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need2bespoiled

The Azamazing Journey from Barcelona to Miami (by way of Guyana) 2019

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I know there is another thread started on this cruise when I asked if there was interest in me doing a live blog of our travels as I’ve done on a number of Celebrity and a few other cruises that have been extremely well received (links in my signature below). Our experiences can be different than others as I travel a ridiculous amount for work (somewhere around 150 days In a hotel a year) so when we travel for vacation we take the totally spoiling route. I can’t afford to travel this way but use the miles and points I acrue through business travel and credit card spend. Since we save on some things we’ll splurge on others. I plan to collect Michelin stars in leu of souvenirs on this trip. Massages over messages. We fly in the pointy end of the plane and turn left when boarding. My friends call it princess travel as a tour guide started calling us princesses for the way we toured over a few days in Bangkok. At times I’ve been a bit apologetic about this, but at this point, I'm mostly unapologetic.  This all sounds a little snobby but we’re really down to earth and appreciate what we can do. We've met many people onboard, hosted outrageous parties (we invited an entire roll call for one and had over 150 attend).  Another we hosted for about 50 and had the captain and his wife shows up. If you’ve been to one, please say hello.  We’ve made lots of friends and even have two joining us on this trip.

 

My travel started with a quick FL, home for 1 night, then to Nantucket, home for 2 nights then back to FL, then Calgary, then home for two nights before leaving for Guayana. We are currently In Panama on our way from Guyana to Paris where vacation starts. We’re spending 5 days before heading to Avignon to visit https://www.avignon-et-provence.com/en/attraction/carrieres-de-lumieres before spending a few days in Barcelona and boating the ship.

 

We've never booked a cruise that didn’t have the itinerary change at some point, and this one is no different (losing Cuba early). I fully expect it to change again, who knows if we’ll be able to board in Barcelona?  No matter to us, we'll figure it out and go with the flow. 

 

won’t post every little detail, but will share what I can.  I make these posts from my phone or iPad so there will be typos and spelling errors I miss, I’ll just apologize in advance. I'm going to start my posts with Guyana in a few minutes, I hope you enjoy. 

 

Happy Sailing,
Jenna (and Dee)

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Edited by need2bespoiled

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We flew into Guyana via AA PWM-PHL-MIA-GEO. We live 90 minutes from the airport and it was a LONG day. We didn’t get to bed until 2a and that was with only a 30 minute delay. The airport is not near town and getting there is tough. AA business class was better than normal which was a pleasant surprise. 
 

Guyana is an amazing country. Almost everyone lives on the coast, which while it is essentially a Caribbean country has very brown water from silt from the rain forrest. They have huge oil reserves which are just being tapped, some mining for precious metals and rice paddies. The people are very warm and friendly. While I was there for some very rewarding work, even though the heat was at times unbearably hot, we did get to visit Kaiteur Falls and the National Park.
 

We stayed at the Marriott. The only other large hotel we saw was a Radison. The Marriott was very nice, mostly business travelers and people visiting relatives. The pool was nice and while it was on the beach no one was there but local bathers. 

 

They get at most 600 visitors a month to the Kaiteur Park and while we were there, we were literally the only 4 people in the park, only accessible by small plane. The pictures will speak for themselves. There aren’t a lot of reasons to go to Guyana but if you do get there, or are maybe close, visit this spectacular place. 
 

Today we flew GEO-PTY (Georgetown Guyana to Panama) where we're waiting to board our flight to Paris shortly. The flight was fine. The food was meh, and the lounge in Panama is the worst I’ve ever been too. 

Paris tomorrow, is very exciting, neither of us has been. Any suggestions on what not to miss that might not be on our list?

 

Happy sailing,

Jenna

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Can't match your travels but have been to the wonderful Carrierres de Lumieres in Les Baux when staying in St Remy.  Have looked at shore excursions which mention Les Baux and this fantastic place does not usually feature so have a wonderful stay in that lovely region.  Mind you we have usually been in the summer - hope weather is kind.

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Just curious.... why travel to Paris via Guyana/Panama?


I had a last minute work trip come up that brought me to Guyana. The best route to lose the least amount of time in Paris was to fly through Panama as there are not many flights out of Guyana. This allowed the safest connection of a flight to Paris on the same day I could leave Guyana with two seats that were reasonable on points / miles.

