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Caribbean on Voyager Feb 19

Caribbean on Voyager Feb 19

Postby Camela » 16 Apr 2019 19:14

Miami, San Juan, Sea, Nassau, Tortola, St John's, Gustavia, St Maarten, 2 Sea days, Miami.

Flew to Miami on Virgin Atlantic, excellent cabin crew, nothing was too much trouble. Our feel-good factor continued on arrival as, from aircraft on stand to being in the airport hotel was 40 minutes. Travel Fairy on our side as several trips over the past few years have presented problems! We slept for 12 hours and awoke to wind and rain so no early morning dip in the hotel pool. We took a Lyft cab to the port - half the regular taxi fare and turned up within 5 minutes of booking. Embarkation process quickly carried out by port staff, boarded at 1200. Suites not available until 1430 so went for lunch, so surprised to hear at 1230 that they were ready, well done Regent! As per previous reviews, Veranda suite (on Deck 7 mid) well-appointed, fruit, flowers, champagne and Occitaine bath products. 35" flat screen TV, 10' of hanging space, plenty of drawers and sockets.

Obligatory muster before sailing and this time we didn't even have to carry life jackets to muster station. I know they comply with Maritime Law and safety but these drills have got less and less detailed these past few years. Complacency can set in for seasoned cruisers whilst newcomers may not have the grasp of procedures, instructions from crew and going to lifeboats. Sail Away was scheduled at the pool for an 1800 departure, unfortunately relocated to a lounge due to the rain and wind. Friendly interaction with fellow guests which continued later at our table for 6 in the Compass Rose (MDR) where we clicked with a couple from New York. Together with two from Tennessee we made up a rather nifty Trivia team with a perfect variety of knowledge from both sides of the pond! Emails were exchanged and contact made already so hope it may continue.

First port of call scheduled as Stirrup Cay a private island owned by NCL, who own Regent. Whilst at lunch after boarding we had been informed that due to high winds, tendering would be unsafe so we'd dock in Nassau instead. Mr P very disappointed but I was pleased as NAS is on my wish list. We were able to book a tour which proved very interesting and gave a good insight into the island's history and relevance to Great Britain. We were pointed in the direction of a Bahamian Sky Juice seller! A cocktail of gin, coconut water and condensed milk. It got a thumbs up from a few but we passed as we'd indulged in a cocktail or two at a rum distillery.

Day at Sea including the Regent Meet your Neighbours Party (see review Explorer MED April 2018)
San Juan Puerto Rico. Didn't book excursion as we'd visited before so went for a stroll around the Old Town as I wanted to visit the cathedral. I think wandering around those areas puts history into context especially how big religious and public buildings were in relation to dwellings and development.
Tortola (Road Town) and early start for catamaran to Virgin Gorda. Open-sided truck ride then walk down to Devil's Beach for swimming, snorkelling etc followed by a challenging cave walk under very low boulders in some places. It was hard going but there were folks older and less able than us who managed it!! . Dave did a similar Caribbean cruise at Christmas and his review (Marella) tells the story of the caves with illustrations! Return truck ride included an obligatory rum punch. We'd forgotten how attractive Caribbean islands are since our last visit (first cruise) 24 years ago!
St John's Antigua Mr P went off on a 4x4 off-road trip, enjoyable and exciting apparently! I chose what proved to be an excellent tour of Antigua with many interesting stops and made this the best port on the cruise for me. Dow's Hill Fort including a presentation of the island's history, Block House Fort Look Out from where we could see Eric Clapton's house - well, estate - on a promontory with stunning views no doubt! On to Shirley Heights, it was a Monday but DS1 had told me of the famous Sunday BBQs with live music and steel bands, however there were fantastic views over Nelson's Dockyard in English Harbour which was our next visit. I loved it and due to my interest in 18th and 19th century British history I'd love to go back, as 45 minutes wasn't enough and the rum punch was really good there. A pattern was clearly emerging on all the tours!!
Gustavia St Bart's This place is sooo French! Tour to go off shore to rocks for snorkelling, or not. Now I love a gentle potter around in mask and flippers but this was serious stuff, jumping off boat and not feeling the seabed. 2 didn't bother and myself and another lady bottled out after 10 minutes as sea was choppy too. We favoured sunbathing on the cat's deck and you've guessed it, refreshments! Mr P loved it though.
Philipsburg St Maarten I was keen to come to St Maarten/St Martin as on our first ever cruise, the call was cancelled due to hurricane damage to the port. Other CM's had warned that the Dutch side is rather down at heel which often happens where the port has historically developed and the French side much nicer. So it proved and the tour guide was very honest about the difference. We went to a colourful market in Marigot in search of local rum though in the event bought near the port where I found a good selection at very reasonable prices. Personal highlight for both of us was a stop at Maho Beach adjacent to Queen Juliana Airport. The visit was cut to 20 minutes as some older folk spotted the crowds of tattoos and skimpy beach wear so understandably weren't keen to stay. We rushed down to the runway threshold and missed a pic of a JetBlue jet landing but had long enough to get a picture of a twin-engined light aircraft. Mission accomplished.

2 sea days. I'm not a fan of sea days (Mr P loves them) especially at the end of a cruise and even on a ship as spacious as Voyager the pool area is crowded. So balcony it was for relaxing in between eating and drinking! We did have time to have more laughs with the people whose company we'd enjoyed. Final nightcap in our favourite Observation Lounge and met a couple who live in my home town.

Great cruise and at present Regent are our line of choice as they are truly all inclusive as excursions and speciality dining carry no extra charge. I'd guess that there were a lot of new staff in restaurants and bars as their interaction with guests was not as good as on previous cruises and service was 'clumsy' for the want of a better word. Our first visit to Prime 7, steak restaurant was a bit average but more than made up for by our second where we had brilliant service. Chartreuse - French themed - we were a bit meh about! If things did go wrong a senior member always sorted it in a professional way so no complaints there. CD we'd had before and does a great job, he was everywhere so wonder if he ever gets down time! Lovely Captain who gave regular updates from the bridge along with his charming philosophical sayings.

Disembarkation day in Miami. Shopping at Bayside Mall for gifts for grandchildren as we hadn't found anything suitable in the Caribbean. Disney Princess castle and Doug the Pug - what's not too like? Uber to airport and a spot of refreshment in the lounge then Virgin Atlantic back to London.
"Won't you let me take you on a sea cruise"
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Caribbean on Voyager Feb 19

Postby Dave » 16 Apr 2019 21:38

Thanks for an interesting read Camela. :thumbup:

When I saw that the ship was Voyager I re-read the review I posted in 2013 before reading your review. No, I didn't do a cruise on Voyager, but I did very much enjoy the ship visit in Dover and I noted that Regent is very definitely all-inclusive and the accommodation is excellent. ;) I haven't checked, but I wonder if Regent do Caribbean cruises from the Caribbean (as in Barbados) rather than from the USA...

I'm glad that you visited the French side of Saint-Martin. :D
Dave

Booked cruise 2019: December - Caribbean on Marella Explorer 2
Booked land-based holidays 2019: April - Surrey, June - Snowdonia, July - Peak District, August - Harris and Highlands
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Caribbean on Voyager Feb 19

Postby judgegeoff » 16 Apr 2019 22:10

Many thanks for posting your most interesting review Camela, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. :clap:
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Caribbean on Voyager Feb 19

Postby Gillzajoker » 17 Apr 2019 11:28

Good review, Camela, enjoyed it all. :D
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