This was a New Year's 11-day roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, which is our favorite departure port. We have over a dozen cruises and are Celebrity Elite, but took this first Regency after some issues on our 14 day Infinity last January. Came the night before for a Friday departure which is much calmer than the Sat or Sun busy days. Overnighted at the Hampton Inn north of the Airport our third stay there. Shuttle from hotel was very prompt, drivers picked us up at airport the night we got in and offered rides to nearby eateries if we wanted and then on Friday were very prompt in delivering us to the ship around 1:30pm. We were met at the shuttle door by Regent staff, and welcomed warmly. There were four check-in lines and we were checked in in five minutes and on the ship. We were offered Veuve Clicquot as we entered the ships lobby and directed to the pool deck to await the opening of our room at 3pm. Plenty of food and service and at 3 we were given our rooms as promised. Luggage was immediately delivered and by 3:30 we were unpacked.
Suite 617: We traveled with 19 year old daughter and room was adequate for the three us us, but four would not work. Bathroom and walkin closet were big pluses. No problem storing clothes for 3 for 11 days. Suite for two would be very roomy with spare storage. Deck was nice sized and you could do breakfast outside, though we did not. There was a lot of spray on deck six, so if I do Navigator again, I would go with seven or eight to avoid it. Cherry was excellent in service and cleaning, no complaints. The team was a little stressed to get all rooms cleaned and it looks like they could add one or two more room attendants to make it easier, but we were very pleased.
Food was excellent. Room Service as prompt, Buffets in Portifino were very good and service was excellent. Food at the pool was also good, with table service and several themed buffets. Barbeque and Mexican were big hits. The dining room, Compass Rose, was very good. Most meals equaled Specialty quality on Celebrity and only weaknesses noted were limited fish options. Beef, lamb, lobster and duck were very good. Franco and Simone run the Compass and were outstanding. The sitting is open, but we kept the same table and waiter for 9 nights, we think we benefited from extra attention because of this, but many people moved around. We did Portifino for dinner one night and it was a lot of fun. Food is as good as dining room but it is not a step up as in speciality restaurants in other lines. This is not a problem as all the food is good. We only did this one night late in the cruise and wished we had done it twice, because even though it is always Italian, the menu is changed each night. Several people went there three or more nights.
Entertainment was good. No production shows, which I don't care for. Comic from Wales is very good. Ship orchestra was excellent. Singing group, a dance couple and other acts were good not great. Went to all but one show. Entertainers were around the ship and easy to approach and visit with. There were several lecturers and we attended a couple that were good. Sam the Cruise director, Mimi, David and Crystal were all over the ship and offered a good variety of activities. The casino is small and it can get hard to get to a table. Mini-craps was busy and some players never grasped that with only one dealer, you had to be considerate in betting. Overall the casino staff was friendly and competent. Regency advertises that they offer leisure and I felt that. Things to do and occupy me, but not a stressful day running from place to place.
Took a couple of ships excursions, both were good, one on Tortola was an Island tour, very thorough and the other a tubing excursion on Dominica. It was great fun, though we were shorted on time at the Emerald Pool. We were late back to the ship, but they were waiting for us to take up the ramp. (Good reason for being on a ship tour). Prices were reasonable and we actually exchanged a pre-booked tour for a different alternative just two days before the port with no hassle. Grand Turk has nothing to offer but a nice beach day and a trip to Margaritaville, if you want to worship at the alter of Buffet. St. Barts is nice but pricey. Skip the expensive shops and bars downtown and take the 15 walk to Shell Beach. It is wonderful and has plenty of facilities right there. St. Martin, St.Thomas, San Juan and Nassau, were all busy and not much ever changes with them.
Staff: If there is a big difference in cruise lines, it is with staff. I would start with the Captain, John McNeil. He was everywhere. If you did not see him three or four times a day and speak to him at least once, you must have been asleep in your cabin. I probably had a speaking relationship with over 20 staff and a nodding relationship with 40 more. No request was too minor, they looked for ways to serve you and even though they are not working for tips they could not have been more helpful. I especially enjoyed Oscar our primary waiter, Dan the Bar Manager, Meo at the pool bar, Pedro at the Star Lounge and Elvis and Allen in the dining room. I never felt any pressure for tips or for an excellent rating on an evaluation form. I did make a contribution to the Staff fund and received a nice thank you note before we left the ship.
Debarkation is never good and the ship was 30 minutes late getting cleared. Still, the bags were in small groups, there were plenty of porters and cabs and we had no trouble making our 11am flight on Jet Blue. With 470 passengers instead of 2000 things like this should and do go easy.
My impression of six star service is just that, service. Very much felt I got my money's worth. All inclusive started with this cruise and the crew liked it. Less paper work accelerated their service. Only minor confusion as to what was not included and what was. Staff we talked to said the lounges were much busier and the policy was getting the people out of their cabins and mingling. We have kept our June Alaska on Mercury in a Royal Suite to compare this experience. We booked a Western on Voyager for November which we may change to a spring Med. I expect to be back on Regency and think it may become our line of choice in the future.