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24 Azamara Istanbul Cruise Reviews

We have sailed on Azamara before, so its clear that they offer a product that we value. 1/ An example of their service: at embarkation in Istanbul it was raining. Evaluating the next day's forecast, Captain Magnus decided, I'm ... Read More
We have sailed on Azamara before, so its clear that they offer a product that we value. 1/ An example of their service: at embarkation in Istanbul it was raining. Evaluating the next day's forecast, Captain Magnus decided, I'm certain with headquarters' approval, to switch the first 2 ports so as to maximize our chance of good weather. This tactic worked perfectly, although I'm positive it entailed extra travel time and thus cost. 2/ In an improvement over previous cruises, there is a focus, both in the MDR and Windows Cafe, on aiding those with food allergies. For example, in Windows dishes without common triggers are labelled to allow better choice. 3/ White Night on board was a terrific experience and reflected the evolution of the concept. 4/ The presence of so many friendly and familiar faces onboard suggests an excellent retention rate of their valued staff. 5/ Azamara prides itself in providing a destination immersion experience (for example longer times in ports). This itinerary was no exception. 6/ Despite the fact the Journey heads to drydock in January, the condition of the ship, and our stateroom, was excellent. 7/ We thought the food superb, but this is truly subjective. Conclusion: Azamara did not disappoint. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We took the 10 night Greek Isles Amalfi coast cruise 4/27/15. At first glance, the ship is so similar to the Quest that it's amazing:) We thoroughly enjoyed everything about our last 2 cruises on Azamara so we were so excited! ... Read More
We took the 10 night Greek Isles Amalfi coast cruise 4/27/15. At first glance, the ship is so similar to the Quest that it's amazing:) We thoroughly enjoyed everything about our last 2 cruises on Azamara so we were so excited! But it wasn't quiet there for us. The staff is fantastic, don't get me wrong but the cruise director and his staff left alot to be desired. We hardly saw them except to greet us going into a show. Russ on the Quest was everywhere! His personality was caring, loving and fun.. Didn't feel that with Tony.. I hear that He fills in for both cruise directors on a rotational basis. But that's not the only thing or I'd chalk it up to a bland CD week.. The entertainment before dinner and in the casino lounge was not good. I am a kind person but it was difficult at times. Why doesn't The Journey have a band playing in the Looking Glass at 5;50 to 7 so we can dance and party a bit before dinner? The Quest had a 2 person band that we all loved, especially after a long day of sightseeing. Plus they playing up there at 930-1030pm before the DJ got started. Many of us have a hard time staying awake unless we have activities to keep us busy, such as a little dancing:) Most are in bed by 1030-11pm. Why did the Journey have a guitar player that really put us all to sleep? Nice and friendly guy but very low key... BTW Roy and Carlos were the best waiters! But I digress... The wines choosen each day were very good, we thought.. We did hear people complaining that there was too much Sauvignon Blanc for the white choices but we like that so its all good. If you didn't like that wine choice, you can politely ask for one of the previous days choices, but be nice and not demanding. I think that's where folks don't get what they want as we've never had a problem getting any drink on the package or any wine we asked for within reason:) Overall, we had a wonderful time because we always do when we travel. The itinerary and Azamazing evening were just that, amazing! How they move everybody and do what they do is a miracle in itself:) Don't be afraid to go on one as you'll be sorry if you don't! Azamara is a great product. The captain drove us over in the tender to the dock in Amalfi. You won't get that on a large cruise ship! They are a great Boutique line and we'll go on them again, it might be the Quest though:) Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I was really nervous before taking my first cruise. I read so many reviews regarding different issues that passengers had. I was so relieved the minute I walked into the port. The staff was courteous and very efficient getting us on ... Read More
I was really nervous before taking my first cruise. I read so many reviews regarding different issues that passengers had. I was so relieved the minute I walked into the port. The staff was courteous and very efficient getting us on board the ship. Upon arrival to our room, our bags were outside our door. The room was clean and very adequate. My husband and I both found the staff incredibly courteous and accommodating. I found it helpful that we participated in the ship tour to get to know the ship itself. The food was good. I thought the buffet had a great variety and good tasting food. We did not eat at the specialty restaurants. I liked that you could basically find food at any hour. I especially enjoyed room service and the Mosaic Café for coffee. I appreciated all of the hand sanitizer stations for the hands but would have liked to have seen a few more signs instructing passengers about hand washing, as hand washing is a more effective method to prevent the Norovirus. For us, the entertainment was fine. Probably too quiet for some but it was perfect for us. My only request would be to offer more live music performances for evening dancing. I really enjoyed the White Party. The cruise sponsored excursions were great and we took a few private tours as well. The disembarkation to ports and when departing were very organized and didn't really take long at all. A nice touch, refreshing towels and water upon arrival to the tender for return to the ship. I could "nit pick" and find some inconsequential thing to complain about but I can't imagine the task of pleasing everyone all the time. So thank you staff of the Journey for a great first cruise experience. My only problem is that I keep waking up in the middle of the night wondering where I am at! I'm sure I will figure it our eventually! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We enjoyed our recent cruise on the Azamara Journey. The staff is outstanding, very friendly and seem to actively anticipate our needs and wants. This is very different from a lot of the other cruises we have been on (14 in the last 4 ... Read More
We enjoyed our recent cruise on the Azamara Journey. The staff is outstanding, very friendly and seem to actively anticipate our needs and wants. This is very different from a lot of the other cruises we have been on (14 in the last 4 years). However, when we were last on an Azamara cruise two years ago, we raved about the food served in the Dining Room. We thought it was wonderful. Not so now. It seems rather run of the mill now. For example, while they served small lobster tails, they were overdone, the rib-eye steak was very thin and we had a portion of what seemed a cornstarch gravy on it; after the first few days the walnuts at breakfast were removed and were replaced by thinly sliced almonds, the seafood was not special, etc., etc. This diminishment in food quality is a disappointment, especially since the prices for Azamara’s cruises seem to be going up quite a bit. Azamara prices now reach into the ‘luxury’ cruise category, yet the food, the cabins, and the fact that you have to pay to dine in the specialty restaurant do not measure up to a ‘luxury’ cruise. Too bad. However we must admit that we did enjoy dining in the specialty restaurants. Alex deserves super kudos for his management and leadership in the specialty restaurants; so does his wait staff. We also thought that Azamara’s excursions are very expensive and were not the best quality. The Azamazing Evening was First Class! It was well organized and managed, the offerings were traditional and local, the transportation to and from the ship was flawless and the entertainment was just special. This event was a highlight of the cruise. We experienced recently, on a luxury cruise line, for nearly the same price, much better food, a suite, a butler, and being able to eat at no extra cost in all of their restaurants, including the specialty restaurants. Will we cruise with Azamara again? Most likely not at their current high pricing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our 2nd cruise this year so you cannot help comparing the two. Azamara just switched to the all-inclusive system and you can tell. Small examples: They try to up sell everything which I hate. The drink/bar menu first shows 20 ... Read More
