Although we're not generally luxury cruisers we wanted to do something special to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary. After reading reviews and comparing itineraries and reviewing other details with our travel agent we selected the Regent Seven Seas 7-night cruise to Alaska on the Navigator. This was our first visit to Alaska and our first cruise with Regent Seven Seas. Based on our research our expectations were high but fulfilled in every meaningful way.
Ship - The Navigator is a relatively small ship with a maximum capacity of 490 passengers. However, this seemed to be an ideal size for sailing the Inside Passage and getting in and out of smaller ports. Embarkation and Disembarkation was very smooth and well-organized, especially for shore excursions. We especially liked the all-inclusive format of this cruise and never had to sign for anything or hand out gratuities to the staff. All of the staff were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable and treated us like royalty throughout our cruise.
Suite - We booked a window suite on Deck 5 which was perfectly located mid-ship near the stairs and elevators, disembarkation for shore excursions and the Compass Rose main dining room where we ate all of our evening meals except one which was in Prime 7. Our suite was exquisite and large by cruise standards featuring a bathroom with tile floors, separate bathtub and shower as well as a walk-in closet. The bed was queen size and very comfortable for two people and there was a separate sitting area that could be partitioned with a curtain. Our suite did not have a balcony but for this particular cruise we never felt that was a necessity because the weather was generally cloudy or rainy and windy and getting to the outside decks was convenient if we wanted to go outside.
Dining - We ate all of our evening meals in Compass Rose except one which was in Prime 7. The Compass Rose menu had adequate variety in food and wine selections for every meal and the food was very good to excellent. We never really had a bad meal at Compass Rose and the service was excellent and attentive. Our one meal in Prime 7 was somewhat of a disappointment as the service was a bit slower than in Compass Rose and the food was not exceptional as you might expect for what is billed as the ship's top of the line restaurant. We ate breakfast and lunch in La Veranda and The Pool Grill where the food was served buffet style with custom orders available for eggs, burgers and such. We were never able to dine in Setti Mari as it required a long wait for a table.
Entertainment - The evening shows were surprisingly good and much better than expected. The dancers were outstanding in the three musical shows we attended and the singers were certainly quite talented and on par with what you would experience in a good cabaret or nightclub. One show featured a comedian/impressionist who was very funny and performed some entertaining impressions of both young and old celebrities. The two lounge pianists ranged from excellent to mediocre depending on their repertoire and the enthusiasm of their audience. There are also other entertainment options on board including movies, karaoke and bingo among others. Terry Breen, the onboard naturalist and narrator was exceptional and really made this cruise something extra special. All of the passengers were impressed by her subject matter knowledge and the little details she added to enlighten and entertain. We talked with her directly on a couple of occasions and found her very approachable, warm and generally interested in helping the passengers get the most out of their Alaska cruise experience.
Public Areas - The Navigator is a relatively small ship so is limited in what it can offer but for this cruise we never really felt lacking for anything and found we enjoyed the intimacy of a smaller ship. We didn't use the pool as the weather was usually quite cool. The exercise area was certainly adequate featuring a number of cardiovascular machines and a separate area for aerobics and yoga/pilates. We didn't use the Canyon Ranch spa/salon services but their menu of services was extensive and they appeared quite busy at the times we visited the area to use the exercise facilities. We enjoyed the Navigator Lounge for late evening nightcaps and early morning coffee. The bar service in the Navigator Lounge was especially friendly and helpful. The Casino is quite small but was never crowded - we're not big time gamblers so that wasn't really a concern for us. There is one small boutique/gift shop which could offer more sizes in their apparel selection. The jewelry store was well-stocked and the sales staff was knowledgeable and helpful. We also enjoyed Galileo's on Deck 11 which featured afternoon tea with pastries and fruit and late night entertainment.
Summary - In general, we had a wonderful experience on the Regent Seven Seas Navigator and can't wait to go again. As a testament to this ship and Regent Seven Seas, there was a very prominent Hollywood film director on board who could have easily afforded to charter his own private yacht. The several times that we observed him in the public areas, he appeared to be in great spirits and sincerely enjoying himself. And the staff treated him much like all the other guests - like royalty.