Although this was our 1st Cruise together. I cruised around Fiji when I was 18 with some friends but my husband had never cruised before and often said he didn't want to... he has definately changed his mind now.
I am not sure what cruise the last report was on but This was a PERFECT itinerary, for us and also had many other reports saying the same thing, we didn't want a Port intensive cruise which would be tiring, this had enough Ports to see the place and all but one were over 2 days as well as Sea days in between for the rest that we all needed, I don't understand the previous report saying it was a Port Intensive Cruise!!! We all know the itinerary before we cruise!!!
We left Adelaide and flew direct to Singapore arriving around 6pm, we caught a taxi straight to the ship, had a good driver who spoke good English and was a terrific guide. We had been to Singapore many times so didn't want to do a pre cruise night.
The good thing about arriving later was that we were the only ones checking in, most people were already on board and enjoying their dinner, so we got straight through. It was a bit confusing in parts, but we got through ok. Being first timers we did not know the procedure and most people presumed you knew what to do - we worked it out though.
The first day was at sea, we departed earlier than expected as everyone was on board. Was a good day to get familiar with everything and meet some people.
We had our Cruise Critic meet and greet, put on by Azamara which was good putting a face to a name, we had champagne and nibbles which were lovely and met all the people that were coming on our tours etc.
We ate in the DiningRoom every night apart from the 2 nights that they sent us to Prime C and Aqualina because the Dining Room was full. Although they were nice, we actually preferred the food in the Dining Room and also the atmosphere was better.
We found the choice was good, one side of the menu being the same every night and the other side was different with great choices and always had something we enjoyed. It must be very hard to please 700 people with taste, there will always be the very few that will complain about the choice. We just enjoyed that someone else was cooking and it was always a 1st class meal.
It is the type of cruise you can join with others if you wish, or you can eat by yourself, a good choice.
We enjoyed the Casual Dining more than getting dressed up every night, we all felt more relaxed and therefore enjoyed the company and the atmosphere. I actually paid no attention to what the people at the next table were wearing as this made no impact to my dining experience and definitly did not make the food taste any different!!! We also liked that we were not on a "SET" time to go for dinner, as we changed it every night, depending on what we were doing in the day, and sometimes we decided to go to the Themed Buffet on Pool deck at the last minute. The freedom to choose when and where we dined and also who with was a highlight and most enjoyable.
All the staff we found to be genuinely happy and more than helpful and always saying hello, could not fault any of them.
The Cafe was a nice meeting place for morning coffee, although could be crowded at times, but was never a problem.
The entertainment was the only thing that was in need of revamping, was a bit on the low side. Jim Badger was good, but didn't want to listen to him every night. We actually enjoyed Dining in the Dining room and then maybe going for a drink in one of the bars with new friends.
One thing that we were very impressed with was the Shuttle Bus at every port. No need to battle with the taxi drivers who don't speak english or want to take you every else expect where you want to go. Azamara have a Free Shuttle bus from the ship to a central location in the city area, going back and forth about every 30 minutes, this was Invaluable.
We realised our cruise experience was determined on our own outloook, we chose to enjoy it and not grizzle and complain out every tiny little insignificant detail, of which there was very few.
Although our cruising is limited, we are not into "comparing" with other cruises or cruiselines as they are all different for different reasons. WE picked this cruise line and WE picked this itinerary, it was up to us to sit back and enjoy it which is what we did, and would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone.
Happy to give any more information to anyone if needed - firstname.lastname@example.org