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40 Azamara Senior Cruise Reviews

This was our third cruise with Azamara, chosen mainly for the itinerary. We stayed one night prior to embarkation at the Hilton, Athens. This was part of the package. Arrival in Athens was mid afternoon and about 35°C, so we decided ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Azamara, chosen mainly for the itinerary. We stayed one night prior to embarkation at the Hilton, Athens. This was part of the package. Arrival in Athens was mid afternoon and about 35°C, so we decided against moving away from the pool area! Transfer to the cruise terminal by coach was fine as was embarkation. The ship had very recently received new decor whilst in dry dock, which included carpets, soft furnishings and pool furniture I believe. Signs of wear are already apparent. Our room was very pleasant with comfy bed and new carpet, curtains and bed linen. Bathroom is as before - small ! There is a deep step down and the door barely opens enough to exit without some difficulty. Maintenance was very good. Dining options are varied. After two visits to the main restaurant , where the food was not particularly exciting and other diners next to us had left food too, we chose to eat mainly in The Patio. Much more to our liking and friendlier atmosphere. The White Night produced a very good spread. Minute steaks, which would put the MDR to shame. Prime C was enjoyable, but not really worth the $25 each supplement. The wine choices were okay and starting with the cruise after ours, there would be a sparkling wine offered too. Also sparkling water would be an option to still. Never mind - we missed that! Entertainment was very good or on one occasion very poor. Singers and dancers worked hard and were good. Eric the cruise director, who is 5ft. 18ins, in his words, was always impressive. Very versatile. The Captain and Eric claimed to be brothers, but Captain Johannes was possibly about 5ft. 5ins! This banter cropped up often and was funny. Eric also had a never ending string of funny " Grandad" stories! We generally received friendly service. The crew work very hard. Two in particular excelled and on the other hand two were memorable for their rudeness. We did not take any excursions as we are familiar with all but two of the ports. Not sure we would book with Azamara again, unless it was a suite with a larger bathroom. Debarkation was a muddle as quite a lot of passengers like us had late flights and Venice airport would not allow passengers in more than 3 hours before their flight! This tested Azamara's relevant crew, but in the end they arranged for us to debark later at midday. Our airport transfer was 13.30, so we had to wait at the cruise terminal until then. It was a long day to make a two hour flight back to Heathrow! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Our first time to the Baltic before. All the ports of call were new to us. We chose this cruise for the itinerary because the ship stayed in St. Petersburg 3 full days and Azamara stays longer times in the various ports of call. We like ... Read More
Our first time to the Baltic before. All the ports of call were new to us. We chose this cruise for the itinerary because the ship stayed in St. Petersburg 3 full days and Azamara stays longer times in the various ports of call. We like Azamara because it is a small ship (approx. 650 passengers) and it feels like a boutique hotel. Staff and crew are friendly and attentive. Food is very good. A basic beverage package and the gratuities were also included in the price.The ship had just been refurbished, it was very nicely done, except for the wallpaper in our cabin was already peeling off.The oceanview cabin was very well appointed and comfortable. However, the shower is small and has shower curtains, which we dislike. We were disappointed with the cruise director, Tony and the entertainment. Having been on Azamara previously, the production shows were the same as our past three cruises. The rest of the entertainment was frankly quite boring with the exception of a comedian/magician show which was hilarious. Some entertainers performed two shows each; one each would have been sufficient. There seemed to be a problem with temperature on board, both the dining room and theatre. It was either extremely cold or hot. We booked private tours in St. Petersburg with SPB tours, which also covered the Russian visa. The ship's excursions were too expensive. SPB tours were fabulous! It was easy to manage all the other ports on our own; London, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm. We will most likely cruise with Azamara again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Loved the service from the staff for which AZAMARA is infamous. They are definitely the best for service by far of any cruise line. The ports of call were brilliant in the Mediterranean, and time in port gave the option to do two ... Read More
Loved the service from the staff for which AZAMARA is infamous. They are definitely the best for service by far of any cruise line. The ports of call were brilliant in the Mediterranean, and time in port gave the option to do two excursions if required. The AZAMAZING EVENINGS were so special in CHANIA and VALLETTA. We did back to back cruises but visited same place twice and managed to see so much more second time around. Loved the concept of The Living Room, improved a mainly unused room to a hive of activity. Tapas and drinks earlier plus tea and coffee brilliant. The favourite meeting place onboard. Loved the whole cruise and will go back to AZAMARA again. The refurbishment was only surface in the cabins. Linen, lovely, bathrooms not so good. Not much changed apart from taking the bathroom cabinet out and installing a shelf over the toilet. Lost a few things to the toilet. Hate the shower curtain with a passion. No clothesline as before and hooks from room wall removed. These were very handy in the past. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Hidden Treasures of the Mediterranean cruise with Azamara Journey from Nice to Venice called into ports that we had never been to before, e.g. St Tropez, Cassis, Palamos, Ibiza, Propriano, Trapani, Hydra, Limassol & many more. I had ... Read More
Hidden Treasures of the Mediterranean cruise with Azamara Journey from Nice to Venice called into ports that we had never been to before, e.g. St Tropez, Cassis, Palamos, Ibiza, Propriano, Trapani, Hydra, Limassol & many more. I had looked at this cruise 12 months out from sail date, but decided it was just too expensive & we were unsure about sailing on a smaller ship in comparison to what we were used to. This was a charter cruise by Cruiseco. About 3 or 4 months out from sail date, Cruisco offered the 2nd passenger at half price so we decided to take up the offer. Some passengers were lucky enough to get 2 for 1 pricing!! The cruise was fantastic The Captain, Johannes & staff were fantastic The food left a lot to be desired, except for Aqualina, which was excellent We thought the selection of wines offered which was included in our fares was not very good. Others on board suggested that because it was a charter cruise the quality was not up to scratch. The activities on board were almost non existent - mahjong, cards, bingo, table tennis occasionally. However, the lecturer on board with his history lectures about the various ports & countries we were visiting, was excellent. Never missed one of his talks. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We did the TA repositioning cruise for our 25th anniversary and enjoyed it alot. If you like "sea days", then this is the type of cruise for you. We were a bit nauseous with some ocean waves the first day, but got comfortable ... Read More
We did the TA repositioning cruise for our 25th anniversary and enjoyed it alot. If you like "sea days", then this is the type of cruise for you. We were a bit nauseous with some ocean waves the first day, but got comfortable quickly. Very nice cruise company and service was fantastic ... always with a smile and a "Hello, Mr and Mrs A". Food was B+ to A-, so do not expect a 3 star Michelin food, but it was tasty, plentiful and the variety was excellent. Shows were good. Do not expect to beat the house in Bingo or in the Casino, but it is fun to try. Aqualina and Prime C were very good, but we liked the Windows buffet the most. The gym, spa, pool, track and hot tubs were all used and appreciated. Mostly we relaxed, but of course, we ate too much. Port stops were good and I was surprised that we could be back on board only about 30 minutes before departure ... I was thinking it might be 90 minutes. Drinks were good - no complaints. Wines of the day were good and a nice selection of varieties ... my wife and I are wine experts and found the selections to be good. The crowd was "senior", so do not expect alot of raucous partying and craziness. All in all, I would say we felt it was a great cruise for the money and we would recommend Azamara to all our friends. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our third cruise on the Azamara Journey, from total 39 cruises on 10 different cruise lines. We were looking forward how the refurbishment will change the view to the ship. And they did a good job in dry dock in ... Read More
This was our third cruise on the Azamara Journey, from total 39 cruises on 10 different cruise lines. We were looking forward how the refurbishment will change the view to the ship. And they did a good job in dry dock in Freeport/Bahamas. The Check-in was really fast, only 5 minutes and we had to wait for about 1 hour to get onboard at noon. And guess what, we´ve got an upgrade to a verandah stateroom at the aft of deck 8. Okay, sounds good, but this part of the ship is vibrating all the time, when the ship is sailing. If you like to read a book lying on your bed, this will vibrate all the time. If you are sensitive for seasickness, this is not the cabin type for you. Cabin: The new beds are wonderful, the mattresses are really comfortable, and the bedding is very good. Compared to the old beds, which caused us backache for the whole cruise, this is a quantum leap forward in comfort. They mixed old parts in the cabin like the closets and the desk with the new refurbished parts, like the beds, new carpets, new love seat, new huge TV. Bathroom is as small as in an inside cabin and I hate this close contact to the shower curtain every day. But the bathroom is too small for another solution. We like the creamy soaps, shampoos, body lotions, but a lady asked me to write, that the smell is not acceptable for men. I spoke about it to other passengers and they were satisfied as we were, even the men. Towels were soft but some of the small towels had stains and wholes. That is not acceptable for a ship like the Journey and attendants have to sort them out. Hotel director agreed about this fact. Stateroom was cleaned twice a day, bottled water were placed close to the bed every evening. The verandah was deeper than the usual verandahs, but… a lot of soot every day. You could not use the deckchairs without putting a towel on it. They cleaned it every day, but if you wanted to use the table in the afternoon (when ship was sailing) you first had to clean the table by yourself. There is enough space for the table with a comfortable size you can have your breakfast or other meals and two chairs. Journey has two staircases, both with 2 elevators, which came really fast. I liked the refurbished Mosaic Café on deck 5, the new Living Room on deck 10 and we spent a lot of time sitting in both, one for coffee time and writing my German review and the Living Room to meet new friends and have some drinks together and some snacks from the new tapas bar which I can highly recommend. The restaurants: there are several restaurants on the Journey. First of all the main dining room – Discoveries, we preferred for dinner except for two evenings, when we dined with friends in the Patio and we did not like the menus. Good to very good menus, but no highlights. Good to very good service, but not better than on other Cruiselines, sorry. We preferred the Windows Café with the self service for breakfast, ordering eggs we liked, like delicious Eggs Benedict, served to our table after ordering and prepared behind the scenes. I like the Smoothies every morning, different styles and the fresh squeezed orange juice. Coffee and other things could be ordered by friendly waiters and were served at your table. We like it sitting outside in the Sunset Bar and enjoying breakfast with a fresh breeze. We prefer standing up early and have an early breakfast; so we never had problems finding an available table. But later in the morning Windows Café was a bit crowded. For lunch we loved eating outside close to the pool in the sheltered area from the now called Patio with all the fresh prepared dishes from the grill. Many people loved this place for having lunch, so it was a lot of noise and busy all the time. In the past the opposite side was also open for lunch; that was much better, to lunch with some ease and comfort. But they closed the passage to the other side and nobody served there. Getting bar service in this area was also difficult. The waiters were not attentive enough. We had dinner two times in The Patio with some friends and it was also really good. And you had the chance to combine the offers from Patio with the offers from Windows Café. It was empty in the evening, so you had really good and fast service and we all liked it. Every time during the day you could ask for the wine of the day. White and red wine changed daily but the rose was the same for the whole cruise. A Portuguese rose, not the best quality, but drinkable. I know some people did not like the wines and purchased a wine package. Or they bought the Ultimate Beverage package, having a better quality for the drinks and cocktails. We were satisfied with the included drinks, but my husband only drinks a beer and not every day. Entertaining: The cast was not as good as on the other cruises with AZ and shows on other Cruiselines were better.I missed “Voices”, one of the best shows I´ve ever seen on the high seas. We only listened to one guest entertainer, a young violinist and that show was quiet good. Tony Markey´s show was also good; he has an excellent voice and it´s always fun to see him performing. Also in the show they performed during White Night. The Big Band was really good, but the guitarist and pianist were playing the same songs over and over and not really well. The White Night on Deck, with all things decorated in white, even white chairs and tables, many passengers dressed in white, a really good buffet served by the senior officers, a good show and a lot of dancing passengers, including me, was wonderful. The AzAmazingEvening in St. Maarten was nice, with a steel band by young Caribbean musicians and an electrical string quartet and dancers performing at the side of the passengers, sitting close to the stage. A 5 minute firework at the end was a surprise but the evening was not as good as our AzAmazingEvening we had in Liverpool. But typical Caribbean and we liked it. The evening ended in the Living Room with Cherries Jubilees and a show from Marcus, one of the singers from the cast. The ports of call: We started with two days at sea, our first port of call was St. John, the little sister of St. Thomas and we had a nice private tour to explore the island with wonderful beaches. The next day we docked in Antigua and because it was Palm Sunday and there was only one other small cruise ship in port, the island was almost empty and we could enjoy all the beautiful views and English Harbor, as well as a nice beach stop. This was also a private tour; we booked together in advance with a group of 19 CC people. Following port was Nevis, little sister from St. Kitts, but we had an appointment on St. Kitts and had an exhausting time on the ferries to and back from St. Kitts. After arriving back on Nevis we only wanted to tender back to our Journey. Next stop was St. Barts, also a tender port, with a lot of traffic in Gustavia, but we enjoyed walking around, watching all the million dollar yachts in the harbor for a while and avoiding these really expensive shops in the center. Our last port was Virgin Gorda and we had again a pre booked tour with CC members. For about 1,5 hours we enjoyed the views from different sightseeing points of the island and ended with a stop at Spring Beach. A CC friend had done some research about the beaches and we decided not to visit the maybe overcrowded The Bath and all of us loved Spring Beach. We were about 20 people at this beach, with an easier access and a lot of space for everybody. We enjoyed the crystal clear water, and the soft waves, the rock formations, Virgin Gorda is famous for. And everybody said afterwards, that was the best day we had on the cruise. Okay the sunburn was not so nice, but visiting Spring Beach was worth it. Reaching Miami after two more relaxing days at sea, with unfortunately a lot of reserved deckchairs, we were due to technical problems a bit late. But no problem for us, we could stay longer onboard, because we had an afternoon flight. Not so good for passengers with an early flight. Disembarkation and Immigration were really fast. In about 10 minutes we were outside the building but the organization for the airport transfers was not really good. Conclusion: it was a wonderful cruise, on a really good refurbished ship with nice crew, wonderful and often visible officers, a good service, food from good to very good, but no highlights except the Seniors Officers Table, mediocre entertainment and nice contacts to other passengers from many different countries. The itinerary was perfect because we know almost every other Caribbean island from 9 other Caribbean cruises and we visited now these small other islands, big cruise ships cannot go. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Long time cruiser but first with Azamara. The ship was undergoing an annual Coast Guard Inspection so we were delayed embarkation until 12:30. We arrived at that time and our wait was 15 minutes. Check in went smoothly. Our bags, ... Read More
Long time cruiser but first with Azamara. The ship was undergoing an annual Coast Guard Inspection so we were delayed embarkation until 12:30. We arrived at that time and our wait was 15 minutes. Check in went smoothly. Our bags, however, were not delivered until after 4 PM and talking to the crew we found that this was normal performance for them. Other cruise lines bring your bags much sooner. High points of the ship and cruise: Fantastic lunches and buffets. Incredible White Night and Officer's Buffet on deck. The Azamazing Evening in St. Martin was excellent. Overall food quality was very good. Very friendly staff and officers. The ship was just remodeled and looked great. There were rust spots they missed but overall it is excellent. The entertainment was also well above average, excellent musicians and Lecturers. Low points: We booked an Oceanview Guarantee and since were 3 months before cruise time we had hoped for some type of upgrade. No luck at all. We got one of the cabins behind the lifeboats and it is a TINY cabin! The view was pretty good. We travel heavy and there was insufficient room for us, particularly in the miniscule bathroom and not enough countertop space in the main cabin. We were unhappy with our cabin. Although very friendly, the service was spotty, particularly in the Main Dining Room. We had evenings that our dinner took much longer than 2 hours. One night we waited 90 minutes for the main entrée to arrive. The crew was so stressed out that even senior officers were pressed into helping prepare and clean tables. Something was wrong there. We would order coffee upstairs and it took 5 to 10 minutes before they returned. We took two shore excursions on the ship and enjoyed them very much, had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our 5th cruise on Azamara, and the 3rd on the Quest. First time over the Christmas holiday season. First impressions, the Quest looks a little tired, however, it is slated for refurbishment in early 2016. There seems to be ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise on Azamara, and the 3rd on the Quest. First time over the Christmas holiday season. First impressions, the Quest looks a little tired, however, it is slated for refurbishment in early 2016. There seems to be fewer wait staff than in the past, however the attitude of the staff and crew remains excellent. Food quality remains very high in all restaurants. We made a point of going to Triva each day to meet more people. Lots of fun and highly recommended. Great way to fill the Sea Days. There was a variety of stage shows each evening, everything from musical numbers to a Magician and a Mentalist. This particular cruise was very warm as it was summer season all through the trip, middle 30’s Celsius each day. The Christmas and New Year’s shows were very nice, lots of songs and fun, carol singing in the dining room and many decorations on the ship. The crew made gingerbread houses and displays throughout. Many younger guests added to the Christmas spirit. Land Discoveries prices seem higher than normal. The Azamara two-hour Komodo dragon tour off the ship was priced at $169 vs our identical private tour of $60. The Mataram Highlights Tour in Lombok was extremely disappointing. Several people left our tour half way through and taxied back to the ship. Having visited Bali, Lombok could have been skipped all together. We complained and the Land Discoveries reimbursed us 25%. That said, our next tour, from Thursday Island, Insider Access: Kazu and the Cultured Pearls of Friday Island, was one of the best tours we have been on with Azamara. There was not much to see at our stop in Cooktown Australia. We took a short tour, which brought us to the Botanical Gardens and Nature's Powerhouse before arriving at the James Cook Museum for fascinating insights into the local history, and the discovery of Australia by Captain Cook., then on up to Grassy Hill for its great views of the picturesque coastline. Port Douglas, Australia was a vibrant community noted for its Sunday Market. Fortunately we were here on a Sunday and were able to enjoy this highlight. Internet on the ship remains poor. Access from the cabins is sporadic at best. We had 60 minutes given to us, the majority of which were wasted trying to connect. I would rather pay more for our ticket and have free Internet than get upset when we waste our time trying to connect. One of the most common complaints we are hearing is that there is no WIFI on the ship. Even without connecting to the Internet our devices cannot connect with each other. With the upcoming retrofit we are hoping these problems will be resolved. Azamara has been and still remains our “Go To” cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Azamara Quest Norway Cruise – July 18 to August 1, 2015. Why this cruise? I had been told by a friend that the Norway cruise was a good one. This particular trip started with the chance to see the last day of the Open at St. ... Read More
Azamara Quest Norway Cruise – July 18 to August 1, 2015. Why this cruise? I had been told by a friend that the Norway cruise was a good one. This particular trip started with the chance to see the last day of the Open at St. Andrews Old Course, an event to be seized with all haste. In addition, we have heard good things about Azamara, and we very much like the small Renaissance ships. The idea of being in the cool North while getting away from July in Phoenix also had its appeal. Cruise pre-planning Azamara uses the “no formal nights – ‘smart-casual’ attire” rule used by Oceania, but we had some weather concerns. The forecasts were for days in the 60’s and nights a few degrees lower. We had booked several tours, including an all day trip to the North Cape, so warmth and rain protection was important. I therefore packed no shorts, and Edith included a good selection of pants suitable for both evening wear and providing warmth. We think we did pretty well. I brought my favorite blue blazer and one tie in addition to my favorite Zuni bolo tie. I also brought my Aran Island wool fisherman’s sweater, and a marvelous cashmere sweater purchased many years ago in Inverness, a nice Scots town at the north end of Loch Ness. They know how to keep you warm in Ireland and Scotland. Embarkation We flew non-stop to Heathrow and then to Edinburgh, staying in a hotel there for one night. So we showed up at the pier in Leith (about a $30.00 cab ride) at 11:30. Check-in was fast for us because we had booked a Continental Suite and had a priority line, but it seemed to move smoothly for everybody. Once on board we had to wait until 1:30 to get into our cabin, but used the time to get books from the lovely Deck 10 library, (called “The Drawing Room” on Azamara ships); and to have lunch in the Waves Café (buffet). Our stateroom! We chose a Continental suite because our prior experiences on these ships showed us that the standard veranda cabin is rather small, and the Continental Suite on Azamara, or Penthouse Suite on Oceania provided enough room. When we walked into our stateroom, No. 8061, our reaction was – Wow! We soon found out why we had this response. It seems that Azamara is planning on upgrades of at least its Continental Suites, and ours was the prototype, the only one on this ship. The first impression was the “light”. Everything seemed white and bright, in contrast to the browns used in most cabins. The closets to the left as one entered were actually light brown, but the most striking feature was the “bureau-desk” arrangement stretching from the mini bar next to the closets to the veranda. The bureau portion was about six feet long, 18 inches high and about the same depth or slightly more. It was all white with some form of composition material on top. There were three deep drawers. About two-thirds of the way to the veranda, the desk portion started. It therefore was above the last drawer of the bureau portion so there was a covered, but open storage area. The desk was only about six inches deep until the final two feet or so. It had two wide, shallow desk drawers. It was also white, but the top had a glass surface. At the very end there were some light switches and electrical sockets at the front. There was a very modern desk lamp. There we a high backed desk chair, a small side chair, a round coffee table and a comfortable wing back chair against the back wall. The bed had a round small side table on one side and a larger square table on the other side. The bed had panels above as headboards, covered with a leather-like material with a raised pattern. More on this will follow. Every surface in this living area was white and the veranda went almost the entire width of the cabin, so the “light” effect was remarkable and delightful. The bathroom was completely redone. Instead of the tub/shower of the regular Continental Suite there was a very roomy six foot long stall shower with beautiful marble walls, a well-directed main shower head plus a hand held shower. We were told that there had been a design error in that the shower floor was virtually flush with the bathroom floor with no lip to prevent water getting out, but we found that with a floor mat there was no real problem. We thought this to be the best shower ever on a ship. The single sink was a large square porcelain “vessel” sitting on a darker composition table, with a shelf underneath. There was a handy magnifying mirror on the wall and three long shelves to the side which had all the room needed for toiletries. The walls were marble, and the floor some kind of composition looking like grey wood. The same grey floor was present in the entrance to the cabin up to the “living” area, where there was a nice carpet with an attractive abstract design. The veranda had three wicker arm chairs and a table high enough to serve as a dining table, although a Norwegian cruise does not invite al fresco dining, even if we were room service types. The lighting system was excellent, and relatively easy to master. For example, there was an overhead light which was perfect for reading in the large arm chair. At the bedside there was a general area light, which actually emitted a small glow at night; and small “bullet” lamps that could be focused easily on a book for reading in bed at night, something we both do. The thermostat was adjustable, but the cabin never was very warm, and Edith’s feet were cold until she got back to the 110º of Phoenix. As usual, we had no problem storing all our clothing and other belongings. We had a few conversations with senior staff concerning this stateroom, especially since we were asked to vacate it for a short period of time on Sunday afternoon, while still docked in Leith, so that the President and CEO of Azamara could lead a tour of our cabin for the benefit of some cruise tour providers! I was at the Open, so Edith was the subject of this request. Afterwards, when we were visited by the Hotel Director to thank us, we mentioned that we thought the cabin should have had a mirror over the desk for the benefit of Madame putting on her makeup. He agreed and said this would probably be corrected along with the shower issue. What we did not mention was the fact that the coffee table in the cabin was much too small for any true room service usage. Since we never use room service this did not occur to us at that time. This may not be easy to cure given the three chairs in that area. Oh well, not our problem. What became our problem. The fifth night out I was snoozing away when, at 2:30 A.M. I was awakened suddenly with something falling on my head with a crash! I struggled up with this object in my hands and managed to turn on the light. I discovered that a quarter panel of our “headboard” had fallen off the wall. Examination showed that this headboard was in four sections, each about three feet wide and two plus feet high, made of pressed wood about a ½ inch thick and cover on one side with a leather like material with some raised pattern portions. This was a substantial object which came down, and I was very fortunate not to have been hit with an edge, which would have been extremely damaging. There were four of these panels, and this was the upper panel. When we looked at the upper panel over Edith’s side of the bed, and touched it, it seemed loose. We thought we should take it down and it required very little effort to pull it off the wall. The panels clearly had been attached with glue only, and obviously not enough. Since this was at 2:30 A.M., and we were safe and unharmed, and could not expect or need any help, we went back to bed. We called Guest Relations first thing in the morning, and they obviously did not understand what happened, probably because our stateroom was unique, and they sent up a carpenter with a hand drill to “fix” it. He took one look and sent for higher staff. The chief housekeeper showed up and was properly appalled. It was quickly determined that no attempt to reinstall would be made, so we spent the rest of the trip with missing upper panels, not something that interfered with our use or enjoyment of the room. I do have a picture of it however. The Hotel Manager, Philip, showed up again with profound apologies and the assurances that the home office had been fully informed. Guest relations offered to provide a tour, but we had made our own private tour arrangements as usual, so this was of no value. Later I asked for and received additional computer usage minutes, but, as I noted when asking for them, this did not cost Azamara anything. We have been off the ship more than a week now, and still have had nothing in writing from Azamara by way of compensation for this near disaster. This is not good public relations, and a poor reflection on their stated desire to make everything a joy for their “guests”. The ship As we noted, we love these Renaissance ships. This was number 8, so the newest of all. Their design is, food aft – entertainment forward, very handy. From the top aft, on Deck 10 there are the two specialty restaurants and the Drawing Room. Forward is the Looking Glass Lounge providing a marvelous viewing room, with a dance floor and bar for activities. Deck 9 holds the Waves Buffet aft, the pool area and the Spa and Gym area, along with the computer room forward. Decks 8, 7 and 6 are all staterooms except for the complimentary self-service laundry on 7. Deck 5 has the main dining room with adjacent cocktail lounge aft. Proceeding forward there is the Mosaic Café; the two stores; the piano bar/lounge and the photo gallery; the Casino and the Cabaret, which is the main entertainment venue. Deck 4 has the Guest Relations area amidships, with the shore excursion desk, future cruise sales and concierge. There are also additional cabins and the medical center. Deck 3 has only access to the tenders or gangway as needed, although there is also gangway access on Deck 4 from the Guest Relations area. Altogether it is a compact and efficient design, although the passageway along the photo gallery could get crowded when the audience from the Cabaret shows exited. The shipboard New York Times was delivered to our cabin as a suite perk, and we had 235 free internet minutes. The Times and international editions were available around the ship. The internet service was slow of course, but always available. Some TV stations were out of range at time, and generally the room television offerings were not much to entice long viewing. There were movies shown every day. Dining aboard This is where Azamara Quest really shines. We have always felt that Crystal Cruises offers the best overall dining experience, and we still do. We also have greatly enjoyed Oceania’s Marina with its four imaginative and wonderful complimentary specialty restaurants. But if Crystal rates a 98, and Marina a 96, then Quest gets a 95. It may seem strange, but two very ordinary, homely menu items reflect this – potatoes and soups. Potatoes were served in the buffet for breakfast and lunch (and probably dinner also) and always were fresh and flavorful. I am of Irish ancestry and care about my potatoes. These were really something to look forward to. When they showed up on the dining room menus for diner, they were just as fine. The same can be said of the soups. There were always two at the lunch buffet and three, including one cold soup, in the dining room at night. They were always rich, flavorful and hot. We talked to the buffet maître’d about this and he described how they were made with a long cooking process from rich stock to extract all the possible flavors and rich variety of taste. This is how soup should be crafted. Edith, a vegetarian, was generally delighted with the offerings in this category, especially the wide choice available for lunch at the buffet. The only mild disappointment I felt was, oddly, with the filet mignon served with the “turf and surf” choice in the main dining room. It was comparatively tasteless compared to the lobster accompanying it, and the other entrees experienced on the balance of the trip. The breakfasts were up to the high level of the better cruises with a good selection of fruits for me and a number of hot items like mushrooms, beans, and potatoes which Edith loved. The coffee unfortunately was not that good, but we have seldom found good coffee in the buffets on any ship. The evening dinners at the Waves Buffet usually had an ethnic food theme; everything from Vietnamese to Middle Eastern to French to Tex-Mex. We went to this last, and found it very good, with a decent selection of offerings. The officers and crew It should first be noted that the passenger to crew ratio is 1.9 to 1. Anything below 2 is very good and shows a commitment to serving the passengers. This was apparent in the very quick room makeup and the generally excellent service in all the dining areas. In addition, the overwhelming majority of the crew was very friendly and helpful. The Hotel Manager, Philip, set the tone with his presence all over the ship, friendliness and generally pleasant attitude. The ship’s master, Captain Jose, also put in frequent appearances, and was very approachable and willing to enter into conversations. When I expressed one concern to the Cruise Director, Russ, he dealt with it quickly. The ship’s overall appearance was excellent, with cleaning and maintenance an obvious priority. Entertainment We would cast ourselves as a tough audience when it comes to shipboard entertain-ment, but we felt that Azamara did a pretty fair job, given the space limitations of the Cabaret Lounge. The usual “singers and dancers” were six in number, with two being only dancers, and the other four largely confined to singing. Their skill level was fairly high, and we enjoyed the fact that they kept the sound level to barely tolerable as contrasted to intolerable on some cruise lines. The choice of songs was decent. They performed four shows on a fourteen night cruise, which is a lot. We did walk out of one of the early shows, a male pianist who seemed to believe pianist skill was best demonstrated by pounding the instrument into complete submission. A female solo singer was good, as were a song and dance team. A second pianist doing mostly Broadway show tunes was quite good. We had a magician for two nights, and since I am a sucker for a magician, I enjoyed him thoroughly. The Azamazing Evening was Sunday night in the port of Leith before sailaway. I did not attend as I was tired from attending the Open at St. Andrews. But Edith and all we talked to who attended it were delighted with a tour of a castle providing lots to see, plenty of bagpipe music and spectacular fireworks. I should note that Russ, the cruise director, had been a stage production singer for many years, and he joined the regular singers and dancers for two of their shows, with very pleasing results. On board activities With one exception, this was quite dismal. The destination lecturer, Charles Richardson, was very good, with informative presentations about Norway and geology. We did feel that scheduling two of his talks at 9:00 in the morning was not a good idea, since it meant getting up very early for breakfast on a sea day when that would not normally be required. He did mention needing the Cabaret Lounge for rehearsals, but some forethought could have come up with better timing. The rest of the activities were a waste of time as far as we were concerned. They consisted of mainly of trivia games, bingo and pitches for the spa and art auction. Azamara need serious work in this facet of shipboard offerings. Ports of Call and shore excursions Bergen. We had arranged for a local tour beginning with a boat trip to another town with a museum. Unfortunately, we were a little late in docking and could see no transportation available to get us to our debarkation point by 8:50, so this was a loss. My ability to walk any distance is limited, so Edith went ashore herself and walked around the area near the ship. She reported it as a pleasant town. Flåm. The main attraction in this town is the railway journey into the mountains. The tour offered by the ship filled quickly, as did one other tour run by a local company, and I thought we might be out of luck. But the Norwegian Railway reserves some tickets and they are not available until 90 days prior to the use date. So I went on the railroad’s web site 90 days prior and purchased 2 tickets with no problem. The on-line cost per person was $81.50, while the Azamara price was $169.75 per person, more than twice as much. It was a very pleasant trip providing a great introduction to Norwegian mountain scenery. The grade is very steep, and you go up over 2400 feet in a comparatively short distance. After our return we visited the small museum attached to the souvenir store and were impressed by how much work and time went into the construction. Geiranger The reason for this destination is the very spectacular fjord, quite deep and comparatively narrow, with the Seven Sisters waterfall along the way. We had bought very reasonable tickets on a local tour in a boat that holds about 200 people. It provided frequent stops which gave us a great many fine photo opportunities in a 90 minute circuit. This was a tender port, with a number of other ships visiting, but the tender trips were fast and easy since the fjords are very calm. Svolvaer-Lofoten Islands – Troll Fjord This is a small town, but we had rented a car and with another couple drove about 50-60 miles south on this island which has a fjord on one side and the North Sea on the other. The car rental, with gas, cost about $120.00 for two couples, so we got to see a lot for very little, since the trip down and back took about 5 hours. There were a number of spots providing wonderful views, and at the south end there was a small harbor with a Norwegian Coast Guard cutter docked. We managed to find a spot with coffee and pastry, and generally enjoyed being on land all day and seeing real Norwegian living. After departing Svolvaer the Captain took us into the Troll Fjord, about 2 hours away. This is a very narrow passage, and while we were not quite able to touch the sides of the mountain as hinted by the Cruise Director, we were within a few feet. This was quite entertaining. When we reached the end of the fjord the Captain did a 360º turn, within the ships length, by using the bow thrusters and stern thrusters in opposite directions. Since Quest is only 593 feet long, it could do this but I doubt that many other cruise ships would be able to accomplish such a maneuver. In fact, while we saw a number of other ships in several ports, they all seemed less than 75,000 gross tons – none of your massive floating hotels. It is not the depth of the fjords that limits ships, they are all quite deep; it is the narrow quarters. Tromsø Tromsø is a good sized city of more than 70,000 people, partly on an island and partly on the mainland with a bridge connection. It has a number of attractive buildings. I stayed on board, but Edith walked through the town up a hill to a pleasant lake surrounded by nice homes. The weather was very mild, and she said that this was one town she would like to visit for a few days. It has an airport capable of handling jet flights to Bergen and Oslo. Honningsvåg This is the gateway to the North Cape, the northernmost mainland point in Europe at 70º10” North. Six of us rented a car and first proceeded to the Bird Safari located on the west side of the peninsula. This provided a 90 minute sea tour through neighboring islands, in a boat holding about 60 people, for the purpose of seeing the nesting places of a wide variety of sea birds, and photographing them. They included cormorants, gannets, puffins and Norwegian eagles which is about the size of the bald eagle, with grey markings, and the classic raptor flight. We also saw seals, but they were difficult to photograph against the rock backgrounds. The boat provided complete waterproof coveralls, which kept us totally warm and dry, although the weather was basically good. This was a good trip, which cost us $80.00 per person on line; but $264.75 on a ship’s tour. We then drove up to the North Cape itself, about another 30 miles. There is a 225 NOK ($28.00) per person entrance fee which lets you into a modern building with a cinema room featuring a 20 minute film about the Cape, a small Thai museum commemorating the 1907 visit of the King of Siam to the cape, a small chapel, a large souvenir store and a buffet restaurant featuring reindeer stew. There was an outside area leading up the Cape itself. It was extremely windy, with some rain, and we felt that the high fence was necessary, but we could see the neighboring capes and get a sense that we really were at the top of Europe. We then drove back to the ship. The cape area has no trees, and is quite barren, but we passed several reindeer herds, and were thrilled when one herd, stags, does and fawns decided to cross immediately in front of us while we stopped to let them by and had a good look at these very attractive creatures. The fawns are dark brown, which makes them highly visible, while the adults are a soft dun color. Our stop in Honningsvåg was from 10:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M, and we would have had a midnight sun if it had not been cloudy, but it still was light out at midnight. Our car rental was $26.00 apiece, so the total day was $132.00 per person. The ship’s tour of the North Cape was $179.75. per person. This meant a total of $444.50 compared to our cost, and we had the freedom to take as much time as we wanted, and travel in a nice small van while saving over $300.00 apiece - $600.00 per couple! Altogether, we were delighted with this adventure. Olden This did not work out well. I had booked a tour of one of the few attractions at this stop, the Briksdalen Glacier, for a five hour van tour. I was a little concerned when I received no response to my request for an e-mail telling us where we would make contact. The firm I dealt with was called “Porttrips International” which still has a website. I had paid for 8 people by credit card, and received checks from the three couples joining us. When we walked off the ship, there was no Porttrips vehicle in sight in the very small dock area. We walked into the small town (about four stores) and back, and contact with the locals told us no one had heard of this company. We had little choice but to take either a local bus up to the glacier for a quick round trip tour, or take a small ”train” trolley with two small open cars around a local lake for 150 NOK, about $18.00. We chose this option which took about 80 minutes and was quite pleasant. The good news is that my credit card company has issued me a full credit, and my fellow passengers have all been reimbursed. Disembarkation The passengers taking a ship provided bus directly to the airport seemed to do quite well; while those of us taking taxis had a wait, mostly spent on board with trips outside to check the line for cabs. There were seven cruise ships docked in Copenhagen, but Azamara seemed to have the pier closest to town, which was nice. When we got our taxi the fare to our hotel in central Copenhagen, near the Tivoli Gardens and main railroad station, was less than $10.00. Reflections and Miscellaneous Norway is a pleasant, very scenic country, with a population that by and large speaks excellent English. While it has the fourth highest standard of living in the world, there is no great display of wealth and little of poverty. There is a lot of graffiti, which surprised Edith. We were surprised by the fact that homes were scattered all along the fjords, seemingly far from anything. While some remote farms were abandoned, most of these homes were served by roads with regular auto and truck traffic. All the homes appeared to be in excellent condition, and the neighborhoods well cared for. Everyone we spoke to or dealt with was very pleasant and helpful. If one can deal with the dark, cold winters, it is a fine country to live in. Our fellow passengers were mostly American, with the usual leavening of our northern neighbors from Canada, and a fair representation of New Zealanders and Australians. There were few Germans, perhaps because it is easier for them to cruise on ships based on the continent. And the English travel on Fred Olsen and P&O cruise lines. Most passengers were in the retired age bracket, but there were others and three or four teen-agers. Final words Was this a worthwhile trip? I felt so although Edith was perhaps not as enthusiastic. There were times when it was a bit boring, and the fjords have a lot of similarity. But I felt it was so unique and beautiful that a bit of repetition was acceptable. I would recommend this cruise, and Azamara has a lot to offer; a neat small ship, really excellent food, great service and friendliness. If the activities are weak, and the standard veranda cabins on the small side, these defects can be tolerated. So my overall rating would be 4+. Bon Voyage! 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Sail Date July 2015
We thought this would be a lovely start to an 8 week trip to Europe and help us relax and unwind at the beginning. How wrong can you be. From start to finish this itinerary is full of wonderful ports, sometimes 2 in a day, so you ... Read More
We thought this would be a lovely start to an 8 week trip to Europe and help us relax and unwind at the beginning. How wrong can you be. From start to finish this itinerary is full of wonderful ports, sometimes 2 in a day, so you never get a chance to unwind and relax! This said we loved it but thought if it was spread over 9-10 days it would be much more enjoyable especially in the heat of summer. This was our second cruise on Journey and our third on Azamara but the first in the Med. We were exploring the beautiful Adriatic coast with ports of Zadar, Split, Hvar, Kotor and Dubrovnik with an overnight in Venice on the last night. All ports were fabulous and even though we had visited three before we enjoyed revisiting them. We were in a Club Continent Suite 8056 which is just aft of the aft elevators/stairs midships and on port side. We love the large balcony for breakfasts and drinks at night. We had several meals in the Speciality restaurants and they were all enjoyable and well presented and cooked as was the service. The Azamazing evening with Ana Rucner a wonderful cellist, held in the Mestrovic Gallery in Split, was fabulous. We didnt get to eat at the White Nights deck BBQ this cruise as it was scheduled on the same night as Lobster night in the MDR. Shame, as we usually get to experience both and enjoy both of them, so we were very disappointed with this change and poor planning. Another money saver we guessed. Wine served with meals was terrific in quality and variety and if one was not to our liking you can request the previous days or one we had preferred. Service was exceptional, except for room service breakfast which first morning came cold, so we resorted to cold breakfast after this and our butler was obviously new and untrained and was very disappointing after fabulous butlers we have had before. We thought the entertainment onboard was some of the best we have ever seen on an Azamara ship and Eric and the singers and dancers were outstanding. Also brilliant were Beverley Davison, a combination of violinist and comedienne, very funny, Max di Faz a wonderful singer and an english Magician/Comedian who was excellent. Overall, a wonderful cruise, but we will be giving other lines a try for awhile, as we think a comparism to this size of ship is necessary to gain a real overview. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We are retired in Thailand, in the North Issan in fact, we generally do three or four cruises a year and have done four on Azamara in the last 15 months, we are Discovery members, our last posted review on Azamara was titled “Almost ... Read More
We are retired in Thailand, in the North Issan in fact, we generally do three or four cruises a year and have done four on Azamara in the last 15 months, we are Discovery members, our last posted review on Azamara was titled “Almost Excellence dated Jan 2014”, I have lost count of my cruises but well in excess of 40 We flew from Khon Kaen to Bangkok then to Singapore and overnighted at the Intercontinental Hotel a very wonderful property Embarkation was unusually slow maybe an hour and a half, and very tiring in the heat, this is in our experience unusual for Azamara, on check in our loyalty status was despite written promises from Miami, for the third time was incorrect, this was corrected on board. It was wonderful to be back on board , we knew 85%of the crew, and there are many old friends some who visit us in Thailand at home, probably the most friendly of any of the over 40 cruises I have been on The dining and food was almost up to previous standards, but we felt had dropped off a little maybe we had been spoilt by having Johnathan as F& B manager for our previous three cruises, I felt the dollar allocation on food had been cut a little, or the new F&B manager was over controlling costs,Johanthan used to say he often ran a little over budget but his primary concern was to do the very best job possible, rather commendable! We enjoy Windstar and Seabourne a lot and consider the quality of food on Azamara to be almost equal. Seabourne include a complimentary sparkling wine very much appreciated by the ladies, not so on Azamara, but generally the selection of complimentary drinks is OK Windows restaurant was stretched with the ship full, and many times through lack of space we transferred to the main restaurant deck 5 always a nice place to find good food and tranquility This was the first time we had sailed with the ship full We very much enjoyed the brunches especially the one for discovery members given upstairs in Prime C, We also very much enjoy the white evening barbeque on the pool deck this should be increased from the present once per cruise to once a week We did not use the two specialty food locations Aquilina and Prime C as when on our earlier cruise we had paid for a suite and they were included at no supplement we used them probably eight times , we only got off the previous cruise in January and felt the food did not justify the extra cost, generally the food in the main restaurant is very good We love mosaic café and its excellent double cappuccinos, there are generally very nice small snacks available there We felt the entertainment had improved substantially maybe due to Erics presence back on board The ports of call were a little disappointing even the Captain and Hotel manager commented they did not know why head office chose these ports;especially Indonesia and on all occasions despite Azamara’s claim, no free shuttles available, because of port disputes and the get out is covered in their small print. In Srilanka, Cochin and Bombay we did our own tours through Trip Adviser leads, and were very happy with them, all saving in excess of 65% each time comparing like with like, there is a risk here but we chose to take it, and remember if on a private tour the ship can leave without you if you fail to turn up on time In Indonesia instead of the free shuttle we were offer a bus at $39 to the city not very acceptable The Amazing Evening was at the Taj Malibar hotel in Cochin a lovely hotel in first class location on the water, the entertainment was very good but could have been run on the pool deck instead of herding every one to two showings and everyone feeling very rushed, it took away from the experience In Bombay we stayed at the Taj Vivante post cruise a lovely lovely hotel with the very best Indian food, its Thai restaurant was however only mediocre, coming from people who live in Thailand Our chosen stateroom this time was ocean view (we have travelled in suites and balconies on previous occasions) with small print obscured view and smaller sq ftge than normal ocean view, we were shocked and horrified when we saw no view except for life boat fully filling the window, we were very upset, it was the cabin number we had booked but we expected obscured view meant maybe we lost 20% of view not ALL of it. Later Heinke the superb hotel manager told us they normally only use these cabins for free upgrades, from inside cabins, she also said Miami were booking the ships so full it gave her little room to maneuver We were extremely distressed in fact so much so we considered getting off the ship, the front desk just stonewalled us when we complained and kept quoting ship full, the captain told us he had no authority to grant a refund and when I requested he call Miami then he said the office was shut, I replied I was sure he had a 24/7 number for Miami, he just smiled, we withdrew and went and wrote to the Captain and Hotel manager gave it to reception, got a receipt, and asked them both to immediately contact Miami. Heinke then appeared five minutes later, bless her, smiling as always and promised to do her best to help and fine that unavailable cabin, with a proper or 80%view. She was the first to say our expectations had not been met and she was very understanding in these circumstances; Just before sailing we were offered an upgrade subject to paying another $100 , I thought it might have been done on a no charge basis as a gesture of goodwill but we did not argue just paid Once ensconced in our new accommodation we were free to relax and enjoy, comparing ocean view to balcony and suite other than price difference there is not so much difference especially as we spend a lot of time out on deck and around, is suite worth the extra money, no I would say having travelled in both within four months The bathroom was tight but the same size as balcony accommodation, there were problems on the toilets, they said routine maintenance, but I doubt it, on the previous three cruises never routine maintenance and system shut downs, the ship is getting old and these vacuum systems take a lot of maintenance and servicing to keep them in top class condition All the operational hotel staff can without exception be classed as exceptional, The Hotel manager should probably be in overall charge of the ship,(including the Captain) she is seen working all the time moving from place to place in those very excuisite high heeled shoes, she has to be the very best. Eric on entertainment works very hard and produces the goods. The Captain is visibly seen around the ship a lot always smiling but would benefit from a course on handling upset customers and their expectations, he did take the ship off course so all could see the sunset and its green flash. The F&B manager has a tough job following Johnathan our host on the three previous cruises. Our previous butler from when we had a suite, has been promoted and was in overall charge of our cabin, a very nice capable and helpful man My strong impression is the ship and its officers will do anything reasonable to try and look after passengers, but managers in Miami, restrict the ability of the Hotel Manager and the Captain, i.e. they could not agree a refund for a very upset passenger there and then; any five star hotel will refund an unhappy customer immediately and hope maybe that customer returns at least to a different property Overall we rate Azamara quite highly, probably on the way down rather than way up; but our difficult experience on cabins has made us decide to book elsewhere for a while; probably Seabourne and Windstar, especially as they have taken over three of Seabournes ships, we had been planning to book three more Azamara cruises while onboard but changed our minds, due to the misdescription on the lack of view of our first state room and the stress to resolve it The cruise lines all work hard to get repeat customers, but they can destroy that loyalty very quickly and easily, I believe Heinke the hotel manager very much understands but her Captain needs a course or two on managing customers expectations Disembarkation, quick easy and oh so nice to be off the ship Alastair and Supaporn   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
Our cruise began 6 Oct. from Barcelona, sailed to seven ports - Palma de Mallorca, Bonifacio, Rome (Civitavecchia), Elba (Portoferraio), Livorno (Pisa, Florence), Nice, and back to Barcelona on 16 Oct. THE SHIP - This was our second ... Read More
Our cruise began 6 Oct. from Barcelona, sailed to seven ports - Palma de Mallorca, Bonifacio, Rome (Civitavecchia), Elba (Portoferraio), Livorno (Pisa, Florence), Nice, and back to Barcelona on 16 Oct. THE SHIP - This was our second Azamara cruise, both on the Quest. We like the relative intimacy of a mid size ship (684 maximum). Our Veranda cabin was comfortable and well laid out. The deck seven location was ideal, situated just below the Windows Cafe (buffet) and pool grill on Deck 9, and the Discovery dining room and various activity areas on deck 5. Guest relations were on deck 4. THE SERVICE - Flawless and friendly. Not a single complaint. The concierge went out of his way to refund an excursion cancelled past the normal refund time because of my wife's illness. Obviously, all crew have been instructed to be friendly and polite. The wait-staff performed admirably as well. THE FOOD - There are two main restaurants on the Quest: the Windows cafe (buffet) and the Discovery restaurant (waiter service with fairly extensive menu. There are also two specialty restaurants that charge $27.50 per person, and a pool fast food grill that served excellent hamburgers, onion rings, and a variety of other fast-food delights. We did not attend either specialty restaurant. Azamara serves a free red and white wine with lunch and dinner. The wines were decent, but not in any way memorable. Here I have some minor complaints. I had a tough strip steak and some dry short ribs in the Discovery. My wife had some Grouper she termed greasy. However, the appetizers and the soups were imaginative and generally excellent. The buffet did especially well with salads and freshly cooked dishes (roast beef, pork loin, and some excellent roast lamb). They served an excellent seafood risotto one evening, and their freshly cooked pasta was also good. However, as with most buffets, the stuff that sat around in steam tables was less good, but better than average. ACTIVITIES AND ENTERTAINMENT: My wife saw dance presentation which she found ok. Other than that, we attended none of the evening shows. The ship is relatively small, and the variety of activities was limited compared to those on a mega-ship, but we found enough to do during sea days. EXCURSIONS: I took a ten-hour excursion to Rome, which included the Colosseum, Vatican City, the Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately, all venues in Vatican City were packed. Our guide did yeo-woman work in getting us through various venues , but the experience was not pleasant. My wife and I took a walking market tour in Barcelona which was all right, but we could just as well done this on our own. Azamara has a half-price excursion policy if the excursions are booked on-line. OVERALL: We found the cruise enjoyable. We like Azamara and will probably cruise with them again. However, I have been informed by some of the passengers that Azamara is planning to "upgrade" approaching the luxury status (including liquor, for example), and raising its prices. I hope not. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Although I have cruised on at least eight other cruises, this was the first on a boutique(small ship) venue. We sailed on September 3rd from Istanbul to Athens. I was impressed by many facets, but for my tastes there were things that I ... Read More
Although I have cruised on at least eight other cruises, this was the first on a boutique(small ship) venue. We sailed on September 3rd from Istanbul to Athens. I was impressed by many facets, but for my tastes there were things that I missed. The most noticeable impression was the food and wine, which was just amazing. Choosing Prime C and Aqualina for a dinner was even more amazing. The best food I ever had at sea. The staff also was so delightful and pleasant. From the waiters to the cabin staff, everyone seemed to be enjoying their job. I don't overlook the amenities such as the bottles of water you took on you shore excursions. They were needed. The cabins were nice sized and for an outside stateroom,very pleasant. It was very easy to find your way on a small ship like this. As far as the itinerary, I felt that there were too many Greek Islands that didn't stand out(Kos and Aigina), and staying until 10-11 PM offered very little benefit to 95% of the passengers since shops and the casino couldn't open. By the time we left the ports, most people were in their cabins. Now this is no a complaint,but for my taste, the experience was too sedate. I don't like hairy chest contests, or videos in your face, but a little more and better entertainment would do wonders. The shows were boring and the keyboard playing in the lounge was awful. A comedian would have been nice. I guess that many seniors like this atmosphere so the cruise gave them what they wanted. My wife and I like to dance, and most nights the venue was dead. Certainly if you are younger than 45 you wouldn't like this cruise. By the way, we are in our 60's. So all in all it was an enjoyable time but maybe we would be looking for a little more from the venue, but not the mega ships with their rude passengers and screaming children. By the way, I would like to thank Azamara for providing buses to every one's hotel for a nominal charge, due to the taxi strike in Athens(that's another story). Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This cruise was the first of B2B cruises which took my wife and I from Dublin to Lisbon and then onto Nice. We cruised on the Quest in 2009 (Best of Italy) and last year from Singapore to Athens and then B2B to Rome so it was hard not to ... Read More
This cruise was the first of B2B cruises which took my wife and I from Dublin to Lisbon and then onto Nice. We cruised on the Quest in 2009 (Best of Italy) and last year from Singapore to Athens and then B2B to Rome so it was hard not to draw comparisons. Close your eyes for a minute and you could be either ship but there were differences. The excellent standard of service that we expected of Azamara was there, the shore excursions were outstanding but a couple of aspects I found were disappointing. Let me start with the check-in in Dublin. Why on earth does Azamara promote on line check-in (which I dutifully completed) when the port staff at Dublin have to repeat the process... and made a hash of it. Finally had to sort out the account billing arrangements at Guest Relations in the days after we embarked. My comment about the redundancy of the check-in arrangements were met with furious nods of agreement. Despite having Azamara's President, Larry Pimental and his wife Sandie on board, I found the food was below par. Aqualina was a joy but the one and only time I visited Prime C, I was served a fatty and grisly piece rib eye steak. I could have returned it but wanted to keep pace with my table companions. I know that the menu catering is designed around the North American taste buds but with a number of Brits and Aussies on board I asked the Hotel Director is she could put out English bacon at breakfast in Windows. Bingo!... there it was the next day than after that on just the odd occasion. I dared not ask for Vegemite like I did on the Quest last year. On that occasion, the quite extraordinary Phillip Herbert, the Hotel Director went out his way to meet this request. The cappuccinos dispensed from the Expresso machines in Windows were undrinkable - best described as a strong flavoured sludge. On the other hand the food and coffee served elsewhere on the ship was very good. Mosaic's coffee and snacks were great. Discovery was excellent. The highlight of the cruise was the wine tasting and dinner in Bordeaux hosted by Larry Pimental. The food and entertainment at Chateau Kirwan was memorable although I thought the wines were a little overrated. The experience reinforced my view that value for money, there are many wines around the globe which would give the French wines a run for their money. The only real issue I had with this excursion was the long periods we were confined to buses in 30 deg C heat with little AIRCON while we waited for stragglers to turn up. The real downer for my wife and I came right at the end of the cruise. We were struck down with severe food poisoning early in the morning of our second day in Lisbon. That was the morning that guests were disembarking from the cruise. Because we were travelling B2B there was no compulsion to disembark - only swipe our "old" card out and our new one back in. With the onset of severe gastro, we couldn't even do that... we couldn't move more than a few metres away from the toilet. Our plans to see Lisbon evaporated. The only food we had eaten the day before came from Windows Cafe so we figured that this must have been the source of the food poisoning. A travelling companion who sat at our dinner table at Windows the evening before also suffered severe food poisoning. A common dish consumed by the three of us was the leek and mussel soup although investigations by the Food and Beverage Manager failed to trace the source. It did make me wonder whether any of the hundreds of cruise passengers who disembarked that morning in Lisbon left feeling unwell! As the morning went on and all the passengers disembarked our condition improved but one of the ship's crew urged us to see the ship's doctor. The worst fears on any cruise ship is Novovirus but I contend that this was classic food poisoning and by waiting 24 hours the symptoms would ease... which they did. In retrospect we probably should not have bothered visiting the doctor (in fact we saw the nurse) because we both ended up both being confined to the cabin for the next 24 hours. With the prospect of missing yet another port, I tried to get off the ship and and go sightseeing in Cadiz but merely ended up triggering alarms while trying to exit through security. Ended up having to plead with the ship's nurse to release us and even then when we both tried to leave, the alarms went off. Finally all was resolved and we got to see Cadiz. Throughout this unfortunate epsisode, the ship's crew looked after us well with free paid movies (which we were too ill to watch) while confined, use of the Thalassotherapy Spa to assist our recovery and an offer of compensation by Azamara in the way of credit towards our next Azamara cruise equivalent to the pro-rata the time we were confined. All of this hasn't deterred us from cruising with Azamara and while on board we booked another cruise - this time on the Quest from Hong Kong to Singapore departing 26 March 2012. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
The Azamara Journey is a great ship. Beautiful, stately, small. All the things we like. Attentive service from a multi-national crew. Our bar service guys, Jose Jaimes and Alin were the best!!! Our butler, Angela (Alin's wife, I ... Read More
The Azamara Journey is a great ship. Beautiful, stately, small. All the things we like. Attentive service from a multi-national crew. Our bar service guys, Jose Jaimes and Alin were the best!!! Our butler, Angela (Alin's wife, I understand!) and her assistant Jose (whose wife just had twins!!) could not have done any better for us. As it is open seating in the dining rooms, we had many different servers. Roman and Daniel were superb. Hooray to the head Maitre 'de Marius. He kept me from any allergic reactions and his suggestions were spot on! Our hats off to Mags and her aunt Maria for their invaluable wine selection help. Victor and Bernard in the Looking Glass made the best drinks and took great care of us! Ron Hollywood, the DJ, was always open to our suggestions for dance music. Thank you for all the wonderful NEW music!!! Kudos to you all. The sea days intensive itinerary was just what we needed after a hectic holiday season. The pool was always a welcome diversion. We purchased the thalassotherapy pass for the trip ($175 per couple, $99 single), but had to have them refund us around day 10 due to the pool never being warm. It WAS warm once...at 6pm!!!!! Also there was no service there. It's not very relaxing to have to get up and go to the pool bar when you want something. Why there wasn't anyone coming by regularly is beyond me. The spa was nice tho. Steam room, two different showers, lockers, etc. All included and available to every passenger. Didn't use the gym, the stairs did me just fine. Ate all I wanted and didn't gain any weight!!! Might have lost a pound or two actually. Hmmmm. The shows were cheesy, but in a good way. Geared to an older crowd than we. Juggler, ventriloquist, magic show, group show (singers), etc. YES, this ship does tend towards an over 65 crowd. Not a problem for us tho. (I'm 46, my DH is 39) Sue Denning (cruise director)was a joy!!! Such a trouper, and always entertaining. Her "sidekick" Kelsie was a hoot. The orchestra was always great, and the ship's band entertained us many a day and night at the pool and Looking Glass. There was a pianist in Cova most nights that everyone loved, a wonderful harpist at the martini lounge in Discoveries that was just delightful, and a guitarist who was very entertaining. A great cruise on a lovely small ship. Perfect for those who like long voyages with an entertaining mix from the Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, and the USA. No children's facilities, and that's just fine by me! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
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