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uktog

Maybe live some days from Journey 5 September

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6 hours ago, Baynanno1 said:

Hope something works out for you!

Mahon is a frequent port of call, so hopefully they may be able to arrange some of the regularly scheduled excursions for that port. Perhaps the Concierge may be able to help you spend your OBC in Mahon if Shorex don't come up with anything. Good luck!

Thanks for the suggestion. I probably should have done that last night but it was too much fun at White Night to go inside . I know they were busy helping those with private trips in Valencia contact their operators etc. 

Weve been to Mahon a few times, it’s a lovely stop so will enjoy it whatever but I think it’s too late to set up anything private. 

Incidentally we were never going to get our advertised excursion in Valencia as we have just received (hmm late) a letter from Land Discoveries telling us that they were changing the excursion from a hands on paella cooking class to a panoramic drive and meal in a restaurant ......I am glad we are no longer going to Valencia as it saves me arguing about the inappropriateness of that change! 

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White Night was excellent. We thought it was one of the best buffets they have ever done. Now some may disagree as there were no lobster tails on offer but oh the fish. They had a whole section cooking fish to order. They had a whole tuna they were cutting steaks from, the most amazing skate wings, fresh octopus stew for those who love that and a massive paella amongst other things. Sorry I never made it to the meats on the other side of the deck so cannot report what was there because I was in fish heaven! 

 

The dance floor was the busiest I’ve seen it for a long time, the singers etc were really good - the girl in the trio is particularly good and the music suited her. 

 

 

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15 minutes ago, uktog said:

 

 

The dance floor was the busiest I’ve seen it for a long time, the singers etc were really good - the girl in the trio is particularly good and the music suited her. 

 

 

Is that the Aces Trio with Sebastian, the guy who was on Pursuit late last year?  If it is I think that is his girlfriend. 

 

Phil 

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59 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Is that the Aces Trio with Sebastian, the guy who was on Pursuit late last year?  If it is I think that is his girlfriend. 

 

Phil 

 They are called the Starlight Trio so not sure Phil 

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12 hours ago, uktog said:

Well the weather gods have been kind tonight and we enjoyed White Night however tomorrow we cannot go to Valencia which is a big disappointment for many. 

Azamara has shown its skill in rescheduling and we are going to Mahon instead.  Unlikely they can set up any Land Discoveries there so like many we will have lost OBC in our case we were treating ourselves to an expensive excursion there and in Barcelona and they’ve already cancelled the Barcelona one 😞 

Will be interesting to see how they handle that one 

 

That really sucks, and leaves you almost idealess (not really a word, but you know what I mean!!) as to how you use it. Under the circumstances, would they allow carryover to the follow-on cruise.....otherwise, more jewellery?!

 

As soon to be first timers on Az, we are intrigued by so many outstanding reports re White Night. Other lines have such, and they are far from special, so what is it that gives the Wow factor?

Edited by hamrag

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So far attempts to carry over the obc for future excursions have met with outright rejection by the gentleman on Land Discoveries who was making no attempt to find a solution which was disappointing. 

The routine shop is even worse than ever in terms of selection of items so nothing there appeals. I’m not in the market for expensive jewellery so I suppose I’m going to lose a lot of “value” through no fault of mine as are many others. They need to handle this better. 

 

Anyway moving on. We’ve been to Mahon before and love it. It was funny seeing local shops hastily opening when they woke up and found us arriving. It sounds like we were lucky. We had the help of tugs to keep us safe as we left Palma and ferries heading in the Valencia direction encountered 10m swells and shifting lorries below deck and damage so Captain Johannes made absolutely the right call. 

 

Mahon is beautiful as ever. It’s a lovely day and we are parked next to the gin tasting exhibition so life is good. 

 

In answer to the question White Night is a great combination of a magically special buffet always slightly different and a great all tastes deck dance party involving all the onboard musicians. Last night seemed like everyone on board was there on either deck 9 or 10. There’s obviously a dance floor but you just dance where you fancy for as short or long a time as you like. 

