12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Recently completed a 7 day Alaske cruise on Regent's Seven Seas Mariner. My wife and I had planned this trip for several years and finally decided to travel this past July (2019). We chose Regent at the suggestion of our Agent. On ... Read More
Recently completed a 7 day Alaske cruise on Regent's Seven Seas Mariner. My wife and I had planned this trip for several years and finally decided to travel this past July (2019). We chose Regent at the suggestion of our Agent. On receipt of their sales brochure we "poured" over the information and decided it was time to "treat" ourselves to a high end cruise. We purchase the cruise for $17,000.00 dollars for a balcony room on the 9th level. NOT A SUITE. We have cruised many times in the past with our children and our friends. We have booked on Royal Caribbean and Carnival ships with travel throughout the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas. What sold us on the Regent cruise was the "promise" of a "top of the line" all inclusive experience. Boy were we disappointed. As I will enumerate below. 1) The embarkation process in Vancouver was rudimentary at best. We arrived with plenty of time to spare and recieved our documents in a timely fashion. After a very long walk with carry on luggage we boarded the ship to a glass of sparkling wine. 2). Our room was ready to occupy. It was clean with a bowl of "aging" fruit available for consumption. The small refridgerator was stocked with 4 cans of soda pop and one water. I asked the room attendant about wine and spirits availablity (which we thought would in the refridgerator) and was told that individual servings were available through "room service". Who wants to wait 45 minutes for a glass of wine? My wife odered a bottle of wine (California Chardonnay). 25 bucks at Costco and was charge $60.00 on the cruise. Premium Wine and Spirits were to be included onboard as part of the "package". At the lounges we were offerd mixed drinks....mostly of a lower quality range of spirits. You had to request "top shelf" spirits. I'm not a big drinker but for $17,000.00 bucks I would expect top quality. 3) We met our room steward ONCE during the cruise. Never once were we asked if anything additional was needed to improve our cruise experience....BY ANYBODY.... Our friends who stayed down the hall had money stolen from a wallet during the day, they spoke to Guest Relations and recieved an inadequate response. Lesson learned.... lock your stuff in the safe. 3). The ship was in "good condition" and the maintenence crew kept it clean. It was quite clear that the Cruise Ship Operators" poured a great deal of their resources to its upkeep. 4) The entertainment was ok. Some good, some not so good. The Cruise director "Andy" was slightly overbearing constantly trying to "shill" the products both on the ship and at each port. I overheard several guests stating that the shops at the ports paid for this service. If I want to buy something I really don't need a strangers input. 5) There were plenty of "shore excursions" available at no charge, but.....If you wanted to partcipate in "upscale" excursions there was a charge We purchased 4 days of excursions for 2 people at a additional cost of $1900.00. Getting near $20 grand now. 6) The FOOD. Very disappointed. We were ALLOWED to dine at the upscale restaraunt only once during our cruise. We were told at the main reservation desk on deck 5 to inquire daily about cancellations then were told there that we needed to go to the individual resaurants and inquire. How embarassing, that we receievd poor treatment from ALL the maitre d's at the specialty restaurants. We dined a Prime 7 and had a wonderful dinner the crab legs served were what you expect from Alaska. Other than that evening the food and the service was subpar in the main dining room. My wife order lobster one evening and got somthing that resembled several large shrimp. I had Dover sole and had to remove pinbones fron the filets. Being that we were on an Alaskan cruise I would assume that Shrimp, Salmon and Crab Legs would be highlighted. Not on this cruise. The shrimp cocktails contained shrimp that were meally/old and the crab legs when available in the main dining room were that of "Red Lobster" quality. 7) Disembarkation. Now here is where Regent gets 2 stars. Smooth transition. I thought that this process was the only thing that Regent did properly. Probably to get the passengers off the ship and get the next "goats" onboard. All in all, quite a disappointing experience for what was billed as the cruise of a lifetime. Never again with Regent! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Wanted to try a high end cruise to see if Regent was better than my other cruises -- in a word, Regent is far below their competitors. In the past six years I did an Alaska cruise on Celebrity. I had an aft cabin and we had our own ... Read More
Wanted to try a high end cruise to see if Regent was better than my other cruises -- in a word, Regent is far below their competitors. In the past six years I did an Alaska cruise on Celebrity. I had an aft cabin and we had our own restaurant (Blu). All meals were ala carte, served fresh, hot and delicious. The price, as I recall for a 9-night cruise (instead of the 11 on this sailing) was about a third of Regent's price. Then I did two European river cruises on Avalon. Of course there is a much smaller number of guests on a river cruise, but every meal had a half dozen of ala carte meals, paired with very good wine. This brings us to our Regent Mariner experience. First of all, the pros. The ship was exceptionally clean, the staff was very friendly, the cabin was nice, unless you sleep on the left side of the bed like I did. If you get up to use the loo in the middle of the night, always remember that there is a wall facing you about 10 inches from your bed! There is a great Coffee Connection place where they served liquored coffee drinks and snacks, enjoyed that immensely. Now, one of the main things you go on a cruise for is good food, right? Overall, the restaurants were a major disappointment. The two "specialty" restaurants, Prime 7 and Chartreuse, were only made available one time during an 11-day cruise. Big mistake by Regent. We did eat there twice after going to see the concierge but they make you wait until 8:30, much later than we like to dine. Prime 7 was a disappointment. I had their signature dish, the surf and turf. I don't know if the beef was supposed to be prime or not, but it was just OK, certainly not memorable. The lobster was gummy and tasteless. My wife had the Alaskan king crab legs. The portion was generous but the crab was served absolutely lukewarm and had no flavoring at all. When I make crab, I use Zatarain spices so that the seafood has some flavor. Regent's food seemed like they deliberately cook everything to be bland. Of course their customers are mostly old, and it's like they want to avoid upset stomachs. By far one of the MAIN complaints about this cruise was the wine selection that was offered. That night they were serving "Josh" cabernet, which anyone can buy for about $8-$10. For what I paid for this cruise I was expecting $40-$50 type wine. For cocktails, Regent's bars were stocked with high end spirits, but they went EXTREMELY cheap on wine. Given their profit margin on their cruises this was a total disgrace. They claimed that the chef used this "pairing" to complement the food. The only thing that this wine could complement is a cold baloney sandwich. I use better wine than Josh (and the white equivalent they served that night) when I make my homemade spaghetti sauce. I made the waiter get me a French red (medium body) that was only slightly better. Another area where Regent goes wrong is the total lack of ambience is the two specialty restaurants. They are very sterile, and look like a chopped off half ballroom at a Marriott in Tulsa, OK. (Sorry, Tulsa). They have a very good piano player (Nick) who is playing to a mostly empty room on the way to the restaurants. Why don't they pipe in the music to the restaurants? I felt like I was eating at a nursing home, no atmosphere at all and mediocre food. At Chartreuse, the experience was better, the food was prepared better but again the wine selection was less than stellar. We had a great waitress (Zenife --she said call her Jennifer). She had a great personality and was the most outstanding waitperson we had on the cruise. Throughout this cruise, the food was often served lukewarm, and it was this night as well. I never had a hot meal the entire 11 nights, that is simply terrible. Their kitchen to customer wait time is simply too long. There were many times when I saw my food sitting on the service table, getting cold, before the waiter or waitress could get back to the station to serve the dinner. The servers were running around like crazy, so the problem was not them. Management need to put more people in the food preparation/serving process. I hate cold or lukewarm food, and that's all I got. I tried the Italian restaurant one night --this is the buffet converted to and Italian themed restaurant at night. You still have to get your own salad and dessert. The food here was blah and I never went back. That left a LOT of nights dining at the Compass Rose restaurant. The service in this place was wildly inconsistent. Sometimes you would get an attentive, personable waiter who seemed to care about your dinner. Other times not so much. This is an example -- we both ordered coffee after dinner. The waiter brought out TWO bowls of sugar, but no cups or coffee. Ten minutes went by -- I clocked it --- then he brought two cups and saucers. Again, no coffee. Another 10 minutes -- I clocked it-- he finally brought coffee. He apologized and said that the coffee just finished brewing. 20 minutes to get a cup of coffee --- really??? One night in the Compass Rose I had lamb chops with simple mint jelly. The food was again lukewarm and tasteless. When I make lamb at home I used onion and garlic powder, olive oil, and other seasonings. Again, nursing home food. I had a side of Lyonnaise potatoes. This was brought out after the entree and the potatoes were ICE COLD, not even the lukewarm I was used to. Other meals I ate were better (dover sole was tasty). I received a mid-cruise comment card and I shared the opinions I've laid out here. I received calls from several chefs and I explained the complaint about the blandness and temperature of the food. They tripped over themselves apologizing but things never improved. The best thing about Compass Rose was that they made fresh souflees at night. Finally something warm and usually delicious. Went there every night for dessert, no matter where I ate. The Mariner desperately needs another restaurant. On at least one of their sister ships they have a Pan-Asian restaurant. They just renovated the Mariner about a year and a half ago and why they didn't put another restaurant in, I'll never know. The worst thing is that they are going to use the Mariner for a half-year sailing next year. If you made me eat the food I had for that long, I would go insane. I am somewhat of a foodie, and this was the worst overall food experience I've ever had on a cruise. Add the terrible wine, and I felt that the value of this cruise was horribly, negatively skewed. Entertainment --- Sort of typical. They had a 12 person group of singers or dancers, backed by a house band. The band was good, and after they show they played at the Horizon lounge. Good listening and dancing music. The 12 person group was so-so... lots of energy but short on talent. A dark haired woman could really sing, but the rest were just ok. The first night they did a tribute to the Rat Pack, which is my kind of music. They just didn't have the voices or talent to pull it off. One of the lead male singers was singing the famous Sinatra song "One for my Baby". I literally could hear Frank turning over in his grave (just kidding, I think). There was a good female entertainer who did 2 shows and a comedian was pretty good. The rest was blah. The cruise seemed to be sort of disorganized in some spots. On the day we went to the glacier, it was midday. Everyone was out to look at the glacier and the viewing ended at about 2 p.m. when most restaurants (Compass Rose) closed, except for the buffet. Everyone went up there and unfortunately they ran out of food. It took 45 minutes to get a hamburger made. On that day, why not keep the other restaurants open later. Just poor basic management. Another warning -- there is a little sitting area around where the grill is located. The smell and smoke in that enclosed area seemed toxic to me --- couldn't wait to get out of there. There are so many suggestions where sound management principles could improve the customer experience. Again, this is not a 3 day Carnival cruise. Regent should be ashamed. Better yet, hire me as a management consultant! By far the biggest complaint I have (besides everything mentioned here) is their utter disregard for their customers in it's refund policy on unused shipboard credits. The main reason I went on this cruise was to go on the glacier hike. I had a total on $1400 in shipboard credits. Apparently $1000 was "nonrefundable" credit and the rest was cash. The glacier hike was $806 for both go us. We get to the pier and they tell us that the tour was canceled due to poor visibility. I was totally bummed but understand that they can't control the weather. I called reception and was told that I had to use the non-refundable credits onboard. We had a slip in the room that said we had these credits and that the could be used "for cash advances or casino credits". I tried to get them to refund the money back to my credit card and they said it had to be spent on the ship. Furthermore they would NOT let us use it in the casino, despite what their card indicated. I was absolutely livid. It was too late in the trip to use it for any other decent paid exclusion. We wound up spending almost $700 for a cheap watch and some wildly overpriced costume jewelry. My wife asked of the earrings were silver, and was told they were. She is allergic to any other metal. They apparently were made of some other cheap alloy, and now she can't wear them. Another lie from Regent. They should have willingly paid back the unused credit in cash, as their own card states. Terrible management. As I said in the beginning my expectations were very high due to the high price I paid for this cruise. Regent simply did not deliver and if you are reading this before you book, just don't spend the extra money to travel on this cruise line. It isn't worth it. They have lost a customer for life. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We wanted to see Alaska & our travel agent advised us that Regent would offer us the best experience and value. Things didn’t go well at all & we feel we never got a true Alaska vacation as promised or the Regent experience! The ... Read More
