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Experience Luxury - "Travel with an Architect™" on a Regent Seven Seas Cruises® Distinctive Voyage"

Updated: Jul 12

This post is an invitation to cruise with Lynn & Robert Belles and Regent Seven Seas Cruises®! This will be our 2025 Winter Caribbean vacation from Architect-ing . We will be sailing on Regent Seven Seas Grandeur™ as your Distinctive Voyage Hosts.


As an exclusive Distinctive Voyage, if booked through Planning To Cruise, you will receive a complimentary private welcome reception and an exclusive shore event. The shore event will be an island tour and lobster lunch at St. John's Antigua ($156.00 value). Scroll down for an overview of the island destination, AND details of the shore event. As your cruise hosts Rob and Lynn Belles will be onboard and available to assist you in any way we can throughout the journey.. That's what "Travel With an Architect" means..


February 13 - February 23, 2025

regent seven seas cruises logo image

We always meet fun and interesting people when we cruise, and we think you will too. This brand's demographic is particularly interesting to us. They say the average age is, well, OUR AGE! The true average age is 58, however on longer itineraries it goes up a bit, to early 60s. Fellow travelers will for the most part be retired or semi-retired. These folks are generally affluent, well traveled, and educated. They are business owners, executives, or have professional careers. The brand also appeals to an occasional Teacher and may be peppered with younger guests, like honeymooners, or older artsy types.

Except for the summer months and holiday seasons Regent Seven Seas Cruises® really doesn't target children. You can expect that a 10 Night February sailing such as this may not have any at all.

We have never sailed with Regent before. They are an All Inclusive, Luxury brand. It will certainly be a refreshing change from the normal nickel and dime experiences we are accustomed to. Here is how they describe it:


"We aspire to give you more than just the most luxurious ships, exquisite meals, refined service or exhilarating shore excursions. We aspire to give you more than any one of those things because a truly all-inclusive travel experience is about having every luxury included, just the way you like it."

Seven Seas Grandeur® is Architecturally exquisite

























Regent Seven Seas Cruises® Life onboard promises to be a five star floating hotel experience:

A relaxing and quiet cruise vacation - No overstimulating activities.

ALL Beautiful Balcony Suites.

Luxurious Fitness Center, Jogging Track, Spa and Sauna

Specialty Dining - Including Lobster and Filet Mignon.

Lounges, Clubs, Bars, in Suite Mini Bar

Fancy Coffee Shop - with an ocean view

Culinary Arts Kitchen - (a teaching venue)

Pickleball - Putting Green - Bocce Court & more

Enrichment Speakers and Programs - Nature, Architecture, & Culinary Arts

Unlimited Shore Excursions in each destination - UNESCO sites and cultural experiences. 61 to choose from on this itinerary.

Pool & Luxurious Deck Area

Theater and Nightly Entertainment

Wifi - unlimited, while on the ship

Laundry - all of it. Pack light and bring home clean.

Gratuities - yes of course you can give more, but you don't have to

Fare credits can be applied for Airfare, Transfers and Pre-Cruise Luxury Hotel

The ONLY extras that are NOT included are: "Regent Choice" Shore Excursions, Shipboard Spa Services and certain Upscale Wines.

This cruise will have 61 included excursions to choose in the 6 Ports of Call.

Something fabulous for everyone!

If you are wondering - the pricing starts at around $6,799.00 per person based on double occupancy. Of course you can spend more.. if you are someone who appreciates more.

Want to play with pricing and room selection yourself? - Click here:

Planning to Cruise logo image

Where are we CRUISING to?

The Itinerary is called Champagne Colored Sands, and is an assortment of destinations that one might find on a Southern Caribbean Cruise. It is our opinion that this itinerary is an assemblage of the best the Caribbean has to offer. We are pondering if we have visited St. Barts or not. If not it is the only port of call we have not been to. I will share some memories for inspiration below. If you book and cruise with us we will be available to help you make the most favorable choices for you, during the journey. This type of expertise is the same service we provide for our Architecture Clients. This is your vacation - we are here to help you refine it.

Champagne Colored Sands itinerary map
Champagne Colored Sands itinerary schedule

It looks like Regent stays a bit later in port, which is expected with a luxury brand.

2/15 Puerta Plata -

Taino Bay is the New Downtown Port in Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic. We last visited in October of 2022. It is located in a bustling and congested, primarily commercial downtown neighborhood. The secure port itself "Taino Bay" is beautiful with enough shopping and activities for any discerning consumer.  We recommend having a driver or shore excursion booked in advance.

