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67 Azamara Repositioning Cruise Reviews

We have cruised well over 30 times and this was one of the best experiences ever! It started with Captain Carl Smith. He was so wonderful and full of personality. The crew was exceptional and what's best of all, no samm annoying ... Read More
We have cruised well over 30 times and this was one of the best experiences ever! It started with Captain Carl Smith. He was so wonderful and full of personality. The crew was exceptional and what's best of all, no samm annoying fee's for every liquid beverage. That's right! Drinks and gratuities were not billed separately. The shows, crew and size of the ship was perfect for us! The selection of ports of calls was a perfect pick. Embarkation was the quickest we have ever seen. No long lines getting on and off of the vessel. The food was of great quality and offered a variety of local dishes which is a great way to live local. Rather you are a first time traveler ( we sailed with a couple who enjoyed their first) or a seasoned professional ( as we like to think we are) Azamara is a great choice. Bill and Gladys Mercurio Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Our most recent journey took us on the Journey on what was supposed to be a luxury cruise from Singapore, through Thailand, Vietnam, and ending in Hong Kong. Our flight arrived late the night before, so we only had half a day to explore ... Read More
Our most recent journey took us on the Journey on what was supposed to be a luxury cruise from Singapore, through Thailand, Vietnam, and ending in Hong Kong. Our flight arrived late the night before, so we only had half a day to explore Singapore before boarding the ship later that day. We have been to Singapore many times before, so a short stay was adequate. I will say that if you have not been there before, the city is spectacular, especially Orchard Road at night during Christmas. We arrived at the Harbourfront Cruise Center mid-afternoon, and embarkation was a breeze. It was not crowded, the associates seemed to be well trained with the process, and were friendly and efficient. The ship had recently been refurbished in drydock, and looked brand new. Our cabin, a Club Continent Suite, had been remodeled without a tub, but had a very large shower and a marble/granite (or look-alike) sink. The room was very comfortable, had more than enough storage space with a good size balcony. This was the first time we had butler service, and still not sure what we could have asked for. He was instrumental in getting our dinner reservations in the specialty restaurants, which for suites is complimentary, but must be reserved because they do fill up, especially toward the end of the cruise. The ship is small compared to today's standards, and I do not believe we sailed full because upgrades were available in all categories by paying a reduced fee at the front desk. Breakfast....for the first time, I can honestly say that the buffet breakfast was better than the dining room. The dining room breakfast on the first two days was less than poor. Menu was uneventful, and food had no presentation at all. Waitstaff were not very attentive, possibly not experienced enough. The dining room was not busy, so service should have been better. The buffet had a good selection for the size of the ship, and had a made to order fresh waffle station, and made to order egg station. You could place your egg order and it would be delivered to your table by friendly attentive staff. The waitstaff were available to bring you most varieties of specialty coffees (no charge) and the fresh squeezed orange juice was wonderful. you could also order any variety of breakfast smoothie created on the spot. But...even better than the buffet was room service. The room service menu included items you could not get in the dining room, or the buffet (i.e.steak and eggs). We enjoyed breakfast on our balcony two times, complete with tablecloth and cloth napkins, delivered on time by our butler. Lunch.... in the dining room was a little better than breakfast, but again nothing to write home about. We were in port many days, so lunch was off ship. The few days we ate in the dining room, again not crowded, service was hit or miss. They did have a fresh cooking station which one day had tuna, another salmon, and the third time we were there, pasta with fresh clams. These items were very good, the rest of the menu seemed to be lack-luster. Wine was served with lunch, but getting a refill had to be asked for. Dinner.... We were fortunate to have Aqualina and Prime C as an option because we sailed in a suite. In both restaurants, by far, the best beef we have had on any ship, consistently every night. The lobster salad and lobster bisque were both outstanding, and memorable. All dishes were very well presented, delivered at the right temperature. Every dish was very good, and enough variety on the menu that for 10 days we did not tire of the choices. However... the service again was hit or miss. Such a shame, because the food was really outstanding. Wine was served as usual, but a refill had to be asked for, unless you ordered a wine that was not on the complementary list. The wine stewards were more attentive to the tables that requested those wines. Service should not suffer if you choose to drink a wine included in the meal. Bar service was also hit or miss. Many inconsistencies in the quality of the drinks. Fortunately, the drinks are all inclusive, and you can always order another, but you hate to be wasteful. Entertainment was good for the size of the ship. No big production shows. The casual musicians throughout the ship were very good, and the music level was just enough to enjoy it, and still be able to make conversation wiith your fellow travelers. Eric, the Cruise Director was always very visible (I guess being 6 1/2 feet tall would also help). He was very talented, took part in the production shows, and also had a show of his own. The guest entertainers were fun, the two we saw were a comedy musician, and a comedic violinist. The cruise ship singers and dancers also doubled as the activities staff, and were frequently late to their assigned activities. We enjoyed most of the trivia, the hardest part was not the questions, it was trying to understand the member of the activities staff and their pronunciation. One of the best benefits of a small ship, especially in the Asian ports, you get to dock right downtown. The sail up the rivers to these destinations is wonderful. On some of our past cruises with the same destinations, we were sometimes docked two hours away from the city. Staying in port longer and later was also a plus. Shuttle service was still provided, but you could walk with no problem. We chose a ship excursion to the Royal Palace in Bangkok. The country was still mourning the death of the King last October, so the Palace was more crowded than usual. The tour was good, but because of the crowd, it was hard to keep the group together, and difficult for the guide to explain what we were seeing. The tour would have been better if we were in smaller groups. We chose to go to the floating market the following day, again a ship excursion. This excursion was outstanding. We had a great time navigating the canals on the way to the market where we had plenty of time to people watch and to shop for trinkets..(i.e. more crap to pack!!) The highlight of the whole trip was the AzAmazing Evening held in Saigon, and it was just that...AzAmazing!! After a great buffet in the dining room all the passengers that chose to go were taken by bus to the event. We arrived and walked through some gardens where artisans were available to do calligraphy, caricatures, clay figures, etc. We were seated at small round tables on a lawn in front of a raised stage. The entire area had been covered with circus type tents because of the potential rain, an extra step they had not planned on. The performance highlighted the different types of music and dance from the different regions of Vietnam, and ended with a modern fashion show. We were served beer, wine, soft drinks, juice and water along with many plates of various finger food, most native to the area. The waitstaff was attentive, but not intrusive, and only served between the performances, very well done. The enrichment speakers onboard were very professional and had good presentations. One was from the WWF, World Wildlife foundation, and spoke about food waste, a great topic for me since I am in the retail food business. The other speaker was from Nasa, explaining the future of manned space travel back to the moon and beyond. The seminars were not very crowded, disappointingly, the speakers were very good. So, there were many highlights, but also many lowlights that need to be addressed. We did get a very good deal on this cruise, and feel we did get our money's worth. Paying regular price...we would think twice. Would we return...yes...we have two more booked for 2018, but again, we did get a great deal on those. With some new companies emerging into the small ship luxury market, Azamara may need to look closer at their service level, and some dining room meals, these were clearly not AzAmazing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
Enjoyable but certainly not 5 star. Embarkation was a shambles & upset a lot of people before they started their vacation. Come on Azamara - it's not rocket science and you must be able to do better than this. Staterooms were very ... Read More
Enjoyable but certainly not 5 star. Embarkation was a shambles & upset a lot of people before they started their vacation. Come on Azamara - it's not rocket science and you must be able to do better than this. Staterooms were very comfortable although a bit small, however I think the bathrooms were the smallest we have experienced on any ship, particularly the showers. However, having said that they were spotlessly clean & well maintained. Very comfortable bedding & lovely décor throughout the ship which certainly gave it the club-like feel. Staff were generally quite friendly but this was not consistent. Food was of a consistent high standard in the main Dining Room and was certainly 5 star in the speciality steak restaurant. Entertainment was average but there were two or three stand-out artists. The Azamara evening was certainly amazing. Overall it was an enjoyable & relaxing experience after a hectic 10 days in India. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
