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Sail Date: July 2019
We booked this cruise to get a comparison of our extensive experience with Viking. We’d lost our affinity for Viking due to a nasty situation regarding a cancelled cruise credit due us. So, we felt Azamara might be our next logical ... Read More
We booked this cruise to get a comparison of our extensive experience with Viking. We’d lost our affinity for Viking due to a nasty situation regarding a cancelled cruise credit due us. So, we felt Azamara might be our next logical choice to try. Embarkation: We landed at 7:00 am in London, waited in a crowded seating area for other passengers to board a bus to Southampton. That was okay, but upon arrival at Southampton we were given instructions to sit in a large waiting area. No estimated time of checkin, no information at all. The soon to become oft-vaunted suite passengers were invited to line up for security and checkin. The remaining dross like us were cattle called into a lengthy line for security, the somewhat shorter numbered lines for checkin. Checkin took three hours from arrival in Southampton. Had I known, I would have booked a private transfer after snoozing in the Virgin Revival lounge available to Delta One passengers. We booked the near-lowest cabin class - an Oceanview Stateroom. Much has been said about the tiny bathrooms and it’s all true. What’s hilarious is you have to upgrade to a suite to get an adequate bathroom. I would have been livid to pay a veranda stateroom price for that same shower that cannot comfortably contain a size 8 woman. The finishes were fine and the toiletries on offer were equal to a two star hotel. We were in 4002 and had no problems with noise from the Caberet Lounge above. We did have some bow thruster noise, but overall, a quiet cabin. Bed quality was just fine. Our stateroom was everything promised - in distant, low-res pictures. Upon closer examination, the noted “full refurbishment” of 2016 has had a hard life, based on our observations. The furniture in our cabin was nicked and worn. It was also mismatched. The carpet was worn and grimy to the point I wouldn’t walk on it without slipper or shoes. It was interesting to note our nightstands didn’t match. There was no clock available except on the standard def tv. This provided extra fun as I used my phone for an alarm in oft-changing time zones, depending on having an Internet connection to update my phone - no luck there, more later. Storage was adequate, the bed was comfortable, it was easy to control the cabin temp in the cool Baltic weather, and the room cleaning was adequate if not terribly speedy (we’ve seen Viking staterooms cleaned in less than a half hour). Wi-fi service was an expensive rip-off. I spent endless hours simply connecting to the network. I’d log on, move to a new location (once as short a move as two deck chairs) only to be dropped. We never had this issue on Viking except some intermittent issues at sea. All our problems with Azamara’s network took place both in port and at sea. Don’t buy it. Most ports on our cruise worked just fine. We logged onto a giant MS ship in port. Food was generally excellent. Service in the restaurants ranged from ok to terrible. The specialty restaurants were a waste of money. They offered nothing superior to what we could get in the main restaurant and the Italian Aquafina served us the two worst meals we had. Book your own excursions. Azamara’s were expensive and offered poor value. For the most part guides didn’t use the popular headphones/receivers and they had to have us crowd in to hear. One plus was plenty of room to spread out. Azamara’s air booking is fabulous compared to Viking. You get to choose your preferred itinerary and price based on the buying power of Royal Caribbean. Public areas on the Journey were uneven. The furniture in “The Living Room” was grimy and worn. Most windows had eroded finishes and uncared for brasses. Entertainment was okay and varied. I don’t cruise for the floor shows. Once again I think Viking takes this whole category - all finishes are crisp and new looking. The entertainment is geared more toward informational lectures applicable to ports visited. I wish I could take the two lines and pick and choose the best of each to come up with a great value cruise line. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
There were 6 of us on this cruise, one couple with 4 other women. We started our trip with 3 days in London. Some of us had been on the Journey before and looked forward to coming back. Those new to it loved the cruise. We choose this ... Read More
There were 6 of us on this cruise, one couple with 4 other women. We started our trip with 3 days in London. Some of us had been on the Journey before and looked forward to coming back. Those new to it loved the cruise. We choose this for the ship and the itinerary. The service was excellent as expected. We loved "welcome home" every-time we returned to the ship. Embarkation was slow because of a technical problem. Our first stop was Bruges. We did it on our own, took a train into town, the station was right at the dock. Lots of walking but a beautiful place. Next Amsterdam. We did a ship excursion to the countryside to see windmills. Lots of rain all day, but we enjoyed the scenery. The amazing evening was at a maritime museum, we enjoyed the music and the canal boat ride. The next day some of us went to the Rijksmuseum on a ship excursion and others enjoyed the city on their own. The next day was the Kiel canal. It was like a sea day, but so interesting to go through the locks. We did a ship excursion to Berlin. It was a long bus ride (3 hours) and our driver forgot to make a comfort stop. Near the end of the drive they announced that there was a bathroom on the bus for emergencies. Glad I saw Berlin, but was not my trip highlight Next was a sea day. Always enjoy these and we had a wonderful brunch in the dining room. Helsinki was the next stop. We did not do a tour, but enjoyed a nice little marketplace at the dock. The next 3 days were in St. Petersburg, the highlight of the trip for me. We did a tour with ALLA tours and loved it. Only 12 people on a small bus and so much to see. Great guide and lunches were included. The white night was in St Petersburg. The food and entertainment was great but the weather was cold so it was not as enjoyable as it could have been. Tallinn was next. We enjoyed a tour from our travel agent of the old town and visited a manor home in the country where we had a wonderful meal. Our last port was Stockholm and we stayed 2 extra days. We visited the Vasa museum and Old Town. Enjoyed Stockholm except for the rain. There were many tourists everywhere since it was August. So glad we did tours or ordered advance tickets to most places. The cabin worked well for us - plenty of storage space. The bathroom is small, but not an issue. Better internet service would be welcomed. I love Azamara cruises. This was my fourth - 3rd on the Journey. It has been a few years and i wasn't sure if it would be the same. The service was still wonderful and it was nice to see some familiar faces. I enjoyed the Living Room area, but it did fill up at times. The food was still excellent and I enjoyed the included wine. We had several amazing buffets during the trip. The Chocolate buffet was unbelievable. We ate mainly in the dining room; did not do any specialty restaurants. Breakfast was either Discovery, Windows or room service - all were good. We had one lunch at the Patio and I really enjoyed an Azamara burger and onion rings. Entertainment was good, but not as good as I remembered. Cruise director Eric was not on this trip and I missed him although Danny and Lee were good. Captain Johannes was always around greeting people and letting us know what was happening. I still love Azamara and in several weeks I will be on the Azamara Journey around Spain. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We sailed in July with Azamara for the second time. Our first cruise with Azamarawas on the Pursuit in the Autumn of last year. The only real difference we could see between the ships was the Casino, when that is removed and the Lounge ... Read More
