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#249282 - 11/22/17 02:29 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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petlover Online
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Congratulations on selling your home...No more stressing !!

I Love reading about your journey. Congrats on the trivia wins.
clap clap


Marcie

#249284 - 11/24/17 09:03 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: petlover]  
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Up to four consecutive wins in trivia. Arlene, Jim and Mary, and Dick and Pat combined for a third place at Liar's Club while I was at Cognac tasting (my first minor grumble, scheduling two wonderful events against each other). Today we are in Colombo; decided to take shopping tour in town which ended up covering the panoramic tour as well. I had not been here since 1983 so great to see it again; first time for Arlene.

Great dinner with Captain Daniel, Nicola, Jim and Mary and two couples we had yet to meet (Marcie, it was good to meet your friends Dick and Pat). Now, we have three sea days followed by three days in Burma. Tomorrow night is SSS party and we have dinner with Stephane, F&B. Tonight is our trivia team dinner, I sure hope it is a five time celebration instead of crying in our wine. After too many cruises with cruisers with so many nights that they knew all the answers keeping us from winning; it is nice to be the team that is winning. Ray is taking over in Singapore so I have started studying Harry Potter trivia.

Went to lecture yesterday. I think it is first time I have watched an entire lecture in all my time on Regent. I think I will watch some more. Still haven't picked up a book to read or played bridge; been too busy with all the silly games. I think more people are staying on in Singapore (to Hong Kong) than stayed on in Dubai. We have also met a few other folks staying on until Beijing.

The remodeled Compass Rose is very nice. Some issues walking between tables (sometimes they walk you through the server stations) but much quieter than Explorer; more soft surfaces and no mirrored wall. We had table for 10 in middle of restaurant last night and could still talk across the table. I have made my "routine" comment about lack of game meat (including Ostrich) but have enjoyed both always available and daily menus. On a few occasions the daily menu did not feature a beef dish so I have had a steak a little more often than I planned. I am working my way through P7 menu; I can definitely say that I won't order Seafood Plateau again; not much food and cold scallops are strange. I think next time I am having Porterhouse.

Today it has been four weeks since we boarded; Sunday night will make it our longest cruise. I am learning that I have to take some down time; can't treat it as a continuous vacation. It is nice to think of the ship as home; but since I don't drink wine every night at home, I have learned to do the same thing here; some nights a cocktail and some nights just water.

More later . . .


"Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero"

Horace

#249285 - 11/26/17 06:49 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Many of you that were on FROLIC remember Kseniia, the Crimean Assistant F&B. She is in same role here. The 35 bar staff (bartenders and bar waiters) all report to her. She is fantastic. In the last few days I learned a bit more about how the bars are staffed (we had dinner with Stephane last night among other sources). First, I learned that only Europeans could be "Bartenders." Asians could be Assistant Bartenders but not Bartenders. Their career path would be to learn the skills to be a Sommelier. I was a bit upset about this as Joseph has been one of our favorite bartenders both here on Voyager and in past. Well, the info I learned was only partly true. From now on, only FEMALE Europeans can be bartenders. Iuri and Catalin are grandfathered but no more male bartenders either Asian or European. (Anivash, Indian, is Head Bartender, he is also grandfathered).

The other thing I learned is that none of the F&B staff (around 300 in total onboard) work for Regent. F&B is a "concession;" they all work for Apollo; the same group that used to own Oceania and Regent. I guess the fact that the staff actually work for Apollo is immaterial; I am still on the fence regarding European female bartenders only; Alesksandra and Cy Cy are both fantastic; but so are Catalin and Joseph.

We didn't make it to five in a row at trivia; came in second but followed it up with a win the next day.

Had a Cognac/Armagnac tasting the other night; the first sighting (by me) of an obnoxious passenger; off now to a Whisky tasting.

More later . . .


"Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero"

Horace

#249286 - 11/26/17 05:02 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Marc, your posts have been great - fun, interesting and informative. Thanks so much! It makes me smile to read about all the fun you are having!


Kathy
#249287 - 11/26/17 05:48 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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That is just not right! I do not understand how they can get away with this discrimination. You have to wonder what in the world is their rationale for this?? We have had many outstanding Filipino and Indonesian "Assistant" bartenders over the years, and I knew the policy was that they could never be "bartenders", only "assistant bartenders". I just never understood it, and still don't understand it. sad confused

We have had some great European female bartenders in the past (Aleks is definitely one of them!) but we have also had some that were terrible (not friendly at all and some times downright rude to the other crew and the passengers too!). In many cases, the "assistant" bar tenders have done a better job of running the bars than the bartenders did.

