We chose this cruise because it was roundtrip San Diego, and because we were going with about 30 friends. Most of us had sailed extensively on Seabourn, so the comparisons were inevitable.
Boarding was slow with long lines, which turned into more long lines to book the specialty restaurants. We were not allowed to go to our cabin, but instead were routed to the Windows Cafe--which was very crowded--where we were served lunch. The outside of the ship, and the public rooms we saw on the way, looked old and uninviting. All kinds of things were being hawked as we progressed--special meals, etc.,--which we found to be very tacky. For what we paid for this cruise, everything should have been included, and I mean everything. If a line that seems to be aspiring to luxury, one should not hear the word "package." Talk about absurdity: if you took a can of beer from your mini fridge it was free, if you took a bottle of beer it would cost you $2.75.
Our "suite" was actually a large room, very nicely decorated and (as we found out) comfortable beds, beautiful linens, great lighting, a quiet climate control system, and a small bathroom with one sink. A bottle of sparkling wine, fruit, and flowers awaited us. The cabin was quiet except in the roughest of seas. We loved the verandah.
We also loved the design of the pool area, although the pool could have been warmer and the hot tubs were not hot. The sail-away party was a sign of things to come. There was music but no food, and drinks but not enough bartenders. The woman bartender at the Patio Bar looked like a grim matron in a women's prison.
Throughout the cruise room service breakfast was prompt but very limited and often not very good--the bagels were something by another name. The food was inconsistent; an Azamara burger during the first few days was excellent and cooked to order; toward the end of the cruise it was overcooked and poor. The food in the specialty restaurants ranged from awful (the veal, the lobster bisque, the fishy lobster ravioli) to good (the Chateaubriand, the Dover sole). The dining room was woefully overcrowded, with tables too close together, so we ate there only once. At the tea service, the clotted cream was not actual clotted cream, but whipped cream.
We were really pleased with the inclusion of a rose wine as an option along with the red and white offerings.
Our friends in the owners' suite next door to us had the oddest experience. They had bought a fancy wine package, only to find out that bottles of wine could not be brought to their room, only glasses of wine (although they were stocked with bottles of spirits that they did not drink).
The service was inconsistent; about one third of the staff seemed sullen and surly, another third blank and staring, the remaining third were cheerful and helpful.
The public rooms were overcrowded on sea days.
We saw one singer, who had a nice voice but was not at all entertaining, and eschewed the rest of the entertainment. There were some old, odd movies playing for free, but there were charges for first run movies. The TV was a nice big one. Some of our party complained bitterly that the Olympics were not being screened.
The White Party was ridiculously overcrowded, with one long line instead of stations.
We took only one shore excursion, and it was memorable, about half in a good way, half not. The tenders were prompt and fun.
Debarkation was smooth.
If the price of this cruise had been half or even two thirds of what it was, we would have been less displeased. But it was way overpriced for what it was. Back to Seabourn, for good.
Not a real suite--one large room. Loved the decor, the mirrors and lighting, the beds and linens, the verandah, the climate control system, and the quiet. The bathroom was small with only one sink.
Not Average..mixed. Loved the place, the view, the drinks, the young people partying the music. The food was very very poorView All undefined undefined Reviews