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On Board Southampton to Barcelona


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We are enjoying the cruise immensely. Not much time to follow recent posts or to add much now - will do full review upon return. we are in Concierge 608; our 6th Explorer cruise and 4th in same cabin.

Flew United from Dulles using Regent - best ever UA flight!  DW exclaimed: "Is this really United?". Very nice food and service. Great entertainment; I finally saw "Hidden Figures". Forward-facing flat bed seats at bulkhead.

Fine transfer to Intercontinental Park lane; good location for our day @ V&A and a super Italian dinner nearby by short bus trip (easy, tap fare meter with credit card). Hotel was overwhelmed at breakfast.

Explorer looks beautiful. Captain Luca Morvillo is new but just recently did 2 WCs with Oceania. Came aboard 2 cruises ago and was with Captain Rosario for those. Captain Rosario followed construction of the Explorer and took her to sea on her early cruises so the right person to acclimate Captain Morillo. Andreas is GM; he was recently promoted from F&B Director - has been with Regent for 20 years. CD is David Niven who is very affable and has a TREMENDOUS voice - don't miss his show.  

F&B is Stephane, who I hadn't met but many familiar faces in the female staff. Dinners and wine have been fully satisfying but service has had some rough spots but these were corrected nicely and quickly. My OPINION is that newcomers aren't trained enough.

Young Production staff numbers (World Beat and Paradise) have been WOWS!

Weather has been cool and wet with Very Rough seas. Captain has had his hands full! Missed 2 ports but had an extra day in both Bordeaux and Bilboa. Destinations did us proud by arranging alternate excursions. Terrific!

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Thank you so much for your interim report of your cruise. For comparative newbies like me, this kind of update for Explorer is really useful.

you will now have to pardon my ignorance; I assume that F&B stands for Food and Beverage, but what would this person, Stephane, actually do?

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From a recent job posting for the role:

 

The Food & Beverage Director's primary responsibility is the management of all shipboard food and beverage operations onboard to ensure that the line's high standards are achieved and maintained within budgetary limitations. 
Must be able to manage, organize, direct and supervise all restaurants with different concepts, 14 bars and lounges, 10 production and finishing galleys, the sanitation and provision departments. 
 

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TS:

 

Please do me (us, wife and self) a favor.  Pass on our regards to F&B Manager Stephane.  We were with him during just-completed BTB (Stockholm-Southampton; Southampton-Southampton) segments.  We got off; you got on. 

 

During the first segment, had a pleasant dinner with him and another couple at Chartreuse.  A genuine nice guy.  I mentioned our recent visit to the American "D-Day" Normandy Invasion Beaches (Utah and Omaha) a few-months' previously; and our plans to return to Normandy to visit the three British and Canadian Beaches (Gold, Juno, Sword) within the next two years.  I was able to recall the name of a key bridge held by a British Commando unit early on 6 June 1944 which was instrumental in securing a lodgment on The Continent and the ultimate liberation of France. 

 

Stephane and I have made an informal agreement to meet at that bridge.  I am pursing this.  

 

We will see Stephane in March at San Diego when boarding Splendor for a Canal crossing.  Hope to have more details to present to him at that time.  

 

Give him our best.  

 

Jim and Sue

Redmond, WA

 

GOARMY!

 

 

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Gained an hour on the way to Oporto so up early; we'll lose the hour when we return to Spain. Another terrific Production Cast number (Broadway) last night. 

Walking tour with tapas (many) and wine in La Coruna was FUN! Beautiful area near the ship; easy to walk around.

Internet working well for ME, who does do any photos

Veero water: bottles in rooms and dining venues. Bottles fit in cabin frig; taste great (both still and sparkling). Plastic bottles for excursions. No one that I spoke to knew about plans to use Veero for excursions.

I asked many Staff about dry dock that will be done in Marseille Present crew to stay during and after drydock.. Not much knowledge shared - "a few warranty items will be corrected otherwise, carpet replacement etc." An interesting comment (unattributed:) was"staircase will be turned around" good for a rumor but as an engineer, I find it unbelievable.

Go Army, I will seek out Stephane and pass on you regards and message.

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Which 2 ports did you miss?  I'm booked on this same cruise next year (from Amsterdam to Barcelona) during the same time of year.  Worried about rain and rough seas.  Glad you are enjoying it!! 

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8 hours ago, DeepFreeze63 said:

"staircase will be turned around"

I understand this is the plan for Splendor, as shown on the deck plans.

I agree that this is unlikely, and unnecessary, on Explorer.

 

We have also had the pleasure of sailing with Stephane (who had a starring role in the recent Explorer documentary screened in the UK). He is an excellent F&B Manager, as are all on Regent.

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10 hours ago, DeepFreeze63 said:

Gained an hour on the way to Oporto so up early; we'll lose the hour when we return to Spain. Another terrific Production Cast number (Broadway) last night. 

Walking tour with tapas (many) and wine in La Coruna was FUN! Beautiful area near the ship; easy to walk around.

Internet working well for ME, who does do any photos

Veero water: bottles in rooms and dining venues. Bottles fit in cabin frig; taste great (both still and sparkling). Plastic bottles for excursions. No one that I spoke to knew about plans to use Veero for excursions.