This was our fourth Azamara cruise. We chose it specifically because it started in New Orleans, a city we had always wanted to visit. We stayed in New Orleans, at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Iberville Street, for 5 nights and loved ... Read More
This was our fourth Azamara cruise. We chose it specifically because it started in New Orleans, a city we had always wanted to visit. We stayed in New Orleans, at the Courtyard by Marriott hotel on Iberville Street, for 5 nights and loved the city. Our hotel was extremely well located on the edge of the French Quarter and we were pleased with it. Embarkation was, as usual, quick and easy and we were soon on board drinking our welcome glass of bubbly. Our stateroom on deck 6 was a verandah stateroom. There was plenty of storage space in the cabin, and the bed was very comfy. The large TV opposite the bed was great and there is a reasonable selection of channels to watch. The bathroom was small, with a small shower with a curtain, but it was fine and we liked the new shelves for storage as well as the cupboard under the sink. I always take a couple of sets of cloth pockets to hang on the hooks on the inside of the bathroom door so that I can find a home for everything. We mainly used Discoveries (MDR) for our evening meal. We felt that the food had regained its Wow factor (missing on our last cruise). We loved the fact that although you can see the menu on the TV and outside the dining room each day, there are two main course dishes (Chefs Special and World Destination special) that are a surprise until your waiter tells you about them. The menu always had a great choice, with some dishes, such as Escargots in garlic butter, Prawns with Marie Rose sauce, New York strip steak, Salmon repeated every day alongside all the dishes of the day and the specials. Dining on Azamara is free time dining and most days we were able to be seated when we were ready (usually between 7:30 and 8:00pm). Sometimes we shared with others and sometimes had a table for two. We also bought a good value package for the two speciality restaurants - Prime C and Aqualina. The cover charge is normally $30 for each, but for $70 you can make 3 bookings. Meals there are exceptional, even better than the excellent quality in the MDR. We had breakfast and lunch in Windows - there were always plenty of choices and the food was lovely. You could have Bucks Fizz ( Mimosa) or Bloody Mary for breakfast if you wanted! I particularly enjoyed the ginger based 'Energiser' smoothie every morning. Most of the entertainment was very good. There was a pianist and guitarist who played in various venues and there were shows in the cabaret lounge. All the shows were good except one comedian who failed to get a laugh! We also enjoyed joining a trivia quiz team and taking part in the daily quizzes. We went ashore in all but one of the Caribbean islands the ship visited. We did not use any of the ship's excursions on the islands but did our own thing. In Grand Cayman we just had a walk around the town. In Port Antonio, Jamaica we got a taxi to give us a tour of the area, including the Blue Lagoon - not cheap at $40 a head for a couple of hours. In Curaçao we just had a wander around Wilhemstadt - very pretty little town with plenty of shops and restaurants and an interesting market along the canal. In St Barts we just had a look around - very expensive place, window shopping was the order of the day, as well as walk to Shell Beach which was nice. At St Maarten we took a taxi to Mahoe Beach ($20 a head) right next to the airport runway. Good fun standing right under the flight path as jets come in close over your head. At Nevis we took a taxi ($20 a head) to the Botanic Gardens and the Montpelier Plantation (Princess Di's favourite Hotel). The gardens are beautiful - well worth visiting. As we had a few hours before our plane home from Miami, we took a ship's excursion on the Hop On Hop Off bus. This was excellent - the bus picked us up at the dockside, including our luggage. Our luggage was then stored for us at Bayside Marketplace whilst we took the bus on the Blue, Miami Beach, route which we loved. Then we had an hour or so wandering around Baysie Marketplace which had a good range of shops, cafes and restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our first with Azamara, a repo from New Orleans to Miami. Part of our promotion was a overnite in NO with a dinner cruise on the Natchez Queen which was lovely. We stayed at the Doubletree Inn in the French Quarter -- good ... Read More
This was our first with Azamara, a repo from New Orleans to Miami. Part of our promotion was a overnite in NO with a dinner cruise on the Natchez Queen which was lovely. We stayed at the Doubletree Inn in the French Quarter -- good location, clean room. We had a handicapped accessible room due to DH use of a scooter which was on the 7th floor. First morning there -- a power failure (30 sec.) caused ALL elevators to stop working and we were stuck in our room for 5 hours. Why the designers of this hotel had all elevators on one system was extremely poor planning not to mention dangerous for safety reasons. After complimentary room service --- manager was finally able to get us on one of the service elevators so we could catch our Gray Line tour --- only for the elevator to quit between the second and first floor !! As the manager was with us --- staff on the other side of the door were finally able to get us out --- really funny when we talked about it later but not at that moment. The Big Easy is "OK" -- we really didn't get too see very much -- would have liked to see a plantation or two and more of the country. Bourbon Street is just a dark, dirty,narrow alley IMO. Didn't impress us at all. The Quest is a lovely ship -- the smallest we have cruised on to date. The service is OUTSTANDING. You couldn't ask for a more happy and accommodating crew !! Our Club Continental suite was wonderful -- so much more room than the original V 2 balcony I had booked. Actually was able to look into one and I have never seen such a small, cramped room and balcony. Of course, the CC came with a much higher price tag but we would have been very uncomfortable in the first one not to mention no space for DH's scooter ! Only drawback to Suite 8063 were the loud noises during the night from the deck above (Windows Cafe) from rolling carts and furniture. Islands: Were "ok" --- poor planning on Azamara's Itinerary Dept. to schedule Jamaica and St. Bart on Sundays when everything is closed -- not even a mini mart to grab a snack or two. Would choose the Quest again but i will look for better prices in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The dates fit into our schedule.The food was very ok on this ship. Not bad, not great. Too many people at the buffet lines and tables. MDR too physically crowded. The shows were fabulous. Momma Mia was Broadway quality. The shows were ... Read More
The dates fit into our schedule.The food was very ok on this ship. Not bad, not great. Too many people at the buffet lines and tables. MDR too physically crowded. The shows were fabulous. Momma Mia was Broadway quality. The shows were great.The cabin was a good size with a nice seating area. There was plenty of storage for 2 people. Also we enjoyed our excursions specially in country of oman with the best tourism Company there ( Lifetime-tours),Oman was my third stop on a four country vacation and I immediately fell in love with this country. At first I could not put my finger on why, but I think it was the heart of the people that made this place special. Ahmed, our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and professional. He spoke with a certain pride about his country and I could see why. He took great care to make sure we had a great time and he altered the tour a bit due to my disability to make sure I could still experience a Wadi, but just not a challenging.Also the excellent service and organisation we had with this agency.Finally it was everything beautiful and relaxing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Embarkation was speedy but there was no food available and we had missed lunch. The patio area was not open at about 3.30 pm when we boarded despite indicating it was in "Pursuits" Crew were helpful and accommodating. ... Read More
Embarkation was speedy but there was no food available and we had missed lunch. The patio area was not open at about 3.30 pm when we boarded despite indicating it was in "Pursuits" Crew were helpful and accommodating. Service with a smile. Dinner in the dining room was very good in terms of quality and choice. Breakfast and Lunch in Windows cafe was a little repetitive and no sushi offering at lunch. We did not eat in Windows nor use the other 2 restaurants (Aqua and Prime)any evening.. Ports were interesting Entertainment was poor. We don't go to shows preferring music while we have a pre or post dinner drink or coffee. Guitarist and piano player were both poor and repetitive.. Can't comment on the shows as we don't do shows. Wifi is expensive and poor. Azamara need to address this as it could be a deal breaker for us TV entertainment is extremely poor. We were on-board for 17 days and films from 1st week were repeated on the second week. Some cruisers spend time in their cabin and like to relax and watch a film, not so on this ship. Offering was really poor unless you wanted to pay for a film. Some passengers don't want fancy shows but prefer quieter entertainment. Communication in "Pursuits" needs to be a bit more forward thinking e.g. "no bus into port a Salalah" needed to be communicated well ahead of the night before we docked. This resulted in a rush to book a tour for those that wanted to go ashore after 4 nights at sea. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
With a little more planning and attention to detail by the Cruise Director and his team, this could have had a five star rating but opportunities were missed. The inadequacy of planning was most noticeable in the failure to ensure ... Read More
