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1,155 Regent Seven Seas Cruise Reviews

We arrived 2 days early for our Alaskan cruise from Vancouver and stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront. Our luggage was taken across the street by hotel staff and we next found it in our suite. Although we had the smallest ac- accommodations ... Read More
We arrived 2 days early for our Alaskan cruise from Vancouver and stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront. Our luggage was taken across the street by hotel staff and we next found it in our suite. Although we had the smallest ac- accommodations on the ship, we found our suite very comfortable and roomy with a nice balcony. The suite has a rather large bathroom with 1 sink and tub over shower and Aveda amenities. The closet is large and there is more than enough space for our belongings. Our stewardess appeared to be new but was very helpful. She did not answer the 2 pages we did but we figured she did not know how to work the system as she often had to "ask her supervisor" when we asked her for something. Each cabin is able to order 2 large bottles of liquor and we found a bottle of champagne awaiting us too. The first afternoon of our cruise we were locked out on our balcony and eventually someone came out a few cabins away and called to report it. Un-fortunately no one ever came to get us and an hour later after feeling very panicky and seeing no one, our neighbor came out and we passed our key over the partition and he let us in . Although we spent another half hour in our cabin, no one ever came. We found the food on the ship to be very good and wine was served with the dinner. We (my husband and I) were traveling alone and generally sat at tables for two. Because this was a cruise with many children most people were traveling with their families or friends so we never got to sit with any one else at meals. In addition, there were few activities for adults. We were looking forward to playing bridge, at least on the 2 sea days. Bridge preparations consisted of a basket with 4 decks of cards in a drafty corridor with a sign on it for bridge. There was no one in charge. Speakers were limited to the naturalist and the photographer. There was trivial pursuit and bingo 3 times. Unfortunately, until we went on our 4 day Denali extension, we had little opportunity to meet anyone although we are very sociable people. There was a very good library and Dvd collection on board as well as movies every day. We went to the French restaurant once and found it to be excellent as was the service. The buffet restaurant Veranda during the day became an Italian steak house at night. It was also excellent. We found the service there to be much better than the main dining room. Dining room service was spotty and often rather frantic. There are two very nice shops on board with very lovely merchandise as well as a casino. The embarking and disembarking were very smooth. We continued with the Denali extension organized by the ship. That was really outstanding. The hotels ranged from good to excellent and the tour was well organized with a great tour director and driver. Here we met some very interesting people. We realized what we had been missing on the ship as there was no way for us to interact with anyone. We found the staff to range from mostly impersonal to a few such as the maitre d in the restaurant who stood out as excellent. We have now been on 17 cruises, most of which were on Crystal. All in all, we felt disappointed that there were so few activities, there were no well-known speakers, and the service and entertainment were just mediocre aside from the ensemble dancers who were very good. We were offered a credit on another cruise due to our un-fortunate experience the first day which seemed very fair on Regent's part. However, we will probably not take advantage of it. I forgot to mention that we did take the shore excursion by catamaran to Tracy Arm and it was outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
We went on the Mariner in 2001 during its Inaugural season. We also did Alaska but from Vancouver to Anchorage. We were extremely impressed with the ship in 2001. My in-laws wanted to go again in 2006 and I was reluctant to take the same ... Read More
We went on the Mariner in 2001 during its Inaugural season. We also did Alaska but from Vancouver to Anchorage. We were extremely impressed with the ship in 2001. My in-laws wanted to go again in 2006 and I was reluctant to take the same ship with pretty much the same itinerary (only reversed). I'm so glad we did! The Mariner was even better than 5 years ago! Everything about the ship, crew, service, quality of food, entertainment, kid's program, etc. was excellent! My only complaint is that we had to leave the ship after 7 days! The food at ALL of the venues was excellent. We tried every restaurant at least once and we enjoyed every meal. We used Club Mariner for my 5 and 7 year olds. They had a wonderful time while we were able to enjoy quiet meals, especially in the evenings. The gym needs some updated equipment. I would have liked to see some new ellipticals. I'm hoping that they upgrade some of the gym equipment before our next cruise on the Mariner, Christmas 2007. Otherwise, the gym was fine. My husband was training for a triathlon and he managed to get in a good workout each morning. The shore excursions were also great! I liked the fact that we could review and book our shore excursions online before we ever stepped foot on the ship. They had a nice variety of shore excursions as well. For example, my brother and sister in law opted to play golf in Skagway while we went on the train ride and panned for gold (with the 2 children). We also were able to book our dinner reservations online for the two speciality restaurants. Signatures is an excellent french restaurant and Lattitudes, an also equally excellent Asian-Pacific restaurant. Compass Rose, the main dining room rivaled both of the specialty restaurants on board. We were in stateroom #907. After 5 years, the ship still looks great. The couch in our stateroom was a bit worn at one corner but other than that, everything still looked brand new. Our room stewardess was also excellent. She stocked our refrigerator with the refreshments we requested (Diet Pepsi and Peligrino instead of Diet Coke). She was always available when we needed something but never in the way. We did not have a lot of time to enjoy the entertainment on board. The few shows we did get to were also very enjoyable! My favorite was the last night when the crew entertained us. It was quite good! We also enjoyed the Mariner Lounge. There were a variety of smaller shows there that we enjoyed thoroughly. I loved the fact that there was always something to enjoy on the ship, whether it was a Broadway type show, dancing or just relaxing quietly in the Observation Lounge. Since there are only 700 passengers on this ship, there was NEVER A LINE! Even at the Captain's cocktail party, I think there were two other couples in front of us to greet the captain and that only took a few moments. We were always able to get a seat at any venue, even if we showed up a bit late. The Mariner was an excellent ship all around. Instead of looking for destinations to cruise, we are going to find out where the Mariner will be and book that cruise. Our next cruise is booked; Christmas 2007. We cannot wait to go back! Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
We returned from our Baltic Cruise on the Seven Seas Voyager August 19th and, although I am a bit jetlagged, I feel it is important to write my review while the cruise is still fresh in my mind. Prior to the cruise we spent two nights in ... Read More
We returned from our Baltic Cruise on the Seven Seas Voyager August 19th and, although I am a bit jetlagged, I feel it is important to write my review while the cruise is still fresh in my mind. Prior to the cruise we spent two nights in Copenhagen. Reviews of the Radisson SAS Royal vary, but we enjoyed the hotel & especially the amazing location. Tivoli Gardens is across the street, Stroget (the shopping area) is close by and there is even a supermarket next door. Guests of the hotel can also use the large, modern gym next door at no charge. No complaints here! Embarkation was fast and efficient. Suites were ready approximately 3:00 p.m. Due to weather, they were serving lunch at La Veranda while we waited. First let me say that we enjoyed the cruise tremendously and that the Seven Seas Voyager is a beautiful ship - albeit in serious need of refurbishment (more on this later). This was our second Regent cruise; the first being the Paul Gauguin in 2004 so there may be a tendency to compare this ship with the PG. We took Regent up on the offer to pay a "nominal" amount to upgrade from deck six to a Penthouse A suite mid-ship on deck 10. Although only 15 square feet larger than the other suites, the layout makes it appear quite a bit larger. Our butler was quite nice, however, we personally would not recommend paying a lot of extra money for the butler. Breakfast was set up in our suite beautifully each morning. I suspect that, it would have been set up just as nicely if we did not have a butler. The service from our Stewardess, Ginalyn, was excellent. We booked reservations at the two reservation only restaurants online. Our take on the restaurants is a bit different than I have read in previous posts. Lattitudes has received some poor ratings on the boards but we found it to be excellent. The service surpassed that of any other restaurant on board. They had a way of adding a touch of humor along with impeccable service. The food was incredible. People who are not into Asian cuisine may find some of their flavors a bit unusual for their palates but we savored every morsel. The chef went to each table after the meal to inquire as to how the meal was. This was a nice touch. After telling him how much we enjoyed the food, he offered to give us the recipes (they arrived in our cabin two days later). I cannot say enough about this fine dining experience. Signatures was also excellent but that is what we expected it to be. We dined here on a night when the ship was docked and the view from Signatures was of the not so attractive dock. I did not find the ambiance to be as nice as Lattitudes. Compass Rose did a really good job but was a bit inconsistent in terms of quality. One night my husband had to return his very tough steak. The same night the pasta in the lasagna was extremely undercooked (not al dente it was really undercooked). We had lunch there on our last day and wished that we had done so earlier. The meals that were good were really exceptional. The service was perfection. La Veranda - we had difficulty with both the quality of the food and the service. This restaurant is not consistently bad or good but, for lunch, it was only -average. The first two days we had lunch at La Veranda, the service was particularly invisible. Perhaps we are spoiled in terms of having our plates carried for us (when they are not busy), but we were basically ignored. There was an improvement on subsequent days. On our last evening we had dined at La Veranda and found it to be extremely good. The desserts were particularly yummy. As a side note, La Veranda has the strongest vibration on the ship. A word about desserts &..with the exception of the desserts at La Veranda and the dessert at Signatures, we found the desserts to lack both flavor and creativity. We wonder if the pastry chef may be different for La Veranda than Compass Rose. The infamous "Voyager vibration" was not as noticeable to me as to my husband. Perhaps I just expect to feel movement and vibration on a vessel that is on the water. Entertainment on the Voyager was fabulous, particularly on the night when they had local Russian dancers and singers. It exceeded any onboard entertainment we have seen. Regent provided shuttle service in Tallinn and Stockholm. This made it very convenient for the passengers. Unfortunately, in Stockholm, there were at least 50 passengers wandering around looking for the shuttle bus for approximately a half an hour. We felt that Regent should have had provided some organization and direction. We used a private tour company for our St. Petersburg tours and were extremely happy that we did so. It was not unusual to see 20-30 buses in the parking lots of the most popular tourist attractions (particularly Hermitage and Catherine's Palace). The waiting lines were incredibly long. Lastly, I need to voice an honest opinion on the condition of the ship. The carpets in most public areas are extremely stained. I am not saying that they are dirty because the ship is kept very clean. The stains almost look like huge water spots and appear everywhere. Most of the furniture (chairs, sofas, etc.) are very worn and need replacing. The bed was not uncomfortable but was very worn out. When the bed is made it looks lumpy as if the mattress has taken on the shapes of the thousands of people that have lain on it. The ship is going into dry dock in November but there is no excuse for Regent to have permitted this beautiful ship to deteriorate to this level. An August 2006 review of the Navigator indicates that it's condition is even worse than the Voyager and, in fact, Regent had to start installing carpeting while at sea. We are scheduled to cruise on the Navigator in April, 2007 and believe it, as well as the Voyager, will be in tip top shape. It is truly a shame that many people will have to put up with the current conditions for the next few months. Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
This was our second Regent cruise, the first being to Alaska last year. Our cruise was from Copenhagen, Denmark to Stockholm, Sweden, via Visby, Tallin Estonia and St Petersburg, Russia. Regent delivered everything as promised. The ... Read More
This was our second Regent cruise, the first being to Alaska last year. Our cruise was from Copenhagen, Denmark to Stockholm, Sweden, via Visby, Tallin Estonia and St Petersburg, Russia. Regent delivered everything as promised. The travel agent booked everything through Regent including all travel and pre and post cruise layovers. At first glance the routing from Toronto to Copenhagen, via Washington DC looked a tad wobbly but upon further scrutiny, it proved to be the most direct route. We were met at the airport by a friendly and helpful Regent agent and from then on, never had a second though about travel arrangements, connections etc. The Hotel in Copenhagen was the D'Angeleterre, a delightful classic venue in the heart of the city. It was pouring rain of monsoon proportions when we landed and we were fortunate to get a room immediately. After a nap, we awoke to a semblance of sunshine , went for a stroll, dined at the hotel and visited Tivolli Gardens in the evening. Tivolli was a treat. It was packed with people of all ages, eating walking and listening to music. We boarded the Voyageur around 4pm on Saturday, Aug. 12, after a pre-booked motor coach tour of the area surrounding Copenhagen and a quick visit to view the Little Mermaid. Unfortunately, our late arrival meant that we missed the welcoming glass of champagne and the Embarkation Photo. This was no big deal as a chilled bottle of champagne and two glasses awaited us in our stateroom. The stateroom is as described everywhere. It has more than enough room and in fact gives you the sense of having far more space then most conventional hotel rooms. If you have ever stayed at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort, then I'm willing to bet that a Regent stateroom has as much usable space. The bath tub and separate shower was a nice treat. Dining Regent spends a lot of money hyping their Cordon Bleu restaurant, Signatures. On this cruise, Signatures did not live up to the advance billing. It was merely, the Compass Rose restaurant dressed up with a different name. (I'm sure we just blundered in on an off night as previously on the Seven Seas Mariner in Alaska, Signatures was everything it was advertised. On this trip, the service was indifferent, and the food wasn't anything better than the fare in Compass Rose. However, Latitudes Restaurant excelled! It was everything that Signatures should have been and more. The service was spectacular, efficient and attentive. The meal was divine. Room Service dining was pathetic. Twice I ordered breakfast and twice it arrive cold and wrong. Its not like it was complicated either. Two toasted BLT's which arrived untoasted and cold, with lukewarm tea to boot. Oh well, a quick trip to La Veranda and everything was right with the world. Excursions Visby- We arrive on the last day of the annual Medieval Festival. The locals paraded in period costumes, played games etc. Unfortunately, we had booked a coastal hike- which ended up being a walk in a cow pasture. It was all right, but it didn't leave much time to explore the town. Tallin: Walking Tour and Concert 31/2 hours This was a great tour mainly because our guide was knowledgeable and entertaining. St. Petersburg Russia Day Pushkin and Pavlovsk This was a spectacular tour as the palaces were mind boggling in their opulence and our guide was very knowledgeable and efficient. Her experience enabled our group to by-pass the hordes of other tour groups and land second in line. This was important as their were 5 cruise ships in port in St. Petersburg and everyone wanted to see the same sights. Peterhoff Palace- another spectacular sight, well worth the trip Hermitage and Gold Rooms-The Hermitage lives up to its billing but due to the tremendous crowds during the day, the better trip (as advised by fellow passengers) was the private tour of the Hermitage and Ballet performance. Another thing to note when booking tours is that Regent keeps your group numbers to a manageable 14-18 while from my observations other lines had large (30+ groups) After everything is said and done, Regent Seven Seas Cruise Lines delivers. Read Less
Sail Date August 2006
If there ever was a couple more reluctant to take a cruise, it was us. My first and only cruise was a disastrous cruise on NCL, which was so awful that I swore I would never cruise again! My husband, who has never cruised, was frightened ... Read More
If there ever was a couple more reluctant to take a cruise, it was us. My first and only cruise was a disastrous cruise on NCL, which was so awful that I swore I would never cruise again! My husband, who has never cruised, was frightened off by the many stories of seasickness, crowded ships, crowded tour buses and the all you can eat buffet mentality. So, to find us on a cruise was a miracle in itself! Needless to say, in a weak moment, we decided to book a cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Voyager. The high ratings it received from several Travel Magazines, plus the seven-night itinerary (Athens to Rome), appealed to us. Armed with our seasick bands and a high level of anxiety, we headed off to the airport. We flew to Athens via JFK on Olympic Airlines. Despite some ugly reviews of Olympic, we had a very good experience with this airline! New plane, comfortable seats and fairly friendly crew. We arrived in Athens around 11 AM on Saturday morning and headed to the port. Since we had some time to kill before boarding the ship, we had our driver take us on a quick tour of Athens. We arrived at the port (Piraeus) at 2PM and were immediately greeted by a Regent Representative who walked us through the gate directly onto the ship. Not a line in sight. On board the ship, we were warmly welcomed by Dana and Jamie Logan, the ship's Cruise Directors. We were immediately offered a glass of champagne and spent the next few minutes checking into the ship. Again, no lines and a speedy check in! Since we embarked earlier than the suggested time, our cabin wasn't quite ready, so we were encouraged to tour the ship and/or enjoy lunch at La Veranda on Deck 11. Served buffet style (uh oh), the lunch was fairly good, but limited in offerings. While lunching, we did notice some ship vibration as we sat at our table. Turns out this is a minor problem, but fortunately, this did not impact us at all during the rest of our trip. The service was exceptional and everyone was warm and welcoming. Right after lunch, we were able to go to our cabin. It was much nicer than we anticipated. The walk-in closet was very roomy, the bathroom with its separate shower and bathtub exceeded our expectations and the balcony promised many wonderful views. On top of this, we were greeted with a bottle of champagne and a chocolate cake compliments of the Captain in celebration of our anniversary. Nice touch! We were also introduced to our stewardesses Therese and Lena who were responsible for making up our rooms and answering general housekeeping questions we might have throughout the cruise. They were wonderful throughout the cruise! Never once, did they not greet us with a Good morning/Good afternoon greeting and smile! In fact, I left my Blackberry charger at home and not only did they find a charger for me, but they charged my Blackberry for me while we were at dinner!!! Now that's service above and beyond! At 6:00 PM, we set sail for Santorini, Greece. This was to be the first of many evenings where we would sit on our balcony, wine glass in hand watching one beautiful sunset after another. With each sunset, our anxiety over cruising was fading fast. In addition to our early evening balcony ritual, we also grew to love awakening in the morning to find ourselves at yet another beautiful port waiting for us to explore. In fact, our first morning at see found us docked off the coast of Santorini, Greece. The views were gorgeous and we couldn't wait to explore the island. We spent the early part of the morning on a shore excursion to Fira, which was just enough for us to get a taste and feel of Santorini  we spent some time in town and then headed back to the ship. We spent the rest of the afternoon soaking up the Mediterranean sun at the ship's pool. The pool deck was a bit of a disappointment as it seemed sparse, but certainly not a showstopper for us. Day 2 found us in Kusadasi, Turkey. This was to be my husband's favorite port  mainly because of our tour to Ephesus. Don't miss this tour, we're still raving about it! One could almost imagine themselves back in ancient Roman Times. Our guide, Mustapha was an incredible story teller and had all of us (if for the moment) back in 292BC! The only downer for this port was the extremely aggressive shopkeepers, who practically dragged you into their stores. This was a turnoff and we headed back to the ship for our afternoon siesta and sun. Note of interest, if you are looking for good knock off designer bags and leather goods, this is the place to get them. Day 3 in Rhodes was another gorgeous, sunny day. We took the old and new Rhodes City Tour, which ended at a local winery where we sampled several local Turkish Wines. Our tour guide, Dora, was wonderful and was not put off by our fading interest in the Rhodes museums  in fact, several of us waited outside the museum in the warm sun as we had overdosed on the site seeing activities. The local shopping area was quaint and the shopkeepers a lot more sedate than in Turkey. The Day at Sea was well received by us as we needed to just chill out and relax. We spent the morning in the gym (very small with limited workout equipment, but just enough equipment to get a decent workout) and the afternoon at the pool. If you plan to go to the pool on the Day at Sea, get there early. We couldn't find any chairs on the main deck and ended up on the top deck, where it was a bit windy. I planned on going to the Art Auction that day, but it was cancelled due to lack of interest& Instead, we went to the Olive Oil Tasting Seminar, which was quite informative and tasty! We were also in for a fun treat when Jamie Logan, the Cruise Director, water skied off the back of the ship. That was a lot of fun for all of us and was one of the many special events that made this trip so wonderful. By the way, Jamie and his wife Dana were a real delight. They were warm, friendly and very engaging. In fact, each night Jamie was televised talking about the next day's events. We looked forward to this nightly ritual as we planned our next day's events. As to how wonderful Jamie was, my husband was so disappointed that he missed the group tour of the bridge (somehow we missed the Captain's announcement) and the next day, Jamie treated my husband to a private tour of the bridge. My husband was a kid in a candy store on that tour. Thanks Jamie! Surprisingly and against our pre-conceived notion about shipboard buffets, the lunch buffet at the pool was exceptional! Fresh fish, meats, cheeses, etc.  it put a whole new meaning to the all you can eat buffets on a cruise. It was tastefully done and very relaxed. On our third night at sea, we ate dinner at Latitudes (Asian Fusion). This was the first night that we sat with a group of people, which turned out to be a lot of fun. In fact, we closed the restaurant!!! The food was okay, not fabulous, although the lamb was scrumptious! The service was excellent, which is something we found throughout all of the restaurants. The wait staff was always looking to please us and this made for many pleasurable meals. Our dinner in Signatures (Cordon Bleu Restaurant) was just okay, too, although the Mushroom Soup was incredible as were the desserts -- yum! As to judging restaurants, we are a bit spoiled as we live in the Philadelphia area, which is home to Le Bec Fin, Striped Bass and other highly rated restaurants! One of our favorite on board restaurants was actually Compass Rose. The food was exceptional as was the service and ambiance. In fact, we thought this was the best restaurant of all. The salt bread was my downfall AND I'm not even a bread eater! Dessert was my husband's downfall  he's still talking about the Tartuffe Bianco dessert. If he could have had that dessert every night, he would have foregone dinner! Needless to say, we threatened to join Overeater's Anonymous once we landed back on home turf! This review would not be complete without mentioning the Captain of the Ship, Dag Dvergastein or as he called himself, Our Driver. He was so personable (quick with a smile and a hello) and so full of good humor that you couldn't help but smile whenever he broadcast over the ship or happened to be in your company. Our last night of the cruise, he treated all of us to a very special farewell cocktail party along the Isle of Capri. On one end of the ship was a gorgeous sunset and on the other end of the ship was the moon over the hills of Capri. It was a magical and wonderful ending to a fabulous cruise. Needless to say, we are now cruise converts thanks to our experience on Regent's Seven Seas Voyager. In fact, we are now planning our next cruise (on Regent of course!) same time, next year! BON VOYAGE! Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
