The Good Little Cruise that Didn't

Seven Seas Explorer Cruise Review to Other (Asia/Africa/Middle East)
Experience: 7+ cruises
Reviews: 12
Helpful Votes: 16

Overall Rating:

3.5 out of 5
Seven Seas Explorer

15 Night South African Cheer (Cape Town Roundtrip)

Sail Date: December 22, 2018

Ship: Seven Seas Explorer

Cabin Type: Balcony

Cabin Number: 643

Traveled As: Couple

Reviewed: 7 months ago

Review Summary

We like Regent, and plan to sail with them again. The SS Explorer is a good ship, only two years old, and there's a positive vibe to the crew. The loss of two ports to bad weather suggests that December/January may not be the best time of year to cruise this part of the world. Be careful in the theater, lots of falls an injuries due to the lighting and dark carpet. This cruise wasn't all we had hoped it would be, largely due to missing two whole countries, but our time on board and in Cape Town were great. Not sure if it was great enough to justify 48 hours in a flying tincan, but distance won't be denied.

Embarkation

5 out of 5

Ship Experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
The main dining room was better than our prior experience on this line, a pleasant surprise. Pacific Rim was excellent; Prime 7 only about as good as main dining. Afternoon tea need a bit of work; lots of ooie-gooies, but not many sandwiches and no clotted cream for the scones.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Enhancement lectures were above average. Some of the organized events (like the "County Fair") left us a bit cold.

Entertainment

3 out of 5
Staff talent wasn't impressive; the crew talent show was almost as good. One great comedian though.

Constellation Theater

4 out of 5

The venue itself is nice. Half the seating is in big bucket seats (that can be moved) and enough small tables (that cannot). Lots of high-tops in the back and upstairs if you like that. I did like that the speakers programs had coffee/tea/soft drinks set up at the entrance, as well as the usual bar staff.Just be careful on the steps. Dark carpet and dim lights caused a number of falls that we saw, some serious.

Children's Programs

No kids.

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
Staff is uniformly polite to the point of obsequiousness, however.... I never did figure out who all was serving me. Any given meal we might have eight different people come to the table. Made it hard to know who to ask for another cup of coffee. The wine stewards varied from competent down to "does he even know why there's a silver cup around his neck?" One offered help one evening, and when I said I wanted advice on what would pair well with a particular dish he replied, "Haven't had that. I can't help you," and walked away!

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Maintenence was very good (and I'm super fussy). One big design problem: dark carpeting on the steps in the main showroom. Between that and low lighting, we saw three guests take serious falls in there, one of whom was taken out on a stretcher and I think was airlifted to hospital the next day. Bring a flashlight!

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Regent has far and away the largest standard cabins afloat. The walk-in closet, oversize shower, and room enough to walk past the end of the bed without turning sideways are feaures we haven't found elsewhere. If I were to design my perfect cruise ship, it would have the cabins from the Seven Seas Mariner (which are a bit larger yet).

Ship Tip

Be careful of the steps in the Constellation Theater, they're hard to see.

Ports Of Call

Cape Town, South Africa

5 out of 5
Love this town. We stayed five nights before the cruise and two after to enjoy dining and the nearby winelands.

Luderitz, Namibia Did not visit port

Bad weather kept us from visiting. We got overnights in Cape Town and Walvis Bay instead.

Walvis Bay, Namibia

1 out of 5
We asked the local tourism guide where we should go for a lunch with local cuisine. "Not here!" was her reply. "Okay, maybe take the shuttle to the mall, hire a taxi if you can find one who speaks English, and there's a town maybe 30km away where you might find decent food." We took her advice and stayed aboard. Due to physical disabilities, we did not try any of the "four-wheel drive to the desert" tours, but some said they were good.

Port Elizabeth, South Africa

4 out of 5

East London, South Africa

2 out of 5
Took an excursion to a safari park. It was no Kruger! The roads were so badly rutted that we still have bruises, and at one point we had to get into a new truck when our first one broke a driveshaft. Few animals, too. I don't think it was worth the $249 price.

Durban, South Africa

4 out of 5
Wish we could have sampled some of the famous Durban Spice Brai (BBQ), maybe next visit.

Maputo, Mozambique Did not visit port

Bad weather kept us from visiting this port too. Got an overnight in Richards Bay instead. I think I might have preferred the 40m waves.

Richards Bay, South Africa

1 out of 5
Couldn't dock the first day due to averse winds, so spend it going in circles and trying again in the morning. Not surprisingly, this was the worst day of the cruise for ship motion (not that it bothered us). When we got there, we decided that missing a day was probably a good thing.

Mossel Bay, South Africa

3 out of 5
Might be a nice town, but none of the tours even stopped for shopping here. Not sure why.

Disembarkation

3 out of 5
Serious communications breakdowns about when to get off, when baggage was ready, and a 45 minute wait for a wheelchair.
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