We were excited enough just to be traveling to the Caribbean aboard the Regent Seven Seas Explorer, a luxurious 750-passenger ship. But my girlfriend and I would be staying in the Regent Suite, a two-bedroom space with two balconies, fully loaded with a $150,000 handmade, horse-tail and cashmere Savoir bed; a Dakota Jackson–designed Steinway piano; and a spa, with unlimited Canyon Ranch treatments at our fingertips. It sounded spectacular. We had no idea.
The pampering began shortly after arrival, as our butler, Ronny, set up a lunch of grilled salmon and Veuve Clicquot on the balcony. Then came a critical question: “While you’re enjoying your lunch and champagne, may I take the liberty of unpacking your suitcases?” It didn’t take long to say yes.
With seven restaurants on board, we were spoiled for choice. But only we could eat in the Study, a 12-seat space reserved exclusively for Regent Suite guests. It is tucked between Chartreuse, a modern French restaurant, and Prime 7, the clubby steakhouse, and diners at the Study can order from either. On that first night, we had steak tartare and foie gras terrine from Chartreuse. Dining on Bernardaud china in an otherwise empty room, surrounded by dueling waiters, might sound a little odd. But to us, it signaled a cruise shimmering with promise.
We had every intention of leaving our cabin. And sometimes we did, to visit a botanical garden on Grand Cayman or to stroll through Old Town in Key West. (A private car was there for us in every port.) But we were only too happy to return to our not-so-little oasis. And why bother getting out of your pajamas for breakfast, when it could be served en-suite on a table overlooking the sea? Breakfast easily morphed into lunch, which slid into cocktails and canapés, which then rolled into dinner. After a few nights, we decided to join reality, only to find that the buffet crush of the pool deck barbecue jangled our nerves.
By the last full day of the cruise, I was bent on maximum decadence. As we sailed back to Miami, I sipped champagne in our Jacuzzi and had my final facial, feeling like Caligula during his reign of excess. I’m not sure what I wanted out of all that indulgence, but I definitely did not want the cruise to end.
The Seven Seas Explorer travels to many regions, including the Mediterranean, northern Europe, and southern Africa. Regent Suite: $11,000 per couple, per day, all-inclusive; rssc.com. To learn more about the Cruise Privileges Program, visit AmericanExpress.com/CruisePrivileges.