17 Regent Seven Seas Mariner Panama Canal & Central America Cruise Reviews

We have always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal. After looking at lots of options (and no longer paying college tuition for our youngest!) we decided to take a splurge trip and booked the Regent Mariner. We are 61 and 66 years ... Read More
We have always wanted to cruise through the Panama Canal. After looking at lots of options (and no longer paying college tuition for our youngest!) we decided to take a splurge trip and booked the Regent Mariner. We are 61 and 66 years old and have cruised on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Lines, and Princess. This was our first luxury cruise line. We were told to be prepared to be spoiled. Perhaps we heard that too often and set our sights a bit too high. It was a very nice cruise, but I would not say we were spoiled. (For reference, our last cruise was with Princess, in a Club Class mini-suite. That suite was a bit larger, and we felt the Club Class dining service was equal to, and in some cases, better than our experience on Regent. However, the food on Regent was superior!) I will say we were very spoiled by only 615 guests on the ship! The 2nd day we were wandering around on decks 5 & 6 and saw no one! This was middle of the afternoon! We were in a concierge cabin, so the night before the cruise we were in the Regent hotel- the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills! The hotel was amazing. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet and met some folks that morning that we regularly saw throughout the cruise. It was a great start to the cruise! Buses were very timely- our gathering time was listed as 11:30, the folks giving us the slip said come between 11 and 11:15 - she was right - the bus was leaving the hotel at 11:30! Once we arrived at the port there were quite a few people ahead of us - we waited around 30-45 minutes for our group to be called to check in. There was a nice waiting area with comfortable chairs. (Would have been nice to have coffee / water service.) There is an Illy coffee maker in each room- only problem, we could not figure out how to turn it on! The on/off switch is in back, next to the cord - very difficult to find, a neighbor told us where it was! Our refrigerator was stocked with various sodas and 2 types of beer. There was also a bottle of champagne, on ice, waiting for us when we arrived. A small bowl was kept filled with various fruit. We popped the champagne on "Block Party" night and then another bottle showed up! I had the stewardess remove it as I knew we were not going to drink it. We had 15 minutes of ship to shore time included with our room. I had to ask as to how to use it. (dial 50, wait for the dial tone, then 1, and for US calls the area code and number) I checked our account on the tv the next day and saw that we were billed for the time (I think it is at $7 or so per minutes - and we had gone just over the 15 minutes- so it was a lot!) I asked at Reception, and they had it removed. Since this was an included perk, I felt that it should have been taken care of without me having to ask to have it fixed. Be prepared for hot and VERY humid if you decide to take this itinerary. We had heavy rain in one port, and rain a few other times, mainly at night. The lightening shows at night were fantastic! There were beginner Bridge lessons offered. We have zero experience and went to the classes. We definitely learned a lot and enjoyed the folks we met through the classes. There were just 4 of us for most of the classes! We went to only a couple of the shows. I would highly recommend the Krew Kapers - ours was at 5:30 the 2nd to last night. There was also a magician / comedian that did 2 shows, we enjoyed both! Ports were Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Acapulco, Acajutla (El Salvador), San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua), Puntarenas (Costa Rica), Cartagena (Columbia) and then disembark in Miami. We took all Regent excursions, booking 2 extra charge excursions. In Ensenada we took the "Taste of Mexico" excursion. We boarded a bus drove out of the port and around the nearby area, with the guide pointing out different buildings (including the new aquarium that has been under construction for 4 years - she said hopefully it will be open the next time you visit!), we also stopped at the large square where she pointed out different statues and told us a bit about the country's history. We then stopped at an Opal store. The owner talked a bit about Mexican Opals- 10% of Opals are from Mexico. We went through the store and into what is probably normally a bar. Tables were set up with 8 people per table. A chef was there to lead the class. He talked about a number of different chilis, their hotness and what they were used for. Also passed them around for everyone to smell. We then "made" our own guacamole, green chicken enchilada, and beef tostada. All of the ingredients were prepared for us, a little chopping for the guacamole, stirring and assembling was all that was needed. Margaritas were for sale - $4 each (large glass) or unlimited for $20. Sodas were included. After we were finished there, we boarded the bus and they took us to a shopping area where we had 20 minutes to shop. I would recommend this excursion - just a little amount of walking, some history, and tasty food. We were able to list our email addresses, and they sent us the recipes from the day. Next stop was Cabo San Lucas. We took the "Salsa and Salsa" excursion. The location was very close- but the bused us up the hill (very nice in the heat!). We made 6 different salsas, all the while free margaritas were being poured. Also made 1 margarita at our tables. Then had a short Salsa dance lesson. The salsa making went a little long - but the entire excursion was fun, and tasty! In Acapulco we did the "Nature encounter hike and swiim" - first stop was to see the cliff divers - very impressive. Then off to board a glass bottom boat to go over to a nearby island to hike to the top. Nothing to be seen under the boat- we spotted 2 fish. They offer hiking sticks when you get off the boat (our boat was called the Titanic!). The hike is a good one- well deserving of the "3 people" Regent gives it! Pretty steep in parts, a bit slick on some moss and leaves. We were sweating and out of breath in parts. The view from the top of Acapulco Bay is very nice. Break up top, then back down to our boat and then to a hotel for lunch and a swim in their pool. The water was VERY refreshing! El Salvador was the next port. Acajutla was extremely welcoming to us. They are just starting to see cruise ships, and this was Regent's first time in this port. The bus we were put on for our "Buggies and Thermal Waters" excursion (extra charge) was small. Two seats on one side, one seat on the other and a fold down jump seat. The drive was quite long. We went first to the thermal waters- saw them bubbling out of the ground, and then a few more minutes to the location for lunch and a swim. The "pools" were nothing like the pictures Regent was showing on the cabin tvs. These were actual swimming pools right next to where we ate lunch. The water was milky looking. Only a few people went in the water - one pool was very hot, the others were various temperatures. This "resort" I guess you would call it is nothing like any of us expected. They are just starting to build the area up for tourists. It started sprinkling and then raining, then REALLY raining. At that point my husband and I decided that we were going to skip the buggies- we knew that they were on dirt roads, and with that much rain, it was going to be a mess and dangerous. About this time, the guide announced that the buggies were being cancelled for safety reasons. The other bus had gone to the buggies first - they came back drenched. We were glad to get into our small bus and start the 1 1/2 hour ride back to the ship. I would not do this tour again, nor go to this port again. San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua had to be cancelled due to high winds and a large swell. This was a tender port and not safe for us to do so. Puntarenas, Costa Rica was our favorite port. We did the "Aerial tram and river cruise" excursion (extra charge). Great excursion! Our guide was very good, giving us lots of information about her country. We went on the river cruise first, seeing lots of crocodiles, many species of birds, and iguanas. Then we were off to the denser rain forest for our tram ride. We were split into groups of 8 plus a guide for the approximately 1 hour tram ride. We did not see much wildlife - but enjoyed the scenic rain forest and all our guide had to say. Lunch was next and then back to the ship. I would definitely recommend this excursion! Finally made it to the Panama Canal! WOW! We wandered all over the ship, front, back, down to deck 5 to watch through the windows as he ship rose up in the canal. Definitely the highlight of the trip! Cartagena, Columbia was the final stop. We did not get off the ship as I had a terrible sore throat. Pretty sure the difference between outside high heat and humidity and the inside a/c had something to do with it. We had brought cough / cold medications with us, they were put to use. At breakfast that morning, I asked the waiter if they might have any lemon / ginger tea - he said they might, but, he would make me some fresh lemon and ginger tea. This was one point where I felt spoiled by Regent! I was very grateful to this gentleman! Dinners - we had reservations in Chartreuse the first night and Prime 7 the second night. We were able to get one more reservation in Chartreuse later in the cruise, at a 4 top, sharing with a couple we had not met. Other dinners were spent in Compass Rose, Pool Grill and Setti Mari. I had scallops a number of times - all cooked perfectly; my favorite was in Chartreuse! The often talked about Carmel corn Sundae in Prime 7 is definitely an interesting looking dessert; I preferred the carmel corn and left most of the ice cream! (I asked the waiter if just the carmel corn could be ordered- he said sure!) Lunch - lots of options - pool grill and La Veranda were our regulars; we ate lunch once in Compass Rose. Breakfast - our go to was Compass Rose. We highly recommend the "Frozen Blueberry and Banana Bowl" - a scoop of frozen pureed blueberries sitting on top of small cubes of various fruit (including bananas) and sliced almonds on top. Also of note, we ordered eggs Benedict twice, even though they were not on the menu. We had room service twice for breakfast on early excursion mornings. There are 1/2 hour delivery windows- they delivered quite close to the start of the window. Another quick option in in the Coffee Connection - cereals, toaster with various breads, fruit, yogurts; easy way to grab something quick. All in all, this cruise was a bit long for our taste - we feel that a port or 2 could have been skipped, decrease the length of the cruise by 2 days (and decrease the price!). It was expensive, about $1,000 per day for both of us. We met some very nice people on this cruise. We also came upon some snobby people that wanted to make sure everyone knew they had 200+ nights on Regent. Overall the crew was a bit too formal for us (always being called "madam" was a bit too much for me). We did have some nice conversations with some of the crew. For some reason, we were invited to dine with ships' officers two different times; once with the General Manager and again with the Head Concierge! Will we travel on Regent again in the future, maybe. Will depend on the itinerary and if we feel it would be best with a smaller ship / less passengers. We definitely liked that part of this cruise a lot! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We wanted to go through the Panama Canal. We chose this itinerary because we LOVE Regent - all inclusive, never have to swipe your card or take care of anything. Air arrangements included and taken care of. First class all the way, in ... Read More
