Saturday, April 12, 2014

AZAMARA TRANSATLANTIC CRUISE TO FRANCE

Azamara Quest
ABOUT AZAMARA 
Usually you find the amenities Azamara Club Cruises offer only on 6 star lines and at a considerably higher price.  On the two Azamara ships, the Quest and the Journey, gratuities, water, soda and a variety of wines and alcoholic beverages are included.  

The Quest and Journey are two of the ships that originally belonged to Renaissance cruise line which went out of business after 9/11.  Now they belong to Azamara, a subsidiary of Celebrity. Oceania has two of the same ships and I believe Princess has two.   The rooms and bathrooms are on the small side.   We had a veranda but would opt for the extra space the suites afford next time.  The gym and spa are very nice.  

We thought the food in the dining room was excellent.  We were not as impressed with the nightly buffets in Windows CafĂ©.  However, different international cuisine is featured every night so there is plenty of variety.  We didn’t try the 2 specialty restaurants but heard they were good. 

With a passenger capacity of only 650, you are not going to find the same level of entertainment as on the big ships.  Nevertheless, the shows were good and the lectures were excellent.  A big plus for small ships is that they can sail and dock where the megaships cannot.
The Rock of Gibraltar



Our cruise was a transatlantic crossing from Miami to Nice, France with the following stops... 

Barbary apes are actually monkeys
GIBRALTAR Only 3 miles long and 1 mile wide, Gibraltar is famous for “the Rock” and the Barbary Apes, a breed of tail-less monkeys from Morocco.  Although situated on the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar has been a British colony since 1713.  Several times, Spain has tried to lay claim to the land but the citizens vote overwhelmingly to remain British.  Supposedly Winston Chruchill said, “as long as the apes remain, so will the British.” 

The Rock of Gibraltar is 1,400 feet high, has several limestone caverns, is carved with 32 miles of roads and was inhabited by military during the war.  From Europa Point at the southern tip, you can see Morocco 14 miles away.  It is said that this is the point at which the Atlantic meets the Mediterranean. 
Walkway past marina and into Cartagena

Roman ruins in Cartagena
CARTAGENA is situated on the southeast coast of Spain and has a history dating back to the Bronze Age. It was the home of Hannibal who led his army of 60,000 men and 37 elephants across what is now known as France, over the Alps into Italy in 218 BC. 

The town of Mahon on island of Menorca
Sailing around Menorca
MENORCA The Balearic Islands are beautiful Mediterranean Islands off the southeast coast of Spain.  We stopped at Menorca, the 2nd largest at 30 miles long and 14.5 miles wide.  
Though not as well 
known 
as Majorca and Ibiza,  Menorca attracts its fair share of tourists and has a population of about 90,000. The capital city of Mahon where we docked boasts one of the finest natural harbors in the world. 

Cannes Marina next to site of Cannes Film Festival
CANNES was one of the first tourist resorts on the French Riviera, better known as the Cote d’Azur.  During the 18th and 19th centuries, English and 
Russian aristocracy discovered 
Cannes’ beautiful 
beachfront and mild weather, and soon turned the sleepy fishing village into a world renowned resort.  Every May, the city hosts the famous Cannes International Film Festival.    

 
We arrived in Nice, France on April 11 and will be here until April 25.  

This is our home for the next 2 weeks...