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Bimmer09

X cruiser sails Azamara to Cuba Jan 15 to 24 2019

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10 hours ago, SOLIVITA LADY said:

Just love your reviews. Both the pictures and dialogue make me feel like I’m there with you. After reading this I may have to book a Cuba cruise. 

 

Jackie

Solivita Lady

 


Jackie, so good to have you join us.

I think your last sentence is prophetic.

Norris

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Bummer, I’ve been stalking you for many previous reviews and now I’m going to out myself.  You are very entertaining and I believe factual in your writing style. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to write another excellent review.  Cuba has been on my bucket list for years, and I’m very sure it will be happening this year.  You are giving me many insights in planning for my future cruise.  Can’t wait to read more about your wonderful “journey” on Journey!

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Just returned last night from our 9 day cruise to Cuba aboard the Journey and found this review.  Thanks so much for the videos to make me feel like I'm right back in the middle of things.  I will enjoy reliving my fabulous trip through your lens in between loads of laundry!

Mary Ann

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Fusterlandia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/José_Rodríguez_Fuster

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it's a ramble of color spread over 4 outdoor floors and into the neighborhood. A labor of love

art work that took 25 years. Carol, the Outsider Art collector was immediately happy we came.

I found out about it from a CC photo review

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I would of course climb the steps to the top winding my way around each floor

 

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The stairs begin at the end of this shady hallway

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My eyes dart here and there, distracted by so much color and vivid imagination.

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The artist's home peeks up, over the walls of the crazy compound. Dali, Picasso

and Gaudi influences at a guess.

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A table top

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as I climb higher 

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zoom shot

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Lots more...

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1 hour ago, suzzek said:

Bummer, I’ve been stalking you for many previous reviews and now I’m going to out myself.  You are very entertaining and I believe factual in your writing style. Thank you so much for taking the time and effort to write another excellent review.  Cuba has been on my bucket list for years, and I’m very sure it will be happening this year.  You are giving me many insights in planning for my future cruise.  Can’t wait to read more about your wonderful “journey” on Journey!


Suzzek, thank you for reading my reviews on CC and for coming out of the shadows. Please call me Norris-it says Bimmer09 (definitely not Bummer, LOL) but that's just something I had to come up with to register for CC.

Yes, I try to be factual and fair with criticism/observations but haven't found a lot yet to be irked about but we are only at the beginning of my story-the morning and early afternoon of day 3 (of 11).

If Cuba has been on your bucket list you have come to the right place for cruise visits. We don't have plans to visit there (certainly at this time) for a land visit and hotels etc.

We liked having the ship there with it's on demand lights, hot and cold running water, soap, fluffy towels, toilet paper etc. These are some of the luxuries that Cubans need but are not within reach just yet.

Welcome!

Norris

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40 minutes ago, IWillGoAnywhere26 said:

Just returned last night from our 9 day cruise to Cuba aboard the Journey and found this review.  Thanks so much for the videos to make me feel like I'm right back in the middle of things.  I will enjoy reliving my fabulous trip through your lens in between loads of laundry!

Mary Ann


I'm happy that you have found this-was it through my link on the Azamara Board?

Hopefully this will help keep the trip fresh in your mind.

Welcome!

Norris

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While I have the zoom lens on camera 2 here is one of the many vendors who have staked their business across the narrow street Fusterlandia sits on, to capture some sales from the tourists

that show up on coaches or classic cars.

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Look Ma! I'm on top of the world!

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We echo this sentiment

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Looking backwards away from Fusterlandia. All sorts of junk and disrepair show on the rooftops

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More....seriously? Yep.

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There's a bench on the top deck and as Carol is following behind me up the stairs this will be well received.

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No stone left unadorned

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On this floor (#2) there was an artist's studio but no photography allowed so I gave it a miss

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another table top

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As before I leave the compound to go outside and have a cigarette and a sit down on a herb

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23 minutes ago, Bimmer09 said:


I'm happy that you have found this-was it through my link on the Azamara Board?

Hopefully this will help keep the trip fresh in your mind.

Welcome!

