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koconnor214

Review of great Baltics cruise and awesome crew!!

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Posted (edited)

Cruised with a friend of mine on the recent 7/29 12 day Baltics cruise, including 3 days in St. Petersburg. Itinerary was awesome, including what we thought would be a really boring day down the Kiel Canal...ended up being a had a great day watching the locals waving enthusiastically as we made our way down the canal.

 

Food was great; especially the Signature Chef’s Table ...first Chef’s Table either of us had attended...my best friend and her husband who were on a France-Intensive Cruise recently (at my recommendation...they had never been on Azamara and her husband hated cruises) highly recommended doing this. We met some wonderful people including our next door cabin neighbors; who we continued to speak with throughout the cruise. Iwan, the chef, was great; it was a wonderful meal and we were proud to be a part of the first Signature Chefs Table! But, the best part of the meal was meeting our table host, the Journey’s Safety Officer..the first time he had ever hosted a table.  He was an absolutely charming host....funny, sharp and self-effacing at the same time...and obviously so proud to be on the Azamara team. After a few rounds of wine which we all enjoyed, he invited us all to attend a private bridge tour, and to our surprise, a few days later, an invitation appeared in our cabin. What a great guy and the bridge tour was so interesting! Captain Johannes was there and everyone answered all questions so patiently and of course, we have the obligatory photos of each of us steering the ship with huge smiles!

 

And, to come to how valuable a knowledgeable and caring crew is—-my roommate had her passport (and credit cards and money) stolen our last day in St Petersburg. For those of you who have been there,  YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO LEAVE RUSSIA and board the ship.... She discovered it at lunchtime; we called the emergency numbers at the US Embassy in Washington DC and the US Embassy in Moscow; got voicemail at both. We called the emergency number on my ship keycard (since hers was stolen); Azamara told her they would send someone to meet her at Immigration at 4:30pm before the ship was due to leave Russia. 

 

I’ll cut to the chase...she was told by the ships officers who met her at Immigration she was stuck in Russia and would need to head to Moscow that night ( a 8hr drive) to be at the US Embassy the next morning to apply for a new passport. Separately, when I went through security to get back in the ship (I thought I was just packing an overnight bag in case she needed it...haha) I was instantly summoned into a meeting with the chief officers of the Journey, who reintegrated the need to make sure my friend had a secure and safe passage to Russia (via taxi, since you had to have a passport for the train!), a safe hotel for several days, etc. and that I needed to go pack her bags since she would not be able to rejoin the ship...it would take several days to get the new passport!

 

And, kudos here to TJ Travel, our St Petersburg tour company, and the wonderful fellow people from our cruise in our tour group...everyone helped in trying to help out with cash for her to take to Moscow since she had no credit cards/money.. I.was in tears at the generousity of you all! 

 

And, the story had a happy ending after all! If any of you who were on the cruise you already know how it ended ( we were a pretty infamous at this point!) Jan was in a car on the way to Moscow (she never got upset; I think she was in shock!), and I was in the cabin luxuriating in a room by myself (haha) —-it was about 10 minutes before we were leaving port. The cabin phone rang and it was one of the officers saying the Hermitage Museum had found her passport in the trash (whoever stole it just dumped it and kept the cc/cash) and there was someone on the way to the museum to retrieve it and they had called the car to Moscow and it was turning around....and, no matter what, THE SHIP WOULD WAIT FOR HER. 

 

So, she made it back to the ship. Our officers were absolutely wonderful; our fellow ship passengers awesome....we both made so many friends! Special thanks to: Fred, the Hotel Manager, Tiago, Guest Relations; Danny, the Cruise Director (what a sweetheart!), our Safely Director (can’t remember how to spell his name, sorry!), the Port Security  guy (I know he has a title; he was great!), the Security folks at the scanning stations when you reboard the ship who had to relive me getting on and off the ship with my roommates’s bags (damn, she had a lot of crap!) and the Head Bartender who actually brought a glass of wine down to the gangway upon hearing the situation!

 

So, what could have been a disastrous ending to a great trip ended up being a great travel story! It was SO great meeting so many new caring, fun friends and hope to see you all soon!!!! And, I think this whole “adventure” shows how you can’t recreate the camaraderie and caring from the crew and fellow passengers that you see on an Azamara Cruise!

 

And, apologies for the long post!! Thought it was important to call out the crew and all the friends we made for all the caring and fun!!

Edited by koconnor214
Misspelling

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Thanks for sharing this. It’s just a different vibe that many of us get from the Azamara team. You and your friend now have a great story to share for the rest of your life!

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Oh wow.

So glad your friend was able to continue her cruise.

Great ship’s crew.

Also well done to the Hermitage for going through their trash.

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Amazing story!  Thank goodness it all ended ok. And with a great deal to do with the crew (and the Hermitage too). A memorable trip that you won't forget on many levels!

 

Phil 

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What a happy end and a wonderful story.

was the safety officer George from Greece.  He cohosted his first table a couple of months ago with the Captain and we said after, he’s going to be an awesome host.

And yes, we always mention the security team, they are wonderful absolutely on top of the job, always diligent but with a smile and a lovely welcome. 

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Fantastic story. I'm so glad it had a happy ending.

 

It's a good rational to convince passengers to carry photocopies of their passports when ashore.

 

This thread would not be out of place on the Azamara v Oceania thread.

Whilst I do not know how Oceania crew would react, it is a great story to show the extra mile the Azamara crew go, and what sets them apart.