And yes, I agree, Kseniia is awesome! Tell her hello!


Cindy

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." - Saint Augustine

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#249289 - 11/27/17 12:56 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: lonestarlady]  
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Originally Posted by lonestarlady
That is just not right! I do not understand how they can get away with this discrimination. You have to wonder what in the world is their rationale for this?? We have had many outstanding Filipino and Indonesian "Assistant" bartenders over the years, and I knew the policy was that they could never be "bartenders", only "assistant bartenders". I just never understood it, and still don't understand it. sad confused

We have had some great European female bartenders in the past (Aleks is definitely one of them!) but we have also had some that were terrible (not friendly at all and some times downright rude to the other crew and the passengers too!). In many cases, the "assistant" bar tenders have done a better job of running the bars than the bartenders did.

And yes, I agree, Kseniia is awesome! Tell her hello!


Cindy ,

Sounds like you already knew of policy that Asians could only be assistant bartender; I don’t think any change there; they still can be assistant bartender.


"Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero"

Horace

#249290 - 11/27/17 05:19 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Thanks for the posts, Marc. Wish I were there to share the various lectures and tastings and trivia with you! And Alice would be there with you at every silly game! smiles


Kim
#249291 - 11/27/17 06:21 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: seadog]  
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Marc Online
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Numbers from SSS party:

Titanium 4
Platinum 16
Gold 129
Silver 229

Total 378

There are supposedly around 612 onboard and it is a 21 night cruise so I don't really understand how everyone is not Silver

This cruise did not sell very well. Regent did three things to fill up the boat (without lowering "fare" so didn't have to honor onboard booking guarantee);

First, they offered a good deal for those booked on Singapore to Hong Kong leg to add Dubai to Singapore leg; a really good deal according to one couple we met that took it.

Second, they offered Canadians "at par" fare which amounts to a discount over 20%.

Third, they have a large foreign contingent; no idea if they gave special pricing overseas.

Less that half the passengers are Americans. Top five countries are:

USA 254
Canada 74
UK 64
Australia 51
Switzerland 34

Passengers come from a total of 27 countries.

We should have entered boat building competition again; only two entries and are honorable mention from last time would definitely have placed in top two.

Burma tomorrow. Been listening to great lectures by John Freedman; whetting the appetite.

More later . . .


"Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero"

Horace

#249295 - 12/01/17 07:58 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Any Regent ship will do....
We are having a sea day today, so finally I have time to post. We have been so busy! Yesterday we were in Myanmar and were there for 2 1/2 days. It was fantastic. Marc and I definitely want to go back as there is so much to see. We really want to see if we can talk Ngaire into doing a land trip there! (Hint hint Ngaire!)

Our cruise director is Margaret Lynn. I had not cruised with her before and was a little leary as a cruise director can (IMO) make or break a cruise. She is fantastic, now my favorite! She works so hard making sure there are always things to do. I have been teasing her that she is "killing me" as I have no time to sleep in or take a nap as there is so much to do and I don't want to miss anything. She and Elda, along with the social hostess Nicola are just the best. The games, lectures, classes, shows, music, etc. There is just so much to do. The lecturer is fantastic though I have made it to too few lectures. The theater is always packed for him.

The regent signature orchestra is absolutely the best they have ever had. We have been staying up listening to them almost every night. They do it all from oldies, to jazz, to contemporary. Just terrific.

I have really enjoyed the staff this trip too. I am not sure if it is because we are on for such a long cruise, or if they are just more personable, but we have gotten to know so many of them, it truly feels like we are cruising with family. All of them have learned our preferences and I never sit down but someone is bringing me something before I even ask. The absolute best! The food has been so good too. It seems like everyone has just been going overboard to ensure we are well taken care of. I am just overwhelmed at the staff and how good they have been to us. Truly special.

We are having a great time. Marc has been wanting to see Myanmar for so long and it did not disappoint. All our excursions have been really great. Sometimes we've had so - so excursions but on this cruise we haven't had one that wasn't terrific. Egypt and Sri Lanka were great new ports for me and really interesting. We still have Phuket, China and I can't wait to get back to Japan.

Can you tell I am just on overload, so happy with this cruise? It has been a spectacular way to start retirement, that is for sure.

We have met a lot of nice people, and lots of KLT clients. It is funny how many there are....Ngaire has cast her net quite wide! Many do not post on the boards, but I wish they would as they are all so fun and nice.

