Monthly Archives: December 2010

Azamara Club Cruises

“You’ll Love Where They take
You” is the Azamara Motto…. and I say “You’ll Love How They Take
You There”!

Okay, so I was
having way too much fun to write every day for 12 days! I
admit it, I procrastinated! But here I am, 6 days home from
my Azamara Journey cruise and I am still wishing I was back on the
ship! I have already written about my first impressions of
the Journey, now I will write about my “lasting impressions” of the
Journey. And there were plenty! It is so often that you
travel, whether on a ship or at a resort, and something happens
that disappoints you. The sad thing is that often, it can
ruin what would otherwise be a great trip. Of course, at the
end of the vacation you can always put your comments in the box,
and although satisfying, it still leaves a bad taste about the
experience. I must admit, that did happen to us on the
Journey. What is amazing is how my disappointment actually
became the best thing about the Journey! The first 2 mornings, the
breakfast service was not so good. Coffee was consistently
unlabeled (caf – decaf), dirty plates stood in front of guests for
up to half hour (yet plenty of waiters around)…I would basically
say that it seemed as though there was NO service. And that
is not what we expected from such a luxury cruise. It seemed
so unusual since every other point of service was excellent!
But those mornings could definitely spoil everyones
experience. What happened on the 3rd day was truly amazing,
and something I have NEVER seen before! Each guest was given
a comment card and asked to complete it that day. The letter
said that it was the Journey’s way of addressing any issues early
in the 12 day cruise. I thought this was a fabulous idea!
So I wrote down how pleased I was with everything except that
morning breakfast service. What a GREAT opportunity for the
Azamara Journey to say “We care and we want to make this a
fantastic experience”! After handing in my card, breakfast
service was impeccable! Yes, the lax service issue was
addressed and resolved! I was so impressed with the results
that it made those first 2 mornings a past memory! Hey,
everyone makes mistakes, but to make the effort to correct it WHILE
on the vacation is truly great service! SO KUDOS to the
AZAMARA Journey Staff for that! There were many things that we were
truly impressed with on the Azamara Journey. One was the
cleanliness of
the ship. It was cleaner then a Disney Cruise! And that
says alot! Again, I will use the word “impeccable”.
Cabin
service
was “on spot”!
Dany was always there when we needed him
and always with a smile! The Main
dining room
“Discoveries” was wonderful. Food selection and quality was
excellent. Service was wonderful (Chris was a
favorite!
). The
Aqualina” dining
experience was perfection. “Prime
C
” was a disappointment only because the
steak that I had the night before in the main dining was
better…but again, service was excellent. The
Fitness center
was well equipped and had a wide variety
of classes. The pool
deck
was pristine and very clean.
The poolside BBQ
events
were spectacular. Great
atmosphere and food selection. The
entertainment was
awesome. I truly appreciate the effort they put into a
special Christmas play. It had me laughing and left me
tingling with emotion. It was
excellent. Captain Tysse
was actually a Captain that we had on a previous Sea Dream Yacht
Club cruise and I must say, his humor, warmth and connection with
the passengers was inspiring. He runs a tight ship and it
shows. Azamara should be proud to have him on the Journey!
Acupuncturist was super knowledgable. Internet Cafe was
very well run. Little things that stood out…refreshment
table on the jogging deck for morning walkers. Very nice
touch! My final and only disapointment was actually the most
exciting moment for me! I WON THE JACKPOT BINGO! I was
so excited and happy! Everyone was waiting to see how much I won!
I was shaking with anticipation! Would it be $ 2,000 ?
$ 1,000 ? even $ 500 would be thrilling! NOPE. It
was $ 85! YES! $ 85 dollars! Heck, it cost me $ 40 to
play! If I knew that it would be $ 85 I never would have
wasted that precious hour of sunshine!! (Everyone was
complaining to the Bingo staff on the way out that it was actually
tacky to give a Jackpot Bingo prize of $85 dollars!) It was
actually embarrassing for them to do that. In the end…Take an
“Azamara Journey”. You will LOVE HOW they take you
away. (Just don’t bother wasting time playing Bingo!)
Thank You to the Azamara Journey Crew for making us feel so
welcome! The video below is my THANK YOU…so the Crew can
say “Hi” to their families back home!

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The Twelve Days of Azamara

Okay, don’t get jealous, but as I write this, I am Cruising on the Azamara Journey for 12 days.  YES! 12 days!  I have decided to write a bit each day as opposed one long review. Our “Journey” will take us to St John,  I hope you enjoy!

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On the first day of Azamara……

“First Impressions only happen once…”

Having never sailed a Cruise Ship the size of the Azamara Journey, I was very curious and excited to experience it.  At approx. 30,000 tons , holding almost 700 guests I consider this a midsize luxury ship.  Much smaller than the typical 90,000 and up cruise Ships and much bigger than the 5,000 ton Windstar or Sea Dream Yacht Club.  Having been spoiled by service on small luxury cruise ships, I expected that the Azamara Journey would be comparable.  The question – “Will the Azamara Journey just ba a small version of a large Cruise Ship, or a Larger version of a smaller Cruise Ship?”

