This is our 20th cruise, first (last) on Azamara. While the line definitely has its fans (groopies?) its just not for us. Many seem thrilled with the "personal attention" they perceive, it's available on most ships if you seek it out. The ship's appearance was good. Some failed decorative embellishments coming off the closet doors, and what has to be the smallest shower i've come across. What others considered "special" events (White Night, Azamazing Evening) we saw as just another way to foist a buffet on guests, instead of providing dinner in the main dining room. I'm not a fan of standing on lines each time I want to get something to eat. Again, I will emphasize that many passengers (a large % being repeaters) felt they were happy with the evenings.
The biggest failure centered around the attempt at entertainment. First, since this is a small ship, there was just one entertainment venue at a time. Unlike other ships where there was a choice of piano bar, soloist, combo, etc., here is was just one. AND often it was a failure. The first evening, our Cruise Director (who was great) let us know how we were in for some special entertainment nights, all NEW. (That should have been the first alert.) One of the great, new shows was in conjunction with 54 BELOW, a cabaret located below Studio 54 in Manhattan. Great write-ups and fabulous performers appeared in the past. That's great but what we go was a singer who was promoted as singing in over 1000 performances of "Jersey Boys" He appeared two nights. We, along with everyone in the venue, was expecting songs that must be from ... "Jersey Boys"...right? Wrong, Although a very good singer, he chose to relate his life story, and sang a collection of music from the 40's. I will tell you I love this music and play it often, but like others we were confused. On his next performance night all were waiting for the "Jersey Boys" experience. Again...disappointment. He sang some of HIS favorite songs from the era. The final song was from Jersey Boys (and there might have been one buried in the middle) but none of the songs seemed to be the "show stoppers/top of the charts" songs we expected.
BUT, this was not the biggest disappointment in the entertainment. We were also treated to another completely new experience...SHORTS AT SEA" This was an evening of three 10 minute plays (A rage in Miami since the mid 90's) I'm guessing the target audience does not have the ability to focus for more than 10 minutes at a time, hence the idea. Overall, the performances were mediocre to bad. How do I (not a theater critic) know? Well on the first night of performances (yes, there were more to come) I noticed some empty seats after the first act, and many more after the second. The next morning I hear one couple asking if another saw the show, and what did she think. I'm close to exact here, so I will use quotes..."I've never seen anything so terrible." We tried the second performance (again, nothing else to do on the ship) and the venue started out about 3/4 full. After the first play, 1/2 full, and we left with others after the second act. Thankfully, the ship did provide an excellent alternative for the third night's performance, having a very talented piano/arranger, Sasha, and keyboardist George try to put together some impromptu entertainment. Unfortunately, an alternative was not planned for the fourth (yes, FOURTH) night of this fodder on a 12 night cruise. However, apparently a higher authority was displease and the seas got rough enough that our actors from Miami could not perform! I say no more.
The house band of five very talented musicians excelled when they were given the main stage, and even small grouped at the pool. On one night the Cruise Director did a great performance (he was on stage in Mama Mia) and brought that excitement with him.
Oh, back to that last night....small ship equals rocking ship on rough seas and many cruisers had a rough evening that would have been much less upsetting on a larger ship.
I know that the Azamarites who read this may not agree since they seem to feel everything Azamara is superior, but trust me, it ain't so.
Typical balcony room, MINISCULE shower, some failing paneling decorations. Very comfortable.