First of all, it seemed like a totally different ship to me than the Mariner we sailed a year ago from Auckland to LA. The staff were not friendly and indifferent. The officers would pass in the hallways and not even make eye contact, let alone speak. Staff did their jobs in a very mechanical fashion. Hardly a smile or a greeting. We were appalled when a lady asked for a tray at the coffee shop, for example, and was told to call room service. The dining room was subpar to any ship I have ever sailed and we have been on over 25 cruises. The wait staff was greatly over extended. We had to make multiple requests for items such as iced tea, for example. We felt hurried with the waiters asking us for our desert choice when initially taking our order. One usually does not know if one wants desert or not until after the meal. The food budget had obviously been cut since the selections were far less desirable than on previous cruises.
On the whole, I would have to say we have had superior food and service on Azamara, Celebrity and Holland America. I had to send dinners back twice and have never done that before on a ship. I have never heard so many passenger complaints on a ship. One lady said she had sailed over 1,000 days with Regent and will never sail again. Our experience on Azamara three weeks prior was so much better in every way; food, service and staff and yet at a third the cost. We will be canceling our 35 day trip from Capetown. I just do not feel comfortable on that ship anymore. There are serious staff morale problems and they have obviously cut food and staffing budgets.