We wanted to go through the Panama Canal. We chose this itinerary because we LOVE Regent - all inclusive, never have to swipe your card or take care of anything. Air arrangements included and taken care of. First class all the way, in shore excursions and transfer arrangements, included a pre-cruise stay at the Kimpton Epic hotel in downtown Miami. Mariner just got out of dry dock in early April, all the public areas were completely redone, and cabins received a minor face lift. It’s a beautiful ship - we were in a Concierge E level cabin, large enough to be comfortable for our 18-day leg of this cruise. Embarkation in Miami was frustrating - computers were down and they could not register us. We sat in the cruise terminal (over lunchtime, so everyone was hungry and Impatient), with little information and only cookies to eat. They finally started to bring out a few trays of sandwiches which were snapped up by the first people they passed - none for the rest of us. We were finally called up by cabin category to have them register us by hand. Not a good way to start our vacation... Our cabin was very nice, although we sailed on the new Explorer last year and this is not quite that nice. This cabin’s bathroom had only one sink, but the shower was large enough and the bathroom worked just fine for us. Ship activities were low-key as the average passenger on this line is retired and does not need on-board climbing walls and surf pools. The pool area has cushioned lounges, a warm salt pool, a couple of spa tubs, and best of all - waiter service from the bar, and an attendant who comes around to clean your sunglasses. I used the spa twice for massages - pricey but very good therapists. Food on this cruise has to be experienced to be believed. It is like dining in a fine restaurant every day. There is a buffet for breakfast and lunch, but also a white tablecloth, fine dining alternative as well. For dinner, there is the Compass Rose main dining room, complete with sommelier, wine stewards, and impeccably uniformed waiters. While there seemed to be more new staff on this sailing (perhaps because the ship just got out of dry dock) who were less experienced, I am sure that will be addressed in the days to come. We did have issues with getting water and coffee refilled, and the wait staff was evidently learning to use a new ipad type ordering system that made ordering slow and occasionally incorrect. Food was fresh, cooked to order, and we typically spent 2 1/2 to 3 hours at dinner every night - we traveled with friends and made new friends as well, so dinner conversation was interesting and lively. Disembarkation was organized and smooth, with plenty of porter help for luggage. We have signed up for a cruise on the new RSSC Splendor in 2020, and look forward to another wonderful vacation with Regent. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
WE chose this cruise to celebrate a special birthday and because we only had to fly one way! We flew to Barcelona and Regent put us up at the Hilton which was a very nice modern hotel. We only stayed one night and were taken to the ship ... Read More
WE chose this cruise to celebrate a special birthday and because we only had to fly one way! We flew to Barcelona and Regent put us up at the Hilton which was a very nice modern hotel. We only stayed one night and were taken to the ship which had come from a 3 week refurbishment in Marseilles. We had only sailed Regent once (on the Navigator) and we were not fond of that ship. The Mariner was beautiful. There were still small touches that needed to be finished (maintenance men came in our suite a couple of times to do work) We visited Malaga and Cartegena Spain and Funchal in the Canary Islands. We took tours provided by the ship and they were fine. The dining experiences were very good. One could indulge in myriads of offerings. The "every night offerings" in Compass Rose included Dover Sole, Maine Lobster, lamb chops, steaks. Specials each night were also offered. Prime 7 and Chartreuse were elegant and the food was presented beautifully. We ate in the Veranda for breakfast and lunch and there were different offerings for lunch every day including themed lunches (Indian, Asian, Mexican). Serena, our captain was excellent and very personable. On the last night before the crossing she skirted a storm by going 150 miles out of the way to give us a pleasant dinner and show. Then the rocking and rolling started and continued for most of the journey to Bermuda. It made for unpleasant sailing and the wind and chill prevented outdoor activities and even sitting on the balcony. We had one very good speaker until we got to Bermuda. He talked about disasters and how he was part of the teams sent to disaster areas by the government. He also had climbed every mountain and showed many pictures and was very enjoyed as he commanded a large audience. We are long time Seabourn cruisers and are used to more personal attention than we received on Regent. Kumar, our butler went above and beyond to please us. We are taking the Mariner again in September from Vancouver back to Miami with 4 ports in Alaska. We also booked a 2020 cruise on the new Splendor now being constructed. Looking forward to calm sailing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
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
We chose this Cruise to have a small ship experience through the Panama Canal. The staff could not have been more accommodating. They strove to make the guest happy. The dining in all venues was excellent. There were some service ... Read More
We chose this Cruise to have a small ship experience through the Panama Canal. The staff could not have been more accommodating. They strove to make the guest happy. The dining in all venues was excellent. There were some service issues in the Compass Rose Restaurant. Not sure if it was insufficient staffing or training, however it was not the norm rather the exception. The cabin was clean and comfortable but will probably get a sprucing up soon. We were overall happy with the ports. Some ports in Central America are not close to the major sites. You must be prepared for bus rides to get to the sites of interest. This is not a failing of the cruise line, it is geography. We were very happy that our ship stayed overnight in Colon. This allowed an excursion to the Canal land side. It was facinating to watch the ships transverse the Canal. Also to get a look at the new Canal Locks. We will definitely cruise again with the Regent Seven Seas Line Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose this cruise for its itinerary. This was our 4th cruise on Regent, and it will be our last. Things started out badly when Regent sent out a notice that a yellow fever shot was mandatory to go on the cruise. This turned out to be ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary. This was our 4th cruise on Regent, and it will be our last. Things started out badly when Regent sent out a notice that a yellow fever shot was mandatory to go on the cruise. This turned out to be totally false. The shots cost between $320 to $650 per couple, depending on where you could find the vaccine. Regent refused to take any responsibility for their mistake, and didn't even bother to apologize let alone offer reimbursement. When asked for their source, they refused to even disclose it. Their indifference to their customers was shocking. There are too many better cruise lines available to do business with than this one which obviously lacks a moral compass. The service was spotty as was the food. My wife had to remake the beds every night because the cabin stewards did not know how to make a bed. One end of the sheet would hang down 6 inches while the other end was on the floor. The bedding was course and uncomfortable. The ship was understaffed. The pool deck was directly above us. They would drag the deck chairs around at 6:30 AM, waking us up. On the plus side, the entertainment was very good as were the daytime activities. The air conditioning worked well. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Regent has everything one would want in a cruise. It is an opportunity to meet wonderful people. Regent's tours are included and there is something for everyone whether you want an activity with lots of exercise or not. The public ... Read More
Regent has everything one would want in a cruise. It is an opportunity to meet wonderful people. Regent's tours are included and there is something for everyone whether you want an activity with lots of exercise or not. The public spaces are comfortable and inviting. The suites are all lovely and spacious.. The food is superb and no need to pay extra for anything. The drinks are all included. The staff takes care of any and everything. Regent arranges transportation to and from the cruise. Even WIFI is included for free. No need to tip, although we tip our cabin attendant and anyone else who has provided extra service. We would certainly recommend Regent to anyone who would like a lovely experience. The ships travel to most all destinations. Whether you are in the market for a 7 day cruise or one around the world, we would recommend Regent for you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We chose The Seven Seas Mariner as we had been on it for a Transatlantic.. We were just as pleased this time. Boarding the ship and departing the ship was smooth, and all employees greeted us like we were very special. Regents gave us a ... Read More
