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Bimmer09

X cruiser sails Azamara to Cuba Jan 15 to 24 2019

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51 minutes ago, hockeyguru32 said:

SO not true Phil I have never sailed RCCL Celebrity or Azamara but have sailed MSC NCL and CCL and I found Norris no problem at all when he was on the Princess boards writing an Alaska review. As he stated before he will get more attention on X pages more than he will on the A pages even though A is first in the Alphabet X will mark the spot and get more attention because of more people. Who knows maybe he will have X people sail on A and that should be a bonus for A. Just sit back relax and enjoy the master at his work, I have read every single review he has done and I want more even when the curtains have closed and everyone has gone home. Reminds me of the Ferris Bueller ending.

 

HockeyGuru32 patiently waiting for more with rum in hand.

Please read what I wrote again.  I have nothing against writing a review on this board.  All I said was this thread and all the posts will soon be history.  A formal review is something that can be referred to in the future and is therefore much more useful to this community.

 

Phil

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21 hours ago, vulcan1971 said:

Hi Norris,

 

I found your thread this morning when logging on to CruiseCritic. I'm a newbie to reading or "experiencing your reviews, but the title of your thread is what caught my eye... I have an interest in what X cruisers think when sailing other cruise lines, I'm curious about Azamara, I love photography, and I am excited to hear about travel to Cuba.  Travel to Cuba is on my bucket list, but so are many other types of trips.  I very much like your style to share a lot and say a little.  The stories to date have been informative and kept me reading.  I'm very much looking forward to more.

 

Vulcan, thanks for coming on board! Welcome. If you love photography book a cruise to Cuba.

I hope this Gentleman's Seafaring Journal will whet your appetite speaking of which I haven't had breakfast yet. I have been trying to upload my first video to Youtube and have been at it for 3 hours so it may have to wait.

I took 6 cameras with me on the Journey and you'll see the main ones early in our sailaway video which should be uploaded in time for Christmas.

Meantime I will press on.

Norris 

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Yeah...the review has begun! 

Welcome back to Siberia.  My friend and I were down in the city yesterday to catch the "Kinky Boots" matinee at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.  As we were walking back to the Metra station, I commented that I was hoping that the latest Bimmer review had started...and wondered why we weren't in the Caribbean at that moment!!!

Thanks in advance for all the effort that goes into your review...and "hi" to Carol.

Susan

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3 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Please read what I wrote again.  I have nothing against writing a review on this board.  All I said was this thread and all the posts will soon be history.  A formal review is something that can be referred to in the future and is therefore much more useful to this community.

 

Phil


Phil, I will write a formal review in the members review section as you think it will be more meaningful but only after I finish this one which will be in about 5 weeks from now.

I wrote a formal review on my trip on the Coral Princess from August 2011. Try finding that and I think it will be "lost"  to the casual reader. This one I will soon add to my signature for reference no matter which board I write on.

I write these long reviews primarily for me and Carol. Without them, all the great cruises we take together could blend and become a fuzzy memory. That others can read them is a bonus. You can see from the responses that many people look forward to reading them and to responding to me. You will see some say they took a certain ship partly or wholly swayed by one of my reviews. The same  is true of hotels and restaurants.

So I think some will find value in reading this and in the "formal review" to come.

Cheers!

Norris

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No luck in uploading my first video today. Another day when I had no luck occurred on the Wednesday before sailing when I broke a tooth eating a nice chewy bread crust and had to go to the dentist for an extraction. So I would be sailing with antibiotics to nibble on. Ho hum.

 

I woke naturally at 5 a.m on our sailing day and was at the Starbucks attached to the hotel at 6 a.m when they opened. I paid a dollar more for my simple Pike's Place tall than I do in Chicago.

Suitably energized I began my early morning walk (a mile) to take pics of the Art Deco Hotels along Ocean Drive. The pictures can speak for themselves....

 

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I'm keeping an eye on the sunrise

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The News cafe open 24 hours

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More to come...

Norris

 

 

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Norris, you are off to a great start!  Awesome photos of the art deco buildings.  I look forward every morning to reading about your trip.  Meredith

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Yay!  Another Norris review that I caught "fairly early" enough that I am now able to read in real time!!!  Cuba is on my radar so looking forward to your experiences and recommendations!

 

Living just outside of Ft Lauderdale, we try to get to Joe's once or twice during the stone crab season.  Its SO YUMMY!!!

 

Tracy, eager for more

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Love your early morning photos from South Beach. So glad that these Art Deco masterpieces got saved from the wrecking ball.

