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This was our 9th cruise with Azamara, but our first ever transatlantic and our first cruise on the Pursuit. We chose it because we love sea days, but it also had 6 ports of call, so a good combination. We had a couple of nights in Lisbon before the cruise and were really pleased that we had done so, there’s so much to see and do. We booked the Holiday Inn Express Avenida de Liberdade mainly because it’s very close to the metro. It was a good choice - very comfortable, just refurbished, and with a good breakfast (which included the Portuguese speciality of custard tarts- Yum!). The only snag was that as this was mainly a business area there were few restaurants nearby - you had to walk a little way towards the student area to find them. In the morning we bought a one day public transport ticket at the Marquis de Pompal metro station and used that to get to the old town area where we caught the tram to Belem, which was lovely. We walked to see the magnificent Monument to the Discoverers, and went into the lovely Igreja (Church) de Santa Maria de Belem. We caught the tram back & then caught the famous 28 tram through the uphill winding streets of the old town. We got off at Campo Ourique and caught the 25 tram back, getting off near the Cais de Sordre, then walked along the front to the beautiful Praca de Commercio, before getting the metro back to our hotel. The next morning we asked the hotel to order us a taxi to take us to the Santa Apollonia cruise terminal. We got there at about 11:15 am and were able to board immediately. We had lunch in the Patio, then went to our cabin when allowed to do so (about 1pm). One case arrived fairly quickly, the other took a little time, however we got unpacked and I had time to take a few things to the laundry room to iron them before the muster drill. After the muster drill there was the Cruise Critic Social (Meet & Mingle) in the Cabaret. It was pretty full (86 on the roll call). As always Azamara provided lots to drink and canapés. The Cruise Director Amanda asked us all to introduce ourselves, then there was time for people to have a chat. That night, and most nights, we ate in Discoveries (MDR). We had a drink first in Discoveries bar at about 7:15, then dinner at 7:45ish. We found it very easy to get a sharing table and did this most nights. It’s a great way to meet and get talking to people. Dinner was always very good, with good choices on the menu, and in addition two ‘specials’ each night - one relating to the destination and one the chefs special. We also tried Discoveries for breakfast, but unlike on the Journey in July, there was no buffet food there, other than fruit - it was just the food on the menu and we found service slow, so soon reverted to Windows (buffet) for breakfast. The first few days the weather was not too good - cloudy, cool and windy. The sea was pretty rough too, although luckily this did not affect us, but a few people were affected. Ports of call Madeira There was a free shuttle bus into the middle of town. We took the bus, then walked to the market and fish market, then to the cable car. We took the cable car up to the first station where we got out and went to the Monte Gardens. The gardens are set in a hill side and you walk down through the gardens to the beautiful waterfall, pond and house set at the bottom. We then paid to take a golf cart back up to the top, where we went to watch the ‘toboggan’ run, before catching the cable car back to the town centre and getting the shuttle bus back to the ship. La Palma, Canary Islands We had a booked a ships tour to the Caldera de Taburiente. It was an excellent tour to a beautiful area. The Caldera was caused by a massive landslide and the scenery is stunning. At the Caldera we had time for a reasonable walk, then on the way back we stopped for a drink and a snack at a house that was designed to match the Thai embassy in Paris. A very good tour and not too expensive. Tenerife, Canary Islands The ship docked at Puerto Cruz and a shuttle bus took us out of the docks, as the docks are pretty much in the town centre. We had decided to get the tram to La Laguna, the old capital of the island, which is a UNESCO heritage site. We managed to work out where to get the tram, but when we got there we found the ticket machine only too small value Euro notes. The smallest note we had was a €50, which was no good, so we had to walk back to a shop to get some change (which was tricky as the owner spoke no English). Once we had small notes we managed to buy our tickets and caught the tram, taking it to the end of the line. We found our way into the old town which was quite quaint and busy as it was a Sunday and all the locals were out and about in their a Sunday best, creating a lovely atmosphere. Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde We had pre-booked a day tour of the island with Green Line tours, along with about half the roll-call. They met us just at the end of the dock and took us into the town where we had a guided walking tour including the main streets, the main market, the African market and to see the beautiful picture of Cesaria Evora (the barefoot diva) who was from the island. Then the minibuses met us and took us on a tour of the island, including going to the top of Monte Verde. We stopped for the included lunch, which was pretty basic and somewhat spoiled by the numbers of flies around. Overall, though, this was an excellent tour and terrific value at $60 or $100 for two. Salvador de Bahia, Brazil After 6 sea days in a row we were ready to be back on land again. Unfortunately when we woke up that morning it was pouring down, and that continued all day - and when I say pouring, this was continuous tropical rain! Never mind, we really wanted to see the old town area of Pelourinho, so we put our cagoules on and ventured forth. The ship was docked very close to the lift that takes you up to Pelourinho, so it wasn’t far, but we still got pretty wet. This old town area is beautiful, if slightly ‘faded grandeur’ and we had a good walk around, calling in to two beautiful churches, both covered in gold leaf. There were a lot of tourist police around so it felt relatively safe. After a couple of hours we caught the shuttle bus back to the ship. Despite our cagoules we were wet right down to our underclothes - a day we won’t forget in a hurry. Buzios, Brazil We were supposed to be docking at Vitoria, but apparently there was to be a dock strike there, so Buzios was substituted. I don’t know what Vitoria would have been like, but Buzios was lovely. It was like a mixture between Saint Tropez in the old days and a small Caribbean resort. There were some lovely shops, including some very high end ones, and a couple of Havianas shops where the shoes were really cheap. The whole place was buzzing because they had a film festival at the time. We went on a little open sided ‘truck’ tour bus for a tour around the island - a bit bumpy, but interesting - and very cheap. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil We had a day here before disembarkation. We were intending to get a taxi to the Botanical gardens, but didn’t get off as my husband had a chest infection following a cold that just about everyone on the ship had had. We actually disembarked the evening before disembarkation as we had a late night flight back and decided we didn’t much fancy having to tour our suitcases around a Rio for the day. Given my husbands health, this proved to be an excellent decision. The White Night was supposed to be on the day we were in Salvador de Bahia, but having looked at weather forecast the Captain has decided to hold it at sea the night before. It was a beautiful calm night and a good white night. As always the food was lovely - no lobster, but some very nice huge prawns instead. We had three meals in the speciality restaurants - 2 in Aqualina and 1 in Prime C. All three were delicious. Overall this was an excellent cruise. As ever the service was superb - although we did notice some differences between the Pursuit and the other two ships. For example at night the sun beds on Deck 11 were cleared away into piles against the superstructure, whereas on the other ships they are usually left in rows, tied together if it’s expected to be rough. As we had gorgeous weather from Cape Verde to Salvador, Deck 11 was well used and sometimes the chairs were not laid out very early and it became a bit of a ‘bun fight’ to get them. The other unusual thing was the mix of passengers - there were well over 400 english, which is unusual in our experience. We got the impression that the cruise had been heavily promoted in the north of England in the few weeks beforehand.

