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uktog

Live (ish) from Journey 14 September Barcelona to Monaco

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So here is leg 2 of our adventure. It’s the final leg. Bless him the little pool butler asks me will you be staying on for the next leg - he’s on autopilot poor guy or he thinks I’m also a swinger 😄😄😄

 

66 of us are staying on some have gone to explore Barcelona my feet tell me we did that yesterday so we are relaxing out of the wind on deck 11. 

 

The switch over was seamless 30 seconds at the gangway punch old card out and new card in and back to our room. 

 

Land Discoveries continues to fail. Yesterday we eventually saw the brochure for this cruise. We discover no mention of trips we had booked or planned to book (or indeed one that was a second choice for what we had booked). We visited the desk and the gentleman was disbelieving we could have booked or that other options had existed despite a confirmation email coming in from Azamara of our bookings and spend two hours before.  

 

We discovered at that stage we could still do our planned trip on a different day at a higher price and for 4 hours rather  than the 8 we had booked for. It was an “on your own” and I had planned an early anniversary lunch and boat trip for DH as a surprise so all that has now been unscrambled hassle I did not need.(ok I know don’t use Azamara excursions but when you are awash with OBC on a ship with a shop still selling the same leftovers ......). 

 

To compound their crime before anyone has boarded for this cruise I get a note to tell me the excursion is cancelled due to lack of demand. Really?

 

OK rant over (for here). We are ready to enjoy another seven nights of good food, wine and company despite the efforts of some 🙂 

 

 

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How disappointing! I hope you find another special way to celebrate your anniversary. Enjoy your cruise - I’ll be following along!

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With a 7 night cruise it’s full on from the off. Last night we had the only guest entertainment of the trip (Martin Kaye same show as the previous cruise even though Danny promised us his Elton John show, it was still fine) and Captains welcome toast. Captain G (as he wants to be known) is very funny and handled the unnecessary heckler very well. 

 

Today a new port for us Sète (not new to Azamara) it’s a real gem parking right in town the quay is only one block down from the Royal canal and tourist vendors (there is nothing on the dock). We took the little train (turn left when you go over the canal and walk 200 yards to in front on the Tourist Information. It’s 7 Euro each no senior discount and cash only. It gives a useful overview of all the canals and connections to the sea but as often happens is cursed by a poor audio with headsets not working and a commentary in Spanish ( not French) drowning out what was feebly coming through the headsets. The driver isn’t interested just a Gallic shrug. Oh well

 

When we got off the train we walked back towards the bridge and discovered a brilliant boat tour which filled in the gaps in our knowledge really well. It’s on a flat blue barge uncovered and is 10 euros each. It’s the only trip that can go under the canal bridges and out to the salt water lake which is huge.  We passed the iconic fisher houses where they still mend nets and hang washing canal side. 

 

Note right at the bridge is a larger red and yellow boat. It’s a 12 Euro trip and has shade. It cannot explore the narrow canal networks due to its height so it goes out towards the beaches we did not see. 

 

So our advice is the train and/or a boat gives a great overview of Sète. It’s a charming place easy to diy so you don’t need a formal walking tour. 

 

I loved looking in the shop windows - it was a Sunday so many were shut- the sardine industry is big here so the displays were colourful.  

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We were in Sete a year ago on Quest. It’s a pleasant little low key port and we also did the little white train. Wish we had done the boat trip as well now after your description. 

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I’m really enjoying your posts, UKTog, thank you. 

 

5 minutes ago, Lottie A said:

We were in Sete a year ago on Quest. It’s a pleasant little low key port and we also did the little white train. Wish we had done the boat trip as well now after your description. 

Lottie,  please excuse me thread butting but I wanted to ask you about Fred Olsen. Which ship were you on and did it feel crowded?  The passenger space ratios are poor on all their ships, which is partly what has put me off them. 

Corinne

Edited by cinnamon

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Corinne, I have done a little review of my Fred Olsen cruise on the Fred forum. Nothing like the detail and brilliance of your Saga cruise report or Ann’s excellent blogs of course, but it may help you a bit in deciding whether to try Fred Olsen or not.

 

To answer your specific questions I was on Braemar out of Southampton and with the sole exception of the first sitting show in The Neptune Lounge, the ship never felt crowded at all. I believe there were about 700 pax onboard. I absolutely loved my first Fred Olsen cruise and have booked another one for a month away from now. They do quite a few 5 day cruises from Southampton and Dover at very reasonable prices, so perhaps you could consider trying one of those to see if Fred is your cup of tea? 