With a little more planning and attention to detail by the Cruise Director and his team, this could have had a five star rating but opportunities were missed. The inadequacy of planning was most noticeable in the failure to ensure that lectures about port information were given before the port itself was reached. Quite why some sea days had no port lectures scheduled, resulting in them being shoe-horned in on days when we were in port, remained a mystery. So far as attention to detail was concerned, an obvious failure was the scheduling of activities in unsuitable spaces. There were times when I felt the Audio-Visual team were deliberately sabotaging events. It ought not to beyond their ability to prevent a curtain from straying across their projected stage backdrop! The activities themselves were pretty humdrum and repetitive withe the exception of the "Iron Chef" event. On the plus side, the food was of very high quality and service in both the main dining room and the buffet was exceptional. Indeed the buffet should not be considered a self- service restaurant as waiters are at hand to bring anything required. The ship is exceptionally well staffed both in terms of their numbers and importantly, their quality -- by far the best I have come across in 20 years of cruising. Staterooms are surprisingly small for a ship operating in the upper- market sector. There was barely room to pass each other within the cabin. Two chairs (non-reclining) and a dining-height table took up practically all the space on the small balcony. The smallness of the ship also put walking space at a premium -- there is no wrap-around promenade deck. An upper deck is kept free of deck chairs but at 13 circuits to a mile is a pretty tight space. To compensate there is a reasonably equipped gym. The ship lacks a dedicated cinema -- the " Calypso Lounge" has to to be used for this as well as being the Showtime venue, the Lecture theatre, and a Quiz Room. The lack of raked flooring makes cinema viewing particularly difficult. A good point, at least for me, was the lack of announcements on the PA system. Azamara caters well for those wanting a peaceful, comfortable cruise. The high volume of returning passengers suggests that the Line has a successful formula. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our fourth cruise with Azamara, in fact the only cruise line we have ever been on. We decided on a transatlantic, because what could be better than cruising into the old port of Montreal where we live! My father also did a similar ... Read More
This was our fourth cruise with Azamara, in fact the only cruise line we have ever been on. We decided on a transatlantic, because what could be better than cruising into the old port of Montreal where we live! My father also did a similar trek ages ago when he came to Canada from Ireland. We did not stay in Southampton before the cruise began, we flew into Heathrow, and taxied to the ship. We were booked in the Spa suite, one of the new suites added on during dry dock renovations. The spa suite is beautiful and spacious. There are a few things I will suggest to the company though, the table they had in the room originally, is too small. we love to eat breakfast in our room, alone. So I asked them for a bigger table and they brought one up right away...a beautiful mahogany table, perfect size. They need a bigger table on the balcony as well, which I will suggest as well. I know the soaking tub took up room on the balcony, but it is still big enough for a nice size table. I found the spa music a nice touch, the only problem was the music would start playing all of a sudden, and whenever the captain addressed the ship all we could hear was the spa music. They did have their electrician come in and fix the issue. The double sink vanity was superb. i am not a fan of the modern sinks being on top of the counter and not sunk in, but this one worked! All they need for the older women is a magnifying mirror. We did have one major issue with the shower door. First the good stuff, the shower is amazing, the rain shower and side jets, just wonderful. Now our cruise was a little rough in the north Atlantic, there were two tropical storms churning away, making for a rough ride. Our shower door had a very small magnetic strip to hold it closed, well that little magnetic strip failed miserably. I had to call the maintenance crew more than once to try to fix it, it never really was fixed by the way. I had to rig the door closed when not in use with a chair, our camera bag and a towel. This door was swinging open and slamming closed and I thought it would break at one point, not to mention it was loud as well. We did complain to the hotel manager and he was very generous with a settlement. The ports of call were well planned out and the excursions well done. The entertainment on board was just excellent. Their cruise director, Russ, is a super sweet, very knowledgeable and friendly person to chat with, his entertainment crew were fantastic. I would absolutely cruise with them again, not a trans ocean cruise though. The food, we ate only in the specialty dining rooms, their chef, Iwan pennings is absolutely amazing. The flavors and the quality of the food was perfect.The sommeliers were excellent in anticipating what wines we would like. All in all, we enjoyed this experience and we will cruise with Azamara again in the near future. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We booked this cruise almost 23 months before sailing, as the ship was being repositioned to Montreal for a Charter. We paid for an inside cabin, but were upgraded to a V2 balcony cabin. Although we rarely used the balcony due to poor ... Read More
We booked this cruise almost 23 months before sailing, as the ship was being repositioned to Montreal for a Charter. We paid for an inside cabin, but were upgraded to a V2 balcony cabin. Although we rarely used the balcony due to poor weather on the Atlantic crossing, it was useful for taking early morning photos when we arrived in port. The weather in all ports of call was good, more than be said for mid Atlantic. The Captain took a south west course towards the Azores, to avoid Tropical Storm Ian. This he did successfully, but had to go through the tail of the storm before arriving in St John's Newfoundland. I am Lactose Intolerant and was well catered for. I pre ordered my food the night before and the menu was adapted accordingly, except for sweets, which could not be pre ordered. Eventually, after speaking to the Maitre'D, I was made 'specials.' I found I was searching for things to do on Sea days, as I am not interested in quizzes and there was an overload of these. There were enrichment lectures, mainly on the Solar System, Planets and Weather Forecasting. These I found rather beyond my understanding, but they were well illustrated. As the first 4 ports of call were immediately after leaving Southampton, there was no opportunity to hear port lectures on these. The port lecturer had pre recorded these for viewing on the stateroom TV, but there was no time to view them, as we were in port! I found the Land Discoveries programme to be very expensive, so we didn't take any ship's excursions. Instead we DIY. Honfleur We took the free ship's shuttle and walked around for 3 hrs on a pleasant sunny market day. I did however find the cobbles difficult to negotiate. Mont St Michel Here we took a private tour, arranged through ACSM tours. They were excellent. St Peter Port Here we took the ship's tender into the port. We did a bit of shopping and then took the road train which went around the port. Cobh As we had been here before, we took a tour arranged by a fellow passenger via Butlers bus tours. This was to Lismore Castle gardens. Another great day. St John's Newfoundland. A great welcome by the towns folk, who were lining the cliffs. It was good to put our feet on dry land again, so we took the opportunity to walk around and take pictures. I had read that there was a road train which went around the town when cruise ships were in port, but I didn't see any evidence of it. Saguanay The Captain first told us of beluga whales in the entrance of the Saguanay river, then he stopped the ship near the statue of 'Our Lady of Saguanay' on Cap Trinite. We then had a wonderful greeting by townsfolk, who served bilberry pie and juice to us. Quebec City We took a taxi tour out to Montmorency Falls. These are higher than Niagara but not as wide. The weather was excellent, so we took wonderful photos. We then returned to the town, to be given a tour, before being dropped off near the Funicular railway. This took us down into the Old Town, which was very similar to Mont St Michel streets. Montreal Unfortunately, we were in the commercial port, as the passenger port is being renovated. We were taken by shuttle across railway tracks and less touristy areas into the port for the old town. I must say I wondered where on earth we were being taken. We then spent the morning looking at the Cathedral and those shops that we could get into by stepping across road works. Disembarkation. This was very well organised, we had been allocated bus 15 and outside we were lined up to await the arrival of the bus. We were taken to the Marriott hotel, whose ground floor was part of the airport concourse. This made life easy, a simple walk into the airport, which made waiting for the pre arranged transfer bus unnecessary. For more information go to : http://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2406441 Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
After cruising on all the "regular" lines since the 70's, my husband and I sailed a step up on Azamara. We mainly chose this line because it was convenient for us. We had our Retirement trip and stayed in Italy for 10 days ... Read More
