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Sail Date: April 2012
This was our second cruise with Regent, and the first on the Navigator. We cruised last January on the Mariner, and were less than blown away, so were somewhat concerned about what our experience would be like on the smaller Navigator. ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Regent, and the first on the Navigator. We cruised last January on the Mariner, and were less than blown away, so were somewhat concerned about what our experience would be like on the smaller Navigator. We need not have been worried...the ship and her crew were amazing! Embarkation in Fort Lauderdale was a breeze. It probably helped that there were only 500 passengers to check in, and we were in the last 100 or so, arriving at the pier at around 1:30. It was also a Tuesday, so the pier was not busy at all. It probably only took about 15 minutes from the time we entered the terminal until we were stepping onboard the ship...very nice. We were finally allowed into our cabins around 2:30. We found the cabin to be very large, with a nice walk-in closet and very nicely laid out bathroom with shower and separate tub. Our bags actually arrived before the safety drill, so I was able to unpack before the drill and sailaway, which was a first for us. As spacious and well laid out the cabin was, we were soon to find that it was exceptionally noisy (which is why I only rated it a 3). We have been on a lot of cruises, and we have never, ever heard our neighbors on either side of us...that changed with this cruise. It isn't that they were overly loud...it just seems as if the walls were extremely thin. Several other passengers complained of this throughout the cruise, so it wasn't just our cabin or neighbors. It probably didn't help that there were three people...two adults and one teen...in the cabin next to us. However, that cabin is NOT designated as a 3-person cabin in the Regent brochures, and indeed, their sofa did not pull out to a bed. Instead, a rollaway bed was delivered to them at the start of the cruise! I had specifically booked our room to be as far as possible from any of the 3-berth cabins because, quite frankly, I did not care to possibly be around children (I left mine at home!!). So you can imagine my frustration when I discovered that apparently Regent will make any cabin a 3-berth one if they find themselves overbooked (which was the case in our cruise). I do not know if the third person was the reason for the extra noise, but I doubt it, as I could hear the husband/father snoring at night, and if I tried hard enough, could actually make out what they were saying next door. Plus, the people above us must have been early risers, as we could hear them clomping around in the early hours, and then soon thereafter, the cabin stewardess would re-wake us with her vacuuming, which literally vibrated and shook the wall next to our bed every time she slammed the vacuum into the wall. I was amazed that I came home from this cruise more tired than when I left! But that was probably the biggest negative for us, and truthfully, it was more of an inconvenience than something that would ruin our cruise (although I will pick my cabin more carefully the next time). The only other thing that was somewhat negative was the soot that spewed out of the smokestacks all over the decks. We had noticed that there were black spots all over the deck chairs on Deck 11 (one deck above the pool deck), but didn't think anything about it. Well, after an hour or so on the deck our first day, we discovered that those black spots were from the soot of the smokestack (we could see it flying around), and it does NOT wash out. The laundry onboard tried to get the spots out of my new yellow bathing suit, but they just couldn't. To be fair, the concierge did offer to pay for a replacement, but I declined. I just didn't go up to Deck 11 to lounge around anymore. However, I do wish the response to my request to put signs up there warning people of the "soot danger" would have been taken more seriously. Based on the conditions of the chair cushions, this was not an isolated incident, and I just felt that perhaps even just a small notice would have been nice...at least my bathing suit might have been saved. From the moment we stepped onboard to the moment we left, we were treated like royalty by everyone on the crew. This was the most amazing crew we have ever cruised with, and could not believe the level of service we received. The cruise director, Lorraine Weimerskirch, was by far the best we've ever seen. She was engaging and fun, and was always "out in the open." Not only was she a fantastic singer, but she also was just a neat person to be around, and she literally made the cruise for us (in fact, we asked what her schedule is, so we can hopefully book another cruise with her). Surprisingly, the entertainment was fantastic as well. We had heard that it was less than stellar on other cruises, but again, it was the best we've ever seen. This particular group is nearing the end of their contract, and they have apparently all become fast friends, and it shows in their performances. We usually pass on the evening shows when we cruise, because we just don't find them very good...not so in this case! They were great! Food is always so subjective, and I will just say that it was very good on this cruise. Nothing to blow you away, but we certainly never had to send anything back and I certainly gained enough weight that it shows! We were not all that impressed with Prime 7...the steaks were just so-so, although the Dover Sole was very good. However, the service there was well above par, so that made up for a lot. The service in Compass Rose seemed rushed...we felt a little sorry sometimes for the waiters, as they had to run around, literally, to take care of all their tables. But we never had a surly waiter, and we found that if we told them ahead of time that we would not be having dessert or coffee, we could just enjoy our entrees and then leave whenever we wanted to. That kept our dining times down below 2 hours (we never had a dinner that took less than 2.5 hours on the Mariner). As for the pool grill, it was wonderful, and we ate breakfast and lunch there almost every day. If I couldn't find something I liked out there (my husband was always ordering a specialty burger), I could just walk inside to La Veranda and get some salads. We only did La Veranda for dinner once, and liked it, but are not really buffet fans (at least not for dinner). We definitely prefer the way it is done on the Mariner, where appetizers and desserts are buffet, but you order your entree off the menu, from a waiter. As for the wines, we were not very impressed. When a Bogle Cab was presented with a flourish at Prime 7, I had to laugh. Yes, Bogle is a very decent label...but when I'm cruising on a luxury line, I hope to have something presented to me that I cannot buy at my local grocery store. If we asked for something else, they would bring it without question or complaint...but we found that even the alternate wines were not always to our liking. Also, wines that were supposed to have been available (according to the list we were given) were no longer available (apparently they had run out, and not bothered to re-stock them). We ended up just not bothering with wine more often than not. We ran into some bad weather, and so had to miss our stops in Wilmington and St. Georges in Bermuda. We were disappointed, especially since Savannah was taken off the itinerary a few months ago, but the crew did a great job of taking care of us on the extra sea days. I have also heard several negative comments about the Destinations personnel, but we found them to be extremely helpful, with one exception. We were on the Dolphin Encounter in Nassau, and specifically asked the Destinations personnel if we should wear bathing suits. They told us, "Absolutely not...you will NOT get in the water." Thankfully, the Dolphin Encounter people had wetsuits we could use, because we most certainly DID get in the water...all the way up to our necks! That kind of information really should have been something the Destinations people were smart about. However, the excursions we did were all excellent, and we never really had that "round 'em up" feeling while waiting in the Seven Seas Lounge to be called for our excursion. In fact, two of them (Airboat Adventure in Port Canaveral, and the Dolphin Adventure) rank right up there as two of the best we've ever done. We hit some extremely rough seas between Charleston and Bermuda, and yes, the Navigator moves a LOT in rough seas. Thankfully we had our SeaBands, or else we might have been like so many other people (including the spa's hairdresser) who were unable to even get out of bed. Many, many people tried to crowd into the Navigator Lounge and the library, as that is as low and center as you can go on the ship. Only then did the ship feel a bit crowded to us...so we just went up to the pool deck, which, even though higher, is still in the center of the ship so the motion was not as bad (still bad though...water from the waves would hit the side of the ship and sprinkle down on us, even though we were way up on Deck 10!!!). We had friends traveling with us who did not like the layout of the ship at all, as they said it felt too crowded all the time to them. But we spent most of our free time on the pool deck, and it never felt overcrowded, so we came out of it with a different opinion...in fact, we loved the Navigator and her layout. If I had to say there was one thing that blew us away on this cruise, it would be the crew and service. When a bartender can remember your name after only meeting you once, and know exactly what you want to drink, that is impressive. When the cruise director participates in karaoke with the passengers, that is impressive (especially when she can really sing!). When the entertainers actually act as part of the crew, rather than just entertaining, that really enhances the experience (it was great fun talking to them around the ship). And when you get hugs from so many of them as you are leaving the ship (not without at least a few tears on my part), you really do feel as if they are family. Bottom line: Best cruise we've ever been on and I cannot wait to board the Navigator again!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2012
My husband and I did this cruise partly because we love trans-Atlantic cruises with their wonderful sea days and partly to celebrate my 70th birthday. For the latter reason we had a Seven Seas Aft suite on Deck 9. We flew from ... Read More
My husband and I did this cruise partly because we love trans-Atlantic cruises with their wonderful sea days and partly to celebrate my 70th birthday. For the latter reason we had a Seven Seas Aft suite on Deck 9. We flew from Switzerland to Florida via Dublin on Aer Lingus as they provide an adequate Business Class service and a one way fare which was very attractive. Boarding: Regent is still sailing from Ft Lauderdale and the traffic getting into the port was very intense! Over 11 large ships were sailing on the same Sunday. When we arrived at our pier the doors were closed even though it was noon. A short queue formed and by about 1215 we were allowed inside to sit and wait for the boarding (a good thing since by this time it was raining!) Things inside were very orderly. We were called in the order in which we were seated, having gone through security. The check-in was halted for a little while when the computers went down but by 1250 we were on board, having a light lunch at la Veranda. Our suite was ready by about 1420 and we went down there (Deck 9). My first impression was not good. The furniture in the sitting room was basically lined up around the walls, looking for all the world like a "Negotiation Room" in a Chinese University! However with my husband's help I re-positioned it so it was more conventionally placed with coffee table in front of the couch and the two easy chairs facing the coffee table! The dining table also needed re-positioning but once we finished all this it looked very nice. The balcony -- terrace really -- is huge and nicely furnished with two chaises-longues, a small couch and two easy chairs and two footrests (only one of which had a cushion! Don't know where the other was!!) I did notice that the upholstery on the sitting room furniture was worn and hope that new furniture will arrive when the Mariner has its next drydock -- it needs it! The bedroom was a good size (bigger than that in the Navigator suite on the Navigator) and one could move around the bed easily. I did not like the fact that the access to the bathroom was through the clothes closet. This meant that every time we went through our clothes got pushed around on the railings! My impression was that the closet was smaller than that of the Penthouse suite we normally have. Having two bathrooms -- well, one and a half -- was very nice. We had opted for a bath rather than the new shower set up and I would say that I think the plumbing fixtures could stand replacing! They were worn and scratched... Our Butler and Stewardess were excellent. I have never been so well looked after before -- Felix the Butler was charming and very attentive. He brought us our favourite hors d'oeuvres (guacamole and nachos) every evening and arranged two drinks parties for us with great aplomb. Ana-Lyn kept the place as clean as a whistle and had a delightful personality as well!! Our suite was normally cleaned before we returned from breakfast. I really did not want to leave these two behind when we got off the ship!! Here is a small illustration of how they worked as a team -- I had put two rather large empty suitcases into the closet. They were not in my way and I have done this quite often before. They vanished on the second day and miraculously re-appeared on the day I needed to pack! Ana-Lyn had noticed them, she told Felix, and he spirited them out of my way. We ate at all the restaurants -- Prime 7 once, Signatures twice and for the rest mostly the Pool Grill at lunch and Compass Rose or "at home" in the evenings. We did have dinner at la Veranda once as people have said they really like this but we found no basic change from the way things were done there before and there was nothing about it that we really enjoy, so once was enough! We had no problems at all with speed and efficiency of service in any of the restaurants. Courses came at a normal speed and for us that means eating a three or four course meal in about two hours, give or take some. The Cellar Master -- a wonderful Turk with whom we had sailed twice before -- made sure our glasses were topped up and in general we found the wines excellent. More than drinkable!! We did buy some "special bottles" as well and they were great! Prime 7 was OK -- no more. I had the prime rib of beef and forgot to ask for thinner slices so got a mound of quivering beef on my plate! The sauce had clearly been put on a while earlier and the plate had been sitting under the heat of the "Passe" so that the sauce had just about dried out. Signatures, on the other hand, was excellent. No complaints except that on the second evening there was no crouton for the Tournedos Rossini and the foie gras had fallen off the tournedos somewhere between the kitchen and the table and was served upside down on the plate with the garnish buried under it! The Chef came around at the end of the meal -- very nice touch! -- and I told him that it should have been re-plated. He agreed and asked who our waiter was... I did also notice that they only French-speaking person in the restaurant was the Ma'tre d'h'tel. In the past almost all the waiters there were French. The Compass Rose was good (not wonderful) and we liked the variety of dishes but had the general impression that the presentation of each dish was not as good as it had been on previous cruises and that the general level of the offerings had gone down a notch. The general level of service from all the waiters in all the restaurants and on the Pool Deck was terrific. Even when the Compass Rose was very, very busy waiters took time to see what was needed and to anticipate... and to ask with a smile how things were. And this ship was 100% full as well! The main -- only! -- complaint we had was the coffee -- everywhere except at the Coffee Connection and the espresso machine on the Pool Deck. It was weak and tasteless. Like dishwater. Regent's coffee used to be like this when we first started cruising with them, but since around 2005 it has been lots better. I think they have changed brands and need to change back! I took to making myself triple espressos at the Pool deck before going in to la Veranda to eat in the mornings. One day I encountered someone else who was doing the same thing! She explained that she had a Nespresso machine at home and hated Regent's coffee. I laughed because I, too, have a Nespresso machine!! And to my taste even the espresso at la Veranda tasted burnt... The lecture series are usually amongst the things we like best about a crossing. Not this time! The offerings were meagre. One lecturer -- Prof. Aguillar from Harvard -- was outstanding. His topic was Astronomy and he was utterly fascinating. The fellow who spoke on the various ports we visited and their history -- Roger Lamm -- was terrible. He provided inaccurate information and had a very boring delivery. And that was about it! Very disappointing!! The Cruise Director and his staff were great. Ray Solaire is a most interesting man and very good not only at his immediate job as Cruise Director but also was the best entertainer on board! We loved his shows and were delighted that he gave us three of them. Associate Cruise Director Elda is terrific. We have sailed with her twice before (and I am not quite sure why she isn't a CD herself!!) Social Hostess Nicola was very good too. No complaints in this department! Our fellow passengers were a bit of a mixed bag. There were a lot -- really a lot -- of first timers on board and while this is good for Regent it did mean that the general feeling one usually has about one's companions was not there. I thought many of them must have either been first time cruisers as well or had migrated from one of the mass market lines. This may sound snobby but is not meant that way. We have really enjoyed the usual group we find on Regent and have made many good friends while on board. For the most part that feeling was absent on this cruise. The ports we visited and the guides were generally very interesting. In fact with one exception (Picasso Museum in Malaga) the guides were all outstanding. We had been to all the ports before with the exception of Cartagena and discovering this gem of a historic small town was a huge pleasure! We took the Hamilton walking tour in Bermuda. We toured the Botanic Garden in Madeira with a guide who knew all the botanical names of the plants. Our guide to Rabat was terrific and brought us up to date on the "Moroccan spring" as well as filling in gaps in our knowledge of the country's history. The guide for our tour of Roman Cartagena was equally competent. And the woman who took us to Valdemosa in Majorca was too. Well done Regent on this score!! My only criticism of the tour organisation is that passengers should be more carefully screened for their choice of tour. We twice had people on tours (listed as having a reasonable amount of walking and steps) who clearly were handicapped and could not manage to keep up. This isn't fair to the other participants on the tour and the Destinations Services staff should have told them when they boarded the busses that they would not be allowed to slow the group down. Going around Rabat with a "walker" is definitely not a good idea. In fact I thought at the time that it was in fact actually dangerous given the uneven pavements and steps. And having to wait while someone huffed and puffed up the small hill in Hamilton is really not fair to the rest of the group. Regent makes it very clear in all its materials that certain tours require a certain level of physical activity. Having done so I think the staff should be free to advise people not to take a particular tour. All in all I thought that the administration of the tours -- getting us together in the theatre, sending us off the ship when the busses were ready etc -- were very well done by the Destination Services staff. Katia, the director, was on shore supervising the loading of departure of busses at each port. In general I would say that while the cruise was good it was not wonderful. And this is the first time I have come away from Regent with this feeling! Certainly better on board lecturers speaking on at least two or three more topics would have made the sea days nicer. An upgrade in the Compass Rose food to bring it back to the standards we experienced on our last three cruises would be great. And the coffee needs attention!