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Bimmer09

X cruiser sails Azamara to Cuba Jan 15 to 24 2019

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1 hour ago, awhfy said:

Norris & Carol. Thank you for sharing your adventure on Azamara & the wonderful dialogue & photos of Cuba. You have whetted our appetite for both. 


Thank you for reading it and I am glad it has made you consider both. I have plenty more ship to show as we are not going to be off the ship for 8 hour stretches anymore.

Norris (and Carol)

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2 hours ago, BBMacLaird said:

Just in from our Exec.Chef...

Hello Bonnie,

Thanks for the feedback. Actually, as we speak, I am working on a new AQ menu, including a homemade pasta section and many new dishes.

I am pretty sure that if this guest would come back, they will love the new menu!

Thanks,

Best regards,

Robert”

 

So I hope you’ll come back soon Bimmet09!

Bonnie 

 


Bonnie, thanks for forwarding Robert's response. I didn't savage the restaurant-the food was pleasant and good produce used but it didn't remind us of Italy. We are not fans of red sauce Italian "like a mamma used ta make a" but more Northern Italian from Rome, North. The menu read very well and it was hard to choose from so many tempting dishes. Only the pastas were missing.

It was just a question of timid seasoning. Seasoning lifts any dish.

Carol reminded me just now that the music played softly as we dined was anonymous "elevator" music whereas some Neapolitan songs or Italian classical music would have helped transport us.

 

Norris

Edited by Bimmer09
spelling

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January 22nd dawned and it dawned on me that we had now been on the ship a full week.

Today is  a sea day as we steam...oops! no steam involved. We sail..no that's not true either.

We move through the water towards Nassau, Bahamas. A sea day.

 

No reason to get up super early so I awoke around 7. While I am in the shower washing the balcony soot* off my feet I'll leave you with a very short video of the start of our last tender trip.

(* the sloped aft, as on the X S-Class, leads to funnel soot landing on the balcony. When our room stewards come to clean they take care of it. Princess has the same problem on their R Class and Royal Class but not on their Grand Class ships like the Crown where the stern is vertical)

 

 

 

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I never promised you a rose garden but I did promise you The Insider from Santiago de Cuba

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Along with the sunshine there's got to be a little rain sometimes!. Loving your review. Thank you so much. I read your posts every day after work and just smile. Sending appreciation from Scotland 

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I never promised you a rose garden but I did promise you The Insider from Santiago de Cuba

 

I beg your pardon

Still following and enjoying your photos, your humour and your review.

Sandra

Edited by macsford
spelling mistake

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Sea Day January 22 2019

Cuba is long gone but not forgotten as Journey zips along. It's a wee bit windy and winds will reach 40 knots during the day.

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the water in the pool is sloshing and rolling from end to end. Seas will be 6 to 9 feet.

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deck loungers remain stowed. No takers yet.

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I will spend much of my morning sitting here in the smoking section with coffee and my computer working on photos from days ago. I will also pop back to the cabin at some point and bring up the Azamara 2020 brochure that I picked up at the Cruise Again desk on deck 4 a few days ago out of ....curiousity?

 

As every day people will come and go. Have some coffee. Sit a spell. Spin a yarn and maybe whittle some wood. The pool crowd don't hang out in this corner. It's in the shade and people wear clothes as they are smoking. Many cigar smokers, smoking Cubans. Many of the smokers are here on a freebie with their cabin paid for by a company I am sure we all know-Park West.

One British gentleman asks me to keep him out of the auctions as he just spent $40,000 on a painting. A lady talks about selling the Matisse she has in her mud room between the garage and the kitchen as she rarely even looks at it.  Serious spenders.

 

I keep wanting to pop up to the Drawing Room to see what people are drawing but a couple of times now I have been met by this Park West sign

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I will show you that stunning room-the Drawing Room is the Library at some point later. It has to be the most refined and relaxing room on the ship. Refined and relaxing kinda describes the Azamara vibe.

 

The furniture up here is on the low side for using a computer. You can see there is a man using "my" high table.

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low, low tables

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on the table everyday is this set-up but no sign telling what it's for...

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I know what it is for but only because I went to the bar and asked. When others came and inquired I filled them in- for $15.95 you get a Cuban cigar, a Cuban coffee and a glass of Havana Gold rum. The salesmanship is so low key and therefore adding little to the bottom line.

I am a Capitalist. 

 

I like the clientele I rub shoulders with up here. Nobody is too loud and there is no swearing.

The topic of conversation is usually Art and buying it, Cigars and humidors and occasionally tales from the high seas. The Journey is rarely mentioned but I get the feeling they are familiar with her and the brand already. Nothing ill spoken of Az either.