We do not recommend setting out on foot, beyond the secure port. There really isn't anything nearby to do or see. We have been to the Dominican Republic many times, and had a great time. But, in 2022 the Taino Bay port was not within walking distance to anything desirable.

We didn't pack a lot into our day because we were meeting Dominican friends to spend time with. Our driver Alfred, accompanied Rob, me, and our friends Veronica and Oscairy. We rode the cable car to the top of the mountain, walked in the tropical gardens there, then had a nice lunch afterwards on the beach. The statue of Christ the Redeemer at the top is a popular place to take photos. It is flanked with tropical gardens and a hiking path. It is peaceful, up there. a bit cooler and the view is stunning!

Can you see the ships at Taino Bay? This popular excursion is right in Puerta Plata. I imagine it will be among those offered by Regent. The D.R. grows cacao. Perhaps you can visit a farm. Puerta Plata also has an adorable town square, a distillery and museum within walking distance of one another. It is safe to be dropped off and picked up later.

Damajaqua Falls, also know as 21 Water Falls is about a 40 minute drive out into the country. This adventure is for reasonably fit people. You have to climb up a flowing waterfall in order to slide and/or jump down! The guides show you how. Recent weather determines the quantity of waterfalls you can ascend on any given day.. Follow this link to another post on our blog about our day there.

I am sure I will hire Alfred again for the day. As we prefer interacting with the local culture and experiencing the real Dominican Republic.

Dominican people, like many islanders are of African decent. In the Dominican (as they say) they speak their own version of Spanish. The other half of the island of Hispaniola is Haiti, and life there is much more difficult. Dominicans struggle to get an education and put food on the table. More affluent people live like American Middle Class - while some poor don't even have potable water at home. It is very important for them to learn English to advance and be employable in tourism or international business. They are very nice people! Some time ago we were part of a group doing "Voluntourism" where we met Veronica and her daughter Oscairy, whom you saw in the photos.

2/16 San Juan, Puerto Rico -

From what I am able to research Regent Seven Seas Cruises® normally docs at Pier 3, in Old San Juan. Which is great news for cruisers. Old San Juan, albeit the rugged paving and steep inclines, is very walkable. If it is your first time visiting this U.S. Territory, we recommend seeing both El Morro and San Cristobal forts, first. There is a nominal admission. They both close at 5pm. Once you have walked to both you will have pretty much circumvented Old San Juan. Enjoy the Ocean view from the top and both sides of the Peninsula. Walking Path Google Map. Old San Juan is a great place to photograph architecture or perhaps just "Doors". You will see what I mean. After encircling the peninsula start to work your way back and forth though the interior grid of streets. You will find Bars, Restaurants, Churches, Souvenir shops, Art and Jewelry shops - all picturesque!

Old San Juan Puerto Rico is one of the most picturesque sail in and sail away experiences you will have anywhere. We arrive at noon and depart at 8pm, so we will experience light and dark. El Morro is lit from below and stands tall and mighty at night!

The assortment of architecture can be classified as Spanish Urban, containing generations of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque. To our surprise and delight, we found some pretty pure Art Deco, which we were not expecting.

We will be in Old San Juan from noon to 8pm. You will have plenty of time to wander. In another part of town you can visit the Bacardi Factory, which moved to Puerto Rico from Cuba in 1960 when the Cuban government banned all private property. There you will learn all about the family's exile and taste or purchase Bacardi Rum. Regent has not yet published excursions for Old San Juan.

2/17 Gustavia, St. Barts -

This is possibly the only place on this itinerary that we have not yet been. Please enter a comment below the post & let us know your suggestions. Here are links to descriptions of three Included Shore Excursions offered by Regent, at St. Barts.

Note: We will be docked at St. Barts from 9am to 6pm.

2/18 Roseau, Dominica -

We have been here 2 or more times. But it has been a number of years.

City view of Roseau, Dominica

One time we visited Waterfalls, and another time we took an Island Tour. You really have to get out of the city to enjoy the Tropical Paradise of the island. If my memory serves me, we rode in a small van on twisting and turning single lane mountain roads. The driver drove with his horn!

I remember being shown to a boiling puddle of water that smelled like Sulphur. Apparently we missed Morne Trois Pitons National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Part of which is called Boiling Lake). Perhaps Regent will offer an excursion to there, when excursions are released.

