We recently had the wonderful opportunity to sail on “the most luxurious ship ever built,” Regent Seven Seas Explorer. This was our first time on a five-star, luxury cruise line (but my 22nd cruise overall in seven years). With that bit of context to put the review in perspective, here is my ship review:
Nearly everything is included on Regent Seven Seas:
Beverages, from juices freshly blended each morning at the pool grill using an array of healthy vegetables and fruits, to espresso-based drinks prepared (with or without alcohol) in the elegant coffee bar, to premium spirits, to sodas, to specialty teas, to bottled water… all are included. The exceptions are bottles of wine and some ultra-premium liquors. In fact, refreshments like canned soda and freshly-baked cookies are constantly available at ship activities, especially those in the theater.
A bottle of chilled Champagne awaits guests in their suite on embarkation day, along with a platter of fresh fruit that is continuously refreshed and replenished throughout the voyage. The fruit includes items not normally seen on cruise ships, such as peaches and plums. The abundance of fruit choices carries over to the buffets, especially the one at the coffee bar on Deck 5, where fresh fruit including even rarer items like figs is served along with a huge variety of dried fruits and nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, pinenuts) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, etc). Truly an outstanding choice of healthy snacks. Of course, there are also unhealthy treats, like freshly-baked donuts, chocolate croissants, and the aforementioned cookies.
Specialty dining is included, with one reservation allowed per sailing per restaurant (Explorer has three specialty restaurants: Asian (Pacific Rim), French (Chartreuse), and a steakhouse (Prime 7)). These reservations can be made up to one week in advance of the sailing, and more reservations may be made on board on a space-available basis.
A fantastic 24-hour room service menu is also included, and comes with white-tablecloth service in the suite. Each suite is equipped with a doorbell, which is rung when the room service is delivered. I ordered room service at least five times on this ten-night sailing, and I’ve never before ordered more than oatmeal, a banana, and coffee, once per sailing (at most). This time, I took full advantage of the great choice and enjoyed a variety of items. One morning, we had a very early start, so I ordered oatmeal… but also blueberry pancakes, and a chocolate croissant to take on my excursion as a mid-day snack. I supplemented this with the great sliced strawberries and an iced latte from Deck 5.
Most days when returning from excursions, there was no food service in the buffet or restaurants. Room service filled this gap, with a fantastic mezze platter (hummus, grape leaves, baba ganoush, carrot sticks, and cucumber slices) that was so good I ordered it three times! Normally I can’t stand Middle Eastern food outside of the metro Detroit area (too spoiled by our amazing Lebanese restaurants!), but this was all incredibly delicious. There was also a great stir-fried noodle dish and a great vegetable panino. One time, I just ordered a chocolate dessert, and enjoyed it poolside at the infinity pool. It’s even possible to order from the main dining room menu during dinner hours, so I tried that one night.
The mini bar is included, and can be stocked according to your preferences. It is also replenished throughout the sailing. The standard items provided if no preferences are stated are cola, soda water, and beer. Even items that are not normally carried in the ship’s inventory might be possible to have in the mini bar if more than one week’s notice is given ahead of the sailing.
An array of excursions are included in each port, including pricey ones like submarine rides, ziplining, horseback riding on the beach, and more. A few excursions cost extra (like those involving flights to farther-flung touring sites), but the large majority are included in the cruise fare. Excursions, like dining reservations, are chosen and held online up to seven days prior to the voyage. All tickets for pre-reserved excursions are waiting in the suite upon embarkation. We needed to waitlist one of the excursions (the Atlantis submarine in Grand Cayman), but we fortunately cleared the waitlist the day before the excursion, and received the tickets outside the door to our suite.
Large umbrellas are provided for use on shore excursions.
All gratuities for the ship’s wonderful crew are included.
WiFi is included and works well, even without opting for the higher-speed streaming package that costs $10 per day. A well-appointed business center is available on Deck 5 if you do not wish to use your own devices (or need the use of a full desktop computer), and there are also several computers available in the library on Deck 11.
Even the use of the machines (and detergent!) in the self-service launderettes is included. The launderettes are on most stateroom decks (some decks have two: forward and aft), and include an iron and ironing board. There’s even a laundry basket provided for guests’ use. Of course, conventional laundry and dry cleaning services are offered, for a nominal fee.
Another great positive with all of these inclusions is the absence of the sales frenzy and up sell attempts. There are no ship’s photographers and no art auctions. No shopping lectures and no “gold by the inch.” The onboard shopping opportunities are limited to two small boutiques. In fact, until the final night, we were unaware the ship even had anywhere to buy sundries, toiletries, and logo items. These were tucked away in the back corner of one of the two boutiques.
