Voyager offers free shore excursions in every port of call. There is plenty of choice, and all tours are capacity-controlled to ensure maximum enjoyment. More adventurous souls who wish to delve deeper into what a region offers can choose the in-depth Regent Choice Shore Excursions. These require a discounted supplementary charge to partially offset their higher cost.
For instance, in Monaco, there are 10 tours to choose from -- the shortest is three hours in duration, the longest eight hours -- and eight of the 10 tours are free. Venice offers six, four of which are free. Excursions are graded on activity level to make it easy for passengers to decide which suit them best.
In the Mediterranean, Regent has launched a series of wellness shore excursions in 10 different ports. These include small-group experiences that take passengers to a local spa, tai chi class, yoga session, perfume blending or even laughter therapy. They're paired with a choice of onboard spa experiences from a menu of five, 50-minute options. The excursion and spa package is priced at $299. We found these excursions to be interesting experiences for those who weren't big on sightseeing or who had visited a port previously.
One issue we noticed on our Mediterranean cruise was that nine shore excursions were canceled, due to "certain operational reasons and guests' satisfaction," according to the information provided when we embarked. Nearly all of these were extra-fee Regent Choice excursions, and nearly all were in major ports with many excursion options. Our theory? So many passengers signed up for included excursions that these paid excursions didn't have enough interest to reach the minimum number of participants. It would probably be wise to have a backup choice if you opt for a Regent Choice excursion -- particularly in ports where a large number of excursions is offered.
Daytime and Evening Entertainment
Morning activities include instructor-led Pilates or a walk around the jogging track with the fitness director. Cards and board games are always available in the card room; sports enthusiasts can partake in shuffleboard, bocce, Ping-Pong and paddle tennis.
Afternoons include unhosted bridge and mah-jongg, spa seminars covering anything from reflexology to detoxification, and the ever popular team trivia where teams of up to six take the daily challenge to try to win some Regent Rewards points, which can be exchanged for branded items like Regent caps, collared shirts and tote bags. There are also meetings for the "Friends of Bill W."
In the evening, Seven Seas Voyager offers four different production shows, new in 2017, with a cast of seven dancers and four vocalists. They're held in the plush Constellation Theater (decks 4 and 5). The theater's main floor is on Deck 4, with alternating rows of chairs and banquettes, while balcony seating is on Deck 5. Themes include tributes to Hollywood, Vegas and Broadway, plus a dance-focused show that touches on a range of styles. The backdrops, provided by a huge video screen, are particularly engaging, taking the setting from the Eiffel Tower to the Vegas Strip. There is only one show on performance nights, starting at 9:30 p.m. So, it's a bit tough to catch a 45-minute show unless you have early dinner reservations. Due to the popularity of the specialty restaurants, that's not always possible.
One night, when the ship had a late departure from port, the cruise director brought a local, non-professional folk dance troupe onboard to entertain at the usual 9:30 p.m. showtime. It provided a welcome touch of authentic local color.
On nights when there isn't a live show, movies are presented in the Constellation Theater at 8:45 p.m.
Dancing to a duo or show band is offered in various lounges, both before and after dinner. A pianist and a guitar player entertain in different venues as well. There are also karaoke sessions and a "choose your own song" Jukester jukebox machine for late-evening fun.
The casino (Deck 4) attracts a lively crowd in the evenings, but is less-frequented during the day. There are 43 slot machines, three blackjack tables, one poker table, one roulette table and one craps table. There were also some tournaments, such as Texas Hold'em.
Regent has a partnership with Smithsonian to provide guest lecturers on some cruises. On our Mediterranean cruise, for example, a professor who specializes in classical history was onboard. His lectures were also available on one of the in-cabin TV channels. When he ventured outside of his specialty zone -- talking about sightseeing in Barcelona and Provence -- he was less informed.
There were also technology-related lectures, covering topics such as social media and digital equipment use. These also were repeated on the in-cabin TV.
You might guess that bars and lounges would be popular on a ship that includes beverages with your fare -- and you'd be right! In good weather, the Pool Bar rules as the most popular, lively gathering spot (along with the loungers it serves). Its surrounding stools are one of the best places on the ship to strike up a conversation with other passengers. Voyager's four indoor lounges are all swanky spots with a bit of a nod to Art Deco styling. All have bars, as well as table service. We found the indoor lounges to be most popular for pre-dinner cocktails; they were more sparsely populated later in the evening. (Our theory: passengers started drinking earlier in the day and turned in earlier as a result.) The late-night crowd tends to congregate in the smaller Voyager Lounge.
The drinks we ordered were always well-mixed, and bartenders weren't flummoxed by more unusual drink requests (a Negroni, for example) that confused bartenders on other cruise lines. If you want to try a new cocktail or have a passion for pricier items, like blender drinks, this is the perfect time to indulge. The free-flowing house Champagne is quite drinkable, too.
Voyager Lounge (Deck 4): Decorated in shades of purple and furnished with bucket-style chairs and banquettes, this intimate lounge is popular with the late-night crowd for karaoke and dancing. It's also home to a Jukester machine, with 7,000 song choices available.
Connoisseur Club (Deck 4): The small, elegant Connoisseur Club on Deck 4, with its leather armchairs, deep-blue walls and clubby atmosphere, is where passengers can order a vintage cognac or port and a Cuban cigar; smoking is allowed.