We chose The Seven Seas Mariner as we had been on it for a Transatlantic.. We were just as pleased this time. Boarding the ship and departing the ship was smooth, and all employees greeted us like we were very special. Regents gave us a complimentary tour of Miami,FL. while waiting to board the ship. It was a great tour and we sure appreciated it rather than sitting around a terminal waiting to board.Our suite was perfect lots of storage, our ice bucket was filled every night right at 4pm. and our suite stewards were awesome. We didn't make it to all the shows as we were enjoying visiting with the new folks we met on board, but the shows we did see loved them. The captains farewell with all the crew dancing and singing was a great hit. Ate at the Prime 7 twice, Signature 3 times excellent meals at both.Found the Compass Rose to really be our favorite just because we love to meet new people and visit, and the specialty restaurants we feel are just that special evenings for just us.The buffet and pool grill were excellent choices for us also on sea days. Had several tours and enjoyed each one. Professional guides, clean transportation, interesting places and people to see and interact with. Had my nails done at the spa, beautiful very professional. Hubby and I used the fitness center every morning, lots of great work out equipment , clean and there was always someone there to guide you and help you enjoy all the equipment you wanted to use. Most afternoons when not on a tour I enjoyed the puzzles in the coffee connection while hubby slept. We are looking forward to 2018 and going on the Explorer. write_me Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We have sailed with Regent twice before, found it 6 star and hoped for the same but were sadly disappointed. Everything on board Mariner had a veneer of quality but not the depth. Apart from receiving a captain's broadcast at noon ... Read More
We have sailed with Regent twice before, found it 6 star and hoped for the same but were sadly disappointed. Everything on board Mariner had a veneer of quality but not the depth. Apart from receiving a captain's broadcast at noon daily, no one actually saw him. Nor did ship's officers mingle or appear other than very briefly. We saw steak dishes rejected in the specialty steak restaurant twice! No co-incidence! I rejected raw meat, served as cooked in an outdoor restaurant. Our cabin staff were excellent and at expected standard. Many of the other ship's staff struggled with the English language, understandable since most were from Eastern Europe. On previous voyages, dining staff knew our names by the third day but on this voyage no one knew us, even by day 17. Regent need to lift their game. In the meantime, we have decide to stay away from Regent and revert to Seabourn. We left Mariner feeling Regent had not given what they promised and had failed to maintain the standards they previously set for us. I will compliment the lecturers- excellent! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Sailing again on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner last November 2014 , leaving from Miami till Los Angeles with as the mayor highlight, the Panama Canal crossing. This was a partly new segment for Regent and certain ports of call have been ... Read More
Sailing again on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner last November 2014 , leaving from Miami till Los Angeles with as the mayor highlight, the Panama Canal crossing. This was a partly new segment for Regent and certain ports of call have been no big deal because accommodating cruise ships was very new for these ports, some of the free excursions have been not so interesting but there was yet not much else to see and the tourist industry is also not popular for that area . The nice part of this cruise is that we have been visiting 8 different countries in 17 days. We had bad luck that the Rhythm Trio band that we know for many years was not present on board, they came only on board in LA , great to say hello to them when we got off the ship and able to tell them that we have missed their great music.

 Over the last 15 years we have been cruising a lot with several luxury cruise lines & ships and I think that we are able to compare all the pro & contra’s from these ships. In fact we have spend more than 200 nights on the Regent Mariner ship only and this always till full satisfaction, we can't say a bad word about the food quality in general, or the staff 's professionalism. The Staff at the Mariner is incredible! - Always enthusiastic and very helpful, That’s why we love Regent and it is still at the top of our list. The big advantage of the Mariner is that this ship was originally designed for the double amount of cabins, something that as been reduced during construction, this finally results in travelling on a big ship with large dining and entertainment areas with mainly a maximum of 650 -700 guests on board. No need to repeat all the advantages of the Regent All In formula, it's more extensive than at some other luxury ships. And yes, over the last few cruises we have seen that they save on costs in different areas and staff but that happens on other ships as well. We're can't wait for our next Regent experience, beside other cruises ordered for 2015 we have booked already a 3 weeks cruise on the new luxury Regent Explorer ship that will be launched in 2016.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My 2nd voyage on the Mariner left me with some mixed impressions. In some ways, things were even better than they were the first time (and that's saying a lot since I was immensely pleased by my first experience); in other ways there ... Read More
My 2nd voyage on the Mariner left me with some mixed impressions. In some ways, things were even better than they were the first time (and that's saying a lot since I was immensely pleased by my first experience); in other ways there was a very noticeable decline. Embarkation was speedy but we were not escorted to the pool deck, told about lunch options, etc.; perhaps they only do that for new cruisers? Food: In the main dining room, Compass Rose, food was 100% fantastic. Lots of interesting and tasty combinations when it came to menu preparation but the service was spotty. Often waiters would forget to bring a drink, or pepper, or even notice you were sitting in their section! On the other hand, in the two reservations only restaurants (Prime 7 and Signatures) service was outstanding but the menus were identical to two years ago and the food while quite good, is uninspired. The 4th venue, La Veranda was good (not great) in both service and food. Room service was delivered promptly and was completely accurate the 4 or 5 times I ordered from there. The pool grill was consistently good and the specialty themed lunches when they held them were also quite good. Activities and entertainment: CD Ray Solaire runs a much tighter ship (pun intended) than his predecessor and the games were all very well run. Typical cruise ship fare, they included baggo, putting, bocce, shuffleboard, ping pong, etc. The entertainment I felt was vastly improved with their new production show Le Cirque Mariner and their standard production show which is an assortment of Broadway show tunes but that may just be because the performers were more talented this time around. The main lecturer, Terry Breen, is informative and entertaining and there were a couple of other educational lectures as well. Surprisingly, some of the events that were billed as "lectures" were nothing more than thinly veiled attempts to coerce you into buying something (i.e. art lecture, haircare lecture, etc.) Excursions: this is where Regent has logged a colossal fail. With the inclusion of excursions, you have practically everyone on board signing up for "free" tours which creates unpleasant bottlenecks every time you land in port. Where you used to have passengers staggering their departure times at their convenience, you now have multitudes departing en mass every 10 minutes. Add this to the fact that Regent does have a slightly "slower moving" population and you end up with long lines getting off the ship and a long wait sitting on the bus at the pier before you can leave for your tour. After a couple of tries with the included excursions, we ended up just paying for our own tours, walking off the ship at OUR convenience and hiring a driver at the port. The added expense was offset by leaving the aggravation behind. Other than the less than pristine service in Compass Rose, all of the staff were excellent: friendly, helpful, talkative, sociable and could not do enough for you. Service on this ship is a solid A++ I highly recommend this cruise line and specifically this ship for cruising. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
PRE-CRUISE FLIGHTS: Flying anywhere in the middle of winter has its challenges. We decided to do an overnight flight from Seattle to Miami that was scheduled to arrive 7:00 a.m. on the day of departure. The snow in Seattle had just melted, ... Read More