We sailed in July with Azamara for the second time. Our first cruise with Azamarawas on the Pursuit in the Autumn of last year. The only real difference we could see between the ships was the Casino, when that is removed and the Lounge becomes bigger it is a definite improvement. However The Journey is a lovely ship, we did not notice any shabby areas, she gleamed! Add to the experience the wonderful crew, a Captain who was so personable and who made in scheduled ‘stops’ so the chef could source local Norwegian berries and cheese and you have a recipe for a fun time. We even did an oil rig safari! Not many can say that! The food, service and overall holiday was first class. We are already booking two back to back cruises with Journey in November, can’t wait. Caribbean here we come! Thank you Azamara for Azamazing holidays Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise for the amazing itinerary--circumnavigating Iceland (we're still reeling at the stunning beauty of the landscapes and seascapes we saw), touring both Ireland (Dublin and Waterford) and Northern Ireland (the Ards ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the amazing itinerary--circumnavigating Iceland (we're still reeling at the stunning beauty of the landscapes and seascapes we saw), touring both Ireland (Dublin and Waterford) and Northern Ireland (the Ards Peninsula outside of Belfast is beautiful), and cozying up to Fowey, Cornwall. The great advantage of a small ship like the Azamara, Pursuit is that it can enter what seem like impossibly small harbors; in Fowey, we were literally docked among the rowboats. The other pluses of the Azamara Pursuit were the efficient and helpful and friendly staff (the embarkation and disembarkation were a piece of cake) and the surprisingly good food in the buffet restaurant, which is usually the low point of cruise cuisine; on the Pursuit, the plenitude of choice at breakfast was probably the best we've encountered on any luxury ship and there were great international buffet occasions (we especially liked the Indonesian buffet). The daily gelato choices were absolutely delicious. But, otherwise, the Azamara Pursuit was a big disappointment. The mostly-beige new refurbishment was more blah than the advertised "understated elegance" (this was only the second voyage for Azamara) and the public rooms, though comfortable enough and serviceable, were the least impressive of any luxury-class ship we've experienced (on, for example, Silversea, Regent, Crystal, Viking, Oceania, and Celebrity). I won't go into the tackiness of what passes for "art" on that ship, which sometimes left me shaking my head in disbelief. Our standard balcony stateroom was so small that the furniture simply didn't fit it. I laughed when we realized that we would have to move the coffee table to be able to open the door to get to the balcony. We weren't expecting great entertainment on a ship this small but we were expecting good lecturers; there was only one (on astronomy) and I would say that he was only just ok. How great it would have been to have had a lecturer who could hold forth on Iceland! But perhaps the biggest disappointment and surprise was the mediocre and uninspired food in the ala carte restaurant and in the specialty restaurants. This ship had, hands down, the most undistinguished food we've ever encountered on a cruise ship. I always consider the soups the best test of a restaurant; in this case, nearly every soup we tried was so watery and bland as to be inedible. Even the highly-touted "Chefs Table" French meal was nothing special, certainly not worth the hefty additional fee. We met people who had been on many Azamara cruises--but I think I can say with certainty that this will be our last. The Azamara Pursuit simply isn't worth the money. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I chose this cruise since I have sailed with the cruise line since 2007. Every cruise has been sensational! Having sailed on the Adonia I was looking forward to see the changes that Azamara had made. I was so excited to sail on ... Read More
I chose this cruise since I have sailed with the cruise line since 2007. Every cruise has been sensational! Having sailed on the Adonia I was looking forward to see the changes that Azamara had made. I was so excited to sail on the Pursuit and the wonderful itinerary including Iceland. It was wonderful to see so many of the crew that had been brought over from the other ships. That is where it all ended....I spent a small fortune (more than I have ever spent on Azamara) for the most underwhelming cruise that I have ever been on. The ships excursions were ridiculously overpriced. Larry Pimentel explained that they were so expensive because they decided to use vans instead of busses so the guests could have a better experience . Well...I took a private van tour in Reykjavik with other AZ guests that was under a $100 per person. It covered all the same stops as the AZ tour. The entertainment was underwhelming. The assistant cruise director was the highlight of the Az Entertainment staff. The singers and dancers needed a lot of work. The outside entertainment was very good (especially Mandy who never disappoints). How so much goes on in the Den was a bit overwhelming. With the piano in the middle of the room it was amazing how anyone sitting at the bar could have a conversation or the offices moved up there could hear themselves think. Too much going on in one place at one time. The food and service in the dining room was adequate (nothing spectacular) The food in Windows for breakfast and lunch was the most boring that I have ever had. It never seemed to change. I never thought I would write such a review for Azamara. I was always your biggest cheerleader. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise for two reasons, the itinerary and to try this new ship bought by Azamara. We have traveled on Journey and Quest multiple times and loved them all. In fact, before boarding this cruise, we had the week before cruised ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two reasons, the itinerary and to try this new ship bought by Azamara. We have traveled on Journey and Quest multiple times and loved them all. In fact, before boarding this cruise, we had the week before cruised on Journey doing the Norwegian Fjords. That cruise was exceptional. The Pursuit was a huge disappointment. Our main complaint was a constant tapping noise along with an intermittent foghorn sound in our room. Our cabin, 8058, was torn up for the good part of two days with the ceilings and walls taken apart. The tapping sound was partially eliminated, but since techs were not ever in our room when the foghorn sounds appeared, this was never solved. They didn’t know what it was causing it. However, we were never contacted by guest relations to ask how we were surviving what I deemed the “insane asylum with good food” even once. Several other passengers suffered similar noise problems and complained. We discovered a few days before the end of the cruise that the foghorn noise was an air conditioning problem. If we turned the AC off and then back on, the noise went away temporarily. We had to do this multiple times a night. I suffered headaches from lack of sleep and while the ports were great, my enjoyment of them was thwarted. We were told there were no suites for us to move,although one day when our room was in shambles, they gave us a balcony room to rest in. Later, friends also with noise problems told us they had been moved to a Spa Suite. Hmm. We were happy for them, but they were at Explorer level, and we are Discover+ with 2000 points. Selfishly we thought we should have been given priority. In fact, on this cruise, we received NO advantage for our loyalty. We didn’t even get an invitation to the CC meeting for the first time although we signed up it. The laundry and internet minutes we received were the same as our continental suite provided. We have never felt so ignored or unappreciated on an Azamara cruise before. Service by wait staff and room stewards were wonderful as usual. The dry cleaner shrunk my pants so they are now too short. Food was good and we thought the entertainment was at times great. We met with the guest relations manager to express our disappointment and sleep deprivation before the cruise ended and he said he would report it. Wow, thank you. When I mentioned my dry cleaning- which I had gotten back the day before- he said I should have reported it. I said I just did. Nada. I asked what he could do about lengthening my pants (which I had on at the time so he could see) and all I got was a blank stare. Maybe he was overwhelmed, but he underwhelmed me. I let him know that for the first time ever I would be leaving a negative review. Also, small thing, but the movies they showed were mostly for children on a cruise with few children. And they repeated several times each on this cruise. Pay movies were not available as they are on Journey and Quest. We have eight more Azamara cruises booked (excited about Africa and Japan) but happily none of them are on the Pursuit. I am sure they will work the problems out, but until then, we will avoid this ship. If we receive any positive response to our nightmare that cost well over $20,000, I will post an update. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The shame of P&O's fleet, the Adonia, returns from dry dock transformed into the luxury, five star, country house hotel experience aka The Pursuit. What are the chances of that happening? What a load of old blether. The cabin ... Read More
