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Fresh Reports Regarding Regent Seven Seas Post-Refurbishment Abound (Note: Some Interesting Discussion in the Comments)

It seems like every day I am receiving Google alerts about yet another review, blog or travelogue by someone currently on a Regent cruise. My guess is that Regent is trying to quell some of the bad news of late by exposing chosen writers to write about their experiences…or at least encourage those that do posts things on the internet to write about its ships. I am sure that part of the plan is to highlight and market the recent refurbishments on the Voyager and Mariner.

Some of the reviewers are quite observant, while I do get a sense that some tiptoe around any controversy. One writer, for Cruise Critic, seems very nice (and I do enjoy reading the comments), but it is clear that this person has never been on a luxury cruise, so I wonder what the standards and expectations are. (Compared to Line A this is outstanding…but Line A is mass market).

That said, first, the bad news: When reading these reviews and, to be sure, posts on message boards, one thing which is very clear is that Navigator is the bad stepsister. She has reports of electrical failures, significant vibration, maintenance issues, serious service lapses and inconsistent food. She also is not scheduled for refit work until April 2010. One previously die hard supporter of Regent started off his posts singing Regent’s praises, but left his cruise just filling unfulfilled and missing something. Therefore, as I have been saying for quite some time, absent something special or unique…

Now, the good news: The reports on the new public spaces are very good. There now are splashes of color and class rather than more of monotone blue. All I have read are praises and the photos I have seen appear to support the positive comments.

The only criticism I have consistently read of relates to the substitute chairs in the main dining rooms (Compass Rose) which are bulky and narrow; one person observing that some people squeeze themselves into the chairs, while others comment they are difficult to move. This should be the worst thing about any cruise, so unless you really need the space, I would look past the issues and enjoy the living room feel.

Prime 7, if you are into American Steakhouse cuisine (I find it hard to use a French term to describe that menu, but I just did), has been getting good reviews for the quality of its meats and portion sizes. Some of the more elegant menu items, however, may need some tweaking…or just aren’t consistent with the American steakhouse palate.

Deck furniture is also receiving high marks, though some comments about there needing to be more lounges have to be weighed against the complaints that Regent is not stringent enough about removing towels and “placeholder” books/bags. Chair hogs on a luxury line hopefully is not a comment on a lowering of passenger standards.

One change that baffles me is the praise of the Coffee Corner. To me that is a mass market concept. On a luxury line, a fancy coffee machine should not be the focus; a waiter should be. On Celebrity Cruise Lines they have Cova® Café di Milano “Relax while enjoying a cappuccino and a European pastry with a friend at the Cova Café. Featuring Cova liqueurs, chocolates, and fresh pastries, this jewel offers a scrumptious taste of decadence.” Of course, on Celebrity it is an extra charge, but the point is that on Regent the offering is inferior.

The one area I am holding out further comment on is service. I know Regent is open about its working to make this better. While some of the changes should be easily instituted, sometimes bad habits or poor training takes a bit longer. Since the refurbishments were not designed to address service, but just happened to be noted as an issue I will leave it for another day.

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