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SHIP REVIEW: SEVEN SEAS MARINER
for Regent ’s distinctive Block Party. It ’s a great idea: we
step into the corridor, where champagne and canapes are
ser ved as we get to know our neighbours. The majority of
passengers are American, with a fair number of Canadians,
Europeans and British. Not all are retirees. Younger
couples are celebrating special anniversaries or de-stressing
Mariner is appealing for providing a luxe experience
without formality. The evening dress code is smart casual;
during the day shorts, T-shirts and jeans appear. Happily,
my suit hangs unused in my walk-in wardrobe.
My cabin (Concierge class) is elegant, but I feel I can
still put my feet up. There’s a sofa and armchair in the
living area (Mariner is an all-suite ship) and two further
armchairs on the balcony, a feature common to every cabin.
Everything from fresh fruit and flowers to the Illy coffee
machine is luxurious, but the bathroom falls far short of
six-star, with a very cramped shower-bath combination
and only adequate water pressure.
As the week progresses, we arrive in smaller ports but
bigger landscapes. The sail into Picton through Queen
Charlotte Sound is magnificent. I sit on La Veranda
restaurant ’s deck, tucking into salmon bagels as we glide
through island-dotted blue waters flanked by green hills.
Akaroa is browner but equally beautiful as we’re tendered
off the ship for a day among farms and gardens.
The 11th-deck Observation Lounge is a fabulous perch
from which to view the scenery, and also my favourite bar
area for its light-and-bright decor. But live music in the
Horizon Lounge is also a lure, and the low-lit, intimate
Mariner Lounge provides cosy pre-dinner G&Ts and
SHIP REVIEW: SEVEN SEAS MARINER
treats on board;
at Picton; an aft
class); the ship’s
CRUISE LINE: Regent Seven Seas Cruises
VESSEL: Seven Seas Mariner
MAX PASSENGER CAPACITY: 708
TOTAL CREW: 445
PASSENGER DECKS: 9
ENTERED SERVICE: 2001
FACILITIES: Four restaurants, cafe,
poolside grill, Canyon Ranch Spa Club,
theatre, casino, library, boutique.
BOOKINGS: Cruises on Seven Seas
Mariner start from $5,499 per person,
twin-share (7-day Rome-Barcelona
voyage in May 2015). For more details
For a mid-size ship, there’s a good choice of dining
venues, too. Compass Rose, the main dining space, is
elegantly presented. Tables by the windows provide
sparkling lunchtime outlooks. La Veranda is the informal
alternative, converting in the evenings to Sette Mari, where
the buffet is supplemented by a la carte Italian choices.
The Pool Grill and regular themed buffets (Mexican,
seafood) are laid-back lunch choices on the deck. You can
order anything from anywhere and dine in your cabin –
room service is included.
There are two specialty evening restaurants, also at no
additional charge though with limited seating, so you’ll
Highs: Exceptional service and luxury with
a relatively informal style; relaxing lack of
posturing and pretention.
Lows: Some of the inclusive shore excursions
were rather humdrum; the food, particularly in
the specialty restaurants, sometimes fell short
of six-star standard.
Best suited to: Couples aged 40 and above.
There are no amenities specifically for children.
only dine there once or twice on a cruise. Prime 7 features
prime American beef and seafood, Signatures offers
French cuisine. You expect specialty restaurants to offer a
memorable dining experience, but some dishes disappoint,
most are just good, none are exceptional – though scallops
with smoked bacon and savoy cabbage come close. I
reckon Compass Rose has the most consistently good
cuisine, and a wide range of choices. Accompanying breads,
salads and closing cheese plates are always excellent.
If I had to choose a single highlight (apart from Milford
Sound on a blue-sky day) it would be Mariner’s service.
With 445 crew members to keep 700 passengers happy,
whims are almost anticipated. Twice-daily housekeeping
service is well nigh flawless, waiters efficient and patient
with every requested change to orders. This is a true holiday
with no worries and the most delightful of pampering.
views of Milford
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