We wanted to see what a luxury cruise line was and what would be different than the wonderful cruises we have had on Celebrity. Best I can say is that nothing was as great as the experience we have had on Celebrity and it seemed like the ones who loved it were phobic against large ships and loved the smaller ports these lines go to. On that basis, Azamara is ok but not GREAT.
The finesse of Celebrity where everyone seemed to anticipate your needs was missing. On several calls to guest relations, the phone was answered by "I'll call you right back!" and no return call was made. I made an inquiry about terms of my package and was told that "They cannot answer these questions" and offered no desire to find out. On any cruise I was always told, we will get an answer and advise!
Azamara is the ONLY cruise lines to flatly reject our desire to extend our stay and no explanation was ever offered. The "package" was set in concrete and there are no variations! We always ask for extension to enjoy the new location. One part of a day is never enough to search out the richness of a city.
Crew was exception with the best Captain we have ever had and the entertainment (cruise director staff) were of the highest caliber we have ever enjoyed. Hotel staff and restaurant staff had some bright spots like YAN-YAN the waitress. However that "finesse" was missing-like serving a warm glass of Chardonnay and then - to correct - was about to pour the chilled bottle into the warm contents!In our questionnaire, we said that we would not enter any restaurant that had dirty windows. The windows on this ship were so dirty that when the sun was on the window, you could not see beyond the crud that had accumulated! The excuse was that they could not do this on a transatlantic, but the windows were dirty LONG before we got on board!
The worst issue we have is that the cruise line arranged our stay at the Melia Sevilla Hotel. Put us on buses to the hotel, then had NO ROOM to check into until 3 PM! The buses dropped us at the hotel about 9 AM! When we went in with our baggage, the hotel staff said that they were not permitted to help us and that the cruise staff would help! The cruise staff was ONE WOMAN and ONE MAN and there were three bus loads of passengers and the baggage! The woman deferred to the man about everything so we guessed she was a trainee, and the man KNEW NOTHING. He recited the instructions that we are to fill out the registration forms and then leave the bags in the lobby to be delivered to the rooms! The problem was that he had no way of identifying who owned what bags. When my wife asked about this, he looked blankly and them went to the hotel manager who (FOR THE FIRST TIME) told him we needed to put claim checks on the bags. The man gave us 4 of the 8 tags given to him!
We were then told to vacate until 3 PM and "go to something!" and did not offer ANY assistance as to what we could do. The Hotel manager simply pointed us to Taxi stand on the other side of the street who all quoted us 10 Euros to the Cathedral! This is much higher that the reviews have shown us since this was only a few blocks away! The anger was very bad as the majority were older people that could not stand for too long, etc. It was like cattle cars dumping us on to the hotel and having no plans to care for any of us until 6 hours later!!!
We have no desire to book Azamara again. We saw no value to the expense, no value to the loyalty issue that have us highest level due to the Celebrity status we have. I had the driest Fillet I have ever eaten. No a jucy, tender beef, but a dry beef that would never qualify as such here in Texas! Food was middle of the road. Complimentary wines were ok, but not above the $6-8 a bottle class of wines. In short, this is a small ship middle of the road cruise that I see no value in the higher cost to be justified!