Azamara is truly AZAmazing
Get ready to immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Greece’s unparalleled beauty as we embark on an extraordinary adventure. From the ancient wonders of Athens to the breathtaking sunsets of Santorini, Greece promises to be a sensory delight for the sophisticated soul. Join us as we uncover hidden gems, indulge in mouthwatering cuisine, and create memories that will last a lifetime in this land of gods and legends.
Three nights in Athens, Greece was a great decision for our pre-cruise, eight-night Amsterdam to Istanbul Greece Intensive Azamara cruise. Three nights is a perfect amount of time to see the main sights, acclimate to the time change, and enjoy the city, culture, and cuisine. Syntagma Square is the central square of Athens, so we selected the King George Hotel which is just across the street from it. This hotel property is a five-star Marriott Luxury collection and is adjoined with their sister property, the five-star Grand Bretagne. With these two hotels, there are signing privileges between them. Being centrally located, we enjoyed the view of the Acropolis from the rooftop restaurant and bar. The hotel is situated within walking distance of the Acropolis and its amazing museum – both a must when visiting this destination for the first time!
Once we located our ship, the beautiful Azamara Pursuit, we found the check-in process to be simple and very organized. As we boarded, they requested we complete the quick and efficient muster drill; and then, we were free to explore the ship, grab a quick bite to eat, and enjoy being outside by the pool. Our stateroom was ready by 2:30 pm, and the luggage arrived shortly afterward. Our room attendant stopped by to introduce herself, and we were excited to be in our new home-away-from-home for the next eight nights.
We quickly learned that the service on board was top-notch. Everyone, from our lovely stateroom attendant to the concierge, the servers, bartenders, customer service staff, and the department heads, all made us feel very comfortable. In addition to Azamara being known for its port-intensive voyages, late nights and overnights, and hospitality, they are also known to have many repeat guests and back-to-back cruisers on board. I found all of this to be true. Throughout our journey, we met wonderful fellow cruisers and found that many of them were, in fact, repeat customers who sail quite frequently with Azamara. With only four ships in their fleet, they rotate their crew (who also seem to have longevity with the cruise line) which means the crew and the repeat customers become very close friends. Many times, we saw these repeat guests reuniting with, dining with, and sitting and chatting with the department heads and officers.
From an itinerary standpoint, the ports were wonderful. There are times when itineraries change mid-cruise, and this was one of them. In this case, our captain told us the winds were too high in Santorini for our Tuesday visit, so they rearranged the schedule, eliminated one of our islands (Amorgos) and not only did we still get to visit Santorini, but we also gained an overnight in Rhodes. We were thrilled with this incredibly fortunate change in itinerary as was everyone we chatted with onboard. The change in the itinerary was seamless – the excursions were rearranged, and we all received new tickets in our staterooms for the new Santorini date as well as the option to add excursions on day two in Rhodes.
Not only are the staff “Az amazing”, but also the cuisine! Room service is available at any time. There are two specialty dining rooms — Prime C – the Steakhouse, and Aqualina, which is Italian. Both have a $35 per person cover charge and are 100% worth the money. In addition to these restaurants, there is a buffet, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a wonderful array of options. The full-service dining room is another option for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well, with a very nice menu. And there’s more — there is an area by the pool with cook-to-order items as well as a salad bar– available for lunch and dinner. Their Chef’s table dining experience (also an up-charge) is available for dinner nightly, with many courses and a wine pairing. We watched people have a wonderful time at a community-style large table. Last, but not least, I must mention the beautiful brunch spread on our sea day. It was set up in the dining room and offered breakfast, brunch, and lunch items – too many to list. It was wonderfully displayed and included mimosas, sparkling wine, and desserts galore.
Fortunately, Azamara has wonderful exercise options for those who want to work off the many, many delicious meals consumed in a day! The walking track is a 14-lap mile and there is a wonderful gym. The gym offers free weights, machines, and classes all at no additional charge. The classes are abundant with choices of pilates, yoga, stretching, ‘fab abs’, and more! The classes are spread throughout the day so there is time before or after the day’s activities. In addition to the free classes, they also offer fee-based classes such as personal training.
If you’ve been wanting to give a small ship a try, Azamara is a wonderful option. Their ships hold 700 guests and have a crew-to-guest ratio of 1:2, meaning for every two guests, there is one crew member on board.
The captivating world of Greek cruising, where clear blue waters embrace ancient wonders and sun-kissed islands beckon with their timeless beauty is mesmerizing. Enchanting tales of mythical gods, picturesque villages perched on cliffs, and gastronomic delights will transport your taste buds to culinary heaven. This unforgettable journey through Greece’s stunning archipelago, where the magic of the Aegean Sea unfolds at every port of call is just a phone call away. There are many cruise lines from which to choose, and I’m happy to assist you in making the best decision based on your travel preferences. Let me know when you’re ready to sail, and I’m here for you!