The Seven Seas Navigator is a lovely 490-passenger, all-outside suites ship with impeccable service, wonderful cuisine and great entertainment. We recently sailed on her from Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, through the Panama Canal to Fort ... Read More
The Seven Seas Navigator is a lovely 490-passenger, all-outside suites ship with impeccable service, wonderful cuisine and great entertainment. We recently sailed on her from Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica, through the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale, with stops in the Panama Canal Zone, Cartagena, Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Calica. Embarkation took all of five minutes with champagne in hand. The standard suites are very spacious (300 sq. feet plus balcony) and are beautifully decorated. There is a living room area with sofa, chair, bookshelves with TV/VCR and fridge (which is stocked with complimentary soft drinks throughout the cruise), there is an initial complementary stocking of two large size liquor bottles as well. There is an actual walk-in closet with lots of storage space, and includes a safe. The marble bathroom is spacious as well, and includes a separate full-size tub and shower. The cuisine was excellent and includes choices in the regular dining room, or alternative Italian restaurant. A choice of complimentary wines was available with dinner and flowed freely. What was a standout if one could be picked, was the incomparable service. Service levels were uniformly excellent throughout the ship and always included a smile and attention to detail. It was not unusual to have three wait staff at our dining room table for six. The only negative thing I could say is that I wish the cruise had been longer. We have been on over 30 cruises and this was the best. Read Less
I visited the Navigator as a guest in Seattle, as was very impressed by the ships physical qualities as well as the wonderful canapes offered to guests. The ship itself bears a definite likeness to the Silversea ships, as might be ... Read More
I visited the Navigator as a guest in Seattle, as was very impressed by the ships physical qualities as well as the wonderful canapes offered to guests. The ship itself bears a definite likeness to the Silversea ships, as might be expected, as she was built in the same Mariotti yards in Genoa. The ship is obviously a bit larger than the Silversea ships, and a little more dramatic in certain areas, especially the main centrum area with the glass elevators. Especially pleasant are the wide corridors which create a feeling of openness and light. The pool area is very nice and almost a larger carbon copy of the Silversea ships. A very nice touch are the teak table and chairs, which are absent on Silversea, and always lend a feeling of class and luxury. The alternate dining area, the Portofino Grill, is very nicely done, as is the main dining room. The dining room unfortunately is not 2 decks high as on the Diamond and the Gauguin, but one can't have everything. The decoration throughout the ship was very subdued and tasteful, although I found the Stars Lounge a bit severe. The showroom is beautiful, all seats seem good, and it is unique in the respect that it has no central aisle, entry is from the sides. All in all, a very pretty ship and a welcome addition, I think, to the ranks of luxury ships. I just have to wait until November to sail on her. Read Less
Rio de Janeiro to Ft. Lauderdale Last segment of its 2002 World Cruise In the aftermath of 9/11 much has changed, including many cruise ship itineraries. Radisson, which had planned the Inaugural World Cruise of it's 490 ... Read More
Rio de Janeiro to Ft. Lauderdale Last segment of its 2002 World Cruise In the aftermath of 9/11 much has changed, including many cruise ship itineraries. Radisson, which had planned the Inaugural World Cruise of it's 490 passenger Seven Seas Navigator, altered its itinerary to go around the Cape of Good Hope instead of through the Suez and Mediterranean. As a result, its later segments after Cape Town were "under-utilized". In March, they offered past Radisson guests some price concessions, a complementary pre-cruise tour, low-cost business class air upgrades, and perhaps most intriguing to us, an invitation to join the shake-down cruise of Radisson's new Seven Seas Voyager, scheduled to be completed in Genoa next March, 2003. My wife Pat and I were definitely interested! Since we had earlier booked the inaugural transatlantic cruise of Holland American's Prisendam (the former Royal Viking Sun) plus the following two segments in Western Europe and the Baltic (a total of 37 days), we didn't feel we could take the full trip from Cape Town, including a pre-cruise safari in South Africa. Instead, we opted for the shorter 14-day Rio to Ft. Lauderdale segment, preceded by the tour to Iguaçu Falls. According to Brazilian sources, Iguaçu is the world's largest waterfalls. Although challenging to get to and see, the Falls are truly magnificent! Iguaçu is much larger than Niagara, and is said to be taller than Angel Falls in Venezuela. The falls are inland on the Argentina/Brazil border. After a bit of a run-around concerning our flight arrangements (resolved by a cooperative Radisson air rep and our very competent agent) we arrived at the Tampa airport early, only to discover the Delta flight scheduled to take us to Atlanta to connect with the flight to Rio was late. Initially the Delta agent (supervisor?) was adamant there was no problem, until the earlier flight to Atlanta, leaving from the gate next to us, had closed up. Then she listened, looked at our tickets, and realized the problem. Eventually, after a big hassle, we were re-routed on an American Airlines flight from Miami, but had to reclaim our bags in Tampa, go through security again, and have bags hand-searched, luckily by a nice, helpful American Airlines porter/security guard(?). And, with no two seats together; we were assigned seats on either side of someone sitting in the middle seat of a 2-3-2 business class row on a Boeing 777. This turned out to be a ploy to get the whole row to himself; when faced with reality, he moved to an aisle seat, so my wife and I were able to sit together, even if not in the most desirable place. Generally, we avoid domestic airlines for international flights when possible, but I must admit that the American Airlines "extra room" tactic certainly gave us room to stretch out. And their service was pretty good, too. Radisson had flown us business class on a Continental 777 from Newark to Rome in the fall of 2000, and we found it to be very good as well, although I believe the AA flight had more legroom. In our opinion, the Boeing 777 is superior to anything else flying commercially today. We had spoken with Radisson reps during the rearrangement of flights, and sure enough, their agent in Rio was expecting us. Things went quite smoothly, and although the security for our bags in notorious Rio seemed casual, everything arrived promptly and safely. Radisson had booked us in the LeMeridien Hotel, directly across Avenue Atlântica from Copacobana Beach. Our room for that night was available, without additional charge, upon check-in before 10 AM. We were in a ocean-front room on the 36th floor, so high the people on the beach looked like ants. So much for girl- (or boy-) watching. After a quiet, security-conscious day and night in Rio (we had an earlier bad experience there), we flew the next morning via San Paulo to the city of Foz do Iguaçu, where we were taken by bus to the Iguaçu Falls National Park. The flights, on Varig, the Brazilian airline, were delightful. Attractive, sharp, well-dressed and -groomed flight attendants. Fast, cheerful service. Quick turn-arounds in San Paulo. The stewardesses served drinks and a snack on the forty-five minute flight to San Paulo, and lunch and drinks on the one hour flight from there to Foz do Iguaçu! Remember how nice air travel used to be in the U.S.? How special it seemed? In Brazil, it still is. Viewing Iguaçu Falls requires a lot of walking and climbing, some of it challenging. The first day, we went by bus, jeep and, after a treacherous climb on steep, un-guarded stairs, zodiac boat up the river right to the base of the falls, getting wet but not soaked. Another, more daring group went right under part of the falls, but it appeared they were prepared, having stripped to the waist or to bikini tops. After a good meal and a night in hard beds in the Spanish Colonial style hotel in the park, in the morning we crossed the Argentine border by bus, where we caught two trains and then took a long hike to the catwalks which extend out over the river 1100 meters to the very edge of the most dramatic part of Iguaçu Falls, the Devil's Throat. This is a horseshoe shaped section which appeared to be 400 or 500 yards across and perhaps half a mile in length. What a marvelous sight! On the way, we passed the "ruins" of the old catwalk, which collapsed a couple of years earlier. Ah, well. That evening we dined in Paul Bocuse's [1] restaurant atop the hotel. A good meal, high but not outrageously priced, but nothing spectacular. A view of the lights of Copacobana on a Saturday night. This time we had a ocean-front room on the 14th floor, so we could see the people on the beach. Lovely. At the concierge's suggestion, we went to the Hippy Market in Ipanema Sunday morning. Held in a park several blocks in from the famous beach, this weekly open-air market specializes in local art, crafts and jewelry, with clothing and souvenirs also available. I got Pat a huge topaz and silver necklace. We also bought a very nice modern sculpture, as well as a couple of small limited edition prints, all exceptionally inexpensive. We had a great time. If you're in Rio on Sunday, don't miss it! Back at the hotel, we just had time to collect the luggage from our room and grab a drink before catching the bus to the ship. Boarding a Radisson ship is a delightful experience, you are welcomed with a glass of Champagne, and the formalities are handled quickly, efficiently and pleasantly. The only downside here was that the passenger ship terminal in Rio is a long building. They drop you at one end, forcing you to walk quite a distance carrying your hand luggage past yet another gauntlet of hucksters and the inevitable jewelry and other duty-free shops in order to reach the greeting area and gangway. Once there, you're in Radisson's friendly, competent hands, but till then, you're on your own. Because of our other cruise plans, we had asked for the lowest cost cabin available. On Radisson's Seven Seas ships, all suites are at least 300 sq. ft., and most have balconies. In this case, we got a suite on six deck, port side, without a balcony. Instead, each morning we had seamen outside on a walkway, hosing down and cleaning up. The first morning, a passenger wandered back and forth, lost we presume, but that happened only once. We learned to close the drape before retiring. Cabins on the Seven Seas Navigator are really terrific; spacious, well-furnished and -equipped, exceptionally comfortable. The baths are perhaps the best afloat, with separate tub and shower and a spacious vanity. We don't miss the double sinks some folks favor, having consciously left them off the plans of the last two houses we've built. Everything else was there in abundance, especially large, absorbent towels and bath-sheets and even pool towels! Our cabin stewardess and her helper were just delightful, cheerful, prompt, nice. Actually, that goes for everyone on board the Navigator. We've never been on a friendlier ship. Or heard of one. The entire crew seems to go out of their way to be nice, to greet you, to get whatever you want or need. May sound exaggerated, but isn't. Try it, you'll see. Knowing passengers joining the ship may not have had lunch, they kept the informal dining room on ten deck, the Portofino, open late. Thoughtful! Lunch was delicious, a nice buffet plus carving and pasta stations, while out on deck, a grill offered hamburgers, hot dogs, etc. On most days, there were two grills outside during lunch, the second with at least four or five choices, including a grilled fish and some kind of steak. They also offered fruit, cheese and other deserts. More than enough; too much, really. That first day our waitress seemed to have a large, busy station, part of which was outside on deck, but we didn't wait overly long for anything. We soon learned to sit on the other side of the room, in Ann Marie's area. She 's a very efficient, friendly English girl who seemed to anticipate our needs after only a couple of days. Throughout the cruise, service in all of the dining rooms was excellent to outstanding. After lunch and a couple of hours unpacking into the very spacious cabin and walk-in closet, we explored the ship. Then we were invited on deck for Champagne, to watch as we sailed out of Rio de Janeiro. It was dark, but the lights were a sight themselves, and Sugar Loaf was silhouetted against them. Then, to dinner. We put ourselves in the hands of the Maitre D', Miki, asking him to put us at "a large table with interesting people". On this and every other evening that we didn't make our own arrangements, Miki put us with people we enjoyed. We sat with the Staff Captain the first formal evening, and at the Captain's table twice (the Captain wasn't there when we were -- we sat there when we were with a large group, as it was one of few tables for ten available). Whatever you want, they tried to accommodate you. One night Pat wasn't feeling up to snuff, so we ate in our suite from the dining room menu. They served us in courses, much as if we were in the Compass Rose restaurant. Classy. On Radisson ships, wine and drinks with dinner are included; no extra charge. The sommelier and his assistants knew their wine, but more important, they quickly got to know their guests. That first night, both the red and white wines served were Burgundies. I much prefer Burgundy to a Bordeaux, for example. The next night, the white was another Burgundy, but the red was Bordeaux. Having had a pleasant experience earlier on the Seven Seas Mariner, I thought I'd try again, and see what happened. I asked if any of the Burgundy they had served the previous night was available. But of course! Almost without delay, there it was. After that, wherever we sat (remember, the main Compass Rose restaurant holds almost 500 passengers when the ship is full) here comes one of the wine stewards asking if we were having the Burgundy tonight? And several knew us by name. One night early on we had dinner with two couples who were "circumnavigators" (i.e., had been on the ship for the entire World Cruise). They were very interesting, talking about the highlights (and the few low spots as well) of the trip to date. One of the men, a digital photography buff, was making an album of the entire cruise, a marvel according to the other couple. Although quite modest, he had been a very senior IBM systems engineer, and had been talked into teaching a three class digital photography and photo album course. I told him I had just bought a digital camera and was interested. One of the drawbacks of cruising on a small ship like the SS Navigator is that there are a limited number of things to do, particularly on sea days, so I welcomed this opportunity Unavoidably, I arrived late for the first class, held in the Stars Lounge outside the large Seven Seas show room. The class was over-subscribed, but we pulled up more chairs and everyone was accommodated. The class itself was very interesting. Ron, the instructor, was a good lecturer, exceptionally knowledgeable about his topic [2]. For the second class, I arrived early to find Ron with a projector, a table, and his own PC, struggling to rearrange the chairs into a classroom layout, so everyone could hear and see the screen. I helped, as did a couple of other early arrivals. The chairs were heavy and not easy to grab on to, so it was difficult to move them. When I spoke to Ron afterward, he said that after the first classes, support for his efforts was basically limited to announcing the class in the ship's daily newspaper, and providing the projector and screen. Later, I spoke with the officer who ran the computer lab, but he seemed unable to help. When pressed, he suggested I discuss it with the Cruise Director or even the Hotel Director. So I did. This resulted in only real negative in our cruise on the Seven Seas Navigator. I've been a bureaucrat myself, and have dealt with them for much of my career. I know when I'm getting the run-around or a brush-off. These guys didn't even try to hide it. For the only time on board the Navigator, I met with indifference and a defensive, negative attitude. The hotel director explained plans and implied he would get help for the room set-up, but none appeared. Unfortunately, the cruise director happened along when we were breaking the room down the second time, and I spoke with him, but all I got were excuses and BS. This was out of character for the ship and, in fact, for the Radisson line. There may have been something I didn't understand or know about going on, but it seemed to me that here was an opportunity to give passengers something useful and desirable to do on a boring sea day at little or no cost, yet they ignored it at first, and derided it when questioned head on. Certainly not typical. My wife and I had planned a cruise from (or to) Australia and New Zealand, either on the Navigator this fall or on the Mariner next winter, but our experience this trip caused us to re-think our plan. This cruise was 13 days, calling at four ports: Salvidor de Bahia and Fortaliza in Brazil, Bridgetown, Barbados, and San Juan, PR on the way to Ft. Lauderdale. That left nine sea days. We don't play bridge, and are spoiled by our 45' lap pool at home. The casino crew went out of their way to drum up interest, running classes for neophytes early on and blackjack tournaments later. We enjoyed that. The library is pretty good, and there are enough computers when the ship has 350 guests. Just upgrade memory [3] and fix the charge-back software before the next long cruise, please. There were some good speakers, particularly former Attorney General and PA Governor Dick Thornburg (although his wife cut off informal conversation after the lecture, and little or no time was provided for questions.) Prof. Michael Mendelsohn, who talked on a variety of topics, was also quite interesting. But that doesn't begin to fill up nine days! Now think about expanding that to 45 days, with 19-22 at sea. Gives you something to pause about, doesn't it. It has us, I'm afraid. A few other observations: We never missed a meal, and the food was good to excellent. Perhaps not as good as the Signatures dining room on the Mariner, maybe even not as good as the Mariner overall. But much more than adequate. We both gained weight, not a lot but some. Pat wished for more variety in the on-board shops. We met quite a few very nice people. In fact, on every Radisson ship we seem to meet nice people. As for entertainment, the Peter Grey Terhune company are attractive, talented, energetic, and they sing and dance well. We found their shows first-rate. The concert pianist was excellent, although we missed her first (best?) show, unavoidably. Larry Hagman was on board and turned out to be rather entertaining speaker, although I never did care for either Dallas or I Dream of Jeannie. All in all, for a smaller ship, we found the entertainment surprisingly good. The ports visited after Rio were less than inspired, in our opinion. We would have liked to cruise up the Amazon a way, or perhaps stop at Devil's Island. We did go ashore in each of the four ports, but took a tour only in Barbados. That was sponsored by our travel agent's Voyager Club, but we didn't think much of it. Of course, we've seen a lot of islands. "Free" tours are often worth just what you pay for them. Next year the Mariner's World Cruise is scheduled to skip Rio, going directly from Ascension Island to Fortaleza. That certainly will be exciting! (NOT!) We've compared Radisson's port selections with some of its competitor lines; in our opinion, we find them sorely lacking. Who plans these trips, anyway, the bookkeeping department? Of course, if you don't like the itinerary, you don't have to go. We won't. On this cruise, the hospitality and excellence of the ship itself, the excursion to Iguaçu, and the time in Rio made the whole thing worthwhile for us. Open single seating in the dining room is a major plus. It puts a real handicap on Crystal, which has two sittings for dinner. Seabourn and Silversea use smaller ships, and you do pay for their "all inclusive" approach. If you're not a drinker, or don't use the included amenities, you 're paying for someone who is/does. Radisson balances this well, we think: drinks with dinner and an initial setup in your room are included, as are non-alcoholic beverages. After that, you pay for what you use. Works for us. All things considered, we'll be aboard Radisson again, selectively. Actually, we did book two future cruises while on this one. The first is the inaugural cruise of the new Seven Seas Voyager, which follows the shakedown cruise we've been invited on. Not worth it to fly to Europe for one week. We also booked a Montreal to Palm Beach cruise on the Navigator for the Fall of 2003, itinerary unseen. But now that we've seen details and the ports of call, we don't think we'll pick up our option. A real disappointment! We were so looking forward to Newport or Philadelphia and Charleston or Savannah. We do like Radisson, we like it a lot, in fact, but improvements are needed in a couple of key areas. Some of the annoyances would be quite easy to fix, we feel. Like cross to Montevideo and Buenos Aires, then round Cape Horn and up the Pacific Coast to LA on the SS Mariner World Cruise next year. [1] Owner/chef of the famous Michelin 3 star restaurants in and near Lyon, France. [2] Pardon my critique here, I am a retired Computer and Information Science Professor and was considered a pretty good lecturer myself. [3] Don't skimp, put at least 384 meg in each computer, which should be doable for under $75. each. jmichael@comcast.netJune 2002 Read Less
My husband and I together with another couple went on the 10 day cruise from Seward to Vancouver, returning 7/19. First, let me start with the positives about this experience: The ship is very pretty. Being smaller than other ships we ... Read More
My husband and I together with another couple went on the 10 day cruise from Seward to Vancouver, returning 7/19. First, let me start with the positives about this experience: The ship is very pretty. Being smaller than other ships we had been in the past, we had some concern that we were going to be "sacrificing" some things in order to go on a more upscale ship. This was not the case. The lounges, dining room and other public areas are beautiful and the "logistics" of the ship's layout works very well. The cabins are just fantastic! We are now spoiled forever after having such a spacious cabin/bathroom and walk-in closet! I don't know how I'll ever go back to Princess and the likes! The staff couldn't have been more gracious and happy to please. This comment applies to pretty much the whole ship, but certain exceptions (too many in our opinion) were noted in the wait staff of the dining rooms, especially the main dining room, Compass Rose. This brings me to the negatives, which are only these two: -quality of the food in the dining areas, especially at night in the Compass Rose rest. was disappointing. Having been previously in several Princess, Celebrity and RCI cruises, our expectations were very high for the Navigator. Sadly, in our opinion, the Navigator fell short in this comparison. - Service at the restaurants, especially at the Compass Rose was spotty and uneven. Sometimes we were assigned waiters that seemed to know their jobs. Most of the times we encountered waiters that seemed to be going through the motions... No real desire to please. Maybe a good strategy would be to try to pinpoint in the first day or two of the cruise a "good table" and ask to be assigned to it, if possible. Another small flaw is the vibration problem that has been mentioned in this board before. At times is very noticeable, especially in the Portofino Restaurant and the Galileo and Vista lounge. It didn't really bother us but we heard a lot of passengers commenting about it. However, regardless of these shortcomings, the positives definitively outweigh the negatives and we would gladly consider cruising on the Navigator again in the future. Read Less
Seward to Vancouver, by Dolebludger (with input by Ms. Dolebludger) This is a review of our experiences on this cruise which embarked in Seward on June 19, and disembarked in Vancouver on June 26, where we took a two day Radisson post ... Read More
Seward to Vancouver, by Dolebludger (with input by Ms. Dolebludger) This is a review of our experiences on this cruise which embarked in Seward on June 19, and disembarked in Vancouver on June 26, where we took a two day Radisson post cruise stay. All who read the Radisson boards on [Cruise Critic] regularly know that the Navigator is perhaps the most controversial of all Radisson ships due to some negative posts about vibration and condition of the ship. I'll get this topic out of the way first, then discuss FOOD AND SERVICE, ITINERARY AND ACTIVITIES, AND POST CRUISE IN VANCOUVER; all by heading to allow you, the reader, to scroll to the topic(s) that are of interest to you. In initial summary, this will be a very favorable review. When you pay for the cruise, we suggest you use an American Express platinum card as this gives you $300 in room credit. Other credits are sometimes available, depending on which agent you chose and some frequent Radisson offers when you book your cruise.(We understand that the Radisson credits are not available on all cruises, but are on some. Check with your agent.) VIBRATION AND "RIDE" OF THE SHIP Yes, there is some vibration - in fact two kinds; both minimal. Our spacious suite #705 had well over 300 square feet plus balcony, and was located starboard near the bow. From the bow to midship, I felt a vibration that reminded me of driving a sedan over tiny tar strips on a concrete highway. Sort of a muffled "thump-thump-thump" at intervals from one to four times per second. I felt the intensity of these vibrations rise and fall like the harmonic or sine wave vibrations we all learned about in high school physics. Like the classic story about how a little dog who trots at constant speed over a large suspension bridge will have the vibrations of the trot amplified by the bridge to the eventual point of damage. Here, these vibrations were minimal, and my wife swears she never felt them - as did many fellow guests. But I was actually looking for them, as I had read posts about them on the Cruise Critic board. Another factor was that these occurred only in fairly smooth water. The harmonic vibration pattern was broken when the ship would hit a wave, and was not present at all when we hit some mildly rough seas. I have felt similar vibration on many other ships (not Radisson), and I didn't really think much about it as it interfered in no way with the cruise experience. The second type of vibration was felt near the stern. It was more rapid and felt like diesel engines or other moving parts were transmitting vibration to the structure. This was most noticeable in the show lounge and Galileo lounge, and was much more subdued in the cabin areas which were nearer the stern. I have felt this mechanical vibration on ALL cruise ships we've sailed, so it's nothing particular to the Navigator. We had the good fortune to be invited to dinner with the Chief Engineer (a dead ringer for a young Dustin Hoffman!) who was well aware that there had been previous complaints about vibration, and said that work was constantly ongoing to eliminate them completely. As the Navigator's hull was the extremely thick and rigid hull initially scheduled for a Soviet spy ship (before the Soviet Union "went out of business"), and as rigid matter tends to conduct vibration more than more flexible matter, total elimination may not be possible. But, as I said, her vibration isn't any different from that I've noticed on many other ships. Now vibration is not the only factor effecting ride quality of a ship, and the same massive hull that makes vibration harder to control carries benefits with it, which I feel outweigh any vibration issue. The very positive information is that she has a low center of gravity, so there is no yaw (side to side tilting) minimal pitch (bow to stern rocking in reaction to waves), no roll or "wallowing", and no darting of the bow from side to side as waves are encountered. So, ALL factors considered, a very good ride in my opinion, and an excellent ride in the opinions of my wife and several other guests. CONDITION OF THE SHIP Perfect. No "deferred maintenance". Looked as new inside and out. Interior decor was a detailed contemporary with art deco influences. The art hanging about the ship was more neo classical. It was for sale, but no tacky art auctions or price tags on them. Sale was done by silent auction or by private dealings with the Art Director. The cabins were all suite, over 300 square feet, and most included a balcony. The bathrooms were large, all marble, with separate tub and shower stall. A true walk in closet was provided. Also included was a living room, much wood trim including crown moldings, cabinets, and Radisson's famous complementary stocked mini bar. There were no odors as on many ships, indicating that the Radisson Company really stresses the overall feel as well as condition of their ships. We did not utilize the hot tub on the pool deck, but we did notice that several guests seemed to be enjoying themselves there. The glass elevators were a nice touch, giving the more sparkling feel of the megaliners, yet in a more intimate manner. We did not utilize the laundry either, but those who did told us there was ample soap and supplies, and the room was kept clean. Incidentally, there were several families traveling with school age children who were all extremely well behaved. I don't know if this was a result of parental influence or the activities Radisson provided for them. Perhaps a bit of both. FOOD Considering our last cruise was on Radisson's Paul Gauguin, she had hard act to follow. But she followed it very well indeed. One dinner in the Portofino Italian restaurant made me realize that I would have to seek lighter fare if I were to remain able to exit the ship through other than the cargo door! I certainly found it in the Compass Rose main restaurant. There was a variety of options, suited to any palate. You could even chose the lean menu, but alas, neither of us could resist the temptation of the regular menu and desserts. My wife had several seafood dishes and indicated they were excellent. Since I do not eat seafood, I choose from the other items. In each case there was always more than one suitable option for me. The open seating for dinner from 7:00 PM to about 9:00 PM is much better than fixed seating, and there was never a line or wait for a table. Also, we always had an option to dine with others, or dine alone. We choice to dine with others when we had a chance, as we meet so many interesting people on the cruise. Our breakfasts were always via room service, the food was also very tasty and quickly delivered. Breakfast