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X cruiser sails Azamara to Cuba Jan 15 to 24 2019

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Count me as an old fan, happy to see I have this thread to look forward to. I hope it finishes before I leave! but if not, I'll enjoy it whenever I can.


Oh, Norris, I so love your style -- and your life!

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4 hours ago, EMS8 said:

Can’t wait to follow along Norris.



Mike-glad to have you aboard!

I just came home from the Opera and have a bit more to say tonight.


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4 hours ago, need2cruisesoon said:

Cocktail in hand Mr N. and looking forward to your review. 

Thank you Ron!

This is Ron from CA who is one of the few CC people I have met and befriended on the ships even though I am all over them all day long-as ubiquitous as Purell dispensers or rust touch-ups.

Welcome aboard my friend!


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Time for one of my backstories-and thanks for asking the question!

In 1997 we drove to Michigan each weekend to stay in cosy B and Bs by the lake of the same name. Carol brought a new CD for our driving music-Buena Vista Social Club as she was a Ry Cooder fan. We were hooked and when the BVSC original band came to Chicago we went and were blown away (Chicago is known as the Windy City). Afro Cuban All Stars came from Cuba and we were blasted by virtuoso trumpeters and the rhythm section. We saw Ibrahim Ferrer in Ravinia, outdoors on a balmy summer's night. Hooked on the music no question.

But Cuba was out of bounds to Americans until President Obama made it possible for us to travel back in 2016. Carnival pushed the boat out (the Adonia, now part of the Azamara fleet under the name Pursuit.)

We had no cruise booked for January 2019 after our 2018 Crown Princess one and thought CUBA!! 

We looked at the offerings from Royal, NCL, Oceania and came up with the best Itinerary from Azamara. I've wanted to sail Azamara for a couple of years and have mentioned that fact in some of my reviews.

So music was the original impetus for our interest and we were curious about a country that had been hidden from us since 1959.

Now we had a chance to see it for ourselves....


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I am following along as well, ❤️ your photos!! Especially the classic cars, WOW!  Just Beautiful.  Can't wait to read more of your review and hear of your comparison.  Have never sailed Azamara but would like to try them as they have some interesting itineraries.  Thanks for taking the time!

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There is just one fly in the ointment when we cruise - we have to leave our cat behind.



Her name is Snowy.



With a cat it's no good just saying "We're going on a cruise again Snowy" as they are clueless-or  so I thought. As a skilled mime I tried giving clues; pretending to be eating at a buffet, putting on an imaginary life jacket etc. With the newer ships I found that miming a waterpark or rope- walking course was beyond my skills and her comprehension. This time however she stopped me in the middle of a skating rink mime and led me to her closet. There I found a painting. From her mime and rubbing up against my leg I deduced that this was one of her ancestors....



Using Google to match the image I discovered that this was Captain Cat who was the Master of Feline Cruises first (and only) ship in the mid 1980s.The inaugural sailing from Miami was a catastrophe-the cruiseline shore staff found it impossible to get the cats to board in an orderly fashion as some lay down on the dock for a catnap or to lick themselves. A spokesman for the line told the Miami Herald "It was like herding cats". Some walked up the mooring ropes, ignoring the gangway and the security scanner. The Service Humans that were allowed to sail with them were no help apparently. Once the ship left port with many missing passengers they ran out of tinned salmon before the first port and had only enough milk left to last half the voyage. The cruise line went out of business and no wonder.


I met a neighbor in the elevator the day before our flight to Miami and told him how sad we were to leave Snowy behind as she must get lonely. He laughed and said "As soon as you are gone she has some buddies come around and while you are gone the smell of catnip is very apparent. They party for days!"


I found that hard to believe until we were taking our luggage out to our Lyft ride down below.

I opened the door to find this motley group. They were surprised to see us still here and one of them dropped a big Ziploc bag of catnip and another tried to hide a ball of wool. Busted!



Snowy, embarrased, rolled over on her back to show us her white tummy to remind us of her cuteness and how much we would miss her-a lot. At least we didn't have to worry about her being lonely...


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We were in anticipation and scramble mode when we saw this on my phone. Shipmate app...33005718678_5126d0e2b8_b.jpg

We had Canadian money to exchange to CUC in Havana


$990 CDN

We took a Lyft to O'Hare airport as they have planes there...



Carol wanted to get on one



Luckily there was one going to Miami



I watched the Baggage Hurlers from my seat. Some of the stuff was falling off the conveyor onto the wet patch below.



Up,up and away above the snow



A happy Carol






Or this?






In a Lyft to our hotel-the Marriott Stanton Beach in SouthBeach



All photos iPhone 5


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Made it over from Princess board - have cup of joe in hand & ready to ready!

Norris, looking forward to your photos/review of your cruise & particularly the classic car tours b/c this is the part that will really sell DH on Cuba!!


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27 minutes ago, smelmel said:

Made it over from Princess board - have cup of joe in hand & ready to ready!

Norris, looking forward to your photos/review of your cruise & particularly the classic car tours b/c this is the part that will really sell DH on Cuba!!


Dana, I have a lot of photos of classic cars and rode in four total. 

Thanks for following my link on the Princess board !


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16 minutes ago, AF-1 said:

What a fun review to read and watch.  Thank you for taking time to share with us.   I love classic cars and will be so excited to see the ones from Cuba.


AF-1 I was just saying to smelmel that I took tons of car photos, including interiors on some that were parked. We booked private classic car tours in each of the 3 ports. My story won't get to Havana until Monday or Tuesday as I am going back to work in an hour after 12 days away.

I do a photo safari of the Art Deco hotels in Miami which I know will interest some folks-one of my early morning walks.

Stay tuned!


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7 minutes ago, AF-1 said:

I am staying tuned and will read with enthusiasm.  I was on the Azamara boards and you mention a link to your Cuba photos. I did not wee the link.

I'll be off the air for much of the day-at work but will resume later tonight. I have so much material to get through apart from the photos and videos there are the daily ship's newsletters and any invites that came to our cabin to scan. Because of all the details I include these reviews take 4 to 6 weeks to recount and I recommend a daily diet of Wheeties and Granola bars for those reading.


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Can't wait for this review as Cuba is on my bucket list for travel.  As always your reviews are excellent, thank you for taking the time to do them.

It was based on your Silhouette review that I have a cruise booked next month on that ship.

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I’m looking forward to this review, Cuba is on our list of places we want to go and I agree, it seems Azamara has the best itinerary.


This is Murphy in his don’t leave me behind again pose.  I’m sure he and Snowy would love to party together.


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Yay, I found you! Your cruise has been up on my calendar since you announced it on another thread last year. Really looking forward to this one. I've been wanting to go to Cuba since forever. I'm sure you'll make me feel like I'm there in person.


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