We wanted to see Alaska & our travel agent advised us that Regent would offer us the best experience and value. Things didn’t go well at all & we feel we never got a true Alaska vacation as promised or the Regent experience! The ship lost an engine & we had to eliminate Juneau as a port & we had to eliminate the Hubbard glacier due to fog. We were at sea 3 of the 6 days. Not what we wanted and were only offered a $750 credit towards a FUTURE cruise to be booked within a year! In addition, restaurants were difficult to get seated in. Even the no reservation Italian restaurant had an hour and a half wait to be seated! Finding a table for 4 was virtually impossible. And to top things off, the casino manager cheated my husband out of winning a black jack tournament by verbally helping the other person in the finals! He then begged my husband to keep it inside the casino. We had 3 witnesses, reported it to executive concierge and the guest relations office has declined to offer an apology and/or give us any monetary compensation for a very bad cruise for so many reasons. Even my travel agent tried in vain to get us $1500 cash instead of future cruise credit, but they refuse to budge. What a terrible way to do business! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
North to Alaska! A review of our recent voyage on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner from Vancouver BC, Canada to Seward Alaska Alaskans are justifiably proud of their state! And, as we found out…. in Alaska size really does matter (as ... Read More
North to Alaska! A review of our recent voyage on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner from Vancouver BC, Canada to Seward Alaska Alaskans are justifiably proud of their state! And, as we found out…. in Alaska size really does matter (as we were reminded constantly!). Alaska is BIG! So big they consider Texas "Cute" :-) So BIG that if the outline of Alaska is superimposed on the outline of the "Lower Forty-Eight” It stretches from COAST-TO-COAST! BTW... most of the t-shirts appear to be somewhat of an exaggeration :-).... I'm just sayin' Alaska! It's also stunningly beautiful and awe inspiring on many levels and in its big BIG way! Overview and Why My wife said “it’s time to visit Alaska” and I agreed. We looked at the various options and decided a cruise would be just the thing to give us the opportunity to experience a wider sampling of what Alaska had to offer… in a pampered sort of way of course! We looked over the different cruise offerings and decided to try Regent Seven Seas despite the much higher price tag attached. We reasoned there were some perks offered that would somewhat offset the higher costs. 1. It is an “All Inclusive” cruise line so alcoholic beverages are included. Not that my wife is a big drinker (she’s not :-) but I have been known to tipple a bit. 2. A gourmet food experience that Regent advertises as “Exquisite Cuisine” 3. All balcony suites on the ship (SS Mariner) 4. And the real equalizer… A very good selection of included shore excursions. The only excursions that sported an additional cost were usually the helicopter and seaplane sort of excursions and a few of the all day things. I thought to myself “we could make up the difference in cost by taking advantage of this”. 5. Regents reviews and reputation as a first class, luxury cruise line. Note: I should have dug deeper! As we discovered some of the above is true and some not so much. Purchase Experience The purchase experience couldn’t have been easier. After choosing the cruise I simply called Regent and spoke to one of their representatives. He was helpful and guided us through the process smoothly. One thing to note is that Regent supplies airfare and all transfers as a normal perk of your cruise package. You can save some money by doing it yourself of course but then you have to take care of all airport/hotel transfers yourself. In the case of the Seward to Anchorage transfer (2.5 hours) that could be up to five hundred dollars! If you book one of their cruises and are flying intercontinental the covered airfare is Business/First Class. Since ours was not an intercontinental flight it was cattle car class. But, since the flights were direct to Vancouver and a direct return from Anchorage it was all good… On the surface this looked like a great cruise. It was rather shorter than many of the other itineraries (only 7 nights) on Regent or the other cruise lines. That was good for us as this was sort of a last minute decision (at least for us) and was only booked three months prior to departure. Looking at the cabins we a booked a “Concierge Suite” and were "treated" to an extra day in Vancouver at the Four Seasons Hotel. I liked this idea, not because of the extra day in Vancouver, but because we arrived a day ahead of the cruise to minimize any possibility of a travel snafu. Pre-Cruise - Pick up at the airport went well. Regent was well represented and greeted us as we exited customs. Transfer to the hotel was in a nice van with five other passengers. We were dropped off at the Four Seasons the rest of them went on to the Trump Towers. Luggage was handled appropriately while we checked in at the front desk. The hotel clerk immediately tried to up-sell us to a suite. If I understood her correctly it was “only” $950 for the night. After a split second I was able to choke out… “No thank you…” I told her… “we will be fine for the one night in the room booked by Regent.” The Four Seasons itself was nice but somewhat tired.... definitely showing its age. The neighborhood was fine and great for walking. After taking a walk we looked at the hotel food offerings and opted to go outside. At the recommendation of one the hotel bell staff we tried the Cactus Club Restaurant just down the street. It was great! A great choice whenever in Vancouver! Regent supplied a good breakfast through the hotel the next morning and at 11:45 we were bused to the Ship. Embarkation - started smoothly. We had to once more go through customs only this time it was US customs as our destination was, of course, Alaska. We had one heart stopping moment as one of the Canadian customs agents announced we needed to have our “TICKETS” in hand. “TICKETS??!!?? I don’t know anything about stinking TICKETS!” I started canvasing our neighbors in line to find while most had a printout of their “ticket” many did not. I snagged the first official looking (uniformed) person I could find and asked the question….”Do we REALLY NEED a ticket?” Thankfully the answer was “No, just show your passport and state what ship you will be boarding…” Whew! First bullet dodged. Heart Stopping moment #2 We wended our way through customs (Thank you sir, enjoy your trip!) and made our way through the Regent line to the check-in counter. They had eight or ten positions open and were smoothly processing passengers until, of course, I step up and hand them our passports. We took pictures in turn and then the agent went to find our ship passes and keycards and came back empty handed. While the agent approached us still clearly standing there in line another passenger pushed passed me and my wife and laid her documents on the counter glaring at the gate agent. I paused just a second and politely (kind of) said “excuse me… I don’t believe we are quite finished here.” She looked at me like I had a bug on my nose… for a moment I didn’t think she was going to yield but she did sort of huffing and puffing and with a bit of blustering and posturing…. Turning back to the gate agent I noted she appeared somewhat flustered as she told me it would be just a moment before calling a floor supervisor over. I glanced back to see “Pushy Lady” visibly fuming at the delay. Smiling inwardly I turned back to the agent now joined by a supervisor. I heard snippets of their conversation and understood her to say she couldn’t find our reservations in the system or our keycards in the pile. The supervisor calmly typed for a moment and pointed something out to the agent, left and came back with our documents a moment later while the agent stood frozen smile on her face. All was well and we boarded the ship leaving the dazed gate agent and “Pushy Lady” behind. We boarded the ship thinking to go directly to our room and drop off our carry-on stuff. Well that was the plan but we discovered that our boarding time was considered “early” and nothing was ready. In fact they later made a ship-wide page to the effect the rooms were off limits until announced. That could have been made clear upfront but it was not. A simple note via eMail or being told that at check-in would have been sufficient but neither effort was made to the best of my knowledge. A kind of ship-wide announcement in a semi-scolding tone was made but probably was not the best way to make that known. In any event we were able to tour the public areas of the ship and have a nice lunch at the Pool Grill. Initial Impressions Initial impressions of the Mariner were very favorable. As we moved about the public areas of the ship we were struck by the cleanliness and overall well maintained look of the vessel. The lounges, the restaurant areas, the seating areas and other public areas were clean, comfortable and inviting. Public toilets were spotless. The Pool Grill and Pool Deck was a great place to chill out while waiting for our room to become available. Food was sampled and found to be of good quality served buffet style. The Mariner is one of the oldest ships in the Regent fleet but has aged gracefully and appeared to be in great condition and more than serviceable. When we were finally able to enter our cabin it was a pleasant surprise. A very spacious “shotgun suite” awaited us. The suite contains a sleeping area that can be separated from the seating area by a heavy drape. The seating area has a, more or less, full size couch (actually more “Love Seat” size), small table, 55” flat screen TV atop drawer/vanity area, bar essentials (glasses and corkscrew) and a mini fridge stocked with beer and soft drinks. You also have the option to customize the stocking of the mini-fridge by contacting your room steward. Fresh fruit along with a bottle of Champagne were waiting for us. Neither of us are much in the way of champagne drinkers so it eventually went back into the fridge to be passed along to the next customer or, hopefully, a crew party. The WALK-IN CLOSET had a generous supply of hangers with ample room for clothes and a nice row of drawers for storage. The closet also has a safe and the Life Vests. The bathroom is large with a very reasonably sized shower equipped with both rain shower and hand held shower heads. Each suite has its own balcony… excuse me…. Veranda…. that was generous in size with two wicker chairs and a small table and topped with Teak decking. All in all a SWEET Suite! Tipping Mariner is a “No Gratuity” ship. “Gratuities are neither expected or required” as it was stated. That is certainly the case and never was there a hint from any of the crew that they were fishing for a tip. The Hospitality Crew and the Room Service Crew was universally polite and attentive and I could fault none of them. I enjoyed several conversations with several of the service staff. The majority seemed to be from the Philippines with several other Asian nations represented. There were also many others from Eastern Europe and Russia. The officers and administrative crew again represented several nations with our Captain from Italy, the Cruise Director from the US, and the rest from all points in-between. While our service crew and operational crew seemed to really be engaged in their jobs, our administrational and entertainment directors really just seemed to be “phoning it in” and were somewhat disconnected and appeared somewhat distracted. Entertainment - was a mixed bag. There were several entertainment venues on the ship. Most of the lounges, including the Observation Lounge, Mariner Lounge and Horizon Lounge had grand pianos or even a full stage that were in turn manned by a pianist, a duo (guitarist and a singer), single guitarist, or a full band. There was also the late night Stars Lounge that featured either Denis and Elina (Guitar and Vocalist), Karaoke or a jukebox request sort of thing. The Constellation Theater was the venue for the Broadway style Mariner Production Cast singers and dancers with the Mariner Orchestra (6 piece), the Featured Entertainers and the occasional movie. Throughout the voyage we took in several shows and found them to range from very good to just OK. Since Broadway shows aren’t our thing we really did not attend too much of the Mariner Cast Productions. What we did see was fun and good but did not strike me as stellar. The band was always good and the singers/dancers good but a bit variable. The “Headliner” this trip was Matilda with Patrick Murray. Billed as "Jamaica's Number One Comedienne" Matilda is a ventriloquist's dummy and the alter ego of Patrick Murray. Together a charming and funny duo! Overall the entertainment seemed