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uktog

Live (ish) from Journey 14 September Barcelona to Monaco

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Today we left Marseille just after 8 and arrived at Sanary-sur-Mer at 11. Our first tender port. Tender tickets are issued at Discoveries Bar. Suite guests can go direct to the tender station and anyone with an early private tour can arrange an early off as well. 

We went over to the beautiful town where the local market was in full action. It was fascinating watching how the French housewife selects her daily veg shopping. 

Its such a walkable port and has a great beach 15 minutes walk away. 

For us it was back onboard as we were heading back out on the Cassis on your own excursion which was scheduled to last 4 hours but was an hour late back. This was due to delays walking everyone to the bus as buses are banned from Sanary-sur-Mer centre. 

Likewise in Cassis where a little train takes you to town. Unfortunately the arrangements fell down so by the time we got to the port we were too late for any trips to see the cliffs. 

We restored ourselves with fabulous ice creams. It was a good afternoon but an overpriced trip not well executed. 

The town of Sanary-sur-Mer really welcomes guests and on our return to the pier the town band entertained us and they served local canapés and wine to locals and returning passengers. The ship did not go until late so there was quite a party but as we had a dinner in Aqualina we sadly had to rush back 

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Edited by uktog

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Sanary sur Mer is one of my favourite places first visited on our first ever Azamara cruise.  Such a lovely place.

We did a Cassis shore excursion from Marseille last year and it was a shambles.  They told us it was their first visit and that things would improve.  Evidently they still haven’t got it right.

 

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7 hours ago, Mrs Miggins said:

Sanary sur Mer is one of my favourite places first visited on our first ever Azamara cruise.  Such a lovely place.

We did a Cassis shore excursion from Marseille last year and it was a shambles.  They told us it was their first visit and that things would improve.  Evidently they still haven’t got it right.

 

That’s a shame the lessons haven’t been learned. We too were booked to go on an 8 hour on our own from Marseille which fitted what we planned far better (nice meal and boat trip) but it now appears that was never meant to be offered even though the reason for cancellation (which happened 48 hours plus before sailing) was lack of demand. 

 

Theres a massive disconnect between Land Discoveries systems onboard and the Voyage Planner the guest sees. 

We found this out when we went to book some tours for our November cruises to take account of the onboard discount and what we could see on our voyage planner and wanted to book did not even exist. At first the gentleman was disbelieving saying I must be looking at Celebrity tours and it was only when we asked to see a manager someone started to listen and see there is a problem 

 

Supposedly it’s being checked by Miami but it’s a real pain as we’ve wasted a lot of time planning and going to see them and we are still going nowhere!

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Did Chef go out and buy some fish in Sanary?  I always remember them doing that on one of my cruises. €3000 of fish. I think the fishermen in Sanary were pleased when Azamara arrived!

 

Phil 

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I suspect Iwan did as it’s White Night tonight.  Maybe that’s why we had the band and wine on the pier 

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I think Sanary are always pleased to see a cruise ship in port.  We also had the band, drinks and snacks whilst visiting on Star Clipper.  One resident said that Sanary was like St Tropez used to be 50 years ago and they wanted to keep it like that.   I did actually visit St Tropez in the 60's so perhaps that is why I still like it there as well, whilst many do not.  Memories of a misspent youth ! 

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I love Sanary sur Mer so much, it’s probably my favourite Med Port. Thanks for the pix Ann. Can’t wait to go back next June on JR. 

 

I was on the shambolic Cassis tour with Mrs Miggins last year and in the end we just abandoned the whole tour (we did let the guide know!) and stayed in Cassis for lunch and a few hours wandering in this charming place. We all got a taxi back to the ship berthed in Marseille which in hindsight we should have done in the first place instead of paying for the overpriced ship’s tour. After we all complained about not only the shambolic nature of the tour, but also the completely misleading description in the first place, we did all receive a refund. 

 

Come on Azamara, someone needs to sort out your poor Shorex experiences. No wonder they are so frequently cancelled because of lack of interest when you are charging such high prices for such a poor product. Even if people do only pay for them using OBC! 

 

 

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Something has gone awry with Azamara shore excursions. There seem to be too many bad reports. Whilst you can pretty much always do better on your own private tour it is good to have the option and have the security of a ship tour, especially with certain destinations. I've had some good ones and some not so good. Trouble is it becomes a downward spiral once word gets out. 

 

They need to reduce the prices (like they should do in the spa) and then more people would use the service and focus on delivering. Instead they "give away" onboard credit.  

 

Phil 

Edited by excitedofharpenden

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For the sake of balance but totally agreeing on pricing I need to post that this morning from St Tropez we went on an excellent trip to Grimaud old town up in the hills (so quiet) and to Port Grimaud created for fisher families in the 1960s a little Venice. Loved the windows in the St Francis of Assisi ecumenical Church.

 

I am sure you could pick up a local guide or transportation to do Port Grimaud not sure about getting up the hill to Grimaud. 

 

We were lucky to have Jean Jacques who was one of our guides in Aix he certainly fits the bill as an ideal guide. 

