1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Azamara
  4. Azamara Cruise Reviews
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This is our 20th cruise, first (last) on Azamara. While the line definitely has its fans (groopies?) its just not for us. Many seem thrilled with the "personal attention" they perceive, it's available on most ships if you ... Read More
This is our 20th cruise, first (last) on Azamara. While the line definitely has its fans (groopies?) its just not for us. Many seem thrilled with the "personal attention" they perceive, it's available on most ships if you seek it out. The ship's appearance was good. Some failed decorative embellishments coming off the closet doors, and what has to be the smallest shower i've come across. What others considered "special" events (White Night, Azamazing Evening) we saw as just another way to foist a buffet on guests, instead of providing dinner in the main dining room. I'm not a fan of standing on lines each time I want to get something to eat. Again, I will emphasize that many passengers (a large % being repeaters) felt they were happy with the evenings. The biggest failure centered around the attempt at entertainment. First, since this is a small ship, there was just one entertainment venue at a time. Unlike other ships where there was a choice of piano bar, soloist, combo, etc., here is was just one. AND often it was a failure. The first evening, our Cruise Director (who was great) let us know how we were in for some special entertainment nights, all NEW. (That should have been the first alert.) One of the great, new shows was in conjunction with 54 BELOW, a cabaret located below Studio 54 in Manhattan. Great write-ups and fabulous performers appeared in the past. That's great but what we go was a singer who was promoted as singing in over 1000 performances of "Jersey Boys" He appeared two nights. We, along with everyone in the venue, was expecting songs that must be from ... "Jersey Boys"...right? Wrong, Although a very good singer, he chose to relate his life story, and sang a collection of music from the 40's. I will tell you I love this music and play it often, but like others we were confused. On his next performance night all were waiting for the "Jersey Boys" experience. Again...disappointment. He sang some of HIS favorite songs from the era. The final song was from Jersey Boys (and there might have been one buried in the middle) but none of the songs seemed to be the "show stoppers/top of the charts" songs we expected. BUT, this was not the biggest disappointment in the entertainment. We were also treated to another completely new experience...SHORTS AT SEA" This was an evening of three 10 minute plays (A rage in Miami since the mid 90's) I'm guessing the target audience does not have the ability to focus for more than 10 minutes at a time, hence the idea. Overall, the performances were mediocre to bad. How do I (not a theater critic) know? Well on the first night of performances (yes, there were more to come) I noticed some empty seats after the first act, and many more after the second. The next morning I hear one couple asking if another saw the show, and what did she think. I'm close to exact here, so I will use quotes..."I've never seen anything so terrible." We tried the second performance (again, nothing else to do on the ship) and the venue started out about 3/4 full. After the first play, 1/2 full, and we left with others after the second act. Thankfully, the ship did provide an excellent alternative for the third night's performance, having a very talented piano/arranger, Sasha, and keyboardist George try to put together some impromptu entertainment. Unfortunately, an alternative was not planned for the fourth (yes, FOURTH) night of this fodder on a 12 night cruise. However, apparently a higher authority was displease and the seas got rough enough that our actors from Miami could not perform! I say no more. The house band of five very talented musicians excelled when they were given the main stage, and even small grouped at the pool. On one night the Cruise Director did a great performance (he was on stage in Mama Mia) and brought that excitement with him. Oh, back to that last night....small ship equals rocking ship on rough seas and many cruisers had a rough evening that would have been much less upsetting on a larger ship. I know that the Azamarites who read this may not agree since they seem to feel everything Azamara is superior, but trust me, it ain't so. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because it was roundtrip San Diego, and because we were going with about 30 friends. Most of us had sailed extensively on Seabourn, so the comparisons were inevitable. Boarding was slow with long lines, which turned ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was roundtrip San Diego, and because we were going with about 30 friends. Most of us had sailed extensively on Seabourn, so the comparisons were inevitable. Boarding was slow with long lines, which turned into more long lines to book the specialty restaurants. We were not allowed to go to our cabin, but instead were routed to the Windows Cafe--which was very crowded--where we were served lunch. The outside of the ship, and the public rooms we saw on the way, looked old and uninviting. All kinds of things were being hawked as we progressed--special meals, etc.,--which we found to be very tacky. For what we paid for this cruise, everything should have been included, and I mean everything. If a line that seems to be aspiring to luxury, one should not hear the word "package." Talk about absurdity: if you took a can of beer from your mini fridge it was free, if you took a bottle of beer it would cost you $2.75. Our "suite" was actually a large room, very nicely decorated and (as we found out) comfortable beds, beautiful linens, great lighting, a quiet climate control system, and a small bathroom with one sink. A bottle of sparkling wine, fruit, and flowers awaited us. The cabin was quiet except in the roughest of seas. We loved the verandah. We also loved the design of the pool area, although the pool could have been warmer and the hot tubs were not hot. The sail-away party was a sign of things to come. There was music but no food, and drinks but not enough bartenders. The woman bartender at the Patio Bar looked like a grim matron in a women's prison. Throughout the cruise room service breakfast was prompt but very limited and often not very good--the bagels were something by another name. The food was inconsistent; an Azamara burger during the first few days was excellent and cooked to order; toward the end of the cruise it was overcooked and poor. The food in the specialty restaurants ranged from awful (the veal, the lobster bisque, the fishy lobster ravioli) to good (the Chateaubriand, the Dover sole). The dining room was woefully overcrowded, with tables too close together, so we ate there only once. At the tea service, the clotted cream was not actual clotted cream, but whipped cream. We were really pleased with the inclusion of a rose wine as an option along with the red and white offerings. Our friends in the owners' suite next door to us had the oddest experience. They had bought a fancy wine package, only to find out that bottles of wine could not be brought to their room, only glasses of wine (although they were stocked with bottles of spirits that they did not drink). The service was inconsistent; about one third of the staff seemed sullen and surly, another third blank and staring, the remaining third were cheerful and helpful. The public rooms were overcrowded on sea days. We saw one singer, who had a nice voice but was not at all entertaining, and eschewed the rest of the entertainment. There were some old, odd movies playing for free, but there were charges for first run movies. The TV was a nice big one. Some of our party complained bitterly that the Olympics were not being screened. The White Party was ridiculously overcrowded, with one long line instead of stations. We took only one shore excursion, and it was memorable, about half in a good way, half not. The tenders were prompt and fun. Debarkation was smooth. If the price of this cruise had been half or even two thirds of what it was, we would have been less displeased. But it was way overpriced for what it was. Back to Seabourn, for good. . Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We just returned from our 12-day trip on the Azamara Quest to Baja California and wanted to write you a letter – thanking you for a wonderful vacation and calling out the high points and the low points. Hopeful the low points will be ... Read More
We just returned from our 12-day trip on the Azamara Quest to Baja California and wanted to write you a letter – thanking you for a wonderful vacation and calling out the high points and the low points. Hopeful the low points will be taken as constructive criticism rather than negativity and you can put some easy fixes in place. First, the high points. The Captain, Staff and Crew – what a lovely team to travel with! There was an overriding feeling of team spirit and even when overtaxed as everyone was in the first few days of “lockdown” because of the previous outbreak of noro, the team worked together. Kudos, Capitan for being ever present and we loved the send-off by the ship’s officers at each port. Kudos also for the entertainment team. The cabins are what they are . . . you can’t change the “bones” but our cabin crew kept our little home spotless, the linens were top notch and bottled water appeared daily in the quantities that I drink – kudos! The ship was impeccable – I never saw a napkin on the ground, a puddle from the rain or was concerned about the cleanliness of the restrooms, the pool or the hot tubs. Loved the captain’s daily reports, the White Night, the Officer’s Buffet and especially the Azamazing Evening. Having been a marketing director and event planner myself, I truly have an appreciation for how complex (AND expensive) these events are to execute. Many more Kudos! The main dining room was superb. The service was impeccable and the food very very good. Especially the breakfast! Don’t change that wonderful and quirky menu! The buffet at dinner was a wonderful alternative venue and the Patio an option that was good to have. Here are the low(er) points with my wish list attached: • Our cabin bathroom smelled bad for the whole cruise – our wonderful cabin stewards cleaned, called in the engineers, put down fresheners, cleaned out drains – no resolution. Our cabin steward “let slip” that this wasn’t the first time there had been complaints and that the smell was coming up through the shower and floor drains from the overall sewer system. Maybe a serious problem to be addressed in the next dry dock????? • The specialty restaurants simply were not special – we had better food in the main dining room. Specifically, in Prime C we had entrees much smaller than advertised and less well prepared than the main dining room. It was not like a high end steak house at all. I expect much higher quality for the extra dollars that I paid, and also larger portions. I expect that if the lamb chops are advertised at 10 ounces will actually be 10 ounces, and if the filet is advertised as 8 ounces, it will be 8 ounces. • In the Italian restaurant, we were served Sauvignon Blanc that had gone bad -- not from one but TWO bottles of wine. I switched to red after receiving a push back from the waiter and maître’ d, but . . . still . . . the only wine that should be deep amber colored is sherry!!! Perhaps the serving staff should receive some training in the daily wines and how to detect what is off. Apparently, you boarded at least a case, maybe more of Vat 90 Sauvignon Blanc that was really really bad. I was poured a glass at the pool deck bar as well – ugh! • AND my biggest beef with the specialty restaurants – I was so looking forward to the Dover Sole – sautéed and served tableside off the bone. But it was served with a PUTTANESCA sauce. Really???? No buerre blanc, no lemon butter? Back to the main dining room for me. • We also had some issues with the tours - specifically in Guaymas and in Cabo. Azamara literature keeps repeating NO MORE THAN 25 people per tour – and it is part of the marketing effort to attract higher end customers not wishing a larger cruise ship experience. In Guaymas, we were 43, quite crammed into a sightseeing boat out into the harbor. The experience was awesome, but please set my expectations BEFORE the trip! “You will be riding on a city bus for approximately 45 minutes to an hour each way before boarding your tour boat – a seat will be available for all, but because of the port and availability, we are unable to meet our commitment of 25 or less.” Also, this tour time and meeting place was changed 4 TIMES – really??? By the third time, the shore excursion desk should actually have called me personally, not just left another (undated) flyer on my bed. The Cabo Whale Watching Catamaran excursion was worse - our tour left at 9:30 and unbeknownst to us, we were combined into at least 4 other tour times for the same excursion, leaving us in the baking sun on an unshaded catamaran for more than an hour while the other 100+ tendered passengers arrived. We left 90 minutes after scheduled tour time and no amount of free tequila shots made any difference to our 70+ something crowd! PLEASE set our expectations properly and if there are changes and/or combinations, PLEASE do something like “meet on the dock at 10:30” instead of leaving us in the dark – actually in the blistering Mexican sunshine. • The short plays from the new entertainment Studio 54 were not a hit. Here is why (at least on this trip!) – your average cruise passenger was over 70. (I, at 64, was actually the youngest on all of our shore excursions where we had to sign waivers and write down our age so I am pretty sure my age estimate is right.) 60% OF ALL PEOPLE OVER 60 have hearing loss. The short plays featured quick banter (bad!), accents (worse!) and no captions (of course impossible, but those 60% rely on them.) If this is your demographic on your cruises, you may really want to rethink this new entertainment venue. In Summary: We really enjoyed our trip with Azamara and hope that on our upcoming Oct 2018 trip on the Journey, we will find the puttanesca sauce gone from the dover sole, the bad Vat 90 