PRE-CRUISE FLIGHTS: Flying anywhere in the middle of winter has its challenges. We decided to do an overnight flight from Seattle to Miami that was scheduled to arrive 7:00 a.m. on the day of departure. The snow in Seattle had just melted, however we did not count on fog in Miami. After spending 4 hours on the ground in Orlando, we were finally able to fly to Miami. In retrospect, it would have been wise to fly in a day earlier. Once we arrived in Miami, we met a couple that were happy to share a cab with us. With tip, the cost of the cab was $80. EMBARKATION: We arrived at the port at 12:40 p.m. Unfortunately, a bus load of passengers was ahead of us. We sat in line for approximately a half hour, completed the check-in process and boarded. While not the fastest embarkation, it was handled calmly and efficiently. On onboard, we proceeded to La Veranda for lunch (more in the food section). THE SHIP: The ship is going into dry dock for one week in April, 2011. Except for the carpeting that needs some refreshing, the ship is in excellent condition. There is some talk about moving the Boutique into a section of Stars Lounge as it is currently in a position that is hard to see. Stars is such a large venue, it probably could lose some space and still be functional. A final decision had not been made by the time we disembarked. FOOD: There has been such an improvement in this area that we were pleasantly surprised. We dined at Prime 7 the first evening. Their crab was some of the best we have had (except in Alaska). Signatures has never been our favorite venue. It was alright, but am not overly impressed with it. We did not dine in La Veranda in the evening and only stopped by there for a few quick breakfasts and lunches. When the pool area had special barbeques and lunch specials, we would take our food into La Veranda to enjoy the air conditioning. The quality of the lunch offerings was good. Enjoyed the pasta station very much (I am a bit of a pasta lover). Compass Rose: We could have eaten every meal there (almost did) and been very happy. Wine and food choices were good. Definitely missed seeing Filet Mignon on the menu as well as Beef Wellington (think this disappeared sometime in 2010). It would be nice if the side dishes that are always available would be put on the menu (mashed potato's and fries, for instance). For the first time on a Regent ship, the Grouper was wonderful - as were all of the fish dishes we ordered. Bread was always fresh, wine glasses filled promptly (no problem asking for a different complimentary wine). Desserts were interesting, innovative and delicious. LOUNGES: We spent most of our cocktail lounge time in the Observation Lounge. This is probably out of habit. For the first time, we sat at the bar and got to know the bartenders and other passengers. The U-shaped bar makes it easy to converse with others. The Horizon Lounge was great for Trivia and tea in the afternoon (or in my case, a chocolate martini in the afternoon to accompany the luscious desserts). The Mariner's Lounge is outside of Prime 7 and Compass Rose. This is the only Regent ship that has this lovely set-up. It is a nice place to relax before dinner. Stars Lounge is the smoking venue. Unfortunately, we found their doors open in the evening. . . allowing the smoke to waft into the hallways. SERVICE: This is the area where everyone excelled on this trip. The following is what I put on our comment card about some of the staff: "Roy, is the best Butler we have had. If he had waited until we asked him to do something, he would have done nothing for us (which has happened on previous cruises). We are low maintenance while Roy is proactive. When he saw my husband walking down the hall with excursion tickets, Roy stopped him, took the tickets and told him that he would take care of it for us (and he did). He is a wonderful person and a perfect Butler. Head Waiters Rommel and Gilbert took care of our every need. They even took care of things we didn't know we wanted. When I suggested that hot sauce be provided with typically spicy dishes like "Thai", he began providing chili sauce for us at lunch and dinner. When we discussed a Philippine meal early in the cruise, it was provided for us on our last day. These men are amazing - a tribute to Regent and their wonderful Dining Room Manager, Franco (I do not know enough adjectives to describe him). He is simply a wonderful man who makes every passenger feel like they are guests in his home." There have been recent reviews that talk about the service in Compass Rose. I would like to comment on that if I may. When a planned event (such as the Captain's Reception) happen prior to dinner, when the event is over, there is a rush to Compass Rose. Obviously the service at that time is not going to be quite as fast as other nights or later in the evening. We dine early and find the service impeccable. Also, we prefer to sit in the same area(s) each evening so we become familiar with the Head Waiter(s) and servers in that area. The servers become accustomed to your likes and dislikes and even make suggestions for you. We had a Steward instead of a Stewardess on this cruise. At first it seemed a bit strange. After a couple of days we realized that it isn't whether they are male or female. . . it is about how they do their job. Nelson was wonderful! PORTS: After two days at sea we docked in Willemstad, Curacao. Rather than take an excursion, we walked around the town and found it to be delightful. We arrived in Aruba the next day. Having been there previously, we had a snorkeling excursion booked. The seas were fairly rough and there were few fish to view. Fairly disappointing. The following day we had a city tour in Cartegena, Columbia. The excursion was okay. There were problems disembarking from the ship. We arrived in the port late, so the excursions were all leaving at the same time. Due to the tide, only one gangway could be used. This caused quite a back-up. Many of you have transited the Panama Canal and know what a marvelous experience it is. The weather was beautiful - really a spectacular day. Two days later we docked in Manta, Ecuador. We weren't too excited about the excursion. . . . taking a bus for a half hour to the place where Panama hats are made ("Panama" hats are apparently made in Ecuador). Manta was definitely a highlight. The open buses were decorated with balloons and had a band playing on the roof. Guests were given New Year's Eve type items (hats, whistles, masks) and off we went. It was very much like a parade. We made quite a bit of noise as we traveled on our way to Montecristi. Families came out of their homes to wave, children waved from sidewalks and windows. . . even the police and street workers stopped to move to the music and wave. All of us had a great time waving, making noise and bringing smiles to everyone's face. The next port was new to Regent. . . Guayaquil, Ecuador crime issues for many years. When we spent the night in Guayaquil several years ago we were warned not to step outside the door of the hotel. Since then, a lot of work has been done to clean up the city. The shuttle bus into downtown had two police escorts (a little concerning). We did not see one person who may have been a tourist during the ½ hour bus ride. There were concerns about leaving the shuttle bus. We took a leap of faith and got off the bus. The bus let us off by an amazing park with hundreds of iguanas. They were on the grass, in the trees (not a good idea to be under the tree) - just everywhere. When they fall asleep in the tree, it is quite common for them to fall to the ground. With the exception of the lovely area by the sea (Malecon) that is great for walking, there is not much in the downtown area to see. There are police everywhere (probably necessary.) They are not set up for tourists at this point. There is nothing for visitors to purchase - not even a postcard. I hope that Regent gives them some feedback as the potential is there for it to become a nice port stop for cruise ships. Next was Salaverry (Trujillo), Peru. We arrived on Sunday and found many places closed. The tour operators did a good job of showing us this beautiful city and the surrounding areas. This was a 7 hour tour that ended at a beautiful hacienda where a lovely lunch was served while we were being entertained by high stepping horses. This was our first opportunity to try the national drink, a "Pisco sour" (yum). Our last port was Lima, Peru. The ship docked overnight in Lima, but we had flights booked to fly home on the first night (more on debarkation). Right next to the ship were lovely shops with Peruvian souvenirs, handmade llama wool teddy bears, etc. The prices were excellent. We had an excursion booked on our last day to dine at an upscale restaurant (for lunch). Unfortunately the excursion was changed to 7:00 p.m. and we had to cancel. We wanted to spend some time in Lima but was not aware that it takes 1 hour by bus to get downtown. So, we stayed on the bus for the round-trip and was able to see quite a bit. The area of Miraflores in Lima is beautiful, by the water with upscale shops, a J.W. Marriott Hotel, restaurants and lovely parks. Disembarkation: For some reason, most flights from Lima (and Rio) depart in the middle of the night. Rather than disembark on the last morning and be on our own until our 1:15 a.m. flight, we opted to depart the last night. We were able to enjoy the day, have a leisurely dinner and wait for Regent's transportation to the airport at 10:00 p.m. Not too surprisingly, there about 20 passengers on our bus for our 30 minute ride to the airport. Luggage was transported to each individual airlines' check-in area. Our LAN Business Class flight from Lima to San Francisco was comfortable (flat bed seats) and we were able to sleep. We arranged our own transportation from San Francisco to our home. IN CONCLUSION: This was a wonderful cruise. The passengers, especially other CruiseCritic members, were fun to be with and are darn good Trivia players. There were many world cruisers on board - most of whom were friendly and very interesting to speak with. It feels like Regent has turned the corner and is once again providing wonderful food, exemplary service and is a 6 star cruising experience. We first felt the improvement in May, 2011 on the Navigator. Franck Galzy had been promoted to General Manager (we sailed with him in 2008 when he was Food and Beverage Manager). We could feel the cohesiveness of the staff on the Navigator. He and his team set an example to the staff that enabled them to give the best possible service. We see this now on the Mariner (with Franck Galzy as G.M.) The reviews from the Mariner have been consistently positive. I look forward to when he transfers to the Voyager later in the year as there have been less than favorable reviews on that ship. However, once the Voyager comes out of dry dock our fingers are crossed that he will be back on the Mariner when we sail in November. Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
On 12-20 we boarded RSSC Mariner in Los Angeles to go South along the Mexican Riviera and through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale. Having read a few negative reviews, we were a little apprehensive. The apprehension continued, when ... Read More
