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Voyager Monte Carlo to Istanbul


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Just returned from a two week cruise on Voyager from Monte Carlo to Istanbul. As a regular Regent traveller I hope that I can compare and contrast the different cruises I take.

 

I have to say that Voyager was in superb condition inside and out. Our stateroom was immaculate and the steward kept it that way all the time. In general the crew seemed happy and always spoke in passing which is good for the customer. The officers were very obvious around and about, especially Captain Dag.

 

Embarkation and disembarkation was stress free, efficient and not rushed. The tender service, of which there were many on this cruise, were efficient and generally line free.

 

The food and service in Compass Rose was of the highest standard and I had two meals in Signatures which rated with the best restaurants on land.

 

The Le Veranda Italian Steakhouse again had superb service and food in the evening.

 

Around the bars nothing was too much trouble and service was always on hand. there were no lines and plenty of places to find a seat on deck.

 

Breakfast room service was always on time and hot.

 

So all in all that's why I sail Regent and will continue to do so. I have sailed other lines who do not come close to Regent and it is not all about how much they charge. I put a thread on the Cunard board in April about the QM2 where I contrasted the appalling, in my opinion, service and food on that ship with Regent and the cost was about the same taking tips and drinks into account.

 

There are some downsides one of which is the entertainment but that generally is not of particular interest to me. It is a bit on the weak side. The live music in the bars is of a high standard.

 

I felt that the tours on this trip were not up to the standard Regent have been used to providing and that seemed to be the general view. I complained particularly about two as the tours did not reflect the programme being sold and was immediatly compensated. It was not a major issue but it was handled well.

 

It is also great to see that the customers observed the dress code ( at least I did not see anyone not ) and in fact generally exceeded it. This seems to be being diluted on some other lines.

 

The weather unusually for this time of year was poor, it was cool and sometimes very wet, nothing that Regent can affect!

 

I hope this gives confidence and anticipation to you lucky people who are shortly due to sail on Voyager!

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Thank you so much for the informative and encouraging report. Could you kindly guestimate ratio of tuxes to suits on formal night?

 

We'll be on Navigator 27 nights Nov. 21 to Dec. 18 after a week in South Africa. Because of luggage restrictions on airlines, I'm not bringing tux for first time - just dark suit. Will I feel like a "sore thumb"?

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TedC

There were no formal nights on this cruise, however many of the men were wearing jackets and some of them ties even on the casual nights, but that is the nature of Regent. On informal nights many were wearing suits. I started off in shirt sleeves for the casual nights but soon moved to wearing a jacket ( but no tie ) as I felt more comfortable this way. However, having said that, each to his own. The ladies dressed well whatever the dress code.

 

I dont think you will be out of place wearing a dark suit as everyone else will have the baggage weight problem and it's one we are going to have to face next year as both Regent cruises we have booked have formal nights. We were already at our weight limit as it was this time!

 

JM

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We're just back from the same b2b that JM posted about. So I'll be happy to answer any questions about those two cruises as well. (I assume this makes more sense than starting a separate topic.)

 

I somewhat agree with John about the weather-- not so good. I'd hoped for warm sunny days, the kind where it'd be a delight to be on deck 12 for embarkation and debarkation (one of my favorite parts of a cruise), where people would be splashing in the pool and enjoying the sundeck. 'twas not to be. Actually I wouldn't call the weather poor, but it was for sure a disappointment. We were a bit chilly much of the time and could never do tours without at least carrying rain slicker in our backpack; virtually never got to wear our warm-weather clothes (which is mainly what we packed). I guess I'd call the weather "usable," rather than poor. It was "ok," but not lovely. Didn't keep us from doing anything we'd hoped to do, but didn't enhance anything either.

 

We found the excursions to be fine-- not terrific, but quite ok. John-- I"m interested in knowing which two tours you found seriously wanting. We liked some of the ports very much, didn't so much like others. Loved Korcula (maybe best) and Dubrovnik (both Croatia), and Venice (of course), and Capri(Anacapri especially), and Santorini (Oia especially) and Taormina (Sicily) and Istanbul. Didn't so much like Corfu or Katakolon. Others fall somewhere in between.

