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1,155 Regent Seven Seas Cruise Reviews

Overview: The Mariner has still proven to me to be a memorable experience. It was my third time on the ship. The 1st time in 2001 I went to the Caribbean, the 2nd time was to Mexico in 2005, and this time was through the Panama Canal. All ... Read More
Overview: The Mariner has still proven to me to be a memorable experience. It was my third time on the ship. The 1st time in 2001 I went to the Caribbean, the 2nd time was to Mexico in 2005, and this time was through the Panama Canal. All of these cruises were over Christmas and this latest one was Christmas and New Years. *Please Note* I am a 15-year-old teenager. My review may not be as intellectual as others but this is just based from my experience, and I have gone on 11 cruises including this one--so I have experience. 6 of my cruises have been on Regent. Embarkation: The cruise before us was coming from Asia and had some extremely bad weather, which delayed the ship 5 hours. We were notified 5 days before embarkation (December 21) so we had the whole day to do nothing. We were supposed to arrive at the Los Angeles port around noon and board the ship at 1 PM. Luckily for us, we live in L.A., so we were not in a hotel, waiting for ship transportation. The cruise line had shuffled people around in different nearby hotels and they were not notified as clearly as others about the delay of the ship. The new time for embarkation was around 7 PM. We arrived at the L.A. port at around 6:20, the porters took our luggage, and we went into the terminal, which was quite busy. Now one thing that I heard negatively was that the clerks at the check-in counter were unorganized and slow. This is not the cruise lines fault. These people do not work for Regent. Those people work for whatever ship they are boarding. Our embarkation went smoothly, we were on the ship within a half hour of getting to the dock. *To future guests* Seeing as a ship being delayed 5 hours is VERY rare, my previous experiences have always been very smooth embarkation, rarely any waiting, and when you are on the ship you get your bags very quickly. Also, when you board the ship, the crew is there to greet you, hand you a nice glass of champagne, and directs you to your suite, which is usually ready when you board. Ship: The ship is 50,000 tons and holds 700 passengers. It's not a monster ship but it's not a small one either. It has many public rooms that serve as multiple purposes, strategically placed for different activities. There are 6 elevators: 3 glass ones that look out over the atrium, and 2 regular ones in the back of the ship. Deck 5 has 2 restaurants: Compass Rose and Latitudes, with the atrium staircase going up to deck 7. Deck 5 is also home to the bottom level of the show lounge (the Constellation Theatre), Reception, Travel Concierge, and the Mariner Lounge, a nice place to sit in before dinner. Deck 6 holds the top level of the theatre, the Stars Disco Lounge, Club.Com—the computers, Library, Garden Promenade, the newest edition--The Coffee Connection, Horizon Lounge that overlooks the back of the ship, Card & Conference room, and Signatures, another restaurant. Deck 7 is the lowest deck with suits, but suites are only on half of it. The rest is the Spa, Gym, Shops, and Casino. Decks 8-10 are all guest rooms (Deck 10 is the bridge too). Deck 11 holds the pool and Jacuzzi's, and La Verandah, mainly a breakfast and lunch restaurant but has Italian or Mediterranean at night. Deck 12 has a paddle tennis court, golf nets, walking track (only 11 laps to a mile!), Shuffleboard, bocce, and the Observation Lounge, a beautiful room overlooking the bow of the ship. Since this was a Holiday cruise, they also had nice Christmas Trees and Gingerbread houses around the ship. Suites/Accommodations: Who ever came up with the idea that every stateroom has a balcony (AND A VIEW) was a genius. Not only does the lowest costing room get you a balcony, there are no obstructed views, as all the lifeboats are below deck 7. Every room has a walk-in closet, TV w/ DVD player; a refrigerator with soft drinks and bottled water, a fresh fruit basket and flowers refreshed every day. Our cabin number was 955, and it was a standard suite, nice size. The standards suites can be either 1) a 3-person room where the couch comes out to a bed or 2) Have a separate shower instead of the shower/bathtub combination. Regent is now "all-inclusive", which is nice. Probably a lot nicer for older people who drink alcohol unlike myself but this now means all drinks are included, (Unless you buy a more expensive bottle of wine at dinner) and no extra costs. Gratuities are included. The only extra costs are for personal items of course, ie. Shore excursions, Photos, Boutique purchases, etc. The library was cut down due to the installation of the Coffee Connection so its supply of books is limited. It also holds a large DVD library, but they could buy a lot more DVD's, newer releases!! On the in-suite television—which has now been changed to flat screens—they have limited channels due to the reception they can get. Since my cruise was over New Years, we were questioning the reception we would get for the big football games. So many people requested for the Rose Bowl, they ended up showing the Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and a few others. They were in the room TV's along with the big theatre where they served hot dogs, popcorn, chips, etc. One thing that probably separates Regent from the big thing is the number of announcements. In the morning you might catch the cruise director giving an announcement talking about the days activities, and at sea days at noon you will always here the captain come on and talk about the weather and our location, but that's IT. They started a new way of showing announcements—on the television. Every day, you can hear all about the announcements (in more detail then in the daily program) on channel 1—Mariner Today. Other channels include 3 movie channels, that they show 3 different movies every day. They also receive Fox News, CNN, ESPN, and a few others (reception permitting). Entertainment: Daytime entertainment: The entertainment in the morning/afternoon has always been very top notch. This was no different on this cruise. It is instructed by the social staff--the singers and dancers from the Broadway cast. They are all extremely nice and make all of the activities fun. All the activities vary whether you are in port or at sea but range from Bingo to Bocce Ball to Ping pong tournaments to Trivia to inside mini golf tournaments. They feature 2-3 lectures a day on various topics that relate to our surroundings and even though I do not attend, I heard very good things about them. They show a movie in the theatre every day—attendance is never very large but they do have popcorn that makes the deck smell good. ? Evening Entertainment: Peter Grey Terhune is Regent's Broadway Company that produces shows for all of their ships. They have always done an excellent job with that and continue to do so. The cast consists of 4 singers and 6 dancers. They performed 3 big Broadway shows on my cruise. The first one was "Ballroom Bravo", a dancing sensation including two world-champion ballroom dancers that came from Russia. The second was "Harmony", a show that mainly featured the singers, and the third was "Broadway in Concert", a big Broadway show with lots of favorite Broadway music. The Regent Signature Orchestra backs up every song, at every show. They have a few solo artists that play in lounges, which are all very nice. However, one point that the evening entertainment slacked in was the alternative performances. They had 2 comedians, a magician, a pianist, and 2 vocalists. All of which were very talented but lacked a certain "pizzazz". I know that the cast does a lot of work performing but if they could add just one more show, it would make up for the so-so other entertainment. Children's Club: Club Mariner is only offered on select cruises and is really not given enough credit. Yes, if you do not go in the holiday season or the summer there are going to be NO children on board. HOWEVER, if you go over the Holiday season there will be at least 40+ kids on board, no doubt. On my cruise there were about 50 passengers ranging in age 1-18. (21 is the legal drinking age on Regent.) The children that came to the kids club are delightful, well-mannered children and the counselors are the best. During port days they have certain hours that they have activities, usually 2 hours in the morning, 2 in the afternoon, and 2 at night. On sea days they extend them so that children have more to do. They sort out fun activities like board game tournaments, beaded creature making, movie nights, and even cookie decorating in the galley. Those activities are for children ages 5-12, they do not allow children under 5 into Club Mariner without an adult present at all times. For teens 13-17, they offer the same times in the day, with slightly varied activities (in the same location as the children) but they are very flexible with what the teens want to do. My 2 youth counselors Carlie and Donna were very nice and fun. The only drawback of Club Mariner on a cruise line like Regent's is that they are not prepared for children. During the day our activities take place in the Stars Disco lounge (because it is not used in the day) and at night we are put into the conference room. They are both fine locations but they could really step it up a notch if they were to build a new ship (which is in the talking stages), at least make some kid friendly facilities and use them for storage when its not time for kids. Service: Service on Regent is perfect. On some cruise lines the waiters forget about you, and on some they are right next to you, watching every move you make, waiting to help you. I can't stand EITHER of those, so I'm lucky Regent is right in the middle. If the waiter sees you need help they help you but you are free to do what you want, when you want, wherever you want. They are always prompt. The room service does not take long for delivery and the cabin stewardess does a very quick and efficient job. They are all very happy, smiling, and will do anything to please you. Ports/Shore Excursions: We had 5 ports of call on our ship, as it was mainly an "at-sea" cruise. Our first port was San Diego, California. This was kind of like the first day because it was 1) an American port 2) Lots of people embarked here instead of L.A. and 3) This was the night we had the lifeboat drill and sail away party. San Diego was a good place to get any last minute items you needed, they had a free 10-minute shuttle ride to Horton Plaza, the big mall in San Diego, and of course you could hit the Zoo, SeaWorld, and the Naval Ship across the water. Our next stop was Cabo San Lucas. We arrived later in the afternoon, around 1 PM and were only staying until 6 PM unlike San Diego where we stayed all day. When I was in Cabo my dad and I took a boat from the pier to the bay and ate at the Office restaurant on the beach, then went back to the ship. Cabo is a very nice port for shopping and tourist things but I have been there many times so it didn't interest me to shop. After Cabo we went down to Puerto Chiapas. This was by-far one of the worst ports I have ever been too. They have 9 cruise ships a year—which basically states they are NOT ready for the rush of people. At the dock there is a small little mall that has a few small nice shops and a big arena in the middle to watch some traditional dancing. That whole thing is very nice, but then they offer a shuttle that goes down town. Why we took it I do not know, but it was just not a place you want to go when you are on a luxury cruise. Our next stop was Puntarenas, Costa Rica. This was the one port we decided to take a shore excursion in. We got off the ship onto a nice air-conditioned coach bus and took an hour drive up to a park, where we went on a Sky-Walk Rainforest and suspended bridge tour. It was very beautiful to see but could have been a little more exciting. The Panama Canal Transit is technically not a port but I will talk about it anyway. When the canal pilot isn't driving, he comes on the intercom to tell you about the next lock or some of the history of the canal. It's a very fascinating voyage. The whole canal takes about 8 hours to go through and you can watch it many different ways in any of the public room windows. Our final stop was in Cartagena, Columbia. We only stopped here because legally, since we went through the Panama Canal, we had to stop in a South American country since we were now in the Atlantic Ocean. I did not get off the ship in Cartagena but I heard mixed reviews about it. You had to find a cheap taxi into town, and then there was some good shopping. You can buy some nice jewelry and Columbian coffee, but the cab could be as much as $40 each way, and it was about a 7-minute drive. Overall the ports on this cruise were not the best, but the days at sea made up for them. The ship is full of things to do and there is never really a need to get off even when you are at port. Food: There are 4 main restaurants on the Mariner. The Compass Rose is the main dining room, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (but really shines in dinner). La Verandah serves all 3 as well but shines in its breakfast and lunch. Le Cordon Bleu sets itself up in Signatures, the alternative-reservation only French restaurant. And finally, you can indulge in Indochina style cuisine at Latitudes, another reservation only restaurant. I have never eaten at the Compass Rose for breakfast or lunch but that is only because La Verandah is a buffet while the Compass Rose is a sit-down lunch. At dinnertime in the Compass Rose you are welcome to dine whenever you want—the dining room opens at 7 and seats until around 9. You can eat by yourself or dine with other guests, but you are not assigned to a certain table/waiter/fellow guests/time to eat. The Compass Rose menu is very well laid-out and the back page even has a "Light and Healthy" section, a "Vegetarian" section, "No Added Salt", and "Simplicity" which has plain chicken, pasta, salmon etc. La Verandah has a fabulous breakfast buffet, however, it stays the same every-day. They have 2 large buffets with fruit, pastries, cereals, hot items like bacon and eggs, someone toasting bread/bagels, etc. They also have 2 custom-made omelet chefs that deliver your omelets right to your table. At lunchtime you can find almost ANYTHING from roasted turkey to spiral ham to spaghetti. They have a large salad bar and even have mini sandwiches. Another lunchtime option is the Pool Grill where you can get the basics; Hamburger, Hot Dog, and fun stuff like Cajun Chicken Sandwich, grilled shrimp sandwich, and many other options. They deliver them right to your table and are very quick and efficient. Finally, almost every day they have a lunchtime buffet outside. Every day it has a theme and every day the theme is different. One day it will be "Tex-Mex", the next "Champagne and Lobster Brunch" and even "German Bratwurst" day. Those are all delightfully laid out and always delicious. For dinnertime at La Verandah you can find either Italian Steakhouse or Mediterranean Cuisine. (They change it halfway through the cruise) I prefer the Italian Steakhouse much more, but both are very nice. The first part is a wonderful buffet and the next course is served to you, whether it be chicken, steak, or fish. Signatures is my least favorite restaurant but it is still VERY GOOD. They are an all-French cuisine restaurant that serves delicious food like duck, lamb, escargot, foie gras, etc. It is an amazing presentation and the service in there is very nice. Latitudes is the Asian restaurant, my 2nd favorite. Half of the cruise they are "Indochina" which is just a fancy word for Asian and the other half they were "Thai". I did not get to try the "Thai" menu but I heard it was just O.K. The presentation in Latitudes is impeccable. It's a very small restaurant and only holds about 20 tables. They serve the whole menu to you in small portions—no ordering. All the food at "Indochina" is incredible, amazing taste and you can get more of anything you want. The newest edition to the Mariner is The Coffee Connection, a delightful little coffee shop in the middle of the garden promenade. It is no charge for any specialty coffee drinks, and it's really like a Starbucks at sea. They have a large refrigerator that holds bottled water and sodas that passengers can use at any time. On the side of the Coffee Connection is a small buffet that they use for snacks. During the morning they have fruit, pastries, cereal, and bagels. During the afternoon they change it to fruit and cookies. Around the corner is the high-tech latte machine open 24/7 and juice and cookies always available. Last note on food, room service is available 24 hours a day. During dinner hours you can order anything from the Compass Rose menu into your suite, and they have a large menu. It comes promptly and efficiently, and they come in and set it up for you. Overall: Regent has never shown me something that would not make me want to come back. I plan on going on my next cruise on Regent and I know I will have a good time. The service, food, ship, and overall experience is like no other. They really out-do themselves on multiple levels Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
We began our 19-day cruise on Regent Mariner December 3-21, 2007 with a flight from LAX to Auckland on Air New Zealand in Premium Economy. The service was excellent and the flight passed quickly. We spent two days seeing the lovely city, ... Read More
We began our 19-day cruise on Regent Mariner December 3-21, 2007 with a flight from LAX to Auckland on Air New Zealand in Premium Economy. The service was excellent and the flight passed quickly. We spent two days seeing the lovely city, staying at the Sky City Hotel courtesy of Regent, and arrived at the nearby cruise terminal at noon. We quickly were welcomed aboard with champagne, given our keys and offered lunch in the Verandah Cafe. Upon arrival there, we were pleased to see our favorite waiter, Gerry, and spent a few minutes catching up on his family, before enjoying a terrific lunch. The Ship Our room, a penthouse C, soon was available, and we were pleased with its midship location and size. The penthouse C's have larger square footage than the regular suites, and we really enjoyed the expansive living area and verandah. The C category suites differ from Penthouse A and B only in that they do not have butler service, which we really don't use. Because we were Silver level with Regent, we had free internet and one hour free phone time. The wireless internet worked very well in the room. The only change we would make is the television, which worked but had very limited channels. However, we used the DVD player on the few instances we wanted to watch something. The room stewardess, Donna, arrived quickly and brought our requests for extra pillows, and bar setup. She did an excellent job of maintaining the cabin during the entire cruise, with a friendly and efficient attitude. Regent Mariner, which accommodates 700 passengers, was in excellent shape, with the new coffee bar always humming with activity, the internet area active, the Horizon Lounge busy for tea, trivia and bingo. The honor system library was fully-stocked with books and DVDs. Everywhere we went we were greeted by friendly staff, and the passenger contingent was pleasant and well traveled. We were so pleased to meet up with passengers with whom we've cruised Regent before, and meet new friends. We encountered no small children aboard. Food Another highlight of the entire cruise was the quality and variety of food which sets Regent apart from other lines. Dinner in Compass Rose, the main dining room, was excellent and had a varied menu with well-sized portions. Wines from the complimentary wine list completed each meal. A special reserve wine list, for an extra charge, also is available. CR continues to be our favorite restaurant onboard. Although it is open seating, we would ask to be seated at one of Gerry's tables. His service is absolutely top-notch and personalized. We cannot commend him enough. Besides CR and the Verandah Cafe, Regent has two other dinner venues available, at no additional charge. We ate in the alternative restaurant, Latitudes, twice during the cruise. First, the Indian themed dinner was outstanding. The menu then changed to Polynesian, which was interesting. The final week of the cruise the theme was Thai. Signatures, the Cordon Bleu restaurant was, as usual, excellent and service was first rate. Each day at lunch, a special poolside buffet was featured. This included a French lunch (fresh grilled foie gras, filet mignon and huge prawns), a German lunch (wiener schnitzel, sausages, smoked pork), and seafood, (crab legs, oysters, shrimp, grilled fish). All lunches included wonderful desserts and, of course, ice cream. On the last day, a special holiday lunch buffet was served, which included roast turkey and goose with stuffing and all the trimmings, as well as authentic German Christmas desserts and a huge gingerbread house. Santa himself made an appearance, and many of the staff wore Santa hats, adding to the festive atmosphere. Of course, Regent being all- inclusive, any drinks or beverages were available gratis. Excursions and Activities Our cruise first took us from Auckland to the Bay of Islands in New Zealand. There we took the Maori Cultural Experience excursion, which was a fabulous tour. It was guided by a Maori resident, who explained many of his ancestral beliefs, myths, and cultural activities. The highlight of the trip was a visit to a Maori marae, where we were welcomed by the elders of the community in an ancient Maori ceremony, which was moving and inspiring. We highly recommend this excursion. Other ports included Rarotonga, Bora Bora, Moorea, Papeete, and Nuku Hiva. We had a bit more rain during the cruise than expected, but it did not put a damper on the fun! We enjoyed an excursion riding wave runners around the Blue Lagoon in Bora Bora with friends, and the guides provided a great fun tour of the island as well as a stop on a motu for fresh coconut, bananas and pineapple. We also did a private ship excursion Bayliner Sunset cruise with the same friends around the Blue Lagoon, complete with champagne, hors d'oeuvres and a ukulele-playing boat driver. Watching the sunset while cruising the beautiful Blue Lagoon (and around the ship) with our driver singing was a truly unique experience! Bora Bora is a place we definitely will not forget. Although it was raining on Moorea, the snorkeling and stingray excursion was excellent. The stingrays were friendly and very active, and the beautiful coral and tropical and exotic fish were breathtaking. We explored Rarotonga and Papeete on our own. The shops and markets are easily accessible. We found the people on all the islands very friendly and welcoming, and the scenery stunning. Regent put