The Navigator reminds me of an aging movie star - still very lovely, but showing her age in places and finding it very difficult to compete with some of the younger offerings despite extensive cosmetic refurbishment.
We were a group of 10 ranging in age from 59-72, and all have cruised before. We generally cruise with Oceania. Our satisfaction with Oceania's offerings factored in our decision to book with Regent, which was described as the next level up in the NCL firmament. The main consideration was the African itinerary - voyaging from Cape Town to Cape Town over 15 days.
A 3 day safari was offered as a 'booking bonus,' and that part of our trip exceeded all expectations. We stayed at the magical Eagles Crag Lodge in the Shamwari Game Reserve, and would rate that experience as flawless.
THE GOOD: The ship has recently been refurbished. We found our cabin to be quite nice, although despite the new bedding and curtains you could not camouflage the fact that it had been around the block (world) many times.
The staff on board tried harder to please us than any others I have ever seen. Having said that, they seemed to have a great deal of difficulty in getting our dinner orders straight, perhaps because we typically chose to sit at a table for 10. The food was very good, and dinners could be customized (although they didn't always manage to get the requests right.)
The wines served were good, and flowed without interruption. Staff remembered what you liked, and would go out of their way to have the perfect drink arrive even before you had a chance to order!
The performers were encouraged to interact with the guests, and we had shared dinners with some of them. The nightly shows were surprisingly very good, particularly given the small size of the ship.
THE BAD: At dinner time there is really only just enough capacity to seat everyone simultaneously. Although without set seating times, in our experience dining was always a multi-hour event so that tables did not turn over. Compass Rose and Sete Mare were therefore invariably completely full all night, and hence very noisy. The poor wait staff ran around madly trying to accommodate serving so many meals in a completely full space.
I did not care for Sete Mare at all. It had a 'cafeteria' like feel, in my opinion, and the acoustics were such that we found it impossible to have a reasonable conversation in that venue. I found the food there to be inferior to what was served elsewhere on board.
I must admit that I missed the multiple specialty restaurants we have so enjoyed when onboard the Oceania Marina or Riviera. Although the Compass Rose menu offers a couple of choices that change every day, overall there is a sameness to the (generally excellent) food. I like to enjoy more variety in eating-Asian Fusion one night, French the next etc. There is also no quick/ casual venue available for dinner.
Lunches in the Compass Rose were excellent, much less so poolside or at la Veranda. Overall, the quality and choice at lunch was disappointing.
We like to book our own ( private) excursions, so the offerings here, especially since we missed all of the best ones, were very poor. I won't give up control of what I want to do in port to a cruise line again.
THE UGLY: Regent includes excursions in their cruise cost. We missed fully 40% of our scheduled ports because of inclement weather, obviously with the loss of the booked excursions at these sites. While Regent is not in control of the weather, they also did a very poor job informing the guests of the problems. No compensation was offered for the missed experiences.
Regent advertises that you can do as many excursions as you would like. The tours are strategically timed so that it is impossible to do more than one per day. Anything remotely interesting requires an uncharge, which is as much as you would pay for the tour in total if you were arranging it yourself.
The ship careers to a VERY OLD clientele. A 70 year old member of our group observed that the music regularly played onboard ship was what his parents used to listen to. Staff told us that our cruise was on average significantly younger in age than Regent's usual - (!) our group doesn't often feel like the young people! It was virtually impossible to have music in the bars etc. updated. Despite pleading with the cruise director, we were unable to change any of the selections - disregarding the fact that the dance floor was completely packed when Beatles tunes were played (the absolutely most modern out-there rock and roll ever to be heard on this ship,) the cha-cha continued with no one up dancing. I fully understand that there is a range of ages on board, and that all tastes should be accommodated. However, if it was recorded after 1950, you might not get to hear it on board this ship. Shouldn't those of us under 80 should get our turn too?
We were midship on the 5th floor. Cabin was excellent - lots of room for storage, more than adequate bathroom, very good and extremely unobtrusive cleaning service.
St. Lucia Wetlands- Big bus to the dock for the wetlands cruise. Cruise for 2 hours or so, with many hippo sightings (of course all lazing in the water as it's daylight) a croc or two, many small birds and an eagle. Good hippo sightings, but underwhelming because of the 'disneyland' feel.
Missed it entirely. The Addo Elephant Park was one of our most anticipated tours. We very much regret missing this.
This is the only game drive in the collection that did not incur an uncharge. As such, it was completely sold out before we mere mortals (not in higher suite categories) could book. It did come through as a last minute thing, and was a nice game drive. There are no predators at Tala, but there was a great variety of animals and we got in amazing proximity to many rhinos. We enjoyed this very much.View All 7 Tala Game Reserve Reviews