Not All Cruises Are Created Equally: Exploring Independently With Azamara

Note: This is a special feature post from Chris Owen of ChrisCruises.com.

Azamara Club Cruises calls on interesting ports all over the world, and rarely repeats itineraries. That focus on travel catches the attention of destination-focused cruisers. I cruised with Azamara twice this summer. First, on the Azamara Journey to the Adriatic. Later, on the Azamara Quest to the Baltic. Azamara's ships got us there in luxury, and they stayed in port longer than all other ships.

Azamara Journey docked in Madeira overnight

Azamara lived up to their motto, "You'll love where we take you", with interesting onboard lectures, helpful destination guides, and unique shore excursions. I could have simply gotten off the ship to do a tour and returned, having had a wonderful day. But for those who want to travel a little deeper, the opportunity is there.

When I was browsing the Azamara website for possible sailings, a good amount of information was provided right up front to help narrow down the choices. After booking, I began looking at Cruise Global, Connect LocalSM shore excursions tours and did my own online research of each destination. I chose some shore excursions, and also planned some independent exploration.

The Russian Federation, St. Petersburg, a top view of the city at night, and the Peter and Paul Fortress.

In Amsterdam, we used Azamara's app, created in partnership with AFAR Magazine, to do a self-guided tour. The abundant destination information added depth to the experience of being there. I worked in harmony with the app to navigate the city. It can be as simple as using public transportation, but independently exploring a port adds a degree of Destination Immersion not possible through the windows of a motor coach. 

Exploring Amsterdam with Azamara.

Amsterdam’s Central train station is a perfect example of making a port of call as interesting as one wants it to be. An urban photographer’s dream, there is a shot in every direction on every street in Amsterdam and trains can take you almost anywhere you want to go. This independence appeals to true travellers - even ones who might have thought a cruise wasn't for them.

Visit the iTunes store to download the Azamara Club Cruises Destination Immersion Travel Guide app.

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