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Sail Date: May 2009
Embarkation: We used Rome Cabs for our transfer from Rome to Civitavecchia and they were prompt and professional (they also picked us from the airport two days earlier).  We arranged to share the ride with two other couples from our roll ... Read More
Embarkation: We used Rome Cabs for our transfer from Rome to Civitavecchia and they were prompt and professional (they also picked us from the airport two days earlier).  We arranged to share the ride with two other couples from our roll call which lowered the cost considerably.  We arrived at the port about 12:30ish and we were onboard with champagne in hand within a half hour. Ship: We loved the intimacy and size of the ship.  We never waited on lines for anything and their tender system was superb—it never took more than 10 minutes to board a tender and be on our way.  Ship was immaculate and our veranda room a decent size—although the bathroom leaves a bit to be desired as it is somewhat small and cramped. Staff: The staff was friendly and highly professional and tended to passengers' needs without being intrusive. Food: Food ranged from good to excellent; some superb dishes and some good.  The food in Aqualina and Prime C was wonderful—the dining experience comparable to a fine restaurant in a major city.  Food in Discoveries was very good—but a bit below that of the specialty restaurants.  But—as many have noted—the coffee left much to be desired—except in the Mosaic Cafe, where you pay extra for it. Excursions: We only opted for two ship excursions—Biking in Konavle Valley in Dubrovnik and the Independent Transfer to Florence.  The biking excursion was fun but you need to be in relatively good physical shape to enjoy it.  The transfer to Florence was OK but made a stop at a leather factory which made us (and most other passengers) as if we were held hostage when we really wanted to get to Florence as time in the city is quite limited. We did two private excursions—one with Monetti Taxi (whom Rick Steve recommends)-an eight hour tour of the Amalfi coast with a driver and sedan (both were excellent and well worth the money) and a boat/walking tour in Capri with CapriTime Tours—might have been the highlight of our trip.  We arranged this tour with two other couples we met on our roll call and had a most excellent day. Entertainment: Here is where there is much room for improvement. Although the intensive itinerary made the need for evening entertainment less pressing, the options were limited and in some cases, downright amateurish. The ship's band, Cruz Control was awful.  After a few forays into the entertainment offerings we pretty much stayed away—which was OK as we were ready for bed most nights by 11:00 because of the packed days. Spa: Very nice but so over-priced!!  I had the most expensive manicure and pedicure of my life!  With mandatory tip, $123.00!!!  And it was only an OK job!!  Lesson learned—stay away from ships' spas! Disembarkation: Just as smooth, quick and efficient as embarkation—and Rome Cabs was waiting at the port to safely deliver us to the airport. Overall: While no travel experience is ever perfect—this one came pretty close.  The general consensus on the ship was one of satisfaction and that Azamara provided well above our money's worth.  We would travel with them again in a New York minute and would not hesitate to give them a hearty recommendation. Read Less
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