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Sail Date: March 2019
This was our seventh Azamara cruise. Rio was on our bucket list. We chose this cruise because we liked Azamara and we had never been to Brazil. Our last Azamara cruise was to the Baltic last August on the Journey. The Pursuit does not ... Read More
This was our seventh Azamara cruise. Rio was on our bucket list. We chose this cruise because we liked Azamara and we had never been to Brazil. Our last Azamara cruise was to the Baltic last August on the Journey. The Pursuit does not live up to the Azamara brand. The food was, at best, mediocre. Windows Cafe served mostly highly spiced Asian and Mexican food at lunch and dinner. The breakfasts were the same every day. Often, the pancakes and waffles were stuck to the serving pan, so they were dried out and inedible. Breakfasts in the main restaurant were better, but you had to ask for things like eggs over medium or poached eggs. The breakfast menu contained a lot of Asian and Indian items, along with some French items, not normal breakfast fare. Service in both Windows and the main dining room was great. On the second day of the cruise, the cruise ship ran out of diet decaffeinated soda. Didn’t matter what brand, they had none. Just Diet Coke. This is supposed to be an upscale cruise line. Almost every day, the vegetables were broccoli and cauliflower. No green beans, no peas, no carrots, just broccoli and cauliflower. Again, this is supposed to be an upscale cruise line. Except for the four singers and the orchestra, the entertainment was pitiful - a tango show that was more slide show than dancing, a mentalist (two times), and the cruise director and his wife singing old standards off key. The Azamazing evening in Montevideo consisted of a 30 minute bus ride to an old theater, where they handed you a glass of wine as you walked in, then took it away four steps and two minutes later when you entered the theater. Waste of wine, although it wasn’t that good anyway. The show consisted of about 40 performers in very colorful costumes in a Carnival type celebration. There was some singing, but mostly it was very loud drumming. Along with flashing lights. Then back to the ship to wait in line for 20 minutes to reboard. We did get nice Carnival masks as souvenirs. The White Night celebration was held despite a forecast of rain. The food was very good. It started raining about 10 minutes into the show, so everyone left. Some folks went to the bar on Deck 10, many others just left. Many times, the entire ship smelled like sewage. I believe they were having problems with the plumbing system. The smell permeated the ship. Three days in a row, late afternoon, there was very loud banging next to our room, where there was an access panel. It lasted almost an hour each time. We took three shore excursions from Azamara. All three were overpriced, probably double what a similar excursion from a dockside purveyor would have cost. At Paraty, the tender ride was 40 minutes. The town, a UNESCO site has very uneven cobblestone streets, and walking was difficult. Many people went back to the ship after a few minutes trying to negotiate the ship. Several of the ports were tendered. The crew did an excellent job getting passengers on and off the tenders. The Le Club Voyage Representative never even bothered to welcome us on board, although it was our seventh Azamara cruise and we are also Celebrity Elite Plus. Azamara did nothing to recognize brand loyalty. The Guest Relations staff was not very helpful and took their time accommodating passengers. We waited five minutes for two Guest Relations Representatives to help us, because they were trying to align a printout on special paper. Apparently, the printer had more priority than the paying passengers. If the Pursuit represents the future of Azamara, we are finished with the cruise line. Both Royal Caribbean and Celebrity treat their guests better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last ... Read More
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last September). Overall Pursuit is a great ship and we had an amazing time. However we liked the Riviera better. Here is why. The service is excellent, comparable to Oceania. But sometimes things seem a bit less organized. For example, some of the excustions were delayed 15-20 minutes. Never happened on Oceania. Also there are some lines when leaving the ship and coming back. Nothing major, not even close to what you see on big ships, but still slightly longer waiting times than Oceania. The dinner in the MDR is great, but not as good as Oceania. The open seating works very well for us, never had to wait for a table. The buffet is disappointing. Good quality, but selection is pretty limited. It is not bad overall, but few levels below Oceania. The buffet area itself is also very small and feels a bit crowded at times. Internet is probably the worst we experienced so far on cruise ships. 