Our Cruise Expert Debbie Stevens and her mother recently enjoyed a cruise on Regent Seven Seas’ Mariner. Here’s a review of their experience…
The night before we were due to depart on our Regent Seven Seas‘ cruise we enjoyed a one-night stay in Athens, staying at the wonderfully-glamorous Hotel Grand Bretagne. After a fabulous nights sleep in some of the most comfy beds imaginable, we both wondered if the standards could possibly get any higher. Little did we know, what was to follow over the next 4 days was to be luxury cruising at it’s finest…
On the morning of 6th October we were picked up from the hotel and taken to the port of Piraeus, where we were met by a Regent Seven Seas representative who kindly showed us where we needed to go to pass through security. Our luggage was collected and placed on a trolley; having not cruised before my mother started the push the trolley and was soon corrected: “No Ma’am” said the port attendant “I will take your luggage”!
After getting through security – which took all of about 5 minutes – we boarded the stunning Seven Seas Mariner and were shown to the Constellation Theatre by another very personable steward. On arrival, we were handed a glass of complimentary champagne whilst we waited for the registration process to begin. Again, this was painless exercise and in-keeping with our limited experience so far, executed to the highest standards possible.
As we had boarded the ship around 12 O’clock (2 hours earlier than the usual recommended boarding time) we were told that our suite would not be ready until 2pm. Luckily for us, a hot and cold buffet was being served at the Pool Grill so we made our way up to Deck 11 to have a spot of lunch. Once we’d found somewhere to sit, the waiters were only too happy to look after us, offering us drinks and snacks whilst we enjoyed the comfy pool-side seating. We’d picked an excellent spot for people watching and the time flew by, so much so that at one point the waiter had to leave the whole bottle of champagne with us to save him from making repeated trips from the bar (!)
A couple of hours later an announcement came over the ship’s tannoy to advise the guests that the suites were now available. We had been allocated a mid-ship Category D Grade Concierge Suite, which was situated in a great position, close to the Pool Grill and bar as well as the deck’s lift and stairs – the latter of which we tried to take at every available opportunity in an effort to shift of some of the calories we were consuming!
The suite was well-appointed, with a large bathroom and mid-size bath, an overhead shower, a sizeable walk-closet (with plenty of hangers – a bonus for the ladies), a dressing table, coffee maker, two beds, a sofa and a large teak veranda complete with outside furniture.
We spent a little time settling into our new environment and before long our cabin steward came along to introduce himself and let us know what was going to happening over the next few days. He was a friendly chap and was only more than happy to show us how to use the coffee-maker – which was needed as my mother and I aren’t the most technical people you’re ever likely to encounter…
At 1745 we were called for the obligatory Muster Drill, which of course must be conducted by law. Once this was over we retreated back to our suite to open the complimentary champagne (there’s a theme here, isn’t there?) to toast to our cruise. We then set sail from Athens to Rhodes under the most beautiful of sunsets – one that will stay in my memory for a very long time.
For our first evening aboard Mariner, we decided to take in dinner at the Compass Rose, the ship’s largest restaurant. We had originally requested a table for two, but on arrival the Maître D’ informed that they weren’t able to accommodate our request, but that they did have a British couple also waiting and would we mind sharing a table for 4 with them? A little disappointed, we settled on joining the couple for dinner – however, our apprehensions soon vanished and we enjoyed a splendid evening in the company of our new-found friends.
The food in the Compass Rose was extremely good, offering a variety of fish and meat dishes, whilst the service was impeccable.
We decided that considering it had been such a long day, an early night was in order so left the restaurant to go back to our suite where we enjoyed an incredible 10 hour sleep – something that is practically unheard of when we’re at home tending to our various duties!
Following a spot of breakfast, our second day began with us disembarking the Mariner to explore the town of Rhodes. It has to be said; getting on and off the ship was always a smooth process and took no time at all – even when we arrived in Turkey where you almost expect it to take a little longer due to the entry visa requirements.
Having spent half a day shopping in Rhodes, we went back to the ship to try out some of the facilities, starting with the gym. For a ship that could be considered “small”, the gym equipment was very good indeed – all up-to-date machinery, with built-in TV screens, individually wrapped new earphones and a large workout room for cycling and yoga classes.
