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Bradbury on azamara - 5. Day 2 split

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    Bradbury on azamara - 5. Day 2 split

    This morning is one of the the rare occasions on this particular cruise when we are actually at sea, if I recall we are in port just about every day for the remainder of this cruise. We had decided because of the announcement yesterday re the Norovirus that we would breakfast in the MDR rather than the buffet. So yes, back to the Norovirus, as I had noted yesterday on embarkation, the fact that passengers were not allowed to self serve. The captain had made an announcement at the Lifeboat Drill that several passengers last cruise had 'eaten ashore'? And had upset stomachs V&D and as a precaution etc, etc you know the kind of thing. But this time it was a little more enforced and strongly put over, along with an announcement that the non self service of food in the buffet was likely to continue for the duration of the cruise as a precaution. I have never felt unduly worried by these announcements on other cruises, but on this occasion felt a little concerned. I have to say as of yet I have not come across nor heard of anyone suffering on this cruise. So hopefully they are doing a good job at containing it.

    We thought we would take breakfast in the main dining room because somehow the thought of walking around the buffet stations, pointing, waiting for things to be plated up just didnt appeal. OH agreed so we went to the MDR to find that it was closed. Upon subsequently reading the Todays Programme we realised it was because there was a brunch service later form 10-1.30. So buffet breakfast up at Windows Cafe it had to be. It was not as bad as I had thought and we easily navigated the stations asking for what we wanted. This time I opted for Bacon, and there is a choice of the crispy american bacon or English bacon which I have to say is very good, lovely lean pieces and thick too, with a couple of freshly pieces of toasted bread and the very last of the HP sauce out of the bottle (hope they find me some more for tomorrow). OH managed to find some lovely freshly squeezed orange juice which was fabulous, delicious. Proper fresh OJ along with some energy shots of a fruit smoothie combo of all sorts of fruit including ginger, all included – no extra charge.


    Coffee, did I want coffee? Hmmmm, yes but no. I said I would tell you about the coffee. I am quite fussy when it comes to coffee and the only cruise line which I have found that does nice coffee both in the Self Service and the Restaurant is Celebrity, so Azamara being the premium brand of the group – one would think they can get something as straightforward as the coffee right. The previous evening everyone at the dinner table ordered coffee, me included. I took one sip and was repulsed by it, trying to work out quite what was wrong with it, my nose told me it was the milk. UHT longlife so I thought well I will just ask the waiter if he can bring me some fresh milk. This took a lot of explaining he really did not understand what I meant but went off to get something, which was just a little better but not much.

    So did I want coffee for breakfast, I'll try a capuccino OH decided that he would opt for the tea. OMG the tea... its almost as bad as the coffee. The tea came in a builders mug (I do mean builders mug not the typical standard size mug) and not only looked but tasted like dishwater, coupled with the UHT milk, this did not go down well. It would also take at least three of those tea bags too to make a decent cuppa even if we had the right milk. The cappucino was only a little better. Damn it, we'll just live on wine and champagne for the rest of the cruise.

    So what was in store this morning, - the only morning we have at sea so it was a good opportunity for them to fit in the loyalty members senior officers party at 11am. This was a small gathering, dont know if there are many on board with the high status or whether they just didnt bother to turn up, but we have the higher tier equivalent as we have reached Elite with Celebrity Captains Club. All senior officers were lined up to greet us with a No Handshaking policy as enforced by the Norovirus scare. This was however, not just a simple good morning, nice to welcome you back, pass along the line affair; each and everyone of those officers took time out to speak in a more personable way to each and everyone of us. I was most impressed. Drinks were handed around I asked for a bucks fizz which I was told madam this is Mimosa (Yes I must remember this is Azamara) only the best will do. For those that dont know, bucks fizz is OJ and Champagne whereas Mimosa is FRESH OJ and Champagne. Canapes arrived, much the same as yesterday whilst a pianist played standard tunes, such as Billy Joel, Beatles, Sinatra and it was a very decadent way to pass the remainder of the morning, seated in the looking glass lounge right at the front of the ship whilst we sailed into Split.