on a special activity for all guests on Nuku Hiva in the Marquesas. The festival/cultural experience with carving, weaving and food demonstrations, along with music and dancing was lovely, despite the rain. Food was cooked in pits in the ground and a large buffet was served. Local craftspeople displayed their wares for purchase, including pareos, pearl jewelry, weaving and wooden carvings. All in all, an enjoyable experience. The schedule then had 6 sea days, but the time passed quickly with the many activities onboard. There were games, needlepoint, art classes, computer instructions and ballroom dance lessons. Speakers on this cruise were excellent, ranging from a former Washington Post reporter who lectured on the Middle East, a former British MP who spoke on intelligence and spies and spycraft during World War II and the Cold War. Another wonderful speaker was an archeological historian who spoke on the history of religion and its archeological evidence, and a former actor/sportscaster who spoke on his career. The Cordon Bleu cooking class was wonderful. This was the second time we have taken the course, and Chef Gilles from the Cordon Bleu in Ottawa was fantastic! The course now has been expanded to be a Circle of Interest course and is longer and more detailed than the previous courses. We had three extensive but fun classes learning techniques and cooking skills. We actually cooked up three excellent meals, which we enjoyed with wine following our work. A graduation dinner with special menu crafted by Chef Gilles took place at Signatures on our last evening. We highly recommend this course to anyone who loves food. Evening entertainment on the ship varied from Broadway productions to classical music. One innovation was a Dancing with the Stars contest with passengers taking partners from the dance hosts and entertainers. The contest dance-offs were the best attended entertainment as audience members cheered on their favorites. The quality of dancing was terrific and we congratulate the winners, who were awesome! Because we crossed the Equator on the trip, a special "baptism" of those who had not crossed before was conducted poolside. Actually the crew was "baptized," the passengers just watched and laughed. Now all aboard are official "Shellbacks" and were presented with a special certificate. In addition, one afternoon the crew put on a special Country Fair, with booths and activities. It was great fun as passengers threw water balloons, raced cars, and threw hoops etc in the booths to try to win prizes. The crew was enthusiastic and great sports, and the fair was a highlight of the crossing. Additional Information Because of crosswinds and a slight problem with a tender being raised onto the ship, we were slightly behind schedule in arriving in Los Angeles. We were scheduled to dock at 9am, but actually docked at 2pm. Regent really stepped up in this situation, especially because it was the weekend before Christmas. They sent passengers a letter three days before advising them of the change. Regent immediately changed travel arrangements for all those traveling on Regent air. In addition, they offered to reimburse for any changes incurred for any traveler who had to alter plane or other travel. The Travel Desk was helpful in making changes, and all guests were given free internet time and free phone time to contact family, make additional arrangements or changes. This customer service truly is one reason Regent has such a loyal following. Overall, this was a fantastic, relaxing cruise with excellent service, food and accommodations. Regent continues to be first-rate in customer service. We recommend Regent to anyone who wants to experience all-inclusive luxury cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
This was our third cruise and our second with RSSC. This was a cruise that failed to meet our expectations, with many highs and too many lows. in fact, we did not have enough room on the feedback card to list the points that we felt needed ... Read More
This was our third cruise and our second with RSSC. This was a cruise that failed to meet our expectations, with many highs and too many lows. in fact, we did not have enough room on the feedback card to list the points that we felt needed correction. Among the positive features were the cleanliness and decor of the ship. The cabins are large, and the bathrooms are generously appointed with marble. The flat screen TV with 150 movies on demand was a nice feature. Entertainment was quite good, on the level of good regional theater. Particular stand-outs were the ballroom dancing duo of Travis and Kristen. Travis is the best ballroom dance instructor that we have ever had ashore or afloat! We also would like to praise Jaime Logan, the cruise director. He was very professional, and (a rarity in the industry) did not talk to us like we were children or treat us like idiots. The library was also quite nice. The Compass Rose and Signatures were good, although with a tendency to use too many cream sauces. The best meal that we had was dinner at La Veranda, with excellent antipasto, pasta, and veal courses washed done with a very good chianti. Another positive feature of the ship was that you never felt that you were being "nickeled-and-dimed". You were encouraged to take as many of the free bottles of water as you wished when you left the ship to sight-see. The waiters and bartenders served out excellent drinks and checked up with you often to see if you wanted liquid refreshments. Unfortunately, there were too many negative features on this cruise. The first negative experience was when we arrived at the pier and tried to park at the terminal. We were informed by the parking staff that it was reserved for the special guests of a Regent Cruise line function (were these the travel agents that we saw touring the ship that day?)and that we would be forced with our baggage to use the other parking garage, a ten minute shuttle ride away. The tours were an enormous disappointment. The main reason we booked this cruise was to see the Mayan ruins. The 8 hour tour to the Lamanai ruins in Belize required a total of 6 hours on boat and bus. Part of the 2 hours at the site was taken up by a meal of doubtful provenance (of which we did not partake). By the time we got to the most impressive ruins we were informed that there was not enough time to climb them or explore. It was a simple walk past. I felt like Moses at the entrance to the Promised Land... Next stop was the archaeological park at Quirigua in Guatemala. This was a 4 and a half hour tour; of which 3 hours was taken up by a bus ride. We had no time at the site to walk around or explore on our own as we had to return to the ship by 12:30. We rushed back, but why, the ship remained in the port of Santo Tomas, a place with very limited facilities for sightseeing; for another 5 hours? The final bad experience was with the $29 "self-guided GPS walking tour of Key West". This considered of us renting a GPS system that took us on a guided tour of selected bars and tourist traps! At Lattitudes we had the worst meal that we have experienced on a ship. We have much better Asian food at home (South Carolina and New Jersey. The menu selection was extremely limited and inferior to most take-out restaurants. But an exceptional experience was finding a black (not ours!)human(?)hair in the chicken with cashews. We cut short our meal as we lost our appetites. Although internet service was slow but good, we experienced terrible problems with the AT&T cellular service on the ship. We were not alone in this, as 4 other passengers had similar experiences. The service was intermittent. We invested $68 to contact AT&T in a ship-to-shore phone call and they advised us that the problem was on the ship. The ship's Reception Desk denied that there was any problem with the service and was not at all helpful. Our parting memory of the "Voyager" will be getting the "bum's-rush" by our cabin attendant on our day of departure. We were supposed to be allowed to stay in the cabin until 8:30. At 8:15 she opened the door and told us she had to start making the bed. This was in spite of the fact that we were not quite ready to leave. Perhaps this is because tips are included in the cost of the cruise? In a way this is representative of some of their problems with service. The staff is now largely young, Asian, and inexperienced. We will certainly take other cruises, possibly even with this line, but this was a disappointing experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
This was our third cruise on Mariner (Alaska and Panama Canal before) and fifth on RSSC (Voyager in the Baltic, plus Rome to Ft Lauderdale) but our first since the all-inclusive policy went into effect, and since the up-grading of the ship ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Mariner (Alaska and Panama Canal before) and fifth on RSSC (Voyager in the Baltic, plus Rome to Ft Lauderdale) but our first since the all-inclusive policy went into effect, and since the up-grading of the ship in drydock. We live in Switzerland and chose to fly via KLM/AF so first went to Amsterdam where we spent the night, taking the 1000 flight the next day to Lima. At Schipol we stayed at the Airport Sheraton which was excellent, quiet and located about 20m from the main airport concourse. Our flight to Lima was on time and we were met at the Lima airport by a rep. from Lima Tours. (We had decided to plan our own pre- and post-cruise programmes using a London travel agency and their land operator in Peru was Lima tours.) We were taken to a mini van (three of us were travelling - myself and my husband and a friend) and it took about 45 minutes to get to San Isidro and the Country Club Hotel. The hotel is lovely to look at from the outside, but in serious need of re-decorating in the rooms, especially the bathrooms. Nonetheless with a room overlooking the golf course we had a nice view! Lima tours set up a private sightseeing for us in Lima, with an excellent guide (Betty) who took us to the old town and also to Miraflores. The next day we were on our own for the day and went back to Miraflores for lunch at the Rosa Nautica. If I were to go to Lima again I think I would book a hotel in Miraflores as there is heaps more to see and do there than in San Isidro, which is mostly residential. Unfortunately I got a bad dose of food poisoning either at the lunch or that evening at the hotel. I don't know which. I was unable to travel to Cusco the next day as planned and Lima tours came up trumps! They booked us at the Country Club for an additional night, and arranged for our friend to travel alone to Cusco and then Machu Picchu. Once I felt better they organized a flight for us to Cusco (at no additional cost!) and three nights at the Monasterio instead of two. They also set up a full day sightseeing with private car and driver to the Sacred Valley of the Incas for us while we waited for our friend to return from Machu Picchu. Our guide in Cusco, Luis, was superb. he also took us to the Sacred Valley. I think Lima tours is just the best local operator I have ever encountered!! We spent the last night before the cruise in Lima, back at the Country Club but this time in a room overlooking the pool of the "real" country club. This was very very noisy in January and I would recommend asking for a room overlooking the golf course. Lima tours then transferred us to Callao and the Mariner. We left the hotel at noon and were on board by 12.30, glass of sparkling wine in hand (RSSC says champagne - but it is Cremant de la Loire. Not bad, but not champagne!) At the check in we were astounded to run into people from Geneva we have known for years! Having them on board made for an even greater cruise. We went up to la Veranda for lunch and then settled down to wait in the Observation Lounge until 2.30 for our suite to be ready. To our surprise after about 10 minutes someone came to fetch us and to bring us to the suite!! Our suitcases were already on the bed, waiting to be unpacked. How smooth is that?? Our butler -Pritam - and stewardess Ann came by to say hello. Ann was terrific, but Pritam is simply the best! He went out of his way to make our cruise wonderful and nothing was a problem for him. I wanted to take him home with me at the end!! I really like the re-decoration of the suite. Without too many changes it seemed "smoother" and more modern than before. And the space in the PH suites on Mariner is fabulous. The Voyager PH suites are far smaller though their bathrooms are better and closets larger. Sadly the flat screen TV had not yet materialized! The first evening we had a cocktail party in Stars Nightclub for the members of our Circle of Interest - The Falklands Conflict, led by Commodore Jamie Miller and his lovely wife Linda. Jamie was simply a terrific leader and getting to know him and Linda was great fun. We had a nice dinner in Compass Rose that night. We love the Compass Rose's offers of "tried and true dishes" if you happen not to want anything on the menu. My husband is particularly partial to Bearnaise sauce so we "treated" ourselves to the filet mignon with Bearnaise the first night. The new all-inclusive policy is just great. We had many more cocktails in the various bars than in our suite, and it made getting to know other people very nice indeed. The first port was Pisco. I choose to skip the excursion since I was still feeling tired from the illness in Lima. However my husband and our friend went to the Ballesteros Islands and had a great time. Leaving Pisco our Captain (Alfredo Romeo aka as "me from the bridge"!!) took the ship on a different course so we could all see the famous "Candelabra" etched into the hillside. Very impressive. Our first sea day (I love sea days!) introduced us to the lecturers we would have for the rest of the voyage: Terry Breen - yippee! - being her usual wonderful self and telling us all about the countries, peoples and customs as we went along. Dr. Sheldon Simon from Arizona, speaking on US NAtional Security issues - absolutely excellent!, and a "ports" lecturer, John Tabbut-McCarthy, who was very competent and I think "told it like it is" so you knew exactly what to expect. The other lecturers - Edwina Currie, speaking on British politics and Jean-Michel Cousteau speaking on supposedly the sea but actually anything that he wanted to - started their series later. We are really disappointed with Jean-Michel Cousteau. he never talked about the topic that had been announced and he plugged his foundation unmercifully. It was particularly hard for us because someone from his foundation had spoken on our Panama Canal cruise in 2005 and she had been excellent! Well, there you go - win some, loose some! We tend not to go to the evening shows very often, but except for one (which was too loud for me!) those we did go to, we enjoyed. Antofagasta was the first Chilean port. We had a terrible tour with a terrible guide and learnt little about the town. Admittedly there is not a whole lot to see, but had a tour been arranged with lectures at a mining company we could have learnt a lot about the copper industry in Chile. My husband now refers to this town as "Antoforgetta". Valparaiso was lovely. We had our own tour here with car and guide and were able to go where we wished, which included a stop at a lapis lazuli jewelers in Vina del Mar for me! Getting into Patagonia we stopped in Puerto Montt and took the excursion to the Emerald Lake. The little cruise on this absolutely stunning, green lake was very nice. After that we visited the Petrohue waterfalls. This involved walking around 15 minutes and being literally attacked by very large horse flies who apparently love dark colors. I was wearing a black sweater! If you take this tour be warned - where light colors!! We then had a late (very late) lunch at a nice place situated between two snow-capped volcanoes and looking down to a lake. The lunch was so-so but the Pisco sours great! This tour really gave us an idea of how lovely this part of Patagonia is. It was, however, rather long and most of us wanted to go straight back to the ship after lunch (by then 4pm) but some diehards insisted on a stop at a little town where they could shop. I slept in the bus! At Puerto Chacabuco we opted for the "Patagonia in Depth" nature walk. We had a fabulous guide and learnt a lot about their plants. I did not realize that this tour also included a BBQ and by the time we had finished the walk I was ready to return to the ship. (My fault - I should have printed the tour description and taken it with me!) I asked the guide if we could call a taxi - we were about 10 minutes drive from the port - and she asked her boss, the director of the park. He then volunteered to drive us back! What kindness! And en route we had a good chance to talk with the guide and learn even more about the area. The rest of the group came back on the last tender at 5.30pm. At Punta Arenas we chose the Otway Sound penguin reserve tour. This involved around 2 hours each way on dirt roads before arriving at the reserve. When we got there we walked for exactly 1.5km in total, in a loop on a boardwalk and saw quite a few penguins. However our friend went to a penguin reserve on the Falklands and said it was much better - so if one would choose, I would do that in the future rather than Otway. I have to insist on the distance walked because RSSC's publicity says you must walk 2 miles there and 2 miles back. This is not correct. 1.5km all in is around a mile and there were a couple of golf buggies to hire ($25) for people who couldn't do that. In Ushuaia we took the Beagle Channel cruise. This was really interesting and we certainly saw a lot of sea lions! The cruise was followed by some time in a national park which was only marginally interesting, I thought. Ushuaia is a duty free port and people were stocking up on all sorts of electronic goods at rock bottom prices. Our cruise around Cape Horn was definitely a experience not to be missed. Captain Romeo took the Mariner between the two islands. He had warned us of high winds and very rough seas but to my glee the wind dropped once we came out of the channel and though the ship was rocking, it was not too bad. The Observation lounge was jam-packed and there was a real buzz up there. We got out on deck and took photos of the Cape as we went by. To put all this in context we had eaten at Signatures that evening, and had a superb dinner - what a contrast to Cape Horn Because we were in the Falklands Circle of Interest the highlight of all the excursions was our time there. We drove over really bad dirt roads for nearly 3 hours to reach Goose Green and walked over the battlefields with Jamie and our excellent local guide, Patrick, commentating. We then visited the war memorial at San Carlos bay and paid our respects to Col. H Jones who earned a VC in the battle and was killed in Darwin. Lunch was a very "cobbled together" affair put on by a local family. They themselves were absolutely fascinating to talk with and it was interesting to see how people live in these windswept, rainy islands. Speaking of rain - I have to say that we were enormously lucky with the weather. Aside from a couple of showers in Cusco we had great weather. In fact Terry Breen said several times that she has been to this part of the world over 20 times and had never before this cruise seen the tops of the mountains in Patagonia!!¨ We docked in Buenos Aires on the Sunday evening and did not have to disembark until the Monday morning. Our last night we dined in Signatures again, making it three times in all during the voyage. The quality and choice here are terrific. As I mentioned earlier we also like the Compass Rose, but I am afraid that for me Latitudes, despite great service, has not yet found its niche. We did enjoy the barbecues by the pool grill which were offered most lunchtimes on sea days -- and the single best thing I ate on the whole cruise had to be the barbecued suckling pig with crackling at the last BBQ!! Aside from the lectures we both spent a great deal of time on the computers. We appreciated the new coffee bar and the quality of the cappuccinos has to be tasted to be believed! There are fewer terminals on Mariner than Voyager though and I think they should remove the Stars nightclub and enlarge both the "Coffee Connection" and the computer lab. Finally, we became Trivia fanatics and rushed to the Horizon lounge every day at 4pm. On one day I chatted with the Pastry Chef, Kevin Lee, who told me he had been the Pastry Chef at The Ivy (a famous London restaurant). When I told him that his Sticky date pudding served in the Compass Rose the night before was to die for, he said "Yes - it's what Madonna always ordered at the Ivy"!! All in all a fantastic cruise. Interesting places - none of which we had been to before - much enhanced by the on board lectures and above all the sheer joy of the luxury of the Mariner and RSSC! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
Because recent reviews of the Regent Mariner have been scarce, I thought it was important to provide an update. Rather than providing the day-by-day review of the ship typical of many reviews, I've decided to focus this review on the ... Read More
