UP CLOSE WITH HISTORY
I am often asked “What did you think of _______ cruise line,” almost universally, after every sailing. It’s a good question that I can usually answer in a few words, summing up the experience. Regardless of the cruise line, each has its good points and is a wonderful fit for some traveler. The primary goal then is to align the right cruise line with the right traveler. In the process, one cruise line might rise to the top due to a number of factors important to each of us, as individuals.
That Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest comprise the entire Azamara fleet is significant. Just as significant as the small fleets of Silversea, Crystal Cruises, Star Clippers and others for sure, but perhaps more so. The ships of Azamara enjoy a very high crew retention rate. Odds are, sailing again with this cruise line, there will be crew that is remembered and they remember you.
Staying Longer In Port
Staying late in port, enabling what Azamara calls ‘night touring’ is an easy claim to verify. At every port of call on our 12-night Mediterranean sailing of Azamara Journey, we were the last ship to leave port except one. In Kotor, Montenegro The World stayed longer which almost doesn’t count. That’s the residential cruise ship that passengers own which stays multiple days in nearly every port. No one else beats that one out of town either.
The standard selling point for small ship cruising is that they can physically sail to different places that larger ships. That’s because their ships can navigate in more shallow waters due to their draft, which determines the depth of water a ship operate in. Azamara ships have a draft of 5.8 meters (19 feet) while giant Oasis of the Seas measures in at 9.3 meters (30.5 feet).
Another advantage of smaller ships is that it does not take long to go from one end to the other. Two sets of elevators are nicely placed to allow easy access to not as many decks either. On the down side (to some) there are no amusing features to speak of.
While top deck things to do and multiple interior public spaces are limited compared to larger ships, the number is quite appropriate for the clientele that sail with Azamara. Like river cruising and sailing on other small ships, a great amount of focus is on the destinations they visit. Rightfully so, they make some wonderful choices. With two Azamara sailings under my belt, I am beginning to give this factor a whole lot more credit than one might imagine. They walk a very fine line in this area and do it well. On one hand, they need to have some ports that are popular and appeal to travelers just visiting a given part of the world for the first time. On the other hand, they know they are capable of visiting a far greater number of ports than most other ships and want to differentiate themselves from other lines by going there.
When we sail, regardless of the cruise line, we have given them a vote of confidence in advance of travel. That they will take us safely from place to place alone is a common quality among cruise lines in general. That Azamara rules in favor of passengers on a more frequent basis than most is one of their biggest selling points but not one they mention. Visiting Hvar Croatia, Azamara Journey’s Captain Borsheim decided to stay in port longer, enabling us to have dinner ashore which turned out to be one of the most enjoyable parts of the sailing. Putting the petal to the metal, he also brought us to Santorini Greece a couple hours earlier than scheduled, giving more time to enjoy our last port of call.
We rarely get the chance to rate trust in a quantifiable manner. The above examples came from comparing the published itinerary, what we thought we would be doing, to the actual experience.
Coming up next to complete our profile of Azamara Club Cruises, just that. We take away the dreamy “Chris loves the cruise business so of course he’s going to say nice things” part (which is really true. Positive people/things = energizing Negative people/things = kryptonite) and provide a list of documentable attributes that differentiate Azamara from other cruise lines.
Check Back Every Day, A Couple Ways
Come back tomorrow for the latest about our day right here.
Catch up by reading about the entire journey from start to end in journal form at A Sailing With Azamara Club Cruises No jump. No Pop-ups. No Ads.
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