I am UK based so we did not need a hotel room in Rome prior to our cruise. We flew directly from Heathrow to Rome and were met and transferred efficiently to Civitavecchia arriving about 1230 hours. Even at this early time we were welcomed on board with champagne and smiles, went through the swift registration procedures and pointed towards the Pool Grill and the Veranda Restaurant where we could have lunch and while away a couple of hours until our suite was ready.
We were called around 1430 hours, greeted at the lift and taken to our suite, a rear facing Horizon suite with a spacious balcony. The suite itself was bigger than on the sister ship, Mariner, with a larger marble bathroom with a bath and separate shower cubicle. An excellent walk in closet, which served if you wished as a small dressing room, large bed and a sofa, two armchairs, a table, in-room refrigerator large, screen TV and wall desk completed the furniture. Fresh fruit, flowers and a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket completed an impressive display. We were asked which spirits we required to stock the cold box with for the cruise ( a bottle each person) and told soft drinks would bw replenished each day or twice a day if necessary as was ice also.
We had chosen the Western Med itinerary because of the ports, Livorno, the port for Florence, Portofino, St. Tropez, Marseilles, Sete, Monte Carlo and finally Nice. We chose not to join excursions which involved a lot of walking so at Livorno we went on a coach through the Tuscan countryside ending up at a small wine tasting auberge. In Portofino we joined a boat trip along the coast, in St. Tropez we toured the old town (we noticed Voyager's Chef buying fish and veg in the town). Marseilles we did on our own using the shuttle bus as our docking was quite a long way from the city. Sete was the only wet day and Regent laid on some extra activities on board though we did venture out between the showers. Monte Carlo was beautiful and a visit to the Royal Palace was a must. Finally we sailed in the evening the short (just over an hour) distance to Nice and were given the opportunity to go ashore but as we were disembarking next morning we chose to have a relaxing dinner on board.
Now the dining facilities. There are 4 restaurants and all have open seat dining. We could eat when we wanted and with whom we chose. There were plenty of tables for two. The main restaurant is Compass Rose with an extensive menu from which you could mix and match and choose as many courses as your appetite could stand. An Italian based restaurant, Veranda, served buffet style appetizers and desserts, with hot mains brought by your waiter. There are two speciality outlets, Latitudes, serving Asian fare which we did not try as there were no vegetarian main courses and Signatures, a Cordon Bleu restaurant with very fine dining indeed. The food was of a very high standard, presented beautifully and complimented with good, well chosen and liberally served complimentary wines, with liqueurs or cognac to follow.
Evening entertainment was provided by a troupe of singers and dancers but after the first night one of the leading singers hurt his shoulder and he was flown home. Their place on stage was taken by a concert pianist and a Lionel Richie type entertainer. There were several parties, a welcome, a Captain's Hello to regulars, a crew do and a farewell and free drink flowed at them all.
Finally, the disembarkation procedure went smoothly and we were decanted at Nice airport in good time for our London bound flight home.
I would not wish to close without mentioning the staff. As Regent are a no-tipping line, their smiles and concern for guests welfare struck us as really genuine. They made a big fuss and we felt we had made some really good friends.
We look forward to the next time we can sail with Regent.