Our thoughts on the different elements of this vacation

By taking this cruise on the same ship as we had been on for our previous cruise we did know pretty much what we’d be experiencing on board Azamara Journey for our fourth cruise. We did also know it was likely to be a bit different - partly because is was such a short cruise and partly because it was a cruise centred around the Monaco Grand Prix. Maybe also partly because we’d be sharing this experience with our friends Shaun & Nona - their first cruise and our first one with more than just the two of us.

To review the vacation we thought it best to consider each of the elements of our Monaco Grand Prix Cruise.

Open all Close all
  • 1.   Cruise Consultant

    Once we were interested in taking another cruise, we knew for sure we’d make contact with Elisabeth Anniehs at Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Brampton to help us arrange the trip. The difference this time was that it wasn’t just us - the plans needed to include Shaun & Nona. As we discussed it with them, we indicated that we’d like to have Elisabeth make our arrangements and they opted do likewise. You’d have to ask them directly how they found dealing with Elisabeth, but we can say she gave us the same great service that we have experienced on arranging our three previous cruises.

    As with the last cruise, the contact was mostly by email with a bit of telephone communication. As we think about it now - we see Elisabeth once or twice a year at some of the Expedia CruiseShipCenters promotional event that we attend rather than while we book our trips.

  • 2.   The Air Arrangements

    For this trip we booked our own flights directly. The best deal we could find was flying KLM - we couldn't find any other carrier who could compete on price for this route. In hindsight, we’d say that for the longer flights it is a good idea to book the KLM comfort economy seats at a slight premium in the cost. The regular economy seats are a bit on the small side and we’d say noticeably different from the space provided on carriers like Air Canada. It was terrific to have the business class seats as an upgrade above the comfort economy seats on the trip to Amsterdam.

  • 3.   Amsterdam, Netherlands

    We certainly enjoyed our time in Amsterdam and would say we saw all that we wanted/intended to see in the city - so we’d say the length of our time in Amsterdam was just about perfect. The weather was mostly cool for our visit and as we mentioned on the page for Amsterdam - the city looks much better in the sunshine. It looks quite grubby in cloudy conditions. It was a bit surprising to us how much garbage was littered all around the city - why don’t Europeans put garbage in bins? Overall we’d say it is unlikely that we’d be planning a trip back to the city anytime soon, but if we did end up back in Amsterdam there would for sure be return trips to the Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank House - both highly memorable elements of our time there. The most disappointing element we’d have to say was the canal tour - not really something worth the time in our opinion.

  • 4.   Nice, France

    Our time in Nice was extremely pleasurable, both before and after the cruise. The weather in Nice was spectacular and we enjoyed being there more than we had anticipated. We really noticed the temperature change from what we experienced in Amsterdam. In hind sight we would have preferred to have added one more day in Nice prior to the the cruise to enjoy a bit more of the city before boarding Azamara Journey. It wasn’t that there was so much to do there, but rather just a wonderful place to be. One thing we did notice in difference between the two cities was that while most people we encountered in Amsterdam spoke very good english we found that very few people in Nice spoke any english at all. Nice has an excellent tram and bus system - which is very good for getting around, because the normal driving and parking seemed insane to us. Outside of the wonderful ambiance of this Mediterranean city we’d say it was our visit to the Chagall Museum that was a wonderful highlight in Nice - it was an amazing experience. And, of course, chilled Sancerre Rouge...mmmmmm.

  • 5.   Cruise Itinerary
    Monaco 2011 Criuse Itinerary

    TOO SHORT!

    The ports of call on this 4-night cruise were:
    Nice, France; Portofino, Italy; Saint-Tropez, France; Monaco and Nice, France.

    Of course, the reason for this cruise for most people was to get to the Monaco Grand Prix. From that perspective the itinerary was terrific.

    From the total cruise experience it was just not long enough for us. After 3 cruises of either 11 or 12 nights it was quite a different experience for us to sail on a 4-night cruise.

    The ports of call, though, were very enjoyable - experiencing both the French and Italian Rivieras. As we have said before on the write up for this cruise, if we had to do it again we would have considered doing a back to back cruise to enjoy more of this area in a manner we have come to really enjoy. Outside of Monaco we’d say the highlight of the itinerary was Saint-Tropez - we had a truly wonderful day there in a picturesque playground location on the Côte d'Azur.

  • 6.   Monaco Grand Prix

    Gary will tell you loud and clear that this was a dream come true...to watch the Monaco Grand Prix in person. The ambience and mystique of this crown jewel of the Formula 1 world is something that every F1 race fan should experience. The seats that Gary & Shaun had overlooking the famed harbour in Monaco and the sounds that were felt as much as heard were just some of the amazing elements that made the day a magic one. It is a day that will forever be etched in Gary’s mind, although he figures it won't be the last time for this! We shall see.

  • 7.   Azamara Journey

    If you have read anything on our previous cruises you will know that our preference is for the smaller ships such as Azamara Journey. This was the same ship that we had sailed on for our Baltic cruise in 2010, so there was nothing new in the cruise ship experience for us, but that wasn’t a bad thing - we really like the ship.

  • 8.   Cruise Service

    Having sailed on the ship previously, we had high expectations for the cruise service. Our expectation were indeed met. A number of the staff members recognized us and welcomed us back on board the ship, and the attention to detail and quality service was just as we had anticipated. Azamara Journey take two was just as good as take one on the service front...apart from the fact that we experienced far less of it with the length of this cruise.

  • 9.   Cruise Entertainment

    As a commentary on the entertainment we can tell you that we took in none of shows put on during this cruise. They really did not appeal to us in the least. We figure we really aren’t the target audience when they plan the shows on Azamara Journey. We did take in the dance party on the open deck the night we were in Saint-Tropez and that was fun, but other than that the only other entertainment we saw was one of the acts playing on the open deck during while we happened to be there. It is a good thing that the entertainment isn’t an important part of our cruise enjoying experience.

  • 10. Shore Excursions

    We experienced some disappointments on the shore excursion front this cruise. Ahead of the cruise we had video chats with Shaun & Nona to discuss the various options and we booked the excursions that we had all agreed on as the best choices. When we arrived on board we found out that our choice for Portofino had been cancelled and later we found out that the one Linda & Nona had planned for Monaco had also been cancelled. It wasn’t really Azamara's fault...more a function of the makeup of the passengers on board. We found a good alternative for Portofino (it was our second choice when we had looked at the options pre-cruise), but there wasn’t anything for Linda & Nona to do easily during the Grand Prix. That was unfortunate.

Wrapping Up . . .

Even as short as it was...this was a great trip, and one we will certainly remember fondly. We said after our last cruise that we’d sail Azamara again, and less than a year later we had done just that - including being on the same ship. And that wouldn't be the last time, either.

About WHITEonline

WHITEonline is the digital home of Gary & Linda White. We’ve been married since 1980 and live just outside Toronto in Ontario, Canada. Linda was born and raised in Toronto while Gary was born in London, England and moved to Canada at the age of 11. We enjoy travelling and taking photos while we travel. WHITEonline provides the opportunity to share some of our photos & experiences.

© WHITEonline    Contact Us

We use cookies on WHITEonline. Please refer to our Privacy Policy for more information.