San francisco to New York Sept 2013
Dr R Atkinson | December 16, 2013 | Regent Seven Seas Cruises | Seven Seas Navigator
This was a 22 day cruise from the west coast USA visiting Mexico, Costa Rica, transiting the Panama canal, then calling at Colombia, cayman, Florida, Charleston and finishing in New York. 10 ports of call and the boat repositioned for the Autumn runs to Montreal. A great trip with some great memories. The Navigator is the smallest of the fleet with just under 500 passengers.
BA flights to San Francisco (their service isn’t what it used to be!) and trouble free transfer to the Four Seasons – a lovely hotel we would visit again – and we’ve stayed in some nice ones. Boarding at about 2pm with full availability of pool grill and bars and able to see preparations for the America Cup nearby. Spectacular views leaving under the famous bridge and nearly 3 days sailing to Cabo San Lucas as first stop. This itinerary meant a lot of sailing days, and the amount of items planned was more than sufficient to keep us occupied as well as some pool time – bridge lessons, wine tasting, lectures (informative and interesting and repeated on the TV if you wanted to see them later), deck games, quiz daily etc.
Shore trips are varied and mainly in with the price – all the ones we did at all ports were. A jeep safari, catamaran trip round bays in Huatalco, Visit to a banana plantation and sky walk in the forest – and all before the Panama canal which is spectacular. A visit to old Cartegena, swimming with the sting rays in Cayman, the Everglades (apparently on our day an alligator free zone!), the Kennedy space centre and old Charleston.
The suite – sinilar to Seabourn and a bigger bathroom than the (smaller) Silversea boat. Well appointed and kept spotless by cheerful and polite staff. Some creaks and groans in the false ceiling and being an older boat built for a different purpose, some vibration (you need a fairly central cabin). Excellent prompt room service (we were concierge not penthouse level) for anything from a cup of tea to a snack after returning from a trip. Any drink you want in the fridge but so much else everywhere anyway.
Entertainment – a truly magnificent deck barbeque on about the 7th night with steak, lobster, seafood etc, music (by a very versatile 6 piece band providing rock to jazz and modern), and staff involvement to the extent of a magic clearance of the area round the pool in 90 seconds. There were two other staff functions – a garden party on deck with each department taking part, and a one hour show of ‘Crew Capers’ on the last night at sea – both excellent. Ther was a dance group with 2 ‘ballroom winners’ and 2 gymnastic dancers. Several shows in the 3 weeks but rather repetitive in their moves after the first show. Not too appealling to us. Other guest acts such as a magician, a ventriloquist and a clarinetist who played marvellous jazz with an elderly retired clarinet playing passenger and his wife who had played the Carnegie Hall were all very good. Pianists and evening bar/dance music very good.
Food – Open seating in the main Compass Rose restaurant in which the food and service was excellent in the evenings (breakfast a bit slower!), all waiters and sommeliers prompt and attentive. You can ask for a variety of complimentary wines although they highlight certain ones for the evening. Just ask for your favorite from another night. Port, brandy champagne as required. The Italian restaurant Sette Mari has good food but on a longer trip, not enough menu change. Same startes each night put on the table to begin with whilst you look at the menu. Meat balls and buschetta become a bit boring but there are good salads and mussels etc.
Prime seven is the Steak and seafood restaurant – excellent. You have to book but in a 3 week cruise you can go several times and on one evening we got a table for 4 ‘on spec’ when a 20 min wait for the Italian. What the ship lacks for 500 people on a 3 plus week cruise is a fourth dining venue (available on Mariner and Voyager). Seabourn and Silversea with smaller capacity have 4 evening dining venues and it seemed a pity not having the pool grill open in a warm weather trip in the tropics when we would be delighted to eat outside as often as possible (we did eat outside most occasions in the Italian). You can also get lovely views sitting outside the upper deck bar (what was its name – its lost in the Margaritas) which has good service and also does afternoon tea with the quiz. New and extra outdoor furniture appeared at Port Lauderdale!
The F and B manager said not enough staff for a fourth evening venue but I find this surprising when other lines with similar staffing ratios achieve it for smaller numbers.
A nice gym and execise area
On disembarking in New York, an excellent and amusing tour guide born in the Bronx presided over a 3-4hour tour of the City whilst taking us to Newark Liberty airport which is quite lacking in airside facilities (including any priority pass lounge) so a wait of over 3 hours but Kindle’s helped!
Overall an excellent trip and we preferred it to the Mariner. Yes we shall go on the Navigator (and Regent) again but perhaps a shorter trip, unless they increase Italian restaurant variety, or open a fourth eating venue. A bonus was free anytime wifi and one hour of free calls from the cabin – a good perk. oh yes – and a free pressing of 2 items if needed. We have been on Seabourn and Silversea – all have their pros and cons. We shall go on all three again.
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