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Sail Date: July 2019
This was our 5th cruise with Azamara and our first time on Pursuit since she was taken over by Azamara, we had sailed with her previously as P&O Adonia so it was interesting to see the refurbishment. Emarkation was not good; when we ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise with Azamara and our first time on Pursuit since she was taken over by Azamara, we had sailed with her previously as P&O Adonia so it was interesting to see the refurbishment. Emarkation was not good; when we arrived at the port at the Trade Centre in Barcelona we were told we could board immediately however it was clear when we had gone through security we were going to have a wait as we were given numbers and asked to take seat. There were no facilities in the area for tea/coffee etc., and no announcements or information from Azamara staff to let us know why we were delayed boarding so not a good start. After sitting for about an hour our number was called and we were taken to mini buses, it was fairly heavy rain and I think Azamara were waiting on the buses to come and transport us to the ship which was about 100 yards away, however we still weren't given a reason for the delay in boarding. Once onboard we were quickly checked in and our photo taken again, I had uploaded a photo online but this wasn't used, seems a waste of time doing it before hand so wouldn't do it again.There was a table for upgrading to the Ultimate Drinks Package and we had planned to do this anyway as it gave us more options, the selection of wines in the package were good and suited us. The Complimentary Drinks remain the same 2 whites, 2 reds which change daily, rose and a sparkling wine which are the same everyday. The ship has an identical layout to Journey and Quest with the exception of the Casino, which is now accommodating the Future Cruise Desk and The Den, it's actually a better use of the space. The ship was in good order and well looked after, staff were constantly cleaning which is understandable. Food in Discoveries Restaurant was a bit of a hit or miss, sometimes it was good other times bland, the service was also good in the restaurant but if you were on a large table there was a longer wait. The food in Aqualina and Prime C were excellent we had the 3 restaurant package and it was worth the additional payment, it was a nice atmosphere and a lot quieter. Service was also first class in these restaurants. Windows food was good but never stayed hot for very long, this was something I did raise at the time and it was acknowledged, but there was always a good selection. The Patio had a good choice of food, the baked potatoes and Chilli were excellent, again service from Vishal 1 and Vishal 2 was excellent, very attentive and helpful. Entertainment, Paul Martell an impressionist and Jane Scali singer were in the show lounge and were very good, Signature singers again in the show lounge were good. Vasi Katina a pianist who played in Den was good. White Sand Trio who played in The Living Room were not good, the young lady who was singing was good enough however there were 2 elderly gentlemen, 1 played drums and the other key boards and sang but they were not good, they didn't gel as a trio. We like The Living Room however we only went there once and never went back as this trio were on every night. The White Night was well attended and everyone enjoyed the Signature Singers and Tony Markey the cruise director singing. We didn't attend the Azamazing Evening which was advertised as an opera but I believe it was 3 Sopranos who sang a mixture of song types. We enjoyed pre-dinner drinks in the Prime C cocktail bar, Ruby was in charge and she was very efficient and knowledgeable about the drinks and made a mean French Martini. The included drinks remain the same 2 whites, 2 reds which change daily, rose and a sparkling wine which stay the same. One of the reasons we enjoy Azamara is the smaller ships usually get the good berths which means being close to the town, also the early arrival and late or overnight stays. We enjoyed all the ports, Port Vendres was cancelled due to rough seas and this was substituted by a stop in Sete which was very nice, Marseilles, Monte Carlo and Livorno were the other ports. We didn't book any excursions. The Captain and crew were noticeable around the ship and all the staff we had dealings with were very helpful, friendly and efficient. Overall this was a very good cruise and we met some lovely people, the passengers were mainly from USA, Australia and Canada and some from GB. The reason for the 4 star review was due to poor embarkation and the entertainment, however this would not put us off booking again as we very much enjoyed our time onboard Pursuit. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Chose the cruise based on the itinerary and comments from our cruise company that Azamara was really good! It was excellent! Smaller ship with 690 people and very much adult focused which we loved, room was great - bed super comfortable ... Read More
Chose the cruise based on the itinerary and comments from our cruise company that Azamara was really good! It was excellent! Smaller ship with 690 people and very much adult focused which we loved, room was great - bed super comfortable and kept neat and tidy and clean always. Common areas including The Living Riom and Thw Den we’re so inviting and warm. Really enjoyed them. Pool was perfect .never crowded, nor were the hit tubs! Lots of dining options.. Food was outstanding as was the service. Captain Carl was great and his team did some pretty impressive manoeuvres! Tony the cruise director did a great job órgano for many events and entertainment... especially the Azamaxing evening in Koper Slovenia... very impressive! Really liked having a local tourism rep come on at every por and provide some guidance! All round a 10! Will be sailing (soon we hope) with Azamara again! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this cruise for itinerary and dates. We were celebrating our 50th anniversary. We flew into Vancouver on Canada Day. Took a taxi from the airport to the Hyatt Regency. Traffic was light. Taxi rates from the airport are fixed. $35 ... Read More
We chose this cruise for itinerary and dates. We were celebrating our 50th anniversary. We flew into Vancouver on Canada Day. Took a taxi from the airport to the Hyatt Regency. Traffic was light. Taxi rates from the airport are fixed. $35 CD All taxis take credit cards. We were happy that we were able to check into the hotel early. We were upgraded to a beautiful suite with a balcony. We ate dinner at Black and Blue. Food was delicious, service was outstanding, decor was plush, and they had AC. Many restaurants in Canada do not have AC. After breakfast at the Hyatt, we were picked up by tour guide. While we were touring, our luggage was taken to the cruise ship. At the end of tour we were dropped off at Canada a place where we checked in, cleared US customs, and boarded the ship. Our luggage was waiting for us in our cabin. Ship was renovated in 2016. Still looks fresh and clean. Cabin was bright. The dark woods are gone. New furnishings were beautiful. Bed was very comfortable. Linens and toiletries were very pleasing. Our cabin stewards, Juan and Andrew, were attentive. We ate in most venues. We liked Buffet and discoveries dining room. Small sandwiches and pastry at Mosaic was good. Tapas in the Living room was ok. Food was mostly good. Our best meal was dinner at the Patio. Seafood platter. It is a lovely venue with table service. We enjoyed watching the gorgeous Alaskan scenery during dinner. We were underwhelmed by Prime C. It used to be better. Live music was excellent. We did not like the DJ or some of the evening shows. The Azamazing Evening at the Chihully Museum in Seattle was fabulous. Great venue, good weather, nice entertainment, and amazing food made for a memorable evening. White night had bad weather and had to abort to living room. Not the best white night. We enjoyed our stops in Seattle and the Alaskan ports. In Ketchikan, we took the Alaskan adventure and crab fest. It was really interesting and delicious. In Juneau, we took the Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon bake. Unfortunately, our bus had a broken AC and windows that did not open. Bus driver guide was a real jerk. Bus had 49 guests and no crew escort. Salmon bake put us in long line with lots of guests from other ships. We were on a small ship waiting in line with guests from Ovation of the Seas It was a bad tour. Spoke to shore excursions who didn’t seem to care. Do not take the tour. Our stop in Nanaimo ,BC was a waste of time. Took an expensive excursion that was a real waste of time. Last day, brunch was well done....great food beautifully arranged, good service, and nice music. One of the best features of the Quest is the friendly crew. They really want guests to have a great time. We had a great time. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Our first Azamara was on the 8-day Croatian Intensive out of Venice. Previously we have cruised Celebrity and quite a few on RC. We were delighted with the experience. No one pushing drinks, spa service or pricey add-ons. Standard beer, ... Read More
Our first Azamara was on the 8-day Croatian Intensive out of Venice. Previously we have cruised Celebrity and quite a few on RC. We were delighted with the experience. No one pushing drinks, spa service or pricey add-ons. Standard beer, wine and cocktails are included. The only option is for a high end drink package. We did not buy that but had excellent wines. We seldom encountered question lines anywhere and the staff was uniformly delightful. The excursions were well done, the Azamazing evening was incredible and White Night was a lot of fun. We enjoyed the more mature group on board, and met fascinating, friendly people. The food was uniformly good at every venue. Captain Tony was visible and accessible, as was CD Tony and the rest of the crew. We read previous staff reviews, but this crew seemed to be jelling nicely. I’m afraid, though, that this was a costly cruise...as we are spoiled now and cannot return to the bustling crowds, belly flop contests and waiting lines of less costly cruises. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
