Three days on board Regent Seven Seas Voyager
After jumping in a taxi from Barcelona airport, we soon arrived at the cruise terminals, all for about 20 euros. It was a busy day in the terminal - MSC, NCL Epic, Princess and a German cruise ship were all in for the day, plus the 700 passenger Seven Seas Voyager, looking rather small compared to the other mega-ships that were berthed nearby, and all the better for it in my opinion.
Check in was a breeze and we made our way along to the gangway, where we were warmly greeted with a glass of champagne, and given directions to lunch! It was too early to go to the suites as they were still being cleaned, however I would assume that for later arrivals guests would be escorted to them. We snuck to deck 9 and located our suite, number 937, and it had already be cleaned, so we left our hand baggage there and went up to the verandah restaurant to grab lunch.
We were staying in a D grade concierge suite on deck nine, number 937, located perfectly in the mid ships area. As we entered there was a bathroom on the right, with bath, separate glass enclosed shower, marble sink area, one sink, plenty of cupboards underneath for storage, two glass shelves, razor socket, vacuum flush toilet and lots of fluffy towels!
Next to the bathroom was a large walk in closet with plenty of rail space, hangers, drawers, safety deposit box, robes, slippers, life jackets and a shoe rack. This area was plenty big enough to hang trousers, shirts etc.
In the main area of the suite was a large king size double bed, two bedside tables, (one with a phone, one with a power socket, handy for charging phones and other mobile devices) This led to an area that could be curtained off that contained a large sofa, two chairs, table, wall unit comprising of drawers, cupboards, shelves, a flat screen tv, DVD player, fridge and writing desk. The balcony was deep, and had two chairs and a table on it.
The room was very spacious, and the provided L'occitane bath products were great! The bed was super comfy and the robes soft and fluffy. It was a great suite and couldn't be faulted. Our cabin stewardess, Daisy, kept it sparkling clean and topped up any drinks we had consumed from the mini bar. Plenty of plug sockets for keeping those important gadgets full of juice! There was also a Lily espresso coffee maker, as this was a concierge suite, and a pair of binoculars.
On board Seven Seas Voyager there are four lounges for entertainment. The large Constellation Theatre, the Horizon Lounge, the Voyager Lounge and the Observation Lounge.
The Constellation Theatre spans two decks and features a raised stage area, with tier seating in the form of sofas and chairs with tables, decorated in blues and natural wood. They use this room to show feature films in the evenings (when there are no shows on), the captains welcome party, the disembarkation of tours and the production shows of course. The production shows are produced by that old stalwart of cruise ship entertainment Jean Ann Ryan, and whilst we were on board the ships company performed twice. The first show was a swing based effort, with two main singers (a guy and a girl ) backed up by two male dancers and five female dancers. Additionally there was a featured gymnast too. In the rear of the stage the ships band accompanied the performers. The quality of the dancing and singing was very good, however the material was the same old that I've seen done so many times before, with the addition of the gymnast doing the occasional back flip and somersault. The second show, Vida La Voca, was a latin inspired number, and was along much the same lines. The audience seemed to enjoy it, however it was too run of the mill for me to say it was anything better than just your average cruise ship show. Good enough but nothing special.
In the Voyager Lounge they would have a trio playing, consisting of two guitarists and a double bass player. This was a bit different and they were very good. Also here they host karaoke evenings, and once that is finished, they have a "jukebox" style device where you can play your preferred music. No nightly Dj on board here. This room got quite busy and towards the rear is one of the few indoor smoking areas, screened off to keep the smoke entering the main room. It was a bit quiet in the later part of the evening, however, as this was a very port-intensive cruse with early starts I would assume most people were getting early nights.
Towards the aft of the ship is the Horizon lounge. Here the house band plays cocktail sets for listening and dancing to, they also host private parties and functions here. It's a nicely designed area, with the bar and seating area adjacent to the main lounge, and rear door access to the open decks for another smoking area. On the first night there was a show put on by the lead male singer from the the Jean Ann Ryan company, backed up by the ships band, and this was very good, with a number of our fellow guests getting up for a jive and a dance, and it was a nice first night bit of entertainment. The bar area was a great place to hang out and we soon made friends with the bartenders and wait staff, and they really enhanced our short stay onboard with their banter and personalities, and are a credit to RSSC.
The Observation Lounge featured piano music by the resident pianist, played at cocktail time. She also played at the bottom of the atrium too. We never made it up there so can't comment further!
All in all there was a fair mix of music played throughout the ship.
Other entertainment options include movies on demand in your suites, or you could borrow a DVD from the library. There were also music channeled on the in-suite TV, plus the cruise directors daily update and you could even watch any lectures you may have missed, all in the comfort of your luxury suite.
