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Gerry Thompson

Age: 62

Occupation:Retired International Educational Travel Executive

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Regent Seven Seas

Ship: Seven Seas Mariner

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: Alaska

A group of 8 friends, all from Europe, travelled together on the Mariner last June. We boarded at Seward on the only day that it rained on the whole trip (rain is an understatement - it was pouring!) and we were thrilled to learn that not only could we get on board right away (at 1230pm) but that a light lunch was being served at the pool grill. After checking in at reception we were given a glass of champagne which we enjoyed! We were able to access our cabins at 1430.

We were all in Penthouse C, Deck 9. Our first impression was one of spaciousness. All 8 of us could congregate for drinks before dinner in one of the cabins. The balconies were a super feature, especially given the scenery and our luck with the weather (very sunny and up to 30C in Juneau!!).

We are used to relatively high European standards of service and food and the Mariner excelled itself in both. We ate, by choice, in the Compass Rose most nights though we also tried out la Verandah (Italian, mostly buffet) Latitudes (mostly salmon in Alaska) and Signatures (the Cordon Bleu restaurant). We thought that for choice COmpass Rose was best! (Though I personally loved my Tornedos Rossini at Signatures) We also really liked the breakfasts and lunches (buffets) at la Verandah. There was so much on offer that most of us didn't get past the raw fish and salad sections!!

The service throughout the cruise was top notch. Since we were 8 people we generally got the same table in the Compass Rose, and our waiter, Stefan, took care of us beautifully. Cabin service was also good. It seemed that we just had to put our noses outside the cabin and it was cleaned!! We only ordered once from room service (after two exhausting excursions in Juneau) and while the pizza wasn't the best I have eaten the Caesar salad was!!

A really nice feature is the fact that soft drinks, coffee etc are free and available at all times and that your mini bar is re-stocked every day. I was amazed to see that when we left the ship to go ashore we could take bottles of water from a table at the gangplank with us. Also that the two bottles of liquor which are provided at the start of the cruise are litres and not fifths!

I thought the evening entertainment was quite good when it was the Terhane dancers. None of us care much for comedians so we didn't go to Kenny the Welshman's nights. In truth we were quite tired by our daytime excursions so early nights were more attractive than casinos etc!

We all used the spa, exercise classes and computer center and really appreciated having these available.

But there is nothing that tests a crew better than a problem and how it is dealt with, and we had a major one. While navigating the entrance to the Tracy Arm the ship fouled one of the azimuth pods (propulsion units) on a submerged log. The result was that while we were seaworthy, we had to drastically cut our speed and our cruise was re-organised to omit Ketchikan and sail directly from Skagway to Vancouver. We were immediately and constantly kept abreast of developments by the Captain and the Cruise Director. Staff re-booked people with flights out of Vancouver at least 3 times. As compensation we were offered $250 on board credit and a future credit against another cruise (which my husband and I are taking up in March!). There was also an open bar for the last two nights. Having worked for over 25 years in a travel-related industry I was literally in awe of the professionalism of the entire crew from the Captain to our stewards. I cannot say enough good things about the way RSSC trains its staff.

We finally got to Vancouver about 6 hours late - a minor inconvenience for our group since we planned to stay in the city for a few days. To our surprise, although we docked at about 1230 and so did not expect to have lunch on board, a full lunch was provided for everyone before we got off! We hated to leave the Mariner and can't wait to board her again!!


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