March 2016 - Seven Seas Navigator to Transatlantic
I have loved Regent since my first cruise with them in 2001 (then call Radisson) with impeccable service and spectacular ships but this cruise has changed everything.
The good points was the entertainment which was fabulous and not to be missed. The Jean Ann Ryan productions only lacked a "Playbill" program from being on broadway. Dancing was beautifully coordinated with all the dancers in perfect sync (try to do that on a moving stage). The singers where equally good and the productions where fun to watch and well staged. The cast also handled the various games and actives which gave you the opportunity to really get to know some amazing your people on a one on one basis. Entertainment in the future will be provided by NCL Productions so we will have to wait a see to what level it will achieve. The addition performers where equally good and where not to missed.
For the most part the crew was truly up to Regent standards with cabins kept in perfect order by the wonderful staff we have come to love on Regent. John, the cruise director, was great showing up everywhere, remembering names, always with a smile and took care of problems with a I'll get it taken care of it attitude. I would look forward to sailing with him again.
Staff in the Compass Rose dining room varied from the impeccable service expected on Regent to just going though the motions. How do you serve a Dover Sole with out deboning it for the diner? Why would you let your diners sit 20 minutes with out at least bring a bread basket instead of talking with the other servers. The pool grill staff was overwhelmed on nice days with long waits for drinks which is definitely not the norm for Regent.'
The itinerary was originally promoted with stops in Bermuda, Funchal, Gibraltar ending at Barcelona. This was changed after final payment was due dropping the stop at Gibraltar with no explanation being given and penalties imposed if you wanted to cancel (I know the cruise contract allows them to do anything the want but this isn't Carnival). I and a lot of my fellow passengers where disappointed on how this was handled by Regent.
The Bermuda stop was an overnight arriving on Palm Sunday with almost everything closed and having to leave early because of weather issues on Monday. I guess I should blame myself for not checking the calendar more closely. Our stop in Funchal was a total waste for the passengers since an engine failure got us in so late all the tours where cancelled but repairs to the engine where successful. Our arrival in Barcelona was on time at 2PM since they gave us an overnight in place of Gibraltar to a pier loaded with dumpsters and supplies. At least the tours offered where excellent and we got to see quite a lot of the city returning in time to see veranda and pool deck furniture loaded in the dumpsters (I think we now know why Gibraltar was dropped).
When you pay a lot for a cruise with a line known for providing a superior experience you are disappointed when you receive a third class product. We all received a $500 future cruise discount for missing Funchal but looking back I should have taken the substantial penalty and cancelled. We where only on the ship to help pay the cost of moving it to dry dock so with the exception of the entertainment I was disappointed with the new Regent (now that NCL has purchased them). Lets hope this is a one off experience.