8 November 2013 • What way is better to discover the beautiful landscapes of the Adriatic than by ship. My parents spent days looking for the perfect cruise to discover Croatia and Montenegro. Lots of the cruise lines only visit Croatia and Montenegro briefly. Others have a beautiful program but are expensive. Azamara Club Cruises seemed to offer everything they wanted and we could give them a positive review of our previous experience on board the same ship. It did not take them long to book with two friends, at a very good price.
My dad wrote down his days on the Azamara Quest. An onboard report by Guido Schaillée.
Flying with Brussels Airlines to Rome, arriving on time under a bright sunshine.
Cruise Plus organised a transfer that was perfectly on time and 50 min later we were on the quayside. After a rather smooth boarding and an appreciated drink in the Cabaret, it was time for an extremely elaborated buffet lunch matched with a smooth Riesling from Chile.
After the compulsory safety drill and the exploration of the ship we prepared for diner, which was just fantastic.
I wrote down these lines:
I am sitting on Deck 7 while the moon is drawing a pale wave on the black sea. I feel happy and I am filled with expectations of the next days.
Breakfast on Deck 9, al fresco, just fantastic.
All set to take the tender to Sorrento, all very smoothly, no rush.
In Sorrento three minutes walk to the Ferry, taking us in 20 minutes to Capri. We decided to rent a cabriolet taxi for the day at €30/pers. This was the best decision as driver Roberto took us wherever we wanted.
Anacapri was nice, the ladies bought some handmade sandals, while the men climbed to the Castillo, and afterwards we drove to Lago di Marina for some breathtaking pictures. Then came Capri, the shops, the crowd and its typical atmosphere.
Guido (our friend has the same name) and myself decided to take the walk up to Villa Jovis: what ended up to be a steep climb, offering fantastic sceneries.
Happy with our physical exploit the ferry took us back to Sorrento. A short walk in town, a drink and back with the tender to the Quest. Dinner was a pleasure; the Sicilian wine very tasty; the desserts tantalizing.
Up to the cabaret lounge, to watch the house comedian. Bit disappointing as the humour, combined with the fast wording, made it rather hard to understand
Soon to bed after a busy day.
Apparently passing Somosa golf was bumpy and rather scary, considering the comments that morning.
The heavy rain that morning was hiding the Etna so we decided to take a long breakfast and by enchantment the sun appeared and continuously gained in intensity. It would become the ideal day to visit Taormina, the Greek Roman theatre and a tremendous sightseeing of the Etna, sending continuous smoke signals.
Gosh I love that mountain.
We did not feel like attending the special night event in a Castillo with show and dinner.
We stayed on board and were happy we did, although the comments from our fellow passengers about the “Azamazing Evening” were positive.
The sun woke us op and at 8 we are sitting on our veranda enjoying the white horses on the black waves.
Today we will be at sea; I was a bit apprehensive as I wondered about the possibilities to fill the long hours with only water to look at.
It was a pleasure:
- long breakfast on Deck 9, sunbathing
- lecture on " The treasures of Venice, Montenegro, Kotor and Dubrovnik"
- reading, while sunbathing
- bingo games
- preparing for the "White Night"
- enjoying a perfectly organised evening on Deck 9, good food, great atmosphere
- quiet sleep, calm sea
Wake up at 6: the fantastic bay of Kotor is waiting.
What a fantastic sight, in my opinion even better than the fjords of Norway.
As we progressed slowly through this bay, the majority of the passengers were surprised and amazed by the charm of the small islands of St. George and the Lady of the Rock.
We docked smoothly and decided to take the hop of /on bus, taking us to Perast: quiet, but beautiful, rich abandoned palaces.
We met a friendly law student who offered us to take us to the island Gospa of Skrpjela.
Mary of the Rocks: just great.
Walking through Kotor was romantic, but with a friend we decided to climb to the Fortress of St Ivan, about 280m above sea level and offering an amazing view over the entire bay of Boka Kotorska: be in good shape if you want to try it.
After another nice dinner, we decided to go to the night entertainment. On stage was an American comedian, which we could not really appreciate.
Ready for dreams, Dubrovnik was waiting.
Dubrovnik, the pearl of the Adriatic bathed in thick dark clouds and rain was expected.
Nevertheless the tender took us right in the heart of the city, massively invaded by tourists: a shock. However when thinking about the horror of the past, we wanted to see as much as possible and started climbing the City Walls and that is when the rain poured down.
We visited the Franciscan monastery, the Rectors’ Palace and the Maritime museum and were glad to have seen it, but the expected charm was not present, probably due to the weather, but above all because of the enchantment of Kotor.
We sailed at 2pm while we had lunch on Deck 9. The sun was shining again and life was beautiful.
Dinner in Prime C restaurant was perfect, the farewell show was good, the night was calm.
We were all prepared with cameras and tablets from 9am on, nobody wanted to miss Venice as we majestically passed the huge construction works that should protect Venice from the water flow.
Slowly but surely appeared the well-known buildings that make this city so special and oh boy it was special.
Admiring Piazza San Marco from Deck 9 was awesome, progressing on Canal Grande admiring all the Palazzos, while underneath there was a ballet of vaparettos, taxis and gondolas seemed unreal. We docked at the small San Basilio terminal and in 15' walk we stood in the centre of Venice.
No use to try to describe, what is indescribable: Venice is Venice.
Our last night on board. Our transfer next day was at 4, but the magic of the city made us miss this appointment, but fortunately our driver waited more than 30' and we easily caught our flight to Vienna, then Brussels and then home.
Pictures Guido Schaillée & Mike Louagie