Part 3 – Cape Town to Rio on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner
We were told (don’t know if it’s true or not) that this was the first time the Regent Seven Seas Mariner had docked in Cape Town and it was not docked where Regent usually docks. Supposedly the Mariner doesn’t fit at their usual docking area. Listening to other passengers it seems that many taxi drivers had trouble finding the ship after entering the port gates. We were in an area with oil tankers and cargo ships. Evidently a very secure area – our taxi driver had to take a breathalyser test to enter the dock area. The guard stuck a flashlight-sized tube in the car window, and the driver blew into it.
As we parked, the car was swarmed with guys wearing shirts that said simply “porter”. There was a large tented area in front of the Mariner but nothing that said Regent. The porter loaded the suitcases on his luggage carrier and away he went. We didn’t know if he was from Regent or not. Walking through the tent there were a few professional type people sitting at a table and talking among themselves. I asked if this was Regent and their only comment was yes. No offer of what we were to do or where we were to go. Following the porter, he set the bags among others in the corner. He rolled them about 200 feet. He accidently ripped one of the tags off of my suitcase (the tag with our cabin # on it). I tried to explain that this was a problem and he acted like he didn’t hear me! We ended up transfering a tag from my carry-on that I was taking with me. I gave him his tip and he stood there and looked at me and said, “100 Rand.” I looked him right in the eye, repeated what he said and said “No”. He left. I wondered if we’d ever see our bags again!
We arrived at the pier about 11:30 AM, well before cabins were supposed to be ready. There were a couple of dozen passengers gathered under a tent with tables and chairs set up and a nice table with beverages and pastries available. After sitting down with another couple and introducing ourselves not 5 minutes passed and someone came by the table to tell us we could board and go to the coffee shop to wait. Regent does not have the usual “ticket” but simple a piece of paper stating your information, (name, itinerary, cabin number etc.). This came with your “documents” (more pieces of paper) luggage tags, including nice permanent tags for your suitcase, all in a grey suede pouch, about 3-4 wks. before the cruise. The only thing we showed to get on board was this information sheet and passports. We were told to go to the coffee shop until noon and then to go to the Stars Lounge (right next to the coffee shop) at noon. A very nice touch, all specialty coffees are included on Regent. In fact everything is included in your price, wine, liquor (except for very high end items). The all inclusive also includes all tipping and most shore excursions. What a treat to not have to sign for (and keep track of) everything you buy!
Obviously Spa treatments and gift shop items are not included. The coffee shop was set up with a continental breakfast type bar, bagels, fresh fruit, cold cuts, cheeses, cookies. We barely sat down again and we were told we could go to registration in the lounge. The lines weren’t long, maybe one couple ahead of us. This is were our pictures were taken and we were given our room keys (cards). The rooms would not be available until 2:30 p.m. but you could wonder about the ship until then. Of course I did have my carry-on with me but could have left it with our other suitcases to be delivered to the room had I wanted to do that. You could also now venture to the buffet lunch on deck 11, La Veranda restaurant. The steak and shrimp were excellent. We ate lunch then wandered about a bit and took some pictures with South Africa’s Table Mountain in the background. It was a bit windy and cool to sit outside so we ventured back to the coffee shop for a Mocha Latte. Right next to the coffee shop is the ships library were you just help yourself to books, games, to enjoy while at sea. It’s all honor system.