Sauvignon Blanc poured overboard and the shore excursions department more communicative. Azamara is really AZamazing for the most part and just needs some tweaks!!! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
Went on this cruise because it was out of San Diego and had 2 new ports for me. I lived near Loreto so it was like going back in time. Loved how you felt like family on board. Would have liked to have singers and dancers. The ... Read More
Went on this cruise because it was out of San Diego and had 2 new ports for me. I lived near Loreto so it was like going back in time. Loved how you felt like family on board. Would have liked to have singers and dancers. The "short Plays" would have been fine in between other entertainment but not for an hour. Not the right venue. The actors that did the readings were very personable and I liked the idea that they were at some of the parties and got audience participation. Had a great time with them. Hotel director Phillip stood out to me as he worked on the line serving food when needed and was always smiling and friendly. Embarkation went smoothly, usually does in San Diego....don't know why there aren't more cruises leaving from San Diego. It is one of the most convenient cruise ports as far as getting from the airport and things to do and hotels in the areas. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because it is the only one that covers the sea of Cortez. In particular we wanted to visit the birthing pools of the grey whales on the Pacific coast (north part of Mardalena Lagoon). We arranged this via a private ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it is the only one that covers the sea of Cortez. In particular we wanted to visit the birthing pools of the grey whales on the Pacific coast (north part of Mardalena Lagoon). We arranged this via a private tour from Loreto on the Western side of the sea of Cortes, it entailed a 2 and 1/2 hour mini bus ride (each way) followed by a 2 hour boat trip around the grey whales (mama and baby who came right up to the small boat) who came right up to the boat and could be petted. Amazing experience. Other highlights included swimming with whale sharks (arrange your own tours via internet, ship tours too crowded and experience with very whale sharks limited, private tours apparently gave much better experiences with small number of persons). Also took a private tour in a small boat to see humpback whales at Cabo St Lucas (excellent, negotiated on the quayside at 10 am as ship tour full, good job in retrospect as ship tour went at 11.45 am a bad time for whale watching- needs to be early morning or late evening). The Copper Canyon tour was OK, but we landed the wrong side of the train (left) on the way up, view poor, Mexican dancing was rubbish, lunch OK but hurried, only one weak cocktail provided. Tour of Canyon top good, worth going to see. No tea or coffee on long train ride back to ship, just one weak cocktail. To summarize this is a very expensive tour to a major attraction, Azamara has fallen down on organising the details, you should get a lot for what they are charging for this trip (£490 each for the 3 of us). There is a new train being commissioned with all round windows, should be better, but still need to get the right hand seats for best views. We chose this tour for the Itinery, it is the only Cruise line that gets to Loreto and enables one to visit the Grey Whales birthing pools. The fact that the ship stays overnight at Loreto helps this considerably. Also only way to visit the Copper Canyon easily Read Less
Sail Date: February 2018
We are loyal Celebrity cruisers and wanted to try something more upscale and on a smaller ship. The Azamara Quest was truly a wonderful experience. The cabins were a bit smaller but had very efficient storage space and decorated with ... Read More
We are loyal Celebrity cruisers and wanted to try something more upscale and on a smaller ship. The Azamara Quest was truly a wonderful experience. The cabins were a bit smaller but had very efficient storage space and decorated with lovely cool gray colors. The closets light up when the door is opened. The food was wonderful in the Main dining room. We enjoyed breakfast, some lunches and some dinners there. We also ate in the specialty restaurants which were a cut above the main dining room in service and ambiance. Overall possibly the best food we have had on any of our many cruises. There were two wonderful evenings you can read about on the web site “White Night” and the “Azamazing Evening”. Both events are so well organized and enjoyable. A must not miss for sure. The entertainment is more subdued than on a ship like Celebtrity but still several beautifully appointed spaces to relax and enjoy a drink before or after dinner. Overall, it was a more sophisticated atmosphere. The decor and ambiance was relaxing and classic. There were no photographers hounding us for photos. There was no pressure to keep spending more money on extra things. The fare is all-inclusive for basic spirits and wines etc. This was wonderful and no need to upgrade unless you are very picky. Highly recommend this ship! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We have made multiple cruises with Azamara and have never been disappointed. The friendly crew and officers keep bringing us back for more. We have always been treated as welcome and important guests. Incredible experience. We have ... Read More
We have made multiple cruises with Azamara and have never been disappointed. The friendly crew and officers keep bringing us back for more. We have always been treated as welcome and important guests. Incredible experience. We have repeatedly cruised on the Journey and this was our first time on the Quest. Never once did we feel out of place. The atmosphere on board was identical to what we would have expected on the Journey. We even met 5 or 6 crew members who recognized us from our previous cruises on the Journey. How wonderful is that?. The only negative we experienced was their decision to change the entertainment offered. They have dropped the production shows and substituted a formula combining comedy theater and vocalists which needs considerable work. Hopefully the company will recognize the error that they have made and correct it quickly. We have every faith that they will bring their entertainment offerings back to the previous levels. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
We have sailed on many cruises, and Azamara was a new one for us. The Quest looks just like the smaller ships on the Oceana line and except for a few differences they are exactly the same. But only in the ships appearances. We were on ... Read More
We have sailed on many cruises, and Azamara was a new one for us. The Quest looks just like the smaller ships on the Oceana line and except for a few differences they are exactly the same. But only in the ships appearances. We were on the prior segment and wanted to continue to see new ports in this part fo the world. 1 No embarking as we sailed on the prior segment, we stayed onboard and enjoyed the pool area. 2. Our cabin in the Continental Suite area was large but oddly decorated. The carpet was beige and black and always looked dirty. The large desk and counter above low drawers was a fake marble that also just looked dirty although that was the design. The bathroom was ok but had a tub with the shower in the tub. Now this was supposed to be a suite but a cheap shower curtain that didn't close all the way was really odd. Large balcony but rust stains everywhere. The cabin staff never brought in the seat cushions so they are always wet. More air-conditioning issues and chronic sewer smells in the corridor. 3. Dining - Main room was the best with OK meals but nothing special. The specialty dining was Italian or Steak house themed. Both rooms looked nice but the menus never changes. Both rooms had sushi as a special appetizer. Really!! The Italian had only one pasta dish and the Steak house had mediocre meals. Don't get the soufflés unless you like scrambled eggs for dessert. Our experience in the Italian venue: I asked for the pasta as an appetizer and got a well overcooked glop of pasta, could not eat it. While having dessert an 1 1/2 hrs. later the chef came over, apologized for the bad pasta and offered to make it again for me! During dessert!!!!!! And Azamara charges people for this lousy food and service. We had these issues on the first segment and nothing changed. Not even the menus. 4. The shore excursions were abysmal. Inexperienced guides, small 20 seat buses, some with minimal air conditioning. No headsets for walking tours and all guides talked to the air in front of them and unless you were right next to the guides you heard nothing. And so overpriced too. We saw other cruise ship folks getting on big buses and headsets too. After the 1st segment we cancelled all the pre-booked tours me made. Others did the same thing. We then did our own thing for a fraction of the cost and enjoyed the ports on our own. We do this in many places but gave Azamara a chance to see what they offered and they are worse them most. 5. Entertainment - As usual, like so many other ships the in-house productions were amateurish and high school productions are better. They did hire a few individual entertainers who were great but thats rare. The band only played at night, not at the pool area. Oh and Azamara has one night they take you to a special show in one of the towns. They transported at least 600 people in mini vans to an indigenous tribe location for a show. It look almost 2 hrs. each way to get everyone to and from the venue for a 40 minute show and unless you were outside the canopy area you saw nothing. Why couldn't they bring the 15 performers to the ship? A waste of an evening. 6. Staff - Amazing and great and wonderful. They made the cruise bearable. All except our butler. I don't know what he actually does but he constantly asked what he can do for us and we said "thank you we are fine". He served tea at 4:00 pm each day and he thinks that is something special. Even when we put the "do not disturb" sign on the door he called us on the phone asking if we wanted tea. This went on for both segments and during the second segment we just had to tell him to stop bothering us. 7. Public spaces are nice but so dated. Upholstery is warn and faded. 9. Disembarking was delayed and absolutely no organization. No matter what numbers were to be called first, there was a huge crowd pushing and shoving. The shore side folks acted like it was their first day on the job and had no clue. Nothing luxury about the ship. Although the staff did try to keep shorts out of the main dining room, jeans, flip flops, and pullover shirts were plentiful. So many folks in shorts and tee shirts just went to the buffet off the pool area. Some nights it was packed and of course no one told anyone about the dress code in the casino. We met some great folks, enjoyed the crew and saw some amazing things in Central America and Mexico. But no way will we ever sail Azamara. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This cruise went to places I have been wanting to see for a while, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico. The excursions from the ship were expensive, so on 3 occasions we went with private tour groups, and got better value for ... Read More
