Azura review

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barney
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Azura review

Post by barney » 03 Sep 2017, 10:07

Just back yesterday from a five night Azura cruise - two overnights in Amsterdam and Le Havre.

We travelled down the night before because on concerns about the Bank holiday traffic.
We stayed in the Travelodge Southampton central.
I got it for a good price at £36 for the night.
So, a really easy journey down and arrived about seven thirty.
Parked easily, left the luggage in our room and walked up the West Quay for some dinner.
We went to a place called The Real Greek. We had a very nice meal, a bottle of Greek wine and got back to the hotel about 10.30 and flaked out.

With an 11.00 o'clock check out, we laid around for a while, checked out and then went back to West Quay for a brunch and to kill a bit of time.
I must say this is the first time we had spent any time in Southampton a liked it.
We walked the walls for a bit and the had a bite to eat.

The car park ticket expired at 13.30 so we then left for our 14.30 check in.
There was a bit of a queue for CPS but nothing terrible and they took our car at about 13.45.
We went into the terminal and were given fast track black cards and were in our cabin at just after two.

We were Saver so were allocated B753, overlooking the stern. That suited us very well. We had aft cabins before and like them.

This was our first time on Azura and I must say we were both very impressed. She is a beautiful ship and the various venues were great. Absolutely no complaints about anything.
The MDR food was very good and we didn't do Sindhu or Epicurean this time due to time constraints.

We sailed out in beautiful sunshine, so nice that at 7.30, we were sill up on deck.
Quick shower and dinner then went to see the first show of the cruise.
These were the best Headliners by a mile that we've seen. All were excellent singers and the show was very good.

Next day, sea day and another scorcher.
We transited the canal at about 14.00. How they got that ship through the lock was a miracle?
About a metre clearance each side.
Then the long slow sail into Amsterdam. Sitting on our balcony on the back, in full sunshine and watching the sail in was lovely. (glass of bubbly in hand)

So, we arrive at about 16.00. all good so far.
Then the announcement that due to new EU regulations, all passengers from outside the Shengen zone will need to go through full immigration checks, even if they are not dis-embarking. This was for security reasons. So, you get off, get checked, and then go back on, if you are not going ashore.
No problem we thought. That sounds reasonable.
So they called passengers by deck, starting at the top with Lido deck.
An hour later, they called Riviera deck.
It's gone five by now and it quickly became apparent that the Dutch immigration did not have the capacity to handle such things.
They had completely under estimated the volume of people and didn't have sufficient staff or resources.
So, by six o'clock, they conceded defeat and said that any UK passport holder could dis-embark without checks, but all others had to go through immigration.

We ambled down to deck five to get of and it was like Wembley on cup final day, so went back and had another drink then went to dinner.
Shame because it was a lovely evening but we said there is always tomorrow.

The following morning it was grey and drizzly but we had breakfast and it cleared up a bit so we walked in, with our five Euro umbrellas that we bought in Lisbon last year.
We did the Canal trip in nice weather but it soon darkened again, so we headed for a café. Yep! it was one of those cafe's. Interesting to say the least.
It started to rain proper so we decided to walk back before it got too bad.
It got too bad!!
The five Euro umbrellas were again, pretty useless and we got soaked through.
Anyway, a dry out and relax then changed for dinner and another lovely evening.
We left Amsterdam at 1.00 am.

Next day was a sea day down to France and the weather was very nice, so up on deck in my shorts.
Reading, sleeping and the odd drink. What a tough life I lead?
Formal night that evening and observed by about 80% I'd say.
Overall very good with the odd football shirt here and there in the bars.

Next morning in Le Havre and again over cast.
We'd booked for Honfleur and left at 8.45.
When we crossed the bridge to the other side of the estuary, the weather was lovely.
We did the guided tour and then sat in the sun, on the harbour and had a café au lait.
The only negative was that it wasn't long enough. A full day would have been much better as we could have had a seafood lunch around the harbour.
When we were driving back, we could see that the weather at Le Havre was not good so we went back on board to have lunch in the MDR.
By coincidence, the Tall Ship around the world race was in Le Havre for a few days so after lunch and armed with our five Euro brollies, we walked the fifteen minute walk to the docks.
We were so glad we did. It was brilliant. You could go on many of the ships, there bands playing and a carnival atmosphere.
And ... the sun came out.
We ended up sitting on scaffold planks drinking authentic Normandy cidre, and enjoying the afternoon.

