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26 Regent Seven Seas Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We have completed 13 Regent cruises (with 222 nights), and was surprised with a poor review on Cruise Critic from one couple. We were on that same Regent Mariner cruise and had none of the 'problems' described--we adapted ... Read More
We have completed 13 Regent cruises (with 222 nights), and was surprised with a poor review on Cruise Critic from one couple. We were on that same Regent Mariner cruise and had none of the 'problems' described--we adapted to changes that we could not control. Both Regent and we could not control the weather. First--If they did not like their multi-hour air-schedule, it can be changed. We were scheduled on an overnight flight from Vancouver to NYC but we changed it to an early afternoon flight that got us home. Regent’s initial late-day flight selection gave guests the opportunity to take a tour of Vancouver! Ask, and Regent changes the air flights--yes it cost a little money, but we are Platinum level, and one flight schedule change was allowed. Second—This was a relocation cruise--we expected multiple days at sea. We were scheduled to have 5-days-at-sea, and we had 6-days-at-sea, when we bypassed the Russian port. There were wonderful lectures by Hugh Neighbour and Karen Dodd. There were extra social events added to entertain the guests. If you were bored, that was your fault. Third--YES, we skipped the Russian port. Their comment that “ALL OF THE GUESTS WERE UPSET” is very unfair and UNTRUE. There were 50-knot winds over the deck--added to the forward speed of the Mariner, it gives a 75mph deck wind. The decks were closed for outside walking. My wife and I exercised by walking the interior walkways on various decks. There were 23 feet swells. We had very wet and salt encrusted balcony windows, which were cleaned at the next port. I enclosed two photos of the TV screen in our suite showing these numbers. The Mariner has stabilizers, I knew of no one who was sick from mal de mer. The captain/master changed the direction (and avoided the worst of the storm). I saw him at the Coffee Connection, and thanked him, for consideration of the safety of the guests. After his direction changes, we then had MUCH weaker winds, and less than six feet swell. [I BELIEVE that the Mariner was originally scheduled to use their tenders to transport the guests to and from shore at the Russian port. With a pitching sea, it could be a human disaster! On two previous Regent cruises (Amalfi coast, Italy and Galle, Sri Lanka), the Captain declared that the sea was too rough to have guests enter the tenders and we skipped the port!] Fourth--We had great weather on all Alaskan ports; but it rained at Ketchikan, as usual. We did not see the Hubbard Glacier because there was very dense fog. Many guests, including me, stood on the top deck and got wet from the weather. Regent did supply snacks and hot coffee for those awaiting a breeze to dissipate the fog. After about an hour of only seeing sea-ice, the Mariner left Yakutat Bay. The weather then was fine, at distance of about 10-miles where some wind, and a change in air-temperature resulted in no fog and a blue-sky. When the ship was docked in any Alaska port, we often sat outside in the sun on the pool deck for lunch and enjoyed the snow covered mountains, numerous playful otters, eagles, (once saw some orcas playing by our ship), and had another great meal. I know of no one who used the pool, but the hot tubs were used by some. I really cannot understand such a negative review--but it was from one couple. We have three more Regent cruises booked, and look forward to the ship, food, staff, and meeting other well-traveled guests. It is a pleasure to be take care of by Regent. I would highly recommend cruising with Regent for those people who enjoy “joie de vie”. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this 28 day back to back cruise as we had not been to Alaska in many years and all we had to do is fly one way as we live in Florida. We flew to Vancouver and since we had a penthouse we received a free night at the Four ... Read More
We chose this 28 day back to back cruise as we had not been to Alaska in many years and all we had to do is fly one way as we live in Florida. We flew to Vancouver and since we had a penthouse we received a free night at the Four Seasons Hotel. Embarkation was easy and after a small lunch in the Veranda our luggage had been delivered and our cabin was ready. Service and food on the ship were superb. We really enjoyed the Veranda for breakfast and lunch and had most of our dinners in Compass Rose. The menu selections were huge and it was always hard to decide on an entree so we usually shared between the two of us. Chartreuse was not our favorite but we enjoyed Prime Seven (especially the whole Maine lobster) several times. The excursions in Alaska were exceptional. We went whale watching (saw hundreds), and loved watching the dolphins play and the bald eagles who were spotted in the trees by our guide. We had a dungeness crab feast in Ketchican (all you can eat)! Two ports were cancelled (Nicaragua because of unrest and Grand Cayman because of Hurricane Michael). Would not want to go back to Acapulco or Guatemala. Mostly life on the ship was great. There was good weather and we enjoyed just sitting by the pool reading or going to lectures and playing duplicate bridge (there was an excellent bridge director (Joyce from Saskatchuan) . Looking forward to our next Regent cruise (Tahiti to Singapore 2020) Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We took a our first cruise on Regent in May from Lisbon to London and we were blown away. We have taken Crystal in the past on some 15 cruises, and now we find ourselves remiss for patronizing a good cruise line (Crystal) when there was ... Read More
We took a our first cruise on Regent in May from Lisbon to London and we were blown away. We have taken Crystal in the past on some 15 cruises, and now we find ourselves remiss for patronizing a good cruise line (Crystal) when there was such a much finer cruise line (Regent) out there. Regent beats Crystal in room quality, service, staff, food, athletic facility, spa, public areas, embarkment, and in a very big way, in excursions. Crystal does have better entertainment, but overall this is a minor item to us. Further, Regent is not as pretentious as Crystal by declaring itself the "best" cruise line, and Regent does not push purchasing photos at every conceivable instance as Crystal always does. And even the passengers on Regent appear to be more polished and polite than those we have encountered on recent Crystal ships. Perhaps Crystal is yesterday's cruise line, but Regent is today's. Special compliments to the Regent's ship management. The attendants for the rooms were almost invisible, yet their job was always complete in a timely manner. Similarly, we were treated excellently by the food mangers in the various restaurants. Our favorite restaurant was Prime with the bone-in ribeye. Every excursion seemed better than the one before! Thank you Regent-job excellently done! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I wanted to try Regent's new ship Explorer and the transatlantic crossing gave me lots of sea days to explore the ship. We also had some interesting ports of call in Madeira and Spain. We flew into Miami on our own and used a hotel ... Read More
I wanted to try Regent's new ship Explorer and the transatlantic crossing gave me lots of sea days to explore the ship. We also had some interesting ports of call in Madeira and Spain. We flew into Miami on our own and used a hotel shuttle to get to the cruise port. Very easy and economical. First time I've been on a ship that joined in a search and rescue for a passenger overboard.The captain and cruise director kept us informed of what was going on as several cruise ships joined in searching the grid along with Coast Guard out of Spain. Fortunately it was not one of our ship passengers or crew. The search was not successful and was called off after about 12 hours as odds of surviving that long in the cold water were not feasible. Service was excellent everywhere. Disappointed that the onboard lecture series did not exist, especially with so many sea days. When I inquired they told me the lecturer had to cancel at the last minute. I think they should have tried to come up with something. New layout of cabins on this ship and decided it was worth it to upgrade to the lowest level concierge. They actually turn the cabin so the bed looks out through the balcony doors instead of a blank wall. Dining was excellent. Prime 7 layout is huge. Chartreuse wall banquets are not meant to hold people.. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We took this cruise because of 2 nights in New York City. Although never having sailed with Regent, we were pleasantly surprised. Excellent service by all staff. The ship was not full so staff had more time to visit with passengers. ... Read More
We took this cruise because of 2 nights in New York City. Although never having sailed with Regent, we were pleasantly surprised. Excellent service by all staff. The ship was not full so staff had more time to visit with passengers. The captain, Serena Melani, was frequently out and about visiting with passengers. Senior restaurant staff were often seen cleaning tables. I was very impressed to see this. Capt. Serena was even at the gangway, saying farewell to passengers during disembarkation. Two staff members stood out. Reynaldo in Compass Rose, took special care of my wife’s dietary needs. He even had menus sent to our cabin ahead of time. Gayatri, our butler, is new to working on a cruiseship but learns fast and tries hard. Her sweet nature overcame any inexperience. Nothing was too much trouble for her. Tours are included. The only thing spoiling them were quite a few days of rain. Still we got what we wanted through this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and also because we love sailing with Regent. We were not disappointed. The food, service, crew, tours were all top notch. These are highlights: Embarkation went without a glitch and it was fast. ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and also because we love sailing with Regent. We were not disappointed. The food, service, crew, tours were all top notch. These are highlights: Embarkation went without a glitch and it was fast. Cabin was kept beautifully by our attendants. Food in every restaurant was outstanding. Dino, the executive chef, had great meals and lunches every day. The shore excursions and guides were outstanding. We did the overnight excursion to Luxor and it was excellent. We love the crew and it was nice to reconnect. The entertainment was good too. All in all this was one of our best cruises. The itinerary was awesome. We highly recommend Regent. Once again they did not disappoint. We loved every minute of the cruise and can't find any fault. From embarkation to disembarkation it was perfect. We also did the Regent post cruise tour of Dubai/Abu Dhabi and it was excellent. Very good hotel, guide, and sights. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise because we wanted to try Explorer and thought the ports ideal for us, especially with a Southampton start. We boarded and both said WOW. It really is a fantastic ship. From the artwork to the furnishings and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted to try Explorer and thought the ports ideal for us, especially with a Southampton start. We boarded and both said WOW. It really is a fantastic ship. From the artwork to the furnishings and crockery. We were 'processed' quickly at 12 noon and then to a delicious buffet lunch. Once the suites were available we unpacked and found we still had spare drawers and cupboards. The room was beautiful, super bathroom with 2 basins, separate shower and bath. Someone had commented earlier that our room (810) had a lot of teething troubles. I'm glad to say that everything had been put right, except what he described as a 50 cent hook replacing a lost one; we mentioned this to Reception and it was changed within an hour. What he failed to add was that the F2 cabin is so spacious. Crew was uniformly brilliant - always a smile. We dined twice in Prime Seven and Chartreuse, once in Sette Mari, and the rest of the time in Compass Rose. Prime Seven just about the best, Compass Rose good too, but we were never disappointed by the choice or the quality. The last dinner in Compass Rose was outstanding. Wine flowed freely, and if we were always offered a wine that was not to our taste we were immediately offered several alternatives. Cruise Critic had organised a Meet and Mingle on Day 2, and we were pleased and surprised that the Master and some senior officers joined us. This was typical of the approachability of everyone on the ship. We don't do many excursions, preferring in general to walk around the town, but those we did take were also well organised. Bilbao was outstanding, mainly because of the Guggenheim Museum, but we love Bordeaux (where we moored right in the middle of the City), Porto and Lisbon. Finally the infinity pool at the Spa deserves a mention. While my wife had a massage I took the opportunity to sit on the aft deck and use the pool as we sailed down the river out of Bordeaux. This was day 4, and I was told I was only the second person to use it - a hidden secret indeed. We can't recommend Regent enough, especially Explorer. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We sailed for 18 days from San Francisco to New York via the Panama Canal. Prior to the cruise we had a one day tour of Muir Woods and Sonoma, with lunch in Sonoma City - a lovely small town. Embarkation and disembarkation were the ... Read More