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
We sailed out of Lauderdale on Feb 6 and we enjoyed every minute. I had read several negative reviews of this ship and was feeling very apprehensive as we embarked. The embarkation process was very smooth and we were in our cabin in no ... Read More
We sailed out of Lauderdale on Feb 6 and we enjoyed every minute. I had read several negative reviews of this ship and was feeling very apprehensive as we embarked. The embarkation process was very smooth and we were in our cabin in no time with a glass of champagne in hand (I do agree with some other reviews- the champagne was not great and gave me heartburn). However, it is a classy touch! Our penthouse suite was lovely and our butler, Sinjii, was very good as was our stewardess, Maranissa. Our cabin was always immaculate, bar fridge well stocked and my favourite wine always there as well. The suite was a bit of heaven! The bed was very comfortable. I found the balcony small but we did not spend that much time in the cabin so this was not an issue either. I do agree that the decor is a bit tired, but if that is the only criticism it does not detract from the experience. The ship is still very elegant and is being refurbished this spring. Also, it is a small ship so expect the rock and roll; if you want smooth I would suggest that you pick a big ship. To expect smooth on a small ship is an unrealistic expectation. We had only one rough night and that was it. So I can't complain here either. The food was fantastic as well. The included wines were quite good once you tasted several and found some to your liking. The beer was always cold and you were waited on all the time out on the decks and in the restaurants and bars. I am an experienced cruiser and this was by far the best service I have ever had. The main dining venue was very good. We steered clear of the buffet most of the time only because I am tired of ship buffets. We did have breakfast there once and it was fine. We also ate lunch at the back of the buffet outside and it was lovely. The salad selection is excellent. The ports were wonderful as well. Belize and Guatemala are very poor countries so expect that before you get there. I don't think I would go back to either country. It rained the entire day in Guatemala which was a bit disappointing but we made the best of it playing cards at the beach resort which on a sunny day would have been lovely. Our favourite excursions were cave tubing and the speed boats- book them early as they get wait listed very fast. The crowd was older than us on average. What truly impressed is the care given by the staff to older and more frail cruisers. From umbrellas to support to get into wheelchairs, the crew was amazing. But by far we really enjoyed the people we met within our age range. On a small ship you get to know people and we have met some very good friends; something we have not done on the larger ships. This will not be our last Regent cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Prior to our Western Caribbean cruise on the Navigator we have limited experience of cruising other than two fantastic Mediterranean cruises on the iconic, elegant and very special Club Med 2. We chose Regent Seven Seas because of the ... Read More
Prior to our Western Caribbean cruise on the Navigator we have limited experience of cruising other than two fantastic Mediterranean cruises on the iconic, elegant and very special Club Med 2. We chose Regent Seven Seas because of the small size of the ships (Navigator has a maximum capacity of 490 passengers) and its all truly inclusive approach that included excursions. The cruise visited Key West, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize City, Guatemala, Roatan (Honduras) and Costa Maya. We can honestly say that our expectations were high as a result of the fantastic standard set by Club Med 2. We were not disappointed and, in many respects, our expectations were exceeded by our excellent cruise experience on the Navigator. Having read some of the previous reviews we did have our concerns eg. over reports of surly staff, tired decor and a noisy ship. We are fussy people so we went with eyes wide open. The ship is lovely - true the decor is sometimes 'beigey' and lacking some vibrancy but, considering the ship was built in 1999, it is luxurious, spotlessly clean and extremely well laid out. The ship was full to capacity but we never felt crowded or squeezed and the facilities are of a high quality. Our Penthouse A suite (1109) was on the highest deck for accommodations and towards the front of the ship. It was spacious -- with an ample walk in wardrobe, large bathroom with a separate and effective separate shower compartment, a lovely lounge area, Queen size bed and balcony. It was really well equipped including your own iPad, daily-replenished mini-bar and the usual TV/DVD player/iPod docking station. It lacked a Nespresso coffee maker but, apparently, that will be corrected from June this year. Suites have their own designated butler and hostess -- Ignatious and Florence were absolutely superb. Nothing was too much trouble and we often had chats about the weather, their origins and aspirations for the future. Ignatious was an outstanding butler -- pre-cruise we indicated online what our soft drink and alcoholic preferences were and, on our arrival, everything was as requested, down to the copious supply of soft fruit. Our daily preference for champagne was never a problem and the quality of all wines and refreshments were outstanding. Premium quality spirits such as Macallan and Glenmorangie malt whiskies and Armagnac were freely available. Florence was meticulous about every detail and kept our suite in tiptop order. With constant supplies of Hermes and L'Occitane toiletries we were truly spoilt. The choice of places to eat were the Pool side Grill/Salad Bar, the main restaurant -- Compass Rose, a buffet restaurant 'La Verandah' and the speciality restaurant cum steakhouse, 'Prime 7'. We naturally tried all but our favourite was La Verandah because the setting is bright and more colourful than the other restaurants, the food was consistently good and constantly changing and the staff were outstanding. The Maitre d', Stephano, was great -- always welcoming and truly interested in your preferences, day's activities and news. The head chef, Steve, was excellent -- always on hand to explain about the daily specials and carvery choices. The restaurant staff were really helpful, responsive and engaging -- Joy, Rod, Ronald, Titi worked tirelessly and cheerfully to serve you. We ate at the Compass Rose twice -- once independently where we found it large, a little cramped and somewhat impersonal and on the second occasion, as special table guests of the general manager, Michael Coghlan and his charming wife, Stephanie. In both restaurants the quality of food was good but not the standard we experienced on Club Med 2. One thing they seemed unable to consistently do right was to cook a steak rare -- whether as filet mignon or as a boeuf wellington. Wine choices, included in the inclusive package, were outstanding and the sommeliers went out of their way to find a wine to your taste. For example, Ronald (Prime 7 and La Verandah) listened to our preference for a robust wine to go with steak and came up with a really good Chilean Shiraz/Malbec blend. Staff remembered quickly our preference for wine, bottled water, etc. so that you were treated as individuals and with care. Prime 7, the speciality restaurant, did not really live up to expectations. The restaurant is too dark, overly stuffy in style and presentation and lacked the personal touch. We always try to engage with staff and, consequently, on most occasions get even better service -- we tried twice at Prime 7 but found it hard going. Again, it has a steakhouse speciality, but took two goes to get a rare steak cooked to order correctly. The Pool Grill and Salad Bar was excellent. It was our place to eat for preference for breakfast and lunch. At breakfast there was a good range of cereals, fresh fruit, some cooked options, and cold meats and cheeses. At lunch you could enjoy a range of fish and meat burgers cooked to order as well as other hot food options and salads. With the fantastic pool bar close by with its superb team of bar staff including Elvis, Maclon, Arthur and Jerel no-one was left short of refreshment -- alcoholic or otherwise. Indeed, the same team ensured that all the sun loungers in the sheltered pool areas were supplied with covers and complimentary pool towels and like La Verandah staff quickly got to know your preferences and anticipated when you might need a top up. For example, through the day we drank iced water or diet coke and, in the evening, chilled chardonnay. Often, top ups would appear without us having to ask -- and always with a cheerful smile and comment. Service was always personal and personalized. One criticism we have is that the quality of coffee in most areas of the ship was very mediocre -- hence why we'd love to have had a Nespresso machine in our suite. There was one exception to this -- in the Navigator Lounge was the bar/cafe 'Coffee Connections' where they served excellent Italian coffee made fresh to order. Even the staff admitted that the coffee elsewhere was under par -- so much so that you saw staff themselves having coffee made there. The evening entertainment was really good. Previous reports from other reviews that the evening shows were mediocre were the total opposite to our experience. The stars of the week were the acrobat/ballet/gymnastic duo of Caroline and Denys -- who single handedly brought standing ovations to their Cirque du Soleil equivalent -- La Cirque Navigator -- brilliant. They also performed alongside the season's singers and dancers who were consistently good. Special evenings with a comedian and a London West End female singer were equally good. On the penultimate evening the crew themselves produced a standing ovation for the Krew Capers -- a range of different performances from members of the crew ranging from dancing, Elvis impersonations and a range of songs. Our own suite hostess, Florence, was the lead singer in an Abba number and also in a Indonesian Traditional dance -- the quality of the performances was truly memorable. The excursions -- the vast majority of which are included in the price, were excellent. At every port of call at least 8 different free excursions were laid on and were well organized and attended. The staff who organized these events were effective in getting each person to the right guide and/or coach so that you never felt it was chaotic or a panic in leaving the ship. When you returned from a day or a morning out you were often greeted with the phrase, 'Welcome home, Mr and Mrs ... ' -- a nice touch. One criticism we have levied is that no staff from the ship accompany you on the excursion as a matter of policy -- some did as part of their free time. On Club Med 2 we always had a member of the ship's staff with us on an excursion so that, should a problem arise, you knew to whom to turn. We would have felt safer in the knowledge that our group would have speedy contact with the ship, if necessary. Furthermore, according to the company's brochure all gratuities were included and none 'were expected'. However, with no ship's staff accompanying you some guides and drivers took advantage and, on occasions, gathered us together at the end of a trip -- eg. the ATV trip into the jungle on Cozumel -- to do a promotional bit to glean more tips from the guests. At times, we felt coerced or pressured to give a tip to all and sundry. On some excursions no tip was clearly expected and the guide and/or driver was just happy to see that we were happy. Some left a tips box near the exit but made no song and dance about it. On our excursion into the rainforest nature reserve, our Guatemalan schoolteacher guide, Ana, was outstanding and we happily tipped her well because the quality of her work was exceptional. Other things we really liked was on the first full day a 'block party' was organized where guests from a block of suites, were invited to meet in the area outside the suite for a little party with canapes and drinks served by our butler, Ignatious and other staff. Senior crew including the ship's captain and the general manager, Michael, circulated round all the different suite blocks, to say a quick hello as we were meeting the wide range of people on our block -- it was a lovely introductory idea. Secondly, half way through the cruise we were invited to complete a questionnaire on how things were going to date. This included gleaning our views on all aspects of the cruise and any issues raised were addressed very speedily. The ship's management clearly take a keen interest in the guests' views and in responding to any suggestions or concerns. The weather for the 10 day cruise was excellent overall but after our visit to Guatemala a storm brew up in the evening and that night and the captain took the decision to change course to skirt the storm during the night to limit the discomfort tp passengers. This was an excellent decision because the night at sea could have been very choppy. The Captain and his crew kept us fully informed at all times and the staff ensured that our safety was paramount. The knock on effect of the storm was that the sea was too rough for us to dock at our last excursion port of call -- Costa Maya, so we had an additional whole day at sea. Again, we were kept fully informed and the entertainments staff worked really hard to provide other events so that we did not lose out -- for example, wine tastings, tours of the galley, card games, two Oscar films 'The Artist" and 'The Descendants', etc. The sheltered design of the pool area enabled us to continue to chill out and top up the tan and make the most of the friendly and personalized service of the pool area staff -- already highlighted. One gripe we had before the whole cruise was the booking procedure for non UK/USA residents. We live in France, near Toulouse, and booked our cruise via Thomas Cook in Cahors. RSSC advertises its cruises in France and have an agency in Paris. However, because our trip did not commence in the UK or USA, RSSC would only accept a booking from us for the cruise itself and we had to book or flights (from Toulouse to Heathrow to Miami all with BA), overnight hotel and airport and hotel transfers independently. Though we are at good at that kind of organization, it was an unnecessary hassle as far as we were concerned. We wrote to the MD in the UK before the cruise expressing our frustration over this. The MD did respond personally, saying that this was beyond RSSC's control and was caused by UK transport rules. It just seems bizarre that we could do it ourselves but a large organization like RSSC was not allowed to. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Our second Regent cruise - both on the navigator in the same suite. This time was as outstanding an experience as the first was a few months ago. I've worked all my life in luxury hotels, mostly in the US. I still work in a nearby ... Read More