On 12-20 we boarded RSSC Mariner in Los Angeles to go South along the Mexican Riviera and through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale. Having read a few negative reviews, we were a little apprehensive. The apprehension continued, when boarding and check in were pretty unorganized and long lines had formed leading into the Constellation Theater. The ship had arrived a few hours late from Australia, and therefore boarding was delayed. Add to that the fact, that wi-fi in the terminal wasn't working, and check in had to be done in the Theater. Some people were pretty upset, but what's a cruise line to do? After checking in, we took the elevator to the 10th deck where we were greeted and asked for our cabin number. Just as we gave the information one of the stewardesses walked past, heard our suite number and said "Mr. & Mrs. DeRose, welcome aboard", We were amazed since she had obviously memorized the suite numbers and names she was responsible for. Maria Cecilia then walked us to our cabin, and said "You've been on this ship, so you are familiar with it, but are there any questions I can answer, or is there anything I can get for you?" Now that's service! She was among the best stewardesses we ever had, if not the best. Our suite was nice and spacious with a walk in closet, safe, flat screen TV and plenty of room. We ordered a bottle of Ketel One for the room and it was delivered within a couple of minutes. Since RSSC is now all inclusive, they only deliver the bottled liquor on request, which is fine. After a few Margaritas in Cabo, we had room service dinner and it didn't take long at all to get it. In Huatulco we ordered room service breakfast for between 7:00am and 7:30am and it arrived promptly at 7:00am, even before our wake up call. Normally we ate breakfast in La Veranda. The food was very good. Although Eggs Benedict weren't on the menu, I ordered them a couple of times and they were delivered with a smile. Signature is still fabulous, but difficult to get into. When our reservation increased from 2 to 5, they did their ultimate and finally were able to accommodate us. We ate at Latitudes twice. The food was good and we enjoyed it. By the time this review arrives on Cruise Critic, Latitudes will be gone and it will be replaced by Prime 7. The ship is in dry dock now. All the staff was very well trained, friendly and went out of their way to make sure we had a great cruise. I can't say that a single person was ever the least bit unfriendly. The Captain, officers, staff and crew were all very nice. Entertainment was really good and we enjoyed most shows. The shows were split between before dinner and after dinner, which made it pleasant to pick one or the other. They also had some shows in the Horizon Lounge, after dinner, which was nice. Since this was our 4th trip along the Mexican Riviera and through the Canal, there were some ports where we never got off the ship. In Huatulco we had gone on the snorkel cruise and ATV ride before, so this time we tried the rafting. We really enjoyed that. In Puntarenas we had enjoyed the zip lines before, so we decided to do that again. This time I did some research and we did it independently. We went to Turu Ba Ri Adventure Park. Initially there were 3 of us from the Cruise Critic Board who planned to go to Turu Ba Ri, but as the cruise went on, 2 others joined us. I emailed Turu Ba Ri and they immediately confirmed the new number of people. On arrival we were picked up in a van at the end of the pier by our guide Carol. The drive took about 1 1/2 hours because of construction on a bridge. The park is fantastic, with clean facilities and friendly people. As part of the package we got 2 activities and lunch. We chose the Canopy Tour and Nature walk. Rappelling, Horseback riding and other things are available. Then we all decided to add the "Superman" cable. It's a 1 km straight line and your speed is around 50-60 mph. It was incredible fun. The nature walk in the park was very enjoyable even though we are not the "nature" types. There were beautiful plants, butterflies, some Iguanas and other "critters". Turu Ba Ri exceeded our expectations and we all highly recommend it. One thing very important is that you should be in good physical shape, as it involves quite a bit of walking and stair climbing. Pricing is very competitive. Our lunch was very good, too. Then to finish it all off we took a couple of rides in a tram to get from point A to point B. Carol and her driver took us back and this time the bridge was open and it only took about an hour. If you'd like more info on Turu Ba Ri, you can Google them and there are several videos on Youtube. You can also contact them direct at info@turubari.com. We had been to Cartegena a couple of times, and again decided to stay aboard. You may be able to tell by now that for us the ship is the destination. In Grand Cayman we did the ship snorkel tour and it was lots of fun. Disembarkation was very organized and pleasant. Everything would have been perfect if the infamous airlines hadn't messed things up on the way home. I took 16 hrs from Fort Lauderdale to OC, California. We didn't have Regent air, so they had nothing to do with that part. So, after the negative comments I just wanted to reassure everybody that "Regent is back". We've been on all of the Regent ships from The Diamond on, so we have something to compare it to. We've also been on all the other cruise lines and just as before, Regent is our favorite. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
Overview: The Mariner has still proven to me to be a memorable experience. It was my third time on the ship. The 1st time in 2001 I went to the Caribbean, the 2nd time was to Mexico in 2005, and this time was through the Panama Canal. All ... Read More
Overview: The Mariner has still proven to me to be a memorable experience. It was my third time on the ship. The 1st time in 2001 I went to the Caribbean, the 2nd time was to Mexico in 2005, and this time was through the Panama Canal. All of these cruises were over Christmas and this latest one was Christmas and New Years. *Please Note* I am a 15-year-old teenager. My review may not be as intellectual as others but this is just based from my experience, and I have gone on 11 cruises including this one--so I have experience. 6 of my cruises have been on Regent. Embarkation: The cruise before us was coming from Asia and had some extremely bad weather, which delayed the ship 5 hours. We were notified 5 days before embarkation (December 21) so we had the whole day to do nothing. We were supposed to arrive at the Los Angeles port around noon and board the ship at 1 PM. Luckily for us, we live in L.A., so we were not in a hotel, waiting for ship transportation. The cruise line had shuffled people around in different nearby hotels and they were not notified as clearly as others about the delay of the ship. The new time for embarkation was around 7 PM. We arrived at the L.A. port at around 6:20, the porters took our luggage, and we went into the terminal, which was quite busy. Now one thing that I heard negatively was that the clerks at the check-in counter were unorganized and slow. This is not the cruise lines fault. These people do not work for Regent. Those people work for whatever ship they are boarding. Our embarkation went smoothly, we were on the ship within a half hour of getting to the dock. *To future guests* Seeing as a ship being delayed 5 hours is VERY rare, my previous experiences have always been very smooth embarkation, rarely any waiting, and when you are on the ship you get your bags very quickly. Also, when you board the ship, the crew is there to greet you, hand you a nice glass of champagne, and directs you to your suite, which is usually ready when you board. Ship: The ship is 50,000 tons and holds 700 passengers. It's not a monster ship but it's not a small one either. It has many public rooms that serve as multiple purposes, strategically placed for different activities. There are 6 elevators: 3 glass ones that look out over the atrium, and 2 regular ones in the back of the ship. Deck 5 has 2 restaurants: Compass Rose and Latitudes, with the atrium staircase going up to deck 7. Deck 5 is also home to the bottom level of the show lounge (the Constellation Theatre), Reception, Travel Concierge, and the Mariner Lounge, a nice place to sit in before dinner. Deck 6 holds the top level of the theatre, the Stars Disco Lounge, Club.Com—the computers, Library, Garden Promenade, the newest edition--The Coffee Connection, Horizon Lounge that overlooks the back of the ship, Card & Conference room, and Signatures, another restaurant. Deck 7 is the lowest deck with suits, but suites are only on half of it. The rest is the Spa, Gym, Shops, and Casino. Decks 8-10 are all guest rooms (Deck 10 is the bridge too). Deck 11 holds the pool and Jacuzzi's, and La Verandah, mainly a breakfast and lunch restaurant but has Italian or Mediterranean at night. Deck 12 has a paddle tennis court, golf nets, walking track (only 11 laps to a mile!), Shuffleboard, bocce, and the Observation Lounge, a beautiful room overlooking the bow of the ship. Since this was a Holiday cruise, they also had nice Christmas Trees and Gingerbread houses around the ship. Suites/Accommodations: Who ever came up with the idea that every stateroom has a balcony (AND A VIEW) was a genius. Not only does the lowest costing room get you a balcony, there are no obstructed views, as all the lifeboats are below deck 7. Every room has a walk-in closet, TV w/ DVD player; a refrigerator with soft drinks and bottled water, a fresh fruit basket and flowers refreshed every day. Our cabin number was 955, and it was a standard suite, nice size. The standards suites can be either 1) a 3-person room where the couch comes out to a bed or 2) Have a separate shower instead of the shower/bathtub combination. Regent is now "all-inclusive", which is nice. Probably a lot nicer for older people who drink alcohol unlike myself but this now means all drinks are included, (Unless you buy a more expensive bottle of wine at dinner) and no extra costs. Gratuities are included. The only extra costs are for personal items of course, ie. Shore excursions, Photos, Boutique purchases, etc. The library was cut down due to the installation of the Coffee Connection so its supply of books is limited. It also holds a large DVD library, but they could buy a lot more DVD's, newer releases!! On the in-suite television—which has now been changed to flat screens—they have limited channels due to the reception they can get. Since my cruise was over New Years, we were