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mare s.

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  1. mare s.

    Oceania NEXT

    did I miss it? where are the outlets at the desk? I always dry my hair and do makeup there, so wondering. I also hope the stool at the desk is of sufficient height. otherwise, I'm liking the décor (actually better than the "new" décor on Azamara...and I'm a big Azamara fan)
  2. mare s.

    Oceania NEXT

    New décor...more modern and streamlined. some like it but many do not. I love Azamara but honestly prefer a more classic look. And, yes, prices are going up quite a bit.
  3. mare s.

    Say It Ain’t So! Russ Is Leaving???

    we had the pleasure of having Russ as our cruise director on every Quest cruise since 2010 (it just worked out that way) Will miss him greatly on Azamara, but we have been looking for new cruise experiences, so maybe Crystal is in our future and we'll see him again.
  4. mare s.

    Winter 2020 Cuba Cruises

    We are on verge on booking Oceania for Cuba for February 2020. We were hoping that Azamara would have cruises there but nothing at all. Oh, and Viking has Cuba cruises (but I don't like the itineraries as much.)
  5. mare s.

    2020 Schedule

    I got the email just now. Yes, Veranda Plus is mentioned and the only extra perks I can see for LCV upper tier members is one night of complimentary specialty restaurants and spirits in the room. Can't see prices so don't know if it is worth it or not. From what I can see from all three ships' itineraries is there are no cruises involving Cuba and nothing in North America. Very disappointing.
  6. mare s.

    Travel Tips for Cruising Cuba...

    Thanks Bonnie. Hoping to get to Cuba in 2019 or 2020. mare
  7. mare s.

    Entertainment Reports

    Unlike some others posting here, we've been able to cruise only once a year. Our first voyage on Azamara was in 2010 also, and we were hooked! We've strayed only once (to Oceania, which was pleasant but not Azamara.) Certainly, itineraries are extremely important to us, as are late nights and overnights. But the ambience, the food, the wonderful fellow passengers, and the music, and the crew kept us coming back. We were disappointed when we lost the wonderful harpist, but we were glad we had someone like Max on the piano before and after dinner. We found Discoveries bar always too busy before dinner and the Living Room on 10 forward (we always choose staterooms aft) just too much of a trek, so we gravitated to Spirits. Mosaic and Spirits are the heart of the ship. Now more of Spirits is being lost apparently to sales desks and huge video screens with piped in music. No relaxing ambience there! Disappointing for sure. I realize that those of us on Cruise Critic represent just a fraction of the pool of possible passengers but we care passionately about our "little cruise line." Change isn't easy and you can't please everyone, but it is clear that what is currently happening is a big concern to many, previously loyal, passengers. I can only hope that the Azamara experience will not be completely lost, but it's been a good run for us.
  8. Park Lane and the art auctions are definitely gone (thank goodness!) On our January cruise, the artist in residence had an area across from Mosaic. While his work was not to our taste, we enjoyed talking to him and seeing the paintings he was working on. So I'm ok with having an area on 5 for this purpose. I don't like the idea of having future cruise sales right in the middle of a public area, however. Oceania had their future cruise sales where Mosaic is on Azamara and I found it distracting when we wanted to listen to music or sit and relax and have a drink, and I personally wouldn't feel comfortable talking about possible future cruises and discussing money, etc. while people are sitting or walking nearby. I am also less than happy about the direction entertainment is taking. Although Bonnie assured us that there would be live music everywhere, from some of the comments here, it appears that canned music is being piped in to Spirits. Spirits (when there was a piano man) was our go to for before dinner drinks and Mosaic our usual haunt after breakfast or in the afternoons (when we weren't ashore.) Unlike some others, we rarely went to the Living Room, but I guess that may change on our next cruise. At least that won't be for a year and in that time, I hope things will settle down and for the better.
  9. mare s.

    Roll, Pitch and Yaw!

    I've been on Azamara Quest in the Med a couple of times. Had some trouble just once when there was a stormy night off Amalfi and I decided to skip dinner and go to sleep early. But, as others have said, a little Bonine and a mid ship cabin will help a lot. And Azamara knows how to do the Med. Would definitely recommend over a bigger ship.
  10. We're on Azamara, so small ship, and they said specifically Yamash!ta. So I'm even more confused.
  11. I am a little bit confused. I think I read somewhere (now I can't find the post) that transportation options at Haneda to Yokohama were limited in the evening hours and that the limo (or was it the train) stopped running at 5 pm. We will be flying into Haneda next year and departing from Yama****a Pier (that's another question....anyone have experience departing from there rather than Osanbashi?) I believe there is a bus which departs Haneda with a stop at Yama****a Park and also the Marine Tower. This seems to run relatively often and into the evening hours. Can someone confirm this? We will probably be booking a hotel within walking distance of Yama****a Pier. Thanks.
  12. mare s.

    Entertainment Reports

    The ambience depends so much on the personality of the piano player. Max and Ed engaged with guests and created a welcoming and fun experience. Having someone just sit at the piano and play background music isn't much better IMO than canned music. On Azamara we love(d) to sit with Max and sing along or make requests. We will miss him a lot. On our one Oceania cruise, the piano man had zero personality and we rarely bothered to sit and listen. On the other hand,the string quartet, surprisingly, was not only musically brilliant, but interacted with guests and we spent much of our time there. I am hoping that by the time our next Azamara cruise comes around, the entertainment issue will be settled in a positive way.
  13. mare s.

    Suggestions for an overnight in Kobe

    On our Japan cruise next year we arrive in Kobe at 8 am and depart the next day at 2 pm. We'd like to spend a full day in Kyoto but not sure whether to stay overnight in Kyoto and try to get back to the ship the next morning with a brief tour along the way (is Nara doable?) or to come back late in the evening of the first day and then do a half day the next day to Osaka or Nara. Any suggestions? thanks.
  14. mare s.

    Azamara pricing

    Just came in at the end of this discussion. I have to second Grandma Cruising's assessment of food on the January Quest cruise we were both on. It was outstanding. I've cruised on Oceania and agree that the buffet is somewhat better than Azamara and I like that it is not self serve (although I had to wait a few times to get someone to serve me.) I also loved the grilled to order lobster tails and shrimp every night. I thought their Italian specialty restaurant excellent (and I love Aqualina.) That being said, we found the food in the Main Dining Room pretty bad (I couldn't eat their Jacques Pepin chicken one night...way over salted, and another night the fish did not taste fresh) and their pool grill dreadful (think undercooked chicken.) Maybe it was just a fluke on this particular voyage, but I'd give the edge for food to Azamara. Back to the original thought on this thread...Azamara's pricing is getting out of reach. I regularly receive Oceania brochures and I have to say I'm seeing a lot of tempting, and affordable, itineraries. We have another Azamara cruise booked for next year (we were lucky and were able to book the circle Japan when it first was released and since then prices have shot up tremendously) but after that, we'll have to wait and see.
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