Our second Regent cruise - both on the navigator in the same suite. This time was as outstanding an experience as the first was a few months ago. I've worked all my life in luxury hotels, mostly in the US. I still work in a nearby Hilton because I enjoy the hospitality business so much. Navigator provides service and quality in both food and beverage service and in cabin housekeeping that exceeds that available in any of the 19 land based hotels I'm helped run. The ship does things that astound me. I can no longer drink alcohol. After the second night underway, the waiters began to silently remove the wine glasses from my place at the table without being asked. It's open seating so there was no reservation with my name or cabin number on it so that they'd know. They must have passed the word that the old guy with the short hair couldn't drink. It happened in all three restaurants. I still can't believe it. During the 30 meals we ate on board I saw only one serving error anywhere within my sight range. One waiter reversed the appetizers for the two ladies at a nearby table. No other mistakes. That's overwhelming. The suite was large and comfortable. The steward knew when we were out of the room and did his work without ever disturbing us while we were there. He did have trouble remembering to refill the ice bucket when he turned down our bed at night and that's the only error in housekeeping we encountered. The bottle of gin the Regent put in our mini bar got down to the last inch or two and, somehow, was replaced with a new one before I knew my wife needed it. I couldn't find anything unpleasant anywhere. I can't imagine there are people that do. We asked for and got a kitchen tour and a bridge tour. That was serious fun for me. We had dinner with the Staff Captain the night following the Costa grounding and got his viewpoint on that event. The whole cruise was outstanding - we surely hate flying to the departure port and back but once Regent gets you on-board nobody could be unhappy. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
The staff was excellent throughout the cruise. They were always helpful and friendly. The food was the best that we have had on any cruise. It was uniformly excellent. The wine list is good and the bar brands included in the price are very ... Read More
The staff was excellent throughout the cruise. They were always helpful and friendly. The food was the best that we have had on any cruise. It was uniformly excellent. The wine list is good and the bar brands included in the price are very good. The cabin was well appointed with a walk in closet and granite counters in the bath. Bath amenities were very good. We did notice the vibration in the aft part of the ship that has been mentioned in other reviews. I would be hesitant to book a cabin in that part of the ship. Our hotel in Ft. Lauderdale was an Embassy Suite. It was obvious that it got a lot of heavy use and did not meet our expectation of a luxury hotel stay. The transfer from the airport to the hotel went well but the other transfers were late and very poorly organized. We were told where to wait for the bus to the ship from the hotel and that an announcement would be made when it was ready to leave. The bus was an hour late an no announcement was made when it started boarding. Neither the hotel or transfers met our expectation of luxury. The shore excursions were very spotty. Only one met our expectations and one was so overcrowded that we cancelled a similar excursion later in the trip. Check with the activities desk on-board to get details about shore excursions. They are very helpful and knowledgeable. We did not see many of the entertainers but enjoyed the couple of shows that we attended. We enjoyed most of the ports and itinerary, especially St. Barths. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
This was our second cruise with RSSC, our first with Navigator, and our 12th in all. The staff were the highlight - they were friendly and efficient, helpful and great fun too! Everything about the ship was great except that we also ... Read More
This was our second cruise with RSSC, our first with Navigator, and our 12th in all. The staff were the highlight - they were friendly and efficient, helpful and great fun too! Everything about the ship was great except that we also (like other reviews) had problems with the vibration in our cabin. The flight to the cruise was a nightmare - we were travelling from the UK via Newark and were concerned about the 90minute transfer time at Newark. However, we were assured that it would be fine. In the end we only caught the flight by being escorted to the front of the lines at customs and security and by running barefoot through the length of the terminal (no time to put my shoes back on!!). As it was, we caught the flight with no time to spare (they closed the plane doors behind us as we boarded) 90 minutes is not enough and RSSC should know this! From that point on, however, the trip was a dream - everything worked smoothly, the service was great, no issues at all. We were allocated a great hotel, with a lovely room and good breakfast included. Embarkation was quick and easy. Even though we had booked a window suite, we were upgraded to a balcony room, which was a nice extra. Our room was excellent - well equipped and beautifully clean, with everything working perfectly. The only issue was that the vibration the first night was appalling, when the seas were quite high - it woke us up several times and often it felt like we had hit something - a bit worrying as we sailed 2 days after the Costa Concordia sank!! It was never as bad again during the trip but it is obviously an issue in bad weather. The food was great in all of the restaurants - no issues with any of them. Good selections, well-cooked, good-sized portions (not too large), and always delivered to the table fresh and hot. The service was really outstanding - all of the staff were so lovely, so much fun to talk to, and so attentive without being servile at all. They were definitely the best I have ever encountered on a ship. This was true in all areas - particularly the room stewards and the waiters. I cannot speak highly enough of them. One highlight of the cruise was the jazz theme. There were 9 top-class jazz musicians and singers on the cruise and they gave at least 2 performances every day. They were excellent, melding as if they had always played together and playing a great variety of traditional jazz pieces. By the last evening performance, it was standing room only to hear them!! The other entertainment we attended was the crew show. We only went to that because our room staff were taking part and are so glad we went - they were fabulous, presenting a show which was varied and entertaining and showed how talented amateurs can be!! After our first night onboard, with all of the vibration, we said never again would we travel on Navigator but, by the end of the cruise, we were won over by the great ship, excellent facilities, and mostly by the wonderful staff. We will definitely travel with her again, but maybe make sure we have a forward cabin!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We recently returned from a 12-day Caribbean cruise aboard Regent Mariner. We keenly anticipated it, after more than 30 cruises on premium lines including HAL, Oceania and Azamara. We've also been on small expedition ships in remote ... Read More
We recently returned from a 12-day Caribbean cruise aboard Regent Mariner. We keenly anticipated it, after more than 30 cruises on premium lines including HAL, Oceania and Azamara. We've also been on small expedition ships in remote corners of the world, which were exciting but not luxurious! Our only luxury cruise was on Paul Gauguin earlier this year and we enjoyed it very much. So we were ready for the Regent 6-star experience. While we enjoyed our Mariner cruise overall, Regent was not vastly superior to some of our other cruises. We thought there would be a significant bump-up in the on-board experience compared to our other cruises. Not so. In fact, many things were done as well, or better, on our non-luxury cruises. ACCOMMODATION Our deluxe suite was comfortable and well appointed. The walk-in closet was great and amply stocked with wooden hangers. The bathroom was functional and well designed, although our shower drain was sluggish. L'Occitane amenities were a nice touch. For the most part, linens and towels were acceptable. Our stewardess kept our suite immaculately clean, although on many days it was not serviced before noon. Our mini-fridge was replenished daily, except for a couple of Buds that DH drank a few days into the cruise. No biggie, but isn't this part of the promised Regent experience? Our smoke alarm went off at 5:10 am mid-way through the cruise. We jolted out of bed, dazed and confused, but the alarm turned off about 2 minutes later. We settled back into bed but the alarm went off again at 5:44 am. Only this time it didn't turn off. A maintenance guy came to our suite and removed the sensor, thus stopping the alarm. He seemed confused as to why the alarm went off and mentioned it would be replaced later that day. It wasn't and still hadn't been by the time we disembarked a few days later. Stuff happens and we know to roll with it, but we would have appreciated an apology or explanation for the rude awakenings! Like others have reported about Mariner, we noticed a sewer smell on several occasions. Thankfully, this was only obvious in the corridors and not in our suite. RESTAURANTS Our expectations for dining were set fairly high and Regent met them most of the time, but not always. La Veranda We ate most breakfasts at La Veranda. The hot and cold buffet items were identical each day and featured the usual suspects, along with an egg station and a daily special. Everything was OK but nothing was exceptional. I was disappointed by the variety and quality of fresh fruit, much of it under ripe and flavorless. Waffles and pancakes were well prepared and presented. There were no fresh juices available, unless you ventured to the nearby Pool Grill, where a most unhappy guy would reluctantly make fresh-squeezed juices. We had lunch at La Veranda most days. The cold buffet included an assortment of salads, deli, cheese, panini and seafood. Hot items included a daily carving station, a daily pasta, as well as entrees that mirrored what was available for lunch in Compass Rose. Food was nicely displayed and tasty. Pizza was excellent, especially the wonderful thin-crust Margarita. Dinner at La Veranda was an unexpected delight. The room was transformed into a Mediterranean bistro and overseen by a very accommodating Maitre d'. There was an excellent selection of antipasti on the self-serve buffet, followed by table service for soup, pasta and entrees. We were pleased with every aspect of food and service during dinner. Gnocchi with butter and sage was exceptional, as was osso bucco with creamy polenta. Grilled mahi mahi with anchovy butter was superb and beef tournedos were expertly prepared. Our biggest issue at La Veranda was inconsistent service at breakfast and lunch. We received prompt attention on several occasions, with staff eager to serve in any way. But we also had very inattentive service and sat with plates waiting to be cleared or coffee cups (or wine glasses) waiting to be refilled for way too long. Staff walked past us on numerous occasions, ignoring our stacked plates and oblivious that we required service. Sometimes we needed to hail for attention, which just doesn't jive with 6-star service. Pool Grill Our first experience with Regent food was at the Pool Grill on embarkation day. DH loved his gorgonzola beef burger and I enjoyed an Asian salmon burger, both accompanied by crispy yam fries. We returned to the Pool Grill for several lunches, including Tex Mex BBQ, Seafood Extravaganza and Mediterranean BBQ. They were pretty ordinary, with the exception of the bountiful seafood buffet. The Pool Grill was the go-to spot for ice cream and sherbets, which were consistently excellent in flavor and texture. There was also a menu of milkshakes and smoothies. Unfortunately, the ice cream man had little experience in making the offered concoctions and was daunted by my request for a caramel latte milkshake, which was on the menu. He asked another server for help in making it, which was met with a bored shrug. Oh well. Compass Rose We had most dinners at Compass Rose and our experiences could best be described as mixed. Some meals were outstanding, others were very good and a few were just average. Menu choices were varied and interesting. Each night, there were also featured items from both Signatures and Prime 7. Some stand-outs included Dover sole, rack of lamb, osso bucco, Beef Wellington, Monte Cristo salad and pasta in truffle oil. Caviar atop fingerling potatoes and seared foie gras were outstanding. Soups were consistently well done, while desserts were hit or miss. We learned quickly that we had to order the palate-cleansing sorbet each night, otherwise it didn't arrive. Who would have guessed? Service depended on where we were seated. We had excellent service on many occasions, with attentive waiters and wine stewards. On those nights, dining in Compass Rose was a real delight. We had the wonderful pleasure of being served wine by the head sommelier on several nights. She is a real treasure. But we also had spotty service more than once, with rushed waiters, inexcusable delays or unobservant wine stewards. We usually dined around 7:45 pm and never had a problem getting a deuce, but we rarely had the same wait staff. Perhaps we should have requested to be seated with a good team once we discovered them. Lesson learned. Signatures We went to Signatures twice and had completely different experiences. Our first visit, on embarkation day, was very good in all respects. We both enjoyed the scallop appetizer, followed by delicious crustacean bisque. My Magret duck was perfectly prepared and DH loved his beef tournedos with foie gras. We asked for a different red wine than the suggested daily pour and it was graciously provided. Crème brule lived up to expectation. We received expert and attentive service throughout the meal, without a hint of pretension. We liked Signatures enough to request an additional reservation. Perhaps we should have stopped after our first visit, since the second time was not nearly as good. We arrived on time at 8:00 pm, only to be asked to wait for the Maitre d', who was nowhere in sight. When he appeared about 5 minutes later, he seemed harried and unfriendly. He gave us several choices for a deuce and seated us. Menus in hand, we then waited and waited and waited. We seriously debated leaving after about 15 minutes, but then the sommelier arrived to offer wine. That kept us happier while we waited an additional 10 minutes for our waiter. He was full of gushy apologies for the delay, but it seemed quite insincere. Close to half an hour after being seated, we placed our orders. Our escargot appetizers came in short order and were unremarkable. We both had the wonderful crustacean bisque again, but this time it was lukewarm and a skin had formed over the top. The entrees arrived with drama but under the domed cloches was lukewarm food. My lamb loin was delicious and would have been exceptional had it been served hot. DH had veal medallions, which were flavorful but lukewarm. Crème brule was excellent once again. Nobody asked how our meals were until the plates were cleared, so there was no opportunity to make things right. In fairness, the Maitre d' offered us an additional reservation, acknowledging that they could do better. We weren't tempted to try again. Consistency is a hallmark of excellence and Regent failed on that score. Prime 7 We enjoyed everything about our only meal in Prime 7, from a warm welcome by the most competent Maitre d' to anticipatory service from waiters and wine stewards. The food was delicious. Amuse bouche of Wagyu beef sliders was wonderful. Oysters Rockefeller, steak tartare, crab cakes and clam chowder were all memorable starters. My filet mignon was a tad overdone from my requested medium rare, but with fabulous béarnaise sauce, was very tasty. DH thought his rib eye was sensational. We both enjoyed crab legs, which were sweet and succulent. Sides of truffle fries, asparagus and creamed spinach were served piping hot. Key lime pie was a perfect finish to a perfect meal. We tried to get an additional reservation at Prime 7 but were unsuccessful. ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT This was a port-intensive cruise, so there was limited daily programming. The usual spa sponsored seminars featured prominently, as did art lectures presented by Park West. Marketing pitches given by the on-board boutique rounded out the typical activities. There was an enrichment lecturer on-board, who was boring in the extreme. But at least she spoke on topics relevant to the areas being visited, which is not always the case. We attended the only culinary demo that was offered. It was entertaining, mostly in trying to figure out what the French chef was saying! We didn't participate in any of the Regent rewards events, though they had a dedicated following. We lurked at trivia a few times and it seemed like fun. Bingo attracted a core crowd every day. Afternoon tea was offered daily, as a prelude to trivia. There were also a few special themed teas on sea days. We attended the special crepes tea and found it to be most unimpressive. Food was self-serve with stations scattered about the room. The set-up seemed to be an after-thought and trivia was the main event. The absolute best activity was a wine tasting class presented by the head sommelier. Her knowledge was impressive and her passion and enthusiasm were genuine. She provided a ton of great info in a user-friendly manner. It was outstanding. Also fun was the embarkation day block party where we met our neighbours over a glass of wine. The fly-past of the Captain, General Manager and CD was a great way to meet the core team early in the cruise. Each evening, there were production shows by the resident troupe or performances by guest entertainers. We attended a few and enjoyed them immensely, especially Le Cirque Mariner and James Bond Martini Cocktails. Liar's Club was a hoot, as was Krew Kapers. We loved going to the various bars for pre-dinner cocktails and post-dinner nightcaps and even managed to have the legendary martini with bleu cheese stuffed olives! EXCURSIONS We pre-booked all our shore excursions as soon as they were available on-line. We also waitlisted a few others, but didn't clear before sailing. For the most part, shore excursions were well handled. Destinations staff seemed knowledgeable about the various tours and they maintained their enthusiasm throughout, which I'm sure was difficult at times. With few exceptions, there was minimal waiting for tour tickets or tender tickets. In some instances, the on-line description of the included tours did not match the on-the-ground experience. Whenever this happened, the actual tour was less than described on-line. Grand Turk: Chukka Off-Road Safari. Orientation to top spots on the island aboard 4x4 vehicles with decent commentary from an enthusiastic guide/driver. 