First let me begin by saying that this was our honeymoon and we could not have asked for a more perfect, special trip than sailing with Regent for celebrating our marriage. We have cruised before, but this was our first time sailing with Regent. We were on the 10 day Mediterranean sampler from Athens to Barcelona. I will try to keep this as organized as possible while still hitting all of the high points, although I am afraid it will be quite long so bear with me:
Pre Cruise Hotel: We stayed at the Divani Caravel in Athens. It was not a 5 star hotel, as advertised, but was adequate for our needs as we were not in the room all that much. I used the fitness center in the morning and was charged 12 euros. In addition, I asked if that fee was per room so that my husband could also go, but was told that it was per person. I thought that this was extremely excessive. Regent provided breakfast free of charge in the hotel’s main dining room which was lovely.
Embarkation: We boarded in Athens just past noon. Everything went very smoothly and we were greeted with champagne and told our rooms would be ready around 3pm so we headed to La Veranda for lunch. For the rest of the afternoon, we read on the pool deck in the very comfortable lounge chairs. Our rooms were ready at 2:30 so we headed there to un-pack.
Our Suite: We were in room 850 in the standard Deluxe suite. We were pleasantly surprised at how much room there was, especially the bathroom and closet. I loved the bathrobes, as I had forgotten mine at home, and thought they were very comfortable. Upon arrival, there were 2 chilled glasses of champagne and a wonderful tiramisu wishing us a “Happy Honeymoon,” which I thought was a nice touch. There was also fresh fruit and flowers, as well as the diet tonic water and bottle of Grey Goose that I had pre-requested. The balcony was fantastic and adequately spacious; we enjoyed it most evenings and mornings. We had one of the suites with the shower and tub—I understand most on the Mariner now have shower only. My husband is about 6’3 and his showers were cramped to say the least so next time we will request a suite with the standing shower.
Our steward, Carlo, was fantastic and was always quick to deliver anything we requested. For instance, I asked if there was any Sprite Zero on board and he brought a whole six pack within the hour. Also, we had a standing reservation for a bottle of white wine, shrimp cocktail and a cheese plate each afternoon, which was delivered there like clockwork. Halfway through the trip, we received another “Happy Honeymoon” treat which was the same as the first but we had no complaints!
Excursions: I can’t comment on this much, as we only took two. The first was to Ephesus, which was ok, but I will be the first to tell you that I cannot stand guided group tours so I eventually wondered off on my own. Secondly, we took the boat excursion to Positano from Amalfi. We really enjoyed this especially the boat ride approaching Positano by sea—the views were amazing and I believe that Positano was my favorite stop. Once the boat docked, we were allowed 1 ½ hours of free time, which I felt was much too limited and I was disappointed at not having more time there. We did take advantage of all of Regent’s transportation to the cities. We took the Roma Express excursion to Rome, which dropped us off near St. Peter’s which worked out so well to do the Vatican right off the bat. We also took the coach ride into Florence which dropped us off in the middle of the city and we wandered all day and then were picked up in the same place. We were really impressed with these transportation options through Regent since some of the destinations were quite far away and they still allowed us to travel there safely and efficiently but also explore on our own.
Dining: First let me say that we thought the food was fantastic. We had room service for breakfast almost every morning and it was almost always delivered on time (always at the beginning of the time slot) and was hot and well prepared. Only mishap was the salt/pepper were forgotten three or four times, as well as some various other items from time to time but nothing major. We also enjoyed breakfast in La Veranda, especially the made to order egg station and fresh fruit!
We ate in Prime 7 twice and it was fabulous both times. The first we just kind of wandered in on our way into Compass Rose and found that we could get a table for 2—it was a wonderful surprise evening and the food was delicious!! I am almost ashamed to admit that we ordered several appetizers and sides, as well as a surf and turf for each of us…dessert too! We went back a second time for our reservation and it was just as fabulous and we over-indulged just as much as the first time.
We really liked Signatures, although the portions were very small. We thought the menu was very diverse and a nice change from everyday fare. We ordered escargot and frog leg risotto, both which were outstanding and the veal and lamb for entrees—delicious! The crème brulee was to die for! We really thought that Signatures was more of a one-stop place so we did not attempt to go again, although it was fabulous.
We ate most other meals in Compass Rose and always found something to our liking. We thought the service in CR was just as good in Prime 7 or Signatures every night and we never waited long for food or service. I really liked the Canyon Ranch menu, especially on nights that I was feeling a little guilty about over-indulging—I very much appreciated that they had options for those who were trying to cut back or just eat a little healthier. We had the buffet at La Veranda one night and I was not impressed. It just had too much of a mass food approach and the service was frenzied and disorderly. However, we made the best of it and were able to find a few selections that we both liked.
We ordered from CR one night for room service, as we were just staying in. It was delivered course by course, all just as hot and well-prepared as could be found in the dining room.
We frequented the Coffee Connection and the cappuccinos and cookies were lovely—just what we needed after a long day in port!
They had a BBQ the second to last night aboard and it was fantastic. The food was outstanding, even though there was so much you could not even attempt to try it all!
The wine was almost always to our liking, but if we ever found it unsatisfactory, we asked for something different and it was always provided.
The only thing I wish that Regent would implement is a sushi bar, or at least have it regularly at one or more of the restaurants—we absolutely love sushi and found only a one generic roll on the buffet at the farewell BBQ.
Entertainment: We did not attend too many shows, but we did go to Mariner du Soleil and it was fantastic! The performers and acrobats were noticeably of a very high caliber and we were very impressed. We also went to the farewell show in which the crew gets to perform and we were very impressed and it was nice that the crew got to have a little fun and be shown some much deserved appreciation by us and fellow guests. We were in the casino most nights and found it very lively and entertaining—always a competitive craps or blackjack table! We actually came out ahead! Most of the lounges were quite dead after dinner, but that is probably to be expected on such a port intensive cruise. They had a few wine tastings on board which were well attended and had very good tasting options.
All in all we were so impressed with Regent and are now spoiled for life! We would definitely sail with them again and hope to be lucky enough to do so in the future for another special vacation! Cheers!