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24 Regent Seven Seas Los Angeles Cruise Reviews

We have always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal. After looking at lots of options (and no longer paying college tuition for our youngest!) we decided to take a splurge trip and booked the Regent Mariner. We are 61 and 66 years ... Read More
We have always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal. After looking at lots of options (and no longer paying college tuition for our youngest!) we decided to take a splurge trip and booked the Regent Mariner. We are 61 and 66 years old and have cruised on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Princess. This was our first luxury cruise line. We were told to be prepared to be spoiled. Perhaps we heard that too often and set our sights a bit too high. It was a very nice cruise, but I would not say we were spoiled. (For reference, our last cruise was with Princess, in a Club Class mini-suite. That suite was a bit larger, and we felt the Club Class dining service was equal to, and in some cases, better than our experience on Regent. However, the food on Regent was superior!) I will say we were very spoiled by only 615 guests on the ship! The 2nd day we were wandering around on decks 5 & 6 and saw no one! This was middle of the afternoon! We were in a concierge cabin, so the night before the cruise we were in the Regent hotel- the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills! The hotel was amazing. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet and met some folks that morning that we regularly saw throughout the cruise. It was a great start to the cruise! Buses were very timely- our gathering time was listed as 11:30, the folks giving us the slip said come between 11 and 11:15 - she was right - the bus was leaving the hotel at 11:30! Once we arrived at the port there were quite a few people ahead of us - we waited around 30-45 minutes for our group to be called to check in. There was a nice waiting area with comfortable chairs. (Would have been nice to have coffee / water service.) There is an Illy coffee maker in each room- only problem, we could not figure out how to turn it on! The on/off switch is in back, next to the cord - very difficult to find, a neighbor told us where it was! Our refrigerator was stocked with various sodas and 2 types of beer. There was also a bottle of champagne, on ice, waiting for us when we arrived. A small bowl was kept filled with various fruit. We popped the champagne on "Block Party" night and then another bottle showed up! I had the stewardess remove it as I knew we were not going to drink it. We had 15 minutes of ship to shore time included with our room. I had to ask as to how to use it. (dial 50, wait for the dial tone, then 1, and for US calls the area code and number) I checked our account on the tv the next day and saw that we were billed for the time (I think it is at $7 or so per minutes - and we had gone just over the 15 minutes- so it was a lot!) I asked at Reception, and they had it removed. Since this was an included perk, I felt that it should have been taken care of without me having to ask to have it fixed. Be prepared for hot and VERY humid if you decide to take this itinerary. We had heavy rain in one port, and rain a few other times, mainly at night. The lightening shows at night were fantastic! There were beginner Bridge lessons offered. We have zero experience and went to the classes. We definitely learned a lot and enjoyed the folks we met through the classes. There were just 4 of us for most of the classes! We went to only a couple of the shows. I would highly recommend the Krew Kapers - ours was at 5:30 the 2nd to last night. There was also a magician / comedian that did 2 shows, we enjoyed both! Ports were Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Acajutla (El Salvador), San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua), Puntarenas (Costa Rica), Cartagena (Columbia) and then disembark in Miami. We took all Regent excursions, booking 2 extra charge excursions. In Ensenada we took the "Taste of Mexico" excursion. We boarded a bus drove out of the port and around the nearby area, with the guide pointing out different buildings (including the new aquarium that has been under construction for 4 years - she said hopefully it will be open the next time you visit!), we also stopped at the large square where she pointed out different statues and told us a bit about the country's history. We then stopped at an Opal store. The owner talked a bit about Mexican Opals- 10% of Opals are from Mexico. We went through the store and into what is probably normally a bar. Tables were set up with 8 people per table. A chef was there to lead the class. He talked about a number of different chilis, their hotness and what they were used for. Also passed them around for everyone to smell. We then "made" our own guacamole, green chicken enchilada, and beef tostada. All of the ingredients were prepared for us, a little chopping for the guacamole, stirring and assembling was all that was needed. Margaritas were for sale - $4 each (large glass) or unlimited for $20. Sodas were included. After we were finished there, we boarded the bus and they took us to a shopping area where we had 20 minutes to shop. I would recommend this excursion - just a little amount of walking, some history, and tasty food. We were able to list our email addresses, and they sent us the recipes from the day. Next stop was Cabo San Lucas. We took the "Salsa and Salsa" excursion. The location was very close- but the bused us up the hill (very nice in the heat!). We made 6 different salsas, all the while free margaritas were being poured. Also made 1 margarita at our tables. Then had a short Salsa dance lesson. The salsa making went a little long - but the entire excursion was fun, and tasty! In Acapulco we did the "Nature encounter hike and swiim" - first stop was to see the cliff divers - very impressive. Then off to board a glass bottom boat to go over to a nearby island to hike to the top. Nothing to be seen under the boat- we spotted 2 fish. They offer hiking sticks when you get off the boat (our boat was called the Titanic!). The hike is a good one- well deserving of the "3 people" Regent gives it! Pretty steep in parts, a bit slick on some moss and leaves. We were sweating and out of breath in parts. The view from the top of Acapulco Bay is very nice. Break up top, then back down to our boat and then to a hotel for lunch and a swim in their pool. The water was VERY refreshing! El Salvador was the next port. Acajutla was extremely welcoming to us. They are just starting to see cruise ships, and this was Regent's first time in this port. The bus we were put on for our "Buggies and Thermal Waters" excursion (extra charge) was small. Two seats on one side, one seat on the other and a fold down jump seat. The drive was quite long. We went first to the thermal waters- saw them bubbling out of the ground, and then a few more minutes to the location for lunch and a swim. The "pools" were nothing like the pictures Regent was showing on the cabin tvs. These were actual swimming pools right next to where we ate lunch. The water was milky looking. Only a few people went in the water - one pool was very hot, the others were various temperatures. This "resort" I guess you would call it is nothing like any of us expected. They are just starting to build the area up for tourists. It started sprinkling and then raining, then REALLY raining. At that point my husband and I decided that we were going to skip the buggies- we knew that they were on dirt roads, and with that much rain, it was going to be a mess and dangerous. About this time, the guide announced that the buggies were being cancelled for safety reasons. The other bus had gone to the buggies first - they came back drenched. We were glad to get into our small bus and start the 1 1/2 hour ride back to the ship. I would not do this tour again, nor go to this port again. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua had to be cancelled due to high winds and a large swell. This was a tender port and not safe for us to do so. Puntarenas, Costa Rica was our favorite port. We did the "Aerial tram and river cruise" excursion (extra charge). Great excursion! Our guide was very good, giving us lots of information about her country. We went on the river cruise first, seeing lots of crocodiles, many species of birds, and iguanas. Then we were off to the denser rain forest for our tram ride. We were split into groups of 8 plus a guide for the approximately 1 hour tram ride. We did not see much wildlife - but enjoyed the scenic rain forest and all our guide had to say. Lunch was next and then back to the ship. I would definitely recommend this excursion! Finally made it to the Panama Canal! WOW! We wandered all over the ship, front, back, down to deck 5 to watch through the windows as he ship rose up in the canal. Definitely the highlight of the trip! Cartagena, Columbia was the final stop. We did not get off the ship as I had a terrible sore throat. Pretty sure the difference between outside high heat and humidity and the inside a/c had something to do with it. We had brought cough / cold medications with us, they were put to use. At breakfast that morning, I asked the waiter if they might have any lemon / ginger tea - he said they might, but, he would make me some fresh lemon and ginger tea. This was one point where I felt spoiled by Regent! I was very grateful to this gentleman! Dinners - we had reservations in Chartreuse the first night and Prime 7 the second night. We were able to get one more reservation in Chartreuse later in the cruise, at a 4 top, sharing with a couple we had not met. Other dinners were spent in Compass Rose, Pool Grill and Setti Mari. I had scallops a number of times - all cooked perfectly; my favorite was in Chartreuse! The often talked about Carmel corn Sundae in Prime 7 is definitely an interesting looking dessert; I preferred the carmel corn and left most of the ice cream! (I asked the waiter if just the carmel corn could be ordered- he said sure!) Lunch - lots of options - pool grill and La Veranda were our regulars; we ate lunch once in Compass Rose. Breakfast - our go to was Compass Rose. We highly recommend the "Frozen Blueberry and Banana Bowl" - a scoop of frozen pureed blueberries sitting on top of small cubes of various fruit (including bananas) and sliced almonds on top. Also of note, we ordered eggs Benedict twice, even though they were not on the menu. We had room service twice for breakfast on early excursion mornings. There are 1/2 hour delivery windows- they delivered quite close to the start of the window. Another quick option in in the Coffee Connection - cereals, toaster with various breads, fruit, yogurts; easy way to grab something quick. All in all, this cruise was a bit long for our taste - we feel that a port or 2 could have been skipped, decrease the length of the cruise by 2 days (and decrease the price!). It was expensive, about $1,000 per day for both of us. We met some very nice people on this cruise. We also came upon some snobby people that wanted to make sure everyone knew they had 200+ nights on Regent. Overall the crew was a bit too formal for us (always being called "madam" was a bit too much for me). We did have some nice conversations with some of the crew. For some reason, we were invited to dine with ships' officers two different times; once with the General Manager and again with the Head Concierge! Will we travel on Regent again in the future, maybe. Will depend on the itinerary and if we feel it would be best with a smaller ship / less passengers. We definitely liked that part of this cruise a lot! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Two years ago, my wife and I with three other couples enjoyed a GREAT cruise on this ship. Accordingly, another couple and ourselves chose to repeat our positive previous experience with this 16 day cruise. Spoiler Alert- Big big ... Read More
Two years ago, my wife and I with three other couples enjoyed a GREAT cruise on this ship. Accordingly, another couple and ourselves chose to repeat our positive previous experience with this 16 day cruise. Spoiler Alert- Big big MISTAKE! Very little worked on this so called "Luxury Experience" . It is quite obvious that the "bean counters" at Regent have decided to squeeze every single dollar out of every single cruise and then let the customer "suffer" their decisions. The problems began with the so called "Free" Airfare. This is nothing more then a marketing ploy as the cruise fare is increased by $ 300 per couple if you decide to take their "Free" airfare. Regent's response, when questioned, it that if you do not take the "Free" Airfare they will credit $ 150 pp. So much for the "Free" Airfare!. We decided to upgrade our flight to LAX via First Class @ an upcharge of $ 699 pp. When we finally received our flight information we found that Regent had booked 4 Senior Citizens to fly out of Miami on a 6:30AM flight to Chicago! Yes... fly to Chicago in mid-winter! We would have to get up at 3 AM in the morning to try and catch that flight. Really! When we objected, our travel agent finally had Regent offer us a 9:30 flight from Miami to Orlando and then to LAX. Somewhat better but that "new" flight was @ a $350 per couple upcharge! We declined and made our own First Class flight to LAX. Regent included a one night stay at the" Beverly Wilshire" Hotel which was fine. After checking in we were told that Regent had a "Hospitality Suite" available for all information about the next days travel to the ship. The so called "Hospitality Suite" offered NOTHING in the way of either Food or drink! Not even a bottle of water! The Regent "representative" could answer none of our questions except to say that our luggage should be ready to be picked up at 7:30 AM and we should meet in a Hotel Ballroom @ 11:15 AM. The "free" included breakfast was not offered in the Hotel's restaurant but instead was a buffet-style "Holiday-Inn Express" type of breakfast. Shame on "Regent" for that! The buses to the ship did not even arrive until 1:30 in the afternoon! Regent"representative offered little information except to wait. Arriving at the pier involved another l o n g wait. Once on the ship we again had to wait even though our quarters were supposed to be ready at 1:30 PM. No apologies were offered for the delay! We heard through the grapevine that the ship was inspected by the Coast Guard that day and experienced some "difficulties". In addition, many of the crew's contracts had expired and they were leaving and a new crew had come onboard. Many of the "new" crew were in-experienced and it showed. They just did not know what to do. Breakfast in "Compass Rose" took close to a hour and 45 minutes. Two years ago at breakfast, you were immediately served juice and coffee/tea and a server came right offer and offered Muffins/Pastries. Now, we waited and waited and waited. Finally, we were served Coffee/Tea and then waited some more to juice. The server offering pastries/muffins made only a single pass at the table and did not return. Each morning we had to ask our server what the Breakfast "special" was. They either did not know or were instructed not to offer that information. Orders are transcribed via Tablets and mistakes (missing orders) were common. Coffee refills had to be requested. An order of Smoked Salmon and a Bagel resulted in being presented with a single small scoop of cream cheese. You had to request more cream cheese or ask for a triple serving of it when ordering. Head Waiters tried very very hard but were totally overcome3 by problems/issues with the kitchen and the inexperienced staff! Breakfast service at "Compass Rose" was overall a failure! Our quarters were excellent as was our Butler and Steward! Kudo's to them! Dinner at "Compass Rose" matched that of Breakfast except the food quality overall was fair at best. We dined 5 nights at the "Pacific Rim" Restaurant and overall both the food and service was excellent. The steakhouse. "Prime" featured quality food and excellent service also. As to the French "Chartruese"... forgetabout it! Poor food and even worse execution. Service was even worse as demonstrated by our request for Onion Soup. Both "Chartruese" and "Prime" share a kitchen with two separate lines working. Onion Soup is offered at "Prime". Two of use requested Onion soup at "Chartruese" and were told NO!!!. No exceptions..!! Way to go Regent! We never went back to "Chartruese" with their poor food. As to the cutbacks- portion sizes have been cut back... obvious to us was the fact that previously when ice cream was ordered as a desert, you received 3 scoops plus a cigar shaped cookie (a "Pirouette"". Now, only 2 scoops and no cookie! Cost savings are now the norm and not the exception as to both the quality and quantity of the food. An example of the cost cutting is the fact that on one night dinner was ONLY served on the pool deck as a buffet. ALL other Restaurants were closed so either eat at the buffet or order room service. There is little question that this "move" by Regent saves them money overall. At dinner, I like to be served and help myself to a buffet. Overall, the crew is very very nice and helpful. However, here again, Regent drops the ball. One night a notice was placed on our bed that "Painting and Varnishing" of our deck were take place the next day. We returned to our room and noted one crewman was entering our cabin with a paint bucket/varnish materials. We followed him in and noted another crewman working on our deck and they finished shortly afterwards. However, they had left the doors leading to the deck open, so our quarters were both hot and humid as well as smelling from the paint/varnish. I called to complain and was told it would not happen again. Two days later, in the late afternoon, my wife was napping, and I was shaving. Our curtains were open and I then noted a crewman on our deck, varnishing. I chased him away and again complained that our privacy had been compromised. I received an apology again but clearly this is no way to treat a passenger. I do not expect perfection in an imperfect world. However, if I am paying top dollar for a cruise experience, ( over $ 30,000 in this case) , I do expect more then we received from "Regent" on this cruise. In speaking to other repeat "Regent" passengers on this cruise, I found my experiences not to be that unusual. The conclusion reached appeared to that "Regent" has changed... sadly, not for the better... Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have cruised for a number of years with different cruise lines but promised ourselves that one day we would try one of the supposed most luxurious cruise ships. After much research and saving we decided to try Regent Seven Seas Explorer ... Read More
We have cruised for a number of years with different cruise lines but promised ourselves that one day we would try one of the supposed most luxurious cruise ships. After much research and saving we decided to try Regent Seven Seas Explorer and booked the Mexican Riviera to Panama Canal cruise.We flew to Los Angeles and were transferred to a 1st class hotel for the first night bit of a shock in the bar 2 beers $48.00. We were informed to be downstairs by 11am for coach transfer to ship but then waited 1 1/2 hours for collection which I considered very poor. On arrival at the port we had another wait of over 1 hour before we could book in, this was the worst book in of any cruise we have ever been on and was starting to wonder whether we had made the right decision to cruise with Regent, later on board we were told this was due to a customs inspection of the ship if we had been told the reason for delay a number of passengers would not have been so angry. We eventually got on board and went to our cabin 1409 which was a D grade Concierge. The cabin was presented immaculately with a wealth of cupboards and hanging space for clothing, the bathroom had a bath and large walk in shower. The balcony was large with very comfortable reclining chairs.Our cabin stewards were excellent even going to the trouble of decorating our cabin on my Birthday with balloons and happy birthday banner, a large cake and champagne was also supplied. We ate in all the restaurants while on board and the standard of food and waiting service was excellent as was the menu and the best of any ship we have ever sailed on. Due to the low number of passengers only 750 only one show at 9.30pm was performed but at no time was it necessary to get into theater early to get a seat, we walked in a 9.25 and could always find a good seat. The production shows were 1st class as was the guest entertainers. Most of the many and varied excursions ashore are included and of a good and interesting nature, a point to note that a few trips have a supplement to pay but check once on board and a very similar trip may have been added which is included but was not shown when booking. The bar staff again were excellent and no matter what drink or cocktail you wanted it was available.It would be nice if a day room at a hotel was included on disembarkation as you have to leave ship at 9am and in our case our flight was not till the evening a hop on hop off trip of Miami was included but was poor and once completed at 1pm waited a further hour for luggage which was stored by the bus company. One day I will hopefully cruise with Regent again as we will always compare other ships to this which will be a very hard act to follow. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I have taken 2 other Regent cruises they were perfect Regent has to take a serious look at their WiFi offered for free. Most times it was either so slow or not available definitely not a good experience The crew excellent the food ... Read More
I have taken 2 other Regent cruises they were perfect Regent has to take a serious look at their WiFi offered for free. Most times it was either so slow or not available definitely not a good experience The crew excellent the food especially the new Compass Rose menu was perfect The complimentary laundry was another disappointment why not extend the hours? The big negative was our disembarking in New York The process was smooth until you left the terminal # 88 not a Regent representative in sight Carnival reps directed us to our bus area Then the fun began I was group grey 3 The buses for grey 1 & 2 were there (for 40 minuets) finally our bus to JFK arrived loaded and left my flight was departing at 1: 00 pm the driver enters the airport at 11:35 am dros off some at Delta then drives out of the airport and come back in. He stopped the bus at a traffic signal leaves to get directions! 4 of us got out opened the luggage compartment retrieved our 8 bags and walked to our terminal we got there at 12:16 I think Regent should look at Academy Bus Co and maybe don’t use a low bidder shameful for my wife and I to unload our bags and run to the terminal I did write a note to Regent with no response I guess now that Norwegian owns them it will go down hill from here! The 4 of us will look at Crystal or Seaborne next trip Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I wanted a daylight transit of the canal.That was great! The ship skipped 2 ports... Nicaragua and Guatamala...no compensation for that. I was disappointed that coming back to New York we passed the Statue of liberty at 4AM so I ... Read More
I wanted a daylight transit of the canal.That was great! The ship skipped 2 ports... Nicaragua and Guatamala...no compensation for that. I was disappointed that coming back to New York we passed the Statue of liberty at 4AM so I missed that and I was so much looking forward to it. The officers were invisible. I saw the captain only once the whole trip. Ray was a great cruise director. Some of the entertainment was very good. The bridge lessons were very helpful...Judy was terrific. Despite the long voyage and good food I managed to lose weight! That was a shock! I ate a lot of fruit. Maybe that is the secret. I will probably try another ship for my next cruise. The Navigator is getting tired. Meeting people from all over the world is the best part of any cruise. I have many new friends from Europe and Australia. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
WE chose this cruise to celebrate a special birthday and because we only had to fly one way! We flew to Barcelona and Regent put us up at the Hilton which was a very nice modern hotel. We only stayed one night and were taken to the ship ... Read More
WE chose this cruise to celebrate a special birthday and because we only had to fly one way! We flew to Barcelona and Regent put us up at the Hilton which was a very nice modern hotel. We only stayed one night and were taken to the ship which had come from a 3 week refurbishment in Marseilles. We had only sailed Regent once (on the Navigator) and we were not fond of that ship. The Mariner was beautiful. There were still small touches that needed to be finished (maintenance men came in our suite a couple of times to do work) We visited Malaga and Cartegena Spain and Funchal in the Canary Islands. We took tours provided by the ship and they were fine. The dining experiences were very good. One could indulge in myriads of offerings. The "every night offerings" in Compass Rose included Dover Sole, Maine Lobster, lamb chops, steaks. Specials each night were also offered. Prime 7 and Chartreuse were elegant and the food was presented beautifully. We ate in the Veranda for breakfast and lunch and there were different offerings for lunch every day including themed lunches (Indian, Asian, Mexican). Serena, our captain was excellent and very personable. On the last night before the crossing she skirted a storm by going 150 miles out of the way to give us a pleasant dinner and show. Then the rocking and rolling started and continued for most of the journey to Bermuda. It made for unpleasant sailing and the wind and chill prevented outdoor activities and even sitting on the balcony. We had one very good speaker until we got to Bermuda. He talked about disasters and how he was part of the teams sent to disaster areas by the government. He also had climbed every mountain and showed many pictures and was very enjoyed as he commanded a large audience. We are long time Seabourn cruisers and are used to more personal attention than we received on Regent. Kumar, our butler went above and beyond to please us. We are taking the Mariner again in September from Vancouver back to Miami with 4 ports in Alaska. We also booked a 2020 cruise on the new Splendor now being constructed. Looking forward to calm sailing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Ports of call were good - not excellent! Why stop at locations that have nothing to offer? An example woud be Hilo, Hawaii. The destination personnel were not well trained. Priority guests were not treated like priorities! In most ... Read More
Ports of call were good - not excellent! Why stop at locations that have nothing to offer? An example woud be Hilo, Hawaii. The destination personnel were not well trained. Priority guests were not treated like priorities! In most situations - waitlist was an imaginary item. Basically I would say the ship personnel were very friendly and dedicated employees. Upper management needs to wake-up! Many people felt that this cruise was not up to par for RSSC. We suggested in our cruise comments that the 9:30 timing for entertainment shows was too late. Most passengers taking cruises over 30 days tend to be older because we are mostly retired and can spend that amount of time and money. Jamie did add several 5:30 shows which were excellent. The entertainment was not nearly as good as previous cruises. I would also have to add that the "country club casual" has really gone down hill. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
It was LA to LA, so very little flying from Las Vegas. The ship is small, but big enough, so as not to feel cramped. Our suite is always the correct size. The food is so much better than other cruise lines. We never seem to be rushed like ... Read More
It was LA to LA, so very little flying from Las Vegas. The ship is small, but big enough, so as not to feel cramped. Our suite is always the correct size. The food is so much better than other cruise lines. We never seem to be rushed like other cruises on bigger ships with 2 dinning seating. This time the enrichment lectures were not as good as we have had before, they were only average. The service has always been excellent and this time was no different everyone is so helpful. Always smiling and asking if they can get you anything, so pleasant. We were at sea a good share of the time. The ports in Mexico are for the most part very nice. Shore excursions were varied and there was something for everyone. Sometimes it was nice to just stay on board and read a book, they had a nice selection in the library. We are already booked on the Navigator in 2019 for a northern Atlantic cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The Ship: The hull started life as a Russian satellite tracking ship. It's beginning to show its former self. There was a lot of rust and despite a refit a few years ago, it's looking old. A metal flashing came off a stair when I ... Read More
The Ship: The hull started life as a Russian satellite tracking ship. It's beginning to show its former self. There was a lot of rust and despite a refit a few years ago, it's looking old. A metal flashing came off a stair when I walked up an exterior stair. I moved it out of the way so no-one would trip over it and reported it to the crew. It was still there at the end of the cruise. The cruise had ~360 passengers on board of a capacity of 500. The crew said it felt empty. I can't imagine another 140 passengers on the ship. The common areas were crowded in the evenings with 360 passengers and the dining rooms were quite busy. The Food: The food was mediocre and very rich. There was a sameness to the food that got boring quite fast. It was hard to get a simple, good salad. Most things had a heavy sauce. Considering the average age of the passengers, it seemed like the cooks were trying to kill off their clientele with cream and salt. Much of the food was bland, other than the salt. The wait staff was excellent and remembered preferences. They tend to push the wine of the day, but you could ask for a different wine. There were premium wines available for an additional fee. The steakhouse, Prime 7 was mediocre. The caesar salad dressing was a gloppy mess. The filet was thin and overcooked (ordered medium rare, came well done), the ahi was also overcooked. The Sete Mare restaurant served Cioppino that was very salty and very overcooked. My wife's sea bass was good. Room service was a limited menu and good or bad, depending on what was ordered. Coffee was inconsistent in quality. The Entertainment: With one exceptional show, most of the theater shows seemed like high school productions. There was a piano player and a guitarist onboard. They were personable, but after a few days, you had heard all there was to hear. Most of the music on board was geared toward people in their 80s or older. My wife and I are around 60 and the music seemed to us like the stuff our grandparents listened to. The in-cabin movie selection was excellent and varied. The internet: It's a good thing it was included in the price of the cruise, because it was inconsistent and cumbersome to use when it worked. The Service: The service was excellent and they seemed to be falling over themselves to make the passengers happy. They seemed genuinely concerned with doing their best. The excursions are weather dependent and it was winter, so some were better than others. The Ensenada trip to a closed off-season hotel was bleak. The pool was too cold to swim in and the place was deserted most of the time. We did a cruise to the Caribbean on the Celebrity Eclipse a few years ago. Everything about that cruise (except similar excellent service) was better—and at 25% of the price of this Regent cruise. Perhaps the NCL purchase of Regent is the reason. This is not the Regent of the past. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Overall, the trip was great. Negatives are few, but pretty major. Steak House was having major inconsistency issues. We went there twice. Both our visits had the same issues. Steak house was very disappointing. Food either over cooked or ... Read More