in the dining room was reported by others as excellent. Wine, beer, and mixed drinks are included with dinner, as they are at the many cocktail parties on this cruise. For lunch, when we ate, we tried the Portofino grill and the dining room. My wife stated that the crab meat on the buffet in the grill was not to be missed for a seafood lover from Oklahoma. On several days, we skipped lunch and had a lighter fare at the 4:00 PM Teatime in the Galileo lounge. They had small sandwich and desserts, and provided a musician who played either the piano or the harp in the lounge. A very relaxing way to visit and chat with others on the ship. SERVICE Again, outstanding. Our room stewardess Zana and her assistant Leo deserve a special mention in this category. Once we told Zana that we liked bottled water and Diet Coke, she made sure our refrigerator was always full of these. The wait staff was exceptional, and always prompt, courteous and efficient. On one occasion, it seemed to be taking a bit long for our lunch orders to be served at the Compass Rose. The Hotel Director appeared and took care of the problem, and apologized to all guests present, although none of us at the table had expressed a complaint. He had been called in not by a guest, but by the waiters! I feel the true test of performance is not when no difficulties occur, but when they do. The test, then, is in how they are handled. Here, the crew passed with flying colors. Radisson's very high number of crew compared to the number of guests was very much in evidence here. No lines. No crowds. Just great. ITINERARY AND ACTIVITIES Our air was booked through Radisson. On June 18, the day before the cruise, we flew out of Oklahoma City on American to Dallas and transferred to another American flight to Anchorage. There, we were transferred to the Hilton for a good night's sleep and a morning breakfast. We have noted on the other major lines, if your arrival time does not allow you to meet the ships departure time, you are on your own to find and to pay for a hotel room, whereas Radisson provides the room for you-one of their many nice touches that makes the trip more hassle free. When we arrived in Anchorage it was daylight. It is so far north that it never really becomes dark in the summer, so use of the thick drapes in the room was very necessary. About noon the next day, we were put on a bus to Seward. In usual Radisson style, the bus was far larger than required for the number of guests, so there was plenty of room to stretch out for the three hour ride. They could have crammed us all in one bus, but they chose to use more buses so everyone would be more comfortable. There is much impressive scenery on the route, only marred by the fact that the predominant Sitka Spruce evergreen trees are dying from a disease at an alarming rate in that area. But, no dead forests were observed south of Seward on the cruise. Embarkation was quick and easy. After the complimentary champagne at check in, we were shown to our suite, and our luggage was already there. We also had a chilled bottle of champagne waiting for us in our room. Available shore excursions were plentiful. At each port, land, sea, and air observation excursions were usually offered, along with more rigorous activities such as fishing, kayaking, and hiking. The second day (or first full day) was at sea, but was by no means a typical sea day. The ship cruised the Hubbard Glacier while lecturer Terry Breen explained the science of glaciers and a group of Native Americans (called the "First Nation" in this part of the world) explained their heritage and way of life. Scenery was spectacular. After spending some time on the upper deck, sipping the hot-spiced wine they offered, we retired to our room and relaxed on our balcony while listening to the lecturer on channel 10 on the TV in the room. Sitka was visited on the third day. This was an important city in Alaska's Russian past, and we chose to tour the small city on our own, visit historical sites, and shop for gifts in fine shops featuring Russian made goods. Fellow guests reported an excellent experience on the sea otter and whale watching boat excursion. We chose to watch a movie after dinner rather than go to the show on board. When my wife picked up the video for us, she asked the steward in the library where she should sign for the video. He said no signing for it was necessary, as they trusted us completely. Another nice Radisson touch. Juneau was visited for the first part of the fourth day. Here, we went on the whale watching boat experience and saw a fair number of whales, sea otters, bald eagles (with some eaglets), and doll porpoises, along with magnificent scenery. We talked to several other cruisers who indicated that they had been fishing for salmon. They brought the salmon back to the ship and the chef prepared it for them for dinner. The second part of the day was spent on the ship cruising Tracy Arm, where the most impressive glaciers and icebergs of the trip were encountered. We sat leisurely on our balcony, sipping champagne and munching on cheese, fruit and crackers from room service. The balcony was especially great for this part of the trip, (I highly suggest you purchase this upgrade) we wrapped ourselves in blankets and felt like we could almost touch the beautiful blue glacier ice. Skagway was the port of call on the fifth day. Here, we rode the White Pass narrow gauge railway up to White Pass, which was an important route for prospectors during the gold rush. Again, in Radisson style, cars were reserved for Radisson guests only, with plenty of vacant seats to allow guests to switch positions for best view. The rest of the cars on which guests of other ships in port rode were totally packed. This railway tour is also a must see if you enjoy spectacular scenery and are interested in the history of the famous Alaskan gold rush. We also enjoyed our tour of the very historic town of Skagway by a horse drawn carriage. A very nice option you might consider when you are there. Ketchikan was the port on the sixth day. Here, the good weather we had been enjoying failed us, and the all too common Alaska summer rains set in. Once again, you could count on Radisson to be on top of things. They had ample, large umbrellas for everyone when we left the ship. Fortunately, our planned activities were inside for that day; we had been invited by our cruise group (one that our agent is a member of) to a "potlatch". This consisted of a meal of reindeer sausage, salmon and fried bread with blueberry jam and presentation by a group of local Native Americans ("First Nation") on totem pole carving, heritage, dance and music. An extremely interesting day. Cruising the Inside Passage took up the seventh day. This was more of a true sea day than the second day, as the scenery from Ketchican to Vancouver is not as spectacular as that further north. But, this provided a good opportunity to pack for disembarkation the next day and to chat with friends made on the cruise. Also a good chance to relax for us old folks! Disembarkation unfortunately came on the morning of the eighth day, but it was handled seamlessly, and we were quickly taken to the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver.MBR Read Less
I sailed on the Navigator from April 21 to May 5, 2002 from Rio to Fort Lauderdale. Having sailed over 30 times on Crystal, Silversea, Radisson and other lines, I believe the Radisson Seven Seas Navigator is the best ship afloat. The ... Read More
I sailed on the Navigator from April 21 to May 5, 2002 from Rio to Fort Lauderdale. Having sailed over 30 times on Crystal, Silversea, Radisson and other lines, I believe the Radisson Seven Seas Navigator is the best ship afloat. The ship is magnificent, spotless and the service is wonderful. What is not matched by any other cruise line is the Navigator's minimum cabin sizes. The standard cabin measures approximately 10 feet wide by 30 feet long or about 300 square feet. (The Radisson Mariner's cabins are about 250 sq. ft., while the new Radisson Voyager will be 300. The new Crystal Serenity's cabins will be only about 225 sq. ft.) There is plenty of drawer and storage space not only in the closet but also in the bathroom. Such bathroom storage space is almost nonexistent on Crystal ships. The cabin temperature control was excellent as was the shower pressure and temperature consistency. The shower had one knob for volume and the other for temperature which made a lot of sense. The bathroom has a single sink. The sound proofing was very good although some passengers reported that they could hear their noisy neighbors. There is a 19 inch TV/VCR to which you can attach your camcorder, CD player, etc. The TV remote is somewhat of a challenge: the power button is the smallest button in the middle of 36 other buttons. The room stewards were virtually invisible and very fast. They operated on the team concept - two for each room which made it faster and more efficient. The stewards even set the clock on the VCRs with each time change. Their service carts did not seem to clutter the hallways as much as on Silversea. The food was as consistently good as I have experienced on any ship. The one sitting dining when you like was a treat. I even liked the fact that they left the bread on the table so that you did not have to beg for more as on Crystal and Silversea. The wine stewards freely poured the complimentary wines at dinner. They willingly opened another bottle if you did not like the taste of the first. There is fresh orange juice available throughout the ship in the mornings unlike Crystal ships on which they provide fresh orange juice only if you specially request it. The ship has upgraded and improved its internet facilities since I was last on it in 2000. The $1.00 per minute charge is only applied when passengers are actually downloading on the computer so that being on line for a half hour may only cost two or three dollars. Silversea handles charges in this manner, while Crystal charges a flat $1.25 per minute regardless of downloads. The library is open 24 hours and is on the honor system. Silverseas has abolished photographers, art auctions, bingo, etc. Radisson has photographers but they seem to be less obtrusive than on other ships. Radisson has art sales, but they also are very low key. About half of the art displayed on the Navigator's walls is for sale which is somewhat tacky but I guess is better than tripping over the easels in the hallways of many other ships. I may be a bit prejudiced against cruise ship art auctions as we were burned on a prior Navigator art auction - we got the price "down" to three times what I found the identical piece selling for on the internet a few weeks later.) The negatives: At times there was noticeable motor vibration especially in the rear of the ship; the Mariner and the new Voyager are not supposed to have this problem. The vibration was minor and barely worth mentioning. Disembarkation was another negative. They wanted all passengers out of their cabins by 8 a.m., which, to my knowledge, is the earliest of any cruise ship. We didn't quite make 8 a.m., so at 8:10 they burst into our room without knocking, but I glared them down and they retreated. We finally took the hint and went up to one of the bar areas. The RCI Enchantment of the Seas, which holds about 2000 passengers was docked next to us and was empty by 9:40 a.m., while we were still getting off at 10:30. We did have the opportunity to shake the hands of all the corporate brass when we disembarked. Radisson promised those with late flights a "hospitality room" which turned out to be the lobby of a local Embassy Suites hotel. We were given the hotel buffet lunch and were then taken to the Ft. Lauderdale airport where we went through security without a hitch. A few notes about our cruise: We arrived at the Rio de Janeiro airport around 9:00 a.m. for the last leg of the 2002 round the world cruise. We found that Radisson had actually paid for the previous night so we could check into our rooms early. This was quite nice after a long overnight flight. Evidently the ship has a new unwritten early boarding policy which allows passengers to board at noon instead of the "official" time of 3 p.m. The emergency drill was done professionally and without unnecessary delays. This is in contrast to Silversea in which they required passengers sit through advertising for the ship's revenue centers. Certain travel agencies belong to groups that offer free shore excursions. The agency we happened to pick belonged to API or Virtuoso group which has the Voyager Club. I have found the Voyager Club tours to have very good meals, but in my experience the transportation is often barely adequate. On Barbados, for example, we were put on a small bus with extremely limited leg room. It was so crowded that people had to sit on the pull down seats in the aisle of the bus. We were finally rewarded with a great lunch in the elegant Sandy Lane Country Club's restaurant. The tour deadlines were just a half day before the tour, not two days as are most other ships. As all tips are included in the price of the Radisson cruise, there are no extra tips requested for the alternative dining as are required on Crystal. In summary, until the new Seven Seas Voyager is launched, this is the finest cruise ship afloat.donmckenzie@yahoo.comJuly 2002 Read Less
Sail Date: July 2004
Review of Radisson Seven Seas Navigator ~ July 28, 2004 New York to Bermuda Guests: I am in my late thirties and serve as executive director of a charitable foundation. My husband is in his early forties and runs a consulting business. ... Read More
Review of Radisson Seven Seas Navigator ~ July 28, 2004 New York to Bermuda Guests: I am in my late thirties and serve as executive director of a charitable foundation. My husband is in his early forties and runs a consulting business. We have been on 15 previous cruises together, mostly on Princess and Celebrity to the Caribbean. Pre-Cruise: We departed Atlanta for New York the day before the cruise. This turned out to be wise, as we were delayed due to heavy storms on the way to Newark. After a 90-minute ground hold, our flight was released and was the last to land before Newark was closed for 3 hours later in the evening. We used Marriott Reward miles for a complimentary night at the New York Marriott Financial District. By the time we arrived, it was late and pouring outside, so we had a quick dinner at 85 West, the hotel bar/casual restaurant. Prior to making our way to the pier on Wednesday, we took a walking tour of Ground Zero, Wall Street and the Battery Park area. We had not been to New York since the 9/11 attacks, and the hole where the World Trade Center had been was a sobering reminder of the tragedy. Also, we noted a high degree of police presence around the NYSE, including guards with body armor and automatic weapons. (And this was the Wednesday before the terror alerts were issued on Sunday.) After a short cab ride to the pier, we were ready to board the Navigator. Embarkation: We arrived at the pier around 12:30 and were checked in with no waiting. A member of the ship's crew escorted us on board, where we were met with a glass of champagne, and directed to the Portofino Grill Restaurant for a buffet lunch. This was to be the beginning of a week of wonderful cuisine and service on the Navigator. On Princess and Celebrity cruises, we studiously avoid the buffet areas, because of the chaotic atmosphere. On the Navigator, the ratio of servers was much higher and the experience was much more relaxed. Since our suite was not yet ready, we left our carry luggage at the Reception Desk and ventured back off the ship to explore the USS Intrepid museum, which was located on the next pier. Although the flight deck was closed in preparation for Bobby Knievel's jump, to be televised on Saturday, we found the rest of the museum to be informative and entertaining. From there we were able to hear the Navigator's announcement that the suites were ready and headed back to the ship around 2:45. Suite: We had booked the ship's minimum accommodation, a Cat H oceanview suite on Deck 5. Having previously sailed in balcony staterooms and mini-suites on Princess and Celebrity, we found our suite on Radisson to exceed those accommodations in every respect (with the exception of the absence of the balcony.) We had been worried that we would miss having a balcony, but actually only wished for one the day we sailed from Bermuda. The suite was 301 sq. ft. and was separated into a bedroom and living area by a heavy curtain. The marble bathroom included a tub with hand-held and stationery faucet and a glass shower. One minor annoyance was the uneven water pressure and varying water temperature. After being scalded during my first shower, I used the tub for the rest of the voyage. The walk-in closet was more than ample for a week's worth of clothes and offered a tie rack, eight drawers and numerous hooks and shelves. It also had a safe which allowed you to set your own combination. A real plus to me were the real wooden hangers. The bedroom area had a king-size bed with an assortment of pillows and duvet cover. Although the bed was very comfortable, the pillows needed to be replaced. Night stands with two drawers and individual reading lights were on each side of the bed. The living area contained a long sofa, cocktail table and two small barrel chairs. On the opposite wall was a built-in cabinet holding a TV (with VCR), four additional drawers, a writing desk and bar setup. We requested our two complimentary bottles of liquor before going to dinner and they arrived with our turn-down that evening. A small fridge underneath contained 1 large and 2 small bottles of water, 2 Cokes, 2 diet Cokes, 2 7-Ups, 2 Club Soda, 2 Tonic Water and 2 Heinekens. All except the beer were replenished each day as they were consumed. Our cabin stewardess and her assistant (Jane and Stanley) were most efficient and unobtrusive. Sailing from New York: The sail away from New York Harbor was breathtaking and WINDY! The atmosphere was very festive, with the bar staff serving complimentary rum punch. (Lucky for me, that is my customary sail away beverage on every cruise!) As we stood near the bow watching the sights go by, we began to notice how many families with children were on board. Quick contextual note: We have an 11-year-old daughter, but made arrangements to go on this cruise without her due to our perception of the more adult, elegant and sophisticated atmosphere of Radisson Seven Seas Cruises. We like kids, but expect them to behave in a manner appropriate for their surroundings. We later learned that this voyage was a "Kids Under 17 Sail Free Promotion." There were 62 children on a ship with a normal capacity of 490. This is around the same ratio that Princess employs as the maximum number of children allowed on one of its ships. However, the big difference was that the Navigator had no dedicated facilities for children. Although they had 2 youth counselors on board, only about a third of the kids participated in the planned activities, leaving the rest to roam the ship with minimal supervision from their parents. The ship's security officers attempted to keep them under control, but were clearly outnumbered. Did the disruption caused by a number of unruly children ruin our cruise?? No way, the rest of the experience was too exceptional for that to happen. However, I would definitely check to make sure I was not sailing on the "Kids Sail Free" trip again. (The other dates for this season are the August 25 and September 1 sailings to Bermuda.) Dining: I can't think of enough superlatives to use to describe our dining experience on the Navigator. Each and every meal was a highlight! Standout items for me were: Eggs Florentine and Benedict, Beef Wellington, Seafood Newburg, Rack of Lamb and Almond Souffle with Vanilla Sauce. My husband loved the Lobster Tails and Chateaubriand. All of the appetizers, salads and soups were delicious. The desserts did not appeal to me as much, so I usually had cheese instead. I like white wine and hubby likes red, so which bottle to order usually becomes a negotiation. On Celebrity, we usually order one of each, since they are great about saving the remainder for the next night. Radisson has solved this problem with serving a house red and house white each evening free of charge. Service in the Compass Rose dining room and Portofino Grill was exceptional and unobtrusive. We never had any wait for a table for two. On the frequent occasions that my husband was having a hard time deciding between two entrEe choices, the waiters brought the one he ordered, along with a sample of the other. (Without being asked.) After the first night, the sommeliers remembered our wine preferences, and the waiters remembered that I drink regular coffee and hubby sticks to decaf. The Pool Grill served the usual fare of hamburgers, etc, with the addition of a poolside buffet. The Fish al Fresco and Tex Mex buffets were both very good. We were never in the mood to eat at tea time, but the pastries looked superb. Each night, there was a selection of canapEs in the lounges before dinner, which were a great accompaniment for our pre-dinner cocktail. Because we had read so many complaints about vibration at the aft of the vessel, we made reservations for Portofino (which is converted to the Italian alternative restaurant in the evening) for Saturday evening, which we would be docked in Hamilton. It was a fun, less formal, dining experience. The food was very delicious Northern Italian fare. The daily special that day was Osso Bucco with Risotto, which was as good as any I have had. Although each suite is limited to one reservation in Portofino per cruise, we were able to walk up and get a table on the last night, as they were not full. Bermuda: I can't comment much on the shopping, as my husband had us fully scheduled with activities during the hours the shops were open. (Coincidence? I suspect not!) Friday: Navigator docked promptly at 9:00. It was a national holiday (for the cricket Cup Match), so many shops were closed, and the bus/ferry system was operating on the holiday schedule. We took the 11:45 ferry to Somerset Bridge to get to Blue Water Diving at Robinson's Marina. Enjoyed a one-tank dive on Blue Hole, which featured a long swim-through. We returned to Hamilton via bus just in time to shower and get back off for the Chelonia Sunset Cruise. If you enjoy catamarans, cocktails, gourmet appetizers and interesting commentary from a captain whose family has lived in Bermuda for 200 years, this shore excursion is for you! Saturday: Caught the 7:15 (am!!) bus back out to Blue Water Divers for a two-tank dive. Our first site was the Badlands and Bad Caves. It is a large expanse of coral, with outcropping of fossilized algae (I think) forming overhangs that were interesting to swim through. The current was very strong, and we ended up a LONG way from the boat. Second site was the wreck of L'Hermine, a French battleship that ran aground. Although the wooden hull is long gone, there were 50+ cannons and a huge anchor. We took the bus to Horseshoe Bay, which is a beautiful beach, with very nice changing facilities. We were a little hesitant to swim, since the waves were crashing strongly over submerged rocks. Since we are not big "beach people", we enjoyed a long walk up and down the beach, then were back on the bus to Hamilton. The extent of my shopping in Bermuda was from 5:30 to 6:00 that day. My favorite store was Trimingham's, which seemed like Bermuda's version of Macy's. We found good souvenirs there and at Onion Jack's Trading Post. Sunday: The threat of high winds prevented us from repositioning to St. George's for the day. The ship provided bus passes for those of us who wanted to go over on our own. We were scheduled to play 18 holes at St. George's Club, but cut back to 11 to allow plenty of travel time to get back to the ship. Frank Thomas, the golf pro on board, encouraged us to play, even though we had not planned on it when we packed. St. George's Club is a par 62 course, with all par 3 and 4 holes. The course is tight, with some great views over the ocean. Although there are undoubtedly better courses in Bermuda, this one was fun for a beginner and a 10 handicap to play together. The course had a very casual atmosphere, and we were not self-conscious playing in our tennis shoes with rental clubs. Also, the price was very reasonable. Shortly after the ship sailed, the Captain announced that Tropical Storm Alex was approaching Cape Hatteras and was expected to reach Hurricane Force. Instead of sailing to Norfolk, VA as scheduled, we sailed to Newport, RI to avoid the storm. This was fine for us, since we would still get back to New York as scheduled. However, it created great complications for those who expected to disembark in Norfolk. Most of them stayed on the ship an extra night and disembarked in New York. The cruise line provided motor coach transportation back to Norfolk on Wednesday. Newport: This unexpected diversion ended up being delightful for us. We toured The Breakers, the 138,000 square foot summer home of the Vanderbilt family. From there, we could see the Cliff Walk, a 3.5 mile pathway along the cliffs. We figured that we were about 2 miles from the end, where we could pick up the trolley to ride back downtown. After walking for about 20 minutes along a nice wide walkway on top of the sea wall with great views of some of the other mansions, we encountered a sign warning that it was 2 miles until the next exit. No problem, we thought, we can easily walk 2 miles. After another 30 minutes of increasingly rocky terrain, we came to a sign that said "Next ¾ mile is very uneven. Turn back if you are unsure of your capabilities." Boy, we're glad we wore tennis shoes, we thought, and forged ahead. It took us another 45 minutes or so of climbing up and down the rocks to make it to the end. The Cliff Walk turned out to be another fun adventure for us, but might have posed a problem for people with physical limitations. Since we entered the walk in the middle we missed signs advising of the length and level of difficulty. The best views of the mansions and easiest walk was between Salve Regina University and the "Next Exit 2 miles" sign. Random thoughts on random topics: Bermuda Bus/Ferry System: We found this to be a great way to see the island, and it was clean, safe and economical. (I was too much of a chicken to rent mopeds and drive on the left.) We purposely chose different routes each way so that we could see as much of the island as possible. By the end of the three days, we had covered all but the Dockyards area. Note: Although there is a stop in front of Horseshoe Bay, it's a pretty long walk down (and back up, of course!) a hill to get to the beach. Diving in Bermuda: We have done most of our previous diving in the Southern Caribbean. I like the fact that all of our dives in Bermuda were more shallow (between 30 and 40 ft. max), and we saw some very interesting coral formations and shipwrecks. However the abundance and variety of sea life and color is far superior in the Southern Caribbean, IMO. Vibration: Much has been written about vibration at the aft end of the Navigator. It was very pronounced while the ship was underway in the Portofino Grill on deck 10 and the Seven Seas Show Lounge on deck 7. I can only imagine that it would have been felt in the aft passenger accommodations as well. Our cabin was near midships on deck 5, and there was no vibration or perceptible noise at all. I think this must bother some people more than others. We noticed the vibration in Portofino, but were not concerned. However, the couple at the table next to us asked to be moved to a table more midships to avoid it. Is Radisson Seven Seas really "all-inclusive"?: The only things that we signed for were shore excursions, shop purchases, photographs and a few beers by the pool. Although we don't typically drink during the day, we enjoy our pre-dinner cocktails and wine with dinner. The en suite bar setup and complimentary wine with dinner eliminated a pretty sizable line item on other cruises. Also, it just seems right that all soft drinks, juice and bottled water should be included. None of the staff seemed to expect tipping, which created a much more relaxed and genuine interaction with them. Photographs: The photo shop offered a "Cruise Memories" special whereby one could purchase ALL photos taken during the cruise for $99. This was a great way to avoid making decisions! As you can tell, we loved the Navigator and would recommend it highly! P.S. Upon our return to Atlanta, I spoke with our travel agent (who has booked at least our last dozen cruises). She was unaware of the "Kids Sail Free" promotion, but did not seem surprised. Apparently, Crystal Cruises initiated the practice. In any event, she said that she would call the Radisson District Sales Manager to register our concern. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2005
Pre-Cruise - At the Sleep Inn Yesterday we flew from Portland to Ft. Lauderdale. We got up at 4 am PST for a 6:45 am flight and arrived at out hotel at 6:30 pm EST. We had a free Frequent Flyer flight on Southwest which involved 2 stops ... Read More