There was a future cruise office that did a steady business, and a future cruise presentation. At “just” ten nights, we were actually on one of the shortest itineraries Regent operates, other than their Alaska sailings. At this presentation, I was the lucky winner of a $250 onboard spending credit!
The spa was closed for the first two days of our sailing in order to allow a re-branding from Canyon Ranch Spa Club to Serene Spa and Wellness. In recognition of this, all port day services were 20% off, with a 10% discount on the only sea day after the reopening. I used the spending credit for a 75-minute bamboo massage (and a Regent tote bag).
Spa services, of course, are not included in the fare. However, the full thermal suite, including a sauna, aromatherapy-infused steam room, cold room, rain shower, and heated tile loungers, is available at no charge to all guests, not just spa clients! This was a fantastic surprise. There’s even a fabulous infinity pool outside the thermal suite at the back of the ship. My only wish was that the tile loungers faced the ocean, rather than the tea service station. But I made do 🙂 Perhaps the best part is there was no sales pitch to buy products or get Botox, etc. Very relaxing and tranquil vs forced and pressuring.
There is a fairly large casino (relative to the size of the ship), and free play is not included (including slot tournaments). It was well-staffed but I rarely ever saw any guests in there. Very quiet.
In fact, overall the atmosphere is very quiet and low key. There were only two (extremely well-traveled) children on the sailing, and at most two dozen guests under age 50. 50-75 seemed to be the age range that the vast majority of the guests fit into.
There is one show nightly in the theater at 9:30pm. After that, there is a resident piano player, a “voice and keys duo,” and the orchestra that performs during the main show plays music for dancing in one of the lounges. There were two karaoke nights, and each night had an iPad “jukebox” available until the last bar closed. Our itinerary was so port-intensive that the only entertainment I took in after the nightly theater show was one karaoke session and a bit of the “voice and keys duo” set. They were fantastic; the karaoke… not so much! The chairs in the Explorer Lounge were very comfortable (almost as nice as my all-time favorite chairs on Celebrity Edge!) and the room seemed set up well for either a seated audience or dancing.
There are fewer scheduled activities on a ship of this size and atmosphere than you will find on a larger ship, but, especially with just two sea days, there were plenty of choices to keep busy while at sea. Trivia was much more difficult than I’m accustomed to (and I didn’t win any games: a first for me!). Even here there were nice touches: drink service throughout, and Regent-logoed pencils (with erasers on them)!
Regent offers a Culinary Arts Kitchen, with daily cooking classes taught by a guest chef. These classes are $89 per person and tend to sell out quickly. We ended up on a tour with the chef on our sailing and learned that he might be a distant relative (on my dad’s grandfather’s side of the family)! Pretty cool!
There is a very extensive library on Deck 11, as well as a well-stocked game room with loads of board games and nice chessboards. A variety of sports equipment is available on Deck 12, including bocce, pickleball, ping pong, shuffleboard, mini golf, and a golf driving net. The provided golf clubs and putters are very high-end equipment. There is also an extensive fitness facility available on Deck 6. In addition to the infinity pool on Deck 5, there is a large pool midship on Deck 11, flanked by two hot tubs. These areas were a wonderful place to relax after a long day of sightseeing. The pool area was always very well stocked with towels, and the crew did a fantastic job of clearing away used towels and plates and glasses to keep the area looking good. All of the lounge chairs and sun beds were covered each morning with a Regent Seven Seas terrycloth spread, and these items were removed each evening. Quite an undertaking!
The service in general was phenomenal. With just 670 guests on our sailing (the ship’s capacity is 750) being served by 557 crew members, service was never an issue. There was almost never a line (or even a momentary wait) for anything, from Reception [normally known as Guest Services], to re-boarding the ship in ports, to being seated in the dining room. (As a point of comparison, RSS Explorer’s passenger capacity is 750, with a public space area of 54,000 tons, vs Empress of the Seas that fits 1600 passengers into just 48,500 gross tons).
The crew was always close by, and especially did a great job with making drinks quickly (and well!) but were never overbearing, smothering, or obtrusive. It was great (but also odd) to be able to have any drinks, whenever I wanted, and never have to show my cruise card or sign for anything. I was disappointed to see “mojito” and “margarita” “juice boxes” being used to make mixed drinks, but with the addition of real mint, canned soda water, and not too much sweetener (and most importantly, proper technique), the drinks were surprisingly excellent. Normally the quality of the preparation, taste, and service all go downhill in all-inclusive environments, so this was a welcome outlier. There was also a refreshing lack of a “booze cruise” frenzy to drink as much as possible. The focus on this ship is quality over quantity.