slightly sub-par for a uber-luxury, and expensive, cruise line experience. The voyage itself was a relatively short itinerary. That was what we were looking for as we have much longer cruise coming up in August so thought this shorter cruise would be ideal… as it turned out, it wasn’t the best choice we could have made. Our published itinerary; June 25th – One night extension in Vancouver, Canada June 26th – Embarkation – Vancouver, Canada June 27th – Cruising the Inside Passage June 28th – Ketchikan, Alaska June 29th – Juneau, Alaska June 30th – Skagway, Alaska July 1st – Sitka, Alaska July 2nd - Cruising the Hubbard Glacier July 3rd - Seward, Alaska – Debarkation This looked like the ideal short-form itinerary but it wasn’t to be. What it ended up looking like was this; June 25th – One night extension in Vancouver, Canada June 26th – Embarkation – Vancouver, Canada June 27th – Cruising the Inside Passage June 28th – Ketchikan, Alaska June 29th – CANCELLED - Juneau, Alaska Just another lovely day “Cruising the Inside Passage” June 30th – Skagway, Alaska July 1st – Sitka, Alaska July 2nd - CANCELLED - Cruising the Hubbard Glacier Just another lovely day “At Sea” July 3rd - Seward, Alaska – Debarkation A little about about the TWO MAJOR stops on the itinerary were missed for different reasons. On the second day of the cruise one of the starter engines for one of the main engines failed stranding us overnight in Ketchikan Alaska. That might have been marginally OK if they had let us off the boat to go explore Ketchikan (again) at night... but no, that didn't happen. Instead they kept quiet about the issue even though everyone could see that the departure time had come and gone. A 4:30 pm departure had slipped to 4:30 AM with no information forthcoming from the Captain or the Cruise director. And, even as we got started, it was easy to see the ship was not running on both main engines and was just limping along! The constant TV presence of our Cruise Director, Andy, still extolling the wonderful sights we were about to see in Juneau suddenly shut off without a word leaving only a blank screen. Finally mid-morning there was an announcement.... Cruise Director Andy informed us that due to the (and only just now announced) engine problems. we would be skipping our stop at Juneau and would have another lovely day at sea on our way to Skagway. The passengers grumbles were louder than both engines when working. I was very disappointed because Juneau would have been our first Glacier experience! In my opinion it was unconscionable, inconsiderate and childish of Regent to keep us, the passengers, in the dark for so long on the status of the mechanical problem. It also blows my mind that a mission critical part was not stored on the ship. Sometime in the early afternoon we all heard and felt the second engine start and the ship jumped back up to a brisk 15 knots. Too little too late to save our Juneau stop.... In any event... while a major stop on our voyage was canceled we were still going to go to the face of the Hubbard Glacier, one of the four largest Tidewater Glaciers on the planet, and the largest in Alaska, on the next to last day of our trip. Right!!??!! We were supposed to go in, on the last day of our sail on the SS Mariner, through Disenchantment Bay to the face of the Hubbard glacier. The Hubbard Glacier is the largest tidewater glacier in North America and is a stunning seventy-six miles long, seven miles wide and over one thousand two hundred feet deep at the foot of the glacier! At least that is what we were told. Cameras were checked and rechecked.... Parkas and foul weather gear donned and snugged up tight. The big day comes and several passengers, including myself, are up early on the top deck freezing our "you know what’s" off. As we started to round a bend in the fjord called Disenchantment Bay we were faced with a monstrous wall of dense fog still several miles ahead stretching from mountain to mountain across the bay. The Captain and the Passage Pilot made the decision not to enter the fog because of some significant icebergs floating about. A second major disappointment was about to rear its ugly head... This one weather related :-0 Whether right or wrong, or for better or worse, we were told we could still see the glacier as that bright line across the top of the fog bank!.... I, for one, would have rather NOT HEARD that little tidbit! Disappointment on Disenchantment Bay how apt is that?.... Ironic or not???!!! This second MAJOR disappointment on this short voyage was very hard to take. Really, I certainly have no issue with the safety decision that was made... just disappointed (once again). After returning to the cabin to lick and bind my wounds (metaphorically speaking of course!) I emerged and prepared for our now established daily routine..... BREAKFAST, LUNCH and DINNER! The next day was Seward and the end of the trip. This was a rather pricy disappointment… but live and learn :-) But! We liked what we saw and experienced in Alaska so much that my wife and I agreed we would return in a year or so and give a different cruise line a chance! A brief note on the rest of the stops and sights we did see. I liked Vancouver, at least what I saw of it was a beautiful city and it would certainly be worth spending some time in the city and the area… at least more than a night and part of a day to see more of the city. Chinatown maybe??? Ketchikan, Skagway and Sitka were great stopovers and with more time in port could have been fantastic! Hey wait! We had that extra time in Ketchikan that was totally wasted and inaccessable! Seward, well, nothing to say or see… Got off the ship…. Got on the bus. The Food I know that this is what some of you were waiting for so here goes…. Regent touts the food on board as; "EXQUISITE CUISINE" "Nothing can elevate travel quite like cuisine. That’s why we take so much pride in creating exquisite dining experiences that are nothing short of superb. Experience all the wonderful flavors and delightful scents of choice cuisine from around the world." (direct from the Regent website) It goes without saying that the food is one of the most important components of a cruise for many passengers. From elegant A La Carte dinning to the Grand Buffet the food is oft the star. And while, for the most part, the food at most of the Regent Mariner venues was good, sometimes VERY good, it was far from consistent. Here I’m just going to detail our experiences at the two Regent Specialty Restaurants, Chartreuse French Restaurant and Prime 7 Steak Restaurant and give you a few overall impressions about the other eating venues. Chartreuse French Restaurant That evening I had scored an early reservation (it was the best I could do) at one of the Regent Signature Restaurants, Chartreuse a French Restaurant. I was excited to try what Regent called "Modern French Cuisine". While the dining room was well appointed and comfortable the initial service, and later the food, were a disappointment. We were the first in the restaurant (right at our appointed time) and service was, for lack of a better word.... inattentive. For being the first customers (read ONLY Customers) it took a while to be noticed and seated. The sommelier was slow in visiting the lone table we were occupying . Then the sommelier immediately tried to up-sell me to a $275 bottle of wine and it took me just a moment to catch on. I did ask him what the featured wines were that evening and he recited them showing them to me on the wine list. Regent advertises as an "all-inclusive" cruise and indeed they are. Two wines were included that night, as in every night, a red and a white. But.... If I had not noticed the tiny prices following some of the selections I would have purchased a $125 to $300 bottle of wine. When I quizzed him about the menu he reluctantly confirmed that there was indeed an "upcharge" for those particular premium selections. I told the sommelier please just bring the "house red" after I was clued into the rules. He was visibly disappointed at the lack of the sale :-) I afterwards found that there may have been additional wine selections included for the asking. However, even though I had asked, no other options were offered or clarified. The waiter came to the table immediately after the sommelier vacated and told us of that evenings chef's special choices then left us to peruse the menu. He returned after an appropriate amount of time and left with our order. For appetizers my wife ordered Escargot and I ordered the seared Duck Foie Gras. Entrees were roasted lobster for her and double cut Lamb ribs for me. The Escargot were terrible. Served in a disgusting gravy of some sort they were rubbery and served removed from the shells, a good indication they were (possibly) frozen or even (GASP!) from a can. My Foie Gras was somewhat better. It was nicely displayed/presented with three little apricot dots arranged on the plate. Taste was meh... rather tasteless and bland. The entrees didn't fare any better. My wife's entree, Roasted Lobster with Scallop Mousseline, Green Asparagus and Fava Beans (no Fava Beans were visable), was displayed well but was extremely overcooked resulting in a tough, tasteless piece of unrecognizable meat. The vegetables that were there were fine and well cooked. My lamb was delivered beautifully presented and flanked by two Chickpea Fritters. However I had ordered the lamb Medium RARE. It arrived terribly overcooked and tough. As a result of this criminal treatment of what likely started as a decent piece of meat it was largely tasteless and tough. My desert, Creme Brûlée was well presented and was tasty, rich and creamy with a satisfying sweet/bitter crunch from the caramelized sugar on top while the wife's Chocolate Napoleon was inedible. Prime 7 Steakhouse Tonight was our second specialty restaurant reservation. This time at Regent's steakhouse, Prime 7. We had been by the restaurant several times on the way to the Compass Rose and it was always busy and packed. We had a late reservation at 8:30 pm on the 30th. We showed up about five minutes early and were asked to wait in the lounge area. The Maitre D' came and collected us after a short wait at 8:33.... Perfect! After being seated we were immediately approached by our waiter and the sommelier. The menu as suitable for a steakhouse, was simple and to the point featuring mostly beef offerings with a few chops, seafood and poultry choices. We made our orders and sat back with a little of the house vino. A Palate cleanser of Tomato Bisque was delivered to the table followed closely by the appetizers. The presentation on her appetizer, the Tuna Tartar was very nice and she enjoyed it. My appetizer was Foie Gras Sliders with Rhubarb Chutney. It came out looking like two tiny little hamburgers, which I thought entirely appropriate for a steak house lead-in and they were delicious. Our entrees arrived. She had ordered King Crab and I ordered a 18oz Bone-In Ribeye. Mine was delicious! This was at least a pound of steak-y delicious-ness. Billed as a Prime, Dry-Aged piece of meat, it was cooked perfectly to my ordered medium-rare temperature with a beautiful seared crust on the outside. It was all I could do not to pick up the bone and start gnawing away at the steak like a wild animal. Luckily I was able to control myself and waited until the end of the meal before waving the bone around making a fool of myself. As delicious as my steak was, my wife's King Crab was not. She certainly received a big ol' plate of Crab. But that plate was overcooked, dry and lifeless. She could finish only a small portion of the total before calling it quits. I definitely felt bad for her and told her so between mouthfuls of my perfectly done steak! Dessert was Cheesecake for me and a Berries in Creme Anglaise for her. Both were a good choice and satisfied that Dessert Jones.... We said thank you to our stellar waiter Rochcelle.... and headed out. Some brief thoughts on the other dining venues…. Compass Rose – Compass Rose is the main dining room. Comfortable and well-appointed we found food here consistently good. Everything, with few exceptions, was well prepared and generally tasty no matter what was ordered. Service was always prompt and extremely courteous. Surroundings and ambiance were open, elegant and comfortable. It is open seating and we were always able to score a table by a window. Open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner it is always menu driven. La Veranda – Our choice on deck 11 for Breakfast and Lunch. La Veranda is buffet style serving. More elegant and more variety than the adjacent Pool Side Grille Buffet. It was consistently good. In the evening La Veranda transforms into the menu driven (only buffet in sight is a salad bar) Sette Mari At La Veranda Italian Restaurant. Sette Mari is a great alternative to the Compass Rose and other eating venues. The food is very good with a good Italian themed menu offering. The Pool Grille - was the one breakfast, lunch and dinner venue that allowed a casual dress in the evenings. The food there was served buffet style and usually had a good mix of everything from hamburgers to some simple seafood selections. Ice Cream and deserts were also featured along with a Fresh Juice Bar. For convenience it was located adjacent to the Pool Bar. NOTE: One thing that was, unfortunately, true across ALL of the RESTAURANTS is that they could not deliver a piece of fish that was not overcooked to the point of being criminal. Shrimp and Scallops on the other hand were usually delivered perfectly. Lobster and Crab… not so much. Meat temperature was better with my lamb served at Chartreuse being the major exception. My steak at Prime 7 was perfection! I also give you this as a sample excursion/meal… A Shore Excursion that featured a Crab Feast! Note that this was one of the MANY Shore Excursions that was supplied at NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. Cruise St. George Inlet and Crab Feast We enjoyed our time in Ketchikan