Compare Luxury Over 50 Cruise Ships
Tully says Seven Seas Explorer’s layout has “a very nice flow,” meaning that there are plenty of small private spaces to find a comfortable chair and catch up on email or sort photos on your tablet. Outside, she says, there is no shortage of deck chairs for those of you who like the sun, and “you never feel crowded.”
If you have concerns about staying in touch while on a cruise, Tully (above) says, “WiFi was excellent. Everyone was on WiFi and it was amazing. The bandwidth is exceptional.”
The ship is mainly no-smoking, although there is a cigar lounge and Tully noted for smokers, there is an enclosed dome near the pool so they can conveniently grab a hit without impacting other guests.
Regent offers free unlimited shore excursions. In this case, she said for some ports they work, but in others not so much. She says in about half of ports she will organize private tours for her customers so they can maximize the time they spend doing what they want as well as getting a more personalized experience as opposed to following a group. That said, it means on Regent you are subsidizing the tours for everyone else.
Tully lauds the variety and quality of dining as “outstanding,” as well as the Canyon Ranch Spa and the interactive onboard cooking school (More details on all of these below).
Luxury cruise lines very much want to attract the 30 to 50 year old customer, and to that end, she thinks Seven Seas Explorer is a good choice if you fit into that category by birth or mindset. “It’s like going from place to place in a Four Seasons (hotel).” There are extensive fitness facilities, a lap pool and even handball courts, so you can be as active as you are on land.
The drawback Tully says is the ship is still working through service issues as the crew gets its rhythm. “I would give it two or three months,” she told DGAE. At the same time, she notes there are some of us who like to be first and understand it takes times to get the kinks out.
The wide variety of cabin types (all are called suites, although the lower categories don’t have truly separate living and bedroom areas), means a number of interesting options, according to Tully.
And while modern cruise ships have state-of-the-art stabilization, she says cabin choice is particularly important. Midship tends to be the smoothest ride. There are also very nice suites, not necessarily the most expensive, but top notch, and large enough so you will be comfortable in your cabin. Lastly, she says, while Deck 10 has some excellent suites, for customers who are noise sensitive, it is right below the pool deck, and you may hear footsteps as well as the crew moving chairs early in the morning.
At 3,026 sq. ft. of interior space and $10,000 per night, the 2-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom Regent Suite is designed to be competitive with top hotel suites around the world, and by all reports it is.
There are two Picasso lithographs personally picked by the company chairman. There is a $250,000 Steinway grand piano designed by Dakota Jackson, and a $90,000 Savoir No. 1 bed that reportedly cost $60,000 to install.
You get a private car and driver in each port, something that could easily run over $1,000 per day, and you get unlimited Canyon Ranch treatments, including in your suite if you prefer. Tully says, there is a post treatment area in your suite, with specialized shower, and an ocean-view hot tub (see video in the Overview). There are also full bottles of top shelf liquor complimentary, and unlimited free laundry and dry cleaning, and of course as with all guests, all dining throughout the ship is included.
The suite has a 1,417 sq. ft. wraparound balcony on Deck 14 at the front of the ship (three decks above the bridge), so when you come into port, you have the best views in the house. Adding it all together, I would rate the suite an excellent value when I compared it to the top suites at the top hotels in many of the ports you will be visiting.
Tully says the suite is great for entertaining, as well as for those of you who want to enjoy the vacation in privacy. There are 10 additional suites on Deck 14, and Tully sees selling it as a nice area to “takeover” if you want to travel with friends and family in close proximately, in essence creating an entire deck dedicated to your group. As with the Master and Grand Suites (below), you are guaranteed a reservation at the restaurant of your choice each night. There are three walk-in closets and two personal safes. You can also have room service from any of the fine dining restaurants, and you have butler service, something included in the higher category suites.
There are four 2-bedroom Master Suites at the stern of Decks 8 and 9. Size of each ranges 1,064-1,114 sq. ft. and wraparound balcony size ranges from 831-994 sq. ft. There is a large living room, separate dining area for four and a bar with stools. Again, you can have room service from any restaurant during their service hours, in addition to the regular 24-hour menu. There are two full marble and stone detailed bathrooms.
Tully says the Master and Grand (below) are good choices for those customers who want to be able to entertain, or would like their suite to be the gathering places for their group. The location in the stern also provides excellent views as you watch ports fade away in the wake of your vessel.
There are four 1-BR, 2-full bathroom Grand Suites, two that split the front of Deck 12, below the Regent Suite, and two at the stern of Deck 7.
There is a full living area, dining table that seats six and balcony that ranges 732-916 sq. ft (Deck 7 has the larger balconies). Interiors range from 854-920 sq. ft.
Couples will appreciate the 2 full baths in a 1-BR suite Tully says, “So they can both get ready at the same time.” The same goes for the Explorer Suite (below).
There are four 1,013 sq. ft. Explorer suites, two on Deck 10 midship, which is where you may be impacted by noise on the pool deck above. The two Tully recommends are at the front of Deck 9, each with a 336 sq. ft. balcony.
“If I had a choice of any suite, I would pick the Explorer Suite,” Tully says.
Seven Seas Suite SS1/SS2
The difference between 1-bedroom, 1.5. bath SS1 (below) and SS2 is the former have larger balconies. Interior space ranges from 577-655 sq. ft. Balconies range from 166-263 sq. ft.
Of the six SS1s, two are on Deck 10 with four on Deck 9. For SS2, there are two each on Deck 10 and 9 midship. On Deck 8 and 7, Seven Seas Suites are at the front of the ship.
Tully says, “They’re very comfortable. They have large verandas, so you can have two lounge chairs and a table.
The 450 sq. ft. Penthouse Suites can be found on multiple decks with balconies ranging from 111-176 sq. ft. This is the lowest category with butler service. The bedroom and living room area are divided by a wall that encompass large flat screen TVs on either side, but there is not a formal separation, so it is more akin to what traditionalists would call a junior suite.
This category ranges 415-464 sq. ft. and Tully calls them “good size,” and a choice for somebody who doesn’t spend much time in their cabin and thus doesn’t want to spend more for space they don’t need. This category is a good example of why to use a good travel agent. For example, Deck 6 from 608 to 617 are all the same price, but 614 and 617 have smaller verandas, Tully pointed out to me, something it might be hard to discern if you haven’t been aboard the ship. You can divide the bed and living area by a blackout curtain that pulls across the width of the room.
Superior Suites are 332 sq. ft. with an 83 sq. ft. balcony. Deluxe Veranda Suite/Veranda Suite categories are 219 sq. ft. with 88 sq. ft. balconies. The bedroom and living area is separated by a curtain in these suites.