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About NeverStopLearning

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    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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  1. Bid placed on Oct 3rd. The minimum bid was $4k and I assumed that it was a weak bid as I bid the absolute minimum.
  2. Thanks for the speedy reply. The blind will work for us. As this is a Panama Canal cruise, I didn't want to frighten the local wildlife. We love the camaraderie of the shared tables in Discoveries. Always have had a fabulous time meeting different people. This time, we hope to enjoy the two specialty restaurants. cheers,
  3. The spa cabins have a whirlpool tub that is encircled with large glass windows. Does anyone know if the glass is one way or if there is a privacy curtain? thanks, rob...
  4. Hi, since one of your mates has a food allergy, you can contact special needs ahead of time. However, the best course of action is to go to the MDR upon embarkation and tell them of the allergy. The person with the allergy can choose their meal ahead of time, usually at noon for the dinner service. They will also ensure that the meal is prepared in an area that is free from cross contamination.
  5. Hi, just received notification of a successful bid on the Journey for Dec 19th cruise. 17 Day Panama Canal cruise. Originally booked a Club Continent Suite. Minimum bid on a Spa Suite was accepted. $4000 for the cruise or about $118ppd. Current loyalty level is discoverer. This will be our 4th cruise with Azamara. Will know if it was worth it after the cruise. This was going to be the first cruise in a suite. All other cruises were in a veranda cabin.
  6. I can tell you from personal experience that the all the servers and kitchen staff will go out of their way to accommodate the allergies. Upon embarkation go to the MDR and speak to them about noting the allergies in the file. I did this two Christmases ago as I am sensitive to egg and dairy. No way would they allow me to cheat and order something that had egg and dairy in it. I had to sneak away to the open buffet on deck 5 to have a piece of Xmas Log. No way were they allowing me to go against my food intolerance.
  7. There is a hotel located right at the airport called the Wyndham Costa Del Sol with direct access to the airport. You can walk to the departures area. It is a business hotel, clean with spa and pool but I wouldn't recommend it for more than 1 night. Spent 1 night at the hotel prior to our excursion to Machu Picchu. There is no night life as the area is industrial so you will be hotel-bound. However, you can easily make your 6:30 am flight as it takes taxi travel off the table. Travel by car in Lima is very exciting with lights, signals and signs being suggestions. If you are spending more than 1 night, then I would recommend the Miraflores or Barranco districts. Those are probably the two best districts for tourists. I will put in a shameless plug for a hotel in the Barranco called Hotel B, a Relais et Chateau hotel. It has excellent food and ambience, but may be a bit high end. Good luck.
  8. We were on the Pursuit over Christmas and I was chatting up the bartenders. One of them mentioned that all the cruise lines had issues shipping through Brazil. Stuff goes missing all the time and when the port inspectors are on board, they remove the expensive items from the shop displays. Upon tipping our tour guide after an excursion, I have never seen anyone palm the tip so quickly with a very understated but heartfelt thank you. I suspect that the port of Rio de Janero has a solid underground of scratch my back and I'll scratch yours. There are probably some kickbacks going on for access. No real proof, but I am a people watcher. I have no idea how Buenos Aires stacks up, but I did enjoy our visits there immensely. It felt better than Brazil. This is just my opinion, your mileage may vary.
  9. With respect to the laundry room, sometimes they leave it locked or are late. Don't worry, a call to guest services will get it opened. It happened to us in Buenos Aires, and they had it open in no time.
  10. We visited Machu Picchu as a pre-cruise excursion to our Lima to BA cruise last November. It was well worth it, and I suggest that you consider booking a formal tour as it can be amazing. I believe it is against board rules to mention specific tour companies, but Peruvian tour guides take a 3 year college course to get their license. You will need a tour guide to visit Machu Picchu regardless. It was a six day tour broken down as follows. First day was really meeting everyone at the Lima Airport hotel and we had a group dinner where we were introduced to the guides. Next day, we flew to Cusco where we immediately were taken by bus to the Sacred Valley. Cusco is at 11,000 feet and the Sacred Valley is at 9,000 feet. It makes a big difference in acclimatizing. We toured a pottery studio and an Andean weaving cooperative. Hotel was fabulous! Third day, we toured a famous hat maker (milliner?), some salt mines, and a famous geological dig (round circles). Tour company organized a catered lunch by a lake. Spent a second night at the hotel. Fourth day, we toured the Incan Sun Gate in the Sacred Valley. Took the Bingham Hiram train to Machu Picchu. Train staff had a band playing in the bar car. 60 and 70's rock classics are very popular in Peru. Spent the afternoon spending 4 hours visiting Machu Picchu as allowed. Hotel at the base of the mountain. Fifth day, morning spent visiting the second half of Machu Picchu. It is a big place. Late lunch (tea service) at the hotel at the top of the mountain. Took the return train to Cuzco. This time spent most of the time in the bar car listening to music. Arrived in the evening in Cusco. Hotel was an old Incan Palace. Sixth day, toured the Cusco market outside the hotel followed by a tour of the town square.[trivia, town square was featured in Blindspot this season]. Visited some churches and a museum. Back to the airport for flight to Lima where we were driven to the ship. Prior to this adventure, we spent two days touring Lima. Highly recommend a tour of the old city. Bridge of Sighs in the Barranco district is a famous tourist stop. Final suggestion, see your doctor about altitude sickness pills. We had them. No problems. If issues develop, most hotels have oxygen on hand. The altitude pills are really blood thinners.
