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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We did our first cruise with Azamara Club Cruises with Azamara Journey from Sydney to Signapore (18 days) in March this year (2018) and was very satisfied with ship, itinieries, food, service and ambiance on board. When we found a good ... Read More
We did our first cruise with Azamara Club Cruises with Azamara Journey from Sydney to Signapore (18 days) in March this year (2018) and was very satisfied with ship, itinieries, food, service and ambiance on board. When we found a good deal on the newly refurbished Azamara Pursuit we booked this cruise from Athen to Rome. We were exicited and a bit anxious in advance as some reviews have been on the negative side in addition to the fact that we also had booked a 16 days cruise in february 2019 from Santiago Chile to Buenos Aires. We are happy to report that we were pleasantly supprised and very satisfied with our cruise and can sum up as follows: * ship is old but well refurbished and in better condition than Journey * embarkation and disembarkation was smoot despite a delay on disembarkment. This delay was however due to bad weather * cabin was fine and to expectations * food and service in discovery was already up to speed and prime C was better than Journey. * Windows cafe can be better on pastas and pizzas which is something both Azamara Journey and Azamara Pursuit are not as good at making Italien food. I think they have to hire some good Italien chef who can take all cooks on a special Italien cooking course. * entertainment was on average in the cabaret except from the cruisedirector Amanda Poulsson and one other english perfomer at the end of the ship. Pianist and group playing in bar areas was good and far better than on Journey *Interesting cruise with many fine places to visit * compared to Journey I must admit that captain Johannes from Norway together with cruisedirector Eric was special and was extremely good at informing and walking the floor among the guests. Antonio and Amanda should benefit from getting tips from Journey. To sum up it seems that Pursuit has managed in a short time to get the crew up to a very good standard and we are looking forward to joining Pursuit on the Santiago-Buenos Aires cruise in February. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Having completed many cruise on Azamara Quest I was eager to experience the newest addition to the brand. Embarkation was very efficient although we had to first get luggage tags for our bags as Azamara do not send any in advance. It ... Read More
Having completed many cruise on Azamara Quest I was eager to experience the newest addition to the brand. Embarkation was very efficient although we had to first get luggage tags for our bags as Azamara do not send any in advance. It was interesting to note that you do not have to complete a health declaration anymore. Ship: Overall there was a new feeling to the ship with some differences to it's sister ships. There is now a lovely and well used seating area where the casino used to be which is also home to the future cruises and shore excursions desks. Spirits bar is central in this area as is a piano which provides light entertainment in the evening. Another major change is the removal of the bar on the sunset veranda which allows for extra seating in that area. This is a wonderful improvement which works well. Cabin: We were in a club continent suite on deck 8. This was a nice light and airy space with a good bathroom which had a large shower.Throughout the cruise it was well maintained by the cabin stewards. There were extra power sockets including a UK style at the desk and a USB socket at each bedside lamp.Although under the Patio noise was not bad except during preparation for the white night although I understand this is a issue for most of the cabins on deck 8. Food/beverage: Food is generally a high standard and well prepared. The MDR has an expanded menu over that that we experienced recently on Quest and is very good. Windows buffet is good (we only used it for breakfast and lunch) although the lunch menus could be repetitive. Prime C was very good both for service and menu choice whereas Aqualina's menu was not very good and in fact the only main course I had was the dover sole.Another issue in Aqualina was the extra tables which had been added which took away from the previous dining experience. The dover sole which is deboned tableside is now done further from your table if you are sat at a window table and might as well be carried out in the kitchen. Included wines are a weak point, they are poor quality and a very limited in variety. During this cruise and the one after I reckon only 5 or 6 different reds and whites were used which led to many repeated offerings of the same wines. We upgraded our drinks package where you expand the range of wine on offer by 5 each of red and white (and are better quality). In general the ship felt crowded on sea days when the weather was not good and seating in the public areas was hard to find. However dealing with the crew and officers was as ever very positive and friendly which was good considering that many were new to Azamara. Entertainment was very average except for the Azamazing evening in Malta which was excellent. We were taken by bus to the venue where we were treated to local wine and bites while watching some folklore dancing and singing. Overall I really enjoyed this cruise and although there are some negative points they are well outnumbered by the positives and the general feel of the ship and crew. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
I had been looking to do a cruise for the past 5 years and finally decided on Azamara Quest for the 18 day Greece-Dubai tour. I had compared and looked at many cruise lines and was intrigued by the ports of call as I had been in Athens 20 ... Read More
I had been looking to do a cruise for the past 5 years and finally decided on Azamara Quest for the 18 day Greece-Dubai tour. I had compared and looked at many cruise lines and was intrigued by the ports of call as I had been in Athens 20 years earlier on a backpacking journey using Eurail. I did not want to do this again and really loved the idea of being able to unpack and be on a floating hotel seeing locations I had never been before. I am inexperienced in luxury travel. But to my standards, Azamara went above and beyond with their ability to make me feel like I was a welcome guest on board. Many staff learned my name and would always call me Miss Debbie. It was sweet as I had left my significant other at home for 3 weeks while I experienced the joys of traveling solo. The welcome at boarding was great and I began enjoying the service right away. I was supposed to be in an interior room. Somehow the tv had been broken the previous voyage, so they upgraded me to an exterior stateroom on the 4th level with a great big square window. I felt quite special and all was right in my universe. Due to the area we would be sailing through, there was to be a 4 day watch for pirates in the gulf of aden area. i requested to be moved back to an interior room as none of my newly found friends in the smoking section had one. I would therefore become Safe Haven if worse came to worse. The room was a wheelchair accessible up the hall from my upgraded room. It was spacious with a huge bathroom compared to the previous room. So once pirate watch was over I stayed in my lovely coccoon where I could sleep when I wanted:) This also meant I got to keep Raymon and Julius who were my stateroom attendants for the entire 18 days. The job they did was Fantastic! The restaurants were great with Discoveries being the best of them all. I did two nights of Prime C and two nights of Aqualina. One night was with two new friends I had met and we dined in Aqualina which was different because I was trying to be as solo as much as I could be. I would say that Prime C was more suited for my solo preferences just do to the layout and decor. Paulo was my waiter there both times and he was the best! Windows was really good for buffet style and The Patio made great burgers. My absolute favourite was The Living Room with their baby sandwiches for lunch and dessert selections too. I do believe that you could just serve those sandwiches to everyone on the ship and that could be your lunch menu. The entertainment on the ship was excellent. 54 Below rocked.The guest performers Big Red Meghan Murphy and Jimmy Morehead really did an amazing performances. Smooth Sensations were always a stand up band that would entertain always. The reason I liked this ship, there was something to always do if you so chose. The best entertainment was the ship's talent show. The memories will last a lifetime. Azamazing Evening was spectacular in Israel. It was so great to see such talent and showcasing of their food and culture and youth. I would say it would be a great reason to try this cruise even if it is only once. But I think it will be more when you find out how many guests are repeat customers. The shore excursions I did were the Dead Sea Experience in Jordan and Luxor Valley of the Kings in Egypt. There were many more that were available, but I was on more of a shoestring budget. I went and enjoyed the ports in Cyprus, Israel, Oman and Dubai. The tour guides were alright but were prone to repeating themselves too much. The road to Luxor was grueling with almost 2 hours of speed bumps. But they say that travel isn't always easy. The 5 star resort at the Dead Sea did not have enough loungers, but we made the most of our rocky beach. I loved the drive through the Jordanian countryside with the changing scenery. Captain Jose was fantastic and Thomas was very personable. Had a great Officers dinner with Christophe who was the 1st officer and gave me great insight on the job he has to do. Also did a tour of the ship which was very eye opening at the work that goes into everything that Azamara does. Overall the experience was exceptional. The only con I had was dealing with guest relations regarding a ship credit that was due to me because I had upgraded to the essentials. This gave me Wi-Fi, Premium Beverage upgrade and a $300 excursion credit which failed to be added to my account. The inability and unprofessional customer service of the person I dealt with was making me second guess dealing with this cruise line.(Literally took her business cards from off the counter as I was speaking lol) I would highly suggest that as an international cruise line should have 24/7 access to the accounting department in Miami to resolve issues that occur on weekend hours because I am a very forgiving person compared to many others out there who are not. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Have enjoyed some great cruises with Celebrity many times, including one to the Galapagos, and one not so good with Oceania, but happily discovered Azamara a couple of years ago and this was our third sailing with them. Pleased to say the ... Read More
