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hubofhockey

Almost Live - First Time Azamara to Southeast Asia

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1 hour ago, hubofhockey said:

 

Ugh, I called Azamara before the cruise and asked about the special visa for Vietnam when you are staying overnight in Halong Bay on a private excursion.  They told me the price and put a note in my file.  One of the first things I did when I boarded was to check on this.  I fell asleep at 9 pm and woke up at midnight to find the WRONG VISA under my door.  They said maybe they can fix it in the morning.  Hopefully, they can fix it.  I am cautiously optimistic.  If not, I will ask them if they can comp me on their overnight, but I think they would tell me to pound sand.  😡. It's a good thing I looked at the visa first, rather than showing up at the Bhaya docks with an ineffective visa.  They would have denied boarding.  

 

So far, I am not impressed with Guest Services.  When I tried to upgrade to unlimited WIFI, the gentleman had no clue how to do it and, at first told me that it was a shame that I had already logged in and established an account.  Huh?  They tell you that you have three days to upgrade from the suite 240 minutes to the $150 credit towards the voyage unlimited.  I asked for my phone back and got back in line to speak with someone who actually made this happen,.

 

I missed tonight's show.  I will catch Ana at her next performance.  

 

Ate in the MDR last night.  The tandoori lamb was very good.  Also like the firecracker shrimp (shrimp in an egg roll) and pear bisque soup.  Dessert was chocolate gelato and a huge let down as every bite had ice chips.  Probably a message that maybe I should skip dessert every now and again.   I am hoping that I make it on the Bhaya junk as their dining is supposed be really good.  I'll follow up here and inform on the resolution.  

 

Another shock yesterday are the Azamara prices for the Japan cruises in 2021.  For the 15-day, April itinerary, even for OV, it's $10K per person.  Yikes!!!!!!  Oceania is much less for same time period.  Princess is dirt cheap, but they don't treat their older ships well.  It would be cheap.  We'll see.  

We just got off the Quest in Hong Kong and are now home, please have some patience with the person I think you spoke to about your internet.  I know for sure that he is new to Azamara and only started our first day in Hong Kong.  Hence I believe training will be done on the spot and he might not have had that question yet.  I have never had anything but great service from Guest Relations and I hope you're not put off by that experience.  Ernest Marchain is a great CD and a very personable character.  He does a terrific show (he's fresh from vacation) and we can't wait to return to the Quest December 28.

 

Thanks so much for sharing your first impressions.... 

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1 hour ago, aussie travel bird said:

We just got off the Quest in Hong Kong and are now home, please have some patience with the person I think you spoke to about your internet.  I know for sure that he is new to Azamara and only started our first day in Hong Kong.  Hence I believe training will be done on the spot and he might not have had that question yet.  I have never had anything but great service from Guest Relations and I hope you're not put off by that experience.  Ernest Marchain is a great CD and a very personable character.  He does a terrific show (he's fresh from vacation) and we can't wait to return to the Quest December 28.

 

Thanks so much for sharing your first impressions.... 

 

What you say makes sense and he has been a gentleman.  That job cannot be easy.  

 

I hope NOT to be on the ship tonight, but hope to see Ernest Saturday night.  

 

Ron, my overall impressions of just about everything are very positive.  The head of the gym Parasat has been especially helpful.

 

Public spaces are nice.  Cabaret Lounge gets high marks.  Window cafe is nice, although I wish they spread out buffet a little more.  Sunset Bar, a favorite of mine on Celebrity, is also a great area on the Quest.  Gym is nice.  

 

I were to single anyone out.  We had a long talk on day one.  I wasn't going to be an active participant and wound up signing up for the boot camp and personal training,  He's a good guy.

 

I was able to keep very busy on a sea day.  That was my major concern.  My first impressions are all good.  Of course, if the Vietnam visa thing isn't resolved, this will be off to a bad start.

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Got my overnight Visa!!!!!!  Good Morning Vietnam!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Edit - and thank you guest relations!

Edited by hubofhockey

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5 minutes ago, hubofhockey said:

Got my overnight Visa!!!!!!  Good Morning Vietnam!!!!!!!!!!!!

Phew...glad they fixed that for you. Enjoy your adventure!

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5 hours ago, hubofhockey said:

Dessert was chocolate gelato and a huge let down as every bite had ice chips.  Probably a message that maybe I should skip dessert every now and again.

 

Gelato on Azamara always has ice chips.  It's the only major fail in their cuisine.  They should find out where MSC buys their machines.

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56 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

Gelato on Azamara always has ice chips.  It's the only major fail in their cuisine.  They should find out where MSC buys their machines.

No ice chips in rum raisin last night on Journey.

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4 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

Gelato on Azamara always has ice chips.  It's the only major fail in their cuisine.  They should find out where MSC buys their machines.


my husband is an ice cream freak and had it at every meal except breakfast - no ice chips in any.