This was our 4th cruise with Azamara and our first on the Azamara Pursuit. We have previously been on about 35 cruises (Costa, NCL, Cunard, Princess, RCCL. Celebrity, Regent, Crystal). This cruise did not disappoint! From the minute we ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise with Azamara and our first on the Azamara Pursuit. We have previously been on about 35 cruises (Costa, NCL, Cunard, Princess, RCCL. Celebrity, Regent, Crystal). This cruise did not disappoint! From the minute we got on the ship until we got off we loved every minute. Our only complaint is that our 7 day cruise was too short! As usual the crew was wonderful, very friendly and always giving us a friendly greeting. The food in the Discoveries Restaurant was excellent. We did not even bother going to the specialty restaurants. Capt. Antonio Toledo was wonderful. We got to speak to him on several occasions. We love the fact that the senior officers are so visible around the ship and greet you as you get off the ship when it is in port. To our surprise we had Tony as our cruise director. He was our cruise director on our first Azamara cruise. We also had another surprise when we were seated in the Discoveries restaurant with Noel as our waiter. He also was the waiter we had on our first Azamara cruise. Noel is an excellent waiter and we hope to see him on the Azamara Pursuit in the future. Chuck Richardson was our destination lecturer and he did a fantastic job. What we like about Azamara is the personal service and the intimate feel of the ship and no nickel and diming as on the larger cruise ships. We also like the fact that Azamara stays in ports longer. We liked the entertainment especially the Croatian dancers they brought on board in Dubrovnik. The violinist was also excellent. Fernando and Matthew were our future cruise consultants. We always had so many questions for them about future cruises and they always were there to help us. By the end of the cruise we booked 2 more Azamara cruises. We loved the Azamazing Evening but felt the music was way too loud. Azamara please keep up the good work. We hope on traveling the world with Azamara!!! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose this because it was "all inclusive" and small. We assumed that due to its size it would cruise up an Alaska fiord but instead it headed out into the open ocean to dump its holding tanks. We did circles for a day doing ... Read More
We chose this because it was "all inclusive" and small. We assumed that due to its size it would cruise up an Alaska fiord but instead it headed out into the open ocean to dump its holding tanks. We did circles for a day doing this. The cabins are small but still very functional. Dining in the main restaurant was excellent with great food and wine and fairly attentive staff. The buffet food was good but service terrible. The wait staff have no assigned tables so you can be finished breakfast before you get served water and tea. Entertainment is not up to big ship class but the six regular performers were good and most enjoyed the basic shows. Azamara is new to Alaska and have yet to figure out that it is not the tropics. They held their "dinner in white" around the pool deck in very cold temperatures and howling wind. The poor staff worked very hard to make it happen but many gave it a pass or ate and ran. Ports of call were the standard Alaskan fare but because the ship is so small we had to tender in twice as the dock was well above the gangway deck. They figured out how to make deck five an egress point. This ship is not good for children. We will not travel Azamara again. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My wife and I took this cruise as our delayed honeymoon trip. I had never cruised before but my wife had been on a few with Royal Caribbean. Azamara was recommended to us by our travel agent as we wanted to see multiple cities in Italy ... Read More
My wife and I took this cruise as our delayed honeymoon trip. I had never cruised before but my wife had been on a few with Royal Caribbean. Azamara was recommended to us by our travel agent as we wanted to see multiple cities in Italy without having to constantly carry around our luggage but were wary of the bigger ships. The best thing about Azamara is that they stay in ports late, in multiple ports we saw other ships docked/tendered leave hours before we did. To me, this was the best benefit as our goal for the trip was to experience the culture and cities we were visiting rather than just sit on a cruise ship for 11 days. My review may be a little naive since I do not cruise often but I felt the trip deserved some feedback. We stayed in Rome a few days before the ship took off and it was well worth it to see the eternal city. Once we got to the port for embarkation we were immediately pointed in the right direction and the staff took away our bags and led us onto the ship - no delays at all. We were greeted with a drink and told that our room was ready and lunch was being served in the Windows Cafe. We opted for the Club Continent Suite as it was not much more than a regular veranda and the added benefits (butler, included specialty dining, etc.) seemed worth it. The room was fantastic and was actually larger than our hotel room we had in Rome. The bed was comfortable with a nice size veranda and bathroom. The only knock on the room is I am rather tall (over 6 feet) and the shower was too short for me to fit in comfortably, I also felt the TV did not have many choices and the wifi was extremely slow. The food was good to very good and we never went hungry. We went to Aqualina twice and found that to be the best dining experience from the food to the service. The food & beverage manager, Mustafa, was very friendly and actually helped us get our second booking in Aqualina because the night we wanted to go was full. We mostly ate breakfast in the room or in the Windows Cafe where the buffet was great for breakfast. At times I felt the options and quality was lacking in the Windows Cafe for dinner but it is a buffet and the casual dining space for the ship so no real complaints there. The timing that the restaurants are open can be annoying as in the middle of the day you may have limited options. We typically only ate breakfast and sometimes dinner on the ship as we tried to eat in the ports we were in. We are not big drinkers so we did not upgrade the drinking package and felt the complimentary drinks were adequate but not great. The complimentary wines were actually very good. My wife is vegetarian and while they have a separate menu you need to order the meals in advance which wasn't a huge deal but can be annoying when you don't want to plan that far ahead. There was not much entertainment on the ship but that didn't bother us as we are on the younger side for the cruise and tended to explore around the ports or keep to ourselves. We did find ourselves playing darts/ping pong almost every night on deck 10! The service on the ship was fantastic, the staff was all friendly and helpful and our butler was great. The only real negative I have is the excursions. We booked five through the ship and felt only two of them were worth it. Maybe it was the ones that we booked but they were typically walking tours that were rushed and not that interesting and the ship charged us over $100 for each person. We found most the time we dreading the tours and couldn't wait for them to finish so we could explore on our own. I plan on booking another cruise on Azamara as I felt the service and value was great and the late port stays were a huge bonus. The ship feels more like a boutique hotel that travels which is great for what we wanted. The only thing I would do differently is avoid the ships excursions and book tours on my own or just explore. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We chose this cruise a we wanted to go back to Alaska and wanted to go on the Azamara Quest for the second time. It didn't disappoint. The food was excellent and the itinerary was good although we missed Victoria because on high wind. ... Read More
We chose this cruise a we wanted to go back to Alaska and wanted to go on the Azamara Quest for the second time. It didn't disappoint. The food was excellent and the itinerary was good although we missed Victoria because on high wind. We were able to get closer than the larger ships and only had to tender one time. The smaller lounges on board were very nice to meet and converse with other cruisers. The elimination of the Casino was disheartning, however probably saved me some money. The Captain was one of the most outstanding officers I have seen on a cruise ship, very personable and visible to keep us informed on every phase of the cruise. Hope I get another chance to go on the Quest and cruise with him. Embarkation was the quickest and easiest I had ever been through in nearly 20 cruises. Disembarkation was also easy with our luggage removed from the ship the night before and were close to our transportation. Canada and US Customs were very professional and smooth. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Back to back process : very easy... This was so easy that you feel it’s just like another day of the cruise CABIN: Inside stateroom, 4038 - the room still does the job, practical, enough storage space (for us), tiny shower but you ... Read More
Back to back process : very easy... This was so easy that you feel it’s just like another day of the cruise CABIN: Inside stateroom, 4038 - the room still does the job, practical, enough storage space (for us), tiny shower but you get used to. The room is in the middle of deck 4 next to a service door for restricted access to somewhere. It's a lot in use but didn't disturbed us. We pointed a couple of technical issues with the stateroom to the stateroom attendant and to guest relations and it was fixed in a properly timeframe. Our stateroom attendant, Francisco and his assistant: Julius (or Julian) did a great job keeping our stateroom in order, they were very fast. DINING / drinks / Bars: This week we really enjoyed the food in the buffet with a smaller but better selection of dishes than on the bigger ships. Here you get quality over quantity, something I feel is much better and less food goes to waste ( I think ). Also to get almost 90% new dishes every night is so much better than having a big selection that never change. When it comes to serving wine in the Buffett there is still potential for improvements. This week we also bought the Ultimate Beverage package again and when we order wine by the glass from the wine list usually the problems start. This is based on some nights and some lunches this week and you feel that as soon as you like to order wine that is not the one of the day, you see they get a little “oh, now I have to go and get that bottle” attitude. Some of the times they do not have the wine you ask for and bring you another one that substitutes it and that is ok, but please let us know before you start serving it to us, so we might be able to see if you have another we might prefer. There should also be a system maybe when you have ordered a wine from the wine list they can serve it in another wine glass (they did once) so other waiters know that you are not drinking the wine of the day and can ask what are you having and do you like some more. A couple of nights another waiter pass by and see your half empty glass and starts to pour the wine of the day and then mix it with a different one. It is not so nice to drink your Merlot and then they fill it up with Cabernet Sauvignon so we have to sent it back. This always happens specially if you drink a rose wine or a sparkling wine or Champagne for lunch/dinner from the wine list. However we still have to give them credit for always looking after you and you do never sit long with an empty glass. Azamazing evening Buffett and White Night Outdoor dining were great again as expected ENTERTAINMENT / ENRICHMENT / ART PROGRAM After beeing on board for two weeks, we have seen the shows and you can find it in our other reviews, this cruise Azamara has brought on board “A night at the Opera”... Believe me, this was a hit, incredible Italian talent for just one show... this was like the Azamazing Evening elevated and on board. Talking with Sam, one of the Art experts on board, we learned about the Azamara Art program and to us it sounded great, the approach to work with some emerging artists and some well established names and bringing them onboard to work while traveling and being also available to talk with the guests is a great way to connect. No art auctions but a small Art gallery where they exhibit these pieces and change it during the voyages. The price range is accesible for what I could think is the Azamara client. We had the chance to meet and see Gary Smith during the first two weeks and his work is really great. We also learned about other artists that Azamara has had onboard and the Art channel on the TV is another great way to enrich your art knowledge / curiosity. They also offer some lectures (if times allows it) about different artists. We put our eyes on some pieces and The only reason we did not buy the ones we liked is that we are moving into our new home (apartment) and we still have to figure out the use of the space in the walls we have. The enrichment lectures: For us traveling is not just about monuments or famous places but about culture, people, history, food, Art, etc. Is about learning about the places we visit and understanding the people and it’s cultural expressions. We attended some of the enrichment lectures and we are very happy we did. There is an historian on board for the next voyages, sorry I don’t remember his name or how long will he on board. It’s not the typical lecture that will tell you what to go and see but that will teach you about the history of the places, and this will make you understand the place. I highly recommend you to attend the lectures. SERVICE: In general the service level around the ship is excellent. Kudos to all the senior officers specially, Hotel Director Ryszard; F&B manager Elizabeth for making us feel at home and they are always visible around the ship. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Azamara Pursuit - Italy Intensive, second leg of a Back to back to back. Hi there, we are Jorge & Stian (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 21st cruise; third with Azamara. This is the second leg of a B2B2B. ... Read More
Azamara Pursuit - Italy Intensive, second leg of a Back to back to back. Hi there, we are Jorge & Stian (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 21st cruise; third with Azamara. This is the second leg of a B2B2B. This second week we had an Ocean View stateroom in deck 4, cabin 4000 Back to back process : very easy... This was so easy that you feel it’s just like another day of the cruise CABIN: Ocean View stateroom, 4000. Coming from the Continent Suite you feel the space is much less, specially in the bathroom... the room still does the job, practical, enough storage space (for us), tiny shower but you get used to. The room is totally at the front of deck 4 so noise and vibration could be an issue for some people. We are early morning and early sleepers so it doesn’t bother us that much...  Our stateroom attendant, Paulo did a good job keeping our stateroom in order but we noticed this time that it could take longer time for them to make up the stateroom, again for us this was not an issue but understand that for some this could be a “thing”... this time due to space constraints we never ordered breakfast or room service DINING: This week we just have dined in Discoveries and the buffett aka Windows Cafe, quality of food and service has been again really on point, good variation of the menus. Azamazing evening Buffett and White Night Outdoor dining were great again as expected BARS: For this week we decided to just go with the complimentary drinks and wines and it worked well for us this week during the experiment, The included red and white wines change daily (2 whites, 2 reds) but the rose and the sparkling ones do not. Quality of the wines was good but if you have special preferences for the kind of wine you like it may be not in the daily rotation Regarding the drinks and cocktails you can easily go through the week with the complimentary drinks and cocktails but again if you like certain liqueurs, cognacs, whiskeys and/or bourbons and high end brands for vodka and Gin; these are not included in the complimentary menu. After our experiment we can see that for cruises of seven to 10 days the price/ value of the ultimate package is well worthy if you like to have the option to choose the wines you like or to have a couple of cocktails or drinks at night with high end brands, cognacs, etc. ENTERTAINMENT: We still love the intimacy of the cabaret lounge shows and the signature singers are so good... the guest entertainers: White Sand Trio and the pianist are really great for evenings of music in the Den or in the Living room. This week we attended the Amanda’s Show: Epics... I just loved her more. Not just she is an amazing cruise director but an incredible singer; it is just lovely and you get to know about her career but also about her as an artist and a person... with beautiful songs I am not going to spoil but make yourself a favor and go and see this show... Super Amanda. Azamazing Evening in Livorno... just an incredible concert in a beautiful Opera Theater. Standing ovation to the performers White Evening party: This time we stayed longer and enjoyed the Party and the music...All the staff makes a great effort for this event and you should not miss it. SERVICE: In general the service level around the ship is excellent. We had a little issue during this cruise that we complained about and it got quickly addressed by Senior Management (Thanks to the Marketing manager) and this shows that Azamara takes us as guests very seriously and go out of their way to make us feel at home. Kudos to all the senior officers specially, Hotel Director Ryszard; F&B manager Elizabeth for making us feel at home and they are always visible around the ship. More detailed information in the semi live review on the CC boards: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2656591-azamara-pursuit-semi-live-review-b2b2b-france-and-italy-intensive/ Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
OK pulled up to the port for embarkation and since the ship was in Port of Nice until 10pm that evening there was no line. I mean no one. Walked thru a tent right outside the ship, up and on quickly since we had uploaded our photos on the ... Read More
OK pulled up to the port for embarkation and since the ship was in Port of Nice until 10pm that evening there was no line. I mean no one. Walked thru a tent right outside the ship, up and on quickly since we had uploaded our photos on the Azamara website. Directed into the Cabaret and received our room keys and went to a nice lunch in the buffet. Easiest embarkation ever experienced! We had the Club World Owners suite on the back of the ship Cabin # 7114. Perfect location as we werent below a restaurant. We have been sailing on NCL in The Haven and decided to try this for the ports of call and were concerned about being on such a small ship. That concern was gone immediately. The cabin was spacious, well stocked and clean. Many towels all over for the balcony, beach, whatever you needed. The first night we decided to eat n the main dining room, which we almost never do on larger ships and the food was excellent! Many options and specials every night. For lunch when we were on board we ate at the buffet but this isnt like any buffet you have seen, Crown Roast one day, many options and same for breakfast. Now to give you an idea of the quality of service, my wife has a food issue, she cant have anything cooked with extra salt or salted. We made this known and from the on no matter where we ate someone was there to make her anything she wanted just without salt. They even went so far as to bake her fresh bread for breakfast and dinner without any salt! There was a dinner for guests in the 10 largest suites called the Best of the Best! WOW! It was served in the library with the Captain, First Officer and other staff. White Glove service with wine paring. A real experience. White Night Party beautiful, with a Buffet and BBQ Lobster Tails, pasta, everything. Azamazing Evening was at an old Opera House in Livorno for a small performance that was extremely enjoyable. We experienced two minor issues. One was that the staff was all new so they werent quite up to speed as to how to go the extra mile yet. They were very good but just didnt go the extra step not because they were rude, they just didnt know. For example we had a butler and the first day asked him to bring coffee and tea every morning at 8am. he said we had to fill out the card and hang it on the door every night. One would think this was something he could have taken care of since he brought it to us every day. Not a big deal but just inexperience. The second was on an excursion. We were in Santa Margarita and wanted to go to Portofino for the day. So we hopped on a cheap tour offered by Azamara just for the ride and we had room credit to spend. Well we waited on the dock for a public ferry for close to an hour, Granted it was Easter Sunday but we expected a company like Azamara to have a private shuttle for their tour, maybe we were expecting too much. However upon our return a staff member asked how the tour was and I said I dont want to complain. They insisted I say something so I explained the situation. Apparently they are offering what they call "sightseeing" inexpensive tours since people have commented that their immersive excursions are expensive. So now they are trying less expensive tours. Anyway they made things right. Since this was an "Immersive" sailing we were in port everyday so by the time we returned each day we ate and walked a little and went to bed so we didnt experience any of the shows. Last night they have a chocolate buffet which is amazing! I loved it because the small personal nature you get to know the staff and the higher ups on board as they are always visible. Also, its an upscale cruise but not stuffy! No jackets required and decent casual comfortable clothes. I dont like to have to wear a jacket when Im on vacation unless I have to Would I go again! Absolutely I already booked Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Hi there, we are Jorge (40) & Stian (42) (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 20th cruise; second with Azamara. This is the first leg of a B2B2B. This first week we had a Club Ocean Suite stateroom. We booked ... Read More
Hi there, we are Jorge (40) & Stian (42) (a.K.a the arctic husbands) from Norway, this will be our 20th cruise; second with Azamara. This is the first leg of a B2B2B. This first week we had a Club Ocean Suite stateroom. We booked these cruises to celebrate our 10th years marriage anniversary and because after meny RCCL and Celebrity we wanted to experience Azamara again and the ports of call in the meditterannean where the big Ships cannot go PRE-CRUISE: Barcelona... One night stay in the Eurostar’s Grand Marina, next to the port where Azamara starts... so the check out, walk to the ship was a decisive factor... we have been several times in Barcelona and sightseeing was not something we needed this time around. The Hotel is OK, nice but dated rooms, a reception staff that smiles but doesn’t do their job, the best of the stay is the small restaurant offering a Gourmet dinner experience and this was a highlight of the trip... the food and the wine pairings were PERFECT... do we recommend this hotel... yes for a stay next to the port. EMBARKATION: very easy... just five minutes and then we were on board. SHIP: Pursuit is a beautiful ship. The newest of their kind... elegant, sophisticated and the color palette makes you feel happy. CABIN: for this first leg of the back to back we upgraded (at last minute) to a Club continental suite, we got 8039, perfect location and the only suite I have ever said OMG WAO when opening the door... the colours, the decoration, the style and the light. No noise problems, at least for us. SUITE CLASS PERKS: Internett: 235 minutes per guest, which is OK but slowly but after all you´re on holiday and IT works for reading emails if you ned it. Butler service: our butler Roy has been outstanding, amazing level of service when we have requested our breakfast in the suite, our tea service in the afternoon. I will post a picture of the letter in the stateroom with all of the suite perks you can get DINING: This week we just have ate dinner in Aqualina or Prime C, given that is included in the suite perks. Once we had dinner in the buffet (before the Azamazing evening) and once with the White party buffet that was AMAZING. Aqualina and Prime C quality of food and service has been really on point. Room service: we had breakfast in the rom almost everyday and it was very very very nice to have the extra space the suite provides and the balcony breakfast when it was not so cold in the early hours. BARS: For this first week we decided to buy the ultimate drinking package and it worked well for us this week. We got to try most of the included wines when having dinner, and some of the premium drinks we enjoy when on a cruise. For the second week, we decided not to buy it so we can compare the experience.... Our favorite place for drinks so far is The Den... it is just a very nice place, with some piano music on the evenings and the best bartenders and waiters. ENTERTAINMENT: This week we attended all the Signature Singers shows (3 shows) and they were good. These guys can sing and dance and keep you entertained for the 45 minutes signing along. We loved the intimacy of the cabaret lounge shows, if you´re expecting but productions shows, this is not the case and it works for Azamara. Azamazing Evening in Marseilles, Palais du Pharo. Was very entertaining, a kind of cabaret show with very french music, dancers and two great vocalists. White Evening party: we are not party people so we didn´t stay long after the White Evening Buffett ended but the party looked nice and people was enjoying themselves. All the staff makes a great effort for this event and you should not miss it. SERVICE: In general the service level around the ship is very good. Of course there are some that are just good and there are some people that just go above and beyond. SHORE EXCURSIONS & Ports of call: * Port Vendres: small, charming village, we just walked around and then found a hiking path that takes you to the other small town Collioure (or something like it). The Wall in the green areas around the Coast line is just very very very nice and easy with some amazing views. Breathtaking * Sanary Sur Mer: Beautiful town, the marina, the restaurants and cafes, it was very beautiful. We just walked around and enjoyed perplekse watching here and there. * Marseille: a vibrant city, we walked around, did some shopping and visited the Cathedral. It was great to be docked just in the center of town (or very very close) * St. Tropez: we took and organized excursion from Azamara and loved every minute; we visited Gassin and Ramatuelle and the Bertaud Bellieu wineyard for wine tasting. The guide we had has to be the most amazing guy we ever had AS a guide. We actually think we got a lecture on wine making, all about the process and the technology and traditional methods. The wine was so good we bought three bottles to take with us to the ship and enjoy in the stateroom. Also the small towns Gassins and Ramatuelle were beautiful and we got to learn about the history of the places. In Ramatuelle we enjoyed some free time that we used eating cheese and hams with a cold bottle of Rose wine from a local wine yard. It was an amazing day. The port of St. Tropez by itself, was not as expected, it was crowded and just a marina with amazing yachts, the best was the local artists selling their paintings around the marina. Beautiful paints and interesting people. * Cannes: we have been in Cannes several times so we decided to go for the Excursion of the ship to Grasse with a perfume factory visit and to St. Paul de Vence. And again we got a great guide, the visit to the perfume factory: Fragonard; this was very enriching and we could resist and bought two new Eau de Colognes with shower gels... Then we visited St. Paul de Vence and OMG this small hilltop village is just amazing, it breathes art from everywhere. The local artist and small galleries in the very narrow streets, the views from the wall of the town, the small restaurants... once again we learned about the local history with our guide and in the free time we just walked around and decided to have a very French lunch, we found a little place where they make sandwiches, so we bought a baguette with local produced cheese and ham, and sat on the wall and had our small French sandwich picnic there... just beautiful. * Monaco: Last minute changes out of Azamara control, The port authorities closed the port in Monaco so we got diverted to Nice... for the last night and day of this first cruise. We will explore a little bit of Nice today. NEXT CRUISE OFFICE: So far they have made a good job and we booked a cruise for 2021, Western Africa sailing from Cape Town to Lisboa. The benefits of booking on board make sense for us coming from the Nordic market. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last ... Read More
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last September). Overall Pursuit is a great ship and we had an amazing time. However we liked the Riviera better. Here is why. The service is excellent, comparable to Oceania. But sometimes things seem a bit less organized. For example, some of the excustions were delayed 15-20 minutes. Never happened on Oceania. Also there are some lines when leaving the ship and coming back. Nothing major, not even close to what you see on big ships, but still slightly longer waiting times than Oceania. The dinner in the MDR is great, but not as good as Oceania. The open seating works very well for us, never had to wait for a table. The buffet is disappointing. Good quality, but selection is pretty limited. It is not bad overall, but few levels below Oceania. The buffet area itself is also very small and feels a bit crowded at times. Internet is probably the worst we experienced so far on cruise ships. 300kbps is not what you would expect from a luxury line in 2019. It is also pretty expensive at $20/day. We paid last year $10/day on Princess (and the speed was 20 times faster). And we sailed on older ships with much higher internet speeds. Major disappointment. Spa does not have couple massage. This is the first time on any ship that we were not able to do a couple massage. The massage itself was very good. Cabin on Oceania was small, here it's even smaller. Not a big deal, we don't spend much time in the cabin. Entertainment is mediocre at best. They don't have a real theater like on larger ships, just a big lounge with chairs. No angle, so if you don't sit on few first rows, the view is pretty limited. They cannot really provide a good evening entertainment when there is no real theater. Also not too many daily activities, and the ship feels a bit sleepy at times. The pool area is small and feels a bit crowded. Usually no problem to get a chair, except for sea days. Hot tubs are smaller than usual and not hot enough. Service is fantastic as you can expect from a luxury line. Staff is very friendly. Very limited food options. If you want to have a snack after 9pm, the only option is room service. Dress code is relaxing, no formal nights, which is perfect for us. The azamazing event was very nice and well organized. Great atmosphere. The show itself felt a bit amateur. The pre even buffet was very crowded and poorly organized. White night was nice, but we came late from our tour in Sao Paulo, and no seats available on deck 9. They simply cannot accommodate everyone on the white night because the pool area is not big enough. Why to do white night on port day like Sao Paulo when the ship is at port till 9pm, and not sea day or port with shorter port time? Excursions were another disappointment. While we appreciate smaller groups, some of them were poorly organized, and some guides were not professional. I believe Azamara made a business decision to focus on certain things and ignore other things. Their customers obviously don't care about internet, or certain daily activities like dance classes, zumba, music at the pool etc. Overall great ship, great service, good food, but we prefer Oceania Riviera. Both lines are still better than mainstream ships from Celebrity or Princess which feel much more crowded, with longer lines. But in my opinion, Riviera offers the best of both worlds: still a small ship, which still feels much less crowded, but at the same time, much better food, more activities, and better entertainment. And it actually has a better crew/passengers ratio than Azamara, so service is at least as good if not better. We did appreciate the excellent service, less crowded buffet, smaller groups on shore excursions, no lines etc. compared to the big ships. I guess we just expected better from Azamara. We might sail with Azamara again if the itinerary and the price are right, but all other things equal, we would definitely prefer Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I am retired in Thailand with a lovely young wife, I have been cruising for over 50 yrs, and done maybe 40 plus cruises, and around 10 with Azamara, we currently have three booked Azamara is at the top of our comfort zone money wise, we ... Read More
I am retired in Thailand with a lovely young wife, I have been cruising for over 50 yrs, and done maybe 40 plus cruises, and around 10 with Azamara, we currently have three booked Azamara is at the top of our comfort zone money wise, we do not like crowds, we do not stay up and party all the time, often when in port we stay on the ship, we prefer not to be harassed by children, and the passenger profile, is generally professional and restrained, you do not get pushed out of the way in the buffet We like the pretty well all inclusive policy We do not do many shore excursions The food bearing in mind what is being paid is excellent, with very wide choice and good included wine choice The cabins are a little small but adequate, exceptionally well looked after, and the stewards will do anything possible to make your stay as comfortable as possible We love the white nights, are not so sure about the Amazing evenings but there is no cost The most exceptional thing about the ship is the staff, they are the very top, and go out of their way to help In October we are doing Hongkong to Singapore, then back to back the Myanmar trip that we have done before, in March next year we do Sydney to Singapore on the Journey Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 1st cruise in 14 years, and we have been intrigued by Cuba for even longer. As new empty nesters and not yet retired, costs still are kind of a thing. Some of our choices reflect some effort at economy, which we found is ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise in 14 years, and we have been intrigued by Cuba for even longer. As new empty nesters and not yet retired, costs still are kind of a thing. Some of our choices reflect some effort at economy, which we found is achievable even on Azamara. Our past cruise experience had been on 2,000+ passenger behemoths; part of this review relates to the (first for us) small ship experience. For economy, we flew to Miami early on departure morning (a decision we'd like to have back as we were gambling with winter weather up north). Our Deck 6 midships cabin had an obstructed view through the window. We felt little ship motion, no vibraiton and we were well-insulated from public space noise by other cabins. The obstructed view meant a savings, but we could see well enough for us. We love the (little) R ships and we felt seeing the same staff and passengers lent a sense of collegiality and hominess. Sometimes some passangers might feel the activity selection was insufficient for their tastes - whether this is a legit concern really needs to be weighed in terms of cruise demographics. Our school-year sailing to Cuba meant that the average passenger age was about 66, with a pretty tight standard deviation. In our mid and late 50s, we were decidedly among the youngest on board. Now and then, all of the programmed activities were for an older age group. We were happy enough on our own, but not everyone would be. Azamara pays attention to the details. Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze and the food was outstanding. We did not do the upgraded restaurant or drink options; we are foodies and still do not feel it necessary as the food in the main dining room was great. Here is an interesting and important observation about food during dinners too: portions are modest and gluttons will be disappointed. To us that was fine, but might not be for everyone. There always is the buffet option, with rotating regional specialities each day. All you can eat there, but it lacks the ambience of the main dining room. Along this same vein, there only was a midnight buffet one light with late-ending nighttime shore excursions. Otherwise, no. Fine with us too. Another nice thing about the dining room was this: no assigned seats or times. You come when you want. If you like your waiter and remember his/her name, you can ask for that section but need not. The tables are close enough to strike up conversations with neighbors if you want, but one need not. We have recollections of assigned seats on other cruises with incompatible table-mates; we like Azamara's solution. Room service was included and perfect every time we used it (for coffee in the mornings). Tips are included in your fare; we tipped our room stewards and waiter anyway. Service from absolutely everyone was top-notch. We did the shore excursions sponsored by the cruise line and generally were very satisfied. Mind you, Cuba is new to tourism and Azamara is new to Cuba. Some growing pains were inevitable and showed. Overall, we feel we really learned a lot about the Cuban people and culture, which is why we went. There was one child on the boat, under the age of 20. She was two years old. This is not a cruise for young families or children. The boat simply is not equipped. We knew that and were happy. We definitely would go again on Azamara, on an R-ship (we love the smallness) but might do something a bit more tourism-experienced than Cuba next tme. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We recently completed a 10 day cruise around Cuba on the Azamara Journey. This was our 4th cruise in total and our first on Azamara. We chose Azamara mostly because of the itinerary and that it's a small ship experience marketed as ... Read More
We recently completed a 10 day cruise around Cuba on the Azamara Journey. This was our 4th cruise in total and our first on Azamara. We chose Azamara mostly because of the itinerary and that it's a small ship experience marketed as being more upscale and luxurious than the typical mega-ships. We have been wanting to visit Cuba since they opened it up to Americans and thought a cruise would be a great way to see more than just Havana. After some initial snafus with our reservation that was graciously resolved by Bonnie over on the CruiseCritic discussion boards, we boarded in Miami for our 10 circle trip around the Cuban island with stops in Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos and Havana. The most appealing part of the itinerary was the promise of multi-day stays in port rather than the usual arrive-at-8am-leave-at-5pm schedules of other cruise lines. Which leads me to our first big gripe with Azamara: it was only after plotting the arrival/departure times on the calendar that we realized that the "extended" time in port was very misleading. On the itinerary, it listed only 1 day at sea but in actuality we ended up with almost 4 full sea days. For example, days 3 & 4 were listed as in port in Santiago, however, we arrived at 8am on Tuesday and left at 6am Wednesday. That's not 2 days - that's one day + one night. Wednesday turned out to be really a sea day but that's not how it was shown on the schedule. Same for Cienfuegos on Friday/Saturday. We arrived Friday morning but left the dock 8am on Sat and didn't arrive Havana until Sunday evening. That's almost a day and half at sea. We really only got 1 full day at each of these ports and just 2 days in Havana instead of 3. We talked to several others who felt that Azamara was very misleading in the marketing about the time in port. I know that ships can't magically teleport from one location to the next but it would have been less confusing if the itinerary matched reality so we knew what to expect and plan our excursions accordingly. Azamara highlights that they have more immersive itineraries by allowing more time in port but I don't think it counts when that time is spent sleeping. Second major disappointment was the overall lack of service throughout the ship. While the crew and waitstaff were generally good and always very courteous, it was decidedly less than what you'd expect from a "luxury" cruise line. Water glasses frequently went unfilled and you had to hunt around for someone to take your order or answer a question. The exception to that was for some reason the waitstaff was always there in a flash to whisk away your empty plate or glass - like there was a reprimand waiting for them if they left dirty dishes about but initial orders or refills were often slow to arrive. Other couples we met onboard talked about their past cruises on Regent or SilverSea and how the staff fell over themselves trying to serve you and worked hard to anticipate your needs rather than wait to be called upon. While service was not bad, per se...it just wasn't on par with other luxury brands or even some mainstream brands like Celebrity. This brings me to the third major criticism and that was the food. The buffet was really disappointing as was the grill out by the pool. The food looked very nice and there was always good selection but it was also exceptionally bland and lacking flavor. Almost like salt and spices are forbidden in the kitchen. Several times we were let down by something that looked amazing only to be utterly tasteless. For example, the prime rib was very drab. How a kitchen can make a staple dish like prime rib boring and totally lacking in flavor is beyond me. The main dining room was a bit better and we ate there most nights. Eventually we learned what things to avoid and how to ask for specific items we had had before. Most nights the menu followed a theme chosen by the chef. There were some rather odd choices some nights that really wasn't all that exciting, however you could always order a selection from the a la cart menu. The daily wine selections were usually pretty good and we never felt the need to buy the special bottles listed at considerable upsell prices. We had the Premium beverage package which was adequate for our needs but you could see there are some shennanigans going on with the way liquor selections are structured. It's all intended to get you to go with the Ultimate package instead at $22/day. For us it wasn't worth it and we just paid for the few top shelf drinks individually. The premium package includes all beers and most lower tier "well" spirits and mixed drinks which is fine for most people unless you have a specific liquor preference. Many specialty drinks like caipirinas, desert wines and top shelf liquors are excluded and require separate purchase at full price. It's a little confusing as to what drinks are part of which package and I believe this is intentional. We only got to try the specialty restaurant once and we really liked it in spite of the $30 per person cover. Had we known before that the buffet and main dining would be so lacking we would have made reservations at Prime C or Agualina every night. Reservations filled up quickly however - especially for the last night at sea. Another intentional method to get you to upsell over and above what's included. I booked a massage at the spa for the first sea day and it was very good. I was not expecting the sales pitch for their high priced lotions so just be aware that they'll try to sell you at the end. Also, spa services automatically include an 18% gratuity so don't feel pressured to add extra tip. Otherwise the spa is rather underwhelming and not worth the high prices. There's a special sun deck and hot tub just for spa patrons but I don't see how it's worth the extra price. The exercise room is just off the spa and while adequate for getting a workout in, there isn't much in the way of equipment. The usual treadmills, stationary bikes and nautilus-type weights. We booked a guaranteed outside cabin and the room was fine. A little small of course but perfectly adequate. I should have splurged for a veranda instead but ultimately it was fine for our needs. With the extra time at sea and most of our time in port dedicated to excursions, we didn't spend a huge amount of time in the cabin anyway. Our stewards were fantastic and were like ninjas - always slipping in to replace towels and straighten up while we were out. They greeted us by name each morning. We were assigned cabin 6004 which is an oversized outside stateroom at the very front of the ship on deck 6 port side. It is extra long which allows it much more space than usual - about the size of a typical hotel room. This is due to the space where the balcony is in the veranda staterooms is replaced with a large round picture window approx 4 feet in diameter. It creates a bit of a "fishbowl" experience but it was perfectly fine as we spent most of our time outside anyway. There is a small loveseat and coffee table in addition to the desk & chair. Plenty of room to move around and we were not bumping into each other except for in/out of the bathroom and around the bottom of the bed (which is the same layout for all other non-suite cabins). Being at the front of the ship you definitely feet the movement - both up & down and side to side rocking. Might be worse on really rough seas. We could hear/feel rumblings down below when the boat pitched upward that I suspect were the stabilizers kicking in. It's a smaller ship so this was very common throughout the boat even in the aft dining room. My wife is prone to seasickness and was initially worried about the location, however she did not have any problems. Other issue with the location was the noise from the anchor chains and vibration from the front thrusters when entering and leaving port. This was temporary however and we did not find it too bothersome except for it waking us up at 