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Old January 9th, 2011, 08:32 PM
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Paul Motter Paul Motter is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: in my office!
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I am in suite 8049, the large suites on deck 8 - it is very nice and roomy.

And there are actually 2 hair dryers, one on the desk I am typing at right now.

The butlers all went to a certified British butlering school - very efficient.

I am on starboard side, and I do have more pics coming soon. time for dinner TTYL... (thanks for tuning in).

Here is my latest update...

Saturday Night

I just got a visit from my butler who told me there is even more included with this suite than I expected. In fact, the Large Bottle of Dewer’s and the Absolute Vodka are both complimentary for the suites guests. In addition, we get access to the thelassotherapy pool and indeed the whole thermal suite in the Spa area on a complimentary basis from 8:00 to 8:00 pm.

This ship has far more benefits for suite guests than I ever expected, including wine with meals, etc. I am finding it to be quite enjoyable. I did not know the wine was offered to everyone but that does make sense. Too bad it is not beer, though. Wine gives me a headache.

At 6:30 pm we will be meeting with the line’s Public Relation’s representatives and company executives. This will be after sail away which is about to commence. I do not think we will be sailing past the Carnival Splendor – she appears to be on the other side of the bridge that leads to Coronado Island. Not much to see anyway – it is just rather odd to think about why she is there.

Sunday Morning…
We had a long dinner last night, as always happens on press trips. I was seated next to Edie Bornstein, the right hand to Larry Pimentel. Edie is a powerful, demonstrative woman where you realize immediately that she has tremendous strength of will and depth of knowledge. She knows cruising to a depth most of us only see in glimpses. Her perspective can take any possible cruise topic – such as why people choose certain cruise lines and the difference between marketing promises and delivery – and turn it into concrete answers and demonstrate the solutions Azamara has taken.

I have just come onboard, so I will have the next seven days to see if I feel Edie’s plan has been successful. Keep in mind that Larry Pimentel and Edie only got the reins of the cruise line about a year ago, and that it takes time for any new programs to become entrenched in the system. But one thing seems obvious, Pimentel and Bornstein have not just taken this job as another “gig” and when Edie speaks she doesn’t change the subject after a cursory answer. She is emphatic about Azamara and indeed you can’t stop her from talking about everything they have done and have planned for the future.

She is someone I would want to have on my team in any circumstance - the bottom line here is the amount of attention the line has put into making this a far more inclusive product but still at a premium price. As you can see, the following are all included for suite guests: gratuities, wine with lunch and dinner, bottled water and soda free all day, There is the Dewar’s and the Absolute.

Azamara features more ports per cruise, and one thing that really strands out is how they often stay overnight on the first port of call, such as Venice, allowing you to arrive by air, go to the ship and stat sightseeing. You can stay out late at night and experience the port by night (pretty unusual for a cruise ship) and then you remain the next day to see even more of the Venice. The ship will finally sail about 6:00 p.m., giving you a spectacular ride out of Venice at sundown.

Meanwhile – this is also important. Azamara has made arrangements with many cites when possible, to dock right in the city center. In Venice the dock just across the Bridge Academia – Not at the usual cruise ship dock by the train station. In London they dock downtown, and the Thames River – not in Southampton or Dover. In St Petersburg, RU, they dock not far from the Hermitage, or sometimes across the river from it so you are on the same side as the Peter the Great Cabin and the museum of Russian Political History.
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