I tend to travel on a whim. It was time for a cruise and I'd always wanted to see Alaska. I know I really have nothing to compare Regent to but having heard horror stories about the bigger ships, the lines, the kids, the extra fees and gratuities, an all inclusive situation was appealing. I did a bit of research and decided in April that the next month would be a fine time to take that voyage, and Regent looked as good as any. I was intrigued that the ship was small enough to get through the inside passage and also could dock at smaller ports of call.
Coming to the party late had a few disadvantages. We didn't qualify for round trip air or the pre-cruise hotel or transfers. Regent did discount the fare quite a bit to compensate. The only staterooms available were the concierge suites with butler service. Yes it cost a bit more, but again, travelling on a whim can be expensive!
Upon arrival to Vancouver we took a taxi to the cruise dock where they checked in our luggage and allowed us to board the ship. A lovely lunch was served on the pool deck and we all enjoyed champagne and an informal meet and greet. We had a bit of time to tour the ship and by 2 pm we were allowed to our staterooms. Our luggage was already there and the suite was well appointed. It was a cross between old style luxury lines and modern conveniences. Large walk in closet, espresso maker, flat screen tv with on demand movies, fully stocked refrigerator, the spirits of our choosing, Bose Ipod dock, comfortable sitting area, private veranda, large bathroom with tub and shower. Very comfy bed and soft linens. Our butler was very helpful showing us how things worked and we settled in quite comfortably. Of course we all had to participate in the safety muster but hey, better safe than sorry.
When we finally shoved off at around 5 pm the views of Vancouver were outstanding. Our butler brought us canapés, delicious. We then cruised past lovely islands and snowcap mountains while enjoying a delicious 6 course dinner at Compass Rose, all professionally presented and deliciously prepared. The only odd thing is that we are not wine drinkers and the sommeliers seemed perplexed that we chose not to imbibe.(I prefer not to mix my alcohol)
Our first full day at sea was what I called "seasick day". About half the passengers were afflicted. I came prepared and took the time to read the Dramamine instructions that said to take the pills BEFORE the event. It was fun having most of the ship to myself and pretending to fly. Whoo! My husband did not fare as well, but he often choses to ignore my advice.
We chose to eat breakfast in La Veranda buffet. Lots of choices, always delicious, plenty of room for seating, no lines, and a made to order omelet station. The one time we had breakfast at Compass Rose it was pretty slow service, most likely because all the room service orders were coming out of there. On our last night we ate at Prime 7. No complaints, everything was cooked to perfection.
All our shore excursions were simply amazing. We were waitlisted for the seafeast but there was a cancellation so we were able to go. Speed boat through Ketchican wilderness. Bald Eagles. Harbor Seals. Whales. A low country boil that was to die for. Pristine scenery. Breathtaking. Fresh air. Do this one. It's included, no extra charge. Book your excursions early, they are all invigorating and fill up fast. We were blessed with great weather but pack for rain, you never know.
The entertainment was a bit surreal....because the main theater was at the fore of the ship, there was some loud engine noise and vibration. The 60's themed "Age Of Aquarius" revue seemed like we were travelling 200 miles per hour and the dancers were a bit over the top. Not to say that the performers were untalented, quite the opposite. It just seemed a bit, well, weird. The Cirque show was mediocre. It was pretty much "here's the gymnastics our dancers can also do". Having seen real Cirque d' Soleil shows, unfortunately the ship show was not close. Even the costumes could have been better. But all in all, the energy was high and certainly there weren't any glaring slackers.
The ship band was tight and played lots of standards. We enjoyed "Name That Tune". Played the game twice, came in 2nd the first time and won the second. (Helps to have a husband who's into Broadway shows)
The little touches made the cruise extra special. Our housekeeping staff knew us by name. They not only cleaned the room daily, they turned down the bed every evening. The toiletries were high quality, L'Occitane and Hermes.
I'm not really a nitpicker because life is too short to be negative all the time. Just a few teeny whines: The boutique was pretty limited in selection. The crew is from all walks of life but there were a few who's command of English was a bit rough. Generally, they were exceptionally pleasant and helpful, which made us feel like a bit of royalty, if only for a week. The gym is small and the classes fill up early. You may not get back from your excursion to make it in time. Plan on doing your own exercise if you really need to. I think the best show was the "Krew Kapers", the showcase of the crew's talents. There are many multitalented people working on that ship!
This is an upper cost cruise line. But no booze bills, no high end restaurant charges, no gratuities. You either pay it up front or pay it at the end. I would rather not worry about every drink or excursion. The disembarkation was streamlined.
The best part? While still on ship we booked another Regent Cruise for next spring. Got a great deal, airfare and pre-hotel included! Don't think I'll be cruising anyone else, ever. Six stars indeed!