I write this review to express our deepest disappointment in what my husband & I anticipated being the experience of a lifetime with Regent. My husband and I saved for this excursion and booked this specific trip for our Honeymoon, hopeful it would deliver memories that would last forever.
While we were correct that the Regent Seven Seas Explorer delivered memories, unfortunately they were the kind you would rather soon forget. On its face there is absolutely no argument that the ship itself is beautiful, both inside and out, and is overall very impressive. There is also no doubt that Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings believes that building a fancy ship, without more, somehow translates to an excellent experience. In fact, to quote its president and chief executive officer, Frank Del Rio, the "Seven Seas Explorer is not only the world’s most luxurious ship-she sets a new benchmark for luxury vacations and lays the foundation from which Regent Seven Seas Cruises will continue to build." The reality, however, is that luxury is measured by the individual guests, and if you are going to make the bold statement that Mr.
Del Rio did you simply cannot miss the mark on anything offered. Unfortunately, the Explorer fell well short of the lofty expectations placed upon her. As a starter, there was nothing “special” about the cruise; no “wow” factor, no special event (not even one formal night) and the new entertainment from ‘in house’ Norwegian Holdings was second-rate compared to what we had previously experienced from Regent on our last sailing. That is, when the entertainment actually entertained and did not shut down at early hours regardless of whether guests were present and in complete disregard for their advertised times.
In addition, our impressions were not unique. We spoke with many fellow passengers both during and after the cruise and apart from the usual litany of petty complaints and genuine grievances there was a common theme of which Regent had better take urgent note. The message was simple: we were treated like no one could care whether we were on the ship or not. It was almost as if Regent / Norwegian behaved as though they were paying us to be aboard.
We chose "the most luxurious ship in the world" for our Honeymoon, believing it would be truly special and memorable and worth every cent of the considerable price we paid for the privilege of being there. It was neither. It was just another cruise, albeit on a brand new ship (with many ongoing and unacceptable “issues”). In fact, the ship was/is nowhere near finished and Regent put little or no thought or effort into making our trip memorable and we are very disappointed at Regent’s apparent indifference as it was made well aware of its loyal and longstanding customers' unhappiness in the mid-cruise questionnaire and discussions with the hotel manager and others.
The “executive” staff presented with a level of indifference akin to a fast food restaurant. The attitude most notably present at the guest services desk was borderline obnoxious. We were made to feel insignificant with any inquiry or request. The inexperienced wait staff lacked supervision/direction.
For example, on the first night aboard we waited well over 45 minutes to order a cigar and specialty whiskey in the Connoisseurs Club. A general sense of chaos and poor morale behind, and sometimes in front of, the scenes. For example, we were delayed 2 hours getting off the boat in Amalfi due to crew inexperience in setting an anchor and not being able to operate boat tenders; and the luggage conveyor belt at port in Civitavecchia was broken delaying passenger departure by 1.5 hours. The boat ran aground and was stuck on a shoal leaving Corfu.
The most alarming part of this situation is that the Captain then lied to the entire boat that they were performing exercises based on the fact that the Explorer was a new boat. Interesting considering after my husband and I felt the impact then went aft to the Canyon Ranch pool (along with other passengers), watching in disbelief the amount of shoal-wash surface as the boat was motioned to and fro continuously by the Captain, with the bow thrusters, until we were dislodged. In suite TV shows / itineraries / movies/ lectures ran on a very limited loop with no updates after the first few days. The shower did not work in our suite for the first 24 hours – always a nice treat when you have been traveling and cannot shower.
The safe was not operational. No laundry bags or hair dryer located in our suite. Our beds were not connected -- even though Regent was notified by our travel agent that we were celebrating our Honeymoon, no one bothered to check to see if the beds were in fact connected. My husband is 6’3” tall and 210 pounds; on our first morning waking up he had the pleasure of actually being stuck between the two beds almost on the floor.
The balcony door rattled non-stop. We had to jam a towel in the groves to prevent the noise. Our cabin was located inside the entrance to the gym on deck 6. It is not accurately depicted in the online deck plan for the ship.
Regent did not provide top notch entertainment. The same lovely, but underpaid, ensemble Nature’s Rhythm was everywhere. Nightlife past 10 pm did not exist. In fact, one evening the piano player finished early, without reason, and then handed us his ipad and told us to enjoy.
