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90 Regent Seven Seas Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Our Fall 2012 cruise was our first on a Regent ship, and was (a) a 70th birthday celebration and (b) to fulfill a long time bucket-list item - to visit The Valley of The Kings in Luxor. Our experience from the day we first booked the ... Read More
Our Fall 2012 cruise was our first on a Regent ship, and was (a) a 70th birthday celebration and (b) to fulfill a long time bucket-list item - to visit The Valley of The Kings in Luxor. Our experience from the day we first booked the cruise through Katherine Arteta of Regent, was outstanding. We flew on KLM - Business Class from LAX to Amsterdam, and then on to Istanbul on the same airline. Great service, and on schedule. Arriving in Istanbul, on the evening of October 30, the scene at the airport was a little chaotic (our only negative experience throughout the trip, but to offset that, we were assigned a Penthouse suite at Swissotel, and enjoyed one of the most magnificent breakfasts we have ever had the next morning. regent arranged for a relatively brief tour of the highlights of Istanbul on October 31, and following completion of this, we were delivered to the ship. We were assigned Penthouse suite 784, which is one of the suites on the stern. Our first night at sea was not comfortable because of excessive vibration - our suite was directly above one of the two propellers! Early the following morning, we requested a change of suite and were assigned Suite 729 which proved to be extremely quiet and was conveniently located midships. The transfer was executed by Regent, and all the amenities were moved with us. Very efficient and pleasant! The excursions arranged by Regent were outstanding, as was the 3-day post cruise tour of Egypt. The tour guides were outstanding (with a couple of exceptions), and the highlight of the cruise itself was a day-long trip to Masada and The Dead Sea. The food on board was also outstanding, whether one ate in Compass Rose, Prime 7, or Signatures. The service in all of the restaurants was superb. We ate ourselves into oblivion, worked out like fiends in the gym every day, and ended up putting on a manageable 5/6 pounds each!!!! Our cruise coincided with a series of problems (Turkey/Syria, Gaza/Israel, social unrest in Jordan etc). Regent kept us current with what was going on, and in fact bypassed Port Said and Sharm-el-Sheik. The post cruise trip was incredible, very well organized, and hit all of the major tourist attractions in that wonderful country. We were blessed to be a part of the "Isis" group under the care of Mohammed, a young, extremely articulate and knowledgeable Egyptologist. He added so much "meat" to each of the places we visited, and also was able and willing to give us insight into the present situation in that very special country. Our overall experience - outstanding! Will we cruise again with Regent - absolutely! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We have just returned from the Regent Seven Seas Pathway to Antiquity Cruise (Oct 30 to Nov.14th). We also did the pre and post land packages offered by the cruise line extending the trip 3 days at each end. We found the trip to be what ... Read More
We have just returned from the Regent Seven Seas Pathway to Antiquity Cruise (Oct 30 to Nov.14th). We also did the pre and post land packages offered by the cruise line extending the trip 3 days at each end. We found the trip to be what people describe as a 'trip of a lifetime'. Everything was so well organized from beginning to end. The room was a lot bigger than we had anticipated. Others had mentioned that you don't need a big room since you only sleep in it. True enough but it was lovely having a walk in closet, separate bath and huge shower and sitting area. Every suite had a balcony. The staff was professional and friendly, always willing to help if you needed it. The excursions that were offered ranged from full 10 hours to short ones of 3 hours. There were normally a range of tours from "stay close to the bus" type for people with mobility problems to hiking up mountains to ancient ruins on little winding paths. All of our daily excursions were included in the cruise price except for one that we opted to take. We had meals with all of the longer tours. At Ephesus we picked the excursion that included the recently opened Terrace Houses. They are normally an add-on to the daily entrance fee for visitors, but it was included for us. It was a real highlight of the day. Regent's excursion staff is so well organized. We were very happy with how the excursions set off every morning with bus allocations, water bottles available etc. I am an organized person and I was impressed! Our visit to Cairo had to be changed as Egyptians were planning demonstrations in Cairo the day of our visit. We arrived in our room to find a notice on our bed with a choice to make. Did we want to go to Cairo the next day a Thursday rather than as scheduled one on Friday? We would give up our Thursday Alexandria day but we were happy to do that. All we had to do was say check a box and drop it off at the Destinations Counter. A few hours later our new tickets for Cairo were at our door. The trip to Cairo was fun. The buses headed off and soon got caught in a traffic snarl where road work was being done. That slowed us down a lot but we continued to the pyramids, a late lunch and a papyrus shop. The return trip was slowed down with a very unusual heavy rain and lightning storm causing traffic to slow down. But we loved it. We arrived back at the ship about 2 hours late and were very surprised to find a lot of staff including the Captain, the Cruise director, and one of the performers on the dock welcoming us back. They assured us that dinner was held for us and to just shove our stuff in our rooms and head up to eat. We had the choice to do the pre-cruise Turkey land portion with a flight to Cappadocia -- Land of the Fairy Chimneys from Istanbul before boarding the cruise ship. We stayed at the Cappadocia Cave Resort and Spa which was previously cave dwellings. From our patio area we had views of the entire valley including all the balloons that were rising at sunrise for their flight. At one time there were 77 in the air. This pre-cruise trip was so worthwhile and yes it did cost extra. The land there is very different with cave dwellings, unusual valleys full of odd land formations, a valley of churches cut into the rock and an underground city inhabited from 8th- 7th century B.C. We flew back to Istanbul and did Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, lunch and the grand bazaar before boarding the ship. Our post cruise land portion was included in the cruise fee if you wanted to spend the extra days doing that. Not every did as a lot were continuing on to the next cruise and I guess some people had to get back to work. The post cruise was 1 ½ days extra in Luxor including a caravan of buses crossing the eastern dessert and a stay at a very deluxe hotel. Here we did the Valley of the Kings and the Temples of Luxor and Karnak. We were then off on a flight to Cairo and for us another visit to the pyramids and another super hotel. Both our visits to Cairo were very different as we had a different Egyptologist with us on each trip. The one that we had for the post cruise we really got to know as she stayed at the hotels with us and did lead the excursions for the 3 days. We enjoyed them both and got a very good feel as to what it is like to live in Cairo now and as a pharaoh. The food on the ship was tremendous; there were no buffet dinners in any of the restaurants. They did offer though two buffet options in one of the restaurants (and only if you wanted that specifically)on two nights the rest of the guests there ordered off the menu. The best thing is they don't have fixed seating times for dinners or particular tables of people that you always have to eat with. You have your choice of eating by yourselves or joining a table of 4 or a table of 6. We ate alone twice and the rest of the evenings we shared tables with others. We loved getting to talk with people from around the world. You got to know so many people by name that you could chat with on excursions etc. There were so many interesting and knowledgeable travellers with a lot of advice about places to visit. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
The Black Sea ports of call - Trabzon, Sochi, Sevastopol, Yalta, Odessa, Constanta and Istanbul - were the main reasons for choosing the cruise. The transfers from the London flights were fine (except at the end), and the registration on ... Read More
The Black Sea ports of call - Trabzon, Sochi, Sevastopol, Yalta, Odessa, Constanta and Istanbul - were the main reasons for choosing the cruise. The transfers from the London flights were fine (except at the end), and the registration on board was efficient. The cabin was fine (but not as nice as the one on the Princess cruise last year), and the public areas were really dull. The staff were mostly excellent and very attentive. Probably the real disappointment were the restaurants and the cuisine. We enjoyed the Compass Rose - good lighting, plenty of space, warm and inviting. La Veranda on the upper deck we found confusing: the entry by the kitchen door with staff crossing in front of passengers, clearing stations in the aisleways, small self-service buffet area, small outdoor seating area, same menu, no maiter d'hotel ever in evidence really let it down. We dined in Prime Seven with other passengers who were regulars on Regent. They sent their main courses back. My fillet steak was tough. We dined alone in Signatures and whilst the decor looked inviting, the evening time lighting was very poor and most un-romantic (more like a boardroom). The food was unappetising (my soup was over-salty) and the main course duck was insipid. The Maitresse d'hotel was most attentive and took my comments seriously. In-room dining had a fairly plain menu which was okay but not inspiring. It would have been nice to have had refreshing towels when returning to the ship after the shore excursions. The shore excursions were well organised but a couple of the guides were really quite rude. The guest speaker did not really address his subject and did not tell us anything much we did not already know. We do not gamble so did not 'donate' any money to the company. We did not use the internet cafe as we heard the downloads were very slow. We disembarked the ship at 08:30 in Istanbul and after a short city tour were taken with a number of other passengers to the airport for the flight to London. When it was our turn to check in, we were advised we were not on the British Airways lunchtime flight with everyone else, but on the evening flight and would therefore have to wait another four hours to check in (it was around 30C or 85F and airless in the terminal). We checked and there were seats available but we had to pay another U$150 to change each ticket. NB We met a couple from the UK who had only booked the cruise two weeks before it sailed and were on the lunchtime flight: we booked three months ahead with other passengers who were also on the lunchtime flight. I wrote to Regent who blamed the airline! Some of the passengers we spoke with on board said that they had had better cruises and certainly other cruise companies were more enjoyable. The advantage of Regent is the inclusive excursions, inclusive tips and inclusive beverages (for those who like to drink). Overall this was not enough to compensate and make it a great trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was our first time with Regent Seven Seas and we sailed on the Mariner from Venice to Monte Carlo. More importantly for us, this was a real departure from our normal cruises, which over the last few years have been very formal, ... Read More
This was our first time with Regent Seven Seas and we sailed on the Mariner from Venice to Monte Carlo. More importantly for us, this was a real departure from our normal cruises, which over the last few years have been very formal, sailing with Cunard or P&O. So the big question for us was would we enjoy the informality and smaller stylish boutique ship over a grand and elegant liner - and the answer was 100% yes! Most of the people i chatted to could only really compare Regent to the other 6 Star "all inclusive" lines (Silverseas, Seabourne etc)and virtually all told us that Regent was way in front in many ways. We fell in love with this ship and the Regent experience after two days and thoughts of super-liners, Tuxedo`s and set eating times fell away. So what made it so great.....Here we go:- Individual space - I read that Regent`s ships offer the greatest amount of passenger space and they really do. But i guess this is due to the fact that our ship stopped every day and with all - inclusive tours a vast number of passengers were off the ship for the bulk of the day. The Stateroom - Ample space, well furnished with a most comfortable bed and kitted out with everything and more you would need. Espresso coffee maker, DVD player, stocked fridge and even the binoculars were useful. But the two big pluses were the walk - in wardrobe, which therefore gives you more living room and the "Best" bathroom i have ever experienced across 30 cruises. Nicely tiled, roomy and the most amazing walk in shower with rainfall shower head! Staff - Every single member of staff were ultra efficient, friendly and above all cheerful, giving the impression that they enjoyed working on the ship (you don't always see this) Restaurants - Well firstly, the food in every restaurant was outstanding. But here`s the thing, whichever restaurant you chose to eat in, you never felt like you were in the dining room of a cruise ship, but entering into a restaurant. The menu choices were fantastic and having never encountered the all inclusive element previously, had some concerns over whether the quality and choice of wines that would be available would pass muster - they exceeded expectation. There was always 2/3 choices of each and with the exception of a single dodgy "Reisling" all were excellent (especially the Reds). In addition,this ship really does serve premium brands, with large choices of gins, vodka`s, whiskies, brandies, beers and liqueurs. Tours - We only booked a single tour in Montenegro and it was terrific with a most passionate and knowledgeable guide. Were there any negatives - of course there were, but they were minor and really down to our personal tastes. My wife and i hate buffets, so for two days mid cruise and due to how many people were off the ship, the main dining room was closed leaving the "Pool Grill" or the buffet at "La Veranda" the only dining venues. But the food served in both of those venues was excellent with a massive choice and wonderfully freshly cooked pasta. Personally i feel they could do with some more maitre d`s at the entrances of the restaurants to seat people quickly and more efficiently and regarding entertainment, although the production shows were well put together (great dancers), the main singers were not to our personal liking - The Cirque du Mariner show however was very good. We are big fans of the roulette wheel, however, most nights it was never manned and therefore no players. Finally, the embarkation/disembarkation process was seamless and ultra smooth and helped along with a glass of champagne for embarkation in the Constellation theatre. All of the above reasons are why we simply loved the Regent experience and the "Mariner" and have already booked again for next summer - and cant wait!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
My wife, daughter and myself recently took a cruise on Regents Mariner from Rome to Istanbul. We had taken cruises several times in the past, primarily on Crystal. We decided to book the Seven Seas Aft suite (cabin 988). From the moment we ... Read More
