Follow me aboard the beautiful Regent Seven Seas Splendor for one of its inaugural season voyages. My husband and I booked this 14 day Caribbean cruise over a year ago, and after Covid restrictions eased, we finally sailed on this small luxury ship. The fabulous crew, food and weather couldn’t have been better.
What made this two week cruise appealing to us was the fact that we would be sailing on both our 42 anniversary as well as Valentine’s Day with two other couples. Leaving from the port of Miami, just a 3 hour drive from our home meant that we didn’t have to fly. It was nice to finally have travel plans to look forward to and before we knew it the year had passed and it was time for our cruise.
The Splendor is the sister ship to the Explorer, called “the most luxurious cruise ship ever built” which we sailed on in the fall of 2018 from England to Spain. Regent’s newest small luxury cruise ship is very similar but has a little lighter and brighter contemporary design compared to the more traditional dark wood interior of the Explorer.
A week before we left, we all received an offer to upgrade our Concierge suites to Splendor suites for a price we just couldn’t refuse. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity as the ship normally carries 732 passengers but was sailing with only 432 passengers because of cancellations over Covid concerns.
Click on any photo to enlarge and see a slide show
The small yet very spacious ship truly is splendid. Our newly chosen suite was amazing and perfect for entertaining our friends. It had a living and dining space with a fully stocked bar and a separate bedroom with a kingsize bed. There was a walk-in closet, a marble and stone master bath with dual sinks, a walk in rain shower, a jacuzzi bathtub and a private toilet. There was also an additional half bath off the foyer.
As if that wasn’t enough, we had a personal butler. Saurabh was so kind and couldn’t do enough for us. He stopped by everyday restocking the bar and fresh fruit, offered daily canapés whenever we wanted, delivered a caviar tasting that we enjoyed on our balcony and made dinner reservations in the specialty restaurants for us. On our anniversary, Saurabh decorated the suite with a ceiling full of balloons and personally arranged a wonderful cocktail hour with canapés and champagne on our balcony with our friends. He had also ordered a special cake for the six of us to enjoy after our anniversary dinner. When we returned to our suite, he had created towel swans and adorned our bed with rose petals. Life was sweet.
The cruise did me a world of good and each day’s hardest decision was where to go for dinner as the ship has eight different restaurants to choose from. There are three specialty restaurants, Chartreuse (French), Prime 7 (American Steakhouse) and Pacific Rim (Asian), where a large dragon guards the entrance and is probably the most photographed spot on the ship. There’s also the main dining room, Compass Rose, La Veranda which converts to Setti Mari (Italian) in the evening, with indoor and outdoor seating at the ship’s stern, the Pool Grill for al fresco casual dining, as well as The Coffee Connection cafe for specialty coffees and pastries. We could dine in each of the specialty restaurants at least once and in the other restaurants as often as we liked. Since the ship wasn’t full, our butler was able to get us reservations in the specialty restaurants several times.
We had a table for 6 each evening and all agreed that our favourite was Chartreuse, which is the French fine dining restaurant. My husband and I felt the food was exquisite, beautifully presented and was equal to some of the Michelin starred restaurants we have been to in Europe. No matter where we ate, the food was delicious and the service was excellent. Every detail was designed specifically for each restaurant with luxury dinnerware, such as the Bernardaud and Versace plates, at the tables.
The Splendor has several bars and lounges where you can relax with a cocktail before or after dinner. There’s the Observation Lounge at the front of the ship, offering beautiful sunset views, the Meridian Lounge with its signature craft cocktails, the Splendor Lounge, the Connoisseur Club Lounge for smokers and the outdoor Pool Bar.
Cruising with our friends was never boring, especially on our four sea days. During the day, you could relax by the pool and enjoy the sun, read a book from the well stocked library or take a nap on one of the day beds. If you wanted to be more active, there was a mini golf course, pickle ball and bocci courts, a full service spa with an infinity pool and a sauna, shops and cooking demonstrations in the culinary arts kitchen. There was a full program of organized activities available each day including bridge, poker and blackjack competitions, craft activities, caviar and wine tastings. After dinner, there was entertainment in the Constellation Theater, live music in the lounges or you could try your luck in the casino. After a tour at each of the 10 islands we visited, we would return to the ship for lunch and spend a relaxing, breezy afternoon out on the pool deck.
We love sailing on Regent Seven Seas because it is all inclusive. Our fare included all meals and shipboard entertainment, all drinks including wines and spirits, shore excursions, unlimited internet, gratuities for the crew, a pre-cruise hotel stay in Miami and transfers to the port. The only money sent onboard was for a purchase in the boutique.
After the pandemic halted cruising for 18 months, we weren’t sure what to expect on how the strict Covid protocols would affect our overall experience on the Splendor but we shouldn’t have worried. Everyone boarding the ship had to be fully vaccinated and pass a Covid test at the port of Miami. Masks were required in all public areas of the ship, except for the pool deck or when sitting at a table eating or drinking, where we spent most of our time. We all felt totally safe and are so glad we made the cruise. From the sail away party on the pool deck to our last evening, we had a wonderful time cruising with our friends.
I hope one day that you get to splurge and enjoy the spectacular experience Regent’s Splendor offers. Regent will spoil you with their lovely balconied suites, the friendly crew who can’t do enough for you and delicious food served throughout the ship. After our memorable two week anniversary cruise, I would say that the Splendor is one of the loveliest cruise ships imaginable.