Let me provide some background as I believe we all have such subjective views. I have cruised on Celebrity and Oceania, this is the first Regent Cruise. I travel a lot for business, with my standard stays at Marriotts, Hyatts, etc. This cruise was 7 nights starting in Rome ending in Istanbul. Overall it was very enjoyable,a few highlights:
-Embarkation was the easiest I ever experienced.
-The crew were all extremely friendly and helpful. I don't recall having crew that always had a smile on their face, and offered to assist with anything
-The bed was very comfortable and the bath amenities very nice
-I really like the all inclusive fare. I don't drink much, however, not signing chits throughout the cruise was very nice
-The excursions were better than I expected. All but one of the guides was excellent. The maximum tour size was 20, I noted that the other larger ships had groups of 30-40
-This cruise had two significant issues to deal with. The first was a suspected case of meningitis where the passenger had to be taken off the ship overnight for medical help, and the second Hurricane Sandy. The communications and transparency from the Captain and Jamie the cruise director was excellent. There is a thread on the medical issue on the Boards. The Italian authorities did not let us disembark in Messina. All passengers were given Cipro to take as a precaution. On the hurricane side, we did use Regent Air and they were working to make sure our flight home were running as usual. In what I thought was a nice gesture, they provided free internet for the last two days of the cruise to those flying to/through the east coast.
-The food was good-very good. I live in a city with excellent restaurants. I'm not sure its completely fair to compare a restaurant at home that seats 200 to the volume on the ship. Our meals in Prime 7 and Signatures were very good. The service in Signatures was surprisingly average. The Sette Mare concept worked for us and it was casual and enjoyable.Compass Rose was good, but our service there was excellent.
-I took advantage of the upsell to a "A" Penthouse suite. Our butler arrived to the ship late due to a delay in his travel back from leave. He was very pleasant, but since he was late did not do a good job of explaining what services he could provide. My wife and I are pretty self sufficient. We did not really use the butler, so whatever the incremental cost was for that was a waste of money for us. The layout of the suite, especially with the extra window was very nice however.
-The gym and spa were very small. I'm not sure that the "Canyon Ranch" association adds anything
-Since this cruise was so port intensive, we did not attend any of the shows. We peeked in on one, it didnt knock our socks off
Overall, we had a very pleasant week. We would definitely sail on Regent again, however, it wasn't a home run. We would at least compare the price of a similar itinerary that was not all inclusive to see the difference.