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19 Azamara Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because it was next on our bucket list. We really wanted to know Japan, not just from Tokyo, but from the aspect of the people in the smaller towns and ports. We have also had great experiences with the Intensive ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was next on our bucket list. We really wanted to know Japan, not just from Tokyo, but from the aspect of the people in the smaller towns and ports. We have also had great experiences with the Intensive cruise on Azamara in the past. We hold Azamara to a very high standard based on past sailings. This cruise met and exceeded our expectations. The high points are as follows 1. The food in Discoveries has greatly improved with Azamaras new policy of giving the executive chefs free reign. Chef Colin and his crew executed imaginative menus. The food and service in prime C and Aquafina was as expected....flawless and delicious! 2. White night was a blast! The captain delayed it twice due to weather concerns. He was right and the weather was perfect. Again, freedom to act. 3. The azamazing evening in Busan combined unusual and imaginative Korean traditional music and dance with a truly amazing performance by the Korean university Tae Kwan Do team. 4.Shore excursions were executed flawlessly. My Daised and Kyoto were 2 of the many highlights. 5. The visibility of the officers of the ship makes the Quest different from all other cruise lines. They are always there to give a helping hand or just to talk. A perfect example was clearing Korean customs. I could go on but I think you all get the message. Go for the adventure. If you expect shows and glitz and the other trapping of superficiality, choose another cruise line. If you really want to have great food, great service and immersion into culture, this is your ship! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My first time on this ship and with this cruise line, we picked this because of its itinerary and its smaller size. It didn't start off smoothly but the cruise line fixed the problem and everyone was compensated very well. We did ... Read More
My first time on this ship and with this cruise line, we picked this because of its itinerary and its smaller size. It didn't start off smoothly but the cruise line fixed the problem and everyone was compensated very well. We did explore the embarkation port which was Singapore stayed 5 days and loved it a most beautiful city with so much history. The Quest ship is still being updated, there was some construction going on during the voyage, not too intrusive. I was in a suite club continental, everything was new and updated huge bathroom, king bed, new carpets, large balcony and many more perks that come with the suite cabin. There are unlimited dining options in the specialty restaurants all included and wonderful we ate in both Aqualina and Prime C excellent service! Also, all international buffets were outstanding. Entertainment was fantastic loved all of the local shows, Ports and excursions were good the only thing, I found it very hard to understand and hear the local guides speak, especially when in a group of 25 or more, they should provide headsets on all the tours. Overall we did enjoy this trip and all the beautiful ports, service by the cruise is outstanding and they really go out of their way to make you feel at home. I would consider another cruise in the future for sure! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Chose Azarmara because we did not want to be on a giant cruise ship with thousands of our closest friends. We chose this particular cruise because we wanted to experience Cuba and not just stop one place for a few hours. Service was ... Read More
Chose Azarmara because we did not want to be on a giant cruise ship with thousands of our closest friends. We chose this particular cruise because we wanted to experience Cuba and not just stop one place for a few hours. Service was stellar everywhere we went. After a couple of days in Windows Cafe, the server called me Diet Coke with a smile because it was a small enough ship to get to know people. Themed food night in some of the restaurants were well appreciated. The white night party on the deck was a fun evening. Lots of dancing! There seemed to be ample seating almost always in the pool area and plenty of activities for those who wanted to participate. The ship put up a big screen for the Superbowl and served Superbowl party foods for dinner which was a great touch. Getting on and getting off the boat at ports was a breeze.The ship was small enough to dock at all three ports so we didn't have wait to transfer to start our vacation. We chose to do private shore excursions, but did do the Tropicana & Santiago de Cuba though the boat, which were both well organized and interesting. Highly recommend the El Cobre tour which included an outstanding steel drum band who played music you would never expect from a steel drum. Our private tours were with Blexie - Havana & Caribbean Pearl Tours which were personalized based on our interests. They were both outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Booked this cruise nearly three years ago so, looking forward to Christmas and NY on board ship and especially fireworks in Sydney harbour. The day we boarded in Fremantle, Western Australia the temperature was 41c, like anoven. Great ... Read More
Booked this cruise nearly three years ago so, looking forward to Christmas and NY on board ship and especially fireworks in Sydney harbour. The day we boarded in Fremantle, Western Australia the temperature was 41c, like anoven. Great to get on board, no queuing which was good. Didn’t have to wait long for our luggage to arrive. Then up to get some lunch in Windows Cafe. We booked a Club Balcony, Port side. Having been on Azamara ships before we knew what to expect especially the small bathroom and shower with the plastic curtains!! However, all clean. It was a lovely balmy evening when we sailed out of Fremantle although we did head into rougher seas during the night. Our first port of call was Albany which we had been to many times before as we lived in Perth for a number of years. Albany was much cooler and good to walk around and stretch those legs. Christmas Day was spent cruising the Great Australian Bight. We went for the brunch at around 10am, very busy but some amazing choices of food. The main meal being in the evening which was great. No complaints about food on this cruise what so ever, well, breakfast was pretty much the same each morning but, I did enjoy the black pudding!! We did a ships tour when we docked in Adelaide, which to be honest was not great due to the fact our tour guide could not get the microphone to work. Anyway, we toured around Adelaide,headed for Mt Lofty to get some amazing views over Adelaide and the coast. Then headed to Hansdorff in the hills. A stinking hot day 41c. Hansdorff is a very pretty little town settled a century ago by the Germans and still retains a lot of character. The following day we were docked in Kangaroo Island. Then two days at sea