Have enjoyed some great cruises with Celebrity many times, including one to the Galapagos, and one not so good with Oceania, but happily discovered Azamara a couple of years ago and this was our third sailing with them. Pleased to say the cruise did not disappoint in any way. Azamara Officers and Staff are very personable and welcoming, the Master of the Vessel (Jose) is a real star/treasure and we enjoyed his input tremendously. The itinerary was great and, by utilising the ship’s own tours, we’ve now put more pins on our world map having been able to visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem, Petra, Luxor and the Valley of the Kings, plus two ports in the country of Oman. The cruise ended in Dubai and we flew home the following day, and delighted to report that Dubai had the cleanest airport we’d ever seen. Well done, Dubai! Suffice to say Egypt itself was none too clean and, one tip, you need to pack some hand sanitising wipes should you decide to do a tour. After what we saw floating in a tributary, we’ll never book a river cruise on the Nile - Ever! Azamara’s AzAmazing evening was held in Israel (Ashdod) and was well worth going to despite having been on the very tiring trip to Jerusalem and Bethlehem that same day. Also had a great time at the White Night Party, which displayed a wonderful variety of food, with excellent entertainment provided by the ship’s band,’Smooth Sensations’. The secret is to get seated in advance of the start time, oh heck, have I now given it away??? And, as for the Chocolate Buffet? So very gorgeous- and artistic! What’s not to like? Message to the Quest: See you again next Feb! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Our friends had cruised on Azamara previously and had already booked this cruise. We have cruised before on large ships and didn’t really like the experience. So we weren’t really interested in cruising again until we checked out the ... Read More
Our friends had cruised on Azamara previously and had already booked this cruise. We have cruised before on large ships and didn’t really like the experience. So we weren’t really interested in cruising again until we checked out the itinerary which included Petra, Jordan and Athens, and that our friends raved about the cruise line. The ship, cabin, facilities and crew: Ship was nice and had everything we needed. Pool area was very nice with chaise lounges (used “at sea” days). Restaurants were clean; staff attentive although some staff stood out, but no complaints except for shore excursion staff (discuss later). The cabin (deck 4) was dated and not as clean as I would have liked. The cabin is small but manageable. We brought extra hangers for our clothes which helped. Bed was very comfortable and sheets were luxurious. The cabin has a TV with limited number of channels including news (if interested). Cabin was quiet. We didn’t hear the neighbors very often only when leaving occasionally. The ship has complementary laundry facility including detergent but it’s often busy and at least one washer and dryer was not operational. Suggest using early or when in port if possible otherwise you’ll have to wait. The staff takes ship’s cleanliness seriously to prevent illness from spreading. As far as I know the ship didn’t have any gastrointestinal illnesses (thankfully!). We ate at all but the Italian restaurant. The food, presentation, and serving staff were excellent. We did eat at the Prime C (upgrade $30 pp),which was good but I don’t think it was any better than the Discoveries dining room which is included in cost. No better base wine selection either (disappointing). Which leads me to the beverages ... base alcohol choices included in cost was disappointing especially the wine selection. Some (and I am being nice) were literally undrinkable in my opinion but others in party seemed ok with the choices (I don’t think I’m a wine snob as we typically drink California wines about the $10- $20 price range). These wines were worse than some box wine I’ve had! Many came from So Africa (the worst), Portugal, Spain, Italy; occasionally New Zealand, S America and California. We considered buying the upgraded wine package but with no opportunity to taste and unfamiliar with the wineries it didn’t seem worth it. I drank the wine when I could but generally opting for Newcastle beer and lemon drop martini! Azamara needs a much better sommelier. Entertainment was better than I expected. I typically don’t like ship entertainment and definitely didn’t attend all but the ones I did attend were enjoyable and quality. Tim Seals pianist was exceptional. There was a magician too which I thought would be hokey but he was very good. The cruise ship’s band Smooth Sensations were also very good. They had another singer “Big Red” who was also good. Excursions: since we were traveling with seasoned Azamara travelers they generally don’t use the cruise line’s excursions instead opting to book private tours for just our group (7 to 10 people). But we did book four cruise excursions (extra cost). One was to the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. Several buses carrying about 20-25 people were used. While traveling to destination the tour guide spoke about the area and customs (and q&a) and discussed history of the site at destination. He was knowledgeable. The tour included a buffet lunch at a hotel which was good but I thought took too long because we felt rushed at the site. It was a long day about 14 hours. Other excursions (salalah, muscat, and Dubai) were enjoyable and local guides were knowledgeable. We are not fans of coach buses or touring with that many people - always seem to be waiting for someone. We had prebooked our ship excursions before boarding the ship, which I recommend. In conversation with other travelers, we were surprised how many travelers who did not. Some missed out on excursions because they were booked and Azamara wasn’t able to get more buses/guides. So book ship’s excursions ahead. Ship’s shore excursion staff: we noticed one of our booked tours that we paid more than the ship’s published price. Not much; $10 pp. we asked the ship’s staff and was told he would check with his manager and get back to us. A few days passed and we still hadn’t been contacted nor did we receive a refund. We contacted staff again but this time different person. He immediately refunded the difference. So the first guy forgot I guess? Suez Canal and Security: thought I would cover this because we hadn’t been to Middle East and wasn’t sure what to expect culturally and with safety. We never felt unsafe or threatened in any ports or cities. Our guides were local and were very patient with answering our group’s questions about culture, history, food, laws etc. I did some research on appropriate dress especially for women so I was prepared to dress more conservatively in Muslim countries (Jordan, Egypt, Oman) which was usually just covered shoulders and capris unless visiting a Mosque or religious site (head covered, pants/skirt full length, long sleeved tops). Jordan, Oman and Dubai are extremely safe. Guides insisted they have very little crime. they were clean and graffiti free. Egypt was dirty and very rural. If you have seen the movie Captain Phillips you know that Somalia has pirates. Don’t worry the ship is prepared for the unlikely incident. So during this section of the cruise near the gulf of Aden the Ship takes precautions (lookouts posted, fire hoses ready, dims lights at night). I also read that cruise ships aren’t usually targeted because the ship are faster and can create wakes that can sink a small boat). We didn’t see any pirates. AzAmazing and White Night: unfortunately because of a long private tour in Israel that returned late we were unable to attend the AzAmazing night. However other travelers told us it was great. We did attend the Ehite Night which was enjoyable and plenty of food. Cons: started to rain lightly and with some tables out in open that was an issue. Thankfully it didn’t last long! Tables are first come first grab. We had a group of 10. Even though we got there early we were still challenged to find a suitable table. I think seating should be assigned/reserved especially for larger groups. Also the food is buffet and was chaotic with everyone getting up at same time; some pushed/ shoved! They should number the tables and call just a few tables up at a time. A bit too unorganized in my opinion. Fitness and other activities: many travelers walk the upper deck above pool. There is a well equipped fitness center which we used a couple of times. They have spa services which we did not use. The ship holds discussions on locations, history, and art by professors in the field - not exciting but informative. Other activities are also available such as arts and crafts, casino, bingo but we didn’t do any of those. There’s a library and business center with internet and board games. We did not purchase internet so never used that service. We used our mobile phones service (T mobile international plan) in ports. Worked well for us and was much less expensive ($15 per month per device for text and data). Overall we had a great time. Most travelers were friendly and wanted to chat. Many were from Australia, Britain, NZ, and US. Most travelers were in their 70’s; we are about 10+ years younger. Only one or two kids under five. A couple of travelers in their late 20’s who appeared to be traveling with family. Mostly couples, single older women and some LBGTQ. They do offer mixers for singles and LBGTQ. Apparently if you book a cabin you can somehow place your name to be considered for upgrade at lower cost, but you need to do this in the website. Our travel agent didn’t tell us and our group forgot to mention it. About a month before embarking they were all notified of cabin upgrades for a discounted cost. We contacted our travel agent who said she would do what she could but we were never contacted. They all got veranda cabins on deck 7; we were stuck in steerage. Lol. They got better cabins for about the same price we paid. So be sure to sign up for the upgrade! We would travel again on Azamara. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We wanted to travel through the Greek Isles and thought doing it on a cruise would be a luxury since it was our 30th anniversary. The destinations in general were very nice (other than a day in Igoumenitsa. The ship was outdated and not ... Read More
We wanted to travel through the Greek Isles and thought doing it on a cruise would be a luxury since it was our 30th anniversary. The destinations in general were very nice (other than a day in Igoumenitsa. The ship was outdated and not very luxurious. The food was very average and the choices were limited, especially at breakfast (a tune omellette?). The caption was very poorly spoken and the cruise director almost invisible except if you watched him and the asistant director on cc tv which was comparable to a poor high school broadcast. The "free" alcohol was basically bar swill except for a couple of decent wines with dinner. The buffet was cold and cheap food (lunch meat and sliced sandwich cheese on the "charcuterie" bar?). I will never recommend this cruise line to anyone, although the over 70 crowd seemed to love it. The entertainment was cheesy and other than the DJ didn't hold our interest. The ship even threatened to charge us if we didn't attend their big Azamazing evening even though they had to tender due to a change of venue. We were also cheated out of an overnight in Mykonos since obviously the ship logistics were too difficult for whoever was in charge of the ports. I would think that with less passengers logistics would be much easier, but obviously this proved to be false. We paid extra for a balcony room that was smaller than an ocean view room on a previous cruise. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We went on this Greek cruise with 2 other couples. One couple was happy with Azmara Persuit; my husband and I as well as the remaining couple were disappointed. I know this ship was recently refurbished and the first voyage since that ... Read More
