Azamara Club Cruises – World War II Tour – Day 11

Last night was a beautiful sunset and this morning it is heavy cloud and looks like rain, something we have seen very little of on this cruise. It’s hard to believe that my time on the beautiful Azamara Journey is at and end. Henry and fellow veteran It seems but yesterday, arriving in Lisbon for the start of an 11-day cruise of commemorating D-Day and World War II. Looking out at sea there are many ships, freighters, oil tankers, containers all pushing their way through a choppy sea to the destinations of the world. It shows what a busy shipping lane the North Sea is. At about noon the show lounge is packed to capacity, they have come to listen to Henry, our onboard veteran be interviewed by Eric the Cruise Director. It is fascinating and will be a separate review by me. It concluded with Henry complete with guitar singing country and western songs, not bad for a gentleman who is 92 years young. We are due into Hamburg at about 2.30pm.  As we sail up the River Elbe to our final destination the wind picks resulting in two tugs having to help us berth. The Captain tells us that the wind was gusting 35mph. Some of the passengers are leaving the ship here to begin in some cases long journeys home to the USA, Canada and beyond. Tonight is my final dinner on board followed by an early night as I have to leave the ship soon after 8am tomorrow morning.

The cruise has been outstanding. Firstly, the ship with its dark blue hull and white superstructure has it standing out from the rest. The crew keep it in magnificent condition, no worn furniture, carpets or curtains. No blown window panels and certainly no rust. The lacquered rails around the ship shine in the sunshine. The venues, ‘The Drawing Room’ with its piano, bookshelves, settees and chairs and Discoveries Lounge with a white marble fireplace, the place to enjoy a pre- or post-dinner drink. Mosaic Café, a great meeting place to share that special coffee over a chat with new made friends. On the subject of drink, an all-inclusive system is used, with only a few premium spirits or beers being chargeable. This has the advantage that you do not have waiters trying to sell drinks all the time and no large bar bill at the end of the cruise. The measures given are as big as the smiles on the faces of the crew, and that is big. The senior officers are always walking about the ship and are very approachable. My invite to the captain’s table was memorable. Thank you, Captain Johannes.

Azamara Journey The entertainment has been extremely good. Brooks Aehron is a first class act not just as a concert pianist but his repertoire that has people laughing and applauding. Eric de Gray the Cruise Director who can sing anything from the musicals to rock and roll, what quality. Most talented cruise director I have ever met. Mandy Muden with her own special comedy and magic. All the acts have been brilliant, but these were my personal favourites.

Food, an always important factor on any cruise, has been most enjoyable. The themed evenings in the Buffet Restaurant are worthy of special mention. Good enough on 3 occasions to have me eating there rather than the main dining room. The Curry Night, Asian Night and Italian Night were in my opinion brilliant.

The staff has that can do attitude. My cabin was kept immaculate, the wine waiters were always hovering to fill your glass, guest relations always having an answer to any question you might have.

Now for the itinerary. This was a cruise put together by the cruise line President, Larry Pimentel. It was titled Memories of a World War II Voyage, and it was just that. A visit to those places that most people associate with D-Day and the war. The first port of call was Guernsey, one of the beautiful Channel Islands that suffered under the German occupation, as I reported in an earlier article. Alan Fairfax and Silver Travel bag at World War II Memorial site Then onto Cherbourg for the 70th Anniversary of the landings on the 6th June. Most of the roads were closed due to security, which was no surprise looking at the heads of state who were in the area for the various services and celebrations. That night was the Azamazing Evening where the whole cruise terminal was taken back 70 years with the costumes of the day, a dance band in G.I. uniform, a dance troop from Paris all in the 1940s French costume and much, much more. The next day saw us in Honfleur one of the prettiest ports I have ever been to in Europe. Flowers everywhere, a café society around the quayside of the small harbour. Buildings that have stood the test of time but have been painstakingly cared for. The church where I discovered the priest who sang like a ballad singer. It was from here visits were made to the beaches of Gold, Juno, Sword and Omaha all of which have their own story to tell. How different they looked today in the sunshine with families relaxing and children playing on them from what they must have been like 70 years ago as soldiers landed from amphibious craft and were killed or  wounded there by German soldiers. The American Legion Band from Holland, Michigan, USA were playing, and they really were magnificent. There followed a visit to the American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach. Lines of white crosses, some with names, some just ‘Known but to God’. An emotional experience that will remain with me until I die. This was followed by the ports of Dover, Amsterdam and finally Hamburg.

Hamburg On this cruise I have met many people from all walks of life and made new friends from across ‘The Pond’. They all have their story to tell and their reasons for choosing this cruise. Henry, our onboard veteran who parachuted in on the 6th June 1944 with the 101st Airborne and had not been back since.

Numerous men wearing baseball caps indicating them as veterans of the Pacific conflict and Vietnam. The vast majority are those who had relatives involved and like me wanted to see where their relatives came 70 years ago as well as try to understand what it was like. Did we see and understand? Yes, I think we did.

A wonderful cruise and a big thank you to Azamara Club Cruises and all their staff who made it possible.

Silver Travel Advisor recommends Azamara.

See also

319 people found this helpful

Share Article:


Travel writer & cruise journalist

Leave a comment


Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

For seasoned cruisers seeking something new, or for first-timers testing the waters, this Riviera Travel Croatian cruise offers a unique…

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.