Oliver Broad
Screenshot 2021-10-07 at 12.04.05

Review: Regent Seven Seas Splendor

7.10.21 | Oliver

I have to be honest; cruise holidays have never appealed to me. I experience terrible motion sickness even in a car so the thought of being at sea did concern me a little. However, I knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime invite when Regent Seven Seas called, plus I was intrigued to see how the cruise lines are coping post-covid and maybe it was the perfect time to face those fears.

Splendor had a frustrating first year of sailings starting in February 2020. From Rome she sailed over the Atlantic for her spectacular naming ceremony in Miami watched by over 35,000 online viewers! Sadly, this brand new 6* ship, the 2nd Explorer Class from Regent only made it as far as San Diego before offloading as the pandemic suddenly hit.

Fast forward 18 months and the enthusiasm from the crew and team onboard is infectious as we stepped onboard for the 2nd attempt of her inaugural season. Our journey would take us from Southampton to Portland and onto Falmouth for a short 4-night UK tester sailing.

At just under 55,000 tonnes with only 750 passengers and 375 suites, Splendor is considered one of the most luxurious cruise ships in the world offering unrivalled space at sea. The ship boasts a 73.9 to 1 space to guest ratio compared with 41 to 1 on a typical premium ship carrying around 3,000 passengers, very important in a post-covid world.

My expectations were high having sat through many Regent training sessions and arranged several of their cruises already. Splendor is the sister ship to Explorer, made famous from the TV documentary ‘Building the World’s Most Expensive Cruise Ship’. Everything is included with Regent: flights, transfers, all food & drink (including speciality restaurants), unlimited shore excursions, gratuities, WiFi and now even laundry!

No expense has been spared on Splendor with something sparkling at every turn (there are 216 crystal  chandeliers onboard!).  Whilst the ship oozed luxurious opulence, carefully designed by Tilberg Design of Sweden, it was presented in a sophisticated and intellectual way with a glamorous, not garish flavour and a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere.

There are no formal nights or demands to wear ball gowns and tuxedos onboard Regent’s ship, something many would be surprised about. The dress code is ‘Casually Elegant’, so you can always be at ease onboard.

Unlike the larger ships, cabins onboard Regent are all suites and start from 307 square-feet up to the huge 4,443 square-foot Regent Suite which I was lucky enough to see whilst onboard and features a 2nd guest room and private outdoor deck jacuzzi!

All suites come with their own balcony as a minimum. They are decorated in soft tones with classic lines, modern, fresh touches and sumptuous bed linens and furniture making it extremely comfortable. The entry-level suite is equivalent to two-cabin upgrades/sizes up from the smallest cabin onboard larger ships and so even with the lowest priced option, you are already experiencing an enhanced experience.

Our jaws dropped to the floor when we found our Splendour Suite with its own living room, triple length balcony, separate (huge) bedroom and a bathroom larger than some city centre apartments. The jacuzzi bath was a real treat and this was certainly one of the most luxurious experiences I had ever had anywhere around the world!

The $5m art collection really stood out for me. Original works adorn the corridors, lounges and restaurants by Picasso, Joan Miro and Eduardo Arranz-Bravo to name a few (you can enjoy expert-led onboard tour to learn more).

You could enjoy six meals a day if you wished: breakfast, morning coffee and cake, lunch, afternoon tea, pre-dinner canapés and dinner…and maybe a midnight desert too!  Our first night onboard was the tail end of a mini heat wave in the south of England, we hadn’t made diner reservations and I was determined to enjoy the sunsetting as we set sail from Southampton.

My request for an outdoor table at the Italian restaurant Sette Mari was not only granted, but we ended up with the best seat in the house privately overlooking the rear of the ship to watch the sunset. We had only been onboard a few hours but already were made to feel very special indeed.

Meals were also taken in Prime 7 (steaks and other American inspired dishes), Compass Rose which has a fun build your own menu and unique chef’s specials accompanies by personable, light-hearted yet attentive service.

On our final night we dined in Pacific Rim, definitely THE talk of the ship.We enjoyed soft shell crab tempura and signature curries whilst casually mentioning it was our wedding anniversary weekend. By the end of the meal, we were presented with a personalised desert from the restaurant team. This Asian-fusion restaurant would give any of the top Michelin star locations around the world a run for their money.

It is difficult to describe just how attentive, personable and impressive the service was onboard. Each crew member is encouraged to let their personalities shine through and this really helped enhance our experience whilst not compromising on luxury service.

Wine was always paired perfectly by the onboard sommeliers and when something didn’t take your fancy a little hint of what you may prefer was immediately considered. Within minutes a perfect suggestion appeared, on this occasion it was a glass of Saint-Fleurin Mâcon-Villages.

Entertainment takes the form of a nightly west-end style show created by the onboard team, live music in two of the bars and special events. We enjoyed sampling the cocktail list in the Meridian Lounge whilst making new friends, sharing stories about travel, cruise ships and the service onboard – which was one of the top talking points amongst guests.

Other activities you can enjoy include the beautiful pool deck with large pool, Jacuzzis, plenty of oversize’s cabanas to relax under the sun along with a jogging track, fitness centre, spa, casino, boutiques and of course plenty and plenty of space to sit back and watch the scenery go by.

One of the most unique activities I took part in was the Culinary Arts Kitchen. I’m not exactly confident in the kitchen but this was a great opportunity to spend time with Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly along with 17 of my fellow passengers as we watched and learnt how to make some quintessentially British dishes. This purpose-built teaching kitchen was the perfect place to learn a few new skills and it was an original take on the traditional cooking class, and I must say my English Scones were tasty too!

If like me, you are wondering about the environmental impact of cruise ships I was pleased to hear about some interesting initiatives Regent’s owners have been investing in. These include turning food waste into fish food and installing power facilities in ports so the ships can turn off their engines and reduce carbon emissions.

After our return to Southampton the ship welcomed its first paying passengers and set sail for the Mediterranean. Splendor will then cross the Atlantic for Miami in November where she is based for the winter for Caribbean, Mexico, and South America cruises. Next year Splendour will return to Europe in April.

This really was a trip where I stepped out of my comfort zone. Cruises and cooking classes were last on my travel ‘To Do’ list however I took the leap, and the feeling of achievement, satisfaction and overall enjoyment outweighs any fear and worries I previously had. There are certainly huge benefits to seeing the world by cruise ship as you can see a lot in a small period in comfort, familiarity and with good company.

As for the motion sickness concerns, this was quickly combated with a daily dose of medication, and you quickly realise how stable these modern ships are – at the end of the day they want you to enjoy your time onboard and I most certainly did.

I sailed onboard Regent Seven Seas Splendour on 4th September 2021 for 4 nights to Devon and Cornwall.

To book your Regent Seven Seas cruise call RB Collection on 01543 258631. Nathan and Oliver have both now stepped onboard their ships.