before we sailed into Sydney Harbour. Went shopping as the January sales were on. I must say at this point, we did not do any tours as we live in Australia and have been to all the places on this cruise before. Shuttle buses were provided each day we were in port, on NYE they were dropping guests at Central Station from there you can catch a train to Circular Quay and elsewhere in Sydney. This was because a number of roads were closed due to the fireworks that Evening. Day two we were dropped at Darling Harbour from where you can catch a ferry into Circular Quay. All buses ran smoothly each day. New Years Eve, the ship put on alfresco dining on the main deck but, unfortunately there was a heavy down pour at 8pm which ruined everything. Fortunately, we had decided to eat in the main dining room. At midnight we went up on deck to watch the fireworks and although we were seeing them from the backside of the bridge they were still amazing. I gather people who went to the zoo got drenched due to the earlier downpour. So glad we never paid the extortionate price the ship was asking. Day two in Sydney we met up with a friend for lunch in Darling Harbour. Our last port of call was Hobart, Tasmania. Most unusual for Hobart it was stinking hot, 36c. Walked around the dock and took photos of some of the yaghts that were still in dock after finishing the Sydney to Hobart race. Last stop Melbourne where we disembarked. The disembarkation was very smooth as was the coach trip back to the airport, all handled very well. My main moan, too many days at sea, did we really need to go straight from Adelaide to Sydney. The evening entertainment, well 4 opera singers gets a bit boring. Variety is needed. Too many people going down with coughs which I ended up with. Ships stewards were great, always smiling. They work so hard. Food was good, much better than our last cruise on Azamara Journey in July 18. Overall, a good cruise, met some lovely people. Oh, nearly forgot, we did enjoy the Ships Expo they put on for one of our sea days, excellent, good to see and chat to staff who work in the background keeping everything ticking over Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise as our wine shop was sponsoring the trip for customers. We had 46 people in our group. We were in Cabin 8052 which was right next to the elevators and stair well midship. We had our doubts as to the possible noise ... Read More
We chose this cruise as our wine shop was sponsoring the trip for customers. We had 46 people in our group. We were in Cabin 8052 which was right next to the elevators and stair well midship. We had our doubts as to the possible noise level for the location, but it was never a problem, we had no noise at all from the elevator and stairwell traffic. The room itself was very good with lots of storage and plenty of room to move about without any problems. The only issue is if you are not agile the tub presents a problem as it is a high step into the tub. Once in tub area to shower your head is practically touching the ceiling, I am 5'8" and clearance was about 1 inch, so if you are over 6' you will have to scrunch down. Otherwise the bathroom size is good. The Club Continent Suite comes with a stash of free liquor, Bombay Gin, Sotli Vodka, Rum, and Johnny Walker Red. The balcony was a bit tight but not an issue. I suggest that when you board, if you have a Club Continent Suite or higher the specialty dining is free, you book the specialty restaurants for every day you are on board, then cancel the day(s) you do not use on those schedule days, otherwise you are on a wait list the whole trip. The food is not spectacular on board, but very good. The surprise restaurant is the The Patio, poolside. Order a bone in sirloin steak that was as good as the steak house specialty restaurant Prime C. The menu at The Patio is very good. The best food of the entire cruise occurred on White Night when the food is superb everything from lobster, pork, steak, frog legs, calamari, etc. is available. Tons of desserts, too. Entertainment on board is good, nothing to write home about. The singers, magicians, and band are fine, good way to spend an hour relaxing on board. For dancing and drinking the Living Room is the place to be where they have a DJ and combo for entertainment. My favorite location was the Spirits bar in the Den which seems to be the gathering place on the ship most nights, cocktail lounge atmosphere with piano player. The bartenders were exceptional at the Spirits bar, but I learned they are not permanently assigned but rotated through the ship. The bartenders we had were Alex and Vlad, Alex was assigned to work the Mosaic Coffee bar and Vlad the pool bar on the next cruise, too bad as they are truly good at the bar. We booked three tours on board. We were very disappointed with 2 tours and loved the 3rd tour. This is hard to judge for future cruises as they rarely return to the same ports, but keep moving across the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. So it just could have been the locations we chose to see. Look into Viatour or local tour companies in port. Staff was friendly and helpful throughout the cruise. One nice feature is fewer passengers so embarkation and disembarkation at ports is never crowded, easy on and easy off was nice instead of waiting in long lines. The ship is small so navigating decks and going to bow to stern takes no time at all in getting around the ship. Would I do Azamara again, yes, now that I "know my way around and the tricks" The ship does not attract the younger crowd, families with children, or serious partiers so the atmosphere is laid back for people in the 50's and over age croup Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise because of the Florence, Monte Carlo, and Barcelona destinations. The Monte Carlo Grand Prix was the main event. The ship as always was great....okay, showers are tight but I think everyone knows that before they board ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Florence, Monte Carlo, and Barcelona destinations. The Monte Carlo Grand Prix was the main event. The ship as always was great....okay, showers are tight but I think everyone knows that before they board the ship.....get over it. The bottomline is the crew, the officers, and, even more importantly, the fellow passengers were wonderful. The officers were very present throughout the cruise and the emphasis and training of Azamara staff on crew service was obvious. We were on the Azamara last August in St. Petersburg, Russia and needed cosmetic improvements have been performed and were also very obvious...nice. I would like to compliment the Captain, Safety Office, and crew for their world-class effort to safely bring passengers to the Monte Carlo Grand Prix although the seas were very rough and tenders were required. I have 40 years military experience and the tender execution in Monte Carlo was first rate. The food and beverage service was perfect. The Prime C restauranrt included local produce and treats such as Oysters on the half shell and Oysters Rockerfeller. The veal was among the best I've had and I have dined in ten Michelin one star and higher restaurants in the past year. Prime C is the best restaurant on the ship and well worth the additional charge. Service is perfect. The Aqualina restaurant is also very good and well worth a visit. The white night was great and the effort invested in making the evening exceptional was obvious. The white night food and entertainment was much, much more than I expected....from lobster to crepes, stir fry to grill there was somethibg for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
