As we are resigned to spending 2020 dreaming of our next holidays, putting together that Wish List of travel destinations we know we will never put off again once we get the green light to travel!
We have always been spoilt for choice of travel destinations and, as Australians, we are so curious to get out and explore the world, experience different cultures and immerse ourselves in the destination - it's part of our DNA. When I travel, I want to get in and experience as much as I can, see as many places as I can see in the short amount of time I can take leave for and for as much of an inclusive price as possible and there is no better way to do that than to take a cruise. I don’t have to tell you; you know exactly what I mean - It just makes sense!
There are so many wonderful cruise options to suit every person and every budget. I have cruised on many different ships and on different cruise lines and each has its own unique take away. Having also worked on cruise ships for over 3 years, my cruise experience is different from the regular cruiser. We tend to tell them not to fuss over us and take a break and of course, we still tip!
The staff really enhances your holiday. Their incredible service makes you feel spoilt and welcomed home each day and they truly are the heartbeat of cruising!!!! Knowing what goes on behind the scenes, the challenges they face on day-to-day bases, leaving their loved ones for up to 9mths at a time, working 60 + hrs a week, continuously having to put a smile on their face when they are so homesick and being yelled at by passengers... it’s a tough gig at times! On the flip side, you get to travel to some amazing destinations, experience those destinations week on week off, meet lifelong connections, and hey, maybe even meet your future husband (or wife) like I did. Anyways, it’s not only the cruise line or destination that makes your holiday, it’s the crew. Often my clients will tell me they need to go back on this ship on this date because of a particular cruise director, or the Maître de will be onboard at that time. It’s so incredible what impression the staff has made on your journey and can be strong enough to follow them around the world! One of the most rewarding reasons you work onboard is that you feel you have truly made a difference to someone’s well-earned holiday!
Some of the best staff I have encountered are on Azamara cruise lines. They were just Amazing! The captain and hotel director were all so accessible and happy to stop and have chat. The staff were personable and friendly and the crew were just delightful. Three of our absolute favourite bartenders were Suhas, Armadao and Dwight and they always knew our order. We never had to ask and that was impressive! The cruise director was exceptional. I have worked with a few cruise directors in my time on board and it’s a tough job but my goodness she was just fantastic. I just wish I remembered her name! She was a headliner Singer for Royal Caribbean and she had the most gorgeous voice. So, if you are cruising with Azamara lookout for these amazing staff members as they will add that magic touch to your cruise.
Speaking of Azamara, I can’t believe it’s almost been 12 months since my husband and I, and my mother and father-in-law cruised on Azamara Pursuit from Rome to Barcelona. It was their first cruise with Azamara. Having only cruised on larger cruise lines before, this was their first boutique cruise line. They were totally blown away and loved every moment of the cruise, as did we.
Azamara has 3 ships within its fleet, Quest, Journey and Pursuit. They all are the same size and hold 750 passengers. Owned by Royal Caribbean International, she has that big ship feel but the personalised service that you would expect on a smaller ship. Their itineraries are unique, and no itinerary is really repeated within in a 12 month period and this allows for back to back cruising without having to repeat a port.
Being a small ship, they have the ability to be able to cruise to smaller ports that a big ship will not be able to get into which is another reason why I love cruising on a smaller ship. They are focused on destination immersion, so with late sails and overnights in ports, this gives you ample opportunity to really get out and explore the destination, the culture, the lifestyle and as I said before, that’s what cruising is all about and why they are one of my favourite cruise lines to travel with!
One of their unique features is they offer a complimentary evening excursion for all passengers called an Azamazing evening on all sailings (except the Monaco grand Prix sailing) which is something you wouldn’t be able to book with any other tour company. On our cruise, it was in Mahon in Spain, a gorgeous island in the Balearic Islands so quaint, delightful and full of personality. The evening started at 5:00pm for dinner in the dining room. Then you were called deck by deck to the waiting coaches which took us to the oldest theatre in Spain and we were treated to a private flamenco show just for us. When we came back to the port, the captain and his officers, as well as all the staff, were lined up to welcome us back to the ship with a glass of Champagne whilst being serenaded by our Cruise Director singing opera from the balcony on the promenade deck. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. It was a spectacular and incredibly memorable evening. It ran so smoothly, just like clockwork, and logistically that would have been challenging shuttling 750 passengers to and from a port - but you wouldn’t know it.
Another wonderful feature of Azmara is their white night party. Ours was held in Valetta, Malta, and once again this is on every voyage. It is held on the pool deck, everything is decorated in white and there is an enormous food buffet with lobster and the officers serve the food to you and they truly go all out. All by being entertained by the singers, dancers, and musicians. We danced away all evening in the balmy Maltese weather. What a special night… So much fun!
It’s special features like this, coupled with the incredible service, they make you feel just so special and part of their family, along with the fantastic ports, is all why I will keep cruising with Azamara for many years to come. I just hope we can travel soon as I have my eye on the 14-Night Norway Intensive Voyage in July 2021.
For Azamara enquiries, please contact Kara on 1300 369 848 or email email@example.com