I have cruised many times with many operators, but never with an operator who does.not understand cruising! Whilst I enjoyed the cruise as such, I do not blame the officers and crew for the awfullness of the ship Azores. We were informed that this was the inaugural trip of the Azores to the West Indies, but unfortunately the powers that be misinformed the passengers that this ship was 67 years old a fact that we celebrated on board. There was so much wrong with the ship that it should have been in a maritime museum NOT on an Atlantic crossing at this time of year ie January-February when the Atlantic can be at its strongest wind and wave strategy. This ship was just NOT up to this crossing. Whilst the captain and crew tried to eliminate panic be saying "our paramount importance is for your safety" this was continually said over the loud speaker system. Lets be honest here - the ship just wasn't up to this type of voyage at this time of year.
Cruise & Maritime have a great deal to learn about cruising if they really want to become a serious operator of the seas. The waiters were new to their positions and didn't really know what to do, in fact I had to tell one waiter that a puddle of water on the floor could cause an accident and perhaps he should mop it up. This should have been done by the Maitre-de. The food was very mediocre, in fact I didn 't see one ripe tomato in the salad area at lunch time, and the dining area at times there was not a single item on some days that I could enjoy. Other times there was a good choice, but this was few and far between.
The cabins, were just about adequate, being on deck 4 outside. The wardrobe was a single size for two people on a 30 day cruise, with no laundry room. There were many difficulties in the cabin ie, the safe had to be reset every other day, then there was trouble in the bathroom, with the door not closing hence banging all night long, and the hairdryer broke just after the first use, then the tap fell off the basin with hot water running. Had to wait over 24 hours for this to be repaired, when I demanded to see the Captain, "low and behold" I had help within 10mins. It was obvious that the ship was just not ready for this voyage, in fact engineers were still on board from Lisbon and disembarked when we returned to Lisbon before the transatlantic crossing.
When we eventually arrived in the West Indies, we found that some of the tenders were not working properly - hey ho, we now have to think about the return crossing. Some of the trips ashore had to be cancelled because of this, and infact I wasn't able to go ashore at all.When I asked to buy some dollars, I was told to come back tomorrow to the reception desk.I returned only to be told they wouldn't arrive til 5pm, I returned again at 6pm, but NO dollars, in fact the ship didn't have any dollars or euros on board to sell to their passengers, even though they were sailing to the ports which dealt with $s and Euros.
Because we had to return to Lisbon for shelter from the storm before returning to UK,many passengers didn 't have enough medication ie, they were only allowed to bring 30days medication with them, hence they had no option but to buy from the Doctor on board, who charged £60. The passenger was told by the doctor that she couldn't purchase her tablets from a Farmacie in Lisbon, but only on board.
Whilst I prefer to cruise with the smaller ships, this was an appaling experience as far as cruising goes. Cruise & Maritime, you have a long way to go before you can even consider yourselves as maritime people. I hope you can learn from experienced cruisers!!!!!! Never again will I cruise with Cruise & Maritime, you need to "Up" your standards.
Cabin adequate, very clean and well serviced by the cabin stewardess. Not large enough wardrobe for 30 days cruise.