Our party of 4 arrived very early to the port in Nice at about 11am, and to our surprise we were welcomed on board with a glass of bubbly within 30 minutes of arrival at the port by an extremely friendly crew. A great start to our cruise!
We immediately felt very relaxed and decided to have another glass of bubbly at the pool bar in the sunshine. Bliss! We knew from that point on we were going to enjoy ourselves and that we had found a gem of a cruise ship.
No stresses followed; lunch at the Windows Cafe was great, cases arrived in extremely good time, cabin perfect, muster was done and dusted, and then to top it all, we sat at an outdoor table at the Windows Cafe as we left Nice, the weather was absolutely perfect and there we stayed!! Dolphins followed us out of Nice, the wine flowed and the staff were 5*.
The very next day we arrived in Portofino, breakfast at the Windows Cafe at an outdoor table (again!). Tender to shore was very choppy, but Portofino was beautiful even in the mist & grey cloud. Dinner was at the Windows Cafe, outdoor table (again!) and was a fabulous choice. Believe me, we really did want to eat in the dining room, but when you live in the UK, to be able to sit outside and eat is a real treat! The entertainment that evening was thoroughly enjoyable: Eric is a true star, compelling to watch and must not be missed!
St Tropez was the biggest surprise to us, we did not expect such a beautiful, typically French, quaint, harbour side town, and we had a lovely wander around the streets. When we went to the Windows Cafe for dinner, for our usual outdoor table, initially we were disappointed that it was closed for the evening! However.....the evening then turned out to be the most idyllic dining experience, with a BBQ on deck, and our table, which was on the jogging track, had the most amazing view as the sun went down! To top it all off, there was a firework display in St Tropez at around 11pm, which lit up the skies and the waters around the ship!
Next day was Monaco! Sooo exciting! At 7am I was aware of the ship turning, and opened the curtains...WOW! What a sight, Monaco bathed in sunshine and the water like a duck pond! Perfect! I didn't think we were ever going to stop as we kept going and finally dropped anchor very close to the harbour.
Breakfast was taken at the Windows Cafe (no surprise there!), watching the helicopters buzzing around which added to the excitement of the day! We jumped on the tender quite early in readiness for the Grand Prix, and it just so happened that we passed Mark Webber sitting in a dinghy as we were about to dock!! More excitement!! We had tickets for The Rock, and fortunately for us, arrived early and found ourselves a good vantage point (probably only 100m in from the entrance). This gave us a fantastic view of a screen, views right across the harbour and a view, albeit a small view, of the track. The noise was deafening (remember your ear plugs), remember a hat and remember lots of water, which was free for all, as you left the ship!
In the evening, after the most fantastic day, we took dinner at the Windows Cafe at an outdoor table (yet again) and watched the sun go down, the lights of Monaco light up, and we were able to reflect upon a truly special experience on Azamara Journey.