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45 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Regent's own end of cruise survey asks: 'Would you recommend Regent to a friend and do you feel this was value for money?' Based on this cruise with Seven Seas Mariner (Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro), the answer has to be ... Read More
Regent's own end of cruise survey asks: 'Would you recommend Regent to a friend and do you feel this was value for money?' Based on this cruise with Seven Seas Mariner (Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro), the answer has to be ............sorry but "No". The ship is scheduled for refurbishment two cruises hence, and it is much needed as it is looking tired and dated. Onboard entertainment was either very good or very poor. Great solo singer (Colleen Williamson), amateur song and dance troup. Sailing from Argentina (home of the Tango), via Uruguay to Rio (home of the Samba) one would have thought that a more creative on-board entertainment programme using local top quality talent could have been put together. A diet of 'Broadway' and 'Show Tunes' and 'Bert Bacharach' seems to be standard cruise fare and is unimaginative. Onboard F&B was very hit and miss. Compass Rose, Prime 7 and Signature were all erratic. Some good consommes, Dover sole, some very bad crostato, unacceptable curry. Several fellow passengers, one of us included, were bed bound for a day or two due to 'stomach problems', the timing of which and previous consumption patterns could only indicate on board sources. Moules left on the pass for 20 minutes in passenger sight before serving, concurrent handling of cooked meat and uncooked chicken, sea food and cold cuts in full sun during a deck barbecue, did not inspire confidence and we ended up being very, very selective in our menu choices. Shore excusions were also hit and miss. The Buenos Aires tour was good, particularly the visit to Evita Peron's halfway house museum (excellent external guide brought in) as was the Tango element of Montevideo and the Art and Culture of Punta del Este. Rio Grande, being the first port of entry to Brazilian waters, was theoretically a 'technical stop' to process paperwork. Being berthed next to a bulk carrier unloading urea fertiliser, one would think a run ashore would be a good idea. Wrong. A couple of delapited town squares (with a pack of aggressive dogs which persisted in herding our group), a closed museum, an oceanographic museum looking tired and sad - complete with lonely seal and two de-oiling penquins) do not make for a hugely enriching experience. In Porto Belo, extended queueing for the cable car, a walk through an 'ecological park' which also contained screaming tourists on a sledge ride, a half hour on a crowded beach gazing at stalls of trinkets and trash while the guide ate lunch, was severely underwhelming. Overall? Value for money? Marginal, but not a 6 star experience. Could recommend? No Would sail again? Probaly not. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I was a little concerned when I read bad reviews of Mariner: poor service, poor food, outdated suites. The only thing correct in those reviews was the outdated suites, which are scheduled for refurbishment in March 2018. Overall ... Read More
I was a little concerned when I read bad reviews of Mariner: poor service, poor food, outdated suites. The only thing correct in those reviews was the outdated suites, which are scheduled for refurbishment in March 2018. Overall service was superb. Restuarant service was excellent. All specialty restaurants were excellent, with Prime 7 serving up the best steak (a bone-in ribeye) that I’ve had in a long time. Airline reservations were great. Unfortunately, a flight delay caused us to miss of flight from JFK to Buenos Aires and we arrived a day later than planned. Regent had a guide and driver meet us at the airport to take us to the hotel we had planned to stay at overnight. Embarkation was quick and easy. We traveled from Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro. Unfortunately, this particular stretch of coastline doesn’t have the most exceptional ports of call in the world, but Regent did a good job offering the best of what is out there. In addition, their organization for all shore excursions is excellent, and it’s great to have bottled water, towels, and umbrellas available as you disembark the ship for every excursion. A smaller ship is great! We were pleasantly surprised to find that we never had to wait for a dinner table, could get a drink quickly at any bar, and never had a problem with crowds in the fitness center or the pool deck. If you hate being nickel-and-dimed for every onboard service, don’t like photographers chasing you around the ship, and want first class service on a ship full of very experienced travelers and cruisers, then you can’t go wrong with Mariner and Regent. On the other hand, if you like to enter the hairy chest contest and take pride in the challenge of getting your deck chairs saved before breakfast and holding them all day, then you need to find a different cruise line! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
Loved the itinerary as it was a combination of great cities and beach resorts. Terry Breen the enrichment speaker is excellent and really makes new locations come alive. The Food and Beverage Manager and the chef did a wonderful job. ... Read More
Loved the itinerary as it was a combination of great cities and beach resorts. Terry Breen the enrichment speaker is excellent and really makes new locations come alive. The Food and Beverage Manager and the chef did a wonderful job. The food was excellent, particularly the fish and the staff were well trained and very good. My husband has a disability and uses a walker. The entire Regent staff was so helpful and it really allowed both of us to relax and enjoy the trip. In addition all of the vendors for the shore excursions went above and beyond what we expected to help him and me. We have been on several cruises in the past 10 years and were a bit concerned that Regent had gone "corporate" and lost the unique qualities that made them so special. We are very pleased to say this was certainly not the case on this cruise. We are looking forward to our next sailing. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
