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  • Starr Wlodarski


f you have been on a cruise ship over the last few years, like me you may have gotten somewhat overwhelmed by the crowds, 4000 passengers fighting for a deck chair or crowding into a port with 4 other ships the same size is not my idea of fun.

Don't get me wrong, I have been cruising since 1980 and I still love sailing the seven seas. Plus having someone else to entertain a couple of teenage boys makes my vacation less stressful. Being in the travel industry, I know the ships have become the destination and that is the selling point for a lot of my clients. But I know there are others like myself, that cruising is an easy stress-free way to see somewhat logistically challenged itineraries.

Well let me introduce you to Azamara Cruises. I was delighted to be on an Azamara Quest sailing the Eastern Mediterranean. It was a 10 day itinerary from Civitavecchia(Rome), Italy to Istanbul, Turkey.

he best way I can describe the ship is to call it a "boutique hotel on the seas." First of all, each Azamara ship carries only 684 passengers. I was able to enjoy a more relaxed and personalized experience on board the Quest compared to the typical cruise ship.

Open sitting dining and dress code every night is country club casual. The value that Azamara offers is also very appealing, what is included on Azamara Cruises fare, gratuities, bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees and wait for standard spirits, international beers & wines!!!!

But what really sets Azamara apart from other cruise lines, in addition to sailing on a smaller ship which allows them to go to off the beaten path ports, is Azamara's philosophy of Destination Immersion.

Unlike other cruise lines, Azamara gives you longer stays in port and more overnight stays. On our itinerary, we only sailed once before 10 pm, so you were not constantly watching the time so you didn't "miss the boat" and you had a chance to have dinner and drinks on shore.

Especially good in the Eastern Mediterranean in August because the cities do take on a totally different vibe after the sun goes down.

Another value included in your cruise fare will be an AzAmazing Evening, an exclusive bespoke event. Ours occurred in the port of Kusadasi Turkey, where after dinner we were taken to the Odeon, the old Roman theater in ancient Ephesus to hear a private concert performed by a 12 piece string orchestra.

So if unique itineraries, more time in port and smaller ships are what you yearn for give us a call, we can match you to the right cruise line for you.

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