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We went expecting…or at least hoping…to be overwhelmed. I apologize for the length of this review but a lot needs to be said. I have broken it down in categories. This was our 6th cruise but our first "all-Inclusive". We made the decision to splurge and go all out for our 40th anniversary in November, 2016. We had heard many great things about Regent but, alas, we also heard from seasoned Regent travelers that they would no longer sail on RSS since it was taken over by Norwegian due to the "lack of service" that they were used to. We booked it anyway because other friends were still happy. We went in with our eyes open but we did not expect to be disappointed in the one thing we most looked forward to: Butler service. The ship is beautifully appointed and the cabin was large and perfect (except for a/c control). However, the butler did not meet expectations. The steward greeted us in our cabin a short while after departure with 3 of our 4 bags. He was surprised that we had not yet met our butler. (Not off to a good start.) Later in the evening, they finally found our lost bag and it was delivered by the long-awaited butler. He showed us around "some" the cabin and seemed pleasant enough. He did not explain any of the electronics and although the cabin supposedly included an iPad he never produced one. In hindsight, it might have been helpful for shipboard services (maybe even to contact our butler!!). It also included pressing which he never offered. Over the next 11 days, I do not think we saw him more than once a day on average. Even then it was quick and brusque. He always made us feel as if we were bothering him. I guess if you have a butler, then the steward does not come around so we basically paid for "super service" and got none at all. On the second evening, we ordered canapés (which are included in the “all-inclusive”) in our Penthouse Suite to go with the bottle of champagne that was in the Suite when we came aboard. He added crab legs to our order on his own initiative, but we graciously explained that my husband did not eat fish of any kind. The next night, he brought us shrimp. We are easy-going people – we rarely complain and are not very hard to please but this guy did not even try to learn our preferences and routines. As a secondary issue, his English was poor, he was very soft-spoken and he would not make eye contact – all of which made communication that much more difficult. Let me add that we once went to a "Sandals” resort where we upgraded to their butler service. We were assigned three butlers who were available to us almost around the clock. After the first day, they "knew" what we wanted before WE did. I expected pretty much the same kind of service from Regent - NOT. There were dozens of “little things” that led to my “3 star” rating - with the butler service being the biggest disappointment. Some other notables: The woman at the Destination Services desk did not smile for 11 days and was very rude EVERY time we asked a question. But the rest of the staff was awesome. The excursion team on the docks (especially Luke) went out of their way to accommodate us when there was a weather issue. (Luke knew us by name after the second day.) The wait staff was very friendly and tried to please although there were sometimes language problems. Ashley on the security team called us by name every day after about Day 3 when we came back on board - long before he saw our IDs. The bartender (Inna) at the pool bar not only remembered me but also remembered what I drink. So to these people, I give 5 stars. DINING: Disappointed by some and pleased by others. "Prime 7" did not live up to the hype. My hubby’s NY Steak was not edible and neither was my whole main lobster - on our anniversary night!! We decided to give them another chance and were able to get reservations for second night. This time, hubby had the filet and was quite pleased. "Signatures" steaks were even worse. We dined most evenings at Sette Mari and were never disappointed. The Veal Osso Buco they offered was the best I have ever had. We only had breakfast at Compass Rose one day because I sort of got turned off by finding a hair in my eggs. Ugh! We pretty much did breakfast and lunch at the La Veranda buffet. Hubby says they (which becomes Sette Mari in the evening) had the best Caesar Salad he’d ever had!! Overall the desserts looked beautiful but lacked much taste. EXCURSIONS: Some were just okay but a few were totally awesome. Our first tour was the "Swim and Ride the Dolphins" excursion in Cozumel. This was an unbelievable experience. I was not sure I would do it because I had read that the dolphins were not treated well in some facilities but that was SO not the case where we were. It was a beautiful marine aquarium and it was obvious that the trainers loved their work and that the dolphins loved them. Highly recommended!! Then came Belize – the "Cave Tubing" excursion. Both the cave tubing itself AND our bus tour guide (Peter) were 5-star. It was about a one-hour ride to the river and caves and this young man (speaking wonderful English) told us all about Belize, the city, the schools, the culture, it's history and its current political issues with Guatemala. Once there, we set out on a 40-minute walk along a beautifully-manicured trail through the jungle with another great guide who spoke flawless English. We were all carrying our large inner tubes but this was not an issue. For the one lady who did struggle with it, he carried her tube! Upon arriving at the river, we entered the water and sat in the tube. Only our behinds were wet (and feet from wading in). He tied the 8 of us together and we started "water rafting" down the river - very smooth, clear water with rocky bottom. The caves are not completely dark as there are a lot of openings and there was plenty of room between us and the stalactites. Again, the guide was very informative with lots of history regarding the caves. This excursion may have been the "highlight" of our entire 12 days. One additional comment: We are divers and the dive shops that Regent sourced were excellent. However, there were only two dive days offered on the cruise (one was "inclusive" but the other was not - we paid extra). There should have been more diving options in this world-class diving region. We only wish that we had done our own research (as some other divers did) and arranged dives in a couple of the other ports-of-call like Cozumel and Roatan!. ENTERTAINMENT: Regent had a company that did several song and dance shows that were truly Las Vegas-quality. They did a cirque de sole'-type show that was absolutely stunning. But this company only performed (I think) 4 shows out of the 11 nights. The rest of the entertainment was mediocre at best. Regent's shipboard band, though – which provided music for most of the shows and many lounge acts – was TERRIFIC!! Our biggest entertainment criticism is there was only one show per night with a 9:30 pm start. This was a bit late for many of us who had early dinner at 6:30 or 7:00 and then had an hour or more to kill before the program began. I realize that the Mariner is a smaller ship and it is not practical to have an early show and a later show as many of the larger ships do, but on several occasions we decided to “call it a night” after dinner with wine and did not stay up for the show, especially if we had an early excursion the next morning. A word about the wines: We are wine-lovers and the selection of “house wines” was quite good – and plentiful. The restaurant staff and wine captains (especially Roderick in Sette Mari) were generous and helpful. The “Reserve” wine list was phenomenal and the mark-up on those additional-charge wines was very reasonable. The Spa: Canyon Ranch generally runs a good operation but the Mariner’s people were not up to snuff. I had a massage on our anniversary morning with a masseuse who didn’t shut up for the entire hour – most of her chatter trying to sign me up for the NEXT massage. My husband’s masseuse was OK but nothing special given the $195 cost for an hour. In hindsight, we wish that we’d used the ship credits we spent with them for more wine upgrades! :) To sum up - I give the butler a 1-star, the restaurants a 3-star, most of the excursions a 3-4 star (with exceptions to the two noted above) and a 5-star to most of the crew. Would I do a Regent cruise again? No. Would I do Regent’s butler service again? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! While the overall experience left us with some nice memories, there were sufficient negatives that we will look at other “all-inclusives” for our future cruises.