Norris

Yes, Norris, that's where I found your link. Leading up to our trip I had been following the Azamara board postings and found so much useful info on them.  I always appreciate how generous people are with their experiences. I'm looking forward to having the time to go through all your posts. Thanks again!

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There was a refreshment bar and small toilets in the compound. Plenty of vendors outside for cold drinks, leather bags, Cuban car license plates and whatever else. This guy spoke to me when the first arrived- "my prices are better than Walmart's!"  I chuckled.

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Nice paint job Señor

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I took a shot of our car to show Raydel. His face lit up like a kid on Christmas morning.

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Raydel and Lauren as another man admires his car

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Raydel and Lauren were champs and so considerate and flexible. We couldn't open a car door by ourselves as they were there, quick as a flash. They would help Carol by giving her their hand to get up onto some high kerbs or over uneven pavement while I was otherwise engaged with cameras and not nearly as chivalrous.  All of our guides going forward would show the same extreme courtesy. Our 6 hour tour which actually lasted 7 cost us 130 CUC. Blexie tours is unbelievable value!

 

We are moving onwards....to lunch!

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Hey! There's Granma!

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as we are turning onto the main road back towards town-Homage to Gaudi. The artist tips his hat

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"On the road again...." (a favorite voice of ours)

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Willie Nelson

 

Funlandia was awesome.  The car is awesome.  The architecture is awesome.  Cuba is so moving up my "where to go next" list!  

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When we were told it was time for lunch I must admit to (a) being hungry (b) being apprehensive. We are advised not to drink the water in Cuba if it's not in a sealed bottle.

I bet they don't use that to wash the meat and veggies, thought I. I also was and always am Jonesing for dining by the water but Lauren recommended our Paladar in the suburbs. Paladar is like a restaurant but in someone's home and I had visions of a cat walking across the table and grandpa in his long johns sleeping in an armchair. I thought I'm just going to throw myself into the experience and if there is diarrhea afterwards then I hope I am on the ship.

 

We stopped in a quiet side-street in a hilly suburb I guess (Marienel)

I took this pic when we left but when we arrived there were two Cuban gents in white shirts and black pants to greet us

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By now it was 3 p.m. we had been with Lauren since 10 a.m. She and Raydel would sit in another part of the big pleasant outdoor space and wait until we were done eating. At 3 p.m the place is not busy and we like that. Only one other table dining.

 

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Our waitress at the bar

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Soon after sitting down our waitress came to take our drink orders. Her name was Mia and she smiled and spoke good English. Carol drank some lemon and lime soft drink while I ordered a "Cuba Libra Emergencia!" "regular or especial Señor ?" "Especial!!!"

 

She brought me a glass you would use for water in the USA-maybe a 12 ouncer about 10 inches tall. One sip- it was RUM and coke not the usual COKE and a hint of rum I am used to.

(obviously not American Coke-probably Mexican)

 

A male waiter in a crisp white shirt, standing nearby, came over pointing at me and speaking in Spanish. Mia explained that "he loves your shirt". It was my famous Latin Dance steps shirt which will appear once or twice later in the review. Some of you know the one I mean.

After my first sip this guy came over with the bottle of rum and topped me up. I had to laugh-bottomless Cuba Libre-a dream coming true. Later the waitress would bring me the bottle to help myself...Cuban Hospitality!!

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Hmm, the lobster looks good for 19 CUC. Carol reminds me how messy it can be to eat.

Ok I'll have the shrimp with onions, green peppers, tomatoes in a Cuban sauce.

But first for both of us-salads.

Carol refrained from eating hers despite my "this is yummy" cry

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She whould go on to order a side of fried plantains which to me are a meh vegetable .

I tried one and they were oily and garlicky both things I crave. She enjoyed.

 

Next our entrees and for me the above described shrimp dish

That's a little mashed potato on the bottom left of the plate.

 

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For Carol, Ropa Veija a shredded pork dish

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Our starch was rice and beans and served family style. All of it was eaten (mostly by me) who usually scorns rice as "Bland" and "No potato" 

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Each of us got our heads down like pigs in a trough and cleared our plates with much approbation. All the while really good old-school Cuban music played. Bene More, Barbarito Torres to name a couple. We were having a great time indeed. Mia noticed me clapping to the clave rhythm in each song and brought me a set of claves to play-but the song was just ending.

