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Illuminated Isles - Voyager Feb 13-23 Caribbean


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This is our 4th Voyager cruise and while we love the Explorer, the Voyager is probably our second favorite. We chose this cruise due to itinerary and timing to try and pick up a few Caribbean destinations we have not seen yet. 

 

We are a 59 yr old couple, married 36 years, from California and love to cruise but primarily on luxury lines for the typically better food and smaller ships. An all inclusive concept is also very attractive to us as I hate to be always pulling out my key card for everything. We constantly compare cruise lines on as close to Apple to apples basis as to all the charges, room size etc. nearly every time it is very close and yet you get the great food on Regent as a bonus. I don’t have a way in my spreadsheet to quantify he pleasure of only being onboard a ship of 700 vs 4000 but that weighs in at the end also. 

 

We took the air credit and booked our own first class tickets using miles and came out the day before. When we originally booked the cruise we did two cabin levels up from the bottom. Several months later we saw the price go down so we cancelled and rebooked (they let us slide on the admin fee) and upped to a Penthouse B at no additional charge!  Giddy up!

 

Our flight was on time and we took an Uber to our included Four Seasons Hotel. Check in was painless and we enjoyed the property although it is in the middle of a bunch of apartments and not on the Beach. The Regent representative left at 5p (which seemed odd - so early) but a note was left for us with all the necessary instructions except when to meet for the bus to the ship. 

 

A nice dinner at Boulud Sud down the street (Mediterranean tapas is best way to describe it) and we retired for the night. The included breakfast at the hotel restaurant was quite good albeit very crowded with all the Regent guests staying there. We left our bags in our room by 8:30a as they suggested and then saw them only again when we got to our room on the ship. That was nice. I normally just Uber or similar to the ship and this was a nice perk. 

 

The bus bus loaded at 11:30 and we left just before noon for the 15 min ride to the port. 

 

The line was quite long to check in (oh yeah, that is why I ride separately to the port!) but only took about a half hour total. We got on the ship and were heading up the elevator when we heard our first surprise. The first stop to the private island that I was planning with a private cabana (and that we were going to be the only ship there for an island that normally is occupied by one of NCL’s mega ships of 4000+) on Valentine’s Day with a few surprises for my wife, was cancelled. Rough seas would prevent a tender to shore. Dam. Ok I realize we need to be safe but when one of the key reasons you want to go on the cruise is cancelled and given how special it would have been for Valentine’s Day - well it didn’t make me happy. Oh but wait, they announced they would go to Nassau instead - been there done that many times - but no info on what would be available till end of day for excursions which then meant a likely mad rush to the excursion desk to book - disappointing. We decided to suck it up and stay on board for Valentine’s Day. I’ll make it special here instead. Lemons - lemonade anyone?

 

Surprise two was when we got to our suite to find out our second exciting excursion that was planned to Nikki’s beach in St. Bart’s - an optional excursion for $119pp for a small number of guests where celebrities often out - was cancelled for “operational reasons”.  Dam again. I guess that is the way it goes but again, not happy about this surprise. 

 

Our penthouse room (cabin number to follow after the cruise) was quite a surprise. Nice layout!  Towards the aft but far enough away we hope from the vibration (we are still docked as I write this). The seating area and vanity to get prepared in the morning was really nice. We have sailed in a Grand Suite on the Voyager several years ago Hong Kong to Beijing which, of course, was over the top, but this was really nice. We settled in nicely meeting our butler Roshan (ocean with an R in front of it he said) who just started his tour today having been home in India prior to sailing. 

 

I’ll continue the story as the cruise unfolds if you are interested. Special emphasis will be on the food and excursions for those that are interested.

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13 minutes ago, macbest said:

An all inclusive concept is also very attractive to us as I hate to be always pulling out my key card for everything. We constantly compare cruise lines on as close to Apple to apples basis as to all the charges, room size etc. nearly every time it is very close and yet you get the great food on Regent as a bonus. I don’t have a way in my spreadsheet to quantify he pleasure of only being onboard a ship of 700 vs 4000 but that weighs in at the end also. 

We're the same way - even if it's pre-paid, we HATE swiping every time we want a beer or something.  We've done one larger (2,800 pax) cruise and that was enough for us.  Give me the smaller, more intimate ships anytime.

 

13 minutes ago, macbest said:

The first stop to the private island that I was planning with a private cabana (and that we were going to be the only ship there for an island that normally is occupied by one of NCL’s mega ships of 4000+) on Valentine’s Day with a few surprises for my wife, was cancelled.

If it was Great Stirrup Cay, don't be too upset.  Yes, it's a nice island.  Yes, there are some nice things to do.  But truth be told, I didn't think it was all that.  If they hadn't been handing out icy rum drinks in the surf I'd have tendered back to Voyager a few hours earlier.

