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Regent Seven Seas Cruises: Seven Seas Mariner

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Seven Seas Mariner Review

Introduced in 2001, as the world’s first all-suite, all-balcony ship, Seven Seas Mariner has four restaurants with open seating. Hallmarks include generous amenities and unparalleled spaciousness—with only 700 passengers on board, her staff-to-guest ratio of 1 to 1.6 ensures one of the highest levels of personal service at sea.

The world's only all-balcony, all-suite ships continue the Regent Seven Seas tradition of offering posh accommodations on vessels with generous space for every passenger.

Lounges are predominantly decorated in soothing neutrals and cool marine blues with splashes of bold color, soft leather, and glass-and-marble accents. Even areas that can accommodate all (or nearly all) passengers at once, including the formal dining room and show lounge, appear intimate. Good design elements don't hint at their size, and indoor spaces seem smaller than they actually are. With so much room, public areas are seldom crowded, and you won't have to hunt for a deck chair by the swimming pool. The two-tiered Constellation Theater is a state-of-the-art show room with a full-size proscenium stage, where cabaret revues, headline entertainers, and Broadway-inspired shows are presented.

The 1994 merger of Radisson Diamond Cruises and Seven Seas Cruise Line launched Radisson Seven Seas Cruises with an eclectic fleet of vessels that offers a nearly all-inclusive cruise experience in sumptuous, contemporary surroundings. The line was rebranded as Regent Seven Seas Cruises in 2006, and ownership passed to Prestige Cruise Holdings (which also owns Oceania Cruises) in 2008.

Even more inclusive than in the past, the line has maintained its traditional tried-and-true formula—delightful ships offering exquisite service, generous staterooms with abundant amenities, a variety of dining options, and superior lecture and enrichment programs. Guests are greeted with champagne on boarding and find an all-inclusive beverage policy that offers not only soft drinks and bottled water, but also cocktails and select wines at all bars and restaurants throughout the ships. Round-trip air, ground transfers, and shore excursions in every port are included in the cruise fare.

On board, casinos are more akin to Monaco than Las Vegas. All ships display tasteful and varied art collections, including pieces that are for sale.

What You Should Know

Pros

  • After an effortless check-in and champagne greeting, you are escorted to your suite
  • Self-service passenger launderettes with ironing stations are complimentary
  • Every stateroom is a suite, and every suite has a balcony

Cons

  • No youth facilities, and kids’ programs take place in unused public rooms
  • Unless you pre-book your specialty dining preferences online, you could find them unavailable after boarding
  • Few organized activities are scheduled, so be prepared to make your own fun
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 445
  • Entered Service 2001
  • Gross Tons 50,000
  • Length 709 feet
  • Number of Cabins 350
  • Passenger Capacity 700
  • Width 93 feet
  • New

Dec 29, 2011

Eastern Caribbean

Overall: My second experience with Regent Cruises on different ship and much better than first. Was on Voyager last year and aft vibration problem was awful annoyance. This one was smooth ,even in rough weather. Overall,I would rate it very good to excellent in terms of cabins,service,food,excursions,entertainment..etc. How were the dining options: Loved it. 5 different places to eat. Compass Rose, Signatures (required reservations) ,LaVeranda,

Pool Grill, and Prime 7 which also required reservations but no extra expense and only 1 time in each. How was the food: Excellent choices, food prepared well, and delicious. Loved the room service for breakfast which is not just continental like some ships. Many selections and delivered promptly. How was the cabin: Spacious and very clean with large closets. The balcony has 2 chairs and table. Good sized bathroom with tub or large walk in shower (can chose), Comfortable king bed with luxury sheets. Total over 325 ft. The cabin was slightly larger on Voyager.. Onboard activities: Much to chose from Bingo, art lectures, shore lectures, pool, gym, you name it they had it. Excursions included in price so you can pick and chose what you want. My husband took the more physical ones like sailing, horseback rides etc, while I choose island tours,art museums,etc. Some are more enjoyable depending on each island visited, the tour guide, type of bus, etc. We sailed from Ft.Lauderdale and the embarkation was a nightmare with long waits due to computer problem at port. Regent changing to Miami next month. First stop Key West, then Sea Day, on to Gran Turk, Tortola, Dominican Republic, St.Maarten. Supposed to go to St.Barts but bad weather forced us to spend 2 days in St.Maarten, then San Juan and Princess Cay.