 

Unlike JM, I didn't find the ship in great shape. Stateroom was fine (G midship), as was our stewardess; very much appreciate the good size and the balcony. The carpets on many of the halls were in bad shape: BADLY need cleaning or replacing. (This bothered me not at all.)

 

We thought the quality of the crew and staff was a very mixed bag. Some were great (e.g. Laurent in Compass Rose and Anna, formerly of Veranda, now in CR ); some were plain awful. We found most of the waiters in CR mediocre at best; very few seemed genuinely to enjoy doing their jobs. (Veranda wait staff seemed happier, more interested.) Signature waiters (at least ours both times) seemed phony. Some people at reception were quite helpful and pleasant, others not so. Tour desk folks seemed genuinely pleasant and wanting to please, but almost no one genuinely knew the ports: their info wasn't much more than what one could read on one's own. Didn't much like Jamie (cruise director) and wife Dana-- they both seem more interested in themselves than in the passengers.

 

We found the food sometimes quite good, sometimes just ok. Had as good Beef Wellington as I've ever had in CR one night. On the other hand, the Dover sole (and most of the other fish) was overcooked. The lobster dishes in CR were done perfectly; in Veranda always overcooked. Etcetera. We always enjoy Latitudes, will be sorry to see it go, but don't think it holds a candle to other "Asian" food we've eaten.

 

We don't go to the shows at all (always too sleepy/tired). We missed Frankie (is that his name?), the guitar player-- which we thought was the best music on board.

 

I've got tons of things to catch up with. Will check in later and try to respond to any questions.

 

I'd sail Regent again for sure-- but am interested in maybe trying Seabourn.

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Poss: The two tours that we complained about were: Olympia, Birthplace of the Olympics, there was supposed to be a demonstration of ancient olympic sports but that never materialised, instead we were directed to an olive oil shop which we declined and waited in the bus for 45 minutes.

 

The second was Bodrum, Castle, Mausoleum and cocktails watching the sunset at the Marmaris hotel. We were first taken to the Marmaris hotel and offered wine ( at 2:00pm ). We had just had lunch. There was also a health and safety issue as we walked for about a mile and a half over very tricky ground and went up many steep steps in the castle. Anyone who had had a glass or two could easlily have had an accident! The cost was extortionate as most of it was walking. We were offered a 50% refund on both tours as I think were most of the others who took them.

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I am interested in the two reviews of the Voyager's latest Med-Aegean cruise as we took the Ven-Ist section. I agree with both posters in part. The weather was serviceable, even sunny a good bit of the time, but definitely cool. Poss is correct, though, that the ship is not in good shape--very tired and ready for the upcoming dry-dock. Despite this the crew did a great job of keeping the appearance as good as possible and it certainly did not detract from my enjoyment.

The food is a different story and to an even greater degree the wine. Both my DW and I felt the ingredients were excellent and the presentation outstanding, but the cooking, especially the spicing left a lot to be desired. I disagree with you Poss, I thought the Beef Wellington was very disappointing--and the Beef Stroganoff was unrecognizable. When simplicity was the rule as for Chateaubriand the results were spectacular. The wine was a huge disappointment, possibly a result of the change in corporate owners. Our somelier Wilson tried hard, but when your selections are very young and not well known its tough to be creative. We did get a nice Mark West pinot and a Chateau St. Michelle merlot the rest, however, are not worth mentioning.

The shore excursions were not up to the level we had last year with Silversea. Dubrovnik was a disaster. The ship was late, the bus was late, our guide wasn't audible etc. The Santorini cooking lesson turned into a simplistic demonstration and the village visits really were "do your own thing" for 45 minutes. I was quite surprised at how little regard there was for time. Frequently the ship was late and so everything got pushed out. We are early diners and didn't like being forced to hustle to get to our table.

We hustled because we sat at the same table every night. Anna gave us a wonderful table for two with a staff that really cared. Nothing was too much and every request was cheerfully met. The same was true with our waitress at breakfast in La Veranda. Our butler and stewardess both get A++. We felt the sevice was so good we made a generous contribution to the staff welfare fund.

All in all the cruise did what we wanted--take us to ports we wouldn't get to travelling independently. We loved being pampered by a helpful staff. Could it have been better? Absolutely! We would vote right now for Silversea, but given the right itinerary we'll be back with Regent.