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9 hours ago, aussie travel bird said:

We just got off the Quest in Hong Kong and are now home, please have some patience with the person I think you spoke to about your internet.  I know for sure that he is new to Azamara and only started our first day in Hong Kong.  Hence I believe training will be done on the spot and he might not have had that question yet.  I have never had anything but great service from Guest Relations and I hope you're not put off by that experience.  Ernest Marchain is a great CD and a very personable character.  He does a terrific show (he's fresh from vacation) and we can't wait to return to the Quest December 28.

 

Thanks so much for sharing your first impressions.... 

That lovely young man has been on  all of sept . But he is new. Plus he worked nights with less problems  than in the daytime. The internet also just changed programs so there a new way to log in from the start.

 

also your Visa,s we’re handle by Marilyn and her team. She is in charge of all docs. You  can always thank her for your Visas.

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Just to let you know, Ukrainian ballroom dancers, Sasha and Dima join the ship on the 20th in Da Nang. If you like this type of thing I’d highly recommend going to see them.  They are excellent.

 

Phil

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21 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Just to let you know, Ukrainian ballroom dancers, Sasha and Dima join the ship on the 20th in Da Nang. If you like this type of thing I’d highly recommend going to see them.  They are excellent.

 

Phil

Goodness me how lucky Quest guests are getting to see them.

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11 hours ago, marinaro44 said:

No ice chips in rum raisin last night on Journey.

 

9 hours ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

I’ve never had ice chips in the gelato I’ve had from the gelato stand in Windows at lunch time, but I have when I’ve had it at dinner.

 

7 hours ago, Werangels said:

my husband is an ice cream freak and had it at every meal except breakfast - no ice chips in any.

 

Good to know it's not always.  It was 'always' on our two cruises on Quest.

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2 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

 

 

Good to know it's not always.  It was 'always' on our two cruises on Quest.


Maybe the temperature was wrong on the freezer?

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Bhaya Premium was great.  Our junk only had four cabins.  Of the eight people, four of us are on the Quest.  We saw others on our roll call who were on a Bhaya Classic.  The Premiums tend to sell out earlier in advance.  The cabins are really nice and so are the balconies and bathrooms.  Everything is first rate with personal service.  All meals are sit down and very good.  Ours included three drinks per meal.  I think all inclusive was $390.  Yesterday was kayaking around the karsts, a walk through a small cave and swimming.  Today we went to the Surprise Cave and saw this guy on the way out.  Logistics are easy to the junk boat cruise terminal.  Taxis from the port are $20 each way and take 20-25 minutes.  The cruise ended at 10:30 and we were back on the ship by 11:30 am.  Departure of the ship is 1 pm, so if Azamara does this port again, book with confidence for Bhaya and pay the extra for Premium over Classic.  The rest of today is like a sea day and tomorrow we'll be in Hoi An.  We're going to Prime C early 6:30 seating and then catching Anna Fendi at the Cabaret Lounge at 8:15. The blueberry gelato in Windows looks good.  I'll see on the ice chips.

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Really enjoying your adventures I think after our Tahiti to San Francisco cruise we will star to look further afield rather than keep returning to the Caribbean 

Edited by swigso

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After getting back from our junk boat excursion around noon, yesterday afternoon was like a sea day.  Sanctum Terrace pool area is really nice.  It's not crowded on this itinerary and it's very relaxing.  The Thelasotherapy pool is good sized and nice.  If we book a veranda on Azamara on our next cruise, I'd pay the $150 extra for use of this area on any warm weather voyage.

 

Tried Prime C last night and it's the best steakhouse of any I've been on at sea.  We're trying not to eat too much, so I had the small filet mignon.  Not sure if this is for everyone, but the suite menu for breakfast is great and had breakfast in the table on the deck and they even brought out the table cloth.  Okay, that was great.  

 

Saw Ana Fegi perform last night.  This was Streisand style music tonight.  Her first night was more pop.  I don't like Streisand and struggled to stay awake after a long day.  This woman is about as sweet as can be and has a great voice.  The choice of songs just wasn't for me.  She and the band is leaving the ship today and going on vacation.  I guess that's good for variety.  Not sure if they bring in comedians.  My biggest concern going into this cruise was the entertainment, but it's not even that important.

 

Off to Hoi An in a few minutes for a tour and cooking class.

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We had to do two different things in Hoi An.  Azamara does not have shuttles there and it's 45 minutes away.  We hired a driver for the day for $65 with Andy's Transfers and did a walking tour with a cooking class in Hoi An with Urban Adventures.  Found both of these on TripAdvisor and Andy's and Urban Adventures had excellent reviews.  For the longest time (a couple of weeks), the forecast was for Thunderstorms.  Within the last day it changed to sunny and mid 80s.  The three hour walking tour was great and so was the cooking class.  We stopped by a place before the cooking class that makes custom shoes in three hours.  It wasn't cheap, but they are all leather and custom fit ($95) and I needed brown shoes.  Hoi An was beautiful and we're now back on the ship to relax.  Tomorrow is a much needed sea day before a day and a half in Saigon.  

