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1,149 Regent Seven Seas Cruise Reviews

Uncertain as to how we would react to cruising, we chose a short (7-night) cruise to places we had visited many times previously. The exceptions were Grand Turk and Princess Cay, about which more later. Not to leave anyone in suspense, ... Read More
Uncertain as to how we would react to cruising, we chose a short (7-night) cruise to places we had visited many times previously. The exceptions were Grand Turk and Princess Cay, about which more later. Not to leave anyone in suspense, while we perceive some (inevitable) paradoxes in the cruise experience, we enjoyed our voyage and look forward to more cruises in our future. Our boarding experience was swift and pleasant. Our first sight of the cabin banished our principal anxiety: it was surprisingly large and thoroughly welcoming. The verandaha ballyhooed 50 square feet was great for standing on to observe waves and port scenes, but too small for anything else. We both liked the smallish size of the ship, the inherent intimacy. But we also felt that on a longer cruise, the choice of only two restaurants might be too limiting. Food and service are critical to a satisfying cruise, and particularly on a self-described luxury cruise. We always ate late, never entering Compass Rose or Portofino, the optional Italian restaurant, earlier than 8:00pm. Thus we were always offered the chance to join other passengers already seated. We eagerly accepted these assignments, as we thought that meeting our fellow cruisers across a dining table would be the easiest way to make on-board friends. There is a powerful temptation to fall back on hyperbole when writing about personal travel experiences. One's hotel was "superb." The food at a restaurant in Dubrovnik was "extraordinary." The guide in Buenos Aires was "non pareil." To be clear, we enjoyed our Navigator experience, but the following ratings are, I think, mercilessly accurate. The food. Bountiful, always at least good, sometimes very good. You cannot prepare meals for 450 people, offering them a dozen or more choices, and rival the cuisine at any Michelin-starred restaurant. That said, a curry one night was excellent. Fish was always very good. Corned beef hash in the morning was perfect. Hot dogs (in particular) from the pool grill were excellent. A Mexican fiesta from the same source at lunch was great. (Though for my palate, Corona is the least singular of all of Mexico's cervesas.) We thought service was never less than good, with frequent rises to refreshingly concerned. One lapse should be noted. If you plan to bring a Waterpik or other personal dental equipment have a care. In advance of the cruise, the Regent service desk assured us that outlets were available in the bathroom for 110volt (U.S.) appliances as well as shavers. Not so. On board, we asked for an extension cord to plug into the dressing table outlet which normally serves the 110volt hair dryer. After some consternation, this was furnished. The Waterpik whirred into life momentarily, and then fried. Could I be the only Regent passenger to travel with a Waterpik? To reiterate, cabin stewardess, bartenders, waiters and dining room staff were uniformly agreeable, almost universally in a way that suggests attitude coming from the heart, as well as from training. The ports. Our surprises were Grand Turk and Princess Cays. Our first trip to GT, though we had been to Provo a half-dozen times over the years. The cruise terminal is Disneyesque, and (thankfully) most passengers stay there. An enormous P&O vessel that dwarfed our trim little vessel was tied up across the pier, and disgorged more than 3,000 Brits at the same time as we disembarked. We rented a golf cart and puttered about the island, which is still recovering from hurricane Ike and, it appears, from the fraudulent activities of recently displaced government. Princess Cays, which we visited as our last port of call because of weather, loomed as another re worse Grand Turk. After all, one could reasonably expect the marketing gurus at a cruise line to trade island ambiance for an American Idol image of the Bahamas. Not so. Our 400+ passengers were easily accepted among the carefully planted palms. We delighted in feeding the frenzied fish the stale bread that was provided. And the barbecue was low key and satisfying, though Corona was (alas) the only beer available. So, kudos to Regent (or whomever) for their restraint in keeping Princess Cay more or less akin to its natural character. Though note that the islet can accept as many as 3500 passengers at once, and what it feels like submerged beneath that wave of sun-burning humanity is anyone's guess. So, where next? We would like to try a bigger ship on a longer cruise. Perhaps Regent Voyager? I think we would like a London to London cruise that touched at the Orkneys, Skye and other places a bit difficult to reach. A question that more experienced cruisers virtually all of you might be able to answer. Why do per diem costs increase as the duration of a cruise increases? That seems counter intuitive to the way most things, travel included, tend to work. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
We had booked the cruise with a travel agency in Dallas. I had requested everything to be first class big handicap friendly suite for my parents, handicap friendly limos to and from the airport, etc. My Dad was recently diagnosed with ... Read More
We had booked the cruise with a travel agency in Dallas. I had requested everything to be first class big handicap friendly suite for my parents, handicap friendly limos to and from the airport, etc. My Dad was recently diagnosed with Leukemia as well, so we wanted this to be a special cruise for the three of us and our caregiver. We had traveled on Carnival, Celebrity and Princess before. Carnival was a nightmarish cattle call of humanity...Celebrity was middle of the road with very unfriendly staff and Princess was great but crowded, so we were attracted to the fact that this ship only had 490 passengers and over 800 staffers. After we booked the rooms (I was disappointed that no handicap rooms were available...more about that later), I researched the Navigator online. Apparently it started out as a Russian research ship, then was converted to cruise ship, refurbished in 2006-2008 and the company was subsequently sold from Radisson to Regent. The only negative thing I could find was a lot of discussion online about the famous Navigator rattling sound so I brought as portable fan with me just in case. After 8 days on the Navigator, let me just say that even with my room (531) right next to the dining room, THERE WAS NO RATTLING SOUND to speak of in my suite. I did hear some rattling upstairs prior to some of the shows but that was it. My parents are almost 80 years old and spoke with many of their friends who had traveled on both Regent and Crystal and most found that Regent was far superior in service and food. The average age on Regent was also in the 50-60 range, while everyone told us that Crystal's age was about 80. All drinks are inclusive (Cokes AND spirits) with Regent, so that was a plus as well. We didn't book it until about 90 days before so we ended up paying about $3000/person. The airfare was booked using Advantage miles so we saved about $500/person there. American Airlines was wonderful to work with regarding my father's use of a wheelchair. They called me prior to our departure from Dallas. Someone from A/A was always there for us to help lift my Dad into his seat, whether in Dallas upon Boarding or Fort Lauderdale upon arrival and going back as well. KUDOS TO AMERICAN AIRLINES!!! The limo to the airport in Dallas was great (memo to wheelchair users...better to get a handicap bus next time with a wheelchair lift) but the real nightmare was in Fort Lauderdale. Our travel agent's first screw up was booking a trailer/van to pick us up!!! There was no way my Dad could be lifted into that contraption so I had to call her and she snapped to it and got us a limo (for $210...the going rate for the 3 minute trip to the cruise ships). We didn't get to the docks until about 2:00 (after waiting 45 minutes for the new limo to show up) but once we got there I felt like royalty after being greeted by the Regent staff. They were everywhere!!! "May I help you..." "Yes sir..." "Let me get that for you..." Now I know we are paying for the service BUT IT SURE FELT GOOD!!!! We were greeted with champagne and they even rolled my Dad all the way to his room where we found the next nightmare....The travel agent had requested that a ramp be placed in the room so that the bathroom floor was flush with the suite AND IT WAS NOT THERE....HELP!!!! Well we called the Regent staff (Martha was especially helpful) AND THEY BUILT A RAMP FOR US IN ABOUT 30 MINUTES!!!!! AMAZING SERVICE!!!! I went to my suite and was very pleased with the size of the room. It was especially spacious for me since I was all by myself in the room. Huge walk in closet with safe and wood hangers. Beautiful marble shower and separate tub. Big flat screen TV. Separate sitting area. At first I was disappointed that I had one of the few rooms with no balcony but honestly since I only slept, dressed, showered and ate breakfast in my room during the cruise, I really didn't miss it that much when all was said and done. We changed for dinner and ate in the Compass Room. I loved the fact that there was no assigned seating (like being in the 3rd grade on most ships) and we could dine at whatever time we chose, within reason for dinner and breakfast. Also 24 hour room service, which their caregiver used at 1:00 a.m. to order a sandwich, which got there hot in about ten minutes!!! I ate breakfast almost everyday in my room after that and it got there right on time, was hot and delicious EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!!!! After dinner they went to the show and I went to the casino. I love poker and craps and was disappointed that they had taken out the poker table, but was quickly assured by Helene, the casino staff manager that the craps table action would more than make up for it. AND SHE WAS RIGHT!!!! I spent most of the next 6 nights at the craps table either right after dinner or after the show for the evening and met some great folks there (Chet, Danny, Kirby, Richard) and the casino staff was fantastic!!!!! KUDOS TO HELENE!!!!! Quite by accident we met the couple in 529, which was the room in between our two rooms and we spent the rest of the cruise with them (Holly and Joe) and their friends (Chris and Jamie). I won't say more, except we have met new friends for life and are still communicating with them and we have Regent to thank for bringing us all together (the first thing or the second thing?...what thing?...OOOOOUUUUUUU!!!!!) We ate dinner one night in Portofino's and was disappointed by the food...EAT AT COMPASS!!! The shows that I saw were mediocre at best. The Buddy Holly impersonator was about as good as a bad Karaoke singer and the Vegas Rat Pack review was just awful (how can you do Elvis with no sideburns or sunglasses? how can you do Dean Martin without a drink in your hand??). My parents and their caregiver loved the Motown show and everyone talked about how our caregiver was dancing on her feet throughout the whole show (I guess she was easy to spot, what being the only African-American woman on the ship!). There was always room at the pool...I never had to wait for anything...It was just wonderful!!!!! One very bad incident. Our caregiver had a seizure in Puerto Rico (she had a history of heart problems) and had to be hospitalized and we later flew her home to Dallas...(NOTE...ALWAYS BUY TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE,,,IT PAID FOR HER ENTIRE HOSPITAL STAY, THE FLIGHT HOME AND ALL ARRANGEMENTS,,,WHEW!!!!). The quality of food was excellent, especially the soups which were indescribably delicious!!! The level of service was amazing, especially since ALL TIPPING WAS INCLUDED!!!! I had a massage, which was awesome and my Mom had two complete makeover days (all free since when we boarded we all had any where from $300 to $600 ship credits given to us to spend on massages, cigars, Regent wear, etc.) Look...if you want a non stop party cruise with lots of screaming and yelling and drunk idiots, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU...But if you want class, fine dining, great company, quiet and efficient service, then by all means...BON VOYAGE!!!! I AM DEFINITELY CRUISING AGAIN WITH REGENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
The Mariner is a beautiful ship and fresh out of dry dock she boasts all brand new seating, carpeting, curtains, bed linens, etc. The thickly padded pool deck lounge chairs are quite possibly the comfiest at sea and I found myself falling ... Read More
The Mariner is a beautiful ship and fresh out of dry dock she boasts all brand new seating, carpeting, curtains, bed linens, etc. The thickly padded pool deck lounge chairs are quite possibly the comfiest at sea and I found myself falling asleep more than once while basking in the poolside sun. Of course, that could also have been the cause of late night activities because while the Regent passenger demographic skews a little older - these are a very active bunch! There are plenty of choices when it comes to how much or how little you want to do while on the ship - and the activities run the gamut from mid-day games to enrichment lectures to team contests to wine tasting. If you decide you want to do absolutely nothing at all - there's a place for that too! The passenger/space ratio on the Mariner is very high and it quite evident, especially when you are looking for some solitude. There are plenty of nooks and crannies and comfortable seating options to be found all over the ship when you want some "alone" time. Embarkation was painless and once on board the ship, we were given flutes of champagne and escorted to the Pool Deck by a staff member who also carried our unchecked bags. The whole process took less than a half hour. Our cabin was ready before 2pm and it was every bit as spacious as I had anticipated. Plenty of room to move around and plenty of storage space. The towels and bed linens are of the highest quality, as is the complimentary bathrobe and slippers. They even provided an umbrella for inclement weather! We had a problem with the safe and with the interactive tv but those items were addressed quickly. The food in all venues was outstanding, although the service was sometimes on the slow side. Nearly every single dish we ordered was cooked to perfection and the presentation was always creative. Room service was always prompt and for the most part the orders were flawless (one or two very minor errors such as forgetting the lemon for the tomato juice). Even the lunchtime pool grill food was way above average, with large juicy cheeseburgers, hotdogs, chicken wings and then an additional themed grill (Mexican, American, Seafood, etc.) with extra items from which to choose. I have mixed feelings about the entertainment. Perhaps I had gone into the cruise with high expectations and since all of my expectations as far as food, service, ambience, etc. was met, I expected the same thing from the quality of the shows. This wasn't really the case. The trio which played on the pool deck during lunch, and then at other times throughout the evening were very very very good! The Regent orchestra which accompanied the singers and dancers in the shows is also very good. The production/variety shows themselves, however, were amateurish and cliched. The (so-called) comic/impressionist that was featured the first night was almost painful to sit through; and he ended up doing two more shows! Truly the best entertainment on the ship (besides the Nature's Rhythm trio) was to be found at the Liar's Club which is touted as a game but should be called a show and is one of those "not to be missed" events. The ship's itinerary allowed us to visit seven different ports in 12 days: Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, San Juan and Grand Turk. It would take far too much room to go into what we did at each port, but feel free to read my blog (http://rsscmarinersoutherncaribbean.blogspot.com) which details the trip further or email me with specific questions. I am not the only one to get choked-up while sitting through the Captain's Farewell the last night of the cruise. And emotions were running high the final morning when having to say goodbye to the ship, the staff, and all the new friends I had made. It is quite difficult to put into words exactly what the Regent experience truly is because it's more of an atmosphere that is created by the wonderful staff. Suffice it to say, however, that once you have experienced Regent, you will want to experience it again and again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Pre-Cruise: We flew Continental Airlines out of Seattle to Houston and on to Ft. Lauderdale. The week prior to the trip, I noticed price decreases in both hotel and air. We cancelled and rebooked both at a net savings of $800.00. We took a ... Read More
Pre-Cruise: We flew Continental Airlines out of Seattle to Houston and on to Ft. Lauderdale. The week prior to the trip, I noticed price decreases in both hotel and air. We cancelled and rebooked both at a net savings of $800.00. We took a taxi to Embassy Suites at a cost of approx. $14.00 plus tip. The vans at the airport will gladly take you to Embassy Suites for $40.00, so, it is a good idea to take a taxi. Arriving too late to visit Waxy O'Connor's across the street, we decided to call it a day. Embassy Suites is in a great location and includes a cocktail hour and breakfast. Our short stay was interrupted in the middle of the night by an emergency evacuation being piped through the speakers of the hotel. Fortunately, it was a false alarm. Shuttles to the port are no longer free. The shuttles are $7.00/person which is about the same as a taxi. Embarkation: As usual, embarkation at noon was very organized and went smoothly. Within a ½ hour, we were sipping wine in Portofino. The Ship: The Navigator is a lovely ship and remains in good physical condition. Carpets are beginning to wear in a few places, however, they are not nearly as worn as the carpeting on the Voyager or Mariner prior to dry dock. The ship is being maintained well and should continue looking great until it goes into dry dock in April, 2010 for 22 days. There were two electrician's on board from Italy (where the ship was originally retrofitted) attempting to determine the origin of the ongoing electrical problem. They had one planned power outage that lasted 15 minutes. When the power resumed, the "brown water" appeared in our suite for a short time. Apparently, the resumption of power stirred up the sediment in the water tanks. We did not learn if the problem has been fixed, or, if it is related to the air conditioning issue. We only heard one couple mention that the air conditioning in their suite was problematic. The vibration was quite apparent on this cruise (there was no vibration two years ago). The seas were quite choppy for a day and a half leaving and returning to Ft. Lauderdale. The movement of the ship was more noticeable on upper decks. The vibration was very noticeable anywhere aft. The Suite: We were celebrating my DH's birthday and decided to splurge on a Navigator Suite (1125 - formerly the Beauty Salon). It is the only Navigator suite that is not under the pool on deck 9. It is unique and quite wonderful. The bathroom is double size with a larger shower and Jacuzzi tub. It has a full size sofa and side chair in the living room and a dining table with 4 chairs. The bedroom is small with a window (the sliding glass doors leading to the balcony are off of the dining room). There are over 40 drawers in the suite you could stay there indefinitely. I highly recommend it for special occasions. Food: This is one area that we had some difficulty with. It is our opinion that the quality of the food as well as the offerings have dropped a level or two. For instance, on the last evening, the vegetarian entrEe offering was a "Vegetable Burrito". The shrinking menu in Compass Rose includes the sandwich choices at lunch. On the Voyager 4 months ago, we heard many people ordering from the list of meats, cheeses, breads and condiments. We missed having the opportunity of having a sandwich on board. In Compass Rose, Filet mignon does not appear on the menu daily as in the past. Wine is no longer poured by your server in Compass Rose. Some of the particularly wonderful meals we had: Swordfish Sole Lamb Madras served on rice Filet Mignon Beef Wellington Chateaubriand Osso Bucco (almost anything Italian is wonderful) Rack of Veal (served at lunch in Portofino) Whole Turkey (carved at lunch in Portofino) Some particularly bad items in Compass Rose and Portofino Scallops Crab Claws Shrimp Sugar free trifle Vegetable Curry Sea Bass (would have been great if they removed the brown