This was our 2nd cruise this year so you cannot help comparing the two. Azamara just switched to the all-inclusive system and you can tell. Small examples: They try to up sell everything which I hate. The drink/bar menu first shows 20 pages with drinks you have to pay extra for, the last page and even the backside of that page shows the complimentary drinks. Why....... For 2 restaurants you have to pay extra but we are not sure if they were really worth the money. It is nice to have a different setting a few times but for the food you do not have to do it. The other restaurant is very nice as well! Some of the areas on the ship really really need some work. The pool side restaurant is really like you are on a Greek Ferry ship. For a 5* ship this is not ok. Also the Windows restaurant inside looks like a home for the elderly more than a 5* cruise. The rest is somewhat old fashioned classic but matching to the ship and its customers. Furthermore to compare with Seabourn: The crew on Azamara is very nice but...the crew on Seabourn is a few levels up. The first day they know you by name and know your special wishes. They are very attentive when entering a restaurant and they always bring you to your table, carry your food from the buffets. The moment you sit at your table a waiter greets you and helps you. At Azamara you have to wait minutes untill they spot you, they do not help you with your food to the table and they are really less attentive however they are nice and friendly! On our trip we found the entertainment team really bad. At Seabourn the full entertainment team joins you on the ships activities and after the show they are always in the lounges chatting, dancing, entertaining guests and having fun with guests! In such a nice way you feel their your friends and you miss them after the journey. At Azamara they do not want to interact with the guests at all. If they are in the bar after the show they only stand there talking to each other and can’t seem to wait until they can go to their rooms. Not 1 single attempt to interact we saw all 10 days. Such a shame because they can really make a big difference! Surely there were some staff members we will never forget because of their attitude and passion for their job: Carlos at the pool bar, Ernesto...wow he must teach the entertainment team how this business works. Everybody loved Ernesto! But also Jose in the main restaurant was splendid in doing his job on such a way that it made a huge impression on us. The Captain was funny and made also lots of contact with the guest which is very good. Our conclusion: We had a wonderful trip, met lovely people although we were about 25 years younger than the average age of the guests. But if we compare Azamara with Seabourn.... for the same money we definitely go on the Seabourn where you get the extra * in staff level, food quality and all the caviar, drinks and food you can think of complimentary without any up selling and with the best personal service you can possibly imagine! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first experience cruising and we enjoyed ever minute of it. The food was good, as was the choice of drinks that were included. We could not fault the staff they were helpful , friendly and courteous. Our cabin stewards, Ivo ... Read More
This was our first experience cruising and we enjoyed ever minute of it. The food was good, as was the choice of drinks that were included. We could not fault the staff they were helpful , friendly and courteous. Our cabin stewards, Ivo and Sajet, were wonderful, they were hardworking and the cabin was always immaculate nothing we asked was a problem to them. Our only negative was with the art dealers. We attended an auction and an appointment to talk about art and after that we found it impossible to find the art director or assistant. Luckily Guest relations managed to help us and we cancelled any dealings we were going to have. The only time we saw the Art Director and Assistant was on a tender going off on a day out!!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I have read a lot of forum posts comparing Azamara and Oceania, and now that I have been on both lines, I know what the Azamara fans are talking about. The interaction with the crew on the Journey was something I had never experienced ... Read More
I have read a lot of forum posts comparing Azamara and Oceania, and now that I have been on both lines, I know what the Azamara fans are talking about. The interaction with the crew on the Journey was something I had never experienced before, and I have been cruising for many years on many lines (except what are considered the "luxury" lines). I really enjoyed getting to know the officers and crew and fist bumping with Captain Sindre and others. It really made you feel like part of the family. That spirit exhibited by the officers was also seen in much of the crew. Every day getting on the tender, there was Tony, the Cruise Director, to see you off. If you ever are blessed to have Tony, give him a hug for me. Some days the Captain was there too, or even on the dock to greet you when you stepped off the tender. Have never had a Captain of a ship wish me a Happy Birthday. Silly for me to mention, maybe, but memorable none the less. So Azamara really wins on this aspect. We also had a wonderful cabin upgrade, so kudos to Azamara on that also. The only part of the experience that fell short of Oceania was the food. Oceania is truly the foodie cruise line and there wasn't a lunch or dinner we didn't enjoy immensely. We did have some lovely meals on Azamara, particularly in Aqualina. Azamara's entertainment was also very good and we did not miss an evening show. Another feature on Azamara that really stands out is the longer stays in ports. It was wonderful not to have to rush back to the ship. We choose this cruise also for the wonderful collection of ports: Istanbul, Kykonos, Santorino, Catania (for Taormina), Amalfi, and two days in Sorrento. We choose our cruises based on value and itinerary and do not always stick to one line. We will certainly choose Azamara again when the itinerary tickles our fancy. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise with Azamara. We wanted the smaller ship experience and have to admit we liked it. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and a special price - double upgrade to a verandah cabin. The ship was nice, clean and ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Azamara. We wanted the smaller ship experience and have to admit we liked it. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and a special price - double upgrade to a verandah cabin. The ship was nice, clean and fortunately well functioning. (We had heard stories of plumbing problems.) The staff was generally friendly and the food was good. The food and service were excellent in the specialty dining restaurants but you pay extra for that. The promo on this line is that the fare includes gratuities and complimentary alcoholic beverages. There is a catch. You are still overwhelmed with opportunites to tip more and the complimentary drinks includes only 3 selections of beer and they limit the wine to just one white and one red each day. You know they have the larger selection available - so why can't you get a Chardonnay when I don't like Reisling? With a smaller ship you have to expect less choices in some things but you know the wine is there - they are just going to limit you, so they can sell you another glass for $10 each. The upcharges and extra fees are obnoxious. I'll go to a real all inclusive resort next time. We do have to say the Azamara rep at the airport was fantastic. He handled a late luggage issue and sent us on to the ship, while he waited for our luggage on the next flight from Paris. Within 4 hours we had our bags in our stateroom - and that was a HUGE relief. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We boarded the Quest in Istanbul, after a problem with the berthing location, which had been changed from Sarayburnu to Karakoy before we arrived, and Azamara had not informed us. We found the berth after a wild taxi ride, reimbursed by ... Read More