This was a wonderful cruise. The first leg from Buenos Aires to Rio was port intensive with one sea day and a mix of cities and small seaside towns. The second leg had more sea days and took us on a journey up one of the world'd ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise. The first leg from Buenos Aires to Rio was port intensive with one sea day and a mix of cities and small seaside towns. The second leg had more sea days and took us on a journey up one of the world'd great rivers, with destinations including cities Manaus and Santarem, a beach town, a fishing village and Parantins. March is Amazon rainy season and it rained! Rio and Manaus were highlights with a good variety of shore excursions and an overnight in each. After the Amazon we visited Devil's island, Barbados, St Lucia and San Juan, all beautiful destinations. Such a varied itinerary is only possible on a small/medium sized cruise ship and I would recommend it. The ship was well managed, the best I have experienced. Captain and senior managers were very visible about the ship and the crew well trained and extremely pleasant while giving exceptional service. I appreciated the detail given in the Captain's daily update. Shore excursions were included in the price and made the trip. They included bus tours for the less able and more adventurous options for more energetic passengers such as bike tours, treks, swimming and snorkelling, 4 wheel drives and zip lines. Some of the most attractive were sold out before we could select them. Sometimes there was time to complete an early tour and walk or taxi into town later. We did this a few times and recommend it, particularly in Manaus where the city tour didn't fit with the times of the other tours we wanted; it was an easy 15-20 minute walk through vibrant shopping streets up to the opera house area. San Juan definitely merits a visit, however fleeting. 4 wheel drives in Rio and St Lucia were great fun offering off the beaten track views. Our suite was comfortable, kept very clean by our two stewards, who also delivered ice, fruit, champagne etc when asked. The food on board was exceptional, in all venues, with Signatures the best overall. Entertainment was varied with more of a focus on popular than classical music. The talks were well attended and most were very interesting. In my opinion organised activities were the weak point as with other 'American' ships we've travelled on. Deck sport tournaments were non-existent replaced with mini competitions that were cancelled at the slightest drop of rain. We met many people who wanted to try deck tennis and shuffleboard, but didn't know how to play. As a result we had our own private court at the back of this ship and played almost daily. This aspect of the ship needs a radical shake up. Dancers, nice as they all were, didn't make good sports hosts. Active passengers need a variety of ways to keep fit in and outdoors. There were dance classes, but no sports classes. Why? There was induction to the gym but no induction to deck sports. Why? Also, there was no art programme on the ship, just a colouring class and craft class managed by a hostess. This is a cheap option out of step with the luxury of the Regent offering. Not good enough for the proportion of people who enjoy art. Quite a few people we met said they'd found sea days boring. That's not good for Regent. The Mariner was due for a refit which has been postponed for a year. It needs it. However, it was well maintained, extremely comfortable and exceptionally clean; it didn't affect our enjoyment of this cruise at all, in fact there is probably more deck space on these older ships. Overall I loved it and recommend this trip. However for a long trip e.g. world, half-world or extended period of time I wouldn't recommend Regent unless you are a particularly sedentary cruiser. Read Less
159 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our first cruise on Regent, my husband and I always cruise with Seabourn. We chose this trip based on itinerary. Our penthouse cabin was horrible, disgusting old carpet, full of bumps and peeling off the baseboards. The ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Regent, my husband and I always cruise with Seabourn. We chose this trip based on itinerary. Our penthouse cabin was horrible, disgusting old carpet, full of bumps and peeling off the baseboards. The bathroom was old with tiny tub and missing grout all over. Twice the price of Seabourn which is to cruise in real luxury. Buenos Aires and Punta del Este are two great ports, a lot to see, clean and beautiful. The rest were awful. The ship's backup generator broke and we were stuck at the port of Santos, Brazil for four days waiting on a replacement for the generator. Santos is a hideous port and we missed three ports of call. According to a fellow passenger traveling on the same ship on a previous recent cruise, they had generator problems as well. There were cases of gastroenteritis reported from both the previous cruise as well as ours. The necessary precautions included no launderette service for most of the cruise etc. big mess. The service was good, food and entertainment ok. There was limited communication from the bridge and in general. Total disappointment a wasted of $30,000. Will never cruise with this company again. Read Less
143 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY WITH NO INTEGRITY. This was not a cruise. This was FALSE ADVERTISING We traveled half way across the world and got stuck in a sewer in Santos, Brazil from Saturday February 28, 2016 until we finally reached ... Read More
STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY WITH NO INTEGRITY. This was not a cruise. This was FALSE ADVERTISING We traveled half way across the world and got stuck in a sewer in Santos, Brazil from Saturday February 28, 2016 until we finally reached Rio on Thursday morning. We sat for 5 days in the rain with a noisy power plant right next to the ship. Trains ran through the neighboring facility at all hours of the night. Garbage on the water and no activities for anyone under the age of 80. They only had needlepoint (1 day crochet) and bridge. They made a handicapped woman walk up a flight of steps the last night from the ground to the fifth floor. No one from the crew helped this poor woman. They had some good musicians on the ship but did not have them play even one minute more during this tragedy. The gym equipment was not functional and quite dangerous. The steam room smelled like mold as soon as you opened the door. DISGUSTING!!!! There was a stomach virus on the ship and we were not able to board so the cruise started