We have just returned from a Regent cruise on the Voyager starting in Rome, around Italy to Croatia finishing in Venice. This is our 3rd cruise, the first two have been with Azamara which we thoroughly enjoyed and had no complaints at all. We decided to try a different cruise line as a comparison and paid more as we had read good reports about Regent.
It’s difficult to know where to start with the disappointments. We were aware that the Voyager had been having a refit prior to this cruise and we took the 4 hour delay in our transfer from the Rome Sheraton to the port in good faith as these delays can happen, an apology for the delay would have been nice instead we encountered stressed staff with strained smiles and at the dock, cues out of the reception tent door. Firstly I would not recommend the Sheraton, a mistake on Regents part with sullen staff apart from a few lovely bar staff, poor and expensive food and drink, but we looked forward to an elegant, clean ship, which it was.
We had expected excellent service, we ordered drinks for our suite from our steward, we had to ring reception on 3 occasions to remind them and waited two days for the requests to be fulfilled and excuses were made about the telephone system having a problem, even though we had asked the steward in person for the items, we even had to ask for the bottled water to be replaced in the cabin. We found most of the food to be boring, lacking in flavour and very often cold, particularly in the pool bar, we had to return cold tuna burgers (this could have been a health issue) and when we questioned any of the poor quality food, we were given an excuse not an apology and no offer to improve the situation. The desserts in most restaurants and snacks in Coffee Connections were tasteless and of poor quality. One night in Compass Rose we spent 30 minutes trying to get a glass of wine, staff seemed to be in a particular area and forgot about us. Breakfast in our room was uninspiring with water too cold to make tea and as it was often necessary to have breakfast in the rooms, more than we would have liked, as the trips were organised far too early. The only half decent meal we experienced was in Signatures on our last night but no better than a regular meal experienced on Azamara Journey in the general restaurant. In addition, the opening times in all restaurants was too limiting which put pressure on guests to plan their day around activities trips etc. Regent seems to have forgotten that a holiday should be relaxing as well as having stimulating trips. We often found that food was being taken away in the Veranda restaurant without being replaced well before the official closing time. We had expected themes in the food linked to each place we visited, there was no connection with the cruise and its ports of call, and it was reminiscent of canteen food. In addition staff tended to rush the eating experience, giving the impression that they wanted to clear away to encourage guests to leave. There were a few attentive members of staff but only a handful, a very inconsistent regime.
One striking thing, which seemed to prevent guests from socialising in communal areas, was due to the temperature, it was really cold, and left these areas as a barren wasteland, particularly in the evenings when you would expect more interaction between people as they made their way to restaurants and theatre etc, this was mentioned to staff by many guests but the temperature never improved. This takes me to the entertainment; this was uninspiring apart from guest entertainers Soprano Rachael Russell and Comedian John Martin, both from Liverpool, who were excellent. The theatre seemed under used and was mainly a venue to congregate for the trips early mornings. We did have some unexpected humour with other guests due to the ‘lift music’ loop piped constantly in the pool area; it was so poor that we all commented on it and a bit of fun. If we heard ‘Two Lovely Black Eyes’ once while sitting there we heard it 6 times. We did catch Paul the Cruise Director on a fleeting pass in the atrium early in the cruise and mentioned this poor musical entertainment, he abruptly, without empathy, said it was on a 24 hr loop and must have a problem, nothing changed throughout the cruise and many people complained. The Spontaneous duo were good and could have been utilised up on the pool deck more often, the only time we saw them we couldn’t hear their music.
As you will see from the comments, we felt this cruise was poor value for money and not a pleasurable experience, we are not naturally the type of people who give this level of criticism and when you are on holiday it is an unwelcome impression to leave with. We found we were constantly commenting to each other about problems which did spoil the holiday. To generalise we found the staff on this ship to be too serious, they did not interact with staff and gave the impression that guests were an inconvenience (remember we are their salary source). This holiday was low on fun, lacked exciting flavours in food and offered boring entertainment. There seems to be a great deficiency of pride with the staff on this ship. I must add other guests agreed with our findings, some had cruised with Regent on many occasions and were surprised at the poor quality of this cruise experience compared to previous trips. We are so disappointed that we waited until Regent lowered their standards but not their prices. However, some of these poor experiences have nothing to do with money its more to do with a poor positive attitude from Regent. On a final note on return I have logged onto my account on Regent’s website to discover they have removed the history of passed cruises, maybe the just hope we will forget about this disappointing cruise! Before posting this review I asked Regent’s guest services for their comments, after a week I received a two page letter giving feeble excuses for some of the points raised. We will not be cruising with Regent again.