My husband and I have been on approximately 20 cruises on lines ranging from Carnival to Crystal. We prefer a larger ship but my husband liked this itinerary because of the overnight docking in several ports. We decided to think of it as a "hotel" to see the area and attend Carnivale in Rio.
Azamara is A "semi-luxury" line with a crew to passenger ratio of 2:1. We booked a suite, the class of service we usually use so we expected a superb experience on this smaller ship.....WRONG!! In the interests of brevity, I will describe the experiences we had on the first day of the 12 days on the ship. These situations were repeated numerous times during the cruise.
CABIN SERVICES: Before we left we indicated twice to two separate representatives that I am allergic to down and flowers, so the cabin should be free of these materials. Of course, this was not the case which happens half the time in any cruise line. The problem was that even though the cabin steward spoke excellent English, it took 3 notes and a phone call to get him NOT to put flowers in the cabin. I don't know what is so difficult about "No flowers please", but he just didn't get it.
I requested 12 Diet coke from our "butler" (a glorified cabin steward as the Cruise Critic expert mentioned). A few hours later I received 6, one of which was badly dented and should not have been given to me in the first place. It took another 1 Â½ and 4 calls to the front desk to get the remainder of the order. It was only soda, not Caviar!
BUFFET RESTAURANT(Windows Cafe): The chafing dishes in the buffet appeared ' empty at the middle of the meal hours. They did not replenish the dishes as they were used as in most buffet situations. The restaurants regularly actually ran out of basic items such as glasses, hot water, appropriate size plates, and cones for ice cream. Again, this happened on a regular basis in the middle of the meal hours.
CUSTOMER SERVICE: Thecommunication between passenger and crew was often confused or just wrong. The first day the daily "bulletin" listed the next day's temperature to be 47 degrees Fahrenheit. This was Argentina in February!! At first I thought it was Celsius, but it was indeed Fahrenheit. The REAL temperature (I looked online was more like 70 degrees, so there was no "typo" it was incorrectly listed.
We were given a note that there was some kind of lecture at 4:00 on January 18th. The only problem was that our cruise started on January 31st! Didn't anyone proof read the notes? We found that time and time again, we were given incorrect or no information about ship activities.
This sloppy service is inexcusable on this level of cruise line. We have been on the Independence of the Seas (a 4,000 passenger Royal Caribbean ship) where we felt as if we got individual and dedicated attention. Why could Azamara not deliver this on a 600 passenger vessel?
We found the look of the ship to be dark and claustrophobic. We thought and the public areas to be small and confined as compared to a similarly sized Crystal ship, however I admit this is a personal preference. Our cabin (7005) was nicely laid out and bright and the Wi-Fi in the cabin worked well.
SHOWS: There were 4 production shows which were adequate for the facility, although this cast of dancers and singers to be just "phoning it in". There were other entertainers a few nights as well that were not our taste so I can't judge, however the shows on small ships are generally pretty limited.
SPECIALITY RESTAURANTS: There was a fish and steak restaurant where we found the food to be superior to that served in the main restaurants with none of the "supply problems". The waiter service in these facilities was generally more attentive as well. We often had "language situations" in the main restaurant. We were lucky enough to get the station of the excellent Maitre D a few nights which made a tremendous difference in our dining experience.
In conclusion, my husband and I are astounded that the line has so many return passengers. The only explanation we can think of is that they have no sense of comparison. I would suggest you look for another ship if you want a small vessel with a quality level of service.