My wife and I decided to do something special for our 20th anniversary so we booked a 7 day cruise of the Greek Islands on Regent Seven Seas. After the cruise was completely paid for and we were within a few months of departure, the cruise line offered to upgrade us to a 10 night cruise for the same price. We accepted the offer and selected a 10 night cruise from Barcelona to Istanbul. Although we only stopped at one Greek Island (Santorni) we were both pleased with the ports of call on the longer cruise and we had a great time.
This was our first time on an "all inclusive" cruise and I can't imagine ever going back to one where we sign "chits" for everything and pay for shore excursions and then a large tip at the end of the cruise. Regent provided a very good selection of included wines and cocktails and we never found it necessary to select one of the upgrade options.
At 700 passengers, the Mariner is about the perfect size - large enough to offer all the amenities and small enough to be comfortable without large crowds or long waits. The ship's decor is restrained but nice. No large rooms of garish purples and reds, but more conservative tans and browns. Condition of the ship was very good and everything was very clean and well maintained. The showroom was never overcrowded and the entertainment ranged from very good to outstanding.
We really enjoyed the dining options. Most breakfasts were at the excellent buffet in the Veranda. We had one dinner each in Signatures and Prime 7 and both were outstanding. Most of our dinners were in the Compass Rose and the service and food were always very good. We had one lunch at the pool grille which we also enjoyed. The portions (except at Prime 7) were quite small and at first I was concerned, but they were sized to allow enjoyment of the multi course meals. I never left any dining venue hungry, so they got the portion size about right.
This was a very "port intensive" cruise and because all the shore excursions were included in the price, I overbooked our time ashore. Up early, a quick breakfast, and off to see the world. Our one day at sea between Sicily and Santorini was the day almost everyone savored. A chance to sleep late, rest our weary feet, and enjoy the ship. On our next Regent cruise (we will definitely cruise with them again) I will be more selective on shore excursions.
What was the best part of the cruise? The crew! They were always helpful, good humored, and very pleasant. Our cabin steward (Hanna) was a delight. She was constantly trying to do anything to make our cruise more pleasant.