After cruising on all the "regular" lines since the 70's, my husband and I sailed a step up on Azamara. We mainly chose this line because it was convenient for us. We had our Retirement trip and stayed in Italy for 10 days and wanted to do a trans atlantic cruise back across the pond. Wow are we glad we took Azamara! Everything was excellent. No lines, no screaming children, no rock climbing walls. Just pure relaxation. The beds are fantastic and the linens sublime. The service is impeccable. The food is awesome even in the main dining room and the pool grill. There was always a deck chair and always a clean table at the buffet which was the best I have seen at sea. This is not a "party" ship. Mostly older folks 55 to 70. Since I fit in that category I felt right at home. I now understand why over 40% of the passengers are repeat customers. They only have two ships but for everything the provide including wine, cocktails,sodas and specialty coffees at NO EXTRA CHARGE it is worth every dime. So after 20 something cruises I am now a loyal Azamara fan. Just wish I had become one sooner. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was our first Azamara cruise and we liked it so much, we've already booked our next one. We were fortunate to be the first passengers after the refit in Singapore and we found a beautifully appointed ship with comfortable places ... Read More
This was our first Azamara cruise and we liked it so much, we've already booked our next one. We were fortunate to be the first passengers after the refit in Singapore and we found a beautifully appointed ship with comfortable places to relax, have a drink, meet friends, eat a wonderful dinner, or have a quiet moment. What we loved about the size of the ship is there are no lines like you get on the standard cruises - no long wait to embark, no hunting for a table at breakfast or lunch, no lines to go off on a shore excursion, no lines at any of the dining venues, and always a comfy lounger by the pool! Everything was elegant, civilized, amazingly clean, comfortable and relaxed. Nothing was snobby and I was happy to see people had left the ball caps and cut offs as well as the ball gowns at home. We met people from all over the world and everyone was warm and friendly. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the service. Every single person, from the cabin attendants to the Captain were friendly, helpful and available to all the guests and we each were made to feel like family. We filled out a survey on the third day about how things were going. I mentioned that the entertainment in the Living Room during the cocktail and tapas hours was too loud for conversation. I received calls from the cruise director, the head of hotel services and from guest relations. The music was immediately toned down (and the number of people in the bar increased) and I was thanked several times for speaking up. Everyone made an effort to know our names, and after the first few days, knew what we liked to drink and where we liked to sit. We chose to add the "Like" package to our cruise and would definitely do it again. This program came out after we had booked our shore excursions which meant we had to cancel some before the cruise to use the $400 credit for excursions booked on-board. I stressed about this, for no reason it turns out, because there was room available on all the excursions we had cancelled. I was very pleased with the unlimited wi-fi and posted lots of pictures for family and friends to follow. As well, we were happy with the included liquor package upgrade and were able to choose everything we usually drink at home. We also added a dining package and ate at Aqualina two nights and Prime C one. Next time we'll switch it up. Both are excellent although I felt the lighting in Aqualina could be dimmed a little for more atmosphere. We spent a few days in Singapore before the start of the cruise which let us recover from the very long plane ride from home and explore this very interesting (and ridiculously clean) city. We easily mastered the metro and saw the Botanical Gardens, Gardens by the Bay, rode the Singapore Flyer, took a bumboat ride and a trishaw tour. We also became somewhat acclimated to the high heat and humidity that we would experience wherever we stopped on the cruise. I would recommend a visit here for anyone passing through this way. Only one shore excursion took us to the dreaded 'craft sale' but it did have a western bathroom which was a redeeming factor. We saw a lot, learned even more and have so many memories. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our 19th cruise on about 8 different lines. We generally take transatlantic crossings as a way to get to or from Europe. Fourth time on Azamara (AZ). We had a good time, highly enhanced by a group of extremely friendly ... Read More
This was our 19th cruise on about 8 different lines. We generally take transatlantic crossings as a way to get to or from Europe. Fourth time on Azamara (AZ). We had a good time, highly enhanced by a group of extremely friendly passengers. I'm not sure what AZ does to attract such friendly positive people; they are so much more outgoing and welcoming than on many other lines. If you like to socialize and meet new people, you will have unlimited opportunities. No snobs on board. The embarkation and dis-embarkation were a breeze, as were the processes of getting off and on at all ports. This is a complete pleasure after some nightmares on a couple of other lines. Very well done AZ! Service was almost always perfect, friendly, and personal. We were well taken care of. Most of the officers and top staff are around the ship, so you will have the opportunity to meet them and chat. They openly request feedback. The Journey recently came out of dry dock and there were some issues on the first cruise afterwards, but most of them have been resolved. The big transformation was the Looking Glass to be changed into the Living Room. This is the big observation bar on the 10th deck. It's now a gorgeous multi-purpose space and a big success. Otherwise you will find new carpets and some new furniture and new interior design in the cabins. A part of the retrofit was an incredible amount of re-wiring. We had hoped that it would improve internet speed and band width, but alas, we noted no difference from a crossing on the Journey in November, 2015. I was very happy in the Fitness Center almost everyday. I was concerned when I noticed that one of the recumbent stationary bikes was broken, but since the Center was so empty, I never had a problem getting my workout in. Beverage service was always perfect. We found the daily complimentary wines to be quite good, and often asked for a wine that was served on a previous day that we had liked. The selection of complimentary beers and soft drinks is very very limited. Food is very important to us, so I tend to be quite picky. We had many meals in the specialty restaurants which were all very good, although we got tired of the menus that never changed. One night in Aqualina we successfully built our own past dishes and were pleased. One of our best meals was a special rijsttafel, an Indonesian banquet, absolutely superb. I remember that they charge $25 per person. Food quality at the Windows buffet was adequate, a step above mass-market lines but below luxury lines. Sad to report that the food quality and selection in Discoveries, the main dining room, has slipped noticeably from a couple of years ago. It's now in the mass-market category, much like what you would find in the dining room on a Celebrity ship. The Patio is set up as an al fresco dining area at night, lovely space but the food quality is mediocre, nothing special. Entertainment was OK, but really no different than on most modest-sized ships. AZ uses many of the same guest entertainers you find on other lines, and you may have seen them all before. Talented people, but shows that one finds only on cruise lines. The big shows, which included talented dancers and singers, were carbon copies of what one finds on other lines, and not to our taste. AZ's biggest letdown, IMHO, is in their destination preparation and enrichment areas, and in the lack of variety of activities on board. Since this was a crossing, many passengers looked to be engaged or entertained during the day. Not much going on except lots of trivia contests, art auctions, napkin folding, the usual simple stuff. Guest lectures were not very challenging or interesting. Worst was that AZ offered very little preparation for our 5 ports, just some printed basics with the daily bulletin. No lectures or slide shows to prepare us. We stayed in stateroom 6088, which I will attempt to review below. There were lots of unresolved issues from the dry dock. The staff got an earful of complaints about these issues from the PAX in similar-sized staterooms. Last very positive note: The Cruise Director and Guest Relations Director hosted 2 LGBT get togethers which were both well-attended. They personally welcomed us, told funny stories and related that the AZ CEO is reaching out (wisely from a marketing point of view) to the LGBT community. These meet-ups were followed by hosted LGBT dinners in the dining room. Very nice touch. Nothing close to this on any of the other lines we have sailed. Thank you Azamara! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We did the TA repositioning cruise for our 25th anniversary and enjoyed it alot. If you like "sea days", then this is the type of cruise for you. We were a bit nauseous with some ocean waves the first day, but got comfortable ... Read More
We did the TA repositioning cruise for our 25th anniversary and enjoyed it alot. If you like "sea days", then this is the type of cruise for you. We were a bit nauseous with some ocean waves the first day, but got comfortable quickly. Very nice cruise company and service was fantastic ... always with a smile and a "Hello, Mr and Mrs A". Food was B+ to A-, so do not expect a 3 star Michelin food, but it was tasty, plentiful and the variety was excellent. Shows were good. Do not expect to beat the house in Bingo or in the Casino, but it is fun to try. Aqualina and Prime C were very good, but we liked the Windows buffet the most. The gym, spa, pool, track and hot tubs were all used and appreciated. Mostly we relaxed, but of course, we ate too much. Port stops were good and I was surprised that we could be back on board only about 30 minutes before departure ... I was thinking it might be 90 minutes. Drinks were good - no complaints. Wines of the day were good and a nice selection of varieties ... my wife and I are wine experts and found the selections to be good. The crowd was "senior", so do not expect alot of raucous partying and craziness. All in all, I would say we felt it was a great cruise for the money and we would recommend Azamara to all our friends. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We traveled with Azamara to the Caribbean in December 2015. We were so impressed we decided to book the transatlantic crossing and we were not disappointed. The service on Azamara is excellent. I also like the fact that this is all ... Read More
