Seven Seas Navigator Review

4.5 / 5.0
321 reviews

Glorified Repositioning Cruise at Passengers’ Expense

Review for the Eastern Mediterranean Cruise on Seven Seas Navigator
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StelladiMare
6-10 Cruises • Age 60s

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Sail Date: Nov 2023

While there are many rusted on Regent Seven Seas (RSS) cruisers who’ll forgive any sin, beware if you don’t fall into that category. RSS is for you if you’re happy with average casino/club food masquerading as fine dining, stage troupe shows a high school would be embarrassed to put on, & a patronising juvenile approach to passenger announcements/liaison that’s more fit for a kindergarten than adult passengers (‘liquid sunshine’ anyone?). For cruisers where the destinations are key, don’t assume the advertised itinerary is what you’ll get. The advertised ‘antiquities’ ports were neutered. The deletion of Israel was entirely appropriate after 7 October 23, but others were not, especially as RSS was still prepared to sail the ship through the Suez Canal into an high risk area for piracy & Houthi attacks. Yes they took on extra security & there were piracy drills. However, why is that OK but going to Jordon, Cyprus & Rhodes were not OK? The risk analysis made no sense. The itinerary was changed 3 times & effectively became an Aegean & Adriatic cruise in winter when everything is shut. Yes, unbelievably we sailed the opposite direction to the original ports & the end point of Dubai, right up to Dubrovnik. Sorry, but Game of Thrones doesn’t qualify as antiquities. Most egregious of all, three advertised Omani ports were deleted. The Navigation Crew had no clue they were part of the original itinerary nor could give or obtain an explanation why these ports were deleted. It was especially annoying when the captain indicated we’d need six sailing days full throttle to get from Safaga, Egypt to Dubai in time for the next cruise. In other words, the advertised itinerary of three Omani ports between Safaga and Dubai could never have happened. At best one of those ports might have been squeezed in. Still, if you had concerns about this or anything else, there was always a form to fill out for Miami HQ. Nothing can be done without a form for Miami HQ and Miami HQ’s say so eg ship couldn’t dock in two ports due to its limited manoeuvrability in poor (but not especially bad) weather but nothing was ever done to find an alternative/makeup port because there is no discretion vested in the Captain it seems & it’s all too hard for Miami HQ to organise anything at short notice. In talking to other cruisers, it seems deletion of ports from itineraries is not uncommon for RSS albeit die hard RSS fans don’t seem to mind. I could go on. Suffice to say, this became an extremely expensive re-positioning cruise with everything designed for the benefit of RSS at the expense of passengers. You might ask why we boarded. Good question. That’s because RSS wouldn’t do the right thing by most passengers & offer cancellation or a cash rebate before embarkation to compensate for the neutered itinerary. That meant if passengers wanted to cancel, they’d have to pay a significant penalty (which rewards RSS for their poor behaviour). RSS also seems to feel it is OK to discriminate between passenger groups. As their consumer laws are especially tough, RSS appears to have refunded English & some German passengers resulting in 1/3 of the originally booked passengers not boarding. Too bad for the rest of us. We financed RSS’ repositioning voyage. Well done RSS. It’s all about you & passengers be damned. Subsequently offered future cruise discounts don’t cut it - costs RSS nothing, we’re still out of pocket & in any case I wouldn’t ever board their ships again.

On the plus side, there were some very hard working & delightful crew in the hospitality & hotel sections. They especially deserve plaudits for having to deal with a very unhappy & at times angry passenger cohort early in the cruise when the extent of the itinerary debacle became clear. We also had a great experience in Safaga (Luxor) & Kusadasi (Ephesus) thanks to the wonderful ground tour companies. We made Athens a great experience ourselves. Sadly, other ports were a major disappointment - Gytheio: mostly shut for winter eg beach a desert even with a 21c day temp & balmy sea; Corfu: shut down for most of the docked time; Kotor: mostly shut for winter; Dubrovnik: shut for a public holiday; Argostoli: shut for winter & because it was Sunday. These ports were an epic fail. Balcony suite was very nice (if a little the worse for wear). Pool OK but loungers put out late & packed up too early given ostensible opening hours & good weather. Ship is small & feels a bit like an old barge that shudders, shakes and rattles more than a bit at full speed of around 17-19kts. In RSS speak, it’s a ‘charming’ small ship. Gym & sauna were good albeit steam room tiny. Spa treatments are very expensive. Pool deck is rarely used for outdoor dining in the evening which is a shame in balmy conditions. All in all, if the destinations are your thing, this cruise was not for you & I suspect all RSS cruises suffer the same problem. If you don’t care & you’re priority is eating, drinking & socialising on board in a club atmosphere, this would be the cruise for you

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