One of the cruise industry’s newest lines, Azamara Club Cruises is dedicated to offering an upscale small-ship cruising experience and some of the most unusual and rewarding itineraries out there. The Azamara fleet consists of just two vessels – the Azamara Quest and the Azamara Journey – but are they identical? Which was built first? Where do they go? I decide to find out.
Well at first glance, these two elegant vessels seem like perfectly matched twins and indeed, the line describes them as sister ships. Both were built in the same year, weigh 30,207 tons, entered service for the line in 2007 and cater for 694 passengers. Both vessels also benefitted from an extensive $25 million refurbishment in 2010.
The similarities continue when it comes to on-board facilities and service, too. Both ships are operated by a crew of around 390, meaning an excellent staff to guest ratio and share all the same facilities and public areas. Both vessels offer the same choice of lounges, bars and restaurants and a wealth of entertainment facilities and activities to keep passengers busy. No matter which vessel you book your cruise on, you’ll have the same choice of live shows in the Cabaret Lounge, which could feature anything from singers, musicians to dancers and entertainers.
The Mosaic Café is a popular social hub on both ships. By day it’s a coffee and tea bar while by night, it transforms into a lively but refined bar offering a satisfying blend of fine liqueurs and fine live music. The Discovery lounge is another popular spot, while Casino Luxe offers travellers on both vessels plenty fun and the chance to dance with lady luck. (If, like myself, you haven’t the first clue about casino games, don’t worry as gaming lessons are offered on both ships at no extra charge).
A memorable dining experience is something which both ships promise too. All dishes are prepared using only the freshest local ingredients, which can be enjoyed (along with some commanding views) from the ships’ main restaurant. If you feel like the ultimate refined experience, speciality dining is yours to book, while for the more laid-back, casual dining venues are in evidence across both ships too, offering such opportunities as an American-style burger by the pool.
It’s all about the Journey
Or more specifically, where it goes and where the Azamara Quest doesn’t. It turns out that there is after all something which does set these two near-identical ships apart from each other and that’s the different itineraries they offer.
Of the two vessels, Azamara Journey visits the broadest range of cruise destinations. She offers summer season sailings to the Baltics and Northern Europe departing from Copenhagen, Hamburg and Stockholm as well as a winter Caribbean escape departing from Miami. She also offers an extensive selection of both Eastern and Western Mediterranean itineraries, commencing in such legendary destinations as Monaco, Venice, Rome, Barcelona and Athens. There are also South American and Antarctica ports on Journey’s radar, as well as a selection of transatlantic crossings.
Azamara Quest offers cruisers a good selection of Baltic Northern Europe and Mediterranean sailings, though at different times of the year, to ensure the line as much calendar coverage as possible within each cruise season. And, though she may not travel to as many destinations as her sister vessel, Azamara Quest does visit one region not explored by Azamara Journey and it’s a big one. Azamara Quest’s Asian itinerary is certainly extensive, with several sailings departing throughout autumn, winter and spring and departing from such diverse ports as Bali, Dubai, Singapore and Mumbai.
So there you have it. It is sometimes said that the point of the journey is not to arrive, so if you’re one of those cruisers who lives for the ship experience, it doesn’t matter which vessel you choose. However, if the details of your itinerary are important, then you should certainly visit our Azamara pages on this website, where we always have plenty of Azamara cruise deals available.