My wife, daughter and myself recently took a cruise on Regents Mariner from Rome to Istanbul. We had taken cruises several times in the past, primarily on Crystal. We decided to book the Seven Seas Aft suite (cabin 988). From the moment we entered our cabin we were overwhelmed by a very strong sewer odor. We repeatedly complained to staff, including reception and anyone else who would listen to us. After several hours, someone from engineering appeared, ascertained the situation and then left. I tried to ask him what the issue was, but he indicated he did not speak English. The problem persisted into our second day on board the ship. Again, we kept asking for someone to come to our cabin and explain to us what was happening. No one came. I was curious to find out if this was an isolated situation and googled the ship's name and sewer odors. Apparently this has been an issue on the Mariner, particularly in the stern of the 9th deck. Finally, towards the end of the second day I sent an e-mail to our travel agent, who is with the Virtuoso travel group, indicating that we had enough and wanted to leave the ship at our next port-of-call unless the problem was fixed. She, in turn, contacted a fellow agent who was on board the ship. That agent was able to talk to someone in a position of responsibility on the ship. The sewer odor ceased for the time being. After two days of unanswered complaints we were finally contacted by the ship's assistant general manager. She indicated that we were the only people on board that complained of the odor. I mentioned to her other passengers near our cabin told us they also complained. She denied that was the case and the conversation went downhill from there. I was then contacted by the general manager who met with me, apologized and told me the problem involved disposal of effluent from the ship's wastewater system. He assured me the problem was resolved. For the next 6-7 days that was the case. However, for the last day and a half, it came back with a vengeance. At that point, we just wanted to get off the ship. The sad thing about our experience is there is a lot to like about the Mariner and the Regents cruise line. The staff was friendly and helpful. The food was consistently outstanding. Many of the excursions were well thought out. Unfortunately, the ship is badly in need of an overhaul. We were not the only ones with complaints about the ship itself. For example, the couple next door to us were able to unlock their door only half the time. It seemed like every time we saw them they were waiting in the corridor for someone from engineering to change the door's locking mechanism. The TV system throughout the ship went down for the last two days of our voyage. It was rare that we could hear a ship's announcement. Much of the furniture looked as if a bunch of kids went after it with scissors and knives. Floorboards on our cabin's balcony were coming up to the point we tripped over them. Nobody expects perfection, but passengers deserve better than this. Instead of being defensive or evasive about their ships' shortcomings, Regents should be pro-active in addressing the issues of their passengers. Will we ever cruise on Regents again? Maybe, but only on a ship that has been newly overhauled. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We were a family group of 20 on the SS Mariner cruise in June 2012. It was not easy finding the right cruise line for us since ages in our group ranged from 2 -80! We finally chose Regent because we trusted it to be a luxury cruse line ... Read More
We were a family group of 20 on the SS Mariner cruise in June 2012. It was not easy finding the right cruise line for us since ages in our group ranged from 2 -80! We finally chose Regent because we trusted it to be a luxury cruse line that would please the elders in our group and yet we hoped it would also offer enough activities and entertainment for the younger crowd. So we boarded in Istanbul, the boarding process went very smoothly and the staff was very helpful and always well-disposed to help in any way needed. The SUITES are very comfortable and bathrooms (shower only) also well kept. All of the housekeeping employees assigned to our suites were always available and very courteous. We decided to tip them (in spite of tips being included) and found that they were a bit surprised and very thankful. The furnishings are ok, though the carpets are in need of change. The public areas of the ship are all nicely decorated and in perfect condition. Now as for DINING: there are various venues available and food was quite varied to please everyone;from casual burgers and salads by the pool to excellent a la carte dinners in all 3 restaurants. For Signatures and Prime 7 reservations were required entitling passengers once to dine at each restaurant. It is necessary to make reservations well in advance ( our travel agent did not help much and since we were a large group we were assigned dinner at 6:30 pm which was not what we wanted.) Nevertheless, once on the ship the restaurants concierge really helped to accommodate all of us and we were able to schedule better times and enjoy those dinners. Compass Rose, the main restaurant turned out to be a nice surprise, since it was at the same level of the other two restaurants. The menu changes daily, and there are many options to cater for all guests'dietary needs, all in a sophisticated yet family -friendly ambience. The Veranda which is the buffet restaurant was a more distended option for lunch ann hearty appetites. The quality and variety of the food available throughout the ship well deserves a special mention here. The waiters were also very well trained. Room service proved to be a great option for after-tours. DRINKS: needless to say, plenty of drinks offered at all times!!! Great poolside bar and waiters. TOURS : Here comes probably our major complaint about the cruise. Our first destination Kavala, did not have much to offer. We chose a tour " Historic Xanthi" and it was a complete disgrace ( as put by another passenger on our tour.) We drove for about 45 min to walk by a nice , yes, river but nothing spectacular and we were left to walk up a rocky and uncomfortable narrow path. Luckily halfway, we encountered other groups returning who told us it was not worth it to keep going, since the scenery was the same. So we headed back to the bus and then left for a 30 minute ride to Xanthi. There our guide walked us through the little town, and we were all surprised that there was nothing to see there! Just a small church from 1930's I recall and there some of us started to complain. The guide was not responsive, and the representative from Regent who came with us, was completely aloof. Then we were to have 1.5 hours to spend at our leisure there!! and we complained and shortened that to 45 min. There were a few bars open, some of our kids wanted something to eat, and it was past lunch time, so we sat at a bar to realize they were totally unprepared to offer food, even drinks! We asked for diet sodas, they had none!!! After that we were taken AGAIN to a touristy restaurant -house were we sat and tasted a plate of local appetizers. We again complained and finally we headed back to the ship which was another hour's drive. We headed right to the Concierge to explain what had happened and our concern for the rest of the cruise's tours. We found they had already heard about it, and did not even offer an apology. We were appalled by all this, we felt we were treated with little respect. Having experienced all this, we then decided to switch to shorter tours for the following destinations and those were generally good. FITNESS & SPA: few aerobic machines, the spa was ok, nothing great and impossible to schedule appointments. (I think it is because people use the shipboards credit here). Poor manicure and pedicure service. As for ENTERTAINMENT: it was overall quiet nice, yet we missed most of the shows since we dined late. Bars had good musicians. Unfortunately we realized not many people hang our after dinner and it was a bit awkward to see a only few people at those nice bars. The average age on this cruise was about 60, so we found that entertainment was targeted to an older crowd. There were some families like us since it was already summer. The disco lounge had a jukebox with very old music playing! It is nice to listen to 60's or 70's music but we felt they should improve that and add more up to date music to attract those of us wanting to dance !!! Finally for disembarkation it was all very well organized and we ended our journey on this cruise and happy with the outcome overall..... Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Having seen the reviews, read the brochures and travelled A LOT, my husband and I expected a little more from this cruise. It reminded us of Holland America--a lot of hype and some substance to back it up, but not all that it was supposed ... Read More
Having seen the reviews, read the brochures and travelled A LOT, my husband and I expected a little more from this cruise. It reminded us of Holland America--a lot of hype and some substance to back it up, but not all that it was supposed to be. Pros: *ports of call--Ephesus with an expert excursion--worth every penny--one of the most memorable places I will ever visit (my only remaining ancient wonder of the world is Babylon) *transfers--extremely smooth, professional and well done *dining--90% of the time: outstanding *staffing--90% of the time: outstanding *free excursions--wonderful perk to booking this cruise, though we only did two *stateroom--large enough for 2 and plenty of storage. The walk in closet was great *spa--one of the best stone massages ever and they didn't try to sell us stuff Cons: *bartending: no Martini olives and no bartenders who could make "pool" drinks. My rum runner was brown..... *staffing--the other 10% of the not so friendly staff did not endear us to this cruise line *value--the complimentary beverages, tipping and excellent house wines don't make it worth the price that we paid. Final Comments: Were Windstar to go all inclusive we would never look back and are thinking that even with a bar bill at the end, Windstar and the Paul Gaughin (which is all inclusive) are the best cruiselines we have travelled with. We have not travelled with Crystal nor Seabourn, so they might live up to their reputations, but we do not feel that Regent is worth the price paid. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Background Information We previously reviewed our first cruise which was on-board RSSC's Mariner in the Mediterranean in May 2011 and this is really by way of a comparison and update. Travel to RSS Mariner Again we made our own ... Read More
Background Information We previously reviewed our first cruise which was on-board RSSC's Mariner in the Mediterranean in May 2011 and this is really by way of a comparison and update. Travel to RSS Mariner Again we made our own travel arrangements, not only because this was more economical than using Regent's included flights but to avoid the worry involved in flying out on the morning of embarkation. We flew LHR to IST in British Airways Club Europe cabin primarily to take advantage of the business lounge as we faced a considerable wait -- the roads around Heathrow are so unreliable that it is essential to leave around 4 hours early for what should be a 90 minute journey. We also looked forward to the increased legroom and better service on the four hour flight but in this we were disappointed. It was clear that BA had reconfigured the business cabin to increase capacity at the expense of both room and service - to the point where it is no longer worth paying the premium. We had booked a standard room at the 'Four Seasons at the Bosphorus' in Istanbul and they had arranged for a car to meet us off the plane: this was done with courtesy and efficiency. The traffic (and some of the driving) in Istanbul was appalling however and it took nearly an hour to travel the 12 miles or so to the hotel. We were delighted on arrival to discover that our standard room had been upgraded to a beautiful split-level suite overlooking the Bosphorus! We had intended to take a short boat trip on the Bosphorus before going to the Mariner at lunchtime but decided to enjoy breakfast and a gracious late checkout from our lovely room. At breakfast I plucked up courage to speak to an American couple at a neighbouring table who confirmed that they too were bound for the Mariner and were using Regent's included transfer facility. The concierge then contacted the Regent personnel at the hotel who confirmed that we were welcome to use the Regent bus rather than find a taxi for ourselves as I had originally intended. This is typical of the 'no problem' attitude found in so many of one's dealings with Regent staff. Reception on board This time we were delighted to find that the previous welcome glass of sparkling wine had been replaced by real Champagne which we enjoyed as we went through the reception process in the theatre. This took no more than 5 minutes despite the fact that we had arrived with many other guests. Our luggage, loaded on the Regent bus, duly reappeared in our suite when we gained access about 2.30pm following lunch from the La Veranda's excellent buffet; a bottle of Champagne on ice awaited us. Stateroom Our F category suite was located amidships on the port side of deck 8. Other than being 'the other way round' i.e. a mirror image of our starboard cabin last year, it was identical except that, in the interim, Regent had introduced the 'concierge class' benefits. These are incentives intended to attract passengers to suites on higher decks which, although identical to those lower down, cost more. Concierge Class The main benefit of a concierge class suite is the opportunity to book excursions and speciality restaurants online earlier than others: from speaking to others, however, it seems that there was little difficulty in getting reservations at the later stage. There is also an included hour of Wi-Fi internet access. Both these benefits accrue to those who have sailed more than 21 nights with Regent regardless of the class of cabin, however. There is also a complimentary coffee machine (without instructions for use however), a pair of binoculars and a 25% discount on premium wines. If we were to book with Regent again, given that we would have accrued more than 21 nights, we would not pay the premium to be in concierge class unless more substantial benefits, such as additional speciality restaurant reservations or additional excursion options, were offered. Food & Wine We complained (mildly) about the timing of room service breakfasts last year but this had not improved this year: orders for 6.30 to 7.00 were delivered between 6.10 and 6.20 often catching us still in bed! Perhaps the timing slots are meant to indicate when you want to finish eating but this is not what the order-card says. This is only a minor inconvenience of course and is no doubt the result of pressure on the service when so many excursions require passengers to be ready at the same time in the morning. We just started ordering for a later time slot and hoped it would be early as usual! This tactic usually worked. The food in all the restaurants was as good as last year - apart from a filet mignon which was ordered rare and arrived medium-rare and rather chewy, and, very strangely, a Dover sole which was tough and overcooked -- even odder given the fact that a thinner fish served to the same table was perfect. Our impression was that the standard of the wines was not quite up to last year. Too many rather bland Chilean and Californian varietals and requests for an alternative served earlier in the cruise were not always met with complete enthusiasm from the servers. There definitely seemed to be more pressure to accept that evening's standard 'pour' than there was last year - particularly from staff of Central European origin. We searched in vain for a premium wine to take advantage of the concierge class discount but nothing tempted us -- cynical it may be but I wondered whether the prices had been massaged to claw back some of the reduction in profit that might result from the discount? Excursions It was unfortunate that we were accompanied for much of the itinerary by two much larger ships. This resulted in real crowding in many of the sites visited -- particularly Ephesus and Athens. Of course this is a popular itinerary but it was hardly high season -- perhaps these sites are reaching their capacity and consideration might be given to the inclusion of more places 'off the beaten track' especially if Regent's desire is to continue to attract repeat travellers. The best of the excursions, we felt, was the Corfu 4x4 trip. It encouraged a sense of camaraderie and a little adventure -- although, to be honest, four wheel drive was not really necessary as all the roads were tarmacked albeit very bendy and quite bumpy. But even this experience was slightly diminished by finding that both of the scheduled stops were already occupied by groups from the accompanying cruise vessels. Unfortunately I managed to aggravate an existing knee problem when extricating myself from the rear of the tiny two-door cars used: this prevented us participating in any further excursions which involved any real walking. We enjoyed the resulting additional 'sea-days' on-board despite the variable weather we experienced throughout the voyage. Conclusion It was perhaps unwise of us to choose a cruise so similar to last year's. Last year we had never cruised before and therefore had no benchmark for comparison -- this year we had expectations. That these were largely met is a tribute to Regent's management and their standards of supervision and training. Disappointment resulted from one factor wholly beyond Regent's control -- the weather -- and from another partially so -- the popularity of the ports visited with other much larger vessels. As regards two innovations that have been the subject of controversy in the Cruise Critic forums, included excursions and concierge class benefits, the first is no doubt an attraction to first time luxury cruisers but does have two disadvantages: a 'treadmill' effect where every day brings a new port and an excursion to take if you want to get your money's worth. As a way of making the upper decks more attractive, given that they cost more but are otherwise identical to those lower down, the concierge class scheme is understandable: its attractions diminish, however, as you earn repeat traveller benefits which match or exceed those of concierge class -- the addition of extra bookings in the speciality restaurants might be a way to redress the balance. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We had booked back to back cruises on Oceania's Maiden Voyage which was cancelled. Then booked with Regent, their sister company. Two days after booking we had to cancel due to a court appearance which was unexpected. Regent would ... Read More
