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22 Regent Seven Seas Istanbul Cruise Reviews

We had some doubts after reading several reviews regarding the ship, especially the availability of good wines by the glass and the standard of service. However once on board we had no issue with the quality of wine, when asking for ... Read More
We had some doubts after reading several reviews regarding the ship, especially the availability of good wines by the glass and the standard of service. However once on board we had no issue with the quality of wine, when asking for some other region of wine the staff were very obliging and delivered. The standard of service was exemplary apart from the shore excursion team who seemed to be less than well organised. We had an experience when trying to leave the ship for an excursion to the Bait Adam Museum in Muscat, Oman. The idea to get very one to arrive back to the ship allot the same time seems to be ridiculous, but thus occurred on numerous occasions. On this day we were being made to stay onboard whilst all of the retiring gets came aboard. The chief Security Officer when we approached him just ignored us. After some time we approached another Officer and complained to him, at this point he approached the security guy, who complained he was to busy! Well talking to certain cruises and taking his eye off the ball is not being busy. The excursions in general were not that good, RSSC call most of them Free, well there are not as they are built into the cost of your cruise, you have to pay more for like seeing Petra or Luxor. Most excursions were over crowded, only because the coaches were not spaced out enough between stopping points. Some of the coaches in some countries were in a poor state (Jordan and Egypt). Again for what the cruise cost should have been better. The cruise terminal at Safaga (Egypt) was the most horrific place to have to moor overnight. The ship was docked right beside a cement terminal, most of the time the wind blew this dust all over the ship, you could not get off and walk around. The security around the port looked pretty abysmal The tours to Jerusalem, docked at Haifa were excellent, the tour guides were switched on. Take a tour around Haifa as well seeing the Bahá'í gardens its known for the Terraces of the Bahá'í Faith, also known as the Hanging Gardens of Haifa, is well worth seeing. If you stop off in Aqaba make sure you do a tour as the town is very run down really, not much to see. Entertainment on board was not that good, if it was not for the Cruise Director Ray holding it together in would've been a disaster. One night there was entertainment by the ships main pianist, Deputy Cruise Director, and 2 cruise crew. It was embarrassing. Very monotone singing nearly went to sleep. The pre and post stay were well organised by RSSC could not fault the entire arrangements as we stayed over for 2 nights in Dubai. This place you must get round and see (not all in 2 days), however. We stayed at the `Dubai Hilton' staff and service plus room were excellent. So overall we enjoyed the SS Voyager ship, places we visited to see, drinks and the very good food, would we use RRSSC again, yes we would but it would greatly depend on the cruise itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was only our second cruise. Our first was with P&O and although this cruise was far more expensive, as they say, you get what you pay for. What was really impressive was the way embarkation, tours and disembarkation was ... Read More
This was only our second cruise. Our first was with P&O and although this cruise was far more expensive, as they say, you get what you pay for. What was really impressive was the way embarkation, tours and disembarkation was managed, it was all very well organised. All the staff, without exception, were friendly and couldn't do enough to help. Being "all inclusive" it was really nice to be able to drink and eat what you liked without having to sign for it and there was no reluctance to give you what you wanted, as there is in some AI hotels. We had chosen a Penthouse suite which was really spacious with a very well stocked shower room and large comfortable bed - where the linen was changed daily. The only criticism was that the room at the side of the bed was very limited. The lounge area was an excellent size. We didn't make a great deal of use of our butler but he was friendly enough and provided our daily choice of canapes. We only dined three nights in the Speciality restaurants and we felt he could have been more helpful in that area. The only disappointments were that we left out Lesbos - because of the migrant problem - but spent the day at sea rather than finding another Greek island to visit (as the Silversea Spirit did) and that one passenger lift was out of action for the entire cruise. But would we travel Regent again - a definite yes. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
A point by point list of my impressions on my first cruise wth Regent. First off, Regent's Scan Design style of decor is not to my liking, which is a shame as it set the tone for my first impressions of the ship. However as I was ... Read More
A point by point list of my impressions on my first cruise wth Regent. First off, Regent's Scan Design style of decor is not to my liking, which is a shame as it set the tone for my first impressions of the ship. However as I was lucky enough to get this cruise at an amazing price, my negative initial first impressions were offset by the quality of almost everything else that Regent is known for, so it balanced out. Plus this was my Bucket Cruise of a Lifetime so I was excited about that alone. I waited a few months to do a review as I've noticed my feelings tend to change over time. Point in fact, when I disembarked I thought it unlikely that I would sail on Regent again. Now - a few months later - I have changed my mind. Especially if the price was right again. I am sailing on Oceania's Marina in a couple of months and am blown away with their exorbitant pricing, which doesn't offer all the bells and whistles that Regent does. So, back to Regent... Or even Celebrity, what with their new Suite Experince. However, back to my cruise on the Voyager: Tour director.... I particularly enjoy his Meet the Crew and Quirky Moments segments. I turn his show on first thing every morning to see what is happening and to watch them. However I still feel the comparison of the steaks in Prime 7 as being the 'best in the world' is ridiculous. They're good, but I've had much better. Food - is very good. Being a stalwart fan of Oceania mainly due to their exemplary food, I didn't expect to enjoy Regent's food as much as I have. Everywhere - but especially during the deck service's lunches and two evening meals. Twice there were amazing meals offered on deck that I was immensely impressed by.... The BBQ especially. And to feed the whole ship all at once! Amazing! Ben - the Executive Concierge is very pleasant and very helpful. Chris - the Destination Manager is extremely kind and caring. He asks how I'm doing at every tour and tries to help in any way he can. Roni - my Butler. Did I say that he was amazing? All Wait staff and, in fact all staff, were very polite, always greeting you, saying good morning etc Wine sommelier excellent. However the wine tasting offered was just that... A tasting of half a dozen different wines offered buffet style. That there were no 'seminar style' tastings offered - especially with so many sea days - was a real disappointment. I learned so much on Oceania's (and spent a considerable amount purchasing my new favourite wines after them). There was a very expensive wine and food pairing offered, but that isn't going to teach me anything as I'd never order wines priced so high and of that caliber. Anything over $100 is just too pricey for me. So I was extremely disappointed not to have had an informative wine tasting. And that the Wine Sommelier had been one of Oceania's sommeliers who had given one of their three (count 'em, three!!) Wine Tasting seminars was like rubbing salt into the wound! Tours: the two 12.5 hr. and 13.5 (really 14.5) hr tours REALLY need more bathroom breaks - 7 hrs plus between WC stops is too long. Many of us are old with weak bladders/kidneys etc. and the toilets in the buses are too difficult to access for many of us. All the tour buses have had excellent A/C except the one we had in Safaga, it had very weak AC, and no reading lights. With 7 hrs uninterrupted travel on the buses, both of those would have been welcome. Also would have appreciated a WC stop. In Turkey and Israel the tour agent was always asking if we wanted a WC break. We assumed it would be the same everywhere else. If not, then the agent should have made mention that there weren't going to be any stops, and told everyone to use the WC before departure. Safaga - Ancient Luxor Tour: Snack on Safaga return was a nice gesture but was very poor. Would have been more tasty (and nutritious) if there was just some juice, a piece of fruit, a piece of cheese and a cookie. Luxor Tour: Driver didn't know where the hotel was where we were to have lunch. Wasted a good ten - fifteen minutes doubling back to it. Not good when you are on such a tight schedule. Then we were dropped off a good two plus blocks from restaurant, way too far. As a Handicapped person, the ten minute walk in that heat was not good. I have to say that the food however was excellent and the buses were at the restaurant door to pick us up. Suggestion re Destination Services onboard: 1. Use one channel on the cabin tv's for the next day's tours (as is currently done) 2. Use 2nd channel of the whole voyage's tours, constantly looping, it would make it easier for guests to review (and perhaps re-evaluate) their selected tours earlier in the cruise, rather than only having the day before to evaluate whether or not the chosen tour was the right one. Would make it less hectic for everyone the day before each tour. As these videos are not available (why not?) prior to the cruise, it would make life easier for all. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
Together with my wife, I purchased an upmarket Seven Seas Aft Suite on Regent Seven Seas Mariner. In summary: 1. With one exception, the crew were wonderful. 2. Compared to our experience on Princess and Viking vessels, the food was ... Read More
Together with my wife, I purchased an upmarket Seven Seas Aft Suite on Regent Seven Seas Mariner. In summary: 1. With one exception, the crew were wonderful. 2. Compared to our experience on Princess and Viking vessels, the food was average and in particular, the salads were poor. 3. Unlike Sun Princess where we cruised for six weeks in the Master Suite at about the same cost as our ten day cruise on Mariner, we also had to pay exorbitant rates for washing and the internet. On Sun Princess and Viking, the internet was free as was the laundry on Princess. For the first day and a half of the cruise, Regent charged me $160 for two hundred minutes but, given the slow speed of their satellite link, the minutes were gone very quickly. 4. Returning from one excursion, a number of passengers including me assisted a very handicapped woman to walk of about two hundred meters from the bus drop off point to the ship on a very hot day, A mariner officer was watching us from the gangway, but made no effort to assist in any way. When we finally arrived at the gangway, I asked the officer why Regent didn't provide wheel chairs to handicapped passengers, particularly in situations like this. He replied saying, "the ships wheel chairs remain on the ship and are not for use outside the ship". He then walked the handicapped woman to the top of the gangway and simply left her there. He did not ask any crew to help her or to retrieve a wheelchair. 5. I approached the information office of the ship and asked a woman, who said she is an assistant purser, to request a meeting for me with the Chief Purser. The woman immediately started questioning my wife and I and said if I needed to see someone, I should turn up after 0800 in the morning to meet a customer relations person. 6. My wife and I enjoy cruising, but never with Regent again. Whoever owns the Regent business must have adopted a policy to reduce costs and increase cash flow. We are advising our friends to avoid cruising with Regent at any cost. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We are long time Regent fans and it has been sad to see them losing so many of the qualities that made Regent so unique. On this summer trip from Istanbul to Athens, for reasons beyond their control, they had to change 4 days on a 10 day ... Read More
