Cruise

Cabin review: Azamara Onward club veranda stateroom

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

We joined Azamara Onward in Barcelona last week for a pre-inaugural cruise en route to her naming ceremony in Monte Carlo.

More akin to a boutique hotel than your average cruise ship, Azamara Onward is perfectly sized to cross oceans and sail along intimate rivers with capacity for only 684 passengers and 408 crew.

The ship, which was purchased by the company just after it parted ways with Royal Caribbean last year, has undergone more than $50 million in construction and refurbishments, rendering it virtually unrecognisable from its previous life as Pacific Princess.

Our morning view onboard Azamara Onward

“As far as smoke and daggers go, it was the ultimate coup,” Carl Smith, captain of Azamara Onward, said. 

“We went through the ship, top to bottom to work out what needed to be updated. We liked what was built, there are some things which were very, very clever, but there were things which needed a great deal of work.

“It’s been a long haul, you know – 14 and a half months! But watching people set foot on the ship a few hours ago really put a smile on my face.”

The addition brings Azamara’s fleet to four ships alongside her sisters Azamara Journey, Azamara Quest and Azamara Pursuit, with Azamara Onward sharing similar renovations and design elements with the latter.

The cabin

We stayed in a club veranda stateroom, which comfortably fitted a sitting area, a writing desk, a queen-size bed, 40 inch TV, a compact bathroom and a balcony with sweeping ocean views.

The bed was ultra-comfy, featuring a range of pillow choices and a spare blanket for extra warmth if needed, with USB ports under the bedside reading lamps as well as power points on each side.

We loved the abundance of power points and USB ports

Actually, there was an abundance of power points in the cabin, most of which were universal.

Alongside all the mod-cons you expect from an upscale hotel, like the well-stocked mini bar, slippers, robe, large wardrobe, in-room safe, thermostat-controlled air conditioner, boutique amenities and a hairdryer, the cabin was full of thoughtful touches.

The bathroom made good use of space without being too compact

Each day, your own personal attendant delivers a special turndown treat along with a daily news bulletin featuring the weather forecast for the next day’s port, opening hours for the ship’s restaurants and spa and the daily entertainment schedule.

Thoughtful touches for port adventures

Plus, your very own branded tote bag and the use of an umbrella for port adventures.

Food and beverage options and public spaces

Like her sister ships, Azamara Onward features Azamara’s signature restaurants and bars including Italian fine dining restaurant Aqualina, sumptuous steak and seafood at Prime C, open-air seating at the Sunset Veranda, breathtaking views at Window’s Cafe, The Den lounge, Living Room, the Cabaret Lounge, Discoveries Bar and Restaurant, and of course, the all-important pool bar.

The Sunset Veranda

What’s new is Atlas Bar; an exclusive venue offering delicious artisanal cocktails and premium snacks complete with luxurious velvet couches and an all-around classy vibe.

Atlas Bar

Those needing a little extra pampering can pay a visit to the Sanctum Spa, which features a hair salon, a terrace with a thalassotherapy pool and luxury spa products plus a nail bar, teeth whitening and acupuncture.

For more onboard wellness options, the fitness centre has got you covered, with sunset yoga and pilates classes.

Entertainment

Azamara’s Signature Shows keep cruisers entertained in-between immersive land jaunts, with the Signature Singers and Dancers offering a variety of entertainment.

The White Night Party, while at port in Monaco

Plus, each cruise features a White Night deck party, where guests are encouraged to wear white clothing for a night of delicious buffet food and poolside entertainment.

Verdict

A far cry from what most travellers imagine when they think of a cruise holiday, travelling on board Azamara Onward is a truly boutique experience.

But what would an Azamara cruise be without its immersive shore experiences? Keep your eyes peeled in the coming days for our verdict on the cruise line’s AzAmazing day in Portovenere!



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