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Illuminated Isles - Voyager Feb 13-23 Caribbean

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ZOh, I so wish we had done that instead of the Bacardi tour, would have loved to spend time wandering around old town. We also ate at the grill that night ( Jan 7-17 cruise), and it was great.

Second RachelGs, recommendation for the St Bart's snorkelling. I hadn't snorkelled in over 20 yrs, and they were so professional, and helpful, I was just completely comfortable, and wished we had more time to explore and enjoy the area.

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George says the burgers he had at the pool grill on our recent cruise were the best he has ever had on a ship.  And that is high praise from someone who raises grass fed Angus beef.

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We have tried to go to the “baths” in Virgin Gorda several times in the past and never could due to dangerous waters. Well it finally happened today. A nice ferry ride to Virgin gorda and then an open air safari bus to the place. 

 

We started on on a long walk downhill first to Devils beach. A bit of a challenge with lots of stairs and rocks to climb over. But easy enough that we didn’t see anyone turn back. Once on the beach it was quite the sight. Relaxed for 40 min in the surf with the sandy bottom. Cooling off was much needed after the trek. 

 

Then the fun - hiking through the caverns to “The Baths” beach. Even more of a challenge but totally doable. You need water socks and a little nimbleness. Low overhanging rocks and tight cooridors. Ropes attached to the rocks to help you either up or down staircases. At the end everyone celebrated having made it. The Bath beach was also nice although I thought Devils beach was nicer. We stayed their for 45 min floating and chilling out. Beautiful day. I’ll post some more of the cavern walk separately. 

 

You climb back to the jeeps another route which while very steep, was more helpful in terms of wood steps and width. At the top are a few shops. And if you didn’t think you could make it, there is a great bar and swimming pool at the top with awesome views. Something for everyone! 

 

Got back to the ship around 1 just in time to change for lunch. Great day! Now time for a nap.....

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We did the Baths as well in Jan., you described it very well. We would love to go back- would be fantastic to spend a few days on Virgin Gorda.

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Dinner in Charteruese was very good last night. What’s odd is when we finished we both said we wouldn’t go back this cruise. This seems to be ongoing for us. We visit either here or what used to be Signature and then feel it was enough for one cruise. Maybe it has to do with the bit more formaility of the setting or likely the food choices.

 

We started with the foie  gras  terrine that was served with apricots. Delicious. But we commented how the seared foie gras in Compass Rose (left side of menu - available daily) was actually better. The beet salad was beautiful. Definitely the best plated dish so far. Like the opening of a flower (pictures will follow). Beautifully laid out with a goat cheese mousse and an Italian dressing. Delicious. The cream of artichoke soup, however was disappointing. It is a different recipe than what is available on Explorer (which frankly was our favorite dish onboard last June). It Didn’t have the artichoke taste I was expecting and they put almonds in it. Explorers version was creamy with a few nibs of artichoke hearts. A shame a bit of a letdown from what we were expecting. 

 

Entrees included the black foot chicken breast encrusted with truffles and herbs. Odd it was included with a lobster essence and shrimp pieces, the latter which was a bit fishy. I had the veal fillet with apples bacon and prunes. Tasty throughout except for the bacon which was woefully uncooked and you know what not cooked through bacon tastes like. It actually wrapped a prune so it could be pushed aside. The side dishes are not t be missed. The mashed potatoes were dreamy (easily a ton of butter and cream within) and the haricots vert were nicely prepared with shallots and both came piping hot. None of the desserts grabbed us but we did try the chocolate Napoleon that was just so so and the cheese cart where they roll over this large covered cheese tray and let you pick. When you are in the mood for cheese after dinner this is the way to go. A nice finish. 

 

One area that was new to me was the wine list. In the past they used to have one white and one red and you could also pick anything else you liked on the ship to be served in Charteruese. This time we were presented with a wine list that had 6 white wines and I think 10 red wines (all French) to choose by the glass. All included of course. Not sure if this is fleet wide. That was a nice add in this restaurant as Prime 7 still sticks with the one white / one red concept. 

 

Serivce throughout was excellent. Attentive and not overpowering. 

 

We we were both lucky at the casino last night so we had a night cap and headed to bed. We are in St John Antigua for a cooking school tomorrow. 

