When we say that our recent Caribbean voyage on Regent Seven Seas Cruises was typified by “going to great lengths,” we mean it in two ways. One is just how exceptional the service was. It frequently went above-and-beyond the call of duty. Case in point: To be eco-friendly, Regent gave each passenger a stainless-steel thermal water bottle, no longer stacking boxes of single-serve plastic water bottles on ship. The laudable goal? Saving the Earth from millions of plastic bottles ending up in oceans and landfills. When your own bottle ran low, you just visited any of the Vero Water dispensers sprinkled around the ship.
This luxury brand of still and sparkling water is the best-tasting water we have ever had. Reason: The water is ultra-purified using a five-stage, high-grade nanofiltration system, which is state-of-the-art. This process not only yields especially pure and great-tasting water, it helps reduce pollution and reduces everyone’s carbon footprint. Impressive.
However, our main experience of “going to great lengths” is that we sailed for 33 days on Regent Seven Seas’ 718-passenger Mariner. Indeed, longer cruises are a trend right now, and short cruises are sinking in popularity. “The world cruises for Regent, Oceania and other cruise lines went on sale and sold out in just one day,” said Nancy Yale, luxury travel adviser at Cruise and World Travel in Fairfield. “The world cruise for 2023 sold out overnight. Also, people have been working remotely and now they know they can even work on a cruise ship. People are going on longer cruises. They don’t want to go for one week. They are even combining three back-to-back cruises.”
With that said, one of our primary goals in taking a longer trip was to examine and experience what specific benefits might be obtained on an extended cruise — not your average 10- or 12-day itinerary. Would the experience be repetitive? Would it be difficult to be away from home so long? Would the onboard experience lose its luster after two weeks or so? The answer to these questions was a resounding “No.” Almost every day, the ship was filled with wonderful, new discoveries — whether we were at sea or in port. No two days were alike, with entertainment, engaging enrichment and a wealth of other enjoyable experiences.
Just as we were putting the finishing touches on this article, Regent announced two new shore excursion concepts. The 10 Behind the Design tours, exclusive to European destinations this summer, will focus on architectural marvels. The over-150 Eco-Connect tours enable passengers to learn from businesses and community groups around the world how they engage with the environment.
The new Behind the Design and Eco-Connect tours were created to offer experiences that even the most seasoned traveler has yet to enjoy,” Christine Manjencic, vice president of Destination Services, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, said in a statement. “We are immensely proud to add these two new touring concepts to our already varied portfolio of incredible destination experiences, which include Free Unlimited Shore Excursions, Regent Choice Shore Excursions, Go Local tours, Gourmet Explorer tours and Wellness tours.”
To us, however, our ship was so beautiful — it was a dreamboat — that it could’ve serve as the destination itself. We were consistently impressed with the quality of the attentive service, which almost always went the extra mile and which leads us to recommend longer cruises (14 days at a minimum).
With a 10-day trip what typically happens is that, following a flight, it takes about two to three days to rest up and become acclimated to the ship, and by day four you’re getting mid-cruise or disembark notices. (Not fun). When you are on a truly luxury cruise ship, you don’t want to deal with thoughts of disembarking. You want to extend — and extend some more. Another advantage to cruising for a long period of time is the opportunity you have to make and cultivate new friends, versus just acquaintances.
In our travels, we have met many world-cruise passengers who became friends with other world-cruise passengers — and now they schedule their trips together. We have even met single folks who met other singles on a world cruise — and now they are couples, cruising the world together. Longer cruises really give you ample time to get to know others — the passengers and the crew — and you make wonderful friends. You even have access to the performers, and it’s always fun to meet them for coffee or dinner.
Even an extended itinerary passes far too quickly. After spending 33 days, there still weren’t enough hours in the day to absorb all that was offered and to see everything there was to see. During the last week we were still discovering private nooks and crannies, including a crackling fireplace in the library and the iced Frappuccino lattes in the Coffee Corner. Becoming acclimated to new surroundings can easily result in falling into a pattern of following your own familiar routes on the ship each day, versus exploring parts unseen. This can short-change the overall experience, so we made sure to use the extended time to experience fully what every part of the ship had to offer, from stem to stern. Definitely worth it.
Spoiler alert: Yes, you will be spoiled. Just one example: We met a world-cruise couple who upon boarding, visited the Mariner bar and ordered a glass of scotch. The ship’s inventory only included The Macallan scotch, and this couple casually commented on this to the food and beverage director. Faster than you can say, “single malt,” one of the crew disembarked, and bought a bottle of The Glenlivet just for this couple. That’s stellar service. Our penthouse suite came with butler service — and our butler attended to a variety of items for us, from mending clothing, to mailing postcards, to purchasing Graham crackers especially for us, to doing all of our washing and ironing. Beds even come with a pillow menu, and you can also have your sheets changed daily.
One improvement needed in the penthouse suites is in the size of the TV screens. Perhaps Regent could swap the size of the art prints that grace the suites for the size of the TV screens. Apart from this, the penthouse suites were spacious and comfortable.
One of our favorite things to do was to park our posteriors in the ship’s giant saltwater pool. We packed a pink tube, which our butler inflated. As we bobbed around in the bubbly water, we aimed to be mindful, to be grateful — to be in the moment. We weren’t the only ones who felt that way. We spoke to a world-cruise guest one afternoon around 4 p.m. and asked him what he was doing for dinner that evening. “To tell you the truth,” he said, with a big smile, “when I’m on a long cruise, I don’t think that far ahead.” Now, don’t you long for a longer cruise?
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