Our holiday began with a ten minute taxi ride to London City Airport, the approach to which was lined with dozens of police guarding the airport against Extinction Rebellion climate change protestors, one of whom had climbed on to the top of a plane the previous day. Once inside the airport all was calm and we enjoyed our flight to Nice. We caught a local train to Monte Carlo and stayed overnight at the Novotel Monte Carlo. This was a reasonably priced, modern and comfortable central hotel, situated within a three minute walk from the train station. In the evening we enjoyed dinner at Polpetta, a nearby Italian restaurant where the food was delicious, the limoncello was freely flowing and the atmosphere became increasingly lively. A great start to our holiday.
Next morning we took a taxi to the port and almost immediately boarded Azamara Pursuit. As we approached the ship we could clearly see the old P & O Adonia signage beneath the paintwork but inside the ship is almost identical to Quest and Journey. We were welcomed onboard with coffee/tea and pastries or a glass of sparkling wine. Lunch was being served in the Windows cafe and the spread offered was splendid. By 1.30pm our staterooms were ready. We were situated on Deck 4 in a midship oceanview room, similar to others where we had previously stayed on Quest and Journey. Our thoughts on this stateroom differed from those though, notably the dark grey walls which gave the room a permanently gloomy feel and required us to switch the lights on all the time. The aircon was particularly fierce and couldn't be turned off which resulted in us both suffering from sore, dry throats for the whole of the cruise. The fruit bowl which we had enjoyed in the past and which is still advertised in the 2020 brochure was missing, although when we asked our room steward for oranges these were provided. There are no longer any binoculars to borrow. Otherwise, the room, bedding, towels, toiletries and cleanliness were fine and the room was very quiet.
We immediately booked our speciality restaurant dinners – three for $70 – well worth it as the meals were spectacular, especially in Aqualina.