We sailed for 18 days from San Francisco to New York via the Panama Canal. Prior to the cruise we had a one day tour of Muir Woods and Sonoma, with lunch in Sonoma City - a lovely small town. Embarkation and disembarkation were the only disappointments, and Regent is not at fault. The 3rd party handler in San Francisco failed to provide transportation to the ship for the majority of passengers. And the New York Cruise Terminal made a two day mess of disembarkation, resulting in some passengers missing their scheduled tour of New York City. Clarifications: The ship was partially refurbished in 2014 - the lounges and dining rooms and other public areas were re-done and are very nice. The cabins and cabin hallways are tired but cabins are still comfortable. The ship will go through a complete refurbishment in 2018. Very clean ship, crew very friendly, good service. Food: Lots of food available. Much is high quality sourcing - fantastic lamb from new Zealand, milk fed veal, shrimp. Excellent bread in the formal dining rooms. Authentic spaghetti carbonara and huge delicious portion of veal schnitzel at Stelli Mari restaurant. Restaurants: In past reviews people complained about the slow service in Compass Rose. We only experienced that once and we ate their several times. Cabin: Loved the walk in shower with large rainshower head. Captain Updates: Gave us detailed updates at noon each day. Gym: Excellent high quality equipment. Fitness Manager rather pushy re trying to up sell. Self Serve Laundry: A great feature on each cabin floor. Swimming Pool: I only used it once as there are no steps going down into the pool suitable for people with mobility issues. The top step in the ladders are too far apart for my legs to reach to the deck. This problem has been resolved in the new Explorer ship. I used the jacuzzis instead. Service: I thought service was good. I'm not a smoker but my travel partner is. Smoking is limited to 3 areas of the ship. Some smokers didn't think the service re appetizers and drinks was as good as it could be. Favorite Parts of the Ship: The 11th floor covered terrace at the back of the ship for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Observation Lounge and Horizon Lounge when going through the Panama Canal and during a hurricane. Size of Ship: Perfect for accommodating around 700 passengers and 400 crew. The ship never felt crowded. Ports and Excursions: This is hurricane season with hot humid weather. Be prepared for this if you go in September. Due to bad weather we could not dock in Acapulco or Nassau. This is not the fault of the cruise line.Highlights included: Pura Vida private garden tour in Costa Rica, Cartagena Colombia Old and New Town tour (Cartagena is a hidden gem - spectacularly beautiful), post dis-embarkation tour of New York City (911 memorial is outstanding). Age Profile: Suitable for 55+. Average age likely 70-90+. Large number of people with mobility problems - may be a challenge in rough weather. Not suitable for children. Would I go again? Yes Strong Recommendation: Please do not wait until after the cruise to voice your complaints. Bring them up immediately to the crew so they can do their best to accommodate your requests. Be specific re your complaints. This cruise line is really trying to make this a memorable experience for you. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was our first Regent cruise in several years. Other than too many wrong way time changes the cruise was excellent. Embarkation was the fastest we have ever experienced. Unlike many other reviews I have read, we liked Pacific Rim ... Read More
This was our first Regent cruise in several years. Other than too many wrong way time changes the cruise was excellent. Embarkation was the fastest we have ever experienced. Unlike many other reviews I have read, we liked Pacific Rim best, then Compass Rose, Prime Seven, Sette Mari and Chartreuse least. All were at least very good, with service to match. Our Penthouse suite was different, some wasted space a smaller closet, no tub but the best shower ever. We did like being able to separated the two rooms. We only did two excursions, Tea at Reid's and Cork an Cattle Farm, and both were very good. As a note, this was the nicest group people we have ever sailed with, we shared a table most meals an enjoyed every one. Barcelona airport was a zoo, took almost two hours to check in. British Airways flights, BCN to SEA were very good, just long. We had such a good time we booked two more cruises while on board. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Transatlantic Cruise March 26 – April 19. Our embarkation in Miami took no more than 10 minutes and we headed for lunch in the Pool Grill. (I later learned that there was a place to check our hand luggage so we wouldn't have to ... Read More
Transatlantic Cruise March 26 – April 19. Our embarkation in Miami took no more than 10 minutes and we headed for lunch in the Pool Grill. (I later learned that there was a place to check our hand luggage so we wouldn't have to carry it around until our suite was ready). When we got to our suite, the suite door was slightly ajar so we didn't need to fumble with our keycard to get in. Our rooms were ready at 2:30 but none of our suitcases were in our suite. I located the suitcases in different places along our deck. One of our suitecases didn't fit under the bed and our steward put it above the handing closes in our closest. While going around the ship to look at everything we ran into a couple we had been on a cruise through the Suez Canal with, so we had a Trivia team. Our suite was a G1 that is listed as around 300 sq ft, which is smaller than the comparable suite on the Navigator and Voyager. But the ergonomics of everything made it comfortable for us. What I liked: the bed was just great, the shower was nice with plenty of room, enjoyed to larger balcony, we had plenty of storage space. We were right across from the launderette and this was the first time we were able to do our laundry rather than send it out. What I didn't like was the placement of the TV in the sleeping area and the size and height of the table in the sitting area which didn't allow for an enjoyable in suite dinner. The ship. We enjoyed the ship and the public spaces. The Explorer Bar was right outside the Compass Rose and was a nice place for predinner drinks. The Observation Lounge was very nice. the meridian Lounge on the 5th floor was nice when you had speciality restaurant reservations. We ate most of our meals in the Compass Rose which had a very nice menu and service. We had 2 reservations each for the speciality restaurants and enjoyed them for a change, with Pacific Rim being our favorite. We did not eat at Sette Mar. We had in suite dinner a couple time and really had to watch what we ordered since the coffee table in our suite was not very big and too low to be a table. We ate most of our breakfast and lunches in LaVeranda. The tables were nicely spaced and there never seemed to be too many people trying to get food at the same time. The main problem with LaVeranda was the salt grinders – they never worked and took a lot of attention of the staff to find one for us that would work each and every day. Morning room service for coffee was always very prompt. The few nights when we ate in, it would take at least an hour to get what we ordered, and as I said earlier, the table in the sitting area was not big enough to hold 2 plates. The sea days had plenty of things on the schedule with some very interesting Smithsonian lectures plus bingo and trivia. We were able to get a galley tour and a bridge tour. Both were very interesting. The excursions were good, and we enjoyed the guilds and all the sites we saw. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Impressions of the Regent Explorer based on 24 nights from Miami to Venice, 26 March/19 April 2017 (the second segment, 9-19 April, was the “Regent 25th Anniversary Cruise”) Bottom Line Up Front: If (as impossible as it would be) ... Read More
Impressions of the Regent Explorer based on 24 nights from Miami to Venice, 26 March/19 April 2017 (the second segment, 9-19 April, was the “Regent 25th Anniversary Cruise”) Bottom Line Up Front: If (as impossible as it would be) all of Regent’s ships were doing the same itinerary, we’d choose Explorer, then Voyager, Mariner and Navigator, in order. Explorer because the Big Wins listed below outweighed the Big Fails. Explorer did not, however, deal a knock-out blow which we actually view as good. If it were perfect in every way, we’d probably feel diminished if we had to “settle” for one of the other ships. As it is, itinerary wins: we booked cruises on Voyager, Mariner and Explorer while on-board. Big Wins: Suite design for F (and D & E) – love the feet outward layout, lots and lots of storage space in neat drawers and cabinets that draw themselves closed when pushed nearly closed (we can’t break ourselves of this habit at home and are leaving things only mostly shut!), lots and lots of power points including USB charging at both nightstands, large verandahs even with F2 (which we had), great bathrooms with tub and rainforest shower. Pacific Rim – our favorite restaurant (6 times in 22 nights!...yes, you can only make one advance reservation per restaurant per segment, but if you are willing to share and flexible on times, no problem), we were great fans of Latitudes and are happy again. At the on-board Town Hall with Regent President Jason Montague, I cited this great addition and suggested that, since they can’t create a Pacific Rim space on the other ships, they might at least add some of the signature dishes to the “All the Time” menu in Compass Rose. Compass Rose menu expansion – we used to sometimes end up in the former Compass Roses and have to choose the item we disliked least…no longer with the huge “All the Time” section. The chairs are more comfortable, as well. Culinary Kitchen – we did two, “Majestic Mediterranean” and “Healthy Modern Greek,” and both were great. We’d reserved the first in advance and enjoyed it so much that we added the second. Surprised and pleased in how comprehensive each session was: starter, entrée and dessert. They are popular, especially as a great activity on a sea day, so it’s advisable to book them before you board. Wins: Restaurant Reservation desk – very nice to have a single place to go to deal with additions/changes to restaurant reservations. Setti Mari – already a favorite, it benefits from much more outside dining space with some very sheltered locations and infrared heaters for enjoyment while under way. Specialty Restaurant availability – Explorer carries 50 more passengers than Voyager/Mariner. Our impression is that Compass Rose is similar in size and that Chartreuse and Prime 7 are larger. Add the new capacity in Pacific Rim and it certainly was the case for us that we could eat pretty much in any restaurant we wanted (with the above-citied willingness to share or be flexible on times). Minor Wins: Chartreuse – hard to say why, but