Another brilliant cruise with Azamara

Azamara Pursuit Cruise Review by Host Grandma Cruising

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2019
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Club Oceanview Stateroom
This was our 9th cruise with Azamara, but our first ever transatlantic and our first cruise on the Pursuit. We chose it because we love sea days, but it also had 6 ports of call, so a good combination.

We had a couple of nights in Lisbon before the cruise and were really pleased that we had done so, there’s so much to see and do. We booked the Holiday Inn Express Avenida de Liberdade mainly because it’s very close to the metro. It was a good choice - very comfortable, just refurbished, and with a good breakfast (which included the Portuguese speciality of custard tarts- Yum!). The only snag was that as this was mainly a business area there were few restaurants nearby - you had to walk a little way towards the student area to find them.

In the morning we bought a one day public transport ticket at the Marquis de Pompal metro station and used that to get to the old town area where we caught the tram to Belem, which was lovely. We walked to see the magnificent Monument to the Discoverers, and went into the lovely Igreja (Church) de Santa Maria de Belem. We caught the tram back & then caught the famous 28 tram through the uphill winding streets of the old town. We got off at Campo Ourique and caught the 25 tram back, getting off near the Cais de Sordre, then walked along the front to the beautiful Praca de Commercio, before getting the metro back to our hotel.

The next morning we asked the hotel to order us a taxi to take us to the Santa Apollonia cruise terminal. We got there at about 11:15 am and were able to board immediately.

We had lunch in the Patio, then went to our cabin when allowed to do so (about 1pm). One case arrived fairly quickly, the other took a little time, however we got unpacked and I had time to take a few things to the laundry room to iron them before the muster drill. After the muster drill there was the Cruise Critic Social (Meet & Mingle) in the Cabaret. It was pretty full (86 on the roll call). As always Azamara provided lots to drink and canapés. The Cruise Director Amanda asked us all to introduce ourselves, then there was time for people to have a chat.

That night, and most nights, we ate in Discoveries (MDR). We had a drink first in Discoveries bar at about 7:15, then dinner at 7:45ish. We found it very easy to get a sharing table and did this most nights. It’s a great way to meet and get talking to people.

Dinner was always very good, with good choices on the menu, and in addition two ‘specials’ each night - one relating to the destination and one the chefs special.

We also tried Discoveries for breakfast, but unlike on the Journey in July, there was no buffet food there, other than fruit - it was just the food on the menu and we found service slow, so soon reverted to Windows (buffet) for breakfast.

The first few days the weather was not too good - cloudy, cool and windy. The sea was pretty rough too, although luckily this did not affect us, but a few people were affected.

Ports of call

Madeira

There was a free shuttle bus into the middle of town. We took the bus, then walked to the market and fish market, then to the cable car. We took the cable car up to the first station where we got out and went to the Monte Gardens. The gardens are set in a hill side and you walk down through the gardens to the beautiful waterfall, pond and house set at the bottom.

