Anyone reading my other reviews will know that I am a huge fan of Regent, we have met many lovely people over the years, welcomed them to our hoes and even gone to their weddings. As Cruise Critic makes clear in its own review of the Voyager, the make up of the guests are generally well educated, well travelled people and they choose Regent because they will meet likeminded people.
The ship, staff, officers and entertainment were all exactly as I describe in my review of the first half of our cruise. Thoroughly decent, hard working and friendly people who I would happily sail around the world with forever. Why then, you will be asking, have I rated this cruise 'terrible'.
The simple answer is that having broken our 17 day cruise in two without telling us, there was also one other fact that Regent had omitted to mention when we booked - which was that they had booked two groups of 250 each on 'corporate incentive trips'. We can only speculate (and Regent has not denied) that there was always a plan to split the cruise and that these two groups were already booked on the Voyager when we booked 9 months ago - that can be the only explanation for limited availability to us and then lots of availability for the first 10 days.
So, 500 passengers got off in Miami on 5 March and two groups got on. One group was no problem, well behaved, beautifully dressed although ultimately they were a group and would wear their corporate T-shirts to remind us we were on a corporate trip and did not join in with things like trivia (which went from standing room only to three teams overnight). However, the second group were something else.
As I want to ensure that Cruise Critic print this review I will not go into detail about them, suffice to say there was a virtual mutiny aboard especially with the 73 guests who had booked a 17 day cruise and were now trapped on a ship with 250 people on a 'booze cruise'. Guests were demanding meetings with the captain (what could he do?), the corridors being patrolled every evening to try and enforce the dress code, the pool deck became a no go area. There was no mid cruise survey done...
Yes we were on a lovely ship, with lovely food (delayed due to our fellow guests ordering everything off the menu in one sitting) and we got to see some lovely places. But it was that feeling of dread coming back to the ship, the frustration of not being able to go to the pool, the worry that any of them would be on an excursion we were booked on. But most importantly it was that feeling of betrayal that this beloved brand that have looked after us so well and who we have such fond memories of, could have done this to us in such a cold and calculating way.
Regent have assured us, in writing, that this was a mistake and will never happen again. However, they seem to believe that because we have had so many lovely trips with Regent we can overlook one bad experience. We work very hard to be able to afford the Regent experience and this was a week of our lives and precious holiday time that we will never get back and for which we paid full price. We have come home more stressed and frustrated than when we went which is getting worse by the day as Regent head office bury their heads further into the sand and refuse to recognise the problem.
Mistakes happen but the art of good customer service is how you recover from them and it seems that Regent still have that lesson to learn. As soon as they realised the scale of the problem they should have dispatched a senior executive out to the ship to apologise in person and offer those affected something. This is not about money, it is about recognition of the monumental mistake made (or imposed on them from above) and there are many things that they could have done which would have cost them very little at the time.
One of the best laid out cabins we have had
Amazing - the architecture, the cars, the scenery were all fantastic. We also did the Hemingway Experience where we walked through the city and went to his two favourite bars and had a drink in each and then to his houseView All 251 City Tour Reviews
We thought this may be a bit touristy bbut how wrong could we be - it was amazing and well worth paying the extra for. You are also given a bottle of rum between four of you - with a cola equivalant!View All 82 Tropicana Cabaret Reviews
A walk through the old town to Hemingway's two favourite bars - we had a drink in each and then went to his house. Well worth a visit.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Well equipped boat but did not catch anything!View All 12 Fishing Reviews
Flew in a light aircraft to Chichen Itza which was well worth paying the extra for. Well organised and an amazing site to visit.View All 425 Mayan Ruins Reviews
Went there on the first half of our cruise. Worth a visit once!