Saturday, November 30, 2013

Azamara cruising

When I tell people I was just on an Azamara Cruise, I usually get a blank look in response. What's that? is the inevitable question. Azamara was founded in 2007 and is under the parent company of Royal Caribbean Cruise lines. They have just two ships in the fleet - the Azamara Journey and the Azamara Quest. Both are identical, holding just under 700 guests, with staterooms ranging from inside to Owner's suites.

The ships are positioned in between the contemporary, larger cruise lines such as Celebrity and Princess, and the luxury lines such as Seabourn and Silversea Cruises. They do a great job and I think they are accomplishing what they want to accomplish. They fill a niche for cruisers who want a smaller ship, longer time spent in ports, and don't have a budget for the luxury all-inclusive lines.

I sailed on the Azamara Quest in the French and Italian Rivieras, roundtrip from Nice, France. On this cruise, we had a port call every day, and the timings in port were usually from 8am until 10pm. This gave us plenty of time to explore the various destinations. The ship stayed docked overnight in Livorno, Italy which gave us two full days to visit Florence or other cities in Tuscany. We rented a car, picked it right up at the dock, and drove ourselves to Florence. The GPS nav system took us directly to a parking garage near the train station in the city center. It couldn't have been easier and having our own car gave us the flexibility to come and go as we pleased. Knowing that the ship would be there until the next day gave me some added comfort - if we got lost, at least we had plenty of time to find our way back to the port!

The food and service were very good onboard. I like the open dining concept for the main restaurant. You can go to dinner at the time that suits you best each evening. There are also two specialty restaurants that require advance reservations. One specializes in seafood and the other is a steakhouse - they each have a small fee to dine here. Some nice inclusions that you are not charged extra for are soda, coffees, fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies, wine and standard cocktails. There is an upcharge for premium liquor. Gratuities are also included in your cruise fare.

The staff and crew genuinely want to make sure that each and every person enjoys their cruise vacation.  The ships sail all over the world, from Europe to Asia and the Caribbean.

If you are ready to book your next cruise vacation, contact the Cruise Specialists at Bee Kalt Travel today!

Tel: 248-288-9600 or Toll-free 1-800-284-5258
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