This is our 3rd Regent cruise, and 2nd on the Mariner. Happy on the 1st & 2nd cruises, but not so on this one.
Let's start with the good points:
* Excursions: Wide choice and well executed.
* Drinks: Good variety, and quality. Wines range is excellent. Bar staff are great, and very flexible. Shout-out to Maya in Observation lounge for her great mixing skills.
* Rooms/Ship: Nothing to complain about here. Very quiet (no noise from corridor or rooms next door). Matched expectations and the brochure promises.
* Entertainment: Standard fare. Not what we come on a cruise for.
* Lecturers: Up there with the best we have seen.
* Main Dining Room (MDR): Never denied a table. Good food & varied nightly, but a bit unimaginative. A few small hiccups with a lunch that took 90 mins to arrive, but not a show stopper.
But the elephant in the room is the fiasco that is the congested La Veranda/Sette Mare.
BREAKFAST (La Veranda)
* The congestion is horrible. One example: Toast is made by 1 staff member, and the numerous guests waiting for their toast block the already narrow passage.
* The limited space makes some guests pushy and rude; especially if time is short before an excursion.
* Saw one guest served under-cooked fried eggs; she did not eat them.
* Never went a 2nd time.
LUNCH (La Veranda)
* Best described as an unpleasant bun-fight on busy days. Continuously running out of things (Main dishes, butter, cheese, etc). When asked, staff would replenish but it just adds to the crazy congestion, frustration, and delays.
* Staff will take orders and deliver - which is great is you want your food cold.
DINNER (Sette Mare)
* 4 nights in a row: Denied a table for 4 between 19:30 ~ 20:15. Usually told the wait was 45 mins. Or told: "Suggest you come at 18:30 tomorrow". So we went to MDR each time.
* 5th time lucky, but underwhelming food.
So what is the problem? As we were on the same ship just 3 months ago, and did not have the same issues, I concluded it is simply that when full (as it is on this cruise) the La Veranda/Sette Mare simply can not cater properly for the guests on board. This is especially acute if the weather means the pool grill is unpopular that day/night.
Once we realised all our frustrations centred on La Veranda/Sette Mare, we simply stopped going there. The little frustrations vanished and we really enjoyed the rest of the ship & cruise.
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