We combined a 12 day land tour with an excellent tour company. Our TA coordinated everything with Regent and tour company so that our Regent Air brought us into Milan on 10/18 and we were driven to Lake Como for 3 days -- group was just one other couple, with whom we got along fabulously. Our tour captain was great, so it was a wonderful prelude to Mariner Cruise.
In land tour we spent 3 nightsn Lake Como, 2 nights in Lake Maggiore, 3 Nights in Cinque Terra/Portofino/Santa Margherita area, and finished with 3 wonderful nights at a vineyard resort outside Siena in Tuscany. We then took high speed train from Florence to Vienna -- great experience but difficult with two suitcases apiece!. We then were met at Venice train station and tranferred to Hilton Stuckey Molino Hotel -- and it was a wonderful hotel and location. The 2nd morning we were there we watched the Mariner go past our hotel window at 7am, which was special.
The embarkation should have gone easily since the Mariner was visible from our hotel, but the water taxi firm that was used made numerous bad choices and it took us about 45 minutes - and should have ben 15 minutes. Once aboard, all was smooth and fast -- got in rooms by 330 and luggage by 5
Throughout the trip we had wonderful evening meals at Comp[ass Rose as well as Prime 7 and Signatures. We made no effort to get more evenings there -- Compass Rose was great for dinner and a few lunches when we were on board. Veranda was always nice and easy to get tables. Had several opportunities to swim in the pool (in November) so pool service was good (and so was the ice cream) Special meals on pool deck were OK, but we bypassed two of them.
The block party was great and we made some good friends that we are staying in touch with.
Excursions were never crowded, guides were good, and Destination did a good job of adjusting as we had to by pass three ports - Sicily became a Sea Day, Sorrento was switched to Naples, and Portofino was switched to Genoa. Most excursions were maintained except Sicily - we really wanted to see Mt Aetna., but saftey first,.Had a mix of great weeather and rough weather. ABsolutely worst was last night with waves crashing at 15-18 feet as vessel travelled from Genoa to Rome. Had to cancel Cerq show and many people got very sick -- very hard to pack that last night. New experience.
Pompei was the most interesting excursion. Dubrovnik was still interesting the 2nd time around. Got to see the countryside.
Entertainment was not as good as on past cruises -- dancers were good but lead singers were below par. We have always enjoyed them in the past. The boutique had good selection for its size and surprisingly had items that were 2XL -- my size.
Our room team -- butler and roomsteward were just great!!
S=Disembarkation went very smoothly and we were taken to Sheraton Golf Resort for overnight. Not fancy but convenient to airport the next day and Regent handled it well. Those that wanted to could take a shuttle into Rome. We had been to Rome before and just wanted to relax before our flight back to Tulsa. All in all a wonderful cruise and we have bought our $2000 certificate for a future cruise so that we retain on-board booking discounts