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3 Helpful Votes
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last ... Read More
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last September). Overall Pursuit is a great ship and we had an amazing time. However we liked the Riviera better. Here is why. The service is excellent, comparable to Oceania. But sometimes things seem a bit less organized. For example, some of the excustions were delayed 15-20 minutes. Never happened on Oceania. Also there are some lines when leaving the ship and coming back. Nothing major, not even close to what you see on big ships, but still slightly longer waiting times than Oceania. The dinner in the MDR is great, but not as good as Oceania. The open seating works very well for us, never had to wait for a table. The buffet is disappointing. Good quality, but selection is pretty limited. It is not bad overall, but few levels below Oceania. The buffet area itself is also very small and feels a bit crowded at times. Internet is probably the worst we experienced so far on cruise ships. 300kbps is not what you would expect from a luxury line in 2019. It is also pretty expensive at $20/day. We paid last year $10/day on Princess (and the speed was 20 times faster). And we sailed on older ships with much higher internet speeds. Major disappointment. Spa does not have couple massage. This is the first time on any ship that we were not able to do a couple massage. The massage itself was very good. Cabin on Oceania was small, here it's even smaller. Not a big deal, we don't spend much time in the cabin. Entertainment is mediocre at best. They don't have a real theater like on larger ships, just a big lounge with chairs. No angle, so if you don't sit on few first rows, the view is pretty limited. They cannot really provide a good evening entertainment when there is no real theater. Also not too many daily activities, and the ship feels a bit sleepy at times. The pool area is small and feels a bit crowded. Usually no problem to get a chair, except for sea days. Hot tubs are smaller than usual and not hot enough. Service is fantastic as you can expect from a luxury line. Staff is very friendly. Very limited food options. If you want to have a snack after 9pm, the only option is room service. Dress code is relaxing, no formal nights, which is perfect for us. The azamazing event was very nice and well organized. Great atmosphere. The show itself felt a bit amateur. The pre even buffet was very crowded and poorly organized. White night was nice, but we came late from our tour in Sao Paulo, and no seats available on deck 9. They simply cannot accommodate everyone on the white night because the pool area is not big enough. Why to do white night on port day like Sao Paulo when the ship is at port till 9pm, and not sea day or port with shorter port time? Excursions were another disappointment. While we appreciate smaller groups, some of them were poorly organized, and some guides were not professional. I believe Azamara made a business decision to focus on certain things and ignore other things. Their customers obviously don't care about internet, or certain daily activities like dance classes, zumba, music at the pool etc. Overall great ship, great service, good food, but we prefer Oceania Riviera. Both lines are still better than mainstream ships from Celebrity or Princess which feel much more crowded, with longer lines. But in my opinion, Riviera offers the best of both worlds: still a small ship, which still feels much less crowded, but at the same time, much better food, more activities, and better entertainment. And it actually has a better crew/passengers ratio than Azamara, so service is at least as good if not better. We did appreciate the excellent service, less crowded buffet, smaller groups on shore excursions, no lines etc. compared to the big ships. I guess we just expected better from Azamara. We might sail with Azamara again if the itinerary and the price are right, but all other things equal, we would definitely prefer Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
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
4 Helpful Votes
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
4 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
3 Helpful Votes
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
4 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We returned at the end of last month after a brilliant two weeks on Azamara Pursuit. We chose this trip as we had always wanted to visit the Chilean Fiords and it was on our favourite cruise line. We found that overall the food was an ... Read More
We returned at the end of last month after a brilliant two weeks on Azamara Pursuit. We chose this trip as we had always wanted to visit the Chilean Fiords and it was on our favourite cruise line. We found that overall the food was an improvement on previous cruises and compliment the chefs. It was always hot and well presented as well as delicious. Sometimes the portions were over generous but we coped. Our cabin was a balcony on deck seven which we prefer and it was kept spotless by Louis and his assistant. They were unobtrusive but there whenever you needed anything. The entertainment was as usual fairly low key but a great improvement on our last Azamara voyage. However you do not choose this line if you want non stop activities. The Azamazing evening in Montevideo was a real highlight and very well organised giving us a flavour of carnival. Unfortunately, due to weather conditions, we were not able to call at the Falklands which was a great disappointment especially to the British many of whom had booked this in order to visit this port. That is life and the Captain took the right decision judging by the storm that hit Buenos Aires a few days later. Other ports were as expected though again weather conditions curtailed some excursions. One issue was the high price of excursions especially at the substituted port of Puerto Madryn. Sea days we a delight -sailing through the Fiords ten the Beagle Channel. Glaciers and volcanos were everywhere. The best thing about Azamara is the staff from the Captain down. We often met Captain Carl around the ship and found him very likeable and efficient. It is hard to single anyone out as the service is really excellent but other staff that deserve a mention are Lee, the assistant Cruise Director and Tony, his boss. They were both lovely people and a credit to the company. We cannot wait to see them in Plymouth next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This five week journey started in Santiago Chile. This capital city has a mixture of old and modern architecture and green open spaces with the Andes in view. We stayed in the vibrant Lastarria area for two nights, the first day driving ... Read More