Pre-Cruise - At the Sleep Inn Yesterday we flew from Portland to Ft. Lauderdale. We got up at 4 am PST for a 6:45 am flight and arrived at out hotel at 6:30 pm EST. We had a free Frequent Flyer flight on Southwest which involved 2 stops before we got to Ft. Lauderdale. Last month we flew to New York non-stop on Continental and even though Southwest had more stops (2) and hassles, ultimately it was a more comfortable flight than Continental. My back started hurting the minute I sat down on Continental. The Southwest seats were slightly wider and had lumbar support. To entertain ourselves we brought our laptop computer and some DVDs (Harvey and Shattered Glass) and that really helped to pass the time. We had chosen to stay at the Sleep Inn & Suites, Ft. Lauderdale International Airport . We were able to use Choice Privileges points for a free night. (This is an excellent reward program. We also converted some Choice Privileges points to Southwest in order to get our free flights.) The Sleep Inn had a free shuttle which picked us up at the airport within about 15 minutes after we called. The hotel is very attractive and our room is quite comfortable - looks a bit like some of the new Holiday Inn Expresses we have seen in our frequent activity of me dragging Mary to look at hotels. Free high-speed internet is included (thus this post). I had to give them a $5 deposit for a cable. The wireless up in the room is completely useless. We ordered dinner from Hunan Wok, a Chinese restaurant across the street, and they delivered it to us in less than 15 minutes. It was inexpensive and good. Mary said her chicken egg food young was the best she'd ever had. I don't know if it really was or if things just taste better when you're as exhausted as we were. I ordered something called Triple Delight which was prawns, chicken, beef, and vegetables and it was quite good also. There is also an Italian restaurant within walking distance. After a night's sleep (we went to bed at 10 pm quite easily even though that was only 7 pm in Portland) we can report that the bed and pillows were quite comfortable. Mary woke up this morning at 5 am and went down to the lobby to read. She says the chairs down there were very comfortable also. When I woke up, there was a Miami Herald outside our door and they had a free breakfast downstairs. Though there wasn't really anything I wanted at the buffet, it included waffles, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, cold cereal in cute little boxes, sweet rolls, toast, bagels, apples, and three juices (two sugary tropical drinks and orange juice.) Mary reports that the gravy was good but lukewarm; the oatmeal was good. I went to Walgreen's (which is very conveniently located across the parking lot) and bought myself some apple juice. It is hot and humid here. I think it's kind of neat - Mary not so much. My three complaints about the Sleep Inn: 1. the windows don't open - I don't like having to sleep all night with the air conditioner on. 2. there was some construction nearby and when I was falling asleep I kept hearing a beeping noise that sounded like a truck backing up (Mary couldn't hear it and wished I would stop waking her up.) There's a slight possibility that the beeping noise was my laptop battery dying. 3. Though we're on a non-smoking floor, people are clearly smoking down the hall from us. We can't tell in the room, but it really smells in the hallway. I don't know how much hotels can do about that. Personally, if I ran a hotel, there would be some hefty fines for smoking in a non-smoking room. Overall, this is a great place to stay for the night before a cruise when all you need is some food and a bed. They have a free shuttle to the cruiseport. They'll take us there at noon, and we will begin our cruise! Day 1 - Leaving Ft. Lauderdale After a lovely relaxing morning, we went down to the Sleep Inn lobby at noon to catch the free shuttle to the cruiseport. I had two days worth of the Miami Herald, 1 USA Today, and somehow I had talked Mary into carrying my bags of carrots and turkey which I planned to eat on the shuttle. However, the shuttle driver enjoyed driving fast and then making very abrupt stops (he would make a perfect Tri-Met bus driver) so I did not eat, and we were both probably more carsick on the way to the cruiseport than we would ever be seasick on the cruise itself. It took a while to get to the cruiseport, as we had to first drive around the airport twice - once to drop off some passengers, then to pick up some others. At the cruiseport we were met at the curb by very friendly Radisson representatives and a baggage handler who surprised us by hitting us up for a tip after taking our bags. (This was in front of huge signs that said, "Workers are salaried. Tipping not required." It was also quite surprising given Radisson's no-tipping policy.) We tipped him a dollar a bag. Inside the large cruise port as we were trying to figure out where to go, a Radisson representative approached us and said, "May I help you? Are you in transit? Are you working on the ship?" I must say, that given our tendency to be concerned that we don't fit into these classy settings in the first place, this was not the best way to begin the cruise. However, Mary was dressed a little more casually than I was, and was, unfortunately, still carrying my bags of carrots and turkey. This probably did not help us in our hopes to look like we fit in. Next time, we will definitely avoid carrying little bags of food onto the ship. That woman was the ONLY Radisson employee who ever treated us as if we didn't belong. The woman who checked us in was very nice and acted as if it was nothing when the carrots leaked on the counter as we were being photographed and given our plastic room cards. These cards were in lovely leatherette cases and also functioned as credit cards during the cruise, as well as serving as our identification for getting on and off the ship. There was no photo on them, but when the security person swiped the card, she would see a photo of us on her screen. We boarded the ship to extremely welcoming Radisson representatives, were each given a glass of champagne, and directed to Deck 10 where there was a buffet at the Portofino Grill and hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, salad, etc, poolside. I spent the first few hours looking at the other passengers and saying things like, "They don't look any better than us. I wonder if THEY were asked if they were working on the ship!" (Mary has just interrupted me to say that she wonders if there's something a little classiest about being offended because they thought we were working on the ship. I suppose there could be, but mostly I was offended because we were clearly heading towards the line to check in, and the woman made an assumption that we didn't belong there. ) I tend to get very sensitive about these things, while Mary just thought it was funny. It probably took me about two days to realize that we basically fit in just fine. Later when I saw Patrick Swayze (more about that later - I just thought I'd begin with some name-dropping) he looked more casual than we did. Was HE asked if he was working on the ship? Anyway, we sat down to eat, and by now I was making a big effort to hide the turkey and carrots inside the newspapers. (Mary had thrust them back at me immediately after the carrot leaking incident at check-in.) I forced Mary to move tables when I came back from selecting my food inside and found that a woman was smoking right next to us and the smoke was coming directly at us. I'll talk more later about Radisson's smoking policy, which I think could be improved. For now, I'll say that now I was all worked up about the smoking AND the fact that in my mind we clearly didn't fit in on this ship, and poor Mary had to suffer as she always does when we begin our vacations and I worry about every little thing for the first day or so. For lunch, I had, from the buffet inside: fresh roasted turkey, salmon, salad with virgin olive oil and lime dressing, roast potatoes, and potato salad. Mary ate from the pool grill — hamburger (no bun), french fries, caesar salad from salad bar, fresh fruit, potato salad, and "exotic cold fruit soup" Mary loved her fruit soup. After lunch, Mary wanted to explore and begin photographing the ship. I wanted to do all the things I had read one must do when first boarding the ship, so I forced Mary to go to various places, all the time exhorting her to hurry, hurry, hurry. We went up to the spa and stood in line for about 15 minutes or so to get spa appointments. We made our appointments for Tuesday afternoon. The cost was $110 for a 5o minute massage, certainly higher than we would pay on land, but we thought it would be lovely. If you made the reservation for a morning when the ship was in port, you would get an additional 15 minutes for the same price. However, we wanted our massages right before dinner. After we booked the massages, Mary said to me, "Come here, I want to show you something." I knew she didn't want to show me something, but someone as she had been whispering to me earlier and I had no idea what she was saying. She asked me to look at the man who had been behind us in line and said, "Could that be Elaine's boyfriend from Seinfeld?" It couldn't be Elaine's boyfriend, but it did look very much like the actor who played Elaine's boss, J. Peterman. She said his voice sounded like the actor's voice also. We would encounter him quite a bit in the next few days, and if we had known the actor's name, John O'Hurley, I might have asked him if that was who he was. But for now, we would just have to wonder. Next we went to the library. I was not overly impressed with the selection of books. They were mostly older best-sellers, very little literary fiction, a few old magazines, but there were a lot of books, and I'm sure if I hadn't brought books to read, I would have found something to interest me. There was a very impressive selection of travel books, and a very large number of videotapes. We never borrowed any of those as there were several good movies playing on the tv channels in the cabin. Finally, we went to the Portofino Grill, the alternative restaurant and made reservations for dinner that night at 6:30. After that we toured the entire ship and Mary began her photographic documentary. Suite 525 - M/S Seven Seas Navigator At 3:00 we were allowed to enter our suite. I was dismayed to discover that on one side of us we had two or three giggling teenage girls (though generally Radisson cruisers are older - I've heard most are in their 60s or 70s - we had managed to book a Spring Break cruise) and on the other side of us were smokers. The hallway often stunk of smoke, but they are constantly cleaning the ship, so it only smelled when someone was actually smoking or had just smoked. The suite was lovely. In the sitting area was a champagne bucket with our welcome bottle of champagne, and an orchid on a side table. Our luggage was on the bed on top of a plastic cover to keep the bedspread clean. There was plenty of room in the walk-in closet for our clothes - lots of hangers, and a dresser with 6 or 8 drawers. The safe in the closet was not large enough for our laptop computer, but it worked fine for everything else we considered valuable. There were also a lot of drawers and storage space throughout the room - more than we used. We unpacked immediately and made ourselves at home. Very shortly, Noel, our steward, came to introduce himself to us. He was worried at first that they had configured the bed wrong (as a queen instead of two twins) but we assured him that was correct. He asked us what we would like in our bar setup, and told us he would "take good care" of us. Indeed he did. Throughout the cruise he was attentive, sweet, and unobtrusive. He kept our refrigerator stocked with water and ginger ale, which we had told him we preferred. We got totally spoiled with the twice-a-day service. Our room was always clean and well-stocked, and he seemed to know without us telling him when we were in or out of the room, so we never had to wait around for service and only a few times did we have to get out of his way so he could clean the room. It was so wonderful to always have clean, dry towels, even if we showered twice in one day. Noel was in the hallway all day long cleaning people's rooms and always stopped to make brief conversation with us as we came or left. When we were separated he would sometimes report where the other person was. Once as I searched the ship for Mary and finally returned to the room, Noel reported from the hallway, "Your partner is in there. She just got back." I know it may sound a little big-brotherish, but it didn't feel that way. It was actually quite sweet. The window in the room was smaller than it had looked in the photos. One thing we did regret was not booking a balcony. We tried to upgrade once we got on the ship, but the ship was full. If you are lying on the bed or even sitting in the sitting area, you can only see the sky out the window. The window was too high to see the ocean from a seated position, and I would have liked to have been able to sit and watch the ocean. Also, a balcony is the only way to get fresh air into your room. Of course, with smokers next door, we probably would not have been getting fresh air. The bathroom was very big - separate tub and shower. We were supplied with cottonballs, q-tips, shower caps, and the following Aveda toiletries: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, and lotion. The shower had a hand-held shower massage which I loved. Because of the slope of the ship, it didn't always totally drain while I was showering, but I can't imagine that anything can be done about that. There were always two bath towels, two wonderfully large bath sheets, two hand towels, and two washcloths. There was also plenty of storage space in the bathroom for our own toiletries. The sheets and pillowcases were also lovely - very soft and pretty. Initially we had four down pillows. We requested two additional firm pillows and received them immediately. They weren't terribly firm - Mary always needed me to tell her which pillows were the firm ones and which ones the down - but I was happy with them. The beds had no top sheet but a down duvet, which was tucked in at the bottom. We are used to a larger duvet - at home we have a king size on a queen size bed - so sometimes we fought a bit over who had more covers, but in general it was lovely. The bed configuration, two twin beds pressed together, was a little strange - sometimes they separated a bit in the middle, but it was okay. Mary did not like the bedspread on top of the duvet. It was a bit worn-looking and not soft or beautiful. In general, Mary's impression of the ship was that some things were a bit more worn-down than she would have expected, but that overall the ship was also more beautiful than she had expected. There was a tv and a vcr in the room. We never used the vcr other than to look at the time on the clock. Whenever there was a time change, Noel also changed the time on the vcr, a detail which I very much appreciated. There were 16 channels on the tv. Mary's favorites were a live view from the bridge and a map showing our location and where we were heading. These two channels played music to accompany the video: "Pop, Big Band and Light Jazz" and "Classical Music". The other channels included CNN International, ESPN International, TNT International, In Port Shopping Information, Future Cruise Presentation, Documentary Channel (which actually seemed to be the view from the ship's bridge), Port and Tour Talk, CNBC, Onboard Promotions and three movie channels. I really liked the movie channels. Each day there were three different movies to choose from and they ran (for free) at various times throughout the day. We watched Kinsey and Birth. I thought Birth, which Mary slept through, was really stupid. We both enjoyed Kinsey. (I missed the first 30 minutes or so.) There was a clip on the outside of the cabin door where messages and invitations were left. I loved this. It kind of reminded me of living in a dorm room in college and looking for messages on my whiteboard. Every morning a daily satellite news sheet would be clipped to the door. The news was usually a day old or so, but I quite enjoyed it. At the end of the cruise, I discovered that there were different editions of this satellite news sheet depending on what country you were from. On the last day I picked up the British edition where the headline was about Prince Charles hating the press rather than about Terri Schiavo which was our headline all week long. Our First Evening on the Ship Around 6 pm we put on our grown-up clothes and went to the sail away party. Here, the cruise director, Sam Perry, introduced key personnel, and the ship's orchestra, The Navigator Five, played. I learned very quickly that it is a bad idea to buy brand new sandals for a cruise and not break them in beforehand. The snacks at the sail away party were very good: fresh fruit, shrimp in an ice sculpture, satay - chicken, shrimp and beef - little sandwiches, and many trays of rum punch making the rounds. As we pulled away from the dock and headed off to sea, we were instructed to wave to the residents of an apartment building as we passed by - they apparently expect it and waved back. We thought that was very fun. We went to the the Portofino Grill for dinner, where the theme was Italian Steakhouse. There we were lavished with attention, and we loved the staff. The meal began with an antipasto buffet - salad, artichoke hearts, grilled vegetables, tomato and mozzarella drizzled with pesto - very delicious. Mary's entree was a huge New York steak, and my entree was grilled shrimp. They made some vegetables especially for us with no butter. They were very good. Mary could see how foodies would find things to be disappointed in, but as we're not foodies, we were very satisfied. Mary had both white and red wine with dinner, I only had white. We had two waiters, a wine steward, the sommelier and the head waiter helping us order and checking on us often, as well as the strolling guitar player Roberto Rossini. Everyone was very friendly and genuine. I startled Arlene, the wine steward, by telling her that I recognized her because I had seen her picture on the internet and read about her on I told her I would find the link for her so she could see what I meant. We enjoyed the Portofino food, atmosphere and service so much we made another reservation for Thursday (the last night of the cruise.) After dinner, we strolled around the ship, headed back to our room and shed our skirts so they wouldn't wrinkle (we planned to head back out). Mary was using the facilities, and I was lounging on the bed when we heard a strange noise. We were in the process of trying to figure out what it was, when Noel the steward walked in - it was the doorbell. Mary slammed the bathroom door, and I threw on Mary's skirt (which did NOT match my top.) Noel presented us with our liquor request, a bottle of chardonnay and a bottle of champagne (neither of which we ever touched - they would both come home in Mary's suitcase, making it very close to exceeding the 50 lb. weight limit.) I said to Noel, "Oh, we were wondering what that funny little noise was." He laughed and said, "It's the doorbell." Then he rang it a couple more times and said, "The doorbell, see?" We got dressed and turned in a coupon to get a free $5 table bet to add to a minimum $5 bet at the casino. But we didn't play. We checked out the stores - nothing to write home about. I called it a night, and Mary went up on deck 12 to watch the full moon, then to the Seven Seas Lounge to the advertised "Big Band Night" featuring the Navigator 5. (Mary likes Big Band music, plus was curious how 5 could be a Big Band. Apparently, they can't.) She said it was more earnest than good. They didn't actually play Big Band music, but standards from the 50's to 80's. She was asked to dance by the gentleman host, but I believe she turned him down. She enjoyed the show, especially watching the few people who were dancing. Later in the cruise she would comment to me, "Apparently the only men on this ship who know how to dance are the gentleman hosts," as there were generally only two couples dancing at any given time - the gentleman hosts and whomever they had asked to dance. Mary said there was a very sparse turnout for the show, though more were coming in as she was leaving. She thought it was a very low profile for an opening night. We were both in bed by 10 pm. Day 2 - At Sea Our first night at sea, I slept great, Mary not so great. At some point very early in the morning, Mary went out on deck while I continued to sleep. Then she came back and we both slept. We were awakened by a strange noise. Mary said, "What's that noise?" but I remembered from my lesson yesterday. I glanced at the clock, threw on a robe (lovely bathrobes provided by Radisson) and answered the door. It was room service delivering the 4 glasses of pineapple juice which we had asked to be delivered at 9 am. I took it and then began grumbling to Mary, "Well, I guess it's okay to have our 9 am room service delivered at 7 am!" I had read that room service didn't always get the orders right. I was very shocked when Mary told me it was 9 am. I hadn't slept that late in ages! We had our juice and then had to go to the Compass Rose to give them our menu choices for the evening. Because we both had special dietary needs, a menu came to our door late every evening and we would circle what we wanted and return it by 10 am the next morning. Then they would prepare our requests without using wheat, dairy or sugar. We had planned to eat breakfast at the Compass Rose but we didn't realize they closed at 9:30. In the restaurants a waiter would always take the woman's arm and lead the couple to their table. In our case, I was the one whose arm usually got taken - I think because I generally started out doing most of the talking. Occasionally a second waiter was rustled up to escort Mary also. This morning a waiter took my arm and escorted us through the restaurant, out the other door, and to the elevator where he directed us to the Portofino Grill which was still open. We found this quite amusing, especially as I was talking at him and waving the menus around while he was escorting me. (We're SO much more sophisticated now, a week later, than we were when we started this cruise!) Up at Portofino, Mary had scrambled eggs, a hash brown patty, and fruit. I had watermelon (it mostly tasted like water) and pineapple juice. Mary was disappointed that they only had what seemed like frozen hash brown patties and never "real" hash browns. While we were gone, Noel had cleaned our room and given us ginger ale and water for our refrigerator. Mary had spilled on herself at breakfast. This was to be a constant occurrence throughout the cruise, though she says she got better later on as she got her sea legs (I can't say I noticed this.) She went to do a load of laundry in the launderette right down the hall. The washers, driers, and detergent were free. The detergent was in a machine hooked up to the washer by a tube. You started the washer and then pushed a button which dispensed detergent into the machine through the tube. It was great fun. We did laundry almost every day. (There were also lovely irons in the laundry room.) We spent the morning reading and lying around, and then went to lunch. There was a selection of grilled fish at the pool grill: salmon, tuna, halibut and grouper. We went into Portofino and got fixings from the salad bar, and they brought us vegetables and potatoes that had not been cooked in butter. They were delicious. I sat down and Mary went outside and got fish for both of us. They were all very good. Mary especially liked the grouper, and we both agreed it was very brave of her to try it (she's not much of a seafood girl). After lunch we walked around outside a bit, then came back to the room. We watched some of the NCAA women's basketball tournament on tv, then I read and Mary fell asleep. Mary woke up and went out on Deck 12, which was the top deck. She brought her MP3 player with her, and stood where there weren't any people and the wind was loud. Then she sang outloud with her MP3 player because no one could hear her. She had a great time. While she was singing on deck, I was sleeping. I spent a lot of time napping the first 4 days of the cruise. I was getting over the flu, and still pretty tired. Most of the activities I wanted to do I missed because I was sleeping. But hey, you can't knock sleeping. It's an excellent activity in itself. At 5:30 we went to the library to ask the computer instructor what to do about our laptop that wouldn't turn on. I kind of vaguely remembered what to do, but not exactly and he told us: remove the battery and then turn it on without the battery. That worked. Throughout the cruise we had problems with the electricity in our cabin, though. The laptop was very erratic the entire time, constantly going into hibernate mode for no reason, and the battery charger for our camera wouldn't work at all. (Both of these problems were gone once we were off the ship.) As we returned to our cabin, people were walking about in their formal wear in anticipation of the captain's welcome party and formal night. Not us. We went back to the room and ordered room service drinks: a bottle of Pellegrino, a glass of pineapple juice, and a cup of decaf coffee. We sort of watched the sunset through our window (in order to see it we had to stand the whole time.) For dinner, we had room service. I had a citrus and avocado salad, steamed vegetables, and salmon. The avocado was kind of hard and not very tasty - the salad was okay. Everything was good, not great. Mary had a tomato, blue cheese and basil salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing, mushroom soup which she said was very yummy, and boneless breast of chicken which she described as simple, but very moist. She was very happy. They didn't bring us any wine and we didn't ask since one of the room service people was sick and they were overworked and understaffed. They said they would bring us gluten-free bread, but then the head waiter called and apologized that there wasn't any yet, but that starting the next day there would be gluten free bread available for us every day, breakfast, lunch and dinner, in every restaurant in the ship. And so it was (other than the pool grill) and there were a number of waiters who took great pleasure in asking us, the moment we sat down, if we would like our gluten free bread. After dinner, we went up to the pool deck so we would be out of Noel's way while he did our turndown. It was completely deserted, which was lovely. We looked at the moon and spied on people in their formal wear. And that was our formal night. Day 3 - Easter Sunday with Stingrays on Grand Turk Today was Easter Sunday and there were wonderful displays of chocolate easter bunnies and candy eggs, all over the ship (Strangely, the somewhat disconcerting watermelon carvings of Jesus and Mary wouldn't turn up until the following Tuesday). We had room service breakfast, and then went on the Swimming With Stingrays excursion. We tendered to Grand Turk, a tiny scrub of beach. A little band was playing and there were two or three people selling things. We met our tour operators who took us to Gibbs Cay on a skiff. There, they set up umbrellas on the beach, put out a cooler of drinks and a bucket of masks and snorkels, and we swam in the ocean while they tried to entice the stingrays to come in. There wasn't much to see in the ocean, but Mary learned that if you floated face down near the shore, you would be surrounded by schools of little tiny white fish. That was very cool. (I learned, later on that day, to reapply my sunscreen and wear a shirt over my bathing suit. BAD sunburn!) We each had an underwater camera. Mary used up all the shots on hers almost immediately, taking pictures of white fish against the white sand. Mary says, "I'm sure the results will be spectacular." (We haven't developed this film yet, which also went through x-ray on the way back to Portland. I haven't even taken all the photos in my camera.) It had been over an hour with no stingrays and I had figured we weren't going to see any, when they finally got one stingray to come visit us. Everyone headed over to the stingray and the tour operators handed out dead fish to anyone who wanted to feed the stingray. The stingray was extremely sociable, doing an excellent job of making the rounds of the people, brushing up against them. He was a bit slimy on top, very soft on his underside. I fed him three times. The first two times I got a little freaked out and dropped the fish before it got to his mouth (which is on his underside). The third time he sucked it out of my hand. It was a really strange sensation. I loved this excursion, visiting with the stingray, and swimming in the ocean. I hadn't swum in the ocean since I was eleven years old, and thanks to the sunburn I was getting, I wouldn't for the rest of the cruise. Oh well, live and learn, I hope. On the tender back to the ship, I sat across from the possible Seinfeld actor. There were people on the tender from all different excursions, and a woman asked us how the swimming with stingrays was. I held up one finger and said, "Swimming with stingray." The possible Seinfeld actor commented that as it was Easter Sunday, the others probably were busy elsewhere. We had lunch at the Portofino grill, which was actually very crowded with a fairly long line and some alarmist people saying there was no place to sit. (This actually wasn't true.) At the pool grill they had a Mexican fiesta, which also had a very long line. This was the only time on the entire cruise that we encountered long lines for food, and I don't know if it was because they had advertised an Easter Sunday buffet, or if everyone just came back from Grand Turk at the same time. Before dinner, Mary wanted to check out a show that was the cruise director singing Frank Sinatra songs. I begged to leave after three songs, and she conceded. She mentioned to me that he reminded her of an unfunny Jack McFarland (from Will and Grace) and this made me laugh. Later on one other passenger said that the cruise director reminded him of Jack McFarland. We weren't fond of the cruise director as he seemed a little too showy and pleased with himself, but I believe we were in the minority in that opinion. We went to the photo shop to see if they could sell us something to clean a smudge off our camera (if you look closely, you'll see the smudge on most of our photos ), and he didn't have anything, but we stood around looking at photos of everyone from formal night and eventually he brought out a photo to show us of all the celebrities on board. Now we learned that Mary is great at spotting celebrities. The guy we thought might be from Seinfeld was actually the guy from Seinfeld. The other celebrity pointed out to us was Patrick Swayze. Apparently others in the photo were also celebrities, but we didn't recognize anyone else, and neither did the ship's photographer. We had dinner at the Compass Rose with four other couples. It was our first attempt at socializing, and we had a nice time. One of the women told a story about how she was riding the elevator with Patrick Swayze and he asked, "Is this the 10th floor?" She said, "No, Patrick, this is the 9th floor." And he smiled at her and said, "And what is your name?" She was very pleased with this encounter. We had yet to spot a glimpse of Patrick Swayze, but I told Mary that when we did, I would be sure to say to him, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." After dinner, Mary wanted to check out the show, the Terhune dancers. I chose not to. She came back and said, "It was silly, but fun. I always like listening to show tunes." I don't think she thought it was great entertainment. As I end the narrative for this day, Mary asks, "Did you mention how you did a sweet easter egg hunt for me?" "No," I say. She says, "You should, without the part where I lost interest in looking." But I can't leave that part out. Day 4 - San Juan, Puerto Rico This morning, U.S. Immigration had to clear everyone on the ship before anyone could enter San Juan, and they had said they would start calling us, by deck, at 9 am. That ended up being delayed, which complicated my breakfast plans a bit - I solved it by ordering room service breakfast - and around 10 we had to go stand in line and present ourselves to U.S. customs. We noticed a Terhune dancer helping out with the line. They work these people really hard. The first night during the compulsory life jacket drill (which Mary will always regret not bringing her camera to - a theater full of adults in orange life jackets) I asked a staff member for help with my life jacket, which I feared I had already broken by fiddling with it. She wasn't sure how to fix it and referred me to an officer. I later discovered she, too, was an entertainer. We got through immigration fairly painlessly, and then went into the Future Cruise office and put down a deposit on a future cruise. Whether we actually will take that future cruise will remain to be seen, but it was just such a bargain... We decided to have lunch and then go into San Juan and walk around. It was very hot and I discovered I didn't really want to walk around once we got there. So I whined a bit, and Mary got really annoyed with me, and eventually we split up - I went back to the ship - and later that evening, I saw a lovely slideshow of all the things I hadn't seen while I was walking around miserable. San Juan is apparently very beautiful! You, too, can see this slideshow. After Mary returned from San Juan and I had woken up from my nap, we went to Galileo's