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Werangels

Croatia Intensive

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Hi all

 

We arrived home on Saturday and absolutely loved our first cruise.  It exceeded both our expectations.  The ship is a great size, small enough to go from end to end quickly, for the staff to know who you are, remember your name and your preferences and for you to bump into the same people regularly.  Loved the bedding, the food, we even enjoyed the buffet at lunch times and we have always said that we are not ‘buffet’ people 😂.  Loved eating lunch on the aft deck.  Loved the excitement of arriving and departing port, the sound of the horn.  We both felt very comfortable on board; it felt like home.  Loved, loved it!  We booked for next year and are seriously regretting the 3 other holidays we are taking between now and then when it could have been more cruises!  DH has already got a photo of Pursuit as his screensaver; think he’s a bit in love 😍.

 

So to give some detail:-

 

Pre-cruise - Venice

We spent 3 nights at Palazzo Venezia which is on the Giudecca canal and a 3 minute walk from San Basilio terminal where Azamara dock.  Lovely hotel, great breakfast, nice inner courtyard area to relax and good bar service.  It is situated between two vaporetto stops, San Basilio and Zattere and it is worth buying a pass if you intend to explore Venice and her islands by water as each individual ticket is €7.50. 

 

St Mark’s Basilica - we purchased the fast pass tickets and were very pleased we did as the normal queue snaked virtually all the way to the waterfront and this was on a day with only 2 ships in and we were there for 9.30am.  Worth timing your visit for when the mosaics are illuminated between 11.30am and 12.30 ish pm ( can’t remember the exact time).  They are stunning.

 

We took the vaporetto to the ghetto area and wandered around away from the crowds.  It is an area which feels peaceful. Enjoyed cichetti for lunch in an osteria.  

 

Another day, we took the vaporetto to Torcello for lunch at Locanda Cipriani via Lido and Burano.  Burano is beautiful and well worth a trip as is Torcello, particularly if you wish to get away from the crowds.  Lunch was divine; pricey but less than a waterfront restaurant on the Giudecca the previous evening surprisingly.  It is apparently the only private restaurant the Queen has eaten at.  Inside there are photos of Ernest Hemingway who frequented it regularly along with Princess Di, the Queen Mother and Elton and is owned by the Cipriani family. We then splurged 

on a water taxi back which was fabulous especially in the 45 degree heat (heatwave).18FF121E-DCBA-4AC7-A6E8-244ED54DCD11.thumb.jpeg.3ca61eee2683bc4d57895b3a15a5ef7f.jpegEA82B779-43D8-49CE-BF56-F73973AB25C4.thumb.jpeg.dbe8ff837f92d8ebef3516f7309bfcd9.jpegF6C5C2DE-B8A3-4FBD-8199-D13A833D23E7.thumb.jpeg.ce0d99f95211662bd4efec63178344cf.jpeg32E8F79B-CDA0-4E9D-B9DD-3468D2D8EEAA.thumb.jpeg.6162082ed9b617bbb18904999d8b71f1.jpeg17B0BF1B-A059-475A-BA8A-58DD7E1B4600.thumb.jpeg.47ddd15bf45155885fccade69a13567a.jpeg47075B6B-2770-43F8-AA6B-8DBF11A29153.thumb.jpeg.f0b6ee6ca3cb6663ccf2412a4b692373.jpeg

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6 minutes ago, Werangels said:

 Loved, loved it!  We booked for next year and are seriously regretting the 3 other holidays we are taking between now and then when it could have been more cruises!  DH has already got a photo of Pursuit as his screensaver; think he’s a bit in love

 

This made me smile 🥰  as I too have a snapshot of one of our ships as my screensaver!

So glad you both "loved, loved" your cruise with us.

I look forward to reading more of your review.

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So glad you loved your cruise . The photographs are wonderful. 

I love the Locanda Cipriani on Torcello as well. Amazing food and so quiet and peaceful after the bustle of Venice. Your photo's brought back some very happy memories. Looking forward to more. 