We had booked back to back cruises on Oceania's Maiden Voyage which was cancelled. Then booked with Regent, their sister company. Two days after booking we had to cancel due to a court appearance which was unexpected. Regent would only give us 75% of our money back if we booked another cruise which we did. Our Travel Agent had to fight tooth and nail to get this concession. The only cabin available that didn't cost less than this 75% (which Regent was keeping no matter what) was the Master Suite which we of course were required to pay still more for. The cabin is very weirdly configured with the prow of the ship cutting into the balcony and bedroom. The anchor at 6am some mornings made a horrendous noise, and sleeping impossible, Although spacious it is certainly not worth the money. The dining room staff were not at all welcoming and the food was adequate, but not much more. The specialty restaurants were also very mediocre. One bright spot was our butler, who not only dealt with our occasional requests, but also managed to anticipate others. Regent seems to have shifted toward free shore excursions. Predictably, we got what we "paid" for: overcrowded excursions and mediocre guides. Our overall feeling is that Regent has become an organization that is focused intensely on reducing short-term expenses and seems to care little about how this might affect relations with their clientele, and therefore their long-term profitability We were on the Mariner last year and had a much better experience. We are now booking a Grand Voyage for next year and it certainly won't be on Regent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
I wanted a cruise around 6th April to celebrate my wifes birthday. I wanted a smaller ship with a little bit of luxury to ensure the trip was special.It was! We booked through Sovereign Cruises and all of the arrangements, price and ... Read More
I wanted a cruise around 6th April to celebrate my wifes birthday. I wanted a smaller ship with a little bit of luxury to ensure the trip was special.It was! We booked through Sovereign Cruises and all of the arrangements, price and service was superb. The flights were included in the price, were with BA out of Heathrow and just what we wanted. Not having been on a 'proper all inclusive cruise' before I was a little apprehensive about service and quality. I need not have been. From the moment we arrived in Barcelona the arrangements were first class. The transfer on to the ship had a minor computer fault but the ships facilities were made readily available to us. From arrival at the airport to sitting down to drinks and lunch on the 'Veranda Deck' took less than 2 hours. The cabin - 'H' class(the cheapest they offer) was 249 square feet with a 50 square feet balcony. Luxurious accomodation with a fridge packed with drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. This was replenished daily without asking. We were able to dine whenever we wanted and there was always a table for two available. The staff were actually happy to provide this! All of the passengers were offered 2 speciality dining evenings each and these together with the main dining room were superb - food to die for! Room service was readily available, again all included, even supplied on the last day, something we have never experienced before. The excursions, again all included in the price, were top notch. Never did Regent run with jam-packed coaches. The quality of the trips were excellent. Negatives - we failed to anchor at santorini, due to adverse weather conditions. Regent charged 49 US dollars per person for a Turkish Visa. The actual visa cost was 20 US Dollars - a minor niggle, but since they had planned to dock in Instanbul they must have been aware of Turkish Entry/Exit regulations. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
My wife and I decided to do something special for our 20th anniversary so we booked a 7 day cruise of the Greek Islands on Regent Seven Seas. After the cruise was completely paid for and we were within a few months of departure, the ... Read More
My wife and I decided to do something special for our 20th anniversary so we booked a 7 day cruise of the Greek Islands on Regent Seven Seas. After the cruise was completely paid for and we were within a few months of departure, the cruise line offered to upgrade us to a 10 night cruise for the same price. We accepted the offer and selected a 10 night cruise from Barcelona to Istanbul. Although we only stopped at one Greek Island (Santorni) we were both pleased with the ports of call on the longer cruise and we had a great time. This was our first time on an "all inclusive" cruise and I can't imagine ever going back to one where we sign "chits" for everything and pay for shore excursions and then a large tip at the end of the cruise. Regent provided a very good selection of included wines and cocktails and we never found it necessary to select one of the upgrade options. At 700 passengers, the Mariner is about the perfect size - large enough to offer all the amenities and small enough to be comfortable without large crowds or long waits. The ship's decor is restrained but nice. No large rooms of garish purples and reds, but more conservative tans and browns. Condition of the ship was very good and everything was very clean and well maintained. The showroom was never overcrowded and the entertainment ranged from very good to outstanding. We really enjoyed the dining options. Most breakfasts were at the excellent buffet in the Veranda. We had one dinner each in Signatures and Prime 7 and both were outstanding. Most of our dinners were in the Compass Rose and the service and food were always very good. We had one lunch at the pool grille which we also enjoyed. The portions (except at Prime 7) were quite small and at first I was concerned, but they were sized to allow enjoyment of the multi course meals. I never left any dining venue hungry, so they got the portion size about right. This was a very "port intensive" cruise and because all the shore excursions were included in the price, I overbooked our time ashore. Up early, a quick breakfast, and off to see the world. Our one day at sea between Sicily and Santorini was the day almost everyone savored. A chance to sleep late, rest our weary feet, and enjoy the ship. On our next Regent cruise (we will definitely cruise with them again) I will be more selective on shore excursions. What was the best part of the cruise? The crew! They were always helpful, good humored, and very pleasant. Our cabin steward (Hanna) was a delight. She was constantly trying to do anything to make our cruise more pleasant. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
This was our second cruise with Regent, the previous one being in 2005 on Seven Seas Voyager when they were called Radisson. Since then we have had a couple of cruises with Silversea. Our last cruise on Silver Spirit wasn't such a ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Regent, the previous one being in 2005 on Seven Seas Voyager when they were called Radisson. Since then we have had a couple of cruises with Silversea. Our last cruise on Silver Spirit wasn't such a good experience so we thought we would give Regent a try again. We booked a G suite on a guarantee basis and were pleasantly surprised to find we had an upgrade to a Seven Seas Suite. The larger suite with 1.5 bathrooms and a huge balcony made quite a difference to the enjoyment of our cruise but we would have been happy with the G suite we booked. We had some concerns about the BA flight Regent booked (14.25 arrival in Barcelona) actually getting us to the ship for the 18.00 departure but the flight was on time and the flow through the airport and the transfer were completed quickly and we were on the ship by around 16.15. Our luggage arrived at our cabin shortly afterwards. This suite came with a butler but unlike Silversea the butler does not unpack for you which was fine for us as we then knew where everything was at a later date (see comments on Butler later). The ship and our cabin were very nice and spotlessly clean everywhere. It was tastefully decorated throughout but not brash. After 10 days we decided that this size of ship was just about right for us. The ship we think was almost full but it never felt busy or crowded and there is a good area to walk round the deck to work off the excesses of food and drink. The only time there was a bit of a crush was at the departure of the excursions. Now that many of the excursions are included in the price they are of course very popular. So from 07.30 till 09.00 in most ports there is a steady stream of people into the theatre where Regent marshal all the groups before going ashore or into the tender. The excursions are incredibly well organised and we found that the quality of the tours was equally impressive. The coaches were never more than half full (they ran several coaches rather than fill them up), the guides were excellent and the itineraries were really good also. One small comment we passed on to Regent was that it would have been good to know whether a snack or a full blown lunch was provided on some of the excursions as this was not clear before the trip. There is a danger that the cruise becomes too busy as you try to cram in as many excursions as possible. We booked one in every port but by the time we got to Rome we decided to have a more leisurely day on the ship and handed our tickets back for someone else to use. The fairly early starts for excursions meant that breakfast had to be taken a bit earlier so we tried the buffet in La Veranda but were disappointed by the choice and quality particularly of the hot food. Likewise for lunch we didn't find the buffet particularly appealing and certainly nowhere as good as Silversea. We never tried La Veranda for dinner. We switched to room service for breakfast every day after that and the cooked breakfast was much better with everything freshly cooked. This is where our larger cabin was an advantage as we had a separate sitting room with a large dining table. On our day at sea we tried breakfast in the Compass Rose restaurant but the ordering process and service were fairly slow so ok if you are not in a hurry. We had dinner in Compass Rose every night (except for the night we managed to get a booking in Prime 7 -- make sure you book on line as soon as possible as it is heavily booked) as we found the food and service good. We found a waiter on our first night, who was very efficient and knowledgeable about the food and we ensured that we had one of his tables every night. We did hear others complain that the staff were not very well trained but we had no problems. The quality and choice of food was good but perhaps not as good as Silversea. If you like "red meat" then the food is good for you as that is what they do well. The Filet Mignon in Prime 7 and sometimes on offer in Compass Rose is superb and if you ask for it well done it appears exactly right with no pink bits in the middle. We avoided the on deck barbeque night as previous experiences were not good. Lunch at the pool grill is good with freshly cooked food and on some days the menu is expanded with a buffet. Afternoon tea was disappointing as the scones were poor as was the clotted cream. I won't even mention the standard spray on cream!! The selection of sandwiches and cakes were also disappointing most days but on some days they had a chocolate theme and if you are into chocolate then this would be ok as a platform with all the goodies was set up on the dance floor. On the whole the wine offered was reasonable but biased towards Californian wine which we don't care for. We tended to ask for an alternative related to the country we were visiting. We had no trouble getting an alternative although some of the wine waiters are not particularly knowledgeable about wine. The house champagne wasn't great so we stuck to other drinks of which there was an abundant choice. The coffee on board was also not to our taste in any of the restaurants or self service machines. If you like a good cup of coffee then head for Coffee Connection on deck 6. This area also does a light breakfast so can become a bit crowded especially on the day at sea. We seemed to get very hot in the middle of the night in spite of having the aircon set low. We heard others complaining of the same problem and the people in the next cabin slept with the cabin door open so not sure what the problem was?? There was no bridge or galley visit offered on this trip for some reason?? We didn't sample much of the entertainment as we preferred a quiet nightcap in the Observation Lounge. Sitting up there with a cognac whilst anchored off Monaco was very pleasant indeed and we watched a number of great sunsets whilst sitting up here on Deck 12. The musicians on board were very good and provided a varied selection of music. Our Butler, we suspect, was new to the role. He was very friendly but didn't show any initiative at all. He provided everything we asked for but had to be asked every day. So for example, when we asked for some crisps/snacks to have with our drink on two consecutive days we sort of imagined he might bring them every day -- no, we had to ask him again. Also he delivered our breakfast when we ordered room service and regardless of what time range we put on the card he always turned up 10/15mins before the earliest time. Even when we resorted to putting an actual time on the card there he was at the crack of dawn!! We also had some problems with the quantities of breakfast as we always seemed to have twice the amount we thought we had asked for (don't like to waste food!). As I said previously the butler does not do a pack or unpack service unlike Silversea. The other nice little touches weren't there either such as taking a pair of shoes and cleaning them or cleaning sunglasses and specs. We asked him to try to book us another table in Prime 7 but he never came back to us to say whether he had tried or not. So really the butler didn't add much value to our cruise as room service or the cabin stewardess could have done most of what he did for us. As we didn't expect a butler or pay for the suite we were allocated then it was not an issue for us. We had to leave the ship fairly early (08.40) but Regent had laid on a short tour of Istanbul for us to ensure we didn't arrive at the airport too early for our flight. This has been a complaint of ours on previous cruises but it seems the Cruise Lines are listening. As it was we were still at the check in desk 1.5 hours before the desk opened and the airport lounge is of course "airside" so you have to check in first. Istanbul airport is fairly chaotic and all the luggage is x-rayed as you enter the departure hall. Regent had organised people to take the luggage from the tour coach and get it through the x-ray machines but the tour guide did not explain what was happening to us very well so there was some confusion. Also the passengers went through the security area and wandered off before the luggage was x-rayed. Unfortunately the security staff wanted some of the luggage opened and the owners weren't there to open it. So in conclusion we had a really good cruise and considering all the excursions we had included in the price we think it was good value for money. Was it a six star cruise? Well nearly but Regent need to keep their finger on the pulse to make sure that standards don't slip particularly in La Veranda. Will we cruise with Regent again -- yes definitely if we can get it at the right price. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We are not frequent cruisers, this being only our third cruise since 2003 and our first with Regent Seven Seas. Our flight from Heathrow was at 8:15 so we stayed overnight at the Heathrow Sofitel and booked parking there as well. It was ... Read More
