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.

Port Arrival and Boarding the Regent Mariner

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.