Written by: Crystal Williams
Imagine a town where everyone shares a common interest: travel. A town small enough that you can meet all the residents, but large enough to offer variety.
Now imagine your town can move, taking you to all kinds of places. And imagine that every day brings new adventures, new learning. And imagine nightly conversations about what was seen and learned.
Imagine that your town has high-quality restaurants with an almost infinite variety of dishes, and will make something not on the menu especially for you if you ask a day or two ahead. And have figured out which wines you will and won’t like. And have an almost unerring instinct for matching compatible dining companions.
Imagine that every bar is one where everybody knows your name. Where the bartender knows how you like your cosmo made, and the bar waitress knows your scotch of choice.
Imagine that morning coffee can be brought to your bedroom or found in a restaurant or a short walk down the hall, prepared by your choice of an automatic machine or a barista.
Imagine that you don’t have to lift a finger. Your home is cleaned, your meals prepared and served, your drinks poured, and your logistics managed. All by the most pleasant people you’ve ever met.
Imagine having live entertainment each evening, be it a comedian, a singer, a magician, a ventriloquist, a pianist or violinist, or the resident troupe putting on a show in the theater. Or the band playing dance music. Or a piano bar that covers many genres of music. Or a dance party to Beatles music. Or a party on the pool deck.
And on those days when your “town” has not taken you to a new adventure, having a variety of activities to choose from, including watching spectacular scenery from your window or balcony, or surrounded by others on the deck.
And imagine not being handed a bill for any of this. You’ve paid for it all in advance, so everything within your imagination feels like everyday life.
Don’t imagine that you’ll get bored. Not with the activities—after all, you are seeing a large portion of the world in the most efficient way possible—and not even with the sea days, which make for a welcomed vacation from your vacation.
And don’t imagine that it is inevitable that you’ll gain weight. You can be as active as you want. Each port’s excursions feature a continuum of levels of activity, so you can choose the level that suits you best. Food portions are reasonable and healthful (but delicious) choices are abound. While food is there if you want it, it’s not constantly in your face. Just beware of the cronuts. And that wine glass that never seems to be empty.
What you’ve imagined is a Grand Voyage on Regent Seven Seas. For us, it was Grand Arctic Splendors—three memorable months traversing much of Europe (and a bit of the U.S. and Canada) in the summer of 2018.
It was memorable for the people we met. We came home with many terrific new friends, some who were on for the full 89 nights; others who joined for one or two of the six segments that comprised the cruise. These wonderful people were not only fellow passengers; we got to know some great people who work on the ship. We wanted to talk about some staff and crew members who will stay in our hearts forever—Odul, Birgitta, Katya, Aleksandra, Allen, Gusti, Mailyn, Wei Wei, etc.—but then realized that for every person we’d describe, we’d omit dozens of other truly wonderful people. Suffice it to say that it is a privilege to know these individuals.
It was memorable for the places we went. In Norway, the trip over the Trollstigen Road or the jaunt to the North Cape or the boat trip on the fjord. In Edinburgh, the Royal Tattoo. Ypres in Belgium and the Harry Potter castle in the UK. Shetland, the Azores, Berlin, that winery in Spain, the Blue Lagoon in Iceland, Bilbao, Nuuk, the party at the opera house in Reykjavik. We could keep going. In fact, we want to go again.