Seven Seas Mariner Cruise Review by kennicott
- Sail Date: October 2018
- Destination: Trans-Ocean
For years now we have listed Regent as our favorite line and the Voyager as our favorite ship. Sure wish we could scratch up the simoleons to book them more often and for longer durations.
Cruise lines love to give romantic titles to their cruises, this one was "Havana Dreams, Panama Scenes". I suggest that it should have been the "Hurricane Dodger", LOL. When we left Anchorage, AK we were keeping an eye on a dying hurricane out in the Pacific off the Baja Peninsula in Mexico which had doubled back toward the mainland. Then we heard about Hurricane Michael moving into the Gulf of Mexico, which was likely to prevent us from visiting Cuba.
Survived those okay and had an enjoyable visit in Cuba and the countryside there, a great transit of the canal on a beautiful day all the way but then, five days after the canal, we returned to the ship after touring Acapulco, Mexico and found a letter from the captain on our bed explaining that a big, already Cat 5, hurricane was dead ahead of us, Hurricane Willa, and another smaller one coming up from the south toward our present position at the time. In order to put some distance between us and Willa we turned southwest for a day or so then northwest. Eight days sailing non-stop between North America and Maui, 3800 miles, instead of the scheduled six days to cross from San Diego. Our captain had chosen the most prudent course of action which was to bypass the planned ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico on Tuesday and San Diego on Thursday and instead spend those days at sea navigating our course far away from the storm systems, with a new arrival into Kahului, Maui one day early for an overnight stay. On the way across the Pacific we learned of Typhoon Yutu, which was the largest yet in 2018, it had just hit Saipan and Tinian on the other side of the Pacific from our location. At that time the Accumulated Cyclone Energy, or "ACE," was by far the highest ever recorded, or using that criterion, it was the worst hurricane season on record since records began early in the 19th century.
Our extra sea days were due to weather situations, the longest number of those we have experienced was nine and that was also due to an accident, a lady compound fractured her ankle so we had to turn back in order to get her off the ship for medical attention. All total we canceled two port visits due Willa, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and San Diego, Ca, plus one port canceled at the last minute due to political unrest, Nicaragua. Out of that we gained two more "At Sea Days" and another day and a night in Kahului, Maui. Hey, I saw more flying fish that voyage than I've seen in years.
But it was all good for us since we love sea days and life on board was exquisite due to Regent's fine service, cuisine quality and on board activities such as that involved with one of my favorite aspects of cruising, the enrichment lectures, particularly those addressing the theme of the voyage or aspects of the area of the world the cruise is taking place in like history, naturalism and geography. On this voyage we had two lecturers, Michael Scott, a botanist and historian and Lt. Colonel Bill Rothschild a NASA Rocket Scientist and engineer. Scott's presentations fit perfectly into the area of the world we voyaged but Rothschild's were very interesting as well. I think they spoke a dozen times each and I attended every single lecture, perfect attendance. Not to mention my sometimes twice daily hot tubs and the wonderful service from the ships pool bar.
In a way this was a strange voyage, smooth seas and nice warm days all the way, yet we have were surrounded by hurricanes most of the distance.
But all voyages can't be absolutely perfect. We did experience a few glitches, minor as they were. We planned on three formal nights which somehow got changed to two. But the last one they scheduled on the last night of the voyage, which was a port day preceded by six sea days. Nobody plans like that. Neither did they, toward the end they rescheduled the formal night to the last sea day, hurray. We almost always purchase pre-cruise and post-cruise hotel and transfer packages and so we did this time as well. On the pre-cruise hotel, which was part of the cruise package, they changed the hotel on us a few months before sailing, no big deal. But then a few weeks before sailing, after we had received the nice final formal cruise packet in the US mail, they flip flopped again and changed the hotel back to the original. Somehow we missed the email notice of the second change. So ended up in the wrong hotel. By the time we figured out there was something wrong we had already booked into a very fine room in the wrong hotel. Regent determine it was all our fault, so gave us a choice, stay in the wrong hotel and pay for it yourself or move over to the other one which we are paying for. We moved. On the post cruise hotel, the Royal Hawaiian in Honolulu, Regent was right on top of this and changed hotels for us when they discovered Waikiki hotels were just hit with a massive labor strike and the Royal was included. They got us into a very nice waterfront hotel that was not on strike. Good on them.
In summation, I realize Regent's prices are pretty steep and going up, so are the other line's prices that we frequent. But you have to say this about Frank Del Rio (FDR)'s lines. The other lines seem to not only be increasing prices but also engaging in a commensurate ratcheting down of overall cruise quality. While at the same time, Regent is enhancing over all cruise quality.
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