bottom layer) Note: The ship received a bad load of Crab Claws and Shrimp - they dumped their whole supply and got a new batch at one of the ports. Potato's on the plate were underdone (and less than hot) in CR. My husband ordered a "side" of mashed potato's and/or French fries. They came up hot and extremely good. Many items on the lunch buffet in Portofino were really on the cool side (exception: mashed potato's and anything prepared by Maura on the pasta station). Some of the items on the buffet in Portofino looked pretty shabby - no presentation whatsoever. I'm specifically talking about items that are just about always on the buffet. For instance, smoked salmon - at times a the tray was only half full - you could see what had been put out "fresh" next to the day old fish that was looking a bit dry. The blue cheese crumbles on the salad bar coagulated after a few days and was finally replaced. In general, especially on the lunch buffet, the food has to be hot - this is a serious weak point. Side Note: This is the first Regent cruise we have taken where the pastry chef has no clue how to make scones (we love the scones - only allow ourselves a couple a week - we had ½ of 1 on this cruise). Portofino for dinner I really cannot find any reason to go there. I did not hear anyone mention anything positive about this dining venue. Our one experience there was our first night. The antipasto buffet was good. My husband was served raw scallops which he returned. What he got back was tasteless. A couple of us had fish that was well prepared. The biggest problem in Portofino is Gianpaulo ("Paulo"). He was on board two years ago and was rude to passengers. When we dined there, he and his staff spend 90% of their time talking and laughing with their friends (returning passengers) and very little time serving other passengers. Service: Some of the best and worst we have experienced on Regent. First, a lot of the staff is really exceptional. Some who stand out: Franco - Dining Room Manager Leo - serves in CR during dinner. His section is in the middle of the room (next to the large table that the Captain dines at some nights). Maura - pasta station in Portofino. She is simply delightful. Lea - serves tea in the morning in Navigator lounge. Always has a smile on her face. She bartended for a short time and experimented (with my approval) with a chocolate martini. We had a lot of fun and many laughs. The bartender in Galileo is delightful (can't find his name) Petru Christian - I believe he is head waiter in the evening. He isn't outstanding but did assist us when service in CR was so poor. The service, as I have mentioned was so bad and so good. I would be remiss if I didn't recount the first three evenings in Compass Rose. The first evening we waited 30 minutes for any service (no wine - nothing) The second evening we waited 20 minutes for any service (same as above) The third evening we waited 20 minutes - then my husband got up and spoke with Petru Christian). We got immediate service A couple of nights later we accidentally found "Leo" - there was never a problem after that. He greeted us within moments. We had the same table for four every night. He saw us having breakfast one morning in Portofino - came by, gave me a hug and said to be sure to tell him if we needed anything It was truly a "Regent" six star experience! Unless Compass Rose is completely full, wine is poured only by Sommeliers. This was part of the reason the service is so slow. They try very hard, but, have a difficult task. Wine in Portofino (lunch) - servers no longer come around asking to refill your glass. It is more difficult and takes longer to get wine. The first two days on board, the entire staff seemed to only be speaking Italian to each other. This changed on day three and did not revert back. "Paulo" also seemed to mellow out a bit. IMO, he needs to learn some management and customer service skills. On the other hand, if you kiss up to him, he'll give you special service (while ignoring others). The pool area - our friends spent a lot of time by the pool where they found the service pretty close to perfect. As soon as a glass was empty, someone was there to take their order. Cold towels were offered throughout the day. This area really has its act together. If anyone has a Butler suite, here is the new Butler Menu: A Greek Tribute (Feta cheese, pita bread, marinated black & green olives w/mint dip) Prawns Perfection (Jumbo prawns with American cocktail sauce: NOTE: not really jumbo! Italian Delight (Thinly sliced parma ham with seasonal melon and grissini) Vegetarian Temptation: Crudites with blue cheese or ranch dip. Classic Cheese Platter (Int'l. cheese selection with grapes and crackers) Crab Composition (Crab claws with lemon and cocktail sauce) NOTE: inedible at times Hot Canada Selection (Chef's selection) NOTE: generally the same thing you'll get downstairs) Also a chocolate and fruit selection. Tenders: I added this subject as there appears to be a big change in how passengers who are not booked on Regent excursions are "allowed" to get on the tenders. This is a small ship with fairly large tenders. The number of passengers taking excursions will increase dramatically when "free excursions" kick in. Still, people will book private excursions, want to spend the day ashore, or, have a tee time booked. Everyone has to get a tender ticket in the showroom. I personally never saw the tender ticket as it appears that no one really gets one. They board Regent excursions on the tenders first. These passengers are apparently more important than the rest of us (in our case, we had private tours booked). One tender we took back to the ship actually blocked non-Regent excursion passengers from disembarking from the tender until the excursion folks got off. Ports/Excursions: Princess Cay was pretty but fairly non-eventful. The advertised "sumptuous" barbeque wasn't! Puerto Rico was interesting. Apparently, the officials are known to delay the approval process for allowing passengers off of the ship for up to two hours. In our case, we waited an hour and a half. Once off the ship we headed to another pier to pick up a ferry that takes you within a $3/person taxi ride to the Bacardi distillery. The cost of the ferry was $1.00 round trip for 2 people (no, that wasn't a typo). We really enjoyed the tour of the Barcardi distillery. Regent did offer a city tour that included the distillery. St. Thomas was one stop that I was hesitant about due to some negative publicity they have received recently. We booked our own excursion on St. Thomas. I enjoy the fact that many Caribbean islands have a set taxi fee. We knew that the 20 minute drive to our excursion would be $10.00/person. Our jet ski/snorkel adventure was truly amazing. They take a maximum of six people out at a time. We were the only two that day. The taxi ride was also a nice way to view the island. St. Maarten was also lovely and, once again, we booked our own excursion. This time, our 20 minute drive to ranch was $6.00/person. We did a 2 hour horseback ride (again, only two of us with the guide) that ended up with the horses walking into the ocean and walking back and forth with children coming up to pet them. The go in to about mid-saddle (made up that word to describe the water level). We just did not feel up to doing much on the day we docked in St. Barth. Walking around and looking at the overly expensive shops was about all we did. I hear that this is a wonderful island. After avoiding Regent excursions for quite a while, we decided to give Regent a try in Antigua . There were 22 Regent passengers on the Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour (zip lining). The tour was handled extremely well. It was great to see people of all ages (all adults) zipping from one tree to another, 300 or so feet above the ground. By the end (9 zip lines) everyone looked like a pro! I highly recommend this excursion. Note: very strenuous, lots of walking on rocks, climbing. Tortola BVI was only a 5 hour stop. The shops were interesting. Do not have much else to say about it. There was not enough time to visit "The Baths" which is suppose to be a highlight of this island. Our last port was Grand Turk. While quite commercial, the water and beach was lovely. We enjoyed a nice long walk along the shore. Conclusion: Some people feel that Regent is inconsistent, or, that management in general is poor. I disagree. I have had consistent food and service on the Voyager as recently as 4 ½ months ago and expect it to be the same on our next cruise. It is up to the management on board the Navigator to insure that passengers receive six star service. Most importantly, food has to be prepared correctly and, at the correct temperature when served. The General Manager told a passenger last week that everyone says bad things about the Navigator and he does not understand why. I believe I have explained why. All cruise lines are cutting back in different ways due to the economy. We may not like it, yet, this is the reality. When I look at the luxury lines and question whether we should switch to another line I realize that each line is different and unique. Each has its own set of issues, pros and cons (too large, too small, no balconies, not all-inclusive, etc.). As I said at the beginning, we had a wonderful cruise and would do it again without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Navigator Feb 6 - Feb 16 Good and Bad We recently completed the above cruise and I thought that I would try to give an objective review. Embarkation: The embarkation was slow due to a computer malfunction (seems to be an ... Read More
Navigator Feb 6 - Feb 16 Good and Bad We recently completed the above cruise and I thought that I would try to give an objective review. Embarkation: The embarkation was slow due to a computer malfunction (seems to be an ongoing problem throughout Regent). We waited for 30 minutes in the lounge. Cabin: Our cabin was as expected. Spotless and in very good shape. Service from our stewardess Donna and our butler Rajib was efficient and cheerful. The evening appetizers and room service was great. Food: I know that food is subjective. It was at times very good and always well presented but not 6 star. Often the food at the pool grill was undercooked. Breads and deserts were excellent, the cookies not so much. Service was good and very cheerful. My husband loved the French toast, but my omelet orders turned into scrambled eggs several times so l I finally gave up. By the way, we were always able to get a table for two in the dining room. Entertainment: The production shows were only fair. We only went to one. The special entertainment was excellent. Wojtek Mrozek and Agata were spectacular. Lecturer: Captain Larry R was excellent and very informative about the ports and their history. He gave many educational and fun lectures. He was also very helpful on a disastrous shore excursion. Shore Excursions : For the most part the shore excursions were well planned and very educational in Guatemala, Cozumel and Progresso. Belize was another story. We were on the Lamani Ruins and River Excursion. The first ¾ of the excursion went well and the ruins were very interesting. However, on the way back disaster hit. The driver (guide) was going at an excessive rate of speed when the steering let go and the boat crashed into some trees off the main channel. The steering locked and the transmission also let go. We were out of sight of the main channel in snake and crocodile infested water. The guide did not have any mode of communication nor did he have any tools to free the steering. Several gentlemen on the boat cobbled some steering together and we limped out to the main channel. The other boat on the tour also lost an engine. Regent does send an escort on the excursions but because of the location she did not have ready contact with the ship. I was bruised when we hit the trees. No one on the ship checked with me about my injuries. While I was not seriously hurt I felt that someone should have inquired about my status. Disembarkation: All of the colors were called at once and it was a zoo. It needs some work. The ship had a major mechanical problem and lost an engine at the beginning of the cruise. We missed two ports but were adequately compensated. I believe that the mechanical problems on the Navigator have been ongoing and as this was a port intensive cruise it was disappointing. Would I sail on Regent again, YES. However, I do expect more from a 6 star cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
My wife and I are from the UK and have cruised around 14 times since we retired in 1995. Previous cruise lines were mainly UK based and, most recently,we have been with Cunard. The flight from London Heathrow to Sydney was long (23 hours) ... Read More
My wife and I are from the UK and have cruised around 14 times since we retired in 1995. Previous cruise lines were mainly UK based and, most recently,we have been with Cunard. The flight from London Heathrow to Sydney was long (23 hours) but comfortable in Qantas business class. Regent picked us up at the Airport and we were in the Shangri La Hotel in Central Business District only 50 minutes after touchdown - a world record, according to our driver! We spent a couple of days sight-seeing in Sydney - a city we know reasonably well and then were transferred by coach to the ship for embarkation. This was a painless process taking only a few minutes and accompanied by a welcoming glass of bubbly. As we boarded around noon, we were directed to the Veranda for lunch and advised that our stateroom (cabin?) would be ready around 2pm - and it was. This was earlier than expected - no doubt because the ship was only around half full. We both liked the cabin, particularly the good-size bathroom, and although not unduly large, the veranda was OK. Our room stewards were first class and always helpful, when necessary. As the ship had just come out of dry-dock we were not surprised that everything was spick and span, with lots of new furnishings, chairs etc Dining on board Voyager was one of the highlights of our trip. We divided our dining almost equally between the 4 options. The main restaurant, Compass Rose, was, on the whole, good but a couple of meals did not come up to our expectations.Signatures was rather pretentious, Veranda always very enjoyable but above them all, Prime 7 was terrific. A superb menu and excellent quality. The only gripe is that service was too fast! We would have preferred to linger more between courses. The less said about activities on board the better. The deck/atrium games held no appeal at all - carpet skittles and throwing bean bags does not do a lot for us. We are used to daily deck games - shuffleboard,quoits, deck tennis and so on. We had a number of lecturers on board at different times. Their quality varied from excellent to rather poor - I counted only 17 people at one lecture and, frankly, he did not deserve any more. The entertainment in the Show Lounge again varied considerably. It seemed strange to us that the singing/dancing group had only 3 shows in 3 weeks. We took a couple of shore excursions and, while they were done competently, they were very expensive and not worth the high cost. Our disembarkation went very smoothly - a driver and guide took us to the Ritz Carlton and then aday later, to Shanghai Airport for the return home. In summary, we thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise with Regent and liked Voyager very much. If we have nit-picked a little, it is only because we believe the Regent experience could be even better. Here'to the next time! Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
My wife and I are in our late 50's, financially comfortable with me still working. By 2008 were status post 4 yearly cruises with Princess. At the time, we had gotten increasingly tired of the non-stop promotions and hand numbing ... Read More
My wife and I are in our late 50's, financially comfortable with me still working. By 2008 were status post 4 yearly cruises with Princess. At the time, we had gotten increasingly tired of the non-stop promotions and hand numbing signing for what seemed to be everything, and for that and many other reasons decided to cruise Galapagos on the Celebrity Xpedition in the Spring of 2008. As it happened, it was an ALL inclusive cruise, and we enjoyed that so much that we decided that our 2009 cruise had to be on an all inclusive cruise line. Seeing rave reviews about Regent SS, and ready to step it up, we decided to give this cruise line a try and selected a 12 night Southern/Eastern Caribbean r/t from Ft Lauderdale in March of 2009 on the Navigator. Our verdict of the entire cruise experience with Regent is conflicted, because there was much good to say about it, but unfortunately also some bad, with us not yet having made up our mind as to whether the "good" outweighed the "bad" to the point where we today can decide whether we would do another cruise with Regent. For now, we will have to leave it at a "maybe" - we need to let more time pass to see which memories are left standing. Our trouble started by not receiving our cruise documents by 14 days before departure. We had filled out the guest information form and noted to Regent that it did not permit entry of information of permanent U.S. residents (Green Card Holders) and did not allow passengers with foreign passport to have a U.S. address. They never got back to us - and then when we inquired about why we had not received the cruise documents were told that we had not provided the requested information on the Guest Information form. We had to inquire, they did not alert us. By 3 days pre-departure, we and our travel agent were still tussling with Regent about the fact that their form did not permit us to enter our information (with their web-site having been down for passengers from October 09 to departure in March 09). Regent was rigid, unapologetic and impersonal in their communication to the point that we by 2 days before the cruise felt that we may not be able to go because they were still unable to get our documents. Finally on the day before the cruise we received a curt email requesting our Green Card information, provided it and on the day of traveling to Ft. Lauderdale were told that the documents had been issued and were waiting for us at the pier. That meant we had to go to the pier without luggage tags or ticket which made for a fun and speedy security clearance before we could get to the Regent desk - NOT!! Awful, horrendous experience, and not a recommended way to start any cruise! Once checked in and on the ship, things definitely took a turn for the better. The Navigator is a wonderful ship. We boarded at noon and were greeted by a very nice staff and served a glass of Champaign. We had chosen a Penthouse suite (1014) and found it spacey and comfortable. Huge walk-in closet (almost a cabin in its own right). Nice, though not overly roomy bathroom with a somewhat narrow shower enclosure, especially for a big guy. The bathroom floor and walls were covered in marble with oodles of luxury soaps, shampoos and lotions. Very comfortable bed, nice sitting area with lots of shelves and cabinets. The veranda is a little disappointing, and not bigger than mini-suite verandas on Princess. A chilled bottle of Champaign and 2 glasses were readied and amn elaborate flower arrangement was a nice touch. The suite had a 32" LCD flat screen TV and multi-system (region-free) DVD player. There was an iPod with approximately 2500 tunes provided and an iPod amplifier to play it. We didn't check the music choices as we brought our own iPod. Suitcases arrived before departure. We had a butler assigned, and he supplied us with everything we requested (and the ship could provide: we had an elaborate made-to-order breakfast and lunch served in our "suite" with the help of an ingenious coffee table extender and the Butler would get special drinks, wine, campaign and espresso drinks whenever we requested it. He delivered elaborate "canapEs" in the afternoon; kept our fruit basket freshly supplied and also kept the in-suite fridge well supplied with cold drinks, beer and ice and the in-suite bar supplied with 2 liters of common alcohol (we chose vodka, gin). The rooms was kept immaculate with 2 scheduled cleanings a day (including evening turn-down) and it happened swiftly and was complete quickly after the "service" sign was placed on the door. The ship offered organized bridge, chess/checkers, bingo, casino tournaments, puzzle solving gatherings, and pet owner get-togethers with picture and story exchanges. It had a cell phone node that enabled all cell phones to connect to their carrier for a roaming fee ($5/min billed by our T-mobile we just found out!) - the ship charged $7 if using their satellite phones. There was a pretty strong wireless Internet (for a fee: $65 for 4 hours) that made me able to connect without problems from our suite at all times. In addition, the ship offered a computer center with 5 available somewhat dated