We are long time Regent fans and it has been sad to see them losing so many of the qualities that made Regent so unique. On this summer trip from Istanbul to Athens, for reasons beyond their control, they had to change 4 days on a 10 day trip. Prior to departure several guests tried to cancel and get a refund because they had chosen the trip to go to Israel. Regent refused to refund their money but did offer to apply the money to a future cruise. This is created a situation where you had several very unhappy people on board and they did not suffer in silence. Sadly Regent did not offer any type of compensation to people on board and it led to a great deal of negative comments and complaints. The general thought was that when 40% of a trip changes, no matter the reason, you need to offer some type of compensation. Because so many changes were last minute several of the shore excursions left much to be desired. It also meant we often waited more than an hour for tenders and buses. I am certain the Destination staff worked very hard to make last minute changes but again it resulted in lots of very negative comments. The Mariner looks great after the recent upgrade and the food continues to be good but overall standards are slipping. Do hope the recent sale to NCL will reinstate the unique focus on the customer that set Regent apart from other upscale cruise ships Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
This was my first cruise with Regent May 2014. The Mariner was very well maintained, our suite was very nicely updated and very clean (We were told that the ship just had the rooms renovated - it showed). The bathroom was all tile and ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Regent May 2014. The Mariner was very well maintained, our suite was very nicely updated and very clean (We were told that the ship just had the rooms renovated - it showed). The bathroom was all tile and marble - we did not have a tub but a full shower with a marble bench which was very roomy for a ship. The service was very fine and understated - we really liked the butler service. The food on the ship for the most part was good. I thought the Italian restaurant was actually the best restaurant but, by and large, they were all decent with a lot of variety and consistant decent quality. None of the meals were memorable one way or another but they were all served very professionally. The wines offered were all enjoyable and plentiful. The shore excursions were poor considering the quality of the rest of the experience. I would think that people who pay for the Regent experience would want something different that what they would get on a low end cruise. More bespoke and well thought out than what was offered and certainly not a tour that ends up in a Turkish Rug store with a high pressure sales pitch (evryine on board was talking about how tacky that was). I would cruise with Regent again. The small ship never seemed crowded, food was fine, service was good and the employees genuinely seemed happy. While the excursions were crappy its not a deal killer. I'll just arrange my own next time.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We sailed with Regent on Seven Seas Voyager from Istanbul to Dubai over 21 nights. We booked and paid for a concierge level cabin and selected cabin 741 from the deck plans as we felt that, being midship and not too high, it would be more ... Read More
We sailed with Regent on Seven Seas Voyager from Istanbul to Dubai over 21 nights. We booked and paid for a concierge level cabin and selected cabin 741 from the deck plans as we felt that, being midship and not too high, it would be more stable than some other cabins. After an absolute comedy of errors involving our booking disappearing completely, amongst other things, we finally boarded at Istanbul. We were greeted on board by a steward with a dribble of sparkling wine (champagne?) and then left to find our own way to our cabin, which was not overly difficult. The cabin was small but adequate, with sitting area, bedroom area, bathroom, small verahdah/balcony, and large closet. It was not a stateroom, it was a cabin, and calling it a stateroom was misleading. We noted that the concierge level amenities (coffee machine, binoculars, pashmina etc) were not present but presumed, from reading other literature in the cabin, that the coffee machine was not there because of safety concerns. It was only on day 10 or 11, when we went looking for the binoculars, that we realized that everything else was missing. On enquiring at reception, we were told that our cabin had been downgraded to deluxe, and we were not entitled to concierge amenities. Hmm...we had already had NUMEROUS problems with our booking, largely caused by Regent's complete inability and/or refusal to COMMUNICATE with their clients, and now we discover that we have been DOWNGRADED with not so much as a whisper!!!!!!!!!!!!! After proving to reception that we had indeed booked and paid for a concierge level cabin, and asking the following day as to what was happening, the missing amenities appeared the next afternoon with no explanation, no apology, nothing.....!!! Nor were we ever offered a change of cabin up to concierge level. So if you are looking for a cruise line which cares and communicates, the Regent is probably not for you. The included excursions were basic but acceptable, as the ports were all on minor Greek islands (except for Rhodes), or minor Arabian ports, with not a whole lot to offer anyway. The guides which we had were local and knowledgeable and all spoke good, comprehensible English. The excursions which we wanted to do and which offered the most interesting locations were all charged as extras - no surprises there. We originally booked to go to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, but due to the political upheaval in Egypt these were cancelled and other ports were added and/or rescheduled. This rescheduling caused havoc with our pre booked and paid for excursions, and once again Regent FAILED to COMMUNICATE with us (or with any passengers) as to what was happening and/or what options they could offer for the new ports/dates. They also told us quite categorically that we were not booked on any of these excursions and once again I had to provide proof of our bookings. Our TA was next to useless as she disappeared for 3 weeks to do a French river cruise, then disappeared again later in the process, and Regent's agents in Sydney (Wiltrans) were also very NON COMMUNICATIVE and UNHELPFUL when we had major issues which needed sorting out. Our cabin had, as expected, quite a bit of the vibration we had been warned about, and regularly STANK of either diesel fumes or cigarette smoke or both. Someone near our cabin was obviously smoking but we were never able to pinpoint where it came from. But the heavy, overpowering stench of the diesel was really annoying and caused my asthma to play up whenever we were in the cabin. Leaving the verhandah door open alleviated the smell somewhat, but there is a ventilation/air intake problem with the air conditioning if this smell is permeating into cabins via the air conditioning. As to the vibrations, it is obvious that there is something intrinsically wrong with Voyager's engines, as no other vessel we have ever sailed on has anything like this vibration. The food was nice without being 6 star and the menus in Compass Rose bore a boring similarity to each other after about 5 days. We ate at La Verahda/Sette Mare several times to alleviate the monotony. Signatures and Prime 7 both had good menus and good meals, however the service at Prime 7 left a lot to be desired. We had a 7pm reservation and it was obvious that they wanted the table again for 8 or 8.30 as they were preparing our main course by 7.40pm. When I objected and told the steward that we did not want our main until at least 8pm, it obviously caused him a problem. He stalked off the the Maitre d' and, after much gesticulating our way and tapping of watches, the Maitre d' came to us and apologised and assured us that we should not hurry (as if we were ever going to hurry anyway!!!). As it was, there were still several unused tables in the restaurant the whole night, and they were still unused when we left at 9.30pm. The service staff in all areas were amazing. Housekeeping, bar stewards, wait staff, cleaners, everyone was absolutely top notch, caring, polite, pleasant and nothing was ever too much trouble for them. Reception and Destination Services were coldly polite and generally uninterested especially when we had problems. We asked for binoculars on one day and were told that a pair would be sent up immediately. 24 hours later we approached reception and asked what had happened and why we had not received them, and that's when we were told that we were not in a concierge suite. We can't understand why reception did not simply ring us back and advise us that there was a mistake and that they were unable to provide binoculars - another example of Regents FAILURE TO COMMUNICATE. Overall we enjoyed the cruise, however we did not appreciate Regent's lack of communication on many, many issues relating to itinerary changes. We did not like being informed that our cabin was downgraded and we feel that we have certainly received a lot less than what we paid for and expected. We have, thus far, received no response from Regent to our queries and to be quite honest, we don't expect them to bother replying. I know that there are many other cruise lines which provide the same type of service which Regent claims to provide so we will be investigating them further for the future. After the poor booking experience and the APPARENTLY DELIBERATE lack of communication by Regent, we would never even consider sailing with them again. Given that we were close to being the youngest passengers on the boat by at least 10 years, and that we can obviously afford to cruise in the style Regent offers (but does not provide), I would suggest that Regent needs a wake up call if they wish to attract our demographic. We have many more years of cruising ahead of us but they won't be with Regent. Unfortunately I feel that Regent are resting on some fairly ancient laurels and getting by on a past reputation. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Sadly, that's what this cruise turned out to be. We have cruised with Regent previously - our last cruise was from Mumbai to Bali in December 2012. That cruise rated a 9 out of a 10 for us. However, our cruise in 2013 from Istanbul to ... Read More
Sadly, that's what this cruise turned out to be. We have cruised with Regent previously - our last cruise was from Mumbai to Bali in December 2012. That cruise rated a 9 out of a 10 for us. However, our cruise in 2013 from Istanbul to Dubai did not come close to living up to expectations. At best, the onboard experience was a 5. There were several very disappointing aspects to this cruise, however, the most important was the inequality of pricing. We booked our cruise nearly a year in advance at Regent's brochure rate. This was a big mistake because our cruise was hugely discounted (not on Regent's website, however) once final payment was due. We found out in August that Regent was offering huge discounts - nearly $4000 per person less than what we paid for the same suite, that also included air fare. We also found out, while aboard the vessel, that apparently Regent incurred many cancellations due to the itinerary of our cruise and "sold out" the remaining suites in the UK because, we were told, it's easy to fly from the UK to Istanbul to board the ship. Apparently, suites were sold at 100-150 British Pounds per person per day. We also were told aboard the ship that some of these passengers went to book a future cruise and had no idea of the normal pricing Regent charges. What Regent did was take their loyal passengers who paid full price, and threw them together with people who should not have been cruising with Regent because they had no idea of the quality of the line and what they were getting into - many didn't follow the required dress code in the public areas after 6, several became rowdy and drunk to the point of being unable to walk. With regard to inclusive wines, some are good and most are mediocre. There is a huge push to have the "red or white" offering of the evening and if you ask for any other inclusive wine, displeasure became apparent. Having said that, the staff is very polite otherwise and tried their best. The service in the Compass Rose rated from excellent to extremely poor. But we do not fault the waiters because we felt they were doing their best under the circumstances - they were either poorly trained or over-burdened. This was a full ship. Sadly, the service was not consistent in the Compass Rose. The food also was inconsistent in quality and preparation in the Compass Rose. The Veranda Cafe at lunch was always excellent with great service no matter how busy they becomes. Prime 7 was excellent. Entertainment aboard was superb, with particular kudos to the singers and dancers. Enrichment was informative on the subject of the area in which we were traveling, but delivery was quite dull. We could not really understand why quite a large part of the enrichment program was dedicated to the space program while we were traveling through the Middle East. Shore excursions, for the most part were interesting and well-organized. Petra was outstanding and was the highlight of this 21-day cruise. Actually, we had visited some of the ports previously, and were happy to visit new ports, though some were more interesting than others which is normal. One cannot expect to be mesmerized by every port of call. The shore-ex people onboard did a good job in the organization department and things seemed to run smoothly with regard to our tours. Finally, in closing, I would like to add that when we boarded and entered our suite I noted immediately that about a foot of the dust ruffle on the bed was torn and hanging out from where the mattress meets the frame. This was corrected immediately. However, several of the clips that hold the sheers and drapes to the rods were missing so huge loops of sheer and drape were hanging out. In 21 days this was not corrected. There were what appeared to be food splatters on the drape between the sitting area and the sleeping area. The woodwork was quite scuffed. (Regent should be aware of an excellent product "Restore-A-Finish" that would do wonders on a worn wood finish in a hurry with little effort and no expertise required.) Clearly the previous attention to detail is lacking and cuts are being made that affect the onboard quality Regent was known for. In closing it is not a secret that the top management within Regent changed a year ago. The quality of the line, as far as we are concerned, has declined and we hope corrections will be made for the future. We will take a "wait and see" attitude before we book with Regent again.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We have just returned from a superb holiday on Seven Seas Voyager doing their Red Sea Odyssey and have to say the staff and service were again excellent, attentive and charming . We were treated royally. We were on Seven Seas Voyager in ... Read More