This cruise went to places I have been wanting to see for a while, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico. The excursions from the ship were expensive, so on 3 occasions we went with private tour groups, and got better value for money. The staff were always upbeat even during a small outbreak of Norwalk when they were all doing double duty to keep us healthy. The entertainment staff, and officers were serving breakfast and lunch. Luckily no one in my party was affected. This is a small ship, so the onboard activities were more limited, but there was always something to do. Although standard drinks were included, I saw no one who had overindulged, and smokers kept to their designated area. All the dining experiences were enjoyable, the food was perfectly cooked and the wait staff pleasant and efficient. I did not use the fitness area. I wouldn't NOT go again, although this is not my favourite ship. (see my review of my cabin). Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We have sailed on many cruises, (52 to date) and Azamara was a new one for us. The Quest looks just like the smaller ships on the Oceana line and except for a few differences they are exactly the same. But only in the ships appearances. ... Read More
We have sailed on many cruises, (52 to date) and Azamara was a new one for us. The Quest looks just like the smaller ships on the Oceana line and except for a few differences they are exactly the same. But only in the ships appearances. We booked this segment and the next as a back to back of Central America & Mexico. Except for Mexico all ports were new to us. So the itinerary was what got us to book. 1. Embarkment in Costa Rica - We get an email the night before that the location for embarkment is a different location but as independent guests, no further details were given us. Repeated calls to Amamara were no help. Thankfully our driver got us to the new port on time. We had a confusing and odd embarkment through the village of Puntarenas. Then sent to the theater for two more groups to inspect us. 2. Our cabin in the Continental Suite area was large but oddly decorated. The carpet was beige and black and always looked dirty. The large desk and counter above low drawers was a fake marble that also just looked dirty although that was the design. The bathroom was ok but had a tub with the shower in the tub. Now this was supposed to be a suite but a cheap shower curtain that didn't close all the way was really odd. Large balcony but rust stains everywhere. The cabin staff never brought in the seat cushions so they are always wet. Air conditional was non-existent when we arrived. It took 5 hrs. to fix. Why? 3. Dining - Main room was the best with OK meals but nothing special. The specialty dining was Italian or Steak house themed. Both rooms looked nice but the menus never changes. Both rooms had sushi as a special appetizer. Really!! The Italian had only one pasta dish and the Steak house had mediocre meals. Don't get the soufflés unless you like scrambled eggs for dessert. Our experience in the Italian venue: I asked for the pasta as an appetizer and got a well overcooked glop of pasta, could not eat it. While having dessert an 1 1/2 hrs. later the chef came over, apologized for the bad pasta and offered to make it again for me! During dessert!!!!!! And Azamara charges people for this lousy food and service. 4. The shore excursions were abysmal. Inexperienced guides, small 20 seat buses, some with minimal air conditioning. No headsets for walking tours and all guides talked to the air in front of them and unless you were right next to the guides you heard nothing. And so overpriced too. We saw other cruise ship folks getting on big buses and headsets too. 5. Entertainment - As usual, like so many other ships the in-house productions were amateurish and high school productions are better. They did hire a few individual entertainers who were great but thats rare. The band only played at night, not at the pool area. Oh and Azamara has one night they take you to a special show in one of the towns. It rained on the day we were to see this show so they brought all the entertainers on board. The show was to be outdoors and there were more entertainers then guests in the cabaret lounge. And for a 1/2 hr. show?! 6. Staff - Amazing and great and wonderful. They made the cruise bearable. All except our butler. I don't know what he actually does but he constantly asked what he can do for us and we said "thank you we are fine". He served tea at 4:00 pm each day and he thinks that is something special. Even when we put the "do not disturb" sign on the door he called us on the phone asking if we wanted tea. One night he even found us having dinner in the main dining room and asked if there was anything he could do for us. I sure wanted to tell him truly but just said "no thanks". 7. Public spaces are nice but so dated. Upholstery is warn and faded. 8. No disembarking as we sadly stayed on for the next sailing. Nothing luxury about the ship. Although the staff did try to keep shorts out of the main dining room, jeans, flip flops, and pullover shirts were plentiful. So many folks in shorts and tee shirts just went to the buffet off the pool area. Some nights it was packed and of course no one told anyone about the dress code in the casino. I would say this was an experience and would never sail with Azamara again but we had to sail with the for another 14 nights. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
i chose this sailing because of a special promotion which made the price reasonable compared to most other azamera cruises and it had an interesting intinerary.. i had always wanted to sail on azamera due to its excellent reputation for ... Read More
i chose this sailing because of a special promotion which made the price reasonable compared to most other azamera cruises and it had an interesting intinerary.. i had always wanted to sail on azamera due to its excellent reputation for food quality, its small size, the free liquor and free gratuities. it lived up to my expectations, the staff is very friendly, the captain down to the housekeeping, food was excellent, white nights is a terrific event, get there early and grab a table with a very high end buffet. tendering was orderly and had minimal waits. the only 2 reasons it is not rated 5 stars was that we had a botched excursion where the vendor swisstours did not do all elements of the excursion in papagayo, azamera did refund us 50 per cent but we really wanted the complete refund. the second issue was the best entertainment on the ship was the singers and dancers and russ the cruise director who is also an excellent singer. azamera for some reason is letting go of all their singers and dancers as of feb 8th for some type of new format. this cruise had 3 nights of a violinist and a piano player/magician. do i really need 3 nights for classical music and no comedians. the inside cabin we had seemed smaller than other ships the same room size. overall though the cruise was excellent and i would definitely go on this cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
The main reason we selected this cruise because of friends. We found the Quest to be clean, the food and service good, and the entertainment surprising good. The ship carried about 650 passengers, so pretty intimate. People who ... Read More
The main reason we selected this cruise because of friends. We found the Quest to be clean, the food and service good, and the entertainment surprising good. The ship carried about 650 passengers, so pretty intimate. People who expected a "luxury" cruise were disappointed however, nothing really special about it. We were on a Costa Rica cruise ...very little to see and do in several the ports. In Golfito there was hardly a town, let alone things to do. We did see hundreds of dolphins in the bay there, however. Most of the ports pretty much offered the same thing...jungle and monkeys. Many of the beaches were nice. Our biggest complaints had to do with 1. the transfer package and 2. the tender procedure. We spent $800 for transfers; there was no one to meet us at the airport upon arrival, and we ended up having to pay for a cab back to the airport after the cruise. Over priced and under performing. Very poor communication. Most ports we had to tender. Temperatures were in the 90's, humidity in the 90's also. For some reason the crew would make us wait 15-20 minutes while we sweated and broiled aboard the tender before departure back to the ship. Many people complained but never did see improvement. They need to go every 10-15 minutes instead of having 50-60-70 people waiting in the heat. The passengers were primarily a more mature crowd, so no crazy drunks or wild parties. Bottom line, we had a good time, the ship was fine...B+ Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Azamara Quest Review Costa Rica 15-25 Jan 2018 This was our sixth cruise with Azamara and it was every bit as good as the last five. We stayed in Hotel Bougainvillea in Santo Domingo, outside San Jose, for 4 days before embarkation. ... Read More
Azamara Quest Review Costa Rica 15-25 Jan 2018 This was our sixth cruise with Azamara and it was every bit as good as the last five. We stayed in Hotel Bougainvillea in Santo Domingo, outside San Jose, for 4 days before embarkation. The hotel was set in 10 acres of botanical gardens and had a swimming pool. It was great for bird watching. We took a tour from there to La Paz Waterfall Gardens, which was excellent, and went into San Jose by taxi to see the National Theatre (amazing building). The hotel arranged transport for us and another couple to the port. The evening before embarkation we got an email from Azamara saying that due to high winds the port of embarkation had changed from Puerto Caldera to Puntarenas. The hotel was able to rearrange the transport for us, and it ended up costing us $70 a couple in a very comfortable mini-bus. When we got to Puntarenas we found embarkation a little different than usual. We were directed into a terminal building to be given a medical form, then took the shuttle bus along the pier to the ship. Check-in was completed in the Cabaret Lounge. This was all done with very little fuss and little queuing - given the short notice, we felt this was handled very well and efficiently. Our verandah stateroom was very comfortable. Our two attendants did a good job, bringing me lots of extra hangers and making sure our fridge had plenty of tonic waters as we requested. We are most nights in Discoveries (MDR) and found the food to be excellent, with some dishes being outstanding. We like to share tables, but found it quite difficult to do this because we like to dine fairly late and by the time we got there all the large tables had filled up. However we found that even when we had a table for two, we could chat to the couple at the next table. Service was generally very good, although on a couple of occasions we had quite a gap between courses. The included wines were OK and if we didn’t like the day’s offerings, it was usually possible to get some of a previous day’s wine. We booked dinner in Prime C (speciality restaurant - $30 a head extra) one night and, as always, the food and service was superb. We ate breakfast in Windows (buffet), where again the tea & coffee service was excellent. We mostly had lunch in the Patio, though I often went into Windows to get a slice of the roast meat of the day to have with salad. The cruise only had 2 sea-days and we spent these in our favourite spot -deck 11 sun-deck. The Azamazing evening was due to be held in the old part of Panama City, but as the weather was unsettled, the Captain decided to bring it onboard. It was a folk-dancing show and was quite good, but inevitably it lost atmosphere being held in the cabaret lounge. The White Night was excellent. The buffet included lobster, steak, lamb, Frito Misto, Paella and, of course, crepes suzettes served by the Hotel Manager. It was quite an emotional occasion, as it was Captain Carl Smith’s last voyage on the Quest before taking over the new Azamara ship, the Pursuit. The ports we went to were: Panama City - (two days). On the first day we took the Hop On Hop Off bus from Fuerte Amador where the boat docked and got off at the Miraflores lock. We didn’t see any ships going through the lock, but thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition about the canal and how it was built. On the second day we got a taxi into the old town and had a wander around it and around the fish market close by. Golfito - a small town right next to the dock. We had booked a private tour along with others on our Roll call. The tour was a boat trip in the Golfe Dulce to see dolphins, which we did -a pod of 340! We were then taken to an animal sanctuary where we saw monkeys, an ocelot, macaws, sloths and a tayra. Lastly we had the opportunity to snorkel over a small reef. Quepos - tendered port - there seemed to be quite a nice little town next to the tender port. Again we had booked a private tour to Manual Antonio National Park. The tour company met us just outside the tender port and took us to the park, where we walked through the park with a guide who had a monocular and who was able to point out various animals, birds and frogs along the way. The path led to the beach where we had time for a swim before setting off back again. Then we were taken for lunch in a local restaurant. Unfortunately it was a Sunday when we were there so the Park was very busy as the trail to the beach was used by them. We had to queue to get into the park, and then queue along the way to be able to see reptiles, birds, animals & frogs along the way. San Juan Del Tour, Nicaragua,- tendered port. This was a nice little town with a nice beach and lots of beach bars and restaurants, all close to the tender port. We had booked a private half day tour of the town, a visit to the statue of Christ Misericordia perched on the cliff over the town( half the size of Christ the Redeemer in Rio), then to an adventure park where we had a bone rattling ride in 4x4s, to a viewpoint where we could see Lake Nicaragua and it’s 2 volcanoes. From there we could do an included short walk or visit an Iguana Sanctuary, or do Zip-lining for an extra $30. I opted for the zip-lining, which was a first for me - I loved it! We ended up at a seaside restaurant for an included drink and to watch an excellent display of folk-dancing. Puntarenas -the ship was docked at the pier of this small seaside town. This time we took the ship’s tour to the Cloud Forest which was fascinating and included butterfly and humming bird gardens. The tour included lunch and the inevitable stop at a souvenir shop. Disembarkation was, as usual, very easy. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We love the Sea of Cortez itinerary and this was a great trip. The other people on this cruise were great and we meet lots of other interesting people. We had lots of stimulating conversations. The crew is a happy one and do all they can ... Read More
