33 Regent Seven Seas Mariner Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

We have previously travelled with mainstream cruise lines such as P&O, Princess, Celebrity, RCI etc and thought we would try a more expensive '5 star' cruise. While many elements of the ship and the cruise were excellent and ... Read More
We have previously travelled with mainstream cruise lines such as P&O, Princess, Celebrity, RCI etc and thought we would try a more expensive '5 star' cruise. While many elements of the ship and the cruise were excellent and merited the extra cost, there were some surprising negatives also. Food varied from acceptable to excellent, with the exception of the Signatures restaurant - pretentious menu and average to poor food! The main restauarant was great for couples with lots of tables for 2 by the windows! The food was often great - lunches in the main restaurant were particularly unusual and excellently flavoured; also the portions were not too big which is great at lunchtime. Occasionally, however, there were some very odd and definitely second class offerings - one afternoon tea, the only sandwiches were cheap potted meat or jam (I haven't been offered a jam sandwich since I was a child when it was definitely food for the poor!!!) The upsides first:- Wonderful cabin - spacious, well-equipped, good balcony, beautifully furnished. Some things we particularly liked were the curtained area for sitting, separated from the bedroom - this allowed me to get up earlier than my husband and to read and use the balcony without disturbing him!; the walk-in closet with lots of hanging space and drawers; big bathroom with very big shower area, lovely toiletries and lots of space. (We had a cabin with only a shower and this gives you lots of room if, like us, you do not want a bath. Great staff - friendly throughout the ship, including the officers; nothing too much trouble; efficient and helpful. Even the tour staff were good and this is often one area where cruise ships are poor!! Lots of space in the ship - no queues for anything, even the buffet restaurant had lots of tables whenever you wanted to eat. The ship felt quiet and uncrowded throughout the cruise - very relaxing. No attempts to keep selling to you, which is unusual - no photographers constantly in your face trying to take photos and sell them to you, no pressure to use the shops. This is all in line with the fact that everything is included so you don't constantly have to show your cruise card. At the same time, the staff were great in keeping you supplied with food and drink - no need to chase them at all. It makes for a very relaxing time. Tours were good - no feeling that, because they are free, they are a lesser class than those sold on other cruise ships. Ports of call were all great - some a bit busy but that is the only possible negative, and is not RSSC's fault!! Downsides:- The tours were all early morning and nearly all scheduled at similar times. This made a few issues - overcrowding and lines waiting to disembark. The worst point, however, was that the mealtimes were not adjusted to take account of the tours. So, the restaurant was only open in the morning as you were reporting to the tour - you could only have a sit-down meal if you were staying on the ship! You had to use the buffet (sometimes cold food!!) or have room service which was often the only practical option. Similarly, you had to rush back at the end of the tour if you wanted to be served because many of the tours ended at 1.00-1.15 and the restaurant closed at 1.30. Even the buffet closed at 2.00 so you could not have a look round the port after the tour if you wanted to eat. There was always room service but that always takes time to order and receive, and the choice is limited. Generally, the availability of food was the poorest I have come across on any ship. Apart from room service, there were gaps in the morning and afternoon where you struggled to find food. This meant you had to keep an eye on the time to ensure you did not miss a meal - not what you want on a cruise. One morning we got up at 9.00 (hardly sleeping in!!) and found only one place we could eat cold food!! It would be nice when you get back to the ship to find cold drinks and cold towels available - they do this on Celebrity which is a cheaper option. A bit galling to be moored next to a cheaper cruiseline and seeing them being regaled with cold towels!! The public areas looked a bit tired to us and no wow factor. Downsides may sound a bit picky but this cruise is expensive and is meant to be top class so I think you should expect excellence! Overall, a very good experience but I think RSSC should travel on some other lines to see how it could be improved to 5 star all round Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Before the Trip RSSC has a fairly good web presence, so we were able to research the details of the trip right on their website in addition to Cruise Critic. At the appointed day, we were able to select our excursions and dining ... Read More
Before the Trip RSSC has a fairly good web presence, so we were able to research the details of the trip right on their website in addition to Cruise Critic. At the appointed day, we were able to select our excursions and dining reservation (1 each at Signatures and Prime 7 is allowed). I had no problems reserving the excursions or the dining, as I made them the very first day they were available. The excursion information is relatively vague on the RSSC website, although they try to at least give the cruiser an idea of the length and physical exertion. I found Cruise Critic also to be scarce in information on the RSSC excursions, so we felt like we were going into them a little bit blind. We chose to have the cruise arrange our flights, and we were pleased with the carrier, times, and connections. We were worried that RSSC might pinch a few pennies and make us connect 2 or 3 times; however, they chose the main carrier for our town (a Star Alliance airline), and the flight only included 1 stop (EWR) each way. Embarkation We were greeted by a Regent representative at Rome's airport right after passport control but before customs (I didn't know they were even allowed past customs). Once we collected our bags in a cart provided by Regent, we waited with some others at a cafe in the airport for about 15 minutes for other passengers to collect their bags. Not bad, really. Our flight landed before 8am, so the bus actually took us on a brief tour of Rome, which I found delightful. I would not want to get to the ship too early only to sit somewhere with our bags, so I preferred a little brain stimulation to help keep us awake from the jetlag. At the cruise terminal, things got a little chaotic. We arrived shortly after 12pm, and there was a crowd starting to form in the small terminal. Unfortunately, there was no order to how they were boarding. RSSC reps were asking people to take a seat anywhere, but then random rows were called to stand in line to check in. Fortunately, we picked a row that was called within 30 minutes. Other people had been waiting for much longer, but they just happened to sit a row that had not been called. Again, very random. Check-in was fairly easy and we went on board where we were greeted with a glass of champagne. We later learned that people were being asked to stay away from their suites until 2:30pm. We were not informed of this request, so we went straight to our suite around 1pm. Everything was more or less