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uktog

Live (ish) from Journey 14 September Barcelona to Monaco

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4 hours 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... 

No we have all said today that unlike in May you could not smell it either off or on shore. 

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Today we are in beautiful Cannes blessed again by glorious weather we really have been so lucky this trip 

 

Later this afternoon we move to Monaco to arrive at 1900 ahead of disembark tomorrow 😞😞. At least everyone has to disembark no annoying b2b reminding us they have another 1/2/3 cruises to go as it’s a charter next (that everyone might be intrigued by but don’t want to be part of). 

 

Its a a busy day it’s the curse of a seven night cruise when so much has to be slotted into a short time. Like last cruise they did not do an upper tiers breakfast but are having an event on the sunset bar as we sail along past Nice. Mind straight after that is the exotic cheese buffet at 1730 we have another cocktail party, a dinner in Aqualina and we need to pack. LCV overlaps  with the only bingo of the cruise oh well something had to give and I doubt I’ll be lucky enough at the bingo so I will enjoy the time on the sunset Veranda. 

 

The disembarkation arrangements in Monaco for those interested for the future are firstly that self disembark can start at 1930 tonight subject to the cooperation with the authorities. That continues until 7 am tomorrow morning when all guests can disembark including those wishing  luggage assistance. Given the charter there are no late Disembark options, everyone has to be off by 9 am as the boat has to reposition to Nice to pick up the next group 

Coach transfers are available at $19.95 each but on the paperwork it says only for those with flights after 1300 - given that the coaches are leaving around 8 am and it is about a 45 minute to ride out the airport many guests with flights between 10 and 12 are still going to risk this transfer but have given the ship different flight time so that their booking could be accepted.

 

We have opted for the more expensive private car transfer which will not leave until 9 am and it’s costing us $195 the reason being we had so much on board credit with no idea how to spend it we thought this might be an easier way to deal with our move to the airport and in fact as we are not staying at the airport it’s good that in fact for that price they are happy to go direct to our hotel which saves us taking the hotel shuttle at the airport that we first thought we would have to do. 

 

One observation about this cruise has been the question of groups on board. Last cruise I wrote how well the perry golf with a group of 50 had integrated with passengers and you were really not aware of the group this  Cruise experience has been that much different. There is a group 26 quite young people on board I do not know if the travel agents or some other type of organisation but they have insisted on being in speciality restaurants as groups of 26. They have also taken over at the bar three deep in prime C and have been extremely loud so all in all this group has impacted on the ambience and on the service levels in the speciality restaurant where  the staff have tried their best in pretty impossible situations particularly as timekeeping did not seem to be something to do. I felt particularly for the bar staff as last night at 2330 when I passed prime c the group were still holding quite a rowdy  get together in a bar where the staff normally finish at least an hour earlier. I am saying this just to highlight that a group of 50 can integrate and work around normal ships life and give no issues and a much smaller group can really give the guests and crew headaches 

 

oh oh well better go and start the packing 

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Edited by uktog

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58 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Awww, I think you should stay on!😉😀

 

Phil 

We have boarded AFTER these charters a couple of times, - hence always look extra carefully under the bed for «lost» items. 😂😂

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It looks like you had a great time despite some inconveniences with shore excursions and the group influencing the ambiance. 

You mention about bingo being offered on Azamara. Is this new? I do not recall Bingo as a form of entertainment in Azamara, but maybe I did not pay attention. I associate Bingo to Royal Caribbean ode MSC cruises but like I have said, I did not noticed it in Azamara.

Ivi

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10 minutes ago, oddjob16 said:

We have boarded AFTER these charters a couple of times, - hence always look extra carefully under the bed for «lost» items. 😂😂

So have I and a couple of times before one too.  They are more fun because you can pull the crew’s leg about the upcoming cruise and of course they are really supposed to be very discreet about the whole thing.  Lottie A tells a good story of a cruise after one of the charters.

 

Some get very prudish about these “lifestyle” cruises, but I couldn’t care less.

 

Sorry to Ann for taking this a bit off topic, but you did throw the line in the water! Lol

 

Phil

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1 hour ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Awww, I think you should stay on!😉😀

 

Phil 

But what could I tell you 😇😇😇

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If I won bingo (they’ve always had a few games onboard) maybe I could bribe someone to let me stay on 

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So, will they have a well-know specialty dish for the next cruise if they let you stay on - Sum Yun Guy?

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I am sorry to hear of the impact of the large group (pack?) of cruisers.  We experienced something similar on Pursuit last July - a group of 29 with a cultural affiliation and two extended families.  All included young children, many of whom were pleasant sailors and some who took advantage.  The baby using the Living Room's golf club to pound divits into the dance floor springs to mind.  The most bothersome was the group of 9 (including toddler and her enormous pram) with whom we shared a boat ride and meal on a shore ex.  This crowd let everyone know how, with one of them employed at RCI, they were able to get "a great deal for grandmas and uncles too!"  

I absolutely adore my grandchildren, and would never bring them on an Azamara cruise.  I truly resented the mother who would push her baby's stroller into position at Windows Café, blocking others and running the danger of having hot plates tipped onto her child's head.

As you note, uktog, ambiance can be affected by groups.

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One of the lovely things about Azamara is the little extras they do. Today really was extras day

As well as little sorbets being offered poolside as they do every day there were also lovely fruit kebabs being brought round. 