We went on this Greek cruise with 2 other couples. One couple was happy with Azmara Persuit; my husband and I as well as the remaining couple were disappointed. I know this ship was recently refurbished and the first voyage since that refurbishment was in August. My review is my effort to give them constructive criticism. The cruise line identifies their product as a luxury brand.... not so I say. The cabins were quite small and overfurnished; there was a large table that we needed to navigate to get to the balcony. There also was a huge chair to circumnavigate. With the exception of the onboard steak house and Italian restaurant that cost an additional amount, the food was plentiful but of average quality. The crew and support staff were very friendly and nice.However, there was a definite communication gap because many did not have a grasp of English. My husband asked for more towels; we got a knock on the cabin door because the steward could not understand what he was asking for .....he had to physically show the steward a towel. The staff in the dining room could not tell us how certain foods were made. The DJ had a very limited knowledge of English and yet he was the host of a trivia game that was in English. The true nightmare was the laundry room situation.......one laundry room for 600 guests on an 11 day cruise!!!!!!! There were lines daily to use the machines...... why weren't there laundries on other floors??????????? At times, many of the machines were in disrepair. Lastly, the last 2 ports were disappointing. We docked at Zakynthos and Igoumenitsa... the last ports in Greece. Zakynthos was a bit better than Igoumenitsa. Igoumenitsa looks like Newark, New Jersey!And to make matters worse, this is where we were docked on a Sunday with not much open in the town. Corsica is a port a few hours away from Igoumenitsa....... why couldn't this ship have docked there....a place with so much history to explore????????? I want to end on a positive note: We were invited by Azamara to a cello concert in Dubrovnik....... it was FABULOUS! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, the destinations were mostly good apart from a change to Nauplion instead of Spetses. Mykonos was supposed to be docked instead we were taken ashore on tenders. Igoumenitsa was a waste of ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, the destinations were mostly good apart from a change to Nauplion instead of Spetses. Mykonos was supposed to be docked instead we were taken ashore on tenders. Igoumenitsa was a waste of time nothing of note here .We had more tenders than was on itinerary which was disappointing. Training some of the staff to steer the tenders when passengers were on board was a bit worrying. The food on board was excellent in the Discoveries restaurant and lunch times in Windows. The entertainment on board was a bit disappointing and not up to the Quests. The decor in all the public rooms was tasteful and relaxing. The ship has been refurbished new carpets etc. The waiters in the restaurants were attentive and friendly. The living room was a comfortable relaxing place to be with attentive waiters and various snacks during the day. We had a balcony bedroom which had a table and chairs on the balcony. The bathroom was small and the only complaint from most travellers was the shower curtain clinging to their bodies when showering. We did not take any of the shore excursions as we felt they were very expensive and we could make our own arrangements. We had a group of Greek dancers onboard during an evening buffet who were excellent. The Azamazing evening was in Dubrovnik and Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment a rock Cellist Ana Rucnar, we had the central square cordoned off and it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Taken back to the ship by local boats which was interesting. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Been on the Quest twice 2016 so was looking forward to sail on this " New" ship. Don't know where the other reviewer's comments about aloof crew came about but I found them all extremely friendly and approachable and ... Read More
Been on the Quest twice 2016 so was looking forward to sail on this " New" ship. Don't know where the other reviewer's comments about aloof crew came about but I found them all extremely friendly and approachable and all the wait staff eager to please. It must be difficult to staff up a new ship and mould them into the Azamara way, I believe there was only 20% previous Azamarans on board. I wont go in to endless drivel about minor misnomers with the ship, yes there are things which I didn't care for and some what I preferred for over the quest, the Den being one, its a much better lounge now they have removed the casino, but the pianist plays far too loud as if to say I'm here listen to me. I thought the lack of tables and chairs on pool deck near the bar poor nowhere to sit and sip a cocktail, also the sun loungers were hard with no pads as previous ships. The shows were ok but only one headliner (comedian) and his second show almost a mirror image I found the experience good though and with a few more cruises under its belt it will be excellent Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because of itinerary, price and previous experience on Azamara Journey. We flew to Athens where we had an overnight stay in the Sofitel hotel at Athens airport. After breakfast next day we returned to the airport to ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of itinerary, price and previous experience on Azamara Journey. We flew to Athens where we had an overnight stay in the Sofitel hotel at Athens airport. After breakfast next day we returned to the airport to get our private transfer to the port of Piraeus. The taxi dropped us off at the cruise terminal where we were swiftly checked in but because we were early, we had to wait approximately 30 minutes before we could embark (Azamara provided coffee and soft drinks in the meantime). Cabin We had an obstructed view cabin on deck 6 which we were quite happy with. We had plenty storage and although the shower is tiny, we knew this from past experience. Our cabin stewards kept the room clean and tidy. Dining We always had breakfast and lunch in Windows cafe and we thought the standard of food was quite good with plenty of choice for everyone. We do think that there is room for improvement with the service as sometimes it wasn't up to standard. We didn't use any of the speciality restaurants and had our dinner in Discoveries. We were satisfied with the standard and choice of food there and also the service. Drinks We encountered difficulty on a few occasions when we tried to order cocktails using the complimentary spirits. On one occasion I was told I would have to pay for an American Mule cocktail because Ginger beer was not included in the complimentary drinks. Ginger beer is a soft drink the same as Coke or Sprite etc!! I asked for it in a different bar on a different day and got it with no problem with the included spirits. I think some of the staff need more training with regard to the complimentary drinks package. The cocktail menu should be much clearer and list the ingredients of all cocktails and not just the ones that cost extra. Entertainment We enjoyed most of the shows in the theatre but felt that the Three Aces band in the Living Room lacked variety. We really enjoyed the Greek dancers that came on to the ship and entertained us when we were in Rhodes. The Azamazing evening in Dubrovnik was spectacular (apart from tendering back to the ship afterwards). Ports and excursions We enjoyed all of the ports apart from Igoumenitsa which was very disappointing. It is clearly just a ferry hub and not a cruise destination. I can't understand why Azamara chose this port when we were so close to Corfu which would have been a much better option. At the start of the cruise our first port destination (Spetses) was changed because of bad weather but this was understandable and no fault of Azamara. We didn't do any of Azamara's excursions as we think they are grossly overpriced and prefer to do our own thing. We would probably cruise with Azamara again, even although there were some issues, as we do like their smaller, friendlier ships and itineraries. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
OK A smart attempt at getting all the names in 1 header This is my review and thoughts on this recent cruise from Barcelona to Athens. These are my experiences and comments and as they say other person’s experiences and opinions ... Read More
OK A smart attempt at getting all the names in 1 header This is my review and thoughts on this recent cruise from Barcelona to Athens. These are my experiences and comments and as they say other person’s experiences and opinions may vary completely!!!! Executive Summary Nicely refurbished ship but with some snagging issues which should have been sorted out on the 3 previous voyages. Lots of new staff who look to be being moulded into the Azamara way by Richard Grusman and Jose Ortez MDR manager as well as Captain Carl. No problems with any staff. Would sail on her as equal to our favourite Journey but would depend on itinerary not ship Experiences Nice flight down from NCL at the ungodly hour of 6 am but easy transfer to T3 for flight to Barcelona so had to forgo bacon sandwiches at T5 exec lounge but adequate refreshments at T3 and good flight to BCN . Usual wait at customs but not as long as our American cousins who had up to one and a half hour wait. This may be the Spanish revenge for the American type welcome at Miami to aliens as we are described. A place I refuse to fly to or from now. Had private transfer booked via Azamara and this is when the hell that is Miami/Guatemala kicks in. Instructions are to report to Catalonia tourist office just outside customs area. No problem except 1: They spoke hardly any English (Not good for a tourist office) and it was impossible to get them to help by ringing taxi number for us which was a UK number? 