We had a pretty poor experience a few weeks ago aboard the Navigator. We have cruised a few times before, but mostly travel by air. As a frame of reference, we have cruised on Crystal, Silverseas, Royal Carribean, Cunard, and Celebrity in the past, in either Europe or Asia.
We found Regent to be "okay", but certainly not for the price and hype. We have three children, ages 7, 10, and 13, so we booked two cabins. The cost of the one-week cruise for the family was over $17,000 without air, but the port tours were largely free or at low-cost as part of Regent's current promotions.
Our biggest complaint against Regent is the very poor way in which they handled a significant problem we had with our room. Basically, they took almost the entire cruise duration to deal with a plumbing problem (never completely solved), and in addition to other issues, they did not handle things in a way anyone in the luxury hospitality business should.
When we boarded the ship in Monaco, we were greeted in our cabin by an acrid sewer/algae smell. The whole room smelled, but we were able to figure out that it was coming from the bathroom. The housekeeper agreed that it smelled horribly, and when we returned from dinner a few hours later the sewer smell was somewhat overcome by the smell of Drano/chlorine. Not exactly pleasant.
The next day the sewer smell returned, so we contacted the front desk. To make a long story short, Reception was very nice but not very effective. They had a plumber come out on Day 1 (embarkation is Day 0), and he said that there was something wrong with the drain and fixed something, with maybe 50-70% improvement. But it still had that sickening smell. Anyway, by Day 5 the smell was mostly gone after one other plumber intervention. But the inconvenience of waiting around for the plumber and having him stomp around the bathroom in his boots also did not help our cruise experience. For most of the cruise, when we were on the ship we found ourselves all retreating to our sons' cabin, which happened to be a handicapped cabin without a sofa.
The smell was the overriding problem with the cruise. Add to that a bath towel that had more than 10 holes and stains in it (I have photos), multiple unannounced water interruptions resulting in milky-white water emerging from our sink on several occasions including an interruption at midnight-3 am that left my 13 year old with shampoo on his head, and really terrible breakfasts (cheap quality ingredients) in the Portofino restaurant, and you have something that is FAR from what we consider luxury.
In addition, the cruise line has handled our concerns very poorly. We actually emailed our complaints to RSSC Guest Relations on 8/12/09 (Day 5), and we have not heard anything from them and it has been almost 3 weeks. We cc'd our letter to our American Express Centurion travel agent, and she contacted their marketing manager. The Amex agent initially told us that RSSC "would have to respond within 48 hours", but their only response was that the complaint would be sent on to some other department in their company. As I said, it has now been over three weeks and still no reply.
We travel a lot about 3 months a year. Over the years, we have had "issues" here and there, including new purchases stolen from my room at a Hong Kong hotel, or a cruise housekeeper who put our brand-new unreleased Sonicare toothbrushes brush-down in a half-glass of water left by the previous guest as soon as we boarded the ship! Each time, someone from management would come and apologize, send some tangible token like flowers or candy to let us know that they are sorry and value our patronage.
Well, from Regent, nothing. No words from management, no candy (how hard is that on an all-inclusive cruise, we already had $1000 shipboard credit from Amex that we could hardly spend?), nothing but an offer to "clean our room" on day 5/7 of our cruise, the only day AT SEA!
Anyway, my final word is that what Regent is offering is far from luxury and as we wait to hear from management, it becomes clear that they are undeserving of the Regent name. The Regent Hotel in Hong Kong (now Intercontinental) was one of the world's great hotels and we actually spent New Year's Eve there on the Millenium but this cruise line has nothing to do with the Regent we knew.