3/5 San Juan: We cancelled El Yunque Long Hike in favor of San Juan & Bacardi Rum Distillery. Big mistake. We wasted over half the tour time at the Bacardi distillery which left precious little time to see Old San Juan and other places noted on the itinerary. So our guide decided he would just skip them! 2/5 St. Barts: We pre-booked Blue Cat on the Blue Sea and waitlisted for Semi-Submersible Exploration. We cleared the waitlist and had tickets for both tours waiting for us upon embarkation. But there was also a note from Destination Services asking us to choose between the tours, since they wanted to accommodate others. As luck would have it, we had already decided to cancel the snorkeling excursion, so no harm done. We walked around St. Barts on our own for a few hours and then hopped on the semi-submersible. Pretty lame, although the guide tried to rally enthusiasm every time a fish swam past. Saw a few turtles and reef sharks. Missed the feeding frenzy highlight promised in the on-line description. 2/5 Castries: Land and Sea to Soufriere. A long but interesting day. Nice balance of an overview of key places around St. Lucia by mini-van, followed by a relaxing catamaran cruise. Marigot Bay was stunningly beautiful! Excellent guides. Average lunch at an historic plantation. 4/5 Barbados: Luxury 4x4 Safari. A journey inland to rugged hillsides, rainforests and several parishes on the island. Outstanding vistas. Brief refreshment stop at gorgeous Bathsheba. Entertaining guides. 4/5 Roseau: Dominica's Favorites. We opted not to take this tour, turned in our tickets and wandered the streets of Roseau instead. Maybe we should have stuck with our original program, since there wasn't much to see or do in Roseau, especially since it was Sunday. Heard good reports of Trafalgar Falls and Emerald Pool. Virgin Gorda: Best of Virgin Gorda. Drive around the island in an open-air safari bus. Uncomfortable sideways bench seating, making it difficult to sightsee. Poorly organized with upwards of 40 minutes for a restroom stop but only 5 minutes to catch a quick photo of featured highlights. Dropped off at the Baths, where there were huge crowds. Disorganized return shuttle. 3/5 Cayo Levantado: Cave and Mangrove Exploration. No contest, our best tour. A 55-minute speed boat ride to reach Los Haitises National Park, but well worth the time and effort. The area was spectacular and full of birds, mangroves and rainforests. A mini Amazon. We also explored ancient caves where our guide explained some petroglyphs by now-extinct native Indians. Highly recommended for nature buffs. 5/5 Princess Cay: Private Beach Party. Lovely setting for a final beach BBQ. All water activities were at extra charge, which was surprising given the all-included nature of Regent tours. Snorkeling was free if you had your own gear, otherwise a rental charge applied. Average BBQ lunch. 4/5 FINAL THOUGHTS We eagerly anticipated this cruise and hoped Regent would become our preferred luxury line. We enjoyed the cruise overall and didn't let the few glitches overshadow an otherwise wonderful time. We had excellent weather, visited amazing ports, took some interesting tours, shared many fine meals and met delightful fellow travelers. What's not to like? However, Regent didn't meet our expectations for a luxury experience, mostly because of inconsistency in customer-focused service. We've had as good, if not better, service on non-luxury lines. Since it boasts a 6-star experience in all its marketing, Regent should deliver impeccable service and unfailing attention to detail, at least most of the time. We saw too many gaps in service on Mariner. All inclusive, yes. Luxury, not so much. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2011
If I'd never been on a cruise before, this cruise wouldn't have been bad (although, for the money, I still would have been disappointed). Given that I've cruised with this line previously (including with the Paul Gauguin ... Read More
If I'd never been on a cruise before, this cruise wouldn't have been bad (although, for the money, I still would have been disappointed). Given that I've cruised with this line previously (including with the Paul Gauguin when it was part of the line) AND just completed a cruise on Azamara earlier this year, this trip proved to be far below expectations. With the exception of the housekeeping fiasco, all of my comments are of a comparative nature (to the past RSSC cruises and the recent Azamara cruise). I'll start with the area that 'stood alone' in that it was bad in any context: Housekeeping. We were fortunate to have an extraordinary stewardess (Jocelyn) for the first 1/2 of our cruise and cannot say enough good things about her. She exemplified everything I would expect from a high-end (i.e., expensive) cruise (or hotel, for that matter) experience. She was friendly, attentive, efficient and professional. Unfortunately, our positive experience with housekeeping came to an abrupt end when Jocelyn fell ill and we fell into the RSSC Navigator housekeeping abyss. There did not appear to be any consistency to the personnel or the process associated with tending our cabin. The times, people and level of upkeep were all over the map. Worst of all, our cruise ended (literally, the last night) with no service at all. I happened to catch a stewardess in the hall tending another cabin (at close to 9PM) and asked if there would be no housekeeping that evening. To her credit, she looked embarrassed that I even need ask and inquired as to whether our stewardess had ever appeared. Of course, she had not (whoever she was supposed to be that night). Bottom line is that we received no housekeeping at all that night. We'd not been left with the door signs (in the room every night when Jocelyn was working) for indicating a desire for service and had called earlier in the evening (an 'interesting' process whereby you press the 'stewardess' button on your phone and await a return call) to request service; unfortunately, no response ever came from that. While we were not incapable of tending our own cabin and had no urgent need of any particular housekeeping service, this is one of the things that makes the luxury experience a luxury. Clearly, this left an incredibly bad taste in our mouths and a lack of desire to expend our resources on another RSSC cruise. Other areas that were not nearly so negative on their own, but paled in comparison to past RSSC cruises and that of Azamara were: Dining: The dining rooms (La Veranda, Compass Rose, Pool Deck and Prime 7) were all fine (not amazing, but fine). Room service, on the other hand, was spotty. On multiple occasions, when ordering a meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner at various points over the 10 days) and specifying that it would be for TWO guests, we were served without the 'extras' (i.e., utensils, napkins, plates, condiments, etc.) expected (and eventually, specifically requested) for TWO people. Additionally, unless specifically requested, food obtained from room service did not come with anything other than that specifically listed on the room service menu (also significantly abbreviated from previous cruises) - as an example, if you ordered soup, you needed to order bread and butter separately if you wanted them. Public Rooms/Cabins: The primary area of observation here is that the Navigator is ready for a bath. Carpeting was worn and stained throughout the ship and in the cabin. Activities/Excursions: While the few organized excursions in which we participated were okay (again, not excellent, just okay), they were disorganized. Delays were the standard (and not due to weather related issues as can sometimes occur and is entirely forgivable). Something that Azamara did wonderfully (and RSSC not at all on this cruise) was to have a local representative board the ship in advance of disembarkation at every port (often the night prior) to provide information and MAPS for that port. I found this to be extremely beneficial on those occasions when I chose to explore independently. Service: With the exception of housekeeping, service was very good in some areas and spotty in others. Again, not awful; however, my previous experiences with both RSSC and Azamara included consistently excellent service across the board. Value-for-Money: This is the biggie. I cruised Azamara (7 days in Italy on the Journey) in April of this year and spent less than half what the 10 day Navigator cruise cost (P.S. I cruised a single traveler with NO single supplement in an equivalent cabin). The ONLY difference for which I benefited was that of 'free' (higher-end beverages are not free on RSSC) alcohol. For those thousands of dollars, several people could not have consumed that much 'free' alcohol. Long story, short - this, in addition to all of the above, will be why my next cruise is on Azamara and NOT on RSSC. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2011
Having heard rave reviews from various friends over the past few years about Regent Seven Seas, we decided to experience this "six star" line for ourselves. To us, true luxury in cruising is lots of space in our stateroom. For ... Read More
Having heard rave reviews from various friends over the past few years about Regent Seven Seas, we decided to experience this "six star" line for ourselves. To us, true luxury in cruising is lots of space in our stateroom. For that reason, we choose a Penthouse Suite, and have sailed mostly on Celebrity (both Millennium class and Solstice class) and Holland America. On both these lines, which our travel agent refers to as "mass market", we not only enjoy enormous suites, with large balconies, powder room, etc., but first class service to match - excellent butler and steward, wonderful tables in the dining room (even "table for 4 for 2" guaranteed), priority boarding, and special events such as officers' cocktail parties and invitations to the captain's table. On our last Holland America cruise on Statendam, the executive chef even prepared some main courses personally for us - just part of the service! Wondering how "six star Regent" could possibly improve on this, we swallowed hard at the much higher fare for a 10-day cruise on Regent Navigator. Boarding was a little unusual - no priority line for first-class suites. However, it was early so there was no line-up. There seemed to be some problem with our passport information - it was explained that the actual passport numbers differed from what Regent had on file, so they said they would keep our passports and return them later to us on the ship! We absolutely refused to let these crucial documents out of our possession, so with a little heated discussion, an officer came over and make the changes manually - in 2 minutes! Didn't seem like a very efficient beginning. Once on board, we were told the suites would not be ready for a couple of hours. They made no exception for Master Suites (the top category) and insisted we had to go for lunch to La Veranda or the Pool Grill. The entry to the suites was delayed a couple of times and didn't occur until 2.30 pm. On arrival in the suite, a connecting door was open to the neighbouring suite and we discovered it had been opened for a tour! In other words, while we all waited and waited over lunch, people (presumably travel agents) were being toured around the suites which were all ready!! Regent lost points here for not putting their paying guests first. Our suite had a large living/dining room, separate bedroom, bathroom with separate toilet/bidet room, powder room, and a huge entrance hallway which was completely wasted space. The balcony was very narrow and had a small, boxy loveseat and two small chairs with low straight backs - not suitable for relaxing. (We had these replaced with a lounger from the pool area, and two regular chairs from regular balconies.) Overall the suite appeared shabby and tired, although well cleaned. The shower stall was very small, in spite of the bathroom being large. Furniture in the living room was uncomfortable, again not suited to relaxing. Carpets and drapery were ready for replacement. Service - our butler, John, and stewardess, JackieLou, were both excellent, similar to what we have received on Celebrity and Holland America. Ship - we did not enjoy this small ship. The first night, we had very rough seas, which we later learned were about 35 ft. Our stateroom was in the bow, with the headboard of our bed backing on to the bow, so we had a very bad night with our heads going up and down into every wave. Fortunately the bed was comfortable with good linens, as we had to spend all of the first day there rather than risk falling!! Did not venture out to see how the other, much older passengers, many with walkers and canes, were faring. Announcements were few and far between, especially from the Captain, who ended his daily update with a very casual "See you around"!! Dining - The food in Compass Rose, La Veranda and the Pool Grill were all very good, but just as good on Celebrity and Holland America. The temperature in Compass Rose was uncomfortably high. In La Veranda, the menu for lunch was rather repetitious. The dining rooms are also tired and in need of refurbishment - La Veranda reminds me of the dining room at my mother's retirement home. Service was excellent, but no better than we are used to. Specialty Dining - The only venue is Prime 7, which is a smallish, very crowded and overheated room. We were offered no special table in spite of having paid for a Master Suite,and in fact were seated at one of the worst tables in the restaurant. The menu is rather ordinary steakhouse, with some seafood choices thrown in. My filet mignon was just adequate, the Dover Sole my husband ordered was abysmal - dry, and completely flavourless. Compare this to our experiences in the fabulous, formal Murano or Normandie specialty restaurants on Celebrity's ships, which their professional staff of waiters, champagne trolleys, etc. The $30 charged for these dining rooms is more than worth every penny and the Dover Sole is as good as any we have had in London. Prime 7 was uncomfortable, not luxurious, the food was not very good, and service was much below the standard of the main dining room, Compass Rose. In particular, the Maitre D', when we complained about the Dover Sole, was very rude to us. Our great butler had obtained a second reservation at Prime 7 for another night, which we cancelled. Entertainment - The production shows were very good, although somewhat limited by lack of stage space. Enrichment - the featured lectures on wildlife at sea didn't interest us much, and nothing much else was offered other than one cooking demo of limited value. Bars were adequate but with no pizzazz (think Solstice's Ice Bar) and the public areas, boutiques, casino etc. in such a small ship seemed like a bit of a joke. You could walk through all of these in about 3 minutes. Excursions - we signed on for a few excursions, but only took one in Puerto Rico, which was very good. We did not go on the "open safari bus" trip in Tortola when we saw the buses! Hard wooden seats, no seat belts, and mountain roads - not a good combination! We also did not leave the ship when anchored off the Dominican Republic - local open-topped tenders had to be used to go to the beach on a small island, and these tenders looked very unsafe, especially in the swell occurring that day, and there was no sign of lifejackets. The gangway used for disembarking and boarding in port was narrow, and could only accommodate one-way use, which led to some delays. It was also very steep, set up on a higher deck than other ships at the same dock, and there was no assistance offered either at the top or bottom for the mostly elderly passengers. We told the security staff that old people were having lots of trouble climbing up, and they just shrugged - not their problem. Itinerary - The ship arrived at St. Maarten on a Sunday - absolutely everything was closed, and this was the prime shopping destination for the whole cruise. There were no other ships docked there that day, they had more sense. No shuttle services were offered in ports that would have benefited from them for passengers to get into town - San Juan, Tortola, and St. Maarten. So, our experiment over, we are going back to Celebrity and Holland America. For the extra thousands that we paid, even taking into account what we normally pay for drinks, tips and excursions, we received no advantage whatsoever, and no additional "luxury". In fact, our experience was less luxurious than we are used to. All-inclusive fares may be good value for a smaller suite, but do not make financial sense for a Penthouse class suite. We can only conclude that "six-star" is something invented by a very clever marketing company. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
What a wonderful cruise! From Start to Finish, we were more than impressed. Our cabin was clean and very tidy (JackieLou was our Stewardess) and Joshua , our butler, was a perfect gem! This is probably easiest in bullet form, so here ... Read More
