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Defining Luxury
Regent Seven Seas Mariner

by Pat Woods

Regent Seven Seas Mariner at anchorLuxury means more to me than marble, granite and fine crystal. On our August Regent Seven Seas Mariner Alaska cruise, luxury began upon arrival at Canada Place in Vancouver when a baggage handler deftly transferred luggage from taxi to a cart. Check in was swift and efficient. Less than 30 minutes after leaving the Westin Bayshore Hotel downtown, we were handed chilled champagne as we boarded.

Spacious staterooms
Entering stateroom C921, we thought were in heaven on this all balcony, all-suite ship. A bottle of chilled champagne, fresh flowers and fruit basket awaited our arrival. The 449-square-foot suite (including balcony) was more lavish than expected with walk-in closet, plentiful storage, work desk, lighted cabinets, flat-screen TV, multiple mirrors—plus a dressing table with a divided drawer and magnifying mirror. Our pushed together king-size bed had heavenly mattresses, pillows and duvet.

The small refrigerator was stocked with complimentary beer, water and soda—and a liquor order form. On the teak balcony we found two comfortable chairs and a small table.

Cruise guests often complain about tiny bathrooms. Not on the Mariner—our marble bath had a large sit-down shower with two Grohe heads: a large overhead plus a unique hand wand with adjustable pressure. Surrounded by shelves and mirrors, the beautiful sink featured large-size Regent toiletries. Girl Lee, our efficient maid from the Philippines, kept everything spotless.

While we enjoyed an elaborate buffet lunch, our luggage arrived. Later a waiter delivered a tray with sumptuous giant shrimp, a daily late afternoon ritual with different seafood canapés.

Decadent Cuisine
Service was impeccable and special requests honored in the Mariner’s four restaurants and poolside grill—all included in the cruise fare. We tried each restaurant at least once and were well pleased with the stellar cuisine and personalized service.

Regent ships have open seating. Compass Rose, the main and International a la carte dining room, offers a single seating for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With a pleasant décor and ample room between tables, guests can easily find a table for two. Menu selections include seafood, meat, and poultry, plus pasta, light and healthy and vegetarian options.

At the La Veranda Restaurant on Deck 11, we found the most decadent—and lavish buffet we’ve ever seen. We indulged our seafood nirvana with huge fresh shrimp, crab legs, salmon and more. We chose from a vast array of flavorful fruit and crispy salad fixings, hot and cold soups and crispy thin breadsticks. An elegant cart was loaded with a plethora of breads and a cheese board. For breakfast, chefs prepared made-to-order omelets. Lunch featured hot entrees, pastas and specialty sandwiches.

For dinner, La Veranda transformed to romantic bistro serving regional foods. The beautifully presented dinner salad buffet out-trumped lunch: three types of smoked salmon, jumbo shrimp, crab legs, decadent cheeses, crispy greens, marinated mushrooms, tasty tomato and tofu sides to name a few.

Most cruise lines offer lobster once during a 7-night cruise. Because my husband knows how much I love the pricey crustacean, we both ordered Surf ‘n Turf, thinking he’d give me his lobster tail and would eat my small steak. Imagine our delight when our entrées arrived with generous steaks and two lobster tails each. That defines luxury!

La Veranda staff operates like a well-choreographed ballet striving for perfection at every performance. When head waiter John noticed the brewed decaf coffee was a bit strong for my palate, he placed Sanka packets in all dining rooms.

Signatures, with Le Cordon Bleu-trained chefs and cadre of attentive waiters, serves a traditional French a la carte menu on snowy white linens. At Latitudes, we again had lobster during an Asian fusion dinner. Both restaurants require reservations, but do not charge a fee. Latitudes became a steakhouse in 2009.

Sommeliers came around to each dinner table, offering complimentary featured red and white wines. In lounges, bartenders and waiters were generous when pouring and serving spirits. It was no surprise to learn that Regent spends considerably more per passenger on food and beverages than most cruise lines.

Luxury to me means retrieving my email while at sea or while gliding through pristine scenery. With a bank of 19 computers managed by a knowledgeable attendant, there was no waiting for a computer in the Mariner’s Internet café.

Public areas
Seven Seas Mariner exudes understated elegance throughout the ship. Light floods the Mariner’s interior spaces and the décor is soothing and serene with subtle shades of blue and beige with peach accents in the carpets. Impressionist paintings and still life’s accented walls.

Although sailing full with 700 passengers, we never felt crowded or saw long lines thanks to the impressive 71.4 space-to-guest ratio. Transiting to different decks was a breeze with three glass elevators and a grand spiral staircase.

The diversified passenger mix on the Mariner included multi-generation families celebrating anniversaries and birthdays. Most of the many children on board were well behaved and supervised by parents, nannies or Club Mariner counselors

Our first sea day on the northbound 7-night Alaska cruise featured a lavish cheesecake extravaganza, wine tasting, art displays, trivia, bingo and card games. An on-board cultural anthropologist lectured on Alaska’s port towns, glaciers and native cultures.

An all-inclusive, all-balcony ship, the Mariner includes alcoholic beverages and gratuities in fares. The repeat Regent guests we met echoed the same mantra “It’s worth the extra cost to sail with this line.”

To work off calories, guests can use a netted tennis court, walking track, fitness center, outdoor pool, or play table tennis or shuffleboard. For leisure moments, the ship has three Jacuzzis, a Carita of Paris spa, hair salon, boutique, two theaters, a casino and self-serve launderette.

Debarkation was smooth and orderly. But as the cruise director predicted, we felt a tinge of post-cruise depression. Once you’ve sailed with Regent, every other option pales in comparison. The Mariner provided everything a seasoned, discriminating cruise veteran could want.

For Regent Seven Seas Cruises information, visit www.RSSC.com or call 800-285-1835.


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