Seven Seas Mariner Cruise Review by PEIslander 2015
- Sail Date: May 2015
- Destination: Western Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Suite
We were disappointed. Of course, I had high expectations. Eighteen months ago, my husband and I sailed on the Seven Seas Voyager in the Middle East. We were entirely happy with our first Regent experience but perhaps it was because we were insulated by the moderate size medical conference we were attending on the ship. At the time, Regent's inflexible policy of not serving alcohol to people under 21 years of age was of no relevance to us. The subtle discrimination against the young was also inapparent.
I will further preface my comments by stating that we paid for 2 concierge level suites on the 9th deck. My sons should have been perceived as full paying customers, not discounted passengers sleeping on a pull out couch, not that that should matter. It was was our intention to spend some time together as a family before our sons move to opposite sides of the North America in August.
The problem of age discrimination became noticeable early on. If my sons sat at a table for breakfast without a parent, they would not be offered water, juice or coffee until one of us arrived. If they stood at the "make to order" pasta bar at lunchtime, priority would be given to "real" adults who would line up behind them. Sadly, they weren't really being recognized as equal paying customers.
One night, my sons had an accidental intrusion in their state room. A rather confused elderly man was wandering the hallways at 2:30 AM and due to some miscommunication between the reception staff and security about his stateroom number, my sons awoke to two strangers at the foot of their beds. Of course, there was an apology from the security staff but little else from management. When this was followed up with the reception staff the next day after a long excursion in port, there was a further apology and finally an offer to further investigate the matter. The security staff was professional about the incident but the "hotel" management fell short of offering any form of formal apology. I wonder if the operational standards would have been so lax had the incident involved two elderly women instead of two young men.
As for the cruiseline's policy about not serving alcohol to "under aged" individuals, it was very frustrating that we could not all enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. I understand that on other cruise lines, parents are able sign a waiver to allow their young adult children to consume alcohol on the ships under parental supervision. I would have been happy to do just that. We didn't have any intention of falling over drunk from the dinner table. We are Canadian and our children have been of legal drinking age for some time. Furthermore, we were sailing in the territorial waters of the European Union where the legal drinking age is 16, if one even exists. On the last night of the cruise, one of the wine stewards mistakenly poured my 20 year old son some wine with dinner in the main dining room. We did not refuse it. Another staff member alerted one of the assistant managers of this. Immediately, a sommelier was sent to our table to reprimand us about our dishonesty.
Alas, I recognize that this is a Regent Policy. The main difference between Regent and some other cruise lines is that the alcohol is "included" in Regent's fare.
Tangential to the main thread of discussion, the food on the Mariner was a hit and miss. The breakfast buffet was the same everyday as was the pool deck restaurant menu. Lunch in la Veranda was probably more variable but it was often too late to go there after a 5+ hour excursion. The food in the Compass Rose was well presented but the main course was often over salted.
Regarding the excursions: it was a nice change that the tours didn't all end with a focus on shopping. However, it seemed odd that all the excursions had an hour of free time. It's perhaps enough time for a coffee but not really enough to do anything else on our own. On our only other Regent cruise, lunch was always included on long excursions whether "free" or "Regent Choice". This time, we paid $259 pp for an excursion to Rome which did not include a lunch or even an option for organized but self paid lunch. We had an hour for lunch and as advised, we ordered a one course meal (pizza) a block away from Piazza Navona. The service was slow. It took 50 minutes to get our order.
Finally, to be fair, there are some positives. The staterooms and public areas were well maintained. The cleaning staff are to be applauded for their hard work. The ship security officers at the gangway always smiled sincerely and welcomed folks back on board. The Maitre D', Stephane and staff of Signatures (specialty) Restaurant were absolutely professional and the food probably the best I have eaten on the land or sea for quite some time. Many of the servers were genuinely pleasant and helpful, notably Samuel, Muhamed, Maxwell and Shawn.
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