This is our second cruise on the Azamara Quest. Our first cruise was 1 1/2 years ago when she had recently come out of overhaul and the service, food and condition of the ship were exceptional. This cruise the service and food were again ... Read More
This is our second cruise on the Azamara Quest. Our first cruise was 1 1/2 years ago when she had recently come out of overhaul and the service, food and condition of the ship were exceptional. This cruise the service and food were again exception but you could see some minor wear issues in the shower and with the carpeting. These are minor issues and the crew works hard to keep the ship looking good. Although the food and service in the main dining room was always good, we ate most night in the buffet since the meals there were "themed" based and always very good. The "White Night" was fun and elegant until the rain came, but everyone appeared to find places to get out of the rain and continued to enjoy the evening. Cuba was interesting, outgoing people, always felt safe but the infrastructure is in very sad condition. The "classic" cars are everywhere, some in pristine condition and others held together by duck tape and bailing wire. Most look in good condition from the outside, but look closely at the interior before getting in. The Azamazing evening was in Cozumel and it was a Mariachi Night that was different from what I expected and very enjoyable. Once again Azamara continues to impress us and we will continue to sail with them. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This was our 8th cruise with Azamara (both Journey and Quest) dating back to May, 2008 so we are familiar with the ships, many of the crew/staff members and generally know what to expect. Any comments/criticisms are not a reflection on ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise with Azamara (both Journey and Quest) dating back to May, 2008 so we are familiar with the ships, many of the crew/staff members and generally know what to expect. Any comments/criticisms are not a reflection on the many friends who work on the ships that we have been able to get to know and enjoy. They are the sole reason, if any, to consider continuing with Azamara; not the destinations (other cruise lines go to the same places), not the smaller size of the ships (many other cruise lines have similar-sized ships) and certainly not the featured shore excursions which have given us many regrets about our last couple cruises. Any trip can have unexpected problems but it is how they are dealt with (or not) that affects how you feel when you walk away. After our disappointing Australia/New Zealand cruise on the Quest, in 2015-2016, the only reason we booked this Journey cruise was because they offered a chance to see the last day of the British Open golf tournament. Our disappointment in that overall experience and lack of response from cruise staff to complaints (they acknowledged that they had received many complaints from other participants) made us feel like it was a wasted cruise. The event was very expensive and, based on ticket price, Azamara appears to have made a large profit. We arrived after play had started for the day, but even worse, we had to leave early just when Spieth and Kuchar were on the 14th hole and the exciting finish began. We were told "be at the bus on time or we will leave you". Had we been facing a ship departure deadline, it might have been easier to understand but they brought us back two hours before the ship sailed. The shore excursion staff was sympathetic and uncertain why we had to leave before the end of the golf tournament and assured us they would look into the matter and respond in a couple days. That turned into a couple more days and then a week and then they told us on the last day that they couldn't resolve anything (or at east explain why we were forced to leave early) with their Miami office and that we should contact them directly once we returned home. Our overall experience with Azamara shore excursions has been that they are overpriced and often fraught with logistical problems and our Open experience was no different. That department's ineptness continues to be the weak link in the whole Azamara experience. Now, for the rest of the story, the upgrades from the refitting in 2016 improved the cabin we stayed in - more efficient use of floor space, lighter colors for the walls and carpets and more efficient bathroom space. The USB outlet by the bed helps for recharging phones, etc., but there is still no electrical outlet on the bed side. If you need one for a CPAP, etc., remember to bring an extension cord to reach the only outlet on the end of the desk. Access to the balcony is a bit challenging since you have to go around/between the two chairs and a table. Don't lean on the table because it spins (a la lazy Susan) and will flip you. Our biggest complaint was the noise (reason for average rating). We don't hear anything from adjoining rooms but the cleanup staff on deck 9 has a habit of starting early in the morning (often before 6:00 am) and the noise of dragging chairs and tables, deck hoses, etc., carries right into the rooms on deck 8. One thing that did not improve with the refit is the artwork all around the ship. Everyone has different tastes in art but my impression of art is a lot different than that on Azamara and I would prefer something more in line with a sailing/cruising atmosphere. We heard many complaints about the food but found it about average. The menu for the dining room has been changed so that the items available every day are listed along with the daily choices - gives the appearance of more choices but only that. The soups are my favorite and they are all still good. Prime C remains very good but, although the menu has changed again for Aqualina, it is still not what it used to be in the beginning when it had mostly a seafood selection. Both specialty restaurants could use more variety - change menu items mid-cruise for those that want to dine there more often. We used to meet more returning Azamara guests than we do lately - guess they aren't returning. When we first discovered Azamara, we thought it was the only company we would need forever and they encouraged loyalty in returning guests through the Club Voyage but our overall impression is that now they are catering more to newcomers and a collection of special interest groups. It seems like everywhere you go on the ship there are areas closed off for one "Private Function" or another - hardly an "Azamara family" feeling. Not to forget the staff and crew. There are still some really exceptional individuals and they make you feel welcome in every way possible. We