Overall, the trip was great. Negatives are few, but pretty major. Steak House was having major inconsistency issues. We went there twice. Both our visits had the same issues. Steak house was very disappointing. Food either over cooked or very under cooked. Just not all that good when it came to even the soups, salads and desserts. Service poor. The kind of restaurant you would never go back to. Main dining room was very good and consistent. The big surprise was the Italian themed restaurant located in the Buffett area at night. It was fantastic. From our great welcoming, seating, service, chats with the on site chef, to final hugs good bye, the place was great. We ended up eating there with new friends about 50% of our dinners. Christmas Goose on Christmas Eve! What a wonderful surprise. Veal to die for! The staff in this restaurant were all so wonderful. Our room was a standard balcony and we must say the rooms are huge. Large Flat Panel TV with a great diverse Movie selection. The walls and floors on the ship must have very good noise buffering as we heard very little noise from neighboring rooms. Bedding was substandard. We have never had such hard/heavy feather/fowl pillows and scratchy heavy blankets. We were very surprised at the pillow and blankets provided. I guess we should have complained, but we are not complainers. Big bathrooms, but showers are pretty small. Lucky for us we are averaged sized people. Our room stewards were lovely and efficient. We had a very smooth trip RT to Hawaii. I was worried about possible rough seas, but we were blessed with flat seas. I wish they would use better quality coffee beans in their espresso based coffee drinks, but you can't ask for everything. They seemed to struggle a bit on the drink service in the show room before the shows. Several times I just gave up and went to the nearby bar to obtain a glass of wine. I discovered that the wine selection was much better and more diverse then what was initially offered in the various dining rooms. After a couple substandard wines during a few dinners, I learned to ask what else they perhaps had available. They always had something better available complimentary. Loved the numerous soufflés offered in the main dining room for dinner dessert. Also best escargot appetizer I have ever had on a cruise. Entertainment was good. A few of the singers/dancers were weak and the sound struggled the first couple shows, but they seemed to get "in the groove" after the first couple shows. This was our first cruise with Regent and we were pleased to see that the fellow cruisers were a very casual bunch, considering how expensive the cruise was. We really enjoyed the lovely white glove tea time served daily with live music. Staff did a nice job presenting and serving a delicious selection of sweet and savory food items. Tea selection was a bit limited. As the cruise went on what little selection of tea offered got smaller and smaller. Did we just drink too much tea on this trip or did someone forget to order up more when the ship was in Los Angeles? Bar Service selection of high end liquors was great. Beer selection was a bit limited. It would be nice if they had a few microbrews or more varieties of beer from around the world. Given most of us on the ship are very well traveled, we would enjoy beverages from around the world. If we had one suggestion to the chef, it would be to spice up the food a bit. We found it a bit bland. We know the customers on the ship are "older", but we still would of liked to have more "flavor" when it came to ethnic foods provided. Other option would be to offer up seasoning sauces that could be served on the side. For example, a curry meal needs a bit of a tasty punch to it, or a side sauce provided to give the curry the needed punch in flavor. Over all we had a great time. The ship is very well run and the staff are great. We had just a couple disappointments. We have already booked an even longer Regent Cruise for 2019. You will not go wrong cruising with Regent. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The service is always great on Regent cruises but this particular cruise was the WORST that I have ever been on. It started with the interaction between Regent and the travel agency ( Vacations to-go) that we booked the cruise through. ... Read More
The service is always great on Regent cruises but this particular cruise was the WORST that I have ever been on. It started with the interaction between Regent and the travel agency ( Vacations to-go) that we booked the cruise through. They never seemed to be on the same page and struggled to communicate effectively with one another and then with us; each company blaming the other for the series of errors that we were exposed to such as booking our flights to and from the wrong citiesand getting assigned a room designed for disabled passengers. The excursions they offered were generally unprofessional and contained very little entertainment value for the amount of time you were on them. For whatever reason ( perhaps 'kickbacks' from the stores?), Regent continues to 'force' its guests to participate in visiting gift shops/ shopping 'experiences' on nearly all shore excursions. They need to design excursions that don't involve shopping "opportunities" if iheir guests prefer not to waste time shopping. The new Explorer is 'pretty' but has several flaws. The restaurants offer a variety of menus but the quality of the food is not 4 Star. The Pacific Rim and French restaurants are new additions but are not very appealing. On a couple of floors, the space between the elevators and the staircases is so narrow that passengers are forced to navigate through a congested area. This created a safety hazard and is certainly a faulty design that needs to be addressed. Door handles in the common pathways were coming loose on some doors and were misiing on a couple of others. Some of us got stuck in an elevator for 30 minutes when it broke down and one hallway had to be closed due to a malfunctioning overhead sprinkler system. Lastly, the entertainment in its theater and lounges was subpar to those we've experience on most other cruises. Perhaps the Explorer will improve with age but we won't be taking another cruise on it to find out. Hopefully its future passengers will enjoy a better sailing experience than what we had. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
The ship is very luxurious. However, it has many serious design and execution flaws. The upper deck in the theatre has very poor sight lines to the stage. The floor does not have enough fall. The seating on the lower deck between ... Read More
The ship is very luxurious. However, it has many serious design and execution flaws. The upper deck in the theatre has very poor sight lines to the stage. The floor does not have enough fall. The seating on the lower deck between the aisles is too narrow to allow access to guests or waiters. For a muster station, it is dangerous. If you are on the aisle, it is fine, in the middle, it is inaccessible. There are two wide poles that block access and viewing. Two shows we never were served. One night we were served an extra drink by mistake. The waiter later discovered her error, recovered the drink, and reserved the drink to another guest several rows in front of us. The bathroom near the theatre had three urinals in a L shaped pattern. Only two can be used at any time. The wall paper around the door and tv cabinet was curling. The screw on the bathroom door was stripped. I had one of the best steaks I have ever had. My wife was unable to eat her swordfish. Our friends pork chop was raw. Lobster bisque, a favorite, was more like lobster consumme. Tomato sauce came from Chef Boy Ardee can. BarBQue was outstanding. My potato is still missing in action. Shore excursions were fair to poor. Avoid the train ride and the glass blowing at all costs. The cliff diving was ok. Wifi was slow and hard to connect up. I did expect better on a new, 6 star ship. Show band and singers were top-notch. Two headliners were poor, two others what you expect on a cruise on the most luxurious ship ever built. rslebmo Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Have been a Celebrity regular. My wife wanted to try Regent because she had heard so much about it and especially this new ship, the Explorer. Beautiful ship. Included tours very poor. 34+ people on a bus and not well organized or ... Read More
Have been a Celebrity regular. My wife wanted to try Regent because she had heard so much about it and especially this new ship, the Explorer. Beautiful ship. Included tours very poor. 34+ people on a bus and not well organized or interesting. Some food good, some very poor (Worst Veal Marsala I have ever eaten). Certainly not worth the cost difference over Celebrity, Bar staff and servers very inattentive and slow and forgot requests easily. Lecturers were great and the ship's group of entertainers were amazing and interacted with the passengers which was fun. Special call out to Stephanie Londino, lead singer, who is the best. Deserves a better gig in the future. Cruise cost over double a Celebrity cruise and not close to worth the difference. Will not be a Regent returnee. They seem to cater to people who need to be totally pampered and are not interested in do thing for themselves. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Yes, of course, a ship that was often praised. The shipping company claims to have the most luxurious ship. Accordingly, our expectations were high. In fact, the ship is exceptionally tasteful, high quality and equipped with lots of love ... Read More
Yes, of course, a ship that was often praised. The shipping company claims to have the most luxurious ship. Accordingly, our expectations were high. In fact, the ship is exceptionally tasteful, high quality and equipped with lots of love for details. We were also very satisfied with the quality of the food in all Restaurants. With the exception of the Prime Seven, whereupon we canceled a second reservation and went to Compass Rose instead. However, to a 6-star ship belongs also an exceptional service, which we missed. We are travelling quite often (2-3 times a year) with Celebrity in Suite Class, there we enjoy a much better personalized service and individual attention than on this cruise. On the Explorer-Cruise, we had Concierge Suite only, maybe you will get the expected attention in the top suites only, besides this, we were Regent first time cruiser. This could be a reason too... Also when we were asked to fill in a mid-cruise-survey and we left the point that we were annoyed by the loudspeaker announcements of the instructor from the artkitchen in our room, no one has really cared about. The entertainment is poor. Just one or two shows in 15 days, we have visited, others we have left prematurely. The most entertaining show was by the way the Crew Show. Thanks to all the crew members involved! Sadly to find out that Regent did not asked about a rating of the Crew Show in the End of Cruise survey. Only about the 'official' shows. The Regent offered excursions were not bad, but we expected here also more professionalism. Because they are free of charge, you can not expect too much. With 50 years of age, we were probably the youngest on board the Explorer. So we often felt very bored. In any case, we had a lot of rest on board. Finally, we will not book another Regent-cruise in the near future and will stay with Celebrity's Suite Class and the more diverse clientele and the more individual offerings. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Yes, this is a beautiful ship. Cabins have loads of storage room, food is wonderful, and the drinks never stop flowing, Actually, the amount and quality of liquer available is incredible. Pre dinner cocktails are accompanied by ... Read More
Yes, this is a beautiful ship. Cabins have loads of storage room, food is wonderful, and the drinks never stop flowing, Actually, the amount and quality of liquer available is incredible. Pre dinner cocktails are accompanied by appetizers, and that is shortly after 4:00PM tea time. so much foodi. BUT,shore excursions are not the highlight. FOr most ports, staying aboard is preferable. most excursions begin with at least an hour bus ride. now these do enable you to see the countryside, but after that the feature of the excursion still is disappointing. all of the onboard staff is so observant and always cheerful. THeree is always someone cleaning and polishing . the entertainment is ok. the production company is made up of very talented young people,who have been given less than spectacular material. WE especially enjoyed the house bands Dixieland presentation the last night. Heard only positive comments about the lecturers on board.Cooking class was fun,and there are many activities during the day if you wish to participate. current movies are offered in the theatre with popcorn! SEating in the theatre is poorly designed. it is nearly impossible to move along with rows with benches and tables. THe rows with rotating chairs have more leg room. Sight lines from the balcony are terrible BOth embarkation and disembarking are well organized. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our 3d cruise on Regent after a 7 year gap, having taken 2 river cruises, sailing cruise, and travelled independently in Europe and Asia. We enjoyed it and will probably take another Regent cruise as our next excursion aboard a ... Read More
This was our 3d cruise on Regent after a 7 year gap, having taken 2 river cruises, sailing cruise, and travelled independently in Europe and Asia. We enjoyed it and will probably take another Regent cruise as our next excursion aboard a ship. We didn't pick Regent as our first cruse, but rather made a yes-no decision to accompany friends who had booked on Regent. Once we had the Regent experience we booked the following year to get the on-board discounts and repeat the wonderful experience. By anecdotal comparison to my colleagues positive experiences on other lines, I cant imaging stepping down to the nickel and dime business model of other cruise lines. All inclusive really is all inclusive on Regent.coffees, cappuccinos, imported beer, nice wines, top shelf liquor all flow without charges, chits, or gratuities, or special bracelets or beverage cards. No tipping. Yet despite that, the staff all smile, and ask how they can help satisfy your request. For ,us a discriminator was asking for blue cheese stuffed olives in our evening cocktail. Except for one bar right outside the compass rose, the request was always--"yes, absolutely, but it may take a bit longer to get the blue cheese." And there was no gratuity for going out of the way to honor our request. On the other Regent experiences we could make reservations to dine in the specialty restaurants once per cruise. (Again, all inclusive, no up-charge.) On the Explorer they had a reservation desk to enable multiple reservations in the specialty restaurants after ensuring everyone had a chance to go to every one. That was a nice touch. Plus they were open for lunch on a rotating basis with a similar but lunch sized menu. One day there was a line at Compass Rose and the matre'd looked at the computer and asked if our group of 4 wanted to go to Chartreuse French restaurant where there was no wait. Very professional and quality service to do that. We thoroughly enjoyed the Italian themed dinners on La Veranda when not dining in the specialty restaurants. In fact we preferred it to dinners in Compass Rose (which were always wonderful offerings of daily specials or standard offering of fillet, lobster...) because we could sit outside on the stern with full waiter service, linens, stemware, and a sommelier at the ready. Their menu changed every couple days as well. As a negative, I was surprised an the number of physical problems on such a new ship. We saw a fire suppression sprinkler open and saturate hallway on the 11th deck. Just a mechanical fault that was remedied and the carpet dried with fans for a couple days. A doorhandle came off the pool deck entry and was missing