 

A couple more notes on dining.  Room service menu is excellent and they put a tablecloth on the balcony and the food was better than the buffet.  Pretty sure that breakfast on the balcony will be done more regularly.  As for the gelato, the consistency still isn't the greatest.  Celebrity's is very good near Il Baccio (a step above Mosaic Cafe).  Other than that, we're really enjoying the food on Azamara.  

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5 hours ago, hubofhockey said:

Hoi An was beautiful and we're now back on the ship to relax.  Tomorrow is a much needed sea day

So glad your day in Hoi An had good weather! And I’m envious of the cooking class...I love taking cooking classes while abroad.  Enjoy your sea day.

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Anna Fegi is amazing. She used to be in the cast and then left. It's good they have her back as a guest entertainer. The Filipino crew worship her as she won Philippines X Factor a few years ago.  And truly a lovely person as you say. 

 

Phil 

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10 hours ago, hubofhockey said:

  It wasn't cheap, but they are all leather and custom fit ($95) and I needed brown shoes.  Hoi An was beautiful and we're now back on the ship to relax.  

 

 

 

Nice, gotta see these shoes.

 

Good choice Len.

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4 hours ago, need2cruisesoon said:

 

Nice, gotta see these shoes.

 

Good choice Len.

 

You'll see them on the Reflection next November.

 

I have a couple more random observations.

 

The people who take minutes packages with WIFI have a couple of problems.  Some do not understand that you need to type "logout,com" or you are still eating up minutes.  Closing your browser is not enough.  They proceed to guest relations on the first couple of days, complaining, but get minutes restored.  This takes up valuable time from guest relations in the first crucial couple of days of a voyage.  The second related thing is that 240 minutes (4 hours) seems like a lot in a package, but in reality, it's not.  WIFI on a ship has speed issues, even 4:1 ratio of time to a standard line you would get at home with Comcast or Verizon.  It takes much of the worry off just paying the extra $150 or so on the unlimited package.

 

I'm not sure if Smooth Sensations is a house band on the Quest or just do some selected bookings, but the lead singer, Tina, has great range and the band is a great take.  I was a little surprised they did Cocaine by Clapton.  They will do just about anything.  Also, I wonder why the show cast needs the two dancers.  The regular cast of four is versatile and entertains well.  You're either in or out on dancing, but this is one area where being half way doesn't seem to work.  Just my opinion and observation.  

 

The port speaker on the ship is excellent and it demonstrates this line's investment in destination immersion.  THIS is a difference.  I'm considering an Oceania itinerary, but it would be hard to believe they could match Azamara in this area.  I would only choose Oceania for the price difference (thinking Japan in 2021 and Azamara has overheated pricing).  

 

Lastly, if you are an American sports fan, the version of ESPN on in the rooms has NFL football featuring a full slate of games also on CBS, FOX, and NBC.  Although it's 7 am on Monday morning, Cowboys-Eagles Sunday Night Football will be starting soon.  My Patriots are on tomorrow morning (MNF) but we have an early excursion, so can only watch the first half.  😢

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MSC internet package is for a bucket of bytes.  Much better pricing strategy.  We paid $94 for 10MB and used 4 devices as liberally as we wanted [no audio or video streaming] and only passed the 4GB mark on the final day (of 7).  Starting next year MSC gives all Yacht Club cabins free internet with 4GB – I think something like that should be expected on all 'premium' or better cruise lines.

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11 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Anna Fegi is amazing. She used to be in the cast and then left. It's good they have her back as a guest entertainer. The Filipino crew worship her as she won Philippines X Factor a few years ago.  And truly a lovely person as you say. 

 

Phil 

She came on in Manila and did the show the night we sailed into HK. It was rough seas but her fans were there. She slipped but did not fall on stage. The next time she did her Diva show it was great seas. So I got lucky to see her. Missed her last show as I was at a hosted table.

 

tonight I am hosting and will try to rush dinner to see Demi and Sashi. Been fighting to get shows back from 915 or 930 to 945. This one is.seems the CD does not think people do shows late. Last cruise they were dancing all over ship. This cruise is just different..one woman want to drink on the dance floor.not been up since.but will go back soon,

 

Hoi An is great and I was not there long enough.

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I don't know much about MSC or Yacht Club, but Azamara, at the very least, should provide a page of written instructions at original embarkation and tell people not to get into the network until reading and understanding how to use the internet and the pricing structures.  It would eliminate a lot of confusion.  I do like that they let you know if another device is logged into your account and they give you the option to switch to the new device and automatically log the other device out.

 

Nice dim sum lunch in the MDR today which also included Peking Duck, Shumai, sushi, bao, etc.  I was impressed and ate too much.

 

Not sure about hosted tables.  Sounds like a VIP thing.  Enjoy Robin!  

 

Off to Sanctum T-Pool to veg out.

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