We have just returned from a superb holiday on Seven Seas Voyager doing their Red Sea Odyssey and have to say the staff and service were again excellent, attentive and charming . We were treated royally. We were on Seven Seas Voyager in September and were very impressed that is why we have booked again so quickly. To summarise, there are some cruise lines that will do the least they can get away with, whilst Regent do the most they possibly can do to cater for their guests. There is service and then there is the Regent standard of service. The staff on board Seven Seas Voyager are exceptional. The best way to describe the situation it is like a big happy family. Everyone works and pulls together as a team. Every member of staff is charming, attentive and the bottom line is they couldn’t do enough for you. They are approachable, helpful, thoughtful and conscientious. As some other guests commented over dinner about the staff, there are some really nice, genuine people on board who we feel that we have known for a long time. We love the extra small touches and attention to detail. To sum up when you review what you get with Regent all inclusive package, it is exceptionally good value for the money. A large choice of superior excursions which is where you are not jammed packed like sardines on to average buses. First class food and beverage. None of this inferior ten times the price supermarket wine and boil in the bag food. Exceptional entertainment throughout the day and night both externally and in your state of the art interactive TV with free 150 films and more. None of this constant 15% service charge and mandatory daily tip. And most important a suite which is spacious and comfortable with a bathroom with a proper bath and not a don’t turn around wraparound shower curtain and dribble some cruise liners call a shower. Regent pay and look after their staff better hence the guests receive enhanced quality service. The only decision now to make is where to next. We were really enthralled again and look forward to our next cruise on Regent.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We had long talked about booking a cruise, and spent a lot of time researching the different options and itineraries. As we have stayed with Regent Hotels before and we had read a lot if good things about Regent Seven Seas, when we this ... Read More
We had long talked about booking a cruise, and spent a lot of time researching the different options and itineraries. As we have stayed with Regent Hotels before and we had read a lot if good things about Regent Seven Seas, when we this cruise, the Red Sea Odyssey, from Istanbul to Dubai, we thought it was a good choice. The cruise was very expensive and was the most expensive holiday we have ever booked. However, as it was for a special anniversary we thought it was worth it, giving that it was 6* all-inclusive luxury. I regret to say we found the entire experience very disappointing and got off the cruise after only 4 days on board. We flew to Istanbul and stayed overnight at the excellent Intercontinental - the staff and rooms were both very good and we very much enjoyed our short stay. We were transferred to the port, which was not very salubrious and consisted of a number of rundown buildings. Check-in was ok, and after we queued up and collected our room keys we went through passport control, and saw the ship. No one was around to show us where to go, so we just made our way up the ramp. We were met by a security man who swiped our keys, and were then met by a Stewardess holding a tray of champagne glasses with a dribble of champagne in each - I could not help but think 'why bother?'. There were no directions as to what to do and we just wondered around for a while, until I heard someone say let's go up to deck 11. We went up in deck and saw that quite a number of guests were already there and helping themselves to a buffet lunch. Again there was no one around to explain what we did so we just found a table and sat down. I went up to the buffet and tried to order some food but did not know my table number - again no explanation. The food was ok, but staff were not particularly warm and just kept saying 'do you want a drink?'. We made our way to our Penthouse Suite which was towards the rear of deck 9. The 'suite' was very compact and bijoux, and was not really a suite at all - the bed area was curtained off from a very small seating area, and there was a good sized bathroom (rather dated but clean) and a roomy walk-in closet. The balcony was very small and quite rundown looking. The suite had not been laid up as requested - two single beds and not a double bed, blankets not duvets etc. The soap dishes were hanging off the wall in the shower, and the shower was very slow to run away and overflowed. We could not turn off the air conditioning and hence we found it very hard to sleep at night. The cabin also vibrated very badly and sitting on the chair it felt like a massage chair. We spoke to staff about the problems and despite various people coming and going nothing was really resolved, although they did manage to re screw the soap dishes to the wall. Dining on board the ship was ok, although the food was quite repetitive, especially in Compass Rose, the main restaurant. This restaurant was very busy as it seats over 500, and was consequently very noisy. This may not be a problem for many but is not my idea of 6* luxury. The excursions we did manage to make were of very poor quality on old clapped out coaches with very poor itineraries. The guides were ok, but as both excursions were in Greece all we heard about was how bad things were for the Greeks, whilst being driven around rundown, vandalised, rubbish filled areas. By the fourth night we both felt really unwell due to the lack of sleep and I asked to move cabins. I was shown a suite on a lower floor but it was vibrating and swaying just as much as ours as it was only a little more forward. We spent a very bad night and despite my partner taking motion sickness medication, he felt worse. I spoke with both the Chief Concierge and the General Manager on the ship and expressed our concern and disappointment and how ill my partner felt, but there was no offer of any medical assistance and I felt very worried about staying on board so after much soul searching we decided to disembark. Out of courtesy I let the ship know and instead of them trying to stop us, and help us the response was 'Oh, ok then'. Within minutes of me letting them know were were inundated with demands to go to Immigration within 10 minutes with all our luggage - we weren't even packed! So when I refused I was told we could make an appointment to go later that morning. When we got off the ship, after a mix with porterage, there was no one to meet us and we had to go back on shop and ask for help! No one from the ship was there to see us off and in my opinion they could not have cared less. The cruise was billed as ultra all inclusive 6* luxury and for what we paid - the price of a brand new family car - it simply was not worth it. We realise this was our first cruise, and thus we have nothing to compare it to, but on the basis of this cruise we would be by unlikely to cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Our Fall 2012 cruise was our first on a Regent ship, and was (a) a 70th birthday celebration and (b) to fulfill a long time bucket-list item - to visit The Valley of The Kings in Luxor. Our experience from the day we first booked the ... Read More
Our Fall 2012 cruise was our first on a Regent ship, and was (a) a 70th birthday celebration and (b) to fulfill a long time bucket-list item - to visit The Valley of The Kings in Luxor. Our experience from the day we first booked the cruise through Katherine Arteta of Regent, was outstanding. We flew on KLM - Business Class from LAX to Amsterdam, and then on to Istanbul on the same airline. Great service, and on schedule. Arriving in Istanbul, on the evening of October 30, the scene at the airport was a little chaotic (our only negative experience throughout the trip, but to offset that, we were assigned a Penthouse suite at Swissotel, and enjoyed one of the most magnificent breakfasts we have ever had the next morning. regent arranged for a relatively brief tour of the highlights of Istanbul on October 31, and following completion of this, we were delivered to the ship. We were assigned Penthouse suite 784, which is one of the suites on the stern. Our first night at sea was not comfortable because of excessive vibration - our suite was directly above one of the two propellers! Early the following morning, we requested a change of suite and were assigned Suite 729 which proved to be extremely quiet and was conveniently located midships. The transfer was executed by Regent, and all the amenities were moved with us. Very efficient and pleasant! The excursions arranged by Regent were outstanding, as was the 3-day post cruise tour of Egypt. The tour guides were outstanding (with a couple of exceptions), and the highlight of the cruise itself was a day-long trip to Masada and The Dead Sea. The food on board was also outstanding, whether one ate in Compass Rose, Prime 7, or Signatures. The service in all of the restaurants was superb. We ate ourselves into oblivion, worked out like fiends in the gym every day, and ended up putting on a manageable 5/6 pounds each!!!! Our cruise coincided with a series of problems (Turkey/Syria, Gaza/Israel, social unrest in Jordan etc). Regent kept us current with what was going on, and in fact bypassed Port Said and Sharm-el-Sheik. The post cruise trip was incredible, very well organized, and hit all of the major tourist attractions in that wonderful country. We were blessed to be a part of the "Isis" group under the care of Mohammed, a young, extremely articulate and knowledgeable Egyptologist. He added so much "meat" to each of the places we visited, and also was able and willing to give us insight into the present situation in that very special country. Our overall experience - outstanding! Will we cruise again with Regent - absolutely! Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We have just returned from the Regent Seven Seas Pathway to Antiquity Cruise (Oct 30 to Nov.14th). We also did the pre and post land packages offered by the cruise line extending the trip 3 days at each end. We found the trip to be what ... Read More
