Regent Seven Seas Mariner
by Pat Woods
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.