300kbps is not what you would expect from a luxury line in 2019. It is also pretty expensive at $20/day. We paid last year $10/day on Princess (and the speed was 20 times faster). And we sailed on older ships with much higher internet speeds. Major disappointment. Spa does not have couple massage. This is the first time on any ship that we were not able to do a couple massage. The massage itself was very good. Cabin on Oceania was small, here it's even smaller. Not a big deal, we don't spend much time in the cabin. Entertainment is mediocre at best. They don't have a real theater like on larger ships, just a big lounge with chairs. No angle, so if you don't sit on few first rows, the view is pretty limited. They cannot really provide a good evening entertainment when there is no real theater. Also not too many daily activities, and the ship feels a bit sleepy at times. The pool area is small and feels a bit crowded. Usually no problem to get a chair, except for sea days. Hot tubs are smaller than usual and not hot enough. Service is fantastic as you can expect from a luxury line. Staff is very friendly. Very limited food options. If you want to have a snack after 9pm, the only option is room service. Dress code is relaxing, no formal nights, which is perfect for us. The azamazing event was very nice and well organized. Great atmosphere. The show itself felt a bit amateur. The pre even buffet was very crowded and poorly organized. White night was nice, but we came late from our tour in Sao Paulo, and no seats available on deck 9. They simply cannot accommodate everyone on the white night because the pool area is not big enough. Why to do white night on port day like Sao Paulo when the ship is at port till 9pm, and not sea day or port with shorter port time? Excursions were another disappointment. While we appreciate smaller groups, some of them were poorly organized, and some guides were not professional. I believe Azamara made a business decision to focus on certain things and ignore other things. Their customers obviously don't care about internet, or certain daily activities like dance classes, zumba, music at the pool etc. Overall great ship, great service, good food, but we prefer Oceania Riviera. Both lines are still better than mainstream ships from Celebrity or Princess which feel much more crowded, with longer lines. But in my opinion, Riviera offers the best of both worlds: still a small ship, which still feels much less crowded, but at the same time, much better food, more activities, and better entertainment. And it actually has a better crew/passengers ratio than Azamara, so service is at least as good if not better. We did appreciate the excellent service, less crowded buffet, smaller groups on shore excursions, no lines etc. compared to the big ships. I guess we just expected better from Azamara. We might sail with Azamara again if the itinerary and the price are right, but all other things equal, we would definitely prefer Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to experience South America. With one exception (Paraty) the ports of call did not disappoint. The Azamazing evening was a Carneval show in Montevideo. It was well organized and great entertainment. We bought the indulgence ... Read More
We wanted to experience South America. With one exception (Paraty) the ports of call did not disappoint. The Azamazing evening was a Carneval show in Montevideo. It was well organized and great entertainment. We bought the indulgence package which was well worth the extra money. We also got upgraded to a suite without asking ! That alone should make it five stars but there were some downsides as well. - One of the ‘guest relations’ staff turned out to be anything but. The others were great. - Because we had a lot of OBC, we booked some tours. The ‘gaucho’ tour in Uruguay was disappointing as we went to a dairy and crop farm. Talk about false advertising. - We had butler although he did not really enhance the experience. - The indulgence package included the specialty restaurants. However, it’s not open seating and booking something was very though. The attitude of the person doing the booking did not help. - The app needs work. It’s not updated and does not match the daily program. There is a lot of paper that could be saved...... The food never disappoints and the staff go out of there way to please you. The entertainment was solid and there are plenty of activities. The specialty restaurants are also top notch in food and service as was the Chef’s table. The staff was great in helping us transfer to another room for next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
After reading some of the reviews on this website, we were worried what we were in for! Check in and boarding in Buenos Aires was so smooth and as soon as we were on board an announcement was made that all cabins were ready to occupy. ... Read More
After reading some of the reviews on this website, we were worried what we were in for! Check in and boarding in Buenos Aires was so smooth and as soon as we were on board an announcement was made that all cabins were ready to occupy. When we walked into our Aft Owners Suite we could not help but smile. Yes it is an arm and a leg but soooo worth it. We had a lounge, cloakroom, bedroom, a large bathroom with a walk in shower and plenty of storage. A fabulous balcony wraps itself around outside with two sun loungers and a table with four chairs. We were looked after superbly by our Butler, Padam and our attentive room attendants, Rajesh and Russel who kept our suite spotless and well stocked. This was our first Azamara cruise and it will not be our last. Being in a suite offers up perks such as quality dining in either Prime C or Aqualina each night where the food is excellent. You also get afternoon tea delivered to your suite if you wish. We had a tour of the bridge with the legendary runner that is Captain Carl Smith which was great fun and also a private dinner with about 20 other guests and four senior crew members in a fabulous room with Michelin quality food, what a great night. I sat next to the Cruise Director, Tony, who was excellent company, not to mention an excellent singer, as is his wife. There are plenty of quiet spaces on the ship and you are never too far away from a coffee, a beer or an