for tea. They had just shut down tea, so we got drinks and ate some peanuts and played Phase 10 until it got too smoky and then we went back to the room and dressed for dinner. (Mary thinks I should mention that my tolerance for smoke is extremely low. She barely noticed it once we moved.) Mary: "You quoted me verbatim, but in the narrative you never said that we had moved because a guy started smoking, so that's not going to make any sense." (Hope it makes sense now.) Before dinner we went to the tour desk to ask if there was a drug store we might be able to find in San Juan so that we could buy batteries, as our battery recharger wasn't working. They told us where a Walgreen's was, but they didn't think they'd be open late, so they gave us batteries, and offered to charge our batteries for us. They were extremely helpful. We didn't realize until the next day that the batteries they had given us (and which we had promptly used up) were disposable. The next morning, I asked them to see if they could get our battery charger to work, which they couldn't, so they offered to charge the rest of our batteries for us, and I took them up on it. For dinner we asked for a table for two, which we got, but it was right next to another couple - which made it a little strange. We weren't sure whether we should talk to them or leave them alone. We opted for the latter. Mary was very brave and tried the Degustation Menu, which is a multi-course tasting menu. She enjoyed it very much, particularly the main course, which was grilled sirloin steak with gorgonzola-herb crust. For some reason they did not give her the sorbet prior to the main course. I think they forgot. (I think they mean well in the Compass Rose, but they sometimes seemed a bit disorganized. We had the system where they delivered menus to our door each evening, as I have written about earlier. For two nights in a row, they didn't have Mary's choices at dinner time, though she was okay with it.) I was also brave and tried stir-fried ostrich. I felt okay eating an ostrich as an emu was once mean to Mary. The ostrich was tasty but seemed extremely salty. I couldn't tell if that was the taste of the ostrich or the sauce. They also served me a very delicious squash soup. Mary liked to photograph her food - the presentation was usually beautiful - and tonight was no exception, but she was trying to be surreptitious about it. As a result, only one of the five photos turned out, and she was heartbroken. (It's probably what brought on her flu the next day!) After dinner, we came back to the room and I tried to go to bed early. Mary turned on the tv to her favorite channel (bridge camera), saw San Juan lit up, got all excited, and had to go up to Deck 12 to take pictures. (None of them turned out - it was a difficult evening for the photog.) She was a maniac with the camera the entire cruise. Out of her mind. I should also mention that at some point today we cancelled our massage appointments due to my sunburn. There was no way I was going to be able to tolerate a massage. Mary could have kept her appointment, but she said she didn't really feel she'd need it and she'd be just as happy getting one back home for less money. Day 5 - Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas Mary got up early to watch us pull into St. Thomas. I really wanted to swim in the ocean today and we had looked up beaches that we could get to via taxi, but I thought my sunburn was still very bad and it probably wouldn't be a good idea to go to a beach. I finally decided to purchase some internet time and went into the library to see what the internet said about sun exposure on a sunburn. It didn't recommend it. The internet was surprisingly fast, and never would be that fast again, the entire cruise. We had breakfast in the Compass Rose and then went into St. Thomas to shop. We had heard that there is nothing to St. Thomas, but I thought it was pretty. I would imagine if you got away from the touristy areas, it could be really lovely. We stayed in the touristy area, bought Mary a hat, me some clip-on sunglasses, and we both bought things in a shop called Del Sol, where everything is one color indoors and another color in the sun. We also got two free color-changing rings which are too small for even our pinkies. We tendered back to the ship and had lunch at Portofino Grill. I mentioned Arlene the first night, whom we had seen a picture of on the internet before we arrived on the ship. She is a bar waitress and is very sweet. Every time she saw us she greeted us by name and asked how we were doing. She knew I liked to drink pineapple juice and was quick to bring it. I told her we would find the internet reference so she could see it, so after lunch we went to the library. The internet speed in the morning must have been an anomaly, as this time it ticked away for 20 minutes (which we were charged for) and did nothing before I gave up. Back in the room we watched The Notebook on my laptop. What a stupid movie! At 5:00 I went to the infirmary to get something to help with my itching sunburn. I was miserable with itching. I thought I would lose my mind. They gave me calamine lotion which didn't really help, but the total charge for the visit was $5.00, so I can't complain. Mary had a sore throat and feared she was getting sick, which she was - the really, really nasty flu that I had prior to the cruise. But we didn't know that yet. We went to dinner and had our photo taken by the photographer set up outside the dining room. It was a truly hideous picture of me. You will never see it. We had dinner with a nice couple from San Antonio, and two of the bridge instructors. If you would like to go on free cruises, the thing to do is to become a bridge expert. I can't remember what we ate, and I'm not sure whether or not Mary photographed the food. We went back to the room and went to bed early. Day 6 - Sea Day # 2 Today Mary had a fever and stayed in the room all day, bundled up in the throw blanket and contaminating it. I didn't want to use it after that. It reminded me of the Native Americans who died from smallpox-infested blankets given to them by the white men. Ironically, it was the first day that I felt really good and had some energy. Mary and I had both asked for and received invitations to a tour of the bridge, but I went alone. The view from the bridge was really wonderful. The tour was lead by Mirya, the assistant cruise director, whom I enjoyed immensely. The captain spoke occasionally. Just when he was getting ready to talk about some subject, Mirya spotted dolphins outside and rushed us out to the deck so we could get a better view. They were leaping about - I had never seen anything like this in person. Alas, I have no photos. (Photos were not allowed on the bridge tour, not that I would have remembered to bring the camera anyway.) They had an Asian buffet for lunch at the pool grill, which I had been very much looking forward to. They had stir-fried chicken and beef and different kinds of sushi and some really wonderful bean thread noodles. I had lunch with a great couple, Irene and Bud, whom we had chatted with on our way back from St. Thomas. I had "met" Irene the first day of the cruise, when we both wandered into the men's room together by accident. After lunch, I decided to go check out the art auction. It was the last art auction of the cruise - there had been several that I had slept through (not at the actual auction, but back in my room, napping.) I had read that if you registered for the auction you would get a free work of art, so I registered. They gave me some little stickers and asked me to put them on the works I would like to see auctioned. They would only auction works which people had expressed an interest in. Since I had no intention of buying anything, I didn't put a sticker on anything. I sat down and was offered a glass of champagne, which I declined. There weren't very many people for this auction. Only three or four other women. At the last minute, a couple came in and sat behind me. They were talking to each other, wondering if they had to register, and I explained the process to them. Shortly, the auctioneer got up and said, "Um, we currently don't have anything to auction off. Have you all marked the works you are interested in?" Now all of us looked around anxiously and almost everyone said some variation of, "Oh, I'm just here to watch." The couple behind us, fortunately, had marked a work of art though, and the auctioneer briefly talked about it and then sold it to them for a cost which he said was a great deal. Then he said that he was sorry that we would not be able to see the auction, those of us who had come to just watch, but there couldn't be an auction if no one wanted to buy anything. Finally, he gave us all our free work of art, a small print. I loved the "art auction" and all of us women trying to "blend in," which unfortunately, we did not. Later in the day I went to a Baggo tournament at the pool deck. This was great fun and involved throwing bean bags into a board with holes in it. I got a little better as the tournament progressed, and eventually won 3 tokens when I was playing on a team. I won nothing for my stellar individual play. The Baggo tournament was led by Assistant Cruise Director, Mirya, who amused me greatly by commenting on people's play in her wonderful South African accent: "Oh terrible, Rick. That was just terrible!" One of the other players was talking about how she wondered if someone would ask Patrick Swayze for his autograph for her. I asked if she had spotted him yet, and she said, "He's right behind you." I immediately turned around to look. And there he was, very fit and tan and shorter than I would have thought. Once Phoebe Cates was shooting a movie outside my house in Tucson and I stood and watched for a while. Her husband, Kevin Kline, was there hanging out, and at one point he came up to me and said, "Would you like my autograph? Would you like a picture with me?" How could I turn him down? Patrick Swayze did not make this offer, and I certainly did not ask. Prior to dinner, I found myself very hungry. I went to Galileo's to listen to a couple who played acoustic music. They were called Spiral Duo. I hate to say it, but it sounded a lot like elevator music to me. The waiter brought me appetizers when I didn't get any myself, and I ate a bit, and then went to the Seven Seas Lounge for the Captain's Farewell cocktail party. There I was able to give Arlene a copy of the Cruise Critic post that mentioned how much people loved her (I had finally been able to locate it). For the second time that day, I was offered champagne, but I opted for pineapple juice. The captain talked for a few minutes and then there was this really corny thing, where the Terhune singers sang this dumb song about love in every language, and then what looked like the entire ship's staff (I learned later Noel was not there) came out from behind the curtain and we gave them a standing ovation. This part I liked. The lady next to me was crying, which made me love her. Poor Mary was still feverish and miserable back in the room (Note from Mary: "Lest you think Lis was callous to leave me shivering in the room while she went gallivanting about the ship — it was actually very nice to be left alone to sleep for an hour or two, and then have Lis come back and report on each activity. I was able to have a nice sea day vicariously through her"). We ordered room service dinner, which she could barely eat, and then I asked Noel if he could do the turndown without us leaving the room, as Mary didn't feel she could. Noel did a wonderful job of working around us. In the middle of the night, I woke up to discover that Mary was really, really hot, and I got worried. She just wanted some painkiller for her sore throat, but I wanted to take her temperature and get her some Tylenol to bring the fever down. I called the reception desk to ask for a thermometer and some Tylenol. They didn't have a thermometer but they gave me some sort of drug that was "like Tylenol". However, after I read the warnings that went along with it, warnings that included death among the possible side effects, I chose to give her Advil. Later in the night, I woke to find her cool and clammy beside me. Her fever had broken, but she wasn't moving. I touched her and said, "Mary," Nothing. Louder, "Mary!" Nothing. Finally, I pushed her kind of hard and said, "Mary!" "What!" She woke up. "I just wanted to make sure you were alive." And she was, but miserable. There are no photographs from this sea day, as Mary was sick with her fever, and foolishly counted on me to be her backup photographer. Day 7 Nassau, The Bahamas My notetaking began to deteriorate a bit towards the end of the cruise, so now I am relying more on memory, which I believe deteriorates the minute one turns 40, so I will do the best I can here. I do not remember the morning, but the lunch at the Pool Grill was a Caribbean buffet. It was very good, and for the first time on the cruise, I overate. After lunch we went back to our room to discover that our window was situated so we could see all the passengers getting off the ship to go into Nassau. I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for Mary to finally see Patrick Swayze, as it was very likely that he would get off the ship. Indeed he did. Mary didn't believe it was him at first, but then she saw that I was right. I took pictures of both Patrick Swayze and John O' Hurley (from Seinfeld) through the window, but they are terrible pictures, as neither of them ever faced my direction. I thought I was being very surreptitious, so you can imagine my surprise when Assistant Cruise Director, Mirya, walked by outside and waved to me. Mary was still feeling quite poorly, but she really wanted to go to the Ardastra Gardens, so we left the ship around 3 and took a cab to the Gardens. We had read about this place in a guide book many months earlier, and Mary was very taken by the idea of flamingos marching in drill formation. The cab driver greatly overcharged us and drove a rather indirect way to justify his overcharging us, but we didn't really care. I even tipped him quite well since he was fun to talk to on the way to the gardens. We arrived there around 3:15 or so and the flamingos weren't marching until 4:00, but there was a parrot exhibit in which we were invited to feed apples to parrots, so we went directly there. There were a large number of parrots in a big enclosed area and soon I had one parrot on each hand and one on my head. This was great fun! (And no, none of them pooped on my head.) We wandered around and looked at some of the other animals and plants, and then went to the show area and took a seat. The Gardens were not crowded at all. There were probably 20 or so people watching the show. It was mating season, and there was a male peacock in the show ring, preening for a female who pretended to ignore him. When it was time for the flamingos to do their thing, it took some time for the flamingo trainer to get the peacock out of the ring. He refused to put his feathers down and it took a good amount of chasing to get him to leave. Even then, he stood just outside the ring, continuing to preen and crow. The announcer explained that as it was mating season, the flamingos weren't quite as well behaved as usual, as the males had to spend a fair amount of time fighting with each other. We were also told that our job was to provide positive reinforcement for the flamingos when they did a good job, by clapping for them. The trainer yelled drill commands at the flamingos and the flamingos ran around and squawked and fought with each other, and did not exactly look like a drill team. We applauded regularly. Mary took some wonderful flamingo movies and watched them over and over again for days. At the Ardastra Gardens web site it says, "Watch closely and you'll notice that among them there is often a humorous jockeying for position, one male trying to cut another off, another preening for a female who pretends not to notice." I would add that during mating season, you don't have to watch closely to see this. We asked the woman in the gift shop to call us a cab to get back to the ship, and she did so. This cab driver was actually reputable and he took us on a direct route back to the ship and charged half as much as the first cab driver. He also got a big tip. As this was our last night, we had decided to eat again at the Portofino Grill. There we were welcomed back. One of our favorite waiters from the first night - I think his name was Benedicto - said, "Finally, you're back!" We both had steak and I had some wonderful risotto. It was a lovely way to end the cruise. After dinner, we wandered the ship a bit more, threw away some money in the slot machines, and then I stopped in the library to get something, and Mary went back to our room. When I came back to our room, I discovered Patrick Swayze smoking outside the elevator on Deck 5. He was nicely dressed in a tux or black suit (the two other times I saw him he was in shorts and a tank top) and I entered our room and said, "Guess who's stinking up our hallway right now?" Mary said, "Oh, I must have walked right by him," and went back out to look. When she came back in I asked if she thought he had noticed her coming out just to look at him. She said, "No, but the guy he was talking to might have." Have I mentioned how sophisticated we have become as a result of this cruise? We packed our bags and left them outside the door following instructions we had received a few nights earlier. And then our last night on the ship was over. Day 8 - Debarkation Room service woke us up again this morning - this time they were 15 minutes early, 6:45 rather than 7:00. We had our juice and made sure we had everything packed and then we went up to the Portofino grill for breakfast. We figured we would be among the last groups called to get off the ship since we didn't have a plane to catch. (Everyone was assigned a color and given tags of that color to put on their luggage. We were in the red group.) We sat at breakfast until I began to worry that we were in the way and then we went up to the Vista Lounge to sit and wait. In fact, we had no wait at all. I set my stuff down and went to use the restroom and by the time I got back, they had called our color. There was a very short line to leave the boat, and our luggage was waiting for us down in the cruise terminal. Outside the cruise terminal, there was a shuttle which took us to the airport where we rented a car and drove to our bed and breakfast, Villa Montfiallo. It was very easy to find, once I pulled up directions on my laptop using Mappoint. Our room wasn't ready, but we were able to leave our bags there. The owner, Yann, gave us directions to a Wild Oats market, and we went to get some food for our plane ride the next day. When we came back the room still wasn't ready, so we sat out by the pool for awhile, and then, since I was craving noodles, we asked him where we might find a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant where it wouldn't be too hard to park. (We were both pretty tired, and basically just wanted to lie down - having to work to park would have been way too much.) He directed us to a restaurant called Galanga Thai (2389 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, Florida, (954) 202-0000). Now maybe it is just that we were really tired and hungry, but I don't think so. I think it was the best Thai food I have ever had, and I eat a lot of Thai food. Lunch came with a delicious chicken and rice soup. We ordered salad rolls (probably the best I've ever had) and I had Virgin Noodles (bean thread noodles with chicken, beef and shrimp) and Mary had Pad See Ew with chicken. (She loved the salad rolls and soup, but likes the pad see ew at our local Thai restaurant, Tom Yum, better.) The portions were huge, enough for us to take back to the b&b for dinner. One thing we discovered at the restaurant, and continued to discover in the room, is what people mean when they talk about getting their land legs back. We both felt more pitching and rolling on land (especially in small spaces like bathrooms) then we ever did on the ship. It was quite surreal, and took a couple days to subside. It was far less noticeable when we were out of doors. When we got back our room was ready and it was really comfortable. It had a full kitchen and two couches in a little sitting area, and a king size bed with lovely linens. The bathroom was not as lovely as our bathroom on the navigator and the shampoos, soaps and towels were nothing to write home about. There was a tv, a dvd player, a vcr, and a radio, but we couldn't get any of the remotes to work and were much too lazy to get up and manually change the channel. There was also a little patio area and doors that opened up onto the pool area. Most of the guests appeared to be European. As we sat by the pool earlier in the morning, I eavesdropped on some people from England who seemed to be staying at the b&b for three weeks. They were very, very, very tanned and sat around the pool talking for most of the day. Even though we were right next to the pool, it was quiet in the room and we napped for a little awhile, and I discovered that there was a wireless connection, though it didn't really work very well in the room. Alas, our photographer was still ill, and though she took many photos of the outside of Villa Montfiallo, she didn't take any of the inside, and her backup photographer failed her yet again. Around 4:30 we left the room and walked to a water taxi stop. Well, actually, I followed Mary as she appeared to know what she was doing (I often fall for this trick of hers) until it was clear we had no idea where we were and then we asked for directions at a hotel. They said we could catch the water taxi there, though it wasn't an official stop. We had to wave the taxi down. The water taxi cost $5.00 for an all-day pass, and it was quite fun to move through the canals as the tour guide, Pat from Brooklyn, New York, pointed out famous people's houses. We rode for about an hour and then got off at the official stop where we should have gotten on, and walked to the beach for one last romp in the Atlantic Ocean before heading back to Portland. I stood in the water for a few minutes and then we walked back to the b&b where I paid for our night's stay, as the proprietors wouldn't be up until eight the next morning and we were going to be leaving at 6:30 or 7:00. (So for us it was a bed, no breakfast.) We had our wonderful Thai leftovers for dinner along with some Soy Delicious ice cream we had bought at Wild Oats. Oh, we were happy. We went to bed early, as we had to get up early in the morning and return to Portland. Final Cruise Impressions One thing I realized immediately once we were driving around Ft. Lauderdale experiencing people cutting into traffic and behaving the way people generally do is that everyone on the cruise was so civil. I didn't realize it until I was back, but on the cruise there was no pushing, no cutting in front of people in line, only very polite behavior. I wouldn't say everyone was friendly but people were very respectful. People held doors for each other and held the elevator and knew how to behave in a line. Mary said, "I don't think I hated anyone for the entire cruise, and that's a big thing." For me, also. We're both fairly misanthropic when it comes down to it. The cruise was extremely relaxing. When I got back to work, I found that my head had been completely cleared and that was a great thing. We were pleased to find that we're both pretty good sailors. Neither of us was ever actually seasick — just a little off the first day or two. Wearing the sea sick bands seem to take care of any problems we had, and by the third day we were adjusted to the motion of the ship and didn't need the bands anymore. We both found the rhythmic motion of the ship soothing. Mary had been worried that she wouldn't be able to read (she tends toward motion sickness and can't read in cars or on airplanes) but she was able to, even without the bands. I don't have many criticisms of the Radisson cruise. The service was exceptional and the experience was definitely one of luxury. I do think they should have a better smoking policy. I'd like to be able to have a room with a balcony and know that I'll be able to sit out there without breathing in my neighbor's smoke. I think there should be staterooms designated as non-smoking, and I think there should be more public spaces that are designated non-smoking. My other criticism was of the food. The food was presented beautifully, and I think they did a good job of handling my special dietary needs, but I found myself getting bored. I'm not even sure that I can put my finger on it, though I read somewhere else about a lack of spice and maybe that's it, both literally and figuratively. The food wasn't very spicy and I realize that the two dishes that I loved the most (risotto and squash soup) were a bit more spicy. But also, with the exception of the pool grill lunch themes, the menus rarely had anything that wasn't either French or American, and this got old for me. I liked cruising, but I don't know how often I'd want to cruise. Since I was sunburnt for most of the cruise, what I most want now is to go to some place where I can swim in the ocean, but not be constrained by a schedule as one is on a ship. Mary, on the other hand, adored cruising and can't wait to talk me in to another one. THINGS I HAVE LEARNED FOR A FUTURE CRUISE: It's a really bad idea to get sunburnt on your first outing. Reapply sunscreen frequently while in the water, and wear a shirt over your bathing suit if you are fair-skinned. It's probably not a great idea to break in your new sandals the first night of the cruise. You can mix and match off the dinner menu - take something from the degustation menu and something from the regular menu. You can get a glass of wine to go at the end of dinner (we never did this, but a couple we ate with did it every night and took it with them to the show lounge) I found that I was queasy the first two or three days of the cruise, and this ended after I stopped having wine with dinner. Mary's queasiness stopped at about the same time and she was still having wine with dinner, so she thinks that's just how long it takes to get your sea legs. We must always have a balcony. The window is nice, but you can't actually see the sea from the bed or even while sitting down. The balcony window is floor to ceiling so the view would be better. Plus it would be great to get fresh air in the room. THINGS WE SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT: hairbrush - hair is constantly getting blown about by the wind on the deck sunglasses - duh some sugar/wheat/dairy-free desserts for me a surge protector strip - our "travel surge protector" did not fit into the outlets provided due to lack of clearance. a thermometer bandaids non-rechargeable camera batteries (our charger quit working on us) Binoculars thumb drive To view pictures we took of the ship, ports and ship's documents (menus, daily newsletters, etc) you can go to THE END OF NAVIGATOR CRUISE REPORT Read Less
Sail Date: June 2005
We sailed on Navigator's cruise from New York to Reykjavik, Iceland, during the latter part of June 2005. We took advantage of Radisson's free coach air package. We have sailed previously on Crystal (several cruises), HAL, ... Read More
We sailed on Navigator's cruise from New York to Reykjavik, Iceland, during the latter part of June 2005. We took advantage of Radisson's free coach air package. We have sailed previously on Crystal (several cruises), HAL, Celebrity and NCL. This was our first Radisson cruise. We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary, which included port stops at Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, L'Anse aux Meadows (Newfoundland), Heimaey in the Westermann Islands, and an overnight in Reykjavik. The precruise transportation and hospitality which included a night at the New York Hilton and Towers was very good. After we boarded we found that the number of passengers was well below capacity (about 265 pax on a 490 pax ship). I will be posting a much longer review on the RSSC board later, so will just list the highlights and lowlights here. Highlights: Our standard verandah cabin on deck 6 midship (631) was exceptionally large and comfortable. The walk-in closet and large bathroom with separate shower and tub make these "standard" cabins really outstanding. Our cabin stewardess did and excellent job keeping everything in the cabin clean and neat. Room service was outstanding -- the food was very good and it was delivered in an unbelievably short time. The ports were interesting for the most part, although the recreated Viking village at L'Anse aux Meadows was a bit underwhelming. We missed Heimaey because of mechanical problems that prevented the ship from sailing at normal cruising speed for the last two days of the cruise. Iceland was spectacular even though the weather was quite cool and cloudy. The ship's staff, for the most part, were friendly and helpful. The quality of the food in the dining room and alternative restaurant generally was very good to excellent in quality, although often too rich for our taste (too much butter and cream). Lowlights: The ship's public rooms are small and dreary. Most of the art on the walls was supplied by the Park West art auctioneers -- really, really tacky. The entertainment was strictly amateur hour, nowhere near the quality of Crystal or for that matter HAL. Open seating dining turned out to be not so great. When we sat at a large table the speed of service was determined by the slowest eater. And since we never were at the same table the wait staff never really learned our preferences. Even when we arrived at the dining room at 6:45 p.m., we were not finished with dinner until close to 9 p.m. The swimming pool area is small, and there is no protection from the elements (no retractable cover) so the pool grill was closed for most of the trip owing to the cool weather. The Internet service has to be the worst I ever experienced. It was slow beyond belief, and the Radisson firewall is the most restrictive I've ever encountered. The vibration in the aft areas of the ship was very intense and objectionable at times. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2005
Cruise: 9/16 to 24, 2005- Montreal to New York Overview We've gotten spoiled on our last two cruises, first on Windstar, then on Radisson. This was a jazz cruise, and featured the best entertainment we've ever had, on land or ... Read More