We are not frequent cruisers, this being only our third cruise since 2003 and our first with Regent Seven Seas. Our flight from Heathrow was at 8:15 so we stayed overnight at the Heathrow Sofitel and booked parking there as well. It was reassuring to know that our car would not be moved while we were away. I wasn't even asked for my key. The Voyager is the largest ship we've been on and we wondered how crowded it would feel with 700+ passengers. We needn't have worried. We rarely saw the other English passengers who shared the same flight out and we never felt as though it was full, even in the dining room. It had also been refurbished in November 2011 so everything was fresh and new. We were off the ship every day so which left little time to get involved with other activities, although we were often in the Horizon Lounge in time for the Trivia quiz. The service was fantastic. The crew were friendly, cheerful and accommodating and nothing was too much trouble. Part way through the cruise Comment cards are left in your suite so that you can raise any issues you've had. We had one or two minor suggestions and these were followed up by the Executive Concierge who left a message on our suite phone to go and discuss them with him. I mentioned, in passing, that my starter in the Signatures restaurant wasn't what I expected and almost as soon as I got back to the suite I had an apologetic phone call from the restaurant manager and an offer for us to eat there again. We probably took on more excursions than we should. Most were timed to leave the ship before 9:00am and this meant that we were only able to have a leisurely breakfast in Compass Rose on one morning. The rest of the time we breakfasted in Le Verandah, which opens earlier and is self-service. It's difficult to advise on the excursions. There's a balance to be struck between trying to see everything or thinking you might have missed out on something if you don't and the calls on your physical resources of being up between 6:30 and 7:00am to meet the time for your trip each day. It is supposed to be a holiday after all. The advantage is, I suppose, that you can decide which places you'd never want to return to - which in our case would be Kavala, Xanthi and Istanbul. All the excursions were well arranged, had knowledgeable guides and each coach carried only 20-25 passengers. The only hitch we had was in Istanbul when the driver was moved on from our pick-up point by the police and couldn't find his way back. He was a relief driver and didn't know the City. It was a Sunday and everyone was out and about. Everywhere was crowded and we had to run the gauntlet of dozens of street sellers at every venue, who were extremely persistent in their efforts to get you to buy. We had an issue with the amount Regent were going to charge us for a (UK)Visitor's Visa for Turkey. This was $49 each if you let them arrange it, instead of the £10 you pay if you pick up your own at the airport. However, we'd arrived in Athens and had called at Kusadasi and needed the visa for Istanbul because we were staying overnight there before disembarking for the flight home. We found out, from another couple, that we could buy a Visitor's visa at the port in Kusadasi. Go into Arrivals and turn sharp left and there's an office marked "Visas" on the window. We bought ours for £10 each, took them to the ship's Reception Desk and they stuck them in our passports. We didn't need our passports with us. The port authorities know you're from the ship and they've already cleared you to land. I assume there's a Visa office at the port in Istanbul too. Our suite 854 was designated "concierge level". The only advantage this gives you is pre-booking your excursions and speciality restaurants well in advance. In addition you get 60 minutes free internet use. The latter is useful for printing out your Boarding Cards for the return flight. All the regular suites are the same size and have much the same amenities. (Since returning we've booked another cruise, this time on The Mariner and have gone for a G Grade Suite.) The suite was beautifully presented and well maintained by our steward, Romel. The walk in wardrobe was great and there was plenty of drawer space. The bathroom had not only a full size bath but also a separate shower in a glass cubicle.We had two quite rough nights at sea during which the suite vibrated quite badly as did the fittings around the vanity unit - plastic and wood don't go well together. The carpenters did their level best to improve it - which they did but you'll always get a certain level of noise. It didn't spoil things and we were often so tired by the end of the evening after excursions etc that we soon dropped off. We thought the food was excellent in all venues. There were one or two minor hitches - one night the fish was slightly overcooked - we mentioned it straight away and the dish was cooked again. There were profuse apologies and every night after that the staff fell over backwards to make sure everything was all right. If you're not able to get into the speciality dining venues don't worry. The food and service in Compass Rose is excellent. They also include dishes from Prime 7 and Signatures on their menu each night. The menu changes daily so there is plenty of choice. The wines provided were first class and if they don't appeal to you, they will bring you an alternative. We saw two excellent shows and watched a film in the theatre and the vocalists and other musicians around the ship were very good and provided easy listening while you relaxed with a snack or a drink by the pool. Disembarkation was expertly handled. Suitcases were required outside your suite at 11:00pm on the evening before disembarkation. Colour coded luggage tags were provided with the time you should be in the theatre the next morning for your coach to the airport. The port authorities wanted everybody out by 9:00am. Once you've identified your luggage it's put aboard the coach. We were then escorted to Istanbul Airport. All the luggage was scanned while we went through another scanner with our hand luggage. Once reunited with our suitcases, we were escorted to the check-in desks and baggage drop. The only drawback was that we had 2 hours to kill before the desks opened. So we had coffee. We checked the bags in as soon as the desks opened and then spent the next 90 minutes or so before our flight browsing the duty free and having a snack and a drink. Istanbul is a large and virtually new airport with all the amenities and shops you'd expect so it wasn't difficult to make the time pass. As I said, this was a holiday which ended too soon. Everything went well. We enjoyed it so much we've booked to sail with Regent Seven Seas again this year. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We enjoyed our 7 night cruise from Athens to Istanbul. It was our 5th cruise with the ship. We probably would not sail unless it is a Regent cruise. The staff and crew are always professional. The ship was spotless. The food has ... Read More
We enjoyed our 7 night cruise from Athens to Istanbul. It was our 5th cruise with the ship. We probably would not sail unless it is a Regent cruise. The staff and crew are always professional. The ship was spotless. The food has improved since our last visit on Voyager. Even the entertainment has improved. There are a few things, the Canyon Ranch, highly overrated in North America, is about the same on the cruise ship. Prices are outrageous for the type of service and the staff seems preoccupied or bored. But tourists needs spa treatments and so we used our ship board credits at the spa. Our room was spotless and the attendant tried very hard to get the linens right without using down comforters and pillows. The ports were all very interesting. Tours are nicely organized although the tour quality has deteriorated in some of the ports. It's hard to give feedback to the tour desk and they don't seem to care about the level of satisfaction as much as they used to. But Regent has a new corporate owner and despite three owners since we started as customers, overall it's still a great value. If you enjoy cruising, you might pick a cruise that includes day at sea to recover from all the excursions. This would give you a chance to enjoy the ship's amenities. We have always enjoyed the expert talks that Regent provides although I think the number of ports prevented the talks from being held. We missed that. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Background: This is my husband and my first Regent SS cruise. Our past cruise lines include Paul Gauguin, Azamara, Celebrity, HAL, Princess. Port-intensive Itinerary was the main reason we selected this cruise. Secondary reason was ... Read More
Background: This is my husband and my first Regent SS cruise. Our past cruise lines include Paul Gauguin, Azamara, Celebrity, HAL, Princess. Port-intensive Itinerary was the main reason we selected this cruise. Secondary reason was to try an All Inclusive (including excursions) cruise. Our last experience of all-inclusive was Paul Gauguin, and we loved it! Our LIKES Itinerary Hotel stay the night before Cabin Room Service All-inclusive Small ship-Understated elegant No formal nights All-inclusive excursions Our DISLIKES La Veranda Lining up for excursions Our UNDECIDED Food All-inclusive excursions Itinerary This is a superfantastic itinerary. I cannot find words that would do these places justice. Every port was worth seeing, feeling, and understanding. (our favorites were Ephesus, Corfu, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice.) The view as our ship approaches the ports was breath-taking. These cities are beyond words. They must be experienced. Hotel Stay the Night Before Grand Hyatt in Istanbul was where we stayed the night before our sailing. It wasn't just the hotel that added to the Regent SS experience. It was the all the extras such as free internet, free scrumptious breakfast, and the "club" benefits that blew us away. This was the start of the Regent Cruise, and Regent certainly made an unforgettable first impression with this hotel and the extra service provided. Our cabin We chose this cruise based on its port-intensive itineraries. This cabin is a spacious suite, love the walk-in closet and the marble bathroom. Prefer to have bigger shower, and no tub. However, this port-intensive sailing did not allow us cocooning and indulging much in this gorgeous suite! And that is unfortunate. Being on deck 6, we had no problem with noise. We did have a minor inconvenience--the base of the shower slopes away from the drain, which caused the water to pool while showering. We never used the tub. I could not bear to waste so much water taking a bath, on a ship! I am sure it is a welcome relief for longer trips. Room Service We were particularly impressed with the room service. Their phone etiquette was superb. They made us feel our call was very important, and our requests were top priority, even though I could hear the raucous in the background. (they were still in the midst of busy meal time.) The food was delivered to us promptly, and the table was set up for us, with attention to every detail. We felt very pampered, in our robes! We enjoyed our room service, even though it was only a couple of times. All-Inclusive This all-inclusiveness seemed to be a big draw for us newbie passengers. As CC Travelcat has pointed out, there was a higher % of newbies on this sailing. (Another observation: I noticed lower age group of passengers in their 20's, 30's, 40's) And we newbies seem to enjoy and embrace this all-inclusive feature. It is liberating not have to sign for every cocktail, coffee, or water bottle. For someone who is not into drinks, I was amazed with how much I really enjoyed sitting at the Coffee Connection, with a cup of Cafe au lait, reading my ipad; or watching the sun sets at the back of Horizon Lounge, sampling a glass of apple martini. Surprising to me, these "Little pleasures" added much "value" to our Regent SS cruise experience. Ship & Service--Overall Ship --We like the size of the ship. The stairs are great for people like us who rarely take the elevator. Being on 6th deck, we were close to most services: the Service desk, the destination desk, the library, Coffee Connection, the theater (where we gathered almost every morning for excursions.) The decor was understated elegant. We like that. It seemed to us, Regent takes maintenance seriously. Almost every night, something was done to the pool deck in addition to being washed. Overall, the ship seemed very well cared for. Service--Service to us means connection with us guests. Having someone anticipates my needs because they know my likes and dislikes is HUGE for me. For example, when I sit down at dinner in Compass Rose, my waiter will bring my cup of hot tea instead of ice cold water, without asking me again. He already knows. That, is service to me. Given to us by an experienced Regent fan--CC Travelcat, a tip for getting consistently good service in the main dining room Compass Rose: Choose the same table, with the same waiter as often as possible. And in order to do that, you have to be earlier than 7pm. We can attest to that--it worked for us. We had the same waiter, the same assistant, and the same sommelier. And at 6:30pm when it was before the "storm", we were able to enjoy personable service, and deeper connection with the staff. My husband and I find much pleasure in that. After 7pm, it was impossible. The crew became too busy. This is the reason why I prefer fixed time dining. With fixed time dining, the crew has a rhythm and they have buffer time, allowing them to connect with their guests. On the other hand, with daily tour excursions, getting to dinner at fixed time is inconvenient and unrealistic sometimes. It comes down to individual preference: what adds to a good cruise experience for each one of us. For my husband and I, connecting with the crew and fellow passenger (at least at dinner) is an important part of an unforgettable cruise experience. During this cruise, we somehow had fewer opportunities "connecting" (more than a simple hello) with the crew, and with fellow guests. Not sure of the reasons yet. No Formal Nights With the luggage weight restriction, and long flights for us from West coast Canada, the less we bring, the easier it is. PLUS, our focus was the ports and excursions. No formal nights allow us more freedom and enjoyment. Even though there were no formal nights, we find fellow passengers dress very elegantly in the evening. To me, one does not have to be in formal gowns to look beautiful, respectful, and elegant. NO Formal Nights was a big PLUS for me. All-Inclusive Excursions This was an interesting feature we wanted to experiment. I have always organized our own excursions with private organizations in ports. We were not fans of cruise-organized tours--large groups, standard cookie cutter tour packages, a bit bland and too big of a group for us. However, what I like about this all-inclusive is the fact we do go to ports every day, with knowledgeable guides. I did not do any planning, organizing, and risking. It took the worry out of my mind. My favorite excursions: biking in Croatia; climbing the Volcano in Santorini, visiting the Terrace Houses in Ephesus. I have to admit, the Regent excursions DO include some interesting visits to local restaurants, winery, or hot spring (or cold spring, in Santorini's case.) we wouldn't have selected if we were on our own. We thoroughly enjoyed them. The flip side is the waiting in line, in the theater in the morning of the excursions. (We felt as we were in elementary school, waiting to be called to the principle's office!) The tour group was 2 or 3X bigger than the 8 to 12 people group we are used to. Being in a larger group, the guides had