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Azamara Quest - Mediterranean Cities, October 28-November 4 2021


Bimmer09
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9 minutes ago, takemewithyou said:

Also Piazza Narvona is a favorite and close by!

We always visit Navona but not this time. My favorite restaurant is out the far end of it-Viginiae, with our favorite waiter Silvano. Had to miss it thanks to the missed flight.

Next time!

Norris

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1 hour ago, Bimmer09 said:

In normal times there would be the sound of an accordion playing in the square as we walked past all these happy diners enjoying the warm night air. Don't you just want to be sitting here taking your time over a great meal and a smooth bottle of wine?

 

Loving your pictures -- especially from the roof deck of the hotel.  If all goes well I will be enjoying that view in person next year this time.  Oh and the food! 😋   I am learning where to eat (now that you've taught me where to stay.)

 

 

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OH MY GOODNESS!!!  Was just thinking of doing a search on Cruise Critic today to see if you had posted and indeed took your trip, and here it is!!!  SO EXCITED!!!!  

Had to remember to breath when I was reading your flying escapades.  EEK!!!  Still on the edge

of my seat about the luggage!

The pictures so far are spectacular!  Thank you to you and Carol for again sharing with all of us!

There is no place like Rome!

 

Kitty 

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19 hours ago, MJSailors said:

     You may know this travel tip, but I will put my two cents in here....when my DH and I travel together by plane or ship,we cross pack. Our suitcases are a combination of his and my clothes. We also take a carryon with changes of clothes for both of us just in case some of our luggage doesn’t make it to our final destination. Just a thought for your next journey.

      Thank you for writing your Gentleman’s Journal..

MJ🙋🏻

We have always cross packed, thanks to one of my daughters whose luggage (as well as that of her friend) failed to arrive in Rome many moons ago.

We have had a bag fail to arrive and have also been affected by flight cancellations, the worst of which was after a late check out of a top hotel (after paying for an extra night to do just that) in Helsinki to catch a midnight flight. I won't bore you with the details, enough to say the whole homeward journey was a total shambles and instead of being well rested with an overnight en route, that also went by the board and we arrived home exhausted.

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Hi Norris and Carol,

I noticed that you had posted some Rome pictures on Flickr, so I had to come over to Cruise Critic and hunt down your review. Glad I found it! So happy that you were able to do this trip. Looking forward to the rest of your adventure. We haven't done any traveling in over 2 years now. Partly due to COVID, and partly due to my wife's health issues. Your review is just what I need!

John

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On the way to our room after dinner we saw a notice to warn us that the G20 summit was beginning in the morning with the arrival of the Nation's staff and warned of increased Politzia and Carabinieri (Heavily armed police) and traffic issues (besides narrow streets). We thought it wise to leave the hotel an hour earlier, especially if we had to stop at the airport.

 

Norris

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6 hours ago, mchell810 said:

 

Loving your pictures -- especially from the roof deck of the hotel.  If all goes well I will be enjoying that view in person next year this time.  Oh and the food! 😋   I am learning where to eat (now that you've taught me where to stay.)

 

 

The Roman rooftops are a sight to behold but alas this time, with no time to savor, I did not do them justice. To say I was off my game is an understatement.

I combed TripAdvisor for days picking out eateries in each city we were visiting and there were so many options including one near Piazza di Populi, a giant square we have yet to step foot in, on the way back from the Borghese Gardens. Look up Hotel de Russie on TA hotels, then check out the garden restaurant.

I was going to surprise Carol with that one for lunch on day 2, which became day 1. You'll be there in warmer weather.

 

Norris

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On 11/8/2021 at 4:17 PM, Bimmer09 said:

While I was in the square Carol was doing what she always does on a plane a ship or in a hotel-wiping down all surfaces with her Clorox wipes. Door handles, drawer, counter tops, phones etc. She then unpacks which wasn't a task I had to do.

 

By the way, my Clorox protocol long  predates COVID. Norris does not like to dwell on  the negative, but let me just add to the story off our travel nightmare to let you know what greeted me when I opened my much traveled suitcase in Rome. It had been ransacked top to bottom, all  topsy turvy with every item upended and  every bottle and jar opened (and some not properly closed, so there was goop all over, luckily contained in plastic bags and lined pouches). On the top was an empty sunglass case that unless I packed an empty sunglass case meant my prescription Ray Bans had been lifted by some moron security person, to whom they  would be useless. The hits just kept on coming. Carol aka Deck Chair  Queen

 

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4 hours ago, ROWSE said:

OH MY GOODNESS!!!  Was just thinking of doing a search on Cruise Critic today to see if you had posted and indeed took your trip, and here it is!!!  SO EXCITED!!!!  

Had to remember to breath when I was reading your flying escapades.  EEK!!!  Still on the edge

of my seat about the luggage!

The pictures so far are spectacular!  Thank you to you and Carol for again sharing with all of us!

There is no place like Rome!

 

Kitty 

Kitty, so good that you have found this. I knew that putting it on the Azamara board would mean a lower readership which is why I consulted CC first. I am just hoping that my link on Princess will get bumped up so that this gets discovered before I finish. I plan a link on the X board too as I got my highest reads there and had regular readers who were a lot of fun.