late. This ship is going to be refurbished and SHOULD NOT HAVE GONE ON THIS VOYAGE. The internet did not work, yet they charged you $1.00 per minute while you waited for this antique server to reach civilization. While on a tour bus, the internet worked instantaneously which means that the internet was in the area, just not on this outdated vessel. The back up generator malfunctioned and we were not able to leave the port. We were told that the propeller broke and 500 gallons of water got into the ship and ruined the generator. I get my nails done, hair styled and pack....jump through hoops to get a visa (that I didn't get to use) and they DON'T BOTHER TO CHECK TO SEE THAT THEIR SHIP IS OPERATING PROPERLY. The town of Santos was rat infested and disgusting. It looked as if a storm hit the town 10 years ago and they left all the garbage everywhere. One excursion the took us to an orchid garden with ZERO orchids. Just green leaves and #rodents. I have cruised on many other lines previously and was a big fan of cruising. I don't think I will ever go on another cruise. The only thing they did thus far was to offer us 25% off of a future cruise. WHAT FOOL WOULD WANT TO SIGN UP FOR ANOTHER EXPERIENCE LIKE THIS? This was our #honeymoon and my husband was in tears. So sorry that we SPENT OUR HONEYMOON IN A TOILET THANKS TO REGENT SEVEN SEAS.....STAY AWAY ...FAR AWAY. Read Less
86 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We booked this cruise to celebrate my husbands retirement and our Pearl wedding anniversary so decided to splash out a bit. We booked this cruise 8 months ago as we wished to select our cabin. Even so, the lowest category available was a ... Read More
We booked this cruise to celebrate my husbands retirement and our Pearl wedding anniversary so decided to splash out a bit. We booked this cruise 8 months ago as we wished to select our cabin. Even so, the lowest category available was a concierge suite and there were only 4 choices. We chose our cabin based on being on shore side of ship with more sun as this cruise hugs the coast. With this suite we had privileges of a third discount on land tour, free night in hotel, 400 minutes of wifi, binoculars and priority booking of free excursions and specialists restaurants. We were actually only allowed to book once at the two specialist restaurants. We booked land tour to Iguacu Falls which was the highlight of whole trip but not without lots of timing problems. Hotel in BA was at best only 4 star again with some issues. Hotel in Falls was brilliant but we didn't arrive until after dark and left again at 7am so couldn't use their wonderful pool and appreciate fully the location. Whole tour far too rushed. Other excursions except for Rio weren't up to much with timings all wrong again. Very very disappointing. We paid for our Rio trip on top of cruise price because we thought it would ensure we saw all places of interest and also included lunch. This lunch was mediocre, a Brazilian Bbq, but we didn't have time for pudding or coffee which of course should have been included. We later discovered Regent had arranged a further trip on the day we left the ship which meant we ended up doing same thing twice and we needn't have paid $150. First impression of ship was great. Quick embarkation, lovely lunch, lots of lovely seating areas, lovely pool etc. we thought we were in for a treat. Cabin a bit small but well fitted with marble tiled shower room and small walkin closet. Balcony equipped with comfortable chairs. However, we soon realised there was an awful rattle and creaking in cabin. We thought this would settle down. It didn't and after a couple of sleepless nights reported problem. They said they send a carpenter. Another sleepless night and when we reported in again we were told the carpenter couldn't fix it! In actual fact the problem was a large gap between window and structure which had been plugged with bits of wood and paper. Executive concierge didn't seem to believe us but then declined to come and look and listen herself. Offered another cabin on "wrong" side of ship and lower deck. Told this was only cabin available so more or less take it or leave it. Not the attitude we would expect from a 3 star cruise let alone 6 star! In between this going on we were also drenched when on our balcony by crew washing windows of restaurant above us. We were literally dripping! We were told they expected guests to be out on trips. By this time we were getting very disolutioned with Regent. This soon became completely disolutioned. Service levels had dropped rapidly, with trainee waiters let loose, long waits for food and drinks. Also then found out no entertainment acts could board unless they had Brazilian work permits. So they were cancelled. Trips were cut short on many occasions, we missed lunch as well as afternoon tea more than once and because restaurant opening hours were so restrictive we were often only left with pool bar offerings which were limited. All in all a very very disappointing experience and certainly not value for money, especially when people who booked after us were given better cabins, free land tour which cost us over £2,000, and paid a lot less anyway. If we had been happy with our experience we wouldn't have worried about what other people paid. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We booked this cruise for several reasons. The offer included upgrades on the flights to World Traveller Plus and a two day pre cruise trip to the Iguazu Falls. The trip was booked via Readers Offers. We would not, in other ... Read More