This five week journey started in Santiago Chile. This capital city has a mixture of old and modern architecture and green open spaces with the Andes in view. We stayed in the vibrant Lastarria area for two nights, the first day driving through historical and residential districts and rode the cable car to get an overall view of the city. The next day we toured the wine country traveling to the coastal cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. Valparaiso topography is similar to San Francisco. Vina del Mar is an affluent resort city and has one of the original moai statues from the original inhabitants of Easter Island. The following day we drive to Port Antonio to board the Azamara Pursuit – our home for the next month. There were a number of sea days to rest between the various ports of call. Sailing along the Chilean coast we first stopped at Puerto Montt with a tour of the Chilean lake district starting at Puerto Varas on the shores of Lake Llanquihue with the snow capped Osorno Volcano in the background. German settlers developed this area. Our next stop was Port Chacabuco – the gateway to the Ansen region of northern Patagonia. We traveled through glacier carved valleys to the inland capital city of Coyhaique. We then sailed through the Chilean fjords where majestic blue ice glaciers meet the ocean. This is an inside passage with many inlets, islands and navigable channels before arriving at Punta Arenas, our last port in Chile. Here we visited a reconstruction of the fort protecting the Strait of Magellan from claims be other countries. We then sailed through the 150 mile Beagle Channel named for Charles Darwin’s HMS Beagle. This channel runs between Chile and Argentina with numerous glaciers. Here we saw global warming in action with a stream of ice melt flowing from under a glacier. You can see the recent decrease in the size of the glaciers by looking at the exposed sides that have not yet formed any vegetation. At the end of the channel, we arrived at Ushuaia – originally a penal colony - located at the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego National Park. This area is known for wind, wind and more wind. Luckily our Captain was able to arrive in the middle of the night before a major wind storm approaching hurricane force. In the morning the wind was so strong that another cruise ship made six attempts to dock before the port was closed and, along with another cruise ship, could not dock until the wind subsided in the afternoon. We were able to see the local attractions in town but missed the train ride to the top of the world. Anticipated high seas caused cancellation of our stop at the Falkland Islands (cruise ships are only able to make it about half the time) but was substituted by an interesting stop at Puerto Madryn. This allowed us to see the Patagonian interior from the Argentinian side which is much dryer than Chilean Patagonia on the west side of the Andes. Bones from some of the largest dinosaurs believed to have roamed the world are located here. Our next stop was Montevideo Uruguay. We toured the city in the morning and a local boutique winery in the afternoon before a traditional “Azamazing Evening” ashore. Our next stop was Punta del Este – a seaside resort on the coast. We drove in the countryside to Piriapolis where tourism began in Uruguay in 1903. Here we were treated to a traditional Uruguayan fiesta. We then docked at beautiful Buenos Aires (the Paris of South America) for two days between the first and second segments of the cruise. The city was laid out in the European style with wide boulevards and numerous parks. Plaza de Mayo is the most significant political square including the Cabildo (colonial government seat), Metropolitan Cathedral (Pope Francis former parish) and the Casa Rosada (the pink house) where Eva Peron (loved by the poor and hated by the rich) preached to the people. The square has been rife with protests over the years – the mothers who lost their sons during the military dictatorship in the late 70’s and early 80’s and more recently the 2001 protests when the currency was devalued. We also visited La Boca the area of Italian immigrants and incubator of the tango which spread from the former slaves and Recoleta cemetery where the famous are buried in elaborate tombs. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
The itinerary was what attracted us to the cruise, but also our previous experience of Azamara. It started with a poor experience of the port, not because of anything Azamara did but the poor process the Chilean authorities had, forcing ... Read More
The itinerary was what attracted us to the cruise, but also our previous experience of Azamara. It started with a poor experience of the port, not because of anything Azamara did but the poor process the Chilean authorities had, forcing us to queue, something we'd not had on any previous cruise with Azamara because of the small size of the ship you don't often see queues. The actual check-in was on the ship and that worked well. But I don't recommend San Antonio as a departure point. Once aboard the Pursuit, it was clear how much work had been carried out, transforming this ship into the newest Azamara vessel. We loved the quality of the new decoration and fittings which we think has been done to an even higher level than on Journey and Quest. I understand that both Quest and Journey are going to have further work carried out on them soon to get then up to this new level. One area of the ship that has been enhanced is the old Casino, that area has been a waste of space for a long time, very few cruisers on Azamara used the facilities, though I realise the few that did will miss it. I always