Recently I accompanied 24 clients on an Azamara cruise we labeled the Wines of Western Europe because the itinerary was such that wine lovers could not pass it up!
The cruise departed from Southampton England and traveled the coast of France, Spain and Portugal. I mean... it’s a perfect way to hit some of the best wine country in the world!
Now if you have ever heard a sales pitch for Azamara Club Cruises you would certainly recognize their claim to fame as more overnight stays in port and AZAMAZING experiences. It’s easy to see from the itineraries that they have it down right on the longer port times and overnight stays but what about it being AZAMAZING? I decided to ask my group to tell me what they thought was AZAMAZING about their cruise. To put their comments in perspective, all but one couple had never cruised Azamara but most were seasoned cruisers.
You must know that during this 12-day itinerary we hit some rocky seas and had what the captain described as “a bit of a breeze and limited sunshine” (he did have a great sense of humor) but that did not dim the spirits of guests or crew. As you can see from their thoughts, this trip really was AZAMAZING.
Art, a repeat Azamara guest, was lovingly labeled Sir Arthur by the dining wait staff and several of the servers throughout the ship. I know you might think, really what’s so great about that…but you have to know Art. Most people would describe him as well, a bit gruff….but when the staff greeted him for dinner with “and how are you this evening Sir Arthur”, I saw the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on this man and when they showed him to his preferred section of the dining room, I literally could see his chest puff out with that feeling like…..yeah I am important!
John & Glenna, my 80 years’ young couple were on their second honeymoon (oh I hope I can say that at 80!). Every time I ran into them on the ship they said, “we are being so pampered, it’s like we are a King and Queen”.
Note to future guests, if you order room service breakfast for 7am, be sure you have your pants on at 7am because your breakfast is going to be there – and it will be hot! One of my seasoned cruisers commented several times….”this is the best room service we’ve ever had, they even call you when they are on the way and they arrive in what seems like seconds later – after the first day I knew to have pants on!”
Remember the Burger King ditty, “special orders don’t upset”…that is how one of my guests perceived the handling of our itinerary change due to the bad weather ( a little breeze & limited sunshine) I mentioned earlier. Her comment to me “Their efficiency in rescheduling activities really impressed me, I don’t think most people would get how much something like that messes up logistics and they did it so well, they even brought on local tourist office staff in the new port to speak to guests about what was available in the new stop.” Yup, AZAMAZING.
Twelve of my clients booked the chef’s table experience and were literally blown away!
- Jim:“I tried stuff I’ve never even hear of”
- Karen: “The chef came out and explained every course and the wine pairing, it was terrific”
- Gail: “this was the best thing I’ve ever done”
And finally my AZAMAING thought (and you know Travel Agents are picky)….It was almost the end of the cruise…we had purchased stuff like cheeses, wine, and ham that we knew we could not take back with us so decided to hold an impromptu party for our 24 clients……we invaded one of the lounges, spoke to the servers about our plan and OMG – there was no, “well we really can’t do that” or “you have to have a reservations” or anything… they just got us plates, silverware, wine glasses…and set them all up for us, even checked on us during the gathering to see if we needed anything else. It was as if we had planned this party in advance. AMAZING service.
So sure, take an Azamara cruise for the itinerary and longer times in port…but be prepared for your own brand of AZAMAZING!