We chose Azamara for the small ship and also for the best itinerary immersion into the ports of call. Imagine docking right in the center of Bordeaux... closer to the center then the river cruises!! It was quite the experience to get off ... Read More
We chose Azamara for the small ship and also for the best itinerary immersion into the ports of call. Imagine docking right in the center of Bordeaux... closer to the center then the river cruises!! It was quite the experience to get off the ship and walk right up to the Place de la Bourse. The majority of our stops took us to the heart of the cities, otherwise we had a plethora of shuttles taking us right to the center like in Bilbao, dropping us off a couple of streets down from the Guggenheim museum.
I was impressed by the quality of service and service excellence from all the crew members. We could interact easily and daily with the Captain and all the officers. The hotel director even ensured I was fine when I felt seasick. Giving me kind advice and finding a quiet table nearest to the center of the ship one evening. He took personal care to ensure we enjoyed ourselves regardless of the waves (the Atlantic can churn a lot, as a first time cruiser, it was though to start with, but sea bands and drugs helped).
Our safety was of utmost importance and when a port of call had to be changed because Pasais' port was closed, the process was seamless. The entire crew was ultra busy making all the changes and adjustments in the background, but no one looked stressed or nonplussed about it. Very impressive.
I'm not sure if the crew ever says no to anyone. We were spoiled. It was great. The food is plentiful and there is something for everyone from meat lovers to health nuts, to vegan to gluten free. Everything is fresh and there is a made to order station in every outlet. There is food everywhere on the boat, so you can never go hungry. The complimentary alcohol is acceptable (although beer selection is ordinary, they could do much better). We never felt we had to upgrade to any of the wine packages. People we talked too felt the same way too.
The staterooms are on the small side (we had a V2) and the bathroom microscopic. Only one person can be in there at the same time. After a couple of days, we got used to it and it did not bother us. The bed... oh so comfortable!!!!! The mattress is firm while the sheets ultra soft. A huge fluffy comforter on top keeps you nice and cozy. Each room is individually temperature controlled, so you can have it the way you like.
The embarkation and disembarkation are wonderful giving the small number of guests on board. Even the one tender we took we didn't wait at all. There was always a shuttle running is the other ports where it was needed and we never waited. VIP service all the way. I loved how the crew welcomed us home after the day. It really felt like home and for us, who generally prefer independent travels, we found ourselves looking forward to being back on board. You can also feel the pride the crew has for their ship. Many are long time employees and the company seems to take good care of them, which is very important for us. Happy crew will take care of their customers.
The overall experience was very positive and I can't wait to go back in March for a part of their World Journey. Read Less