We have just returned from the Regent Seven Seas Pathway to Antiquity Cruise (Oct 30 to Nov.14th). We also did the pre and post land packages offered by the cruise line extending the trip 3 days at each end. We found the trip to be what people describe as a 'trip of a lifetime'. Everything was so well organized from beginning to end. The room was a lot bigger than we had anticipated. Others had mentioned that you don't need a big room since you only sleep in it. True enough but it was lovely having a walk in closet, separate bath and huge shower and sitting area. Every suite had a balcony. The staff was professional and friendly, always willing to help if you needed it. The excursions that were offered ranged from full 10 hours to short ones of 3 hours. There were normally a range of tours from "stay close to the bus" type for people with mobility problems to hiking up mountains to ancient ruins on little winding paths. All of our daily excursions were included in the cruise price except for one that we opted to take. We had meals with all of the longer tours. At Ephesus we picked the excursion that included the recently opened Terrace Houses. They are normally an add-on to the daily entrance fee for visitors, but it was included for us. It was a real highlight of the day. Regent's excursion staff is so well organized. We were very happy with how the excursions set off every morning with bus allocations, water bottles available etc. I am an organized person and I was impressed! Our visit to Cairo had to be changed as Egyptians were planning demonstrations in Cairo the day of our visit. We arrived in our room to find a notice on our bed with a choice to make. Did we want to go to Cairo the next day a Thursday rather than as scheduled one on Friday? We would give up our Thursday Alexandria day but we were happy to do that. All we had to do was say check a box and drop it off at the Destinations Counter. A few hours later our new tickets for Cairo were at our door. The trip to Cairo was fun. The buses headed off and soon got caught in a traffic snarl where road work was being done. That slowed us down a lot but we continued to the pyramids, a late lunch and a papyrus shop. The return trip was slowed down with a very unusual heavy rain and lightning storm causing traffic to slow down. But we loved it. We arrived back at the ship about 2 hours late and were very surprised to find a lot of staff including the Captain, the Cruise director, and one of the performers on the dock welcoming us back. They assured us that dinner was held for us and to just shove our stuff in our rooms and head up to eat. We had the choice to do the pre-cruise Turkey land portion with a flight to Cappadocia -- Land of the Fairy Chimneys from Istanbul before boarding the cruise ship. We stayed at the Cappadocia Cave Resort and Spa which was previously cave dwellings. From our patio area we had views of the entire valley including all the balloons that were rising at sunrise for their flight. At one time there were 77 in the air. This pre-cruise trip was so worthwhile and yes it did cost extra. The land there is very different with cave dwellings, unusual valleys full of odd land formations, a valley of churches cut into the rock and an underground city inhabited from 8th- 7th century B.C. We flew back to Istanbul and did Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, lunch and the grand bazaar before boarding the ship. Our post cruise land portion was included in the cruise fee if you wanted to spend the extra days doing that. Not every did as a lot were continuing on to the next cruise and I guess some people had to get back to work. The post cruise was 1 ½ days extra in Luxor including a caravan of buses crossing the eastern dessert and a stay at a very deluxe hotel. Here we did the Valley of the Kings and the Temples of Luxor and Karnak. We were then off on a flight to Cairo and for us another visit to the pyramids and another super hotel. Both our visits to Cairo were very different as we had a different Egyptologist with us on each trip. The one that we had for the post cruise we really got to know as she stayed at the hotels with us and did lead the excursions for the 3 days. We enjoyed them both and got a very good feel as to what it is like to live in Cairo now and as a pharaoh. The food on the ship was tremendous; there were no buffet dinners in any of the restaurants. They did offer though two buffet options in one of the restaurants (and only if you wanted that specifically)on two nights the rest of the guests there ordered off the menu. The best thing is they don't have fixed seating times for dinners or particular tables of people that you always have to eat with. You have your choice of eating by yourselves or joining a table of 4 or a table of 6. We ate alone twice and the rest of the evenings we shared tables with others. We loved getting to talk with people from around the world. You got to know so many people by name that you could chat with on excursions etc. There were so many interesting and knowledgeable travellers with a lot of advice about places to visit. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We cruised from Venice to Monte Carlo on Mariner last spring and had a pretty good experience. When we found this amazing 14-day itinerary from Istanbul to Luxor with an included post-cruise tour of Egypt we decided to give Regent a chance ... Read More
We cruised from Venice to Monte Carlo on Mariner last spring and had a pretty good experience. When we found this amazing 14-day itinerary from Istanbul to Luxor with an included post-cruise tour of Egypt we decided to give Regent a chance to wow us and they delivered on every level. Overall we thought the service level had been kicked up a notch from Mariner and the staff were warm, attentive, and reliable. Several staff members used our names consistently, something that really makes a difference to us. The food was very good. Sette Mari is a nice alternative to Compass Rose and we also enjoyed Signatures and Prime Seven. Coffee Connection and the Pool Grill both shined. Lissan kept our suite spotless, Nyoman was very attentive in Compass Rose, and Umberto did an A-plus job leading LaVeranda/Sette Mari. (After long tiring excursions, Umberto waited at the gangplank to let all guests know they could come right up for dinner without a need to change clothes first.) There was just one challenge: we had booked a Penthouse C (783) and found it impossible to sleep in due to the engine noise and vibration. After leaving a message for the GM, we were called by the concierge who offered a midship cabin (738) with our amenities transferred to the new room. This new cabin location was excellent for us and we settled in happily the next morning. We had a wide variety of ports and excursions and a few last-minute changes due to politics and upheaval (port calls in Cairo and Sharm el Sheikh were cancelled). Our guides in Rhodes, Jerusalem and Petra were misinformed about the details of the tours and required re-orientation from the guests. Overall tours were good and we think Masada, Petra, Jerusalem and Egypt should be seen in every traveler's lifetime. Regent did a superb job with the arrangements for the post-cruise tour of Luxor and Cairo. I'm guessing that at least 300 passengers participated in the tour and the logistics were very complex. We never once waited in line for anything. Each bus had an Egyptologist (we were lucky to be part of the Isis group under the leadership of Mohamed Shehata Ali, who is so bright and charming) and hotel check-in, luggage, meals, entrance to sights and airport transfers were all managed with great finesse. On the ground in Egypt, there was no reason to ever feel threatened. Mohamed prepared us to deal with pushy vendors (we quickly learned to say "laa shukran - no thank you" in Arabic), monitored our comfort and helped us understand the amazing things we saw in the city, the countryside, and at the ancient sites. The Egyptian people we encountered were very friendly and the kids are delightful and want to practice their English. The Semiramis Intercontinental is right next door to Tahrir Square and we did witness small demonstrations but never felt unsafe. If Egypt is a destination that appeals to you, monitor the situation and understand that unrest has been confined to small pockets in the city. You will be well rewarded when you visit. For those who are curious, here is a slideshow (11:09) from our cruise and tour: http://youtu.be/M4JklywHFec   Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We were a family group of 20 on the SS Mariner cruise in June 2012. It was not easy finding the right cruise line for us since ages in our group ranged from 2 -80! We finally chose Regent because we trusted it to be a luxury cruse line ... Read More
We were a family group of 20 on the SS Mariner cruise in June 2012. It was not easy finding the right cruise line for us since ages in our group ranged from 2 -80! We finally chose Regent because we trusted it to be a luxury cruse line that would please the elders in our group and yet we hoped it would also offer enough activities and entertainment for the younger crowd. So we boarded in Istanbul, the boarding process went very smoothly and the staff was very helpful and always well-disposed to help in any way needed. The SUITES are very comfortable and bathrooms (shower only) also well kept. All of the housekeeping employees assigned to our suites were always available and very courteous. We decided to tip them (in spite of tips being included) and found that they were a bit surprised and very thankful. The furnishings are ok, though the carpets are in need of change. The public areas of the ship are all nicely decorated and in perfect condition. Now as for DINING: there are various venues available and food was quite varied to please everyone;from casual burgers and salads by the pool to excellent a la carte dinners in all 3 restaurants. For Signatures and Prime 7 reservations were required entitling passengers once to dine at each restaurant. It is necessary to make reservations well in advance ( our travel agent did not help much and since we were a large group we were assigned dinner at 6:30 pm which was not what we wanted.) Nevertheless, once on the ship the restaurants concierge really helped to accommodate all of us and we were able to schedule better times and enjoy those dinners. Compass Rose, the main restaurant turned out to be a nice surprise, since it was at the same level of the other two restaurants. The menu changes daily, and there are many options to cater for all guests'dietary needs, all in a sophisticated yet family -friendly ambience. The Veranda which is the buffet restaurant was a more distended option for lunch ann hearty appetites. The quality and variety of the food available throughout the ship well deserves a special mention here. The waiters were also very well trained. Room service proved to be a great option for after-tours. DRINKS: needless to say, plenty of drinks offered at all times!!! Great poolside bar and waiters. TOURS : Here comes probably our major complaint about the cruise. Our first destination Kavala, did not have much to offer. We chose a tour " Historic Xanthi" and it was a complete disgrace ( as put by another passenger on our tour.) We drove for about 45 min to walk by a nice , yes, river but nothing spectacular and we were left to walk up a rocky and uncomfortable narrow path. Luckily halfway, we encountered other groups returning who told us it was not worth it to keep going, since the scenery was the same. So we headed back to the bus and then left for a 30 minute ride to Xanthi. There our guide walked us through the little town, and we were all surprised that there was nothing to see there! Just a small church from 1930's I recall and there some of us started to complain. The guide was not responsive, and the representative from Regent who came with us, was completely aloof. Then we were to have 1.5 hours to spend at our leisure there!! and we complained and shortened that to 45 min. There were a few bars open, some of our kids wanted something to eat, and it was past lunch time, so we sat at a bar to realize they were totally unprepared to offer food, even drinks! We asked for diet sodas, they had none!!! After that we were taken AGAIN to a touristy restaurant -house were we sat and tasted a plate of local appetizers. We again complained and finally we headed back to the ship which was another hour's drive. We headed right to the Concierge to explain what had happened and our concern for the rest of the cruise's tours. We found they had already heard about it, and did not even offer an apology. We were appalled by all this, we felt we were treated with little respect. Having experienced all this, we then decided to switch to shorter tours for the following destinations and those were generally good. FITNESS & SPA: few aerobic machines, the spa was ok, nothing great and impossible to schedule appointments. (I think it is because people use the shipboards credit here). Poor manicure and pedicure service. As for ENTERTAINMENT: it was overall quiet nice, yet we missed most of the shows since we dined late. Bars had good musicians. Unfortunately we realized not many people hang our after dinner and it was a bit awkward to see a only few people at those nice bars. The average age on this cruise was about 60, so we found that entertainment was targeted to an older crowd. There were some families like us since it was already summer. The disco lounge had a jukebox with very old music playing! It is nice to listen to 60's or 70's music but we felt they should improve that and add more up to date music to attract those of us wanting to dance !!! Finally for disembarkation it was all very well organized and we ended our journey on this cruise and happy with the outcome overall..... Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Having seen the reviews, read the brochures and travelled A LOT, my husband and I expected a little more from this cruise. It reminded us of Holland America--a lot of hype and some substance to back it up, but not all that it was supposed ... Read More