look forward to seeing them again each time we cruise. We have noticed, however, that maybe half the staff you pass on the ship acknowledge your presence and say "good morning", etc. The same goes for ship's officers even when they make eye contact and know you are there. We didn't used to be able to go anywhere without everyone offering cheerful greetings. This seems like a small thing but we're not sure what to make of the culture change. Entertainment on the ship remains excellent - particularly for a ship of this size. The Riverdance performance for Azamazing evening event was one of the best ever. The reason for the average rating for embarkation was because of all the computer glitches that hindered passenger boarding. Seems those should be ironed out before people start showing up. Disembarkation went smoothly. This is the first cruise where we have not felt like re-booking another one before we left the ship. Instead of growing together more as "Azamara family members", we sense less of that family atmosphere to draw us back. We have one more trip booked from over a year ago to use up free days and to hope for smoother sailing and then . . . . . Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We booked this cruise because of the PerryGolf option. I did a lot of reading about Azamara on Cruise Critic beforehand, and perhaps based on its enthusiasts, my expectations were too high. The service was good, but not what I would ... Read More
We booked this cruise because of the PerryGolf option. I did a lot of reading about Azamara on Cruise Critic beforehand, and perhaps based on its enthusiasts, my expectations were too high. The service was good, but not what I would consider outstanding; it was about the same as we received on other lines. We did not experience the extra interaction or friendliness I read about on the Azamara board. Sometimes service in the dining venues was lacking. Service in the Patio was slow. I always requested lemon for my tea and/or water, and only received it about half the time. My water glass was often empty for 5-10 minutes before being refilled. However, after noting the last two deficiencies on our mid-cruise survey, they were corrected. I appreciate that Azamara takes the surveys to heart and works to correct any issues--I was contacted by staff in both food service and housekeeping after completing my survey. Food was average, and again, based on CC posts, I was expecting better. Discoveries had the best meals, and I enjoyed their fresh fruit selection in the mornings. I had nothing at the Patio that I would ever order again. In general, I found the bread and dessert selections below average compared to other cruise lines. I don't eat seafood so sometimes felt my selections in Discoveries and on the White Nights evening were limited. We made a poor choice in our cabin selection in 4005. We could hear the shows in the evening, and because we are "early to bed" people, it was extremely annoying to have noise from above until 10:45 or so. When docking/tendering, noise and vibration started between 6:15 and 6:30 AM and continued for about half an hour. I would not choose a forward cabin again. In-room selection of entertainment like on-demand movies could be much, much better. I appreciated the port representatives that were onboard at each stop--lots of useful information. The smaller ship was great for leaving and returning to the ship on port days. The complimentary laundry was also very nice, although as one would expect, it can get busy. Included drinks were fine for our needs, although my husband would have liked a nice Scotch in the selections. We liked Azamara well enough that we have booked another PerryGolf cruise, but that was also based on the price of a comparable itinerary on other lines. For the upcoming itinerary, Azamara offered a good price. We paid a premium on this cruise and IMO, did not receive good value for the money. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I belong to the Pentagon SKI club which has been on several Azamara cruises.They are in a class of their own.The low key sophistication creates an ambiance which I feel was responsible that the first words to my daughter upon returning to ... Read More
I belong to the Pentagon SKI club which has been on several Azamara cruises.They are in a class of their own.The low key sophistication creates an ambiance which I feel was responsible that the first words to my daughter upon returning to Wash. DC were:this was the best trip ever, despite the fact that one in our group passed away during a visit to Chania.The memorial Service on Deck 10 with the officers participating was a memorable event that made us feel at home on the Quest. Thank you.The background and ship information were very good and the port and shore excursions were exquisite.Both, the embarkation and disembarkation were painless.During the WHITE NIGHT celebration I loved the Parade of the Crew which not only brought out the international nature of the crew but also created a feeling of community between crew and passengers.That evening was a creative masterpiece.I recommend you to any one who will listen. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Cruising out of San Diego, CA has the benefits of a clean well run cruise terminal, a beautiful city and every tourist accommodation. Still, the first and last two days on board are spent reaching the Sea of Cortez, and the times we have ... Read More
Cruising out of San Diego, CA has the benefits of a clean well run cruise terminal, a beautiful city and every tourist accommodation. Still, the first and last two days on board are spent reaching the Sea of Cortez, and the times we have done it, the weather has been mild but not tropical. Our stateroom was nicely appointed, although on the small side for verandah rooms on high end ships today. Concierge service (in fact, all service) was very pleasant and helpful. Room was kept moore neat than clean. "Extra charges" and sales promotions are held to a pleasant minimum, as are PA system announcements. Food was quite good and quite varied too. Long lines and crowds were usually well controlled, with some exceptions. Boarding the vessel in San Diego involved standing in a long long line, wishing we had signed for a suite. Oddly, debarking was a model of quick and painless re-uniting with luggage, passport control and customs. Four elevators (two forward, two aft) usually worked efficiently but not when events opened or ended. Reservations at specialty restaurants (there are just two) seemed to fill up quite fast, almost before we left San Diego. Flexible dining meant a line at the dining room early on, with no line an hour later but by then, sometimes having to miss the entertainment. Azamazing - the evening party and piece de resistance - was in fact as amazing as anything I might have conjured up. If you go, do not miss it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
This was our third Azamara cruise, and the best one yet. These ships are beautifully maintained. The crew is top notch, and the food is premium quality. The inclusive fares eliminate most of the nickle and diming that is so irritating on ... Read More
