We thought this would be a lovely start to an 8 week trip to Europe and help us relax and unwind at the beginning. How wrong can you be.
From start to finish this itinerary is full of wonderful ports, sometimes 2 in a day, so you never get a chance to unwind and relax! This said we loved it but thought if it was spread over 9-10 days it would be much more enjoyable especially in the heat of summer.
This was our second cruise on Journey and our third on Azamara but the first in the Med. We were exploring the beautiful Adriatic coast with ports of Zadar, Split, Hvar, Kotor and Dubrovnik with an overnight in Venice on the last night. All ports were fabulous and even though we had visited three before we enjoyed revisiting them.
We were in a Club Continent Suite 8056 which is just aft of the aft elevators/stairs midships and on port side. We love the large balcony for breakfasts and drinks at night.
We had several meals in the Speciality restaurants and they were all enjoyable and well presented and cooked as was the service.
The Azamazing evening with Ana Rucner a wonderful cellist, held in the Mestrovic Gallery in Split, was fabulous.
We didnt get to eat at the White Nights deck BBQ this cruise as it was scheduled on the same night as Lobster night in the MDR. Shame, as we usually get to experience both and enjoy both of them, so we were very disappointed with this change and poor planning. Another money saver we guessed.
Wine served with meals was terrific in quality and variety and if one was not to our liking you can request the previous days or one we had preferred.
Service was exceptional, except for room service breakfast which first morning came cold, so we resorted to cold breakfast after this and our butler was obviously new and untrained and was very disappointing after fabulous butlers we have had before.
We thought the entertainment onboard was some of the best we have ever seen on an Azamara ship and Eric and the singers and dancers were outstanding. Also brilliant were Beverley Davison, a combination of violinist and comedienne, very funny, Max di Faz a wonderful singer and an english Magician/Comedian who was excellent.
Overall, a wonderful cruise, but we will be giving other lines a try for awhile, as we think a comparism to this size of ship is necessary to gain a real overview.
Everything worked and was kept very well by our cabin attendants
Did our own thing, catching the ferry across to Guidecca the old Jewish area across from S. Croce where the ship was docked.
We walked around Split on our own as have been here before, experiencing the markets and beautiful accapella singing in one of the old Roman buildings.
Walked around Zadar on our own, seeing the Sea Organ, just beautiful, and next to the ship, then along the waterfront to the old Roman gate the original gate to the old city. We visited the Gardens above this gate then wandered the old streets, visiting the markets and enjoying the ambience of the lovely old town, and crossing the bridge to the new town.
Had booked a private tour with Simon from Secret Hvar for 8 of us. We walked through the old town of Hvar, walled and very beautiful, then boarded our 12 seater bus and were driving to the top of the walls to the Fortress above Hvar for beautiful views over the Pakleni Islands and Hvar town and harbour. Then we drove via lovely terraced hills and lavendar farms to the very old town of Stari Grad, which is much quieter and more traditional. 'We had lunch at a restaurant there, recommended by Simon, but service was very poor and we wasted a lot of time here unnecessarily, but the food was good and it had free WIFI. We visited another seaside town and then a winery, which was really lovely and bought a bottle of their local liqueur, Brosec. Would recommend this tour as Simon was a good guide, but pick your own restaurant from tripadvisor reviews!
We had been to Dubrovnik before and walked the walls so we decided to take the cable car up to the top of the mountain above Dubrovnik. This was easy to find using the North city gate Buza and cost 108 Kuna for two return tickets. Amazing views from here and great photography stop. Returned to the old city and visited the Cathedral and Church of St Ignatius then found Buda bar, down steps outside the southern wall overlooking the sea. Lovely stop and ice coffee.
We did a private tour with 6 others with Tony from Adventure Montenegro. We had a 1 1/2 hour walking tour of the old city of Kotor first, visiting St Triphans Cathedral and the Church of St Nicholas as well as the Maritime Museum, all very good. We then met our driver and 8 seater bus for a drive around the fjord to Perast, overlooking the Church of Perast built by fishermen in the middle of the bay. We went by boat here and visited the tiny church with a magnificent painted ceiling and which holds a museum. We then enjoyed lunch on the fjord overlooking the church, in Perast at Palace Perast Restaurant, delicous food, wine, free WIFI and great service. Then we drove back to Kotor and over to Budva a very popular beachside holiday resort, but with a lovely old city. We then drove back via the High Road which overlooks Kotor Town and had stunning views over the fjord and the 3 ships in port.