We love the Sea of Cortez itinerary and this was a great trip. The other people on this cruise were great and we meet lots of other interesting people. We had lots of stimulating conversations. The crew is a happy one and do all they can to take care of any problem you may have. The food was good with just a few exceptions. The complimentary wine selections have improved enormously since sailing with them 8 months ago. That really made the meals even better Wish that Coors Light was on the list of complimentary - had to pay 2.75 for it. Bud Light is complimentary. But that sure is a small complaint. Captain Jose was amazing keeping us closer to shore to avoid swells after one of the California storms. He even told us that we would be near St Ignacio lagoon at sunset - this is a Grey whale sanctuary where there are lots of whales and dolphins - unfortunately we did not see much from the ship but I sincerely appreciated the try for it. When was the last time you had a cruise ship even look for wildlife much less tell you to watch for it! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2017
Cruising out of San Diego, CA has the benefits of a clean well run cruise terminal, a beautiful city and every tourist accommodation. Still, the first and last two days on board are spent reaching the Sea of Cortez, and the times we have ... Read More
Cruising out of San Diego, CA has the benefits of a clean well run cruise terminal, a beautiful city and every tourist accommodation. Still, the first and last two days on board are spent reaching the Sea of Cortez, and the times we have done it, the weather has been mild but not tropical. Our stateroom was nicely appointed, although on the small side for verandah rooms on high end ships today. Concierge service (in fact, all service) was very pleasant and helpful. Room was kept moore neat than clean. "Extra charges" and sales promotions are held to a pleasant minimum, as are PA system announcements. Food was quite good and quite varied too. Long lines and crowds were usually well controlled, with some exceptions. Boarding the vessel in San Diego involved standing in a long long line, wishing we had signed for a suite. Oddly, debarking was a model of quick and painless re-uniting with luggage, passport control and customs. Four elevators (two forward, two aft) usually worked efficiently but not when events opened or ended. Reservations at specialty restaurants (there are just two) seemed to fill up quite fast, almost before we left San Diego. Flexible dining meant a line at the dining room early on, with no line an hour later but by then, sometimes having to miss the entertainment. Azamazing - the evening party and piece de resistance - was in fact as amazing as anything I might have conjured up. If you go, do not miss it. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
I sailed on one of the very first Azamara cruise when the line was spun off of the Celebrity line. I also sailed this itinerary on Holland America. When the itinerary appeared on this Azamara cruise I decided to "rediscover" ... Read More
I sailed on one of the very first Azamara cruise when the line was spun off of the Celebrity line. I also sailed this itinerary on Holland America. When the itinerary appeared on this Azamara cruise I decided to "rediscover" small ship cruising traveling an itinerary I truly enjoyed. The GOOD: The itinerary was excellent. People need not be afraid of traveling to the tourist ports in Mexico. Security was present everywhere without being intrusive. Officers with guns make some people nervous, I found them to be a comfort because even petty crime was unlikely to occur with a officer nearby. Everyone in the ports was friendly and accomodating. There was some "begging' going on but it was primarily in the form of "I am a student. Would you be willing to help me by buying such and such." They were very courteous and with a "n"o they moved on without trouble or acrimony. The Quest was immaculate and kept that way throughout the cruise. The Senior Officers were amazing. They were everywhere speaking with quests, being approachable, watching shows, interacting wherever they could. As an example, upon returning from the 17 hour excursion to the Copper Canyon on Valentine's Day, the Captain was on the pier and greeted everyone upon their return and personally handed every lady a rose! There were two lecturers. One was outstanding and the other was good. The shows were varied and generally excellent. There is a free (including detergent) self service laundromat. In addition there were three laundry specials offered during the cruise which involved a set price for a bag of laundry done by the crew. The buffet was outstanding! We never had to wait or justle for a table. The food was excellent! It ranged from hot dishes to cold dishes with a surprisingly wide variety. It is doubtful that you would not find something that you would enjoy. These comments were true of breakfast, lunch and dinner. The BAD: The dining room was not so much bad as it was terribly disappointing. When i sailed on the Quest last time, the Captain informed me that they had 150% of the budget for food per person as compared to other cruise lines. That ratio has obviously changed. The menus were static with two Chef features every night. The food was rather ordinary and we never had a Wow! meal. However, in all honesty we found the food better and the atmosphere better in the buffet area so we ate more often in that locale. The other problem in the dining room was that if you were willing to sit with other at a table service would not begin until they filled the table - 5 minutes, 10 minutes and we waited at leaast 20 minutes one night. We did not find that acceptable. The service in the dining room was iffy. The cabins are small. In fact they are the smallest cabins I have ever been in since my first days of sailing with Royal Caribbean. The bathroom was even smaller. There is no way for an average sized person to sit straight on the commode. There is no way for an average size person stand in the shower without having a part of your body clinging to the plastic shower curtain. This was my 40th cruise and the worst sized cabin of the lot. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
The itenerary for this cruise was the main deciding point for us. Plus being able to drive to and from San Diego was great. Our trip to Copper Canyon, though long, was terrific! The guide was very informative about the canyon, its people ... Read More
The itenerary for this cruise was the main deciding point for us. Plus being able to drive to and from San Diego was great. Our trip to Copper Canyon, though long, was terrific! The guide was very informative about the canyon, its people and their history. He also told us about the construction of the train track. Azamara reserved a special train that held just cruise passengers so it wasn't at all crowded. The crew on the Quest were as friendly and helpful as always. It is so nice to be remembered and appreciated. We also loved the chance to see small towns in Mexico that we have not visited. It was particularly nice to be in little towns that don't typically have cruise ships visit. I will continue to travel with Azamara whenever possible. We always feel as if we are part of a big family when we board either of their two ships. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We took a back-to-back cruise on the Quest in Central America, the Pacific Coast and Sea of Cortez, from 26 January to 21 February: embarked Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica, exited San Diego. We are an older couple, my wife has mobility ... Read More
We took a back-to-back cruise on the Quest in Central America, the Pacific Coast and Sea of Cortez, from 26 January to 21 February: embarked Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica, exited San Diego. We are an older couple, my wife has mobility difficulties, and long-time cruisers. In both voyages we had an accessible stateroom: first a continental suite, second an ocean view. We had an extended trip on the Quest in Southeast Asia two years before, enjoyed the experience, and decided to travel on Azamara again. That was a good decision. We had just come off a large ship, the Regal Princess in the Caribbean: good but not great. The Quest was a real pleasure, not the least because of its smaller size. Everything was nearer, so easy to get around. Our first stateroom, the continental suite, was excellent: spacious, very attractive, and extremely comfortable. The second stateroom, the ocean view, was also comfortable, if neither so spacious or attractive – but certainly decent. The washrooms in both staterooms were very good. Housekeeping fine in both staterooms. The food on the Quest was generally very good. We ate regularly at the steakhouse Prime C where the meat was excellent, the ambience congenial. The rib steak was particularly delicious. We were not so taken with the other specialty restaurant Aqualina because the menu offered little we relish, but still the two meals we had there were ok. We did not eat often in the main dining room because, especially on the second voyage, the place was crowded and noisy. We did go to supper a number of times to the Windows Café, and the Sunset Bar outside: very pleasant and again fine food. I particularly liked some of the theme evenings at the buffet. Likewise the grill at the Patio and the various BBQs, always delicious and the latter very plentiful. Room service was fast and efficient, especially in the mornings. Yes, there were a few misses – once a seafood jambalaya where the seafood was largely missing, for instance. But these were exceptions: you can eat very well on the Quest. One of the cardinal virtues of the Quest is the staff, always friendly and helpful. The captain Jose was congenial and talkative and often present, as were his senior officers, especially the always gracious Philip, the hotel manager. The rest of the staff were superb, offering a level of service superior to that of any ship I have been on, including the Crystal Symphony (my favourite, where the service is also excellent). Time and again crew members assisted us, important when you have to handle a wheelchair. Special note: the embarkation process at Puerto Caldera and the debarkation at San Diego was exceptionally well-managed. The highlights of the cruise? First the Azamara special evenings, both at Cabo San Lucas, amazing performances of Mexican song and dance, in the desert, around the theme of the day of the dead, made all the more enjoyable with margaritas and assorted delicacies. Second the shows mounted on the pool deck, shows featuring local performers – marvellous. Third, the happy, lively white nights, party and dance on the pool deck. Fourth, on the second voyage (Sea of Cortez) the excursion via the train El Chepe to Copper Canyon, a striking natural formation in northern Mexico. Any negatives? Well, the lack of an in-room dvd player, the uninteresting regular entertainment, also lectures that didn’t appeal, the expense of some excursions (but the ones taken were well-designed). Minor problems really, given the overall quality of the cruise experience. In all Azamara cruises is excellent value. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
As Journey was newly out of dry dock, there were some minor snagging issues with unfinished work but nothing to spoil the cruise. In the stateroom these were quickly rectified once pointed out. Caldera is not really geared for ... Read More
As Journey was newly out of dry dock, there were some minor snagging issues with unfinished work but nothing to spoil the cruise. In the stateroom these were quickly rectified once pointed out. Caldera is not really geared for passengers on cruise ships so initially it looked a bit disorganised at the port, but in fact we were on board in 40 minutes with nothing lost. As this was a first time on Azamara (normally sail Celebrity) I cannot say how much improvement has been done to the ship but she looked splendid and the crew are helpful and friendly from the Master down. Dining is excellent, all open seating and no formal nights. Tried the extra cost Chefs table - superb, Aqualina - Italian (ish) very good and Prime C - Steakhouse also very good. Actually the food is so good in the Discovery that on another occasion probably would not bother with the Speciality restaurants, although Chefs table could tempt me again! Aramara is inclusive of drinks and tips which was great and it in no way affected the service. Bar staff were great, attentive and generous with the measures. Serving staff and stateroom attendants excellent. As a small ship the entertainment team is limited but the Cruise Director, Eric was a great host and performer, he's always happy to chat to guests (as is Capt. Magnus and Staff Capt. Dario) the 6 singers and dancers were good and worked very hard. 7 piece orchestra were fantastic, their 2 special jazz gigs were outstanding. Solo guitarist Simon is terrific and cabaret pianist Ed also very good. Guest entertainers - all 4 very enjoyable. As the ship has no theatre only a cabaret lounge it must be quite difficult to perform so close to your audience but all seemed to make the most of it. The Azamazing evening up in the hills in Mexico was an adventure! 600 people transported by mini vans up unmade roads is quite an achievement. We loved the evening with traditional dance and music served up with canapés and Teqilla cocktails but seeing the stage was a challenge. As seating was all on the level those nor in the front 4 to 5 rows probably didn't see much not helped by people getting up and standing to take photos. I can understand why but under the circumstances rather selfish. White night, an on deck bbq evening was huge fun culminating in a huge conga around the ship. (Wish we'd know about it in advance so we could have taken approximate clothing, most guests made the effort to dress all in white). Aramara make a lot about the destinations and whilst all ports were fine we were disappointed by a couple tours. Poor inaccurate information resulted in one being unsuited to us and other guests, much more strenuous and we cancelled another. Overall a great cruise, probably spoils us for other lines. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2014
This cruise combined the best...departing from our home port (no airports!) and being once again on the Quest. Embarkation was easy...hardly any wait time before we received our seapass card and were welcomed on board by staff handing out ... Read More
This cruise combined the best...departing from our home port (no airports!) and being once again on the Quest. Embarkation was easy...hardly any wait time before we received our seapass card and were welcomed on board by staff handing out glasses of bubbly. Since we arrived a bit early, we headed straight to Windows for lunch. Unfortunately, lots of people had the same idea and they ran out of tables! We were prepared to eat on the loungers by the pool, but the ever efficient staff realized the problem and began bring out more tables and chairs, so we were quite happy. Our first (included) glass of wine with lunch made it perfect. By 1:30 the announcement was made that cabins were available, so we headed to Deck 7. We like this deck, sandwiched between two cabin floors and thus very quiet. Our veranda cabin was in good condition. Yes, it's small and the bathroom very very tiny, but there is plenty of well organized storage space and the beds are very comfy. We immediately met our attendants, Alvin and Osvy...they were excellent and Osvy especially always had a smile and a pleasant comment or two whenever he saw us. Before we knew it, we were called for muster drill (very easy) and then we got ready for the Meet and Mingle and dinner. There were lots of Cruise Critic members on this cruise and unfortunately, we had to leave the meeting early to meet our dinner companions. I really don't like having the Meet and Mingle on sailaway day....it's just too inconvenient, IMO. We took this cruise not for the sightseeing but to relax...and right off the bat we had two sea days! Perfect. When we arrived at Mazatlan (our first port) we were ready to go. We took a ship excursion...Concordia and Copola. It was quite good and we enjoyed a nice lunch in Concordia. The highlight was visiting a local artist in Copola (of course we had to buy something...very unique and we saw nothing like it in any other port.) La Paz was disappointing...on our ship excursion we just drove past the malecon (would have liked to walk along) and spent most of our time in the natural history museum and in a small weaving shop (didn't buy a thing) and then drove through what appeared to be the seediest part of town. Not an excursion I'd recommend. Next Topolobampo. Many of those on board took the very very long trip out to Copper Canyon. We didn't. Instead we went on a small boat to the mangroves and met the resident dolphin Pechocho...a wild dolphin who lives in a solitary state in the mangroves but who over the years has become quite tame and loves to swim up to the small boats for a belly and fin scratch. Then to a sandy beach where a tent with refreshments was set up for us. A very nice excursion. Next port Guaymas where we went ashore and walked the tiny town by ourselves. Not much to see but the townspeople had set up a little market and entertainment along the waterfront and we had fun watching and browsing the merchandise. The next stop, our favorite by far, was Loreto. We overnighted there (more on that later) and the first day went on an excursion to Coronados Island. On the way, our small panga (which held three couples and the operator) diverted to see hundreds of dolphins just a few feet from our boat. Then, just a few yards away an enormous Blue Whale surfaced. Wow! Absolutely awe inspiring and a bit scary, given the difference in size between the whale and our tiny boat! After that we went to the island itself and had a nature walk and snack and those brave souls (the water was still pretty cold at this time of year) who wanted to snorkeled. I waded into the water by some rocks and looked down and saw plenty of fish! The water was crystalline. We thoroughly enjoyed this excursion. On the second day in Loreto we met some friends who have retired there and they showed us around town and we ate at a local restaurant. Loreto is a delightful place and one I'd love to visit again. Our last port was Cabo San Lucas. Very pretty but very very commercialized and street vendors stop you every few feet hawking souvenirs and excursions. After the hustle and bustle of Cabo, we were glad to have two more sea days on the way home to Los Angeles. Disembarkation was just as easy as embarkation, but not as much fun! Now a few things about the Quest. The new captain, Jose, is incredible. So personable and seemed to be everywhere at once! His noon time comments were fun and he even rescued one of the passengers on a snorkeling excursion. We heard that the water was cold and there was a strong current and the gentleman was having some difficulty swimming back to the boat...so Capt. Jose, who had gone on the excursion, swam over and helped the passenger back. We very much hope to cruise with this captain again...he was the best! All the rest of the staff were wonderful, as usual. Russ was his usual exuberant self and Phillip, the hotel director, as always friendly and helpful. Max Difaz, the pianist, was in great form and we enjoyed getting to know him a little better on this cruise. We were very lucky to find the perfect waiters in Discoveries on our first night and we made sure we ate with them every night after that (except for the White Night and one night in Aqualina)...kudos to Robert and Newman...charming, fun, and very attentive. On our night in Aqualina (the food was every bit as good as we remembered) we asked to be seated in John's station...we had met him on our first Quest cruise and he is terrific. My only "complaint" was that he kept bring us extra food...he wanted us to try everything...we were completely over stuffed by the time the dinner was finished. Food across the venues, Discoveries, Windows, the Pool Grill, and Aqualina (we didn't eat in Prime C this time) was very very good. The chef has a wonderful way with fish and I had the "healthy choice" almost every evening. My husband loves pasta and these too were excellent. Usually at the pool grill, we'll eat burgers, but this cruise I decided to try the blackened fish Panini....sooooo good. We had a couple of special nights on this cruise. Super Bowl Sunday was celebrated in the Cabaret. Staff had decorated with team color balloons (Seattle on one side and Denver on the other)...there were themed ice and watermelon carvings, and so much food. Sliders, hot dogs, bbq ribs, chicken fingers, side salads, and a huge bowl of popcorn. Russ was making ice cream sundaes too! We ate so much we didn't need to go to dinner that night. (And did I mention drinks? Beer, wine, cocktails, etc.) The only downside was that we were getting ESPN feed and so we didn't see the commercials...also, the satellite went out right at half time so we didn't get to see most of the halftime show! The second special night was the White Night which was held on our overnight in Loreto. Local dancers came on board and performed...there was an excellent pool side bbq (Phillip was making crepes suzette...soooo yummy)...lots of cocktails and wine...and then dancing! Lots of fun. The third special night was the Azamazing evening held in Cabo. Unfortunately, not so amazing. The original venue (Wirikuta Gardens) was changed at the last minute which was disappointing. The logistics of getting us all off the ship and to the venue was handled efficiently but felt like a cattle drive! The show itself was, IMO, very mediocre and cheesy. However the fireworks at the end were spectacular. Food consisted of sweets and cookies which, while nice, weren't the "local delicacies" promised. A few vendors had set up tables to one side but a quick look and we were done...the prices were astronomical compared to what we'd seen in town. As soon as the show was over, we were herded back to the ship. Azamara really needs to reconsider the entire Azamazing Evening promotion. In some ports and with some entertainment it could be lovely but some ports just don't lend themselves to this and it's especially disappointing when it is hyped so much and then doesn't live up to folks' expectations. Now to on board entertainment. I have to say this cruise was the worst of the ones we've done on Azamara. The quality of singers and dancers was not as good as on past cruises. We had a violin duo one night and after listening for a few minutes, I walked out. There was a pianist/magician (strange combo) who was just okay...Max was much better! They did bring on a comedian our last night on board who was very funny...the best show. But that was it for entertainment. Disappointing. On the other hand, there were two enrichment lecturers who were outstanding. One, Jay Christofferson, was a professor in marine biology. He gave four lectures which were absolutely terrific. Another lecturer was a cultural anthropologist...we made it to one of his lectures and it was very well done. Now, a note about the new "more inclusive" policy on beverages. We had been quite happy on past cruises with the included wine at lunch and dinner. But we did take advantage of the new policy and had cocktails out by the pool and before dinner. Very enjoyable. The wines were uniformly good and our waiters were quick to find a special favorite we'd had the previous night and bring it out to us again. On this cruise we used the jogging track every morning and it was nice to be up early and walking. Nice touch having orange and grapefruit ice water available (and towels too) A couple of mornings, though, we were diverted by whales spouting and breeching...easy to see from Deck 10. I also went for a spa treatment (they were running specials all the time) and had a very relaxing massage and facial. A bit of a sales pitch for the products but not too bad and the spa itself was very nice and Chloe, the therapist, excellent. In summary, another wonderful cruise on Azamara. Can't wait to be back on board again.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