We booked this cruise for several reasons. The offer included upgrades on the flights to World Traveller Plus and a two day pre cruise trip to the Iguazu Falls. The trip was booked via Readers Offers. We would not, in other circumstances have paid this amount of money. In any event, we had to pay for an additional night in Buenos Aries due to there being no seats left on outbound flight. Buenos Aries and The waterfalls were fantastic. An absolute highlight, but not part of the cruise. Embarkation was smooth and easy and we were directed to lunch and then to our Stateroom. This had been upgraded to the highest basic room and included a walk in wardrobe (fantastic), a bath and combined shower with all toiletries, champagne, fruit, coffee machine etc. Had we booked this stateroom we would have been in line for some free wi fi but we did not get this. We ate most nights in the Compass Rose Restaurant, once each in Signatures and Prime 7 and once at the Italian. All served delicious food but we were disappointed with the Italian restaurant. The entertainment was certainly not up to 6 star. We were advised that the Brazilian authorities had just issued a requirement for all guest entertainers to have working visas. Not knowing the industry, I am not in a position to comment on the truth of this, how much notice was given and whether guests could have signed on as crew. However, for our first cruise ever, we were not bothered about missing the show as there is only so much singing and dancing one can cope with 30 minutes of samba was not a good substitute! Not withstanding the above, there should have been two shows per evening. If you did not decide to eat until 7.30 or 8.00 you missed the show. The open dining was great. We have not used this option before, but to choose whether to sit on our own or converse with fellow passengers was very good. Some of the ports of call were dubious. Rio Grande offered nothing. We had one trip that lasted 6 hours that necessitated us buying lunch. This was unnecessary as the whole trip could have been done in a morning or afternoon with the opportunity of tendering earlier or later and spending more time and buying lunch if wanted. To see the ship and have to buy lunch meant we did not really enjoy our evening meal as much. The Company also knows how long each tender will take. We took one morning trip and one afternoon trip. We had barely enough time to change clothes on return from one to the other and missed any form of lunchtime nourishment at all. This is not acceptable. When booking the trips, we are told whether we have time to fit everything in. Clearly, this is not the case. We also had a clash of trips, that was not advised to us as the times had been changed. we realised this ourselves and could then not get booked on anything else. The service was good. The crew polite and attentive. The atrium is nothing to write home about and the 2 shops on board, non descript. The swimming pool allowed only 12 people in at a time! We meet some lovely people on this trip and did, overall, have a lovely holiday. The beginning and the end, Rio, being our highlights. However, this cruise was not worth the additional cost to call it all inclusive. We would rather go for a cheaper cruise and pay for the extras we want. Princess and Celebrity beat Regent as far as we are concerned for all round value for money. Read Less
76 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
We were enticed into the cruise by the free pre cruise trip and the flight upgrades to World Traveller Plus on BA. We had to go to Buenos Aires a day early which, although costing us more, meant we could see more of this fabulous city. ... Read More
We were enticed into the cruise by the free pre cruise trip and the flight upgrades to World Traveller Plus on BA. We had to go to Buenos Aires a day early which, although costing us more, meant we could see more of this fabulous city. The tri to Iguacu Falls was too fabulous to put into words. The ship embarkation was painless and we were given lunch on arrival. We had guaranteed staterooms but had been upgraded to Concierge , deck 8 , mid ships. The Stateroom was lovely. Walk in wardrobe, electric sockets for US and European, great films on TV, champagne and fruit, toiletries, robes, and one of the few that also had a bath tub. Nothing to complain about. Due to the upgrade, there was a coffee making machine. Now the complaint (you knew it was coming!) On a 6 star ship, surely all rooms should come with tea/ coffee making. room service should not be required for this. In addition, why upgrade when not offering all facilities. ie wi fi. Again, on a ship of this quality and at these prices, this should be offered without question. We ate in Signatures on the first night, Prime 7 on the last, The Italian on one night and The Compass Rose on others. The service in all was very good and the food excellent in all, except in our opinion, the Italian. Lots of people enjoyed it so it may just be our impression. We preferred the Compass Rose for general evening meals. The open dining is very good. To choose whether to eat a s a couple or a group was very good and worked well for us. The fact that there was only one show a night was not good . Dinner and conversation was cut short to get to the show on time. In any event, the variety of the shows was not good. according to the ship, Brazil had only just advised them that all guest entertainers were required, whist in Brazilian waters, that working visas were required. This left us with very little variety, a half hour of tuneless Samba, lots of piano playing and singing and dancing. Whether or not visa issue was a fact, I do not know, but this was very boring and for the first time on a cruise, we were not bothered whether we missed the evening entertainment. The ports of call were not all great, but if you want great site seeing, stay in London!. The problems really came with the length of some trips and tendering timings. The trip to Punta Del Este could have been done AM or PM but did not necessitate a 2 hour stop to enable us to buy our own lunch. This was unnecessary as the ship was waiting with our lunch! A 15 minute shopping trip would have sufficed with the option of staying on shore and taking a later tender back or tendering earlier. Hence, no evening appetite. Another, to Parati, did mean two trips. Morning schooner that left the ship late and hence returned late leaving us 10 minutes to get changed, have no time to eat before the 45 minute tender to the pier. Regent should sort the timings of these trips. If doing AM and PM give people the earlier departure in the morning so they can be back in time. This issue also caused us a problem in Montevideo. We pre booked one AM tour and one PM tour. We were not advised that the PM tour had moved to AM and were then too late to book a substitute. The trip in Santos was elongated by the long ride and transfer within the port itself. The coffee museum would have been more interesting had any information been in English and we did have to ask to go inside the stadium. The Botanical Gardens had an orchid house with no orchids and a bird of prey enclosure that was closed for the hour we were there. Be aware. You may be on a ship but you will need mosquito repellent! The last port of call, Rio was, again a highlight. Regent cannot be blamed for the traffic chaos but should have been aware of possible issues. We booked