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Aug 8, 2011

Venice - Athens

Over all I would give this ship a C+...the service was soso (although our butler and stewardess were great); after the 2nd day the employees never greeted us or even smiled. The 2 premier dining rooms (Prime 7 and Signatures) has the worst service ever (I could have received better at a Denny's) and the last night at signitures we sat for 1 hour and 15 minutes with dirty plates from our appetizer still in front of us - we went back to our cabin and

had room service which delivered in 30 minutes. The ship was full of (mis-behaved) children and were not told in advance that this was some type of family cruise. Small children in the Premier dining rooms were disruptive and should not have been allowed; there was no such thing as a intimate, quite dinner. Embarking wasn't the easiest, they gave us our room key and pointed to the elevator (on other ships we were escorted to our room); disembarking was confusing and we almost missed our transportation. The food was the same day after day and a 10 day cruise was more than enough. We had a penthouse and it was very nice. Stay away from Montenegro and corfu and all bus trips; do your own excursion...the bus trips were very long and only went to one place. Let's put it this way, we will not be sailing Regent seven Seas again!

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Aug 10, 2005

Whittier - Vancouver

In August, 2005, we sailed for a week aboard the Radisson Seven Seas Mariner from Whittier to Vancouver. Since we’ve found the Cruise Review comments to be accurate and very helpful, we thought it would be beneficial to provide our perspectives on the ship and itinerary. Rather than doing a start-to-finish summary, we’ll try to highlight key information in general categories and conclude with a few tips which may make your cruise even