This was our third Azamara cruise, and the best one yet. These ships are beautifully maintained. The crew is top notch, and the food is premium quality. The inclusive fares eliminate most of the nickle and diming that is so irritating on most ships. The Azamazing evening was an outstanding piano concert by a Colombian artist, in an historic theater. Onboard entertainment is limited by the small show room,but, again, the the performers were very talented. The white might deck party is always a treat under the stars. Cruise director Russ, is excellent, and a talented performer in his own right. Senior officers are very visible and approachable. The Panama Canal transit was the primary reason we chose this cruise. After 100 years, it remains an engineering wonder. The canal lecturer seemed to know every detail of canal history and operation. The stops in remote Costa Rican towns were of little interest to us. The small size and intimate nature of this ship is such a refreshing change from the large ships we usually travel on. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our first Azamara cruise and we liked it so much, we've already booked our next one. We were fortunate to be the first passengers after the refit in Singapore and we found a beautifully appointed ship with comfortable places ... Read More
This was our first Azamara cruise and we liked it so much, we've already booked our next one. We were fortunate to be the first passengers after the refit in Singapore and we found a beautifully appointed ship with comfortable places to relax, have a drink, meet friends, eat a wonderful dinner, or have a quiet moment. What we loved about the size of the ship is there are no lines like you get on the standard cruises - no long wait to embark, no hunting for a table at breakfast or lunch, no lines to go off on a shore excursion, no lines at any of the dining venues, and always a comfy lounger by the pool! Everything was elegant, civilized, amazingly clean, comfortable and relaxed. Nothing was snobby and I was happy to see people had left the ball caps and cut offs as well as the ball gowns at home. We met people from all over the world and everyone was warm and friendly. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the service. Every single person, from the cabin attendants to the Captain were friendly, helpful and available to all the guests and we each were made to feel like family. We filled out a survey on the third day about how things were going. I mentioned that the entertainment in the Living Room during the cocktail and tapas hours was too loud for conversation. I received calls from the cruise director, the head of hotel services and from guest relations. The music was immediately toned down (and the number of people in the bar increased) and I was thanked several times for speaking up. Everyone made an effort to know our names, and after the first few days, knew what we liked to drink and where we liked to sit. We chose to add the "Like" package to our cruise and would definitely do it again. This program came out after we had booked our shore excursions which meant we had to cancel some before the cruise to use the $400 credit for excursions booked on-board. I stressed about this, for no reason it turns out, because there was room available on all the excursions we had cancelled. I was very pleased with the unlimited wi-fi and posted lots of pictures for family and friends to follow. As well, we were happy with the included liquor package upgrade and were able to choose everything we usually drink at home. We also added a dining package and ate at Aqualina two nights and Prime C one. Next time we'll switch it up. Both are excellent although I felt the lighting in Aqualina could be dimmed a little for more atmosphere. We spent a few days in Singapore before the start of the cruise which let us recover from the very long plane ride from home and explore this very interesting (and ridiculously clean) city. We easily mastered the metro and saw the Botanical Gardens, Gardens by the Bay, rode the Singapore Flyer, took a bumboat ride and a trishaw tour. We also became somewhat acclimated to the high heat and humidity that we would experience wherever we stopped on the cruise. I would recommend a visit here for anyone passing through this way. Only one shore excursion took us to the dreaded 'craft sale' but it did have a western bathroom which was a redeeming factor. We saw a lot, learned even more and have so many memories. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Apologies in advance for the length of this report but it was difficult to summarise my experiences without losing some useful facts. Getting There - On the 14th July I embarked the ship at Dublin for the 10 day British Open at Muirfield ... Read More
Apologies in advance for the length of this report but it was difficult to summarise my experiences without losing some useful facts. Getting There - On the 14th July I embarked the ship at Dublin for the 10 day British Open at Muirfield voyage, this included return flights from/to Heathrow. British Airways were the chosen airline and both flights (my return being from Hamburg in Germany) were on time and efficient. It was a special last minute deal which appealed not only because of the price but because it had no single supplement charges, was all inclusive and had a great itinerary which included a chance to visit the British Open 2013 at Muirfield. Ports Visited - Dublin > Belfast > Glasgow > Invergordon > Edinburgh (stopover 2 nights) > Hamburg (stopover 1 night) Embarkation day  The cruise literature actually stated that embarkation should take place from 13:00 to 17:00 but as my flight arrived at 08:30 I decided to find a local hotel in Dublin where I could rest in between time. The Gibson Hotel is a recently opened establishment next to Dublin Port and so I chose to go there. They provide free secure luggage storage and wi-fi access so I was able to deposit my suitcase and Skype my family whilst I waited. At just after 11:00 I decided to chance whether I could get onboard so I got a taxi for the five minute journey to the ship and sure enough when I arrived I signed a few forms and was onboard within 10 minutes which was a record for me. Accommodation  I chose an interior stateroom for this journey as I was not expecting to see great views at the ports we were visiting and the extra cost would not have been worth it. The amount of space I got was reasonable and the furnishings are classic traditional and the bed was very comfortable. The bathroom was small but you soon get used to it and there was always plenty of light and a good water supply to basin and shower. I did however have to call for a plumber twice when the WC vacuum system failed. The safe provided is a good size but won't take a laptop but my netbook computer fitted snugly. You'll need an EU power plug adaptor and I'd recommend a trailer socket if you have lots of gadgets to charge like me. The shaver point in the bathroom is UK standard size thankfully. Health & Wellbeing  The ship is kept spotlessly clean and hand gel dispensers are everywhere