Our cruise began in Auckland and finished in our home town of Sydney this was my 4th cruise and my partners first. A first for Azamara for both but my closest taken cruise was with the mother company RCCL. It was port intensive with only 2 full sea days which I thought was fabulous as I don't cruise to just sail about I want to see the new country that I am visiting so good on Azamara for excellent planning.
So how did it compare well most of all I would have to say and was far better then on the Rhapsody mainly because of it small size. What made that better everyone was close and friendly the staff seemed to be free to talk to passengers which made the experience so much nicer then on larger ships. It made making friendships so much easier as if you talked one day you could be sure to meet again the next day on larger ships you sometimes never see people again.
The food which on ships seems more important then when on land was very good quality the serves were small but when offered so many courses who needs large serves. I personally never had a bad meal. What I will comment is that although I only had one specialty meal I really couldn't see the value Prime C served very similar meals to the main dining and when paying US$25 extra pp I couldn't see enough difference to get me back again.
These cabins are small I hope when the refit occurs they will improve space in the bathroom and I would love to see VDU of the outside like on RCCL. This would make the room appear so much bigger. I understand the disabled ones are much better set out and larger. However ours was well placed for getting to the pool area and buffet dining.
Nice town easy to walk around and plenty to see no need to book excursions.
I really liked this port it was quite small but perfectly formed we enjoyed walking around.
This is my home town it is a magnificent harbour city and so impressive to sail into. If lucky enough to dock into Circular Quay it is possible to see the sites without booking a tour easily done by foot or public transport. The ferry to Manly moments away as is the station and buses. Opera house a hop skip and jump Botanical Gardens art gallery museums etc and of course you are landing in the Rocks. What more can a tourist or local want.