I’ve sailed on 14 different cruise lines and taken more than 60 cruises, but this is my first ever cruise on Azamara. I am currently on their newest cruise ship, Azamara Onward, for the shakedown cruise and the vessel’s maiden voyage will take place later this week.
After spending a little more than 48 hours on board, here are my quick first impressions of the cruise line and the ship, Azamara Onward.
Going into this cruise, I knew about Azamara but have always wanted to experience it firsthand and find out exactly what makes them special. Since this is the shakedown cruise (everyone on board is media, travel partners, and cruise line employees), they are getting all the kinks worked out before the first passengers embark on the ship tomorrow.
Crew – From Faul in the Mosiac Cafe to Romeo in the main dining room, the crew on Azamara Onward have been nothing short of spectacular so far. They have been the highlight of the cruise and they really know how to make you feel special.
Ship – While the ship is new to Azamara, it has been in service since 1999. Azamara purchased the ship from Princess Cruises and just completed a $60 million renovation of the vessel. All of the staterooms and most public areas have been redone giving the ship a fresh, yet classic look.
.@Azamara Onward is fresh out of dry dock and ready to carry passengers for the first time in over two years. The ship will be the 4th in the cruise line’s fleet after they purchased the vessel early last year. pic.twitter.com/0zGs3y6hMF
— Cruise Fever (@CruiseFever) April 28, 2022
Azamara Onward carries just under 700 passengers and is perfect for those who are looking for a small ship experience.
Small Ship Advantages – We have visited two ports so far and I learned what gives cruise ships this size a huge advantage when visiting some ports. In Marseille, we were able to get a premium dock location that was walking distance to town. There were 8 ships in port that day and the other seven had to dock over 5 miles away.
In Portovenere/La Spezia, we were able to anchor closer to shore than other ships and also get dropped off at the charming village of Portovenere instead of La Spezia. I took a tour to Cinque Terre and it instantly become one of the top destinations I’ve ever visited.
— Cruise Fever (@CruiseFever) April 30, 2022
Entertainment – Since the ship is just over 30,000 gross tons in size, I wasn’t sure how much entertainment would be on the ship. However, there is a nice variety of live music from piano in the Den to Eric, the cruise director, singing a production show in the lounge.
Food – I know food is very subjective and I will go more into this after I get home from my cruise, but it has has been great so far. I’ve always said that two of the most important parts of a cruise are service and food, and both have exceeded my expectations.
Port Times – Azamara told me that they spend more time in port than any other cruise line. As someone who loves to visit new destinations, I’m loving the long days in port as I don’t feel rushed to get back to the ship. It gives you the opportunity to explore each port properly and visit local cafes and restaurants.
Azamara brands themselves as a cruise line that focuses on destinations with few sea days and several late and overnight port visits.
Cabin – I am staying in a balcony cabin on deck 7. The bed is extremely comfortable and there is a large table on the balcony. Although the shower is a bit small, the water pressure is as good as I’ve ever had on a cruise.
As someone who travels with a lot of gear, I appreciate all of the power outlets that were just added to the room. There are several on the desk as well as one on each side of the bed.
We are arriving in Monte Carlo now so I am going to get off of here and go explore one of my favorite cities in the world. I will have more on my first Azamara cruise when I get home so stay tuned for that.