ready for us, and the bags started to arrive shortly thereafter. Stateroom/Suite We stayed in suite 851, which is mid-ship and a short walk to the launderette. The suite was really nicely done, and we immediately could see the benefits of the dry dock earlier in the year. The walk-in closet was plenty large for all of our clothes, which is impressive given that my wife brought an outfit for every day and every evening. The drawers are relatively small in the closet and next to the beds, but there are larger drawers next to the desk. Twice during the 10-day cruise fresh flowers were placed in the suite leaving a fresh, bright feel to the room. Each suite has a flatscreen TV and a DVD player. The TV has the ship channels where information for the day is displayed. It also included some news and other cable channels. As people who are not able to go to the movie theater nearly as much as we want, we were delighted to see a huge selection of on-demand movies and TV shows that were complete free. There was also a DVD collection down in the library, but we never exhausted the on-demand options. The minibar is stocked nearly every day with water, soda, and beer (all of which is included in the price of your fare). As I mentioned, a launderette was nearby, each one containing 3 washers, 3 dryers, and 2 irons/ironing boards. The ironing boards were in very good condition and were rarely both in use. The washers and dryers were almost always in use. There were off times, but these periods were available for a reason: dinner time or port time for example. There seemed to be more inconsiderate people than I expected: leaving their clothes unattended for 1-2 hours. Some passengers would lose their patience and just pull wet clothes out so that the washer could be used. I don't blame them. Gentlemen can also leave their dress shoes outside of their door in order to be shined. I found this service to be very convenient, but the actually shining and polishing for my standard black shoes was pretty poor. Dining The dining on board the Mariner was extremely good. The quality of the ingredients as well as their preparation and presentation were really good. In general, we found a lot of the dishes to be under-seasoned compared to what you would expect in a restaurant, but we wondered if they were trying to allow cruisers to salt and pepper to their own taste. We salted nearly everything. Another minor criticism: except for Prime 7, steaks were rarely cooked to their proper temperature. Before I describe each restaurant, I would like to commend Ricardo and his sommelier staff. They were so helpful and kind throughout the entire cruise. I recommend that anyone who is interested in wine or who wants to learn more about wine should attend their wine tasting events. They were a lot of fun, and it helped us to get to know the wines and the sommelier staff. In general, the recommended (free) wines were quite good. If they were not to our liking, the staff would allow us to choose something else provided they had a bottle available. Compass Rose (Main Dining) We loved CR. Each night we found 2-3 dishes that were exceptional...especially the appetizers. Again, some of the food was under-seasoned, but that could usually be fixed with some salt and pepper. One dish that could not be helped was the Caesar salad; unfortunately, it was very bland. No reservations are allowed, and we usually were seated promptly between 6:30 and 7:00. After 7:30, it would get quite busy. Signatures We dined at Signatures once, and it was enough for us. I could tell that the menu was carefully selected, and the dishes were painstakingly prepared. However, many of the dishes just did not suit my taste. One exception to that was the Halibut, which everyone who tried it seemed to love it. I ordered the beef medium rare, and it was served cold and rare throughout. When I asked the server to just heat it up a bit to medium rare, it came back well done. Oh well. It was a lovely piece of meat, though. Prime 7 Prime 7 was a real highlight for us. The steaks here were consistently served at the right temperature, and the meat was simply divine. The NY Strip is HIGHLY recommended. The prime rib was a little tasteless, but again the cut and texture were perfect. My wife liked the crab legs as well. La Veranda We enjoyed La Veranda, but we found that the selection did not vary much throughout the cruise. I was surprised to learn that this buffet had limited hours like the dining rooms. If someone gets the munchies late in the evening, you would need to call for room service. Pool Grill My only complaint with the pool grill is that it was not open very often. It was open from 11a-4pm, which was missed by anyone who goes on excursions. The one sea day, we ordered their hamburger and chicken sandwich. Both were quite good. The chicken wings were not so good...poor quality of wings and the sauce tasted like ketchup. In-Suite Dining It took us a few days to realize that in-suite dining was such a great option. They will deliver Compass Rose courses for dinner if you like. Otherwise, they have a 24/7 menu that features comfort food (hot dogs, mac & cheese) as well as some finer fare. It was not well advertised, but you can also order pizzas 24/7. The pizzas were slightly better than frozen pizzas, but then again we were eating pizza in Naples and Tuscany. Not a fair fight for RSSC. We started ordering breakfast in-suite every day. It usually came 10-15 minutes before our scheduled time, but you cannot always count on it. One day we had an early excursion, and we assumed the breakfast would be served early as usual. On this day, they started to deliver it in the latter part of the delivery window, which meant we had to cancel our breakfast or risk missing our tour. Entertainment Shows The shows seemed to target an older group. Even though people in their 30s-50s outnumbered the over 60s folks on this cruise, I think this is an exception for RSSC. The Viva la Vida show was cheesy but not in a good way. We were expecting more Latin dancing, but didn't really see any until the last couple numbers. We watched the first 20 minutes of the concert pianist, but we were expecting a more classical routine. Her Chopin piece was ok, but the rest of the songs were jazzy versions of classical pieces. Many might have enjoyed it, but it wasn't our cup of tea. The one show we enjoyed was the Cirque Mariner. It was a collection of Bollywood style routines interlaced with acrobatic acts. There was a random ballet segment in the beginning that we never quite figured out, but the entire show was quite fun. Casino I was pleasantly surprised with the casino. Blackjack table minimums were only $10, which made it accessible to cruisers like us. Each day the casino had a featured promotion like paying 2x for blackjack with a Queen. Unfortunately, the dealers were not very nice, but the people playing at the tables made the games enjoyable. The casino also had roulette and a variant of poker, but I did not play these games. Even when at sea, the gaming tables would not open until after dinner (9pm). All gambling is in USD, and cash advances are allowed with a 5% surcharge. Currency exchanges are at the spot rate. Lounges We were surprised by how crowded the lounges were before and after dinner. The Olympic Duo lounge singer and pianist were a lot of fun and played a nice variety of music. I was impressed with the quality of house spirits. 