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Azamara - White and Azamazing

Party Time on Azamara Onward

Azamara Onward

Every cruise line has its own USP and with Azamara, it is their White Night Party and Azamazing Evenings.

Our first cruise with Azamara occurred soon after covid restrictions were lifted and cruising was far from normal. Masks of course had to be worn and although the cruise seemed a wonderful relief after lockdown, life aboard had not returned to normal.

Another of Azamara’s USP is their country intensive cruises and immersion in their destinations. Azamara ships are small vessels that often reach destination other large ships are unable to. A fine example of this was on our “Spain Intensive” Azamara Pursuit sailed 50 miles up the Rio Guadalquivir into the centre of Saville, a short step to Parque du Marie Luisa and a gentle stroll into the city centre.

These country-intensive cruises normally include overnight stays in port so passengers can enjoy the local culture. The Azamazing events are a free evening shore excursion where the ship’s complement of passengers is escorted ashore to a unique location for a cultural event, performance, or concert. Some drinks are provided and maybe a little food.

After covid, these events were suspended but have recently started to immerge once again.

On our recent Caribbean cruise, we were scheduled a late departure from Philipsburg on the Island of Sint Maarten. The Island also known as Saint Martin is divided into the French section occupying slightly more than ½ the Island, while the capital Philipsburg sits in the Dutch territory. The island was named by Christopher Columbus in honour of St Martin of Tours, as he first sighted it on the saint's feast day on 11 November 1493.

We watched as the stage and seating areas were set up on the end of the pier, so by this stage we were pretty certain that we were not being bussed to a distant location for our Azamazing evening. Food was not being provided so the choice was to eat early on the ship or enjoy a late snack after the show.

Disembarkation for the show is done by deck order so be aware that the lower decks may be seated right at the back. Suites get off first so get the best seats.

We were greeted by rum punch, but to be honest this was not a great advert for the Caribbean rum industry. Note to myself – bring a hip flask.

What the drink lacked the music and colourful dancing made up for.A youth steel band played us down the gangway, Moko Jumbies strutted with the passengers as we made our way up the pier. The god Moko is from the Maasai people who inhabit the Congo and Nigeria. Moko, in the traditional sense, is a god. He watches over his village, and due to his towering height, he is able to foresee danger and evil

No sooner had the band started than the stage sprang to life with colourful costumes, headdresses and bouncing boobies. The theme for the evening was Calypso from the 70’s and a tribute to Harry Belefonte.

All too soon the concert was over, and the crowd stampeded back to the ship, where do they all disappear to. By the time Latin night started with DJ Astrid in the Living Room, there were only a handful of diehards strutting their stuff to the Latin beats.

Having spent the day in St Kitts and Nevis we were once again set for a late evening departure. From four in the afternoon the hard-working Azamara crew started to prepare the pool deck for The White Night Party. The deck looked splendid, and everything was set for a great night on deck.

Shorty after guests had taken their seats a few spots of rain sprinkled the deck and within minutes the heavens opened as everyone scurried for cover.

This was our cue to head for the Atlas bar to enjoy a delicious cocktail with newly made friends waiting for the tropical rain to pass. Pass it did, but by this time the deck was pretty soaked and wrecked so the delicious White Night Deck Buffet was collected from the covered area of the deck, and we retreated into Windows Café to sample the great food that Chef JP Keane and his galley team had prepared. The White Night buffet was costed out at just over $10,000 around 400 guests joined in the buffet leaving over 200 guests eating in the speciality restaurants and main dining room. It was very easy to see where the money had been spent on this delicious display of dishes, it was good to see the Officers barbequing and dishing up the food.

By this time the Cruise Director had announced over the Tannoy (That dates me) that the entertainment and dancing had been move from the pool deck to the Cabaret Lounge. This was the second time this had happened to us, third time lucky.

Not quite the same as dancing under the stars, but the entertainment team created a good atmosphere and got everyone up and dancing. My heart warmed as l watched a ninety-year-old couple support each other to the floor for a slow dance.

With any event held in the Cabaret Lounge as soon as the music ended the lounge cleared and although the Living Room promised DJ Astrid spinning the disks it is a hard task to entice the revellers to as assent six deck to continue the party. Azamara passengers tend not to party late.

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