desk-top computers. It had a library with a limited book, DVD and game inventory. There was a large swimming pool, 2 hot tubs, a large theater, a full service Spa, a smoking room, a caviar bar, a couple of shops (one jewelry and one clothing/general). Everything except Internet, cell phone, caviar, shop purchases, casino and excursions were included in the up-front price > all in all not a bad way to spend 13 days on this our first luxury, all inclusive cruise. A day on the cruise would go something like this: Breakfast was served at a time and order we filled out the evening before, Our Butler would come and set up a nice table with tablecloth and everything we had ordered, stay and serve the first cups of coffee while tiding up our suite. We did try breakfast in the Portofino and did not like it much. The buffet was standard fare and we did not like that you could not order your eggs/omelet directly by the cook preparing them, but had to order them through a waiter making for sometimes lengthy waits and more than once getting the omelet mix wrong. After breakfast and showering, we would then either go on an excursion if in port, or if a sea day relax in our suite/veranda until lunch, which we either took in our cabin or went to the Portofino buffet restaurant to get (there also was a lunch offering on the deck - with more barbecue items) as well as formal lunch in the main restaurant, the "Compass Rose". The lunch buffet in the Portofino was a mixed experience. The salads and fruit selection was excellent, the main (hot) courses were few to choose between and too often bland. One hot soup was offered (as well as a chilled), and I did not find any to my liking during this cruise. A pasta station was staffed by a delightful woman with thick Italian accent who would prepare a delightful spaghetti dish of your choice. More relaxation, a nap and then we were ready for our pre-dinner drinks, which we took in the small cosy "Navigator Lounge". We then went to dinner in Compass Rose. The menu, which had been put in our suite in the afternoon (you can have it served there by the Butler) would successively take you through a selection of 5 starters, 3 soups (1 always chilled) 2 salads, 2 pasta dishes, a sorbet "palate cleanser" and 5-7 main courses, always including 2 "stables" every day (rib-eye steak and grilled salmon). Then a fairly decent cheese selection with each evening feature a different cheese country or area and finally a choice of about 8 different desserts that changed daily. Complimentary white, rose, and red wines was liberally poured. Specialty coffee could be ordered (i.e. Irish coffee) a could liqueur/cognac. The food selection and presentation was excellent, but the taste sometimes a little bland, especially the garnish could be quite nondescript in taste. The main course usually was excellent. The quality of the main wines was in our opinion good and usually from a different country/region each evening. There was a separate wine list with high-priced "premium" wines - but we did not feel it necessary to go there at all. The service was always courteous, but much too rushed, and with much too long waits for food and service when busy. The poor waiters seemed to be worked to death while trying hard to provide personal and pleasant service failed miserably because there were too few of them. Courses flew in and empty plates off the table when the service finally started. On some days a special "wine tasting dinner" was offered in the Portofino, where about wine makers were present and served their own wines as well as explained about the wines and how they were paired with the food. We found these evenings great fun in all aspects, and got to taste some phenomenal. The wine makers were a fun crowd to be with. We returned to the Navigator Lounge after dinner for an after dinner drink, and then either returned to our suite or went to the live entertainment de jour or went to the casino for some gambling. While this went on our cabin had been turned down and once back there and in bed, we would watch either a DVD we had brought or select from 100's of movies that were on-demand and could be saved and resumed later at the point where you saved them. So the following may seem a little odd. Because you would think that if we got asked whether we would travel in the same way in the future on the same cruise line with the luxury, all-inclusive concept we truly enjoyed, that we would answer with a loud YES! - but the problem is, that is not our answer - at best it is a careful "perhaps". One one hand, there is no question that this was a wonderful way to cruise: everything is paid for up-front, the staff and service are terrific and the ship well maintained, clean, spacey and comfortable. On the other hand, as the days passed we found that the other passengers were perhaps a tad more different from us than what we bargained for and were used to. For example, of the 490 passengers on the cruise, My wife and I with our 58 years for sure were among the very youngest. The vast majority were 70-80 years plus, and in conversation it was too much like talking with our parents, with interests and a life we really could not relate well to. Even though there were 2 person tables, there were only few of them, and often we were given the choice of either waiting ~30 minutes for a 2 person table or had to join a 6-8 person table with people we did not know. Once there, we became involved in what too often seemed like idle conversation of little interest to us (complaints about this that and the other, health problems etc. etc.). Very different from our Princess and Celebrity cruises where we always seemed to be able to find compatible couple to connect with. Not so on this cruise. My wife and I would nod and participate best we could while our invisible eye-lids shut down and the brain when into "idle" followed by "escape" mode!. So the last week we always waited for a 2-person table so we could avoid this to us awful ritual. The entertainment, which we on bigger ships had experienced as being quite good whether in the form of comedians, magicians, production shows or a combination of the above was abysmal on this small ship - a total waste of time. The music played on the ship was clearly selected for the 70-80+ clientele and not to our taste at all. So that made us realize that for us there is no "perfect cruise", that whether going with an all-inclusive "luxury" cruise or a main-stream mega-cruise a la Princess, there are pros and cons and which outweighs the other we haven't figured out as of yet. On one hand, we really enjoy the large "normal" cruises, where you can still get a large cabin and veranda, good food, but then will have to pay for tips, booze, soft drinks and many other things on top of the cruise price, but with fellow passengers that are more similar to our age and background, and where because of the size of the ship (2-3000) there are many, many more choices for things to do and see and with much better entertainment. The food on the Navigator was perhaps a step above Princess, but not by much - and certainly not in regards to buffets, and not enough to make this a determining factor - we have always felt the food on Princess was quite good. And maybe 2000-3000 passengers on a single ship sounds like a lot, the ships we have been on with those numbers have been so big that we did not feel they were any more crowded than what we felt on the Navigator. Actually we find the overall dining experience on Princess better where there typically are up to 10 different dinner venues of all sorts whereas on the Navigator there were only 2: the main restaurant and a small Italian specialty restaurant in the evening with little chance of establishing personal relationship to any of the waiters which we so like to do on Princess, due to the Navigator waiter staff being stretched way too thin. We did inquire with the cruise consultant aboard as to a 14 day San Francisco-Alaska-Vancouver cruise in 2010 for us in a large suite and 2 of our friends, and after assuring us he would get back to us within a couple of days (we met with him the second day), he send us a letter that he would need a couple of more days before getting back to us, and finally on the last day we received a form letter from him directing us to our travel agent because he was "too busy". We found this unbelievable shortsighted and silly, especially in these economic times, as we could have plunked down money for a $40,000 trip and now felt slighted and basically blown off as in "you are not really important to us". So there seems to be some deficits in key parts of Regents organization as how to treat customers commensurate with the aura of luxury and catering to the well heeled the seem to prefer to project. Their very poor land based costumer support, cruise consultant support, the like we have never experienced with Princess or Celebrity combined with clearly catering to the pre-Baby-boomer age group makes me seriously wonder where Regent is headed 10 or so years from now. So while Regent with a little effort could have "bagged us" for a 2010 cruise, we have decided to return to Princess in 2010 (and made a reservation for 15 days on a trans-Panama cruise in a Vista suite for us and a mini-suite for our friends). Our conclusion is, that one will need to drink a lot and live high for a Princess cruise to be as expensive as a Regent Navigator cruise. On our Tahiti cruise 2 years ago, a mini-suite with veranda for a 10 day cruise on Princess cost $3000/person in cruise fare with an additional $4,000 for all the extras at the end of the cruise (and we did not hold back with caviar, wine and booze). Regent has a ship at Tahiti as well (Paul Gauguin) where a 10 day cruise to the same ports and with the same size cabin cost $6,000/person, but then was all inclusive. On this Navigator trip we ended up with a $2,000 extra bill (mostly for excursions, Internet and caviar) for 12 days. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
As a frequent traveler on REGENT we still do not comprehend what has happened... everything has changed, what was great before.. now is mediocre. Read my notes and just to be clear... you are warned. After traveling for 23 hours from our ... Read More
As a frequent traveler on REGENT we still do not comprehend what has happened... everything has changed, what was great before.. now is mediocre. Read my notes and just to be clear... you are warned. After traveling for 23 hours from our home to Dubai and finally boarding the beautiful Regent Voyager- my wife and I were greeted with this: "Have you heard the news? We have been contacting all the passengers ahead of time (nobody contacted us, on the contrary, I e-mailed and called them several times with some questions, and nobody ever answered back my e-mails or calls), we have a LITTLE problem. The Ship is BROKEN it's one of the Pods and we are giving you 3 choices: (1) getting off and flying back home at their expense; (2) going on the Regent Mariner leaving 7 or 8 days after on a completely different route or (3) staying on with the unfortunate difference of not going to many of the ports scheduled in exchange of receiving 50% refund. Note: They promised to fly us back home at the end of the trip the same way we had planned, ie. Business Class- but we had to show them proof- needless to say, after presenting the Business receipts and anxiously waiting for 6-7 days for our return flight information, they booked us on Coach- When I called to inquiry the answer was: SO SORRY- BUT I AM NOT A TRAVEL AGENT! ugh! After complaining and waiting 4 more days in limbo, we finally received the e-ticket information on Business- that is how I planned originally. Since we had planned this cruise for 6 months- we decided to stay on board. Our first Cabin 1058- located in the aft section of the ship was unacceptable with loud motor vibrations. After 2 days, we changed rooms to 1025 and then we were fine. We still do not understand what has happened to the food quality of this ship. Nothing like it used to be. One day, we ordered crudities from room service- the blue cheese dip was spoiled. Crackers from another cheese tray were rancid. On two occasions we ordered pizza both from the room service and at the Veranda- and it was horrible. It was so bad in fact- that I called the Chef and asked him how he could serve such a dried out, tasteless pizza with artificial non tasting cheese? His answer, " We have a problem in the kitchen with the oven". Then I said to my wife that explains the reason why most of the breads in the buffet were raw on the inside. If for example you order a Tuna Fish sandwich without celery- you can be sure it WILL have celery. If you order a turkey sandwich- the turkey is pressed- never fresh- that takes me to the most important complaint of all. THE FISH- my wife and I eat fish regularly, from all the meals- we had only two decent fish plates. All the fish were from frozen. Served luke warm, over cooked and tough without any seasoning. Just disgusting. The menus at Compass Rose read beautifully, but then you do not get what was described. A vegetable appetizer might have a miniscule slice of asparagus as THE vegetable, then other ingredients like chopped egg that are not mentioned in the menu. Tuna flakes means "canned" tuna. The Matzo Ball Chicken soup can be a beef consomme with a "raw in the middle" tiny matzo ball the size of an eye ball. Desserts- mostly tasteless gelatinous concoctions made with poor quality ingredients and over ripe fruit. The two more "gourmet" restaurants Prime 7 and Signatures- we also not good. Not even worth mentioning- but you can see several tables returning their dishes for others. What bothered me most about these two restaurants- they require reservations- I tried making reservations several times and was told that they were completely booked- I passed by them several times on different evenings around 8 p.m. and there were always empty tables- which does not surprise me since we only had approximately 300 passenger on the entire ship; so why were no reservations available? The attitude the two receptionist on deck 5 have towards us passengers also merits mention. The look of "Why are you bothering me with stupid questions?" is all I have left to say. The SPA- overpriced Manicures & Pedicures, tiny Sauna & Steam Rooms that fit no more than 2 tight at a time and very little staff- All of the above and more have convinced us that we will NEVER EVER travel on Regent again- I do not pay my good earned money to get Surprises! Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Before we set out on this cruise I read (avidly) the reviews and many posts on the boards on CruiseCritic.com.  Reviews (and posts) on the Navigator seemed to be very mixed.  I had actually considered changing our cruise to the Voyager ... Read More
Before we set out on this cruise I read (avidly) the reviews and many posts on the boards on CruiseCritic.com.  Reviews (and posts) on the Navigator seemed to be very mixed.  I had actually considered changing our cruise to the Voyager but it was a good thing I didn't, since the Voyager had a "pod" problem and needed drydock work and the May 8th cruise to Iceland was in fact cancelled.  So it is fair to say that we boarded the Navigator with our fingers crossed that no "bad" things would happen to us.  I need not have worried!!We travelled with two friends, also from Switzerland, with whom we have cruised once before.  We are all retired.  We flew to Miami on British Airways from Geneva, and stayed with a friend in Miami Beach for a few days before the cruise.  On May 1st we were collected at her house by a limo service and taken to Port Everglades.  I had totally mis-estimated the time involved for this short trip, and we ended up arriving at the pier at 11.30am instead of at noon.  Never mind!  Our suitcases were taken by porters and we were ushered into a large waiting room, with plenty of seats, to wait for embarcation to start.  Promptly at 12 noon several counters opened, and by 12.30 we were on board, seated in Portofino (10th deck restaurant) having lunch.  Since the "Swine Flu" outbreak was gripping the world (no pun intended!) I was interested to note that we were asked to sterlize our hands not once but three times before boarding and to complete a small questionnaire on where we had travelled prior to boarding, and whether or not we had any symptons.  We were informed that if we answered "yes" to the questions we would be interviewed.  Since our answers were negative we were not, but I did see some people being asked to go to one of the counters, presumably for this interview.We met the friends we were sailing with on the pool deck after lunch along with Marilyn and Philip Langner of "Theatre at Sea" which was to be featured as a part of our cruise.  I had read that this would be available but had no idea at all as to what was involved.  Talking with Marilyn and Philip I began to get a glimmer of understanding that this would not be an ordinary cruise!At 2.30 we were told we could go to our suite, which was a Navigator suite on Deck 9.  We love the Penthouse Suites on the Mariner, and I looked forward to something spacious but my first reaction was that this suite was a little small. (In fact the square metres are more than the Mariner PH suite, but since the bedroom is closed off it feels smaller).  The bathroom was very large, and was equipped with a shower, huge bath, one sink, loo and bidet.  Strangely although the toiletries were very nice (Anchini AND Regent brands - not much to choose between them) but there was no kleenex dispenser in the bathroom which meant I needed to run between the bathroom and the bedroom each time I needed a kleenex!  The bedroom is small.  Just enough for the two 90cm wide beds, made up as one, and room to walk around them.  The balcony opens off both the bedroom with a sliding door and the sitting room with a normal door.  The sitting room had a large corner sofa, arm chair, desk and a table for 4.  There were loads of drawers, cupboards etc and a large walk in closet with safe and plenty of hangers.  The decoration was nice (cream and green) and seemed fresh.I had heard about plumbing problems on this ship so I was not at all surprised when on the first evening our loo refused to flush.  (!!)  We called our butler who told us that "they were working on it" - we went to dinner and when we came back it was working, and continued to do so throughout the voyage.  We had no other "mechanical problems" with the plumbing or the electricity or the AC during the voyage.  However that first night we noticed that there was no water in the washbasin around 2am.  The next day I asked about it and was told that the water had been cut off to permit repairs to the loo.  I didn't hear anyone else complain of problems like this until after Funchal when one person told me that her loo had overflowed, but had been fixed at once.  This doesn't mean that others didn't experience them - I just didn't hear of them if they did.Service from our Butler and Stewardess was impeccable.  When I asked if we could have nachos and gucamole instead of the "normal" evening snacks on the Butler menu, they arrived!  When I asked the Stewardess not to give us chocolates at night - she didn't.  They looked after us well.We ate breakfast everyday but two at Portofino.  We found the service excellent and when we could we ate outside.  The choices were good, and I certainly ate too much!  One day we ate at the Compass Rose so I could have kippers, which were very good.  One other day we had breakfast brought to our suite since we had an early tour.  Lunches were normally at Portofino  - again good choices, nice salads and very good service - and on the pool deck for the barbecues, Tex-Mex etc.  We liked the idea that you could serve yourself from the things on offer there and then take your plate into Portofino and complement your first choices by what they had on offer.  Dinners, except for one night, were at the Compass Rose.  There we were seated very promptly (even though most evenings we arrived around 7.45pm) and had tables all over the dining room.  I was amazed by the choices on the menu.  On both Mariner and Voyager we had often ordered the Filet Mignon/BEarnaise sauce because we didn't see anything else we liked.  We only did this once on the Navigator as there were so many excellent things to choose from.  Our friends normally eat fish, and they remarked often on how good it was.  We had more meat than they, and found it all good.  The Beef Wellington, English Roast Beef and the Veal Zurich Style were particularly excellent (and for the latter, take into account that we live in Switzerland!)  Starters were imaginative and varied.  I didn't think the desserts were particularly great though but then I am not a dessert person and rather prefer cheese, which was good, especially the Stilton.  We did not have a single meal in the Compass Rose with poor service, either from the waiters or the wine waiters.  