more pleasant. Admittedly, our comments are colored by three factors. First, we had taken a Caribbean cruise seven years ago on an “entry-level” line. The itinerary was fine, but we were unimpressed by the nondescript food and shipboard amenities. This time we wanted to try a higher end cruise line in hopes that the time on board would be more enjoyable. Second, although our cruise experience is limited, we’ve been fortunate enough to stay at many top-of -the-line hotels and resorts throughout North America. Thus, our expectation was that the Seven Seas Mariner would meet or exceed what we had found at these superior land-based facilities. Finally, we had amazingly good weather for our cruise, with sunny, crystal clear weather and highs in the 70s for five of the seven days. Clouds and showers only appeared on the last day. Naturally, such wonderful weather gives anyone a much more positive view of a trip, but we believe that our comments on the Seven Seas Mariner would hold true even if we had encountered the more typical clouds and rain of coastal Alaska. ITINERARY We particularly liked the one way Whittier to Vancouver itinerary, instead of the more typical one week loop from Vancouver or Seattle. You get to see twice the geography and a far greater variety of landscapes. For example, the sail along the Fairweather Range and visit to Hubbard Glacier was spectacular and the subsequent sail into Yakutat harbor was a special treat, since that little community is one spot in North America I’ve always wanted to visit. All of these locales are in a section of Alaska coastline not covered by the loop itineraries. The shore visits included the “big four” cities of southeast Alaska – Sitka, Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan. We took excursions at each stop, except the last, where our tour was cancelled at the last moment due to lack of participants. All of the tours were worthwhile, except for the tramway up Mount Robinson in Juneau. Admittedly, it was toward the end of a hotter than normal day, but all the staff seemed tired, bored and in some instances, downright cranky. The actual views were less than spectacular, both through the scratched windows of the tram as well as through the foliage at the top. We’d suggest you skip this excursion. Perhaps our three favorite tours were: 1) The Sea Otter Explorer tour in Sitka. Over a three hour period, we saw humpback whales, harbor seals, migrating salmon and of course, sea otters. The captain and crew all seemed focused on getting us the best views of available wildlife. 2) The White Pass and Yukon Railroad. I love this trip based on a visit 30 years ago when I took the train to Whitehorse, Yukon, but it’s still a dramatic ride to the top of the White Pass. The spectacular scenery is only outweighed by the courage and creativity of those who built the railroad over 100 years ago. 3) Also in Skagway, the “Ghosts and Goodtme Girls” walking tour highlights the workings of the world’s oldest profession during the Klondike Gold Rush, as well as some spirits which are said to remain in the old buildings even today. The tour was well narrated, enjoyable and in many instances a poignant reminder of the terrible working conditions and circumstances which plagued the women who followed the men to the gold. Having visited all of these towns 30 years ago, it was generally disappointing to see the evolution of their waterfront with the growth of the cruise industry. The proliferation of the usual cruise-related shops and restaurants reminded us of Caribbean port towns we’ve visited. It seems that just as saloons and prostitutes followed the miners in 1898, Little Switzerland and the other retailers today are following the cruise ship gold to destinations throughout southeast Alaska. OUR CABIN We were on the 8th deck, port side rear in a Class G minimum size cabin. Due to the space’s clever design, we never felt cramped or in any way claustrophobic. With great weather and a comfortable balcony, we ended up spending far more time in our room than we expected, watching the scenery and enjoying drinks from our complementary bottles of scotch and vodka with mixers from the in-room fridge. As we cruised through the most scenic areas, the in-room TV also carried the excellent commentary of Ms. Terry Breen, who highlighted geographic and cultural points of interest as well as spotting marine and land-based wildlife. The bathroom was functional, well arranged and for those of us with older eyes, had excellent lighting. Storage was equally well designed and although we did the usual overpacking, it never felt like we had to struggle to find our things. SERVICE Throughout the cruise, service was generally faultless. Staff in housekeeping, dining rooms and at customer service desks were all uniformly cheerful and helpful. Like many top-notch hotels, Radisson has clearly established a “zone of acknowledgement” where all staff will give you a “Good morning” or other appropriate greeting when you’re within a few feet of them. As an example of their responsiveness, I had left my laptop power cord at the hotel in Anchorage, and asked for help at the ship’s computer center. The attendant immediately offered to borrow a crew person’s cord, and also knew that there was a Radio Shack in Sitka which would have a replacement. Incidentally, the ship’s satellite-based Internet and email connections worked well for me, although some other folks grumbled about the slow response. Another small but significant example of top service was the reboarding procedures at port stops. The Seven Seas Mariner was frequently docked next to ships from other lines, and while we occasionally waited a few minutes to be processed through security, other ships had lines which contained hundreds of people and at least a half hour delay. Admittedly, some of the difference is because of because of the Mariner’s smaller size, but there was also a level of efficiency which allowed our ship’s passengers easier entrance. As a frequent flyer who sometimes spends hours in security lines, the difference was both dramatic and particularly appreciated. While we’ll comment later about the food, we were very impressed by the ship’s room service. We ordered breakfast in the room every morning, and although the order card specified a half hour window (i.e. 6:30-7:00; 7:00-7:30 etc.) , the meal invariably arrived within the first five minutes of the requested period, except for one morning when the attendant arrived with ten minutes to go. He apologized profusely, saying that 160 cabins ( nearly half the ship’s capacity) had asked for breakfast during the same half hour period. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a room service attendant at any hotel apologize for being on time. FOOD Given other reviews on this site, we had a high level of expectation about the food on board the Seven Seas Mariner, and in general, we were not disappointed. Aside from promptness, the room service breakfasts were invariably hot and tasty. Those lunches we had on board were usually at the Poolside Grill, where the food was informal but fresh and in many cases, cooked to order. On the last day we tried the buffet in La Veranda at the ships poolside aft and were impressed with the variety of fresh chilled seafood. While there were hot entrees, we feasted on cold crab claws, shrimp, salmon, trout, and other cold items. Next, time, we’ll definitely make more use of this venue. For dinner, we tried all three restaurants, as well as room service. Perhaps our top choice was “Latitudes”, where the food and presentation matched meals we’ve enjoyed at five-star restaurants. In the main dining room, “Compass Rose”, we found the food to be very good and the somewhat conservative portions allowed us to sample a wider variety of item. Surprisingly, the dinner at “Signatures” the Cordon Bleu restaurant, in part due to the chef’s interpretation of selected dishes, and also due to the over-the-top Escofier-style service. In all restaurants, we found the complementary wine selections to be very good to excellent and good pairings to the food served. TIPS FOR FUTURE TRAVELERS While these reviews are helpful in selecting a ship and itinerary, we found they were equally valuable once our cruise was chosen to maximize our enjoyment of the voyage. With the latter purpose primarily in mind, here are some tips for those who choose to sail with Radisson to Alaska: · Given the one-way itinerary, it’s very important to choose a shore-side cabin for your trip (port southbound, starboard northbound). We had wonderful views of the Alaska coastline in our cabin, from early morning to late at night, while those on the opposite side saw only the ocean. Even as we cruised up fjords or between islands, the port side seemed to have the better vistas. Certainly, people in the starboard cabins could see the same things by going to the observation lounge or other viewing points, but we suspect there were many times when a great scene was missed because occupants were in the wrong place at the wrong time. · Despite many self-serving comments by the captain and staff about the smoothness of the ship’s pod propulsion system, we noticed some clear vibration at times in the pod below our cabin, which was near the aft. There was also a bit of rolling motion in the room when we were at full speed. If these type of vibrations and motions concern you, as they did my wife, we’d suggest you try for a cabin near the middle of the ship. · While we didn’t choose the Seven Seas Mariner for economy, there are many elements of the ships all-inclusive package which help offset the higher fares. First, all cabins have balconies, which is usually pretty far up the cabin charts on other lines. Second, all tips for stewards and dining room staff are included in the fare. Next, as mentioned above, the complementary wine at dinner was not only excellent but frequently refilled. In addition, there were three receptions we attended with complementary cocktails. Non-alcoholic drinks, such as soda or coffee, were available for free, as was bottled water before each shore excursion. Speaking of alcohol, perhaps the best value was the complementary liters of spirits and mixers which were in our stateroom upon arrival. Given the outstanding scenery, weather and room, we enjoyed more cocktails than expected in our room (plus – we were on vacation and not driving for days to come). Anyway, the Absolut bottle was magically empty by the fifth day, so we ordered a replacement. Surprisingly, the charge was only $20, or less than three drinks at any of the ship’s lounges. · We started the trip from Anchorage and took the Grandview Cruise Train, which was a wonderful way to start the trip. The Alaska Railroad has modified the cars with domed roofs, allowing far clearer views of both the mountains and Turnagain Arm than could be seen from a typical tour bus. Each car had table seating and complementary soft drinks and coffee. Best yet, the tops of the Dutch doors on each car were open throughout the trip, allowing both better photo opportunities and the chance to enjoy the sounds, smells and sights of railroading in the 49th State. Amtrak could learn a lot from the Alaska Railroad. · Finally, a tip for those using frequent flyer miles to get to the ship, especially from the East Coast. Unlike Hawaii, you can fly to Alaska for the same miles as a domestic round trip, even though the flight from Chicago alone is 6 ½ hours. Thus, it’s a good value to burn off some extra miles for first class, which gives you more leg and elbow room plus, in the case of our United flight, a surprisingly nice meal. We arrived in Anchorage in far better shape than those who were crammed in a very full coach section. In summary, the seven days we spent on the Radisson Seven Seas Mariner were perhaps one of the best vacations we’ve ever had. The exemplary service, excellent food, enjoyable tours and attention to detail all combined to provide the perfect break from daily activities, and we would enthusiastically recommend the ship to all who are looking for both a great Alaska experience and a five star floating resort.

