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Herb Dolphins

Age: 72

Occupation:Retired Fire Officer

Number of Cruises: 22

Cruise Line: Regent Seven Seas

Ship: Seven Seas Navigator

Sailing Date: n/a

Itinerary: Bermuda and Norfolk, Va from New York

This was our first experience with Radisson. They offered a special 2 for 1 rate which encouraged us to try them. We were not disappointed.

EMBARKATION: We arrived at the ship about 2 PM and were escorted into the terminal by ship's staff who supervised the loading of our luggage for transport aboard the ship. We passed through security and registration with minimum delay. the lack of crowds boarding was immediately evident. A crew member took charge of our carry on luggage and escorted us to the Portifino buffet. We were advised to have lunch and our rooms would be ready by 3:00PM. The buffet was excellent with the offerings exceeding any we had experienced on other cruise lines. It was a preview of dining to come.

CABIN: After lunch we proceeded to our Category E balcony cabin 731. We found our luggage had already been placed on a special cover on our beds. We found a bottle of champagne and a bowl of fruit. The refrigerator was stocked with bottled water and soft drinks which were complimentary throughout the cruise. In addition, 2 cans of Heineken beer and two complimentary bottles of liquor of our choice were provided in our cabin our cabin. We were very impressed by the size of the cabin, 356 square feet including balcony. there was a large walk in closet with numerous drawers and a safe. Addition drawers were available throughout the cabin. This enabled us to unpack quickly, store our luggage under the beds and tour the ship.

DINING: The food fare available on this ship was of a quality, presentation and service that exceeded any of our previous cruise experience. The main Compass Rose dining room was an excellent venue for dinner, never crowded, expertly staffed and ably supervised by an efficient Maitre 'D. Quality complimentary wines were available at dinner. The excellent appetizers included caviar, soft shell crabs and superb escargot. If you were not satisfied with the offered entrees, you could always order filet mignon, salmon or chicken at any dinner. Lobster was available on two nights. The various pasta dishes offered nightly were truly unique in their sauces.

The alternate restaurant Portifino, for which reservations were required, had the same menu nightly of excellent Northern Italian cuisine. Diners were serenaded nightly by guitarist Franco Lillo who sang requests in many languages for each table.

We had breakfast and lunch daily in the Portifino dining room, ably supervised my Marcin who provided for our every request. At lunch one day, my wife looked for an item which she saw on the Compass Rose luncheon menu but was not available in Portifino. Marcin sent a waiter to the main dining room to bring that entree to her. This was the kind of service we received throughout the ship during the entire cruise. In addition, tea was served with canapes and pastries every afternoon in the Galileo lounge. The dining experience on this ship was evident on the scale when we returned home.

ENTERTAINMENT: Here again, former cruise lines paled in comparison. The production cast was composed of the Peter Grey Terhune Singers and Dancers, eight talented and extremely energetic performers. They performed three productions during the week, a salute to Broadway, a rousing "Rock This Town" production of hits from the 1050's to the present. Our favorite was their final production "Those Were The Days" where this young ensemble dazzled the audience with their vocal and dancing skill with such varied fare as the Charleston, Black Bottom, Fred Astaire routines and concluding with a Glenn Miller medley.

In addition to the production shows, the passengers were treated to performances by two exceptional ladies. Russian concert pianist Nana Mukhadse who brilliantly performed popular classics by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Liszt and concluding with Chopin's stirring Polonaise. A treat.

Holly Lipton, a veteran Broadway vocalist who played Mary Magdalene in the original Broadway production of "Jesus Christ Superstar" sang her show stopping song "I Don't Know How To Love Him." She also did other Broadway and popular favorites interspersed with entertaining humor. The talent on the stage that week was truly exceptional.

DANCE MUSIC: Our only complaint on this cruise regarded the dance music provided in the various lounges. On the first night, the house band called the Navigator Five held a big band dance. Since the band consisted of keyboard, drums, saxaphone and for some reason, two guitars, they could hardly elicit a big band sound without any brass instruments. Surely, a trumpet or trombone could have replaced one of those guitars which were often barely detectable. In the Galileo lounge, nightly dance music was provided by a couple with a rather limited repetoire.

When I offered to provide them with the sheet music of our favorite song, he said he played by ear and couldn't read music? Since the passengers were mostly seniors, I requested they play the "anthem" of our generation, Glenn Miller's Moonlight Serenade and he didn't know it. Even the musicians on Carnival, who cater to a young crowd, knew that song. In contrast, pianist Kenneth Johnson, who performed nightly in the Star Lounge played almost any request but the small, smokey lounge was not a location conducive to dancing.

FITNESS PROGRAM: There was a fine fitness center with machines always available. Excellent aerobics classes were conducted daily by Tania which were much appreciated by my wife. The swimming pool was rarely crowded and often available for lap swimming. The temperature was a little cool at the beginning of the cruise but was warmer on the later days.

CRUISE DIRECTOR: Joe Raad and his charming wife Heather were a delightful team who ably served the passengers throughout the week. They conducted a moving service on Memorial Day. They were always available and we hope to cruise with them again.

SHIP ACTIVITIES: Two excellent lectures were provided passengers by Lt. Col. Hollis on Bermuda and colonial America and its links to Bermuda. Team trivia was held every afternoon following tea in the Galileo Lounge and the competition was fierce. One passenger was overheard to remark, "The people on this ship are a lot smarter than the ones on Carnival." Considering the difficulty in coming out ahead in this crowd, the winner's prizes should have been more formidable.

BERMUDA: Our favorite island destination which we toured mainly on our own. We did sign up for the Railway Trail bike tour but it was cancelled due to lack of enough participants. Weather forced cancellation of our day in St. George so we spent an extra day in Hamilton. It would have been helpful if the ship provided more weather information especially regarding wind conditions so passengers could make informed decisions on which beach to go to. This information could have been easily provided periodically on one of the ship's TV channels. In addition, before sailing passengers should be apprised of expected sea conditions so they can determine if medication is indicated.

NORFOLK, VA: My wife took the excursion to Colnial Williamsburg and found it educational. I remained in Norfolk, visiting the National Maritime Center which included the battleship Wisconsin docked there. I also visited the MacArthur Memorial. Both were within easy walking distance of the ship.

SUMMARY: An excellent cruise that spoiled us for any other cruise line. We were so impressed with the ship and its staff that we booked another cruise on the Navigator for October 2005 to Canada and New England. I suggest that those interested in sailing the Navigator in the future, check out Tom Ogg's recent review which provides fine photos of the many attractive areas of this beautiful ship.

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