We were on back to back cruises and went ashore in Athens without any problems and caught a taxi to the Acropolis and entered at opening time at 9.00 am. How pleasant to be on the site so early and with very few people about. We spent several hours at the Acropolis before leaving just as the crowds started to arrive and made our way down to the new Acropolis Museum and spent several hours viewing all the finds from the Acropolis site. With this beautiful new museum it is to be hoped the Greeks finally get the Elgin Marbles back from the British Museum. We moved on to Hadrian's Arch and the Temple of Zeus, then the Olympic Stadium and Parliament House and Square before catching a taxi back to the Ship in Piraeus Harbour.
We reboarded without any problems and once again with a bubbly in hand made our way back to our suite and then to Windows Cafe for a late lunch. Azamara Journey sailed on time and we were soon on our way to Napaulia.
This was a 10 day cruise and a very full schedule with only two AT SEA days. The ship had a full complement of 640 people and while this was our 5th cruise on Azamara (both ships) we did wonder how the ship would cope with so many people. Not to worry. One wonders where everybody "hangs out" as we never saw people queuing or had a problem finding a seat in the cabaret lounge for shows.
The ports of call were Napaulia in Greece, Chania in Crete, Ashdod for Jerusalem, Haifa for Galilee and Nazareth, Paphos in Cyprus, Rhodes, Bodrum in Turkey and Mykonos.
We did tours in all ports booked before we left home and found all to be excellent value and very well organised especially in Bodrum where we had to divert at short notice from our scheduled stop at Santorini, as the Sirocco wind was blowing so hard that an anchorage in Santorini Caldera was impossible.
In Haifa we had the first of the AZAMAZING Evenings for Azamara Journey. We were collected from the pier in Haifa without any problems. As a bus filled with passengers it left and another took its place. We were transported an hour south of the city to Shuni Fortress with its Roman Amphitheatre. The 2000 year old amphitheatre had recently been restored and we enjoyed a wonderful evening of music including the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra. The food was samples of Israeli food and wines. This was the first and only time we actually saw the full 640 passengers in one place and wondered where most of them were at other times.
The evening was a wonderful success and we look forward to attending other AzAmazing Evenings.
We had breakfast most mornings in Windows Cafe and thought the food was excellent especially the cook in front of you omelettes. At lunch we either went to Discoveries Restaurant or Windows Cafe and the food at both was always hot and served with a smile. We dined in the evenings in either Prime C or Aqualina Restaurants and found the food beautifully prepared, presented and served.
As this was the first cruise with free alcoholic drinks throughout the ship we did wonder how this would affect the passengers on board. Nobody seemed to take advantage of the availability of so much free booze and from the behaviour of people in the cabaret lounge we thought that no more was being drunk than had been the case when it was being paid for.
All the staff, crew and officers from the Captain down continued to be happy smiling faces and more than willing to have a chat.
The wonderfully talented Eric de Gray kept the pace of the evening entertainment on a high and the Azamara Singers and Dancers are a talented group. We had guest performers coming and going at different ports of call.
Yes we have booked 3 more cruises for 2014 and look forward to boarding Journey in Lisbon.