Horizon Lounge (Deck 5): Horizon, the ship's largest lounge, has pretty beaded room dividers and a chic bar. Decorated in shades of pumpkin and gold, it serves afternoon tea with sandwiches, sweet pastries, tea and coffee between 4 and 5 p.m. to a backdrop of relaxing music. It's also the place to go for pre-dinner cocktails, when a guitar player kicks off the evening or members of the show band entertain. You can take your drinks outdoors where armchairs await on the aft deck. One area of this outdoor space is designated for smoking.
Observation Lounge (Deck 11): With a great view forward, high on the ship's aft, this lounge was strangely the least-frequented lounge on our cruise. It was the perfect spot to grab a cocktail after a day ashore, when the Pool Bar was three-deep. The gray carpet and walls and chic white bucket chairs make for a stylish backdrop. Various musical entertainment includes a piano player and duo.
Pool Bar (Deck 11): When the weather is warm, this circular bar located on the lido deck is a real scene -- in our experience, the busiest bar on the ship. It's a pity that it shuts down by 7 p.m., because the crowd didn't want to leave on our summer cruise.
A large heated outdoor pool and two jetted hot tubs are located on the teak lido deck (Deck 11), which can get very busy when the sun shines. White, terrycloth-covered, upholstered loungers surround the pool, while tables with cushioned chairs are located in the adjacent area by the Pool Grill, most of them shaded by the Deck 12 overhang. At either end of the shaded portion of the deck, you'll find cushioned sofas and cocktail tables.
There's a Ping-Pong table in the shaded outdoor area of Deck 11. A golf driving cage, a five-hole putting green, two shuffleboard courts and a paddle tennis court are located on Deck 12.
The atrium, the social center of the ship, is where you'll find the reception desk, travel concierge and Club.com, the ship's internet and computer center. The cafe has plenty of computers for passengers to use, and it also holds regular classes in subjects like digital photography and various software programs. Club.com is open around the clock.
Unlimited shipboard Wi-Fi is included with your fare. The only catch is only one person per stateroom can log in at a time, unless you're a gold member of Regent's affinity club. While cruise ship Wi-Fi is often capricious and frustrating, we found that meant everybody tended to stay connected, resulting in an overloaded system -- particularly during peak times when passengers were busily uploading photos, video-chatting or checking email after a day ashore.
The library (Deck 6) contains a sizable selection of books, daily newspapers from several countries and DVDs; it's open 24/7. There is a small card room on Deck 4, as well as on Deck 5. Small, self-service laundry rooms, located on Decks 6 through 10 aft, are free to use and open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Each has two washers, two dryers and two irons with ironing boards. Laundry detergent is provided, as are laundry baskets. There's also a sink and a TV in each laundry room. A medical facility is located on Deck 3.
Open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., the Canyon Ranch Spa Club offers a choice of treatments from detoxifying seaweed wraps and anti-aging facials to popular "rituals" that combine cleansing, masks, wraps and massages. You can book several types of couples' massages, and men have their own menu of facials, plus manicure and pedicure options. A separate salon space within the spa offers hairdressing, manicures, pedicures and waxing treatments. The steam room in the spa is open, free of charge to all adult passengers. You must be 18 or older to visit the spa.
A compact fitness center, open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., holds four treadmills, three exercise bikes, four elliptical machines, circuit training machines, workout mats, step benches, exercise balls and free weights. Fitness experts lead free exercise classes that include Pilates, stretching, yoga and spinning. They're also on hand to offer advice and demonstrate the use of fitness equipment.
A full-circle jogging track (11 laps equal a mile) is located on Deck 12.
Voyager isn't really a ship for children, though those from 1 year old are allowed onboard. There were 50 passengers under age 18 on our seven-night Mediterranean cruise in June, which ship crew considered to be an unusually high number. There tend to be more children onboard on shorter cruises, Alaska cruises and during the summer or school holidays.
On select cruises, there is a Club Mariner option for youngsters. One of the ship's event rooms is devoted to the program on these sailings. Club Mariner is divided into two age groups, 5 to 12 and 13 to 17 years old. The program is available on sea days, typically from 9:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. On port days, it starts just prior to the ship's departure from port. There are two Club Mariner counselors, working together, but each responsible for an age group. They are First Aid and CPR certified, with a focus on recreation with youth programming. The cruise director works with the entertainment team and counselors to organize activities, movies and games for participants. Types of activities include scavenger hunts, board games, Wii, a chocolate fountain, making friendship bracelets, cookie decorating, karaoke, charades, a backstage tour of the main theater, dance parties, social networking (for the older group) and other games and crafts.
Babysitting may or may not be available on any given Voyager sailing -- so don't count on it. It's based on request and is strictly dependent on available certified staff. If available, the price is $25 per hour, per child. This is a separate offering from the Club Mariner program, with different staff.
There is a kids' menu, which includes pizza, fish sticks, chicken tenders, a hot dog, a bacon-cheeseburger, tomato soup, pasta with Bolognese sauce and mac and cheese. For dessert there is chocolate mousse and ice cream.
Twelve suites have interconnecting doors, and sofas in the suites convert to sofa beds.