felt sorry for the staff who were sitting at unused roulette and card tables. Now the future cruises and shore excursions people have moved to the location at the end of the room where the casino office was and The Den has been created this is a fabulous meeting and social area, of course with a bar. There are plenty of activities and music events here too. Another improvement is a new art gallery which now has its own room. Food has been steadily improving on the ship over the years and this cruise continued the improvement. They also continue to select some reasonable wines for the complimentary selection. When launching this new ship Azamara where smart enough to know that the staff are key to success and they moved about a third of staff from each of the two existing ships to form the core of staff on the new ship. This has worked very well, with the high standards being maintained and many familiar faces around the ship if you've travelled with Azamara before. Despite travelling with Azamara before we had not seen Tony Markey before and loved his humour and singing, especially the duets with his wife. Lee Herrington is also fabulous as his assistant, between them they ensure that there is plenty to do and see on the ship. I can't believe I've got this far into the review without mentioning Captain Carl, there were a few comments about what could possibly go wrong on a ship that came out of Harland and Wolff shipyard, Belfast (where it was transformed into Pursuit), with Captain Smith and a few Icebergs, there again some may miss the Titanic reference. Captain Carl has now been on each of the Azamara ships and is arguably the most experienced of all their Captains, he kept us safe in an area well known for its very changeable weather. His informative and entertaining comments were most welcome and he now runs the third, friendly and well run ship in the fleet at Azamara. Highly recommended. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Delighted to see Azamara pick up another one of the "R-ships" and have a newly refurbished sister ship to Journey and Quest. It was great to see some familiar faces from the other ships on Pursuit. Overall, a good job in ... Read More
Delighted to see Azamara pick up another one of the "R-ships" and have a newly refurbished sister ship to Journey and Quest. It was great to see some familiar faces from the other ships on Pursuit. Overall, a good job in renovating the ship. We selected this cruise principally for the itinerary and were very much pleased with the ports of call; the fact that we had mostly great weather helped. The following comments are relative to our prior experiences on other Azamara cruises. Things we liked: The newly revitalized lounge entertainment -- the Three Aces trio in the Living Room and Alberto in the Den were a welcomed change from prior lounge entertainers; they showed up on time, played for the entire allotted time and did not just repeat the same tired sets. The elimination of the Casino; it was great to have some additional common area. The addition of an onboard-artist creating works in real-time. The Cabin Steward and Waiters were great, as usual; delighted to see that that level of service has not changed. And even the Reception staff and Concierge were very helpful, friendly and with a good attitude. Things that need improvement: Food Quality -- this was our biggest disappointment. We actually recognized most of the menus from prior sailings, which is fine; however the quality and taste, in our opinion, has declined dramatically from prior sailings. Beverage Package and consistency of quality of drinks -- another big disappointment. We purchased two premium packages; only to find that not all the brands listed in the bar menus were available. Examples: Sambuca, they "ran out" of it at all the bars. Given all the ports of call, we would have expected the ship to restock missing items promptly -- that did not happen and to add insult, when we went to Aqualina, they had it, yet we could not get it in any of the lounges/bars. Limoncello, the menus indicate that Pallini is the premium brand, again, that was not available and we were getting different (house) brands depending at which lounge we ordered it. Also, when ordering the same drink, the quality/consistency of that drink, depended greatly on who was behind the bar at the time. Not to have all of the brands that are advertised in the packages at each of the venues, especially with all the stops that the ship made is inexcusable. Evening Service at Mosaics Cafe -- the venue is listed as open until 11:30 pm. On multiple occassion, we stopped by after the (later) show to get something, and while tea and coffee were available, the pastry/snack had been removed. The attendant told us that the "food" service stopped at 10 pm. To our knowledge that was not indicated anywhere. Moreover, the attendant was busy cleaning the sink, utensils, etc. We can appreciate that the staff works hard and long shifts, but if a venue is listed as open, all of the items should be available until closing time, and the wait staff should not start cleaning/shutting down the venue until the closing time has passed. Elimination of the bar on the back (outside terrace) of the ship at Windows Cafe; and the constant closing down of the outside area. This is great, sheltered and generally quiet, common area. Especially when food service is not going on, it is a great place to to sit, watch the wake of the ship, have a drink, read, etc. On the other ships, there has always been a bar at this location, on the Pursuit this was not installed. (My guess is that this was done to minimize "noise" since the suites on Deck 8 are right below the terrace. A bad decision -- you are trying to accommodate a small number of people who may not even be in their cabin at the expense of everyone else who are now deprived of a pleasant common area). Pricing of shore excursions. This has now gone beyond obscene to downright unconscionable. We did book a coupe of excursions with the ship, principally because we had shipboard credit to use; we also booked a number of independent excursions which turned out to be almost identical to those the ship offered. Consistently, we paid a fraction of what the ship was charging. One of the principal reasons people book on Azamara is the destination intensive itineraries; does taking people to great locations and then charging absurd mark-ups on the tour really make sense in the long-run? The company may be enhancing profit margin in the short-run, but longer term, everyone is going to go to Viator, ShoreExcursionGroup.com, directly to local operators, etc. for their excursions. And finally, one thing we are wondering about: our trip ended almost two weeks ago, we have not received any communications or survey requests from Azamara (in the past the email would be waiting before we even got back home), hence I am writing this review on Cruise Critic. Cheers. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
