Seven Seas Navigator Cruise Review by Sparkle144: Help! I think Andy Griffith's ghost is haunting my bathroom!
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Help! I think Andy Griffith's ghost is haunting my bathroom!
DW (Dear wife, for the uninitiated( and I are retired Seniors living in S.Fl. This was our 43rd voyage; we had been wanting to try the Regent line but it had not been convenient before, so when we found they were to move its home port to Miami, we decided to "sign on".
We booked through our local agent, and were glad we did. (I have never remarked to any degree on an agent before as felt it might be considered a personal plug, but have to remove that precedent here) There were several problems with this booking, not the fault of the line but a very complicated situation emerged. Our agent and her parent company alike (firstname.lastname@example.org) performed heroically to solve the several problems, spending a great amount of time and energy and kept in touch admirably, keeping us apprised of progress, as, frankly, the entire issue was more than a little "iffy" at certain points.
We arrived at the port by private transportation and found check-in uncrowded and well handled. The More area used by Regent (it was their first sailing from Miami) is or was (?) the facility used by Oceania and could not be more convenient, being the first terminal as you enter the port, so traffic and congestion were relatively non-existent.
Here came the first surprise: We were told that rooms would be ready at a specific time and, in a pleasant manner, not to attempt to enter your cabin until so announced. We soon found out why. When the announcement was made that "all cabins" were ready, we found, on our floor, and we assume all others, all cabin doors open into the hallway and...are you ready...stewards standing in near military style at the individual cabin doors...eerily reminiscent of the latrine scene in Andy Griffith's "No Time For Sergeants) in which Griffith, the new recruit, has rigged the bathroom facilities to snap to attention for the inspecting Officer.
To add to that, in our bathroom, when you open the lower cabinet underneath the sink, the clever drawstring apparatus gradually opens the wastebasket, saving you that "effort".
Our cabin (all facilities are termed "suites") was indeed that. Without a doubt, the nicest and most well laid out we have ever experienced in our prior 42 voyages. To be fair, we usually book Ocean View or Veranda, so the 301 total sq.ft. was a welcome surprise. A tub and separate shower, four, yes, 4 mirrors NOT counting the bathroom, & 3 telephones.+ We were both impressed no end by the amount of usable and well thought out storage. In fact, I was still finding more up to the third day. Adjacent to the nice sized walk in closet (our first ever) there was a cleverly spaced seven drawer cabinet. It would not be a problem in this regard to do a very long voyage, which we have not found to be so on two prior world cruises on two other more mainstream lines.
Our steward, Jay, took good care of us and our suite at every turn. On our table was a spray of fresh orchids, a basket of fruit and a chilled bottle of champagne to welcome us and set the tone. Impressive indeed.
We dined time wise almost equally between the cafeteria and main dining room. Several times we ordered room service breakfast when there were early tours. Worthy of note indeed, said room service breakfast. A smiling waiter enters the room, sets the tray on the sofa, and, voila, magically causes a perfectly sized table top to appear from its hiding place behind the sofa. Settling it expertly in place, he then sets the table with a white cloth and full silver service.
The cafeteria is set up in a different manner than most. You may take as you desire from the line, of course, but there are no trays; if possible a staff member will take your plate and lead to your table. A free standing one person station, immediately between the two opposite service lines, handles eggs/omelets to order at breakfast, and pasta and stir fry at lunch. A very helpful and efficient lady Maitre'd stands by to help with order taking and service. A noteworthy hallmark is: if an item from the main dining room is not available, it can be sent up and brought to your table. In the evening, as with other lines, this area is converted to a sit-down Italian restaurant.
There is no self-service beverage service; a waiter will take your drink order.
Service in all categories is truly above and beyond most others,of course of the ones we have sailed. The charming and helpful lady concierge, whose desk abuts the customer service and shore excursion desks, was so helpful and pleasant that I discreetly informed her that my wife and I would like to take her home with us. She politely declined, but did thank us! Anything desired, within reason, I believe could and would be taken care of.
Example of the unexpected: As is becoming a habit on most lines, midway through a comment card asking; "How are we doing?" is distributed. Wife noted what to her was a shortage of the chocolate in certain items (Trust me here, she is an expert of all things chocolate.) and received a phone call from the chef. She subsequently, some hours later, received a followup call that a delivery from the bakery was on the way. Soon, the doorbell (yes, no knock on the door, an actual doorbell) rang and a smiling staff member presented her with an impressive plate of very very chocolaty cookies. (Think impressive chunks) This was later followed up by the chef to check on his performance, ha, wife informed him that they were the best chocolate chunk cookies she had ever had. I even had a bite myself, no comment as to whether her back was turned at the time...
Main dining room is run efficiently and well. We never had a wait for a table and always found ourselves with convivial and friendly people. Food was excellent, and complimentary wine or beer, and some mixed drinks are complimentary all throughout the ship, including the full content of your cabin minibar. Tables also have a spray of fresh orchids.
Entertainment was excellent and unexpectedly so for a smaller ship, the Navigator being the smallest of Regent's three ships. The Jean Ann Ryan troupe performed several fully staged shows and were enthusiastically received. Their performances feature a highly talented acrobatic duo who were audience favorites. An excellent female singer did multiple shows, being also well received. An excellent cruise staff show rounded out the overall more than good entertainment.
We found disappointment (admittedly hard to do) in only one area, the gym/fitness center. Small even for a small ship...only four machines (excluding the usual treadmill pieces) and even though they could be set for multiple configurations, we were not as impressed as with other aspects of the ship. Good use was made of the space provided, but why not more space to start with? With beverages being complimentary, perhaps one bar might have been made smaller or even eliminated? To some this may not be of importance, to us, it is.
Ports: Costa Maya, Mexico: We repeated (most shore excursions are [also] complimentary) a trip to an ancient Pyramid site we had done once before.
Santo Tomas de Castilla,Guatemala: we enjoyed the tour (Via local tender) of a highly rated resort, with a complimentary BBQ lunch. It is well done with what we were told by staff is recreations of fortifications of earlier times.
Belize City: I truly wish I could tell you, but there was a mixup on our part of the time and place to begin, and we missed our connection. We were supposed to enjoy the airboat tour which we were told was more than worthwhile.
Cozumel: Can you spell; "The good and the Very annoying"? Good: We docked at the downtown area, instead of being fed into an offshore shopping center, as has happened in the past. The "Annoying"? The most, well, the only word is indeed, annoying, storefront touts in your face with every step you take. I finally solved this by walking off the sidewalk behind the pedestrian stream, and when this became impractical, we simply gave up and returned to the ship. Note to Tourism Department; The only purchase we made was from a shopkeeper who did not hassle us and informed us that he had no intention of doing so. This does NOT create good will and in my opinion can simply drive people away.
Key West: No strangers to this locale, we took the glass bottom boat tour to what was described as one of the world's largest offshore reefs. A long boat ride to get there and back, and from what we saw, to us not a standout. Others may disagree.
Would we do the Navigator again? Probably not. Would we do the line again? Absolutely. Mainly to have access to a larger fitness center, which is more important to us than it may be to you. Outstanding service and the nicest cabin we have ever had in our experience, of the usual class we book (Ocean View or Veranda) turn the tide for us. And without our truly amazing travel agent, we might have missed this one, in fact! Did I say that as is the trend to "all inclusive", gratuities are also included. No? I didn't? Well, they are. Bye!
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