Then, back to the ship for the final dinner and show.
It was a weird techno show call Evolution.
Very clever but not really my cup of tea, and I struggled to stay with it after all the alcohol consumed that day.

The following morning and back in Southampton.
Independence of the Seas, Brittania, Mien Schiff 4 - a huge Princess ship and Azura all in together ??
Got off at about nine and had an easy drive home.
Went to football.
Gills lost.
Back to work Monday.
Until the next cruise :thumbup:

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david63
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Re: Azura review

Post by david63 » 03 Sep 2017, 10:24

barney wrote:
03 Sep 2017, 10:07
Then the announcement that due to new EU regulations, all passengers from outside the Shengen zone will need to go through full immigration checks,
That's probably the same thing that has been causing the problems at some airports.

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Kenmo1
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Re: Azura review

Post by Kenmo1 » 03 Sep 2017, 10:26

Good to read your review, barney, as my friend was on this cruise and I had suggested the excursion to Honfleur to her (even though we have never been ) because I had read so many good reviews on the place. Will have to add it to our list of places to visit.

I will catch up with her later today but she phoned yesterday just after she arrived home to say she had had a wonderful time and so had her grand daughter who accompanied her and who is now totally hooked.

Maureen

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Mervyn and Trish
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Re: Azura review

Post by Mervyn and Trish » 03 Sep 2017, 12:01

david63 wrote:
03 Sep 2017, 10:24
barney wrote:
03 Sep 2017, 10:07
Then the announcement that due to new EU regulations, all passengers from outside the Shengen zone will need to go through full immigration checks,
That's probably the same thing that has been causing the problems at some airports.
And misses the point that recent terrorist attacks in Europe were committed by people travelling within the Shengen Zone!

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oldbluefox
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Re: Azura review

Post by oldbluefox » 03 Sep 2017, 12:07

Welcome back Barney and thanks for your review. Sounds a good itinerary for a five day cruise but a long drive down just for a short cruise for 'us northerners'. I wouldn't mind something like that if they extended it to a longer cruise though. Did you not suffer any after effects from secondary smoking after your Amsterdam cafe experience.
We once caught an overnight train down to Brussels and sat in a carriage where somebody had been on the weed. We did sleep well that night!!!

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allatc
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Re: Azura review

Post by allatc » 03 Sep 2017, 12:52

We saw "Evolution" on our Azura cruise a few weeks.

Completely lost us !. Not impressed.


cruisin_duo
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Re: Azura review

Post by cruisin_duo » 04 Sep 2017, 15:56

Thanks for posting your review.

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Jan Rosser
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Re: Azura review

Post by Jan Rosser » 04 Sep 2017, 16:59

Thanks for posting your review - I've booked a week on Azura with the family next Whitsun holiday - Le Havre/Amsterdam/Hamburg so interesting to know what you did at those ports too.
Janis


cruisin_duo
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Re: Azura review

Post by cruisin_duo » 10 Sep 2017, 18:48

Just catching up on the site so thank you for the review.


Cruiserblade
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Re: Azura review

Post by Cruiserblade » 18 Sep 2017, 11:10

Thanks for the review. We've travelled on both the Azura and Ventura and have generally had nothing but good experiences on both and indeed are booked on Azura for Christmas. As for the shows, generally we've found them pretty decent and I don't have a problem with innovation and a more avant garde presentation. I would like the next generation to enjoy the cruising experience that we've enjoyed, but that means things need to change, modernise and appeal to them and endless repetition of old school musicals isn't going to attract.

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barney
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Re: Azura review

Post by barney » 18 Sep 2017, 11:38

I agree cruiserblade.
They have to constantly adapt to the changing market.
I may well have enjoyed the Evolution show had I been fully alert (sober) but had a lovely meal with a nice bottle of Malbec before we went in.
It didn't help. :shh:

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