While it’s true that the scope of entertainment on smaller ships is limited by physical space, a creative eye for alternatives can easily make up for it, and Azamara does indeed deliver. Venues include the Cabaret Lounge – the ship’s non-terraced single-level show lounge – as well as the Looking Glass observation lounge, plus Club Luxe adjacent to the casino and Discoveries Lounge adjacent to the main dining room.
Cabaret Lounge is a handsome space with ample seating and no pillars, but sitting towards the rear will increase the likelihood of views blocked from those sitting immediately in front of you. Two massive flat panel televisions act as secondary viewports on the left and right of the stage, and a full background video grid on stage as well as a fresh lighting package add pizzazz to any show.
Production shows cleverly use both the stage and dance floor for singers and dancers when sets and props are limited, and the talent shines with or without the backing of the excellent live 7-piece orchestra. Voices, for instance, is a fully acapella show that embraces a minimal approach and presents a very satisfying piece nonetheless.
Other acts include delightful guest performers like singers, instrumentalists, comedians, ventriloquists and magicians; some that return with bonus shows throughout longer voyages.
A nice Azamara touch is the delivery of a Special Events & Highlights schedule at the start of your cruise that lists the main entertainment coming up on each day. So, if you are interested in a particular performer but are too tired one day after touring for instance, you will know if said performer will return later on to catch a show when you’re feeling more rested.
Additionally, there are a number of musicians that entertain in venues besides the Cabaret Lounge. I’m not ordinarily a fan of canned music, but the Timeline Duo onboard Azamara is incredibly well prepared to tackle any request, and the guitarist in the group can certainly wail.
The musical highlight for me, however, is the Quest Orchestra. I love traditional jazz music, and the seven members are all experts in the genre. It’s nice to see so many jazz-specific shows throughout the cruise including one that was pier-side as we returned to the ship after a hot day of touring in Salvador de Bahia. What a pleasant surprise!
I usually don’t make a point of highlighting cruise directors, but Azamara Quest’s Tony Markey is so equally talented and down to earth. He makes everyone feel like family onboard and effortlessly spearheads the congenial crew onboard. And you can never beat a capable and humorous captain like Stig Nilsen, quite the entertainer himself with his midday addresses.
Continue on to Part 8: Barbados, White Night and Montserrat…