"The Cruise of a Lifetime! Tokyo to Hong Kong. We sailed on this magnificent ship from Tokyo - the Seven Seas Mariner was on a leg of a Grand Asian Cruise. Brochures cannot adequately describe this incredible adventure. The ... Read More
"The Cruise of a Lifetime! Tokyo to Hong Kong. We sailed on this magnificent ship from Tokyo - the Seven Seas Mariner was on a leg of a Grand Asian Cruise. Brochures cannot adequately describe this incredible adventure. The "Mariner" is a GREAT cruise ship - elegant, superbly staffed, and totally comfortable. This review should have been submitted months ago, but we had too many distractions and obligations before us. The problem with submitting such an incredibly great cruise is due to the diversity of great experiences. First, there is the cruise ship - a wonderful ship that deserves a separate evaluation. Secondly, the ports-of-call provided a lifetime of adventure - magnificent, superb, glorious, and just plain wonderful! So, where to start? I'll attempt to mix it all in - from beginning to end. We flew from SFO direct to Tokyo on a UAL 747 - much faster than we anticipated. We flew Business Class due to the length of the flight. We were treated royally - for a trans-Pacific flight it is wise to upgrade if possible. It took almost 11-hours, but very comfortable hours. It had been 54-years since I last saw Tokyo - about 75% of the people we saw there were not even alive when I departed Yokohama in 1952 in my army uniform. So, my return was quite dramatic for me - where have all the years gone? Tokyo has not changed much, although the buildingS are taller and more massive. The population is greater, and the transportation modes are greatly improved. My nostalgia is as great as ever. The massive airport at Narita was exciting to see. It's a good hour and one-half into Tokyo due to huge amounts of traffic. Our driver took the two of us in a large, new van - all to ourselves - to the Empress Hotel, a Frank Lloyd Wright landmark. This hotel was the headquarters for Gen. Douglas MacArthur when Japan was occupied by American forces in WW2. The Empress is totally grand! Regent Cruise Lines offers this hotel as a pre-cruise option - don't miss it! Wow! The experience was truly wonderful! We arranged for 2-private tours prior to our arrival in Tokyo. Our first tour took us by private car and a tour guide to the city of Kamakura, south of Tokyo by a couple of hours. Kamakura is the site where the largest Buddha is on display. I had visited Kamakura in 1952 and saw the giant Buddha in my army uniform. And, there Buddha was, once again, just as gigantic and peaceful as I had remembered in my youthful days. Truly, this was a thrill for both my wife and me. The tour guide took us inside the massive "body" of Buddha, along with many other tourists. If you visit Kamakura someday, make sure you take in this most impressive site. We had lunch at a farmhouse that had been brought to Kamakura from the hills of the surrounding area. We were introduced to a great Japanese-type soup, the name escapes me at the moment. But, we slurped the soup - our guide showed us how to politely "slurp" - lots of noise, and it was so, so tasty. It was quite interesting to watch our very demure and polite tour guide lady demonstrate the polite way to "slurp." Our return to Tokyo took us past the gigantic "exporting" cranes that line the Bay of Tokyo. Exports are the life-blood of Japan. Ships from all over the world can be see taking on their cargoes - it goes on for miles and miles of waterfront. Traffic is massive, but it moves. I attempted to find some of the landmarks I had known 54-years ago - but, nothing seemed familiar. Nevertheless, it was a very nostalgic experience for me. Our next-day tour of Tokyo was so memorable! Our guide took us to the Tokyo Tower, a massive "erector-set" type of structure that reaches almost into the stratosphere. Up we went on a speedy elevator to the mid-section. This is the highest elevation for tourists. Needless to say, this tour is an absolute "must" for any tourist desiring to see Tokyo from a lofty perch. Our next stop was the grounds of the Imperial Palace. The Japanese people really take care of their royalty. The massive grounds are indescribably beautiful! Our 2-days in Tokyo went by all too quickly. We hated to depart the Empress Hotel with all it's beauty and comforts. Don't ever miss staying there. The bathrooms are unbelievably GREAT!! Trust me - you have never been in such wonderful bathrooms in your life!! The Seven Seas Mariner was waiting for us somewhere in Tokyo Bay - perhaps mid-way between Tokyo and Yokohama. The last time I saw her was in San Francisco on her maiden voyage where my wife and I boarded her with our Travel Agent. I'll never forget her elegance and luxurious appointments. This was our first opportunity to go aboard for a most memorable cruise. I could feel the lump in my throat as we went aboard for a most memorable and warm greeting. She's as pretty and gracious as the first time we had lunch aboard her in San Francisco. Our Suite was wonderful - just as I had remembered her. A large marbled bathroom - lots of space for all we had packed, and a lovely balcony that would ensure a good vantage point at sea and in the ports we would visit. The brochures describe the elegance to the nth degree. She was neat and spanking clean! This is everything we had planned and bargained for - luxury beyond belief! Our first port-of-call was Hiroshima, Japan. On August 6th 1945 I totally recall reading the headlines of an A-bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima. None of us quite understood the significance of such a weapon, but eventually we found out. Soon, another A-bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The result of all this was the ending of hostilities with Japan in WW2 In 2-sentences I can hardly describe the totality of these enormous events. Japan was set to defend her shores with all she could muster. The imminent allied invasion, no doubt, would have taken over a millions lives in U.S. military personnel - not counting the Japanese casualties. My high school buddies, including myself, were next up of the draftee list. We would have been directly involved in the invasion of Japan had the war not abruptly ended. Hiroshima was a place I entered with a great deal of apprehension. Truly, this was one huge event in my life that I had not anticipated. Every citizen should have the opportunity to visit Hiroshima to observe what "total devastation" truly is. For the most part Hiroshima is well back on it's feet, but the scars still remain - the feeling is somber, but it is reality. We sailed to Dalian, China. Our ship and elegant crew were marvelous. What a way to go!! The food, entertainment, and fellow passengers are absolutely wonderful! Our accommodations are absolutely superb! Dallian was quite a revelation for us. We had never seen the shores of China and our anticipation level was high. We had booked a tour that would take us to the apartment house of a retired couple. Our elegant bus and guides took us to some high rise apartment structures all grouped together. In groups of 8 we hiked up the 5-stories of the concrete buildings. Elevators were not to be found. The exteriors looked quite dingy, but when we entered the apartment of our waiting hosts it all changed. Yes, the apartments were small - a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, and a small eating area. The retired couple were most gracious. Their apartment was spotless. We were introduced by our college-aged female guides - all of a sudden we were all friends, shaking hands and it felt like we had been old-time neighbors. It was a "happening." I asked "Poppa" if he had a grandson or granddaughter through our guide-interpreter. I presented him with a S.F. Giants baseball cap to pass it on to one of them. Lots of laughter and lots of shaking of hands, etc. It was such a wonderful, warm way for all of us from our country to meet, first-hand, actual citizens of this huge emerging nation, China. We sailed for Tientjin, a port just below Beijing. The grandeur of this cruise was about to unfold before our very eyes. A large contingent of buses met our ship at the port. We had about 700-passengers aboard, and every passenger was treated to a trip to Beijing. We were provided with rooms in 5-star hotels, a wonderful dinner at our assigned hotels, and a wonderful breakfast the next morning. After breakfast we were split into 2-groups - one group to visit the Forbidden City and the other group to visit the Great Wall of China. In the afternoon we switched. Can you imagine what we absorbed in tourism that day? Needless to say, it was totally grand. It was awesome! Words cannot describe it all adequately! That night we all were provided with elegant hotel dinners - oh, so grand! Our hotels were the best in Beijing. First class!! After breakfast the next morning one group returned to the ship in Tientjin. MInd you, all this entertainment, touring, dinners, et al was provided by Regent Cruise line - "on the house!' My wife and I had booked an excursion to Xian with about 250-other shipmates. The others returned to the ship and sailed on to Shanghai. Our group flew to Xian, the burial place of the thousands of Terracotta Soldiers, one of the most incredibly interesting archeological sites in the entire world. Buried circa 250-BC to "protect" the Emperor's tomb, they were uncovered accidentally in the late 1970's by farmers digging for a well. No matter where a tourist goes during their lifetime, Xian is a 'MUST" place to visit. My advice is to read a great deal about this place, because it is worth your while to "soak-up" the significance of all this place has to offer. Archeology truly comes to life just observing it all. I would have to rate this tour to Xian one of the most significant and memorable tours we have ever taken. The flight from Beijing in modern A-320 Air Bus craft was excellent - approx. one hour and a half. Our flight back to meet the Seven Seas Mariner in Shanghai was also about 1-1/2-hours in length. Our tour guides throughout this entire 3-day sojourn were absolutely magnificent. Never, ever, had we experienced such talented, gracious, and well-prepared tour guides. Regent Cruise Line has truly opened up China to us. I am still in awe over what they have accomplished for us as American tourists. Shanghai is truly spectacular! It's massive! Like Beijing, high-rise structures are worked on night and day, 7-days a week, 24-hours a day. Shanghai has constructed over 1500- high-rise buildings, all over 30-stories in the past 15-years. It is absolutely astounding to see it all rising out of relative obscurity. Traffic on the river is testimony alone to the huge, huge construction projects as barges ply the river, night and day, to and fro, delivering steel, cement, concrete, sand, gravel, rock, etc., etc. All materials used in constructing these massive buildings. I seriously doubt that humans have ever witnessed such a massive concentration of construction endeavor in the history of the world. It truly is something to behold! Regent Cruises met us at the airport and took us by bus to their grand hotel in the middle of Shanghai. We were greeted as though we were royalty. The hotel staff, all young college-aged, met us as the entryway and guided us into a huge reception area where they wined and dined us so elegantly! It was all "on the house." Wow!!! The young group of waiters were so gracious. They all wanted to talk to us in English - eager to demonstrate their ability to communicate in English. It truly was a great experience. How gracious and accommodating they all were! Reluctantly, we left this wonderful reception and boarded the bus to return to the Seven Seas Mariner awaiting our arrival at the dockside. Oh, how great it was to feel their warm reception as we ambled up the gangway! Back home again! Oh yes, we were a bit tuckered out from all the travel, and most of us "hit the hay" a bit early that evening. Cruising down the highly trafficked river the next day, heading for Hong Kong, was another fantastic experience. We zigged and we zagged past the hundreds of barges, small ships, large ships, sampans, et al. Here we were, floating by this massive build-up in Shanghai, aboard this most elegant cruise ship, pinching ourselves to make sure it wasn't all just a dream! We finally reached the sea and headed for Hong Kong. You can imagine the great conversations at the dinner table that evening as the Captain and crew put on an elegant formal dinner for all of us. Can it be true? Is it all a dream? If it was a dream we certainly were totally alert and thoroughly enjoying it all. We arrived in Hong Kong in the evening darkness. After dinner we went to view our port arrival in the upper, forward lounge. Yes, it was crowded. The lights of Hong Kong were all around us. What a thrilling sight! Outside, the air was warm and humid, so we remained in the lounge area to witness this incredibly beautiful arrival - millions of lights surrounded the harbor. My "Jack Daniels" and ice never tasted better. I cannot possibly adequately describe the thrill of arriving at this beautiful city aboard our elegant and proud ship. Hong Kong is all that they told us. Beautiful, very, very busy, and the cross-roads to Asia. Our suite at the Intercontinental, overlooking the river, was fantastic! With reluctance, we left our "lovely lady," the 7-Seas Mariner to take on the beauty of Hong Kong. You can be sure, we will definitely do a reprise aboard the Mariner - she truly is the "Shang-ri-la" of cruising! Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
I am UK based so we did not need a hotel room in Rome prior to our cruise. We flew directly from Heathrow to Rome and were met and transferred efficiently to Civitavecchia arriving about 1230 hours. Even at this early time we were welcomed ... Read More
I am UK based so we did not need a hotel room in Rome prior to our cruise. We flew directly from Heathrow to Rome and were met and transferred efficiently to Civitavecchia arriving about 1230 hours. Even at this early time we were welcomed on board with champagne and smiles, went through the swift registration procedures and pointed towards the Pool Grill and the Veranda Restaurant where we could have lunch and while away a couple of hours until our suite was ready. We were called around 1430 hours, greeted at the lift and taken to our suite, a rear facing Horizon suite with a spacious balcony. The suite itself was bigger than on the sister ship, Mariner, with a larger marble bathroom with a bath and separate shower cubicle. An excellent walk in closet, which served if you wished as a small dressing room, large bed and a sofa, two armchairs, a table, in-room refrigerator large, screen TV and wall desk completed the furniture. Fresh fruit, flowers and a bottle of champagne in an ice bucket completed an impressive display. We were asked which spirits we required to stock the cold box with for the cruise ( a bottle each person) and told soft drinks would bw replenished each day or twice a day if necessary as was ice also. We had chosen the Western Med itinerary because of the ports, Livorno, the port for Florence, Portofino, St. Tropez, Marseilles, Sete, Monte Carlo and finally Nice. We chose not to join excursions which involved a lot of walking so at Livorno we went on a coach through the Tuscan countryside ending up at a small wine tasting auberge. In Portofino we joined a boat trip along the coast, in St. Tropez we toured the old town (we noticed Voyager's Chef buying fish and veg in the town). Marseilles we did on our own using the shuttle bus as our docking was quite a long way from the city. Sete was the only wet day and Regent laid on some extra activities on board though we did venture out between the showers. Monte Carlo was beautiful and a visit to the Royal Palace was a must. Finally we sailed in the evening the short (just over an hour) distance to Nice and were given the opportunity to go ashore but as we were disembarking next morning we chose to have a relaxing dinner on board. Now the dining facilities. There are 4 restaurants and all have open seat dining. We could eat when we wanted and with whom we chose. There were plenty of tables for two. The main restaurant is Compass Rose with an extensive menu from which you could mix and match and choose as many courses as your appetite could stand. An Italian based restaurant, Veranda, served buffet style appetizers and desserts, with hot mains brought by your waiter. There are two speciality outlets, Latitudes, serving Asian fare which we did not try as there were no vegetarian main courses and Signatures, a Cordon Bleu restaurant with very fine dining indeed. The food was of a very high standard, presented beautifully and complimented with good, well chosen and liberally served complimentary wines, with liqueurs or cognac to follow. Evening entertainment was provided by a troupe of singers and dancers but after the first night one of the leading singers hurt his shoulder and he was flown home. Their place on stage was taken by a concert pianist and a Lionel Richie type entertainer. There were several parties, a welcome, a Captain's Hello to regulars, a crew do and a farewell and free drink flowed at them all. Finally, the disembarkation procedure went smoothly and we were decanted at Nice airport in good time for our London bound flight home. I would not wish to close without mentioning the staff. As Regent are a no-tipping line, their smiles and concern for guests welfare struck us as really genuine. They made a big fuss and we felt we had made some really good friends. We look forward to the next time we can sail with Regent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2006
My husband and I sailed on the Voyager from Civitavecchia, Italy to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 4th. This was our second cruise on this ship this year (previously to the Baltic in June). It was also somewhat of a ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Voyager from Civitavecchia, Italy to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on November 4th. This was our second cruise on this ship this year (previously to the Baltic in June). It was also somewhat of a "President's cruise" since two Executive Vice Presidents from Regent and other staff were on board, which made it rather special. Prior to sailing we stayed for two nights at the Cavalieri Hilton Hotel in Rome. This is a lovely, five star hotel, somewhat outside the city centre, with a fantastic view of Rome. We had a reasonable (for Rome) rate and a lovely room, although not facing the city. The Concierge organized a limo transfer for us to the port, which is around an hour, or an hour and a half away. (depends on traffic!) We arrived at the dock about 1pm. We noticed that there were a lot of people sitting around, waiting to board, which is rather unusual for Regent. We were immediately informed that there had been a surprise drill around 10.30 which had put boarding back an hour. There were coffee and cold drinks available for us while we waited. Promptly at 1.30 we were invited to board. Registration took place in the Constellation theatre, and we were all checked in in about 10 minutes. Meanwhile we were offered a glass of sparkling wine (note: they call it champagne, but it isn't. It is CrEmant de la Loire!). We were able to get into our suite at 2.30pm and filled in the time by having a salad at la Veranda restaurant. When we got into our suite our four suitcases were there. Also waiting for us was a letter from Mark Conway, President of Regent, informing us that he was extending a complete liquor package to us on the cruise!! I suppose this was Regent's way of "sliding gracefully" into their new all-inclusive policy which takes effect in January, and we appreciated it very much! We had exactly the same suite as on the Baltic cruise - Penthouse B. It is very comfortable and a little bigger than the "ordinary" suites. In fact, it is only 14 square feet bigger, and we have decided that in future we will most likely just book a "normal" suite. The Penthouse suites come with a butler and in the past we have not seen any need for this extra service. I must say, however, that our butler on this cruise, Ronny, was quite simply terrific. Best butler ever, and charming as well. My husband was celebrating a birthday on the cruise and Ronny and our stewardess, Rosanna, decorated the suite as a surprise for us!! It was full of balloons on the day!! Since we had been on board quite recently we were delighted and pleased to see several people among the crew that we had got to know before - Bryan the Cruise Director and his lovely assistant Elda. Louise the Social Hostess and several waiters, including Jess a wine steward. They also seemed to remember us and we felt really part of the "family". I must also say here that our Captain, Knut Hanssen, was also the Captain that we had had on the Baltic. I thought at that time that he was rather remote and did not mix much with the passengers. However Elda told me that the Baltic cruises demand extra attention from the Captain and therefore he was really busy. On the November cruise Knut - or as he called himself "The driver" really mixed with everyone and we grew to like him enormously. I hope he will be our Captain on our next cruise!! For those who have never taken a Regent cruise I must say that one of the greatest things is the high quality of the cuisine and the terrific choice provided. This cruise was no exception. Even with the length of 16 nights we looked forward to every meal, and every meal was different. The choice of restaurants - Compass Rose, Latitudes, la Veranda and Signatures - and the choices they provide are terrific. We had two meals at Signatures on this cruise and they were among the best we have ever had anywhere! The new menu - Vietnamese fusion - at Latitudes is a real success. La Veranda as a mediterranean bistro provides an interesting contrast to the more "normal" offerings of the Compass Rose. The quality and range of offerings in the Compass Rose is amazing. So if you like to eat - this is the ship for you! We do, and I gained 2 kilos (which happily have now left me!) Our first port was Monaco. We docked early on the Sunday morning, right in the Marina at the foot of the castle hill. We were part of the Circle of Interest for Architecture and History and on our first evening the night before our leader, Sandra Bowern, had hosted a welcome party for the group (around 30 people). Our first tour as part of this programme was in Monaco, and was a bus ride to St Paul de Vence with a visit to the Fondation Maecht. Unfortunately the guide assigned to our bus had problems with her English, and was not a really good guide either. I found myself translating back into French to be able to understand what she was trying to say! So once we got to St Paul - where we had been before anyway - we told Sandra that we would go directly to the Fondation Maecht and meet the bus in time for departure. I was really pleased we did because this gave us almost two hours to see a really fine exhibition called "Black is a Colour" as well as to wander around the Miro sculpture garden and generally enjoy the Fondation. The following day we were in Sète. This is a small town at the edge of the Etang de Thau, an inland sea, and at the end of the Canal from the Rhone. We had signed up for a tour to Montpelier. We were lucky to have a wonderful guide. We had a walking tour of the centre of Montpelier, which is a very interesting city and then we were driven to a Chateau for a wine tasting. This was rather special since the Count who owned the property took us around the chateau before we tasted the wine. he was a delight! (and so were his wines!!) Our next port was Barcelona. Our Circle of Interest tour here was "Gothic Barcelona". The guide did an excellent job of laying the groundwork for our tour by taking us to the top of a hill and pointing out the various sites that we would visit. We were then dropped in the old town and she took us to various places with beautiful ruins - Roman columns, inside courtyards etc. We then visited the cathedral and walked to the Palu de Musica - the concert hall. This is definitely not Gothic! it is in the art nouveau style and well worth a visit. We saw a film on its conception and construction before touring the building. We then returned to the ship. As part of the "President's cruise" all Seven Seas Society members were invited to the Picasso Museum that evening for a private viewing and a champagne reception. Since almost all those on board were members, about 10 busses were needed to get us there! Very cleverly Regent planned separate entry times for us at the museum, and the absolutely wonderful guide that we had took us on a