Cruise: 9/16 to 24, 2005- Montreal to New York Overview We've gotten spoiled on our last two cruises, first on Windstar, then on Radisson. This was a jazz cruise, and featured the best entertainment we've ever had, on land or on a cruise ship. It also featured great food and service. While the itinerary was not as exciting as our Windstar cruise from Nice to Lisbon, the ports were generally well handled, and we had a great time. Ship By modern cruise ship standards the Navigator, with 490 passengers, is a small ship. It never felt too small, and it was great never having to wait on line for anything. The Navigator is infamous for vibration in the rear of the ship, particularly the Portofino grill, and we're generally sensitive to movement. Joe never felt any vibration, Joan just a bit (but not enough to bother her). The ship was roomy and comfortable. Public rooms For a ship with so few PAX there were a surprising number of public rooms: two restaurants, Compass Rose (main) and Portofino (buffet and alternative), a large showroom (Seven Seas Lounge), a casino, and several lounges, both large and small. We didn't try the casino or the Stars lounge, but people seemed to be having a good time in both places. There were two lounges near the main desk: a cigar and fine liqueurs lounge (Connoisseur Club, too smoky for us!) and a lounge (Navigator) that served good coffee and tea at all times, and usually had cookies or hors d'oeuvres. That was very comfortable, even though there was no entertainment when we were there. We were never in the piano bar, Galileo's. Most shows were in the Seven Seas Lounge or the largest bar area, the Vista Lounge. Seven Seas was never overcrowded, so we were able to catch all shows we wanted to see. (In contrast, on the Celebrity Horizon, we had two or three times when we couldn't get into a show. The Vista Lounge had friendly bartenders, good hors d'oeuvres, and terrific bar snacks. It was the site of sever of the jazz concerts, trivia contests, afternoon tea, etc. A very pleasant place. Fellow passengers and family A good age mix, but mostly between 40 and 60. There were two young girls and one baby boy onboard-no other children. The clientele was probably 75% American, 5 percent Japanese (a group), and 25 percent British, other European, and Australian. The jazz theme probably resulted in a younger than usual mix of passengers. On this cruise there was no apparent kids' program. Fitness and recreation We're walkers, and we walked rather than trying the gym. The gym appeared to be of fairly large size for such a small ship. There were also lots of supervised mild athletics, such as morning walk, putting contest, ring toss, etc. There was a nice looking spa, but we didn't try it. One thing the ship lacks is a covered pool, and it was too cold for outdoor swimming. Dress Code and tipping There were no formal nights, three informal nights (jacket, but tie not required), and five casual nights on our eight night cruise. There is no tipping required or expected on Radisson. Best part of the trip A tossup between the food and the entertainment (both described below), with a slight nod to the food. The service and the friendliness of the crew were a close third, and we became very friendly with the assistant cruise director. This was a Jazz cruise, featuring Bucky Pizzarelli and an equally talented ensemble. We loved every minute they played. The jazz elevated this cruise's entertainment to some of the best we've enjoyed. The crew's show consisted of lip-synching, but was fun, anyway. I miss the native dances performed on some other (HAL) cruises, but the jazz made up for that lack. Their regular entertainers were also superb - their duo was perfectly respectable, even compared to the jazz greats. Worst part of the trip Disembarkation, both because we were sorry to have to leave the ship, and because things were so overcrowded that we posted a thread entitled "Chaos on the New York piers." There has to be a better way than to have two porters for 6 cruise ships. We were at the far end of the terminal, and there was NOBODY, and NO CARTS, to help with luggage. This is often a nightmare. The cruise lines believe the cruise is over, and they can focus on their arriving passengers - but disembarkation is also part of the cruise for the traveler, There were only three other things messed up on our eight day cruise, luggage delivery on embarkation, the Halifax shuttle back from the Public Garden (which was early, so we were on time and missed it), and the frequency of tenders in Bar Harbor, which caused us to miss lunch. That's pretty good for eight days. Embarkation Our ship arranged flight to Montreal went smoothly, we got our bags quickly, and met our transfer bus immediately. We were taken directly to the pier, and arrived at 10:50 a.m., which was too early to board. Our luggage was placed in a secure storage area, which subsequently caused one of the few problems on the trip. The line apparently forgot about the luggage, which didn't get to our room (after we complained) until about 4:30 p.m. We walked around Montreal, and got back to the pier at around 12:15. Embarkation was quick and friendly. We got our cruise cards, got a glass of champagne, left our carryon in the room (which wasn't supposed to be ready yet, and wasn't), and went to Portofino, where we had the first of many great meals. By the time we were finished, our room was ready. Accommodations These were the largest rooms we'd had on our seven cruises (300 square feet), and we enjoyed the roominess, the walk in clothes closet, the down duvets, the separate tub and shower: in short, everything. We didn't have a balcony, and didn't feel we needed one. The stewardess was attentive to our needs. The room was kept clean, and when we asked for something (ice, more shampoo, etc.) it arrived promptly. The towels and bathrobes were good, and the fruit bowl was kept filled. Wining and Dining The food in the dining rooms was so good, and so convenient, that we tried room service only twice, for breakfast. We made a special request for "crabs benedict", and got them on the second day (24 hour notice is needed) This demonstrated Radisson's willingness to honor special requests. While the crabmeat eggs benedict sounded better than they tasted, but the rest of the meal was superb. The hot things were hot, the cold things cold and everything in-between was just as it should be. Breakfast and lunch were served in the Compass Rose, but other food was available in a variety of locations. We had two lunches off the ship, on excursions in Prince Edward Island (Lobster) and Louisbourg, Nova Scotia (soldiers' fare). The remainder were at Portofino or, in one case, at the pool grill. In all cases, lunch was well presented, hot or cold as it was supposed to be, and delicious. There was always something exotic, and we like exotic. As for the service, the waiters practically fought over which one would carry our food to the table. . Dinners were even better than breakfasts and lunches: good choices, and steak, chicken, healthy and vegetable choices, and grilled fish were always available. We're not steak fans, but enjoyed "Italian steak house" nigh at Portofino. We had a second night at Portofino, for "A taste of Italy." The food wasn't as good as on other nights in Portofino and the main dining room, but who cared: we were having so much fun with the singing waiters and the hokey Italian songs. Don Vito's staff from the Diamond have arrived on the Navigator! The wine was abundant, freely poured, and delicious - and was, of course, complimentary. We had so much wine and port at dinner that our bar tab was zero. Open sitting was generally good, although we do see some benefit to fixed seating with the same waiter every night. We ate by ourselves, with people we met, and (once) at a randomly assigned table. If there was a down side, it was that meals started at seven, which is later than we like to eat on vacation. That, in turn, mean that the shows started very late for us: 9:30 or 9:45. We missed several shows, including some great jazz (see below) because we simply were too tired to go to such late (for us) shows. Ports and Itinerary Unlike our two weeks in the Western Med. Last year, this was not a "killer itinerary"; but it had some very pleasant ports. Montreal and Quebec were rainy, but we did enjoy a private (non-ship) tour of Quebec, and the Quebec Museum of Civilization was terrific. We took ship's excursions in Charlottetown and Sydney , but would have enjoyed either city without any excursion. Halifax is always fun, especially when you are greeted by Theodore the Tugboat as you enter the big harbor. We took a ferry across the harbor and back, saw the Maritime museum, visited the public garden (but, as noted above, missed the shuttle back to the ship because it left early), and walked along the waterfront. Bar Harbor was disappointing. We had reserved an independent tour, but ended up with a ship's tour because of the timing of our visit. The park was beautiful and we had a nice walking tour; but the tour guide and driver refused to let us off at a museum we wanted to go to. (WHY? ) We ended up walking up and down a typical New England resort town: every window a place to take your money. Typical tourist stuff, prices too high (and too similar - all the shops sold t-shirts for a price within $1.00 of each other, all the ice cream cost the same, all the sandwiches cost within $1.00 of each other) nothing special. We just missed a tender, had a 25 minute wait, then just missed lunch. (That's when we ate a good lunch poolside). All in all, Bar Harbor was the low point of the trip. Boston was a surprising high point. After living in Boston for three years, what could we do that would be interesting during a very short time in port? The answer was: plenty. We walked the Freedom Trail to Old Ironsides, had a great (free) tour of the ship, walked through the (free) museum saw a ($3.00) multimedia re-enactment of the Battle of Bunker Hill, then took an inexpensive ferry back to our shuttle pickup point. Great fun, and something we'd never done. Obviously, the Tourist Office of Boston AND the National Parks Service AND the U.S. Navy AND the MBTA have advised people working with tourists how to treat them Excursions We used ship's excursions in three ports. In Bar Harbor, we took a "Walking Tour with Cadillac Mountain". The tour was interesting and the view from the mountain gorgeous; but, as noted, it ended on a sour note when we couldn't get off the bus where we wanted to get off. We would have done just as well with lunch on board ship and "Oli"s. In Louisbourg, we planned on taking a cab from the ship to the fortress. The ship, however, docked at Sydney, so we had to take a ship's tour to get to the fortress. Our six person kitchen and garden tour was expensive but good, and we enjoyed the fortress very much. Sydney, itself, had some history and I'm sure we could have walked their historic district happily. We've saved the best for last: Anne of Green gables and Dalvay-by-the-Sea. We're big Anne fans, so we took the deluxe tour, which included a lovely tour of PEI National Park, lobster and mussel lunch at an old seaside "cottage" that is now a landmark hotel, and Green Gables. Joan dressed up as Anne, complete with red wig (with pigtails), calico dress, and basket of goodies. Wonderful. Entertainment Entertainment was the best we've ever had. The show room and Vista lounge were comfortable, the cast shows (six talented young people) and entertainers were fine, and the lounge players were excellent. This was all overshadowed by the special signature events of the cruise: this was a jazz cruise. And what jazz! Eleven jazz men and women, many of them famous: Bucky Pizzarelli, John Allred, Randy Sandke, Nikki Parrott, Calolyn Leonhart, and several others. There was jazz once or twice a day: in the showroom, the Vista lounge, and by the pool. Hot jazz, cool jazz, old and new, New Orleans, Chicago, and Memphis style. Soloists, big combos, small combos. Total saturation, after we hadn't been to a jazz concert in years. We loved every minute. What was best, the jazz performers were treated as passengers when they weren't performing, and we kept running into them: at dinner, around the ship, in ports. We saw them as people, not just performers. There was only one down side to the entertainment, as noted above. Because of the single sitting, the evening shows were uncomfortably late for us. Level of service Even better than the generally excellent service last November on Windstar. We can't wait for our next Radisson cruise, which (due to tight vacation schedules in 2006) will probably be in 2007. Tipping None is required or accepted. Disembarkation There were seven ships in the port of New York, so disembarkation was awful. See our post on "Chaos on the New York piers". We were comfortable, if bored, during the long, long wait to get off the ship. Final impressions Radisson has a reputation as a deluxe cruise line, and it fully lived up to the reputation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2006
Background Information: Crossings are my favorite cruise and I do at least two yearly, but this was my first on the Regent Navigator. I made a conscious decision to accept her without comparing to the delightful Diamond or the classy ... Read More
Background Information: Crossings are my favorite cruise and I do at least two yearly, but this was my first on the Regent Navigator. I made a conscious decision to accept her without comparing to the delightful Diamond or the classy Voyager. She is definitely a unique experience, with some outstanding aspects and some real flaws. This cruise boarded in Fort Lauderdale and ended in Monte Carlo. The first week was truly laid-back with no ports; the second was port intensive. The westbound crossing is easier with an active start, time to recover, and best of all you gain hours instead of losing them almost every night on the second leg. But the lazy first week gave us ample chance to adjust. Off to the Ship: Fort Lauderdale is an easy embarkation port, and I easily booked my own hotel and transfer. After a quick hotel shuttle pickup, I settled into the airport Wyndham (soon to be a Hilton). In spite of a few minor problems I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this comfortable hotel for a pre-or-post stop. The hotel bell captain booked a shuttle to the port for me. I thought the price quoted was too low, and it was. I was solo, and they had quoted a multi-passenger pp/rate. The driver did not try to raise the price, but I offered to split the difference. Life's too short to take a bargain at somebody else's expense. When a flight attendant came rushing out and could not fit in the crew shuttle, I quickly agreed to share with her and drop her at the airport. It was still a bargain and we were all happy. The embarkation area at FLL is huge, and pretty vacant when accommodating the small RSSC ships. All went relatively quickly and efficiently. The agent saw my cane and offered to help me up the escalator (and all the way to the ship) with my carry-on so I didn't have to make the long trek back to the elevator. Bonus points from me! First Impressions: The ship was typical RSSC, with a glass of champagne and a cheerful welcome awaiting me. I was directed to the Portofino/grill area where I enjoyed a casual lunch until the "cabins are ready" announcement was made. My first impression was a bit claustrophobic, which I quickly attributed to the low ceilings. Many recognized faces greeted me, which made me quickly feel at home. Stateroom: I was in "magic cabin" 601, a larger than usual cabin at the far front of the ship with an oversized veranda. The entry was wide and opened into a separate seating area. The walk-in closet, abundance of drawers, and bath with separate shower and tub are real cruise pleasers. I asked my stewardess to bring a cushion for the lounger on the veranda, and it shortly arrived. I travel solo on crossings, so am priced out of upper-level suites. This cabin was a real luxury! However, there is always a downside. It is also vulnerable to strong vibration, as well as both up/down and side-to-side movement in rough weather. The first night, the vibration kept me awake (and I have good sea legs). We had one rough night that really kept me rocking. However, I popped on my sea bands and fell fast asleep. In addition, the clanging is pretty loud when coming into port. Unless you are an early riser, buyer beware! Standard cabins, while smaller, are still roomy enough for two to share comfortably. On week two, the bedspreads were replaced with white duvets with red trim in the "hotel" style. The duvets are changed every couple of days, which is a lot of work for the cabin stewardesses. But personally, I liked the look. Dining: All I can say is "wow". I couldn't help but compare to her sister ships, and she was far and above the best of the lot. The current chef is a superstar! Not only an accomplished chef, but personable and approachable as well. She was often seen around the dining rooms and other areas mixing with passengers. Remember the days when women were not hired for the kitchens, she and her pastry chef proved that was mistake. Her star accomplishment: by far, the soups. I don't normally care for soup, but after trying the seafood bisque I found myself looking forward to the day's offerings. Plus she took full advantage of local markets, bringing on local sausages and fish in Barcelona, and fresh oysters in Sete. Variety and presentation were equal to the food! No complaints in this area, and I'm a tough critic. Portofino was tasty dish after another. Even better than Don Vito's (there I go again, comparing). More about the concept later. The pre-dinner wine tasting offered a good opportunity to try different grapes and growing areas. Room service was just so-so, often lukewarm and not particularly good. But with the fantastic lunches and dinners, who had room for breakfast? Most mornings I just slipped down the hall to the Navigator lounge and picked up fruit, juice and a muffin. Afternoon tea was also so-so. Regent should do better than using tea bags and commonplace teas. This is an area where the Diamond shone...oh, how I missed it. And after a few days, you'd think the same waiter would know that I like green tea. Downside, coffee on the ship was truly horrid. Too bitter to drink. Hey, guys, clean the pot! Thank goodness I brought my own coffee press and coffee. After dinner espresso was acceptable, but not wonderful. Service in the dining rooms was inconsistent at best. Although I sat in the same general areas and had the same waiters night after night, nobody remembered that I drink Pellegrino (in fact, I saw one waiter roll his eyes when I requested it)and espresso and port after dinner. In past cruises, these were offered automatically by the 3rd night. Wine service varied widely. Most nights one glass was poured and the wine waiter disappeared. One night the initial bottle was bad, and after a long, long delay the second was no better. (I'm sure the vibration on this ship is hard on the wines and there is no way to overcome that flaw.) A different wine was offered, but we were almost finished with the meal by the time it arrived. There was a general lack of attention to detail. Training, training, training, is needed. Shops: The two shops were small, but relatively well-stocked. Some Radisson items were being phased out, but there was an adequate selection and a wide range of prices. Something for everybody. Only tacky, lining the halls and walls. People must buy it or it wouldn't be there...but I can't imagine why. Activities: We were certainly kept busy, even on long port days. Of course, team trivia and other games quickly became very competitive. However, a number of us avoided activities handled by the CD who managed to take the fun out of enjoyable activities. I'm on vacation...don't try to boss me around. Entertainment: This was a Theater at Sea cruise so the level of entertainment was a step above the normal crossing. I did miss a couple of shows because I didn't realize that they were late afternoon, not pre-or-post dinner. But I take full blame for taking a nap instead of reading the schedule more closely. It's just that the rocking of the ship is so relaxing. The speakers were definitely high caliber and widely attended. I enjoyed watching the reruns in the cabin (a definite advantage when satellite-related stations are lost during the crossing and you've watched all the movies). And the "Distinguished Gentlemen" were the best I've ever encountered. Not only were they available to dance and host dance lessons, they made themselves available for dinner every night and participated in other activities to encourage socialization among the single cruisers. Unfortunately, the vibration and noise is most noticeable in the theater. However, even with a full ship, seating was not a problem. The balcony offers the best sightline and acoustics. Portofino has adopted the Don Vito style of cabaret, and staff has blossomed as entertainers in the larger venue. However, what works in a checkered tablecloth group-table concept doesn't necessarily convert to a white tablecloth restaurant. Unfortunately, without the large shared-table concept something is lost. Even when "full" there are always a number of empty place settings. And a single has to hunt for table partners or end up sitting alone. Plus many people expecting a fine Italian concept restaurant find it "too loud". It would make a big difference if they offered at least a few large, shared tables. Downside: To say the least, the cruise director was the weak link. I've sailed with her before and have to admit that I was really disappointed when I saw that she was on the ship. Mimi, the Assistant CD was a charmer as usual. Overall, the small staff appeared constantly stressed out and distracted. Communications: The ship has a small, but nice computer room. They were busy wiring for WiFi during the first leg, so it will soon be in all the cabins. Even now, there is WiFi in all the lounges. Plus most return passengers have free access! Loved it! BUT...RSSC has determined that an adequate dish system for this ship is not a priority. Big mistake! While you always lose satellite for a few days on the crossing, it is usually available again before you reach Funchal. We did not have satellite stations even from Funchal to Monte Carlo. Since they simply repeated the movies the second week, we were left stranded in this area. The only news coverage was FOX, to the displeasure of many passengers. I found myself avoiding the lounges where FOX blared around the clock. Ports and Excursions: No ports the first week, but the second was busy indeed. It's nice to be able to pull into port without the hassle of tendering. Plus RSSC provided complimentary shuttles into town at each port. I only took one tour, to Rabat. There really wasn't much to it, mostly driving to and from Rabat with only two stops. Not even time for shopping (such that it would have been at the government supported store). But the outstanding Moroccan lunch at a luxury hotel made up for all the other lapses. Regent is touting "concierge" level service, but I found the tour desk to be mediocre at best. Answers to questions were perfunctory (and often wrong) and the staff had little practical information about ports. Maybe I expected too much. But don't call it "personalized" if it's not. Service: Unfortunately, this area appears to be slipping, not improving. The change from a 2-person team, to a single stewardess is not a positive move. Although my stewardess was friendly, she had to rate as the worst I've had in over 40 cruises. There was a large hand-print on the dressing area mirror when I arrived, and it was still there when I disembarked. She swept the center of the room, but the floor was definitely not clean. She didn't bring the cushions in from the verandah or even sweep it. On the morning after we went through a bad storm, the cushions were soaked, laying in sandy water, and the soggy lounge cushion was hanging off the rails. But she didn't even notice. I finally complained, and she did improve somewhat...but still lacked professionalism. The first night I heard my first name being called in the hallway. I turned thinking it was someone I knew from previous crossings, but it was my stewardess yelling down the hall. I'm not a snob, but I am not accustomed to being called by my first name. I was too surprised to correct her, and later learned that this is the new "policy". I don't think this is in keeping with the new image, and hope that feedback will cause a rethinking of this training. Let the passenger decide the most comfortable form of address. Discussion has been held on boards about the laundry carts in the hallways. I have to say, this is another service lapse. We're not talking about the neat carts we're all accustomed to. Rather, these are canvas laundry carts with dirty linens sloppily hanging over the edge. Combined with cleaning supplies hung on one side and cleaning rags sloppily hung on the other, they're an unsightly obstacle in the hallways until about 2:00 pm. Plus, the carpet sweeper was perched outside my door 24/7. On the bright side, ship personnel responded quickly to feedback. I do hope this area can be must, if Regent is to be considered a luxury cruise. Passengers: As on most crossings, the passengers tend to be "mature" as in "retired". But the smattering of younger couples (and singles) fit right in and appeared to have a great time. The Block Party on sailaway was a huge success and helped strangers mix and become quick friends! Special Circumstances: As on all cruises, unusual circumstances arise. During the crossing a water heater burst on deck six flooding several cabins. Staff quickly stepped into action. For several days mattresses and furniture lined the hallways and huge fans were called into service to dry the rooms. It made for quite an obstacle course, but by Funchal the cabins were ready for the embarking passengers. But the real plus was the mid-Atlantic meeting of the Voyager and the Navigator. The captains met mid-way between the ships in Kodiacs and exchanged "gifts" while the Voyager's CD took an unscheduled opportunity to go water skiing. Passengers watched while toasting with champagne, and crew yelled and waved banners across the water. It was a truly special experience. Disembarkation: What can I say...quick and efficient. How long is it until my next cruise? Let me get my calendar! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2006
My only other Radisson cruise was 3 years ago on the 7 Seas Voyager also a sampler cruise from Naples to Nice. So when I heard about this one i had to try it out. It did not start too well as we received no cruise tickets as there was a ... Read More
My only other Radisson cruise was 3 years ago on the 7 Seas Voyager also a sampler cruise from Naples to Nice. So when I heard about this one i had to try it out. It did not start too well as we received no cruise tickets as there was a different way of doing things, not sure if it was because of the takeover by Regent or not. no baggage labels either which was a shame as they are really nice leather ones. TRAVEL TO EMBARKATION. I stayed outside Gatwick the night as my flight on easy jet was very early, this was the 2nd time I had done this. A great idea as you get a continental breakfast and a bus to the airport. I checked in at 0545 for the 0640 flight. I got D which meant i would be last on. We left on time and i had a snack bruchettes and a Diet Coke. After 2 hour flight landed in Ciampino airport, After I collected my luggage, I travelled light this time Ii was so overweight a week ago on the Noordam. I got the bus to Roma Termini station. From here I got a train to Civetavechia which took just over an hour. I have an F.I.P card which I get 50% off as worked for the railway before retiring from it. It only cost 2euros. Then I found a couple who were also going on the ship so we shared a cab. At the port the ship was waiting, looking very nice indeed. As we had no tickets they told us to put a label the luggage with the cabin number on. then take the hand baggage through the x ray and onto the ship. Straight onboard the ship which was a nice change from my last cruise which took over an hour to board! On board we checked in and wrere given our cruise cards. No tickets here either. As the suites were not yet ready we went into the Portofino Grill for a buffet lunch. I had a salad and an entree. I was then told that they were closing at 2.30pm so I had to purchase the dessert quickly. Then I was going on deck to wait when they say the suites are now ready. STATEROOMS. Mine was a penthouse suite on deck 11 at the top apart from the Sun deck. They sound grand, but actually they are the same size as the others the only difference being they have a butler to attend to you. Mine was 1117 midships, a lovely suite it was too. Large bathroom with a full size bath, shower, toilet and sink. A king size bed very comfortable it was, a large sofa much nicer than the one on the Noordam, a not too large tv not a plasma screen as on the Noordam. This means that if you video tape off it the pictures are not still, where they are on a plasma screen. The balcony was quite small with 2 sun lounger chairs and a table. SHIP INFO. The Regent Seven Seas Navigator to give it her full name is 33,000tons not a huge ship very high because of the deck above. she was originally supposed to be a Russian ship but was converted to a cruise ship in Mariotti shipyard in Italy in 1999. I did tour the ship a few years ago and had lunch but I seemed to have lost the video of it. DINING. The main dining room at the rear of the ship was for breakfast, lunch  and dinner. Of these I only used it for dinner, as breakfast I had in my suite and lunch was usually on an excursion or in the Portofino Grill which is a buffet. Complementary wines with dinner was a nice touch. The food in the main restaurant were very good not quite as much choice as the Noordam though. There was an alternative restaurant which there is no charge for. It is quite small though as it has seating for only 90. I made a reservation for the 2nd day on boarding so I was lucky as many were not so lucky. It's called the Portofino at 7pm there is wine tasting outside of different wines plus meats and cheese too. No sitting down so it was a bit difficult queuing it for everything. At 7.30pm I went in the Portofino. I was promised a large table but was given a table just for me which I don't really like as it's a bit quiet being on my own. The dinner here took a lot longer than the other restaurant as there was a lot of music being played which was really good. "Jerry" was so funny and took off a lot of different people and gor everyone to participate. We had an aperitif, 3 small portions of pasta, then an entree of lobster tail and beef but it was quite small. By the time we had finished it was 9.45pm. ACTIVITIES. These were very little as far as i could see, bingo was extortion at 12 dollars per game but still people paid to have a go and the prizes were small i think not like on the Noordam where there was a free cruise to be won. There was a small casino but I did not really take any notice. SERVICE. This was very good mostly in the restaurants as I never bothered in the bars. as drinks in the bars were not free. In the suites was given a bottle of champagne, plus 3 bottles of spirits, plus water, coke and beer in th mini bar. ENTERTAINMENT. I saw 3 shows on this short cruise but there was only 1 group there playing different music. They were very good but it got a bit the same by the last night. I think on longer cruises there is more choice, then. SHORE EXCURSIONS. There were about 3 in each port, not a great deal of choice. I took the walking tour of Napoleon which was all walking and very tiring. The one in Sardinia I took the Nora archeological site which was a good tour with a free drink at the end. DISEMBARKATION. This was again very quick, I did not like the 11pm the night before to put your luggage out, as other lines are after midnight. had to leave the cabin by 8am. On the Noordam could stay in cabin until called. So after paying the bill I went to a bar to wait for my colour to be called. It was only 20 mins or so. Had a bit of trouble getting a taxi to take us to the station as he wanted a big fare but eventually for 9 people to make it worth his while. SUMMERY. O have a few complaints that I wrote most in the comment form. First was they fact that we never got cruise tickets or baggage labels. I really don't think there is any point having a butler. he does not seem to want to unpack or pack for you. Things I asked him to fix he never did or give me an answer either. No balcony light, no personalized stationery. I'm sure the penthouse suites were supposed to have them. When i asked at reception they said it was only for the grand suites but then did some anyway. I registered for the bridge and galley tours. The bridge tour was at 2pm after the excursion to Nora. I rushed through my lunch to get there on time. There were a few others obviously waiting for it too. After 10 mins nobody came. I asked them what was going on, nobody knew. Some had already given up without saying anything. I actually found all English passengers very unfriendly unless you make a point of talking to them. Even when I do the conversations very quickly and I leave in silence. Anyway I decided to go to my room and call reception to find our what had happened. They did not even know there was supposed to be a bridge tour. Finally someone came and took us to the bridge. The 2nd officer was there and did a great job of telling us everything about the ship. Just a shame no pictures or video allowed. The galley tour I also got but I was the only person who turned up. It was interesting to see how everything happens, The young English only seemed to be interested in drinking and swimming in the pool. Other things were the massive vibration in the show lounge when we were going full speed. Things were a lot better on the Noordam and she is not a 6 star ship unlike NAVIGATOR who is suppose to be. I don't really think she was on this occasion. Despite the problems I will give Regent another chance but not on NAVIGATOR but will try the Voyager on the transatlantic in November. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