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John: Thanks for responding. In fact, we weren't on either of those tours. Sorry they were unpleasant for you, but glad that Regent "made good" to the degree that they could. Biggest bummer for us in the tour department was first week in Korcula: The bus/tour group actually left without us! We had an excursion that was supposed to do a tour of the countryside first and then a tour of the city. I'd looked forward terrifically to that tour, since we've never been to Croatia and I'd heard it was beautiful. The tour guide reversed the order of things, i.e. did a little Korcula tour first, then gave us half an hour of independent time while we were awaiting the bus. She showed us exactly where to meet and named the time. DH and I were at the spot (bottom of those stairs going into the old city) five minutes before the announced meeting time. Our watches matched ship's time and the guide's own watch. She simply left without us! Never bothered to count heads (she'd collected our tickets). This was a great disappointment, softened somewhat by the fact that we adored the town of Korcula. It was not difficult to amuse ourselves in the town itself for 3-4 hours, but I'd've loved to see more of Croatia; the surrounds looked stunning. Tour desk didn't charge us for the tour, obviously, and were sympathetic. Such things happen (though shouldn't).

NewLondon: I agree with you about Dubrovnik-- pretty poor tour experience. The bus part was awful, including sitting on the thing for almost 45 minutes even before we could go anywhere (congestion, horrible crowding) The two stops themselves were pleasant enough, though certainly not memorable. We enjoyed most of all the hours we spent by ourselves when we returned from the tour: walking the walls, strolling the city in the evening, seeing the daylight fade, the lights of the city come on-- all very lovely.

I agree that the wine was a disappointment. Fortunately, I'd remembered from things I'd read on CC that if one didn't like the offerings, one could ask for others; that helped. I didn't have the Beef Wellington on the night it was served, by the way. We'd made the "mistake" of reserving Signatures for informal night. I was disappointed when I learned that BW was on the CR menu that night, and when I happened to mention that to Laurent, he said "No Problem-- when would you like us to make it for you?" So I had it some days later and found it terrific. Made me feel very special.

 

On the other hand, a curious thing happened to us in Compass Rose that made us feel rather uncomfortable in more ways than one. We found the ship absolutely frigid, more in some areas than others, but way over air-conditioned pretty much everywhere (our cabin regulated to our preference very nicely). Both of us got colds and were often cold on the ship (though we dressed warmly). My near-80 husband is bald and has always been especially susceptible to drafts. Since he was feeling under the weather anyway, and since he felt chilled in the restaurant, he brought his beret to CR the next night. Laurent obliged him to remove it, which made the rest of the meal not very pleasant.

 

We did very much enjoy our cruise, despite some real disappointments.

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Poss,

 

If it's any small comfort to you, I think Regent has a strict policy ags. hats in the diningroom. One day I walked in for lunch wearing a colorful

straw hat as I had come directly from sunning on the deck. I was told that I had to remove my hat. They also do not permit men to wear shorts

after 6pm so you have to be careful stopping at a lounge on the way 'home' from the deck.

 

We love a/c. However on Navigator's 07 into 08 New Years cruise the public rooms were icicle level. Many, many pax over several days complained about this and requested that they lower the a/c a bit but it took about 5 days to get any action in this regard.

 

We are sailing Voyager over New Years and hope that the many reports of disappointing cuisine or lapsed service are not going to be a serious issue. [We do go to enjoy...not to pick] In today's economy there is even more hesitation about putting out a lump of money for a flawed product. I realize that there have also been many postive comments......but the number of negative ones in balanced reviews are also numerous and therefore, worrisome.

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The Voyager is not a "flawed" product in any way. Yes, some people like the smaller ships where they remember your name (Seabourn, for instance). . . Remember that no ship is perfect. We are in the same port at the moment as Seabourn Spirit. Nice looking -- but, would hate the "thing" they call a balcony or veranda.

 

I hear people in the restaurants demanding that every food item be prepared differently -- being as picky as I've ever seen -- even in the finest dining establishments. The employees do their best to accommodate the request. Sometimes, it is not possible (for instance, making lamb gyro's when turkey gyro's were on the menu).

 

If Compass Rose is too cold, wear a sweater. We find it quite warm (especially near the windows with the sun). Expecting Regent's heating and air conditioning system to accommodate every part of that large restaurant is not realistic. It is easier to wear a sweater, jacket or shawl (as most women do) than to try and cool off if you are too warm (especially men in long sleeve shirts, jackets, ties. . . .)

 

The CC members currently on the Voyager have been looking for the problems discussed on these boards. If we see negative posts that are either subjective or too harsh, we will (with CC's approval) give another side to the story.

 

The person who posted about the economy is right about not wanting to throw money away on a cruise that is not worth it. On the other hand, driving new customers away with information that is subjective at best, is not fair to the cruise line.

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Hi Travelcat, I agree the Voyager is not a flawed product as a whole. That does not mean, however, there is not room for improvement. I was very surprised to read that you felt the ship looked terrific. I evaluated it as ok but in great need of freshening up. I am happy for you that your boarding experience was smooth. We boarded in Venice, dropped our bags at the appropriate place and were told by a very pleasant woman we would see them in 1 hr. or so. This was at 1pm. At 5pm. we still had no bags and since my camera was in them I became worried that we would miss the opportunity to photo the trip down the Jiudica Canal. Fortunately, as you know, due to heavy ship traffic we left late and our bags arrived at 5:45 just in time to get the pictures I wanted. This in my opinion is a flaw.

It is appropriate to be positive about a product you like; but, imo, you can't ignore the total package. The Voyager is a superior experience, not a perfect one.

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Travelcat,

I've enjoyed your posts and those of other recent travellers.

 

I try both to write comments and read comments with some balance, allowing the stridently negative and defensively positive to sit to the side of the second standard deviation.

 

We travel to enjoy ourselves and plan on having a good time. We're not looking for flaws or on an inspection run. We don't pre-load our heads with a menu of extra items to order or the name of every waiter to search out. We expect things to be 'good' in every category without expecting anything or anyone to be perfect. We appreciate that different lines have different features, be they bistros, coffee bars, pizzerias,etc. and don't demand that every line have everything that WE like! We like different features on different lines and travel 2-3 lines.

 

All of that laid as foundation, it's often difficult not to 'love' some things and find some others less than positive. I found the example of demanding lamb in the gyro unreasonable since this would be a different preparation ...but when our waiter resisted a request to put the fried banana that was served with the curry entree on a dish with vanilla ice cream, I also found that unreasonable. People are not only going to write about a wonderful xxxx, but also a disappointing or negative xxxx. Unfortunately, there do seem to be a number of negative comments recently regarding Regent's dining service, wines and tours and a lot of mixed comments about cuisine. [The rug issue and its nap is beyond me,]That is why I made my comment about flaws and economy;the window for acceptable disappointment will narrow as one's vacation becomes more precious.

 

Sometimes when people respond very defensively, it's difficult to know how to respond without sounding arguementative; That is not my intent. For example, every evening I have either a jacket, or pashmina lest I feel chilled, at home or at sea....but the icy temperatures on Navigator left everyone shivering, rubbing their arms,etc...and talking to each other about it. When things like this go on for days despite a large number of people speaking to management, it becomes annoying.... and memorable because of the annoyance. So 'wear a sweater' just doesn't cut it.

 

Anyway, we're off on Voyager again. We expect to enjoy ourselves. But I also recognize that if we are as disappointed with this New Years cruise as last, then we may not be travelling Regent again. I prefer to recognize that it is Regent that will be informing that decision.

 

Safe journey home to all.........Paula

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I probably should not have jumped into this discussion. The part you are not reading (on another thread) is that there were 11 CC members on this cruise and we agreed on the condition of the ship, the service and the food. These were 11 individuals that had not met prior to the cruise.

 

If anyone has read my reviews, they would know that I appreciate Regent, however, give positive and negative opinions.

 

I looked for problems and found few. The ship is so clean (down to the screws around the windows that are cleaned with a toothbrush type cleaner). Yes - it could look newer if the upholstery were replaced -- however, there is nothing wrong with it. Food is really too subjective. 95% of the food was wonderful. Most people loved Signatures -- we did not. I just cannot see posting that, due to my personal preference, I don't like to dine at Signatures.

 

The only glitches I heard was that: the towels should be thicker (they are fine quality -- others preferred thicker). The service dipped noticeably in La Veranda for about an hour (they were only 4 tables seated at the time). I did include it on the comment card. There was a sewage smell around certain parts of the ship for about 1/2 hour.

