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Azamara Cruises – What is Included? (Food, Gratuities and More)

If you are taking your first cruise with Azamara you may be wondering what is included in the cruise fare.

I cruised with Azamara for the first time this year, and in this post will be looking at everything that is included, and things that cost extra.

I was pleasantly surprised by all the things that were included in my cruise fare.  Azamara brand themselves as a luxury cruise and the cruise fares are usually far more than on some of the mainstream cruise lines. 

However, I was very lucky to get a good deal on a last-minute cruise and was keen to find out whether it provided good value for money!  

I sailed on the Azamara Onward in November 2022.

What is Included on an Azamara Cruise?

Cruises with Azamara include food, accommodation, entertainment and a basic drinks package.  Daily gratuities are also included in the cruise fare.

There are extra charges to upgrade to a premium drinks package. Shore excursions and spa services also cost extra. 

Is Food Included on an Azamara Cruise?

Food is included on an Azamara cruise. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will be served in the buffet, and at a minimum breakfast and dinner will be served in the main dining room for no extra charge.  There is also a very good poolside grill.

Everything I ate onboard my Azamara cruise, including menus, can be found here: Everything I Ate on my Azamara Cruise (Photos and Menus) – Food Review

It is completely possible to cruise with Azamara and not spend anything extra on dining or drinks! 

The food on the Azamara Onward was some of the best I have ever tasted at sea.  All menus had symbols to show vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options.  

This ship was the only one I have ever been on that had a completely separate Vegan menu!  You could either just ask for it and order your food on the night, or put in a pre-order the day before to save any unnecessary delays. 

The quality of food on Azamara Onward was so high, I never considered paying extra for speciality options.  However, if you are interested in speciality dining, there are two speciality restaurants – Prime C and Aqualina.  Aqualina is an Italian restaurant, Prime C is a steak restaurant.  At the time of writing, both have a cover charge of $30 per person.

Food in The Main Dining Room is Included

The main dining room is usually open for breakfast and dinner. It may also be open during lunch depending on the itinerary of the cruise.

The main dining room is often open for lunch on sea days but may not be on port days. This does vary by cruise ship.  We had no sea days on our Intensive France cruise.

Do Azamara Have Set Dining Times?

There are no set dining times with Azamara cruises.  The dining time is between 6 pm and 9.30 pm.  Needless to say, I was normally there around six, as I prefer to eat early.  There were never any queues or problems getting a seat. 

The only exception to this is for the Azamara’s “Azamazing” evening.   Dining is split into two separate sittings by decks/cabin numbers, and special local entertainment is arranged to make the evening more special.  Their reasoning is that by allocating set dining times, everyone has the opportunity to see the show.

This didn’t work out well for our family, as my parents were put on a different sitting to us, as their cabin was on the deck above.  We went to the reception desk and asked if we could be in the same sitting.  They were very helpful and assured us it was a casual arrangement, just go to whichever dinner sitting suited us best. 

No one would be checking if we had turned up for the right sitting – it was just a way of making sure everyone didn’t turn up for dinner and the show at the same time!

Eating in the main dining room on a cruise ship works very similarly to a restaurant on land. The difference is that you don’t have to pay at the end!

Food in The Buffet is Included

On all Azamara cruise ships, you’ll find a buffet.

Everything in the buffet is free to eat and you can eat as much as you’d like! 

Although the buffet was fairly small compared to larger cruise ships, the quality of the food was outstanding.

In the buffet you’ll find breakfast, lunch and dinner served and often snacks, such as afternoon tea, in between.

The buffet is open for breakfast in the morning, for lunch, then and closes at night usually around 9.30pm.  If you feel hungry outside of these times, you can always order free room service to your cabin.

There is a lovely deck at the back of the ship just outside the buffet, it was so lovely to have breakfast on a sunny morning, overlooking Monaco!  I certainly couldn’t have afforded to stay in a hotel there, it’s a millionaire’s playground…

In the buffet area, there are plenty of waiters who are happy to bring tea, coffee, and soft or alcoholic drinks to your table.  There is a range of included drinks on Azamara cruises.  There are also “Premium” and “Ultimate” drinks packages available to purchase if you like to have a certain premium/high-end beverage.