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We do not make reservations for Chartreuse.  We have learned just not our thing.  Leaves room for those that do enjoy it. 

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We loved Chartreuse, and would probably enjoy another chance to dine there if we had been closer to the beginning of the cruise. Interesting, though, I had the chicken, and it did not have any seafood (was delicious as was, and I don't think the seafood would have been a good addition).

Also, we were not offered a wine list - though we were happy with what was offered. Everywhere else we asked for a certain type of wine, but we assumed a French restaurant would get the wine offering right. Always nice to have a choice, though!

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Nicole’s table. 

 

What a phenomenal experience. We signed up for a cooking school on our trip in St Johns Antigua. On the top of a hill, this family runs a cooking school nearly six days a week out of their home. A nice gentle breeze and views of the island make the meal and experience that much more wonderful. 

 

You dig in and help! A multi course meal is prepared (we did one on jerk seasoning). I’m a pretty accomplished chef and I learned a number of new things! It is truly like you are in someone’s house cooking along with them. 

 

You end up sitting at this beautiful table overlooking the island. What is not to love about this. On vacation, cooking, beautiful views oh and some adult beverages!  What an amazing day.

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Pictures of the cooking school in St.John Antigua, “Nicole’s Table”0003D2C6-9B0F-4E89-A65D-C16C7559422F.thumb.jpeg.3be7d22a7df940d9ff6612bfd26d69ae.jpeg

 

730DB6DC-829A-4173-8B4E-0642C8FB4535.thumb.jpeg.27960d39bc4debe93d643611ba848652.jpeg

A view from the patio. 

66C33A9B-FB6E-43C1-B8EF-A253E3AD335B.thumb.jpeg.b0901df77ee182dd243240a615db7846.jpeg

Another view from the hilltop patio  you can see the Voyager in the distance 90CB4409-6194-483D-9AC9-0514103D81F1.thumb.jpeg.246e9b2a4267bef026b78c6c63a137c0.jpeg

 

6E77790A-011E-45E0-9E44-E3F5DB5E5005.thumb.jpeg.87414c0b655fd9320730567e9abde3b2.jpeg

Part of the bounty that we chopped hopped and diced. 43FD473A-5CAA-44DB-B566-F42B6E203B0C.thumb.jpeg.91fb9a0179004dcb1e10b395947daeb0.jpeg

Waiting for the rest of the meal we prepared to arrive. 

9CF318D0-2F97-454D-B019-C85F95DC687A.thumb.jpeg.b46bc97a03ea8910ab48049d5e1d2bcc.jpeg

Backyard patio overlooking the ocean. Rum punch setup to help yourself. Just like at a friends home. 

A53774E2-D678-445B-91E5-DECC88D7AB84.thumb.jpeg.8f89dd414e092dfe73773608da428f15.jpeg

a coconut tart we made. Delicious

C318E43F-C428-4256-BD6B-BFC12B8D1AAA.thumb.jpeg.589a90760bb07eb531a0fc67e79069b1.jpeg

fresh herb garden

Edited by macbest

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Great blog. Love your pictures and descriptions. My husband and I are enjoying looking at the various restaurant food pictures as we are taking our first cruise on Voyager in December. My husband has already decided on what he wants to order!!

 

 

 

 

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Wow....I just found this Roll Call quite by accident. We were supposed to be on this cruise with you all but Hubby became ill so we had to cancel 5 hours before we were to leave for the airport. Very sad!  The crazy thing is that there is another roll call for this cruise which I, and 6 others, were a part of. So strange. CC has made it impossible to search for a specific Roll Call. Neither this one, nor the other one, are listed under Voyager Roll Calls.

 

Anyway, I love all your photos!  We so wish we were with you! Hubby has always been so healthy so this illness took us quite by surprise. We have another Regent cruise planned for the end of August so at least we have something to look forward to.  Please make sure you have a glass of champagne "on us"!!  😄  Enjoy!

 

Pauline and Jim Ray

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The culinary tour looks just amazing.

 

just off Explorer and they did not have a wine list in Chartreuse.  Though you could ask for a different one if what was included wasn’t to your taste,

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Excellent blog, Thank you.The cookery school looks great.

Interesting about the wine list in Chartreuse. The only wine lists we have ever seen on Regent have been for the Premium wines, at additional cost.

