Love is defined as any of a number of emotions related to a sense of strong affection and attachment.
If this is true then I think I’m in love – in love with a cruise ship and its crew! Regent’s Seven Seas Voyager is worthy of love. (www.rssc.com) On a recent Baltic Cruise I was delighted with the services provided and the expert delivery on those services.
This state of the art ship having been refurbished in 2008 is only half the story. Of course one’s cabin and amenities must be designed with the passenger in mind, and these are. With every cabin comes a large picture window with a cozy balcony enabling you to soak up like an appetizer the exotic ports of call – or a calming day at sea. Breakfast room service is must for those not so early bird people when you have an 8:30 am shore excursion. Room service for any meal request is available 24 hours!
Seven Seas Voyager is the world’s second all-suite, all-balcony ship and the second to feature a restaurant operated by Le Cordon Bleu of Paris, following sister ship Seven Seas Mariner. The service at “Signatures,” recalls the days of exquisite, formal yet friendly service in a fine Paris restaurant complete with synchronized Silver Bell service for your entree.
Fancy French names aside, your gourmet meal might consist of, lobster medallions, tuna tartar, creamy mushroom soup, a mid meal refreshing lime and lychee sherbet, baked loin of lamb, magret duck fillet, a vegetarian dish of stuffed profiterloes with summer vegetables, and for dessert, a warmed chocolate tart, flambeed bananas, or a section of French cheeses. It’s a real travel adventure in itself when you daringly order a traditional French appetizer of sweet breads, and find it surprisingly savory.
There are four main dining venues, surprising for a ship her size. The Prime 7 Steak House serves delectable steaks in a variety of ways, again with impeccable service in an atmosphere far above what is expected at sea. What makes all the dining experiences exceptional is your fellow diners, since you can chose to dine with other fascinating guests and learn and be entertained by their conversations. I had a memorable meal with a veteran airline pilot, a couple who had just moved in to a home that was previously owned by a CIA agent and a recent retired chorister from the Metropolitan Opera. Stunning conversation provided added delight to the gourmet cuisine.
The Compass Rose is an elegant open seating, no reservations required restaurant for all meals. It is spacious with seating by the large windows, and again you may dine alone or join an impromptu group.
The Veranda buffet offers quick in and out meals, with a variety of salads. veggies, meats and deserts. When weather permits the chefs grill outside by the pool for fresh broiled flavor with the pool ambience a top deck dictates.
You will enjoy impeccable service thanks to some of the highest space and service ratios at sea. This is exemplified not only in the food and beverage services but in the shore excursions, housekeeping, Internet services, boutique requests and the friendly cruise social staff. I say that the Seven Seas Voyager is large enough to serve you, yet small enough to know you. Quickly the staff and even the entertainers know your name and interests – making the Voyager sincerely seem like a home away from home, The entertainers also join the passengers in their on board activities, such as Karaoke, games and social hosting. You may even have a meal with them in one of the restaurants and hear of their insider tales of their months at sea.
The educational lectures, both live and re-run on your in suite TV makes learning not only interesting but also convenient. And while you may know some of the highlighted history of your next shore excursion it is an added comfort to hear it again, and maybe even again – while relaxing in your suite. A real test of customer service aboard a ship is when the weather or port traffic may interrupt the impeccable port to port schedule, and alterations must be made. This was accomplished when our ship ran into port traffic and our scheduled arrival time at the next port was delayed, but accommodations were made and the shore tour fulfilled.
I can attest personally that my room was very quite for a ship of 700 capacity. The full size bath with shower and tub and large mirrored sink was unexpected luxury. The bed of course was just the right firmness and so easy to slip into at night after an evening of post dinner cocktails – when you did not want the night to end, but the adult in you knew of your next day’s energy excursion demands. (If ordering room service breakfast, you may even get a telephone call telling you your food is on the way, just minutes before your breakfast arrives with a friendly doorbell alert.) After alerting Ginalyn, my housekeeping stewardess, that I liked my ice bucket filled, it was done each day with her twice daily service and found in the mini fridge. It’s the small comfort touches that keep Voyager at the top of cruise ship ratings.
A typical day aboard the Regent Seven Seas Voyager might start with room service breakfast as you peer out your balcony window to survey your current port of call. A morning shore excursion calls you to meet in the theater where you exchange your tour ticket for a bus number, where you will board for your particular tour. Escorted by a knowledgeable local you get a quick over view of the area, then either eat on shore or back on the Voyager. When you are enthused by your port you might also take an afternoon excursion following the same procedure. Most all excursions on Voyager of the Seas are included in your pay one price cruise, which also includes all on board activities, meals, and fine wines and beverages. Some very high end premium spirits may come with a slight charge to your room. I booked several special excursions with an added nominal fee, and all were well chosen. (More impressions on Baltic ports are coming from me next month.)
After touring you may want to stop by the upscale boutique for clothing, jewelry, locale appropriate souvenirs and of course sundries, or stop in at the gym or make a spa appointment. And should you not go ashore there are bridge tournaments, a well stocked library and a Park West Art consultant who also offers lectures and on board art auctions. An Internet Cafe and work stations are provided as well as in suite connections should you bring your own.
At 4 PM high tea is offered followed by a 4:30 trivia contest where passengers can team up together to win on board points, exchanged near the end of the cruise for souvenir items. Do you know what a male camel is called? What country is the home of Carlsberg Beer? What was the name of Hans Solo’s space ship? What was the first country to offer women the right to vote? It’s a fun challenge, and only one of the games offered during your cruise. There were several pre teens and young adults on board and there were special activities supplied just for their amusement.
Pre and post dinner music and dancing is offered or maybe you want to anticipate tomorrow’s ports with viewing the current shore excursion lecture on your own in suite TV. Or catch up on editing your digital photographs and sending out emails. Dinner options are many, or again you may choose to sequester yourself with room service. The evenings entertainment is eagerly anticipated as it may be a song and dance performance by the Regent Entertainers, specialty acts, a champion ballroom dance team, a magician, virtuoso musical spotlights or a very special all crew talent show.
Late night, for me was always up in the Observation lounge where Pedro my favorite mixologist could prepare his one of a kind Crush Martini, to accompany the relaxing virtuoso musical talents of European charming pianist, Vlado. And should all this entertainment not be sufficient there are 150 free movies available in your suite to lull you with the gentle ships sway off to slumber land, after you have read about the next days adventure in your Passages newsletter delivered with turn down service.