we liked it more than Signatures. Seemed less pretentious. Neutral: Décor and artwork – clearly a hugely subjective area. The décor is startlingly different from the other ships—sort of grand era of cruising retro—but we neither adored it or hated it. Similarly OK with most of the artwork. It’s not like we view the ship as an art museum where one sits and ponders the artist’s work. Minor Fails (correctable): Beer Selection – is totally pedestrian. Nothing you can’t find at the local 7-11. Regent seems to respect wine drinkers as having reasonable palates, but not if you like quality beer. They’ve even dropped the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (a widely available, pretty decent large craft beer). If you want it, put in a special request. Once upon a not-too-long-ago time they also had Guinness and Bodingtons in the nitro cans…avoid the export Guinness at all costs! Not expecting true micro-brews, but please, something not distributed in tank cars. Major Fails (not correctable on Explorer, but could be addressed on Explorer 2…many noted before by others): NO OUTSIDE FORWARD DECK AREA – hugely disappointing! Other than the Observation Lounge, it is nearly impossible to see where the ship is headed. On our recent Miami-Venice cruise, this was particularly painful while sailing into the Kotor fjord and the morning sail into Venice. I brought this up at the Town Hall and it received quite a round of applause (as did the next item), so not just my view. It would/will be challenging to fix this on Explorer 2 since it was caused by creating the high value real estate on deck 12 forward. NO REAR FACING LOUNGE – we really like the Horizon Lounges on the other ships. Nothing on Explorer faces the rear since the obvious space was given over to the spa and the fitness center. I think that later, at least, could be placed elsewhere. The lack of this second “formal” lounge (along with the Observation Lounge) means that events like tea time end up in the Observation Lounge where many, like us, spend a lot of time. Not so comfortable when they are setting up tea time all around you. This, too, received a good round of applause when I brought it up at the Town Hall. Theater sight lines, cramped rear stairwells – all mentioned by others and specifically recognized as something to deal with at the Town Hall. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our forth Explorer cruise which pretty much shows how much we love this ship. We have sailed over 350 nights on Regent (on all the ships) and find the Explorer the top of the line. To back up a bit, we flew to Miami from ... Read More
This was our forth Explorer cruise which pretty much shows how much we love this ship. We have sailed over 350 nights on Regent (on all the ships) and find the Explorer the top of the line. To back up a bit, we flew to Miami from Vancouver, B.C. using our own air and took the air credit. We flew American Airlines which is a mediocre airline at best but it did get us there. We also took the hotel credit as we were a group of over 100 people (customers of a travel agent) and had special events in Miami for two days prior to embarkation. This was a transatlantic cruise with only 3 port stops so there were mostly Regent repeat customers on the ship (that preferred having the ship be the destination). We stopped in Bermuda for 2 days which was okay. IMO, Regent is making too many stops at this port and we are getting tired of it. Our second port was Funchal which we love. Madeira is a lovely island with great food and scenery. We took an "included" excursion that took us across the island where we had lunch at a local restaurant. The food was delicious. Most of us tried "black scabbard" fish (only available in Madeira and Japan). It is the ugliest fish that I've ever seen but tasted great. Our last port was Gilbraltar, U.K. where we visited a farm in Spain. This required going across the border which, according to our tour guide, is getting more difficult to cross every day. Thankfully, it was not an issue. The farm is amazing - they have cork trees, cows, and the famous black pigs. The farm is thousands of acres and is completely organic. Most of the feed for the animals comes from the trees. The pigs eat the acorns and is praised as some of the best ham in the world. We visited their new school and petting zoo which was lovely. This was followed by tapas (the amazing ham was included and is the best we have ever tried) and sherry. This is the first time that we have done the same excursion twice. IMO, it was worth it. Destination Services on this cruise did an excellent job (something that I have not said before about this department). We stayed in the Master Suite which was the best suite we have stayed in on the Explorer - not just because it is a Master Suite but because of the layout. We have also stayed in a Grand Suite, Concierge Suite and F1 Suite on the Explorer and have toured other suites. Besides for the Master Suite, we also like the Concierge/F1 Suites (identical except for the balcony) and the Seven Seas Suite. We are not fans of the PH suites. Food on Explorer remains excellent - in most dining venues. Our favorite on this cruise was Chartreuse - especially for lunch. Great food and impeccable service. Our least favorite was Prime 7 due to inconsistent food. Compass Rose is always wonderful as long as you dine early or late. Going to Compass Rose after a special event can be chaos. For instance, after the Captain's Reception, 200-300 people immediately go to Compass Rose. There is no way any restaurant can provide excellent service when everyone arrives at the same time (unless you are at a wedding and the choice of food is very limited and prepared in advance). Service was also excellent. If anyone has a problem with food or service on any Regent ship, the key is to let the Food and Beverage Director or the General Manager know about the issue. They will do everything within their power to make it better. If you do not say anything, there is no way they know that there is something that needs to be fixed. On our last cruise, there was an issue that I reported to Daniela, F&B Director (which was corrected) but on this cruise, there was nothing negative to report. We are not big into entertainment, however, the entertainment on this cruise was the best that we have encountered on the Explorer. Cruise Director John Barron is determined to raise the entertainment level up a notch. So far, he is accomplishing his goal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was a wonderful cruise. The first leg from Buenos Aires to Rio was port intensive with one sea day and a mix of cities and small seaside towns. The second leg had more sea days and took us on a journey up one of the world'd ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise. The first leg from Buenos Aires to Rio was port intensive with one sea day and a mix of cities and small seaside towns. The second leg had more sea days and took us on a journey up one of the world'd great rivers, with destinations including cities Manaus and Santarem, a beach town, a fishing village and Parantins. March is Amazon rainy season and it rained! Rio and Manaus were highlights with a good variety of shore excursions and an overnight in each. After the Amazon we visited Devil's island, Barbados, St Lucia and San Juan, all beautiful destinations. Such a varied itinerary is only possible on a small/medium sized cruise ship and I would recommend it. The ship was well managed, the best I have experienced. Captain and senior managers were very visible about the ship and the crew well trained and extremely pleasant while giving exceptional service. I appreciated the detail given in the Captain's daily update. Shore excursions were included in the price and made the trip. They included bus tours for the less able and more adventurous options for more energetic passengers such as bike tours, treks, swimming and snorkelling, 4 wheel drives and zip lines. Some of the most attractive were sold out before we could select them. Sometimes there was time to complete an early tour and walk or taxi into town later. We did this a few times and recommend it, particularly in Manaus where the city tour didn't fit with the times of the other tours we wanted; it was an easy 15-20 minute walk through vibrant shopping streets up to the opera house area. San Juan definitely merits a visit, however fleeting. 4 wheel drives in Rio and St Lucia were great fun offering off the beaten track views. Our suite was comfortable, kept very clean by our two stewards, who also delivered ice, fruit, champagne etc when asked. The food on board was exceptional, in all venues, with Signatures the best overall. Entertainment was varied with more of a focus on popular than classical music. The talks were well attended and most were very interesting. In my opinion organised activities were the weak point as with other 'American' ships we've travelled on. Deck sport tournaments were non-existent replaced with mini competitions that were cancelled at the slightest drop of rain. We met many people who wanted to try deck tennis and shuffleboard, but didn't know how to play. As a result we had our own private court at the back of this ship and played almost daily. This aspect of the ship needs a radical shake up. Dancers, nice as they all were, didn't make good sports hosts. Active passengers need a variety of ways to keep fit in and outdoors. There were dance classes, but no sports classes. Why? There was induction to the gym but no induction to deck sports. Why? Also, there was no art programme on the ship, just a colouring class and craft class managed by a hostess. This is a cheap option out of step with the luxury of the Regent offering. Not good enough for the proportion of people who enjoy art. Quite a few people we met said they'd found sea days boring. That's not good for Regent. The Mariner was due for a refit which has been postponed for a year. It needs it. However, it was well maintained, extremely comfortable and exceptionally clean; it didn't affect our enjoyment of this cruise at all, in fact there is probably more deck space on these older ships. Overall I loved it and recommend this trip. However for a long trip e.g. world, half-world or extended period of time I wouldn't recommend Regent unless you are a particularly sedentary cruiser. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We do not think the photos and videos publicity do the Regent SS Explorer justice. A phenomenal amount of thought and attention to detail has gone into achieving a magnificent, beautiful masterpiece of craftsmanship. But saying that any ... Read More