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Norris,

I am so happy to be reading another one of your fabulous reviews as I sit here watching the snow pile up in Michigan.  Alas, we had to cancel a Princess cruise we were going to take in February (full transit of the Panama Canal starting in San Francisco) due to the declining health of my Mom.  So I will live vicariously through your review.

 

Stay warm in Chicago.

 

Linda 

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Hi Norris ~ count me in as another recruit from the Princess Boards. 

I've never missed any of your reviews and have always thought of them as a "treat" and have never felt as if I have had to "wade through" any part. Clearly, this is the sentiment of many of us on these boards. 

Cuba is on our bucket list. Steve has a 57 Chevy Bel Aire in our garage that he has been working on for the last 20 years :classic_rolleyes: He has never shown any interest in Cruise Critic but when I mentioned that you are writing a review on Cuba with lots of pics of cars he, too, is now following along!

Thanks again for all that you do ~ and also thanks to Carol for her patience for allowing you to dedicate so much of your spare time to these boards!

Edited by hllwdcruiser

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Welcome back, Norris.  I had noticed your absence.  I love your reviews and your sense of humor and I'm glad you posted here as I never check the other boards, so I wouldn't have found you.

I love your cat "tree" and I thought we had a spoiled animal (picture in the avatar).

Loved the colored cars in Cuba also, such a great photo.

I think I asked you once if you had ever considered being a travel writer?

We make photo books of all out trips and it is wonderful to look at them now and again.  We also have a digital photo frame in our living room that shows pictures of our travels, one every 30 secs.  Love it.

I look forward to the rest of your review.

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Art Deco on Ocean Drive

part deux

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Great place for fridge magnets/posters and photographs

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Gianni Versace's home where he was murdered

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The Tides, renovating after Hurricane Irma

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More to come....

Norris

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The fine woman we have to thank for fighting to preserve this now Historic District

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I believe the Cardozo is owned by Gloria Estefan

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Public restrooms

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A collection box to benefit the homeless 

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More soon....

Norris

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I have what my doctor calls a "Spidey Sense" when cruise ships are near so after dipping into a nearby Starbucks (kind of a redundant term as there is always one near) I took the short walk to the beach....

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Looking North up the beach 

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Norris

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Norris....I got a bit of a late start, but I saw your posting on the Princess board and made it over here this afternoon.  I am caught up now and looking forward to another edition of your Gentleman's Seafaring Journal!

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I plan to text Carol at some point to let her know where I am. I am in fact just a 3 minute walk from our chosen breakfast nook. We had eaten there 2 years prior as the Ritz was just around the corner. Along the way I stopped into Walgreens on Lincoln Road to buy some toiletries.

Outside they have this vehicle parked permanently.

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I visited one of those Escape Game places a couple of years ago and it was great fun and a lot of brain exercising and clue sleuthing.

 

I walked on to the restaurant and sent Carol a photo so she would deduce my whereabouts

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Hmmm, maybe time to take down the Christmas and New Year menus?

Carol understands the photo and summons a Lyft ride share as we have given up on taxis for the past year or so. She arrives and we take our reserved table outdoors which is where we prefer to eat in a warm climate. Alex will be our waiter and he lit one of those outdoor heaters

as the temperature hadn't got above 70F yet. Cosy now.

 

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Carol continues her trip notes (actual photo!)

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We have vittles!

On my plate is an omelette with spinach, tomatoes, bacon and cheddar plus white toast with the prince of foods-fried potatoes. Drink is a "Rise and Shine" ( I did that already 3 hours ago) juice which is a sassy slap yo mamma drink with carrots and ginger.

 

Carol has a Rise and Shine plus Cuban Colada (double espresso, sweet) to drink. Wake you up drink! She has scrambled eggs, bacon and potatoes with biscuits.

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The meal was $80 and the gratuity of 20% already charged on the bill.

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Across the street others were dining

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Carol got us a late checkout at 12 noon so we didn't have to rush. We saw a free shuttle bus pass while eating and Carol researched it on her phone. We could take it back to within 2 blocks of our hotel. Score! We just had to walk a couple of blocks to a stop that wouldn't involve transfers. Along the way we saw this

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The shuttle bus was a quaint little trolley car with a couple of homeless folks napping, an eccentric lady dressed for a masquerade party and some normal tourists and was a nice way to get back to the hotel.

 

This is the last of the land-based photos until Havana. After this we are on a ship.

