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"The Grass is not always greener": Our recent Regent Cruise

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Hello folks, we have recently branched out from HAL (after achieving our five stars). We have had some good experiences yet, as you will see if you care to read this "cut and paste" of my review on CC of our Regent Voyager cruise, not always.  Consider this perhaps as a cautionary tale--more inclusive is not always better. Moreover, the way our concerns were handled (sloughed off) by Regent, really annoys. At least with HAL when we have brought concerns to their attention, we felt our voices were heard.

 

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Disappointing--lots of glitches; not up to standard

Seven Seas Voyager Cruise Review by ON cruiser

 
 
3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2019
  • Destination: Asia
In Autumn 2018 we travelled from Athens to Dubai on Seabourn. For Fall 2019 my wife wanted us to complete the journey, starting in Dubai and ending in Singapore. So we picked Regent's Voyager for that 20 day journey, beginning November 16, 2019.

A bit about us: we are later middle-aged, and one of us still works with, happily, a generous vacation allotment which allows usually two cruises yearly. We find that cruises are the busy persons perfect holiday: unpack once, enjoy (usually) luxurious food and service, and see some interesting places...or, during the harsh Canadian winter, just enjoy a Caribbean "sloth" cruise for some sun and warmth!

We are five star with Holland America yet decided a few years ago to branch out into the more "all-inclusive" world, where not everything is ala carte, requiring a chit to be signed. This is not to say that we would not return to HAL for the right itinerary. HAL does a lot of things right, after all. We also have had two cruises with Seabourn (my reviews no doubt can be found on this site). The first was just "good", yet Seabourn senior management truly heard our concerns, urging us to try them again--and we are very glad that we did. Our second Seabourn cruise, the Athens-Dubai one in 2018 on the Encore, was great in all respects.

In May 2019, we gave Regent a try. The Navigator, its oldest ship, took us to Europe in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. We very much enjoyed that cruise--despite a little creaky, a well run ship providing excellent food and service in all respects. The excellent included shore excursions were a bonus.

So, for our Dubai-Singapore trip, we ultimately decided to return to Regent, this time on the Voyager. I wish I could state that it was as good as our experience on Navigator, yet I cannot. Indeed, in some respects it was not even up to HAL standards of service.

Our main concerns were with the food service and food quality. While food is subjective, it was not only us who found some of it over-salted and under-seasoned. That did improve somewhat. Yet instead of the "a la minute" type of food that we experienced on Navigator, where the food tasted fresh-cooked, on this ship it seemed to us to be more banquet-style of preparation. Side dishes often seemed to suffer from sitting under heat-lamps, revealing a lack of coordination and oversight in the kitchen, and between the kitchen and the various dining venues. For example, on one occasion while my steak was fine, the French fries were like match-sticks--dried out from sitting too long. On other occasions, the wrong side dish would be delivered, an item would be forgotten...it got to the point where we wondered if we could get through one meal without something going awry for either one of us.

Service was lacking the competence, warmth, and friendliness that we usually have on other ships, including earlier this year on the Navigator. In addition to many servers simply ill-trained or inept, some were surprisingly robotic in their approach. This was in all dining venues, albeit thankfully there were notable exceptions. There were some (not enough) individuals who clearly took pride in providing excellent service, and were experienced wait-staff. We always appreciated being seated in their sections.

Our general impression, and we were not alone in this, was that too many new and untrained food serving staff had been recently taken on--and it showed. The area supervisors were doing their best, but could not always keep up. We also wondered if the ship was somewhat short-staffed in actual servers, noting the often apparent lack of service and kitchen coordination.

Yet at the price-point charged by Regent, I am not interested in why things were not up to standard. Rather, I simply expect better. Let alone the luxury cruise bracket (Regent, Seabourn) where we have experienced better, again, on our many HAL cruises service in the main dining room was consistently better than what we experienced this time on Voyager, with the inconsistent, "hit or miss" service at all meals, in all dining venues.

Bar service and deck service was generally very good, with drinks expertly made and promptly delivered. The one exception was the Observation bar, where service was slow and rather inept, provided by table-servers who were, again, new and seemingly not properly trained. The liquor on offer was good, in that the premium, yet not luxury, brands were included. For example, Chivas Regal 12 year old scotch, or a good brand of gin such as Beefeater was included. Yet Sipsmith gin was not on the included list. If you wanted an 18 year single malt, that was an extra. As we flew to Dubai on Emirates airlines in business class, by comparison their included bar list is much more generous than is what is on offer by Regent.

