Imagine wafting down a marble-lined hall, to a restaurant dripping with hand-blown Murano glass – before raising your champagne in Versace stemware for a toast.
Sounds alright doesn’t it? Well that’s what cruisers can expect when they join the newly launched Regent Seven Seas Explorer, which makes its maiden voyage on July 20.
Dubbed as the ‘most luxurious ship ever built’, at a whopping cost of $450 million, it takes 750 passengers and boasts one of the highest space ratios and lowest guest to cruise ratios in the history of cruising.
Adam Coulter, UK editor for Cruise Critic, says: “Key features include a main theatre, which will host a variety of activities, from cooking classes in the morning to concert recitals and theatrical performances at night. It will also host Regent’s first culinary centre, designed to mirror the world-renowned cooking schools of France.”
Here are Cruise Critics pick of some of the most luxurious cruise liners currently at sea.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Mariner
With an impressive passenger to crew ratio of 700 to 445, this was the industry’s first all-suite, all-balcony ship when it was launched in 2001.
Cruise Critic says: “The ship offers a flexible choice of accommodations that range from 252 to 1,204 square feet, many with concierge-style amenities (think priority access to shore excursions and dining reservations, 15 minutes of complimentary ship-to-shore phone calls and an hour of free Internet access).
“Penthouse suites and higher benefit from the services of a personal butler, upgraded bath amenities (Hermes instead of L'Occitane), an in-suite iPad and an iPod docking station.”
On top of all that, the all-inclusive fair means just that: all meals, drinks, mini-bar, room service, onboard activities and unlimited excursions are thrown in.
The Spa at Seabourn is the big draw here – it spans two floors and features a spa pool and therapeutic loungers – as well as bookable Spa Villas for a day’s relaxation. It has a passenger to crew ratio of 450 to 330 and is the largest ship at sea to boast a retractable aft marina.
Cruise Critic says: “A swimming platform surrounds a wire ‘basket’ that's lowered into the water to keep the fish out of your ‘pool’. It's a worry-free way to enjoy a swim in the waters of the Mediterranean, Caribbean or wherever Quest has anchored during your vacation. A variety of personal watercraft is also available on marina days.
Also expect to be welcomed to your suite by an all-female team of stewardesses, who’ll proffer champagne and canapés, while they run you a bath and let you choose your designer soap.
Silversea Cruises' Silver Spirit
The newest and poshest of Silversea’s fleet, this little beauty launched in 2009 and sets the bar for personalised service. It has a passenger to crew ratio of 540 to 376.
Cruise Critic says: “The crew is incredibly friendly and intuitive. They seemingly know what you want when the very thought has only barely crossed your mind. This is especially evident in the lounges, where the bartenders quickly memorize your drink preferences and always have your favourites, along with a few savoury treats, waiting for you.”
The ship’s true claim to fame is its army of butlers who serve the 270 oceanview rooms.
“These gentlemen are a cross between a cabin steward and concierge, and they can handle tasks from shuffling reservations and delivering room service meals to planning shore excursions.”
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