 

13 minutes ago, macbest said:

Surprise two was when we got to our suite to find out our second exciting excursion that was planned to Nikki’s beach in St. Bart’s - an optional excursion for $119pp for a small number of guests where celebrities often out - was cancelled for “operational reasons”.  Dam again. I guess that is the way it goes but again, not happy about this surprise. 

My wife also had an excursion cancelled in St Barts - I think that one was 'the tour operator had gone out of business' or something.  I know how you feel - it's frustrating...but like you said, lemons and lemonade.  Plenty to do on St Barts otherwise (unless you're there on a Sunday like we were.)

 

13 minutes ago, macbest said:

Our penthouse room (cabin number to follow after the cruise) was quite a surprise. Nice layout!  Towards the aft but far enough away we hope from the vibration (we are still docked as I write this).

We were in an aft PH B on deck 6 and only noticed the vibration when we were really making tracks - and even then it was actually rather soothing.  Some folks are more sensitive to the vibrations, but we've never had issues - we've been in Horizonview suites both times we've sailed Voyager and have enjoyed them both - I hope your cabin works for you!!

 

Oh, and I hope your butler is as awesome as our was (Zahid on Deck 6) - we've had some that were busts, but Zahid was one of the best, IMO.  

 

Enjoy your cruise!!

 

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3 minutes ago, UUNetBill said:

 

 

Oh, and I hope your butler is as awesome as our was (Zahid on Deck 6) - we've had some that were busts, but Zahid was one of the best, IMO.  

 

 

If you run into a poor butler again, please let someone know.  As easy going as we are on the ship and rarely complain about anything, on two of our many cruises we changed butlers.  One argued with everything I said (like when I asked for more laundry bags - he sniped back saying that we had some already ....... I had to show him that we did not in fact have any left).  The second time was the butler's last contract and all he did was complain about Regent and how butlers on Oceania make more money.  Most of the time, our butlers are amazing.  If you ever have Preston, he is one of the best we have encountered (has only been a butler for less than a year but he is happy to help anyone and he does it with a smile).

 

In terms of the comments about private islands, our experiences have not been positive (unless you like lying in the sun which is not something we enjoy).  The only private islands (or as they call them in Tahiti motu's) is in Tahiti.  For other private islands, we tend to walk off of the ship - look around and return to the ship.

 

 

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21 hours ago, Travelcat2 said:

 

If you run into a poor butler again, please let someone know.  As easy going as we are on the ship and rarely complain about anything, on two of our many cruises we changed butlers.  One argued with everything I said (like when I asked for more laundry bags - he sniped back saying that we had some already ....... I had to show him that we did not in fact have any left).  The second time was the butler's last contract and all he did was complain about Regent and how butlers on Oceania make more money.  Most of the time, our butlers are amazing.  If you ever have Preston, he is one of the best we have encountered (has only been a butler for less than a year but he is happy to help anyone and he does it with a smile).

 

Jackie, we've only had butlers 4 or 5 times and we haven't had a poor butler, I wouldn't say, but some have been much better than others.  Honestly, some of my early issues with butlers might have been due to me not really knowing what all I could use one for and kind of feeling like "What is this guy here for??"   :classic_biggrin:

 

I know Ryan and Zahid were our two favorites - if I could be guaranteed to get someone like these guys every time, I'd seriously consider more upgrades.

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Dinner was at Prime 7 and we got the coveted “chairman’s table” which has a view of the entire restaurant. Our last three experiences at Prime 7 (both on Explorer and Voyager) were less than favorable but only as it comes to how the steak was prepared. It is never cooked the right way more often than not coming out rare when we ask for medium rare to medium. Sure they can cook it some more but by the time they do, one of us has already finished. So we decided to give up on the steak this time and for the Alaskan king crab. A full two pound portion and we were blown away. Oh so good! We started with the tuna and avocado stack and the steak tartare (figured I would have my steak this way). As this was the first night on the ship after the kitchen reloaded, both were extremely fresh and delicious (pictures to follow). Service was excellent although the restaurant sommelier didn’t seem like he wanted to be there. 

 

Not wanting to get up to do anything in Nassau (and given it is Valentine’s Day), we slept till 10a! Now that is a vacation. I am a 6a person (still working) and it was a real treat to relax and recoup. The ship and our room is very quiet. A visit to the gym (miss the size of the gym on Explorer) and coffee and we enjoyed our day on our balcony reading. 

 

Service at lunch in La Veranda was terrible at lunch. Not sure if the ship was slammed with people but we had to ask 4 different people for water. I spoke to the asst maitre’d as we left and she was all over it, apologizing and said she would make sure this was corrected. Just the response I wanted. 

 

The setup on the Voyager I believe has changed where the food is and it is very crowded and not enough space for people to move through. Maybe again this is due just to the number on the ship or maybe others have observed this. 

