My wife and I are from the UK and have cruised around 14 times since we retired in 1995. Previous cruise lines were mainly UK based and, most recently,we have been with Cunard. The flight from London Heathrow to Sydney was long (23 hours) but comfortable in Qantas business class. Regent picked us up at the Airport and we were in the Shangri La Hotel in Central Business District only 50 minutes after touchdown - a world record, according to our driver! We spent a couple of days sight-seeing in Sydney - a city we know reasonably well and then were transferred by coach to the ship for embarkation. This was a painless process taking only a few minutes and accompanied by a welcoming glass of bubbly.
As we boarded around noon, we were directed to the Veranda for lunch and advised that our stateroom (cabin?) would be ready around 2pm - and it was. This was earlier than expected - no doubt because the ship was only around half full. We both liked the cabin, particularly the good-size bathroom, and although not unduly large, the veranda was OK. Our room stewards were first class and always helpful, when necessary.
As the ship had just come out of dry-dock we were not surprised that everything was spick and span, with lots of new furnishings, chairs etc Dining on board Voyager was one of the highlights of our trip. We divided our dining almost equally between the 4 options. The main restaurant, Compass Rose, was, on the whole, good but a couple of meals did not come up to our expectations.Signatures was rather pretentious, Veranda always very enjoyable but above them all, Prime 7 was terrific. A superb menu and excellent quality. The only gripe is that service was too fast! We would have preferred to linger more between courses. The less said about activities on board the better. The deck/atrium games held no appeal at all - carpet skittles and throwing bean bags does not do a lot for us. We are used to daily deck games - shuffleboard,quoits, deck tennis and so on.
We had a number of lecturers on board at different times. Their quality varied from excellent to rather poor - I counted only 17 people at one lecture and, frankly, he did not deserve any more. The entertainment in the Show Lounge again varied considerably. It seemed strange to us that the singing/dancing group had only 3 shows in 3 weeks. We took a couple of shore excursions and, while they were done competently, they were very expensive and not worth the high cost. Our disembarkation went very smoothly - a driver and guide took us to the Ritz Carlton and then aday later, to Shanghai Airport for the return home. In summary, we thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise with Regent and liked Voyager very much. If we have nit-picked a little, it is only because we believe the Regent experience could be even better. Here'to the next time!