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About Johnthesailor

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  1. Jackie, We did it earlier this year and had no issues. We are going back in '21 having just booked like you . Did you book the 12 day or the ten day? Best, John & Jan
  2. Jackie, New F&B manager is Vladimir. Positive Change is readily apparent. Yesterday I saw him on multiple occasions checking food stations and talking to guests. I heard (but do not know as a fact) that he slightly expanded or changed LaVaranda serving hours to accommodate the "crush" of diners. Even one of the waiters commented on his leadership. Glad he is aboard. and I want to restate -it has been a good cruise and now is likely to be a great one. Regent shines! Best, John
  3. A new F&B manager just came aboard the last 2 days or so whom we had met previously on the Explorer. We met with him briefly last night and he is aware of the small but numerous issues and will work to correct them. We had met him previously on the Explorer and all was good there. I believe (but can't be 100% sure) that he said he was on vacation but was asked to get to the Mariner ASAP. Anyway, although we just have a few days left I am hopeful the small glitches will be quickly corrected and the next cruise will be perfect for those boarding. I want to stress that we still had a good cruise with great food in most venues. Just that LaVaranda was not as good as usual and the kitchens seemed to get backed up at times. And it might not have been fair comparing to the perfect experiences on the Voyager cruise we just got off a few weeks ago My accolades to Regent for recognizing the situation and flying in an expert to fine tune the process. Best, John
  4. Well, they flagged us after the mid cruise comments. Lots of apologies. But, the F&B manager never was seen or bothered to call. Romeo, the waiter, was excellent - one of the best we have ever had. As I said, a whole bunch of hiccups but excellent waitstaff. Obviously, something wrong with the process, not the waitstaff. So it is the chef or the F&B manager or both. Clone Daniella! And chef Kelly. We will see if it improves on our next Mariner cruise - if not, well, no reason for us to bother with what was our favorite ship. And, it is annoying not to be able to get into The Italian at night unless you come early or very late. We don' t even try anymore. Still, an excellent sailing. But enough imperfections that after the next two or three booked sailings that we are tempted to try others. Shame as we are so close to Titanium but the cruise is what is important. Thanks for all your input. We have "been around the block" and we're surprised at this cruise in contrast with the Voyager just several weeks ago. Still a good cruise but just not what we are used to. The bar staff is excellent! Best, John
  5. We are on the Mariner now. Unfortunately, the situation did not improve. In general, the food is excellent but LaVaranda is somehow way overcrowded, the food there is generally uninspiring and on at least one day it was dried out and very over salted. Ordered a burger from the outside grill and it took over 30 minutes. Same for the adjoining table. Salads were hard to come by and buffet bowls often empty or missing. Had the "burger special" at the pool grill one day and they ran out for a while of the precooked burgers. Food in the restaurants was excellent. Waitstaff harried but excellent as well. Bottlenecks in kitchen as dishes sometimes took a very long time to come and on several occasions delivered incorrectly or out of sequence. one evening a wine steward insisted that there was only one red and one white on offer and I knew this was incorrect but he insisted. I went to the bar to get what I wanted with dinner. Bar staff were consistently excellent In general, still a great cruise. Mariner had always been our favorite but I don't think so any longer. Having come off the Voyager about a month ago the difference was striking. Perhaps the Mariner needs a new F&B manager. Voyager has the best in the fleet (Daniela) who was ever-present and Between her and Chef Kelly the dining experience on Voyager was consistently perfect. Mariner, not quite so but still overall good. Hopefully this will change prior to our next cruise on Mariner around South America later this year. Best, John
  6. I've researched the trip, the group and spoken with Regent representatives about it. We and our friends have decided to continue with the trip. OK, so this is an ethnic group - that does not present a challenge for us. From the group website, the prices are the same as what we are paying. So, it is not discounted. And it is not an "incentive" group. I expect that anybody that can afford this cruise will be the type of folks that I've come to expect on Regent. The group is only about 70 people. They will not take over the ship. In my discussions with Regent, I've been assured that while the group may have their DJ/music playing in one venue in the evening (the others will still be open) it will still be open to all. Any events will not be to the exclusion of others. No dining areas will be closed to anyone. They do this regularly and they do it on other luxury lines as well. I was told Regent has not received complaints in the past about the group. The group also has an annual charter (non-luxury) in the Caribbean where they do take over the ship and I might not wish to be on that cruise but that is mostly because of the line used. Personally, I think there is a good chance that we will enjoy the music played by the DJ and we plan to check it out. It might actually be a refreshing change. Some of the artists they play are very good (in my opinion). My friends agree and we look forward to the cruise. I can understand others being wary but I'm confident that this will be a great cruise and in the style I expect from Regent. Just my opinion. Best, John
  7. Machotspur, Thanks for the heads up. Not sure if the second sailing works for us or has the Victoria Falls option but we have to do a bit more research. I found the info about the group and will have to speak with Regent. My concern is what venues will be taken over, for how long and at what time. I'd hate to be excluded from , say, the observation lounge or the Voyager lounge for a pre-dinner drink but would have no concern about them being turned into their group dance parties with their own DJ if it was say, after 10PM. It does appear that they are selling a group of 70 (although not necessarily limited to that) as they do some small groups but they usually charter entire ships. Jackie, If you still have my or Jan's email (it would end in sbcglobal.net), I'll be glad to provide you with what I find out. Otherwise, if we take it and you take it I look forward to seeing you. I think the last time was in South Africa but if not the last time we were definitely on that cruise with you. Best, John
  8. I may have missed it but which exact cruise has the group on it? There are two Voyager cruises for South Africa in Dec 2020, one of which we just booked. Also, where can I find out more about the group that is booked - 70 might be ok but much larger would cause hesitation on our part. Thanks in advance. john
  9. Don't even think about purchasing alcohol or diet cokes off the ship and transporting to the ship (unless there is some unique drink you like) as it is available on the ship. Welcome to all (almost all) inclusive luxury sailing.
