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About hubofhockey

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    Sports, Travel, Entertainment
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    St Peterburg, Russia, Barcelona, Dubrovnik

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  1. I don't know much about MSC or Yacht Club, but Azamara, at the very least, should provide a page of written instructions at original embarkation and tell people not to get into the network until reading and understanding how to use the internet and the pricing structures. It would eliminate a lot of confusion. I do like that they let you know if another device is logged into your account and they give you the option to switch to the new device and automatically log the other device out. Nice dim sum lunch in the MDR today which also included Peking Duck, Shumai, sushi, bao, etc. I was impressed and ate too much. Not sure about hosted tables. Sounds like a VIP thing. Enjoy Robin! Off to Sanctum T-Pool to veg out.
  2. Celebrity is pushing suites (Edge concept) and taking public space away from all classes below. Perks for drinks packages for passengers other than suite passengers now have a surcharge on the perk. I'm not about to pay for a suite on Celebrity. I'd rather pay the same price for a balcony cabin on a more premium line. I do like Aqua and Blu, so maybe I'm slightly hypocritical. I think a small ship line like Azamara would lose some friendliness if they move in that direction. With only 700 passengers who all run into each other regularly, it would take something away from the overall atmosphere.
  3. Ron, I wouldn't count on Black Sea or Japan cruises coming too far down in price. They don't do enough of these itineraries and the demand among Azamara regulars is ripe for these cruises. I'm looking at Japan for April 2021 and Oceania is affordable and Azamara is not. All things being equal, I'd much prefer Azamara. I might book Oceania and then cancel if Azamara prices come down. I'd love to book while on the ship, but I can't count on any price drop.
  4. Not sure if logoff.com works. I think you need logout.com.
  5. You'll see them on the Reflection next November. I have a couple more random observations. The people who take minutes packages with WIFI have a couple of problems. Some do not understand that you need to type "logout,com" or you are still eating up minutes. Closing your browser is not enough. They proceed to guest relations on the first couple of days, complaining, but get minutes restored. This takes up valuable time from guest relations in the first crucial couple of days of a voyage. The second related thing is that 240 minutes (4 hours) seems like a lot in a package, but in reality, it's not. WIFI on a ship has speed issues, even 4:1 ratio of time to a standard line you would get at home with Comcast or Verizon. It takes much of the worry off just paying the extra $150 or so on the unlimited package. I'm not sure if Smooth Sensations is a house band on the Quest or just do some selected bookings, but the lead singer, Tina, has great range and the band is a great take. I was a little surprised they did Cocaine by Clapton. They will do just about anything. Also, I wonder why the show cast needs the two dancers. The regular cast of four is versatile and entertains well. You're either in or out on dancing, but this is one area where being half way doesn't seem to work. Just my opinion and observation. The port speaker on the ship is excellent and it demonstrates this line's investment in destination immersion. THIS is a difference. I'm considering an Oceania itinerary, but it would be hard to believe they could match Azamara in this area. I would only choose Oceania for the price difference (thinking Japan in 2021 and Azamara has overheated pricing). Lastly, if you are an American sports fan, the version of ESPN on in the rooms has NFL football featuring a full slate of games also on CBS, FOX, and NBC. Although it's 7 am on Monday morning, Cowboys-Eagles Sunday Night Football will be starting soon. My Patriots are on tomorrow morning (MNF) but we have an early excursion, so can only watch the first half. 😢
  6. It would be nice if they had some packages that didn't include booze. There are five areas they could include but all have an element of drinks: shore excursions WIFI drinks specialty dining spa
  7. We had to do two different things in Hoi An. Azamara does not have shuttles there and it's 45 minutes away. We hired a driver for the day for $65 with Andy's Transfers and did a walking tour with a cooking class in Hoi An with Urban Adventures. Found both of these on TripAdvisor and Andy's and Urban Adventures had excellent reviews. For the longest time (a couple of weeks), the forecast was for Thunderstorms. Within the last day it changed to sunny and mid 80s. The three hour walking tour was great and so was the cooking class. We stopped by a place before the cooking class that makes custom shoes in three hours. It wasn't cheap, but they are all leather and custom fit ($95) and I needed brown shoes. Hoi An was beautiful and we're now back on the ship to relax. Tomorrow is a much needed sea day before a day and a half in Saigon. A couple more notes on dining. Room service menu is excellent and they put a tablecloth on the balcony and the food was better than the buffet. Pretty sure that breakfast on the balcony will be done more regularly. As for the gelato, the consistency still isn't the greatest. Celebrity's is very good near Il Baccio (a step above Mosaic Cafe). Other than that, we're really enjoying the food on Azamara.