World class entertainment indeed! The Hospital was still under construction. One afternoon, while in need of urgent care, we found that the Hospital was NOT even completed and one could not enter due to construction workers assembling the facility. I was forced to lie on the foyer floor, suffering from food poisoning whilst waiting for ships doctor.
Once the medical staff did arrive, the treatment at the hospital was another adventure. The doctor refused to give an IV, citing that I was not dehydrated. Yet, when we left the facility he provided us with nearly twenty (20) packs of powdered Gatorade and instructed me to drink as much as possible because I was severely dehydrated! Further, I was then quarantined to our state room for the next 24 hours.
Just not acceptable. We were was forced to miss the one port we was dearly looking forward to visiting in Croatia. Coupled with the fact that we had no internet in our room and limited television, what were we to do! The real kicker is this – my husband was the only person I had interacted with after I became ill.
I, however, was he quarantined. I am baffled by Regent's rationale. I was locked in my room for fear that I might spread something to other passengers while my husband was left free to roam and leave the boat and spread whatever they presumed existed. Again, unacceptable.
The Internet access was the worst we have experienced anywhere in the world. The sign-in procedure is archaic and needlessly complex. The long lines waiting for the Internet Manager were a good illustration of the problem. He was surly and claimed there should be "three of him" on board.
Once in line, the connection is dropped frequently necessitating one to go through the entire procedure again. For several days of the ten day cruise there was no internet service or phone service available at all -- and we were never far from land. We incurred data roaming charges in excess of $200 and were assured we would be reimbursed by on board guest services (Which never happened). Most importantly, because the internet was basically inoperable on the ship (and certainly in our room – please check with the fact that they are putting in another router near Canyon Ranch because our suite had zero connectivity), we were forced to go ashore everyday with our laptops so that we could take care of necessary obligations.
This was not how we intended to spend our time. In addition, Regent quotes in all their publications "Free Unlimited Wifi", not per person. Beware, only one device per suite was allowed to attempt to login in at any given time. This was not advertised and it is apparent that Regent grossly misrepresented the internet capabilities and options aboard this vessel.
However exciting the declaration may be, when you call a ship “the most luxurious ship in the world” you set the bar impossibly high. But remember, Regent set the bar there, Regent built the expectations, not the guests. Luxury should touch every aspect of a travel experience — if everything goes right, and you have a perfect day starting with, say, freshly squeezed orange juice and a gorgeously stiff cappuccino at breakfast on the sun-dappled terrace (as we did), then you have only just delivered on your promise. However, when you serve sun baked coleslaw causing food poisoning, and then don’t have the facilities to treat the passenger, then place them in quarantine in a stateroom with no WiFi, no shower, etc., you have missed the bar by a long shot.
I cannot emphasize enough how much we feel Regent took from us, and took it with smug indifference. Regent stole time, time we can never get back. Time we were locked in our state room, time away from the places we wanted to see and experience, time dealt dealing with issues caused by Regent's lack of preparation, time not spent enjoying one another as we wanted. With our families and careers, the likelihood of being able to take a trip like this may never come again.
We are not in the twilight of our lives like the majority of your guests; we intended to be Regent's next generation of loyal travelers. Regrettably, that will not be the case. I would like to finish by sharing a story that we believe sums up our Regent Explorer experience. After debarking we traveled to Rome to spend the evening.
While waiting for our hotel room to be ready at a tiny unmarked boutique hotel, we sat outside in their garden enjoying a cup of coffee. An elderly couple sat near us doing the same. When they finished they walked by us and asked us if we just got off the Explorer. We could not believe it, what were the chances!
When we responded yes, they then inquired about our experience and we did the same.
They told us that they had sailed with Regent more times than they could count and that hands down it was the worst, most disappointing trip they had ever imagined. As they recounted the problems and experience they had, my husband and I just looked at each other and said, “well, it wasn’t just us.”
Product or Service Mentioned: Regent Seven Seas Cruises Customer Care.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $200.
Preferred solution: Full refund.
I liked: Canyon racnch spa.
I didn't like: As if regent behaved as though they were paying us to be aboard.