2: They knew nothing of any arrangements re taxis. Refused to help but pointed us to a taxi official who wanted to charge us for a taxi as he would not accept our voucher. Eventually he pointed out a group of drivers lounging around one of whom had our name for pick up. 35 minutes wasted for want of correct information not being given to taxi driver as to pick up point Decent drive to Casa Fuster hotel through approx 1,000.000 Catalans who were preparing to celebrate their national day that evening. Casa Fuster is a grand old hotel but we got Room 101 which for students of George Orwell or British TV is where your worst nightmares are concentrated. Sold as a balcony room (not a Juliet Balcony) To my mind a balcony room should have 1: A view 2: Chairs to sit on 3: Be clean The view was of a 7 storey block approx 15 feet away covered in some form of wrapping. If you craned to the right you could see the back of housing with attractive items of clothing drying. Possibly great for a specialist in underwear but not what I expect in an alleged 5 star hotel (More later). No chairs on balcony or in room that were capable of being on said balcony and anyway it was filthy. Nice bathroom so had an early night. Up for breakfast at approx 8.30 and decided to see if we could get our taxi any earlier than 11.30 as we would simply be waiting around. Miami strikes again Asked concierge to ring taxi firm but no answer and surprise surprise no emergency number on Azamara paper work. Went for an adequate breakfast and returned to concierge to try again. Success on second attempt and we requested to move time from 11.30 to 10.30 and was met with flat refusal so merely got one when we needed it from the hotel at 10.30. Final indignity was when we went to check our bill to be confronted by a Barcelona room day tax of 5 Euros for an alleged 5 star hotel. As this tax has been in since April 2017 and Azamara advertise prices as “all inclusive “ I was not best pleased at having to pay this. Arrived at port terminal after having to redirect taxi driver as he thought MSC was the same as Azamara!!! Cannot blame Azamara for that!!! This is where it starts to get better!!! Luggage taken and booked in without any trouble. Tea coffee etc. available. As there were overnight flights from USA as well as early flights from UK airports there were approx 150 people waiting. When embarkation called there was a God almighty scramble with people running!!! up escalator as well as a staircase!!! Did they think it was going to run out of food? Suggestion Give out boarding numbers by check in time and board by same i.e 1 to 20 then 20 to 40 etc. Got on board and dropped off hand luggage /advised we had to pick up later from drop-off point although I seem to remember that previously it was delivered to cabin. Booked our Prime C dining with Willy Prime C maitre d. Went to Windows Cafe buffet area and were greeted by one of our favourite people José Ortez who we knew as assistant waiter years ago who is now MDR head waiter. The greeting was so effusive it attracted the attention of a group of American travel agents who were being hosted by East of America/Canada sales director and we became companions at drinking times although they obviously went on all the trips which we avoid (see later) Went down to 7119 to meet butler Elro and his staff. Room is decorated almost identically to the other ships with obvious difference of shower which was efficient but we may be old fashioned and we prefer a good old fashioned soak. Greeted by nice bottle of Perrier Jouet Champagne $50 retail although this may be a “Sorry” for forgetting to book a connecting flight on our last cruise. Room is fine with fancy shower and taps etc. This was allegedly Larry P s room on naming cruise so was surprised to have some minor snags. 1: Vanity room sink did not drain 2: 1 of veranda chairs legs was aprox ¾ inch short so rocking 3: Loungers were pretty dirty and stained. 4: There were at least 14 varnish drips on white superstructure below rails. 5: Lower Owners had completely mismatched rails. 6: Patio doors had never been cleaned or painted properly. 7: Missing patio door stop 8: Drainage channel by doors was rusty and equally that area had never been attended to on refit. I would have expected these to have been spotted on snagging but when pointed out to Agnelo Chief House keeper they were fixed within 12 hours. Outside the room was a fire hose cupboard with a massive (12 inch ) dint which had been there since refit and which only need knocking out as door was metal but not done by the time we left the ship. I intend to split rest of review into sections rather than day by day. Dining Used Windows cafe each am and had outdoor table as weather was great each day. Mark the “egg man” was able to make fresh eggs for us however we wanted i.e. poached fried or however. Rest of food OK except bacon which was of the greasy translucent type where you spent time trying to get the crispiest. After commenting and showing restaurant manager /staff what I meant it was improved for 1 day but then reverted to type again. Lunches were fine with always 2 great soups to choose from. Crazy on hot days but I felt they actually helped to cool you down. Was always able to get our favourite Riesling wine after discreet requests. Also tried the hot dogs from the Patio cafe and they must have changed suppliers as they were tastier and not as fatty as previous cruises. Dined in Prime C most nights and were fabulously looked after by Willy, Angel, Darryl and all the other staff. Food great as always although to my mind crab cakes and fillet steaks were smaller than previous cruises although maybe everything appears smaller nowadays A little disappointed that they did not take the opportunity on their new ship to tickle the menu a bit. I have yet to see the pheasant confit or swordfish ordered and I am sure that the man who sold it to Azamara got the better end of the deal. I have asked on all 3 ships now how many they sell and all you get is a wry smile and no answer. I am sure the crew must be sick of it as it must be going out of date by now even though it is frozen. Wayne/ Willy were able to fill all our requests for off menus choices such as Goats cheese Soufflé and Dover Sole from Aqualina as well as some special halibut dishes. The Best of the Best dinner was new Executive Chef Danni s first and we have to say of our 16 cruises this was the best presented and tastiest we have ever had and Fabio and Iwan had done fabulous meals in the past. It was a delight to look at as well as eat. Afternoon teas Had the afternoon snacks served in our room each pm and tasty as they were would not really miss them. Once again the Azamara ice hockey pucks/scones were still in evidence. How is it that nobody across all Azamara ships can make a scone that is soft inside and does not need a saw to split it? Entertaiment Saw part of the magicians act and he was entertaining. Tony Markey and his wife had a show and although good I preferred his Blues brothers and Danny Boy. Amanda Poulson was great and had a standing ovation as did the new singer whose name I unfortunately forget (Sorry whoever you were). WHITE NIGHT WAS GREAT FUN AS WE WERE WITH THE PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED TRAVEL AGENTS. We had dined in Prime C earlier next to two British couples who were playing competitive crossword puzzles between mouthfuls of food It appears that you had to answer your opponent’s clues before you could do your own. Fascinating We then joined the travel agents The conga was not as long as previous cruises but good fun anyway. The crews prayers were answered as it began to rain slightly at 10.00 so they were able to set about clearing earlier than normal. The assorted travel agents and spouses then came back to our suite for a final night cap. You can get 14 people in for drinks although it was cosy!! Highlight of the trip was the 4 Sopranos in Goldini theatre in Livorno. Busses and then a 200 meter walk to theatre. A 45 minute programme of light opera and finished with some more modern pop items. Back to ship for any light buffet snacks and so to bed. Trips We do not do ships trips as we consider them an absolute rip off. St Tropez Did not get off as we have been there many times. Spent time in Thalassotherapy pool area which was strictly policed i.e. you had to give up your room card to get access pass and the old back route via gym has been blocked off. Maximum 2 other people in there It appears that the “Night under the Stars” has been abandoned as the bed area has been removed and saw no publicity for it anywhere. On previous cruises I understand that most couples had their dinner, a cuddle and then went back to their own room. Monte Carlo Got off and walked to get on the tourist train at Ooceanographic museum. Stopped at Palace for usual tat i.e. fridge magnet and walked back through the gardens and managed to keep my wife away from the shops. Nice afternoon on balcony. Civitavecchia Lazy day on ship Livorno 2 days Walked around Livorno for a couple of hours and then took the canal cruise for an hour for 12 Euros which was lovely. See later comments on pricing Amalfi One of the highlights and we spent time wandering the streets and people watching and there were plenty of people to watch. Taormina Took 25 euro taxi to this hilltop town which was buzzing with tourists even though we were the only cruise ship in town. You can tell that there is plenty of money around here (Mafia?) as nearly every shop was a high fashion brand Prada, Valentino etc. Nafplio Walked around promenade area and then found the tourist train (4 Euros) which took us all round the town including back streets and past a Lidl for any of us who were feeling homesick. Back “Home” and started the job of packing to return home. Athens Disembarked at 8 .00 am to farewells at gangway from Tony and Richard. Another great Azamara touch as this must always be the busiest day of any voyage. Private transfer to airport and were able to access lounge early so has somewhere to sit as Athens is a very busy airport with 160 check in desks and it felt like they were all being used. Security etc far better than Barcelona. Back to NCL via T5 and lounge. Pros The whole experience on board. Staff, Food, Attentiveness, Entertainment and the general vibe as well as good passenger mix.. Cons Miami Miami Miami Miami I well know that they are not deliberately making life difficult but they are RESPONSIBLE for the problems 1: Taxi transfers Barcelona No emergency numbers on paperwork. No properly organised information for pick up point at Barcelona. Athens Advised to be there 15 mins before pick up time so as Nervous Nellie’s we were there at 8.00am for 8.30 pickup. Taxi turned up at 8.40 after having to chase up via phone call. 2: Non inclusive costs for hotel. OK only 5 Euros but the principle is important 3: Excursion costs We should be grateful that they charge so much as it obviously helps to reduce cruise fares but they are simply gouging. 20 years ago it was probably true that cruise lines may have known the ports better than travellers but with internet that is no longer true. I also accept that there is the comfort of a guarantee of not missing the ship but to charge £100 pounds each for a bus trip to Rome or Florence or Nice on a 50 seater bus when the cost of that bus is approx. £1000 is not acceptable Equally the cost of a 5 hour bike ride at £100 The offer of insiders tours on board to see Galley/Bridge and Engine room at $89 when there can be NO EXTRA costs to Azamara as personnel conducting these tours will be salaried is equally ridiculous. The final gouge was the Livorno canal tour. The “comfortably outfitted motorboat “ is as comfortable as a packed tender boat with fibre glass seats with no cushions . It is walkable from ship i.e. no transport costs and Azamara charge $75 for a 12 Euro cruise which we took earlier in the day. To be fair Azamara offer “a luscious Dessert at a special little spot after the cruise” but my goodness it would have to be special at approx $60. 4: Spirits bar. It should be obvious that putting the piano at one end of this area would enable pianist to engage with his audience as currently he is facing the bar and has no ability to interact. Additionally if piano is at one end then if you wish to have conversations with your new friends or do competitive crosswords you can simply sit at far end. Apparently “Miami” have refused to listen to current feedback and will take no action for 6 months. 