- What do the Azamara ships stand for?
- Azamara Onward in everyday cruise life
- Cabins and suites
- Eating and Drinking
- sports and wellness
- Entertainment on board
- Service & manners
- Azamara Onward – facts and figures
- Current position Azamara Onward
- Conclusion and evaluation of the ship
With the acquisition of Azamara Onward, the fleet of Azamara ships grew to four ships in 2021. Azamara stands for fine and structurally identical cruise ships in the 30.000-ton class. The cruise company was founded by the Royal Caribbean Group. It has been part of the portfolio of the New York private equity firm Sycamore Partners since spring 2021. In addition to the Azamara Onward, the fleet also includes the 181-metre-long ships Azamara Journey, the Azamara Pursuit as well as the Azamara Quest. In the following we take a closer look at the newcomer, whose redesign is said to have devoured almost 55 million US dollars.
What do the Azamara ships stand for?
On the Azamara boutique ships, passengers enjoy a wide range of benefits far away from the usual mass business. A small selection: Azamara Onward offers stylish cabins and suites, first-class, international cuisine, a personal atmosphere, tips included and a high-quality selection of drinks included in the travel price.
Azamara Onward - cultivated ambience
The ships visit selected destinations and mainly small ports that remain closed to large ships. Longer lay times or overnight stays are part of the cruises, provided the route planning allows it. Highlights of every trip with land programs are the spectacular AzAmazing Evening and the White Night. More on that later.
Committed, friendly and professional hosts spoil the predominantly older crowd of guests to the letter and thread. A well-equipped fitness center, spa experiences and high-quality evening entertainment with live music and information events about the travel destinations complement everyday life on board. For more details on the Miami/Fl. resident shipping company see Azamara.
Azamara Onward in everyday cruise life
From the shipping company's point of view, the Azamara Onward is a multi-global ship. Among the maximum of 694 ship guests (with double occupancy), Americans, English and Canadians make up the largest guest contingents. Only a few Germans opt for the remarkable ship. Most guests are repeaters.
Ideal hosts - Hotel Manager Vogel and Captain Smith
The onboard language is English. Special care for German-speaking travelers is not offered. However, the hotel director is a German. German language TV and information channels are not available; only the daily German-language Tagesrundschau, which is used by international cruise ships, is available.
Cabins and suites
Since the takeover and the subsequent conversion in 2021/22, Azamara Onward has had a total of 347 guest cabins for a maximum of 694 guests. The information differs slightly depending on the source. Eight cabin categories cover the range of offers. Passengers choose between four cabin and four suite categories. Due to the age of the ship, the inside, outside and balcony cabins are relatively small. The suite areas offer significantly more space.
However, the occupants of the cabins below the suite area lack nothing. The more than adequate storage space, good beds, high-quality bed linen and fluffy towels as well as bathrobes, slippers and other attention should be emphasized. In our opinion, the wet cell is very small, but perfectly designed.
Eating and Drinking
The kitchen crew, which has an average of 65 people, spoils their guests with excellent dishes. Eat in five restaurants.
Three restaurants included in the price
Discoveries main restaurant
The classy Discoveries is located aft on deck 5. There is no fixed seating arrangement and fixed table times. The menus change daily. Breakfast and dinner are mainly served at Discoveries. In exceptional cases it is open at lunchtime.
Azamara Onward - Discoveries Restaurant
Azamara Onward - Discoveries Restaurant
Windows Café buffet restaurant
For guests who prefer buffet restaurants to service restaurants, the Windows Café aft on deck 9 is ideal. The variety and the quality of the dishes are exemplary. Attentive and friendly waiters ensure that the dishes that have been used are cleared away and that free tables are cleaned. Part of the service is that dishes that need to be prepared are brought to the tables. Guests with restricted mobility will always find a waiter who will carry the selected dishes to the table. – On warm days, the sheltered Sunset Veranda adjoining the Windows Café is used as an additional open-air restaurant area. The terrace has radiant heaters. The restaurant is open for all main meals.
Azamara Onward - Interior of the Windows Cafe
Azamara Onward - Windows Cafe exterior
The Patio pool restaurant
Positioned to starboard in front of the Windows Cafe, the Pool Restaurant is open from midday to 20:30pm On the one hand, the outdoor restaurant satisfies the "small hunger in between meals", on the other hand, people returning from excursions use it when the other restaurants are closed. Like the big restaurants, it offers excellent but limited services. But no guest has to do without the meat from the Kobe beef or similar delicacies in the patio, for example.
Azamara Onward - The Patio
Two specialty restaurants at extra charge
Prime C and Aqualina
Both specialty restaurants are placed next to each other on deck 10 aft. The Prime C mainly offers steak and lobster variations; high-class Mediterranean specialties are served in the Aqualina. Both restaurants are available to suite guests at no extra charge. The other guests pay a “cover charge” for access. The quality and service of both locations top the already exemplary range of the Discoveries restaurant. These restaurants are only open in the evenings.
Bars and lounges
The bottled wines included in the travel price are good and wholesome. Beer drinkers order well-known international beers. Cocktail lovers are offered a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. Average consumers – to whom we count ourselves – do not incur additional expenses for drinks. Coffee specialties are also among the standard offers of the shipping company.