The one down side of this cruise is not having any of our LCTers aboard. It is a very different cruise without all of you. They had a wonderful deck BBQ the other night and Marc and I were thinking it wasn't like other ones, then it donned on us that it was because we didn't have a lot of LCTers aboard and weren't table hopping back and forth. Oh do we miss you all!

We have been doing fantastic at trivia! I have lost track of our wins, and we have nearly always placed at least 2nd or 3rd. So many time we have been on cruises with another trivia team that seems to win everyday and can't be beaten. Now we are that annoying team and I must say it is fun. We are always gracious when others win or "grumble" that they can't beat us. It is just so fun. Margaret has invited our team and spouses to dinner the last night of the cruise and it will be a raucous night for sure....I hope they put us back in a corner somewhere where we wont anoy everyone else!

We have had lots of wonderful dinners too with the Captains, F&B manager, dancers, Margaret and Elda, Nickola, etc. We even had dinner one night with Mathilda the cruise consultant and Ricardo the destinations manager. What a great dinner that was hearing about all her travels and ports and upcoming cruises. It was fascinating listening to Ricardo and hearing all about his job and what is involved. We truly have no idea how hard these people work behind the scenes for us. His knowledge of ports around the world is encyclopedic. It was a really really fun dinner.

Anyway, as you can tell we are having a wonderful time though we are really missing all of you!


Arlene
I LOVE flying... I've been to almost as many places as my luggage
#249297 - 12/01/17 11:27 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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So happy you are having such a great time. People that do longer voyages often say some of the things you are mentioning. Getting to know the staff so well they become family. I have not seen Elda or Nicola for a long time. Please say hello to them for me. Happy you have met other KLT guests. Always seems to happen, we will have just two couples on a cruise and they meet. Amazing. A very small percentage post on LCT but a lot do read.

Winning at trivia is such fun. We did well on our last trip and loved it.

Keep the posts coming. Enjoy them immensely.


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#249301 - 12/01/17 01:22 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Posting for Arlene:

Marc and I and Jim and Mary at the BBQ on the Voyager in Myanmar

[Linked Image]


Karen

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#249305 - 12/01/17 05:01 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Beautiful picture Arlene & Marc, sure brings back GOOD memories.


Marcie

#249324 - 12/06/17 01:59 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: petlover]  
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Busy last few days of the 21 day segment Dubai to Singapore. Our trivia team crashed and burned; but we still were all invited to dinner with Margaret and Elda day of Captain's Farewell. Poor excursions in Phuket (basically nine hours to see James Bond Island) and Langkawi (cable car cancelled due to winds). Fantastic Gold Platinum Titanium event starting off with duet by Margaret and Ray and then a great show of puppets and singing by Ray.

Large turnover of personnel in Singapore. New Staff Captain, Destinations (Katja), Cruise Consultant (Gudrun), and, of course, Ray. These next two segments are only twelve days each so don't know how it will work out for meeting new people, Signatures party is tonight after block party. Trivia team needs to be recreated; will see how that goes (I have been studying Harry Potter trivia for over a week). Actually, hardest adjustment will be rotation of bartenders. You get into a pattern of certain bars (and bartenders) certain times of the day and this rotation pretty much screwed that up (i.e., bartenders had a natural fit to the bars where they were previously located). I am sure by tomorrow, though, I will forget the previous rotation and be back to normal.

Biggest hiccup is that Luggage Free is strongly recommending that we not ship luggage home from Beijing. Only choices are taking five suitcases to Harbin (we don't return to Beijing from Harbin) or shipping from Hong Kong; we will probably ship one bag from Hong Kong and hope it doesn't arrive too soon.

Even though we have sailed these next two segments before, we have a number of new ports: Ko Samui, Nha Trang, Sanya, Kagoshima, Kochi, and Miyazaki. We are also looking forward to cooler weather, hopefully by time we reach Sanya. These 90 degree temps with high humidity wear you down.

More later . .


"Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero"

Horace

#249326 - 12/06/17 02:14 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Congratulations on the house sale! That must be kind of difficult while being on a ship though.

Margaret and Elda are a couple of my favorites. We have sailed with them many times.

Too bad I am not there for trivia.