We traveled with Azamara to the Caribbean in December 2015. We were so impressed we decided to book the transatlantic crossing and we were not disappointed. The service on Azamara is excellent. I also like the fact that this is all inclusive so there is no "card swiping" every time you order a drink. The smaller cruise ships do not feel crowded and getting seats in the bar or around the pool is never a problem. The crowd on this cruise tends to be older, so if you are looking for lots of activities and night life this is probably not the cruise for you. Entertainment has never been a strong point for Azamara, which we knew prior to the cruise and as a result we did not attend many of the shows. The selection of TV shows / channels is limited and I would have liked to see a larger selection of free movies. I do find the internet expensive and wish that it was included in the price of the cruise, however that is the only negative. The food was very good. We did not eat in any of the specialty restaurants. The all inclusive options were very good and we prefer the more laid back style of the outdoor and buffet restaurants. The ports of call on this cruise were all excellent. It was stated that there would be no taxis in Nice where we disembarked and we needed to book a shuttle with Azamara. This was not the case. Taxis were plentiful and we would have saved money by taking a taxi, since the shuttle did not go to our hotel. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We enjoyed five days in Miami enjoying some much wanted winter warmth before boarding the ship. We stayed at the Intercontinental Miami which is very convenient to the port but perhaps a little impersonal. Maybe next time we will stay in ... Read More
We enjoyed five days in Miami enjoying some much wanted winter warmth before boarding the ship. We stayed at the Intercontinental Miami which is very convenient to the port but perhaps a little impersonal. Maybe next time we will stay in a slightly smaller hotel. Embarkation was a breeze and very quickly we were onboard and enjoying the reimagined Azamara Journey. The changes to the ship are really good, the whole décor is lighter and there are two great additions, the Patio, which serves a dining menu outside between 6.30 and 8.30 each night and The Living Room (the old Looking Glass Lounge) which is now busy all day. The Living Room serves lovely Tapas free of charge each evening and is a delightful place for pre dinner drinks. We were excited to discover our refurbished suite on Deck 8 (we've been with Azamara several times) and to find it had a lovely walk in shower and lots of great storage in the room. Our room team kept the room so clean, always nipping in when we were out, like magic elves!. Dining was very good, every meal was excellent and the included wines were really good and better than we enjoyed on a previous Azamara cruise. We are in Prime C, Aqualina, The Main Dining Room, The Windows Café and The Patio. Being a transatlantic cruise, there were lots of entertainments and activities. Trivia was very popular, though I preferred the water colour classes run by Diane and the jewellery making run by the lovely dancer Sasha. There was something for everyone, though unfortunately the enrichment lectures were on subjects that did not have wide appeal. The service on the ship was extremely good, every crew member treats you as an individual and works out what it is that would make a difference for you. Everyone greets you with a smile and all the officers are very visible and will stop and chat with you whenever. We only went on one excursion in the Azores which was a very good one where we visited a pineapple plantation, a small village, saw the vistas of the Blue and Green Lake and finished up with some wine tasting. It was one of the better cruise line excursions we have been on. In other ports we just did our own thing as all were very walkable. No ships shuttles were provided in Gibraltar due to the control of the local taxi association but a shuttle was offered free of charge in Palma. Azores, Alicante and San Tropez did not need a shuttle because of the joys of Azamara, docking right in town. Would we go again with Azamara - were it was so good we booked two more cruises onboard. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We just took the Azamara Journey on the Transatlantic cruise from Miami to Nice. What a terrific ship. Food was always excellent and the staff at the restaurants are absolutely terrific. Not only were they helpful with recommendations ... Read More
We just took the Azamara Journey on the Transatlantic cruise from Miami to Nice. What a terrific ship. Food was always excellent and the staff at the restaurants are absolutely terrific. Not only were they helpful with recommendations but our waiter, Carlo has an absolutely wonderful sense of humor.The bar tenders are great and very knowledgeable. We thoroughly enjoyed The Living Room, their topside lounge. The waiters there soon learned our drinks of choice and were always johnny on the spot with the drinks. Balcony stateroom was decorated beautifully, as was the entire ship. An advantage of this small ship is that the staff gets to know you and soon anticipates your needs. The staff at Guest Relations were always helpful and Heidi, the hotel manager was always around to answer questions and resolve problems. Getting on and off the ship at the various ports is a breeze and the disembarkation process was the best I've ever experienced. The Port stops were excellent with enough time for exploration. Entertainment is only average and management should do better when booking acts, especially the performers who are there for the whole trip. Another concern was the number of service dogs on board. The owners did not appear to need the service dogs for any more than companionship. These dogs were everywhere including the dining rooms. I can easily see this issue getting out of hand. Azamara should more carefully screen the need for these dogs to be on board. We would recommend the Azamara Journey to anyone wanting a great cruise experience Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was our first cruise with Azamara having cruised around fifteen times with other companies. Embarkation was seamless with no queues at all - we arrived at the ship at 1230 for an 1800 sailing. Disembarkation was slower that seemed to ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Azamara having cruised around fifteen times with other companies. Embarkation was seamless with no queues at all - we arrived at the ship at 1230 for an 1800 sailing. Disembarkation was slower that seemed to be caused by USA immigration procedures. The cruise started in Barcelona with stops in Gibraltar, Huelva (Spain) then St Maarten, Virgin Gorda before reaching Miami. As a stop Huelva is somewhat limited and we decided to take a bus to Seville (journey about 70 mins one way), other stops were fine with lots more local opportunities to visit. I would say that as this was a small ship the facilities were limited for a cruise which included 8 consecutive sea days as well as 3 other sea days. That said and as stated above, overall the cruise exceeded expectations particularly with food and service. However, the entertainment was a great disappointment to us and it seemed that the company relied on the in-house team in the main with limited other 'acts' being provided in support (the ventriloquist was very good as was the male entertainer who played sax/clarinet and tap danced). This may have been sympatamatic of the number of sea days not allowing for a frequent change of performers. Whilst the in-house team were very enthsuiastic the production was far less impressive than all other cruises we have experienced and to a point the ever present and hard working cruise director in my view seemed rather overbearing to the rest of the entertainment team and in my view he was used too often. That said I think that my view will be in the minority given the euphoric reaction the CD received whenever he performed or even walked around the ship, particularly from the older Canadian and American guests. The captain was very approachable as did the remainder of the crew who often mingled with passengers in all areas of the ship. In summary we will definitely do another Azamara cruise but will choose one with not so many sea days which hopefully should allow for more variety with entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We had a great time on this transatlantic crossing. IMO Azamara (AZ) does a fine job delivering to a special niche market that is neither mass-market nor luxury. As a result, most aspects of the crossing were very good, with a few things ... Read More