ice cream, whatever takes your fancy! We found the breakfast in the Windows restaurant to be of excellent quality and there was plenty of it, Having tables outside is a nice option if the weather allows and the service was always with a smile. I have seen people comment that breakfast is the same every day, well of course it is, it is the one meal of the day where there is very little that can be changed, only your personal choice changes daily. You can virtually have anything you want! We did our own thing with regard to shore excursions, preferring to go ashore when we wanted and have a “mooch” about on our own which was great. The trips did seem very expensive and all seem to leave at about 8.30 in the morning - we are not early risers on holiday! All staff on board are very friendly and work hard to ensure your cruise is memorable for the right reasons. We only saw a couple of the shows on board, the tango and the Rio carnival dancers were amazing. It was bad weather for the White Night but it was effortlessly moved into the Living Room and the party was great. We did not use the pool facilities, preferring to use our balcony when the weather was good enough to sit out. I had a delightful manicure and pedicure in the Spa and also invested in a few Elemis products to use up our onboard credit. There are also a couple of high end shops with special offers on each day. The gym is light and airy with everything you need. They also offered health and fitness talks and a few classes. I just used the machines and the free weights which was enough. All together, we were delighted with Azamara. We heard a few grumbles about waiting for a tender to go ashore but it was only a question of waiting 10 minutes or so. What’s the rush, you are on holiday! Nearly everyone we spoke to had been on several Azamara Cruises and the clientele on board were mainly high end, well travelled couples and all spoke highly of the Pursuit. There was one downside to our fantastic suite on deck 8 which was the dragging noise from the chairs on the above deck which was the outside area of the Windows restaurant. Unfortunately, I do not know what the solution is for this, maybe Azamara should investigate some form of disc on the bottom of the chairs, just a thought! Thanks to all in the Pursuit for a fantastic time, we will return and in the meantime, we wish you all safe travels! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first time on Azamara, we have done 20 cruises in the past usually 2-3 week itineraries. In the last 6 months we have tried several new cruise lines including Crystal, Seabourn and Viking after primarily cruising on the main ... Read More
This was our first time on Azamara, we have done 20 cruises in the past usually 2-3 week itineraries. In the last 6 months we have tried several new cruise lines including Crystal, Seabourn and Viking after primarily cruising on the main lines of NCL, Celebrity and Hal. Originally we only booked the 17 night Transatlantic but managed to find a good last minute deal while in South America and added the 11 night Buenos Aires to Rio preceding leg. Overall we had a wonderful time with the weather being mostly great (except on white nights), the crossing being smooth and the crew and service being excellent. Embarkation in BA was very easy and super quick (in contrast to our X cruise from the same port which was chaotic) due to the small number of passengers who seemed to arrive spread out and the large number off staff in the terminal. On boarding we were greeted with champagne (the same terrible stuff all the cruise lines seem to be using now). It was immediately apparent how friendly the crew is. The ship is new to Azamara and one of the seemingly famous R class ships. They have done a great job with their refurbishment in most areas as the interiors looked lovely and new. The ship is probably the smallest we have been on and has a small boutique hotel feel. The movement was noticeable, especially on the first leg and seemed strange as the sea seemed relatively calm. The captain told me it was because the stabilisers don't work all that well when sailing slowly as we were, it was noticeably better on the crossing. We have been enjoying the small ships but did find this to be a little less spacious then the slightly larger vessels of Crystal and Viking where the extra space more than offsets for the slightly larger amount of passengers. The highlights of the ship were the library space and the crows nest however it was noticeable in bad weather conditions that internal public space can be difficult to find. The less favourable aspects of the ship was the lack of a full promenade for walking but Azamara has cleverly made the top deck above the pool an area exclusively for walking (something that was lacking on Seabourn). The partial promenades are an excellent place for lounging and watching the ocean. Speaking of lounging, the sun loungers are the best we have come across - the cushioning was impressive. There is a lot of comfortable furniture around the ship and it is obvious that Azamara is aimed at those who mostly like to relax. Fellow passengers were very friendly and the vibe is definitely casual and was noticeably more relaxed than some of the other premium lines, this suited us perfectly. It seemed the majority of passengers were either regular Azamara or Celebrity cruisers. It is definitely a social atmosphere and meeting fellow passengers was easy. At first it seemed nightlife was non existent until we discovered the disco was rocking every night on the first leg. On the second leg there was still a lot of activity in the evening