What a wonderful cruise! From Start to Finish, we were more than impressed. Our cabin was clean and very tidy (JackieLou was our Stewardess) and Joshua , our butler, was a perfect gem! This is probably easiest in bullet form, so here goes. Cabin: Always kept very well and every wish was granted at once. I asked for decaf tea bags( I brought my own water bottles to mix the tea in) and they were there within minutes. I stubbed my toe horribly and band-aids were there, along with antiseptic cream, in minutes! We traveled with my Mother and when she was injured, both the butler and her stewardess were in polite attendance, constantly asking her what she desired. Only complaint was with the Tempur-pedic mattress-- way too hard for us! Dining: Lovely and attentive service in every venue. Roma was our waitress in Compass Rose and we could not have asked for any better! The food was very good and always presented in a timely manner. Actually the food was great! Can't pick a favorite-- but those Oysters Rockefeller in Prime 7 and the escargot in Compass Rose are at the top of the list.Poolside hamburgers were fabulous! Entertainment: We did not attend one show. A singer that had been brought on ship was seated near us several nights for dinner.After listening to her, well... that was enough. She was the loudest person each night in the restaurant. Common areas: I would agree with some people that some of the areas are "worn", but we did not feel that they were so horrible. Honestly, some people can complain about anything. Tenders to shore: You never knew you were getting on a boat! Smooth as silk. Those fellows know their job! Shore excursions: Ours were wonderful-- with this one exception: A better description needs to be made of the distances to get to the buses. Mom had a hard time getting to the bus in one stop and when I went to the desk to say something-- well, let's put it this way-- I was not the first one! The tours were great with very professional, enthusiastic guides. Ports: Some new and some we had been to many times. Belize was fun with the air-boat ride and the stingrays are always fun in Grand Cayman. Roatan was very interesting- reminded me of Vermont with Palm trees and the ocean! It has a brand new $62 million cruise terminal that is spotless! Having said all of this-- we are aware that not everyone had this same experience. I did hear that for some people service was slow, but we did not experience this. My wine that I enjoy was ready for me in the dining room and the Navigator Lounge-- without me asking! The staff all asked about Mom when she did not come to dinner with us. While on board we booked another cruise for next Thanksgiving and feel certain that we will have another great experience. This is a very friendly and professional staff that has to deal with many different types of people--there were several children on board and 110 people over the age of 90. Everyone was active and participated in shore excursions letting nothing stop them. Disembarkation was the smoothest we have ever encountered.Very well done! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2011
My husband and I are 73 and 70 years old and have been on 55 cruises before this one on the Regent. Boarding: We arrived at the terminal at 11:30 AM but waited until 1 PM to board and 2PM for the cabins to be ready. Next time we will ... Read More
My husband and I are 73 and 70 years old and have been on 55 cruises before this one on the Regent. Boarding: We arrived at the terminal at 11:30 AM but waited until 1 PM to board and 2PM for the cabins to be ready. Next time we will arrive later. The Ship The Navigator is small and easy to "navigate" The pool is never crowded but the only "walking" deck is deck 11 which can be very sunny and windy as there is no cover. The Navigator Lounge (one of 3) is dark and small but specialty coffees are available after 7AM. The Explorer Lounge has space for dancing but during the day is filled with passengers partaking in organized games and is not available for relaxing and reading. The Library and Computer Lab are one and very busy as all who cruise over 21 days receive free internet use. The Navigator does not do well in seas over 5 feet. It rocks and rolls and creaks and squeaks. Eating in the Veranda on deck 10 is difficult during swells. Cabins We had a penthouse B which was very roomy with a wonderful walk-in closet, large bathroom with tub and glass enclosed shower. Many lotions, shampoos, bath gels,etc. are replaced with alacrity. Butler Teddy and Stewardess Yenti were fabulous. The balcony was small but adequate but starting to rust and show age. Dining We ate breakfast and lunch in the Veranda where selections were many and tasty. We found dinner there lacking. Compass Rose (the main restaurant) was excellent I am gluten free and was accommodated totally. Prime 7 (steak house) was just OK. Entertainment We found the entertainment lacking except for the resident singers and dancers. Many nights it was just one of them soloing. Not a whole lot of money was spent on entertainerment. Lectures by Terry Breen, Regent's resident authority on South and Central America was excellent . She was so entertaining and with her knowledge we yearned for her lectures not to end. We love to play bridge but one-half of the small card room was occupied many days by 6 Brazilian immigration officials going over our visas. (They totally enjoyed their 6 days with us!) There are not enough areas available for providing enrichment programs. Excursions One cannot complain because most are included in the cruise fare. We can only say that many of the difficulty ratings were misleading. Research by the excursion staff seemed non-existant. We would rather pay and get quality excursions. Disembarkation Completely orderly--everyone was off the ship by 9:30 AM. Most of the passengers were repeaters on Regent but many have not sailed on the Navigator, their smallest ship. Most said they would not sail on her again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2011
This was a 24-day cruise through the Caribbean and up the Amazon, and we went into it with some concerns. We've cruised many times before (Princess, Holland-America, Celebrity and Regent), but those were shorter cruises and on larger ... Read More
This was a 24-day cruise through the Caribbean and up the Amazon, and we went into it with some concerns. We've cruised many times before (Princess, Holland-America, Celebrity and Regent), but those were shorter cruises and on larger ships. We wondered if 24 days would be too long, would a small ship be confining or uncomfortable, were there specific issues with the Navigator itself (we'd read of some complaints about vibration). The answers to all of those concerns was an emphatic NO. This turned out to be the cruise of a lifetime and worth every penny. Embarking: We live in Florida and thus received a discount since Regent didn't have to buy us an airplane ticket or put us up overnight prior to departure. The Ft. Lauderdale port was easy to access directly from the garage nearby, and embarkation was prompt and uncrowded. It was almost silly how many staff people were around to say "thanks for sailing with us" or "have a pleasant trip" or simply welcoming us. We came onboard at 2 and were in our rooms by 2:20, and the bags showed up by 3:00. The lifeboat drill came later and was well-handled. Since it is a small ship, there is only one muster station and easy to find. Room: Regent excels with huge rooms and balconies, and ours was no exception. Our stewardess, who had been on other ships, had just joined the Navigator. She promptly introduced herself and was wonderful throughout the cruise, very early learning our preferences in fruits and beverages, and when we liked to go to meals. Everything seemed to be top quality, from the bathroom to the beds to the TV/internet access. Restaurants: In the main restaurant (Compass Rose) we stumbled upon a fantastic waiter and sommelier and almost always asked to be seated in that area of the dining room ... with no problems. We always ate at a table for two by the window on our own timing. Again, the Maitre d' knew our preferences, as did the waiter -- another sign of the special treatment that you receive on Regent Navigator. The service was equally good in the informal dining area called Veranda, for lunch or breakfast (buffet service). We found the food to be excellent in Compass Rose, very good in the Veranda, and also very good in the fancy (and free) Prime restaurant. Our preference, though, was the Compass Rose. And the service, and presentation, is what I'll remember most. Staff: I've touched on this before, but the thing that really jumped out at us was how cooperative all of the staff was -- not just with the paying customers but especially with each other. No one seemed to be slacking off. If there was a customer who needed something, someone jumped in to take care of it -- whether it was filling a glass of water, getting a bottle of water, or whatever. It was immediately taken care of. It was almost difficult to determine who exactly was responsible for a specific thing because every staff person seemed to feel a personal responsibility to help you. Oh, there were some special people. The waiter, the stewardess, the person who started up the coffee bar early each morning and who knew what type of coffee you wanted even before you asked. But the entire crew seemed exceptional well-trained and customer-focussed. The Cruise Director, Jamie, was exceptional and seemingly knew everyone onboard by the time we debarked. Our onboard lecturer had fantastic knowledge about the Amazon which she shared with us each day and which helped to make the trip special. Public Spaces: We don't have any interest in a casino (if you want that, go to Vegas), or in duty-free shops onboard (if you want that, go ashore), or in buying artwork on a ship, and so the small space devoted to those things didn't bother us. In fact that was pretty nice. The theater was nicely laid out and able to hold just about everyone on the ship. The library is small, though equipped with enough computers, and daily downloads of newspapers from around the world. Individual lounges are also small but, to us, adequate for the number of potential users. Ports/Excursions: Some of the excursions were less than spectacular (e.g., a brief bus trip around St. Barts) while others were wonderful, such as the shore excursion to a village on the Amazon or a snorkeling trip in Grand Turk. Since these are all included in the base price, it is hard to find fault with any of them. Prior Concerns: I mentioned that we'd been concerned about possible vibration on the ship based on comments from others. Our room was towards the stern where this is supposed to be an issue. And yes, there was some vibration especially as the ship was docking or coming out of a port. But it was not at all objectionable. Since it is a smaller ship, there was a noticeable rocking and rolling when we encountered 7-9 foot seas or 10-foot swells, yet to us it was not an issue (we didn't bother with dramamine). In a way it helped us to feel that we were a part of the ship unlike what you might feel if you were on a 3,000 passenger megaship. It's a special feeling when you dock alongside a huge ship and see their lines of passengers getting on or off whereas our ship seemed almost like a private yacht. Disembarkation: Very easy and fast and well-organized, with some of the crew standing by to say goodbye. Wow, we hated to leave this ship! We're ready to cruise again, but our first priority is to go on the Navigator. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2011
This was our third Navigator cruise, our ninth on Regent overall. Although we had a wonderful time, we feel that Regent has gone downhill overall. We're not sure if they have reduced their staff, or if the inclusiveness of tours, or ... Read More
This was our third Navigator cruise, our ninth on Regent overall. Although we had a wonderful time, we feel that Regent has gone downhill overall. We're not sure if they have reduced their staff, or if the inclusiveness of tours, or a combination of both, as led to the decline. Embarkation was a total cattle call, with us all crammed in the Fort Lauderdale holding area for what seemed like an eternity. I am sure this is a port thing which Regent has no control over. However, Regent's computers failed just as they were to start the boarding process, and so they had to move all of their equipment onto the ship to commence boarding. Why they didn't just leave all their equipment on board in the first place, I don't know. The ports were wonderful - Port Canaveral, Savannah, Charleston, Hamilton (Bermuda), and Nassau. We took Regent-sponsored tours in each port except Nassau, and they all turned out well. My only issue is, now that tours are included, it seems EVERYONE on the entire ship feels they must take a tour just because it's "included". Therefore, each morning, it's a cattle call in the Seven Seas Lounge. Even though our tour tickets stated a certain time - e.g., 8:30am - we often ended up not leaving until an hour later. It was a bit irritating just sitting in the lounge waiting for our bus to be called, thinking "we could have slept another hour" or "we could have had a sit-down breakfast rather than a grab-n-go". It was never this way before the tours were included in the Regent fare. It used to be much more personalized, and we used to leave right at the time on our tour tickets - e.g., 8:30am! The food was excellent at Compass Rose - although the service was a bit lacking. Getting seated at this venue became so strange. We'd be greeted by the maitre d', then absolutely RUSHED to our table. I literally had to run a couple times to keep up with him. And I'm in my heels and the ship is in strong motion (more on that later). Anyway, it used to be that I would be gracefully offered the gentleman's arm and pleasantly escorted to the table at my own pace. Those days are gone. My only guess is, they are short-staffed in the restaurant. However, there was never anyone behind us waiting to be seated. Maybe they are doing double-duty, delivering food as well? Our experience once at our table was fair - you could tell some of the waiters were stressed out, wiping their brow, and once again, in a hurry. One night they missed two of my courses, and on another, I got the wrong meal. On another night, we had to flag someone down for wine after our courses were being served (wine glasses were never replaced from the sitting before us so they must have assumed we didn't want wine). But like I said, the food was excellent. Very flavorful, excellent presentation and perfect portions. Prime 7 was excellent in all regards. Our steaks were prepared perfectly and our requests were met, service was efficient and friendly. They seemed genuinely happy to have us there! Now...La Veranda is another story. We walked up to the maitre d' desk and no one came. Waited, waited. Finally, we walked into the restaurant a bit further and were told we'd have to wait for a table, but in the meantime, feel free to take a look at the food items along the buffet. OK, so we did. And waited. And waited. There were only two other parties in the entire restaurant, so we found this to be very strange. Then after we got seated, we waited. And waited. Finally, our waitress comes and says, "Are you OK?" We said yes, but we were just wondering when we could order? Oh! Well, apparently now the La Veranda is TOTALLY buffet-style. It used to be that your waiter/waitress would welcome you to partake of the antipasta bar, and then you would order your Primi and Secondi courses from the menu. We tried to explain that to our waitress and she firmly told us, "No, it's always been this way." Umm, we've been on this ship twice before, and we know how it used to work. Again, she said that it's always been this way - this time in a downright rude manner. By this time we were insulted and embarrassed enough to get up and leave. (And this is something we don't ever do, we are very easy-going!) Oh well, lesson learned: back to Compass Rose! We ate lunch at the pool grill every day and it was excellent. Always fresh and tasty. We had room service for breakfast several times and it was always RIGHT on time, hot and delicious. I always requested berries for breakfast - they are not listed on the menu card - but my wish was always fulfilled. The bartenders were tip-top as usual. Alan, who we know as a bartender from prior Regent cruises, is now the Head Bartender and he runs a perfect show. Every one of the bar staff got to know our favorite drinks, I considered them mind-readers! Jan, Elvis, Vasylyna, George, Marilyn, Eric, Jerel, Teran, Laura, Ronald - all A-1. Housekeeping was amazing as always. That is the one consistent aspect about Regent that I absolutely love. Our stewardess Evangeline never missed a detail. In fact, I brought on board a bunch of bottles of Vitamin Water and put them in our fridge (I love the stuff and I had never seen it on a Regent ship) - by the end of the cruise, magically, more Vitamin Water was showing up in our fridge. I guess they have it in the gym (which we never go to, ha!). But that was a very nice touch, for Evangeline to notice my obsession with Vitamin Water! Entertainment: We don't normally attend the shows (except the Krew Kapers show) - but we had heard that the Cruise Director, Ray Solaire, was not to be missed. We watched the show and it was indeed amazing. He is a very, very talented man! Imagine my shock and disappointment when I complimented him afterward in the hallway, and he blew me off! Honestly, he looked at me like I had two heads! There was no smile, no "thank you" or "oh, I haven't met you, what is your name?". I chalked it up to, he was having a bad day/tired/stressed, whatever. Well, that is, until we met another couple on board who had a very similar experience. I won't go into it, because it's their story to tell, but that did not sit well with us. He's all enamored with everyone, we have heard such great things, so why this? The only thing we could figure was that the four of us were among the youngest on the ship, so we weren't as worthy of his time as the older guests. Bad move on his part, considering we have a lot more years to spend on cruising! It just made me kind of sad. Anyway, thank goodness for Cody Yancey Dopson, the Assistant Cruise Director. He was recently promoted from entertainment, and he is so personable, talented and obviously very happy to be in his new role. Gavin, who plays the piano in the Stars Lounge nightly, was excellent as well! One major difference between the last two times we were on the Navigator until this time: ventilation! Our suite was always on the warm side, even though we kept the setting down as cold as it would go. Air was just barely seeping out of our vents. We mentioned it to the front desk and they said they'd have maintenance look at it, but it never did improve. Additionally - and this is a pretty major one for us - cigarette smoke. It seemed to permeate everywhere. As soon as we walked out of our suite we could smell it. Then when we walked down into the public areas, it just got worse. And I am not talking about the connoisseur club or the other designated smoking areas. I'm talking EVERYwhere. So that put a damper on the cruise as well. I really think they have an overall ventilation issue, because the smoke never used to be that bad, and because the air temperature used to be consistent throughout the ship. On this cruise, Galileo's was always frigid (a welcome change after our hot suite), and some guests we met said their suites were freezing cold (lucky them!). So bottom line: they seem to have an air distribution issue of some sort. Lastly, there were very rough seas which really put a damper on things. Of course it's not Regent's fault; in fact, they made the best of it. The front desk was always ready with our "daily dose" of meclizine. We had never been seasick before (and we have been on smaller ships than Navigator), so it was quite a surprise for us. Some of the crew were sick as well, and there were lots of glasses and liquor bottles broken, items flying across tables, guests falling down at breakfast. From what we understand, some guests even flew home once we got to Bermuda (which was mid-cruise) - they couldn't stand the thought of going on to Nassau and Fort Lauderdale. When you combine rough seas with the infamous vibration problems of Navigator, it doesn't make for an enjoyable cruise. Much as I love our Navigator, she's a tired little ship and I suspect she'll be retired soon. I realize this review sounds pretty negative - I struggled on whether I should post it at all. Others who were on this cruise may have had a completely positive experience (I really hope so!). But we are just making comparisons to our prior experiences on Regent (we are gold members, so we have several nights' experience and I guess we have been spoiled by the quintessential "Regent Experience") -- but this just did NOT live up to what we have come to expect. That, combined with Regent's ever-rising fares, makes us somewhat inclined not to cruise this line again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
