We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last September).
Overall Pursuit is a great ship and we had an amazing time. However we liked the Riviera better. Here is why.
The service is excellent, comparable to Oceania. But sometimes things seem a bit less organized. For example, some of the excustions were delayed 15-20 minutes. Never happened on Oceania. Also there are some lines when leaving the ship and coming back. Nothing major, not even close to what you see on big ships, but still slightly longer waiting times than Oceania.
The dinner in the MDR is great, but not as good as Oceania. The open seating works very well for us, never had to wait for a table. The buffet is disappointing. Good quality, but selection is pretty limited. It is not bad overall, but few levels below Oceania. The buffet area itself is also very small and feels a bit crowded at times.
Internet is probably the worst we experienced so far on cruise ships. 300kbps is not what you would expect from a luxury line in 2019. It is also pretty expensive at $20/day. We paid last year $10/day on Princess (and the speed was 20 times faster). And we sailed on older ships with much higher internet speeds. Major disappointment.
Spa does not have couple massage. This is the first time on any ship that we were not able to do a couple massage. The massage itself was very good.
Cabin on Oceania was small, here it's even smaller. Not a big deal, we don't spend much time in the cabin.
Entertainment is mediocre at best. They don't have a real theater like on larger ships, just a big lounge with chairs. No angle, so if you don't sit on few first rows, the view is pretty limited. They cannot really provide a good evening entertainment when there is no real theater. Also not too many daily activities, and the ship feels a bit sleepy at times.
The pool area is small and feels a bit crowded. Usually no problem to get a chair, except for sea days. Hot tubs are smaller than usual and not hot enough.
Service is fantastic as you can expect from a luxury line. Staff is very friendly.
Very limited food options. If you want to have a snack after 9pm, the only option is room service.
Dress code is relaxing, no formal nights, which is perfect for us.
The azamazing event was very nice and well organized. Great atmosphere. The show itself felt a bit amateur. The pre even buffet was very crowded and poorly organized.
White night was nice, but we came late from our tour in Sao Paulo, and no seats available on deck 9. They simply cannot accommodate everyone on the white night because the pool area is not big enough. Why to do white night on port day like Sao Paulo when the ship is at port till 9pm, and not sea day or port with shorter port time?
Excursions were another disappointment. While we appreciate smaller groups, some of them were poorly organized, and some guides were not professional.
I believe Azamara made a business decision to focus on certain things and ignore other things. Their customers obviously don't care about internet, or certain daily activities like dance classes, zumba, music at the pool etc.
Overall great ship, great service, good food, but we prefer Oceania Riviera. Both lines are still better than mainstream ships from Celebrity or Princess which feel much more crowded, with longer lines.
But in my opinion, Riviera offers the best of both worlds: still a small ship, which still feels much less crowded, but at the same time, much better food, more activities, and better entertainment. And it actually has a better crew/passengers ratio than Azamara, so service is at least as good if not better.
We did appreciate the excellent service, less crowded buffet, smaller groups on shore excursions, no lines etc. compared to the big ships. I guess we just expected better from Azamara. We might sail with Azamara again if the itinerary and the price are right, but all other things equal, we would definitely prefer Oceania.
The cabin is small, the show is ridiculously small. But they are well organized, and since we don't send much time in the cabin, it was not a big deal.
Very poorly organized. N a 8 hours tour, they had only 2 short stops, plus a short walk through some park, plus 2 hours wasted on lunch on a roof top restaurant. Which was nice but nothing special. No free time, no walking tour in a downtown. This was a $200 tour and the only tour available in Sao Paulo.View All 6 Sao Paulo Tour Reviews
Great excursion, great guideView All 3 Old Town Reviews
Nice port, well organized tour
Nice port, guide not professional enough.
Very unprofessional guide. Didn't explain anything on the bus, didn't have the Azamara sign, almost lost him few times.View All 17 Sugarloaf Mountain Reviews
Nice port, nice excursion