to keep any possible germs at bay and they ensure you use them upon arrival back onboard the ship after going ashore. Restaurants  There is only one main dining room (MDR) on the ship called Discoveries and it operates an anytime dining policy. I used this for most of my meals and my overall impression of the food was good with the occasional excellent dish. Service in the MDR was mostly good although I feel they could be more attentive when glasses needed re-filling and plates needed clearing away. I wasn't impressed by the attitude shown by the Assistant Maitre D who seemed very matter of fact and bordering on arrogant at times. A self-service restaurant called the Windows Cafe is also available but I seldom used this, when I did I found the choice to be rather limited and of poor quality. The Pool Grill offered basic burgers and hot snacks for those in a hurry and there are two other Themed restaurants Prime C (steak restaurant) and Aqualina but I thought the $25 surcharge was too high, reports from other guests who had tried them were favourable though . Entertainment  I personally just saw two shows onboard as I tend to nod off when the lights go down but fellow passengers commented that they thought the shows were good and those I did manage to stay awake through were. One irritating fact I discovered is when the theatre show is running the entertainers in the rest of the ship bars do not play music so it can be quite boring at those times if you don't fancy the show and I've no idea why they have this arbitrary rule. The other entertainers consisted of a guitarist and a piano/organ player the first I never saw as I was at dinner and the latter was rather amateurish. At 10:30pm most nights there is a Disco in the Looking Glass bar which was the liveliest part of the ship and became well attended and of course the Casino was a favourite haunt of mine although on this trip it was closed on four of the ten nights because we remained docked, still it saved me money I guess. Excursions  I booked three excursions in Belfast, Edinburgh and Hamburg through Azamara and one privately in Glasgow through the internet. They were all very good apart from the Edinburgh trip to St.Andrews which took a long time to get to and we were only given 1.5 hours to explore when we got there. On every voyage Azamara have a unique offering called the Azamazing Experience where they take passengers to a special place or event. In our case we were taken to the newly opened Titanic Museum in Belfast where we had private access to the exhibits followed by a gala dinner with entertainment from an Irish folk group and an Irish dance troupe. It really was a magical night and a very memorable experience. The Open Golf tournament at Muirfield (near Edinburgh) was very exciting and I'd recommend going to the 1st tee and sitting in the stands to see all the players up close. Azamara did a tournament package which included access to a hospitality tent with all drinks and meals but that was extremely expensive. I just went on the coach and that cost me $60 + 75 entrance ticket for the final day. Tip:- Book your excursions online close to the sail date on the Azamara website as they appear to reduce the cost quite significantly then, for example the book price for my Hamburg excursion was 33 but by booking late it went down to 24.75 Note:- You won't see this discount until you get to the final pay screen. Ask your cabin steward to arrange for a packed lunch box for the excursion days and tell them the time you want it delivered. They obliged me this way and it worked out well. When boarding the coach remind the driver/guide to turn ON the air conditioning as the coaches can get stifling hot and they don't feel this at all so the passengers suffer in silence. Smoking  There is only one designated smoking area on the ship on one side of the pool deck. The casino is also off-limits which was merciful for me. Drinks package options  Azamara fares now include a more inclusive drinks package which means most non-premium brands are free of charge as is the daily house selected wines which were generally very good. You can upgrade to an all brands package anytime during the cruise but I wasn't fussy as the regular brands seemed fine to me. Improvement Areas - - The quality of the bar entertainers and better onboard activities for sea days - Make more effort to welcome solo passengers - Fix the technical issues which make internet access difficult to access most days - Overhaul the Windows Cafe buffet completely as the food lacks quality and imagination and the server decor resembles an office canteen Overall impression  This was my first voyage with Azamara and I was impressed by the little extras they throw in like free shuttle buses, welcome back drinks, local sail off music, lunch boxes, Azamazing events, etc. and if you have Captains Club membership with Celebrity or are a repeat cruiser they also throw in some free Internet Access minutes which proved very useful and an invite to a party (less so). This particular voyage had brought together several golf groups so it was probably not a true representation of normal passenger mix as they tended to stick together which made it difficult for solos to meet others although I did meet some great people from Canada (Sarah & Greg thanks!) and the USA (Henrietta) amongst them. I would certainly cruise with them again as they have some good itineraries but only for trips with few sea days (for the reasons I've specified). I'd like to see them invest in some larger ships to provide a more diverse experience and better entertainment options.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Our cruise was the 12 night Chelsey Flower Show cruise from Amsterdam to Southampton. The cruise boarded in Amsterdam Netherlands (2 days) followed by stops in Flushing Netherlands (1 day), Antwerp Belgium (2 days), Bruges Belgium (1 day), ... Read More
Our cruise was the 12 night Chelsey Flower Show cruise from Amsterdam to Southampton. The cruise boarded in Amsterdam Netherlands (2 days) followed by stops in Flushing Netherlands (1 day), Antwerp Belgium (2 days), Bruges Belgium (1 day), Greenwich England (2 days), Rouen France (3 days) and then on to Southampton England to depart. This was our first cruise with Azamara and from the day we booked, back in February, we found a lot to like about Azamara. Our cruise was booked through Travel of America but we did all of our own check-in and tour bookings through the Azamara web site. A quick call to Azamara Customer Service and we were instantly Le Club Voyage members and credited with our previous cruises on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Azamara's web site was very easy to use and check-in took only a few minutes. Pre-booking tours in each port also proved to be easy and extremely cost effective. The selection of tours to choose from was exceptional (something for every interest) and the descriptions unbelievable helpful in describing what you would see as well as how long and strenuous each tour would be (important to us since my wife can not walk very far). Finally, since we were booking early, all of our tours were half price, which resulted in a considerable savings (even though the full prices were quite reasonable). Immediately after boarding the ship and throughout the cruise we found even more to like about Azamara. (Oh, where do I start?) 