Because recent reviews of the Regent Mariner have been scarce, I thought it was important to provide an update. Rather than providing the day-by-day review of the ship typical of many reviews, I've decided to focus this review on the key issues that may help you decide if the Mariner is the right cruise ship for you. Quick Review (If you are scanning reviews and only have a few minutes, read this part first. If you have more time, you can read the rest in more detail now or later.) Older, well-traveled, wealthy clientele. Good food and excellent complimentary wine. Many of the amenities you would expect on a luxury cruise line, including 24-hour room service. Cabins were spacious and well arranged. Onboard activities were plentiful for this clientele, but won't suit younger cruisers. Many of the shore excursions were excellent, and the complementary shuttle into town at some ports was a real bonus. Internet access was good for a ship. Dining room and some buffet service was mixed. Don't choose this ship for the quality of the entertainment, fitness center, or dEcor. Clientele - I estimate 80-90% of the passengers were in the 55-90 age group with the median age of about 65. There were very few passengers under 50. We saw about three children. Wealthy and well traveled; over half were repeat Regent customers. About 160 of the 590 people aboard were taking the entire four-segment cruise around South America. Regent understands what this demographic wants and focuses their services on their needs. Things that make Regent better than many other cruise lines: - Shore excursion amenities. Like some of the other premium cruise lines, red carpets, shade tents, chairs, water, and fruit punch are often set up shore-side. Free bottled water and beach towels are available at the gangway. One of the useful amenities we liked was a complementary shuttle bus at several of the ports. If you aren't interested in taking an organized shore excursion, these busses are great alternatives that allow you to get into town to a hotel, shopping areas, or central plazas. - Food, wine, and drinks. The food was good. A few meals were incredible, some were just average. The menu variety in the main dining room was impressive—-something that is likely quite a challenge for a longer, multi-segment cruises. In fact, they often incorporated local menu items to provide a taste of South America while eating aboard the ship. We ate one dinner at Signatures and it was wonderful. We also ate one Italian dinner at La Veranda. The food at La Veranda was also excellent. The captain was dining at a table nearby, if that gives you any idea what his preferences are. (OK, I'll admit. He is Italian, so that may have something to do with it!) The wine with every dinner in all three venues was outstanding! Their great selection of complimentary white and red wines varied each evening. Although you can pay to get premium wines, we found the nightly offerings to be excellent quality and didn't see anybody spending money on other vintages. If you don't care for one of the selected wines, you can ask for an offering from a previous night. It will probably still be available and will be provided to you free for your enjoyment. It is very nice to have complimentary bottled water, sodas, premium coffees, and alcoholic beverages widely available. It was also nice to have free soda and popcorn available at the afternoon movies. Other than paying for some pictures at the end of the cruise, I really enjoyed never having to sign a charge slip the entire cruise. - Cabin Size and Layout. With balconies, walk in closets, and large bathrooms with full size tubs or showers in every suite, even the smallest guest cabin on the ship is larger than many premium cabins on other lines. The space was very well organized. The sitting area with a small sofa and comfortable chair was great for lounging and eating in the room. The mini fridge was always well stocked. Fresh fruit and flowers were the extra touch of luxury you would expect in a cruise line in this class. Lots of power plugs made it easy to recharge camera batteries, etc. - Room Service. The breakfast menu was left on the bed each night. We ordered breakfast in the room over half the mornings because it was so convenient. We really enjoyed eating breakfast in the room as we were getting ready to go ashore on excursion days. Unlike many other lines, you could even order room service breakfast on disembarkation day. The hours were just limited so you could eat and be out of the room on time. We also had one lunch and one late night dinner in the room. It is easy to get spoiled with room service on this cruise. As a side note: Since room service is available 24 hours a day, this ship doesn't have food available at a buffet or other venue at odd hours. The Coffee Connection did have cookies, coffee, hot tea, and a refrigerator full of cold drinks available 24 hours as well as some sandwich meats and cheeses during the off hours in the afternoon. However, at other times if you want food or a real meal when the restaurants are closed, order room service. - Daily Activities. Onboard activities were appropriate for the clientele. You won't find any belly flop contests at the pool!! Instead, there were a variety of lectures on ports, South American culture, and geopolitical issues. The best thing about the port lectures is that they focused on things to do and see in port, not on shopping the "company stores" or buying shore excursions. The schedule also included daily movies, classes, and cooking demonstrations. Our problem with the activity schedule was not being able to do all the things we wanted to do in a given day. Many of the best activities tended to be clustered in the mid-afternoon, sometimes making it difficult to attend more than one event. It would be better to have early afternoon and late afternoon activities to allow more opportunities to participate. - Muster drill. The muster drill was simple and occurred at 1015 on the first morning at sea. Given the small passenger load of this ship, everybody can fit in the theater at one time. As we sat in the theater, it was explained to us that Regent's philosophy is to muster passengers in the theater and only evacuate to the life boats if the situation requires it, thus keeping everybody out of any cold or bad weather until the last minute. That's a pretty nice way to do a muster! - Panama Canal. Several special touches made this a very nice experience. Mariner provided lots of covered chairs on the deck at the front of the boat to watch the activity. The Observation Lounge was the best indoor space to view the passage, and they served a nice continental breakfast and afternoon tea there during the canal transit. (I later discovered this was standard every day, but just more popular on that day.) We spent much of the day there and it was fantastic. We couldn't ask for much more than a comfy chair with a view of the world and food and drinks at our fingertips! Since every cabin has a balcony, you could also view the passage from the comfort of your cabin (and order room service, if you want to). The Panamanian tour guide was only being broadcast in the public areas, but you could tune into the ship's channel on TV to hear her while in the cabin. - Dress code. If you like to dress for dinner (we do), this is your ship. In 12 nights, we had three formal nights (tuxes and formals were the standard) and three informal nights (coat and tie for men, cocktail dresses for women). The rest were "country club casual," which was still pretty dressy. Most of the women were wearing dresses or nice slacks. Most of the men wore nice shirts and many still wore jackets with open collar shirts. Signatures requires coat and tie minimum, even on casual nights. - Meet your neighbor. This was the first cruise ship we've been on where they had a "block party" in the hallways outside the cabins late the first afternoon. It was a great opportunity to meet some of the people who you would see in the halls for the next 12 days. The serving staff was pouring wine and offering snacks. The entertainment staff and ship's officers were also in the hallways meeting the guests. It was a great way to start building the camaraderie and meeting friends that became one of the most memorable parts of this cruise. The mixed bag. Some good and some bad made these things that Regent does only slightly better or on par with other cruise lines: - Shore Excursions. I detest tours that take you to one "commission store" after another. We thought Regent was going to be different and for many tours they were. Many excellent tours focused on seeing the sights and never stepped foot in a store. However, Cartagena, Colombia was the disappointing exception. Apparently the tour operator there also owns a small shopping mall in the new part of the city and all tours included an obligatory stop at that mall. After an excellent tour of the city, we wasted over an hour of our precious port time at that mall. Many people on the tour were quite upset and some abandoned the tour at that point and took a cab back to the ship. Even those people who took the dedicated shopping tour expecting to be able to spend time at some of the high quality shops downtown were instead taken to this "tourist trap" mall. Other tour highlights included the Gamboa Resort aerial tram in Panama, which included a walk up a tower with spectacular views of the area and the Panama Canal. Archeological sites near Trujillo, Peru were also spectacular. Note that Regent shore excursions are appropriate for their clientele. There were lots of beautiful coach and walking tours, but you won't find many action and adventure options here! - Internet. Most ship internet is slow, and the Mariner's was no exception. However, the prices were a bit more reasonable than other ships. Package prices had 20-25 cents per minute, and packages were easy to use up on a 12-day cruise. Here's a tip: Leave a couple of minutes on your package for your last online session. The prices do not change during the session, so if you have a 20 cent per minute package any additional minutes you use will be charged at that rate—as long as you started with that rate. It's an easy way to extend the value of your package for one session without having to buy another package you may not need. The non-package price was 35 cents, which is still not bad when compared with some other lines. The best deal was for people who had cruised more than 20 nights with Regent—-free internet access! There were lots of computers available in the computer room and four more just outside at nice desks in the Coffee Connection area. Wireless was also available at several locations throughout the ship and in your cabin. The wireless worked flawlessly in our cabin. - Housekeeping, Bed Quality, and Linens. First let me say that our stewardess was excellent. She was incredibly fast and thorough. On other lines we've often returned to the cabin while it was being serviced. We only caught our stewardess once. She was finished, but had stepped down the hall to get fresh fruit for our bowl. We can hardly complain about that! We heard from other frequent Regent cruisers that this is the one exception some people make to the no-tipping policy, so we had no problem providing a little extra for our stewardess. (It was entirely optional, but we felt like we should recognize and reward what we felt was truly outstanding service.) The bed was nice and comfortable, but I overheated under the down comforter. So I doubled the comforter over my wife (who always gets cold) and slept under a sheet. Although there was an extra wool blanket in the room, I wanted something lighter weight. I called housekeeping and asked for a cotton blanket, but was told they were not available. I found that somewhat surprising. If a ship of this size doesn't have any cotton blankets onboard, they need to get a few! Housekeeping did bring me a lightweight acrylic/wool blend blanket, which was better than all wool or nothing. - Dining Room Service. One of the things we really liked about this cruise was the ability to meet new people at dinner each evening. The Maitre d' will give you a choice when you check in. Sometimes you get great table companions and sometimes you don't. If you want some alone time, you can ask for a table for two. The down side to the open seating arrangement is that you may get a different waiter every time, so they won't know your special needs or preferences from serving you the entire cruise. My wife has some special dietary limitations. Regent wants to you fax those requirements to the ship at least 30 days prior to embarkation. We also provided the information to the registration desk staff and dining room staff the first evening. They provided advance copies of next day's menu at our cabin every night and asked us to pre-order any special requests at the dining room before 1000. We didn't find that very convenient, since we were either rushing to get out the door for a shore excursion and ate room service in the cabin, or we were sleeping in. We never made the dining room for breakfast. It would have been far easier for us to simply know what menu items were compatible with my wife's dietary requirements. Reading the brief description often wasn't enough and the waiters had to consult the chef because they didn't know the details either. The one morning my wife attempted to pre-order, she felt like she was scolded by the Maitre d' on duty. On a few occasions, we had repeat waiters who understood her requirements and identified the items on the menu which met her requirements. In retrospect, a face-to-face meeting with the dining room supervisor may have made the situation easier to handle. In sharp contrast to the main dining room, La Veranda and Signatures handled her special needs very well. We expected to have a few issues at Signatures because they clearly state that menu items cannot be modified because they are prepared to exacting Cordon Bleu standards. We were pleasantly surprised when the waiter asked us up front if there were any dietary concerns! At both Signatures and La Veranda the chefs personally came out to discuss the preparations with my wife to make sure they were acceptable. That probably isn't possible given the quantity of people in the main dining room, but it was a welcome change of pace. One final issue about the main dining room is that it seemed like somebody dropped dishes every night and there were no rough seas to blame. The noise of clanking dishes and silverware was particularly distracting at lunch and occasionally so during dinner. - Drink and Buffet Service and Cooks. The drink service in the theater was hit or miss. Plan to get to the theater early, if you want a drink. The only time we got drink service when we arrived just before the show started was in the balcony. I suppose this makes sense, since they don't want the servers distracting the performers. I've noticed they continue to serve during the show on some other cruise lines where they are making money from the drinks, but that's not the case here. Despite the fact that it was a buffet, the breakfast and lunch servers at La Veranda were quite attentive—quickly bringing drinks and clearing dishes. Although most of the buffet is self-serve, they usually had a carving station and some kind of cooking station set up on the end for omelets, pasta, etc. You need to have a table "staked out" before you order anything cooked to order in La Veranda or upstairs at the pool grill. That often wasn't convenient if you were just then selecting buffet items for your plate. The easiest thing to do was go through the buffet once, put your plate at a table, and then go back to order anything you wanted cooked. I felt like I got some attitude from a La Veranda omelet chef when I selected some baby shrimp from the buffet and asked him if he could include them in the omelet. I was somewhat surprised by that in a ship of this class. - Disco. This could be good or bad, depending on your perspective. The disco was usually virtually empty. If you want to select your own music and dance in relative privacy (which we did), you'll love it. If you are looking for lots of people dancing, you won't find them here. - Photographic services. It was a pleasure to have photographers available, but never pressuring you for a photo. With Regent you won't find photographers stopping the tender disembarkation line to snap mandatory photos. Like most other ships, the photos are outrageously overpriced at $25 each, with no quantity discounts. Most of the pictures they took were excellent and we bought four. I hated to see them throw away perfectly good pictures, but I thought $100 was enough to spend on prints. We also bought a Regent SharedBook for about $100. This is a 60-page hardbound book that included stock shots from the ship's files, any photos you purchased onboard, and the ability to upload any of your own digital photos. It sounded like a great idea at the time to create a photo keepsake. Unfortunately, there were disappointingly few stock photos actually included. The website is so slow that it makes the shipboard internet seem fast! Finally, the software is limited and cumbersome. Since we took over 2200 digital photos and have several hundred photos from some of the friends we met, we will produce a quality photo book. It will just be much more work than we anticipated based on the description of the process we received from the onboard photographers who sold us the package. - Spotlight on Chocolate. Regent frequently has "spotlight" cruises that focus on a particular topic. This cruise was touted as a "Spotlight on Chocolate." We expected lots of opportunities to sample chocolate specialties, but that wasn't the case. One afternoon included a rum and chocolate tasting that focused more on rum than chocolate—-interesting, but not what we expected or wanted. Much later during the cruise a guest dessert chef demonstrated preparation of a couple of his recipes. His desserts were featured that night in the dining room. While all of this was a unique learning opportunity, these couple of events fell well short of our expectation of what a "spotlight" cruise would include. Things that could use improvement: - Entertainment. Some of the evening entertainers were good. (Three of the solo entertainers got standing ovations.) Others were mediocre. I thought the first production show and the magician were weak. The shows are fun, but don't expect consistently high quality entertainment on this cruise. - Security. We were very surprised that there was no peephole in the door. We never knew who was ringing our doorbell until we opened it, and that's not very secure. The safe was half size. Ironically, the shelf was empty behind the safe, so it could have accommodated a full size safe. I would think both of these items could and should be easily upgraded. - Ship Décor. Some people say the Mariner has an "understated elegance." In some places, that is true. The Coffee Connection area, which was just recently added, and the hallway area next to it were very nice. In other places the ship is boring and worn. I thought the grey metal mesh decorations suspended in the atrium were downright ugly. I've seen comments about them in several reviews, so I'm somewhat surprised they are still there. Some good interior design could really brighten up the ship. We like elegant and classy, not boring or garish. - TV. We didn't find much to watch so we left it on the bow camera station most of the time so we could listen to the classical music. Unfortunately, it was the same music over and over every night. They really could use more variety. When our schedule was too full to allow us to attend a cultural or port lecture, we frequently tuned in to the replay channels to hear what we missed. Additionally, the TV really should be interactive. While some guests on this ship may be intimidated by the technology, many would appreciate the capability to order shore excursions and check the few charges you may incur. A DVD player was included and we noticed quite a few guests checking out free DVDs from the library. Since that's something we can do better at home, we never watched a single movie in the room. - Fitness Center. While the equipment was adequate for a ship of this size; the location, ambience, and view are horrible. Most land-based gyms are nicer and this is the worst onboard fitness center I've seen in 10 years. In all fairness, they do have a nice large group exercise room connected to the gym and did hold classes there. We've enjoyed several fitness centers at sea, but we didn't have the desire to spend any time in this one. We took the stairs everywhere instead. We heard they may have plans for a new fitness center, including an expansion and relocation to a better part of the ship. - Boutique selection. The onboard store had a very limited selection of Regent or Mariner branded merchandise. Most of the selection was Izod Lacoste. While that is fine if you forgot to pack casual clothes for the cruise, we wanted a quality souvenir shirt or jacket from the ship. We were disappointed to leave empty handed because the one shirt in three different colors wasn't anything we wanted to buy. - A good plan gone bad. On each of the four legs of this South American cruise, Regent planned a complementary shore excursion or party of some kind. For this first leg they planned a party in Panama at the Miraflores Visitor's Center. It sounded great. A guided bus tour to the visitor's center, a quick tour of the displays followed by food, entertainment, dancing, and free drinks all evening as we watched the ships transit the locks of the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, the execution fell short of the plan and many guests were disappointed and upset. The tender and bus rides took way too much of the allotted time. The food was marginal and many people missed most of the entertainment. I enjoyed the displays at the visitor's center and watching the ships transit the locks up close was fantastic. It was advertised that the party would last until midnight, but there wasn't much time to enjoy the evening before the final busses returned to the ship shortly after 10:00 pm. To add insult to injury, there were long lines for the tenders back to the ship. The lines moved quickly, but lines of any kind are a rarity that Regent customers don't expect and don't tolerate well. We were left standing in the parking lot for 15-20 minutes and that caused some of the passengers physical discomfort. Also, we had been promised a nice barbeque and buffet upon returning to the ship, but it wasn't anything more than the standard pool grill fare, a few sandwiches, and a table of desserts. Since the food was so bad on shore, lots of hungry people were upset with the poor showing on the ship and returned to their cabins for room service. (Thank goodness for an excellent menu and no-fee, 24-hour room service. The room service waiter said they were surprisingly busy that night and didn't know why!) The complaints were widespread and emphatic. Although the event was free to guests, everybody (including the staff) was well aware that this event did not meet Regent standards of service and quality. I think this was the low point for many people, including us, on this leg of the cruise. The captain even apologized the next day for not having enough tenders available. The word around the ship was that this was Regent's first and last time to use the Miraflores Visitor's Center for a party. In summary, we loved our cruise and would do it again in a heartbeat. The good friends we made on board will hopefully last a life time. However, OVERALL, it is difficult to rate our experience 5 or 6 stars. Yes, there were some 5 and 6 star moments--dinner menus delivered to our door, our cabin stewardess, the size and comfort of the cabins, room service, the on-deck fresh grilled fish buffet, and two restaurants (Signatures and La Veranda Italian Steakhouse). Perhaps our expectations of perfection were too high and it is easy to get spoiled quickly, but by the end of the cruise we were surprised that Mariner fell short in so many areas identified above. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
We have just returned from a fabulous 30 day journey on Regent Seven Seas Voyager. I booked last minute from Regent  and was offered an F category at H pricing. We booked just 10 days (Auckland to Sydney) with a 3 day pre cruise stay in ... Read More
