We arrived in Auckland the day before the cruise. We flew Air New Zealand using Regent's air program and the $999 business class upgrade, which was a steal for a flight from SFO to Auckland. We stayed at the Westin, which was not far from the Port and was quite lovely. Embarkation was a little rough, but this was due to the fact they had only one customs agent at the Port. Once a second one showed up, the line moved fairly quickly. We boarded, went to La Veranda and had some lunch and then went to our suite, a Horizon Suite on Deck 7.
The Horizon suite is a wonderful suite. The living room is separated from the bedroom, and the room has an enormous walk-in closet. The lines were Anichini; the beds had pillow-top mattresses and were amazingly comfortable. Two flat screen televisions, an iPod dock, a small safe, both Regent and Hermes bath products in the bathroom. We had the shower only setup, but the shower was large and fine for us. The balcony for the Horizon Suites on deck 7 are 175 sq ft, but it was still very large with a two seat couch, two separate chairs, and coffee table and a large table for dining. The room gets an A.
Open seating dining in Compass Rose and reservations required for Signatures (Le Cordon Bleu French) and Prime 7 (steak house). La Veranda was the most casual with a la carte ordering but also an antipasto buffet and desert buffet. Food fairly good across the board but we preferred Signatures. Many passengers seemed to love Prime 7. Service a bit slow at times in main dining room, but not awful.
The most amazing ports were Bora Bora, Moorea, and Rarotonga, especially for those who like snorkeling. We snorkeled in all of these via Regents included excursions, and the excursions were all really good. A lot of passengers did not book the free excursions prior to sailing and then found very little was available. There was much complaining about this, but we had booked our months before the sailing. The least wonderful port was Papeete on the main island of Tahiti. We arrived there at 9:00pm and departed the next day around 3 pm. Snorkeling here was okay, but there was little time to look around. That said, many passengers were grumbling about how rundown Papeete was.
There were a lot of sea days on this trip, and I worried before sailing I might be bored out of my mind. That said, Regent did a fantastic job scheduling lectures, classes, and other activities on these days. The sea days were wonderful, better than I expected.
This was an amazing cruise, and we met many passengers who had done this exact cruise on this exact ship several times previously! I would do it again but next year a different ship and itinerary will be used. There has been some grumbling on-line about fall off in service, but I only had one poor service experience with one server at dinner. I had not sailed Regent before, but I will definitely be sailing them again. The Seven Seas Mariner is a lovely ship, well-maintained, with good food, consistently good service throughout the sailing, and wonderful crew that smiles and addresses you every time they see you.