This is our second Regent cruise, first on The Navigator. The cabins are perhaps Regent's strong point, and the spacious suite was a great place...fortunate since we had to spend significant time there during the sea days to and from ... Read More
This is our second Regent cruise, first on The Navigator. The cabins are perhaps Regent's strong point, and the spacious suite was a great place...fortunate since we had to spend significant time there during the sea days to and from Bermuda. Of course, the Ocean is the Ocean, but the ship did poorly (worse than on ships of similar size we've been on) with persistent 20-25 foot swells. Our first night out of Charleston was spent in what felt like a cycling elevator ride, up 15-20 feet, slide right, down 20 feet and repeat. The next day wasn't much better. On the leg from Bermuda to Nassau, the real thrills occurred...(all who were aboard will remember this for a loooong time). More 20-foot plus waves; one lifted us into a right hand yaw (quick swerve) followed quickly by another wave that hit us broadside, which tilted the ship about 25-30 degrees to the left (really). In La Veranda, a couple dozen folks were thrown from their chairs to skid across the floor, pots, pans, dishware and glasses fell and broke, and there were a few seconds that had me deliberating over the best way to find a life preserver...they went on the PA soon thereafter to ask people to go to their cabins and remain there. OK, back to the ship; great crew, excellent service throughout, especially in Compass Rose for dinners. Very good food (except the steaks, which didn't seem to have much flavor, and where anything from rare to medium was essentially the same) and menu choices. The ship's amenities were good for a vessel of that size, and the Cruise Director (Ray Solaire) is the best CD I have experienced in a dozen cruises on 5 different lines. The fitness center was more than adequate for a boat of this size; they may want to consider adding another elliptical (take out one treadmill) to keep up with trends in exercise. The shorex were generally very good, and the variety of things to do was fine in re what one might expect. Due to the heavy weather, though, both snorkling days (one in Bermuda and one in Nassau) were cancelled. Also due to the heavy swells enroute to Bermuda, we arrived several hours late, pushing some shorex to the next day and causing us and others to miss some due to conflicts in time. Perhaps to make up for Bermuda (where we had to stay in Hamilton and not move to St George's due to ocean conditions) we did arrive early in Nassau. Ship entertainment was better than expected, and the dance and singing performances were generally very good. They did a Cirque show one evening that I would have paid for in a land-based resort. The band was enjoyable, and their work in the various lounges and dance venues was appreciated. The ship did a Halloween dance and party one night, which was well-done and should be considered as a recurring activity (of course, the theme would change with the seasons). The comedian wasn't to our taste (not bad, just not very funny, which is subjective, I know). The enrichment lectures were OK, although the photography guy spent more time lauding the Occupy movement and a return to 60's style protests than much else. One area of concern was both getting onboard the first day, and then leaving the ship at the end of the cruise. Check-in was slowed by about an hour when the shore-side computers wouldn't sync with the ship. After about 30-40 minutes, they packed it all up and then checked us in after we boarded and were guided to the show lounge. Leaving the ship on the last morning was also delayed due to problems offloading luggage. The first group didn't run from the ship until about 0845, causing some tense moments for those flying out earlier in the day. Staff was hesitant in both instances to advise passengers about the delays, mostly just assuring us it would be "about five minutes" every 5-10 minutes or so. Our particular suite (809) had a staccato clicking and loud creaking in the heavy weather around the vanity; I could see foam shims had already been shoved into place at various spots, so this seems a recurring issue with that space. Overall, it was a memorable cruise, and we enjoyed the time onboard. The seas made for memories, also, but not the ones you necessarily want. When you dine, watching green water repeatedly cover the Compass Rose windows does help to focus dinner conversation, though... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
I was intrigued by ebobh's comments on the Oct. 28 voyage to Bermuda. I agree that it was bumpy with people and objects tumbling about. Also, though, in Bermuda we were not allowed to visit the port of St. George's because of ... Read More
I was intrigued by ebobh's comments on the Oct. 28 voyage to Bermuda. I agree that it was bumpy with people and objects tumbling about. Also, though, in Bermuda we were not allowed to visit the port of St. George's because of gale force winds. The destinations crew did a great job of rescheduling excursions from Hamilton, although some were cancelled because of conditions. However, the quartering seas from Bermuda to Nassau were much larger, reaching 40 feet. I could see a wave cresting on a swell at the 8th deck level. The winds reached 40+ knots and decks were closed. It was apparent that neither the bridge crew nor deck and hospitality crew were reacting appropriately for the conditions. Restaurants and lounges were closed after passengers were injured by falls and broken glass, not before. Announcements were not timely. Another problem was the gobs of soot that descended on the pool and other open decks after the generators were cranked up Monday the 31st for a crew emergency drill. Anyone sitting on deck furniture found themselves covered in greasy black goo. The stuff was still not cleaned up by Tuesday lunchtime. Another belch from the stacks descended a few days later. Although we were really pleased with our voyage on Regent Voyager last year, we were not at all comfortable on this ship. A little research turned up the fact that the Russian hull was designed for an ice-breaking supply ship, not a passenger vessel. The interior was the noisiest ever, allowing no sleep for the 4 nights getting to and from Bermuda. Panels shrieked, drawers opened and the 4 props vibrated incredibly through the vessel. Mini rogue waves caused a tremendous booming in the whole aft area. Never Navigator again for me. I like the small ship, all-inclusive idea (when we added up the extra charges on other lines we came out ahead on Regent despite the expensive looking up-front payment) but this was not a pleasant experience for half the time. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
Went on a Regent cruise from 4/15 to 4/25/2011 aboard the Seven Seas Navigator out of Ft. Lauderdale. Stopped at Port Canaveral, Charleston, Bermuda ,Nassau and back to Lauderdale. I read all the reviews on this vessel before we left and ... Read More
Went on a Regent cruise from 4/15 to 4/25/2011 aboard the Seven Seas Navigator out of Ft. Lauderdale. Stopped at Port Canaveral, Charleston, Bermuda ,Nassau and back to Lauderdale. I read all the reviews on this vessel before we left and just had to comment. I was looking for a 5 star cruise, something way above the ordinary and didn't mind the price tag if the experience was worth it. It was to us in spades. Keep in mind that this price was not for the faint of heart and thus you did not see families with children or honeymooners. The average age was easily over sixty. The mood was laid back and comfortable. Not a lot of rock climbers in this group but plenty of dancers. The oldies night and the Beetles night saw the floor crowded. The rooms were big by most cruise standards and probably 80% were the same size, 630 sq.ft. with a balcony. We were on deck seven and had the same room as decks 8 and 9. The higher up, add a $1000 per deck. Rooms were squeaky clean and well attended by a stewardess. The food was absolutely excellent from top to bottom. Not one bad dish. Fresh bread, fruit, fish and prepared just right. Two days into the cruise, we talked to a couple (around 70 years old) who were not pleased with the food, stating that it was much better on another up scale cruise line that they had used. To each there own I guess, but to us, we have never had better anywhere while traveling. I have read a review or two that said the dining service was lacking maybe because of in sufficient staff. Maybe then, not now, every meal was extremely well served. The staff was great. Room service was included and while we only ate breakfast in our suite, we could have had shrimp cocktails and surf and turf every day if so inclined. My significant other and I have been known to tip a few in our time and this was where we made a huge dent in Regent's profit. I was interested to see at what level the brands of spirits offered would be and was pleasantly surprised. For example: Glenfitich, Johnny Walker Red and Black, Chevis, Crown Royal to name a very few and all name brand liquors. Absolutely an excellent wine selection. Yes, you could get a bottle of Dom Perion or something else completely out of sight for an additional cost. Not needed in my opinion. Asked our stewardess for a bottle of wine for the room and one showed up each afternoon in our suite. You could have gotten a bottle of anything for your room. The staff did not in any way hold back just because this was all inclusive. AND we already had a designated driver. This ship has one flaw and I was aware of it because of reviews like this. It does have a significant vibration at the rear and especially on the lower decks. A refit of the hull when in dry dock a few years ago did not completely fix the problem. It was most pronounced when in the theater on deck 6 at the rear. Thus when booking, I chose a room well forward. However, I did not hear of one complaint from anyone about their rooms so I guess the vibration is just prevalent on the lower decks. My better half and I agreed that there was one huge drawback........this cruise has absolutely spoiled us. Cannot imagine returning to a ship where I have to sign a bill and add a tip every time I turn around. Will definitely return to Regent. Would like to try one of their other ships. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
This was an all-included cruise on the Seven Seas Navigator - a 490 passenger ship. From the beginning in Ft. Lauderdale to the finish in San Francisco, it was first class all the way. This was a repositioning cruise from April 25 to May ... Read More
This was an all-included cruise on the Seven Seas Navigator - a 490 passenger ship. From the beginning in Ft. Lauderdale to the finish in San Francisco, it was first class all the way. This was a repositioning cruise from April 25 to May 13 to get the ship in position to begin its Alaskan summer trips from Seattle. Repositioning cruises are less expensive, but no less luxurious. Our ports of call included Grand Cayman, Cartagena, Costa Rica, five in Mexico, and San Diego. The trip through the Panama Canal was especially interesting since we saw the massive construction of the new and larger canal. Everything was included such as gratuities, drinks and shore excursions. Surprisingly for a smaller ship, it had several excellent floor shows with very talented dancers and a fine band. Our cabin had a walk-in closet, full size bathtub and shower, a stocked mini-bar and more storage space than we could possibly use. Service throughout the ship was attentive and friendly. Passengers we met were seasoned travelers who knew a good thing. The one flaw was a Regent policy which prevented us from traveling with the rest of the passengers to the San Fraancisco airport. We had reserved a rental car at the airport to drive to Seattle and fly home from Seattle. If we were flying from San Francisco, we would have been given transportation. I can't figure that reasoning. One sour note in an otherwise fine cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
My mother was kind enough to take me on a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean this year, and it was a fantastic trip. It was my very first cruise, and everyone told me I'd be "spoiled" by going with Regent for my first cruise. ... Read More
My mother was kind enough to take me on a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean this year, and it was a fantastic trip. It was my very first cruise, and everyone told me I'd be "spoiled" by going with Regent for my first cruise. They were right!I loved the smallness of the ship: only 490 passengers. We had one of the few non-balcony suites, but that didn't matter at all - we had a fabulous view out the big window, and I could always go up on deck if I wanted to be outside.Everything was relaxed, yet genteel. I really had the feeling that every single Regent employee genuinely wanted me to have a wonderful time: from our sweet & efficient stewardess Jane, to the cruise director Lorraine, to Noel who works in the Pool Bar, to the Captain himself, John MacNeill. Loved his bagpipe anthems steaming us out of port!The excursions were great, too. I did a lot of snorkelling and enjoyed it all. The best was probably off of Grand Turk, where the sea plummets to 7000 ft! And, the "bike, hike, kayak" adventure on the Dominican Republic was unique, too, in that we were (mostly) alone in the forest. Loved it.I like that I saw a number of Regent employees off the ship when we were in port, including some on our excursions. I think (hope) Regent treats and pays its staff well, because they seem to be happy with their jobs, and that makes for an even better experience for the passengers, too.I'm already trying to figure out my next cruise on Regent! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
So I feel compelled to give this disclaimer, I have only been on one other cruise line besides Regent so I don't have the widest perspective. With that said my wife and I have had such wonderful experiences on Regent I don't ... Read More
