Our expectations were high, perhaps too high for our first Regent cruise. First, the good. The food is excellent. Cabins were kept clean, although ours did have a bad odor. Our cabin attendant was the best we have ever had. There were 40 kids on board but I hardly every saw them, and the ones that I did see were well-behaved. In addition to Americans, there were many South Americans and Europeans on our ship, leading to a nice mix. The lounge chairs were super-comfy, although it did get a bit crowded on our one sea day, particularly because the weather was so nice.
Now, the not so good and why we probably won't sale Regent again. First, the ship is dated in nearly every way, particularly compared to some newer ships in other fleets. Elegant, but dated. Most of the common rooms look like a country club that hasn't been updated since the 80's. The saddest thing is the completely underutilized Deck 12, covered in outdated sport areas or hideous blue astroturf. Second, we ended up paying (a lot) for some of our shore excursions in order to avoid the excursions that had 30-35 people in each bus (with multiple buses going to the same location at the same time = crowds). Also, unless you are in a specialty restaurant, wine choices may not be satisfactory. Wine advice is not dispensed freely either, and we never saw a list of complimentary wines. We ended up paying for several bottles of wine. Many more common spirits are not included either (like Patron tequila). It is an expensive extra. They also won't have many of the new popular spirits such as Hypnotic, X-Rated or similar items, for any price. The cocktail menu is quite dated. The internet service is about 1/3 more expensive than on other ships. So, with the additional drinks and shore excursions, plus the internet bill, we had a bill at the end of the cruise that nearly equaled our bill on a non-inclusive cruise on other cruise lines. And, that is after paying a good deal more (twice as much) upfront.
Air arrangements were not satisfactory (had us leaving the ship at 3:30 a.m.), so we had the extra expense of an air deviation, which also ended up not being ideal, particularly because Regent forced us to leave the ship (not just our room) by 8:00 a.m. anyway, resulting in a two hour wait at the airport to check-in, plus an additional wait for our flight. In addition, the pre-cruise hotel was not a good one -- not located near anything and horrible beds. There are five star hotels in Barcelona in the Gothic District, but the Rey Juan Carlos is not one of them! It was so wonderful to get on the ship and sleep in the awesome Regent beds.
One word of caution. If you are new to Regent and sail for the first time, you probably will find a group -- perhaps a large group -- of passengers who have sailed on Regent an unbelievable number of nights. Many have been with Regent before it was Regent (when it was Radisson). Some of these passengers are wonderful -- true ambassadors for Regent. Others think that they own the ship and are not afraid to let you know it. We quickly learned that Regent "newbies" are simply a bother to this particular group and they don't like us on "their" ship. This group seemed upset that the ship was full. Many are downright rude in their ownership attitude, and this group tends to treat the staff like their children. This is our first experience with this type of cruiser, and we found them off-putting in major way. It probably was worse on this sailing given that it followed a transatlantic, and many stayed on for our cruise, but read the complaint in a previous review of one of the transatlantic passengers and you will see what I am talking about. That reviewer actually complained -- in a nice way -- that there were too many "new" people on the ship! That is the kind of attitude that we confronted every single day of the cruise. Plus, given that it is a small/medium sized ship, it is really hard to avoid the rude people like on the larger ships. Note to any rude long-time cruisers reading this: It is not your ship!!! You don't own it!!
Everyone has a different experience. We saw wonderful sights and met wonderful people who are likely to become lifelong friends. However, the negatives and value, combined with the sheer volume of really rude fellow passengers who are long-time Regent cruisers, outweighed the positives, so it is highly unlikely that we will ever cruise with Regent again. Our two previous cruises were five star in nearly every way, so I don't see a reason to pay double for Regent.