  8. After getting back from our junk boat excursion around noon, yesterday afternoon was like a sea day. Sanctum Terrace pool area is really nice. It's not crowded on this itinerary and it's very relaxing. The Thelasotherapy pool is good sized and nice. If we book a veranda on Azamara on our next cruise, I'd pay the $150 extra for use of this area on any warm weather voyage. Tried Prime C last night and it's the best steakhouse of any I've been on at sea. We're trying not to eat too much, so I had the small filet mignon. Not sure if this is for everyone, but the suite menu for breakfast is great and had breakfast in the table on the deck and they even brought out the table cloth. Okay, that was great. Saw Ana Fegi perform last night. This was Streisand style music tonight. Her first night was more pop. I don't like Streisand and struggled to stay awake after a long day. This woman is about as sweet as can be and has a great voice. The choice of songs just wasn't for me. She and the band is leaving the ship today and going on vacation. I guess that's good for variety. Not sure if they bring in comedians. My biggest concern going into this cruise was the entertainment, but it's not even that important. Off to Hoi An in a few minutes for a tour and cooking class.
  9. Bhaya Premium was great. Our junk only had four cabins. Of the eight people, four of us are on the Quest. We saw others on our roll call who were on a Bhaya Classic. The Premiums tend to sell out earlier in advance. The cabins are really nice and so are the balconies and bathrooms. Everything is first rate with personal service. All meals are sit down and very good. Ours included three drinks per meal. I think all inclusive was $390. Yesterday was kayaking around the karsts, a walk through a small cave and swimming. Today we went to the Surprise Cave and saw this guy on the way out. Logistics are easy to the junk boat cruise terminal. Taxis from the port are $20 each way and take 20-25 minutes. The cruise ended at 10:30 and we were back on the ship by 11:30 am. Departure of the ship is 1 pm, so if Azamara does this port again, book with confidence for Bhaya and pay the extra for Premium over Classic. The rest of today is like a sea day and tomorrow we'll be in Hoi An. We're going to Prime C early 6:30 seating and then catching Anna Fendi at the Cabaret Lounge at 8:15. The blueberry gelato in Windows looks good. I'll see on the ice chips.
  10. Got my overnight Visa!!!!!! Good Morning Vietnam!!!!!!!!!!!! Edit - and thank you guest relations!
  11. What you say makes sense and he has been a gentleman. That job cannot be easy. I hope NOT to be on the ship tonight, but hope to see Ernest Saturday night. Ron, my overall impressions of just about everything are very positive. The head of the gym Parasat has been especially helpful. Public spaces are nice. Cabaret Lounge gets high marks. Window cafe is nice, although I wish they spread out buffet a little more. Sunset Bar, a favorite of mine on Celebrity, is also a great area on the Quest. Gym is nice. I were to single anyone out. We had a long talk on day one. I wasn't going to be an active participant and wound up signing up for the boot camp and personal training, He's a good guy. I was able to keep very busy on a sea day. That was my major concern. My first impressions are all good. Of course, if the Vietnam visa thing isn't resolved, this will be off to a bad start.
  12. Hi Ron. His name is Ernest Marchain. I'm sure he's okay, but haven't been to the shows. We can talk offline on Japan. If I do it, it would be Sun Princess or Oceania Nautica. Azamara has the most fiercely loyal regular passenger base I have seen anywhere. This line should be grateful for them. The problem is that when they introduce or re-introduce exotic itineraries, there is such a pent up demand that it drives prices through the roof. Ideally, I would do more cruises on Azamara, but the pricing has to work. Cautiously optimistic on the visa thing. They said they would work with local immigration and possibly resolve around 9 am. Bhaya is a 21 minute taxi ride and I really don't have to be there until 11:30. It's just a little frustrating.
