This year multi-award winning luxury cruise line, Azamara Club Cruises took steps to evolve it’s destination immersion offerings and enhance onboard experiences fleet wide. Both cruise ships in the Azamara fleet underwent an extensive refurbishment project titled Azamara Remagined, which gave each ship a complete bow to stern overhaul. Nothing was untouched and upgrades were applied to staterooms, suites and public areas. The creative concept behind the reimagining was to bring the organic essence of destination immersion onboard using the four elements of nature. Earthy muted tones add a relaxing element whilst an enhanced outdoor pool grill brings the fire. Airy new outdoor venues and new tranquil spa suites complete the full circle. Eager to know more about the revitalisation programme, Iglu Cruise sent Cruise Agent Matthew along to report back on the newly upgraded Azamara Quest.
“Hi all! I have just returned from a visit on Azamara Quest and wanted to fill you in on some exciting enhancements since the ship was reimagined in April this year. Suites and Staterooms
Azamara have added two new “Spa Suites” to the forward section on the upper deck next to the Spa. These allow direct access to the Spa and Gym with one “Night in Private Places” experience included per cruise. This means private use of the whirlpool and sunbeds on the viewing deck of the Spa, overlooking the bow with a butler who’ll cater to your every need. Those who would like to experience a “Night in a Private Place” can do so for around $60.
All staterooms have had an extensive makeover. I got to see a refurbished Deck Four forward Oceanview room, which was very spacious even with a double bed, armchair, minibar and all the usual features. All staterooms now feature a top of the range interactive TV and bathrooms have been rebuilt with upgraded stone and porcelain surfaces.
The new Inspiration Centre on Deck Four features a giant screen much like a big iPad. It has touch screen technology and tells you all about future Azamara itineraries all over the world, including ports of call, future cruise prices and so on. Touch anywhere on the map to to view videos, see beautiful photography and destination information.
The Living Room
The Looking Glass lounge at the top of the ship (forward) is now called the Living Room in which you’ll find touch screen tables where you can send a digital postcard to relatives via email from the comfort of your couch. In fact, the WiFi has been improved ship wide with a faster and more reliable connection. A small food station and coffee machine in the Living Room make it a convenient hangout in the mornings or late afternoons. The vibe is quirky and elegant with suspended birdcage chairs for fun.
Main Dining is in the Discoveries Restaurant which now has additional seating. The grand Tiffany chandelier still hangs from the ceiling and is apparently the most expensive feature on the ship. Both speciality dining restaurants feature the same cuisine but have been refurbished.
The Pool Grill is now known as The Patio, a refined outdoor dining experience with a new menu and sophisticated ambiance. Occasionally you’ll also be able to enjoy live music or open air movies from across the pool as you dine.
A word to loyal fans of Celebrity Cruises, your Captains Club loyalty points can be redeemed with Azamara Club Cruises. With fleet wide Azamara updates under Azamara Reimagined, there is no better time than now to try something new!"
Sail on Azamara Quest Reimagined
Believe it or not, luxury cruises can in fact be fantastic value for money. With usually everything included from drinks to excursions and gratuities to transfers, you do not need to worry about the extra costs onboard, but can just sit back and relax knowing that everything is taken care of.
Of course a luxury cruise isn’t just about the amount you’re spending, it is about the experience that you will receive. If you’re looking for a special getaway or an exciting adventure then you may want to consider sailing on a more high-end ship.
Luxury cruise lines like Seabourn, Silversea Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Saga Ocean Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises and Viking Ocean Cruises are all worth weighing up.
Begin your holiday in style the moment you step foot outside the door with a luxury cruise. Cruise lines such as Saga offer transfers to take the stress away from arranging your own travel to the airport or port.
Hotel stays are also usually found in the itinerary when booking a luxury cruise and are superb for adding on land packages. For example Regent Seven Sea Cruises feature land programmes on selected saiilings which may cover Angkor Wat, Beijing and The Great Wall or even an African Safari.
Of course, one of the main reasons to upgrade to a luxury cruise is to enjoy the accommodation, from delightful staterooms to wide verandas and lavish suites all are designed to enhance the entire experience of your holiday. With inside cabins a rarity and Verandas the norm, sailing onboard a luxury ship means that you can take in the spectacular sea views from the comfort of your own room. With no detail spared you can expect fine art, beautiful fabrics and high-end toiletries such as L’Occitane and Molton Brown.
On the majority of luxury cruise lines drinks are included and this includes your alcohol. With no extra charge you can enjoy a selection of alcoholic beverages or soft drinks in the bars, in the restaurants or in the lounges. It is even possible to have a fully stocked minibar in your stateroom and have a bottle of champagne waiting for you on arrival.
With a high staff to guest ratio, luxury cruise lines really do care when it comes to the level of service given. With staff given specific training to make sure service is of the highest quality, you should expect to find everyone from stewards to bartenders remembering your name and drink order. Silversea even include a butler service in every Suite category on board, to further enhance your service.
Although you will receive the utmost high levels of service onboard a luxury ship, with the majority of luxury cruise lines you are actually not required to tip as gratuities have already been built into the cruise fare for you. Of course you can still tip if a member of the crew does something beyond your expectations but it is nice to not have to feel pressurised and worry about any additional costs.
You can experience Michelin star quality food at sea with world renowned chefs teaming up with luxury cruise lines to bring a taste of the exquisite onboard. With Chef Nobu Matsuhisa creating the menu for Silk Road with Crystal Cruises, the world is your oyster when it comes to tantalising your taste buds. Not only are you able to enjoy fine dining onboard but better yet there is usually no cover charge as it's included within the price of your holiday.
