Last week, we were lucky enough to be hosted by British Airways and Regent Seven Seas Cruises on the ‘Ultimate Ship Visit’. Over the course of two days in Civitavecchia, we were given an exclusive look at Seven Seas Explorer – ‘the most luxurious ship ever built’ – and Seven Seas Navigator, the smallest ship in the Regent Seven Seas Cruises fleet and one which recently underwent an extensive refurbishment.

Our first day was spent on Seven Seas Explorer and it was love at first sight. Here are ten things that caught our attention immediately.

1) Compass Rose

Compass Rose was, without doubt, our favourite spot on board. Pulling apart those enormous chrome and glass doors, revealing the marine-themed dining room behind, was our first hint that no expense had been spared on this incredible ship. Mother of pearl columns decorated the dining room, golden chandeliers were designed to imitate sea urchins and we were fortunate enough to dine at the Captain’s table, directly beneath that awesome blue Murano glass chandelier.

Compass Rose Regent Explorer

2) Versace Crockery

It is impossible to talk about Compass Rose without mentioning the custom-designed Versace crockery. Very nautical – adorned with shells – and very, VERY nice. Refusing to eat from anything but Versace plates has caused no end of problems since we returned home.

Versace crockery Regent Explorer

3) The ‘All-Time Favourites’

The ‘All-Time Favourites’ on Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ evening menu in Compass Rose are seriously special. We’re talking lobster bisque, pan-seared foie gras and Blank Angus beef carpaccio, all of which are available every single evening, in addition to the Executive Chef Daily Specials, the Canyon Ranch Balanced Selection and the Executive Chef’s Menu Degustation. We’re feeling full just talking about it!

All Time Favourites dishes Regent Explorer

4) ‘Design Your Entrée’

‘Design Your Entrée’ allows you to create your own meal from several meat and fish options, including lobster tails, scallops and Black Angus filet mignon, combining your choice with one of 13 choices and 15 sides.

All Time Favourites menu example Regent Explorer

5) Reading Glasses at your disposal

There’s nothing worse than arriving in the dining room and realising you’ve left your reading glasses in the suite. Worry not; whilst on board Seven Seas Explorer, we discovered that the crew are at hand with a whole tray of reading glasses at your disposal.

6) Speciality Restaurants

Seven Seas Explorer has more speciality restaurants than any other Regent Seven Seas Cruises ship and Regent’s ultra-inclusive fare includes at least one dinner in each restaurant. Prime 7 is our favourite, thanks to a gentleman’s club feel achieved with blue suede panelled walls, signature gilded crockery, a bar for pre-dinner imbibes and the best steak and seafood at sea.

Prime7 Regent Explorer

7) Pool Deck

The pool deck incorporates countless terry towelling-covered sun loungers – with space to move between them, most importantly – plus vast clamshell daybeds with adjustable shading. The cruise commencing after we disembarked from our day visit was full to capacity, but we would have been happy to spend the week in one of these.

Regent Explorer Pool Deck

8) Pieces of Art

Every new ship boasts about its works of art, but Seven Seas Explorer features 2,500 paintings and sculptures, valued at a total of £7 million. Sadly, we didn’t spot the two Pablo Picasso pieces whilst on board but those artworks we did see were incredible.

9) Tibetan prayer wheel

The reproduction Tibetan prayer wheel is entrancing, as one would expect for a cost almost £400,000 and with a weight of almost three tons. We challenge you not to rub your hands over the inscribed cylinders as you walk by on route to the beautiful Pacific Rim restaurant.

Tibetan Prayer Wheel Pacific Rim

10) Attention to detail

Seven Seas Explorer’s finishing touches and attention to detail are impeccable; one-of-a-kind lighting which will never be recreated, gold leaf ceiling trims, polished chrome-edging on the televisions in every single suite. President Frank Del Rio placed an infinite budget on the design of the ship and it certainly shows.

Regent Explorer Lighting