1. All tips were included! Yea! No trying to figure out how much to tip each time and scrounge up cash for envelopes at the end of the cruise. 2. The small size of the ship (less then 700 passengers, with only 550 on our cruise) made getting around so easy! And, no waiting forever for an elevator. I can't remember once having to wait more them a minute during the entire cruise! Not only that but the layout of the ship was almost identical to the larger Celebrity ships so we pretty much knew where everything was. The entertainment, lounge areas, cafe, gym/spa facilities and dining were also on a par equal to what we have experienced on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean ships. 3. Small ships can go where the big ones can't! Like right into Antwerp, up the Thames River to Greenwich and up the Seine River to Rouen. This meant no 4 hour bus rides to London or Paris, leaving only a few hours to see the cities. 4. Speaking of seeing the cities, all of our ports were a full day, with most being two days or more. This allowed plenty of time for either multiple tours or to see things on your own. We were never rushed in any port and since we had been to several of the cities before, in those cities we chose to spend one of the days walking around on our own. Once again, Azamara made this so easy. In each port there were free shuttle buses (tender service in Greenwich) into town leaving every 20-30 minutes! 5. No formal dress is required in the dining room, which for us resulted in one less suitcase (or more) to have to drag through the airports before and after the cruise. The ship also had a free laundry room on board and, while we didn't use it, plenty of other passengers did. 6. House wine in the dining areas and soda were free, as was bottled water to take with you on tours or while going ashore. Azamara also offered several "Pre-paid Drink" packages which provided a considerable savings over the per-drink price. In summary, we are now huge fans of Azamara and will definitely book another cruise(s) with them. Their small ship benefits and many included amenities have now spoiled us. We also found the quality of the food, service and entertainment on board to be easily as good as, if not better, then the larger ships we have sailed on. We would (and have) recommended them to anyone looking to take a cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
First time on smaller "boutique" ship after "floating high-rise". We booked a suite on top deck (8), which is about £500 each more than a balcony stateroom and was pleasantly spacious with a well-appointed bathroom and ... Read More
First time on smaller "boutique" ship after "floating high-rise". We booked a suite on top deck (8), which is about £500 each more than a balcony stateroom and was pleasantly spacious with a well-appointed bathroom and plenty of hanging space. However, having seen a balcony stateroom on Deck 7 I don't think we got full value from the suite/Butler/facilities - our fault! Our co-cruisers were exactly what we had hoped for - mixed age group of regular travellers with whose company we enjoyed. Wine was complimentary and changed day-to-day, always of good quality. Purchased drinks included gratuity so no nasty shock of 15% being added onto bill. The ship was immaculate throughout and the staff were all courteous and attentive. The first evening there was a "Cruise Critic" reception and the Hotel Director (Philip Herbert) seemed genuinely to want to know our opinions and how to improve the ship service, so all here was given to them whilst on-board. With the current concerns about false endorsements on Tripadvisor this is a good idea. Very minor point:- being from U.K. we have a lunchtime salad as the meal so it would be nice to have cold plates available. (Our American friends seem to prefer a bowl?) Excursions:- We pre-purchased and got a 2-for-1 deal. We chose this cruise because of the interesting destinations and their history/archaeology and thus chose a full-day Turkish Antiquities excursion - assuming we would have a longer visit to Ephesus, probably the most complete and important classical Greek site in Asia Minor! However, we were rushed round in one and a half hours and seemed to spend most of day travelling to far-flung 'minor' sites. If you want to see Ephesus properly do an 'Ephesus only' excursion! 'Destinations' lectures:- These should be informative and interesting and have been good value on previous cruises so we went to the first evening. He was the most boring and poorly-informed lecturer I have ever heard and should not be doing that job! Spa:- My wife had a 'deep tissue' massage for 50 minutes at $104 and then there was 18% added "for our convenience". Being British I give tips for good service - not as a subsidy for pay. Overall an excellent cruise which only just misses out on the 'perfection' score. We will certainly use Azamara again when the itinerary fits. (Unfortunately I fancy Alska next and they don't do that!) Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our first cruise on Azamara. Now we are spoiled! Yes, it is more expensive upfront, but what you get is unsurpassed. Tips, features wines, soda, specialty coffee and teas, snacks, ice cream, even fresh squeezed juices: all ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Azamara. Now we are spoiled! Yes, it is more expensive upfront, but what you get is unsurpassed. Tips, features wines, soda, specialty coffee and teas, snacks, ice cream, even fresh squeezed juices: all included. Even with only 640 passengers, there were 3 lecturers on board the ship: a naturalist, a geologist, and an expert in geo-political of Western Europe. The captain was everywhere with the passengers, but when he told us that he was stopping for some fresh fish as we entered the North Sea from Norway, we really didn't believe him -- until the ship stopped and a fisherman pulled up along side. While we had several sea days, we were so busy learning that we had no time for trivia. Even hearing the cruise director's experience fighting pirates was amazing and interesting. The physical condition of the ship, although older, was spotless and very well maintained inside and out. Seating in the cafe was adequate, even at the busiest times. The dining room was lovely and with true "any time dining" policy that worked well. Even embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and without stress. The entertainment that we liked the best was the incomparable Brooks Aehron on the piano. Whether with the band, with aCD accompanment, or as a soloist, the music was phenomenal. Added to the music were explanations of the composers, the pieces, and the times when the pieces were written. As much as we enjoyed the food in the dining room, we also enjoyed the food in the cafe (aka 'cafeteria'). Everything was well-prepared to our liking. Service was excellent and flexible. If we wanted to stay and chat with our tablemates, that was fine with the staff. If we were in a hurry, that also was not a problem. All featured wines were included in the price for the cruise. However, if the featured wine was not to your taste, the rest of the wines were very reasonably priced. At various times, we sat around the pools, even though they were a bit too cold to use in those latitudes. When we were given the towels, we did not need to leave a deposit on our sea pass to insure the return of the towels. Lap robes were also provided, as were robes and slippers in our cabins. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