the two main trips for this wonderful city and were then given one of them again on day of departure. Not good planning by Regent. However, to be fair, we took both and enjoyed different weather on each day on top of Christ the Redeemer but we did get to see the beaches 3 times! There were not too many stops for shopping on the whole cruise. Again, for some this is not a bad thing but 10 minutes would be nice. There were no warm/ cold towels or refreshments to meet you when returning from land trips. The guides on the trips were very good. their English magnificent and their accents very easy to understand. We only had one sea day. only 12 allowed in the pool at a time. No photographic services on board and very little in the way of shopping on board. We met some lovely people and did have a lovely holiday. However, we were told that 7600 bottles of wine had been drunk. this equates to over 10 bottles per passenger-hard to believe. was this to make us feel we had received value for money as all drinks were included? Will we use Regent again? Doubtful. We like Princess and Celebrity and although we would have to pay for drinks and trips think that this would work out cheaper. The entertainment was certainly better, and the food and service were of a very high standard. The basic balcony staterooms are maybe not quite as good but more than acceptable as you are not in them for very long. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Recently completed an 11 day Buenos Aires to Rio de Janiero sailing on Seven Seas Mariner, our second Regent cruise having done Voyager last year. We were semi-independent so arrived at the port at Buenos Aires, boarding and check in ... Read More
Recently completed an 11 day Buenos Aires to Rio de Janiero sailing on Seven Seas Mariner, our second Regent cruise having done Voyager last year. We were semi-independent so arrived at the port at Buenos Aires, boarding and check in was as easy as our first RSSC cruise, with registration taking place on board which is MUCH more civilized (we passed a snaking queue of MSC cruisers standing outside the terminal in 28* heat) The ship and all the services were excellent, we personally preferred Mariner to Voyager. We were personally introduced to our stewards who did as much as possible to help and keep us tidy. Meals and food generally were excellent. We tended to eat in Sette Mari in the evening (interestingly we didn't take to it on first RSSC cruise but have done an about turn!), although Compass Rose was excellent. We also used both specialist restaurants though in actual fact I am not sure what extra you get for it!. The only food niggle is the repetitive lunch menu given that often you'd come back from 1/2 day excursions with only the pool grill option available, so its Burger or Burger as your option! Itinerary was OK overall, there were a couple of stops that probably weren't worth the bother, I think cruise lines in general should be a bit more candid about this - if there's nothing to see or do, just tell guests rather than us all offboard and be disappointed. Excursions throughout were OK but as a result of the itinerary they were quite repetitive (schooner and snorkelling) - quality was variable from speaking to various people who did other cruises. Entertainment is always the weakest spot on RSSC, we are early 30's but they cater to a 60+ audience. The daily entertainment schedule repeats daily with limited variety in acts or even music they play, which itself is tiresome let alone the older guests wanting Elvis and such like. Given the range of bars and venues it seems crazy not to vary the program slightly and provide more options, even a bar with modern music playing rather than a dedicated act would be fine. Didn't like cruise director. The CD thing is largely lost on British cruisers I feel but this guy (an ex American "celebrity" by all accounts) we just didn't take to. Highlight AND low-light was a self indulgent "show" he put on one night all about himself. We lasted 10 minutes and walked out. In fairness RSSC were shafted by Brazilian regulations meaning they couldn't on-board guest entertainers, leaving gaping holes in their entertainment programme. This show filed one evening, but still........... Would I do RSSC again? The product is fantastic and while it seems expensive when you consider our only expense for 11 days was $30 in internet charges i guarantee it compares favorably to any other cruise line, and in terms of accommodation you get so much more. I think for sub 50 year old cruisers it is tough to keep yourself happy and amused for longer than a week's cruise unless they address the entertainment comments -so yes I would but with greater consideration of the itinerary and duration. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
This was our first Mariner experience – probably a little cheaper than it might otherwise have been because it was a re-positioning cruise - taking the Mariner from Buenos Aires to Barcelona (from where it progressed to Marseilles for a ... Read More
This was our first Mariner experience – probably a little cheaper than it might otherwise have been because it was a re-positioning cruise - taking the Mariner from Buenos Aires to Barcelona (from where it progressed to Marseilles for a much needed refurbishment). We wondered before the cruise, how we’d find the Seven Seas all inclusive package compared say, to Cunard’s offer. Certainly, the additional cost of the Mariner experience is significantly offset by the value of free excursions and free drinks. But even taking account of those things, it’s still a great deal more expensive. Irrespective of price there are some things about the Mariner which are unequivocally outstanding. The food isn’t just the best we have experienced on a cruise ship (and we’ve tried Cunard, Viking, Holland America and Princess) it’s some of the best food we’ve eaten anywhere. The Italian restaurant produces pasta every evening which is near perfect and the French Restaurant is outstanding. There are four restaurants: the Compass Rose, the main dining room; Sette Mari, an Italian restaurant; and two speciality restaurants for which there was no additional charge but for which bookings have to be made. We ate in one of the speciality restaurants about every fourth night. The Steak Restaurant was the most popular but we preferred the excellent French Restaurant whose food and wine was the best on the ship (typically a good Sancerre and an excellent Chateauneuf Du Pape