  10. I don't mind if they provide refillable bottles as well for those that prefer but I prefer the current capped and sealed bottles. I can grab a few prior to an excursion with no hassle, especially if I decide I need an extra as I'm exiting or want a chilled bottle. I believe they are recycled but even if not, the current bottles are preferable to me.
  11. Thanks for your replies. Unfortunately, it appears that the Wall Street Journal does not participate in PressReader. Newspaperdirect is now part of pressreader. I believe there is a commercial version of Newspaperdirect that does have the Wall Street, which is what the ship probably uses, but that apparently is a restricted to higher volume printing operations. Just as background, we cruised a few weeks ago and I temporarily stopped our newspapers during the cruise. When we returned about a week and a half ago it was supposed to restart but is being misdelivered somewhere. Daily conversations with the paper circulation staff can't seem to correct this so I figured if I could find the full version online I'd just read it that way and change our other papers to electronic. It does not seem to be possible. Such a shame because I get it on the ship when we cruise. Again, thanks for your help.
  12. Does anybody remember (or anybody onboard right now) the name of the electronic newspaper service used on Regent? Typically the last page of each newspaper printout has the name of the service and a partial list of the newspapers available through them. I'm asking because that service is more like a pdf (entire newspaper) rather than the typical abbreviated news only items available through most news sites and I'm thinking of replacing my home subscriptions with ecopies (but not abbreviated versions). Thanks in advance, John
  13. An additional difference between the ships - Explorer continues to have issues with the balcony doors wind noise. We just got off today and our door had to be "repaired" twice. The second time seemed to correct the problem but it was only one night until we got off. Once repaired we would sadly not even open the door for fear of disturbing the repair which sort of negates the reason for having and paying for a balcony. I do not know how many experienced issues but know there were three in the immediate vicinity of our cabin - the repair mechanic was busy. Sometimes the noise was just background, sometimes louder and just before the second repair it was as if a pack of fighting, howling cats was outside the door. Otherwise we were very pleased with the ship. Unfortunately I think we have another Explorer cruise booked so I'll have to check to see if there are reports of door noise in whatever cabin we have booked. I'm surprised this is still happening. John
  14. Poss, We toured Chateau de Roquetaillade. It was mainly a tour of the inside of the "new" castle (only from the 11th and 12th century with an "update" several hundred years ago) and the separate chapel building. Quite nice and historic. The tour guide at the castle turned out to be a member of the family so there were special insights to the tour. The outside was pleasant but unremarkable -basically pretty countryside but no formal gardens etc. Still, for us, quite a good tour. On another note, the casual deck dining has been implemented on the Explorer and I think it is great to have choices but we still prefer "cleaning up" and dining in one of the restaurants inside. The deck BBQ was held the other night and was announced to be "relaxed casual" and when we walked by it there were some jeans, shorts and other "relaxed" clothing but everybody seemed to be enjoying it. Again, we prefer to eat inside in a bit more sedate surrounding and so ate at CR. The garish blue lighting in CR is apparently gone as we did not experience it. Have fun planning your trip. Best, John
  15. Poss, We went on the "Explore a historic chateau" (2days ago) and very much enjoyed it. There were some steps and some walking but not bad (this trip I'm a bit mobility challenged). If walking is not a challenge for you, and the port is overnight in the same place, the town itself is very nice to walk around. You are docked right downtown and there is much to see, especially in the old town. Like you, we were hesitant to book Explorer. The ship is very nice, they corrected the door whistling the day after we called, and we are having a good time. If you have questions, please post. I may not get back to you immediately, but I will get back. TC2, I understand why you love this ship. Best, John
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