So I feel compelled to give this disclaimer, I have only been on one other cruise line besides Regent so I don't have the widest perspective. With that said my wife and I have had such wonderful experiences on Regent I don't think we will ever use a different cruise line. Embarkation/disembarkation: My only complaint for the trip was our arrival time, Regent did our air arrangements and had us on a 5:45 Am flight into Miami. Besides having this horrible flight time we arrived at the ship around 11 am, so we had about an hour before they would even let us board, they gave us water and cookies and were very pleasant but I would have preferred a later flight with less waiting. Checking in was a quick experience and we had lunch when our room was being prepared. I personally didn't mind the wait as it gave us a chance to explore the ship and get our bearings. getting off the ship is a bit hectic as they ask everyone to be out of their rooms about an hour before you start leaving, but after we found a place to sit and our group was called we were through customs and on a shuttle to the airport withing 15 minutes, very nice. Room: The room felt very spacious and it lived well for the week. My wife really appreciated the separate bath tub. Also I have to give high praise to our stewardess Jane, She introduced her self asked if we had anything we would like before dinner (white wine) and made sure it was in our room every day. She learned quickly we were early eaters and would have our room turned down by the time we returned to the room before the show. Also Jane quickly figured out we enjoyed the chocolates and gave us a few extra every day. It's small details like that which make Regent so much better than other cruise lines. Also they have a wide selection of free movies through an interactive menu which was nice way for us to finish our evenings Dining: The food is excellent. we ate at Prime 7 once and it is as good as any high end steakhouse I have ever been to. they also prepared a special desert for my wife and I for our special occasion which was nice. the compass rose was delicious but a bit slow. Never slow enough for us to complain though. We ate at La veranda for lunch most days and it was excellent. Overall the food is high quality. Others have complained about the service but on our cruise it was excellent. enough can't be said about how you never have to wait for a table. Also in room dining is quick and they will make every effort for any special orders. Ports/excursions/ship activities: We enjoyed each of excursions, we booked through the ship and they were wonderful. We had rain in Guatemala so we decided to relax on the ship. Also the days on sea were pleasant with enough activities. On our trip they did two themed afternoon teas which were amazing. Tea is an everyday activities which includes trivia, we loved it for the scones and would recommend it to anyone cruising. We went to the shows most evening, our favorite being Cirque navigator. The shows were entertaining especially after wine with dinner and a pre-show cocktail. Spa/Gym: the Spa is a canyon ranch and is very luxurious but expensive (it's the only thing on the ship besides the shop that is not inclusive). My wife had a couple of treatments she enjoyed thoroughly. The gym on the ship is small but we never had to wait more then 10 minutes for a machine, I think it is all about timing. The fitness classes are included and my wife did a couple. Overall very adequate gym facilities which are needed to offset the incredible amount of savory foods. Miscellaneous: The crowd on Regent is definitely older we are in our 20's and were easily the youngest people that were not accompanied by their parents. we didn't mind but if you are looking for late night dancing or a party crowd you won't find it on Regent. This cruise line is obviously expensive but you feel like it is well spent. I probably had 5-6 drinks a day and we used the shore free shore excursions, I'm sure regent came out ahead but I felt like it was close. Overall I would definitely recommend regent if you are looking for a relaxing and luxurious cruise experience and don't want the huge ship experience. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2011
After 5 memorable cruises on Oceania we thought we would splurge on a 6 star-rated ship in honor of our 50th anniversary. By the end of the cruise we felt we had been on a 3-star ship. We sailed from Fort Lauderdale to the western ... Read More
After 5 memorable cruises on Oceania we thought we would splurge on a 6 star-rated ship in honor of our 50th anniversary. By the end of the cruise we felt we had been on a 3-star ship. We sailed from Fort Lauderdale to the western Caribbean. It became obvious that things were different at embarkation where we stood in 2 different lines for 45 minutes [never stood in line on Oceania]. In general, the food was average, portions small, presentation ordinary, and service slow to sometimes non-existant. On our first morning at the breakfast buffet there were no cereal bowls and no one around to ask. The selection of fresh fruit was very limited. Although we embarked from Fort Lauderdale there were no fresh berries other than strawberries and no grapefruit on the buffet. To get a second cup of coffee you had to get up to find a waiter. In fact, whenever asking the staff for anything the response was grudging and unfriendly. Dinners took 2-3 hours to get served which meant missing the entertainment most evenings [which wasn't much to see anyway]. The impression that we and other passengers we spoke with had was that the ship was understaffed and the staff was overworked. They seldom made eye contact or gave you a friendly greeting as we were accustomed to on Oceania. One day we returned from an excursion after 2 pm. The only place to get lunch was at the poolside grill but there was no one there grilling. Instead there was a platter of small sandwiches that had been sitting out there for who knows how long and a salad bar. On Oceania there are 2 people grilling hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken until 4 pm everyday. The celebration of our anniversary became a comedy of errors that made us regret we even mentioned it. Although the cabin was quite comfortable, its location near the rear of the ship had us experiencing noise and severe vibration that could wake the dead, especially when we came into port early in the morning. All in all, I can't wait to take another Oceania cruise where I know I will have wonderful food and friendly service, plus a good night's sleep. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2011
We just got back from our Regent Seven Seas Navigator Western Caribbean cruise. The service was excellent. The food was probably the best cruise ship cuisine we have had yet. The free airfare and excursions were a good value. We took ... Read More
We just got back from our Regent Seven Seas Navigator Western Caribbean cruise. The service was excellent. The food was probably the best cruise ship cuisine we have had yet. The free airfare and excursions were a good value. We took particular advantage of the excursions taking one in each port. All were excellent and organized with precision. We had only two complaints as follows: 1. We were very surprised by how elderly all the passengers were. My wife and I are early 50's and we felt like we were the youngest people on the ship. It seemed like the geriatric, wheel chair and walker crowd. It took some work to find any younger cruisers. 2. We had a creaking noise in our cabin that literally kept us up at night. The ship's carpenter worked on this two times with his handy can of WD-40. It got better and then got worse again. We did here one other passenger complain about the exact same noise. The ship's carpenter was very experienced dealing with the problem which suggests it is a known and ongoing problem. The ship's age, built in 1999 may be the issue. The staff was very responsive to our 2nd issue but could not fully resolve it. The only way they can address the first issue would be to shift their marketing a bit. These two issues would keep us away in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
We chose this cruise because we wanted to get away from the Alpine winter - the last two winters in Switzerland, where we live, have been brutal and we are sick of snow and ice. 10 days on a Regent ship in an area which would most likely ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to get away from the Alpine winter - the last two winters in Switzerland, where we live, have been brutal and we are sick of snow and ice. 10 days on a Regent ship in an area which would most likely be warm if not hot suited us to a T. In fact we had originally booked a 7 day Western Caribbean cruise on the same ship but changed to the Eastern one to have 3 more days on board. For us on this cruise, having travelled widely in the area beforehand, the destination was the ship itself not the ports. We flew from Switzerland to London, spent the night at the Sofitel at Heathrow (very nice hotel) and flew on the following day to Miami. We were on BA Business Class and all went according to plan. Comfortable flat beds, good cabin service and a smooth flight. On arrival in Miami we stayed with an old friend who lives in Miami Beach for a few nights. We did not want to go straight from airport to ship and were delighted to have some time to get over the jetlag and fatigue from the flights. We rented a Hertz car in Miami and drove up to Ft Lauderdale, dropping the car at the Hertz facility at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, next to the port. A free shuttle bus took over to the Navigator, berthed in one of the "nether regions" of the Port as there were many ships there that day. In fact all were huge - and when we got to ours the driver said "My - you have a baby ship" !! And that is just the way we like it!! We arrived at the pier at about 1150. Our bags were taken from us and we were escorted to a waiting area where we received a check in number. Around noon Damien LaCroix, the GM appeared and apologised to all waiting that check in would be delayed somewhat due to "technical difficulties". We could see the agents setting up their computers at the counters and I think that the delay had more to do with the fact that we were in an area that is used for cargo during the week and cruises on the weekends and so does not have permanent equipment for cruise passenger check in than to any specific technical problem. Anyway, we were called by number around 1220 and by 1230, champagne in hand, were off to la Veranda for lunch. This is the first time we have sailed on the Navigator since the major renovations in drydock some 13 months before. We were delighted with the changes - mostly in the public areas where the dEcor seemed much nicer than before. Of course the bulk of the work had been on infrastructure - the hull, the electrics and the plumbing and while you can see the "ducktail" you cannot really "admire" new electric cables or pipes! Anyway we liked the "new" la Veranda, and were impressed with the buffet lunch on offer. I remember remarking to my husband that it was one thing to have this during boarding when not all 490 passengers were around (the ship was full!) and another to have it repeated during the voyage. However, day after day it was repeated: good food, hot food hot, cold food cold, no queues to get served, no wait for a table for two...in short, with a full ship - terrific!! Shortly after 1430 we were told we could go to our suites. We had a Penthouse C which is a "normal" size suite but comes with a Butler. In our case Raj. Raj was a nice chap, good butler and did all he could to make our cruise an excellent one. Our Steward, Ricky, came by and introduced himself. I asked if our bed had been made up with two single duvets and he pointed out that it was indeed the case! My request on the Butler form had been read and compiled with. Good start! The last time we were on the Navigator we had a Navigator Suite. We liked it but found the bedroom very small - hard to get around the bed. The PH C suite was obviously smaller, but seemed more spacious in the bedroom area which we liked. The bathroom was the same with separate shower and bath. Unlike the last cruise (May 2009, Transatlantic) we only experienced "brown water" once and that was when I ran the bath for the first time. I rather think that perhaps the previous occupants of the suite had used the shower and the water had been standing in the pipes for a bit...or maybe all that money spent on the plumbing really was worth it! I would not hesitate to book the same suite - PH C - again. Nice and spacious (though not as spacious as the PH on the Mariner) and very comfortable. We had many occasions to sit outside on our balcony and found this to be more accessible and more comfortable than that of the Navigator suite. We found that the vibration in the stern has been reduced compared to what it used to be like, but has not vanished. This is, after all, a ship! One other improvement needs mentioning! The golf nets have been removed and a Putting Green installed on the Sports Deck. (Actually they had room to leave the Golf nets AND add the green...) Anyway for golfers (which we are) this is great. We went up there almost every day and really enjoyed it. It has an Astroturf surface, and about 7 holes, and there are little bumps and valleys... and when the ship is rolling it is really challenging!! We sailed at about 1730, following Lifeboat drill at which we learnt that the ship was literally completely full! No seats left vacant in the Stars Theatre!! At the Drill I also learnt some very good news - our Cruise Director was Dionne Lochner. She had been Cruise Director on our April 2010 Mariner cruise in the Mediterranean, and she is a very very capable CD as well as an utterly charming person. I looked forward to meeting her again!! Dinner that night was at Prime 7. We enjoyed the restaurant even though it is very small and perhaps the chairs are a bit over-powering for the space! We were delighted to see Stefano as maitre d'hôtel - he had been second in command at la Veranda on our previous Navigator cruise when it was called Portofino and he is a thoroughly nice man. And we were more than delighted to be able to order steamed lobsters. (Can't get these easily in Switzerland!!) It is really great at the little Navigator now has a real second choice for dinners and I wish that they would open Prime 7 for lunch on sea days as well. That would make a LOT of people very happy!! The next day we were supposed to have a BBQ on a beach in the Bahamas. Unfortunately for those who wished to go on shore (we didn't plan to) there was too much swell to provide safe tendering so Captain Armellino cancelled the stop and we headed to San Juan, effectively giving us two sea days in a row. (Great!) Dionne and her team and the Executive Chef Klaus Reinmuller and his team did some quick re-shuffling and the BBQ planned for the beach appeared at the Pool Deck. I should say a word about the revamped Pool Deck - the Buffet area has been expanded and now has a built in grill, outdoors. The furniture - tables chairs etc - is much lighter and easier to move around AND they have added several tables for two, in the shade near the Buffet area. We really liked this area and staked a claim to a table each morning about 11am to have a Bloody Mary or Margarita, read and then have whatever was on offer for lunch. That evening was the Captain's Welcome Reception. Captain Ubaido Armellino is a very nice person, but we felt his English was not up to the level he would like to feel comfortable in chatting to passengers...or perhaps he is very shy. Anyway we speak Italian, and talked with him at some length. But we never saw him around the ship as we have other Captains and we just got the impression that he doesn't quite "jell" with the guests. We could be totally off base, but that was out feeling. We ate dinner in the Compass Rose that night and it was not only delicious, but so beautifully presented the plates reminded us of a restaurant not far from our home that has a 19/20 rating in the Gault-Millau Guide - and that IS saying something! Maitre d'hôtel in the Compass Rose was another old friend - Delfino. Lovely to see him again, and in tribute to his oversight I can say that with a full ship we never, ever had to wait to be served, nor for wine, in the CR on this cruise! That night was the first of the "shows" - Just Swing. I do not know what Regent has been doing behind the scenes with the entertainment but it was my impression that the quality of the shows has risen in the last two years. At any rate the singers and dancers on this cruise were excellent - with the best show being "Cirque Navigator" which is sort of like the Cirque du Soleil. Our first port was San Juan where we docked in the middle of the Old Town. Very scenic area and the buildings made a great backdrop for our stay. We had not planned an excursion so we just picked up a map from the Tourist Rep on Deck 5 and at her suggestion went to take the free Shuttle bus that wends its way around the town. We did a complete circuit then got off and walked for a while before getting back on board. Both of us travelled reasonably often to San Juan in our working days and since we don't do "jungle walks" etc any more were quite content to limit our San Juan stop to just the bus and a walk. Next port was Road Town, Tortola. We took an excursion here that involved a bus ride over the island, with stupendous views over the Sir Francis Drake Channel, Jost van Dyke etc and then some inevitable free time to shop before taking a boat back to the ship. The chap who drove the boat was a bit of a cowboy and gunned the engines so that we went from wave crest to wave crest. Those sitting out front got soaked but didn't seem to mind. This wasn't the world's best tour, but it was more than adequate. Back on board we were happy to have lunch at la Veranda and then read for a while before Trivia at 4pm. The following day we were supposed to have stopped in St Bart's which I understand is quite a shopping Mecca. Sadly we couldn't as again the swell was too much for safe tendering. Captain Armellino announced that the port was cancelled but that we would go on to St Maarten, where we could dock, and that we would have much of the morning and all afternoon there. On arrival we did indeed dock, alongside 3 other ships, all carrying minimum of 3000 passengers!! Luckily for us we arrived between ship 1 and 2, and all the passengers from ship 1 were already in town. So we had no wait for the water taxi to Front Street. We walked along Front Street as far as we could, and then returned on the next street. Every second shop was selling jewellery - the others either T shirts or Electronics! Apparently St Maarten is as much a shopping Mecca as St Barts. We didn't plan to buy anything but were interested to see a small part of Holland in the Caribbean!! Back on board we ate lunch on the Pool deck (great hamburger) and then took a nap. (We aren't really the best party people in the world as one might gather!!) Next port was Virgin Gorda. Lots of people headed off to "The Baths" - great place for swimming! But we had been there before and - once again - preferred to stay on board. Dionne by now had realised that we preferred being on the ship to being on shore and she asked us if she should tell the Captain to just drive around in circles for the rest of the cruise!! I assured her that I would be most happy if he did. Cayo Levantado followed Virgin Gorda. We had wanted to take the "Visit Samana" excursion and when we signed up for it prior to the cruise there was no mention of spending time on a beach. However once we were on board the detailed excursion description included two hours of "beach or