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50th Anniversary on Azamara Onward

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    50th Anniversary on Azamara Onward

    As soon as I returned from our 2021 Christmas cruise, I started my research for a cruise to encompass our 50th wedding date. We both agreed that long hauls are now a thing of the past for us, so a first look was for an ex UK cruise.
    After searching every mass market cruiseline leaving from anywhere around England, I gave them all up as boring, boring, boring.
    From there I looked at every cruise that could be achieved from our local airport, BHX, which covered our wedding date within a few hours of flight, but once again drew a complete blank, even including river cruises.
    Frustrated, I started looking at land based holidays, but unless I can tag on a cruise that appeals, I just can’t get excited.
    After two months of searching, a cruise with a great itinerary finally came to light. A deal on Azamara’s latest acquisition, ‘Onward’ at a price a ‘poor pensioner’ could afford, from my favourite European port, Venice.

    At last, I am actually excited………..Quite a lot!

    We appear to have gone full circle with our cruising. Back in 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, 25/30,000 tonnes cruise ships were the norm, and after three cruises in recent years with Celestyal, our affinity for the smaller ships that can visit ports and tiny islands that are out of the question for the new mega liners have rekindled our lust for small ship cruising. New and interesting ports of call are always top of my list when researching our next voyage.

    Oh No!!!!!!!!
    Six weeks from sail date we receive an email to say the ship is no longer sailing from Venice, but from Ravenna, 90 mile away.

    OMG, Birmingham Airport, currently have the worst reports of queues, chaos and delays to get through baggage and security, so we added a further hour onto our arrival time in the hope that was sufficient. Jet 2 staff were on the ball, turfing people out of the queue whom had turned up for later flights. The queue for security was about double what I had ever seen before, but once again it was well managed and we were through in around 20 minutes, with plenty of time for those vastly overpriced airport breakfasts.

    As with every cruise from Venice we always go at least one day early to enjoy this most evocative, fascinating of cities, so our 6.00am Jet 2 flight out of Brum got us into Marco Polo at 9.15am local time. A pre arranged taxivan was awaiting on arrival to whisk us off to Hotel Arlecchino, one canal bridge from Piazzale Roma, the taxi/coach/bus drop off area. Perfect position right in the heart of café’ bars, restaurants and the inevitable souvenir shops. We dropped our luggage at the hotel, as it was too early to check in, and made off in the direction of food and drink establishments.

    Azamara stepped up to the mark for all of us who planned our own flights and/or with pre cruise hotel stays, and organised complimentary transfers from either airport or Venice Bus Station, to and from the ship. That said, the complimentary pre boarding Covid testing has now reverted to chargeable at $59. We negated the system by taking a Chronomics pre purchased test with us and actioned it within 24 hours of boarding, using the hotel wifi to send and receive our results. Not exactly ‘legal’, as Azamara were asking for face to face tests, but showing a bright green pass page on our phones dated within the 24 hours worked for all six of our travel group.

    The journey from Venice to Ravenna took a full two hours, and if I’m honest I was not enamoured by Azamara’s check in. We had completed online check in, printed off boarding passes, even completed all credit card details for our onboard accounts, but the clerks with a touch screen iPad size device took an age tapping away at heaven knows what. Some cruise lines do it an awful lot better. No insurance was checked or even asked for, and no pesky photographers trying to coerce folk into a ‘Welcome Aboard’ photo.

    Onward we go, literally.

    First impressions, every part of the public rooms, bars, restaurants, etc, is all brand spanking new, exuding an air of understated quality throughout the ship. Here are a few photo’s to start you off.

    P1060009 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1060007 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1060005 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1060004 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1060012 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    The first night of cruise was our 50th Wedding Anniversary, but we decided to keep the dressy up bit until tomorrow.
    Azamara currently operate three All In drink packages. The basic package is in with the price, as are the grats. Beyond that is the Premium and Ultimate packages. All six of us were perfectly satisfied with the level of drinks on offer in the Basic, which also include about a dozen cocktails.

    Day 2.
    This was mainly a Croatian cruise, in port every day, the majority of the ports just not achievable by most cruise ships. Today was Zadar, a small port with the ship docked a 3 or 4 minute walk into the main shopping area and local museum. As with our day in Venice, the weather was unbelievably hot for the time of year. In fact a little too hot for me.

    A couple of photo’s of Zadar to finish off this first instalment.

    P1050994 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr

    P1050999 by Wilba Cruise, on Flickr


    Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary to you and Mrs Wilba! What a great way to celebrate it. Unfortunately for me, I get too sea sick on small ships however beautiful they are. Still, your itinerary sounds lovely and I look forward to reading further instalments of your blog. Next year we celebrate our Ruby wedding and I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that we get to go on a cruise for it.

    Take care. Helen 🍾🥂🎉


      Congratulations and A Happy Golden Anniversary to you both. Quite an achievement!

      I love cruising with Azamara, but I’m yet to sail on Onward. Looking forward to your next instalment.


        Happy anniversary! Looking forward to reading about your cruise on Onward. We love Azamara and are sailing on Onward next year.
        shaken, not purred


          Happy Anniversary Mr and Mrs W. Love reading your reviews and seeing your photos.I very much like the staircase in black and gold. Looking forward to the next instalment.


            Happy Anniversary . always look forward to your reviews ,


              Happy 50th Anniversary, and what a lovely way to spend your Golden one.

              Beautiful pictures xx


                Happy Anniversary Mr and Mrs Wilba enjoy your cruise and thanks for the lovely photos and review so far.


                  Enjoy, we loved Azamara until they hiked the prices, if you have got a good deal I am certain it will be a great cruise


                    Enjoy. Lovely way to celebrate, and I look forward to more episodes of the current Wilbathon.


                      Happy 50th, a great achievement. Looking forward to more reports and photos.



                        Congratulations on your Golden Wedding Anniversary Mr & Mrs W.

                        Thank you for sharing your celebration cruise and photos with us, the ship looks lovely.

                        Cheers 🥂 🍾 🥂


                          Hi Wilba
                          Congrats to you and the lovely Mrs W on your Golden Anniiversary...how has she managed to put up with you for so long..
                          Great blogging as always with the usual excellent photos.

                          Next instalment please.



                            Thanks for the interesting initial installment, and many congratulations on your Golden Wedding Anniversary.


                              Happy golden wedding anniversary to you both 🍾 and it's lovely to read one of your cruise blogs Wilba, thanks for the first instalment.

                              BIG SHIPS, little ships, small world


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