We boarded the Quest in Istanbul, after a problem with the berthing location, which had been changed from Sarayburnu to Karakoy before we arrived, and Azamara had not informed us. We found the berth after a wild taxi ride, reimbursed by Azamara. Our boarding was flawless and hospitable, but we were surprised at the security measures taken ; more than at an airport! Our cabin, port side, Level 6, was fine, with verandah, and was for disabled; however, the automatic door opener did not work and we were told later that a new part would be delivered within 22 days. We were very impressed with the dining in the Discovery Restaurant; the food, the variety, the service, the organization were at least as good as any restaurant in our area in Marin, CA. The Windows Cafe , which is buffet style , we used for breakfast and lunch was also very impressive. A wide variety of foods with nothing missing and attentive service, even to the point of assisting with carrying your choices to your table. Nanunga, one of the few women waiters, was in both Discovery and Windows and impressed us with her good natured assistance. Entertainment was OK, but not outstanding. WiFi was a rip-off. Visham at Client Relations was very helpful and patient, and Yasemine at Concierge, too, was very helpful. The Land Discoveries were a mixed bag. Part of the problem was that the descriptions of the arduousness of the various Land excursions were not always accurate. For example, the description for Santorini vastly under-reported the number of steps required on the tour, particularly if one was to take the cable elevator back, which most people do; that part alone had over 100 steps! Ephesus, on the other hand, had an over-stated difficulty, as my traveling companions reported, so I missed out on what was a nice tour. Disembarking went very smoothly . In summary, we really enjoyed our first cruise and liked the personal, caring touch of the Azamara Quest. We'll do it again!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Having sailed with Fred Olsen twice previously we thought we would try 5* luxury as Azamara had reduced the price following the itinerary change. Flew Turkish Airlines from LHR to Istanbul, good flight there & back, excellent cabin ... Read More
Having sailed with Fred Olsen twice previously we thought we would try 5* luxury as Azamara had reduced the price following the itinerary change. Flew Turkish Airlines from LHR to Istanbul, good flight there & back, excellent cabin service. Embarkation was a bit hit & miss airport to ship but smooth once onboard. Had late lunch at the Pool Grill & then to cabin 6067 to unpack. Called up to main dining room as the muster point for the safety drill which lasted 1 hour as 500 or 600 people waited for 2 latecomers, ridiculous. The drill was not as detailed as on FO. & could easily been done in 15 minutes. Luckily we had opted for dining at 8.30 pm & so we could unpack & get cleaned up in time for pre dinner G&T. My wife has a very strong aversion to garlic so we spoke to the Maitre D to arrange garlic free food. No problem, she would be given the next day's menu to choose her meal & it would be cooked garlic free. Dinner that night was good, a pleasant occasion with our 4 dining companions. Did not go ashore the next day as we were "indisposed". Noticed later in the day that the Pool Grill was getting a deep clean by staff in protective clothing resembling a noddy suit. Uum! Dinner time arrived & looking forward to a gastronomic treat. Garlic in the wife's food, taken away but next dish garlic again. Despite meeting with Maitre D etc. & Executive Chef Iwan they just could not do it, meal after meal had garlic. I was eating off menu & have to say that the food was mediocre compared to FO, bland, lacking sauces, just plain ordinary to not so good. I had a rib eye, it was cooked just right but was that tough it was inedible, as the Maitre D said "oh dear". We gave in with the MDR & ate salad in the Windows restaurant. A very disappointing cruise. Superb ship, fantastic staff but poor food. I should say that I saw a toilet cleaner washing out the toilet brush cannister in the wash hand basin - do not blame the passengers for norovirus.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Flight on Turkish Airways was on time and we were served lunch with free drinks. Arrived at Ataturk Airport and all was well until we had to locate our transport. We were told to look for a person holding a card with our name on it. This ... Read More
Flight on Turkish Airways was on time and we were served lunch with free drinks. Arrived at Ataturk Airport and all was well until we had to locate our transport. We were told to look for a person holding a card with our name on it. This was, in reality, a piece of paper attached to fencing, along with 100s of others, as we entered the arrivals area. We then had to wait for nearly half an hour to be told to go, with others, to a minibus. The booking-in system at the ship was quick and efficient. Once on-board we went to the Windows Cafe for lunch whilst our luggage was delivered to our cabin (sorry Veranda Stateroom). Our Stateroom (6083) was roomy, with a lot of storage space, and had a flat screen TV. The bed was large and had the deepest mattress I’ve had on any ship. The bathroom was small and only had a shower (no bath) but this was perfectly acceptable. Bottled water was complimentary and replaced daily. We always ate breakfast and lunch in the Windows Cafe. There was a very large selection at breakfast with the exception of breakfast cereals which there was little choice. Lunch again had a large selection but very little variation in the menu. Even though it was it was supposed to be self-service we were served every day. Infection concerns were given as the reason. The one thing I could not understand was that there were no trays and getting a cold plate for salads was a constant problem. They want to serve salads in a bowl, cold meats/cheese on another plate. Then I wanted a roll and butter but I only have two hands! I had to find a table, put down what I had then go back for what I couldn't carry. Every night we ate in the Discoveries Restaurant. On entering we were asked what table size we required and escorted to a suitable table. This worked very well and we met many friendly people. Different wines were served each night but some were very much house wines. The food was good but not the high standard we expected of this level of ship. Again the menu was not as varied enough each night. One night many of us at the table had venison which looked and tasted like liver! All the staff on the ship were very friendly and attentive. Nothing was too much trouble. The singers and dancers performed to a high standard. However, they had to double up on quizzes etc. which can only be expected on a ship of this size. However, they were clearly not trained to do these additional functions. We did not take any ship organised tours as we thought that they were far too expensive but chose instead to just walk around the towns where we docked. We did not buy anything or had a drink in these ports as each only wanted their own currency and not the Dollars or Euros we bought with us. There were too many different currencies to keep changing small amounts. Nessebar was an old picturesque town with many old churches. However, they had people on the doors to levy a charge on all who wished to enter. I believe that this was only done when a ship was in port. All in all, a pleasant port of call. The same cannot be said for our next port, Constanta. This can best be described as either London or Coventry after the Second World War blitz! I'm surprised that any ship would want to visit here. Many houses, cafes and shops were either boarded up or just a shell. This was a tender port and we