Having seen the reviews, read the brochures and travelled A LOT, my husband and I expected a little more from this cruise. It reminded us of Holland America--a lot of hype and some substance to back it up, but not all that it was supposed to be. Pros: *ports of call--Ephesus with an expert excursion--worth every penny--one of the most memorable places I will ever visit (my only remaining ancient wonder of the world is Babylon) *transfers--extremely smooth, professional and well done *dining--90% of the time: outstanding *staffing--90% of the time: outstanding *free excursions--wonderful perk to booking this cruise, though we only did two *stateroom--large enough for 2 and plenty of storage. The walk in closet was great *spa--one of the best stone massages ever and they didn't try to sell us stuff Cons: *bartending: no Martini olives and no bartenders who could make "pool" drinks. My rum runner was brown..... *staffing--the other 10% of the not so friendly staff did not endear us to this cruise line *value--the complimentary beverages, tipping and excellent house wines don't make it worth the price that we paid. Final Comments: Were Windstar to go all inclusive we would never look back and are thinking that even with a bar bill at the end, Windstar and the Paul Gaughin (which is all inclusive) are the best cruiselines we have travelled with. We have not travelled with Crystal nor Seabourn, so they might live up to their reputations, but we do not feel that Regent is worth the price paid. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Background Information We previously reviewed our first cruise which was on-board RSSC's Mariner in the Mediterranean in May 2011 and this is really by way of a comparison and update. Travel to RSS Mariner Again we made our own ... Read More
Background Information We previously reviewed our first cruise which was on-board RSSC's Mariner in the Mediterranean in May 2011 and this is really by way of a comparison and update. Travel to RSS Mariner Again we made our own travel arrangements, not only because this was more economical than using Regent's included flights but to avoid the worry involved in flying out on the morning of embarkation. We flew LHR to IST in British Airways Club Europe cabin primarily to take advantage of the business lounge as we faced a considerable wait -- the roads around Heathrow are so unreliable that it is essential to leave around 4 hours early for what should be a 90 minute journey. We also looked forward to the increased legroom and better service on the four hour flight but in this we were disappointed. It was clear that BA had reconfigured the business cabin to increase capacity at the expense of both room and service - to the point where it is no longer worth paying the premium. We had booked a standard room at the 'Four Seasons at the Bosphorus' in Istanbul and they had arranged for a car to meet us off the plane: this was done with courtesy and efficiency. The traffic (and some of the driving) in Istanbul was appalling however and it took nearly an hour to travel the 12 miles or so to the hotel. We were delighted on arrival to discover that our standard room had been upgraded to a beautiful split-level suite overlooking the Bosphorus! We had intended to take a short boat trip on the Bosphorus before going to the Mariner at lunchtime but decided to enjoy breakfast and a gracious late checkout from our lovely room. At breakfast I plucked up courage to speak to an American couple at a neighbouring table who confirmed that they too were bound for the Mariner and were using Regent's included transfer facility. The concierge then contacted the Regent personnel at the hotel who confirmed that we were welcome to use the Regent bus rather than find a taxi for ourselves as I had originally intended. This is typical of the 'no problem' attitude found in so many of one's dealings with Regent staff. Reception on board This time we were delighted to find that the previous welcome glass of sparkling wine had been replaced by real Champagne which we enjoyed as we went through the reception process in the theatre. This took no more than 5 minutes despite the fact that we had arrived with many other guests. Our luggage, loaded on the Regent bus, duly reappeared in our suite when we gained access about 2.30pm following lunch from the La Veranda's excellent buffet; a bottle of Champagne on ice awaited us. Stateroom Our F category suite was located amidships on the port side of deck 8. Other than being 'the other way round' i.e. a mirror image of our starboard cabin last year, it was identical except that, in the interim, Regent had introduced the 'concierge class' benefits. These are incentives intended to attract passengers to suites on higher decks which, although identical to those lower down, cost more. Concierge Class The main benefit of a concierge class suite is the opportunity to book excursions and speciality restaurants online earlier than others: from speaking to others, however, it seems that there was little difficulty in getting reservations at the later stage. There is also an included hour of Wi-Fi internet access. Both these benefits accrue to those who have sailed more than 21 nights with Regent regardless of the class of cabin, however. There is also a complimentary coffee machine (without instructions for use however), a pair of binoculars and a 25% discount on premium wines. If we were to book with Regent again, given that we would have accrued more than 21 nights, we would not pay the premium to be in concierge class unless more substantial benefits, such as additional speciality restaurant reservations or additional excursion options, were offered. Food & Wine We complained (mildly) about the timing of room service breakfasts last year but this had not improved this year: orders for 6.30 to 7.00 were delivered between 6.10 and 6.20 often catching us still in bed! Perhaps the timing slots are meant to indicate when you want to finish eating but this is not what the order-card says. This is only a minor inconvenience of course and is no doubt the result of pressure on the service when so many excursions require passengers to be ready at the same time in the morning. We just started ordering for a later time slot and hoped it would be early as usual! This tactic usually worked. The food in all the restaurants was as good as last year - apart from a filet mignon which was ordered rare and arrived medium-rare and rather chewy, and, very strangely, a Dover sole which was tough and overcooked -- even odder given the fact that a thinner fish served to the same table was perfect. Our impression was that the standard of the wines was not quite up to last year. Too many rather bland Chilean and Californian varietals and requests for an alternative served earlier in the cruise were not always met with complete enthusiasm from the servers. There definitely seemed to be more pressure to accept that evening's standard 'pour' than there was last year - particularly from staff of Central European origin. We searched in vain for a premium wine to take advantage of the concierge class discount but nothing tempted us -- cynical it may be but I wondered whether the prices had been massaged to claw back some of the reduction in profit that might result from the discount? Excursions It was unfortunate that we were accompanied for much of the itinerary by two much larger ships. This resulted in real crowding in many of the sites visited -- particularly Ephesus and Athens. Of course this is a popular itinerary but it was hardly high season -- perhaps these sites are reaching their capacity and consideration might be given to the inclusion of more places 'off the beaten track' especially if Regent's desire is to continue to attract repeat travellers. The best of the excursions, we felt, was the Corfu 4x4 trip. It encouraged a sense of camaraderie and a little adventure -- although, to be honest, four wheel drive was not really necessary as all the roads were tarmacked albeit very bendy and quite bumpy. But even this experience was slightly diminished by finding that both of the scheduled stops were already occupied by groups from the accompanying cruise vessels. Unfortunately I managed to aggravate an existing knee problem when extricating myself from the rear of the tiny two-door cars used: this prevented us participating in any further excursions which involved any real walking. We enjoyed the resulting additional 'sea-days' on-board despite the variable weather we experienced throughout the voyage. Conclusion It was perhaps unwise of us to choose a cruise so similar to last year's. Last year we had never cruised before and therefore had no benchmark for comparison -- this year we had expectations. That these were largely met is a tribute to Regent's management and their standards of supervision and training. Disappointment resulted from one factor wholly beyond Regent's control -- the weather -- and from another partially so -- the popularity of the ports visited with other much larger vessels. As regards two innovations that have been the subject of controversy in the Cruise Critic forums, included excursions and concierge class benefits, the first is no doubt an attraction to first time luxury cruisers but does have two disadvantages: a 'treadmill' effect where every day brings a new port and an excursion to take if you want to get your money's worth. As a way of making the upper decks more attractive, given that they cost more but are otherwise identical to those lower down, the concierge class scheme is understandable: its attractions diminish, however, as you earn repeat traveller benefits which match or exceed those of concierge class -- the addition of extra bookings in the speciality restaurants might be a way to redress the balance. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
Background: This is my husband and my first Regent SS cruise. Our past cruise lines include Paul Gauguin, Azamara, Celebrity, HAL, Princess. Port-intensive Itinerary was the main reason we selected this cruise. Secondary reason was ... Read More
Background: This is my husband and my first Regent SS cruise. Our past cruise lines include Paul Gauguin, Azamara, Celebrity, HAL, Princess. Port-intensive Itinerary was the main reason we selected this cruise. Secondary reason was to try an All Inclusive (including excursions) cruise. Our last experience of all-inclusive was Paul Gauguin, and we loved it! Our LIKES Itinerary Hotel stay the night before Cabin Room Service All-inclusive Small ship-Understated elegant No formal nights All-inclusive excursions Our DISLIKES La Veranda Lining up for excursions Our UNDECIDED Food All-inclusive excursions Itinerary This is a superfantastic itinerary. I cannot find words that would do these places justice. Every port was worth seeing, feeling, and understanding. (our favorites were Ephesus, Corfu, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice.) The view as our ship approaches the ports was breath-taking. These cities are beyond words. They must be experienced. Hotel Stay the Night Before Grand Hyatt in Istanbul was where we stayed the night before our sailing. It wasn't just the hotel that added to the Regent SS experience. It was the all the extras such as free internet, free scrumptious breakfast, and the "club" benefits that blew us away. This was the start of the Regent Cruise, and Regent certainly made an unforgettable first impression with this hotel and the extra service provided. Our cabin We chose this cruise based on its port-intensive itineraries. This cabin is a spacious suite, love the walk-in closet and the marble bathroom. Prefer to have bigger shower, and no tub. However, this port-intensive sailing did not allow us cocooning and indulging much in this gorgeous suite! And that is unfortunate. Being on deck 6, we had no problem with noise. We did have a minor inconvenience--the base of the shower slopes away from the drain, which caused the water to pool while showering. We never used the tub. I could not bear to waste so much water taking a bath, on a ship! I am sure it is a welcome relief for longer trips. Room Service We were particularly impressed with the room service. Their phone etiquette was superb. They made us feel our call was very important, and our requests were top priority, even though I could hear the raucous in the background. (they were still in the midst of busy meal time.) The food was delivered to us promptly, and the table