CRUISE THE PLANET
Sailing with Azamara Club Cruises, we visit interesting places around the world in the comfort of nicely sized ships big enough to offer a full hotel operation but small enough for direct access to ports not possible on larger vessels. Still, while Azamara does a good job of getting us there, that’s just one part of the equation. Once our feet hit the soil of a land new to us, what happens next and how well (or poorly) it is done can make all the difference in the world.
Our 12-night Russia and The Baltics sailing on Azamara Quest has already taken us to a number of bucket list destinations. Each has served as a sterling example of what differentiates Azamara Club Cruises from other cruise lines. In St. Petersburg we saw the advantage of overnight stays on two distinctly different days. In Tallinn Estonia we experienced first hand, the value of staying late in port as we watched all other ships sail off into the sunset, and we stayed. Our long call in Copenhagen highlighted the advantage of traveling with a destination-focused line. Our live guide at the destination had a huge impact on the experience.
We have been on tours with guides ranging from ‘great’ to ‘when is this tour going to be over!’ and everything in-between. On our Copenhagen Walking Tour And Canal Boat Ride, we saw the best of the city with a guide that paid attention to us.
We take walking tours frequently and like the general overview of a city or place that they provide. Still, we’re always looking for an interesting place to linger and soak up the local destination while on tour. Find one along the way and we might just break off from the tour starting that local connection right then. The guiding principle here is that we want to create quality memories. Connecting locally does that quite aptly.
Paying attention to us, our Copenhagen guide was typical of Azamara-sourced guides; on a higher frequency than most, a step up from the norm. Not one has been a script reader, obviously bored with their job or (makes me crazy) one that asks and answers their own questions. These are engaging teachers, travelers, parents, sons and daughters; real people that really try to relate to us. Not all do.
Let that happen once or twice and we feel lucky. By the time our tour in Copenhagen rolled around, I had experienced more than a dozen Azamara-sourced tours between this sailing and our Azamara Journey Adriatic sailing earlier this Summer. On nearly every single one, we had engaging guides who made touring fun and interesting.
But this is a common thread that runs through the Azamara organization, from the time we begin researching a destination on their website, to being on the ground making local connections. Recently, Azamara released a new smartphone app that serves as further proof of that commitment.
The new App Azamara 3di features a series of 360-degree virtual reality experiences. The video series, (also featured on a dedicated website www.azamara3di.com), uses virtual reality technology to help immerse future guests in what it’s like to be onboard Azamara Journey (twin ship to Azamara Quest) via ship tours and to experience destination excursions in South and Central American ports of call.
The release reminds us of Azamara’s other app, impressive first that they had partnered with AFAR, a leading travel information source for content. This one features AFAR guides for the destinations Azamara visits, Highlights of each place and a “Nearby” map that uses GPS technology to track where we are and what there is to see in the surrounding area.
A handy Search feature , Featured destinations and specific Ports of Call information is handy when planning/dreaming of a future cruise at home or on the go. More From Afar takes us deep within the destinations for additional guidance/inspiration. Of particular interest, Offline Trip Plans that can be accessed at the destination without an Internet connection
We’re going to use this app on the ground in Amsterdam to explore the area over our two-day stay. Already, AFAR’s guide has provided helpful tips on when to visit major attractions, places to avoid at certain times and more.
Just joining us? Catch up here, a number of ways:
Individual Day Posts During Sailing– day by day, in the order written
- Travel Day Before Our Azamara Cruise
- Getting Off On An Even Better Foot
- An Azamara Tour Of Stockholm
- A Day In Helsinki
- First Impressions Of Russia: No Surprises, Plenty Of Intrigue
- Second Impressions of Russia: Azamazing
- Connecting, Russia And Chocolate Bars
- A Lovely Day In Estonia With Azamara Club Cruises
Pinterest Photo Boards – one for each port and more
- We Stayed Longer In Tallinn, Estonia
- St. Petersburg Russia At Night
- St Petersburg On A Wonderful, Sunny Day
- St Petersburg First Impressions: About What We Expected Actually
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Stockholm Arlanda Airport
- Azamara Quest Culinary
- Helsinki, Finland
- Azamara Quest In The Baltics
- Azamara Quest Bridge Tour
- Azamara Quest White Night
Flickr Photo Albums- all our photos for each place, free to use- check back frequently; we are adding more photos throughout the journey.
- Two Days In Stockholm
- Stockholm Arlanda Airport
- Azamara Quest Culinary Creations
- Scenic Cruising From Stockholm
- Azamara Quest Laundry Room
- Baltic Sunsets Seen From The Deck Of Azamara Quest
- St Petersburg, Russia: As We Imagined It
- Copenhagen, Denmark
- Copenhagen Walking Tour With Canal Cruise
- White Night Photo Album
- A Glimpse Of Tallinn, Estonia
- Tallinn Estonia Album
Facebook Photo Albums
- Overnight Brings Early Morning In Stockholm
- Two Days In St Petersburg, Russia
- Copenhagen, Denmark On A Walking Tour
Check These Social Sources Too
- TWITTER- On Twitter follow @OrlandoChris and the tag #LoveTravel – we’re tweeting a different photo from our journey every 30 minutes during our sailing. Look at :15 and :30 past the hour
- INSTAGRAM- On Instagram follow ChrisCruises
- TUMBLR- Tumblr also follow ChrisCruises