NOT overwhelmed

Seven Seas Mariner Cruise Review by pandbonthego

109 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2016
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Penthouse Suite
We went expecting…or at least hoping…to be overwhelmed.

I apologize for the length of this review but a lot needs to be said. I have broken it down in categories.

This was our 6th cruise but our first "all-Inclusive". We made the decision to splurge and go all out for our 40th anniversary in November, 2016. We had heard many great things about Regent but, alas, we also heard from seasoned Regent travelers that they would no longer sail on RSS since it was taken over by Norwegian due to the "lack of service" that they were used to. We booked it anyway because other friends were still happy. We went in with our eyes open but we did not expect to be disappointed in the one thing we most looked forward to: Butler service.

The ship is beautifully appointed and the cabin was large and perfect (except for a/c control). However, the butler did not meet expectations. The steward greeted us in our cabin a short while after departure with 3 of our 4 bags. He was surprised that we had not yet met our butler. (Not off to a good start.) Later in the evening, they finally found our lost bag and it was delivered by the long-awaited butler. He showed us around "some" the cabin and seemed pleasant enough. He did not explain any of the electronics and although the cabin supposedly included an iPad he never produced one. In hindsight, it might have been helpful for shipboard services (maybe even to contact our butler!!). It also included pressing which he never offered.

Over the next 11 days, I do not think we saw him more than once a day on average. Even then it was quick and brusque. He always made us feel as if we were bothering him. I guess if you have a butler, then the steward does not come around so we basically paid for "super service" and got none at all.

On the second evening, we ordered canapés (which are included in the “all-inclusive”) in our Penthouse Suite to go with the bottle of champagne that was in the Suite when we came aboard. He added crab legs to our order on his own initiative, but we graciously explained that my husband did not eat fish of any kind. The next night, he brought us shrimp. We are easy-going people – we rarely complain and are not very hard to please but this guy did not even try to learn our preferences and routines. As a secondary issue, his English was poor, he was very soft-spoken and he would not make eye contact – all of which made communication that much more difficult.

Let me add that we once went to a "Sandals” resort where we upgraded to their butler service. We were assigned three butlers who were available to us almost around the clock. After the first day, they "knew" what we wanted before WE did. I expected pretty much the same kind of service from Regent - NOT.

There were dozens of “little things” that led to my “3 star” rating - with the butler service being the biggest disappointment. Some other notables: The woman at the Destination Services desk did not smile for 11 days and was very rude EVERY time we asked a question.