We had a great time on this transatlantic crossing. IMO Azamara (AZ) does a fine job delivering to a special niche market that is neither mass-market nor luxury. As a result, most aspects of the crossing were very good, with a few things exceptional and a few areas that need work. One exceptional area is the fact that the Captain, Cruise Director, Hotel Manager, and entertainment staff are out and about, greeting the passengers and responding to their concerns. If this is important to you, you will be pleased with AZ. Another outstanding aspect is the friendly attitude of the passengers. Passengers are very outgoing and open to conversations. Passengers seemed happy and enjoying themselves. There was little of the picky complaining that one sometimes finds on other lines. If you like meeting folks and get your energy from other people, then AZ is for you. But if you want to be alone and are looking for a private or secluded getaway, you will have a problem finding it on this somewhat crowded busy ship. The crossing was fairly smooth in lovely weather with only one day and night of memorable motion caused by high waves. There were only 4 ports in 16 days, so lots of sea days. The Journey is attractively designed like a boutique hotel. It's very clean and in good shape, although there is little about it that will take your breath away. It is due to be redone in early 2016, which will be welcome as there are some tattered pieces of furniture and a few worn areas. We paid for an upgrade to an owner's suite, which I will review below. Embarkation was a breeze, quick and easy. Disembarkation in Miami was problematic due to delays from US customs & immigration. The Cruise Director kept us fully informed of the causes of delay and AZ's strategy to deal with them. Getting on and off the ship in ports was also simple and painless. Since this was a crossing and the ports were not particularly intriguing, the AZ Land Discoveries program offered only a few excursions, all of which were fairly high-priced. One can find lower cost options on line. We took one Land Discoveries excursion to Sevilla that was good, but not exceptional. Opportunities for exercise are very important to me as I struggle to avoid gaining too much weight on a cruise ship. The Journey delivers well in this area as there are a full walking track and a very good fitness center. I was always able to find an available bike in the center during my late afternoon workout. Service was very good with only a few rough edges in Discoveries restaurant and the Windows buffet. Cabin attendants were amazingly cheerful and seemed to actually enjoy their jobs. Most food and beverage staff were equally cheerful, and some got to know us and our preferences. The beverage service was very good on this all-inclusive crossing. There are lots of places to go for hot and cold drinks, plus waiter service in many areas. We are wine drinkers and found the included wines to be good. Remember that you can request a wine served previously that you enjoyed, as it often continues to be available. Coffee drinks in the Mosaic Cafe and in the restaurants were excellent. Included alcohol met our demands. But note that the included beer selection is thin, and there is a limited variety of sodas on board. Now on to the very few areas that IMO need some improvement. As suite guests we were fortunate to have access to the Specialty Restaurants, which we enjoyed. However the few meals we had in Discoveries Restaurant (the MDR), were disappointing. On previous AZ trips were were wowed by Discoveries, but not this time, as the food quality fit the category of "average cruise ship," in other words nothing special. The menus were dull and the execution mediocre. I would have enjoyed some higher level of activities on board, especially since there were so many sea days. While there is a lot going on, most of it falls into the simple inexpensive category such as trivia (6 contests per day, everyday!) and ping pong tournaments. We went to one destination lecture and saw another on TV, and found them only superficial. AZ could improve the quality of its enrichment program. In the area of entertainment, I admit that we are oddballs, preferring stripped-down performances to the glitzy big shows. AZ's offerings were what one seems to find on all cruise ships, lots of reviews of bits and pieces of pop music. Performers were talented, but the material was often lacking. We most enjoyed the small shows with a single performer and there were a few of those, and they were of fairly good quality. I admit that this is an area where my tastes are probably very different than other AZ customers. Who we are: We are 2 retired gents from Northern California who love the explore the world, mostly in land-based travel. We use ships primarily as a means of transportation, but can be seduced by a good itinerary. This crossing was our 18th cruise taken on 9 different lines. We will be crossing again on the Journey in April as we like AZ very much and the itinerary fits our travel plans. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
My husband and I have travelled a lot. Approximately 30 cruises. 20 on Princess then decieded to give the other cruise lines a chance. This was our second Azamara cruise and we thouroughly enjoyed it. We ate at the speciality ... Read More
My husband and I have travelled a lot. Approximately 30 cruises. 20 on Princess then decieded to give the other cruise lines a chance. This was our second Azamara cruise and we thouroughly enjoyed it. We ate at the speciality restaurants and signed up for the new Asian dinner as well as the Chef"s Table. Food was delicious. Highly recommend it. We had a great time in the Disco most evenings getting to know the staff and fellow cruisers. We enjoyed the white night the most. Eric and the other performers were fantastic. Loved the music. Never did so much dancing. Relaxing by the pool during the day without many announcments was nice. Very relaxing. We have booked our 3,4 and 5 cruise with Azamara. I quess we are converted. Great staff, I cannot say enough on how the made you feel like family. See you in April 2016. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We wanted to see what a luxury cruise line was and what would be different than the wonderful cruises we have had on Celebrity. Best I can say is that nothing was as great as the experience we have had on Celebrity and it seemed like the ... Read More
We wanted to see what a luxury cruise line was and what would be different than the wonderful cruises we have had on Celebrity. Best I can say is that nothing was as great as the experience we have had on Celebrity and it seemed like the ones who loved it were phobic against large ships and loved the smaller ports these lines go to. On that basis, Azamara is ok but not GREAT. The finesse of Celebrity where everyone seemed to anticipate your needs was missing. On several calls to guest relations, the phone was answered by "I'll call you right back!" and no return call was made. I made an inquiry about terms of my package and was told that "They cannot answer these questions" and offered no desire to find out. On any cruise I was always told, we will get an answer and advise! Azamara is the ONLY cruise lines to flatly reject our desire to extend our stay and no explanation was ever offered. The "package" was set in concrete and there are no variations! We always ask for extension to enjoy the new location. One part of a day is never enough to search out the richness of a city. Crew was exception with the best Captain we have ever had and the entertainment (cruise director staff) were of the highest caliber we have ever enjoyed. Hotel staff and restaurant staff had some bright spots like YAN-YAN the waitress. However that "finesse" was missing-like serving a warm glass of Chardonnay and then - to correct - was about to pour the chilled bottle into the warm contents!In our questionnaire, we said that we would not enter any restaurant that had dirty windows. The windows on this ship were so dirty that when the sun was on the window, you could not see beyond the crud that had accumulated! The excuse was that they could not do this on a transatlantic, but the windows were dirty LONG before we got on board! The worst issue we have is that the cruise line arranged our stay at the Melia Sevilla Hotel. Put us on buses to the hotel, then had NO ROOM to check into until 3 PM! The buses dropped us at the hotel about 9 AM! When we went in with our baggage, the hotel staff said that they were not permitted to help us and that the cruise staff would help! The cruise staff was ONE WOMAN and ONE MAN and there were three bus loads of passengers and the baggage! The woman deferred to the man about everything so we guessed she was a trainee, and the man KNEW NOTHING. He recited the instructions that we are to fill out the registration forms and then leave the bags in the lobby to be delivered to the rooms! The problem was that he had no way of identifying who owned what bags. When my wife asked about this, he looked blankly and them went to the hotel manager who (FOR THE FIRST TIME) told him we needed to put claim checks on the bags. The man gave us 4 of the 8 tags given to him! We were then told to vacate until 3 PM and "go to something!" and did not offer ANY assistance as to what we could do. The Hotel manager simply pointed us to Taxi stand on the other side of the street who all quoted us 10 Euros to the Cathedral! This is much higher that the reviews have shown us since this was only a few blocks away! The anger was very bad as the majority were older people that could not stand for too long, etc. It was like cattle cars dumping us on to the hotel and having no plans to care for any of us until 6 hours later!!! We have no desire to book Azamara again. We saw no value to the expense, no value to the loyalty issue that have us highest level due to the Celebrity status we have. I had the driest Fillet I have ever eaten. No a jucy, tender beef, but a dry beef that would never qualify as such here in Texas! Food was middle of the road. Complimentary wines were ok, but not above the $6-8 a bottle class of wines. In short, this is a small ship middle of the road cruise that I see no value in the higher cost to be justified! Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Our last Transatlantic cruise was in 2008 when we sailed from Miami to Barcelona, but this cruise on the Quest was far superior in quality. The embarkation in Miami was trouble free, if a little lengthy, simply because so many guests ... Read More
