Nearly every aspect of our cruise was perfect. The Regent Air arrangements worked well for us. We paid the small deviation fee and enjoyed 4 perfect days in Rome on our own prior to the cruise. We loved the quick and personable check in, and were quickly enjoying a lovely lunch in La Veranda. If you are considering moving up to a luxury cruise this area of the ship is such an improvement, with white table cloth seating, drink service, and wonderful buffet service at lunch. This was nothing like the huge crush of people one usually experiences on check in day! Our champagne glasses were never empty. In short order the suites were available, and we had loads of hanging space and drawers in the walk-in closet, making unpacking a pleasure. The marble bathroom was lovely, but my husband was glad he's on the short side. The bathrooms that still have bathtubs are short on headspace, but we heard they are converting all the rooms to showers over time. Although we were concerned that the room was near the elevators, we never had a noise problem. The bed was like a cloud! The room sparkled and was well designed. I loved the built in vanity.
Dining and Entertainment
We were impressed with all our meals. We enjoyed most breakfasts as room service, as we often had early excursions. (It was 10 ports in 12 days, so quite intensive!) Room service was always prompt, and the food as good as it can be when it has to travel. One breakfast highlight was champagne and caviar and eggs benedict on one of our quiet mornings, all as table service up in La Veranda. We had gone up for a "light breakfast."
We ate most lunches either on excursions or as late lunches at the Pool Grille. They offered some tasty paninis as well as the more usual grill fare.
We had most of our dinners at Compass Rose. We always were seated immediately, whether just the two of us or in a group of 4 or 6. Most of the tables for two are window seats, which was lovely. The food was creative, delicious, served at the proper temperature, and always graciously served. The wine glasses were never empty. The few times they were serving a wine type we don't care for, they happily found another choice for us.
We also really enjoyed dinners at La Veranda. We assumed buffet style meals at dinner, so avoided this choice at first. We later discovered that all the appetizers are served as an antipasto buffet, but the balance of the meal is table service. We had wonderful meals up there as well, and enjoyed one dinner outside.
We enjoyed both the meals at Signatures and Prime 7, and wished we had had one more opportunity there. We had put our name on a wait list but the cruise seemed fully booked so we weren't surprised when nothing developed.
Part of the appeal of this cruise was the itinerary and the included excursions. Some were very good, others less than spectacular. In all cases Destination services were very organized and helpful. After our first underwhelming experience in Sardinia, we checked in with them on the balance of our planning and they made some helpful changes. The group size was too large in Pompeii, although the guide was excellent it was hard to move around as a group of 45. Most tours seemed to be closer to 30 or under on the coach buses. It was extremely crowded at the Bardo Museum in Tunisia when all 8 Regent buses arrived at the exact same time. But generally we enjoyed the balance of activities in each planned day. It certainly wasn't Regent's fault that there were 1500+ Princess passengers at our stop in Oia, in Santorini. On balance we felt we saw and experienced an amazing range of cultures and history in a short time.
Service was flawless...in the dining rooms, in the lounges, in our stateroom. We never had any need or want go unattended for a moment. The smiles and graciousness seemed very genuine.
We wondered what to expect on a smaller ship, but found all of the same venues, just a bit smaller in size. There were several good quality production shows, some individual singers and musicians highlighted, and a great spirited trio (Nature's Rhymths) that seemed to be everywhere on the ship. Jamie, the cruise director, also seemed to be everywhere making sure people were happy. A fun event was the "block party" where we met people on our deck, and all the staff literally ran from deck to deck meeting and greeting guests. We weren't up late many evenings, but enjoyed the times we were. My husband also enjoyed a couple of port lectures on Tunisia and Yugoslavia. He enlightened me as I chose to enjoy the lovely lounges on the pool deck.
It was great having such a seamless and smooth shipboard experience, and we plan to cruise again with Regent. It was also great being on a smaller ship. We really had the chance to enjoy meeting more people, because we were more likely to run into them in the course of a day.