We have just returned from a fabulous 30 day journey on Regent Seven Seas Voyager. I booked last minute from Regent  and was offered an F category at H pricing. We booked just 10 days (Auckland to Sydney) with a 3 day pre cruise stay in Auckland. The flight, the hotel, all handled by Regent, was perfect (albeit eCONOMY CLASS) BUT aIR New Zealand is a wonderful airline, so it wasn't too bad. (oVERNIGHT FLIGHT OUT OF lOS Angeles, non stop to Auckland...around 13 hours) ONCE ON THE SHIP, we couldn't resist extending, so we met with the cRUISE CONSULTANT ONBOARD, who worked hard to make it happen (again at the same discounted pricing)and before we knew it, our 10 day voyage turned into 30 wonderful days! The seas were rough, but we were mid ship on deck 8 and it didn't bother us too much. sINCE THIS IS PART OF A WORLD CRUISE, the passengers were older than we have travelled with on other Regent sailings.....We are in our late 50's, and have found the Regent trips to the Med and Tahiti to attract a younger crowd. Food was superb in all of the restaurants. The wine flowed (DECENT LABELS EVERY MEAL INCLUDED) and the gifts from Regent on each segment were very nice. We each received leather credit card/ cases and nice wool and leather travel bags. Customer service was the best ever: the stewardess was exceptional, the wait staff professional and courteous, and the maitre d/s in each restaurant went our of their way to accommodate. We don;t like the formal nights (there were 4) BUT THE SERVICE AND MENU IN COMPASS ROSE ON THE FORMAL NIGHTS was the best we've had. tHE ITINERARY WAS relatively active: about 6 total days at sea in the entire 30 day voyage. Weather was not very good in AUSTRALIA AND WE HAD SNOW IN jAPAN. Yet I can still say it was the Best cruise we've ever taken thanks to Regent and the wonderful job they do keeping the passengers happy! We have already booked the President's Cruise for May of 09 (23 nights Ft Lauderdale to London, and can not wait to get back with this amazing ship and crew! Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
My husband and I just returned from a great week's vacation on the Navigator. The ports included Cozumel, Belize, Santo Tomas de Castillo (Guatemala), and Key West. This was our second Regent cruise, the first being in the Baltic in ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a great week's vacation on the Navigator. The ports included Cozumel, Belize, Santo Tomas de Castillo (Guatemala), and Key West. This was our second Regent cruise, the first being in the Baltic in the summer of 2006 on the Voyager. Our flight from DC to Fort Lauderdale was an object lesson in why you should always fly in the day before, if you can. The weather was perfect in Washington when we left, and most of the trip was very smooth, until we were suddenly diverted to West Palm Beach because of high winds and storms in Fort Lauderdale. We sat on the ground long enough in West Palm that the storm caught up with us, and held us on the ground there until it blew through. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale two hours late, at a time that would have been uncomfortably close to departure if it had been the same day. We had booked a room at the Marriott Harbor Beach Spa and Resort, using points from previous business travel. We had booked a few months in advance, and the person taking the reservation apologized that since we were using points, we'd have a room facing the city rather than the ocean. We hardly minded, since the room at this pricey resort was "free" and we'd be on the ocean for the next week. When we arrived, we found that the hotel was fully booked for a business convention - so we were upgraded to a large suite on a high floor, with living/dining room, separate bedroom, and beautiful views of the beach and ocean from three balconies. It was a very nice start to our vacation! Early the next morning we saw the Navigator arrive in Fort Lauderdale, gliding past our windows into port. I joked to my husband that I was "watching my ship come in". The short taxi ride to the port was easy, and Regent received us very graciously. We arrived at 1 pm so we were able to board immediately. A buffet lunch was available at the pool grill, and we passed the time pleasantly with that. The rooms were ready at the precise time promised - 2.30 - and our bags were waiting for us when we arrived. After unpacking, we acquainted ourselves with the ship. We had both been very happy with the layout and the appearance of the Voyager, so we found the Navigator to be very different. It does not have the open public spaces that the Voyager does; they seemed small and dark in comparison. The ship altogether has a more intimate feel than Voyager, which is reasonable given its smaller passenger capacity. Navigator has only two restaurants for dinner, compared with Voyager's four. The staff on Regent ships are very attentive without being obtrusive; a perfect combination, as far as we are concerned. The cabins are very spacious and comfortable, and we love spending time on the balcony. The reason I entitled this review "rocking and rolling" was because the first day out, a sea day, was extremely windy, with 10-15 foot seas. Many passengers took to their beds, and the rest of us lurched around the ship like drunks. I have long sailing experience, so I was not ill, and my husband was also fine. However, it did continue all day and well into the evening, and by then I had gotten enough entertainment out of it. This was our evening at "Portofino", the specialty restaurant, and many tables were empty because people had not been able to face going to dinner. There was a wine tasting set up outside the main dining room, but people (including myself) were not eager to stumble from table to table trying to keep our footing. One older man fell, and they quickly seated the rest of us at our tables before that happened again. Since Portofino is up on Deck 10, the rocking was more apparent than on lower decks. I did not find the food at Portofino to be any more "special" than in the Compass Rose (the regular restaurant), but I admit I was eating lightly that evening. We also didn't anticipate the "comical" musician, whom we found very disruptive to conversation, and who was not nearly as amusing as he thought he was. Ship Excursions We did our excursions through Regent, as we had done in the Baltic on Voyager. We find them to be good value for the money, and well organized in general. Cozumel: We did the Atlantis submarine excursion to Chankanaab. Each passenger has his or her own large porthole through which to view marine life, and you go down to 50 then 100 feet. The coral reef has had a lot of damage from hurricanes in recent years, but it is still interesting to see, and the fish we saw were spectacular. That was the highlight of Cozumel, which we found to be a tacky tourist town otherwise. I see no reason why we would return there in future. Belize: This was the highlight of the trip, for me. We took an excursion up the New River, pausing to see wildlife along the way - herons, crocodiles, a nest of bats (which flew out at us when we got too close!), and beautiful birds who "walk" on top of the water lilies. The boat took us to the park where the Lamanai Mayan ruins are, and we had a beautiful walk to the ruins under a canopy of palms (which helped shield us from the rain). There were two temples which we saw, and the guide was very informative about their history. The boat trip back was at high speed, and some people ducked behind the seats to avoid the wind and rain; I just regarded it as a free facial dermabrasion treatment, and would not have missed a single thing we saw on the way out or back. Santo Tomas de Castillo, Guatemala: I am amazed by the reviews I've seen which say this port is not interesting, or that they just got off the ship to shop in the port terminal. I can't imagine docking somewhere and not exploring! We went to the archaeological park at Quirigua, about an hour's drive from the port. Again, we had very knowledgeable guides, who could explain the meanings of the carvings on the giant steles in the park, which date to the eighth century. My husband is a terrific photographer and took some wonderful pictures of these amazing artifacts. Key West: We did not do an excursion here, but walked around on our own. Once we got off Duval Street, which is "turistaville", we found it very interesting. We visited the Hemingway house, and had a wonderful time at the butterfly conservatory down at the southernmost end of Duval. Overall, we were very happy with the cruise. We met very interesting people, and we find that "open dining" facilitates these meetings and conversations. One reason we initially chose Regent was that we did not want to eat at a set time with all the same people every night. Fixed seatings for dinner come at two times: Too Early and Too Late, and on Regent you can be seated anytime from 7 to 9. We always said we'd be happy to start a table or join one, and we had very interesting conversations with a wide range of people. My husband spent some enjoyable time in the casino (roulette is his game), and even came out a little ahead. The evening shows were not to our taste, and any time we have tried them (on both Regent cruises) we leave early. They are probably geared to an older, more traditional crowd; on Regent, we are "youngsters", since we are in our early 50s. However, the small orchestra on board, the combo in the Galileo lounge, and the pianist, Tonee Valentine, were wonderful. Regent also gives a lovely cocktail party for those who have cruised with them before, with endless champagne and beautiful hors d'oeuvre. We are looking forward to sailing on Mariner next, to complete our tour of Regent's major ships. [It will be awhile before we get to the South Pacific, so the Paul Gauguin will be out of our experience for some time, yet]. Voyager remains far ahead of Navigator in our estimation, but we certainly would not hesitate to take Navigator again if it had the itinerary we wanted. We are now "2 for 2" on Regent and it would take an amazing itinerary/price combination to make us change to another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
My wife and I recently returned from a 10-day Western Caribbean cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner. Our observations follow. For purposes of evaluation, you should know we have taken thirty-five cruises on ten different lines, the ... Read More
My wife and I recently returned from a 10-day Western Caribbean cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner. Our observations follow. For purposes of evaluation, you should know we have taken thirty-five cruises on ten different lines, the last fifteen primarily on Crystal and Silversea. The best way I can describe our reaction to the physical ship itself is "ordinary." There is nothing particularly impressive about any part of the ship. The public areas in general, and lounges in particular, appear to be standard Hyatt or Hilton fare. The fitness center is small and under-equipped (at the peak hours of the morning, there was frequently a wait for the few elliptical machines, and the assortment of equipment was disappointing). The locker rooms pale by comparison to Crystal. They are cramped with no room to do anything other than shower. For some reason, the locker room does not open until 8:00 a.m. This is particularly inconvenient for those who are in the gym at 6:30 a.m. when it opens. When I asked about this, I was told that most passengers return to their cabins after exercising. Because the steam and sauna were turned on at the time of opening, one would be (and, indeed, was) scalded for the first half-hour or so until the temperature in the steam room regulated itself. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the sauna had not reached any appreciable heat by 8:30 a.m. I cannot tell you what happened after that, as I was long gone by then. Similarly, the dining rooms are plain with nothing memorable about their physical setup or facilities. Although the staterooms are said to be larger than those on Crystal, it is not obvious that they are. I suspect the increase in size is taken up in the walk-in closet. While that is a plus, the rooms are a poor comparison to Silversea and are no less cramped than those on Crystal which are small. The service generally was quite excellent in the bars and on deck. There, the service crew could not do enough to please, and I would give it the highest marks. With two exceptions, the same can be said for the cabin service as well. For whatever reason, our room appeared to receive only the most superficial going over (I will not use the word "cleaning") before we arrived, and we found a number of items scattered about the room that ought not have been there: A memory stick and a box of Q-tips apparently belonging to the prior patron lay on the cabin floor and opened in the bathroom respectively; and an empty plastic bag resided behind the couch. Further, our room was neither made up nor turned down by the time we stopped by our cabin at 10:30 p.m. on the night of embarkation. We were not alone in this situation, however. As we made our way through the corridors, the stewardess carts were ubiquitous. I can only conclude they got a very late start for some reason. The public areas were generally well-maintained and immaculate. The service in the dining rooms was uneven. Sometimes it was quite attentive. This was particularly true in Indochine and the Italian steakhouse (the name escapes me). The service in the main dining room was haphazard and extremely rushed. Normally on Crystal or Silversea, when one enters the dining room between 8:15 and 8:30, one is finished with dinner two hours later. Here, in the main dining room, it was difficult to stretch the dinner much beyond 9:15. By way of footnote on food and beverage, one of my partners ordered a bottle of wine for our cabin which never arrived. One of the greatest disappointments in terms of service was the Maitre' d's at each of the restaurants other than Indochine. I found them at best indifferent. In addition to the excellent service staff in the cocktail lounges and on deck, the pre-boarding check-in was superb. I have never had an easier time - or a more pleasant experience - getting on a ship. Equally outstanding were the young woman who ran the computer room and the staff at the reception desk. They were accommodating, knowledgeable, polite and efficient throughout the cruise. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the staff at the travel desk. We took no excursions. It was not for lack of trying, however. We were interested in two; one was booked and we were closed out. While I do not blame the cruise line for having too much demand and insufficient capacity, one would have expected at least a call from someone to tell us that they were not going to be able to accommodate us. The second excursion in which we had interest was one about which we had some questions which were not answered by the pre-cruise literature. When I went to the travel desk to inquire, the best the attendant could do was open up the tour book and read to me what I had read myself. He was incapable of answering any of our questions and seemed indifferent both to our questions and his own lack of knowledge. As the ship's television had no information on the ports or excursions, we were left without any help whatsoever. Needless to say, we opted not to take the excursion. The food overall was quite good. We liked Indochine and the Italian Steakhouse very much. (The buffet restaurant on the pool deck is converted at night into a Mediterranean theme restaurant for the first half of the cruise and an Italian steakhouse for the second; while we found the steakhouse food excellent, our sole visit during the Mediterranean phase left us uniquely unimpressed with what we considered to be unimaginative and insipid fare). We also enjoyed the food at the "cordon bleu" restaurant, Signatures, although the wait-staff seemed to go out of its way to be overly pretentious. The food in the main dining room was average as was the food on deck. We never ate lunch in the main dining room, but the lunches in the other facilities were vastly inferior to Crystal and Silversea. (As a matter of fairness, my wife thought the special outdoor buffets were quite good; I did not share in that view). One of the things that so impresses us about Silversea is the process involving the questionnaire we receive two or three days into the cruise asking us for our thoughts and whether there was anything that could be done to improve our experience. A questionnaire appeared here as well. Whereas on Silversea we received a letter thanking us for our comments and explaining what was being done to resolve the few modest issues that we had as well as a follow-up phone call, here we received a telephone message which apparently came from a script and bore little relationship to any of the things about which we had commented. It gave us the distinct impression they were paying lip service - literally - to the process. The shops offered the poorest variety and were the least well stocked of any we have encountered. By way of example only, it would be impossible even to find an outfit to wear to dinner on an informal (much less a formal) night, and it would be pushing the definition of "casual" to suggest any of the clothing qualified on such an occasion either. While one should not fairly expect to outfit oneself on shipboard, there are occasions when one needs - or wants - to pick up a new outfit or article of clothing to replace something which has been lost, damaged, or forgotten. We did not find that option to exist on the Mariner. The entertainment was fine: the casino was adequate; some of the individual entertainers were quite good; the string group which played in the open bar outside the main dining room and on deck at lunch was terrific; and my wife enjoyed a couple of the shows. I can hardly fault the cruise line for the itinerary (which which we found uninteresting in the extreme). We knew where we were going before we got on the ship and had been to most of the ports previously. Since we intended to spend most of our time aboard ship (we prefer sea days to ports), the fact that there was little or nothing to do in any of the ports was not of concern to us. Had we been looking for an itinerary that offered interesting diversion, this would not have been it, however. I am utterly clueless as to why Belize and Santo Tomas de Castillo were chosen. I agree wholeheartedly with the individual who suggested that the best way to see Belize City is in the rearview mirror of a car, however. I guess, overall, I would say the cruise was "average." While we would not reject out-of-hand another opportunity to take Regent, it would not be our first choice, and we certainly would not compare it favorably either to Silversea or Crystal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
I suspect there will always be the Regent vs. Crystal crowd so we'll join the fray. We have sailed Crystal three times but heard such good things about the Regent series that we decided to give it a try. We tried this Caribbean cruise ... Read More
I suspect there will always be the Regent vs. Crystal crowd so we'll join the fray. We have sailed Crystal three times but heard such good things about the Regent series that we decided to give it a try. We tried this Caribbean cruise for its themed cruse. Here are our impressions. Crew: aboard Crystal the crew worked to get your name from the very first day, here aboard the Mariner it was barely a nod in the passageway. There were exceptions, of course, three staff members greeted us by name every time, Stefan, a sommelier, Elmer a main dining room waiter and Marie our room stewardess (who was terrific). But by and large neither the officers, nor crew, went out of their way to know who we were. It was more of a feeling of a hotel stay vs. comfortable cruise ship. There was virtually no welcome for first timers. They do take care of multi-cruisers, with meetings, free internet and the like; first timers with Regent are apparently left on their own to fend for themselves. Service: was spotty at best, we have numerous incidents but here are two in just the first two days: I went to the grill on the pool deck and asked for a grilled cheese sandwich. I was told "it was not on the menu" and handed a menu to choose something else. Rather than do that I went into the topside restaurant and asked the same thing and was told it would be a "special selection" and would take 45 minutes. I said OK, and waited. It was hardly what I would call a grilled cheese sandwich, but that wasn't the point, on Crystal they would have bent over backwards to prepare such a thing. By the by, the remark it is a "special selection" and would take 45 minutes must be the party line when you ask for something out of their comfort zone; we'd heard the same line at least four times during our 11 days. The second incident on our second day was at tea in the forward lounge; I asked the server for honey and was pointed to the table with pastries and told it was there. My wife and I looked at each other rather dumbfounded, and I got up to get it. We had numerous incidents like this for 11 days, taken individually they don't sound like much, but taken as a whole, it gave us a good impression of what the ship philosophy was. It's not the big things, it's the many little things that make for a positive experience. Everyone makes mistakes, but this behavior was so consistent throughout our cruise it had to be policy. Feedback: interesting how they could turn a good idea into a bad one. We were asked on the third day to provide feedback on how they could improve service or any needs we may have. We dutifully filled it out with a few comments such as the ones above and dropped it off at the front desk. We never heard anything back from anyone. Note to Regent, it is better just to not do it, rather than ask, and not do it. No sense in filling out the end-of-cruise form. But we did it anyway and included my e-mail address if they needed specifics, I haven't heard a thing. Food: generally good, a few over done entrees, but the Asian Restaurant, Latitudes, was outstanding as was the topside LaVeranda for dinner. The opening dining is a grand idea and we enjoyed the idea of selecting who we would dine with. However, in operation, this is one of the reasons I suspect we never connected with any of the servers, they changed every night. So it's a dual edge sword. Signatures, the Cordon Bleu inspired restaurant did not go well. Although the kitchen put out some good fare, the wait staff generally sabotaged the effort. I go so tired of asking for everything, I let my empty water glass sit waiting for a refill, and timed it . . . 17 minutes. This is 5-star? Ports of Call: The first stop was a very scary premonition of what was to come, they stopped at Princess Cay, a private beach for the Princess Line and exactly what one would expect, a sea of thousands of chaise lounges, a few tacky small tourist shops and the horror, a lunch that was as covered with flies like I have never seen in any third world country. We obviously elected not to eat there and went back to the ship. Another fuel saving stop was St John's, Antigua, a pitiful place on a good day, but this was Sunday and everything was closed except the usual hawking of cab drivers. The last two stops of the cruise were each only about 4 hours, why bother? Horrible scheduling. Themed Cruise: This was one of our biggest disappointments. This cruise was promoted as a Cordon Bleu (food and wine) themed trip. As members of the Chaine des Rotissuers and Mondiale du Vin, we were excited about the prospects of hearing trusted chefs and sommeliers discuss cooking, pairing and dining. I even called Regent headquarters to get this clarified. I asked why the mini-cooking course being offered (to only 20 out of 700 passengers) for $450 was so expensive and was told it included a hat, apron and book (oh boy . . .). We didn't need any of that, but I specifically asked if there were other talks and discussions and was told yes. There was but one wine tasting course for 45 minutes at 10:45am on the third day, and one chef demo for an hour on the 10th day, that was it. For anyone thinking about a themed cruise with Regent, you'd better get it clearer than we did. A final note, we were used to receiving points of information at each port of call at least the evening before the stop, delivered to the room. With Regent this is not so, at least not with us. We had to go down to the travel desk and pick up poorly photocopied sheets of tips and highlights that morning. As a result we missed many interesting points of interest we would have liked to have seen. Although this may be the standard procedure at Regent, we were never given an orientation, so our expectations were of our past experiences with Crystal. Maybe partly our fault for such high expectations. All in all, a disappointment. Regent's no tipping policy and free alcohol was truly a nice idea, but the service and overall experience was not worth it. Unfortunately, Regent will not be on our list to try again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
