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Margot Hill

Age: 49

Occupation:public safety

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Regent Seven Seas

Ship: Seven Seas Navigator

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: NYC-Bermuda

My husband and I, who are both I our fifties, went on our first cruise June 11-18, 2003 on the NYC/Bermuda cruise on the Radisson Navigator. The line offered a two-day stay in NYC, at the Waldorf, with Broadway tickets thrown in – we saw the revival of “42nd Street” which was great. As most of May and June in the northeast was rain, we were delighted when we arrived in NYC and the sun was out. It stayed out for our two days at the Waldorf, which was great for touring around NYC. For those folks who haven’t been to NYC in a while, GO! It is clean, and safe, and better than ever! And I say that as a former inhabitant of the city…our two days there were great, although the rooms at the Waldorf could use some updating.

Embarkation went smoothly, and the reception was great. The ship is gorgeous, and everything about our suite was lovely. We had a butler, but I’m still not sure what butlers are supposed to do, other than bring us breakfast and snacks in the afternoon. The pool deck, which we were on, also housed the Portofino Grill, where we ate dinner twice, and breakfasted often. The manager of that restaurant, Melanie, was lovely and extremely helpful and courteous. The food, other than the night of the visiting chef, was terrific northern Italian, and the service, as in the other restaurant, the Compass Rose, was superb. The pool itself was terrific, even if some parents brought their small children – why, I’ll never know – this is not a cruise for kids – and they were a bit taken aback when some people expressed their dismay with the kids’ yelling and splashing while most people were quietly sunbathing or reading.

We had a day at sea en route to Hamilton, and the ship is amazingly quiet and smooth. The dock in Hamilton is on Front Street, right in the shopping district. We didn’t avail ourselves of any excursions, as we prefer to wander on our own, and we hired a local cabbie for a three-hour tour. He charged us only $70 for an insiders look at the entire island; it’s best beaches, and famous attractions. We went to a perfumerie, and some great and scenic areas where he was good enough to take our photos. I was impressed by Bermuda’s lack of poverty and its full employment – both significant deterrents to crime, and felt very safe the entire time we were there.

I only wished we stayed there longer. We left there on Sunday morning, arriving in St. Georges a few hours later – a spectacular feat of navigation getting into the harbor, by the way, through a tight passage. However, the shops in St. Georges were closed on Sunday – so much for Radisson’s contribution to the local economy – and we left there at 4 pm, for reasons I have yet to have adequately explained to me. We then spent a day at sea, and on Tuesday morning, rode through the east coast rain to arrive at dismal Norfolk, VA. Why Norfolk Virginia? To pick up more passengers presumably, who would then stay on board the next day in NYC when we got off. But there is nothing to do in Norfolk, VA on any day, much less a day of rain. What was really distressing is the attitude of the crew as soon as we left St. George, service started slipping – it was if it was over, the crew knew it, but no one told the passengers. Breakfast was delayed, and the wait staff seemed to lose interest in us – and we still had two days to go! The entire ship went into “cleaning mode”—the pool and spas were drained and netted over, and everyone was cleaning, scrubbing, and there was nothing to do all day in Norfolk. There was an excursion to Williamsburg, but the folks that went said it was difficult to enjoy in the rain. At $700 a day, I would have much preferred either an additional day in Hamilton, or another day in St. Georges – I had enough of rain before I left, thank you! Sitting in my stateroom on Tuesday morning during the cleaning binge, I was startled to have a man swing up on my decks via some ropes he was attached to while scrubbing the side of the ship. He then knocked on my window, and dumbfounded, I opened the sliding door. Knee-high wet boots and all, he asked to cut through my room! I was too shocked to say anything as he tramped through the room, averting his eyes upon passing the bathroom door, which was open, and where my husband was taking a shower! Worse than that, when we complained about it, no one seemed to care. They were in that “its over” mode, for sure.

The entertainment on board left a lot to be desired, too. although the show dancers were pretty good, the comedian they had on one night was embarrassingly awful. And oh, yes, the internet on board was spotty, not enough computers for the people who wanted to use them, and they carged for a service I think should be offered to free, considering what they charged the passengers. Perhaps they ought to look into wireless access for the staterooms.

This attitude carried over the next day during disembarkation in NYC. Our baggage was collected the night before, and at 9 am that morning, everyone was required to wait on one deck, even the people that had just boarded in Norfolk were restrained from going anywhere until the ship was cleared by Customs, which wasn’t until noon. So we all sat for three hours waiting to go, unable to do much of anything. We missed our train to Boston, and had to run to catch the next one. I just think that for the prices that they charged us, they could’ve been a bit more amenable. I also did not understand how so many people we met on board who reserved lesser grade cabins than we did, and were first-timers like us, were automatically upgraded into higher-grade suites. There seemed no rhyme or reason to the way they did that, either.

All in all, it was very luxurious, but for the prices they charged, I think we’ll have a better vacation at one destination, at a hotel. I loved Bermuda, and we’ll go back there, but we’re going to fly the two hours it takes to get there from Boston, and stay in one of their first-class hotels for the entire week-and still spend less than we spent on Radisson.

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