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44 minutes ago, Lottie A said:

So glad you loved your cruise . The photographs are wonderful. 

I love the Locanda Cipriani on Torcello as well. Amazing food and so quiet and peaceful after the bustle of Venice. Your photo's brought back some very happy memories. Looking forward to more. 

 

Thank you.  It is a wonderful place.

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Just now, BBMacLaird said:

 

This made me smile 🥰  as I too have a snapshot of one of our ships as my screensaver!

So glad you both "loved, loved" your cruise with us.

I look forward to reading more of your review.

This made me smile too, amongst all the complaining and negativity that can sometimes happen on some threads............well done on your first Azamara cruise......I did know quietly that you would love it.... and maybe become hooked??? x

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Posted (edited)

Day 1 - we both woke early and rushed to the pier to see if she had arrived.  It was rather like being a child and wanting to see if Father Xmas had been!  We arrived at the terminal early but the organisation for check-in was appalling.  As a result, we missed being able to book a Chef’s Table but did get bookings for the Speciality Restaurants.  I was lucky to win a $100 gift voucher at the Spa Raffle!  Our first dinner was in Prime C and the ribeye was huge.  We could have easily shared it. 0A59EDCF-A9E1-461C-8158-72530DE10E3B.thumb.jpeg.24fba8fd00c5cbb5e33fc878a346a81d.jpegD2B221A6-890E-4513-AC8B-1B7F94936F68.thumb.jpeg.2e2d4bff1b4de47e3cf5dcc4dc1a6cd6.jpeg6C651030-3E1D-425F-9FA6-CF3B8BE6B2CB.thumb.jpeg.d8d857bc772d7ecc481ef94bd6bd0313.jpeg4B04EB40-7F0C-480A-99B3-0DC6E732A66A.thumb.jpeg.c2c4f2b02749479750ad01a136828079.jpeg5863AE76-9E4F-4436-91D2-32D33272EBBC.thumb.jpeg.2c811c03de96164cc3c807378f7282f1.jpeg We left Venice around 10pm.

Edited by Werangels

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Day 2 - Rijeka.  We arrived at 1pm and as we were by the Spa pool we were directly above the bridge and watched the captain do a 180 degree turn and reverse into the mooring.  There was a dancing troupe on the pier to welcome the ship into the town.  We waited until the tours had departed then walked into town.  Being a Sunday a lot of the shops were closed.  We walked round and had a coffee, that was it.  Dinner in Aqualina and then we bagged chaise lounges at the front of the Living Room to watch the ships departure at 10pm.

 

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Really appreciate your posts/photos as we will be taking a similar itinerary.

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43 minutes ago, nordski said:

Really appreciate your posts/photos as we will be taking a similar itinerary.

 

‘Thank you.  I shall keep at it! It was a great itinerary.  The only port I wish they had changed was Rijeka as Opatija is just around the corner and is probably a much better port to visit.

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Opatija is simply gorgeous and I would agree probably a better port to visit than Rijeka. I know they swapped Opatija for Rijeka on the recent 3 day cruise out of Venice.

Following along with interest and loving your photo's and enthusiasm.  

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4 minutes ago, Lottie A said:

Opatija is simply gorgeous and I would agree probably a better port to visit than Rijeka. I know they swapped Opatija for Rijeka on the recent 3 day cruise out of Venice.

Following along with interest and loving your photo's and enthusiasm.  

 

‘Thank you.  I think as a newbie everything is exciting.  We both found ourselves getting up earlier than we would at home for instance, as we didn’t want to miss the ship coming into a port.

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I well remember my first Azamara cruise in 2010. We felt exactly the same...and we were out on our balcony at stupid o'clock to watch sail in's. I had done many, many cruises before that first Azamara one but it was special ...and it still is! 

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Day 3 - Zadar and cruising the inner passage

 

We docked in Zadar for 8am.  We had breakfast on our balcony and watched the approach.  I then organised our laundry bag and took HGC’s advice to roll everything.  I was quite proud of the number of items I managed to get into the bag - 4 long shorts, 1 short shorts, 5 dresses, 4 shirts, 1 nightdress, 5 tops!  As this part of the world was sweltering in the heatwave, temperature feels like 45 degrees, we were off the ship before 9am to attempt to explore the town before the heat became too much.  

