First time experience with Azamara Club Cruises. I am happy to say it will not be my last!
I did extensive research before booking this cruise. Recently widowed, my wife and I had a goal to touch every continent and Asia was next. This ship and line looked like it would fit the bill. I booked the cruise 9 months prior with a discounted single supplement. I included the air and pre/post hotel stays. It was definitely worth the 26 hour travel time to get to the debarkation port of Chennai, India. The following ports of Port Blair, Andaman Islands, Yangoon,Myanmar , Phuket, Thailand and finally Singapore were all exciting.
The first stop was Port Blair, Andaman Islands! WOW! Lets just say they need to fire the sanitation director! I tagged along with another couple that hired a Tuk-Tuk cab to drive us to the beach. I did not realize cows loved the beach! Raw beauty in Andamans!
We were the first ship to dock in Yangoon and spent three days there.
American pop musician Jason Mraz was headlining a human rights concert in peoples park. A few from the cruise , including myself were in attendance along with 50,000 Burmese. What an Experience!
I did my only shore excursion in Myanmar. It was a Cooking experience and market tour. Definitely an eye opener for this spoiled American! The people of Myanmar are warm and loving. They were captivated by the influx of tourist. I can only imagine Colonial Burma!
Phuket is a bit touristy. Beautiful area but by this time I was really enjoying the ship and my fellow passengers.
Now to the ship. What a great ship. I have read and heard complaints of worn carpet, broken ice machines. My response is so what. It happens! I have been on inaugural cruises that have experienced breakdowns. What makes this cruise is the people and that includes both groups. The staff is over the top. Where can you have a casual conversation with the Captain? or lunch with the staff captain? In all of my cruises I have never had a staff person ask to join me for lunch.
The spa staff under the direction of Rose and the pool bar staff of Victor, Michael, Nicholas, Dale and Elig made my trip enjoyable at like a vacation with old friends. Tony Markey was wonderful as our cruise director.
Never say never but I am not sure I will take a large ship cruise anytime soon. The closeness of the small ship facilitates meeting your fellow passengers. Yes you meet people on a cruise but I can say I made friends! I miss the conversations already.
I took the plunge and booked an open booking for Azamara. Hopefully I can use it late 2013 or early 2014. If you ask me if you should consider Azamara, I respond with a resonding Yes!