Embarking on an Azamara Cruise is an extraordinary way to immerse yourself in this enchanting region’s rich history, stunning landscapes, and vibrant culture. With smaller ships, country-intensive itineraries, and unique experiences, Azamara offers a distinctive approach to cruising that sets it apart from larger cruise lines. In this article, I’ll delve into my top 5 takeaways from my Azamara Cruise from Venice, Italy, to Croatia and Montenegro.
One of Azamara’s key advantages is its fleet of smaller ships. With their nimble size, Azamara vessels can dock in smaller ports and sail upriver in certain locations, such as Bordeaux and Seville, saving valuable travel time and enabling passengers to disembark closer to town, providing a more immersive experience from the moment they step ashore. Considering there are only 700 passengers on board, group excursions are more intimate, fostering a sense of community and enhancing your overall experience. BONUS (this has nothing to do with this topic): the wi-fi on board was flawless! This is a rarity for cruise ships that often have glitchy internet. The bandwidth didn’t miss a beat, and aside from the slight hassle of having to switch devices (you are only allowed one at a time unless you want to pay for another package), it was a breeze!
Unlike other cruise lines that often rush through ports, Azamara allows for more time in each destination, including overnight stays. This extended presence provides ample opportunities to immerse yourself in the local culture, venture off the beaten path, and truly discover the hidden gems of Croatia. Whether exploring the ancient walls of Dubrovnik, hiking in a national park with dozens of waterfalls, or savoring the stunning vistas of Kotor, you’ll have the time to truly connect with these extraordinary places.
Among the numerous captivating ports on my recent Azamara Cruise to Croatia, two stand out: Kotor, Montenegro, and Dubrovnik, Croatia. Kotor’s awe-inspiring bay, surrounded by towering mountains resembling fjords, sets the stage for a truly unforgettable experience. Meander through the charming cobblestone streets of its well-preserved Old Town, marvel at historical landmarks like St. Tryphon Cathedral and climb the fortress walls for breathtaking panoramic views. A visit to Kotor’s yacht harbor is like stepping into a scene from “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous!” We also took a boat to Our Lady of the Rock Church, a unique and awe-inspiring place of worship. Legend has it that the church was built upon the site where a fisherman discovered a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. For adventurous souls seeking panoramic vistas and a rewarding physical challenge, climbing the 1350 steps on the mountainside is an absolute must. Known as the Kotor City Walls hike, this ascent offers breathtaking views of the town, the Bay of Kotor, and the surrounding mountains. It is a photographer’s dream!
Dubrovnik, known as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” exudes a captivating charm with its medieval walls and terracotta-roofed buildings. Walk along the famous Stradun promenade, visit the impressive Dubrovnik Cathedral, and relive scenes from the popular TV series “Game of Thrones.” Dubrovnik offers an abundance of historical, cultural, and gastronomic delights, making it a must-visit destination on any Croatian itinerary. When you are there, remember to sit and watch the people go by while enjoying a delicious pizza (one of the most delicious I encountered on this trip) and an ice-cold Pivo (Croatian beer).
Consider traveling during the shoulder season to make the most of your Azamara Cruise to Croatia. The shoulder season, typically in spring or autumn, offers several advantages. Firstly, temperatures are more moderate, creating a pleasant environment for exploration. Secondly, fewer cruise ships in port allow for a more peaceful and authentic experience. Azamara’s meticulous planning ensures that you may find yourself as the only ship in specific ports, providing an exclusive opportunity to savor the destination without overwhelming crowds. One of our guides warned us that in high season during the summer, not only is it hot, but the towns can grow by over 15000 people in a day when six massive ships are in port simultaneously! These small towns seem much smaller when you are fighting for space and the perfect photo (or selfie) without z bunch of people blocking your view.
One of the most valuable pieces of advice I can offer about my Azamara cruise is to seize every opportunity for unique experiences, such as the special nights or cultural events offered on board whatever cruise line you sail. Trust me when I say if your ship presents a night like White Night or an AzAmazing Evening (which originally was to take place at a medieval fort in Dubrovnik, but the rain moved it indoors on the ship), make sure to participate! Despite the initial hesitation of packing an all-white outfit that you might not wear again during the cruise, the experience turned out to be an absolute blast. Unfortunately, stormy weather disrupted our scheduled evening in an old fort in Dubrovnik. Still, the cruise staff quickly improvised and brought local performers on board. Their show was simply fantastic, proving to be an incredible learning opportunity. Through their music, dance, and storytelling, I gained profound insights into the rich cultural traditions of Croatia. These special evenings genuinely add an extra layer of magic and enrichment to the overall cruise experience, making them an absolute must-do.
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