We do not think the photos and videos publicity do the Regent SS Explorer justice. A phenomenal amount of thought and attention to detail has gone into achieving a magnificent, beautiful masterpiece of craftsmanship. But saying that any organisation is as good as its staff. We feel Regent have moved into a different league with the quality, charm, presentation and efficiency of the staff on board. From the moment we arrived to the sad moment we departed, one felt a magical appealing team spirit. Nothing was too much for the passengers on board. It was fascinating to note that all the crew just wanted to always go the extra mile for the clients. Be it a cleaner or an officer, everyone was friendly, polite, courteous and couldn’t do enough for the guests on board. Most importantly, they all took pride in their appearance. The on board entertainment was splendid. We enjoyed the shows and all the daily programs. Great thought and attention to detail on what the client wanted. Many fellow passengers felt the same. What we did like that the entertainment staff mingled on a daily basis with the passengers and were not aloof like other cruise ships. The shows were professionally presented and extremely enjoyable and entertaining. The guest entertainers were well chosen. The speakers were outstandingly good on their subjects, knowledgeable and professional presentations. The Daily Programme sheets were extremely informative as well the port of call guides were up to date! The TV Guide and the content were excellent and very up to date DVD’s and programs. We felt the tours were at an upper level compared with what we were used to. Why, because there were 25 to 28 people to a 50 person bus so that it wasn’t a mass “scrum” every time and the locations seemed less crowded and more selective and thought out. The storage and space in the suites is wonderful as well as the electrical and charging facilities are second to none. My favourite in the suite is the ceiling shower. Just loved it! The suites are decorated to a five star standard and again a lot of wonderful little touches throughout the suite. General opinion again was that the standard and quality of food on board was the best on any Regent ship if not on any cruise liner. We have always been great fans of Compass Rose which again is well supported by La Veranda, The Café, Prime 7, Chartreuse and Sette Mari but have to say were totally blown away by Pacific Rim. We are huge followers of Asian food but have to say what we had tasted several times on board was the best we have experienced so far in the world. Absolutely brilliant and even better now we attended the cooking demonstrations. The quality of all the bars were superb, well stocked with quality spirits, cocktails, and wine selection. There were a lot of other lovely little physical touches throughout the ship but most of all was the quality of chandeliers, glass sculptures, furnishings and paintings and overall design. The Regent SS Explorer is a quality product. The standard has been set and knowing Regent, this will be maintained at all times. The cruise industry has a hard act to follow. The ship is sheer majestic splendour. It is far from being “bling” or plastic like some other cruise lines. The one aspect we will take away from this holiday is the superb standard of service and staff attitude. We feel we have met so many genuine friendly people and were totally spoilt. Regent have set a new standard of service second to none and we look forward to continue to support the company. This cruise has surpassed our expectations and we have already booked another Regent cruise as well looking at other options. To summarise, one can sense a phenomenal positive atmosphere, great team work, morale and attention to detail and that can only come from a strong and very capable Regent management team As we all know, these days, people are so quick to complain or make a habit of complaining for the sake of it, we just wanted to say we had an extremely enjoyable holiday with Regent. We were really impressed. We loved the extra small touches as well the good food, beverage, and great people. To conclude by going all inclusive with tours, gratuities, food and drink, Wi-Fi, it works out the same price as the main players with all their extras. Only difference – superb quality and service! It saves you from constantly having your ship’s card out. What would you prefer? The only decision we have to make now is where next with Regent? Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was one of our most enjoyable cruises in a long time. The ship is absolutely beautiful to include the use of dark woods, artwork throughout the ship, and gorgeous chandeliers. Our F2 cabin was perfect in size and layout with an ... Read More
This was one of our most enjoyable cruises in a long time. The ship is absolutely beautiful to include the use of dark woods, artwork throughout the ship, and gorgeous chandeliers. Our F2 cabin was perfect in size and layout with an overly generous walk-in closet and bathroom. Dining was excellent with most meals being well prepared. The Pacific Rim specialty restaurant disappointed me on the first try, but it totally redeemed itself during our second visit. We had the best lamb chops I had ever had the pleasure to eat. We really enjoyed the on board lectures to include the Smithsonian series of lectures on Amelia Earhart and on the heydays of Hollywood. The crew was top notch and extremely friendly and helpful with an eagerness to please all passengers. I would definitely take another trans Atlantic or ship relocation cruise with Regent Seven Seas in a heart beat. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was my fourth cruise on Regent (wife's fifth). We had originally planned to take Navigator trans-Atlantic in March, but switched to the new ship as soon as we got the announcement email. After looking at the floor plans, we ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise on Regent (wife's fifth). We had originally planned to take Navigator trans-Atlantic in March, but switched to the new ship as soon as we got the announcement email. After looking at the floor plans, we decided on a concierge room, and it was the nicest we've had on a cruise. When we renovate our house, I want our bathroom to be as nice as our cabin's! Our transfer from Rome to the ship and embarkation were smooth and timely. We explored and found we liked just about everything on the Explorer...the set-up of decks four, five and 11...the smiling crew, etc. My wife loved the spa services, and I thought the gym setup good, although the weight scale developed a gradual increasing trend during the cruise. Not sure how that happened... Speaking of dining, overall we loved the food, wine and service. We followed previous recommendations on Cruise Critic and had most of our dinners in Compass Rose and Prime 7. Service was exemplary...we thought Allan (CR) and Marius (P7) were two of the finest and nicest waiters we've had on cruises. Make sure you get your name on the P7 standby list for as often as you wish to dine there...that worked well for us! And I thought Vladimir (dining manager) was a twin or triplet...he was everywhere, and remembered our name from the get-go. Room service was also excellent, including one dinner we had on our deck in port in Bermuda. More kudos for service go to Alessio (sp?) at the coffee shop, and Nele, the bartender in the Observation Lounge, who was very personable and a joy to talk to. Excursions were overall good, with the exception of an island tour of Bermuda. Although the guide was nice and informative, the van was too cramped for a three hour plus ride, particularly for one of the guests with bad knees. Internet was generally OK. Be careful when you log off; several times I'd come back to the internet to find I was still online. I'm not sure what happened, but that didn't help the other guests with band width. Other reviewers have commented on some negative aspects, such as the theater and the whistling cabin sliding door. My time in the theater was primarily for the enrichment lectures, which I felt were very, very good, and even though busy, I didn't have problems with the theater stairs or sight lines. The provided refreshments and snacks were welcome. Our cabin door was "mostly" fixed when reported. Our only other concern was the elevator landing on deck five aft - there's not enough room between the doors and the stairs, causing jams. Although we could use the crew stairs to descend in an emergency, the landing is just not designed well, IMO. I'll end this review with a recommendation on using the "roll call" feature of this site. I somehow skipped this part while reading Regent/Explorer reviews for months, and almost missed what turned out to be one of the best parts of this cruise. The people we met through the roll call gave us almost instant friends even before we boarded, when we attended a meet and greet in Rome. And it was nice to have acquaintances we could join for coffee or drinks...I can only hope to see most of them again on future cruises, as their advice and companionship really made this cruise wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We just returned from a 30 night – back-to-back cruise on Explorer (Haifa to Rome and Rome to Miami). The first two weeks were in a F1 suite and the second segment we were in a Grand suite. This review is very long so I’ll separate ... Read More
We just returned from a 30 night – back-to-back cruise on Explorer (Haifa to Rome and Rome to Miami). The first two weeks were in a F1 suite and the second segment we were in a Grand suite. This review is very long so I’ll separate sections so you won’t have to read things that you are not interested in. FLIGHTS We flew Air Canada (Regent deviated air) from Vancouver to Tel Aviv with a stop in Toronto. The first flight was in a 777—200 aircraft which seemed fairly new. Business Class pods were very comfortable. Service and food was good. The next flight was on the new 787 Dreamliner. Pods were the same as the 777-200 but this plane felt a bit older but was quieter. Flight attendants are not happy with this plane as there is very little room in the galley). We would fly Air Canada again (either type of aircraft). Returning to Vancouver we were on American Airlines (with a stop at DFW). Not being a fan of U.S. based airlines, we were quite surprised at how lovely the plane was (777 again). While very different than Air Canada, the pods were very comfortable – surprising to have lie-flat seats for a 3 hour flight. Food was very good and the service was excellent. The flight out of Miami was delayed 1 hour due to a computer module that needed to be replaced. The Captain kept us informed of what was going on and was very pleasant. He let us know that he was flying at a greater speed which uses more fuel but would keep us closer to schedule. Flight attendants served drinks and the temperature of the plane was kept at a comfortable range. For passengers with connections, the television screen showed the departure gates and a map of the airport. I give American Airlines an A+ for this leg of the flight. Unfortunately, the second leg was on a 737 – on time – Captain didn’t really say anything – old fashioned seats and poor food (service was good). We were surprised and not happy to see that the front seats on the 737 aircraft are no longer considered “First Class” but was instead “Business Class”. BOARDING We were picked up promptly by Regent and driven to the ship. Since we were in an F1 suite (moved Grand Suite for second segment), there was no overnight at a hotel and, if we wanted transportation, we needed to arrive the day of the sailing. While this would not work under most circumstances, the ship was not leaving Haifa until the next day so the risk of flying in the same day was minimal. Boarding was simple and easy. We had lunch in La Veranda and headed to our suite. THE SHIP We were on the Christening cruise so we are familiar with the ship. We knew that the F1 suite was the same size as a concierge suite but that the balcony was smaller. We feel that these suites are laid out better than either the PH suite and, in a few areas, better than the Grand suite (more on this later). The ship was as pristine as it was in July. We noticed that there was more artwork up and that the Meridian and Explorer Lounges had the back wall – behind the alcohol bottles – completed (they had been non-descript before are now lovely and match the décor perfectly). The much hyped infinity pool was open for the first segment but closed for repair(?) on the second segment. No one really was by or the infinity pool when it was open – no one checked to see what category of suite we were in (at one point this area was only for certain categories of suites). My DH went in and it was like going into the sea – very rough. However, it was warm and he enjoyed it for the few minutes that he tried it out. The Observation Lounge is beautiful but gets very crowded so we tended to go to the two other lounges. We really did not miss having an aft lounge – perhaps because we generally prefer looking out at where we are going rather where we have been. The loudness of the entertainment in the Meridian and Explorer Lounges was a big issue on the first leg of the cruise. In the opinion of many passengers, music before dinner should be background music – not so loud that you cannot hear one another. The Explorer Lounge featured Nature’s Rhythm (arguably the best group on Regent). When the music was loud, we could not even appreciate their beautiful harmony. The Meridian Lounge usually had a fine guitarist playing. Usually, the sound was low but one night we had to leave the lounge as the sound level was not tolerable. In fairness, they were working on keeping the sound down before dinner and hopefully this will not be an issue in the future. The theater is also a bit loud – depending upon where you sit. In terms of sight lines, we were in the balcony for two musters and must agree with posters that say that the sight lines are not good. However, if you simply avoid the big columns in the theater downstairs, the views are fine. There is still an issue with the stairs