This was a New Year's 11-day roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, which is our favorite departure port. We have over a dozen cruises and are Celebrity Elite, but took this first Regency after some issues on our 14 day Infinity last January. ... Read More
This was a New Year's 11-day roundtrip from Ft. Lauderdale, which is our favorite departure port. We have over a dozen cruises and are Celebrity Elite, but took this first Regency after some issues on our 14 day Infinity last January. Came the night before for a Friday departure which is much calmer than the Sat or Sun busy days. Overnighted at the Hampton Inn north of the Airport our third stay there. Shuttle from hotel was very prompt, drivers picked us up at airport the night we got in and offered rides to nearby eateries if we wanted and then on Friday were very prompt in delivering us to the ship around 1:30pm. We were met at the shuttle door by Regent staff, and welcomed warmly. There were four check-in lines and we were checked in in five minutes and on the ship. We were offered Veuve Clicquot as we entered the ships lobby and directed to the pool deck to await the opening of our room at 3pm. Plenty of food and service and at 3 we were given our rooms as promised. Luggage was immediately delivered and by 3:30 we were unpacked. Suite 617: We traveled with 19 year old daughter and room was adequate for the three us us, but four would not work. Bathroom and walkin closet were big pluses. No problem storing clothes for 3 for 11 days. Suite for two would be very roomy with spare storage. Deck was nice sized and you could do breakfast outside, though we did not. There was a lot of spray on deck six, so if I do Navigator again, I would go with seven or eight to avoid it. Cherry was excellent in service and cleaning, no complaints. The team was a little stressed to get all rooms cleaned and it looks like they could add one or two more room attendants to make it easier, but we were very pleased. Food was excellent. Room Service as prompt, Buffets in Portifino were very good and service was excellent. Food at the pool was also good, with table service and several themed buffets. Barbeque and Mexican were big hits. The dining room, Compass Rose, was very good. Most meals equaled Specialty quality on Celebrity and only weaknesses noted were limited fish options. Beef, lamb, lobster and duck were very good. Franco and Simone run the Compass and were outstanding. The sitting is open, but we kept the same table and waiter for 9 nights, we think we benefited from extra attention because of this, but many people moved around. We did Portifino for dinner one night and it was a lot of fun. Food is as good as dining room but it is not a step up as in speciality restaurants in other lines. This is not a problem as all the food is good. We only did this one night late in the cruise and wished we had done it twice, because even though it is always Italian, the menu is changed each night. Several people went there three or more nights. Entertainment was good. No production shows, which I don't care for. Comic from Wales is very good. Ship orchestra was excellent. Singing group, a dance couple and other acts were good not great. Went to all but one show. Entertainers were around the ship and easy to approach and visit with. There were several lecturers and we attended a couple that were good. Sam the Cruise director, Mimi, David and Crystal were all over the ship and offered a good variety of activities. The casino is small and it can get hard to get to a table. Mini-craps was busy and some players never grasped that with only one dealer, you had to be considerate in betting. Overall the casino staff was friendly and competent. Regency advertises that they offer leisure and I felt that. Things to do and occupy me, but not a stressful day running from place to place. Took a couple of ships excursions, both were good, one on Tortola was an Island tour, very thorough and the other a tubing excursion on Dominica. It was great fun, though we were shorted on time at the Emerald Pool. We were late back to the ship, but they were waiting for us to take up the ramp. (Good reason for being on a ship tour). Prices were reasonable and we actually exchanged a pre-booked tour for a different alternative just two days before the port with no hassle. Grand Turk has nothing to offer but a nice beach day and a trip to Margaritaville, if you want to worship at the alter of Buffet. St. Barts is nice but pricey. Skip the expensive shops and bars downtown and take the 15 walk to Shell Beach. It is wonderful and has plenty of facilities right there. St. Martin, St.Thomas, San Juan and Nassau, were all busy and not much ever changes with them. Staff: If there is a big difference in cruise lines, it is with staff. I would start with the Captain, John McNeil. He was everywhere. If you did not see him three or four times a day and speak to him at least once, you must have been asleep in your cabin. I probably had a speaking relationship with over 20 staff and a nodding relationship with 40 more. No request was too minor, they looked for ways to serve you and even though they are not working for tips they could not have been more helpful. I especially enjoyed Oscar our primary waiter, Dan the Bar Manager, Meo at the pool bar, Pedro at the Star Lounge and Elvis and Allen in the dining room. I never felt any pressure for tips or for an excellent rating on an evaluation form. I did make a contribution to the Staff fund and received a nice thank you note before we left the ship. Debarkation is never good and the ship was 30 minutes late getting cleared. Still, the bags were in small groups, there were plenty of porters and cabs and we had no trouble making our 11am flight on Jet Blue. With 470 passengers instead of 2000 things like this should and do go easy. My impression of six star service is just that, service. Very much felt I got my money's worth. All inclusive started with this cruise and the crew liked it. Less paper work accelerated their service. Only minor confusion as to what was not included and what was. Staff we talked to said the lounges were much busier and the policy was getting the people out of their cabins and mingling. We have kept our June Alaska on Mercury in a Royal Suite to compare this experience. We booked a Western on Voyager for November which we may change to a spring Med. I expect to be back on Regency and think it may become our line of choice in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2006
The embarkation was very smooth. From the time we stepped out of our cab we received top level service. Our bags were removed from the cab and we did not see them again until they were delivered to our stateroom later that afternoon. The ... Read More
The embarkation was very smooth. From the time we stepped out of our cab we received top level service. Our bags were removed from the cab and we did not see them again until they were delivered to our stateroom later that afternoon. The stateroom was spacious and comfortable. We loved the walk in closet and the marble bath. The cabin decor was elegant. When we arrived lunch was being served in two places; by the pool and a buffet was available at Portofino. Deck 10 (Pool Deck) was crowded and as it was a New Years sailing there were more children then I am used to seeing on Regent. Our first few days at sea was quite a challenge as the ship rocked quite a bit. The RSSC does not appear to have the stabilization system that most modern ships have. As such I would not travel on this particular ship again. The activities were typical, the enrichment lectures were fair. There were children in the hot tubs during the day at sea but in the late afternoon the number of children by the pool diminished. My husband and I travel on luxury lines and compared to other ships we have sailed on we found the food good but not outstanding. My meat was always cooked the way I asked for it. The deserts were simple and not up to luxury line standards. In the early afternoons snacks were available by the pool and finger sandwiches were in the lounges. There was always an afternoon tea until 4:30. Dinner was served at 7:00. Between 5:00 - 7:00 if you wanted a snack you needed to order room service. We did several excursions and they were priced comparative to other cruise lines. The groups were small and the service was excellent. Throughout this cruise their were problems with the ship. The toilet in our cabin and nearby cabins did not work sporadically over several days and at times public toilets were locked while they worked on the system. When I called about this I was always told that the problem is being addressed but was not given any time line as to when the system was expected to be in working order. There was water leaking into the hallway by the Navigator Lounge. We were on the first all-inclusive cruise of the New Year. Drinks were plentiful. During the day time in the Seven Seas lounge during the enrichment lectures there was no one to take your drink order. Rather by the door way there was a table set up with cookies and sodas as well as bottled water. One could bring in a drink from the bar. At night their were cocktail waiters coming to take your order. Since RSSC started the all-inclusive liquor policy there was no automatic bar set-up in our room. Although if we wanted liquor in the room we could have asked for it. We were pleased that there was no charge for the washers and dryers nor was there charge for bottled water when leaving the ship to go on excursion. Overall I would rate the cruise as five star but definitely it was not a six star experience. The service on board was exceptional but the dining menu, the mediocrity of the entertainment as well as the enrichment lectures, coupled with the ship's maintenance problems detracted from the six star experience. In terms of value we sail often and in our opinion Oceania offers a luxury experience, better food, for a lower price. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2007
Our 8 night cruise to the Western Caribbean departed from Ft. Lauderdale on March 28th. We initially booked our airfare through Regent but learned that we could book it ourselves with a savings of almost 50%. Flying from the west coast ... Read More
Our 8 night cruise to the Western Caribbean departed from Ft. Lauderdale on March 28th. We initially booked our airfare through Regent but learned that we could book it ourselves with a savings of almost 50%. Flying from the west coast requires an overnight stay in Ft. Lauderdale so we booked into Embassy Suites - a short drive from the airport (note: most things in Ft. Lauderdale are near both the airport and the port). We were very happy with the accommodations which included free internet access in the lobby and a full breakfast. Across the street is a pub, Waxy O'Connor's where we had a good meal and a nice Guinness! The hotel is walking distance to a supermarket, drug store and liquor store. It also provides shuttle service to the ship every half hour. Embarkation was fast and efficient. It was interesting to see that many passengers had already boarded the ship by 12:30 p.m. and were dining in Portofino restaurant on deck 10. We were impressed at how "new" the interior of the ship was. The Navigator is beautifully furnished - very tasteful as well as comfortable. After lunch we went to our suite on Deck 8 (mid-ship). As far as I could tell, the category "D" suites are identical to those on the Voyager. Penthouse suites on the Navigator are the same size and configuration, so, we decided to choose a suite on a lower deck to avoid feeling too much motion and/or vibration. The vibration on both the Navigator and the Voyager has been a huge topic of discussion on the Boards - yet, I feel the need to put in my two cents. The first day I walked all over the ship in search of the vibration. I heard that it was definitely in the showroom (decks 6 and 7 aft) . . . I felt nothing. Five days into the cruise I finally felt some vibration in an elevator and in a corner of Portofino. It is my belief that vibration is dependent upon the speed of the ship, the motion of the water and the sensitivity of the passenger. My husband was quite aware of the vibration on the Voyager on our Baltic Cruise last year while I was not. We both agree that, at least on this cruise, vibration was minimal and barely noticeable. Smoking - there is a bit of conflict in Regent's literature on this subject. In one place I read that the only interior place you could smoke was in Star's Lounge. Other literature said that there is a smoking section in Compass Rose and on the port side of Galileo Lounge on Deck 11. The only places I noticed smoking was in the casino and Star's Lounge. The service on the Navigator was very, very good (with one exception that I'll address later). The Cruise Director, John, seemed to be everywhere at the same time. He is a very energetic person with a great attitude. Unfortunately, this was his last Navigator cruise. Rumor has it that he may be on the Voyager in the future. The ship size is good and bad. The library/computer room/game room combination was extremely small. The puzzle had to be set up on a table near the elevator. To make matters more difficult, there was a family with three young children that played board games in the library and were laughing and screeching a bit loudly almost every day. This was quite disturbing to some of the people trying to use the internet as well as to guests in the Navigator Lounge across the hall. Children on Regent cruises when it is neither summer, a holiday or school break is a whole other subject that does not seem appropriate to address here. Lack of dining options became a bit of an issue for us. I cannot imagine cruising for more than a week with basically one restaurant. Portofino, the reservations only restaurant has two problems: 1) it is usually booked every night; and 2) although the food was quite good, the entertainment is the same each evening and does not allow for much conversation at the table. We did have the buffet lunch at Portofino every day and it was fine. Speaking of food - we learned at the end of the cruise that the Head Chef had left the ship suddenly to go home after her father's death. The Assistant Chef, during a galley tour, shared with us how difficult the week has been on him. The food quality the week of our tour was pretty good but not up to Regent standards. One night we could not cut our grouper - the couple across from us had lamb chops that were pure fat. The grouper issue still puzzles us as we cannot figure out how to cook fish in a manner that makes it impossible to cut. We would have thought that the kitchen could run almost as smoothly with the Head Chef away for a couple of weeks but it apparently cannot. The service in Portofino restaurant, with the exception of the only female server, was sarcastic at times to the point of being rude. They do have a difficult job since many people are trying to get reservations and are unable to do so. They turn many people away and many fail to show up or even have the courtesy to cancel their reservation. I understand that they are frustrated but saw the poor attitude and service more than one time. Entertainment -- the entertainment is being changed this month - back to the orchestra and groups vs. single performers. We enjoyed the entertainment they had - especially Tony B. Shore Excursions - we book shore excursions on our own using local companies. We check them out as thoroughly as possible and find the groups to be smaller and the prices more competitive than those on the ship. Here was our experience on this cruise: 1. Cozumel (with 5 ships in port) - snorkeling for 3 hours in the morning with a group of 15 from a Carnival cruise. Really nice people with their children - well done - a lot of fun. 2. Belize - our favorite excursion - cave tubing. We were picked up at the ship, driven 50 miles to the location and had a wonderful experience sitting in an inner tube, floating down a clear river through pitch black caves with flashlights so we could see crystals, rock formations and bats (sleeping). We were fortunate that no other ships were in port as this excursion can be very crowded. There were only 3 of us and 2 guides. 3. Santo Tomas, Guatemala - like most passengers, we did not do a tour but did visit the marketplace by the ship dock. The residents were a bit aggressive - not our favorite place. 4. Roatan Island, Honduras - this is a real up and coming resort destination. We took a ½ day tour around the island - such a lovely place with very kind people. Regent held a barbeque on a beautiful white sand beach with an area where you can view turtles, sharks and other sea life. 5. Key West - snorkeling tour booked with Regent. Only 7 Regent passengers were on this excursion with 117 Carnival passengers on one catamaran. Beer was being guzzled, everyone was very loud, very loud music. . . this will be our last Regent excursion. In summary, this is a beautiful ship and the cruise was lovely. The few negatives discussed above were fairly minor compared to the great time we had. The suites are probably the best of any cruise line - the crew makes the passengers feel very special and welcome. The food should be back to normal soon but there is not much they can do about the lack of dining choices. I really fell in love with this beautiful little ship. When we went to Daniel, the Cruise Consultant to book our next cruise (Daniel is great and has a memory like an elephant) we finally had to make a choice as to which ship it would be . . . we will cruise the Mediterranean next year on the Voyager. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
Review of Regent Seven Seas Navigator 11/16/07 - 11/26/07 - Western Caribbean This cruise was a sweepstakes win from an online travel agency with offices in Seattle & San Francisco. Although we had been on 35 previous cruises, we had ... Read More
Review of Regent Seven Seas Navigator 11/16/07 - 11/26/07 - Western Caribbean This cruise was a sweepstakes win from an online travel agency with offices in Seattle & San Francisco. Although we had been on 35 previous cruises, we had never been on a six star luxury ship. We were not disappointed. The cruise exceeded our expectations. This ship had less than 490 passengers, a nice change from the mega ships. Our suite was quite large and we especially enjoyed the large walk in closet and marble bathroom with separate tub and shower, as well as the large seating area. Pictures are here: We found the food very good and there was always a large selection to choose from, including simplicity foods, salt free foods, and low calorie meals on the menu. The menu could be accessed daily on the television. You were offered the choice of eating at the Portofino's buffet, the Compass Rose dining room as open seating, or private dining in your suite complete with table cloth, crystal and silverware. We opted for the buffet for breakfast and most lunches, and private dining in our suite for dinner. Since my husband does not care for Italian food, we did not partake of the Portofino's evening meal by reservation. I understand the food was quite good and the entertainment exceptional. We usually eat early at home, so the 7:00 PM dining was a bit unusual for us. Roy, one of the waiters in Portofino's had been chosen by the transatlantic passengers as the Navigator Idol (a take-off of American Idol). They were showing the contest on the TV, and he has an amazing voice. The ship was much smaller than those we had been on the past few years, but I liked the convenience of not having to walk very far to get to another part of the ship. The elevators were always available and empty, a nice change from the mega ships. The crew was friendly and most helpful. Although tips are included in the passage, we tipped the stewardess and waiters in the buffet a little extra on the last day. Our reasoning for this was that the dollar value has dropped and they are working for less than they signed on for. I liked no announcements during the day, other than the noon report from the bridge. I liked the fact that no photographers had a camera in your face every time you turned around. I also liked that the art auction was silent and not in your face. We visited the ports of Key West, Grand Cayman, Jamaica, Belize, Santo Tomas, Coco Cay in Roatan, and over nighted in Cozumel. Weather was mostly good except for some rain in Belize and Guatemala. We did not take any tours, but just stayed in the port area, as we had visited most of these ports many times. Also, we are returning to these same ports in December on the Veendam. One thing that I didn't like was that embarking and disembarking in some ports was not the best for someone with a disability due to the steep steps. Those in wheelchairs were carried up and down them, but I was on a they carried the walker on up ahead, and then I pulled myself up on the railings. There was a lot of local entertainment in the port building in Santo Tomas, which we enjoyed very much. Especially the marimba band which can be seen here: The internet cafe and library always had availability. A good supply of DVDs was available in the library 24 hours a day. I was disappointed in the merchandise available for purchase in the online shops. There were very few logo items. However, I understood why when on the last day of the cruise the shop operator said they were leaving the ship and someone else would be getting onboard when we docked. They said this is why they had not restocked the shelves and would be shipping back to their source all the items left in the shops. The entertainment on the ship was very good. We enjoyed the lectures, movies, and entertainers. The only problem was how late most of the shows started. 9:45 is late for us as we are not night owls. There were only about a dozen children on this voyage. They did have certain things planned for them to do, but they had no separate space as their own as on other larger ships. We loved this ship and would certainly recommend it to everyone. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Trip to Fort Lauderdale and Embarkation I booked this cruise after reading some people talk about it. I booked late in the game, so I had to take a category D guarantee to get a balcony. Regent has a fairly good single supplement policy, ... Read More
Trip to Fort Lauderdale and Embarkation I booked this cruise after reading some people talk about it. I booked late in the game, so I had to take a category D guarantee to get a balcony. Regent has a fairly good single supplement policy, and I went for 140% of a one person rate. I thought I had a girlfriend that was going, but she got laid off and took a new job in a week and a half's time, so I took advantage of the good price on this 3 nighter on the 2 for 1 single as a chance to sample Regent Navigator. By the time I got down to the cruise, it had not been long since I had done Regent Voyager Western Med in late October, so I was pretty excited. In addition, I had also just come from Silver Whisper Dubai to Mumbai a few days earlier with my husband, so I was also rather tired. I'm a travel agent, but I did pay full fare, less my commission for this trip and have paid a pretty penny for my 5 luxury cruises, so I hope the readers will consider me a reliable source and value the detail in this review. Other similar cruises have been one Silver Wind cruise, two Silver Whisper cruises, and one Regent Navigator cruise. I was not anxious for any overnights on this trip since I had been traveling a lot this fall and because it was going to be close to Christmas and my husband's mandatory vacation week when I got home. I took a non-stop Continental flight from Houston IAH to FLL same day, risking checking a big suitcase. I got down there plenty early and took the short trip to the Port Everglades terminal with a lovely gentleman driver from Jamaica. I have had well over 70 resort stays in Jamaica since 1992, and this gent and I had a lot to talk about. His conversation in the short drive was quite spiritual and touching, and I felt blessed to meet him. I arrived at 11:20 and was seated by the most lovely lady shortly after someone swiftly handled my bags. A few minutes later, here came Sue and Tom from my travel group. Sue is another agent that I have known since the early 90s online but had never met. Meeting them was a perk of this trip. I chatted with the couples next to me as we curiously debated what had come from the short dry dock before our cruise. Promptly at noon, they boarded by row, and we were marched into line by the lovely lady. We had our pics taken and handed over our passport . We boarded and received our champagne and were told we could dine on deck 10 while we waited for the suites to be ready. We had our choice of the Portofino's buffet or the Pool Grille. I chose the buffet, as the grille really had no seats available and I wanted to see what the buffet had anyway. There were about 25 people in line, but it did move along, and in a few minutes, I was seated with a nice plate and had lovely table service from the warm staff. My Ship Tour After that first lunch, I decided to self tour. I checked out all of the public areas. I checked out cabin 1125, a Navigator Suite. I liked it but was not overwhelmed by it by any means. I meandered along and saw the steward staff working so hard to ready things for us. I noted in the public areas that the layout was more unique than the Wind, Whisper, and Voyager. There were some cozy nooks and lounges that were a bit different, like the Navigator lounge. The casino was bigger than I was expecting. It is bigger than Whisper and I think as big as Voyager. They offer roulette, black jack, craps and some other games and also my fav, video black jack where I play with only the dealer and can change my betting amounts. The pool deck seemed a bit small, and the pool didn't seem to be in too good of shape with the faded wood, but when guests got around it and it had the real swimming water, it seemed much better. The deck did remain crowded on this short cruise, and often the hot tubs were double-stacked with guests sitting outside and inside. I did not get my usual time in, but the water was perfect in the hot tubs when I did get in. Other Thoughts on the Ship The spa had a relaxation room. It was small but serviceable and somewhere to sit and wait for the staff vs. the not great area on Voyager and the stellar area on the SS ships. The steam room was not large but was great with all of the appropriate amenities. The spa staff were all ready to help. The lounges tended to fill up completely. You did have to work a bit to get a pool deck table at a meal or a seat, but it was not very much effort to join someone or anything, and that was always a nice experience. There was so much charm to the ship, and I really loved how they had it decorated for Christmas. They pretty much had all the facilities you could want except perhaps one more specialty restaurant. There were a number of shops, and with the vendor losing their contract, everything was 50% to 75% off. I picked up some awesome Cartier sunglasses and a Regent polo shirt. Others in our group bought some clothes and jewelry. With the short cruise, they were busy when not in port and didn't have time to go look for additional sizes or styles of anything. I had a spa treatment on the first full day that I booked from the boarding special. It was two twenty minute treatments that they combined into one 45 minute treatment doing the facial and neck and shoulder massage. It was $79, and nobody even mentioned selling me a thing. I REALLY enjoyed this experience and recommend the spa. Look for deals, as the regular rates are over $3 a minute for most things. My Cabin I went to my cabin on my own, but I had taken the precaution of having nothing but my purse and laptop with me, and I didn't need assistance. I was in cabin 840, a portside category D. The cabin had the Aveda amenities. As expected, it had the single marble sink, plenty of shelves, a tub that was long and thin with a shower head in it and a separate shower stall elsewhere in the bathroom. Also, there was a walk-in closet with plenty of drawers and hangers, a bed with an inviting duvet and a full sized couch. Recently added that cruise only were the new LCD TVs. These were nice, but the old marks on the table were there from the CRT TVs, and the reception was not HD. The cabin had a DVD player. An advantage of Regent Voyager and Navigator has been the full sized couch that I really enjoy. Mine had two huge black stains the size of quarters that shouldn't have been there after dry dock, but they did not bother me too much. My closet had a safe that had the number pad totally ripped off and hanging two inches out, and the whole label was ripped in two. This didn't really bother me, either as I have never felt unsafe on Regent for a minute. This should also not have been found after dry dock. There was the dressing table and the desk, both with European and US plugs and plenty of lighting throughout. I had plenty of glasses and was greeted with the welcome champagne. My stewardess arrived promptly to introduce herself and the suite and ask for liquor preferences, if any. She did not seem too knowledgeable on policies or offerings on anything, but she was professional and mature in answering. The suite had a nice balcony. I discovered on the second day when trying to sit in chair two that it was totally ripped in two. They took it