were the house wines on offer). We could have eaten in the speciality restaurants more frequently had we been prepared to share a table. But although we enjoy fixed seating, the sharing of a table with different people each night, and the same tiresome conversations about where you’re from and how did you travel here were tedious. But to Mariner’s credit they had little difficulty in providing us with our own table each evening (the tables for two in Compass Rose and Sette Mari are, in any case, the best tables in the restaurant each being next to a window). The ship is quite small, although the relatively small number of guests meant that it rarely felt crowded. Sometimes there was a shortage of sunbeds on the sun deck and the really tiny single pool – in which a maximum of only 12 swimmers are allowed – was crowded when more than three or four swimmers were present. The elderly nature of the passengers on this 28 day cruise meant that was not often a problem. But on a shorter Mediterranean itinerary the pool would be inadequate. The sun deck itself has relatively little shelter (there’s no roof of course) and even in relatively calm weather it was surprisingly windy. The refurbishment may change things a little but the interior of the ship was extremely bland – as if a designer was trying too hard to be tasteful - and the selection of art around the ship, including innumerable Rothko prints, was monotonous. But the ship’s worst fault was that it rolls a lot when the wind is blowing across the beam. We crossed the Atlantic without mishap but running up the west coast of Africa, particularly near the Canaries (but in relatively modest seas), the rolling was so pronounced that on two evenings the pool had to be emptied. The entertainment was variable. The Theatre troupe were pretty much third rate (I heard one American speculate as to whether they had ever thought about rehearsing) On the other hand, free from the confines of the Theatre, the orchestra, in whole or in part, were very good. And a three-man band Nature Rhythm Trio were excellent. The excursions were disappointing and we returned our tickets for about half of those we’d booked. Arrangements were sometimes chaotic, departures were inevitably delayed and there was often an inordinate amount of waiting for tenders. The Mariner might only have 700 passengers but when excursions are included in the all inclusive price, most people take advantage of them and the excursion staff struggled to cope. They were better at explaining the reasons for frequent delays than preventing them. This was a pity because there was no shortage of investment from Mariner in the quality of some of the experiences. In Brazil we enjoyed an excursion which involved three cable car trips, a walk through the rainforest and an hour at a beautiful beach. But even though the beach visit was chopped from 60 minutes to 15 we still returned more than an hour late and without our guide who became irretrievably lost. Not all excursions were well planned. Delivering us to Arrecife in Lanzarote on a Sunday in March when almost everything was closed – including most restaurants and cafes – was pretty thoughtless when, just a few miles away, Tenerife would have offered much more. Dakar, in Senegal, was very disappointing and the much vaunted Goree Island did not live up to its reputation. In Brazil, we tendered at a number of entirely forgettable ports when an overnight stay in Rio would have offered so much more. The tendering for excursions was not simply frustrating but, in my opinion, occasionally dangerous. Very frequently our tenders failed to tie up along side the ship both fore and aft (although visiting schooners always did so). Instead they would tie up either fore or aft and use the tender engine to keep the craft close to the Mariner. But this looked unsafe on more than one occasion and caused some real problems for the less able when leaving the tenders. When I wrote – very politely - to the General Manager, mid cruise, suggesting that the tendering was not always competent. I received a message on my cabin phone, which thanked me for writing, promised me that my comments had been forwarded to Miami, and urging me to have a great day. Part of the problem was that the Cruise Director, Jamie Logan, seemed much more comfortable in the bars or the theatre than in managing excursions. On one occasion, returning from an excursion to Olinda in Brazil, there was a serious shortage of buses to transport us back to the ship from the hill town. The delays were such that our guide - herself exasperated by a 45 minute wait without shade – told us that Mariner had miscalculated and ordered only half the necessary number of vehicles. When we explained this to Mr Logan, he seemed to think we were just passing the time of day. He needs to learn that an amiable grin does not compensate for unnecessary and repetitive frustrations. The Mariner experience overall is very good and in parts, outstanding. Will we book again with Mariner? Probably not. Our view is that although the food is better, many other things about the Mariner product are disappointing. We shall almost certainly return to Cunard and pocket the saving.   Read Less
20 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
Regent Seven Seas Mariner cruise starting 12/20/13 General Notes Cruising in South America and particularly in Brazil in December is very taxing...it is their summer and it can be very HOT. While we were in Rio de Janeiro the temperature ... Read More
Regent Seven Seas Mariner cruise starting 12/20/13 General Notes Cruising in South America and particularly in Brazil in December is very taxing...it is their summer and it can be very HOT. While we were in Rio de Janeiro the temperature was 94 at night to 102 each day. Also, beach ports like Ihla Grande do not have air conditioned shops so even shopping because a real sweat (pun intended). If we ever return it will be in their winter, our summer, when the weather is in the 70s and 80s. Regent is for wealthy, older people who love to eat and drink and are more into the luxury cruise experience than the travel experience. If you are into excellent beef items you will love this cruise. If you are into fish and chicken your experience will not be so positive. The quality of the tours varied by location. The best one we took was one for which we paid a handsome extra price in Sao Palo. One more thing our Regency Cruise Consultant, Sonda Coda, while helpful in most areas was misinformed