Entertainment is low key on Emerald Azzurra and ranges from the ship’s guitarist singing gentle melodies (including on the aft deck during dinner, which was a lovely touch) to the occasional late night dance party on the Sky Deck. There are no shows, as such, although our cruise director, whose background is in musical theater, sang songs from famous musicals in the Amici lounge after dinner one night. Other than that, there was line dancing one evening, and lively quizzes in the Amici lounge. But you wouldn’t come on this ship for big production shows.
A daily program appears on the TV screen every night, with paper versions available at Reception. Even on port days there are several activities, from yoga and Pilates on deck in the early morning to cocktail making demonstrations, cookery demonstrations and occasional talks. There’s a plan to introduce art classes at a later stage. Board games and books are available in the Observation Lounge.
Sea days are quiet, though; there never seems to be competition for space round the pool and passengers seem content to sunbathe, read, and chat.
Emerald Azzurra isn’t a ship that you’d pick for the nightlife. But check your itinerary; it may well be a ship to pick for nightlife ashore, as there are often late stays in port, depending on where the ship is sailing.
Evenings on board follow a routine: the excursion manager’s presentation at around 6, weekly Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks at 6.45 and dinner at 7pm sharp. While there’s no pressure to head straight to dinner en masse, we did detect vestiges of Emerald’s river cruising origins here. At 7pm, the music stops in the Amici Lounge and the Sky Bar on Deck 7 – arguably the place you most want to be at sunset – closes and doesn’t reopen until 9 p.m. This seems a little inflexible if you prefer to eat later. The trick is to load up with a cocktail in the lounge, take the elevator up to the Sky Bar and enjoy the space all to yourself.
Entertainment starts in the Amici lounge at 9.30. Expect a mix of lively quizzes, karaoke, live entertainment if your cruise director has a musical background and music from a crooning guitarist. The dance party on the Sky Deck is a highlight; the space is intimate enough to feel busy even if there aren’t that many revelers and the location under the stars, by the jacuzzi, is beautiful.
Most people have gone to bed by midnight. There’s no casino. The in-cabin TV does have a good selection of movies, though.
There are four lounge areas on Emerald Azzurra: the main Amici Lounge, the al fresco Sky Bar, the covered Pool Lounge that’s part of the Aqua Pool Café, and a small Observation Lounge forward on deck four.
Tip: Wine is poured generously with lunch and dinner so think hard before shelling out $54 per person per day on a drinks package. Unless you really want to hit the cocktails, which are in any case reasonably priced, it would be hard to justify this amount.
For Pre-dinner Mingling: The convivial Amici Lounge is the main gathering place for cocktails, in a chic color scheme of gray, black, and white, with textures of leather and velvet and banks of leafy plants. There’s a lot of chrome and glass and an elegant bar in pale granite effect, with high stools. The ship’s guitarist plays here before dinner.
For Late Night: On a warm night, and particularly if you’re not interested in whatever activity is on in the Amici Lounge, the Sky Bar is the most romantic spot on the ship. Order a cocktail and gaze at the stars, or the dappled light in the oversized hot tub. If you’re done with dinner before 9 p.m., take your own drink up here.
For Lazy Days at Sea Almost undiscovered by some passengers, the light-filled Observation Lounge forward on deck four is a soothing place to lie back in one of the cozy loungers with a book. There are board games here, as well as tea and coffee making facilities and that all-important cookie jar.
The shallow infinity pool aft on deck five is absolutely gorgeous, framed by huge “bunny pads” – the oversized padded lounge areas typical of private superyachts. Artfully arranged Missoni Home towels in jazzy stripes, and covetable matching robes (a cool $300 each if you buy them online) are dotted around, and the classy loungers are made by German designer Dedon. There’s a real sense here of being on your own yacht.
One deck higher, on Sky Deck (deck seven), there’s an oversized jacuzzi facing forward, protected from the wind by a glass screen. You’ll find more bunny pads and Dedon loungers here and during the day, you’re right by the Sky Bar.
If you don’t mind being in the sun, the big, gray “bunny pads” either side of the infinity pool on deck six and the jacuzzi in deck seven are a decadent place to lounge. You can gaze out over the ocean, spread out on your Missoni towel and flop in and out of the water.
On deck six, there are loungers, too, as well as double day beds and cocoon chairs. The chairs under the shaded cover of the Aqua Pool Café are the ones to choose during the heat of the day.
There’s more lounging space on deck seven, where the deck wraps around, including a row of deck chairs facing aft, out of the breeze. The starboard area here is the only place where smoking is permitted.
Services include a small shop, a medical center, a spa and gym, hairdresser, and passenger laundry.
Basic Wi-Fi is included but it’s really very slow. If you really need Wi-Fi service and can’t get online in port, you’ll need to upgrade, buying by the gigabyte, which isn’t cheap.
The tiny, fragrant Elements Spa is tucked away on deck two, offering massages and body treatments in two treatment rooms, using ESPA products. There’s also an infrared sauna, free for guests to use, and a hairdresser offering grooming treatments and manicures as well as styling.
Emerald Azzurra has a small gym on deck two, by the spa. There are no windows. Equipment is by Technogym and includes a couple of treadmills, rowing machine, free weights and a multi-function weight machine.
There’s also a fleet of nine very classy e-bikes for use in port (worth more than $4,000 apiece, so lock them up if you leave them anywhere). You have to sign up for these at Reception, 24 hours in advance.
The watersports platform on Emerald Azzurra is where the ship really comes into its own in warm water. Extending out aft on deck two, the platform is a launch area for kayaks, SUP, snorkeling, floating mats, and a water trampoline. It’s another aspect of the ship that really makes you feel as though you’re on a swish superyacht.
Emerald Azzurra attracts an adult market. There are no facilities for children, although there’s no age limit as such. A family with older teens happy to entertain themselves and dine in adult company might enjoy the ship, but it’s not appropriate for toddlers, or kids who want to run around the decks and splash in the pool.