5am on the last day. As our cabin was directly above the Cabaret Lounge on deck 5, we could hear the bass and drums during band practice and evening performances. This might annoy some people but we didn't really have any problem with it as the shows are rather short anyway. There is a connecting door to the suite next door and we occasionally heard muffled voices thru the walls and from the hallway but somebody suggested putting a towel or bathrobe against the floor and this worked to block out both noise and light. Otherwise the cabin is very quiet, secluded and dark. Bathroom is tiny and takes some getting used to with regards to maneuvering - especially the shower. The shower curtain clings to you but we found if you put the bottom edge of the curtain outside the stall (there is a groove in the floor leading to a drain outside the shower) then it helps to create some additional space. Not a lot of space to spread out so you have to be creative with storage. This is true on any cruise ship however. Bed was super comfortable with nice linens and comforter. A/C was great and kept the temperature perfect. Closet organizer was efficient and adequate with plenty of storage. Mirrors and lighting was terrific. Note to others...do NOT attempt to bring onboard any kind of travel iron or clothes steamer. Ours was confiscated from my wife's luggage upon embarkation. There was no mention of portable steamers being prohibited in the boarding documentation but they said they can set off the fire detectors. The self service laundry on deck 7 has ironing boards and irons as well as laundry supplies. The machines are free but limited so you have to be diligent and strategic about timing in order to get a load or two done ahead of others. One other gripe...the onboard Internet was so slow it was almost completely useless. Thankfully we did not pay extra for this otherwise we would have been really upset. Eric, our cruise director was fabulous and very funny. His "grandpa" jokes were groaners but perfectly pitched for the audience. He and the captain even formed a bit of a comedic duo on the daily announcements. You can tell Eric has a definite flair for Broadway showtunes as the music was decidedly tilted towards that genre. Overall the performances by the singers and dancers were very good and entertaining with a good mix of contemporary and traditional music. I'm sure some of the older crowds didn't fully appreciate the ABBA night show. The lounge pianist was charming and the trio band was pleasant. They played upstairs in the Living Room at night and by the pool during the day and at sail aways. It added to the overall pleasantness of the cruise. Nothing was offensive or too wild - nor was it just Perry Como elevator music either. It was a good balance of entertainment for the crowd which definitely skewed a little higher on the age scale than the brochures allude to. The White Night party was held in port at Cienfuegos and it was the highlight of our trip. The food buffets were over the top and truly gluttonous. Lines were long - especially for the lobster tails but there was something for everyone. The music was fantastic and everyone's spirits were very high. Eric led an actual conga line around the pool area and had a very memorable duet with one of the passengers. It was really a great party and something to look forward to. We ended up booking a couple of Azamara sponsored excursions and a couple independent trips on our own. In Santiago, we found a local taxi driver who took us to a couple of places like Castro's grave and the memorial to Jose Marti. We saw the changing of the guard at the national cemetery and had lunch in a local paladar with our taxi driver. We got to sit down and chat with him about the country and his life which was very interesting since his English was as limited as our Spanish. In Cienfuegos, we opted for the excursion to the El Nicho waterfalls about an hour away. This involved a hike in the mountains over some pretty steep terrain although the views at the end were worth it. We also got to visit an artist commune and watched some interpretive dances which was strange to say the least. Grand Cayman - we had been there before on a different cruise and there's really nothing else to do but go to the beach. We decided to walk which was a mistake in 90+ degree heat and humidity. We caught a bus back to the dock for $5 bucks. We arrived in Havana Saturday night. We booked the show at the Cabaret Parisian rather than the Tropicana. From what we heard the Tropicana was probably a better choice but the shows are essentially the same. It was a late night however as the show didn't start until 10pm and we didn't get back to the ship until midnight. Sunday we had arranged for a private tour guide through HavanaTourCompany.com. Our guide was awesome and even managed to deal with including a couple we met onboard at the last minute. We had a fabulous lunch in Old Havana then took a walking tour and convertible ride through the city and to Fusterlandia outside of the city where we bought some original artwork. We saw all the main sights and learned about the history, finishing up that night with dinner and a show at La Taberna. It's definitely worth it to use an independent tour guide in Havana and not go with the overpriced tours offered by the cruise line. You get better pricing, a customized itinerary and the guides are little more open to talking about their lives than the "official" government approved Havanatur. Monday morning we did the coffee, rum and cigar factory tour. We visited the Partaga cigar factory (which makes 25 other brands like Cohiba and Montecristo). It was a literal sweat shop with 4 floors of un-air conditioned rooms and workers hand rolling cigars for pennies a day. We were then bussed around the city to several government shops to buy cigars and rum getting a bit of a guided tour along the way. Rum and cigars are the same price everywhere (state controlled) so don't feel pressured to buy them on the tours. We were warned not to buy cigars on the street however as there are no guarantees as to quality. It helps to know in advance what you're looking for in terms of brand, sizes and shape. Expect to pay approx 50% less than you can find authentic Cuban cigars elsewhere (Canada for example). Originally the AzAmazing Evening was scheduled for our evening in Santiago but was changed at the last minute to our arrival night in Havana. Since we had already booked a show we ended up passing on this event. We heard it was rather interesting - a special ballet performance at the Grand Theater. Overall, we were pleased with our first Azamara cruise and we even booked a second one to Alaska next July - this time with a balcony. We enjoyed our trip and would recommend it to others with the caveat that it all depends on your expectations going in. Some things were great compared to a typical cruise - most standard drinks are included as are tips. There are some areas where you still get nickle & dimed but it's not nearly as bad as the major lines. The smaller ship is a double edged sword - it's more intimate with much fewer passengers but it's also a rather boring ship with not a whole lot to do if you're the type that requires constant excitement. The demographics skew older with not a single child onboard. Most were in their 60's, 70's or 80's although there were a few younger gay couples as well. The marketing material would have you believe that Azamara is a luxury cruise line - on par with other luxury brands like Regent, SilverSea or Paul Gaugin. In the end, it's a bit like first class on Delta or United Airlines...yes, it is a much better experience than flying coach but it's also no comparison to foreign carriers like Singapore or Emirates. Go in with the proper expectations and you'll have a great time. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Found a deal on the transatlantic cruise and boarded in Barcelona. Boarding was easy and quick. Our suitcases were at the door before we were! Due to approaching we weather we skipped Gibraltar and Madeira and went to Santa Cruz de ... Read More
Found a deal on the transatlantic cruise and boarded in Barcelona. Boarding was easy and quick. Our suitcases were at the door before we were! Due to approaching we weather we skipped Gibraltar and Madeira and went to Santa Cruz de Tenerife instead - a worthwhile visit. We got credit for the skipped port charges. Kudos to Captain Antonio for outrunning the storm, we had a a couple of days of rolling seas but overall it was as smooth crossing. The food was fabulous (as usual) and the speciality restaurants did not disappoint. The wines offered were all very good except for the whites which were to heavy on Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. But when asked, there was always an alternative. Despite this being a transatlantic cruise the entertainment was the best we had ever had on Azamara. The shore excursion in Tenerife was wonderful as was the behind the scenes tour on the ship. The White Night was also fabulous. The service overall was slightly below par, probably due to new staff not quite embracing the Azamara spirit. There were a few familiar faces to welcome us back. Trivia is a big thing and one of the hosts was not up to par as he could not pronounce words properly. That led to some angry outbursts. The senior staff is all great, visible and accessible. Looking forward to going back next March. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We did our first cruise with Azamara Club Cruises with Azamara Journey from Sydney to Signapore (18 days) in March this year (2018) and was very satisfied with ship, itinieries, food, service and ambiance on board. When we found a good ... Read More
We did our first cruise with Azamara Club Cruises with Azamara Journey from Sydney to Signapore (18 days) in March this year (2018) and was very satisfied with ship, itinieries, food, service and ambiance on board. When we found a good deal on the newly refurbished Azamara Pursuit we booked this cruise from Athen to Rome. We were exicited and a bit anxious in advance as some reviews have been on the negative side in addition to the fact that we also had booked a 16 days cruise in february 2019 from Santiago Chile to Buenos Aires. We are happy to report that we were pleasantly supprised and very satisfied with our cruise and can sum up as follows: * ship is old but well refurbished and in better condition than Journey * embarkation and disembarkation was smoot despite a delay on disembarkment. This delay was however due to bad weather * cabin was fine and to expectations * food and service in discovery was already up to speed and prime C was better than Journey. * Windows cafe can be better on pastas and pizzas which is something both Azamara Journey and Azamara Pursuit are not as good at making Italien food. I think they have to hire some good Italien chef who can take all cooks on a special Italien cooking course. * entertainment was on average in the cabaret except from the cruisedirector Amanda Poulsson and one other english perfomer at the end of the ship. Pianist and group playing in bar areas was good and far better than on Journey *Interesting cruise with many fine places to visit * compared to Journey I must admit that captain Johannes from Norway together with cruisedirector Eric was special and was extremely good at informing and walking the floor among the guests. Antonio and Amanda should benefit from getting tips from Journey. To sum up it seems that Pursuit has managed in a short time to get the crew up to a very good standard and we are looking forward to joining Pursuit on the Santiago-Buenos Aires cruise in February. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After taking the Italian peninsula cruise last year on the Azamara Quest,( from Rome to Venice) we were looking forward to another wonderful vacation. Unfortunately we were very disappointed. The ports of call along the Spanish coast ... Read More
After taking the Italian peninsula cruise last year on the Azamara Quest,( from Rome to Venice) we were looking forward to another wonderful vacation. Unfortunately we were very disappointed. The ports of call along the Spanish coast were not interesting and the ports themselves were more commercial than pleasurable with working cranes, ferry boats and warehouses in full view of the ship. The boat docked so far away from the main points of interests that it was a chore to just get to the sights. The main dining room was more often closed than open for lunch and both the food and wine was sub standard. (Evening meals were better, but not the wine selection There was not enough staff to keep things going smoothly. At Cadiz and Gilbraltar there should have been a shuttle to get passengers within walking distance of the major attractions. The cabins looked a bid worn and twice during the cruise there was rattling within the wall that kept us awake. All and all not u[ to our expectations. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Had a wonderful time on our Azamara Journey cruise which began in Copenhagen and ended with an absolutely splendid, majestic sail right up the Thames in London to end in picturesque maritime Greenwich. We flew the short hop to ... Read More
Had a wonderful time on our Azamara Journey cruise which began in Copenhagen and ended with an absolutely splendid, majestic sail right up the Thames in London to end in picturesque maritime Greenwich. We flew the short hop to Copenhagen a day prior to the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Absalon, three minutes walk from the Central Station and six minutes walk from Tivoli World where we spent the afternoon and evening. The hotel was excellent and I would recommend it wholeheartedly. Around noon, we got a taxi to the pier, Nordre Tolbord, which was close to the Little Mermaid, so much nearer to town than where the larger ships dock. It was pouring with rain so we didn't take advantage of the 10pm departure and venture back into Copenhagen. The ship's crew took our luggage from the taxi and covered us with large umbrellas while escorting us to the port security tent. A look at our passports and it was straight into the ship and the cabaret lounge for checking-in. A most welcome sparkling wine, cocktail, tea and coffee were immediately offered while we sank into the easy chairs before being called to collect our key card and find our stateroom. We had booked a guarantee balcony and were allocated 7115, near the aft. It was a great room and was so quiet and, of course, handy for two flights up to the Windows cafe, pools, patio etc or two flights down to the main restaurant – Discoveries, cabaret lounge etc. It was a very comfortable room and had a small sofa, table, dressing table/desk, chair, bedside tables, tv, fridge with included sodas etc and a few paid-for items (listed on a note above), safe, plenty of storage and hanging space. Flowers and fruit were provided, binoculars and umbrella to use, slippers to keep. The bathroom, as most people note, is tiny but well equipped. (Have to say that the shower is slightly longer than the one we recently had on Sapphire Princess). We enjoyed room service which was always punctual and good and even if we only ordered tea and coffee, the table was always laid with a cloth. The room was kept in great order by Alvin and Edwin. We asked for extra coathangers, pen, writing pads and all were instantly provided. Breakfasts were enjoyed mostly in Windows cafe where there was always a great choice and I especially liked the made to order smoothie counter. Waiters constantly offered more tea, coffee, juice etc and if you ordered an omellete would bring it to you. We didn't try the speciality restaurants this time as the meals in Discoveries were outstandingly good. So different to our last experience on Aamara Quest four years ago when the majority of guests were part of a charter group. The food then was obviously scaled down to their budget and it was incomparable with this time. We felt cheated then as we, of course, paid for a normal cruise. I'm so glad that Azamara redeemed themselves this cruise and the food was wonderful every time. Some impressive buffets were provided – an Asian one, a fabulous seafood one and a German themed one, along with Umpah band. White Night was great fun too. The service from every member of staff was impeccable. One or two waiters were obviously new, as we understand some had transferred to Pursuit, and looked a bit lost at times and not quite up to speed. We always ate dinner around 8.30pm so tended to miss the evening entertainment in the cabaret lounge. We did see a couple of performances by the resident singers and the assistant cruise director, both were okay if a little cheesy – same old Broadway musical and old fashioned songs. We enjoyed going up to The Living Room at the bow of the ship for our pre-dinner cocktails and canapes. There we listened to The Sparkling Trio and enjoyed their laid-back style. We heard two great pianists in Spirits bar and the Library (Drawing Room) The late night disco was good fun with plenty of people on the floor, including us. Our first port of call was Aarhus, Denmark's second city. A nice place to stroll and shop. Next up was Skagen on the northern most tip of Denmark. We weren't expecting anything of this small town but had a brilliant day. The sun shone, the town was 'cute' in the loveliest possible way, the shops eclectic and my husband bought me an elegant Skagen watch for my birthday. We walked all the way along the pristine beach to the end of Denmark and loved every minute. On to Oslo and as we had been here before and visited the Kon Tiki Museum etc decided to catch a tram and go to the beautiful Vigeland Sculpture Park. Next day was a sea day and there was lots to do on board and it was good just to relax with a book from the well stocked library and a cocktail, of course. I worked my way through the included cocktails over the course of the 11 days! We arrived in Amsterdam in pouring rain and it was too bad to venture forth but by the evening the rain had abated and most guests were taken on a canal boat ride to the Maritime Museum for a splendid concert for the Azamazing evening. The whole experience was truly amazing. As we had an overnight here next day we caught a train (24 mins) to Utrecht. This is the most delightful city with canals, quaint shops, interesting architecture and lots of history. On to Germany and Bremerhaven and some more sunshine. The waterfront is very modern with an extensive promenade housing a zoo, maritime museum, canal boat trips, a large shopping complex and a fascinating immigration museum where we spent the day. The museum won the accolade of being the best European museum in 2017 and we can see why. You can follow the journey of those who emigrated from Europe to the US, Canada, South America and Australia and can even research your own family history if your ancestors emigrated. The interactive features and recreation of ship interiors, Ellis Island reception hall etc were exceptional. Belgium followed and we docked in Oostende, a lovely traditional seaside town. We took the 15 minute train ride into Brugge. The map provided on board was so sparse that we couldn't find the centre of town but at least we had fun exploring. When we reached the centre it was packed with tourists but very beautiful and very 'chocolate boxy'. We didn't have quite so much time in port as the ship's departure time was earlier than previously so we made a hasty retreat to Oostende. Sadly, another couple who went into Brugge had their return train cancelled and they missed the ship, although Captain Tysse waited an extra half hour. Pleased to say they caught up with Journey next day. France beckoned as we sailed off into the sunset and next morning we docked in Honfleur. It is such a pretty town, centred around the lovely harbour. The markets were in full swing and made for a lively, bustling atmosphere. We sat in a cafe with a bottle of local Normandy cider and watched the world go by. We have spent a week in Honfleur so didn't feel the need to visit the nearby D-Day beaches again but some guests spent the day there and said what a moving experience it was. For me, the highlight of the trip was the thought of sailing up the River Thames and mooring in Greenwich, London. We had a pilot on board who commentated on the history of the river and lots more as we sailed in around the twisting turns in the river and at one point the Journey turned a full 360 degrees. We moored up opposite the tea clipper, the Cutty Sark, the old Royal Naval College, the Queen's House and up on the top of Greenwich Park one can see the Royal Observatory where the Greenwich Meridian Line is set. Our final evening on board was the icing on the cake when we were allowed to invite my husband's twin sisters on board for dinner (for a small fee). They were thoroughly impressed and we now hope that they will come sailing on Azamara with us. We live beside Tower Bridge where Captain Tysse told us he would have liked to moor but can't at the moment due to the Port of London removing the heavy duty bouys. We forgive him as it would have been great to walk home but it was just a 15 minute ride from Greenwich. My husband even went into work the same day! Can't wait for next time – maybe on Pursuit. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise as our wine shop was sponsoring the trip for customers. We had 46 people in our group. We were in Cabin 8052 which was right next to the elevators and stair well midship. We had our doubts as to the possible noise ... Read More
We chose this cruise as our wine shop was sponsoring the trip for customers. We had 46 people in our group. We were in Cabin 8052 which was right next to the elevators and stair well midship. We had our doubts as to the possible noise level for the location, but it was never a problem, we had no noise at all from the elevator and stairwell traffic. The room itself was very good with lots of storage and plenty of room to move about without any problems. The only issue is if you are not agile the tub presents a problem as it is a high step into the tub. Once in tub area to shower your head is practically touching the ceiling, I am 5'8" and clearance was about 1 inch, so if you are over 6' you will have to scrunch down. Otherwise the bathroom size is good. The Club Continent Suite comes with a stash of free liquor, Bombay Gin, Sotli Vodka, Rum, and Johnny Walker Red. The balcony was a bit tight but not an issue. I suggest that when you board, if you have a Club Continent Suite or higher the specialty dining is free, you book the specialty restaurants for every day you are on board, then cancel the day(s) you do not use on those schedule days, otherwise you are on a wait list the whole trip. The food is not spectacular on board, but very good. The surprise restaurant is the The Patio, poolside. Order a bone in sirloin steak that was as good as the steak house specialty restaurant Prime C. The menu at The Patio is very good. The best food of the entire cruise occurred on White Night when the food is superb everything from lobster, pork, steak, frog legs, calamari, etc. is available. Tons of desserts, too. Entertainment on board is good, nothing to write home about. The singers, magicians, and band are fine, good way to spend an hour relaxing on board. For dancing and drinking the Living Room is the place to be where they have a DJ and combo for entertainment. My favorite location was the Spirits bar in the Den which seems to be the gathering place on the ship most nights, cocktail lounge atmosphere with piano player. The bartenders were exceptional at the Spirits bar, but I learned they are not permanently assigned but rotated through the ship. The bartenders we had were Alex and Vlad, Alex was assigned to work the Mosaic Coffee bar and Vlad the pool bar on the next cruise, too bad as they are truly good at the bar. We booked three tours on board. We were very disappointed with 2 tours and loved the 3rd tour. This is hard to judge for future cruises as they rarely return to the same ports, but keep moving across the Mediterranean Sea and beyond. So it just could have been the locations we chose to see. Look into Viatour or local tour companies in port. Staff was friendly and helpful throughout the cruise. One nice feature is fewer passengers so embarkation and disembarkation at ports is never crowded, easy on and easy off was nice instead of waiting in long lines. The ship is small so navigating decks and going to bow to stern takes no time at all in getting around the ship. Would I do Azamara again, yes, now that I "know my way around and the tricks" The ship does not attract the younger crowd, families with children, or serious partiers so the atmosphere is laid back for people in the 50's and over age croup Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We hadn't cruised in years and only on larger ships (which we didn't like), when a friend recommended Azamara. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation in Venice was incredibly smooth ... Read More
We hadn't cruised in years and only on larger ships (which we didn't like), when a friend recommended Azamara. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation in Venice was incredibly smooth (took all of 10 minutes) and we were soon on board and enjoying lunch. We had an aft balcony cabin that was comfortable and had plenty of storage and the bathroom and shower, while snug, was not as bad as I had been let to believe (lol). Our cabin attendants kept it all spotless. We found the food to be very good. We ate most of our breakfasts in the Windows buffet and dinners in the MDR, although we bought a package for the 2 specialty restaurants, Prime C and Aqualina and the Chef's Table. We found the food at Prime C and Aqualina not all that much better than the MDR, but the Chef's Table is really not to be missed. Outstanding! I can't speak too much about the entertainment, as we didn't partake that much. We found the group in the Living Room that played during cocktail hour too loud to promote conversation, though and much preferred the pianist in the Spirits lounge. The Azamazing Evening was the cellist Ana Ruchner in an outdoor venue in Split - a rock version of Yo Yo Ma - not to my taste, but a beautiful venue and very well organized. MY azamazing evening was a couple nights later when they brought an Italian tenor onboard as a surprise for a late night concert on the pool deck. We only booked 1 ship sponsored excursion, but it was a great one - at Dubrovnik, an excursion to the town of Ston, about an hour away for an oyster and mussel tasting, followed by a fabulous seafood lunch. The rest of our excursions we arranged privately with folks we met on our CC Roll Call. Although we loved all of the ports, we feel we could have used an extra sea day. We ended up skipping Florence (to our regret) because we were just so exhausted from Rome the previous day. We were struck by the friendliness of both the passengers and the crew. It was easy to meet people and because of the small size of the ship, one would tend to see the same people frequently. I feel like I have forged some lasting friendships. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are "destination-focused" travelers, and while we have been to land trips in Europe several times, we chose this 10-nt Venice-Barcelona trip because it was going to give us an opportunity to revisit some of our favorite ... Read More
We are "destination-focused" travelers, and while we have been to land trips in Europe several times, we chose this 10-nt Venice-Barcelona trip because it was going to give us an opportunity to revisit some of our favorite destinations -- Venice, Positano, Florence, the Riviera, and Barcelona. We love the size of Azamara ships -- lots of pretty places in which to relax without the overwhelming atmosphere of an "auditorium" gathering place; excellent cuisine in main dining room every evening plus the over-the-top French Chefs Table, high caliber of entertainment with variety, and well-timed shorter performances of 45 minutes to keep the crowd, and provide us with several venues in the course of an evening. Great, friendly, and unstuffy service. A Captain who is so "guest friendly" we looked forward to his afternoon often humorous and self-effacing factual announcements, which totally spoke to his competence and professionalism. Our cabin was as cozy as we remembered last year, with well appointed storage which was more than sufficient for me, the chronic overpacker bar none. While we had only travelled before last year, that was on Celebrity 12 years ago, we clearly prefer the smaller ship environment and would not consider other lines at this point. Special highlights: Azamazing Evening! White Night Party on deck! Job well done! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We normally sail with Celebrity but had a tight timeline and wanted to see something new. Azamara was going somewhere we hadn't been and exactly on the day we needed to go, so we paid the much higher fare and expected a higher level ... Read More
We normally sail with Celebrity but had a tight timeline and wanted to see something new. Azamara was going somewhere we hadn't been and exactly on the day we needed to go, so we paid the much higher fare and expected a higher level of service than the normally very good service we have experienced on Celebrity. The best part about Azamara is the smaller ship. Getting closer to the ports is nice and everything onboard is a short walk. Also, no crowds or lines to get into restaurants etc. The bad news about the small ship is the shower is way too small. The below may be an issue with the crew on the Quest as I can't believe a premium line would survive long if our experience was normal. 1) Half our onboard credit was missing, but the problem was really the attitude of Guest Relations. Regarding the OBC, they said it wasn't their problem and would have to be solved by "headquarters." That isn't the type of issue ownership that we see on Celebrity. Also, got wrong information on multiple occasions from Guest Relations that caused us to miss events. They also forgot to give us the requested wake up call on the last day and if I hadn't looked over at the clock, we would have been in trouble. 2) We typically have room service for breakfast as it serves as a wake up call and gives us more time to get ready for the day. 3 of the 7 days we had room service the order was wrong (e.g., hot water instead of coffee, no cream for coffee, no milk for cereal...). 3) Room attendant was below par. One day we left at noon and came back around 6pm and our room hadn't been made up even though we left the "make up room" magnet on the outside of the door. Needed new towels one evening to get ready for dinner and was told they were on break and would be 30 minutes before they could get us new towels. The towels showed up damp, so more likely they hadn't run a load of laundry and gave us towels that hadn't finished in the drier. 4) Dining room wait staff, other than 2, seemed like trainees. Slow service, cold food, missing items. The menu was varied but seemed to just be a rotation of items with different preparations (e.g., several nights of lamb and seabream). As I said in the title, I expected a big jump up from what we experience on Celebrity but didn't get it. At 2-3x the price, we'll be back to Celebrity the next time. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We have used Viking three times and Azamara’s food and service beats them hands down. Don’t know what the previous reviewer meant by cliques, but our experience was excellent. All the staff and officers were friendly, engaging and ... Read More
We have used Viking three times and Azamara’s food and service beats them hands down. Don’t know what the previous reviewer meant by cliques, but our experience was excellent. All the staff and officers were friendly, engaging and approachable, especially Captain Carl, the Personnel Manager Beth, and the Hotel Manager as well. Once on Viking I complimented the captain on his new ship and he couldn’t be bothered speaking with a mere passenger. Not so on Azamara. Carlos in future cruises, the new female cruise director and, I believe Ruda was the server’s name In the Living Room and on the pool deck (he is from Romania) were delightful. Ruda always had a big smile and always remembered we liked sparkling wine at 6:00 p.m. We found the food excellent. We ate half the time in specialty restaurants and half the time in the main dining room. All were superb. The Chef’s Table was wonderful as well. Our criticism, and it is nothing that Azamara can really fix, is that the bathrooms in the club veranda rooms have a tiny shower with a shower curtain. It feels very dated, but Azamara is stuck with the existing configuration. When we take Azamara next, we will upgrade to the club continent suite which has a real showers with a real door. Another criticism was the Windows Cafe. The food was never appealing in terms of taste, appearance and aroma, and we tried it three times. We usually ate breakfast in the main dining room We found the shore excursions much more expensive than Viking and not worth the additional cost. There were three in our party and in Oslo, we hired a private guide and saw so much more for a much better value proposition. We shared our concerns with guest relations. The White Night was wonderful as was the Azamazing Evening of Greig’s music. Azamara did a wonderful job with the two buffet evenings, including White Night. The food was fresh, hot and delicious. Taking everything into consideration, we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise and, as Captain Carl said, wait until the Pursuit has a few cruises under her belt and she’ll be amazing. We thought it was pretty amazing as it was! P.S The company needs to have its ground operations fine-tuned in Southampton. We arrived and had to wait almost two hours to board a ship that had no previous passengers. There were no beverages offered and we had to sit on hard airport-like seats after a 6-hour flight. There were also some baggage pickup hiccups in disembarking, but nothing that staff training and reinforcement can’t fix. Read Less
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