Travelling is no longer about destination alone. It has as much to do with the journey as with the destination, and with everyone looking for newer ways to journey, cruises are gaining ground over the duller ways of travelling. An inveterate traveller, this time round, I decided to take a cruise to satisfy my seafaring instincts.
As promised, my debut cruise on the Azamara Journey, began with a bang. Right from a warm welcome at the Hong Kong port to the welcome sip of a bubbly, it was all done with panache. Moments after checking out the lovely stateroom with its private balcony, I charged up to the top deck just in time to see the ship gliding magnificently out of the port. And so began a magical journey that was to last for thirteen full days as the ship navigated its way along the South China Sea. In those thirteen days, it would sail from Hong Kong to Singapore, with stopovers at three ports at Vietnam and one at Thailand.
Located within the ten levels are several lounges, five restaurants – two of them speciality restaurants – serving delectable fare, a luxurious spa, a casino designed to get you addicted to gambling, well stocked library, sun deck, walking track, gym and fitness centre, a cabaret lounge, and a host of facilities that ensured I remained goggle eyed. Enraptured with the offerings, I raced breathless from one deck to the other, exploring and imbibing. Thirteen days didn’t seem enough to absorb everything.
Soon, I had chosen my favourite spots. The search for the perfect cappuccino led me to Mosaic Cafe. With that, I found a perfect place to spend time. The high crew to passenger ratio on Azamara Journey works very well, since gives a personal touch to the interactions.
What I enjoyed most was the luxurious full body spa treatment and the gastronomic experiences at the Prime C and Aqualina, the two specialty restaurants on board. The al fresco dinners at The Patio were as memorable as the daily themed dinners at the Windows Cafe.
An enchanting White Night party, by the pool side, had me shaking my leg with abandon. It was party time through the voyage, each night offering something interesting.
There was no dearth of activities to keep me occupied. Right from the shore excursions at various ports to the complimentary AzAmazing Evening, which turned out to be an immensely enjoyable cultural experience.
As the ship sailed towards the last port, I knew that the magical journey was over. Heavy hearted, I watched the ship dock at Singapore. It was time to go home. There had been a couple of revelations during the journey. The first one was that I was not afraid of the sea. I loved it. The more important one being a repeat of a journey on Azamara.