Pictured left to right outside the new store are: Paul Hardwick, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Director of Retail; Emma Bailey, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Tutti Taylor, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Councillor Candy Vaughan, Mayor of Eastbourne; Trevor Ridler, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Business Development Manager; and Shirley Waters, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents..
Emma Livermore, Manager of our Norwich travel agents in store at Jarrolds, experienced a cruise with the recently rebranded Azamara. During three nights on board, she got to join in with the famous White Night and experience the wonderful atmosphere on board. Here’s why she would recommend the cruise line to anyone looking for a little bit of luxury at sea.
Destination: St. Malo to Rouen cruise
(Hotel names/Ship name): Azamara Journey
Duration: 3 nights
We were allocated an obstructed view outside cabin, with a view that was fully covered by a lifeboat. The cabin itself was a good size with plenty of room and wardrobe space. The beds were extremely comfortable, as you would expect with Azamara, and was probably one of the most comfortable I have slept in. The bathrooms were quite small with a walk-in shower, but there were provided toiletries, bathrobes and slippers too.
What Was Included?
The trip included all meals on board in either the Windows Cafe (buffet), Discoveries Restaurant(main dining venue) or the Patio (outdoor grill). We also had an evening included in Prime C, the speciality steak restaurant. Gratuities are also included in the price so there is no tipping while on-board. All-inclusive drinks are included in the cost too; there is a selection of house wines available daily, a choice of two red or white wines and a rose wine, which are changed daily, as well as a good selection of house spirits, beers and cocktails. Soft drinks and bottles of water are also included in the all-inclusive offering. Premium drinks are available to purchase for a small charge.
While we were onboard, we were lucky enough to experience the White Night. There is usually one of these held on every cruise (subject to weather conditions), where the whole of the pool deck changes into an open-dining area for all guests. Dinner is a buffet with fresh grilled seafood, as well as a wide choice of fresh pastas,cheese, salads and a mixture of meats too.
There weren’t many food options not included in Azamara’s buffet; it's one of the largest I have ever seen. During dinner and into the evening, they have a band on the pool deck and everyone gets up to dance and get involved in the evening; the atmosphere is fantastic and it's a really great evening that can't be missed.
As well as the White Night, there was also an ‘AzAmazing Evening’. Again, this is something that occurs on every cruise except those under seven nights and on the transatlantic voyages. It’s a complimentary evening for all guests where they are taken ashore for an exclusive, bespoke and authentic evening. While speaking to the guests that had experienced this on our cruise before we joined the ship, they had a fantastic evening; a one-off experience you couldn't do yourself and the whole evening ran effortlessly. They were taken ashore in Lisbon to a wine cellar,where they were greeted with drinks and enjoyed an evening of authentic Portuguese singing and dancing – all included in the cost of their voyage.
Entertainment is also included in the cruise; we enjoyed spending our evenings listening to music and singers, as well as enjoying the shows in the Cabaret Lounge.
My favourite part of the trip was the White Night. I loved the way the whole deck was transformed into one big dining room and all guests got involved with the evening and dressed in white. I have never seen such a choice of food on a cruise ship, all of which was cooked in front of us, whether we wanted steak, pasta or even lobster– you certainly wouldn't go hungry.
If you can manage it, there is a huge range of cheeses and deserts for after dinner too; their speciality of the evening was crepe suzette. Drinks were free-flowing throughout dinner and all evening too. After dinner, there is the crew parade, where you get to meet the staff from behind the scenes, followed by live music and dancing.
It was so nice to watch everyone getting involved. The guests were having a fantastic time and they were all up singing and dancing around the deck; it was definitely the highlight of the few days I spend on board. The whole evening was planned so well and ran so smoothly. Every little detail is thought through, even down to the staff handing out blankets to guests when the temperatures started to drop.
I would certainly recommend this trip to anyone with complete confidence; I couldn't fault it.The service, food and entertainment were fantastic and nothing is too much or too little for the staff on board, even down to finding a wine we liked from the previous evening. They will go out of their way to make sure you can have a glass or two of this with your dinner. If you love smaller, luxury, boutique-style hotels, this is the perfect option for you.
I would recommend dining in one of the ship’s two specialty restaurants which are complimentary for suite guests but have a $30 cover charge for all others. You would need to make a reservation and there is the choice of the steakhouse, Prime C, or Italian restaurant Aqualina. Both are great options for an intimate dining experience on a special occasion or even to dine with friends – it's certainly worth an experience at least once.
Chef's Table is another great dining option, located inside in Prime C. It’s an exclusive dining experience that pairs multiple delectable courses with perfectly matched wines.
Must see? A show in the Caberet Lounge
Must do? Take part in the white night on deck
Must try? Prime C or Aqualina
If you would like to plan a cruise like Emma’s, or learn more about what we available, visit your nearest branch of Fred. Olsen Travel Agents. We have travel agents in Dorchester, Bournemouth, Westbourne, Christchurch, Lymington and allover East Anglia.