12-year scotches from Glenlivet and Glenfiddich were included in the free list. The cigars for sale were all >$20 each. During one of our shore excursions, I bought some cigars which I enjoyed throughout the trip inside their cigar room. Spa My wife and I each had a facial and a massage while on the cruise. We scheduled the facial beforehand, although Canyon Ranch never really tells you if your time is confirmed. They say they will make every possible accommodation, but you don't find out until the first evening on the ship if you were able to get the reservation. Once on board, spa times filled up quickly for the sea day and the off-port times. My wife and I both agreed that the facial was nothing special. I don't think we would do it again given the opportunity. The massages though were quite good. We each opted for deep-tissue and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. If you are easily made seasick, the massage might not be pleasant for you unless docked in port. We had a massage while at sea, and the rooms are quite small and without windows. Pool/Sports Deck The pool is quite small and was not used by a lot of people. On the sea day, people woke up early to throw towels and personal items on deck chairs (only to actually use them well after lunch). The cruise staff ask people not to leave deck chair unattended for more than 30 minutes, but we found many "reserved" for well over 2 hours. Since we were not able to get deck chairs, we enjoyed the food from the grill at one of their outside dining tables and listened to the Olympic Duo play Mediterranean tunes. We never tried playing games on the Sports Deck. Disembarkation The disembarkation process was actually quite organized, considering there were about 8 ships docked at Athens the same morning. Other passengers might have disagreed, but I have seen a lot worse. Each person is given color-coded tags for their luggage and a time to meet in the Constellation Theater. I would suggest that you be on time and even a few minutes early. The process moves quickly, and you do not want to be late. Once your color is called, you walk off the ship and collect your luggage. We found ours straight away, as the bags were all lined up by color code. The luggage was collected again by the cruise line to help us move to the transfer bus. Once on the bus, it was an hour and fifteen minute drive to the airport. Unlike the guide at embarkation, this guide did not give us any information about the areas we were passing. This was unfortunate, as we were passing by some really interesting buildings and churches. Once at the airport, we were dropped off and sent on our way. Final Thoughts Regent has definitely figured out how to run an ultra-luxury cruise line without a stuffy, pretentious feel. The vast majority of their staff went out of their way every day to provide us with an exceptional experience. We would definitely vacation with Regent again and will recommend them to family and friends. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Background InformationThis was our first cruise and was to celebrate our retirement. We had always holidayed independently before, usually travelling by car in Western Europe and avoiding crowds and too much heat but as we were limited to ... Read More
Background InformationThis was our first cruise and was to celebrate our retirement. We had always holidayed independently before, usually travelling by car in Western Europe and avoiding crowds and too much heat but as we were limited to school holidays, this was not easy. We chose this cruise after much research, mainly on Cruise Critic and its invaluable forums.Travel to SS MarinerWe did not use Regent's included air option as it was confined to flights from LHR whereas we have very much easier road access to LGW and STN. We flew EasyJet LGW - VCE and although the flight was delayed by an hour arrived at SS Mariner in good time. Being rather apprehensive about travelling in Venice, we had pre-booked a water-taxi with meet and greet service at the airport which was very expensive but very efficient, taking about 40 minutes in total. If we went again we would take a cheaper option as there was no real sightseeing element to the trip - the route goes around Venice rather than through it.At the taxi drop-off point we were met by a young man from Regent who took our heaviest case for delivery to our suite and pointed out the route to the Terminal and the ship. This involved a 5 minute walk in quite hot weather, some of which was over rather unsteady pontoons and was not very well signposted. We coped but it would have been daunting for those less able or fit. In the embarkation hall we first had to complete a form at one desk to confirm we did not have swine 'flu or other contagious diseases before we could proceed to another desk to have our passports checked and photos taken for the key cards. This was done very quickly and pleasantly and after a luggage check, we were climbing aboard.Reception on boardOn board we were welcomed and given a very small serving of 'champagne' which was actually a sweetish and rather characterless Loire sparkling wine. This does not set the right tone for a luxury cruise: it seems penny-pinching and implies that guests do not know the difference. We were told that suites would not be ready until 14.30 and the venues where we could get some lunch were explained. There was apparently nowhere we could leave the carry-on luggage we had with us so we dragged it up to deck 11 and La Veranda where we enjoyed another glass of rather better Loire sparkling wine with a good salad selection from the buffet. After an announcement that the rooms were ready, we went down to our suite. There we found yet another bottle of Loire sparkling wine and a note introducing our stewardess, Hannah.After unpacking our carry-on case, our larger case was delivered. Hannah then called in to see if we needed anything. I asked for a bottle of gin and some real champagne. She explained that they were still loading and there was none on board yet but she would put some in the room later in the evening. This she did.StateroomWe were in an E category suite on deck 9. We had tried to get a lower deck, the rooms being otherwise identical, to minimise any risk of motion sickness but they had all gone - presumably to RSSC regulars who take early advantage of the considerable saving that goes with a lower deck location. At first sight the suite looks rather small - there is a 6ft passage way past the bathroom - but is so well-designed that it seems more than adequate once you are settled in. The bed is what Europeans would class as king-size, about 6'3" square and very comfortable except that it seems to have soft 2" layer on top of the mattress which tends to retain body heat. To avoid overheating at night, we had to have the AC quite high - fortunately this was very quiet.The sitting area, which can be curtained off from the bed, contains a comfortable sofa and armchair but is rather dominated by the LCD TV which protrudes from the desk opposite. The minibar, which was regularly re-stocked, was located under the desk and proved effective in keeping its contents cold despite being silent in operation.Mariner is an all-balcony ship which was one of the reasons why we chose it. The balcony has a small table and two chairs and is more than adequate for breakfast or to sit reading and enjoying the view. The bathroom is excellent: plenty of space, both Regent and L'Occitaine toiletries supplied and a splendid walk-in shower with both rain-head