 

We really liked Zadar.  It has a lovely promenade right along the front with lots of trees and flower beds, interesting roman ruins, a nice marina, a good shopping centre and plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants without the crowds.  Lots of small alleyways.  We docked in a wonderful position right on the end he of the promenade next to the Sea Organ which is very unusual.  It is somewhere I would go back to as it doesn’t suffer with the huge numbers of tourists.  

 

We were back on board late morning and got ourselves set up on sunbeds on the top level with a great view ready for sailing the inner passage.  We really wanted to lie somewhere where there might be some air.  There had been no breeze in the area for days unless we were underway at a fair speed.  You could certainly tell everytime the Captain slowed towards ports as the lovely breeze diminished!  

 

Today was also Officer’s Barbecue which we thoroughly enjoyed.  I upgraded to ‘UP’ prior to lunch so was able to enjoy some Whispering Angel.  I don’t drink very much at all but what I do drink ie Cotes de Provence, decent Prosecco, the lovely Malbec, Bacardi are not on the basic package.  Why no Bacardi when there is gin, vodka, whisky, etc beggars belief in my opinion and why no Fanta orange or orangina?  

 

We left at 2pm with the horn blaring.  Many people had come out to watch the ship leave.  It was a lovely sail away.  Sailing the inner passageway was one of the reasons I chose this cruise as every Summer we fly over these islands on our way to Corfu and they look stunning.  I do have to say that after the first few, they all looked the same......  far more interesting from overhead!  There was a last minute hiccup apparently with the port authorities who initially would not give permission to sail through.  However, Captain Toledo dug his heels in and they agreed to it as long as we carried a pilot on board.  I know this as DH wheedled his way onto the Engine Control Room tour with the Chief Engineer who was a very interesting guy from Dubrovnik.

Whilst my interest lies with how thick are sunbed mattresses, are the toiletries decent, is there anything I fancy in the shops; DH had been spending his time considering whether there was a system for producing water, what happens to grey waste, etc.  So, the tour was totally fascinating for him.  

 

We docked in Split at 8pm.  Prime C dinner with a couple we met onboard which was lovely; both the company and the food.

 

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Sea Organ

 

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Roman ruins

 

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A Canada Day dessert table

 

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Pistachio Souffle

 

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Diligence of our Room Attendant or a gentle nudge to us to put our shoes away I wonder? !

 

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Split

 

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Oh no! I see those infamous and ersatz “butter tarts” on the Canada Day dessert table, the tarts I criticized on another thread.

 

Glad for the recognition of our history, but Azamara must lift its game here! 

 

Also, where are the Nanaimo Bars?

 

And yet, despite those failures I would love to be on board! 😄

 

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6 minutes ago, nordski said:

Oh no! I see those infamous and ersatz “butter tarts” on the Canada Day dessert table, the tarts I criticized on another thread.

 

Glad for the recognition of our history, but Azamara must lift its game here! 

 

Also, where are the Nanaimo Bars?

 

And yet, despite those failures I would love to be on board! 😄

 

 

There were some sort of chocolate bars I think.  

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1 hour ago, nordski said:

Oh no! I see those infamous and ersatz “butter tarts” on the Canada Day dessert table, the tarts I criticized on another thread.

 

Glad for the recognition of our history, but Azamara must lift its game here! 

 

Also, where are the Nanaimo Bars?

 

And yet, despite those failures I would love to be on board! 😄

 

 

Do you have a recipe for a Butter tart you can share?

Who knows we could have a cookery thread.

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Loved reading your review, looking forward to more installments. I was on this sailing as well and enjoyed it very much. My first time on Azamara and I can't wait to plan my next cruise with them. I agree, the boarding in Venice was very disorganized. I believe that had more to do with the port of Venice.

