Sailing & White Night

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Cast off, the voyage has started as we make our way from the dock area to the open sea.

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Some just like to sit in the spa, with little interest in our sailing, but that is their choice

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A pleasant warm day with clear sky, but not all are interested in the passing scenery.

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Even after all their years at sea the two master mariners above still enjoyed the beginning of a voyage.

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We are now at sea as the land falls behind us  . . .

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I have dozens of photographs of sunrises and sunsets, and never get tired of the ocean view, and my limited attempt to capture the right moment.

White Night

White Night is an evening when everyone is encouraged to dress in white, but it is not compulsory.

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Preparing for the White Night, which is a BBQ style experience.

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The area around the pool becomes livelier as more and more passengers arrive to find a table with friends

DSC04998rOur wives in the spirit of White Night.

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The Captain (standing near the man in a coloured shirt) made a point of visiting every table to greet the guests and make sure that they were happy.

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The ships’ Master, Carl Smith, is from the Isle of Man (UK) and has been at sea for thirty years, not quite as long as my two friends.

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BBQ meat on one set of coals and lobster on the other

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You have your plate and this line of food is just one small area from which you can fill it, I went for the Asian dishes cooked to order (not shown).
I asked one of the cooks, who was Malay, to cook me a stir fry, and he asked how spicy would I like the dish, and so I told him to do it exactly as he liked it – so he made it as such, and it was great! Spiced just right . . .

We could go back to the food area as often as we liked, but I only went back for a small desert, and some cheese and biscuits – the choice of different dishes from around the world was mouthwatering.

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The evening moves on, and the deck light come on because at the end of the meal the dancing will start.

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The three of us first met in September 1960 – John (left) & Will (right) stayed at sea and commanded their own ships. I left the sea and joined an airline.

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The crew march around with the flags of their own nation, while the passengers wave their napkins.

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Speeches of appreciation from Captain Carl, after which the band strikes up for the dancing.

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At least nobody fell in the pool – the seating, BBQ and dancing is all around the pool.

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This is the last photo as Maureen & left to go to bed – a real sign of age, it was only 11.00 pm. . . .

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But I was up early enough to watch the sun rise – again . . . .

 

 

 

 

In Praise of Something Smaller

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Maureen & I have completed ten cruises over the years, mainly with Princess Cruises, but the one that we use to judge all of the others is Azamara Cruises.
Azamara Quest 30,277 GT, the smallest ship in which we have sailed, launched in 2000, with a passenger capacity of 686 and a crew of 408.

 

Majestic Princess cruise ship

The largest vessel in which we have sailed was Majestic Princess at 144,000 GT, launched in 2017, and she has a passenger capacity of 3,560 and a crew of 1,346 and I must admit that we never felt crowded.

As a comparison Majestic Princess offers 1 crew member for 2.64 passengers and Azamara Quest offers 1 crew member for  1.68 passengers.

The larger vessels offer climbing castles, multiple swimming pools, some with wave makers, wind tunnels, promenades that hang over the water, whereas smaller vessels offer the opportunity of seeing smaller accessible ports that the large vessel can’t enter.

It all depends on what the customer wants, so I thought I’d post a few photographs of the Azamara Quest as a comparison.

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The buffet area where one can have any meal, but we used it mainly for breakfast & lunch.

DSC06105rThe passenger doesn’t help himself, all food is covered and a crew member serves you so there is tight control for health reasons, not portion control – you can have as much as you require.

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Waiter service at lunch time if you want a glass of wine or beer.

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I’ve never experienced the buffet to be rushed, or noisy, and we never had to wait for a table, obviously the sitting area is larger than the area shown in the photograph.

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Swimming or sunbathing on a sea day.

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For those who don’t swim, there is always some where to sit – and before you ask I don’t have any idea who the guy is behind Maureen. During our cruise we had a good choice of beers, which were complimentary, as were all the soft drinks.

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The pool is also used in the evening for ‘White Night’ – people dress in white (which is not compulsory) and there is a buffet of hot food, all cooked to order, of dishes from around the world, and of course various wines.

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Towards the end of the evening there is the ‘march of the flags’ representing the international mix of the crew. As you see the Isle of Man, or Manx flag, was also represented as part of the flag march, because I think the ship’s Master was a Manxman.

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A favourite of mine is always the library, which is in the Drawing Room.

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Quiet, with picture windows overlooking the sea, board games available for those who like chess, scrabble, cards etc, plus desk top computers if you wish to go on line.

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The Living Room.

A large room that overlooks the bow – with picture windows to watch the world pass you by, while you sit in hammock seats suspended from the deck-head, or just in comfortable armchairs – your choice.

The above was taken in the early morning, but around 4.30 pm it becomes popular because the piano player arrives or other musicians (music is never too loud), stewards serving pre-dinner drinks, and it is a place to meet fellow travelers, without being too shy or uncomfortable.

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The bar area in the living room.

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Port side of the Living Room for a quiet read.

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Come 5.00 pm and the hors d’oeuvres have arrived – complimentary of course – they never seem to run out.

 

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From the Living Room over looking the bow as we left Bombay.

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Sunsets over the Indian Ocean as we head for Muscat in Oman.

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Around 6 to 6.30 pm we made our way to the dinning room – choice of tables for small groups, or just for two, we were happy to sit with people we didn’t know, but on such a small ship it wasn’t long before your ‘knew’ everyone.
Each day the complimentary wine changed (one red, one white) from different parts of the world, this always made for a very happy friendly evening meal.1058-DiscoveriesRestaurant

I copied the above from the Azamara Pursuit site – all the other photographs are mine from our cruise in the Quest.

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Entertainment is not as extravagant or as spectacular as the shows on the larger vessels, but more like a night club where you are closer to the acts. The above was a local dance troop during our visit to Goa in India. They didn’t sail with us, but came on board just for the show .

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You still have the all dancing and all singing acts. . .

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The difference with the smaller ship shows, is that you get to talk to the entertainers because they are all involved with the daily running of the ship – they run the trivia quizzes,  teach ballroom dancing or just chat about their life at sea as an entertainer.

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This guy was ‘DIFFERENT’

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The balloon appeared to be a standard balloon when he began.

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You can see how close he is to his audience.
He was a ‘magic act and did more than climb in to a balloon, he was very funny.

A day ashore in Muscat,

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The local Souk or market – air conditioned . . . .of course.

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and on our return – the Quest had remembered Maureen’s birthday,
and her gluten free cake.

azamara-pursuitAzamara Pursuit
There are only three ships in the Azamara Group – Azamara Quest, Journey & now the Pursuit, they are all sister ships.
The Pursuit was launched in 2001,  30,211 GT and has just completed (August 2018) a substantial refit in Belfast, UK, to bring her up to the standard of her two sisters.

Maureen & I are booked to sail in her in 2019 – I do hope the experience will be as good as the Quest.

We may consider that sailing in a ship of ‘only’ 30,000 GT is small today, but having sailed in cargo ships, such as the British India ship Pundua, launched 1945, at 7,200 GT Azamara Quest, to some of us is quite large.

PunduaI was 3rd Mate in the Pundua in 1966.