about the evening dress code on the ship. Whereas, she told us the dress code including New Year’s Eve was elegant casual, for the most part that did not accurately describe how most of the passengers dressed which was cocktail/semi-formal for women and sport coats and suits with dress shirts and ties for the men. The difference between what we were told and the actual was most annoying because when traveling once you pack you are stuck no matter what else you might have in your closet at home. From what we saw the Regency clientele is a group who is into dressing for dinner. Also be aware on nights where you elect to share a table and end up at a table for 6, count on a 3 hour dinner whether in the Compass Rose, main dr, or a specialty restaurant. Arrived in Buenos Aires a day early in order to have three days to explore the city. Thanks to poor planning by the cruise line day 2, our first full day in BA was a waste. The hotel Emperador, chosen by the cruise line, would neither allow late checkout, provide a security box outside the room, nor give guests a secure place to story carry-on luggage should they decide to spend the day sightseeing before going to the ship. Transportation options provided by the ship meant leaving the hotel either at 12:15 or 12:30pm in order to check in and kill the afternoon on the ship first eating lunch because cabins were not ready until 2:30pm so no place to stash hand luggage. Then despite the ship overnighting in BA passengers were told there was a mandatory fire drill at 5:15pm. This and the fact that to leave the port required a shuttle to the outer terminal still many blocks from the Main Street made afternoon sightseeing impossible. Since many of us made the journey here to see the sights, not simply to cruise, Regency should have provided a way to either watch over passengers hand luggage at the hotel and provide shuttle service to the ship mid-late afternoon or offered a sightseeing tour on which passengers could load their hand luggage upon check out then spend 4-6 hours seeing the sights of BA before being whisked to the ship. Upon arrival, Regency's local travel agency was offering tours for sale on the date of arrival in BA. With all the communication we received from Regency prior to departure it would have been nice to have had these as options.....as previously stated NO tours were offered on the day of embarkation, making our first full day in BA a waste of time! All in all our first two days were very frustrating. Fortunately the tango master class and tango show tours offered by the ship on day 3 were excellent. Our cabin on deck ten mid ship is very nice and so far we are pleased with the quality of the food and beverages included in the cruise. Second port was Montevideo. A word of caution here is that the city shuts down on Sunday about which the local rep staffing the info aboard ship was misinformed. The only things that are open is the mausoleum below the statue of Jose Artigas, the national hero of Uruguay, the Teatro Solis, the Cathedral before noon, and the Mercado del Puerto a hot spot where the locals gather for grilled meats. There is also a small Carnival Museum on the side of the same building which is open on Sunday. Beware of walking alone along the wide costal street parallel to the walking street. We were attacked by a young man who came very suddenly out of nowhere. Fortunately all he got was some cash as he tossed Ken's wallet on the ground after emptying the cash and running on. We were banged up and bruised but nothing more. Tour the next day to the Jewish sights was interesting the highlight being the Holocaust Memorial....on the same open coastal road but this time the tour bus had a police escort. Third port Punta del Este gave us an interesting glimpse of the San Tropes of South America with its miles of beautiful beaches surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of modern hi rise condos extending as far as the eye could see. The tour which took us to the Ralli Museum was disappointing as the guide gave us little info about the museum or the works of significance contained within it so that we could use our limited time, 45 min., to see the most noteworthy items. The museum features Dali and many other excellent works was designed to be without a set route and without explanations. Thus the tour was more like a taxi service. It concluded with free time to shop. We were able to catch the ship's tender service back aboard for lunch and a change of clothes to venture ashore for a second time to enjoy playa brava....the Atlantic beach. Have no idea about Rio Grande even though we were anchored in the harbor till 3 PM. The captain was worried about high winds late in the day so he would not allow the tender to take us to shore. The winds never did materialize. (Captain was a wimp, he would have gotten sea-sick on my sailboat in the great lakes) Porto Belo, Parati and Ilha Grande are like 4th world countries. Fine as a beach stop, but absolutely nothing else. Tate the schooner trips to the lagoons to swim or stay on the ship but don't plan on much of a city or shopping experience. The shops aren't even air conditioned so shopping in the heat is not pleasant. Buzios on the other hand is rated as a beach stop but be ready SHOP. It is a few hours’ drive from Rio and the rich locals come here to sun and shop. The stores are all very top of the line and service you we'll. Rio de Janeiro is simply the most beautiful city in the world. Mountains and forests inside the city along beautiful beaches 3 and 4 miles long. Take all the tours to the top pod everything, see a samba show, eat in the local buffet restaurants ((a real carnivore heaven), see the infrastructure changes coming for the World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. But as we said earlier, in December it may be very hot   Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2012
Ports & related excursions were by-in-large extremely poor. Don't go on this cruise if you are counting on wonderful shore experiences UNLESS you are prepared to go off on your own. A big mistake was taking the excursions. We ... Read More