As a 20+ times cruisers, my husband and I had never been on Azamara or to South America and that is precisely why I booked this cruise. A great decision! Azamara went out of their way to make this a cruise to remember and they ... Read More
As a 20+ times cruisers, my husband and I had never been on Azamara or to South America and that is precisely why I booked this cruise. A great decision! Azamara went out of their way to make this a cruise to remember and they defintely succeeded. We had wonderful on-board speakers. The food was incredible. The service was impeccable. The ports were fascinating. The Amazing evening in Montevideo was really amazing! A total surprise performance in an historic theatre by a variety of local singers and dancers explaining the history of Carnival. Revealed the wonderful spirit and sounds of the local peoples. AS if that wasn't good enough, we had beautiful clear weather sailing the Beagle Channel and fjords. On a whim, the captain took us up super close to a glacier so we could all bask in its' magnificence. A true once in a lifetime experience! Last but not least, when I asked the cruise director if they would be showing the Super Bowl on ship, he said they were looking into the possibility. (Remember we were at the southernmost tip of South America by now.) Not only did they show the game but they catered an incredible Super Bowl party complete with an ice sculpture! Who does that? We football fans were bowled over. Literally, super bowled over. During the first quarter I looked at a gentleman next to me consuming a yummy pretzel dog and saw that he was smiling like a kid. I thought, if a cruise line can make someone this happy it's done a great job. So, yes, I would highly recommend the cruise. Any cruise line can take you to the same desinations but Azamara created a total experience. Expect the unexpected from Azamara and have a great time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
e have just returned from an Azamara Pursuit cruise to Antartica. The customer serviceon the ship is appalling. We had problems with our hot water going cold over two days. After various attempts to fix it (it would go cold again within ... Read More
e have just returned from an Azamara Pursuit cruise to Antartica. The customer serviceon the ship is appalling. We had problems with our hot water going cold over two days. After various attempts to fix it (it would go cold again within a couple of hours) and much debate we were offered another stateroom but no apology, upgrade or any comprnsation for the inconvenience.The guest relations manager (Sasha) hid behind his staff and after meeting with us once never got back to us although we left messages for him to contact us. Also the stateroom had the smallest shower and least storage of any that we have ever experienced in 21 cruises with 8 cruise lines. The ship was also compromised in many areas as altough it has been refurbished it is quite old. For the price we paid and the reputation of Azamara (boutique cruise line 4.5 stars) we expected far more but sadly found them worse than 3 star cruise lines such as Princess and Holland America. To say we were disappointed would be an umderstatment and we will never travel on Azamara again. No port information was given out apart from maps from port staff. Food quality was quite variablee, sometimes good, sometimes not. Selection was reasonable except for breakfast with only four cereals on offer. Entertainment was OK. Unfortunately the floor of the theatre didn’t slope so it was difficult to see. The enrichment lectures were great. Embarkation and disimbarkation was well organised and very smooth. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise as we wanted to go to Antarctica but didn't want to pay the prices of the expedition ships. Fortunately the ship was small enough to allow us to navigate some of the small passages and appreciate the wonder of ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we wanted to go to Antarctica but didn't want to pay the prices of the expedition ships. Fortunately the ship was small enough to allow us to navigate some of the small passages and appreciate the wonder of icebergs and penguins. We even entered an active volcano. 17 days on board with only 4 ports was a bit too long, but we knew this when we signed up. What we didn't know was how inadequate the weather proofing was in the staterooms. We were freezing inside, even with the heating bumped up high. Not sure if this is still one of the teething problems with a newly acquired ship. We didn't even have the standard issue binoculars in the stateroom - an abomination for a destination such as Antarctica. Having sailed with Azamara previously, more recently we have become disillusioned by the increasing up-selling. The brand has been cheapened by all the nickel and diming, although base prices have not reduced. The prices of the shore excursions were obscene, and based on general feedback around the vessel, they weren't even good. The promised strenuous 2 hour trek we went on turned out to be a 1km walk + bus ride. They did listen to our feedback and begrudgingly gave us a small refund. Although still settling in as a relatively new team (since August 2018), the service staff were friendly and efficient as we have come to expect from Azamara. Some recognised us from before. We thoroughly enjoyed the talks given by the destination speaker. He was entertaining and knowledgeable and certainly did enrich our time on board. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise mainly to see Antarctica, but also to have a chance to cruise Azamara again on her "new" ship. Embarkation was a little busier than we expected and a shuttle bus must be taken to the ship in Buenos Aires, ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly to see Antarctica, but also to have a chance to cruise Azamara again on her "new" ship. Embarkation was a little busier than we expected and a shuttle bus must be taken to the ship in Buenos Aires, but there were Azamara people with signs at every stop easily directing you to the next location. All in all, not a bad experience. We thought the ship was lovely and due to the itinerary, spent a lot of time in the Living Room on Deck 10 looking at the scenery. It was tough to get a seat at the front at times, and took some patience, but it was quite an unusual itinerary. We would typically take a seat more toward the middle and move up as they became available. The buffet was fine, though we didn't go there often - for health and quality reasons, we prefer the other restaurants when possible. When looking for drinks, we felt we were either asked 50 times if we wanted a drink, or we couldn't find anyone and ended up serving ourselves. Never sure why that was the case. We felt the food in Discoveries was generally very good and the two Brunch Buffets were outstanding! The music during the buffets, provided by the Pursuit Band was so delightful, we ordered more coffee and tea and lingered to relax and enjoy. It was heavenly! Specialty restaurants were good and the Chef's Table food and wines were excellent - we thoroughly enjoyed this experience and felt it was a good value (we chose a package, chefs table + 2, which was one Chef's table and one dinner and each specialty restaurant.) Unlike others have mentioned on here previously, we felt the complimentary wine offerings were quite good (especially the Cline Cellars Zinfandel) and offered a good chance to try wines from different countries. Others we chatted with on our cruise agreed. Bartenders were willing to make our favorite drinks, Cosmos and Lemon Drops with complimentary alcohol and it was all good. One odd point, I think maybe bartender placement is more by seniority rather than quality, as the best bartenders were not in the best bars.... by far the best bartender on our ship could only be found in Discoveries at night... he had quite a following, but it was strange to not find a bartender of his quality in the Spirits Bar or Living Room...all other cruise lines we've sailed (27 so far) would have placed him in a much busier location. The Azamazing Evening, a carnival celebration at Solis Theater in Montevideo, was surprisingly excellent. It was a pain to be bussed over there, of course, but we were expecting it and the show was very good - we were surprised and impressed! The White Night celebration had some challenges with the weather, so we ended up eating in the dining room, but going up after for dancing - some songs with a few sprinkles of rain mixed in - but it was a very fun time! We attended most of the enrichment lectures. The main lecturer gave good overviews of all of our ports. Unfortunately, the wildlife speaker was not as interesting, and he ended up not giving any after the first few. This is one area I think Azamara could have done better for this itinerary....they missed a chance to bring on an expert on Antarctica in areas such as ice, iceberg types, previous expeditions, geology etc.... This cruise had a different type of clientele, I believe due to the itinerary and we spoke with many people who would have enjoyed a more in-depth enrichment experience. However, they did fly down a NASA expert ambassador for the lunar eclipse - He & Captain Carl made this a once in a lifetime experience! The few days in Antarctica were an indescribable experience - We thoroughly enjoyed everything about it! We would have liked the overnight in Ushuaia, as our original itinerary included in order to see more of Patagonia. This was our second Azamara cruise (27 total on Carnival, Princess, Celebrity & Oceania) and we thoroughly enjoyed it and would go again tomorrow if we could! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I had put off too long a trip to Antarctica and finally took that long awaited itinerary. I wish we had done so earlier!! The entire experience (with one small exception) went off without a hitch and, as usual, we enjoyed the ... Read More
My wife and I had put off too long a trip to Antarctica and finally took that long awaited itinerary. I wish we had done so earlier!! The entire experience (with one small exception) went off without a hitch and, as usual, we enjoyed the family-like Azamara experience. This being our 10th Azamara cruise we had a pretty good idea of what to expect, though The Pursuit is a recent addition to the Quest and Journey. The layouts are identical so it was just like returning home. A number of the crew were familiar transfers from the other ships so it really did feel like family. The ship was renovated before being put into Azamara service with the new Deck 5 layout sans Casino. Honestly, on this size ship, the casino was little more than a nice diversion and the extra space in the newly converted "Den" was put to good use. Though we had a 7 day stretch where we were limited to staying on the ship, it seemed to pass quickly with the interesting "cruise by" itinerary of the Alaskan peninsula. Passing a number of HUGE icebergs was also a favorite of all onboard. Best of all, we were lucky to have pretty calm seas passing through the Drake Passage twice and the horror stories some people told us about never came to pass. Entertainment was varied, though by necessity it is limited to guest entertainers and a small ensemble of singers and band. Still, they were excellent, professional, and interactive. The stops were all interesting and fun, and the AZAMAZING EVENING in Montevideo was a presentation of the Urguayan Carnivale and was one of the top two AZAMAZING EVENINGS we have experienced! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We passed up the opportunity to sail to the Antarctica when we cruised around South America several years ago and regretted it. So prior to touring Peru, we chose make up for that. Without needing to step onshore for three times the ... Read More
