Mariner offers luxury, culinary bliss
Ship Review by Michael Coleman, December 2008
A cruise ship known for offering its passengers a host of enriching educational opportunities – onboard and in ports across the globe – has also outdone itself in the culinary department.
The ultra-luxurious, 700-guest Regent Seven Seas Mariner features five dining venues, each better than the next. So good in fact are two of its specialty restaurants that guests may enjoy them just twice on a typical itinerary because of their wait-list popularity.
It also ensures that everyone onboard – a well-traveled group appreciative of Mariners all-inclusive cruise fare policy has the opportunity to sample some of cruisings best gastronomic offerings complete with complimentary wines, spirits and beverages.
Not only is Mariner the worlds first all-suite, all-balcony vessel, she is also the first to offer dining at sea by the famed Le Cordon Bleu of Paris. The refined culinary journey presented in the 110-seat Signatures Restaurant is as good as it gets. Exclusive wine pairings complement mouth-watering entrees and a variety of Plats Principaux options, be it an Alaskan halibut fillet with pistachio oil, duo of spinach and herb-marinated tomatoes; rack of lamb; tenderloin of veal; or Magret duck fillet with raspberry vinegar sauce, apple tart and foie gras. This is not the setting to pass on dessert.
Just steps away is the new Prime 7 Steakhouse, complete with a host of U.S.D.A. prime choices plus Maine lobster and Alaskan king crab legs. The ambience is warm and inviting. Appetizers, seven in all, include jumbo shrimp and crab cakes or Oysters Rockefeller; soups and salads run the gamut from clam chowder and French onion soup to Caesar salad prepared table side. Signature surf and turf, slow-roasted prime rib and even a 32 ounce porterhouse steak carved tableside are among the 11 featured entree options.
Compass Rose, the ships main dining room (breakfast, lunch and dinner), La Veranda (Deck 11 aft/breakfast, lunch buffet and casual, evening Mediterranean fare) and a busy pool-side grill (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.) round out Mariners impressive dining venues.
Additionally, the ships Coffee Connection, just off the library and Internet center, is as good as any shore-side java locale. Guests enjoy a self-serve breakfast buffet, choice of newspapers and friendly banter from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Its one of Mariners most popular places to see and be seen.
A number of well-appointed, upscale bars (Observation, Horizon, and Mariner lounges), casino, cigar bar (Connoisseur Club) and disco (Stars Night Club) add to shipboard life.
Mariner, like her fleet mates Voyager, Navigator and the Paul Gauguin, has built her reputation on customer service. Not surprising, a polished, personable wait staff – in all dining venues further enhances the onboard experience.
Guests eager to explore the worlds great cities by sea have done so in style aboard Mariner since 2001. The 50,000-ton vessel features 354 well-appointed ocean-view suites each ranging in size from 301 to 2,002 square feet, complete with private balcony. Suite life includes hi-tech interactive TV systems, CD/DVD players, large marble-appointed bathrooms with separate showers and full bathtubs, walk-in closets and butler service in select suites.
Enjoying the services of a Regent Butler is not to be missed nor is the a’ la carte, in-suite Butler menu. Guests can choose their preferred canapes each day from a variety of options.
The ship is best known, however, for providing guests with themed enrichment programs. Dubbed Circles of Interest, guests can enjoy a host of choices, some tailor-made, featuring onboard lectures and workshops, specially created shore-side excursions and events led by guest experts.
Port calls could not be more diverse. Mariner offers cruises to Alaska, the Caribbean, Grand Asia Pacific, South America and the Panama Canal in 2009. Next month, she departs on a 121-night world cruise from Fort Lauderdale with calls on South America, French Polynesia, Australia, Southeast Asia, China, Japan, Russia and Alaska.
Mariner shore adventures, too, run the gamut. World cruisers, for instance, will enjoy an expanded program of destination-intensive land packages dubbed “Adventures Ashore.” Ranging in length from 12 hours to four nights, such excursions encompass a broad range of once-in-a-lifetime activities. Participants can tour Chile’s volcanoes amongst Magellanic penguins on a “Grand Patagonia Overland” journey, or enjoy an exclusive Imperial dinner prepared by Chairman Mao’s chef in China’s Forbidden City as part of the “Beijing and The Great Wall” package.
Non-world cruise sailings feature a host of exclusive onboard and shore-side programs and experiences, complete with world-class lecturers, instructors and authorities from the realms of art, cuisine, history, environmental conservation, photography and wellness.
Its also nice to skip a port visit from time to time to enjoy the ships numerous onboard amenities. Be it gourmet cuisine, a trip to the Carita of Paris spa, casino action or simply lounging by the spacious pool deck, Mariner has much to offer.
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