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norn iron

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Posts posted by norn iron

  1. 39 minutes ago, Drebay said:

    Booked on the Mar27 2022 Japan Intensive on the Journey. Was checking pricing again (as one does - was able to get two reductions already) and noticed it’s now sold out in all categories but “Guaranty Interior”. Did more digging and noticed every cruise from Nov02 2021 to Jun05 2022 is now “Sold Out” in all categories but Guaranty Interior. 

    Effectively you can still get Journey Med itineraries on either side of the calendar, but all Journey itineraries for Asia / Oceania seem zeroed out. This can’t be good. I’m thinking we’re about to see a major schedule/itinerary shift. I’m hoping it’s just a rework to substitute other countries for the Oz/NZ itineraries (neither country likely to be open by late 21 / early 22) and we’ll be able to keep our Japan itin (which should be open by then). I’m hoping, but I don’t know that I’m hopeful….


    Thoughts from others booked on Asia / Oceania itins on Journey?

    Good spot. We have two Asian itineraries booked, Nov 21 and April 22, and both are showing as you describe on a number of TA sites.

  2. I agree, it's great to be thinking about the challenges of travel.

    I'm looking to book flights to Birmingham for July and I discovered on Sunday that Stobart Air went into administration on Saturday. Guess what happened the subsequent prices, they quadrupled.

  3. I admire anybody who can go on a cruise with only a carry on.

    I pride myself on business trips where a carry on is more than enough, cruising isn't so easy.


    I will always remember the inaugral season of Celebrity Eclipse ex Southampton. We disembarked to get a coach to Heathrow, and two fellow CC members from Kansas where waiting to board the coach with us.

    Whilst chatting to them I discovered that they had spent two weeks in the UK before the cruise, then 16 nights onboard, and they only had a rucksack each that wouldn't hold what we send to the boarding kennels with the dog. Total respect.

  4. Hopefully mine is simple and a bit local.

    I live in Belfast Northern Ireland, and we have a bad habit at times of speaking too quickly.

    If you say Northern Ireland really quickly omitting the 'th' and the 'la' you should get norn iron.

  5. I notice I've been rumbled in post #48. I very rarely comment on cruise line food because the subject is so subjective.

    Like Riocca in post #45 we appreciate good food well cooked, and we get that onboard Azamara.

  6. 2 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

    I love this!


    I never got a chopper either, but I waited and did eventually get a Peugeot racing bike that was my pride and joy!😎



    I got a racing bike instead of the chopper, I can't remember the make though.

  7. 10 hours ago, hamrag said:


    I understand your point, and personally have appreciated the strength such people bring to a board or any other type of committee situation. That said, I would say it is somewhat disingenuous to compare the example of one board member, and the important impact such has on overall board function, to the board itself which ought to have a clear strategy which is appropriately communicated.


    Az seem to have decided to play that game, and only time will tell if it was the correct move.


    Many years ago as a wee un growing up I wanted the must have accessory, a chopper bike.

    I remember my mothers words, "just because all the kids at school have a chopper doesn't mean you have to have one" 

    Just because other cruise have announced sail dates and impending cruises doesn't mean Azamara have to. They will do it when they deem the time is right.

    Patience is not the ability to wait, but how you act while you're waiting.


    Ps I never got the chopper






  8. 52 minutes ago, hamrag said:


    In most businesses that type of approach is referred to as 'winging it'.

    I think your approach to this is bordering on naive.


    Many years ago I was new to the board of directors of a business, and having a conversation with the CEO one morning he expressed to me how much he respected the wisdom of one board member, who only only spoke when necessary, but when he spoke it was impactful and meaningful.

    In this current crisis Azamara are playing the the same game as that board member. 

  9. 10 hours ago, Dylandude said:

    That’s a very impressive list. My mouth is watering reading it.

    I’d be keen to know how you got a table (twice) in the Fat Duck?

    Thanks for the comments.

    First time in the Fat Duck wasn't too difficult, as they hadn't put timeframes on the bookings.

    Second time around was more difficult, booking opened 60 days in advance and we had five phones trying at the same time, one of them got through.


    That wasn't as hard as a booking (made in December) we have for Eipic in Belfast for late June (2021) when they are serving the Great British Menu by Alex Greene. That took three phones over an hour, and there wasn't a lot availability left.

  10. I'll probably be accused of being a foodie or food snob, ( at least thats what my sister calls me), not true.

    We just happen to love great restaurants which serve nice food.

    We have developed a habit of visiting Michelin Starred restaurants, although we equally enjoy the Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants ( good food at moderate prices). All in all we get as much pleasure eating in  Hawker stalls in Singapore which have Michelin status as we do in 3* restaurants.

    I have complied a list of our restaurants visits to the Michelin * restaurants, my memory can't stretch to the Bib Gourmands although I remember fabulous meals in Venice and Corsica.

    The list identifies the number of stars 1* 2* 3* etc and the number of visits we have made.

    The stars relevant to the time we visited.