For anyone interested I used United miles, I think only 20k per seat plus about $15 each for business class on Copa from Guyana to Panama. The food was not great and the lounge in Panama was dreadful but it was the best way to go and even though we had separate tickets to and from Panama Copa and Airfrance have a baggage agreement so we were able to check our bags all the way through from Guyana to Paris. Collecting them and re checking in and dealing with security in Panama would probably have been worse than that lounge. Close call. We used 80k Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Flying Blue (transfers instantly) and about $200 in fees for each seat to book business class on Airfrane on the 787 with all aisle access. Service was good, food was very good (for an airline). I wish the temperature in the cabin was cooler but I got over 4 hours of deep sleep in the newest Airfrance lie flat configuration.

Immigration was extremely fast and painless. Just waiting for baggage to meet our driver to head to the hotel.

Happy Sailing,
Jenna


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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A few quick pics of the flight I should have posted in my last post. Flying in any type of lie flat (business or first) allows you to arrive somewhat more rested and ready to explore. The Admiral (Dee) would rather not travel or travel less than fly over 3 or 4 hours in coach which challenges me to find deals using points. 

Happy Sailing,

Jenna 

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Edited by need2bespoiled

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I pre-booked a black lane van which was super easy and about $110 Euro. Well worth it as we’re not traveling light. Driver was right there to meet us as we exited the baggage hall. The drive to the hotel was 45 minutes. CheckIn was easy but our room wasn’t quite ready (they were in the room cleaning and I was early for my 3pm mobile checkin) so they offered us a drink in the cafe which we obliged. About 30 minutes later we were off to our room. We stepped off the tiny elevator and our luggage was arriving as we were. 
 

With a healthy availability of Bonvoy (Marriott) Points, I chose what I hoped would be the nicest hotel I could in Paris on points. We chose between the Prince de Galles and Hotel Berri. We hose the Prince de Galles for slightly better location and history as it’s been around longer. My friend who lives in Paris tells me it’s where the despots of the world stay. Seems friendly enough, if I see one, I’ll be sure to avoid them. We booked the room for 5 nights (4 nights worth of points with the fifth free) before the point values went up this past December. This trip has been a long time in the planning. It can very now from baseline of 340,000 for 5 nights but can be less on saver or more I believe. It was 240,000 when I booked.

 

I applied 5 suite night awards which is one of the gifts you can chose when you stay 75 nights in a Bonvoy hotel in a year. You’re not guaranteed an upgrade and you may get it without applying the suite night awards but I figure it can’t hurt and this is a special trip. At five days out they start looking for upgrades and I was notified at 5 days I was upgraded to the one bedroom Macassar suite. The suite is gorgeous and in square footage is bigger than any suite on Azamara and roughly equal to an S class Royal Suite with one bath. It has two walk in closets, large shower, tub, water closet with bidet, and two French balconies. Are they still French balconies when you’re in France?

 

A couple asides, the last time I did this I was limited to 6 pictures per post, much easier to post more now, which is great. If I’m posting too many, let me know. Second, I’ve never sailed on Azamara, just plenty on Celebrity so I’ll likely make comparisons to Celebrity, which for us, in Suite Class has been excellent. We know a little of what to expect from friends on Azamara and hope it is as spoiling. 

 

Happy sailing,

Jenna

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One more thing, I am doing this from an iPad, which is rotating many photos. Can I fix this?

 

Happy sailing,

Jenna 

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2 hours ago, need2bespoiled said:

One more thing, I am doing this from an iPad, which is rotating many photos. Can I fix this?

 

Happy sailing,

Jenna 

I’ve not worked out how to do this, other than to edit them in Photos to make sure they’re oblong shape before posting.

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7 hours ago, Nachosdelux said:

 

why not????

Well it's a longer and more expensive route for one.  I believe most people try to reduce both these factors when traveling.  Now that @need2bespoiled has explained that it was work that took her to Guyana, it makes sense.

Edited by mnocket

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I’ve not worked out how to do this, other than to edit them in Photos to make sure they’re oblong shape before posting.


That makes sense for the ones in portrait mode but they’re all correct on my phone / tablet and sone were rotated 180 degrees.

Happy sailing,
Jenna


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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If you are still in Paris for dinner go to Clementine in the 2nd or Au Bascou in the 3rd.  These are our favorite affordable bistros.  We've returned often.  If you want to wander, go to the covered passages in the 2nd and 9th.

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If you are still in Paris for dinner go to Clementine in the 2nd or Au Bascou in the 3rd.  These are our favorite affordable bistros.  We've returned often.  If you want to wander, go to the covered passages in the 2nd and 9th.


Thanks!