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WOW. I know that feeling. I left a backpack with passports and wallets on the shuttle bus in Hong Kong a few years ago. It was a few days before boarding the Journey. 

Our hotel, The Langham, moved the earth in their effort to locate the sack and it’s contents and they succeeded. 

Sometimes you get what you pay for....

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We've just come home from this fabulous cruise. 

So sad to hear of your issues...how worrying...but glad you had so much assistance. The crew are just amazing! 

I had my Azamara bag slashed from top to bottom, either in or en route /from the Hermitage on our first day in St.Petersburg. I was completely  unaware of it until we arrived in Estonia. Surprisingly nothing had been taken or fallen out. I had the bag clutched close to me the entire time, with the logo hidden.again, it was taken very seriously...

We love Azamara...just the best! 🥰🥰

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St. Petersburg is as dangerous as Barcelona.  Felt a hand in my pocket setting out on Nevsky Prospekt.  A well-placed elbow and walking stick point under the chin ended that adventure quickly.  Always carry my passport, credit cards, etc., in a pouch around my neck and under my shirt.

 

Azamara's response is what I would have expected.  A very special set of officers.

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How scary and upsetting for you and your friend. However, how kind of the other passengers to help you out like that and what can anyone say about the wonderful Azamara officers and crew. They are just the BEST! 

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4 hours ago, uktog said:

What a happy end and a wonderful story.

was the safety officer George from Greece.  He cohosted his first table a couple of months ago with the Captain and we said after, he’s going to be an awesome host.

And yes, we always mention the security team, they are wonderful absolutely on top of the job, always diligent but with a smile and a lovely welcome. 

Yes,  he is from Greece; but his name wasn’t George. It’s driving me crazy that I can’t remember his name! 

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4 hours ago, norn iron said:

Fantastic story. I'm so glad it had a happy ending.

 

It's a good rational to convince passengers to carry photocopies of their passports when ashore.

 

This thread would not be out of place on the Azamara v Oceania thread.

Whilst I do not know how Oceania crew would react, it is a great story to show the extra mile the Azamara crew go, and what sets them apart.

 

Thank you!

 

And, she had a copy of her passport; we thought that would be sufficient. That’s the reason I was planning to go back to the ship to get her essentials (just in case) and the copy out of the safe.  No go! 

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2 hours ago, koconnor214 said:

Yes,  he is from Greece; but his name wasn’t George. It’s driving me crazy that I can’t remember his name! 

He hosted our dinner table in July but I can’t remember his name either.

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“Food was great; especially the Signature Chef’s Table”

is this a new chef’s table?

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1 hour ago, laurieb said:

“Food was great; especially the Signature Chef’s Table”

is this a new chef’s table?

 

Yes, they told us it was a brand new one and Chef Iwan was the first to offer this. The idea is for the chef to design the menu and prepare anything they’d like; i.e. signature dish, etc. The menu was mainly seafood; scallops, monkfish, etc.; absolutely beautifully presented. Each course was a work of art with lots of detail....gold, caviar, edible flowers, etc. 

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24 minutes ago, koconnor214 said:

 

Yes, they told us it was a brand new one and Chef Iwan was the first to offer this. The idea is for the chef to design the menu and prepare anything they’d like; i.e. signature dish, etc. The menu was mainly seafood; scallops, monkfish, etc.; absolutely beautifully presented. Each course was a work of art with lots of detail....gold, caviar, edible flowers, etc. 

Nice.  Sounds like a Best of the Best available to anyone on board, not just the corner suites.  Happy to see this.

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Really nice to hear about the new Chef’s Table and disappointed we didn’t get to try it (we were on Journey the cruise before yours).  Unfortunately I found our experience underwhelming because it was the exact same menu we had last year on Pursuit so it’s good they now have a new option!

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Posted (edited)

Good to hear all turned out well in the end.

 

We have just returned from a Baltic cruise on another cruise line.  We were aware that the UK consulate was closed after the tit for tat diplomatic events which followed the Salisbury poisonings last year, hence removing the possibility of getting a replacement passport in SPB.  So we bought a couple of money belts which were big enough to hold our passports, a spare credit card and some extra cash for emergencies.  We wore the belts under our trousers, just below our waists with the intention of only going into them in a toilet cubicle if any of the contents were needed.  The money/payment card we were likely to need was more easy to access (though pretty secure), so we did not need to show anyone our secret hiding place.

 

I thought that is something worth sharing as it may be of interest to others as an idea to secure your passports/most of your money in risky places.  We knew it would be necessary to go to Moscow if we lost our passports, but did not realise that travel would have to be by taxi and the amount of time needed in Moscow.

Edited by tring

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Posted (edited)
On 8/20/2019 at 8:26 AM, Host Grandma Cruising said:

He hosted our dinner table in July but I can’t remember his name either.

 

Finally remembered the Safety Officer’s name—-Vangelis! He was really fun at dinner and we were all impressed he followed up with the bridge tour invitation. 

Edited by koconnor214

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1 minute ago, koconnor214 said:

 

Finally remembered the Safety Officer’s name—-Vangelis! 

Yes he is lovely such fun and friendly

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1 hour ago, koconnor214 said:

 

Finally remembered the Safety Officer’s name—-Vangelis! He was really fun at dinner and we were all impressed he followed up with the bridge tour invitation. 

Yes, that’s the one. We got a bridge tour as well.

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