Embarkation at the rather small Harbors City Terminal in Hongkong was very efficient. (We stayed at the Marco Polo Hotel annex to the pier and the hotel's porters were kind enough to wheel our luggage all the way to the cruise terminal luggage drop-off point.)
The ship looks like it needs a new coat of paint. Our cabin was in acceptable order and condition.
The bad before the good ...
Dining, both at the Windows Café and Discoveries Restaurant was a disappointment. The quality of the food cannot compared to what we got on our previous Azamara cruise. (We dined with an Australian gentleman who was in the meat industry. He also commented that the quality of the food, especially the meats serves was not as good as before … and he had been on 4 Azamara cruises previously.) Service standards, while friendly, have dropped considerably. It takes a long time from being seated till you get any service. Unlike before you have to attract the attention of the few service staff to get your plates removed and wine topped-up. Overall, there seem to be less service staff.
The staff were generally helpful and friendly although senior officers interacted much less than when we were on Azamara Journey.
The good … or perhaps the excellent ...
The thing that met and perhaps exceeded expectations was the entertainment … especially the three production shows. I mentioned to Ernest Marchain, our cruise director, that if I were to come back to cruise again on Azamara, it would be because of the entertainment and activities. Daily activities were conducted by the performers. That gave us a chance to meet and interact with a bunch of lovely and talented people.
The White Night party was Amazing but the Azamazing evening was "underwhelming".
The shore excursions were, as with most cruise lines, mediocre and overpriced.
The lectures and enhancement programs (art classes) were good. But charging a fee for the Apple iPhone classes was strange to say the least. (I was on a Holland America cruise from San Francisco to Tokyo this summer and the 10+ Microsoft Computer classes were all free.
People we met, including travel professionals, many who have been on Azamara multiple times also commented that the standards have dropped. Some commented that the standards have dropped because the company is being run by "cost cutting" accountants.
Would I cruise on Azamara again? Probably yes … because of the smallness of the ship, the type of passengers (no screaming kids) and I like the fact that there are overnight stays. Also because the ship is small, the ports we dock at are so much closer to town.
I hope Azamara will improve on the service and quality of the food.