This cruise through the Panama Canal was our third with Regent and second time on the Navigator. The first cruise to the eastern Caribbean on the Voyageur was wonderful. The excursions were excellent (in particular the catamaran at St. Barts). The second cruise to the Amazon was amazing. We loved Terry Breen's enrichment lectures, the mixologist, and the exotic shore excursions.
This time was very different. I was ill twice with gastrointestinal issues which lasted several days. This was an 18 day cruise and I was ill the second day into the cruise and again 7 days later.
The food was mediocre with the exception of Prime 7. Their tres leche was particularly amazing. Compass Rose had a pasta choice at dinner, and since I prefer vegetarian fare I ordered pasta several times. It lacked ingredients (vegetables were very sparse) and in my view having pasta on the menu with sparse ingredients was a way for corporate to save money. The desserts were very small and unimaginative. The wines were ok, but since I was ill twice, I limited my alcohol intake. I ordered fish several times, and the Branzini was excellent in Setti Marti, but the cod was awful at Compass Rose.
The wait staff were all very good in general, but several times at dinner the room was very hot and the meal took several hours. The wait staff got way behind on several nights.
Our room temperature was problematic. The room was either way too hot or too cold.
The excursions were awful. We had a major problem at Puerto Chiapas, Mexico. The tour guides were 16-year olds and obviously very inexperienced. We waited over 45 minutes in 90 degree heat for the tour to start. Several in our party refused to wait and returned to the ship by taxi. Once the tour did start, most of the guides had been on the job for only two or three days and did not know much about the mangroves. The area was filled with garbage and infested with mosquitoes ostensibly from recent rains. On the way back to the ship, the bus was late and we waited again in the heat for another 45-60 minutes. Several people were quite elderly and I was concerned for their health. They asked for and were provided with chairs.
Additionally, at every port, we were followed by the Norwegian Jewel. We understood we waited 45-minutes at Puerto Chiapas for our tour to begin because the Norwegian Jewel arrived earlier so their guests were taken on the tour first.
Everyone complained to Regent about this tour. I expected reimbursement or additional on-board credits. We received nothing from Regent. We were told by the front desk that corporate was aware of the issue.
The all inclusive value proposition is only a good value when the shore excursions are first rate. These excursions were not any different than those offered by other cruise lines and were not worth the up front money that Regent expects passengers to pay. Puerto Chiapas was not the only poor excursion. The Costa Rican train ride was another poor excursion, but somewhat more tolerable due to the excellent guide.
In summary, I question the value:
Terrible choice of shore excursions and possibly not vetted
Room temperature a problem
On the positive side:
Terry Bishop provided excellent and entertaining enrichment lectures
The staff especially at Compass Rose was very good
The entertainment was good