The world of cruise ship entertainment is one I try to avoid as much as possible. Frankly, it’s a place that I fear, with scary variables almost as subjective by nature as the land of cruise ship food. My concern with both is accuracy. I steer clear of recommending (or not) an alternative-dining venue, for example, where I had a great (or lousy) steak. Your experience might be different; what I like, you may hate. Historically, we stuck with safe topics like describing the menu, pricing, dress code, etc. Then came food and wine-themed cruises. We tiptoed into that land a bit deeper and you liked it. A lot. Confidence gained. Still, it was with a bit of trepidation that I opened the door to entertainment here profiling Azamara Club Cruises. I’m glad I did.
Azamara’s biggest selling point, the part they push like a snow plow after a blizzard is the destination focus. Indeed, that element of it all has demanded a great amount of our attention. A peek at Azamara’s own Destination Blog, web site, reviews and advertising; it’s all about destinations they visit, and rightfully so. On our Azamara Journey sailing, each and every port of call has been stunning, engaging and provided a blank canvass from which the well-traveled passengers here could paint a travel memory masterpiece.
It’s not what people come on this ship for.
A secondary distraction (at best) that could very well have been a minimal effort and no one would have blinked twice.
Still, much like the attentive service we have experienced in all areas of the ship, a nearly obscene amount of resources have been devoted to entertainment. And it works.
Very popular with Azamara passengers: Cruise Director Eric De Gray who I tried really hard not to have any contact with whatsoever throughout the voyage. Known far and wide as a charming man who casts a spell over all he comes in contact with, I wanted to watch from a distance, stalk him a bit and see for myself. This is not an easy task as the guy is 12 feet tall and seen around the ship quite a bit. But it took all of 32 seconds to see what all the fuss is about: he connects with people.
Royal Caribbean fans, think Ken Rush but taller and with a better voice. De Gray has the presence of an army.
Carnival Fans think John Heald, stretched, no accent. De Gray too feels like an old friend, instantly.
But that’s just the cruise director, the symbolic head of the entertainment department that this ship really should not have. It’s an unexpected surprise that brought an ensemble of singers and dancers to last night’s Voices, a production show that features decades of familiar music, done well.
Leaving Azamara Journey’s intimate Cabaret Lounge, I saw a couple of those performers, complemented them on the show then said one of the dumbest things that ever came out of my mouth, admitting “I’ve never been to a show on this ship”. A serious mistake I will correct in the future.
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