was set up for us, with attention to every detail. We felt very pampered, in our robes! We enjoyed our room service, even though it was only a couple of times. All-Inclusive This all-inclusiveness seemed to be a big draw for us newbie passengers. As CC Travelcat has pointed out, there was a higher % of newbies on this sailing. (Another observation: I noticed lower age group of passengers in their 20's, 30's, 40's) And we newbies seem to enjoy and embrace this all-inclusive feature. It is liberating not have to sign for every cocktail, coffee, or water bottle. For someone who is not into drinks, I was amazed with how much I really enjoyed sitting at the Coffee Connection, with a cup of Cafe au lait, reading my ipad; or watching the sun sets at the back of Horizon Lounge, sampling a glass of apple martini. Surprising to me, these "Little pleasures" added much "value" to our Regent SS cruise experience. Ship & Service--Overall Ship --We like the size of the ship. The stairs are great for people like us who rarely take the elevator. Being on 6th deck, we were close to most services: the Service desk, the destination desk, the library, Coffee Connection, the theater (where we gathered almost every morning for excursions.) The decor was understated elegant. We like that. It seemed to us, Regent takes maintenance seriously. Almost every night, something was done to the pool deck in addition to being washed. Overall, the ship seemed very well cared for. Service--Service to us means connection with us guests. Having someone anticipates my needs because they know my likes and dislikes is HUGE for me. For example, when I sit down at dinner in Compass Rose, my waiter will bring my cup of hot tea instead of ice cold water, without asking me again. He already knows. That, is service to me. Given to us by an experienced Regent fan--CC Travelcat, a tip for getting consistently good service in the main dining room Compass Rose: Choose the same table, with the same waiter as often as possible. And in order to do that, you have to be earlier than 7pm. We can attest to that--it worked for us. We had the same waiter, the same assistant, and the same sommelier. And at 6:30pm when it was before the "storm", we were able to enjoy personable service, and deeper connection with the staff. My husband and I find much pleasure in that. After 7pm, it was impossible. The crew became too busy. This is the reason why I prefer fixed time dining. With fixed time dining, the crew has a rhythm and they have buffer time, allowing them to connect with their guests. On the other hand, with daily tour excursions, getting to dinner at fixed time is inconvenient and unrealistic sometimes. It comes down to individual preference: what adds to a good cruise experience for each one of us. For my husband and I, connecting with the crew and fellow passenger (at least at dinner) is an important part of an unforgettable cruise experience. During this cruise, we somehow had fewer opportunities "connecting" (more than a simple hello) with the crew, and with fellow guests. Not sure of the reasons yet. No Formal Nights With the luggage weight restriction, and long flights for us from West coast Canada, the less we bring, the easier it is. PLUS, our focus was the ports and excursions. No formal nights allow us more freedom and enjoyment. Even though there were no formal nights, we find fellow passengers dress very elegantly in the evening. To me, one does not have to be in formal gowns to look beautiful, respectful, and elegant. NO Formal Nights was a big PLUS for me. All-Inclusive Excursions This was an interesting feature we wanted to experiment. I have always organized our own excursions with private organizations in ports. We were not fans of cruise-organized tours--large groups, standard cookie cutter tour packages, a bit bland and too big of a group for us. However, what I like about this all-inclusive is the fact we do go to ports every day, with knowledgeable guides. I did not do any planning, organizing, and risking. It took the worry out of my mind. My favorite excursions: biking in Croatia; climbing the Volcano in Santorini, visiting the Terrace Houses in Ephesus. I have to admit, the Regent excursions DO include some interesting visits to local restaurants, winery, or hot spring (or cold spring, in Santorini's case.) we wouldn't have selected if we were on our own. We thoroughly enjoyed them. The flip side is the waiting in line, in the theater in the morning of the excursions. (We felt as we were in elementary school, waiting to be called to the principle's office!) The tour group was 2 or 3X bigger than the 8 to 12 people group we are used to. Being in a larger group, the guides had logistics to consider (waiting for us to go to WC, for example). Also, we had less individual time. We were on a tighter schedule. The tour could not be altered or customized to suit us. These are all understandable. Overall, I think Regent did a superb job providing many interesting excursions for us to choose from. I am not sure if we guests appreciate the effort and the amount of organization behind the scene Regent did to make it happen for us. For those of us who are planners of tours and excursions for ourselves, I certainly appreciate it. DISLIKES The quasi full-service/self-service in La Veranda and the Grill was a bit awkward for us. Or maybe we were not used to it. We had our breakfasts and ONE dinner at La Veranda. For breakfast, the egg order is brought to our table. This was awkward for us, in that, we almost always forget to check our table number before lining up at the buffet stations. Because the egg station is not a separate station, the line up clogs up the line for all stations. The line gets longer due to the fact a staff will have to take the time to write down my table number on a little piece of paper. The line gets even longer. When we have excursions, which means we have very little time in the morning to enjoy our breakfast leisurely. We had dinner once at La Veranda. We wanted a casual, less formal environment. Less formal in La Veranda meant we helped ourselves with salads, but our main course will be taken care of by our waiter. The main course took a very long time, and we noticed how flustered and confused the staff were. Mistakes made not only at our table, but also others. It was not a good night for them. Fortunately, we had lovely table mates, the waiting time was filled with lively conversation. I was told La Veranda may be going through a major change. And this was their transition period. I do hope Regent keep this option open. Some days, we prefer the self-serve, non-rigid, minimum service buffet style dining, selecting what we want to eat, and how we want to eat, without offending others. Food Quality and Presentation Food is very personal and subjective. For a cruise line, be it 5 star or 6 star, satisfying the taste buds of many different cultures is an impossible task and unrealistic expectation, in my opinion. With that in mind, the only dish that did not meet our expectation was fish. They were overcooked in Compass Rose as well as in Signature. However, my Sea bass one night in Compass Rose was moist and delicious. What impressed me tremendously is the food presentation. Every dish was an art on display. The food quality was good, and rich. The Champagne caviar on Sunday was a treat. That was nice. All-inclusive Excursions The only one part of an excursion we did not enjoy was the carpet store at the end of Ephesus tour. We did not care for the well-orchestrated sales pitch. That was anti-climatic after such a fantastic Ephesus and Terrace Houses tour! Summary--I think Regent is worth a try for anyone considering an all-inclusive cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We began our journey in Vancouver, Canada where we boarded a Lufthansa flight to Istanbul with a brief stop in Frankfurt. As usual, the customs procedures in Frankfurt were a bit tedious. We selected a different lounge than we normally ... Read More
We began our journey in Vancouver, Canada where we boarded a Lufthansa flight to Istanbul with a brief stop in Frankfurt. As usual, the customs procedures in Frankfurt were a bit tedious. We selected a different lounge than we normally use and found it less crowded and much nicer. Arrival in Istanbul was easy. We stopped by the visa desk and obtained the required Turkish visas within two minutes at a cost of $25 each. The lengthy line at Passport Control was tiring. Finally, we were off in search of our Regent Representative. The first Regent Rep. we located piled our luggage on a cart and looked for our names to check off. They were not there. We told him that we were part of the group with a pre-cruise to Cappadocia (pronounced Cappa dok ya). He off-loaded the luggage and we went on seeking the next Regent Rep. who did not have our names either. He did suggest that we stand in a particular spot and said that the Rep. would show up. After 15 minutes or so (and asking more questions), the Regent Rep. that had our names showed up. Unfortunately, all of us had to schlep all of our luggage to the bus. We arrived at the lovely Ritz Carlton, the same hotel we stayed at previously. We were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves on the Club level where food and drinks were served. Our plans for going out to dinner went out the window after the wonderful food offering at the hotel. After dinner we sat and had a couple of drinks in the lovely Club lounge. Breakfast in the morning was amazing. The buffet has a wide array of choices. We were happy and very impressed with the hotel. Around 8:30 a.m. the following morning we were off with 19 other Regent guests to the airport where we boarded a Turkish Air Flight. It was a one hour flight to the city where the airport an hour away from Cappadocia was (cannot recall the name). Due to flight delays, we were approximately one hour late. Once we arrived, once again it was our responsibility to manage our own luggage. Fortunately, some of our luggage remained in Istanbul where it would be delivered to the Voyager when she arrived. We arrived at the restaurant quite late (about 2:30 p.m.) and had a delightful lunch (no alcohol -- this was a strict Muslim restaurant). We had nice soft drinks and bottled water. We were all tired and were fine with changing the itinerary around so our day would be a bit shorter. Regent used two hotels for the group. The "premium" hotel was The Cappadocia Cave Resort. It is a unique, beautiful hotel. The balcony of our suite overlooked the amazing valley. Dinner at the restaurant was confusing and disappointing. The Guide told us that we could dine any time between 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. When we arrived at 7:30 p.m., there was a table for 21 set up and the expectation was that everyone would show up at 8:30 p.m. We were permitted to sit down and ordered a bottle of wine and ordered (not even water was included at this hotel). As other members of the group came down, they were seated at the same table. The service was so slow that, by the time we were served dessert, guests who arrived 45 minutes after us were deserved dessert at the same time. Food was mediocre In the morning there were 75 hot air balloons (according to the guide) taking off. It was beautiful sight to behold. Many guests joined in the hot air balloon ride (additional cost). We preferred catching up on our sleep. They arrived back late so we started out a bit behind time-wise. The day we spent in Cappadocia was magical. In all of our travels, we ahe not seen the unique beauty that is Cappadocia. From the fairy chimneys to the underground city, it was all amazing. To get a tiny look at this wonderful spot, you may want to Google it. Pictures, however, do not do it justice. There are cave houses, cave hotels, fairy chimney's also turned into residences and restaurants. It was worth all of the time and energy put forth to get there. Our excellent Guide bribed people to get us in to the underground city. It was a holiday weekend and there were people waiting to get in as far as the eye could see. We bypassed the line and viewed this magnificent place. Lunch was the best food we had since arriving in Cappadocia. Dinner that night at the hotel was arranged properly and the food was somewhat better. Breakfast at the hotel is quite nice. The ride back to the airport (they utilized a closer airport this time) was uneventful. The airport was quite small and had no crowds. After, once again, dragging our luggage into the terminal, we flew back to Istanbul for the tours. This was still a holiday weekend and the area was packed. If that were not enough, they were filming a James Bond movie in Istanbul that created traffic tie-ups. We entered the Blue Mosque with no problem whatsoever. Saint Sophia was also fairly easy to get into. Topkapi, on the other hand,was so bad that we gave up. We walked for a long way to get there only to learn that it would take a long time to get in and that it