Having cruised on the SS Navigator many times, quite some years ago, my wife and I looked forward to a wonderful trip, similar to the ones we had experienced before. We did, but also found changes we consider have impacted negatively the ... Read More
Having cruised on the SS Navigator many times, quite some years ago, my wife and I looked forward to a wonderful trip, similar to the ones we had experienced before. We did, but also found changes we consider have impacted negatively the quality of the cruise, likely resulting from the change in ownership several years ago to an investment company obviously more interested in profits than in maintaining quality and excellence (examples – eliminating from the restaurants the rolling carts taken to the dining tables with the cheeses or desserts for guests to select, as well as eliminating preparing Caesar salads and Crêpes Suzettes directly beside the tables). Also absent were the classical and semi classical music (piano, harp, violin or quartets) offered in the public areas and theater, leaving only a “classical” music TV channel which more often than not confused what is considered classical with singing operettas, jazz and blues. We experienced the same changes on the Mariner last year while cruising from Barcelona to Buenos Aires with similar results, also making that cruise almost totally wonderful.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
As expected, embarkation was efficient and smooth, but initiated later than necessary—at 12pm. It could and should have begun as early as 11am or even earlier, as is the case with Azamara, for example (10am), where guests remain in the public areas, which in the Navigator are plentiful and ample. Yet, for reasons unknown Regent has remained stuck to noon, unnecessarily. Disembarkation was equally smooth and efficient, in this case with the purpose of having everybody out by 10 am. We left our cabin about 9am and already many of the surrounding cabins were clean and ready for the new passengers.
As one expects in a luxury cruise ship, the cabin was clean and very comfortable, with an overly large bathroom and walk in closet, large screen interactive television, DVD player and a desk clock. Unfortunately, it requires maintenance, particularly on the veranda and the sliding door. The two cabin stewards were excellent, efficient, friendly and with a disposition to assist us whatever our whims. This ship has the largest regular cabins in the industry, well proportioned and well lit. We particularly appreciated the reading lamp, which we have not seen in other cruise ships, and the night light, which is not found in many other cruise ships. A special comment merits the bathroom, which can accommodate a crowd without difficulty and perhaps hanging clothes to dry comfortably. The amenities were also of top quality and replenished as needed without having to remind anyone. The cabin had 3 phones, which is also unique to Regent. What we miss in all cruise ships we have been and missed here also are earphones, to enable watching television without bothering the cabin partner (my wife).
Meals where excellent in quality, presentation and size, as expected in a luxury cruise ship. For long trips like ours (24 days), the menus may seem rather short on alternatives and one may get tired of repeating certain dishes, however, the quality of many dishes called for repeat portions after several days. The Navigator also provides several alternative restaurants with different offerings. We found the crew assigned to meals and drinks, from the managers to the servers, very friendly and very efficient, at all times prepared to satisfy whatever whim one may have, even to the point of preparing a special dish or dessert upon request. Many remembered the names of guests, which contributed to a relaxed atmosphere of friends as if in a country club. Our only criticism is that the so-called “Mexican” dishes had nothing to do with real Mexican dishes, although well prepared and very tasteful.
The Navigator has more than enough public areas for those who like to spend their time in the company of others instead of in the cabins or verandas (we prefer the cabins). The library was well stocked with books, videos and computers, proportioned for the number of passengers using its facilities. The same applies to the three areas with bars, two of them providing space for dancing when and if appropriate. All the bars were well stocked and well serviced with experts who quickly prepared whatever whim one may request. The casino is somewhat bigger than necessary and thus with excess capacity since it was never crowded. The theater is really spectacular, with ample comfortable seats and more than enough space to sit every passenger. The entertainment was also very good, although we would have liked more comedians and some classical presentations.
Overall, we had a very enjoyable cruise. Although the ship will soon be docked for maintenance and improvements, we found it very comfortable and well balanced. Our deck 7 cabin at the center of the ship was very quiet and steady. To be fair, however, we heard people on decks 10 and 9, towards the back of the ship, complain of noise and vibrations. This is understandable, since we also experienced similar discomforts on the Mariner several years ago when we occupied a Horizon suite. It was not the case in the Azamara Journey amd Quest, nor on the Queen Mary 2.