for days. The pass card lock cover from our room fell off twice and was ultimately glued back in place. a fresh water pipe leaked in our corridor and the engineers spent a 1/2 day fixing it and drying the carpet. Teak work was peeling. Hinges and latches on the sporting deck were being repaired. It was just strange to see so much repair work--not the routine maintenance of a ship in salt water--on a new vessel. One oddity was the blocked stairwell from deck 5 down to deck 4 at the stern where it led to the Compass Rose restaurant. back end. That's a design flaw because other Regent ships have front and back entrances to Compass Rose with matre'd stations while Explorer only has a front entrance. So it was strange to see straps and a cone blocking one flight of a multi-deck public stairwell. Entertainment was pretty good. The guest musicians and magician varied from outstanding to good. The orchestra was outstanding, whether playing music in a venue or for one of the stage productions. But the song and dance troupe wasn't any where near as entertaining as we experienced on other cruises. It seems there were a guy and gal couple who were being featured and given leading roles when some of the other singers who had less seniority were clearly more talented and enjoyable to watch. Our shore excursions were fine. They are masters on Regent at organizing and controlling the different tour groups from the show lounge. Very smooth. But probably because we were touring very poor areas of Central America there was a limit to desirable venues and sights so it got crowded once there with multiple tour busses and groups from Regent and other cruise ships. There wasn't much orchestration to deconflict 16 busses from arriving or departing a venue at the same time. We didn't have that kind of disorder on our previous Regent shore excursions. But they do a great job of finding interesting venues and quality guides. The enhancement activities were multiple and age appropriate for almost-retired and early retired. The 2 lecturers were under the "Smithsonian" banner and delightful and informative. Unfortunately one day the speaker was in a lounge and a corn-hole/baggo tournament was scheduled right outside the entrance with open doors so the cheering was a bit disruptive to the lecturers discussion session. A small detail with consequences. There was a wide variety of things to do or attend, especially during at-sea days. Explorer also has teaching kitchen with about 14 individual stations. We signed up for 3 of the courses and found them a great addition to their on-board offerings. Yes, there was an up-charge but it was appropriate. My wife is a an accomplished cook for entertaining groups but she too learned fully enjoyed the teaching sessions with a great chef/instructor, Two asst chefs prepare, portion into small cups, or chop the ingredients in advance. So participants are doing something new and different in preparation and not standing there chopping and peeling. Of course, appropriate wines are served. But when we did have some small amount of knife work or grating to do, the wine didn't come out until that was done. We'll do more of these again. It was unique, fun, informative, and you ate what you prepared. Regent is just a wonderful cruise experience,. But somehow it's just not the same flawless perfection with nothing left to chance that we had on our earlier cruises with them. So we'll continue to try other travel options, such as river cruises, sailing, and large yacht trips and not just keep booking every trip as a Regent ship excursion. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
My wife and I just completed a two night ‘mini-cruise’ aboard Regent Seven Seas newest and most luxurious ship, the Explorer. We have sailed aboard Regent Mariner before and were looking forward to seeing how Explorer compared. ... Read More
My wife and I just completed a two night ‘mini-cruise’ aboard Regent Seven Seas newest and most luxurious ship, the Explorer. We have sailed aboard Regent Mariner before and were looking forward to seeing how Explorer compared. Regent claims that the Explorer is not just their most luxurious ship, but the most luxurious ship afloat. Although I have not been aboard every ship afloat, Regent’s claim is not overstated. How does one define luxury? For me, it is defined by the overall design; size of the suites; accommodations within the suites; the pristine, well thought out décor, trims, paintings, flooring, carpet---the general ambience; the food choices and quality; the selection of beverages and complete food service; the professional and warm crew and staff; but most of all, the attention to detail to all of the above. Regent is known for all of this on their other vessels, but Explorer is in a class by itself. I had seen pictures and videos of the ship and was impressed, but upon my first steps aboard, I realized that this ship cannot be appreciated in a two dimensional world, it must be seen and experienced in three dimensions. The grandeur and majesty of the Grand Salon area demands a real-time presence. It is spectacular while being both functional and welcoming. That’s hard to do. Something that looks majestic from a distance often cannot bear close scrutiny. This is not the case with Explorer. The details scream out, “Look at me!” and close up the workmanship is extraordinary. Our Concierge level suite was spacious, well decorated with a huge amount of closet and draw space. The bath area, with a double sink as well as both a stand-up shower (with great shower heads!) and a bath tub with a shower was larger than expected. It allowed for two people to prepare at the same time without stumbling into each other. The bed was super comfortable; the TV was large (never turned it on) and the welcome bottle of champagne was most welcome. The balcony was spacious and with beautiful wicker looking furniture. As far as the meals are concerned, only being on board for two nights, our evening meals were taken at Pacific Rim and Prime 7 restaurants, while we had breakfast at Compass Rose and lunch at La Veranda. The service we received at all of the restaurants we chose was professionally perfect and often punctuated with genuine warmth and concern for the enjoyment of our meal. The décor of both Pacific Rim and Prime 7 were up to par with the finest of land based restaurants. Pacific Rim offers Pan Asian dishes that are light on the palate and beautifully presented. The appetizer menu is challenging because you want to try everything. We had several starters and they met our expectations. For our main course, the Lobster Tempura was truly outstanding. I would also recommend the Mochi for dessert. Prime 7 holds a special place in our hearts as this was where my wife and I had our wedding dinner (on the Mariner) in 2010. Nothing has changed. It is still my favorite steak house on dry land or on the water. It is the attention we received from the caring staff of the Prime 7 who served us that made our evening special complemented the outstanding food choices. If there is a thread running through our all-inclusive Explorer experience it is the attention to detail. Whether it is the ship’s overall design or the softness of the carpets on the stairways or the mirrored view looking out of the mid-ship elevator which doubles the size of the area or the smiles of crew and staff each time they see you, it was the consistent attention to detail that made me feel that this ship and those who are part of the staff and crew, make it the most luxurious ship afloat. Were there any negatives? I’ll be picky. The light system in the suite is very complicated to figure out and after two days, I was still turning on and off the wrong lights in the room. The shower system in the walk-in shower comes without directions and it takes some experimenting to tame it. Once you’ve accomplished this, it adds to the luxury experience. To summarize, if you are looking for an all-inclusive luxury cruise experience, why not go with the most luxurious ship afloat—Regent Seven Seas Explorer. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
On 12-20 we boarded RSSC Mariner in Los Angeles to go South along the Mexican Riviera and through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale. Having read a few negative reviews, we were a little apprehensive. The apprehension continued, when ... Read More
On 12-20 we boarded RSSC Mariner in Los Angeles to go South along the Mexican Riviera and through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale. Having read a few negative reviews, we were a little apprehensive. The apprehension continued, when boarding and check in were pretty unorganized and long lines had formed leading into the Constellation Theater. The ship had arrived a few hours late from Australia, and therefore boarding was delayed. Add to that the fact, that wi-fi in the terminal wasn't working, and check in had to be done in the Theater. Some people were pretty upset, but what's a cruise line to do? After checking in, we took the elevator to the 10th deck where we were greeted and asked for our cabin number. Just as we gave the information one of the stewardesses walked past, heard our suite number and said "Mr. & Mrs. DeRose, welcome aboard", We were amazed since she had obviously memorized the suite numbers and names she was responsible for. Maria Cecilia then walked us to our cabin, and said "You've been on this ship, so you are familiar with it, but are there any questions I can answer, or is there anything I can get for you?" Now that's service! She was among the best stewardesses we ever had, if not the best. Our suite was nice and spacious with a walk in closet, safe, flat screen TV and plenty of room. We ordered a bottle of Ketel One for the room and it was delivered within a couple of minutes. Since RSSC is now all inclusive, they only deliver the bottled liquor on request, which is fine. After a few Margaritas in Cabo, we had room service dinner and it didn't take long at all to get it. In Huatulco we ordered room service breakfast for between 7:00am and 7:30am and it arrived promptly at 7:00am, even before our wake up call. Normally we ate breakfast in La Veranda. The food was very good. Although Eggs Benedict weren't on the menu, I ordered them a couple of times and they were delivered with a smile. Signature is still fabulous, but difficult to get into. When our reservation increased from 2 to 5, they did their ultimate and finally were able to accommodate us. We ate at Latitudes twice. The food was good and we enjoyed it. By the time this review arrives on Cruise Critic, Latitudes will be gone and it will be replaced by Prime 7. The ship is in dry dock now. All the staff was very well trained, friendly and went out of their way to make sure we had a great cruise. I can't say that a single person was ever the least bit unfriendly. The Captain, officers, staff and crew were all very nice. Entertainment was really good and we enjoyed most shows. The shows were split between before dinner and after dinner, which made it pleasant to pick one or the other. They also had some shows in the Horizon Lounge, after dinner, which was nice. Since this was our 4th trip along the Mexican Riviera and through the Canal, there were some ports where we never got off the ship. In Huatulco we had gone on the snorkel cruise and ATV ride before, so this time we tried the rafting. We really enjoyed that. In Puntarenas we had enjoyed the zip lines before, so we decided to do that again. This time I did some research and we did it independently. We went to Turu Ba Ri Adventure Park. Initially there were 3 of us from the Cruise Critic Board who planned to go to Turu Ba Ri, but as the cruise went on, 2 others joined us. I emailed Turu Ba Ri and they immediately confirmed the new number of people. On arrival we were picked up in a van at the end of the pier by our guide Carol. The drive took about 1 1/2 hours because of construction on a bridge. The park is fantastic, with clean facilities and friendly people. As part of the package we got 2 activities and lunch. We chose the Canopy Tour and Nature walk. Rappelling, Horseback riding and other things are available. Then we all decided to add the "Superman" cable. It's a 1 km straight line and your speed is around 50-60 mph. It was incredible fun. The nature walk in the park was very enjoyable even though we are not the "nature" types. There were beautiful plants, butterflies, some Iguanas and other "critters". Turu Ba Ri exceeded our expectations and we all highly recommend it. One thing very important is that you should be in good physical shape, as it involves quite a bit of walking and stair climbing. Pricing is very competitive. Our lunch was very good, too. Then to finish it all off we took a couple of rides in a tram to get from point A to point B. Carol and her driver took us back and this time the bridge was open and it only took about an hour. If you'd like more info on Turu Ba Ri, you can Google them and there are several videos on Youtube. You can also contact them direct at info@turubari.com. We had been to Cartegena a couple of times, and again decided to stay aboard. You may be able to tell by now that for us the ship is the destination. In Grand Cayman we did the ship snorkel tour and it was lots of fun. Disembarkation was very organized and pleasant. Everything would have been perfect if the infamous airlines hadn't messed things up on the way home. I took 16 hrs from Fort Lauderdale to OC, California. We didn't have Regent air, so they had nothing to do with that part. So, after the negative comments I just wanted to reassure everybody that "Regent is back". We've been on all of the Regent ships from The Diamond on, so we have something to compare it to. We've also been on all the other cruise lines and just as before, Regent is our favorite. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Overview: The Mariner has still proven to me to be a memorable experience. It was my third time on the ship. The 1st time in 2001 I went to the Caribbean, the 2nd time was to Mexico in 2005, and this time was through the Panama Canal. All ... Read More