Ports & related excursions were by-in-large extremely poor. Don't go on this cruise if you are counting on wonderful shore experiences UNLESS you are prepared to go off on your own. A big mistake was taking the excursions. We embarked from Buenos Aires; excellent nite at the Tango with outstanding dinner. Arranged by Regent so one A grade here, but extremely disorganized in getting folks on the right shuttle vans to the right venues. You'll need to be proactive to find your way. Next day boarding ship delayed by an explosion in the port which closed it down for 6 hrs. Sheraton Hotel was amazing in providing a wonderful buffet for about 500 people in less than 2 hrs. Next port was Montevideo - great walking tour but one could see more on your own with a good map. Oh, Regent provides absolutely NO MAPS - very strange, so come prepared with maps of the various ports in hand. Will be extremely helpful for you. And Regent does not do destination lectures prior to coming into ports and little good or reliable information in their publications the day before. So do your homework before traveling. Next port was Punta del Este - beautiful, upscale resort community. Tour fairly good; some guidance with a map or information from the tour guide would have been helpful to enhance the on-your-own lunch/shopping break. From hereon, everything went downhill. Next port was Rio Grande; we arrived on a Sunday and the whole town -- yes everything, including the churches after services -- were closed down. Oh, the supermarkets were open so you could buy coffee. Oceanographic museum was a cab ride away Be careful in Brasil with cabfares. Even with negotiating the fares upfront, the drivers still charge MORE upon arrival at your destination. BEWARE of this prevalent practice. Again, with a little more forward planning on the cruiseline's part and/or with more information, we could have had a much more enjoyable day doing something different, like just going to the beach. Port of Porto Belo ended up being the tour to nowhere. 1 1/2 hr standing at the port waiting for the morning tours to return (they were delayed because of weather), we finally boarded the tour bus; then 2 hrs on the bus to a cable car, which was closed down due to high winds when we got there (granted, no fault of Seven Seas); then no way to get over to the beach area (which was supposed to be beautiful); so re-boarded the bus to return to the ship. A little advance planning and communication between the venues and tour operators perhaps could have diverted an otherwise totally wasted day. Lack of information or wrong information given to passengers by the cruiseline was deplorable. I'm not alone in voicing this complaint. Everyone we spoke with felt this way. Next port was Santos. We took the 4-hr excursion "Highlights of Santos". Guide was extremely disorganized and, quite frankly, everyone wondered if she had any experience at all in escorting a group. The description of the tour was not the reality. We ended up going to an Orchid Museum (no orchids were in blown during the time we were there) with a corresponding zoo -- but most exhibits were under construction or closed down. This destination was not on the itinerary. Then we went to the Santos Football Club. Again, not on the tour description. We were rushed thru and most of us weren't interested in soccer anyway. No time to actually even see the stadium. Then onto the Coffee Museum, which was OK. Another "beware" - prices in the gift shop extremely high and one woman's credit card was charged $350 instead of $35 US and when she noticed it, the museum would not cancel the transaction. Again, very strange at an otherwise frequently visited tour site. (Upon calling her credit card company after returning to the ship, the charge was cancelled by the credit card company.) This excursion was long, boring, and much driving time on the bus. Overwhelming, passengers were disappointed. Next port was Ilha Grande, an ecological preserve; no tours. Take a boat taxi to one of the wonderful beaches and you'll have a nice day. Walks in the tropical rainforest not feasible in December due to the extremely high humidity; you'll drop from heat exhaustion. Ship does not provide any information about getting around the island, so again, prepare myself ahead of time. Next port was Buzios -- OK for shopping; take a trolley tour around the peninsula; beaches fabulous but you have to find your way to them. Next port was Rio and my traveling mate got sick, so didn't get a chance to see much of this wonderful city. Was at a local medical clinic most of the day. OK, so those are the ports. The ship itself: no lectures to speak of; only 2 by the same person over the 10 days. Delivery poor; content remedial at best; and at times the speaker was actual rude to the audience. Regent gets a D- for this aspect. Food: in Compass Rose sometimes an A; sometimes a C. Prime Restaurant: our steaks were supermarket ordinary. Didn't have a chance to try Signatures. LaTravena is a great bet. Service by all staff on the Regent was excellent throughout. Stateroom was very good, too. Balconies small but it's a small ship so to be expected. If you like to play the slots a bit on a cruise, it was just a funny place. Machines out of 1950; some worked; some didn't. Most had glitches. Puzzling why a ship would give up the space for a casino (even a small space) and not have new or at least working machines. Entertainment provided by Playbill was absolutely extraordinary. We were part of the Playbill tour. Amazing Broadway talent; excellent Playbill staff; extremely well organized. Lewis Black and many other well known Broadway names. Many of the performances were available to the whole ship. I'm sure many regular passengers did not realize that the star performances were there only because of the Playbill entertainment. Otherwise, the regular Regent Seven Seas singers & dancers were rather sad. Orchestra very talented and saved the day. Special performances, such as the acrobatic performers - great! -- and the guest violinists - great! In summary, there were some highlights, for sure, but the disappointments far outweighed the sterling moments. I'd advise staying away from these particular destinations; don't except a spectacular food experience on the Mariner, except they have an amazing pastry chef. Wines just OK, given the wonderful regions we were traveling through. Liquor is included in the price of the cruise and a good selection of high-end brands does flow freely. Overall, in speaking with many passenger, folks were disappointed in this cruise and many saying it was their last time with Seven Seas. I wouldn't go that far, but certainly would look for another itinerary and would only travel with the Playbill entertainment group. They were FABULOUS in every respect. Read Less
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