January 2016 - Seven Seas Mariner to South America
We skipped three ports due to weather and a breakdown in one of the ship's engines. Will Regent refund what it saved in port fees, etc?
This was not a top of the line cruise for many, many reasons:
1. Cabins are outdated and lacking true TV connectivity.
2. In training staff for their new ship, they have many new hires onboard. Though, I understand the reason, they are not knowledgeable about their jobs and many speak insufficient English and give inappropriate canned answers to questions they don't understand. All are unfailingly polite and overly deferential.
3. Food ranged from good to Excellent, but was not uniformly gourmet quality.
4. Regent allowed a two-year-old to run wild on a cruise with no other children aboard. He ran under the feet of waiters and passengers with no interference from his parents or guidance by the staff to the parents.
5. The quality of tours was wildly disappointing. More than half of the guides spoke English so poorly that they were difficult to understand. Very few of the guides understood the basics of guiding a group. They would answer questions for those walking near them, but never think to gather the group to offer the information. Many tours consisted of pointing out highlights (this statue, that street, that animal) without any elucidation. Even the knowledgeable guides need to be taught guiding techniques. In trying to provide individual attention, they often ignored the rest of the group. One allowed one passenger to delay the bus for a half hour while she took a horseback ride she missed before lunch.
6. Entertainment on the ship was spotty. One act (2 evenings of Gauchos) was awful. Several others were adequate to good ( guitarists, comedian and magician). Two were excellent (Nicole Sasser and Opera Singer). The troupe onboard was very personable and had some ability but their shows seemed geared to the Carnival crowd: They were uniformly loud and over-amplified with excess reverberation. The material was often relatively current pop, not geared to the 50-90 year old age group. And aerobics substituted for what they thought was choreography.
7. Smithsonian lecturers were not good. Topics for poorly chosen and they were clearly stretching their material to fill the requisite number of lectures. On a South Amterican cruise, with all the new things to which we were exposed, I don't need lectures on old films and White House Etiquette.
8. Lectures by Terry Breen were the highlight of the trip, as always. She's brilliant and a terrific speaker.
Mind you, I was not suffering onboard. It a four star experience for a six star price.