 

Off to rest now before White Night. The problem is many are back onboard and whereas in the past they started clearing chairs at 1600 and indeed that’s what the daily says it’s 1330 and over half the loungers have been removed from the deck. It’s a tricky one. 

 

So far a great day and hopefully the images of this France intensive cruise ( and last week Spain intensive) is encouraging some to consider these two lovely port intensive itineraries 

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We stayed in our caravan on a campsite next to Port Grimaud in the 70s and loved it. It was very new then. I also remember having one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had there. It’s nice to see that it’s mellowed nicely.

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Beautiful pictures! Enjoying your trip report. Hope you have another great time at White Night tonight. It was truly one of the highlights of our cruise on the Journey in August.

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I like old Grimaud. Port Grimaud I feel is a bit soulless. Gassin and Ramateulle are two charming hill villages. If Azamara did an overnight in St Tropez I'd travel to the Gorge du Verdon. A really stunning place, but too far for a day really. 

 

Phil 

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2 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

I like old Grimaud. Port Grimaud I feel is a bit soulless. Gassin and Ramateulle are two charming hill villages. If Azamara did an overnight in St Tropez I'd travel to the Gorge du Verdon. A really stunning place, but too far for a day really. 

 

Phil 

I agree it’s pretty but it’s a bit like the boat ride on a small world at Disney and the shops were not genuine local products but it’s a good see it once place 

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We took the local bus from St Tropez to Lovely Sainte Maxime which actually goes past Port Grimaud ( which I am not keen on )Had a really great lunch then returned on the ferry.  Fabulous day.

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Well what can you say about White Night that’s not been said before. We were blessed with good weather and an abundance of swordfish tuna and oysters (no lobster again but I would rather have fresh fish loaded in Sanary-sur-Mer than frozen lobster). 

Such fun was had even Captain G and Dario (Staff Captain) made a lovely couple on the dance floor. 

Not everyone was in white which hopefully reassures anyone worrying about what to wear. The important thing was everyone came and had fun even though some were reserving tables at 4pm. Everyone got a seat no problem so no need for this new habit! 

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Fresh fish vs. frozen lobster tail?  No contest!  Thanks for the pictures.

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3 hours ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

Wow, food sounds great. Oysters and tuna - my favourites.

This is all fab for me, and looks sumptuous in the photos. However, my DW does not like 'up market' fish dishes and I am wondering what the non-fish alternatives might be? Right now, it looks like we might be dining alone in different venues!!

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No problem for the carnivores there were steaks lovely kebabs lamb etc etc 

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1 hour ago, uktog said:

No problem for the carnivores there were steaks lovely kebabs lamb etc etc 

That made me smile, not quite carnivoreian as she likes salmon, haddock and other forms of soft fish!

Thanks, that sounds good.

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15 hours ago, uktog said:

Well what can you say about White Night that’s not been said before. We were blessed with good weather and an abundance of swordfish tuna and oysters (no lobster again but I would rather have fresh fish loaded in Sanary-sur-Mer than frozen lobster). 

Such fun was had even Captain G and Dario (Staff Captain) made a lovely couple on the dance floor. 

Not everyone was in white which hopefully reassures anyone worrying about what to wear. The important thing was everyone came and had fun even though some were reserving tables at 4pm. Everyone got a seat no problem so no need for this new habit! 

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Great picture of Dario, we have know him for a long time but missed him last few times on Journey.

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Today we went on our final ships tour (tomorrow we will do Cannes on our own) this time to the hilltop villages of Corsica and San Antonino in particular. As you can see it is a pretty village unspoilt but please will people read the tour descriptions - it said strenuous and that it was steep uneven steps to the village. Despite that people using canes went on the trip and had to have help in some cases. 

 

Our bus driver was amazing it’s a single track road with passing places. He had to do a lot of reversing with sheer drops on one side. I heard some onboard were renting cars to do the same trip for a fraction of the price. Yes the tour was way over priced but I’m not sure that the car renters would have enjoyed the ride so our advice in Calvi is don’t rent  

 

The tour was supposed to take the same route out and back but the guide persuaded us to accept a change. Unfortunately this meant having not had good views going up we also had bad ones going down (and were 45 minutes late back because the coach had trouble navigating one part of the new route)  

 

At least I wasn’t on the walking tour of Calvi. 39 people and one guide. Most tours had more than 25 guests do the exception is the rule. . This is very disappointing and it’s hard to differentiate Azamara for lower starred brands in the RC family where tours are concerned. 

 

Calvi itself is a lovely place easy to diy if you are fit enough to walk up to the Citadel. It’d also s great place for lunch 2 minutes from the tender stop 

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Again, I love your photos.  I think I see oleander and eucalyptus.  Tell me, were you able to smell the wild maquis of Corsica from offshore?  That, romantically, is what I have read of the island... 

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1 hour ago, Ithikan said:

Again, I love your photos.  I think I see oleander and eucalyptus.  Tell me, were you able to smell the wild maquis of Corsica from offshore?  That, romantically, is what I have read of the island... 

I certainly could smell it on my island tour of Corsica in July. It smells like eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender mixed together to me. 

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