We passed up the opportunity to sail to the Antarctica when we cruised around South America several years ago and regretted it. So prior to touring Peru, we chose make up for that. Without needing to step onshore for three times the price, we picked Azamara cruise line rather than the larger ships. Also due to the size of the ship, we were hoping it would get closer to the beauty than the larger ships. The experience itself was delightful, from the moment we were greeted by our taxi and personally escorted into the terminal. Once onboard, that level of service continued and was definitely a touch above other lines we've been on. The only time service dropped off was crossing the Drake Passage during which staff seemed to be affected by their first rough seas due to lack of crew members resulting in the Maitre de waiting tables. Even then, there was nothing to complain about. Obviously, it was too cold for the pool, or much time outside on the windy decks, but whenever the captain would slow down or pivot for viewing, everyone was there with cameras ready. This was the longest we've been onboard a ship without going ashore, and we definitely won't do that again, but the Antarctica is impossible to get to without the sea days. The fitness room was small but efficient and made the time pass while exploring this region. The onboard lectures were not really about the nature and wildlife we would be experiencing, but more about conservation efforts in the area. The lunar eclipse occurred while sailing and they had flown in a NASA expert to narrate on deck that night for those interested in watching it. The nightly entertainment was standard for a cruise, but the theater seating is not angled causing difficulty in visibility. Rather than spending time locating a decent seat, we enjoyed the nightly music in the Living Room lounge. With spectacular viewing opportunities during the day, this lounge was crowded and noisy so we would spend the days in the Den only a couple steps to the outside decks close by. At night, the Living Room had a talented band, 3 Aces Trio, which played nightly and kept the dance floor full, even with the ship movement. The cruise director and captain were highly visible throughout the cruise and welcomed interaction with the passengers. The captain seemed to always be on the bridge as he would announce photographic opportunities spotted throughout the day. The cruise director provided nice non-denominational church services on the two Sundays of the cruise. The lounge staff quickly learned names and drink preferences of the guests, and with most drinks included, it was enjoyable relaxing with fellow passengers throughout the trip. Since we are only in our room to sleep, and would rather spend our money on experiences than space, we always book and inside stateroom. The cabin was small but had enough storage for everything. Our room stewards always greeted us by name even within hours of meeting us. They kept the room spotless and stocked with toiletries, towels, water and ice. Disembarkation was a mess, but not due to the ship staff. Buenos Aires has a small, congested terminal and with two ships, it was impossibly packed and confusing. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose the cruise for the destinations and the company were advertising the cruise as an upmarket experience. We boarded at Lima, no issues. The main problems were, the food served in the buffet, this was nearly always luke warm ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the destinations and the company were advertising the cruise as an upmarket experience. We boarded at Lima, no issues. The main problems were, the food served in the buffet, this was nearly always luke warm ie,fried eggs not fully cooked and kept at luke warm temperature. Chicken kept at luke warm temperature, not hot. There were so many issues and we saw lots of food being sent back. Many times we spoke to staff who told us they would pass our concerns on. There had been gastroenteritis on board and everyone was advised to wash hands and use sanitiser around the ship! There were guests who have travelled with Azamara several time before and the told us not to judge Azamara by the Persuit, they stated the Pursuit was not up to standard. The entertainment was very poor, the cruise entertainment director was more interested in selling his CD’s and the assistant entertainment cruise directors discription of tours on the TV was appalling. If you like Jazz the type where all the notes are’in the wrong order’ this is the boat for you. One evening the pianist microphone was off, no one told him, that’s how bad he was. Communication on board was not informative, unless you booked a very expensive trip with the ship there was little information on Ports. Speakers gave wrong information, which the captain had to apologise for. The list goes on and on. This was not the amazing cruise it was advertised as. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
What a disappointment We just got back from our first and most likely last Azamara cruise – a 15-night NYE in Rio voyage. We traveled in a Club Continent Suite. My experience on Azamara was so disappointing, that I’m compelled to ... Read More
What a disappointment We just got back from our first and most likely last Azamara cruise – a 15-night NYE in Rio voyage. We traveled in a Club Continent Suite. My experience on Azamara was so disappointing, that I’m compelled to write this review. This is my first review on cruisecritic, though I’ve read hundreds of reviews to help with the dozen or so cruises we’ve been on in the past few years on Celebrity, Oceania, and Viking. I’m going to take each main experience area in turn, starting with the positive. Embarkation Overall experience was smooth for the most part. Though we were surprised there wasn’t a line dedicated for Suite guests, as is the case with other cruise lines we’ve traveled on. Cabin We were fortunate enough to be able to travel in a Club Continent Suite. The room itself is roomy, with over 300 sq feet. The décor is modern and inviting. Lots of closet space. The bathroom and walk-in shower were great. Lots of room and storage. The veranda was as long