 

 

 

13 hours ago, PaulieRay said:

Wow....I just found this Roll Call quite by accident. We were supposed to be on this cruise with you all but Hubby became ill so we had to cancel 5 hours before we were to leave for the airport. Very sad!  The crazy thing is that there is another roll call for this cruise which I, and 6 others, were a part of. So strange. CC has made it impossible to search for a specific Roll Call. Neither this one, nor the other one, are listed under Voyager Roll Calls.

This is not a Roll Call as such. All Roll Calls are in another area of CruiseCritic, which is where the roll call that you started for this voyage is located (https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2596578-voyager-illuminated-isles-feb-13-2019/)

So sorry to hear that you missed this cruise and hope your DH is recovering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by flossie009

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10 hours ago, RachelG said:

The culinary tour looks just amazing.

 

just off Explorer and they did not have a wine list in Chartreuse.  Though you could ask for a different one if what was included wasn’t to your taste,

You can always ask for something else if the wine they serve isn’t to your liking. chartreuse always has different French wines as their mainstay. What surprised me was this complimentary list that has so many white and red wine choices by the glass. And yes, all complimentary. I’m not sure I saw everyone with the list but they did offer it to us (as a reference we see only “Gold” members so it wasn’t a level perk). 

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2 hours ago, mj_holiday said:

Was the culinary tour a Regents tour. That just sounded great 

Yes it was. It wasn’t on the original excursion list when we were allowed to first start booking excursions. I went back several months before we sailed and redownlaoded the list. There were a number of excursions added maybe consistent with this new more specialty type excursions they have been advertising. This one was $149pp (less I think 10% for a PH suite). Well worth it. We had a group of 12 so it was a nice size. 

 

The culinary walking tour of San Juan was also a late add by regent ($119) which we did and discussed earlier. Finally a visit to Nikki’s Beachclub (I think $119) was added to St Bart’s which we were really looking forward to as the place where all the celebrities hang out. We just arrived in St Bart’s and there are quire a few luxury yachts here so it could be true. Alas, this was one of the excursions they cancelled on the first day due to “operational” reasons

😩so something to think about. Keep checking for late adds!

Edited by macbest
Typos. Dam autocorrect!

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14 hours ago, PaulieRay said:

Wow....I just found this Roll Call quite by accident. We were supposed to be on this cruise with you all but Hubby became ill so we had to cancel 5 hours before we were to leave for the airport. Very sad!  

 

Anyway, I love all your photos! 

 

Pauline and Jim Ray

Was sorry to hear you weren’t able to join the cruise. Read about your mishap. We both feel for you as you never know when something can happen. 

 

The original CC meet and mingle was scheduled for Day 2 at 10a which was dumb since we were supposed to be at the private island. Then they switched it to the first sea day same time (Day3). Alas I had already booked a massage for that time so was not able to attend. Always enjoy those as a way of breaking out and meeting others with the same passion. We have met a number of very nice people on board (the small group excursions I mentioned above have all been wonderful people that have attended.)

Edited by macbest
Minor edits

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On 2/18/2019 at 2:47 AM, vegasdriven said:

We did the Baths as well in Jan., you described it very well. We would love to go back- would be fantastic to spend a few days on Virgin Gorda.

We were lucky enough to be invited to a wedding at Little Dix Bay some time ago and spent a week there.  There is a LOT to see and do on the island and the boating and swimming etc were wonderful too.  Really something to consider as a holiday.

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4 hours ago, mj_holiday said:

Also was the cooking school in Antigua one of Regents excursions 

Yes it was. Called Nicole’s Table. $149pp

3 hours ago, Hambagahle said:

We were lucky enough to be invited to a wedding at Little Dix Bay some time ago and spent a week there.  There is a LOT to see and do on the island and the boating and swimming etc were wonderful too.  Really something to consider as a holiday.

When we were there this week, our driver said that it was heavily damaged and under major reconstruction. He said not really open yet. 

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 Over the last three days, nothing appeared on the compass rose menu that was appealing to us (and we have been saving “left side” items for when we can’t get in anywhere else.). So three nights ago we went to chartreuse, which o recorded above.

