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boblerm

"Sorta" Live from the Explorer in the Norwegian Fjords

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Posted (edited)

My thanks to Jennifer, kjbacon, briar14, Susan, Freddie and Sheila for their very kind words and warm wishes.

 

We disembarked in Oslo, very smooth disembarkation.20190820_075321.thumb.jpg.e208ab1006149967336eb4bf2bf97964.jpg

We are so glad that we decided to spend a day here, what a fabulous city!

 

This was our first time in Oslo, and we thought that a good way to spend our time would be to take a hop on hop off bus. That way we could get a good overview of the city, and see a few selected sites

.
The first place that we hopped off was the mind blowing Vigeland Sculpture Park. A note to my fellow members of the "can’t – keep – your – finger – off- the- shutter- button" club, (and you know who you are) : if you plan on making a photo album of a trip that includes this place, you may need to make a separate volume for it alone.

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We visited the magnificent Cathedral of Oslo

 

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We didn’t have tickets to tour the Royal Palace, but a walk around the grounds was time well spent 

 

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City Hall

 

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The cities that we visited in Norway in August seem to be a flower lovers paradise, and Oslo was no exception

 

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We stayed at the Continental, a very nice hotel, and had dinner there. 

 

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We had a nice breakfast there before our flight, and I don’t know about you, but I appreciate a menu that gives me enough information to make an informed decision. 

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Our flight back home on SAS was a very pleasant one. 

 

Tomorrow will begin my review.

 

Bob
 

Edited by boblerm

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Nice photos and we'll be looking forward to your review.  Happy all when well on your way home---until your next cruise best wishes to you guys.

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1 hour ago, English Voyager said:

A pity you did not visit  'The Viking Ship Museum'.

Pity indeed, 1 day in Oslo is not enough.  Next time though. 

 

56 minutes ago, ronrick1943 said:

Nice photos and we'll be looking forward to your review.  Happy all when well on your way home---until your next cruise best wishes to you guys.

Thanks much for the well wishes, any Rick and Ron cruises coming up?

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Earlier Gerry and TC2 had some questions for me to ask Joel, the server with whom we had such fun in regard to my less than dainty adventures with wine glasses.  

Here is his response to my questions

The first question made me laugh a lot 😄 seems like u have some swiss ppl reading your blog as well  🙂
 
The Röstigraben, is what we call ( a border) between the swiss French and the Swiss German part of switzerland, it just a huge river wich separates those two parts of our beautiful country! And to answer the question, i was born and raised in the swiss german part, wich means not in the same part as the person who asked. 🙂
 
Unfortunately, my contract lasts till 12. Of november, so it could be difficult to meet me after this day 😅🤷🏻‍♂️ but i will be on the Mariner from the 6. Of January for another 6 months 🙂

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Posted (edited)

So many places to go, so many places to see, so many things to do...

 

I needed to be born independently wealthy so I could have seen more of the world.  Oh, well, I do what I can with what I got...

 

🛫

🌍🗻🏰🗽🕍🕌🚅🚕🛵

🛳️🛩️🚁🏛️🏕️🏜️🌋🌅🏝️

🛬

Edited by UUNetBill

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, boblerm said:

Earlier Gerry and TC2 had some questions for me to ask Joel, the server with whom we had such fun in regard to my less than dainty adventures with wine glasses.  

Here is his response to my questions

The first question made me laugh a lot 😄 seems like u have some swiss ppl reading your blog as well  🙂
 
The Röstigraben, is what we call ( a border) between the swiss French and the Swiss German part of switzerland, it just a huge river wich separates those two parts of our beautiful country! And to answer the question, i was born and raised in the swiss german part, wich means not in the same part as the person who asked. 🙂
 
Unfortunately, my contract lasts till 12. Of november, so it could be difficult to meet me after this day 😅🤷🏻‍♂️ but i will be on the Mariner from the 6. Of January for another 6 months 🙂

 

Thanks so much!  Joel does sound like a fun person to have as a server.  It is a shame that have won't be on Splendor with us.  

