Having cruised with Celebrity (regularly) and Royal Caribbean we were curious to see (what we perceived to be) the most luxurious cruise line from the RCL stable was like, and this taster cruise was a good chance to experience it. Sadly it didn't live up to our expectations. From the shambolic main dining experience to the odd assortment of cabin furniture, we were left unimpressed. The website says that the ships have been 'revitalised', unfortunately apart from very impressive sunbeds there are many areas that appear to have only a cursory touch-up. The cabins are a mis-match of furniture and themes, with the original (shabby) wardrobes sitting alongside a modern chrome chair, two different bedside tables and a coffee table that must have been original. Beware of the shower, it is miniscule with a shower curtain that minimises the space further. We had to ask for the blackened caulking to be repaired. The balcony had no privacy and needed a little tlc. With the ongoing issue of hygiene on cruise ships Azamara need to think about installing doors that do not require a handle - for example to get to and from the hot drink station there is a door which was frequently shut requiring you to sanitise your hands whilst holding your hot drinks. Not sure which demographic Azamara are aiming for with their brand, with dining and entertainment so structured. I appreciate that this cruise line can get you to more ports than larger ships and that this was just a 'taster' but we will not be sailing with Azamara again. Celebrity is a lot more fun, the food is better, hygiene thought out, clearly defined ambience and altogether it has nailed its market.
In order to reach Portofino a ferry is required from the port following the tender. It was a little chaotic to buy the tickets, queue and then board the ferry. On the return we chose to book a water taxi from Portofino. At 100 Euro it was well worth it to avoid the bustle of the ferry, plus we had the added bonus of Lorenzo giving us some local info. Portofino itself has turned into a tourist trap and wouldn't be somewhere I would choose to return to.
A bucket list destination possibly, but the port itself aside from admiring all those magnificent yachts and browsing through the many shops isn't particularly interesting.
We travelled straight from the airport to the ship so didn't technically visit Rome on this cruise. However I have been to Rome from a cruise ship and know for sure that if you want to truly see and experience Rome the only way is to stay there. Rome in one day is ridiculous!