The Patio (The Poolside Grill) is Included

There is a wonderful poolside grill on the pool deck. (Deck 9) It is open between twelve noon and 6pm.  The menu is far more extensive than on many mainstream cruise lines. 

Burgers/Chips/tacos/ chicken wings – and a whole range of vegetarian / Vegan options are available.  Not your standard poolside grill by any means!  This food is served to you at your table – rather than queuing up at a counter like on many other cruise lines.

At 6:30 pm, the Pool Grill’s seating area transforms into “The Patio” – an outdoor BBQ restaurant (this is also complimentary). The Patio’s steakhouse-like menu offers barbecued meats, including New York strip loin steaks, pork ribs, lamb tenderloin, chicken kebabs – and of course, vegetarian /Vegan options. 

Unfortunately, I never got time to try this restaurant in the evening.  On the evenings that we considered it, the weather was quite chilly, so we decided to eat inside.

Free Ice Cream is Included!

Right next to the Patio Grill is “Swirl & Top” a self-service station with two ice cream machines and a separate toppings bar. This is all free!

The ice cream was always vanilla or chocolate on our particular cruise.  This is complimentary and you can also help yourself to many toppings, including chocolate chips, sprinkles, nuts, Oreo bits, M&M’s, fruit toppings, and sauces (chocolate, strawberry, butterscotch etc). I am not overly fond of ice cream, but regularly helped myself to a pot of toppings! Yum!

Is Room Service Included on an Azamara Cruise?

Room service on Azamara is free to use 24 hours a day by all guests. There is no charge for the majority of items on the menu and there is no delivery fee. There is a charge for alcoholic drinks/soft drinks/ bottled water etc, but this is clearly marked on the room service menu. (Tea/coffee and fruit juice at breakfast are free)

The majority of cruise lines do charge for room service so to have this included is a great bonus! 

If you have a balcony stateroom the staff will set your table with a white tablecloth so that you can enjoy the views.  I had an inside stateroom, but I still got the white tablecloth – but not the fantastic views!

Room service can be ordered via your stateroom phone, or there is an ordering card to hang on your door if you want to order breakfast for the next morning.

Are Drinks Included on an Azamara Cruise?

Drinks are included on Azamara cruises. You can choose from their extensive beverage lists that include standard spirits, international beers, and a changing selection of two red and two white wines, and one rosé and sparkling wine by the glass each day throughout the voyage.

If you have a particular favourite tipple, you are likely to find it in the Premium Beverage package. Many favourite brands of vodka, whisky, tequila, brandy and other spirits are included. This costs an additional $16.95 per person, per day at the time of writing.

There is also an “Ultimate” beverage package available. This included a wide range of champagnes, wines and spirits not included in any other packages.  This costs an additional $23.95 a day at the time of writing.

Mosaic Café – Many Hot Drinks and Snacks Are Included.

Mosaic Cafe (open between 7 am – 1 am) serves a variety of standard teas/coffees and hot chocolates.

Speciality coffees cost extra, but the light snacks are complimentary – mini-pastries, finger sandwiches, scones, fine chocolates etc.  This café is situated by the main atrium staircase.  It is a lovely place to enjoy a drink and watch the world go by!

Is Entertainment Included on an Azamara Cruise?

Azamara cruises include a variety of entertainment on all cruises.  There is no theatre like on larger ships, but there are theatre productions that take place in the Cabaret Bar and Lounge.  There is also live music, trivia, and gameshows around the various bars on board. 

Azamara also get local acts onboard to perform as part of the “Azamazing” nights. Activities are varied and take place throughout the day. The entertainment will vary by destination and ship.

Azamara Cruises have a relatively relaxed daily schedule, compared to some other cruise lines.

On the daily schedule, you may see things like:

  • Trivia (we won the 1980s pop trivia!  Not so good on the weather or Halloween quizzes…)
  • Live Music (A range of music from classical to pop and rock)
  • Theatre-type shows in the cabaret lounge (Nightly shows, performed twice per night)
  • Themed White Night Parties (Either on the top deck or inside, weather dependant!)
  • “Azamazing” nights (where local acts are brought onboard to entertain the guests.)