Overview: The Mariner has still proven to me to be a memorable experience. It was my third time on the ship. The 1st time in 2001 I went to the Caribbean, the 2nd time was to Mexico in 2005, and this time was through the Panama Canal. All of these cruises were over Christmas and this latest one was Christmas and New Years. *Please Note* I am a 15-year-old teenager. My review may not be as intellectual as others but this is just based from my experience, and I have gone on 11 cruises including this one--so I have experience. 6 of my cruises have been on Regent. Embarkation: The cruise before us was coming from Asia and had some extremely bad weather, which delayed the ship 5 hours. We were notified 5 days before embarkation (December 21) so we had the whole day to do nothing. We were supposed to arrive at the Los Angeles port around noon and board the ship at 1 PM. Luckily for us, we live in L.A., so we were not in a hotel, waiting for ship transportation. The cruise line had shuffled people around in different nearby hotels and they were not notified as clearly as others about the delay of the ship. The new time for embarkation was around 7 PM. We arrived at the L.A. port at around 6:20, the porters took our luggage, and we went into the terminal, which was quite busy. Now one thing that I heard negatively was that the clerks at the check-in counter were unorganized and slow. This is not the cruise lines fault. These people do not work for Regent. Those people work for whatever ship they are boarding. Our embarkation went smoothly, we were on the ship within a half hour of getting to the dock. *To future guests* Seeing as a ship being delayed 5 hours is VERY rare, my previous experiences have always been very smooth embarkation, rarely any waiting, and when you are on the ship you get your bags very quickly. Also, when you board the ship, the crew is there to greet you, hand you a nice glass of champagne, and directs you to your suite, which is usually ready when you board. Ship: The ship is 50,000 tons and holds 700 passengers. It's not a monster ship but it's not a small one either. It has many public rooms that serve as multiple purposes, strategically placed for different activities. There are 6 elevators: 3 glass ones that look out over the atrium, and 2 regular ones in the back of the ship. Deck 5 has 2 restaurants: Compass Rose and Latitudes, with the atrium staircase going up to deck 7. Deck 5 is also home to the bottom level of the show lounge (the Constellation Theatre), Reception, Travel Concierge, and the Mariner Lounge, a nice place to sit in before dinner. Deck 6 holds the top level of the theatre, the Stars Disco Lounge, Club.Com—the computers, Library, Garden Promenade, the newest edition--The Coffee Connection, Horizon Lounge that overlooks the back of the ship, Card & Conference room, and Signatures, another restaurant. Deck 7 is the lowest deck with suits, but suites are only on half of it. The rest is the Spa, Gym, Shops, and Casino. Decks 8-10 are all guest rooms (Deck 10 is the bridge too). Deck 11 holds the pool and Jacuzzi's, and La Verandah, mainly a breakfast and lunch restaurant but has Italian or Mediterranean at night. Deck 12 has a paddle tennis court, golf nets, walking track (only 11 laps to a mile!), Shuffleboard, bocce, and the Observation Lounge, a beautiful room overlooking the bow of the ship. Since this was a Holiday cruise, they also had nice Christmas Trees and Gingerbread houses around the ship. Suites/Accommodations: Who ever came up with the idea that every stateroom has a balcony (AND A VIEW) was a genius. Not only does the lowest costing room get you a balcony, there are no obstructed views, as all the lifeboats are below deck 7. Every room has a walk-in closet, TV w/ DVD player; a refrigerator with soft drinks and bottled water, a fresh fruit basket and flowers refreshed every day. Our cabin number was 955, and it was a standard suite, nice size. The standards suites can be either 1) a 3-person room where the couch comes out to a bed or 2) Have a separate shower instead of the shower/bathtub combination. Regent is now "all-inclusive", which is nice. Probably a lot nicer for older people who drink alcohol unlike myself but this now means all drinks are included, (Unless you buy a more expensive bottle of wine at dinner) and no extra costs. Gratuities are included. The only extra costs are for personal items of course, ie. Shore excursions, Photos, Boutique purchases, etc. The library was cut down due to the installation of the Coffee Connection so its supply of books is limited. It also holds a large DVD library, but they could buy a lot more DVD's, newer releases!! On the in-suite television—which has now been changed to flat screens—they have limited channels due to the reception they can get. Since my cruise was over New Years, we were questioning the reception we would get for the big football games. So many people requested for the Rose Bowl, they ended up showing the Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and a few others. They were in the room TV's along with the big theatre where they served hot dogs, popcorn, chips, etc. One thing that probably separates Regent from the big thing is the number of announcements. In the morning you might catch the cruise director giving an announcement talking about the days activities, and at sea days at noon you will always here the captain come on and talk about the weather and our location, but that's IT. They started a new way of showing announcements—on the television. Every day, you can hear all about the announcements (in more detail then in the daily program) on channel 1—Mariner Today. Other channels include 3 movie channels, that they show 3 different movies every day. They also receive Fox News, CNN, ESPN, and a few others (reception permitting). Entertainment: Daytime entertainment: The entertainment in the morning/afternoon has always been very top notch. This was no different on this cruise. It is instructed by the social staff--the singers and dancers from the Broadway cast. They are all extremely nice and make all of the activities fun. All the activities vary whether you are in port or at sea but range from Bingo to Bocce Ball to Ping pong tournaments to Trivia to inside mini golf tournaments. They feature 2-3 lectures a day on various topics that relate to our surroundings and even though I do not attend, I heard very good things about them. They show a movie in the theatre every day—attendance is never very large but they do have popcorn that makes the deck smell good. ? Evening Entertainment: Peter Grey Terhune is Regent's Broadway Company that produces shows for all of their ships. They have always done an excellent job with that and continue to do so. The cast consists of 4 singers and 6 dancers. They performed 3 big Broadway shows on my cruise. The first one was "Ballroom Bravo", a dancing sensation including two world-champion ballroom dancers that came from Russia. The second was "Harmony", a show that mainly featured the singers, and the third was "Broadway in Concert", a big Broadway show with lots of favorite Broadway music. The Regent Signature Orchestra backs up every song, at every show. They have a few solo artists that play in lounges, which are all very nice. However, one point that the evening entertainment slacked in was the alternative performances. They had 2 comedians, a magician, a pianist, and 2 vocalists. All of which were very talented but lacked a certain "pizzazz". I know that the cast does a lot of work performing but if they could add just one more show, it would make up for the so-so other entertainment. Children's Club: Club Mariner is only offered on select cruises and is really not given enough credit. Yes, if you do not go in the holiday season or the summer there are going to be NO children on board. HOWEVER, if you go over the Holiday season there will be at least 40+ kids on board, no doubt. On my cruise there were about 50 passengers ranging in age 1-18. (21 is the legal drinking age on Regent.) The children that came to the kids club are delightful, well-mannered children and the counselors are the best. During port days they have certain hours that they have activities, usually 2 hours in the morning, 2 in the afternoon, and 2 at night. On sea days they extend them so that children have more to do. They sort out fun activities like board game tournaments, beaded creature making, movie nights, and even cookie decorating in the galley. Those activities are for children ages 5-12, they do not allow children under 5 into Club Mariner without an adult present at all times. For teens 13-17, they offer the same times in the day, with slightly varied activities (in the same location as the children) but they are very flexible with what the teens want to do. My 2 youth counselors Carlie and Donna were very nice and fun. The only drawback of Club Mariner on a cruise line like Regent's is that they are not prepared for children. During the day our activities take place in the Stars Disco lounge (because it is not used in the day) and at night we are put into the conference room. They are both fine locations but they could really step it up a notch if they were to build a new ship (which is in the talking stages), at least make some kid friendly facilities and use them for storage when its not time for kids. Service: Service on Regent is perfect. On some cruise lines the waiters forget about you, and on some they are right next to you, watching every move you make, waiting to help you. I can't stand EITHER of those, so I'm lucky Regent is right in the middle. If the waiter sees you need help they help you but you are free to do what you want, when you want, wherever you want. They are always prompt. The room service does not take long for delivery and the cabin stewardess does a very quick and efficient job. They are all very happy, smiling, and will do anything to please you. Ports/Shore Excursions: We had 5 ports of call on our ship, as it was mainly an "at-sea" cruise. Our first port was San Diego, California. This was kind of like the first day because it was 1) an American port 2) Lots of people embarked here instead of L.A. and 3) This was the night we had the lifeboat drill and sail away party. San Diego was a good place to get any last minute items you needed, they had a free 10-minute shuttle ride to Horton Plaza, the big mall in San Diego, and of course you could hit the Zoo, SeaWorld, and the Naval Ship across the water. Our next stop was Cabo San Lucas. We arrived later in the afternoon, around 1 PM and were only staying until 6 PM unlike San Diego where we stayed all day. When I was in Cabo my dad and I took a boat from the pier to the bay and ate at the Office restaurant on the beach, then went back to the ship. Cabo is a very nice port for shopping and tourist things but I have been there many times so it didn't interest me to shop. After Cabo we went down to Puerto Chiapas. This was by-far one of the worst ports I have ever been too. They have 9 cruise ships a year—which basically states they are NOT ready for the rush of people. At the dock there is a small little mall that has a few small nice shops and a big arena in the middle to watch some traditional dancing. That whole thing is very nice, but then they offer a shuttle that goes down town. Why we took it I do not know, but it was just not a place you want to go when you are on a luxury cruise. Our next stop was Puntarenas, Costa Rica. This was the one port we decided to take a shore excursion in. We got off the ship onto a nice air-conditioned coach bus and took an hour drive up to a park, where we went on a Sky-Walk Rainforest and suspended bridge tour. It was very beautiful to see but could have been a little more exciting. The Panama Canal Transit is technically not a port but I will talk about it anyway. When the canal pilot isn't driving, he comes on the intercom to tell you about the next lock or some of the history of the canal. It's a very fascinating voyage. The whole canal takes about 8 hours to go through and you can watch it many different ways in any of the public room windows. Our final stop was in Cartagena, Columbia. We only stopped here because legally, since we went through the Panama Canal, we had to stop in a South American country since we were now in the Atlantic Ocean. I did not get off the ship in Cartagena but I heard mixed reviews about it. You had to find a cheap taxi into town, and then there was some good shopping. You can buy some nice jewelry and Columbian coffee, but the cab could be as much as $40 each way, and it was about a 7-minute drive. Overall the ports on this cruise were not the best, but the days at sea made up for them. The ship is full of things to do and there is never really a need to get off even when you are at port. Food: There are 4 main restaurants on the Mariner. The Compass Rose is the main dining room, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (but really shines in dinner). La Verandah serves all 3 as well but shines in its breakfast and lunch. Le Cordon Bleu sets itself up in Signatures, the alternative-reservation only French restaurant. And finally, you can indulge in Indochina style cuisine at Latitudes, another reservation only restaurant. I have never eaten at the Compass Rose for breakfast or lunch but that is only because La Verandah is a buffet while the Compass Rose is a sit-down lunch. At dinnertime in the Compass Rose you are welcome to dine whenever you want—the dining room opens at 7 and seats until around 9. You can eat by yourself or dine with other guests, but you are not assigned to a certain table/waiter/fellow guests/time to eat. The Compass Rose menu is very well laid-out and the back page even has a "Light and Healthy" section, a "Vegetarian" section, "No Added Salt", and "Simplicity" which has plain chicken, pasta, salmon etc. La Verandah has a fabulous breakfast buffet, however, it stays the same every-day. They have 2 large buffets with fruit, pastries, cereals, hot items like bacon and eggs, someone toasting bread/bagels, etc. They also have 2 custom-made omelet chefs that deliver your omelets right to your table. At lunchtime you can find almost ANYTHING from roasted turkey to spiral ham to spaghetti. They have a large salad bar and even have mini sandwiches. Another lunchtime option is the Pool Grill where you can get the basics; Hamburger, Hot Dog, and fun stuff like Cajun Chicken Sandwich, grilled shrimp sandwich, and many other options. They deliver them right to your table and are very quick and efficient. Finally, almost every day they have a lunchtime buffet outside. Every day it has a theme and every day the theme is different. One day it will be "Tex-Mex", the next "Champagne and Lobster Brunch" and even "German Bratwurst" day. Those are all delightfully laid out and always delicious. For dinnertime at La Verandah you can find either Italian Steakhouse or Mediterranean Cuisine. (They change it halfway through the cruise) I prefer the Italian Steakhouse much more, but both are very nice. The first part is a wonderful buffet and the next course is served to you, whether it be chicken, steak, or fish. Signatures is my least favorite restaurant but it is still VERY GOOD. They are an all-French cuisine restaurant that serves delicious food like duck, lamb, escargot, foie gras, etc. It is an amazing presentation and the service in there is very nice. Latitudes is the Asian restaurant, my 2nd favorite. Half of the cruise they are "Indochina" which is just a fancy word for Asian and the other half they were "Thai". I did not get to try the "Thai" menu but I heard it was just O.K. The presentation in Latitudes is impeccable. It's a very small restaurant and only holds about 20 tables. They serve the whole menu to you in small portions—no ordering. All the food at "Indochina" is incredible, amazing taste and you can get more of anything you want. The newest edition to the Mariner is The Coffee Connection, a delightful little coffee shop in the middle of the garden promenade. It is no charge for any specialty coffee drinks, and it's really like a Starbucks at sea. They have a large refrigerator that holds bottled water and sodas that passengers can use at any time. On the side of the Coffee Connection is a small buffet that they use for snacks. During the morning they have fruit, pastries, cereal, and bagels. During the afternoon they change it to fruit and cookies. Around the corner is the high-tech latte machine open 24/7 and juice and cookies always available. Last note on food, room service is available 24 hours a day. During dinner hours you can order anything from the Compass Rose menu into your suite, and they have a large menu. It comes promptly and efficiently, and they come in and set it up for you. Overall: Regent has never shown me something that would not make me want to come back. I plan on going on my next cruise on Regent and I know I will have a good time. The service, food, ship, and overall experience is like no other. They really out-do themselves on multiple levels Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
We took the Seven Seas Mariner from LA to Port Everglades via the Panama Canal. We choose this line because we took the Paul Gauguin and were very happy with it. We were very pleased with this ship, the service, and the food. The food ... Read More