as the room, but fairly narrow. Just enough width for the 2-seater table and a little leg room once you’ve sat on the individual seater situated on the veranda. Food This was one of the most disappointing of the elements. We ate at the buffet for most breakfasts and lunches. The food served were the basics ( egg station, cheese and charcuterie station, one carving option, sandwiches etc..). No imagination, no creativity, and for the first few days, very little was seasoned. For dinner, we ate the specialty restaurants since we had that as a benefit for being in a Suite. The menu never changed, and after the first few dinners, there was little left on the menu that we wanted to try. What we ate was fine. But nothing to write home about. And, somewhat meager and plain for a specialty restaurant compared to what we ate on Oceania, Viking, and even Celebrity. Entertainment This was another major downer. Tony Markey, the Cruise Director, and his wife were the headliners for several of the shows. Overshadowing, in our opinion, the four very talented “Signature Singers” who only got to perform 4 or 5 of the 15 nights. The same for the Vegas performer, Tony Arias, who was relegated to only performing 2 out of his 10-night stay on the boat. So odd. So much talent on the boat, and yet we were relegated to Tony, his wife and a string trio that sang the same 10 songs 2x a day for 15 days. The other odd experience was NYE night itself. It seems they combined the “White Party” and NYE celebration, instead of two sperate parties on two separate nights. The party itself was very well organized, and finally some good, higher quality food. However, the moment the clock struck midnight the party ended. No Auld lang syen. Nothing. Everyone looked around wondering if, in fact, the party was over at precisely midnight. Especially since the cruise was billed as an NYE celebratory cruise! Suite Value for Money We paid a handsome sum to travel in a Club Continent Suite. The room itself was lovely. However, apart from the ability to eat at the two specialty restaurants, that for all intents and purposes served up basic food, there were few other standout benefits. In fact, even with a Suite stay and an upgraded Premium drinks package, we were still only served the very basic brand of bottled water given free to every passenger, plus no additional or premium wine selections beyond what every other guest gets. We found that incredible that even the combo of a Suite plus Premium drinks package couldn’t get us a glass of Evian water or a better choice of wine beyond the sub $10 bottles they were serving. The other Suite benefit that seems interesting on paper, but not in reality, was a Tea service provided each day at around 3 pm. The trouble with this benefit is that they were basically serving the same mini sandwiches and scones found at the café, and only provided a cup of tea. Staff We found the higher the ranking, the less friendly or approachable they were. This not only included Tony and his assistant Cruise Director Lee, who had a hard time pronounces many of the ports we visited and proudly stated on one of the awkwardly embarrassing mornings shows that he’d prefer to spend time at the “London Zoo” than visit the wildlife found in the South Atlantic, but the other senior staff that many times just looked stern and not very friendly. On the opposite spectrum were our incredible Butler, Padem, and the other attendants on the 8th floor. As well as the staff in all the restaurants and cafés, particularly Vadym who managed to remember our names after only just a few days. True gem. Feedback We were sent a questionnaire about 4 days into the cruise to provide any feedback that could be addressed during the cruise. We shared detailed feedback regarding several areas where there was an opportunity for improvement. The first was the Entertainment. A few hours later, Tony, to his credit, called my husband to let him know that he wasn’t monopolizing the entertainment, the exact word my husband used in the feedback form and that we’d see improved entertainment. This never happened. We also lamented the fact that even though the Sanctum, in the Spa, was billed as 16 years old plus only environment, on every day we visited there were a few pre-teens in attendance. They were also in the adults only gym, and sauna/steam room. And you could even find infants on the dance floor post 10 pm at night. We realize this was a holiday cruise, but there was no regard to what is stated policy. Disembarkation We were so disappointed with the cruise and all the various elements that when we got to our final port, Punta del Este, we were so depressed at the thought of spending the last two nights on the boat that we decided to give up our Suite and leave the boat early so we could at least explore a town that seemed very interesting. This forced us to spend additional money on a hotel room for two nights and a flight from Punta back to Buenos Aires, where the cruise originated and where we had already paid for a flight back home. Despite the additional expense, we were happy to have thoroughly enjoyed the last two night of our vacation, and off the Pursuit. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We love the small ship feel and especially Azamara as everyone fells equal. The new ship looks great with a modern feel to the cabins but a few problems with moisture were seen as they had to run dehumidifiers in certain areas. We were ... Read More
We love the small ship feel and especially Azamara as everyone fells equal. The new ship looks great with a modern feel to the cabins but a few problems with moisture were seen as they had to run dehumidifiers in certain areas. We were in a Club Continental suite which was very comfortable, lots of storage, nice bath/shower and cleaned constantly. As I am asthmatic they had already removed feathers and any sense enhancers. The only problem is the makeup mirror in the bathroom must have been installed by a man as it is placed for a 6 foot person. Again great staff come to the rescue for a 5foot lady. A female officer lent me her personal makeup mirror for the entire cruise. The new chairs in Aquilinia were very comfortable even though others had said other wise. The new lounge chairs on the Sanctum are very uncomfortable as they do not recline, but again the great AZ staff upon request brought the regular reclining lounge cots out for my husband. We missed the double lounge cabana that was outside in this area as it blocked sun as well as being cosy for a couple. Food was very good to excellent, Aqualinia still shines with their Dover sole and in Prime C the fillet minion is outstanding and I am not a big meat eater. Lots of excellent appetizers, deserts were better than the previous cruises. Windows cafe and The Patio were also very good with excellent variety. Entertainment is where there is a let down. The musical trio in the living room were so so, sometimes better than others. The shows were generally poor but their in house singers/dancers did do some good shows. The comedian was not bad but the rest were not worth watching. We did not attend the lectures or other activities. Service is where AZ shines, we boarded in Buenos Aries and did have to wait for a short time but it was done in an organized fashion and once on the rooms were already to drop your carry on. To our surprise as we walked towards our room we recognized our butler from our last year cruise as he had been moved to this new ship. Again in AZ fashion he greeted us with our names and remembered us with a greeting of my Canadians. Elro was always able to fulfill our requests with a smile. We left from Buenos Aries stoping in Montevideo where AZ put on the most fabulous Azamazing evening in the Solis theatre, it was unique entertaining and interactive. Well done AZ. Santos Brazil was interesting with some great views and the coffee museum. Buzios Brazil was a lovely beach town friendly people great boutiques, fabulous gelato and nice cafes. Nice day on a great beach with fresh fish lunch. Paraty was a quiet beach town with little infrastructure and a dock in poor shape. We did a private boat day which was nice. Rio stop was ok as this is such a dangerous city we used a guide. It was hot and line ups were long even early in the morning. The rain forest in the city is beautiful and the beaches crowded but lovely looking. As it was New Year’s Eve soon roads were blocked off near Copacabana Beach by noon. Our Captain (Carl) changed the next port because of bad weather and stopped in a beach town which was a good decision as weather throughout the cruise was excellent. We then stopped for one day instead of two in Punta del Este a very high class city taking an AZ tour to the seal island and then walking to the sculpture of the hand in the sand. Lovely cafes, restaurants, and shops. The New Years was outstanding, AZ did their white night on deck and amped it up for New Years. Food was great entertainment fun, hats blowers and beads were given out as well as sparkling wine for midnight toast. The fireworks viewed off the Copacabana Beach were spectacular. It made for a memorable night. We took a special day tour the last day in BA arranged by AZ to Iguazu Falls. It was costly but done well from start to finish. A long day but worth it, they even arranged a dinner at a hotel so we would not need to eat so late upon return. Internet was ok but a pain to keep putting a code in each time to use on my IPad. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Thought this would be a journey of a lifetime Positives Cabin Good cabin staff Harold & Joycelen excellent room sevice good Guest entertainers Good Guest Lecturer Dr. Ron Orenstein excellent The Patio service ... Read More
Thought this would be a journey of a lifetime Positives Cabin Good cabin staff Harold & Joycelen excellent room sevice good Guest entertainers Good Guest Lecturer Dr. Ron Orenstein excellent The Patio service excellent Waiter in cabaret lounge Armadeo excellent Negatives Check in not very good. Azamara badly damaged suitcase in transit Food and service in discoveries not very good most of menu same for 21 days you areassigned a different table each night. Problem with ships evaporators shortage of waterfor engines, reduced speed miss a port. Norovirus on ship a few days. Pianist left shipweek to replace. Karioke machine packed up. Top & swirl machine not working 10 days Destinations lecturer very poor in fact removed from ship next lectures not much better. Misinformation given several times by cruise director. White night outside cancelledbecause to cold. Cancelled Falklands said because of high seas & winds. White nightevent outside cancelled because to cold. Azamazing evening in Montevideo auditoriumunsuitable floor flat sitting on wooden folding chairs made it extremely difficult to seeentertainers the crew had the best view standing in the aisles and on raised area at back Azamara said they do not now give out customer feedback forms they will E.mail you Still waiting Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
The ship is lovely except for the old windows which need painting. The dining room food and service was outstanding. Thank you Vishal ..the egg man, for looking after us. The Living Room was our favourite place...classy, quiet, and ... Read More
The ship is lovely except for the old windows which need painting. The dining room food and service was outstanding. Thank you Vishal ..the egg man, for looking after us. The Living Room was our favourite place...classy, quiet, and relaxing with the ever changing view. The buffet food was always only luke warm. Many passengers complained but this was never resolved. Shore excursions were well organised. Dr Ron Orenstein guest lecturer was fantastic. Bars and lounges were very nice with good service. Missed two ports because of bad weather and mechanical issues. Uninspired entertainment. Piped music was horrible and repetitive. The ships general areas not very clean with the same crumbs on the floor for days under tables. Beds and linens were wonderful but no clock in the cabin. Captain was very entertaining and did give plenty of updates.Feel there could have been more guest lecturers on board talking about night sky, glaciers, geology, weather, and marine history. All staff were wonderful...very attentive. The big thing was the buffet food. No excuse for it always being barely luke warm. Many really upset passengers over this. Read Less
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