The Sommeliers quickly produced alternative wines if we didn't like the selection of the day, and our glasses were re-filled frequently without our asking.  We tried Portofino one night.  Happily they have done away with the "musical entertainment" and the menu is resolutely Italian.  It was OK, but we live right next to Italy and can eat what was on offer there anytime we like...so we decided to eat at the Compass Rose.  (If Prime Seven had been available, we would probably have eaten there several times!!)I think it is important to note, in light of other criticism, that we did not arrive for dinner any night before 7.30pm and many nights later.  We never had a problem in eating a three or even four course meal and being finished in time to get to the evening show.  And since we sat in all areas of the dining room on the 14 nights we ate there, I think it is fair to say that the service was good all over!We spent quite a bit of time each day around the pool.  There as well the service was fine.  I did noticed that there were only one or two waiters on duty until about noon, when several more arrived.  This makes sense since the pool deck was relatively empty in the mornings.  We were very lucky with the weather.  The ocean was smooth throughout the crossing and we did not experience the "rocking and rolling" that the Navigator seems to be famous for until we left Barcelona and crossed the Golfe de Lion.  There we DID rock and roll for most of the night.  But on the trans-Atlantic part, luckily, all was calm.  We did experience the vibrations that the ship is also known for.  But after a couple of  nights we got used to it, and in fact it more or less lulled me to sleep.  In the theatre it is far less pleasant since the noise, coupled with the vibration, can be distracting.  But up on the 10th deck (Portofino) and 11th (Galileo's lounge) we felt nothing.The Theatre at Sea entertainment was amazing.  Broadway stars (including Patricia Neal, Carol Lawrence, Shirley Jones, Gina McKechnie and many others) performed and talked about their experiences.  We were so fortunate to have them on board with us (or rather we to be on board with them!).  There were several lecturers as well - a retired US Ambassador, Sam Hart, who was particularly good, we thought, and Stewart Nelson who talked on the oceans.  The others we didn't find so great and didn't return to their talks after the first one...but many people did, and many people liked them a lot. "Whatever floats your boat!"  We like Trivia, but were disheartened by the difficult level of the questions.  Far more difficult than those we had had before on the Mariner and the Voyager.  Also, since Trivia and tea are connected (!) I have to say that I didn't think that the cakes etc on offer were up to the standards of the Mariner last year.  (Kevin Lee was the Pastry Chef on that voyage and he used to work at The Ivy!)Our ports included:  Bermuda (where we were able to re-visit old haunts); Funchal; Malaga (we took a RSSC tour to Granada and fell in love with the gardens at the Alhambra!); Valencia (we went on our own to the Oceanografic and were really impressed); Barcelona (again an RSSC tour with a superb guide focussing on Gaudi's Barcelona); and St Tropez which was replaced at the last minute by Villefranche, due to inclement weather which meant it was not safe to anchor.  Personally I think Villefranche, although it lacks the "glitz" of St Tropez, was a nicer port...  I have heard that Regent has taken over the direct management of their tours.  If so, then they should be credited for the improved organisation of them.  Things seemed to flow smoothly, from the time we checked into the tour until we got on the bus.  We were all given tickets with bus numbers, so we found the right bus easily and could sit with friends, and the guides were well qualified, and in one case, superb.  I did, however, find the tour price high for what you got.  An example is Valencia.  The Oceanografic tour was sold for $79 per person.  We took the shuttle bus to the main station, so we could see a bit of the city.  We then took a taxi to the aquarium (8 Euros = $10.50 for 4 people).  Entrance to the aquarium was 30 Euros, but we got 2 off because we are "old".  Then we paid around 3 Euros for the Audio guide.  And finally a taxi back to the ship at 6.50 Euros for 4.  Total cost per person: 35.25 Euros which is $47.00.  Around 40% less.  When we saw the group from the ship they were all walking around like us with their Audioguides!!  On the other hand I heard that two people had hired a car to go to Granada on their own.  Cost a lot less than our $270 - but when they got there they found that all the tickets to the Alhambra for the day had been sold, so they had to return to the ship not having seen it at all!On our last day we arrived in Monte Carlo promptly at 7am and disembarkation started around 8.30am.  By 9.30 we were off the ship and at the Hertz office and then on our way back home by road.  Much shorter than the flight over!!In sum, we went expecting little and left with the feeling that this was one of the best cruises we have ever taken! 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Sail Date May 2009
We just spent 13 glorious nights aboard Navigator.  This was our 2nd time on Navigator and our 5th overall Regent cruise.  We were originally booked for the May 8th Voyager sailing which was to go from Fort Lauderdale to Reykjavik, but ... Read More
We just spent 13 glorious nights aboard Navigator.  This was our 2nd time on Navigator and our 5th overall Regent cruise.  We were originally booked for the May 8th Voyager sailing which was to go from Fort Lauderdale to Reykjavik, but the pod problem occurred and the cruise was cancelled by Regent.  It wasn't the easiest thing for Regent to switch over our booking, but our TA kept on them and all arrangements were made to our satisfaction (they even included air on the return from Athens; I had asked for this because if we were to book the Monte Carlo-Athens segment alone, economy air was included).We visited 7 countries in 13 days, beginning in Funchal, Portugal then on to Malaga, Valencia, and Barcelona, Spain; Villefranche, France; Monte Carlo, Monaco; Rome, Sorrento, and Taormina, Italy; Kusadasi, Turkey; and Santorini & Athens, Greece.  Overall the weather was fabulous with the exception of some clouds and rain in Valencia and Barcelona.  The Navigator is still a wonderful ship, but I believe what really makes it wonderful are the staff and crew.  We were called by name the entire voyage.  "No" was not in their vocabulary.  Even maintenance people who were occasionally in the hallway lit up with smiles and went out of their way to greet us.  Service at all dining venues was superb.  (I can only speak for dinner & lunch in the Compass Rose, dinner in Portofino, and lunch at the Pool Grille).  We would dine in several different sections of the Compass Rose, and those who had waited on us previously in other sections would visit our current section to greet us.  We felt so spoiled by the end of this cruise, I cannot even tell you!  I think it has a lot to do with "treat someone how you would like to be treated" and it comes back tenfold.  We always see complainers and you know, life is just too short for that.Capt. McNeill was our captain for the 2nd time - so glad he was - he was every bit as congenial as we remember him.  Always out and about, greeting guests and crew with that perpetual smile.  Our sailouts were accompanied by his signature bagpipe music.  I always get teary eyed at this! We were assigned an F suite - 862 - in the aft.  Not our first choice, but due to the last minute nature of our booking, we gladly accepted it.  We figured the vibration would be bothersome, but it was such a non-issue!  The most vibration we felt was in Galileo's - where it also felt like the ship was at a constant list.  I understand that the ship has issues with plumbing and electrical, but we experienced no problems, nor did we hear about any from our fellow guests. We participated in our first Liar's Club which featured some of the Theatre at Sea celebrities.  We were busting a gut, laughing so hard!  We aren't "show people", but we did catch the finale of the Theatre at Sea and it was fabulous.  Patricia Neal's rendition of "Send in the Clowns" really got to me - the tears were rolling down my face.  What a treat to be able to see her perform. Embarkation and disembarkation were efficient and effortless.  Housekeeping was consistently perfect - that is the one part of cruising that I so often take for granted because they seem to have it down to such a "T" that I don't even think about it.  The Seven Seas Society parties (we got to partake in two!) had champagne flowing and nonstop generous portions of caviar with all the trimmings.  The Cruise Consultant encouraged us to ask whatever questions we wanted to and didn't stop until the last question was answered.  The casino was even nice to us this time around!  I think we either broke even or were about $20 down, which is a definite FIRST for us on a cruise ship.  They seem to have different slot machines than I recall from our last time on Navigator - the poker ones have multiple choices of games, plus you are able to place larger bets than I remember.  It defaults on one dollar, so if you are low roller like me, watch out!  I had to manually change the machine to 25 cents. I must say that the highlight of this cruise was the food and beverage.  I couldn't believe how many choices we were given at both restaurants.  I don't recall that extensive a selection on either our previous Navigator or Voyager cruises.  Not only were there lots of choices, but they were unique and creative.  I am still salivating over my quail stuffed with seasoned foie gras.  The portions were just right so that it was easy to order 3, 4, or even 5 courses.  The temperature was always perfect and the presentation such that you don't want to "ruin" its beauty.  The tempo of each meal was ideal, as well.  We never waited for more than a few minutes between courses (normally it was a matter of seconds), but the waitstaff was keen enough to notice if anyone in our party had gone to use the restroom, and in that case, the next course would not be served until the guest arrived back.  And, of course, the napkin was half-folded and placed on the guest's chair while gone, and quickly replaced in the lap upon return.  Oh, we were so spoiled... And on to the beverages.  The bars were well-stocked and well-maintained, to say the least.  Let me give you an example.  I am somewhat of a perfectionist and observed that one particular bartender, Christophe ("Chris") from France, had the most perfect bar I have ever seen.  Every bottle had to be in its correct spot, and each was faced forward and spaced apart perfectly from its neighbor.  Trays held exactly X amount of red wine glasses, X amount of white, and X of port glasses.  Of course, these glasses were spotless because during his down time, Chris wipes them down with a napkin.  The refrigerators held 10 each of the most popular beers (we only know because we asked - ha!), 3 poured glasses of chardonnay and 3 of pinot grigio, so that when a guest ordered them, they were ready to serve.  I could go on, but you get the idea.  It seems I have skipped around a lot and for that I apologize.  I wanted to get my thoughts down while still fresh in my mind. After disembarkation (I, kicking and screaming), we spent 2 nights at the Grande Bretagne in Athens.  We'd been there twice and it's probably our favorite hotel of all.  Our return flight was on USAirways, who just started a daily nonstop flight to Philadelphia.  It was 11 hours long, but it was SO convenient not to have to stop somewhere else in Europe first (i.e., Frankfurt or Munich, via Lufthansa.  We left at 11:45am Athens time and were at our doorstep in Fort Worth by 10:30pm.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Cruise May 16 on Regent Seven Seas NavigatorWe have cruised many times with this cruise line before it changed its name from Radisson to Regent, and what I can say is that Regent is no Radisson. While Radisson tried its best to accommodate ... Read More
Cruise May 16 on Regent Seven Seas NavigatorWe have cruised many times with this cruise line before it changed its name from Radisson to Regent, and what I can say is that Regent is no Radisson. While Radisson tried its best to accommodate customer needs, Regent does not seem to care.Prior to this cruise, I had occasion to contact its corporate staff (Gair O'Neill and Ken Watson). Getting them to return phone calls was like pulling teeth. I never managed to speak to O'Neill, and Watson was totally unhelpful when I managed to track him down.On boarding the ship, the same uncaring attitude continued. As they requested, I had booked my shore excursions on-line, prior to boarding. After boarding, I found that they did not have my bookings. When I pointed it out, they blamed their computer. What is worse, the ship's staff did not care because they said it was a corporate office problem, not theirs. They refused to put me on the shore excursion they lost even though they had a few vacancies, because they were holding them for some passengers who had not boarded yet. A more clear-cut case of discrimination I cannot think of. As for the food and service, economy seems to be the watchword for all meals, but especially in the afternoon teas. Their pastry chef appears to be learning the trade. The rooms are adequate in size, but chips in the shower tiles and a tight-fisted policy towards bath amenities do not go with a cruise that bills itself as a six star experience.The entertainment is embarrassing. While they had quite a few performers, they should note that quality is preferred over quantity.In all respects, the cruise line does not compare to Radisson. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
If you only have 7 days to take a Mediterranean cruise, pick one just like this. And if you have the option to take a luxury cruise pick Regent. I can't say it is a good value because it isn't cheap but Regent pampers its ... Read More
If you only have 7 days to take a Mediterranean cruise, pick one just like this. And if you have the option to take a luxury cruise pick Regent. I can't say it is a good value because it isn't cheap but Regent pampers its passengers and treats them like valued clients. We booked this Monte Carlo to Athens cruise on the Navigator despite having a 'not so good' trip on the Navigator several years ago. The ship is a little small to offer a wide range of activities but was more than adequate for a port intensive cruise. We opted for a butler suite with business class air and that was the good value selling point. Round trip air arrangements from Atlanta were great with good connections and much cheaper booking through Regent than booking through the airlines. KLM and Lufthansa were efficient but not as service oriented as Singapore or Air New Zealand. The Frankfurt airport is huge and is undergoing major construction so if you have a tight connection you might request transport assistance. The ship has been maintained very well and this time we completely enjoyed our trip on the Navigator. The new all-inclusive policy on Regent was even better than we expected. Our excursions, booked on-line prior to the cruise were very good. The trip to Rome was the only one that was disappointing because we missed seeing the Pope by a few minutes and the tour operator could have changed the itinerary slightly to allow us that opportunity. We choose a paid excursion on Santorini and had a wonderful time at an out of the way restaurant attending a cooking class/demonstration and having a great lunch. We spoke with several other passengers taking an assortment of the excursions and they all had positive reports. Naturally Regent's liberal liquor policy and 'no gratuities expected' was welcome once again. Our suite was located on Deck 10 mid ship and was very clean. Our butler was always close by and smiling but not intrusive. We enjoyed breakfast daily in our suite to save time and be ready for the day's excursions. We requested and were served dinner in our suite twice because we were just too tired to dress for dinner after the day's busy excursion trips. Manuel, the butler brought us dinner course by course and served at our pace. We have had butler service before but he was the most professional and pleasant server we have encountered. The first day on board one of our bags was delayed and when it finally was delivered some of the clothes were damp. Not a problem for Manuel, he whisked things out and returned with them freshly dried and pressed. The wet luggage was a mystery because we had no rain on the trip over and we wondered if they dropped the bag in the water or somehow found a puddle to lay it down in. We always had an ample supply of toiletries in the bathroom. The meals on Regent are really good and you can get almost anything you want on board. One night in the dining room my husband wasn't tempted by the gourmet selections and asked for a cheeseburger. The waiter smiled and said, "On Regent we never say NO" and came back with the best looking cheeseburger ever. The servings are a reasonable size and the service is usually very good. We did not have time to attend the production shows on this cruise but most comments were favorable. The casino was small, smoky and crowded. One of our favorite Regent bartenders, Eduardo was there each night to mix his special drinks for us. The ship's staff seems to enjoy their work and that is a reflection on Captain MacNeill. A tour of the bridge was offered to all passengers. The Block Party was fun as usual, Regents' idea for breaking the ice with your fellow travelers on the first night. The embarkation process in Monte Carlo was a minor irritation with long slow moving lines in the hot sun. After an overnight flight it was not a good start to the cruise but a nice glass of champagne and warm welcome once on board cured that bump in the road. Overall, we had a wonderful cruise and wish it could have lasted longer. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
I have been fortunate to travel on four cruises this year and when the travel agent recommended the Seven Seas Mariner, I was excited and yet questioned the reason for the cost of such a luxurious cruise to Alaska. Our travel agent ... Read More