This was our second cruise to Alaska, and the state is wonderful. All in all, a delightful trip. TO & IN VANCOUVER. We splurged on First-Class fare, but all it got us was a larger seat. When you get up at 4AM to catch a 7:20AM plane, ... Read More
This was our second cruise to Alaska, and the state is wonderful. All in all, a delightful trip. TO & IN VANCOUVER. We splurged on First-Class fare, but all it got us was a larger seat. When you get up at 4AM to catch a 7:20AM plane, you don't drink much. Air Alaska, our airline out, didn't have a lounge available for us. Their hot meal was tasty, if mundane. Service tended to be sporadic, due to turbulence. The flight and connecting "puddle-jumper" were crammed full. We arrived in Vancouver, took a taxi to the Hyatt Regency, and found we were booked onto the Concierge Lounge floor. The Concierge ladies can book you into the most expensive restaurants, or recommend a more modest one. Their charm took the edge off our jet lag. Our room was spacious, lovely, and had a wonderful view. We were so jet-lagged, we made a meal out of the complimentary cold appetizers. Joan poured herself a glass of wine from the honor bar, and found she was the only person to fill out a chit, although everyone was drinking. Their internet connections were free, but down that evening. Next morning, we made a meal out of the complimentary cold breakfast, and walked through Gastown and Chinatown. We used public transit, although we ran into some snags regarding the timing of our tickets. A snack from the T&T Supermarket in Chinatown held us until we boarded the Mariner. ON BOARD the Mariner, we joined our friends from Cruise Critic for dinner at Signatures, the Mariner's Cordon Bleu French restaurant. It was superb, from salad to dessert. We drank the wine of the day recommended by the waiter and never felt a need for any premium wine. By the end of the meal, we felt we had known Tripandtravel, Bill and Susan Cantley, forever. They proved excellent company, entertaining and knowledgeable VICTORIA: Off the ship early to explore the Empress Hotel, then to the Inner Harbour, then to Thunderbird Park, a beautiful park with many totem poles. We then went into the Royal Museum. We could have spent the entire day at the Museum, especially their Native Peoples exhibit. Joan found a large sterling pendant replica from their Egyptian exhibit, and hats which said "S.S. Titanic". The hats caused quite a stir at lifeboat drill, but spooked the crew so much we put them away. Hunger drove us back to the ship at 2PM. We found we never wanted to risk paying for a meal of inferior quality when a paid, tasty meal waited for us on board. You could explore Victoria for several hours and not leave the few blocks of downtown, it is so compact. We didn't return to Victoria after lunch, although two hours remained before sailing time. We didn't want to risk getting to the shuttle buses too late to catch the ship. Dinner was at the Alaskan Grill, held in the La Veranda buffet area. A terrific fish meal. INNER PASSAGE: A day at sea is delightful, and Regent does it beautifully. Meals were superb, snacks were better. We used the free machines to do a load or three of wash. The Inside Passage was especially lovely. Sherry and a scone at 4PM, a trivia game, then a 40th Anniversary celebration at Latitudes. Their carrot cake was amazing - lovely and rich, with a marzipan card which read "Happy 40th Anniversary". KETCHIKAN: Okay, the Lumberjack show is touristy, hokey, funny and fun. The visitor Information Center offers FREE, accurate information. Joe's Golden Passport gained us free admission to the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center next to the show. The Discovery Center is well worth the modest admission fee, and their gift shop features a fine selection of full-price books about Alaska. Here again, the town seems concentrated into a few blocks, as you would expect from a town which shrinks to 8,000 people in the winter. After lunch I took a nap and Joe walked back into town. He explored Creek Street, which was interesting, and had much better shops than the souvenir shops and jewelry stores nears the pier. TRACEY ARM CRUISING: Worth every penny! The glaciers are even more awe-inspiring from a few hundred feet. Our best memories and pictures came out of this excursion. I feared the small boats and getting "up close" to the glaciers. In spite of my fears, this turned into a high point of the cruise. My ski pants, wool socks and sweater, waterproof mittens and low winter boots kept me comfortable. A waterproof parka would have helped, too. The boats offer free hot beverages, working toilets, and a glassed-in area. The guides were energetic, well-trained and knowledgeable. The weather was perfect, and the whales came out to play on our way to Juneau. JUNEAU: We didn't get in until 1:30 PM. The Mt. Roberts Tramway was closed due to fog 10 years ago, on our first trip to Juneau. That was the first item on our "wish" list, and I wish we'd skipped it. The tram cost $25.00 per person, the trails were closed due to snow, there was a price tag on everything you saw, and I was disappointed. Yes, they showed an interesting free movie made by and for the native peoples. Yes, we saw an eagle rescued from the wild. The museums closed as we got down from the tram. The rows of T-shirt shops were jammed with the 5,000+ tourists and crew. We simply returned to the ship for an early day. SKAGWAY: We paid out top dollar for the Scenic Rail and Klondike Gold Dredge tour, which had an energetic, costumed guide in the other car. Joe was enthusiastic about the scenery, but a guide in our railway card would have been helpful. Later, at the very touristy (and not worth the trip) gold dredge, I panned for gold, got my regulation six flakes, and declined to have it made into a necklace. The real gold came after the panning, when you could pay top dollar to have your flakes made into a necklace. The gold panning people put on a bit of a show for us, with free cookies and costumes, but everyone got just six flakes per pan.... By now, the rows of t-shirt shops selling $2- t-shirts for $10- were starting to irritate me. The NATIONAL PARK SERVICE offers FREE tours, and a movie, maintains a restored historic house, and is the best value for your dollar here. Sign up early for the free tours, limited in size, see their museum and movie, and take the free shuttle to the local Historic Museum. The film superbly demonstrated the rigors faced by the "Gold Rush" miners. The Moore House was lovingly restored, the small museum showed you more of the Gold Rush challenge, and it was FREE. SITKA: Not enough time here. We opted for a private tour. Our guide, Eric was a summer worker who wanted to show us everything we wanted to see. We saw the Indians perform 10 years ago, so we took a tour which included the Archangel Dancers, an all female group, performing traditional Russian dances. Some of my best pictures came from this show. Not enough time to see the Church and learn more about Alaska's Russian roots. Too little time spent at the National Historic Park, with its Totem Poles and Native Peoples movie. The Raptor Center fascinated us, and Eric seemed to know some of the staff. We were the only people on our tour, which is the only way we managed to see as much as we did. We skipped the Sheldon Jackson Museum this time due to lack of time, but Sitka offers more than many ports with longer stays. I want to add that the trivia game at 4PM could be a true stumper, and the best people on the cruise formed teams. HUBBARD GLACIER CRUISING: Another at sea day, done in the best Regent style. The day was overcast, and the blue tint of the glaciers showed clearly. To enhance our experience, two First Nations representatives dressed in their native garb and posed for pictures. Sigh! I wish I were back there ...We turned our trivia winnings for a Regent photo album. SEWARD: Yes, we arrived safely. Our luggage seemed to expand along with our waistlines, but we were happy. Dropped off for the bus, we made our connections relatively smoothly. The bus stopped in Anchorage in front of the Anchorage Museum. They gave you a free admission pass into the museum, a $7.00 value. We could, of course, have gone in search of a good, reasonably-priced lunch. Not the museum-collecting Machs....soup and a sandwich set one back $10.00, but the Museum gave us new insights into the Iditarod, and the natives weaving grass mats were fascinating. I even stimulated the local economy at the "SALE" corner of the gift shop. After the museum visit, we continued on the bus toward Talkeetna. Following a break for ice cream and rest rooms, the bus driver drove us directly to our hotel. TALKEETNA: Sticker shock. Our first room faced the parking lot...for $50.00 they upgraded you to a room with a breathtaking view, refrigerator, and more. We were carrying our complimentary room liquor from the Regent, so we grabbed burgers and fish Quesadillas (surprisingly good) at the bar (mobbed with cruise tourists), returned to the room, and sipped our complimentary champagne while watching the sun set on Mt. McKinley. We had an early excursion the next day, so the bus into Talkeetna proper seemed more trouble than it was worth. Food prices reflected the tourist nature of the area. The luggage handling was superb - swift, easy and informative. Mahay"s Boat Tour started a few minutes late, but our guide promised to stand between us and the charging bears with her gun, so nobody complained. The ladies outhouse featured a porcupine, disoriented by the constant sunlight and determined to find a shady nap. I was delighted to make our dome train with just a few minutes to spare, and to find myself alone in their clean Ladies' Room. The train ride featured views, energetic guides, and fair food at the prices you'd expect. I don't think you can have a meal on a train for less than $10.00. We bought UNLIMITED Drink cups, which turned into bargains when we realized we could get unlimited drinks on both train trips. MCKINLEY CHALET LODGE: No vans were available for the independent travelers. We called, but nobody gave us information "It should be there. Look for it." By this point in the trip, we were carrying around 150 lbs. of luggage. We hauled that back and forth along the train platform, past tour busses for Holland America and other cruise lines, until a kind HAL guide gave us a ride. They graciously left us off at the main building, but we still hefted our luggage into the lounge. Check-in completed, we had a small, clean room close to the lobby. I understand the HAL people were unhappy with their cabins, which required the shuttle busses and were even smaller than ours. The Aramark people know they have the locations, and that's what you pay for. We had a discount coupon for Cabin Night (a hoot, touristy, and fun) and Fannie's Flapjacks from the Northern Lights discount book, which more than covered the cost of the book The fabulous Kantishna Roadhouse 13-hour tour run by the Doyon tribe took us deep into the heart of Denali, and let us try panning for gold or seeing a demonstration of husky dog sledding (on wheels). It was a wonderful experience, and I won't forget Denali soon. BUT we tried the buffet at the hotel that night and the service was putrid to non-existent. I had to ask the hostess to get my water glass filled, and the plates piled up while we ate. By contrast, we encountered a hotel van driver who drove us to the local post office, and then to the Subway across the street, so we could buy sandwiches for the train trip to Anchorage. His superb service was one bright light in a poor staff. Train Ride: Yes, they refilled our cups for free. The sandwiches let us lunch in our seats and be taken first on line for dinner on the train. The train ride featured lovely scenery, views of Denali, explanations of life in Alaska, and enthusiastic guides. Our Canadian dinner companions chatted amiably. We arrived in Anchorage on time. Our bus featured HAL tourists, so our train car stopped half-a-mile before the scheduled stop. The HAL people boarded their own busses, and we walked the half-a-mile to our luggage. We found our own luggage (relief!), and the man from the Comfort Inn hauled it onto their van. ANCHORAGE: Our room at the Comfort Inn featured a Jacuzzi, and the hotel's recent renovation made it a winner. We were far happier with our hotel than the HAL people, who had been put up at the Hilton. The Comfort Inn's famous free breakfast contrasted poorly with the Hilton's, although the Hilton offered a superb location. We slept late and had only a few minutes' wait for the ULU Factory's free shuttle into Anchorage our day in Anchorage . The free shuttle only starts at 10AM....but by then the Street Fair, Flea Market, whatever, was in full swing. We did see the Aurora Borealis show with a coupon, but happily ate lunch at the flea market while chatting with locals. The market offered free local entertainment, of varying quality. I broke a long-standing rule and ordered salmon to be sent to our home. Oscar came through for us beautifully, and the cold salmon makes a fine meal on a hot summer night. CONTINENTAL FIRST CLASS: Yes, a larger seat. Once again, no access to the airport lounges, even for first class PAX. Food definitely mediocre at best - we were offered the same dismal entrEe both legs of the trip. We were delayed getting off the plane in Seattle due to a delay in replacing that flight crew with another one. Drink service inattentive, at best. If I hadn't seen how bad coach was, I'd think we didn't get our money's worth... SUMMARY: A dream fulfilled. We saw things which were unique, experienced a part of this country we'd never seen before, and had a wonderful time. I think out next trip should be a modest car vacation.... Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
Indescribable! Perfect! This was a trip that we had planned for over a year! There were four of us that took the entire trip...two more joined us on the ship for the cruise portion. We went two days early so we could have an extra day in ... Read More
Indescribable! Perfect! This was a trip that we had planned for over a year! There were four of us that took the entire trip...two more joined us on the ship for the cruise portion. We went two days early so we could have an extra day in Vancouver. We spent the day walking through town and going through the park. The day was beautiful and the Rhododendrons we beautiful. We stayed at a lovely boutique hotel "The Le Soleil". We were early to the port and we were not able to board before noon but at noon we were on in a flash. We were greeted with a smile and champagne. We went directly to the La Veranda for a lovely lunch and the cabins were released to us about 2:20. We ate at the Signature Restaurant the first night, thinking that if we loved it we could go back. We loved it and no we did not get to go back since they were booked every night and still everyone on the ship that wanted to dine there did not get in. (Book early). The day at Victoria was beautiful. Since there were six of us we rented a van and drove to Butchart Gardens. The gardens were beautiful and we had a lovely lunch in the main dining room at the gardens. Three of us then went back to the ship and three of us got dropped in town and we went to The Empress Hotel and walked around the government buildings before strolling back to the ship. I will not go into great detail about all the ports.....that seems to have been covered very well several times. I will say that the Tracy Arm excursion was spectacular! The day was crystal clear and crisp. One cannot describe its glory.....you must see it yourself. We loved seeing the whales and our glacier float trip in Skagway (Haines) was just wonderful. Seeing Hubbard Glacier up close is breathtaking and again words cannot adequately describe it. This was one of the wonderful things about being on a ship the size of the Mariner.....you can really go in close. This ship is lovely, the service is superb, and dining in all venues was excellent. It was like going to the best restaurant in town every night. The wines were wonderful....never a need to upgrade. We all loved that there were no tickets to sign every time you got a wonderful glass of champagne or wine. The shows were very nice and the guest artists were so nice to visit with around the ship. Debarking on the last morning was way too soon but in our case the four of us continued on to Anchorage and to end up in Fairbanks. I cannot say enough about how well done the final four days of our trip were handled. We had a lovely guide and a very nice bus driver and they treated us (24) with kid gloves. There was not a "t" that was not crossed or an "I" that needed dotting. Our luggage was handled, the hotels were excellent, the meals that were provided were as good as any we have had. We had a lovely train ride on the Alaska Railway from Anchorage to Talkeetna. Denali was a very special day. We saw all the legendary wildlife. It even clouded up and rained, snowed, rained and cleared up in the park just so we could say we saw snow. We actually were lucky enough to see Denali (Mt. McKinley) on three separate occasions. Most unusual we were told. Fairbanks was another beautiful day. We had a lovely trip down the Chena River on a steam paddle boat. Our guide stayed with us until the next day and we were at the airport and cleared through security. We flew back to Seattle and spent a cold damp morning there at Pikes' Market before heading home. I will reiterate that this was about as perfect a trip as one could ever have wished for in every respect. Our only concern is do we dare do it again......it could never be the same. We have already booked our next cruise with Regent and are so looking forward to it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This was our 3rd cruise on the Mariner to Alaska, from San Francisco to Vancouver; we have previously sailed on the Voyager to Europe. The hassle of air travel is making us look closer to home for cruises and Alaska and Regent cruise lines ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise on the Mariner to Alaska, from San Francisco to Vancouver; we have previously sailed on the Voyager to Europe. The hassle of air travel is making us look closer to home for cruises and Alaska and Regent cruise lines are both great. We booked our own airfare using a mileage program and spent a couple of days in San Francisco in advance of boarding the ship. We arrived at the dock about 45 minutes ahead of the official embarkation time and were ushered on board efficiently; we exchanged our documents for a room key in record time and while the cabins wouldn't be ready for another 30 minutes, the staff kept us happy passing around glasses of champagne. We have previously stayed in the Penthouse level suites. These suites are very spacious and comfortable and well equipped, but we decided to splurge this time on the Mariner Suite. Now, we'll never be able to stay in anything less. Extremely spacious, an abundance of windows and a very roomy balcony, plus an extra 1/2 bath. Our butler, Roy, did an excellent job at keeping us in wines. Butler service is nice; afternoon canapes are nice (except that we could never eat too much of this or we'd ruin dinner); but this is an extra that really isn't necessary. The food on the Mariner is excellent. We like the main dining room the best, for its level of service, choice of foods, and overall ambiance. Being able to eat when and with whom you please is wonderful. Signatures, their French restaurant is always a treat - we don't find the food to be overly saucy or fussy. Latitudes, the Asian themed restaurant, has greatly improved - our only complaint is the crystal glassware: they're using the trendy stemless wineglasses which we find uncomfortable to hold and drink out of. Portions in all of the restaurants are on the small side, which enables you to have multiple courses without overeating. The Mariner recently refurbished the Library/general reading area - now it's more efficiently organized and they've made room for a "Coffee Connection" area - sort of like a Starbucks cafe. It's staffed from morning till night, and they prepare excellent espressos, cappuccinos, chai teas, etc.; if you want various liquors in your drink, they're all available. There's also a small buffet, constantly replenished, that's available all day long here. We always find the level of service to be consistently high and this trip was no exception. We particularly like the no tipping policy and the all inclusive wines and mixed drinks plus the stocked bar in your cabin. While we don't drink all that much, we definitely enjoy having wine with dinner, an occasional mixed drink in the observation lounge and sometimes an after dinner cordial. Regent stocks an extensive selection of name brand liquors, wines, congacs, brandys, etc. Anything you might want will surely be available. Alaska is so scenic that even though we've sailed there 3 times, we'd go again in future. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
My husband and I decided a year ago that we would like to give Luxury cruising a try. At the recommendation of a friend, we booked with Seven Seas Mariner for the "repositioning" cruise to Alaska. We were "newbies" to ... Read More