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Caribbean

We flew to Ft. Lauderdale on the 8th and arrived around 1:15 p.m. We asked the RSSC rep how many guests they were waiting on and we were told four. Wow, there are normally hundreds on the other lines waiting for a bus. Anyway we were off to claim our baggage and into a cab a little after 1:30. It was only a ten minute $10 ride and we were at Pier 21. Now we are on our way. A brief trip inside to the terminal desk shows only

four people being registered. We are immediately taken care of and an imprint of my credit card is made. It is now just before two o’clock. Anyone having cruised before will realize how expedient this process has been so far. We were informed before they do not board prior to three o’clock. Well not this time. We are escorted immediately to the ship stopping only for a security picture and a boarding photo opportunity. We are told that our room would be ready at three. Upon boarding our small carry on bags are taken by a steward, a glass of champagne is offered and were are escorted to the Mariner Bar for a snack and more champagne. At this point we are immediately impressed with the look of the ship. She is truly beautiful. Just before three we are told our room is ready. Upon rising from our chair our bags are once again taken from us and we are escorted to our room. Our room was a cat H on deck seven. This was the least expensive cabin but in all honesty it was centrally located to most everything. Doing the ship again I would request the same category and floor. We enter the room and are amazed at the décor, craftsmanship and expanse. Many pictures are available on various websites but you can’t get a real feel until you see it for yourself. It is not pretentious yet has an elegant look. Throughout the ship the same theme look repeats. The wood is gorgeous and everything is of the highest quality. Our luggage arrived before we did. Another pleasant surprise. Lots of room in the closet and the bathroom is huge. The tub is odd in that it is so high off the floor and tall folks have a tough time in the shower. I’m 6 feet tall and my head could touch the ceiling over the tub if I tried. Well the glass of champagne (which was refilled twice before getting to our room) is now empty. An iced bottle is there waiting courtesy of Radisson. A second bottle is there as a gift from American Express for being a Platinum member. Also we find two shipboard credits. A $200 book and deposit credit from Radisson and an AMEX Platinum member credit of $300. My wife is determined to use it all. Two bottles of vodka, 2 beers and an array of mixers and soft drinks are in the fridge. Almost forgot, no lock on the fridge door. One bottle of vodka is sent back and a bottle of red wine replaces it. Canyon Road Cabernet. Nice wine. The beer and spirits are not replaced but the mixers, soft drinks and water are always replaced. Out to the teak floored balcony to try our own champagne. Wonderful view without Plexiglas panels. I guess this is because there are so few children on board this line. On this cruise there were two wonderful kids still in strollers. They never screamed or cried. Kudos to the parents of these kids. We put the keeper on the champagne and off to explore the ship after unpacking. We went down to deck five where we had embarked to the reception desk to get a ship map. On the way another glass of champagne is placed in our hands. The purser’s staff is efficient and oh so polite. The layout map though is large and we thought it would be nice to downsize it a bit. No matter it was not needed for long. The ship is easy to find your way around. By the way she does not seem small at 50,000 tons. The layout is done perfect with entries to lounges and other rooms only on one side. This allows the rooms to be larger. The Observation Lounge and the Horizon Lounge have the feeling of being large but comfortable. Honestly to me the ship seemed to be in the 70,000 ton class due to the efficient ingress and egress into the ship spaces. The mandatory safety drill was effortless and comfortable. We assembled in a lounge for rehearsal of the drill. The poor folks on a Royal Caribbean ship across from us stood in the western sun of the promenade deck for what seemed like 30 minutes. Thank you RSSC. Off we sailed at 6:00 for our best cruise yet. We did dinner tonight in La Veranda which becomes a Bistro at night. This is the breakfast and lunch buffet area during the day. At night they cleverly close off a portion (the buffet area) of the restaurant to make an intimate dining area. Here comes the wine. Woo, we hardly had recovered from the afternoon champagne. An excellent white wine in a bottomless glass as well as another excellent selection of red. I love wine and this cruise did not disappoint. Dinner was great with the best Tiramisu for desert. Tonight was a casual night and it was nice to see many of the men in sport coats. Friday brings an at sea day as we head