We thoroughly enjoyed our 7-night cruise in the Baltics on the Voyager.
Just so you'll know where we're coming from, we're not typical cruisers my husband and I are in our mid forties, traveling with our middle-school-age boys. Casinos and night-club entertainment are not our thing at all. We think of cities as the destination, not the ship itself.
So why book a cruise on this ship that has all these things? Well, we were intrigued by the idea of taking a cruise as a way to see a bunch of fascinating ports at a trotas a way to show our kids lots of cool places with a minimum of logistics. We viewed the cruise ship as a cushy hotel on the waves, as a sort of transportation that would be fun for the fellas and relaxing for us parents. From what I read, Regent sounded like a tasteful, uncheesy sort of cruise line. The all-inclusive fare made sense to us, as did the open seating at meals, free shore excursions, and the large and comfortable suites.
The trip turned out to be such fun. Having never taken a cruise before, we loved the way each morning brought us a new destination right out our balcony. The boys had their own suite, which quickly turned into a boy-cave of shoes and junk everywhere, but I didn't care their problem, not mine!
Because we planned on spending the trip together as a family, we weren't interested in Club Voyager, the kids' program. The boys don't like organized kid programs anyway, but I do think there was some good stuff scheduled for those who wanted to join in. The boys got their own daily schedule delivered to their suite each night, so it seemed like a well-organized program. Movie nights, games, stuff like that. The bridge tour would have been fun had we not been ashore on a tour at the time. There were not that many kids around anyway this isn't a Disney sort of cruise (no disparagement of Disney intended!).
Food. I just read the previous review of Voyager, and I have to say that my family ate like maniacs all week long, and we all looked forward to every meal. It seems churlish, even, to complain about the food with such variety at each meal, it's hard to imagine not finding SOMEthing to eat. My lamb chops at Prime 7 were cooked perfectly, the crab cake was lovely, and the steaks were seared the way we like them.
A word about the staff: they were uniformly helpful, on the ball, and ready to assist us in whatever way we needed help. We were absolutely impressed with the quality of all those hard-working crew members. (One strange moment came on the final night, when a helicopter came to medevac a crew member who had fallen ill. I was struck by the fact that the captain would order this, even though Stockholm was only a few hours' sailing away. It made me think that the company cares about its crew quite a lot to do this elaborate sort of thing. And also that the crew member must have been pretty dang sick.)
We filled out the customer satisfaction survey at the end, and discovered that we did not have a single complaint except the 25-cent-a-minute Internet. We're not polyannas; we were just delighted at how smoothly our cruise went, and how well it all seemed to run. Thank you, Voyager!
Visby, the medieval port town on the Swedish island of Gotland, was our
first stop. We decided not to do a group shore excursion, because we
wanted to have maximum flexibility with the boys, and the town is
totally walkable from the tender dock.
Sort of Martha's Vineyard, Swedish style. Supercute cottages
everywhere, big ol' medieval wall around the city, ruined churches and
bright blue sky. Our first encounter with cobblestones was ouchy but
fun. All sorts of people wandering around barefoot in medieval garb.
Only a few hours in port here, but a charming, charming stop.