The shame of P&O's fleet, the Adonia, returns from dry dock transformed into the luxury, five star, country house hotel experience aka The Pursuit. What are the chances of that happening? What a load of old blether. The cabin was hideously dusty, the 'bathroom' cramped and badly designed, and the first time since the Heysham ferry I've hated the way a ship performed in slight 'weather'. This from someone who's felt perfectly fine going through a hurricane with 100ft waves in the QEII. Stick a funnel on a margarine tub and you get the picture. I feel thoroughly ripped off. Never having used Azamara before (we're itinerary driven cruisers) we asked other passengers was this the usual Azamara experience? All said a resounding 'no' and 'that the service was way below par'. We met a couple who'd been on the Adonia just before Azamara took her over and said there was little difference save a coat or two of paint! I accept this was only the second voyage for the ship but the crew really need better training. Having young officers openly mocking passengers whilst using the dining facilities is frankly appalling. On seeing an overweight disabled passenger one young officer shouted out 'I can see a whale' as the poor soul struggled past. Shame! Worse still the senior officer present didn't rebuke them. The Captain really has to take responsibility for this. I don't don't want a big 'happy family' of a crew I want a well-structured/disciplined professional framework of command and leave the jokes to the Cruise Director (who incidently was the best thing on the ship). Incidentally first time a ship's crew have tried to alter reality to cover their failings. Howsabout admitting fault, apologising, and try to do better? You will get caught out otherwise. I will never use Azamara again. Emperor's New Clothes Outfit. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this as we have happily cruised with Azamara several times, and also it was a no fly cruise. We had expected the ship to be pristine, but, while clean, it was clearly a tired old lady. The crew were clearly still in the work ... Read More
We chose this as we have happily cruised with Azamara several times, and also it was a no fly cruise. We had expected the ship to be pristine, but, while clean, it was clearly a tired old lady. The crew were clearly still in the work up phase, as generally it was not such a slick operation overall. The cabin staff and restaurant staff were very friendly and helpful, and the service was generally good. Unfortunately the management of the ships air conditioning system was sadly deficient, as 90% of the time, the main public rooms, i.e. The Cabaret, the Living Room, Windows, Discoveries and the Den were kept far too cold, given the age profile of guests, although the Den did warm up later in the cruise, and despite many complaints, this situation never improved, thus blankets were required most of the time for comfort. At no time did I see a staff member querying why so many guests asked for blankets. The food was definitely not up to the standard of other Azamara cruises, either in Discoveries or Windows, the latter not improved by the difficulty in self serving under the low glass hygiene screens. (Are these lower than the other two boats?) At no time did I see a cloakroom attendant in any of the public washrooms, unlike other Azamara cruises, and in at least two of the men's washrooms, at least one of the basin soap dispensers was empty throughout the whole cruise. An improvement on all three ships in the Windows restaurant would be to fit baffles in front of the sliding doors thus inhibiting the gale of cold air which howls through the cafeteria every time they, frequently, open. The cruise destinations were somewhat disappointing, in that we only seemed to see two steep sided fjiords, and one port, Haugesund(?), appeared to have been selected primarily to allow two Azamara ships to be in the same port simultaneously, as there was no attractive scenery on the way in, nor little of interest in the port to attract the casual visitor, yet there was a huge water area to allow one ship, the Journey, to circle the other’s mooring. Were I a cynic, I might have thought that this was perhaps a publicity stunt, such that photos of the event could appear in future publicity brochures. The in-room television offerings were very poor, with no proper program guide, no on-demand film offerings, and the films that were shown, and repeated, were very old, and it was not even possible to check your on-board account on the TV. This was a new ship to Azamara for goodness sake, and provision of such facilities is not rocket science. Sadly, overall, we were quite disappointed in this cruise, and got the impression that Azamara was cutting back, and we did not take kindly to being 'guinea-pig' guests, while still paying the full price, and given the competition at this level, will be looking closely at competitor companies, who offer larger cabins, more modern cabin facilities, and a temperate climate in the public areas. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
This was my 29th cruise (12 different cruise companies). I was really disappointed. The officers are very arrogant and aloof and only acknowledge repeat passengers. Many people have done 10+ Azamara cruises. The cabin staff, ... Read More
This was my 29th cruise (12 different cruise companies). I was really disappointed. The officers are very arrogant and aloof and only acknowledge repeat passengers. Many people have done 10+ Azamara cruises. The cabin staff, bar staff and waiters are all very friendly and service and food was good. My husband complained about a few things but they didn't take any notice because we are only 2nd time passengers. My husband discussed this with a lady from the clique and she openly boasted how they would "listen to her" if she complained !! Other clique passengers blatantly ignored signs saying CLOSED and go in anyway - like they own the ship and are clearly used to preferential treatment. The ship is old and despite the refurbishment it is still very evident. The Ladies toilet's smell musty and remind me of the 1970's. Its not dirty. The ship was very clean. Its just very old. The DJ ruined the party every night. He had absolutely do idea how to do his job. He had a terrible attitude. My husband said to him your going to get bad reviews and he shrugged his shoulders and said he didn't care. After the white night party (which was good) we were told to carry on the party in the Living Room. But when we got there the atmosphere was flat and music didn't come on for 45 minutes. A manager was stood there and my husband asked him why and he just blanked him and walked away to the clique. Who proceeded to talk about my husband and stare at him !! I have never experienced such an atmosphere and unwelcome feeling aboard a ship. I have only travelled on the same ship a few times but generally get on well with other passengers and officers and don't have any problems. Azamara need to address this - I have businesses too and we all need new customers to survive. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We have used Viking three times and Azamara’s food and service beats them hands down. Don’t know what the previous reviewer meant by cliques, but our experience was excellent. All the staff and officers were friendly, engaging and ... Read More
We have used Viking three times and Azamara’s food and service beats them hands down. Don’t know what the previous reviewer meant by cliques, but our experience was excellent. All the staff and officers were friendly, engaging and approachable, especially Captain Carl, the Personnel Manager Beth, and the Hotel Manager as well. Once on Viking I complimented the captain on his new ship and he couldn’t be bothered speaking with a mere passenger. Not so on Azamara. Carlos in future cruises, the new female cruise director and, I believe Ruda was the server’s name In the Living Room and on the pool deck (he is from Romania) were delightful. Ruda always had a big smile and always remembered we liked sparkling wine at 6:00 p.m. We found the food excellent. We ate half the time in specialty restaurants and half the time in the main dining room. All were superb. The Chef’s Table was wonderful as well. Our criticism, and it is nothing that Azamara can really fix, is that the bathrooms in the club veranda rooms have a tiny shower with a shower curtain. It feels very dated, but Azamara is stuck with the existing configuration. When we take Azamara next, we will upgrade to the club continent suite which has a real showers with a real door. Another criticism was the Windows Cafe. The food was never appealing in terms of taste, appearance and aroma, and we tried it three times. We usually ate breakfast in the main dining room We found the shore excursions much more expensive than Viking and not worth the additional cost. There were three in our party and in Oslo, we hired a private guide and saw so much more for a much better value proposition. We shared our concerns with guest relations. The White Night was wonderful as was the Azamazing Evening of Greig’s music. Azamara did a wonderful job with the two buffet evenings, including White Night. The food was fresh, hot and delicious. Taking everything into consideration, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and, as Captain Carl said, wait until the Pursuit has a few cruises under her belt and she’ll be amazing. We thought it was pretty amazing as it was! P.S The company needs to have its ground operations fine-tuned in Southampton. We arrived and had to wait almost two hours to board a ship that had no previous passengers. There were no beverages offered and we had to sit on hard airport-like seats after a 6-hour flight. There were also some baggage pickup hiccups in disembarking, but nothing that staff training and reinforcement can’t fix. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We decided 2 years ago to sail the British Isles for our daughter's high school graduation gift before she went off to college. i'm glad she wanted to see Ireland! One of the nice things about Azamara is they have their ... Read More
