Wow, what a holiday!
I have just returned from a brilliant, unique, transatlantic cruise to the Caribbean. The Azura can only be described as absolutely stunning. It is as beautiful as any 5* hotel, with service and food to match. However, unlike any usual hotel the view(when in port)changed daily. My husband and I booked a balcony stateroom, which was worth every extra penny we paid for it. If only I could sit and drink tea while watching the sun shining on the ocean every day!
The prices, on board, were not excessive. We took advantage of daily offers, which included half price bottles of Champagne. I also made use of the Spa by using my 'on board credit' for a massage. There was a team of young, enthusiastic, photographers who managed to capture me without a hint of an increasing frame (due to the fantastic food)or a 'bingo wing'.
I have no idea how I can give as much praise to the restaurants, and their staff, as is warranted. We had every intention to eat in Sindhu, Seventeen and More
the Glasshouse but the club dining was just too good. If something was not to our taste our waiters (Henry and Rahul)would bring something else. It came across that it really was their pleasure to serve us.
Our stateroom was well designed to make excellent use of the space and well kept by our steward Crossby. I really cannot understand some of the negative comments I have read previously. I can only conclude that some people are not happy unless they are unhappy. I look forward to cruising again in the future. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
This is a bustling tourist destination. In town we found Hemingway's cafe/bar which has a first floor balcony overlooking the street. It was lovely sipping a cocktail watching the world go by. After cooling down we took a taxi to a local beach (Dickenson's Bay). The driver came to collect us,as arranged, after a couple of hours to return us to the ship.
It is, in the words of a song, beautiful beautiful Barbados gem of the Caribbean Sea. I love this place so much this was my fourth visit. When I win the lottery it will be my second home. We did not book an organised excursion but walked to Kensington Oval for the tour. It is worth a look even if you are not a sports lover. After returning to the ship for lunch we took a taxi to Harbour Lights, Carlisle Bay. You have to walk through a bar (which turns into a nightclub after dark) to the beach. The water is so calm and shallow even our not very brave friend ventured into the sea. We were lucky enough to have fish swimming around us and leaping through the surface. Later we took a taxi to Oistins. I can only describe it as an evening, open air, picnic with music and craft stalls. It should be experienced as my words do not do it justice. As in Antigua, our taxi driver was happy to collect us at a set time. In the cruise terminal, we were privileged to witness a Dooflicky. It may sound odd but it is a celebration of Bajan heritage where audience participation is encouraged.
I read that you can smell Grenada before you can see it. How true it is. It's no wonder it is called the Spice Island. Again, we took a tour in a taxi. We went to Annandale Falls where we glimpsed a Humming Bird, which was thrilling. Also, as part of the attraction a gentleman sang to us all and young men jumped from the top of the waterfall into a pool below. They all wanted money but we didn't mind parting with dollars for the open air show. Next we drove to Grand Etang, which boasts a rain forest and lake. As it is quite high up the temperature was lower and there was a breeze, which was very comfortable. The final stopping place was Grand Anse Beach. It was so nice my husband and I have decided we will have a holiday there in the future. The beach is next to a small park with changing and toilet facilities, both of which were welcome.
After leaving The Azores, which was our first stop as bad weather prevented us from visiting Tenerife, we headed for St Kitts. This was the least commercial of the Caribbean islands. Our trip to the St Kitts Railway was booked via P & O. It was very well organised and well worth a visit. As we were on an early train we returned to the ship for lunch then walked back to Basseterre to wander around the town. Although it was enjoyable I get the feeling that it would be fine only for a day trip but not for a 2 week holiday.
After Hurricane Thomas we were unsure if we would be able to stop off in St Lucia. However, as tourism is very important to the residents we did visit, although the after effects were clearly visible. I counted my blessings after seeing collapsed houses, roads that had subsided and children collecting water from pipes. We should have been on an Island Tour but some routes were closed. Our driver did manage to take us to many places including a view point which overlooked Marigot Bay. It was absolutely gorgeous. We were given the opportunity to buy goods where the proceeds would help with the re-building of St Lucia. It was also good to hear that the Azura donated thousands of litres of water to hotels so they could stay open. Tourism creates a lot of income for the Island and its people. I imagine that in different circumstances St Lucia is worth visiting.