BA to San Francisco (their standards aren't what they used to be!), and excellent overnight accommodation in the Four Seasons (one to return to). Trouble free transfer then views of Americas cup preparation, Alcatraz and sailing under the Golden Gate as we left.
Ten port visits meant several days of sailing. More than enough to keep us occupied from bridge lessons, to interesting lectures and wine tasting. An adequate gym, free internet and chance to meet new friends on a ship of less than 500 passengers of which quite a few from Australasia, some UK and European, several North American, and delightful Brazilians next door.
Shore trips, all within the price, of high quality and good organisation. We visited a banana plantation, did a jeep safari, sailed round bays in a catamaran in Huatalco, and did a rain forest sky walk all before the stunning Panama Canal. There followed visits to old Cartagena (Colombia), the Caymans to swim with the sting rays (amazing), the Kennedy Space centre, Old Charleston and then New York. The only disappointment was declaring the Everglades a wild life free zone!
Good quality wines, cocktails and any other drinks flowed freely. Entertainment for a smaller boat being generally good with a highly versatile 6 piece band (really versatile), visits for a few days from a clarinetist and a magician/ ventriloquist. The Jean Ryan group of dancers were a bit disappointing in the repetitiveness of the dancing and acrobatic moves in their shows and seemed not to make adequate use of the talented dancing duo said to have won awards. The crew show was excellent, as was there wonderful deck BBQ night and the afternoon deck party where they all ran a fun stall.
Dining in the Compass Rose -excellent, both service and presentation. Prime Seven steak and seafood was a delight, the bonus being able to eat three or four times on a longer cruise like this. Sette Mari Italian provided good food but again, noting the longer cruise, lacked variation ( especially the starters). What was lacking was a fourth evening eating venue. We were in hot climate and several of us longed for the pool grill to be open in the evening (they did excellent lunches). The only outside dining was a dozen tables at the Italian. Conversation with the F and B manager indicated a lack of staff for a fourth venue. Seabourn and Silversea can do it with smaller capacity ships and a similar staff ratio. Do they need all those butlers for the penthouse suites, our housekeeping staff appeared to do exactly the same as the butlers, noting conversations with several friends.
The suite - excellent as was the room service at all hours. Yes a bit of creaking from the false roof and vibration being an old ship, but nothing that some sleeping medicine from the bar would not cure! You need a central cabin.
Yes we will go with Regent again (we had been on Mariner before), but might use Navigator for a shorter trip, and use Voyager for its fourth restaurant.