and handheld spray. Water temperature was always stable and pressure high. Overall the room and its facilities would be comparable to a junior suite in a high-end hotel on land - but with a balcony, a sea view and a variety of beautiful locations, of course - and it was very discreetly and efficiently serviced by the charming Hannah.Ship InfoThe Mariner's maximum capacity is 700 and we were told that the ship was full and had no reason to doubt it - other than the fact that it rarely seemed crowded. There was always somewhere to sit in the Observation Lounge on deck 12, although the best tables (nearest the windows) rapidly filled in the late afternoon. In the evenings there was always space in the Horizon and Mariner bars both of which, though very comfortable, were rather gloomy. When there was a popular show in the Theatre or many passengers were late back from excursions, the main dining room, the Compass Rose, could be very busy and it was necessary to wait for a table unless you were prepared to share - which we usually enjoyed doing.This was a port-intensive cruise and all sailing took place between 6am and 8am so most passengers were out on excursions every day. This meant that there was usually plenty of room to lounge around the (very small) pool particularly if you wanted to sunbathe. If, like us, you can't take too much sun there were many loungers in the shade and although these were surprisingly popular, we never failed to find a couple unoccupied. The ship was in immaculate condition having been in dry-dock for refurbishment only a few weeks earlier and the occasional aroma of varnish indicated that the maintenance programme is on-going.FoodBreakfastWhen we had an early excursion we ate a light breakfast of fruit and muesli in our room. Our only minor complaint about the otherwise excellent room service was in terms of timing: the meal always arrived well before the beginning of the specified 30 minute slot, catching us still in bed. We also breakfasted a couple of times in La Veranda where there was a very good selection on the buffet.LunchWhen on-board for lunch we always had a delicious mixed salad with king prawns, scallops and smoked salmon, followed by fresh fruit: melons, mango and pineapple. We soon discovered that Coffee Connection on deck 6 made by far the best fresh coffee so usually finished up there - often succumbing to the temptation of a biscuit or slice of cake.DinnerWe usually dined in the Compass Rose. The food, wine and service were generally of a very high standard. The meal is based on the US pattern with which we were not familiar: appetiser, soup, salad, sorbet, entrEe and then dessert. We always skipped the soup and the salads were sometimes too heavy on cheese and bacon so we learnt to specify a plain green version. The sorbets were usually fine apart from a spiced red wine one which recalled all too vividly the ghastly mulled wines of Christmastide and did anything but refresh the palate. The appetisers were varied and usually delicious, as were the entrees: both fish and meat were always properly cooked. Particularly good was the Dover sole and rib eye steak. We always find lobster rather bland and the Wiener schnitzel also lacked flavour but apart from those two (poor choices on our part), the cooking was on a par with that of top class international hotels.WinesThe wines were of a good standard: usually New World varietals of the type which would retail in the UK at between £10 and £20 - which you could multiply by 50 to 100% for restaurant prices. We were surprised and delighted, however, by the early appearance of a Dopff et Irion Gewurtztraminer, to which we returned quite often at subsequent meals. As we had an on board credit to spend, we chose one red wine off the list: a Penfolds Bin 407 which came highly recommended by some Aussies on a nearby table and represented amazingly good value at Regent's price. The only minor criticism of the wine policy is the tendency to serve a Loire sparkling wine unless one specifies 'real champagne' or names the house wine ('Montaudon' on our cruise).ServiceWith only one very minor exception, the service throughout the ship was excellent: unfailingly courteous and prompt. The exception was at the 'caviar and champagne' event where we waited in vain to have our order for caviar taken, having missed the first round of service because we were waiting for someone. On the plus side, however, this meant we saved money as we ate the free canapEs and drank the house champagne as usual!EntertainmentWe found that after the excursion every day, several aperitifs and a multi-course dinner with wines, we did not have the energy for dancing or even a show! The shows started at nearly 10pm and those we spoke to who did go said they were generally very good. We did go to the crew show on the final evening as it was early evening and enjoyed it and the farewell speeches.ExcursionsThere is a choice of 'free' (i.e. included) and paid for excursions in every port. We made our selections through the RSSC website and chose two paid for. Strangely, one of our paid for choices was already waitlisted even though booking had only been open for an hour or so at most. We later received a phone call from Regent's UK office to say that the waitlist had cleared and we could now book. On board, however, that excursion was cancelled 'due to low numbers'! The standard of excursions was variable: none were excellent, some were good and some were poor. Of the included excursions, many involved travelling on a large and almost full bus with limited legroom. The roads were often very narrow with sharp chicanes and some passengers experienced motion sickness. Where the destination was small, e.g. an olive oil mill or winery, it was crowded. In larger places, e.g. museums, we were often following even larger groups and having to wait until the next room in the predetermined sequence was vacated. Of those tours which included meals, the timing was clearly dictated by the need to fit in with other groups rather than our interests: a wine-tasting with local food for 'lunch' at 10am on one; a seafood and pasta 'lunch' at 5.30pm on another! The quality of the guides was variable - only one or two were really good speakers. Others we spoke to made similar criticisms of the included excursions but some were very pleased with those they paid extra for. Interestingly, when looking for a non-bus excursion we were actually warned off a particular boat trip by a member of destinations staff as 'not worth the bother' and were grateful for that advice when others reported back that it was indeed very poor. Perhaps our expectations were too high or simply unrealistic because of our lack of experience but we must agree with those who feel that this is by far the weakest aspect of the Regent product.DisembarkationAs we still had unused on-board credit, we booked a private car to ensure we got to Nice in time for our EasyJet flight - we had been advised by the Destinations team that taxis could be thin on the ground in Monte Carlo. We left our luggage out the night before with the colour-coded tags attached. In the morning we assembled in the theatre and waited while other colours were called. We were told that, although our car was at the dockside, the driver could not be found. After another 10 minutes rather anxious wait, we were finally called and went down the gangway to begin the search for our cases. When we found the correct area, there was no sign of our cases! I explained the position to the driver and giving him our hand luggage set off in search. Regent staff were conspicuous by their absence at this stage! I finally spied our smaller case on a cart about 50 yards away and, despite the protests of the baggage handlers, reclaimed it. No sign of the larger case anywhere, so back to the appointed area to wait in the hope it would turn up. My wife decided to have a good rummage, however, and after moving a very large case which was sitting at an odd angle, we discovered our own case buried beneath it. Mightily relieved, we were on our way. Again Regent was let down by its destinations staff and/or systems so that our final experience of the cruise was less than luxurious.SummaryOverall, it was a very good cruise which could have been excellent but for the shortcomings of the destinations department. Would we do it again? Probably not in the same way: when shopping around, we would certainly discount the value of the included excursions in comparing Regent's prices with others. But the Mariner is a wonderful ship and I suspect we will sail on her again! Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
As many other people have written their review on the Seven Seas Mariner I would like to add my comment as a person comparing this ship to others I have sailed on. Small ship sailing and with the amenities offered by this ship is ... Read More
As many other people have written their review on the Seven Seas Mariner I would like to add my comment as a person comparing this ship to others I have sailed on. Small ship sailing and with the amenities offered by this ship is incomparable. I would certainly take it again and highly recommend it to others who are curious about what the smaller ships have to offer We started off our trip with an overnight stay at the Hilton Molina in Venice- it was located on one of the many little islands in the channel but what a wonderful way to start. We had a breath-taking view of the city across the channel and were minutes away from a local Trattoria where I had a wonderful dinner of scampi's for only 20 Euros. My travelling companions also enjoyed their dinner as we sat on the patio and watched the constant boat traffic go by. We have been over-nighted on other cruises but our hotel was not centrally located and we often had to take a taxi to get there if we choose not to eat in the pricey dinning room offered by the hotel Embarkation- What a joy with the smaller crowds we were processed quickly greeted with a glass of champagne and wine cooling on ice in our room within a very short time. We headed off to the LA VERANDAH where we had a quick lunch ,hamburgers or pizza your choice and then relaxed in our room before getting unpacked and ready for dinner. DINNING.- Our first dinner in the Compass Rose was well proportioned and we enjoyed the 7 course meal including desert. We quickly made our reservations for PRIME 7 and Signatures as we were told we would probably be able to reserve at least once. Our waiters and wine stewards were gracious and accommodating and kept our wine glasses filled. On subsequent night the King Crab legs all 2 lbs of it was well prepared and delicious.Signatures was truly a wonderful experience to taste continental cordon bleu meal and the presentation by the waiters were truly wonderful. All this included without having to pay extra cover charge and a wide variety of wines offered with the many courses at all three restaurants. EXCURSION - How wonderful it was to have all the different excursions included in the price and we took one every day so it was quite busy with no sea days to recuperate. I only had a light charge to pay for Sienna when we went to Florence as I had previously visited it before and wanted to experience it again. The tours were well organized although I wish our tour guide walked a little slower for some of us seniors who had difficulty keeping up and listening to her most interesting comments. SERVICE= The waiters and everyone were always very attentive to your every need and there was someone to carry your omelet or bring you coffee as soon as you sat down in the LA VERANDAH . Our room stewardess was always gracious and made sure the fridge was stocked with bottles of water(complimentary even on our excursions) soft drinks and fruits we were never able to finish before it was taken away and replaced because we were too full. ENTERTAINMEN - Compared to the Princess ship the entertainment was not as glitzy but we enjoyed the productions and the music put on nightly. Most nights we were too tired to care but we enjoyed the interactive TV in our room as we tried to prepare for another busy day. We had room service several times when we had a later start with our activities and had a comedy of errors when we accidentally ordered double of everything but the waiter was very courteous and took them away without complaint. The selection of the room service menu was excellent compared to other ships-we could even have eggs Benedict and a perfectly poached egg. ACCPMODATIONS -Our standard veranda suite was roomy although the closest was a little small for our luggage. It compared favorably with the Princess veranda deluxe cabins. DISEMBARKATION- We had an early flight so were in the first group to get off. Again being on a smaller ship was quick and easy and we made it to our flight in good time. Our only main discomfort was the long flight home because we gained a day but we arrived home safe and tired. Ports we visited- The tours to Dubrovnik, Kotor, Corfu went without any problems. However we hit rough seas in Taormina and was divereted to Messina but we were able to go to Mt .Etna which was a wonderful experience. Positano,was very beautiful. Civitavechia was great we did a panorama bus tour, had a delicious lunch box prepared by the ship because of delays in the Vatican but it was still a good day. The high lite of the tour was the long one for those of us who went to Florence and Sienna-10 hours! But what a welcome home- the staff of Regent Mariner greeted us on the docks with a cold towel, glasses of champagnes, a band playing in the background and everyone welcoming us back to the ship. What a wonderful way to end the day!We also had a wonderful day in Portofina and Santa Margarehta. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Overall I would rate this a nice cruise. I won't want to take it again, but was happy that I did take it this time. My wife and I were on this cruise by ourselves. It seems to me that the majority of people on this cruise were with ... Read More