 

Don't want to forget to thank you for the warning that eggs have eggs in them!  That is so important to know🙃

Edited by Travelcat2

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@Hambagahle, Gerry, earlier you had asked me if there was German potato salad with the wiener schnitzel dish, I'm not exactly sure what constitutes German potato salad, is that with oil and vinegar?

I don't believe that it was, but I would think that if you had  chat with the head waiter that they would be happy to make this for you.  It seems to me that I can recall wiener schnitzel being served on the last night frequently, but if you mention to the head waiter that you would like to special order potatoes to your liking the night it is served, I would bet that they would be happy to accommodate you.  I often notice a table where people are having dishes that are off menu.  It's what they do!

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4 hours ago, boblerm said:

Unfortunately, my contract lasts till 12. Of november, so it could be difficult to meet me after this day 😅🤷🏻‍♂️ but i will be on the Mariner from the 6. Of January for another 6 months 🙂

How wonderful! Joel will be on the 2020 World Cruise ☺️

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9 hours ago, boblerm said:

@Hambagahle, Gerry, earlier you had asked me if there was German potato salad with the wiener schnitzel dish, I'm not exactly sure what constitutes German potato salad, is that with oil and vinegar?

I don't believe that it was, but I would think that if you had  chat with the head waiter that they would be happy to make this for you.  It seems to me that I can recall wiener schnitzel being served on the last night frequently, but if you mention to the head waiter that you would like to special order potatoes to your liking the night it is served, I would bet that they would be happy to accommodate you.  I often notice a table where people are having dishes that are off menu.  It's what they do!

 

"German" - or maybe Swiss German - potato salad is made with mustard and oil, has raw onions and parsley in it and is served luke warm.   It is wonderful.  I never, ever make a potato salad with mayonnaise.  That sounds disgusting to me!

 

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The Boss makes German potato salad and she adds bacon plus makes a roux with a little bacon fat and flour, then adds equal parts vinegar and sugar. Now that I write this, I realize that it probably isn’t too healthy for you. But, it tastes wonderful and is a hit at BBQs.  It goes great with my famous ribs.  Come on over to south Florida and we’ll make you some. 

Z and TB

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6 hours ago, Hambagahle said:

I never, ever make a potato salad with mayonnaise.  That sounds disgusting to me!

What is disgusting about cold, boiled potatoes that have been diced, and mixed with mayonnaise?

 

I have eaten it extensively throughout Germany, and Austria.

And on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises Europa 2

 

But in Switzerland, only rösti .       

 

Beware of ordering chips in Belgium!

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1 hour ago, Zqueeze1 said:

The Boss makes German potato salad and she adds bacon plus makes a roux with a little bacon fat and flour, then adds equal parts vinegar and sugar. Now that I write this, I realize that it probably isn’t too healthy for you. But, it tastes wonderful and is a hit at BBQs.  It goes great with my famous ribs.  Come on over to south Florida and we’ll make you some. 

 

We're on our way, what time would you like us there?

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19 minutes ago, English Voyager said:

Out of interest, which meat does Regent use in it's wiener schnitzel?

I believe it is veal.

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Summary / Review

 

At the end of a wonderful vacation, Jeannie and I often say to each other, “so is this the best one yet? “
It is a question that we never answer. We have been so incredibly blessed to have been able to have had so many fantastic travel experiences, but how can you begin to compare, for example,  the majestic wonders of the Norwegian fjords with the grandeur of Rome, Florence and Venice, or the profound emotional experience of walking in the land of Israel? I don't think you can. But what you can do is compare the experiences that you have while aboard a cruise ship, as that is relatively independent of the location that you are visiting. And we are in agreement that when it comes to the "big 3" of cruising, cuisine, service, and entertainment, this cruise gave us one of, if not the most enjoyable on board experience that we have had.


Before getting into specifics, the usual disclaimer : this represents our opinions and our opinions only, which are no more nor any less valid than anyone else’s.

