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Last time we cruised on Regent was four years ago and it was on the Mariner. This, over three week, voyage gave us about three months total on that ship. Soon after we boarded we checked out the Main Dining Room, The Compass Rose, and ... Read More
Last time we cruised on Regent was four years ago and it was on the Mariner. This, over three week, voyage gave us about three months total on that ship. Soon after we boarded we checked out the Main Dining Room, The Compass Rose, and wondered if we were on the right ship. We weren't aware that the Mariner went through an extensive refurbishment last March. Quite a change in the MDR, not just in the general decor but with wait staff and cuisine. Special shout out for the wine pairing sommeliers. Now, don't get me wrong, the Mariner was always great, but it was now super. For years now we have listed Regent as our favorite line and the Voyager as our favorite ship. Sure wish we could scratch up the simoleons to book them more often and for longer durations. Cruise lines love to give romantic titles to their cruises, this one was "Havana Dreams, Panama Scenes". I suggest that it should have been the "Hurricane Dodger", LOL. When we left Anchorage, AK we were keeping an eye on a dying hurricane out in the Pacific off the Baja Peninsula in Mexico which had doubled back toward the mainland. Then we heard about Hurricane Michael moving into the Gulf of Mexico, which was likely to prevent us from visiting Cuba. Survived those okay and had an enjoyable visit in Cuba and the countryside there, a great transit of the canal on a beautiful day all the way but then, five days after the canal, we returned to the ship after touring Acapulco, Mexico and found a letter from the captain on our bed explaining that a big, already Cat 5, hurricane was dead ahead of us, Hurricane Willa, and another smaller one coming up from the south toward our present position at the time. In order to put some distance between us and Willa we turned southwest for a day or so then northwest. Eight days sailing non-stop between North America and Maui, 3800 miles, instead of the scheduled six days to cross from San Diego. Our captain had chosen the most prudent course of action which was to bypass the planned ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Tuesday and San Diego on Thursday and instead spend those days at sea navigating our course far away from the storm systems, with a new arrival into Kahului, Maui one day early for an overnight stay. On the way across the Pacific we learned of Typhoon Yutu, which was the largest yet in 2018, it had just hit Saipan and Tinian on the other side of the Pacific from our location. At that time the Accumulated Cyclone Energy, or "ACE," was by far the highest ever recorded, or using that criterion, it was the worst hurricane season on record since records began early in the 19th century. Our extra sea days were due to weather situations, the longest number of those we have experienced was nine and that was also due to an accident, a lady compound fractured her ankle so we had to turn back in order to get her off the ship for medical attention. All total we canceled two port visits due Willa, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and San Diego, Ca, plus one port canceled at the last minute due to political unrest, Nicaragua. Out of that we gained two more "At Sea Days" and another day and a night in Kahului, Maui. Hey, I saw more flying fish that voyage than I've seen in years. But it was all good for us since we love sea days and life on board was exquisite due to Regent's fine service, cuisine quality and on board activities such as that involved with one of my favorite aspects of cruising, the enrichment lectures, particularly those addressing the theme of the voyage or aspects of the area of the world the cruise is taking place in like history, naturalism and geography. On this voyage we had two lecturers, Michael Scott, a botanist and historian and Lt. Colonel Bill Rothschild a NASA Rocket Scientist and engineer. Scott's presentations fit perfectly into the area of the world we voyaged but Rothschild's were very interesting as well. I think they spoke a dozen times each and I attended every single lecture, perfect attendance. Not to mention my sometimes twice daily hot tubs and the wonderful service from the ships pool bar. In a way this was a strange voyage, smooth seas and nice warm days all the way, yet we have were surrounded by hurricanes most of the distance. But all voyages can't be absolutely perfect. We did experience a few glitches, minor as they were. We planned on three formal nights which somehow got changed to two. But the last one they scheduled on the last night of the voyage, which was a port day preceded by six sea days. Nobody plans like that. Neither did they, toward the end they rescheduled the formal night to the last sea day, hurray. We almost always purchase pre-cruise and post-cruise hotel and transfer packages and so we did this time as well. On the pre-cruise hotel, which was part of the cruise package, they changed the hotel on us a few months before sailing, no big deal. But then a few weeks before sailing, after we had received the nice final formal cruise packet in the US mail, they flip flopped again and changed the hotel back to the original. Somehow we missed the email notice of the second change. So ended up in the wrong hotel. By the time we figured out there was something wrong we had already booked into a very fine room in the wrong hotel. Regent determine it was all our fault, so gave us a choice, stay in the wrong hotel and pay for it yourself or move over to the other one which we are paying for. We moved. On the post cruise hotel, the Royal Hawaiian in Honolulu, Regent was right on top of this and changed hotels for us when they discovered Waikiki hotels were just hit with a massive labor strike and the Royal was included. They got us into a very nice waterfront hotel that was not on strike. Good on them. In summation, I realize Regent's prices are pretty steep and going up, so are the other line's prices that we frequent. But you have to say this about Frank Del Rio (FDR)'s lines. The other lines seem to not only be increasing prices but also engaging in a commensurate ratcheting down of overall cruise quality. While at the same time, Regent is enhancing over all cruise quality. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The itinerary was outstanding. The cruise had two legs, Miami to Barbados, and Barbados to Cape Town, all part of a 180-day around-the-world cruise. On the first leg, we went from Miami through much of the Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, ... Read More