I asked many Staff about dry dock that will be done in Marseille Present crew to stay during and after drydock.. Not much knowledge shared - "a few warranty items will be corrected otherwise, carpet replacement etc." An interesting comment (unattributed:) was"staircase will be turned around" good for a rumor but as an engineer, I find it unbelievable.

Go Army, I will seek out Stephane and pass on you regards and message.

 

Enjoying your posts.  As you know, Explorer will be in dry dock in about a month so whatever little issues remain should be fixed.

 

The first thing that I learned about Splendor was about the staircase being "turned around" so that you will be facing Compass Rose.  It will be interesting to see.

 

 

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DeepFreeze63,

So glad that you are having a great cruise, and looking forward to your comments and your review.

We were on Explorer in August, and agree with your assessment of the production shows, they were as good as any that I have seen at sea.

Wishing you a wonderful cruise.

Bob

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DeepFreeze63:

 

Advise Stephane Sue and I will probably do a repeat of our April-May '19 UniWorld  river boat cruise.  The second segment was from Paris to Normandy, and return to Paris.  

 

So--this next-time, (probably 2021 or 2022):  Brit and Canadian Invasion Beaches referenced above.  The key bridge is Pegasus.  Stephane will remember that name.  He will also remember the line I repeated:  "Hold until relieved; hold until relieved".  That what the 'Brits did at 0100H on 6 June 44.    

 

We will have more definitive details on these plans when meeting Stephane in a little over five months at San Diego.  

 

Regards,

 

GOARMY!

 

 

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Leaving Lisbon @ 3 PM - too short a visit! Beautiful day.

Yesterday did the "Charming Minho Province" excursion in Oporto - it was. We used Regent's new excursion communication app in Oporto for 1st time with MIXED results. I loved it. I received a Regent Email about a week before sailing and loaded the app on my later version I phone. I could hear clearly our Guide at great distances (some feedback close to guide). DW had same app load, same generation I phone, same phone setting BUT could not connect - she gave GM an earful. Others (about 18 in group)) had not received Email and learned about it only on excursion bus. Destinations told me that only announcements of usage would be in Passages (night before excursion). Guide was told that his source box (size of large purse) cost $4000 (maybe euros) so don't lose/hurt it. He looked very odd compared to Guides for Gate 1 and Globus tour guides that were using "Whisperers"!

Today did walking tour of Old Lisbon and our guide distributed "whisperers" (from her agency) - they were WONDERFUL.

Go Army - talked to Stephane and passed on your fond regards which he returns. Stephane also mentioned that the bridge was names Pegasus.

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Are docked in Cadiz on a stunning beautiful day, just across from large P&O ship.

Had a very MUNDANE Upper Tier Party last night in the Explorer Lounge. Lovely canape table but no special entertainment (background guitar for a while), no sight of Captain, brief remarks by CC, only seats for about 2/3 attendees. About 9 Titanium, 29 Platinum and 110 Gold aboard.

Started the on-line evaluation. It's very easy but takes me considerably more time than penciling in on paper did. Very good tutorial is on the TV.  One can quit and return to Evaluation up to 10 times BUT must finish before disembarkation.

For our tour of Old Lisbon yesterday, we were given "Whisperers" (by Tour Company) - WONDERFUL. DW is getting her phone and App checked by Destination Services but as yet they haven't been able to connect her - will report later.

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Glad that you are enjoying your cruise.  We were in Cadiz for our 35th anniversary - sat outside of a cathedral, had sangria and some great food.  

 

I was jut posting on another thread about having too many "Gold" Seven Seas Society Members in the Upper Tier Party.  The events used to be enjoyable but are now were would not mind if we missed them.  They need to split this up somehow so that the groups are more manageable!

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1 hour ago, Travelcat2 said:

Glad that you are enjoying your cruise.  We were in Cadiz for our 35th anniversary - sat outside of a cathedral, had sangria and some great food.  

 

I was jut posting on another thread about having too many "Gold" Seven Seas Society Members in the Upper Tier Party.  The events used to be enjoyable but are now were would not mind if we missed them.  They need to split this up somehow so that the groups are more manageable!

Long before we hit titanium we suggested that this level (and above) should merit a true "top tier" event.  You are correct.....it's no longer an intimate event.

 

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4 hours ago, Kwaj girl said:

Long before we hit titanium we suggested that this level (and above) should merit a true "top tier" event.  You are correct.....it's no longer an intimate event.

 

Ken and I are Gold and I cannot imagine us getting to a higher level.  I also agree that Titanium cruisers should have something very very special and for them only...

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Another beautiful day! In Gibraltar, along side the Mein Schiff 2 in an UGLY port about a 15 to 20 minute easy walk to town. Met Lorraine will be the CD for the next voyages beyond Barcelona; we had been with her on a crossing about 8 years ago and remember her fondly.

About 24 cruisers went on a Regent-arranged golfing in Cadiz with CD and Asst. CD - reports were VERY favorable.

DW and I walked Cadiz on the beautiful and had a delightful time. Yes, we visited the magnificent cathedral and the great plaza in front of it.

