This will be the first of four blogs from Regent’s Seven Seas Voyager, as I enjoy a 25-day world cruise segment from Sydney to Beijing. Currently the ship is in Cairns on a pretty steamy day, the last day of summer – not that you’d know it from the weather here! As I write this, Ben is off photographing interiors of the ship, a group of passengers have gone off to the pub to watch the Oscars live from LA, and the rest of the ship is away on tours including a Barrier Reef snorkel trip and Kuranda.
It’s been five-odd years since I last cruised on Voyager and more than two since setting foot on a Regent ship. In the past couple of years I’d heard a few less than favourable reports about cutbacks and service since this five-star line took on a new owner, but if things had dropped off in any way, they certainly are back up to speed now. From the moment we got on board last Wednesday, the crew have been exceptional. A few days ago I saw one F&B boss send back a burger on the pool deck because it hadn’t been arranged neatly enough!
Voyager has also had a makeover since we last cruised on her. She’s elegant in an understated way, and the public areas feel even more luxurious than I remembered, mainly thanks to plush couches and cushions. The waiters and bartenders remember your name after one encounter, and everyone has a smile on their face with nothing too much trouble. We’ve eaten at three of four venues, and have nothing to complain about except for the possible expansion of our waistlines at the end of the cruise! Signatures has steered away from its classic French roots but is still top quality, La Veranda is casually elegant, and Compass Rose is like dining at a top international restaurant. Prime 7, the new steakhouse, is all that’s left to try and that’s a treat reserved for next week.
So far we have had three stops on this world cruise, Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns today. One point of difference with Regent is that it includes shore excursions up to the value of $200 per excursion in the fare – something which can save you a lot of money if you are a keen explorer. In Brisbane we opted to visit Australia Zoo; it may not be quite the same without Steve, but his presence is everywhere in this theme park of a zoo. I also got to pet a wallaby for about the 100th time, but I never tire of wildlife! Townsville was a family day being my husband’s home town, and today we are off to do a few exciting things which I can report back on another time.
From here we head to the remote outpost of Thursday Island, then Darwin, and from there we leave Australia and head into the exotic north. I will report back on all of that next week, and tell you how our special steak dinner at Prime 7 went! Happy cruising…