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uktog

Tales from the Journey Transatlantic 5 November 2019

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Malaga is a very easy port to explore on your own - well it’s easy if you ignore the fact it’s the only place in the world where the tourist information we were advised was there for us on the terminal wanted 1 Euro to pay for a map provided by the hop on off bus company. 
 

We took the shuttle into Plaza de la Marina ( no charge ) then set off exploring. We had done no homework so were just seeing what we could find. 
 

In our time ashore we spent a bit of time in Malaga Cathedral (6 euro admission 5.5 for seniors) which included a really good audio guide around. From there we headed to the Alcazar, the Roman amphitheater and then recognising recent indulgences walked back to the ship. About a 30 min stroll. 
 

The weather was pleasantly warm 20c this morning but cooled and dulled early afternoon however the sun is back out and it’s a lovely evening. 
 

Tonight we will be checking out the Italian buffet. 

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Edited by uktog

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We  love Malaga ... so easy to explore and get around. And it has lovely tapas bars... our favourite is Uvedoble. The walk up to the Gibralfaro is well worth it ( forever in our memories with fellow guests from the Azamara TA many years ago as "The Malaga Hill Climb"^).

Edited by workingtocruise-59

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I've been busy trying to catch up my other thread but we had no problems at all with embarkation. Between the signs, marine traffic, and the cabbie confirming where we were going, just by asking, we were brought right to the ship.  It was pretty obvious to us where the ship was.  Embarkation was basically a breeze though I do think Azamara should have staff curbside, before security and not rely solely on terminal contract staff.  We boarded about 12:30 or so and our cabin was ready when we boarded.

For our first Azamara cruise, service has been decent, the ship seems very empty compared to the larger ships, which is nice, but I wouldn't say for us, service or food is much better than what we experience on Celebrity, but we do sail in a suite so experience Luminae.  We've eaten so far in Prime C and Aqualina for dinner and tonight we tried the buffet which had a live pasta station.

I'll be posting daily schedules soon in my other thread with my complete trip review. I'm just a little behind :(

Happy sailing,

Jenna

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So do you want me to stop posting the schedules?  Happy to do that if you want to take over. 
 

I think we have to agree to disagree on the embarkation process. We were of course unlucky with our taxi driver and we know now that from Azamara head office perspective there is an expectation that guests are advised of a change like this however the process broke down and the reasons for that are currently being investigated. 

Edited by uktog

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I had this daily from Malaga Day 2 ready to post so I add it anyway and then Jenna can add the rest here in due course. 
 

The Italian buffet last night was just excellent and we enjoyed leisurely grazing with our friends but forgot to take pics sorry. It was all good, pasta cooked to order, traditional dishes, fresh mozzarella and the best was the stuffed bread station. As one who shouldn’t eat much bread I have paid the price through the night but I did love rolling the dice!  
 

It was our favourite show Come Sailaway and this is a new group of singers and dancers onboard from September. The team in September were ok but I think end of contract tired. There seemed much more energy in last nights group and the singers particularly the male lead were very very good. Look forward to hearing more of them. 
We are now in Gibraltar today we will be ape avoiding doing very little tourist stuff. 

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7 minutes ago, roberts2005 said:

Not to intrude, but here today in Malaga on Oceania Sirena.  Looking at the Pursuit which is docked nearby.

We are on the Pursuit looking right back at you 😀.  Having a fabulous cruise... hope you are too.

 

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So I think in Gibraltar my husband would have preferred if we had taken the 35 Euro tour all around the Rock or the 6 Euro £4 return shuttle to another part of town. 
Ignoring all the “restaurants” (no Gibraltar is not a great place to try British food) we headed in another direction to a favourite one off clothes shop I love. Oh dear, well it’s better prices than the UK but I did have to ask the lovely Joy for 10 hangers......

 

We had a pleasant if breezy afternoon back onboard. At departure the captain had the bad news for less good sailors. Starting this evening we will have 36 hours of 4/5 metre seas. Oh well that’s the flat shoes being dragged out again. Will let you know how it feels in the morning. 
 

This afternoon they also held an event for Discoverer Plus and Platinum - weather meant it had to be in the Cabaret and not Sunset Verandah as on previous cruises so it wasn’t as “social” no real mingling. The food was beautiful though most folks did not climb out to check it out. A pleasant event nevertheless photos of the efforts of the chefs. 

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Edited by uktog

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On 11/7/2019 at 6:11 AM, uktog said:

....For those wondering the seas calmed to smooth about 10am and the wind dropped. Many of us enjoyed a pleasant time on deck listening to Starlight Express lunch time set - great as usual. It was high teens, sunny and we needed sunscreen. Maybe if you are from Florida or Arizona it’s cool but the Canadians Brits and Northern States guests are in shorts and t shirts!...

 

 

That made me smile!! Back home, for those of us who cannot yet cruise for a month at a time, today was beautifully sunny albeit a balmy high of 5C....no sunscreen necessary! 🤣

 

Loving your report of the voyage, and anticipating many more great insights and photos....a huge thanks for taking the time.