Overall I would rate this a nice cruise. I won't want to take it again, but was happy that I did take it this time. My wife and I were on this cruise by ourselves. It seems to me that the majority of people on this cruise were with groups of people. It was harder to meet people on this cruise than previous cruises I had taken. My guess, was that there were so many groups, but then again maybe we just didn't try hard enough. We had a very nice cabin with a separate bedroom at the stern of the boat. It had butler service, but that was not a very big deal, he did very little for us during the cruise (example: Ask for Amstel beer, result Budwieser). Very large balcony, which was really what we enjoyed most. Deck 7, had a problem with sewage. I don't know why, but the oder was quite strong in areas, and persisted though out the cruise, they were working on pipes all the time, but no change was ever really noticed, however this was a minor annoyance. Meals and wines were the best I had ever had on a cruise ship, all the restaurants were very good. The only meal I didn't enjoy was the one at the Prime 7, but not due to the food. A large group of people decided it was fine to scream and yell at each other for the entire meal. We apologized to the staff, as the offenders were American and showing a side of us that is not necessary at a fine restaurant on a cruise ship, we left before our main course. Entertainment on board was boring. It seems to be more associated with people in their seventies than people in their late fifties, early sixties. However most of the people on board seemed to be in their seventies, we felt like we were among the youngest at sixty. Ports were excellent, we enjoyed all of them. The free tours, not so much. It only took us one stop and tour (Monaco), to realize that we would have to do something different, the tours were just to boring and when we would ever be here again. So we started off on our own, finding taxis with drivers that spoke good English and using them as our guides. We saw so many different places that the ship tour buses never got to, talked with the drivers, got to know them, exchanged emails, ate at great out of the way restaurants, the really great thing that accompanied this, was we would be dropped off right in front of wherever we want to go (churches,museums,old ruins), and he would be right there when we got back. Yes we missed the exact information the official tour guide would be able to tell us, like when that last stone of a church was put in place (lots of churches to see on this cruise), but these drivers were locals, they knew the history of their city as well as interesting tidbits that tour guides don't discuss. We will do this from now on our cruises, even if the tours are free. The staff of the ship was always friendly and helpful, and we overall enjoyed this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This cruise was from Venice to Istanbul for 14 nights which included Split(Croatia), Santorini, Crete, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Rhodes, Kusadasi and Istanbul(Turkey). Our great experience on Regent's Paul Gauguin some 2 years ago ... Read More
This cruise was from Venice to Istanbul for 14 nights which included Split(Croatia), Santorini, Crete, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Rhodes, Kusadasi and Istanbul(Turkey). Our great experience on Regent's Paul Gauguin some 2 years ago sailing around the islands of French Polynesia was also a key factor in selecting this cruise. As such the Paul Gauguin cruise created a bias within us as to what our expectations of the Seven Seas Mariner were. I shall begin and say that overall the cruise was amazing and all the tours we took were very well done and organized. The coaches were only 50% - 60% full and on all our tours the guides were very good to excellent. It allowed one to see many different cultures and history. It was very well organized and the crew were extremely efficient, polite and made sure everything was done correctly. Regent definitely have the best cabins. Large, spacious, the walk in robe is just brilliant and the bathroom permitted two(2) people in there at one time. Everything was well maintained on board, the majority of the crew were great, service in most cases was very good, the provisioning of bottled water for the land tours was well received but for some reason there was something not quite right and the atmosphere was not the same as on Paul Gauguin. The crew were absolutely great especially cabin steward(Jade), Sylvester & Jaimee(Verandah), Mehendrah and his staff in Horizons Bar, The Polish entertainment duo in Horizons, the sommelier who made sure our wine was correct every evening(Signatures & Prime7) were brilliant. The on board tour staff who were brilliant in making sure everything went to plan. The only concern we had was that we thought the eastern Europeans (generally) were not as friendly or relaxed as the Phillipino crew members. We have noticed this on other vessels with other cruise lines we have been on. We also felt that the Verandah restaurant was great especially with their special buffets(EG European night with fresh local sardines etc.). The food was done extremely well and was always hot. The choices and quality were great for us. Some of the small issues with Regent were related to the catering aspects of the cruise(land tour catering was brilliant with all local foods made available). Service in Signatures, Compass Rose and Prime7 we thought was quite fast and doing a count to 3 in French(Signatures) and the waiters lifting the lids off the meals was a bit "over the top". In hindsight we both believed that the service criteria is very much American style. We found other non-American passengers thought the same. In general the meals in these three(3) restaurants were OK but it could have been improved upon. Yes, my "blue" steak was always cooked to absolute perfection but for some staff to persist in calling it "Pittsburgh Blue" was a little to American for me especially when globally it is regularly identified as "French Blue" or "Blue". The wines initially offered to us were interesting. Serving the American whites and reds was OK but unfortunately I cannot drink them, as I have even when I lived in the USA suffered extreme headaches etc. from them. Interestingly a lot of the waiters were aware of this issue also from previous passengers. Fortunately they had Chilean and Italian wines which were great. Also serving an Australian wine called Skipping Jack to Australians is not a good idea especially as it is a bottling company that produces the wine from grapes from various wineries in the South Australian area. The same with Irish Coffees after dinner. When will they stop using cream from a pressurised can. Fortunately the barman was able to get real cream for a real Irish Coffee. The breakfast buffet was very good in general terms. Enjoyed all the different cheeses, smoked salmon and mackerel etc. Not sure why it happens but the slices of the smoked salmon and Carpaccio were quite cut thick when they should have been thinner. Also the pastries were tasteless. The croissants were quite small and very crumbly every day. Room service meal was an absolute disgrace. We had it once and never again and no matter what time we got back from a shore tour we always ate in one of the restaurants. Disembarkation in Istanbul was a shambles but we suspect that this was not Regent's fault. It just felt like you walk down the gangplank and you were no longer the responsibility of Regent. Also the charge Regent wanted for transfers to the airport were way over the top. We had private transport to our hotel and then hotel to airport and it was still some $USD140 cheaper. Something to be aware of. We realise that these are minor gripes but in the end we felt that RSSC has a reputation of 5 star to maintain and be a leader in the field of small to medium size cruise vessels. Yes, in general they still maintain an extraordinary cruise vessel level and yes we would sail with them again. It is just we felt something was not quite right with some aspects of the vessel. We also realise that the majority of the passengers are American and therefore Regent have to cater for their needs more than other nationalities. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