5: Menus It is time these were “tickled”. I think the Speciality menus are at least 2 years old. Any operation would/should continually look to see what the least popular items i.e pheasant confit/black pudding etc. and look to change them for something new. My choice at breakfast would be kedgeree but I am sure Bonnie, Azamara blogging officer could come up with a poll. I would like to see smaller laid out trays of food at breakfast as there is nothing that looks less attractive than a 12 inch tray of half served scrambled egg or 18 fried eggs looking at you. 6: Dress standards I realise that this is very subjective but I can recognise the difference between “smart casual “and “scruffy”. Ship staff were not empowered to refuse people access to areas based on their clothing as Miami had stated they could only “advise” not refuse. Unless there is some enforcement we will soon have backward facing baseball caps in main dining areas at night. I remember being refused access to a “brunch” a few years ago on Journey because I had a pair of good shorts on. (Not swimming trunks). How times have changed. 7: Guest relations I went to try to speak to Richard (hotel director) twice and was advised “not in his office” but no attempt to page him. 3rd time of asking I asked the female receptionist if he would leave message for convenient time to talk/meet him. No message left so obviously the message from Guest Relations was never passed on as we saw him on leaving ship and he made no apologies for being unable to contact us. It was not a complaint so no reason to avoid us. Final disclaimer. These are my opinions and experiences and other peoples opinion may vary. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We just got back from our 11 night Greek Isles Intensive Cruise on Azamara Pursuit and we thoroughly enjoyed it. This was our second cruise with Azamara although we have been cruising for over 25 years. We arrived at the cruise terminal ... Read More
We just got back from our 11 night Greek Isles Intensive Cruise on Azamara Pursuit and we thoroughly enjoyed it. This was our second cruise with Azamara although we have been cruising for over 25 years. We arrived at the cruise terminal early but we weren’t able to board until 11.30 however the wait was fine with drinks and snacks available. They also completed our check-in whilst we were waiting. The ship is lovely and almost identical to journey with the big change being in the Spirits Bar area where the casino has gone – it’s a much better use of the space in our opinion. We were in stateroom 7121 on the back of the ship where we had a bigger balcony – it was very nice. Just a point to mention if you are thinking of taking one of the staterooms on the back of the ship - yes there was some soot came down- not much and didn’t cause a problem. Whilst the balcony is very private you can see on to the next balconies when standing at the rail. Our stateroom attendant Irza and her assistant looked after us extremely well – how do they remember everyone’s name! The food for us was excellent we had dinner most nights in Discoveries the choice and quality of food was very good indeed. We did comment on how the waiters appear to be rushed although we had no complaints about service. We went up to the Patio one night which is nice for a change and two nights we went to Prime C. The speciality restaurants are a real treat and not to be missed. There has been much discussion on the forum about the changes that have been made to entertainment. We think that Azamara have got it right on Pursuit. The Signature singers were excellent and we enjoyed all three of their shows – they have plenty of movement in their routines and even a bit of dancing. Toney Markey was cruise director and we so enjoyed listening to him and his wife Christine. Also Amanda Poulson was assistant cruise director and another fantastic performer. The orchestra were brilliant with a very talented (leader) pianist called Sacha – one night he played the piano backed by his orchestra and it was sensational. Sadly when everything had been set up for White Night there was a heavy downpour and the event had to be moved inside – we felt so sorry for all the people who had worked so hard. The Azamazing Evening was just that AMAZING! We had a Cello concert by Ana Rucner in the Old Town Dubrovnik. If a Cello concert conjures up a vision of something sombre, heavy and boring then you couldn’t be further from the truth. It was simply fabulous. Our first port of call should have been Spetses but due to bad weather we anchored off Nafplio a very nice little place. Next stop was Mykonos followed by the lovely Paros and then Rhodes where we docked. We docked in Agios Nikolaos and this was another nice little place followed by Chania which was very busy but great as we were tendered right into the harbour. Zakynthos was another nice port fairly quiet and then Igoumenitsa which was a new port for Azamara. We did not enjoy this port even the Captain passed some negative comments about it. Dubrovnik was our final stop and we were tendered in which was much better than being taken on the shuttle bus as per last time we were there. Overall it was a great cruise we met lots of nice people and there was a fair spread of ages. We only spoke to one couple who had a complaint – they were disappointed with the food!!!!! They said the food was much better on Oceania. We have sailed on Oceania and we feel that there is little difference in the food – we enjoyed Oceania too. Sorry my review is a bit long but hopefully you will book up with Azamara and enjoy it as much as we did! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I was really concerned when I read all the reviews on the Pursuit prior to our trip, especially since this was our first cruise. We just loved the ship & almost everything about our cruise. Our steward Luis & his assistant were ... Read More
I was really concerned when I read all the reviews on the Pursuit prior to our trip, especially since this was our first cruise. We just loved the ship & almost everything about our cruise. Our steward Luis & his assistant were just incredible! Top notch personal service with a warm smile throughout the entire cruise. Almost everything on this ship is beautiful and brand new. Not sure what others were expecting but the ambiance was lovely with a lot of beautiful spaces to hang out and meet others. Day & night our favorite spot was the Living Room. Reading a book on the chaise lounges was heaven! Also such a great spot to hang out and dance after dinner. Overall the crew was wonderful! The pool bartender Michael was wonderful as was one of the security guards with short dark hair as you left & re-boarded the ship! She always had a smile and she made you smile too! The food in the specialty restaurants was great, as was most of the food onboard. Mosaic cafe was a great spot to meet and grab a specialty coffee. When the weather prevented the White Night party being held on the pool deck, the crew was amazingly focused and impressive as they all rallied to move the event inside and make sure a great time was had by all. Our Azamazing night in Croatia was absolutely azamazing & based on all the feedback I heard everyone else loved as much as we did! We also thoroughly enjoyed the excursions we took to shipwreck beach & Crete. We met so many great fellow travelers too, so nice! Overall our cruise just an awesome experience I’d recommend to anyone! Now for a little constructive input. Yes, the showers in the veranda staterooms are super small, but the rest of the cabin was awesome, including the bed! The stop in Igoumenitsa is a complete waste. They should just come clean & say they stop there to restock & service the ship so people know what to expect. We had an upgraded liquor package and for the first few days it was a bit tiresome to keep having to drag out our cruise pass when we ordered drinks, but about day 3 most of the waitstaff began to remember who had premium packages. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our first cruise with Azamara and hopefully not our last. Azamara Pursuit was almost brand new when we sailed, so everything was shiny and new, but the senior officers and crew already seemed like one big family, who were ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Azamara and hopefully not our last. Azamara Pursuit was almost brand new when we sailed, so everything was shiny and new, but the senior officers and crew already seemed like one big family, who were genuinely happy to be aboard. We felt like we were coming home every time we re-boarded the ship. It is the perfect blend of sophisticated luxury and welcoming warmth. We departed from Athens at the same time as 'the Medicane' struck - a Mediterranean hurricane! This was a very rare event and the weather was very unpredictable. Our captain Antonio and his team handled it beautifully, and with a very quick rescheduling of our first port of call we managed to avoid rough seas almost completely. All of the ports on this cruise were excellent, particularly Paros, Rhodes and Dubrovnik. The only downside was that we only had one sea-day and it was the very last day! Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly almost without exception, including when we had tenders. We did a combination of Azamara shore tours and private tours. All of the Azamara tours were very good to excellent with the exception of Chania, when we were mostly on the bus and probably could have just spent the day in town. Entertainment on the ship is a group of four entertainers, who would provide two evening shows most days, plus a guest entertainer - a very funny comedian - who did two shows during the 11 night cruise. There was a band who performed in The Living Room most nights - they were pretty good but quite loud, which made conversation tricky. This was a good place to relax during the day too. The entertainer in The Den was a decent piano player but should have stuck to that (not so good with the singing!). We tried the specialty dining, Aqualina and Prime C. Aqualina was brilliant, attentive service, great menu and amazing food - worth the extra. Prime C was also enjoyable but the service was not quite as good and not as much variety, though granted it is a steak specialty restaurant so it's only reasonable to expect lots of meat on the menu! Having said that, the main dining room was also exceptional food and great service. We had a verandah stateroom on Deck 8 and were very happy with it overall. It was very quiet and clean, and our room attendant was awesome. Plenty of storage and lots of hangers provided. Best of all, the bed was so comfortable! I think you can tell we enjoyed this cruise immensely. We can't wait to fist-bump the crew on our next Azamara cruise! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it as great. Ephesus was unbelievable and the private excursion was noteworthy. There were several great features and some poor features. The captain was delightful and went out of his way to be ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it as great. Ephesus was unbelievable and the private excursion was noteworthy. There were several great features and some poor features. The captain was delightful and went out of his way to be visible and friendly. The entertainment director is a very talented singer and entertainer and was a lot of fun. The cabin staff were very friendly and efficient. But the food was sub par and I had to return multiple items that I ordered. The food was served cold most of the time and the bread was stale The internet service very expensive and did not work at all. The Windows restaurant is little more than an average cafeteria. The wine served in the basic package is very low quality, maybe $6 a bottle. The stateroom was tiny and the bathroom smaller than a closet. I will not be back on Azamara. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