walking around the city before going to a Crab Feast. Before the feast we went on a bus trip and then a small boat into the St. George Inlet. we saw some Bald Eagles and pulled up a crab trap to play with some crabs (yes, I know what that sounds like :-) Heading back to the small boat dock restaurant, The George Inlet Lodge, we indulged in our feast. It was all served with a large heaping bit of wit and wisdom from Asley our Charming Young Lady (I never thought I would live long enough to use that term... But there it is!!) of a server. It was very simply, a salad, a cold beer, and a never ending pile of the best Crab I have ever eaten. If you ever find yourself eating Crab at the George Inlet Lodge and served by Asley give her a big hey from Regent 06/28/2019 :-) Debarkation was fairly well organized but had a few hiccups. Debarkation occurred through an exit on Deck 6. Luggage was tagged and picked up from the cabin the night before. We had our breakfast and then made our way to the Coffee Connection area on deck 6 to wait for the call to exit and board the buses that would take us to Anchorage. The only sore spot was the ladies toilets on deck 6 were closed for whatever reason (men's was fine). My wife had to go down one deck to get to a bathroom..... That would not have been that much of an issue but all of the other ladies-in-waiting had to do the same and almost immediately a line formed. There were of course other public bathrooms but on the higher decks and not as convenient. As the traffic became heavier in the one bathroom on deck 5 the toilet paper ran out and was not replenished. It seemed to be “a not so fond farewell....” The bus ride to Anchorage (2.5 hr) was fine but stretched to 3.5 hours because of an accident on the one highway to Anchorage. Upon arrival, because our flight was in the evening, we were taken to the Anchorage Hilton to a "Hospitality" area arranged by Regent. For the end of a supposedly "high-end" cruise the "Hospitality" area was rather weak.... It was an old, no longer used, restaurant at the top of the Hilton. It was a bit tired looking and had little in the way of amenities. No water, hours old coffee, no hot water, and only a tray with a few cookie crumbs being there. No one replenished anything during the time we were there. There were people to help us with the shuttle transfer to the airport at our designated/selected time. We went out for lunch and settled on a nearby restaurant called "The 49th State". It was a casual nice place and had cold freshly on-site brewed beer and upscale pub grub. We ordered a pizza featuring Reindeer and Elk sausage that we enjoyed very much. When in Anchorage it would be a good lunch or evening meal stop! We wandered about downtown Anchorage for another hour or so and returned to the hotel for our trip to the airport and back to “The Lower Forty-Eight”. The wrap up! The Regent cruise wasn’t a total bust. The accommodations (cabin) and the hospitality crew are first rate. The fact that out of five stops we only truly made three was more than a little disappointing. I can’t say that Regent didn’t offer an accommodation because of the issue in by-passing Juneau, they did. But, it was not enough, in my opinion. What was offered was a $750 per passenger ($1500 total) off the your NEXT CRUISE with Regent. Sorry, those of us that were on this voyage, at least in my case, were not going to sign on again. We have been home now since the 4th of July and have heard nothing from Captain, Cruise Director, Chief Engineer or Regent Corporate concerning what happened. That seems like a bad case of “don’t give a crap” at the very least. A head-in-sand attitude at best. Regent is billed as one of the world’s premiere cruise lines which is why we gave it a whirl. Reviewers rate Regent very highly… I can only speculate they were not on our cruise! Would I cruise again with Regent? No, not as it stands now. That said…. If the perfect itinerary at a decent price appeared at the perfect time… I never say never :-) Read Less
45 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Regent's own end of cruise survey asks: 'Would you recommend Regent to a friend and do you feel this was value for money?' Based on this cruise with Seven Seas Mariner (Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro), the answer has to be ... Read More
Regent's own end of cruise survey asks: 'Would you recommend Regent to a friend and do you feel this was value for money?' Based on this cruise with Seven Seas Mariner (Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro), the answer has to be ............sorry but "No". The ship is scheduled for refurbishment two cruises hence, and it is much needed as it is looking tired and dated. Onboard entertainment was either very good or very poor. Great solo singer (Colleen Williamson), amateur song and dance troup. Sailing from Argentina (home of the Tango), via Uruguay to Rio (home of the Samba) one would have thought that a more creative on-board entertainment programme using local top quality talent could have been put together. A diet of 'Broadway' and 'Show Tunes' and 'Bert Bacharach' seems to be standard cruise fare and is unimaginative. Onboard F&B was very hit and miss. Compass Rose, Prime 7 and Signature were all erratic. Some good consommes, Dover sole, some very bad crostato, unacceptable curry. Several fellow passengers, one of us included, were bed bound for a day or two due to 'stomach problems', the timing of which and previous consumption patterns could only indicate on board sources. Moules left on the pass for 20 minutes in passenger sight before serving, concurrent handling of cooked meat and uncooked chicken, sea food and cold cuts in full sun during a deck barbecue, did not inspire confidence and we ended up being very, very selective in our menu choices. Shore excusions were also hit and miss. The Buenos Aires tour was good, particularly the visit to Evita Peron's halfway house museum (excellent external guide brought in) as was the Tango element of Montevideo and the Art and Culture of Punta del Este. Rio Grande, being the first port of entry to Brazilian waters, was theoretically a 'technical stop' to process paperwork. Being berthed next to a bulk carrier unloading urea fertiliser, one would think a run ashore would be a good idea. Wrong. A couple of delapited town squares (with a pack of aggressive dogs which persisted in herding our group), a closed museum, an oceanographic museum looking tired and sad - complete with lonely seal and two de-oiling penquins) do not make for a hugely enriching experience. In Porto Belo, extended queueing for the cable car, a walk through an 'ecological park' which also contained screaming tourists on a sledge ride, a half hour on a crowded beach gazing at stalls of trinkets and trash while the guide ate lunch, was severely underwhelming. Overall? Value for money? Marginal, but not a 6 star experience. Could recommend? No Would sail again? Probaly not. Read Less
38 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise for two reasons. One- the itinerary, we always wanted to cruise the Chilean fiords and Cape Horn, and two we were willing to pay the premium for Business Class air and fee free excursions and amenities etc. We expected ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two reasons. One- the itinerary, we always wanted to cruise the Chilean fiords and Cape Horn, and two we were willing to pay the premium for Business Class air and fee free excursions and amenities etc. We expected exceptional service and support. The service by staff was very good and many of the excursions were outstanding. But the ship was tired. We had elevator breakdowns for extented periods, laundry was shut down for hygiene problems, our tender lacked maintenance (forward hatch malfunctioned and drenched some passengers in a rough sea while returning to the ship). The baggage management from airport to the ship was a mess. Our return trip was exhausting. We had to vacate our suite at 8am, muster for a bus trip to a hotel where we sat around for 6 hours in an area with nothing to do but visit a shopping mall. We were routed from Buenas Aires to Lima and then to Miami on Latam Airlines. The second leg left after midnight local time. Although we thought we were staying on the same plane such was not the case. We had to go through security again and rush to another gate....It appeared to us that since a large percentage of their passengers are repeat clients, that Regent treated new clients significantly differently. We know some travelers had direct flights to Miami. We doubt we will choose Regrnt for any future cruising plans. Read Less
47 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We wanted a luxury cruise on a smaller ship with excellent service and good food. We had only cruised on Oceania before and thought that this line would be comparable. We were sorely mistaken. Arranging air travel was difficult. Their ... Read More
We wanted a luxury cruise on a smaller ship with excellent service and good food. We had only cruised on Oceania before and thought that this line would be comparable. We were sorely mistaken. Arranging air travel was difficult. Their agents wanted to do nothing about changing seats or upgrading. The ship was tired and dated. The furniture in the cabin was stained and scuffed. The ship is going to be overhauled in a few months and it is certainly time. The largest negative was the food. The quality was poor and service inconsistent. The worst surprise was that the buffet food was not served by staff-diners helped themselves. Some with no attention to being hygienic. The food was cold and overcooked, especially any fish on the menu. Eating breakfast and lunch in the dining room was an option but service was terrible. The speciality restaurants were quite good but food in the the main dining room was inconsistent. The cruise was Mayan themed which was the biggest draw for us. So we were also very disappointed that the guest lecturer from the Smithsonian Institute did not turn up and no replacement was found. No compensation offered either! The excursions were fine but guides were mixed as to knowledge. Overall this was nothing like the luxury, food quality and service that we experienced before. Prices were high even taking into account that the cruise was all inclusive. We shall not be cruising on Regent again. Read Less
54 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We hav been on Regent Cruises before but they have definitely gone down hill. We chose the Amazon adventure 25 night cruise. Regent advertises all inclusive shore excursions and premium drinks. We booed shore excursions weeks in ... Read More
We hav been on Regent Cruises before but they have definitely gone down hill. We chose the Amazon adventure 25 night cruise. Regent advertises all inclusive shore excursions and premium drinks. We booed shore excursions weeks in advance. It took several visits to their website and several phone calls as not all locations were available for booking. We finally had all excursions booked. They were booked at least two months in advance. The night of embarkation we received a letter that one of our excursions that we were confirmed on was oversold and we were deleted from the booking. We went to the Excursions desk the next morning to book another excursion but were told nothing else was available. We were told that we should have read the fine print that all inclusive “subject to availability”. At dinner we were offered two selections of wine included with dinner, one red and one white. We asked to see a wine list which were all up charges. In several state rooms the air conditioning was not working and the rooms were quite hot. Bottom line, we believe we are far better off staying with an upscale cruise line like Celebrity and purchasing the excursions and premium drink package. Read Less
60 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The Problems with this cruise began about 2 months prior to sailing. The itinerary was changed. What we were told there was a problem with the Coast Guard, whales, the speed the ship could travel. Stops at Gaspésie and Charlottetown ... Read More
The Problems with this cruise began about 2 months prior to sailing. The itinerary was changed. What we were told there was a problem with the Coast Guard, whales, the speed the ship could travel. Stops at Gaspésie and Charlottetown Canada were removed and Corner Brook and Sydney were added. During the cruise it was announced that we were not going to stop at Corner Brook but would stay an additional day in Quebec. We were also not able to go ashore in Newport, RI. A schooner ship had gone aground at the entrance to the harbor the night before. The ship the Seven Seas Mariner is 15 years old and needs some/more renovations. The ship has 6 tenders/life boats. Unfortunately only 3 are licensed to tender people to ports when needed. At one port where tenders are needed only 2 were available because one was used on a emergency basis to carry a sick individual to port. On the 2nd/3rd day it was announced that there was an outbreak of a flu virus and there were 9 individuals inflected. The protocol for a outbreak on the ship was put in place. This means that the crew was constantly wiping down everything (hand rails, table tops, chairs, elevators knobs etc) with a wet substance that made everything sticky. All the common area restroom doors were propped open. You also could no longer serve yourself in the buffet line or even serve yourself a cup of coffee. If you check the CDC website you will notice that this ship had a reportable outbreak for a cruise in Aug/Sept. The good news is the Wifi is included in the cruise fare. The bad news it just doesn't work very well. In the evening there is no place to get dinner except in one of the dining rooms. The buffet is not open in the evening. If you want a quick casual dinner or just a little snack that is not happening. There are 2 nice specialty restaurants. However we found that we were only able to get into these restaurants one time each on a 10 day cruise. We paid for upgraded Air. On the return we were put on a Virgin Flight 1st Class from New York. Somehow that got changed to American Airlines business class. The price you pay for a cruise on Regent is high and you do not expect these problems. Read Less