The food service was (almost) uniformly excellent, with the service from the entire team at the Asian specialty restaurant Pacific Rim (from my main server, to the sommelier, to the cocktail waitress, to the restaurant manager) standing out and setting an even higher standard. Pacific Rim has a fantastic signature cocktail made with vodka and citrus that was light and refreshing and pairs perfectly with Asian food. My dinner at Pacific Rim was the dining highlight of the trip (apart from the exceptional room service), and getting to watch the full moon rise over the ocean while dining made the experience even more special.
Regent has recently introduced a large number of plant-based dishes to the offerings in each of their dining venues, which I greatly appreciated. The passion fruit mousse served on night 8 in the dining room was shockingly good! There were a wide variety of plant-based choices at breakfast and dinner, with the lunch offering being the only place that fell short (very little on the buffet, and just a veggie burger from the pool grill). The Compass Rose [main] dining room was gorgeous and not too large. The buffet has a large outdoor seating area with comfortable, cushioned chairs, and hand washing stations throughout.
Each afternoon, a full tea service is offered in the Meridian Lounge, accompanied by piano music. Every day has a different theme, from brownies to cheesecake, but scones and tea sandwiches are available at each tea, along with a nice assortment of teas.
Even the drinking water served on board has been specially treated, is available in large glass bottles in the dining venues and suites, and tastes great, which cuts down drastically on the amount of plastic water bottle waste.
Every room on board is a suite, from a Category H mini suite at 219 square feet with an 88-square-foot balcony, to the 3,026 square-foot Regent Suite at the pinnacle of the ship, with its own in-suite spa (including a sauna, steam room, and jetted tub!) and two private balconies providing an extra 1,417 square feet of private outdoor living space. All suites come with a nice array of L’Occitane Mer & Mistral toiletries that are constantly restocked, plush robes for use on board, and Regent-branded slippers (yours to keep!). Concierge suites and higher receive a complimentary pre-cruise hotel stay, butler service, discounts on the few products and services that incur an additional cost, a complimentary tote bag and more.
We were in a Category F2 suite, a 332 square-foot suite. Our suite’s sofa was a pull-out sofa bed, which allowed a third guest to be accommodated. The bed is a European king-sized “Suite Slumber” bed, and was very comfortable, with both the mattress and the bedding being of much higher quality than on other ships (or resorts). The suite had a very large amount of storage space, with all of the drawers lined with Regent logoed liners that were switched out between sailings. There is a large walk-in closet with more shelving, as well as enough space to store luggage without having to put the suitcases under the bed. The bathroom is very large, with two sinks, a sizable glass-enclosed shower with a Grohe showerhead, and a separate soaking tub/shower combination that was great for rinsing out laundry and hanging it to dry on the built-in drying line.
Now, after nearly five pages of positives, in the interest of a totally comprehensive and honest review, I’ll point out the shortcomings we experienced. Even here, though, the “bad” isn’t all (or all that) bad.
The first issue began right after booking. (The booking process itself was smooth and efficient, and everyone we spoke with at Regent was helpful and well informed). However, the Regent website is very slow, which is frustrating when trying to book excursions and dining reservations and especially when filling out the Guest Information Form (their version of online check in). You must provide all of the required information in one session, or you need to start over again (and this is not disclosed), so if you are not in immediate possession of any details, like passport number or expiration date, you must wait until you are in order to fill out the form. The form’s completion, in turn, triggers the shipping of the documents that are required to board the ship. Yes, Regent still requires printed documents to board, as they do not have an app (I will get to that in a minute). Due to our last-minute booking (just 24 days before sailing) and the inability for me to check in until my passport arrived just 5 days before the sailing, we literally received the document package via FedEx on the morning we were leaving home for the airport. It would have been very awkward if it hadn’t arrived!
The embarkation experience was surprisingly bad. I’m not a fan of Terminal J at PortMiami – it’s in dire need of an upgrade to serve luxury clientele. The lack of an app to expedite the check-in process evidenced itself in a long, slow-moving, inefficient line that began and ended with showing paper documents (and filling out health questionnaires by hand). The industry has moved on, and Regent is behind on this. The only version of an app they have is to provide audio through your own phone or tablet of the guide’s narration on certain tours. Of our seven tours, only one featured this… and the guide basically refused to use it. So the app was definitely not worth downloading.
