Great apart from Monday...
Europe - Western Mediterranean
The Med in April - well that will be nice, won't it?.....Kids at school, so not overrunning the tourist hotspots and warm weather....That was the theory.
In reality we only had one really sunny day, and the crossing of the Ionian sea from Sorrento to Corfu was akin to a very rough crossing of the English Channel - across the little used tannoy came the announcement "Ladies please do not wear high heels - as we are experiencing some adverse weather".....No chance me needing any shoes that evening - there was no way I was moving from my bed....Alison, however enjoyed extremely good service in the very sparsely populated dining room.
The Azamara Journey holds 700 passengers, and having been on many of the big ships, I had wondered if its relative size would be a disadvantage in terms of amenities, but it certainly wasn't.
The food was fantastic - Breakfast buffets included freshly squeezed orange juice and More
made to order smoothies, Lunch buffets were imaginative, although some of the hot food was a little tepid, and Dinner in the main dining room was great...the open seating meant you could manage your time well, and it was really great to meet so many people. The food was beautifully presented and the fish was always perfectly cooked, which must be quite a challenge when mass catering.
Service was great - our butler, Apostol was efficient and thoughtful....When Alison mentioned her dietary requirements, he arranged for her to meet with the head chef to ensure her needs were met.....He also never failed to make up our room when we were at Breakfast.
I must mention Eric Brouman....Magician, comedian and all round entertainer....If he is ever appearing on a ship you are on - do go see his show....the best I have seen on any cruise....He also did a masterclass in how to perform card tricks (am still practicing them...)
The Spa was expensive, I usually book a pedicure for the 1st sea day as being pampered whilst gazing out to see is a pretty good way to spend an hour or so, but $60 seems a lot (although of course the exchange rate £ to dollar hasn't helped)
Am also a bit of a poker player, so was disappointed by the Pokermate machine, which although you are playing against other passengers, the chat and banter is reduced somewhat by having to play your hand within 90 seconds by pressing buttons on a video machine (C'mon Royal Caribbean - give us the dealers back - they make all the difference)
Finally, my only real whine.....We chose the transfer from ship to airport in Venice, now I know the cruiseline want all the passengers off the ship as soon as possible, but getting us to the Airport three and a half hours before our flight when the check in desk opened an hour and a half before takeoff, was not much fun....Will know to make own arrangements next time.
Loved the Azamara - Will be back
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Port and Shore Excursions
Caught shuttle bus ($8 round trip - would have probably been cheaper by taxi) into town...walked around for couple of hours....lots of tacky shops, but a few little gems..stocked up with Olive oil cleanser, shampoo and conditioner (much more fun then shopping at Boots) then headed back to shuttle pick up point....Throngs of people milling around waiting for buses (one of the MSC ships had docked alongside us), the joy of being on a smaller ship is to be able to walk past them all onto your half empty bus.
Booked a tour of Pompeii, so early start for tender to Sorrento, mind you not much chance of sleeping in when the anchor is very close to your cabin...what a racket....Shuttle bus from port into town, then onto the bus for 45 minute trip to Pompeii...heavy traffic, fantastic views over the bay of Sorrento....Had been to Pompeii before, but this trip was so much better as guide had walkie talkie wispa thingy...so I was able to wander around and still hear what he had to say without keeping within earshot.....Absolutely fascinating place...2 hours enough to see best bits and to get a feel for living in a Roman town....handed back earpieces and had 20 minutes for drink and wander around stalls, then back to Sorrento - chose to stay in town for mooch round shops and lunch, then caught shuttle bus back to pier...Very good day
Easy walk from ship to town, Alison had gone on a walking tour costing $50....I changed 20 Euros into Kuna) visited the same Palace and Cathedral she had, and still had enough money for coffee, beer, flowers (the ones in our cabin were dull) and suntan cream.
Top tip - Beware the very slippery pavements,if its raining...