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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
TOTAL DECEPTION !!! We have just experienced our worst cruise for life !!! We are a couple with more than 15 cruises of experience. The AZAMARA QUEST is too old and poorly maintained, they have done renovations and repairs throughout ... Read More
TOTAL DECEPTION !!! We have just experienced our worst cruise for life !!! We are a couple with more than 15 cruises of experience. The AZAMARA QUEST is too old and poorly maintained, they have done renovations and repairs throughout the cruise. And the worst happened: with outside temperatures of 34c, we ran out of air conditioning for 36 hours, because there is only one compressor for the whole boat and it broke. Our outside patio room was dirty as I have never seen any of the last 15 cruises I did, I put on my shoes to walk on (pictures), there was a metal bar on the floor that had to hold the window that separates the patio of our neighbor, the bar was laid 5 days later, after several reminders. The 3 Jacuzzis on the boat had no water and did not work during the first 10 days of the cruise. The 2 shops of the boat were closed and under renovation, they opened after half of the cruise. This is the first and last time I chose Azamara, yet this company has the reputation of being the cruises Mercedes ... it's the utmost disappointment. We had the announcement, after the problem of air conditioning, that we were credited with 50% of the price of the cruise, I confirm that we did not even celebrate the credit of several thousand dollars because this boat is not worth more!! Our last cruise a few weeks before the QUEST was on the Celebrity EDGE, the average daily price was 40% cheaper than on the '' Quest '' and we had a brand new boat with tons of restaurants and shops, and all and all ... I do not understand how Azamara can charge us such exorbitant prices for a comparable service with other extremely inexpensive boats. This is outright abuse !!! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
My first time on this ship and with this cruise line, we picked this because of its itinerary and its smaller size. It didn't start off smoothly but the cruise line fixed the problem and everyone was compensated very well. We did ... Read More
My first time on this ship and with this cruise line, we picked this because of its itinerary and its smaller size. It didn't start off smoothly but the cruise line fixed the problem and everyone was compensated very well. We did explore the embarkation port which was Singapore stayed 5 days and loved it a most beautiful city with so much history. The Quest ship is still being updated, there was some construction going on during the voyage, not too intrusive. I was in a suite club continental, everything was new and updated huge bathroom, king bed, new carpets, large balcony and many more perks that come with the suite cabin. There are unlimited dining options in the specialty restaurants all included and wonderful we ate in both Aqualina and Prime C excellent service! Also, all international buffets were outstanding. Entertainment was fantastic loved all of the local shows, Ports and excursions were good the only thing, I found it very hard to understand and hear the local guides speak, especially when in a group of 25 or more, they should provide headsets on all the tours. Overall we did enjoy this trip and all the beautiful ports, service by the cruise is outstanding and they really go out of their way to make you feel at home. I would consider another cruise in the future for sure! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first Azamara cruise and we chose it because of the itinerary. We loved everything, the crew, the service and the food. As a bonus, we met some wonderful people. The included Amazing Evening was just that, a really nice ... Read More
This was our first Azamara cruise and we chose it because of the itinerary. We loved everything, the crew, the service and the food. As a bonus, we met some wonderful people. The included Amazing Evening was just that, a really nice amenity on this cruise line. The ship had been in dry dock for a week prior to our cruise which resulted in a few glitches in the beginning of the cruise. Azamara corrected the issues as quickly as possible and compensated everyone for the issues. Our second Azamara cruise is already on the calendar! Good to know: The cabin bathroom is quite small. Laundry facility is a nice amenity on the 7th deck and it is heavily used. Detergent is provided. The Mosaic Café offers coffee and great snacks throughout the day. The casino has been removed and replaced with a very nice piano bar called The Den. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Wanted to see Jakarta, Bali & especially Komodo Island! Fabulous - then found the south-west of Australia was fascinating too!! Our cruise was the first ship allowed to dock overnight in Geraldton, West Australia - the Council and ... Read More
Wanted to see Jakarta, Bali & especially Komodo Island! Fabulous - then found the south-west of Australia was fascinating too!! Our cruise was the first ship allowed to dock overnight in Geraldton, West Australia - the Council and Tourism people put on an amazing evening of food, wine, local animals to have pics taken with, a didgeridoo player, a local artist, info about pearl farming and jewellery making - we had the BEST time!!! Also loved the art classes on board - we are studying watercolour painting and the Welsh artist, Chris Tatam was so informative, his classes grew bigger each time - people got there early and left later as they all enjoyed it so much!!! Please bring them back more often!!! Some people were upset that stops in Broome and Exmouth were cancelled, but Busselton & Bunbury were very interesting and made up for it! Stopping at Geraldton meant we could take the tour out to Kalbarri National Park - wonderful!!!!! Shore Excursions seem quite expensive, compared to what the locals can offer, but of course no-one wants to get back to the ship late and have it go without them!!!! Entertainment only average - magician & music shows not professionally done at all. Crossing the Equator entertainment with Captain Jose was a highlight!!!!!! Coffee wasw a highlight - great piccolos even out of the machine. Mosaic Cafe staff fabulous with their barista and waiting skills!!!! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Let me say at the outset, I had a great time on this trip -- saw some amazing things and enjoyed many of the passengers and staff, but would I sail with Azamara again? Not sure. First, the good things. As many have noted, the ... Read More
Let me say at the outset, I had a great time on this trip -- saw some amazing things and enjoyed many of the passengers and staff, but would I sail with Azamara again? Not sure. First, the good things. As many have noted, the people working on this ship seem really to like their jobs. There is a strong emphasis on guest engagement, much like on Celebrity, with most all the staff striking a nice balance between service and engagement. I liked most every staff person I encountered. The officers were visible and the captains (we had a change mid cruise) were engaging -- looked forward to their daily announcements. I had a travel snafu of my own making at time of disembarkation and the concierge and help desk were great in helping me sort it out. The AzaAmazing Evening program is a very cool innovation, taking all the passengers off the ship at an overnight port and treating them to something local, in this case, a stunning performance of Balinese dance and music. It ended with what was clearly a story being told by three characters, two monkeys and a regal, but somewhat scary looking figure, but we had no clue what was being portrayed. To have found out the background of this and shared it with the passengers ahead of time would seem to have been easily done, but wasn't. Still, a very enjoyable event. The logistics of this obviously are complicated, but it went off pretty well -- long lines getting back on the ship, but that's to be expected. The White Party also is a nice tradition, with the officers serving grilled food buffet style around the elaborately decorated pool area. Azamara regulars are mad for this event and I liked it too. There is tremendous brand loyalty to this line. Many of the people I met had sailed with Azamara numerous times and were planning the next one while on board. I also encountered some other first timers like me and their reactions by the end of the cruise varied widely from feeling like the ship was a great fit for them to, 'never again.' Why is that? This is for sure not a typical cruise line. While the price point is well above the mainstream lines, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, etc., it's not exactly a luxury line either. This is not Seabourne, not Crystal, There are endless sales pitches, for one thing, the daily brochure being mostly ads. More importantly, the food and beverage services are not in that category and the cabins are very small. On food, the offerings in the main dining room are okay, but not memorable and the service is harried. This was not a sold out cruise and what that dining room would be like when the ship is full would be something to witness. The wait staff are really good, but they were running like mad things, sweating brows all around. I ate once in the specialty steak restaurant at $30 and it was fine -- nice service and very good food. I also thought the buffet offerings were generally good and comparable to what you see on Celebrity, though maybe less diverse. Finally, on food, a dim sum brunch happened one day and was outstanding in every way -- probably the best meal I had on Quest. On the beverages, I upgraded to the mid-level for $16/day, which, for example, got me Woodford Reserve bourbon, a considerable step up for the provided Jim Beam. (Interestingly, the next step up gets you Bulleit and Makers Mark -- Bulleit above Woodford Reserve? Curious.) These beverage packages have no effect on the wine, though. If you don't want what's provided, you have to buy a separate wine package, of which there are two. Needless to say, there is endless confusion at dinner about who gets to drink what wine at a table for six. I was fine with what was provided, but many people were not happy with it. So, I think the first timers who fell in the, 'never again,' category were expecting to eat and drink like they would on Crystal, given what they'd paid. Likewise, they for sure did not want to be hearing about what was for sale every day. Cabins. They are small and the bathrooms, particularly the showers, very small indeed. Storage, though, is quite adequate. Azamara is advertised as a small ship company, small being relative to, say, Princess or Celebrity with 2000+ passengers, and thus able to visit ports the big ships cannot. Well the ship is sort of small, but it has over 700 passengers, about what Crystal carries in a much bigger ship. Where to put them? In small cabins, of course. It's the price you pay and, as a single traveler, I liked the cabin fine, though I'd happily have traded a foot of sleeping quarters for a shower more than 20 inches wide. As before, the, 'never again,' reaction probably also reflected disappointment with the accommodations. At the price point, people expect something a little grander. On the excursions, since I was traveling alone, I relied pretty much completely on those offered and was very happy with all of them. So, would I do Azamara again? Well, Azamara offers a different kind of experience with some big pluses and some minuses as well, but if the itinerary were right and the single supplement low enough, I might. On the other hand, share that cabin? Only with Solomon, my cat, and I don't think that's allowed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this ship 3 years in advance because of the itinerary and we were sailing back to back for the second cruise. We reserved Continent Suite 8043 as it seemed to suit our needs of more space and being midships. Unlike one of the ... Read More
We chose this ship 3 years in advance because of the itinerary and we were sailing back to back for the second cruise. We reserved Continent Suite 8043 as it seemed to suit our needs of more space and being midships. Unlike one of the previous reviews, when we entered our suite, we were impressed with the amount of space we had with plenty of storage. We had chosen to have a suite with shower only and we found the bathroom very adequate. We thought the decoration was very inviting, being light, bright and airy. As there were no formal evenings, the wardroom space was good as were the large drawers and the cases fitted easily under the bed. We felt very comfortable during our 31 nights on board and we were well attended by our butler, Xavier, and the stewards. We found the dining format to be very acceptable whether in Discoveries, Windows or on the patio. Because of the standard of these main dining areas, we did not find going to the speciality restaurants a particular treat. Throughout the long voyage, we found the staff to be so friendly but not over familiar and they all worked well together. We were most impressed with some of the senior officers, such as Philip, the hotel director, who always seemed to be visible and ready to assist at all times. One felt that the caring attitude started from the top and cascaded down. The complimentary drinks were surprisingly acceptable so rarely did we bother to buy any others and we were not pressurised to buy an 'upgrade'. Having booked this cruise so far in advance, one of the attractions was to visit Broome in the Australian summer (we have been there twice in the winter) but the itinerary was changed such that we stopped at neither Broome nor Exmouth so had three days of sailing from Komodo to Geraldton. As we were the first cruise ship to stay overnight in Geraldton, we were given an enormous reception by the town who made us so welcome. We have never experienced such a welcome before and neither had the ship's crew. Although giving a poor rating for 'enrichment activities', it was for the first cruise but the second cruise we would give it a 5 for Professor Johnson on Music. My wife is not musical but I persuaded her to attend the second in the series and she enjoyed the rest.. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This is our second trip on this ship...the Quest. We had been taking 1-2 Regent trips per year through 2013 and then have taken a few SilverSea (SS) expedition trips, almost all with LCT, so this line was rather new to us. We upgraded to a ... Read More
This is our second trip on this ship...the Quest. We had been taking 1-2 Regent trips per year through 2013 and then have taken a few SilverSea (SS) expedition trips, almost all with LCT, so this line was rather new to us. We upgraded to a lovely 3 room suite with a huge balcony, huge bathroom and separate bedroom and living room. While my Regent info is dated and I’ve only done expedition trips on SS, my comparison may not be accurate. What I like about Azamara Quest: you get directed to your cab in immediately upon boarding and the luggage is prompt; service levels are very high—superb— uniformly; the specialty restaurants, included for suite guests, are excellent; the cruise tour desk goes above and beyond and is efficient. Ship staff are warm, friendly and responsive. From the stewards to hotel captain, there is an overwhelming pride and focus on details. The Azamazing evening experience in Bali was superb. Azamara general dining in Jewish terms is “meh.” Activities onboard so-so. Lectures not too thrilling. Entertainment has been good; in fact, they are going/coming from Regent. So, about the same quality. The cruise director and performers are very talented and lovely. Service levels are superb. One thing I really like about Azamara is their attention to mid cruise evaluations and making immediate corrections. The hotel director promptly communicates to staff and things are corrected and good performers are told. For example, I don’t drink. We have a bar setup in the room that is free and no one will use. However, I couldn’t have Perrier or Evian as a replacement without taking a beverage package. I also couldn’t have these upgraded waters with meals and was charged for them. After the evaluations and my constructive comments, The staff ensured I got the water free of charge everywhere I went. Evian was sent to my room as well. I also like the ability to accrue free nights. This is so much better than just pressing, laundry and wi-fi. Just from 2 trips, we accrued 6 free nights, a handsome savings. Wi-fi is discounted to 150 for the cruise, we have free pressing and a free laundry bag every 7 days with a suite. Discounts also range from 4-10% onboard discounts on future sailings depending on the number of nights sailed. Add in shipboard credit promotions and it’s an excellent value. All this is enough to have us return. Rooms: Azamara can be very cheap if you go for an inside cabin. Regular cabins with a window or veranda aren’t bad but the bathrooms are teeny. The Continental Club rooms are a good deal. They are a decent size, have a tub with shower, a private spa deck and hot tubs, a veranda and include all specialty restaurants. We stayed in one of these rooms the first trip and were very happy. We upgraded to a Club Oceanview Suite this time, due to a good deal, which is at the front of the ship. It had a nice size living room with a dining table, a full bedroom (king bed) separated from the living area by a door, a powder room with a toilet and a large bathroom with a large soaking tub and a large, separate shower. These corner rooms have a wall of floor to ceiling sliding doors to a very large balcony with two lounge chairs and a table with 4 chairs as well as a large window. It’s light and airy with good storage. Negatives? The rail is solid so it’s hard to see the ocean lying down and there is no outside light. This is the front, so it does rock and roll and you hear the anchor. There are three higher categories of rooms. One is at the back and is a bit bigger with a bigger balcony. Folks were happy with these suites. Another consists of w spa suites. The living space itself is the same as a basic Regent room but it has a HUGE bathroom with a large jacuzzi with floor to ceiling glass windows. The room is contemporary and luxurious but it has a very small balcony. This is the perfect room for colder climates, where you wouldn’t really use a balcony but want a light airy space. It is on the top floor, next door to the spa and very private. It would be my room of choice if I were going alone. There are also owner’s suites mid ship on the sides but I didn’t see these rooms. A perk of having a suite is having a butler,but I am really not a fan of having them. Another perk is expedited embarkation, debarkation, front rows at the Azamazing evening and a fabulous VIP dinner with the staff. You also accrue points for free nights faster, get a discount on internet, free specialty dining, free pressing and a bag of free laundry each week. Doug and I loved the extras and extra room. Food: Breakfasts were fine. It was available in the cafe or in the room. Lunch was okay. I really liked the brunches and felt they were excellent. There is also a cafe with the ability to pick up snacks anytime. There are two specialty dining venues. One is a steakhouse and one is Italian. service and food are as good as it gets. The menu in each is large and there are specials each night. There are chef’s tables at 90 pp (Asian, French or Italian). We did the French one and had a great time. There are also special theme dinners at 25pp but we didn’t try one. I hear they are excellent. The White Nights evening was great, but we missed it this year. Tours: pretty bad. I don’t know whether it was the ports or the tour operator but I wasn’t impressed. Azamara does not make you feel like cattle. Tours are limited to 25 max and they pass on discounts if they go higher. The ports were far away from fun things to do overall and too much time was spent coming and going to the sites. Food offered on the tours were of a very high quality. Azamara also offers private tours. These were awful. I’d never take one again. It seemed that Azamara tried to fill up time even if there was nothing to see. I heard stories of one hour at a statue. We did have several good tours and I’ll go into them in my port reviews, but they required long treks in a bus. That’s what we tried to avoid with the private tours...the long bathroom breaks and uncomfortable buses. With Azamara’s Private Journeys we got poorly planned tours with a driver and no real guide. I found the coordinator Sandra Carola Fernandez Gonzalez lacklustre and she never followed through in following up on our poorly planned Bunbury tour. I expect expertise and there was none. Ports: Jakarta was our first port stop. I think I’d rather end my life early then to ever be a citizen in either Jakarta, Semarang or Surabaya. Indonesia's lack of tax authority enforcement leads to the Government having little money for serious developments. In fact, they have only 27 million registered taxpayers when there should be around 120 million people if everyone eligible complied to the tax law. This is due to the severe lack of funding and manpower in their tax office, leading to many citizens having a completely lax attitude towards tax evasion as they probably wouldn’t get caught anyway. It’s port capacity is very poor. This leads to Indonesians having to spend much more if they want to export goods to foreign markets due to a lack of supply of container transportation. It is much more lucrative to base operations in Singapore which has ready made cheap transport for exports. As a result, Singapore has an export level of around USD23 Billion, which dwarfs Indonesia at USD12 Billion, despite having a small fraction of Indonesia's population. As a result, Indonesians find it more profitable to base and list their business in Singapore due to its infrastructure availability and ease of doing business. Indonesia's financial industry is underdeveloped and undersocialized. The lack of availability in financial instruments which could generate higher returns to investors and lack of financial literacy among the Indonesian population is costing Indonesia. As a result, Indonesians react to this by choosing to launder and park their money abroad (mainly Singapore), where they can invest in different types of financial instruments provided by investment banks. I was not prepared for the degree of poverty or filth in Indonesia. Jakarta was our first stop. Slums were the norm. Families were sleeping in doorways. Trash was everywhere. Our tour guide was excellent and did his best to educate us on the city. Jakarta, is the home to 10 million people and is not only the seat of the national government and the provincial government, but it is also Indonesia’s political center. It sits on swampy land, the Java Sea lapping against it, and 13 rivers running through it. So it shouldn't be a surprise that flooding is frequent in Jakarta and, according to experts, it is getting worse. But it's not just about freak floods, this massive city is literally disappearing into the ground. The dramatic rate at which Jakarta is sinking is partly down to the excessive extraction of groundwater for use as drinking water, for bathing and other everyday purposes by city dwellers. Piped water isn't reliable or available in most areas so people have no choice but to resort to pumping water from the aquifers deep underground. But, when groundwater is pumped out, the land above it sinks as if it is sitting on a deflating balloon - and this leads to land subsidence. Our guide says that his in laws use rain water, but that is only available during certain seasons. Most have to purchase water and store it in large tanks held on the roofs. He shared that experts confirm that water management authorities can only meet 40% of Jakarta's demand for water. Day 2 in Indonesia was more uplifting in Semarang. Flooding issues were highly visible with inner city roadways in an awful state but the highway system was rather good. Outside of the city, there were gated communities with large homes against a backdrop of volcanoes. The countryside jungle was lush and beautiful and roadside food stands and shops were rather abundant. It was a Sunday and families seemed to be out and enjoying life together. We were on our way to Borobudur, which is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in Central Java, Indonesia. It is the world's largest Buddhist temple. It was hot. Very hot. The temple was impressive and very well maintained. I believe it was discovered in the 1200s and later made a UNESCO heritage site. Our lunch was excellent....vegetables were fresh and flavorful, the chicken satay and beef dish were the best I have ever had. We drove through countrysides of coffee plantations and rice plantations with folks hard at work in the fields. Most folks had smiles on their faces and it was a long, 9 hour day well spent! Day 3 was Surabaya. This was our day of enduring 97 degree humid weather, traveling hours by bus and then getting 12000 steps on our fitbits to see nothing. Surabaya is headed by a Muslim woman whose key focus is cleaning up filth and adding greenery. It was clean by comparison to Jakarta but definitely not pretty. We drove through middle class and wealthy areas to end up at our destination....a mangrove river tour. We were supposed to learn about mangrove restoration and benefits. The rubbish in the swampy river was disgusting and the cruise was disorganized and lacked organization, the walk was dull and uninteresting and ‘learning how to plant mangroves’ consisted of giving us a small 2 foot tree to put in a hole. I’m all for helping out a struggling community but I gotta would have preferred to stay on our lovely ship. We all should have been reimbursed for this tour. It was dreadful. Indonesia part 2: 2 days in Bali and 1 half day in Komodo. Day 1 (December 11) We had some choices over our 2 days there. I knew I wanted the Monkey Forest tour and that was day 2. The Azamazing evening was day 1 and I didn’t want too exhausting a day as there would be 2 tours that day and we’d have to get ready and were the first group out. I seem to overbook us and piss Doug off. After the disgusting mangrove tour, I was hoping for something better. Our choices were: a beach resort (Doug is not a beach guy but this is what we should have done), A culture tour, a shopping tour (not with Doug), a temple tour ( doing that with the monkeys), Ubud on your own, Ubud Ridges, Villages and valleys. We chose the latter thinking we’d see Ubud. It was supposed to be a journey with incredible views of the volcano, stunning rivers, discover village life. It was none of these things. I never saw a volcano. It was a long walk through a trail behind resort communities. Boring. We did have an outstanding lunch with gorgeous views, though. Our Azamazing evening was an evening of Balinese folklore at the Taman Budaya Art Center.A dance troupe entertained us under the stars.the performances showcased story telling dance characterized by intricate footwork, eyes and finger movements. Balinese dance is an ancient dance tradition that is part of the religious and artistic expression among the Balinese people and is dynamic, angular and intensely expressive. Bali dancers learn the craft as children and even in the womb they are played Balinese music. They are taught to dance with their hands before they can walk. Official training as a Bali dancer starts as young as 7. In Balinese dance the movement is closely associated with the rhythms produced by a musical ensemble specific to Java and Bali. Multiple levels of articulations in the face, eyes, hands, arms, hips, and feet are coordinated to reflect layers of percussive sounds. Wow! I never knew hands could move like that. It was absolutely breathtaking. I almost cancelled the next day’s tour...Monkey Forests and temple due to the poor tours we’d been having but I like monkeys. We began at the Tenah Lot Temple, famed for its location atop a craggy outcrop set amid crashing waves. The coastal temple Pura Tanah Lot is located in the southern part of Bali. To many people, Tanah Lot epitomizes the romantic island of Bali. Tanah Lot means Land in The Sea, a perfectly fit name for its unique offshore settings. The silhouette of Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most popular iconic features of Bali. The history of Tanah Lot temple was believed to date back to the 16th century. For the Balinese, Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most important and venerated sea temples. However, it has all the authenticity of a stage set – even the tower of rock that the temple sits upon is an artful reconstruction (the entire structure was crumbling) and more than one-third of the rock is artificial. We then continued to the Monkey Forest at the Alas Kedaton Sacred Sanctuary where long tailed macaques thrive in a natural habitat. Alas Kedaton is a popular monkey forest sanctuary - a sacred one at that. The sanctuary is made up of many acres of land purely inhabited by big bats and monkeys. The forest sanctuary is located at Kukuh village in Tabanan and made for a fun hour. The crab-eating macaque is the major breed of monkey found in this sanctuary, and Bali in general, as these primates are native to Southeast Asia. A baby bat decided to jump on my back and go for a ride. Eek! Last, we ventured over to Pura Taman Ayum, an 18th century temple complex. Tama Ayun is an aesthetically pleasing temple and is located in a mystical park sheltered by trees and ponds and is a temple built to honor various historical deities and gods. The temple has a rift in form of canals and can only be accessed through a bridge that leads you to a wide spaced grassy courtyard, which leads to another courtyard that houses multiple shrines, and ponds filled with lots of lotus blossoms. The best part of the tour was our guide who immersed us in Balinese culture both past and present. Lunch was again excellent. It was a varied, pretty and enlightening day. It was the best trip of the cruise. December 13 was our final day in Indonesia. I’d travelled thousands of miles to see a Komodo dragon in the wild. It was one of my reasons for taking this cruise. Komodo National Park is a World Heritage Site that was set aside to conserve the Komodo dragon and their natural habitat. The world’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon is arguably Indonesia’s best-conserved large animal. Protected under Indonesian law, the population is relatively stable, with around 2,500 animals in the park. Entrance fees for foreigners were recently increased sharply plus an extra fee for a guide – in a bid to raise more revenue. Currently, the biggest threat to the dragons is the poaching of deer which is their prey, and the rise of human populations. The species shares the park with nearly 4,000 people, many of whom supplement their incomes by selling curios and snacks to tourists. The dragon dominates the food chain and underpins the local economy. We were surround by small and aggressive children peddling small trinkets as we made our way to venture deep into Komodo National Park where we went to search the dry forest for a glimpse of the prehistoric Komodo dragon. They exist nowhere else in the world and are of great interest to scientists studying the theory of evolution. After about 25 minutes of following guides into the park in 100 degree heat, we were told we might not even see them, as they are wild animals. Finally, right near the trance where we walked in 25 minutes earlier, we see our first cluster of dragons. The park staff are armed with sticks – which doesn’t seem like enough in case of a Komodo dragon attack. With their fearsome reputation in mind, I stay well back. At first sight, they do appear “lifeless” – like large seals wearing crocodile skin. When they move, they crawl on their bellies and then suddenly rear up sphinx-like, sticking out their forked tongues and making a distinctive hissing sound. There are five of the dragons in the group. They are grouped around each other, occasionally standing up, walking a few steps and hissing. The guides stand near us with massive sticks, which they will use to beat the dragons back in the event that they come near us. One guide, told me I reminded him of his mother and led me to them for upfront and personal close ups. I hoped he liked his mother. The Komodo can consume very large prey such as water buffalo, deer, carrion, pigs and even humans. It has a unique way of killing by biting its prey - especially when it is a large water buffalo, - surrounding it in a group then wait patiently until the poison in its saliva has slowly killed its victim.  After which it completely shreds apart and devoured with bones and all.  If the prey escapes, it will usually die within 24 hours due to poisoning of the blood that comes from the venomous and bacteria ridden saliva. Surprisingly, we were not rushed and were allowed quite a bit of time with them. Folks, who visited before, noticed that there were decidedly fewer Komodos than they have seen previously. Hot, but worth the experience. The only difference I would have liked—I would gladly have paid the guide for a shorter visit, with no trekking in the humid heat. Three days at sea (12/14-16) and then Western Australia.(12/17-12/22) The seas became rough. Returning to our cabin on 12/15, water was pouring under the glass sliding doors. The movement wasn’t bad. The position of our bed allowed for rocking side to side instead of head to toe (which our room was doing). It was rather pleasant. It was the crashing of the waves—the bang, bang, bang against the hull that ruined our sleep. We found out that a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck around 1,000 km north-northwest of Perth on 12/15. It was much too rough to enjoy pools, hot tubs or our large balcony during our sea days. The draw of this cruise for many was to visit Broome and Exmouth. Broome is a beach resort town in western Australia’s Kimberley region. Along its Indian Ocean coastline, the white sands of Cable Beach offer a dramatic backdrop for sunset camel rides. At Gantheaume Point nearby, dinosaur tracks are revealed in the beach’s red rocks during low tide. An ideal beach resort that was cancelled. Ugh. Exmouth is a small resort town on Western Australia’s North West Cape. It’s a gateway to nearby Ningaloo Marine Park with its coral reefs, colourful fish and migratory whale sharks. Nearly surrounding Exmouth, Cape Range National Park has kangaroos, sheer cliffs and red, rocky gorges. On the Cape's northwest coast, Jurabi Coastal Reserve's tidal rock pools, beaches and seasonal nesting grounds for marine turtles. This was cancelled too. Ugh. So, 2 nights in Geraldton (12/16-17) replaced these two ports. Geraldton is a major west coast seaport and a logistics center for regional mining, fishing, wheat and sheep. It was a far cry from an iconic beach resort with incredible wildlife and snorkelling. The downtown is struggling to keep alive and shops have a hard time surviving. According to some Australian friends, they had a great day of shopping. The Mid West region of Western Australia is strategically located on an iconic coastline between Perth and the growing economies of the State’s north. There are a host of different economic opportunities - all of which the region intends to capitalise on. Traditionally an agricultural region, the Mid West is now attracting unprecedented investment interest from a range of other industry sectors. The mining industry has quickly become the main economic driver of the region. Strong international demand for commodities and high commodity prices have already underpinned significant mining investment and many more projects are planned for future years. Most folks are positive about the economic stability of Geraldton long term, and attest to Geraldton being one of the best places in the country to live if you're looking for a great balance of lifestyle, affordability, and beauty. There are enough jobs if you have the right skill set or are willing to undertake training or education. There are few better places in terms of beaches and a wonderful outdoor lifestyle. And you don't need to be a multi millionaire to live near the beach, like you would in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth.  But the last decade plus of unquestioned positivity has lead to lots of members of the public being left holding investments that are now worth far less than they paid and many people owe far more on their homes than what they could reasonably be expected to sell them for today.  Rewind to 2006. Property prices around WA were booming, in large part due to the insatiable demand for WA's iron ore from China. Meanwhile, the City of Geraldton was hiking rates like they were in the rate raising olympics. Property, all of a sudden, didn't seem like such a great investment.  Nationally syndicated writers, economists and property "gurus" boldly kept predicting Geraldton was the next "boom town", and that it was a "gateway" to the North West and to the Mid West. Fast forward to 2018. Geraldton was budgeting for the future based on an assumption that Geraldton was going to spike in population within a foreseeable timeline. There was no explanation about how those official sources made their predictions, but the exact opposite happened. Geraldton's population declined in the following few years.  I digress from our day to give you a handle on the fact we were docked in a port far from touristy things to do. So, we signed up to visit an animal rescue facility nearby and to visit the old town of Geraldton. It wasn’t an exciting day but it was very pleasant. The weather was lovely, the guide good, the animals fun and I had the best scones ever. While we overnighted there, we didn’t arrive until a bit after noon. First stop was The Greenough Wildlife Park which was not the best park for animal interaction, but it was a good learning facility as it was designed as a temporary home for rescued animals, rehabilitation and release. It was small and the animals were all caged. The owner was a former cop and had a warm and engaging personality. We were able to get up close and personal with parrots, crocodiles, dingos, red and grey kangaroos and reptiles. She is the person you call if you find a python or a highly venomous snake around your house. Our guide was Greenough wildlife guru Michelle Jones who was an interesting lady. Recently, she spent two weeks helping scientists conduct important crocodile research at the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in far north Queensland. Ms Jones worked alongside the Australia Zoo’s crocodile team, including Irwin’s widow Terri and children Bindi and Robert. The Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park manager was tasked with helping catch and restrain the giant reptiles so the scientists could safely do their work. Michelle said the research was being used to better understand crocodiles’ habits and, in turn, teach people how to live safely alongside the awe-inspiring beasts. She said she had plans to work with a scientist who was conducting groundbreaking research into social interactions between crocodiles. “We attach satellite and acoustic transmitters to large saltwater crocodiles to track their movements in the river systems up there. The satellite tags allow us to pinpoint where the crocodile lives, and its dive time, which we’ve worked out can be up to 12 hours. The crocodile is processed and back in the water within about 25 minutes; that’s how quick the researchers and the scientists are up there. When the wet season comes, they head up the river systems to certain pockets, and then returning after the season is over to live in rivers where, sadly, a lot of people go swimming. It’s totally uncharted territory. It’s never been looked at before.It will be looking at whether they know their offspring and if they are socially interacting each year through recognition of pheromones.” She also had 2 dingos. The dingo is a type of dog that is native to Australia. Its taxonomic status is debated. Australia is home to so many of these animals that they are generally considered pests. A famous “dingo fence” has been erected to protect grazing lands for the continent's herds of sheep. It is likely that more dingoes live in Australia today than when Europeans first arrived. Though dingoes are numerous, their pure genetic strain is gradually being compromised. They can and do interbreed with domestic dogs to produce hybrid animals. Studies suggest that more than a third of southeastern Australia's dingoes are hybrids.  We were able to pat and meet the dogs. Their fur was coarse and bristly but they acted like normal pet dogs, wanting a kiss or a scratch. I had the unfortunate accident of stepping into a hole a dingo had dug and was plagued by constant knee pain for the rest of our trip. I think it’s finally on the mend. The kangaroos are a hoot. The red kangaroo is large with droopy eyes, a relaxed attitude and a “hey, dude” disposition. The grey kangaroo is a bit more skittish. I had the opportunity to cradle a baby grey one. From there, we went to the Greenough Historical village. There were numerous out buildings dating back to the late 1800s. Quite honestly, we have more interesting places in the US. We were treated to warm scones, clotted cream and jam with tea and these scones made the stop worth our time. Upon returning to the port, the Geraldton port had decide to throw us a welcome party, with local foods, drinks, port information, animals, mining info. It was well done and very enjoyable. Day 2 in Geraldton was an all day private tour to the pink salt lake and the Kalbarri National Park, one of Western Australia's most popular places to visit. It was striking but paled compared to our Grand Canyon. In all honesty, I think the time to visit is when the wildflowers are out, July to September. At that time, You can see the park ablaze with the colours of spring, with over 1,100 varieties of wildflowers are found there. It was a long day for a day trip. You drive through acre upon acre of wheat fields...think Nebraska. You get to your destination, quickly see the sites and have to turn around. I think it’s a place you want to spend a couple of days, taking hikes and enjoying outdoor activities. You can go bushwalking, gorge hiking or canoeing and take a journey back 400 million years, when the tidal flats of an ancient sea formed the striking red sandstone and the mighty Murchison River carved out deep gorges on its way to the ocean. We took a more relaxed experience and drove out to the park's many lookouts for some must-snap vistas, including the famous Nature's Window, The Loop, Z Bend, Hawks Head and Ross Graham, Red Bluff and Pot Alley. What spoiled the outdoor activities a bit was the heat and the swarms of bushflies. These flies look like our flies but are much smaller and swarm around you. They were everywhere we went in Australia. You really needed to wear netting which we didn’t have. The pink lakes: Australia is home to the bizarre pink coloured lakes. They look good enough to drink but are the saltiest bodies of water on earth. Analysis of the water has shown about 10 species of algae and bacteria, which are all predominantly pink. Despite bacteria being the reason for the strawberry milk color, the lake is totally safe to swim in. In fact, the lake's high salt content likely makes the water so dense that you'd float incredibly easily, the way you would in the Dead Sea. It was incredible to look at but mines and factories dotted its shores making it hard to enjoy. The echidna: Driving along we found an echidna in the road and we stopped to rescue it. See pics. So what is an echidna? It has spines like a porcupine, a beak like a bird, a pouch like a kangaroo, and lays eggs like a reptile. Also known as spiny anteaters, they're small, solitary mammals native to Australia. They're usually between 12 and 17 inches long and weigh between 4 and 10 pounds. Their spines are actually modified hairs. Echidnas' bodies (with the exception of their undersides, faces, and legs) are covered with 2-inch long spines. Fur between the spines provides insulation. Echidnas live slow and long. Echidnas have the lowest body temperature of any mammal, 89__°F. Their body temperatures are not controlled in the same way as that of other mammals, and can fluctuate by up 6–8°C over the course of the day. Their long life spans — up to 50 years in captivity, with anecdotal reports of wild animals reaching 45 years — are due to their low body temperature and slow metabolism. Male echidnas have a bizarre, four-headed penis. You might wonder how you mate with a four-headed penis. During sex, two of the heads shut down while the other two grow bigger to fit into the female's two-branched reproductive tract. Males alternate the heads they use between matings. Echidnas form mating trains. A strange process marks the start of echidna breeding season. Males line up nose to tail behind a single female, forming a train of up to a dozen individuals. Trains can last more than a month, with males dropping out and rejoining. When the female is finally ready to mate, the males dig a trench in the ground around her. The males compete for mating honors by pushing each other out of the trench. The last one remaining gets to mate with the female. Strange creatures! Food: We stopped for lunch where we could sample emu, kangaroo, crocodile. The crocodile tasted like, yes, “Chicken.” The others like over cooked shoe leather. I guess it tasted awful because it was too cute to eat? Bunbury and Busselton, Australia.. (December 19 and 20th) These two ports are really close to one another and about an hour from the wine area—Margaret River. I booked a private tour through Azamara Private Journeys for Dec 19 and wanted to see it all. Unfortunately, the white night was being held on 12/19 and Azamara’ should home office wouldn’t change the date to 12/20 since we were told the guide was out of Bunbury. It turned out he was between Bunbury and Busselton. We were picked up at 12:30 and the driver said he was taking us to Busselton. I asked why as we were going there the next day. We were to get an historical walking tour of both towns but he wasn’t informed of that. He did his best with a quick driving tour and then took us on our scheduled plane ride which was foolishly set up as Busselton to Busselton. It was pleasant. Then, he took us to the Margaret River to visit a winery and for dinner. Almost everything was closed by the time we finished one winery and we missed out on the chocolate and cheese factories. Then, we were taken to dinner at a holiday hotel. Since there was a function in the dining room, we were seated in the lobby, amid screaming kids, drunks and dogs. The dinner was about the equivalent of a poor man’s Pizza Hut. We had to get our own food, which was inedible. Moral of story: Do not ever sign up for Azamara’s Private Journeys. We were toured out and just did Busselton on our own. It’s a nice little beach town with cute shops, a great kids’ playground and a long jetty with a natural aquarium at the end. The jetty is said to be the longest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere and is the second longest wooden jetty (pier) in the world. The jetty construction commenced in 1853 and the first section was opened in 1865. The jetty was extended numerous times until the 1960s, ultimately reaching a length of 1841 m. The last commercial vessel called at the jetty in 1971 and the jetty was closed the following year. It passed into the control of Busselton Shire and has been gradually restored and improved since. view the event. The aquarium was opened on 13 December 2003 descending 8 metres below sea level where one can view the corals and fish life through eleven viewing windows. It was interesting but no WOW. If you are in the area, I suggest spending your time in the lovely Margaret River area, playing tourist, sampling wine and cheese and chocolates, enjoying the scenery and watching out for kangaroos dotting the fields. If you want to save money and enjoy the ship, you can safely wander both Bunbury and Busselton. Don’t waste your money on tours. Final day: Perth My husband thought I was crazy signing us up for a 12 hour tour for our final day, especially given the quality of the tours. Each of these experiences could be enjoyed as day trips from Perth unto themselves. It’s foolish to combine them all in one day unless that’s all you have. Our guide was excellent and was an encyclopedia of information. It could have been a great day if it had been timed better. Our day started out with the Caversham Wildlife Park. We should have spent a few hours here but only had 40 minutes. At Caversham Wildlife Park there are a variety of daily attractions that you can come and see and get involved with which include: Meet the Wombat and Friends, Feed the Kangaroos and Meet the Koalas, feed the Kangaroos. It was a fine stop and a shame to have had so little time there. Each of these destinations is 90 minutes from Perth. Our next stop was the lobster processing factory which offers the complete lobster experience from lobster pot to cooking pot! The Lobster Shack provides a close up encounter with the most valued single species fishery in Australia; the Western Rock Lobster. We were able to see how the lobsters are processed in the factory and packaged up to be sent LIVE to destinations all over the world. However, Azamara cheaped out and served us fish and chips while other table was diving into lobster dinners . We gladly would have paid an up charge. Everyone was quite angry. I suggest that this stop could be a day unto itself. As a day tour, you can go out on a lobster boat and go lobstering and then indulge on a lobster dinner. Or, you can just visit the processing plant, have lunch and then go to the Pinnacles. The Pinnacles is pretty far, so I’d either combine visiting it with The Lobster Shack or the white dunes. It takes about an hour, more or less, to visit. Within the park is the ancient Pinnacles Desert, which is an area with thousands of limestone formations called pinnacles. Standing tall in the shifting sand dunes lies thousands of large limestone pillars that were originally believed to be a lost city. The first records of identification date back to the 1650s. Following this, there are no known records of the Pinnacles until 1820 by Philip Parker King. With very little discovery, the Department of Lands and Surveys included the Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park (created in 1956) in the 1960s, and it was through this inclusion that the desert became a popular destination. The Pinnacles Desert has been home to Aboriginal tribes for many years – with artifacts found dating back 6,000 years. Many theories have been proposed about the formation of the Pinnacles. One of the theories is that they formed as a result of kastification, characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves that weathers rocks, such as quartzite, given the right conditions. Another theory states that the pinnacles were formed through the preservation of tree casts buried in coastal aeolianties. A third theory states that the Pinnacles were created by plants. It is beautiful and well worth a visit. We then went to Lancelin for some dune buggying and sand surfing. We never really got to do either. When you visit the legendary Lancelin sand dunes you could squint and imagine you’re in a post apocalyptic dystopian world with David Lynch writing the script. It’s trippy. The sand is white like icing sugar rather than Sahara desert golden, and some dunes are as big as three story buildings. We headed off on a dune buggy bus. Up a dune; down a dune. Wavering at the top of a dune, our driver tried to stop but couldn’t reverse, so down we went into a sand crevasse. We all left the vehicle so the driver could dig us out. Uh uh. We were stuck in the middle of the desert with no one around, the sun growing dim on the horizon. Stuck. We had no choice but to climb the dunes and walk back to our awaiting bus. No sand boarding time for us. This was our misadventure. The tour escort called the ship as we were so late all dining would be closed. We were met by the hotel director at the bus doors and told ‘not to worry’ as the restaurants were kept open for us. What an end to our tour experience Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was my fourth cruise with Azamara and the third on the Quest. I love Azamara because the ships are small, no children allowed and we are treated like one of the family. There is little music played on deck - thank goodness. Staff ... Read More
This was my fourth cruise with Azamara and the third on the Quest. I love Azamara because the ships are small, no children allowed and we are treated like one of the family. There is little music played on deck - thank goodness. Staff quickly get to know you and you get a welcome when you return. Boarding is well organised and painless. We had to wait a long time for our luggage to arrive and we started sailaway before we finally got ours. First night was busy as always and we all followed the usual hygiene rules of being served rather than self service for 24 hours. The strict rules about sanitizing work and we have never been unwell on this ship. Although there are over 600 passengers on board it is possible to find peace and quiet for much of the time and I have a number of photographs that make it look like a solo trip! The pool area was good as always, the pool clean. For some reason on our last sea day they decided to do maintenance and were pressure washing the decks at 10.30 in the morning when people were wanting to sit on the sunbeds. After complaints from a number of passengers they replaced everything and left. The Azamazing evening was brilliant. There were no delays getting to the venue and seating was comfortable and well laid out. As always there were those who felt they had to stand up in front of other people to get the best photographs and this selfish act is very irritating. It would be helpful if the host were to ask people to remain seated to take photos. White Night was lovely and we were lucky with the weather as there had been some storms around. We chose to sit up on Deck 10 as we have always found that once again people will go and stand across the front of the stage area totally blocking the view for anyone sitting down. We did speak to the cruise director about this and he admitted it was a problem but did not say anything on the night. In the past there has been a display of somekind but this time there was only dancing and singing from the guests and crew. We eat in Windows because we like the self service. As a vegetarian I would like to see more choice in the main course. Most nights there are vegetables, rice and potatoes but something a little more interesting would be good. One night there was a pasty and I asked what was in it. The person behind the counter had no idea and had to go and ask. On a couple of occassions they were rather grumpy and there was an atmosphere. Something we have not experienced before. The waiter service in Windows was on the whole very poor. In the past it had always been pretty good. However there appeared to be a number of new staff who were clueless. On two occasions we were actually ignored when signalled that we would like some water. They have a habit of looking at you and turning away. Several times we had to wait for a good ten minutes before anyone asked if we wanted water or wine. Likewise with coffee in the mornings. At times there were no waiters to be seen, others a huddle of them down by the coffee machine. They have a habit of walking around but not doing and definitely not seeing. The manager spent most of his time staring at his computer and when he did wander round did not appear to do anything. This is so different to what it used to be like and very disappointing. Waiters in the Living Room and Caberet and Mosaic were good as were the ones on pool deck. We were on deck 8 in a balcony room. It was clean and comfortable. Our two stewards were attentive and cheerful. We had a problem with the aircon switch not working and this was promptly repaired with two very smiley guys. the excursions were good, small groups in very good coaches with knowledgeable guides all of whom had a sense of humour. Disembarking each time was well organised and quick. In Koh Samui the sea was turbulent and the authorities could not use their tenders but Capt Jose was not phased and the ships tenders were lowered and expertly crewed and we were taken safely ashore. It was a great cruise as always and my only real criticism is the staff in Windows. They are the one thing that stood out in the whole of the trip. I have booked to go to Alaska next June on the Quest and do so hope that by then some serious staff training will have taken place. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Guest administration is not Azamara's strong point. The dates and locations for the Azamazing evening were a moving feast right up to departure and the email on this that came from Azamara were unintelligible. This made booking our ... Read More
Guest administration is not Azamara's strong point. The dates and locations for the Azamazing evening were a moving feast right up to departure and the email on this that came from Azamara were unintelligible. This made booking our own evening tours a bit stressful. We got mixed messages on Visas in the various things we were sent (you are responsible for your own Visas! All Visas will taken care of for you! -- the latter turned out to be true.) Embarkation in Singapore was easy and quick. The buffet lunch was getting a bit old by the time we got there just before 3pm but we were grateful for something to eat (I think we were the last time slot to board). As advised, we booked our 3 specialty dining nights as soon as we boarded (why is there no pre-booking system?), only to subsequently find that we'd booked for the same night (first night) as the (previously unadvertised) seafood buffet which we would have liked to attend. My keycard didn't work in the cabin door (they are apparently such elderly technology that holding them proximate to any small magnet renders them useless) and we queued for nearly 40 minutes to have it fixed at guest relations. When we got to the front of the queue the French officer said very dismissively 'I don't do cards!' and made us requeue in another line for one of the female staff. Many, many people had card failures, not all related to magnets. One poor lady who had arrived after a long delayed flight was in tears. It wasn't a great start to our cruising dreams. Dinner in both specialty restaurants was fabulous, outstanding service and food, worth every extra cent we paid. Our first dinner in the main dining room was pretty ordinary (even inedible) and we didn't go back until nearly the last night - one lesson we learned across the cruise is that while Australian prawns are delicious, prawns and 'shrimp' from elsewhere can be much less so. Steak options are a much better bet. The Windows buffet was terrific for breakfast (super omelettes and a great range to choose from) and lunch and generally very good for dinner (except British buffet night, which was ghastly, and left a lingering smell of too-old frying oil and fish in the restaurant for the next 24 hours). The poolside burgers and nachos place was really good for lunch. We loved the ambiance of the Sunset Bar and spent a lot of time there, but it seemed to be a dead service zone. We shrugged and got our own breakfast tea and juice, and went to the bar for our own drinks with dinner. The waiters were constantly in the corner talking to one another and looking at the computer (why?), rarely offering drinks at any time. This was not a cheap cruise and we did feel a bit annoyed about this on occasion. The Opera group were really talented, we enjoyed their shows immensely. The cabaret shows were not our thing but others seemed to enjoy it. The lecturer was very interesting although sometimes she was sometimes scheduled in odd timeslots (like lunch). The jazz band was very good. Sea days on the Quest were particularly enjoyable, the pool lounges are really comfortable and plentiful and the drinks service unstinting. Most days the wine selection was enjoyable but there was one day in the rotation when both whites and both reds were just not very palatable. Some waiters would send down for a bottle from the day before (which you are entitled to ask for) but some would just shrug. Koh Samui was not a great port, the most enjoyable thing about it was the tender ride on and off - the organisation of which was hopeless for those without ship tours booked. No queue, or sequential numbers, they just picked people at random to give stickers to intermittently and them sent them to a tender, which meant that some people who just arrived immediately got tenders and others had to wait 40-50 minutes. Bangkok was interesting although the dreadful traffic means going to see anything will involve longer in the getting there and back than the seeing of the attraction. Ho Chi Minh was fantastic, we plan to return. Our room steward and his assistant were flawless -- helpful, courteous, competent. The cabin was small but functional and comfortable, the verandah very pleasant. The deal breaker for me was the shower curtain. The weather was (as to be expected) very hot and humid, necessitating being grabbed and wrapped by the very unpleasant clammy plastic curtain in the tiny shower space at least twice a day. It started to feel like some sort of punishment zone. Debarking was very smooth, we had plenty of time to get to our flight. The Quest has a loyal customer base, we met several couples who had done >15 cruises on the ship. Tl;DR Although we did have a lovely holiday and have some wonderful memories, we won't choose Azamara again until we can afford a suite with no shower curtain. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
After 7 previous cruise with Azamara this cruise was the straw that broke the camels back. The crew again were the highlight of the cruise. The entertainment was terrible or worse the on board lectures where boring how much do you need ... Read More
After 7 previous cruise with Azamara this cruise was the straw that broke the camels back. The crew again were the highlight of the cruise. The entertainment was terrible or worse the on board lectures where boring how much do you need to know about Asia. The casino should be closed hardly any one playing. With a death and 4 broken arms and GI during the cruise more like a hospital ship than a cruise liner. No board games due to GI. Crew always wiping down the table and chairs while you were eating. Average age on this cruise 70+ . Highlight every day was the trivia sessions in the living room come on!!. Never saw Eric De Grey the cruise director around the ship during the whole cruise. The menu in Prime C was the same as 2 years ago. The showers in all cabins expect the suites are a joke you need to weigh no more than 60kgs or you will stick to the curtain. I could go on but it would only being back more bad thoughts. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We choose this cruise based on it's itinerary...Singapore, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cochin India, Goa India, Mumbai (Bombay) India & Dubai. There were 7 days "at sea". I have been cruising for over 35 years....53 ... Read More
We choose this cruise based on it's itinerary...Singapore, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Cochin India, Goa India, Mumbai (Bombay) India & Dubai. There were 7 days "at sea". I have been cruising for over 35 years....53 cruises....on many different cruise lines. In my opinion this cruise had the worst entertainment of any voyage that we have been on. Azamara has made the decision to eliminate all "Production Shows" & eliminate all dancers from the entertainment schedules. They chose "Opera" and "54 Below" for the main entertainment. This was a very bad decision. The majority of cruise passengers hate "Opera". The 10% of the passengers that love opera, were very vocal about how much they loved the performances. Well, the show room was not full and half left the theatre before the performances were over. Changes must be made....especially with cruises having 7 or more days at sea. My wife and I really enjoyed the afternoon enrichment lectures...Dr. Connie and Dr. Kumar did an excellent job. The shore excursions that we booked on board the ship were excellent. The chefs are excellent and they have excellent cooking demonstrations. We really enjoyed the "Brunch Buffets". The "inTouch" WiFi was excellent. In the spa....I recommend purchasing the "Sanctum Terrace" package for $160USD....get access to a private sun deck on the bow of the ship and a private hot tub. We spent much of our "sea Day" time on the "Sanctum Terrace". This ship was built in the year 2000 and is starting to show it's age. The ship is small (700 passengers) and easy to navigate about. The room stewards are amazing. We will give Azamara another chance.....we are booked on "Azamara Pursuit" Nov 30 2019 voyage from Rio to Buenos Aires. I expect improvements with the entertainment, Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Our 2nd Journey trek and we were actually impressed how much the service has actually improved.... and I didn’t think here was much room for that. The staff could not be better....from knowing your drink favorite to opening your cabin ... Read More
Our 2nd Journey trek and we were actually impressed how much the service has actually improved.... and I didn’t think here was much room for that. The staff could not be better....from knowing your drink favorite to opening your cabin door and everything in between. Food...excellent in every way..variety, presentation, quality all good. Prime C excellent as always, Aquilina has good apps but the mains seemed strange. My only single negative is the lack of guitar or string group or soloist. I know it’s an individual like/dislike but it sure would be nice having a quality soloist in Moszaic and around the ship. I don’t dare mention any staff in particular less I forget one. ALL were excellent. I love not having to sign every time you want a drink. I know you “pay” up front but it’s nice. This cruise even the fellow passengers were all fun and interesting. All very well traveled ... what’s not to love about Aussie and UK “stories” over dinner or drinks. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We booked this back to back a year before whilst on the Journey. Check in at Singapore was the worst we’d experienced in our long cruising history. Once aboard the customary welcome glass of champagne was not offered although other ... Read More
We booked this back to back a year before whilst on the Journey. Check in at Singapore was the worst we’d experienced in our long cruising history. Once aboard the customary welcome glass of champagne was not offered although other guests were walking around with them. In fairness our balcony cabin was lovely - spotless clean with regular towel/bedding changes. Our biggest disappointment was the very poor inferior entertainment. No singers and dancers but a group of four opera singers who are excellent performers but I felt totally inappropriate for a cruise. Their repertoire was far too ‘high brow’ for a relaxing.cruise holiday. The only outstanding performer was Kim Purling. We’d seen him on another cruise and he is an amazing pianist which put all the other acts to shame. There was a has been singer from Las Vegas, a has been comedienne from Australia and other embarrassing performances. I have never walked out of a show before but couldnt stand to sit through these acts. Cruise director Eric did his best to hold things together with his shows. White night has now passed its sell by date as it is so predictable and not so good without singers and dancers. On the plus side we experienced two brilliant Azamaing Evenings. The crew were as welcoming as ever and the service was good. Food was excellent with steaks being the best at sea!.we won’t be rushing back to Azamara. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
good value for what you get. Ship is wonderful with only 700. Food is excellent in all areas Entertainment was changed from shows to Opera and Sting trio, it was O.K but not for everybody. Should have had more recognizable songs ... Read More
good value for what you get. Ship is wonderful with only 700. Food is excellent in all areas Entertainment was changed from shows to Opera and Sting trio, it was O.K but not for everybody. Should have had more recognizable songs and tunes for all to enjoy. Was a bit average. The talent was first class but not for everybody. All crew were excellent. Port of Bindalu was not what expected as it was the first cruise ship to dock there and they were not prepared. Waiting in the sun for a bus over 1 hour when should have been every 15 minutes. When back a the ship 3 buses there waiting. Not Good. Could have been fixed at the time by ensuring buses were rotating empty or full. Many elderly waiting without shade, water or seats at the drop off point. All other ports were very good. Azamazing evening was first class and ran like a military operation. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We have sailed with Azamara Club Cruises six times now and love both the Azamara Journey and the Azamara Quest. The ships are small and intimate and the itineraries and crew are incredible. With such small ships (700 passengers each), ... Read More
We have sailed with Azamara Club Cruises six times now and love both the Azamara Journey and the Azamara Quest. The ships are small and intimate and the itineraries and crew are incredible. With such small ships (700 passengers each), you get really up-close and personal with the upper-level staff who are highly visible and friendly. The reason I did not give this ship a five-star rating is because of their change in entertainment. I really would have liked to give them a four and a half star rating but that wasn't available. On our latest cruise, round-trip from Singapore on March 25, 2018 - April 9, 2018 (just completed), the entertainment was changed to include some performances by an outside opera company quartet, a string trio from Studio 54 doing their own interpretations of different types of music, a comedian doing one performance, and the cruise director and his two assistance each doing individual concerts and one combined concert. Although all performers were quite talented, we really missed the old song and dance production shows and guest performers. Neither the opera nor the string trio were our "cup of tea". The guest speakers were both outstanding and Dale M Pollock, an American film producer, writer, and film professor, was fantastic. We attended all six of his presentations and really loved all of them. We found his presentations on an explanation of film credits and another on ethics in film making to be both educational and thought-provoking. I have severe food allergies and the staff really went out of their way to ensure that my meals were both safe and prepared well. For breakfasts, we had the same table and staff each morning in the dining room -- which made meal time easy and drama free. Our lunches and most dinners were in the buffet and there were always Gluten-Free options available. We did three specialty-dining meals and all were perfect, worry and hassle free. Standard beverages are included and, although we do not drink alcohol, we really enjoyed the supply of available bottled water, special coffees, and mock-tails Because the ships are smaller, access to smaller ports is easy and the ports were outstanding and interesting. We opted to take the ship-sponsored excursion overnight to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the tour was top notch and beyond our expectations. The tour guides were outstanding and the accommodations were 5-star. We are hoping that Azamara changes their approach to entertainment in the near future and look forward to our next sailing with them -- booked on the new ship, The Azamara Pursuit, in early 2019. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We love Azamara and this was a Cruise that called at many destinations we had not previously visited. It also departed from and returned to the same port - Singapore. This made flight arrangements much easier. On this cruise we did ... Read More
We love Azamara and this was a Cruise that called at many destinations we had not previously visited. It also departed from and returned to the same port - Singapore. This made flight arrangements much easier. On this cruise we did notice small savings had been made. The food, while very good indeed seemed to lack some of the special touches we have come to love. However when we asked for something special that was not in the menu it was made specially for us. As usual the staff on board made the cruise . They welcomed us like family and could not do enough for us. The only downside of thIs trip was the entertainment. Azamara are trying a new format and no longer have production shows. This makes the atmosphere in the Cabaret Lounge less inviting. In fact this was the first time we have walked out of a show. The opera group,while they have lovely voices, did not sing enough popular tunes. Doing Carmen for a full hour was just too much for many. Also the trio, while good artistes, spent too long on their own material. I am sure that Azamara will listen to all the feedback and review their offerings in this area. That said, we would still,prefer to sail with this line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, we had never heard of Azamara. When booking we thought was quite expensive but as I can only travel during school holidays and this cruise fitted in with that. Embarkation was very smooth and quick, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, we had never heard of Azamara. When booking we thought was quite expensive but as I can only travel during school holidays and this cruise fitted in with that. Embarkation was very smooth and quick, but had to wait 2 hrs for our cabin to be ready. The cabin 8021 inside stateroom was pleasantly spacious with a queen size bed and plenty of storage couch and 42" TV. All the crew and staff were always friendly. The dining was superb with plenty of options. We chose to go on azamara excursions and felt we were looked after very well even though they are a bit more expensive i definitely think it was worth it. The one time in banckok we did our own thing we were overcharged for taxi and boat trip etc and did not feel safe so for AsiaI would recommend sticking to ship tours. Entertainment could have been better. Went to a couple of shows which were good but others like opera we are not into. There was the living room for late night entertainment but not much on here. The DJ played the same playlist every night and it got quite boring. They need to up their game here and make it a more fun place to be. Much better fun to be had down at the smoking area where people tended to gather and get their drinks served here instead. Overall we enjoyed this trip. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Not 5 star at all. Basically a Manor House on water. Lovely decor but that's about if! Food not upto 5 star quality, drinks are ok but not a very good choice, bar service slow and waiter service hit and miss. Cabins are clean and ... Read More
Not 5 star at all. Basically a Manor House on water. Lovely decor but that's about if! Food not upto 5 star quality, drinks are ok but not a very good choice, bar service slow and waiter service hit and miss. Cabins are clean and newly decorated, balconies scruffy though. And now entertainment, awful! No atmosphere at all! Stupid 'Kiss the Fish' 10 min embarrassment for all by pool for crossing the equator (done a day late too), the cabaret room, went in a few times but acts on we're very poor, some young lad telling everyone has life story inbetween tinkling the ivorys, female violinist, female singer, some poor fellows trying to put on only what one can call a Butlind showcase night, a film one night 'Grease'! Man on guitar and a pianist played for about half hour every is and then in lounge bar. There was Fusvo each night until 2pm but just a voiceless man playing same records over and over again every night, people did venture into it as come 10/11pm everything else was closed. Daytime activities were talks, bingo, board & card games. White night party was best night but that was only because it was by the pool and the only thing laid on for everyone to join in with. I did ask why there was no background music anywhere and the captain said the clientele on this cruise didn't want it, but after that within half hour back ground music (quiet, sift, popular musuc) was played and everyone enjoyed it and remarked how it lifted the atmosphere especially around the pool area but within half an hour it was turned off again, never to be heard again. Never saw the entertainment manager at all except on White party night, oh tell a lie, I did, once in the lift then another occasion in the Buffett, he must have been at the GLBT meetings running every day. Something lacking, an atmosphere I believe on this cruise. The ports of call were rubbish too! Docking st what seemed industrial ports, bus trip to shopping malls unless you paid over $100 each to do a sight seeing tour from the cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was my first time on the Azamara. If your 50 to 75 years old (Maybe some 40 plus people??) and love being tempted with copious amounts of food and beverage then you are the target consumer. But you may be disappointed too. I ... Read More
This was my first time on the Azamara. If your 50 to 75 years old (Maybe some 40 plus people??) and love being tempted with copious amounts of food and beverage then you are the target consumer. But you may be disappointed too. I know that some people complain about the limited music tastes available, and, generally, the dubious wine quality and this may well be true, but you can't please them all can you. Particularly on a smaller ship. Given the luxurious things to consume on board (and I am sure you can purchase really good wine if you want to) I find something is missing. Cigars. I don't smoke generally, but, when I spend time on board ships I enjoy a cigar. YOU CAN NOT PURCHASE CIGARS ON BOARD THE AZAMARA SHIPS. I didn't bring any because I was assured you could buy cigars on the "Journey". So for me and, I'm sure, for many others, this precludes the indulgence of an essential item in the luxury department. This is the first ship I have been on where cigars were not available. So what is my assessment of the Azamara Journey? A narrow focus to satisfy well behaved old people. This is what Azamara is about. Younger people, and even many middle aged people, are not catered for very well. But underlying this are more serious problems potentially and those who travel with Azamara should be aware of them before they sign up. I was told by the bar manager that, if those serving behind the bar think that you have drunk too much, even if you have had just one beer, then you can be stopped from having anymore alcohol. This can make quite an impact on your holiday on board where beers are included and you may expect to have more drinks in your day than say four(4) beers but were refused because of a subjective assessment by a staff member. This actually happened to my son on the Azamara "Journey" on our second day at sea. I could see that the barman took a dislike to my son after in incident the day before when my son became inebriated. The upshot was that he was not allowed to drink more then three(3) light beers per day for the remaining days at sea, and only in the company of his parents. My son is thirty four(34). I know there will be those who read this and applaud the zero tolerance decision of the hotel manager on board ship but I know my son had adjusted to the ship and his behaviour and drinking would have been good if he had been given a second chance. There are those who equate mental illness with a potential to be violent and this judgement is discriminatory and wrong. Royal Caribbean should bring these punitive and outmoded views into the 21st century.-But not the Cigar policy, they should acknowledge the value of old fashion rare pleasures. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
My husband & I & our adult son have just returned from our, carefully researched and happily anticipated cruise around Indonesia. Our son has, well controlled & monitored, Bi Polar Disorder. Our staterooms were comfortable. ... Read More
My husband & I & our adult son have just returned from our, carefully researched and happily anticipated cruise around Indonesia. Our son has, well controlled & monitored, Bi Polar Disorder. Our staterooms were comfortable. The food was good quality in both the buffet & main dining room. the 'Brunch was a standout. Service there was very good. We also ate in Prime specialty restaurant & it was excellent. The public spaces were pleasant & cabin attendants very good. All of these aspects validate the value of a cruise. These things, however, pale into insignificance if our priority of emotional well being is not met. The Hotel Manager, on this Azamara Journey, comprehensively failed to give this to us. To facilitate making his job easy, he sacrificed our holiday to maintain the status quo for the ' regular ' Client Base & the staff. The surreal atmosphere, once in board this ship, was one of ' team staff ' & ' team cruiser ' all working together for the elusive Superior Azamara Brand. Our son was involved in an incident of indiscretion one evening for which he apologized & expressed his great regret. After enjoying just 4 beers, he was refused service at the ' pool bar ', ( because he had had too much to drink the afternoon before ) After that , he had made a firm conviction not to drink too much. We were with him & he was happy & not inebriated. Because he was refused service, on this occasion, he became bewildered and with disappointment he kicked a bucket of ice being moved, on the ground, into the back of the bar, unintentionally slightly bruising the leg of the bar staff member who was moving it. No passages were in jeopardy of having their cruise spoiled & staff were not in danger. He was ' Tried & judged ' by the Hotel Manager. Regardless of our resounding reassurance of " no chance of re occurrence ". Heavy handed punishment was inflicted on my son ( accompanied by a strongly implied threat of being evicted from the ship if the punitive conditions were not adhered to. ) I was an after hours manager for 30 years at a large private hospital, dealing with some extremely difficult situations, so I was astounded by the Hotel Managers lack of intelligent empathy that resulted in the discrimination that destroyed our holiday... for all of us....... ( in support of my son, who was summoned to the Managers office, I was forced to miss my highlight excursion to Borobudur, our main reason for going to this part of the world ) So........ take care, & be warned, fellow cruisers, if you choose to sail on the good ship Azamara Journey, never make a single mistake & play your part in the ' team effort ' game.......because you will not be afforded a second chance to redeem yourself........... So disappointing. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We made the Singapore cruise to Bali last January of this year. It was our 4th cruise on Azamara, and number 12 of all we did. And the experience was not as good as we used to Azamara All protocol, cleaning, food, etc. was ... Read More
We made the Singapore cruise to Bali last January of this year. It was our 4th cruise on Azamara, and number 12 of all we did. And the experience was not as good as we used to Azamara All protocol, cleaning, food, etc. was fulfilled But it lacked the "extra touch" that showed that the company was really interested in passengers. Entertainment was poor, The average age of the passengers must be 55/60 years. And we did not get the disc jockey to put on music that we could dance (with one exception of one night). The food was healthy but extremely boring in the main dining room. The shore excursions are badly organized. They had a central focus, for example, the Borobudur temple in Java, but in a 10-hour trip, we could only spend 1 hour in that wonderful place, the rest of the time in places that were not worth it. The same happened in the excursion in the north of Bali. In both, they should have provided us all with lunch boxes since the food that was included was full of flies !! (my husband and I take that forecast and end up sharing it with other passengers). Very good idea the special night with the music and culture of Bali. But nobody explained the meaning and symbols of the characters, the story, the gestures. And we lost a chance to understand such a different culture. And what ended up as a signal that the concern for the passengers was superficial was the landing in Benoa. In January Bali as all of Indonesia is in the rainy season. Being later in Bali we learned that torrential rain occurs basically from 18 pm to 10 am. The rest of the time is hot and humid and may drizzle. We had to disembark at 9 am (probably because other passengers would embark later) in the middle of a torrential rain.And something that is clear on the boat for its equipment is when the intense rain ends The ship did not have any protection (upper tarpaulin) on the stairway, they had not foreseen anything on the surface until they reached the port building, etc.etc. We got very wet, so much that I got sick the rest of the trip. Nothing to do with the treatment we had in 2017 at the Azamara Quest where we could see the capital and the officers permanently touring the ship and taking care of even a change of route to make the trip smoother. Nor the other two trips we made earlier in the Quest. When we get off a cruise, in general, we are already thinking about the next one. I do not know if we will do it again in an Azamara. One more point, I wanted to write this in the online survey they sent us (first it is a shame that a company like Azamara use SurveyMonkey program almost free) and also it closed twice and I could not complete it. Something good: the food and those who treated us in El Patio! I hope this serves to improve, especially that a new ship of the line is being launched. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I am today off Azamara's 7 day Singapore to Bali cruise, 14-21 January, 2018. Azamara Journey is a fine ship, almost a twin to Oceania's Nautica, with good food and excellent, cheerful, service. Cabin 6042 was fine for me on my ... Read More
I am today off Azamara's 7 day Singapore to Bali cruise, 14-21 January, 2018. Azamara Journey is a fine ship, almost a twin to Oceania's Nautica, with good food and excellent, cheerful, service. Cabin 6042 was fine for me on my own but would have been a real squeeze for two (my wife sat this one out as she does not like hot, sticky weather!). The nuts and bolts of the cruise all worked well, starting with an efficient boarding process in Singapore. Service in the main dining room was excellent and I never had to wait to be seated, sharing with others at a table of six. The food was good, taking into account that they are preparing food for hundreds of people. Given the short nature of the itinerary, I did not use either of the two speciality restaurants. If I had to name one food item at which Azamara excel, let it be their cookies; as soft as delicious as Princess but of a smaller, more modest dimension. I made it to Borobudur, which was the overriding reason for choosing this itinerary, and it was magical. However, the manner of our getting there left me perplexed and questioning whether Azamara understands the concept of 'responsible tourism'. I was on an Azamara tour, in a series of buses. We travelled as a flying column, with a police escort fore and aft. The police sirens sounded almost constantly, scattering the locals to the left and right, as we thundered along through town and countryside, ignoring speed limits, red lights and holding up traffic at intersections, just so we could arrive at Borobudur more quickly. I found this behaviour embarrassing, for what right did we have to take precedence over other traffic? I heard it said that this was the only way to get to Borobudur and back in the day but this is piffle, as others made independent arrangements and completed the return trip to Borobudur just fine. I have no idea how many people we inconvenienced, even if only in a minor way, or how many grudges may fester as a result. Yes, many children were waving at us but car and scooter drivers were shaking their fists. I have travelled pretty widely, on business and as a tourist, in groups large and small, in countries with traffic worse than in Indonesia, yet I have never experienced the like. If tourists were allowed to behave like this in the U.K., where I live, there would be a riot. I raised my concerns with a very senior officer on the Azamara Journey and his response was to throw his head back and laugh. Perhaps he was embarrassed or caught unawares but it was an odd reaction. At the end of the day, Azamara are responsible for how their tours are run and, to my mind, such conduct as I experienced was shameful. In short, I am surprised and disappointed that Azamara allowed this to happen. If they wish to convince Indonesians that tourism is a blessing not a blight, they need to change their ways, and rapidly. If they simply p**s people off, then at a certain point some idiot will decide to do something about it. Clearly this is only a personal view, my impressions of an experience, and I would welcome the response of others, who may have made the same journey to Borobudur, on this occasion or previously. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We have just finished the Singapore to Bali cruise and disembarked at Bali. I thought I would leave the submission of my review for a few days so that I can give a balanced review following the chaos at the end of the cruise. We had a ... Read More
We have just finished the Singapore to Bali cruise and disembarked at Bali. I thought I would leave the submission of my review for a few days so that I can give a balanced review following the chaos at the end of the cruise. We had a group travelling on the cruise and stayed in different types of cabins. I stayed in one of the suites - the cabin was of a very good size and well fitted out. Our room butler and stateroom attendants were of the highest standard. In summary, I was more than happy with the room. The general areas, stairways etc of the boat were in very good condition. We ate at the buffet, grill, Discoveries Restaurant and both specialty restaurants. We thought the food to be of a very high standard and better than the food on other non-Azamara cruises we have been on. The service at all eating venues was excellent. In fact, I thought that there is really no need to eat at the specialty restaurants in light of the high quality of food and service at the non-specialty areas. Front desk and the excursions teams were also extremely helpful with a range of questions - many of which were not straightforward. They were always pleasant and very keen to help. The casino was a real disappointment - the blackjack and roulette "tables" were computer screens. There were no dealers and no "life" in the casino - it was the most boring casino I have ever been to. Disembarkation day was at Bali - it was pouring with rain. I am not certain what was more of a shambles - getting off the boat or once we had got off the boat. On the boat there was a very lengthy queue trying to get off with a conga line snaking around level 4. There were elderly people sitting on the floor - no-one from the cruise took charge and it was a circus. Fortunately, the passengers behaved in a civilised manner - it would have taken only one irate/"over the top" passenger to have really set things off. Azamara also need to invest in a canopy covering the gangway so as to provide some sort of protection against the rain. Once we were off the ship and in the port terminal area it was like we had just got off a ferry in Morocco. To be fair, the collection of the luggage was very well organised. After that, it was a shemozzle. Only one exit door open, people with their luggage everywhere and who were not certain where they were supposed to go, people trying to get on tour buses, dodgy "taxi drivers" etc. I genuinely felt for the elderly or unwell - it would have been a nightmare for them. I only saw one senior person from the boat in the area and he was standing back and "observing". There needed to be 4 or 5 senior people from the boat (do not just leave it to the the onshore contractor) in the area providing direction and general assistance. Perhaps the real solution was back on the boat - if someone had taken charge on the boat then they would have been able to then regulate the chaos once off the boat. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Boarding in Singapore was fine. Cabin quite small, especially the bathroom, but overall fine. Bed very comfortable. All staff very pleasant and helpful, though one particular waiter in Discoveries got people's orders wrong more ... Read More
Boarding in Singapore was fine. Cabin quite small, especially the bathroom, but overall fine. Bed very comfortable. All staff very pleasant and helpful, though one particular waiter in Discoveries got people's orders wrong more than once. Free self-service laundry very well-equipped and useful. Overall decoration etc. very good. Food in main Discoveries restaurant extremely good - we never felt the need to pay to go to one of the speciality restaurants. Complimentary (white) wine quite nasty a couple of times. The 'crossing the line' ceremony was fun. Entertainment rather disappointing - I know it’s more difficult in a ship this size but there wasn’t much we were attracted by and the one time we did try to go to the Cabaret lounge after dinner it was already full. Why not have one of the 2 performances earlier so some people could go before dinner, to ease pressure on seats? The 'enrichment' lecturer was, to put it kindly, not exactly sparkling. My husband fell asleep. The Azamazing evening, to see a performance by Balinese musicians and dancers, was enjoyable but rather short considering the huge logistical difficulties. It would also have been much more interesting if we’d been given some sort of idea what the dances were meant to be showing - probably telling the story of a Balinese myth or legend but we had no way of knowing. This was the rainy season in this part of the world but there was no attempt to move or cover sun loungers when it rained, so every time there was a shower the loungers remained wet for many hours afterwards. Even when they looked dry on the surface, sitting on one for a few minutes often produced wet marks and left the sitter with a damp rear! We are not interested in using the casino but if you are walking through it or in the Spirits bar there is no avoiding the entreaties of the 'virtual' blackjack dealer (low-cut dress, big boobs, naturally). Creepy and tacky. The Spirits bar area was full between 5 and 6 every day for the quizzes, which were very good, but apart from the 2 sea days the bar itself was closed at that time. Why? We went on 2 Azamara-organised trips. One, to a mangrove plantation and river trip, was OK but could have been a lot better. The guide gave information about mangroves during the journey there but there‘s not much point holding up small pictures at the front of a coach full of people. Once there he didn’t volunteer much info about the plants or wildlife and on the river trip was too busy chatting to boat crew to notice the alligator some of us saw, so most people missed it. The other excursion, Cultural Heritage of Singaraja, was much better - fascinating places to visit and a very good guide. However, the coach we travelled in (about an hour each way) was without exaggeration the most uncomfortable one I’ve ever been in. The seats were so close together anyone over about 5ft 6 could not sit straight as the legroom was so limited. Luckily our coach was only about half full (deliberately?) so most people could get a double seat to themselves and sit half-sideways, which I did on the return journey, but the whole experience left me with knee pain and backache. I gave feedback about the coach at the Excursions desk on the ship but the man I spoke to wasn’t interested and gave no apology, just saying the coaches were the best they could get. I don’t know if all the Balinese excursion coaches are like this or if we were just unlucky. Tall people and those with potential knee or back problems beware! Disembarkation was a shambles. Obeying the broadcast announcements, crowds of passengers were coming from all directions and converging near the exit, but there was no-one to direct the integration of the different queues. Once we got off, it was even worse. Luggage collection was ok and Azamara couldn’t help the pouring rain but they could have given port staff a lot more assistance in telling passengers where to go for the different onward options. There was a huge crush of people trying to shelter from the rain and avoid the taxis driving around, and not knowing where they should wait to be collected or how the collecting driver would recognise them and vice versa. Overall we felt that there could have been a lot more information given to passengers. As first-time Azamara cruisers we sometimes felt the staff were only really interested in the repeat passengers. Would we go with Azamara again? Yes, maybe, and we enjoyed our cruise, but it didn’t quite live up to our high expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Having already enjoyed a Baltic cruise on Quest we were looking forward to seeing Singapore to Hongkong on Azamara Journey and we weren’t disappointed. The ship had just the right amount of Christmas decorations and tastefully done. ... Read More
Having already enjoyed a Baltic cruise on Quest we were looking forward to seeing Singapore to Hongkong on Azamara Journey and we weren’t disappointed. The ship had just the right amount of Christmas decorations and tastefully done. The food and service were just as good. We ate in all the restaurants, including Aquafina and Prime C and they were all excellent. The staff are always helpful and cheery. We didn’t catch all the shows but were happy with the ones we saw. The standard of singing, dancing and professionalism from such a small cast is top notch. Personally I wasn’t a fan of the violinist/comedienne. Her playing was superb but her brand of comedy didn’t appeal. However that was just personal taste as lots of others on board raved about her. I’d have been happy just to listen to her wonderful playing. Special mention must be made of Cruise Director Eric. He does a marvelous job and works so hard. As others have mentioned, the cabins are smallish but they have everything you need and are kept spotless by the cabin crew. A few people ate in some of the street markets and had gastro intestinal illness. The ship was immediately put on extra duties. You were not allowed to serve yourself from the buffets and crew were constantly out sanitizing door handles, banisters etc. The Captain kept us constantly updated on the situation and advice on how to avoid catching any infections. For us the best thing about this small ship is it’s capacity to take you to the centre of our destinations and this was nowhere more in evidence than in Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh city. We were docked in the city rather than 2 hours down the river. This combined with extra overnights allowed us maximum time to explore. Would we go with Azamara again? For quality and value for money we probably couldn’t beat it. Read Less
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