 

Two nights ago to Sette Mari (you pretty much have to line up at 6:30p when they open unless you want to wait till second round about 8:30). The veal Marsala was stellar. Super tender and I ordered extra sauce. As was the eggplant parm. Both shown below. 19E507E3-53B4-4D9C-9D5B-DDC503C26C34.thumb.jpeg.9a580b91cc742aaf37b2ef73c599f6c5.jpegD044470D-88DF-4709-B46B-A8F931B17B3A.thumb.jpeg.090532b3f1dfa2b60a8fb74742d20db4.jpeg

 

So last night, we worked with our Butler to pull his magic and try and get us into Prime 7 and he did! We have had issues the last few cruises at Prime 7. Earlier this cruise it was very good (we stayed away from the steak which is often way undercooked). 

 

We we ended up choosing “wisely” last night. Wife ordered the Seafood Plateau which is all served on ice as an entree. Lobster, king crab, shrimp, jumbo scallops. It was excellent. I chose the small plate strip loin which is a 6oz piece - more than enough vs the 12 oz regular piece especially when you have the tuna and avacado tower and the clam chowder! Before hand!

 

Interesting I was thinking that since they would cut the steak open to serve it (it was supposed to be sliced but as you can see it was just two pieces) that they would see if it was cooked correctly prior to it being served. Even though i ordered it medium it came, as usual, as rare. But I suffered through. Frankly the size was perfect and coupled with their excellent sides and some bearnaise, it was delicious. 

C506E21C-82F3-4543-8490-EDC96489E4AC.thumb.jpeg.378d59c1284a11ff3623ef9e91a51d27.jpegAC994334-E308-403B-B93D-AEB7C9D760EE.thumb.jpeg.d554f723db11e1487e28ee24d9df3e45.jpeg

For dessert, for someone that loves ice cream, you can’t pass up the Carmel peanut popcorn Ice cream sundae. And An DA9E8A08-8BD1-41C6-A741-161076194742.thumb.jpeg.23b575729f09d10eddaf53dd2c4f8ace.jpegorder of key lime pie and we were done. 8BD331A4-5FC6-488B-B51B-30AFD7B4B189.thumb.jpeg.d720b14c5e66deabf0b4938345205098.jpeg

Another excellent meal!

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Excursion update. 

At St Bart’s we had booked Nikki’s beach hangout which we were looking forward to. As I stated previously, they cancelled it due to operational reasons. So we rebooked a “Sailing the Leeward Coast) which included swimming and snorkeling at a beach. A very relaxing sailing day and while the swimming was nice, snorkeling was nearly non-existent in terms of seeing fish. But we would do it again if Nikki’s beach wasn’t available. Afterwards we walked around town and shopped. That was a bust as it was mostly Madison 5th ave type shopping. 

A few photos along the way:

C6C21324-06A6-4A6F-8F6A-43523A721B00.thumb.jpeg.c4c8df230d501d45894739d86ef7421d.jpeg6143A0DC-E4F0-4D80-8F9F-9CBFFEA7D8BE.thumb.jpeg.237772e361a24d45b46f946f6df4ed93.jpeg

Steering by foot by the captain

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————————

today we did the scenic tour and Marigot shopping excursion in St Martin/St Maarten. Big mistake. Originally scheduled for 9:30 it got moved to 7:50a start. We went to Marigot to go shopping and we arrived at 9 only to stay till 10 (somewhat expected). What wasn’t expected was that all the stores were closed until 9:30-10! So we were there too early! And even the numerous “bistros” they talk about in the tour description were closed. What the heck? Total bust. I would have demanded a refund had it not been an “included” excursion. They left us off in Phillipsburg (Dutch side) for shopping which at least had stores open. We paid to ride on a water taxi $5 each (we were told it was $3 each on the tour) but still had a long hike back to the ship. 

 

One final note. Look at this picture of 4 cruise ships in port today:

BE56BB06-C964-44DA-AE59-96F95B8A2FC0.thumb.jpeg.617dd9f702b8bd5a0eb0cc6874f41105.jpeg

Which would you rather sail on? The Voyager is the second from the left. There were like 13,000 people from ships in town today. Ugh. I’ll take Regent any day. 

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Terrific posts with outstanding photos; especially liked the compare/contrast cruiseship photo above.  Absolutely concur, Regent is our choice too.

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