were met by local guides who handed out maps of the town. Not a lot of people around. However, the centre town square was a light relief with very attractive buildings surrounding it. After a day at sea we arrived at Batumi which was definitely the highlight of the whole cruise. We docked in the town and walked around this very attractive and clean city. There were many beautiful buildings some old and some very new. This was also the place where we were to experience the AzAmazing Evening. Most of the 700 passengers went to the Batumi State Musical Center for a show entitled “Legends of Dance”. It was so well organised and the show was of an exceptionally high standard. On our return to the ship we were met with many locals who had come down to the sea front just to see the ship. The ship had laid on a band to greet us and we were served drinks prior to us getting back on-board. The sail away was also impressive as the locals waived us away and many of the building had their own light shows. The last port was Trabzon. After a steep climb up from the harbour we entered a town which was very much like Istanbul in character. Many very busy streets and squares. It was too commercialised but there were no problems with being hassled by the local shops. The ship had advised us of the disembarking procedures a couple of days before. We had been scheduled to depart the ship at 7:45am which I queried as our flight was not until 12:55. It was changed to 8:45am without a problem. However, 9am was the very last disembarking time. It did give many passengers the feeling that, “The cruise is over, get off”! Many passengers were leaving on flight much later than ours. The coach, taking us to the airport, took ages to leave the port and made very slow progress through Istanbul. Once away from the city we made speedy progress to the airport. We had to have our entire luggage scanned on entry. This seemed a bit excessive. Otherwise check-in was speedy and efficient. The airport is vast. We left from gate 221. The flight home, on Turkish Airways, was on time and again a pleasant experience. Would we travel again with Azamara again? Probably not as their normal cruise pricing is way above what we would normally spend. Their food in the main restaurant also is not up to the standard of other cruises we have been on. However, it is a good ship with very friendly staff.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We were on the Azamara Quest sailing from Istanbul on Sept. 8th. Prior to that, we spent 5 enjoyable days in Istanbul staying at the White House Hotel in Sultanamet, which we highly recommend. It was easy walking distance to the major ... Read More
We were on the Azamara Quest sailing from Istanbul on Sept. 8th. Prior to that, we spent 5 enjoyable days in Istanbul staying at the White House Hotel in Sultanamet, which we highly recommend. It was easy walking distance to the major viewing sites and the tram. We booked our cruise in February and were traveling with two other couples. Booking with Azamara was somewhat disconcerting in that we never received anything in hard copy by mail. It was all by telephone or internet even having to print the 40 page booklet with excursion trip descriptions. Further, we found the Azamara website to be awkward particularly after we booked as it was too sales oriented. We booked our air travel independently as we found the Azamara site not user friendly. In fact we never received notification as to which dock in Istanbul that the ship was sailing. Fortunately, the hotel desk clerk saw the ship on her way to work and told our taxi driver where it was. This was our first cruise and we chose Azamara due to the smaller ship size and its informal, casual nature of the cruise. We had always joked about the cruise crowd on their excursions with 25 people following a loud guide with an umbrella. We were pleased that we did not encounter long waits to go ashore or for dinner. The food was good, we thought the breakfasts were great and when we returned to the ship in the afternoon had a burger by the pool and then ate a light dinner after cocktails. We usually stopped for a snack and a drink on shore and to take advantage of free internet (ship wi-fi was pricey). We only ate in the formal dining room once and not at all in the exclusive rooms. The ship staff was very friendly, helpful whenever we asked and the service was excellent. The staff at the bar on the pool deck was the only exception. The ship was very good about offering hand cleaner, cold towels at boarding and before entering the dining areas. We like to travel independently and set up our own personal tours—Ephesus, Rhoades, Athens. We did participate in two ship sponsored excursions—the evening concert at Ephesus, which was a highlight of the trip; and the winery trip to Aia on Santorini. The Aia trip was a bit of a bust as the winery turned out to be wine tasting, fortunately there was not a hard sell as we did not care for the wine. The view was wonderful. The “whisper” device the guide was using did not work so most of the explanation was on the bus. Santorini was crowded with tourists, shops, etc. This is a pretty place but not one to go to relax and get away from it all. With all the unemployment in Greece you would think they could employ some people to pick up the trash. On Mykonos we hired a taxi who took us to a less crowded, protected beach where we spent a good part of the day. Mykonos was a very pretty place even with all the tourists. The departure in Athens was well organized, except for a long wait for taxis for those of us not taking the Azamara tours. We did spend two more days in Athens on our own which we enjoyed. All in all, we had a good time on our first cruise and will repeat, but only on smaller ships.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was our first cruise with Azamara and was a little unsure because the ship is quite small. However we got such a good deal, we couldn't turn it down. it was our first time in an inside stateroom and was really hoping for an ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Azamara and was a little unsure because the ship is quite small. However we got such a good deal, we couldn't turn it down. it was our first time in an inside stateroom and was really hoping for an upgrade, which we didn't get, despite some people getting double upgrades. Anyway, we made the best of it. The stateroom was roomy, clean and all together, no complaints there. All crew, in any capacity, were polite, friendly and seemed genuinely interest in you and giving you a good time. 10/10 for staff. This is probably because the captain was great. He's approachable, joins in and is very present and sets a good example for his crew. On our first evening we taken by Azamara to an underground cistern which is now converted to a sort of theatre and we were entertained by a string quartet. We were looked after by the Azamara crew, waited on and spoilt in every way. They call these Az-Amazing evenings, and all completely free of charge. Well done DJ Matt for accommodating a load of noisy Brits and we danced the night away. I thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and wouldn't hesitate to book another Azamara cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We could not be more positive about this "Circumnavigating the Black Sea" cruise. The only negatives were in the boarding and disembarking processes, not caused by Azamara, but by Turkish port and airport personnel. Our first ... Read More