After recent cruises with Silversea and Crystal, chose this port-intensive eastern Mediterranean itinerary for our preferred dates. We liked Journey’s Resort Casual atmosphere, but you get the room size you pay for, with bathrooms ... Read More
After recent cruises with Silversea and Crystal, chose this port-intensive eastern Mediterranean itinerary for our preferred dates. We liked Journey’s Resort Casual atmosphere, but you get the room size you pay for, with bathrooms designed for hobbits. Unlike previous reviewers we enjoyed the entertainment: the excellent Standing Ovations opera quartet sang favourite tunes one night; another time an abridged version of Carmen in English, so you could follow the story. The Azamazing Evening chamber concert at Ephesus was very good but involved a lot of work behind the scenes for 40 minutes’ performance. There’s a good range of dining options. Deck 9 has the pool grill and Windows Café (buffet), both nice places if you don’t fancy much (or even if you do) or want to get to a show, say. The outdoor Sunset Bar is essentially part of Windows Café with a sea view. Portions are huge in the main dining room, Discoveries, though the menu doesn’t change much with just two daily specials. Tables are close together and it gets noisy. For several reasons, we had a disappointing meal there on our first night; after we mentioned this (tactfully) on the guest questionnaire two days later, we were impressed when the Assistant Maitre D’ came over to us to understand the issues and all of us were reassured. Service in Prime C was more refined with excellent steaks. It felt more like being in a Silversea restaurant, and was worth the supplement of $30 a head for a special occasion, but we did miss the White Nights party the same evening. Our fare came with $200 pp Onboard Credit which we put towards unlimited Wi-Fi (inevitably slow) and the Ultimate Drinks Package that includes Nespresso coffee and some of our favourite drinks. Most included wines were mediocre but we had some reasonable ones from New Zealand. We spent a lot of time with the friendly guys in Mosaics Café, but like all bars on Deck 5, it’s used as a thoroughfare. The ship was in port for full days plus some evenings, but we would also have enjoyed sailing by the Greek islands in daylight. We only went ashore ourselves for a few hours each day on organised tours. Most of these were reasonably interesting but no apology or recompense was forthcoming when the cable car in Santorini was suddenly closed and we had to descend hundreds of steps to the port. Tendering was efficient in the calm conditions, and the captain was often at the gangway to greet guests. The embarkation process at Piraeus was rather perfunctory. More irritatingly, on disembarkation day we were put on a coach transfer to Rome Airport that arrived 1½ hours before the bag-drop opened for our flight, even though we had queried the timing with Customer Services and other coaches left the ship later. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We (family of 4 including parents and 2 adult children) were on the Journey in May 2018 for the Greek Islands to Italy 8-day cruise. We chose this cruise as we had previously done this itinerary, and wanted to return with our children as ... Read More
We (family of 4 including parents and 2 adult children) were on the Journey in May 2018 for the Greek Islands to Italy 8-day cruise. We chose this cruise as we had previously done this itinerary, and wanted to return with our children as adults. We were blessed with wonderful weather and we were very happy with the ports. This was our second cruise with Azamara We were very happy with the service and the attention we received from the crew. The cabin stewards, the bar personnel and the waitstaff were friendly, fun and very accommodating. We requested the same waiter every night in Discoveries and an effort was made in order to make this work for us. The senior staff was very visible and interactive, which I very much appreciate. They really seem to love their jobs and take very seriously their obligation to take care of their guests. Unlike some previous reviewers, we quite enjoyed the food on board! We found there to be great variety both at the buffet and in Discoveries, and were very happy with our selections; we liked the different chef’s recommendations as well as the locally flavored dishes (fresh tuna was offered on a few nights and was delicious every time!). We had a special dinner for LCV members which was excellent. 3 of the 4 of us drank the “house” wines—we are casual wine drinkers and could always find one of the 6 available (2 whites, 2 reds, 1 rose, 1 sparkling) which satisfied us each day. There seems to be some dissatisfaction regarding the entertainment on board. The live trio who appeared nightly in the Living Room was great, although the atmosphere early in the evening is low-key in that space. I was the only one of the 4 who attended performances in the Cabaret Lounge: although I am not an opera fan particularly, I found the opera singers quite good and enjoyed the performances; I also liked Eric the cruise director’s show. The live entertainment on White Night was very good. I was pleased with the entertainment provided, but this is not a priority for my husband and I. My 20-something daughters wished that the nightlife was a bit more lively. The gym is very nice and they offer a large number of classes, given the small number of passengers and the port-intensive itinerary. We purchased the unlimited internet package. The Wifi was a little slow, but not awful. It really did not cause me to complain--I have had much worse on a ship. Ports/Excursions: (Theme: leaving the main path, wandering, eating and drinking) We tendered at many of the ports. The tenders run continuously and there is not a long wait for a trip to shore or back to the ship. Mykonos: Took the ship excursion to Elia Beach-4 hours. Great beach, provided with umbrellas and chairs, beach has a bar and restaurant. Very happy with this--efficient and convenient (some folks take the buses to the beach but we didn't want to risk it). Wish it was 1 hour longer. Mykonos town is very picturesque but we didn’t feel that we needed to stay there for hours. Kusadasi/Ephesus: Took the ship excursion Turkish Landscapes: Wildlife, Flora and Fauna. Brought us to a national park and a mountain "town" which we really loved, but was unexpected. The town consists of about 50 homes high up in the hills which are beautiful--it is not a "town" as one would think, with shops, and restaurants. It is isolated and quiet. It is a very interesting and meditative experience. Two guides were wonderful. Kusadasi itself was a little tough to negotiate, with lots of aggressive merchants.The Azamazing evening was at Ephesus and was really wonderful and inspiring; there was no food or drink allowed at the event through no fault of Azamara but that did not diminish the impact of the performance or of seeing Ephesus at night. Rhodes: Crowded port with many shops/carts full of merchandise, from tchotchkes to high end jewelry. It felt very commercial. We got off the beaten path and had lunch on the outskirts of Old Town (Kerasma), then walked one of the less-crowded streets. Found a wonderful shop with handmade olive wood items on Pythagoreas street. Wonderful day! Santorini: Saw Fira and Oia with the help of a private guide (Santorini Private Tours). Had a great lunch, tour and wine tasting at the Venetsanos Winery; enjoyed the Atlantis Bookstore in Oia. Love it here! Taormina: shared a (van) taxi up to Taormina which was 40 Euro total. Walked the crowded street, walked up to the theater. Basically walked and stopped for drinks and snacks all day--this was a short day in port. Amalfi: Took the ship excursion boat to Positano (this was a big boat with 50-75 people, not a small motorboat) where we walked to the top, shopped, walked down, sat in a cafe by the beach, then motored back to Amalfi. In Amalfi, the church is beautiful, we found a wonderful paper shop, and had a great lunch at Taverna Buonvicinio Embarkation and disembarkation were quick and painless, as was the muster drill. All in all, we are enthusiastic and satisfied Azamara cruisers, and this cruise reinforced that. We like the long days in port, and the ease of getting on and off the ship, packaged in a casual, relaxed and friendly atmosphere which we love. It very much suits our approach to life and travel. We will definitely be back with Azamara! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Great trip with friends sightseeing parts of the world that we hadn't considered before, especially the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. Although a small sample, the various visits gave a good appreciation of Arab culture and Middle East ... Read More
Great trip with friends sightseeing parts of the world that we hadn't considered before, especially the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. Although a small sample, the various visits gave a good appreciation of Arab culture and Middle East politics. The smaller ship certainly allows for docking without using tenders saving time to visit the wonders of Luxor and Petra, which were incredible. Comparing and contrasting the wonders of the old world(Luxor and Petra) to those of the new world(Dubai) are just one of the reasons to take this cruise. Dining options are varied with upscale Prime and Aqualina restaurants top notch. Crew are well trained and extremely capable and versatile. Entertainment and lectures were very well done especially cruise director Eric de Gray, who not only is an extremely capable director but also an amazing performer. Lecturer John and his passion for the universe drew me to his daily lectures while at sea. Excursions were well organized except for some confusion regarding the hop on hop off bus in Dubai with length(1 day or 2 day), where to embark, outdated maps available on the ship. Otherwise the bus provided a good overview of Dubai. A trip I would definitely recommend. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise because of the pricing, OBC, and itinerary. The Azamara Journey crew worked hard to prevent a ship wide outbreak of a GI virus and were successful. Someone(s) foolishly ate some street food. As always the rooms and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the pricing, OBC, and itinerary. The Azamara Journey crew worked hard to prevent a ship wide outbreak of a GI virus and were successful. Someone(s) foolishly ate some street food. As always the rooms and public areas were clean, the food was delicious, and the land excursions excellent. Every night a different cuisine was served in Windows, the buffet restaurant, giving guests a chance to try different foods. The best place for evening dining is The Patio with table service but one can also visit the buffet line from there. We were able to get to know the different countries we visited. We were delighted to see Eric, the Cruise Director, again. He is so much fun and so entertaining. Standard drinks and tipping are included in the cruise price which means you aren't trying to drink your way through a liquor package and you don't need to worry about tipping too little or too much. They still need to improve their Wi-Fi connection. This was another wonderful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