Next she brought us a little digestif- a banana liqueur . Dee-lishus!!!

 

Then on the house after I had asked if there was a place to smoke (a must after a meal) she pointed to the table. A cinecero was brought for my cigarette and then these gifts arrived...

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Carol told Mai in her Spanish that we had enjoyed a great meal. Even bigger smile!

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62 CUC for a great experience. Tip included. ($71.30 U.S)

 

More...

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18 minutes ago, rdsqrl said:

Willie Nelson

 

Funlandia was awesome.  The car is awesome.  The architecture is awesome.  Cuba is so moving up my "where to go next" list!  


Annie, when I am done with this you will already have made plans....

Trust me.

Norris

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We still have Revolution Square to visit and then back to the Journey to freshen up.

We take our leave of the staff, Mai on the left.

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A car which graces every street it drives on

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Passing the huge cemetery on our way  

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Next up-Revolution Square, Jose Mardi monument and some great classic cars

 

Norris

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Norris

Fabulous tour recap. Too funny on the bottomless Cuba Libre. 😁  DH is enjoying too. He had a 55 Chevy; green with green interior. 

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We still have Revolution Square to visit and then back to the Journey to freshen up.

We take our leave of the staff, Mai on the left.

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A car which graces every street it drives on

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Passing the huge cemetery on our way  

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Next up-Revolution Square, Jose Mardi monument and some great classic cars

 

Norris

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A short video of lunch. Hard to hear my commentary over the music but it's not essential.

 

 

Norris

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I noticed a Suzuki Grand Vitara In the first picture in post 279, probably as I drive one. Seems out of place in Cuba.

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Revolution  Square

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plaza_de_la_Revolución

 

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Fidel would speak from the top of the staircase before the foot of the Mardi Monument

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It's a vast open space used for rallies and Papal visits

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Two of the surrounding Government buildings feature steel likenesses of Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos on their facades

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A passing Hop on Hop off bus gives us an idea for tomorrow when we are in port until 5 p.m

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Norris

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Classic cars parked next to Revolution Square

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Time to return to the ship

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On 2/2/2019 at 2:41 PM, FRMPEI said:

Hello Norris,

 

Thanks for sharing again your wit and photos. I would say video too but, seems like hardly anybody looks at our videos.  I am currently only on page 7 and wanted to say I am here for the long haul. For those reading and can't wait for the summary I offer the following:

 

"Anticipation" - Carly Simon

 

"Patience Young Grasshopper" - Kung fu

 

"Good things come to those who wait" - Heinz Ketchup

 

Regards,

Kevin Reid

 

 

Hey Kevin. I look at the videos. We were on your last cruise. We won’t be cruising again until 2020 so living vicariously through Norris’s great photo review. 

 

Maris

 

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You'll see the time until the next light change posted above the street

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Outside the cruise terminal

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In the terminal on the way to the ship-Norwegian Sky

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bag scan, show passport/visa, ship card scan and ...

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A fantastic 7 hour tour! Supposed to take 6 and we could have shortened it but we are happy campers. Cost was 130 CUC and we added a 40 CUC tip for the excellence of our guide and driver. You pay in CUC. Now we have just over 2 hours before our Amazing Evening.

I was just thinking about that 100,000 CUC price on a 2 year old Government Peugeot and figure that it must be pesos (CUP) as CUCs are primarily for foreign visitors like us. 25 pesos =1 CUC, which would make that car 4,000 CUC.

 

Work calls and when I return at 8 pm I'll tackle all the photos and video of Azamazing Evening.

Norris

 

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Norris & Carol

 

A comment about the food. On a trip to Asia I was advised against drinking the water or eating raw fruit or vegetables. The first meal I had consisted of meat wrapped in lettuce whic I ate with gusto combined with trepidation. I survived to tell the tale & ate all the marvellous food offered. 

Your meals looked great. So much for all the travelers who complain about Cuban food. Maybe just at the resorts. 

 

Maris

Edited by Marvy Mare

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Norris, Please pardon the misspelling of your CC handle—that was with no thanks to autocorrect.  Norris it is from now on!

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