Note: This is a special feature post from Ann Tran of ann-tran.com.
Always try to arrive a day or two before your cruise embarks to shake off the jet lag. In addition, arriving early gives you time to explore the city.
I briefly explored central London to take some nice photographs and experience the city, rather than being hustled from airport, to bus, to cruise ship. London was so expressive and large and diverse. I can now return in the future and spend an additional week discovering London and all it has to offer.
By Bonnie MacLaird, Chief Blogging Officer, Azamara Club Cruises on
Who among us doesn’t crave some time to ourselves? Okay, maybe not time alone on a mountain ridge like Cheryl Strayed in the movie “Wild” but rather alone-in-the-lap-of-luxury time?
I’ve had this conversation with a few girlfriends lately. A few months ago I had lunch with Laura, an old friend and coworker at Azamara Club Cruises. Laura and I have now worked together at three cruise lines over our careers. She’s a lovely woman who for the first time in her life is sailing solo.
Laura recently sailed Azamara’s 12-night Panama Canal cruise from Costa Rica to Miami on the Azamara Journey. Ever envious of anyone going on a small-ship cruise, I asked her to take notes on the experience of cruising solo so that we could all live vicariously through her. Here are some highlights in Laura’s own words:
Although I did not know one single person with whom I would be traveling, that changed very quickly when I met two other solo travelers and several very friendly couples at the hotel while awaiting the transfer to Caldera. By the time I checked in, boarded the ship, and headed to the Windows Café for lunch, I knew I would not be dining alone.
Caldera, Costa Rica
The officers, crew and fellow passengers on Azamara are among the friendliest of any cruise line. The ship size and relaxed onboard atmosphere are especially conducive to making new friends, and the few who asked me why I was on my own were welcoming and more curious than judgmental.
During my cruise, I never felt alone – unless I wanted to be. And there were ample opportunities for me to escape and be alone: to savor the Thalassotherapy pool and spa deck, nap on a deck chair, and read a couple of books. In New Orleans, I set out early in the morning for a solo jog to Café du Monde to get my coffee and beignets fix.
When I was feeling more social, I had no trouble finding someone to dine with, or to enjoy one of the entertainment options onboard. I thoroughly enjoyed my new friends with whom I socialized, dined and toured on this voyage.
But I was most thankful for the quality “me” time and the chance to reflect on the blessings of travel. And it turns out travel is no less rewarding when the experience is shared with new friends rather than old.
St. Petersburg is home to a number of world-class landmarks, and the cultural center of Russia. It also played a starring role in our Summer Russia and the Baltics itinerary. Visits to the renowned Hermitage Museum, the Winter Palace, Peter and Paul Fortress and a variety of cathedrals would all make for good stories on their own. But St. Petersburg also serves as a very good example of just how deep the focus on Destination Immersion runs within the Azamara Club Cruises experience.
By Azamara Club Cruises on Monday, August 24, 2015
Azamara cruises are for those who love travel. But, we love to travel for different reasons. Some travellers love connecting with a destination’s culture through food, art or history. Others love to relax and unplug from their everyday lives, whether that’s on a quiet beach or a sidewalk cafe. And, some travellers love adventure. Luckily, we have cruises for everyone – including the adventurers.
Eight 2016 Itineraries That Are Perfect For Adventurers
Destination Immersion is perfect for the adventurous traveler. It’s all about longer stays, more overnights and night touring – meaning you have more time in port, and more time to soak in your experiences. In 2016, our two ships will visit 204 different ports in 70 countries. There’s so much to choose from! These eight voyages pack the most punch in the thrill department.
16 Night Australia & New Zealand Voyage
The Land Down Under has everything you want – breathtaking coastlines, stunning lakes and mountains, geothermal springs and more. In Hobart, you can visit the nearby Bruny Island – a rugged, gorgeous hub of eco-tourism. Taurunga, New Zealand, is home to lush parks, stunning waterfalls and gorgeous beaches.
If you love wildlife, this cruise is for you. The National Parks, rainforests and wildlife preserves of Central America provide an unforgettable experience. Fun fact: You can explore these unique destinations in 360 degree technology right now over at azamara3di.com.
Planning a trip through Asia can be stressful – unless you visit with us. This itinerary will take you through five different countries, with several overnight stays. Check “seeing real-life dragons” off your bucket list in Komodo, Indonesia. Explore Puerto Princesa‘s famed Subterranean River National Park. Visit the Taal Volcano of Manila, and the Taroko Gorge of Hualien. And of course, don’t forget to pack your camera – this might be the most photogenic cruise out there.
For most cruisers, the highlight of a Baltic Sea cruise is the stop in St. Petersburg, Russia. For most of my fellow travelers on Azamara Quest, this was the reason the booked the cruise. We had three full days to explore the former imperial city. And most importantly, because of the size of Azamara Quest, we were able to dock right in the center of the city.
Here is our view from the ship with St. Isaac’s Cathedral glistening in the background.
The Azamara Quest docked in the heart of the city. You can see St. Isaac’s in the background.
When visiting St. Petersburg, you have so many treasures and so many choices. How to choose? This post is about some “must sees” for the first time visitor. My next post will uncover some other treasures in the city of Peter the Great.
The Winter Palace and Hermitage Museum
The Winter Palace and State Hermitage Museum.
Right in the center of St. Petersburg and just steps from your ship stands the iconic Winter Palace, founded by Catherine the Great. Your focus should be on the art and the living quarters of the royal family in the palace.