Jump to content

Looking forward to first Azamara cruise in the Western Med


Recommended Posts

Hi Everyone, 

 

We just booked the May 29th 7-night Mediterranean Mosaic Cruise starting in Rome and ending in Lisbon. My wife, daughter (15), and I are really looking forward to it. Any tips or feedback is appreciated!

 

Thanks,

Doug

Link to post
Share on other sites

Lisbon is a magical place.  If you get a chance stay a few days after and head out to Sinatra or Obidos, both easy to do yourself. In Obidos the chocolate cherry drink in the edible chocolate cups you have to have mmm

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful tips, most of the ports are new to us. We've been to Italy, Monaco, and France but never to these locations.

 

  • Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
  • Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy
  • Marseille (Provence), France
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Gibraltar, United Kingdom
  • Lisbon, Portugal

 

As of now, we are tentatively booked at a new Doubletree in Rome for (2) days pre-cruise...also contemplated the Waldorf. I am surprised by the prices and how much the rates bump up for the 3rd person.

 

In Portugal, we are tentatively planning to stay at the Penha Longa Resort out in Sintra for (2) nights. We are using Marriott points and seems like a very good deal for a Ritz Carlton. The downside is it is out of town.

 

I am interested in any feedback on ports (do we have an advantage with location due to smaller ship size), hotels, and things to do. Very preliminary stages of planning, and we are prepared for the possibility of being cancelled, but the rates and flexibility gave us the confidence to give it a try.

 

Thanks for the great tips so far!

 

--

Doug

Link to post
Share on other sites

Livorno and Marseille absolutely you have a better dock. Barcelona probably right at the foot of Las Ramblas Gibraltar no advantage. 
Gibraltar strong taxi unions but it means they do good tours just walk off the ship and they are filling up minivans. Marseille you are docked right beside a superb museum and art gallery and a short walk to the town centre

Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, uktog said:

Livorno and Marseille absolutely you have a better dock. Barcelona probably right at the foot of Las Ramblas Gibraltar no advantage. 
Gibraltar strong taxi unions but it means they do good tours just walk off the ship and they are filling up minivans. Marseille you are docked right beside a superb museum and art gallery and a short walk to the town centre

Great info. We like small ships, especially when there are port related advantages!

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Grandma Cruising said:

Hop on hop off bus in Barcelona is good. A visit to Sagrada Familia is a must there, but book your tickets online before you get there, otherwise the queues are enormous. If you’ve got your timed ticket you walk past the queues straight to a separate entrance.

 

Thanks Grandma Cruising, will definitely keep this on our radar. Looks beautiful, although it is temporarily closed, so will check again closer to our trip.

 

Keep the tips coming. I'd love to say I heavily researched this trip. I essentially chose this option since it included destinations where we have not been, it was priced decently, and it was in 2021. I'm looking forward to a trip! Gotta get away...vaccine can't come soon enough. 

 

Anyway, I'll spend the next 6-months researching and planning!

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 minutes ago, mdpa said:

 

Thanks Grandma Cruising, will definitely keep this on our radar. Looks beautiful, although it is temporarily closed, so will check again closer to our trip.

 

Keep the tips coming. I'd love to say I heavily researched this trip. I essentially chose this option since it included destinations where we have not been, it was priced decently, and it was in 2021. I'm looking forward to a trip! Gotta get away...vaccine can't come soon enough. 

 

Anyway, I'll spend the next 6-months researching and planning!

Grandma Cruising has given you excellent advice.

If I may, I would suggest considering taking the HOHO bus in evening if you are just using it as an overview of the city. Less crowded and you see the many fountains lit up in the various city squares. 
On our last visit, I took an excellent ship’s tour on the architecture of Gaudi led by a local college instructor. However, if it’s your first visit to Barcelona there is much else to see. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Grandma Cruising said:

Hop on hop off bus in Barcelona is good. A visit to Sagrada Familia is a must there, but book your tickets online before you get there, otherwise the queues are enormous. If you’ve got your timed ticket you walk past the queues straight to a separate entrance.

