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Having not sailed Azamara in close to 8 years, after close to 20 cruises we chose to revisit Azamara based on their unique itinerary. We were able to see Cuba, and the three ABC islands to fill in gaps in our trips through the Caribbean. After 8 years Azamara is no longer the line it once was. In some ways it’s better than it used to be, and in other ways not as good as it used to be. Let’s all agree most lines have cut corners in recent years. However the cost cutting and lack of attention to details on Azamara’s Journey are showing. I won’t go into all of them as there were many. In the grand scheme of things service was fine, no better or worse than sister line Celebrity. The food was decidedly average, not bad, not great and not luxury level. Where things start to fail Azamara is when it comes to the ship itself and it’s amenities. Despite the ship being a charming size at close to 20 years old and overhauled only 2 years ago, it’s clearly a tired and aged ship. I wonder what the future for Azamara would look like with this trio of aging ships, and no replacements publicly on the horizon. The other points of deficiency are entertainment and shore excursions. Despite cruise director Alicia’s bubbly personality and reassurance that they had greatly improved the nightly show offerings, they were flat at best. On an itinerary based around numerous days in Cuba, parent company Royal Caribbean, clearly has not learned how to handle Cuba, or deal with the complicated nature of doing business with the Cubans. Specifically Azamara’s AzAmazing evening was embarrassing for all involved, for them for offering it, for us for having to sit through a performance of a pianist who wasn’t even playing live, but rather playing poorly and un-miked to a pre recorded over produced cheesy soundtrack. Secondly Azamara sent tour group(s) out on a Hemingway tour revolving around a visit to the Hemingway house which was not possible as the house is closed on Mondays (our tour day). The bus group was not happy, the local tour guide was in a tough place trying to Ad lib and fill in, with a group that had largely covered most other highlights the previous day. Upon returning to the ship many complained to the Shorex desk, many days later they left message saying they were refunding 40% of the tour cost, in their option generously to the whole bus, despite the claim that only 5 guests complained. I know in fact many more did. Royal Caribbean should have known, had it done it’s home correctly, that they couldn’t offer that tour when on port on Mondays, instead they did, and took our money and only offered a meagre refund after being badgered by guests. Had most guests known the central feature of the tour would be unavailable, likely they would have chosen a different tour. Over to you Azamara rep who monitors these reviews. In conclusion it seems to me the future of Azamara is cloudy, and clearly seems to be losing ground to its competitors like Viking Ocean, Oceania, and perhaps even its own sister line Celebrity. Nothing short of a spectacular itinerary would inspire us to return to Azamara anytime soon.

Azamara losing ground to its competitors

Azamara Journey Cruise Review by medot

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2018
  • Destination: Cuba
Having not sailed Azamara in close to 8 years, after close to 20 cruises we chose to revisit Azamara based on their unique itinerary. We were able to see Cuba, and the three ABC islands to fill in gaps in our trips through the Caribbean. After 8 years Azamara is no longer the line it once was. In some ways it’s better than it used to be, and in other ways not as good as it used to be. Let’s all agree most lines have cut corners in recent years. However the cost cutting and lack of attention to details on Azamara’s Journey are showing. I won’t go into all of them as there were many. In the grand scheme of things service was fine, no better or worse than sister line Celebrity. The food was decidedly average, not bad, not great and not luxury level. Where things start to fail Azamara is when it comes to the ship itself and it’s amenities. Despite the ship being a charming size at close to 20 years old and overhauled only 2 years ago, it’s clearly a tired and aged ship. I wonder what the future for Azamara would look like with this trio of aging ships, and no replacements publicly on the horizon.

The other points of deficiency are entertainment and shore excursions. Despite cruise director Alicia’s bubbly personality and reassurance that they had greatly improved the nightly show offerings, they were flat at best.

On an itinerary based around numerous days in Cuba, parent company Royal Caribbean, clearly has not learned how to handle Cuba, or deal with the complicated nature of doing business with the Cubans. Specifically Azamara’s AzAmazing evening was embarrassing for all involved, for them for offering it, for us for having to sit through a performance of a pianist who wasn’t even playing live, but rather playing poorly and un-miked to a pre recorded over produced cheesy soundtrack. Secondly Azamara sent tour group(s) out on a Hemingway tour revolving around a visit to the Hemingway house which was not possible as the house is closed on Mondays (our tour day). The bus group was not happy, the local tour guide was in a tough place trying to Ad lib and fill in, with a group that had largely covered most other highlights the previous day. Upon returning to the ship many complained to the Shorex desk, many days later they left message saying they were refunding 40% of the tour cost, in their option generously to the whole bus, despite the claim that only 5 guests complained. I know in fact many more did. Royal Caribbean should have known, had it done it’s home correctly, that they couldn’t offer that tour when on port on Mondays, instead they did, and took our money and only offered a meagre refund after being badgered by guests. Had most guests known the central feature of the tour would be unavailable, likely they would have chosen a different tour. Over to you Azamara rep who monitors these reviews.

In conclusion it seems to me the future of Azamara is cloudy, and clearly seems to be losing ground to its competitors like Viking Ocean, Oceania, and perhaps even its own sister line Celebrity. Nothing short of a spectacular itinerary would inspire us to return to Azamara anytime soon.
medot’s Full Rating Summary
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