It's billed as the most luxurious ship ever built and there's a sense of grandeur from the sweeping staircase and massive chandelier hovering above the reception desk as soon as you step on board. The Seven Seas Explorer was officially launched by HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco in Monte Carlo in July at a glamorous event featuring a special performance by Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli. It's been crisscrossing the Mediterranean ever since.
Measuring 223 metres, the Explorer is not the biggest ship in the cruise industry but the vessel has one of the highest space-to-guest ratios and a commitment to personal service with 552 crew members on board catering for 750 guests.
"**Seven Seas Explorer is not only the world's most luxurious ship - she sets a new benchmark for luxury vacations," says Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of the parent Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
There's a shiny Art Deco feel to the interiors with geometric marble floors, mirrored walls and chunky light fittings in restaurants and public areas. The ship boasts 473 crystal chandeliers, more than 4,000 square metres of marble throughout its 375 guest suites and 2,200 artworks, including masterpieces by Picasso and Chagall.
All the cabins are actually suites with a separate lounge area and interactive TV. Each has a spacious walk-in wardrobe, a bath and a separate shower and a private balcony.
The largest and most opulent suite is the Regent Suite. It spans most of the top floor, more than 360 square metres, comes with its own in-suite spa, a personal butler, and a wraparound balcony offering spectacular views across the Mediterranean. The Savoir bed in the master bedroom alone cost a staggering $190,000.
Six restaurants offer a range of fine dining from classic French cuisine including escargots à la Bourguignonne to coquilles Saint Jacques at Chartreuse to Asian specialities such as Korean-style barbecue lamb chops and curried seafood laksa at the Pacific Rim restaurant.
A rare feature on the ship is the culinary kitchen where individual cooking stations give passengers the chance to prepare recipes from each country they visit. Guests can also choose a gourmet food tour when they go ashore including a stop at two-star Michelin restaurant Abac in Barcelona.
Jason Montague, president and COO, Prestige Cruise Holdings, Inc. "Our guests have waited patiently for more than a decade for a new Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship, and once they sail Seven Seas Explorer I'm confident they will agree it was well worth the wait."