Having sailed previously on Azamara in spring 2009, I was especially curious about the new changes on this cruise. All of the described changes as listed in the new brochure are in place. Unlimited wine with lunch and dinner in all venues,bottled spring water anywhere on the ship, cans of soft drinks available anywhere on the ship including extra cans in the stateroom refrigerator, Cova specialty coffee, included gratuities,and free self serve laundry. The wine was good...and it was poured freely. Soft drinks were very nice while sitting by the pool or in a lounge. Cova coffee was outstanding. I had never tried before on my many Celebrity/Azamara cruises because it was an additional charge. If they had given each guest a free taste of the coffee, I'm sure that I would have purchased more cups...it's that good.
The ship is still beautiful. Our veranda cabin was small, but comfortable. Ample room to store our clothes. Bags went under the beds easily. Veranda had 2 chairs and a table. Our cabin stewardess, Maria kept everything clean and neat. The new attendant costumes may not be fancy like the previous butler costume, but the staff likes it better. They said it was more comfortable to work in. Regardless of the uniform, the butler/attendants do a good job. Bathrooms are very small. Taking a shower with the shower curtain closed is a challenge...okay when the ship is in port...when the ship is at sea, the curtain can swing into you. Since the shower head is a hand held unit, keeping the shower curtain open works well. If water gets on the floor, there is a drain in the floor. There are plenty of hooks (6) on the bathroom door, 3 glass shelves, and enclosed cabinet with 3 more shelves. Under the sink, there is another large shelf. The cabin could use some updating. New beds or mattresses would be an improvement, cabin furnishings are showing wear, and the carpets need to be replaced. It didn't hinder our cruise, but Azamara should pay attention to the furnishings.
Excursions were very good. Guides were very informative. Hosts that went along on the excursions were excellent. Liszl was superb. Our thanks to the excursion staff for their splendid efforts to make our cruise great.
Food was good to great. Prime C was as good as ever. Aquilina is a close 2nd. The MDR is always nice. They try hard to please. My favorite waiter Philip was a gem. The buffet had interesting choices. Pool grill also changed some of their offerings. Room service was good and quick.
Heike, the hotel director, was excellent. She always had a gorgeous smile on her face. No problem was too much for her to solve. It was obvious that the staff enjoys working with her.
One of the nicest experiences of our cruise was the opportunity to dine with Heike and other selected guests one evening. A splendid evening of good wine, great food, and excellent service. The group photo was also a nice touch.
We had a great time. Cruise was relaxing. I just hope that with the new price increases, they don't price themselves too high to continue. The relaxed style is a plus. Also, not having many kids on board is very nice. I love leaving the formal clothes home. I enjoy meeting and dining with a wide variety of guests. A beautiful cruise.
Thanks to Heike and her staff for an excellent vacation.