logistics to consider (waiting for us to go to WC, for example). Also, we had less individual time. We were on a tighter schedule. The tour could not be altered or customized to suit us. These are all understandable. Overall, I think Regent did a superb job providing many interesting excursions for us to choose from. I am not sure if we guests appreciate the effort and the amount of organization behind the scene Regent did to make it happen for us. For those of us who are planners of tours and excursions for ourselves, I certainly appreciate it. DISLIKES The quasi full-service/self-service in La Veranda and the Grill was a bit awkward for us. Or maybe we were not used to it. We had our breakfasts and ONE dinner at La Veranda. For breakfast, the egg order is brought to our table. This was awkward for us, in that, we almost always forget to check our table number before lining up at the buffet stations. Because the egg station is not a separate station, the line up clogs up the line for all stations. The line gets longer due to the fact a staff will have to take the time to write down my table number on a little piece of paper. The line gets even longer. When we have excursions, which means we have very little time in the morning to enjoy our breakfast leisurely. We had dinner once at La Veranda. We wanted a casual, less formal environment. Less formal in La Veranda meant we helped ourselves with salads, but our main course will be taken care of by our waiter. The main course took a very long time, and we noticed how flustered and confused the staff were. Mistakes made not only at our table, but also others. It was not a good night for them. Fortunately, we had lovely table mates, the waiting time was filled with lively conversation. I was told La Veranda may be going through a major change. And this was their transition period. I do hope Regent keep this option open. Some days, we prefer the self-serve, non-rigid, minimum service buffet style dining, selecting what we want to eat, and how we want to eat, without offending others. Food Quality and Presentation Food is very personal and subjective. For a cruise line, be it 5 star or 6 star, satisfying the taste buds of many different cultures is an impossible task and unrealistic expectation, in my opinion. With that in mind, the only dish that did not meet our expectation was fish. They were overcooked in Compass Rose as well as in Signature. However, my Sea bass one night in Compass Rose was moist and delicious. What impressed me tremendously is the food presentation. Every dish was an art on display. The food quality was good, and rich. The Champagne caviar on Sunday was a treat. That was nice. All-inclusive Excursions The only one part of an excursion we did not enjoy was the carpet store at the end of Ephesus tour. We did not care for the well-orchestrated sales pitch. That was anti-climatic after such a fantastic Ephesus and Terrace Houses tour! Summary--I think Regent is worth a try for anyone considering an all-inclusive cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We began our journey in Vancouver, Canada where we boarded a Lufthansa flight to Istanbul with a brief stop in Frankfurt. As usual, the customs procedures in Frankfurt were a bit tedious. We selected a different lounge than we normally ... Read More
We began our journey in Vancouver, Canada where we boarded a Lufthansa flight to Istanbul with a brief stop in Frankfurt. As usual, the customs procedures in Frankfurt were a bit tedious. We selected a different lounge than we normally use and found it less crowded and much nicer. Arrival in Istanbul was easy. We stopped by the visa desk and obtained the required Turkish visas within two minutes at a cost of $25 each. The lengthy line at Passport Control was tiring. Finally, we were off in search of our Regent Representative. The first Regent Rep. we located piled our luggage on a cart and looked for our names to check off. They were not there. We told him that we were part of the group with a pre-cruise to Cappadocia (pronounced Cappa dok ya). He off-loaded the luggage and we went on seeking the next Regent Rep. who did not have our names either. He did suggest that we stand in a particular spot and said that the Rep. would show up. After 15 minutes or so (and asking more questions), the Regent Rep. that had our names showed up. Unfortunately, all of us had to schlep all of our luggage to the bus. We arrived at the lovely Ritz Carlton, the same hotel we stayed at previously. We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves on the Club level where food and drinks were served. Our plans for going out to dinner went out the window after the wonderful food offering at the hotel. After dinner we sat and had a couple of drinks in the lovely Club lounge. Breakfast in the morning was amazing. The buffet has a wide array of choices. We were happy and very impressed with the hotel. Around 8:30 a.m. the following morning we were off with 19 other Regent guests to the airport where we boarded a Turkish Air Flight. It was a one hour flight to the city where the airport an hour away from Cappadocia was (cannot recall the name). Due to flight delays, we were approximately one hour late. Once we arrived, once again it was our responsibility to manage our own luggage. Fortunately, some of our luggage remained in Istanbul where it would be delivered to the Voyager when she arrived. We arrived at the restaurant quite late (about 2:30 p.m.) and had a delightful lunch (no alcohol -- this was a strict Muslim restaurant). We had nice soft drinks and bottled water. We were all tired and were fine with changing the itinerary around so our day would be a bit shorter. Regent used two hotels for the group. The "premium" hotel was The Cappadocia Cave Resort. It is a unique, beautiful hotel. The balcony of our suite overlooked the amazing valley. Dinner at the restaurant was confusing and disappointing. The Guide told us that we could dine any time between 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. When we arrived at 7:30 p.m., there was a table for 21 set up and the expectation was that everyone would show up at 8:30 p.m. We were permitted to sit down and ordered a bottle of wine and ordered (not even water was included at this hotel). As other members of the group came down, they were seated at the same table. The service was so slow that, by the time we were served dessert, guests who arrived 45 minutes after us were deserved dessert at the same time. Food was mediocre In the morning there were 75 hot air balloons (according to the guide) taking off. It was beautiful sight to behold. Many guests joined in the hot air balloon ride (additional cost). We preferred catching up on our sleep. They arrived back late so we started out a bit behind time-wise. The day we spent in Cappadocia was magical. In all of our travels, we ahe not seen the unique beauty that is Cappadocia. From the fairy chimneys to the underground city, it was all amazing. To get a tiny look at this wonderful spot, you may want to Google it. Pictures, however, do not do it justice. There are cave houses, cave hotels, fairy chimney's also turned into residences and restaurants. It was worth all of the time and energy put forth to get there. Our excellent Guide bribed people to get us in to the underground city. It was a holiday weekend and there were people waiting to get in as far as the eye could see. We bypassed the line and viewed this magnificent place. Lunch was the best food we had since arriving in Cappadocia. Dinner that night at the hotel was arranged properly and the food was somewhat better. Breakfast at the hotel is quite nice. The ride back to the airport (they utilized a closer airport this time) was uneventful. The airport was quite small and had no crowds. After, once again, dragging our luggage into the terminal, we flew back to Istanbul for the tours. This was still a holiday weekend and the area was packed. If that were not enough, they were filming a James Bond movie in Istanbul that created traffic tie-ups. We entered the Blue Mosque with no problem whatsoever. Saint Sophia was also fairly easy to get into. Topkapi, on the other hand,was so bad that we gave up. We walked for a long way to get there only to learn that it would take a long time to get in and that it would be packed once we were inside. By then it was approximately noon. The group was going for lunch after Topkapi. We decided to go on our own and take the tram to the ship (after thanking and tipping our wonderful Guide). Being onboard the Voyager is always an amazing experience. Such understated beauty and kindness from the crew. The weather every day of the 10 day voyage was between 70F and 76F (one day it approached 80F). Clear skies, sunny (there was rain for one hour in Anaconda, Italy -- a port we are at today and still have no desire to leave the ship -- not an attractive port). Service has been incredible. Food in Prime 7 was the best we have had to date. Food in Signatures is different as it has to be now that Regent's affiliation with Le Cordon Bleu has ended. The mushroom soup, while extremely good, was not the mushroom soup that they had last year. To be fair, we have never been fans of Signatures but did have an enjoyable meal. Compass Rose has been right on point. We still ask for a table in Zaldys section. He somehow knew we would be on board and looked for us the first night (we were in Signatures). We were quite happy to see each other the second night. The ports have been lovely. I was completely amazed by Kotor, Montenegro. I was not aware of the beauty of that port. We did not take an excursion in Kotor but will be doing so on this leg of the cruise. We had been we Santorini previously. This time the ship anchored at a place where you can just board a bus and drive away (no donkeys or trams). we were taking a wine tour with the new company, something like Wine Trails. It was a lovely tour but not worth the price. The best part of the tour was the Tour Guide. He was the best Guide we have had in our 25 years of international travel. Evan should be a trainer for other tour guides. He does not talk too much or too little. he has a sense of humor and is quite no-nonsense when it comes to dealing with the people at our stops. If the description of something is not to his liking, he will add information to it. Completely blown away by this young(ish) man. In Ephesus we did the Terrace Houses that everyone raves about. It is definitely amazing. Heed the warnings about people with walking difficulties having problems on this tour. The stairs up are easy. Going down is very difficult and there are no handrails. Montenegro was simply amazing. Beautiful views, lovely scenery. We again took a wine tour. This one started out to be one of the best tours we have had. We went to an olive oil processing plant (no longer in use except for tourists). We were shown how the horse walked in circles as the olives were pressed (beautiful horse -- doesn't like to do the demonstration but puts up with it. We were then served jugs of homemade wine, prosciutto, homemade cheese, salad), olives and homemade bread. Did I mention that this was 9:30 a.m. Well, we were all on vacation so we enjoyed it completely. The rest of the tour was a bit slow. The winery wine was not that good (no one purchased wine there). Still, a great day. We took "sea days" while other people were in port because, as I mentioned, we are repeating some ports on this leg of the cruise". The cruise ended with an overnight in Venice. We did the "included" gondola excursion. It sounds gimmicky and touristy but was fabulous. A highlight of the trip On the day when most people were disembarking, we went on the St. Marks Square and Doges Palace tour. Quite nice. We are amazed with Venice. This was a place we had no interest in visiting as we heard it was dirty, etc. The information we received was completely untrue as it is a clean, vibrant city. It is crowded but will be much more so in the summer. While much of this is a review of our pre-cruise, I hope Regent reads it and corrects the very few problems we had (mainly luggage handling). There are people who asked our opinion of Cappadocia and, having now been there, we would recommend it without hesitation. Forgot to mention the shows (which we typically do not attend). The Cirque Voyager is better than any show we have seen on Regent (we have seen other versions on the Voyager -- this one was unique and simply amazing! A must see! At the risk of being called a "Regent Cheerleader" (I don't consider that negative), the people on this ship, from the Captain down are caring, warm, professional, trustworthy and hardworking individuals whom it is always a pleasure to see. There was not one person who did not give excellent service on our cruise. Bravo Voyager crew! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Regent Voyager is a lovely ship, brilliant captain, smiling and ever helpful staff, very clean, pleasant artworks (in the main), great library, and a stunning itinerary that included Oman, Petra, the pyramids, Jerusalem, Dead Sea and ... Read More
Regent Voyager is a lovely ship, brilliant captain, smiling and ever helpful staff, very clean, pleasant artworks (in the main), great library, and a stunning itinerary that included Oman, Petra, the pyramids, Jerusalem, Dead Sea and Masada. Our cabin was perfectly maintained by our stewardess. And it was all inclusive - no chits to sign. Who could ask for more? Call me Oliver Twist, but I can. The ship was let down a little by food in the main dining room. It was similar in quality to RCL and far below Seabourn, and Azamara. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as I had been expecting. The specialist restaurants were a little better, but not much. It could be that my judgement of the latter is a little jaundiced because we booked a table for two but were put on one with six (very nice) people. However the biggest disappointment was the La Veranda buffet. It isn't fit for purpose. Now my cruising experience is limited to half a dozen different lines but they all, without exception, have had what is perhaps best described as a U shaped buffet. You can walk in one side and if seating is scarce continue round to the other side to check the situation. Not with La Veranda because it splits along the stern part - a Berlin Wall of serving stations. So you have two identical mirror-image buffets. And identical includes the food offered - it's the same on each side. Ridiculous. This can lead to the silly situation where the bacon or whatever on one side has gone and you can see some on the other side, but can't reach it. So you have to call a server for assistance. This also limits choice: with a flow-through layout other ships can offer twice the number of items. Senior staff were good but some junior waiters were not fully trained, especially when it came to wine. I asked for a Cote du Rhone and received something completely different. Oh yes, it said "Cote" on the bottle but not one that was within a hundred miles of the River Rhone. However on the whole there was a good choice of included wine throughout the ship (if you knew what to ask for). Did buy three "premium" wines but left two and returned one. Not actually bad, but dead. Maybe wine doesn't keep well on a ship. In the evening La Veranda becomes a themed (Indian, Chinese, Mexican whatever) eatery that is part waiter service and part buffet. We tried it once and it was ok. However turning it into a quasi bistro means that there is nowhere on Voyager to enjoy basic - collapse in a heap back from a long tour, can't be bothered to change - help-yourself simple food. Despite the failings of La Veranda this is a good ship and I would sail on her again without hesitation. In fact Voyager has pushed Seabourn Odyssey down to third place in my list of favourite ships. The food on Odyssey is way better but Voyager just edged it with its free excursions. And they were excellent. My top ship? Azamara Journey. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was our second experience with Regent. Prior experience was very good, on the Mariner, with great weather and a great crew. Based upon prior experience, we had anticipated being loyal Regent clients for years to come. This ... Read More
