We had been looking to circumnavigate Australia for years and were delighted when we saw this itinerary on Regent. We'd seen others but they were always over the holidays and weren't keen to be away at that time. It was amazing to see the entire continent -- intriguing history, friendly people, amazing wildlife -- plus Bali and Papua New Guinea to boot. What's not to like?
Navigator is a ship that gets a bad rap. This was our first cruise on Navigator (our other was on Voyager), and after reading reviews here, we were concerned. Yet needn't have been. Her size means she is easy to navigate (pun intended) and is conducive to meeting people. Folks invited us to dinner (a first for us) and we did the same. Made terrific friends from Germany, UK, Netherlands, Canada and USA. A real family feel -- including crew.
For an older ship, she is in good shape and was recently given a bit of a face lift, which resolved some past issues -- I'm looking at you Brown Water. Yes, her stern vibrates, she has no forward viewing lounge and only one specialty restaurant. But none of this mattered once the cruise began. Our mid ship cabin didn't vibrate, we loved happy hour in Stars lounge and Compass Rose was terrific -- and had enough variety even for our long voyage.
We love the high quality and all inclusive value Regent provides. The staff was friendly, efficient and ever present. Passenger/crew ratio seemed luxurious.
Lecturers on board were entertaining as well as educational. Hugh Neighbour provided geo/political insights, Michael Scott provided wildlife and port specifics, and Mary Atkins provided Australian cultural details. All were excellent. Veteran cruise director Ray Solaire kept us entertained on sea days with games, cooking demos, a Super Bowl party, an Oscar viewing (both at breakfast) and other classes. The onboard entertainment in the theater was terrific -- equal to or better than ships much larger, particularly the production cast.
Cabin was spacious and well appointed. Had enough storage for our 36-day voyage. Loved having a walk-in closet and got extra hangers by asking the butler. Mid-ship location meant we could get anywhere easily/quickly, and we never felt the famous vibration. Loved being near elevators and laundry. Our across the hall neighbors had previously had the same room on Navigator on a World Cruise and requested it again for this one -- big endorsement. No noise problems of any kind. Insulation must be excellent.