Previously to this cruise, all of my ocean cruises had been on “value” and “premium” lines (RCCL, Carnival, NCL, Celebrity, Princess). I chose this Azamara cruise because the prices for a balcony on this 7-day cruise was only $1675 per person and came with an $800 OBC (per cabin), which isn’t much more expensive than those other lines. (For comparison, the cruise the prior week on same ship was over twice the price and the cruise the following week was over $2800 for same cabin.)
The biggest difference I found between Azamara and the value lines was the size of the ship. With only 700 passengers (capacity, not sure how many were actually on board), as opposed to 2,500 - 5,000, it was a totally different feel from the value lines. No fighting crowds to get from the dining room in the back of the ship to the lounge (where the shows happen) in the front of the ship. In fact, it was less than a two minute walk from one to the other as they aren’t really that far apart and you weren’t maneuvering through hordes of people.
There is one dining room, which has open seating. The food was good, but nothing to rave about. The buffet was also good, and no long lines. I did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants. The Patio, which serves lunch and dinner in a covered area on the pool deck, was actually one of my favorite places to eat. At dinner, they have tablecloths, while both lunch and dinner had table service. The dinner menu was fixed with the exception of a different destination dish each night. The food here was quite good.
The cabin was nice with a decent-sized balcony. There are a lot of free on-demand movies, including relatively new releases. The only downfall was the bathroom. It was extremely small. The toilet sits at an angle, and you can’t sit on it straight w/o your knees hitting the wall. The shower is very tiny with a curtain that constantly wants to stick to your body. Even the faucet is too small for the sink. You can’t wash your hands w/o your hands hitting the side of the sink. The need a gooseneck faucet, or at least a faucet that reaches farther into the sink.
But other than the bathroom, the cabin is great. The bed is comfortable, and there is a good amount of storage space (and suitcases easily fit under the bed).
The rating I gave is for this particular excursion, not for the entire port itself, as we didn’t really get to see much of the port due to this disappointing excursion.
For this port, we took the “Renaissance Urbino” excursion. I do NOT recommend this tour. It is a long bus ride to see a somewhat boring palace. The town itself is a World Heritage site, but you don’t have any time to explore it, you just walk through it (up and down steep hills) as you head to the bus after the tour. By the time we got back to the ship, it was almost time to leave port, so we had zero time to actually visit the port.
In Ravenna we booked a mosaic tour through TripAdvisor. There was a shuttle that took you from the ship to the town center (but didn’t run during lunch, which meant the first afternoon bus was full so you had to wait for the second or even third bus).
The mosaics were very interesting and our guide, Manuela, was awesome and very knowledgeable.