Although we have been on over 30 cruises of 1 week or more, we did not know what to expect with Azamara. They had just changed to Azamara Club Cruises offering included gratuties, wine with lunch and supper, included soft drinks, bottled water, shuttle service for ports, etc.
CHECK IN was fast, smooth and easy. Staff were on hand to ensure all went well and signage was good. We arrived too early as usual but someone was on hand to receive our check in luggage and a ships officer offered to store our carry-on board bags so we could browse and shop until check-in time. I'm sure it helps that the ship is under 700 passengers but the effort was clearly to benefit the arriving guests. We were assured we would receive our bags at the room shortly after being allowed to check in. we checked in on time and were greeted by the Ships Officers and handed a glass of champagne.
The rooms were not to be ready until 1300 as is standard but the buffet was open, a bag check was available with the notice, you didn't to pick the bags up as they would be delivered to the room as soon as they were ready. They were. Our checked bags arrived within an hour of check in.
The descriptions could go on forever but overall, the staff were the best we have ever experienced, from the lowest server or busboy to the Captain himself. Everyone on the ship was eager to work and eager to make it the best cruise you had experienced. If you finished a plate of foo0d or a drink, someone was there to take it away AND ask if you would like anything else. At breakfast, you could not sit down without being asked if you wanted coffee, tea and/or freshly squeezed orange juice. All the restaurants were outstanding at all times and the food was marvelous.
In port, returning from a tour, we were often met with ships officers offering champagne. other ships passengers were envious.
The cabins are spacious and clean although balconies are small on the old Renaissance ships. The intimate surroundings, lack of need for formal attire, good food and exercise facilities, many outdoor barbecues and hosted chefs meals by the pool and friendliness of the staff were all notable.
Our Special Kudos would go to Captain Carl Smith, Hotel Manager Philip, F&B Manager Gusmann, and the sommeliers Stephania and Nikolay who made sure our wine glasses were never dry.
Service made the cruise feel like you were being hosted by family and friends.
We can't wait for our next Azamara Cruise. Well worth the little extra money for the value.