After a great night at the RAC it was time leave London and head to Southampton to join my home for the next two weeks, SS Voyager as a part of my North Atlantic Ocean and Arctic Ocean adventure . Traffic in London is always a challenge, especially for a 40+ seat coach.
Transfer to the ship
Our coach arrived at the Landmark hotel about 20 mins late and then had to deal with a lot traffic before getting to one of the ring roads around London and then onto Southampton. There were roadworks as we neared Southampton, slowing us even further. This meant that we arrived about 90 mins late. Not the greatest start to the trip and it was about to get worse.
At the port, due to the delays we experienced on the way from London, we arrived at the same time as a number of other buses so I was expecting a decent queue but not 90 mins worth of one. The queue was due to the checking of everyone’s Covid-19 related documentation, test results and vaccination status. I think it could have been handled a lot better by streamlining the process and having us line up once and checking everything at once as well as check us in.
Also, not a great idea having us all queue up with everyone pre-checking everyone’s Covid-19 test results, no physically distancing in sight….
Everyone had to line up twice. The first queue was to check that we had tested negative for Covid-19, 60 mins, then we had to queue again to have our vaccination status checked and to then be checked in, another 30 min queue. If we did all three at the same time there would have been double the agents available at the same time and should have taken no more than 5 mins extra the first time.
Could have been even faster if Regent used the same facility that most airlines use where we have to upload our test results and vaccination status online as a part of pre-departure step, we did have to complete a version of an online check in the days before we departed.
Not sure how some of the older and less physically able people handled this as there were no spots to take a load off whilst in the queue.
End of rant.
Once I got through the check in process it was time to board the SS Voyager. Things got a lot better very quickly, as I boarded the ship I am handed a champagne and welcomed onboard by the crew.
Our cabins were not ready as yet so headed to one of my favourite spots on the ship, the Horizon Lounge. The lounge is aft on deck 5 and has a large open area that provides an uninterrupted view of the port. An added plus is great bar service, must be time for a cocktail or two after all of that.
It was a warm day (well hot day by UK standards) so it was a nice spot to wait for my suite to be made available.
After a very relaxing hour or so our suites were made available, so I headed up to my suite on deck 8 towards the aft of ship where I found my luggage already delivered outside of my suite.
My suite is as you can see pretty comfortable and included a bottle of the ship’s house pour bubbles, a nice touch, but I did not pop the cork whilst unpacking.
One of my favourite regular events onboard a ship is the sail away, I always try to be out the on the deck aft of the Horizon Lounge to watch the lines be dropped and the ship sailing away from the port.
A lot of passengers prefer to watch this from the Observation Lounge, but I find that you miss the full experience. The Observation Lounge is an indoor area and far away from the action, the Observation Lounge is on deck 11, so far from the action…
It would be a proper sail away without a drink time for a martini or two
As you would expect we departed right on time.
See ya Southampton and England
Tonight’s dinner was in the French Restaurant, Chartreuse. Chartreuse is one of the three specialty restaurants onboard and usually needs a booking, I was lucky enough to get table on the first night without a prior booking.
As with all of the restaurants onboard you are offered a bread basket at the start of the meal, hard to say no to, though I would like if they had a half serving for solo travellers, I expect that there is a lot of bread that is wasted due to people not eating the lot as people need space for the amazing food.
The White Wine
2018 Levert Frerese Petit Chablis, Burgundy, France
|Nose:||Subtle combination of lychee, lemon and flinty aromas|
|Palate:||A bit acidic, though not in a bad way|
|Oz’s Rating:||3 out of 5|
A refreshing start to the meal
Sauteed snails with Garlic, Herb Puree, Braised Rutabaga, Anchovy & Pommery Mustard Cream
I like, the snails are hidden under the sauce, get the flavours of all of the ingredients in a reserved manner.
Lobster Bisque with Armagnac
Really enjoyed this even though it was a bit extra “fishy” flavour wise.
The Red Wine
2019 Swartland, Pinotage, Swartland, South Africa
|Appearance:||Medium crimson in colour|
|Nose:||Pleasant combination of umami, cherry, pepper and spice aromas|
|Palate:||Medium bodied, with an abundance of cherries, with savoury tannins|
|Finish:||Medium length, with savoury tannins and a bit heat|
|Oz’s Rating:||3 out 5|
2020 Lot 1 R Collection by Raymond, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, USA
|Appearance:||Medium deep crimson|
|Nose:||A mix of red capsicum, blackcurrant and subtle pepper aromas|
|Palate:||Medium bodied, with harsh tannins|
|Finish:||Medium length with a sharp tail|
|Oz’s Rating:||2 out of 5 |
Definitely did not enjoy this
Roasted Milk-Fed Veal Fillet, Braised Endive, Grape Chutney, Walnut-Veal Jus, with a side of mash
Just awesome. A little chewy, but I will survive
More Red Wine
2018 Septima, Malbec, Agrelo, Argentina
|Appearance:||Medium deep crimson, slight browning of the edge|
|Nose:||Savory and raw capsicum notes|
|Palate:||Medium bodied, slightly sour|
|Oz’s Travels:||3 out of 5|
Verging on a 3.5. Enjoyable
What a good start to the dining experience on the ship, great service, excellent food. The wine of the night was the 2018 Septima Malbec, it edged out the Pinotage. Will be avoiding the R Collection going forward.
Oz’s Cruise Tips
One good thing to arrange before a cruise through the cruise line is accommodation and transfers to the port. This makes life a lot easier especially when the port is not near the nearest major city and / or airport. The cruise line will also arrange the transfer of your luggage directly to the ship and then onto your cabin. So no need to lug your own luggage around etc.
With Regent they include a nights accommodation in the package for those staying in a Concierge Suite or better and the hotels to date have been at least a 4 star.
Next up a day at sea cruising the English Channel and the Irish Sea on the way to Dublin, Ireland.