Later in the day we were sold some medicinal Sulphur clay for skin infections, at a stand by the roadside. I still have it. It dries into a hard clay, but softens right up when you add water. It has healing power too! Maybe I will find more.

Road side shopping Dominica

Anyone that has visited Dominica will remember the squashed bus. I think all the tours drive by it. They say it happened in a storm.

squashed bus on Dominica

2/19 St. John's Antigua -

In 2013 we docked at St. John's Antigua Cruise Port, and took a public bus across (a mini, mini van) the island to visit Nelson's Dockyard National Park and Marina. It is a working marina for sailing vessels. We saw men sewing HUGE new sails in an historic building. We took in the architecture but didn't pay for admission to the museum. We explored the yards and gardens, spied on a couple large sailing yachts. Some say you may possibly see celebrities here.

Just In! - The Distinctive Voyage Shore Event will be HERE!

An Island Tour that includes Eric Clapton's house and more, with Rum Punch and a Lobster Lunch is right up our alley! This Complimentary excursion is valued at $156.00 pp, but included if you are booked into our Distinctive Voyage Group. 3rd and 4th guests in a suite are not included but can book HERE. See the Shore Event Details pdf CLICK HERE

Don't skip the rest of this Port of call overview, because the exclusive excursion will include a stop at Nelson's Dockyard too! 3rd and 4th guests in a suite are not included but can book HERE.

We picked up some authentic Caribbean Rum Punch, and wandered out to Fort Berkley on a nearby peninsula. We explored some ruins, from 1745 & 1811. One was built as bomb proof storage of barrels of gun powder and the other was a post for soldiers on duty. We took some beautiful pictures. The Caribbean Sea is that beautiful teal color, everywhere you go.

I can remember a squabble over the fare to return. We had to take a cab back to St. Johns, because the bus wasn't running... Yeah, we paid a lot more to get back than we did to get there. I think it is a Caribbean custom. They drive on the left, so use caution setting out on your own. I suspect this time we may have to explore the port city. It looks clean and colorful!

We will be in port from 7am to 6pm.

2/20 Tortolla BVI -

The last time we visited Tortola, we connected with two other couples and 6 of us got a private boat for the day to snorkel. After snorkeling in two places the captain dropped us at Jost Van Dyke and waited for a couple hours. We had Lobster Sandwich & Fritters for lunch and we had to try one or more of the famous beverage, invented there - the "Painkiller". Be aware that boats can NOT dock on the beach at Jost Van Dyke - you must get out of the boat in waist deep water and walk to shore. We were told that Kenny Chesney's Yacht was sitting out in the bay...

Here are links to descriptions of five Included Shore Excursions offered by Regent, at Tortola.

Note: We will be docked there from 9am to 6pm. There will be plenty of free time before or after your excursion. Maybe you can do more than one excursion.

Cruising the Beautiful Caribbean Sea -

We have cruised the Caribbean in February for many years. I can't remember rough seas. But I love the motion of the sea... So don't rely on me. I do remember a specific Virgin Voyages cruise where I complained of NO MOTION at all. I expect to at least, be rocked to sleep at night. In February of 2024 - we were traveling with an older friend who complained of motion for one or more days. She always chooses a forward stateroom where you feel the most motion. I carry Rx motion sickness patches, just in case, but I have never even thought about using them. I suspect a smaller ship might rock just a bit more. It is better to be prepared.

the beautiful Caribbean sea

In the title of the post is the term "Distinctive Voyage". True to its name, the Distinctive Voyages program elevates your cruise experience by providing you with an exclusive set of complimentary amenities you cannot get anywhere else but through one of our expert travel advisors like Lynn Belles of Travel Like an Architect™ and "Planning to Cruise".

Distinctive Voyages logo image

Distinctive Voyages are available on more than 375 sailings a year across numerous cruise lines. These exclusive perks are yours to enjoy at no additional cost. If you cruise with us you will be invited to a Private Welcome Reception and offered an Exclusive Shore Event. For Real!. Imagine a Luxury Cruise Vacation + complimentary extras! A Distinctive Voyage experience is second to none. Lynn & Robert Belles look forward to being your hosts on this fabulous Caribbean Cruise next February!

Hey - if you made it all the way to the end, Thank You so much! I hope you are interested in joining us. We will have a great time.. Call Lynn for details and to create your booking. 815-516-0300. Meanwhile we will be Architecting at Belles Firm of Architecture, Inc.

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