 

So todays pictures show two sides of Mahon. Santa Maria Church and the famous Minorcan gin. See how close we dock to the tasting vault (free of charge unlimited tastes) getting home is still easy 

 

 

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7 hours ago, uktog said:

White Night was excellent. We thought it was one of the best buffets they have ever done. Now some may disagree as there were no lobster tails on offer but oh the fish. They had a whole section cooking fish to order. They had a whole tuna they were cutting steaks from, the most amazing skate wings, fresh octopus stew for those who love that and a massive paella amongst other things. Sorry I never made it to the meats on the other side of the deck so cannot report what was there because I was in fish heaven! 

 

The dance floor was the busiest I’ve seen it for a long time, the singers etc were really good - the girl in the trio is particularly good and the music suited her. 

 

 

One of our favourite buffets for White Night featured salt-baked turbot....absolutely delicious!

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Seems like your White Night was very special. After many of them I still think it’s the best night onboard and that fish selection sounds delicious. 

 

Sorry you missed Valencia but as ever, Capt Johannes made a wise decision. Love the Xoriguer Gin place in Mahon..,and you are berthed just close enough to stagger back home after all those free samples! 

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The weather sounds horrendous . . . hope it settles down before the middle of next month!

Captains almost invariably make the right call when making a change to an itinerary because of adverse weather.

Edited by Baynanno1

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Well we were on excursion attempt 2 for Barcelona as we had yet another cancelled for operational reasons -this time the reason given by Land Discoveries turned out to be a fairy tale but that’s another matter. 

 

We opted to go on a market walking tour and visit to a cook school. It said extensive walking - it was - my pedometer registered 5 miles but was a brilliant trip. We visited with our chef/tutor the touristic St Josef market and the Santa Caterina market which is used by locals. In Santa Caterina we were given tastings of hams, cheeses, fruits and the most gorgeous tomatoes- who knew there were so many varieties. We also bought items to cook with back at the school. 

 

Then we headed to the cooking school (Born to Cook) where Alex guided us through preparing the lunch whilst we also enjoyed unlimited drinks. Tasks were allocated some chopped others grated and stirred. We made starters (patas bravada) and salad with salt cod followed by two mains variants on paella and then ended up having fun branding our Catalan creams (forms of creme brûlée’s). 

The cook school was particularly good and we may go back in November when we are next in Barcelona for their tapas class. 

 

Admittedly the excursion cost $219 each but we had OBC to burn so we considered it an excellent trip 

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Wow...Looks Fabulous    👩‍🍳

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17 hours ago, Baynanno1 said:

The weather sounds horrendous . . . hope it settles down before the middle of next month!

Captains almost invariably make the right call when making a change to an itinerary because of adverse weather.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-europe-49680383/torrential-rain-has-caused-flooding-in-spain-and-the-balearics

 

Phil 

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47 minutes ago, Fatfish said:

Wow...Looks Fabulous    👩‍🍳

Thoroughly recommend that tour in Barcelona 

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29 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

I think that day showed the Azamara difference firstly we avoided Valencia and stayed below the storm then we did not have a sea day we got a great substitute port which many raved about 

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Oh my, those fruits, veggies, and bubbling pans of paella are gorgeous!  Looks like you achieved a wonderful - albeit costly! - excursion.  Congratulations!

Re. the "fairy tale" excuse for cancellation of your original excursion, I am not surprised.  Our 21 nights of cruising on Pursuit included cancellation of 6 shore excursions, with totally inadequate explanations.  I've no wish to revisit my own experience but do wish to commend you on your perseverance - and lovely photographs! 

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Well today the adventure ends in Barcelona - 5 giant ships changing over in the distance and Azamara sitting pretty at the World Trade Centre five minutes stroll from the foot of Las Ramblas 

 

It has been a very good cruise all things considered. 

 

Overall positives

 

*Excellent food and great bar and waiter service. The food served at White Night was different from the usual and a great change. The best WN catering we have ever had

*Very good room attendants whilst we’ve hardly seen or spoken with them they’ve done exactly what we needed every day without us asking 

*Good company - the golfers in particular showing you can have a group of 50 onboard who enhance rather than diminish the experience 

*The speed in which the decision was made to change ports (not add a sea day) when the weather gods threw a curved ball. It was lovely how many guests from further afield had never heard of Menorca and who fell in love with it. No excursions could be set up in time so everyone had to improvise and many showed great initiative in that connection 

 

Less positives

 

*the worst Azamazing Evening ever, the in room guide for the Cruise even leading us to believe we were to enjoy the same music as we did on a previous evening there. The choice of band was completely inappropriate for both the setting and the audience, it was such a let down 

*Land Discoveries cancellations (including advising us on embarkation one was cancelled then continuing to promote it in the guides etc) and the desk staff just don’t see there is anything wrong or take feedback 

*Entertainment wasn’t nearly as good as in May. The whole approach seems much less professional and less polished. The exception is the Starlight trio they nailed it every time. 