Deck staff by the pool were great--always coming by to offer you water (we were in very warm and humid regions so they did not want people dehydrating) or an "adult beverage". Our cabin steward and stewardess were excellent--always attentive and willing to help. Laundry service, for which one pays, was so-so. Despite my always noting on the card to use cool or cold water, more often than not hot water was used. Some of my items thus shrunk slightly.

The Voyager, which has about 700 passengers if my memory is correct, only has one pool. On sea-days in warmer climates that pool gets very busy, with few loungers in the shade being available. By contrast, the Seabourn Encore, a comparable ship or even a tad smaller, with 600 guests, has two pools: one large one and on a lower deck a smaller plunge type of pool. That helps disperse folks so there is usually enough space for all who want to lounge by the pool.

Shore excursions for the most part all left at or near the crack of dawn. Yet when I am on vacation, I do not like to get up at the same time as I would when going to the office! Not only Regent, but all cruise lines, should have some tours which depart mid-morning when the ship remains in port until later in the day. Not everyone wants to rush off the ship first thing in the morning.

Clearing the ship in India was problematic, with our late clearance leaving some tours to be truncated. While the ship blamed the Indian authorities, it is well known that while the British invented bureaucracy, the Indian government perfected it. Thus, Regent should have practically built in a cushion on certain tour departures, to allow for port-related delays. That they did not is another example of poor organization or a lack of planning.

Our verandah cabin was nicely laid out. Yet we could never get a stronger flow of air from the HVAC vents. Similarly, we could rarely get cool tap water--it was always warm or hot. Try brushing your teeth in warm to hot water--yech. The front desk staff, seemingly disinterested in our concerns, simply relayed a message that the engineering department could not do anything to remediate these situations. Ok then.

Overall, the cruise should have been better than it was. We still had a nice holiday and saw some interesting places. We also met some lovely people with whom we dined or chummed around.

The way Regent addressed our concerns has also left much to be desired. When I brought these issues to the attention of Regent, I was told how invaluable were my observations. Yet the idea of a future cruise credit, to incentivize us to return, was apparently beyond the pale. Moreover, while I wrote to the CEO, the response came from a non-executive in "guest relations".

I contrast this with the seeming personalized response I received from the President of Seabourn after our first Seabourn cruise (which, in hindsight, was better than this Regent experience). Not only did I receive a detailed reply, we were incentivized to return to Seabourn--and are glad we did. Perhaps the lesson learned is that we should not have strayed to Regent? It seems that our business is not as valued by them.
Edited by ON cruiser
fixing formatting

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We sailed the Voyager last January on a simple 10 day Caribbean itinerary. We were excited to sail Regent having sailed Silversea just before. (Absolutely LOVED Silversea but hate getting dressed up every night!) 

 

I thought the only thing that excelled were the excursions. Food was better than average but not what I expected from a "deluxe" line. (realizing food is subjective). Service throughout was adequate-not great and certainly not horrible. Again, I expected much better. 

 

Our cabin's (D1-Concierge) ceiling tiles didn't shake and vibrate because toilet paper/or Kleenex was stuffed to stop the shaking. (Cabin service was excellent-enjoyed the daily 4:00pm delivery of Champaign to enjoy on veranda) 

 

The entertainment was positively the worse I've ever experienced on a cruise ship. I'm not talking production shows or anything of the kind. I'm simply referring to the band(s), and whoever happened to be doing the show in the evening. Our Silversea ship had less than 300 people and the entertainment was outstanding as was Viking Ocean and Oceania. 

 

Perhaps I'm a bit too critical but our Regent experience was totally disappointing . Our expectations have usually been met or even exceeded on every cruise we've taken. Not on Regent. The couple we traveled with still love Regent so it's great to hear from someone who had a similar experience. 

 

By the way, an excellent review. 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for sharing your experience with us, ON Cruiser.

 

A lesson to be learned for sure.

 

Ironically some of your experiences mirror what I experienced on Oceania, including the reply from their head office and VP.  

 

You’re right, sadly, the grass is not always greener but a Regent cruise is MUCH pricier and one would like to think they would want their clients happy or at least try to make it right and incentivize them to return.

 

 

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Thank you for your review especially comparing with HAL.  We have been contemplating branching out to a higher level cruise line and appreciate everyone’s opinions and comparisons. 

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Why is this review on this board? Keep it on the Regent Board.

5 minutes ago, canadianbear said:

Thank you for your review especially comparing with HAL.  We have been contemplating branching out to a higher level cruise line and appreciate everyone’s opinions and comparisons. 

I"m not interested in Regent only HAL.

