Seven Seas Mariner Cruise Review by R,D,W
- Sail Date: September 2018
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Suite
We stayed one night in Anchorage before boarding a coach to Seward for embarkation. When we arrived in Anchorage it was sunny and we were able to see Denali. The locals told us that the weather was better than expected and that we were lucky to see Denali as it was quite often (at least 50% of the time) shrouded in clouds.
The coach ride to Seward was quite pleasant. We were given a snack and were given a commentary about the sights along the route. Seward terminal made me smile. I said "well this is Alaska". Friendly and competent would describe the staff. Embarkation was relaxed and stress free. Of course a champagne flute awaited us as soon as we boarded.
The new color pallet on Mariner is beautiful and elegant. Our suite, 863, was very comfortable. The storage above the desk has been removed but we did not miss it. That area is now more open and appears larger. This suite does not have a tub (our request) and we enjoyed not having to step up into the tub/shower combination. (Personal Preference) The flow in the Veranda is better managed. The somewhat bizarre (our opinion) art in the atrium elevator we called Stairway to Heaven has been removed and we consider that an improvement. There is new furniture and carpeting around the ship. Overall the ship looks updated and so pretty. The one design flaw perhaps is in the theater. The step hazards have been removed and that is a good thing. However, the arm rails extend far out and "snag clothing, your handbag, or even your knees. We were cautious and we were fine but were alerted to this and might be a potential problem for some.
As I said we had been on the Mariner in late 2017. The entertainment cast was different than the Amazon cruise but the shows were repeats. They were still good.
The cruise director, John did a one man show that was really fantastic. He is talented and professional while being quite personable. We enjoyed his show immensely. There was also a very good magician that we enjoyed.
Terry Breen did not disappoint. We learned so much about glaciers and about the First Nation's People and whales and just about Alaska in general. We knew that we would come home with a better understanding of this last frontier after spending time with Terry.
The weather was a concern but we packed for cold and rain and in between. Our weather was glorious. Sunny and 60's. If it did rain it was in the evening . The mornings were cool so layering is the secret. We had a rainy day in Ketchikan but not soaking and rain was interspersed with sun.
Every new day brought new and more beautiful scenery. Each day brought a new experience. We saw snow capped mountain peaks, glaciers (We got within 1/2 mile of the glacier and witnessed calving), fjords, grizzlies,black bears, eagles, salmon running, sea lions, orca whales, and humback whales, black tail deer and totems. We were treated to the splendor of Alaska visually and from our wonderful guides. The people of Alaska are some of the friendliest we have met anywhere in the world. They are eager for you to learn about their culture and to experience Alaska through their eyes. Visiting with the locals was one of my favorite activities. Their life is hard but it is what they love.
We left Alaska and sailed to Victoria. It is a really pretty Victorian city. We toured the city, visited Butchart Gardens and attended High Tea at the Empress Hotel. If only one activity fits in your schedule do not miss the Butchart Gardens. This is a truly magical place.
We then sailed to Vancouver and boarded a van to begin our post cruise . We spent 2 days in Whistler. WOW!!! This was a site for the Winter Olympics and we stayed at the Fairmont Chateau hotel which is a 4 Seasons resort with Blackcomb Mountain and Whistler Mountain as backdrops. Since there was no snow the preferred activity was mountain biking and bikers were everywhere. This is a great area to relax and enjoy the great outdoors. We rode the gondola and went on the Peak2Peak tram. The next day we flew to see the glacier in a float plane. Fun and new experience for us. We really enjoyed the upscale lodge feel of Whistler. The third day we left Whistler and returned to Vancouver and had a half day tour. We saw Stanley Park, had a lunch stop on Granville Island (the public market was amazing!) and drove through Chinatown and the Gastoen area. We spent the night at the Fairmont Vancouver and then were transferred to the Vancouver airport for our flight home. This is a very nice airport. Customs was quick and painless as you actually clear US customs there rather than at your US destination.