in the theater – perhaps it would be better to have a string of tiny lights embedded across the carpeting where the steps are. There are so many lovely seating areas on the Explorer which passengers enjoy (reading, chatting with fellow passengers, working on their computers, people watching, etc.) The pool and pool deck is lovely. The “smoking area” is mostly enclosed and keeps the smoke away from passengers. Smokers indicated that this was a good place to meet people and chat. The Pool Bar was a popular hangout during the second leg of the cruise. There are more shaded areas on the pool deck and also the deck above so people can lie in the sun or shade – as they wish. The design of decks 5 and 6 really work well in my opinion. Having Compass Rose, the Constellation Theater, the Casino and two Boutiques on the same deck (4) just made sense to me. On Deck 5 is Destination Services, Reception, the Cruise Consultant, General Manager, the “Café” (we all still call it Coffee Connection), the Spa, Pacific Rim and lots of seating around the deck. The “Business Center” (formerly computer room) is tiny with 4 computers and the “Computer Guru”. There are two computers in the library that are not connected to a printer. IMO, more computers are needed and can be put in various parts of the ship (there is room for a couple of them next to the puzzle). They just finished putting routers (hope this is the right word) throughout the ship so the internet is generally good everywhere. The issue remains the number of people on at the same time. Still, using my “cheapo” HP small laptop, I was able to do almost everything that I needed to do in my suite. Apparently people that want to do large downloads, uploads, pictures and other things that slow down the connectivity were having difficulty. DINING VENUES La Veranda – not enough can be said about how much better the layout is than on other ships (prior to refurbishment). The Explorer also has a huge – partially covered area outside where you can dine al fresco. At night, a wall in LV slides to reveal an open kitchen (not planned on other ships to my knowledge). La Veranda/Sette Mari is a very comfortable space Chartreuse/P7 – As noted in my other posts, Regent has apparently adopted CC’ers name for Prime 7 as you will see “P7” on the glass doors. This gave us a chuckle. I put these two restaurants together in this review as they are quite similar in layout (but not design). IMO, the prime seats are at the far back of the restaurants – next to the slanted windows. However, as much as we love the back, in warm weather the windows will likely put out a lot of heat. We enjoy the design of both restaurants Compass Rose -- Either you love it or don’t. We love the design but understand that there are areas in CR that get very noisy when the venue is full. This is one restaurant that you really need to see for yourself. We found an area that fit us perfectly – it was quiet and had an intimacy that other areas didn’t necessarily have. The Café (aka Coffee Connection) Very popular area – larger than on other ships. Very nice – well laid-out. Slightly off topic…… events like Meet & Greets are done in the Meridian Lounge which is right across from The Café. So, if someone wants a snack, coffee or tea (alcoholic or not), it is easy to obtain and take to the lounge. Pool Deck - I don’t recall if there are heaters on the pool deck in the area where you eat on other Regent ships. One area was heated and during hot weather it seemed air conditioned (to a point). The buffet is similar to other ships (exceptions noted in the “Food” section which follows). FOOD We found the food on the Explorer a step above what was offered on our previous cruises (we have been on a lot of Regent cruises La Veranda – Having a grill in LV is nice. In addition to burgers (also available on the Pool Deck), they offer steak, chicken, fish, lamb chops and I don’t recall what else (choices change daily). The pasta station is next to the grill. There is someone to take your order from either the grill or pasta station (remember your table # so that you don’t have to go back and check). There is Regent’s delicious ice cream available in LV at lunch (also on the Pool Deck where you can have your ice cream topped with Kahlua or other delicious liquors). We enjoyed LV very much! Pool Grill – Nice offerings and most are quite good. I would not order Lobster Nacho’s again and would not recommend it to anyone that knows what nachos typically are. There was no salsa available and the “sauce” put over the nachos is a thin sour cream (I have long thought that Regent needs a chef that is familiar with Latin cuisine). They also have flatbread, pizza, chicken wings, etc. Sette Mari – Similar to the Voyager or Mariner – just has the open kitchen. It seemed that there were less items on the antipasti bar but you are served so much food in this restaurant that it is difficult to have a plate from the antipasti bar, eat the antipasti items set out on your table plus soup/salad and a main course (followed by the delicious dessert bar). Note: Soup, salad and entrées are served to you – only the antipasti bar and dessert bar are buffet. Also, on some evenings (generally when the ship is in port late), Regent puts on a special “themed” buffet that is open later than usual. Chartreuse – We really love this specialty restaurant (which is also open for lunch every other day except Sunday and is open on sea days). If you visit this restaurant, order a soup. The presentation is unique and the soups are delicious. Our favorite lunch item is half a chicken with mushroom sauce – very moist and flavorful. I had rack of lamb twice in Chartreuse – both times were perfection. The “French Onion Soup” in Chartreuse is authentic rather than the soup in CR which is delicious but full of cheese and bread. Prime 7 – This is also open every other day except Sunday and is open on all sea days. While we didn’t like this quite as much as Chartreuse for lunch, the dessert presentation is unique (cannot describe – you need dine there to see it). Our one dinner there was good but not as good as the steak in CR. We did not order the crab legs which is one of their signature dishes. Pacific Rim – We have tried to like this restaurant (have dined there 5 times during our three Explorer cruises). I love Chinese, Japanese and Thai cuisine but it needs to be authentic. “Asian Fusion” to me is “Asian Confusion”. My DH liked the Korean lamb chops and I enjoyed the Tempera Lobster but know how fattening it is and only ordered it twice. There are no desserts to our liking. All is not negative, however, the sake menu is great. I have learned to enjoy cold sake and had quite a bit of it (without getting high or drunk). Compass Rose – This review is already too lengthy so I’ll be short. Everything on the menu that we tried was good. We had steamed lobster from the everyday menu several times because it is delicious and low in calories (when you don’t have it with butter). The steaks are delicious – the soups are great. I could eat in CR every day and not get tired of it. This dining venue is so popular now that there were a few times when it was at capacity and passengers were offered seats in specialty restaurants. The Sunday brunch is to die for. The presentation – everything was the best! CREW Speaking of “the best”, these are the only words I can think of to describe the crew on the Explorer. Don’t worry – only going to mention a few of the many, many wonderful crew members on the ship. Daniela, F&B Director and her team went over and above for our Meet and Greet. Daniela is on top of everything and is very open with passengers. If something is not right, she encourages you to discuss it with her. I do not recall who the Restaurant Manager was on our first cruise but Vladimir came onboard in Rome and his made everything that was “good”, perfection. He is on top of everything and interacts very well with passengers. Risky – my mentioning her on CC has caused her station in CR to be packed. One passenger (one of the very few grumpy ones) became angry when they could not get a table in her section. She is charming, engaging, professional and just plain lovable. John Barron (Cruise Director) deserves a review of his own. We sailed with John many years ago and was thrilled that he returned “home” to Regent. He brings the level of excitement, laughter and pure joy to a new level. IMO, his show is the best on Regent (I will not be reviewing other entertainers or shows – they were fine but cannot compete with John). He is a very talented, charming man. We look forward to sailing with him again in March. There too many crew members for me to name. I’ll just say that we did not meet one crew member that wasn’t happy with their job and were working as hard as they could to exceed guest expectations! EXCURSIONS Definitely not a lover of included excursions but do enjoy most “Regent Choice” excursions. I will touch on three of them: 1. Rhodes, Greece – Small group of about 17 go to a local restaurant with the Chef of the Culinary Center where you are very hands-on (cooking, making bread and other Greek delights). All of this while sipping Ouzo and drinking wine. After having loads of fun, you sit down to more wine and a meal of all of the items that you have tried making yourself. Giving this an A+. 2. Barcelona – This small group excursion is also with the Chef of the Culinary Center and a Tour Guide (a member of Destination Services was there – it seemed she was there to take advantage of a $300/person excursion as she was not needed and she didn’t show up on any other excursions). We went to the famous Boqueria Market and another, more local market. This was followed by olive oil tasting (fun but not used to sipping olive oil). Then came lunch at a two star Michelin restaurant. This is where the excursion went downhill. The food was all “molecular gastronomy” which meant that there were a lot of things with foam and items that we did not understand and would not want to eat (fried fish bone for instance). The best item I had was “boar cheeks”. I strongly urge Regent to explain the type of food that will be offered. This will avoid unhappy passengers. 3. Madeira, Funchal – Finally, another excursion with the Chef of the Culinary Center. This was a complete hit. Were accompanied only by the Chef (didn’t need anyone else – she handled it fine and there were only 16 or so people). We went for a Madeira wine tasting before going to a lovely restaurant for lunch. Once again, if you wanted to, you could don an apron (my DH did) and work with the bread or skewered meat. The food was delicious – the restaurant owners/servers were delightful. Wish we could do this again when we go to Funchal in March but it is not offered. SUITES As indicated before, we love the F1/F2 and concierge suites. It is hard not to love the Grand Suite with a balcony large enough to be a skating rink. We did enjoy it very much. The closet in the Grand Suite is smaller than in the smaller suites. Also, there was less storage in the master bathroom and no storage at all in the second bathroom. There are a couple of issues that will be dealt with by Regent when the ship is in Miami. One item is the noise from the Constellation Theater that is heard in suite 1200. This goes on during trivia, bingo and up until 11:30 p.m. when there is entertainment. This suite is also very close to the laundry room. While there is no noise from the laundry room, the door slams very hard and is annoying. I would recommend the Grand Suites but would be hesitant to recommend 1200 or 1201. PASSENGERS Passengers were the best! Many of us “met” on Roll Call 18 months ago and have kept in touch all of this time. This was a group of upbeat, easy to get along with people that see the positive in things and in other people. We had two “hang out” spots where we could go and knew we would find other CC’ers – the Pool Bar at 11:00 a.m. and the Observation Lounge at 6:00 p.m. Naturally there were a few (very few) passengers on board that seem to be happy being unhappy. All in all, this was the best cruise we have been on in terms of the ship, service, food and passengers. As John Barron frequently says, “I am Explorer!” Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
We took this cruise to sail on the new Regent Ship the Explorer, it was also my wifes 75th birthday and we wanted to do an Atlantic crossing. After arriving in Tel Aviv we were bused to Haifa to a Dan hotel. For a six star cruise line this ... Read More