#249372 - 12/15/17 07:54 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: RachelG]  
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So many bars so little time; my new motto. It is hard to devote time in each bar. A Belgian beer at pool bar after lunch. Then to Observation Lounge for trivia with first whisky of the day. Pre-dinner it is Horizon Lounge for drinks, canapés, and music. Have drinks at show in Constellation. The problem is fitting in Voyager Lounge as we usually go back to Horizon for band after the show. Of course, I have yet to go to crew bar.

This segment has been nice. No steady trivia team and only one win. Only a 12 day segment so not a great chance to bond with new passengers. Most get off Sunday in Hong Kong and we do this all over again. Slowly, a lot of our friends on staff are turning over too. Stephane (F&B) got off in Nha Trang (Rico who I have yet to meet is new F&B); Thomas gets off in Hong Kong; and Elda departs in Shanghai.

Ship is mostly decorated for Christmas. At least the trees and greenery; to me, won't feel like Christmas until gingerbread shows up.

Tonight is another Krew Kapers; we haven't gone to last two and we will skip tonight, too. Dinner with Ray. I shared drinks with him at bar the other day and he is full of stories (all true I am sure) that are fascinating.

Voyager is a wonderful ship though I am still partial to Mariner (I think). Cabins are great; Horizon Lounge is great; Voyager ok; Observation not near as good as it used to be. In our past "group" cruises we have often had 20+ for cocktails; I don't know where you could do that on this ship. Observation used to work but not anymore as banquettes are gone. I think it would have to be Horizon.

After seven weeks onboard, we are still ready for more. This has been a wonderful experience.

Marc


"Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero"

Horace

#249373 - 12/15/17 03:19 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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I love the way you write Marc, it is 100% your personality. We have never done a long trip like this and do see the changes when we do back to backs. Just a completely different experience I am sure with such a long trip and so many turnovers in crew and guests.. When you come to the end at least you have the HARBIN ICE FESTIVAL to look forward to something that we really enjoyed hope you do too.


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#249397 - 12/23/17 06:46 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Ngaire]  
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Posting from Kagoshima Japan; they have a "backup" satellite that is actually providing reasonable internet service while in Japanese port.

This has been a strange segment. Real rocky and cold going into Hong Kong and even rockier and windier on trip to Shanghai. Very few Americans onboard, 209 out of 625. UK, Hong Kong, Australia, and Canada together are much larger than USA contingent. Games not very well attended but trivia is doing reasonably well; just hurts to finish in a three way tie for first and end up third as we didn't guess what year Ringo Starr became a grandfather. Still, we have had a couple impressive wins.

Even though we have been on for over eight weeks, this last week is highlight for us - Japan for first time since we left in 2008, Christmas, and our 25th anniversary. Crew continues to change out; Olivia replaced Elda as Assistant CD in Shanghai. I think Singapore on 17 January will be a major turnover.

Ship continues to be wonderful. Anatoly is great as GM. David is new dining room manager and is wonderful. Food continues to be fantastic, and we have been able to get into Prime 7 and. Chartreuse on more than one occasion. They have also worked it so we could get into Prime 7 for our anniversary. We really enjoy the Orchestra. Arlene was able to get approval for us to have dinner with all five of them in Compass Rose the other night. Steak tartare, escargot, foie gras, lobsters tails, and wine kept showing up at our table. We had a fun evening. They played until 7:30 in Horizon and were back on stage at 10:30. We were worried that after such a heavy meal they might have had a hard time at show; no problem; they were extremely energetic.

Alas, the trip is almost over; all my "pacing myself" has been thrown out the window. Five more days of fun then onto Beijing and Harbin for hopefully more shopping and fun.


"Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero"

Horace

#249399 - 12/23/17 03:27 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Things are SO DIFFERENT when you are on a ship for so long. Each segment has changes and hearing this from you along the way has been really interesting. Amazing so few Americans on this last segment. So happy to hear you were able to celebrate your 25th Anniversary in style!

VERY EXCITED to hear there is a "backup satellite" for use in Japan. That has always been a big problem.

I agree - forget the pacing yourself - enjoy all the food and you will need that extra fat for the cold you will have in Harbin. I wish you good weather like we had there, one sunny day, one snowy day. The snowy day was wonderful as well as it had STOPPED snowing and it was so beautiful in the snow. Anxious to hear your experiences in Harbin.


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#249401 - 12/25/17 05:46 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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What a fantastic voyage, Marc and Arlene! I have been enjoying reading about it. Happy anniversary and all the best to you through the holidays. Wish we were there with you!