But the rest of the staff was awesome. The excursion team on the docks (especially Luke) went out of their way to accommodate us when there was a weather issue. (Luke knew us by name after the second day.) The wait staff was very friendly and tried to please although there were sometimes language problems. Ashley on the security team called us by name every day after about Day 3 when we came back on board - long before he saw our IDs. The bartender (Inna) at the pool bar not only remembered me but also remembered what I drink. So to these people, I give 5 stars.

DINING: Disappointed by some and pleased by others. "Prime 7" did not live up to the hype. My hubby’s NY Steak was not edible and neither was my whole main lobster - on our anniversary night!! We decided to give them another chance and were able to get reservations for second night. This time, hubby had the filet and was quite pleased. "Signatures" steaks were even worse. We dined most evenings at Sette Mari and were never disappointed. The Veal Osso Buco they offered was the best I have ever had. We only had breakfast at Compass Rose one day because I sort of got turned off by finding a hair in my eggs. Ugh! We pretty much did breakfast and lunch at the La Veranda buffet. Hubby says they (which becomes Sette Mari in the evening) had the best Caesar Salad he’d ever had!! Overall the desserts looked beautiful but lacked much taste.

EXCURSIONS: Some were just okay but a few were totally awesome. Our first tour was the "Swim and Ride the Dolphins" excursion in Cozumel. This was an unbelievable experience. I was not sure I would do it because I had read that the dolphins were not treated well in some facilities but that was SO not the case where we were. It was a beautiful marine aquarium and it was obvious that the trainers loved their work and that the dolphins loved them. Highly recommended!!

Then came Belize – the "Cave Tubing" excursion. Both the cave tubing itself AND our bus tour guide (Peter) were 5-star. It was about a one-hour ride to the river and caves and this young man (speaking wonderful English) told us all about Belize, the city, the schools, the culture, it's history and its current political issues with Guatemala.

Once there, we set out on a 40-minute walk along a beautifully-manicured trail through the jungle with another great guide who spoke flawless English. We were all carrying our large inner tubes but this was not an issue. For the one lady who did struggle with it, he carried her tube! Upon arriving at the river, we entered the water and sat in the tube. Only our behinds were wet (and feet from wading in). He tied the 8 of us together and we started "water rafting" down the river - very smooth, clear water with rocky bottom. The caves are not completely dark as there are a lot of openings and there was plenty of room between us and the stalactites. Again, the guide was very informative with lots of history regarding the caves. This excursion may have been the "highlight" of our entire 12 days.

One additional comment: We are divers and the dive shops that Regent sourced were excellent. However, there were only two dive days offered on the cruise (one was "inclusive" but the other was not - we paid extra). There should have been more diving options in this world-class diving region. We only wish that we had done our own research (as some other divers did) and arranged dives in a couple of the other ports-of-call like Cozumel and Roatan!.

ENTERTAINMENT: Regent had a company that did several song and dance shows that were truly Las Vegas-quality. They did a cirque de sole'-type show that was absolutely stunning. But this company only performed (I think) 4 shows out of the 11 nights. The rest of the entertainment was mediocre at best. Regent's shipboard band, though – which provided music for most of the shows and many lounge acts – was TERRIFIC!! Our biggest entertainment criticism is there was only one show per night with a 9:30 pm start. This was a bit late for many of us who had early dinner at 6:30 or 7:00 and then had an hour or more to kill before the program began. I realize that the Mariner is a smaller ship and it is not practical to have an early show and a later show as many of the larger ships do, but on several occasions we decided to “call it a night” after dinner with wine and did not stay up for the show, especially if we had an early excursion the next morning.

A word about the wines: We are wine-lovers and the selection of “house wines” was quite good – and plentiful. The restaurant staff and wine captains (especially Roderick in Sette Mari) were generous and helpful. The “Reserve” wine list was phenomenal and the mark-up on those additional-charge wines was very reasonable.

The Spa: Canyon Ranch generally runs a good operation but the Mariner’s people were not up to snuff. I had a massage on our anniversary morning with a masseuse who didn’t shut up for the entire hour – most of her chatter trying to sign me up for the NEXT massage. My husband’s masseuse was OK but nothing special given the $195 cost for an hour. In hindsight, we wish that we’d used the ship credits we spent with them for more wine upgrades! :)

To sum up - I give the butler a 1-star, the restaurants a 3-star, most of the excursions a 3-4 star (with exceptions to the two noted above) and a 5-star to most of the crew.

Would I do a Regent cruise again? No. Would I do Regent’s butler service again? ABSOLUTELY NOT!! While the overall experience left us with some nice memories, there were sufficient negatives that we will look at other “all-inclusives” for our future cruises.
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