The smaller ships that luxury cruise lines use are not only great for offering a more personalised and no expenses spared holiday onboard but are able to sail into ports where their bigger counterparts cannot. With places such as Komodo Island and Portofino just a stone’s throw away, the world is at your fingertips. You can expect a special experience in harder to access destinations which are therefore not overrun with tourists. Luxury cruise lines also tend to offer more overnight stays giving you all the more time to see a destination and enjoy both day and night-time activities and culture.
Luxury cruise lines understand that the destination is just as important as the ship when it comes to your holiday and focus on giving you the chance to fully explore a destination. With excursions more often than not included some lines focus on going that bit further. For example Azamara pride themselves on Destination Immersion® offering unique itineraries, a fantastic all-inclusive programme and one AzAmazing EveningSM per cruise. Created exclusively for Azamara guests, this complimentary evening excursion is designed to introduce you to the very best of local culture, dance, food and everyday life in a private setting. From a sunset dinner on the Amalfi coast, to Polo in St. Tropez, these shore excursions allow Azamara guests to delve even deeper into the unique places visited.
You can expect to enjoy a more intimate atmosphere onboard and make friendships that last a lifetime. With a smaller ship it is easy to bump into the same faces and build relationships, something that is a lot harder to achieve on a ship carrying over 3000 passengers.
If your idea of a holiday is laying back in the sunshine and having your needs met, then it is worth upgrading to a luxury cruise line. With less children and fewer entertainment announcements you can sit back and relax in the peace and quiet and use your time as you wish.
Find all of our upcoming luxury cruises.
More information on our luxury cruise lines.
The Monaco Grand Prix - one of the most anticipated races of the F1 calendar, it represents the pinnacle of motor car racing at one of the most lavish addresses in the world.
Monte Carlo is a city that defines luxury with its water-front mansions, fancy boutiques and prime restaurants that line its iconic yacht harbors. Home to millionaires and A-list celebrities, it showcases the most glamorous lifestyles. Behind its flashy appearance lies fresh pastry shops, sun-drenched beaches and fascinating architecture, making it a must-see destination with lots to explore.
Most people, including myself, succumb to the fact we will only experience the Monaco Grand Prix on the TV or by winning the lottery, so I wanted to find out exactly how much it would cost in comparison to Azamara's Grand Prix cruise. Following on from my previous blog where I found out how great it was to combine a cruise with major sporting events, I wanted to delve into this further and find out if it is really is as good value for money as advertised...
In addition to the above a cruise onboard Azamara Quest will include complimentary entertainment, fitness centre, enriching lectures, laundry service and gratuities.
With a saving of over £1500, even I was shocked by the phenomenal value for money you get from cruising to the Grand Prix...I am not relying on that lottery win anymore!
See our Grand Prix Cruise Deals
By Sally Grimes
Have you ever wondered what club cruising is all about and if it's for you? Well one of Iglu's latest cruise converts from our renowned ski team jumped onboard the Azamara Journey recently and here are his thoughts as a first time cruiser.
Azamara Journey is not like any other cruise, the experience is more like a home from home. “Welcome home” the crew say as they greet you after spending the day ashore. Of course you aren’t waited on hand and foot at home, and the food onboard is much better!
Greeted with a glass of champagne, while your bags are whisked off to your room you feel instantly comfortable onboard. Felicidad, our room attendant comes round to make sure we have everything, she does seem surprised that we are so young. The age of the customers onboard ranged from mid-twenties to over 65's — a very diverse group of people.
The crew clearly love their jobs, smiling and happy to serve you. Throughout the cruise we were treated to exceptional service. From the chefs freshly preparing omelettes in the morning, to the casino staff convincing us that we feel lucky today, there is a very unique atmosphere onboard (we weren’t lucky!).
Each morning we found the daily newsletter in our cabin filled with information about the weather, the days events, opening times of restaurants and key points of interest about the destination we were in that day. Perhaps we should’ve read the weather report on our first day in Corsica, when we found ourselves caught in the rain on land. Of course Azamara had towels waiting at the tender station in the port.
We were lucky enough to visit both the specialty restaurants onboard. Prime C served a fantastic filet mignon accompanied by wines recommended by the staff. Aqualina, the Mediterranean inspired restaurant served the most perfectly cooked fish courses and delicious deserts. Both restaurants charge a very modest cover charge — definitely worth every penny.
If for any reason you don't feel like leaving your cabin for dinner (or any other meal or snack throughout the day) then you can make use of the extensive 24 hour complementary room service menu which comprises of everything from cheese and fruit plates, to individually prepared steaks. Having sampled the majority of the room service menu, we decided it may be a good idea to visit the ships gym. Although not the largest gym I have been to, it is very well equipped, and was never too busy whatever time of day we visited.
The main thing that made the Azamara cruising experience so special was the combination of all the small touches that you don't get with a lot of other cruise lines. Examples of these touches include; the staff handing out cold towels, bottled water and lemonade while you wait for your tender back to the ship. The free bus that was set up to take guests to the centre of town at one of the ports, even if you were not booked on an excursion. The bar staff even knew what I was drinking by the second day of the cruise, and had the drink ready for me in the time it took to enter the room and walk across to the bar. It is these things that made the Azamara experience stand out from all the other cruises we have been on.
The prices may look more expensive than other cruise lines, but taking into account what's included, an Azamara cruise is exceptional value. Its not the hardware that makes Azamara special, it's the software: the staff, the food, and the feeling of the ship is second to none.
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