Our last Transatlantic cruise was in 2008 when we sailed from Miami to Barcelona, but this cruise on the Quest was far superior in quality. The embarkation in Miami was trouble free, if a little lengthy, simply because so many guests arrived at the same time. Once on board we were welcomed with champagne and we sat in the lovely Mosaic cafe until our stateroom was available. We were in a Sunset Balcony stateroom which was the usual balcony cabin size but with a much bigger balcony overlooking the aft of the ship. Whilst the cabin size is quite compact and the bathroom small, the cabin was well appointed and immaculately attended to throughout our cruise. Felitiadad, our attendant, and her assistant, could not have been more obliging and friendly. They called us by name immediately and It was a pleasure to see them every day. We ate in Discoveries restaurant each evening and thoroughly enjoyed the food. On one occasion, my steak was only warm and rather tough. After mentioning this to the waiter, it was whipped away and I was served a hot, extremely tender replacement. The waiters in the dining room were exceptional. Nothing was too much trouble. They too, called us by name, quickly knew our tastes, and seemed genuinely interested in us. The Windows restaurant served a varied selection of dishes and , once again, staff were attentive and helpful. Wine with lunch and dinner was of good quality and plentiful. The Mosaic cafe served lattes, cappuccinos, iced coffees and a variety of teas. It was also a delightful spot to sit and 'watch the world go by'. We were exceptionally lucky with the weather and spent many hours on sea days sunning ourselves by the pool. The sun beds were the most comfortable I have ever used and towels were very large and plentiful. Waiters were constantly walking around offering iced drinks and sorbets. Entertainment during the day, was plentiful, and in the evening of extremely good quality for a small ship. The dancers and singers were delightful, and Tony, the Cruise Director, tireless in his involvement. My only criticisms of this cruise were that the itinerary, whilst limited, was somewhat thoughtless, as the two ports on route to Seville, (Bermuda and Tenerife) , both fell on Sundays, when most shops and facilities were closed. The journey down the Guadalquivir River was exciting, as it was quite a navigational feat for the Quest. However, it berthed almost in the centre of Seville. Unfortunately, if you had not booked an extra night in a hotel, you did not get to see the city at all, as disembarkation was early the next morning! There is no question that, God willing, we shall sail again on Azamara. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
The wonderful thing when one has not done a transatlantic crossing before is that there are no preconceived expectations. That doesn't mean I am not well traveled just not well cruised. From the minute I stepped on to the dock ... Read More
The wonderful thing when one has not done a transatlantic crossing before is that there are no preconceived expectations. That doesn't mean I am not well traveled just not well cruised. From the minute I stepped on to the dock Azamara went the extra mile. I am a single traveler by choice, and staff welcomed me to my cabin with fresh fruit and flowers in the room, encouraged me to call for anything 24/7. Yes, I now that's their job, but see if you get two people in a five star hotel asking if you want flowers and you choice of fruit in your room. The captain is a much respected and known entity on the ship, fondly thought of by past passengers. He enjoyed banter with the guests and always took time for photos and a small chat when asked by guests. Meals were excellent, if a dish was not up to expectation it was whisked away and apologies and new meal immediately forthcoming. If a wine was not to my liking one was offered from another night to replace. The bottle shown every fill of the glass to assure the change was made. I celebrated my birthday on ship. A table was specially arranged for our group with cake, happy and celebrating staff in attendance. My room decorated in full, how lovely. Azamara should be commended. Their staff training is second to none. I have no idea how anyone could be unhappy with this cruise line. For myself, the memories of this Atlantic crossing will remain a JOY. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We are grreat fans of TA cruises and, having attained Captain's Club top level on Celebrity, this was a natural for us. Check-in in N.Y.C. was an absolute breeze, we arrived at the pier, extremely conveniently located in mid-town ... Read More
We are grreat fans of TA cruises and, having attained Captain's Club top level on Celebrity, this was a natural for us. Check-in in N.Y.C. was an absolute breeze, we arrived at the pier, extremely conveniently located in mid-town Manhattan around 3:30, found noone ahead of us in line, and were aboard within ten minutes and were directed to the Windows Cafe, glass of Champagne in hand, for a late lunch. By the time we went to our cabin our luggage was waiting for us. Our cabin, 8040, although designated a suite, was not really that, as sleeping and living areas were not separated. But it was wider, by three feet or so, than a standard cabin, and the extra room made it much eas ier for the two of us to move around simultaneously. The balcony was also that much longer, which provided room for a lounger, two chairs and a table; unfortunately the weather was never quite mild enough for us to sit outside. The bathroom was of adequate size, had both a tub and a shower, and more than sufficiennt storage space. Storage space in the cabin was ample, our three suitcases all fitted under the bed. Our two cabin attendants were oustanding, giving the room thorough cleanings twice a day. After the first day they had learned our movements so that they were never in the way when we wanted to use the room. Our butler, Sanjiv, was absolutely first rate. He made our reservations in the specialty restaurants for us, brought us breakfast in the cabin on the minute on the days we had it there, and served it with considerable grace, kept our refrigerator stocked with the items we requested on the first day, and always had a snack waiting for us in the late afternoon when we'd return to the cabin. The food: We ate dinner in the Main Dining Room twice, found the choice of dished adequate, the food quite good but certainly nothing to rave about. The breakfasts there offered a wide choice but took rather too long to serve, so that we mostly breakfasted in the Windows cafe which offered a similar choice of dishes along with waiters to carry older passengers' (a category that included me) plates to their tables. The only problem was that, at peak hours (at lunch as well), there weren't enough tables to go around. Not really a problem as, without exception, seated guests were only too happy to share their tables when we asked if we might join them. The lunch buffet at Windows was hit and misss. The cold cuts were always inadequate, the hot dishes were mostly good, but not always, the offerings of the carvery varied in quality, the ice cream was very good indeed. We had the themed dinners at windows on two evenings, when the tables are covered with white linen. The Indian evevning was a big success, the French not so much. The pool lunches, on the occasions when we craved a simpler fare, were very good, with excellent hamburgers, fries and a choice of beef, lamb and chicken kebabs and nice, crisp fries. But by far the best food was to be had in the specialty restaurants where, as suite pessengers, we could eat as often as we liked at no additional charge. Prime C was excellent, with a superb fillet of beef, a lovely saddle of lamb and, since perfection is hard to achieve, a beautiful veal chop which was, however, a bit stringy and certainly badly oversalted. I can offer nothing but raves about Aqualina. Particularly memorable were two different pate de foie gras versions as starters, a splendid osso bucco and a marvelously tender broiled lobster. As for the free house wines (one had a choice of a different red or white each day both at lunch and at dinner at all the venues) they went from barely acceptable to pretty good. (Why, by the way, free wine and not free beer? And I would add that the same wines served in the bars at non-meal times were going for truly ridiculous prices, $11 for a glass of garden variety Pinot Grigio?)) In the specialty restaurants we chose to order from the wine list, it was possible to find good reds and whites for around $30, although only a few. I should mention that we were presented with four half bottles of assorted spirits (which we chose to exchange for four half bottles of a very good Scotch) in our suite, along with two bottles of bubbly and a bottle of wine. We were never in imminent danger of dying of thirst. The free specialty coffees and pastries, available at Mosaics Cafe at all hours, were excellent as well. As our Celebrity Elite Status translated into Le Club Voyage membership we enjoyed a number of additional percs. These included a more than generous free internet allotment a bag of laundry done free and one garment dry cleaned free. Additionally, there were four cocktail hours fo club members, with any drinks you wanted offered free a volonte, and two evenings of "happy hours" with drinks available at half price. The quality of the service throughout was extremely friendly and genuinely helpful. The one exception was a server who refused to honor our Club status at one of the happy hours and was overbearing and deliberately unhelpful in addition. After I reported the incident to the Customer Relations desk I was sought out by no less than three ship's officers who offered their profuse apologies and assured me that they would make it their personal responsibility to see to it that such an incident would not happen again. Apart from this very minor occurrence we had only the most pleasant of interchanges with the personnel aboard and found all the ship's officers, from the Captain on down, to be most friendly and approachable. On the one day that there were rough seas the captain changed course and reduced speed to minimize the discomfort caused to his passengers. The down side of this was that this cost him several hours and that he consequently missed the tide at Honfleur, causing the excursions from Rouen to be scrubbed, but from all I heard, most people were quite happy having been spared a day of utter misery, and from our perspective, it was a real bonus to be able to make the beautiful passage up the Seine in daylight rather than in the night. The quality of the entertainment, especially considering the size of the vessel, was excellent throughout. On the first evening a string quartet from the Julliard Music School, performed and this proved to be a special treat. Eliot Finkel was marvelous, both in his incarnation as presiding musician of the ship's orchestra and in his two classical piano recitals, both of which were truly delightful. How heartening that a cruise line can make the assumption that its guests are not necessarily musical illiterates, to be fobbed off with only the most glaring of schmaltz.The dance company proved to be very good indeed, we much enjoyed that evening. Nancy greatly enjoyed the dance lessons offered most days. Several passengers put together a series of question and answer sessions for the benefit of passengers not feeling entirely comfortable in the use of the French language once ashore and I had the impression that these were well received--they were certainly well attended. Azamara graciously not merely assigned a daily time in the observation lounge for this purpose but also publicized the sessions in the daily newspaper. Even though there were no port stops and that consequently this was not cruising in the generally understood meaning of the word, we were both delighted with our experience and enjoyed it as an extremely pleasant Atlantic crossing. In our opinion Azamara has come up with a most useful and pleasing formula. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Embarkation We arrived by cab from JFK at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal and were on the ship within 10 minutes. It went very smoothly with the baggage handlers taking our luggage in front of the terminal, no line at security, and we ... Read More