walking tour of the old town which included a visit to a church which had been specially lit for us that evening! He then took us through the Picasso Museum, lecturing on the paintings. I thought that I learnt more about Picasso on this trip than I had collectively in a life time! It was a wonderful evening which ended with champagne and canapEs. After Barcelona Palma de Mallorca, nice though it is, was rather a let-down. We did take a tour (not included in the Circle) and had a good guide, but after a couple of hours we decided to leave and go back to the ship. Regent provided a handy shuttle service between the pier and the old town and we appreciated this. Malaga was our next stop. There was no tour offered for the Circle but two other members that we had met suggested we go to the Picasso Museum, which we did. It was an easy walk from the port. This museum is a must-see because it houses paintings that belong to the Picasso family and these are not ones that you can usually see elsewhere. it is also a really nice, small museum. Our last stop in Spain was Cadiz. Here the Circle of Interest took us to Sevilla - about two hours away by bus. Again we had a superb guide who just made our day! She gave a very good talk in the bus about Sevilla and what we would see, history, architecture etc. In Sevilla we started at the Alcazar Real where we visited the building and the beautiful gardens. We then had a break for 20 minutes for a coffee or a little shopping before walking through the old town to the cathedral. She was able to guide us through the cathedral (not always the case because sometimes churches don't allow guides) and did an excellent job. We then went to a lovely riverside restaurant for lunch - and since this was at 2pm (typical Spanish lunchtime!) we were all hungry. Lunch was really good! After lunch the bus took us to the site of the 1924 (I think?) exhibition to see the Spanish Pavilion, then back to Cadiz and the ship. I should say something about the Circle of Interest, which is a new thing that Regent has added this year. You can opt to join it or not. Our Circle, on Architecture and History, was well thought out and our tours were extremely relevant. Our leader, Sandra Bowern, did a super job of providing an outline as to what we would see, and especially in tying things together. She also provided quality control - for example earlier this summer apparently everyone in the Circle was in one bus. This meant that 50 people went through all the sites together. Not ideal. Sandra got Regent to limit the busses to 15 or so people per bus. Each bus has its own guide so you visit in small groups. This is great. However we could, I suppose, have all been in one bus but with two guides... Sandra organized, as I mentioned, a welcome cocktail the very first night, and also a group dinner as well as a quiz. Consequently people in our Circle really bonded, and in fact after we had left Madeira a couple held a lovely cocktail for us all and we all got together again! I did suggest to Sandra, and on my comment form to Regent, that it would be a great idea to have a reading list so that people with a special interest could do some background work on what was to be seen. In talking to other passengers who were in other circles - Photography and Food/Wine - I got the distinct impression that while all of us really enjoyed ours and found the extra cost well worth while this was NOT the case with the others. Other leaders did little, apparently, to work with their groups and the people I talked with said they felt they did not get anything extra for the money they spent. I am sure that Regent will work on this, but all I can say is, if you have a chance to be with Sandra - take it!! Between Cadiz and Madeira we had a sea day. I love sea days and after a week of sightseeing it was really welcome!! Around 200 people left the ship in Madeira, and another 200 got on, so we were about 500 for the crossing. I had been to Madeira years ago and had some childhood memories of Funchal, mostly involving flowers and flowering trees which I had never seen before! I was a little shocked to see that Funchal now sprawls far across the mountain...but in 54 years it was bound to have grown! We took a tour called "Scenic Madeira". Unfortunately the guide was not great and I knew we were in trouble when she announced that we would drive to a "four star" hotel for coffee and cake. This is hardly "scenic Madeira"!! We were driven up into the mountains to a hotel with no view, where the coffee was awful and was served in dirty cups. Not great! However we then drove up to the top of a mountain (1800m) where the view was truly dramatic. The problem was that at the dock it was 25C and at the top of the mountain, 9C. I was dressed for the dock, so I froze!! Serves me right for not reading carefully about where we were going!! We then drove back to Funchal and went for a wine tasting. When I was 10 I remember going into a real wine cellar. This time it was a wine "lodge" where we were handed two glasses, one dry one sweet and left to get on with it ourselves. We then had some shopping time (not too useful since it was Sunday!) and went back to the ship. The crossing was a terrific experience. We were lucky - good weather most of the time and really only one day when the ship rolled a little. Most of the time it was warm enough to sit by the pool. We had some wonderful lecturers on board - one man talked about his work on the Carl Sagan programme on the stars and another on the oceans of the world and their exploration. Both were very good and very interesting. I participated in the Cordon Bleu course as well. I had been looking forward to this because I had taken the course on the Mariner in 2005. Unfortunately, the chef did some very similar recipes. However I did learn quite a bit of technique, which I appreciated. The course was somewhat marred by one of the participants who talked constantly, grabbed the best seat each time and generally was disliked by all. Justice was done, however, when his souffle fell flatter than a pancake!! If you haven't taken this course, and you like to cook, I strongly recommend it. You do need to know something about cooking though! One really great thing about the crossing was the "County Fair" that the crew put on in mid-ocean. Each department rigged up games booths around the pool and for an hour we played the crazy games they had devised and won tickets for a raffle for prizes! One of the games involved the galley crew on a raft in the middle of the pool and passengers hurling cake icing at them!! The whole thing was so crazy that everyone had a wonderful time!! What a crew!! Another very interesting thing was that "the driver" opened the Bridge every afternoon and you could go up there and talk to the officers who worked there. Great fun and very informative. All in all it was a wonderful cruise with the most terrific crew ... and I can't wait to get back on board again!! Anyone who hesitates about doing a trans-Atlantic crossing should be reassured that normally the souther route is quite warm and the seas kind (normally, but obviously not always), there is plenty to do on board and that if you really want to get to know the crew this is a great time to do it! All my husband and I can say is thank you Regent for the wonderful time we had!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
i changed cabin to a horizon suite as the balcony was huge! after i paid the balance and heard nothing i then get an email from regent asking for my onward details as they could not contact the agent, not impressed! i finally got my ... Read More
i changed cabin to a horizon suite as the balcony was huge! after i paid the balance and heard nothing i then get an email from regent asking for my onward details as they could not contact the agent, not impressed! i finally got my tickets in a lovely bag of a nice luggage label plus the card ones which were ok. i had booked my flights my self but could still get the 2 nights in the hotel which was really nice. HOTEL i had the palacio hotel not REIDS like some which was a lot closer to the town. it was too far away they had a shuttle but they finished at 6pm so a taxi was the only way of returning. lovely hotel,balcony overlooking the gardens and sea. i booked a taxi coasting me 30 euros not knowing the flight i booked was the same as others so i got a transfer voucher which i could have used. breakfast was good a buffet with lots of choice. EMBARKATION after we met in the hotel lobby we had to wait a long time as the 1st bus was full and waited for a driver to arrive. despite there being a lot of older people not able to stand. after a while we left for the port. there was only one other ship in port "aida blu" which is a german company but the ship was the CROWN PRINCESS. we boarded straight away getting tickets checked on the gangway. went onboard to get us checked in and given the cruisecard. i went straight to my cabin on deck 8, taken to my deck but had to find the cabin. CABIN. by suite was large with a sofa,queen bed,bath and shower,a large balcony at the rear of the ship at the corner. after a while i went to the veranda cafe for a buffet lunch before returning to my suite to find my luggage outside my suite, i unpacked. as i had a while before the lifeboat drill so i went off the ship to look around. there were a few shops on the quay but i had forgot to take any money with me. i returned to my suite to get ready for the lifeboat drill which was at the horizon lounge which is a good place to have it. it was a good drill as after we were shown how to put the life jacket on. we had to put our hand on the shoulder on the person in front. to stand by our consigned lifeboat. we were told we would be leaving late as some luggage was still at the airport.we left around 6pm an hour late. as soon as the engines started i could hear the vibration which got worse over the next day. ENTERTAINMENT. good choice of shows,jamie michael stewart who i had not seen before. the rest i'm sure i had seen some on the navigator which is a shame. i did not see the jazz music apart from the last day as it was on after the main show. DINING. i had breakfast in my suite which wa always \early and they always checked i had the correct things i had ordered. lunch was either on deck in bbq or in the compass rose which was good. afternoon tea i had either in horizon lounge or better in the observation room which had a great view of the sea. dinner was in the compass rose which was very good, nice companions. or in signatures which i was a bit disappointed about with small portions of duck orange and was a lot of fat in it. the other place i tried was le veranda which was lovely the only thing about signatures and e veranda \was that you were sitting on ones own. PORTS OF CALL as this was a transatlantic crossing there were no ports of call. as i mentioned about the vibration problem after one night i could stand it no more and asked if there was another cabin i could move to. i was a bit surprised that i hear the ship was only 400 out of 700 and yet they said there were no cabins left. the reason was the some cabins in deck 6 had \already been stripped out in readiness to the dry dock in miami. so the only cabin he had was 965 a bit further forward on the deck above. it was actually a cabin someone had moved from so i had look at it and could see why? it creaked quite a bit. but it was better than the constant vibration in 877 but he balcony was a lot smaller. days later i still got mail for the previous occupant in my door. the 1st 2 days was 3-4 force which was quite good. but the next 3 days we had mod-rough seas at force 5. you could see us moving around quite a bit, but it did not worry me. GYM i used the gym equipment everyday which was really could and could always get on. CIGAR LOUNGE i always like a cigar at night so the connoisseur lounge a great thing. unfortunately i had to wait for staff to come and ask me what i wanted. the 2 cigars oi had were very poor and after paying $15 each and you could not smoke them well. went in my balcony and smoked my own. DRINKS i had the choice of 2 bottles in my suite which was pretty good. then we were told all the drinks would be free which was a nice bonus in readiness for next year. DISEMBARKATION after getting my luggage labels which i asked to get off the ship at 0815. had to put the cases outside the cabin by 2300 the night before which i thought was a bit early. was told the disembarkation would begin at 0800 but it did not start until 0900 and min was not the 1st to be called. but s soon as i was called i soon got off the ship, collected my luggage which was easy to find. then through customs which was very easy to get a taxi to the greyhound bus station. SHOPS very poor i thought much more choice \when it was radisson. hats and t shirts was just regent written on them not voyager picture on them. nice choice of cd's from artists. but little else, the other things were very little choice life snacks,shaving things. THE CRUISE IN GENERAL on the whole it was a good cruise apart from a few things which i have mentioned. no leaflets in the door about discounts on future cruises no no idea what the discounts were like on the navigator. but don't think i'll be doing a regent cruise again sorry dave Read Less
Sail Date November 2006
This was a New Year's 11-day roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, which is our favorite departure port. We have over a dozen cruises and are Celebrity Elite, but took this first Regency after some issues on our 14 day Infinity last January. ... Read More
This was a New Year's 11-day roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, which is our favorite departure port. We have over a dozen cruises and are Celebrity Elite, but took this first Regency after some issues on our 14 day Infinity last January. Came the night before for a Friday departure which is much calmer than the Sat or Sun busy days. Overnighted at the Hampton Inn north of the Airport our third stay there. Shuttle from hotel was very prompt, drivers picked us up at airport the night we got in and offered rides to nearby eateries if we wanted and then on Friday were very prompt in delivering us to the ship around 1:30pm. We were met at the shuttle door by Regent staff, and welcomed warmly. There were four check-in lines and we were checked in in five minutes and on the ship. We were offered Veuve Clicquot as we entered the ships lobby and directed to the pool deck to await the opening of our room at 3pm. Plenty of food and service and at 3 we were given our rooms as promised. Luggage was immediately delivered and by 3:30 we were unpacked. Suite 617: We traveled with 19 year old daughter and room was adequate for the three us us, but four would not work. Bathroom and walkin closet were big pluses. No problem storing clothes for 3 for 11 days. Suite for two would be very roomy with spare storage. Deck was nice sized and you could do breakfast outside, though we did not. There was a lot of spray on deck six, so if I do Navigator again, I would go with seven or eight to avoid it. Cherry was excellent in service and cleaning, no complaints. The team was a little stressed to get all rooms cleaned and it looks like they could add one or two more room attendants to make it easier, but we were very pleased. Food was excellent. Room Service as prompt, Buffets in Portifino were very good and service was excellent. Food at the pool was also good, with table service and several themed buffets. Barbeque and Mexican were big hits. The dining room, Compass Rose, was very good. Most meals equaled Specialty quality on Celebrity and only weaknesses noted were limited fish options. Beef, lamb, lobster and duck were very good. Franco and Simone run the Compass and were outstanding. The sitting is open, but we kept the same table and waiter for 9 nights, we think we benefited from extra attention because of this, but many people moved around. We did Portifino for dinner one night and it was a lot of fun. Food is as good as dining room but it is not a step up as in speciality restaurants in other lines. This is not a problem as all the food is good. We only did this one night late in the cruise and wished we had done it twice, because even though it is always Italian, the menu is changed each night. Several people went there three or more nights. Entertainment was good. No production shows, which I don't care for. Comic from Wales is very good. Ship orchestra was excellent. Singing group, a dance couple and other acts were good not great. Went to all but one show. Entertainers were around the ship and easy to approach and visit with. There were several lecturers and we attended a couple that were good. Sam the Cruise director, Mimi, David and Crystal were all over the ship and offered a good variety of activities. The casino is small and it can get hard to get to a table. Mini-craps was busy and some players never grasped that with only one dealer, you had to be considerate in betting. Overall the casino staff was friendly and competent. Regency advertises that they offer leisure and I felt that. Things to do and occupy me, but not a stressful day running from place to place. Took a couple of ships excursions, both were good, one on Tortola was an Island tour, very thorough and the other a tubing excursion on Dominica. It was great fun, though we were shorted on time at the Emerald Pool. We were late back to the ship, but they were waiting for us to take up the ramp. (Good reason for being on a ship tour). Prices were reasonable and we actually exchanged a pre-booked tour for a different alternative just two days before the port with no hassle. Grand Turk has nothing to offer but a nice beach day and a trip to Margaritaville, if you want to worship at the alter of Buffet. St. Barts is nice but pricey. Skip the expensive shops and bars downtown and take the 15 walk to Shell Beach. It is wonderful and has plenty of facilities right there. St. Martin, St.Thomas, San Juan and Nassau, were all busy and not much ever changes with them. Staff: If there is a big difference in cruise lines, it is with staff. I would start with the Captain, John McNeil. He was everywhere. If you did not see him three or four times a day and speak to him at least once, you must have been asleep in your cabin. I probably had a speaking relationship with over 20 staff and a nodding relationship with 40 more. No request was too minor, they looked for ways to serve you and even though they are not working for tips they could not have been more helpful. I especially enjoyed Oscar our primary waiter, Dan the Bar Manager, Meo at the pool bar, Pedro at the Star Lounge and Elvis and Allen in the dining room. I never felt any pressure for tips or for an excellent rating on an evaluation form. I did make a contribution to the Staff fund and received a nice thank you note before we left the ship. Debarkation is never good and the ship was 30 minutes late getting cleared. Still, the bags were in small groups, there were plenty of porters and cabs and we had no trouble making our 11am flight on Jet Blue. With 470 passengers instead of 2000 things like this should and do go easy. My impression of six star service is just that, service. Very much felt I got my money's worth. All inclusive started with this cruise and the crew liked it. Less paper work accelerated their service. Only minor confusion as to what was not included and what was. Staff we talked to said the lounges were much busier and the policy was getting the people out of their cabins and mingling. We have kept our June Alaska on Mercury in a Royal Suite to compare this experience. We booked a Western on Voyager for November which we may change to a spring Med. I expect to be back on Regency and think it may become our line of choice in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
The embarkation was very smooth. From the time we stepped out of our cab we received top level service. Our bags were removed from the cab and we did not see them again until they were delivered to our stateroom later that afternoon. The ... Read More
The embarkation was very smooth. From the time we stepped out of our cab we received top level service. Our bags were removed from the cab and we did not see them again until they were delivered to our stateroom later that afternoon. The stateroom was spacious and comfortable. We loved the walk in closet and the marble bath. The cabin decor was elegant. When we arrived lunch was being served in two places; by the pool and a buffet was available at Portofino. Deck 10 (Pool Deck) was crowded and as it was a New Years sailing there were more children then I am used to seeing on Regent. Our first few days at sea was quite a challenge as the ship rocked quite a bit. The RSSC does not appear to have the stabilization system that most modern ships have. As such I would not travel on this particular ship again. The activities were typical, the enrichment lectures were fair. There were children in the hot tubs during the day at sea but in the late afternoon the number of children by the pool diminished. My husband and I travel on luxury lines and compared to other ships we have sailed on we found the food good but not outstanding. My meat was always cooked the way I asked for it. The deserts were simple and not up to luxury line standards. In the early afternoons snacks were available by the pool and finger sandwiches were in the lounges. There was always an afternoon tea until 4:30. Dinner was served at 7:00. Between 5:00 - 7:00 if you wanted a snack you needed to order room service. We did several excursions and they were priced comparative to other cruise lines. The groups were small and the service was excellent. Throughout this cruise their were problems with the ship. The toilet in our cabin and nearby cabins did not work sporadically over several days and at times public toilets were locked while they worked on the system. When I called about this I was always told that the problem is being addressed but was not given any time line as to when the system was expected to be in working order. There was water leaking into the hallway by the Navigator Lounge. We were on the first all-inclusive cruise of the New Year. Drinks were plentiful. During the day time in the Seven Seas lounge during the enrichment lectures there was no one to take your drink order. Rather by the door way there was a table set up with cookies and sodas as well as bottled water. One could bring in a drink from the bar. At night their were cocktail waiters coming to take your order. Since RSSC started the all-inclusive liquor policy there was no automatic bar set-up in our room. Although if we wanted liquor in the room we could have asked for it. We were pleased that there was no charge for the washers and dryers nor was there charge for bottled water when leaving the ship to go on excursion. Overall I would rate the cruise as five star but definitely it was not a six star experience. The service on board was exceptional but the dining menu, the mediocrity of the entertainment as well as the enrichment lectures, coupled with the ship's maintenance problems detracted from the six star experience. In terms of value we sail often and in our opinion Oceania offers a luxury experience, better food, for a lower price. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
This cruise was on the Seven Seas Mariner that was from Ft. Lauderdale to Manaus, Brazil, between January 9. 2007 and January 21, 2007. The cruise experience was excellent and we will cruise with RSSC line again. In fact we are voting ... Read More