 

I haven't seen Carol since breakfast in Discoveries at 8 a.m but we will meet up at noon for something that excites us - a German Brunch!! We have been to Germany 10 times in the past 20 years and I even picked up my favorite car there, in Munich from the factory, 15 years ago. Runs like a dream still. Since cruising has entered the travel mix we don't visit Germany as often. 2013 was our last visit.

 

I'll keep busy on the computer and you go get ready to join us for some German vittles.

Norris

 

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24 minutes ago, Hockeymum51 said:

Along with the sunshine there's got to be a little rain sometimes!. Loving your review. Thank you so much. I read your posts every day after work and just smile. Sending appreciation from Scotland 


Thank you for reading it! 

Smiling is good.

My ancestry is Scottish (grandmother) and Northern Irish (grandfather) and I do love fried haggis.

I believe whisky is made there too but can't be sure of it.

I need to get out more.

Norris

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52 minutes ago, macsford said:

I never promised you a rose garden but I did promise you The Insider from Santiago de Cuba

 

I beg your pardon

Still following and enjoying your photos, your humour and your review.

Sandra


Sandra, thank you for still following and for letting me know.

I have plenty of gas left in the tank.

After this a 6 to 7 month break and then Norway! 

Give my regards to Yorkshire! 

"well I'll go to the foot of our stairs...." (a favorite Jethro Tull lyric from A Passion Play)

Norris

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40273853163_2ed852e286_b.jpg

 

If I was to sail Azamara again I would not miss one of their brunches! This one had a great little band who also play in the Cabaret Room backing singers. Carol talked to one of them afterwards and found they were from Australia. We hear plenty of Germany happy music when we go to Munich and these  guys brought the authentic biergarten sound to Discoveries.

 

The food was served by several of the officers which is a great touch

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You can't taste the food but here's a little of the flavor of the event

 

The German Hotel Director was one of the servers and I am sure he offered some assistance to the Dutch Head Chef in getting the food so authentically biergarten-worthy. No chestnut trees for shade but we felt like we were back in Munich for a while. Truly memorable.

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Norris, 

 

You have another North Yorkshire based fan following along. Cuba has never been on my bucket list, well it is now. You have certainly whetted my appetite to see and experience more.

 

Just love your writing and humour. 

 

Regards Debbie

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9 hours ago, BBMacLaird said:

Hi Bimmer09, I’ve shared this Aqualina restaurant critique with our fleet executive chef. 

 

8 hours ago, BBMacLaird said:

Just in from our Exec.Chef...

Hello Bonnie,

Thanks for the feedback. Actually, as we speak, I am working on a new AQ menu, including a homemade pasta section and many new dishes.

I am pretty sure that if this guest would come back, they will love the new menu!

Thanks,

Best regards,

Robert”

 

So I hope you’ll come back soon Bimmet09!

Bonnie 

 

 

 

Wow! What an excellent prompt response and it’s so refreshing to see issues being acted upon so efficiently.

 

We could do with a ‘Bonnie’ here on the X board 👏.

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2 hours ago, Groovybusybee said:

Norris, 

 

You have another North Yorkshire based fan following along. Cuba has never been on my bucket list, well it is now. You have certainly whetted my appetite to see and experience more.

 

Just love your writing and humour. 

 

Regards Debbie

 

 

Not in North Yorkshire, but Norris’s style of writing is definitely gaining followers from this side of the pond. I like the fact that he is extremely honest in his critique and is able to laugh at himself along the way - traits not always too apparent on some of the review threads.

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2 hours ago, Groovybusybee said:

Norris, 

 

You have another North Yorkshire based fan following along. Cuba has never been on my bucket list, well it is now. You have certainly whetted my appetite to see and experience more.

 

Just love your writing and humour. 

 

Regards Debbie

 

Debbie, thanks for letting me know you are reading along and more importantly that you are enjoying it! 

I know it is a big ask to expect people to read this far as everyone is rushed for time these days- I say that mainly based on me and Carol-but we are all trying to pack so much into life. I'm a reader of long reviews and long books and go out to see operas that last up to 5 1/2 hours and don't mind being in a restaurant for more than 2 hours.

I just hope people get something impactful or persuasive from putting the effort in and it seems you have, now that Cuba is more on your radar.

It's very gratifying to me.

I was involved in booking another cruise just yesterday- in the Caribbean for next January and Carol was willing to visit Cuba again so I found myself on many sites, including Oceania, NLC, RCI, Holland America and even MSC but in the end I talked us out of Cuba next year. 2021 will do as I want to let some time pass between visits. Azamara aren't going there until April next year but Az definitely has the most intensive itinerary. Viking skips Havana! 

 

We booked Princess to not-Cuba instead.

Norris

 

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29 minutes ago, villauk said:

 

 

 

Wow! What an excellent prompt response and it’s so refreshing to see issues being acted upon so efficiently.