  13. Ugh, I called Azamara before the cruise and asked about the special visa for Vietnam when you are staying overnight in Halong Bay on a private excursion. They told me the price and put a note in my file. One of the first things I did when I boarded was to check on this. I fell asleep at 9 pm and woke up at midnight to find the WRONG VISA under my door. They said maybe they can fix it in the morning. Hopefully, they can fix it. I am cautiously optimistic. If not, I will ask them if they can comp me on their overnight, but I think they would tell me to pound sand. 😡. It's a good thing I looked at the visa first, rather than showing up at the Bhaya docks with an ineffective visa. They would have denied boarding. So far, I am not impressed with Guest Services. When I tried to upgrade to unlimited WIFI, the gentleman had no clue how to do it and, at first told me that it was a shame that I had already logged in and established an account. Huh? They tell you that you have three days to upgrade from the suite 240 minutes to the $150 credit towards the voyage unlimited. I asked for my phone back and got back in line to speak with someone who actually made this happen,. I missed tonight's show. I will catch Ana at her next performance. Ate in the MDR last night. The tandoori lamb was very good. Also like the firecracker shrimp (shrimp in an egg roll) and pear bisque soup. Dessert was chocolate gelato and a huge let down as every bite had ice chips. Probably a message that maybe I should skip dessert every now and again. I am hoping that I make it on the Bhaya junk as their dining is supposed be really good. I'll follow up here and inform on the resolution. Another shock yesterday are the Azamara prices for the Japan cruises in 2021. For the 15-day, April itinerary, even for OV, it's $10K per person. Yikes!!!!!! Oceania is much less for same time period. Princess is dirt cheap, but they don't treat their older ships well. It would be cheap. We'll see.
  14. Thanks for bringing that up. On the mass market lines we have been on, I have not been a fan of breakfast in the MDR or even in Blu on Celebrity. Sometimes it takes a bit long. We had great breakfasts (included in our package) at our pre-cruise hotel, Hotel Icon, in Hong Kong, Windows was okay for breakfast. The omelet wasn't fluffy. It was kind of flat. I'd say it was a letdown and below Celebrity's Oceanview buffet. The only other thing I had was fruit (and melons). One more thing on dining is that I like that the interactive TVs have the Discoveries menus for ALL days on the TV. Robin, I noticed rocking in Aqualina last night, but not in my cabin. My wife has spent a good amount on spa, hair, and accupuncture. I just did something stupid. I went to the smartphone photography class, totally forgetting that this is something I could have watched on Youtube. The port lecturer for Vietnam was very good. We are doing an overnight on a premium line junk tomorrow. They will passing out visas tomorrow. We are using Bhaya. Weather is supposed to be great around 83-84F and sunny both days. Looking forward to it and will review it here as well.
  15. A couple of side notes. A couple of months ago, they stated a change in the captain to the new guy, but they must have changed their mind. Magnus Davidson is the captain. They also announced that the current entertainers are finishing their stay on this cruise. None of this means much to me. Also, future cruise guy is hawking Galapagos on the Celebrity Flora. I have one for 50% of what they are charging for that on the Silver Galapagos and have no interest in swapping them out. Trouble must follow my cruising around the world. The first Azamara cruise we had was canceled due to unrest in Turkey. This cruise began in Hong Kong, and now things are getting nasty in Quito. I will jinx your cruise by booking it. If you see me on your roll call, run away . . .very fast.🤣 Our cruises are spoken for in 2020. Silver Galapagos with our 20 something kids and Reflection in November. I would book a 2021 onboard for Azamara. The two that interest me are 15-night Japan intensive on Pursuit in late April 2021 and 15-night ancient wonders in November 2021 (finishes before Thanksgiving) Athens to Rome with two days in Egypt and four in Israel. I love Israel and have a guide there. I'll price them out with a couple of TAs. Sea day - did the boot camp (want to be productive). I like lunch in Windows. It's better than the Oceanview on Celebrity. Dinner will be in MDR tonight.
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