would be packed once we were inside. By then it was approximately noon. The group was going for lunch after Topkapi. We decided to go on our own and take the tram to the ship (after thanking and tipping our wonderful Guide). Being onboard the Voyager is always an amazing experience. Such understated beauty and kindness from the crew. The weather every day of the 10 day voyage was between 70F and 76F (one day it approached 80F). Clear skies, sunny (there was rain for one hour in Anaconda, Italy -- a port we are at today and still have no desire to leave the ship -- not an attractive port). Service has been incredible. Food in Prime 7 was the best we have had to date. Food in Signatures is different as it has to be now that Regent's affiliation with Le Cordon Bleu has ended. The mushroom soup, while extremely good, was not the mushroom soup that they had last year. To be fair, we have never been fans of Signatures but did have an enjoyable meal. Compass Rose has been right on point. We still ask for a table in Zaldys section. He somehow knew we would be on board and looked for us the first night (we were in Signatures). We were quite happy to see each other the second night. The ports have been lovely. I was completely amazed by Kotor, Montenegro. I was not aware of the beauty of that port. We did not take an excursion in Kotor but will be doing so on this leg of the cruise. We had been we Santorini previously. This time the ship anchored at a place where you can just board a bus and drive away (no donkeys or trams). we were taking a wine tour with the new company, something like Wine Trails. It was a lovely tour but not worth the price. The best part of the tour was the Tour Guide. He was the best Guide we have had in our 25 years of international travel. Evan should be a trainer for other tour guides. He does not talk too much or too little. he has a sense of humor and is quite no-nonsense when it comes to dealing with the people at our stops. If the description of something is not to his liking, he will add information to it. Completely blown away by this young(ish) man. In Ephesus we did the Terrace Houses that everyone raves about. It is definitely amazing. Heed the warnings about people with walking difficulties having problems on this tour. The stairs up are easy. Going down is very difficult and there are no handrails. Montenegro was simply amazing. Beautiful views, lovely scenery. We again took a wine tour. This one started out to be one of the best tours we have had. We went to an olive oil processing plant (no longer in use except for tourists). We were shown how the horse walked in circles as the olives were pressed (beautiful horse -- doesn't like to do the demonstration but puts up with it. We were then served jugs of homemade wine, prosciutto, homemade cheese, salad), olives and homemade bread. Did I mention that this was 9:30 a.m. Well, we were all on vacation so we enjoyed it completely. The rest of the tour was a bit slow. The winery wine was not that good (no one purchased wine there). Still, a great day. We took "sea days" while other people were in port because, as I mentioned, we are repeating some ports on this leg of the cruise". The cruise ended with an overnight in Venice. We did the "included" gondola excursion. It sounds gimmicky and touristy but was fabulous. A highlight of the trip On the day when most people were disembarking, we went on the St. Marks Square and Doges Palace tour. Quite nice. We are amazed with Venice. This was a place we had no interest in visiting as we heard it was dirty, etc. The information we received was completely untrue as it is a clean, vibrant city. It is crowded but will be much more so in the summer. While much of this is a review of our pre-cruise, I hope Regent reads it and corrects the very few problems we had (mainly luggage handling). There are people who asked our opinion of Cappadocia and, having now been there, we would recommend it without hesitation. Forgot to mention the shows (which we typically do not attend). The Cirque Voyager is better than any show we have seen on Regent (we have seen other versions on the Voyager -- this one was unique and simply amazing! A must see! At the risk of being called a "Regent Cheerleader" (I don't consider that negative), the people on this ship, from the Captain down are caring, warm, professional, trustworthy and hardworking individuals whom it is always a pleasure to see. There was not one person who did not give excellent service on our cruise. Bravo Voyager crew! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
My husband and I greatly enjoyed our May 4 - 14 Istanbul to Venice cruise on the Mariner. As background: We are a couple in our mid 40s. We have traveled extensively, but this was only our 4th cruise, and our first on Regent. The cruise ... Read More
My husband and I greatly enjoyed our May 4 - 14 Istanbul to Venice cruise on the Mariner. As background: We are a couple in our mid 40s. We have traveled extensively, but this was only our 4th cruise, and our first on Regent. The cruise was chosen for the timing, length, and itinerary. Our thoughts: EMBARKATION / DEBARKATION: We arranged our own air and transfers. After a few days of sightseeing in Istanbul, we arrived at the port around 1pm. The check in process was very quick, and as the ship was just coming off of a short rehab / wet-dock, the cabin was immediately ready for us. Debarkation was also extremely easy. We just walked off the ship and quickly found our luggage in the terminal. STATEROOMS: We were in a "regular" deluxe suite on deck 8. The suite is a nice size and didn't feel cramped. The mattress was just replaced and the entire room was in great shape. We found that there is plenty of space in the closet and drawers. The bathroom had good storage and we loved the rain shower head. Our room stewardess, Cecilia, was excellent. Comments: • The size of the safe in the closet is very small (e.g. no room for a laptop or larger camera etc). • We currently live in a very quiet neighborhood, so it was a bit louder than we are used to. It was OK at night, but we were woken up early every morning by the noise of people talking in the hallways, the sounds of neighboring cabin front and balcony doors being opened and slamming shut etc. (note: The room service delivery person can't really catch the door as he walks in because he has the tray in his hands. Consequently, the hall door slams closed very loudly after he walks in.) DINNING Overall the dinning met our expectations. We expected and experienced generally good to very good meals and service...we didn't expect Michelin star like experiences, nor was it a big deal to us if a course or meal was not especially to our liking on occasion. Compose Rose: The food was consistently very good in CR. For dinner, we were always immediately seated when we showed up (typically between 8:00 - 8:30). The selections, service and pace of the meals went well in the evenings. Unfortunately, the service at breakfast was not at the same pace. Each of the 3 times we tried CR for breakfast it was extremely slow, even though there were not many others in the dining room. La Veranda: Buffets are not normally our first choice, but with the timing of the excursions, we usually went to LV for breakfast and some lunches. It was OK. It often seemed crowded and hectic and sometimes the "hot" food was not so hot. For dinner, our first experience at LV was disappointing. It was later in the evening, and the buffet was picked over and not visually appealing at all. The service was very slow, but the main courses ordered were good. We decided to give LV another chance for dinner, but this second time we went early (7 pm). It was a big difference! The buffet was full of interesting choices and was nicely presented. The service was much better as well. Lesson - go early for the best experience in LV for dinner. Signatures: We thought that the food was delicious and the service, if a bit pretentious, was professional and smooth. We enjoyed our meal so much; we went for a second time, trying completely different choices and were equally impressed. Prime 7: We have plenty of great steak houses in our current home area, so P7 really wasn't special for us. We went once and didn't try to go back. Perhaps if you lived in area where good steak houses are rare (pun intended), this would be a treat. Pool area: We had lunch here one time, and the burgers and ice cream were good. We enjoyed the pool bar service most afternoons. Please note that it was always easy to find a chair in the sun and one in the shade, no chair hog problems at all. Coffee Connection: Great idea! Loved stopping for a quick espresso and snack. Room service: We had room service deliver coffee every morning. There is a place to indicate when you would prefer the service in half hour intervals. Each and every time they were early. On one of the first days of the cruise, we had marked the 6:30 - 7:00 time frame and the delivery employee was ringing our doorbell at 6:08 (we were still in bed!). The only comment when we questioned, was that they had many orders. It wasn't' a big deal and became a joke to us...how early will they be today? SHIP ACTIVITIES Our time on the ship was primarily to relax, so we didn't take part in many of the ship activities....no trivia, games, casino etc. We often enjoyed a before or after dinner drink in one of the lounges. Our favorite spot was in the observation lounge when the ship was at sea. We didn't go to any of the shows in the large theater, except the "crew capers", which was sweet. OVERALL SERVICE All of the employees came across as friendly and eager to assist. Room stewards/stewardesses were always quick to wish you a good morning/evening when you passed them in a hallway (even if not on your own deck). The bar tenders and restaurant servers were consistently friendly and pleasant. Overall great service! PASSENGERS The ship was full and had a very interesting and friendly mix of passengers. We had many pleasant conversations with our fellow cruisers CONCLUSION Overall the trip was a huge success. We originally booked this trip to: • Visit places we had not been to before on land trips and all except Venice were new; • Enjoy some well deserved R&R from work, and afternoons at the pool deck served us well; and • Celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary in style, which we certainly did. If the itinerary and timing are right, we would love to sail Regent again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
Given the slams at RSSC and Navigator, I was concerned about my Black Sea (Istanbul-Athens) cruise. I have cruised extensively on Silversea, Seabourn, and RSSC; however, I have not been at sea for several years. This was my third ... Read More
Given the slams at RSSC and Navigator, I was concerned about my Black Sea (Istanbul-Athens) cruise. I have cruised extensively on Silversea, Seabourn, and RSSC; however, I have not been at sea for several years. This was my third cruise on Navigator. I do not understand previous complaints. Navigator is a wonderful ship, and I will return in a heartbeat. Yes, the ship is a tad thread-worn: Chairs in some lounges are a bit threadbare. Areas of carpet have been replaced. The bed was a bit lumpy. But I know that the ship will be going into dry dock in a couple of months, and I understand that these minor deficiencies will be corrected. The service was fine (not overwhelming or suffocating, but as needed above and beyond the call.) I had a minor accident (fall) on a tour: The attendant was ready with disinfectant, bandage, etc. A couple of days later he inquired as to how I was doing. The food was generally quite good -- occasionally exceptionally good. Service was prompt in Compass Rose. Wi-Fi worked well, and the RSSC Seven Seas Society benefits (e.g. free internet at Silver) are very nice. I did notice one area of cut-back from my previous experience. It's a detail. But it grated. Previously, menus for the following day were distributed the previous night along with Passages. I understand why this practice was abandoned: It was costly in paper and toner, and it was definitely not "green." My understanding was that menus were available on interactive TV. That seemed a fair work-around. However, menus were not on the TV. If one wanted to see the menu one had to go to a bar or the restaurant itself. This is really not very satisfactory if one is back from a tour, has showered, is in a bathrobe, and wants dinner served in the suite, and doesn't know what's on offer. Is Room Service to read the entire menu on the phone? This was my major disappointment with my Navigator cruise. If that's the greatest disappointment, the conclusion must be that it was a fine cruise. It was. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Regent Navigator  st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; ... Read More