This was our second experience with Regent. Prior experience was very good, on the Mariner, with great weather and a great crew. Based upon prior experience, we had anticipated being loyal Regent clients for years to come. This second trip was disappointing. The trip was challenged with bad weather, and political issues in scheduled ending port of Athens, Greece. We clearly do not hold Regent responsible for that. I was however very disappointed in the management response to challenges faced. I have waited for a month+ to post a review for 2 reasons: 1) I have expressed my feelings in writing to Regent, and was awaiting their reply; and 2), I wanted to let the events settle for a while before reacting. With time-passed, Regents reply to my concerns was very weak (a copied form letter), and my feelings have not really changed. My strong feeling after our return is that once the cruise started having difficulty, the feeling we got as passengers went from Regent's "It's All Included" to "It's all prepaid and Regent will just wait for this trip to be over and the next cruise group to board." 4 scheduled ports were missed due to weather in the last 6 of 10 days. Schedules were changed in the few ports made, but not coordinated with the rest of the ship management. For example, to accommodate a need to leave Kusadasi, Turkey earlier than scheduled in the afternoon, passengers were notified the evening prior that excursion departure times were moved up to just after 7am. But, the restaurants were not scheduled to open until 7am, and thus there was no food service prior to departing. A small thing, but should have been handled better by this claimed level of luxury provider. On another day (Sicily), due to rain, a large number of excursions returned around 1:00. After passengers went to rooms to get dry clothes on, we went to restaurants to find that they were closed at 1:30. Only available option was the pool deck buffet in the rain. Would have seemed simple to extend the restaurant service hours to accommodate. As port calls were missed, little was done to fill the void. Cruises experience bad weather, that is to be expected; I just would have expected a lot more ability by Regent to handle the experience. We truly got the impression that the on-board management staff was scrambling wondering what to do next. Food was not as good as we had previously experienced on the Mariner. I will trust my next cruise experience to another line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We expected a luxury cruise of 10 days calling at 9 ports in France, Italy, Greece and Turkey with a full programme of inclusive shore excursions but after day 4 several port visits were cancelled because of poor weather. The ship's ... Read More
We expected a luxury cruise of 10 days calling at 9 ports in France, Italy, Greece and Turkey with a full programme of inclusive shore excursions but after day 4 several port visits were cancelled because of poor weather. The ship's tenders could only be used in calm seas so where the ship was at anchor, passengers could not be ferried ashore safely during high winds or rough seas. Why on earth does a cruise line select ports that require tender transfers in an area where it is known that weather can be variable, especially in October? Planned excursions at the cancelled ports were also cancelled and during one part of the cruise we sailed non-stop for 65 hours looking for a port where the ship could dock. Several on-board activities were impossible during this time and alternatives were not offered. On the fifth day of the cruise we were advised that the cruise would also be affected by the pre-planned general strike in Athens that was scheduled for 19th and 20th October. We could not therefore return home on 19th but Regent had arranged for us to be accommodated in Athens for at least two nights in a safe hotel away from the expected demonstrations. However, we were warned that it might not be possible to leave the hotel during this period and all costs must be met by ourselves. The last day of the cruise at Kusadasi was to be shortened slightly to allow for diembarkation in Athens before the start of the strike. These arrangements were not acceptable and 230 passengers preferred to leave the cruise at Kusadasi. Originally we were warned that we would have to make our own arrangements for this alternative transfer home. Eventually Regent arranged for a fleet of coaches to take passengers to Izmir airport to connect with flights to Istanbul and onward connections. The cost of the land and air transfers to Istanbul and any overnight accommodation is to be met by the passenger. As yet we do not know how much this will be and as we have no official documentation, we do not know how (or whether) we will be reimbursed. So - do not choose a cruise where port visits incur tendering passengers from a ship at anchor and make sure that the shipping line has made contingency plans for alternative shore visits during inclement weather. Also make sure that you choose a cruise line that will accept responsibility for any costs incurred by curtailment or alterations to the schedule because of civil unrest that could have been foreseen before the cruise started. Cynically I wonder if the poor weather was used to Regent's advantage so that we could dock at Kusadasi in time to disembark passengers, thereby reducing costs for the company and reducing the need for accommodation in Athens. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our 4th cruise; the first time on Regent Seven Seas Voyager. We had previously sailed with Oceania and Azamara. This cruise began well in Monte Carlo but ended sadly in Athens -- more on that later. Embarkation in Monte Carlo ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise; the first time on Regent Seven Seas Voyager. We had previously sailed with Oceania and Azamara. This cruise began well in Monte Carlo but ended sadly in Athens -- more on that later. Embarkation in Monte Carlo went smoothly. We arrived early and were welcomed aboard with champagne. The Voyager looks like all the other ships in its class, but appeared extremely well maintained and updated. The interior decor was a blend of browns, beiges and wood tones which may be calming to some, but appeared a bit drab to me. The two atriums fore and aft were a nice change, light filled and contained 4 elevators and open stairwells making transition between decks quick and easy. Each deck had its own convenient (and free) laundry room. Our suite (938) was surprisingly large and airy with a walk in closet, a large bathroom with tub, separate shower, and plenty of storage space. The sleeping area contained a comfortable king size bed and two side cabinets. The seating area was spacious with full size sofa, table and 2 chairs, a desk and built in cabinetry with additional storage and mini bar which was kept well stocked. Our request for our favorite bourbon was honored quickly. There were two comfortable chairs and a table on the veranda but we rarely used it. Regent did well with its complimentary wine, liquor and beverage service. The evening wine offerings were generally good, with only one exception. Note: If you do not like the evening's selection there may be another available, just ask -- otherwise you can purchase an individual bottle. Unfortunately, dining aboard the Voyager was disappointing, with rare exceptions (a filet mignon that was done perfectly, was tender and delicious, and two appetizers that were fabulous.) Of the four dining options, Compass Rose was the best, although entrees often had an Indian/Oriental theme. We had an acceptable meal at Signatures on the first night, but we should have skipped Prime 7 entirely. La Veranda had limited selections at breakfast, disappointing pastries and nasty fruit juice -- avoid the pre-made eggs and order an omelet. Lunch selections at La Veranda usually sent us outside to the Pool Grill, which consistently offered a great selection of burgers and sandwiches. Overall service was generally very good, with some crew exceptionally helpful, some first timers who were not as 'polished', and others surprisingly snobbish. Note: Room service was simply outstanding! The entertainment was loud, very loud. Enough said. Shore excursions -- the hillside towns and winery above Saint Tropez, the walking tour of Florence (although the commercialism at Pisa was tacky), the wonders of Rome (despite the heat in St. Peters Square awaiting clearance through Security to enter the Basilica), Pompeii, Kusadasi (the ruins of Ephesus and the rug making demonstration), and even the cold, fog covered, pouring rain of Mt. Etna were simply outstanding! Unfortunately, the weather turned absolutely awful on day 5 and we were unable to make port calls at Amalfi, Zycanthos, and Santorini since the seas were too rough to tender into shore. Regent chose to dock in Messina rather than Taormina to get out of the storm. I should note that the ship's stabilizers really did their job, keeping the ship fairly stable despite the high seas. In addition, at the same time, we were informed that Athens would experience a two day port strike and air traffic controller strike on the day we were to disembark the ship and return home. (Note: A strike had been proposed long before we left home and the State Department has issued a travel advisory for Greece, so I had inquired if Regent had considered altering its disembarkation port (Athens) and was told 'no'.) From that point on, things went down hill. Communication from ship's staff was constantly changing causing enormous anxiety among many passengers, but I felt the crew did try very hard to handle this crisis. I have a feeling that information from Greece was constantly changing, creating havoc for the crew's plans, and which affected the lack of information to passengers. However, over 200 passengers chose to leave the ship in Kusadasi, Turkey, rather than go on to Athens. The rest of us had no choice but to continue on to Athens. We had made our own hotel and air transport plans and the changes required due to the strikes were very costly. Regent did, however, transport us to our hotel. We spent two days in Athens, unable to visit any national landmarks except the New Acropolis Museum, walk around the base of the Acropolis to see what we could see through locked gates, and stroll on the Plaka. We also had the pleasure of listening to the roar of the demonstrators, smell the smoke of lighted garbage and incendiaries, and watch the strikers parade the streets with white painted faces, tear gas masks or scarves over their faces. On our last night, the Athens motorcycle police chose our street to 'stage' or get ready for evening demonstrations. As a result the Plaka closed down and we were fortunate to find a restaurant open for our last dinner in Athens. Regent is a well liked cruise line. We met several couples who had traveled many times with them. However, our experience was that it was not up to the same standards as other small ship cruise lines we've sailed with, and would have to think carefully before booking with them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
First the good: Food: good to excellent Breakfast: Veranda was very good, with a large assortment of standard items (bacon, eggs, omelets, ham, potatoes, coffee, juices, cereals, fruits, etc.). The eggs on the buffet however were ... Read More
First the good: Food: good to excellent Breakfast: Veranda was very good, with a large assortment of standard items (bacon, eggs, omelets, ham, potatoes, coffee, juices, cereals, fruits, etc.). The eggs on the buffet however were inedible, IMO. So I just ordered omelets cooked to order. We also had room service breakfast several mornings, due to early tours. These were delivered on time, and where necessary, were hot. Lunches: We never made it to Veranda for lunch, due to excursions, so we sometimes went to the pool grill. Food was good, but the bread for burgers and hot dogs were often hard due to being exposed to the air. Dinners: Prime7 and Signatures were both very good to excellent. We got in to each restaurant twice, and I think the first time in each was excellent, with quality going down a notch on the second visit. In Signatures, try the frog leg risotto! Never made it to Compass Rose, but did have room service delivered. Entrees were good and also hot. Starters were less so, as they seemed to be on the cool side. Room: we upgraded to a penthouse suite, upon receiving an offer from Regent. Room was nice, just not as large as I had hoped. Butler service was nice, but I think that having one butler per 10 suites is a little much. He always seemed to be very busy, which may account for the cold appetizers. Shows: Went to two, but only stayed for one. Cirque Voyager show was excellent, the other dance/music show kept our attention for about 10 minutes. I don't think this is any different than any other cruise line, as the shows all seemed amateurish! Excursions: The Regent "free" excursion were all well done and well organized. We missed a few due to the weather, but all in all, it was fine. Ship: Very nice Staff: All were attentive, courteous, exuberant, etc. So customer service was top notch! Now for the bad: Weather played havoc with our itinerary. The captain had to cancel the ports of Zakinthos, Amalfi and Santorini. There were all tender ports, and the weather did no cooperate. A lot of passengers were angry, but the captain did his job! Sure I would have liked to make it into those ports, but I doubt if my wife's sensitive stomach would have survived the tender without puking! Also, the general strike in Greece caused a problem for our arrival. However, Regent rearranged flights, paid for extras days in Greece, and got us out on Friday with little problem. Being given an extra day in Greece was actually nice! However, large piles of garbage, graffiti everywhere gave Athens the look of a dump site! So, I would recommend Regent to my friends and family, and look forward to another cruise in 2013! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
We have previously travelled with mainstream cruise lines such as P&O, Princess, Celebrity, RCI etc and thought we would try a more expensive '5 star' cruise. While many elements of the ship and the cruise were excellent and ... Read More
We have previously travelled with mainstream cruise lines such as P&O, Princess, Celebrity, RCI etc and thought we would try a more expensive '5 star' cruise. While many elements of the ship and the cruise were excellent and merited the extra cost, there were some surprising negatives also. Food varied from acceptable to excellent, with the exception of the Signatures restaurant - pretentious menu and average to poor food! The main restauarant was great for couples with lots of tables for 2 by the windows! The food was often great - lunches in the main restaurant were particularly unusual and excellently flavoured; also the portions were not too big which is great at lunchtime. Occasionally, however, there were some very odd and definitely second class offerings - one afternoon tea, the only sandwiches were cheap potted meat or jam (I haven't been offered a jam sandwich since I was a child when it was definitely food for the poor!!!) The upsides first:- Wonderful cabin - spacious, well-equipped, good balcony, beautifully furnished. Some things we particularly liked were the curtained area for sitting, separated from the bedroom - this allowed me to get up earlier than my husband and to read and use the balcony without disturbing him!; the walk-in closet with lots of hanging space and drawers; big bathroom with very big shower area, lovely toiletries and lots of space. (We had a cabin with only a shower and this gives you lots of room if, like us, you do not want a bath. Great staff - friendly throughout the ship, including the officers; nothing too much trouble; efficient and helpful. Even the tour staff were good and this is often one area where cruise ships are poor!! Lots of space in the ship - no queues for anything, even the buffet restaurant had lots of tables whenever you wanted to eat. The ship felt quiet and uncrowded throughout the cruise - very relaxing. No attempts to keep selling to you, which is unusual - no photographers constantly in your face trying to take photos and sell them to you, no pressure to use the shops. This is all in line with the fact that everything is included so you don't constantly have to show your cruise card. At the same time, the staff were great in keeping you supplied with food and drink - no need to chase them at all. It makes for a very relaxing time. Tours were good - no feeling that, because they are free, they are a lesser class than those sold on other cruise ships. Ports of call were all great - some a bit busy but that is the only possible negative, and is not RSSC's fault!! Downsides:- The tours were all early morning and nearly all scheduled at similar times. This made a few issues - overcrowding and lines waiting to disembark. The worst point, however, was that the mealtimes were not adjusted to take account of the tours. So, the restaurant was only open in the morning as you were reporting to the tour - you could only have a sit-down meal if you were staying on the ship! You had to use the buffet (sometimes cold food!!) or have room service which was often the only practical option. Similarly, you had to rush back at the end of the tour if you wanted to be served because many of the tours ended at 1.00-1.15 and the restaurant closed at 1.30. Even the buffet closed at 2.00 so you could not have a look round the port after the tour if you wanted to eat. There was always room service but that always takes time to order and receive, and the choice is limited. Generally, the availability of food was the poorest I have come across on any ship. Apart from room service, there were gaps in the morning and afternoon where you struggled to find food. This meant you had to keep an eye on the time to ensure you did not miss a meal - not what you want on a cruise. One morning we got up at 9.00 (hardly sleeping in!!) and found only one place we could eat cold food!! It would be nice when you get back to the ship to find cold drinks and cold towels available - they do this on Celebrity which is a cheaper option. A bit galling to be moored next to a cheaper cruiseline and seeing them being regaled with cold towels!! The public areas looked a bit tired to us and no wow factor. Downsides may sound a bit picky but this cruise is expensive and is meant to be top class so I think you should expect excellence! Overall, a very good experience but I think RSSC should travel on some other lines to see how it could be improved to 5 star all round Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Before the Trip RSSC has a fairly good web presence, so we were able to research the details of the trip right on their website in addition to Cruise Critic. At the appointed day, we were able to select our excursions and dining ... Read More
