Regent First Timers
My wife and I went on our first Regent Seven Seas cruise in November 2016 - we were on 10 day a Central America/Caribbean trip with a night in a Miami hotel before the cruise. Although not frequent cruisers we had cruised with P&O some 6 years ago but wanted to see what value you got from an all inclusive 6 star cruise line as cruising will probably form a greater part of our future holidays. Overall it was a great experience - there were some standout features and a couple where we were left feeling our expectations had not been fully met. Before I must say how pleased we were with "www.CRUISE.co.uk - we were helped by Florence - Richard had helped us on our previous cruise but he was on vacation and so Florence stepped in to help us. We could not have wished for a more pleasant and professional person to help us through the booking process and all of the follow up right through to a post cruise review. She was simply excellent and we would recommend her to anyone thinking of booking a cruise. 6 stars plus to www.CRUISE.co.uk. The cruise out included flights with BA to Miami. Not my favourite airline but BA premium economy tickets were included in the cruise offer. The pre-cruise hotel stay (Hyatt Regency, Coral Gables) in Miami and the US ground transfers by bus were excellent. We sailed on the SS Mariner which was a lot smaller than the P&O ship we sailed on previously and were a bit concerned that the facilities, particularly entertainment, may be a bit limited. However this ship has every facility you could possibly want to have an enjoyable cruise including an excellent two tier theatre and its own very high quality orchestra and stage company. The cabin (Balcony with concierge) was a good size and we particularly appreciated the walk-in wardrobe and spacious shower room. The bed was superbly comfortable. The cabin service was excellent - Angel and Aki could not do enough to make us comfortable and always smiling and friendly. Entertainment and the shore excursion programs were extremely well organised and offered a wide variety of choice to meet all tastes although I did feel one or two of the shore excursions were a bit "lame" - I recommend that the Regent team go incognito on all trips offered over the next year to weed out those which may not meet their desired standards. The shows in the theatre with the "in-house" orchestra and Theatre Company were of a very high standard and were supplemented by guest entertainers also of a very high standard. Food was overall excellent. We ate in all the restaurants over the period of the cruise including twice in each of the speciality dining rooms. We particularly enjoyed the informality of the Veranda restaurant and the range of food avail able at all meal times. The menu choice and variety was generally of a high standard and it was clear that high quality ingredients were used in all dining areas. We were surprised when occasionally dishes were served on cold dishes and I also felt that some dishes lacked a little in flavour or seasoning – recognising of course that this is very much personal taste. The drinks service was excellent everywhere except in the Dining Rooms. You could always get any sort of drink, soft or alcoholic, but in the Dining Rooms I had a very different experience on a number of occasions. First of all I don’t like the way wine is offered – you are given a choice of a white or a red – they were always good quality wines and if you did not like them you could request an alternative – awkward! Personally I would have preferred a choice of at least three reds and three whites or had the sommelier offering a wine choice based on our food choice. Secondly and more importantly I found the wine waiter/sommelier service very poor on at least five evenings. I either had to wait for over 20 minutes to be offered my first glass of wine or I sat sometimes for periods of up to 15 minutes with an empty wine glass. As I never have more than three glasses over the course of a meal this was really annoying and is inexcusable in a quality dining room. I did mention this issue on my mid cruise survey and got a phone call from the head of food and catering – I also got outstanding service the next evening in the dining room but it went back to normal after that. . The only other significant criticism we would have about the cruise was that the public areas on decks 5 and 6 which includes the theatre and dining rooms was freezing cold. Again this was mentioned not just by us by many other passengers but all we got was short term burst of heat and a fairly fast return to freezing cold. So the two significant areas that Regent could improve for me would be the evening wine service and the temperature control on decks 5 and 6. The one thing that Regent have absolutely right is the incredibly friendly and “can do” attitude of the staff. ALL staff members form the Captain down to the guy painting railings always had a friendly greeting and a smile for you and it was clearly not the more usual training induced smile – the staff seemed genuinely happy to be there. It was pretty clear that Regent treat the welfare of their staff as seriously as they do the welfare of the passengers. A very big well done. So apart from two issues Regent score extremely highly with us. We liked the totally all inclusive concept and once you get over the initial payment shock it is comforting to know that there is nothing else to pay. It may seem a lot of money up front but I am sure that if you added in all the excursions, pre stay hotel and unlimited food and drink it is not unfairly priced. Would we do another Regent cruise? Yes we probably would although after talking to lots of other cruise regulars we are also tempted by their sister company Oceania.
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