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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our third trip through the Panama Canal and we enjoyed it as much as our first two. We had been to many of the ports on this itinerary before, so we picked this cruise for the ship - we love the R Class ships. We sailed many ... Read More
This was our third trip through the Panama Canal and we enjoyed it as much as our first two. We had been to many of the ports on this itinerary before, so we picked this cruise for the ship - we love the R Class ships. We sailed many times on Renaissance - it was our favorite line. We have followed the dispersal of the 8 R Class ships after the line filed for bankruptcy (Oceania has 4, Azamara has 2, Princess has 1 and Fathom has 1, going to Cuba) We are both in our 60s and love sea days. We don't pick cruises for the entertainment or even the ports at this point. We never do the ship's land excursions. This was our first Azamara cruise but it won't be our last. We loved everything about this trip (except for the long lines at embarkation in LA). We tend to keep to ourselves and liked the number of tables for two available in most venues (in Main Dining Room they were extremely close to one another). The ship was extensively updated about 30 days prior to our cruise and the smell of new carpet and paint had faded. The public rooms and staterooms have new carpet and furniture. Overall the the ship is in great shape and the crew was fantastic - friendly and helpful. We originally booked a standard veranda cabin on deck 7 but changed to 7116 - an aft facing veranda with a larger balcony. We loved the view of the ships wake and had breakfast several times on our balcony. The food always arrived hot and to order. Room service even calls a few minutes before delivery - a nice touch. The cabin is small but adequate. The bed was firm and comfortable. The bathroom is tiny, with room for only one person at a time but we have experienced that before with no problems. This cabin's balcony does occasionally have particles of soot land on the table or deck depending on the wind. We also had one night of rough seas with some motion, but overall, no noticeable vibration when underway. TV reception was spotty - thank goodness! But announcements over the ship's PA do not play over the TV, so you have to open your door to hear them. The good thing is there are VERY few announcements and in only one language. Gratuities are included in the fare. Cabin attendants were very efficient and considerate but never introduced themselves. The service in the bars and around the pool was fine - not pushy- but a bit laid back in the Living Room on deck 10. We usually had to chase down a server to get a drink. We splurged a few time and upgraded our liquor choice but we were generally pleased with the included beverages. We did not spend time lying in the sun by the pool, so we cannot comment on the chair saving issues. We did enjoy walking the track on 10 and gym was very well equipped. The Library (now known as the Drawing Room) is a quiet and peaceful place to read and has quite a few books. We ate most of our meals at the buffet (Windows) even dinner where they feature a different country's cuisine each night. The grill on the pool deck has nice lunches. At night it is transformed in a sit down dining venue called the The Patio. We only ate there once but it was a very lovely setting. We ate dinner in the Main Dining Room a few times and found the food and service fine. We really enjoyed the Jazz Brunch on our last sea day headed for Miami. We did a package on the specialty restaurants - 3 nights for $20 per person each venue. We made the reservations as soon as we got on board and there was a short wait but not bad at all. The highlights were the chateaubriand in the Prime C and the lemon soufflé in the Aqualina. My wife enjoyed the bridge on the sea days and I enjoyed the lectures, especially the film critic from Canada, Rich Staehling. Azamara has a strict no smoking policy. Smoking is only permitted on the forward starboard section of the pool deck. We are non smokers and we were never bothered by the smell. Well done, Azamara! Our fellow passengers were about half Americans and the other half the rest of the world. The Azamazing Experience was held in Cabo San Lucas. We did not attend and from what we heard, the experience was not great. They tendered 600 people to buses and drove them into the desert for the show and then had to bring them all back. The last did not arrive back until after midnight. In contrast the White Night was held in Cartagena and it was huge success. The food was wonderful with lots of freshly grilled meats. They even did a wonderful Bananas Foster for dessert. We enjoyed the Columbian dancers and lots of passengers danced under the stars to the band. A really fun evening!! So to sum it up - a great trip on a great ship! We loved the all-inclusive more than we thought we would. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
We have sailed on Azamara before, so its clear that they offer a product that we value. 1/ An example of their service: at embarkation in Istanbul it was raining. Evaluating the next day's forecast, Captain Magnus decided, I'm ... Read More
We have sailed on Azamara before, so its clear that they offer a product that we value. 1/ An example of their service: at embarkation in Istanbul it was raining. Evaluating the next day's forecast, Captain Magnus decided, I'm certain with headquarters' approval, to switch the first 2 ports so as to maximize our chance of good weather. This tactic worked perfectly, although I'm positive it entailed extra travel time and thus cost. 2/ In an improvement over previous cruises, there is a focus, both in the MDR and Windows Cafe, on aiding those with food allergies. For example, in Windows dishes without common triggers are labelled to allow better choice. 3/ White Night on board was a terrific experience and reflected the evolution of the concept. 4/ The presence of so many friendly and familiar faces onboard suggests an excellent retention rate of their valued staff. 5/ Azamara prides itself in providing a destination immersion experience (for example longer times in ports). This itinerary was no exception. 6/ Despite the fact the Journey heads to drydock in January, the condition of the ship, and our stateroom, was excellent. 7/ We thought the food superb, but this is truly subjective. Conclusion: Azamara did not disappoint. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
When our son announced he was getting married in Spain two years ago, we knew we wanted to add something from our "bucket list" to our second trip to Spain. We decided to add a "luxury" cruise to tick off Greece and ... Read More
When our son announced he was getting married in Spain two years ago, we knew we wanted to add something from our "bucket list" to our second trip to Spain. We decided to add a "luxury" cruise to tick off Greece and Turkey from our list. I think I read every single review about the Azamara Journey experience before I booked our cruise. I was nervous when reading that some previous cruisers thought quality on Azamara trips was deteriorating. But, the Azamara was the only cruise that fit our time-line with the wedding and I was holding my breath until we boarded! Thankfully, we did not find the negatives expressed by some! It was an AMAZING experience! As everyone says, the staff is superb! We felt pampered and we genuinely liked everyone on staff that we met. Because the cruise was after the wedding, as soon as we boarded I booked a mani/pedi it was heavenly! I also booked a massage for my husband... We ate in all the specialty restaurants at least once and the food was very good. We also booked the French Chef's Tasting Table. The food at this additional $$ event, was excellent! I can say that because my son's wedding reception was at a two star Michelin Restaurant in Ezcaray, Spain... which is why I want to say Kudos to Chef Monica and the Sommelier, David who both took the time to thoroughly describe the foods and wines served and answer any questions we had! The daily breakfast buffet's were good, I think better than most ... is the way to describe Azamara regular dining cruise food. During our cruise, the heat was almost unbearable, but always waiting at the dock or by the tender dock, after a hot day of touring, was a group of smiling Azamara staff waiting for us under a tent with cold water to drink and ice cold wash cloths to cool before we boarded again.... Did not see that with any other cruise line! I really enjoyed the AzAmazing evening in Ephesus, it was a picture perfect evening with excellent music. I mean picture perfect... I got some great shots! And, the White Party aboard the ship was a blast! Speaking of music and entertainment... for such a small ship it was EXCELLENT... Those kids put their heart and soul into their performances. You can tell they are there because they love to entertain! My favorite Land Discovery Tour was: Kusadasi Port Insider Access ~ Taste Of Turkish Country Life. I attended that while my husband visited the ruins. I so enjoyed a "Turkish" family showing us, first hand, the customs of their culture. I also was lucky to be on the tour with several Azamara Front Office folks so I was able to express a desire for more "family customs & culture" type tours... I really don't recommend Azamara for young "families"... or really the under 50 bunch. While there was excellent entertainment, it really is geared for the "older" set. I can't wait to book my next Azamara experience... I know that the ships are being refurbished so I'm sure I'll be giving it 10 Stars after my next voyage! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
We toughtly enjoyed it!!! Azamara Journey cruise ship is beautiful! Emberkation was brilliant. Disemberkation was good enough. Lounges are very comfortable. The food is excellent vlwith lots of choises. The free drinks ... Read More
We toughtly enjoyed it!!! Azamara Journey cruise ship is beautiful! Emberkation was brilliant. Disemberkation was good enough. Lounges are very comfortable. The food is excellent vlwith lots of choises. The free drinks is more than great. The longer stays on port were nice but in comparison with the private tours offered by local guides in ports Azamara offers a little more expensive. Publik room very comfortable and nice. Staff is super friendly. Staff is very courteous and ready to help at any time. Service is professional. Definitely see you again! Thank u to all! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We had previously cruised on Azamara (3 Journey, 1 Quest) when they were seeking their niche. Now, several years later, the cruises are shorter now and much more expensive. However the cruise was worth every penny. The crew was ... Read More
We had previously cruised on Azamara (3 Journey, 1 Quest) when they were seeking their niche. Now, several years later, the cruises are shorter now and much more expensive. However the cruise was worth every penny. The crew was outstanding, the food superb, and the overall management by Hotel Director Heike left nothing to be desired. Every effort was made to satisfy the passengers. We are long term Celebrity cruisers (about 20) and enjoyed this departure from the norm immensely. We look forward to another opportunity to travel on Azamara again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
BALI, BANGKOK, AND EAST ASIA CRUISE. ONBOARD AZAMARA QUEST. 31st JANURAY, 2015 TO 3rd FEBRUARY, 2015. First of all we flew from Manchester to Singapore for a two night break at the Grand Copthorne Hotel Singapore. This hotel was very ... Read More
BALI, BANGKOK, AND EAST ASIA CRUISE. ONBOARD AZAMARA QUEST. 31st JANURAY, 2015 TO 3rd FEBRUARY, 2015. First of all we flew from Manchester to Singapore for a two night break at the Grand Copthorne Hotel Singapore. This hotel was very convenient, we thought, for travel to all the tourist sights of Singapore. We visited the Gardens on the Bay and took a river cruise. The weather was a little on the wet side but this did not deter our overall enjoyment of Singapore. We boarded the Quest on 3rd February, 2015 and the embarkation was a breeze, from the moment we stepped out of the taxi to getting onto the ship was not more than 20 minutes, everything went like clockwork. We were shown to the buffet for lunch as our Balcony Stateroom was not ready till 2pm. As Azamara is mostly all inclusive of alcohol we were soon imbibing in some very nice red wine with lunch. Our next day was at sea on our way to Koh Samui so we spent a relaxing day onboard. Koh Samui. Here we took the tender to the port and then negotiated a taxi to take us to a beach, we had a wonderful few hours swimming and relaxing on the beach with plenty of beers to keep us cool. Our next port of call was Bangkok and we were to be moored here for 3 days. Azamara had a fleet of buses to ferry us back and to into the city. I am afraid that Bangkok was not for us what with the constant traffic jams, it took forever to get from the ship to the city. We did explore places like the Grand Palace and some of the many Shopping Malls. It was pleasant to go to the Shopping Malls as they were air conditioned and it meant we could get away from the constant heat. One evening Azamara put on their Azamazing evening, this meant quite a lengthy bus journey to a site, we had Balinese dancing and wrestling and the famous Bamboo Dance, it was finished off with a firework display. Unfortunately, for us, we felt that it was too long of a journey there and back, over 3 hours for the one hour show. Soon our time had come to depart Bangkok and we sailed down the river out to the open waters. Our next port of call was Samarang in Indonesia, our morning consisted of visiting a local market, you had to be there to believe it. The smells and the fact that they were selling raw chicken in 35 degrees of heat with no refridgeration was unbelievable. I don’t think they have heard of Health and Safety. We then left there and asked the taxi driver to take us to a beach and a hotel, the first one he took us to was again very dirty and lots and lots of litter, we said no and then he took us to another hotel which was lovely. We asked if we could possibly have a beer or two and the barman said as long as we purchased a beer then we could use all the facilities. We were the only ones around the pool and we had the pool all to ourselves for the rest of the afternoon. The next day was at sea and this was the day we crossed the Equator, Azamara did the usual crossing the line which was very funny. Our next port of call was Celukan Bawang in Indonesia another fascinating place. Next onto Lombok here again we went to the beach for the day at the Novotel, this hotel was very nice and all the buildings were thatched and it really was like being in Bali Hi. All too soon we were on the last lap of our 18 night cruise and into the port of Bali. Details of the ship. We have sailed on Azamara Quest in the past and it was good to see one or two familiar faces in the crew. We felt that in some cases the food was not as good as we had on our previous cruise, mainly the buffet. Some of the food in the MDR was only served warm and there were quite a few complaints about this. After mentioning it to the Maitre’d it was soon put right. The bar staff around the ship could not be faulted they were soon around offering you drinks etc. The staterooms, I believe are being refurbished when she goes into dry dock in September of this year. They could do with a tweak here and there. We felt that the balcony furniture was far too big for the size of the Balcony. All in all a very enjoyable cruise, but we have now been to Indonesia and feel that once was enough. For us the temperatures were too overwhelming what with the humidity and all. Just to say we flew with Etihad Airlines both ways and could not fault the service and timings of the flights.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2014
We wanted to try Azamara Club Cruises. Which is interesting in itself, because until not that long ago, we had never *heard* of Azamara. We thought it would be something approaching the level of Crystal (whom we have sailed in the past and ... Read More
We wanted to try Azamara Club Cruises. Which is interesting in itself, because until not that long ago, we had never *heard* of Azamara. We thought it would be something approaching the level of Crystal (whom we have sailed in the past and greatly enjoyed, pre-all inclusive). We love the small ship format, we were specifically interested in this particular itinerary (which included Mexico's Copper Canyon)...and, as Celebrity loyalists, we wanted to see what our status would bring us on Azamara. The Canyon was the big draw for us in the beginning. We have done the Mexican Riviera to death, but this itinerary offered the lovely small ports of the Sea of Cortez - and the Copper Canyon. Party-hearty survivors of Puerto Vallarta need not have signed up for this cruise. Embarkation in San Pedro was a breeze. The Azamara Quest was the only ship in port that day. We had forgotten the convenience of a smaller ship; the check-in lines were minimal, to say the least. Our key cards identified us as "Discoverer" - top-of-the-line status on this line, but that was to change (more below). One of the first crew members to greet us on the way up the gangway was Jose, the Captain. This would not be our first encounter with him. We were greeted on the main deck with sparkling wine and cranberry juice, and a bit of a wait - the cabins were not quite ready. Fortunately we were given a running commentary about the room status and after a while, coupled with more trips to the champagne tray, the stampede began to the rooms. For us, the National Affairs Suite turned out to be Cabin 6030, one of the last available rooms. It was off the forward elevators and stairs. It is one of the tender cabins, meaning the size of the cabin has been compressed to accommodate the ship's tenders in their davits, and views are obstructed. The bright side of our room was that it overlooked the smaller crew launch boat and we actually had a decent view out the window. The other side of the room? Thunk. Thunk. Slam. This room is directly above the doorway leading out to the boat deck on level 5. When the doors shut on a calm day, a "thunk" is definitely noticeable. When they shut on a sea day and the winds are up, the "slam" is much more pronounced. The noise was especially pronounced upon entering and leaving port as guests go to the rails, and when the crew puts out the deck chair cushions and towels at sunrise and collects them at sunset. We tried not to notice the noise after a while. It is a very narrow room; just enough space for the bed, closets, and a desk and cabinet. The only chair in the room is a stool, which made our decision to skip room service a lot easier. In the room was a missive welcoming us as Discoverer members in Le Club Voyage, containing special events planned "exclusively" for us as top-tier members (thank you, Celebrity). The perks included the LCV cocktail party, a champagne brunch hosted by staff, and - 235 free Internet minutes per guest. Whee! There was also a coupon good for a free bag of laundry. We usually tour a vessel prior to the boat drill. With the Quest, we saw everything in 20 minutes. I was always intrigued by the old Renaissance Cruises ships. This ship, and its sister the Journey, aren't getting any younger. They do have a dated look to them. But they are kept in very good condition. Dining: we ate in all venues. The Discoveries dining room is LOUD. If I could change the font to make "LOUD" bigger, I would. It is especially noisy toward the center. The least noisy part of the restaurant was near the entrance, where the hostess did her very best to maintain her cool against some terribly snobby customers: "we've been waiting for *two* minutes!" "what do you mean, we can't get our *regular* table?!" People, you're on VACATION - take a chill pill! Or enjoy a free martini from the nearby Discoveries Lounge bar. About those free martinis: Azamara is sort of semi-inclusive in offering a selection of free wines with lunch and dinner, and free beer and cocktails from the bars. As long as you're happy with Bud and Becks instead of Corona and a well vodka instead of Ciroc or Grey Goose, you'll do perfectly fine on Azamara. The bar menus detail what costs what...and what doesn't cost anything. We passed on the "specialty" alcohol packages that ranged between $16-19 bucks daily. The food in Discoveries was much better than anticipated - a varied selection every night, prepared well. The bread and desserts were the only weak parts. I thought the complimentary wines were mostly so-so - but I couldn't argue about the price, right? We ate in Aqualina, the Mediterranean specialty restaurant and in Prime C, the specialty steakhouse, once during our cruise. Aqualina was an exceptional dining experience for the $25 per person fee. I really liked my osso bucco. The Missus enjoyed the seafood platter. The experience in Prime C was a bit more mixed. The seafood appetizer was excellent, as was the filet. I should have ordered the NY strip a bit rarer than my usual "medium". The service in C felt slightly off. The pool grill offered a wide variety of specialties, more than most poolside eateries on other ships. The coffee bar on board, Mosaic Cafe, features the not-so-fee-friendly Nespresso system. But you could go up to the counter and order your standard non-Nespresso coffee drink, and the friendly staff will whip them up in a flash for you. One of our favorite gathering places on the Quest. A number of specialty pool buffets were set up during the cruise. One of them was hosted by the ship's officers, who dished out the chow - including an entire roast pig. The Missus asked the officer in charge of the pig, "how did you keep this pig below decks?" The officer replied, "he had his own little house downstairs, and his own little garden. He was pretty happy - until this morning..." Azamara officers are not without a droll sense of humor. In fact, we liked how the crew interacted with the passengers, from the captain on down. Captain Jose issued, almost without fail, his "Voice from the Bridge" - a noontime soliloquy that usually ran between 8-10 minutes, detailing everything from the location of sister ship Journey, the distance to his home in Portugal, and literally everything in between - spoken with an extremely straight face. There was rarely a time when we didn't see him at some event on board the Quest, and even on shore. He brought a certain humanity to his job. We enjoyed how the singers, dancers and musicians engaged with passengers at events, especially the "White Night" event. Tours: We only took a couple of ship tours. But one was the Copper Canyon, and that would be enough for any cruise. The CC canyon was *long* - one of the longest ship's tours I've taken in my life. Off the boat and on the bus at 5 AM. Nearly two hours to the train. Six hours by train to the lookout and hotel for lunch. Six hours back on the train, during which time darkness fell and there was nothing to look at. Another hour and a half on the bus. We spent a little under two hours on site, some of which was taken up by lunch and a folk show by the local Indians, and the rest of that time spent wandering around the lookout trying not to fall over the canyon's edge while being besieged by Indian souvenir vendors. Were we to do this again, we'd spend the night at the canyon and make it a two-day trip. A single day just killed us. That night, we returned to the port where a huge party was in full swing. The people of Topolobampo put on a big fiesta right on the dock, with a live band and a dance floor. We learned that the crew joined the mix and encouraged passengers to come on down and support the town's efforts. We received a similar welcome the next day in Guaymas, where there was almost non-stop entertainment at dockside and young volunteers wore t-shirts saying, "may I help you?" The "Azamazing Evening" in Cabo was a little underwhelming. The show felt really hokey, though the fireworks at the end were awesome. I would imagine the "Evenings" in Europe probably have more material to work with to make them more interesting. But I give Azamara props for getting a great proportion of the guests off the ship onto the tenders and buses and bringing them back in one piece. The SWAG we received - little handicrafts and tequila miniatures - was a really neat treat. Overall: The Quest: an aging ship without the bells and whistles of more modern ships. A curse, but perhaps also a blessing. There are cruises where we mostly don't need a lot of visual / aural stimulation. Public passageways could be a little tight, especially when bad weather drove everyone indoors from the pool deck. The area around the photo kiosk and shops is often cramped due to the presence of sale tables, which restricted passenger flow. The crew: very engaging, for the most part. I experienced no special Azamara "moments" with them but thought many of them made a solid effort to ensure we felt at home on board. The facilities: only one small swimming pool. The Quest offers a thalassotherapy pool as part of its spa services, but we passed on purchasing a day pass. On Celebrity, that pool is free to all to use. The Quest's spa pool is no more than a glorified hot tub in size. The Cabaret Lounge is the ship's multi-purpose facility for shows, lectures, bingo - and the special Super Bowl party held during this cruise. As a Niners fan, I had no dog in this particular fight...but that didn't stop me from doing drive-by munching on the party's food tables. As a theater venue, the sight lines are really poor, especially in the back. The Casino wasn't exactly packed during this cruise. The usual slots and blackjack junkies. C-Prime was reminiscent of your upscale American steak house - lots of black/white photos of American pop culture. Aqualina had a vaguely European feel to it. The shows: We didn't think much of the special guests brought on board as nightly entertainment. A couple of the musical shows were really done well. I had not seen the "Voices" show on any other ship and thought this was the best of the cruise. Cruise Director: Russ Grieve is the Best. Cruise. Director. Ever. He sings! He dances! He makes great waffles (during his stint at a LCV officers brunch)! Extremely outgoing. Most cruise directors are rather standoffish but Russ really made an effort to reach out to the guests and made them feel welcome. FItness center: collection of treadmills, ellipticals, strength machines and free weights. It is relatively small compared to larger ships and you might have to wait for a treadmill during some sea day mornings. A full range of exercise classes is offered. Quite a few people use the jogging/walking track above the pool deck. 13 laps on that track equals a nautical mile. Children's facilities: none that I could see. No children's programs were listed in the daily newsletter and there weren't any kids on this cruise. The itinerary: A Mexican cruise, but not the usual Rivera Shuffle (Cabo-Vallarta-Mazatlan). We saw a lot of the lovely little port towns along the Sea of Cortez. Been to most of them before, but liked them all. The tours: Other than Copper Canyon and a Sierra Madre trip out of Mazatlan, we really weren't interested in seeing anything. We were happy to bum around the port towns, especially Loreto and Guaymas. A pity Cruise Critic doesn't list these ports on its drop-down menu. I would be happy to write about them. Le Club Voyage: a number of events for past passengers, including a brunch in Aqualina and the usual LCV passengers event in the Lounge. The Aqualina brunch was nice. The passengers event was nothing special - except when the LCV representative tried to explain the "new" expanded status levels. Discoverer was the top level. She explained this would be surpassed by two new "super" levels - but was at a loss to explain whether, at those new levels, your treatment would be anything different or better than Discoverer. The changes were apparently so new that even the LCV rep was still trying to figure it all out. Would we sail on Azamara again? Perhaps. The itineraries are really interesting and we like the small ship experience. But Azamara's bread-and-butter is its European and Mediterranean cruises - a little far to travel, for us. Azamara won't tear us away from Celebrity and Crystal. It does, however, give us another cruising option. This was one of the nicer cruising experiences I've ever had. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
AZAMARA QUEST CRUISE 7TH TO 14TH SEPTEMBER, 2013. This would be our very first Azamara cruise after cruising with Seabourn and Oceania quite a few times. We flew to Rome and then on to Civitavecchia and stayed for one night at the San ... Read More
AZAMARA QUEST CRUISE 7TH TO 14TH SEPTEMBER, 2013. This would be our very first Azamara cruise after cruising with Seabourn and Oceania quite a few times. We flew to Rome and then on to Civitavecchia and stayed for one night at the San Georgio hotel in Civitavecchia. On the morning of embarkation we walked to the port from the hotel and then caught the shuttle bus to the ship. As we arrived porters were there to take our luggage and we were shown to the check in area. As we had cruised with Celebrity Cruises quite a few times the lady at the door said we would have preferential boarding. We were shown to the check in desk and we were checked in and ready to board the Quest in less than five minutes. This must have been the best check in and quickest we have ever had. A good sign and hoped that things would go this smoothly throughout the cruise. As we boarded there were the usual people trying to sell the Premium Drinks package and the Spa people there selling massages etc. We were offered a welcome drink of sparkling wine. We were then told that the buffet was open for lunch, cabins would be available about 1330 hours. We made our way to the buffet and here we found that they did not have the array of food you find on Oceania, we did realise that they would not have such an extensive buffet as Seabourn. One good thing was that they poured wine and it was very drinkable, also they were soon round asking if you required further top ups. Which was very nice? Soon the announcement was made and we went to our cabin number 8019 a standard balcony cabin. The cabin was very nice the bathroom a little small but then again we only used the cabin for changing and sleeping, we did not intend to spend a lot of time in there. On embarkation we filled out the raffle for the spa and were told that the draw would take place at 6pm, you had to be in it to win it. We did attend the draw, but again it was very long winded, but well worth it as my wife won one of the prizes. At six oclock we cast our lines and were soon on our way from the harbour of Civitavecchia. We went up on deck and the drink was flowing quite freely, apart from when we boarded we were never hassled about buying the premium drinks package, which some people on Cruise Critic said they would do. We felt that the range of drinks offered that there was no need to buy the Premium Package, the only thing that was not on the Complementary list was Brandy, and all other spirits were catered for. We felt that at least one Brandy should have been offered; we did put this on the comment form. We went down to dinner and asked for a table for two, we were shown directly into the Main Dining Room and given a very nice table for two by the window. The food I must say was very very good and one thing they got right was the temperature of the food. I mentioned this to the waiter and said that Azamara were to best cruise line, in our opinion, for getting food to you on a hot plate and the food was also hot. A very big thank you Azamara. For the rest of the cruise we had no trouble getting a table in the Main Dining room, and we asked for different tables, sometimes for 6, sometimes just for two. At every meal the food was very well presented and hot. Our itinerary was as follows Saturday 7th September. Civitavecchia Sunday 8th September. Portoferraio Elba Italy. Monday 9th September Propriano Corsica France Tuesday 10th September Olbia Sardinia Italy Wednesday 11th September Amalfi Italy (Azamazing Evening) Thursday 12th September Sorrento Italy (Should have been Capri) Friday 13th September Sorrento Italy Saturday 14th September. Civitavecchia Good Pointes about the cruise. Staff. Nothing too much trouble. (Special mention for Javier waiter in Main Dining Room) Food in Main Dining Room and Speciality Restaurants (Hot) Mosaics Cafe. Great Coffee and treats. Fellow Passengers (A very good mix of nationalities) Being awarded the Discoveries level and the freebees. Small Ship (694 passengers) Captain. Carl Smith Things in our Opinion could be improved upon. Buffet. Entertainment. Azamazing Evening. Of the three things that I have mentioned about improvement I would just say that the Buffet at breakfast they did not have any fresh berries, like Raspberries and Strawberries etc they were all tinned. Oceania and Seabourn do have these things fresh. If Azamara want to get into the higher end of cruising then we think that the buffet should be looked at. Not a lot of choice like other upmarket brands. Entertainment. We felt that the two lady singers let the side down, they seemed to us to shout not sing, many other passengers commented on this. Azamazing Evening. This was done whilst we were at anchor in Sorrento. It meant that they had to get virtually all the passengers off by tender and then bus them to the venue. We felt that it would have been better in a port where we were docked not tendered. There was a lot of waiting around because of the fact that we had to wait for buses etc and tenders. Also because of Sorrento the local police would only let three buses go at once, which also meant that we were sat on the coaches for some time. As we were the last coach to leave, when we arrived the food had all gone and the queue for drinks was exceptionally long. Also we had the most verbose courier you could imagine; she really did spoil the evening. She never shut up the whole time we were on the coach, and repeated herself over and over. As you can see there were far more plus points than minus ones. Overall though a very good cruise and top marks to Captain Carl Smith and it showed throughout the vessel that he had a very happy crew. Well done Azamara and hopefully we will be back.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
My wife and I are in our 70's and have been cruising since 1972, when we took our first cruise on the "Loveboat" We generally pick our cruises based on the itinerary and although we cruised the Baltic Sea more than 25 years ... Read More
My wife and I are in our 70's and have been cruising since 1972, when we took our first cruise on the "Loveboat" We generally pick our cruises based on the itinerary and although we cruised the Baltic Sea more than 25 years ago, we decided to visit that area of the world again. We booked back to back cruises, the first one from Stockholm to Copenhagen with stops in Helsinki, St. Petersburg, Tallin, Warnemunde, Kiel and Travemunde in Germany and the second leg from Copenhagen to Dublin, Ireland with stops in Eidfjord, Norway, Lerwick, Scotland, Akureyri and Reyjavik, Iceland and Isle of Man. The boarding process was smooth; We were provided transportation from our hotel in Stockholm to the pier and were on board within 15 minutes of arrival. Lunch was served when we arrived and our suite was available at 2:00 o'clock. An hour later our luggage was delivered to our stateroom. The Azamara ships were recently refurbished and for their age are in splendid condition. We booked a suite on deck 8 for this cruise because we find the standard staterooms a bit too small for our taste. This was our seventh cruise on Azamara for two reasons: Their "choice air" arrangements are very convenient for us. We have found their air much better than Regent Seven Seas for example. With Regent we had to get up at 5:00 AM to get to their flights, with Azamara our flights left late mornings and arrived early evenings. The second reason is that they make you feel like family; when we boarded, the first person we met onboard was one of the dancers in their shows, who remembered us by name from a previous cruise on the "Journey". That you don't find very often. Our suite came provided with a butler and our butler, Mevin could not have been more helpful with making specialty dining room reservations (which are complimentary for suite guests) and serving us breakfast in our cabin. He also kept our champagne on ice at all times. Most mornings we had breakfast in the "windows café" which serves breakfast buffet style and has a terrific selection of everything you could possibly want for breakfast including eggs prepared to your liking. The main dining room, "Discoveries" is not as noisy as many ships we have sailed on and, again the service is very attentive and the food delicious. Our favorites, however, are "Aqualina" and "Prime C" their specialty restaurants. Unlike many other ships we sailed on, we never had a problem getting the reservation we requested. We dined in each of the specialty restaurants at least five times. The menus were varied enough to suit our tastes and the presentation and service were always top notch. The Cabaret lounge, while not as opulent as some ships, is intimate and the shows were very good. Their singers and dances, which include our cruise director, Russ were outstanding and we enjoyed many of their Broadway productions. They also brought in a concert pianist and several comedians and singers. Their productions are not as lavish as many other ships but we thought their entertainment was very good. Their orchestra was outstanding! The staff could not have been nicer and attentive. They truly make you feel like a family. That's why we love small ships. Debarkation was smooth; we did not have to get up at an ungodly hour. Had a leisurely breakfast and were off the ship by 9:30 AM for a bus transfer to our hotel in Dublin. We will definitely sail with Azamara again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
14 days from Singapore to Hong Kong was a delight. Azamara did a great thing by providing soft drinks and wine gratis. Our previous Azamara cruise I was still signing for each drink, a nuisance for me and the staff. The overall ... Read More
14 days from Singapore to Hong Kong was a delight. Azamara did a great thing by providing soft drinks and wine gratis. Our previous Azamara cruise I was still signing for each drink, a nuisance for me and the staff. The overall experience was up to their usual excellent standard. Food was quite good at the Windows buffet as well as the Discoveries (MDR). A few signs of cost cutting since our last trip, berries are frozen rather than fresh, and no more Prosciutto appetizer. Sushi was available all evening, a nice touch. Service outstanding as usual, entertainment was "cruise ship" song and dance, which we enjoyed. Sadly the British comedian's accent was difficult for my old ears to decipher, though the many Aussies and UK-ers had no trouble. Wish I knew what they were laughing at sometimes. There was one major disappointment though, the internet service. It's terribly expensive and frustratingly slow. Buying any amount of minutes incurred a 3 minute overhead to log on and another 3 minute overhead to log off. Their usual disclaimer is that satellite service is slow by nature. Perhaps, but when I peeked over the shoulder of the techy guy (in title only, he knew less than I about the technology) in the internet center, his laptop was surfing lightning fast. There's a good signal somewhere on the ship, just not for the passengers. I spent more for internet time than for liquor, and that's wrong for 2 reasons! The internet service was also down for hours at a time. We live in the age of Skype and streaming. Neither of these services were available or even possible. I read other ships with similar complaints. I'd like better internet service, if for no other reason than to supplement their satellite TV channel set. I doubt any cruise company will want to upset the present profit center that selling time provides. Next time I'll load more books on my Kindle. I continue to love Azamara's 2 ships and will travel with them again. Hopefully the technology will improve in the future. Read Less
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