This review is divided into three parts: the good, the bad and the ugly. It accurately reflects my experiences prior to, during and after the cruise. Not being a knowledgeable cruiser (I had only cruised once before about 20 years ago), ... Read More
This review is divided into three parts: the good, the bad and the ugly. It accurately reflects my experiences prior to, during and after the cruise. Not being a knowledgeable cruiser (I had only cruised once before about 20 years ago), I relied upon both recommendations from friends and reviews in the travel press to select Regent Seven Seas for our Baltic adventure. I approached this cruise with very high expectations which were not always met.
1. Our suite, Explorer category, was large, bright, spotlessly clean, beautifully appointed and very comfortable.
2. The staff were extremely hardworking, professional and friendly. I would single out our butler, Leslie, and the Excursion Desk personnel for special praise.
3. The excursions offered were interesting and well-run.
4. The pre-cruise hotel (Marriott) in Copenhagen was well-located. Our room was large and sunny with a beautiful view.
5. Our flight from San Francisco to Copenhagen on Air France (business class) was exceptional.
a. The Wi-Fi, when it was working, was both slow and failure-prone.
b. The staff needed two days to fix the large television in the suite’s living room.
a. The door between the bedroom and the living room did not close properly. It was repaired immediately, but was out of alignment within two days.
b. The bedroom’s sliding glass balcony door did not seal properly. During high winds, the poor seal caused a loud howling noise.
c. Upon returning to the suite one afternoon, I noticed a strong toilette odor emanating from the powder room. The smell lasted for about an hour.
d. The suite’s air was very dry and irritated our sinuses.
a. Every room service order had at least one error (e.g., items missing, items not ordered and/or delivered at the wrong time). The room service menu was also extremely limited.
b. The food varied from disappointing (e.g., rock-hard French fries, over-cooked veal medallions, ruined prime rib and rubbery waffles) to disgusting (e.g., malodorous beef stroganoff and inedible swordfish). The food presentation was amateurish – picture Denny’s afloat. The wines were good, however.
c. The main restaurant hours appeared set to channel passengers to the buffets rather than the ship’s more formal venues. If your excursion returned to the ship at mid-afternoon, your only option would be the Pool Grill with its unappetizing buffet, desiccated pizza and sandwiches (although the Cubano was passable).
d. There was a silver lining to this culinary dark cloud – I lost three pounds on the cruise.
4. Return Flight
a. Our return flight from Stockholm to San Francisco on SAS (business class – sort of) was not up to Air France’s standards for service, food and comfort. My seat was especially uncomfortable. It reminded me of the troop seats in military transport aircraft.
b. Regent advertises that it’s cruises include international business class air travel. Our segment from Stockholm to Copenhagen was economy although Regent’s documents said otherwise.
1. Booking the trip
a. My ordeal with Regent’s back office began with my initial contact. My agent stated that he had only been with the company for about a year and it showed. I inquired about a specific cruise and was told it was sold-out. He attempted to steer me toward an earlier cruise which I told him would most likely not work because of my companion’s schedule. That notwithstanding, he charged my credit card for a $6,179.70 deposit without my authorization. He then sent me an email stating that I had a one-day grace period before the deposit would become non-refundable. Because I could not reach my companion (she was travelling internationally), I called Regent, explained the situation (again) and cancelled the unauthorized reservation. I then spent nearly a week corresponding with the agent before finally receiving the refund. My frustration had reached the point where I told the agent that I would no longer deal with Regent directly, but would work through my own travel agent (which is what I should have done in the first place).
b. At that point, a suite on the cruise I had originally chosen miraculously became available. I told the agent I would use my travel agent for the booking. He then asked me book the trip through him so he could “get the credit.” Once I had done that, he would transfer the booking to my travel professional. Fearing I might lose the suite, I agreed. The trip was booked and the transfer made.
c. When I received the preliminary itinerary from Regent, it showed my companion returning to the U.S. ahead of me. My agent contacted Regent to correct the error and was told the extra night in Stockholm would cost approximately $1,200. Given that my companion and I were sharing a room for which I had already paid, I took issue with the proposed charge. I know Sweden is expensive, but I cannot believe an extra breakfast could cost that much. It took a day to get that issue sorted out.
d. Regent sent me our airline reservations approximately one month before the departure date. Upon checking them, I discovered that we were not sitting together. Sorting out this error took another couple of days.
e. Regent was also less than helpful regarding Russian visa requirements for my companion (she is a foreign national).
2. Arrival in Copenhagen
a. We arrived in Copenhagen on schedule and were met by a Regent representative. The representative collected our luggage and then escorted us to our transportation to the hotel.
b. We registered at the hotel and then stopped by the Regent courtesy desk to check in. Apparently, somewhere over the Atlantic, we had ceased to exist – the courtesy desk had no record of us. We were told that if we really were on the cruise we would have to arrange our own transfers from the hotel to the ship. Regent’s representative didn’t seem to believe us even after we showed them the “Final Cruise Vacation Summary” provided by the cruise line. It took until the next day to get this problem sorted out.
3. Management stupidity
a. On one day, the ship scheduled crew safety training at the same time excursions were attempting to leave the ship. When we tried to exit the ship, we were blocked by crew members participating in the drill.
b. We went to the Compass Rose restaurant for breakfast on our final morning. Breakfast took more than an hour (not including the time it took to be seated) because the restaurant was set for dinner and not adequately staffed. Apparently, it never occurred with the ship’s hotel management that the passengers might want to have a nice “last meal.”
c. While we were waiting to disembark on the final day, the ship’s crew closed the restrooms on and adjacent to the disembarkation deck. Regent is an expensive cruise line and many, if not most, of its passengers are older. Closing those restrooms showed absolutely no regard for passenger comfort. One group of women actually rebelled and forced an attendant to open a restroom for them. NOTE TO MANAGEMENT: CRUISING IS A SERVICE BUSINESS AND YOUR PASSENGERS PAY A GREAT DEAL OF MONEY SO YOU CAN EAT.
4. Post-cruise hotel
a. Regent booked us into the Haymarket by Scandic in Stockholm. The room was cramped, dark and noisy. Its bathroom was so small one could hardly turn around in it.
b. We considered ordering room service, but concluded there was no place to eat it.
c. We ordered take-away breakfasts for our final morning (the airport transfer left before the hotel began breakfast service), but they were never provided. Read Less