questioning the reception we would get for the big football games. So many people requested for the Rose Bowl, they ended up showing the Rose Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and a few others. They were in the room TV's along with the big theatre where they served hot dogs, popcorn, chips, etc. One thing that probably separates Regent from the big thing is the number of announcements. In the morning you might catch the cruise director giving an announcement talking about the days activities, and at sea days at noon you will always here the captain come on and talk about the weather and our location, but that's IT. They started a new way of showing announcements—on the television. Every day, you can hear all about the announcements (in more detail then in the daily program) on channel 1—Mariner Today. Other channels include 3 movie channels, that they show 3 different movies every day. They also receive Fox News, CNN, ESPN, and a few others (reception permitting). Entertainment: Daytime entertainment: The entertainment in the morning/afternoon has always been very top notch. This was no different on this cruise. It is instructed by the social staff--the singers and dancers from the Broadway cast. They are all extremely nice and make all of the activities fun. All the activities vary whether you are in port or at sea but range from Bingo to Bocce Ball to Ping pong tournaments to Trivia to inside mini golf tournaments. They feature 2-3 lectures a day on various topics that relate to our surroundings and even though I do not attend, I heard very good things about them. They show a movie in the theatre every day—attendance is never very large but they do have popcorn that makes the deck smell good. ? Evening Entertainment: Peter Grey Terhune is Regent's Broadway Company that produces shows for all of their ships. They have always done an excellent job with that and continue to do so. The cast consists of 4 singers and 6 dancers. They performed 3 big Broadway shows on my cruise. The first one was "Ballroom Bravo", a dancing sensation including two world-champion ballroom dancers that came from Russia. The second was "Harmony", a show that mainly featured the singers, and the third was "Broadway in Concert", a big Broadway show with lots of favorite Broadway music. The Regent Signature Orchestra backs up every song, at every show. They have a few solo artists that play in lounges, which are all very nice. However, one point that the evening entertainment slacked in was the alternative performances. They had 2 comedians, a magician, a pianist, and 2 vocalists. All of which were very talented but lacked a certain "pizzazz". I know that the cast does a lot of work performing but if they could add just one more show, it would make up for the so-so other entertainment. Children's Club: Club Mariner is only offered on select cruises and is really not given enough credit. Yes, if you do not go in the holiday season or the summer there are going to be NO children on board. HOWEVER, if you go over the Holiday season there will be at least 40+ kids on board, no doubt. On my cruise there were about 50 passengers ranging in age 1-18. (21 is the legal drinking age on Regent.) The children that came to the kids club are delightful, well-mannered children and the counselors are the best. During port days they have certain hours that they have activities, usually 2 hours in the morning, 2 in the afternoon, and 2 at night. On sea days they extend them so that children have more to do. They sort out fun activities like board game tournaments, beaded creature making, movie nights, and even cookie decorating in the galley. Those activities are for children ages 5-12, they do not allow children under 5 into Club Mariner without an adult present at all times. For teens 13-17, they offer the same times in the day, with slightly varied activities (in the same location as the children) but they are very flexible with what the teens want to do. My 2 youth counselors Carlie and Donna were very nice and fun. The only drawback of Club Mariner on a cruise line like Regent's is that they are not prepared for children. During the day our activities take place in the Stars Disco lounge (because it is not used in the day) and at night we are put into the conference room. They are both fine locations but they could really step it up a notch if they were to build a new ship (which is in the talking stages), at least make some kid friendly facilities and use them for storage when its not time for kids. Service: Service on Regent is perfect. On some cruise lines the waiters forget about you, and on some they are right next to you, watching every move you make, waiting to help you. I can't stand EITHER of those, so I'm lucky Regent is right in the middle. If the waiter sees you need help they help you but you are free to do what you want, when you want, wherever you want. They are always prompt. The room service does not take long for delivery and the cabin stewardess does a very quick and efficient job. They are all very happy, smiling, and will do anything to please you. Ports/Shore Excursions: We had 5 ports of call on our ship, as it was mainly an "at-sea" cruise. Our first port was San Diego, California. This was kind of like the first day because it was 1) an American port 2) Lots of people embarked here instead of L.A. and 3) This was the night we had the lifeboat drill and sail away party. San Diego was a good place to get any last minute items you needed, they had a free 10-minute shuttle ride to Horton Plaza, the big mall in San Diego, and of course you could hit the Zoo, SeaWorld, and the Naval Ship across the water. Our next stop was Cabo San Lucas. We arrived later in the afternoon, around 1 PM and were only staying until 6 PM unlike San Diego where we stayed all day. When I was in Cabo my dad and I took a boat from the pier to the bay and ate at the Office restaurant on the beach, then went back to the ship. Cabo is a very nice port for shopping and tourist things but I have been there many times so it didn't interest me to shop. After Cabo we went down to Puerto Chiapas. This was by-far one of the worst ports I have ever been too. They have 9 cruise ships a year—which basically states they are NOT ready for the rush of people. At the dock there is a small little mall that has a few small nice shops and a big arena in the middle to watch some traditional dancing. That whole thing is very nice, but then they offer a shuttle that goes down town. Why we took it I do not know, but it was just not a place you want to go when you are on a luxury cruise. Our next stop was Puntarenas, Costa Rica. This was the one port we decided to take a shore excursion in. We got off the ship onto a nice air-conditioned coach bus and took an hour drive up to a park, where we went on a Sky-Walk Rainforest and suspended bridge tour. It was very beautiful to see but could have been a little more exciting. The Panama Canal Transit is technically not a port but I will talk about it anyway. When the canal pilot isn't driving, he comes on the intercom to tell you about the next lock or some of the history of the canal. It's a very fascinating voyage. The whole canal takes about 8 hours to go through and you can watch it many different ways in any of the public room windows. Our final stop was in Cartagena, Columbia. We only stopped here because legally, since we went through the Panama Canal, we had to stop in a South American country since we were now in the Atlantic Ocean. I did not get off the ship in Cartagena but I heard mixed reviews about it. You had to find a cheap taxi into town, and then there was some good shopping. You can buy some nice jewelry and Columbian coffee, but the cab could be as much as $40 each way, and it was about a 7-minute drive. Overall the ports on this cruise were not the best, but the days at sea made up for them. The ship is full of things to do and there is never really a need to get off even when you are at port. Food: There are 4 main restaurants on the Mariner. The Compass Rose is the main dining room, which serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner (but really shines in dinner). La Verandah serves all 3 as well but shines in its breakfast and lunch. Le Cordon Bleu sets itself up in Signatures, the alternative-reservation only French restaurant. And finally, you can indulge in Indochina style cuisine at Latitudes, another reservation only restaurant. I have never eaten at the Compass Rose for breakfast or lunch but that is only because La Verandah is a buffet while the Compass Rose is a sit-down lunch. At dinnertime in the Compass Rose you are welcome to dine whenever you want—the dining room opens at 7 and seats until around 9. You can eat by yourself or dine with other guests, but you are not assigned to a certain table/waiter/fellow guests/time to eat. The Compass Rose menu is very well laid-out and the back page even has a "Light and Healthy" section, a "Vegetarian" section, "No Added Salt", and "Simplicity" which has plain chicken, pasta, salmon etc. La Verandah has a fabulous breakfast buffet, however, it stays the same every-day. They have 2 large buffets with fruit, pastries, cereals, hot items like bacon and eggs, someone toasting bread/bagels, etc. They also have 2 custom-made omelet chefs that deliver your omelets right to your table. At lunchtime you can find almost ANYTHING from roasted turkey to spiral ham to spaghetti. They have a large salad bar and even have mini sandwiches. Another lunchtime option is the Pool Grill where you can get the basics; Hamburger, Hot Dog, and fun stuff like Cajun Chicken Sandwich, grilled shrimp sandwich, and many other options. They deliver them right to your table and are very quick and efficient. Finally, almost every day they have a lunchtime buffet outside. Every day it has a theme and every day the theme is different. One day it will be "Tex-Mex", the next "Champagne and Lobster Brunch" and even "German Bratwurst" day. Those are all delightfully laid out and always delicious. For dinnertime at La Verandah you can find either Italian Steakhouse or Mediterranean Cuisine. (They change it halfway through the cruise) I prefer the Italian Steakhouse much more, but both are very nice. The first part is a wonderful buffet and the next course is served to you, whether it be chicken, steak, or fish. Signatures is my least favorite restaurant but it is still VERY GOOD. They are an all-French cuisine restaurant that serves delicious