    Whilst we had passed along the line of officers upon entering the lounge, the Hotel Manager asked if everything was to my satisfaction. Yes, lovely, we are really enjoying it but I have a few niggles; can I speak to the Food and Beverage Manager. Yes of course, he was a couple of officers along the line. I asked about the coffee or rather the milk and did they carry fresh milk. Apparently they dont, but I still cant work out what milk they use different on Celebrity than they do on here. He said they were restricted and regulated by what Head Office stipulate they can purchase so there was nothing he could do but suggested I try the Coffee in the Mosaic Cafe which was much better, but I thought it kind of defeats the object if the milk is the same.

    Then a short rest in the cabin before we went for lunch. We opted for the Brunch in the Main Dining Room. This was a buffet style with a range of fayre from cereals through to hot meals, with a small display but nothing as on the grand scale that Celebrity do this. I opted for the Thai Lemongrass Soup, which so far has been the most tastiest thing I have had on this ship, along with a plate of smoked salmon, capers, blue cheese and ceasar salad, followed with deep fried battered bananas cooked in front of us. Looking forward to this and asked for the golden syrup but alas no syrup. What how can they serve these without syrup! A small serving of crème anglais had to be made do with, all washed down again with the freely poured wine.

    So now we have arrived in Split, Croatia. Its a very easy walk into the heart of this place as we are berthed right on the edge of the town. A short few minutes walk to the left will take you infront of the ferry terminals and across the road you will find a decent sized market. OH wanted a new sunhat and there are plenty of stalls here to choose from. After trying a few on, he decided they were rather expensive. Seemed daft paying equivalent of £20 when you can get one back home for a fiver. They were however good quality and not cheap tat. A walk through the market brought us into the old town, which is lovely; interesting alleyways, architecture, small shops. I was off in search of a chemist having been attacked by the Mossies in Venice. I am not usually prone to mosquitio bites but boy have they had a feast on me this time. My legs are so bad I dare not expose them to anyone hence I have been wearing long trousers and maxi dresses. I have huge red patches and blotches all up both legs, so some soothing gel was required and I am so glad at the last minute we dropped some anti histimane tablets in the bag before we left home.

    The heat bearing down on us, we decided to return to the ship for a rest. After freshening up we went on deck to find some pool chairs of which there were plenty still available. These are lovely old fashioned wooden steamer chairs with deep padded cushions and lovely white towels covering them. Pale Blue pool towels are rolled up in the base of the chair for your use. The pool towels however are a little tired and threadbare looking - as is the pool area itself. It is not the most pleasing to the eye with old cracked blue tiles, patched up with white sealant, some in need of replacing and the grouting inbewteen very dirty and grimey. I am sure I have read that the ship is due for a refit later this year and is much in need of this. I went for a dip in the pool which is quite dinky. Dinky is a word I have frequently used on this ship for everything is dinky, the stairs are dinky, the corridors are dinky. Everything is the same as on other ships but on a smaller scale. So off into the pool for a dip, a little swim around and I noticed one of the pool towels half hung into the water. I was alarmed to see that the half of the towel that was in the water had bleached itself white. Hmmm, best get out of here I thinks in my bright fuchsia pink and purple swimming costume, thinking I was glad I was not wearing one of the new ones I had just bought from M&S which had cost a fair bit and also taking note not to wear them in the pool either. Thankfully I have brought with me just one old faded swimsuit which I take just incase the jacuzzis are set to boil wash.


    OH fancied a beer and was pleased to find they had Boddingtons which cost $6.75 note there are no additional service charges on the drinks as all grats are included. Only time you will be charged a service charge will be for spa services at 18%. I opted for a fruit punch of which this is included at no charge as are all soft drinks, water and wine with meals. Also take note that bottles of chilled water are freely available at each port just before you leave the gangway. The area around the pool was very calm and relaxing, no music blaring out from speakers nor the stage and just the occasional splash from the pool, which gave us a nice ½ hour or so in the sun. I am not one to lay out for hours like some people and find I get a better tan with no sunscreen but just a timed 15-20 mins each side. OH had another beer, this time opting for a Becks Lager which is $5.50.

    We then retired back to the cabin so I could once again get on the keyboard and put down on screen the events so far. After resting we got ready for the evening meal and decided that this evening we would try for a table for two as we didnt feel like doing too much talking this evening. We approached the Maitre D to be informed there were four other couples waiting for tables for two but if we were willing to share we could be seated immediately. As we are not ones for hanging around we opted to be seated with others. The meal again was satisfactory, nothing memorable. I havent quite put my finger on what it is exactly about the food that I'm not getting; for the menu itself reads very well, yet I am always a little disappointed in what arrives on my plate. Maybe my expectations have been too high, I dont know. Whilst others had their dessert and coffee, we excused ourselves, in search of the coffee in the Mosaic Cafe.