 

We could do with a ‘Bonnie’ here on the X board 👏.


Indeed.

Bonnie is a true resource for the Az board readers and is kept busy as a liaison.

Everybody wants you to "take a short survey" these days and for a cruise line to be aware of customers opinions and needs via CC is a good thing. Bonnie gets answers quickly by having a direct link to Azamara and the fact that Az cares shows that they really want to tailor the business and the experience to the customer and get repeat business. They have a lot of competition when it comes to filling berths and will have more when Virgin sets sail.

 

Bonnie also has a sense of humor and with me around that is a good thing.

 

Norris

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Following a belly-bustin German Brunch it was back to deck 9 for me while Carol napped on the Promenade deck. I ordered a Malibu, something I hadn't tasted in over 20 years.

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In the elevators and on handrails in hallways sick bags had been placed for those feeling queasy from the rolling of the ship in the predicted 6 to 9 foot swells.

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I fitted in a nice baby's-cradle nap taking advantage of the motion of the ocean and was up and about again by 5 p.m when I sauntered by the Windows buffet where they were set up for the evening dinner service.

Such an inviting room with the tablecloths and glasses waiting

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Head-scratching other than for the financial reasons, Carnival has omitted the tablecloths

from the dinner tables. Is the Motorway Cafe looking coming back? At home we don't use a tablecloth but we aren't "having dinner" as a highlight of our day we are just filling our stomachs

while watching TV. We both cook. I cook the basic cave-man dishes (meat and potatoes) while Carol can put together a restaurant-quality meal using things like recipes, herbs and something called measurements.

Just checking our cruise bookings for the next couple of years I see we have none on Carnival.

 

Anything I ate in the buffet was top notch buffet food and on a par with Oceanview Cafe on X for flavor.

and we both liked dining out here at the Sunset Bar

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Not a bar hangout in the way the Sunset is on the X S-Class. I live there and get my mail delivery there when cruising. The Reflection one -perfection-hasn't been carried over in the Edge design which is one of those "don't mess with what works" and "what were they thinking?" moves.

The Kelly Hoppen interior design will ensure that as well as a life jacket each passenger will have half a dozen toss pillows as floatation devices. I'm sure the room stewards just love picking those up from the floor each morning. I'm big on function over form and less is more.

seas are a bit calmer now but who knows what's ahead?

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Oh, now I know what's up ahead

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Jethro Tull, now you are talking.

"I'll go to the foot of our stairs"

Sir Norris enjoying your review so much.

We are now looking at booking Azamara for a cruise to Cuba. 

Thank you to yourself and Carol.

Sara

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A windy, wavy day on the Caribbean is not ideal but still much warmer than Chicago was.

I wore my leather jacket while taking this selfie in the mirrored elevator.

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Up on deck it's a bit miserable. Conditions only someone who needs to smoke would endure

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Back inside with the camera and down to deck 5

The casino is mobbed

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I walk past the photo gallery which is ultra low-key

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and aft towards the shops. A rack of dresses for sale. Again low-key

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The shop lady has put out some cool Cuba tee shirts made for Azamara. I had bought 4 earlier -two each. I checked out a bottle of Listerine inside and it was the same price I paid in Walgreens in Miami so they are not using the "Airport" model to fleece customers who forgot toiletries.

Kudos Azamara!

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The lovely Mosaic Cafe where I never sat and ordered anything-not even espresso.

When people first meet me they think "this guy needs an espresso" as I am very quiet (but not shy).

Once I start talking they think "how many espressos has this guy had?"

Carol loved Mosaic and snacked there a couple of times.

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The art desk where I often saw people sitting talking to the salesman/advisor

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I did like that the art was representative of the cruise we were taking and lacked the usual Tiger heads and velvet Elvises.

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Back up to deck 9 as I am close to the elevator...

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I'm all caught up again, and still enjoying your Seafaring Gentleman's Journal! 

 

Yes, please do tell what Princess cruise you've booked!

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8 hours ago, singinalot said:

You gotta tell us! What Princess Cruise did you book? 


Crystal (and Nancy) as I was on the computer looking for Cuba options for Carol and once done with that, I went looking for non-Cuba 7 day trips avoiding anything that went to St Thomas and St Maarten. I even looked at Seabourn, Viking, Holland America and Silversea just out of curiosity. Oceania too. Oceania's 10 days are too long for us.

 

In the end and with the fact that 4 months prior to sailing we come off a 5 figure Celebrity cruise I wanted to keep the cost down and get the most bang for the buck where both of us can travel for the price of one on Seabourn and Silversea. Holland America itineraries were few and dull. I looked at Cunard too but they are not in the Caribbean in January.