We took this cruise to sail on the new Regent Ship the Explorer, it was also my wifes 75th birthday and we wanted to do an Atlantic crossing. After arriving in Tel Aviv we were bused to Haifa to a Dan hotel. For a six star cruise line this was a two star hotel at best. Since it was for only one night we didn't complain too much, maybe it was the best hotel in town. Embarkation the next day was a little chaotic. Bags had to be identified and went on the same bus with you. On arrival at the port we had to move our own bags through security. Since we were in Israel the security was more stringent than any other place in the world. Once on the ship everything changed, marble everywhere staff wonderful etc. Our concierge suite was very nice, large comfortable bed, walk in closet more drawer space than we needed. Bathroom had a double sink separate tub and shower very roomy. Restaurants were great compass rose has a new menu where you can basically eat any thing you want at any time. The specialty restaurants were twice as large and just as good as the other ships. The new French restaurant Chartreuse is a big improvement over Signatures. The new Asian restaurant Pacific Rim is excellent especially if you like tempura. The shows were ok. Singers and dancers not great I walked out on every show. The individual performances were ok, I like the magician and the cruise directors show was terrific. Only thing was he did the exact same show on each leg. Excursions were fine too much time allocated for shopping, people of our age are not interested in shopping. The speakers were fair one was on astronomy the other was a general interest speaker the first leg lecturer talked about each port we were going to. Regent needs to get lecturers for more general topics rather than narrow ones like astronomy. We didn't use the spa but it was beautiful, the gym was nice had up to date machines but no one there to help you. The ship has some design flaws especially in the show room where the pillars take away sight lines, the balcony has a railing and glass where you cant even see. Disembarkation was a little crazy due to US customs. We finally just walked off before our color was called. All in all it was a great cruise we had a great time and would sail on the Explorer again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Where to start? We just returned from our third Navigator cruise last night. I'll admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for this ship, as this was our first cruise ship we ever booked back in 2009. We were anxious to see her after ... Read More
Where to start? We just returned from our third Navigator cruise last night. I'll admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for this ship, as this was our first cruise ship we ever booked back in 2009. We were anxious to see her after her recent refurbishment and to see how we liked her (or if we still did, considering some of the bad press we'd seen lately). If you don't feel like reading the entire review, I'll save you the time - we still love this ship, and we still love cruising on Regent. The updates to the Navigator make her seem more contemporary and fresher. I felt that the ship was in superb condition and the new color schemes make her look more elegant and functional. There was a lot of grumbling about the missing drawers in the cabins (we were in a D on deck 8) but to tell the truth, I didn't see it as a problem at all. There were two of us in a cabin for 12 nights and we didn't even come close to using the drawers in the closet, and we didn't really miss the old drawers in the desk area. Maybe it would be an issue on a longer cruise, but I don't feel like anything was lost. The new colors are soothing, and the bed was supremely comfortable. The common areas rarely felt crowded (exception: embarkation was a bit crowded) and we never had an issue with lines for dining or any other venues. Navigator is the least foodie-friendly ship in the Regent fleet, with only one specialty restaurant (Prime 7) but again, on a shorter itinerary, this wasn't an issue. We felt that the selection and quality of the food was very good to excellent. Included wines were usually good and often very good. Spirit selection could be better (especially in the brown liquor area) but it was fun to experiment with cocktails outside of my normal "scotch in a glass". I am not a big fan of the shows on board, but I have to admit that the ones I attended on this cruise seemed better than before. My past cruises, I often spent part of the evenings after dinner sitting in the Connoisseur Club with a brandy and a cigar; that's no longer an option on Navigatgor. I did miss it somewhat, but not as much as I thought I would. Maybe that's why I attended more shows, who knows? With very few exceptions, we found the service on board to be superb. The lows: Compass Rose and Pool Deck sometimes took too long to identify and correct empty glasses. To a person, everyone we came across was friendly, helpful, and knowledgable. Our cabin steward was fantastic, friendly, efficient, and unobtrusive. She went out of her way to help my wife and I with any special requests we had, The bar staff and waiters quickly got to know us and know what we liked. The CD, Jamie Logan, and his wife Dana were seemingly everywhere at once, and you could always see them mingling with the guests and sharing a story or giving advice. They both helped make this a special cruise, too. Ports and shore excursions - the first half of this trip was mostly ports we'd visited before and we took different excursions to get a different feel. For the most part, they were good, although I feel like they're starting to cram too many people in each tour. We had one tour guide in Malta who was definitely substandard, but all of the others were fantastic. We upgraded probably three or four of our tours to the Regent Choice excursions, and these are always nice; slower pace, fewer guests, and always something to remember. The 'Lunch in a Private Villa' in Taromina is a must-do, we did this one a second time this trip since we had family with us we wanted to share this with. It's definitely worth the upcharge! The second half of this trip took us to ports we had not yet visited, and they were all amazing. Although this itinerary was changed from Istanbul to Haifa after we booked, we decided to stick with the cruise, and we're glad we did! Israel was fantastic, a definite must-see if you've never been. We spent three days there and barely scratched the surface of what you can do and see there. I'd definitely go back! As we often do, we booked our air and lodging through Regent Air. Yes, it's a bit more expensive but to us, it's worth it. Knowing that our transfers and lodging are all set up gives us peace of mind in case anything goes south. We had first class transfers, and our hotels were great (Melia Serria in Barcelona, Dan Carmel in Haifa). This particular cruise had more kids on board than we had expected, but they were mostly quiet and well-behaved. Not 100%, mind you, but not bad. We probably had more issues with cranky seniors than whiny toddlers. :-) So in a nutshell, my wife and I ranked this as probably our best cruise yet. The price was reasonable, the service was pretty damn good, the ship was in great shape, and the crew was fantastic. Negatives: My wife didn't get her cranberry juice for breakfast one morning. My water glass sat empty for a good 10-15 minutes on the Pool Deck one afternoon. Destination Services should probably enforce more mobility controls on the tours - i.e. if you can't walk 50 feet in 15 minutes, you probably shouldn't be on a 3-walker rated tour...but they'd probably get sued if they tried to enforce that, so I see why they leave it up to each person. Also, did I mention that the Internet absolutely sucked? Sucked to the point of being unusable? I tried my iPad in my cabin, my iPad in the computer lounge, the computers in the computer lounge, my iPhone everywhere in the ship, and I couldn't ever get a decent connection, and I'd get logged off every 8-12 minutes, right in the middle of a session. Sometimes you couldn't even reach the server to log off. It was bad. Really bad. Hideously bad. Don't expect to work on board if you need to - you're better off taking a tablet ashore and poaching wifi from a cafe or a hotel. Positives: Pretty much everything else. Service was stellar 99.9% of the time. Food was very good to excellent. The oldest ship in the Regent fleet looks fresh and modern again. And the suites are large in every category, which is a huge plus for us. Would we sail Navigator again? Absolutely. This was our third trip on this ship, and she's getting better each time we sail her. Would we sail Regent again? Well, let's just say that we had one more Regent cruise booked when we embarked in Barcelona, and by the time we debarked in Haifa, we had three booked, two on Explorer and one on Voyager. Hope this review helps you with your cruising plans. Enjoy!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our third cruise on the Mariner, our second relocation crossing, and our first since the last refurbishment. Overall, we were highly impressed by the condition of the ship. The food was consistently excellent. Service levels were ... Read More
This was our third cruise on the Mariner, our second relocation crossing, and our first since the last refurbishment. Overall, we were highly impressed by the condition of the ship. The food was consistently excellent. Service levels were also extraordinary, and even a notch above past cruises. The staff was consistently friendly and helpful. One word of advice to would-be first time Regent cruisers. Do your research. There are no wave pools, climbing walls, trampolines, or ice bars on the Mariner. The clientele is decidedly older than average. The favourite activities seem to be bridge, tea time, and trivia contests. At times the ship seems as much a floating luxury retirement home as it is a floating luxury resort. The pace is generally slow; the evenings end relatively early. This is absolutely perfect for us; it may not be perfect for you. This itinerary was particularly heavy with sea days. Again, this is what we look for and enjoy, but if you want to hit a different port every day and seek out excursions, you might not have enjoyed this cruise as much as other itineraries. Cruise Director Jamie Logan did a great job hosting and organizing events and communicating information to the passengers. We stayed in a Seven Seas Aft stateroom for the first time instead of our usual Horizons View, and we fear the spacious and tasteful surroundings, and especially the expansive deck, might have ruined other choices for us in the future! The butler and stewards provided unparalleled service throughout. As part of this cruise, Regent offered a pre-cruise safari option at several game reserves in South Africa. We stayed at the Botlierkop Game Reserve near Mossel Bay in the Western Cape region. This was an unexpected highlight of the whole trip. Excellent food and accommodations (in an air-conditioned a luxury-appointed tent away from the main lodge), knowledgeable and friendly guides, and an up close chance to see many animals in the wild. We were fortunate to see African elephants, giraffes, rhinos, impalas and black impalas, lions, eland, nyala, wildebeest, water-buck, bontebok, Cape buffalo, springbok, crested guinea fowl, blue crane, jackal buzzards, Cape zebras, and many types of indigenous plants and insects. It was a busy and magical few days, and we’d love to go back and do it again. We only have a few small quibbles with this cruise, as explained below, but none of these things detracted from our overall extremely positive and enjoyable experience. We will continue to sail on the always-excellent Mariner! Some people we spoke to felt that some of the excursions were not adequately explained by Destination Services and, as is the custom with Regent, included some long bus rides to places where short stops occurred. My wife, in particular, did not enjoy an excursion to Swakopmund on a Sunday, because many attractions were closed that day. Destination Services came in for some criticism because of this. That said, some of the things we heard from other passengers, either directly or through ship scuttlebutt, in the nature about complaints