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    Castries,St.Lucia,West Indies

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  1. Hi Karen, Nice to see you back on the boards. We were on the Explorer earlier this year and posted a number of reviews and photos which might help with some of your questions:-https://boards.cruisecritic.com/profile/13172-flyers/ Cheers, D & D.
  2. Dear kjbacon, Its interesting that you had many of the same experiences that we did and especially the Captains apparent lack of empathy for the passengers on board. . He had to have known that the Lisbon to Madeira leg was going to be very rough and he should have warned us. In the middle of the night our Steward appeared to place everything that could fall, on to the ground, an indication that some one knew that we were in for a rough night and its the rolling that got us which is what stabilizers are designed to handle! It shows how a change of Captain from Capt.Vasta to Captain Serena can positively influence a Cruise. After we disembarked we watched the ship leave Barcelona and with the winds and seas, expected that the ship was in for a rough few days. I have attached some photos including one showing how rough the seas looked like from our Barcelona Hotel vantage point. Very little has been written with regards the various Tours put on by the ship but Madeira, was by far our favorite Port (visited twice on our back to back) as well as Lanzarote where we thoroughly enjoyed the Aloe Vera tour and lecture. The rest of the tours were either negatively influenced by the bad weather or for our tastes too non descript to even discuss. However we found the Destination desk personnel to be helpful and charming, a far cry from the complaints that have been registered by others on this board on the Explorer and other Regent Ships.
  3. Morneau you are quite correct these photos are of 901 forward on deck nine. Not sure how I mixed these up with the Explorer suite which was in fact 921
  4. RSSC EXPLORER MIAMI TO LISBON AND ON TO BARCELONA March 25th to April 18th 2019 We left Miami full of anticipation for our first Cruise on the RSSC Explorer and after all the Regent Hype regarding the “Most Luxurious Cruise Ship in the World” we were expecting great things. We have previously sailed twice on the Mariner and also on our all-time favorite the Seven Seas Diamond Catamaran but most of our cruising has been on Seabourn and SilverSeas. This would be our fifth crossing and our favorite way of getting to the other side with many relaxing Sea Days. The big question of course is was our anticipation justified? The answer to that is no and yes. Firstly the weather did not co-operate and it was a wet, windy, rough and cold crossing. The rough weather started the second night out of Miami and let up a bit our first day in Bermuda then came with a vengeance our second day and never let up as we crossed the Atlantic to our first stop in the Azores and onwards. This brought up our first big disappointment ‘THE SHIP`!!.....The Explorer appears to be top Heavy and the continuous pitching and rolling made for sleepless nights and uncomfortable days. Stabilizers are supposed to correct or at least help with the rolling but did the Captain refrain from frequently using these as it apparently causes a speed reduction of one to two knots and we were on a tight schedule? There is no outside area to turn to as with the strong winds the upper jogging deck 12 was closed off. For the same reason the pool was mostly empty and the strong cold winds made that area unusable, similarly the infinity pool area behind the Spa. There was an uncomfortable feeling of being hermetically sealed inside the ship. As others have pointed out there is a definite lack of outside space especially when many of the suite balconies were not useable as they were always wet and salt encrusted…. It is to be hoped that the designers of the Splendor would have recognized this outside space shortcoming, but perhaps it is too late for that now. Originally the Explorer was designed with glass on the balconies but had to be redesigned due to the top heaviness observed by the Miami designers (according to the Explorer build video shown on the ships TV) and steel rails were substituted. Would glass instead of steel have made the balconies drier and more useable? It’s a matter of conjecture but our personal experience on other Cruise Lines would indicate so…too bad they did not just remove the top deck instead. Frankly the Explorer Hull has to be one of the worst riding ships that we have experienced and we have been in Hurricane conditions on many ships including both the Silver Shadow and Seabourn Quest without the discomfort that we felt on this ship. Has Regent maybe tried to put to many decks