Our group of 6 adults chose Regent to celebrate 2-40th and 1-50th birthdays. We wanted a luxury experience and the all-inclusive nature of this cruise line.
We were absolutely thrilled with our cruise experience except for a couple of the tours (more on that later).
Check in was quick as we were some of the first in line. As we boarded the ship, we were handed a glass of champagne and directed to the Constellation Theatre. A wonderful way to start a trip!
The food on the Mariner was fantastic and we enjoyed every meal. The best was one birthday celebration at Signatures, although the second celebration at Prime 7 was good, but not quite as nice as Signatures. The lobster surf and turf was a bit tough, but we all enjoyed our meals. It is virtually impossible for a ship to serve every meal perfectly, but they certainly try.
The staff were incredible. From our room stewardess, Kathlyn, to the wait staff, bartenders and crew we encountered, everyone and I do mean everyone, went out of their way to smile, say hello and ask about your day.
We decided to book tours in advance in every port and were fairly active, which helped to offset the fine food we indulged in every evening. While most tours were very good, we decided to pay extra for 2-Regent Choice tours which we understood were to give a more enriching experience with smaller group sizes. Unfortunately we were very disappointed with our tour to San Marino. I realize this is a newly developed tourist destination, but the guide was inexperienced and spent the tour, reading to us from a guide book. After a while we simply wandered off and explored on our own. Since this was the first Regent Choice tour (and we paid extra for it), we were concerned about the quality of the inclusive tours.
We needn't worry about those. Every tour that was included in our package price was excellent. Our last disappointment was with the final Regent Choice tour which ended up being cancelled. This tour (Super Tuscan Wine Experience) was to be the highlight of our trip. While it is understandable that they must have a minimum number of participants, what was beyond disappointing was the lack of initiative or creative problem solving by the Mariner's destination services team. They refunded our money (as expected) but could have retained the fee if they'd only been a bit more proactive. Perhaps a private group wine tasting of a selection of Super Tuscan wines (they must have had some on board for purchase) by the head sommelier, followed by a typical Tuscan meal would have been offered. But no, the only solution the staff had was to rebook an existing tour.
Our disappointment with the extra cost tours aside, there is a lot to be said for how well Regent does virtually everything else.
We didn't enjoy much of the entertainment, but that is a personal taste issue. We did enjoy the daily trivia tournament and high tea in the lounge.
All too soon our cruise was over. I expect we will chose to cruise Regent again, mostly due to the staff interaction and the quality of the food, but I doubt we'll go beyond the regular tour offerings which are part of the all inclusive package price.
The Regent Choice excursions leave a lot to be desired.