My Dream Voyage
When I came into the office today I asked myself… If you could pick one cruise on the top of your bucket list, what would that be? I thought long and hard and took into consideration several things; value, size of ship, cuisine, shore excursions and ports visited.
It’s not an easy decision, but at the top of my list is Regent Seven Seas Cruises Barcelona to Venice – Path of the Gods, 10 night voyage on May 29, 2014. It is onboard the beautiful Seven Seas Mariner. Regent Seven Seas is all inclusive, so there is tremendous value there. Their cuisine is top-notch and there are many choices for dining alternatives. They visit some very interesting ports; some of them are places that I have wanted to visit for a long, long time. I also like the fact that the staterooms are spacious, more so than most other cruise ships. The shore excursions are included, so this offers me even more value. I also like a smaller sized ship and the Mariner holds only 700 guests.
The cruise embarks in Barcelona, Spain. Getting to Barcelona, Spain is easy from Los Angeles International Airport. Since Regent Seven Seas is all inclusive, their fares include free roundtrip air. If you book a Penthouse Suite or Higher on Europe Voyages, Regent gives you free Business Class air. Regent also includes transfers from either the airport or hotel. I would do what I always recommend to my clients and that is to arrive a full day prior to when the cruise starts. This assures that you don’t run into a problem with flight or travel delays and also gives you a chance to acclimate to the time change. Regent Seven Seas also includes a 1 night luxury hotel package on most of their voyages.
Saint-Tropez, France is the first port to visit. The ship arrives at noon and doesn’t leave until midnight, giving you time to explore during the day and to experience the night life in Saint-Tropez. I have heard the hike to Cap Taillat is challenging, but well worth it. The views are spectacular and the beaches are unspoiled. This sounds like the perfect spot for relaxing in the sun on the French Riviera.
The ship docks in Cannes, France early the next morning and stays until 10pm, giving you a chance for day and evening activities. My dream day in Cannes would be shopping, shopping, shopping. Well, maybe I would add a nice lunch at a café and do some people watching. I suppose that would be a nice break from shopping. I would round out the day with some time on the beach. Then back to the ship for a wonderful dinner.
Portofino, Italy has always been a place I have wanted to visit. I would take the shore excursion offered by Regent which is called Cruising the Italian Riviera. Touring by boat offers a completely different perspective of the Italian Riviera. Photo opportunities are limitless as you pass by the beautiful cliffs and the bay. They stop in San Fruttuoso, a forest-lined inlet which is only accessible by boat or by foot. Next you go to Camogli, a small fishing village with brightly painted houses. After these stops, you board your boat for the cruise back to Portofino. It’s now time to relax, enjoy some locally made wine and sample traditional Genoese bread, baked with olive oil and salt.
Rome is the next port. I have not been to Rome before, so I would definitely do the traditional sightseeing such as The Coliseum, The Vatican, The Vatican Museums, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps.
Probably the top reason I chose this cruise is for the trip to Sorrento/Capri, Italy. I have always wanted to go to Capri. To me, it’s the perfect spot in the Italian Riviera. That must be why it’s called the Island of Dreams. I would do the Capri on Your Own excursion that Regent offers. It includes a 30-minute cruise on the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Naples and a mini-bus ride to the lovely town of Capri. They give you about 2 ½ hours to explore on your own. You can visit the famous shopping street or wander through the central square known as the Piazzette before visiting one of the local cafes for a quick lunch of local favorites. At the end, climb aboard the funicular which transports you down to the pier where you will board the hydrofoil for your return to Sorrento.
The cruise also visits Messina, Italy; Corfu, Greece; Dubrovnik, Croatia and ends in Venice, Italy.
As I mentioned before, I wanted to feel that I was getting great value for my vacation dollars. I know all of my clients would agree with me on this point. With Regent Seven Seas you really do get tremendous value. Included in your cruise fare are bonus savings of up to $12,000 per suite, roundtrip air, unlimited free shore excursions, transfers between airport, hotel and ship, free pre-paid gratuities, unlimited beverages including fine wines and premium spirits, open bars and lounges, in-suite mini-bar replenished daily, free 24-hour room service and complimentary specialty restaurants.
Picking a smaller size ship means no lines and no waiting. I like the fact that the Mariner is large enough to have all the amenities and choices of a larger ship, but you are not amongst the crowds. Their staff-to-guest ratio is very high, which gives the experience an even more intimate feel.
As for the accommodations, all are suites and 97% of them have private balconies. They are also some of the largest staterooms on the seas today.
On each ship, you will have a choice of up to four gourmet restaurants, including the iconic steakhouse Prime 7, Sette Mari at La Veranda, Signatures and Compass Rose. There is always casual indoor and outdoor dining available at La Veranda and the al fresco Pool Grill.
Since I love to work out, yes… even while on vacation, I love the fact that the Canyon Ranch SpaClub is onboard. They have a fully equipped fitness center, deck sports including tennis and a jogging track. All of the spa services at Canyon Ranch SpaClub are excellent. If you choose a massage, facial or body treatment; you won’t be disappointed.
With so much to do onboard and while in port, there will never be a dull moment. That is, of course, unless you choose to relax poolside with a cold drink or take a nap in your suite. Actually, I think I will add both of those ideas to my itinerary!
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