We chose this cruise to celebrate our Silver Wedding and we chose Regent as we have sailed with them previously. We like the all inclusive nature of this company. Yes, you look at the headline price and wince but you never have to pay for ... Read More
We chose this cruise to celebrate our Silver Wedding and we chose Regent as we have sailed with them previously. We like the all inclusive nature of this company. Yes, you look at the headline price and wince but you never have to pay for anything thereafter – all drinks, gratuities, excursions etc are included. Only spa treatments and shop purchases are not covered. We spent $27.00 over the course of the 20 days! Another benefit of Regent is that few announcements are made over the PA system in your suite. Thus, you are not constantly bombarded with announcements etc. On sea days, the captain updated us about our position, the weather conditions etc but that was it.
We opted out of the airfare promotion by organising our own flights to Copenhagen from Edinburgh and from Amsterdam to Edinburgh. Taking advantage of a car park deal at Edinburgh Airport and booking a taxi from City Taxis Amsterdam, payment to the driver, we saved about £200.00 per person of the published Regent fare. Sometimes it does pay to do your own thing.
We have friends who stay north of Copenhagen so we did not have the expense of finding a hotel prior to the cruise. We enjoyed a few days in North Zealand before embarking the Regent Seven Seas Navigator.
Embarkation was from noon and since the ship only holds 490 guests, there were no queues so the process was completed swiftly. The welcome glass of champagne was most appreciated and set the tone for the rest of the cruise. The ship has recently been refurbished and we did like the new colour palette in the public areas and in the spacious suites.
Dining on the Navigator is either at Compass Rose, the main restaurant, La Veranda for breakfast and lunch and which becomes Sette Mare, an Italian themed restaurant at night, or Prime Seven, the New York steak house. Although reservations are required for the latter, there is no additional cover charge. I have coeliac disease and all the staff took great care to ensure the food I was eating was safe for me to consume. The only downside was that I had to order dinner for that evening before I had had breakfast! The food in all three was excellent as was the lunchtime pool service with themed buffets depending on the port of call that day, as well as the usual fare.
We were fortunate to have a very good guest speaker on board, Michael Scott, who added to our ports of call with some history, geography and wildlife information. Additional information was broadcast on our suite TV about the various ports of call and the tours which were on offer.
Entertainment was provided by the Regent Seven Seas band and the onboard singers and dancers whose shows were really good. Okay, they were not the same as the westend shows on the bigger ships but we refer the intimacy of smaller ships. Our cruise director, Ray, was his usual brilliant self and did a great job keeping us all entertained.
There is a well equipped gym on deck 12 forward, with glorious views of the ocean, should you be so inclined. We did not make use of the spa facilities but onboard treatments are expensive, plus an 18% service charge – not for us.
The staff worked very hard to ensure the cleanliness of the public areas, which were always immaculate.
We liked the new library and coffee connections area, and the computer area opposite had 6 computers but as every guest has free wifi, most used their tablets, phones etc. Alex was always a very patient IT consultant and usually managed to resolve any IT issues. The Stars Theatre is over two decks with good sight lines from nearly every seat – no pillars in the wrong places! Reception was manned 24 hours per day and the friendly, helpful staff made every effort to answer all guest questions. There are also guest laundry facilities on decks 5, 8, 9 and 11 and these were well equipped and maintained.
Service was fantastic and many staff knew our names, and addressed us as such, within 24 hours of boarding. Our suite stewardess, Wai Wai, was always helpful and kept our in-suite beverage cabinet well stocked with our choice of soft drinks and provided plenty of bottled water. She also provided us with our choice of wine on request.
Shore excursions were included in each port of call and were generally of a high standard. We opted to take the Regent Choice excursion to Hardangerfjord – the queen of the fjords – from Bergen. This was a full day excursion with lunch included and was a fantastic experience. Our other ports of call included Lysekil in Sweden, Stavanger, Alesund, Trondheim, Hammerfest, Honningsvag – for the Nordkapp (the most northerly point of mainland Europe) – Lerwick, Rosyth, Tynemouth and Amsterdam (overnight). In addition, we had stops at Murmansk and Arkhangelsk in Russia. Our stop at the Solovetsky Islands was cancelled due to poor weather conditions which prevented the launch of the tenders. Some of our fellow guests wondered why we visited Murmansk – a not very pretty industrial port. However, this was the destination for the Arctic Convoys during World War Two and there is a great deal of appreciation for the Allied effort to keep the USSR supplied. Murmansk was under constant bombardment for 40 months and was granted the title of ‘Hero City of the Soviet Union’. The Alyosha Monument is a towering 5,000-ton statue of a lone soldier that commemorates the Soviet Arctic forces that resisted the invading Nazi army in 1941and defended the Kola peninsula.
Arkhangelsk is a pretty city and was also a destination for the Arctic Convoys during the summer months when it was ice-free. We spent the morning at the Naval Dockyard- Russia’s first merchant shipyard - before heading out, after lunch, to Malye Korely, an open-air museum of wooden buildings from throughout the region. The buildings represent different architectural traditions and time periods, with the oldest building dating from the 16th century.
As I said at the beginning, the headline price looks very expensive but when you consider all that is included, we think that it is good value for money overall. Read Less