As a single traveller, this company offer selected sailings at a 25% supplement, as opposed to larger ships that can range from 75 to 120%!!!! There were at least 30 single people aboard. I don't mind paying a bit extra but I feel the larger ships are saying they don't want singles, a huge mistake on their part as there are many single people out there that want to cruise.
This was my 14th cruise but my first time with Azamara, it will not be my last. Their organisation was fantastic! I flew to Singapore where after a comfy night in a hotel was taken to the ship and boarded immediately.
My cabin was an outside with a large picture window, plenty of storage space, and a good sized shower. Fresh fruit is supplied daily and all soft drinks in the mini bar are included. My cabin was positioned mid ship which I was grateful for when we hit a storm between Taiwan and Japan with 6m waves. Small boats move more than big ones.
The overnight stays in Saigon and Hong Kong allowed local entertainers to come on board and both shows were wonderful. The ships entertainment was varied with comedians, musicians and their own dancers/singers, which, in my opinion were better than many large ships. Two people played on deck at lunchtime, their music soft and melodic and fitting to relaxation. The crew show hosted a variety of excellent talent. The disco did themed evenings and daytime activities offered something for everyone.
We also had an evening barbecue and an officer's picnic, where the captain carved the joint and the other officers served, a nice touch. The captain and his officers were very visible, moving around the ship and chatting to guests. I also went on a tour of the bridge. The crew appeared genuinely happy with the atmosphere on the ship being very relaxed.
After a week we were asked if there was anything they could improve upon. We could not think of anything. Their attention to detail seems to surpass other lines.
There were a variety of nationalities on board, Australian, British, German, Canadians, Norwegian etc. which made conversation interesting and being a small ship meant that you quickly made friends. The food was wonderful! The dining room was open seating and never a problem to get a table when you wanted one. There were themed nights in the buffet and a good room service menu available. They also had a great coffee shop with a variety of coffees, which you could get to go. Dress code is casual all the time, which meant packing for a long haul flight easier without the evening gear.
Sailing up the Mekong to Saigon was stunning, the advantage of a small ship to be able to dock in the cities and transverse the rivers. At Hong Kong we were in a perfect position to see the city light show at 8pm, although to get from the ship to the street you had to negotiate your way through the largest shopping centre I have ever witnessed. Taiwan, Hualien and Keeling were a bit disappointing with not a lot to see, but the people were friendly and honest and there is a great market in Hualien. Due to as storm, we reached Nagasaki 3 hours late and then it took another 1.5 hours to get off the ship due to Japanese immigration -- photo, fingerprints and heat sensitive cameras (I thought the US was bad). However when we got back on board, they had hot chocolate and rum to warm us up, another nice touch. We ended in Shanghai, China, which unfortunately meant we had to get a visa (around Â£100) to get from the ship to the airport. We were booked into a day hotel which was in the centre of Shanghai, a beautiful city and the sun was shining.
If you book excursions online before you travel, they are 50% off, excellent value and you can still cancel when you get on board. Each trip had various components.They packed a lot into them. In Saigon, we visited the Post Office, a most unusual building, had a rickshaw ride, saw a water puppet show, visited the Reunification Palace and had time in the market.
Wine is included with lunch and dinner, which meant my bar bill was considerably lower than other cruises. There were a variety of dinks packages that you could buy. All soft drinks were included, cans not draft as in other ships, when buying a gin and tonic you only paid for the gin. Tips are also included in your fare.
I would highly recommend this company, especially for solo travellers and I plan to sail with them again.
To sum up -- the attention to detail was outstanding!!!!