 

As I said just above, I was not in a great frame of mind with the airline mess and was worried that we would have more bad luck. Only getting successfully on the Quest could put things right...

 

Norris

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39 minutes ago, Deck Chair Queen said:

 

 

Oh my goodness, what a travel nightmare indeed! Thank goodness your clothes didn't get any goop on them - that would have added insult to injury. Sorry to hear about your prescription glasses - how annoying! I sincerely hope you managed to put aside all the difficulties and had a wonderful cruise. 😊

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EMBARKATION DAY?

Another lovely bright morning in the square. We've had our breakfast (colazione) in the little cosy buffet in the hotel. I ate little. Back in the room I was out on the balcony and noticing extra Carabinieri in the piazza, machine guns at their side(not shown this photo)

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The phone rang and Carol answered it. It was Valentina. My luggage had arrived on the Newark flight!

 

I emailed Jany at Rome in Limo and asked if we could have the driver come at 1 pm not 2 and offered an extra 50E if he could stop at the airport before the port? No problem was her emailed response within minutes of mine.

 

What a relief!

 

Now we could go get our extra Eustachio coffee fix to celebrate.

The view from our coffee seats. That's a Carabinieri post hut. It controls those metal bollards as that is a state building (flag hanging in the no-breeze) When the guard allows a car through the bollards disappear into the cobbles to let it pass. Ingenious!

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Our last coffee and a farewell to Mario

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13 minutes ago, CruiserRob said:

Norris, I feel your pain.  On my first Mediterranean cruise lo these many years ago, our luggage (mine, DW’s and DD’s) didn’t show up until day 4 of our 7 day cruise.

 

Rob, that could not have been  a pleasant experience  and I'm sorry to hear that. I was in the same clothes from Monday at 7 a.m to Thursday 4 p.m. The issue I had was that we asked before we went to Gate 126, which is a gate in a "far off land" if you ask for directions, "is my luggage on this flight?" and the desk rep

said "It's loaded on the plane and you'll see it in Rome " without checking. That would have been her time to go to a computer and check the barcode. She would have got a read that said-" oh, it's in some bushes over there" (pointing).

 

There was chaos in O'Hare on October 25th and I am sure I wasn't the only one to experience it.

My luggage was loaded to 3 different flights that morning-it was like the shell game that the shady characters play on the street before Lefty the lookout yells "the fuzz are coming'! Let's scarper lads!"

 

Cheers Rob!

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Ok, that coffee helped and we have a couple of hours at hand to enjoy Rome some more. Carol is packed.

"Trevi fountain?" We couldn't see it clearly on our first visit (2014) as there was a ant-hill of people around it and it was under scaffolding, being cleaned in 2015. Off we went!

 

Carabinieri watching me

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His hands in his pockets, ready to meet any threat

 

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Just another Roman church in a square

 

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Through the narrow streets, a zig and a zag and after 15 minutes of car-dodging we arrive at our goal

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I managed to get no people in this shot. There was a huge crowd and there were no step-seats free after Carol scored hers, partly by pushing some children into the fountain. We had seen Trevi and now it was time to withdraw as the hour of our pickup was nigh.

 

We had already brought our luggage down to be stored near the front desk (checkout 11 a.m)

 

A black Mercedes sat outside the hotel. 

It's go time!

Norris

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10 hours ago, Jasperdo said:

Hi Norris and Carol,

I noticed that you had posted some Rome pictures on Flickr, so I had to come over to Cruise Critic and hunt down your review. Glad I found it! So happy that you were able to do this trip. Looking forward to the rest of your adventure. We haven't done any traveling in over 2 years now. Partly due to COVID, and partly due to my wife's health issues. Your review is just what I need!

John

 

John, how good to see you again! I believe you have appeared in all my reviews which is 17 or so, all of them longer than the American standard of measurement - 3 Football Fields!

Please give your dear wife my sincere regards.

It's not the best time to travel but we felt we "had to push the boat out" while we are still keen and healthy.

I hope more people come over from the Princess Board-it's good to "hear" all the different voices, opinions and input and the good humor.

Read on! There's a ship in our future and it ain't an ugly one...

Norris 

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ALBERGO DEL SENATO

While we are driving to Fumicino airport and there's no room in the car for you, I'd like to show you some shots from our hotel. Over the years, some readers have booked the hotel (most famously Singinalot) after seeing it on my pages. Location, location, location and a good helping of warm Italian hospitality keep us coming back.

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Dedicated to Roman rooftop lovers- you know who you are...

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THE ROMAN STYLE

We like how the hotel looks inside...

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As you can imagine they had a very hard year in 2020. No country was more hard hit in March 2020 than Italy if you recall. I am so glad they managed to come through!

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This was our Penthouse Suite in 2014. The 2021 version which  I didn't photograph is a mirror image but closer to the Pantheon. 

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I am better at focusing a camera these days LOL!

 

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Now an important room where the Europeans make the USA look primitive....In America the word "bidet" seems to cause embarrassment . The Europeans see that no other appliance can do the job as well. Also in every restroom I met in Europe there were two flush buttons as seen in this photo from 2014. A light flush that saves water and a heavy flush when needed. I rest my case.

