I’m sitting on a silk-covered chair in an elegant dining room, named for (and designed around) the color chartreuse. In front of me is a perfect glass of chardonnay from Burgundy and a tarte tatin aux artichauts, the pastry as light as can be, the vegetables topped with a black truffle frangipane. With the fine-tuned, tuxedo-clad waitstaff at the ready, it’s not a stretch to imagine that I’m in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Paris—except outside the window is the Caribbean Sea. And the experience is included in my cruise fare.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises is billing its new, 750-passenger all-suite, all-inclusive Seven Seas Splendor as the “most luxurious” cruise ship in the world. Prices start at around $1,000 per person, per night (including flights, precruise nights at leading hotels, shore excursions, drinks, gratuities, and Wi-Fi).
Here are a few reasons why this ship deserves a spot on your blue-water bucket list.
The decor is stunning
Splendor is home to more than 500 sparkling crystal chandeliers and more than an acre of Italian marble in various hues and forms. Sink your heels into plush carpet, touch buttery leather, silks, and velvets, and admire fine accessories, including Bernardaud porcelain and Versace dishes, all of which are incorporated into the furnishings and decor. As with the best grand hotels, design touches are around every turn.
The suites have 3,000-coil mattresses, 1,000-thread-count linens, and L’Occitane bath products, and most have a deep soaking tub, in addition to a glass waterfall shower, in their marble bathrooms.
The dining and drinks are next level
There is no shortage of options for elevated cuisine and well-mixed cocktails in the ship’s eight restaurants. At Prime 7, you can order a 2.5-pound Maine lobster or a two-pound cluster of King crab legs with drawn butter, and I could have eaten the herb and duck salad at Pacific Rim for days. Caviar is everywhere, including at the caviar breakfast at the La Veranda buffet, and champagne flows endlessly. The waiter serving the caviar seemed disappointed when I didn’t take a glass of bubbly at breakfast. Regent generally will prepare anything you like with 24-hour notice, so if you expect to have a hankering for your mother’s meatloaf, bring the recipe and they’ll prepare it. The Culinary Arts Center offers an array of hands-on cooking classes.
The bar team manages to do both classic drinks and craft cocktails with aplomb. For a break from your basic martini, check out the page of gin creations at the Meridien Lounge, a popular predinner spot. They won me over with the Rose Married cocktail—Beefeater gin married with avocado, basil, mint, tonic, and a big sprig of rosemary.
Impressive artwork abounds
In the marble-clad atrium, you’ll find yourself pausing at such unexpected works as Ouvrez c’est Nous (acquired for $225,000), painted by acclaimed Chilean surrealist Roberto Matta. In the bar at the Prime 7 steakhouse, a painting by Spanish artist Eduardo Arranz-Bravo is cleverly displayed with works by his mentor, Joan Miró—with a Picasso lithograph nearby. A specially commissioned “life-sized” bronze dragon guards the entrance of the pan-Asian restaurant Pacific Rim.
A truly outrageous top suite
Make friends with those in the ultra-luxe Regent Suite, a 4,443-square-foot indoor and outdoor palace, to view their $200,000 horsehair bed handmade by Swedish bed manufacturer Hästens and an original Picasso linocut piece on one wall. Guests here receive unlimited massages delivered in their private black onyx-lined master bathroom and spa. They can luxuriate in their own large outdoor hot tub (where designer amenities from Guerlain, Acqua di Parma, and Bottega Veneta abound). And they can have their butler order up a piano player to entertain on the Steinway grand in the living room. The $11,000 per day price tag (extra for those occupying a second bedroom) includes a car and driver at each port.
The room service is extra special
Sometimes little comforts make an experience over the top. On Splendor, you can order an extravagant private meal served course by course in your suite. Or stare at the sea from your sizeable veranda while you nosh on an Impossible Burger with faux-cheese, shredded lettuce, and special sauce. In either case, your server will lay a white tablecloth. Accompanying your treat with a complimentary bottle of champagne is highly recommended.
The Splendor heads from the Caribbean to the Mediterranean in April and returns to Miami in November for the winter season. It will cruise the Baltic, including Russia, in summer 2021.
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