Our party of 4 arrived very early to the port in Nice at about 11am, and to our surprise we were welcomed on board with a glass of bubbly within 30 minutes of arrival at the port by an extremely friendly crew. A great start to our cruise! ... Read More
Our party of 4 arrived very early to the port in Nice at about 11am, and to our surprise we were welcomed on board with a glass of bubbly within 30 minutes of arrival at the port by an extremely friendly crew. A great start to our cruise! We immediately felt very relaxed and decided to have another glass of bubbly at the pool bar in the sunshine. Bliss! We knew from that point on we were going to enjoy ourselves and that we had found a gem of a cruise ship. No stresses followed; lunch at the Windows Cafe was great, cases arrived in extremely good time, cabin perfect, muster was done and dusted, and then to top it all, we sat at an outdoor table at the Windows Cafe as we left Nice, the weather was absolutely perfect and there we stayed!! Dolphins followed us out of Nice, the wine flowed and the staff were 5*. The very next day we arrived in Portofino, breakfast at the Windows Cafe at an outdoor table (again!). Tender to shore was very choppy, but Portofino was beautiful even in the mist & grey cloud. Dinner was at the Windows Cafe, outdoor table (again!) and was a fabulous choice. Believe me, we really did want to eat in the dining room, but when you live in the UK, to be able to sit outside and eat is a real treat! The entertainment that evening was thoroughly enjoyable: Eric is a true star, compelling to watch and must not be missed! St Tropez was the biggest surprise to us, we did not expect such a beautiful, typically French, quaint, harbour side town, and we had a lovely wander around the streets. When we went to the Windows Cafe for dinner, for our usual outdoor table, initially we were disappointed that it was closed for the evening! However.....the evening then turned out to be the most idyllic dining experience, with a BBQ on deck, and our table, which was on the jogging track, had the most amazing view as the sun went down! To top it all off, there was a firework display in St Tropez at around 11pm, which lit up the skies and the waters around the ship! Next day was Monaco! Sooo exciting! At 7am I was aware of the ship turning, and opened the curtains...WOW! What a sight, Monaco bathed in sunshine and the water like a duck pond! Perfect! I didn't think we were ever going to stop as we kept going and finally dropped anchor very close to the harbour. Breakfast was taken at the Windows Cafe (no surprise there!), watching the helicopters buzzing around which added to the excitement of the day! We jumped on the tender quite early in readiness for the Grand Prix, and it just so happened that we passed Mark Webber sitting in a dinghy as we were about to dock!! More excitement!! We had tickets for The Rock, and fortunately for us, arrived early and found ourselves a good vantage point (probably only 100m in from the entrance). This gave us a fantastic view of a screen, views right across the harbour and a view, albeit a small view, of the track. The noise was deafening (remember your ear plugs), remember a hat and remember lots of water, which was free for all, as you left the ship! In the evening, after the most fantastic day, we took dinner at the Windows Cafe at an outdoor table (yet again) and watched the sun go down, the lights of Monaco light up, and we were able to reflect upon a truly special experience on Azamara Journey. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I was very lucky to experience an absolutely fantastic luxurious 4 nights onboard Azamara's Journey sailing from Greenwich, London to Copenhagen via Amsterdam and the breathtaking Kiel Canal in Germany. I could sense that I was in for ... Read More
I was very lucky to experience an absolutely fantastic luxurious 4 nights onboard Azamara's Journey sailing from Greenwich, London to Copenhagen via Amsterdam and the breathtaking Kiel Canal in Germany. I could sense that I was in for an amazing time and this started from the first moment I stepped foot onto this ship. The first thing that I had to do was to check in which was incredibly smooth and professionally taken care of by the courteous and professional staff onboard and I must say went throughout the ship from stateroom attendants right up to the Captain of the ship who was incredibly knowledgeable and certainly entertaining. On arrival to my stateroom I found it to be spacious and immaculate (I had an outside stateroom 6004) my stateroom attendant Jugoo did an amazing job looking after me for my stay with Azamara and nothing was too much trouble down to replenishing my Elemis bathroom products to turning down my bed in the evening with a nice little touch of a chocolate left on my pillow. I had the opportunity to dine in both speciality restaurants Aqualina & Prime C as well as the Windows Cafe for informal buffet dining and the main restaurant Discoveries. Aqualina and Prime C are most definitely worth the minimal $15 per person cover charge (this is complimentary for suite guests) as the food was exceptionally good and I can highly recommend a visit to both. Each have their own attributes which make them stand out from the Filet Mignon or Mini Fish and Chips in Prime C to the Seafood Platter and wonderfully cooked Sea Bass in Aqualina. Windows Cafe held an Indian Themed evening whilst I was onboard and I can safely say it was one of the best I've ever eaten. Discoveries Restaurant also provided an extensive choice of menus to choose from it took me about 15 minutes to decide what to eat! In each restaurant for lunch & dinner waiters serve you a choice of house red or white wines at your table which is at no additional charge and is freely poured. These wines are matched to each destination and are served by extremely knowledgeable wine waiters and the wine sommeliers are also on hand to offer any advice that you may require. Azamara Journey also has a spa onboard that provides guests with an array of treatments ranging from Hot Stone Massages, Reflexology, Teeth Whitening to Acupuncture which are carried out in the numerous treatment rooms available. Azamara also has a fully equipped gym onboard along with a Thalassotherapy pool and relaxation area which is available for all guests use at a daily charge of $18 (free for suite guests) and beauty salon which provides hair and nail treatments. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
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