Itinerary and reputation. The itinerary took us to Athens, Agios Nicoleos, Suez Canal, Safaga(Luxor), Aqaba(Petra), Salalah, Mucat and Dubai. The specialty restaurants were very good (Aquafina & Prime C), the others were just OK. ... Read More
Itinerary and reputation. The itinerary took us to Athens, Agios Nicoleos, Suez Canal, Safaga(Luxor), Aqaba(Petra), Salalah, Mucat and Dubai. The specialty restaurants were very good (Aquafina & Prime C), the others were just OK. Visibility in the theatre was quite limited as there is no grading in the seating...a lot is missed if you aren't in the front row! Mosaic Cafe has good coffee...including Nespresso but there is a charge for Nespresso..coffee is better here than other venues. Sometimes we received conflicting info on what to do/not do when ashore...do your research! The Living Room is a good place to hangout. It's quiet most of the time and you get a good view there. The Azamazing event was held in Wadi Rum in Jordan. It would have been nicer if the event was held earlier in order to appreciate the sunset. The sound and lighting for the event could be improved a lot since where we were sitting, you could hardly hear anything being said. The lighting was focused behind the dancers, it was difficult to see the dancing in the dark. It would be nice to include some snacks in order to taste some local flavours...all we had was some local bread! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
We sailed on the Azamara Journey 18 months ago and really enjoyed it so we decided to book this cruise from Athens to Dubai. We arrived after 2:30 pm so embarkation was a breeze. The ship came out of dry dock just prior to our cruise 18 ... Read More
We sailed on the Azamara Journey 18 months ago and really enjoyed it so we decided to book this cruise from Athens to Dubai. We arrived after 2:30 pm so embarkation was a breeze. The ship came out of dry dock just prior to our cruise 18 months ago and the refurb is showing it’s age especially in the staterooms. The bathroom shower is wallpapered and starting to peel and the floor of the bathroom is a vinyl tile. This is not what I would expect from an upper Premium cruise line. The menus in the main dining room have meant less choices that our last cruise, especially the lunch menu. Very few choices and a buffet station every day. I find it difficult to understand why one would choose to go to the main dining room at lunch to stand in line for a stir fry or pasta. Some evenings the food was excellent others very poor. We ordered salmon and seared scallops and they were both raw. Considering that we were under a code 3 for norovirus, I would have expected more care to be taken with food preparation. The buffet restaurant was for the most part good, although they now serve frozen strawberries and blackberries for breakfast. This is the first cruise in 30 plus years that I have encountered frozen berries. We really enjoyed the shows, especially anything with Eric. He is fantastic. We particularly enjoyed the Halloween show. It was great! We did not participate in many activities as we had booked a number of Shore excursions and enjoyed the pool on Sea days. Service was excellent everywhere on board. We are having difficulty deciding whether to return to Azamara. We compare to Oceania and think that O may come out ahead. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We ended up with a restricted view cabin on 6. ( i dont know why) restricted view is an understatement if i could open the window i could touch the life boat that was our obstruction. A very small cabin really poor, having been on 20 plus ... Read More
We ended up with a restricted view cabin on 6. ( i dont know why) restricted view is an understatement if i could open the window i could touch the life boat that was our obstruction. A very small cabin really poor, having been on 20 plus cruise ships on various cruise lines, using inside ,sea view and veranda state rooms its the worst. Not a patch on sister line celebrity cruises as accommodation goes ,otherwise fine. The food wasnt as varied as i had hoped but pretty good, after complaining about cold plates on one occassion at dinner i am pleased to say this didn't happen again. Although we didn't go on any trips ( having dont them before) i thought they were very expensive compaired to booking independantly. I noted on what appeared to be safari? That passangers , mainly pretty elderly were cramped (6) into these small jeep type vehicles some people appeared to have difficulty getting in and out , i thought at the time they were not really suitable for elderly folk. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
After four years we returned to Azamara because of the route - from Piraeus to Dubai through the Suez Canal and Red Sea. It actually appeared as good value for money and we had loved Azamara in the past. We flew to Athens a day early as ... Read More
After four years we returned to Azamara because of the route - from Piraeus to Dubai through the Suez Canal and Red Sea. It actually appeared as good value for money and we had loved Azamara in the past. We flew to Athens a day early as exploring the city is pleasant in the October temperatures. Boarding was simple on the Saturday although one suitcase was delivered to the wrong cabin and it took time to get more than the 'it is coming' response. The ship is looking good and well cared for with ongoing cleaning and painting etc. The cabin has been improved with the refurbishment but remains relatively small and the shower is as poor as ever with the clinging curtain. Our cabin team were effective, meticulous and helpful. We dined normally in the main restaurant for breakfast and dinner - and for lunch on sea days if the menu appealed. Food generally was excellent and service outstanding. The provided wines were acceptable mostly, although by no means top quality. Our one night in Prime C was as good as we recall from the past. The onset of precautions against norovirus towards the end of the cruise did disimprove the experience in both buffet and dining room but was understood. We had read of Cruise Director Eric De Gray but only having seen him in action on and off stage did we understand the skills, charisma and charm of the man. His own shows in particular were excellent as were the formal shows. The guest artists were a mixed bag. Ports were interesting and well organised for the ships visit. Crete was an interesting new stop and we hired a car to take the ferry to Spinalonga. This was just a taster before the Suez Canal phase - fabulous to wake up and sniff Africa from our balcony. Passing through the canal was a bucket list ambition and a great experience. Saffaga in Egypt is a fairly desolate port but is the base to get to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. We took a trip organised on the Cruise Critic roll call which was excellent although the four hour run each way was as tedious as was expected! Our armed guard on board the bus was a bonus! Next stop was Aqaba Jordan where the Azamazing Evening took place in Wadi Rhum. It was well organised but the traditional music and dancing became a little tedious. The following day we took another CC organised trip to Petra. Memorable indeed. Jordan seemed a much better organised, cleaner and safer country than Egypt. Our safety team joined us in Aqaba and we were advised next day of the ship slowing down while 'equipment' was delivered on a RIB from a mother ship nearby. We practiced safety procedures and for the next six nights deck 5 was closed off and only tea lights were it on deck 9 - curtains on cabins closed throughout the night. Most ships going through this area adopt similar procedures and most people seemed glad to know we were well protected from possible pirate attack - however unlikely. After four days at sea there was a Salalah call in Oman for a half day and here we took a ships tour which was well run and interesting in this isolated area. Next stop was Muscat Oman's capital where we joined another CC tour managing to actually get into the Sultan's mosque. Muscat was impressive and the people very friendly. After a final sea day it was Dubai and a day there before flying home next day. The disembarkation was simple and indeed all the passport/visa procedures worked well and quickly. This once in a lifetime cruise and we are unlikely to choose it again. It is highly recommended by us as is the Azamara experience. Future prices appear eye-watering at present so whether we choose them again will depend on a reasonable deal coming up. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our fifth cruise with Azamara and our third on the same route. We chose the route twice before as one or other of us had had knee surgery and this repositioning cruise includes many relaxing sea days. The itinerary includes the ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Azamara and our third on the same route. We chose the route twice before as one or other of us had had knee surgery and this repositioning cruise includes many relaxing sea days. The itinerary includes the option to visit both Luxor and Petra. On the previous cruises we weren’t fit enough to take these strenuous tours, but this time we intended to, and did, ‘tick off’ both these bucket list destinations. We had stayed in Athens twice before, so decided to look for a hotel in Piraeus and we found a great one. The Phidias Piraeus is a small boutique hotel very well located close to the Zea Marina, which has an interesting range of boats from luxury cruisers to small fishing boats. The road around the Marina has many restaurants and bars, so is an ideal place to find dinner. The hotel itself was great. The receptionist could not have been more helpful. Our room was small but very tastefully decorated in a modern style and the bathroom was nice - everything was very clean. Breakfast was great, too. They took us to the port the next morning at 12 on their free shuttle, along with about 12 other Azamara passengers who were staying there. As usual embarkation was quick and easy and well before 1:00 we were on board sipping a glass of bubbly. We went straight to the speciality restaurants reservation table in Windows(buffet) to buy a 3 meal dining package for the speciality restaurants and make our bookings, then had lunch in the Patio. By 2:00 we were in our verandah stateroom (7021) unpacking. Our steward, Luis, was happy to get us some metal coat hangers to supplement the ones provided. The cabin was very comfortable, with lots of storage space. We had asked for a queen bed configuration, and bed was huge and extremely comfortable. The balcony was small but had a table and two chairs - big enough for us to sit out there. We ate most dinners in Discoveries (MDR) and overall the food was excellent. We had some main courses that were outstanding - lamb chops, surf and turf, filet mignon, lobster with scallops and shrimp