Before the Trip RSSC has a fairly good web presence, so we were able to research the details of the trip right on their website in addition to Cruise Critic. At the appointed day, we were able to select our excursions and dining reservation (1 each at Signatures and Prime 7 is allowed). I had no problems reserving the excursions or the dining, as I made them the very first day they were available. The excursion information is relatively vague on the RSSC website, although they try to at least give the cruiser an idea of the length and physical exertion. I found Cruise Critic also to be scarce in information on the RSSC excursions, so we felt like we were going into them a little bit blind. We chose to have the cruise arrange our flights, and we were pleased with the carrier, times, and connections. We were worried that RSSC might pinch a few pennies and make us connect 2 or 3 times; however, they chose the main carrier for our town (a Star Alliance airline), and the flight only included 1 stop (EWR) each way. Embarkation We were greeted by a Regent representative at Rome's airport right after passport control but before customs (I didn't know they were even allowed past customs). Once we collected our bags in a cart provided by Regent, we waited with some others at a cafe in the airport for about 15 minutes for other passengers to collect their bags. Not bad, really. Our flight landed before 8am, so the bus actually took us on a brief tour of Rome, which I found delightful. I would not want to get to the ship too early only to sit somewhere with our bags, so I preferred a little brain stimulation to help keep us awake from the jetlag. At the cruise terminal, things got a little chaotic. We arrived shortly after 12pm, and there was a crowd starting to form in the small terminal. Unfortunately, there was no order to how they were boarding. RSSC reps were asking people to take a seat anywhere, but then random rows were called to stand in line to check in. Fortunately, we picked a row that was called within 30 minutes. Other people had been waiting for much longer, but they just happened to sit a row that had not been called. Again, very random. Check-in was fairly easy and we went on board where we were greeted with a glass of champagne. We later learned that people were being asked to stay away from their suites until 2:30pm. We were not informed of this request, so we went straight to our suite around 1pm. Everything was more or less ready for us, and the bags started to arrive shortly thereafter. Stateroom/Suite We stayed in suite 851, which is mid-ship and a short walk to the launderette. The suite was really nicely done, and we immediately could see the benefits of the dry dock earlier in the year. The walk-in closet was plenty large for all of our clothes, which is impressive given that my wife brought an outfit for every day and every evening. The drawers are relatively small in the closet and next to the beds, but there are larger drawers next to the desk. Twice during the 10-day cruise fresh flowers were placed in the suite leaving a fresh, bright feel to the room. Each suite has a flatscreen TV and a DVD player. The TV has the ship channels where information for the day is displayed. It also included some news and other cable channels. As people who are not able to go to the movie theater nearly as much as we want, we were delighted to see a huge selection of on-demand movies and TV shows that were complete free. There was also a DVD collection down in the library, but we never exhausted the on-demand options. The minibar is stocked nearly every day with water, soda, and beer (all of which is included in the price of your fare). As I mentioned, a launderette was nearby, each one containing 3 washers, 3 dryers, and 2 irons/ironing boards. The ironing boards were in very good condition and were rarely both in use. The washers and dryers were almost always in use. There were off times, but these periods were available for a reason: dinner time or port time for example. There seemed to be more inconsiderate people than I expected: leaving their clothes unattended for 1-2 hours. Some passengers would lose their patience and just pull wet clothes out so that the washer could be used. I don't blame them. Gentlemen can also leave their dress shoes outside of their door in order to be shined. I found this service to be very convenient, but the actually shining and polishing for my standard black shoes was pretty poor. Dining The dining on board the Mariner was extremely good. The quality of the ingredients as well as their preparation and presentation were really good. In general, we found a lot of the dishes to be under-seasoned compared to what you would expect in a restaurant, but we wondered if they were trying to allow cruisers to salt and pepper to their own taste. We salted nearly everything. Another minor criticism: except for Prime 7, steaks were rarely cooked to their proper temperature. Before I describe each restaurant, I would like to commend Ricardo and his sommelier staff. They were so helpful and kind throughout the entire cruise. I recommend that anyone who is interested in wine or who wants to learn more about wine should attend their wine tasting events. They were a lot of fun, and it helped us to get to know the wines and the sommelier staff. In general, the recommended (free) wines were quite good. If they were not to our liking, the staff would allow us to choose something else provided they had a bottle available. Compass Rose (Main Dining) We loved CR. Each night we found 2-3 dishes that were exceptional...especially the appetizers. Again, some of the food was under-seasoned, but that could usually be fixed with some salt and pepper. One dish that could not be helped was the Caesar salad; unfortunately, it was very bland. No reservations are allowed, and we usually were seated promptly between 6:30 and 7:00. After 7:30, it would get quite busy. Signatures We dined at Signatures once, and it was enough for us. I could tell that the menu was carefully selected, and the dishes were painstakingly prepared. However, many of the dishes just did not suit my taste. One exception to that was the Halibut, which everyone who tried it seemed to love it. I ordered the beef medium rare, and it was served cold and rare throughout. When I asked the server to just heat it up a bit to medium rare, it came back well done. Oh well. It was a lovely piece of meat, though. Prime 7 Prime 7 was a real highlight for us. The steaks here were consistently served at the right temperature, and the meat was simply divine. The NY Strip is HIGHLY recommended. The prime rib was a little tasteless, but again the cut and texture were perfect. My wife liked the crab legs as well. La Veranda We enjoyed La Veranda, but we found that the selection did not vary much throughout the cruise. I was surprised to learn that this buffet had limited hours like the dining rooms. If someone gets the munchies late in the evening, you would need to call for room service. Pool Grill My only complaint with the pool grill is that it was not open very often. It was open from 11a-4pm, which was missed by anyone who goes on excursions. The one sea day, we ordered their hamburger and chicken sandwich. Both were quite good. The chicken wings were not so good...poor quality of wings and the sauce tasted like ketchup. In-Suite Dining It took us a few days to realize that in-suite dining was such a great option. They will deliver Compass Rose courses for dinner if you like. Otherwise, they have a 24/7 menu that features comfort food (hot dogs, mac & cheese) as well as some finer fare. It was not well advertised, but you can also order pizzas 24/7. The pizzas were slightly better than frozen pizzas, but then again we were eating pizza in Naples and Tuscany. Not a fair fight for RSSC. We started ordering breakfast in-suite every day. It usually came 10-15 minutes before our scheduled time, but you cannot always count on it. One day we had an early excursion, and we assumed the breakfast would be served early as usual. On this day, they started to deliver it in the latter part of the delivery window, which meant we had to cancel our breakfast or risk missing our tour. Entertainment Shows The shows seemed to target an older group. Even though people in their 30s-50s outnumbered the over 60s folks on this cruise, I think this is an exception for RSSC. The Viva la Vida show was cheesy but not in a good way. We were expecting more Latin dancing, but didn't really see any until the last couple numbers. We watched the first 20 minutes of the concert pianist, but we were expecting a more classical routine. Her Chopin piece was ok, but the rest of the songs were jazzy versions of classical pieces. Many might have enjoyed it, but it wasn't our cup of tea. The one show we enjoyed was the Cirque Mariner. It was a collection of Bollywood style routines interlaced with acrobatic acts. There was a random ballet segment in the beginning that we never quite figured out, but the entire show was quite fun. Casino I was pleasantly surprised with the casino. Blackjack table minimums were only $10, which made it accessible to cruisers like us. Each day the casino had a featured promotion like paying 2x for blackjack with a Queen. Unfortunately, the dealers were not very nice, but the people playing at the tables made the games enjoyable. The casino also had roulette and a variant of poker, but I did not play these games. Even when at sea, the gaming tables would not open until after dinner (9pm). All gambling is in USD, and cash advances are allowed with a 5% surcharge. Currency exchanges are at the spot rate. Lounges We were surprised by how crowded the lounges were before and after dinner. The Olympic Duo lounge singer and pianist were a lot of fun and played a nice variety of music. I was impressed with the quality of house spirits. 12-year scotches from Glenlivet and Glenfiddich were included in the free list. The cigars for sale were all >$20 each. During one of our shore excursions, I bought some cigars which I enjoyed throughout the trip inside their cigar room. Spa My wife and I each had a facial and a massage while on the cruise. We scheduled the facial beforehand, although Canyon Ranch never really tells you if your time is confirmed. They say they will make every possible accommodation, but you don't find out until the first evening on the ship if you were able to get the reservation. Once on board, spa times filled up quickly for the sea day and the off-port times. My wife and I both agreed that the facial was nothing special. I don't think we would do it again given the opportunity. The massages though were quite good. We each opted for deep-tissue and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. If you are easily made seasick, the massage might not be pleasant for you unless docked in port. We had a massage while at sea, and the rooms are quite small and without windows. Pool/Sports Deck The pool is quite small and was not used by a lot of people. On the sea day, people woke up early to throw towels and personal items on deck chairs (only to actually use them well after lunch). The cruise staff ask people not to leave deck chair unattended for more than 30 minutes, but we found many "reserved" for well over 2 hours. Since we were not able to get deck chairs, we enjoyed the food from the grill at one of their outside dining tables and listened to the Olympic Duo play Mediterranean tunes. We never tried playing games on the Sports Deck. Disembarkation The disembarkation process was actually quite organized, considering there were about 8 ships docked at Athens the same morning. Other passengers might have disagreed, but I have seen a lot worse. Each person is given color-coded tags for their luggage and a time to meet in the Constellation Theater. I would suggest that you be on time and even a few minutes early. The process moves quickly, and you do not want to be late. Once your color is called, you walk off the ship and collect your luggage. We found ours straight away, as the bags were all lined up by color code. The luggage was collected again by the cruise line to help us move to the transfer bus. Once on the bus, it was an hour and fifteen minute drive to the airport. Unlike the guide at embarkation, this guide did not give us any information about the areas we were passing. This was unfortunate, as we were passing by some really interesting buildings and churches. Once at the airport, we were dropped off and sent on our way. Final Thoughts Regent has definitely figured out how to run an ultra-luxury cruise line without a stuffy, pretentious feel. The vast majority of their staff went out of their way every day to provide us with an exceptional experience. We would definitely vacation with Regent again and will recommend them to family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Background InformationThis was our first cruise and was to celebrate our retirement. We had always holidayed independently before, usually travelling by car in Western Europe and avoiding crowds and too much heat but as we were limited to ... Read More