onto too short a Hull?...would she be better balanced if they had left off the 14th (actually 13th. ) deck ?? Another area of disappointment was the lack of communication from the Captain who seldom deviated from his daily noon scripted message. We enjoyed the large gym although its placement on the stern made working out at times a difficult balancing act but not so the Canyon Ranch Spa which was overpriced and underserved and really took up far too much space which maybe could have been better served with a more useable outdoor area. Was all Doom and Gloom on this trip...absolutely not! We had some of the best food and met many friendly and outstanding staff on our 24 days on board. With the exception of the first two nights in Compass Rose where we sent back both our dinners for being over cooked before we discovered the answer. The secret was always request the Starboard side and to the back of Compass Rose and our favorite waiter ‘Jonathan`. Interestingly one of these poor meals happened when we were seated next to a table occupied by Regent President Jason Montague and his guests. He was on board until Bermuda. There were only 625 guests on the crossing so we were lucky to be able to dine many times in the various restaurants on board. (This flexibility changed on the second cruise when the passenger numbers increased to 740) Many of the restaurants were exceptional from Chartreuse with Jeorges who we knew from Silversea`s to Prime 7 and Pacific Rim (our least favorite ) However our all-time favorite was Sette Marie run by a very personable and efficient young Lady, Theresa from Italy. We frankly had many Italian dishes that had to rate as some of the best Italian that we have had anywhere in the World including Italy!. The Veranda restaurant however was a hit and miss affair sometimes very good but often lack luster. We tended to avoid it when we could especially when Chartreuse and Prime 7 were often open for lunch. By far the worst eating spot on the ship was the Pool Grill. It was like a cold wind tunnel, the food was many times totally inedible and the staff behind the counters were grumpy and often darn right rude. They obviously did not want to be there. We indicated this on all the comment forms that we received during the back to back cruises but never received any indication or feedback that any attention was being paid to any comments and suggestions. A notable difference from Seabourn where comment cards always elicited a quick response. During our Cruise Critic meet and greet reception on the second day on board Stephane the F&B director and the GM Michael Coghlan introduced themselves and indicated that their doors were always open! Well we never saw Stephane again and Mr. Coghlan’s door was in fact always open but we never saw him in the ‘GM Office` next to reception!. The Entertainment was what one would expect on a ship this size some very good and others not so good but in everything the very personable Lorraine Weimerskirch Cruise Director was very visible and obviously doing her best with what she had to work with. Ross the Pianist was exceptional and made the Observation Lounge a delightful place to visit before or after dinner for a drink. The Suites were without a doubt some if not the best at sea, well designed with very high end and comfortable furniture. Our Explorer suite on deck nine was an example of this excellent design and other than the almost constant movement of the ship felt very safe and relaxing. While our butler was not the best that we have had on various ships, both he and the suite steward did their best to make our cruise as comfortable as possible including dealing with constant Toilet problems. Either the toilets (two) would not flush or the noise was so intense that plugging ones ears were necessary every time. We have incidentally added three posts on Cruise Critic with pictures of some of the top suites showing their elegant design. I am sure that there are those on this board who will disagree or take exception to some of our comments but this is our own personal views as to how we perceived the Explorer and the cruise in general and we are not going to enter into a back and forth discussion on this. Would our comments have been different had we had smooth seas and light winds?, quite possibly regarding the ship and how she handled the seas but this is what we experienced and everything else would have been the same. We for one will not be going back to the Explorer for many of the reasons listed above but would return to the Mariner which we much preferred. 18th 2019
  5. Dave I guess its a matter of what you are used to. Most of our cruising is on Seabourn where the balcony is protected by glass (see photo) and yes spray does collect but the balcony remains useable.
