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Cruise Review: P&O Cruises Azura Caribbean – Part 3

Sunday 17th February 2013 – Tortola

We were awake early and it was a gentle sail into Tortola past all the little islands etc. As we approached the berth we could see that it had been raining and we had a good downpour before we actually berthed. It looked so grey that it was doubtful it would clear to allow us to go on or boat trip, but of course it did clear pretty quickly. We were a little late docking as the Commodore decided he would take the ship in backwards which is unusual for Tortola. He did say in his arrival speech that it was the first time he had taken it in backwards. It gave those of us at the aft a nice view though.

Deepak arrived on time with the breakfast and had us sitting at the freshly laid table on the balcony in no time. Deepak does make me smile. He’s always rushing around, and doing things at the double, but he couldn’t resist the view from the balcony. For a brief few moments he chilled out, rested on the railing and took in the view. I nearly poured him a cuppa and slid up a chair for him, but we both knew he didn’t have the time.

So today I am doing a P&O excursion!! I know you don’t hear me say that very often do you? We are booked on the boat trip to Jost Van Dyke so were first off and straight onto the waiting boat. We sat at the front to make the most of the views and the sunshine but got a little wet from the spray off the waves. There was more than enough indoor space, but it was mainly only spray from the waves, although the poor couple next to me did get a good drenching a couple of times. All good fun though. It was a long way, about 45 minutes, but we passed some stunning houses on the various islands etc perched on the side of hills. Most of the scenery all the way was lovely, but I did keep trying to pre guess isf the next little cove could possibly be the one we were heading for. Im looking in the wrong place, because its not to the starboard side at all, it’s straight ahead.

Jost Van DykeThere it was, my first glimpse of Jost Van Dyke – ooh I love it. My ideal Caribbean beach! Soft white sand, clear blue sea, bendy pal trees with hammocks strung in between. It was still early so the sand handn’t been walked in and it all looked picture perfect. I couldn’t wait to get off the boat and explore. First we had to have another boat type floating device come alongside to take us further into the beach. Everyone is always in such a rush. One lady had the right idea, she swam it. If I took a leaf out of her book I might have the same toned figure as her.  As part of the P&O excursion we were allocated a section of beach with sun loungers and were given a voucher for one drink and a meal. Quite why someone thought we would need a full on barbeque at 10.30am in the morning is beyond me. I could see it being set up but I didn’t partake. I did get us a couple of loungers on the sea edge, but it was only to act as a base.  I had a beech to explore so I wandered along in search of the famous Soggy Dollar bar. It was located about half way along. The beach wasn’t busy, but to be fair it was still early. We spent the next hour dipping in and out of the sea to keep cool, but when we realised we only had another hour left we decided to not bother with barbeque and go to the Soggy Dollar. I couldn’t come all this way and not have a drink in the Soggy Dollar Soggy Dollar where the Painkiller was supposed to have been invented. The Painkiller was good and so was the Soggy Man, in hindsight maybe the soggy Man was a bit too strong. It was idyllic little spot, sitting under the cooling palm trees just looking out, watching all the expensive yachts and catamarans arrive. We were supposed to be back at base at 11.30 ready to get back on our boat home at 11.45am but we kept looking and still no boat. Our two P&O escorts were at the bar of Soggy Dollar and didn’t seem to be caring about the lack of boat so maybe they knew something that we didn’t? Maybe they were in no fit state to care! Despite the lack of boat we eventually wandered back to the meeting point and nobody was any the wiser as to why we had no return boat in view? Bags were packed and everyone was wondering what was going on. The heat of the midday sun was getting too much even for me, so I went and sat below a palm tree. Eventually we were informed that they had to change boats for the return journey. One had arrived, but the second one hadn’t and we had to leave as two boats and not one. Why hadn’t we been kept informed earlier? We could have enjoyed the last hour or so instead of been packed up and waiting to depart. More time on Jost Van Dkye is a good thing, but not when you are not aware that you actually have extra free time. The boats that came for us were not really suitable in my opinion. They had very little shade from the sun as I later found out to my cost. Getting into them was another thing! There was shade for about 8 people at the front of the boat, the rest of us were totally exposed to the elements and it was a 45 min back to the ship. It was more of a dive boat so the aft end was completely open with no safety rail etc which I found a bit scary, especially at the speeds we were doing. We were getting drenched from the waves that were bouncing back into the boat. I had to throw my bag into the middle of the boat among the scuba diving gear in some attempt to keep it dry. I wrapped myself in a towel to try and keep the sun off me. No chance of wearing a hat in these conditions. I found out to my cost later that the sun completely fried my feet. I know it happened during the boat trip because it’s the only time I had my shoes on. Heck they were sore for days. The eventual sighting on Azura on the horizon was a long overdue one. Jost Van Dyke was superb, and I’m so glad I have been, but the overexposure to sun was too much even for me. If you get the opportunity to go, and have never been, make the effort to go there. If you like beaches you will love this one.

PussersWe stepped off the boat almost 2 hours later than planned, and we were supposed to be meeting others on Pussers bar for lunch. No time to go back onboard and shower and change as planned, we had to more or less sprint into town and bust through the doors of Pussers.  Pusssers is just one of those places that has to be done, well I say has to be done, I think it has now changed hands so wasn’t as good as it has been in the past. Food selection was not as good and prices seem to have risen. Service is still appalling which has always been part of its charm for me. I only had a couple of drinks, but I later found out that they were Painkiller no. 4’s! Nice one Mr C!!! We shared some nice plates of picking food, had a browse in the shop and were ready for the walk back to the ship.