This cruise was on the Seven Seas Mariner that was from Ft. Lauderdale to Manaus, Brazil, between January 9. 2007 and January 21, 2007. The cruise experience was excellent and we will cruise with RSSC line again. In fact we are voting with our feet, or more specifically, our reef shoes and snorkel fins. We have booked on the Paul Gaugin from Tahiti to Fiji, departing Papeete on May 19, 2007. Our primary reason for booking this Cruise was to see the Amazon. Itinerary is our prime motivation in cruising. The food was excellent, service in all areas without compare. Guest lectures OK but would only merit a 6 or 7 on my 10 point scale. Our suite was more than adequate with a small walk in closet and sufficient storage space. We booked our own port tours but did buy a tour through the ship in Santarem. The trip was reasonably priced. From a boat we saw up close the confluence of the Rio Tapajos (black), and the Amazon (muddy Brown) rivers. On that same tour we were able to fish for Piranhas. A guest on our boat caught a Piranha. The crew cooked the fish and a taste was available. It tasted like fried fish. The ship provided an included tour to the Boi Bimba Folkloric Show in Parintins on the Amazon River. The costumes were very colorful. The dancers young and skillfully energetic. The music was too loud, too long, and too repetitious. I'm still glad I went. Although not an issue for us, the shower in the bath tub might be difficult for some passengers with mobility issues. (I understand that RSSC has plans to convert these bathtubs to showers in time.) I haven't had a bath in many years. This may explain our being able to get a table for two at every meal when requested. Understand, I shower occasionally, at least enough to prevent me from being forcibly disembarked early in the cruise. We arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport as scheduled and were met by representatives of RSSC in the Baggage claim area. Once, I found our luggage, a nicely dressed man with an RSSC badge took our luggage and took us to a waiting Lincoln Sedan and after loading our luggage he took the drivers seat and we departed the airport. Shortly after departing the airport, we realized we were heading South. Our travel info indicated we were booked at the Embassy Suites. When I expressed my concern, the driver stated he had been instructed to take us to the Biltmore. We found later that the Biltmore is a very upscale hotel in Coral Gardens and well South of Miami. We experienced very heavy traffic delays and when we arrived in the Coral Gardens area, the driver wandered down several residential dead end streets. At this time, some paranoia took over my mind in consideration of the very high crime rate in Miami that I was aware of. Are we about to be assaulted and robbed, or worse? In fact, I mentally inventoried a backpack containing a camera and binoculars and other items for something that could be used as a weapon. Having decided on a plan, I moved very close to my wife and whispered to her the plan. Finally, after two hours travel in the dark, we arrived safely at the Biltmore only to find we were not on the RSSC list to stay there. Pamela, a RSSC representative at the RSSC Concierge desk then took over. She offered us the choice of returning to Fort Lauderdale, or lodging overnight at the Biltmore. We elected the Biltmore, and were provided an excellent room, a voucher for dinner and breakfast, and a voucher for a transfer to Port Lauderdale. We had an excellent dinner and breakfast and the next morning boarded a bus to transfer to Port Lauderdale. We were assigned the last Bus, Number four. RSSC had booked those passengers that were traveling on all four segments of the cruise that would take them around Cape Horn and back to Port Lauderdale at the Biltmore. The extra benefits included a welcome dinner, a sumptuous breakfast, and of course, transfers. We arrived too late for the welcome dinner, hence the dinner voucher. RSSC more than made up for the initial glitch and turned a bad start into lemonade. My paranoia induced high blood is almost back to normal and I will be completely recovered when my pain and suffering lawsuit is satisfactorily settled. REALLY. Pamela's superior skills were to be demonstrated again. She boarded our bus #4 for the ride to the airport. When we were underway she announced that the embarkation would be delayed because of a surprise Coast Guard inspection. We were then driven on a tour of Coral Gables, Miami, including Little Havana, and South Beach. Pamela provided knowledgeable commentary. Even with the detour, we had to wait a considerable time before boarding the ship. Once on board, after being offered the obligatory glass of champagne, or some yellow liquid, we were told our Suite was ready. More about the service that was exemplary. We ate most breakfasts and lunches in La Veranda, the ship's buffet. A very favorite Lady, Vivien, who is from Chile, was apparently in charge of the Port side of the seating area. Although, my wife and I don't teeter or dodder or really need someone to carry a plate of food to the table, Vivien would usually remove my plate from my grasp. Even when I tried to avoid her attention by walking behind someone or something, she usually won or had dispatched one of her minions to intercept me. If I meet her again, I have some moves that will win this game. The buffet has two omelet stations. They make omelets or cook eggs to order. After you order eggs you provide them with your table number and the eggs are then delivered to your table. One morning a man sat down within good earshot of us, and then imperiously called a waiter to his table and proceeded to order his breakfast with detailed and explicit directions regarding food preparation. The waiter didn't even flinch and complied with the order. My reaction was "duhh, this is a cafeteria, if you want to be waited on, get your lazy self out of bed earlier and eat in the dining room or order room service." This comment will obviously be archived and result in RSSC not hiring me should I apply for employment as a waiter. I'm obviously not trainable. On another occasion, that was a sea day, the Port side of the buffet was quite full and we didn't see any empty tables. As we were leaving the Port side to check out the other side of the seating area, a man, of the same bent as the breakfast gourmet, described above, approached, the waiter and quite seriously demanded a table for two. We didn't linger to watch the result, but are certain his demand was graciously met. See my reaction in the above paragraph. We found a table for four on the Starboard side, occupied by a single man, who allowed us to join him. LIQUOR: One pre trip concern I had with regard to the free liquor available to all was that drunken passengers would abound. This did not happen. The worst that occurred was one table, about for tables removed from us, had a couple of "ladies?" whose volume control was set on increase. Fortunately, their food arrived and the noise stopped. This was a one time occurrence on a 12 day voyage. DISEMBARKATION: Disembarkation was smooth and we loaded a bus that took us on a tour of Manaus, and then to a hotel for lunch. After lunch we were dropped at the airport. (We would have preferred an additional day in Manaus.) AIRPORT: I do not consider the following debacle to be the fault of RSSC, but will submit some thoughts later on how RSSC could prevent this experience. Almost everyone on Segment #1 was booked by RSSC on a charter to Miami. When we got to the airport, we were instructed to line up for security screening. Two B737-800 aircraft were chartered to return us to Miami. Everyone, including former Sen. (D-FL) Bob Graham, (one of the guest speakers) and his entourage, had to wait in line. The line took over 4 hours for all of us to get through Security. Standing in this line was a major problem for some physically challenged passengers. Brazilian Passengers on Brazilian Airline flights were processed expeditiously by the same security screeners and were whisked into the screening area ahead of the RSSC passengers on several occasions. When I went through Security, my back pack containing a camera, binoculars, and some first aid supplies, was emptied and searched. Our carryon was pawed through and a small pair of nail clippers, that routinely pass US Security, was confiscated. A tube of toothpaste that admittedly would not pass US security was confiscated. A much larger tube of shaving cream was overlooked. My gut reaction is that this was more about harassment than Security. Americans are not liked in much of world including Brazil. The inconsistencies above confirm this. RSSC could probably prevent this on next years Amazon cruise by sending a representative to consult with Airport Management. The Representative needs to be fluent in Brazilian Portuguese and knowledgeable of Brazilian culture. He should be ready to distribute some cash as appropriate. It wouldn't take too much. This is a way of life in many countries. If the thought of bribery offends corporate America, consider the bribes, (campaign contributions, free travel, girls, meals, greens fees, etc., etc.) that corporate America routinely provides our politicians. FINALLY: We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise. We will most positively consider RSSC if they present an itinerary of interest. Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
DW and I took the New's Year's Cruise out of FT Lauderdale on RSSC Voyager. It was all-inclusive for drinks and speciality restaurants. That in itself makes it worthwhile if you hate that tipping and signing little scraps of ... Read More
DW and I took the New's Year's Cruise out of FT Lauderdale on RSSC Voyager. It was all-inclusive for drinks and speciality restaurants. That in itself makes it worthwhile if you hate that tipping and signing little scraps of paper all day and night long. Embarkation was a breeze at FFL, 20 mins we were from the airport and onboard the ship. They porter takes your bag at the curb the next time you see them is in the room, REALLY NICE. One of my bags took a little longer to arrive than the rest (I'm a bit edgy about my luggage). Ask the DW! :>) But over all the embarkation was the fastest next to our trip cruise on Oceania out of Athens (besides the taxi ride to the port, we stayed in central Athens overnight, 10 mins on the ship) First impression(as well as 1st time on RSSC), immediately greeted by a crew member but they didn't offer us the champagne on embarkation, got the couple in front and behind us, but skipped us, didn't bother me much, but DW was ruffled slightly that they didn't even offer it to us. The Voyager is a nice ship, but since it had just been to dry dock, we heard and read on the boards that it was supposed to have carpeting, bedding (beds?) and some other appearance items changed out. I didn't see it, but the carpeting was clean and everything looked well maintained (still had the Christmas decorations in place). After a easy check-in onboard (stood in line about 15 minutes,other people were checking in, as well) at 12:15 PM, we were asked to go to any of the lounges or buffet on deck to have lunch. We had a light lunch and till we were finished and looked around for 30 minutes we were allowed to go to the room. The room was nice, about the size of mini-suite on Princess with a smallish verandah. Everything was clean and within 2 minutes of entering the room, we were greeted by our butler Ronny and Joanne, our room stewardess. They were both wonderful and deserved the extra tip we weren't supposed to give them! Storage in the room was more than than adequate for two overpacked cruisers. Entertainment, I can't say much other than the casino is on the small size but not to the point that it was overcrowded except on New Year's Eve, the party was is in the main promenade which consequently is where the casino happens to be located. It didn't take anything away from the gambling experience, especially after the champagne and caviar were passed out. And I do mean caviar (Osetra and Sevruga by the kilo tins) and cases of champagne, the kind that gives you a killer hangover in the morning or was that because I lost count of how many of them glasses they gave me! Anyway we had a great New Year's thanks to the efforts of the Captain, his staff, and the great crew members everywhere. As for the shows, we met most the show attendees in the casino within 15 to 20 minutes after most of the shows started. The comments we heard first and second hand indicated they may not be up to par with some other cruise lines. The cruise director was always out and about and trying to get folks involved in the multitude of activities constantly going on. The DW and I liked the Chef's demonstration but weren't into the rest of the revue-style shows so we sat and donated to the casino's party fund! Excursions were good at all but one stop but RSSC reimbursed us for half the cost for the excursion in Belize that wasn't so hot. We rode on an beat up old city bus with no suspension (it had a Texas DOT sticker in the window with plastics seats) for almost 2 hours for a half hour walk in the woods and a visit to an old plantation with rusted out hulks (antiques of sorts) of lumbering and farming equipment. We were served a nice lunch and drinks. Then you could go down to the watering hole and swim if you wanted. Then we got to ride 2 hours back in the bus. The next day RSSC sent a nice letter apologizing for the quality or lack of quality of the trip and reimbursed us for half the costs. That was nice if them! Food onboard for the most part was excellent in all the venues. I ate in everyone of them. Room service was no exception except I wasn't impressed with their pizza. I'm not a thick crust person and was even less impressed with the sauce. I grew up in the Northeast US and like a thinner crust with sauce that doesn't taste like Chef Boy R Dee. I know some folks enjoy Chicago-style crusts and a different tasting sauces so I won't say it was bad, I just didn't order another for the entire trip. They had other entrees on the room service menu that were superb. Latitudes Asian fusion food was to die for if you like asian-style cuisine. I couldn't begin to describe how much I enjoyed the food. The taste exploded in your mouth without any one flavor overwhelming your palate. The only regret was that they only had a one selection menu and it was the same every night (but I would have been more than glad to eat their food every night). I truly believe given the chance to vary the menu, the chef and his staff could have done wonders. We ate in the Cordon Bleu (sic?) style restaurant, again excellent food but I liked Latitudes better. The Buffet was changed each evening to an Italian restaurant with exceptional food. The appetizers and desserts were served buffet style or you could ask the waiter and he or she would get it for you. The entrees were ala carte. They had a Mediterranean night but we weren't able to make it, people we met onboard that did go stated it was excellent and couldn't wait for the next time they had it. It was only done for one night Mediterranean style, DARN IT ALL. The main dining room food was also very good but nothing to write home to Mom about. If you like Asian food, definitely eat at Latitudes. As with all reviews you know there is some low points. This one is no exception. If RSSC does not fix anything else but this, I'd sail with them anytime. Their beds absolutely, positively, unequivocally(sic?), beyond any reasonable doubt, just plain SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCCCCCCCCCKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!! The suite we were in had twins pushed together as a king. Well they forgot to tell us it was King's Mountain or was that the Matterhorn in the center. Any possible support left in those mattresses had long left the ship before we got there. They had placed a support plank or something under the mattresses trying to level them out, but the elephant that slept there for years had left its indelible mark on those mattresses. There was only one place to sleep it was at the bottom of the Grand Canyon on a very uncomfortable rock with eggcrate on top of it. Believe me there are not enough negative adjectives in the English language to describe the uncomfortableness of those beds. My DW slept on the couch after about 4 nights trying to get comfortable on the bed. The butler and stewardess tried everything they could think of to help but those bed were beyond any kind of help. Davy Jones would have thrown them back onboard if I had thrown them overboard!!!! Thank God I can sleep on a rock with eggcrate or that couch would have been overcrowded! The DW says I can sleep anywhere well RSSC almost lost that bet for her! Overall, It was a great trip, as are all cruises when you're on vacation and not at work. The service, crew, ship, and food were excellent. I don't know if the extra cost for all-inclusive is truly worth it but it was nice not having to fuss with tips and slip-signing all the time. I'd definitely consider RSSC Voyager again (ONLY IF THEY CHANGE OUT THOSE LOUSY MATTRESSES). The quality of service was very good but having just come off of Oceania Nautica in November, Oceania wins for service, with a tie for most everything else. The only reason I marked the cabin a 3, I bet you can guess, YEP! the mattresses suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucked! The room cleanliness and everything else was just fine. Don't get me started on those lousy mattresses again! S10CatMan and DW Read Less
Sail Date January 2007
Our 8 night cruise to the Western Caribbean departed from Ft. Lauderdale on March 28th. We initially booked our airfare through Regent but learned that we could book it ourselves with a savings of almost 50%. Flying from the west coast ... Read More
Our 8 night cruise to the Western Caribbean departed from Ft. Lauderdale on March 28th. We initially booked our airfare through Regent but learned that we could book it ourselves with a savings of almost 50%. Flying from the west coast requires an overnight stay in Ft. Lauderdale so we booked into Embassy Suites - a short drive from the airport (note: most things in Ft. Lauderdale are near both the airport and the port). We were very happy with the accommodations which included free internet access in the lobby and a full breakfast. Across the street is a pub, Waxy O'Connor's where we had a good meal and a nice Guinness! The hotel is walking distance to a supermarket, drug store and liquor store. It also provides shuttle service to the ship every half hour. Embarkation was fast and efficient. It was interesting to see that many passengers had already boarded the ship by 12:30 p.m. and were dining in Portofino restaurant on deck 10. We were impressed at how "new" the interior of the ship was. The Navigator is beautifully furnished - very tasteful as well as comfortable. After lunch we went to our suite on Deck 8 (mid-ship). As far as I could tell, the category "D" suites are identical to those on the Voyager. Penthouse suites on the Navigator are the same size and configuration, so, we decided to choose a suite on a lower deck to avoid feeling too much motion and/or vibration. The vibration on both the Navigator and the Voyager has been a huge topic of discussion on the Boards - yet, I feel the need to put in my two cents. The first day I walked all over the ship in search of the vibration. I heard that it was definitely in the showroom (decks 6 and 7 aft) . . . I felt nothing. Five days into the cruise I finally felt some vibration in an elevator and in a corner of Portofino. It is my belief that vibration is dependent upon the speed of the ship, the motion of the water and the sensitivity of the passenger. My husband was quite aware of the vibration on the Voyager on our Baltic Cruise last year while I was not. We both agree that, at least on this cruise, vibration was minimal and barely noticeable. Smoking - there is a bit of conflict in Regent's literature on this subject. In one place I read that the only interior place you could smoke was in Star's Lounge. Other literature said that there is a smoking section in Compass Rose and on the port side of Galileo Lounge on Deck 11. The only places I noticed smoking was in the casino and Star's Lounge. The service on the Navigator was very, very good (with one exception that I'll address later). The Cruise Director, John, seemed to be everywhere at the same time. He is a very energetic person with a great attitude. Unfortunately, this was his last Navigator cruise. Rumor has it that he may be on the Voyager in the future. The ship size is good and bad. The library/computer room/game room combination was extremely small. The puzzle had to be set up on a table near the elevator. To make matters more difficult, there was a family with three young children that played board games in the library and were laughing and screeching a bit loudly almost every day. This was quite disturbing to some of the people trying to use the internet as well as to guests in the Navigator Lounge across the hall. Children on Regent cruises when it is neither summer, a holiday or school break is a whole other subject that does not seem appropriate to address here. Lack of dining options became a bit of an issue for us. I cannot imagine cruising for more than a week with basically one restaurant. Portofino, the reservations only restaurant has two problems: 1) it is usually booked every night; and 2) although the food was quite good, the entertainment is the same each evening and does not allow for much conversation at the table. We did have the buffet lunch at Portofino every day and it was fine. Speaking of food - we learned at the end of the cruise that the Head Chef had left the ship suddenly to go home after her father's death. The Assistant Chef, during a galley tour, shared with us how difficult the week has been on him. The food quality the week of our tour was pretty good but not up to Regent standards. One night we could not cut our grouper - the couple across from us had lamb chops that were pure fat. The grouper issue still puzzles us as we cannot figure out how to cook fish in a manner that makes it impossible to cut. We would have thought that the kitchen could run almost as smoothly with the Head Chef away for a couple of weeks but it apparently cannot. The service in Portofino restaurant, with the exception of the only female server, was sarcastic at times to the point of being rude. They do have a difficult job since many people are trying to get reservations and are unable to do so. They turn many people away and many fail to show up or even have the courtesy to cancel their reservation. I understand that they are frustrated but saw the poor attitude and service more than one time. Entertainment -- the entertainment is being changed this month - back to the orchestra and groups vs. single performers. We enjoyed the entertainment they had - especially Tony B. Shore Excursions - we book shore excursions on our own using local companies. We check them out as thoroughly as possible and find the groups to be smaller and the prices more competitive than those on the ship. Here was our experience on this cruise: 1. Cozumel (with 5 ships in port) - snorkeling for 3 hours in the morning with a group of 15 from a Carnival cruise. Really nice people with their children - well done - a lot of fun. 2. Belize - our favorite excursion - cave tubing. We were picked up at the ship, driven 50 miles to the location and had a wonderful experience sitting in an inner tube, floating down a clear river through pitch black caves with flashlights so we could see crystals, rock formations and bats (sleeping). We were fortunate that no other ships were in port as this excursion can be very crowded. There were only 3 of us and 2 guides. 3. Santo Tomas, Guatemala - like most passengers, we did not do a tour but did visit the marketplace by the ship dock. The residents were a bit aggressive - not our favorite place. 4. Roatan Island, Honduras - this is a real up and coming resort destination. We took a ½ day tour around the island - such a lovely place with very kind people. Regent held a barbeque on a beautiful white sand beach with an area where you can view turtles, sharks and other sea life. 5. Key West - snorkeling tour booked with Regent. Only 7 Regent passengers were on this excursion with 117 Carnival passengers on one catamaran. Beer was being guzzled, everyone was very loud, very loud music. . . this will be our last Regent excursion. In summary, this is a beautiful ship and the cruise was lovely. The few negatives discussed above were fairly minor compared to the great time we had. The suites are probably the best of any cruise line - the crew makes the passengers feel very special and welcome. The food should be back to normal soon but there is not much they can do about the lack of dining choices. I really fell in love with this beautiful little ship. When we went to Daniel, the Cruise Consultant to book our next cruise (Daniel is great and has a memory like an elephant) we finally had to make a choice as to which ship it would be . . . we will cruise the Mediterranean next year on the Voyager. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
This was our first experience with Regent. The embarkation process was quick and efficient. The ship is relatively well appointed and vary spacious but not six star quality overall. The suite on the seventh deck was comfortable and ... Read More
This was our first experience with Regent. The embarkation process was quick and efficient. The ship is relatively well appointed and vary spacious but not six star quality overall. The suite on the seventh deck was comfortable and tastefully decorated with a walk-in closet. A separate shower would have been nice vs. the cramped bathtub arrangement. Our stewardess was excellent! The biggest disappointments (worst than any ship we have sailed on) were the small, tight and rather poorly equipped gym, spa and casino areas. There was a constant smell of cigarette smoke in our hallway and the sauna/steamroom entry area. The exercise room and casino did not have adequate air conditioning and the sauna/steamroom area have no place to cool down and rest. The service throughout the ship was excellent (better than any other ship we have sailed) excluding the reception desk. The staff could not answer any port related questions while we were docked and referred us to the travel desk that was not staffed (i.e. no assistance). The dining facilities are comfortable and food quality well above average. The wait staff is superb in all dining and bar areas. Our only shore excursion (snorkeling in Grand Turk) was well organized. The entertainment was adequate but not on par with most major cruise lines. The disembarkation was delayed by almost an hour but quick once started. Overall, an enjoyable and relaxing cruise with excellent service. The ship did not meet our expectations but the service made up for it for the most part. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