Regent requires passports for all guests on all sailings, but our passports were taken away at embarkation, with a quick mention that “announcements will be made on board” about how to get our passports back, but no direction was given until night 9 (of ten). The actual process – which involved three Customs and Border Patrol officers boarding the following morning (in Key West) and setting up a table in the Observation Lounge and quickly reviewing passports/”interviewing” each guest before anyone was allowed to go ashore – was smooth and quick. A bonus of clearing customs and immigration prior to the final port was we had no line or process to complete at all the following morning in Miami. But being without the passport through the journey was mildly disconcerting, and would have been problematic if we had needed to use a bank in port.
The lacking technology was evident in the survey, which was required to be completed “before you leave the ship” (thus taking away from precious vacation time), and yet was turned off, without notice, at 7am on the final morning. According to Reception, the survey requires the ship’s wifi in order to work, but they shut that off at seven o’clock (again, with no notice, which could have been problematic for international guests without data packages). Fortunately, we were assured that all of the comments we had compiled (and were waiting until the last morning to review and revise before final submission) were still captured. We had put in many favorable comments about crew members on board and tour operators on the excursions, so we wanted to make sure they were properly recognized for their great service.
During the long wait in line at embarkation, no water was provided, in cups or otherwise (even Carnival provides this!), even though bottles were set out on a table in view across the room. While I noticed this (with disappointment) in the moment, I did not think anything of the lack of refreshments (water, lemonade, chilled towels) at the gangway upon our daily return to the ship. It was only in retrospect that I realized Regent did not provide these basic amenities that you get when sailing other lines, like Celebrity. However, where Regent differs (and gets it right) at the gangway is they provide tables full of bottled water, fresh towels, and umbrellas to bring ashore, saving precious time that’s usually wasted going to the pool deck to get towels to bring on excursions. They also collect the used towels as soon as you get back on board.
While there is a great selection of food (and a good quantity of it: not too much and not too little), most of the food could have been better. On sea days, a movie was screened in the theater, with popcorn provided. While this sounded like a good idea, the popcorn was really bad (but I saved it to “donate” to the roosters and hens that roam freely in Grand Cayman!) One awful thing was the fruit skewers used as garnishes. One had a heavily-moldered grape, and all of the maraschino cherry garnishes smelled rotten (and got worse as the sailing wore on). I’m guessing these skewers were prepared way too far in advance and then not checked before serving.
Sea day breakfasts were quiet and enjoyable in the main dining room, with a huge menu selection, but it tended to be terribly loud in the dining room at dinner despite there being many empty tables and only soft background music. I can’t imagine the noise level at full capacity.
While service was almost exclusively excellent, our dinner service one of the nights in the main dining room was slow and required repeated reminders to finally receive our order. The oddest moment and worst service on the whole trip (again, nothing in the greater scheme of things, but a noteworthy outlier) came when I took a plate from the pool grill on Deck 11 into the Observation Lounge (also on Deck 11) in order to be able to see the sunset while finally having something to eat after a very long day in port. Much like on Celebrity Edge, there were no outdoor places on this ship for guests not staying in the highest-level suites to have an unobstructed view out the front of the ship, so the lounge was really my only choice. Almost immediately after I sat down, someone came up and said “no outside food,” (but they do not serve any food in the lounge?!) I got up to leave right away, and he tried to take my plate away. I said “no, that’s fine, I’m leaving,” and he kept insisting he had to throw the food away. Bizarre, but I walked out with the offending plate.
There were several disappointing and surprising design flaws, which were unexpected given the (young) age of the ship (which first sailed in 2016). Nearly all public doorways involved handles that had to be pulled manually, with no motion sensors or buttons, and the doors were heavy. This was not only not accessible; it was also unsanitary and made navigating between the buffet and the pool grill area very difficult if carrying a plate.
A surprising number of stairs were required. The gangway was a set of 33 steps in three of the seven ports, and the tendering process (in two other ports) required eight stairs. This was, again, oddly inaccessible, and therefore potentially problematic. There was also no tender schedule, which made planning more difficult than it should have been, especially with the long transit involved at Harvest Caye (the private island).
While this was my seventh visit to Cozumel, I was thrilled that I finally docked for the first time downtown, at Punta Langosta. While I loved the convenience of this docking location, the escalator to access the port terminal was broken (and barricaded, so it could not be used as a staircase), and required a lengthy detour. I honestly didn’t even see an elevator, so I’m not sure whether someone in a wheelchair could have even left the pier. The total walk from the sidewalk right at the terminal to getting on board was ten minutes (rushing) and 15 minutes (at a more leisurely pace).