The itinerary was outstanding. The cruise had two legs, Miami to Barbados, and Barbados to Cape Town, all part of a 180-day around-the-world cruise. On the first leg, we went from Miami through much of the Caribbean (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Devil's Island, Martinique,St. Lucia, Grenada, Tobago, Barbados). On the second leg, we went to Brazil (Belem, Forteleza, Recife, Natal), then transatlantic to Sao Tome, Benin, Togo, Uganda, Namibia, ending at Cape Town, South Africa. The food was very good, better quality than Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Norwegian. The stateroom, an outside Deluxe Ocean View with a porthole was pleasant and a good value for the money. The evening entertainment was week, with several comedians doing ancient sexist material. (Wonder how the many gay and lesbian cruisers liked it.) The enrichment staff was good!. The geologist on the first leg was great, as was the photographer. Both were very helpful and interacted with the passengers. On the second leg, we had a former naval Commander, who lectured on naval and historical issues, then lectured on all the exotic ports of call. The astronomer was interesting and well prepared, and on nights with any kind of visibility, arranged for evening viewing, with nearly all lights on the top deck turned off. We had the same photographer on the second leg and, unfortunately, there was a lot of repetition from the first leg. All in all, the enrichment staff was helpful. All the staff on board were helpful and pleasant. Andy and Tammy Heard were wonderful, as was John, who worked for Tammy. The person in charge of the Internet was wonderful, the best I have seen on any ship. The systems were managed very well, and I am particular about network performance, having been a Computer Science department chair. (Unfortunately, In forgot her name.) Unfortunately, the shore excursion staff was not well trained and the front office staff need some work also. The problems seem worse in the headquarters in Miami. It took forever to get materials sent to us from HQ and the initial arrangements were absurd. We were met at the Miami airport and told to wait in a particular area. We waited for about two hours, with no food, and there was no food at the waiting area at the ship terminal, where we waited a considerable time. This delay can be difficult for older passengers, like many of the ones on this cruise. The entertainment in the waiting area was nice, however. There were quality issues also with the shore excursions. While we were warned in both orally and in writing that tour guides in Africa would not be certified and buses were of limited quality, we only encountered one bus without AC. In Belem, Brazil, a double-decker tour bus had only static on its speakers. No refund was given, even when I played a few minutes of static for the excursion manager. The tenders from Belem could not tie up back at the ship due to high tides on the Amazon (which I understand are typical in the area in the early afternoon). When we got back to the dock, we were asked to get on a much larger "party boat" that tried to take us back. The cheap plastic chairs kept tipping over, and I had to keep many people from falling. The "party boat" left the dock with a gunwale left wide open, and I was glad to get back uninjured. One passenger was hit in the head when a flimsy lock on a flimsier door opened and the door hit her head. She was hospitalized for several days but was able to rejoin the ship soon after. It is clear that the safety of water travel in Belem was never examined by Oceania staff when planning this itinerary. (Lots of robberies in Belem - I know three people who were pushed to the ground by muggers wanting jewelry, purses, and purses. I would never go back to Belem, although I really liked the other stops in Brazil, Fortaleza, Natal, and Recife. (In Bonaire, we encountered a bus with only jump seats available. Ridiculous, especially given the age of many on the cruise. The money for that one was refunded.) To add insult to injury, we were never able to get the advertised discount for the "Your World Collection shore excursion package." The shore excursion manager said we could only sign up for excursions on the first leg, with excursions on the second leg from Barbados to Cape Town only available during that leg. We took more than the advertised minimum of 10 excursions but their leg-by-leg policy led to us not getting the advertised reduced price. My preferred credit card, which I have used tor 30+ cruises previously was repeatedly denied because the onboard spending for gratuities et al keep getting rejected because bills came in to my bank from Ireland and several other locations that I had not informed my bank that I would be traveling to. The front office staff seemed unconcerned about resubmitting charges and keeping me informed of the status of the payment. They then got nasty, treating me as a deadbeat. Finally, I used another credit card, at great inconvenience to myself. Guest Relations at Oceania did respond lamely to my written complaint. I am still waiting for a response from the cruise line president - it has only been six months. The good news is that I am getting lots of Oceania ads! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We are taken many cruises and this was our first experience with Oceania. A wonderful experience and we will definitely sail with this company again. Of course the occasional hiccup but this did not cause us to dislike the cruise. 1. ... Read More