I have been fortunate to travel on four cruises this year and when the travel agent recommended the Seven Seas Mariner, I was excited and yet questioned the reason for the cost of such a luxurious cruise to Alaska. Our travel agent explained the reason for choosing this high end ship in Alaska and when my husband and I finished the cruise we added up the costs and found we had only payed a few hundred dollars more for a 6 star ship and that isn't even comparing apples to apples, because we didn't include comparing it to a suite on a 4.5 or 5 star ship or the tips that go along with those cruises. To start Alaska is the most fabulous place you could ever visit!!!! The beauty is incomparable along with the expanse of the territory that goes on seemingly forever. To see Glaciers up close and wild life that is out in the wilderness is all spectacular. This cruise was excellent not only because of the experience and astounding beauty, but also because the ship was wonderful. There is no tipping and you would never know it - everyone is pleasant and goes out of their way to make your life easier without being in your face. Waiters in the dining room wait on you eagerly and bring wine and cocktails freely. The ship's standard wines are above average and are excellent. You can upgrade your wine of course, but it isn't necessary. The cabin stewards are excellent and provide service quickly and efficiently so as not to bother you if you are catching a quick nap. The food in all the restaurants was excellent and prepared to order. Only one night did our party of 10 register a complaint about a steak overly cooked and it was quickly replaced. Room service was excellent and our children used it frequently for midnight meals and frequently requested items without difficulty that weren't even on the 24 hour room service menu. My husband and I used room service for excellent breakfasts that were completely set up with silver and place settings by the server, Fresh fruit was set in the room daily as well as the restocking of our mini bar refrigerator. Daily afternoon tea was enjoyed by a few people in our party and cappucino machines and tea service was available throughout the ship.The excursions make this cruise a winner. They are fabulous, but also make this ship an excellent value as they are included in the cost (for the most part, at least). Excursions and tours involving sea planes, helicopters, and dog sledding, and some fishing/ boating experiences require you to pay a fee that is on average anywhere from $39.00 to $149.00. They are subsidized by the cruise line and herein lies the savings. Usually a helicopter/ dog sledding on a glacier tour costs $650 - $800.00 per person so you can see how this is a wonderful deal and if you were on a line where you only paid a $500.00 per person  for the cruise you probably wouldn't even schedule such trips since they cost more than the cruise and you certainly would lose out. You can not see the true beauty and expanse of Alaska from just visiting the typical ports of call - Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau, Sitka, Seward,and Anchorage. You must travel a bit inland to get the full UNFORGETABLE experience. The ports of call were also not to be missed and shopping in the towns for Alaskan trinkets, furs if your pocketbook allows and jewelry is not to be missed. The excursions were  fabulous with great service and truley fantastic people from the bus drivers to the helicopter pilots, everyone was akin to the Regent Seven Seas excellence of service. Excursions not to be missed include: Misty Fyjords sea planes, Tracey Arm Cruising, Helicopter ride to Mendenhal Glacier with visit to a mushing camp and dog sledding. Fishing for king salmon or halibut,ziplining, and ocean rafting. There are other experiences available, so don't delay and sign up for your excursions early. There are many more that we did as well in our family of four. Everything was well organized and getting off the ship at any time was easy without a long wait. With only 700 passengers on average everything is much easier including embarkation and disembarkation. Don't miss the train trip from Seward to Anchorage (before or after depending on your embarkation)  where you travel in domed cars for a 31/2 hour to 4 hour trip. The train is an excellent way to see more of the Alaskan wilderness and wildlife such as bears. moose and eagles are frequently seen. Last week the train stopped for the birthing of a moose calf right next to the tracks.Also, don't miss some type of boating excursion where you get to see the glorious mountain ranges and tributaries connecting seemingly unending waterways. You can see them a bit differently from a smaller vessel and you will enjoy seeing whales and their calves on a guaranteed whale watching tour.Make sure you don't forget lots of long underwear to layer and water proof jackets or you will be heading to town to find anything warm.  A scarf, hat, sunglasses, binoculars (not absolutely necessary), gloves are essential to your warmth at certain times of the day or when touring a glacier. A poncho is nice to have for some experiences too. We participated in so many excursions that we didn't go to any of the shows, so I cannot comment on that. The casino was small but held a fair number of regulars and was enjoyed by all. Bingo was well attended and the prizes were always nice, considering the number of players the payout was much more than the larger ships that have hundreds in attendance and pay out less than a $100 on a given win. The laundry rooms were usually busy and sometimes a machine was out of order, but quickly got repaired and for that I was surprised. Don't take a chance to be disappointed, go on this ship for a fabulous experience.I highly recommend this cruise ship and itenerary, you won't be disappointed if you book now. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
After a savvy cruiser told us one of her favorite cruise line was Regent, we decided to give it a try. Probably I overhyped myself to a level that was hard for Regent to fulfill. But upon further pondering I concluded that despite my own ... Read More
After a savvy cruiser told us one of her favorite cruise line was Regent, we decided to give it a try. Probably I overhyped myself to a level that was hard for Regent to fulfill. But upon further pondering I concluded that despite my own overblown expectations the service of the cruise was for sure way below average specially considering the price premium.  The amount of service offenses are too many to even describe them. I will mention a few of my negative observations as well as some of the positive points. Food was on the better side of my experience but I still found specifically breakfast to be the biggest letdown. I have seen food better presented on school cafeterias than on the Verandah restaurant. I hardly think of six stars when the prevailing items on the hot food section is Bacon, Eggs, Beans and Sausage presented in a straight forward boring way. THe almost 1 to 1 guest crew ration is very misleading if you include crew that have no contact with the passengers and this was evident in the terrace part of the Verandah where only two waiters saw to over 16 tables. The all too common never say no attitude at Silversea ships was not evident here. We got a bunch of no's to even common requests. Even after 20 Million refurb, some major maintenance and cosmetic faux pas were visible. It's only fair to also acknowledge my positive impressions. The space to guest ratio is outstanding to the point that the ship sailing at full capacity seems empty most of the time. The tours were expertly arranged and they made the itinerary seem full of special features. Fantastic interactive TV that displays even diner menus at all restaurants. I will not be sailing with Regent again. If service at a reasonable price is my calling I can find much better options that consistently deliver fine service like Holland America. But if I do want to splurge on an ultra luxury cruise line Regent fall far behind perennial leaders Seabourn and Silversea specially considering they are both launching bigger better brand new ships.  Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
If I had to choose a word to describe our first trip to Alaska it would be RIDICULOUS! The reason I say this is that I caught myself saying this phrase over and over again during our trip. First of all, we had amazing weather 6 of the 7 ... Read More
If I had to choose a word to describe our first trip to Alaska it would be RIDICULOUS! The reason I say this is that I caught myself saying this phrase over and over again during our trip. First of all, we had amazing weather 6 of the 7 days of our trip. The weather was sunny and mid 70's. During one of our excursions, the crew's Naturalists stated that an extreme weather warning had been issued because 70+ weather was sustained for more than three days. The weather in Alaska was better than that of our home town of Boston. The bright sunny weather allowed for wonderful views and calm seas. Also, we were able to see amazing sunsets from the Horizon lounge each night. Every morning I would wake up and fling open the curtains look outside and say RIDICULOUS! I could not believe my eyes.I thought it would be useful to provide some background for fellow cruise critics. We are young professionals in our early 30's who enjoy traveling. Our typical vacation is to a luxury beach resort for fun, sun and golf. I decided to change things up a bit this year and wanted a cruise to Alaska. My wife selected Regent because of the smaller boat size, their reputation and the all-inclusive features. We have both experienced Carribean cruises with the larger crusie lines and wanted to avoid the party crowd during our Alaskan vacation.  We had some concern that we would be the only young couple on the ship. To our surprise there was a decent mix of people on the ship. Never once did we feel like the "youngins"! We found that most people were very engaging and wanted to share their daily excursions stories with others.  So for all the younger cruisers out there don't worry about feeling out of place on Regent. We used Regent's air package and flew out of Boston at 6 AM on June 3rd to Vancouver via a two hour layover in Toronto. Once we arrived at the airport we were greeted by a Regent representative at baggage claim. Local laws prohibit porters from taking luggage off the belt so you must collect your own luggage and bring it to the collection point. The porter will take your luggage and you are escorted to a motorcoach with some of your fellow passengers. When you arrrive at the pier a Regent agent comes aboard the coach and provides an overview of the embarkation process.  You must proceed through security and there was also a health sceening questionaire regarding the H1N1 flu. Once through screening you board the boat and head to the Constellation theater where you are greeted with a class of champagne.  This was probably the only queue of the entire cruise. In all embarkation was very smooth and better than my previous experiences on the main stream cruise lines.Food was very good throughout the cruise. The Veranda was good for a quick meal for breakfast or lunch. However, I would avoid the Alaskan Grill during the evenings as we were very surprised to be a served a frozen vegetable medley as part of our entree. Compass Rose was great especially when you wanted a nice sit down meal. Prime 7 was definitely the best meal of the week and is worth all the buzz. Signatures was a bit of a disappointment as their signature mushroom soup was over powered by black pepper, and my wife's chocolate torte was too bitter from dark chocolate.Our cabin steward, Jongte, was fantastic. She greeted us every morning with a warm smile and wished us a good day in port. Entertainment was to be expected: cruise like. We stopped by the first evening and chose not to stay. On Jazz night we could only stay for about 5 songs as we found the performer to be way over the top and cheesy.  But this is all personal taste as we found a fellow passenger that absolutley loved the Jazz singer. The most entertaining night was the last evening where they had KrewKapers where staff members performed some skits. It was cute and entertaining to see the room stewards and wait staff outside their comfort zones.  In addition to KrewKapers there was a Beatles night with the Regent Singers and dancers in the Horizon lounge. It was very entertaining and a fun way to end our cruise. Disembarkation was easy, and we decided on the train from Seward to Anchorage. If you are interested in this I suggest pre-arranging with your TA prior to travelling. I heard many a passenger being told that it was sold out while trying to book on board.  One thing to remember about disembarkation is that they collect your luggage at 11PM the previous night, so toiletry management becomes an issue on your last morning. You do get acces to your luggage once back in Anchorage so plan wisely. For those of you traveling back to the East Coast your last day will most liekly be 24 hours of travel as most flights home for the East Coast are the red-eye and include a lay-over. In summary, our experience with Regent was above expectations. We are fans and have already booked our crusie for next year to the Medditeranean. Let's hope it is RIDICULOUS! Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Seven Seas Mariner Review Early morning June 17th we packed our bags, my wife Terri and I, and my son Jacob departed Minneapolis non-stop for Vancouver to embark on an Alaska cruise adventure aboard Regent's Seven Seas Mariner. I ... Read More
Seven Seas Mariner Review Early morning June 17th we packed our bags, my wife Terri and I, and my son Jacob departed Minneapolis non-stop for Vancouver to embark on an Alaska cruise adventure aboard Regent's Seven Seas Mariner. I have been on about 300 cruises over the years, I love being at sea, I love cruising, and I enjoy every chance I get to be on a cruise ship, so this opportunity to cruise on the upscale luxury Seven Seas Mariner in a penthouse suite was without question a delight and a joy. I do have some experience with the upscale luxury cruise products, having crossed the Atlantic as a passenger aboard the QE2, and then living and working aboard QE2 as Stage Manager in 1992 was a dream come true for me. My luxury experience also includes the QM2 and I've visited ships with Crystal, Seabourn, Royal Viking, the old Sea Goddess ships, and a few others. I guess you could say I've been a student of luxury ocean travel, because I have studied the history of the trans-Atlantic era for many years. Oddly enough, considering all the cruises I've been on, this was my first Alaska cruise, so what better way to experience an Alaska itinerary than on a first class luxury ship. What was truly exciting for me was the opportunity to bring my wife and my eight-year-old son on this Alaska cruise. Of course every chance I get to treat my wife to a luxury cruise experience is a huge joy for me. The one concern we had, however, was bringing our son Jacob on this luxury cruise, because normally Alaska cruises attract an older more refined demographic, and additionally, the upscale lines, like Regent Seven Seas Cruises is perceived to be an environment that would be boring and unfit for kids. Our thoughts were that other cruise lines like Royal Caribbean or Carnival may be better suited for families with children because they have the facilities onboard for kids. We decided to take a leap of faith and rely on what we had been told about Regent's Seven Seas Mariner, and that during the Alaska season there are many families with children who cruise on this ship. We also heard that the Seven Seas Mariner has some wonderful youth programs during the Alaska season. In short, we were not disappointed, because our son Jacob had an enjoyable experience, and there were indeed about 50 children in Jacob's age-group onboard our cruise. Our Penthouse SuiteAs much as I've cruised over the years, this was the first time I had the pleasure of staying in a Penthouse Suite on a ship. I was thrilled to treat my wife to the luxuries of a Penthouse Suite, and we certainly enjoyed every moment. We were in Suite number 836 on Deck Eight midship. This suite was 376 square feet, and the balcony was a huge 73 square feet, that's a total of 449 square feet of luxurious accommodations. The Seven Seas Mariner was the first ship to be constructed with all suites with balconies, so there are no interior staterooms or suites with just a window. Our suite had a walk-in closet and a fancy bathroom with a tub and marble counter. I was able to peek in the suite next to ours, which has a bathroom that was renovated during the recent 20 million refit in January of 2009. Apparently not all the bathrooms received the refit, which included a walk-in shower as opposed to a tub and shower like we had. We had nothing to complain about, however, with our spacious bathroom. I'm sure my wife felt like a queen for the week in our suite, because she had her own vanity for fixing her makeup. The king-size bed had wonderfully soft cotton sheets and we had a choice of feather or cotton-stuffed pillows. I think one of the best features of our suite was the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the sea, perfect for an Alaskan itinerary with so much to see. There was a decent television in the room connected to your online account so you always know what you're spending onboard, and they have free movies to watch. With a DVD player connected to your TV, you can also check out DVD's from the library, which is a great service. Our suite also had a nice desk for writing letters. I used the desk of course to put my laptop so I could go online and write on my blog and keep up with my emails. With YFi throughout the ship, it makes it easy to stay connected to your friends and family or business online. We also had personalized stationary that said, "From the Penthouse Suite of Mr. and Mrs. Vaudrin, aboard the Seven Seas Mariner". Our suite also had a complimentary box of fine chocolates, and a bottle of Champaign. Each day at around 4pm a waiter would deliver a tray of giant shrimp cocktail to the living room area of our suite. Our stewardess was wonderful because she was so friendly and made us feel at home in our Penthouse suite. There are much more expansive suites aboard the Seven Seas Mariner, however, what we had was just right. Category B suites and above even have butler service, which I think would be very interesting, because they unpack your luggage and pack your things the night before. The butler acts as your own personal concierge and takes care of dinner reservations and shore excursions or perhaps you want a private car to take you to a fine restaurant in one of the ports. The ShipThe Seven Seas Mariner has a length of 709 feet, a beam of 93 feet, and a draft of 21 feet carrying 700 passengers and 445 crew in a 50,000 ton hull built at Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire, in France and first launched in 2001. The Mariner was the first cruise ship built as an "All-Suite" vessel with only balconied staterooms for it's guests. I have a particular appreciation for ship designs, and how they look aesthetically from the inside and outside, and I can say that I was pleased with the overall design of the ship, with it's sharp bow and sculpted stern. My wife made a comment that this was the first time she didn't get turned around or lost on a ship, because of the well laid out design of the public rooms. Indeed it is easy to navigate around the ship because of her more intimate size. The atrium seems to connect all the public areas quite nicely. Deck Five has the Purser's Desk and the Tour Desk, as well as a place to purchase future cruises. As you go aft there's a bar and a very comfortable lounge for pre-dinner cocktails before you arrive at the entrance to the main restaurant called the Compass Rose, and the more intimate Prime 7, which is a steakhouse. On Deck Six you'll find the upper-level to the main show lounge forward, a perfume shop in the atrium area, then as you walk aft thru what could be considered the main boulevard through the ship, there is a disco, a cafe, computer center, library, and a conference room. Further aft is the Signatures Restaurant and the Horizon Lounge, which has windows that look out over the stern of the ship. I really like the deck area just outside of the Horizon Lounge that has some wicker chairs and sofas, where you can watch the wake of the Seven Seas Mariner and really find a connection to the sea. On Deck Seven forward are the Spa and the fitness rooms, and then as you work your way aft thru the atrium you'll find the casino and some shops. Decks Eight, Nine and Ten are suites, then on Deck Eleven is the pool deck with a decent, heated pool with three hot tubs. Further aft is the La Veranda restaurant, and then past the restaurant is a nice deck area to enjoy a meal outside. Finally, Deck 12 has the Observation Lounge, which is the perfect venue for watching the scenery, listening to some live music with a coffee or tea. The Seven Seas Mariner seemed to handle the seas very well...I could tell that she had the characteristics of a world-class vessel, comfortable in nearly any sea conditions which is important when the ship is making those deep sea trans-oceanic voyages. We had fairly calm seas during our cruise. There was one evening, however, where we could feel the motion a bit, and I was quite happy with the way the ship handled the seas. The Itinerary I've been to Alaska, but never on a cruise, so it was an adventure exploring the ports of Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Sitka. Seven Seas Mariner docked in all of the ports except in Sitka where there is no dock, and we had the opportunity to tender into town. I enjoy tendering sometimes, because it gives me a chance to see the ship away from the dock at anchor. We only participated in shore excursions in Ketchikan and in Juneau. Alaska is such a rustic, scenic place, and the ports, although quaint, parts of the towns seem to be built specifically for the tourists that arrive by cruise ships. There is a lot of history in these ports, so it's fascinating to explore their origins and heritage. Those we met who live in Alaska, love it there and say they will never leave. Why leave? Alaska can be remote and attracts those who enjoy adventure, the mountains, the sea and the great wilderness. We enjoyed a wonderful shore excursion in Ketchikan. Our excursion departed around five in the evening and we took a motor coach to the George Inlet Lodge where we enjoyed a spectacular fresh crab feast that would put Red Lobster to shame. These were huge, fresh, boiled crabs, and we could have as much as we wanted. After we feasted on the wonderful crab legs everyone in our group was served a delightful cheesecake for dessert. The motor coach ride to the lodge took about 40 minutes, but it was the transfer back to the ship that was particularly memorable because we boarded a floatplane that flew over some very picturesque terrain. Our pilot pointed out some interesting things as we flew back to the ship. In Juneau I wanted to choose an excursion that would be fun for my eight-year-old son Jacob, so we took the helicopter and dogsled adventure. This was an amazing excursion, one of the most exciting I have ever taken. A representative of the excursion met us at the gangway in Juneau, where we boarded a motor coach for a short ride to the helicopter port. We were given some instructions about the helicopter ride and told to put on an inflatable