Now, I can recall the walk back to the ship and all seemed pretty normal. However, when I arrived back at the suite I laid on the bed and suddenly it started to spin. That’s not good when that happens. I tried to ignore it but I couldn’t so opted to go on the balcony for some fresh air. I laid on the lounger and watched the other passengers drifting back to the ship. We were still a good hour away from departure from Tortola and people were still strolling back to the ship, buses from Cane Garden still coming in etc. But the next thing I knew I woke up and Tortola was a distant memory far out on the horizon. Clearly they were deep forty winks. I looked at the clock back in the suite and I still had time to rest my eyes, so I climbed back into bed. Oops! The next thing I knew it was 10 to 8 and we should have met for pre dinner drinks in Blue Bar 5 mins ago. I got into the shower but I soon realised I wasn’t feeling too bright so climbed back into bed with bath towel around my hair and another bath towel around me. Next thing I knew it was 11.00pm. I hadn’t heard the cabin steward come in. I hadn’t heard the Butler come in or the canapés arrive. So that was that! Sunday night never happened for us. The moral of the storey is stay out of the sun (sorry P&O but you get the blame for that one today due to that dodgy boat you sent out to Jost Van Dyke for us) and responsible drinking at all times. I later scared myself by realising that I had 2 rum punches on arrival at the beach, very weak ones, then an original Painkiller at Soggy Dollar which had how many shots in I don’t know. Mr C later informed me that mt Soggy Man had at least 7 shots in. They gave us a drink of punch on the boat back to the ship and then I had 2 no 4 Painkillers in Pussers which, well, is just plain stupid really isn’t it!


Monday 18th February 2013 – at sea

XVII BreakfastWell, after some 14+ hours in bed I was up showered and ready to start my day. No sun on the balcony this morning and I wasn’t entirely sure where it was. We were the first into breakfast in XVII arriving slightly before it officially opened.  We had the pick of the outside tables but we were informed it was starting to drizzle, plus it looked a little windy out there, so we opted for a table inside and had a very relaxed and civilised breakfast.

After breakfast we went for a wander around while the suite was being tended to. I don’t know if Silversea has totally ruined me but whenever I go out on deck I realise just how many people are on here. They seem to be everywhere. Maybe I just prefer the tranquillity of my balcony. We bumped into Lynn and co and sat having a coke (yes a coke!) in the shade and a natter, and explaining the reason for being missing last night.

It is Monday and I do have work to do, so back at the suite it was business as near normal as I can manage from the middle of the Caribbean Sea.

We had received an invite for drinks at Lynns so as soon as work was done we hit their balcony. It was supposed to be an alcohol free day today but the vodka got in the way so that was that! We then enjoyed a very chilled out lunch of room service baguette, pizza etc.  By the time I got back to the suite the sun was on the aft and I settled onto my sun lounger and had a nice little snooze.

I’m loving my Jacuzzi, although it did get a little bit interesting this evening as I did rather overfill it, and I insist in having a few bubbles in it, and then the ship got a bit of a jiggle on and there were very nearly bubbles everywhere. Deepak arrived back with my dress for this evening fresh from being pressed, it looked lovely and far better than I was ever going to do. I had tried to get ready at a leisurely pace this evening to prevent me from getting warm, but despite the aircon being on the lowest setting I still felt a bit sticky when I poured myself into my dress. The feet are suffering big time and are starting to swell. I don’t think them getting burnt on the boat trip yesterday has helped.

Peninsular PartyIt was Peninsular Party this evening in Manhattan and when we arrived on deck 7 in the lift at just gone 10 to 8 I expected to see a massive queue, but only half a dozen stood at the Commodores door and nobody at the fast track entrance. Kisses from David, Exec Purser on arrival – he was worried I would start a trend, but he seemed to dodge the next one ok. Drink in hand, high table to lean on. All sorted! Several officers were stood around but clearly they didn’t like the look of us, and kept themselves to themselves. Chief Ian came over to say Hello, as he always does. We were then joined by Simon the new Admin Manager, fresh from Adonia and enjoyed a nice sociable chat with him for the rest of the evening. The presentation was what it was. We have no idea why there were two prize draws and even less of a clue how many nights the most cruised passenger had done.  We also had a lovely chat with David & Jade before wandering down to dinner. However, someone had wrongly informed me that dinner was at 8.45 tonight lol. I really should learn to read the Horizon for myself. So yes, we were late, a bit over fashionably late, but what to do? We apologised. It was the Chaine des Rotisseurs gala dinner menu this evening which never thrills me. I struggled to make a selection and I don’t think it was the right one. I think I am more suited to dining in the alternative venues because I get little enjoyment out of the main dining room of late. Being a traditional cruiser it has taken me a while to realise this, but I don’t think I like eating at a set time, and personally prefer the flexibility and choice of some of the alternative venues.

The troops were flagging again tonight. I half fancied going to see Reel to Reel but knew that Mr C was never going to suffer that. changez in Malibar looked nice and lively, but it was rather busy so little chance of a seat. Changez are fab and have seen them a few times on Cunard. Really lively band, and great if you like a bit of a bop and dance around. We decided on Glass House where we knew it would be cool, so had a drink at the bar. My troops really are flaking. Mr C can talk of nothing but his bed, and is starting to have visions of meeting his pillow. I let him think he was winning as we wandered through Malibar. It had thinned out a little and we could have sat at the bar, but no he could almost smell the aft stair well so we kept walking. As we arrived at Manhattan Mercury Rising was just about to start. I had little desire to see him as he is the one tribute act that I have seen time and time again, but a pole for leaning on was vacant, and Mr C found him hilarious so we did end up staying for most of the show. So, here we are again, en route to bed when I really still wide awake! Mr C needs more training.

GoCruise With Jane

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