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  • Writer's pictureJulie Prusak

Cruise Ship Review: Seven Seas Mariner

The 700-passenger Seven Seas Mariner is elegant, traditional, all-inclusive cruising at its best. When it was built in 2001, it was the first all-suite, all-balcony ship in the world. The 48,075-gross-ton Seven Seas Mariner is one of the larger ships in the luxury segment and one of the few that features a two-deck theater. It is the ship in the Regent fleet that sails the coveted World Cruise.

Departing in December 2012, I circumnavigated South America, including a week on the Amazon River, on the Mariner. For 72 nights, it was truly our home away from home.


Refurbished in 2018, I was eager to board the Mariner again for a 9-night cruise along the Mexican Riviera. Here are my insights from our cruise.


Passenger Profiles


Passengers, usually in their 60s and 70s, are well-heeled and well-traveled. They are mainly from the U.S. and the U.K. All announcements and entertainment are in English.


During school holidays, when supervised children's programs are offered, some younger families are aboard, as well as many multi-generation families. At other times, the ship is better suited to couples. Single passengers are welcomed, with organized gatherings and dinners. On our cruise, a group of 95 bridge players meets daily in the dedicated card room for classes and competitions.


Shore Excursions


Every cruise offers a variety of included shore excursions, as well as onboard enrichment lectures. Destinations Services provides tailor-made arrangements for those who wish to tour ashore on their own. The concierge can be very helpful in securing dining reservations in port.


Shore excursions vary from bus tours with minimal walking to more strenuous activities like horseback riding, snorkeling, zip-lining, ATV adventures, and other destination-specific outings. The groups are small, and the buses and local guides used are the best available.


Activities at Sea


Daytime activities onboard include daily teatime, wine tastings, trivia, needlepoint, bocce tournaments, and other friendly competitions organized by the staff. Of course, guests can choose to relax on their private balconies, lounge by the pool, work out in the fitness center, or indulge in spa services.


The fitness center on Deck 7, open from 7 am to 9 pm, offers a variety of classes, including stretch, yoga, and aerobics. Also on this deck are a small casino and a well-stocked, duty-free boutique.


The sports deck on Deck 12 features a walking track. There's also a putting green, golf net, shuffleboard, croquet, and paddle tennis here, as well. Pickleball is played on the paddle tennis court. A ping-pong table awaits on Deck 11.


A library is well stocked with books and newspapers, and Club.com, a room equipped with two dozen computers, is on Deck 6. There is seldom a wait for the computers, and service is good. The entire ship is wired for Wi-Fi, but it is slower than what you most likely have at home. The modems are scheduled to be upgraded in December 2022, which should improve Wi-Fi speeds. The Internet Manager is available to troubleshoot for several hours each day.


Mahjong and puzzle enthusiasts gather near the Coffee Connection on Deck 6, where a jigsaw puzzle sits on a table ready for passengers to solve. Backgammon, chess, and other games are available as well.


In the evenings, the Constellation Theater is home to Broadway-like shows performed by the resident Mariner Production Cast. Other entertainment includes guest comics, magicians, vocalists, and instrumentalists. These performers usually come onboard for two shows, then disembark. One show is performed nightly at 9:30 pm, so plan your dinner accordingly.


At night, a trio or a singer-piano duo provides music for dancing in the Stars Lounge. Karaoke competitions are also held there. Resident musicians play familiar tunes throughout the day as well as before and after dinner in the Horizon Lounge, the Mariner Lounge, and the Observation Lounge.


Dining and Drinking


Dining is one of the highlights of every voyage. Seven dining venues offer variety, and room service is available 24-7. The elegant 100-seat Signatures is the only restaurant at sea run by French chefs from Le Cordon Bleu. Prime 7, a classic American steak house, also serves chops, seafood, and free-range chicken dishes. The 14-layer chocolate cake is not to be missed! There is no extra charge for these dining rooms, though reservations are required. Reservations can be made online in advance of sailing or onboard. If you are open to sharing a table, you will likely be able to enjoy these fine-dining restaurants several times during your cruise.


White tablecloth, wait serviced dining is available for all three meals at Compass Rose, the main dining room. Compass Rose serves European-inspired Continental cuisine, as well as vegetarian and kosher dishes. Special diets can be accommodated, and a spa cuisine menu is offered nightly. The venue is elegantly decorated in blues and silvers, featuring stunning Versace tableware.


La Veranda serves lavish buffets at breakfast and lunch and wait service at dinner—when it becomes an Italian restaurant, Sette Mari. La Veranda also features an authentic pizzeria and a shaded veranda for dining al fresco. Sunday brunch features champagne and caviar service.


The Pool Grill is a casual dining experience for lunch and dinner. It serves grilled-to-order burgers and hot dogs, seafood, sandwiches, and salads. The ice cream bar is a popular spot for dessert.


Coffee drinks are available all day on Deck 6 at the Coffee Connection. A Continental breakfast is set out in the morning, and cold cuts, breads and sweets are available at lunch. Coffee, tea, and fresh-baked cookies and cakes are available all day.


The Horizon Lounge on Deck 6 traditional afternoon tea accompanied by piano music is served.


The Observation Lounge on Deck 12 is a place for sail-away or pre-dinner cocktails accompanied by piano music and a panoramic view. After dinner, it becomes a romantic spot for after-dinner cocktails and quiet music.


Wines, beers, and cocktails are included at every meal and are served at six bars and lounges. Rare and unusual wines are offered by the bottle at meals from a well-trained sommelier staff. Fine cigars and cognacs are available for purchase at the Connoisseur Club.


Staterooms


Guests are welcomed to their stateroom with a bottle of champagne.


The ship's 350 suites accommodate passengers in cabins from 252-2,020 sq ft, the latter including two balconies at 71 and 727 sq ft. Few ships can match their spaciousness. The walk-in closets are fantastic, especially for longer itineraries.


Bed configuration may be two twins or combined to form a king. Rooms are equipped with TVs, safes, hair dryers, and a refrigerator replenished daily with soft drinks, beer, and wine. Favorite alcoholic beverages can be preordered online and replenished as desired.


Luxury branded toiletries and robes, and slippers are provided in all suites. Binoculars and a tote bag are also supplied. Larger suites include butler service.


A new and much appreciated included service is the unlimited laundry and pressing. Self-service launderettes are also available for guest use.


A cruise on any of the Regent Seven Seas ships is truly an all-inclusive luxury vacation. With meals, beverages, gratuities, airfare, shore excursions, and sometimes pre- or post-hotels and transfers included, you will be challenged to spend your shipboard credit.


It is rare to hear a complaint aboard the Seven Seas Mariner, a ship that offers superb service and a wide range of itineraries. But it is the well-trained and personable staff who make the voyage memorable.


Schedule a complimentary travel consultation here.




Contact us today to learn more about planning your trip.




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