My husband and I booked this trip for our 20th anniversary. We did a lot of research so I felt like I knew what to expect. We embarked in Rome after flying in two days earlier to spend a bit of time in the city.
Embarkation was an absolute breeze. We arrived in the middle of the lengthy window for arrival and it took us only minutes to check in and walk aboard. The room was available right away. We had booked a picture window room with a sleeper sofa hoping that the sofa would give us a bit more space. Well, the room was tiny, the sofa was only an armchair that folded out to a single bed. When I went to ask at the front desk about the sofa they said that it does fold out therefore it is a sleeper sofa. I complained that that was misleading because we wanted the sofa to be able to sit together. The cruise was fully booked, there were no other rooms for us to be switched to that actually had a true sofa. They did end up switching out the armchair for something a tinge bigger, more like a small loveseat and that was the best they could do. The room itself was small but very well organized. There were lots of drawers and plenty of hanging space in the closet. We were able to easily unpack two weeks worth of clothes and stuff and slide the suitcases neatly under the bed. I especially appreciated that there were several shelves in the bathroom, three over the toilet, plus countertop, under the counter and in the shower storage spaces. The shower was small but doable for everything except shaving my legs. I ended up turning the showerhead towards the wall, opening the curtain and putting my foot up on the sink in order to shave.
After settling in we explored the boat, overall we were impressed. The ship could definitely use a bit of cosmetic maintenance (lightly peeling wallpaper and some uneven paint in our room specifically), but the overall feel is elegant comfort. The size was perfect (about 600 guests), big enough to include several dining spaces, a spa, pool deck, living room and library etc. but small enough to not be packed with people and long lines for everything. We knew we didn't want a megaship with tons of families and massive buffets. We also aren't big nightlife people, no need for discos and a huge casino. While Azamara doesn't forbid children, they also don't encourage them. We have three at home, and we were looking for a grown up get away. We knew that we are a bit younger than their main clientele and we decided that was fine, we were happy doing our own thing. I would say the target audience for this line is empty nester - healthy retiree. There were definitely some older and some younger but we were some of the youngest on board in our mid-late forties.
Response from BonnieM, CBO - Azamara Club Cruises
If you can, you should definitely spend a few days here. There is so much to see and do and the food is fantastic. Our highlights were the Colosseum and the Vatican Museum. The trip from the city center to the port is about an hour and 15 minutes and the taxi is expensive, over 100 Euros but there is no way I would want to try to haul my luggage through several forms of public transportation. It is worth it.
We did a semi-private tour through Viator. Only six people with a private driver. We saw Pisa and a lot of Florence in a very sane way. Going this route allowed us to also customize our experience to some extent, for example all of us wanted to climb the Leaning Tower so we ended up spending a bit more time in Pisa than originally scheduled.
We walked up to the Castle and all the way out to lighthouse. Beautiful scenery and lots of cute little shops in the town. We also took the public bus to San Margerita (sp?) and went to the beach. The beach is pebble rather than sand and being there in the middle of the day, many of the shops were closed for siesta.
We did a small group tour out to Capri. The tour guide was entertaining and they provided sandwiches and lots of prosecco. My only major disappointment is that the boat voted 7-4 against stopping at the Blue Grotto which I had had my heart set on. So during our free time on the island we had to book a separate boat out to do that which basically took up all our sightseeing time and cost us extra money.
It was pouring rain at this stop which definitely made it challenging. We soldiered through a tour of Selinunte but it was hard to enjoy. The site itself is huge and there is a massive temple that you can pretty much climb all over. I probably would have enjoyed exploring it more if the weather had cooperated.
A cool funky city which we enjoyed exploring after our cruise. We did a city tour, visited Sagrada Familia which is a must see and did a day trip out to Montserrat which included a wine tasting and lunch.