Kristin

Paul Gauguin's Tere Moana-12/14
Voyager-10/08, 11/10
Navigator-05/07, 5/09, 10/11
Paul Gauguin-6/06, 12/07
Silver Shadow-12/06
Silver Whisper-11/05, 12/04
Silver Wind-4/04
#249405 - 12/26/17 02:54 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Belated Happy Anniversary from Mary and I. We gave out a lot of Regent stuff as Christmas gifts (thanks to "boat building" and our great Trivia Team). Hope we sail together again.

#249421 - 12/29/17 07:33 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: JimR]  
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We are sitting in Hilton Wangfujing in Beijing; fantastic room and hotel so a very slow return to reality. Ship was wonderful for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (even though both were port days) and Anatoli, Aleksandr, David, and Ray ensured we had a fantastic anniversary. Food and service were absolutely wonderful through the trip. It was really hard to leave today. I am really looking forward to ROO in December as a reasonably long 36 days without a changeover of passengers; should make a long trip even better.

Three days in Beijing then onto Harbin; I think it will be return home (wherever that is) before we get pictures posted.

Marc


"Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero"

Horace

#249422 - 12/29/17 08:22 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Any Regent ship will do....
Marc is right, we are slowly readjusting to the real world after being on the Voyager for 63 days. We had a fantastic time, celebrating Marc's 60th birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and our 25the wedding anniversary. The ship and the crew were in tip top shape. The crew all seemed so happy and I saw several examples of supervisory personnel doing special things for crew members, really nice to see. I don't have much to add, as Marc had pretty much covered it, but did want to add one tidbit.

As Marc posted earlier, we got to have dinner in CR one night with all the Regent Signature "Orchestra" members. (Seems silly to say Orchestra as there were only 5 of them, but that is what they were being called. Margaret had told us they had all come on "new" in Rome, and had never played together. They were just fantastic from the beginning. The bass player and drummer are from the US, the Saxophonist from the Ukraine and the Guitarist and Pianist form Minsk. The latter two didn't speak the best english (this was their first contract ever) but were still so sweet and fun to get to know. I think anyone of them could be a headliner in their own right, they were each that good. They are all fantastic musicians and we enjoyed hearing them play. We probably listened to them more than all the other bands in the past cruises combined. We were enjoying listening to them and getting to know them so much that I asked Margaret about having dinner with them one night if we could fit it in with their schedule. Long story short we had to go all the way up to the General Manager (Anatoli) who arranged it in no time. We had an absolutely fantastic dinner. They had never been asked or been able to eat on one of the guest restaurants before and they seemed to really appreciate being asked. (Marc just came up to me and he looked like something was wrong. I asked if he was OK, he said yes, but it is time for trivia and he is missing it) They really liked being able to order anything they wanted (that new menu is so terrific) and dining "like the guests do." When we were finished with dinner, the waiter (Tri, who is the absolute best of the best) brought out the little tiered tray with the petit fours on it. One of them had obviously never seen this before and said "Oh wow....appetizers before dessert" Marc and I cracked up and I don't think I will ever think of them in any way other than dessert appetizers! Any way it was a very memorable dinner among many. One of them told us later that two fellows from Minsk were so overwhelmed they had never eaten such an elegant meal in their lives so very special for them as well.

Hard to believe all the places and countries we went to in 63 days, just a very incredible cruise.


Arlene
I LOVE flying... I've been to almost as many places as my luggage
#249424 - 12/29/17 03:24 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Marc & Arlene, I'm so happy you had such a fabulous time. I so understand that "coming back to the real world" feeling. Now that Marc is retired and you've spread your wings, you're ready for a 4 month world cruise !

Thanks for all your great postings along the way. cheer


Marcie

#249428 - 12/29/17 03:56 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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How wonderful that you were able to provide such a special experience for the orchestra guys! I think we sometimes forget that what is ordinary and routine for many of us is beyond even the dreams of many. Thanks so much for sharing!
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Helen

#249429 - 12/29/17 04:01 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Ngaire Online
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I loved the story of the dinner with the orchestra Arlene. Very heart warming. Good for you making that happen.

YEARS ago on the Song of Flower when we used to stay up until 2.00 am every night dancing (when we were younger - what the heck happened) we met a young man named Luke. His job was to vacuum all the carpets at night. He was a sweetheart. He would give us a big smile every night and we really grew fond of our "goodnight" from Luke. So we did the same thing and had to jump through hoops to get him in the dining room but he loved it.

The wonderful part of this story is Luke is now a Destinations Manager for Regent/Oceania. Amazing from the vacuum cleaner to running a staff and a senior position. When I see him on the ship it always makes me so happy. Katja who is also a Destinations Manager who some of you may know was his mentor and he certainly came a long way.


