The Cruising Critic gives Five Star Award to Azamara Club Cruises…

Cruise Line Review: The Cruising Critic gives Five Star Award to Azamara Club Cruises – Upscale Boutique Hotels Afloat creating the first class steamship travel of the past…

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Azamara Cruises has the feel of smaller first class liners in the past. Such as Cunard and Holland-America Line operated during the heyday of trans-Atlantic service. The ships are comfortable and offer first class service.

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I prefer these ships. They remind me of Matson Line’s Monterey and Mariposa. They are not Vegas afloat and certainly are a strong value for the upmarket ships operating today.

Video Tour…

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The Ships…

The Azamara Journey welcomes guests with beautifully designed staterooms — all with complimentary butler service and luxurious European bedding — and top-notch service from 390 crew members. This ship was designed for travelers drawn to outstanding service, gourmet cuisine and exotic locales. Amenities include the indulgent AquaSpa, which features exotic spa treatments and a thalassotherapy pool, specialty restaurants Aqualina and Prime C, each with spectacular views and delectable cuisine, and three sophisticated lounges — Michael’s Club, the Martini Bar and the Looking Glass. Onboard, guests will also find amazing artwork, a cabaret, casino and coffee bar, as well as a variety of shops and boutiques.

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Elegant dining room reflects the first class travel aboard the great liners of yesterday… 

The Azamara Quest combines exceptional service and luxurious amenities in a smaller, intimate atmosphere. Onboard, guests will find well-appointed cabins complete with complimentary butler service, luxurious European bedding and 24-hour room service. In the evening, taste the creative culinary delights of Discoveries Restaurant or dine in one of Azamara Quest’s two specialty restaurants, Aqualina and Prime C, each with an intimate atmosphere and spectacular ocean views. Guests will also find a pleasing array of onboard amenities, including a casino, piano bar, martini bar, fitness center and spa. Spend an afternoon at an art auction that features original works from well-known artists, see cabaret style-entertainment in the ship’s show lounge or enjoy amazing views from the Looking Glass lounge.

Overview…

journey-libraryAzamara Cruises resulted in a surprise move parent company Royal Caribbean International announced the formation of an all-new, deluxe cruise line in 2007. Two vessels originally slated for service in the Celebrity Cruises fleet, which were built for now-defunct Renaissance Cruises and acquired with the purchase of the Spanish cruise line Pullmantur, were the basis for the new line, Azamara Club Cruises. Designed to offer exotic destination-driven itineraries, Azamara Club Cruises presents a more intimate onboard experience while allowing access to the less traveled ports of call experienced travelers want to visit.

When a cruise line sets a course to break the mold in an industry where the product falls into traditional categories—mainstream, premium, luxury—it’s an exciting opportunity for experienced travelers who may want more than what a traditional cruise can deliver. More interested in traveling than cruising, they may still prefer the comfort and convenience that only a cruise ship can deliver in some exotic locales. Azamara Club Cruises gives this underserved group of travelers what they want—a cruise experience that’s a bit different. Not quite luxury but more than premium, Azamara offers a deluxe cruise with concierge-style amenities for which you’d have to upgrade to a suite on other cruise lines.

In addition, since its launch Azamara Club Cruises has added a number of more inclusive amenities to passengers’ fares, with no charge for a specific brand of bottled water, specialty coffees and teas; shuttle bus service to/from port communities, where available; standard spirits, wines, and international beers throughout the ships during bar hours; and complimentary self-service laundry.

Extensive overhauls of two ships that formerly sailed for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises have resulted in interiors that are brighter with the addition of light, neutral carpeting throughout, and splashes of bold color in the upholstery and drapes. Areas that once appeared stuffy are now welcoming, with contemporary artwork further enhancing the decor. Each vessel weighs in at 30,277 tons and carries only 694 passengers. While the size affords a high level of intimacy and makes the ships easy to navigate, there is no skimping on features normally abundant on larger ships, such as private balconies and alternative dining. Cruisers may feel that they’ve checked into an upscale boutique hotel that just happens to float.

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About Michael L. Grace

During the mid-80s, Michael Grace worked as a writer on the TV Hit Series THE LOVE BOAT. He wrote many of the two hour special featuring great stars of the past, including Lana Turner, Claire Trevor, Anne Baxter, Ethel Merman, Alexis Smith, etc. The public’s access to these stars, in familiar dramas and comedies, made them want to go on a cruise. They could see the stars in an ordinary world as “regular” people. The phenomenally successful series was responsible for creating the cruise industry as we know it today. By the time he was writing for Love Boat, the great steamship companies and their liners were flying hand me down foreign flags, painted like old whores, scrapped or doing three day cruises to the Bahamas. He had sailed on over thirty ships and liners with his parents, aunt and grandmother in late 50s to early 70s. The very successful CRUISING THE PAST website has been an outgrowth of Michael’s strong interest in cruise and social history. Drawing on his own knowledge and a vast maritime and social history collection, he is able to produce a very successful website. Michael is part of the award winning team that created the internationally performed award winning musical SNOOPY, based on PEANUTS by Charles M. Schultz. He has written for television and films. Read more by going to "About" (on the above dashboard) and clicking "Editor"…

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