concerning the lack of attractions and services in Namibia, suggested that these folks did not do much of a job researching their itinerary before embarking on the cruise. It is the rural west African desert, people! There is not much here, and what is here is always far from everything else. What did you reasonably expect? Soon after we left Namibia rumours began to swirl about the presence of several single male passengers, apparently paying guests, who were employed by jewellery stores in Rio, and who were approaching other passengers to sell them jewellery and tours in Rio. This is apparently against Regent policy, but as they were paying guests it seemed little was done to curtail this activity. Let me stress, we heard about this from others and did not experience it directly. One final matter deserves attention. We had to miss our stop at Saint Helena due to a mid-Atlantic medical emergency that required the Captain to get a critically-ill passenger to hospital. Rather than turn back to Namibia or even Cape Town, he chose instead to increase speed and make haste for Rio de Janeiro. All aboard were disappointed in missing Saint Helena, and some passengers even claimed that this port was the sole reason they took this trip. Some of the more cynical passengers even speculated about the real reasons for speeding to Rio, to the point that the Cruise Director had to explain publicly that the extra fuel costs and dockage fees to get the passenger to hospital in Rio was costing Regent upwards of $175,000 USD. This is the second time we have experienced the Mariner having to change schedule to address the needs of an ill passenger. In both cases we believe the Captain and crew acted professionally and responsibly with the best interest of the passenger in mind. We were totally comfortable with the actions taken by the Captain and crew in this difficult situation. We fully enjoyed this cruise on the Mariner and look forward to visiting her again soon. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
My wife and I flew Delta Airlines from Ft. Lauderdale taking off at 6:45 a.m.. We arrived in Montreal at 12:10 p.m.. We took a taxi from the airport to the cruise terminal (fixed rate of $40) arriving portside about 1:30 to board the ... Read More
My wife and I flew Delta Airlines from Ft. Lauderdale taking off at 6:45 a.m.. We arrived in Montreal at 12:10 p.m.. We took a taxi from the airport to the cruise terminal (fixed rate of $40) arriving portside about 1:30 to board the Navigator. This left us plenty of time before the ship was scheduled to sail for Quebec at 6:00 pm. When boarded our suite was still not ready and we were directed to deck 10 for lunch. We stepped out of the elevator to the pool area which was windy and damp form a slight rain. People were seated at tables covered from the rain. We couldn’t find an open table but we soon realized there was another restaurant just inside featuring a large buffet with all kinds of items. We were seated at a nice table overlooking the port and the Montreal skyline. The waiter poured us water and then the drink steward offered to get us wine or any drink we desired. I have cruised the best of the big cruise lines and you all you cruisers know that time after the initial boarding it's always hectic and even with only 490 passengers this one was busy also, but it quickly quieted down to a very enjoyable experience. Shortly after lunch our suite was ready so we descended to deck 7 and down the hall to Cabin 722 on the Port side of the ship, forward of the center line of the ship’s hull. I was looking forward to all the ports of call on this cruise which included Quebec, Sydney, Halifax, & St. Johns in Canada followed by the US ports of Portland, Boston, New York, Norfolk, Charleston, and Canaveral ending in Miami, fourteen days later. Also provided on the cruise was a Smithsonian Museum Representative who presented on four different occasions in the Seven Seas Lounge. These presentations included many interesting insights into the areas we would see and their significance they played in a historical sense. Always tea, coffee and a large assortment of pastries are provided while you listen. If not able to attend you can watch them from the comfort of your suite on the television channel devoted to replaying them. Also the TV provides a channel that the Cruise Director reviews all upcoming event for the day and also another channel reviews the menus from the three restaurants for that evening. The food quality is very high and the presentations are what you would expect in an exclusive dining environment. The variety of menu choices is extensive, but I found the portion sizes to be small. I believe this is based on the desires of the very frequent, repeat cruisers you find on the Regent Cruise Ships. The passengers for the most part are slim and in very good physical condition for what is most likely a post retirement age group. I found asking for an extra portion was met with the very enthusiastic reply “of course sir”! The Wine Sommelier would suggest a choice of recommended wines for dinner, but you can chose whatever your preference might be. The menu of wines, mixed drinks and beers available was six pages. Available where some very high end spirits and wines which were available for extra cost but all regular drinks are no charge on Regent’s all inclusive package. I found the beer choices available were severely lacking for a craft beer lover, so I mostly stayed with wines, martinis, and some old fashioned favorites like whiskey sours or even the occasional margarita. The available tours or excursions were extensive and my wife and I enjoyed all our choices. We found at most we would have liked to stay longer at all our excursions so they seemed too short in duration. Most all excursions are free of charge although two did incur a charge ranging from $89 to $106 per passenger if chosen. These were Colonial Williamsburg and the more extensive NYC tours. Some tours do fill up and you are then put on a waiting list. Regent at their discretion may add a second tour to accommodate those on the waiting list. On several tours the ship put out a buffet so you could eat before going out if the tour times conflicted with normal dining times. Also on those days they slightly relaxed the dinner dress code which is normally casual elegant (slacks & collared shirts for men, skirts, slacks and blouses for women). The larger production stage shows were very good and there was always something going on in the lounges every night for entertainment. Prior to the shows an attentive bar staff is available for drinks. The ship has nice shopping areas that are well stocked, but are closed when in port. Also every day at 4:00 pm is tea time followed by Trivia Questions at 4:30 where groups of passengers answer 15 random questions provided by the cruise director. It’s a fun time and allows passengers to get to know each other, if you prefer you can go it alone or as a couple but when competing against a group of six the odds are much higher one of them will have the answer. The ship provides prizes to the winning team. The weather in Canada was cooler than normal due to the remnants of Hurricane Kate that directed some artic temperatures down over Quebec our first destination port. Normal temperature for that time of year is 48 degrees and we saw 39 degrees. After that it warmed up each day and by the time we got to Portland and Maine we were climbing into the 60s. NYC was mid 70s although Norfolk dropped to lower 60s followed by the 80s in Cape Canaveral & Miami Florida. I highly recommend sailing with Regent Seven Seas Cruise Line. Most passengers I spoke with would never consider any other cruise line and have cruised Regent many times, as with anything if you look hard for problems or have issues with everyone and everything you'll always have a problem. No one is flawless, and I feel this group has put together a very nice experience you will in all probability enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Our Transatlantic cruise on the Mariner in 2012 (Monte Carlo to Rio) was such a great experience that we chose to do it again. This time it was Lisbon to Miami. The Mariner and her staff once again more than measured up to our ... Read More
Our Transatlantic cruise on the Mariner in 2012 (Monte Carlo to Rio) was such a great experience that we chose to do it again. This time it was Lisbon to Miami. The Mariner and her staff once again more than measured up to our expectations! Our pre-cruise hotel was the Corinthia in Lisbon, a very nice hotel. The room was quite spacious and very well maintained during our three night stay. The service by staff was fine at all times. The included breakfast buffet was excellent. We would stay there again for sure if in Lisbon. Travel from the hotel to the ship was excellent once we got the bus moving. There were some issues getting the luggage from the rooms to the buses, the first bus was about 45 minutes late leaving for the ship. Quite a few of the passengers waiting for transport were more than a little upset. Perhaps all was not done in the most efficient manner but all reached the ship long before our scheduled departure. Once we arrived at the terminal, embarkation went very quickly and without any problems. After a very nice buffet lunch in La Veranda our rooms were made available at 2:30 p m. Our luggage arrived a few minutes later giving us plenty of time to get unpacked before the pre departure safety drill. The Mariner is in great shape following an extensive refurbishment in the Spring of 2014. Our suite was in very good shape and we found all the public areas to be visually much improved from our 2012 cruise. Service by staff in all different categories was at all times equal to or beyond our expectations. We have now spent a total of 48 nights on the Mariner and we have been treated exactly as one would expect when sailing with Regent. The pool bar staff is exceptional, the bartenders and staff made our afternoon happy hour gatherings memorable. The ports we visited were all very interesting. Standing out for us were Madeira, Lanzarote, Barbados, and Antigua. We were forced to miss a couple of scheduled stops--Dakar, Senegal because of the Ebola situation and Cape Verde due to a medical situation that caused us to return to the Canaries to evacuate a medical emergency. We also could not tender to Gustavia, St Barts due to rough water, a wise decision by the captain in our opinion. My wife and I think the activities provided were excellent? We both enjoyed many of the enrichment lectures, my wife found a daily Mah Jongg group on sea days, we did the sea day ballroom dancing lessons with Pascha and Ana, and really enjoyed playing Name That Tune with the resident pianist, Tim Kruse. Evening entertainment on the Mariner is outstanding!! The singers and dancers in the Broadway type shows are very talented. All four different shows they did were great, especially knowing they are performing on a moving ship. Singer- ventriloquist Mike Minor performing along with his special guests(formerly called dummies) was a very special treat. Violinist /comedian Dave Levesque was very good and also gave several interesting lectures. Disembarkation in Miami was without a hitch. We got our luggage in short order and were bused to the airport quickly and without any problems. We will definitely cruise again with Regent, which of their ships we choose will be based on ports and itinerary.   Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
We had a fabulous cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner, Miami to Barcelona. This was our first time on Regent and we may never travel on another line. Regent surpassed all my expectations and was definitely worth the higher cost. ... Read More