food like duck, lamb, escargot, foie gras, etc. It is an amazing presentation and the service in there is very nice. Latitudes is the Asian restaurant, my 2nd favorite. Half of the cruise they are "Indochina" which is just a fancy word for Asian and the other half they were "Thai". I did not get to try the "Thai" menu but I heard it was just O.K. The presentation in Latitudes is impeccable. It's a very small restaurant and only holds about 20 tables. They serve the whole menu to you in small portions—no ordering. All the food at "Indochina" is incredible, amazing taste and you can get more of anything you want. The newest edition to the Mariner is The Coffee Connection, a delightful little coffee shop in the middle of the garden promenade. It is no charge for any specialty coffee drinks, and it's really like a Starbucks at sea. They have a large refrigerator that holds bottled water and sodas that passengers can use at any time. On the side of the Coffee Connection is a small buffet that they use for snacks. During the morning they have fruit, pastries, cereal, and bagels. During the afternoon they change it to fruit and cookies. Around the corner is the high-tech latte machine open 24/7 and juice and cookies always available. Last note on food, room service is available 24 hours a day. During dinner hours you can order anything from the Compass Rose menu into your suite, and they have a large menu. It comes promptly and efficiently, and they come in and set it up for you. Overall: Regent has never shown me something that would not make me want to come back. I plan on going on my next cruise on Regent and I know I will have a good time. The service, food, ship, and overall experience is like no other. They really out-do themselves on multiple levels Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
We took the Seven Seas Mariner from LA to Port Everglades via the Panama Canal. We choose this line because we took the Paul Gauguin and were very happy with it. We were very pleased with this ship, the service, and the food. The food ... Read More
We took the Seven Seas Mariner from LA to Port Everglades via the Panama Canal. We choose this line because we took the Paul Gauguin and were very happy with it. We were very pleased with this ship, the service, and the food. The food was among the best. They have 4 dining rooms. Three were great and the fourth was good but its eclectic tasting menu was a bit much for some of the guests (we thought it was a nice change but not our favorite). The French restaurant was great and the Mediterranean restaurant was unexpectedly good and seemed to be popular. Breakfasts were a little boring at the buffet, but you could order things that were not on the menu in the main dining room. Room service is provided at no charge. All seating was open where you could have a table for two some nights and meet new people in a table for four or six other nights. The entertainment was very good. They had single entertainer each night. It may have been better to have several entertainers each night to be sure that there would be something for everyone. All cabins have balconies and are quite spacious with a king size bed AND a sitting area. You will be happy with the lowest cabin category. The ship is 50,000 tons and has only 700 passengers. As a result there were always tables available in the main restaurant, lounges available by the pool (although the shady spots are limited) and seats in the theater. You never felt crowded. We went because we wanted to see the Panama Canal. The canal passage was great and they had a lecturer who lived in the Canal Zone for 25 years and did and excellent job. They also featured food and wine on this itinerary and had lectures on wine and cheese and they had cooking demonstrations from a chef from Sonoma CA. She was good and the demos were interesting. Some of the ports on this trip were mediocre. Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco were so-so. Huatulco, Mexico was a pleasant surprise and is worth considering for a return trip. Puntarenas, Costa Rico was nice for a day stop but Costa Rico deserves more than one day. The other stops were San Diego and Key West – great places but not via a cruise ship. The bottom line, top notch ship, service and food. While I prefer smaller ships, this is my favorite “big” ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
We boarded the Mariner at Los Angeles. The boarding process was extremely smooth, even though we arrived an hour and a half before the "official" boarding time. A porter whisked our bags away and we waited no more than 2 minutes ... Read More
We boarded the Mariner at Los Angeles. The boarding process was extremely smooth, even though we arrived an hour and a half before the "official" boarding time. A porter whisked our bags away and we waited no more than 2 minutes to be checked in. (There were at least 8 lines open). We were handed the traditional glass of champagne as we went on board and informed that our suite would be ready at 2.30pm. I went to make reservations at Signatures (we were celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary on board) and my husband went to settle down in the Observation Lounge to wait! I was delighted to learn that our table had already been reserved for us by RSSC since I had mentioned this as something I would like on my information form. The suites were indeed ready at 2.30 and when we went to ours, our luggage was already there. I unpacked and headed for the laundry on deck 10 since we had been travelling for a week en route from Switzerland to LA. To my delight the laundry was empty and I got my things done in record time. Our butler introduced himself, and made some other reservations for us. This was the first time we have had a butler, and he was very nice and specially helpful in organizing our anniversary celebration. The evening canapEs he brought each night were very nice, but I think I would not reserve a suite just to get a butler. Based on our experience (Alaska '05 on the Mariner without a butler, in a Penthouse C suite, and this cruise in a Penthouse A suite) I would choose the suite I like and if it has a butler, fine. If not one can organize things oneself! Our first port was San Diego. We had both been there many times before and so we just headed on the "trolley" for Old Town, then did some shopping at Horton Plaza and came back to the ship. I was enrolled in the Cordon Bleu cooking course and our first meeting - a cocktail reception - was that evening. There I met the chef who had been flown from London to teach the course - Michael Katz - and the Executive Chef of the Mariner, Quinn MacMahon, and other Food and Beverage staff. The next day was a sea day and the Cordon Bleu course started. We had four sessions with Michael, all on sea days. He did a demonstration for around 90 minutes and then we (a group of 6 - there were two groups) worked hard to replicate what he had done, with lots of help from him, for another 2 hours. The course also included a wonderful visit to the Central Market in Acapulco, arranged by Quinn MacMahon. Around 10 of us participated, and we went in a minibus to the market with Quinn and Michael, who lectured us on the spot on the choice and cooking of fish. It was really interesting. The course ended with a long demonstration from Michael and that evening a cocktail reception followed by dinner in Signatures, which had closed for the evening to everyone else and was just open for the course participants, some crew members who had been involved with the course and our spouses. The dinner was a special menu set up by Michael which more or less recapitulated things we had learned to make in class. In addition to the course, Quinn organized a tour of the provisioning area of the ship and the galley for us. This took around 2 hours and we visited the storage areas on deck 3 - huge freezer, 0°C storage for fresh fruit and veg - even caviar locker! - and the galley, meeting many of the chefs and assistants as well. The cleanliness of the galley was amazing - walls and ceiling were in stainless steel and washed daily. All large machines were completely stripped and cleaned, down to the last bolt and nut, once a week - which, by the way, takes them at least two hours after the normal evening meal service! They bake their own bread on the ship, and the pastry chef was very informative about how things are done, and produced superb sweets and pastries! Even the soup cook got into the act and showed us his pots for soup and stocks! I am really, really delighted that I took this course. It was well organized, well taught and I learned a lot and had a lot of fun! Other things going on on sea days included an excellent lecture series on the Panama canal from a man who had worked there for 25 years. He gave 4 lectures - one on the canal's history, one on the present-day operation, one on what we would see (given the day before, so really pertinent) and the last the day after the transit on what we had seen, and our questions etc. These lectures were truly enriching, and our experience during the transit was greatly enhanced. Another series of lectures was from a young woman from the Cousteau "Ocean Futures" society. She spoke about various aspects of marine life and was very good, and very informative. Both my husband and I attended all her talks and gained a deeper appreciation of the oceans around us and their importance. The theirs group of lectures concerned the selection and care of gemstones. A bit esoteric but none the less interesting and well presented! Our first Mexican port was Los Cabos. The scenery going into the port was great and made greater by a little seal who swam alongside the ship and did somersaults in the sea! We took a Radisson-organized catamaran sail excursion. We were really disappointed in this. First, the boat was definitely overcrowded and therefore dangerous. Second, the safety demonstration was a joke - literally. The "wise guy" who had the microphone made jokes about where the life jackets were and never did tell us where they actually were. Third, instead of sailing along the coast with a commentary on what we were seeing they simply headed out to sea for an hour and back for an hour. On our return I found a "How are we doing" comments form in our suite so I mentioned our problems with the excursion. Radisson is know for swift dealings with problems and this case was no exception. I turned the form into the reception desk at around 2pm. At 5pm I