for Grand Cayman. It is nice to relax and explore more of the ship. We really love sea days. After breakfast we look for a chaise by the pool. No problem finding two together. When more are needed a pool attendant sets more up. At times we wonder where the rest of the guests are. After inquiring we find there are between 440 and 450 passengers out of 700 or so. This is great! Lunch all days is in La Veranda and the pool grill. We get a steak sandwich and pair it with a good salad from the buffet. The selections are numerous and delicious. Always plenty of cold seafood like crab claws, shrimp, mussels and wonderful seafood salads. Tonight is formal night and there are many tuxedos and many dark suits. Only a very few non-conformers but a least all gents had a jacket. We did dinner this evening in Signatures. Remember to make a reservation. This is the Cordon Bleu Restaurant and the service and wine were excellent. The room is candlelit and romantic. The food was good but not remarkable. After dinner it is off to the casino to rid my pocket of some loose bills. The slots are very tight and there are quarter and dollar machines in a smallish area. The casino is a separate room that you don’t have to pass through. Very little smoke as there are not many smokers on the cruise. What a pleasant surprise. There is one mini-craps table, one roulette wheel and three blackjack tables. They make the table totally fill before opening another. I swear I counted 9 at one table. The dealers are very pleasant as are all the staff on board. I will not discuss the ports but will comment on the docking. Cayman is a tendering stop. At Cozumel we docked in town and spent one and a half days there.. No taxi needed. In Key West we docked at the Hilton Marina. No need for the tram. This was appreciated though I do wish we had an overnight here instead of Cozumel. We assumed there would be three casual nights, 0ne formal night and three informal nights on board. We were wrong and definitely over packed the good stuff. We ended up with only one informal night and most were dressed in country club attire (open collar with jacket). The ladies looked great each and every night. Not overdone, just great. One guest lecture we really enjoyed were the proprietors of Dry Creek Vineyards. A husband and wife who had a true passion for their art. The first lecture and tasting brought out four different Fume’ Blanc’s and the second meeting they sampled Zinfandel, red not white. Their products were excellent and they answered many questions. They even politely ignored the French person who stated “French wines are far superior to California”. Typical and rude remark. We ate at all four restaurants. We liked the Bistro (La Veranda) for its small size and wonderful service. Signatures is a must do one time only. The Compass Rose looks like a standard large main restaurant. The service was very good as were the wines and food. Remember Radisson pours excellent complimentary wines with dinner. There is a list of different wines so if you don’t like the evening suggestion ask for the list. We were fond of the Pinot Grigio and the Red Bordeaux. The most memorable dinner to me was our time in Latitudes the other reservation required restaurant. The evening we dined there was a wine pairing tasting menu with more wines from Dry Creek Vineyards. The menu here is fixed. You sit down and they bring you a sampling of appetizers, soups and entrees. It was a difficult menu for the Dry Creek folks to pair but they did an excellent job. Try their wines if you see them in the store. One downside to the cruise occurred the final evening aboard. We were weary after a long day in Key West and wanted to eat in La Veranda. Honda had about ninety people on board and they reserved the restaurant this evening. They had reserved the horizon lounge one other evening. I would have appreciated Radisson putting a note in the daily news stating this. The final morning we asked for room service before our departure. When it arrived the waiter set up our table and it was large enough for our big breakfast and us. They hide a table top under the couch. White linen, china, silver and the best coffee ever on a cruise ship. We waited longer than what we were told was normal for the ship to start debarkation. Some passengers did not show up for immigration as ordered. Our color though was called first. There are basically two groups. Those with fights before noon and those after. Down the ramp we went and easily found our bags. Many taxis were waiting and we were on our way to the airport. To sum it up: This was our most enjoyable cruise ever. We have done ten now. The ship is very quiet but the disco does wind up around 10:30. For us it was so relaxing. The staff was excellent, always had a smile and a greeting. No tipping. Great complimentary wines at dinner. The best food yet. A great cabin and a wonderful vacation. We will visit her again. Feel free to send comments and questions. Bob [email protected]