My husband and I greatly enjoyed our May 4 - 14 Istanbul to Venice cruise on the Mariner. As background: We are a couple in our mid 40s. We have traveled extensively, but this was only our 4th cruise, and our first on Regent. The cruise ... Read More
My husband and I greatly enjoyed our May 4 - 14 Istanbul to Venice cruise on the Mariner. As background: We are a couple in our mid 40s. We have traveled extensively, but this was only our 4th cruise, and our first on Regent. The cruise was chosen for the timing, length, and itinerary. Our thoughts: EMBARKATION / DEBARKATION: We arranged our own air and transfers. After a few days of sightseeing in Istanbul, we arrived at the port around 1pm. The check in process was very quick, and as the ship was just coming off of a short rehab / wet-dock, the cabin was immediately ready for us. Debarkation was also extremely easy. We just walked off the ship and quickly found our luggage in the terminal. STATEROOMS: We were in a "regular" deluxe suite on deck 8. The suite is a nice size and didn't feel cramped. The mattress was just replaced and the entire room was in great shape. We found that there is plenty of space in the closet and drawers. The bathroom had good storage and we loved the rain shower head. Our room stewardess, Cecilia, was excellent. Comments: • The size of the safe in the closet is very small (e.g. no room for a laptop or larger camera etc). • We currently live in a very quiet neighborhood, so it was a bit louder than we are used to. It was OK at night, but we were woken up early every morning by the noise of people talking in the hallways, the sounds of neighboring cabin front and balcony doors being opened and slamming shut etc. (note: The room service delivery person can't really catch the door as he walks in because he has the tray in his hands. Consequently, the hall door slams closed very loudly after he walks in.) DINNING Overall the dinning met our expectations. We expected and experienced generally good to very good meals and service...we didn't expect Michelin star like experiences, nor was it a big deal to us if a course or meal was not especially to our liking on occasion. Compose Rose: The food was consistently very good in CR. For dinner, we were always immediately seated when we showed up (typically between 8:00 - 8:30). The selections, service and pace of the meals went well in the evenings. Unfortunately, the service at breakfast was not at the same pace. Each of the 3 times we tried CR for breakfast it was extremely slow, even though there were not many others in the dining room. La Veranda: Buffets are not normally our first choice, but with the timing of the excursions, we usually went to LV for breakfast and some lunches. It was OK. It often seemed crowded and hectic and sometimes the "hot" food was not so hot. For dinner, our first experience at LV was disappointing. It was later in the evening, and the buffet was picked over and not visually appealing at all. The service was very slow, but the main courses ordered were good. We decided to give LV another chance for dinner, but this second time we went early (7 pm). It was a big difference! The buffet was full of interesting choices and was nicely presented. The service was much better as well. Lesson - go early for the best experience in LV for dinner. Signatures: We thought that the food was delicious and the service, if a bit pretentious, was professional and smooth. We enjoyed our meal so much; we went for a second time, trying completely different choices and were equally impressed. Prime 7: We have plenty of great steak houses in our current home area, so P7 really wasn't special for us. We went once and didn't try to go back. Perhaps if you lived in area where good steak houses are rare (pun intended), this would be a treat. Pool area: We had lunch here one time, and the burgers and ice cream were good. We enjoyed the pool bar service most afternoons. Please note that it was always easy to find a chair in the sun and one in the shade, no chair hog problems at all. Coffee Connection: Great idea! Loved stopping for a quick espresso and snack. Room service: We had room service deliver coffee every morning. There is a place to indicate when you would prefer the service in half hour intervals. Each and every time they were early. On one of the first days of the cruise, we had marked the 6:30 - 7:00 time frame and the delivery employee was ringing our doorbell at 6:08 (we were still in bed!). The only comment when we questioned, was that they had many orders. It wasn't' a big deal and became a joke to us...how early will they be today? SHIP ACTIVITIES Our time on the ship was primarily to relax, so we didn't take part in many of the ship activities....no trivia, games, casino etc. We often enjoyed a before or after dinner drink in one of the lounges. Our favorite spot was in the observation lounge when the ship was at sea. We didn't go to any of the shows in the large theater, except the "crew capers", which was sweet. OVERALL SERVICE All of the employees came across as friendly and eager to assist. Room stewards/stewardesses were always quick to wish you a good morning/evening when you passed them in a hallway (even if not on your own deck). The bar tenders and restaurant servers were consistently friendly and pleasant. Overall great service! PASSENGERS The ship was full and had a very interesting and friendly mix of passengers. We had many pleasant conversations with our fellow cruisers CONCLUSION Overall the trip was a huge success. We originally booked this trip to: • Visit places we had not been to before on land trips and all except Venice were new; • Enjoy some well deserved R&R from work, and afternoons at the pool deck served us well; and • Celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary in style, which we certainly did. If the itinerary and timing are right, we would love to sail Regent again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We chose this particular cruise because we wanted a cruise without the need to fly to and from the ports. We live in southern Switzerland and rented a Hertz car (at the French side of Geneva airport) and drove to Monte Carlo. The reason ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because we wanted a cruise without the need to fly to and from the ports. We live in southern Switzerland and rented a Hertz car (at the French side of Geneva airport) and drove to Monte Carlo. The reason for renting in that specific location was to avoid the huge drop charges which are incurred by returning a car to another country. We spent two nights pre-cruise in Monte Carlo, staying at the Port Palace Hotel. The hotel was lovely, with a nice harbourside location, yet close to everything in Monte Carlo (well, it is a small place!!). However if we do this again I would definitely pay extra for a room on the 4th or 5th floors to get a better view. Ours was on the 2nd, and we had a great view of the huge yachts moored in front of us, but not much else. We booked on a B&B basis, and the breakfast was very nice - on the 6th floor with super view!! The hotel also has a lovely terrace bar where we had our apEritfs both evenings. We sailed on Wednesday 7th April. We pre-booked a taxi through the hotel and it came right on schedule at noon. About 12.05 we were in the queue waiting to present our tickets and passports to the Security desk. Boarding was slow - I would guess there were 30 people ahead of us and since the actual security check was at the top of the gangplank it took time. We were directed to the Constellation