Six of the seven included tours were really good (and I’m not a fan of guided tours). Fortunately, the worst tour was still somewhat worthwhile, and was in the port I’ve been to the most (Cozumel). I did enjoy the Mayan cacao demonstration and the visit to the ruggedly beautiful eastern shore of Cozumel.
The enrichment lecturer on this sailing did four lectures, of which I only attended the first. It was like listening to someone reading off the CIA World Factbook, without knowing how to pronounce place names. The lectures were recorded and replayed on one of the stateroom TV channels, and from briefly checking in, it seems the underwhelming presentations continued for the other lectures.
At night, one half of the buffet area is transformed into an Italian restaurant. The Italian restaurant is not considered one of the specialty dining places, so reservations are not taken. The other dinner choices are Compass Rose (main dining), or the pool grill. Fortunately, this restaurant makes use of the buffet’s outdoor seating area, because there was a persistent sewage smell near the entrance to the restaurant (fortunately only detectable at night, not during breakfast or lunch), and the air conditioning was terribly cold.
Temperature control was an issue in our suite as well, as the temperature control panel did not seem to work, so the temperature was the same (too cold), whether it was on the bluest or reddest setting (or anything in between). Fortunately, the warm temperatures outside allowed us to moderate the indoor temperature by keeping the balcony door open.
The balcony door was a separate problem. On windy nights (and most of them were), the door howled terribly, whether the door was open or closed. We even had a maintenance worker come try to fix it to no avail. The door was also very difficult to slide, which seemed odd for only being three years old. I’ve never had this kind of issue with a balcony in the other 16 cruises I’ve done with a balcony.
Another design issue seems linked to the lacking technology: while there are seven European sockets, and 4 USB outlets, there are only four U.S. outlets, three of which are very difficult to find (and access), and the only obvious, accessible one was the “shavers only” kind in the bathroom (that did not work for phones… I tried!)
I don’t know whether this would hold on all sailings, but most of the other guests were standoffish. The cruise line tried to have a “block party” where you’d open your door and greet your neighbors, and, in quickly going around decks during this, almost no one other than crew was participating. I even had someone open their door, see me walking down the hall, and slam the door. Bizarre. There was almost no interaction at all between passengers who didn’t already know each other at dinner, at trivia, etc. Even on excursions things were very quiet, except for some of the grumbling about living conditions (“depressing,” “there’s mildew”) in the ports, [unfair] criticism of the narration (“could cure my insomnia”), and (much more loudly-voiced) wishes/demands to return early to the ship that seem to be endemic to all tours (which is one reason I generally dislike them). Speaking of excursions, since all of ours were cruise line-sponsored this time (which we usually avoid, but used this time due to them being included in the fare), I’ve included a brief review of each excursion:
Grand Cayman: This was our waitlisted excursion, and we cleared the waitlist the day before the tour was set to depart. Our designated meeting point was ashore, near the Atlantis submarine office. We walked to the office as a group and waited for a previous tour group to return. The group then boards a boat to the submarine’s dive site. After about 15 minutes, you transfer over to the submarine and down a metal ladder into the viewing area. The seats are tiny and the tour was at a full capacity of 43 guests. The submarine descends 104 feet to hover above the reef. The underwater landscape is fascinating and reminded me of a desert oasis, but with fish!
Cozumel: My least favorite excursion of the trip. I chose this trip because it was supposed to visit the Mayan ruins on Cozumel. We did not go to the ruins, and no explanation was given. We began with a cacao production demonstration and a greeting in the Mayan language, both of which were interesting. We then drove to the rugged, undeveloped eastern shore of Cozumel and saw the crashing waves and spectacular natural arches formed out of the island’s coral/limestone base. From here, we went to a tequila facility, which was a site for an extended sales pitch for the very expensive tequila they sell on site (and yet, while they kept telling us we could only buy the tequila there and all other tequila sold elsewhere is poison, they also said the only real tequila was made in Jalisco (which they neglected to mention is on the opposite side of Mexico)). Our guide was really pushing the tequila buying, which made me think he gets a cut of the sales. Lastly, there was a lengthy “folkloric” dancing show, which was ok, but the sound kept cutting out, and it dragged on too long. Ultimately the tour took longer than the allotted four hours even though we entirely skipped the ruins portion.