    Roscoff 1* x2

    Ox 1* x2

    Oriel 1*x1

    Deanes on the Square 1* x 15+

    Shanks 1* x2

    Epic 1* x 6

    Muddlers Club 1* Cancelled due to covid

    All in Northern Ireland


    Thorntons 2* x 2

    Patrick Guilbaud 2* x 3

    Erriseak House 1* x 1

    Campagne 1* x1

    L’Ecrivain 1* x1

    Peacock Alley 1* x1

    All in the Republic of Ireland


    Fat Duck 3* x 2

    Waterside Inn  3* x1

    Hinds Head 1* x6

    Monsieur Max 1* x 1

    L’Ortalon 2* x1

    The Royal Oak 1* x1

    Marco Pierre White  The Oak Room 3* x 1

    The Hand and Flowers 2* x 2

    5 North Street 1* x1

    Gidleigh Park 2* x1

    The Curlew 1* x1

    All in England


    Braidwoods 1* x2

    Braeval Old Mill 1* x 1

    Plumed Horse 1* x1

    All in Scotland



    Es Moli 1* x2 Spain

    Azurmendi 3* x 1 Spain


    Restaurant Keisuke Matsushim  1* x1 Nice France

    Le Kaiku 1* X1 St Jean de Luz France


    Gusto  1* x 1 Villamoura Portugal


    Hong Kong Soya Sauce Chicken Rice and Noodle 1* X 1 Singapore


    Hill Street Tai Hwa Pork Noodle 1* x 1 Singapore


  11. Elro is a star. It's been great to watch his career progression from our first Az cruise on Quest in 2013 (when we first met him in Windows Cafe), right up to meeting him in Belfast when transferring his Butlers role from Journey to Pursuit.

  12. 16 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

    Another interest I may [assumed] share with @norn iron is Belleek pottery.  My wife being 100% Irish always knew of Belleek and her family may have had one or two pieces.  When we were at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada we saw a complete Belleek tea set (only first green mark, but still clearly hand decorated by real artists and much more affordable for not being the even earlier black mark) – amazingly thin yet strong, and beautifully decorated.  I don't remember what the Canadian Dollar was trading at the time, but it is usually lower than USD – anyway, we snapped it up.  And that led to the development of a nice collection of black mark pieces (generally one per pattern, to keep costs down).  It is also great insurance on entering an antique shop:  instead of saying 'just browsing,' we say 'do you have any black mark Belleek?'  The answer is almost always 'No,' but then we are free to browse as bona fide customers.


    Sadly we only got as close to 'Norn Iron' as Croagh Patrick on our Ireland land trip, and just Belfast and the Giant's Causeway on our Viking British Isles cruise – and it doesn't look like there is a suitable port to offer a shore excursion to Belleek to see the visitor centre and works.

    This where we may have to agree to differ, Belleek does absolutely nothing for me whatsoever.

    It is produced in the most picturesque village, however that is a far it goes. 

    I do like the idea of asking for the black mark Belleek as a delaying tactic.


    I do agree with you about the limitations of tours when cruise ships come into Belfast. There is museum in Co Tyrone that Americans would love, and yet it is never on the itineraries.

    It is called the Ulster American Folk Park and was originally funded by the Mellon family who hail from that area. It tells the story of immigration as the first part is based in Ireland around 1830, as you journey through the museum you board a life replica ship of what sailed the Atlantic (horrific conditions) and as you leave  the ship you are in the USA as immigrants found it when they arrived.

    I took an elderly aunt from Minneapolis many years ago and she was speechless.


    Getting back to Belleek, you do have a chance to visit. Azamara Quest leaves Dublin on August 28th doing an Ireland intensive, one of the stops is a fishing village in Donegal called Killybegs which is only 35 miles from Belleek. 





  13. 34 minutes ago, nordski said:




    I have the advantage of not knowing what I am missing. Didn’t the Queen Mother enjoy a G&T every afternoon?


    If we ever meet on board I’ll be certain to buy you one.



    I think the Queen Mother was very partial to a G&T, and Princess Margaret probably even more so 🙈


    Lets hope we meet onboard soon, alongside Host Jazzbeau and I'll be well sorted for G&T's

  14. 20 minutes ago, nordski said:

    Sometimes silence is the best policy. 😄


    I readily admit I am not a serious connoisseur of spirits nor, even though I was raised on a vineyard, of wine.


    And I think I might be unduly influenced by Hogarth’s Gin Lane and the phrase “Mother’s Ruin”.


    So unfortunately, and unfairly, I approach gin from the aesthetic of someone still living in England in the Eighteenth Century. Silent Pool never really had a chance.


    It’s the same problem when I tackle my iPhone. 😄




    Alas Gin is not for everyone.

    It's a genuine case of one mans gin being another's poison.


    We are really lucky, there are presently over 60 craft gins being produced across the whole of Ireland, so we are working our way through them gradually! Wish me luck. 

  15. 1 minute ago, nordski said:

    I’m going to keep giving this method a go, although it is a clumsy effort in my part.

    On our British cruise three years ago, having received advice from some of the British posters on this forum , I achieved two  goals.


    I ate a bacon butty, and drank a glass of Silent Pool with Fever Tree tonic.


    The bacon butty was very good! 

    What about the Silent Tree and Fever Tree?

  16. 18 hours ago, nordski said:

    In some ways this makes Penny one of our most American of authors, the belief in the incorruptibility of heroic individuals in the face of institutional decay and the healing power of an Arcadian ideal.


    But none of this matters as much as my complete failure to understand how you implement accents on this website. Is it just a matter of setting up the keyboard on my iPhone to do so?


    It’s a huge frustration to me.


    18 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

    There are two ways.  (1) On a Mac [sorry, I don't do Windows...] I use the 'Show Emoji & Symbols' drop-down menu to get the full ASCII+ list of diacritics [with those that I use frequently automatically listed in the 'Frequently used' submenu; (2) in this case, since I wasn't sure of the proper accents for Surete, I just googled the word and copy/pasted it back into the post.


    Host Jazzbeau and I have a lot in common, a love of gin and fever tree (he's buying me a Silent Pool when we meet!), Mac's and not doing Windows!!


    The easiest method for accents etc on any iOS device (I've just double checked iPhone iPad and Mac) is to simply hold down the key and a small pop up appears with all of the available options for that letter then scroll across to the accent you want and touch it with the curser, or hold and slide your finger across on the mobile device and let go, hey presto, job done. 


    Here is a selection ã ç ë ì ł ñ ô p







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