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We have had our first one hour move forward between Gibraltar and Madeira so here I am wide awake at 5 am. 

 

Thank goodness Journey has alarm clocks my phone thought it was 7am not sure how! 

The captain was right, the ship is moving, it’s a left to right roll not an up and down bounce. We are good sailors therefore so far it’s more the inconvenience of trying to walk eg to the bathroom that’s the issue. We will see in the morning how others are coping but it’s certainly quite a bit of movement, sorry I cannot paint a better picture for those who suffer movement and were hoping this thread would talk about smooth weather all the way. 
 

Now about food, sorry some might not like this on our current roller coaster but I forgot to talk about the buffets themes. They were;

Day one. Spanish (lots of paella, tapas, fresh fish etc). Paella was the world cuisine dish also in the MDR

Day two. French (coq au vin - dish in the MDR, escargot, tarte tatin WTC)

Day three Italian - (talked about it earlier it was a wow of stuffed breads, mozzarella with fresh tomato carved and dressed for you, pastas tiramisu). MDR world cuisine choice was spaghetti vongole 

Day four British. Chef has sense of humour as we were leaving Gibraltar behind. The dishes included fish and chips, cottage pie, chicken pot pie, beef and Guinness stew and a British style curry. Sorry did not take a note of the MDR option as we were having too much fun with friends in Prime C with a beautifully cooked chateaubriand and a lovely additional appetiser of a pork dumpling. 
 

Thank goodness my indulgences in the clothes shop earlier in the day included some loose style outfits.....

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Enjoying your thread.  Thank you.

However I do have a question about the docking in Barcelona.  We have embarked and disembarked many times with Azamara, always at the WTC, which is a great location and one of the benefits of Azamara. I could just walk off leaving DH to have a snooze onboard.   On Viking and others we were in the 'usual' docking area necessitating using a shuttle bus, much less convenient.

Was any reason given for the change of dock ?  I really hope that this will not be the norm in the future.  We are there next June.

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I was wondering the same thing has we have always docked at the WTC on Azamara.

I hope that it is not down to more cost cutting.

Thanks for taking the time to post Uktog.

 

Edited by Bloodaxe

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5 hours ago, uktog said:

...Day four British. Chef has sense of humour as we were leaving Gibraltar behind. The dishes included fish and chips, cottage pie, chicken pot pie, beef and Guinness stew and a British style curry....

 

What about our 'precious UK'....no Welsh cawl, no Scottish haggis or deep fried mars bar, no Ulster fry.....(s)he certainly does have a sense of humour! 🤣

Edited by hamrag

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I don’t believe it’s a cost cutting measure to dock other than at the WTC in Barcelona.

what gave you the idea that the port charges less fir the beautiful terminal where we did embark?   Give us the WEB page where you found this to be a cheaper alternative.

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2 hours ago, Bloodaxe said:

I was wondering the same thing has we have always docked at the WTC on Azamara.

I hope that it is not down to more cost cutting.

Thanks for taking the time to post Uktog.

 

The "near" berth at WTC was apparently already committed to the Crystal ship.  Remember, the original itinerary was to end two days earlier in Civitavecchia, not Barcelona, until Azamara cast its loving eye on the now-forbidden Cuba and changed itineraries to cross the Atlantic sooner.  We were told the far berth at WTC was too far from where disembarking passengers would be getting on buses, taxis, etc., and embarking passengers getting off, and that would be unsuitable for a turnover day.

Edited by marinaro44

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2 hours ago, hamrag said:

 

What about our 'precious UK'....no Welsh cawl, no Scottish haggis or deep fried mars bar, no Ulster fry.....(s)he certainly does have a sense of humour! 🤣

 

'Ulster fry' now your talking!

 

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5 hours ago, Bloodaxe said:

I was wondering the same thing has we have always docked at the WTC on Azamara.

I hope that it is not down to more cost cutting.

Thanks for taking the time to post Uktog.

 

I've embarked a number of times on Azamara in Barcelona and usually it's the WTC pier,  but I have been at Adossat too so it's not unheard of. I think marinaro has given a good explanation of the reason and that it's nothing to do with cost cutting. 

 

Phil 

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We have always turned around at WTC and access to transportation was never an issue. The second dock at right angles to Crystal that Azamara usually has was still available so that doesn’t make sense. 
The Miami staff onboard were unaware of why guests had not been advised of the change or why it happened. Guests still have not been told,  so in the absence of a note suppositions will continue to be made. It’s not unreasonable to see it as cost cutting (I’m not saying it is in this instance) because captains have always described WTC as the more expensive location we bring you to when others are left further out.....However it’s Day 5 let’s move on. 
 

It’s pretty chilly today since about noon the seas have calmed down which is good. 
The daily for today (and yesterday) is below.  
 

Enrichment talks are a personal thing. We went and listened to Chuck Richardson to refresh our memories about Funchal. That was fine however the second speaker on Smartphones is a mis hire. His focus ashore is teaching aged people how to use  iPhones. His lecture was unbelievably basic and his PowerPoints for one so IT savvy were awful in our view. Luckily we don’t need the ship to entertain us and we are settled down with books and blankets outside though we are watching a black cloud. 
 