81 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I would rate them a little higher but a month after a Regent's canceled tour which I was to be refunded on my credit card, getting a round around. Lot's of promise but no refund a month later. As far as the cruise very smooth ... Read More
I would rate them a little higher but a month after a Regent's canceled tour which I was to be refunded on my credit card, getting a round around. Lot's of promise but no refund a month later. As far as the cruise very smooth embarkation and disembarkation, thanks. Rooms looking pretty tired and need some updating but clean and taken care of daily with no problems. Not a big issue, not in the rooms much. Most of the staff very helpful and very friendly, few minor issues but nothing that wasn't taken care of. I and a number of guest were surprised at the number of kids on the ship which is no big deal but had to spend way too much time with unsupervised kids at meals, bars, and tours. If I wanted to take a Disney tour I would have booked one, although a lot of the blame falls on the parents. Didn't know Regents was supposed to be their baby sitters and the guest get to enjoy their kids. I know I sound like I hate kids which is not the case, a lot of people were not happy about the situation. As far as food very good to very poor, Compass Rose was terrible twice. Prime was excellent, Signatures very good but was rushed from the minute we sat down. Sette Mari was very nice, great staff every time. Some nice tours no complaints at all with the exception of a canceled tour that we did not find out about until we left the boat on the pier. Overall it was fine but not sure I got the best bang for the buck for what we were hoping for. Read Less
90 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Regents’ overwhelming message, its Corporate Mission Statement is, I believe, is “ Boy are you lucky we let you sail with US. Really lucky, and don’t you ever forget it.” We started sailing Regent in 2010 and have sailed six ... Read More
Regents’ overwhelming message, its Corporate Mission Statement is, I believe, is “ Boy are you lucky we let you sail with US. Really lucky, and don’t you ever forget it.” We started sailing Regent in 2010 and have sailed six times, 70 nights. We have sailed four times on the Mariner, once on the Voyager, and once on the Explorer. Our most recent sailing was Alaska in August, 2017 on the Mariner. We have had it with Regent and will never sail them again. They are arrogant and pompous to deal with, they do not respond at all to customer service complaints or issues, and the on board Uniform staff are arrogant as well. Regents’ overwhelming message is “ boy are you lucky we let you sail with us. Really lucky, and don’t you ever forget it.” It wasn’t all this work always this way, pre-MCL ownership. In our first sailing, Singapore to Sydney, on the mariner in 2010 the experience was wonderful in every regard. First of all, the ship was absolutely beautiful and in excellent condition throughout. The food was far, far better. I remember Unlimited sushi and sashimi on deck every day at lunch you never get it now. And the service was impeccable, at every level in every touch point. Through the years, the service and food has deteriorated steadily. The restaurants are way understaffed, most egregiously so in in Compass Rose, where the services painfully slow. On our last two cruises, Alaska in August and South America last February, there was not a single meal, not one, where are water glass was refilled without our asking, when we could find someone to ask. The condition of the mariner is deplorable. When we book to the South America cruise, we were told that the ship would have been newly refurbished. Region delayed it for you, blaming a shipyard hurricane, when everyone knew they just didn’t want to spend the money. The condition of the ship now is poor. The furniture in our horizon view suite, at the very rear the ship, was filthy. The faux [plastic] rattan furniture on the Veranda was falling apart. This suite was a $5000 upgrade. The day after returning from our Alaska cruise I had some questions about my final onboard invoice. I called Regent Customer Relations, and in keeping with the Regent approach to customer service got a voicemail. I left a message. I never got a call back. At the same time, I wrote corporate to express several concerns. I emailed Frank Del Rio, CEO of NCL and got no response. I sent him a follow-up, requesting the courtesy of a response, and got no response. I then forwarded both emails to Jason Montague, the CEO of Regent, and asked for his response. He never responded. We were stunned by the deterioration of the shipboard entertainment, which was outstanding on our South America cruise. It was dreadful on the Alaska cruise. They always have a duo, piano player and singer, in the Explorer Lounge before dinner. They were extremely weak. The dance company was no better than a high school group. The outstanding Regent Signature seven-piece orchestra has been cut back to five pieces. We have just booked our next cruise with Seabourn. What a difference at this early stage: they are absolutely delightful to deal with. It is night and day compared to Regent Read Less
54 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
The positive - Food was generally quite good. Specialty restaurants well above average. Rooms were slightly worn but spacious. Alaska post-tour Denali was well organized. The negative - Original bill (final payment before the trip) was ... Read More
The positive - Food was generally quite good. Specialty restaurants well above average. Rooms were slightly worn but spacious. Alaska post-tour Denali was well organized. The negative - Original bill (final payment before the trip) was incorrect. It required at least 10 calls to straighten out. Many people onboard had the same experience as I did with excursion services. Although we had paid and were confirmed for tours in advance, over and over those tour times were rescheduled coincide, forcing cancellation of many anticipated tours. While it is understandable for this to happen occasionally, the number of times it occurred and the number of people it involved led us to conclude that this was either done on purpose (to save Regent from paying for large numbers of people on the included tours) or the excursion staff is totally incompetent. Each day we were promised our refund for the extra charge tour we had booked that needed to be canceled would be credited that day. We were forced to waste endless time daily telling them it had not been received and requesting it again. We finally received it on the last day. We did not receive the $100 shipboard credit we had been promised. We were forced to call Regent booking and finally received it the last day. We had paid for transportation to the ship only to find our names were not on the list. When booking, we were promised free wifi for one account. That was not to be. While there were some good things about the ship, I could not recommend it, and I would not return to Regent. Read Less
54 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We just returned from our voyage from Alaska and I have to say it was very disappointing. We have been on 3 other Regent Cruises and all have been excellent. Let me start out by saying the crew, food and accommodations where excellent. ... Read More
We just returned from our voyage from Alaska and I have to say it was very disappointing. We have been on 3 other Regent Cruises and all have been excellent. Let me start out by saying the crew, food and accommodations where excellent. We are a silver member and did not receive one ship credit which I found a little discouraging to begin with. Regarding our voyage we booked all our excursions which 4 of them we could not enjoy due to cancellations. I know that weather was a factor however Regent should take into consideration when offering these excursions. Also by the time we found out about the cancellation it was to late to book another tour which caused us to be on the ship more than we would have liked. We had paid extra for these excursions and as of yet we have not seen them credited to our account which we where told that they would go back on our credit card. . In addition due to bad weather and winds we could not dock at Victoria which we had paid for another excursion and therefore it was not attainable instead all we did was spend another 2 days on the ship circling an island and weathering the seas. I realize this was a safety decision and the captain did inform us this mainly due to the fact of it might cause delay in getting out that evening and to our final destination into Vancouver to disembark to make our flights. It just seemed like the circling around the unknown Island about 8 times waiting for the next day to dock, then missing our flight, paying extra to get out of Canada, was a total kick in the teeth. However we still missed our flights that I had booked through Regent because of getting late to the dock and transfer to the airport by Regent as well. Due to missing our flight it cost us a additional $385.00 for a same day change fee which we where not expecting. With all this in mind I am going to think twice about booking another cruise with Regent and recommending to friends and family. Read Less
66 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
It's my first trip with Regent, it will be my last. 1. Quality of customer service over the phone was inconsistent. Some are helpful, other sounded like they could not care less. Most of the agent gave you short answers, and you ... Read More
It's my first trip with Regent, it will be my last. 1. Quality of customer service over the phone was inconsistent. Some are helpful, other sounded like they could not care less. Most of the agent gave you short answers, and you had to asked them to clarify. I believe the company either did not pay their agent well or trained them well, so those who answered the phone are not enthusiastic to serve the customers. They just do they job to earn minimum wage. 2. Onshore excursion were not all FREE. The more interesting ones are at least $199 or more per person. They also cancelled the activities several times, even right after we are on board, making it hard to re-book. It also caused long lines at the service desk, and long waiting time before activities are confirmed. Also, there were several activities (in Cuba) that they failed to list age restrictions. We were told one night right at the check-in that my 15 year old was "too young" for the activities we already have tickets and book 2 months ago. They are so disorganized!!! 3. At end of the cruise, they promise to credit my balance back to my credit card. It hasn't happened yet after two months. 4. I do have to say most staff on the cruise ship were friendly, but some are very GREEN. You can tell they were just newly hired and not up to the tasks, and not trained well. 5. Mariner was an old fleet and the cabin are tiresome looking and furnishing are outdated. 6. Service at their specialty restaurant and PrimeRose are soooo slow! Dinner always takes more than 2 hours to finish. Read Less
44 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
This cruise was from Rio de Janeiro to Miami on March 8, 2017 on regent Seven Seas Mariner. This was the worst high end cruise line I have ever experienced. We have been cruising on Seabourn and Crystal for the last 5 years. We ... Read More
This cruise was from Rio de Janeiro to Miami on March 8, 2017 on regent Seven Seas Mariner. This was the worst high end cruise line I have ever experienced. We have been cruising on Seabourn and Crystal for the last 5 years. We decided to try Regent as they had an itinerary that was attractive and we wanted to see how they compared. We liked the all-inclusive fee structure with business class air. Well the business class was only on the international flight and not the other 5 flights we needed to get to Rio from our house and back. What were the issues? 1- The service they used to transfer us from the airport to the hotel (we had one night in Rio before the cruise) was a disaster. They gather about 10 us from the United flight and said they were waiting for some additional people. We waited about 30 minute more and we were all getting anxious to leave. No more passengers came so they told us to proceed to the bus. Well out the door we went into a very hot and humid curb side and NO bus. We waited about 10 more minutes and a rundown very small bus arrived. Finally we would get some relief from the heat. No we didn’t as the bus air-conditioning was on but it was cooler outside the bus then inside. Everyone opened the windows. Not a good way to get the first taste of Regent. I know that better busses were available as the bus that took us from the hotel to the ship was fine. My grade F-. 2- The main dining room, Compass Rose, had the worst service on any ship that we have used. In the 21 day cruise I had to ask for more water every meal except for 2. The salt and pepper shakers both contained salt (one was labeled pepper) three times and once the adjoining table had the same issue. One time they gave us only 3 menus for the four of us. After 5 minutes we had to ask for another. We once finished our first course and they had not asked us if we wanted wine. We had to ask for it. The servers in this main dining room were both under staffed and not trained. Service for the most part was slow. I know this sounds like nit picking but when this happens meal after meal it is annoying. On no other cruise have we had such consistently poor service. Grade, D. 3- One morning at 7am they were making announcements in the public areas for 1 hour. Now you were not supposed to hear this in your room but it did wake me up and was very annoying. Our room was 834 and not that close to any public areas. Another F. 4- The lecture for the most part was just one person. I am use to a variety of lectures and various topics. Give them a C based on variety. What did I like? 1- The shower was the best of any ship. Regent has started to convert their shower tub arraignment into just a shower. We had one of the converted cabins. Shower an A+. 2- The butler and room attendants were very good and friendly. I’d give them an A. Will we travel on Regent again? Probably not. Read Less