We took the Seven Seas Mariner from LA to Port Everglades via the Panama Canal. We choose this line because we took the Paul Gauguin and were very happy with it. We were very pleased with this ship, the service, and the food. The food was among the best. They have 4 dining rooms. Three were great and the fourth was good but its eclectic tasting menu was a bit much for some of the guests (we thought it was a nice change but not our favorite). The French restaurant was great and the Mediterranean restaurant was unexpectedly good and seemed to be popular. Breakfasts were a little boring at the buffet, but you could order things that were not on the menu in the main dining room. Room service is provided at no charge. All seating was open where you could have a table for two some nights and meet new people in a table for four or six other nights. The entertainment was very good. They had single entertainer each night. It may have been better to have several entertainers each night to be sure that there would be something for everyone. All cabins have balconies and are quite spacious with a king size bed AND a sitting area. You will be happy with the lowest cabin category. The ship is 50,000 tons and has only 700 passengers. As a result there were always tables available in the main restaurant, lounges available by the pool (although the shady spots are limited) and seats in the theater. You never felt crowded. We went because we wanted to see the Panama Canal. The canal passage was great and they had a lecturer who lived in the Canal Zone for 25 years and did and excellent job. They also featured food and wine on this itinerary and had lectures on wine and cheese and they had cooking demonstrations from a chef from Sonoma CA. She was good and the demos were interesting. Some of the ports on this trip were mediocre. Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco were so-so. Huatulco, Mexico was a pleasant surprise and is worth considering for a return trip. Puntarenas, Costa Rico was nice for a day stop but Costa Rico deserves more than one day. The other stops were San Diego and Key West – great places but not via a cruise ship. The bottom line, top notch ship, service and food. While I prefer smaller ships, this is my favorite “big” ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
We boarded the Mariner at Los Angeles. The boarding process was extremely smooth, even though we arrived an hour and a half before the "official" boarding time. A porter whisked our bags away and we waited no more than 2 minutes ... Read More
We boarded the Mariner at Los Angeles. The boarding process was extremely smooth, even though we arrived an hour and a half before the "official" boarding time. A porter whisked our bags away and we waited no more than 2 minutes to be checked in. (There were at least 8 lines open). We were handed the traditional glass of champagne as we went on board and informed that our suite would be ready at 2.30pm. I went to make reservations at Signatures (we were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary on board) and my husband went to settle down in the Observation Lounge to wait! I was delighted to learn that our table had already been reserved for us by RSSC since I had mentioned this as something I would like on my information form. The suites were indeed ready at 2.30 and when we went to ours, our luggage was already there. I unpacked and headed for the laundry on deck 10 since we had been travelling for a week en route from Switzerland to LA. To my delight the laundry was empty and I got my things done in record time. Our butler introduced himself, and made some other reservations for us. This was the first time we have had a butler, and he was very nice and specially helpful in organizing our anniversary celebration. The evening canapEs he brought each night were very nice, but I think I would not reserve a suite just to get a butler. Based on our experience (Alaska '05 on the Mariner without a butler, in a Penthouse C suite, and this cruise in a Penthouse A suite) I would choose the suite I like and if it has a butler, fine. If not one can organize things oneself! Our first port was San Diego. We had both been there many times before and so we just headed on the "trolley" for Old Town, then did some shopping at Horton Plaza and came back to the ship. I was enrolled in the Cordon Bleu cooking course and our first meeting - a cocktail reception - was that evening. There I met the chef who had been flown from London to teach the course - Michael Katz - and the Executive Chef of the Mariner, Quinn MacMahon, and other Food and Beverage staff. The next day was a sea day and the Cordon Bleu course started. We had four sessions with Michael, all on sea days. He did a demonstration for around 90 minutes and then we (a group of 6 - there were two groups) worked hard to replicate what he had done, with lots of help from him, for another 2 hours. The course also included a wonderful visit to the Central Market in Acapulco, arranged by Quinn MacMahon. Around 10 of us participated, and we went in a minibus to the market with Quinn and Michael, who lectured us on the spot on the choice and cooking of fish. It was really interesting. The course ended with a long demonstration from Michael and that evening a cocktail reception followed by dinner in Signatures, which had closed for the evening to everyone else and was just open for the course participants, some crew members who had been involved with the course and our spouses. The dinner was a special menu set up by Michael which more or less recapitulated things we had learned to make in class. In addition to the course, Quinn organized a tour of the provisioning area of the ship and the galley for us. This took around 2 hours and we visited the storage areas on deck 3 - huge freezer, 0°C storage for fresh fruit and veg - even caviar locker! - and the galley, meeting many of the chefs and assistants as well. The cleanliness of the galley was amazing - walls and ceiling were in stainless steel and washed daily. All large machines were completely stripped and cleaned, down to the last bolt and nut, once a week - which, by the way, takes them at least two hours after the normal evening meal service! They bake their own bread on the ship, and the pastry chef was very informative about how things are done, and produced superb sweets and pastries! Even the soup cook got into the act and showed us his pots for soup and stocks! I am really, really delighted that I took this course. It was well organized, well taught and I learned a lot and had a lot of fun! Other things going on on sea days included an excellent lecture series on the Panama canal from a man who had worked there for 25 years. He gave 4 lectures - one on the canal's history, one on the present-day operation, one on what we would see (given the day before, so really pertinent) and the last the day after the transit on what we had seen, and our questions etc. These lectures were truly enriching, and our experience during the transit was greatly enhanced. Another series of lectures was from a young woman from the Cousteau "Ocean Futures" society. She spoke about various aspects of marine life and was very good, and very informative. Both my husband and I attended all her talks and gained a deeper appreciation of the oceans around us and their importance. The theirs group of lectures concerned the selection and care of gemstones. A bit esoteric but none the less interesting and well presented! Our first Mexican port was Los Cabos. The scenery going into the port was great and made greater by a little seal who swam alongside the ship and did somersaults in the sea! We took a Radisson-organized catamaran sail excursion. We were really disappointed in this. First, the boat was definitely overcrowded and therefore dangerous. Second, the safety demonstration was a joke - literally. The "wise guy" who had the microphone made jokes about where the life jackets were and never did tell us where they actually were. Third, instead of sailing along the coast with a commentary on what we were seeing they simply headed out to sea for an hour and back for an hour. On our return I found a "How are we doing" comments form in our suite so I mentioned our problems with the excursion. Radisson is know for swift dealings with problems and this case was no exception. I turned the form into the reception desk at around 2pm. At 5pm I got a voice mail from the Tour Director telling me he was looking into it. The next day he saw me and told me that he was very concerned, that they did not normally use that boat, and that he had asked his land operator what went wrong. The next day we had a letter to say that they would not use that boat again, and that our excursion fee was being reduced 40% because the excursion was not as billed. I was not looking for a refund, only trying to tell RSSC that the excursion was badly done, so I was very surprised and pleased at their reaction. Acapulco was our next port, and we went to the market as noted above. Huatulco was the final Mexican port. It is pretty but there is not much to do. However the weather was lovely and we spent the day at the pool on deck 11! Aside from the canal, the best excursion/port we had was Puntarenas. We took the trip to the Poas volcano. It was Good Friday, and everything in CR shuts down. We were warned that we might be slowed down by religious processions, and indeed we did see a couple, which were interesting. Our guide, Vicky, was superb. (Contrast to the chap at los Cabos!) She was very informative and a delightful person. We learnt a lot about CR from her en route to the volcano. We had been warned that the volcano is only visible 3 out of 10 times - so we held our breath!! When we got to the rim of the crater - we could see it all! Fumaroles, sulpher and the turquoise lake! A wonderful trip in a very pretty and interesting country. After another sea day we arrived at the canal. We got up at 4.30am and they were already serving a continental breakfast in the Observation lounge (RSSC is just wonderful - they think of everything!) Bolstered by coffee and croissant we went outside in the dark and watched the approach to the canal. By 6am we were under the bridge and by 7am in the first lock. It is very impressive to see the size of these locks, which function entirely on water power. The Mariner was raised a total of 85feet from the Pacific to the Gatun lake. After the first lock (there are 3 on each side) we went to our suite and installed ourselves on our balcony, called the butler and ordered breakfast - fittingly "lox and bagels"!! It was amazing to sit there eating in the sunshine watching the men working on the lockside with the electric engines stabilizing the ship. A large "Panamax" freighter went through alongside us - I wonder if they were looking at us as curiously as we were looking at them! We anchored in the Gatun Lake and my husband and I took the helicopter flight over the locks, Colon, the sea and the Chagres river. It cost $150 pp but was worth every penny. We were thrilled to be able to do it! As we went down through the Gatun locks we went to dinner in the Compass Rose. We were given a great table right next to a window, which, when we started to eat, had a nice view of the lockside. Soon however our view was of the concrete wall of the lock as we went down! By main course time we were moving into the next lock, and again had a view! The last port was Key West, which is pretty but again not so much to do. We shopped! As on our Alaska trip, we hated to leave the Mariner - but we had to get off in Ft Lauderdale. Disembarkation was handled as smoothly as embarkation - we were allowed to stay in our suite till 0830, breakfast having started early that day. We then waited in the Observation lounge until our colour code was called, and had to say goodbye to a great ship! During our voyage we ate in Signatures three times, la Verandah twice and the Compass Rose for the rest of the time. We mainly took breakfast and lunch at la Verandah - one lunch in the Compass Rose, and one at the pool grill (Mexican buffet which was very good!). We did not eat in Latitudes because on our Alaskan trip we had been quite disappointed with it and we really love the Compass Rose. We prefer to eat alone, and were always asked if we wanted a table for 2 or would like to share. There was never a problem in getting our own table, and pretty soon the Maitre d'hôtel knew that we wanted one for just two. We eat in some pretty sophisticated restaurants here in Switzerland and in nearby France, and the quality, variety and presentation in the Compass Rose are just excellent!!! The service at table was also good throughout. Our suite was spacious and well looked after by our two stewardesses. We had problems with our TV (there was nothing wrong with the TV, it was we who didn't know how to work it!) Our stewardess was adept at fixing it, and my husband soon came to call her "the electrician"!! He husband was one of our regular waiters at la Verandah and we told him - he thought it was a great nickname for her!! One night we had a problem with the toilet, which refused to flush. We rang the butler, and he said that he had already called maintenance because the suite next door had the same problem - we went to dinner and when we returned all was in order. One thing we really appreciated was the frequency with which we saw the Captain around the ship. He seemed to go "walkabout" at least twice a day, stopping to chat with passengers, seeing how things were going, and generally being very friendly. We really liked the Captain and hope we can sail with him again! His attitude seemed to permeate throughout all the crew who really seemed to get along well together and work closely together as a team. As to entertainment on board - there were three production numbers from the Peter Terhune singers and dancers. We had seen two of them in Alaska - it was a shame that they didn't change the show more often! But they were all well done and we enjoyed them all. We didn't bother with the comic or the singer since these are really not our cup of tea. One thing we did find, contrary to all I have read however, was that the pool area got really crowded and it was sometimes hard to find a place. Perhaps this was a result of a trip over the Easter holidays when there were more young families on board. To sum up - we love the Mariner. The standard of service, food, etc is second to none. We have already started plans to travel with RSSC to the Baltic next summer, although this trip will be on the Voyager. RSSC does things not just right, but perfectly!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
WHO WE ARE First time cruisers. I am in mid-30's, husband is pushing 50. DIWSK. We live in the San Francisco Peninsula, on the North End. My husband is a 4th Generation San Josean, I am Guatemalan and have spent most of my life in the ... Read More
