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cinnamon

‘Live From’ Spirit of Discovery, 5th-12th September.

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BACKGROUND

We took our first cruise 21 years ago and fairly quickly became addicted. We have now taken over 40, until a few years ago mostly on the mainstream lines Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess with a sprinkle of one-offs on others. 

Looking for something a little more special we sailed on Azamara for the first time in 2013 and have now cruised with them 5 times. We loved those trips but the prices for the future have risen so much we were wondering if another line might suit us. 

In August last year we saw the new Saga ship advertised and the advance pricing for this cruise was excellent, given that it would be a balcony cabin with lots included. At 67 and 74 we decided that we were now of an age to hopefully feel comfortable on Saga. We do still fly long haul quite a lot as our family all live abroad but we’re aware that we may be less inclined to want to do so as we get older, so thought it would be worth finding out if Saga would suit us in future. 

 

WHY A BLOG?

I have been active on Cruise Critic for many years and read many ‘Live From’ blogs on various lines. I’ve learnt a lot from other posters and really enjoyed ‘travelling vicariously’ with cruisers who were willing to share their experiences live and answer questions whilst still onboard. Whilst I wasn’t blessed with the talent to write in a humorous style (as many others have been) I hope that for those following along it will be interesting, particularly as Saga has only recently had its own section on CC and the number of posters has been fairly limited. 

 

In the past we have enjoyed the International feel of other lines and it will be very different to have such a British experience. I’ll be bound to compare the ship, food and service with Azamara but am going with an open mind. We have cruised to Norway three times before and will not be visiting any new ports this time. As the weather is unpredictable we haven’t booked any tours in advance but have ideas of what to do. For us, cruising in Norway is mostly about the beautiful views in the fjords.......assuming you can see them. 

 

LESS THAN 24 HOURS TO GO. 

We’re looking forward to being picked up by shared transfer tomorrow morning, due at 11.05. I’ll have free WiFi onboard and 4G in the two cities so hope to be able to post at least once a day. Fellow Azamara fans P&M have also booked this cruise and we’ll meet up with them onboard tomorrow. 

 

Do let me know if you are ‘Following Along’ by putting those words in a reply. Also, feel free to ask questions during the week and I’ll do my best to answer them. 😀

 

Cinnamon.

Edited by Host Jazzbeau
fixed font size

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Following along and looking forward to hearing your experience, I’m trying to decide on only our 2nd cruise, so I’m hoping your blog may help make up my mind x

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I’m sorry for the large print!  I wrote it offline and copied it to the thread. This has not happened before so I’m not sure what happened. Hopefully I’ll be able to do better tomorrow. 😉

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Following along to make sure you don't leave the ship in a mess for us next week 😉 

 

CC does bizarre things on occasions with cut'n'pasted formatted text - different mark-ups colliding or something.

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Following along as we will be 3 weeks behind you in Norway and really looking forward to your perspective as an Azamara cruiser.

Have a great time, I'll be sure to be posting on the thread as we cruise along with you.

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Following along as I hope your blog will bring back memories of our cruise last month.  As ex Azamara and Oceania cruisers, we loved Spirit of Discovery and do hope you have a wonderful time on board.

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Following along; thank you very much for taking the time to do this. We board next week. 

We have limited experience, Sapphire &  Pearl once and a couple on Celebrity

Have a lovely time.

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Following along.  

I'm on this cruise too so perhaps we'll cross paths somewhere during the next week.

 

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2 minutes ago, Tigrou said:

Following along.  

I'm on this cruise too so perhaps we'll cross paths somewhere during the next week.

 

Without a CruiseCritic party I’m not sure how we would meet. My surname is the same as the old Labour PM, first name Harold.  We are on the lowest deck, cabin 543 (cheapest!). 😅

For security reasons I’m not spelling it out too clearly but i think you should be able to call me. I know you’re travelling alone so I don’t want you to put your cabin number here.  Feel free to contact me onboard and perhaps we can get together for a chat or a meal. 😀

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Following along.

We will be joining the ship in October with friends and look forward to hearing about your cruise.

We have sailed Azamara, Oceania and Regent many times and Saga twice, once on Ruby (lovely ship) and Sapphire. Didn’t like Sapphire but do like Saga staff....

have a lovely time.

  

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Thank you so much for this blog Cinnamon. We are on this cruise too so I will be interested to see how your impressions compare to ours. We have taken a few cruises, but nowhere near your impressive 40+. This will be our first saga cruise although we have had many excellent tours with Saga, both long and short haul. Prefer to tour to places with an entirely different culture to ours, but medical issues no longer allow this.