This was our first cruise with Regent. we had cruised on a number of other lines and on larger ships and were looking for a more intimate experience. Pre-cruise - We booked a boutique hotel in Fort Lauderdale (The Pillars) for 4 days prior ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Regent. we had cruised on a number of other lines and on larger ships and were looking for a more intimate experience. Pre-cruise - We booked a boutique hotel in Fort Lauderdale (The Pillars) for 4 days prior to the cruise and were very pleased with all aspects of the hotel (17 rooms) particularly the service and dining. Embarkation - We took the airport shuttle to the dock (cost covered by the car rental firm) and had no issues. we arrived at the dock at approx.1:00 PM and were on the ship by 1:20PM. The suites were not supposed to be available until 2:30PM but we were in our room by immediately. We were greeted with a glass of champagne and sent to our room. Suite - 990 Horizon suite. The ship was going into drydock for upgrades at the end of our cruise so some minor wear was evident but overall the suite was excellent. The large balcony off the stern was great and we spent a great deal of time on it. The bed was excellent with quality pillows and bedding (as we expected) Suite service - We had the butler service and while it was good I expect that you could do without it. This in no way should reflect on our butler but frankly with a minimal effort on your part the same services can be had from your room attendant. we had room service a couple of times for breakfast and once for dinner. Each time the food arrived on time and HOT. Best service we have ever had on a cruise. Dining - We had dinner at both the Compass Rose and Latitudes. The main room (Compass) was well designed and decorated. The open seating allowed us to have a relaxing dinner without the normal push to exit at a specific time. Latitudes was excellent and should not be missed. You will be served all the items on the menu (in small portions)and be allowed to eat at your own pace. The presentation and quality of the food and the level of service is excellent. (Good restaurant level). The breakfast and lunch buffet area was smaller than most ships (at the serving area) but the food was hot and fresh. Beverages - Even though we are not big drinkers the fact that all beverages are included in your fare is a nice feature. No more reaching for your sea pass at every turn. The staff were always available to provide you with whatever it was you needed. Entertainment - The quality of entertainment was not as good as we had hoped but was typical cruise fare and was fine. I wouldn't choose this line over any other for this aspect. Activities - There were a number of typical activities available such as bingo, cards, jigsaw puzzles etc. Again very typical of many cruises. Service - Without question this was the best level of service we have experienced from the suite staff to the dining rooms and beyond. Shore excursions - We only went on two. The Fast Boat trip around St Barts which was fun and a nice overview of the beaches and the carriage trip in Grand Turk which was relaxing. Itinerary - The itinerary was not exactly thrilling. Princess Cays - Beach stop with BBQ - Was fine a good chance to relax. San Juan - Interesting place to visit once but we had been there before so we didn't bother getting off. St Barts - Very interesting and a place we will return. Take your money. Very quaint. Some folks found it small but there are a number of interesting shops and it is a good place to spend the day . Lunch 2 sandwiches and 2 drinks $57. St Maarten - Good excursions and great place to shop for baubles. Virgin Gorda - Did not get off and were told we didn't miss anything. Cayo Levantado - Again we did not get off. Grand Turk - Got off and took a carriage tour which really didn't show much but was a relaxing ride. The island itself is small and not really setup for visits. The cruise terminal is new and is what I would describe as Simulated Caribbean. Shops,pool and restaurant but not an experience. In general the ship had to use the tender more than we had thought. It was not a problem for us but a number of older passengers had problems and at times could not use the service. If you have any problems with mobility make sure you check out how often you will tender. Disembarkation - Again we made our own arrangements and just caught a shuttle to the Airport $20 as opposed to the $40 the line wanted and we had no issue. We sat in our cabin until about 10AM until we were called to exit. Normally you are supposed to leave your room by 8:30AM but I guess leaving a little extra for the attendant and butler helped here. General comments - The reason for choosing this cruise above others was the indicated level of service as well as the size of the ship. We could not have been happier with both. There were times when you could actually feel alone on this ship. There were very few lines and if there were any they were small. In comparison to the other lines we have sailed ( RCI and Celebrity) this is indeed a 6 star line and we will return. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
As forty something, I had never cruised in my life. Although I have traveled the world, never on a cruise ship. I finally decided to go out on a limb and try it. I'm not one to be confined in small spaces and be around a lot of people ... Read More
As forty something, I had never cruised in my life. Although I have traveled the world, never on a cruise ship. I finally decided to go out on a limb and try it. I'm not one to be confined in small spaces and be around a lot of people in such places. I contacted my travel councilor and asked her to recommend the best Cruise Line. To my surprise and delight she recommended Regent Seven Seas (stayed in the Mariner Suite), since she knew my likes and dislikes and my high expectations, she indicated that Seven Seas was the only Six Star Cruise Line. I trusted her and embarked on my first Cruise in March of 2007 to the Eastern Caribbean. I was so amazed and pleasantly surprised from the moment my baggage was picked up to the professionalism and friendliness of the crew, the cleanliness of the suites and the ship as a whole. Keep in mind I had high expectations, from service, accommodations, food, entertainment, spa amenities, excursions and everything in between. One crew member that stood out and displayed on-going professionalism, knowledge, friendliness, respect to passengers as well as to fellow crew members, is the Cruise Director at the time, his name is Bryan Townsend, my husband and I felt he went above and beyond the call of duty, not just to us, but to other passengers as well, since we met another couple on board and they felt the same about him as well. The dining experience was superb, definitely world class; the wine list would match any fine dinning. I'm used to traveling and staying in five star accommodations and services to match, and most certainly the Mariner met that and beyond for me. I was so pleased by every aspect of the ship and crew, two months later I went on another cruise to Alaska, same great service. I’m about to take my third cruise in March 08’ to the Eastern Caribbean, and in June of 08’ to the Mediterranean. The great finale for my husband and me will be the 121 day World Cruise in 09’. I can’t say enough about this cruise line, I highly recommend it. I disagree with a travel agent who mentioned that Regent was expensive, what she neglects to mention is the price is all inclusive, food, drinks, gratuities, and of course the excellent service. You get what you pay for. Thank you Regent Seven Seas (Mariner), keep doing what you are doing. GREAT! Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
"A stunning improvement" is what I can best say to sum up my recent voyage on Regent's Seven Seas Mariner. My previous experience on this ship three years ago (see review on that ill-fated Asia cruise below) was nothing ... Read More
"A stunning improvement" is what I can best say to sum up my recent voyage on Regent's Seven Seas Mariner. My previous experience on this ship three years ago (see review on that ill-fated Asia cruise below) was nothing compared to this cruise. While this is still not as "perfect" a ship as Regent would like for it be, it finally comes pretty darn close. We sailed for 26 days (2 cruises B2B) from Ft.Lauderdale to Vancouver. While I had been to all of the ports we visited before, this was a trial run to see if Regent had improved its game since being rebranded. For those not in the loop, Regent was previously known as Radisson until the Spring of 2006. And while I'm not a complete Regent convert, one more cruise this good might just make me a brand loyalist. Accommodations: The Seven Seas Mariner was the cruising world's first all-suite, all-balcony ship. And, 6 years after its inaugural cruise, the suites are still the finest at sea. Plus, I was lucky enough to board just weeks after the Mariner's drydock, so the rooms were extra plush. The carpets and soft goods in the rooms were redone, while the line's new bedding is the best I've experienced anywhere. In fact, the rooms are so comfortable, I was unable to wake up early several days and would retire to my suite for afternoon naps (and I don't take naps). The bathroom products are Aveda accompanied with plush linens. And each room has a terry cloth robe and slippers. I am a long time "Crystalized" Crystal Cruises loyalists, but even I have to admit that Regent's Accommodations blow Crystal right out of the water. ENTERTAINMENT: The Mariner has two main entertainment venues. The primary one is the bi-level Constellation Theatre which is home to the main production shows, as well as various entertainers and regular movie showings. It is a comfortable room with good sightlines, as long as you are on the first level. It is impossible to sit on the second level without the railing blocking your view of the stage. The other room is the Horizon Lounge, located at the stern. This is a much more intimate room in which trivia, Bingo, teatime and varying cabaret acts take place. There is also a dancefloor there, but I rarely saw it used. The Mariner is not a ship to sail on if you're looking for round-the-clock entertainment. The crowd is unusually low-key and the ship turns into a ghost town once the clock strikes 10pm. The production shows are alright - for a smaller luxury ship that is. The Peter Grey Terhune Singers & Dancers do three shows - "Thoroughly Modern Broadway" (the usual schtick showcasing numbers from Broadway musicals that is a prerequisite on every cruise ship), "Here, There and Everywhere" (the Beatles-themed show) and "Beyond Imagination" (a disastrous assault on the unsuspecting guests that makes little to no sense). The other nights were filled with lounge singers, ventriloquists and comedians. Compared to Crystal where entertainment fills much more time with late night Liar's Club, Name-That-Tune, buffets, 50's night and lavish shows, Regent is quiet to boring. For night owls like myself, the only real place to hangout is the casino or the Internet cafe. The most exciting night onboard was a Rock 'N Roll night that took place late and drew a crowd of, oh, about 8 people (3 or 4 of which were asleep in their seats and drooling on themselves). But Dionne, the Assistant Cruise Director, and Louise, the Social Hostess, did a great job of trying to draw enthusiasm out of the dreary crowd. SERVICE: Perhaps the most improved aspect of the Mariner since my last trip is the service. During our last cruise, the service was poor most days. Servers in the dining room would ignore guests and stand around talking to each other. Other staffers were grumpy or downright rude. That was back in the Radisson days. Now as Regent, there is perhaps not a better staff at sea. Sure, there were some weak links - the sour Travel Concierge Desk staff or the Reception Staff whose only talent is to look confused and say "no" - but, overall, the employees on this ship could not do enough for us. Servers were friendly without being unprofessional, attentive without being obtrusive and genuinely cared about the happiness of all the guests. In fact, the best staff at any hotel or on any ship is the dinner staff at Latitudes (the alternative Asian-fusion restaurant). I can't describe in words how warm, welcoming and wonderful they are. It just has to be experienced. And you can't walk past a stewardess without her giving a smile and a hello. And, unlike last time, the officers are a prominent part of the scene and make great efforts to get to know the guests. Perhaps our funny and friendly Captain had set an example for the rest of the ship. Regent finally has a strong grasp on customer service and is almost to the level of Crystal. If Regent can train it's staff to embrace Crystal's "never say no" policy, this will be the best, most polished group of people at sea. Also of note is the ship's Guest Service Manager, Berniece. As a Guest Service Manager in the hotel industry myself, I respected her ownership of all guest issues and resolve to correct anything not up to par. As a nice touch, Berniece sent me a thank you note after I filled out a mid-cruise evaluation in which I pointed out a couple of areas that were not up to expectations. And besides the note, she made sure to correct the issues immediately. FOOD: Another major improvement this time around centered on the food. The Mariner has a main dining room (Compass Rose), the aforementioned alternative venue Latitudes and a Cordin Bleu alternate restaurant (Signatures). In addition, La Veranda is a casual alternative in the evenings. The food could not have been better. Everything was cooked to order and menus were inventive and appealing. It seemed as if each meal was better than the last. I'm already getting misty-eyed thinking about the duck springs rolls in Latitudes and the vegetable burritos from Compass Rose. I miss them! In addition, the line offers burgers, sandwiches and other casual food on the menus in case you need a break from the endless list of upscale dining options, which we did on occasion. PORTS: Our ports-of-call were Gatun Yacht Club, Panama; Puntarenas, Costa Rica; Huatulco, Mexico; Acapulco, Mexico; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Los Angeles, CA; Port Hueneme, CA; San Francisco, CA; Astoria, OR; Seattle, WA; Prince Rupert, British Colombia; Skagway, AK; Juneau, AK; Sitka, AK. The ports were mostly fine - even the reviled Port Hueneme wasn't as bad as I had heard. At that port, Regent offered a very interesting shore excursion to the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, which was a highlight. The main misses for me were Sitka and Juneau. Yes, fabulous shore excursions are offered in those ports. But the main towns are crowded, claustrophobic tourist traps. Long gone are the quaint storefronts and pubs. Now the sidewalks are full of long racks overflowing with Alaska t-shirts and row upon row of trinkets and other assorted crap in the store windows. Much like the Caribbean, Alaska is becoming overrun by ships, tourists and money-hungry locals. Ports such as Astoria and Prince Rupert were refreshing as they are enough off-the-beaten-path that you can enjoy the quiet uniqueness of the towns. And you can never go wrong with Seattle or San Francisco, both fantastic metropolitan havens. Our day in Seattle was especially wonderful. Port times on this cruise were shortened, unfortunately, due to one of the disabled pods on the ship. And, in some ports, times were shortened even further due to rough seas that slowed us down (we only had 5 hours in Seattle and 4 hours in Sitka!!) OVERALL: Regent is finally worthy of the "luxury" title. I was consistently impressed and many surprises were around every corner. Service (for the most part) is sincere and consistent, the food is amazing (the best at sea) and the suites are the like floating palaces. Plus, the intimate size of the ship allows you to get to know the staff as well as your fellow passengers. And now that everything is all-inclusive, Regent has become one of the best bargains going. I did experience service issues (such as the butler telling me I had to buy my own lint brush when I asked him for one, or the ship's photographer losing three of the four formal photos he had taken of me and my family with no apology, or the server in Signatures telling me that I could not order a plain green salad because it was not on the menu) which do stand out in my mind. Coming from Crystal where every request is a possibility, I was surprised by some of the discrepancies. But, overall, this was a fantastic trip. And I would not hesitate to sail with Regent again (in between Crystal cruises, of course!) Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
We have travelled worldwide and vacationed a lot. But never cruised, For my 60th Birthday we decided we would try it. After considerable research and lots of friends recommending Holland America, Cunard, Princess, we opted for midsize ... Read More
We have travelled worldwide and vacationed a lot. But never cruised, For my 60th Birthday we decided we would try it. After considerable research and lots of friends recommending Holland America, Cunard, Princess, we opted for midsize luxury with Regent. I liked the all inclusive idea. We added a 5 day land tour also booked with Regent which subsequently we regretted as it would have been better to do land tour first and end on a high of luxury cruise ship, rather than be disappointed even by 5 star hotels. and a bus with guide and others was not what we wanted. Next time we would still cruise with Regent but hire a car and do our own tour. Regent booked and included flights from Orlando, met us in the Vancouver air baggage claim and that was last we saw of our bags until we reached our suite onboard. A private car took us from air to ship terminal. The TSA were still there but were not as annoying as usual. Champagne welcomed us on board, and as it is my favourite drink when mixed with cassis, Kir Royale,we started as it continued for 7 days, free booze throughout trip including wine with all meals. The room was big with a balcony, I would not travel without one. The service was exquisite. Food knockout. We breakfasted in bed every day, and it was about 3 days before we got hang of order card so we ended up with 4 breakfasts every day for the 2 of us. Scenery is fantastic on Inside Passage, and we saw whales, dolphins,seals, and went on some excursions which took us even closer to blue glaciers. All well organised, no queues as we were about 500 folk on a 700 ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
This was our first ever cruise and we were a multigenerational group: my husband and I travelling with my parents (active 60 year olds) and my two daughters (8 and 6). Getting to the ship: We flew into Anchorage the day before the cruise ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise and we were a multigenerational group: my husband and I travelling with my parents (active 60 year olds) and my two daughters (8 and 6). Getting to the ship: We flew into Anchorage the day before the cruise and stayed at the Captain Cook in downtown Anchorage. Very nice place with great service and convenient if you want to see a bit of downtown Anchorage. We then took a van limo from Anchorage to Seward on the day of embarkation. Embarkation: We arrived at around 3 pm and there were no lines at all. We were on the boat and had our keys, etc. within about 15 minutes. We were able to go to our rooms right away and the bags arrived within an hour or two. The Ship: We did not have a great base of comparison since this was our first cruise, but the ship seemed very nice. It never felt crowded anywhere we went on board. The cabins were very nice with balconies, comfortable beds and good sized bathrooms. Dining: The food exceeded my expectations in all of the venues. I was most impressed with the quality of the food in the Compass Rose restaurant. The service was also great, with the staff going out of its way to make special accommodations. The kids were treated very well with a nice kids menu or the option of ordering off the adult menu. The least impressive part of the menus was the desserts, although there was always at least a nice ice cream dessert that appealed to me. None of the food felt institutional at all. I even thought the food at the La Veranda buffets for lunch and breakfast was quite good and very good for a buffet. The all inclusive aspect of the Mariner was very nice since we could always just get drinks, including wine and mixed drinks without a thought. The coffee bar was also quite nice and always had snacks available. Kid's Club: Nothing too fancy, but my 8 year old liked it. Probably the worst aspect was that it met often in one of the nightclubs and did not have a designated space. But the counselors seemed good, it was easy to use and we didn't need it that much on such a port-heavy itinerary. Overall the boat was very kid-friendly and the kids were very well behaved. Entertainment: Honestly we didn't see enough of this to rate it. Most of the activities like Trivia and Bingo seemed a little lame to me, but I think that is just a matter of taste. Disembarkation: Ran very smoothly with a short (15-20) minute wait. Ports and Excursions: Sitka: We did sea kayaking through the ship and had a very good experience. Also went and walked around Sitka and down to the National Park. Very enjoyable port with lots of charm. Juneau: Did the Tracy Arm excursion. Very nice scenery but a little long especially for the kids. Then did the helicopter tour with dogsledding, which was absolutely great! Fantastic views and just an overall fun experience. Kids loved it. Skagway: This was the train ride and gold panning trip. Good excursion (we had bad weather that day) and kid friendly. Campbell River: this is a new port and the local population was extremely welcoming and friendly. Went to a First Nations dance excursion which was entertaining. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
We stayed at the Anchorage Hilton hotel the night before our cruise began, because it was suggested and arranged by Regent. Excellent central location--walk to restaurants and several sites of interest. The hotel seems stuck in a time warp ... Read More
We stayed at the Anchorage Hilton hotel the night before our cruise began, because it was suggested and arranged by Regent. Excellent central location--walk to restaurants and several sites of interest. The hotel seems stuck in a time warp from at least 20 years ago. Its "Alaska" lobby decor is dated, a Starbucks outpost notwithstanding. The room decor, again, was greatly in need of updating, though it was clean and in good condition. Forget the name "Hilton" as lending any panache; this could just as easily have been a Holiday Inn. Several other cruise ship passenger groups were also staying at the Anchorage Hilton. Regent, from the get-go, was unfailingly efficient and seamless in its planning. They'd met us at the airport, and transported us and our luggage to the hotel. On Cruise Day, they were transporting us and our fellow Regent passengers, and our luggage, by bus from the Hilton to Seward, the cruise embarkation town about 2.5 hours away. Anchorage, a town of about 26,000 had some well-reviewed bistros and a few museums (that we didn't visit) but its downtown area seemed small and uninterestingly modern—it could have been a small town anywhere. I admit we didn't do much exploring. I've since heard that Seward is more worth seeing; next time I'd consider spending my overnight time there. Details on the Seven Seas Mariner: An all-balcony, all-outside cabins, ship. 8 passenger decks; 2 specialty restaurants (one French--Signatures, one Asian-Fusion--Latitudes) plus a restaurant-style dining room (Compass Rose) and a buffet-style dining room; a coffee bar with specialty coffee drinks to order, soft drinks, and snacks (including wonderful chocolate chip and cranberry-oatmeal cookies); a pool; a spa with sauna and steam room; a fitness center (no charge); several bars and lounges; casino, library, theatre; children's programs (though not as child-oriented as many other cruise lines); dry cleaning and laundry service; self-service laundry; internet cafe (no charge); two shops; and an observation deck with more comfy chairs, coffee, beverages, and snacks. There is no additional charge for room service or to eat in the specialty restaurants (or anywhere else), and excellent house wines, or any other beverages of choice, are included with dinner We made online reservations in advance for the two specialty restaurants. Latitudes had one set menu with wines. The service was charming (just this side of unctuous), the food excellent. Our favorite though was Signatures, with outstanding food, not just for a ship, but for a top-flight restaurant anywhere. We liked it so much that we decided to have a second dinner there, and we enjoyed it as much as the first. On all Regent cruises, gratuities are included in the fare. To show their appreciation, passengers may make a contribution to a crew welfare fund. Most other Regent cruises have a couple of formal nights; however, the dress code for dinner on the Alaska cruises was described as "country club casual" with no formal nights. Service was beyond excellent, it was almost embarrassing. Every suite had a vanity-desk and sitting area. Marble bathrooms had robes and slippers, great lighting and we had combination tub-showers which had grab bars. We (there were three in my party) were in two non-"master" suites, 1045 and 1055, each with a single bedroom with a king bed. Every suite has a CD/DVD player, TV. There is a free library on board for borrowing movies and books. No alarm clock, but there were automated wake-up calls. Each cabin has a fully-stocked mini bar (no charge for anything consumed) plus they will stock two large bottles of liquors/liqueurs of choice. Our walk-in closets each had a safe. The beds were dressed with fine linens and duvets. During the unpacking and packing days, maids laid protective canvas covers on the beds, on top of which were placed the suitcases. Our balconies had nice wooden chairs and tables. TV stations were pretty limited: CNN, FOX (sometimes), two channels showing the ship's bow and weather reports (which seemed not to vary), a channel describing some of the excursions, and an infomercial channel for Regent cruises. There were reading lights on either side of the bed. Bathrooms had robes and slippers for use during the cruise; great towels. Toiletries (Aveda brand) included shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and bath gel. There was housekeeping service twice a day. Daily programs included lectures on art (no doubt related to the on-board auction) and Alaskan history and geography; games such as daily trivia, board games, bingo, and cards; computer classes; photography tips, evening shows and films, the casino, etc. The ship was wheel-chair-friendly and a few of the excursions were described as being suitable for people in wheelchairs or with limited mobility. There were some days at sea (once or twice even in port) when none of us had cell phone service. The highlight of highlights of our cruise was the excursion we took through the Tracy Arm Fjord to view the Sawyer Glaciers. Blue ice! We also very much enjoyed Sitka and Skagway. The excursions we took in Sitka were a visit to the Alaska Raptor Center, followed by an easy guided nature walk through the Sitka National Historic Park. Afterwards we took a "wildlife viewing cruise", and indeed saw diving whales, otters, eagles and bears. Juneau was a bore but we had only a few hours there because we'd started on the Tracy Arm excursion, boarding a catamaran directly from our Regent ship, before the Regent ship landed at Juneau. The Tracy Arm excursion boat had a cabin, though we were on deck most of the time, and the excursion was six hours, and worth every minute. That evening we went on an evening whale-watching excursion that was excellent,dinner provided on board the excursion boat. At Skagway we'd opted for a Chilkoot Trail Nature Hike and Float. We felt the hike much too arduous (not in terms of distance or stamina, but in terms of required steep rock climbing in deep woods. Sneakers weren't sufficient; we really needed hiking boots. The float down a placid river (not whitewater) afterwards was a relief. Most people had taken the Yukon Train excursion, and seemed to enjoy it. Our only disappointing port stop was the last one, at Campbell River, BC. It's only about 30 miles from Vancouver, but a waste of time as far as we're concerned. We'd heard that Regent has gone into partnership with the town (or the Canadian gov't) to turn Campbell River into a well-touristed cruise port, but so far it's not ready for prime time. A few tents set up at the pier for tourist souvenir shopping, and the rest of it looked like a generic small town with a few strip malls and no charm. Be aware that the huge number of jewelry stores you see in each port are often owned all or in part by the cruise lines. There are no jewelry bargains. Look for the shops that show signs saying "locally owned and operated." Don't go to Alaska without insect repellent, especially if you will be in woods or out at night. The local joke is that the mosquito is the state bird. For outdoor viewing of the Hubbard Glacier (on board the Regent Ship) we needed layers of warm clothing, waterproof outwear, hats and gloves. For our daytripping in ports after that we needed jackets, sweaters, jeans and sneakers, and we often ended the day by tying our jackets around our waists. Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
