I have read recent reviews of cruises on the Mariner that cast doubt on the exceptionable quality of the cruise experience on this ship. In part, my motivation for writing this review is to balance what has been written by some others (and to reinforce the positive reviews of the Mariner Alaska cruises that also appear in CruiseCritic).
I travelled with my two adult daughters for a 7 day Alaska cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner. We spent several days on our own in Anchorage prior to the cruise, travelling on day trips with a rented car. The night before the cruise we stayed at the Anchorage Hilton (which we enjoyed somewhat less than our stay at the Sheraton Anchorage Hotel & Spa) in a free, pre-cruise package, followed by a bus transfer to the port in Seward on the day of the cruise. The embarkation was extremely quick and simple, taking no more than about 5 minutes.
The cruise experience of all three of us on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner was extraordinary. The staff was uniformly outstanding (more details about this later) and very friendly, from the captain to the dining staff and the room cleaners. The food was, in general, excellent, and great efforts were made to adapt the menu to the special needs of one of my daughters, who is lactose intolerant and does not eat meat (more about this in the next paragraph). We enjoyed almost all of the shore excursions, although some were much better than others. We chose not to go to most of the entertainment shows (usually because we ate dinner relatively late, so I have no comments to offer on them).
The penthouse suite was spacious, even given the fact that there were 3 of us in the suite. This was a room that had a sofa bed, but the sofa bed was terrible and not suitable for any adult to sleep on; as a result, after the first night we requested a cot. My daughters, who alternated sleeping on the cot, said that it was reasonably comfortable -- although less so than the bed. There was sufficient room in the walk-in closet and on the luggage holders for all of our baggage. Our butler, Arnel, was outstanding, and our steward, Thirupathi, together with the cleaner, kept the room immaculate.