We are taken many cruises and this was our first experience with Oceania. A wonderful experience and we will definitely sail with this company again. Of course the occasional hiccup but this did not cause us to dislike the cruise. 1. Embarkment was fast and easy. Buffet luncheon was exceptional and we then toured the ship on our own. Public rooms are all well appointed and much polished wood and brass. The decor is Edwardian/Traditional and very appealing. 2. Stateroom - We were in Concierge level but rooms were the same as the Veranda and much smaller then Regent Seven Seas. The bathroom was tiny. To be blunt, we never got used to sitting "sidesaddle" on the toilet! But again the room was appointed nicely, our stewardess, Aida was outstanding and wonderful. Everything was perfectly cleaned daily including the balcony and the windows. When we left for breakfast each morning she was in the corridor with a warm "good morning" and a smile. Our room was cleaned while we were at breakfast every day. (Oh by the way, all the staff are friendly, professional and make you feel like family. 3. Luggage - Our luggage didn't arrive till after the fire drill, about 5:30 pm. And only in the corridors. All the guests had to walk up and down the corridor looking for their luggage and lug it back to the cabin. Weird to say the least. 4. Food - With just one or two exceptions the food and menus were wonderful. We couldn't understand the Jacque Pepin thing in the dining room. Three of his dishes was posted on the menu every night, the same three. But there was such an abundance and variety on the menu why is he even listed? The head chef and all his assistants did a great job and Pepin isn't necessary at all. The main dining room is well appointed and the staff were great. We made a point of only sitting at Judaidi's work station. He and his staff are amazing and helped to make each evening wonderful. We usually had a table for two but many nights sat with friends at table for 4. Service was always great. But I do understand some reviewers that complained about bad service at large tables. 6 or more at a table and there were many complaints about long waits. The alternative venues, Polo and Toscana were small and intimate, each maitre d and his staff did a wonderful job each every night we were there. 5. Terrace Cafe - We found this daily buffet venue good but also odd. The two maitre d's from Polo and Toscana were supervising the serving in specific areas of the Cafe and service was outstanding. These two gentlemen also served and cleaning up when their areas were busy. They were hands on and you could see the staff loved these guys. But if you couldn't find a table at their stations then you had to sit with the supervisors that we dubbed: Mutt & Jeff. They constantly were yelling at each other, talking on the phone or yelling at staff. If I needed a cup of coffee I would ask one of them and they went around the room looking for someone to give it to me instead of realizing his staff were busy and just get it himself. 3, 4 or more tables would be dirty and these two would never think to clean up and set up for more guests. They yelled at staff to drop what they were doing and clean up, even if the server was getting coffee, water or assisting a guest already. For the entire 36 days these two unprofessionals got away with treating us guest shabbily and treating the staff deplorably. In the real world these two jerks would have been fired after the 1st week. 6. Entertainment - Two wonderful comedians was about it. There were several vocalists or musicians but for the life of me I can't remember their names or even anything about their performances. The Entertainment Dept. uses their own staff, one at a time, for many entertainments night. Our asst. Cruise Dir. John, was a wonderful magician and comedian.Other then that nothing memorable. And many nights just a movie in the main lounge. So Oceania is like most other companies and spend very little on entertainment. They had a great little band but only one set at noon each day at the pool. Why not several more sets, they don't show up again under after-dinner dancing. It took longer to set up the band at the pool then the actual musical set! 7. Excursions - Like most other cruise lines, the excursions are way, way overpriced for what you get. After the Caribbean ports of call (we did our own thing), all ports were new to us so we booked the ships excursions. The ports were depressing. Poverty everywhere and not many cruise ships even stop at them (as we found out later). Little to see but we sure tried to educate ourselves to these new places. We never had head sets and with large groups they were necessary so for the most part, walking tours were a waste of time unless you stood next to the guide. As we have found from other cruise companies, do you own research and do your own tours. You will save hundreds and enjoy them more. 8. Enrichment - Two lectures but we would have loved one lecturer at least to speak about the countries we were to visit. Not about the stars and celestial navigation. There was an Artist Loft and Pat was the instructor. She had standing room only for her classes. 9. Spa - Canyon Ranch is here too. Overpriced and fair service. Overall: The cruise was all new experiences for us and we met so many wonderful people on board. A friendly crowd of 600 guests. The staff went out of their way to insure us all a great cruise. Although many of the ports were depressing and poverty severe, we learned much about these developing countries and we are so thankful that we are Americans. We have booked our second cruise with Oceania for next Jan. 2017, Cape Town to Singapore and look forward to many years of enjoying cruising with them. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016

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