We drove down to West Palm Beach from Jacksonville, the day before, and stayed with friends we met on a prior cruise. We drove into Miami the morning of the cruise and parked our car near the airport, so it would be there when we flew back at the end of our trip. Although we had transfers from Azamara,(because we had their air for the return portion) we opted for a cab from the car park place. Only $23.00, and much less of a hassle, and we didn't have to wait for a bus on their time schedule, transfer luggage twice, etc, etc. Worth every penny extra. Check in was quick and flawless, and we were drinking champagne in no time. Yay!
We were already familiar with this small ship, and snuck off to our room before it was supposed to be ready. We were immediately told it was NOT ready. OK, we knew that.(even though it was) Then off to lunch.
Luggage came fairly quickly, unpacked, did life boat drill and then went to looking glass, where the online cruise critics were supposed to be. I didn't see a group, and never could identify anyone as such, so after a drink we went back to the room.
The first night, there was a long line to enter the main DR, and my DH was not happy about standing in it, but after a few nights, people got their times organized, and the line was never really very long after that. Not a problem for me. The first night we had "Daniel" for our waiter, and every night we ate in that DR, we asked for him, and usually were able to have him. Sometimes, the Maitre'd, even put us at a table next to his area if he was full, and let him wait on us. Very nice. No request was ever a problem, and service was excellent. If I had any complaint at all, sometimes it was TOO quick. We like to dine at a relaxed pace, and didn't ever care about rushing off to a show. We NEVER had a bad dinner in the main DR. Food was always good to excellent, and usually the latter. WE LOVED Aqualina, and ate there several times. Service was a little more polished that Daniel, but just barely. We ate in Prime C once- had another reservation and canceled it. Not our cup of tea, so to speak, and the least good service and food of all 3 Dining Rooms. Not bad-just not us.
Same usual games-trivia, bingo etc, which I enjoy, and played, though not every day. Sometimes we slept till 10 or 11am, as we kept losing an hour 5 or 6 times till we got to Barcelona.
We didn't book any cruiseline tours, and mainly wandered around the ports ourselves, doing the hop on hop off bus, wherever possible. Nice little, typical, Spanish towns. Except for Lisbon, which was big and bustling. We tried to find the bus there, but the ship didn't give us good directions, and we walked for almost 2 hours, gave up, took a city bus, and then saw the Hop on thingy, and jumped on. Well, we need the exercise!
All the crew was VERY friendly, and they did a very nice CC get together, with alcohol and food( not just cookies, like some ships) The shows we went to were nice. We're not really "show" people, but we enjoyed the comedian, very much. We didn't stay in Barcelona, as we had been there before, and we were taking the train to Madrid for a 4 night stay. Azamara let us switch our transfers from the airport to the train station, on board. Saved us a couple of bucks, and I thought it was a thoughtful touch. Would we cruise Azamara again? In a heartbeat. We had a great cruise. But then, I'm not sure I've ever really had a BAD one. Some are just better than others! Helaine