Western Mediterranean Cruise Rome to Monte Carlo Regent Voyager - Oct 25 - Nov 4, 2007 Trip to Rome I flew on British Airways from Houston IAH via Gatwick and on to Rome on October 25, arriving on the morning of October 26. I had some ... Read More
Western Mediterranean Cruise Rome to Monte Carlo Regent Voyager - Oct 25 - Nov 4, 2007 Trip to Rome I flew on British Airways from Houston IAH via Gatwick and on to Rome on October 25, arriving on the morning of October 26. I had some glitches in Gatwick. I had a large selection of personal entertainment, but each channel went through a program. There was not entertainment on demand on this trip. From Gatwick within Europe, they allow one carry-on bag. One bag does not mean a bag and a purse. I ended up hand carrying my 17 inch laptop across the entire airport and checking my other bag. I was relieved when I saw the bag in Rome since it was checked at the last minute. The Gatwick airport had an area to go for those ending their trip in the U.K. and another for those going on. We departed late by about 45 minutes, but they made up just about all of the time. A meal was served and later a snack and various beverages were passed out at intervals. The flight was nice and quiet. My flight gates were as far apart as possible, but I did make it. The flight to Rome was non-eventful. It was fairly full. We arrived at the scheduled time. In Rome, nobody looked at our passports or anything anywhere, and my passport was not stamped. I had booked my transfers with my hotel, Hotel Hassler Roma Villa Medica. I did not see my guide, and I was worried because Crystal and Princess had their people in there. When I went back and forth for some time, I then discovered that my driver and many others were outside the baggage area just before the exit. My driver (that I arranged thru Hassler) took my bags and then walked me up to his car, a Mercedes Sedan. It had been raining and was still sprinkling. The driver chatted on the phone (7 calls) for the entire ride. Hotel Hassler - it was very nice, I had a lovely view. The rooftop restaurant was nice, but it was pricey. I enjoyed the casual spaghetti restaurant more at the top of the Spanish Steps. Rome I walked for hours and saw churches, fountains, etc. I enjoyed seeing all the cafes and gelati places. I had a late lunch at a little pizza house. They weighed my marghareta pizza by the kg and gave me white wine. All told, cost was 5.8 Euros for 2 slices and the wine. It is amazing to watch the crowd on the steps grow with the time of day, and people in Rome just walk, and most are not going anywhere in particular. I loved that. Everything is beautiful at night, and the little cafes and such stay open late. Even McDonalds sells gelati. I saw the coliseum but only from the car. I was on top of it pretty much. The train station for Spagna is right there at the hotel, so you could figure this out if you were so inclined. Near there, a lot of artists hang out to sell paintings, and large, beautiful paintings are available for 50 Euros. At 1:30 the next day, my ride came for the ship. This was another Mercedes, and this driver was pleasant and gave me a tour, including Venice Square and the coliseum. We arrived in one hour. It took longer to get out of Rome than to go down the highway. Civitavecchia & Embarking Regent Voyager A young Regent staffer said to leave my large bag, but he did not glance at it and walked off. My driver and I were both a bit concerned about leaving it just sitting there. I struggled with my own carryon that was quite heavy up the gangplank. At no time was I offered assistance. At the top, I was not shown where to check in, only told where it was. I went there. Was not offered champagne, had to ask. Also, I had to ask how to get to elevators, and I got lost and staff just laughed. I made my way up to my deck, and a nice Filipino giggled and took me to my cabin. Again, no assistance or anything, and she just left. Minutes later, another girl came and said she was my stewardess and explained the room. After lunch, I gave myself a self tour of most of the public areas. I came back to my cabin and saw my large suitcase outside the door. My key did not work, so I had to get it redone, then dealt with my own bag again. I unpacked the large bag, but before I got the small one unpacked, it was time for the lifeboat drill. This was very painless. After that, they had a block party vs. a sailing party. I met everyone on this hall, which was half of deck 7. There were quite a few Texans but none from my area. There was a bottle of Regent's own champagne waiting chilled on the dining table for a bon voyage. Cabin I was in cabin 708, a port side cabin in category G. All cabins on Regent Voyager are balcony cabins. This category is 345 square ft., including the balcony. Outside, the cabin has a hanger on the door for the daily news and any items to be delivered. There is also a doorbell. As you walk in the cabin, the bathroom is on the left. There is a separate shower and tub, and the tub also has a shower head for rinsing off. There is a clothes line there. The marble sink area had shelves and plenty of space for toiletries and a nice large mirror with plenty of lighting. There were cabinets for additional storage if needed. Amenities were Aveda and included lotion, shampoo and conditioner (rosemary mint), bath gel, and nice bar soap. Next is the closet. It has lots of hangers. Half of the hanging area is split with two rods for shorter items, and the other half is one rod for longer items. Robes and slippers are provided. A European hair dryer is provided, and a shoe horn was located in the closet. There were small, medium and large drawers and an electronic safe. There is also the life jackets and the dining table that they add to your coffee table when you order room service. Built in to the side wall is the dressing table. This includes two each of 115 volt U.S. style plugs and 2 European style 220 volt plugs. There is ample lighting and a small stool. The shelf and drawer there are small, so there is not much space to set things. This was ample for my needs, but a lot of people said they didn't like it when the senior staff was talking about ways to improve cabins for the new upcoming ship. The bed was nicely sized and had lamps and night stands on either side. One side had a phone. Drapes can be drawn between the sitting a sleeping area. The sitting area had a full sized couch, which I really enjoyed. The dining table had two chairs. The desk had all of the usual drawers, shelves and cabinets and housed the fridge. In the fridge, they had soda-Coke, Coke Light, Sprite, and Schwepps club soda and 2 Budweiser and 2 Becks beers. I took out all of the things I didn't want and just left the Coke Light and club soda. There was plenty of ice and also bottled water. The TV was the old CRT style and was on a swivel shelf that allowed viewing from the couch or the bed. These are being replaced before the year's end and likely by mid-November when the ship adds many more channels and video on demand. There were white orchids in the cabin and also fresh fruit. The bedding included a nice duvet and a pretty throw, and my stewardess provided additional pillows for me when I asked for firm ones to go with the soft ones. Layout of the Ship When I checked in, I was told lunch was up on deck 11 at the pool grill, so I decided to self tour a bit and get some lunch. I was in no hurry since I had already had one lunch that day (but no breakfast, lol). I tended to get around the ship by getting in the glass elevators and reading the signs there. The observation lounge, pool, pool bar and grill and hot tubs, and La Verandah were all on deck 11. The jogging/walking track, the golf cage and shuffleboard were on deck 12. The other public areas were on 4, 5 and 6, and these included the Constellation theatre on decks 4 and 5, the Horizons Lounge on deck 5, Signatures, and Latitudes on deck 5, Travel desk and Reception and the shops on deck 5, the casino, Voyager lounge, and Compass Rose on deck 4. Some of the areas did fill up at times, but it was never uncomfortable. The pool deck had covered and non-covered areas and a lot of seating at the grill. This got a bit crowded on the special dining days. Also, the pool deck got a bit crowded since there were only a couple of warm days. It was OK, though. There were always plenty of towels, and the hot tubs were always a good temperature and were available from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. There are two showers there, and the pool was heated. Two days they had to drain it due to the wind, but the hot tubs were always available. The decks and public areas were kept immaculate. Pool Grille Daily, they put out baguettes and other fresh breads, salads, sandwiches, a chilled soup, and fresh fruits, along with made to order ice cream. They grilled burgers and dogs, and this was open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There were covered tables (nice when the regular dining rooms were closed and it was cold). Service took a while there, but once they figure out you are there, they wait on you. On embarkation day, I found this and went up and had lunch with a nice lady and her mother. I had salad with baby shrimp and some fruit. We had delightful conversation. This was when I was going to use the hot tub but I enjoyed the conversation. Some were sunbathing, and it was warm enough and lovely enough. In Ajaccio, Corsica, I went up to join the grilled fish bbq on the pool deck. I had sea bass, grilled zucchini, some salads, and some cherry ice cream, along with ice tea. They had a great display and presentation, and I think earlier, they had live music. They were grilling salmon, mahi mahi, and tuna, also. In Spain, they had a paella lunch out there. This included grillabas, many Spanish side dishes, grilled lobster, steaks, chicken, and sausages, along with the outstanding paella. Breakfast at La Veranda I dined here several mornings. The first time was the first full day of the cruise. I walked in and did not know the routine and asked about outdoor seating and was told but not shown that there was a table in the corner. Also, I asked about boiled eggs and was told I could order from the waiter, but he did not stay long enough to do so, nor did he point out that you could presumably order other items besides the buffet. I found the buffet to be of nice quality but rather limited. There was fresh fruit, a few European meats and cheeses, American items such as sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, omelets to order, and hash browns, and cereals and rolls. They sometimes had baby shrimp. They had a juice selection. I saw no waffles, French toast or even sliced bread for toast, so I can only guess these could be ordered. No champagne for mimosas or anything like that, either. After the first day, I either skipped breakfast, or joined the solo travelers, and once I dined in my cabin. I never made the Compass Rose for breakfast, as it never met my schedule. Room Service For breakfast, you can place the card out on the door before you go to bed at night. Even if you stay up until 1 a.m., if you put 6:30 on the time slot, it will come, at least mine did. The card comes with the turndown service. Eggs to order, fruits, pastries, waffles, French toast, bagels, cold cuts and such could all be ordered. All day, a wide selection of items were available. At night during dinner, these items could be ordered, or the Compass Rose dinner items could be ordered. These could be served course by course if desired at dinner. I had lunch one day and ordered a green salad, pasta with pesto, Indian curry vegetables, and shrimp cocktail. The menu was extensive. They had steak, pizzas to order, pasta, crème Brule, sandwiches to order, soup, etc. Service time was reasonable, and there was absolutely no confusion in my orders. You could also call and just order juices, drinks or whatever you liked, and that would come quickly. Lunch at La Veranda I only dined here one day. They open the buffet on both sides, so you dine and get your selection on whichever side you enter. The day that I dined, I had a seafood cocktail with mussels and shrimp. I also had some chicken tortilla soup and salad and also some lovely veal picatta. They serve tea, soda, or wine here. They have a variety of desserts, including a sugar free and low fat selection. On the day we were in Marseilles, they had bouillabaisse, but I missed it since I got back after 2 p.m. Though they close at 2, they start breaking down everything but the dessert and 1:45, but they go around and warn guests (something similar happens at breakfast). Lunch at Compass Rose I only made this one time. Service was what I expected here. The maitre d asked me if I wanted to have a table opened for sharing or wished to dine alone. This was lovely of him to ask since he had been helpful in my Signatures reservation mix up (see that section further down). The funny thing that happened here was I saw cobb salad on the menu and said I wanted one except I only wanted bacon, egg, and tomato. Literally, that is what I got, and when they brought it, I told them I wanted the lettuce and dressing, too!! They did it over, and it was beautiful. I had a nice soup here and the mixed fried seafood. I asked if they had sorbet, and the waiter said he thought it was too early, but luckily they had just made it, and it was very nice. They use one side of the room for lunch setup, and I got to see the sail in to Monte Carlo harbor from my seat. I really enjoyed that. Dinner at Signatures Signatures is one of the two specialty restaurants that require advanced reservations. You can book online 28 days in advance, and there is no additional cost. I booked online and asked to be seated with others at a table for 8. However, the reservation came to the ship as me with 7 people that I already had lined up. They called at 6:15 to confirm my 7:30 reservation and told me to come on down and they would see what they could do. So I went up to Horizons beforehand to see who was having cocktails and who I could find, but others had plans for another day or something going this particular night that they did not want to miss. The maitre d was rather apologetic and seated me alone and said he would see who he could find. I was upset and almost in tears for 20 minutes since a lady was nearby that had told me several days earlier that Regent should not accept anyone traveling alone and that no matter who they were or what their reason for traveling alone that they wrecked the ambiance for couples. Since families, singles, and couples are welcome (not to mention this just being cruel), the comment was not appropriate. She was seated three tables away and was staring, so I kept looking at my menu and never up until a couple was seated with me that had also had the reservation mixup happen to them. The maitre d told me all the reservations from this and the previous cruise from the website had come this way. I quickly told him I was afraid of Latitudes for the next night, and he called and fixed the whole thing. I'd heard the wines were better there, but they had the same ones as downstairs, which had not changed in 4 days since embarkation. They were willing to open something else at each location, but those wines would then pour slower as if it was coming begrudgingly. If you have an issue with salt where you are restricted or simply don't like the taste, talk to the waiter in advance. I did not do this, and I did not eat my crustation soup or my halibut because they were too salty. The waiter did offer to have the chef redo the dishes. I had a lovely lobster medallion salad with mango and a precious crème Brule that was cut into a thin strip and served with strawberries and pistachio cream. One of my tablemates had HUGE prawns and the other lamb chops. They had several courses and were quite happy with theirs. Presentation and service were very good here. Dining time was about two hours. This will take longer if you linger over coffee or tea. Dinner at Latitudes That was the best meal I had on the ship. I loved it. I was seated with two couples (since the reservation was straightened out). One couple was on their honeymoon (not first marriage at least for him). The appetizers were good - spring rolls, the crisp ones and also another type, beef satay, ribs (my least favorite, but I am not a big meat eater), and some delicious crunchy shrimp triangle. That would have been enough there, but we carried on to a broth based soup with a shrimp in it and then a citrus salad with grapefruit and oranges. Next, they had lobster, chicken thighs, and tenderloin. I had only the lobster. The dessert was a lovely presentation with coconut sorbet in a crispy chocolate handle and green banana in phyllo dough. Dining time was about 2 hours. Dinner at La Veranda I dined here on the last night with Jeannie, a very nice lady that I "met" online at Cruise Critic message board and in person on the Lucca wine tour. We enjoyed the casual and quiet atmosphere. We were seated at the side at a table for two. First, we had items from the antipasto bar. I had clams, cured meats, and cheese. We both loved the baguette, as usual. I didn't write down much about dinner, but we had a nice soup and then she had steak that she said was the best on the trip, and I had fish. For dessert, she had a little something from the buffet, and I had the bananas foster. Dinner here took about an hour and 45 minutes. Dinners at Compass Rose I started my first dinner here by joining the solo get together in Horizons Lounge where we met the social hostess, Terry and then got arranged in two large tables. Each night, those that wanted to join would meet at either Horizons or Voyager for a brief get together and then go into dinner hosted by either the distinguished gentlemen or one or two of the social hosts or both. First Night - dress code country club casual - Some people were dressed up more than others. The men at our table had jackets, but 2 of the 3 were hosts, and the other was being a host on his own. We had an exceptional dinner and a delightful time. I was able to get wonderful choices. The lady next to me had the degustation menu. She was very happy with it. I had mussels, shrimp and king crab (two appetizers), spinach salad with egg and bacon and some wonderful balsamic. I had a yellow squash soup that was out of this world. I had the sea bream, and it was delightful. Most of us did not like the daily pour for white, a savignon, but they filled the whole glass, then we all got whatever other choices we could get. Those with the red liked it. They did not offer to switch to red, and the service was rather casual but efficient enough. The petite fours were brought out along with the dessert menu. I had a nutty one and did not order dessert. We finished dining at 9:35. Second Night - I joined the social hostess, Terry and one of the Distinguished Gentlemen and the lady from Britain I met the night before (Glenda), along with another guest, Bob. Glenda is 75, and Bob is 84. I had tomato soup with fresh basil (not bisque), a small portion of linguini with clams, greens with walnut vinaigrette and osso bucco. Again, I ordered no dessert. Unless you order the fish, the meat portions are ENORMOUS. We had asked for a quieter location on this night, and we were happier with this table. The center area can get quite loud. Third Night - informal - We all had the lobster. Glenda and I had the essence of pheasant soup. I had a salad. Jeannie and I had crème Brule (not on the menu), and Glenda had a passion fruit frozen thing that she repeatedly said was delightful. I asked for a Bordeaux and got Phully Fuse. Fourth Visit on 6th night - informal (but was originally country club casual) I had dinner with Jeannie and the two distinguished gentlemen. We had a nice time. I ordered bisque. Again too salty but not nearly as salty as that soup at Signatures, which was inedible for my taste. I ordered sea bream, surprised they were already repeating the menu in only 5 days. For appetizer, I had fois gras, which was lovely and then I had a chocolate from the petit fours. Jeannie had chateaubriand. I know Mark had two soups, and he also thought the bisque was salty. Entertainment I attended the shows every night that they had them. The next to the last night, the show was cancelled, and they were going to put Bryan G. on again, but for some reason, they decided to just have a movie in the Constellation Lounge. I did not attend that. The main entertainment was at 9:45 every night. First night - for the main entertainment, there was a singer named Elaine that did Gerschwin and Cole Porter. This show was very pleasant. After the show, I went to Voyager Lounge and the Duo sang a wide variety of tunes. I left when they quit. I didn't know the disco was starting. Second night - Bryan G. doing musical impressions and comedy, he was a fill-in since the sound system was not working. He came over from Navigator, though he regularly performs on RCCL. This show wasn't really appropriate for this audience. He did impressions that were a bit off-color. I walked out, but I heard the middle part of the show was not too bad. I found Bob (a nearly 85 year old widower that I met at a solo party, so funny, one night he had me laughing so much that my face hurt) sitting at Voyager Lounge, and we watched the karaoke. Some were excellent. Some were just having fun. The social hostesses stood where they blocked the screen so many of us could not see the words, but some of us knew a lot of them. After that, we stayed for the dance party. Bob left at close to midnight. I left at 12:30. I got to bed at 1 a.m. Third night - this was another fill-in. He did British comedy and magic. Glenda laughed and snorted so much and then she went up to his Liar's Club game, but I went to bed. He is Mark Wahrgun or something. He was pretty good. Fourth night - the production company did the Lullaby of Broadway show. They had tunes from Westside Story, Cats, South Pacific, 42nd Street, Les Miserables and one or two others. The boat was rocking, and those girls still danced it up on the high heels. The voices on these people were fabulous, and they got a standing ovation. Next, I went in and listened to the duo sing. They are so good and so talented. Fifth night (Halloween) - The Three Divas were very nice. I enjoyed them immensely. They trained together 25 years ago, and I believe they said it was their first time to perform together. Next, I went to the scaraoki party. It was PACKED. The main singers from the production company were there and at the casino in costume and many guests and all of the social hostesses were dressed up. We saw a cigarette girl, a lady bug, a ghost, several dead people, including a dead bride and some people did cowboy or just goofiness. Many of us did nothing and just wore the glow rings they passed out. I started a balloon pass in the fog, and we were doing Monster Mash and others like Thriller in the fog. First they did a short karaoke and then a dance party. What a fun night, and again I retired at 1 a.m. Sixth night - there was no main show due to rough seas. They had