We recently spent 21 nights on Regent Mariner’s Amazon Jungles and Rainforests cruise. Although this was our 20th cruise, it was our first cruise on Regent and probably our last. If you are expecting the luxury cruise experience touted in the Regent Brochure, you may find yourself greatly disappointed.
Protect Your Health! – “The Cruise Crud”, as some of my fellow passengers called it, was making its way around the ship. Not as nasty as the Noro virus, but not fun. Stuffy head, watery eyes, chest congestion and a nagging cough. You could hear people coughing all over the ship. Once you heard the cough, you knew someone was sick. At our dinner table one night, 4 of the 8 people were sick. One gentlemen left in the middle of dinner to go back to his cabin.
We saw examples of unsanitary behavior on the Mariner. The two most striking incidents included a Manager at the Pool Café taking plates of cookies and rearranging the cookies with his bare hands (after he was just moving tables and chairs) and a server dropping silverware on the floor, picking it up and putting it back into service. We were very concerned about our health aboard the Mariner.
Luxury Accommodations? Based on Regent Brochure, we expected our cabin to be on par with a room at the Ritz Carlton. However, our cabin was dated, there were paint drops on the drawers, scratches on the TV, holes in the sheer curtains, a hole in the curtain linings and grease stains on the sofa (See attached photos). So if you are expecting luxury accommodations aboard the Mariner, you may be disappointed.
Fine Wine? The Regent brochure touts “…fine wine”. Fine wine is definitely onboard, but it won’t be served to you - unless you are willing to pay extra for it. Maybe it’s just me, but after I spend $20,000 on a cruise I expect a somewhat decent glass of wine without paying extra for it.
What you actually get on the Mariner is the illusion of fine wine. Your table is set with Riedel crystal wine glasses, the Sommelier approaches you with the silver tastevin hanging from his neck, he presents the bottle to you for inspection, he offers you a taste for your approval, then carefully pours the precious nectar into your glass. The dirty little secret is that the wine he’s pouring is a $6.50 bottle of Backhouse Pinot Noir!
The wines are changed frequently, there is no printed wine list for the wines they pour and the Wine Stewards don’t like to talk about the wine served. One passenger told me that he photographed the labels of every wine he was served (22 bottles) and looked them up online. The most expensive wine was $14.99 with most wines averaging about $10 retail. The cheapest wine I was served was La Terre Cabernet, which can be found for as little as $4.92. Shame on you Regent.
Food – Everyone talks about the food, so I’ll be brief. At La Veranda (Buffet Breakfast & Lunch) the food is mediocre and service is worse. As one fellow passenger told me “get a lot of different things and eat what’s least offensive”. I don’t think he meant to be that harsh, but you get the idea. Service at La Veranda is poor. It’s often difficult to get your water, coffee or drinks refilled or silverware replaced. Not once did anyone ever ask us if we were enjoying our meal or if we needed anything. The Managers just seem to stand around talking to each other. If you want something, you need to be aggressive and flag someone down and ask for it. We also heard one of the wait staff making derogatory comments about some of the passengers which is just unacceptable. Regent’s “commitment to excellence” is notably missing at La Veranda.
Service – First let me say that we received some outstanding service from some very dedicated and highly trained staff. I’d say we received outstanding service 25% of the time. We received very good/good service 25% of the time and average/below average service 50% of the time (with an emphasis on below average). Most of the staff work extremely hard, but that doesn’t always translate to outstanding service. Something appears to be lacking in terms of training and staff management.
You’ll find luxury only in the pages of the Regent Brochure, we certainly did not find it on the Mariner. Don’t be fooled by the marketing hype. Of the 20 cruises we have taken, Regent ranks as the worst.