests that Regent Seven Seas Cruises have taken a slower approach to their fleet restart than some other cruise lines. In our opinion, some others have been too adventurous with their return to sailing plans.
|QUICK FACTS: Seven Seas Splendor|
|Operator:||Regent Seven Seas Cruises||Passengers:||754-829|
|Registry:||Marshall Islands||Passenger Space Ratio:||74|
|Builder:||Fincantieri (Trieste, Italy)||Crew to Passeneger Ratio:||1.39|
|Gross Tonnage:||55,498 GRT||Length:||742 ft|
|Berlitz Rating:||5 Stars||Beam:||105 ft|
Regent Seven Seas Splendor sailed from the UK, followed by her sister ship Seven Seas Explorer sailing from Barcelona. The rest of the fleet will follow over the next few months, with the entire fleet back planned to be back in service by February 2022. The ships will initially sail at a reduced capacity, which we understand will be approx 60%. As the situation improves, this will increase gradually to 80% and then to full capacity.
We were unsure what to expect with the new onboard safety protocols and if they affected the overall cruise experience. More on that later.
It was a hot sunny day when we reached the Horizon Cruise Terminal, Gate 10 at Southampton docks, to embark on Regent Seven Seas Splendor.
Boarding was all very slick, considering all the Covid processes involved. We waited 20 minutes for our Covid test results in the socially distanced terminal, and no sooner you vacated your seat, it was disinfected.
Once onboard, we were greeted by the friendly face of Paul Beale, Regent UK Sales Manager, who we had known for a long time, mainly when he worked for Seabourn.
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Our Onboard Experience
Our home for the next few days was Penthouse Suite 800. Very spacious and oozed with class and style. The suite is right at the front of the ship, so it will be interesting to see if we like this location as usually when sailing, we pick a midships, Decks 6,7 or 8 suite.
Seven Seas Splendor has a style of her own, absolutely beautiful and carrying just 750 guests at full capacity. On this test sailing, we estimate there were about 350 guests onboard. One of the nice things that Regent did was to invite some of their most loyal guests to experience this return to sailing; a small number of guests who between them had completed a combined total of over 30,000 days sailing with Regent.
We have always thought these Explorer class ships are a perfect size, with plenty of space and an outstanding crew-to-guest ratio of 1.34.
Having established ourselves onboard, we made our way to lunch. There were two options, Poolside Grill and La Veranda white tablecloth service. We chose La Veranda, where a quick lunch was served to your plate after making your selection from the buffet. No touching tongs or food due to covid restrictions. All very well done. Champagne was served, and other alcoholic drinks were available should you so wish.
Back in our suite Ravi we met Ravi, our butler and Nyoman, our suite attendant. Ravi is from Mumbai, a tall, charismatic Indian who has sailed on Regent for many years. He talked through the pointers of where to eat, where to drink, canapé menus, shoe shining, unpacking our suitcases which we declined and which buttons not to press on the telephone, only his (the 4th one).
All the crew were buzzing, so excited to be back on board and doing the job they love.
It was thirsty work so we decided to visit the Meridian Lounge on Deck 5 to have afternoon tea. A joy to behold, but as we were booked into La Chartreuse later, we held back on all the pastry delights.
Waiting for our Covid Test Results
Our Bedroom Area
Our Lounge/ Sitting Area
There is liitle chance you will go hungry given the wide choice of dining options included in the cruise fare. Our favourite, Chartreuse, is a French fine dining restaurant which you do need to book and the food is refined and beatifully executed. Other speciality options include Pacific Rim, which serves a variety of pan-Asian cuisine and Prime 7, an upmarket steakhouse. Other dining choices include La Veranda and Stete Marie at La Vernada, an Italian themed restaurant and the excellent Pool Grill. Then there is the beautiful main dining room (MDR) Compass Rose. Each restaurant has plenty of tables for two by the windows, and while some tables were not used to facilitate social distancing, they are still fully dressed.
Our dinner in Charteuse was equal to any Michelin starred restaurant, with the chef Pasqual conversing with each set of guests at the end of the evening. On leaving the restaurant, we were presented with a little box of macarons – a lovely touch.
Very rarely do you rave about the crockery on cruise ships, but on Splendor, the attention to detail is sublime – In Chartruese, the design is incredible – full marks to the Regent buying team for the excellent choices. Chartreuse features Bernardaud – manufacturers of Porcelain since 1863 – made in France Ecume design. All the other restaurants had their crockery and cutlery specifically designed to match the atmosphere and flair of each restaurant.
La Veranda Resturant
The Entrance to Pacific Rim Resturant
Public Spaces and Bars
The ship has many stunning bars and lounges where you can relax and have a drink or partake of your favourite tipple. The genuinely magnificent Observation Lounge at the front of the ship, offering staggering views as the ship leaves ports of calls. Coffee Connection is a great place for sitting, chatting and watching the world go by whilst enjoying complimentary coffees prepared by baristas. Other popular venues included the Meridian Lounge, Connoisseur Club, Splendor Lounge and the ever-popular Pool Bar.
Beatiful Public Spaces
The Pool Deck on Seven Ses Splendor
Culinary Arts Kitchen
We were extremely fortunate to book into the Culinary Arts Kitchen on Splendor.
A high-quality learning experience that we did not want to miss. Chef Kathryn Kelly, the Executive Chef for Regent, was our teacher for this class.
We were taught how to make the Perfect Pimms, an easy recipe for Cream Scones and Hendrick’s Salmon Rillettes, all of which we made, then consumed whilst in the kitchen.
We were privileged to see a few of the suites while onboard, which reminded us just how fantastic the accommodation is on Regent regardless of the suite grade.
In particular, we saw the magnificent Regent Suite, a stunning example of the attention to detail Regent takes with the design aspects of the new ships. High atop the ship, the suite measures over 4,000 square feet (1,219.2 meters) and rises above everything else at sea.
Incomparable craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail are evident in everything from the unique design choices, such as rare works of art, to luxurious features like an in-suite spa retreat — a first for any cruise ship. The only thing to rival the luxurious interior is the spectacular ocean views from the 1,300 square foot wraparound balcony.
The Regent Suite on Seven Seas Splendor
Regent Seven Seas Splendor
Always one of the lowlights our any cruise is the disembarkation at the end of the cruise.
Ours was very smooth and easy, with no queues to worry about and we were back in our car in no time at all.
Since the pandemic halted cruising for the last 18 months, this was the first cruise we had taken since the restart, and we were not sure what to expect regarding how new protocols would affect the overall cruise experience. We had nothing to worry about. Regent seemed to have covered all the bases in terms of being covid safe whilst still maintaining the Regent cruise experience.
Our impression of the Regent Seven Seas Splendor is that it is an Ultra Luxury 6-star ship oozing with elegance and style but with less bling than some other cruise lines. The staff are super friendly and cannot do enough for you, and the cuisine is of the highest standard with some of the best restaurants at sea.
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