life vest and special boots that fit over our shoes. Then we were assigned a pilot and taken to our helicopter. It was truly an adventure to fly in this helicopter up, up, higher and higher, over the tops of the mountains and glaciers. The scenery was spectacular, and I was snapping pictures and video, hoping my camera battery and memory card would hold out till we arrived at our destination way high up on top of a glacier. We slowly descended upon a snowy area where our dogsled camp awaited us. What a thrill it was to see my son Jacob and my wife absorbing this amazing experience. Being from Minnesota, we are no strangers to snow, but what was slightly unexpected was how deep the snow was up there on the glacier. Now it was clear to me why they had us put on these boots over our shoes. We had a short orientation about the dogs and then introduced to our trainer, Jennifer, who would take us on our dog sledding adventure. There were two sleds attached to each team of dogs. The trainer rode the first sled, and my son drove the rear sled. Basically he had to stand on the sled rails, and then stomp on the break when it was time to stop. My wife rode in the front sled with the trainer, and I rode in the rear sled while my son stood on the rails as the "musher". Apparently the dogs absolutely love to pull the sleds around, so we didn't feel so bad being passengers on their sleds. We would stop a few times to let the dogs rest. The whole experience was a huge thrill for my son, and he still talks about how he ran behind the sled and got to mush the dogs. I think we sledded a couple of miles and then returned to the camp. After our ride, the trainer, Jennifer, unhooked and introduced us to her dogs. Jacob had a great time petting the dogs. Soon it was time to board the helicopter and fly back to Juneau. Again, the flight back was spectacular as our pilot skimmed the tops of mountains and glaciers. What a view! Even if you don't have children, be sure to take the helicopter and dogsled adventure. We just walked around Skagway and panned for gold at a museum along the river. In Sitka, we didn't go on any excursions, we just walked around town, however; we did visit the Raptor Center and saw some American Bald Eagles up-close. We also went up onto the top of the hill where the papers were signed to officially make Alaska one of the United States. Sitka does offer some exciting excursions to a volcano and some wonderful fishing and wale-watching tours by boat. It wasn't a port, but we did visit the Hubbard Glacier, and the Captain spun the Seven Seas Mariner around a few times so we could get an eyeful of this picturesque and spectacular glacier. I think we were about a mile from the glacier, which was fairly close. The larger cruise ships aren't able to get quite as close as we did. If your cruise ends in Seward like ours, be sure to take the train into Anchorage. All I can say is WOW! The scenery, the mountains, the glaciers, and the train ride itself was incredible. The Dinning I had heard so much about the excellent dinning on Regent's ships, so I was looking forward to experiencing it first-hand. With out a doubt, I was not disappointed; the dinning experience was excellent! There were of course numerous choices, however, I ate a lot of fish during this cruise. It's a personal thing, I'm just not a big beef or steak eater. I had lots of halibut and Alaskan Rock fish, and although I've never like salmon, I even tried the Salmon and loved it. I guess there's a difference if the salmon is fresh and doesn't have any fishy taste. Speaking of fresh, I was told by the Executive Chef that the fish is extremely fresh because he hand-picks the never frozen fish from selected vendors right in the ports. My wife, on the other hand, was in her element as she indulged each evening on the finest steaks she's ever had. The level of service was excellent, and I was very pleased with how the waiters took care of our eight-year-old son. We ate in the main restaurant onboard called the Compass Rose several times and enjoyed the food and service, then two nights we made special reservations to eat in Prime Seven and Signatures which are more exclusive dining venues. There are no cover charges for Prime Seven or Signatures, however, because there is limited seating, it's important to get your reservations in when you first board the ship. I really enjoyed the selection of wines served each evening, and again there was no additional charge for this. I would say the overall best dinning experience we had was in the Signatures restaurant. The mushroom soup was spectacular, and when our main entre arrived, the waiters presented our plate in grand style by unveiling our dinner covered with a silver dome. It was like, here's your dinner....Ta Daaaa! I personally like the more French-style of dinning with the exquisite sauces. We also had breakfast a number of times in La Veranda on Deck 11 aft. The selection of fruits, meats, vegetables, breads and cheeses was excellent. They have an egg omelet station where a chef will prepare your omelet just how you like it. I even indulged in some wonderful caviar. To me one of the signs of luxury is fresh squeezed orange juice...ahhh that's the best! It's very evident that the chefs aboard the Seven Seas Mariner go to great lengths to provide the best possible dinning experience weather you eat in La Veranda on deck or in the exclusive Signatures or Prime Seven restaurants, or in the elegance of the main Compass Rose dinning room. Another wonderful signature of luxury is dining in your suite. We ordered room service on several occasions for breakfast and once for dinner, and each dinning experience was perfect. I decided to really test the room service one morning by ordering my eggs prepared a certain way that was not offered on the room service card. I happen to like eggs Benedict, so when it asked how I want my eggs on the little card placed out on our door the night before, I wrote down that I wanted eggs Benedict. Sure enough, the next morning right on time, the waiter set up a lovely breakfast table in our suite, and there it was, eggs Benedict. Having experienced some of the finest eggs Benedict around the world, I can now say that the eggs Benedict on the Seven Seas Mariner was exquisite! Onboard Entertainment Having been a Cruise Director and an entertainer on the ships in the past, I always pay close attention to the entertainment, and I was impressed with the singers and dancers and the orchestra onboard Seven Seas Mariner. The main show lounge was very comfortable, with excellent views from every vantage point in the room. The sound was excellent and the lighting was done very well. I liked the stage which stuck out into the audience a bit, allowing the singers and dancers to get closer to the audience. A huge plus, in my book, was the full orchestra providing the music for the shows as opposed to a sound track, which in my opinion cheapens the overall production quality. The only criticism I might have with the entertainment is the lack of variety of the entertainment in the show lounge. The shows were all with the singers and dancers, there was no comedian, or illusionist, the shows revolved around the talent within the singers and dancers. Not to diminish the quality of the talent, which was excellent, I just felt that there should be more variety in the type of entertainment. Of course throughout the ship on sea days, particularly, there were fun little games set up in the atrium area for passengers to participate in. Makeshift bowling, darts, and golf putting were set up in the atrium and the passengers seemed to enjoy the activities. On an Alaska cruise, however, the primary form of entertainment is the view from the decks while cruising through the Inside Passage, or Hubbard Glacier. Throughout the cruise there was a professor of Alaskan history that talked over the PA system from the bridge, explaining all the sights we were seeing. There was also a lecturer on ocean liner history in the Horizons Lounge....oh wait...that was me giving an informal lecture on the history of the trans-Atlantic liners. Children and youth program The children's program on the Seven Seas Mariner was particularly important for us because we have an eight-year-old and we wanted him to enjoy the cruise to Alaska too. We were concerned that he might be bored on a ship with no hardware facilities for kids, but the "software" or youth staff, made up for the lack of physical play areas designed for kids. The youth staff was awesome! They kept the kids busy with activities and projects. The kids also learned about Alaska during their cruise in a fun way. My son will be talking about riding the float plane, the helicopter and the dog sledding for years, so this cruise to Alaska with our son turned out to be a great experience for all of us. We were a bit concerned because of the upscale luxury element onboard the Seven Seas Mariner and the more refined passenger compliment, but that concern quickly faded when we saw their were about 50 kids in the same age group as my son. We did, however, have one incident when a woman scolded us as parents for not controlling our son better, but this woman, with her nose in the air, I think, was out of line. The ship was moving and my son was exaggerating the movement of the ship a bit and he purposely ran into a bulkhead...he was just being silly, and he was just being an eight-year-old boy, so this woman's comments were ridiculous, as if her excrement doesn't stink, to say it as civilized as possible. Definition of Luxury When I set out to go on this luxury cruise aboard the Seven Seas Mariner, I wrote out my definition of luxury to see if I could find a match while cruising on this ship. I was not disappointed. In fact, if I would have wrote out a wish list for the perfect Alaska cruise, I am pleased to say that everyone one of my expectations were not only met but exceeded. Below are my three definitions of luxury: 1. When Comfort Exceeds Expectations 2. When you are able to exclusively obtain an experience or something of high quality 3. When you discover and receive a genuine-level of exceptional care and service from someone. It was a pleasure to cruise Alaska aboard the Seven Seas Mariner! I enjoyed my morning routine of visiting the steam room in the spa, and my wife got her nails done in the salon. I splurged and treated myself to something I had always wanted to try, a Four Hands Massage. I get a massage at least a couple times a month and one of my fantasies was to have two therapists work on me at the same time. I was able to fulfill that fantasy during this cruise, because they had that particular service on the menu, a Four Hands Massage. You can have the fanciest ship or hardware, but what truly makes a luxury cruise a luxury experience is the people and the level of service they provide. All of the crew and staff we encountered were very friendly, and very service oriented. Whenever we would say thank you to our stewardess, she would often say, "It's my pleasure Mr. Vaudrin or Mrs. Vaudrin". The Executive Concierge, the General Manager, the Captain, the Executive Chef, our waiter genuinely treated us as special guests in their home. In essence the Seven Seas Mariner was their home. We obtained something of great value during this cruise, we also discovered a genuine-level of exceptional care and service, and the comfort of our Penthouse suite and throughout the ship exceeded our expectations. A cruise, anywhere around the World, and particularly Alaska, aboard the Seven Seas Mariner was indeed a luxury experience and I think this ship and her crew would exceed your expectations too. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Regent Navigator  st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; ... Read More
Regent Navigator  st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Istanbul - Venice   First I wish to make clear that Regent staff on board the ship are one of the best. However, I also wish to be very very clear that Regent corporate staff are simply one of the worst.   For this cruise I selected an F category cabin. For whatever reason Regent corporate thinks that Handicapped rooms are equivalent - trust me - they are not. The cabin assigned to us was poorly maintained (woodwork bashed, mattress was equivalent to a third rate country flop house, shower head damaged) and did not contain either a bathtub or a sofa. Other non-handicapped cabins were nicer in all aspects. Therefore any relationship to this handicap cabin being equivalent is absurd. I would however be completely upset if I had been truly handicapped. This room was completely substandard in relation to other cabins of the same or even lower class that were non-handicapped. In my mind it is only a matter of time before the "disabled" community goes after Regent corporate on their total lack of equal standards.   A note to remember - when talking with Regent corporate prior to your cruise - simply understand - they do not know what they are talking about and will tell you anything to get you off the phone. I was told that handicapped rooms all have couches and glass showers - no, they don't (so why  do they lie or guess?). Also, I made reservations online for the Portofino Grill only to find out that no reservation existed. Again corporate staff dropped the ball.   On a happier note we were transferred to a different cabin at the beginning of the cruise to the last cabin on the stern of the ship. (only cabin available) Yes, there is massive vibration but that was preferable to no bathtub or couch. If you cannot handle loud noise and "massive" vibration - do not even consider anything other than the middle of the ship. I did find that ample digestion of alcohol does reduce the vibration to the point of total bliss.   As I touch on random topics I did wish to speak on the subject of smoking. Yes it does occur on board. Yes, it does occur in cabins and balconies (much to the chagrin of the  smoke police on board) and yes non-smokers are still offended by non-smokers in the smoking areas. Such is life. Personally I am offended by women who think they must take a bath in nauseous perfume. Perhaps we can outlaw that next. BTW, I am a non-smoker.   Status of the ship is simply - worn out. The overdue retrofit of the ship is much needed. Carpet are shot, tables worn, couches bad shape, chairs scuffed - you know the typical wear and tear of years of abuse. Personally if I had known how bad a condition the ship was in - I would have demanded a reduced rate.   "Free Shore Excursions" - First, nothing is free. Second - we went on two of these excursions and both were planned by Regent on maximizing structured sales pitches by vendors on shore. A sad commentary but true. Not only that but on the Venice excursion we coughed up an additional $100 bucks to have a private gondola ride - with the excursion lasting 2 and a half hours. Trouble was that for an for the first hour and 55 minutes we were turned loose in St. Marco square to "shop". Therefore the actual gondola ride lasted only 35 minutes. Consider this excursion a - Ripoff.   I would recommend private excursions - better value for your money.   Ports - We did make one change on the itinerary with was substituting Corfu for Albania - a good decision.   Food - without doubt this was the best aspect of the total cruise. I have cruised on several cruise lines and Regent is one of the best with regard to food. Prepare to feast.   Again, I wish to reiterate that shipboard staff were helpful and professional. I wish I could say the same for Regent corporate. It amazes me that answers to passenger questions were simply so wrong. If you don't know the answer - then Regent staff should either not answer or find the correct answer. Making answers up simply leaves one with a bad taste.For this reason alone I will never cruise with Regent again.   So, on a scale of 1 - 10 I would rate Regent cruise line a 6.2.   For comparative purposes I would rate Celebrity at 8.8 and Holland America at 7.9 with Royal Caribbean at 5.9.   Regent in my mind simply does not live up to its hype. My experience is that Regent falls behind Holland America and Celebrity in terms of quality.   Overall not a bad cruise experience - but one that could have been much better.     Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
This was our third cruise on the Mariner, fourth on Regent and Fifth Cruise overall.  Flight out on United was fine, no complaints.  Had a Limo Jet Gold pick us up at the airport, no problems with them and driver gave us a nice talk ... Read More
This was our third cruise on the Mariner, fourth on Regent and Fifth Cruise overall.  Flight out on United was fine, no complaints.  Had a Limo Jet Gold pick us up at the airport, no problems with them and driver gave us a nice talk about the area on the drive in.  Stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront using a cruise package that our travel agent booked.  Was on the 22 floor overlooking the port and city.  When we left all that we had to do was call the desk and a bellman came up and picked our lugage up and the next time I saw it was on the ship.Embarkation was a breeze, walked through and we were on the ship in about 10 minutes.  We waited for about 12:15 to do this but could have been on sooner.  We were on deck 7 this time, cabin was great and the service was excellent.  Our room was always made up when we got back from eating.  The crew always greeted you with a smile and a good morning or evening.  The crew who you dealt with often allways called you by name.  The ship was full according to speaking to the captain. he said there wee 749 passengers onboard.  You could not tell it was full, as most areas were never crowded.  All the children on board were great, you would never know it as they were always busy with the youth activities.  There were no dress code issues, everyone dressed as required.  As for the food, I know this is an area the is quite subjective.  I thought it was good, service was excellent at each dining location.  My wife has a gluten free diet restriction.  She had sent in her request 60 days prior.  When we got on board she had a note from the Dining Room Manager to stop by and see him.  She had each days menu the night before on our door around 9 p.m. so she could pick out what she wanted, the chef would then make her diner to her restrictions.Drop me an e-mail if you like to see the menu.  We ate in every location, Prime 7 was our pick for the best.  Service outstanding, along with our picks to eat.  The Captain took the ship into many nooks along the coast, he could spin the ship around on a dime.  We saw a large amount of whales, eagles, and other wildlife from the ship.  Even through we had some form of rain for 5 days, the trip was great.  Yes you must pack for any kind of weather, we had rain and in the 50-62 degree range.  Week before we were told it was close to 80.  Also remember to use the washers and dryers, this held down the amount of things we needed and made the airline 50 lb limit workable.  I was on the Mariner about 2 years ago, the total experience has improved from my last tripLast night on ship was about 40 mph winds, 15 ft seas.  Ship rode will, we did rock and roll ourselfs to sleep.Had the train transfer, but track was out and busses were used.  Things were slow getting off, but under the conditions I think you could no complain.  More busses had to be found and brought in to handle the extra people. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Many praise the Regent Seven Seas Cruises line, including friends of ours whose views we trust. I doubt, however, that their reaction would be positive today. The Voyager is no longer what it was.Perhaps a change in ownership in 2008 is ... Read More
