My partner decided to book this cruise due to excessive travel insurance costs on any cruises calling at Spanish territory or even in fact Dublin. We had travelled with Cruise & Maritime on the Marco Polo to the Western Med and also to ... Read More
My partner decided to book this cruise due to excessive travel insurance costs on any cruises calling at Spanish territory or even in fact Dublin. We had travelled with Cruise & Maritime on the Marco Polo to the Western Med and also to the Fjords and thoroughly enjoyed the service and ambience on a small and friendly, age-related ship. The Azores is a recent addition to their fleet this year and being even smaller, we felt would be to our taste.
It was disappointing to receive a telephone call 2 days before departure advising of a 24 hour delay due to the ship's late arrival from Lisbon on the previous itinerary and also the cancellation of the port visit to Stornoway in order to catch up with their schedule. However, a generous compensation package was offered, 20% of cost of cruise onboard credit plus a 25% discount on future cruise booked on one of their ships.
Directions to BRISTOL Avonmouth were excellent and after dropping partner and luggage and parking on dockside, embarkation was on time and efficient. Although the cruise terminal at Bristol Avonmouth does lack the style and comfort levels of Southampton or Dover, we were soon onboard and escorted immediately to our cabin where our luggage was already waiting. There was time to visit the Buffet before the obligatory Liefeboat Drill which was conducted very professionally. Our cabin was clean and spacious with a rather small TV which had some UK channels plus the route map and bridgecam and two in-house film channels which changed daily and shown on a loop. Cabin service was excellent and unobtrusive. I cannot commend the Entertainment team enough - Daniel was the Cruise Director and also one of the two male vocalists and he worked so hard. He was even in charge of cruise terminal embarkation. The band and dance troupe were very slick and professional providing excellent variety and the onboard comedian Lee Carroll did two excellent evening shows. Newly appointed Deputy Cruise Director Cerys, with a lovely voice was on her first contract, as was Jordan (second male vocalist) who was the star of the cruise for us. His youthful appearance belied his talents and he was everywhere from Daily Quizzes, Scattergories, Bean Bag Bowls and Deck Quoits and the whole team responded excellently to adding entertainment activities once it was confirmed that the port of St Mary's, Scilly Isles had to be cancelled due to bad weather.
The Dining Room was very pleasant, although the closeness of tables must have made the waiters job a nightmare! Food was plentiful and of an excellent standard - with a special mention for the afternoon tea scones! The shore excursions did seem expensive, as on most cruises, but with some forward planning and use of local tourist information points, satisfactory trips could be made. Apart from Honfleur in Normandy (which was a pure delight in warm sunshine) all other ports were by tender (ship's lifeboats). I would also like to commend the crew who assisted passengers in these quick tricky manouevres in often choppy seas. Although disappointed with the cancellation of St Mary's, we were rewarded with the best weather of the trip with warm sunny skies and calm seas all afternoon round Lands End and return through the Bristol Channel. Disembarkation was calm and efficient with plenty of seats for everyone waiting to be called and luggage already waiting in designated areas in the terminal building.
A thoroughly enjoyable cruise where we met many like-minded lovely fellow passengers and we hope to sail again soon on the MV Azores. Read Less