Supercushy Hotel on the SeaLoved It!: Seven Seas Voyager Cruise Review by knitcruiser

Seven Seas Voyager 5
Member Since 2009
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Supercushy Hotel on the SeaLoved It!

Sail Date: August 2009
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Copenhagen
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 More 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. Less

Published 08/18/09

Cabin review: D Deluxe Suite

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Port and Shore Excursions

A quick day here, but unexpectedly delightful. Again, we just wandered with the fellas, eating a DELICIOUS salmon lunch at the portside open-air market, peoplewatching at the Esplanade, and wondering about how weird art can be at the Kiasma, the Museum of Contemporary Art. Incredibly, they had an exhibit on skateboard art, which my son loved. And the Finnish design shops were inspiring to browse. So sleek, so minimal!
Read 614 Helsinki Reviews

The longest port of the trip, three full days. We hired our own private guide through SPB Tours, because we wanted the most freedom to see the things we thought would interest the boys the most. This turned out to be a brilliant move (thank you for the advice, Cruise Critic message board!!!!), because we could stop for a minute when we needed to, for a snack or a souvenir or some fresh air. Three days with big group tours would have been very tough for any family, so we were glad we did this, even though it meant forgoing Regent's many, many free shore excursions. Pricey ($1900 for 24 hours of touring time for the four of us) but a brand-new Mercedes van, a resourceful English-speaking guide, and a driver made this splurge worth it. We never waited in a museum line; we went all over the place; and we saw some very unusual things. (The memorial to the siege of Leningrad was incredibly moving.) I heard that the Regent-sponsored shore excursions were good, too; they just didn't fit our needs.

Our cruise ended here, and we were sad to say farewell to our beloved trivia contest leader, Ray Solaire, who was also the ship's all-around ambassador, announcer, and puppeteer.

We transferred to the Hotel Rival after disembarking. Hotel Rival is the hotel owned by Benny Andersson, one of the members of Abba, so we thought it would be kind of a hoot. Well, it's actually a very well run hotelsupermod, sleek rooms, with a big stack of Abba CDs just in case you left yours at home. Our breakfast the next morning was epic and delicious; it was included in our room price.

The neighborhood outside the hotel, Sodermalm, is in a great locationGamla Stan, the medieval part of townis an easy walk, and there are tons of restaurants and shops around.

Didn't know what to expect in Talinn. Estonia was a total blank slate to us, so our Regent-sponsored shore excursion, "Soviet Navy and the KGB" seemed like a good way to get a little recent historyand to see the oldest Soviet submarine still in the water. Another walled medieval city, but the history here is so moving to hear, when told by a guide in her 30s who grew up during the "Soviet times." The everyday things we take for granted were totally absent in her childhoodas a child, she would spend hours and hours waiting in line for things like a new bath towel. The government allotted one per person, and each person had to collect her own towel. Her stories made a big impression on the boys.

The tour was run totally smoothly. Our group was 17, which was not too big. Nice, cool motorcoach.

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