We decided 2 years ago to sail the British Isles for our daughter's high school graduation gift before she went off to college. i'm glad she wanted to see Ireland! One of the nice things about Azamara is they have their itinerary's published 2 years in advance and that is one of the main reasons we chose it, even though it was touted as a golf cruise (and prices seemed higher than their other sail dates!) Our cruise departed from Southampton, England which we did not explore because we spent 3 days seeing London and the countryside before our cruise. The night before our sailing we stayed in Winchester, which was charming and well worth the visit, especially if one is a fan of "Last Kingdom" or Jane Austen. The boarding process was fairly smooth. We were in a suite and the ship only has about 680 guests anyway. Compared to NCL's large ships and Carnival's process it was easy. They took security very seriously which we appreciated very much. We have sailed Oceania before so we knew in advance that we looked small ships. The Journey is a nice size ship. She has lovely color schemes meant to relax. The art on board is not garish which I appreciated. The dining options are plentiful and we never had to wait for a table or suffer from long service wait times. We had a club continent suite, cabin 8069. Our Butler, Crook and his team took excellent care of us. The bed was as hard as a rock. we asked them for a foam topper and they found us one which made it better but i was so glad to get home to my bed. I was very surprised about this another cruise lines have invested in heavenly beds. I did think our carpet needed to be shampooed not because it was dirty, but because the room smelled like old skin cells! It did not bother my husband so I did not complain. The entertainment on board was pretty good. Mel Meller the comedian was hilarious and his was the only artist's name I memorized. The casino is rather small and my husband was sad there was no craps or baccarat. It was packed in there until the British Open was finished. There is a complimentary laundry room with perhaps six machines. The one time I actually attempted to check it out, I was given dirty looks by about 7 women crammed in there. I sent the laundry off as I did not have any inclination to join them. When we got off the ship for the various excursions, it was always a nice surprise when the Captain was there to see us off. The officers and crew were genuinely friendly and responsive; the best we have ever had. Halfway through the sailing the cruise director became ill and had to leave. He was quite funny - telling stories from his grandfather (perhaps because most people on the boat were his grandfather's age?) that were quite hilarious. We missed him the second half of the sailing. His wardrobe is another story... Guernsey - small, beautiful island. Would love to have had more time there but it is very tidal and I guess the tender was a problem. Celebrity Silhouette could not tender that day so they missed it! The German occupation during WWII left its mark. We did a nice ship tour but honestly there were plenty of taxis one could have hired and skipped the lines. Cobh/Cork - we had a private tour though Cork Taxi Tours. We visited the Blarney Castle, Kinsale, and the 9/11 Monument on its outskirts - very moving. We saw multiple churches and had a wonderful lunch with our guide Audrey. Holyhead, Wales - we took a ship tour to see Gwydir Castle (really a 45 room house!) with an amazing story. Read "Castles in the Air". Then we had a bus drive through Snowdonia. I heard the train tour was terrible. Avoid that for the cost the ship charges! Liverpool - my husband went to the British Open final day ($400 through the ship) we learned you could taxi there and pay $50 for what he had...I guess you have to learn by doing. My daughter and I took a ship tour to Chester & Erddig House. That was another large house with massive, gorgeous gardens. I am so glad these old pieces of history are being saved! Dublin - we had a private walking tour through Dublin Tour Guide. We had Maitiu'. He was amazing and explained so much about the history of Ireland and he took us into Trinity College and we saw the Book of Kells. Belfast - ship tour to "Live like a Stark at Winterfell" this one was expensive and fun. We dressed up like "game of thrones", visited scenes from the show, had sword fights, did archery, falconry, and met the 2 wolves and their very handsome masters from the "Game of Thrones". We also had lunch in a smoky tent! Glasgow/Greenock - we had a private tour that took us to Loch Lomond where we had a speedboat pub crawl with our very charming boat guide, Joe. I wanted to adopt him! The Loch is gorgeous and full of history! Isle of Skye - we did a ship excursion to the Eilean Donan Castle remains. It is a lot smaller than it looks in the photos! Invergordon - what a depressing little port, no taxis, nothing really here except large oil platforms in the river sucking the oil out and sending the revenues to London. I was very surprised that the only thing open was a small museum that was actually quite moving about the wars and a ship that mysteriously blew up the Natal killing 421 people. We took a tour to go to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle remains (what an interesting history with a really great 7 minute film), ending with a drive through Inverness. Why didn't we dock in that gorgeous town? Global Economy Group should have to invest in Invergordon. It was a sad little town and this was on a Saturday! Leith/Edinburgh - use Uber or call at taxi and go explore. It is a 10 minute ride to the Royal Mile. We did 1 ship excursion - a Scottish Experience - I have to admit I cried. Maybe the wine, but the singing and dancing and wine had its effect. "Caledonia, I love you" made me cry, especially with the pictures of Scotland's beauty playing in the background. Overall, great cruise. We really got to see a lot of the countrysides in each place and met the nicest people. I would have signed up for the South African cruise in 2019, but the schedule was not out yet! Read Less
19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
With a little more planning and attention to detail by the Cruise Director and his team, this could have had a five star rating but opportunities were missed. The inadequacy of planning was most noticeable in the failure to ensure ... Read More