Regent Navigator  st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} Istanbul - Venice   First I wish to make clear that Regent staff on board the ship are one of the best. However, I also wish to be very very clear that Regent corporate staff are simply one of the worst.   For this cruise I selected an F category cabin. For whatever reason Regent corporate thinks that Handicapped rooms are equivalent - trust me - they are not. The cabin assigned to us was poorly maintained (woodwork bashed, mattress was equivalent to a third rate country flop house, shower head damaged) and did not contain either a bathtub or a sofa. Other non-handicapped cabins were nicer in all aspects. Therefore any relationship to this handicap cabin being equivalent is absurd. I would however be completely upset if I had been truly handicapped. This room was completely substandard in relation to other cabins of the same or even lower class that were non-handicapped. In my mind it is only a matter of time before the "disabled" community goes after Regent corporate on their total lack of equal standards.   A note to remember - when talking with Regent corporate prior to your cruise - simply understand - they do not know what they are talking about and will tell you anything to get you off the phone. I was told that handicapped rooms all have couches and glass showers - no, they don't (so why  do they lie or guess?). Also, I made reservations online for the Portofino Grill only to find out that no reservation existed. Again corporate staff dropped the ball.   On a happier note we were transferred to a different cabin at the beginning of the cruise to the last cabin on the stern of the ship. (only cabin available) Yes, there is massive vibration but that was preferable to no bathtub or couch. If you cannot handle loud noise and "massive" vibration - do not even consider anything other than the middle of the ship. I did find that ample digestion of alcohol does reduce the vibration to the point of total bliss.   As I touch on random topics I did wish to speak on the subject of smoking. Yes it does occur on board. Yes, it does occur in cabins and balconies (much to the chagrin of the  smoke police on board) and yes non-smokers are still offended by non-smokers in the smoking areas. Such is life. Personally I am offended by women who think they must take a bath in nauseous perfume. Perhaps we can outlaw that next. BTW, I am a non-smoker.   Status of the ship is simply - worn out. The overdue retrofit of the ship is much needed. Carpet are shot, tables worn, couches bad shape, chairs scuffed - you know the typical wear and tear of years of abuse. Personally if I had known how bad a condition the ship was in - I would have demanded a reduced rate.   "Free Shore Excursions" - First, nothing is free. Second - we went on two of these excursions and both were planned by Regent on maximizing structured sales pitches by vendors on shore. A sad commentary but true. Not only that but on the Venice excursion we coughed up an additional $100 bucks to have a private gondola ride - with the excursion lasting 2 and a half hours. Trouble was that for an for the first hour and 55 minutes we were turned loose in St. Marco square to "shop". Therefore the actual gondola ride lasted only 35 minutes. Consider this excursion a - Ripoff.   I would recommend private excursions - better value for your money.   Ports - We did make one change on the itinerary with was substituting Corfu for Albania - a good decision.   Food - without doubt this was the best aspect of the total cruise. I have cruised on several cruise lines and Regent is one of the best with regard to food. Prepare to feast.   Again, I wish to reiterate that shipboard staff were helpful and professional. I wish I could say the same for Regent corporate. It amazes me that answers to passenger questions were simply so wrong. If you don't know the answer - then Regent staff should either not answer or find the correct answer. Making answers up simply leaves one with a bad taste.For this reason alone I will never cruise with Regent again.   So, on a scale of 1 - 10 I would rate Regent cruise line a 6.2.   For comparative purposes I would rate Celebrity at 8.8 and Holland America at 7.9 with Royal Caribbean at 5.9.   Regent in my mind simply does not live up to its hype. My experience is that Regent falls behind Holland America and Celebrity in terms of quality.   Overall not a bad cruise experience - but one that could have been much better.     Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
Pre-Cruise We had air inclusive on this cruise. Regent booked us on Lufthansa out of Seattle with a stop (and 4 hour wait) in Frankfurt. Flying out of Seattle on Lufthansa was quick and easy. We were booked on Business Class and were ... Read More
Pre-Cruise We had air inclusive on this cruise. Regent booked us on Lufthansa out of Seattle with a stop (and 4 hour wait) in Frankfurt. Flying out of Seattle on Lufthansa was quick and easy. We were booked on Business Class and were able to use the lounge prior to the flight. They use the British Air lounge in Terminal "S" one of the nicest lounges we have seen in the U.S. Contrary to most reviews on Lufthansa, the Business Class seats and service were very good (A330-330 one of the newer planes). The "Business Class" flight from Frankfurt to Istanbul was okay from a service standpoint, however, the seats were economy (6 across 3 and 3). The middle seat was blocked off so no one sits next to you. Not impressive. Regent's transfer to the Ritz Carlton in Istanbul was fine. Beautiful hotel. It seemed that the Regent passengers were assigned to lower floors. Our first room was next to the elevator, looked out at a wall and had stained carpets. We were moved to a room on the 3rd floor that was just fine. Included an excellent buffet breakfast. Embarkation Embarkation was easier than we have experienced. Customs in Istanbul was a breeze and, of course, Regent does a wonderful job of getting you through the preliminaries and up to lunch in La Veranda. Condition of the Ship Condition of ship 2 months prior to dry dock: We were on the Voyager two years ago and felt they needed to replace the carpeting. It isn't worn or dirty, it just looks like there are water marks from large spills everywhere. It seems that they purchased the wrong carpet for the ship. A CC poster that apparently knows about carpet said : "It's called pile reversal/watermarking/shading. It's a common occurrence." In any event, it will be replaced in dry dock. Everything else is sparkling, and clean really looking good. Suite We had a Penthouse B suite (we booked this in order to have Business Class included in the fare. The cabin (818) was in a good position you could not feel any type of vibration. Although the Penthouse suites are only 15 sq. ft. larger, the square configuration makes them considerably roomier. Service The service was wonderful (with a couple of exceptions). We really do not need a butler, however, we asked him if we could have a table set up for 13 in Compass Rose on the next night. He checked and called the next morning to advise me that this is not possible, but, at 7:00 p.m., if we give our suite # to the person in Compass Rose, they will put us in two tables next to each other. We arrived in Compass Rose 6:45 p.m. and was greeted by Anna (she is delightful). She was not aware that we needed table(s) for 13 however, asked us to wait 3 minutes, they would have a table set up for us. This was done and we had a great table with service (Lionel's section) that was absolute perfection. There are more Canadian's working on board than I have seen in the past very nice young people with a great attitude. We even found someone from the U.S. working on board. Seeing staff from North America was different (in a good way). Dining Compass Rose was exemplary. Their filet mignon, and other meat dishes were particularly well prepared. Lunch in Compass Rose was equally delicious. La Veranda for breakfast and lunch was good. However, during a very slow lunch period, the service seemed to fall apart. The staff were all chatting to one another and looking out of the window while plates stacked up on our table. At 1:00 p.m., additional staff was added and the service suddenly became great once again. On the positive side, I was not aware that they have champagne for breakfast on Sunday as well as caviar (prepared beautifully self service). Latitudes continues to serve delicious food their servers are always the happiest and most fun of any servers on board. We will miss Latitudes. Signatures was disappointing the halibut was dry - not even up to the caliber of Compass Rose. The other CCers on board had great experiences in Signatures. We are looking forward to trying Prime Seven Steakhouse next year on the Voyager! The lounges have been quite good. The appetizers are definitely a better quality than a couple of years ago. Even the presentation is a bit better. Note: There was nothing wrong with the appetizers during our last Voyager cruise - the preparation is different and they are presented in a more modern way. Ports Istanbul the port side of the ship is the place to be when in Istanbul especially if you are docked there overnight as we were. The view is magnificent. We found a lovely restaurant (actually an old home where we dined in the backyard) "Giritli". With such a short time in Istanbul, we wanted to try as much authentic food as possible. They serve 12-17 cold appetizers (depending upon fresh vegetables that are in season we had 17). This is followed by three hot appetizers: calamari, octopus and a flakey pastry with spinach inside. Then you select your fish and dessert follows. Dinner includes Turkish wine (all you can drink) and their national drink "Raki". Great food, nice people. They make sure you have a taxi for you when you are done. We walked to the Blue Mosque (next to Topaki Palace). There were simply too many people (mainly tours) for us. Interesting area did wait to go through the Blue Mosque. Rhodes - unique and wonderful. We did a 2 hour taxi tour and walked through the old town looking at shops. There are many taxis parked by the dock. They all want to give you a tour. We politely refused many times. The last driver followed us trying to convince us that we needed to take the tour. We were pleased that we agreed (40 Euro). Kusadasi - as beautiful as the ruins probably are (and we have seen many), we opted to have an authentic Turkish bath (a local facility - no name - just "Turkish Bath" near the post office - walking distance from ship). It was quite an experience - not for everyone, but, it was great for us (only 18 Euro's each). Mykonos - stunning - a great walking city (if you can walk up the stairs and hills). We walked to the very top of the hill - what a view! Santorini - Captain Dag made a very appropriate statement about ports in general. Many new cruise ships are built every year - getting bigger all of the time. However, the ports do not get larger. The week before, 6 cruise ships were in port in Santorini (11,000) people. It took up to 2 hours to get up to the top of the cliff and about the same to get down. People could hardly walk - it was just too crowded. Last week there were 10 ships (plus the Voyager) scheduled to be in port. The Captain made the wise decision to change the itinerary so that we would be in Santorini with only two other ships. We visited the same ports - the order in which we visited them was changed. Santorini is everything people say about it and more. Unique, beautiful - definitely worth the visit. We took a local bus to Oia (a place that should not be missed). I recommend getting in and out of Oia as early in the morning as possible as it will no doubt become overrun with tours later in the day. Nauplion (spelled many different ways) - a nice, laid-back city. Not a whole lot to see. There is a fort - 898 steps up hill. My DH made it to the top - I stopped at 272 steps (I still had a great view of the city). We were surprised at just how different each island was. We enjoyed them all. Post Cruise There were many Regent passengers that were put up at the Athens Intercontinental Hotel because the flights to some cities would not get us home the same day (Regent paid for the cost of the hotel). We were aware of this way in advance. They offered a 3 hour city tour of Athens for $15 per person. Just about everyone took the tour. By the time we reached the hotel, the rooms were ready. Breakfast was included, and, since we had to leave the hotel at 3:00 a.m., were able to order breakfast from room service (rather strange eating at 2:00 a.m., but it was delicious). This is a lovely hotel. One of the flights back on Lufthansa from exceptional (Frankfurt to Portland) - amazing service as well as food (must be that great German food loaded onto the plane? In conclusion: We have been on five Regent cruises. I have reviewed and rated two prior to this one on CC. This is the first time I feel 100% that it deserves a "5" rating. Read Less
Sail Date October 2008
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