Yes, and the hop on bus stops very near the port as I recall.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/18/2020 at 3:39 AM, mdpa said:

Wonderful tips, most of the ports are new to us. We've been to Italy, Monaco, and France but never to these locations.

 

  • Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy
  • Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy
  • Marseille (Provence), France
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Gibraltar, United Kingdom
  • Lisbon, Portugal

 

As of now, we are tentatively booked at a new Doubletree in Rome for (2) days pre-cruise...also contemplated the Waldorf. I am surprised by the prices and how much the rates bump up for the 3rd person.

 

In Portugal, we are tentatively planning to stay at the Penha Longa Resort out in Sintra for (2) nights. We are using Marriott points and seems like a very good deal for a Ritz Carlton. The downside is it is out of town.

 

I am interested in any feedback on ports (do we have an advantage with location due to smaller ship size), hotels, and things to do. Very preliminary stages of planning, and we are prepared for the possibility of being cancelled, but the rates and flexibility gave us the confidence to give it a try.

 

Thanks for the great tips so far!

 

--

Doug

You can take the train to Pisa and  enjoy more than the tower and museum,

I enjoyed walking around and having lunch.

 

many people on here have been to Luca. Some have taken the train and others a driver, a lovely old city. I went in the rain in a ships tour that included a wine tasting with food.  Like to go back no rain.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

If you do the taxi drivers tour offered at the Pier they include the caves in it. In Gibraltar do not waste time going up in the cable car as the view is often clouded over and the lines can be long.  Try and get out on your tour early.  The day trippers from Spain hit the town about 11 am in bus loads so you want to get ahead of them.  Also the planes land during mid morning, the taxi drivers know when and that is always interesting as the runway goes across the causeway and the road to Spain has to be closed.  They usually try and have you up on one of the high vantage points by the caves if they can for the landing.

 

The fish and chips is really very variable quality and over rated - it used to be good years ago but to be honest its a tourist trap a lot of the time - again if you get a local taxi driver especially one originally from the UK (many are ex military stayed on the island after being at the garrison) ask them where to go for fish and chips, they know the real ones they are not on the main street run by the spanish or the chinese!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you are using Marriott points in Lisbon, check out the Fontecruz Lisboa, Autograph Collection.   We have stayed there twice and the location is excellent.   We walked everywhere from there (yeah, we even walked the hills!).   And it is close to various transportation to more distant places.   You will find many reviews of this hotel online.

 

As for Livorno, I would suggest you go to Lucca.   It is much closer than Florence, easy to do on your own, and a lovely place.  We love Florence, one of our favorites, but we have visited twice, both on independent land trips where we stayed 3 nights and 5 nights to really experience all there is to see.   Once day is just to rushed IMHO.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another thing, if you are staying in Livorno some of the time, the local indoor market is so much fun - turn right at the end of the pier road then take the left up the first canal one block.  Its an amazing array of cheeses, hams, olives, beautiful veg and buttons like the old shop at home had.

IMG_1774.JPG

IMG_1775.JPG

IMG_1777.JPG

IMG_1778.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, the mice said:

Since you are using Marriott points in Lisbon, check out the Fontecruz Lisboa, Autograph Collection.   We have stayed there twice and the location is excellent.   We walked everywhere from there (yeah, we even walked the hills!).   And it is close to various transportation to more distant places.   You will find many reviews of this hotel online.

 

As for Livorno, I would suggest you go to Lucca.   It is much closer than Florence, easy to do on your own, and a lovely place.  We love Florence, one of our favorites, but we have visited twice, both on independent land trips where we stayed 3 nights and 5 nights to really experience all there is to see.   Once day is just to rushed IMHO.

 

I've stayed at an Autograph Collection hotel in Venice and really enjoyed it, so was initially leaning towards this hotel. Two things held me back:

 

- Points requirements for 3 people are 3X as high as the Ritz Carlton

- Bathroom door appears too transparent for us to comfortably use with a teenager

 

I think the Fontecruz is penalizing me too much for the 3rd person.