With a little more planning and attention to detail by the Cruise Director and his team, this could have had a five star rating but opportunities were missed. The inadequacy of planning was most noticeable in the failure to ensure that lectures about port information were given before the port itself was reached. Quite why some sea days had no port lectures scheduled, resulting in them being shoe-horned in on days when we were in port, remained a mystery. So far as attention to detail was concerned, an obvious failure was the scheduling of activities in unsuitable spaces. There were times when I felt the Audio-Visual team were deliberately sabotaging events. It ought not to beyond their ability to prevent a curtain from straying across their projected stage backdrop! The activities themselves were pretty humdrum and repetitive withe the exception of the "Iron Chef" event. On the plus side, the food was of very high quality and service in both the main dining room and the buffet was exceptional. Indeed the buffet should not be considered a self- service restaurant as waiters are at hand to bring anything required. The ship is exceptionally well staffed both in terms of their numbers and importantly, their quality -- by far the best I have come across in 20 years of cruising. Staterooms are surprisingly small for a ship operating in the upper- market sector. There was barely room to pass each other within the cabin. Two chairs (non-reclining) and a dining-height table took up practically all the space on the small balcony. The smallness of the ship also put walking space at a premium -- there is no wrap-around promenade deck. An upper deck is kept free of deck chairs but at 13 circuits to a mile is a pretty tight space. To compensate there is a reasonably equipped gym. The ship lacks a dedicated cinema -- the " Calypso Lounge" has to to be used for this as well as being the Showtime venue, the Lecture theatre, and a Quiz Room. The lack of raked flooring makes cinema viewing particularly difficult. A good point, at least for me, was the lack of announcements on the PA system. Azamara caters well for those wanting a peaceful, comfortable cruise. The high volume of returning passengers suggests that the Line has a successful formula. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This was our fourth cruise with Azamara, in fact the only cruise line we have ever been on. We decided on a transatlantic, because what could be better than cruising into the old port of Montreal where we live! My father also did a similar ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise with Azamara, in fact the only cruise line we have ever been on. We decided on a transatlantic, because what could be better than cruising into the old port of Montreal where we live! My father also did a similar trek ages ago when he came to Canada from Ireland. We did not stay in Southampton before the cruise began, we flew into Heathrow, and taxied to the ship. We were booked in the Spa suite, one of the new suites added on during dry dock renovations. The spa suite is beautiful and spacious. There are a few things I will suggest to the company though, the table they had in the room originally, is too small. we love to eat breakfast in our room, alone. So I asked them for a bigger table and they brought one up right away...a beautiful mahogany table, perfect size. They need a bigger table on the balcony as well, which I will suggest as well. I know the soaking tub took up room on the balcony, but it is still big enough for a nice size table. I found the spa music a nice touch, the only problem was the music would start playing all of a sudden, and whenever the captain addressed the ship all we could hear was the spa music. They did have their electrician come in and fix the issue. The double sink vanity was superb. i am not a fan of the modern sinks being on top of the counter and not sunk in, but this one worked! All they need for the older women is a magnifying mirror. We did have one major issue with the shower door. First the good stuff, the shower is amazing, the rain shower and side jets, just wonderful. Now our cruise was a little rough in the north Atlantic, there were two tropical storms churning away, making for a rough ride. Our shower door had a very small magnetic strip to hold it closed, well that little magnetic strip failed miserably. I had to call the maintenance crew more than once to try to fix it, it never really was fixed by the way. I had to rig the door closed when not in use with a chair, our camera bag and a towel. This door was swinging open and slamming closed and I thought it would break at one point, not to mention it was loud as well. We did complain to the hotel manager and he was very generous with a settlement. The ports of call were well planned out and the excursions well done. The entertainment on board was just excellent. Their cruise director, Russ, is a super sweet, very knowledgeable and friendly person to chat with, his entertainment crew were fantastic. I would absolutely cruise with them again, not a trans ocean cruise though. The food, we ate only in the specialty dining rooms, their chef, Iwan pennings is absolutely amazing. The flavors and the quality of the food was perfect.The sommeliers were excellent in anticipating what wines we would like. All in all, we enjoyed this experience and we will cruise with Azamara again in the near future. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We booked this cruise almost 23 months before sailing, as the ship was being repositioned to Montreal for a Charter. We paid for an inside cabin, but were upgraded to a V2 balcony cabin. Although we rarely used the balcony due to poor ... Read More
We booked this cruise almost 23 months before sailing, as the ship was being repositioned to Montreal for a Charter. We paid for an inside cabin, but were upgraded to a V2 balcony cabin. Although we rarely used the balcony due to poor weather on the Atlantic crossing, it was useful for taking early morning photos when we arrived in port. The weather in all ports of call was good, more than be said for mid Atlantic. The Captain took a south west course towards the Azores, to avoid Tropical Storm Ian. This he did successfully, but had to go through the tail of the storm before arriving in St John's Newfoundland. I am Lactose Intolerant and was well catered for. I pre ordered my food the night before and the menu was adapted accordingly, except for sweets, which could not be pre ordered. Eventually, after speaking to the Maitre'D, I was made 'specials.' I found I was searching for things to do on Sea days, as I am not interested in quizzes and there was an overload of these. There were enrichment lectures, mainly on the Solar System, Planets and Weather Forecasting. These I found rather beyond my understanding, but they were well illustrated. As the first 4 ports of call were immediately after leaving Southampton, there was no opportunity to hear port lectures on these. The port lecturer had pre recorded these for viewing on the stateroom TV, but there was no time to view them, as we were in port! I found the Land Discoveries programme to be very expensive, so we didn't take any ship's excursions. Instead we DIY. Honfleur We took the free ship's shuttle and walked around for 3 hrs on a pleasant sunny market day. I did however find the cobbles difficult to negotiate. Mont St Michel Here we took a private tour, arranged through ACSM tours. They were excellent. St Peter Port Here we took the ship's tender into the port. We did a bit of shopping and then took the road train which went around the port. Cobh As we had been here before, we took a tour arranged by a fellow passenger via Butlers bus tours. This was to Lismore Castle gardens. Another great day. St John's Newfoundland. A great welcome by the towns folk, who were lining the cliffs. It was good to put our feet on dry land again, so we took the opportunity to walk around and take pictures. I had read that there was a road train which went around the town when cruise ships were in port, but I didn't see any evidence of it. Saguanay The Captain first told us of beluga whales in the entrance of the Saguanay river, then he stopped the ship near the statue of 'Our Lady of Saguanay' on Cap Trinite. We then had a wonderful greeting by townsfolk, who served bilberry pie and juice to us. Quebec City We took a taxi tour out to Montmorency Falls. These are higher than Niagara but not as wide. The weather was excellent, so we took wonderful photos. We then returned to the town, to be given a tour, before being dropped off near the Funicular railway. This took us down into the Old Town, which was very similar to Mont St Michel streets. Montreal Unfortunately, we were in the commercial port, as the passenger port is being renovated. We were taken by shuttle across railway tracks and less touristy areas into the port for the old town. I must say I wondered where on earth we were being taken. We then spent the morning looking at the Cathedral and those shops that we could get into by stepping across road works. Disembarkation. This was very well organised, we had been allocated bus 15 and outside we were lined up to await the arrival of the bus. We were taken to the Marriott hotel, whose ground floor was part of the airport concourse. This made life easy, a simple walk into the airport, which made waiting for the pre arranged transfer bus unnecessary. For more information go to : http://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2406441 Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
After cruising on all the "regular" lines since the 70's, my husband and I sailed a step up on Azamara. We mainly chose this line because it was convenient for us. We had our Retirement trip and stayed in Italy for 10 days ... Read More