the movie Wild Hogs instead, and I was 2/3 sick from the wind in Marseilles, so I didn't want to sit in there till midnight watching a movie. They had a dance party in the atrium, and it was just the social staff singing. I wasn't too interested in that. I played roulette for a while and more than doubled my money. Everything in the casino works in USD. I more than doubled in 12 minutes, so I cashed out and chatted in Voyager Lounge for some time and went to bed by 11. Seventh night - the production company did 60s, 70s, and 80s show tunes. They had a lot of costume changes and even fake fireworks. I went to Voyager Lounge and exchanged a few addresses. Then Glenda and I went up to the Observation Lounge and chatted with some people until almost one while we viewed the SPECTACULAR harbor view of Monaco. Money cannot buy those moments like that. The music there (Frankie on guitar) was very nice. Then we had champagne in her cabin and I copied off her photos. Each night, there was something going on in every lounge. I thought it was all well put together. In Horizons, they had lovely piano music before dinner and offered ballroom dance music there. It was quiet and a good place to talk and relax before dinner. The gentlemen hosts were there for ladies that needed a dance partner. The duo performed at the Voyager Lounge, and they usually sang 60s and 70s music but threw in some 50s and 80s, as well. They did adult contemporary most of the time but threw in a little bit of country, including Cotton Eye Joe one night. I only found Frankie in Observation on the last night, but this seems to have been popular, though there were only maybe 6 people there when I went up the last night. One night at about 6:15, the crew did a show with about a half dozen numbers, and they held up candles and flags from their native land. Also, there were times that they had other live music like at the deck parties and such. Activities The cruise started out with a block party where on every deck, guests were told to grab a glass and come into the hall at 6 p.m. They passed out soda and wine and appetizers while people chatted and introduced themselves. Daily, there was team trivia in Horizons Lounge during tea, and there was also a quiet tea at Observation Lounge, though I never tried it. Once, there was bingo. This was a cash bingo for cash prizes. Also, there were a number of Texas Hold 'Em tournaments at night and a couple of slot tournaments during the day with a $30 buy-in. I came in 6th out of 7th on my tournament. The captain's welcome party introduced a few officers and gave guests a chance to mingle, but it was the 3rd night of a 7 night cruise, a bit late into it, I thought. Also, it was after the repeat guest Seven Seas Society party, and it felt like an afterthought, really. They did make a lovely video, but they would not make that one or the Halloween party one available for sale. The farewell party was two nights later on the 5th night, too early, I thought. There was at least one thing going on every hour from maybe 7 a.m. until late at night. There was a whole fitness schedule with something I the morning and something in the afternoon. Also, you could walk the track or work out on your own. Also, the steam and sauna were completely available to guests, and towels and water were there, along with showers, though the women's shower was broken. There were a lot of art auctions, but these did not interfere with anything else, and the organizers, Park West brought in their own interested parties and wined them off property and such to the point that a few were a bit embarrassing and falling down drunk a few times Not that many people witnessed this behavior. A lecturer gave six lectures on the region. I attended one on Cannes, Nice, and Monte Carlo. All the lectures were shown on TV, and the lecturer offered to send audio free to anyone that asked. My cruise was hyped as a Jean Michael Custeau itinerary. Only one lecture was given, and this was during the Golf de Porto to Ajaccio overland tour, so I missed it. There was a daily meet for guests that wanted to do shuffleboard, ping pong, tennis, or golf, and there were one or two organized golf events onboard. They have daily quizzes, Sudokus and crosswords. Cabins have DVD players, and you can get two DVDs at a time until you turn them in for exchange. I found the selection rather limited, but I have a Netflix membership and a husband that makes sure we see a lot of movies. In the room, they ran 4 movie channels with movies that are mostly not yet on DVD or PPV. These changed daily at midnight and ran every two hours. I saw pretty much every movie I had not already seen. This program is being expanded before year's end when they will have video on demand and flat screen TVs. Tours and Ports I did not do anything in Civitavecchia except board the ship. I spent all of my time in Rome. Rome was my favorite part of the trip, and this was self touring and exploring pre-cruise. Livorno, Italy - I went on the tour in Luca up to a local farm. We passed Pisa and the leaning tower and saw a lot of beautiful scenery in the Tuscan hills. We had a brief winery tour at the Mionchi farm and had their wines and cured meats and cheese while we chatted in a cave. This location also has a charming restaurant and a shop selling the olive oil and wines, and they also offer rooms here, though we did not see the inside of them. This was quite a beautiful place, and the pictures did not fully capture the gardens and the hills in this area. Our local guide also served as a translator since our guide at the farm only spoke Italian. This was a lovely tour, but a few people wanted to leave early since they were still tired from travel, and it made things a bit awkward and stressful for those that wanted to enjoy the tour they paid for. Golfe de Porto and Ajaccio, Corsica, France - My tour, the overland tour from Porto to Ajaccio started at 7:30. I met Jan and Fred from Luxury Cruise Talk on this tour. We had the most spectacular views. We saw some churches and things along the way and learned some things about the local culture. The guide was born and raised in Corsica. We stopped halfway for some refreshments. They offered many coffee type things, sodas, and juices at a cost, and we were able to use the restroom. We headed on and eventually ended up at a spectacular spot where they had cured meats, cheese, and local award winning wine all laid out for us. There was nice bread and pickles, also. It was spectacular to sit out there. We joined the ship at 1 pm. after a mini-tour of the town where we viewed a couple of Napoleon statues (Ajaccio is his birthplace) and a few of the main streets. Marseilles, France - I wish I had gone on the Aux en Provence market tour, but I did not want to go out early, and I did not sign up in time since the tour office closed early. I decided I would take a leisurely morning on the ship and then head out on the shuttle to town. There I planned to take the bus to Provence. I went all the way up to the St. Charles bus station, but I didn't find it. It turns out that the bus was leaving from the train station. Though the bus station and train station are close, I did not realize that the area with all the steps that I saw was the train station. I bought some nougats and caramels and chocolates at a local shop. I also bought soaps and spices. I walked until I couldn't stand it, and I made my way back to the shuttle bus that was waiting right there for us. I had rode the bus over with the lecturer from Cousteau. I heard he was his grandson but didn't ask. Bryan G was on the shuttle, too. He was telling of where all he performs. It sounds like he is Venice based and does a lot of RCCL. It was pretty cold and extremely windy. I caught cold and was very congested the rest of the trip. Ibiza, Spain - I went to the south of the town tour. There wasn't much to see right now since season is over. The guide struggled with finding material, but he was nice and also local, and I ended up seeing sunset on the beach, so a nice hour of that sunset walking on the sand was nice. We also saw the local salt fields and stopped at a shop to sample a local dessert that they said was used for weddings. It was kind of eggish but hard to explain. There is a photo in the pictures. Here the tour included white coffee, also, but I did not have any. We had time to run in a local souvenir shop, and had we wanted to, we could have gone in the pearl shop next door. We also toured a local church here. Palma de Mallorca, Spain - My tour in Palma (gastronomic tour) got cancelled, so I joined the Chopin tour. I knew nothing about it at all except it was supposed to be good and had space since they had added a 2nd bus to accommodate those of us that had nothing to do now. So, I thought, why not? What a good decision. We went up the mountain to the monastery where Chopin lived for some time. We toured all the rooms and saw the piano and many other things related to him and George (female) Sands. Next, they took us into a little restaurant in the town where our tour included sangria, orange juice, coke or water. They passed out cheese, cured meat, chicken croquets that were wonderful but didn't taste like chicken, and Spanish omelets. We also had chips and olives on our table. Next, they had a short Chopin concert for us. Although it was All Saints Day, all the shops in the little square there were opened. Many bought the man-made pearls. I didn't but liked them. I bought some deck shoes and a bag to bring home my purchases for the week. They had animal skins, glass, porcelain, lots of lace and many other items like leather jackets, shoes, etc. and then at the monastery they had calendars, Chopin CDs, etc. That tour went from 9 to 1:10 and was also led by a local guide Monte Carlo - I had not arranged anything, so I walked all the way around the harbor and up the hill far down. I saw the casino and walked thru a carnival. What an interesting thing. Some booths they were shooting the guns (like we do for stuffed animals) for Wii, Ipod, stereos, etc. I went to a grocery store and bought some Italian and French treats for 9.71 Euros. Debarkation That morning, there was a beautiful sunrise from the port side. I enjoyed my cabin until 8:30, though the maid burst in at 7:20. I had a leisurely breakfast with Glenda. We disembarked at 9:45, as those with independent travel arrangements could leave any time between 8:15 and 9:45. My ride was there waiting to take me to Nice. Nice I had requested early check-in at La Perouse, and when I arrived, my room was ready. It was before 10:30. Kathy (ChatKat on CC) and her husband, Frank were there, along with their friends Fred and Pat. My room was 101 and was a sea view balcony next to the pool area and just over the garden sitting area. The other floors have separators between their balconies, but the patio balcony rooms are rather non-private. It was still a beautiful spot, and the sunset there was breathtaking. I had lunch with Kathy, Frank, Fred, and Pat. Lunch was fun, and they introduced me to the market area and told me how it works. That area is in the old town next to the hotel. There are tons of restaurants there serving mussels, oysters, lobster, shrimp, crab and also pizza, pasta and other things. The market had fruits and flowers. I bought some dried strawberries and macadamia nuts. They had to go since they were headed for the next Voyager cruise, but I strolled through the old town and along the promenade and ran into Glenda when I saw her sitting on a tourist train waiting for it to leave. I hopped on. We went all along the highlights around and were taken up the hill for nice views. I started walking along the promenade up from the beach. I went down on the rock beach some also. The weather was spectacular. Lots of people were just lying on towels down on the beach either looking out or reading, and a few were in the water. For dinner, I went back to the market. At night, they turn on warmers outside and add more tables. I ordered grilled lobster and cold crab. I had enough for two or more people. Before dinner, I spent an hour in the hot tub up on the solarium at La Perouse. The view was nice up there. The next morning, I had breakfast at 6:30 (they put it out early for me), and my ride helped me with my bags and helped me get through the line and speak to everyone at the airport. Comments Regent Experience: The Regent Voyager proved to be a wonderful cruise experience for me. I saw many new places and had a good time. They attempted to teach us new things and entertain us with a variety of activities and shows. They attempted to have local foods and fresh fish as nice surprises, and I really enjoyed that. The embarkation did not make me feel at all special and gave a bad first impression. Service at the buffet meals was not up to par with my expectations. Service in the other restaurants was very nice. In particular, they should keep their maitre d staff, as they were touchingly helpful. I felt the Hotel Director was a little overwhelmed by my comments of what needed improved, but I believe he addressed all that could be addressed during the cruise and in retrospect appreciated the feedback. The other area that disappointed me was with my stewardess who could not learn my consistent routine and who didn't seem to understand why anyone would want anything to drink that was not in the fridge already. This cruise was a special one that had a VP on board, and a panel session was held with the top officers. There were issues discussed with service, and they would not directly answer the question about whether they were paying the Asian staff as much as they would Europeans. They simply said pay had nothing to do with it and that people were paid in their own currency but that they could not easily attract Europeans due to the falling dollar. Clearly, whatever staff they hire, they need to polish the service. Comparison to Silversea Cabins: cabins are larger than the smaller SS ships and the same size as the larger SS ships. However, the closet is smaller on Regent (but plenty adequate), which allows for a full couch vs. the loveseat style on SS. SS had more movie selection, but Regent is already addressing this issue in the next month. Embarkation: On both SS cruises, we paid for the early embarkation. In one case we were greeted by tuxedoed staff. The other time, we were just greeted. Both times, I checked out the official embarkation time, and guests were offered champagne and made to order caviar and smoked salmon canapes. Also, SS has nice sail away parties on deck vs. block parties indoors on Regent. Room Service: both lines have an extensive room service menu and will do dinner from the regular dining room menu during dinner. Buffet Service: The buffets on SS are much more extensive even though the ships are smaller. They also ask if you want to order other items. They have a champagne breakfast, as well. You never touch your food on SS, they serve you from the buffet (except you get your own salad) and they carry your plate to your table. On Regent, you find it yourself and find your own table if you can. However, this improved during my cruise. Food: SS has an older average demographic, and sometimes they do make dishes a bit bland. Regent was not afraid to make things spicy, which I loved. Conversely, Regent did make some dishes way too salty, particularly soups in all venues and all the dishes at Signatures. We are not into caviar, but it is still free on SS for the asking. Restaurants: Regent Voyager certainly has more dining choices. On SS when I went to the Italian restaurant, I felt like I was missing the fabulous experience at the main dining room. I may feel like that on Navigator, too when I try them in December, but on this cruise, I loved trying the different dining rooms, and kudos to Regent for making them all free. L'Attitudes was a particular delight. Pool Deck Service: This was much better on SS. They would come serve you even in the hot tubs. I went there daily, and this never happened. On SS, they misted daily and passed out fruit kabobs, ice cream or sorbet often. You could get food served at your seat (which I rarely saw on Regent), and you did not have to sit as long before someone offered a drink on SS. At the pool restaurant on SS, there were more selections on Whisper than Regent, and the whole service was just a notch above even at the restaurant. Pool bar service was similar at all 3 of my cruises. Bar snacks: on SS, they put out mixed nuts, Chex mix, Japanese crackers, etc. The few times they had any snacks out on Voyager, they were ruffled potato chips. Tea: on SS, they were using loose tea, while on Regent it was bags, and the tea time was more formal with more delightful choices on SS. However, I did not try the quiet one on Regent. Many guests on Regent enjoyed the coffee bar area. Spa: I did not try the spa on Regent, but the seating areas on SS are more comfortable, spacious and pleasing to the eye. Facilities and treatment offerings, along with fitness class offerings were similar. Entertainment & Activities: I enjoyed this on both lines. SS moved away from the production shows for now, but I feel they will be back on the new bigger ship. I always enjoyed every show on both lines. Daily activities were similar. Trivia was much more organized on SS where an attempt was made to get team sizes fairly distributed. Everyone actually felt they had a chance that way. Also, SS has a nice golf program where there are a lot of activities with the pro, and the pro on the larger ships escorts a golf outing. Turndown: Several times on SS, the chocolates are Godiva. Also, each night the lunch and dinner menus for the next day are presented, while on Regent, you must watch the TV and wait minutes for it to scroll back around if you did not catch all of it. Lunch menus were not presented on TV, either. You had to actually go to the restaurant and read them outside the door. Overall feeling: On both SS trips, the feeling was more intimate, especially on Wind where they really tried to know you. Not much attempt was made at this on Voyager, but it is a lot larger. Crew on SS was much more polished, and the entire SS experience seemed more upscale. It is really hard to explain this one because it was an ambiance and a feeling, but I think the bad first impression and the inexperienced staff had a lot to do with it. Tours: SS tours were always escorted, while Regent ones were sometimes escorted. This often made a difference. Regent took a lot of effort in giving tours led by local guides and always tried to throw in a local treat for a tasting when possible. Regent needs to be more aware that on a six hour tour, guests might need to go to the restroom, and stops should be planned. Conclusion: both lines provide a nice all-inclusive experience. On each step up in size, the experience was less personal, though more amenities start coming with size. People that like good food and nice cabins and unusual experiences in exotic lands will enjoy either line. Trip Home I bought some water and Coke Light past the security check. This was a good thing since we were delayed well over an hour without liquids. Heathrow was tough. We arrived 80 minutes late, and I did make my flight to Chicago, even with 100 minute trip between gates. This included a couple of long walks with a bus ride in between. Allow 3 hours between flights when connecting here if at all possible. My flight to Chicago on British Airways had no issues, and I had video on demand. They served a couple of mediocre meals and did a few beverage services. I had to claim bags in Chicago and go through customs before boarding my American flight, but I arrived in Houston 30 minutes early. It had been a long day. Photos can be viewed at http://pictures.aol.com/galleries/debbieh103. Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
Review of Regent Seven Seas Navigator 11/16/07 - 11/26/07 - Western Caribbean This cruise was a sweepstakes win from an online travel agency with offices in Seattle & San Francisco. Although we had been on 35 previous cruises, we had ... Read More
Review of Regent Seven Seas Navigator 11/16/07 - 11/26/07 - Western Caribbean This cruise was a sweepstakes win from an online travel agency with offices in Seattle & San Francisco. Although we had been on 35 previous cruises, we had never been on a six star luxury ship. We were not disappointed. The cruise exceeded our expectations. This ship had less than 490 passengers, a nice change from the mega ships. Our suite was quite large and we especially enjoyed the large walk in closet and marble bathroom with separate tub and shower, as well as the large seating area. Pictures are here: http://travel.webshots.com/album/561591840wFLBoh We found the food very good and there was always a large selection to choose from, including simplicity foods, salt free foods, and low calorie meals on the menu. The menu could be accessed daily on the television. You were offered the choice of eating at the Portofino's buffet, the Compass Rose dining room as open seating, or private dining in your suite complete with table cloth, crystal and silverware. We opted for the buffet for breakfast and most lunches, and private dining in our suite for dinner. Since my husband does not care for Italian food, we did not partake of the Portofino's evening meal by reservation. I understand the food was quite good and the entertainment exceptional. We usually eat early at home, so the 7:00 PM dining was a bit unusual for us. Roy, one of the waiters in Portofino's had been chosen by the transatlantic passengers as the Navigator Idol (a take-off of American Idol). They were showing the contest on the TV, and he has an amazing voice. The ship was much smaller than those we had been on the past few years, but I liked the convenience of not having to walk very far to get to another part of the ship. The elevators were always available and empty, a nice change from the mega ships. The crew was friendly and most helpful. Although tips are included in the passage, we tipped the stewardess and waiters in the buffet a little extra on the last day. Our reasoning for this was that the dollar value has dropped and they are working for less than they signed on for. I liked no announcements during the day, other than the noon report from the bridge. I liked the fact that no photographers had a camera in your face every time you turned around. I also liked that the art auction was silent and not in your face. We visited the ports of Key West, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Belize, Santo Tomas, Coco Cay in Roatan, and over nighted in Cozumel. Weather was mostly good except for some rain in Belize and Guatemala. We did not take any tours, but just stayed in the port area, as we had visited most of these ports many times. Also, we are returning to these same ports in December on the Veendam. One thing that I didn't like was that embarking and disembarking in some ports was not the best for someone with a disability due to the steep steps. Those in wheelchairs were carried up and down them, but I was on a walker..so they carried the walker on up ahead, and then I pulled myself up on the railings. There was a lot of local entertainment in the port building in Santo Tomas, which we enjoyed very much. Especially the marimba band which can be seen here: http://youtube.com/watch?v=_GHyD8JLKxI The internet cafe and library always had availability. A good supply of DVDs was available in the library 24 hours a day. I was disappointed in the merchandise available for purchase in the online shops. There were very few logo items. However, I understood why when on the last day of the cruise the shop operator said they were leaving the ship and someone else would be getting onboard when we docked. They said this is why they had not restocked the shelves and would be shipping back to their source all the items left in the shops. The entertainment on the ship was very good. We enjoyed the lectures, movies, and entertainers. The only problem was how late most of the shows started. 9:45 is late for us as we are not night owls. There were only about a dozen children on this voyage. They did have certain things planned for them to do, but they had no separate space as their own as on other larger ships. We loved this ship and would certainly recommend it to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
We boarded the Voyager in Monte Carlo on November 3 and disembarked in Ft. Lauderdale on November 19. Our sixteen day journey included port stops in Barcelona (overnight), Valencia, Malaga, Casablanca, Agadir, Lanzarote (Canary Islands) ... Read More
