The chance to take a last minute Christmas and New Year cruise with our adult children round trip to Indonesia from Singapore was too tempting to refuse. What better way than a Christmas Cruise to let our kids know what we've grown to love and appreciate about Azamara and keeps us returning.
Embarkation was a quick process and we seemed to be on board in no time. Initially there had been some inconsistent information circulating prior to the cruise about the location of the departing terminal. Fortunately I'd had a heads up on this through Cruise Critic and had got my information sorted before we left home. Some guests were not so lucky having been advised of the incorrect departure point but in the end no one missed the ship. It was also a little disappointing that the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle was scheduled right on the departure time of 6 pm from Singapore. Again fortunate that someone had experienced this previously and alternate informal arrangements were made for a meet and mingle the following sea day as most people elected to see the sail away from Singapore.
Our initial concerns for our kids about having a younger cohort on board to socialise were allayed when we discovered there were 33 guests in the 18-30 age group travelling either on their own or with their extended families. In my opinion with such a variety of ages (along with some younger family of senior officers) did largely contribute to the festive feel of the ship, particularly when Christmas/New Years is often a family time. We witnessed many new friendships form and even ourselves were re acquainted with guests, officers, staff and crew we'd met on previous cruises. This is what we find wonderful with the small ship experience. I saw many occasions where couples or singles on their own were included in larger groups which we think is fairly 'typical' of type and demeanour of Azamara guests. There is of course ample opportunity to be, eat or relax alone if that's what you choose. The holiday seasons decorations, festivities, activities and food made for a memorable trip.
Having been on both the Quest and Journey since the refits the ambiance of The Living Room and how much it is now used is pleasing, it has such a great feel about it that it just feels 'right'. Kudos to the bar servers there as they are wonderful and it's always a great start to the evening to see their friendly happy faces. The Tapas is interesting, tasty and varies daily. A welcome addition could maybe be that one of the vocalists sings quietly (in the background and on alternate nights) thus providing some variety to the early evening entertainment rather than just the piano and guitar player, as done on the Quest. We were very glad to see the departure of Park West.
The Christmas Pantomime, written by Eric and narrated by Captain Magus was a hoot! We've seen all the production shows before, for the first timers they are entertaining. It would be nice for them to be updated at some stage but understand the cost and manpower involved in changing the line-up. Guest entertainers and guest speakers were good to great depending on your likes and preferences.
The food was consistently great, the Windows evening Buffets featuring a variety of cuisine (though I'm not a big lover of buffets) is interesting and tasty. Discoveries continues to provide great evening meals and there many memorable meals were eaten there amongst our family and new friends. It is pleasing that there is a nightly Chef's recommendation from the Windows that reflects the cuisine being served there.
Brunches held in discoveries continue with the high standards as does Prime C and Aqualina.
The few small requests (food, recipe’s, ships tours, caffeine free diet coke) that we had were dealt with in a friendly, helpful and professional manner. This is another trademark of Azamara that we've grown to appreciate, love and are thankful for.
I won't go into the size of the cabins, we don't have a problem with them or the bathrooms. It is what it is, but I appreciate that the bathroom size is a challenge for some larger people.
Ports of call: Hey it's Asia, third world country and all. Glad we went and saw but there's not a lot that would draw us back to that area. Krakatoa was nice, however we were a bit far away from it to get a real appreciation of just the impact that is left from its legacy. Semarang and Bali were extremely busy, especially on the roads. Komodo and especially Pink Beach were great, with the snorkelling being the standout activity/experience of the trip. We were surprised at the cost of the shore excursions being Indonesia but fortunately because there was four of us most places we did our own thing by taxi and car knowing all our tourist dollars were benefiting the locals.
Finally we are in still in awe of how well Azamara deliver their service in a happy, friendly and professional manner. Congratulations to all involved, you rightly have a product you are to be proud on. God knows how some of the staff find it easy to tolerate those few guests who stand in line and forget their manners. Well done.
Disembarkation was slow through Singapore immigration but that is no way a Azamara issue. In reflection of the time it took to be processed we are conformable in the knowledge that Singapore remains one of the safest places in the world to visit.
We have another three Azamara cruises booked for this year (2017) and countdown eagerly to each one and the time we return to a 'welcome home'.
Singapore is easy to do on your own. Cheap taxi's are available.
Hot as you would expect. As we were travelling as a family the local information officer who came on board once we docked provided valuable information on getting a local 'authorised' taxi which included getting a receipt. We were able to choose a reliable (not all taxi's were in reliable condition). We were happy with the driver, car, itinerary and cost of the Taxi.