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#249431 - 12/30/17 12:30 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Ngaire]  
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jhp Offline
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Arlene, I love the dinner story! Bless you for arranging! Have a great time in Beijing and Harbin, can’t wait to see the pix.

#249433 - 12/30/17 02:15 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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lonestarlady Online
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We had a similar special experience on our Grand Voyage in 2016. But in our case, we had bid and won the "dinner with the crew" for the benefit of the crew welfare fund. Such a special evening - having dinner with our favorite waiter and sommelier!! We will never forget it, and I think the crew felt the same... We forged a lifelong friendship with our waiter, and have since visited him at his home when we were in Bali. These are the BEST memories!! [Linked Image]


Cindy

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." - Saint Augustine

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#249434 - 12/30/17 03:16 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Ngaire Online
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That great Cindy. SUPER picture!! I love those auctions for the crew fund. Only experienced those once and it was great. Jamie handled it and he was excellent.


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#249435 - 12/30/17 06:11 AM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Mrs. Marc Offline
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Any Regent ship will do....
Ngaire, I loved the story about Luke! What a special dinner that must have been for him as well. From vacuuming carpets to destinations manager is such tremendous growth for him. We were fortunate to have dinner with the destinations manager Ricardo, and after talking to him I am impressed with anyone who does that job. The amount of behind the scenes work that job takes is unbelievable. We were told how in some ports they go out ahead of time and brief guides on subjects that shouldnt be discussed, i.e. politics. In some places they go out and fumigate or spray the busses for scent, bad air or small insects like nats and such. I had no idea they did these things. I think it would be fascinating to spend a day with the destinations manager on a port day. Up early checking on the busses, getting every bus in order of tour, signage, the right guide, etc. Then getting all the passengers on the right busses on time. The logistics seem mind boggling when you think about it. Plus, RIcardo's knowledge of the ports! Ask him about almost any port and he can recite from memory what is there, how long to get to the sights, shopping, etc. Just absolutely mind boggling to me.

Cindy, Loved the picture of your dinner! You are so right....for all the touring and such, sometimes the dinners and the staff are the best memories. We were hoping they would have an auction to benefit the crew fund but they didn't. We talked to one staff member about the crew fund and he was just in tears, saying how much it meant to him that it paid for his flights home and back when his brother died.

I have a picture or two of our dinner I will try to send to Karen to post. It was so special to us and them as well I think.

We are in Beijing and the Hilton and it is such a wonderful hotel close to an enormous mall. As it is a holiday weekend the mall is packed. Consumerism is alive and well here that is for sure. Experienced some Chinese road rage here this morning when our taxi driver and another driver got into it. The taxi driver had the right of way and I think if we hadn't been in the car, they may have come to blows, but other wise, given the massive number of cars, the drivers are very polite. I suppose road rage is everywhere these days.

This is our fourth time here in Beijing and it is still surprises me. Just Marc and I wondering around today by ourselves! A far cry from our honeymoon when I was such a novice traveler..... We took a cruise out of San Juan and when we got to the hotel before the cruise, Marc said "lets go out and explore" I said "No, we are in a foreign country!" Look how far I've come!!

Now back relaxing at the hotel. We need to repack as I was under the weather the last day on the ship and left Marc with all the packing. As we brought everything from snorkel gear (Red Sea, Thailand) to winter coats, boots and long underwear for Harbin we really need to repack and sort thru everything. Poor Marc just made sure to get everything in a suitcase so some major reshuffling is going to be necessary! I am so looking forward to Harbin. The last few days I reread Ngaire's post about it and so excited to get there I can hardly stand it!


Arlene
I LOVE flying... I've been to almost as many places as my luggage
#249441 - 12/30/17 09:47 PM Re: Voyager - 27 Oct 2017 [Re: Marc]  
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Ngaire Online
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Say hello to BILLY for us we so enjoyed him as our guide. Hope you like him as much as we did. Wish we were there in Harbin with you I could easily do all that over again. I just looked on line. The festival looks even better than we went. The snow and ice sculptures are totally different. I love the sphinx! I also checked the weather and it looks good for your trip. Not sure when you actually go to Harbin or when you leave Harbin but for the next ten days it looks great. Partly sunny or sunny most days with a maximum of 10% chance of precipitation and very light wind. FANTASTIC - still cold of course but it has to be or those sculptures would melt.


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