This was our first time with Regent Seven Seas and we sailed on the Mariner from Venice to Monte Carlo.
More importantly for us, this was a real departure from our normal cruises, which over the last few years have been very formal, sailing with Cunard or P&O. So the big question for us was would we enjoy the informality and smaller stylish boutique ship over a grand and elegant liner - and the answer was 100% yes!
Most of the people i chatted to could only really compare Regent to the other 6 Star "all inclusive" lines (Silverseas, Seabourne etc)and virtually all told us that Regent was way in front in many ways.
We fell in love with this ship and the Regent experience after two days and thoughts of super-liners, Tuxedo`s and set eating times fell away.
So what made it so great.....Here we go:-
Individual space - I read that Regent`s ships offer the greatest amount of passenger space and they really do. But i guess this is due to the fact that our ship stopped every day and with all - inclusive tours a vast number of passengers were off the ship for the bulk of the day.
The Stateroom - Ample space, well furnished with a most comfortable bed and kitted out with everything and more you would need. Espresso coffee maker, DVD player, stocked fridge and even the binoculars were useful. But the two big pluses were the walk - in wardrobe, which therefore gives you more living room and the "Best" bathroom i have ever experienced across 30 cruises. Nicely tiled, roomy and the most amazing walk in shower with rainfall shower head!
Staff - Every single member of staff were ultra efficient, friendly and above all cheerful, giving the impression that they enjoyed working on the ship (you don't always see this)
Restaurants - Well firstly, the food in every restaurant was outstanding. But here`s the thing, whichever restaurant you chose to eat in, you never felt like you were in the dining room of a cruise ship, but entering into a restaurant.
The menu choices were fantastic and having never encountered the all inclusive element previously, had some concerns over whether the quality and choice of wines that would be available would pass muster - they exceeded expectation. There was always 2/3 choices of each and with the exception of a single dodgy "Reisling" all were excellent (especially the Reds).
In addition,this ship really does serve premium brands, with large choices of gins, vodka`s, whiskies, brandies, beers and liqueurs.
Tours - We only booked a single tour in Montenegro and it was terrific with a most passionate and knowledgeable guide.
Were there any negatives - of course there were, but they were minor and really down to our personal tastes.
My wife and i hate buffets, so for two days mid cruise and due to how many people were off the ship, the main dining room was closed leaving the "Pool Grill" or the buffet at "La Veranda" the only dining venues. But the food served in both of those venues was excellent with a massive choice and wonderfully freshly cooked pasta.
Personally i feel they could do with some more maitre d`s at the entrances of the restaurants to seat people quickly and more efficiently and regarding entertainment, although the production shows were well put together (great dancers), the main singers were not to our personal liking - The Cirque du Mariner show however was very good.
We are big fans of the roulette wheel, however, most nights it was never manned and therefore no players.
Finally, the embarkation/disembarkation process was seamless and ultra smooth and helped along with a glass of champagne for embarkation in the Constellation theatre.
All of the above reasons are why we simply loved the Regent experience and the "Mariner" and have already booked again for next summer - and cant wait!!!