Seven Seas Voyager Cruise Review by kwenda
- Sail Date: February 2016
- Destination: Asia
But by the time we had reached Hong Kong after 17 days on Regent Seven Seas Voyager cruise from Bangkok in February 2016, the luxury five-star brand had lost many of its disciples.
Among the myriad problems for 677 passengers (365 Americans, the rest from the UK, Europe, Canada, Asia and Australia) with which my wife and I were personally involved included:
• Failure to assist elderly passengers with heavy suitcases at boarding
• A near disaster as the wild-eyed driver of a Regent-sponsored shuttle bus in the Islamic Sultanate of Brunei twice deliberately swung the vehicle into a high-speed, lurching "fish tail" before screaming passengers (including ourselves) and the terrified local guide forced him to slow down just before it was about to roll over
•A wait of five days to make a simple repair to a shower door that was causing water to spill on to the floor
•A horror shore excursion to the green-slimed waters and swarms of beach hawkers on rubbish-strewn Boracay Island in the Philippines trumpeted by Regent for its "white sand and azure waters"
• A shortage of some basic breakfast items after nine containers of food and equipment were left behind in Saigon and not replaced after a storm caused the ship to divert
Irate passengers loudly complained that 120 guests on a Regent pre-cruise tour were left stranded at Bangkok airport for seven hours with a $10 voucher for sandwiches.
Many passengers, some of whom had cruised 10 times on other Regent ships, said that the 17-days Voyager experience was way below standard.
For my wife and I, on our 39th cruise (the first with Regent) our troubles began many weeks before leaving home as we dealt with truculence and misinformation from Regent's representative company in Sydney, Australia,
They refused to provide advertised pre-cruise accommodation and gave incorrect advice over a long period about making payments, post tours, accommodation and visas.
They even threatened, a short time before flying out, that if we didn't obtain Brunei visas from the embassy in Australia we would be denied boarding and lose all of our money. (We didn't, and we weren't).
On arrival at Laem Chabang (Bangkok) on February 03, 2016, the port of embarkation, we and others were directed to drag our heavy suitcases and hand luggage, without assistance, through the cruise centre and onto the wharf right up to the bottom of the gangway.
Faced with the impossible task of heaving the luggage on board ourselves up the steep 33-step gangway in full view of crew on board who made no effort to help, we and two other couples in the same predicament dismantled a steel security barrier and hauled our suitcases over cables and other obstacles and handed them to a group of workers on the wharf manning a shore-to-ship conveyer belt.
After three hours in our suite, one brand new suitcase was still missing. We found it, elsewhere on our deck, with a jagged hole punched in the side. After four unresponsive visits to reception over five days to complain, we were finally given a claim form which eventually yielded a cash settlement.
On the plus side, Voyager is an immaculate, spacious ship with high-quality stage shows, staterooms, lecturers, and good restaurants –- although it is sometimes necessary to lasso a waiter in order to get a glass of average-quality “free” (inclusive) wine.
Service is quicker if you choose to buy wine from the priced wine list (up to USD1200 a bottle).
With the exception of the ubiquitous arrogance of reception staff, senior crew were dedicated to their task but seemingly hamstrung by instructions to cut costs and the presence of recently recruited trainees.
A big problem, echoed throughout the ship, is Regent’s lack of hands-on involvement with its “free” shore excursions -- one of the main reasons why people cruise with them.
On shore, local contractors take control without Regent staff supervision, frequently to the detriment and chagrin of passengers with no one to solve problems.
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