Prior to the cruise, spent five days in Pais on our own, then took the train to Rouen, spending two days at the Hotel Mercure with a view of the cathedral out our window. This was a perfect way to wind down after the crowds in Paris--loved the city and enjoyed the hotel. From our hotel, it was about a 15minute taxi ride to the ship. I love cruising and have enjoyed every cruise I've ever been on (all 17 of them). However, Azamara on this cruise probably had the best service and friendliest crew of them all. Checkin was very quick and easy, then we were handed a glass of champagne as we boarded the ship. Rooms were ready shortly after we embarked. Rooms were stocked with fresh flowers and fruit daily, as well as soft drinks in the frig.In addition we enjoyed the free specialty coffees and free wine (which flowed freely) at lunch and dinner. Another plus was the fact that shore excursions were half-price if booked online prior to the cruise--this made them an unbeatable value. We had planned on doing many ports on our own, but decided it was a better deal to book the half-price excursions.
They also have a free laundromat onboard, with three washing machines, which is a great idea but two of them were broken the entire cruise. We could never get to a machine so we had to give up and wash clothes in the shower and hang them to dry in our room. I think the people whose rooms were nearby were the only ones who got to use the machines. It would be nice if you could reserve a time to use the laundromat, same as making a reservation for the restaurants, so anyone needing to wash clothes would be assured of one time during the cruise, especially before dragging all your clothes from the other end and deck of the ship numerous times and never finding it available.
Ww had spent five days in Paris and two in Rouen before boarding the ship, and were already tired and had a suitcase of dirty clothes when we got onboard. This cruise was port intensive (11-day cruise with a different port each day, no sea days) so we went to bed by 11 each night and so can't comment on most of the onboard activities. The one evening show we saw (Helen Jayne) was good. The weather was too cold and rainy to use the pool. We were gone all day on excursions so didn't do any of the day activities. Our day consisted daily of ordering room service in the morning (it was yummy), taking an excursion, returning to the ship tired (and usually wet because we didn't have but a couple of sunny days), getting cleaned up, having dinner then going to bed before midnight.