Many praise the Regent Seven Seas Cruises line, including friends of ours whose views we trust. I doubt, however, that their reaction would be positive today. The Voyager is no longer what it was.Perhaps a change in ownership in 2008 is a factor. The wilting economy might have something to do with it; there were 434 passengers on the cruise we took, while the ship is intended for 700. What we did not know while on the trip was that the company had just sustained a loss of nearly $20 million—all because the Voyager ran over a fishing line as it pulled out of Singapore harbor on March 18, embarking on what was intended to be a world cruise. That caused mechanical problems, reducing the ship's speed, resulting in canceling some of the scheduled dockingsthen being in drydock for a spell, with refunds being made to those who booked two cruises. Whatever the cause, my wife, Jo-Ann, and I felt the effect on our 2009 Norwegian cruise. Right from the first day, we realized that our on the Regent Voyager would not be of the quality commonly ascribed to the cruise line.When we arrived on board, the rooms weren't ready yet, but a buffet lunch was available on Deck 11.Danish sausage was being served, fresh off a grill at the poolside. I picked up a plate to hand to  Jo-Ann. The plate was filthy. Well, OK, soot was probably being emitted from the grill; it was understandable. I put that plate to the side, and handed Jo-Ann the next one in the stack, which was clean. I picked up the next plate for myself. Filthy. The next one. Filthy. The next one was clean.We took our sausage inside and sat down. The sausage was good—but, of course, anyone, with no schooling in culinary arts, should be able to heat a sausage on a grill. What we were to soon learn is that the food is just fine on this cruise line if you have something that is taken from a package, tin, or jar, requiring no involvement of anyone purporting to be a chef. As we were finishing our sausage, a waiter asked if we wanted coffee. Jo-Ann said yes. I asked for hot chocolate. The waiter put down two cups. I looked inside mine. There was a dirty rim around the inside, about a third of the way down. I took a napkin, poured water on it, cleaned out the inside of the cup, the dark-brown sediment now transferred to the napkin. We drank our beverages and left. When we finally entered the cabin, we encountered sweltering heat. That was, we found out, not a matter of an oversight. Information in printed material in the cabin indicated that guests would need to adjust the thermostat upon entry and that it would take about 30 minutes for temperature to be altered. In the course of the housekeeping staff preparing the rooms, the preparation could have included rendering the rooms habitable by turning on the air conditioning. Apparently, Regent didn't want to waste the kilowatts on empty rooms, opting to economize even though guests would start their journeys, once they got to the cabins, in discomfort. Each guest gets to make a reservation on two nights during the cruise in the "Prime 7" restaurant, featuring what is supposedly prime meat. We made a reservation there for the first night. Lucky us. "With the chef's compliments," there was triumphantly presented a mini-hamburger with a brown sauce. It had the flavor—what flavor there was—of boiled beef. It was in the nature of a patty of chopped pot roast. If you come to the lunchroom at our office in downtown Los Angeles and insert a $1 bill in our food machine, you can often procure a patty on a bun with a brown sauce which, after being heated in the microwave, is adequate to qualify as a meal, though barely so. That packaged, quick-food dish is gourmet fare compared with the mini-hamburger which Regent mistakes for a treat, The waiter was taken aback that we hadn't devoured the offering. "Why?," he presumptuously inquired. Jo-Ann told him it was a weak imitation of a hamburger. Then came the salad Jo-Ann ordered. No problem. There also came the intriguing appetizer that caught my attention: three kinds of steak tartare: "classical," oriental, and veal. None was particularly good. There were three small blobs of raw ground meat, with differing seasonings. The "classical" rendition wasn't. That globule was missing anchovies, capers, onions, egg yolk—that is, the essentials. Also, no toast points were served; not even unpointed toast. Just the three small blobs. Next: the entrees. Jo-Ann had ordered an end cut of prime rib. What she got what a slab of meat that struck me from its appearance as quite unappetizing. Jo-Ann confirms that the taste was not that of prime rib. Perhaps it was a piece of inartfully prepared bull's rump. She thinks it might well have been baked in a pot. I had lamb chops. Yes, the meat was lamb. But was it prime meat? Either the meat was other than prime—meaning that the name of the restaurant, Prime Seven, was a sham and the cruise line's express representation of serving prime meats there a lie—or the cooks posing as chefs were so grossly inept that they turned good meat into cafeteria fare. We left. A young woman from the restaurant, discerning our disgruntlement, followed us out and evinced concern. She displayed graciousness and a desire to set things right. What was irresolvable was the woeful lack of talent on the part of the food-preparers. The second night, we ate at the French restaurant. It was much better, but not excellent. The food in the main dining room was, we found, adequate. Jo-Ann had some cod one night which, she remarked, was not as good as that we had on the SAS flight between London and Copenhagen. When cruise food does not match that an airline serves, something is wrong. One night a menu item which I chose was sea scallops with oyster sauce and oriental seasonings. What came was a small bowl of spaghetti with a few tiny bay scallops tossed in. However, it is possible to get really food onboard. There was, at buffets,  herring in mustard sauce and herring marinated in vinegar at buffets. It's just like that we get in the U.S. in jars, imported from Sweden. (On the next-to-last day, they apparently had excess mustard sauce at the bottom of a jar and added vinegar-marinated herring to the sauce, thus devising an innovative and unpalatable dish.) Some of the cheeses, both in the French restaurant and the buffets, were superb. In other words, they do have the competence to serve packaged foods. It's just that cooking is not their forte. At one lunch buffet, I made the mistake of having some suckling pig carved. It was so overcooked that, if served to prison inmates, the ACLU would bring a lawsuit based on cruel treatment. But the graved lachs at that buffet was quite good...which shows, again, they need to stick to packaged foods. On the Fourth of July, Jo-Ann and I wanted a traditional hot dog for lunch. At a lavish buffet, they did, indeed, have hot dogs. When we sat down, we realized they were cold. An accommodating waiter offered to heat them. The problem is that when you microwave hot dogs, the frankfurter gets dried out and the bun becomes hard. One day they offered "Scandinavian delicacies" at a lunch buffet. They had "Swedish potato dumplings." The authentic ones are like Norwegian potato balls ("raspeballer" or "kumle") except that the Swedes sometimes stick a piece of ham inside. My grandfather made kumle, my mother did, and Jo-Ann and I have eaten it in Seattle and in Bergen. This was not raspeballer; this was a wad of glue. On our last night on the ship, we had a superb meal of Norwegian smoked salmon, smoked whale, peppered mackerel, and a Norwegian brown goat cheese called gjetost. It was all food we had brought on board from ports. When we paid the charge for the cruise, we didn't know we would be brown-bagging. And then there's the matter of "Lars." That's the moniker Jo-Ann ascribed to a crumb...a large one that resembled a corn flake. Lars was there on the floor of the bathroom when we boarded in Copenhagen and Lars was still there when we left the ship 14 days later in Copenhagen. It must be said that the Regent staff is, in general, well-trained and attentive. We brought two seagull eggs on board with us from Tromsø, and they were kind enough to scramble them for us. There are some language difficulties, however. I wanted to get a peanut butter malt for Jo-Ann. They had peanut butter ice cream. They had a malted milk machine. But the attendant didn't know what a "malt" is. I substituted the term "malted milk." I was told: "We have two kinds of milk: regular and no-fat." Jo-Ann did not get a malt. There is no separate charge for drinks, and tips are built into the price. Overall, the quality is far beneath what we had expected based on the cruise line's reputation. Aside from the cuisine here being second-rate, the dEcor lacks elegance, the stage productions are unimpressive, and if you ask for a gin fizz, you get sparkling lemonade with a bit of froth on top.   This was our fourth trip to Norway, and we intend to go there again. But not on a Regent cruise.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
I sailed on the Regent Seven Seas Navigator with my wife and 11-yr old son August 14, 2009 for 7 days, Athens (Piraeus) to Istanbul. My previous cruise experiences have been on Seaborn, Crystal and Lindblad/Nat. Geo. (small ships in ... Read More
I sailed on the Regent Seven Seas Navigator with my wife and 11-yr old son August 14, 2009 for 7 days, Athens (Piraeus) to Istanbul. My previous cruise experiences have been on Seaborn, Crystal and Lindblad/Nat. Geo. (small ships in Galapagos and Baja). I am not particularly picky about things and although I give almost anyone the benefit of the doubt if their heart is in the right place, I do notice things and, if things don't go well, those things stick in my craw. Anyway, the things I noticed (but would never complain about) are towards the end of this review, after "You're OUT!!!). I had, admittedly, somewhat high expectations of Regent, as I had originally chosen a 12-day itinerary on Oceania and my wife and agent 'upsold" me to Regent, as a definitive step-up from Oceania. As the title to this review portends, I was disappointed to the core with many aspects of the cruise that, in my opinion, leave no doubt as to the answer to question where Regent Seven Seas belongs in any "rating" of cruise lines. First, the good. We had a basic room which, on the Navigator, is stunning and huge (even without the generous balcony) relative to anything I have experienced on Seaborn or Crystal in the same general category. 24-hr room service. So, if your idea of a perfect cruise is sitting in the room, reading or watching videos and living off of room service, you've come to the right place. Room service food was reported to be good by my son, who enjoyed it several times. We only had the "fixings" delivered for some caviar we had, all good. Now, the misery. This was to be a designated family-oriented cruise, replete with a kids program in 3 age groups. There were between 50 and 60 kids on the cruise (representing over 10% of the passengers on board). When we inquired after boarding, we were told that the two women who ran the program were "asked to leave the ship" at a prior cruise port. No explanation, no apology, no alternatives, just mystery. Further inquiry yielded no details or explanation. I can say with 100% assurance that if this had happened on Crystal, they would have flown new staff from another location, co-opted crew from other duties or otherwise figured out how to deliver on a promise so essential to the concept of family cruise "vacation" (i.e., mom and dad can have some time together alone) and the number of affected passengers. Not with Regent. Had there not been a ping-pong table on board, the seas would have been littered with parents jumping from the rails. We had the opportunity to dine with some of the senior staff one evening and danced around the subject - but they were all tight-lipped to the end. Unbelievably, we learned a day before disembarking, that the staff asked to leave the ship were in fact rejoining the ship on the return to Athens. Arrgh. Strike one. A zero for failing to deliver an essential part of the cruise, as marketed and promised, and a below zero minus for not figuring out how to otherwise mitigate their abject failure and come up with something, if only a believable story. We signed up, using a not insignificant amount of shipboard credit (several hundred dollars) for a Regent "Signature" excursion in Rhodes. These are the very special, particularly-vetted couple of excursions that an exclusive group within Regent arranges. In our case, it was an "Off-Road" Adventure, renting a jeep and caravanning to many of the interesting sites on Rhodes that most folks wouldn't be able to visit because of the off-road nature of the trip and mobility of being in small vehicles. Although we may have at some point driven through some of the towns in which some of the historic/cultural sites described in the excursion brochure resided (though my GPS did not indicate so), hand over heart I can say that there was nothing, other than the act of renting a jeep that bore any resemblance to what was in the Regent brochure, the basis on which we booked this trip. We started out at "Butterfly Valley", actually a very interesting site in which a certain butterfly species (in fact, a moth), historically comes. Unfortunately, we were hustled in and out so fast, we did not have an opportunity to enjoy the place at any pace, or to take more than a snapshot or two. We were then off for a one hour drive to have a snack/drink, which ended up being at a hunting lodge. After another hour and a half in the car, we ended up in a small village in the mountains overlooking (a ways away) the coastline. Not the place we were supposed to stop, with another large party from a tour bus upstairs, but the food was fine. At this point, I was interested only in the "Ouzo". Then back in the jeeps for about 45 mins. Did I mention that the brochure said we would be off-road most of the time to visit these rare sites, but that we had yet to see anything but pavement. Not for long. For about a sum total of about 90 seconds, we hit a patch of unpaved road under repair and - you guessed it - that was the "off-road" part of the trip. Just before exiting the un-pavement, in one of the most surreal moments of this goat-rodeo, the guide pulled everyone off the road onto the dried weeds at roadside, right next to a bunch of bee hives (imagine the 95 degree heat, sun, and now swarming bees at having been invaded by 9 topless jeeps). Why? To gather everyone's cameras so that he could take a memorable picture for everyone on or in front of their own jeep on their own camera. You think I'm kidding? It was surreal. Put aside for the moment that 2 minutes further down the road was a scenic pull-out with a sweeping panorama of the coast and surrounding Greek isles, this was a scene that Quentin Tarentino would pay money to get the rights to. After the honking of irritated guests drove the guide back into his jeep, we were back in the jeeps for another hour to...the beach. Nothing in the brochure about the beach or swimming. We had not brought bathing suits. No towels provided by Regent for the trip (you would think - even if to save their stateroom towels from being used at the beach off the ship). But there we were at a small Taverna on the beach and the beautiful Med. My son and I went cowboy style and my wife had to suffer with a diet coke and view of the Med. 50 minutes later, we're hustled back in the jeeps for, yes, another 45 min drive back to the jeep rental spot, and then a bus ride back to the ship. Strike Two. No one from Regent had ever vetted this trip. They never gave any explanation (other than the disingenuous letter mentioned below). There is no way imaginable that it could be considered anything other than a slow roast around Rhodes for 8 hrs. Most importantly, we had wasted our only opportunity to see Rhodes on this misrepresented "Signature" excursion, not to mention the several hundred in credit dropped on this. Shameful. Our first stop back on board after chuckling about the comedy of misconception and execution that was our "Signature Rhodes Off-Road Adventure" was to visit the excursion desk to lodge our disappointment and disbelief at what had just befallen us. Lots of "so sorry", but obviously no one there with any answers or ability to do anything. They left a note for the excursion manager. We later met with him, in civil fashion, away from the excursion desk, in relative privacy. He took notes and expressed concern and shock, but clearly had no knowledge. I challenged him to find a single participant on the trip that would sign up again for that trip, rather than have their fingernails pulled one-by-one. He said that he really couldn't do anything, but would send it to "New York". This was Tuesday. We were due to disembark Friday morning 8am in Istanbul. We checked back throughout Wednesday and Thursday and no one had any answers. We had not asked for anything in particular, but clearly were PO'd that we had expended money on an entirely misrepresented trip. Finally, around 8pm on Thursday night, while packing, I went to the excursion desk and said I wouldn't leave until I had some response. I was told that the response from New York had "just come in" - and that Regent was not prepared to do anything. Nothing at all. As if we had just reported something that we had imagined. I was left so incredulous that I simply asked to have it in writing, which they delivered around 9pm that night (I'll try to post this). End of story. Let's contrast Regent's response to the "Off-Road" goat rodeo with our experience a day later after disembarking at our small hotel (the "Blue House Hotel") overlooking the Blue Mosque. My son mentioned to someone at the front desk in passing that the Jacuzzi jet button hadn't worked in the spa tub when he tried. I hadn't even heard of it and, frankly, wouldn't have cared a bit, but when we returned from our day of touring Istanbul, a sincere letter of apology from hotel management for the malfunction and a basket of fresh fruit in our room. Enough said. By the way, we highly recommend the Blue House Hotel, otherwise known as the "Mavi-Ev". Strike Three. Doing anything approaching taking responsibility for a bad experience and a gesture, however modest, to make a cruise customer feel like a guest. How 'bout a little replacement shipboard credit, which given the timing, we would have only been able to use, if at all, on a nice bottle of wine at our last dinner. How 'bout a basket of fruit. How 'bout 10% off a future cruise. Anything..., but nothing? Hmmn. We all differ in how we measure our experiences, but I can say truthfully that in each of our cruises, we absolutely had to personally visit with and thank not less than a half-dozen crew members, to say farewell, exchange contact information, invite them to visit when they're in the San Francisco area and the like. There was not a single person that any of us felt even remotely compelled to hunt down, other than a Kiwi security officer that my son promised to do the Maori Haka dance for. We had a pleasant dinner with him and with a nice young woman whose title led us to believe she would be the perfect person to share our "concerns" about the cruise with, but ended up being more responsible for customs clearance at ports than customer service and, other than expressing surprise at what we had experienced, offered no hope that anything would be done. It was like sharing the story with just another guest. The Maitre D' of the main dining room deserves special mention for patience and keeping that warm smile and wit amidst demanding cruise customers all wanting window tables. No one else remotely came to mind for any of us. Strike 1, Strike 2, Strike 3 - You're OUT!!! My conclusion - a perfect cruise line for someone used to a cattle car mega-ship. If you have been on Seaborn, Crystal, or any cruise line out there that truly puts the guest first and has any understanding as to what that means - run the other way as you will be disappointed on Regent Seven Seas. From the top down, they have no clue what guest/customer service is. It's an institutional problem, not an aberration. Some details - Nice gym, open 24 hrs. But nothing in terms of programs in the dance/stretch area. No staff to run any of the programs from all appearances. I remember a daily schedule of yoga, pilates and other things on Crystal. Zilch on Regent. Carpets and certain other common areas smell "stale". Carpet upgrade or cleaning or paint (anything to cover up the smell) would be worthwhile. I always wonder what "included tips" means for staff. For the first couple of days, I thought the overall attitude of staff was a little harsh. This got better over time, but there has to be a better way of handling this "perk" that still incents the staff to work to their potential. Perhaps a special "tip" shipboard credit that can only be used for that purpose. Wireless internet from the room worked pretty well, though I had to work around VPN blocking. We attended an evening show -which was very well produced. I understand the band/orchestra (professional) had been brought back on a semi-permanent basis and that explained in part the good music quality. Specialty restaurant food was mediocre at best and the menu, uninspired. Main dining room food and service was excellent, as was the wine list. The "house" booze (for which one does not pay extra) was top notch. (Belvedere or the Goose - house; Bombay Sapphire - house; Maker's Mark (for those Manhattans) - house. The house wines at dinner were so interesting, varied and good we rarely ventured into the wine list. The "photo shop" described in literature and even in on-board materials in the room....well, it must have been a sick joke. From what I could tell from visual inspection and asking for several items during the trip, it consisted of a pile of AAA batteries and a couple of memory sticks (which could not be located); literally all in a small plastic basket to the left of the cash register. I was looking for liquid lens cleaner or anything close - fat chance. Don't think that there is even a photo kiosk where you can stick in a memory card and print photos or burn a CD. There was literally nothing. We'd been used to photographers on most cruises - a casualty of cost-cutting on Regent. Food in general - given that we were in Greece and Turkey, I would have expected that at least in one of the restaurants we might see some "local" dishes. It was really odd to have spent 5 days in Greece before boarding the ship and 5 days in Istanbul after disembarking, cultures that are known for their fine cuisine, and not being able to enjoy any of it on the ship. How 'bout a small sampling at dinner of "local" dishes. It's what we've seen on other cruise lines. Golf driving net - hope you're left-handed or the choice is slim. The mat looked like a bad toupee and kids routinely whacked balls off the back of the boat, occasionally off of other guests - an accident waiting to happen. I had to get off the treadmill and run outside to exercise a little adult supervision a couple of times. No crew around, but this brings me back to Strike One, and I've spent enough energy on this diatribe. Overall impression - these folks are in cost-cutting mode and it shows. Answer to the Question: A two-star pretender....but love the cabin. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
