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