risotto. Azamara generally does soups well too - favourites include red pepper soup and Thai seafood soup. There were two or three misses though - garlic soup that tasted of rubber, veal chops that were tough and Thai beef curry that tasted like stewed beef, but these were very much the exception. We usually shared tables at dinner, often with the same group of people who all went to the Discoveries bar at about the same time (7:30) and had many lovely sociable meals. We ate twice in Prime C and once in Aqualina and these were all outstanding meals. We mostly had lunch at the Patio (my husband thinks the Azamara special burger is unbeatable) and breakfast in Windows. Although we were happy with the included drinks, we felt that the quality of the wine was lower than on our last cruise, a year before. After dinner, we often went to the Cabaret Lounge to watch some or all of the show. Mostly these were song and dance shows by the ship’s group of entertainers, including the talented Eric De Gray, the Cruise Director. During our 16 nights aboard there were two guest artists - a comedian and a cellist, but we didn’t see either of them. On a few nights we ended the evening dancing to disco in the Living Room, with the DJ Marcio. On this cruise there was a good crowd up there most nights. The Azamazing Evening was, unusually, a little underwhelming! It was in Wadi Rum, which is a beautiful setting, but the entertainment was folk dancing, which was very repetitive. It was men in white robes (plus a boy) waving swords and dancing. There was wine to drink but the only food was flat bread made by a couple of women sitting at the base of the stage. As we were sitting near the back we didn’t even get to try it! It also became quite cold once the sun set, as the sky was clear. We enjoyed the sea days, as we love sitting on a sun bed on deck 11. That means that I can’t comment on the lectures, art classes or bridge lessons - we didn’t get to any of them. From Aqaba to Muscat the ship was subject to high security - there was a team of security guards onboard and all outdoor areas had to be kept dark between dusk and dawn. We had to close our curtains at dusk and not use our verandah light. Deck 9 was only accessible after dark by ‘smoker’s corner’ - but the added bonus was that the view of the starry sky was wonderful with no light pollution! As always with Azamara the service was generally excellent. Senior Officers were very evident - we spoke to the captain a couple of times, and the Hotel Director, Heike, was everywhere - directing people to buses in port, welcoming us back to the ship. The other thing that always impresses is with Azamara is the general friendliness onboard - crew and passengers alike, and this cruise was no exception. Ports:- Crete - Agios Nikolas - we went on the little blue land train. We took the 70 minute tour for €13, which went up into the hills to a view point over Elounda and Spinalonga as well as back over Agios Nikolas, then had a walk around this pretty little town. Egypt - Safaga - we took a 2 day private tour with Your Egypt Tours which included Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, a sunset felucca ride on the Nile, an overnight stay at the 5 star Steigenberger Hotel on the banks of the Nile, the Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple and the Colossi of Memnon - all for $160. We also had some optional charged extras - the Light & Sound Show after dark at Karnak Temple and visits to King Tutankhamen’s and King Seti’s tomb. I loved the Light & Sound Show, but my husband found it boring. The two extra tombs were well worth the extra charge, especially Seti’s tomb - the paintings there were amazing, so fresh and vibrant. Jordan - Aqaba - we went on the ship’s excursion to Petra. A very hard day, but also well worth it. We walked for 5/6 miles on uneven ground - not so bad on the way there as it’s downhill, but hard work coming back uphill. You can pay to go in a carriage, but we didn’t fancy it, they went pretty fast and the passengers looked as if they were being thrown around a lot. The walk through the Siq is interesting as the rocks are amazing colours, then you get your first glimpse of the Treasury - the iconic building that you see in every bit of information about Petra. It’s amazing, but there is so much more to Petra - lots more carved buildings and even an amphitheatre. Oman - Salalah - we didn’t get off the ship as it was very hot (88) and the port was 25km from the town. Oman - Muscat - we took the ship’s free shuttle to The Muttrah Souq, which is huge. The main path is where all the souvenir stalls are, but it’s more interesting on the side and outer paths where there are stalls and shops selling goods designed for locals, such as shops selling abayas (Arab black dresses). We spent a couple of hours wandering around the Souq and the surrounding area. UAE - Dubai - took the ship’s free shuttle to the Dubai Mall. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
Our first cruise with Azamara was the 17-night trip from Athens to Dubai on the Journey. The entire experience was perfect from booking through disembarkation. We chose this voyage specifically for the itinerary as there was an overnight ... Read More
Our first cruise with Azamara was the 17-night trip from Athens to Dubai on the Journey. The entire experience was perfect from booking through disembarkation. We chose this voyage specifically for the itinerary as there was an overnight stop for both Luxor and Petra. About two months before we were due to leave we received an email titled “Itinerary Change”. My first reaction was ‘OH NO’. However in this case it turned out to be excellent news. Our ship was to exit the Suez Canal earlier than expected giving us two full days in Luxor. This provided the opportunity to change the long one day excursion I had booked to an overnight trip. Since it was a 3.5 drive each way from Safaga to Luxor, spreading it our over two days was considerably better. We stayed in Athens on our own 2 nights before the cruise then took a taxi from the hotel to the Port about noon. We were on board within 5 minutes and greeted with champagne. Since the staterooms were not ready yet we relaxed, had lunch, and booked some additional excursions for later in the voyage. About 1:30 an announcement was made and we had access to our cabin. We were in a balcony cabin off the back of the ship which afforded a 180-degree view. The cabin might have been a litter smaller than other ships but the balcony was considerably larger because of its’ location. It had all the standard stuff including a nice size closet and bathroom. The bed was really comfortable, with very nice sheets and a duvet. One really nice thing that Azamara does is keep your room fridge stocked with soda and ice. It’s really convenient and an excellent amenity. However, most cruise lines, including Azamara should take a lesson from Viking and get rid of the shower curtains. It’s much nicer to have glass doors. One thing I noticed on Azamara compared to other cruises we have taken is that there is not any overt and constant ‘sales’ pressure. Not for photos, jewelry, drinks, or spa treatments. It’s all pretty low key. Since standard drinks and tips are included, the only extra purchases we made were for a couple shore excursions that I had not pre-booked. I have to say, I was really nice to walk up to a bar and get a cocktail or glass of wine without a charge slip. There was never ANY mention of additional tipping but we did choose to give our stateroom stewards a little extra. The self-service laundry including soap was also free. Since we only travel with carry-on luggage, we made good use of this amenity. As one can imagine, it was a pretty popular place on a 17-day cruise. Food in the main dining room was outstanding. There were at least 7 or 8 entrée choices in addition to many appetizers, soups, salads, and desserts. Since both my husband and I really like escargot, I was surprised to see it as a permanent menu choice. Whenever I ordered beef or lamb, it came perfectly medium rare, just the way I like it. We did eat at the Italian Specialty restaurant Aqualina one night. It was better than the dining room, but only because of the items available. Most of our group ended up with the Lobster Trifecta: Bisque, Ravioli, and Grilled Tail. It was a great meal to celebrate my huband’s birthday. Since we normally cruise Princess, I have to say the buffet was not nearly as good as Princess. It closed at 8:30 and was considerably smaller. Also missing was the excellent Pizza and Pasta (especially their Fettuccini Alfredo) that is standard on all Princess ships. But then, the dining room was better and the included drinks were a definite plus. Entertainment was good. We spent most of our time in the ‘Living Room’ Lounge where they had either a guitarist or pianist playing. We went to a couple of the bigger shows in the theater. They were all enjoyable but not outstanding. The ‘Azamazing Evening’ was a trip to Wadi Rum to see a Bedouin show. It was NOT amazing. In fact, we didn’t even feel like we saw Wadi Rum. It was basically a small theater set up for tourists out in the middle of nowhere. We got off the bus, got a glass or wine or a beer and sat down on the stone bleachers with big pillows. There were a couple of women making bread on a wood fire which eventually got passed through the crowd so everyone could have a small taste. The music and dancing were boring. We couldn’t really see the sunset due to the position of the theater with the surrounding hills. It was probably the only excursion that was sub-par…but it was free. When we returned to the ship about 8pm there was an excellent buffet set up in the dining room and on deck so everyone could easily and quickly grab dinner. One thing that was amazing was the ‘White Night Party’ on the pool deck. We didn’t know but everyone is supposed to wear something white. The deck was specially decorated and the food was outstanding! They had charcoal grills set up and were grilling lamb, beef and lobster. They were even making Crepe Suzette for dessert! The music and dancing made for a really perfect evening. All the other tours we did off the ship were Outstanding – especially the Luxor Overnight, trip to Petra, and Dubai Bedouin Dinner in the Dunes. In Oman, It was just amazing to see bunches of camels just roaming around blocking traffic like sheep in Ireland. In Dubai we went to the 125th floor of the ‘current’ world’s tallest building. The memories we have from each excursion and country are priceless! Of course we all probably have a couple thousand pictures as well. We did wonder about going through parts of the Middle East as the ship passed between Somalia and Yemen after exiting the Red Sea. Once we left Jordan some heavily armed personnel had boarded as a pirate precaution. It was pretty easy to pick them out as they did not fit the typical cruiser profile. They were all pretty buff plus they had on ‘Protection Vessel’ shirts. This made us all feel perfectly safe. They exited the ship once we reached Oman and probably got on another ship heading north. Disembarkation was extremely easy. We left the ship and grabbed a taxi to a hotel in Dubai. It was an outstanding trip, mostly because of the itinerary but also because of Azamara. We really look forward to traveling with them again! Read Less
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