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Regent Seven Seas Mariner at anchorSeven Seas Mariner

A New Look for an "Old" Favorite

by Linda Coffman

While you could hardly consider a ship launched in 2001 "old," Regent Seven Seas Cruises (RSSC) Seven Seas Mariner was launched when the line was known by its former Radisson name and it was time to freshen her interiors to reflect current preferences for a more boutique-y hotel style.

Compass Rose RestaurantTo that end, RSSC has completed the first phase of the line’s most ambitious ship refurbishment program to date. When the 700-passenger, all-suite, all-balcony Seven Seas Mariner emerged from dry-dock in time to debut on her 2009 World Cruise, she sported a fresh, elegant, and decidedly different look. Overseen by RSSC’s Vessel Operations team working in conjunction with the marine architectural firm of Yran and Storbraaten of Oslo, Norway (who designed her original interiors), the result is warm and comfortable, yet sophisticated. In public spaces the blues and peach tones of he past are gone. In their place is a soft neutral palette with accents of bolder jewel tones. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Compass Rose Restaurant which RSSC describes as being decorated in shades of "Chablis and Merlot" (pictured above).

A table for two in Signatures (above)
 and Prime 7 (below)
Prime 7

Let's just dive right into what many passengers consider most important—that would be food. There are now five places to dine aboard Seven Seas Mariner, counting a new Pool Grill. The formal Compass Rose (pictured above) is supplemented by Signatures, Le Cordon Bleu restaurant; Prime 7, an elegant steakhouse and seafood restaurant; and La Veranda, the daytime buffet that transforms into an Italian specialty restaurant for dinner. While Signatures and Prime 7 require reservations, there is no added charge.

Food isn't confined only to restaurants. A favorite spot on board is the Coffee Connection for specialty coffee drinks, tea, and snacks throughout the day. Afternoon tea is served every day in the Horizon Lounge. And you have to try the best pizza at sea in La Veranda.

During a galley tour, we were told that while most stores are brought aboard at the beginning of a cruise, fresh items indigenous to the regions where the ships are sailing are also purchased in ports of call. “Destination” meals are a dining highlight as well. During the first leg of the world cruise there was a Caribbean Barbeque on deck as well as a churrasco when Seven Seas Mariner reached Brazil.

The galley tour was most informative on several levels. In addition to learning that Seven Seas Mariner chefs have a database containing 4,000 recipes and only begin to repeat menu items every 14 days, we also learned that guest preferences are taken into consideration as well when orders are placed for the ship’s stores. For instance, on the world cruise there is a gentleman whose preference for kale at breakfast was noted and 75 pounds of his favorite were on board. Not only is there a recipe database, but also a database of guest preferences. That’s simply one example of how Regent Seven Seas Cruises takes service seriously. Even my cabin stewardess has noticed my fondness for green grapes rather than red ones.

Penthouse Suite
Penthouse Suite 924 (above);
Grand Suite & Master Suite (below)
Grand Suite
Master Suite

Regent Seven Seas Mariner was the first all-suite, all-balcony ship at sea so you know all accommodations have a private balcony. What you may not know is how truly comfortable the suites are. Our Penthouse Suite on Deck 9 was one of the most well thought out cruise ship spaces I've had the pleasure to stay in. At 376 sq ft, it isn't the largest, but it was so
efficiently arranged that I felt at home immediately. It didn't hurt that the balcony is 73 sq ft and had a table suitable for dining and two chairs with adjustable backs.

Seven Seas Mariner has eight styles of suite accommodations to suit her guests' lifestyles. From a Deluxe Suite measuring 252 sq ft(balcony 49 sq ft) to the two-bedroom Master Suite at 1,204 sq ft interior (two balconies measure 727 and 71 sq ft), all feature European king-size or twin beds fitted with heavenly down-filled duvets. Warm wood cabinetry and deep russet and gold tones create a soothing retreat. Upon embarkation, guests find a welcoming bottle of champagne and refrigerators are stocked with soft drinks and bottled water and replenished as needed. 

Sitting and sleeping areas can be separated in standard suites with a curtain for privacy, while higher categories include separate living/dining rooms and bedrooms. Other amenities include dressing tables, walk-in closets with shoe racks, a personal safe, and drawers galore, and a luxurious marble bath with full-sized tub or shower and plenty of storage. Save a bit of room in your suitcase--a hairdryer, toiletries, slippers, and cotton robes are provided for your convenience.

One note about the bathrooms. Initially, all had a combination tub/shower. Unfortunately, the headroom was tight for taller passengers. Fortunately, many have been reconfigured to feature a glass enclosed shower. And it's the very best shower at sea with both rainforest and hand-held shower heads and even a built in tiled seat. Check the deck plan for those with shower-only.

Laundry Room Seven Seas MarinerMost of us take a vacation to get away from routine household chores, but lengthy cruises mean that laundry piles up and it’s nice to be able to take care of it on our own. Sending it out be done is also an option, but the launderettes are complimentary and actually pleasant. They are the first I’ve ever seen on a ship that have a sitting area. I met several of my neighbors while doing laundry and ironing.

One evening before dinner we had the opportunity to meet even more of our neighbors on Deck 9 at a Block Party. Everyone was invited to bring a wine glass from their suite and mingle in the passageways as stewardesses served wine and cheese for the gathering. It was a lot of fun and participation was high—one of our neighbors even interrupted her preparation for the evening and attended in her bathrobe. With Regent's all-inclusive drink policy, I found the ship to be more social than in the past. Passengers mixed and mingled more freely over complimentary cocktails in the lounges at night.

More in Part Two: Relaxing spaces and a view from the Bridge

Photos © Linda Coffman,

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