 

Oh oh and by the way the adventure is over for some ( and goodbye to good friends we made) but we stay on for a French adventure I will start a new story about) 

 

 

 

 

image.jpg

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Yes, nice to see different things to do in Barcelona.  Great photographs as well.

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That Barcelona shore ex looks fantastic! Beautiful pix too.

 

Just to let you know that not all cruise lines handle shore ex problems poorly too. Some do listen to passengers and take action.

 

A lot of us on my recent Fred Olsen cruise had good reasons to complain about a shore ex to Cascais when ported in Lisbon. Not specifically about the excursion itself but more about the couple of passengers allowed to book it when it clearly stated that it involved significant amounts of walking over cobbled streets. They were very elderly and could literally barely walk at all. One was in a wheelchair onboard but he was not allowed to bring it off the ship with him as it was a rental. They could not climb the steps into the coach and had to be lifted in by the driver and guide. It took the gentleman about 15 mins to walk the 20 metres from the port building to the coach to embark the tour and at this point they should have been to,d that the tour was not suitable for them and they should have had their money refunded. This did not happen. 

 

At every coach stop he had he had to be lifted up and down from the coach and was at least 20 mins late getting back to the coach each time. This severely impacted on our free time in Cascais of course and we were so late getting back to the ship that they literally raised the gangway as the last of us ran up it! He was lifted up in his wheelchair by four crew members. The rest of us on the tour were sympathetic to the elderly gentleman's mobility problems and his wife's distress, but it was clearly completely inappropriate for them to have been on the tour in the first place. At the last stop the guide and the driver had to search the streets for them and there were urgent phone calls taking place to the ship to decide what to do if they could not be found. Meanwhile the rest of the passengers were waiting on the coach and worrying that the ship might have to leave without us due to the impending storm in The Bay of Biscay.  The Captain was leaving Lisbon early in order to try to outrun it. 

 

Anyway I gave feedback to the Shore Ex manager onboard and also mentioned it in my post cruise survey. I had an email yesterday apologising and refunding the whole cost of the shorex, which they certainly did not have to do. They have also said they are going to  have a member of the shorex team at the port buildings to assess whether passengers mobility issues make them suitable for the more strenuous tours, which I think is a good idea.

 

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the unexpected younger demographic as I was expecting Fred's passengers to be very elderly but this was not the case. There were a lot of Fifty year olds onboard and the Disco was lively until 2am most nights. I enjoyed my Fred cruise so much I immediately booked another one in a few weeks time! 

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47 minutes ago, uktog said:

That’s a good outcome Lottie very fair. 

 

How was your OBC dealt with, in relation to the cancelled tours, were you able to carry it forward, under the circumstances?

 

And also a huge thank you for posting daily in relation to your voyage...we await the French Connection next! 

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50 minutes ago, hamrag said:

 

How was your OBC dealt with, in relation to the cancelled tours, were you able to carry it forward, under the circumstances?

 

And also a huge thank you for posting daily in relation to your voyage...we await the French Connection next! 

It cannot be carried forward but we reached a satisfactory conclusion 

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7 hours ago, Lottie A said:

Just to let you know that not all cruise lines handle shore ex problems poorly too. Some do listen to passengers and take action.

 

Anyway I gave feedback to the Shore Ex manager onboard and also mentioned it in my post cruise survey. I had an email yesterday apologising and refunding the whole cost of the shorex, which they certainly did not have to do. They have also said they are going to  have a member of the shorex team at the port buildings to assess whether passengers mobility issues make them suitable for the more strenuous tours, which I think is a good idea.

 

Others could well do the same!

I have been on many shorex labelled as strenuous with a number of cruisers not quite as limited as on your excursion, but slowing the pace considerably with a similar result, missing out on various aspects for which we had all booked and paid.

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