We are sailing the new Sky Princess (hitting the water in October) and I got the last aft balcony cabin. The price was right and it goes to Cayman, Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. We haven't been to Roatan and Belize since 2014-so a 6 year break. Cayman and Coz we visited last in 2017 on Reflection. Excursions will save both of those from being  a bore.

By far the easiest web site to use was Princess. Just a great design and ease of use. $400 OBC

and we are Elite on Princess which gives us perks (internet, laundry and one free specialty)

The Sky will have a French Bistro specialty with outdoor dining. "French Bistro" is my middle name. $100 deposit each which we bought on last year's Crown Princess ABC cruise.

 

We are all set.

Norris

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Back up on deck 9 the water was trying to leap out of the pool and was succeeding.

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The crew emptied it

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and cleaned it

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before going to dinner I passed through The Patio to take pictures 

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looks inviting

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smells amazing-8 oz strip steaks by the pool. Beat that, hotdogs!

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all the fixin's

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fun staff

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off to dinner as it's 8.45

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Tonight's menu is posted in the vestibule

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some art out here too

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we are greeted each time by these two fun guys-Lexe and Amit. They can take a joke

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More....

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Still following along here and loving your Gentleman’s Seafaring Journal!  I’ve also started reading your GSJ on your first Celebrity cruise. I’m like a sponge when it comes to information, I just absorb it all. My main goal in life is to know everything 😝

 

Azamara Journey is up next on our list.  We are going to Charleston, SC and Hamilton, Bermuda in April from NYC in April.  We booked it because sailing from NYC means no flights for us and the itinerary is intriguing. We have never been to Charleston and the Journey can fit through the narrow Two Rock passage and sail into Hamilton Harbor. This is a spectacular sail in that’s rather rare in this age of the mega ships that are relagated to the far out Dockyard. 

 

If you have never been to Bermuda, I highly recommend a voyage there on a small ship that can dock in Hamilton or St George. Bermuda is a wondrous place and our favorite of all the places we have been. 

 

We will be there for our usual 2 weeks in July. We can’t get enough. 

 

Another thing I want to recommend to you is to try Viking. We love the Viking experience, having done both river and ocean cruises with them. The ships are absolutely gorgeous - classic lines mixed with modern Scandinavian decor. They have managed to make them warm and comfortable - something that doesn’t seem to go with modern design, yet they have achieved it. Their cruises are pricey but everything other than some optional excursions are included - wine and beer with lunch and dinner (very reasonable beverage package if you want to upgrade), internet, specialty restaurants, 1 shore excursion in every port, and full use of their wonderful spa facilities. 

 

I keep telling people that we love Viking, but we’re not going steady - thus the Azamara and Celebrity Cruises we have booked. We are equal opportunity cruisers who like variety. 

 

We are doing a Viking Eastern Seaboard cruise In the fall sailing from Montreal to NYC. Looking forward to cruising the St Lawrence Seaway. 

 

BTW we also did the St Kitts Railway and loved it. In addition to being ship nerds we are also train nerds aka rail fans. Loved your San Juan pics!  We were there last year just a few months after the hurricanes and it was sad, although Old San Juan did fairly well. 

 

I’m going to make some comments over there. Give that GSJ a bump up for others to enjoy!  

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A table at the stern which we like and have been offered, if available, by Amit 

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we are in good hands with Yevgen but other waiters like Joseph and Fernando will stop to say hi!

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a relaxed atmosphere as it is now 9 p.m

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frisee salad with roasted beets and goat cheese, both of which we love

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Carol's shrimp with tomato and avocado and crostini with black olive tapenade

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Tuscany beef broth with cheese tortellini for Norris

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this is be a chilled fennel veloute for Carol

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we both had tamarind vegetable curry with raita, Basmati rice and poppadum

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Another fine meal from a  kitchen that delivers, night after night. Attentive, unfussy waiters who enjoy laughing at my schtick and who are definitely not going through the motions, hour after hour. There's a good, no, genuine is a better word, "service culture" on board.

 

Carol goes to bed and I follow a few minutes later as Alicia Hill is performing in the Cabaret room and this is my chance to hear her.

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She's got a good voice. Plenty of power and pizazz (not pizzas)

Singing contemporary songs backed by the superb Ozzie band (not Osborne)

Here she is singing Rolling in the Deep by the wondrous Adele, England's finest

 

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The theater is from a bygone age, without tiered seating but the talent is good from what we have briefly seen this week and it gets packed. This is a little ship that punches above its weight.

 

Alas I had a numbing headache during dinner but managed to make it through, though my appetite was less than usual. A couple of Advil from Carol's stash and a deep cavernous, spelunking sleep did the trick and I awoke in Nassau in good shape.

 

That's where you'll find us next...

 

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