Some friends our ours recommended this cruise after they had taken it and loved it. We booked it through the travel arm of a large retail enterprise, which was probably a mistake. Prior to the cruise, there were several communication ... Read More
Some friends our ours recommended this cruise after they had taken it and loved it. We booked it through the travel arm of a large retail enterprise, which was probably a mistake. Prior to the cruise, there were several communication glitches, but I don't know whether that was the fault of the travel "agent" or Regent. In the end, the glitches mostly worked out, but it was a frustrating start (example: took forever to get our flight information and then huge delay in the flights actually being booked, which made upgrades difficult).
Then, when we arrived at the Anchorage airport, the transportation arrangements to our hotel (the Marriott) were chaotic. The young man who was supposed to be holding a "Regent" sign in the baggage claim area did not have a sign; we found him through the process of elimination, since the other cruise lines all had signs. Regent was taking guests to more than one hotel, and there was some disorganization surrounding getting appropriate bags onto the appropriate bus. Unfortunately, none of the people involved in the process inspired confidence, and were amused that any of us were worried about our bags that were nowhere in sight (turns out there was a third cart of luggage still inside the airport that was almost overlooked). Anyway, we and our bags got to the Marriott where we were not allowed to take our bags to our own rooms; the Marriott staff who brought them to our room entered without knocking, which of course is not appropriate, but apparently he thought none of us were in our rooms yet. Ah well, the bags arrived, and these were annoyances, not earth-shaking problems. It's just that is was surprising, given Regent's reputation. In the end, we enjoyed a very nice visit in Anchorage, with good food, some nice shops, and a visit to their very nice museum.
The next day we took the two-hour plus bus ride to Seward to board, but we left much later than the time Regent had included in the materials they sent us, which was actually a good thing, again just surprising. It was a beautiful and pleasant and uneventful ride; our driver was personable and informative. The boarding process in Seward went smoothly and fairly rapidly, and we were happy to find our bags already in our room (a deluxe F suite on deck 8) when we arrived. Our room steward greeted us and was delightful. The distilled water I had requested for my husband's CPAP was not in the room and the steward clearly had not been informed of our request, but she very quickly retrieved some for us. What we missed, unfortunately, was a get-together that occurred promptly after boarding; it was on the printed materials left in our room, but we were focusing on getting somewhat settled in, changing clothes, etc., and had not yet read the materials, so we missed it. Live and learn, we won't make that mistake next time.
As for the cruise itself: We were unbelievably lucky and had perfect weather the whole time. This minimized any negatives that occurred. We loved all of our excursions, which were all no-extra-fee. We loved Compass Rose and Prime 7; Chartreuse was disappointing in food, but the service was excellent (as it was for the most part in every restaurant). We mixed it up for many of our breakfasts and lunches - Pool Grill (excellent), La Veranda (also great), Compass Rose (became our favorite). We also liked the one dinner we had in Siete Mare.
One of us attended the guest lectures, and was impressed. The other attended the wine tasting, which is basically an introduction to the wines they serve, and it was fun; the wines are not upper tier, but most were acceptable. We skipped the shopping presentations, because that was not important to us. We did not use the spa or the exercise facility. The casino was mostly dead every time we checked it out. As for the main theater shows, we were not impressed, but in fairness, we see many Broadway and Broadway-quality shows due to availability of extraordinary and top-notch entertainment where we live and where we travel. Kudos to the performers for giving it their all, but they need a little more support, direction and better material. However, we were very impressed with the pianists, the instrumental ensembles, and the duo (singer and guitar player) who performed in the bars and lounges; they were all excellent. And the final night show put on by the crew was delightful.
For the most part, the staff was excellent and friendly, always a friendly greeting in passing, an offer to assist if it appeared necessary. We loved our room stewards, and they kept our cabin in great shape. There were occasional staff persons who were not very warm, but at least they were able to give accurate information.
We thought the interior of the ship was really lovely, and we liked the art. It never felt crowded. We appreciated the laundry facilities, which we used several times. All of the seating in the restaurants, lounges, public areas was comfortable and almost always with adequate space.
We had a few negative experiences that were puzzling. On our last night, we had a late reservation in Prime 7, so we went to the Observation Lounge to take in the beautiful view and have a drink before dinner. It was mostly empty, but we waited for over a half hour for someone/anyone to take our drink order; other people sitting nearby had the same experience. It was like we weren't there. I finally went up to the bar to order, and the bartender promptly prepared the drinks but seemed frustrated, so I have to guess there was some staffing issue that evening. They also had not cleared the tables the entire time we were there, so we and others eventually moved used glasses to other tables so that we had a somewhat clean place to put our drinks. That same lounge had seemed to have some trouble filling drinks orders a couple of days prior, which again appeared to be a staffing issue. When there are very few "customers", it's hard to understand why there would be very slow service or no service. The other negative experience was when we tried to contribute our remaining onboard credits to the Crew Welfare Fund. I asked at the reception desk who I should see to do that, and the gentleman working there told me it was not possible. So, we used the credits buying things we really did not need in the onboard boutiques. Later, someone else told me he was mistaken, that indeed we could have put our unused credits in the Crew Fund. So, while we would have been very happy to put a few hundred dollars toward the crews' benefit, his misinformation prevented it.
Disembarkation went very smoothly. We placed our bags outside our cabin before 11pm, and they were waiting for us when we got off the ship. There was again some chaos in the terminal after we got off the ship, but the very friendly Canadians kept us smiling and eventually we were on the bus on our way to the airport. We have Global Entry, so the getting through U.S. Customs at the Vancouver airport was a breeze.
We did not expect perfection, and overall we felt the experience was truly wonderful. But the few negatives did seem to be out of character for Regent's reputation. We will cruise with Regent again. Read Less