In many ways, cruise holidays have come full circle. Originally a bastion of the rich – the word ‘posh’ has its roots in the fact that the cooler side of the ship was only affordable by the wealthiest, thus port out, starboard home – there was a time in the 1970s and 1980s when it was looked upon as little more than a holiday camp at sea, with cramped cabins, canteen style food and often low-quality entertainment.

But in the last two decades, cruising has not only seen a resurgence but also a massive diversification into many specialised areas; educational cruises, Arctic and Galapagos cruises, culinary cruises, the list of choices is almost endless and many of the old stereotypes of cruise holidays have long been dispelled.

But the main attraction of cruising has remained the same across the years; the opportunity to visit a number of very different locations all within the same holiday.

And as choice has increased so has the demand for luxury options in every area of the cruise; with several ships switching to suite only accommodation and entertainment, itineraries and cuisine increasing in quality to match.

At the forefront of luxury cruising is Regent Seven Seas Cruising, who were the first to introduce all suite, all balcony ships. 2016 sees the launch of their new ship, the ‘Seven Seas Explorer’ which will take the concept of luxury cruising to a new level and will set the benchmark for other companies to emulate.

At a cost of $450million, the Explorer will be the most expensive luxury ship ever built and its inaugural cruise in July – visiting ports such as Saint Tropez, Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Valetta and Venice – has been fully booked since mid-2015. The Explorer is being billed as the ultimate in luxury and elegance, with spacious designer suites, decadent spas and high-quality entertainment. And with a ratio of 540 staff to 750 guests, you can be sure that there will be a high level of service throughout the cruise.

To top it all off the Explorer is going to have the largest cruise ship suite in the world; The Regent Suite, which will sleep two, comes in at a whopping 360 square metres including the wraparound balcony with two separate balconies, and an equally awe-inspiring cost of $5634 per person, per night (though this price is inclusive of all drinks, excursions. food and flights). As well as those balconies with jawdropping views, the suite also features a private garden, a sauna, a steam room, a personal butler and even a Steinway grand piano.

To complement such luxurious accommodation, you also need the best in cuisine. The Explorer offers a range of restaurants, from the Pacific Rim – offering the very best culinary delights from Asia – to the Chartreuse – emulating a Parisian fine dining restaurant on the banks of the Seine – and the Prime 7 – designed to personify luxury and give the impression of dining at an exclusive members-only club. As well as the top of the range fine dining choices, there are also a number of less formal eateries for daytime dining and snacks.

On the relaxation and entertainment side, The Explorer offers a wide range of choices. There is the world renowned Canyon Ranch Spa Club; offering a choice of massages, treatments and therapeutic bodywork. A state of the art fitness centre with Lifecycles, treadmills and weights, all with a group of highly qualified fitness staff to advise and support

There is also a dedicated sports area on Deck 12, with a jogging path, putting greens, golf nets and more. And of course, no cruise ship would be complete without a pool area, and The Explorer features a lavish pool with two whirlpools.

There are cooking classes and gourmet explorer tours for those guests who want to learn about the cuisine of the destinations they visit, and an on-board service to help you organise shore tours, either with others or on your own. The ship also has a fully stocked library, a card room for social gaming, and a range of designer boutiques featuring everything from upmarket handbags to fine jewellery. And if you feel the need to keep in touch with the office, then there is a fully staffed business centre with everything you need and fast Wi-Fi access.

It’s in the evening that cruise ships truly come to life as this is when they generally sail between destinations. And, as expected, The Explorer offers plenty of choice for the night owls. From the tranquillity of the observation lounge to the refined atmosphere of the Connoisseur Club – where you can enjoy a fine cigar with your favoured libation or for music and entertainment you can choose form the Meridian Lounge, the Constellation Theatre or the Explorer Lounge. And for those guests who like a little bit of risk in their lives, there is a Monte Carlo style casino, open every day at sea when not restricted by territorial laws, and featuring Blackjack, roulette, poker, craps and slot machines.

For those who like the idea of an ocean going holiday, but want all the luxury of a five star hotel, then The Explorer looks to be the choice to make. Regent Seven Seas Cruising has set a new benchmark in luxurious cruising, one that will be hard to beat.


For the discerning traveller who is attracted to a sea-going holiday but doesn’t want to share a ship with hundreds of other guests, the obvious option is to charter a boat or yacht for your family or for a small group of friends. But going small does not meaning having to sacrifice standards or luxury. There are numerous options available worldwide that ensures that size doesn’t matter. And it also doesn’t matter whether you don’t know your Accidental jibe from your Variable pitch, as most charter companies offer the option of fully crewed boats. And that choice of small but beautiful doesn’t get much better than in the shape of the luxury motor yacht, Naia (formerly known as the Pegaso).

Coming in at 73.6 metres, the Naia was built in 2011 by the Freire Shipyard in Spain, with her interior designed by Mark Berryman and exterior styling by London’s prestigious H2 Yacht Design. Beautiful styling and top of the range furnishings throughout the yacht create a luxurious and elegant atmosphere. The Naia sleeps up to 12 guests across 8 rooms which include a master suite, 1 VIP stateroom and 2 double and 2 twin cabins. She is also capable of carrying up to 22 crew which ensures that you don’t need to lift a finger throughout your voyage and that service will be at five star levels. And just to emphasise that point, one of those available staff is a Michelin starred chef, so expect your gastronomic taste buds to be truly pampered.

The Naia was built with a steel hull and an aluminium/steel superstructure and is equipped with a top of the range stabilisation system which reduces the effects of roll motion and results in a far smoother cruising experience (thus far less chance of seasickness for the landlubbers in the party). The yacht also has ‘at anchor’ stabilisers which work at zero speed and increases comfort when at anchor or in rough seas.

While not featuring the multitude of features one might expect on a cruise ship, what the Naia does offer is the intimacy of a small boat and the freedom to decide on your own itinerary. It does however offer the trimmings you would expect; a Jacuzzi on deck – and one in the fully equipped gym- Wi-Fi, a cinema, an elevator between decks and full air conditioning throughout. And for those fun moments, the boat comes with 2 Yamaha VX Cruiser Waverunners, wakeboards and water-skis, 4 mountain bikes for exploring when ashore, a 14 foot inflatable trampoline and a 10 metre waterslide that goes from sundeck to sea.

Oh and then there’s the submarine. Yes, that’s right, by arrangement; the Naia comes with a 9 metre submersible capable of taking 5 passengers to a depth of 165 metres. Part of the reason for this is that the Naia, despite all its luxurious design and furnishings, can be used as a research vessel – if you happen to be a millionaire scientist that is. To help with this there is also a fully stocked science laboratory on board.

The cruising region for the Naia is mainly confined to the Mediterranean which allows you to explore Cannes, Corsica, Croatia, The French Riviera, Greece, Ibiza, The Italian Riviera, Monaco, Montenegro, Mykonos, Sardinia, St Tropez, and The Balearics, though negotiations with the owners are possible for trips further afield. Costs to have the Naia as your private plaything range from $603, 000 plus expenses per week in low season to $666,000 plus expenses per week in high season.