Regent’s 750-passenger Seven Seas Splendor, a sister to the highly acclaimed Seven Seas Explorer, was launched in February 2020. Supermodel Christie Brinkley named the ship in Miami – a fittingly glamorous godmother to this sensationally beautiful ship, dubbed by Regent Seven Seas Cruises as ‘luxury perfected’.
The 55,254-ton Seven Seas Splendor in many ways mirrors its sister, but feels lighter, more airy and more contemporary. Although there’s a breathtaking 4,000m2 of Italian marble in the design, and in the restaurants alone, some 216 chandeliers throw soft, sparkling light, there’s less use of dark wood, especially in the cabins. The stunningly beautiful Atrium has been redesigned, too. The main staircase has been turned around, encouraging the dramatic entrance as you sweep down the stairs under a glittering chandelier and follow an inlaid marble path to the main restaurant, Compass Rose.
There’s a real sense of space, with no waiting in line for anything, no crowds and service so attentive it’s almost intuitive. Regent’s ‘all-inclusive’ promise really does deliver; as well as flights, gratuities and a wide choice of drinks, you’ll enjoy all dining, speciality coffee, unlimited wifi, a stocked minibar, excursions in every port and access to the ship’s gorgeous thermal suite in the spa. In theory, you really could enjoy the last word in luxury for your entire cruise – and come away with a bill of zero.
Where to sleep
There are 10 categories of cabin, from the most modest – and we use that word lightly – 28 sq m Verandah suites to the palatial Regent Suite, which comes complete with its own spa, vast wraparound deck, Steinway grand piano, $200,000 bed and to cap it off, an original Picasso.
All the cabins feel more like luxurious hotel rooms than ship cabins, done out in soothing neutrals of taupe, cream, pale gold and silver, with pops of colour (we love the rich emerald touches in the Grand Suite), marble lined bathrooms and deep balconies. Of the lower end categories, the Superior and Concierge suites are all the lovelier as the incredibly comfortable bed faces the balcony, so you can laze in the morning with tea in bed and gaze out at the ocean.
Where to eat
Seven Seas Splendor has seven restaurants, with no supplementary charges. Compass Rose, the main dining room, is absolutely beautiful, in elegant shades of cream and filled with light. The menu here is extensive, and vegetarians will be thrilled to discover the new plant-based dishes.
La Veranda, the casual option, is light-filled and elegant, with a feeling more of a high-end waterfront restaurant than any suggestion of a buffet. In the evenings, this transforms to Setti Mari at La Veranda, with dining inside or under the stars, offering Italian classics with a contemporary twist.
Speciality restaurants include Regent’s signature Prime 7 for steak and seafood; ask for a table for two by the window if you can – and don’t forget to check out the original Miro on the wall. Chartreuse offers high-end French classics. Pacific Rim is a real showstopper, bigger than the version on Seven Seas Explorer, a vast metal dragon guarding the entrance. The pan-Asian menu here has been refined but includes many classics, from Thai curry to exceptional duck spring rolls. Finish with the matcha white chocolate ice cream and the mango Thai basil sorbet.
The Pool Grill takes poolside dining up a notch, with everything from fresh sea bass to shrimp brochettes and truffle beef burgers on offer, all prepared to order. A display of Sicilian cannoli (pastry tubes stuffed with sweetened ricotta) proved irresistible.
Coffee Connection, the speciality coffee shop, is an improvement on the version on Seven Seas Explorer as outside seating has been added, which is a lovely touch on a sunny morning in the Mediterranean.
Finally, if you’ve booked the Regent Suite, there’s a secret dining room, The Study, between Chartreuse and Prime 7, for guests who really want to entertain in style.
What to do
Days at sea can either drift by in a sleepy haze one one of the huge circular loungers overlooking the pool – or be packed with activity. There’s bocce, paddle tennis, putting, golf nets and a well-equipped gym for the active, as well as a card room and a peaceful library. On deck 4, the Serene Spa and Wellness has a soothing thermal suite with saunas and steam, and outside on the aft deck, an infinity edge pool.
The Culinary Arts Kitchen, the cookery school on board, is a lot of fun, with 18 cooking stations and 16 new classes added to the list teaching participants about the cuisine of anywhere from Cuba to the Mediterranean and the Aegean.
Evenings kick off with cocktails at the elegant Meridian Lounge, where there’s a new cocktail menu, or sundowners in the Observation Lounge, with sweeping views. Some of the new cocktails are decidedly exotic, with fresh herbs and botanicals to accompany premium brand spirits.
This isn’t a ship for wild nightlife, although the glamorous casino sees some action and the bars are always busy for a nightcap as people drift out of the plush Constellation Theatre.
What we like
Regent has almost completely done away with bottled water, instead offering every guest a flask that can be refilled at the Vero water systems dotted around. Stateroom attendants also leave fresh water in the cabins every day and evening. The line should eliminate some two million plastic bottles this way – and is in talks with L’Occitane and Bulgari to create reusable containers for the luxurious toiletries in the bathrooms, too.
The included tours are good, too, imaginative and in some cases, pleasingly energetic. From Livorno, we did an excellent cycling tour around medieval Lucca, gorgeous in the early spring.
Don’t miss the lunchtime seafood buffet in the Compass Rose – and get there early to photograph the mouthwatering displays, which are true works of art, from ice sculptures to mouth-watering presentations of lobster, crab and prawns, and beautiful cakes and macaroon towers for dessert.
Go for dinner in Setti Mari at La Veranda and bag one of the over-water alcove tables, one of the new features on this ship. Corner tables have uninterrupted sea views on two sides; it doesn’t get much more romantic than this.