Seven Seas Mariner Cruise Review by Holy Innocent: Very poor value for money paid with inferior service, food and bar
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Very poor value for money paid with inferior service, food and bar
Having done 20+ cruises before, this was a first time trying a luxury level of cruise, at a huge premium. We were expecting to be pampered and have staff attending to our needs at all times ... boy, did they fall down on the job. We did a Celebrity Constellation cruise right after the Regent cruise (back-to-back); both were 12 nights and both in the same part of the world. We did not take Regent's air nor hotel night before the cruise, so the price paid for cruise only can be compared, both with verandas (Concierge Class in Celebrity).Regent cost almost exactly 3x the price. For that, we got a much bigger (and nicer) suite, open bar for standard drinks and shore excursions. What we didn't get was quality or even adequate service, consistent quality food, good wines (only border line acceptable or worse), quality bar drinks (bad mixology), good espresso drinks, good entertainment or a holiday experience. For about $600 on Celebrity, you get a standard drinks package which provides More
BETTER wines, better mixology and way better espresso drinks. Heck, our all-inclusive Celebrity Xpedition cruise last year in the Galapagos was way more fantastic for service, attention to the guests and even just the fun factor on a very non-luxury cruise ship.
Bottom line, we did not get anywhere close to the value we expected paying 3x the price over Celebrity as a baseline comparison. The crew were terrible (worse than any others we've experienced) in understanding English properly/adequately, or even just performing to provide coffee, deliver a menu, pour water, what have you. They all seem to be very busy like bees buzzing but not really serving the customers ... never mind about the wrong orders, or slow orders and missed stuff. After 2 1/2 days, we totally gave up on the main dining room because of poor service and mediocre food and stuck with the 3 specialty restaurants (if we could get a reservation, but at least 1 did not require reservations, Sette Mare, so that was always an option). The senior management tried hard to make up for the poor service and various problems, but they could only do so much. The steakhouse Prime 7 was the best place to eat, with Sette Mare 2nd best.
It really bothered me that a wine list could not be had in order to choose some wine, except for the pay premium wines (no problem there to get a wine list). They always pushed the featured wines of the day (1 red and 1 wine). I only drink red wine, and the red was always sub par/border line drinkable. To get anything else, they had to leave the restaurant to get it and of course I had to dream up what else I might want to drink, such as a Malbec, or a Cabernet from such and such a place (maybe), a Pinot Noire perhaps from somewhere else ... but I had to make the suggestions. Their sommeliers are a joke as they are only trained on the wines carried on board, they are not properly trained/experienced sommeliers. This was truly frustrating and upsetting how this worked on a "luxury" cruise ship. Their mixed drinks were also terrible, i.e. poor mixology even for a rum punch or other basic drinks ... especially their mojitos which I tried several times. (When I switched to Celebrity cruise after Regent, it was a relief to get proper mixed drinks and decent wines without paying a premium.)
The in-house entertainers (dancers/singers) are young 20 year old amateurs and they perform double duty running events for the cruise director. The in-house aerialists (a man & a women) were quite good but only seen about 3 times during the cruise. The brought-in feature entertainers were much better but only used about half the evenings, otherwise only in-house entertainers or no show at all. The house show band was not that good (passable) - seemed to play as individuals rather than together as one.
Generally speaking, the ship seemed like a ghost ship ... where was everybody? Other than dinner time and show time in the theatre, it was hard to find people. And generally, there isn't much to do ... not much on the agenda on board. It is so quiet ... not even music around the pool. If you like to do very little and not see too many people at all, this is the cruise line for you (if you don't mind paying a huge premium for passable food, wine, bar and poor service).
TV choices were poor and minimal for English language (pretty much News & sports only). Some of the ship's channels had the same program running non-stop for 12 days (pretty annoying). The TV remotes were rather awkward to use and had to be pointed to a box above and to the right of the TV (rather than at the TV itself). The only good thing here was free in-room movies, of which there was something like 169 choices ... way too many to go through. The TV picture quality on these flat screens was not that good, surprisingly.
Room steward was OK but nothing to rave about. Never offered bar setup (eventually I asked for something)nor did he replace used drink/wine glasses. When I called for assistance one evening around 10 pm, the phone system sent a page to whomever was on call, but did not receive any response - how great is that! As a separate issue, my wife got terribly sick after the 1st night's evening meal because they had slipped some apple into the desert even though we told the special meals captain (or whatever he was called) that she had allergy to gluten and apples and he promised to communicate this to the wait staff. When I returned to the restaurant to challenge what they had served her that evening, we deduced that it must have been apple instead of gluten that she consumed ... but with this knowledge that they screwed up, there was no one there to make sure she was alright (no inquiries or anything) nor any attempt to make up for it somehow. She was sick the whole night until early morning and obviously this had a terrible impact on the next day, which was our first port of call (Santorini). We made the best of it without their help.
We feel this was a terrible mistake to waste so much money on this "luxury" cruise and highly recommend to stick with other using premium cruise lines such as Celebrity or Azamara and just pay for the drinks and tours you want either a la carte or with an add-on package. Regent is way over priced for an inferior product overall (on many levels).
What's good: The suites are fantastic; the ship design is nice; a good size pool; very few children (like 2); spa services; restaurant senior management & senior staff desire to satisfy & serve (to overcome the shortcomings of regular staff); Prime 7 and Sette Mare restaurants
What's passable: shore excursions (some good, some not so good), food overall, Signatures restaurant, room steward
What's not good: most everything else! ... bar, wine, activities, shows, atmosphere, port disembarkation, restaurant servers, activity staff (the entertainers), shop attendants, bartenders, coffee (especially espresso) Less
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Cabin review: Seven Seas Mariner
Absolutely gorgeous suites, very spacious. Especially loved the walk-in closet and oversized bathroom. We had a good sized walk-in shower. The veranda was bigger than average. The sitting area was nice with lots of shelving and storage space. Bed was excellent and décor tasteful. No complaints except for the TV (quality of picture, minimal channels to choose, difficult remote control). We were never offered a in-room bar service. After several days, had to ask to get something. Whenever glasses were used and taken out of the room, they were never replaced until I asked for new ones.