WHO WE ARE First time cruisers. I am in mid-30's, husband is pushing 50. DIWSK. We live in the San Francisco Peninsula, on the North End. My husband is a 4th Generation San Josean, I am Guatemalan and have spent most of my life in the San Francisco Peninsula area. We both love to travel; each of us has visited Europe, South America, North America, Central America, and the Far East. Our travel style is one where we like to spend time in a particular locale or city; we each do not like to 'city hop'. We tend to stay in 4 to 5 star properties and travel business class, but only if we can use existing points or mileage points to achieve. If need be, we can travel on a budget. We like luxury at a deal, and as many of you know, there are a lot of resources available to this end. Other lines we considered for our first cruise were Celebrity and Silversea. We liked RSSC's value proposition: not having to pay gratuities, open seating at the restaurants, a smaller, all-suite, all-balcony ship, and fine dining in multiple venues with free wine. Our expectations of the cruise were to provide us with quality couple time in an environment that was luxurious at the right price. We weren't necessarily going because we wanted to party or to see Broadway-level shows. Mexico wasn't even a big "must see" destination for us; if the Mariner had left Los Angeles and been out at sea all the time, that would have been just fine for us EMBARKATION AND DEBARKATION Very efficient, pain free. No crowds, no rushing. People greeting you as you come on, people saying goodbye as you come off. So civilized it makes you appreciate it even more. INITIAL SHIP IMPRESSION This ship is still 3 years new, and does not show any wear or have any smells. They keep her as immaculate as you can keep a ship at sea. Few indications of rust were seen; any spots seemed to be taken care of immediately or when possible (we noticed this in public areas or unused suites). EXTERIOR The Mariner is a lovely ship to look at, and is gleaming white with discreet blue trim and nicely proportioned with wonderful lines; she looks swift and sleek. I read somewhere about some purists grousing on how 'ugly' the all-suite ships seem to them, but quite frankly, they can keep the portholes to themselves. Even the way they have tucked the lifeboats/tenders away on the Mariner's deck is clever. INTERIOR The interior of the Mariner has been well thought out and has been tastefully done. Nothing garish, clashing, cheap, or overdone. The color scheme (mainly neutrals and dark blues) and the minimality of dEcor provides a soothing, harmonious ambiance. A lot of woods and natural fabrics. The ship is also very bright, with a lot of natural lighting, and airy, giving the impression of open space. The Atrium is a wonderful focal point for the ship and again, the use of natural light pervades. The artwork, in our opinion was good to very good for a public space. THE SUITE Our suite, a category H on the port side, was ready a little before 2:30 p.m. and it was every bit as superb as we imagined it. It is well designed and every available space used ingeniously. Again, a neutral palette pervades, and a lot of natural wood cabinetry and crown molding. Everything was spotless. The fabrics used on the main drapes were rich and heavy, providing absolute darkness when pulled. The balcony also has a set of privacy drapes (the gauze like ones). Again, we noticed that RSSC did not skimp on materials: the main drapes overlapped generously. You can pull the drapes between the sleeping and the sitting area, and it provides absolute privacy between the two spaces. There is a vanity area with good lighting, a covered box of tissue and a drawer where the hairdryer lives. An round ottoman which provides seating and the wastebasket are tucked underneath. The balcony was a very nice size and the plastic chairs and table did not bother me as much as I thought it would. Neither did the visible spaces around the partition (about 2.5 inches by my guess). We liked how 'far down' we were on the ship because we could really see details in the ocean that perhaps people further up would not (schools of fish, for example). The desk, AV and cabinet area opposite the couch and coffee table are well designed, and I liked the backlights provided. Speaking of lighting, you could go as bright or as dark as you wanted anywhere in the suite, controls are located everywhere. Our requested in-bar set up of Grey Goose Vodka was waiting for us, although we thought the 1 liter bottle was a bit generous. There was a bottle of Seven Seas Champagne being chilled in a bucket, waiting for us to pop the cork. There was a green orchid stem in a tall square bud vase, and a bowl of fresh fruit, with a setup of a plate, knife and napkin ready. The desk area had a green leather inlay. There was a leather binder with ship information, writing paper and postcards and room service forms. A notepad and pen were near the phone, as were an ashtray (never seemed to be used...and by the way, if it ever was, there was never a hint of smoke in our suite) and a card with our room attendants names (Maria and Jun Jun). There was also a copy of the RSSC Magazine, as well as a copy of the daily paper, Passages. The TV has several channels, Channel 01 pertaining to the menus, ship crew, service hours, etc. Channel 02 is the Bow Cam with a Date and Time runner at the bottom, it plays classical music. Channel 03 is a GPS of sorts, it shows where the ship is on a map and gives knot/wind speeds. Channel 04 has upcoming Port Information and Radisson Itinerary information, including the other ships. At least 3 channels are dedicated to current movie releases (on this particular cruise, they included "School of Rock" "Something has got to Give" "Master and Commander"), a schedule which is given to you in your desk area, there is one 'PBS' type of channel which also changes programming daily. CNN and ESPN were also available. There is no CD/DVD capability in the suite, we brought our own CD player and tunes. It would have been nice to have at least one music video type channel (VH1 classic?). The closet space is generous and the wood hangers were a nice detail. The safe is pretty much like ones you see at first rate hotels, easy to use. There is a large sized umbrella, a shoe horn, two thick towel robes, a set of laundry bags/slips, two life vests, a shoe mitt, a pair of pool towels, a "Privacy Please" and a"Service Please" door hangers. We loved all the wood drawer space in the closet. Our 7 pieces of luggage were quickly disgorged of their contents (resting on a RSSC logo tarp on our bed) and everything fit into the closet/drawer space (there is also a set of drawers underneath the TV). Once done, we found out that all our luggage fit underneath our bed, no need to have to put in storage! The only item that I flunked in our suite was the shoe rack; hopelessly useless, even for shoes with heels. The few shoes we put in there kept sliding off. Most of my shoes are in dust bags, so I just piled them up in a corner. The bathroom is a nice size, with all the wonderful white marble and light tan marble trim. A set of up towels, a cotton/q-tip jar and sanitary bags (these were in the cabinet) were provided. The towels were thick and had nice napping. The bath towels were generously sized. The Mariner is still using the Judith Jackson Spa "Citresse" amenities: 2 hand soaps, 1 large bar soap, 1 shampoo, 1 conditioner, 1 shower gel, 1 body lotion (plus 2 shower caps and a mending kit). These are a wonderful citrus aroma (then again, I'm partial to all things citrus), however if citrus is not your thing, you should BYOS (bring your own stuff). The room gets turned down each night; everything is fluffed up, cleaned, replaced and a turndown chocolate placed on your beside table. The suite's small foyer has a cap rack and the temperature controls (we found the room temperature perfect at all times), the external doorway has a doorbell. The door itself has a clip which is very practical and nicely coordinated with the ship logo on it. EATING VENUES One of the Mariner's main delights is having so many dining options, with varying cuisine styles. All feature top notch services and distinct ambiances: POOL GRILL As it names indicates, this is at the pool area. This is the most casual of the eating venues, and its color scheme is green. You eat in the pool area, at teak tables. It is only open for lunch hours. Here is where you can get a burger or hot dog, fries (always crisp!), basic salad, pre-made sandwiches and cookies. In addition to this, there is a themed lunch buffet everyday. For seating/service, you pick a table and if you are ordering from the grill, you give your order to a waiter standing at the grill area and your table number. Your grill order is brought out to you. Drink orders are taken by the roving staff. Everything else is pretty much self serve. LA VERANDA This restaurant is on deck 11 aft, spanning both sides and the rear balcony. The room is done in neutrals and greens, with art deco style posters. This is the Mariner's version of the full service buffet, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The servers sport dark green shirts with ship plans on them. We did not have any dinner here, so I can't comment on it. The only thing I can vouch for is that in your daily Passages paper, it tells you what the theme of the night is (e.g. one night was billed as "Italian Steakhouse"). We did about half of our lunches here. There is always a lot of wait staff around ready to take your plate and walk with you to your table (eating alfresco on the aft balcony is the way to go, if the weather permits) and the bar staff quickly delivers drinks or coffee to you. Even though my husband does not like buffets (I'm a little less squirrelly on this subject), we ate lunch at La Veranda a lot. We found the quality to be consistently very good to exceptional. Their buffet could pass for a good restaurant's served platters, anytime! COMPASS ROSE Compass Rose is the largest of the Mariner's restaurants and the most all around wonderful (Signatures is close, but they are reservation and dinner only so you can't really compare). It is on deck 5 and spans both sides of the ship. But don't let the size fool you...it is an elegant space with an equally elegant set up. You can have breakfast (see my comment for La Veranda), lunch and dinner here. The most marvellous feature of Compass Rose (and Latitudes, although they are tasting menu style so perhaps it does not count, and Signatures, but then again the French are not into super-sizing) are the portion sizes. They give you just the right amount. If you feel you are not getting enough, you are free to order as many appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts as you want. You can order from the a la carte menu or from the menu degustation, or from both. Dishes were always prepared right: vegetables crisp when they should be crisp, medium rare is medium rare, food accented (not drowned) in sauces and the right level of seasonings. However, like some other fine restaurants I've dined at, sometimes things are a bit on the salty side, most notably with the soups. Not inedible, just a pinch salty. I think the current mode of using a little Fleur de Sel permeates a lot of cooking these days. Everything is beautifully presented with attention to detail. Nothing that I had felt like it was not freshly prepared. Dishes arrived at perfect temperatures and it was a joy to cup the aromas and inhale. A variety of breads get offered, and the butter is lightly iced and shaped like little flowers. The wines, a mix of French and Californian (with Chilean and Australian ones rounding out) change every day, and nothing cheap tasting was ever poured. The daily wines were so good, we never felt the need to refer to the Reserve List. We did note that among the reserve were Silver Oak Cabernet (both Alexander Valley and Napa Valley), Tiganello (an Italian Red) and Santa Margaherita Pinot Grigio. RSSC isn't skimpy with the pouring either, the wine glasses are constantly being refilled. I won't go into much detail as to what sort of things get served up, because they are as varied as variety themselves. It was tough to decide which was our favorite, Compass Rose, or the next restaurant... SIGNATURES Signatures, the Cordon Bleu Restaurant, is worthy of its fame. We had 3 dinners here, two from the same menu, one from the new menu (menu apparently is changed every week). Signatures feels like a fine restaurant one would dine in New York, San Francisco or even Paris. There is a lot of silver coloring used in the dining room; on table there is candlelight and a single red rose in a silver bud vase. The staff are dressed in white Cordon Bleu style garb, and the menu is shaped like a Cordon Bleu shirt. This is a decidedly French restaurant and it is always jacket only (formal of course for formal nights). Let's not digress too much from the food. It approximates sublimity. For starters, you always get an amouse bouche, like a large marinated shrimp. Then your choice of appetizer, soup, salad, palate cleaner sorbet and main course (or, you can always get whatever you want from the menu...there is no fixed order if that's what you want). On our first night I had the pistachio and date crusted lamb chops and they were absolutely delicious. My husband's choice that night was a veal chop with bleu cheese, a combination we had never heard of before, it was great. The warmed chocolate tart is a chocoholic's dream come true (and of course, they use dark chocolate for this one). Other memorable delicacies included foie gras terrines, huge scallops, caviar set up in a cucumber tower, lobster salad, seared duck breast (with the skin done to a perfect crisp) and tournedos Rossini (a filet mignon with a slice of seared foie gras on top). The soups are usually French style, meaning that they are cream of something. These very generally very good; albeit the salt issue I found with the Compass Rose came up here as well. The main course is always presented with a silver dome and which is removed with a voila! The voila creates a little vortex for aromas, no need for hand cupping here! The bread is sliced French. At the end of the meal, before your dessert arrives, you can order a cheese course from the cheese cart and a dish of white and dark chocolate truffles is presented just in time to savor with your coffee. The staff is a tad more serious than in Compass Rose, but by no means they are stuffy. There is always a smile greeting from the servers and details like a proffered arm for the ladies by the maitre d', Sebastian. The sommelier gladly pours your choice of wine for you and is happy to answer any questions. Mostly French wines get poured here, of course. On all three nights Renata was either our primary or assistant server and she is very pleasant. The room is small enough to create the mood for romance and intimacy. We loved eating at Signatures. With the variety on the menu, it is easy to go back very frequently without falling into a food rut. Obviously, the reservation only system makes it difficult to satisfy spur of the moment peckishness. LATITUDES Latitudes is the smallest of the dining venues and the second dinner only, reservations required restaurant. Of all the dining room styles, it is the one I liked best in terms of interior design. The palette is earth tones and the art work featured here are Brazilian head dresses and Balinese Masks. Even the table is set up with exotic shaped plates and utensils in dark earth colors. The servers (save for Rico, the maitre d'...he always wears a dinner jacket) wear Asian inspired coats in the same color palette. Being the most exotic renders it the most strange on the Mariner, given the general demographics of the ship, especially this particular cruise. Allow me to explain. To appreciate Latitudes, it does require that first, you have appreciation and enjoyment for cuisines other than American and Continental European. Second, you must be comfortable with the Tasting Menu concept of dining, something most associated with what is sometimes called 'destination dining'. Some example of these places include the French Laundry in Yountville, Gary Danko in San Francisco, Fleur de Lys in San Francisco (the new, post kitchen fire Fleur de Lys, that is), Manresa in Los Gatos. Most people can get past the first item, many people, my husband included (his worldliness notwithstanding), can't get past the second. I do like the tasting menu concept and do not find it peculiar; but I did wonder and marvel at RSSC's ambition and foresight in putting a restaurant of this type on the Mariner. We only ate at Latitudes once, partly because my reservation date coincided with the day they changed menus and partly because the meal was good but not good enough to be worthy of a repeat. On our particular dinner, mostly Asian themed, the set of 4 appetizers were pretty good (a bite of avocado and crustacean meat was wonderful), the 3 soups had one outstanding one (a tamarind and chile infused clear broth). The salad course was pretty pedestrian (mixed greens with 3 marinated prawns...tasty but nothing special). The main course had a very good to a not so good entrEe (the very good being a slice of meat with some pico de gallo sauce on it, the bad being a breast of chicken that was on the dry side and not enough sauce on it to moisten it). The desserts were mediocre at best and a let down given what all the other Mariner dining venues offer. I can't even remember a single one to describe here, save that I found a couple of them on the dry side! Overall, the meal at Latitudes was good. On a cruise such as ours, had I known how often the menus changed, I would have made my reservations so that we could try the menu at least once. As I mentioned earlier, I think Latitudes is the venue where RSSC should highlight cuisine of the area being traveled, it offers the perfect approach to doing so. YOUR ROOM (via room service) Room service in the Mariner is a dream come true. Wonderful food gets delivered with pleasure and cheer any time of the day. Any request that is food related gets fulfilled promptly. While all the dining rooms on the Mariner are beautiful, there is something about nibbling on your meal while watching the ocean go by. The evening's Compass Rose menu can be delivered to your door during the dining room's hours. FITNESS CENTER