got a voice mail from the Tour Director telling me he was looking into it. The next day he saw me and told me that he was very concerned, that they did not normally use that boat, and that he had asked his land operator what went wrong. The next day we had a letter to say that they would not use that boat again, and that our excursion fee was being reduced 40% because the excursion was not as billed. I was not looking for a refund, only trying to tell RSSC that the excursion was badly done, so I was very surprised and pleased at their reaction. Acapulco was our next port, and we went to the market as noted above. Huatulco was the final Mexican port. It is pretty but there is not much to do. However the weather was lovely and we spent the day at the pool on deck 11! Aside from the canal, the best excursion/port we had was Puntarenas. We took the trip to the Poas volcano. It was Good Friday, and everything in CR shuts down. We were warned that we might be slowed down by religious processions, and indeed we did see a couple, which were interesting. Our guide, Vicky, was superb. (Contrast to the chap at los Cabos!) She was very informative and a delightful person. We learnt a lot about CR from her en route to the volcano. We had been warned that the volcano is only visible 3 out of 10 times - so we held our breath!! When we got to the rim of the crater - we could see it all! Fumaroles, sulpher and the turquoise lake! A wonderful trip in a very pretty and interesting country. After another sea day we arrived at the canal. We got up at 4.30am and they were already serving a continental breakfast in the Observation lounge (RSSC is just wonderful - they think of everything!) Bolstered by coffee and croissant we went outside in the dark and watched the approach to the canal. By 6am we were under the bridge and by 7am in the first lock. It is very impressive to see the size of these locks, which function entirely on water power. The Mariner was raised a total of 85feet from the Pacific to the Gatun lake. After the first lock (there are 3 on each side) we went to our suite and installed ourselves on our balcony, called the butler and ordered breakfast - fittingly "lox and bagels"!! It was amazing to sit there eating in the sunshine watching the men working on the lockside with the electric engines stabilizing the ship. A large "Panamax" freighter went through alongside us - I wonder if they were looking at us as curiously as we were looking at them! We anchored in the Gatun Lake and my husband and I took the helicopter flight over the locks, Colon, the sea and the Chagres river. It cost $150 pp but was worth every penny. We were thrilled to be able to do it! As we went down through the Gatun locks we went to dinner in the Compass Rose. We were given a great table right next to a window, which, when we started to eat, had a nice view of the lockside. Soon however our view was of the concrete wall of the lock as we went down! By main course time we were moving into the next lock, and again had a view! The last port was Key West, which is pretty but again not so much to do. We shopped! As on our Alaska trip, we hated to leave the Mariner - but we had to get off in Ft Lauderdale. Disembarkation was handled as smoothly as embarkation - we were allowed to stay in our suite till 0830, breakfast having started early that day. We then waited in the Observation lounge until our colour code was called, and had to say goodbye to a great ship! During our voyage we ate in Signatures three times, la Verandah twice and the Compass Rose for the rest of the time. We mainly took breakfast and lunch at la Verandah - one lunch in the Compass Rose, and one at the pool grill (Mexican buffet which was very good!). We did not eat in Latitudes because on our Alaskan trip we had been quite disappointed with it and we really love the Compass Rose. We prefer to eat alone, and were always asked if we wanted a table for 2 or would like to share. There was never a problem in getting our own table, and pretty soon the Maitre d'hôtel knew that we wanted one for just two. We eat in some pretty sophisticated restaurants here in Switzerland and in nearby France, and the quality, variety and presentation in the Compass Rose are just excellent!!! The service at table was also good throughout. Our suite was spacious and well looked after by our two stewardesses. We had problems with our TV (there was nothing wrong with the TV, it was we who didn't know how to work it!) Our stewardess was adept at fixing it, and my husband soon came to call her "the electrician"!! He husband was one of our regular waiters at la Verandah and we told him - he thought it was a great nickname for her!! One night we had a problem with the toilet, which refused to flush. We rang the butler, and he said that he had already called maintenance because the suite next door had the same problem - we went to dinner and when we returned all was in order. One thing we really appreciated was the frequency with which we saw the Captain around the ship. He seemed to go "walkabout" at least twice a day, stopping to chat with passengers, seeing how things were going, and generally being very friendly. We really liked the Captain and hope we can sail with him again! His attitude seemed to permeate throughout all the crew who really seemed to get along well together and work closely together as a team. As to entertainment on board - there were three production numbers from the Peter Terhune singers and dancers. We had seen two of them in Alaska - it was a shame that they didn't change the show more often! But they were all well done and we enjoyed them all. We didn't bother with the comic or the singer since these are really not our cup of tea. One thing we did find, contrary to all I have read however, was that the pool area got really crowded and it was sometimes hard to find a place. Perhaps this was a result of a trip over the Easter holidays when there were more young families on board. To sum up - we love the Mariner. The standard of service, food, etc is second to none. We have already started plans to travel with RSSC to the Baltic next summer, although this trip will be on the Voyager. RSSC does things not just right, but perfectly!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
We were on the Mariner's 14-night trip from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale via the Panama Canal. As first-timers we decided to book one of the ship's larger suites that included butler service. We were delighted and dismayed by ... Read More
We were on the Mariner's 14-night trip from Los Angeles to Ft. Lauderdale via the Panama Canal. As first-timers we decided to book one of the ship's larger suites that included butler service. We were delighted and dismayed by our choice. Next time we'll think more carefully. (See the very end of this review for details about this.) First of all, every suite on the Mariner has a balcony, and when the weather is as gorgeous as it was during our cruise, you don't spend much of your time in the suite itself. You're either on your balcony, or you're on the (almost) empty deck. Having the extra space was extremely nice, but we really didn't use half of it. And, anyway, as we learned during one of the "open houses," even the smallest suites on the ship are more than comfortable for two people. Secondly, everyone gets the same service, whether in a big suite like ours or in one of the smallest. We of course had the extra advantage of having a butler. He was extremely charming and eager to please. He was a great conversationalist. He unpacked our luggage and took our clothes to be dry cleaned and pressed. He looked after every little detail, like delivering invitations to the people we invited for a cocktail party. He was extraordinary. But, like the extra space, we really didn't need him. Like everyone else, we had a steward and stewardess who cleaned our suite twice every day. (We hardly ever saw them.) I don't know what more you'd want in terms of in-room service. Thirdly, it's true. Radisson does attract a largely older crowd. But this means that the best parts of the ship, like the swimming pool, jacuzzis, the big bar at the aft, are **empty** most of the time. One night my sweetie and I went to soak in one of the deck's three jacuzzis at 7:30 p.m. The air was warm. There was a big full tropical moon in the sky. We were absolutely 100% alone. I was in the ship's pool on most days and maybe only twice was there someone else swimming with me. Fourthly (is there such a word?), everybody gets the same food, which on most counts ranges from very good to excellent. Our only disappointment was in Latitudes, the reservations-only Asian-fusion restaurant. (Too salty!!) We had very good (formal) French food in Signatures. But we really loved the Spanish and Italian menus in La Verandah, the most casual restaurant. Also, the seafood in ALL the restaurants was exceptionally fresh. Our big "learning experience" came when we anchored in Georgetown, Grand Cayman. SIX other cruise ships were there at the same time. They were ENORMOUS. We watched their passengers wait ten-deep in the hot sun for a tender back to their ships. Those of us on the Mariner were whisked back and forth on nearly empty tenders. At the dock, the Mariner had set up chairs under an umbrella and had crew members passing out iced water and orange juice. What we don't understand is that the nicest suites on those huge ships cost almost as much or more than the smaller suites on the Mariner. But on those huge ships you share **everything** with 2000+ passengers, no matter how much you pay for your suite. What I'm pretty sure we learned is that the "ultra-deluxe" Radisson cruises are probably an incredible bargain, given the service, the space, and the fact that most areas of the ship are empty most of the time. Also, the fares are all-inclusive. I don't have time to do the math. But you don't need a big suite or butler service on a ship like the Mariner. We had a spectacular trip. (We especially enjoyed Costa Rica and the Panama Canal. Although, the Gatun Yacht Club is a big bore! My sweetie took the helicopter trip over the Gatun Locks and had a blast.) You can spend a third of what we spent and still have a fantastic time. We're definitely going to take Radisson again, but next time we want to do a longer cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2004

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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