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Nov 30, -0001

Western Mediterranean

Cruise Line: Radisson mariner “Early in life I knew the sea would be not only my career, but my way of life. After being a captain for seven years I still love this life and the sea even more. After only a few weeks on leave from my ship and the life on board, they seem to be calling me from the sea to return.” Captain Jean-Francois Cotis Radisson’s Seven Seas Mariner - Review: A mariner is someone who makes a living at sea as

a navigator or sailor — at least someone who spends a great deal of time at sea. The Seven Seas is an informal term for all of the oceans of the world ... Mariner and Seven Seas are a natural mix of terms. Thus, born for voyages at sea was Radisson’s Seven Seas Mariner. This is a sleek plush ship navigating endless passenger voyages beyond each new and adventurous horizon — just beyond. Departure: From the bow, salty cool air sprayed my hair as dusk ensued. I envisioned the narcotic enticement that lures mankind to the sea. Surely for centuries the sea has been like seductive sirens calling to ancient seamen. The seas can be inviting and placidly temperate, or surly and tempestuous — but those shimmering horizons beckon — “Come to the sea ...” a primal urge to see and explore comes from the soul of those who love the sea. Today it is no different, for the sea is still that haunting temptress. This would be a wondrous adventure in many ways — exciting — I was at sea again! On a brisk fall day the sleek ship departed the ancient former city-state of Venice, Italy. Our voyage was in search of ancient wonders throughout the Adriatic, Tyrrhenian and Mediterranean Seas. It was appropriate to seek ancient wonders departing from Italy. Italy was the central focus for hundreds of years of the dominate Roman Empire. Roman antiquities are all about this region for more than a thousand miles. We would end this voyage 11 days later in Barcelona, Spain another Roman bastion. Ship: Radisson’s Seven Seas Marinerwas launched in 2001 in France. She is 50,000 tons at 709 feet. She is the elegant all-suite, all balconied ship, and this is a statement of finer — if not the finest cruising available. Four dining options including Signatures, which is dedicated to the world-famous Le Cordon Bleu cuisine, plus the welcomed open-seating ambience in the Compass Rose main dining area. Dine where you like, and with whom you like! The Allure: Pampering at the Judith Jackson Sea Spa might be one way to enjoy the day, and perhaps breakfast on your balcony. Need a slower pace? — try dinner in your suite from a restaurant menu — not merely a room service only fare. Want to really go lame with relaxation? Visit the comprehensive library of books, games, and VCR movies and enjoy the ambience of your suite, with your sweet tonight. Guests have the benefit of an array of complimentary beverages in-suite, and fine table wines with dinner. There is no need to keep checking your cash available, as gratuities are completely included in the cruise pricing, and this is convenient and well received by patrons. Guests are appreciative of the cut-above quality of Radisson’s Seven Seas Mariner. We have found highest standards likewise on Radisson’s Paul Gauguin, which is stationed in the paradise of Tahiti year-round. Guests enjoy a port intensive itinerary offering quality excursions and on-board entertainment plus guest lecturers. Our venue included timely audience interactive lectures from former CIA director (1977-81) Admiral Stansfield Turner. Space Galore: If you are not extremely aware of today’s ships at sea, you might not know that a number of ships that are approximately the size of the Seven Seas Mariner carry nearly 1,100 people. The Mariner’s full capacity is 700 persons: 50,000 tons at 709 feet with only 700 persons at most on 8 passenger decks — this is an equation for space aplenty! With several lounges about the ship, the library, spa, deck activities, your own spacious and inviting suite, it is common to wander about the Mariner and find pleasant nooks in almost solitude. Imagine cruising without the masses around and beside your every move — space, glorious space! This seems like a real vacation! This is what you really had hope cruising will be. If you must mentally take your family and business along, the very cost friendly staffed Internet Café ensures keeping abreast is cheap and easy. A 1,000 word e-mail was $1. Are you seeking entertainment or music to enhance an evening? Just follow the daily directory to your personal enjoyment. Your evening may include fine shows in the elegant Constellation Theater, or