Conveniently, the Canyon Ranch Spa & Beauty Salon was located just opposite to the gym, so we decided to take a look at what was going on inside. Regent Seven Seas offer such a wide array of treatments that you might be forgiven for thinking that a second mortgage might be needed – it’s not cheap, though the staff did try and temp us with a 20% discount on a ‘Euphoria’ treatment which still would have come to just under $320. We did eventually compromise a little and headed to the sauna and steam rooms (which it turns out are free to use anyway…so not much compromise on our part).
For our second evening onboard we were lucky enough to have pre-booked seats at the Mariner’s newest restaurant – “Prime 7”. Small, intimate and luxuriously furnished with velvet-backed chairs and golden drapes, dining in Prime 7 felt akin to enjoying an evening out at one of London’s 5-star exclusive eateries. I opted for the restaurants signature dish, Surf & Turf, which consisted of an 8 ounce rump steak, with either crab tails or lobster shell. The dish was exquisitely presented and the Hollandaise sauce really was something to savour.
After our meals we headed to the Horizon Lounge for a night-cap, figuring it was probably the best way to end a day that had included a lot of shopping, exercise and eating. We decided against taking in the show but having spoken to some of the guests it seems that we didn’t miss much. Without being too critical, I wouldn’t recommend a Regent cruise for its entertainment options. It is, however, perfect if you’re just looking to have a quiet drink before or after dinner whilst mingling with some of the fellow guests.
Day 3 saw us arrive in Alanya, Turkey, where we again decided to do our own thing, which in this instance included a couple of museums, some caves and best of all – the famous Haman Turkish Bathes where for just 20 Euros you could be pampered to within an inch of your life! Certainly a bit cheaper than the offerings of the ship’s Canyon Ranch…!
As we were approaching the last night of our stay we left the delights of Turkey and headed back to our suite where we spent some time sitting on the veranda whilst chatting about what we’d experienced during the last couple of days. There was champagne involved (of course) and you can take it from me that relaxing under a deep Turkish sunset in such incredible surroundings takes a lot of beating.
In evening we met up with a lovely couple who we’d encountered earlier in the day for a couple of cocktails in the Observation Lounge before having something to eat.
It was interesting to spend time with a couple of experienced cruisers who seemed to agree that Regent was certainly up there with Seabourn and Silversea in terms of the ship, facilities and available excursions. Oceania’s Riviera was mentioned quite a few times as being comparable to the Mariner, though without the added incentive of it being an all-inclusive cruise line.
Once again, dinner could not be faulted – 6 courses of mind-blowing food and excellent company – what more could one ask for?
Don’t ask me how this works, but at 2330 mother and I were rather peckish again (it seems the more you can eat, the more you do eat!), so we decided to order a couple of drinks and some nibbles to our suite. We were surprised at the speed of the service and soon settled down to watch a movie whilst decked out in our plush towelling robes and slippers.
As we were both aware it was our last night onboard, it’s safe to say there was a little sadness – especially from my mother who’d definitely slipped into cruising mode -it’s amazing how quickly one can get used to being waited on without having to worry about what to wear in the evening!
Overall, our experience with Regent Seven Seas on the Mariner was fantastic. Although she’s classed as a small ship, she certainly has all the luxury and onboard facilities of a 5-star hotel. The food is fabulous, the suites are of a good size (though the bathrooms might look a little tired in places), the public areas are great and the staff are extremely friendly but couldn’t ever be considered intrusive.
Well done Regent! 10/10 from us – we can’t wait to go back again!
Written by Debbie Stevens for The Cruise Line. 2012.
Debbie has been with The Cruise Line for 15 years and has cruised with Orient Lines, Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean, Regent Seven Seas, and SeaDream Yacht Club. She likes good red wine, walking in the countryside and counts China as the one place she’d love to visit.
You can view Regent Seven Seas’ 2014 itineraries by viewing our online brochure: Click here
If you’d like Debbie to quote for your next cruise holiday or if you’d like to ask her a question about her Regent voyage, please call 0800 008 6677.