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graciekelli

Our azamazing baltic cruise 7/22/16

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This is my first review and our first cruise on Azamara. First, a little info on us and how we chose this trip.

 

Here we are, my DH - Bobby and me - Kelli

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(I am hoping the pictures attach.)

 

We chose Azamara because we really like Royal Caribbean and wanted to try an upscale line and Azamara seemed to fit what we thought would add to our cruise and make it just "more" special.

 

This is a 12 day Baltic Cruise out of Southampton. We decided to spend 6 days pre-cruise in London (Fabulous time!) and I will include the details in this review.

 

This cruise came with $1000 cruise air credit through choice air. What that means, was that I would need to pay for the full airfare through Choice Air (Royal Caribbean's air agency) and then they would credit me $1000 on my cruise costs. This was really easy to do and I just kept searching for the price I had in my mind (about $1,000 per person) for flights from LAX to Heathrow and the return flight would be Stockholm ARN to LAX. As soon as I saw that price, I called Choice Air and they booked it for me -- I believe the price was right in line with what I saw on the internet search engines.

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We had my daughter take us to LAX our flight was leaving around 6:00 p.m. direct to Heathrow. I arranged for a driver to pick us up at the airport at Heathrow since we had a 2 suitcases each and I didn't want the hassle. It cost about 45 pounds for the both of us one way to Hyde Park.

 

I have a Diners Club card that gave me free entry into the KAL Lounge. I paid $28 for Bobby. It was okay. I liked that it took us out from the normal airport gate waiting area. They had some snacks, little finger sandwiches, fruit, vegetables, chips and salsa. They had a self serve bar with liquors and mixers, wine and Bud light, water and soda. Not a great variety, but it was included.

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Edited by graciekelli

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Photobucket

 

There is no way to post decent-looking photos direct to Cruise Critic. [Management knows about it, but fixing it is apparently what programmers call 'non-trivial' :)]. So you have to upload your photos to a server like Photobucket or Shutterfly, and then link to CC. [The server does the heavy lifting of keeping all those mega-pixels online, and CC just has to load them in when people look at your post. TMI?] Anyway, please keep posting -- your blog is great to read and I can see the photos.

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Thank you for telling me about posting better pictures. I will test it in this post

 

Contrary to some of what I heard, we zipped through immigration. Our plane landed at around 12:30 p.m. and we were looking for our driver in about 20 minutes. We were so fast, our driver wasn't even there. We walked around for about 10 minutes and then I started calling the contact number. Finally about 10 minutes later he found us. It took about 45 minutes to get to our hotel in Hyde Park. We stayed at the Doubletree, Hyde Park. I got an excellent rate for the 6 nights, it came to $680 USD through Expedia. The hotel was very basic. The ceilings were very low in the lobby and hallways, making it seem very motel-ish. The room was tiny (in fact our cabin on board Azamara was larger). But it was clean and centrally located. Price was good and bed was comfortable.

 

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92185161229

 

92185164615

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So my test still did not work. I used the little icon on Cruise Critic and posted the ULR imagae address from the photos I uploaded to shutterfly and it is a fail. What am I doing wrong?

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Thanks for doing a review, glad to hear you had a good time in London. Looking forward to reading the rest of it.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums mobile app

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This was really the only day that we did not fulfill my planned agenda. I kind of figured that we would be burned out from the flight an we might not want to do much. Anyway, I had planned a low key day, go to the market and buy some wine, beer, water, snacks for the room. Maybe a walk around Hyde Park, a nap and then dinner at Churchill's Pub. Made it to the little market, but that was it. We picked up dinner for "take-away" the Brits term for "to go." And slept. Tomorrow was going to be a very busy day.

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Today we woke up early and stopped at McDonalds for a quick bite to eat. We had an Underground station very close to the Hotel on Queensway. In the beginning of our trip, we constantly had to ask for help, but all of the employees in all of the stations were very nice and very accommodating to us. Do not ask me now but we were given tube directions to Paddington Station. And we made it very easily and jumped on our train (for free) to Windsor Castle. So let me explain. I bought a 2 day London Pass. I packed all the attractions that we wanted to see that were included in the Pass on days 3 and 4. Windsor Castle being one of them. If you read the fine print, in Paddington Station, they will waive the train fee if you show them your pass. We did, and they let us through. I should also mention, I purchased the 2 day Travel Card with the London Pass. It was pre-loaded with 15 pounds. The London Pass and the Travel Card were so worth it. I totally recommend getting these. I only bought the 2 day card because there were numerous places we were going to visit that were not on the card, so I just arranged our days based on places that were covered and places that were not.