We could not be more positive about this "Circumnavigating the Black Sea" cruise. The only negatives were in the boarding and disembarking processes, not caused by Azamara, but by Turkish port and airport personnel. Our first time flying Turkish Airlines was very positive--good food, comfortable seats (Economy), and nice service. Once on board, this proved to be one of the best Azamara cruises we have taken and we have loved each one of six. Some of the ports are not used to tourism (Novorossisk, in particular), but Azamara provided the best excursions possible. Our favorite ports were Batumi, Georgia; Odessa, Ukraine; and Nessebar, Bulgaria. Each was fascinating. We took ship excursions everywhere but Sochi where we hired a private guide to take us to all the Olympic sites. The food on ship is better than ever. Every meal was excellent. The Turkish buffet one evening was beyond perfection. Our V2 cabin was comfortable and maintained beautifully by Alexis. We had breakfast every day on our verandah and appreciated the room service wake up call to let us know breakfast was on the way. The passengers were the friendliest we have ever encountered. We met lovely people and made true friends. There was high interest in all the games on board. Trivia was packed each day as were darts, virtual bowling, and other games. We did not go to many shows, but the Azamara singers and dancers who did the Broadway show were excellent. CD Tony Markey did a wonderful job throughout the cruise as did Rizhard, the Hotel Director, who was everywhere making sure passengers were well taken care of. Enrichment lectures were excellent (gave an overview of each port, history, people) and well-attended. Our first Azamazing Evening was incredibly well-organized. Yalta's Massandra winery put on a fabulous show with wonderful wines and snacks. Everyone enjoyed the evening. We enjoyed everything and learned so much on this voyage. Now, on to our next Azamara cruise next summer--Copenhagen to Copenhagen heading to Iceland. Azamara remains our favorite cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
We choose the Turquoise Coast 11-day voyage on August 30, 2013, from Azamara Club Cruises for that it offered the best itinerary to visit Turkey an Greece and for the mid size of Azamara Journey ship (694 passengers). We enjoyed very much ... Read More
We choose the Turquoise Coast 11-day voyage on August 30, 2013, from Azamara Club Cruises for that it offered the best itinerary to visit Turkey an Greece and for the mid size of Azamara Journey ship (694 passengers). We enjoyed very much our cruise : the ports of call were well selected, the shore excursions were well organized, the ship was just the good size for tranquillity and range of services, the staff was friendly and helpful and the cabin was comfortable. We boarded in Istambul at 12:30 PM, we were directed to the Grand Salon for check-in and to our Veranda Room (#7060). All things go very fast. The luggage came fastly after the arrival in our room. The stateroom was exactly as expected: a very comfortable bed, a small sitting area, a large window giving on the balcony with a table and 2 chairs. It is compact but convenient and we had enough room to store all our things. The bathroom was small but efficient with good smelling toiletries. The shower is very tiny but we had no problems at all with hot water and pressure. There was a very useful laundry room but the irons were flooding on the clothes. After a four night stay in Istambul by ourselves, we visited with the cruise Canakkale, Lesvos, Patmos, Mykonos, Bodrum, Kas, Fethiye, Marmaris, Rhodes, Santorini and Athens at the end. Because of the strong winds, we went first to Patmos and after to Mykonos. However, we only stayed half a day instead of a complete day as planned, which was truly too short. Thus, probably for that reason, four people missed the boat. The captain did speak about this event but never explained what finally happened. Again because of the winds, they replaced the port of call of Kos by Bodrum. This city was less interesting than a Greek Island. In Fethiye, Azamara organized an Amazing evening outside the ship to discover turkish music, dance and cuisine. 570 passengers participated in the event. The food was delicious and the music was excellent. Food in the restaurants was remarkable. The menu at the main dining room Discoveries varied each evening and was wonderful. Many options for the appetizers, soups and salads, main entrees (beef filet, steak, halibut, snapper, salmon, tuna, duck, lamb, pasta, chicken,...) and desserts were available. The only one choice red and white wine which was included was very good and served generously. We made reservations for the two specialty restaurants requiring a cover charge of 25 $ per person each time. But we received a 200$ credit on our account which was appreciated. We went twice at the Aqualina serving mediterranean food and once at the Prime C which was a steak house. We liked very much the food and the service at the Aqualina. Though, on the second night at Aqualina, my husband was the only one to eat the seafood bouillabaisse and he had a severe indigestion during the night. Then, we advised early in the morning that we could not make our excursion in Kas. We informed afterwards the guest relations about that bad experience. But, we had no other following from the management than a phone call from the doctor. The food and the service at the Prime C was rather standard. In both restaurants wine service for the wine list was poor. The breakfast at the Windows Cafe offered a lot of choice : omelette, fried eggs, regular, expresso or capuccino coffee, fresh orange juice, a large selection of bread and pastries, cereals, oatmeal, a good variety of fruits (pineapple, orange, watermelon, etc.), yogurt, cheese, etc. The service was excellent everywhere on the ship. Every member of personnel said hello and was smiling. In the restaurants, the service was very attentive, friendly and efficient. The room was cleaned twice a day. The check out was well planned and we disembarked at 8:15 AM, claimed our luggage and took the Athens sightseeing tour and city transfer. Overall, it was a fabulous cruise, with remarkable service, gourmet food and attractive destinations. We highly recommend Azamara Club Cruises for an excellent trip to Greek Islands and Turkish Coast.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This was our second time on Azamara but it was the itinerary that attracted us to the Black Sea - although Azamara's standards sealed the deal. We particularly wanted to see the Crimea and an itinerary taking in Odessa, Sevastopol and ... Read More
This was our second time on Azamara but it was the itinerary that attracted us to the Black Sea - although Azamara's standards sealed the deal. We particularly wanted to see the Crimea and an itinerary taking in Odessa, Sevastopol and Yalta was too good to miss. An added bonus was that after returning through the Bosphorous we then called into Canakkale on the Dardanelles and were able to visit the battlefields of Gallipoli. The cruise had started in Istanbul and calls at Varna (Bulgaria) and Constanta (Roumania) were tolerable. The cruise ended at Piraeus having had Santorini and Paros as Greek island calls - the only tendering on the cruise. We used Azamara's tours for all the ports where we toured - Varna, Odessa, Sevastopol and Yalta. The tour guide fro the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava was exceptionally good and the online early booking prices good value. As for the ship - Captain Carl Smith kept us totally informed about every movement of the ship down to the number and type of mooring ropes! His concern over avoiding norovirus on the ship was commendable. The service, food and friendliness on board was perhaps even better than on our last voyage in 2011. We tried the speciality restaurants on two occasions and they were better than ever - the main restaurant is excellent. Entertainment has improved with two set shows as well as several good 'imports'. Lectures were good we were told although we did not attend. The ship is getting a modest make over towards year end although she shows little sign of wear. Yes the showers a small but that is a feature of the R class. The history of the region is particularly interesting for Britons because of the Crimean War history but the call at Canakkale allowed Gallipoli battlefield tours of interest to the Australians and New Zealanders on board as well as Britons and Irish. One little cameo at the New Zealand memorial at Gallipoli was the Last Post being played impeccably by the trumpeter from Azamara Quest's orchestra - an ex Kiwi soldier. You can find this moving event now on You Tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evpBo6ZNVMA A memorably good cruise Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was our second time on Azamara and this was just as wonderful as the first. We had the package of included flights and transfers with Azamara and there was no problems at all.While the airport at Istanbul was a bit chaotic, once you ... Read More