Located on deck 7, this is a gym and studio, and is under the helm of the pert and perky Jacquie, the resident fitness instructor. She gives a little tour of the facilities the afternoon of embarkation. The gym has a handful of treadmills, a selection of dumbbells, a couple of Stairmasters and elliptical runners. Ceiling mounted TV's are located strategically for distraction. There is activity here at several times of the day. We generally visited in the mornings and while busy, we never had to wait for any piece of equipment. Jacquie provides several fitness classes during the day, mostly geared towards stretching and isotonic movements that are mid-section focused. I participated in a few and found them very effective. At the beginning of the cruise, a schedule of classes is available as a handout for planning. These classes are also mentioned on a daily basis in Passages. JOGGING TRACK On deck 12, there is a jogging track for running, walking or for use as yet another vantage point. Eleven laps equals one mile; and in keeping with the ship's environment, it's never crowded. POOL AND JACUZZIS Situated at deck 11, there is a good size, salt water pool and 3 Jacuzzis (freshwater). There are also two showers and plenty of deck chairs. Never crowded, although it is a popular spot during nice sunny days. I can't really be out in the sun, so we tended to be there later in the afternoon and many times we were the only ones in the area. Plenty fresh pool towels are available and they wrap around generously. There is a pool bar, generally manned by Allen, who has a ready smile and always prepares your libations right. SPA The Spa, on deck 7, is under the auspices of Carita of Paris. It has a nice vestibule and a water tranquility fountain. It would be oh-so-comfortable just to wander into the Spa in your robe, but this a no-no on the Mariner. Services include facials, manicures/pedicures, massages and beauty salon services (shampoo, cuts, updos). The menu is not very deep, but services are well performed by friendly and skilled staff. Pricing is comparable to San Francisco, and I felt like I got good value. We had terrific service from Robert, the manager, Pamela the therapist, Marie from Brittany for nails and Delphine from Paris for updos. LE CASINO Le Casino is on deck seven with an assortment of one arm bandits (slot machines), a small crap table, roulette and about 4 blackjack tables. We didn't play but knew people who were going in for blackjack and some crap (tables, that is!). It seemed generally quiet, although some nights it was very lively, and livelier when the blackjack tournament was going on. ENTERTAINMENT AT THE CONSTELLATION THEATRE The Constellation Theatre is a magnificent, magical locale and ingeniously designed...there isn't a bad seat in the house. It is not only used for shows, it is used for holding the mustering drill, I noticed that it was used for the SSS party and in our cruise for immigration with US Customs. We caught the "dangerously clean" comedy of Brian the first night (he was funny but didn't put me into stitches) and we saw the presentation of Fiesta Latina (they included songs from The Mask, Evita, Marc Anthony, Miami Sound Machine) with the Peter Terhune Grey dancers and singers...very good, with a lot of costume changes! Other shows included a magician, Marshall Magoon (we heard he wasn't very good) and Helen Jayne (we heard she was really good). SERVICES, SHOPPING AND INFORMATION/SERVICE Since the Mariner is a floating hotel of sorts, one finds the sort of amenities and services one would expect from a land based outfit. All are conveniently located manned with helpful staff. Especially note that the laundry service and detergent is free. DAY TO DAY ACTIVITIES For some of us, cruising on the Mariner was meant for R and R, and this was achieved. Not to worry, the ship has all sorts of activities, both planned and spontaneous, all day up until 10:30 pm (then you are left to your own devices!) The planned ones are in Passages, and range from meeting other passengers, to the scheduled fitness classes, bridge, daily quizzes, needlepoint and morning coffee, games (both indoor and outdoor) classes, lectures, bingo, presentations, game show type activities, poker tournaments, etc. One would be hard pressed not to like or participate in any of these offerings. CREW AND SERVICE LEVELS Enough cannot be said about the outstanding crew and staff aboard the Mariner. RSSC has certainly done its homework in attracting, recruiting and retaining the best of the best. They are not only qualified in what they do, they also display a genuine love of their work and of their passengers. While the ship is elegant, her staff and crew are not aloof. It is not uncommon to see the ship's officers strolling around, and saying hello to you. Staff members remember you and greet you. They will stop and chat with you, if you start a conversation. They will listen and do their best to honor your requests promptly. I remember hearing "We help you make your wishes come true" early on in the ship and this was no by line on some glossy advert. I was witness to some of the staff getting talked to by some ungracious people (you know, those people who DEMAND service and wouldn't know good service if it ran over them) and they were handled very professionally. We hear stories in the news of how other cruise lines hire, pay and treat their employees, I have to believe RSSC values their employees and treats them well, because it translates into how they treat the cruisers AND the longevity of some of these people with the company. GENERAL DEMOGRAPHICS OF THIS PARTICULAR CRUISE This cruise sailed with 540 passengers, and it would be safe to say 70% of them were at least 70. Making up almost half of the passengers was a group with Jazzdagen Tours, a tour company that caters to jazz enthusiasts by promoting jazz tours and cruises. They even bring their own jazz musicians along; and were happy to share them with the rest of the ship (they were excellent). The average age was not a problem for us, because our motives for being on this cruise did not include endless partying. We don't mind mixing with older folks, either. But we could see if someone went on this cruise looking for a 'fun ship' and not fully aware of the general demographics, they would be quite surprised and turned off. I actually enjoyed the quiet elegance I found on the Mariner, it helped me relax. We understand from the Mariner's staff the demographics tend to change depending on where the ship is going and the length of days of the cruise. For example, 7 day cruises will attract younger people; 7 day cruises to Alaska will have more families. We did see and were able to meet a lot of interesting people of all ages, those in our immediate group (meaning, we dined/socialized with) included Tanya Moss the Mexican jewelry designer and her husband Eduardo, who were of my age group (under 40), The Torok's (magicmat), celebrating their 20th anniversary, they were closer to Peter's age group (close to or just over 50), Norm and Gerri in their 70's, and Aaron and Jo (80 and 50's). We also informally chatted up and talked a lot more people, so meeting people isn't a problem if you are socially outgoing and friendly. The cruise was predominately American, with some Britons and some Austrian couples. There were a few African Americans, Latin Americans and Asians. SUMMARY This cruise has now made us converts not only to this style of travel, but loyal RSSCers...to a greater extent, extremely loyal to the Mariner. Our expectations were met and exceeded on all levels. People thought we came back glowing and relaxed (it showed in a lot of pictures, as well as in person). We thought it was excellent value and worth every cent. RSSC MARINER'S PROS • Ultimate in luxury and pampering. • Relaxing environment, discretion is the modus operandi . • Great value for price. • All inclusive, includes all shipboard gratuities and includes wine/liquor at dinner. •The entire staff and crew is genuinely friendly and professional. • Attention to detail and quality. RSSC MARINER'S CONS • Ship does attract a much older crowd; younger people looking to meet other young people or who are looking for a high energy vacation will be disappointed. • Should consider more San Francisco departures for Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico. CONSIDERATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS FOR THE M/S MARINER • Compass Rose staff needs to be a little less obvious during certain situations and requests that may conflict with their routine/schedule (see my example under "Compass Rose"). • Hold the art auctions in one of the card rooms...setting up shop in the Garden Promenade can actually create a hazard. • Consider more San Francisco departures for Alaska, Hawaii and Mexico. • Don't hold the premiere of a new show the last night at sea (we are all busy packing), and at 6:30 pm (way too early!). Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
We were on the Mariner's 14-night trip from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale via the Panama Canal. As first-timers we decided to book one of the ship's larger suites that included butler service. We were delighted and dismayed by ... Read More
We were on the Mariner's 14-night trip from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale via the Panama Canal. As first-timers we decided to book one of the ship's larger suites that included butler service. We were delighted and dismayed by our choice. Next time we'll think more carefully. (See the very end of this review for details about this.) First of all, every suite on the Mariner has a balcony, and when the weather is as gorgeous as it was during our cruise, you don't spend much of your time in the suite itself. You're either on your balcony, or you're on the (almost) empty deck. Having the extra space was extremely nice, but we really didn't use half of it. And, anyway, as we learned during one of the "open houses," even the smallest suites on the ship are more than comfortable for two people. Secondly, everyone gets the same service, whether in a big suite like ours or in one of the smallest. We of course had the extra advantage of having a butler. He was extremely charming and eager to please. He was a great conversationalist. He unpacked our luggage and took our clothes to be dry cleaned and pressed. He looked after every little detail, like delivering invitations to the people we invited for a cocktail party. He was extraordinary. But, like the extra space, we really didn't need him. Like everyone else, we had a steward and stewardess who cleaned our suite twice every day. (We hardly ever saw them.) I don't know what more you'd want in terms of in-room service. Thirdly, it's true. Radisson does attract a largely older crowd. But this means that the best parts of the ship, like the swimming pool, jacuzzis, the big bar at the aft, are **empty** most of the time. One night my sweetie and I went to soak in one of the deck's three jacuzzis at 7:30 p.m. The air was warm. There was a big full tropical moon in the sky. We were absolutely 100% alone. I was in the ship's pool on most days and maybe only twice was there someone else swimming with me. Fourthly (is there such a word?), everybody gets the same food, which on most counts ranges from very good to excellent. Our only disappointment was in Latitudes, the reservations-only Asian-fusion restaurant. (Too salty!!) We had very good (formal) French food in Signatures. But we really loved the Spanish and Italian menus in La Verandah, the most casual restaurant. Also, the seafood in ALL the restaurants was exceptionally fresh. Our big "learning experience" came when we anchored in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. SIX other cruise ships were there at the same time. They were ENORMOUS. We watched their passengers wait ten-deep in the hot sun for a tender back to their ships. Those of us on the Mariner were whisked back and forth on nearly empty tenders. At the dock, the Mariner had set up chairs under an umbrella and had crew members passing out iced water and orange juice. What we don't understand is that the nicest suites on those huge ships cost almost as much or more than the smaller suites on the Mariner. But on those huge ships you share **everything** with 2000+ passengers, no matter how much you pay for your suite. What I'm pretty sure we learned is that the "ultra-deluxe" Radisson cruises are probably an incredible bargain, given the service, the space, and the fact that most areas of the ship are empty most of the time. Also, the fares are all-inclusive. I don't have time to do the math. But you don't need a big suite or butler service on a ship like the Mariner. We had a spectacular trip. (We especially enjoyed Costa Rica and the Panama Canal. Although, the Gatun Yacht Club is a big bore! My sweetie took the helicopter trip over the Gatun Locks and had a blast.) You can spend a third of what we spent and still have a fantastic time. We're definitely going to take Radisson again, but next time we want to do a longer cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004
It was our second trip on Radisson's Mariner, so we knew we were going to love the ship. We didn't have to take an airplane as we boarded in Los Angeles and returned to Los Angeles. Our cruise took us to Tahiti and her islands ... Read More
It was our second trip on Radisson's Mariner, so we knew we were going to love the ship. We didn't have to take an airplane as we boarded in Los Angeles and returned to Los Angeles. Our cruise took us to Tahiti and her islands and then to Hawaii and home. We had been to all the ports with the exception of Christmas Island. Three of our friends boarded with us for the afternoon. We requested hors d'oeurves to go with our complimentary champagne and they arrived almost immediately. Our friends were in awe of our cabin (Cat. C Penthouse Suite) as well as the ship. We toured them around and ran into some familiar faces from our previous cruise. They were so happy to see us, which made us feel very welcome. Captain Jean Marie Guillou also remembered us which was wonderful. After unpacking and a light dinner at the Veranda Cafe it was off to sleep. We had six days at sea and the weather was warm, as it was 90 degrees when we left L.A. We spent luxurious days at sea out by the pool area and the calmness of the ocean was remarkable. We were able to keep in touch with everyone at home from the computer room. E-mails were extremely reasonable. It was great to hear from everyone and know that things at home were status quo. The ship is wonderful and the staff even better. They don't know the meaning of the word "NO" Our cabin stewardess was a first timer, so we had some training to do, but she caught on. Food is excellent in every venue and the alternative restaurants are creative and fun. Complimentary wines are served at dinner and they pour very good wine. The head sommalier is very knowledgeable and will discuss the wine at length if asked. We didn't partake in the entertainment very often, but what we saw was average. The casino is small, but everyone has a good time. Since our cruise had so many days at sea, there were many seniors in wheelchairs and walkers. It wasn't an issue unless you were getting on or off the ship and the tenders. Most of the ports were tendered. There is a video library and each cabin has a VCR. There are also books that can be checked out on the honor system and a small library. the lounges are nice. the bar outside the Compass Rose restaurant was rarely crowded and we always found a seat. The Captain had several cocktail receptions and drinks were on him. It was very nice. Staterooms are all outside with verandas. They are well appointed and comfortable. The bathrooms have ample cabinets and storage. There are no separate showers, but I understand that the new ship, the Voyager has separate showers. There are walk in closets, down comforters and bath products as well as a hair dryer. Radisson is a very classy cruise line and we look forward to many more cruises with them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2003
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