Circling England on our sailing of Azamara Club Cruises boutique ship Azamara Journey we’ve been to Scotland, Ireland, Wales and the Channel Islands so far. Along the way your questions have been answered via a series of posts covering many elements of Azamara’s version of cruise travel with more to come. Still, there are some questions that don’t fit into a top ten list or blog post that covers similar topics. Here are some of those questions, direct from readers, with the answers we promised.
Roger C from Tulsa, Oklahoma asks: “I like the idea of staying overnight in port, but is there enough to do? “
Good question Roger and the short answer is: absolutely!
We have commonly done a shore exploration in ports that we overnight in, and some of those can take all day. At the time some of them feel like marathons but at the end of the day, in reflection, we have seen some amazing iconic destinations in detailed way I have never seen any other cruise line offer. Personally, I like to just walk off the ship when possible and get a good feel for the local flavor of each port. With overnight stays, we have the time to do that. In a way, it’s like the best of both worlds; an organized tour micro-focused on the destination and time to explore on our own.
Better yet, those shore explorations are preceded by a complementary seminar the day before. This is not like the shore talks we get in the Caribbean that sometimes feel like just a pitch to encourage passengers to shop at certain “approved” stores. There is an element of “pitching” in the Azamara seminar schedule but it is focused on features of the ship like the spa or fitness center.
I like that there are not a zillion choices too. Shore explorations are carefully crafted to get deep into the destination that really is what Azamara is all about.
Back again with the safety concern, long-time reader Susan E from Ontario, Canada asks: “You must have known this was coming: How about safety and security? How does Azamara rate?”
Susan, this is a question we should all be asking about every cruise line before we sail and the answer better be that the line rates high. Unfortunately, there is not a measurable system in place to compare lines but in my opinion, Azamara has the safety issue covered. Here’s why.
When I boarded the ship, the sailing was already in progress. As you may have read, our flight to Edinburgh, Scotland was delayed, seriously delayed, and we ended up missing sailaway. When we finally did land in Edinburgh, Azamara transferred us to the first port of call, Invergordon to join the sailing in progress. On the four plus hour motor coach ride to meet the ship I couldn’t help but think that we were joining the sailing in progress much like several hundred passengers joined Costa Concordia just before the ship grounded in Italy. I wondered how Azamara would handle the safety briefing that everyone else on the ship had the day before.
Arriving at the pier, that question was immediately answered as we were instructed to proceed directly to the ships showroom for that briefing before we could do anything else. Pretty impressive.
More impressive is how Azamara handles boarding the ship after we have been ashore. You know how occasionally someone will walk through the metal detector and set it off with a cell phone in their pocket or a belt with a big buckle? Normally, I see security people pass a detection wand over that person and send them on their way. On Azamara, I commonly see that person get a pat down too, an extra step to insure safety. Impressive again.
That’s actually extra impressive, as European ports, to me, seem to require less in the way of security than I see in North American ports. Yes, I think they are quite safe.
We’ll have more questions and answers tomorrow and still have time for your questions as well. Email Editor@ChrisCruises.net in the next couple of days if you can. While we are on board is the very best time to get the answers directly from the source.