We had a fabulous cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner, Miami to Barcelona. This was our first time on Regent and we may never travel on another line. Regent surpassed all my expectations and was definitely worth the higher cost. The Mariner is not a huge ship but the many public areas, bars, lounges, theaters and library give it an uncrowded, spacious feel. In addition to our lovely suite, there were many places on the ship to curl up with a book or just to relax in peace. My favorite was the coffee bar area on deck 6. I sure miss it now that I'm home! I ordered one or two different specialty coffees each day on board. Deck 11, the pool deck, was another favorite place to relax. We never had any need to search for a lounge chair by the pool which was great. There were always plenty of loungers with terry cloth covers and towels set up by attentive stewards eager to bring us anything we wanted to drink. Have I mentioned the food? Everything about the food was amazing. Of course, some items were better than others and if we ever ordered anything that didn't taste as good as expected, we just ordered something else. We never left any meal feeling anything but completely delighted and very full. The main restaurant, the Compass Rose was outstanding but my absolute favorite was one of the specialty restaurants (French) called Signatures. It was one of the best restaurants I've ever been to anywhere! All of the staff were always polite and friendly. Our cabin wasn't huge but it was beautiful and extremely comfortable. (I absolutely loved the bed.) It was great having so many 1st run movies available to watch on our TV. The shore excursions were for the most part very good. I learned quickly that any type of "walking tour" was the best for me as I hate getting stuck on a bus. The ports of call were all terrific except for Casablanca. If we ever stop there on a future cruise I may just stay on board... I can't finish this review without saying something about the superb enrichment lectures on the Mariner. We had quite a few sea days on this cruise and therefore had time to attend the two lectures offered each day at sea. Ms. Angela Schneider gave talks on both classical music and on some of our destinations. Her talks were the highlights of the entire cruise. I went to her first lecture with no expectations but left absolutely hooked. I didn't miss one of her talks and I think I could listen to her speak about anything. I am no expert on classical music but her talks made it come alive for me. The other lecturer, Ambassador Samuel Hart was excellent as well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We had a fabulous cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner, Miami to Barcelona. This was our first time on Regent and we may never travel on another line. Regent surpassed all my expectations and was definitely worth the higher cost. ... Read More
We had a fabulous cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner, Miami to Barcelona. This was our first time on Regent and we may never travel on another line. Regent surpassed all my expectations and was definitely worth the higher cost. The Mariner is not a huge ship but the many public areas, bars, lounges, theaters and library give it an uncrowded, spacious feel. In addition to our lovely suite, there were many places on the ship to curl up with a book or just to relax in peace. My favorite was the coffee bar area on deck 6. I sure miss it now that I'm home! I ordered one or two different specialty coffees each day on board. Deck 11, the pool deck, was another favorite place to relax. We never had any need to search for a lounge chair by the pool which was great. There were always plenty of loungers with terry cloth covers and towels set up by attentive stewards eager to bring us anything we wanted to drink. Have I mentioned the food? Everything about the food was amazing. Of course, some items were better than others and if we ever ordered anything that didn't taste as good as expected, we just ordered something else. We never left any meal feeling anything but completely delighted and very full. The main restaurant, the Compass Rose was outstanding but my absolute favorite was one of the specialty restaurants (French) called Signatures. It was one of the best restaurants I've ever been to anywhere! All of the staff were always polite and friendly. Our cabin wasn't huge but it was beautiful and extremely comfortable. (I absolutely loved the bed.) It was great having so many 1st run movies available to watch on our TV. The shore excursions were for the most part very good. I learned quickly that any type of "walking tour" was the best for me as I hate getting stuck on a bus. The ports of call were all terrific except for Casablanca. If we ever stop there on a future cruise I may just stay on board... I can't finish this review without saying something about the superb enrichment lectures on the Mariner. We had quite a few sea days on this cruise and therefore had time to attend the two lectures offered each day at sea. Ms. Angela Schneider gave talks on both classical music and on some of our destinations. Her talks were the highlights of the entire cruise. I went to her first lecture with no expectations but left absolutely hooked. I didn't miss one of her talks and I think I could listen to her speak about anything. I am no expert on classical music but her talks made it come alive for me. The other lecturer, Ambassador Samuel Hart was excellent as well. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We have been sailing on various cruise lines the last five years in an attempt to discover a favorite. We have not completed our "experiment" but believe we have found it. Our voyage on the Seven Seas Mariner exceeded our ... Read More
We have been sailing on various cruise lines the last five years in an attempt to discover a favorite. We have not completed our "experiment" but believe we have found it. Our voyage on the Seven Seas Mariner exceeded our expectations by a wide margin. I'm definitely not a cheerleader personality but it's difficult not to be enthused about our recent experience. We have sailed on other Premium and (so-called) "Six Star" Luxury lines with excellent service, but the level provided on this voyage was above all that we had experienced in the past. All requests were performed immediately, competently, and with a smile. An example: I dropped my laptop and needed some super glue to repair a crack in the case. Not finding any in the sundry shop, I took a chance and stopped by the front desk to see whether they had any. They did not, but said they would check and get back to me ... by the time I walked back to our cabin, the carpenter was waiting by the door with the glue. I'm not a bar-fly but did enjoy aperitifs before dinner at the various cocktail venues. By mid-voyage each knew my special preference in preparation. Dining service at all venues was equally excellent. What I find nice is that this service is all rendered with no expectation of gratuities. The Seven Seas Mariner is the best ship we have sailed on to-date. The layout is easy to navigate without any port?/starboard? confusion and the atrium is a design coup ... the glass elevators and cantilevered spiral staircase were impressive to an engineer like myself. The passenger space ratio appears optimal, even with a full sailing. Mariner is the only ship I have been on where, at the breakfast/lunch buffet, there is no problem finding an empty table. Further, the tables are well spaced and no fancy footwork or gyrations are required to get to one's seat. Our (standard) cabin, while not the largest we have stayed in, made-up for this architecturally with an excellent layout. My wife being a late riser, I commonly have to creep around and dress in the dark, sometimes with surprising results ... my all-time blunder was later discovering that I had put my shorts on backwards. The roomy walk-in closet allowed me to dress in the light. Dining on the Mariner was truly an enjoyable experience in all sit-down venues. Service was superior and the cuisine excellent. We have always preferred open seating, and this was handled very efficiently ... we never had to wait more than two minutes to be seated. Tip: Walk-up also works at Signatures and Prime 7. We stopped by a few times on the way to Compass Rose to check availability and were ushered to seats on three additional occasions due to cancellations or no-shows. We ended-up eating in Signatures four times and Prime 7 thrice, which was actually too much because the menu only changed once during our voyage. A comment about the new "Elegant Casual" dress code is warranted. For myself, this was a very large PLUS. Packing a tux, suit, blazer, and appurtenances for formal, semi-formal, and informal nights has always been a drag ... putting them all on, even worse. Tip: wearing a tux does not make the food taste better. Packing only one blazer made life much easier and orders of magnitude more comfortable. My estimate is that 3/4 of all men wore jackets every night and the decorum was quite elegant ... and civilized. Being a "Cruise Critic", I cannot submit a review sans criticism. With one significant exception, the area of shortfall on our voyage was in entertainment and enrichment. To be fair, one should not expect a Las Vegas song and dance extravaganza on a small ship, so such omission was not a surprise. The disappointment was in enrichment lecturers which were: 1) An ex-military social aide speaking about his experiences at the White House and 2) A chap describing his system for securities investment, both with books to sell. I'm sure some folks enjoyed the White House "tabloid tidbits" and others were interested in attempting to double the value of their portfolios, but it just wasn't my cup of tea (but with many sea days, attended anyway). The exception was a group of Napa/Sonoma winemakers from the Louis Martini, Sbragia, and Turnbull wineries. They brought their best products and presented a series of wine tasting seminars on the various factors involved in the growth of grapes and the production of fine wines. The information was excellent, as were the wines they provided. It, however, did not stop there: known as "Private Reserve", they also make up a band that played late night music in the Horizons Lounge, well attended and enjoyed by many listeners and dancers. "Joie de vivre" is the best way to describe Private Reserve, who enjoy both life and work to an extent that all of us would envy. Wine making is their business and they do not make these appearances on frequent or regular basis. We were just fortunate to have booked this voyage upon which they happened to appear. Most shore excursions are included and, of course, well attended. The excursions were excellent, short notes of a few are: * Funchal: The "Portuguese Bobsled" ride down the hill on the city streets among auto traffic was fun. * Scenic Cadiz and Flamenco: The "scenic" part was enjoyable when, arriving at the beach seawall, we discovered nude sunbathing was popular. * Malaga: The excursion to the Alhambra at Granada was at extra cost but well worth it. We had made an earlier land visit and actually stayed within the walls of Alhambra, never knowing the full story of the site. This was explained well, and in full detail on this excursion. * Marseilles: Avignon and the Popes' Palace and des Baux ... impressive and much more in scale and magnitude than we had expected. So, with almost everything included, I wondered what one does with the generous shipboard credits? My wife, of course, had the answer ... make the on-board shopkeepers happy, which was accomplished. We are not "spa folk", but one of the ladies in our group decided on that option and had her hair done along with a facial and pedicure. Although covered by OBC, even she was a bit startled when she received the bill for $420 ... wow! I have changed my mind about the significance of the all-inclusive experience, which everyone knows is really is not free. One common topic of discussion is grumbling about signing chits, which is a bad argument because it is a normal procedure at all country club or similar organizations. However, aboard ship, all-inclusiveness simplifies and circumvents some great social issues: "Should I buy this new acquaintance a drink?" or "Is it my turn to buy the wine?" become non-issues. I have also read complaints on other boards that the late evening social scene aboard ships is limited or non-existent. This was not true on our voyage, where cabaret and dance venues were lively and well attended. It's my opinion that cruisers would not be financially damaged by the cost of an after-dinner drink but think twice and just elect not to have them. However, if it is included, why not attend and take part in the convivial social scene existing aboard ship, joining new acquaintances instead of remaining a stranger who happens to be sailing with other strangers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
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