My husband and I recently completed the 16-night cruise on the Voyager. (extended to 17 nights due to engine pod problems). While we did enjoy our Penthouse suite, the PBS at Sea and Enrichment lectures and the company we met, we were disheartened at the distinctive change in both service and décor. We suspect all this is due to the recent takeover of Regent Seven Seas by Apollo Investment Corporation.
As seasoned travelers on Regent, we noticed that this cruise lacked the gracious service and passenger comfort focus we enjoyed on former trips. The Cruise Director and wait staff in the Compass Rose dining room and in the Veranda dining room seemed more concerned with their own needs rather than passengers' needs. I say this because simple requests such as providing the extra microphone needed for an audience participation lecture, or having your salad served with your entrée were met with annoyance rather than a smiling, accommodating face. In addition, the food was not quite as good as we experienced on past cruises.
At least the specialty restaurant staff, bar staff, butler and stewardess staff were still part of the old regime. They were wonderful.
Judging from the quality level, aesthetics and ergonomics of the newly arrived furnishings, the Voyager will no longer be the elegant ship she was when she launched. The new chairs in the Compass Rose are now so narrow, only petite women can fit into them. They are also so heavy, one cannot move forward or back without assistance. In addition, the waiters keep running into the seat backs, which now curve backwards into the aisles. New seating in the public rooms look like clunky office furniture. Leather sofas are now covered in "pleather" and club chairs are covered in brown and mustard velvet, others in hideous purple stripes.
We did have the opportunity to meet several senior level managers and engineers who, as of this posting, have been replaced by new officers under the new management. As in most corporate takeovers, top management is usually the first to go; however, we suspect that much of the wait staff had already been replaced on our voyage.
Although we did not air our complaints to management while on board, many passengers did, particularly those with extensive itineraries, or those who were seasoned Regent travelers. We were horrified to learn that one such passenger, a widow and a solo traveler, was thrown off the ship in Cozumel without warning or compensation, after a heated argument with Voyager's newly arrived General Manager. So much for tactful, new upper management and the customer always being right.
This was our fifth Regent/Radisson cruise. Unless we learn that things improve, (and we'll keep checking postings on CruiseCritic.com), we'll just say "it's the end of an era" and will most likely explore other luxury cruise lines.