shopping". Neither one appealed to us so we cancelled it. We did take the tender over to Cayo Levantado which is an island off Samana, with one rather nice looking hotel. The tender operation was done by locals, not by our own tenders, which is the first time I have seen this. When we arrived at the island the tender captain told us that the next tender back to the ship would leave at 1pm. (It was then 11am). Horrified at the thought of sitting on a beach complete with "folkloric dancers" I asked if this particular tender would make another trip to the ship and was told yes. So we stayed on the tender and went back to the ship. The Tender Officer on board remarked on our quick re-appearance! So we told him what we had been told. Some fast footwork ensued, and the tender service was continued un-interrupted, all day. However friends who did go on shore said there was really nothing to do once there and that the beach was not fantastic. So much for the DR - and I was sad because I had never been there and had been looking forward to at least seeing something of it! Our last port was Grand Turk. The dock there is a long way from the town, and it was raining quite hard when we arrived. We went on shore to do some shopping (finally!) in their Duty Free and were quite impressed with the scope of it, and the way it was organised. Also with the beautiful beaches that stretched out beside it. We would have liked to take a walk along the beach, but not in the rain! Soon after we arrived two huge ships pulled in and disgorged their passengers. The beach proved very popular with them, and the rain gradually stopped. Apparently the Turks and Caïcos were colonised by Bermudians and I could see from the beach that they must have felt right at home! Beautiful turquoise water. Sunday, 16th January was our last day on board and, because it was Sunday, champagne and caviar appeared at breakfast - I love this Regent tradition!! It was also a sea day and there were lots of things on offer. BBQ lunch on the Pool deck, a lecture on "Pirates of the Caribbean", another on "Happy Feet" given by someone from the Spa, the (inevitable and not desired!) Art Auction, and another enrichment lecture on "Nicholas and Alexandra". Also a wine tasting, waffle teatime and a "popcorn movie". In short, no lack of things to do! We docked around 7am the next day and had breakfast in la Veranda as usual. Then we waited in Gallileo's to be called for disembarkation around 0900. We cleared Customs and Immigration without any request to have fingerprints taken and found our bags easily. We then we took a taxi over to Hertz instead of waiting for their shuttle, rented a car and were on our way. It was a perfect cruise. Plenty to do both on shore and on board if one wanted to. And plenty of time to relax, read and enjoy the ship. Wonderful food!! And so well presented. Superb service from everyone from the Butler and Steward to the Maitres d'hôtel, the delightful barmen (especially Elvis!) and the Pool Deck and la Veranda staff. A wonderful Cruise Director and Entertainment Staff. My only criticism is that on the Navigator there is no Observation Lounge and Gallileo's is really too small a space when the ship is totally full. I hope that in a future dry dock a "superstructure" could be built to expand what is now the Spa and Fitness area and that could be turned into a real Observation Lounge. Maybe then the Navigator Lounge area could be made into the Spa?? The lack of an Observation Lounge on a ship like the Navigator is a shame! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
My 2nd voyage on the Mariner left me with some mixed impressions. In some ways, things were even better than they were the first time (and that's saying a lot since I was immensely pleased by my first experience); in other ways there ... Read More
My 2nd voyage on the Mariner left me with some mixed impressions. In some ways, things were even better than they were the first time (and that's saying a lot since I was immensely pleased by my first experience); in other ways there was a very noticeable decline. Embarkation was speedy but we were not escorted to the pool deck, told about lunch options, etc.; perhaps they only do that for new cruisers? Food: In the main dining room, Compass Rose, food was 100% fantastic. Lots of interesting and tasty combinations when it came to menu preparation but the service was spotty. Often waiters would forget to bring a drink, or pepper, or even notice you were sitting in their section! On the other hand, in the two reservations only restaurants (Prime 7 and Signatures) service was outstanding but the menus were identical to two years ago and the food while quite good, is uninspired. The 4th venue, La Veranda was good (not great) in both service and food. Room service was delivered promptly and was completely accurate the 4 or 5 times I ordered from there. The pool grill was consistently good and the specialty themed lunches when they held them were also quite good. Activities and entertainment: CD Ray Solaire runs a much tighter ship (pun intended) than his predecessor and the games were all very well run. Typical cruise ship fare, they included baggo, putting, bocce, shuffleboard, ping pong, etc. The entertainment I felt was vastly improved with their new production show Le Cirque Mariner and their standard production show which is an assortment of Broadway show tunes but that may just be because the performers were more talented this time around. The main lecturer, Terry Breen, is informative and entertaining and there were a couple of other educational lectures as well. Surprisingly, some of the events that were billed as "lectures" were nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to coerce you into buying something (i.e. art lecture, haircare lecture, etc.) Excursions: this is where Regent has logged a colossal fail. With the inclusion of excursions, you have practically everyone on board signing up for "free" tours which creates unpleasant bottlenecks every time you land in port. Where you used to have passengers staggering their departure times at their convenience, you now have multitudes departing en mass every 10 minutes. Add this to the fact that Regent does have a slightly "slower moving" population and you end up with long lines getting off the ship and a long wait sitting on the bus at the pier before you can leave for your tour. After a couple of tries with the included excursions, we ended up just paying for our own tours, walking off the ship at OUR convenience and hiring a driver at the port. The added expense was offset by leaving the aggravation behind. Other than the less than pristine service in Compass Rose, all of the staff were excellent: friendly, helpful, talkative, sociable and could not do enough for you. Service on this ship is a solid A++ I highly recommend this cruise line and specifically this ship for cruising. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
PRE-CRUISE FLIGHTS: Flying anywhere in the middle of winter has its challenges. We decided to do an overnight flight from Seattle to Miami that was scheduled to arrive 7:00 a.m. on the day of departure. The snow in Seattle had just melted, ... Read More
PRE-CRUISE FLIGHTS: Flying anywhere in the middle of winter has its challenges. We decided to do an overnight flight from Seattle to Miami that was scheduled to arrive 7:00 a.m. on the day of departure. The snow in Seattle had just melted, however we did not count on fog in Miami. After spending 4 hours on the ground in Orlando, we were finally able to fly to Miami. In retrospect, it would have been wise to fly in a day earlier. Once we arrived in Miami, we met a couple that were happy to share a cab with us. With tip, the cost of the cab was $80. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the port at 12:40 p.m. Unfortunately, a bus load of passengers was ahead of us. We sat in line for approximately a half hour, completed the check-in process and boarded. While not the fastest embarkation, it was handled calmly and efficiently. On onboard, we proceeded to La Veranda for lunch (more in the food section). THE SHIP: The ship is going into dry dock for one week in April, 2011. Except for the carpeting that needs some refreshing, the ship is in excellent condition. There is some talk about moving the Boutique into a section of Stars Lounge as it is currently in a position that is hard to see. Stars is such a large venue, it probably could lose some space and still be functional. A final decision had not been made by the time we disembarked. FOOD: There has been such an improvement in this area that we were pleasantly surprised. We dined at Prime 7 the first evening. Their crab was some of the best we have had (except in Alaska). Signatures has never been our favorite venue. It was alright, but am not overly impressed with it. We did not dine in La Veranda in the evening and only stopped by there for a few quick breakfasts and lunches. When the pool area had special barbeques and lunch specials, we would take our food into La Veranda to enjoy the air conditioning. The quality of the lunch offerings was good. Enjoyed the pasta station very much (I am a bit of a pasta lover). Compass Rose: We could have eaten every meal there (almost did) and been very happy. Wine and food choices were good. Definitely missed seeing Filet Mignon on the menu as well as Beef Wellington (think this disappeared sometime in 2010). It would be nice if the side dishes that are always available would be put on the menu (mashed potato's and fries, for instance). For the first time on a Regent ship, the Grouper was wonderful - as were all of the fish dishes we ordered. Bread was always fresh, wine glasses filled promptly (no problem asking for a different complimentary wine). Desserts were interesting, innovative and delicious. LOUNGES: We spent most of our cocktail lounge time in the Observation Lounge. This is probably out of habit. For the first time, we sat at the bar and got to know the bartenders and other passengers. The U-shaped bar makes it easy to converse with others. The Horizon Lounge was great for Trivia and tea in the afternoon (or in my case, a chocolate martini in the afternoon to accompany the luscious desserts). The Mariner's Lounge is outside of Prime 7 and Compass Rose. This is the only Regent ship that has this lovely set-up. It is a nice place to relax before dinner. Stars Lounge is the smoking venue. Unfortunately, we found their doors open in the evening. . . allowing the smoke to waft into the hallways. SERVICE: This is the area where everyone excelled on this trip. The following is what I put on our comment card about some of the staff: "Roy, is the best Butler we have had. If he had waited until we asked him to do something, he would have done nothing for us (which has happened on previous cruises). We are low maintenance while Roy is proactive. When he saw my husband walking down the hall with excursion tickets, Roy stopped him, took the tickets and told him that he would take care of it for us (and he did). He is a wonderful person and a perfect Butler. Head Waiters Rommel and Gilbert took care of our every need. They even took care of things we didn't know we wanted. When I suggested that hot sauce be provided with typically spicy dishes like "Thai", he began providing chili sauce for us at lunch and dinner. When we discussed a Philippine meal early in the cruise, it was provided for us on our last day. These men are amazing - a tribute to Regent and their wonderful Dining Room Manager, Franco (I do not know enough adjectives to describe him). He is simply a wonderful man who makes every passenger feel like they are guests in his home." There have been recent reviews that talk about the service in Compass Rose. I would like to comment on that if I may. When a planned event (such as the Captain's Reception) happen prior to dinner, when the event is over, there is a rush to Compass Rose. Obviously the service at that time is not going to be quite as fast as other nights or later in the evening. We dine early and find the service impeccable. Also, we prefer to sit in the same area(s) each evening so we become familiar with the Head Waiter(s) and servers in that area. The servers become accustomed to your likes and dislikes and even make suggestions for you. We had a Steward instead of a Stewardess on this cruise. At first it seemed a bit strange. After a couple of days we realized that it isn't whether they are male or female. . . it is about how they do their job. Nelson was wonderful! PORTS: After two days at sea we docked in Willemstad, Curacao. Rather than take an excursion, we walked around the town and found it to be delightful. We arrived in Aruba the next day. Having been there previously, we had a snorkeling excursion booked. The seas were fairly rough and there were few fish to view. Fairly disappointing. The following day we had a city tour in Cartegena, Columbia. The excursion was okay. There were problems disembarking from the ship. We arrived in the port late, so the excursions were all leaving at the same time. Due to the tide, only one gangway could be used. This caused quite a back-up. Many of you have transited the Panama Canal and know what a marvelous experience it is. The weather was beautiful - really a spectacular day. Two days later we docked in Manta, Ecuador. We weren't too excited about the excursion. . . . taking a bus for a half hour to the place where Panama hats are made ("Panama" hats are apparently made in Ecuador). Manta was definitely a highlight. The open buses were decorated with balloons and had a band playing on the roof. Guests were given New Year's Eve type items (hats, whistles, masks) and off we went. It was very much like a parade. We made quite a bit of noise as we traveled on our way to Montecristi. Families came out of their homes to wave, children waved from sidewalks and windows. . . even the police and street workers stopped to move to the music and wave. All of us had a great time waving, making noise and bringing smiles to everyone's face. The next port was new to Regent. . . Guayaquil, Ecuador crime issues for many years. When we spent the night in Guayaquil several years ago we were warned not to step outside the door of the hotel. Since then, a lot of work has been done to clean up the city. The shuttle bus into downtown had two police escorts (a little concerning). We did not see one person who may have been a tourist during the ½ hour bus ride. There were concerns about leaving the shuttle bus. We took a leap of faith and got off the bus. The bus let us off by an amazing park with hundreds of iguanas. They were on the grass, in the trees (not a good idea to be under the tree) - just everywhere. When they fall asleep in the tree, it is quite common for them to fall to the ground. With the exception of the lovely area by the sea (Malecon) that is great for walking, there is not much in the downtown area to see. There are police everywhere (probably necessary.) They are not set up for tourists at this point. There is nothing for visitors to purchase - not even a postcard. I hope that Regent gives them some feedback as the potential is there for it to become a nice port stop for cruise ships. Next was Salaverry (Trujillo), Peru. We arrived on Sunday and found many places closed. The tour operators did a good job of showing us this beautiful city and the surrounding areas. This was a 7 hour tour that ended at a beautiful hacienda where a lovely lunch was served while we were being entertained by high stepping horses. This was our first opportunity to try the national drink, a "Pisco sour" (yum). Our last port was Lima, Peru. The ship docked overnight in Lima, but we had flights booked to fly home on the first night (more on debarkation). Right next to the ship were lovely shops with Peruvian souvenirs, handmade llama wool teddy bears, etc. The prices were excellent. We had an excursion booked on our last day to dine at an upscale restaurant (for lunch). Unfortunately the excursion was changed to 7:00 p.m. and we had to cancel. We wanted to spend some time in Lima but was not aware that it takes 1 hour by bus to get downtown. So, we stayed on the bus for the round-trip and was able to see quite a bit. The area of Miraflores in Lima is beautiful, by the water with upscale shops, a J.W. Marriott Hotel, restaurants and lovely parks. Disembarkation: For some reason, most flights from Lima (and Rio) depart in the middle of the night. Rather than disembark on the last morning and be on our own until our 1:15 a.m. flight, we opted to depart the last night. We were able to enjoy the day, have a leisurely dinner and wait for Regent's transportation to the airport at 10:00 p.m. Not too surprisingly, there about 20 passengers on our bus for our 30 minute ride to the airport. Luggage was transported to each individual airlines' check-in area. Our LAN Business Class flight from Lima to San Francisco was comfortable (flat bed seats) and we were able to sleep. We arranged our own transportation from San Francisco to our home. IN CONCLUSION: This was a wonderful cruise. The passengers, especially other CruiseCritic members, were fun to be with and are darn good Trivia players. There were many world cruisers on board - most of whom were friendly and very interesting to speak with. It feels like Regent has turned the corner and is once again providing wonderful food, exemplary service and is a 6 star cruising experience. We first felt the improvement in May, 2011 on the Navigator. Franck Galzy had been promoted to General Manager (we sailed with him in 2008 when he was Food and Beverage Manager). We could feel the cohesiveness of the staff on the Navigator. He and his team set an example to the staff that enabled them to give the best possible service. We see this now on the Mariner (with Franck Galzy as G.M.) The reviews from the Mariner have been consistently positive. I look forward to when he transfers to the Voyager later in the year as there have been less than favorable reviews on that ship. However, once the Voyager comes out of dry dock our fingers are crossed that he will be back on the Mariner when we sail in November. Read Less
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