 

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Norris

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10 hours ago, Deck Chair Queen said:

 

 

9 hours ago, PurpleTraveller said:

Oh my goodness, what a travel nightmare indeed! Thank goodness your clothes didn't get any goop on them - that would have added insult to injury. Sorry to hear about your prescription glasses - how annoying! I sincerely hope you managed to put aside all the difficulties and had a wonderful cruise. 😊

 

+ 1

 

Bummer about the prescription glasses, and such a pointless theft. Grrrr 😠

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I'm terrible with names- Carol's notes tell me our fab waiter at the coffee shop was Fabio, not Mario.

 

Our RIL driver was (probably still is) Stefan and he was gliding us to the airport and was a very helpful man. For instance when we parked at the airport in a lot of limo drivers he got out of the car with me and walked me to the appropriate door where he could go no further. He texted me his cell number in case I needed help finding my way back. He forgot I had the genes and the GPS savvy of a Santorini donkey.

 

The airport was a hubbub at 2 pm and my head was on a swivel (my Doctor's idea) looking for Lost and Found. However it was out of bounds except to those coming from baggage claim. I found an  entrance that said Lost and Found Staff Only and went in there, went through the metal detectors and told the guard that I was here to see L and F. He asked for my papers and I had the Lost Luggage form handy.

He let me pass.

I headed towards baggage claim and found the Alitalia office as I did yesterday. I showed my papers to the officer there. We went to look for it. I saw it as I walked- turning on the carousel for the past 5 hours since it landed. Solo, perduto, abbandonata (Alone, lost, abandoned).

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Hooray! Yippee! Grazie Mille! I had to fill out some paperwork and I was on my way. Out of the airport through customs (no stop) out through all the limo drivers, across the street to the garage and back to the waiting Carol and Rafael.

 

CIVITAVECCHIA- HERE WE COME!!

* A quick Public Service announcement - Civitavecchia is a bit of a mouthful and the correct pronunciation is- Chee-vee-tah-vekky-ya. Rolls off the tongue!

 

Norris, elated, relieved and drinking a whole bottle of water as we drive through the lovely Lazio countryside. An hour at most and we are there!

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There's a point when you crest a hill when you come off the highway at Civitavecchia and you see the harbor from on high. I laughed. There was the tiny Quest docked in

front of Harmony of the Seas. What a size differential! One looked like a graceful ship and the other a gigantic construction. I have always admired the engineering in the Oasis class but it was never going to be a ship for us.

We want to be close to the sea and as far away from crowds as possible.  We don't need to be entertained with an endless variation of games and shows and thrills. We are happy for those who do. We are here to relax, eat well, feel the sea breeze and find our way into ports for a couple of days at a time. Go to sleep tied to a pier and wake there too.

 

Rafael drops us right at the ship and were are led through the process, through security to begin the Covid testing phase. Very few passengers ahead of us at 3.15 when Az had asked us to come, weeks ago.

They had teamed up for testing results with a group called Trust One who's website worked once, enough to give me only an anonymous QR code . After that their website could not be accessed from computer or phone. I even wrote to their parent Eurofins and got nowhere. I, like many others, wrote to Azamara, "but the post office has been stolen and the mail box is locked".

 

"TrustOne" is a misnomer just like "1 Hour Cleaners" takes a day to do your shirt-the fine print says " one hour, don't know yet which one, maybe come back tomorrow-your shirt will be done".

 

Our turns and we get a gentle nose swabbing and then have to wait for 15 minutes for the result.

 

While we're waiting I'll tell you some Az news that happened in the weeks before sailing that upset some folks....

 

Regarding excursions we couldn't do those nice On Your Own trips where you can go around Florence or such as if you are living there for the day.

Those excursions got canceled and instead were replaced by the fully guided, follow my red umbrella kind. No lunch or bathroom breaks were mentioned for those but the visits to the leather shop were guaranteed.

This was just for Italy thankfully.

 

We gave up Florence. Been there and did the ship tour with Princess.

We had wanted Lucca on your Own as Puccini was born there, lived there and has a statue and a museum. The new tour with wine tasting didn't visit Pucciniworld so no thanks.

 

Monte Carlo had long since been nixed- I don't think they wanted ships but Az didn't tell us that was the reason. They told us bupkuss. We were going to Nice instead.

Better than Monaco as far as we were concerned-a real city as opposed to a Disney manicured fantasy town for wealthy folks with suntans.

 

The folks who had planned to meet up in a group to hire a van to visit Cinque Terre etc were out of luck. I think they got their deposits back. Hope no out of pocket.

It wasn't an Azamara restriction-all the cruise ships fared the same in Italia.

Carol and I found some wonderful excursions added on by the team who must have been burning the midnight oil to make things happen and order guests worthwhile tours. I can't wait until I tell you about th....

 

Oh- here's the lady coming back.

"Negative?"

That's good news.

You can go onboard. Picture taken at the gangway. We can go to our cabin. Luggage to follow.

 

Friendly Azamara faces smiling and welcoming.

 

Just how we had imagined!

Norris

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