Embarkation was a breeze.  Very well set up.  Very exclusive, luxury feel.  Once onboard, we were greeted with champagne & a smile.  Very nicely done!  I could feel the extra effort of “small ship luxury”.  I was most surprised by the style & decor of the ship.  As an avid traveler, I research each resort & cruise thoroughly and that “first impression”  upon arrival is sometimes filled with shock!  Well, this was one of those moments!  A good one.  I was happily surprised that the ship itself was far nicer than I had anticipated!  The photos even in the Azamara Club Cruises brochure do NOT do this ship justice.

First Impressions –

Very clean, classic style ship.  Carpets were fresh looking and vibrant without being too bold.  The rich wood used throughout the public areas exudes wealth & class.  Every piece of furniture upholstered in rich, luxurious textiles that just invite you to sit & relax.  Ceiling frescos were very impressive and popped into view at surprising moments.  The pool area was so inviting.  The 5 inch deep, blue padding on each teak chair was definitely calling my name!  This was going to be a comfortable cruise!

Service with a smile.  Our first lunch onboard was definitely a top notch service dining experience.  Dinner in the main dining room “Discoveries” was excellent.  What struck me that first night was the face of the Dining staff.  It was evident that they are not the typical large cruise ship staff.  This staff seemed more mature, more experienced then you would normally find.  We were very satisfied with the quality of food and the presentation.

Our verandah stateroom was very much what I expected and true to the photos.  Stateroom was very clean, pleasant colors.  Not totally in love with the furniture in the room.  But it was “okay”.  Space was adequate, although storage space was a bit tight for a 12 day cruise (my hubby would say it is because I packed too much!).  Bathroom is very clean and suffuicient.  Nothing luxurious about this cabin except our Cabin Steward Dany.  Now he put the “luxury” in the cabin!  Wonderful attitude and presentation (can I take him home!!).

As always, the first day onboard a cruise is the most exhausting, so we retired early.  Ready to see how much our “first impressions” will hold up throughout the next 11 days!

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Port of the Week – “Nowhere”

Nowhere?

YES…Nowhere!

FAST FACTS:

Location – “Nowhere” could be “Anywhere”

Size of Nowhere – as vast as the Ocean is wide!

Population – Very Exclusive, only other passengers on your Cruise can visit!

Even if you have never been on a “Cruise to Nowhere”…as long as you have been on a cruise, you have experienced “Nowhere”.  Although it is actually  “Somewhere”…it is definitely “Nowhere”.

I am on the plane flying back from my cruise to “Nowhere” onboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. Yes, the ship went exactly there…NOWHERE!  And it was great!

First let me say, I was on the “Creme de la Creme” of Cruise Ships as far as the facilities, activities & events on a Cruise Ship.  At 220,000 gross tons, the Allure of the Seas is best described as a floating City.  It is great that the Allure takes you to exotic ports of call…but my favorite port of call for the Allure is “Nowhere”.

When a ship sails to “Nowhere”, it means that it is doing exactly that…floating at sea for a determined amount of time.  Now, you might say “WHY WOULD I WANT TO DO THAT?!”  Here is my Top 10 Reasons for  spending a day at Sea:

  1. NO pressure to hop off the ship, “Nowhere” is actually ON the Ship!
  2. Fresh Ocean air…restorative benefits for your health!  Breathe!!!!!
  3. Great chance to hit the Spa and get a 2 hour massage.
  4. Bingo, an Art Auction, Wine Tastings, Salsa Lessons?  Endless options of “to Dos”
  5. If you are on a Family Reunion Cruise or Cruising with a group, it gives you the time to really spend together.
  6. I can actually finish that book I have been reading, in a quiet spot on the ship.
  7. Nap time is acceptable
  8. NO cost for excursions!
  9. Great time for educational enrichment or even Company Seminars!
  10. I can just close my eyes, feel the breeze and feel the moment.

Some on my favorite moments on a Cruise are when we are in between ports and have absolutely no pressure and nothing to do except what YOU want to do!  In fact, one big advantage of a Cruise Vacation over a land vacation is the endless options of activities.  Should you have the dreaded rainy day, on a Cruise you are never bored!

On a Cruise ship the size of the Allure, if you can’t find something to entertain you (or relax you) then we seriously need to call the “I CAN’T HAVE FUN POLICE”! Or maybe even the “PERSONALITY POLICE!”  Even the most miserable of people will find something to smile about!  No matter what type of person you are, there is something for you…..

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Sun worshipers?.. the deck is your spot!

Gamblers? …the Casino is open!

Shoppers?…Jewelry, clothing, art, Coach Pocketbooks!, Fine Wines

Active?…Golf, Rock Climbing, Bball, Spin Class, Ice Skating & even a Zip Line!

Crafty?…Try one of the many creative workshops offered.

Movie or Theater Buff?…Cinema Movies, Broadway Plays & even in room viewing

Food & Wine Connesieur?…Wine tasting seminars & Cooking lessons

Music Buffs?…Orchestras, bands & DJs ready to “Rock your Socks” off!

Self Indugent?…let Vitality Spa pamper you to “wet noodle” status!

I could go on and On!!!

Of course even on a small Cruise ship like the Windstar, Sea Dream that doesn’t have all the bells & whistles of a mega ship…a day at Sea is what a Cruise is all about ….relaxation.  The gentle breeze, the mesmerizing swaying of the ocean…it is thought provoking, stimulating & pampering.

Yes, I love “Nowhere”.  It is exactly the “somewhere”  I love to be!

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