Back in Sydney writing this after three days of torrential rain, and am so missing the Voyager! No steward to pick up our towels and make our bed, no butler to bring us canapes. The worst was tackling Coles on Sunday to do a major shop and then have to think about what to make for dinner! Okay, so I know no one will feel sorry for me, but after such an amazing cruise it’s hard to come back down to earth, and back into the real world.
Those last few days on board were interesting. I left off last week’s blog ahead of our first visit to Taiwan, and the port of Keelung. We opted for a day-long tour of the capital Taipei, which is less than an hour’s drive away and it was fascinating. Taiwan is a very clean and orderly country and the people are lovely. We visited some interesting landmarks including the National Palace Museum and the Martyr’s Shrine for the famous changing of the guard, had a slap up lunch at the Grand Hotel, then more touring in the afternoon. I ought to mention there that the tour was free…one of Regent’s FUSE tours, which stands for Free Unlimited Shore Excursions. This cruise line is the only one I know of which includes shore excursions in the fare. The capped limit is a value of $200, so what this means that in most ports of call there are a number of free tours, and a couple which have a higher dollar value for which you have to pay. Talk about saving you money! I reckon all the tours we did would easily have exceed $1,000 for the two of us, so that’s another point of difference when you are thinking about booking a luxury or all-inclusive cruise.
After Taipei we had a very bumpy ride northwest towards South Korea. The Captain came on air to warn everyone as we pulled out of Keelung, and although we didn’t find it that bad it kept things quiet that night and sorted a few people out I am sure. Voyager handled the swell and bumps really well, and by morning the ocean was back to how it had been for most of the trip – calm – but geeze the temperature had dropped some! Let’s just say the deck on our last two sea days to Inchon was empty, and the poor deck hands and bar staff were wearing multiple layers to keep out the cold!
For convenience we disembarked in Incheon to fly home from there, but after tours in Seoul the ship continued on to its final destination, Beijing. From there Voyager will be tracking its way back south past Hong Kong and into Singapore, then has a busy run from there to Dubai via India. We asked our butler if he thought we could stowaway and gamely he said he wouldn’t tell if we kept quiet and would keep us well stocked up with crab claws and champagne…..but it was time to go home. We enjoyed our last night on board in style, though. It was a formal night so we opted in and dressed for the occasion, had champagne and caviar in suite before dinner at Prime C. Steak never tasted so good!
There are always highs and lows in a cruise, but in all honesty this was hard to fault. As I mentioned before I’d heard a few less than positive reports a while back about Regent, but if they had let things slip a bit as far as service and quality are concerned that isn’t the case now. The highs were many: fabulous crew, great food, lovely accommodations, and an interesting itinerary. As for lows, the tragedy in Japan was naturally one but no one’s fault, so really our only complaint was having to get off and go home. As for our next adventure, that’s set for Europe and the launch of Avalon’s Panorama…until then we are staying at home and buckling down to work. Happy cruising!
Check our arrival in Keelung, Taipei….. Keelung