    I wanted to go here this evening anyway as the piano man was due to start a stint in here and as the earlier renditions of tunes were right up my street, just a little gentle sing along with some nice piano playing seemed to fit the bill. I decided to try the latte but asked for a double shot of coffee and a glass of frangelico on the rocks to go with it just incase! OH opted for the latte too. Alas the double shot of coffee did not mask that smell of UHT, and was still weak so I asked for another shot of coffee to be added. Did not make any difference but I did just manage to drink it. Specialty coffees are included so no charge for this. Frangelico $7 which if you compare to Celebrity at $6.50 plus 15% is by no means unreasonable, however I did think they were a little mean with the pouring. Making note next time to see if they freepour of measure.

    The piano man came to start his session and I noticed an Electronic Organ Keyboard on top of the piano, which he duly began to play along with the piano to add some background notes and sounds. I wish he hadnt; for he is a very good keyboard player but the simulated sounds coming out of the organ took me back some 20 years listening to the Saturday night acts in the Working mens clubs and just totally killed it for me. So after finishing our drinks we went in search of other entertainment. Earlier there had been a girl Cellist in the Showlounge but this was not really our cup of tea and this had now finished anyway. Nothing seems to go on in the show lounge after 10.30 as we had found when we wandered in the previous evening to find the maid hoovering. The only other place for entertainment is the Looking Glass at the top of the ship which is like a Crows Nest Lounge. Here we found an 80's night disco, so we sat at the bar on the big high stools being entertained by a lovely group of teenagers who were enjoying themselves immensely with their air guitars and the sounds of the 80's. Wham, Madonna, Boy George etc. We decided to join in and had a good half hour or so bopping on the dance floor before we felt ready to retire to our cabin, taking the outside walk on deck for some warm night air.

    #2
    Great review, looking forward to the next.

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      #3
      Sounds like you are having a fab time Bradbury and such a detailed report. Keep them coming I'm enjoying reading them immensely.

      Vinny
      sigpic

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        #4
        Still compulsive reading Bradbury and now I know about the norovirus. Early days yet but you don't seem overly impressed with the ship compared to Celebrity (I think you were on Equinox recently). I shall enjoy the continuing saga. HT

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          #5
          We were on Fred Olsen's Balmoral in April and a lady we kept meeting went on and on about the Azamara, saying she was only on the Balmoral because she had brought her grandaughter and couldn't wait to return to the Azamara. She did have a great sense of humour though and made the stories quite funny. She gave me the impression it was really posh, so I am interested in Bradbury's finds.

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            #6
            It's a great blog Bradbury. I love the detailed descriptions and the 'warts and all' approach. Makes for riveting reading.

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              #7
              I love 80's music, Did you play air guitars too? Looking forward to my read tomorrow.........................................C arol

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                #8
                Your reports make me feel that I am on board,keep them coming.

                Jim

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                  #9
                  I am really enjoying theses reports. Very informative and you are telling it as you find it.

                  I suggest more alcohol in the coffee to disguise the milk...Carol

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                    #10
                    Another fascinating read. Lovin' it.
                    Keep up the good work
                    sigpic*Carol M*

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                      #11
                      Another brillant update, await tomorrows bulletin with eagerness

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                        #12
                        Where's the picture of me chips?............Wilba
                        Wilba

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                          #13
                          I know where you are.

                          Hi Bradbury.

                          Superb blog and telling it how it is. Bravo Zulu.

                          I know exactly where you are...



                          Mid right just above centre.

                          I'll wager that Azamara could not have got this close in Split though...




                          ...but that was after one hell of a high tide. LOL.

                          And I'd also wager the queues to get back on board aren't this long...




                          That was for Celebrity Eclipse's tender. I gave up and went for another beer.

                          Keep them coming.

                          Richard

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                            #14
                            Can't wait for the next instalment, excellent.

                            Susan

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                              #15
                              excellent 2nd chapter Bradbury. looking forward to the 3rd one.
                              don't want to work, just want to cruise.

                              Comment


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