My husband and I decided a year ago that we would like to give Luxury cruising a try. At the recommendation of a friend, we booked with Seven Seas Mariner for the "repositioning" cruise to Alaska. We were "newbies" to this ship so kept an open mind especially after reading other comments here. From the moment we embarked to the time if disembarkation we were delighted. Our suite was extremely comfortable and well appointed. Our stewardess, Katherine, was extremely capable and efficient. The crew was the most friendly and helpful group we have ever experienced on all of our other cruises. Not once were we not greeted with a kind smile and attentiveness. We were fortunate with our weather as there was no rain at all on this trip. Our shore excursions were very pleasant - we did a local tour of Seattle and Prince Rupert, a motor coach tour of Skagway, and a trip to the Totem Pole park in Ketchikan. The local folks were always happy to see our groups and provided a great deal of information about their respective areas. This was not our first Alaska adventure and was a repeat of prior visits and excursions. So far as dining was concerned - well, let's just say that we both enjoyed every single bite of the wide variety of offerings. We dined at every venue. The Compass Rose was great for all three meals per day. The Veranda was particularly nice as an alternate for dinner. The two specialty restaurants, Signature and Latitudes, were magnificent. I have some common food allergies, and with advance notice, my selected preferences were prepared to suit my special needs. We also enjoyed room service which was always served promptly and efficiently. The entertainment that we attended was top notch. There was even a group of four dancers from the San Francisco Ballet who performed beautifully - quite a feat on a moving ship! The casino was kind to me and I left a bit wealthier than I arrived. Disembarkation was simple and very smooth. The customs officials were helpful and courteous. We extended our visit with a two night stay in Victoria which was a lovely way to finish off a dream come true cruise. I highly recommend this ship to anyone who enjoys a wonderful cruise on a wonderful ship. I can only hope that I will have the opportunity to travel with Regent Seven Seas again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
"Emphasis on providing a delightful experience" "The Regent Experience" "Unsurpassed levels of luxury define the Regent Experience" "Your every desire and wildest dreams fulfilled" ... Read More
"Emphasis on providing a delightful experience" "The Regent Experience" "Unsurpassed levels of luxury define the Regent Experience" "Your every desire and wildest dreams fulfilled" "Uncompromising excellence" "Unparalleled service and attention" Just some of the claims made by Regent Seven Seas Cruises in their promotional material. As a special celebration for our silver wedding anniversary in March 2008, my husband and I, together with two friends, booked a seven-day cruise on Seven Seas Navigator, sailing in July. Regent's ships are advertised as being six-star and they frequently mention in their advertising material, "the Regent Experience", "The ultra luxury world of Regent Seven Seas Cruises". These are the reasons we decided to book with Regent, as we wanted a very special occasion. How we were disappointed! Within two days of boarding, three of our party went down with diarrhea and loss of appetite, which lasted several days. Consequently, not much food was eaten. There were several other passengers on board suffering the same complaint. We decided to treat ourselves with medication, as the cost for seeking the advice and help of the onboard doctor was very expensive. We brought our problem to the notice of the Cruise Director, but he made it clear he did not want to know. There were poor hygiene standards on board. The use of antibacterial gel was not compulsory, either when boarding the ship or when entering a dining area. It was available, but not in a prominent position and many passengers did not bother to use it. During our time aboard, there were two instances when we were given dirty glassware and crockery and we witnessed a waiter carrying a cream jug, to our table, with his hand clasped over the top, instead of carrying it by the handle. Definitely not six-star! There was poor service on the pool deck, tables left uncleared and no towels for the sunbeds. Again, not what one would expect from a 6-star ship. In the main dining room, on two occasions when a large party of Colombian people arrived, service at our table and others was extremely poor, with most of the waiters fawning over this family and we were left with empty wine glasses and long waits. Presumably the Colombians tipped well! The Asian staff on board worked extremely hard, were very pleasant and aimed to please, but they were under pressure and it showed. Some of the older Italian staff, we found to be arrogant. A passenger we spoke to also complained about lipstick on a glass she was given. The waitress asked her if it was her own lipstick! Our suite was very nice and we have no complaints there. However, suffering from diarrhea, we spent rather longer in our rooms than we would have liked! On our return home we wrote a very fair letter of complaint to Regent. Their reply was purely and simply a big brush-off. They don't want to know. They suggested we caught a bug from the airport and have told us that they meet the highest standards set by the US Public Health Authorities. What we experienced and witnessed could never be classed as high standards. We have sailed with other lines in the past such as Swan Hellenic and Seabourn and found both to be excellent. I would have far rather been writing a rave review and have wonderful memories of a special celebration. Unfortunately, we were very disappointed. We definitely did not get what we had paid for and will not be sailing with Regent in the future. The 'Regent Experience' we experienced, is not one we wish to remember! Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
We flew to Anchorage several days before our cruise and thoroughly enjoyed our time spent in Anchorage and in Seward. The drive to Seward was one of the most beautiful drives we've ever taken. Seward is a delightful, quirky little ... Read More
We flew to Anchorage several days before our cruise and thoroughly enjoyed our time spent in Anchorage and in Seward. The drive to Seward was one of the most beautiful drives we've ever taken. Seward is a delightful, quirky little town in a gorgeous setting. Embarkation was extremely fast and smooth. The champagne was a nice touch, but it was awkward to deal with a glass, documents, and hand luggage in the theater for check in. Perhaps the champagne could have been served in another venue. After lunch in La Verandah, we found our suite and settled in. We found the suite to be comfortable.We were neither offered nor did we request a room liquor set up. Katherine was our outstanding stewardess. Our group of friends had more than one suite so we were able to prebook reservations for more than one night in each of the specialty restaurants. We ate in Signatures on our first evening. Other than an indifferent, rude waiter, the meal was first rate. It was a fabulous meal in terms of preparation, presentation, and the wines. Our assistant waiter, Aurelia, was delightful and efficient. Later in the cruise we eagerly anticipated our second visit to Signatures only to have a great disappointment. We ordered essentially the same meals, but the food was a pale comparison to the first evening. It wasn't poor. It just wasn't up to the standards of the first evening, and it wasn't even as good as food in Compass Rose. We were thoroughly confused and still can't understand what happened. Guests at the next table were so unhappy with their lamb that they returned it. Different chef???? We concluded that we had our best and worst meals at Signatures. The food in Compass Rose was consistently well prepared in the evening. The sommelier staff was very good and attentive. Marienella and her staff are to be commended. The remainder of the wait staff was fairly efficient and ranged from very good to indifferent. The remainder of my comments will be made in the context of our previous cruises. It is extremely difficult to avoid making comparisons with previous luxury cruises. We have only sailed with Crystal in the past. We chose Regent because Crystal did not have an Alaskan cruise. Crystal is known for its great entertainment, both during the day on sea days and on all evenings. We missed the wonderful array of lectures and programs available on Crystal during the sea days. Our Regent cruise had a husband/wife team who provided commentary regarding destinations. However, the commentary was delivered over speakers on open decks and on the television. The delivery was flat and monotonous. It had very long pauses and generally was difficult to listen to. Just having them physically present would have improved the experience. They weren't even visible on the television. We just heard their voices. Other than these destination lecturers, there was one computer class, and the "art lectures" presented by the salesman onboard. Evening entertainment was good, although not up to Crystal's high standards with mature vocalists and dancers and beautiful sets and costumes. A young energetic troupe of singers and dancers on the Mariner presented several enjoyable shows. We appreciated their youthful talent, and they were backed up by a very good group of instrumentalists. The International Ballroom Champions joined the ensemble a couple of nights. This duo was remarkable and a joy to watch. Lounges were "dead" in the evenings. Except for crew, we were sometimes the only guests in a lounge. We enjoyed the lounge pianists several evenings while having after dinner drinks, but the service in lounges was extremely poor. A waiter or waitress usually, but not always, came to take a drink order when one arrived. However, if one wanted a second drink, there were two alternatives: 1. try to catch the eye of a waiter and wave them over or 2. walk to the bar and order it yourself. Regent may be All-Inclusive, but they make it difficult to get more than one drink!! Tea time was just as lacking in service. Urns and stacks of cups were placed so that one was encouraged to do a self serve tea. Service was hard to get. The array of sandwiches and sweets was about half of what is offered on Crystal, and that was totally self service. The chocolate tea on Regent fared poorly when compared to the lovely chocolate tea Crystal provides, and the room in which it was held was far too small to accommodate the large crowd it attracted. It was a bit of a zoo, especially with lots of children crowding around the table. In contrast to Crystal, no live music was provided at teas. The lunch buffets were also a far cry from the bountiful, beautifully presented buffets on Crystal. One previous reviewer compared the Regent lunch buffets to school cafeteria food. While I wouldn't go that far, it is fair to say that the quantity and quality was inferior to the Crystal buffets, and La Verandah has decent food but neither the quantity nor quality of the Crystal Lido Cafe. The service at buffets and La Verandah was far worse. It was generally lacking. The Maitre D of La Verandah was an unhappy looking man who presided over a staff that rarely stepped forward to offer anything other than a beverage upon arrival at a table. A young man named Jack was the happy exception. He always had a smile on his face and stood ready to provide service. Service is an integral component of luxury cruising. Step aboard a Crystal ship, and the warmth of the crew abounds. They appear happy to provide service. The Crystal crews make each guest feel welcome, and they give the appearance of taking great joy in making sure each guest has everything he/she needs at all times. It is a group effort, and it is a happy ship. One is called by name, and one's preference such a fondness for mango is noted. Finish your mango, and a waiter appears asking if you'd like another. Tell him one piece, and he's likely to appear with two pieces. Crystal service is not only exceptional, but the warmth and cheer of the crew creates a group dynamic that encourages camaraderie among crew and guests. Having a set dining time and an assigned table allows Crystal guests to form strong bonds with other passengers as well as the wait staff. I mention the Crystal "culture" tin this review because it was absent on Regent. With few exceptions such as Jack and Lingyan, The Regent crew didn't seem happy, and there was a general lack of motivation. In addition, no one ever called us by name, and rarely did anyone serve us more than once so that we formed no bonds with the crew. Similarly, we found that Regent guests had fewer opportunities to meet and make friends. Cocktail parties were held in the theater. The configuration of the seats made mingling difficult. Sitting at a different table in the dining room each evening doesn't encourage friendship formation. The Regent dynamic on our cruise lacked the warmth and camaraderie we have always experienced on Crystal. It was the biggest factor in our evaluation of our cruise. Our family group is split on whether we would sail Regent again. Some say yes, and others say no. At mass market prices, poor and indifferent service might be expected, but we were paying luxury fares. Finally, we were on a "Kids Sail Free" cruise. It became a "Kids Sail Free" cruise after we paid our deposit. While the children were generally well behaved, their large numbers affected the cruise experience. After I observed one teen age boy pick up, inspect, and put back four different rolls on a buffet, I avoided anything that might be handled in such a way. The chocolate tea was overrun with children who were "playing" with the food. One family had seven children with them. I had read that only one "free" child is permitted per stateroom, but some guests reported having three children in an adjoining stateroom. We fortunately had adults for neighbors, but lots of children onboard puts a strain on the wait staff. In summary, we enjoyed the cruise and the lovely ports. We are a group that will have a good time regardless of the situation. However, our Regent experience left us feeling we didn't quite experience a luxury line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2008
We flew to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines to spend a precruise night at the Anchorage Hilton. The desk gave us a forth floor room with a view of a brick wall. We went back down and politely complained and were reassigned to the eleventh ... Read More
We flew to Anchorage on Alaska Airlines to spend a precruise night at the Anchorage Hilton. The desk gave us a forth floor room with a view of a brick wall. We went back down and politely complained and were reassigned to the eleventh floor with a city view. The strange thing is that we could tell that much of the Hotel was empty that night. The next morning, after a comped breakfast at the buffet, we waited to meet a bus that would take us to The Grandview Cruise Train to meet the Mariner in Seward. There was much confusion in the Hilton lobby with various groups waiting to get on buses to different ships. Forty minutes behind schedule, we got on a bus and were finally told by other passengers that the train had broken down and we would have to make the 3 hour transfer by bus. I had been looking forward to this scenic train ride as the real beginning of our trip. Oh well, I can't blame Regent, It just would have been nice to know what the delay was all about. The embarkation went well. It was quick. We were escorted to our stateroom to find our luggage on the bed ready to be unpacked. that was a first. We have always had to wait for it during our past cruises of various lines. The stateroom was very elegant with lovely wood trim and done in earth tones of cream and rust. There was a bottle of champaign and two crystal flutes waiting for us on our glass coffee table from the line. Very nice touch. But the minnie bar fridge only contained soda, a few beers and water. The promised In-suite bar set up only happens for Penthouse B and above. We found the Main Dinning room, the Compass Rose to be good but not what I would call excellent. The service was spotty at first with long waits for coffee and mix ups in orders. Once I ordered corn beef hash and got hash browns instead. It got better - later in the cruise. We found the buffet La Veranda had very good food and even heated plates. But the actual buffet area seems to be jammed into too small of an area. So, it can seem tight. Of the two speciality restaurants, I thought Signatures was by far the best. The food was truly excellent. But it was hard getting more than one reservation for it. I got the feeling it was only hard for 1st time cruisers. One woman I talked to, who had cruised with Regent many times said, "I can get reservations any time I want, I know the owner". Allrighty then! The ship has a lovely atrium with stairways that seem to float in midair. There are 3 glass elevators which travel all the way to deck 12 but one of the three never functioned the entire cruise. We took 3 tours. The Sea Life Discovery Tour in Sitka. I didn't care for this one. There were 3 areas of sea life and in between those areas some very long rides on the hard backless seats with nothing to look at. And mostly you were seeing starfish and very few fish. Second was the Mendenhall Glacier River Float. It was beautiful but cold. The mild rapids were fun and not too scary and we got up close and personal with an iceberg. Last was the White Pass Train ride. I loved this and strongly recommend it. They even let us stand outside in between the train cars. It was truly to die for scenery. Room service was excellent, we had a wonderful hot breakfast in our stateroom the last morning and then walked quietly off the ship. There were no crowds, no waiting in public rooms. The line does offer a lot of perks, no extra charge for libations, no tipping. My guess is that they treat their past cruisers VERY well. Its up to you if the perks are worth the extra $$$. Read Less
Sail Date August 2008
We started this cruise at the Pan Pacific Vancouver. Very nice hotel, and the room booked by Regent gave us a great view of the harbor and incoming ships. After breakfast the next morning, I waited in the Regent hospitality suite to ask ... Read More
We started this cruise at the Pan Pacific Vancouver. Very nice hotel, and the room booked by Regent gave us a great view of the harbor and incoming ships. After breakfast the next morning, I waited in the Regent hospitality suite to ask a question about luggage transfer. Unfortunately, the Regent rep did not show up in the room for about a half hour. Several other guest had the same question (Do we have to be in the rooms for baggage to be picked up?). Finally the rep showed up and let us know that baggage will be taken from the room, and we did not have to be present. The answer made me worry a little, but it went off without a hitch. We spent the rest of the morning and little into the afternoon exploring Vancouver by means of the Hop On/Hop Off bus. We didn't get to see much as my wife got her shopping off to a grand start at Granville Island. Great place, great market. Embarkation - smooth as a whistle, took about 15 minutes and we were up in the Veranda starting our cruise with a large and delicious buffet lunch. Our room was ready at 2:30, and after we checked it out. I went back to Vancouver for something at the drugstore. As I left, I did notice a line of about 50 deep waiting to go through security. Upon my return at 3:30, there was no line left and I breezed through again. Restaurants - We ate at every restaurant and always had great food. Contrary to a previous poster, the food at Compass Rose, Latitudes and Signatures was as good as any 4 - 5 star restaurant. The food at Veranda and the Pool Grille was good, but as expected and intended, is not haute cuisine. Entertainment - We missed every show, so I do not have an opinion. Since we work full time, we never broke our habit of waking early. So after working out, eating like pigs, walking miles and miles in the ports, and finishing that off with another big meal, we were too pooped to go to the shows at 9:45 pm. Plus the titles seemed rather silly, so we decided to skip. My suggestion is for Regent to have some jazz playing somewhere each night, and to start the evening entertainment at 9 pm or earlier. Room/Service - Very nice room and great service throughout the cruise. Ports - Well other reviews cover the ports, so I have one word of caution. The craigdorroch castle is great, but don't try to walk there. Take a tour or bus. It is a long way from the port!! We would sail with Regent again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
First lets get the nearly obvious out of the way. The really all inclusive is the only way to go! The crew really get to know you, the service, the wine, the food, the decor, all top notch as I'm sure you assume. The line has a great ... Read More
