Regent's own end of cruise survey asks: 'Would you recommend Regent to a friend and do you feel this was value for money?' Based on this cruise with Seven Seas Mariner (Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro), the answer has to be ............sorry but "No".
The ship is scheduled for refurbishment two cruises hence, and it is much needed as it is looking tired and dated.
Onboard entertainment was either very good or very poor. Great solo singer (Colleen Williamson), amateur song and dance troup. Sailing from Argentina (home of the Tango), via Uruguay to Rio (home of the Samba) one would have thought that a more creative on-board entertainment programme using local top quality talent could have been put together. A diet of 'Broadway' and 'Show Tunes' and 'Bert Bacharach' seems to be standard cruise fare and is unimaginative.
Onboard F&B was very hit and miss. Compass Rose, Prime 7 and Signature were all erratic. Some good consommes, Dover sole, some very bad crostato, unacceptable curry. Several fellow passengers, one of us included, were bed bound for a day or two due to 'stomach problems', the timing of which and previous consumption patterns could only indicate on board sources. Moules left on the pass for 20 minutes in passenger sight before serving, concurrent handling of cooked meat and uncooked chicken, sea food and cold cuts in full sun during a deck barbecue, did not inspire confidence and we ended up being very, very selective in our menu choices.
Shore excusions were also hit and miss. The Buenos Aires tour was good, particularly the visit to Evita Peron's halfway house museum (excellent external guide brought in) as was the Tango element of Montevideo and the Art and Culture of Punta del Este.
Rio Grande, being the first port of entry to Brazilian waters, was theoretically a 'technical stop' to process paperwork. Being berthed next to a bulk carrier unloading urea fertiliser, one would think a run ashore would be a good idea. Wrong. A couple of delapited town squares (with a pack of aggressive dogs which persisted in herding our group), a closed museum, an oceanographic museum looking tired and sad - complete with lonely seal and two de-oiling penquins) do not make for a hugely enriching experience. In Porto Belo, extended queueing for the cable car, a walk through an 'ecological park' which also contained screaming tourists on a sledge ride, a half hour on a crowded beach gazing at stalls of trinkets and trash while the guide ate lunch, was severely underwhelming.
Value for money? Marginal, but not a 6 star experience.
Could recommend? No
Would sail again? Probaly not.
Cabin size is acceptable (albeit the balcony is a little tight) and the layout of bedroom, separate walk-in wardrobe and separate bathroom is very good. The WIW particularly is very generous and there's enough space to hang and store all your 'stuff' for the next two weeks. The bathroom (shower only, no bath) was spacious enough for two weeks and there was enough storage space. Overall, the suite itself is dated (like the rest of the ship) and in need of the renovation - this cruise was the penultimate ahead of refurbishment in Marseille/Barcelona. Everything worked, the bed was very comfortable, stinky pillows were quickly replaced, however the overall impression is not 'deluxe, premium or 6 star'.