Our first concern is for the people of Ukraine and their families and friends throughout the world, who are impacted by this cruel and senseless attack on the citizens of Kiev, also known as Kyiv. From now on, I will refer to the city under attack as Kyiv since many may not be aware of this alternate spelling.
My great grandfather was the mayor of Kyiv in the late 1800s. Many of my ancestors immigrated from Kyiv in the early 1900s, which I was well aware of in my childhood. Tom has conducted considerable research in Ancestry.com and has confirmed the lineage as far back as Ancestry.com records display.
Of course, our concern for the people of Kyiv and Ukraine, in general, supersedes our interest in sailing on this itinerary in June. In no way do I minimize the importance of the safety of human lives over the prospect of a cruise for our pleasure. There’s no comparison. From that viewpoint, I proceed with this post discussing the travel relevance to this awful situation.
This morning, as I began typing this post, we received an email message from Azamara that reads as follows:
February 24, 2021
Dear Azamara Guest,
We have been monitoring the situation between Ukraine and Russia for the past several weeks. Based on the latest overnight developments, we have found it necessary to change our current voyages to visit either of these countries. As a result, your Black Sea Voyage, which is scheduled to depart on June 29, 2022, on Azamara Onward®, is one of the voyages we will be adjusting to remove Ukraine and/or Russia as a port of call.
We need a little time to ensure the changes we make still result in a memorable, deeply immersive cruise vacation, so we just wanted to inform you that these changes will be shared with you soon.
We greatly appreciate your understanding and thank you for your cooperation throughout our journey as we have worked to manage this fluid situation. We assure you that your upcoming Azamara vacation will deliver the highest standards of service and quality for which we are known.
Should you have any questions, please contact your Travel Advisor for more details or visit https://www.azamara.com/contact-us for your local Azamara call center number.
We look forward to welcoming you on board.
For years, Tom always talked about sailing the Black Sea. I often hesitated to consider this possibility based on the outrageous cost of cruises to this magical area. When we first started traveling, we decided we both must be enthused about any future travel plans to make the bookings.
Recently, when we started booking cruises again, I knew we’d better fulfill Tom’s dream of the Black Sea after seeing how the pandemic impacted the world of travel to such a degree. As we age, we need to consider fulfilling the dreams of where we’d like to visit. No doubt, at some point, we’ll have to stop traveling.
Finally, a few months ago, we booked the Black Sea cruise on Azamara. As of yesterday, when Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated the war against Ukraine, we wondered if yet another venue we’ve booked would be canceled. After all, countless plans we’ve made in the past few years have been canceled by the provider, or we had canceled due to concerns over Covid-19 when we weren’t vaccinated.
Based on the above letter, it will be interesting to see what alternatives Azamara makes for the above itinerary. Since we’ve sailed on 27 cruises since the onset of our travels over the past nine years ago, and we have several other cruises booked into 2023, there may be some redundancy.
Surely, if that’s the case, Azamara will give us an option for a full refund or a future cruise. Then, we could transfer the funds we already paid for the cruise mentioned above of US $9862, ZAR 150773, over to one of the other upcoming Azamara cruises we have booked into the future.
Once we sail on the Celebrity Cruise on April 8, the remaining six cruises are on Azamara, on which we’ve never sailed. Why did we book so many cruises on an unfamiliar cruise line? Their itineraries matched where we wanted to travel, their ships are much smaller at around 600 passengers instead of 3000, and the reviews were fantastic.
Sure, Azamara may not have many amenities that many cruisers insist upon, but we are less picky. We are content if we have a clean, well-appointed cabin, working WiFi, and a chef who will cook meat and veg for me. Tom is easy to please with food selections. Plus, we hear Azamara is superior in all these areas and more.
We continue with prayers for the people of Ukraine and their loved ones and hope this massacre will end quickly. But nothing Putin can do going forward will ease the sorrow and fear being felt by the Ukrainian people, now or in the future.
Photo from one year ago today, February 25, 2021: