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17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This was our first time on a premium cruise line and we did not know what to expect. Were we going to wallow in the lap of luxury with peons feeding us grapes as we reclined on our loungers? Caviar and champagne for breakfast, ... Read More
This was our first time on a premium cruise line and we did not know what to expect. Were we going to wallow in the lap of luxury with peons feeding us grapes as we reclined on our loungers? Caviar and champagne for breakfast, truffle sandwiches for lunch? Sedan chairs to carry us to the pool? Turns out, not so much. All together it was a very nice experience but not terribly different from the mass-market cruises we've been on. The major difference was with the size of the ship. 30,000 tons with 700 passengers makes for a very intimate ship. Moving around the ship is easy. Nothing is more than 600 feet away. The captain was accessible and I had a couple of chats with him. That's something that would not happen on the Anthem or Breakaway. The decoration is very elegant. Public spaces have lots of wood, white paint and crown molding. Classy rather than glitzy. Nice lounges with comfortable chairs and good views. There were all sorts of perks, unlimited bottled water and soft drinks in the cabin. Towels at the gangway when going ashore. Umbrellas and binoculars for your use on the cruise. Beverages and tips were included. The food was exceptional. We had exactly one disappointing dinner in the MDR. The rest were good to excellent. Prime C is their a la carte steak house and I thought it was terrific. We ate there twice and had some of the best beef I have ever tasted. Aqualina is the specialty Italian restaurant and it was not particularly to our taste. I found the decor to be very cold and institutional and the food to be inferior to the MDR. I'll skip it next time. The entertainment was perfectly adequate for a cruise ship and very good considering the size of the audience. The ship's band was great. The drummer and horn section were particularly talented. Most of the ports of call were tendered. On such a small ship, this was not an issue. No tender tickets, no waiting in line. The actual Panama canal transit was very interesting. A guest lecturer provided a running commentary during the entire day and waiters were serving water to us on deck so that no one would be dehydrated. Azamara offers two bonus features on their cruises. The AzAmazing evening and the white night party. On this cruise the AzAmazing evening was a show that was set up on shore near Cabo San Lucas. Most of the passengers participated. Azamara tendered us to shore and bused us into the desert where they had set up an outdoor theatre along with food and drink. The actual production was a modified folkloric show and included some gymnastic displays. Sort of a down-market Cirque du Soleil. The seating was uncomfortable. It was hard to see the stage and they had some serious sound issues. It was not worth the cost and effort that Azamara must have expended to set this up. The on-shore venue is a great idea. The show would have been adequately entertaining on board but combining the two did not work very well. Although the fireworks at the end were great fun. We tried to attend the white night party which is a deck party where all the passengers wear white. We gave up when the line-up to the buffet grew so long that it ran most of the way down the pool deck. We went to the MDR for dinner and found it to be very quiet for some reason. The service was really good that night. By the time we got back we had missed everything but a couple of songs from the ship's band. I can't say that I found their service much better than other cruise lines. We had trouble finding loungers around the pool, just like NCL. They forgot to make up our cabin one day, just like RCCL. We had to wait repeatedly for an available dinner table, just like HA. It was hard to find a table in the buffet at peak times just like everybody. Our steward serviced multiple decks and was rarely seen after the first day. Some things were not even done as well as the other lines. In 17 nights, no one remembered what I drink at dinner. Breakaway, with 3,500 passengers, somehow managed to offer me my drink as I sat down. The maitre d' in the dining room asked for our cabin number every night, HA's Volendam welcomed me by name after about the third day. One particular irritation was a special request I made to the cruise director. He said that it would be passed to the hotel manager. After a couple of days with no contact, I went to guest relations who tried to take care of the issue themselves. Unfortunately they gave me the wrong information. It took a fellow passenger to resolve the issue. In conclusion - Yes, I'm coming to the end of this novella length revue - This is not to say that we did not like the cruise. We enjoyed ourselves very much and we'd be happy to travel with Azamara again as long as the price was commensurate to the product they are offering. I agree that it’s a premium product and that I'm willing to pay more to travel with them as compared to a "regular" cruise line but perhaps not as much as they think they are worth. I'll be looking for deals. Read Less
BBMacLaird, CBO - Azamara Club Cruises has responded
Dear Marcc, I always find 'first-time on Azamara' reviews very enlightening. It sounds like we have not converted you to an unabashed loyalist, yet. I do hope you'll sail with us again so we can work harder at pleasing you! Watch our home page for special deals...www.azamaraclubcruises.com
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
This was our first Azamara cruise. The food was delicious, the service fantastic, and the tours were excellent. We tried all of the restaurants and found them all to be great. Azamara was exceptional in their attention to detail. ... Read More
This was our first Azamara cruise. The food was delicious, the service fantastic, and the tours were excellent. We tried all of the restaurants and found them all to be great. Azamara was exceptional in their attention to detail. Upon returning from any tour, the staff could be found at the pier to greet you with a smile, cold drink, and towel. You never wanted for something to drink no matter where you were located on the ship. The talks by Dr. Jim were very interesting and informative. He would always make himself available to answer questions whenever he was out and about. Very accessible and knowledgeable. Only two negatives. First, the rooms were very small. We had a club veranda stateroom. It was small than cabins on other ships we have taken. Secondly, if you do not play bridge, do not attempt to use the card room. The bridge players were hostile to anyone not playing bridge. I would recommend Azamara and will be cruising with them again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
As a senior, solo traveler I choose Azamara firstly because of the itinerary. and then because it is such a friendly environment. The lectures are varied and really interesting, My last cruises have had a bridge director on board which ... Read More
As a senior, solo traveler I choose Azamara firstly because of the itinerary. and then because it is such a friendly environment. The lectures are varied and really interesting, My last cruises have had a bridge director on board which makes for well organized sea day bridge sessions. I also enjoy the trivia sessions and of course being smaller ships, they are often able to access ports the larger ships cannot. The shore excursions from the ship are ideal for anyone traveling alone in countries with which they are not familiar and yet another opportunity to meet fellow passengers.. .The refurbishment last year has created a really refreshed environment with better use of the public spaces. I think too the efficient and always helpful staff across the ship make it a most relaxing holiday experience. I like the fact that solo travelers are welcome in the dinning room at night and are assigned to one of the larger tables-usually with couples or other solo travelers. Overall a wonderful way to spent a month each year. Read Less
BBMacLaird, CBO - Azamara Club Cruises has responded
Hello brumbygirl, Thank you for the review of your month aboard with us recently. I agree that the 2016 refurbishment really improved our public, and private, spaces! P.S. Azamara loves Solo Travelers!
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
As this was our 10th Azamara, we were looking at returning to the Quest with great enthusiasm. Our on board experiences again did not disappoint. Other reviews talk about the white nights, Azamazing evening and the like so I don’t ... Read More
As this was our 10th Azamara, we were looking at returning to the Quest with great enthusiasm. Our on board experiences again did not disappoint. Other reviews talk about the white nights, Azamazing evening and the like so I don’t see the need to revisit them in this review other than say that the signature events are exciting, anticipated and very much enjoyed. The advantages of the size and ambience of the R Class ships, Quest (and Journey) to us outweigh any negatives. To step aboard and see familiar faces amongst guests, staff and crew and to be remembered by name makes a comfortable, pleasant and enjoyable experience. The refit wasn’t a new experience for us as we’d been fortunate to have had 32 days on board straight out of dry dock last year. The Quest is a ship not only well loved but also well maintained and extremely clean. Firstly, what a great itinerary, even with the unplanned change from Cartagena to the touristy Cozumel. Due to storm activity in the Caribbean we concur that safety of the vessel, staff, crew and guests is of top priority and the change of itinerary and subsequent fine under the Jones act was Azamara’s decision. The Panama Canal was on our bucket list and the day’s transit experience didn’t disappoint. The history of the Canal is like nothing else. We loved the variety of the ports on this itinerary and without hesitation would re visit if the price were right. If it’s not on your bucket list it needs to be. The addition of the biking program is welcome by us wanting something different, hopefully (positive feedback here) the lengthy insurance form that needs completion prior to the activity is stored on board and can be reused again for future bike activities on future cruises. The ones we did were extremely well organised, fun and very enjoyable. Bike were easily to manage. Well done to those staff involved. The benefits on the self-service laundry continues to be an undervalued addition to your cruise price. The machine are smart, efficient and leave no one guessing to how long the washing needs to be ‘in’. Due to this upgrade in technology I believe that the laundry ‘protocol’ or behavior has improved to an acceptable standard and I met some lovely interesting people there, who then became ‘friends’ around the ship. Regulars will know what I mean. We met old friends and made new ones of all ages, nationalities and demographics. Over the years, we have seen some stubble and not so stubble changes on board, but on the whole we continue to be pleased with the product, service