To complete our review of the Mariner we need to discuss the food. We dined in all of the venues and enjoyed every meal. Compass Rose is spectacular and I really enjoyed Chartreuse. This is a new venue for the Mariner (replaced Signatures). We had no complaints with any venue . Service on Regent can not be beat. As an example, I love their sea bass. I forgot to check the Compass Rose menu and missed it the one night it was prepared. I asked if it was going to be on another night. "Sorry, no. However we will ask the chef and if he has the ingredients he will make it for you tomorrow night." He did and it was delicious, as I knew it would be. Thank You for going above and beyond!
If I haven't made it clear by now, this cruise to Alaska was beyond our expectations.
I need to say that we keep coming back to Regent because of the crew. They had been in Alaska all Spring and Summer doing similar routes and I am sure hearing similar stories and seeing similar scenery. However, their energy level, big smiles, and eagerness to please would lead you to believe they were on the first cruise in Alaska.
First class all the way!!!
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Comfortable bed. Quiet.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Icy StraitThis was so much fun. We took a tram through the forest and then we boarded a bus to the rain forest. We had a briefing on bear watching and were introduced the men who were carrying the rifles to protect us. We then set out on foot in search of grizzlies. We talked on a wooden trail to the viewing areas and sure enough we saw several grizzlies hunting salmon. We viewed them from 3 different areas . We had great photo ops !! The rain forest provides a great walking adventure but the highlight was the grizzlies.View All 12,780 Icy Strait Cruise Port Reviews
We then went back into town and the school children (high school) shared their culture with us through song and dance. This was very interesting and a great opportunity to interact with the locals. We were invited to dance with them and we were given tribal names. The First Nation's culture is fascinating and steeped in tradition. This performance for tourist is a way to help preserve their heritage.
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JuneauMendenhall glacier is viewed at a very nice park. There is a lot of information about glaciers. This is a nice area to walk around. You do not get up close to the glacier. The whale watching was exciting. The boat is nice with complimentary donuts and coffee. There are snacks to buy. There is a restroom on board. There is a covered area and outside viewing areas. We saw several humpbacks. Some showed their fluke . We also saw seals sunning on a buoy. Whale sightings are guaranteed and we were not disappointed.View All 12,780 Juneau Cruise Port Reviews
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SitkaThe raptor center is a rescue and rehabilitation center. We saw several species of raptors, learned about their injuries and "visited" with an eagle close up. This is an interesting and worth a visit. We toured the town, visited a Russian church and saw Russian dancers. If you enjoy learning about the history and culture plus viewing wildlife this is the tour for you.View All 12,780 Sitka Cruise Port Reviews
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White Pass Scenic RailwayWe boarded the train early in the morning. There is a stove in each car but if you are not close to it there is a chill. Just be aware of this and dress appropriately. We were comfortable in our boots and jackets. There is a bathroom in each vintage car. There was complimentary bottled water but no other food or drink. Our train went across the Canadian border . You do not get off train and do not need your passport. The engine "switched around and we headed back down mountain. Before heading the other direction we all stood in unison, flipped our seats and traded sides. We all got a great view either coming or going. There is commentary up and down discussing the history of the gold rush and pointing out sights along the way. It is amazing any animals or humans survived this journey.View All 1,082 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
There are other options for this journey. For instance you could ride a bus up and the train down or you can go further to the Yukon. You are given a commemorative booklet that discusses the journey and provides a map to follow along the journey.
We also took a street car tour. This is around Skagway which is a small town. The drivers are the guides and are dressed in period costumes. It is fun and you will learn a bit more about the town and its characters.
WrangellWe boarded a school bus and toured the town. We learned about the fishing industry and shipping from Wrangell. We also were treated to a visit with a First Nation gentleman who discussed the clan house, totems and hat weaving. We then went to a beach and saw petroglyphs.View All 12,780 Wrangell Cruise Port Reviews
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