Last night' 9:30 show was based on Jersey Boys and STARRED the Asst. CD, Evan Bosworth. Absolutely the best Regent show that I have been to. standing ovation drew an encore that many of us danced in the aisles to.

Some disappointments ( besides not winning often enough at Trivia) - no Beatles night! 

Tried to resume the on-line Cruise Survey; had lots of difficulties due to ship's internet. I now think that it is a STINKO idea. if I didn't want to give Kudos to the CD and our cabin Attendants, I would just skip it. The frequent request for 100% participation must be due to "smoking the evil (previously) weed".

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Deep Freeze, thanks for your postings, you have more patience than I do to post during the cruise. David and Evan set up several golf games during our British Isles cruise before you. In Liverpool they had a Beatles tribute band that was a lot of fun!

On our final cruise review I very strongly stated that they should offer an online version to be completed up to a couple of weeks after we return as discussed on another thread. I hope everyone does this as I find it hard to believe their return rate hasn’t gone down. With Lorraine coming on I wonder where David is going?

 

Kwaj girl, I believe the Jersey Boys show is something that Evan Bosworth does on his cruises. If you google him he has done this show a number of times including on other cruise lines. It was him singing with the Regent Orchestra. He and David are talented. He did it on our cruise as well. 

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10 hours ago, Kwaj girl said:

DeepFreeze63:  Do you recall the title of the show featuring the Jersey Boys motif?  Wonder it we'll have something similar later this month on Nav.....

I believe (threw out the Passages) that it was: "Too Good to be True".

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6 hours ago, taxare said:

Deep Freeze, thanks for your postings, you have more patience than I do to post during the cruise. David and Evan set up several golf games during our British Isles cruise before you. In Liverpool they had a Beatles tribute band that was a lot of fun!

On our final cruise review I very strongly stated that they should offer an online version to be completed up to a couple of weeks after we return as discussed on another thread. I hope everyone does this as I find it hard to believe their return rate hasn’t gone down. With Lorraine coming on I wonder where David is going?

 

Kwaj girl, I believe the Jersey Boys show is something that Evan Bosworth does on his cruises. If you google him he has done this show a number of times including on other cruise lines. It was him singing with the Regent Orchestra. He and David are talented. He did it on our cruise as well. 

David will remain as Asst. CD with Lorraine as CD - a great pairing. David will be full-time CD as soon as Splendor joins the fleet.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just back from our cruise plus a week on our own in Barca for a day and the rest in Paris. We want to report on our great experience in Barcelona that might appeal to even those that have been to Barcelona several times.

We have been to Barcelona maybe five times. Once for a week in the 1980s and several  one- days with Regent. In my youth (ancient times), I scaled the first tower of Sagrada Familia; but our Regent excursions only toured the outside. We wanted to see inside. So:

I got timed -entry tickets from the Sagrada Familia web site for 12:30 on the day of disembarkation. Tickets become available about 2 months in advance. I booked the tickets with an English Guided tour included (see experience below).

Regent disembarkation was fabulous. Luggage for our “independent arrangements” was dockside before 8:30; easily retrievable; porter available (we had 4 big bags and 2 carry-ons). Taxis just outside of terminal baggage room with larger size taxis plentiful.  Fare rate posted on window of taxi with supplements for cruise port and for luggage.

Stayed at Ayre Hotel Rosellon at 1 block from Sagrada Familia. Very nice, modern hotel with SPECTACULAR roof top bar – I felt like I reach out and touch the towers. Sat there in awe in the late afternoon and watched the cranes lower really big pieces of granite (?) into place on the towers.

Advance tickets still require you go through rigid security (like the airport but shoes allowed on). We got in line and arrived at security entry at about 12:13 (for 12:30 entry) and we told to get out of line and wait. Lesson Learned: line moves fast; once inside, you can stay as long as you wish (I think a two hours or so visit is plenty for most people).

I had brought our receipt for the tickets – NOT sufficient! Bring the E-ticket (or a paper copy). We had a 5 to 10 minute wait before security while our receipt was converted to a ticket. KEEP the ticket throughout the visit.

We wandered inside before our English tour began. This is NOT “Another Bloody Church” – we were in AWE! Clean, neat, vast, modern and something interesting everywhere I looked. Bring binoculars.

Our 55 minute, English Guided Tour was “okay”. Guide spoke good English and we were provided whisperers. But, I’d now recommend using the Audio Tour.

We subsequently visited the Sant Pau Art Nouveau site – about 3 blocks from Sagrada Familia up a pedestrian street. Sant Pau is a renovated hospital site of about 9 buildings, which as they advertize are “jewels”. Bring your best camera; weather permitting, you won’t believe the photo ops.

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The first time I saw La Sagrada Familia I felt the awe early pilgrims must have felt as they approached Chartres in France.  It is so inspiring on so many levels.  The light must be from heaven!  

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DeepFreeze63, thank you so much for the hotel recommendation.  We will be in Barcelona next year for a day or two after a cruise.  We have been there many times and already seen the interior of Sagrada Familia.  It is a very special place.

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