First lets get the nearly obvious out of the way. The really all inclusive is the only way to go! The crew really get to know you, the service, the wine, the food, the decor, all top notch as I'm sure you assume. The line has a great Crew to passenger ratio, with tons of empty space all over the place. Our cruise was 100% booked and with a long waiting list and yet we could take a walk around at night and not see a single other couple on the deck. Our Cruise was from Athens Greece to Dubai UAE. This was the trip of a lifetime, and the very first time this ship was in the middle east. For being the first time at all these ports every kink was well worked out ahead of time, and the middle east is no easy place to have everything go so smooth. With the extreme Volatility in the region, we still felt very safe and secure. The boat had several different defenses against modern pirates and we received a military escort that was never more than 20mins away at all times. The safety and well being of each and every passenger really is the ships #1 concern and it shows. The Cabins were spacious and they nearly all have a balcony. The beds were a great vacation for my back as well! Now on to the few things I was not so impressed about, and yes, it took me quite a while to think of anything to even speak of. As nearly every reviewer already stated, yes, there is quite a bit of vibration on the ship. This didn't effect us while sleeping though, but was a little annoying at times when eating on the higher decks. So to start off, the pool and Jacuzzis closed much too early each night. There really is no reason to close them at 7 or 8 pm. Most nights they even drained them and put nets over them. This not only took away from the aesthetics of the pool deck area but we heard several people say that they missed being able to take an after dinner dip in the pool or relax in the Jacuzzi, not in the heat of the mid day sun. I'm sure there's some insurance reason behind closing them, but it was very disappointing to see that the passengers were not trusted to swim once the sun went down. Now onto the TVs. All rooms have Movies on demand at no charge. Slightly tricky at first to figure out, I don't think we realized we even had this feature until about the 10th day! The quality of the movies was all DVD quality. BUT and this is a big but... whoever handles the Audio/Video on the boat should be at the very least, made to take some sort of course to learn what they are doing. Any special recordings or video interviews on the boat were just plain laughably horrible. Most of the color was green. For example, I watched the presidential debate live via satellite in the lounge and in my room. Than for the next day it was played back to back on one of the channels, but now in absolutely horrible quality. It was like watching a copy of a copy of a copy of someone who recorded the debate with a camcorder pointed at a TV. and than add some bright green and now you've got what it looks like. I have no idea why no one that works on the ship let this go on like this. We poked fun about this with several other passengers several times on our voyage. And this can't be blamed on the Satellite, because it came in perfect the first time. While we were in our mid to late 40's we felt like the real youngins on the ship. I'd have to say that on our voyage the average passenger age was 70. which was just plain higher than what we were led to believe. This is no cruise for a family with children, or for that newlywed couple... well unless your on say your 3rd marriage that is! But truth be told we met some amazing other couples on the boat. We enjoyed the company of so many people. We were just shocked by how friendly everyone was. As you talk to everyone throughout your stay you start to find out that nearly everyone on the boat this is now on average there 5th, 6th, even 8th time back with Regent. That alone speaks all for itself! There is certainly a reason why once you go Regent you never go back! I like to keep a healthy lifestyle and the ship had an excellent fitness center, stocked with 4 or 5 treadmills, cycling machines, all with flat screen TVs, free weights, and many machines. Also both a walking and a running path on the decks. Shuffleboard, golf, and a pool you can swim laps in. The menus each night also featured low carb, vegetarian, low salt, and simple dishes in addition to the regular menu, so staying healthy was easy to do thankfully. The Compass Rose was actually so much better than The Portofino. But that was mostly due to the Portofino having a authentic middle Eastern menu since that was where we were. But whatever restaurant you choose there is no waiting, a table is always free just for you. The music on board was just a 6 out of 10. It's all a little Corny and you can tell everyone singing just couldn't cut in in the industry and just settled on a cruise ship. I would've rather heard some violins, than heard the almost Disney like music acts that were there. We also would've like to have heard a little more Sinatra songs. Shore excursions were all decent. We set up many of our own things since we could set up some of the same exact excursions at 1/2 the price. This was our first cruise with Regent and we have certainly found our cruise line to call our own. We look forward to our next cruise in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Embarkation in Hong Kong took about 15 minutes and without incident. We were on the same ship in the Caribbean in March, so we knew what to expect. Our Luggage were delivered within 1/2 hour. We boarded the ship after spending 3 extra ... Read More
Embarkation in Hong Kong took about 15 minutes and without incident. We were on the same ship in the Caribbean in March, so we knew what to expect. Our Luggage were delivered within 1/2 hour. We boarded the ship after spending 3 extra days in HKG at the new W Hotel and it is high tech in everyway. In fact we had some problem figuring out how to operate room amenities. The view was partial harbor view, since there are couple of luxury condos in front. The hotel with the best view is the Intercontinental bar none. One unique feature of this cruise was that Mariner made 1 1/2 day ports of call at major destinations. HKG, Hong Gai Vietnam, Hue, Saigon, BKK and overnight in Singapore where we disembarked. This allowed us to participate more in depth excursions. Cruise provided one complimentary 4 hours cruise of Halong Bay onboard typical Junk which was very relaxing and beautiful. I arranged my Vietnam tours with local agency and it worked out fine, plus 50% saving compared to what was offered by the cruiseline. Our tours were private with driver and an English speaking guides. Transaction involving fees for the tours went without a hitch. Deposit and balance paid on arrival. What was most important was that dockside meet was arranged in advance by obtaining permit from the government which is included in the price. This was part of their Asia Golden Circle Cruise for the total of 102 days, but you can cruise on various segments you found interesting. The crew was very attentive as usual, good room service menu and best of all it is all inclusive. There is absolutely nothing to pay, unless you purchase premium beverages or make other onboard purchases(photos,boutique). Cabin is spacious and all have balcony, no inside cabins, free do it yourself laundry facility with ironing board, automatic detergent injection system. Our cabin was close to 400SQ, walk-in closet, mini bar provisioned with mixes, soft drinks and beer. You can also request 2 bottles of liquor for your room per cabin and bottle of champaign during embarkation. Tray of fruits always replenished daily, nightly turn-down service. I also would like to mention that under your bed has enough space to store 4-5 various size empty bags which really helps out. The ship departed HKG at 11PM on the second day and I must say the departure from HKG at night is spectacular. Most beautiful second to none, maybe Sydney? Our first ports of call was Hong Gai which is the closest port to Hanoi, very interesting city, if you can master navigating massive traffic congestion. It is most difficult to cross those street with hundreds of scooters and aiming right at you. The secret, our guide showed us, is stepping off the curb(not many traffic lights)maintaining steady pace(not slowing down or speeding up) which gives drivers to anticipate your movement which prevents surprises and prevents hitting you. Trick is to do it, but its hard stepping off the curb into on coming traffic. But it works and we did fine with no injuries(I'm 69 and my wife 59). Hue was very interesting, you have a choice of visiting Citadels and Temples in Hue or head out to HoiAn UNESCO Heritage Site. We went to HoiAn combined with Marble Mountain and Da Nang. Good choice, we thought. Onboard you have a choice of dinning venues, Signature, CompassRose, La Veranda and Latitude. We were not disappointed with any of them with few exceptions. Latitude menu was OK, but not thrilled with it(Indian, then Thai), I think many felt that way. We loved CompassRose, food was consistently good with variety, Signature over-rated, La Veranda(always casual)always had interesting menu selection. In defense of Latitude, they are replacing it with a Steak House, when the ship enters dry-dock at the end of this cruise cycle. We took breakfasts and one dinner in our cabin and both were on time, good presentation and full table cloth service. We ordered dinner with wine selection and two bottles were delivered with dinner. Breakfast was buffet, but you could request items at your table without serving yourself, same for Lunch. There were several poolside dinning with extravagant offering of lobsters, premium meats and numerous other premium seafoods, Mexican menu and even pizza. Absolutely no complaint with their foods and quality. Todays restaurant prices would command $50 per plate easily for what they were offering. The entertainment was fine, very quaint venue with variety of entertainment, nothing outstanding , since I'm very critical. But it is what is expected of cruiseship entertainment. Variety shows, singer, solo pianist accompanied by Regent's own band, small trio and solo instrumentalists at lounges. Done in good taste. We had 3 formal nights which I'm not too thrilled about, but ship of this class, you can always expect it. I prefer all country casual type of dress code for every functions, but the I feel that type of passengers this class of ship caters to demands it which is part in parcel of traveling on luxury liners. We participated on 2 nights, but decided on La Veranda instead on the last one which was fine. The ship enforces dress code for the evening very close. HCMC was very orderly compared to Hanoi, ship provided free shuttle service to Rex Hotel(one of the finest in Saigon with history). Because of our size we were able to navigate up the Saigon River for 4 hours to be much closer to city center. Mega cruise-ships on the other hand had to dock nearly 3 hours away, because of much deeper draft. This prevented excursions of any meaning, especially if they were scheduled for one day call at Saigon. Thailand was just as chaotic, but very interesting place to visit. Called on Ko Samui and BKK, spent one night BKK, because the drive into BKK was 2 1/2 hours again. Finally two days at see and arrived in Singapore on Nov 1 and disembarked on the morning of Nov 2. We stayed in Singapore for additional 2 days. Very clean and organized city, we can all learn from them. But the laws they enforce on their citizens can not be imposed in this country, because of ACLU and other organization. However, there are no homeless on the streets, no beggars, trash or graffiti and crimes are virtually none. If you are going to do some shopping get them done in Vietnam or Thailand, because Singapore is expensive and they don't bargain as much. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
Pre-Cruise We had air inclusive on this cruise. Regent booked us on Lufthansa out of Seattle with a stop (and 4 hour wait) in Frankfurt. Flying out of Seattle on Lufthansa was quick and easy. We were booked on Business Class and were ... Read More
Pre-Cruise We had air inclusive on this cruise. Regent booked us on Lufthansa out of Seattle with a stop (and 4 hour wait) in Frankfurt. Flying out of Seattle on Lufthansa was quick and easy. We were booked on Business Class and were able to use the lounge prior to the flight. They use the British Air lounge in Terminal "S" one of the nicest lounges we have seen in the U.S. Contrary to most reviews on Lufthansa, the Business Class seats and service were very good (A330-330 one of the newer planes). The "Business Class" flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul was okay from a service standpoint, however, the seats were economy (6 across 3 and 3). The middle seat was blocked off so no one sits next to you. Not impressive. Regent's transfer to the Ritz Carlton in Istanbul was fine. Beautiful hotel. It seemed that the Regent passengers were assigned to lower floors. Our first room was next to the elevator, looked out at a wall and had stained carpets. We were moved to a room on the 3rd floor that was just fine. Included an excellent buffet breakfast. Embarkation Embarkation was easier than we have experienced. Customs in Istanbul was a breeze and, of course, Regent does a wonderful job of getting you through the preliminaries and up to lunch in La Veranda. Condition of the Ship Condition of ship 2 months prior to dry dock: We were on the Voyager two years ago and felt they needed to replace the carpeting. It isn't worn or dirty, it just looks like there are water marks from large spills everywhere. It seems that they purchased the wrong carpet for the ship. A CC poster that apparently knows about carpet said : "It's called pile reversal/watermarking/shading. It's a common occurrence." In any event, it will be replaced in dry dock. Everything else is sparkling, and clean really looking good. Suite We had a Penthouse B suite (we booked this in order to have Business Class included in the fare. The cabin (818) was in a good position you could not feel any type of vibration. Although the Penthouse suites are only 15 sq. ft. larger, the square configuration makes them considerably roomier. Service The service was wonderful (with a couple of exceptions). We really do not need a butler, however, we asked him if we could have a table set up for 13 in Compass Rose on the next night. He checked and called the next morning to advise me that this is not possible, but, at 7:00 p.m., if we give our suite # to the person in Compass Rose, they will put us in two tables next to each other. We arrived in Compass Rose 6:45 p.m. and was greeted by Anna (she is delightful). She was not aware that we needed table(s) for 13 however, asked us to wait 3 minutes, they would have a table set up for us. This was done and we had a great table with service (Lionel's section) that was absolute perfection. There are more Canadian's working on board than I have seen in the past very nice young people with a great attitude. We even found someone from the U.S. working on board. Seeing staff from North America was different (in a good way). Dining Compass Rose was exemplary. Their filet mignon, and other meat dishes were particularly well prepared. Lunch in Compass Rose was equally delicious. La Veranda for breakfast and lunch was good. However, during a very slow lunch period, the service seemed to fall apart. The staff were all chatting to one another and looking out of the window while plates stacked up on our table. At 1:00 p.m., additional staff was added and the service suddenly became great once again. On the positive side, I was not aware that they have champagne for breakfast on Sunday as well as caviar (prepared beautifully self service). Latitudes continues to serve delicious food their servers are always the happiest and most fun of any servers on board. We will miss Latitudes. Signatures was disappointing the halibut was dry - not even up to the caliber of Compass Rose. The other CCers on board had great experiences in Signatures. We are looking forward to trying Prime Seven Steakhouse next year on the Voyager! The lounges have been quite good. The appetizers are definitely a better quality than a couple of years ago. Even the presentation is a bit better. Note: There was nothing wrong with the appetizers during our last Voyager cruise - the preparation is different and they are presented in a more modern way. Ports Istanbul the port side of the ship is the place to be when in Istanbul especially if you are docked there overnight as we were. The view is magnificent. We found a lovely restaurant (actually an old home where we dined in the backyard) "Giritli". With such a short time in Istanbul, we wanted to try as much authentic food as possible. They serve 12-17 cold appetizers (depending upon fresh vegetables that are in season we had 17). This is followed by three hot appetizers: calamari, octopus and a flakey pastry with spinach inside. Then you select your fish and dessert follows. Dinner includes Turkish wine (all you can drink) and their national drink "Raki". Great food, nice people. They make sure you have a taxi for you when you are done. We walked to the Blue Mosque (next to Topaki Palace). There were simply too many people (mainly tours) for us. Interesting area did wait to go through the Blue Mosque. Rhodes - unique and wonderful. We did a 2 hour taxi tour and walked through the old town looking at shops. There are many taxis parked by the dock. They all want to give you a tour. We politely refused many times. The last driver followed us trying to convince us that we needed to take the tour. We were pleased that we agreed (40 Euro). Kusadasi - as beautiful as the ruins probably are (and we have seen many), we opted to have an authentic Turkish bath (a local facility - no name - just "Turkish Bath" near the post office - walking distance from ship). It was quite an experience - not for everyone, but, it was great for us (only 18 Euro's each). Mykonos - stunning - a great walking city (if you can walk up the stairs and hills). We walked to the very top of the hill - what a view! Santorini - Captain Dag made a very appropriate statement about ports in general. Many new cruise ships are built every year - getting bigger all of the time. However, the ports do not get larger. The week before, 6 cruise ships were in port in Santorini (11,000) people. It took up to 2 hours to get up to the top of the cliff and about the same to get down. People could hardly walk - it was just too crowded. Last week there were 10 ships (plus the Voyager) scheduled to be in port. The Captain made the wise decision to change the itinerary so that we would be in Santorini with only two other ships. We visited the same ports - the order in which we visited them was changed. Santorini is everything people say about it and more. Unique, beautiful - definitely worth the visit. We took a local bus to Oia (a place that should not be missed). I recommend getting in and out of Oia as early in the morning as possible as it will no doubt become overrun with tours later in the day. Nauplion (spelled many different ways) - a nice, laid-back city. Not a whole lot to see. There is a fort - 898 steps up hill. My DH made it to the top - I stopped at 272 steps (I still had a great view of the city). We were surprised at just how different each island was. We enjoyed them all. Post Cruise There were many Regent passengers that were put up at the Athens Intercontinental Hotel because the flights to some cities would not get us home the same day (Regent paid for the cost of the hotel). We were aware of this way in advance. They offered a 3 hour city tour of Athens for $15 per person. Just about everyone took the tour. By the time we reached the hotel, the rooms were ready. Breakfast was included, and, since we had to leave the hotel at 3:00 a.m., were able to order breakfast from room service (rather strange eating at 2:00 a.m., but it was delicious). This is a lovely hotel. One of the flights back on Lufthansa from exceptional (Frankfurt to Portland) - amazing service as well as food (must be that great German food loaded onto the plane? In conclusion: We have been on five Regent cruises. I have reviewed and rated two prior to this one on CC. This is the first time I feel 100% that it deserves a "5" rating. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
My husband and I recently completed the 16-night cruise on the Voyager. (extended to 17 nights due to engine pod problems). While we did enjoy our Penthouse suite, the PBS at Sea and Enrichment lectures and the company we met, we were ... Read More
My husband and I recently completed the 16-night cruise on the Voyager. (extended to 17 nights due to engine pod problems). While we did enjoy our Penthouse suite, the PBS at Sea and Enrichment lectures and the company we met, we were disheartened at the distinctive change in both service and dEcor. We suspect all this is due to the recent takeover of Regent Seven Seas by Apollo Investment Corporation. As seasoned travelers on Regent, we noticed that this cruise lacked the gracious service and passenger comfort focus we enjoyed on former trips. The Cruise Director and wait staff in the Compass Rose dining room and in the Veranda dining room seemed more concerned with their own needs rather than passengers' needs. I say this because simple requests such as providing the extra microphone needed for an audience participation lecture, or having your salad served with your entrEe were met with annoyance rather than a smiling, accommodating face. In addition, the food was not quite as good as we experienced on past cruises. At least the specialty restaurant staff, bar staff, butler and stewardess staff were still part of the old regime. They were wonderful. Judging from the quality level, aesthetics and ergonomics of the newly arrived furnishings, the Voyager will no longer be the elegant ship she was when she launched. The new chairs in the Compass Rose are now so narrow, only petite women can fit into them. They are also so heavy, one cannot move forward or back without assistance. In addition, the waiters keep running into the seat backs, which now curve backwards into the aisles. New seating in the public rooms look like clunky office furniture. Leather sofas are now covered in "pleather" and club chairs are covered in brown and mustard velvet, others in hideous purple stripes. We did have the opportunity to meet several senior level managers and engineers who, as of this posting, have been replaced by new officers under the new management. As in most corporate takeovers, top management is usually the first to go; however, we suspect that much of the wait staff had already been replaced on our voyage. Although we did not air our complaints to management while on board, many passengers did, particularly those with extensive itineraries, or those who were seasoned Regent travelers. We were horrified to learn that one such passenger, a widow and a solo traveler, was thrown off the ship in Cozumel without warning or compensation, after a heated argument with Voyager's newly arrived General Manager. So much for tactful, new upper management and the customer always being right. This was our fifth Regent/Radisson cruise. Unless we learn that things improve, (and we'll keep checking postings on CruiseCritic.com), we'll just say "it's the end of an era" and will most likely explore other luxury cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date November 2008
In this review, I'm going to mainly focus on aspects of the cruise or ship which were not 100%. Some are very petty complaints and barely deserve a mention, but to some may be more of an issue than to myself. I won't go into what ... Read More
