Cruise travel: Luxury on board Regent Seven Seas Splendor – New Zealand Herald

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Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Spendor. Photo / Supplied

On day 3, I started with a Bloody Mary. A Bloody Mary enjoyed alongside an omelette, a fruit salad, a croissant, and a black coffee, served on a white tablecloth with an uninterrupted view across the ocean. The woman at the table next to me ordered a glass of champagne. I had the best seat in the particular house, but then again, so did she. In this restaurant, every seat is the best seat in the house.

Welcome in order to the Regent Seven Oceans Splendor, the newest and most luxurious of Regent’s fleet – and that is saying something. The Splendor is Regent’s newest ship to sail – launched just last September, she carries 732 guests across 366 suites (every one of them with the balcony and lounge chairs).

I had formed arrived on the Elegance in a bit associated with a state, unwashed plus jetlagged after a 40-hour journey from Auckland. Embarking in Stockholm, I was escorted up to my suite on level 7, where the concierge asked me, ‘Would you like a welcoming glass of champagne sent to your room? ‘ I politely declined – it was the middle of the particular night on my body clock after all.

Dining at La Veranda, aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Spendor. Photo / Supplied
Dining in La Veranda, aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Spendor. Photo or Supplied

But following a moment’s pause – five minutes spent alone in the cool hush of my suite – I realised the error of the ways. We dialled room service: associated with course I’ll have bubbly, thank you. Beginner’s mistake. I clearly had a lot to learn. But by our day 3 Bloody Jane, you could say I had been within the swing of things.

I has been around the Wonders for the 12-night European Splendor itinerary. Starting in Sweden, we would be cruising to Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Belgium, before disembarking in Southampton, England.

Determined to experience it all, I spent my first few days upon a fact-finding mission, exploring every part of the deliver. As I discovered, there truly is some thing for everyone onboard – whether you’d like to attend the scotch and champagne tastings, or learn to line dance. Across 13 days I ate in all five restaurants, drank in the three bars, attended evening shows within the theatre, and lectures during the day. I actually tried space service (a white table cover and silver tray service that I miss terribly), plus the spa, and even took a bath in my collection (an interesting experience on the ship, with the bathwater gently slushing up the sides from the tub left and right).

Chartreuse French restaurant, onboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Spendor. Photo / Supplied
Chartreuse French restaurant, onboard Regent Seven Oceans Cruises’ Spendor. Photo and Supplied

But right after running about frantically, I settled into the rhythm of cruise life. The ship is packed with activities and spaces – but there’s a reassuring rhythm to the particular days that means you really can do and see everything. In the mornings, guests who are leaving the ship for the day gather at their meeting point, and are escorted in order to coaches (or given local maps, if they’re the bit more independent) to explore the particular day’s port. Lunch is a relaxed affair – dress is casual, although there is still bubbly on almost every desk.

The afternoons are filled with onboard activities – sports, quizzes, swimming, or reading in the library. And in the particular evenings, guests emerge refreshed from their own suites within evening wear (yes, there is a dress code, although it’s more relaxed than you might expect), ready for the cocktail before dinner plus a show (or, for that true night owls, perhaps a swing around the dance floor in order to the lounge pianist, a flutter in the casino or a go on the mic at the karaoke bar).

Life aboard the particular Splendor is seamless. The waiter offers more champagne when there’s still two fingers in your glass. Your laundry is whisked away from your area, and returned, perfectly pressed, the next morning wrapped within white tissue paper. If you stand to leave the bar, perhaps for a table reservation elsewhere, don’t become surprised to find the waiter appear at your own elbow with a silver tray, ready in order to carry your drink with regard to you (which is not a bad idea in case you’re wearing heels upon even such a gently rocking ship). As you eat dinner, the propellers kick into action, shuddering to existence without even a vibration, and as a person sleep, you slip through the black waters, and the ship carries you to another port, an additional country, one more adventure.

Maggie Wicks aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Splendor. Photo / Supplied
Maggie Wicks aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Elegance. Photo / Supplied

Getting out and about

Most mornings, we awake in a whole new country – draw your own curtains, plus peer outside to see a port in Germany, Copenhagen, or even the seaside villages associated with northwest Belgium. Here there is history, architecture, food and culture thousands of years in the making. The excursions (which are usually all-inclusive) are varied to suit everyone, from city walks in order to museum tours, to food foraging trips that end in an on-ship cooking class to showcase local cuisine.

In Stockholm, I took a tour of the particular fascinating Vasa museum, which houses the preserved deliver, which sank to the ocean floor hours after beginning its maiden voyage in 1628, and had been recovered in 1961; the next day in Helskinki, We cruised on the harbour plus saw the particular private and public sauna chimneys belching steam almost all throughout the landscape (this country of 5. 5 million has 3. five million saunas); in Estonia, a walking tour associated with the 13th century old city taught us regarding Tallinn’s dark history with the KGB, who murdered more than 50, 000 Estonians, plus took us to the pharmacy that will has been open since the 1400s. In Latvia, a Jewish history tour taught all of us the terrible story of what happened to Riga’s Jewish population during WWII. And in Copenhagen I hopped on a bicycle for a bike lane trip of what has been rated as the best biking town in the world.