and did not replace it. I did enjoy my balcony, though I found the door hard to open. It had a definite technique to it that took two hands, but it was consistent with me, so I learned the first time. I was never short on glasses, and I always had good turndown and morning service from my stewardess. She was fairly non-instrusive. I had a lovely time relaxing in this suite, and it was very cozy for me in the time I spent there. I wish the cruise had been longer so I could have laid around more (and spent more time with my companions). In addition, wifi from the cabin worked just great. One addition to my cabin was a lovely door sign that I received from Beth, a member of the LCT unofficial group with which I was traveling. I felt special every time I walked up. Guests of Regent Navigator This was the crown jewel of this Navigator cruise. I heard about this cruise from Beth and then Diane, members from a popular online board. Then I booked the cruise after studying it and found a number of others would be on board, including Sue, someone I have known online since the early 90s but had never met. I met Sue 15 minutes after arrival to the cruise terminal, and I really felt blessed from the short times we spent together, and I enjoyed meeting her husband and friends. I also met Beth, Diane, Crystal, Wes, and Ida from the internet. I can't even describe how fabulous all of them are. Along the way, I spent a lot of time with them and also some people we met - Callen, Coleen, Stuart, Stephanie, Adrien, another Diane, Scott and Joe. Each of these people touched me in different ways, and some down to my core. You never know when you have a conversation with someone where they are in their lives, and sometimes just a few sentences or one deep conversation really has a long-term affect on someone. Bright lights, please keep shining and touching people's lives. It is all worth it. I also met Rose and some others at the Stars disco nights and had a barrel of fun in dancing with them until the wee hours every night. We did see a few kids, and I had one enlightening conversation with a 7 year old in the hot tub. They were part of their families and did not wreck anyone's time in any way. With the short cruise, the average demo seemed to be in the 35 to 55 range, so we saw people out and about, though there were people from childhood to 80s, and all were great and having fun. The ship did feel full, and there were some that a few times seemed like the bubba crowd on some rare and short occasions like the lifeboat drill, but it was pretty much a non-issue. Dining All of us solo ladies ended up together every meal, and now and then, we had a couple and/or some single gents with us. The food was always good, as was the company. Portofino's was where I always had breakfast. It was easy to go there and just join others from our group. I typically had fruits, along with tea and maybe some eggs and that fabulous crispy bacon they need to bring to my house. It was Americanized, but so was the clientele. For lunch at Portofino's, there was always a hot and cold soup. I really enjoyed a curried soup I had one day, and I know there was another good one I had. I love soups on ships and at resorts, and nothing was salty or cold. One day, I had some incredible rainbow trout. There were always 3 or 4 entrees, many tasty salads and fruits and pastas made up and also to order. They had a few desserts, but I am not really a dessert person. I saw others enjoying. Wines were OK, and service was good. One day, I tried the Tex Mex on the pool grille. I sat in a pool lounger but later joined others from our group. It was neither Tex or Mex, but I did enjoy the vegetarian soft taco and salad I made up. The sweet boiled ribs were not to my taste. Others not so critical did enjoy. Other dining choices were readily available. For dinner, two nights, we were at Compass Rose. I picked steamed mussels from the appetizers and asked for an entrEe portion the first night and had lobster the other night. I didn't like the lobster sauce and didn't eat it, but others loved it, and I was full from all the other outstanding courses. I loved the appetizers, soups and salads. I always do and don't ever really need an entrEe. I saw some huge, well prepared steaks and such that delighted some of my tablemates, and the most unusual was the "iceberg salad with olives" that Scott ordered that had no lettuce and at least 30 olives. He ate them all, and he looked a little green afterward, but he rallied on to the entrEe and dessert. Our dinner in Portofino's included 16 of us at 3 tables that we prereserved. We started out with the European meats and cheese, along with the wine tastings. Guests and staff mingled here for 30 minutes. Then we went in to the dining room. We could not get our 3 tables together, but we got up and checked on each other throughout the meal (I hope we didn't bother anyone). A couple of our bunch participated. Adrien did the tambourine, and Ida kicked and danced, while Callen pointed to his table at the wrong time and led the staff into believing he and Coleen should be the recipients of an anniversary cake. After Coleen blew out the candle, the cake was literally ripped from their arms. It was all good, and we had a fantastic time chatting and joking about it after the freshly prepared meal. The entertainment was great, with Vincenzo sounding more like Sinatra than Sinatra. I was exposed to the puckering Limencello for the first time, too. Diane, the model and I wanted something else besides the entrees they had, and we were accommodated to my surprise. I did enjoy the petit fours at Compass Rose, with a particular nod to the tiny canoe-shaped fruit tarts. Activities With the cruise being only 3 nights, people were socializing a lot. We had a few activities when not in port - chatting on the pool deck (yeah!), talking on the internet, doing trivia and bingo, gambling and shopping, and dancing the night away. I loved all of these activities and really bonded with people sharing them. In the ports, I had my two days doing shortish outings with Beth. We did the aquarium in Key West and walked around some. We both went out again later but not together. In Nassau, we cabbed over to Atlantis on Paradise Island and took pics of the public areas and tried our luck a bit. Entertainment I went to both of the production shows. I really liked the Vintage Vegas and the Motown shows. I know Stuart wasn't in love with the Vegas show, and some others were not as enamored as I was. I was right up front, and I enjoyed having the costumed shows. They also had a staff show and another entertainer. I did not make those. The girl doing the disco was a delight. She seemed to have some issues with the equipment to overcome, but we did enjoy not singing karaoke and dancing and chatting up there in Stars anyway. They had a Beatlemania live show where they did not sound like them at all, and the dancing to music was better afterward. Disembarking and Trip Home I had a nice last breakfast with Adrien and said goodbye to Sue. I ran into Diane, and she and I shared a cab to the airport. I was pretty early and chatted with a couple for 30 min. and then boarded my non-eventful flight back to Houston. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
My husband and I just returned from a great week's vacation on the Navigator. The ports included Cozumel, Belize, Santo Tomas de Castillo (Guatemala), and Key West. This was our second Regent cruise, the first being in the Baltic in ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a great week's vacation on the Navigator. The ports included Cozumel, Belize, Santo Tomas de Castillo (Guatemala), and Key West. This was our second Regent cruise, the first being in the Baltic in the summer of 2006 on the Voyager. Our flight from DC to Fort Lauderdale was an object lesson in why you should always fly in the day before, if you can. The weather was perfect in Washington when we left, and most of the trip was very smooth, until we were suddenly diverted to West Palm Beach because of high winds and storms in Fort Lauderdale. We sat on the ground long enough in West Palm that the storm caught up with us, and held us on the ground there until it blew through. We arrived in Fort Lauderdale two hours late, at a time that would have been uncomfortably close to departure if it had been the same day. We had booked a room at the Marriott Harbor Beach Spa and Resort, using points from previous business travel. We had booked a few months in advance, and the person taking the reservation apologized that since we were using points, we'd have a room facing the city rather than the ocean. We hardly minded, since the room at this pricey resort was "free" and we'd be on the ocean for the next week. When we arrived, we found that the hotel was fully booked for a business convention - so we were upgraded to a large suite on a high floor, with living/dining room, separate bedroom, and beautiful views of the beach and ocean from three balconies. It was a very nice start to our vacation! Early the next morning we saw the Navigator arrive in Fort Lauderdale, gliding past our windows into port. I joked to my husband that I was "watching my ship come in". The short taxi ride to the port was easy, and Regent received us very graciously. We arrived at 1 pm so we were able to board immediately. A buffet lunch was available at the pool grill, and we passed the time pleasantly with that. The rooms were ready at the precise time promised - 2.30 - and our bags were waiting for us when we arrived. After unpacking, we acquainted ourselves with the ship. We had both been very happy with the layout and the appearance of the Voyager, so we found the Navigator to be very different. It does not have the open public spaces that the Voyager does; they seemed small and dark in comparison. The ship altogether has a more intimate feel than Voyager, which is reasonable given its smaller passenger capacity. Navigator has only two restaurants for dinner, compared with Voyager's four. The staff on Regent ships are very attentive without being obtrusive; a perfect combination, as far as we are concerned. The cabins are very spacious and comfortable, and we love spending time on the balcony. The reason I entitled this review "rocking and rolling" was because the first day out, a sea day, was extremely windy, with 10-15 foot seas. Many passengers took to their beds, and the rest of us lurched around the ship like drunks. I have long sailing experience, so I was not ill, and my husband was also fine. However, it did continue all day and well into the evening, and by then I had gotten enough entertainment out of it. This was our evening at "Portofino", the specialty restaurant, and many tables were empty because people had not been able to face going to dinner. There was a wine tasting set up outside the main dining room, but people (including myself) were not eager to stumble from table to table trying to keep our footing. One older man fell, and they quickly seated the rest of us at our tables before that happened again. Since Portofino is up on Deck 10, the rocking was more apparent than on lower decks. I did not find the food at Portofino to be any more "special" than in the Compass Rose (the regular restaurant), but I admit I was eating lightly that evening. We also didn't anticipate the "comical" musician, whom we found very disruptive to conversation, and who was not nearly as amusing as he thought he was. Ship Excursions We did our excursions through Regent, as we had done in the Baltic on Voyager. We find them to be good value for the money, and well organized in general. Cozumel: We did the Atlantis submarine excursion to Chankanaab. Each passenger has his or her own large porthole through which to view marine life, and you go down to 50 then 100 feet. The coral reef has had a lot of damage from hurricanes in recent years, but it is still interesting to see, and the fish we saw were spectacular. That was the highlight of Cozumel, which we found to be a tacky tourist town otherwise. I see no reason why we would return there in future. Belize: This was the highlight of the trip, for me. We took an excursion up the New River, pausing to see wildlife along the way - herons, crocodiles, a nest of bats (which flew out at us when we got too close!), and beautiful birds who "walk" on top of the water lilies. The boat took us to the park where the Lamanai Mayan ruins are, and we had a beautiful walk to the ruins under a canopy of palms (which helped shield us from the rain). There were two temples which we saw, and the guide was very informative about their history. The boat trip back was at high speed, and some people ducked behind the seats to avoid the wind and rain; I just regarded it as a free facial dermabrasion treatment, and would not have missed a single thing we saw on the way out or back. Santo Tomas de Castillo, Guatemala: I am amazed by the reviews I've seen which say this port is not interesting, or that they just got off the ship to shop in the port terminal. I can't imagine docking somewhere and not exploring! We went to the archaeological park at Quirigua, about an hour's drive from the port. Again, we had very knowledgeable guides, who could explain the meanings of the carvings on the giant steles in the park, which date to the eighth century. My husband is a terrific photographer and took some wonderful pictures of these amazing artifacts. Key West: We did not do an excursion here, but walked around on our own. Once we got off Duval Street, which is "turistaville", we found it very interesting. We visited the Hemingway house, and had a wonderful time at the butterfly conservatory down at the southernmost end of Duval. Overall, we were very happy with the cruise. We met very interesting people, and we find that "open dining" facilitates these meetings and conversations. One reason we initially chose Regent was that we did not want to eat at a set time with all the same people every night. Fixed seatings for dinner come at two times: Too Early and Too Late, and on Regent you can be seated anytime from 7 to 9. We always said we'd be happy to start a table or join one, and we had very interesting conversations with a wide range of people. My husband spent some enjoyable time in the casino (roulette is his game), and even came out a little ahead. The evening shows were not to our taste, and any time we have tried them (on both Regent cruises) we leave early. They are probably geared to an older, more traditional crowd; on Regent, we are "youngsters", since we are in our early 50s. However, the small orchestra on board, the combo in the Galileo lounge, and the pianist, Tonee Valentine, were wonderful. Regent also gives a lovely cocktail party for those who have cruised with them before, with endless champagne and beautiful hors d'oeuvre. We are looking forward to sailing on Mariner next, to complete our tour of Regent's major ships. [It will be awhile before we get to the South Pacific, so the Paul Gauguin will be out of our experience for some time, yet]. Voyager remains far ahead of Navigator in our estimation, but we certainly would not hesitate to take Navigator again if it had the itinerary we wanted. We are now "2 for 2" on Regent and it would take an amazing itinerary/price combination to make us change to another cruise line. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2008
"Emphasis on providing a delightful experience" "The Regent Experience" "Unsurpassed levels of luxury define the Regent Experience" "Your every desire and wildest dreams fulfilled" ... Read More
"Emphasis on providing a delightful experience" "The Regent Experience" "Unsurpassed levels of luxury define the Regent Experience" "Your every desire and wildest dreams fulfilled" "Uncompromising excellence" "Unparalleled service and attention" Just some of the claims made by Regent Seven Seas Cruises in their promotional material. As a special celebration for our silver wedding anniversary in March 2008, my husband and I, together with two friends, booked a seven-day cruise on Seven Seas Navigator, sailing in July. Regent's ships are advertised as being six-star and they frequently mention in their advertising material, "the Regent Experience", "The ultra luxury world of Regent Seven Seas Cruises". These are the reasons we decided to book with Regent, as we wanted a very special occasion. How we were disappointed! Within two days of boarding, three of our party went down with diarrhea and loss of appetite, which lasted several days. Consequently, not much food was eaten. There were several other passengers on board suffering the same complaint. We decided to treat ourselves with medication, as the cost for seeking the advice and help of the onboard doctor was very expensive. We brought our problem to the notice of the Cruise Director, but he made it clear he did not want to know. There were poor hygiene standards on board. The use of antibacterial gel was not compulsory, either when boarding the ship or when entering a dining area. It was available, but not in a prominent position and many passengers did not bother to use it. During our time aboard, there were two instances when we were given dirty glassware and crockery and we witnessed a waiter carrying a cream jug, to our table, with his hand clasped over the top, instead of carrying it by the handle. Definitely not six-star! There was poor service on the pool deck, tables left uncleared and no towels for the sunbeds. Again, not what one would expect from a 6-star ship. In the main dining room, on two occasions when a large party of Colombian people arrived, service at our table and others was extremely poor, with most of the waiters fawning over this family and we were left with empty wine glasses and long waits. Presumably the Colombians tipped well! The Asian staff on board worked extremely hard, were very pleasant and aimed to please, but they were under pressure and it showed. Some of the older Italian staff, we found to be arrogant. A passenger we spoke to also complained about lipstick on a glass she was given. The waitress asked her if it was her own lipstick! Our suite was very nice and we have no complaints there. However, suffering from diarrhea, we spent rather longer in our rooms than we would have liked! On our return home we wrote a very fair letter of complaint to Regent. Their reply was purely and simply a big brush-off. They don't want to know. They suggested we caught a bug from the airport and have told us that they meet the highest standards set by the US Public Health Authorities. What we experienced and witnessed could never be classed as high standards. We have sailed with other lines in the past such as Swan Hellenic and Seabourn and found both to be excellent. I would have far rather been writing a rave review and have wonderful memories of a special celebration. Unfortunately, we were very disappointed. We definitely did not get what we had paid for and will not be sailing with Regent in the future. The 'Regent Experience' we experienced, is not one we wish to remember! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
First lets get the nearly obvious out of the way. The really all inclusive is the only way to go! The crew really get to know you, the service, the wine, the food, the decor, all top notch as I'm sure you assume. The line has a great ... Read More
First lets get the nearly obvious out of the way. The really all inclusive is the only way to go! The crew really get to know you, the service, the wine, the food, the decor, all top notch as I'm sure you assume. The line has a great Crew to passenger ratio, with tons of empty space all over the place. Our cruise was 100% booked and with a long waiting list and yet we could take a walk around at night and not see a single other couple on the deck. Our Cruise was from Athens Greece to Dubai UAE. This was the trip of a lifetime, and the very first time this ship was in the middle east. For being the first time at all these ports every kink was well worked out ahead of time, and the middle east is no easy place to have everything go so smooth. With the extreme Volatility in the region, we still felt very safe and secure. The boat had several different defenses against modern pirates and we received a military escort that was never more than 20mins away at all times. The safety and well being of each and every passenger really is the ships #1 concern and it shows. The Cabins were spacious and they nearly all have a balcony. The beds were a great vacation for my back as well! Now on to the few things I was not so impressed about, and yes, it took me quite a while to think of anything to even speak of. As nearly every reviewer already stated, yes, there is quite a bit of vibration on the ship. This didn't effect us while sleeping though, but was a little annoying at times when eating on the higher decks. So to start off, the pool and Jacuzzis closed much too early each night. There really is no reason to close them at 7 or 8 pm. Most nights they even drained them and put nets over them. This not only took away from the aesthetics of the pool deck area but we heard several people say that they missed being able to take an after dinner dip in the pool or relax in the Jacuzzi, not in the heat of the mid day sun. I'm sure there's some insurance reason behind closing them, but it was very disappointing to see that the passengers were not trusted to swim once the sun went down. Now onto the TVs. All rooms have Movies on demand at no charge. Slightly tricky at first to figure out, I don't think we realized we even had this feature until about the 10th day! The quality of the movies was all DVD quality. BUT and this is a big but... whoever handles the Audio/Video on the boat should be at the very least, made to take some sort of course to learn what they are doing. Any special recordings or video interviews on the boat were just plain laughably horrible. Most of the color was green. For example, I watched the presidential debate live via satellite in the lounge and in my room. Than for the next day it was played back to back on one of the channels, but now in absolutely horrible quality. It was like watching a copy of a copy of a copy of someone who recorded the debate with a camcorder pointed at a TV. and than add some bright green and now you've got what it looks like. I have no idea why no one that works on the ship let this go on like this. We poked fun about this with several other passengers several times on our voyage. And this can't be blamed on the Satellite, because it came in perfect the first time. While we were in our mid to late 40's we felt like the real youngins on the ship. I'd have to say that on our voyage the average passenger age was 70. which was just plain higher than what we were led to believe. This is no cruise for a family with children, or for that newlywed couple... well unless your on say your 3rd marriage that is! But truth be told we met some amazing other couples on the boat. We enjoyed the company of so many people. We were just shocked by how friendly everyone was. As you talk to everyone throughout your stay you start to find out that nearly everyone on the boat this is now on average there 5th, 6th, even 8th time back with Regent. That alone speaks all for itself! There is certainly a reason why once you go Regent you never go back! I like to keep a healthy lifestyle and the ship had an excellent fitness center, stocked with 4 or 5 treadmills, cycling machines, all with flat screen TVs, free weights, and many machines. Also both a walking and a running path on the decks. Shuffleboard, golf, and a pool you can swim laps in. The menus each night also featured low carb, vegetarian, low salt, and simple dishes in addition to the regular menu, so staying healthy was easy to do thankfully. The Compass Rose was actually so much better than The Portofino. But that was mostly due to the Portofino having a authentic middle Eastern menu since that was where we were. But whatever restaurant you choose there is no waiting, a table is always free just for you. The music on board was just a 6 out of 10. It's all a little Corny and you can tell everyone singing just couldn't cut in in the industry and just settled on a cruise ship. I would've rather heard some violins, than heard the almost Disney like music acts that were there. We also would've like to have heard a little more Sinatra songs. Shore excursions were all decent. We set up many of our own things since we could set up some of the same exact excursions at 1/2 the price. This was our first cruise with Regent and we have certainly found our cruise line to call our own. We look forward to our next cruise in the near future. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2008
In this review, I'm going to mainly focus on aspects of the cruise or ship which were not 100%. Some are very petty complaints and barely deserve a mention, but to some may be more of an issue than to myself. I won't go into what ... Read More
In this review, I'm going to mainly focus on aspects of the cruise or ship which were not 100%. Some are very petty complaints and barely deserve a mention, but to some may be more of an issue than to myself. I won't go into what we did at each port, but I welcome any questions. Background: My wife and I are both 39 and we have been on 2 other Regent cruises before - the PG and the Navigator in the Med. This is the third cruise we've taken with our children, the other 2 being short 4 day cruises on Disney. This is also the first time we've been away from home and family for the holidays. Overall, the cruise met our high expectations and was excellent in most every way. We would gladly do it all over again, and are planning a trip to Alaska on the Navigator in 2010 with our children. To us it felt like things have gone a little south since we were on the Navigator 2 years ago, but other than the Portofino restaurant, we really could not put a finger on just what. I attribute most to just being in our head and knowing that there is now a new owner. I don't think things have changed for the worse as drastically as I've read about. The thing everyone talks about is the vibration. 2 years ago we had a midship cabin and did not notice the vibration in the room at all. I only noticed it during the shows and in the Portofino which are both aft. This trip, our cabin was aft, deck 9, and we felt the vibration whenever the Navigator was in motion. It was a low level vibration. Nothing that would wake you from sleep. It only bothered me in the bathroom and I think that was because it was hard floor as opposed to carpet. The vibration in the Stars lounge and Portofino was not at the high level I remember from 2 years ago. At night, the cabin squeaked from numerous locations. It was not loud enough to keep us from sleep. However, when docking in the morning, the aft tunnel thrusters made a horrendous vibration that woke everyone up. The staff everywhere, with one exception, were fantastic. They were always in good spirits and did their best to fulfill requests. In some areas, they were understaffed as I will note below. The one exception was when my wife was in a fitness class and an older woman came in late. The instructor would not allow her to join the in-progress class and told her to wait until the next class. My wife found this to be a bit rigid considering this is just a CRUISE after all and everyone is on vacation. At our gym back home, people come and go from classes as they wish. Our cabin stewardesses were Pitchie and Jonaliza and they were incredible. I'd leave her messages on post it notes if we were leaving before seeing her, and my requests were always taken care of quickly and accurately. From getting a new DVD player for the room when the old one broke, to keeping the fridge stocked with Corona and Fanta. They also had to bring in an extra bed each night for us, as well as take it out the next morning. The room and bathroom were kept spotless despite my deposits of sand everywhere from the snorkeling gear. Of course, service varies from person to person. Service was spotty everywhere during breakfast and lunch. Sometimes there would be 5 people waiting on us and I'd have coffee served before I even sat down. Other times, I'd be half way through my meal before getting a drink. The problem just seemed to be lack of staff. Once I got someone's attention, service was quick. Service out by the pool seemed slow too. The pool deck bar staff and waiters were overworked. I'd like to mention that any time Ben was the bartender and I walked up to the bar, he served me immediately. But many times no one was behind the bar. And it never seemed that busy around the pool except at lunch time. When sitting next to the pool, it could be 10-15 minutes before a wait staff came by to take your order. Sometimes I'd try to flag them down with no luck, and just go up to the bar myself. Dinners were the exception. We never had slow service for dinner in either restaurant. If there were problems at dinner, I may have missed them as we almost always ate with others and I get so distracted by conversation that I'm not aware of service delays. The Portofino restaurant was disappointing, but only because we are comparing to what we remember. I think we are in the minority. I liked it 2 years ago when the one area of the restaurant was set up with hors d'oeuvres and wines from various regions of Italy with a poster showing you the region and explaining the growing conditions, grape type, etc. Then, you went into the other part for dinner and the Maitre' De Roberto and one of the waitresses, nicknamed Mona Lisa, would sing. Now the anti-pasta is set up buffet style which I did not care for. Food is very subjective, so I won't put much time into reviewing it. I will say that of all the meals, we only had one not liked. And that had more to do with misinterpreting the description than the taste or quality. One thing that struck me as odd was that the hash browns were those rectangular frozen kind. Regent should know better for something so simple to make as hash browns. I really enjoyed the selection of cheeses they offered after meals for lunch and dinner. The wines were all very nice and there were plenty of alternatives offered from regions all over the world. I can't imagine anyone finding something they would not enjoy. The alcohols offered at the bars were top shelf and there was a large selection. For example, 4 single malt Scotches were offered - Macallan 12 year, Glenlivet 12 yr, and Glenfiddich - the other I can't remember. My favorite spot on the ship was the Navigator lounge. It was never crowded or busy and the Italian Espresso machine became a good friend. There was only one incident where we were really annoyed. We had booked the Atlantis Tourist sub ride on our own for 10:30 am, with check in at 10:15 at their office which is less than a 10 minute walk from the pier. Because we left Ft. Lauderdale an hour late and the currents were stronger than expected, we anchored off GC very late. The first tender did not leave the ship until 10:00 and takes 8-10 minutes to get to the dock. We were some of the first in line, but they announced that only people who booked tours through Regent were allowed on the tenders. We, along with a few other people complained that the tours would wait for the Regent group, but us with independent reservations would be late and some had cancellation fees, etc. This was not really the major issue though. The major issue was the mass confusion and how no one seemed to be in charge and no one was being allowed onto the waiting tender. The guys on the tender were calling for people to get on board, yet those on the ship kept us waiting. One Regent employee told me not to worry that the sub would wait for me. I knew this was not true. The woman who had announced that only Regent booked tour groups were allowed on the tender looked frazzled and did not know what to do and made other vague statements that made it seem like maybe she could fit us on. I finally asked her outright - are you going to allow us on this tender or not? She said that she did not have the authority to make the decision. There was a mass of people now waiting to get on, and more coming down. So they eventually let us and everyone else get on the tender. I was not so much annoyed with their Regent first policy, but that they did not seem clear if it was going to be enforced or not, and with the general confusion of the entire disembarkation process. Other minor things I noticed: In some parts of some hallways the floors are uneven. There was a terrible garbage smell just as you entered the hall to the aft deck 9 suites. It never went away, and I never complained because we only quickly passed that area. I imagine the cabins closest to the end may have smelled it even in their cabin. The barrier between our balcony and the next was loose and banged all night, but was fixed the next day after we left our stewardess a note. Now that I'm done with the complaints, I want to reiterate that this cruise was excellent and overall I left with a feeling that Regent is still a top of the line, 5 star cruise line. There are so many little things that were positive that made the trip special and overshadowed the few small negatives. The gingerbread houses with candy and cookies set about the ship. The staff who made special efforts to interact with our children and make them feel special. The flexibility of all the restaurant staff in fulfilling special orders. If you are reading this review to help decide if you should take a Regent cruise or not, I say without hesitation, YES, take the cruise. I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