This was our second time on Azamara and this was just as wonderful as the first. We had the package of included flights and transfers with Azamara and there was no problems at all.While the airport at Istanbul was a bit chaotic, once you were through immigration and security Azamara staff were waiting to direct you to the coaches. We stayed at the Hilton hotel for one which was very nice.Although not near the main tourist sites there were plenty of restaurants nearby. We were picked up promptly next day and taken to the ship.Embarkation took about ten minutes from arriving at the ship to actually getting on,which is the quickest we have experienced. Once again the ship was immaculate and the friendly staff certainly make your holiday feel special.It is so nice to see the ships officers around the ship,something you do not see on bigger ships.We had the best captain ever in Carl Smith,who was entertaining and informative. We were in our cabin by 1.30 and this was our only disappointment on the cruise.We had booked an obstructed view cabin on deck 6,which it certainly was.You could just about see through the windows and through the lifeboat for a very small amount of natural light(if you were bent down at a low angle)and you needed the light on all the time,this in itself was not really a problem but the cabin layout was.We had no information that this cabin type is actually the smallest cabin type on board,the layout was awful.We had to take turns to get dressed as there was no room to move otherwise,also you could not see the television from one side of the bed, I would not recommend these cabins.That being said Edwin and colleagues did a great job with keeping it clean and tidy. Once again our cruise director was the amazing and astonishing Tony Markey,he is the best cruise director we have had on any cruise.Also present again was the wonderfully talented Alex who really should have his own show as a guest entertainer.Both were wonderful especially on the deck parties which were very popular. We had a great show from a visiting naval ensemble.Also on board was the TV presenter Nigel Marvin who did some wonderful talks.The entertainment was very good.A big thank you to Natacha the drinks waitress from Mauritius who was efficient and wonderfully entertaining,and also to the staff in the Mosaic,who always knew what your preferred drinks were. The ports were wonderful(although we did not get off in Romania and the Ukraine(Odessa,Sevastopol and Yalta) is truly beautiful. We had booked a few trips with Azamara at half price and the guides and trips were good value for money. Disembarkation was again well organised and the only grumble would be the long time at Athens airport and the very tight connections from Heathrow to Manchester. I would thoroughly recommend Azamara and we will certainly be travelling with them again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We booked this Azamara cruise last year while on board the Celebrity Summit. I have to agree with all that Mr.Mojorising said. Our fellow cruisers were a very interesting group, the ship definitely caters to upscale and mature (read near ... Read More
We booked this Azamara cruise last year while on board the Celebrity Summit. I have to agree with all that Mr.Mojorising said. Our fellow cruisers were a very interesting group, the ship definitely caters to upscale and mature (read near or post retirement) travellers. They were all very well travelled. The crew were very much in tune with keeping the customers happy. The ports were, with the exception of Santorini, and to a lesser degree Paros, seldom visited by cruise ships. The shore excursions, when booked on line were half priced and a good value, but some people were happy to do it on their own. I really enjoyed the ports of Sevastapol and Yalta. I was afraid my wife would not enjoy the military history, but she loved it. Dining in all the venues was very good. Prime C was the most popular specialty restaurant, but I thought that Aquilina was great as well. But you don't need to pay extra, the food and service in the other restaurants was almost as good. This was our first, but not our last cruise with Azamara. My only regret was that we signed up for the meet and mingle Cruise Critic party, but never found out about it until the cruise was over. Unlike Celebrity, you need to ask about it at the service desk. We had planned a sail away party at the Windows cafe at 9:30, but nobody was there, I guess they had met earlier, but it was a beautiful evening sail out of Istanbul and up the Bosphorus. I can't wait until our next Azamara cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Although I have cruised on at least eight other cruises, this was the first on a boutique(small ship) venue. We sailed on September 3rd from Istanbul to Athens. I was impressed by many facets, but for my tastes there were things that I ... Read More
Although I have cruised on at least eight other cruises, this was the first on a boutique(small ship) venue. We sailed on September 3rd from Istanbul to Athens. I was impressed by many facets, but for my tastes there were things that I missed. The most noticeable impression was the food and wine, which was just amazing. Choosing Prime C and Aqualina for a dinner was even more amazing. The best food I ever had at sea. The staff also was so delightful and pleasant. From the waiters to the cabin staff, everyone seemed to be enjoying their job. I don't overlook the amenities such as the bottles of water you took on you shore excursions. They were needed. The cabins were nice sized and for an outside stateroom,very pleasant. It was very easy to find your way on a small ship like this. As far as the itinerary, I felt that there were too many Greek Islands that didn't stand out(Kos and Aigina), and staying until 10-11 PM offered very little benefit to 95% of the passengers since shops and the casino couldn't open. By the time we left the ports, most people were in their cabins. Now this is no a complaint,but for my taste, the experience was too sedate. I don't like hairy chest contests, or videos in your face, but a little more and better entertainment would do wonders. The shows were boring and the keyboard playing in the lounge was awful. A comedian would have been nice. I guess that many seniors like this atmosphere so the cruise gave them what they wanted. My wife and I like to dance, and most nights the venue was dead. Certainly if you are younger than 45 you wouldn't like this cruise. By the way, we are in our 60's. So all in all it was an enjoyable time but maybe we would be looking for a little more from the venue, but not the mega ships with their rude passengers and screaming children. By the way, I would like to thank Azamara for providing buses to every one's hotel for a nominal charge, due to the taxi strike in Athens(that's another story). Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We'd sailed a similar ship to Alaska in 2005 and found it to be comfortable and quite a bit more upscale than others we'd taken. Delicious dining options in addition to prepaid tips and soft drinks make it so appealing. Most of ... Read More
We'd sailed a similar ship to Alaska in 2005 and found it to be comfortable and quite a bit more upscale than others we'd taken. Delicious dining options in addition to prepaid tips and soft drinks make it so appealing. Most of the ports sounded interesting (Canakkale was a waste of time) and spending a couple of days in Istanbul was fabulous. Friends researched it well and made plans for a guide in Istanbul and for excursions (not through the ship)in many of the ports. Staff could not have been nicer. We had trouble to find anything that didn't meet our high expectations! Internet was very pricey and we tried to find it in town at cafes when possible. We planned to have dinner in some of the ports, but the local menus didn't look interesting enough and we headed back to the ship every night instead. After busy days in each port, dinner "at home" was great and we enjoyed the Prime C and Aqualina Restaurants very much. We were too tired and busy to use the gym or spa and the night entertainment didn't seem terribly exciting---we needed to rest up for the next busy day ahead. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We are a professional couple, ages 52 and 61, and well traveled internationally. We have been 1000% anti-cruising, thinking that cruise boats were floating nursing homes, or floating buffets for drunken rednecks.We have been converted! ... Read More