 

Then we had the higher tier LCV event on the sunset bar as we sailed from Cannes including caviar blinis 

 

And finally a special French cheese buffet pre dinner. They certainly are sending us home very well fed. 

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Cheese - I can see a few of our favourites there.  I would prefer not to eat dinner and just eat cheese!

 

Thank you for sharing your holiday.  It has certainly made both these intensive cruises more appealing to me.

 

Safe trip home.

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My mouth is literally watering as I scroll through your last set of photos!

Looking forward to boarding Pursuit on 12 October for similar.

Thanks so much for sharing your two cruises! 😊

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We had a cheese buffet on the Journey Norway cruise in July. Ours was served in the Living Room Looks like yours was by Mosaic around the main stairs. It’s a great idea. Thanks for the photos - took me back to July.

I agree with you that all these extras make such a difference to the cruise.

 

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Well all good things must end. 

 

Today we left our home away from home. Last night we had a farewell dinner with friends in Aqualina and saw Eric who had just joined. He will now further train Danny who becomes assistant CD. Hopefully that guidance can shape Danny into an Azamara standard CD perhaps more selective with what he says. He’s probably over trying to be everyone’s friend at present and jokes about stealing all the ships towels into your cases wear very thin and don’t reflect Azamara guests

 

Today we used a ships car to take us where we are staying at St Laurent du Val  near Nice/Antibes - best way to use OBC. Beautiful large black car and excellent driver. Disembarkation was a breeze and from Mosaic to our hotel beach in 45 minutes. You cannot beat that

 

We really were very pleased with these two cruises. Of course everything wasn’t perfect and we had a couple of more significant dining issues to deal with but everything was handled impeccably. Yes everyone can have an off day and Azamara onboard is no different- we accept perfect cannot happen!  

 

We remain very very disappointed our three free nights for reaching 4250 points are worthless we tried every way onboard to find an option where the nights have any value but failed. They really do need to look at the loyalty programme as it’s really weak. The upgrade system is not reflecting loyalty well and to have only one laundry bag per couple for anything less than 14 days is poor in comparison to Celebrity 

But we would thoroughly recommend these two short cruises of France and Spain intensive (doing the two if time allows but each is very good). 

Cannot wait to be back on Journey which is luckily for us very soon. 

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Yes, thanks Ann for a very informative and detailed blog, as well as your excellent photo's. I have looked forward to reading it every day during a very difficult family time for me, so thanks again. Hope your Hotel stay is great too. 

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Hi uktog!  What a GREAT cruise report.. loved the all the pics and your breezy style of writing.

We are going to be on the Pursuit in 3 weeks.. so excited.

Thanks for taking the time to post your tale of "Fun in France." 

Fantastic review.😃

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Thanks uktog..Looking forward to our 16 nights on the Journey in the Caribbean on Nov 21... 

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Thanks Ann.  Enjoyed following along with you on your cruises.  Do you know if Danny is still onboard for the crossing?  Looking forward to seeing you and Charles again soon.  Holly

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10 hours ago, uktog said:

Well all good things must end. 

Today we left our home away from home.

Cannot wait to be back on Journey which is luckily for us very soon. 

 

 

By my reckoning, if fading memory doesn't fail me, you will now be grounded for about 6 weeks...that's tough...and then, I think, 32 more days on board! 🤣

 

Your daily updates have been fab, and across many threads you have whetted my appetite for our first Azamara cruises!!

Thanks for taking the time to create this thread. 

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A very, very much appreciated thread. I had pretty much written off the western Med, as I'm overloaded with Civitavecchia, Livorno, Monte Carlo, Nice, Barcelona, etc.  But this gives a fresh look at many of the smaller, more intimate ports, where we have not yet been, and the commentary with pics makes them look very interesting.

 

And I'm in full agreement with your comments above concerning the LCV program as it has been seriously gutted by some combination of Azamara and RCI management.

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1 hour ago, marinaro44 said:

And I'm in full agreement with your comments above concerning the LCV program as it has been seriously gutted by some combination of Azamara and RCI management.

But sadly Azamara aren't listening because they are more focused on attracting new cruisers with their free WiFi deals than their loyal guests who have to pay for it unless they book under that deal. And in spite of how much on each cruise they laud the number of repeat cruisers on the sailing and how valuable those "free" nights are. I'm like Ann. Three free nights are useless. You need six at least to make it worthwhile.  I'm very disappointed by how they big it up I'm afraid. I'd rather they be honest.  

 

The shipboard experience for me continues to be great , but the way the office treats us like idiots is not. 

 

Ok. Rant over. 

 

Phil 

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Your rant Phil sums up our experience exactly. During the two cruises we concentrated hard on ignoring these negatives because onboard everyone was trying so hard and we did likewise. 

 

But why should the staff onboard  be the only ones trying to recognise loyalty at all levels? 

 

The LCV benefits really suck for us. They may work for people with 1-10 cruises but unlike most schemes with programs that ensure there is something special within the published benefits for their more loyal members this doesn’t happen here. 

 

We had the irritation of trying to use our free nights which are now lost/wasted but also the laundry vouchers - so two guests both well beyond threshold for top tier get one voucher between them for nine days of cruising. Other lines are far more generous and give all benefits per person. 

 

Like Phil rant over fed it back lots of times through post cruise surveys, emails to LCV  posts on here etc etc but the ears are closed so there’s no more can be done. We  get the message it’s a token scheme only. 

 

However thank you to the team onboard every one of them. You all know the ways to make everyone feel special, you deserve better support in doing this! 

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