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42 minutes ago, nycruiser80 said:

Loved reading your review, looking forward to more installments. I was on this sailing as well and enjoyed it very much. My first time on Azamara and I can't wait to plan my next cruise with them. I agree, the boarding in Venice was very disorganized. I believe that had more to do with the port of Venice.

 

Thank you.  Please chip in if there is anything you would like to add.

 

Really?  I do wonder about it being the port’s fault as the team from Azamara were with them for quite some time discussing embarkation.

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Venice has always been a nightmare for embark, disembark and loading of goods.

It doesn't really matter what cruise line you are on. I also find Venice airport to be completely unbearable. 

 

I well remember one Hotel Director on another cruise line nearly having a complete breakdown as the Venice port authorities made them load the perishable meat and vegetables last.... as they were in the last numbered containers. So they sat on the quayside all day in blistering heat while the canned goods and non perishables were loaded first. No matter what he said, the Venice port authorities wouldn't change the container order so he could get the perishables into the ship's refridgerated area. Needless to say most of the food was spoiled. 

 

 I think it was probably the Venice authorities who were disorganised on your embarkation, despite the efforts of the Azamara team. I have always found Azamara embarkation procedures to be quick and efficient in most ports ....with the exception of Venice. Mind you, I think San Juan in Puerto Rico is worse. It's not even chaotic ....it's miles beyond that! 

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6 minutes ago, Lottie A said:

I think it was probably the Venice authorities who were disorganised on your embarkation, despite the efforts of the Azamara team. I have always found Azamara embarkation procedures to be quick and efficient in most ports ....with the exception of Venice. Mind you, I think San Juan in Puerto Rico is worse. It's not even chaotic ....it's miles beyond that! 

 

It's that 'island time' thing.  Maybe it would be better to base the cruise ships in Marghera – it's on the mainland!

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2 hours ago, Lottie A said:

Venice has always been a nightmare for embark, disembark and loading of goods.

It doesn't really matter what cruise line you are on. I also find Venice airport to be completely unbearable. 

 

I well remember one Hotel Director on another cruise line nearly having a complete breakdown as the Venice port authorities made them load the perishable meat and vegetables last.... as they were in the last numbered containers. So they sat on the quayside all day in blistering heat while the canned goods and non perishables were loaded first. No matter what he said, the Venice port authorities wouldn't change the container order so he could get the perishables into the ship's refridgerated area. Needless to say most of the food was spoiled. 

 

 I think it was probably the Venice authorities who were disorganised on your embarkation, despite the efforts of the Azamara team. I have always found Azamara embarkation procedures to be quick and efficient in most ports ....with the exception of Venice. Mind you, I think San Juan in Puerto Rico is worse. It's not even chaotic ....it's miles beyond that! 

 

Venice airport was horrendous.  I was amazed at just how bad it was both ways.  I hope we never have to go through there again!

 

What a shocking waste of food.  I shall just try and avoid full stop I think in future 😉

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Day 4 - Split and Azamazing Evening

 

By today I had forgot what day of the week it was;  a definite sign of a good holiday.  We had pole position in the harbour, with Viking, Marella and P&O all behind us.  On top of all the cruise passengers; ferries and vomit comets and their passengers come and go all day so, Split was heaving.  We wandered around the Diocletian Palace and the little streets.  Stopped for coffee a couple of times and I had a nosey in the shoe shops - lots of bargains but as I bought ‘too many shoes’ in DH’s words before the holiday I thought I’d better not add to my collection on this occasion!  Croatia is still very cheap; we paid a maximum of £4 for two coffees in all the ports.  For anyone reading this who stops at any Croatian ports, you do need Kuna, not euros.  It is illegal for them to accept euros.

 

We didn’t lunch as we chose the early buffet prior to the Azamazing Evening and it was totally.  We loved it.  Ana Rucner, celloist performed in the garden of the Ivan Mestrovic gallery.  We left Split at 10pm and watched the pilot jump onto the pilot boat - rather hairy to watch!

 

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I won’t be greedy; just the one on the left 😉 lol!

 

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Apparently, a self portrait......

 

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