Edited by graciekelli

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92185150615

92185150595

 

While at Windsor Castle, we saw this guy. What you don't see in the picture is my lame attempt at trying to do a selfie with him and my husband. In that attempt, I almost knocked his rifle out of his hands. All the while, the guard stood very still, not moving or saying anything. My husband was getting frustrated and said, just take a picture. So no selfie, here you see just my husband and the guard. After taking their picture, my husband scolded me and said that it was embarrassing. I told him that I didn't think the dummy cared. What??!@# Well, after all as I pointed out to my husband, the guard was just a mannequin. My husband insistantly pointed out that the guard was in fact a a real man. Ooops! my bad:o

057.jpg.947d38dfec266d804309f285f197b846.jpg

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And we made it very easily and jumped on our train (for free) to Windsor Castle. So let me explain. I bought a 2 day London Pass. I packed all the attractions that we wanted to see that were included in the Pass on days 3 and 4. Windsor Castle being one of them. If you read the fine print, in Paddington Station, they will waive the train fee if you show them your pass. We did, and they let us through. I should also mention, I purchased the 2 day Travel Card with the London Pass. It was pre-loaded with 15 pounds. The London Pass and the Travel Card were so worth it. I totally recommend getting these.

 

Wow. We are English and wouldn't have known about this. Thanks for the information. I assume you found it online somewhere?

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92185150615

92185150595

 

While at Windsor Castle, we saw this guy. What you don't see in the picture is my lame attempt at trying to do a selfie with him and my husband. In that attempt, I almost knocked his rifle out of his hands. All the while, the guard stood very still, not moving or saying anything. My husband was getting frustrated and said, just take a picture. So no selfie, here you see just my husband and the guard. After taking their picture, my husband scolded me and said that it was embarrassing. I told him that I didn't think the dummy cared. What??!@# Well, after all as I pointed out to my husband, the guard was just a mannequin. My husband insistantly pointed out that the guard was in fact a a real man. Ooops! my bad:o

 

This is too funny. The guards at Windsor Castle and the London Palaces are so still they are like statues. Can just imagine you trying to take a selfish with one. Hilarious. I love Windsor Castle. I wonder if you walked across the bridge into the charming little village of Eton?

 

Am loving your review and you're not on the ship yet!

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Wow. We are English and wouldn't have known about this. Thanks for the information. I assume you found it online somewhere?

 

 

Yes. If you go online to London Pass' website you can select a drop down of all the included attractions. If you review the information about Windsor castle you will find the info about getting there and that the cost is included. If I have time today I will figure out the cost of the pass vs. paying on our own. I am thinking we saved a lot of money.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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This is too funny. The guards at Windsor Castle and the London Palaces are so still they are like statues. Can just imagine you trying to take a selfish with one. Hilarious. I love Windsor Castle. I wonder if you walked across the bridge into the charming little village of Eton?

 

 

 

Am loving your review and you're not on the ship yet!

 

 

I know I am so embarrassed now. That poor guard probably is sick to death of tourists, especially ding bats like me. I am not sure if we were in the village of Eton. We visited a very beautiful village outside the castle with shops and restaurants. In fact we were in London during a major heat wave. We are used to hot being from Southern California. But this was a hot that stuck to you. After visiting the castle we stopped for a couple of cold beers. fab8ff7e5953b8d9aeb252a60d564924.jpg

Here we are enjoying a break from the heat. 8edf929631d29d27beee482d959a0995.jpg

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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92185150615

 

92185150595

 

 

 

While at Windsor Castle, we saw this guy. What you don't see in the picture is my lame attempt at trying to do a selfie with him and my husband. In that attempt, I almost knocked his rifle out of his hands. All the while, the guard stood very still, not moving or saying anything. My husband was getting frustrated and said, just take a picture. So no selfie, here you see just my husband and the guard. After taking their picture, my husband scolded me and said that it was embarrassing. I told him that I didn't think the dummy cared. What??!@# Well, after all as I pointed out to my husband, the guard was just a mannequin. My husband insistantly pointed out that the guard was in fact a a real man. Ooops! my bad:o

 

 

7a0f48c1d4b97600640033751baa4819.jpg

Still struggling with pictures. I noticed my shot of bobby and the guard failed. I'm still kind of sad that I messed up the selfie.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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It is looking like if I post them using my mobile app you all will see them full size. I don't like doing typing on my phone, but will post the pics separately using my Cruise Critic app since it was super easy:D

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A two day pass with travel card (loaded with 15 pounds) cost 97.00 pds.

The attractions we visited during the first 2 days and their costs (all in pds.)

 

Windsor Castle - 20

Train to Eton - 14 (I could not tell if this was one way or round trip - sorry)

Hop on Hop Off Bus - 25

Tower of London - 25

Tower Bridge - 9

Thames River Tour - 18

Westminister Abbey - 20

Churchill War Rooms - 17.25

Beefeater Tour - 12

 

Total = 160.25 (savings of 63.25)

 

I am not sure what additional savings we had using the Travel Card as it maxs out at 6 pounds per day (which means, we travel on the underground for free after the card used 6 pounds). I can tell you that using the underground was our full means of transport for our entire trip. I loved it. It was really fun figuring out how to get around.

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d69e49eeb70576c6840b70d2ae701d04.jpg

After returning from Windsor we quickly found a hop on hop off stop and jumped on. We used this to take us to the Tower of London. c3963b0e41a18710a6451917c70f173a.jpg

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Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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I absolutely loved this bridge. It is very beautiful. Much like a princess bridge. Anyway, after visiting the Tower of London, of course we went to the Tower Bridge.103.jpg.1ce2376b219238ae1d3964155e457509.jpg

 

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