Unique to its Central America itineraries, Voyager sails with a knowledgeable naturalist who offers lectures about the culture and animal life of the destinations visited. The naturalist also presents a program about the Panama Canal, including informational slides and TV shows from PBS/Nova and the Discovery Channel about the history and operation of the canal.
On other sailings, the cruise coordinator provides shore briefings and shore excursion information.
Lecturers are sometimes onboard, ranging from those who have expertise about a destination to a professional photographer presenting a seminar on travel photography. The cruise line does not advertise these lecturers in advance.
Voyager features a music director who plays an electronic piano and sings during cocktail hour and after dinner in the lounge. He also DJs at dance evenings (two during our weeklong cruise, which were both held in the outdoor lounge) and hosts karaoke night (once on our cruise). He and the cruise coordinator also present a fun music quiz night, during which teams try to guess which country a song is from, with related bonus questions for extra points.
On smaller ships like this one, individual crewmembers play a bigger role in the passenger experience, and the friendly, outgoing music director truly added to our enjoyment of the cruise.
One time, the Greek restaurant manager joined the evening dancing and gave everyone an impromptu Greek dance lesson. Another time, we discovered the ship's captain playing the piano. These are the kinds of pleasant surprises we appreciate on a small ship.
Excursions are not included in the cruise price. Options range from city tours and visits to ancient sites on the ship's "Treasures of South Italy and Malta" itinerary to more active pursuits, such as hikes, marine-life spotting and zip-lining on its "Treasures of Costa Rica and the Panama Canal" itinerary. Because the ship uses inflatable motor boats to tender when anchored out, you can expect some wet landings when going ashore at beaches.
Most excursions are handled by outside providers and are priced comparably to similar activities on other cruises. On a couple of occasions, the naturalist on our Central America cruise led hikes. Passengers who participated regarded these as a bit overpriced.
Voyager has two passenger lounges, one inside toward the stern of the main Riviera Deck and one outside on the stern of the upper Oceans Deck. Both have bars.
Lectures, cocktail hours and briefings are held in the spacious Riviera Lounge, which is decorated in shades of beige, tan and brown with an elegant blend of modern furnishings and accessories. There are three large flat-screen TVs, which are used for lectures and video presentations. Wraparound picture windows provide excellent sea views. The ship's Reception desk is in one corner of the lounge, and the Wi-Fi hotspot is also located there. Internet time must be purchased in blocks, at a charge of 20 euros for four hours. Connectivity on our Central America cruise was generally good, but speed varied depending on how many passengers were online. It was possible to upload photos, but that was best accomplished when there was little competition from other Wi-Fi users.
The outdoor Oceans Lounge is covered and furnished with large, contemporary sofas and chairs made of white rattan with thick, movable cushions striped in blue, white and brown. On our cruise, it was a favorite spot for passengers to settle in with books or cocktails.
There's a small Internet room with four flat-screen computers, which were rarely used because most passengers brought their own devices. The room shares space with the browsing library, which features several shelves of books and games. Though the library is limited, we appreciated the up-to-date guidebooks and topical tomes (David McCullough's book, "The Path Between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914," for example), as well as fiction titles.
Voyager has a mini-spa with a single treatment room and a therapist who provides a full menu of spa services. The spa menu is priced in euros, which tends to make treatments pricy when the euro is strong against the U.S. dollar. Minimum age for spa services is 15. There is also a complimentary sauna and steam room.
Next to the spa is a small, mirrored workout area with a treadmill, exercise bike and rowing machine. The treadmill was the most popular piece of equipment and was often in use when the ship was at sea. The other two pieces of equipment were regularly available.
The ship carries snorkel gear and swim fins, which are checked out to passengers for the duration of the cruise.
When the ship is at anchor and the captain feels conditions are safe, passengers are allowed to swim from the water sports deck. A metal ladder provides access to the water.
There are no recreational facilities for children on Voyager, and the cruise line advises against passengers younger than 11. The line has made occasional offers for children to travel free when cruising in the same cabin as their parents. Several cabins can handle a third passenger (see Cabins section). However, the line states that children onboard are solely their parents' responsibility."