 

We asked our Butler the names of a few waiters in compass rose that we should ask for and he provided before dinner. Want to fixate on one or two great waiters as we always seem to find on Regent. Those that are personable and get to know you and anticipate your needs. A true luxury experience for me.

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Prime 7 dinner pictures

the amuse bouche was a tomato soup with bbq sauce and a cheese float. Very tasty! 

The ahi Tuna and avacado stack. Had a soy sauce emulsion that made the dish. 

Steak tartare was excellent. The Dijon sauce and the perfectly done roast points made it. 

And the two pound portion crab legs! Such a treat. 

The carmel popcorn sundae and NY cheesecake did not disappoint. 

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2 hours ago, UUNetBill said:

Jackie, we've only had butlers 4 or 5 times and we haven't had a poor butler, I wouldn't say, but some have been much better than others.  Honestly, some of my early issues with butlers might have been due to me not really knowing what all I could use one for and kind of feeling like "What is this guy here for??"   :classic_biggrin:

 

I know Ryan and Zahid were our two favorites - if I could be guaranteed to get someone like these guys every time, I'd seriously consider more upgrades.

 

In my opinion Ryan is amongst the best of the butlers.  We've had him twice and adore him!

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2 hours ago, macbest said:

We asked our Butler the names of a few waiters in compass rose that we should ask for and he provided before dinner. Want to fixate on one or two great waiters as we always seem to find on Regent. Those that are personable and get to know you and anticipate your needs. A true luxury experience for me.

I'd highly recommend asking to sit in Roxanne's section if you get a chance - she's awesome.  She was on board last month and I think she still had some time left on her contract...

Edited by UUNetBill
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1 hour ago, UUNetBill said:

I'd highly recommend asking to sit in Roxanne's section if you get a chance - she's awesome.  She was on board last month and I think she still had some time left on her contract...

 

Do you know if she will be on the Explorer transatlantic at the end of March?

sheila

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That tuna stack looks delicious, will have to store that one in my memory bank. Keep the reviews coming- never get enough. DH said something the other day when we were daydreaming about our next cruise tha I found quite funny. He said "Ifind the excursions kind of tiring". I said so I guess you would be happy just to spend the whole time on board.

Actually, I don't think I would find that scenario too hard to take😍

 

Enjoy your cruise

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20 hours ago, UUNetBill said:

I'd highly recommend asking to sit in Roxanne's section if you get a chance - she's awesome.  She was on board last month and I think she still had some time left on her contract...

Well you were right UUNetBill! Our butler (Roshan) set it up and we sat in her section last night. Excellent service, truly the “Regent Way!”  Looks like we are set the rest of the cruise. Our butler came up with another name, Eric, that we might try if we don’t get to the dining room on time and Roxanne’s section is full. Mentioned to her you had her three weeks ago or so and she said she remembered you!

16 hours ago, vegasdriven said:

That tuna stack looks delicious, will have to store that one in my memory bank. Keep the reviews coming- never get enough. DH said something the other day when we were daydreaming about our next cruise tha I found quite funny. He said "Ifind the excursions kind of tiring". I said so I guess you would be happy just to spend the whole time on board.

Actually, I don't think I would find that scenario too hard to take😍

 

Enjoy your cruise

Funny it is true they can be tiring. We have had the best time so far, however, just being onboard. We skipped Nassau (as did most guests) and relaxed all of a Valentine’s Day. And today is a sea day and tomorrow we don’t arrive until 1p in Puerto Rico - so like 2.5 days at sea! 

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Well the service today in La Veranda for lunch was night and day different than yesterday. It was excellent. Back to the “Regent Way”!  The asst Maitre’d that I addressed this with yesterday spoke to us at dinner last night and said everything should be better. She was right. Alas, it always pays to let them know when something isn’t just right. They will do whatever they can to correct. 

 

Dinner was awesome last night. We asked for Roxanne in Compass Rose, as I noted above, and she was excellent. Pictures to follow. It was well paced (relaxing) and delicious. We went to the show “Dancing Fool” against my better judgement, and it was as expected, disappointing. Just not our thing. The cast works hard but it just wasn’t entertaining for us. Went to the Observation lounge and enjoyed Kathy the pianist there as we have every night. 

 

Had an 80 min massage this morning, ah pure bliss, and so happy to learn that gratuity is included. I don’t remember it being that way in the past but something I learned recently on these boards. Still slipped the masseuse come cash. 

 

The pool scene is a nightmare, however.  Must be a full ship (I need to go check) as not one lounge chair was available. Of course, most were unoccupied but had books on them to “save”. I won’t turn this into a lounge chair hogging rant, but needless to say, it was disappointing. What the heck, we sat on our Balcony which is super comfortable anyway. Quiet, peaceful, right next to our frig and dolphins jumping beside the boat.  We are in day two of staying onboard (granted today was a sea day) and relaxing big time!