These tours were enriching, educational and incredibly worthwhile. Although visiting a city only for a few hours gives a person a taste of the place, being led by nearby guides offered an insight all of us could not have gained through days invested travelling by yourself. This part of the world is a fascinating place to visit right now, with centuries of land disputes, changing ownership and alliances, and now a war that borders many associated with the countries on our itinerary. Finland was component of Russia until 1917, and part of Sweden before that. Estonia was once owned by Denmark; today 25 per cent of the population is Russian. The war in Ukraine, membership to Nato, and what might happen next were conversations within each country we went to.

A superior suite aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Spendor. Photo / Supplied
A superior suite aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Spendor. Photo / Supplied

Making friends

It was on these excursions that I made my onboard friends – the small tour sizes allow groups to mix and mingle easily, and after taking just a few, I found myself with dinner invitations plus offers to join pub quiz and paddle tennis teams. I also met the couple who were to become my best cruise friends – Sharon and Leslie.

Sharon and Leslie are excellent cruisers, and they took me under their wing, determined to teach me the ways of the particular cruise. They have been cruising together for seven years – they were upon a cruise ship off the coast of Australia when the pandemic began, and had in order to gun it for the mainland in order to get back home to Hawaii. After this trip, they are booked in order to fly down to Puerto Rico to hop on a cruise to Antarctica via the particular Falkland Islands, and in 2024 they may be booked to visit New Zealand.

The theatre aboard Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Spendor. Photo / Supplied
The theatre on Regent 7 Seas Cruises’ Spendor. Picture / Provided

First lesson: learn the in-jokes

“You eat till you’re tired, and you sleep till you’re hungry. ” This adage comes from Leslie, an avid cruiser who doesn’t look like she’s ever seen a buffet in her life (don’t be fooled – I saw the girl eat two pasta mains for supper once, plus she had a very soft spot for dessert).

And yes, there certainly is food to eat – an abundance of it. But it’s more than possible to consume very healthily – build your own salads for lunch, add some grilled prawns, and associated with course a glass of champagne. There are fresh tropical fruits at breakfast, seeds and nuts, smoked salmon and yoghurts. Or go the whole hog with a full English with a bloody Mary every morning – anything goes.

In the restaurants in the evening, the portions are dainty enough to allow for a five-course meal easily enough – perhaps a soup, then a salad, the small pasta dish, followed by the lamb rack and dessert. It sounds excessive, but life aboard the Splendor is more for gastronomes than gluttons.

Another in-joke to stow away? “I’ll buy you a drink. ” What sets Regent apart from the competition is that aboard its ships, everything is included – that means all drinks, food (including the speciality French, Italian plus steakhouse restaurants), Wi-Fi, shore excursions, your mini bar, room service, valet laundry, and even the particular service tips at the end of your own trip. So cruisers love this joke – it never gets old as well as I had busted this out a couple of times by the end of the trip.

So , despite no one buying anything, what is on the drinks menu? The options are as vast as the particular food – from breakfast Bloody Marys to a different range of wines in each restaurant, to your 4pm martini and then cocktails almost all night – order off the menu, or ask the bartender to make you whatever a person fancy.

Cocktails on Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Spendor. Photo / Supplied
Cocktails on Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Spendor. Photo / Supplied

Second cruise lesson: ask for what you want

Service aboard Regent’s six-star ships is exceptional, and your experience will be indulgent and luxurious even if you wander room to room just enjoying what is offered to you on a tray by a passing waiter. But once you figure out what you need, cruising life hits a whole new level.

Did you enjoy a particular wine at dinner? Then request a bottle to be sent to your own room. Do you want the particular Fever-Tree over the Schweppes? Have the bottle brought to the bar where you’re ordering your G& T. When Sharon discovered that will Luxardo maraschino cherries were stocked in one part of the ship, she requested those cherries within her Manhattans from after that on – no matter which pub she was in. After Leslie commented to a staff member that the girl couldn’t find peanut butter cookies upon the ship, four freshly baked peanut butter cookies were delivered to her room every day from then on. After meeting Sharon and Leslie, I had all the mainstream lagers in my mini fridge swapped out for American craft ales that are tricky to find in New Zealand and had almost all my suitcase-crushed evening outfits pressed.

La Veranda onboard the Regent Seven Seas Cruises' Spendor. Photo / Supplied
La Veranda onboard the Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ Spendor. Photo / Supplied

Sound like difficult customers to you? They were within fact the opposite. These confident forthright Americans were the particular friendliest, loveliest people on the ship. They knew all their servers by name, they chatted with everyone – and these people knew exactly what they will wanted, and so they got it.

On my final night aboard the Splendor, I joined Sharon for dinner at the Compass Rose – the restaurant that had come to be our favourite. I ate Ecuadorian ceviche with toasted maize, rare steak along with green pepper sauce, and chocolate mousse with caramel for dessert. When I retired to my room for the particular night, We found my fruit bowl refreshed, the bed turned down, my refrigerator restocked plus my laundry returned – even our socks were perfectly pressed. Yes, the transition back to real life has been tough.

But of all my cruise lessons, perhaps the particular best has been to simply be involved. Book the excursions, hop onboard, then lean in, say hello and make some friends. Who knows? They might even buy you a drink.


Regent 7 Seas Cruises’ Northern Europe itineraries on Splendor sail from April to September, on 12-night voyages. rssc. com

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