Uncertain as to how we would react to cruising, we chose a short (7-night) cruise to places we had visited many times previously. The exceptions were Grand Turk and Princess Cay, about which more later. Not to leave anyone in suspense, ... Read More
Uncertain as to how we would react to cruising, we chose a short (7-night) cruise to places we had visited many times previously. The exceptions were Grand Turk and Princess Cay, about which more later. Not to leave anyone in suspense, while we perceive some (inevitable) paradoxes in the cruise experience, we enjoyed our voyage and look forward to more cruises in our future. Our boarding experience was swift and pleasant. Our first sight of the cabin banished our principal anxiety: it was surprisingly large and thoroughly welcoming. The verandaha ballyhooed 50 square feet was great for standing on to observe waves and port scenes, but too small for anything else. We both liked the smallish size of the ship, the inherent intimacy. But we also felt that on a longer cruise, the choice of only two restaurants might be too limiting. Food and service are critical to a satisfying cruise, and particularly on a self-described luxury cruise. We always ate late, never entering Compass Rose or Portofino, the optional Italian restaurant, earlier than 8:00pm. Thus we were always offered the chance to join other passengers already seated. We eagerly accepted these assignments, as we thought that meeting our fellow cruisers across a dining table would be the easiest way to make on-board friends. There is a powerful temptation to fall back on hyperbole when writing about personal travel experiences. One's hotel was "superb." The food at a restaurant in Dubrovnik was "extraordinary." The guide in Buenos Aires was "non pareil." To be clear, we enjoyed our Navigator experience, but the following ratings are, I think, mercilessly accurate. The food. Bountiful, always at least good, sometimes very good. You cannot prepare meals for 450 people, offering them a dozen or more choices, and rival the cuisine at any Michelin-starred restaurant. That said, a curry one night was excellent. Fish was always very good. Corned beef hash in the morning was perfect. Hot dogs (in particular) from the pool grill were excellent. A Mexican fiesta from the same source at lunch was great. (Though for my palate, Corona is the least singular of all of Mexico's cervesas.) We thought service was never less than good, with frequent rises to refreshingly concerned. One lapse should be noted. If you plan to bring a Waterpik or other personal dental equipment have a care. In advance of the cruise, the Regent service desk assured us that outlets were available in the bathroom for 110volt (U.S.) appliances as well as shavers. Not so. On board, we asked for an extension cord to plug into the dressing table outlet which normally serves the 110volt hair dryer. After some consternation, this was furnished. The Waterpik whirred into life momentarily, and then fried. Could I be the only Regent passenger to travel with a Waterpik? To reiterate, cabin stewardess, bartenders, waiters and dining room staff were uniformly agreeable, almost universally in a way that suggests attitude coming from the heart, as well as from training. The ports. Our surprises were Grand Turk and Princess Cays. Our first trip to GT, though we had been to Provo a half-dozen times over the years. The cruise terminal is Disneyesque, and (thankfully) most passengers stay there. An enormous P&O vessel that dwarfed our trim little vessel was tied up across the pier, and disgorged more than 3,000 Brits at the same time as we disembarked. We rented a golf cart and puttered about the island, which is still recovering from hurricane Ike and, it appears, from the fraudulent activities of recently displaced government. Princess Cays, which we visited as our last port of call because of weather, loomed as another re worse Grand Turk. After all, one could reasonably expect the marketing gurus at a cruise line to trade island ambiance for an American Idol image of the Bahamas. Not so. Our 400+ passengers were easily accepted among the carefully planted palms. We delighted in feeding the frenzied fish the stale bread that was provided. And the barbecue was low key and satisfying, though Corona was (alas) the only beer available. So, kudos to Regent (or whomever) for their restraint in keeping Princess Cay more or less akin to its natural character. Though note that the islet can accept as many as 3500 passengers at once, and what it feels like submerged beneath that wave of sun-burning humanity is anyone's guess. So, where next? We would like to try a bigger ship on a longer cruise. Perhaps Regent Voyager? I think we would like a London to London cruise that touched at the Orkneys, Skye and other places a bit difficult to reach. A question that more experienced cruisers virtually all of you might be able to answer. Why do per diem costs increase as the duration of a cruise increases? That seems counter intuitive to the way most things, travel included, tend to work. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2009
We had booked the cruise with a travel agency in Dallas. I had requested everything to be first class big handicap friendly suite for my parents, handicap friendly limos to and from the airport, etc. My Dad was recently diagnosed with ... Read More
We had booked the cruise with a travel agency in Dallas. I had requested everything to be first class big handicap friendly suite for my parents, handicap friendly limos to and from the airport, etc. My Dad was recently diagnosed with Leukemia as well, so we wanted this to be a special cruise for the three of us and our caregiver. We had traveled on Carnival, Celebrity and Princess before. Carnival was a nightmarish cattle call of humanity...Celebrity was middle of the road with very unfriendly staff and Princess was great but crowded, so we were attracted to the fact that this ship only had 490 passengers and over 800 staffers. After we booked the rooms (I was disappointed that no handicap rooms were available...more about that later), I researched the Navigator online. Apparently it started out as a Russian research ship, then was converted to cruise ship, refurbished in 2006-2008 and the company was subsequently sold from Radisson to Regent. The only negative thing I could find was a lot of discussion online about the famous Navigator rattling sound so I brought as portable fan with me just in case. After 8 days on the Navigator, let me just say that even with my room (531) right next to the dining room, THERE WAS NO RATTLING SOUND to speak of in my suite. I did hear some rattling upstairs prior to some of the shows but that was it. My parents are almost 80 years old and spoke with many of their friends who had traveled on both Regent and Crystal and most found that Regent was far superior in service and food. The average age on Regent was also in the 50-60 range, while everyone told us that Crystal's age was about 80. All drinks are inclusive (Cokes AND spirits) with Regent, so that was a plus as well. We didn't book it until about 90 days before so we ended up paying about $3000/person. The airfare was booked using Advantage miles so we saved about $500/person there. American Airlines was wonderful to work with regarding my father's use of a wheelchair. They called me prior to our departure from Dallas. Someone from A/A was always there for us to help lift my Dad into his seat, whether in Dallas upon Boarding or Fort Lauderdale upon arrival and going back as well. KUDOS TO AMERICAN AIRLINES!!! The limo to the airport in Dallas was great (memo to wheelchair users...better to get a handicap bus next time with a wheelchair lift) but the real nightmare was in Fort Lauderdale. Our travel agent's first screw up was booking a trailer/van to pick us up!!! There was no way my Dad could be lifted into that contraption so I had to call her and she snapped to it and got us a limo (for $210...the going rate for the 3 minute trip to the cruise ships). We didn't get to the docks until about 2:00 (after waiting 45 minutes for the new limo to show up) but once we got there I felt like royalty after being greeted by the Regent staff. They were everywhere!!! "May I help you..." "Yes sir..." "Let me get that for you..." Now I know we are paying for the service BUT IT SURE FELT GOOD!!!! We were greeted with champagne and they even rolled my Dad all the way to his room where we found the next nightmare....The travel agent had requested that a ramp be placed in the room so that the bathroom floor was flush with the suite AND IT WAS NOT THERE....HELP!!!! Well we called the Regent staff (Martha was especially helpful) AND THEY BUILT A RAMP FOR US IN ABOUT 30 MINUTES!!!!! AMAZING SERVICE!!!! I went to my suite and was very pleased with the size of the room. It was especially spacious for me since I was all by myself in the room. Huge walk in closet with safe and wood hangers. Beautiful marble shower and separate tub. Big flat screen TV. Separate sitting area. At first I was disappointed that I had one of the few rooms with no balcony but honestly since I only slept, dressed, showered and ate breakfast in my room during the cruise, I really didn't miss it that much when all was said and done. We changed for dinner and ate in the Compass Room. I loved the fact that there was no assigned seating (like being in the 3rd grade on most ships) and we could dine at whatever time we chose, within reason for dinner and breakfast. Also 24 hour room service, which their caregiver used at 1:00 a.m. to order a sandwich, which got there hot in about ten minutes!!! I ate breakfast almost everyday in my room after that and it got there right on time, was hot and delicious EVERY SINGLE TIME!!!!!! After dinner they went to the show and I went to the casino. I love poker and craps and was disappointed that they had taken out the poker table, but was quickly assured by Helene, the casino staff manager that the craps table action would more than make up for it. AND SHE WAS RIGHT!!!! I spent most of the next 6 nights at the craps table either right after dinner or after the show for the evening and met some great folks there (Chet, Danny, Kirby, Richard) and the casino staff was fantastic!!!!! KUDOS TO HELENE!!!!! Quite by accident we met the couple in 529, which was the room in between our two rooms and we spent the rest of the cruise with them (Holly and Joe) and their friends (Chris and Jamie). I won't say more, except we have met new friends for life and are still communicating with them and we have Regent to thank for bringing us all together (the first thing or the second thing?...what thing?...OOOOOUUUUUUU!!!!!) We ate dinner one night in Portofino's and was disappointed by the food...EAT AT COMPASS!!! The shows that I saw were mediocre at best. The Buddy Holly impersonator was about as good as a bad Karaoke singer and the Vegas Rat Pack review was just awful (how can you do Elvis with no sideburns or sunglasses? how can you do Dean Martin without a drink in your hand??). My parents and their caregiver loved the Motown show and everyone talked about how our caregiver was dancing on her feet throughout the whole show (I guess she was easy to spot, what being the only African-American woman on the ship!). There was always room at the pool...I never had to wait for anything...It was just wonderful!!!!! One very bad incident. Our caregiver had a seizure in Puerto Rico (she had a history of heart problems) and had to be hospitalized and we later flew her home to Dallas...(NOTE...ALWAYS BUY TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE,,,IT PAID FOR HER ENTIRE HOSPITAL STAY, THE FLIGHT HOME AND ALL ARRANGEMENTS,,,WHEW!!!!). The quality of food was excellent, especially the soups which were indescribably delicious!!! The level of service was amazing, especially since ALL TIPPING WAS INCLUDED!!!! I had a massage, which was awesome and my Mom had two complete makeover days (all free since when we boarded we all had any where from $300 to $600 ship credits given to us to spend on massages, cigars, Regent wear, etc.) Look...if you want a non stop party cruise with lots of screaming and yelling and drunk idiots, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU...But if you want class, fine dining, great company, quiet and efficient service, then by all means...BON VOYAGE!!!! I AM DEFINITELY CRUISING AGAIN WITH REGENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2009
Pre-Cruise: We flew Continental Airlines out of Seattle to Houston and on to Ft. Lauderdale. The week prior to the trip, I noticed price decreases in both hotel and air. We cancelled and rebooked both at a net savings of $800.00. We took a ... Read More
Pre-Cruise: We flew Continental Airlines out of Seattle to Houston and on to Ft. Lauderdale. The week prior to the trip, I noticed price decreases in both hotel and air. We cancelled and rebooked both at a net savings of $800.00. We took a taxi to Embassy Suites at a cost of approx. $14.00 plus tip. The vans at the airport will gladly take you to Embassy Suites for $40.00, so, it is a good idea to take a taxi. Arriving too late to visit Waxy O'Connor's across the street, we decided to call it a day. Embassy Suites is in a great location and includes a cocktail hour and breakfast. Our short stay was interrupted in the middle of the night by an emergency evacuation being piped through the speakers of the hotel. Fortunately, it was a false alarm. Shuttles to the port are no longer free. The shuttles are $7.00/person which is about the same as a taxi. Embarkation: As usual, embarkation at noon was very organized and went smoothly. Within a ½ hour, we were sipping wine in Portofino. The Ship: The Navigator is a lovely ship and remains in good physical condition. Carpets are beginning to wear in a few places, however, they are not nearly as worn as the carpeting on the Voyager or Mariner prior to dry dock. The ship is being maintained well and should continue looking great until it goes into dry dock in April, 2010 for 22 days. There were two electrician's on board from Italy (where the ship was originally retrofitted) attempting to determine the origin of the ongoing electrical problem. They had one planned power outage that lasted 15 minutes. When the power resumed, the "brown water" appeared in our suite for a short time. Apparently, the resumption of power stirred up the sediment in the water tanks. We did not learn if the problem has been fixed, or, if it is related to the air conditioning issue. We only heard one couple mention that the air conditioning in their suite was problematic. The vibration was quite apparent on this cruise (there was no vibration two years ago). The seas were quite choppy for a day and a half leaving and returning to Ft. Lauderdale. The movement of the ship was more noticeable on upper decks. The vibration was very noticeable anywhere aft. The Suite: We were celebrating my DH's birthday and decided to splurge on a Navigator Suite (1125 - formerly the Beauty Salon). It is the only Navigator suite that is not under the pool on deck 9. It is unique and quite wonderful. The bathroom is double size with a larger shower and Jacuzzi tub. It has a full size sofa and side chair in the living room and a dining table with 4 chairs. The bedroom is small with a window (the sliding glass doors leading to the balcony are off of the dining room). There are over 40 drawers in the suite you could stay there indefinitely. I highly recommend it for special occasions. Food: This is one area that we had some difficulty with. It is our opinion that the quality of the food as well as the offerings have dropped a level or two. For instance, on the last evening, the vegetarian entrEe offering was a "Vegetable Burrito". The shrinking menu in Compass Rose includes the sandwich choices at lunch. On the Voyager 4 months ago, we heard many people ordering from the list of meats, cheeses, breads and condiments. We missed having the opportunity of having a sandwich on board. In Compass Rose, Filet mignon does not appear on the menu daily as in the past. Wine is no longer poured by your server in Compass Rose. Some of the particularly wonderful meals we had: Swordfish Sole Lamb Madras served on rice Filet Mignon Beef Wellington Chateaubriand Osso Bucco (almost anything Italian is wonderful) Rack of Veal (served at lunch in Portofino) Whole Turkey (carved at lunch in Portofino) Some particularly bad items in Compass Rose and Portofino Scallops Crab Claws Shrimp Sugar free trifle Vegetable Curry Sea Bass (would have been great if they removed the brown bottom layer) Note: The ship received a bad load of Crab Claws and Shrimp - they dumped their whole supply and got a new batch at one of the ports. Potato's on the plate were underdone (and less than hot) in CR. My husband ordered a "side" of mashed potato's and/or French fries. They came up hot and extremely good. Many items on the lunch buffet in Portofino were really on the cool side (exception: mashed potato's and anything prepared by Maura on the pasta station). Some of the items on the buffet in Portofino looked pretty shabby - no presentation whatsoever. I'm specifically talking about items that are just about always on the buffet. For instance, smoked salmon - at times a the tray was only half full - you could see what had been put out "fresh" next to the day old fish that was looking a bit dry. The blue cheese crumbles on the salad bar coagulated after a few days and was finally replaced. In general, especially on the lunch buffet, the food has to be hot - this is a serious weak point. Side Note: This is the first Regent cruise we have taken where the pastry chef has no clue how to make scones (we love the scones - only allow ourselves a couple a week - we had ½ of 1 on this cruise). Portofino for dinner I really cannot find any reason to go there. I did not hear anyone mention anything positive about this dining venue. Our one experience there was our first night. The antipasto buffet was good. My husband was served raw scallops which he returned. What he got back was tasteless. A couple of us had fish that was well prepared. The biggest problem in Portofino is Gianpaulo ("Paulo"). He was on board two years ago and was rude to passengers. When we dined there, he and his staff spend 90% of their time talking and laughing with their friends (returning passengers) and very little time serving other passengers. Service: Some of the best and worst we have experienced on Regent. First, a lot of the staff is really exceptional. Some who stand out: Franco - Dining Room Manager Leo - serves in CR during dinner. His section is in the middle of the room (next to the large table that the Captain dines at some nights). Maura - pasta station in Portofino. She is simply delightful. Lea - serves tea in the morning in Navigator lounge. Always has a smile on her face. She bartended for a short time and experimented (with my approval) with a chocolate martini. We had a lot of fun and many laughs. The bartender in Galileo is delightful (can't find his name) Petru Christian - I believe he is head waiter in the evening. He isn't outstanding but did assist us when service in CR was so poor. The service, as I have mentioned was so bad and so good. I would be remiss if I didn't recount the first three evenings in Compass Rose. The first evening we waited 30 minutes for any service (no wine - nothing) The second evening we waited 20 minutes for any service (same as above) The third evening we waited 20 minutes - then my husband got up and spoke with Petru Christian). We got immediate service A couple of nights later we accidentally found "Leo" - there was never a problem after that. He greeted us within moments. We had the same table for four every night. He saw us having breakfast one morning in Portofino - came by, gave me a hug and said to be sure to tell him if we needed anything It was truly a "Regent" six star experience! Unless Compass Rose is completely full, wine is poured only by Sommeliers. This was part of the reason the service is so slow. They try very hard, but, have a difficult task. Wine in Portofino (lunch) - servers no longer come around asking to refill your glass. It is more difficult and takes longer to get wine. The first two days on board, the entire staff seemed to only be speaking Italian to each other. This changed on day three and did not revert back. "Paulo" also seemed to mellow out a bit. IMO, he needs to learn some management and customer service skills. On the other hand, if you kiss up to him, he'll give you special service (while ignoring others). The pool area - our friends spent a lot of time by the pool where they found the service pretty close to perfect. As soon as a glass was empty, someone was there to take their order. Cold towels were offered throughout the day. This area really has its act together. If anyone has a Butler suite, here is the new Butler Menu: A Greek Tribute (Feta cheese, pita bread, marinated black & green olives w/mint dip) Prawns Perfection (Jumbo prawns with American cocktail sauce: NOTE: not really jumbo! Italian Delight (Thinly sliced parma ham with seasonal melon and grissini) Vegetarian Temptation: Crudites with blue cheese or ranch dip. Classic Cheese Platter (Int'l. cheese selection with grapes and crackers) Crab Composition (Crab claws with lemon and cocktail sauce) NOTE: inedible at times Hot Canada Selection (Chef's selection) NOTE: generally the same thing you'll get downstairs) Also a chocolate and fruit selection. Tenders: I added this subject as there appears to be a big change in how passengers who are not booked on Regent excursions are "allowed" to get on the tenders. This is a small ship with fairly large tenders. The number of passengers taking excursions will increase dramatically when "free excursions" kick in. Still, people will book private excursions, want to spend the day ashore, or, have a tee time booked. Everyone has to get a tender ticket in the showroom. I personally never saw the tender ticket as it appears that no one really gets one. They board Regent excursions on the tenders first. These passengers are apparently more important than the rest of us (in our case, we had private tours booked). One tender we took back to the ship actually blocked non-Regent excursion passengers from disembarking from the tender until the excursion folks got off. Ports/Excursions: Princess Cay was pretty but fairly non-eventful. The advertised "sumptuous" barbeque wasn't! Puerto Rico was interesting. Apparently, the officials are known to delay the approval process for allowing passengers off of the ship for up to two hours. In our case, we waited an hour and a half. Once off the ship we headed to another pier to pick up a ferry that takes you within a $3/person taxi ride to the Bacardi distillery. The cost of the ferry was $1.00 round trip for 2 people (no, that wasn't a typo). We really enjoyed the tour of the Barcardi distillery. Regent did offer a city tour that included the distillery. St. Thomas was one stop that I was hesitant about due to some negative publicity they have received recently. We booked our own excursion on St. Thomas. I enjoy the fact that many Caribbean islands have a set taxi fee. We knew that the 20 minute drive to our excursion would be $10.00/person. Our jet ski/snorkel adventure was truly amazing. They take a maximum of six people out at a time. We were the only two that day. The taxi ride was also a nice way to view the island. St. Maarten was also lovely and, once again, we booked our own excursion. This time, our 20 minute drive to ranch was $6.00/person. We did a 2 hour horseback ride (again, only two of us with the guide) that ended up with the horses walking into the ocean and walking back and forth with children coming up to pet them. The go in to about mid-saddle (made up that word to describe the water level). We just did not feel up to doing much on the day we docked in St. Barth. Walking around and looking at the overly expensive shops was about all we did. I hear that this is a wonderful island. After avoiding Regent excursions for quite a while, we decided to give Regent a try in Antigua . There were 22 Regent passengers on the Antigua Rainforest Canopy Tour (zip lining). The tour was handled extremely well. It was great to see people of all ages (all adults) zipping from one tree to another, 300 or so feet above the ground. By the end (9 zip lines) everyone looked like a pro! I highly recommend this excursion. Note: very strenuous, lots of walking on rocks, climbing. Tortola BVI was only a 5 hour stop. The shops were interesting. Do not have much else to say about it. There was not enough time to visit "The Baths" which is suppose to be a highlight of this island. Our last port was Grand Turk. While quite commercial, the water and beach was lovely. We enjoyed a nice long walk along the shore. Conclusion: Some people feel that Regent is inconsistent, or, that management in general is poor. I disagree. I have had consistent food and service on the Voyager as recently as 4 ½ months ago and expect it to be the same on our next cruise. It is up to the management on board the Navigator to insure that passengers receive six star service. Most importantly, food has to be prepared correctly and, at the correct temperature when served. The General Manager told a passenger last week that everyone says bad things about the Navigator and he does not understand why. I believe I have explained why. All cruise lines are cutting back in different ways due to the economy. We may not like it, yet, this is the reality. When I look at the luxury lines and question whether we should switch to another line I realize that each line is different and unique. Each has its own set of issues, pros and cons (too large, too small, no balconies, not all-inclusive, etc.). As I said at the beginning, we had a wonderful cruise and would do it again without hesitation. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
Navigator Feb 6 - Feb 16 Good and Bad We recently completed the above cruise and I thought that I would try to give an objective review. Embarkation: The embarkation was slow due to a computer malfunction (seems to be an ... Read More
Navigator Feb 6 - Feb 16 Good and Bad We recently completed the above cruise and I thought that I would try to give an objective review. Embarkation: The embarkation was slow due to a computer malfunction (seems to be an ongoing problem throughout Regent). We waited for 30 minutes in the lounge. Cabin: Our cabin was as expected. Spotless and in very good shape. Service from our stewardess Donna and our butler Rajib was efficient and cheerful. The evening appetizers and room service was great. Food: I know that food is subjective. It was at times very good and always well presented but not 6 star. Often the food at the pool grill was undercooked. Breads and deserts were excellent, the cookies not so much. Service was good and very cheerful. My husband loved the French toast, but my omelet orders turned into scrambled eggs several times so l I finally gave up. By the way, we were always able to get a table for two in the dining room. Entertainment: The production shows were only fair. We only went to one. The special entertainment was excellent. Wojtek Mrozek and Agata were spectacular. Lecturer: Captain Larry R was excellent and very informative about the ports and their history. He gave many educational and fun lectures. He was also very helpful on a disastrous shore excursion. Shore Excursions : For the most part the shore excursions were well planned and very educational in Guatemala, Cozumel and Progresso. Belize was another story. We were on the Lamani Ruins and River Excursion. The first ¾ of the excursion went well and the ruins were very interesting. However, on the way back disaster hit. The driver (guide) was going at an excessive rate of speed when the steering let go and the boat crashed into some trees off the main channel. The steering locked and the transmission also let go. We were out of sight of the main channel in snake and crocodile infested water. The guide did not have any mode of communication nor did he have any tools to free the steering. Several gentlemen on the boat cobbled some steering together and we limped out to the main channel. The other boat on the tour also lost an engine. Regent does send an escort on the excursions but because of the location she did not have ready contact with the ship. I was bruised when we hit the trees. No one on the ship checked with me about my injuries. While I was not seriously hurt I felt that someone should have inquired about my status. Disembarkation: All of the colors were called at once and it was a zoo. It needs some work. The ship had a major mechanical problem and lost an engine at the beginning of the cruise. We missed two ports but were adequately compensated. I believe that the mechanical problems on the Navigator have been ongoing and as this was a port intensive cruise it was disappointing. Would I sail on Regent again, YES. However, I do expect more from a 6 star cruise line. Read Less
Seven Seas Navigator Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.3
Dining 4.5 4.1
Entertainment 3.5 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.6
Family 3.0 3.6
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.5
Rates 4.0 3.8

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