My family of four was part of a bigger family group of 13. We had 6 suites on the 9th deck. Our ages ranged from 15 – 85 years old. This was the second Regent Cruise for most of us, the first being an Alaska Cruise on the Navigator.
My first impressions getting on the ship…
Going through the check in was very easy and relatively fast. We had traveled from London on a bus, so we only had to deal with the 40 people on our bus before going through security and then onto the ship. It was fast and easy, really, in comparisons to Disney or Royal Caribbean. We entered through the 5th deck lobby area and were greeted by staff with Champaign or orange juice. The area was simple, but very nice. You could see all the support areas for the passengers (Registration, the office area & Excursions). Since the suites were not ready yet, we boarded at 11:30, we went up to the 11th deck to enjoy lunch by the pool. The staff was very attentive and nice.
We loved our Category D suite. Bathroom, closets, living area were wonderful and never did we feel cramped or on top of each other. The patios were very nice and roomy with two chairs, a table and a lounge chair. With Regent, the room attendant was there to ask what we wanted our refrigerator filled each day. She brought fresh fruit every day.
All the public areas, bars, restaurants, theater, and stores were clean and nicely decorated.
I need to mention this first….. We have a teenaged daughter, 15 years old. The “Mariner Program” for teens was WONDERFUL. We have cruised many times with our children and they have never wanted to participate in these programs. Since the Explorer is smaller, there were only 6-8 teenagers on board; our daughter said she would give it a try. These teenagers ended up having the best time on this trip. I give a big “thumbs up” to the staff and also for Regent for having somewhere for the 14-17 year old group to go while on board. It wasn’t completely structured, the staff really related with the group and they had the best time. I think our daughter has made lifelong friends on this trip. I am so happy she had such a wonderful time. I think each parent of these teenagers felt that they were in a safe and supervised area. They had tours of the bridge and kitchen that most passengers never got to see.
I enjoyed spending time on our sea days taking cooking classes, reading, doing puzzles or trivia. I guess it doesn’t take much to entertain me. I love the sea days, especially when trying to adjust to a new time zone.
Granted we were going around the British Isles, most knew that the North Sea can be rough, and it very rough when we made the transition to the Atlantic Ocean. But most of the passengers were sleeping or preferred to stay in their cabins. I’ve seen worse seas on a cruise to the Bahamas on Disney Cruise this past spring. Luckily no one was getting sick in public. We also had rough winds leaving Liverpool (which delayed or departure and made us miss stop in Cork, Ireland). Our unexpected sea day was a little rough at first, but it became a beautiful day. Again, I love being on board the ship, enjoying some quiet time by the pool, albeit white caps on the pool deck.
The weather seemed to be rainy every day we were at port. Edinburgh was the worse. We had hired a private van to take my family to Paisley, where a founding family member was from. It is expensive to go through Regent to hire a car/van. But let me tell you, the guide and driver went out of their way to make our rainy day experience the best we could have while visiting the area. Paisley is just west of Glasgow. It rained the whole time we traveled there. Our guide was wonderful and answered questions and gave us insights to the area. Traveling back to Edinburgh, we were concerned about the rain; he suggested that we go to a museum, since all public areas are “free” in Scotland. We went to the Natural Science Museum and had a great time on our own. It worked out, actually, that my son in college had a summer course that required a to visit a Natural Science Museum during the summer. This fit the bill and he got 100% for his credit in his course. The guide and driver were wonderful. Since we wanted to travel with a guarantee with Regent not to leave us, we went through Regent for this excursion. It was costly, but for me and my family, it was worth it.
The other “free” excursions on Regent were wonderful. My family enjoyed them all. I know some people felt that the hosts were inexperienced or had bad tours. In my opinion, all of ours were great. We did pay extra to visit the Giants Causeway while in Belfast (worth every penny) and my daughter and I did a cooking class while in Dublin to Ballyknocken, while everyone else enjoyed the Guinness Tour, and enjoyed it completely. Again, we enjoyed them all. It was unfortunate that we were delayed leaving Liverpool and missed our stop in Cork, Ireland. Yes, we all wanted to kiss the Blarney Stone, but weather isn’t one of those things we really can’t be mad about. It is what it is. During our “extra sea day”, we slept in, enjoyed the sun and did some extra shopping since we didn’t spend our on-board credits yet. I guess we are easy to please, we don’t expect to place blame on someone due to a weather issue. It is what it is.
Before I forget, my husband and I attended the “Cruise Critic Meet and Greet” on this trip. We were two of the 8 couples that signed up to join the meet and mingle. Only 4 of us showed up, but we enjoyed meeting the officers at the mingle. I think Regent expected there to be more people at the mingle; they had made a nice spread of food. Thankfully, they had the staff go around to the rest of the passengers that were in the Explorer Lounge, not in the mingle, to enjoy the nice appetizers. The staff was so nice to us all. I was able to make some connections that helped throughout our voyage. From what I heard from some of the officers, they do hear and read comments about Regent on Cruise Critic. Hopefully the Corporate Staff reads them also to help make voyages enjoyable for everyone.
We loved the Explorer. Felt like the ship handled all the rough seas that we encountered. We loved the ports that we visited. Wished we could had better weather.... but that wasn't anyone's fault. It is what it is. We learned to carry rain coats and umbrellas. Not a big deal.
We were a big group (13). We always went to Compass Rose by 7:00 pm. They had a table of 8 and 6 for us. Ivan (CR Manager) was very nice to make sure he saved a few tables for us. Sometimes we were in the "main area" or even in the back of the restaurant. The last night, we sat in the left side of the restaurant and had the best service. We told the staff that we wished we had requested that area the entire trip! Not to say, the other staff at CR wasn't good. They were and they were very nice and sweet to my father-in-law. He suffered a broken hip a few months ago, so they were very accommodating to him with him limited mobility. Ivan also helped me arrange a special 80th birthday cake at Chartreuse one night, which was very nice.
I also wanted to add that I loved the fact that the laundry facilities were so convenient. Not that I wanted to do laundry during my vacation, but I am a mom with a family of 4. We were gone for 16 days.... we needed to do laundry. 80% of the time I checked the laundry, I could put 3 loads of laundry in the wash. That saved so much time for me to have 3 washers going at one time. The laundry facilities on the Explorer are wonderful! There are three washer/dryers, a nice sitting area, a TV and a phone. No one was hogging the washers or left their laundry so you were unable to complete your wash. It was very nice. I did keep my phone timer on with the timer to my laundry so I wouldn’t hold someone from finishing their laundry. I was holding off using my onboard money, in case I needed to send out laundry, but I was able to get everyone's laundry in our family done before our last stop that I actually enjoyed our last day at port and didn't worry about the dirty clothes.
Overall, we had a great time. My husband felt that the service was lacking at times in the La Veranda or Pool Grill. He’d ask for a diet coke and it would show up after his food would arrive. I did find that anything a little odd, like a diet coke at breakfast, would be slow. I would end up bringing one to breakfast from my refrigerator in my suite for breakfast. I don’t drink hot coffee in the morning, I like my caffeine cold. I think being a Mom; I’d rather find a way to fix my problem than complain about it, which I did.
For anyone that would like to have a great small ship experience without the haggle of always asking you for your card to sign for a drink or anything else…. I would definitely travel with Regent! When we were back in London after our trip experiencing two extra days with our family, we were in an elevator with a family about to embark on a British Isles trip with other carrier. They were excited, but the dear husband was already complaining about how the excursions and hotels were double the cost of the trip of the cruise. My children and I just smiled and told them to enjoy their trip. We felt like we had made the best choice for us with Regent!!
Loved the class "D" suite. Large and roomy. Big bathroom with double sinks, a separate bath and shower. The closet was huge, too. We enjoyed the large balcony. The attendants were wonderful and very sweet to us.
We got off the boat and got on the ship. Looked like a very busy port for containers, We were unable to walk from this port to town.
This was an awesome place to visit. Loved the fact that the castle is still a "family run castle" and that they opened it to visitors. We had a great time and were able to enjoy a few moments without rain!View All 4 Alnwick Castle Reviews
We were able to book a van through Regent to take my family to Paisley, Scotland. This was a family-based trek, to see some history of my family. The guide and driver were wonderful and willing to be flexible with my family.View All undefined undefined Reviews
Loved the castle, and mostly loved the location and town where the castle was located. Our guide was a Welsh speaking person, English being his second language. It was difficult to understand at times, but we enjoyed hearing his stories and the lovely scenery.View All 4 Conway Castle Reviews
This was my daughters favorite excursion. The reason why is that she felt that she really experienced what people in Ireland do in real life. It was wonderful. My husband and son did the Guinness Experience and really enjoyed that a lot.View All undefined undefined Reviews