Luxury Vacations: Hate a vacation that involves being nickeled and dimed? Azamara Club Cruises dislikes it just as much as you. Starting on April 1, 2010, Azamara Club Cruises instituted a wealth of wonderful complimentary perks (and absolutely no tipping) that are now included in the price of your ticket.
Some of the perks include complimentary meals in two specialty restaurants for suite guests. Suite guests also receive the services of a butler. Your butler will help you unpack, make sure your fridge is stocked with exactly what you wish, bring you fresh fruit daily, and will even hang your Do Not Disturb sign for you. Other complimentary amenities on Azamara Club Cruises include use of the self-service laundry (no charge for the detergent, either); and unlimited coffee, soda and water. With the re-branding of Azamara into Azamara Club Cruises, you will feel as though you are part of an elegant country club, right where you belong, in a place that feels like home.
In fact, the only extra you might consider paying for is the sybaritic silence you'll find at the private Thalassotherapy pool, located right outside the Aqua Spa on the Forward Observation Deck. Here, for $175 for the week, you can take in the sea, sights and sun, in some of the comfiest deck chairs you'll ever find. When the band starts playing at the main pool, and you'd prefer a nap, you'll want to make this your special escape.
Food, Glorious Food
Dinner in the main restaurant, Discoveries, rivals some of the world's best restaurants, with a superb menu and service to match. Here'â„¢s where you'll find inspired cuisine such as baked Brie with pinot-noir-poached pear; gazpacho with fried basil leaves; toasted orzo risotto with crawfish and rock shrimp; and roast Cornish game hen. Likewise there's also a nightly Healthy Choice entree, such as steamed chicken roulade stuffed with root vegetables on brown rice. Vegetarians are also expertly accommodated, with several items including grilled and baked eggplant and yellow squash. "Everything is freshly made to order a la minute," Chef Jones, the executive chef aboard explained.
Chef Jones also can take full credit for the marvelous meals served in the Journey's two specialty restaurants. At the elegant 50-seat Aqualina, which offers Continental cuisine, you'll feel as though you've been transported to a five-star restaurant in New York City, thanks to the cuisine, of course, plus the inviting ambience that includes red-velvet chairs and oversized floral displays. This menu is definitely extraordinary. Appetizers include pan-seared foie gras in port wine sauce; red pepper soup; gnocchi on chicken ragout; and veal osso buco. The portions are just right, so you can safely order dessert. The divine desserts included a chocolate creme brulee, Nutella semi-freddo, and warm chocolate beignet with chocolate sauce and espresso mousse. Order yours with a $248 bottle of Chateau d'Yquem and you'll have a memorable meal of a lifetime one you would pay hundreds of dollars for.
Aqualina has its own kitchen that is separate from that of the main dining room, and it shares its kitchen quarters with Prime C, the onboard steakhouse. The wild mushroom soup is one of the most scrumptious things you'll try, made with porcini dust and poppy seed twist. Whatever you do on the day you dine in Prime C, save all your calories for the molten chocolate lava cake for dessert. Decadently delicious the chewy flourless brownie came with a melted middle of gourmet chocolate, served with vanilla ice cream.
Indulged too much? There is no end to the complimentary fitness classes you can enjoy: the roster includes Pilates, cardio, yoga, spinning, and lots more plus a terrific gym with loads of the latest circuit equipment and free weights. Other musts on this cruise the Aqua Spa, where you can take advantage of a wealth of services. The signature treatments include facials focusing on hydralifting; microdermabrasion; resurfacing; and even facials for men. The spa also offers hot stone massage and seaweed wraps that are very popular. Make sure to book your spa appointments (and salon appointments) right after you board, to avoid disappointment. Yes, there is a great salon including manicures, pedicures, cuts and up-dos, and if you book three wash-and-style services you get a complimentary 20-minute frangipani (plumeria) scalp massage. The spa also offers GoSmile teeth whitening for $149 if you want an Oscar-worthy smile.
Let's face it if you're already being treated like a VIP on Azamara Club Cruises shouldn't you look like one too?