There are plenty blankets around no problem snuggling down wherever you want! 

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Edited by uktog

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7 minutes ago, uktog said:

We have always turned around at WTC and access to transportation was never an issue. The second dock at right angles to Crystal that Azamara usually has was still available so that doesn’t make sense. 

The "far" berth at WTC is a long distance from where buses and taxis drop off and pick up embarking and disembarking passengers, making it cumbersome to move luggage to and from the ship.  Yes, we've embarked and disembarked often at WTC but always at the near berth where the Crystal ship was tied up.

 

 

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Funny different cruises different berths I hope they go back and stick to WTC. We heard some guests were told it was a temporary relocation because protests were possible near WTC which in the current climate makes sense. Anyway in the absence of an official communication we will never know. 
 

Something has happened on our cruise today that has made us think about our future travel paperwork. There have been three all ship announcements asking for A+ and O+ blood donors carrying donor cards to come to the medical centre. Our thoughts are with those involved and their families. 
 

It got us thinking we don’t carry cards with that information either to give or receive so will investigate on our return indeed DH isn’t sure of his group and was clueless about mine so a wake up call. 
 

We continue to bump along (wonder if he’s trying to get to Madeira quicker). Motion is less but it’s not smooth by any manner. 
 

Tonight’s buffet was Indonesia the world cuisine in the MDR was Nasi Goreng and the chefs dish was horseradish crumbed salmon which was divine 

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Ann, I always carry a list of medications (and extras of everything I take) but it never occurred to me to add my blood type to the list.  Thanks for the reminder.

 

(What awful shipwide announcements to have to make.)

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That’s a very good pint about carrying blood donor cards. I have a rare blood group and have been required to give blood as an emergency donor once or twice. The likelihood of anyone else having my rare blood group on an Azamara ship is very small... unless my mother was with me!

Another point that was brought to my notice recently was the wisdom of carrying a few tablets of your essential medication ashore with you in case of weather affecting your return to the ship via tender. This happened recently with P&O’s Azura in Monaco, when thousands of pax were off the ship and a storm blew up in the afternoon. No tenders could be used for the return to the ship and as it was the Monaco boat show that weekend there were no hotel rooms available. Many passengers did not have their essential cardiac or diabetic medication with them and they had to stay in a baseball stadium for 2 days and nights I believe. Several were hospitalised. 

I had never thought of taking at tablets ashore with me before that but now I will make sure I have enough for a day or two in my handbag. 

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Enjoying your blog Ann particularly as we left Journey the day you embarked. A rare disagreement is that I was rather unimpressed with the singers and dancers on board this time. Everything else was exemplary though and the Italian Buffet was sensational. The crew were among the best I have sailed with on Azamara - such lovely, helpful people. Hope the seas calm down and you enjoy the rest of your cruise

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So we arrived in Funchal about 0330 given the thruster noise we were briefly awake. We don’t care our prayers are with those being medivaced. 
 

Later in the day we took our excursion involving the hop on hop off to burn obc To be fair, it was a reasonable choice and the pricing add on for the convenience of the ship managing it was acceptable at about 10%. 
 

The problem was the HOHO management who despite 4 of us traveling together all with the same number sticker refused to allow us to travel on the same bus. Worse still our friends were forced onto a bus that went a different route (not that we realised they weren’t just behind us). Oh well cap it that at the end the bus back to the ship wasn’t leaving for 2 hours. All was not lost,  a 35 minute walk in warm weather wasn’t on the agenda but a lovely 6 euro plus tip pedicab with further local info was. Lemons......lemonade. 

 

We stayed a week in Madeira over 10 years ago. We saw our lovely hotel from then en route and were able to see other positive changes to the sea front and preservation of the buildings. We’d recommend the HOHO just go knowing your route. Azamara are using the Yellow Bus Company We did the blue route out to the fishing village Churchill always painted and the yellow town and viewpoint routes. 
We did not do the included add on out to the Skywalk. I don’t do heights as many know and wanted to retain my much loved Azamara English breakfast muffins. 

 

It’s a gorgeous warm afternoon. The pool deck is filling up. We sail at 5 when we have a European cheese buffet in the living room, the Indian buffet and Eric’s show tonight. (Tim Able did his second show last night VERY impressed look out for this talented young guy from Sherwood Forest on future cruises). 
 

Ok pics are glimpses of Funchal. 
 

PS last minute they ran shuttles into town they were a bit hit and miss and many including us were confused by the drop off and pick up point but fair credit to Azamara they made that very last minute change. 

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We had a tour but decided to pick up some essentials in town.   The shuttle worked the same way all shuttles for Funchal have worked.   They all drop you off across from the main park on the main shopping street.   They also pick you up there.   You do have to watch and not get on a Mein Schaffer’s shuttle.    The walk from town to the ship is about 20-25 minutes if you walk slowly.    We did have to wait for the bus driver to finish his cigarette (guess this is very important) before he took our nearly full shuttle to the ship.   Did we miss some confusion with the shuttle?

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