We chose this cruise as we wanted to visit Alaska and we chose Azamara on the recommendation of my brother & his wife, dedicated Azamara cruisers.
We enjoy small ship, port intensive cruising and the cruise met our expectations as it made six port calls as well as some beautiful coastal cruising in the inner and outer passages. We were lucky enough to secure one the forward facing VX staterooms which had sensational views, albeit it was too cold to sit out once the ship was sailing.
We scored Canada Day in Vancouver the day before the cruise and Independence Day in Seattle on the third day of cruise. We enjoyed Seattle, particularly the Underground Tour which gave a unique insight into the unique history of the city. Also, the Azamazing Evening in the Chihuly Museum in Seattle, was one of the cruise highlights.
In Alaska we found the most interesting visit of the four locations was to Sitka. Its links back to Russia are still evident and we enjoyed the folk dancing in the local town hall, the raptor centre and the totem poles in the historic park, all on the one coach tour. It was less crowded than the others.
In Juneau we took the coach trip to the spectacular Meldenhall Glacier and the salmon hatchery. Whilst In Ketchikan it was the interesting Misty Fjords boat cruise.
In Skagway we took the coach trip to the White Pass summit as an alternative to the popular and expensive White Pass railroad trip. We learned that some other passengers booked this trip but the train did not leave even though it was fully loaded. Not sure if the cruise ship refunded their money. Skagway is a very interesting place due its historic links with the Yukon gold rush. The buildings are beautifully preserved with several museums but, alas, numerous gift shops and jewelers, which detract from its uniqueness.
In Nanaimo, BC we took the waterfall hiking trip (excellent) combined with the wildlife centre visit (disappointing – no bears).
The excursions were mainly funded by the generous cabin credit provided by Azamara, albeit the prices charged by the ship are generally considerably more than can be can achieved externally. One disappointing aspect was that Azamara changed port times (at short notice with no explanation) losing us >6 hours in port over the cruise. The time was mainly lost in Juneau which meant we had to reschedule excursions, at some financial cost to us. We are still discussing compensation for this with Azamara.
Overall, we enjoyed the cruise and felt we received good value for money. Eating options were plentiful and the food/service were good quality. We liked the absence of a casino which we gather had been converted into a lounge area where the trivia quizzes took. We were however disappointed with the lack of any classical music onboard. We also found the port information was a bit light on compared with other cruise lines we have sailed with.
We particularly like Azamara’s all-inclusive pricing policy and the inclusion of Azamazing evening
6001 – This was one of only four front facing standard balcony cabins with 180 deg views – great for cruising in Alaska. A bit noisy when the anchor was raised but this is a small price to pay for the other benefits. The cabin was generally very comfortable for us, although smaller passengers may find the shower a bit cramped. We booked this cabin during a special promotion when the VX cabins were offered at standard balcony cabin prices. We would not however pay a premium for such a cabin as the views can be enjoyed more comfortably elsewhere on the ship.