Dining Aboard the Regent Mariner

Part 5 – Cape Town to Rio on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner

Room Service Chef Salad
Room Service Chef Salad

There are two specialty restaurants on the Mariner, Prime 7 (steakhouse) and Signatures (Le Cordon Bleu). There is no extra charge for these restaurants, however reservations are usually required. You can book once in each of the specialty restaurants on line pre-cruise. However, you can also go there directly and ask if they have any openings; if you are lucky the table is yours. We were lucky to get into Signatures the day we boarded the ship just by asking since it wasn’t busy. The following night we asked again and we were also able to get a reservation in Prime 7.

The main dining room is Compass Rose and seating is open, you go anytime during its breakfast, lunch, and dinner hours and opt to sit alone or join a table of other cruisemates. The menu is varied and we were never at a loss for something good to order. Steaks and seafood were always on the menu, along with varied other choices like veal, lamb, and occasionally lobster tails. By virtue of not having “early” and “late” seatings like some cruise ships, you are never rushed away from your table to make room for the next seating.

La Veranda is open seating buffet for breakfast and lunch and Bistro and buffet at dinner. At dinner, you order your main course from the menu but can select your antipasto items and desserts from their buffet. Lobster tail seemed to be on the menu just about every night. A pizza kitchen operates in La Veranda during lunch hours.

The pool grill and patio has hot dogs, hamburgers, salads, etc. Adjacent to it is an ice cream bar featuring a selection of hand-scooped ice creams.

On sea days, there are also theme lunches at the pool grill, such as Tex-Mex, German, Asian, etc. One of the best was Brazilian, which featured a nice range of grilled meats and sausage.

In addition to these, Room Service is available 24 hrs. There is a room service menu but you can also order anything that is currently available on the menu from Compass Rose. Current menus scroll on the television. Room service delivers in about 10 minutes and of course there is no tipping. (Try the Macoroni & cheese!) The food and service has been consistently very good in all of the restaurants as well as via room service. We mainly used room service for late afternoon snacks (when the restaurants were closed) and breakfasts on days with early tours.

Our Suite on the Regent Mariner

Part 4 – Cape Town to Rio on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner
Every cabin aboard Regent Mariner is a suite. We had been upgraded one level (maybe a different area of the ship?). Our suite was located in a great place. Middle deck, midship. Not far from the elevators but far enough that there was no noise. Compared to other cruises the room seemed very large to us. As you entered there was a full bathroom, with tub and shower, marble sinks with tile walls and floors,lots of mirrors and plenty of shelf space for two. It was very well lit. And of course the toilet that sounds like it’s sucking in everything in the room. (It actually seemed a bit quieter than most). Outside the bathroom was a small vanity (fits one comfortably). There was a make-up mirror on a stand and two good size drawers. We were also supplied with a hair dryer and a long shoe horn (very handy). We also had very nice soft, large white robes and slippers waiting for us! After the vanity came the walk in closet. Plenty of room, including the safe. The bed is 2 twins together (no gap), with a bedstand (two drawers) on each side. Each side also has a reading light. And there is a stand alone clock which is a very nice touch. There is a curtain you can close between the sleeping and living area if you so choose.

We had a couch (with a mirror over the whole area of the couch), chair, & table on one side, and a hutch, desk, tv, refrigerator (stocked with bottles of water,beer, and pop) on the other. You could also get a bottle of your favorite “spirits” to keep in your room but we didn’t feel the need to do that when all you had to do was ask any waiter or bartender for a drink and it appeared. Flat screen TV with CD/DVD player (DVDs available in the library). The table had a welcoming bottle of champagne chilling in an ice bucket and a beautiful orchid in a crystal vase. The balcony wasn’t huge but certainly sufficient with a table and two chairs. The bottom of the balcony was open (with just a few horizontal rails) unlike some with a plexiglass barrier below the main rail.

All in all, for being one of the less expensive suites on the ship, ours was very pleasant and comfortable.

Cape Town Flights


Part 2 – Cape Town to Rio on the Regent Seven Seas Mariner

We chose the Regent Mariner for our first Luxury Cruise. This decision was based on Internet research, the dates we wanted to go, and itinerary. I must admit my first impression after making the reservations almost led me to cancel the whole trip. It seems that when you book your air with Regent you don’t find out your air arrangements until much later. Our cruise started on December 3 with an overnight aboard the ship and sailing on December 4. The air with the cruise line had us arriving after 11 p.m. on December 3. When I said this was unacceptable since we would be missing the whole first day aboard the ship AND be arriving in the wee hours of the first full day, I was told, “No problem. You can change the air by paying the $100 deviation fee for each passenger” I tried to say that just wasn’t right. Not only would we be missing part of the experience, but if we got to our cabin so late we’d hardly be eager to be boarding a tour bus a few hours later. Nevertheless, we were told this was the only option. We paid the fee and arrived 24 hours earlier than Regent’s arrangements.

As it was we arrived just before midnight. We flew from Houston to Amsterdam (9 hrs) then Amsterdam to Cape Town (11 hrs). Arriving in Amsterdam in the middle of a snow storm, we had to wait for snow plows to clear the gate area. We got off the plane in Amsterdam, jogged to the gate for our next flight, and found it was boarding. Our flight was a bit late leaving, but we fared better than those fliers who were on some of the many cancelled flights.

Clearing immigration was a relatively short wait. Collecting our luggage took a while, as the slow pace of delivery to the carousel suggest that a single person was doing the unloading. We finally got our bags, and quickly cleared customs

Now remember, had we taken Regent’s air we would have arrived on the 4th at about the same time with a tour scheduled for 8:20 a.m. on the 5th! The entire trip getting there took 24 hrs. We would not have been in great shape to go touring.

The biggest problem with the proposed Regent schedule was the possibility of even bigger problems if there was any problem with the Amsterdam connection. Missing that Cape Town flight would provide few opportunities for us and our checked luggage to reach the ship in time. On the day of departure, we encountered tired-looking passengers boarding just before the Mariner was due to sail. We later found that other cruisers had missed the ship in Cape Town and had to join the cruise in Walvis Bay, Namibia.

We flew KLM economy all the way. The first flight was a bit cramped but the second flight had more empty seats and everyone was comfortable. The food was just fair but it did seem like they were always feeding us. As on most international flights, you didn’t have to pay extra for wine or beer, a welcome change from domestic flights which have abandoned just about all amenities. Both KLM flights featured a decent in-seat entertainment system with movies, TV, and games on demand. That certainly helped consume a few of those long hours in the air.

Regent Cape Town to Rio de Janiero Cruise


We’re live-blogging (well, semi-live) our cruise from Cape Town, South Africa, to Rio de Janiero, Brazil. We’re on board the Regent Seven Seas Mariner, and will blog about our experience on this ship and the ports it visits.

Regent is a premium cruise brand (the Mariner is an all-suite, all-balcony ship), and we’ll be letting you know how it measures up to its reputation. Just about everything is included in the cruise price: food (including the two premium restaurants), alcohol (excluding only ultra-premium brands), most shore excursions, fancy coffees, gratuities, and so on. Theoretically, we’ll be able to complete the cruise without ever pulling out our cruise card or signing a charge ticket.

The itinerary is:

Day 1 – Cape Town, South Africa
Day 2 – Cape Town, South Africa
Day 3 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 4 – Walvis Bay, Namibia
Day 5 – Walvis Bay, Namibia
Day 6 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 7 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 8 – St. Helena (Jamestown), United Kingdom
Day 9 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 10 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 11 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 12 – At Sea, International Waters
Day 13 – Vitória, Brazil
Day 14 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Day 15 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Watch this space for updates!