With interiors even the chicest of boutique hotels would covet, Regent Seven Seas’ new luxury cruise ship is having a design moment.
“I’m ruined for all other cruises.” That’s what veteran cruisers told me after I boarded the Regent Seven Seas Explorer for my inaugural excursion on what basically equates to stepping onto a high-end resort at sea. The first ship built by the brand in 13 years, Seven Seas Explorer cost $450 million to bring to fruition, and heaven only knows how much went into its impeccable interiors. Champagne in hand, I pad down the hallway in my heels on the midnight-blue plush carpet to stay in my first-ever stateroom at sea. Inside, the Italian Carrara marble-filled bathroom with Kohler fixtures is the first wow moment I encounter, followed by an exquisite walk-in closet, custom Elite Slumber beds covered in European linens and a duvet, a posh sitting area with a velvet banquette, and my own private balcony so spacious it contains two full chaise lounges.
After the porter puts my bag down and sets up the suite—there’s a 1 to 1.36 guest-to-staff ratio on board for 375 suites—I venture back out on the ship to find the top deck. Along the way, I move through sharply outfitted art deco-inspired lounge areas with octagonal coffered ceilings, Gatsby-esque love seats with deep cushions, mahogany coffee tables with brass trim, and high-design graphic carpeting. In the Observation Lounge, there are brass palm-leaf lattice screens dividing private sitting nooks, geometric mirrors and dramatic sconces that work together to recall the glam of the Roaring ’20s. I move on to find in the lobby that a grand double staircase is only overshadowed by a chandelier with 6,000 individual and handplaced octagon crystal pieces hanging 13 feet from the rafters. Everywhere I turn, there’s posh elegance and crushworthy furnishings.
This aesthetic is owed to the ship’s three main designers: world-renowned architectural and interior design ÿrms Tillberg Design
(tillbergdesign.com), ICRAVE (icrave.com) and CallisonRTKL (callisonrtkl.com). The latter is responsible for the haute design of Paciÿc Rim, one of ÿve dining options on the Explorer and a new concept created by Regent Seven Seas. While the Pan-Asian cuisine is beautifully executed and delicious (miso black cod wrapped in hoba leaf is a must-try), it’s the decor that has me captivated. A Tibetan prayer wheel and palatial doors that recall an Asian temple greet you at the entrance. Iridescent crystalline matrix stones and ˜ai wood carvings are subtle but impactful accents. “From Japanese to Thai, we fused [cultural] details to create a unique blend of styles, much the same way the chefs have fused the vast array of delightful cuisine from Asia,” says Greg Walton of Studio DADO Inc., who designed the space while at CallisonRTKL. The overall effect is serene and stunning.
Once back in the hallways, I find myself continuing to stop and gush over the paintings peppering the walls. I soon discover that president and CEO of Regent Seven Seas, Frank Del Rio, and his wife, Marcia, handpicked all of the artwork aboard the Seven Seas Explorer and chose the location on the ship. I can only speculate that this vast undertaking must have been a pure labor of love. Perhaps the Del Rios went to all that trouble because it’s Regent Seven Seas’ 25th anniversary or because it’s the company’s first ship built in more than a decade. Whatever the reason, the personal touch is only one of the many I encounter on board the splendid ship throughout my stay. From 24-hour room service (such as indulging in a delightful ham-and-cheese omelet craving at 3 a.m. thanks to time-zone shifts) to staff hunting down blue cheese to put in my olives for a martini to a private yoga session on the stern overlooking the waves with a Canyon Ranch ÿtness instructor, as a newbie cruiser—and design enthusiast—I may indeed be ruined for all other cruises. From $7,399 per guest, based on double occupancy, all-inclusive, rssc.com