A Journey With Azamara Club Cruises
Azamara Club Cruises prides itself on their destination immersion. What this means to the traveler is a port intensive cruise experience with longer stays and more overnights in the ports they visit. Our Expert Raye just experienced this for herself and enjoyed it tremendously. Raye is very well traveled and enjoys visiting off-the-beaten path cities to get an authentic feel of the countries she visits. Raye took the Azamara Journey through Greece, Turkey, Cypress and Israel on a 10-night cruise. It was called the Hold Land and was roundtrip from Athens, Greece. She stayed one night in Athens before the cruise sailed and was able to tour the ruins and see the city. Onboard, there were lots of choices for meals. The dining room was consistent and delicious food was served every night. The specialty restaurants are equally as delicious and were great dining experiences. Prime C and Aqualina are Azamara's specialty restaurants and are only $25 per person, including wine. Make sure you get your reservations in ahead of time for these restaurants as they serve only about 50 people each night. Wine is served each night in the main dining room and always pairs well with the dinner selections. In the main dining room, there is a different menu each night. If you have any dietary restrictions, all you have to do is alert the wait staff and they will make sure you get exactly what you want. Room service is served 24 hours a day in all staterooms and suites. Each morning there is a delicious breakfast buffet including hot stations, fruit, bread selections, cereal, and daily specials. For lunch, the dining room is not open, but a wonderful buffet is served daily. Most people prefer to have lunch while on their excursions as this gives them a chance to try the local cuisine. Each evening there is a pool side international buffet. This was the place everyone gathered for a little snack and a drink and sat around discussing the day's happenings. Casual attire is accepted in all the restaurants. After the cruise left Athens, they visited Haifa, Ashdod, Paphos, Turkey, Rhodes, Kushadasi, Mykonos and back to Athens. In each port, Raye and her guests took the Azamara shore excursions. They were able to see many historic places and learn about the culture while they were there. The guides were always English speaking and very knowledgeable. Raye did enjoy a private guided tour to see the Aghia Sofia, the church that became a museum. They visited the Topaki Palace, which is an old Ottoman Palace with different rooms for jewelry, weapons, a harem, and a gift room. They visited the Dolmabache Palace, which is where the modern founder of Turkey lived in the 1920's. There was lots of history and culture here. Jerusalem is a very spiritual experience and Raye had trouble putting it into words. She did say that her visit here changed her as a person. One of her favorite spots was Paphos, Cypress. It is a very charming and clean town. There is a boardwalk on the water with lots of shops, restaurants, taverns and cafes that attract a lot of tourists. The shopping is amazing and you can find fine and costume jewelry wherever you go. If you want to shop in Turkey, the best things to purchase are leather goods and silver. Everywhere you go you can find custom leather goods, silver jewelry and lots of other goodies. You must bargain anywhere you go. Raye found the food in Turkey delicious. They are known for their kebabs which are skewers of juicy meats. They cook their fresh seafood in terra cotta pots and break them open when serving. The pita is fresh and amazing. Always served hot and much puffier than what we are used to here. The street food is delicious wherever you go. The captain of the ship was wonderful. He was of Greek descent and British born. He was always cheerful and on hand to answer any questions the passengers might have. The Captain's entire staff was great as well as all the ship's staff. They show wonderful customer service skills and manage to take care of each guest's needs effortlessly. Azamara Club Cruises is an amazing experience for those discerning travelers who want an upscale cruising experience with a port intensive theme.
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