 

Hopefully, everyone understands that cruises can differ from week to week (which is why I focused on service and food on the other thread-- hopefully these items do not change). Apparently the Venice cruise left late. Our cruise changed itineraries in order to avoid the extreme crowds experienced the prior week in Santorini (a good decision by Captain Dag).

 

I thought John.Mortimer did a balanced review. Poss, on the other hand seemed more than a bit overly critical. There have been a few comments on the tour company that Regent contracts with. . . I hope you put that on your comment card. We avoid ship cruises completely -- therefore do not mention them.

 

Sorry if I offended anyone by my previous post. That wasn't my intent. Think I'll stay off of this thread since I was not on the cruise.:o

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I personally like the subjective food reviews and who liked this and that and for what reason. Collectively, that gives a lot of info.

 

Also, I feel service is better on SS not just because of knowing your name but for a number of touches. On all of our SS cruises, they put the suitcases on the bed vs. Regent leaving them at the door. I have traveled solo on my Regent cruises, and lifting the bags on the bed wasn't my favorite. Also, I have mentioned that on SS the embarkation was better. On Regent, nobody shows me to my cabin (yes, many are regulars, but I like to be taken if I have been somewhere a dozen times, and on SS, they always ask). On Voyager, they laughed at me. Also, on Regent, both times I have had to find the place to do the photo and such and ask for champagne, it was never offered. As I have stated many times, bad first empression, like also having to take my own bags up the gangplank on Regent whereas SS does this for you.

 

Other than that, I have only found that unless you sit near a wait stand, drink service is sparse and things like that even on Navigator. I have found the service outstanding in the specialty restaurants. I am hoping to be more pleasantly surprised next time, but my husband won't mind the more distant service so much, and I am already expecting it. Any improvement will seem over the top to me. I love the food, the entertainment, the cabins and the ship. We are rooms and food and next activities and service, but we like them all. Who doesn't?

 

I hope a number of the 11 people will post a full review. I'm like a sponge with my trip still over 60 days out.

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I read with interest the story about the waiter being reluctant to put the fried banana from the curry entree on the ice cream. Just curious, but wondering if the fried banana that was served with the curry entree was a banana as most people know it, or a plantain (which looks just like a banana but must be cooked to be eaten). The difference in taste is quite distinctive and I am not familiar with anybody putting plantains on their ice cream.

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Just wanted to say that I did not find Poss's review overly critical. I thought it was very well presented. I appreciate hearing what someone disliked or was disappointed in as much as what they loved. I'm then in a position to decide if the "issue" would be an issue for me.

 

Thank you, Paula, for your very thoughtful post as well. I don't mean for this post to be argumentative. It is offered in the same spirit as Paula's--just another point of view.

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Doc...It was a regular banana. My husband had enjoyed it with his curry and I had nibbled. This was annoying because it seemed rather silly and unreasonable but certainly not a major issue in my overall impression of pit cruise. When we found a few waiters inflexible in this way, we wondered if they had their marching orders from on high.

 

We tend not to pre order/special order ...but might request that the salad's goat cheese be replaced by any other cheese. This seems to throw them.

 

We're on for New Year's and I hope to report back that this has changed.

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Just wanted to say that I did not find Poss's review overly critical. I thought it was very well presented. I appreciate hearing what someone disliked or was disappointed in as much as what they loved. I'm then in a position to decide if the "issue" would be an issue for me.

 

Thank you, Paula, for your very thoughtful post as well. I don't mean for this post to be argumentative. It is offered in the same spirit as Paula's--just another point of view.

 

Poss certainly has the right to an opinion. However, indicating that the carpeting is worn, dirty and needs cleaning is simply not true. Can you imagine how you would feel if you had a cruise on the Voyager prior to dry dock and believed that you were going to embark on a dirty ship with phony servers who do not like their job?

 

The carpeting has a problem that is apparently understood in the carpet industry (as explained on another thread). The carpeti is extremely clean, not overly worn. It appears to have "water stains" that have been there at least since 2006 (as reported in my 2006 review).

 

I am not being argumentative either -- however, when facts (not opinions) are misstated, it behooves us to correct the misstatement.

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