We have cruised alot but this was our first totally inclusive trip. It was wonderful not to have to sign for anything or have a bill at the end. Our air was included and would've been perfect except that Mother Nature got in the way and delayed our flight for 5 hours. The good part is that British Air sorted the entire mess out and we landed in Nice 6 hours late. A phone call to Regent from the airport brought a quick transfer to our hotel,the Fairmont, Monte Carlo. After a quick check in we were in a lovely room overlooking the harbor and our ship. A 40 euro credit made a dent in a lovely dinner at the hotel. Breakfast was also included as were our group transfers. All shore side events were well planned and went off without a hitch.
Embarkation: On boarding we were greeted with a glass of champagne and check in only took a few minutes. Since cabins weren't ready we went to the lido for a buffet lunch. Shortly afterwards, cabins were available.
Cabin: We met our steward, Deepak. He took wonderful care of us the entire time. Our cabin was an E category, mid ships, with a spacious balcony and a walk in closet. I liked the fact that a drawer unit was included in the closet, thus helping to keep the cabin neat. Our bath included a tub, but had a somewhat funky mirror on the side wall over the tub. I didn't really need to see my questionable splendor as I hauled myself out of the tub!! The shower was fine and the L'Occitane toiletries were wonderful! The bed linens were lovely as well. On our second night out, we had a block party. I believe this is unique to Regent and a wonderful idea. At the sound of a signal, we all went into the hall with an empty wine glass. Stewards were on hand to fill your glass and you had a chance to meet your neighbors. The captain, first officer and cruise director sprinted from deck to deck greeting everyone.
Dining: There are four restaurants on the Mariner. The Compass Rose is the main dining room, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner on an open seating basis. You can opt for a small table for two or enjoy the company of others. We usually ate with others and for the most part it was an enjoyable experience. Food was generally well prepared although there were a few glitches. Service was slow at best. Dining took about 3 hours on average, so evening activities were limited.
I have a feeling that much of the service staff was either new to the ship or had transfered from another Regent vessel. There were many lengthy gaps between
courses. Wine service was fine. A red and a white were offered every night and we were fine most evenings with what was offered. Prime 7 and Signatures are the two "Primo" restaurants that require reservations. Sette Mari is an evening venue that is set up each evening in the Veranda lido area that is done on a first come, first served basis. Prime 7 leans steak house, Signatures is more French/continental and Sette Mari is Italian.
All bars would serve basically anything you'd like. Brands poured were all top shelf with a few "super duper" scotches and brandies carrying a surcharge.
Shore Excursions: We did a shore excursion in every port with the exception of Salvador de Bahia where we opted to go on our own. The excursions were well organized, informative and usually had comfortable buses with one exception. Most guides were good, however that was really the luck of the draw. We heard of some that were terrible and others that were wonderful. We were happy with all of ours.
Itinerary: We embarked in Monte Carlo, followed by Barcelona, Cartagena, Malaga, Casablanca, Agadir, Cape Verde, Recife, Salvador de Bahia and debarked in Rio. Unfortunately, pre cruise, when we signed up for shore excursions, there was nothing listed for Rio. After contacting Regent about arrangements in Rio, we were told that nothing other than the included transfer to the airport was offered. We needed to be off the ship by 10 am and our flight left at almost 11pm. Our travel agent contacted Regent twice..........nope, nothing.
We then went ahead with two other couples and arranged a day tour, a day room at the Sheraton and tranfers to the airport. Midway thru the cruise, a sign up sheet appeared with all sorts of options for Rio. Why didn't we know about this ahead of time? I think Regent dropped the ball on this issue, BIG TIME!
All in all we had a wonderful time and would book again with Regent.