We’re here until Friday.

We have a couple of unscheduled dinners and a few lunches this will be helpful info. We also have a couple of unaffordable meals scheduled.

Happy sailing,
Jenna


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Jenna,

 Great start to the trip.  The hotel is beautiful, hope your loving Paris.

 

 

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I can recommend these restaurants:

•  Le Café Constant, cnr rue Augereau & rue St-Dominique [near Eiffel Tower]

•  L’Orangerie restaurant on Ile Saint-Louis (with gelato at Amorino nearby)

•  Chez André12 rue Marbeuf [our waitress was a native-born Parisienne but could easily have come from Brooklyn or Boston's former Durgin-Park – made us feel right at home!]

 

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5 hours ago, jj6961 said:

Jenna,

 Great start to the trip.  The hotel is beautiful, hope your loving Paris.

 

 


Thanks Sis, can’t wait to see you in Barcelona!

 

1 hour ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

I can recommend these restaurants:

•  Le Café Constant, cnr rue Augereau & rue St-Dominique [near Eiffel Tower]

•  L’Orangerie restaurant on Ile Saint-Louis (with gelato at Amorino nearby)

•  Chez André12 rue Marbeuf [our waitress was a native-born Parisienne but could easily have come from Brooklyn or Boston's former Durgin-Park – made us feel right at home!]

 


Thanks for this!

 

Happy sailing,

Jenna

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Only wish that when I was working I would have been allowed to accumulate miles and also have time to see the sites.   Things must be much better for those working these days.   

 

 

 

 

 

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You mentioned the aircraft temperature. Did you ask them to turn it down?  If it’s too warm I always do and persist if still stuffy.  Flew to LA on an admittedly larger BA 380 the other day and did it.  My cabin is the one top right of this picture!  20.5°C. Look at some of them.  

 

Phil

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Edited by excitedofharpenden

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15 hours ago, Covepointcruiser said:

Only wish that when I was working I would have been allowed to accumulate miles and also have time to see the sites.   Things must be much better for those working these days.   

 

 

 

 

 

The OP travels over 150 days a year for work, that is a heck of a lot of time away from home. But she is lucky she can use the "freebies" for some down time!

 

John R.

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Even when you have that time away many employers here forbid the individuals to retain any benefits. Bookings are done through corporate third party agents and most chains e.g. IHG do not give benefits through these bookings.   I had that number of days away recently but as the lead contract was with a government agency no perks could be claimed.  So lucky indeed, not what most of us get!!

Edited by uktog

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What a great trip report. I’m really looking forward to hearing all about your travels. I love all the detail you are putting in to this. I hope you are having a lovely time. 

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I will be following your adventures with interest as I was on the TA before they dropped Cuba, then changed to the Celebrity Adriatic cruise on Nov 8 Venice to Rome. I am spending a week in Paris at the end. I am glad you were able to fly in the 777. I love the privacy of the 1-2-1 configuration and almost always fly Air France to Europe since I rarely go there without a visit to Paris, my happy place. (This will be my 31st visit). Unfortunately I do not stay at 5 star hotels, as I prefer the little boutique hotels in the 6th St Germain. It is nice to travel on hotel points, though, after working as hard as you do for them. I don't blame you for spoiling yourself.

 

I am sure you want to see as much of Paris as possible in the shortest amount of time, but since you won't get to see anywhere near what Paris has to offer in 5 short days no matter how many hours you have, I recommend you spend some time just wandering around and soaking in the atmosphere, not running from one tourist attraction to another. Pick out the priorities and leave the rest for another time. (there will be one) 

 

Some great areas IMO for just walking are St. Germain, the Marais, Monmartre, the Grand Boulevards, Hidden Passages, the 7th and streets around the Eiffel Tower and the 5th near the Pantheon Rue Mouffetard., and Luxembourg Gardens. You will come across some hidden gems in all of these areas. Do not stress yourself trying to see too much, you wont make it anyway, I guarantee, and you will miss the real essence of Paris. That is my opinion of course, and easy for me to say I guess as I go there at least once per year, usually more often, and never for less than a week, but it is my advice nonetheless. PS don't spend too much time at the Louvre, go to the Musee D’Orsay instead. They have a great cafe on top, too where you can walk out and get great views of Paris and the Seine. 

 

i know you are going to love Paris but then, I'm biased. I am glad you said you had a friend who lives there, she will undoubtedly  give you very good advice on how to experience Paris. Have a wonderful visit. Looking forward to your photos.

 

Anne

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