Azamara -- Royal Caribbean's smallest brand -- only has two 686-passenger ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest. But what the line lacks in hardware, it more than makes up for in personality. By focusing on destinations -- including longer port stays and overnights -- and friendly, attentive service, the line has developed a loyal fan base that follows the ships on their worldwide itineraries.
Read on for our five best cruise tips for an Azamara sailing.
Tip 1: Bring Good Walking Shoes
With its focus on destinations, Azamara ships stay in port longer than other cruises-- which means you'll want to make sure you have the necessary gear for land excursions. Invest in comfy walking shoes and a hat if you're on one of the European itineraries, and bring bug spray if you're heading to a more nature-oriented part of the world. In all accounts, make sure you have your sunglasses, as the ship's routes tend to follow the sun.
Tip 2: Pack a White Outfit
One of the line's signature events is a White Nights party, held at least once per cruise. While you won't be turned away if you aren't wearing white, it's nice to get into the spirit and join in. This is also one party where Azamara's usually sedate crowd gets up to boogie, so bring your dancing shoes.
Tip 3: Don't Miss the Azamazing Evening
You're not forced to attend the line's complimentary cultural event onshore, held at least one night per cruise. But you should, as they are often too good to pass up. Options may include a classical music concert in Ephesus or an homage to the Big Band era in Cherbourg. All in all, these behind-the-scene events are a nice complement to the line's destination focus by giving you access to places that you can't see on your own.
Tip 4: Try the Specialty Restaurants
Both ships have two specialty restaurants onboard: Prime C, a steakhouse, and Aqualina, which serves Mediterranean-influenced food. Both are quite good, and well worth the $25 cover charge. (Suite passengers receive unlimited meals here.) At both restaurants, try to reserve a table at the aft windows -- the view is incredible.
Tip 5: Get in the Water
Unlike other cruise lines, Azamara doesn't blast music by the pool, and the line rarely has many children onboard. So this is one time where you might have the pool and whirlpools all to yourself. Don't forget to enjoy that.