Seven Seas Navigator Cruise Review by jgray37000
- Sail Date: November 2014
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Penthouse Suite
Wow! It's like we are on a different (and much inferior,) cruise line!
First, the ship itself....
"Navigator" seems old and tired. There is a positively ALARMING prolonged vibration at times when underway...and we were on the top passenger deck, Deck 11. I saw this mentioned before we sailed in other reviews, so obviously Regent knows about it. But, clearly, they have done nothing to correct it. Nor do they mention or explain it onboard. It's like the proverbial "elephant in the room."
The stabilizers, which I believe I read were retrofitted to this ship, do not do much to dampen roll. Additionally, the ship's short length accentuated pitch (forward-to-back motion.) Both combine to provide a much less stable cruise than "Voyager."
The rugs and upholstery throughout the ship are stained and often worn-looking. The furniture and paneling are dinged, banged-up and scratched.
The first water run into our bathtub was always rusty, (though it did clear quickly.)
Here's a BIG one for us. Most of the deck where the Connoisseur Club smoking lounge is positively stank of cigarette smoke. Just walking from the front elevators to the Seven Seas Lounge, where most tours met, resulted in my hair and clothing stinking of smoke for several hours. Phew eee!
The 3 elevators, both fore and aft, are arranged in a semi-circle, not in a straight line like "Voyager." I assume this is because "Navigator" is so much smaller. The problem with this is that they wait a very short time after coming to the summons of the button. You have to stand in front of the middle one and sprint to catch whichever of the side ones comes. (We joked that they had a sensor to tell them where you were standing, so the could offer you the one furthest away!) I rolled my husband around on a wheelchair we rented, and we missed A LOT of elevators because it was so difficult, on the padded carpets, to get him to the open one on time. We saw people on foot get left behind, too.
We could see when we were ashore that only the very large, high-priced suites had the very comfortable "rattan" lounge chairs and tables on their balconies that we enjoyed in our Penthouse Suite on "Voyager." Our Penthouse on "Navigator" had metal chairs with plastic mesh fabric. Not as comfortable, at all.
Can't think of any for the "physical plant." We should have had our first cruise on "Navigator," not on "Voyager!"
Food & Beverages.....
Service was very slow and spotty, especially at La Veranda and the Pool Grill. It seemed as if the wait staff was more concerned with their own agenda that with the passengers' comfort or needs.
At the Pool Grill, we heard a staffer, whose back was turned to the buffet as he worked on equipment behind the buffet, tell a man starting to dish up his breakfast from the that "The Breakfast Buffet here is closed. Go inside to La Veranda."
I informed him that the food was still sitting RIGHT THERE, and that I was going to dish up breakfast! He did not object. For heaven's sake!!
Repeatedly, main course dishes were not cleared to make room for our dessert. Indeed, wait staff would be busy setting up for the evening dinner service at La Veranda, when it becomes Setti Mari, rather than attending to the guests they had at present. When asked, they did clean the plate, but not the salad plate, rolls, etc. Often, we weren't offered beverages until we asked for them.
Service could also be very slow in Prime & and Compass Rose. We spent almost 2 hours getting dinner at Compass Rose, and actually left without dessert because we had sat so long, with out empty entreé dishes before us We didn't want to wind up spending close to 3 hours for the complete dinner. THAT goes from "leisurely" to "too slow!"
The beef onboard, whether at Compass Rose or at Prime 7 (which features "USDA Prime beef," they say) was tough AND virtually tasteless, except for the Filet Mignon, which was tender and tasteless! We noticed this on "Voyager," too, and chalked it up to European beef. We had anticipated a good, American steakhouse steak, at least at Prime 7. At these prices, why doesn't Prime 7 have dry-aged prime beef?! They promote it a so special, but it's not special at all.
The pasta salads at the Pool Grill were often dried-out, with hard, chewy pasta. Undercooked? Left out too long? Can't say.
The first "house" red wines offered were always sharp, rough and acidic. The Sommelier always brought a softer, mellower red when asked, however.
Every "Rum Punch" I ordered (when in the Tropics...!) was prepared differently...light and dark rum/only light rum, different amounts of juice and Grenadine, different garnishes, some handled and some dispensed with tongs, etc.
Except for the tough, tasteless beef, the food was very, very good. It was cooked to perfection, and very tasty. (BTW, steaks were always cooked perfectly, as ordered, too.)
The pastry chefs are wonderful! Everything they made was delicious! (Too delicious!)
Plates and utensils were always clean, with new utensils for each course. Wine glasses in Compass Rose were polished and sparkling.
As with "Voyager," our Butler, Abhi, was WONDERFUL. He seemed to truly CARE about our experience. Once, I was in line to talk to Destination Services about a Tour the next day. He had simply seen me walking there with my Tour Tickets as he took a wheelchair passenger upstairs. He came straight back down and asked me what I needed, telling me to go relax while HE took care of it for me.
Abhi kept our Suite positively perfect, keeping the refrigerator and fruit dish stocked and bringing us the single-malt Scotch we wanted. He served us dinner, from the Compass Rose menu, on the nights we couldn't face the spotty service at Compass Rose, and breakfast on the mornings we had early tours. He even got me some special almond cookies from the Setti Mari menu!
Our butler on "Voyager," Samir, was similarly attentive. I really think the Butlers have their OWN code of conduct, setting for themselves the highest standards of care and concern for their clients. They are a true asset to Regent!
Personnel in general:
Our personnel problems were mostly related to my husband's need for a wheelchair for long walks. In anticipation, we actually rented a wheelchair, rather than ask Regent personnel to provide one, as we had on "Voyager." There were many, MANY wheelchair-using or elderly passengers on this ship. (One woman was 94!)
We imagine that they all shared our problems:
It often seemed to us as if this was an "Outward Bound" cruise. The Tours were so strenuous and unaccessible! Indeed, walks to the "tours" were often up to a mile, UPHILL, even if the tour itself was not strenuous. However, unlike some lines, Regent provided no pier-shuttles...you had to walk from the ship or miss out!
The "Enrichment" lectures were a wonderful asset tour trip...even though Regent did not provide a way for my husband to appreciate any of the cultures he mentioned.
DON'T THEY KNOW THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF THE MAJORITY OF THEIR PASSENGERS?? The people who booked this cruise, by and large, older and sometimes handicapped in some way. But the ADA simply does not apply with this ship!
The Destination Services Manager was oppositional and uncaring. Because of her, we cancelled tours we had been looking forward to. She insisted they were "too long a walk," or "too strenuous" for my husband, even with me pushing his chair. In retrospect, she was often wrong about this, since it was eminently possible to wheel him to a tour and keep the wheelchair there for our return. (He can walk, climb steps, etc., but doesn't much stamina.)
BTW, I had to push, because no one from Regent was available to do so!! This was not the case on "Voyager." They wheeled him to faraway busses, etc.
The Security Staff at the gangway were uncordial and grudging in their assistance to me. My husband could walk down the gangway just fine, but I (I'm 69) could not get his wheelchair down myself. I usually had to ask someone to bring it to the pier for me. Then, no one EVER offered to help me wheel him.
Luckily, on Roatan (The place with the mile+ uphill walk,) a Port Security officer carried us on his golf cart to and from the ship. Even I could not have negotiated that grueling walk!
I assume it is so long because Royal Caribbean, who built the Port facility, wants passengers exposed to the many, many shops enroute to the busses. hence, they offer no transportation that would by-pass those shops. I can only speculate that Regent gets a cheaper docking fee by also forcing us to endure that long walk, rather that providing us with transport to the busses.
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