and quality of the food provided. This cruise also bought some variation and welcome additions to foods previously offered both in the buffet and Discoveries. I don’t agree with other negative review about the food as I believe it to be of high standard, tasty and surely inviting. We did mention in our mid cruise feedback form, and it was addressed immediately, that whilst acknowledging service was generally very good we did notice some delays in service in Discoveries. It wasn’t a deal breaker and we would happily return there each night if we weren’t dining in a delightfully exotic buffet or one of the specialty restaurants. The Discoveries staff do an amazing job and the attitude, flexibility and enthusiasm that they display needs to be commended. Shows where of usual standards with some enjoyable guest entertainers, sea days provided general 'something to suit everyone' experiences. Guest lecturer was popular and informative. Those activities, along with progressive trivial was the usual fun 'tongue in cheek' laugh at those more serious about it than our team. You could clearly do as little as wished or be quite active. As always under the competent helm of the Captain, senior officers, experienced staff and crew the service was impeccable and the attention to detail outstanding. We do not have a problem with the size of the staterooms or bathrooms as we know that they just ‘come with’ the design of the R Class ship which we love. We however appreciate that it would be a considerable challenge for some. As Azamara moves towards the future with the release of the 2019 itineraries, I’m pleased to say we have committed to another four for the next 12 months and must soon start thinking about 2019. The downside is that they all involve long haul flights but we are excited to be introducing other ‘newbies’ to our favourite brand and are prepared to ‘share the love’ when they step aboard with us next cruise. Until then we wish all Azamara staff, especially those on the Quest (and Journey) smooth sea and fair winds. Read Less
BBMacLaird, CBO - Azamara Club Cruises has responded
Thank you Aussie Travel Bird for the lovely review. We are so honored that you have sailed 10 times with already, and have booked another four voyages 2017-2018!
Sail Date: February 2017
Going through the Panama Canal has been on my "bucket list." I couldn't think of a better way to cross than onboard Azamara Quest. I boarded Quest in San Diego. The ports we visited were great, including an overnight in Cabo ... Read More
Going through the Panama Canal has been on my "bucket list." I couldn't think of a better way to cross than onboard Azamara Quest. I boarded Quest in San Diego. The ports we visited were great, including an overnight in Cabo San Lucas, where the AzAmazing Evening was a performance of the "Dance of the Dead" in the Mexican desert. We then went to Zhijuatanejo (Mexico), San Juan del Sur (Nicaragua), Puntarenas (Costa Rico), and then Fuerte Amador in Panama. The passage through the canal took about 8 hours, during which a retired history professor hired by Azamara gave a running commentary about the canal. Our next port of call was scheduled for Cartagenas, Colombia, however, Mother Nature had other plans and we had to divert to Cozumel. This was my third cruise onboard Quest. As always, the food was delicious, the service was impeccable, and the daily activities at sea were topnotch. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
This was our third Azamara cruise, and the best one yet. These ships are beautifully maintained. The crew is top notch, and the food is premium quality. The inclusive fares eliminate most of the nickle and diming that is so irritating on ... Read More
This was our third Azamara cruise, and the best one yet. These ships are beautifully maintained. The crew is top notch, and the food is premium quality. The inclusive fares eliminate most of the nickle and diming that is so irritating on most ships. The Azamazing evening was an outstanding piano concert by a Colombian artist, in an historic theater. Onboard entertainment is limited by the small show room,but, again, the the performers were very talented. The white might deck party is always a treat under the stars. Cruise director Russ, is excellent, and a talented performer in his own right. Senior officers are very visible and approachable. The Panama Canal transit was the primary reason we chose this cruise. After 100 years, it remains an engineering wonder. The canal lecturer seemed to know every detail of canal history and operation. The stops in remote Costa Rican towns were of little interest to us. The small size and intimate nature of this ship is such a refreshing change from the large ships we usually travel on. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
I don't usually write reviews, there are so many good descriptions of cruises and ports I normally don't feel I have a lot to add, but this last cruise was such a disappointment and it was relatively expensive I thought I had to. Six ... Read More
I don't usually write reviews, there are so many good descriptions of cruises and ports I normally don't feel I have a lot to add, but this last cruise was such a disappointment and it was relatively expensive I thought I had to. Six of us booked an Azamara cruise through the Panama Canal based on an earlier cruise I had taken and therefore recommended we ‘upgrade’ to Azamara. Unfortunately this was the worst cruise ship experience we have had so far with any RCCL ship including a Royal Caribbean branded cruise. The good: The staff was mostly stellar and the smaller ship size does make it easier to get around and the ship is less crowded. The entertainment was quite good on this cruise, Tony the director nearly made up for the other issues.. Unfortunately none of this could really compensate for the negatives. The bad: Starting with embarkation things didn’t look good. We were herded into waiting chairs at arrival and made to move a row up now and again to make it easier for the staff to check us in, unfortunately the wait was very long, when we finally moved to the standing line it got worse, the line seemed to last forever. The computers were not working properly and they left us standing with backaches and tired feet with no explanation or apology. On the ship, things didn’t get much better. Three cruises out of dry dock and the ship still isn’t right. It was very disappointing to see a ‘luxury’ cruise line present a ship in this condition. The Televison and announcement systems did not work. No emergency announcements could be heard in our staterooms, fortunately there was no emergency but even the muster call was not broadcast and we had to leave the doors open to hear the hallway speakers. This seems unsafe as well as inconvenient. The TV function such as room service, repair service, entertainment etc. also did not work - we were not told but you could seem to order room service, it just would never show up. If your plumbing backed up in the middle of the night (as it did) the phone system disconnected when trying to call, the TV repair call system did not work and there were no attendants to alert - we just had to wait hours until the attendants were in the hallways to have it fixed. The room condition was poor, rusty shower, broken headboard, broken reading light, dirty balcony, unpainted door jams etc. The general ship condition was ‘unready’, staff were still painting and completing repairs from a dry dock which ended a month earlier. The laundry was out of service the entire 16 nights, two small bags of laundry were offered as compensation, but this was not enough if you pack lightly expecting to wash during the cruise. It was known in advance, but Azamara did not alert us. As for dining, the food quality is far below our previous cruise, below Celebrity, maybe on par with RC. Aqualina was a disappointment but Prime C was fairly good. The Chef’s table was not at all worth the fuss. The main dining was disappointing too, the staff was working hard, but could not compensate for the ‘hit and miss’ nature of the food quality and mediocre wines. As a group of 6, we always wanted to eat together and the front staff at the dining room nearly always seemed to be at a complete loss as to how to get us a table for six, they were bordering on rude several times. This cannot be a rare request and they should be prepared to accommodate groups (or state clearly that groups are not welcomed there), it really put a damper on dinner each night. One amazing failure was during the Panama crossing, the volume of the running commentary was turned up so high (amazingly loud, we had to yell over it to be heard) that I had muffled hearing for a day even after they begrudgingly turned it off in the dining room. The special ‘white night’ was very poorly organized, there was no room at the BBQ dinner, yet staff was diverted there so the dining room was understaffed and unready. The food was tired and cold and I couldn’t even eat it. The AzAmazing evening event was a disappointment and complete waste of time - the show had little to no connection to Mexican Culture as described, was completely amateurish, physically uncomfortable in kitchen chairs sinking into the sand, and very far away from town in a sandy wash somewhere out in the middle of the desert at night. I have no idea how Azamara went from being just right to being all wrong but something happened and we don’t think we'll be taking another Azamara cruise. It’s too bad as I was really looking forward to this cruise. I speak to a lot of high end clients in my business and had dozens asking me how it went when I returned, I couldn’t recommend Azamara at all after this and I’m sorry for the downturn. For well over double what standard cruises are priced none of us felt it was worth it. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our third trip through the Panama Canal and we enjoyed it as much as our first two. We had been to many of the ports on this itinerary before, so we picked this cruise for the ship - we love the R Class ships. We sailed many ... Read More
This was our third trip through the Panama Canal and we enjoyed it as much as our first two. We had been to many of the ports on this itinerary before, so we picked this cruise for the ship - we love the R Class ships. We sailed many times on Renaissance - it was our favorite line. We have followed the dispersal of the 8 R Class ships after the line filed for bankruptcy (Oceania has 4, Azamara has 2, Princess has 1 and Fathom has 1, going to Cuba) We are both in our 60s and love sea days. We don't pick cruises for the entertainment or even the ports at this point. We never do the ship's land excursions. This was our first Azamara cruise but it won't be our last. We loved everything about this trip (except for the long lines at embarkation in LA). We tend to keep to ourselves and liked the number of tables for two available in most venues (in Main Dining Room they were extremely close to one another). The ship was extensively updated about 30 days prior to our cruise and the smell of new carpet and paint had faded. The public rooms and staterooms have new carpet and furniture. Overall the the ship is in great shape and the crew was fantastic - friendly and helpful. We originally booked a standard veranda cabin on deck 7 but changed to 7116 - an aft facing veranda with a larger balcony. We loved the view of the ships wake and had breakfast several times on our balcony. The food always arrived hot and to order. Room service even calls a few minutes before delivery - a nice touch. The cabin is small but adequate. The bed was firm and comfortable. The bathroom is tiny, with room for only one person at a time but we have experienced that before with no problems. This cabin's balcony does occasionally have particles of soot land on the table or deck depending on the wind. We also had one night of rough seas with some motion, but overall, no noticeable vibration when underway. TV reception was spotty - thank goodness! But announcements over the ship's PA do not play over the TV, so you have to open your door to hear them. The good thing is there are VERY few announcements and in only one language. Gratuities are included in the fare. Cabin attendants were very efficient and considerate but never introduced themselves. The service in the bars and around the pool was fine - not pushy- but a bit laid back in the Living Room on deck 10. We usually had to chase down a server to get a drink. We splurged a few time and upgraded our liquor choice but we were generally pleased with the included beverages. We did not spend time lying in the sun by the pool, so we cannot comment on the chair saving issues. We did enjoy walking the track on 10 and gym was very well equipped. The Library (now known as the Drawing Room) is a quiet and peaceful place to read and has quite a few books. We ate most of our meals at the buffet (Windows) even dinner where they feature a different country's cuisine each night. The grill on the pool deck has nice lunches. At night it is transformed in a sit down dining venue called the The Patio. We only ate there once but it was a very lovely setting. We ate dinner in the Main Dining Room a few times and found the food and service fine. We really enjoyed the Jazz Brunch on our last sea day headed for Miami. We did a package on the specialty restaurants - 3 nights for $20 per person each venue. We made the reservations as soon as we got on board and there was a short wait but not bad at all. The highlights were the chateaubriand in the Prime C and the lemon soufflé in the Aqualina. My wife enjoyed the bridge on the sea days and I enjoyed the lectures, especially the film critic from Canada, Rich Staehling. Azamara has a strict no smoking policy. Smoking is only permitted on the forward starboard section of the pool deck. We are non smokers and we were never bothered by the smell. Well done, Azamara! Our fellow passengers were about half Americans and the other half the rest of the world. The Azamazing Experience was held in Cabo San Lucas. We did not attend and from what we heard, the experience was not great. They tendered 600 people to buses and drove them into the desert for the show and then had to bring them all back. The last did not arrive back until after midnight. In contrast the White Night was held in Cartagena and it was huge success. The food was wonderful with lots of freshly grilled meats. They even did a wonderful Bananas Foster for dessert. We enjoyed the Columbian dancers and lots of passengers danced under the stars to the band. A really fun evening!! So to sum it up - a great trip on a great ship! We loved the all-inclusive more than we thought we would. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
We have cruised with Azamara before and were very pleased. This time we noticed a significant denigration with the quality of the food offered. There were always items at each meal that were acceptable. If we were cruising on a mass ... Read More
We have cruised with Azamara before and were very pleased. This time we noticed a significant denigration with the quality of the food offered. There were always items at each meal that were acceptable. If we were cruising on a mass volume RCCL ship the food would have been considered good. However, we were on Royal Caribbean's luxury line, Azamara which competes with Oceania. A few examples included watered down orange juice from concentrate, waffles and pancakes pre-made in the Windows Cafe, New York Strip that was thin and tasteless. The "always" available chicken breast was rubbery, like the ones at the supermarket that have up to 10% solution. The frozen yogurt near the pool was excellent. The fish, other than the farm raised Salmon, had fancy names(Red Snapper, Chilean Sea Bass, Florida Grouper), but did not taste or resemble those varieties. We reserved a guaranteed "Oceanview" stateroom. When we opened the door to the cabin for the first time the room was dark like an "inside" cabin. We soon discovered that on the other side of the big picture window was a large lifeboat that completely blocked the ocean view. When I spoke with the customer service desk they offered an upgrade for $1000 more, explaining that some of their oceanview rooms had an obscured view. No part of the pre-booking description from Azamara for an Oceanview cabin warned that we might receive a room with an obscured view. Eric the cruise director was excellent. The bar staff was excellent. The ship should have spent a lot more time in dry dock. Even weeks after the refurbishment there was missing trim in the cabins and glued fascia panels falling off the desks in the cabin. The new mattresses were excellent. Next time I want a luxury cruise it will be on Oceania or Viking Ocean. Azamara's per diems are eqivalent to those lines but well below the other's quality. Read Less
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