Background InformationThis was our first cruise and was to celebrate our retirement. We had always holidayed independently before, usually travelling by car in Western Europe and avoiding crowds and too much heat but as we were limited to school holidays, this was not easy. We chose this cruise after much research, mainly on Cruise Critic and its invaluable forums.Travel to SS MarinerWe did not use Regent's included air option as it was confined to flights from LHR whereas we have very much easier road access to LGW and STN. We flew EasyJet LGW - VCE and although the flight was delayed by an hour arrived at SS Mariner in good time. Being rather apprehensive about travelling in Venice, we had pre-booked a water-taxi with meet and greet service at the airport which was very expensive but very efficient, taking about 40 minutes in total. If we went again we would take a cheaper option as there was no real sightseeing element to the trip - the route goes around Venice rather than through it.At the taxi drop-off point we were met by a young man from Regent who took our heaviest case for delivery to our suite and pointed out the route to the Terminal and the ship. This involved a 5 minute walk in quite hot weather, some of which was over rather unsteady pontoons and was not very well signposted. We coped but it would have been daunting for those less able or fit. In the embarkation hall we first had to complete a form at one desk to confirm we did not have swine 'flu or other contagious diseases before we could proceed to another desk to have our passports checked and photos taken for the key cards. This was done very quickly and pleasantly and after a luggage check, we were climbing aboard.Reception on boardOn board we were welcomed and given a very small serving of 'champagne' which was actually a sweetish and rather characterless Loire sparkling wine. This does not set the right tone for a luxury cruise: it seems penny-pinching and implies that guests do not know the difference. We were told that suites would not be ready until 14.30 and the venues where we could get some lunch were explained. There was apparently nowhere we could leave the carry-on luggage we had with us so we dragged it up to deck 11 and La Veranda where we enjoyed another glass of rather better Loire sparkling wine with a good salad selection from the buffet. After an announcement that the rooms were ready, we went down to our suite. There we found yet another bottle of Loire sparkling wine and a note introducing our stewardess, Hannah.After unpacking our carry-on case, our larger case was delivered. Hannah then called in to see if we needed anything. I asked for a bottle of gin and some real champagne. She explained that they were still loading and there was none on board yet but she would put some in the room later in the evening. This she did.StateroomWe were in an E category suite on deck 9. We had tried to get a lower deck, the rooms being otherwise identical, to minimise any risk of motion sickness but they had all gone - presumably to RSSC regulars who take early advantage of the considerable saving that goes with a lower deck location. At first sight the suite looks rather small - there is a 6ft passage way past the bathroom - but is so well-designed that it seems more than adequate once you are settled in. The bed is what Europeans would class as king-size, about 6'3" square and very comfortable except that it seems to have soft 2" layer on top of the mattress which tends to retain body heat. To avoid overheating at night, we had to have the AC quite high - fortunately this was very quiet.The sitting area, which can be curtained off from the bed, contains a comfortable sofa and armchair but is rather dominated by the LCD TV which protrudes from the desk opposite. The minibar, which was regularly re-stocked, was located under the desk and proved effective in keeping its contents cold despite being silent in operation.Mariner is an all-balcony ship which was one of the reasons why we chose it. The balcony has a small table and two chairs and is more than adequate for breakfast or to sit reading and enjoying the view. The bathroom is excellent: plenty of space, both Regent and L'Occitaine toiletries supplied and a splendid walk-in shower with both rain-head and handheld spray. Water temperature was always stable and pressure high. Overall the room and its facilities would be comparable to a junior suite in a high-end hotel on land - but with a balcony, a sea view and a variety of beautiful locations, of course - and it was very discreetly and efficiently serviced by the charming Hannah.Ship InfoThe Mariner's maximum capacity is 700 and we were told that the ship was full and had no reason to doubt it - other than the fact that it rarely seemed crowded. There was always somewhere to sit in the Observation Lounge on deck 12, although the best tables (nearest the windows) rapidly filled in the late afternoon. In the evenings there was always space in the Horizon and Mariner bars both of which, though very comfortable, were rather gloomy. When there was a popular show in the Theatre or many passengers were late back from excursions, the main dining room, the Compass Rose, could be very busy and it was necessary to wait for a table unless you were prepared to share - which we usually enjoyed doing.This was a port-intensive cruise and all sailing took place between 6am and 8am so most passengers were out on excursions every day. This meant that there was usually plenty of room to lounge around the (very small) pool particularly if you wanted to sunbathe. If, like us, you can't take too much sun there were many loungers in the shade and although these were surprisingly popular, we never failed to find a couple unoccupied. The ship was in immaculate condition having been in dry-dock for refurbishment only a few weeks earlier and the occasional aroma of varnish indicated that the maintenance programme is on-going.FoodBreakfastWhen we had an early excursion we ate a light breakfast of fruit and muesli in our room. Our only minor complaint about the otherwise excellent room service was in terms of timing: the meal always arrived well before the beginning of the specified 30 minute slot, catching us still in bed. We also breakfasted a couple of times in La Veranda where there was a very good selection on the buffet.LunchWhen on-board for lunch we always had a delicious mixed salad with king prawns, scallops and smoked salmon, followed by fresh fruit: melons, mango and pineapple. We soon discovered that Coffee Connection on deck 6 made by far the best fresh coffee so usually finished up there - often succumbing to the temptation of a biscuit or slice of cake.DinnerWe usually dined in the Compass Rose. The food, wine and service were generally of a very high standard. The meal is based on the US pattern with which we were not familiar: appetiser, soup, salad, sorbet, entrEe and then dessert. We always skipped the soup and the salads were sometimes too heavy on cheese and bacon so we learnt to specify a plain green version. The sorbets were usually fine apart from a spiced red wine one which recalled all too vividly the ghastly mulled wines of Christmastide and did anything but refresh the palate. The appetisers were varied and usually delicious, as were the entrees: both fish and meat were always properly cooked. Particularly good was the Dover sole and rib eye steak. We always find lobster rather bland and the Wiener schnitzel also lacked flavour but apart from those two (poor choices on our part), the cooking was on a par with that of top class international hotels.WinesThe wines were of a good standard: usually New World varietals of the type which would retail in the UK at between £10 and £20 - which you could multiply by 50 to 100% for restaurant prices. We were surprised and delighted, however, by the early appearance of a Dopff et Irion Gewurtztraminer, to which we returned quite often at subsequent meals. As we had an on board credit to spend, we chose one red wine off the list: a Penfolds Bin 407 which came highly recommended by some Aussies on a nearby table and represented amazingly good value at Regent's price. The only minor criticism of the wine policy is the tendency to serve a Loire sparkling wine unless one specifies 'real champagne' or names the house wine ('Montaudon' on our cruise).ServiceWith only one very minor exception, the service throughout the ship was excellent: unfailingly courteous and prompt. The exception was at the 'caviar and champagne' event where we waited in vain to have our order for caviar taken, having missed the first round of service because we were waiting for someone. On the plus side, however, this meant we saved money as we ate the free canapEs and drank the house champagne as usual!EntertainmentWe found that after the excursion every day, several aperitifs and a multi-course dinner with wines, we did not have the energy for dancing or even a show! The shows started at nearly 10pm and those we spoke to who did go said they were generally very good. We did go to the crew show on the final evening as it was early evening and enjoyed it and the farewell speeches.ExcursionsThere is a choice of 'free' (i.e. included) and paid for excursions in every port. We made our selections through the RSSC website and chose two paid for. Strangely, one of our paid for choices was already waitlisted even though booking had only been open for an hour or so at most. We later received a phone call from Regent's UK office to say that the waitlist had cleared and we could now book. On board, however, that excursion was cancelled 'due to low numbers'! The standard of excursions was variable: none were excellent, some were good and some were poor. Of the included excursions, many involved travelling on a large and almost full bus with limited legroom. The roads were often very narrow with sharp chicanes and some passengers experienced motion sickness. Where the destination was small, e.g. an olive oil mill or winery, it was crowded. In larger places, e.g. museums, we were often following even larger groups and having to wait until the next room in the predetermined sequence was vacated. Of those tours which included meals, the timing was clearly dictated by the need to fit in with other groups rather than our interests: a wine-tasting with local food for 'lunch' at 10am on one; a seafood and pasta 'lunch' at 5.30pm on another! The quality of the guides was variable - only one or two were really good speakers. Others we spoke to made similar criticisms of the included excursions but some were very pleased with those they paid extra for. Interestingly, when looking for a non-bus excursion we were actually warned off a particular boat trip by a member of destinations staff as 'not worth the bother' and were grateful for that advice when others reported back that it was indeed very poor. Perhaps our expectations were too high or simply unrealistic because of our lack of experience but we must agree with those who feel that this is by far the weakest aspect of the Regent product.DisembarkationAs we still had unused on-board credit, we booked a private car to ensure we got to Nice in time for our EasyJet flight - we had been advised by the Destinations team that taxis could be thin on the ground in Monte Carlo. We left our luggage out the night before with the colour-coded tags attached. In the morning we assembled in the theatre and waited while other colours were called. We were told that, although our car was at the dockside, the driver could not be found. After another 10 minutes rather anxious wait, we were finally called and went down the gangway to begin the search for our cases. When we found the correct area, there was no sign of our cases! I explained the position to the driver and giving him our hand luggage set off in search. Regent staff were conspicuous by their absence at this stage! I finally spied our smaller case on a cart about 50 yards away and, despite the protests of the baggage handlers, reclaimed it. No sign of the larger case anywhere, so back to the appointed area to wait in the hope it would turn up. My wife decided to have a good rummage, however, and after moving a very large case which was sitting at an odd angle, we discovered our own case buried beneath it. Mightily relieved, we were on our way. Again Regent was let down by its destinations staff and/or systems so that our final experience of the cruise was less than luxurious.SummaryOverall, it was a very good cruise which could have been excellent but for the shortcomings of the destinations department. Would we do it again? Probably not in the same way: when shopping around, we would certainly discount the value of the included excursions in comparing Regent's prices with others. But the Mariner is a wonderful ship and I suspect we will sail on her again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
As many other people have written their review on the Seven Seas Mariner I would like to add my comment as a person comparing this ship to others I have sailed on. Small ship sailing and with the amenities offered by this ship is ... Read More
As many other people have written their review on the Seven Seas Mariner I would like to add my comment as a person comparing this ship to others I have sailed on. Small ship sailing and with the amenities offered by this ship is incomparable. I would certainly take it again and highly recommend it to others who are curious about what the smaller ships have to offer We started off our trip with an overnight stay at the Hilton Molina in Venice- it was located on one of the many little islands in the channel but what a wonderful way to start. We had a breath-taking view of the city across the channel and were minutes away from a local Trattoria where I had a wonderful dinner of scampi's for only 20 Euros. My travelling companions also enjoyed their dinner as we sat on the patio and watched the constant boat traffic go by. We have been over-nighted on other cruises but our hotel was not centrally located and we often had to take a taxi to get there if we choose not to eat in the pricey dinning room offered by the hotel Embarkation- What a joy with the smaller crowds we were processed quickly greeted with a glass of champagne and wine cooling on ice in our room within a very short time. We headed off to the LA VERANDAH where we had a quick lunch ,hamburgers or pizza your choice and then relaxed in our room before getting unpacked and ready for dinner. DINNING.- Our first dinner in the Compass Rose was well proportioned and we enjoyed the 7 course meal including desert. We quickly made our reservations for PRIME 7 and Signatures as we were told we would probably be able to reserve at least once. Our waiters and wine stewards were gracious and accommodating and kept our wine glasses filled. On subsequent night the King Crab legs all 2 lbs of it was well prepared and delicious.Signatures was truly a wonderful experience to taste continental cordon bleu meal and the presentation by the waiters were truly wonderful. All this included without having to pay extra cover charge and a wide variety of wines offered with the many courses at all three restaurants. EXCURSION - How wonderful it was to have all the different excursions included in the price and we took one every day so it was quite busy with no sea days to recuperate. I only had a light charge to pay for Sienna when we went to Florence as I had previously visited it before and wanted to experience it again. The tours were well organized although I wish our tour guide walked a little slower for some of us seniors who had difficulty keeping up and listening to her most interesting comments. SERVICE= The waiters and everyone were always very attentive to your every need and there was someone to carry your omelet or bring you coffee as soon as you sat down in the LA VERANDAH . Our room stewardess was always gracious and made sure the fridge was stocked with bottles of water(complimentary even on our excursions) soft drinks and fruits we were never able to finish before it was taken away and replaced because we were too full. ENTERTAINMEN - Compared to the Princess ship the entertainment was not as glitzy but we enjoyed the productions and the music put on nightly. Most nights we were too tired to care but we enjoyed the interactive TV in our room as we tried to prepare for another busy day. We had room service several times when we had a later start with our activities and had a comedy of errors when we accidentally ordered double of everything but the waiter was very courteous and took them away without complaint. The selection of the room service menu was excellent compared to other ships-we could even have eggs Benedict and a perfectly poached egg. ACCPMODATIONS -Our standard veranda suite was roomy although the closest was a little small for our luggage. It compared favorably with the Princess veranda deluxe cabins. DISEMBARKATION- We had an early flight so were in the first group to get off. Again being on a smaller ship was quick and easy and we made it to our flight in good time. Our only main discomfort was the long flight home because we gained a day but we arrived home safe and tired. Ports we visited- The tours to Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu went without any problems. However we hit rough seas in Taormina and was divereted to Messina but we were able to go to Mt .Etna which was a wonderful experience. Positano,was very beautiful. Civitavechia was great we did a panorama bus tour, had a delicious lunch box prepared by the ship because of delays in the Vatican but it was still a good day. The high lite of the tour was the long one for those of us who went to Florence and Sienna-10 hours! But what a welcome home- the staff of Regent Mariner greeted us on the docks with a cold towel, glasses of champagnes, a band playing in the background and everyone welcoming us back to the ship. What a wonderful way to end the day!We also had a wonderful day in Portofina and Santa Margarehta. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
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