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Went to Sete last year on Quest.  We were so lucky to see the  fantastic water jousting.  Large rowing boats being rowed towards each other as fast as possible with the jouster standing up on the prow with a long pole trying to push the guy on the opposing boat into the water.  The whole town is partisan and the competitors march around the town with a band.

I believe that one of the Azamara Captains took part some years ago.

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Tonight was Azamazing Evening.  Those of you who read last weeks cruise story will know the evening in Gibraltar was a shocker. The worst ever. 

What a difference a week makes. Tonight in Sète we went to the best ever. 

The budget was used not on wine and canapés but on transportation and staging. 

We drove 40 minutes to the 11th century Abbé at Villeveyrac. We had free time to wander around the Abbe cloisters and the grounds before a classical music concert. 

 

The concert setting and staging was so

stunning I will give them their own write up 

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I have hoped to find Sète on a cruise since reading about it a while back.

Your review has reinforced those hopes. Thank you for the information and photos.

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When people ask what’s so special about an Azamazing evening or why should I go well here are the photos which I hope can convince people to book, go and enjoy. 

 

The setting was fabulous, the staging and lighting rig and production during the concert was professional of the highest quality and the orchestra (4 violins 2 violas, 2 cello a double bass and a harp) called Counterpoint were the best. They played recognisable pieces. Then the soprano oh wow mind it was a tear jerker when she sang Panis Angelicus which we had at our wedding. And none of it was amplified the acoustics were superb. 

It was a night we will always remember 6893724D-B78C-4FD5-8921-1E0538C51F88.thumb.jpeg.ac272c5e21c7ef17a31175c2d1b75010.jpeg

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I cannot resist sharing the beauty of this evening. Unfortunately our next cruises in November have no evenings. We are still disappointed at that but it looks like that’s not changing. 

I just hope if I ever return on a cruise that includes an Azamazing Evening in Sète it’s as good as tonight was. 

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28 minutes ago, Mrs Miggins said:

We are back in Sete on Journey next year.  I really hope we have the same Azamazing evening.  It looks wonderful.

Yes it does look fantastic. Let’s hope so. 

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Yes, an Azamazing Evening I would have loved to attend.  Glad it made up a bit for your previous one.

 

The problem Azamara faces is the varying likes and dislikes of its 600+ passengers.  I'd be very surprised if there weren't more than a small handful who returned to the ship saying "I hate classical music.  That was a waste of time."  Pleasing all the people all the time with any musical performance  is a near impossibility.

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Fair point though we did not hear that. We did hear people saying I don’t normally like classical music but the setting and lighting made it all great 

If you’d done movies or seen TV ads you’d recognise something. 

I think they got the balance for all guests spot on. A good formula for the future 

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Today we are docked in Marseille another port where the best docking spot goes to Azamara. You can almost touch the beautiful cathedral from the sunset verandah (picture 6) and  as I hope the other photo (picture 7) shows you are beside the museum and art gallery. A gentle 10 minute stroll and you are right in town and the hoho stops by the gallery. 

 

For us we we replaced our planned long day in Cassis (doing a shorter visit tomorrow) with a ships excursion to Aix-en-Provence. Oh dear 39 on the bus so it was a little cramped and slow to load and unload but at least they put on two guides so after a time of trying to manage the group together they split us. Again I’d say probably an overpriced trip but with obc it was very good. 

 

Aix en Provence is a fascinating city and after our tour we had time on our own. It’s mainly car free and if you come one street away from the main areas you find hidden gems. An really good snack of coffee and croissants was provided around 11am. There wasn’t a huge amount of time for shopping - the tour never mentioned shopping time so this was no problem to us but was to some. Why do some people not read the information it clearly said what was happening and how much walking was involved (quite a lot!). 

 

PS despite all my efforts the pictures keep loading out of order so apologies for flipping between cities again 

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Lovely place.  For those without OBC to burn it’s easy to visit by train or bus.  Lots of information on the ports of call section.

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Some more great photos, uktog, thanks.

I have the same problem getting photos to load in the right order on CC - on occasion I’ve ended up loading one, posting then editing to add another, which is a real pain.

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