The Guests. Definitely mostly an older demographic of wellseasoned travelers, many making return visits to Azamara (for one couple, their 10th trip). Again, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s very much a family vibe among both guests and crew. Relaxed, quiet and maybe a throwback of sorts to old-school cruising back in the day. The Entertainment. The main show room is the Cabaret Lounge on deck 5, adjacent to the casino. The Azamara singers and dancers perform there as an ensemble and individually, along with a few other select acts. Not flashy or Las Vegas, but certainly enjoyable and well suited for the various venues around the ship. The Amenities. On Azamara, the price of the cruise includes all gratuities, red and white house wines (which change every day and are very good, by the way) at lunch and dinner, bottled water, sodas and the self-serve laundry. No doubt in the end the cost is comparable with other cruises that charge a la carte for these things, and probably a little more, but just having everything included makes life so much simpler, without that feeling of being â&#x20AC;&#x153;nickeled and dimed.â&#x20AC;? Getting Around. Since it is cruising on a smaller scale, expect the stairways to be narrow and the elevators smaller. But itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s almost just as easy to walk if you are located anywhere mid-ship. One thing to note if you are physically challenged: The ship is probably not as wheelchair-friendly as you would find on newer, larger vessels.
Random Notes. My wife fell in love with their hi-tech coffeemaker which creates a Cappuccino and other popular coffee selections in a flash... the gelato in Windows is more my style â&#x20AC;&#x201C; new flavors every day... our two favorite spots were Looking Glass on deck 10, with its panoramic views and dance floor at night, and the Sunset Bar on deck 9 (where Danijel from Brazil took good care of us), a great place to enjoy a drink or a meal any time of day... there is E-Connections if you want to hook into the Internet, or you can connect and use the shipâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wi-Fi with your own devices at the published rates. The connection was surprisingly good throughout our voyage... a shout-out to Errol in Land Discoveries, whose soothing admonitions to â&#x20AC;&#x153;walk with love and careâ&#x20AC;? sent us out on our shore excursions... kudos to Nathalia in Guest Relations and Philip, the hotel manager, for all their help and kindnesses... praise for Tanja from Macedonia in the Casino Luxe Bar for her martini mastery â&#x20AC;&#x201C; best on the ship... and special thanks to Capt. Stig, who expertly guided us throughout our journey. Bottom line: We are totally sold on the perks of â&#x20AC;&#x153;smaller scaleâ&#x20AC;? cruising: The friendly, efficient service, the variety in the ports of call and the camaraderie created between crew and guests â&#x20AC;&#x201C; not to mention the five-star meals and wines. If you are looking for more relaxation, more quiet and a more personal cruise experience, "[BNBSB $MVC $SVJTFT XJMM NPSF UIBO NFFU ZPVS FYQFDUBUJPOT t
The Spa. It has one, along with a fitness center and a jogging track. The Pool. There is a small heated pool and adjacent hot tubs. But the headline here is the wonderfully luxuriant and comfortable deck chairs, which seem brand new and are in great abundance. They also enforce the rules for not reserving lounges when the occupant is gone longer than 30 minutes. Applause, applause.
JULY 2015 | NEW YORK LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE | 39