Theatre for check in which went smoothly and fast. By about 12.45 we were seated in la Veranda for lunch. We have not been on board the Mariner for two years and we were really pleased with the re-decorations we saw, especially in la Veranda and the Compass Rose (and by the way, I would love to have a set of the la Veranda china at home! It is lovely!!) Another thing I noticed was that the pool was kept full, even when we were in port. For those of us who did not get off the ship very often, this was lovely, even though only one or two people swam - the weather wasn't that warm! By about 2.45 we went to our suite and were greeted by our Stewardess, Regina. This is the first time we have been in a non-Butler suite for years (husband was economising last year when we booked!!) and I must say I was worried about the level of service. I need not have been. Regina was superb and looked after our every need. She immediately re-did our bed and installed two duvets instead of the one. I think it would be nice if there was a "Stewardess Form" for us to complete before boarding, telling what sort of bedding we would like. I asked for a bottle of Mumm's Cordon Rouge instead of the "mousseux" that had been in the suite and also a bottle of Johnny Walker. She brought them right away. The new Interactive TV is wonderful...once we found out it was there and then learnt to use it!! There were around 50 regular posters from the Cruise Critic boards and their spouses and families on board, and with the help of another "CC-er" I had amassed a list of names and suites. On the first evening I met the Cruise Director, Dionne Lochner, and told her that I would like to see her the next day about organising a cocktail for us all. She said that she would handle this and did. The next day she rang, and told me that the F&B manager would be calling me in a few minutes. I then had a call from Davor Manager of F&B, who sorted out the party. His reply to the request was not "why" but "when would you like it?" and that attitude to me sums up all that Regent is, and why we sail with Regent The party itself was on the third night, right after the Captain's welcome (delayed because of long port stays in both Livorno and Civitavecchia to allow lots of touring). It was held in Stars, and the Captain, the GM, the Cruise Director and other senior crew attended. We all really appreciated this chance to meet face-to-face. It was a lot of fun and many thanks go to Davor and his team for setting it up!! We had dinner the second evening in Signatures with "Orpington T" and his lovely wife, Barbara, and son, and daughter-in-law. Lots of fun and superb food and wines. The following night my husband and I dined at Prime 7 - our first opportunity to do so. We just loved it!! The food was terrific - we had lobsters - and it was nicely presented. Finally that space has an identity and offers a great treat to all. (Especially to us since we live in Europe and Maine lobsters are not at all easy to come by! Apparently Prime 7 has a tank of live lobsters - wow!) We asked the next evening if there was any possibility of a second reservation on any other night...and to our glee secured a table for 2 at 6pm on the night before we arrived in Venice. Other evenings we ate in Compass Rose and enjoyed each dinner. One night there were Soft shell Crabs as a starter. We love these and cannot get them at all where we live. I mentioned this to our waiter, Angel. He arranged for us to have a special lunch of "Soft Shells" the next day in the Compass Rose!! The overall quality and presentation of the food in all three restaurants (we didn't eat dinner at la Veranda) is excellent. The choices are wide, and you can always ask for something that is not on the menu, such as Filet Mignon with BEarnaise, and we did! This cruise was very port-intensive. Most people left the ship for most of the day, yet all day long Dionne and her team offered things to do. I participated in a Putting Competition. We attended Tea Time Trivia almost every day. It was the most fun when Dionne ran it herself! She managed to take the "nastiness" out of some of the competitiveness and everyone had a great time. We didn't do too many excursions since I was not feeling 100% as a result of a respiratory infection I had contracted before leaving Switzerland. Nor did we attend any of the shows...early bed was better! We did visit Capri - our excursion was"Capri on the Lighter Side" - had a good guide and spent a lot of time in (planned) shopping and had a nice lunch at la Palma in Capri Town. We also took an excellent tour in Kotor - "Kotor and the Bay of Kotor". Our guide, Bruna, was most informative and we learnt a lot about Montenegro, the former Yugoslavia and especially Kotor. My husband took a walking tour of Dubrovnik. I had planned to, but was too tired so stayed on board. He said that was very good as well. In Venice we did not take tours but went on our own via vaporetto to Torcello for a wonderful lunch at the Locanda Cipriani, a special favourite of ours. I should also add that our arrival in Venice, in pea-soup thick fog, was very disappointing to most on board. Nothing could be done about it, of course...and the seamanship demonstrated by Captain Felice Patruno and the pilot was really impressive. At one point we could hear children shouting "ciao, ciao" but could not see them!! We have arrived in Venice by ship before, so we know what we and all the others missed... Disembarkation was amazingly smooth. I had expected total disorganisation but instead we were told we could leave (since we had our own travel plans) at any time we liked. We strolled off the ship at 8am, found our luggage with the help of a charming port representative - there were two ships disembarking at once! - and then took the free shuttle to the Piazzale Roma, arriving there just after 8.30am. Hertz had just opened up and by 8.45 we were leaving Venice for the autostrada and were home in under six hours... Two days later we dropped the car in Ivrea, thereby avoiding some 800 EUR in drop charges!! Of course this was also the disembarkation that was dramatically affected by the Volcano and air travel crisis. We were not involved but we have read since of all the wonderful things that Regent did to ensure that its air passengers who were affected were well looked after. It was a wonderful cruise, made more wonderful by the crew: Our stewardess Regina; Cruise Director Dionne and her assistant Chris; Captain Felice Patruno; Maitres d'Hòtel Delfin and Rommel; waiters Angel and Gerry; Wine Steward Ivan (whom we knew from the Navigator) and last but not least, Helga from Destination Services. Look out for them all when you are on board...they will not disappoint you and neither will Regent and the Mariner! I only have one criticism - there were lovely lilies in all the lounges - Horizon Lounge, Observation Lounge etc. I love them but they do not love me (and others as well, I think!) Somehow they make me sneeze and cough!! Perhaps a choice of other flowers would be safer. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010

Top Seven Seas Mariner Itineraries

Seven Seas Mariner Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.4
Dining 4.0 4.1
Entertainment 3.5 3.5
Public Rooms 5.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.7
Family 3.0 3.7
Shore Excursion 4.5 3.9
Enrichment 4.5 3.7
Service 5.0 4.2
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 5.0 4.1

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