We had a pretty poor experience a few weeks ago aboard the Navigator. We have cruised a few times before, but mostly travel by air. As a frame of reference, we have cruised on Crystal, Silverseas, Royal Carribean, Cunard, and Celebrity ... Read More
We had a pretty poor experience a few weeks ago aboard the Navigator. We have cruised a few times before, but mostly travel by air. As a frame of reference, we have cruised on Crystal, Silverseas, Royal Carribean, Cunard, and Celebrity in the past, in either Europe or Asia. We found Regent to be "okay", but certainly not for the price and hype. We have three children, ages 7, 10, and 13, so we booked two cabins. The cost of the one-week cruise for the family was over $17,000 without air, but the port tours were largely free or at low-cost as part of Regent's current promotions. Our biggest complaint against Regent is the very poor way in which they handled a significant problem we had with our room. Basically, they took almost the entire cruise duration to deal with a plumbing problem (never completely solved), and in addition to other issues, they did not handle things in a way anyone in the luxury hospitality business should. When we boarded the ship in Monaco, we were greeted in our cabin by an acrid sewer/algae smell. The whole room smelled, but we were able to figure out that it was coming from the bathroom. The housekeeper agreed that it smelled horribly, and when we returned from dinner a few hours later the sewer smell was somewhat overcome by the smell of Drano/chlorine. Not exactly pleasant. The next day the sewer smell returned, so we contacted the front desk. To make a long story short, Reception was very nice but not very effective. They had a plumber come out on Day 1 (embarkation is Day 0), and he said that there was something wrong with the drain and fixed something, with maybe 50-70% improvement. But it still had that sickening smell. Anyway, by Day 5 the smell was mostly gone after one other plumber intervention. But the inconvenience of waiting around for the plumber and having him stomp around the bathroom in his boots also did not help our cruise experience. For most of the cruise, when we were on the ship we found ourselves all retreating to our sons' cabin, which happened to be a handicapped cabin without a sofa. The smell was the overriding problem with the cruise. Add to that a bath towel that had more than 10 holes and stains in it (I have photos), multiple unannounced water interruptions resulting in milky-white water emerging from our sink on several occasions including an interruption at midnight-3 am that left my 13 year old with shampoo on his head, and really terrible breakfasts (cheap quality ingredients) in the Portofino restaurant, and you have something that is FAR from what we consider luxury. In addition, the cruise line has handled our concerns very poorly. We actually emailed our complaints to RSSC Guest Relations on 8/12/09 (Day 5), and we have not heard anything from them and it has been almost 3 weeks. We cc'd our letter to our American Express Centurion travel agent, and she contacted their marketing manager. The Amex agent initially told us that RSSC "would have to respond within 48 hours", but their only response was that the complaint would be sent on to some other department in their company. As I said, it has now been over three weeks and still no reply. We travel a lot about 3 months a year. Over the years, we have had "issues" here and there, including new purchases stolen from my room at a Hong Kong hotel, or a cruise housekeeper who put our brand-new unreleased Sonicare toothbrushes brush-down in a half-glass of water left by the previous guest as soon as we boarded the ship! Each time, someone from management would come and apologize, send some tangible token like flowers or candy to let us know that they are sorry and value our patronage. Well, from Regent, nothing. No words from management, no candy (how hard is that on an all-inclusive cruise, we already had $1000 shipboard credit from Amex that we could hardly spend?), nothing but an offer to "clean our room" on day 5/7 of our cruise, the only day AT SEA! Anyway, my final word is that what Regent is offering is far from luxury and as we wait to hear from management, it becomes clear that they are undeserving of the Regent name. The Regent Hotel in Hong Kong (now Intercontinental) was one of the world's great hotels and we actually spent New Year's Eve there on the Millenium but this cruise line has nothing to do with the Regent we knew. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
I went on this cruise with a long-time friend and our previous experiences have been primarily with Celebrity (which I love) and Princess with whom we will sail shortly. I had extremely high expectations for this journey since it was my ... Read More
I went on this cruise with a long-time friend and our previous experiences have been primarily with Celebrity (which I love) and Princess with whom we will sail shortly. I had extremely high expectations for this journey since it was my first "luxury cruise" experience. My expectations were not met, and I would give this experience a TWO-STAR rating. On the upside, the stateroom was lovely and spacious with a great walk-in closet. I really liked the flat screen TV with the huge movie selection, but alas never had the chance to watch it. I also liked the convenience of everything being prepaid and not having to whip out your card everytime you got wine/coffee/whatever, although I think this contributed to lower quality service since staff lacked the incentive to earn a generous tip. Now for the downside. The food was just OK, but there seemed to be more preoccupation at dinner with "presentation" than with tastiness. The salad choices were very limited and many of the entrees were not appealing to me not usually a problem on other ships. (I am not a picky eater.) We ate one night in the Prime specialty restaurant where I had lobster. While the lobster was huge at least 2 pounds the tail meat was not that tender and it was rather a disappointment. Lunch in the Verandah restaurant was also OK and the usual buffet style. I was however unpleasantly surprised that you were left on your own to find a table and walk around aimlessly with your plate until you did. (On Celebrity there is always someone to immediately take your food and find you a table. Also to get you water/soft drinks/etc.) With regard to room service (which was prompt), coffee for 2 equaled 2 cups in one small pot and was extremely weak. Definitely not for Starbucks fans! After a couple of days of this we went up to the Verandah and did it ourselves. (Coffee not great there either but much better and improved over the week.) However the staff there was not attentive in early morning and we sat there one day for a couple of hours before someone actually asked us if we'd like anything. As to the itinerary, many of us felt that it was too port intensive. Knowing this in advance and living through it are two different things. Since we were in St. Petersburg for 3 days, and you could not leave the ship unless with a tour, everyone had booked nonstop excursions. Then many of us started canceling them due to jet lag and sheer exhaustion. My friend and I both opted for sleep over Peterhof at 8 am, and I skipped the Hermitage. For this itinerary you might generally want to think of a longer cruise with some downtimeor Regent may reconsider its itinerary. The most disturbing aspect of this trip I saved for last. Due to a family emergency (i.e., a death) at home we needed to change our air to come home directly on disembarkation. It took more than 24 hours and numerous trips to reception to get this done. The original rebooking (done through their office in the States) put both of us on the same flights to the same city. Since we live in different cities, this needed to be fixed. After much ado, we had ticket info and confirmation numbers. Then we reached the airport where they couldn't find a record of the tickets. In Stockholm we had to see a supervisor who somehow found the reservation and sent our luggage through to our final destinations. However she could not issue us boarding passes for the flights from Frankfurt where they had our reservations but no record that we'd paid for the ticket change. Many Thanks to an absolutely wonderful and patient ticket agent with Lufthansa who was able to reach someone at Regent (in the States) and confirm the payment. Of course this is all taking time, causing stress, etc., and I was ready to pay again and sort it out later. Overall and even without the ticket fiasco I was extremely disappointed with the service on this ship and find it hard to believe that they have the highest crew to passenger ratio in the industry. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
We thoroughly enjoyed our 7-night cruise in the Baltics on the Voyager. Just so you'll know where we're coming from, we're not typical cruisers my husband and I are in our mid forties, traveling with our ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our 7-night cruise in the Baltics on the Voyager. Just so you'll know where we're coming from, we're not typical cruisers my husband and I are in our mid forties, traveling with our middle-school-age boys. Casinos and night-club entertainment are not our thing at all. We think of cities as the destination, not the ship itself. So why book a cruise on this ship that has all these things? Well, we were intrigued by the idea of taking a cruise as a way to see a bunch of fascinating ports at a trotas a way to show our kids lots of cool places with a minimum of logistics. We viewed the cruise ship as a cushy hotel on the waves, as a sort of transportation that would be fun for the fellas and relaxing for us parents. From what I read, Regent sounded like a tasteful, uncheesy sort of cruise line. The all-inclusive fare made sense to us, as did the open seating at meals, free shore excursions, and the large and comfortable suites. The trip turned out to be such fun. Having never taken a cruise before, we loved the way each morning brought us a new destination right out our balcony. The boys had their own suite, which quickly turned into a boy-cave of shoes and junk everywhere, but I didn't care their problem, not mine! Because we planned on spending the trip together as a family, we weren't interested in Club Voyager, the kids' program. The boys don't like organized kid programs anyway, but I do think there was some good stuff scheduled for those who wanted to join in. The boys got their own daily schedule delivered to their suite each night, so it seemed like a well-organized program. Movie nights, games, stuff like that. The bridge tour would have been fun had we not been ashore on a tour at the time. There were not that many kids around anyway this isn't a Disney sort of cruise (no disparagement of Disney intended!). Food. I just read the previous review of Voyager, and I have to say that my family ate like maniacs all week long, and we all looked forward to every meal. It seems churlish, even, to complain about the food with such variety at each meal, it's hard to imagine not finding SOMEthing to eat. My lamb chops at Prime 7 were cooked perfectly, the crab cake was lovely, and the steaks were seared the way we like them. A word about the staff: they were uniformly helpful, on the ball, and ready to assist us in whatever way we needed help. We were absolutely impressed with the quality of all those hard-working crew members. (One strange moment came on the final night, when a helicopter came to medevac a crew member who had fallen ill. I was struck by the fact that the captain would order this, even though Stockholm was only a few hours' sailing away. It made me think that the company cares about its crew quite a lot to do this elaborate sort of thing. And also that the crew member must have been pretty dang sick.) We filled out the customer satisfaction survey at the end, and discovered that we did not have a single complaint except the 25-cent-a-minute Internet. We're not polyannas; we were just delighted at how smoothly our cruise went, and how well it all seemed to run. Thank you, Voyager! Visby, the medieval port town on the Swedish island of Gotland, was our first stop. We decided not to do a group shore excursion, because we wanted to have maximum flexibility with the boys, and the town is totally walkable from the tender dock. Sort of Martha's Vineyard, Swedish style. Supercute cottages everywhere, big ol' medieval wall around the city, ruined churches and bright blue sky. Our first encounter with cobblestones was ouchy but fun. All sorts of people wandering around barefoot in medieval garb. Only a few hours in port here, but a charming, charming stop. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Given the slams at RSSC and Navigator, I was concerned about my Black Sea (Istanbul-Athens) cruise. I have cruised extensively on Silversea, Seabourn, and RSSC; however, I have not been at sea for several years. This was my third ... Read More
Given the slams at RSSC and Navigator, I was concerned about my Black Sea (Istanbul-Athens) cruise. I have cruised extensively on Silversea, Seabourn, and RSSC; however, I have not been at sea for several years. This was my third cruise on Navigator. I do not understand previous complaints. Navigator is a wonderful ship, and I will return in a heartbeat. Yes, the ship is a tad thread-worn: Chairs in some lounges are a bit threadbare. Areas of carpet have been replaced. The bed was a bit lumpy. But I know that the ship will be going into dry dock in a couple of months, and I understand that these minor deficiencies will be corrected. The service was fine (not overwhelming or suffocating, but as needed above and beyond the call.) I had a minor accident (fall) on a tour: The attendant was ready with disinfectant, bandage, etc. A couple of days later he inquired as to how I was doing. The food was generally quite good -- occasionally exceptionally good. Service was prompt in Compass Rose. Wi-Fi worked well, and the RSSC Seven Seas Society benefits (e.g. free internet at Silver) are very nice. I did notice one area of cut-back from my previous experience. It's a detail. But it grated. Previously, menus for the following day were distributed the previous night along with Passages. I understand why this practice was abandoned: It was costly in paper and toner, and it was definitely not "green." My understanding was that menus were available on interactive TV. That seemed a fair work-around. However, menus were not on the TV. If one wanted to see the menu one had to go to a bar or the restaurant itself. This is really not very satisfactory if one is back from a tour, has showered, is in a bathrobe, and wants dinner served in the suite, and doesn't know what's on offer. Is Room Service to read the entire menu on the phone? This was my major disappointment with my Navigator cruise. If that's the greatest disappointment, the conclusion must be that it was a fine cruise. It was. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
My husband and I, along with two friends, decided to take this trip on Regent almost entirely for the itinerary. We were not disappointed! The cruise left Vancouver on September 9, 2009. We were 2-1/2 hours late leaving Vancouver because ... Read More
My husband and I, along with two friends, decided to take this trip on Regent almost entirely for the itinerary. We were not disappointed! The cruise left Vancouver on September 9, 2009. We were 2-1/2 hours late leaving Vancouver because it took much longer to supply the ship than had been planned for. My understanding was that that had been caused by having to load on more supplies for the trip to continue on to the Far East after leaving Seward. Unfortunately, we had very little daylight left after we sailed. Our impressions of the ship were that the cabins were very large and very-well appointed. The ship was extremely well-maintained. We loved the fact that the fare is all-inclusive, including excursions for little or no additional cost. Fabulous idea! We were able to take any and all excursions that interested us -- something we probably wouldn't have done if we had to be paying hefty fees in addition to our cruise fare. We would have been picking and choosing with a bit less aplomb. Now for the downside...My husband has an allergy to gluten (wheat, rye, barley and oats, called celiac disease) and needs to be on a gluten-free diet or there are consequences you don't want to know about. I had notified Regent on five different occasions of this problem, both in writing and by telephone, and was assured they were well-equipped to deal with this situation and quite familiar with it. As a bit of background, we, along with our two friends with whom we traveled to Alaska, had been on a two-week Oceania Baltic cruise in 2006. Oceania had assigned a woman to deal with any questions my husband might have about what he could or could not eat. She was nearby at every meal and would check with the chef if she, herself, couldn't answer his question (usually she could). They would put menus for all the restaurants in our door each morning and my husband could look them over and find out what options he had, so by the time we arrived at our dining venue, there was no issue about the food. They couldn't have been more accommodating. We all were completely impressed by their graciousness and efficiency. Comparatively, after these numerous notifications to Regent and being assured there would be no problem, at every meal my husband had to explain (usually over and over to be understood) what his issue was. As it was, only a couple of times did the server have any idea whether or not the dish had any gluten in it (or even what gluten, wheat, rye, barley or oats were). My husband ended up eating a lot of steak and salads. It was quite a contrast to the care given on the Oceania cruise. There seemed to be a great deal of roll in the boat. One night I was literally thrown out of bed. That may have not been the fault of the design of the boat itself and simply a weather-related instance. However, all four of us were surprised at the amount of roll during the passage, even when there seemed to be little or no waves. That was only our third cruise (second on the Inside Passage) so I'm certainly no expert but our friends have a good-sized sailing yacht and were also surprised at the amount of roll. Our last complaint was the naturalist. She was extremely well-informed and pleasant but her delivery drove us nuts. She spoke as if she was talking to a kindergarten class of children who spoke English as second language. E-v-e-r-y w-o-r-d w-a-s s-p-o-k-e-n s-o s-l-o-w-l-y a-n-d p-r-e-c-i-s-e-l-y that it became torturous to listen to her. One began to focus on her voice and, consequently, not on the information. As I said, she seemed to be a lovely person but, if she could only speed it up, I'm sure one would get more out of the narrative. Please, don't misunderstand, this was a lovely cruise and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone thinking of going to Alaska. The itinerary was perfect. Nothing can compete with or diminish the jaw-dropping beauty and wildness of Alaska, so GO! This was a very good deal and a great way to travel, particularly since Regent now offers the excursions as part of the fare. The all-inclusive fare arrangement is fantastic! It's wonderful not to be presented with some enormous bill full of drinks and incidentals as you're debarking on top of having to deal with all the tipping. Lastly, we (the four of us) are planning another cruise in August 2010. This time we are going to Europe for two weeks and will be on an Oceania cruise. Happy sails to you! Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
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