 

I originally wanted to stay downtown, but it appears the Ritz is a better deal with points and will offer a very different but enjoyable experience. I am interested in hearing more first hand experience since I still may change my mind. 

 

Thanks for the feedback, I'll definitely consider checking out Lucca.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, mdpa said:

 

I've stayed at an Autograph Collection hotel in Venice and really enjoyed it, so was initially leaning towards this hotel. Two things held me back:

 

- Points requirements for 3 people are 3X as high as the Ritz Carlton

- Bathroom door appears too transparent for us to comfortably use with a teenager

 

I think the Fontecruz is penalizing me too much for the 3rd person.

 

I originally wanted to stay downtown, but it appears the Ritz is a better deal with points and will offer a very different but enjoyable experience. I am interested in hearing more first hand experience since I still may change my mind. 

 

Thanks for the feedback, I'll definitely consider checking out Lucca.

Although we had plenty of Marriott points and I usually try to use points for hotel stays, we paid for the room because I was able to get a corporate rate which made it worthwhile to pay instead of using points.   I found that hotels were much less expensive in Lisbon than elsewhere, so you might want to look into this.  Since travel has been so severely impacted, you just might find a better deal for a paid rate than using a lot of your points.  There are many hotels right in the area of the Fontecruz, as well as a plethora of dining options.  If you don't have a lot of time/days in Lisbon, you should consider staying in the city rather than out in Sintra - although I have to confess, we visited Sintra on a day tour and did not have enough time there.   In early June, Lisbon will be lively at night.

 

Whatever you decide, I am sure you will enjoy Lisbon.   (as well as all your other ports - all wonderful places.)

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, mdpa said:

Thanks everyone, excellent tips! I will plan to do the hop on/off bus in Barcelona, train to Pisa, and caves in Gibraltar. Also, like the fish & chips idea.

For some reason fish and chips is the food to eat. Some places are better than others. Which is normal.  Saw like ten place at least ..

you will also see the tiny airport where they stop.cars to let planes land. Another once in a lifetime.

 

never did the hop on bus in  Spain but private tours..but wander after them to see more, please no jewelry there and really watch your purse. At dinner I had to hold mine while I ate .,everyone was being careful.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My partner and I have been very optimistic and booked the tour on Quest starting March 20, 2021 from Lisbon. It’s our first cruise with Azamara (we’ve done Princess, Celebrity, MSC and AIDA before), so we‘re very excited! Appreciate all the useful recommendations here, thank you! Our itinerary will include a lot of different ports in Spain. Still got time now, to plan a bit (and hope it‘s not going to be cancelled...) 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, ellbon said:
On 11/20/2020 at 11:21 AM, mdpa said:

 

For some reason fish and chips is the food to eat. Some places are better than others

Because Gibraltar is a British protectorate and typical British food used to be Fish and Chips ( often take away).

I’ve added some photos which I took when we were in Gibraltar in 2017.

Plenty of useful information, but I do wonder if passengers will be allowed to wander on their own. Cruises that have already started in Europe, have insisted on ship only excursions.

DB4B35E9-7C03-4F07-92BF-EBC98772C9FA.jpeg

 

8C04C00A-2282-47FD-A8EF-4416EFCB7621.jpeg

557CBFD7-2D9A-4821-98A7-AA0C0D8AB219.jpeg

Edited by upwarduk
One picture was upside down.
Link to post
Share on other sites

Couple of points/tips.

 

I seem to recall that the HoHo buses in Barcelona (and most other cities) finish at 5 or 6 pm so the evening tour might be a bust.

 

If you are doing your own thing in Florence and you are near the Uffizi gallery, this place is the go to for lunch (if you can get in)

 

http://www.laprosciutteria.com/cibi-e-vini/

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with Alberto Aliberti, President of Atlas Ocean Voyages
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with RiverCruising, the River Cruise Experts
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...