We are a professional couple, ages 52 and 61, and well traveled internationally. We have been 1000% anti-cruising, thinking that cruise boats were floating nursing homes, or floating buffets for drunken rednecks.We have been converted! The same week we returned home, I booked the Paul Gauguin Society Islands for February, and The Baltics on Oceania for next July.We agreed to this cruise on impulse, because a professional friend asked us to join him. His wife is a travel agent and booked the cruise. I would guess that the Black Sea would not be a first cruiser's preferred destination, but the dates worked out for us.Embarkation:We flew into Istanbul a few days early to enjoy that fabulous city. Being terrified of Istanbul's dishonest cabbies, we were pleased that the Intercontinental Ceylan had a cadre of honest cab drivers at their disposal. The cruise port was very close to the hotel, and it cost less than $10 to get us to the terminal. We arrived at 3pm, and there was no line. We were serviced immediately, and quickly sent up the gang plank to the reception lobby, where our pictures were taken and we were given a glass of champagne.Room:We were in 8047, S1 Sky Suite with butler service. The room was attractively decorated in red and beige. There was a large bottle of vodka and scotch (which we don't drink and gave away), a bottle of champagne (which we also gave away) and a bowl of fruit. We were later given a bottle of wine, which suffered a similar fate. The mini bar was stocked with a variety of beer and soft drinks and water. We had the butler replace everything with Diet Coke. I booked this category because my husband is 6'3", and I wanted him to not feel claustrophobic. The only problem he had was in the shower. He had to step in the bathtub, and his head hit the ceiling, so he had to shower with his head to one side. The amenities were large size Elemis. Our cabin steward kept the room in immaculate condition, but annoyed us by knocking on our door several mornings to see if we had left the room. We promised to put the 'make up room now' card on the door when we were ready for him!Food:I thought the food was wonderful! We ate in Prime C three times, in Aqualina once, and in the main dining room twice. One night we just had a club sandwich in the room because we were stuffed! We never tried the buffet. We had room service breakfast once, then skipped breakfast the other days (again, because there was too much food!). The delivery person set up by bringing the table in from the veranda, but the coffee table could just as easily have been used.My favorite meal was.....the lunch time hamburger and french fries I had on the pool deck! That cook made the best french fries I have ever had in my entire life! Hot, light, thick and crispy; the perfect fry!Of the fancier places, Prime C was leagues above the other venues, at least to our taste. The little donuts with dipping fondues were to die for. I always had fish, and was very happy with the sea bass and salmon. It was all delicious. The best appetizer, however, was Aqualina's lobster salad with citrus. Perfect blend of citrus with light, non chewy lobster chunks. I could not taste the Cointreau in Aqualina's souffle.If you love to eat, there are plenty of opportunities: breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea with sweets, afternoon savories, dinner, and evening savories! One night we asked our butler if it was possible to order from the specialty restaurants for room service, as we were not able to get (another) reservation for Prime C and loved the little donuts. He said, no, but we later found a tray with the little donuts in our room! That's service that leaves one feeling pampered.Entertainment:We didn't go to any shows. We did play bingo once, to use up some of our on board ship credit from AMEX.Enrichment:We both are intellectually curious, and thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Richard Farkus's lectures on the area. He was an excellent speaker. His lectures were replayed on the TV system, and we listened to each at least twice.Ports:We did not do any of the ship's tours, rather hired a private guide with two other couples for Ukraine.Nessebar Bulgaria is a quaint town with souvenir vendor lined streets. Constanta Romania should be eliminated as a port. It is desolate and depressing. There is no economic activity, and skinny stray dogs roam the streets. Many buildings are rubble. When we were exploring, we ran into a group of Brits.I asked if it got any better where they had been, and he answered "no, in fact we have seen four suicides since we started our walk." So much for British humor, but he accurately described the area.Perhaps we should have gone on the bus trip to Budapest, but we didn't want to travel 3 hours each way to tour for 3 hours. The boat had to delay leaving for the next port because these buses were late.Ukraine- Odessa, Sevastopol, and Yalta was absolutely fascinating. Our private guide was well connected and we got into areas normal tourists aren't allowed, like the private areas of the Livadia Palace, where Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill divided up Europe in 1945. Bribe money is left under telephones.SummaryWe came to realize that cruising is an efficient way of seeing locations we would not want to spend a significant amount of time. No risk of encountering dreadful accommodations and even worse food.If Azamara had an itinerary we liked, we would not hesitate to travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We started out full of trepidation with worries about the heat and the low occupancy rate.However all these things were completely unfounded. Our beds were comfortable!Don't know why Journey travellers found theirs lumpy! We joined ... Read More
We started out full of trepidation with worries about the heat and the low occupancy rate.However all these things were completely unfounded. Our beds were comfortable!Don't know why Journey travellers found theirs lumpy! We joined the ship in Istanbul with overnight stay.Immediately the warmth of the crew was evident.Russ Thomas Grieve is the perfect Cruise Director and is unfailingly helpful and charming. Unfortunately Topkapi Palace closes on Tuesdays which was a shame as we were too tired to go the first day.The ship's excursion was well organised and helped us get our bearings in the city.After a wonderful experience in the Discoveries Dining Room where the wine exceeded all expectations (was of a high standard and flowed freely!), the Captain, delightful Leif Karlsson,reminded us not to miss the sailaway down the Bosphorus with illuminated castles and bridges.He also reminded us that we would have the opportunity to see this fascinating place on our return from Bulgaria via Istanbul to Greece.It was the end to a perfect day. The first At Sea day we really got to know how lucky we were to be on this ship! The cruise critic party we had been informed was "denied" went ahead anyway. Farieda explained they just always had these parties anyway. So we met everyone and had a lot of fun.The lectures by Jon Fleming were serious and informative and prepared us for the Crimea. This itinerary was amazing. Yalta, where Lenin's statue stands next to Macdonald's(He would turn in his grave) afforded the chance us to see various palaces not least Livadia where the historic Peace treaty was signed by Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin and where also the doomed Romanovs had enjoyed their holidays by the Black Sea. Back on board we relaxed in pampered luxury. The captain was always around, having breakfast with the guests and giving advice but always careful to steer the ship on the mirror calm waters. From my cabin I could give him a wave in the morning as he stood on the bridge! He and all the officers and crew were really our