This was our fourth Regent cruise and first on Voyager. We are seasoned travelers, having been all over the world, mostly doing our own trip planning (we are 60 and 68 respectively). After our last trip to Europe in 2014, we looked forward to cruising as we know we can unpack once, not rent cars, or schlepp bags in and out of hotels. We enjoy seeing the world go by from the balcony or aft deck, and of course, the all-inclusive aspect of Regent is appealing. I am torn between a rating of 2 or 3...but given what you pay for a Regent Cruise, I ultimately came up with a poor rating. Here's why:
Suite: Upon entering the cabin we are greeted by champagne and eagerly browse all the information on the desk. Oddly, I noticed was an envelope with shore excursions addressed to someone else along side an envelope with our tickets. I took the envelope to the Destination Desk and she simply tore up the other persons' tickets and tossed them in the trash. No explanation. The next odd thing occurred while we were unpacking. I opened the closet door and it literally broke - the top hinge snapped and the door swung toward me, just missing my head. Fortunately the bottom hinge held. We immediately called reception and reported the problem. It took 6 hours before someone came to fix it. We were told that maintenance was "too busy preparing to sail" to assist until later. I was surprised to find a large stain on the carpet in front of the makeup table and the small night light along the floor askew and leaning out. We also noted a strong smell of diesel in the hall outside our suite. Fortunately it didn't permeate our suite.
Dining: By far the biggest change since our last trip. Food, other than the premium restaurants was not good. Settle Mari had the same tired menu every night with gloppy pastas and dry veal. La Veranda for breakfast was only good if you stuck to fresh fruit and ordered eggs made to order. The hot buffet items were greasy, pastries dry. Compass Ross was slightly better, but service was so slow for breakfast - the explanation given to use was that their kitchen is primarily focused on room service in the morning. Pool Deck Grill varied widely. "Themed" lunches could be acceptable or awful. Signatures and Prime Seven were noticeably better, but I agree with other reviewers that the sommelier was laughable. When I asked for a recommendation on a non-oaky chardonnay, he said he hadn't tried any of those on the list, but he'd "heard" good things about the Louis Jadot Meursault (what?). We stuck with beef or lamb and found they were very good. Lobster was consistently dry and very small portion wise.
Entertainment: Other than the Orchestra and the Piano player in the Observation Lounge, the entertainment is sub-par. Amateurish stage shows. I hate to be snarky, but my daughter's high school musicals were better than these shows. The James Bond night was so bad, we left early. Disappointed in Team Trivia this time. I joined friends to play as a team and always had to track down a server for a tea cup and hot water. Cakes and sweets were awful - dry and tasted like they'd been thawed from previously being frozen. Also, if Ray (the Cruise Director) wasn't available you ended up with dancers from the show substituting badly.
Crew: I highly suspect that they have reduced the overall crew size and cut back on training. It was hard to find a waiter in the Observation Lounge after dinner and we never once had a server wait on us onside on the Horizon Aft deck - we always had to go in the lounge and hunt for a server. Never once saw the Captain. General Manager occasionally strolled around, but never smiled, said hello, nothing. On the other hand, our Cabin steward was fabulous, always smiling and greeted us by name. The guy running the Computer room is pretty good, given he has crappy equipment (soooo slow desk tops) and has to answer the same question a thousand times a day "I can't get WiFi to work!"
Excursions: Ranged from great to awful. As others have noted, the process to get onshore for excursions is disjointed and poorly managed. Other than the young man, I think from Chile, the other Destination Desk crew appeared overwhelmed and negative. Many guides were weak, but again, some were amazing - Rollie in Belfast was exceptional! I felt overall that we spent way too much time on the buses. Some stops were just not interesting at all - Kristiansand and Skagen.
Overall impressions are that things have slipped as far as quality and service. On our previous trips, servers would practically fall over themselves to carry your plate from the buffet to your table in La Veranda and the Pool Grill - happened ONCE on this cruise. Also, on previous cruises your wine was topped off continuously. We often waited for refills and had to tell them what we were drinking!
Given the price paid, I no longer believe Regent is a good value. We spoke to many other travelers who agreed with us, many of them having sailed with Regent since the Radisson days. I hate to say it, but I think we're done with Regent.
As noted in the review, the cabin is spacious, bedding is excellent. Maintenance is an issue - we experienced a broken closet door, floor night light was askew. Awkwardly placed television and a goofy sign in the lighted cabinet which tells you not to put anything in it because the lights get too hot.
Awful! The National Gallery is small and most of the Irish art has been packed away for the summer due to a special exhibit on Abstract art. The so called "Antiques" part of the tour was literally dumping us on a street with a hand full of mediocre shops. Total waste of time. We went back into town after the tour and went on our own to Trinity College which was wonderful!View All undefined undefined Reviews
One of the best guides of the trip! Extremely competent and knowledgable about Chester, it's history and about the entire region. We also had plenty of time to explore Liverpool on our own.View All 13 Chester Walking Tour Reviews
Rollie was fabulous, very personable, knowledgeable and funny! After the city tour and pub tour I went on my own to the Titanic Experience, which was phenomenal!View All 3 Famous Pubs Walking Tour Reviews
I simply had the shore security folks call me a taxi and off I went! It was amazing!View All undefined undefined Reviews
I think this was the single worst excursion we took. The guide was passive-aggressive - wouldn't allow a bathroom break, which caused two guests to turn around and go back to the ship. She had weak English skills and a relatively poor understanding of the local history.View All 7 City and Island Tour Reviews
Outstanding! We also had plenty of time to explore the city.View All 50 Viking Ship Museum Reviews
Even though we had one day of rain we really enjoyed Copenhagen. The tourist information office there is awesome. We utilized the Hop On Hop Off bus and saw a great deal of the city that way, including the Little Mermaid statue. We also thoroughly enjoyed the National Museum of Copenhagen. A must see is Tivoli Gardens, especially at night!
Excellent grounds and fabulous rail exhibit in the old stable yards. Tour guide was pretty good, knew a lot about Wales.View All 3 Penrhyn Castle Reviews