The idea behind Azamara is pretty much the same idea that animates all the other former Renaissance vessels (some of which are also operated by Oceania and Princess): smaller, more intimate ships sailing longer itineraries, visiting out-of-the-ordinary ports, and offering a casual yet country-clubbish experience, with great service. That's not to call Azamara a copycat, though. Fact is, there are only so many different kinds of cruise experiences that can be offered, and this is the kind for which these ships were made. In an age dominated by bigger and bigger megaships, we welcome the return of midsize vessels with open arms. Kudos to Celebrity/Azamara for putting the resources into keeping this kind of cruise option alive.
Overall (and like Oceania), Azamara provides an experience that straddles the mainstream and luxury segments of the cruise biz -- somewhere between Celebrity and Crystal or Regent, though new luxury initiatives (complimentary house wines at lunch and dinner, free gratuities, free specialty coffees and bottled wines, more overnights in port and high-end excursions) are trying to nudge the line closer to the high end. Not that it was all that mainstream to begin with. On the Pool Deck, a quiet jazz trio replaces the kind of loud pop/reggae band found on most mainstream ships, and in the café you'll often find a harpist plucking out traditional and classical tunes, spiced with pop standards. Service is exceptional, from the butlers who attend to all cabins to little touches such as the cold towels offered at the gangway after a hot day in port. At dinner, things are entirely flexible -- just show up when you like, either at the main restaurant, at two reservations-only alternatives, or at a casual but still waiter-serviced buffet restaurant. Onboard activities run from the usual (bingo, napkin folding, team trivia) to the unusual, including poetry reading/writing get-togethers and seminars on etiquette and art. At night you can take in a floor show at the theater, catch a performance by a guest magician or comedian, do the karaoke thing, watch a late-night movie, or take in music in several of the public rooms.
Launched in mid-2007, Azamara Club Cruises is a more high-end and adult-oriented sister brand to Celebrity and Royal Caribbean, offering more out-of-the-way itineraries, better service and cuisine, more enrichment opportunities, and lots of little extras that make the experience extra-special. The line's two ships are midsize gems that were originally built for now-defunct Renaissance Cruises.
Sails to: Caribbean, Panama Canal, Baja/Sea of Cortez (plus Europe, Asia, transatlantic).
Address: 1050 Caribbean Way, Miami, FL 33132
Travel page content provided by Zagat © 2013, Google.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.