We boarded the Voyager in Monte Carlo on November 3 and disembarked in Ft. Lauderdale on November 19. Our sixteen day journey included port stops in Barcelona (overnight), Valencia, Malaga, Casablanca, Agadir, Lanzarote (Canary Islands) and Funchal (Island of Madeira) and eight nights crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the southern route. The seas were moderate throughout most of our sixteen day journey. On only one night the show was canceled out of concern for the dancers' safety. And on that night I didn't think the ship rocked much at all. The temperatures ranged from the upper fifties in the evenings to the mid-seventies during the daytime. We experienced only one significant period of rainfall during the crossing; so the weather was near perfection. The ship was fully booked for both segments. On the Grand Crossing, ninety-five percent of the passengers were Regent repeaters, a testament to the quality of the Regent product and the importance of customer satisfaction in the luxury cruise segment of the cruise industry. The ship was in excellent condition. Our cabin on deck six was in great shape. The oh-so comfortable bed and luxurious linens made sleeping easy. We loved being on deck six because it was an easy walk to everything happening on the ship except the activities on deck eleven. The service on the ship was usually excellent with a number of very high moments and few lower ones. The entertainment was consistently quite good. And the food was excellent, the best we have experienced on our seven Regent cruises. We enjoyed all of the port stops. We toured most of them independently; but the two ship's tours we booked, a half-day tour of Valencia and a half-day tour of the Southern part of Lanzarote, were very good. This was our first crossing and it won't be our last. Regent booked the right amount of additional entertainment and enhancement lectures; so we had to make time to squeeze in an occasional nap. It is a real treat to stay put on the ship and enjoy the full ambience of a Regent experience. While we saw people of all ages on both segments, the demographic of this trip was the oldest we have seen on any cruise. The passengers were delightful. We met lots of interesting new friends. And we particularly enjoyed meeting a number of folks we had already "met" on the internet, stellar folks all. This cruise met or exceeded all of our high expectations in every respect. The most popular person on the ship seemed to be the Regent Cruise Consultant who was busy booking future cruises every moment of the day. We managed to squeeze into her office to book one, too. There was only one aspect of this cruise that was new to us. This is the first time we have cruised Regent since the company went all-inclusive. To us, this change brought immensely higher value to our cruise experience. We were particularly pleased to see that Regent includes a full range of high quality spirits under the all-inclusive umbrella. We asked that our cabin be stocked with Johnnie Walker Black scotch and 12 year old Glenlivet single malt scotch; and two one litre bottles were cheerfully and promptly provided. We didn't drink more because alcohol was included in the price of the cruise (If you know us you know that would be hard to do!). But we did drink differently as, apparently, did a large number of the passengers. We spent more time drinking and socializing in the lounges. This made the trip even more interesting and more fun. The entertainers love the change because they prefer performing for a nice sized audience rather than an empty room. And all the bartenders and waiters we talked to are happy with the change even though they are busier because the passengers are happy and the paperwork is history. We also noticed the change to all-inclusive has prompted a lot of passengers to try a wider range of drinks. I regularly heard all kinds of exotic drinks being ordered. My partner Fred joined that crowd. Things we missed. Though minor, there are several things we missed on this cruise that we have enjoyed on previous Regent cruises. The first is what I would call the "royal welcome aboard". When we have boarded the ship on previous Regent cruises, a uniformed officer welcomed us aboard at the top of the gangway and a waiter standing by his side immediately handed us a glass of champagne. We found this grand first impression, this special welcome, as delightful as it is impractical. The impractical part of it, of course, is juggling cameras, carry-on luggage and a glass of champagne at the same time. The "royal welcome" wasn't offered on either segment of this trip. Instead, a low level company staffer stood at the top of the gangway to say "welcome" and direct us to the Constellation Theatre to check in. When we entered the Theatre a waiter handed us a glass filled with an inch of champagne. Practical? Yes! Special? No! Another minor thing we missed on this cruise is having a team of two attend our cabin. Regent has switched to a solo cabin attendant system. The ship's officers we have queried about this say this isn't a cut but "a reorganization." They say it introduces a higher level of accountability to the system. I'm a skeptic about that. Under the new single attendant system it often takes longer to get our cabin serviced in the morning simply because the attendant can only do one cabin at a time. We are relatively early risers. On previous cruises we became accustomed to going down to breakfast in Compass Rose at 8:00 and returning to a cabin that had already been cleaned. No more. Let me be clear, our solo cabin attendant Heiden was perfection. We were totally satisfied with her service. We'd just like to see her have an assistant so the two could service the cabin more expeditiously. We also missed receiving an alphabetical list of passengers on each segment of the cruise. This really helps us sort out the full names of the delightful people we have met on the ship. Things we particularly appreciated. Attention to food quality was a focus on this cruise. Since the dining experience is very important to us, we really appreciated our interaction with both the Executive and Corporate chefs. They are delightful "people persons." They were present in all the dining venues and open and accessible to all passengers. They cheerfully and patiently answered everyone's questions and made it clear that they were striving daily to expand and improve the quality of the dining experience aboard the ship. They entertained even the pettiest complaints with interest and patience. They clearly set a tone that inspired and motivated the hospitality staff who worked for them. At the beginning of the cruise the dining experience in Signatures was off. The service was superb. But there were serious kitchen problems. The Executive and Corporate chefs had those problems corrected in a matter of days. We also appreciated the high standards of service we regularly experienced. All of the ship's crew appeared to be cheerfully eager to please. We pre-ordered a special breakfast early in the cruise. When we walked into Compass Rose the next morning, the waiters recognized us immediately and had our breakfast on the table within a matter of minutes. It just doesn't get any better! The bartender at the pool deck bar, Alfonso, knew our morning drink preferences on the second day of the cruise. (Yes, we ordered a Bloody Mary before lunch and gin and tonic after lunch!) Most of the waiters on the ship knew within a few days that my partner Fred wants fresh pepper on almost everything short of ice cream and I don't. Those are the touches that attract us to the "luxury cruise" experience! We only booked two of the ship's tours since we prefer to either book private tour guides or strike out on our own. But we really appreciated the fact that Regent used only half of the bus seats on the tours we booked. This insured (1) quick boarding, (2) a window seat for all and (3) a reduced chance of having to cope with "difficult" passengers. We experienced no "difficult" passengers and the tours were most enjoyable. And, among many other things I might mention, we particularly appreciated the persona of Knute, the ship's captain. As long as he keeps the ship afloat and running on schedule, we really don't need to meet or know anything about a ship's captain to keep us happy campers. But Knute made a huge positive impression on us. He was everywhere on the ship mingling genuinely with all of us and seeming to enjoy the cruise as much as we were. He didn't just have guests at "his table," though he, indeed, did that. He was often seen at dinner dining with guests at their tables. At lunch, he was regularly seen standing in line at the pool deck buffet filling his plate and then seeking out a welcoming table at which to dine. He was welcome at everyone's table! At special events he was seen standing in the crowd enjoying the fun with all the rest of us. And none of this was manufactured or "staged." It was totally genuine. It was a great pleasure to watch an extraordinary leader at work! His officers emulated his behavior. It made a difference. Finally, as a burn the candle at both ends kind of vacationer I particularly appreciated those five hours we gained cruising in a westerly direction. I needed the extra sleep! Low moments. I don't expect perfection on any cruise so I was delighted that there were only a few lower moments on this one. They all happened in the area of programming. The first occurred on our first evening aboard. There was no show scheduled for that night. I presume that is because Regent no longer hires enough performers to offer a theatre performance every night of the cruise. Sad, but hardly a deal breaker for us. Instead, we were invited to the Constellation Theatre for a thirty minute "presentation" which included the introduction of several Regent staffers and a five minute "teaser" by the Peter Terhune entertainers; in other words, twenty-five minutes of hype and one tune from the next night's show. Halfway through this I whispered to my friend sitting next to me "This is really tacky." She agreed. It was like inviting me over for dinner when your refrigerator is empty and spending the evening telling me what a great chef you are and how tasty the meal will be tomorrow. It wasted our time. It ruined the otherwise free evening the entertainers had to themselves. And it violated Regent's "no hype" policy. To top it off, the cruise director told us there would be no show that night "out of courtesy to our tired guests who boarded the ship directly from the airport." Give me a break! Most of us had gone to the effort and expense to arrive at the ship rested and ready for a show. Nobody bought her explanation. I was also disappointed in one of the enhancement lecturers. He was an excellent speaker with an impressive resume and apparently a very pleasant gentleman. But he was speaking on a variety of current public policy issues from a very partisan political prospective. His comments were red meat for those on his side of the country's current political divide. They loved him. But his comments were really cold water poured on those on the other side. Booking him was, in my opinion, unwise and unfair in that all passengers are paying the tab. This situation could have easily been avoided by either booking a journalist or some other commentator who would offer a more balanced presentation or a point and counterpoint duo. The lowest moment of the cruise occurred in the Constellation Theatre on our third night out. The pianist Pearl Kaufman performed that evening. She was magnificent. The theatre was packed, the audience thrilled by her performance. She was total class. She finished to a standing ovation. Then the cruise director strolled on stage. She thanked the Voyager Orchestra who had backed Kaufman and, of course, the artist herself. She then said "You know, there's one thing I haven't seen enough of on this cruise, hugging. I want you to hug the person who came with you." Then, "Now hug the person on the other side of you." And then, "Oh, no, boys. You aren't supposed to be doing that." How low rent! That kind of stuff might still get a laugh during happy hour at the Podunk Tavern. But it is totally inappropriate following a stellar performance like Kaufman's and for a luxury cruise ship audience. It was a wonderful cruise. I'd do it again in a heartbeat and will book a westerly crossing again when the opportunity presents itself. Read Less
Sail Date November 2007
Trip to Fort Lauderdale and Embarkation I booked this cruise after reading some people talk about it. I booked late in the game, so I had to take a category D guarantee to get a balcony. Regent has a fairly good single supplement policy, ... Read More
Trip to Fort Lauderdale and Embarkation I booked this cruise after reading some people talk about it. I booked late in the game, so I had to take a category D guarantee to get a balcony. Regent has a fairly good single supplement policy, and I went for 140% of a one person rate. I thought I had a girlfriend that was going, but she got laid off and took a new job in a week and a half's time, so I took advantage of the good price on this 3 nighter on the 2 for 1 single as a chance to sample Regent Navigator. By the time I got down to the cruise, it had not been long since I had done Regent Voyager Western Med in late October, so I was pretty excited. In addition, I had also just come from Silver Whisper Dubai to Mumbai a few days earlier with my husband, so I was also rather tired. I'm a travel agent, but I did pay full fare, less my commission for this trip and have paid a pretty penny for my 5 luxury cruises, so I hope the readers will consider me a reliable source and value the detail in this review. Other similar cruises have been one Silver Wind cruise, two Silver Whisper cruises, and one Regent Navigator cruise. I was not anxious for any overnights on this trip since I had been traveling a lot this fall and because it was going to be close to Christmas and my husband's mandatory vacation week when I got home. I took a non-stop Continental flight from Houston IAH to FLL same day, risking checking a big suitcase. I got down there plenty early and took the short trip to the Port Everglades terminal with a lovely gentleman driver from Jamaica. I have had well over 70 resort stays in Jamaica since 1992, and this gent and I had a lot to talk about. His conversation in the short drive was quite spiritual and touching, and I felt blessed to meet him. I arrived at 11:20 and was seated by the most lovely lady shortly after someone swiftly handled my bags. A few minutes later, here came Sue and Tom from my travel group. Sue is another agent that I have known since the early 90s online but had never met. Meeting them was a perk of this trip. I chatted with the couples next to me as we curiously debated what had come from the short dry dock before our cruise. Promptly at noon, they boarded by row, and we were marched into line by the lovely lady. We had our pics taken and handed over our passport . We boarded and received our champagne and were told we could dine on deck 10 while we waited for the suites to be ready. We had our choice of the Portofino's buffet or the Pool Grille. I chose the buffet, as the grille really had no seats available and I wanted to see what the buffet had anyway. There were about 25 people in line, but it did move along, and in a few minutes, I was seated with a nice plate and had lovely table service from the warm staff. My Ship Tour After that first lunch, I decided to self tour. I checked out all of the public areas. I checked out cabin 1125, a Navigator Suite. I liked it but was not overwhelmed by it by any means. I meandered along and saw the steward staff working so hard to ready things for us. I noted in the public areas that the layout was more unique than the Wind, Whisper, and Voyager. There were some cozy nooks and lounges that were a bit different, like the Navigator lounge. The casino was bigger than I was expecting. It is bigger than Whisper and I think as big as Voyager. They offer roulette, black jack, craps and some other games and also my fav, video black jack where I play with only the dealer and can change my betting amounts. The pool deck seemed a bit small, and the pool didn't seem to be in too good of shape with the faded wood, but when guests got around it and it had the real swimming water, it seemed much better. The deck did remain crowded on this short cruise, and often the hot tubs were double-stacked with guests sitting outside and inside. I did not get my usual time in, but the water was perfect in the hot tubs when I did get in. Other Thoughts on the Ship The spa had a relaxation room. It was small but serviceable and somewhere to sit and wait for the staff vs. the not great area on Voyager and the stellar area on the SS ships. The steam room was not large but was great with all of the appropriate amenities. The spa staff were all ready to help. The lounges tended to fill up completely. You did have to work a bit to get a pool deck table at a meal or a seat, but it was not very much effort to join someone or anything, and that was always a nice experience. There was so much charm to the ship, and I really loved how they had it decorated for Christmas. They pretty much had all the facilities you could want except perhaps one more specialty restaurant. There were a number of shops, and with the vendor losing their contract, everything was 50% to 75% off. I picked up some awesome Cartier sunglasses and a Regent polo shirt. Others in our group bought some clothes and jewelry. With the short cruise, they were busy when not in port and didn't have time to go look for additional sizes or styles of anything. I had a spa treatment on the first full day that I booked from the boarding special. It was two twenty minute treatments that they combined into one 45 minute treatment doing the facial and neck and shoulder massage. It was $79, and nobody even mentioned selling me a thing. I REALLY enjoyed this experience and recommend the spa. Look for deals, as the regular rates are over $3 a minute for most things. My Cabin I went to my cabin on my own, but I had taken the precaution of having nothing but my purse and laptop with me, and I didn't need assistance. I was in cabin 840, a portside category D. The cabin had the Aveda amenities. As expected, it had the single marble sink, plenty of shelves, a tub that was long and thin with a shower head in it and a separate shower stall elsewhere in the bathroom. Also, there was a walk-in closet with plenty of drawers and hangers, a bed with an inviting duvet and a full sized couch. Recently added that cruise only were the new LCD TVs. These were nice, but the old marks on the table were there from the CRT TVs, and the reception was not HD. The cabin had a DVD player. An advantage of Regent Voyager and Navigator has been the full sized couch that I really enjoy. Mine had two huge black stains the size of quarters that shouldn't have been there after dry dock, but they did not bother me too much. My closet had a safe that had the number pad totally ripped off and hanging two inches out, and the whole label was ripped in two. This didn't really bother me, either as I have never felt unsafe on Regent for a minute. This should also not have been found after dry dock. There was the dressing table and the desk, both with European and US plugs and plenty of lighting throughout. I had plenty of glasses and was greeted with the welcome champagne. My stewardess arrived promptly to introduce herself and the suite and ask for liquor preferences, if any. She did not seem too knowledgeable on policies or offerings on anything, but she was professional and mature in answering. The suite had a nice balcony. I discovered on the second day when trying to sit in chair two that it was totally ripped in two. They took it and did not replace it. I did enjoy my balcony, though I found the door hard to open. It had a definite technique to it that took two hands, but it was consistent with me, so I learned the first time. I was never short on glasses, and I always had good turndown and morning service from my stewardess. She was fairly non-instrusive. I had a lovely time relaxing in this suite, and it was very cozy for me in the time I spent there. I wish the cruise had been longer so I could have laid around more (and spent more time with my companions). In addition, wifi from the cabin worked just great. One addition to my cabin was a lovely door sign that I received from Beth, a member of the LCT unofficial group with which I was traveling. I felt special every time I walked up. Guests of Regent Navigator This was the crown jewel of this Navigator cruise. I heard about this cruise from Beth and then Diane, members from a popular online board. Then I booked the cruise after studying it and found a number of others would be on board, including Sue, someone I have known online since the early 90s but had never met. I met Sue 15 minutes after arrival to the cruise terminal, and I really felt blessed from the short times we spent together, and I enjoyed meeting her husband and friends. I also met Beth, Diane, Crystal, Wes, and Ida from the internet. I can't even describe how fabulous all of them are. Along the way, I spent a lot of time with them and also some people we met - Callen, Coleen, Stuart, Stephanie, Adrien, another Diane, Scott and Joe. Each of these people touched me in different ways, and some down to my core. You never know when you have a conversation with someone where they are in their lives, and sometimes just a few sentences or one deep conversation really has a long-term affect on someone. Bright lights, please keep shining and touching people's lives. It is all worth it. I also met Rose and some others at the Stars disco nights and had a barrel of fun in dancing with them until the wee hours every night. We did see a few kids, and I had one enlightening conversation with a 7 year old in the hot tub. They were part of their families and did not wreck anyone's time in any way. With the short cruise, the average demo seemed to be in the 35 to 55 range, so we saw people out and about, though there were people from childhood to 80s, and all were great and having fun. The ship did feel full, and there were some that a few times seemed like the bubba crowd on some rare and short occasions like the lifeboat drill, but it was pretty much a non-issue. Dining All of us solo ladies ended up together every meal, and now and then, we had a couple and/or some single gents with us. The food was always good, as was the company. Portofino's was where I always had breakfast. It was easy to go there and just join others from our group. I typically had fruits, along with tea and maybe some eggs and that fabulous crispy bacon they need to bring to my house. It was Americanized, but so was the clientele. For lunch at Portofino's, there was always a hot and cold soup. I really enjoyed a curried soup I had one day, and I know there was another good one I had. I love soups on ships and at resorts, and nothing was salty or cold. One day, I had some incredible rainbow trout. There were always 3 or 4 entrees, many tasty salads and fruits and pastas made up and also to order. They had a few desserts, but I am not really a dessert person. I saw others enjoying. Wines were OK, and service was good. One day, I tried the Tex Mex on the pool grille. I sat in a pool lounger but later joined others from our group. It was neither Tex or Mex, but I did enjoy the vegetarian soft taco and salad I made up. The sweet boiled ribs were not to my taste. Others not so critical did enjoy. Other dining choices were readily available. For dinner, two nights, we were at Compass Rose. I picked steamed mussels from the appetizers and asked for an entrEe portion the first night and had lobster the other night. I didn't like the lobster sauce and didn't eat it, but others loved it, and I was full from all the other outstanding courses. I loved the appetizers, soups and salads. I always do and don't ever really need an entrEe. I saw some huge, well prepared steaks and such that delighted some of my tablemates, and the most unusual was the "iceberg salad with olives" that Scott ordered that had no lettuce and at least 30 olives. He ate them all, and he looked a little green afterward, but he rallied on to the entrEe and dessert. Our dinner in Portofino's included 16 of us at 3 tables that we prereserved. We started out with the European meats and cheese, along with the wine tastings. Guests and staff mingled here for 30 minutes. Then we went in to the dining room. We could not get our 3 tables together, but we got up and checked on each other throughout the meal (I hope we didn't bother anyone). A couple of our bunch participated. Adrien did the tambourine, and Ida kicked and danced, while Callen pointed to his table at the wrong time and led the staff into believing he and Coleen should be the recipients of an anniversary cake. After Coleen blew out the candle, the cake was literally ripped from their arms. It was all good, and we had a fantastic time chatting and joking about it after the freshly prepared meal. The entertainment was great, with Vincenzo sounding more like Sinatra than Sinatra. I was exposed to the puckering Limencello for the first time, too. Diane, the model and I wanted something else besides the entrees they had, and we were accommodated to my surprise. I did enjoy the petit fours at Compass Rose, with a particular nod to the tiny canoe-shaped fruit tarts. Activities With the cruise being only 3 nights, people were socializing a lot. We had a few activities when not in port - chatting on the pool deck (yeah!), talking on the internet, doing trivia and bingo, gambling and shopping, and dancing the night away. I loved all of these activities and really bonded with people sharing them. In the ports, I had my two days doing shortish outings with Beth. We did the aquarium in Key West and walked around some. We both went out again later but not together. In Nassau, we cabbed over to Atlantis on Paradise Island and took pics of the public areas and tried our luck a bit. Entertainment I went to both of the production shows. I really liked the Vintage Vegas and the Motown shows. I know Stuart wasn't in love with the Vegas show, and some others were not as enamored as I was. I was right up front, and I enjoyed having the costumed shows. They also had a staff show and another entertainer. I did not make those. The girl doing the disco was a delight. She seemed to have some issues with the equipment to overcome, but we did enjoy not singing karaoke and dancing and chatting up there in Stars anyway. They had a Beatlemania live show where they did not sound like them at all, and the dancing to music was better afterward. Disembarking and Trip Home I had a nice last breakfast with Adrien and said goodbye to Sue. I ran into Diane, and she and I shared a cab to the airport. I was pretty early and chatted with a couple for 30 min. and then boarded my non-eventful flight back to Houston. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
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