We wanted to try Azamara Club Cruises. Which is interesting in itself, because until not that long ago, we had never *heard* of Azamara. We thought it would be something approaching the level of Crystal (whom we have sailed in the past and ... Read More
We wanted to try Azamara Club Cruises. Which is interesting in itself, because until not that long ago, we had never *heard* of Azamara. We thought it would be something approaching the level of Crystal (whom we have sailed in the past and greatly enjoyed, pre-all inclusive). We love the small ship format, we were specifically interested in this particular itinerary (which included Mexico's Copper Canyon)...and, as Celebrity loyalists, we wanted to see what our status would bring us on Azamara. The Canyon was the big draw for us in the beginning. We have done the Mexican Riviera to death, but this itinerary offered the lovely small ports of the Sea of Cortez - and the Copper Canyon. Party-hearty survivors of Puerto Vallarta need not have signed up for this cruise. Embarkation in San Pedro was a breeze. The Azamara Quest was the only ship in port that day. We had forgotten the convenience of a smaller ship; the check-in lines were minimal, to say the least. Our key cards identified us as "Discoverer" - top-of-the-line status on this line, but that was to change (more below). One of the first crew members to greet us on the way up the gangway was Jose, the Captain. This would not be our first encounter with him. We were greeted on the main deck with sparkling wine and cranberry juice, and a bit of a wait - the cabins were not quite ready. Fortunately we were given a running commentary about the room status and after a while, coupled with more trips to the champagne tray, the stampede began to the rooms. For us, the National Affairs Suite turned out to be Cabin 6030, one of the last available rooms. It was off the forward elevators and stairs. It is one of the tender cabins, meaning the size of the cabin has been compressed to accommodate the ship's tenders in their davits, and views are obstructed. The bright side of our room was that it overlooked the smaller crew launch boat and we actually had a decent view out the window. The other side of the room? Thunk. Thunk. Slam. This room is directly above the doorway leading out to the boat deck on level 5. When the doors shut on a calm day, a "thunk" is definitely noticeable. When they shut on a sea day and the winds are up, the "slam" is much more pronounced. The noise was especially pronounced upon entering and leaving port as guests go to the rails, and when the crew puts out the deck chair cushions and towels at sunrise and collects them at sunset. We tried not to notice the noise after a while. It is a very narrow room; just enough space for the bed, closets, and a desk and cabinet. The only chair in the room is a stool, which made our decision to skip room service a lot easier. In the room was a missive welcoming us as Discoverer members in Le Club Voyage, containing special events planned "exclusively" for us as top-tier members (thank you, Celebrity). The perks included the LCV cocktail party, a champagne brunch hosted by staff, and - 235 free Internet minutes per guest. Whee! There was also a coupon good for a free bag of laundry. We usually tour a vessel prior to the boat drill. With the Quest, we saw everything in 20 minutes. I was always intrigued by the old Renaissance Cruises ships. This ship, and its sister the Journey, aren't getting any younger. They do have a dated look to them. But they are kept in very good condition. Dining: we ate in all venues. The Discoveries dining room is LOUD. If I could change the font to make "LOUD" bigger, I would. It is especially noisy toward the center. The least noisy part of the restaurant was near the entrance, where the hostess did her very best to maintain her cool against some terribly snobby customers: "we've been waiting for *two* minutes!" "what do you mean, we can't get our *regular* table?!" People, you're on VACATION - take a chill pill! Or enjoy a free martini from the nearby Discoveries Lounge bar. About those free martinis: Azamara is sort of semi-inclusive in offering a selection of free wines with lunch and dinner, and free beer and cocktails from the bars. As long as you're happy with Bud and Becks instead of Corona and a well vodka instead of Ciroc or Grey Goose, you'll do perfectly fine on Azamara. The bar menus detail what costs what...and what doesn't cost anything. We passed on the "specialty" alcohol packages that ranged between $16-19 bucks daily. The food in Discoveries was much better than anticipated - a varied selection every night, prepared well. The bread and desserts were the only weak parts. I thought the complimentary wines were mostly so-so - but I couldn't argue about the price, right? We ate in Aqualina, the Mediterranean specialty restaurant and in Prime C, the specialty steakhouse, once during our cruise. Aqualina was an exceptional dining experience for the $25 per person fee. I really liked my osso bucco. The Missus enjoyed the seafood platter. The experience in Prime C was a bit more mixed. The seafood appetizer was excellent, as was the filet. I should have ordered the NY strip a bit rarer than my usual "medium". The service in C felt slightly off. The pool grill offered a wide variety of specialties, more than most poolside eateries on other ships. The coffee bar on board, Mosaic Cafe, features the not-so-fee-friendly Nespresso system. But you could go up to the counter and order your standard non-Nespresso coffee drink, and the friendly staff will whip them up in a flash for you. One of our favorite gathering places on the Quest. A number of specialty pool buffets were set up during the cruise. One of them was hosted by the ship's officers, who dished out the chow - including an entire roast pig. The Missus asked the officer in charge of the pig, "how did you keep this pig below decks?" The officer replied, "he had his own little house downstairs, and his own little garden. He was pretty happy - until this morning..." Azamara officers are not without a droll sense of humor. In fact, we liked how the crew interacted with the passengers, from the captain on down. Captain Jose issued, almost without fail, his "Voice from the Bridge" - a noontime soliloquy that usually ran between 8-10 minutes, detailing everything from the location of sister ship Journey, the distance to his home in Portugal, and literally everything in between - spoken with an extremely straight face. There was rarely a time when we didn't see him at some event on board the Quest, and even on shore. He brought a certain humanity to his job. We enjoyed how the singers, dancers and musicians engaged with passengers at events, especially the "White Night" event. Tours: We only took a couple of ship tours. But one was the Copper Canyon, and that would be enough for any cruise. The CC canyon was *long* - one of the longest ship's tours I've taken in my life. Off the boat and on the bus at 5 AM. Nearly two hours to the train. Six hours by train to the lookout and hotel for lunch. Six hours back on the train, during which time darkness fell and there was nothing to look at. Another hour and a half on the bus. We spent a little under two hours on site, some of which was taken up by lunch and a folk show by the local Indians, and the rest of that time spent wandering around the lookout trying not to fall over the canyon's edge while being besieged by Indian souvenir vendors. Were we to do this again, we'd spend the night at the canyon and make it a two-day trip. A single day just killed us. That night, we returned to the port where a huge party was in full swing. The people of Topolobampo put on a big fiesta right on the dock, with a live band and a dance floor. We learned that the crew joined the mix and encouraged passengers to come on down and support the town's efforts. We received a similar welcome the next day in Guaymas, where there was almost non-stop entertainment at dockside and young volunteers wore t-shirts saying, "may I help you?" The "Azamazing Evening" in Cabo was a little underwhelming. The show felt really hokey, though the fireworks at the end were awesome. I would imagine the "Evenings" in Europe probably have more material to work with to make them more interesting. But I give Azamara props for getting a great proportion of the guests off the ship onto the tenders and buses and bringing them back in one piece. The SWAG we received - little handicrafts and tequila miniatures - was a really neat treat. Overall: The Quest: an aging ship without the bells and whistles of more modern ships. A curse, but perhaps also a blessing. There are cruises where we mostly don't need a lot of visual / aural stimulation. Public passageways could be a little tight, especially when bad weather drove everyone indoors from the pool deck. The area around the photo kiosk and shops is often cramped due to the presence of sale tables, which restricted passenger flow. The crew: very engaging, for the most part. I experienced no special Azamara "moments" with them but thought many of them made a solid effort to ensure we felt at home on board. The facilities: only one small swimming pool. The Quest offers a thalassotherapy pool as part of its spa services, but we passed on purchasing a day pass. On Celebrity, that pool is free to all to use. The Quest's spa pool is no more than a glorified hot tub in size. The Cabaret Lounge is the ship's multi-purpose facility for shows, lectures, bingo - and the special Super Bowl party held during this cruise. As a Niners fan, I had no dog in this particular fight...but that didn't stop me from doing drive-by munching on the party's food tables. As a theater venue, the sight lines are really poor, especially in the back. The Casino wasn't exactly packed during this cruise. The usual slots and blackjack junkies. C-Prime was reminiscent of your upscale American steak house - lots of black/white photos of American pop culture. Aqualina had a vaguely European feel to it. The shows: We didn't think much of the special guests brought on board as nightly entertainment. A couple of the musical shows were really done well. I had not seen the "Voices" show on any other ship and thought this was the best of the cruise. Cruise Director: Russ Grieve is the Best. Cruise. Director. Ever. He sings! He dances! He makes great waffles (during his stint at a LCV officers brunch)! Extremely outgoing. Most cruise directors are rather standoffish but Russ really made an effort to reach out to the guests and made them feel welcome. FItness center: collection of treadmills, ellipticals, strength machines and free weights. It is relatively small compared to larger ships and you might have to wait for a treadmill during some sea day mornings. A full range of exercise classes is offered. Quite a few people use the jogging/walking track above the pool deck. 13 laps on that track equals a nautical mile. Children's facilities: none that I could see. No children's programs were listed in the daily newsletter and there weren't any kids on this cruise. The itinerary: A Mexican cruise, but not the usual Rivera Shuffle (Cabo-Vallarta-Mazatlan). We saw a lot of the lovely little port towns along the Sea of Cortez. Been to most of them before, but liked them all. The tours: Other than Copper Canyon and a Sierra Madre trip out of Mazatlan, we really weren't interested in seeing anything. We were happy to bum around the port towns, especially Loreto and Guaymas. A pity Cruise Critic doesn't list these ports on its drop-down menu. I would be happy to write about them. Le Club Voyage: a number of events for past passengers, including a brunch in Aqualina and the usual LCV passengers event in the Lounge. The Aqualina brunch was nice. The passengers event was nothing special - except when the LCV representative tried to explain the "new" expanded status levels. Discoverer was the top level. She explained this would be surpassed by two new "super" levels - but was at a loss to explain whether, at those new levels, your treatment would be anything different or better than Discoverer. The changes were apparently so new that even the LCV rep was still trying to figure it all out. Would we sail on Azamara again? Perhaps. The itineraries are really interesting and we like the small ship experience. But Azamara's bread-and-butter is its European and Mediterranean cruises - a little far to travel, for us. Azamara won't tear us away from Celebrity and Crystal. It does, however, give us another cruising option. This was one of the nicer cruising experiences I've ever had. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2014
CRUISE TO CENTRAL AMERICA AZAMARA QUEST JAN.15-28, 2014 We flew to San Jose, Costa Rica and stayed at the Peace Lodge Vara Blanca 126 Alajuela, Costa Rica (peacelodgereservations@waterfallsgardens.com) We spent two nights there and it ... Read More