close friends. Nothing was too much trouble. We heard no grumbles, no complaints. That is some people found the entertainment low key but we expect that on a midsized ship. We were happy with such acts as Bettine Clemen the flautist and Helen Jayne and the talented Aeyron Brooks or Brooks A a fabulous pianist. Also our cruise director could certainly sing fantastically!!!The activities were well planned and great fun! Sevastopol wonderful. Odessa, a night at the Opera arranged by the ship,dancing under the stars in Odessa which was currently hosting the Film Festival with an open air showing of Battleship Potemkin on the Potemkin Steps! In Bulgaria the heavens opened but not until after morning excursions. We were glad it cooled us down. At Sea Day number 2 we sailed back down the Bosphorus with a commentary by Jon and coffee and refreshments on deck so noone need miss anything.All this at 7.30. Again a glorious experience on Azamara Quest with the officers serving us a lunchtime buffet.The highlight of this cruise was certainly the warmth of these officers and crew. Philip Herbert is a quiet and attentive Hotel Manager who goes out of his way to help all guests. Next to Volos. We just glided into the harbour , no noise , no fuss. Our ship's excursion to the Meteora monasteries was faultless right down to the food and refreshment provided.An 8 hr trip and we felt dandy!Airconditioned coaches helped. Only two hrs there and two hrs back. Not really strenuous at all but what an experience! Finally an overnight in Kusadasiwith plenty of opportunity to visit Ephesus: our third visit but this time we saw the newly and ongoing terrace house excavations. Plenty of shopping opportunities. All in all a perfect cruise with a perfect Captain and a perfect crew. Our wishes were their commands and they deserve a big cheer. This was our second Quest cruise and we like the new style! Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
First off this is a beautiful ship. The wow factor is on offer in spades. The ship is beautifully furnished. The cabins, we had a balcony on level 7, were just fine. Even the tiny bathroom was adequate. We chose the cruise initially ... Read More
First off this is a beautiful ship. The wow factor is on offer in spades. The ship is beautifully furnished. The cabins, we had a balcony on level 7, were just fine. Even the tiny bathroom was adequate. We chose the cruise initially because of the ports of call in the Black sea and we were not disappointed. We benefited from a very knowledgeable guest lecturer who would stand on deck, with a mike, from time to time but especially in Gallipoli, telling the story of the area. However it was not all good!! First off the food. We tend to prefer to eat in the self service areas on ships. We find the food tends to be better than in the main restaurants, fresher and the choices are more obvious Having said that we decided to give the restaurant a go on the first night. I ordered turkey parmesan. This dish may or may not have ever seen a grain of parmesan but it was dry and inedible. I complained. They attempted to restore the dish, by adding cheese, with limited success. The following night as recompense, they made me, as a special, rack of lamb. It was great; they can do it right when they want. I did not feel I could ask for this special treatment every night so we went to the Windows cafe for the rest of the cruise. A lovely place to be with wonderful staff. The kitchen staff, however, had not been trained in how to preserve food once it had left the kitchen and before serving. This meant that high quality food was invariably cold or dry. I pointed this out and they improved but why didn't they know? So food quality was patchy. To say the least. The other disaster occurred around the pool. The pool area is adequate. I decided to give it a try. There must have been some kind of chemical imbalance in the water. My eyes started to stream, became painful and red. They are still a tad sore now, one week later, as with many large organisations they went into denial when told of a problem but others were also seen to be suffering. THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY UNFORGIVABLE. Special mention must be made of Richard, the food and beverage manager, and the Hotel Director. Two really nice guys who took personal ownership of problems and aimed to sort things out. Now Azamara, as many will know, have just completed a rebranding. Wines are now "free", gratuities are built into the price etc. etc. We were fortunate; we paid the price prior to the new rates being announced. The cruise may well have been worth the old price. I doubt that it was worth the new money. Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
Azamura Club Cruises sell themselves as a Luxury Club Cruising option offering an interesting and slightly different itinerary, excellent food, luxury accommodation and a tip top crew offering a discreet and friendly service. Azamura get ... Read More
Azamura Club Cruises sell themselves as a Luxury Club Cruising option offering an interesting and slightly different itinerary, excellent food, luxury accommodation and a tip top crew offering a discreet and friendly service. Azamura get 2.5 out of 5 for this and 5 stars for selling an expectation!. Itinerary - The Black Sea itinerary is very worthwhile, the low points being the two V's Varna and Volos, but Odessa, Sevastopol and Yalta make up for those, as does the overnight in Istanbul - a superb starting point. Do try to get to the opera house in Odessa for a performance, the atmosphere and ambience is not to be missed. Excellent food - Sorry, not even 3 star overall and therefore very disappointing. Why, well they certainly try, but they concentrate more on quantity than quality. The food presentation is unimaginative, bordering on poor, the crockery very plain, and the whole dining experience lacks finesse. We dined in all the restaurant choices: Aqualina was by far the best - a lighter, more stylish option with better quality food and much better in presentation. Prime C, as the name suggests, concentrates on prime cuts of meat, and although the meat was good, it was unimaginative in preparation and there was far too much on the plate and therefore off putting. The daily buffet, we used for lunch and it was okay, limited in choice, with very little daily variation. We also had two on-shore evening buffets by the pool and they were okay, but I have to say limited. Breakfast in the stateroom on the verandah was a very good daily experience, all delivered on time and accurately, with high quality personal service. We did comment on the quality of food at the cruise critic reception and we were given very special treatment - treated like royalty actually for a couple of days and we could have taken this further, but who needs to be a moaning Minnie on holiday! Luxury accommodation - Well the towels, bathrobes and bedlinen are excellent. The stateroom furniture is tired, but adequate and the artwork around the ship is very basic. Some nice touches, at the pool - iced towels and cooling cucumber and the sun beds are very comfortable - although need re-varnishing. The ship is in need of refurbishment and I believe this is programmed. Perhaps they should have done this before selling as a luxury club cruise though? Service Levels - on board are without exception 5 star. All the crew are well trained and offer a friendly service. The Captain was the most approachable we have ever experienced and made a real and genuine effort to make sure his crew and guests were happy. Little touches like his personal farewell as we left the ship, and his invitation to the bridge and to join the staff captain for dinner were very special and we cannot fault the service at all. Top Likes: Including high quality house wine at lunch and dinner. Fantastic Itinerary. Friendly and well trained crew. Excellent dis/embarkation and port organisation. Top Dislikes: Quality of food, tired ship, overpriced for current service levels Would we travel with Azamura again: Not until they deliver on their aspirations, or unless the price reflects the real service levels currently on offer Read Less
Sail Date June 2010
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