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Norris

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53 minutes ago, CRLess said:

Norris....I got a bit of a late start, but I saw your posting on the Princess board and made it over here this afternoon.  I am caught up now and looking forward to another edition of your Gentleman's Seafaring Journal!


Welcome my good friend!

Norris

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2 hours ago, Bimmer09 said:

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Norris love your pics of the art deco buildings.  Isn't this the building they used  in the movie The Birdcage?

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On 1/27/2019 at 6:34 PM, rdsqrl said:

Hi, Norris and Carol.   I see we're off to a good start with the food porn; yum!  And you got a photo of the building where my cousin owns a condo.  She lives a stone's throw from Joe's (sorry; couldn't resist) and yet we've never been.  Must rectify on next visit.   How was the key lime pie?

 

Looking forward to the ship and to Cuba.

 

 

 

Annie! Welcome. Please take a seat. Your waiter will be with you momentarily.

Carol says "authentic" when it comes to Joe's Key Lime Pie. This is her go-to, must-have in Joe's.

Norris, sitting on a treasure trove of food pics.

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49 minutes ago, LC1950 said:

 

Norris love your pics of the art deco buildings.  Isn't this the building they used  in the movie The Birdcage?


Indeed. You are correct. 1996 Robin Williams, Nathan Lane and Gene Hackman.

I have never seen it.

Norris

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While my next batch of photos upload to Flickr I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has responded so far. Many familiar names and some new ones. I usually try to respond to everyone promptly but I am  having a Dickens (my favorite writer) of a time today with techno issues which have wasted 4 hours of my day at the keyboard.

 

As I want to get us onto the ship ASAP I will push ahead and sprinkle in some responses as we go. I have a note from my mother, as always, that explains everything.

 

Norris

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Hello Norris!!!  I too have popped over here from the Princess boards.  I LOVE your reviews!  Thanks for taking the time to write them!

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We are packed on schedule. Colored luggage tags which we received in the mail attached to our baggage. Lyft called. Once again our driver was Spanish speaking but Carol can habla Espanol and that's a good ice-breaker. $12 to the port, through the tunnel and out the other side to Terminal J and our first look at the Journey 2019. We had seen her before in 2014 anchored in Sorrento Bay while we were sailing one of her 7 sisters-Ocean Princess.

There were only a couple of baggage handlers and I gave the very welcoming lady ("have a great cruise, folks!") a $10 tip for the two bags we checked.

Into the Terminal and a warm greeting at the bottom of the escalator. 

Up we go into a big room where there was a security check. X Ray scanner. Moved on. Next-fill in the Visa application ($75 each charged to the room account). Health questionnaire. Move on-get in line for non-suites. Maybe 40 people in front of us. No sweat.

Young woman-possibly a runway model (not talking airports) walks over from suite line, big smile but I figure she is looking at someone else. Gets close. No it's me . Removes the stanchion belt, "please some with me" and walks us towards the suite line which has 3 people in it and one when we get there. Carol says "I think they've made you" and I say "doubt that" We're next and in a jiffy we are showing Express Boarding Passes and Passports. Photo for security and we are walking to the ship. It's 12.30 ish and we are walking up the gangway.

Champagne. "Welcome aboard!" There's a notice that there were cases of Norovirus on the last cruise and a deep cleaning was taking place. Gulp!

No matter. We are on board. Boots on deck so to speak and are taking the elevators up to deck 9, pool deck, where the smoking section is (port side forward).

Chairs and low couches await. Here comes a waiter. Paul. I'll have a Beck's please which is complimentary from their tiny selection (Beck's or Bud,Bud Light).

No music playing from speakers on deck. Hmmm, that's kinda different say I. Carol loves it!

People talking or relaxing on some very comfy looking padded loungers.

 

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More to come....

Norris

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My history with Miami goes back to 1985 when I flew from London to join the crew of the Song of Norway to work as a musician for Royal Caribbean. I spent every Saturday there for 44 weeks in total. I sailed out every Saturday at 5 pm and today would be no different.

"If I buy the Ultimate Beverage Package while in Miami do I have to pay a city tax"? was my question to Paul. He didn't know but suggested I ask at the Pool Bar 20 feet away.

Same question there. Don't know Sir. Can you find out? Sure.

Comes back. Yes. How much %? Is it 2% like in Ft.Lauderdale? Yes I think so.

I was planning on buying 2 packages so 4% would only be $16. But I thought "let's stick it to The Man" by trying the included beverages-I was thinking wine at dinner-just for today.

Another Beck's please Paul!

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Norris

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