but it tended to be more towards the Den around the piano player. Cabins - we had 2 different ocean view cabins. The first was on deck 6 and was an obstructed view. The room was an unusual shape. It was quite small but with some imagination the storage was plentiful. The bed was super comfortable and the linens and towels clearly new but the room had no couch. The shape of the room meant that getting changed was easy and you did not tend to obstruct one another. Liana our attendant was phenomenal. Our second cabin was your more typical layout located on deck 4 with unobstructed view. It was a larger cabin but we had to have the coffee table removed as it blocked 90% of the passage into the room. While this room was preferable it was noticeable that we tended to get more tangled when trying to get ready. One slight annoyance of this location is that the corridor was often blocked when in port which meant long walks to get back to public areas. The major issue with both cabins were the infamous showers. Small would be an understatement and add to this the uncomfortable feeling of shower curtains and it was not a pleasant experience. Often I resorted to having a shower at the gym facilities after having a steam. There is probably little Azamara could do to fix this but it does feel noticeably less luxurious compared to its small ship rivals. Similarly on this negative note was the in room entertainment system, incredibly poor. No on demand offerings at all and even the cruise ship information such as maps and cameras seemed very old technology (how does this happen on a new ship?) Dining - the ship has the MDR, buffet, poolside patio and 2 specialty restaurants. The MDR was a lovely but extremely busy room. The breakfast offered here was the best I have come across with interesting alternatives such as shashuka and asian inspired dishes and the breakfast steak was one of the best I have had. Dinner was generally good with a large menu with plenty of variety. We found that the daily specials tended to be the best along with simple meat dishes. The quality of meat was good relative to other lines, fish was hit or miss and more exotic dishes tended to fail. The buffet was good without being great, the freshly made sandwiches at lunchtime being the highlight and the daily roasts. The outdoor eating area is lovely. We did not eat dinner here but it was a different theme each night. The patio did the usual burgers but had a nice salad bar and at night was a good casual alternative focusing primarily on meat dishes. The specialty restaurants are a steak house and an Italian, $30 for each. The food and service in each was excellent and a noticeably better experience than the mdr which is not always the case. It was noticeable that there is a lack of asian options onboard compared to other small lines. Room service was very good but the inability to see the mdr menu on the tv or app is ridiculous and means you have to leave your room. Bars/drinks - there are plenty of bars for a small ship with the dedicated coffee bar being very popular. The main bars are the Den and Living room which are both great. The restaurants all have small bars as well. Bar service was very good and we rarely waited too long. Quality of drinks was average. Much better than on Seabourn but well short of the standard we experienced on Crystal. Similar to Viking where it depended a little on the bartender. Azamara includes basic drinks which is generally good and helps add to the social atmosphere. For me the major problem was with the drinks packages and it was noticeable this was frustrating for a large number of fellow guests. The premium package purports to offer premium beers and spirits. In the case of beer this is not true it simply adds more of the usual standard brands, there was nothing resembling a craft beer and there was no pilsener or pale ale at all. Again it could be debated whether the additional spirits are premium. The ultimate package adds "premium" wines and water and some more spirits. However, of the 8 wines 3 were missing, of the 6 scotches 3 were missing. There is no dessert wines at all included - I have never seen this, they would not even include a cheap chilean option from the menu. Onboard management complained of supply issues in South America and a lack of authority to adjust what is included. If this is the case Azamara head office should be sued for false advertising, if onboard management cannot adjust what is included then everything must be available. Further to these problems obtaining a glass of the ultimate wines in the restaurant regularly took between 15 and 40 minutes which was unacceptable. As time went on and complaints became more frequent the sommeliers (only 3 on the whole ship) began using alternative brands and stocking the nearby bars but why the wines are not put in the restaurant makes no sense. Viking has the same system and yet was never a problem as they simply stored the wine next to the inclusive options. On a small number of occasions I was poured included wine instead of the premium and twice witnessed standard spirits being used in my cocktails, this is unacceptable when you have paid extra for the better products. This was my major gripe on the cruise and noticeably cheapened the entire cruise experience. It felt like we were constantly having to discuss problems related to premium beverages. Azamara would be wise to change to one premium drinks package and have the products readily at hand especially as it spent considerable time and man power marketing the packages! Activities - trivia, trivia and more trivia - an overload. We love participating but surely a little more variety of activities might be appropriate and more variety of questions for those on b2b's. The first cruise was port intensive so there was little in the way of onboard activities and we found the port lecturer to be rude and uninformative. The second cruise was packed with trivias and lecture, we loved the art classes but could not participate in other activities as they were all scheduled at the same time. Also the timetable never changed day to day which led to a feeling of reliving the same day over and over. There was a number of fitness classes that were enjoyable although the instructor was not inspiring. The ship has table tennis and shuffleboard however due to location both are impractical for use. Entertainment - hit or miss. There was some particularly memorable performances such as the local tango act, the capoeira dance group, Amanda the ACD show and the ballroom dancers. However the production shows were simple (band was good though), the comedian was racist and on a couple of nights there was simply a bad movie. We had one Azamazing evening which was excellent and logistically impressive although we were the last back and only just made dinner time. Both white nights were hit by poor weather, the first simply moved indoors and the party continued on the second however the entertainment did not follow indoors and it fizzled in comparison. We found the CD to not be personable, he often walked around the ship but didn't seem to mingle much with guests. Strangely his wife did a number of performances but apparently was not an employee or contractor - we found this strange and pondered whether there could be an insurance problem in the unlikely event something went wrong. Also seemed strange to give so much time to her when Amanda the ACD was clearly much more talented and enjoyable and we even noticed that on white night the employed singers would have to miss out on a microphone in lieu of her participating. On the first leg the ACD Lee was a lovely guy who was very personable with the guests. The Trio band used in the bars were clearly talented but the set was so old fashioned, you were lucky if you got to hear something from the 60s. While we are in our early 40s and younger than most on the ship the general music of the ship was way too old and it was noticeable that few people danced until a modern song was played. Also the DJ in the disco did not have wifi so it was impossible for him to play requested songs not on his list. The piano player had a great knowledge but seemed to be lacking confidence when it came to singing although he improved markedly on the second leg. Service - the highlight of the ship. Probably the most friendly crew we have encountered (2nd to Crystal on overall performance). I guess service needs to be at a premium to balance the lower quality hardware.but they definitely delivered. Many of the crew remembered our names quickly and our preferences. Officers were more visible on the 2nd leg but often you had to approach them to actually interact. Disembarkation was earlier than other cruise lines. Overall a relaxing cruise and very good value for money compared to main lines. The vibe felt similar to celebrity but obviously much more intimate. Crew friendliness is their main strength. Personally we like a slightly larger ship (900-1000 passengers such as Crystal and Viking) with a greater variety of activities but can see why Azamara has such a loyal following. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
I have sailed on Norwegian, Holland America, Princess, Viking, Cunard, Celebrity and this was the most disappointing cruise of those listed. The pricepoint was similar to Viking but the overall experience was not up to that stand The ... Read More
I have sailed on Norwegian, Holland America, Princess, Viking, Cunard, Celebrity and this was the most disappointing cruise of those listed. The pricepoint was similar to Viking but the overall experience was not up to that stand The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly. We were separated from the masses joining the other ship in port and were ushered onto the ship with little delay. Cabin: Rather small, 2 people cannot navigate around the bed at the same time. Balcony also narrow and small. Bathroom very small and shower is very tiny & uncomfortable. Difficult to get cold water. Service: Staff are very friendly but service is spotty. Service in the Discovery Restaurant is very good, as was our cabin steward. It was difficult to get service in the Living Room between 4 and 5 p.m. The servers are trained to pick up empty dishes but are not trained to keep an eye out for passengers when they arrive in their area. Dining: Food and service was excellent. However, hours were inadequate. Breakfast ended at 10 a.m. Lunch did not start until 11:30 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m. We complained about the hours and an officer found me on the ship to address my concerns, which was impressive. Excursions: The shore excursion to Montevideo, Uruguay was a disappointment. The guide had little command of English, and she was ill prepared. We asked her for the itinerary and she said that she didn’t know. The lunch we were given was disgusting – the filet mignon was a thin breaded strip of beef. Not much effort was put into explaining all the sites. We were left to our own devices at the art museum. Entertainment: Entertainment was very good. The Azmazing night at the Solis Theater in Montevideo was excellent but very short. The Azmazing Night and the Officers' Barbeque were excellent. Enrichment lecture with Dr. Palmer was dull and boring. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
It is inexplicable why Azamara, when they drydocked the new to them Pursuit, did not add a pool heater. Although the pools on all the Old Renaissance ships are small and oddly shaped with their two whirlpools “pinching” the pool in the ... Read More
It is inexplicable why Azamara, when they drydocked the new to them Pursuit, did not add a pool heater. Although the pools on all the Old Renaissance ships are small and oddly shaped with their two whirlpools “pinching” the pool in the middle, Oceania made sure to add pool heaters, Azamara apparently cheaper out leaving the pool only functional for most when it is in the tropics. When we were quite surprised and commented to the in service staff we got shrugs and told that is how all the Azamara ships are. So if swimming is important to you as it is to us, beware you probably should choose a different cruise line Having said this, the staff are generally good, the staff/guest ratio and cabins fine (although like all R class ships on the small side. ,. Although I have heard from others that the food on Oceania ships are better, having been on both, I would rate them about the same with the exception of the smaller specialty restaurants on Oceania are free whereas the specialty restaurants on Azamara cost $30 each.3 for $70. On the other hand they have one free outing on shore which Oceania lacks....so on balance....unless you are a swimmer, or like the more frequent activities scheduled regularly on Oceania cruises or simply want to stretch out in a properly heated pool I would rate the two lines about the same...at least in their R class ships...with an edge to Oceania’s slightly larger Marina/Riviera and an edge to them if you are on a longer voyage as the costs of specialty dining in Azamara would more than offset one night’s activity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Heading north to Brazil from Buenos Aires on the 2nd leg of our cruise, we made another stop at Montevideo. This allowed us to explore some of the museums such as the Government House in depth with exhibits of Uruguayan history. The ... Read More
Heading north to Brazil from Buenos Aires on the 2nd leg of our cruise, we made another stop at Montevideo. This allowed us to explore some of the museums such as the Government House in depth with exhibits of Uruguayan history. The “Azamazing Evening” tonight was at the Teatro Solis – one of the early opera houses in South America. The show was developed and staged just for Azamara. Our next stop was Santos – the seaport for San Paulo and the largest city in the western hemisphere. We decided not to take the two hour drive to San Paulo and saw the local sights in Santos including the coffee auction house (coffee was the major export here in the past) and the funicular to the former casino atop Monte Serrat. (Gambling was outlawed in the 40's.) We stopped at Ilhabela (“beautiful island”) once a hideout of smugglers and pirates. We stopped at the Agua Branca waterfall that once supplied electricity to the region. Our next stop was Buzios – a beach peninsula not far from Rio originally a shipment point for gold to Portugal and later frequented by Bridget Bardot and her Brazilian boyfriend. It was here that the paparazzi spotted her and put the place on the jet set map. Also saw where South America and Africa split into separate continents hundreds of million years ago We spent three days in Rio de Janeiro during the final days of Carnival. After docking in perhaps the most scenic harbor in the world, in addition to the mandatory sights – Sugar Loaf mountain, Corcovado (Christ the Redeemer), Ipanema and Copacabana beaches – we did tour the center of the city. The highlight was the final night of Carnival at the Sambadrome – a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed. Starting at 9 p.m. and continuing until 7 a.m., seven samba schools compete for the top prize. Each group consisting of up to four or five thousand people have an hour to parade. Each group has several elaborate floats, marching bands and dancers. We then sailed back to Buenos Aires for another day of touring on our own through downtown and stopping at an art museum in Recoleta. As beautiful as Buenos Aires still is, it is sad to see the gradual decline even in the last ten years. Rampant inflation has caused closing of the zoo. Many rich in Recoleta can’t afford to garage their cars so they park them on the streets. A newspaper headline noted that inflation had been 7% in a recent week. We then flew to Iguazu Falls near the border of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. It consists of about 270 mostly double cataract falls stretching for around a mile. From the Argentinean side, it took all day to see the myriad viewpoints, primarily looking down at the falls. The second day was spent on the Brazilian side looking up at the highlights such as Devils Throat. Compared with Niagara Falls (Canada & US - short) and Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe Africa – too misty to see at high water) ), Iguazu tops the list. Flew home from Iguazu to Miami via San Paulo. Some final thoughts. Although it is always nice to see Buenos Aires, the highlights of this trip were the natural beauty of the Chilean fjords (go before the glaciers melt!) and Carnival in Rio (the most elaborate one in the world). Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
After 2 cruises last year with Azamara Journey from Sydney to Singapore and with Azamara Pursuit from Athen to Rome we opted on a cruise from Santiago to Buenos Aires with Azamara Pursuit. Overall we had a very good cruise and the route ... Read More
After 2 cruises last year with Azamara Journey from Sydney to Singapore and with Azamara Pursuit from Athen to Rome we opted on a cruise from Santiago to Buenos Aires with Azamara Pursuit. Overall we had a very good cruise and the route from Santiago and its itinearies onto Buenos Aires was filled with exiting experiences. We can sum up as follows: - Ship is newly refurbished and overall quality is good - disembarkment was very smooth while embarkation took some time - Cabin is small but has what you need with good service and daily cleaning - Dining is very good and very pleased with service in all restaurants - our favourite is the main dining restaurant Discovery - did go to Aqualina and Prime C and this time Aqualina was better than Prime C both on food and service - entertainment was over average this time and we loved the trio in the livingroom - overall service is very good as overall ambiance - we did just a few excursions and these were ok - captain and management can be more visible and can learn from captain Johannes on Azamara Journey Overall a great experience despite the fact that there still are rooms for improvement. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We just completed two back-to-back cruises, the Chilean Fjords and Carnival in Rio, from San Antonio to Buenos Aires. We are an aged couple, in our seventies (and lots of similar cruisers on both journeys) and my wife has a mobility ... Read More
We just completed two back-to-back cruises, the Chilean Fjords and Carnival in Rio, from San Antonio to Buenos Aires. We are an aged couple, in our seventies (and lots of similar cruisers on both journeys) and my wife has a mobility problem (not many similar couples on the second journey). We’re veteran cruisers and we’ve been on the Azamara Quest six times. But this was the first time on the Pursuit. First some words on the itinerary. The Chilean fjords are spectacular, and especially El Brujo glacier – better, I find, than equivalent sights in New Zealand or Alaska but we’ve not done Norway yet. The Carnival in Rio (where the ship had a double overnight during the carnival season) is a singular event: the Sambadrome parade experience fantastic, so full of colour, unique sights, amazing floats and costumes, interesting bodies, much excitement and pleasure. Both journeys were troubled by bad weather – wind, rain, storms – that even led to port cancellations but the captain Carl Smith and Azamara compensated with other ports (unlike our recent experience on Oceania which cancelled two ports and offered nothing else). This is a crucial difference between the two similar cruise brands. The Pursuit is much like the Quest, not surprising of course because they both originated as “R” ships, commissioned for Renaissance, a line that went bankrupt after 9/11. (In fact we were on an “R” ship a week before the company’s demise.) The Pursuit is stylish and tasteful – I relish the marvelous ceiling (an original from Renaissance days) in the Drawing Room (really the library) and the Dali replicas and art work scattered about. The ship is well-maintained, clean and the staff work hard to keep public areas organized and pleasing. The Pursuit is small, under 800 passengers (and it wasn’t full for the second journey). We used a mobile wheelchair to navigate the ship. Distances are short. Elevators (two banks) work well, rarely delayed or overcrowded as on the bigger ships. But people in a similar situation ought to realize there are difficulties. Corridors are narrow and can occasionally be blocked by cleaning equipment. The joints between segments of the ship result in a number of raised metal ridges in the corridors that don’t like a transport chair. The doors to the outside are not automatic (unlike on say the newer Oceania Riviera) and the surface is raised – getting in and out requires effort and produces bumps. Likewise getting off or on the ship is a chore: the gangway is never an easy travel and can be steep or long. That said, staff are very helpful and always assisted when available and necessary. I should add that other passengers were also ready to help, and understanding. We had two different staterooms on the trip. On the first leg, that was a restricted ocean-view cabin – we looked out on a lifeboat. The cabin was small, dark, well-organized, with a tiny but adequate bathroom. Space was tight, in the room, on the toilet, in the shower – bed was big though. The second journey we had an accessible ocean-view: much larger, spacious bathroom, more light, a full view, nicely furnished, the same comfortable bed. Clearly the second room was far superior, and especially for anyone with mobility difficulties. Wi-Fi in both rooms was excellent. We had unlimited packages. I found the service much better than on Oceania Riviera or various Princess ships. Indeed the Pursuit had the best and fastest internet I’ve enjoyed on any cruise (including my previous trips on the Quest). One of the cardinal virtues of the Azamara experience is the ambience of their cruise ships, the Quest and for us now the Pursuit. Staff are polite, pleasant, helpful, and efficient. There's very little upselling, little promotion, the bane of the mega-ships, and what there is generally tasteful and avoidable. Captain Smith was always engaging in his assorted announcements. Ryszard Gusmann (hotel director) and German Castro (guest relations manager) were especially helpful – both of these individuals we knew from the Quest. Tony Markey (cruise director) was congenial in person and on the tv, though I did tire of his daily update of events already listed in the newsletter. (In fact if you stay in your stateroom announcements are usually not intrusive, unless you tune in to the local tv channel). Housekeeping staff were conscientious and efficient and obliging. One shore excursion individual, rushing to do her job, nonetheless took the time to explain patiently and carefully how we could find the transport we needed to reach the Sambadrome. Waiters in the restaurant were attentive (by contrast on Oceania Riviera you could go dry – no wine – waiting for the wine tyrant to resolve your plight). In fact service in all of the restaurants was superb. Only once did I come across an angry soul, and he was unhappy with Azamara, not its passengers: even he served me well. In short the Pursuit, like the Quest, is a friendly and gracious place where the staff at all levels seek to make the passengers comfortable and happy. Personally I find Azamara excels here, better than Crystal Symphony where service is also superb. Enrichment and entertainment (with a few significant exceptions) is not impressive however, and certainly not by comparison with Holland America (great lecturers) and Princess (usually quality production shows). I attended a first few lectures of the speakers but found the topics uninteresting and so too their presentations. I was particularly struck by the absence of a series of lectures on the past and present of carnival (though one was announced in the newsletter but never delivered!), since that was the theme of the second journey. We missed the various singers because, well, we’ve been too often bored by second-rate talent before. There was an excellent performance by a troupe of folkloric dancers of Chilean styles on the first journey: I’ve always found Azamara does bring first-rate local talent, authentic and engaging, on its voyages. We made the mistake of going to one comedy-magician show, Phil and Philippa Cass: found it awful, banal and vulgar - though, to be fair, the audience appeared to enjoy the performance. Standout acts we did enjoy were Nestor Santurino, guitar master, and dancers Dima & Sasha on the first journey, and the superb Tango Cervila on the second, as good tango as I’ve seen on the streets, cafes, and stages of Buenos Aires. The AzAmazing evenings, both in Montevideo, both the same carnival theme and the same performers but different venues, these were as usual amazing indeed, a captivating display of talent, full of imagination and colour and song, drums, and dance – plus the whole exercise of transferring and organizing the mass excursion of passengers was so well-done. We missed the white night parties (always lively), however, because these are no longer suitable for a couple like us – we can’t dance any more so why bother? – but we did secure some of the justly famous crepes offered at that event. Which brings me to the question of food. The cuisine on the Pursuit was as varied and excellent (with a few exceptions) as on the Quest. Only the Windows café, the evening themed buffets, I thought less appealing: the Quest offered fabulous seafood dishes, prepared as requested, and such didn’t exist on the Pursuit. Nor did I find the buffet offerings very enticing, though certainly varied and popular with other guests. I was especially struck by the extent of the menu and the quality of the offerings of the main dining room: tasty escargot and most appetizers, delicious soups (seafood, pea, gaspacho, etc.), a fine caesar salad, tasty steaks and seafood, a very good cheesecake (unusual in cruise fare). Fish dishes were not always so great, taste too mild, but still decent. I did miss the lack of pasta on the menu though. The Patio had fine burgers and dogs for lunch and good steaks for supper. Prime C, the specialty steakhouse, offered a superb ribeye (indeed all the steak dishes were very good) and a super swordfish steak. Aqualina, the other speciality restaurant, I found less compelling – the dover sole on offer was no match to that available on Oceania Riviera's French restaurant. And there’s no equivalent to Oceania's or Crystal's fabulous speciality Asian restaurants. But there was so much good food available (including through room service which was especially appealing for breakfast) that any gourmet – or glutton – could find the requisite quality and abundance. Always we were served wine we liked, either sparkling or Chilean, as part of the standard package: indeed the Chilean cabernet sauvignon on offer was exceptionally fine. Finally as to shore excursions. They are much too expensive, compared to Princess or Holland America, and lack the variety of those cruise lines. One scheduled excursion we booked on the Falklands was cancelled because weather cancelled the port. Another, viewing sea lions off Punta del Este, was too short and the playful beasts too far away. By contrast the excursion to the Sambadrome, if super-expensive (we booked the box seats), was worthwhile. First of all, it was very well-organized, and under chaotic conditions. The tour staff Azamara used were especially solicitous to the needs of clients, and in particular looked after my wife and I – they ensured she had an excellent view of that extraordinary parade of colour and excitement. So the price was exorbitant but the experience was one of those life memorable events cruise lines like to hype. Still, overall, Azamara needs to look again at its offers and pricing which can’t compare to what, say, other cruise lines supply, never mind non-cruise commercial tour vendors. Still, altogether another wonderful experience. Read Less
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