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1 hour ago, macbest said:

Well you were right UUNetBill! Our butler (Roshan) set it up and we sat in her section last night. Excellent service, truly the “Regent Way!”  Looks like we are set the rest of the cruise. Our butler came up with another name, Eric, that we might try if we don’t get to the dining room on time and Roxanne’s section is full. Mentioned to her you had her three weeks ago or so and she said she remembered you!

Eric is excellent, too, as I recall.  I'd be flattered that Roxanne remembered us but since we were having dinner with her boss (Davor) the night we were seated in her section I'd say that's why she remembered, not due to our wit, charm, and overall good looks.   :classic_laugh:

 

I'm glad you enjoyed sitting in her section.  She's a joy.

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The escargot in Compass Rose always is awesome. The garlic butter sauce is heavenly. The Exec Chef came out and we talked about it. He said he likes this prep way better than Charteruse. I agree. 

 

Also had the Siberian caviar profiteroles which my wife loved. 

 

But the big highlight was the beef tenderloin topped with foie gras and of course, steamed lobster

 

The nice Valentines surprise in room. 

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We ate at Compass Rose again last night for dinner. What was interesting was that nothing on the daily rotation intrigued us. The beauty of the new menu is the expanded list of offerings on the “left” side  of the menu. We chose all from that side and had an awesome meal. 

 

Foie gras was delectable. Wife had the escargot tonight. She said it was the best thing so far. Went with the ribeye steak. Hard to believe at this thickness they could get the crust on the outside and yet perfectly medium rare on the inside. A potato gratin and sautéed spinach made the dish. Oh and bearnaise (it’s the law, and Regents is excellent). Our server, Roxanne did an awesome job. And starting to anticipate our needs. She automatically brought extra sauce. What a treat. 

 

The comedian tonight was hilarious. Best we have seen in while. Can’t wait for his next show. 

 

We arrived Puerto Rico today. First day off ship in 3 days. Doing a good walk about tour in the old town. 

 

Loving our trip and Regent. 

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Awesome culinary tour in San Juan today. Our guide, Pablo Garcia was one of the best in a long time. Super clear voice that projected well to the 14 of us that embarked on this food “tour” of Old Town.

 

We ended up having 9 different tastes (and cocktails) over 6 different places. But what was amazing was the full walk around old town and the thorough explanation about the area. Mind you not some blowhard that drones on and on as I have often had.  He was really good to watch the group on how much detail to provide. Pictures will follow but don’t do it justice - the history we learned along the way. Can’t recommend this tour enough. Not that the food was like something better than the ship. It was different and  the history along with it terrific. But the walking part and the history of old town that i didn’t see in any other tours is what made it. We literally walked from one end to the other, up and down the hill. Hint: there was a lady with knee replacement 5 months ago and she had no problem keeping up! So don’t chicken out. Try it!

 

It ended up lasting 4 hrs. So we got back at 7p a bit hot and tired and certainty didn’t feel like showering and dressing up for dinner. Regent to the rescue with the new pool grill. We went up in our shorts and had a nice casual meal. What a treat. So happy they added this. Grilled steak, salmon, lamb chops, chicken or a handmade burger (not offered any other time on the ship). Sure enough everyone was ordering the burger and it was excellent. They are still working out the kinks of this fairly new program and the executive chef came up to help as there were a lot of us there. Great service here also as in the restaurants. 

 

Our butler even showed up to see how we were doing and afterward to bring a different wine to our room to try. Dam I’m loving this Butler!

 

Great day all around on Regent!

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Culinary tour started with a speciality coffee shop and local coffee beans. So smooth and nice no sugar or cream needed (which is saying a lot for me). Along with a guava pastry. 

 

Fire and smashed plantain with a grilled chicken with a cream garlic sauce. Yum

 

the next dish I took picture half way through. Beans rice and pork shoulder. Big surprise for all those that hate cilantro. They used something that tasted the same but from a different family of coriander. 

 

Awesome gelato and sorbet from Senor Paleta. And the last course I didn’t take a picture of that included ahi, and a separate dish of meat goat cheese and bread. That sounds terrible but it was delicious. Along with a tres Leche cake. We had cocktails along the way also all indicative of the island. This last place the executive chef came out. They are trying something more modern. Elevating traditional dishes with great ingredients. Really old and new cuisine taking place. 

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Edited by macbest
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Really enjoying your reports and pictures!  Keep 'em coming.

 

We were onboard Voyager last month, and although we didn't dine at the Pool Grill in the evening, I did have a conversation with the GM (Davor) about it.  He described the handmade hamburger in detail, and it really sounded delicious.

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