CRUISE TO CENTRAL AMERICA AZAMARA QUEST JAN.15-28, 2014 We flew to San Jose, Costa Rica and stayed at the Peace Lodge Vara Blanca 126 Alajuela, Costa Rica (peacelodgereservations@waterfallsgardens.com) We spent two nights there and it was a most magnificent stay. On January 15, 2014 at 9: 00 am Ricky Ricardo met 6 of us by previous arrangements for the trip to Caldera to board the AZAMARA QUEST. Ricky was able to handle all the luggage in his van for the six of us. We made a stop at Zoo Ave on the way to the ship which was an interesting stop to use up some time. The ship the Azamara Quest was built in 2000 and was the R7 until Renaissance broke up. She has also sailed as Delphin, and Blue Moon under Pullmantur. Pullmantur a Spanish Cruise line was purchased around 2005 by RCCL who thus acquired all Pullmantur’s ships. She was refurbished in 2007. She is 30,277 GRT with a crew size of 408 and Passenger capacity of 694. There are 42 suites. All tipping is included, but the service was so good we just had to tip. All the officers on this ship are frequently seen and call the passengers by name. The Hotel Director Phillip and the Cruise director Russ Grieves did amazing jobs doing things to entertain the passengers that were very unusual. They served ice cream and did an Iron chef competition. Both are just so quick witted one could not help liking them. Russ has got to be the hardest working CD I have ever seen. He was dancing on white night, announcing all the time, greeting passengers around the ship and just a bundle of energy. The captain was seen frequently around the ship and stopped to talk to all the passengers. He was even at the gangplank greeting passengers back on board after the AzAmazing evening in PV. I saw Phillip and the Captain at the AzAmazing evening and other officers and ship personal at the function also. My take is that Azamara cruise line would be Celebrity’s answer to Silversea. Having sailed three Silversea cruise ships, I must say that Celebrity has answered quite well. The complimentary wine aboard Azamara Quest exceeded the Silversea complimentary wine. Azamara did not comp. Bombay Blue Sapphire gin except to furnish a bottle to the Owner’s suite. They did comp Beefeater gin and most mixed drinks. The next day January 16, Thursday the ship had sailed about 20 miles to Puntarenas. All passengers boarded in Caldera because of limitation of luggage handling in Puntarenas. In Puntarenas, Costa Rica we took a tour of the Puntarenas Area with Ricky Ricardo (rickyricardotours@hotmail.com) Mob.Tel # 506-8848-1499 Ricky lives in Puntarenas so it was easy for him to meet us for this tour. He was kind enough to come to the Peace Lodge to get us and bring us to the ship. We had a River boat ride on a small personal boat of about 10 passengers seeing many different types of birds. A sheet with numbers was furnished each of us to use describing what type bird we were seeing. When the guide spotted a bird he would call out the number and you could then see the name of the bird. This was a wonderful day on the River and we also got to see crocodiles being fed chickens right by our boat by the guide. He was in ankle deep water and the crocodile would leap to catch the chicken in his hand. We had a stop at a local restaurant on the water for an included lunch of Cosada with fresh Sea Bass. This was a very nice stop. We also went on an Aerial tram through the jungle. Lot's of termite nest, but many beautiful birds also. I can highly recommend Ricky Ricardo. He was very prompt and informative and arranged some very nice tours. We stopped to practice squeezing sugar cane with a press. Sugarcane juice with lime is a nice drink. Of course he gave us time to shop. Ricky also stopped on the side of the road to visit some monkeys and they did come close to him for the bananas. On Jan 17,Friday we went to Colonial Grenada, Nicaragua where we saw La Merced Church, dozens of colonial homes, and the convent of San Francisco to see the mysterious stone idols. We had a ride on the Lake for one hour past some of the hundreds of small islands that were formed during the Mombacho volcanic eruptions. We had a Horse & buggy for an hour ride around Grenada. Each of us had taken a lunch and found a nice establishment to stop and get drinks to go with our picnic meal. This tour was arranged through Careli tours. (yescany.sanchez@carelitours.com). I was allowed to make payment for the 8 of us via check to a bank in Florida. The regular tour was upgraded to a buggy ride through the streets of Grenada for $5/person. On Jan. 18 Saturday Our next tour was in El Salvador where we had a ships tour from Acajutla, El Salvador to Nahuizalco and Ataco. Nahuizalco we visited the place of the four Izalcos, cradle of one of the most distinctive handcrafting techniques of wicker and tule in El Salvador and purchased somw nice wicker souvenirs. Ataco or High Place of The Springs offered vivid paintings on the walls of the town's buildings. This tour was billed as the "FLOWERS ROUTE" but was disappointing as there were very few flowers seen. This was a long tour and wore out some people. It was over 7 hours. Jan. 19, Sunday We stopped at Puerto Quezal, Guatemala and visited Lake Atitlan with our private guide Luis sponsored by Tours By Locals. Luis Benjamin Cholotio Tel.# +502-4177-5213 (aweacholo@gmail.com) gave us a very good tour. The ride from Puerto Quezal to Lake Atitlan was about 2 hours so the total tour was about 7 hours but went by quickly. We had very nice rest stops. We boarded a small boat at San Lucas Toliman and visited San Juan La Laguna Luis's hometown and saw beautiful art galleries. We used little tuk-tuk’s to move around town for an extra cost, but it was better than walking. We continued to Santiago Atitlan and visited the Catholic church, and the central park. It was a 2 hour ride from the port to the lake so it was good we brought a lunch to save time and eat while we were cruising the Lake. We decided to just ride by San Antonio Palopo on the eastern side of the lake, but in the interest of time we did not stop. We were getting tired. Luis never got tired. Our guide did tell us to bring some warm cover for the beautiful Lake Ride. We saw textiles and natural dye coloring in San Juan La Laguna our guide's hometown. He took us to visit his home where he lived with his mother. His mother always enjoyed visitors but was away at this time. We met nieces and nephews. This was a very informative trip that was personalized for the 6 of us that participated. Luis gave us very good personalized tour. Monday, Jan. 20 we arrived in Puerto Chiapas, Mexico, I went on a ship tour of a Mangrove and Nature Exploration with 6 people per boat to tour the mangrove streams and lagoons populated by wildlife and birds. My wife and friends cancelled out because of the tour in El Salvador being too long. We saw pelicans, herons, and ospreys (Fish Eagle), cormorants, hummingbirds, egrets, spoonbills, storks and turtles. We had four original reservations, but three in our party elected not go on this tour. We saw a shrimp farm since these lagoons are salt water and have tidal variations. It is a new business not in full function yet. Tuesday January 21, Huatulco, Mexico where I again went on a ship's tour by myself. My wife and the other couple elected to just rest. We went to La Crucecita and scenic drive to see deluxe hotels, and Continue to Conejos Bay for breathtaking views. We visited an arts & crafts museum to see Oaxaca's arts & crafts. Next we visited La Crucecita, a quaint town where participants in the tour are allowed to browse the bustling market. On the way back at the La Entrega Beach we stopped and had a chance to take photos of our Azamara Quest ship from a high vantage point. Thursday Jan 23 after we arrived at Manzanillo, Mexico where the 4 of us went to the Karmina hotel resort for a 4 hour visit of drinking and eating and laying out and visiting the resort. It was a beautiful property and probably could be visited inexpensively after talking to some of the people that were staying there. Friday Jan 24, we stopped in Puerta Vallarta. We took a short cab ride to visit Walmart and Sams which were next door to each other during the morning. More non Mexicans shopping than Mexicans. It was interesting to see the display or raw fish and octopus that we do not see in America. In the evening Azamara had arranged a complimentary show by The HUICHOL INDIANS OF THE SIERRA MADRE MOUNTAINS. This was a very nice experience. They used multiple vans to carry about 600 people into the mountains to visit the property. Large buses would not be able to make it. The Huichol Indians put on a colorful show and we were served margaritas, tequila and many nice snacks. A very nice fireworks show followed. I can say that this was a very nice success. As we went up the rough roads we would see cowboys on horseback with flashlights lighting our way to be sure drivers did not go the wrong way. Sat. & Sun Jan 25 & Jan 26 we spent at CABO SAN LUCAS. On the second day we did a sunset cruise which was very nice with very good eats and drinks. Nice views of the arch and saw a manta ray pop the surface. Mon. & Tues Jan 27 and 28 We had two nice days at sea and arrived in LA and we're trying to get off the ship when we were rejected by a customs hold that came up on the screen when my sail/sign was inserted. Phillip Herbert the Hotel director had no idea why. He called customs and an agent came after some delay and escorted us off. We had a 10:30 AM departure and did get to the airport at 8:30 AM in plenty enough time Unfortunately that flight got cancelled because of freeze in Atlanta, and we spent the night in LA at our usual Courtyard LAX on West Century Blvd. We had rebooked for the same flight to Atlanta the next day Thursday Jan. 30 which we got on the airplane and already had a drink when the captain said we would be delayed for take off for 5 hours. We were disembarked and realized that we could not make our Atlanta to MLU connection. The roads in Atlanta would not allow our daughter to get to the airport to pick us up for an over night stay and all the hotels were booked up so we rebooked for the 7:30 AM Flight to Atlanta on Friday Jan 31, 2014 and spent the night January 30th back at the Courtyard by Marriott on West Century Blvd.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2011
Azamara Journey Sea of Cortez January 19, 2011 I am a first-time Azamara cruiser with a long history of cruising on Celebrity, RCCL and Regent. The following is a review of our recent Sea of Cortez trip. Embarkation ... Read More
Azamara Journey Sea of Cortez January 19, 2011 I am a first-time Azamara cruiser with a long history of cruising on Celebrity, RCCL and Regent. The following is a review of our recent Sea of Cortez trip. Embarkation We embarked Journey in San Diego and the process couldn't have been easier. We flew in the day before, rented a car from the airport at Avis and stayed in Orange County the night before embarkation. While the airport is close, I did some research and found an Avis facility about a 5 block walk from the pier so we made arrangements to return the car to this location. Drove to the pier first to drop off our luggage and were surprised to be able to drive right onto the pier to off load our bags. Took all of 5 minutes. We drove the car back to Avis, they offered to drive us back to the pier but we chose to walk. When we got to the pier, it was about 11, we were checked in and on the ship by 11:10. Rooms weren't available until 1, so we explored the ship a bit and had lunch in Windows Cafe. Staff We were most impressed with the Journey staff. Definitely a step up from our previous experiences - even on Regent. Lots of contact with senior officers, all crew were extremely friendly and helpful. Little touches made all the difference. For example, after we returned from a very long excursion to the Copper Canyon (16 hours), several officers were waiting at the gangway to welcome us "home" and remind us of the special dinner buffet they were serving just for those of us returning to the ship late (10:30 pm). We were always greeted by the Cruise Director by name and he would inquire how we were doing. With anytime dining, there is no guarantee of having the same waiter and assistant for dinner, however the maitre' d definitely makes an effort to seat you at a table so you have the same staff. Of the nights we ate in the MDR, only once did we not have our "usual" waiter and assistant. We appreciated that since it's nice when your drink preferences are known, etc. Food Very good, always hot, decent portions, didn't feel as mass produced as on other lines. Good variety in the MDR. Selection got a little repetitive in the Windows Cafe for lunch. Great burger bar by the pool and one of the times you appreciate being on a smaller ship - no lines whatsoever for a freshly grilled burger. We were impressed with the variety of selection, however, for dinner. Indian, Mexican, Italian, Seafood theme nights were all done well. We were not as impressed with the outdoor buffets but the All-American BBQ is just not really our thing. Ports With the exception of Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas, our ports were smaller and more intimate. We didn't know quite what to