Cuisine
During the course of the cruise we had 12 dinners of 3 course each (not counting desserts, which as you well know, we hardly ever…. nevermind.)  With 2 people, if I am doing the math correctly, that comes to 72 courses. Of these, I would rate 2 as “not good”, a small handful as “just ok”, and the rest as “very good to great “. While I don’t keep stats on that, I have to believe that this pretty much represents a record breaking batting average. I am taking into account flavor, temperature, and visual appeal. 

 

As good as the specialty restaurants are, and they are good, we only like to dine in each once per cruise, as we think that Compass Rose rarely disappoints. If there is nothing particularly tempting in the evening's specials, (as if), we know with certainty that there are items on the always available section that we can count on enjoying.  To the best of my knowledge, this is unique among luxury cruise ships.

 

We had all of our breakfasts at La Veranda, and all lunches either at La Veranda or the Pool Grill.  We always have been and continue to be well satisfied with the quality and variety of the offerings there.

The hot and cold served hors d'oeuvres served in the lounges are just fine, nothing to rave about but served their purposes.  I don't suppose we need to talk about the snacks🙄.

 

Service

We took 2 Regent cruises in 2018, the Explorer in March and the Voyager in June, after a bit of a hiatus from traveling.  We felt that on both of these cruises, the service had slipped a bit from our previous experiences.  Not the it was bad, just not quite as good as we had remembered.  It was often problematic to flag down a server in the lounges and pool deck, and it was not so unusual to have to wait to have water glasses or even (horrors) wine glasses refilled. On this cruise,  the service, if anything, surpassed its previous levels.  We would constantly be offered service within minutes of arriving in any venue. But what struck me the most about the service on this cruise was the attitude and personality of so many of the crew members. We are all used to being greeted with a smile and a "good morning" by crew members, but it seemed that so many of them were especially amiable and pleasant.  The best example of this is the series of encounters that we had with Joel after my heavy handed handling of wine glasses, but so often we had amiable conversations with servers, who even had the courtesy to pretend to appreciate my warped sense of humor!

 

We are pretty low maintenance in our needs for our cabin attendants, but whatever requests we had were handled promptly and delivered consistently.

 

Entertainment

There have been some recent threads on this forum in which many expressed the opinion that the entertainment on Regent has slipped in recent years.  And I want to make it as clear as I can that I in no way, shape or form wish to  disparage or minimize the concerns or opinions of others.  I cannot comment on a cruise that I was not on.  I can only say that on this particular ship, on this particular cruise, I found the entertainment to be at least as good as any cruise that I have ever taken on any line.   The cast of singers and dancers were superb, the specialty acts I thought were first rate. The production show "Paradis" was the best that I can remember seeing. The 7 piece Regent Signature Orchestra all very accomplished musicians.  Choreography, staging, the technical staff that handled lighting and sound......well, you get the idea.

 

Cruise Director John Barron- what can I say?  Simply the best.

 

The performers in the Explorer Lounge were the P & K duo, a couple from Rome, relatively new to Regent on their second contract.  P, Phil, is an excellent guitarist.  K, Keysha (not to be confused with long time Regent entertainer Kasia) has a lovely voice.  We found them very pleasant to listen to, but found them a little sleepy for our taste for dancing.  We did dance a few times, usually being the only ones on the dance floor.

 

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Ross, a top notch pianist performed in the Observation Lounge.

 

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The Regent Signature Orchestra performed ballroom music in the Meridian Lounge.

 

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Destination Services

Anytime there is a thread entitled "Regent vs, (choose your own cruise line here), invariably someone will bring up the fact that they do not like the system of having to hand in your excursion tickets in exchange for a bus ticket, then wait for your number to be called. This is a valid complaint to a certain extent.  Regent is alone among luxury line to include excursions in cruise fare (read: you are forced to pay for excursions whether you want to or not).  I think that it is logical to assume, therefore, that a far higher percentage of passengers will be taking ship excursions than on other lines.  This, I think, puts a great deal of pressure on the Destination Services team, handling the number of guests that they do, handling requests for changes, waiting lists, questions and concerns.  Also, they are at the mercy of the land tour companies, if a bus is not there on time, they cannot manufacture one.  With few exceptions, I have generally found that they do a very good job under the circumstances.  On this cruise, I thought they handled everything as efficiently and smoothly as could be expected.  While it is annoying to have to wait 10 minutes or so when you are champing at the bit to get out and see the sights, that was really as bad as it got, no excessive waits at all.  We were very pleased with the quality of the excursions.  The one complaint that I had was in regard to what I believe to be a misleading description on the Regent web site, not the fault of the on board team.

 

Internet

Maddening.  This is not taking into account the 2 days of no service, this is to be expected in this neck of the woods.  Nor am I considering the infrequent service drop periods, this happens on every cruise.  But at its best, service was frustratingly slow.  One can live with this if you have to wait a bit longer than desired for an email to open, but if you are trying to post pictures to a web site it can drive you crazy (crazier?)  Trying to load a full size photo file is not an option, they have to be significantly reduced in file size, and even then took way too long.  It can be exasperating when you are loading 6 or so pics, and after 15 minutes get a message for 4 of them "file failed to load"  AGHHHH!

 

Embarkation/ Disembarkation

Couldn't have been easier or smoother.

 

I will post my review of the ship and my suite next.

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54 minutes ago, boblerm said:

I believe it is veal.

Thank you for your reply.

 

The reason for my query is that so many people refuse to eat veal, and yet at one time the use of pork was regarded as a cheap alternative.

 

In any event, I prefer wiener schnitzel cordon bleu.

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Bob - please tell Jeannie that the way she makes potato salad is just the way I love it!  (Any mayonnaise based salad is, IMO, dangerous!!  Just let it get slightly warm and it can be toxic.   And I cannot imagine making Wiener Schnitzel with anything other than veal - and very thinly pounded veal at that.

 

Love the first part of your cruise report almost (but not quite) as much as reading your blog and seeing your photos.  And what you said makes me look forward even more to our March cruise!  Again, thanks for taking us along!!

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, English Voyager said:

Thank you for your reply.

 

The reason for my query is that so many people refuse to eat veal, and yet at one time the use of pork was regarded as a cheap alternative.

 

In any event, I prefer wiener schnitzel cordon bleu.

Cordon Bleu veal (or pork) is not Wiener Schnitzel.  It is meat layered with ham and cheese and then rolled in breadcrumbs.    Wiener Schnitzel is "ganz anderes" - something else again...   And suggest you come back to Switzerland!  We have seemingly hundreds of different ways of cooking potatoes here.  Not just rösti (which I love BTW) which is really Swiss German.

Edited by Hambagahle

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5 minutes ago, Hambagahle said:

Cordon Bleu veal (or pork) is not Wiener Schnitzel.  It is meat layered with ham and cheese.  It is just what it says it is "Cordon Bleu".  Wiener Schnitzel is "ganz anderes" - something else again...   And suggest you come back to Switzerland!  We have seemingly hundreds of different ways of cooking potatoes here.  Not just rösti (which I love BTW) which is really Swiss German.

My error re Cordon Bleu.

 

As for rösti , I developed a taste for it years ago when I worked in Zurich.

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Just finished reading your blog as I had fallen behind.  Excellent reporting.  When we were in Oslo, we stayed at the Continental as well.  Very nice hotel.  Funny that eggs contain eggs, of all things.  We love Vigeland park but would also recommend the Viking ship museum and Kon Tiki museum for future trips.

 

As far as potato salad, my mom made both types (German with vinegar and oil and what I guess is English or American with mayo and eggs).  Neither is terribly healthy, but both are good, and I haven't been poisoned yet.

 

Wiener Schnitzel on Regent is veal.

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Actually, the classic cordon bleu is veal or chicken sliced open and stuffed with a thin layer of prosciutto or similar thin smoked ham and gruyere or other Swiss cheese.

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