In this review, I'm going to mainly focus on aspects of the cruise or ship which were not 100%. Some are very petty complaints and barely deserve a mention, but to some may be more of an issue than to myself. I won't go into what we did at each port, but I welcome any questions. Background: My wife and I are both 39 and we have been on 2 other Regent cruises before - the PG and the Navigator in the Med. This is the third cruise we've taken with our children, the other 2 being short 4 day cruises on Disney. This is also the first time we've been away from home and family for the holidays. Overall, the cruise met our high expectations and was excellent in most every way. We would gladly do it all over again, and are planning a trip to Alaska on the Navigator in 2010 with our children. To us it felt like things have gone a little south since we were on the Navigator 2 years ago, but other than the Portofino restaurant, we really could not put a finger on just what. I attribute most to just being in our head and knowing that there is now a new owner. I don't think things have changed for the worse as drastically as I've read about. The thing everyone talks about is the vibration. 2 years ago we had a midship cabin and did not notice the vibration in the room at all. I only noticed it during the shows and in the Portofino which are both aft. This trip, our cabin was aft, deck 9, and we felt the vibration whenever the Navigator was in motion. It was a low level vibration. Nothing that would wake you from sleep. It only bothered me in the bathroom and I think that was because it was hard floor as opposed to carpet. The vibration in the Stars lounge and Portofino was not at the high level I remember from 2 years ago. At night, the cabin squeaked from numerous locations. It was not loud enough to keep us from sleep. However, when docking in the morning, the aft tunnel thrusters made a horrendous vibration that woke everyone up. The staff everywhere, with one exception, were fantastic. They were always in good spirits and did their best to fulfill requests. In some areas, they were understaffed as I will note below. The one exception was when my wife was in a fitness class and an older woman came in late. The instructor would not allow her to join the in-progress class and told her to wait until the next class. My wife found this to be a bit rigid considering this is just a CRUISE after all and everyone is on vacation. At our gym back home, people come and go from classes as they wish. Our cabin stewardesses were Pitchie and Jonaliza and they were incredible. I'd leave her messages on post it notes if we were leaving before seeing her, and my requests were always taken care of quickly and accurately. From getting a new DVD player for the room when the old one broke, to keeping the fridge stocked with Corona and Fanta. They also had to bring in an extra bed each night for us, as well as take it out the next morning. The room and bathroom were kept spotless despite my deposits of sand everywhere from the snorkeling gear. Of course, service varies from person to person. Service was spotty everywhere during breakfast and lunch. Sometimes there would be 5 people waiting on us and I'd have coffee served before I even sat down. Other times, I'd be half way through my meal before getting a drink. The problem just seemed to be lack of staff. Once I got someone's attention, service was quick. Service out by the pool seemed slow too. The pool deck bar staff and waiters were overworked. I'd like to mention that any time Ben was the bartender and I walked up to the bar, he served me immediately. But many times no one was behind the bar. And it never seemed that busy around the pool except at lunch time. When sitting next to the pool, it could be 10-15 minutes before a wait staff came by to take your order. Sometimes I'd try to flag them down with no luck, and just go up to the bar myself. Dinners were the exception. We never had slow service for dinner in either restaurant. If there were problems at dinner, I may have missed them as we almost always ate with others and I get so distracted by conversation that I'm not aware of service delays. The Portofino restaurant was disappointing, but only because we are comparing to what we remember. I think we are in the minority. I liked it 2 years ago when the one area of the restaurant was set up with hors d'oeuvres and wines from various regions of Italy with a poster showing you the region and explaining the growing conditions, grape type, etc. Then, you went into the other part for dinner and the Maitre' De Roberto and one of the waitresses, nicknamed Mona Lisa, would sing. Now the anti-pasta is set up buffet style which I did not care for. Food is very subjective, so I won't put much time into reviewing it. I will say that of all the meals, we only had one not liked. And that had more to do with misinterpreting the description than the taste or quality. One thing that struck me as odd was that the hash browns were those rectangular frozen kind. Regent should know better for something so simple to make as hash browns. I really enjoyed the selection of cheeses they offered after meals for lunch and dinner. The wines were all very nice and there were plenty of alternatives offered from regions all over the world. I can't imagine anyone finding something they would not enjoy. The alcohols offered at the bars were top shelf and there was a large selection. For example, 4 single malt Scotches were offered - Macallan 12 year, Glenlivet 12 yr, and Glenfiddich - the other I can't remember. My favorite spot on the ship was the Navigator lounge. It was never crowded or busy and the Italian Espresso machine became a good friend. There was only one incident where we were really annoyed. We had booked the Atlantis Tourist sub ride on our own for 10:30 am, with check in at 10:15 at their office which is less than a 10 minute walk from the pier. Because we left Ft. Lauderdale an hour late and the currents were stronger than expected, we anchored off GC very late. The first tender did not leave the ship until 10:00 and takes 8-10 minutes to get to the dock. We were some of the first in line, but they announced that only people who booked tours through Regent were allowed on the tenders. We, along with a few other people complained that the tours would wait for the Regent group, but us with independent reservations would be late and some had cancellation fees, etc. This was not really the major issue though. The major issue was the mass confusion and how no one seemed to be in charge and no one was being allowed onto the waiting tender. The guys on the tender were calling for people to get on board, yet those on the ship kept us waiting. One Regent employee told me not to worry that the sub would wait for me. I knew this was not true. The woman who had announced that only Regent booked tour groups were allowed on the tender looked frazzled and did not know what to do and made other vague statements that made it seem like maybe she could fit us on. I finally asked her outright - are you going to allow us on this tender or not? She said that she did not have the authority to make the decision. There was a mass of people now waiting to get on, and more coming down. So they eventually let us and everyone else get on the tender. I was not so much annoyed with their Regent first policy, but that they did not seem clear if it was going to be enforced or not, and with the general confusion of the entire disembarkation process. Other minor things I noticed: In some parts of some hallways the floors are uneven. There was a terrible garbage smell just as you entered the hall to the aft deck 9 suites. It never went away, and I never complained because we only quickly passed that area. I imagine the cabins closest to the end may have smelled it even in their cabin. The barrier between our balcony and the next was loose and banged all night, but was fixed the next day after we left our stewardess a note. Now that I'm done with the complaints, I want to reiterate that this cruise was excellent and overall I left with a feeling that Regent is still a top of the line, 5 star cruise line. There are so many little things that were positive that made the trip special and overshadowed the few small negatives. The gingerbread houses with candy and cookies set about the ship. The staff who made special efforts to interact with our children and make them feel special. The flexibility of all the restaurant staff in fulfilling special orders. If you are reading this review to help decide if you should take a Regent cruise or not, I say without hesitation, YES, take the cruise. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
On 12-20 we boarded RSSC Mariner in Los Angeles to go South along the Mexican Riviera and through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale. Having read a few negative reviews, we were a little apprehensive. The apprehension continued, when ... Read More
On 12-20 we boarded RSSC Mariner in Los Angeles to go South along the Mexican Riviera and through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale. Having read a few negative reviews, we were a little apprehensive. The apprehension continued, when boarding and check in were pretty unorganized and long lines had formed leading into the Constellation Theater. The ship had arrived a few hours late from Australia, and therefore boarding was delayed. Add to that the fact, that wi-fi in the terminal wasn't working, and check in had to be done in the Theater. Some people were pretty upset, but what's a cruise line to do? After checking in, we took the elevator to the 10th deck where we were greeted and asked for our cabin number. Just as we gave the information one of the stewardesses walked past, heard our suite number and said "Mr. & Mrs. DeRose, welcome aboard", We were amazed since she had obviously memorized the suite numbers and names she was responsible for. Maria Cecilia then walked us to our cabin, and said "You've been on this ship, so you are familiar with it, but are there any questions I can answer, or is there anything I can get for you?" Now that's service! She was among the best stewardesses we ever had, if not the best. Our suite was nice and spacious with a walk in closet, safe, flat screen TV and plenty of room. We ordered a bottle of Ketel One for the room and it was delivered within a couple of minutes. Since RSSC is now all inclusive, they only deliver the bottled liquor on request, which is fine. After a few Margaritas in Cabo, we had room service dinner and it didn't take long at all to get it. In Huatulco we ordered room service breakfast for between 7:00am and 7:30am and it arrived promptly at 7:00am, even before our wake up call. Normally we ate breakfast in La Veranda. The food was very good. Although Eggs Benedict weren't on the menu, I ordered them a couple of times and they were delivered with a smile. Signature is still fabulous, but difficult to get into. When our reservation increased from 2 to 5, they did their ultimate and finally were able to accommodate us. We ate at Latitudes twice. The food was good and we enjoyed it. By the time this review arrives on Cruise Critic, Latitudes will be gone and it will be replaced by Prime 7. The ship is in dry dock now. All the staff was very well trained, friendly and went out of their way to make sure we had a great cruise. I can't say that a single person was ever the least bit unfriendly. The Captain, officers, staff and crew were all very nice. Entertainment was really good and we enjoyed most shows. The shows were split between before dinner and after dinner, which made it pleasant to pick one or the other. They also had some shows in the Horizon Lounge, after dinner, which was nice. Since this was our 4th trip along the Mexican Riviera and through the Canal, there were some ports where we never got off the ship. In Huatulco we had gone on the snorkel cruise and ATV ride before, so this time we tried the rafting. We really enjoyed that. In Puntarenas we had enjoyed the zip lines before, so we decided to do that again. This time I did some research and we did it independently. We went to Turu Ba Ri Adventure Park. Initially there were 3 of us from the Cruise Critic Board who planned to go to Turu Ba Ri, but as the cruise went on, 2 others joined us. I emailed Turu Ba Ri and they immediately confirmed the new number of people. On arrival we were picked up in a van at the end of the pier by our guide Carol. The drive took about 1 1/2 hours because of construction on a bridge. The park is fantastic, with clean facilities and friendly people. As part of the package we got 2 activities and lunch. We chose the Canopy Tour and Nature walk. Rappelling, Horseback riding and other things are available. Then we all decided to add the "Superman" cable. It's a 1 km straight line and your speed is around 50-60 mph. It was incredible fun. The nature walk in the park was very enjoyable even though we are not the "nature" types. There were beautiful plants, butterflies, some Iguanas and other "critters". Turu Ba Ri exceeded our expectations and we all highly recommend it. One thing very important is that you should be in good physical shape, as it involves quite a bit of walking and stair climbing. Pricing is very competitive. Our lunch was very good, too. Then to finish it all off we took a couple of rides in a tram to get from point A to point B. Carol and her driver took us back and this time the bridge was open and it only took about an hour. If you'd like more info on Turu Ba Ri, you can Google them and there are several videos on Youtube. You can also contact them direct at info@turubari.com. We had been to Cartegena a couple of times, and again decided to stay aboard. You may be able to tell by now that for us the ship is the destination. In Grand Cayman we did the ship snorkel tour and it was lots of fun. Disembarkation was very organized and pleasant. Everything would have been perfect if the infamous airlines hadn't messed things up on the way home. I took 16 hrs from Fort Lauderdale to OC, California. We didn't have Regent air, so they had nothing to do with that part. So, after the negative comments I just wanted to reassure everybody that "Regent is back". We've been on all of the Regent ships from The Diamond on, so we have something to compare it to. We've also been on all the other cruise lines and just as before, Regent is our favorite. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
It was a delightful trip and interesting to be away over Christmas. I flew down to Florida and stayed at the Hilton on the Beach in FLL; on the 18th we boarded the Voyager. I must add, that for a chain hotel, the Hilton was delightful ... Read More
It was a delightful trip and interesting to be away over Christmas. I flew down to Florida and stayed at the Hilton on the Beach in FLL; on the 18th we boarded the Voyager. I must add, that for a chain hotel, the Hilton was delightful and had not only a lovely dining area overlooking the ocean and pool, but great food. I was pleasantly surprised. Santa left us cookies and candies and a lovely passport folder. Many suite doors were decorated. One suite was apparently done to the hilt. Having never sailed on Regent, Voyager, just out of a major dry dock work was to be under my scrutiny. Because I am so 'wedded' to Seabourn, I couldn't imagine that it could be as nice. Different and good, but not as nice. Well it was. Embarkation was a breeze and I was given a wheelchair assist through the process. I did not need one once onboard. Disembarkation was a mess attributed to the slowness of the luggage handlers off-loading. We got off early, but later, I understand it was a zoo as all colors were called at once. The decor and layout of the ship was very good, lots of nooks and crannies for reading, napping, and card playing. We did all three a lot. The top deck with the pool, jacuzzis and Veranda Cafe and Pool Grill were very crowded on sea days and to be avoided. However, on the port days, I didn't get off (except for a brief trolley tour in Curacao and it was ok.) The 'show theater' had a balcony and i even watched 'Mama Mia' in it. Always cold, the best entertainment was the Crew Capers the last night. The crew is mostly from the Philippines and performed folk dances and singing. I found out my favorite crew member (Manny of Room Service) was the star and choreographer. Otherwise, the entertainment was pretty poor and to be avoided. Christmas Eve there was carol singing in the atrium and a holiday show that was ok, including the numerous children on board who sang carols. Actually the many children had onboard programs and were not annoying to me at all. I even found the team in the scavenger hunt trying to find 4 crew to pose for the YMCA logo quite amusing.The dumb parents who took toddlers in diapers in the hot tubs were just that, dumb. I did see cool towels being passed about in the afternoon. There were lots of activities, always a tea time with music and a 'quiet tea' in another spot. Nice idea. I played Trivia once. It was difficult and the first day, came in second with a score of 6. the winners got 7/15. I mean, who knew that Melanie of the Spice Girls was the first to put out a single record? Besides, the afternoon time, 4:00 was inconvenient to my nap times. I am looking to the blood sport of Trivia on the Legend Crossing in November. The library was very good and belatedly I found out I could have gotten the NY Times delivered daily (for a fee, of course). There was a huge computer room and a coffee nook as well. While there were DVDs available, there was a large on-demand selection of movies of which to avail. Loved the 'Bee Movie', great humor for adults. The TV channels left much to be desired. FNN, CNN, ESPN, and TNT. Never set foot in the spa, gym, casino, or boutiques. Listened to one of the enrichment lecturers on TV replay, interesting about Obama and the challenges he faces nationally; missed part II of the international dilemmas. Smokers seemed rare and there was a cigar room. Never went in there, either. The food was very good, varied with lovely presentations. The main dining venue is the Compass Rose, large and serving all 3 meals. Two specialty restaurants, Signatures which is to be 'cordon bleu' and Prime 7, a steak house. Both were smaller and more intimate. We ate at both twice and were pleased. On time we joined a table of 6 others and that was fun. Room service is always my favorite, breakfast with a great omelet was the treat. Bar service at the pool was fine, but they can't make a BBC like Nelson on Seabourn. I switched to the Blue Hawaii, a drink from my past, and a virgin Madras, which I learned was cranberry and grapefruit juice without the vodka. The weather was lovely, soft bouncing on some nights. People complained, but I had two balsa angels on a narrow shelf and they never moved, nor did the apple perched atop a narrow dresser top. Speaking of the dresser, the layout of the suite with a balcony was delightful. Bigger than Seabourn (not including the balcony) and with a huge walk-in closet and bathroom with both shower and tub. And, the sofa was large enough to stretch out and actually nap comfortably. It did, however, lack a comfy throw to ward off the a/c chill. The table was enlarged with a plastic top for dining. That was a bit wobbly, but we managed. The bed was great, with a comfy duvet and I actually had real 'Turkish' towels! The itinerary was ok, because I have been to most of the islands and to me they are all alike and with not much to buy. My partner wandered off in most ports and in Aruba found a grocery store and we had good Edam cheese on which to nibble. He found St Lucia grim and the others fair to poor. Many of the tours were more vigorous than I could do or care to. The one trip, deep sea fishing, was closed before the cruise started. Embarkation was a breeze as was disembarkation, after the hour wait because of slow teamsters unloading the luggage. We had a car waiting, and were charged some extra time, but it helped to make our early flights. From checking out of the ship (9:40) to my gate at FLL was 40 minutes. But we were off in the first crush. I did not book another cruise onboard, but with the right itinerary, would certainly go again. ABOVE ALL, WE FOUND THE COURTESY AND FRIENDLINESS OF THE STAFF TO BE 5***** Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Our first cruise on the Voyager was full of surprises. Starting with the email notice from Regent that due to propulsion system problems our cruise would be shortened from 7 days to 6 days and eliminate the Guatemala port. Regent allowed a ... Read More
Our first cruise on the Voyager was full of surprises. Starting with the email notice from Regent that due to propulsion system problems our cruise would be shortened from 7 days to 6 days and eliminate the Guatemala port. Regent allowed a refund for the missed day and a shipboard credit which wasn't easy to spend given the few shore excursion options and the very expensive on board shop offerings. A more pleasant surprise was the size and decor of our category H (the least expensive)suite. It was more roomy and better furnished than the Mariner suites and the bathroom was really nice with a separate shower. This was our sixth cruise on Regent. The Voyager has the best suite layout by far. We drove to Ft. Lauderdale from Northwest Florida and parked close by the Pier. Boarding was a little slow due to late clearance by the Coast Guard as the ship arrived from its transatlantic crossing a day late. Once we boarded the usual Lido buffet was available and the free liquor was flowing at all bars. The food on board was excellent. We could not get reservations in Signatures but after reading recent reviews and talking with other passengers we didn't feel like we missed too much. We enjoyed the last night of Latitudes and can't understand why Regent is replacing such a popular venue with a Steakhouse. Compass Rose serves lovely meals and the wait staff tries to attend to all diners but the dining room management does not do a good job of seating people. You must wait until the table is filled before ordering and starting your meal. If you are seated at a table for 8 late in the evening you may have to speak to someone to get service started. Our dining companions one evening had bad food and the assistant manager offered his apologies. The Lido buffet had a wonderful selection of food for breakfast and lunch each day. The outdoor specialty luncheons had wonderful food but the buffet line was long, slow and designed by someone who must be directionally challenged. It is hard to complain about grilled lobster tails and filet mignon so I will just handle the lines. The Lido transforms itself in the evening to the best place to eat on the ship, the Italian bistro. The food and service were fabulous and the staff really seemed to enjoy serving their guests. Entertainment was good and the performers were all over the ship making conversation with guests in the public areas and lounges. That is a personal touch not found on many other cruise lines but a plus for Regent. A disappointing surprise was the lack of chocolate demonstrations and lectures. The cruise was advertised as a 'Spotlight on Chocolate' with a representative of Valrhona chocolate on board. A substitute gave an informative talk about Guylian chocolate which is made in Europe but it was not the superior Belgian chocolate we expected. The Voyager staff never gave an explanation of the switch and just kept saying the chocolate didn't arrive on the ship. We loved the idea of the Block Party held early in the cruise. Regent rings a bell and has the Captain and Cruise Director race through the cabin areas meeting and greeting all guests in their hallways. The staff poured wine for all and we met our neighbors in a fun atmosphere. From then on we greeted each other by name or with a smile. What a super idea! Disembarking was easy and due to the long drive home we were allowed to get off with the first group. The ship was headed to Freeport for ten days of dry dock refurbishment. I hope they don't change too much about the Voyager........we liked it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
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