Costa Maya: This was a great tour. We drove in a comfortable motorcoach about an hour and a half into the countryside to visit Chacchoben Mayan ruins. This was a well-preserved site, surrounded by jungle, which provided welcome shade, and housed a troop of adorable spider monkeys that we watched swinging through the trees. There was no “shopping opportunity” on this tour, and we got back to port in time to take a taxi into the nearby village to see the beach and malecón. The tour would have been improved if the guide had agreed to use the audio device, as it was hard to hear if you ventured too far away, but his information was very interesting. The guide drives four hours each way on days when ships are in port to do tours because the area is so rural and remote. The port area was much nicer than the mental picture I had from hearing reports from previous visitors. There’s a huge saltwater pool that I cooled off in before the LONG walk back down the pier to the ship.
Harvest Caye: Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island (Regent Seven Seas is owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and is their luxury brand). One ship can dock here, but the larger ship at the island the day of our visit was the Norwegian Dawn, so we had to tender, which involved anchoring well off the coast and a long ride in on local boats. We went in early to see the beaches and pools before they got too crowded. There’s a zipline on site and a lot of shops. There are also numerous restaurants and bars, but all of them are expensive, and nothing is included at any food or drink venue like you might be used to at private venues like Labadee, CocoCay, or Half Moon Cay. This is like a much larger, more expensive Amber Cove, but with a beach (and no waterslides). Beach and pool loungers are the only complimentary amenities. Clamshells, beach mats, and other things are available and can be charged to your ship’s account. We tendered back to the ship to get food rather than pay the inflated prices on the island and barely made it back in time to catch our tour. This one was operated by a local boat captain and a local guide and took us to the mainland of Belize and four miles up the Monkey River. Our captain was excellent at spotting wildlife along the shores: great and little blue herons, iguanas, crocodiles, turtles, pelicans, hawks, and more. The boat tied up along the riverbank and we climbed out to hike into the jungle and see medicinal plants and try to see monkeys. There were a few, but nothing like the previous day in Costa Maya, and there were a huge number of mosquitoes that swarmed every time we stopped walking. It was a relief to get back on the boat and moving! We tried to enjoy the beach at Harvest Caye (the pool was too cold), but even though the last tender was 5:30pm, they closed all of the services on the island at 4pm and forced me out of the warm, welcoming water at 4:30pm. We were the very last guests off the island, boarding the 5pm tender.
Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala: This was the port that attracted me to this itinerary, as I’ve never been to Guatemala (and didn’t think of it as a place on the Caribbean coast). I went in knowing nothing, so I was shocked by how stunningly beautiful the lush, mountainous countryside was. Our tour was of the Quirigua Mayan ruins, where you can see the best-preserved stelae (intricate stone carvings) of all of the Mayan sites. After we returned to port, we took a taxi to las Escobas waterfalls, which are very pretty, and the hike felt good after a long day in the bus. I could have filled another whole day with explorations in this gorgeous corner of Central America.
Roatan, Honduras: I’ve always said I’m not actually interested in ziplining, but if the chance came to do it for free, I would (so I did!). The first set of lines was face-down, “Superman” style. The remaining eleven lines were the traditional way. While it was ok enough, I did not really enjoy the experience (the face-down part was the best, so it was a letdown from there), so I won’t be seeking it out again. We then took a guided walk through the jungle canopy on suspension bridges that are below the ziplines. The guide pointed out a variety of medicinal plants. After the ziplining, (and despite the whining of the other passengers, who wanted to go “home” to the ship rather than “waste two hours of my life”), we went to West Bay Beach, where the water was calm and the perfect temperature, and a bunch of colorful fish were swimming in the knee-deep water. After walking the entire length of the beach through the water, it was already time to return to the ship. We were docked downtown in Coxen Hole, where a second pier is currently under construction.
Key West: We’ve visited Key West before by car, which is a terribly long ride from Miami. Getting there by ship was much nicer. We were the only ship in town the day we visited, which helped to ease the crowds. Our selected tour was the glass-bottom boat ride to the reef six miles off shore. The ride was really rough, especially going out, even though we were visiting on a gloriously sunny day. After we returned to the dock, we had lunch and drinks on board before heading back out to visit the descendants of Hemingway’s cats at the Ernest Hemingway Home. I was the last guest back on board, at 4:27pm, and we set sail soon after, unfortunately missing the sunset festivities at Mallory Square. I watched the sun set from our balcony before heading to the infinity pool and then the hot tub for one last soak. I did not want the journey to end!