The time-strapped luxury vacationer’s guide to having it all in high style on the high seas.
If it’s your goal to travel the Mediterranean, and you are struggling with having the luxury of enough time to squeeze in a five-star trip to a faraway destination, the ideal solution to maximize vacation time without compromising luxury is a high-end cruise with Regent Seven Seas Cruises. The itinerary is planned for you, you don’t have to change accommodations for every city you see and what to do in each port of call is essentially served up like a menu for you.
Cruising affords maximum exposure to a host of destinations in a short time frame.
With the right itinerary, like Regent’s sailings on the Seven Seas Voyager in the Mediterranean, cruising affords maximum exposure to a host of destinations in a short time frame. On a recent sailing from Monte Carlo to Barcelona, I visited eight ports in just ten days.
While first-time cruisers often worry about being bored, Regent’s port-driven schedules take away that fear. These ships are akin to a floating five-star hotel, so concerns over mass-market food, service and wine are also alleviated.
Regent sets itself apart in the cruise market by flying all guests over the pond in business class—starting the luxury experience from the moment you take off. Let your cruise concierge know your beverage preferences, and your cabin’s mini bar will already be stocked with your favorites when you arrive. Unlike many other lines, alcoholic beverages are included onboard, with a wide selection that includes many high-end spirits and wines.
While many mainstream cruise lines may charge for all the extras, there is none of that on a Regent Cruise. Many shore excursions are offered complimentary, and all gratuities for cabin, dining and other staff are included.
Even the lowest-level cabin category offers an Italian-made, king-size bed, sitting area, walk-in closet, spacious bathroom with tub and a balcony to enjoy the ever-changing view. Book the top-level Master Suite, and you’ll have more than 1,200 sq. ft. of space, a large living area to entertain, two balconies’ and butler service. For the most stable and quietest cabins onboard, aim for one that is mid-ship.
Life onboard Voyager quickly falls into a relaxing rhythm from starting the day with breakfast in bed or fueling up at the breakfast buffet. I love that there is a made-to-order station where you place your order, and they bring it directly to your table when it’s ready.
Life onboard Voyager quickly falls into a relaxing rhythm from starting the day with breakfast in bed.
Since each day is usually a new port, the bulk of time is spent exploring different towns and cities. As mentioned, Regent offers many free tours. Some, like a wine and tapas tasting in Mallorca, or the tour of the Greek Theater and town of Taormina in Sicily, were great. Others like the high-speed train from the port of Civitavecchia into Rome proper provided an easy way to get to the city for independent exploration. I sometimes prefer to use the cruise as a means to get me to a place and then to arrange private VIP tours with local operators on my own. VIP Malta and Rome and Italy Tours can help this type of traveler craft a truly customized program with enriching experiences that go beyond the standard shore excursion.
While people come and go throughout days in port, evenings on Voyager are focused on food, entertainment and mingling with new friends.
Back on the ship, Regent offers lectures and entertainment designed to complement the specific cruise. On my sailing, there was programming from Artful Travelers, a company that brings people at the forefront of culture, history, politics and entertainment to select Regent Cruises. Emmy-award-winning documentary filmmaker Stephen Ives gave several lectures, and Broadway actress Christine Andreas, along with her composer husband Martin Silvestri, performed. The duo was my favorite entertainment during the cruise.
While people come and go throughout days in port, evenings on Voyager are focused on food, entertainment and mingling with new friends. The cuisine is a highlight, and better than on other lines I’ve cruised. In both the main dining room, and the two specialty restaurants, there is a European mentality to dining where things aren’t rushed, and time to linger and talk between courses is encouraged.
The main restaurant, Compass Rose, has a menu that changes daily, as well as standards like lobster tail, scallops and different cuts of meat that are offered all the time. For travelers focused on watching their waistline, the Canyon Ranch Spa offers a healthy degustation suggestion on the menu every night. There is a strong selection of whites and reds from around the world to pair with each course.
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The specialty restaurant, Chartreuse, serves up French cuisine with a modern twist. The classic Escargots a la Bourguignonne or the Steak Tartare are perfect appetizers to set the French bistro tone. Mains like Coquilles Saint-Jacques and Boeuf Cuit Sous Vide might make you think you’re at the foot of the Eiffel Tower instead of sailing on the Mediterranean Sea.
Prime 7, Regent’s steakhouse, might seem an unlikely choice for a pescatarian to find the best meal of the trip, but the seafood offerings were so plentiful it was hard to choose between Tuna Tartare with pomegranate soy dressing or Crab Cakes to start, and whole Maine lobster or Dover Sole as the main. Carnivores will delight in top cuts like porterhouse, filet mignon or New York Strip.
You can be as social or anti-social as you wish on a cruise. The nature of the trip seems to make for easy bonding, and my traveling companion and I found two couples we enjoyed spending time onboard and on shore with. There was a nice mix of passengers from around the globe, with the majority coming from the United States, Canada and the UK.
While cruising doesn’t provide for a deep dive into any one place, it is a great vehicle to see a lot in a little time. Additionally, being at sea inherently helps one disconnect from the “real” world and actually decompress—exactly what vacation is supposed to do.
The most luxe suite on the seas debuts next February when Regent launches its fifth ship, Seven Seas Splendor.
Located on the 14th deck, the Regent Suite will be the largest suite ever on a cruise ship with 4,443 sq. ft. of space. The centerpiece is a $200,000 hand-crafted bed from the iconic Hastens brand.
The suite also features an in-suite spa retreat offering lucky residents unlimited spa treatments, sauna, steam room and private mini pool.
For ocean and star-gazing there is a 1,300 sq. ft. wraparound veranda and glass enclosed solarium sitting area. The suite itself features floor-to-ceiling windows along three sides of the suite.
Naturally the suite comes with a private butler, and guests have access to a personal car and driver in every port.
“The Regent Suite is the ultimate example of how Seven Seas Splendor will astonish luxury travelers with an unrivaled experience, and it reflects the superior level of detail you’ll uncover throughout this stunning ship,” said Jason Montague, president and chief executive officer of Regent Seven Seas Cruises.
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