Really a 4.5.
Embarkation in Miami extremely easy especially if you were in one of the larger suites like we were--a Master Suite. But really it was only the difference between no wait and at most a 3-4 minute wait, there were over 15 ... Read More
Really a 4.5.
Embarkation in Miami extremely easy especially if you were in one of the larger suites like we were--a Master Suite. But really it was only the difference between no wait and at most a 3-4 minute wait, there were over 15 agents taking care of the formalities. One unusual thing--first time ever in 2+ cruises that we were allowed to keep our passports.
Ship itself is gorgeous--still has that new ship smell :). It's subjective, but it may live up to the "most luxurious cruise ship" tag from Frank del Rio. Master suite was very good with a couple of flaws that made us wonder if Frank had ever examined it personally. First,the living room couch was quite possibly the least comfortable couch we have ever tried to sit in. Very low and hard back. They had put lots of cushions on it, but all that meant was if you tried to sit up in it or lean back to watch TV you slipped off. Only one arm chair so only one person at a time could be comfortable watching a movie. Also, couch set up far too close to the TV for comfortable viewing. Butler and stewards moved the couch for us about four feet back for a proper viewing distance. TVs themselves large and proper Hi-def feed of a large movie selection. However, seems like most cruise lines these days content themselves with MSNBC and Fox news so if you want anything in the middle you get BBC. Moreover no ESPN so only Sky Sports and if you have a 75%+ American clientele all soccer all the time isn't great especially during March Madness.
The other cabin oddity was no fewer than 15 switches (in rows of 3) that do exactly the same thing. You can turn on or off all the lights in the foyer, living room, and dining area at once but can't choose any subset. I sincerely hope they fix both of those things in drydock.
We did get a chance to see the famous $5K/day/person Regent Suite as we got invited to a small dinner party there. It is over-the-top with built in spa, the $75K bed (apparently the Splendor will have a $150K bed), lots of Lalique crystal, etc.
Food was generally excellent at both lunch and dinner (we believe strongly in sleeping in on sea days especially when losing an hour most nights going eastward). Lots of lunch venues open, both buffet and sit down. We found the food considerably better than that we have had on the other Regent ships, particularly in the MDR. The new MDR menu provided a huge number of choices and quality didn't slip because of that variety.
There is a Senior Executive Chef who reports directly to the GM instead of two a F and B manager--we met him on a galley tour and he is extremely impressive.
Of the specialty restaurants, Pacific Rim is surprisingly good--I put it that way because we are from N. California so are Asian food snobs. There was excellent variety and quality and most of the dishes were reasonably authentic. Yes the bulgogi was really a nice sliced steak with a soy-based sauce instead of the true Korean item and they should train the wait staff to pronounce the iconic Vietnamese soup pho as "fuh" vs. "foe," and the menu should make it clear you can get both hot and cold sake (it only says cold but they were happy to serve hot at the proper temperature). But those are minor quibbles. I rate the quality about as good as the Nobu restaurant on Crystal with more choices and actually better than Jade Garden on Oceania (which is good, not just nearly as authentic).
They push the lobster tempura (which is good), but be sure to try the duck, the pho, the miso cod, and the stir-fried greens, and the green tea ice cream among other dishes.
Chartreuse was also excellent in all respects although selection a bit limited. Much better than the earlier Regent Signatures incarnation. The whole dover sole is particularly good.
Prime 7 a bit disappointing actually, appetizers, sides, and desserts very good, but steaks only fair without a proper char and not as marbled as prime steaks should be.
Seti Mari is still a confused concept. Is it a buffet or sit-down restaurant? The bit of both doesn't really work IMHO. Toscana on Oceania hugely better for Italian food as is Prego on Crystal.
The baker on Explorer is really good-both for desserts in the restaurants and especially at afternoon tea.
Entertainment generally good to excellent. Production company one of the better ones we've seen--rivaling Crystal in that regard. Guest entertainers mostly very good to excellent--a husband-wife pair called "Somewhere it's Five O'Clock" was new to us and did two shows with actual modern pop and rock music (and some classic rock too).
(Although we may have been the only couple that recognized their opening song "Little Talks"--that's by Monsters and Men if it comes up on a ship trivia quiz). However, the guest comedian was something out of the Dean Martin era when joking about drunk drivers and the female anatomy was considered funny. Nowadays it's both sexist and offensive. That caused me to downgrade the entertainment rating one notch.
Service top-notch in all respects from wait staff to cabin attendants/butlers to cruise director and his staff. If anything Regent may have gone overboard in responding to some earlier comments in this forum about slow or mediocre service, at one dinner we counted 8 times a waiter, head waiter, or maitre'd came over to ask if everything was excellent. I thought of putting up a sign that said "things are perfect." The only problem with our butler was that he made us feel guilty we didn't give him enough to do--I had to convince him we could find our way to dinner without him.
Internet service only fair. Sort of OK for first half of cruise, then they had problems switching satellites in mid-Atlantic which led to 3 days of unusable service. Not a matter of too much simultaneous use--service terrible at 2am during that period. The similarly sized SIlversea Silver Muse with a comparable passenger load and "free" internet throughout had almost land-based speed on a crossing we did six months earlier. Speed these days is simply a matter of money and technical competence.
Finally ports and excursions, a fairly minor part of a crossing and particularly true on this voyage. There were five port days scheduled and two+ got cancelled. The first day in Bermuda, while it was sunny, winds were up to 60 mph gusts. Some deck furniture that was not completely tied down literally flew off the ship. So almost all excursions that day were canceled. Unfortunately that meant that re-scheduling everyone on excursions the second day proved impossible. Our tour in Funchal was just ok--guide could have been a lot better. The tour of the Nerja caves near Malaga was spectacular. If you haven't seen them you really need to do so. Largest underground "theaters" I've ever seen and an excellent guide.
And then came the unique-to-us part of the cruise. We were sailing from Malaga to our last port of Alicante before ending in Barcelona. Our captain woke us at 3:30am to tell us that the ship was going to be making some unusual turns because a passenger had gone overboard on the Norwegian Spirit which was just ahead of us. Five ships in the area including several from the Spanish Coast Guard and two helicopters spent six hours searching the area--the passenger, who it turns out had jumped overboard, was never found. We were released from the search, skipped Alicante, and had an extra sea day.
Overall, this was a very good to excellent crossing aboard a superb ship that I believe will get even better when they fix a few glitches. Read Less