expect having read comments on Cruise Critic about the ports and with information provided by Azamara. We were very pleasantly surprised to find each port of interest and to provide great opportunity to experience a Mexico different from the larger ports. I can't comment on Topolobampo since we were gone the entire day on an excursion. But we thoroughly enjoyed La Paz, Guaymas and Loreto. Each was charming in its own right but we enjoyed Loreto with its more unique shops and atmosphere. Mazatlan was quite enjoyable, we hiked on our own to the El Faro lighthouse - a short walk from the ship. Interestingly, Azarama chose to stop at Mazatlan even though a passenger from a previous cruise was a victim of local violence (according to USA Today). We, however, never felt uncomfortable. Cabo was fine but felt crowded with three ships in port. Entertainment We were very impressed with the entertainment. I am very critical of cruise ship entertainment and rarely have positive remarks. Kudos to Azamara for the entertainment offerings. Activities were managed by our excellent cruise director, Eric de Gray, a consummate showman who had his own show one evening and sung in a Broadway review with the ship's singers another evening. My personal opinion is that Eric is the reason the entertainment was as good as it was. The guest singer and pianist were also quite good. The comedian was not to our liking but there were many people laughing hysterically. We very much liked the intimate atmosphere of the Cabaret lounge. It was never crowded and you could always stroll in 5 minutes before the show and have your choice of seats (how refreshing). Stateroom We were in stateroom #7116 a Club Deluxe Veranda Stateroom (formerly Sunset Veranda). An adequate cabin with a slightly oversized balcony (could accommodate two loungers and a small table and chairs). Lovely views of the ship's wake. We love aft cabins and have had the pleasure of sailing on Millenium class ships in the family ocean view staterooms several times. The room dEcor was fine if a little tired. The duvet was lumpy and not of good quality, the bathroom very small, furnishings worn. Plenty of closet space and room under the bed to store luggage. Interestingly, we received a note that work was to be done on our balcony (it did need some painting and the railing could have used a new coat of varnish) but no work was ever performed. Ship Here is where we were truly let down. I realize the ship is 10 years old but, in my opinion, is in need of some serious refurbishment. The tile around the pool is horribly outdated and moldy. Ditto for tile around the bar areas and in Windows Cafe. Furnishings in general look tired. Lots of rust in many areas. We appreciate the opportunity to have breakfast, lunch and dinner outside but also noted many times when seating quantity was not adequate in Windows Cafe. I did not anticipate this. People complain all the time about crowds on Royal Caribbean ships in Windjammer, this was no different just on a smaller scale. It's certainly not what I expected having been on ships of similar age and given the lines positioning in the marketplace. It doesn't appear much updating has been done by Azamara since these ships were originally put into service by Renaissance. Overall A great cruise made special by the ship's staff. Many times we appreciated the smaller ship with far fewer lines, more intimate entertainment and more personal service. We will, however, not be returning to Azamara until the ships have been dry docked or a new ship is launched (which our Captain indicated is in the works). Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Regular readers will know I have a bias against writing anecdotal reviews, even though I love reading them when others write them. So, here is the A to Z of our AZamara Journey cruise on the Sea of Cortez itinerary. A is for a five star ... Read More
Regular readers will know I have a bias against writing anecdotal reviews, even though I love reading them when others write them. So, here is the A to Z of our AZamara Journey cruise on the Sea of Cortez itinerary. A is for a five star dinner in Aqualina one of two specialty restaurants which are a bargain for just $15pp. A is for the Appetizers in the main Discoveries Restaurant. They were often so tempting, perfect in size and presentation I ordered two. B is for the Benefits for Le Club Voyage Discoverer level. Have to love the internet minutes, the laundry voucher and the complimentary drinks at parties. B is for Bar Service [Sham, Sladjana, Metrizal, Michael, Cesar, Rea were all stars! - just to name a few]. B is for my Beef with Bottled water. Research has shown that this is less healthy and less environmentally sound than good tap water.... time to re-think this complimentary service and at least offer a choice in staterooms. C is for Cleanliness. Journey may just be the cleanest ship we have sailed upon so far. C is also for Complimentary wines and coffees; no complaints here. C is also for Cruise Critics roll call which led us to a privately operated Whale Watching cruise in Cabo. What a day; what pctures! D is for Dinner in Discoveries Restaurant where the new menus are delightful. D is for Doctor Elif, a wonderful friendly officer. D is for a very smooth Disembarkation; also for Daniel who was everywhere supervising restaurant service. E is for Early Embarkation; we arrived at 11.30 and were sipping wine with lunch at noon; stateroom ready announcement at 12.35; luggage by 1.30. E is for Eric. He is quite obviously the best Cruise Director yet [the queen outfit on rollerblades has to be seen to be believed - he is not paid enough!]. E is for Erwin who with Darwin provided super service in our stateroom; a "winning" team. F is for Free Shuttles in ports where needed. F is for Fifty per cent off wine choices each day and off drinks at Discoverer benefit Happy Hour. We thoroughly enjoyed spending a little more to match wine with food in Aqualina and Discoveries from time to time. G is for Guest Relations. The team was witty, patient, efficient at all times. G is for Guaymas camarones. Chef Lisa went shopping ashore and brought back the most gigantic shrimp of all time. They were pan fried in Windows Cafe that night and we just happened to dine there! H is for Heike the Hotel Manager with the mostest [with great support from F and B Scott and Chief Housekeeper Dace, this 'hotel' is five star]. H is for the High Five walk of the waiters around deck 10; an illustration of the happy bunch of servers who enjoy their work. I is for Ibrahim who along with Dogan provided exemplary service in Discoveries and anywhere else we met them. I is for Inaccurate sunset and sunrise times in the Daily which some days had this photographer on deck ready to take pictures .... at the wrong time. J is for Johannes Tysse; the drollest and wittiest Captain ever to steer a ship when we cruised. Those noon announcements should be available on CDs. J is for Jacqueline whose playing of the harp and singing were amongst our favourite events. J is for the Jolly dolphins who appeared on cue and played alongside [when Johannes said we were purposely 47km off course to find them]. K is for Kudos for the low Key sales approach on Journey. Much appreciated. Glad the art auction has gone. L is for Lisa. Imagine being the only female out of 60 working in the various galleys and being the boss of the other 59. Her shopping trips ashore for local seafood produced highlight dishes. L is for Laurentia, a sommelier with a smile and informative service. We feel so lucky to be two of the nine to participate in her Connoisseur dinner [six courses, five wines, $60] with Chef Hector presiding in the galley of Prime C. M is for Mexican entertainers who were invited on board to perform in the Cabaret and on the pool deck whenever we were in port long enough. Loved those 7 year old dancers and the Mariachi brass players. M is for Mario and his skill placing us in Discoveries for dinner. N is for Nathalia and her charming hosting of Le Club Voyage [and selling us our next Azamara cruise - tough to wait till 2012]. O is for Open Air buffets [and the buffet brunch too]. A well oiled machine of staff convert the pool area or a restaurant into an unrecognizable buffet area; tables and chairs even on the jogging track, with blankets provided too. And the decor and fruit and ice carvings provide the atmosphere. P is for the Poor lighting in Prime C which made it difficult to see the wines and food presentation during the Connoisseur dinner at the high tables by the cellar. Q is for Quintet; the group of the Journey Orchestra who played standards in the Mosaic Cafe one afternoon [come to think of it, any combination of these fine musicians was a delight to listen to at any time]. Q is for Quality of food offered. We had difficulty choosing between specialty restaurant, Discoveries and Windows Cafe for dinner. And those bites in Mosaic were moreish. R is for the Rotation of complimentary wines. The wines changed daily with at least 8 countries represented, then began repeating on day 8. Always pleasant, sometimes very good. The whites are served too cold for my taste, but my palm soon warmed the glass[es]. R is also for Re-unions with staff who were on Quest in Oct 2009 and other Celebrity ships, and with CCs who go further back than that to trans-Atlantic on Century and Alaska on Summit. S is for the Short promenade deck where my compulsive deck walking took place when the jogging track was too windy. Less than 100m long, but the view is great. T is for Typos. The Daily and the graphics on channel 14 need more careful proof-reading [overnight low of 1C? Jamilla is 'shinning'?]. T is also for Trays; of which there are none. That makes the line in Windows at meal times move more quickly [and perhaps reduces too much food being taken and then wasted]. U is for Ultra healthy. For a change we did not hear the too frequent coughing start on day 4 or 5 which happens on other ships; we did not need Immodium or Tums. The attention to cleanliness is very serious. U is for Unfortunately this is the last of the Sea of Cortez itineraries for 2011 and 2012. We could easily [and often?] repeat this cruise with its ideal length and varied ports. V is for Volume on the TV in the stateroom. The Variation from channel to channel means switching can result in a blast of noise. Really annoying when there is a channel surfer in the neighbouring stateroom . W is for Windows Cafe smoothies; which are complimentary on Journey. And W is for waiters who will take an order for one from me at the table and do the standing in line to wait for it to be made. W is also for weather on this itinerary at this time - outstanding. X is for the XL jacket my wife bought for me in the shop. It fits even though I am normally an M. I will proudly wear it with its discreet Azamara Journey embroidered on it. Y is for the Yellow Fin Tuna Chef Lisa bought ashore and served at the International Buffet! Z is for the Zingers that the Captain worked into his speeches and announcements. AAA map indeed; identical twin brother Eric.... and many more. I will leave it to the reader of this oddball review to decide whether we enjoyed our cruise. Weigh the compliments and criticisms and it should be obvious? Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Having cruised on Azamara Journey before, we had high hopes of a great experience in the less explored waters of the Sea of Cortez. This time Azamara exceeded all expectations. Embarkation was an unhurried, well organised process, and ... Read More
Having cruised on Azamara Journey before, we had high hopes of a great experience in the less explored waters of the Sea of Cortez. This time Azamara exceeded all expectations. Embarkation was an unhurried, well organised process, and our cosy balcony cabin was traditionally elegant and comfortable, with water,sodas, fruit and quality toiletries replaced daily. A supremely comfortable bed had lovely Frette linens, and plush robes and slippers were provided. Dining, whether casual, gourmet, or in the lovely standard restaurant, were innovative, delightful experiences, with efficient, friendly service, accompanied by a daily choice of excellent included wines. If room service was chosen, it was delivered, freshly prepared, promptly and invariably delicious. The on board staff, all well trained, friendly and highly professional were clearly happy in their chosen professions, resulting in a very happy relaxed on-board atmosphere. Daily activities were well organised, efficiently run and varied, enabling passengers to socialise easily and make friends. The Baja and Sea of Cortez ports were all delightfully charming, with the opportunity to visit pretty, unspoilt , welcoming small towns, and the abundant wildlife we were able to see made this a truly memorable cruise. Azamara is a cruise line offering so much to discerning passengers who do not feel the need to have the razzmatazz that the big resort ships now offer. Read Less
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise