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About Floridiana

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    traveling, reading, watching nature

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  1. We have experienced both in ports outside of the US.
  2. For sunny winter break: Celebrity also has a ship our of Dubai, at least I saw one.
  3. I think your friend hit on the main issue. Azamara is too expensive for what it offers. At least it was on our itinerary. The itineraries pull me back to HAL ships. I bet HAL has somebody in headquarters who can read my mind.
  4. We had stormy weather, the port of Punta Arenas was closed, the ship could not go to Ushuaia, turned north into the inner passage of the Chilean fjords. Many upset passengers told everyone the storm was fake news propagated by the captain. Luckily no riot.
  5. Ok, I see. I overlooked those comments because they had nothing to do with the original topic. Everybody has different priorities. What I found is that certain things that seem minor to other people are a problem for me, for example the dining table with 2 chairs that take up the entire Azamara balcony. I like to relax out there on a comfy recliner, never eat breakfast/lunch/dinner on the balcony. We don't hang out that much in the public spaces, especially not when they are as crowded as they were on our Japan cruise. Luckily it was very port intensive. Our smallest ship had 12 passengers. 2400 passengers is our upper limit so far.
  6. HAL has mostly older ships, haven't seen a Las Vegas hotel type yet in their fleet. Will find out in a week on the Koningsdam. But 'bells and whistles' is more a comparison with Royal and large NCL ships. HAL excels at long itineraries with interesting ports. They do those long cruises with ships that are a bit larger than Azamara ships, but they have wrap around decks which are important to many passengers.
  7. The key is 'bonded with'. It's not for casual conversation when you first meet.
  8. Our last 2 ocean cruises 2019 nd 2018 were on the MS Amsterdam and an Azamara ship. Both are old ladies. Cabin: We had a Neptune suite on HAL and a regular balcony cabin on Azamara. It is therefore not be quite fair to compare, but I hated our Azamara cabin for 1) the shower curtain and 2) the table and chairs that blocked the entire balcony 3) a chair instead of a sofa. I remember balcony cabins on HAL ships that were more spacious and better designed. Public space: The Azamara ship was fully booked and cramped on a dreary sea day. HAL had more space. Décor is a toss up, neither one is fresh and bright. Food: Food on HAL was good. Dinner on Azamara was more sophisticated, elegant and overall better. Offered local choices. Azamara pretends to be more destination oriented which was true for the food. Service: I think nobody surpasses the warm and friendly Indonesian/Philippino hotel crew on HAL. Signs of fatigue on Azamara. Supposedly Azamara officers interact with passengers, didn't see any of it. Itinerary/destination desk/enrichment: Excellent itinerary on both ships and the reason we booked. HAL had an experienced excursion desk staff. Excellent enrichment speakers. It was the Asia & Pacific Grand Voyage. Azamara cruise was around Japan. Her excursion desk people were inexperienced. The enrichment speaker made 3 factual errors on Japan within the first 30 minutes. If he really has been to Japan, he must have been totally oblivious to things around him. Very good: a Japanese ambassador with maps and advice for independent outings. Price: This Azamara cruise around Japan was as expensive as cruises on high end luxury ships but it did not provide the same experience. The HAL cruise was reasonably priced and in line with other HAL prices. Conclusion for us: We booked HAL again.
  9. Ocean water is considered good for your health and skin on Barbados for example. But follow your doctor's advice. If you own lightweight and loose cotton or linen clothing, wear it. It's cool and airy.
  10. We went there on the Regatta in November a few years ago. November is still the end of the dry season, not a mosquito anywhere on our cruise and low water. We wore lightweight clothing like in Florida summer. Devil's Island had no mosquitos either. The potential mosquito areas of French Guyana are inland. We have yellow fever vaccinations and we also took malaria pills, wouldn't' have needed them. Luckily we had no side effects for either one. DEET sprays, definitely yes! We own long sleeved 'expedition' type clothing and long pants that we wore on other Amazon and Asian trips. I like the pants but I hate the shirts, much prefer cotton and linen tops. The photo shows the high water mark on the wall in Manaus.
  11. A frequent poster on cc writes about ships she hasn't been on as in "I read on cc" …. and then reiterates some negative things. It's very annoying when I have been on those ships and know the comments are slanted.
  12. Noro came aboard our ship in Lima. Just anecdotal. We took a market and food tour. With passengers on the tour behaving the way they did, I am not surprised. The large food market is in Callao, Lima's port city, and it is VERY clean. If the tour is offered, I can really recommend it. We had fruit samples, bring your own wipes for your hands and a fork or spoon for pulpy fruit.
  13. Euros are the currency since the island is part of France, not just a territory. I don't know if vendors will accept other currencies. We did an excursion to a rum distillery at the slope of the volcano that erupted and destroyed the small town of St. Pierre in 1902. St. Pierre was rebuilt but there are still a few ruins. Other passengers went to a beach.
  14. Yes, all cheap and in different sizes. On my next trip I'll take one that has space for my camera and tissues. They are for onboard only.
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