  11. You should be fine taking the precautions that you do. We just completed a b2b around South America. While Brazil was the one country that I felt the need to be cautious in, it wasn't that bad. The issue with Brazil is that there is a big gulf between the rich and poor with very little social safety net. Crime has been almost institutionalized with the crooks walking up and asking for wallet and cellphone, and then running away. But it is not frequent and common. Our guide mentioned that he also had been mugged but he just gave up his wallet and continued on. You might want to consider carrying an old wallet with a few dollars in it as a throwaway. That said, there are places in North America that have worse crime. The Brazilian people are very friendly and welcoming. You will have a great time.
  12. The website, weatherbase.com, can give you max-avg-min temperatures, that can help your planning. I used it for our Machu Picchu tour last November. A few light layers are better than a thick layer. Try a windbreaker-hoodie-sweater combo. It can also be augmented with an undershirt. It all depends on how hot you run. Merino wool is your friend as long as you are not allergic. It is very bright at altitude, so remember sun protection. Our guides were constantly putting on sunscreen. See your doctor about altitude sickness pills. It can hit you like a brick. Most hotels have oxygen if you need it. In Lima, the Miraflores and Barranco districts are the main tourist areas. At the best of times, the drivers are insane with road signs being merely suggestions. Cabs are readily available at the airport with everyone speaking English even at 1am. Not recommended to leave the airport are in search of a cheaper cab. Just remember that layers are your friend. Also, most hotels will allow you to store your bag until your return. Most couples only took a single checked bag and carryon. Most travel into Cusco from Lima is by air and the flights are full. That's because, while Cuzco is at 11,000 feet, the mountain pass between Lima and Cuzco is at 15,000 feet. The airport hotel is a business hotel. Fine for 1 night but I would stay in central Lima for any longer stays. Enjoy, it is a great trip.
  13. We stayed at the Sofitel Ricoleta hotel for both pre and post stays for our Iguazu Falls excursion. Very nice and quiet hotel. Flights to Iguazu are out of the domestic airport which is about 20 minutes away. International airport is about 1 hour away, more if traffic is bad. Anything in the Ricoleta district will be a nice stay. rob...
  14. The Lima -> BA and Christmas cruises were our 2nd and 3rd Azamara cruise respectively with the first being the 2017 Christmas cruise. We were pleased enough with the product to book a b2b NZ, Australia cruise for 2021 on the Pursuit. Our next Azamara cruise is this Christmas on the Journey. There will probably be a cruise sometime in the middle as well. I, personally, attribute some of the issues to two causes. First, the addition of 50% capacity to the line no doubt caused some stress over all 3 ships. Second, the lack of a full-time FB manager on the Pursuit contributed to some issues as well. Being down a full headcount in management with 33% new people is bound to cause problems with identifying and fixing problems. The issues that Phil pointed out with inattentive senior staff and being ignored are also valid and fall outside my two points. That was a real failing in customer support and retention. Hopefully, Azamara will examine the issue and reach out to him. The entire cruise industry is in a constant state of flux balancing price against value. Senior (land based) executives are only judged on share holder equity, i.e. profit in the short term. Losing customers also affects share holder equity but has a longer time horizon before it becomes a problem. It is like balancing a ball on a pin. Competition among cruise lines is how we, the customer, ensure that our price/value objectives are met. If Azamara drops in value too much, it is time to try other lines. We will shed a tear about what was, but ultimately we go to where we feel our needs are being met. There has been a lot of respectful, balanced and constructive opinions being raised here. All with the intention of Azamara, through Bonnie the CBO, fixing the issues before they become systemic problems. I don't see this type of discussion in any of the other boards. That makes a big difference. Apologies for the long rant, I will blame it on the early morning and the fact that I returned to Ottawa Canada in time for record snowfall and freezing cold. Cabin fever is setting in.... To answer your question: Your cruise is far enough in the future that the issues should be fixed. Since you can cancel up to 6 months before your cruise, keep monitoring the board and make a decision before you pay. You will lose a small portion of the down payment but will get most of it back. Stay the course for a little while longer. As always YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary),
  15. It is always a good idea to go to a travel clinic and get the recommended vaccinations. As people have said before, better safe than sorry. Having just got back from South America on a cruise that went from Lima to Brazil, the only recommended vaccination was for Yellow Fever because we were going into the jungle, as well as visiting Iguazu Falls. The risk is low in the coastal cities. However, we were never asked to produce any sort of vaccination certificate. The authorities were more interested in our visas than medical documents. If you are over 65, some doctors will recommend against the vaccination because the possible side effects pose a greater risk than catching the disease. Your doctor will advise you accordingly. I had no reaction to the vaccine, and have some fantastic memories from the trip.
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