66 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2017
We recently spent 21 nights on Regent Mariner’s Amazon Jungles and Rainforests cruise. Although this was our 20th cruise, it was our first cruise on Regent and probably our last. If you are expecting the luxury cruise experience touted ... Read More
We recently spent 21 nights on Regent Mariner’s Amazon Jungles and Rainforests cruise. Although this was our 20th cruise, it was our first cruise on Regent and probably our last. If you are expecting the luxury cruise experience touted in the Regent Brochure, you may find yourself greatly disappointed. Protect Your Health! – “The Cruise Crud”, as some of my fellow passengers called it, was making its way around the ship. Not as nasty as the Noro virus, but not fun. Stuffy head, watery eyes, chest congestion and a nagging cough. You could hear people coughing all over the ship. Once you heard the cough, you knew someone was sick. At our dinner table one night, 4 of the 8 people were sick. One gentlemen left in the middle of dinner to go back to his cabin. We saw examples of unsanitary behavior on the Mariner. The two most striking incidents included a Manager at the Pool Café taking plates of cookies and rearranging the cookies with his bare hands (after he was just moving tables and chairs) and a server dropping silverware on the floor, picking it up and putting it back into service. We were very concerned about our health aboard the Mariner. Luxury Accommodations? Based on Regent Brochure, we expected our cabin to be on par with a room at the Ritz Carlton. However, our cabin was dated, there were paint drops on the drawers, scratches on the TV, holes in the sheer curtains, a hole in the curtain linings and grease stains on the sofa (See attached photos). So if you are expecting luxury accommodations aboard the Mariner, you may be disappointed. Fine Wine? The Regent brochure touts “…fine wine”. Fine wine is definitely onboard, but it won’t be served to you - unless you are willing to pay extra for it. Maybe it’s just me, but after I spend $20,000 on a cruise I expect a somewhat decent glass of wine without paying extra for it. What you actually get on the Mariner is the illusion of fine wine. Your table is set with Riedel crystal wine glasses, the Sommelier approaches you with the silver tastevin hanging from his neck, he presents the bottle to you for inspection, he offers you a taste for your approval, then carefully pours the precious nectar into your glass. The dirty little secret is that the wine he’s pouring is a $6.50 bottle of Backhouse Pinot Noir! The wines are changed frequently, there is no printed wine list for the wines they pour and the Wine Stewards don’t like to talk about the wine served. One passenger told me that he photographed the labels of every wine he was served (22 bottles) and looked them up online. The most expensive wine was $14.99 with most wines averaging about $10 retail. The cheapest wine I was served was La Terre Cabernet, which can be found for as little as $4.92. Shame on you Regent. Food – Everyone talks about the food, so I’ll be brief. At La Veranda (Buffet Breakfast & Lunch) the food is mediocre and service is worse. As one fellow passenger told me “get a lot of different things and eat what’s least offensive”. I don’t think he meant to be that harsh, but you get the idea. Service at La Veranda is poor. It’s often difficult to get your water, coffee or drinks refilled or silverware replaced. Not once did anyone ever ask us if we were enjoying our meal or if we needed anything. The Managers just seem to stand around talking to each other. If you want something, you need to be aggressive and flag someone down and ask for it. We also heard one of the wait staff making derogatory comments about some of the passengers which is just unacceptable. Regent’s “commitment to excellence” is notably missing at La Veranda. Service – First let me say that we received some outstanding service from some very dedicated and highly trained staff. I’d say we received outstanding service 25% of the time. We received very good/good service 25% of the time and average/below average service 50% of the time (with an emphasis on below average). Most of the staff work extremely hard, but that doesn’t always translate to outstanding service. Something appears to be lacking in terms of training and staff management. You’ll find luxury only in the pages of the Regent Brochure, we certainly did not find it on the Mariner. Don’t be fooled by the marketing hype. Of the 20 cruises we have taken, Regent ranks as the worst. Read Less
44 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
The itinerary was boring. There was one lecturer;she was excellent, but she was solo. he food was ok,butt the big problem was that many passengers became ill, including my husband, who happens to be a physician. A trip to the ship's ... Read More
The itinerary was boring. There was one lecturer;she was excellent, but she was solo. he food was ok,butt the big problem was that many passengers became ill, including my husband, who happens to be a physician. A trip to the ship's doctor cost $750 for the doctor's services and another $700 for medication which cost 3 times less in the states. My husband contracted the flu although both of us were vaccinated prior to boarding. The doctor prescribed Tamaflu for each of us; preventively for me and as a treatment for my husband. At $300 per packet, it was almost 3 times the cost in the U.S. as a local pharmacy. I can't imagine a fine cruise line which charges for an upscale experience needing to overcharge their passengers who have no choice but to use their service. Be sure to take every conceivable medication with you on your next cruise...you may need it!!! Read Less
43 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Have gone on a Regent Cruise many times. This is the first time we neither enjoyed the ship or the destinations. Our South American cruise highlighted the Galapagos and Machu Picchu, however they were not a part of our sites. Machu ... Read More
Have gone on a Regent Cruise many times. This is the first time we neither enjoyed the ship or the destinations. Our South American cruise highlighted the Galapagos and Machu Picchu, however they were not a part of our sites. Machu Picchu was a post 18 day cruise destination which was not clear in the marketing. There was one excellent lecturer on board, but very few daytime activities that were stimulating. The itinerary, from Miami to Lima, Peru was frankly, boring. Little to see and very little for those with any mobility problems. But most important, many on the ship became ill, my husband a physician, got the flu along with others. While I appreciate that there was a doctor on board, the fee for the visit was $1450 which I thought was exhorbitant. The medication, prescribed for each of us was $350 each for a packet costing $110 each in the States and the visit including a blood test and nasal swab was $750. Since we couldn't exactly "jump ship"and look for a CVS, we were stuck. I wrote to the ship line and was told their price was commensurate with other cruise lines. Does that mean "price fixing"? So bring any and all medication you might possibly need on your next trip. Blue Cross/Medicare doesn't cover you and YES we both had flu shots before we boarded, but clearly it was going around the ship. Read Less
52 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We have sailed with Regent twice before, found it 6 star and hoped for the same but were sadly disappointed. Everything on board Mariner had a veneer of quality but not the depth. Apart from receiving a captain's broadcast at noon ... Read More
We have sailed with Regent twice before, found it 6 star and hoped for the same but were sadly disappointed. Everything on board Mariner had a veneer of quality but not the depth. Apart from receiving a captain's broadcast at noon daily, no one actually saw him. Nor did ship's officers mingle or appear other than very briefly. We saw steak dishes rejected in the specialty steak restaurant twice! No co-incidence! I rejected raw meat, served as cooked in an outdoor restaurant. Our cabin staff were excellent and at expected standard. Many of the other ship's staff struggled with the English language, understandable since most were from Eastern Europe. On previous voyages, dining staff knew our names by the third day but on this voyage no one knew us, even by day 17. Regent need to lift their game. In the meantime, we have decide to stay away from Regent and revert to Seabourn. We left Mariner feeling Regent had not given what they promised and had failed to maintain the standards they previously set for us. I will compliment the lecturers- excellent! Read Less
44 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
The management in the dining areas treated us terribly. If you did not make reservations two months prior to the cruise you had to eat at the same restaurant almost every night. It was pretty boring. They are extremely rigid and ... Read More
The management in the dining areas treated us terribly. If you did not make reservations two months prior to the cruise you had to eat at the same restaurant almost every night. It was pretty boring. They are extremely rigid and unaccommodating. We spent a lot of time in the pool area because when you are stuck on the boat for 24 hours on the first and last day of the cruise there is not much else to do. The female bartenders by the pool had horrible attitudes. We experienced a lady who would roll her eyes and act huffy. It is sad that six nasty service staff members had such bad attitudes that it made the trip less than it should have been. Service is everything when you spend this much on a trip n On a positive note the boat is beautiful and service in the room was great. Clean room and nice staff. Read Less
44 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
As a first time Regent traveler, we were excited to be on what was taunted as a Six Star cruise line with exceptional quality and service. What we received was a maximum Two Star cruise with a big price tag. The embarkation went very ... Read More
As a first time Regent traveler, we were excited to be on what was taunted as a Six Star cruise line with exceptional quality and service. What we received was a maximum Two Star cruise with a big price tag. The embarkation went very smoothly and we started our cruise full of excitement. The first couple of days went well except for the dining staff. The first morning we had breakfast I wanted an omelet and the person making the omelets was screaming across the dining room because the person that was suppose to write the tickets was not there. Then the person asked what table we were at which I did not know because I wasn't instructed that I had a table number or needed one. They were caustic and informed me that they must have a table number to assist me. This type of attitude was the norm on this cruise not the exception. I have taken 12 cruises and this was the second worst service I have ever received. The wonderful marketing materials tout they include excursions. Well the price you pay includes those but doesn't give you a refund if they cannot be completed. The weather did not cooperate and we were not able to complete many of the excursions. BEWARE of this marketing since they consider it as an extra but you are paying much more than on other ships that complete the Alaskan experience. The ship experienced a propeller problem and we missed our last port. This also caused us to revisit a port where we could have completed an excursion we missed but the ship chose not the honor the excursions. Very poor and limited communication from the ship's management. The propeller issue caused us to arrive late in Vancouver and many people missed their flights. We waited for over 1 1/2 hours to disembark while we were watching the staff disembark from the other door. People were angry and frustrated while the management offered limited or no explanation except the ship had not been cleared. How can the staff exit until the ship is cleared?? I wrote the Mr. Jason Montague explaining the issue we incurred. The guest relations administrator responded offer nothing but excuses and a minimal apology. We paid almost a $1000 per day per person to be on a first class ship that was rivaled by Carnival for service. The only offer made by the management was 15% discount if I spent more money with them. No restitution for a ruined honeymoon...only another poor marketing ploy to squeeze more money from disgruntled customers. It is one thing to have a problem and another to not address the issues properly and to not do the right thing and take care of customers that you profess to want for future business. Take my advise and choose another cruise line. Read Less
87 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Good-all inclusive. The pre-Danali land trip hotel was the Matrriott in Anchorage. A great property with a fine breakfast buffet. The number and variety of shore excursions included are very good. The only excursions for which ... Read More
