On 12-20 we boarded RSSC Mariner in Los Angeles to go South along the Mexican Riviera and through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale.
Having read a few negative reviews, we were a little apprehensive. The apprehension continued, when boarding and check in were pretty unorganized and long lines had formed leading into the Constellation Theater. The ship had arrived a few hours late from Australia, and therefore boarding was delayed. Add to that the fact, that wi-fi in the terminal wasn't working, and check in had to be done in the Theater. Some people were pretty upset, but what's a cruise line to do?
After checking in, we took the elevator to the 10th deck where we were greeted and asked for our cabin number. Just as we gave the information one of the stewardesses walked past, heard our suite number and said "Mr. & Mrs. DeRose, welcome aboard", We were amazed since she had obviously memorized the suite numbers and names she was responsible for. Maria Cecilia then walked us to our cabin, and said "You've been on this ship, so you are familiar with it, but are there any questions I can answer, or is there anything I can get for you?" Now that's service! She was among the best stewardesses we ever had, if not the best. Our suite was nice and spacious with a walk in closet, safe, flat screen TV and plenty of room.
We ordered a bottle of Ketel One for the room and it was delivered within a couple of minutes. Since RSSC is now all inclusive, they only deliver the bottled liquor on request, which is fine. After a few Margaritas in Cabo, we had room service dinner and it didn't take long at all to get it. In Huatulco we ordered room service breakfast for between 7:00am and 7:30am and it arrived promptly at 7:00am, even before our wake up call. Normally we ate breakfast in La Veranda. The food was very good. Although Eggs Benedict weren't on the menu, I ordered them a couple of times and they were delivered with a smile.
Signature is still fabulous, but difficult to get into. When our reservation increased from 2 to 5, they did their ultimate and finally were able to accommodate us. We ate at Latitudes twice. The food was good and we enjoyed it. By the time this review arrives on Cruise Critic, Latitudes will be gone and it will be replaced by Prime 7. The ship is in dry dock now.
All the staff was very well trained, friendly and went out of their way to make sure we had a great cruise. I can't say that a single person was ever the least bit unfriendly. The Captain, officers, staff and crew were all very nice.
Entertainment was really good and we enjoyed most shows. The shows were split between before dinner and after dinner, which made it pleasant to pick one or the other. They also had some shows in the Horizon Lounge, after dinner, which was nice.
Since this was our 4th trip along the Mexican Riviera and through the Canal, there were some ports where we never got off the ship. In Huatulco we had gone on the snorkel cruise and ATV ride before, so this time we tried the rafting. We really enjoyed that.
In Puntarenas we had enjoyed the zip lines before, so we decided to do that again. This time I did some research and we did it independently. We went to Turu Ba Ri Adventure Park. Initially there were 3 of us from the Cruise Critic Board who planned to go to Turu Ba Ri, but as the cruise went on, 2 others joined us. I emailed Turu Ba Ri and they immediately confirmed the new number of people. On arrival we were picked up in a van at the end of the pier by our guide Carol. The drive took about 1 1/2 hours because of construction on a bridge. The park is fantastic, with clean facilities and friendly people. As part of the package we got 2 activities and lunch. We chose the Canopy Tour and Nature walk. Rappelling, Horseback riding and other things are available. Then we all decided to add the "Superman" cable. It's a 1 km straight line and your speed is around 50-60 mph. It was incredible fun. The nature walk in the park was very enjoyable even though we are not the "nature" types. There were beautiful plants, butterflies, some Iguanas and other "critters". Turu Ba Ri exceeded our expectations and we all highly recommend it. One thing very important is that you should be in good physical shape, as it involves quite a bit of walking and stair climbing. Pricing is very competitive. Our lunch was very good, too. Then to finish it all off we took a couple of rides in a tram to get from point A to point B. Carol and her driver took us back and this time the bridge was open and it only took about an hour. If you'd like more info on Turu Ba Ri, you can Google them and there are several videos on Youtube. You can also contact them direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We had been to Cartegena a couple of times, and again decided to stay aboard. You may be able to tell by now that for us the ship is the destination.
In Grand Cayman we did the ship snorkel tour and it was lots of fun. Disembarkation was very organized and pleasant. Everything would have been perfect if the infamous airlines hadn't messed things up on the way home. I took 16 hrs from Fort Lauderdale to OC, California. We didn't have Regent air, so they had nothing to do with that part.
So, after the negative comments I just wanted to reassure everybody that "Regent is back". We've been on all of the Regent ships from The Diamond on, so we have something to compare it to. We've also been on all the other cruise lines and just as before, Regent is our favorite.