My wife, daughter and myself recently took a cruise on Regents Mariner from Rome to Istanbul. We had taken cruises several times in the past, primarily on Crystal. We decided to book the Seven Seas Aft suite (cabin 988). From the moment we entered our cabin we were overwhelmed by a very strong sewer odor. We repeatedly complained to staff, including reception and anyone else who would listen to us. After several hours, someone from engineering appeared, ascertained the situation and then left. I tried to ask him what the issue was, but he indicated he did not speak English. The problem persisted into our second day on board the ship. Again, we kept asking for someone to come to our cabin and explain to us what was happening. No one came. I was curious to find out if this was an isolated situation and googled the ship's name and sewer odors. Apparently this has been an issue on the Mariner, particularly in the stern of the 9th deck. Finally, towards the end of the second day I sent an e-mail to our travel agent, who is with the Virtuoso travel group, indicating that we had enough and wanted to leave the ship at our next port-of-call unless the problem was fixed. She, in turn, contacted a fellow agent who was on board the ship. That agent was able to talk to someone in a position of responsibility on the ship. The sewer odor ceased for the time being. After two days of unanswered complaints we were finally contacted by the ship's assistant general manager. She indicated that we were the only people on board that complained of the odor. I mentioned to her other passengers near our cabin told us they also complained. She denied that was the case and the conversation went downhill from there. I was then contacted by the general manager who met with me, apologized and told me the problem involved disposal of effluent from the ship's wastewater system. He assured me the problem was resolved. For the next 6-7 days that was the case. However, for the last day and a half, it came back with a vengeance. At that point, we just wanted to get off the ship.
The sad thing about our experience is there is a lot to like about the Mariner and the Regents cruise line. The staff was friendly and helpful. The food was consistently outstanding. Many of the excursions were well thought out. Unfortunately, the ship is badly in need of an overhaul. We were not the only ones with complaints about the ship itself. For example, the couple next door to us were able to unlock their door only half the time. It seemed like every time we saw them they were waiting in the corridor for someone from engineering to change the door's locking mechanism. The TV system throughout the ship went down for the last two days of our voyage. It was rare that we could hear a ship's announcement. Much of the furniture looked as if a bunch of kids went after it with scissors and knives. Floorboards on our cabin's balcony were coming up to the point we tripped over them. Nobody expects perfection, but passengers deserve better than this. Instead of being defensive or evasive about their ships' shortcomings, Regents should be pro-active in addressing the issues of their passengers. Will we ever cruise on Regents again? Maybe, but only on a ship that has been newly overhauled.