Embarkation We arrived by cab from JFK at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal and were on the ship within 10 minutes. It went very smoothly with the baggage handlers taking our luggage in front of the terminal, no line at security, and we were at the ship's entrance. The welcome by staff was less than what I had expected based on others' reviews, but perhaps they had had a long day. They seemed more interested in talking to one another than dealing with us. The Ship She is a beautiful ship. The public spaces are tasteful and comfortable. The library is very attractive. The Looking Glass bar was one of our favorite spots on board. The chaises lounges by the pool and looking to the sea were covered with lots of padding and blankets. The cafe was also quite nice, although located in a busy spot between the shops and the main staircase to the purser's desk. We loved the ability to get lattes and espressos at any time for no charge. Cabin The cabin was excellent, with more storage space than we actually used. Not having to pack formal clothes helped! A flat-screen TV was a welcome sight after the clunky old TV on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 in 2010. The balcony was lovely and there were enough electrical outlets for our gadgets. We found it well designed. The Ports Azamara's practice of having the ship serve as the hotel the first night, with departure late on the following day is an excellent idea. We were able to enjoy company of friends in New York the evening we arrived and for most of the next day. Once arriving in Rouen, where once again the ship serves as a hotel the last night. It was nice to come home to after dinner and we had none of the usual horrible disembarkation experience we've had with other lines. Passengers The passengers trended older, mostly American with a few Europeans and a few more Canadians, but it was a varied group politically, if not ethnically/racially as much. A good number of passengers had been to university. With a maximum of 695 passengers, on this trip the Journey carried 635. Food and Wine I live in the "foodie" San Francisco Bay Area and I'd say that the food was very good. The wines included with the fare were absolutely acceptable and well chosen. The main dining room is classic and comfortable. There was a problem getting a table one evening at 8 pm and the adjacent bar was packed, so it seemed a little disorganized, but it was only that one time. Otherwise, you almost never had to wait for a table. The buffet area was almost always a challenge for finding seating. Had the weather not been chilly, the open air tables would have been fine, but given the wind and the temperature, sitting outside wasn't very comfortable so everyone tried to squeeze inside. The food in the buffet was surprisingly good. Due to Azamara's having raised the price for eating in Aqualina and Prime C, we didn't feel any incentive to dine outside the main dining room or at the buffet. We received a complimentary visit to Aqualina before the end of the crossing and we felt confirmed in our judgment about paying extra. There was nothing wrong with it, it just didn't justify the extra cost in our opinion. We aren't big steak eaters, so Prime C was less of a draw. Challenges of a Small Ship On such a small ship, the problems I observed were 1) finding places to sit in the informal buffet at lunch and 2) the problem posed to readers by the takeover of all (and I mean all) public spaces by amplified trivia contests. If you like reading books, which we do, especially on a crossing, we were often forced either to go to our room or to go to the Library; and frankly, some folks even mistook the library for a place to have loud conversations. That remains my biggest complaint. The fact that a bunch of mature adults can only entertain themselves with trivia for 11 days is mind-boggling to me. Can't Azamara encourage other types of less intrusive entertainment or at least not use microphones, and limit the use of public spaces for that purpose? It seems like one of those cheap choices for the company, probably dreamed up in the accounting department. Staff I did not have the experience others have reported of staff being especially welcoming and enthusiastic. We had one very good server in the restaurant from ?le Maurice. No one ever remembered our names or seemed particularly welcoming otherwise; not unfriendly at all, just not going out of their way to make us feel welcome in the way others have reported. I would make one exception: our cabin staff was very warm and friendly. It probably helps that both were Brazilian! Entertainment Apart from the issue I've already addressed regarding amplified trivia games, the entertainment staff were quite good. One evening there was a jazz concert in the cafe that I found extraordinarily good. The shows were fine--not fantastic--but fine. There was a passenger choir that I really enjoyed (and tried to become part of, but oh, my voice...). The company had done no programming that was specific to Rouen, Paris, or France. A lot of passengers were taking their first--and perhaps only--trip to Paris (given their age) and had booked four-day package tours. Unfortunately, we were arriving on a holiday weekend when many things are closed and one of the four days was Monday when many museums are closed. On top of that, it had been raining quite a bit. We proposed to do a little session on the French language that turned into a 150-person class on pronunciation, phrases, customs, stereotypes, typical misunderstandings, practical considerations given the holiday and the weather, and a bit about the history of the city. We called it a "people's class" and we just asked what folks wanted and roped a couple of Francophone passengers into the mix to help. We did five classes in all. A couple of kind travel agents on board told the cruise director that we should be compensated (and it was work). When asked what I would like, I asked for free Internet. That request was turned down a couple of days later. The CD reported that it wasn't in his authority and that the accountants in Miami had emailed a negative response. He was able to provide two $25 meals at Aqualina. In the end, he was also able to provide me with one days' worth of Internet after a bit of a hassle. I don't know the inside and outside of this issue with the Internet, but it was a modest request and I am still shocked at the company's unwillingness to do it. Captain Due to a rather large storm in the North Atlantic, the captain chose to navigate in a straight line from NYC to the NW tip of Spain, then make a sharp left turn at the Bay of Biscay up to the Channel and on to the Seine River. As he said when he told us, "Our first duty is the safety of our passengers, and frankly, the safety of the ship as well." I respect that kind of thinking! We hit a few large swells on the way and a couple of people fell, but no serious damage was done. The ship performed amazingly well I thought, for her size. His decision was not popular with many people because it meant that instead of arriving in Rouen around 10 am, we arrived just after 6 pm, so tours people had planned to Giverny or around Rouen were cancelled. I felt it was a shame but it still allowed us an evening in Rouen. We went to a medieval inn for dinner with another couple of passengers where Julia Child ate her first sole meunière, so we were content. Disembarkation Disembarkation (and embarkation) was much, much better than our last experience on Cunard's Queen Victoria at Los Angles during the 2011 Christmas holidays. Although we had to stand in line for a little while due to the narrow landing staircase, it wasn't too difficult. Captain and crew lined up to thank us and to say goodbye. Buses for those with packages were available. It was raining quite a bit. Luggage was inside a tent and cabs pulled up fairly regularly to pick up those headed for the train station. We noted that because many people didn't speak French and the cabbies didn't speak English, many folks remained standing in the rain in confusion. I would recommend to Azamara that they station a French- speaking staff person to handle instructions to the cabbies for the passengers, like any boutique hotel would do. It would have been a considerate touch. Since we speak French, we just popped on in the cab and went on our way but I felt bad for so many other passengers who weren't being helped. Other The captain said this NYC to Rouen trip was a one-off due to the ship's having been chartered for a trip out of Rouen. That's a real shame. Currently, virtually everyone goes to Spain, Britain, or Holland. For those of us who travel often to France and would prefer to do so by ship, it's frustrating. I hope Azamara or someone will do a regular non-stop to France at some point. We'd be their most regular passengers! Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
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