Each night of your cruise a daily schedule will arrive in your cabin. This will give you all the information that you need about the next day’s activities.

I’d recommend taking a photo of the schedule, or taking the paper copy with you so that you can see what is going on when you are out and about. Azamara doesn’t have an App for you to check. 

Are Exercise Classes Included on Azamara Cruises?

Azamara offer a full range of complimentary onboard fitness and nutrition classes – although I never had time to try these out on our “Intensive France” Itinerary!

Accommodation is Included

As on every cruise, your accommodation is included in your cruise fare. There are a variety of cabins available for you to choose from, ranging from inside cabins to multi-room suites.

I was very comfortable in the Inside Azamara cruise cabin I had.  However, it has to be said that the bathroom was easily the smallest I have ever had on a cruise ship!

Check out my video below to see what I mean:

If you are interested in learning how I secure the cheapest cabins, I teach a course focused on cruising cheaply which you can find here: How to Cruise For Less.

Daily Gratuities are Included in Cruises with Azamara

Azamara doesn’t charge an additional daily service charge.  If you wish to reward a particular crew member with a tip, you may – but it is not expected or encouraged.

Recently many cruise lines have been moving towards a more inclusive pricing structure and including gratuities in the cruise fare, however, adding an additional daily charge on American cruise lines seems to be the norm. 

Service charges are added to additional cost items, like spa treatments, at a rate of 18%.

To learn more about gratuities on mainstream cruise lines, including how they also affect drinks and spa treatments, check out this post so that you don’t have any nasty surprises on your cruise: Cruise Gratuities: A Simple Step by Step Guide For First Time Cruisers

A lot of cruise lines are moving towards a more inclusive structure. To learn more about cruise lines that include gratuities are standard check out this post: Which Cruise Lines Include Gratuities? (Cruise Line Guide).

Soft Drinks in the Mini Bar

A range of soft drinks can be found in the mini bar in your cabin, and these soft drinks are complimentary.  If you drink a particular type of soft drink, speak to your cabin steward. 

We had full-sugar Coke in our cabin, but this was soon swapped for Coke Light! Unfortunately, they didn’t have Pepsi Max…

Bottled Water When Disembarking at a Port

Many mainstream cruise lines have a refrigerator full of bottled water strategically placed where you disembark the ship in port.   If you pick one up, it will be charged to your onboard account. 

On Azamara the water is free, so take one for your journey.  I preferred to put one of the free drinks from the mini bar in my bag for when I was out exploring a port!

What is Not Included on an Azamara Cruise?

Spa treatments and shore excursions are not included in an Azamara cruise. Premium Drinks cost extra if you wish to have premium champagne, wine and spirits. 

Drinks in the Atlas Bar Aren’t Included

This is an exclusive venue found only aboard Azamara Onward. Azamara say that the Atlas Bar has

“A unique concept offering artisanal cocktails created using the latest one-of-a-kind techniques. These crafted beverages are as delightful to drink as they are to watch being made! In addition, an exotic menu of small plates, both hot and cold, will be offered.”

– Azamara

They do not serve ANY drinks from the included menu.  If you choose to drink in this bar, additional charges will be added to your onboard account.

Azamara Cruises Don’t Include Shore Excursions

Some luxury cruise lines do include excursions, but generally speaking, most cruise lines don’t.  

When you get to port there are a couple of options available to you.

It is always possible to book excursions independently of the cruise line or to not take any excursions at all.  I’m a big fan of doing my own thing when in port. It saves a LOT of money.

Cruise line excursions are the easiest but usually are the most expensive!

It is worth noting that if you need a shuttle bus to the town this will be included when you sail with Azamara. 

When we arrived in Genoa we were surprised to see a shuttle bus service laid on to the town centre.  We have been to Genoa many times before, and had always walked the twenty minutes or so to the centre square to avoid paying for the cruise line shuttle!  

Was Our Cruise Good Value For Money?

For the price I paid, this cruise certainly provided good value for money! 

The only money I actually spent on board was on a few gifts in the gift shop.  We all had a wonderful time and would love to sail on Azamara again.

To learn more about my cruise, check out this video:

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