Seven Seas Voyager Cruise Review by Balloon Man: Great ship; average food; poor buffet.
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Great ship; average food; poor buffet.
Regent Voyager is a lovely ship, brilliant captain, smiling and ever helpful staff, very clean, pleasant artworks (in the main), great library, and a stunning itinerary that included Oman, Petra, the pyramids, Jerusalem, Dead Sea and Masada. Our cabin was perfectly maintained by our stewardess. And it was all inclusive - no chits to sign. Who could ask for more?
Call me Oliver Twist, but I can. The ship was let down a little by food in the main dining room. It was similar in quality to RCL and far below Seabourn, and Azamara. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't as good as I had been expecting. The specialist restaurants were a little better, but not much. It could be that my judgement of the latter is a little jaundiced because we booked a table for two but were put on one with six (very nice) people.
However the biggest disappointment was the La Veranda buffet. It isn't fit for purpose. Now my cruising experience is limited to half a dozen different lines but they all, More without exception, have had what is perhaps best described as a U shaped buffet. You can walk in one side and if seating is scarce continue round to the other side to check the situation. Not with La Veranda because it splits along the stern part - a Berlin Wall of serving stations. So you have two identical mirror-image buffets. And identical includes the food offered - it's the same on each side. Ridiculous. This can lead to the silly situation where the bacon or whatever on one side has gone and you can see some on the other side, but can't reach it. So you have to call a server for assistance. This also limits choice: with a flow-through layout other ships can offer twice the number of items.
Senior staff were good but some junior waiters were not fully trained, especially when it came to wine. I asked for a Cote du Rhone and received something completely different. Oh yes, it said "Cote" on the bottle but not one that was within a hundred miles of the River Rhone. However on the whole there was a good choice of included wine throughout the ship (if you knew what to ask for). Did buy three "premium" wines but left two and returned one. Not actually bad, but dead. Maybe wine doesn't keep well on a ship.
In the evening La Veranda becomes a themed (Indian, Chinese, Mexican whatever) eatery that is part waiter service and part buffet. We tried it once and it was ok. However turning it into a quasi bistro means that there is nowhere on Voyager to enjoy basic - collapse in a heap back from a long tour, can't be bothered to change - help-yourself simple food.
Despite the failings of La Veranda this is a good ship and I would sail on her again without hesitation. In fact Voyager has pushed Seabourn Odyssey down to third place in my list of favourite ships. The food on Odyssey is way better but Voyager just edged it with its free excursions. And they were excellent.
My top ship? Azamara Journey. Less
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