Azamara Onward - Mosaic Cafe
In addition to the Mosaic Café located midships on deck 5, the Azamara Onward has seven different bars and lounges. Every guest will find “his” favorite place. Compared to the Azamara ships, the bar list of the TUI Cruises "Premium All Inclusive" program offers more drink options; for “home use” the Azamara range is definitely enough for us. It is also worth noting that small snacks are served at the Mosaic Café, as well as some other lounges, depending on the time of day. Incidentally, it is not an empty promise from the shipping company: by the third day of the voyage, most of the waiters have already internalized their guests' standard drink requests.
The three other sister ships of the Azamara Onward have a cozy library on deck 10. In its place, the Atlas Bar was set up on Azamara Onward. There, cocktails are mixed according to all the rules of the art. Hot and cold dishes are also served. Visiting the Atlas Bar requires an additional fee.
Azamara Onward - Atlas Bar
Azamara Onward - Atlas Bar
sports and wellness
AIDAcosma, Mein Schiff 2 or ships of similar size, the Azamara Onward's range of sporting activities is not comparable in terms of area. The Sanctum Spa doesn't shine with overflowing areas either. In terms of quality, what is offered in both areas stands up to critical scrutiny. The gym and spa are located on deck 9 in front of the front stairwell.
Azamara Onward - Gym
Azamara Onward - Gym
The spa includes an intimate outdoor area with the Sanctum Spa Terrace. The other sports facilities include a short jogging track on deck 10. Those who use it have to go around the track seven times to cover a distance of almost one kilometer. The pool is small considering the size of the ship. There are also two hot tubs. Guests can choose to sunbathe on the pool, sun or boat deck. We find the thick cushions on the sun loungers to be pleasant.
Entertainment on board
A diverse entertainment program is offered to guests. First-class musicians, singers and dancers create the four new themed shows of the Azamara Onward in the Cabaret Lounge on the 5th deck.
Azamara Onward - Entertainers
Sophisticated video effects underscore the individual program items. With Cruise Director Eric de Gray and his deputy Roy Ryan, the ship has two other excellent singers.
Azamara Onward - Captain Carl and Cruise Director Eric
Azamara Onward - Scene from the show program
Two other venues are The Living Room on Deck 10 and The Den Lounge on Deck 5. The Asian band East Pearl regularly performs dance music in the Living Room. The attractive Den Lounge was installed where the small casino with the bar area is located on the sister ships. It includes the "Cruise Again" counter and the "Loyalty" area for Azamara Club members, as well as a bar. The highly talented pianist and singer Vasi, a guitarist and another pianist perform in the lounge. In English "Den" means cave or hiding place. The Den is anything but a cave. The lounge is an attractive meeting point.
Azamara Onward - Living Room
Azamara Onward - The Den Lounge
On-board events include a “White Night” per trip with an evening buffet, music and the parade of the kitchen crew. This takes place on the pool deck at acceptable temperatures. An unforgettable experience!
The "AzAmazing Evening" is just as unforgettable. The play on words from "Azamara" and "amazing" (fantastic) points to the events of the evening. AzAmazing Evenings take place in selected destinations. These include the Titanic Museum in Belfast, a visit to the Berbers in the Wadi Rum/Jordan or the Scheepvaartmuseum from Amsterdam. In these places, the ship's guests experience excellent entertainment. Due to the corona pandemic, these events have been suspended until further notice. The Pueblo Español in Palma de Mallorca was originally intended as the venue for our trip. As a substitute program, there was a thrilling "Flamenco Show". Worth seeing!
The daily program of the ship provides other interesting program items. Last but not least, this includes the inevitable receptions for guests of the Azamara Circle. In summary, it can be stated that the entertainment program, which is geared towards international demands, is as diverse as on much larger cruise ships.
Azamara Onward - Reception on Sunset Terrace
Azamara Onward - Delicacies ready for invited guests
Service & manners
The service provided on board the Azamara Onward is exemplary. The cabin stewards, the waiters in the service and buffet restaurants, the sommeliers, the pool boys, Captain Carl Smith and his officers, the on-board security staff and other contact persons are always friendly and extremely helpful.
Azamara Onward – facts and figures
The Azamara Onward was delivered to the former cruise line Renaissance Cruises in 1999 in Saint Nazaire, France, as one of eight identical ships. After the company went bankrupt in 2001, Princess Cruises took over the cruise ship. It sailed under the name "Ocean Princess" until 2021. In 2021, Azamara bought the Ocean Princess and had her extensively reconstructed by Dutch Damen Shipyards.
Length 181 meters; Width 25 meters, draft 5,95 meters
diesel-electric, 4 Wärtsilä engines
64 (including mini-suites)
Chantiers de l'Atlantique, St. Nazaire
Currency on board
Current position Azamara Onward
Conclusion and evaluation of the ship
Strengths of Azamara Onward
The Azamara Onward keeps what the shipping company promises. The ship offers tastefully designed cabins and suites as well as spacious public rooms. She is a small, fine cruise ship far away from the usual mass business. Azamara Onward is impressively styled and superbly managed. Her condition is excellent. It is one of the best cruise ships we know.
Azamara ships are definitely not family ships. The Azamara Onward and her three sister ships are primarily used and appreciated by middle-aged couples and seniors. Kids' clubs and similar facilities are absent. Our trip was in October 2022 by Civitavecchia to Barcelona. The ship's capacity was 83 percent utilized.
Weaknesses of the Azamara Onward
Where there is a lot of light, there is also a (small) little shadow. We found some misinformation in the "Insider" daily program to be worthy of criticism. Apparently "copy and paste" was used too carelessly.
That being said, we regret that the Azamara fleet consists of only four ships. Azamara Onward and her sister ships are ideal cruise ships for polyglot and English speaking travelers.
Update November 2022