Good-all inclusive. The pre-Danali land trip hotel was the Matrriott in Anchorage. A great property with a fine breakfast buffet. The number and variety of shore excursions included are very good. The only excursions for which there were charges were excursions with helicopter or plane flights involved. Bad-due to maintenance problem, one of 4 ports of call (and excursion) and inside passage were missed. A 15% credit on FUTURE cruise offered in letter that stated we were going to the inside passage. Shortly after the credit offer was received ithe nside passage-a cruise highlight-was cancelled and no additional credit issued or offered. The inside passage was cancelled to expedite our return to Vancouver. Regarding the food and service, all was fine in the buffet restaurants. In one of the reservation only restaurants (where you may dine once during your cruise) our order was taken before wine and bread were served. Extremely poor service-especially for a 'fine' dining experience. Several passengers noted Regent was their preferred cruise line, but that the service and attitudes on this ship were not up to past experiences. That must have been the case because so many good reviews on cruise critic. Recently retired, this was our 3rd cruise in 12 months on 3 different lines. Scenic (river cruise) and Paul Gaugin were also all inclusive, and both were considerably higher caliber experiences compared to Regent. Read Less
46 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This trip which was supposed to be very special for my husband and I, for our 40th wedding anniversary, turned out to be very bad and disappointing. It was absolutely far from our expectation of this cruise line with its so called great ... Read More
This trip which was supposed to be very special for my husband and I, for our 40th wedding anniversary, turned out to be very bad and disappointing. It was absolutely far from our expectation of this cruise line with its so called great reputation, and the huge amount of fair we paid. Transportation was supposed to be included but we were asked to pay $290 for transportation to the boat from Anchorage. Medical clinic hours were limited to about an hour in the morning and in the evening only, and once we got to see the doctor, he was not polite, very impatient and not professional. The boat developed mechanical issues, apparently due to lack of proper maintenance, and had to go back to Juneau and we were stuck there for 13 hours, so missed Ketchikan and reached Vancouver late afternoon, and missed the tour that was arranged for Vancouver. Read Less
101 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We were a group of eight and decided to treat ourselves to an upscale vacation and tour Alaska by cruise ship. Although it was expensive, Regent came recommended by a friend in the travel industry, and the idea of an all-inclusive land and ... Read More
We were a group of eight and decided to treat ourselves to an upscale vacation and tour Alaska by cruise ship. Although it was expensive, Regent came recommended by a friend in the travel industry, and the idea of an all-inclusive land and sea adventure in Alaska was appealing. Regent offered a wide variety of shore excursions, beautifully appointed and spacious balcony suites, professional, and courteous staff on board, and fine dining. Sounded perfect and other than the weather which was beyond anyone's control, they met expectations for most of our trip. The entertainment was pretty lame and paled in comparison to what is offered on Royal Caribbean cruises. Not sure what demographic Regent was targeting, but it is pretty hard to be motivated to dance to tunes by Tony Orlando and Dawn. We had a great swing dancing lesson on board but no opportunity to practice what we were taught. With the exception of biking in Sitka, our excursions were great - especially the hike to the Mendenhall Glacier. In steady cold rain, Sitka's bike tour was disorganized, limited to unscenic roads, and ended with a Subway sandwich lunch under a tarp. We would have selected a different excursion had we known this was the sum total. Juneau zip lining and train rides were wonderful but sometime after we departed Juneau, our ship experienced engine trouble and instead of sailing to Ketchikan we headed back to Juneau for repairs. Originally, while repairs were underway, last minute excursions and the opportunity to explore Juneau again were offered. Then these excursions were cancelled because we were told that the repair would take less time than estimated and we would be leaving Juneau earlier. Some of us had gotten off the boat just to walk around the city but with the uncertainty of timing, many of us stayed put. This meant the loss of our last port and excursions on a ship where there weren't a lot of entertainment options. We were delayed returning to Vancouver, missed our flights home and Regent did put us up in a nice airport hotel. My husband had a work commitment that was impacted by the delay, and although Regent paid for the lodging, dinner that night and breakfast the next morning were on us. Understandably, mechanical problems occur, but Regent's compensation for missing out on our final port, excursions and inconveniences, was to offer us "15% off our next cruise with them." This was completely unsatisfactory customer service. Several of us have written to corporate and as of five weeks later, have not heard back from them. Really sad to have an expensive, but quality cruise line handle a problem like that. Since we missed out on approximately "15%" of our trip, it might have been a better idea to offer a 15% refund. Read Less
79 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2016
After two trips on the Crystal's Symphony my wife and I vowed we would go on no other cruise line. We broke that promise in 2016. I had tried to book two legs of a Crystal Cruise on the Serenity from San Francisco to Vancouver and ... Read More
After two trips on the Crystal's Symphony my wife and I vowed we would go on no other cruise line. We broke that promise in 2016. I had tried to book two legs of a Crystal Cruise on the Serenity from San Francisco to Vancouver and then Vancouver to Steward (Anchorage) Alaska for a total of 13 nights. However, my travel agent, David Butterfield of All Cruise Travel in San Jose, California, advised that to book those two portions would be a violation of Jones Act and Crystal would not sell me a cabin even if I got off in Vancouver and then re-boarded. (The Jones Act was introduced by Sen. Wesley Jones in 1920 and deals with commerce and crew requirements from U.S. Port to U.S. Port. It forces foreign flagged ships to only use one U.S. port and not make deliveries up and down the coast. Since I was going from one U.S. port to another S.F. to Steward I would be in violation unless the ship was American flagged. Sen. John McCain tried to eliminate the Jones Act in 2008 but failed.) David suggested we try Regent as he had some positive comments from customers. An advantage was that the Regent cruise was in May before the peak travel and cruise season had started. The 10-day cruise on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner was out of San Francisco to Alaska and then ending in Vancouver starting on May 8. This would be our third Alaskan cruise in 12 years. GETTING THERE: My wife and I have reached a point in our lives where we enjoy the niceties of paying a little more within reason when we travel. This would include first class on airplanes allowing us to get on early, get off first and have our luggage first on the carousal, not to mention seat belts that don't require an extender. However, we can't afford or justified standard first class rates. We can afford first class on Iceland Air to Europe or Delta in the U.S. if we fly on their smaller planes operated by contractors. That was the way to San Francisco, through Salt Lake City without a problem. SIDE TRIP: We flew to California early to spend a couple of days in Carmel by the Sea. Since we could never afford to live there two days is a nice alternative. The trip taught us a valuable lesson. If we are renting a car WE WILL NEVER FLY INTO SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AGAIN. We will fly to Oakland or San Jose but not SFO. I have some heart issues that making walking through airports a little dicey. At SFO from our luggage it was long walks, multiple elevator sides and a train ride. Then at 6:30 it was a 30-minute line at Dollar Rent a Car. We only picked Dollar because we could drop the car off at the Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf Hotel where we were staying the night before the cruise. We got to Carmel after the front desk at the Fireplace Inn had closed. However, we called ahead and the staff placed our keys in an envelope and taped it to the front door. Once we arrived we found that somehow Mr. Peabody and Sherman had allowed us in the Wayback Machine and we were transported back 56 years in time to 1960. Other than the flat screen TV everything in our room could have been seen in the room in 1960. The toilet was so low to the floor without any grab bars for a person with bad knees it was a super challenge to get up. But we were in Carmel to see the coast, not stay in a hotel room. Plus two nights at the best hotel in Carmel (La Playa) was going to cost us $1,400 while the Fireplace Inn was only $400. Driving on California Highway 1 in the Big Sur area or north of Sausalito are perhaps the best drives in all of America. The next day we were head to San Simeon. We had been there three times before. The weather was perfect. Clear skies and no tourist traffic yet. My wife did another tour of the Hearst Mansion/Castle while I stayed in the visitor's center reading Michael Connelly latest novel for three hours avoiding the hundreds of stairs on the tour. (I was amazed that the gift shop no longer carried "Citizen Hearst" by W.A. Swanberg, long considered the best biography on Heasrt. I bought my copy in the same gift shop 35 years earlier.) On Saturday we drove to San Francisco along Highway 1 hitting heavy traffic about 35 miles south of S.F. EMBARKATION: There were some passengers who complained that the embarkation was in an old warehouse without any luxury waiting areas. The thing I remember about embarkation with Crystal was that it was on board the ship and there was never a line or a wait. The old warehouse just fell into our Mr. Peabody experience in Carmel. Waiting to sail meant lunch at the pool side grill or in the La Veranda buffet area. It was at this time we had an unusual sighting. It was a brat on the grill. We were used to brats from the Crystal pool side grill everyday! I tried one on Regent on the first day and it was the last one I got to taste. Two days later I asked for another brat for lunch. I was told brats were only for special occasions and if I wanted one I needed to order it a day in advance at the main dining room. Suddenly I was missing the gang at Crystal, who would fix anything even if it was not on the menu. CABIN/SUITE: We are people who enjoy luxury cruise lines, but cannot afford or justify the most luxuriate cabin. Our low end Regent suite had 70-sq. feet on our cabin with Crystal, plus a balcony. The bathroom was bigger too, but the side of the bathtub/shower was dangerous, especially if the ship was rocking. The side of the tub was so high that us formerly active people with hip operations in our past had some issues. Just like Crystal the furniture in the room sat low and was hard to get out of. The biggest difference was the flat screen TV on Regent was bigger and there were over 150 movies you could watch in your room, including many not yet released on DVD. In 10 days we watched three movies requiring me to remove them from our Netflix list when we returned. The bed was fine with good night sleeps every night, despite having a lower priced suite. We managed to survive without a butler. LAUNDRY: If I am on vacation I don't believe in doing the laundry even if a launderette is a free one. I send it out every day. Just like on Crystal, with Regent my darks came back dark and not faded and my whites were whiter than they had ever been before. The difference is that despite not checking for the more expensive same day service, on Regent I got the laundry back the same day with no up charge. ENTERTAINMENT: Regent just like Crystal had the young dancers and singers. However during our cruise the house band was not very good and at times bad. There was no bass player. The trumpet player on his first cruise was seasick for two days. This reduced the "Regent Orchestra" to merely a quintet. One bright spot was the trombone player, who had a classical background playing in the Moldova National Symphony. He was a remarkable quick read on charts and often carried the band. There was no piano bar entertainer which I found a disappointment. Some more memorable cruises included the piano bar guy, doing requests, playing Name that Tune and getting people involved in sing-along's. Stacy Ward McAdams on NCL and later Europe river cruises, Jimmy Maddox on HAL and Jeff Deutsch on Crystal we have not forgotten. There was karaoke on several nights that was awful and always worse than the house band on its worst night. On Crystal often musicians from all the different bands would get together late at night and jam. This was not happening on Regent. They were having problems playing from their charts. The cruise director Margaret Lynn was an exception to most CDs I have encountered including those on Crystal. She was very accessible to passengers and seemed to enjoy chit chatting. FOOD: This was not the pretty part. Other than getting a shrimp cocktail when it was not on the menu, there was no special service. The Prime, the ship's steakhouse was the best of the specialty restaurants. Our one night at Prime we found everything good and so much better than the regular meal service. However, I tried to "Howdy" a couple times to staff since we were in a Steakhouse and simply got stares of confusion. Our waitress in the steakhouse was French. Our waiter in the French restaurant was from the Ukraine, go