I cruised to Norway a few years ago with my late friend and thought the scenery spectacular, so really looking forward to seeing it again with my partner and on such a beautiful new small ship.

Will look out for you on board.

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Following along too, and looking forward to hearing your opinion, as our situation is very similar to yours - for us 30+ cruises, on quite a few different cruiselines, over about 20 years.  We discovered Viking a couple of years ago and have already racked up 8 weeks onboard their ocean ships, and find them absolutely perfect in almost all respects.  I think we may try Saga at some point, though my OH (74 next month) still doesn't think he's old enough!  Will be very interested to hear how you like the British experience as that's one thing that slightly bothers me. That and the formality!

Have a wonderful trip and thanks for sharing the experience with us.

 

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Thanks for all the positive responses. I must say that leaving home around 11.00 in a taxi is a very civilised start to the trip. Last year we had a wonderful 7 night Mediterranean cruise on Azamara.  However we were put on a very early flight from Heathrow and had our alarm on at 3.30 am. 😮.  We could have asked for a slightly later one but we’re actually safely onboard by 11.30 in Barcelona. Did need a siesta before sailing though. 😉

Today I’m relaxing with the crossword before having breakfast. 

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Not quite so civilised for me, I've had an early start as I'm being picked up at 0845.

Last time I went to Dover it was by train which took me less than 5 hours door to door, including a taxi at either end and walking between stations in London.  It will be interesting to see how today's journey compares.

 

For everyone travelling today, have a good journey.

 

 

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Also following along.  Very much looking forward to reading your blog.  Bon voyage!

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We are also long time Azamara cruises and are very interested in Saga for similar reasons to you.

Enjoy you cruise and I will be following along.

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Following along. As you know, I was meant to be on this cruise but sadly had to cancel. Will be very interested in your perspective. Please say Hi to Pam and Mike from me.

Having a really good time on Fred Olsen’s Braemar at present but the Bay of Biscay is really rocky. 😱

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So far, so good. Our driver arrived early but mercifully we were ready, bar shoes and a last minute loo visit. He loaded our cases into his vehicle, a Ford Galaxy. Another couple were already seated, they live in the next village to us. So 3 of us in the back and DH is sitting in the front. The company is Addison Lee and the taxi has WiFi. 😀

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Friday, 1.10 pm.

We arrived at Dover port at 12.40. Security was fairly simple with no requirement to take the laptop out of our carry on. The queueing system for check-in is a little chaotic. About 6 different lines with no indication of which to join and pot luck which will move fastest as apposed to a central queue. Only a few minutes to wait for us though. A photo is taken of us and the passport but no record of our Credit Card. We will need to register this onboard. 😏

 

The downer so far is that boarding will commence at 2.00 pm. We have been given number 3. This related to time of arrival rather than cabin class. However, I think the Britannia Club members have priority. 

 

The second slight disappointment is the need to buy refreshments in the bar of the terminal. When I asked if we would be able to have a late lunch onboard I was told it would be afternoon tea. 😒. That’s a long time away!

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Thanks for this, will be following with great interest, the ship/itineraries all look excellent

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1 hour ago, cinnamon said:

Friday, 1.10 pm.

We arrived at Dover port at 12.40. Security was fairly simple with no requirement to take the laptop out of our carry on. The queueing system for check-in is a little chaotic. About 6 different lines with no indication of which to join and pot luck which will move fastest as apposed to a central queue. Only a few minutes to wait for us though. A photo is taken of us and the passport but no record of our Credit Card. We will need to register this onboard. 😏

 

The downer so far is that boarding will commence at 2.00 pm. We have been given number 3. This related to time of arrival rather than cabin class. However, I think the Britannia Club members have priority. 

 

The second slight disappointment is the need to buy refreshments in the bar of the terminal. When I asked if we would be able to have a late lunch onboard I was told it would be afternoon tea. 😒. That’s a long time away!

We had a buffet lunch when we got on board and that was a 2pm embarkation too.  

We drove down to Dover the day before and, as there were problems with the M20 being closed on embarkation day, there were only very few people waiting to board so it was really quick.  

 

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Hi Corinne,

Here's another following along. Really interested to 'share' your cruise with you. As you know, we first met on a Celebrity cruise to the Baltics many years ago and both have sailed quite a number of times on Azamara. Our next is on Pursuit next month. I am interested to hear about the age demographics on your current cruise. I know that Saga caters to the over 50s, which isn't at all old, but just the name now has poor ageist connotations (wish they would change it).  I know when my DH rang Saga for car insurance when he was 53, he was told that at his age for them he was a 'boy racer'!

 

Looking forward to your blog.

Lynne 😀

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