Seven Seas Mariner- June 3 VAN-SEW Amazing Weather
If I had to choose a word to describe our first trip to Alaska it would be RIDICULOUS! The reason I say this is that I caught myself saying this phrase over and over again during our trip. First of all, we had amazing weather 6 of the 7 days of our trip. The weather was sunny and mid 70's. During one of our excursions, the crew's Naturalists stated that an extreme weather warning had been issued because 70+ weather was sustained for more than three days. The weather in Alaska was better than that of our home town of Boston. The bright sunny weather allowed for wonderful views and calm seas. Also, we were able to see amazing sunsets from the Horizon lounge each night. Every morning I would wake up and fling open the curtains look outside and say RIDICULOUS! I could not believe my eyes.
I thought it would be useful to provide some background for fellow cruise critics. We are young professionals in our early 30's who enjoy traveling. Our typical vacation is to a luxury beach resort for fun, sun and golf. I decided to change things up a bit this year and wanted a cruise to Alaska. My wife selected Regent because of the smaller boat size, their reputation and the all-inclusive features. We have both experienced Carribean cruises with the larger crusie lines and wanted to avoid the party crowd during our Alaskan vacation. We had some concern that we would be the only young couple on the ship. To our surprise there was a decent mix of people on the ship. Never once did we feel like the "youngins"! We found that most people were very engaging and wanted to share their daily excursions stories with others. So for all the younger cruisers out there don't worry about feeling out of place on Regent.
We used Regent's air package and flew out of Boston at 6 AM on June 3rd to Vancouver via a two hour layover in Toronto. Once we arrived at the airport we were greeted by a Regent representative at baggage claim. Local laws prohibit porters from taking luggage off the belt so you must collect your own luggage and bring it to the collection point. The porter will take your luggage and you are escorted to a motorcoach with some of your fellow passengers. When you arrrive at the pier a Regent agent comes aboard the coach and provides an overview of the embarkation process. You must proceed through security and there was also a health sceening questionaire regarding the H1N1 flu. Once through screening you board the boat and head to the Constellation theater where you are greeted with a class of champagne. This was probably the only queue of the entire cruise. In all embarkation was very smooth and better than my previous experiences on the main stream cruise lines.
Food was very good throughout the cruise. The Veranda was good for a quick meal for breakfast or lunch. However, I would avoid the Alaskan Grill during the evenings as we were very surprised to be a served a frozen vegetable medley as part of our entree. Compass Rose was great especially when you wanted a nice sit down meal. Prime 7 was definitely the best meal of the week and is worth all the buzz. Signatures was a bit of a disappointment as their signature mushroom soup was over powered by black pepper, and my wife's chocolate torte was too bitter from dark chocolate.
Our cabin steward, Jongte, was fantastic. She greeted us every morning with a warm smile and wished us a good day in port.
Entertainment was to be expected: cruise like. We stopped by the first evening and chose not to stay. On Jazz night we could only stay for about 5 songs as we found the performer to be way over the top and cheesy. But this is all personal taste as we found a fellow passenger that absolutley loved the Jazz singer. The most entertaining night was the last evening where they had KrewKapers where staff members performed some skits. It was cute and entertaining to see the room stewards and wait staff outside their comfort zones. In addition to KrewKapers there was a Beatles night with the Regent Singers and dancers in the Horizon lounge. It was very entertaining and a fun way to end our cruise.
Disembarkation was easy, and we decided on the train from Seward to Anchorage. If you are interested in this I suggest pre-arranging with your TA prior to travelling. I heard many a passenger being told that it was sold out while trying to book on board. One thing to remember about disembarkation is that they collect your luggage at 11PM the previous night, so toiletry management becomes an issue on your last morning. You do get acces to your luggage once back in Anchorage so plan wisely. For those of you traveling back to the East Coast your last day will most liekly be 24 hours of travel as most flights home for the East Coast are the red-eye and include a lay-over.
In summary, our experience with Regent was above expectations. We are fans and have already booked our crusie for next year to the Medditeranean. Let's hope it is RIDICULOUS!