As a long time cruiser (30+ voyages) and a frequent cruiser with Regent, I was excited to try the Seven Seas Voyager, the only ship in the fleet I had not yet sailed. We decided on the Voyager's 10-day Christmas cruise visiting the ports of the Eastern Caribbean. We have always been pleased with Regent's product, but this time things were a bit off. We had a great time, but Regent will need to take a long, hard look at the quality of product they are currently offering at such a high price point.
I am not exaggerating when I say that the Voyager is probably the most beautiful ship I have sailed on. It just had a multi-million dollar renovation last year, and the ship sparkles from funnel to keel. Walking into the ship's main lobby, with it's 8 deck high atrium and glass enclosed elevators, gives a sense of spaciousness and elegance. The ship's decor is comprised of muted tones of creme, white and beiges with roomy spaces, as well as cozy nooks to unwind. The atrium area of decks 4 and 5 is the main activities center of the ship, housing the casino, Compass Rose (the main dining room), the Voyager Lounge, the reception desk, destination services and the Constellation Theater (which is 2 decks high). Other notable locations onboard are the alternative dining spots, Prime 7 and Signatures (both on Deck 5). The Horizon Lounge is a lovely space located all the way aft in which daytime pursuits such as trivia and Bingo take place. The ship has an extensive spa/gym facility located forward on Deck 6, which is run by Canyon Ranch Spa. The pool deck is home to La Veranda and a grill area for casual daytime dining. The ship is surprisingly roomy for it's size and there is always a place to be entertained or just to relax. The Voyager is a stunning vessel and was a comfortable haven to spend almost 2 weeks.
Every stateroom on the Voyager is suite. My room was a Category D Deluxe suite on Deck 10 (#1051). The room was wonderful and spacious, with a marble bathroom and thick, high-end linens. This is also the first ship I have been on that had a flatscreen high-def tv in the room, which was an upgraded surprise. I did notice that Regent has stopped providing Aveda products in the bathrooms and has instead replaced them with the generic "R" brand toiletries. I bring my own products on cruises, so I don't really care what they use. But it did seem a little cheap to me. If going on this ship, please take note and avoid the back of the ship at all costs. Never have I experienced such intense vibration on any other ship. The room shook and creaked, even during smooth days at sea. The noise was so violent that it was hard to sleep at night and was a little frustrating for the first couple of nights. I eventually learned to pile pillows on my head to drown out the noise. From what I have read on Cruise Critic, this ship's vibration is legendary, so please be warned. My parents were staying in a Penthouse located mid-ships and you could have heard a pin drop in the room. So the noise is purely an aft issue.
Dining completely disappointed on this trip. By the last couple of days, we were so tired of boring meals, that it was a pain to deal with it. I'm assuming due to the struggling economy, Regent has had to make some cutbacks. And nowhere is that more apparent than with the food. Food was flavorless for the most part, poorly prepared and, at times, stale and spoiled. Fish was yellow and very pungent ("fishy") tasting, breads were stale and desserts were either bland or horrific. I am not a "foodie", by any means, but what Regent had on offer was just unacceptable for their 5-star rating. One day they had a Tex-Mex buffet on the pool deck. The meat tasted and smelled metallic and the chips were old and stale. Menus at La Veranda for dinner were repetetive, as were lunch menus in Compass Rose. Dressings were often watery and bitter. The culinary highlights onboard were the two dinners I enjoyed at Prime 7, the steakhouse, as well as the Thai Pumpkin Soup served for lunch at Compass Rose one day. Prime 7 was everything we had expected in food and service, and it is only a shame we weren't able to eat there more often. The dover sole and the 13-layer chocolate cake are not to be missed.
Service is another area in which Regent is suffering. For the most part, service was just okay. Not good, not bad. Just there. And as a hotel manager, I know that mediocre service is not acceptable if you want to retain a loyal customer base. Bad service did appear, as well. One day while walking down the corridor, I said "Good Morning" to a butler who just ignored me. The servers in Compass Rose seemed overwhelmed and disorganized. Drinks were almost impossible to order. And the delay between courses seemed like an eternity. The staff didn't seem happy to be there. And even when we would try to engage them in light-hearted conversation, it seemed to make them uncomfortable. It was a sour, depressing group of people. One day I ordered a hamburger at the pool grill. I gave the gentleman my table number and after a 30 minute wait, nothing was delivered to me. I gave up and ate elsewhere. The only truly friendly staff were ones who remembered me from previous voyages. And the highlight for us was Andrew, our server in Prime 7. He had a firm grasp on hospitality and made dinner a fun, elegant event. In fact, the staff in Prime 7 overall, were several steps up from the rest of the employees. Also, Raymund in La Veranda, surprised us when he heard my mom wish they would serve baked Alaska. He took ownership and placed the order for my mom who was surprised the next night by her favorite dessert. Unfortunately, these acts of excellent service were rare. Regent will lose their most loyal clientele if they do not take the appropriate steps to rectify this problem.
Overall, we had a great time on a beautiful ship. We enjoyed our voyage to the Caribbean on this magnificent vessel. Kudos go to Lorraine, the ship's tireless Cruise Director who is just lovely and injected enthusiasm at each of the ship's various events. Unfortunately, she had her work cut-out for her as attendance was low at many of the events and there were many passengers who were rude, crude and generally obnoxious. People who yell out vulgarity at the lady calling Bingo numbers are not people who I would ever choose to sail with. The ports of St. Thomas, St. Barts, St. Maarten, St. Kitts and Grand Turk were all lovely in different ways and I would not hesitate to visit any of them again. And the standard rooms on this ship surpass any other standard room I have sailed in. Hopefully, Regent will make an effort to work on it's food and service levels. If they can get those areas up to par, the ship will be worthy of its "luxury" title.