My partner and I, with friends, just completed a 10 night Med cruise on the Seven Seas Voyager; we had a lovely time and saw so many beautiful sights. We are fortunate; we have taken more than 25 cruises over the years and really enjoy the ... Read More
My partner and I, with friends, just completed a 10 night Med cruise on the Seven Seas Voyager; we had a lovely time and saw so many beautiful sights. We are fortunate; we have taken more than 25 cruises over the years and really enjoy the smaller luxury ships; in the past 10 years, we have travelled almost exclusively with Silversea and enjoy their small ship ultra luxury product. We heard very good things about Regent so we booked this particular cruise to try something different; to make a long story short, we absolutely prefer Silversea.
We spent one night in Rome pre-cruise and had a lovely day in this terrific city; the next morning we transferred by private car to the port. (We made our land arrangements on our own.) Upon arriving at the cruise terminal in Civitavecchia; we were faced with a long line to check in, something we have not experienced in years, and it was a indication of things to come. The line moved quickly and we were on the ship within 15-20 minutes, no big deal; but the line was proof that the Voyager accommodates 700 passengers (which is more than we are used to) and, onboard, we were very much aware that the ship was fully booked. The dining rooms were full (more on dining later), the lounges were full, the show room was full, the pool deck was very busy, etc. This is very different from the relaxed and open feeling that we experienced on other luxury vessels.
The ship is very pretty and well designed with a good deck plan; the new interior design is not exactly our taste but it is modern and pleasant. Our " Concierge Suite" was lovely and similar in size to those on other luxury vessels and was well equipped; all good. Concierge level suites do NOT have Butler service and, honestly, we missed having a Butler to help take care of day to day issues. Our cabin attendants did a good job taking care of the cabin but did not assist with things like shore excursions or dinner reservations; not a big deal but far less luxurious than Silversea. We are still not sure what benefits there are for being "Concierge Level" aside from a coffee maker in the suite - shame that milk was not available for your coffee without calling room service. We were located mid-ship; note that there is a severe vibration in the aft of the ship; you can feel it when in the common areas and Veranda Restaurant so it must affect aft cabins - so chose your cabin wisely.
Dining on board was hit or miss. Firstly, getting reservations in the specialty restaurants while onboard is impossible; even changing a dining time is a non-starter. Tables in both reservation restaurants were simply not available on any night at any time. Dining in the no-reservation Italian restaurant is also a challenge: it fills up by 730PM and then its a long wait or they send you away. Every question or request that I had concerning dining was met with one answer: NO. This is certainly not luxury. We ate in Prime 7 once and Chartreuse once; the food, service and presentation in these restaurants was excellent - that is why we wanted to return but couldn't. After two failed attempts, we finally got into the Italian and were disappointed with both the food and the service; it was nothing special and decided not to return. That leaves Compass Rose which was totally random: on certain nights the food was very good, on other nights it was mediocre at best; some dishes came our sizzling hot and others were hardly warm; service was the same, some nights efficient and at other times it took over 30 minutes until a waiter or wine steward acknowledged our presence. Also note that during peak times, there is a line-up to get a table at Compass Rose; the very unfriendly head waiters stationed at the desk take forever to seat people. Again, this is not six star luxury. Breakfast and lunch buffets, and the grill by the swimming pool were fine and typical of what is offered on luxury lines (although nothing ever changes at breakfast) - although, again, it is very busy and the buffet gets very crowded at peak moments. We find the SIlversea dining experience to be much better.
The wines offered with the meals were very good.
We really do not care so much about the entertainment offered onboard: we enjoy a relaxed pre dinner drink, a leisurely dinner and a stop and the lounge before heading to bed. The shows were very old fashioned in our opinion: predictable production shows plus magicians and ventriloquists - Vaudeville is back! The cruise director was hard working but well past his "sell-by" date and the bands on board were typically average. All nothing special and not very appealing to anyone under 70 years of age; the entertainment did not include one song released after 1980! Regent, especially now being part of the Norwegian group, can do so much better especially if they want to attract the next generation of luxury cruisers. (To be fair, entertainment is an issue on all small luxury ships...this is not where they excel.) On one evening there was an on-deck Bar-B-Q; it was nicely done and a very pleasant evening.
Service was a major let-down: as mentioned above, we missed having a butler, the service in the restaurants was nothing more than adequate, the service in the bars was truly poor where it frequently was difficult to get a drink, the coffee bar was unstaffed most of the time, and around the pool it was also difficult at times to get service. We thought that the crew, who do try, was either poorly trained or that the ship was understaffed or a combination of both. Nobody bothers to learn passenger names, few crew members are smiling, no one goes out of their way for you. It was very different from our experiences on Silversea and we were disappointed - on board Regent, we were treated as passengers and not as guests.
Also note that the internet service on the ship is a disaster: its nice that Regent offers free unlimited internet but its sad that is does not work most of the time probably because there is not enough band-with. I know that internet at sea is not as good as land based services: but the only time I could get a reasonable connection was at 400AM when most are sleeping or by sitting in front of the reception desk where the signal does work. Very frustrating indeed.
We loved the ports: the Med is beautiful and every port offers so much; we had basically visited every port that we called upon one or more times before and still found so much to see and do. That Regent includes shore excursions is a mixed bag: we ended up taking an excursion at each port because we paid for them (they are not free, they are included) and I must say that every excursion was very good; however, at a certain point, we did tire of group excursions and getting up early and rushing to be ready for the 800-830AM departures; we also missed just walking around though a town and discovering things on our own. In general, we never take organized tours and arrange our own touring; if you are like us and prefer to tour on your own, the included shore excursions may not work for your needs although, as stated, they are rather good. We were surprised that the group size was around 40 passengers per coach - we thought that was a lot for a luxury product.
We did not travel with children, and there seemed to be no children onboard. This ship is not a good choice for those travelling with little ones as there is nothing for them to do.
Disembarkation was a breeze and well organized by Regent. And, we had a private car waiting for us to take us to a post-cruise hotel in Sitges for a 3 night stay. No issues at all.
In summary, it was a good cruise and our issues with the Regent Voyager and its product are truly "luxurious problems" - we understand that. But: nonetheless, we were disappointed with the product and, at this price level, disappointed passengers are not a good thing. The ship itself is lovely, the level of service needs a lot of improvement and the dining system needs re-thinking. Constantly hearing the word "NO" to each and every request is not six star service. Will we be back? Who knows, so much depends on itinerary and fare structure; while we clearly prefer Silversea we would be open to cruising with Regent again. But for us, maybe a ship with 700 passengers is simply too much. Read Less