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2 minutes ago, NordicPrince said:

Why is this review on this board? Keep it on the Regent Board.

I"m not interested in Regent only HAL.

Then ignore it and move on.  Others appreciate people that have sailed HAL lots comparing other cruise lines.

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1 minute ago, canadianbear said:

Then ignore it and move on.  Others appreciate people that have sailed HAL lots comparing other cruise lines.

Thank you for your kind and polite response. All that had to be said was that Regent is not all that it is cracked up to be especially as a luxury all-inclusive line instead of a series of ad nauseum complaints. I guarantee the OP will sail Regent again anyway.

Ask me if you would like me to compare HAL to other lines and I will give you an item by item comparison rather than a review based on a singlular experience.

I am entitled to my own opinion rather than you shouting me down.

Enjoy your cruising days.

 

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20 minutes ago, NordicPrince said:

Thank you for your kind and polite response. All that had to be said was that Regent is not all that it is cracked up to be especially as a luxury all-inclusive line instead of a series of ad nauseum complaints. I guarantee the OP will sail Regent again anyway.

Ask me if you would like me to compare HAL to other lines and I will give you an item by item comparison rather than a review based on a singlular experience.

I am entitled to my own opinion rather than you shouting me down.

Enjoy your cruising days.

 

I was not shouting you down but don’t appreciate being picked on either.  

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We took our first (and probably last) Regent cruise in late October.  The cost was $300/day/person but when you subtract the included air, excursions, drinks, tips, in-room bar, internet and specialty dining, the cost for a very nice balcony cabin (like a small suite on HAL)  was about $75/day.  This was a re-ported cruise because of the Cuba cancellation and thus the bargain price.  Service and food were very good.  Excursions great and entertainment fair.  The worst aspect of the trip were many of our fellow passengers were real snobs, especially when they found out you weren't "Regent Cruisers".  Soured the whole cruise.  A great deal does not always a great cruise make.  We're back to HAL this spring and Celebrity this fall.

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1 hour ago, canadianbear said:

.  Others appreciate people that have sailed HAL lots comparing other cruise lines.

 

Agree - I find it helpful as I have branched out to a more “premium” line and was disappointed.  It’s good to hear people’s experiences that have sailed HAL.

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2 hours ago, ON cruiser said:

We find that cruises are the busy persons perfect holiday: unpack once, enjoy (usually) luxurious food and service, and see some interesting places...or, during the harsh Canadian winter, just enjoy a Caribbean "sloth" cruise for some sun and warmth!

This quote is us too. 😀

 

Thank you for the comparison of experiences. That is valuable information. I'm sorry your cruise was not what it should have been. I know for that price point I would expect a premium experience.

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Thank you very much for your comparison review.  I find the relevance significant when coming from a seasoned HAL cruiser and appreciate the time you put into it.

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Miss G read my mind in writing her concise comment. So, I add my thanks, ON cruiser, for your post!

David 

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Thanks for the (mostly) positive feedback. I guess the old adage still applies when planning a cruise: "it pays to shop around".

 

Happy travels in 2020!

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ON cruiser, my mail box is constantly full of Regent brochures.  After reading your review, I'll continue to toss them in the recycling bin, along with the almost daily brochures I get from Viking River Cruises.

 

I liked reading your review because you outlined specific issues and problems, rather than just saying we probably won't consider a Regent cruise again.  

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We also had many niggling problems on our one and only foray into the 'luxury' world of Regent.

It was very disappointing and we won't be going back.  Also tried Azamara and found they were no better than HAL, but would consider another cruise if the itinerary was appealing.

We've tried nine different cruise lines, but keep coming back to HAL; a good fit for us.

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1 hour ago, Pickalily, Wilts said:

Also tried Azamara and found they were no better than HAL

 

We have been on ~ 15 different lines and return to the ones that have interesting itineraries. Azamara had one like this; would we return? Actually no because we did not appreciate their price-value ratio, but Azamara's food was more imaginative than HAL's. 

With HAL we get the itinerary that nobody else offers and decent food. I also won't gain weight because HAL's desserts do not tempt me. 😉

We'll be on a Regent cruise in 2021. 

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18 hours ago, NordicPrince said:

Why is this review on this board? Keep it on the Regent Board.

I"m not interested in Regent only HAL.

 You might not be interested but there are many of us that are.  If the review was just on the Regent board, many people that might like to read it wouldn't see it.  Even though HAL is our favourite line, we do think about trying other lines.  Reviews like the OP's help us by giving us info and insight into peoples experiences on different cruise lines. 

 

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