This morning begins with a visit to the Windows Cafe to forage for pastries for Queen Rickee, who delights in having me bring her something sweet after I am finished with my blogging duties. There is a station at Windows Cafe where they make fresh pancakes and waffles and I noticed some very fresh, nice-looking cinnamon rolls. She was quite pleased with my choice.
Azamara Quest arrived in Cartagena, Colombia, at noon. We decided to have an early lunch at The Patio on Deck 9, since it opens at 11:30. As pool grills go, The Patio is one of the better ones. They have quite an extensive menu.
Menu at The Patio
I ordered a cheeseburger with onion rings and Rickee had a hot dog with everything (including chili). I also ordered a lamb brochette, just so I could write about it (yeah, right). The have guacamole on the salad bar, so I put a big scoop in a salad bowl and had the waiter bring us some tortilla chips for us to munch on while we waited for our food. Everything in The Patio is prepared a la minute, so food generally arrives hot and fresh. My burger was as good as the one yesterday and Rickee devoured her hot dog and fries. The lamb brochette was tender, juicy and quite good.
After retrieving my laptop from Jim (the Bridge lecturer), we wasted no time in disembarking the ship. We have no idea how to find the Segway place, so we want to make sure we have enough time to wander aimlessly through Cartagena to locate it. By 1:00pm, we are off the ship and boarding one of the complimentary shuttle buses.
Complimentary shuttle buses
Azamara always tries to provide guests with complimentary shuttle service into town when available. This is a huge convenience for those of us who like to explore on our own. It is a great added value to an Azamara cruise. The 20-minute ride from the port delivered us to the gates of the old walled city. We had a vague map that we printed off the Internet to go by, so we had to ask for directions from the tour guide on the shuttle.
Rickee asks for directions in Cartagena
If you ever find yourself in the old city of Cartagena, don't expect to use street names or addresses as a guide. Streets tend to change their name every block or two, so we soon found ourselves wandering aimlessly through town. When walking through town, you will see a lot of street vendors with their wares displayed on the ground, a common site in many tourist destinations. For the most part, the vendors were polite and not aggressive at all.
Street vendors are everywhere in the old city
For more than one hour, we wandered the streets of Cartagena, stopping to ask locals for directions, but to no avail. Finally, I went back to the original map I downloaded from the Internet and just ignored the street names and went by visual landmarks. Turns out, we were a few blocks from the Segway place all along. We walked all around it! Once we found Cartegana Segway, we met a few other guests from our ship who had also booked the tour on their own. Soon, we were mounting our two-wheeled self-balancing wonder machines and tooling through the crowded streets of Cartagena.
Riding Segways through the streets of Cartagena's old city
Notwithstanding the occasional traffic jam, the streets here are pretty good for Segway touring. Our tour guide, Cesar, would have us stop regularly, park the Segways and educate us on local points of interest along the way. There were several opportunities for photos along the way in front of historic buildings.
Rickee and I stop for a photo
At the conclusion of the tour, we decided to spring for the optional transfer back to the ship which Cartagena Segway offers for $15 per couple. We will soon post a more detailed review of Cartagena Segway on CruiseReport.com, so watch for more details and photos to come. When we arrived back at the port (Puerto Cartagena), we were shocked to be greeted by peacocks, parrots, macaws, and flamingo. They were just hanging around everywhere, out in the open!
Beautiful birds greet us when we arrive back at the port
To get back to the ship, you have to walk through a gift shop, very clever. The gift shop is very nice and is reasonably priced. We were able to pick up a souvenir refrigerator magnet for $5.
Azamara Quest docked in Cartagena, Colombia
By the time we got back on board Quest, we had just enough time to take a shower and get dressed for the AzAmazing event this evening: Ivann at Teatro Adolfo Mejia. Once each cruise, Azamara guests are treated to an "AzAmazing Evening" of local entertainment. This evening, guests board coaches for the drive back into the old city where we arrive at the beautiful Teatro Heredia.
Azamara guests arrive at Teatro Heredia
The theater itself is quite stunning, and Azamara has reserved the entire facility for this event. As we are seated, we are entertained by an excellent Flamenco classical guitarist. When Ivan Dario Arias (aka IVANN) takes the stage, he transforms the theater with his piano as he showcases a variety of musical styles, including techno, salsa, flamenco and pop. Dramatic lighting, dancers and fog effects make this much more than just a piano concert. This is a show you would expect to see in Las Vegas. Kudos to Azamara for putting on a truly Azamazing event!
IVANN on the piano
The show lasted about an hour, after which we all boarded the coaches for the drive back to Quest. When we arrived, wait staff greeted us with glasses of champagne as we stepped off the coach. A substantial buffet of late-night snacks awaited guests in The Living Room on Deck 10. As if this were not enough, there was also a movie-under-the-stars offered by the pool! All-in-all, it was a truly Azamazing day in Cartagena aboard Azamara Quest!
Tomorrow is another day at sea as Quest sails for the Panama Canal.