figure. I normally skip breakfast, but did eat before leaving the ship all day three times. The food at the La Veranda was average to below average. The lunch buffets were typical of mass appeal cruise ships…the food looked better than it tasted. On Crystal the food in the buffet line was outstanding everyday often forcing seconds against my better judgment. In the main dining room (Compass Rose) seating was on demand and you never knew where you would sit or who would serve you. Several nights we would ask to be in a favorite waiter's section and were rarely successful. We were also listed as "table sharers" and other than one night with a dull couple, we ate with some very interesting and often funny people. However on some of our cruises with the same table mates every night we developed long lasting relationships, including being visited in the Midwest when one European couple who were driving across the U.S. and then spending a day with our friends from a cruise five years ago in Ireland when Crystal stopped all day in Dublin last year. DRINKS: Much like Crystal, Regent's all-inclusive policy makes it a cruise line for alcoholics and even excessive cola drinkers. They did offer Diet Dr. Pepper and Coke Zero throughout the ship for those looking for a cold caffeine soda without 140 calories. WAIT STAFF: English comprehension was a constant problem with the staff. Waiters and waitress had problems constantly understanding orders from most passengers. This was a huge difference when compared with Crystal. Plus on Crystal we got to know the staff better and interacted with them daily. Not so much on Regent. The Regent staff tried to be professional, but rarely did anyone try and put a smile on your face. On Crystal head waiter Zoltan when asked about a special order would travel back to 1950 and speak into his Dick Tracy two-way wrist radio (really just his wrist watch). He would say, "Zoltan to kitchen! We have a special request." He would then turn back to the table and say how there was "no problem." Everyone at the table would be laughing. Paula the bartender and Ricki the server on Crystal were people my wife and I will not soon forget. Two weeks after our Regent cruise I have forgotten most of the crews' names. You could not joke with the Regent staff because they understood so little English they never got a punch line. DRESS CODE: Regent wins this hands down. There are no formal nights. It means I don't have to drag along a suit or a tux, just a sports coat. This allowed my wife and me to cut down to just one suitcase each. For three days in California, I was able to utilize my "throw away" wardrobe. I would save socks, underwear and polo shirts with a few holes or small rips all year. They would be worn and then thrown away on our first three days of vacation. If I had known how efficient the ships laundry was I would have brought even fewer items. TENDER SERVICE: In the past when on a mass market cruise ship I was often envious when stuck on a crowded tender while a smaller exclusive ship was tied up to the dock in port. In the beginning of this cruise we were shadowed by a large NCL ship. I was amazed that the low price NCL ship was docked, while we were stuffed onto tenders. Keep in mind Regent is owned by NCL and they save money tendering 600 passengers from a Regent ship compared to 2,500 or 3,000 from a NCL ship. I was spoiled with Crystal. There tenders were spacious with plenty of leg room and they often left half full if another tender was waiting. With Regent it was like we were on a RCI, NCL or HAL tender. You were shoved in until no one else can fit with knees in pain for the whole ride to shore. Unlike Crystal where there were never tender lines, you did get to stand in line for Regent tenders. CASINO: We liked how on Crystal you were not forced to walk through a casino like most mass market cruise lines do. Regent was even one better. The casino was on Deck Seven above the main entrance (Deck 5) and balcony entrance (Deck 6) to the main theater. PHOTOS: Crystal had understated photographers who did not hassle you like the mass market cruise line photographers do. Regent was much better. They have no photographers or photo shop on board. COMPUTERS AND LIBRARY: Regent was a year late in joining Crystal offering free internet computer service. Our trip marked the beginning of free internet. Regent was better as it was unlimited. However Crystal's was faster. Also Crystal had two people in the computer room to assist passenger s until 11 o'clock at night. Regent just had one. He was possibly a former priest because he had a lot of patience. The library was very small on the Seven Seas Mariner. The cruise line bought multiple copies of recent best sellers. You were on the honor system as there was no one assigned the duties of librarian. You could take a book any time you wanted and did not need to check it out. They sold full printed copies of major US newspapers delivered to your cabin for $6 a day. However, the same paper was available (one copy only) in the library. MEDICAL: We did not use any medical services. (Luckily my heart held up for the vacation, but not 24 hours after the return as I ended up in a hospital heart unit for three days.) However, we did meet someone who did visit the medical office. Her complaint was she was given a week's worth of pills at $40 a pill. I asked why she could not get a prescription and get it filled at a port of call. It was because the doctor was a Russian and could not write scripts in the U.S. DISEMBARKATION: We had to wait for our color to be call before leaving, which we have had to do on all other cruise lines we have been on except Crystal. But the real surprise came when we received our bill. You can check you bill via your TV on a daily basis. My wife did that. There was nothing unusual. However as we were just an hour or so from leaving the ship our paper bill showed a $448 spa charge. Since neither my wife nor me had been to the spa and I would have a hard time knowing where it was, this created a fight. The charge was from three days earlier and did not appear when we did the daily bill check. It only appeared on the last paper bill delivered overnight. At the front desk I explained that we had never been to the spa. This was not accepted! I was told they would need to call people from the spa and investigate. I said I was a retired police detective and suggested that they have the spa staff stroll through the main dining room where I would be having breakfast and see if they could ID the $448 customer. I also suggested they compare signatures. Finally I told them I was not getting off the ship until the $448 was removed from my bill. Thirty minutes later I got a new bill. I did not appreciate the drama. Luckily we had an afternoon flight, because the line for taxicabs was about 45 minutes long. Getting hit with $448 at a spa you never walked into and then having to wait 45 minutes to get a cab is not a good way to end a cruise. RECOMMENDATIONS: Some devoted Regent customers we met with over 1,000 days at sea with Regent vowed they would never go on a Crystal Cruise due to the size of the cabins. Others we met said they were going back to Crystal due to the quality of food and personality of the crew. If you like to be by yourself and stay in your cabin/suite on sea days and are on a diet, Regent is probably the cruise line for you. If you prefer excellent food, a large library, only use your cabin to sleep, there is little doubt that you should go on Crystal. My wife and I went back and made the promise we broke this year. Our next cruise will be on Crystal. PORTS OF CALL: Regent offers some free tours. However the guests in the most expensive suites get to sign up first, followed by those who paid in full instead of the two installment system. That was okay by us, as we like to rent cars and go on our own adventures. We prefer renting cars and having freedom to come and leave when we want to. Also at some ports they had school buses waiting for the tours. My knees hurt just looking at them. ASTORIA, OR After our miserable tender ride to the dock, Enterprise Rent-A-Car was waiting to pick us up. Their office location was close to the dock and the staff was very pleasant. We crossed the Columbia River into Washington. We stopped at a small Post Office and mailed a novel I had just finished by "book rate" to a person I trade books with meaning one less thing in my return luggage. I mailed two books back to my friend during the vacation. At the Post Office, the entire staff of two had suggestions of places to go. One was a restaurant with unusual art work. (It wasn't open yet.) The other was the last remaining covered bridge in the State of Washington. We found the bridge and compared to covered bridges in the Midwest, Maryland and New England it was an ugly rectangle box. But at least we could say were crossed the last covered bridge in Washington. We made it to Long Beach, WA where we ate lunch with the locals at a popular inexpensive fish restaurant. The food was better than what was being offered on the ship. SITKA Our next stop was Sitka, Alaska where it was another tender ride. WE were met by Avis Rent-A-Car at the dock. Our pickup was free. But the large NCL ship was docked four miles out of town and there was a charge to pick up anyone from that ship. Sitka was fun and I got my biggest laughs while parked in downtown as my wife went to an art museum and shopping. I stayed in the car and read a novel. In front of me on the corner was an entrance to a tourist trap shop. They had a stuffed black bear on its hind legs with its front paws out stretched standing on the sidewalk. It didn't matter age, nationally or sex. Every 30 seconds someone would stop and backup in between the bear's paws and try to put a frightened "I'm going to die" look on their face as a companion took photos. This was almost nonstop. In Sitka they have three gas stations. They also have one McDonalds. We stopped there to use the restroom and we always believe in buying something in exchange for use of a clean restroom. They had Tillamook Ice Cream from the coastal area of Oregon. This had to be the best ice cream ever served at a McDonalds. It was also better than anything they were serving on the ship. JUNEAU: We were lied to. When we reserved our rent a car with National we were told we would be picked up at the dock. Four months later when we exited the ship and called National we were told they no longer pick anyone us and suggested we take a cab to airport. We did for $25. We had been to Juneau before and had been there on a Saturday before. So on this Saturday we knew the town would have garage sales all over the place. We weren't disappointed. In the neighborhoods surrounding the Mendenhall Glacier there were two or three garage sales per subdivision. There were probably 50 garage sales on the island. We stopped at about 11. The best was at the house of a guy who like on the TV show Storage Wars bids on abandoned storage lockers. We got enough Alaskan knick-knacks to hand out some fun awards to several crew members for a total of $2. Plus I got three jazz CDs of Mel Torme and one classical Mozart CD for a $1. Across the bridge from Juneau is the old City of Douglas which merged with Juneau in 1970. The library on the main street through Douglas is very nice. It offers free internet and has older magazines for free and used books for sale. Thank God the real tourist season had not yet started. It allowed us to take a one lane (with turn outs) gravel mountain road up a for beautiful views. The second cab ride back from National at the airport for another $25 was the only thing to spoil my day. WRANGELL On Sunday we were in Wrangell, a town of around 2,000 that only smaller cruise ships can stop at. The assistant manager at Practical Rent a Car, the only rent-a-car company on the island, picked us up at the dock. The city's one grocery store was closed, but two auto part stores and two hardware stores were open. While Sitka has three gas stations, Wrangell only has two and one of them is owned by the owners of Practical Rent-a-Car. Frankly you can see most everything in Wrangell and drive every road in four hours. This was one of the several locations where ship tours were on school buses. We felt fortunate to have a rental car. Wrangell has a six officer police department. Normally one officer is on duty at a time. The officers also have to be at the airport twice a day when the two Alaska Air flights between Anchorage and Juneau then on to Vancouver with stops in Wrangell, Petersburg and Sitka stop for 15 minutes. The cops do passenger screening. If the one on-duty officer is tied up with an arrest or a bad auto accident, the dispatcher starts calling the five off-duty cops until she finds one to go to the airport. It makes you want to whistle the theme to the Andy Griffith Show. KETCHIKAN: This was our last port of call. The very nice people at the Alaska Rent-a-Car picked us up and took a back. The return trip included showing us some streets we had missed. Nothing much had changed in Ketchikan compared to our two other trips there. We did several of our "end of the road" trips and once turned onto a gravel road outside of Ward Creek rec area. At first it was okay, but then the potholes filled with water slowed us down to under 5 mph until we gave up, but completely trashed the outside of the car. Later in the summer the salmon run up creeks in downtown Ketchikan. Also there is a fishery just above downtown. While it sometimes gets little snow, Ketchikan is one of the wettest cities in the country. It was raining hard when we got off the ship. They are installing one artificial turf athletic field, but most athletic fields are crushed gravel as grass would never survive one football or soccer game. Even the softball fields are of crushed rock. Read Less

Top Seven Seas Mariner Itineraries

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

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