After cruising on all the "regular" lines since the 70's, my husband and I sailed a step up on Azamara. We mainly chose this line because it was convenient for us. We had our Retirement trip and stayed in Italy for 10 days and wanted to do a trans atlantic cruise back across the pond. Wow are we glad we took Azamara! Everything was excellent. No lines, no screaming children, no rock climbing walls. Just pure relaxation. The beds are fantastic and the linens sublime. The service is impeccable. The food is awesome even in the main dining room and the pool grill. There was always a deck chair and always a clean table at the buffet which was the best I have seen at sea. This is not a "party" ship. Mostly older folks 55 to 70. Since I fit in that category I felt right at home. I now understand why over 40% of the passengers are repeat customers. They only have two ships but for everything the provide including wine, cocktails,sodas and specialty coffees at NO EXTRA CHARGE it is worth every dime. So after 20 something cruises I am now a loyal Azamara fan. Just wish I had become one sooner. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
We chose to sail with Azamara as we wanted to cruise the Baltic area and were looking for a small ship. The Quest was the perfect size for us and we will definitely choose to sail with them again. The recent refurbishment means the ... Read More
We chose to sail with Azamara as we wanted to cruise the Baltic area and were looking for a small ship. The Quest was the perfect size for us and we will definitely choose to sail with them again. The recent refurbishment means the ship looks beautiful. If you are looking for lavish Broadway style shows and 20 activities to choose from on days at sea this won't be the ship for you. It's also not a ship for families, but as we travelled as a couple this suited us just fine. Embarkation was a breeze (but anything was likely to beat the 2+ hour queue we stood in to board the Celebrity Solstice). The ship was ready for boarding before 12 o'clock and we were welcomed on board with a glass of bubbly and directed to lunch in the Windows restaurant. Lunch was excellent variety and quality. Service was also friendly and efficient. This set the standard for the rest of the voyage. We loved the food in every restaurant. We treated ourselves to the speciality restaurants on 3 evenings (special rate for 3 visits) as we were celebrating our wedding anniversary. Prime C did an excellent chateaubriand but in our opinion the Aqualina just had the edge for the food, service and beautiful setting. However dinner was delicious in the Discoveries dining room with a varied menu every evening. I didn't feel we would have been deprived if we'd eaten there every evening. A lovely dining experience. Some guests seemed to prefer the buffet restaurant on the top deck and we did eat there one night. Some buffets can feel like eating in a cafeteria and this was definitely not the ambiance in Windows. We prefer a more formal setting for dinner but the food quality and variety was consistently high everywhere on the ship. A lot of reviews slate the quality of the wines. Maybe we're easily pleased but we enjoyed the wine every night. You have a choice of 2 whites, 2 reds, a rose and a sparkling wine every night. The waiters top up your glass throughout the meal so no need to buy a bottle. We enjoyed the complimentary drinks package and felt no need to pay for a special package. If my husband wanted a port or liqueur after dinner it was reasonably priced. One slight quibble about the complimentary drinks - there are 2 vodkas, 2 gins, 2 whiskeys, bourbon and tequila. We felt brandy was missing. It wouldn't have to be top quality cognac. We only booked an outside cabin (oops, make that stateroom). After reading some of the reviews we were expecting a tiny, basic cubbyhole. Yes, the ensuite was compact, but the actual cabin was a decent size, well appointed with a really comfortable bed and our steward kept it immaculate. We were in room 6008 and I think it is slightly larger than some of the other outside staterooms. One of the biggest assets on this ship are the crew. They are all friendly (in a professional way), went out of their way to give good service and always gave it with a smile. I feel this starts at the top as the Captain is a definite 'people person' who has an obvious enthusiasm for his job. Russ also comes across as enjoying contact with the passengers. He is also a talented performer doing his own show one night and augmentlng the other entertainers other nights. We didn't make the show every night and they're going to be limited in what they can achieve on such a small ship, but the standard of the shows we managed to catch were professional. We enjoyed the Azamazing evening which was a Philharmonic concert in St Petersburg. It took some slick organisation to get several hundred passengers transported to the concert hall and back again, especially as Russian immigration is so strict. After an excellent concert (which didn't play pieces which were too long or too heavy classical) we had a lovely trip back through the floodlit city to be welcomed by the band playing on the quay and a glass of bubbly to round off the evening. We did our own exploring ashore apart from St Petersburg. We were the first group into the Hermitage museum in the morning and enjoyed the whole day with our knowledgable guide Anna. The second day we visited Peterhof Palace and again were able to see inside the palace before the hoards descended. The small size of the ship means you hit the ground running as the ship is docked right in the centre of each port or as Captain Carl told us (often) we were in the best berth it was possible to have. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Amazing Cruise! I will post an in depth trip report on Cruise Critic, however here will be my quick review. This was a special trip and we picked Azamara to give us that special emphasis and they did not disappoint. We traveled ... Read More
Amazing Cruise! I will post an in depth trip report on Cruise Critic, however here will be my quick review. This was a special trip and we picked Azamara to give us that special emphasis and they did not disappoint. We traveled without the kids and We definitely would book with Azamara again. Embarkation - A breeze, literally, we walked in, approached a waiting representative, she took our express pass, our passports and issued our sea passes and we were on the ship in 5 minutes. Disembarkation went exactly the same, we were given a time to leave, we walked off the ship into a waiting canopied tent for our luggage and were completely on our way to the airport - again in 5 minutes. The ship - Beautiful, simple, classy and well laid out. No bells or whistles on this ship, but we knew that going in. Cabin - Amazing. We were blessed with an upgrade for $298 to a suite. So work it. Beautiful, elegant and tons of space. The cabin was on the 8th floor. Please know that you do hear chairs, carts, etc..moving about above from time to time. Nothing major and definitely not while I was trying to sleep. It was not a problem for us. We had a cabin with a tub - this is a problem for tall people. I am 5'10" and my husband is 6'4". I fit under the ceiling with only an inch to spare. Hubby did not make it - he could not stand up, he had to crouch while taking a shower. Again...he did not think it was a big deal and could live with it for 12 days. Room steward and butler were great! So nice but not intrusive at all. Specialty Dining: Ate in the 2 specialty restaurants - both of them were fabulous! Main Dining: Ate dinner here 3 times - excellent Buffet: Ate breakfast here most days - good Patio: Ate lunch here several times - good Room Service: great! Served hot and fresh! Officers BBQ: FANTASTIC Entertainment: Casino - Fun! Shows - only had time for one and it was okay. Dancing - great! White Night Party - FANTASTIC!! Azamazing Event - FANTASTIC!! Shore excursions: Did not do any with the ship so I can't review. Ports of call: Easy on and off the ship. No lines, no problems. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
Azamara Quest 07/22/16 We have over 30 cruises with most of the major cruise lines and this 11 night Baltic cruise was one (if not the best) cruise vacations that we have ever taken. It was our 1st time on Azamara and we chose an ... Read More
