We sailed from Venice to Athens mid April thru early May on the Azzurra. We prefer small boat cruising so when we saw that the new Emerald yacht Azzurra was sailing down the Dalmatian coast with a max of 100 passengers, we immediately contacted our travel agent. Our itinerary was actually two 8 day individual cruises joined together to created a 15 day “epic” cruise. We highly recommend sailing in the Spring because of the lack of crowds, pleasant temperatures and the beauty of Spring colors. The only con to Spring sailings are the cooler temps so we did not use any of the water toys or spend time in the pool. We loved the atmosphere on the Azzurra because it is casual and comfortable. It is not what we would call luxurious, doesn’t have a lot of frills or amenities, no room service, limited evening activities etc. but that was not what we were looking for. It was a very nice experience, great staff, good food, wonderful port calls in quaint towns. Because this was a new ship, new staff, new itineraries there were glitches for the sailings. Our activity director was not as familiar with the ports, the excursions, the level of physical activity needed for the excursions and ports as she should have been. We did have a number of passengers that had physical limitations (bad hips and knees, walking with canes). They struggled with quite a few of the excursions. This particular itinerary does require a lot of navigating stairs, climbing, hiking, uneven surfaces. Even climbing on board the small tenders to get from the ship to the ports was a challenge. So please do research on the ports and excursions and ask yourself if you are physically fit enough to participate in each excursion.
The ship itself is very easy to get around, elevators, it is compact but still has plenty of space for passengers to spread out and relax. If you choose not to do excursions there isn’t a whole lot of organized activities to do on the ship. There are spa services, hair salon, radiant sauna, small gym, lots of outdoor areas to lounge, cooking classes, bridge tours, a few trivia type games, tvs, library, jacuzzi, swimming pool, water toys, we had our cruise director who entertained us with his guitar for a couple hours in the evenings.
It was our first experience with the Emerald/scenic company. They had some administrative challenges due to their computer systems getting held hostage for ransom. It resulted in the company and the customers not being able to communicate by email or phone for several months. Hopefully that will never happen again because it did impact their customer service drastically.
Cabin was bigger than ones on river cruises. We enjoyed our ocean view room and location, tucked down a hallway behind the bar/ lounge area. Huge picture window. Very convenient location to reach all area of the ship. Very quiet. Many of us had issues with the shower door seal and flooding the bathroom when we showered. Rooms are pretty minimalistic but you will be very comfortable with the accommodations. We spent so little time in our room we never missed not having a balcony.