  6. Travecat2---1012 was an Explorer suite that has now become a Grand Suite see Latest Deck plans . We were not in that suite but in an Explorer suite on deck 9 and yes we did hear complaints about noise from the pool deck above from another Grand suite occupant. NEW Deck-Plans_081718_2.pdf
  7. The Next group of pictures are of a penthouse suite
  8. One of the nicest suites on the Explorer only disadvantage is its location below the Pool deck.
  9. Here are two photos taken from the balcony of Explorer 921 in the few times that it could be used. The substitution of steel rails instead of glass and the outward protrusion of the Balcony made this balcony totally unusable on the crossing.
  10. Normal view through Balcony windows which were always wet and salty from spray.
  11. (I agree with pretty much all that has been said by previous posters about the food and service with one exception! so far we have eaten at Chartreuse (excellent) Sette Mari (very good ) Pacific Rim (very good) La Veranda (typical Buffet and somewhat non descript ) Compass Rose twice and neither was good. On Tuesday we sat at table next to Jason Montague`s table and had to send back the Lobster and the Filet mignon both seriously overcooked. On Monday we found the food bland to tasteless! We will give it another try and hopefully see if we just ordered incorrectly.) Day 9 and we have given the Compass Rose three more chances and are delighted to report that things have improved dramatically. First the Sunday Brunch was outstanding followed by two more evenings in which we specifically asked for the left or starboard side of the Compass dining room where things were a little less rushed and the service has been exceptional. We have been ordering from the always available Menu and have found that the food is much better than the regular daily options. Tonight for example, we had the escargot followed by the Dover Sole as our main course and it was as good as we have had anywhere. So happy to report that Compass Rose is now up to standards expected. Dinner again at the Sette Mari was very enjoyable. With the ship not full it has been possible to make reservations at any restaurant at short notice. We have also had lunch at Chartreuse which is a lighter version of the evening menu and have thoroughly enjoyed sitting overlooking the wake of the boat. The seas have been moderate with occasional rough patches and little sun until today. It is definitely chilly with the temperature today at 59 degrees and a brisk wind. Tonight it is up to 30 knots. Tomorrow we make our first landfall in Horta, the Azores where it is forecast to be rainy......let's hope not. Tomorrow we will talk about our Explorer Suite. Cheers David
  12. We are also on the Explorer ( our first time on board and our 4th regent Cruise )on deck 9 in an Explorer Suite. Tuesday was a relaxing day after boarding in Miami but Wednesday was very rough as we encountered a cold front coming off the US mainland and Wednesday night was awful. The creaking and groaning in the suite was an unwelcome surprise and made sleep nearly impossible. Bermuda on Thursday was windy but mostly Sunny while Friday dawned with Gale force winds and rain making walking in the dockyard very unpleasant and on the dock one had to be bent over in to the wind just to get back on the ship. Today Friday despite a forecast for very rough conditions this has not materialized and at 6 pm the ship is moving along nicely at near 19 knots on a heading of 77 degrees with 20kts.of wind out of the southwest at approx.190 degrees. I agree with pretty much all that has been said by previous posters about the food and service with one exception! so far we have eaten at Chartreuse (excellent) Sette Mari (very good ) Pacific Rim (very good) La Veranda (typical Buffet and somewhat non descript ) Compass Rose twice and neither was good. On Tuesday we sat at table next to Jason Montague`s table and had to send back the Lobster and the Filet mignon both seriously overcooked. On Monday we found the food bland to tasteless! We will give it another try and hopefully see if we just ordered incorrectly. The Service overall has been without fault with the exception of the Pool grill staff who are unhelpful to almost rude. We however miss the personal service that we are used to on Seabourn where all know your name and your likes and dislikes by day two or three...there is a different culture on Regent which we must get used to as well as the increased number of passengers from 450 to 750 although a previous poster indicated that there are 625 on this Voyage. I know that some on board may disagree with some of my comments but we are all different and do not have the same expectations which is what makes life interesting! Cheers.
  13. Thanks to the input and recommendations that we received we have made contact with Carla C. and her rates for a Mercedes Van are very reasonable. Maybe others staying on board might like to join up with us?...I will broach the subject when we hopefully meet on board. Thanks, David
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