We chose this short, six-night Azamara cruise for several reasons: First, although we prefer longer cruises, two weeks or more, we faced some time limitations this trip, including work obligations and also meeting family and friends afterward for some spring training baseball games; second, we had heard some very good reports on Azamara from friends who really enjoyed the casual, small-ship atmosphere and we figured this would be a way to try it out without a big financial or time commitment; third, and most importantly, we wanted to visit Cuba, and this cruise included two days and an overnight in Havana.
Embarkation at the Port of Miami was easy. We drove to Miami from our home in the mountains of North Carolina because we wanted to have a car for the post-cruise spring training. It is a long drive, and next time we probably would fly (though we hate the MIA airport). We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Blue Lagoon International Airport on a stay and cruise package that included parking and a shuttle. That worked out fine compared with parking at the Port and saved us a little money and a good bit of hassle. It took only a few minutes to get through the formalities of paperwork (including the Cuban visa ($75 per person), which Azamara took care of for us.
Soon we were sitting in Journey's buffet restaurant enjoying a drink. Drinks are included in the cost of Azamara cruises, but the included package mostly has low-end brands and house wines. My wife decided to upgrade to the Ultimate package because she enjoys fancy craft cocktails -- unfortunately we would learn that, unlike Celebrity and some other lines most bartenders on Azamara are not up to speed on making complex drinks.
Response from BonnieM, CBO - Azamara Club Cruises
As noted in our main review, and by many other reviewers, staterooms on Azamara are on the small side, and that's putting it kindly. The bathrooms are tiny, and the shower is ridiculously small.
There was adequate though not generous storage space. The room was clean and well-maintained, and our room steward, from Nicaragua, was excellent. Everything was done promptly and on time, and there was no unnecessary intrusions. TV programming is very limited -- mainly just MSNBC and Fox, not even CNN. Internet was slow and not easy to get on. We were told that a major improvement would have to wait until the ship was in drydock for a major overhaul of the internet system and wi-fi.
It was nice to have a veranda, although we didn't use it too much. The cabin would have felt even smaller without it.
Port of Miami, the busiest cruise port in the world, is well-organized.
A nice small village and a good diving destination have been ruined by too many cruise ships. To get off the cruise ship and to go into Cozumel you have to walk through a two-story "mall" hawking cheap souvenirs.