Azamara Quest 07/22/16 We have over 30 cruises with most of the major cruise lines and this 11 night Baltic cruise was one (if not the best) cruise vacations that we have ever taken. It was our 1st time on Azamara and we chose an interior cabin. Other than the lousy internet service and very limited complimentary beer choices, I really have nothing to complain about nor did I hear of any major complaints from our ship mates unlike most other cruise lines where there is always a long line-up at Guest Relations with people with “issues”. The ship itself looks quite beautiful after its recent dry dock with little sign of wear & tear. Our interior cabin was in good shape and offered extremely comfortable beds and down pillows. Our cabin #8021 was well located and quiet except for some muffled voices and sounds of drawers/closets opening & closing from next door. Azamara really takes advantage of the size and shallow draft of their ships and in most ports we were able to dock in the city centre while the big guys were docked miles away. It was great to be in the centre of town when you step off of the ship. Most other ships were docked miles away. All crew members were extremely friendly and quickly learned you name. The officers were always visible and approachable. The Captain had his young family onboard and it was lovely seeing him making the rounds with his 2 young boys by the hand. We found that the food was quite good but there is room for improvement as it is not nearly as good as their main competitor “O”. The AzAmazing Evening offered on most cruises was probably the highlight of our voyage. We were treated to a private concert by the entire St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra at their historic concert hall. This must have cost the cruise line a lot of money but it was complimentary for us. In summary, if you are contemplating an Azamara cruise, do it…..you will not regret it. Read Less
29 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
It’s been two weeks so it’s time I write this review! A little background first so you have a point of reference on where this is coming from. I (Todd) just turned the big five-oh and Troy (husband) is in his late 40’s. Our cruise ... Read More
It’s been two weeks so it’s time I write this review! A little background first so you have a point of reference on where this is coming from. I (Todd) just turned the big five-oh and Troy (husband) is in his late 40’s. Our cruise history is mostly Neptune suites on HAL up until around 2006 and then Sky and Celebrity suites on Celebrity for the past 10 years with two Windstar thrown in there. On land trips we stay in Waldorf’s, St. Regis’ and Four Seasons. We enjoy a refined, hip, lively atmosphere and while we don’t consider ourselves foodies, anyone listening to us talk about food certainly would……or maybe that’s gluttons……oh well, fine line haha. I haven’t written reviews on our last few cruises and promised I would this time so here goes but be warned that it turned out a lot longer than I expected. I’ll start by saying we had an amazing cruise. I wish I could give 4.5 stars as there were some things that didn’t fit our cruising style or that we thought could be improved but I rounded up since Azamara, the officers and the crew really seemed to care and were just all around good people. I never had the feeling that they were out to get you for all your $$ or argue silly points of policy/procedure. All of the officers were very visible and it was great to see the captain interacting and being dad with his family who were onboard. Embarkation was quick and easy, no lines and onboard in a few minutes. The had a desk set up to the right of check in for specialty restaurants and we were able to book those before boarding and was nice to get that out of the way. We lucked out and received the $398 upgrade to the Club Continent Suite (#8046) and we really loved that! The room was very comfortable in size and while I thought I would miss the loveseat and bank of drawers across from the bed, the chair and a half did fine and we had more than enough storage. The new décor is very relaxing and the bed and linens were not what I would call “luxury”, but were very nice. The bathroom was also a nice surprise since I thought by the photos that our toiletries would be flying around due to the lack of space on each side of the sink and open shelving. That was not the case and it all worked out great. Towels were thick and the toiletries provided were About Rose and very nice. We did have a tub and being 6ft I had to bend over to rinse my hair but we have that same thing in the suites on Celebrity and it wasn’t the end of the world. Our butler and stewards did a great job of making the room up twice a day and keeping the fridge stocked with mostly Diet Cokes. Being under the lounge area on the pool deck we really didn’t hear all that much noise. The only times I remember are when they were setting up and breaking down for the White Nights BBQ. Our only complaint would be the limited selection on the TV. Just a few shows and movies were run over and over and the pay selection was very limited. The ship itself is beautiful! They did a great job on the refit and it has a nice relaxed elegance. If I had to give two small, very petty comments it would be to lose any and all dark green marble and switch out what looks like builder grade tile around the pool. A nice mosaic like on Oceania, Celebrity or the new Regent Explorer gives big bang for little buck. I know, I know, silly and petty but it did cross my mind. A place I didn’t think we’d use but ended up several times was the lounge area by the pool. We found ourselves curling up on the large chaise lounges and reading/sleeping for what felt like hours. Pure relaxation! We appreciated the size of the ship when we were able to dock so close to the center of town in Copenhagen and St. Petersburg while other ships docked at the main port. Now to the food. It was mostly good, sometimes great and every now and then….well not so great. First the buffet - We ate all of our breakfasts in the buffet and one of our gripes was that the buffet didn’t open until 7:30am. That seemed a little late, especially when pulling in to port at 8:00am. We managed to survive haha but that is something I would adjust. Yes we could have ordered room service but we like to sleep all we can, mill around and eat when we’re ready. Breakfast items on the buffet were your standard variety and we didn’t notice any higher quality than we found on Celebrity. I will note that we thought the waffles were horrible being undercooked and flavorless. We did enjoy the nice table settings and the fact that a server always rushed over when you sat down to take your beverage order. The buffet is very compact but had everything you would need and everyone was polite and civilized, even when it seemed crowded with people crisscrossing and going every which way. One of the benefits of this size ship is that the crew do get to know you and the omelette……um….master?....well the guy in charge of omelette orders knew us by day 2 and my egg beater, no oil, ham & cheddar omelette and Troy’s sausage omelette order were always started the moment he saw us. We didn’t have any lunches in the buffet but we did have many dinners, being drawn in by the ethnic themes. Most were very good and our only two comments would be that more spice is needed for the dishes that should be spicy and we wish they used chicken breast instead of the dark meat pieces you find at a mall food court restaurant. Things like vindaloo should have some kick but it was more like a mild tika masala. With the exception of some of the warm cobblers and bread puddings and the gelato, the desserts on the buffet were like what we’ve found on all of our cruises, bland tasteless and with a weird consistency. Definitely room for improvement with the desserts. All in all though it was a good buffet experience with lots of variety. We only ate in the MDR twice and both times were good. The breads were the same as what we received on HAL and Celebrity and we did enjoy the trio of XXX provided. The food choices were a step above Celebrity MDR but equal to what we found in Blu and Luminae on Celebrity. Portions were on the small side and I had to order more lamb chops as only 2 small loin chops were provided. I will note that they were cooked a perfect medium rare and had great flavor and of course there was no problem ordering an additional serving. Service was always spot on and we never felt rushed or forgotten. The first night out we ate at Prime C and the views, service and the food were all magnificent. For apps we had the chicken lollipops and crab cakes, both great. Then we enjoyed the pumpkin soup and warm water lobster salad, also great. Troy loved his Pheasant and my filet was cooked perfectly. The steak sauce choices were a nice addition and I had a wonderful Gorgonzola sauce. Little donuts with caramel, chocolate and vanilla dipping sauces and a bowl of gelato were a great way to end the meal. No complaints here! At some point we also ate at Aqualina and with the exception of the dessert we did enjoy that meal as well. The Carpaccio and gnocchi appetizer, my duck and Troy’s Dover Sole were all wonderful. We had the soufflés for dessert but they were undercooked and not so wonderful. Entertainment and atmosphere, hmmmm how do I cover this? Well I think this is where we thought Azamara fell short and didn’t fit with our cruising style. Like I mentioned before we like a refined, hip, lively atmosphere which to us is enhanced by some background music. The Azamara Quest is a very silent ship. So much so that we often felt like we had to whisper or be told to shush. There was a constant “I just wheeled mum in from the garden and she’s having a rest” feel to the public rooms. Some background music would have really helped. And I’m not talking about thump thump club music, but some classical or jazz in the atrium/Mosaic area, some funky chill in the casino or high energy in the gym. I mean who doesn’t have music in a gym? And again, not asking for high volume or thump thump, just something…..ANYTHING! They did have a performer in the Living Room performing folk and 60’s/70’s but it certainly wasn’t the elegant, upbeat, we’re on vacation, feel we were looking for. We love to gamble and the casino was so quiet that it had no energy and we just ended up walking through each night. We’re not production show people so we never went to those but did go to the Glen Miller tribute which unfortunately was played off key many times. The band tried hard and I hate to ever knock someone giving it their all but unfortunately that’s the way it was. After a while we found ourselves bored in the evening (remember there’s not much on the television either) and I ended up doing a lot more reading than I ever thought I would. I realize that some will disagree as to whether this is a negative and may choose Azamara for these aspects and that’s great. I certainly don’t feel any cruise line should tailor everything to just us but it did affect our enjoyment of the actual cruise experience and wanted to let potential cruises know what to expect and our take. The ports were amazing! I won’t go in to detail but will say that the times in port were perfect and getting on and off was a breeze. We did our own thing in each port using Tripadvisor to find tours and Rick Steve’s Baltic Ports book for information on the ports themselves. In St. Petersburg we used SPB Tours and had a great group of 12 wonderful people to share the experience with. That was definitely one of the highlights! So where do we stand? Not sure actually :-0 We were bored in the evenings and didn’t think the food was above what we get being in a suite on Celebrity BUT loved the size and finish of the ship, the crew and the itinerary. But that pool tile…..HAHA just kidding. Seriously though we’re still thinking about trying another premium/luxury line like but find the itineraries on Azamara to be the best with the most overnights. Maybe the few things that we find to be a negative are just the compromises we’ll have to make. And trust me, it does not escape me that if this is the problem I have in life then I don’t have any problems and am truly grateful. I hope this helps and please feel free to contact me with any questions at tadiebold@msn.com. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We chose Azamara for the Baltic because of the itinerary and docking locations. On that point, they delivered. The only city we didn't dock right in town was Stockholm. First the good: The staff and crew was friendly, professional ... Read More
We chose Azamara for the Baltic because of the itinerary and docking locations. On that point, they delivered. The only city we didn't dock right in town was Stockholm. First the good: The staff and crew was friendly, professional and helpful. Morale seemed to be good, which was passed on to the passengers. We had a family emergency back home while on board and Yasmin the Concierge was very helpful. Loved the small size ship - docked right in the city in most locations. Azamara certainly delivers on its destination- driven marketing. Not much going on onboard at night, but that's ok with me. The food was good, not exceptional - but no real complaints there. Good lectures on board. Yeah, I'm a nerd. The not-so-good: The staterooms. Wow - they are tiny. The bathroom in our stateroom reminded me of the one in the travel trailer my family used to have. If you are much over six foot tall, I'd imagine you'd be really cramped in the bathroom. Two average-sized people could not pass by the foot of the bed at the same time. Gets real tight on a sea day. I would opt for a suite if at all possible. Shore excursions - we did a mix of private and ship excursions. The private tours were of course more to our liking, but most of the ship excursions were OK - had very good ones in Tallinn and Stockholm. We did have one really bad one in Helsinki - the guide could not manage the group and her mic was not working. We turned in our headsets and did our own thing. We were happier with our private tours and the cost difference was negligible. It's an older group - keep that in mind. I'm 55 and I was one of the younger people on the ship. It's not like a retirement home crowd, but I'd say 65-75 was the avg. age. In review, if you are destination driven, Azamara is a good choice. If you want a ship with lots of bells and whistles and gourmet food, maybe not. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2016
Our first time to the Baltic before. All the ports of call were new to us. We chose this cruise for the itinerary because the ship stayed in St. Petersburg 3 full days and Azamara stays longer times in the various ports of call. We like ... Read More
Our first time to the Baltic before. All the ports of call were new to us. We chose this cruise for the itinerary because the ship stayed in St. Petersburg 3 full days and Azamara stays longer times in the various ports of call. We like Azamara because it is a small ship (approx. 650 passengers) and it feels like a boutique hotel. Staff and crew are friendly and attentive. Food is very good. A basic beverage package and the gratuities were also included in the price.The ship had just been refurbished, it was very nicely done, except for the wallpaper in our cabin was already peeling off.The oceanview cabin was very well appointed and comfortable. However, the shower is small and has shower curtains, which we dislike. We were disappointed with the cruise director, Tony and the entertainment. Having been on Azamara previously, the production shows were the same as our past three cruises. The rest of the entertainment was frankly quite boring with the exception of a comedian/magician show which was hilarious. Some entertainers performed two shows each; one each would have been sufficient. There seemed to be a problem with temperature on board, both the dining room and theatre. It was either extremely cold or hot. We booked private tours in St. Petersburg with SPB tours, which also covered the Russian visa. The ship's excursions were too expensive. SPB tours were fabulous! It was easy to manage all the other ports on our own; London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm. We will most likely cruise with Azamara again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Embarkation was smooth and lunch was available on the 9th deck and our suites were ready in record time. The ship needs some work and next year it's due for a big renovation. What it lacks right now in being modern, it makes up with ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth and lunch was available on the 9th deck and our suites were ready in record time. The ship needs some work and next year it's due for a big renovation. What it lacks right now in being modern, it makes up with customer service by the staff. Each crew member were polite and professional and many have been with Azamara for years. There is a large rate of return passengers because they feel at home with Azamara and that's their biggest asset, making customers feel at home and relaxed. Even officers of the ship bid you a good day as you go ashore and welcome you back later in the day. The beds are firm and I asked for a mattress topper to help my aching hip. Our room steward put an egg crate foam pad on top of the mattress and it made the bed very comfy. The shower in the stateroom is too small for me, so I used the shower in the spa and also used the steam room. Very nice. Food overall is very good quality and the wait staff in Windows Café are helpful getting drinks, wine, and carrying full plates. There is a sense of community in Windows at breakfast time and people eat from the buffet and head out for the day. We like our food with more flavor than was offered in the specialty restaurants but the veal chop was the best we ever had. Land discoveries desk helped with explaining excursions and booking day trips. For more involved and specialized tours, the concierge was available with information. Always helpful when someone from the port came on board to give maps and explain what to see in the port city. Those from Belfast and Glasgow especially helpful with train and bus information and what to see on certain days. Entertainment was top notch and of course with Russ the cruise director, how could it not be the best! Disembarkation was easy and taxis were lined up in Leith to take people to the airport for 28 pounds or the prearranged bus for $53 a person. Read Less
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