We chose this cruise because we wanted to try Explorer and thought the ports ideal for us, especially with a Southampton start.
We boarded and both said WOW. It really is a fantastic ship. From the artwork to the furnishings and crockery.
We were 'processed' quickly at 12 noon and then to a delicious buffet lunch. Once the suites were available we unpacked and found we still had spare drawers and cupboards. The room was beautiful, super bathroom with 2 basins, separate shower and bath.
Someone had commented earlier that our room (810) had a lot of teething troubles. I'm glad to say that everything had been put right, except what he described as a 50 cent hook replacing a lost one; we mentioned this to Reception and it was changed within an hour. What he failed to add was that the F2 cabin is so spacious.
Crew was uniformly brilliant - always a smile. We dined twice in Prime Seven and Chartreuse, once in Sette Mari, and the rest of the time in Compass Rose. Prime Seven just about the best, Compass Rose good too, but we were never disappointed by the choice or the quality. The last dinner in Compass Rose was outstanding. Wine flowed freely, and if we were always offered a wine that was not to our taste we were immediately offered several alternatives.
Cruise Critic had organised a Meet and Mingle on Day 2, and we were pleased and surprised that the Master and some senior officers joined us. This was typical of the approachability of everyone on the ship.
We don't do many excursions, preferring in general to walk around the town, but those we did take were also well organised. Bilbao was outstanding, mainly because of the Guggenheim Museum, but we love Bordeaux (where we moored right in the middle of the City), Porto and Lisbon.
Finally the infinity pool at the Spa deserves a mention. While my wife had a massage I took the opportunity to sit on the aft deck and use the pool as we sailed down the river out of Bordeaux. This was day 4, and I was told I was only the second person to use it - a hidden secret indeed.
We can't recommend Regent enough, especially Explorer.
Much more spacious than expected - comfort, storage, bathroom all excellent.