casual socialization in the Mariner Lounge. What about a star-lit stroll on the decks in the fresh sea air? Your Cabin: Seven Seas Mariner offers the very nice, to the unbelievable in the all-suite accommodations. Suite space starts at a generous 301 square foot Deluxe Suite with fine wood finishes and including its own balcony — of course. Cabins also have a sitting area, well appointed marble baths and walk-in closets, TV/VCR, and a stocked mini-fridge with an array of complimentary refreshments. It seems this beginning category resembles, but surpasses many ship’s upper tier facilities. From the Deluxe Suite it only gets better and more spacious. The next level up, and quite popular; the Penthouse Suite boasts 449 square feet. And there are increasingly larger suite choices up to the mind-boggling and breathtaking ... The Master Suite for larger families or a small group traveling together has an unbelievable 2,002 square feet — larger than many homes. It has two bedrooms, plus pull-out beds, and two large balconies — one aft, and one to the starboard side of the ship. This colossal suite is accompanied by butler services. Itineraries: Our itinerary from Venice went to a former Soviet domain of Croatia. Split, Croatia offered excellent ancient structures amidst a bustling community and abundant outdoor markets. Other ports included the country of Malta near Africa, then back to Italy’s opposite side for a Florence or Pisa stop — then on to Sardinia, Marseilles, France, Palma de Mallorca, Spain toward one of our favorite cities, Barcelona. Radisson’s Seven Seas Mariner will take on an exciting routing system this year when the new sister ship, Seven Seas Voyager, sets sail. The Voyager will have the warm season in Europe from the Mediterranean to the Baltic, and the Seven Seas Mariner will be closer as it spends this year’s warm season in the pristine Alaskan route. This year discriminating cruising enthusiasts will have an alternative to the massive ships that ply the temperate rain forest paradise — Alaska. Vacationers will have the Seven Seas Mariner as an alternative. Or, opt for the new Seven Seas Voyager for European explorations during warm months. Both ships will offer the same standard of luxury and excellence, no doubt. Overview and Critique: We found the highly superior aroma packed Arabiaca bean taste in coffee available only in the specialty restaurant. When we asked the chef about this, we were told each dining facility has its own measuring and brewing standards — for us good coffee is brewed not overly strong featuring aroma, not pure caffeine — a personal daily delight we would have loved in every dining option. I discussed with the Hotel Director, Oliver Hammerer, about how superior the gym, showers, sauna, and steam room facilities were, but that there were no hair dryers in that area to enable one to go directly about the ship with dry hair, and he advised that they would be installed within two weeks at most — thus this is now a moot issue. I also added my comment that on both the Paul Gauguin and Seven Seas Mariner the luscious complimentary bath and body products in-suite by Judith Jackson featured only the lotion named Citresse (citrus aroma), which many guests found too strong in scent. We suggest the Judith Jackson alternative ‘Tenderly’ hand & body lotion — a more familiar scented luxury product as an second option. Aside from our coffee niche, the gym hair dryers, and lotion scent — we would be hard pressed to find any substantive fault with Radisson Seven Seas Mariner — this is a quality managed cruising experience. Mariner’s crew and service are superior, and the cuisine is quite nice. Overall we found Radisson’s Seven Seas Mariner a special memory, and one that equals the fondness we felt for Radisson’s Paul Gauguin. These are ships with which to reward your life, marriage, and personal vacation dreams. There is the ordinary or usual, and then there is that which is extraordinary. Radisson Seven Seas Cruises has earned her 5-6 star ratings — not by chance, but with obvious hard work and excellent management standards. Your trusted local travel agency can help you seek any available specials, upgrades, or other promotions Radisson may be offering. It never hurts to aggressively ask for a discount or upgrade when cruising is on your vacation menu. This voyage concluded, and my imagination can only envision what Radisson wonders await on voyages not yet taken on seas not yet explored ... perhaps someday special yet to come! “Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part.” The Spell, by Hermann Broch (18861951)

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