The choice of excursions in each port of call was extensive and all complimentary. Ranging from short 4-hour tours to longer 8-hour full day ones. And a good variety of destinations too, not just your usual city tour, so I was very impressed with the selection. The procedure for pre booking them online was simple, or you could book them onboard when you embarked, or daily for the following day, so plenty of choice and opportunity. There is also a range of additional tours that will cost extra, such as private cars with driver and guide etc for those guests that wanted to get off and do their own thing.The disembarkation procedure for the tours was very well organised. Guests had to procede to the Constellation Theatre and exchange their tour ticket for a bus number corresponding to their chosen tour and then could relax in the lounge until the bus number was announced by the shore excursion manger. Very well organised and stress free, just the way it should be. The same system was employed for those ports of call where we tenedered and worked just as well. There are no public announcements so the onus is on the guest to ensure they get to the Constellation Theatre on time.
Bus numbers were limited to about 20 guests in each, so plenty of room on the buses and no tour was too crowded. All the guides we had were very good and spoke excellent English. My only suggestions would be for Regent Seven Seas Cruises to use the 'quiet vox' system for the tour guides. This is where the guide wears a transmitter and microphone and the guests all wear receivers and ear pieces. It's perfect for tours in busy places and allows the guests more movement around the destination, and is great for those with hearing difficulties, and prevents everyone gathering around the guide trying to hear what they are saying.
We managed to book into Prime 7 on the first night of the cruise. This restaurant is based on a New York steak house, and you can see right into the galley area where they are preparing your food. We were seated on a shared table for four and after introductions were soon chatting away to our new table mates from Manhattan
The menus are very large in size and the menu covers are made out of wood. They were a bit cumbersome if I'm honest, however the items on the menus all looked delicious. I opted of the surf and turf, fillet mignon with lobster, along with New England clam chowder soup and giant crab cakes. Food in here was delicious, the service very good and the waiters charming. I would definitely recommend you try and book in here, and if I was on longer I would have returned to try one of their other dishes, maybe the 32oz steak!
We also dined in the Sette Mari At La Veranda restaurant, which is located in the verandah cafe area. In the evening all the tabes are laid up with beautiful pale green linens and napkins and glistening silverware. At this restaurant you choose your starters and desserts from the buffet area, however you order your main course from your waiter. I opted for a traditional Italian lasagne,and my table mates went for the sea bass and the Cioppino fish stew. The fish stew was chock full of large chunks of lobster, mussels, calamari and other assorted seafood. The menu choices all have an Italian flavour to them, and of course the complimentary wine was free flowing. You cannot pre book this dining venue, so you just turn up and wait to be seated. They had a number of tables for two but there was a wait list for them we so we were happy to share a table and met two lovely couples from Oklahoma and Holland! That's part of the beauty of cruising, you get to meet so many wonderful people from all over the world! After the delicious main course, I selected a number of tempting desserts that I did not really have room for, but they looked too good to resist, they were indeed yummy!
We also had the opportunity to dine in the main dining room. The Compass Rose restaurant is decorated with marble floors and plush upholstery and is very tasteful . Again we opted to share a table and were soon tucking into steak and other fine courses. Food in the main dining room was very good, but I feel the alternative restaurants just have the edge.
The Pool Grill up on the pool deck serves a range of different burgers and fries: you give your order to the waiter and he delivers it when ready. Aberdeen Angus beef burgers, chicken breast and hot dogs all cooked to order, with a variety of sides too. The ice cream station is also located here!
All the staff we encountered were charming and polite. Lots of 'good mornings' in the corridors and hellos from other staff and crew around the ship. Our cabin stewardess was lovely and we got on very well with the bar staff in the Voyager Lounge and Horizon bar. The shore excursion desk were very helpful as we were disembarking after only three days onboard and they helped us with information about Livorno and Pisa.
Dining room staff were efficient and the wine waiters kept the glasses topped up with the all inclusive wine so no complaints there!
The ship is well designed with understated decor - and with large corridors and expansive public areas, it never felt crowded at all. The area outside the gift shop and computer centre was very spacious. There is also a spa and beauty salon, Connoisseurs Club for smokers, an atrium with a lovey sculpture at the base, glass enclosed lifts/elevators, and a Sports deck up on top, featuring putting greens, croquet, shuffleboard (it's cruise ship law to have shuffleboard!) golf practice nets and a Tennis/basketball court too. Down on the pool deck a table tennis table is set up too, so lots of active areas for those that feel the need to get active. I never had time to experience one of the gym classes (that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!) but there was plenty of them featured in the daily programme.
We were only on for three nights so only had taster of what a full cruise would offer, and I know there are elements of the cruise that occur later on that we missed out on, however we had a great time for our short duration onboard and were just getting into the rhythm of the cruise before we had to leave! Looking forward to returning for a longer trip in the not to distant future I hope!