We then paid to take a golf cart back up to the top, where we went to watch the ‘toboggan’ run, before catching the cable car back to the town centre and getting the shuttle bus back to the ship.

La Palma, Canary Islands

We had a booked a ships tour to the Caldera de Taburiente. It was an excellent tour to a beautiful area. The Caldera was caused by a massive landslide and the scenery is stunning. At the Caldera we had time for a reasonable walk, then on the way back we stopped for a drink and a snack at a house that was designed to match the Thai embassy in Paris. A very good tour and not too expensive.

Tenerife, Canary Islands

The ship docked at Puerto Cruz and a shuttle bus took us out of the docks, as the docks are pretty much in the town centre. We had decided to get the tram to La Laguna, the old capital of the island, which is a UNESCO heritage site. We managed to work out where to get the tram, but when we got there we found the ticket machine only too small value Euro notes. The smallest note we had was a €50, which was no good, so we had to walk back to a shop to get some change (which was tricky as the owner spoke no English). Once we had small notes we managed to buy our tickets and caught the tram, taking it to the end of the line.

We found our way into the old town which was quite quaint and busy as it was a Sunday and all the locals were out and about in their a Sunday best, creating a lovely atmosphere.

Mindelo, Sao Vicente, Cape Verde

We had pre-booked a day tour of the island with Green Line tours, along with about half the roll-call. They met us just at the end of the dock and took us into the town where we had a guided walking tour including the main streets, the main market, the African market and to see the beautiful picture of Cesaria Evora (the barefoot diva) who was from the island. Then the minibuses met us and took us on a tour of the island, including going to the top of Monte Verde. We stopped for the included lunch, which was pretty basic and somewhat spoiled by the numbers of flies around. Overall, though, this was an excellent tour and terrific value at $60 or $100 for two.

Salvador de Bahia, Brazil

After 6 sea days in a row we were ready to be back on land again. Unfortunately when we woke up that morning it was pouring down, and that continued all day - and when I say pouring, this was continuous tropical rain! Never mind, we really wanted to see the old town area of Pelourinho, so we put our cagoules on and ventured forth. The ship was docked very close to the lift that takes you up to Pelourinho, so it wasn’t far, but we still got pretty wet. This old town area is beautiful, if slightly ‘faded grandeur’ and we had a good walk around, calling in to two beautiful churches, both covered in gold leaf. There were a lot of tourist police around so it felt relatively safe. After a couple of hours we caught the shuttle bus back to the ship. Despite our cagoules we were wet right down to our underclothes - a day we won’t forget in a hurry.

Buzios, Brazil

We were supposed to be docking at Vitoria, but apparently there was to be a dock strike there, so Buzios was substituted. I don’t know what Vitoria would have been like, but Buzios was lovely. It was like a mixture between Saint Tropez in the old days and a small Caribbean resort. There were some lovely shops, including some very high end ones, and a couple of Havianas shops where the shoes were really cheap. The whole place was buzzing because they had a film festival at the time. We went on a little open sided ‘truck’ tour bus for a tour around the island - a bit bumpy, but interesting - and very cheap.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

We had a day here before disembarkation. We were intending to get a taxi to the Botanical gardens, but didn’t get off as my husband had a chest infection following a cold that just about everyone on the ship had had.

We actually disembarked the evening before disembarkation as we had a late night flight back and decided we didn’t much fancy having to tour our suitcases around a Rio for the day. Given my husbands health, this proved to be an excellent decision.

The White Night was supposed to be on the day we were in Salvador de Bahia, but having looked at weather forecast the Captain has decided to hold it at sea the night before. It was a beautiful calm night and a good white night. As always the food was lovely - no lobster, but some very nice huge prawns instead.

We had three meals in the speciality restaurants - 2 in Aqualina and 1 in Prime C. All three were delicious.

Overall this was an excellent cruise. As ever the service was superb - although we did notice some differences between the Pursuit and the other two ships. For example at night the sun beds on Deck 11 were cleared away into piles against the superstructure, whereas on the other ships they are usually left in rows, tied together if it’s expected to be rough. As we had gorgeous weather from Cape Verde to Salvador, Deck 11 was well used and sometimes the chairs were not laid out very early and it became a bit of a ‘bun fight’ to get them.

The other unusual thing was the mix of passengers - there were well over 400 english, which is unusual in our experience. We got the impression that the cruise had been heavily promoted in the north of England in the few weeks beforehand.
BBMacLaird, CBO - Azamara Club Cruises has responded
Thank you HGC for the lovely review. So sorry to hear DH had a chest cold. That's not fun! But I am glad you got to visit Buzios...it's one of my favorite places in Brazil.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of The Independent Traveler, Inc.
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Cabin Review

Club Oceanview Stateroom
Cabin 04
This a lovely cabin. Although the window is round - in effect a huge porthole - the cabin is huge, because it doesn’t have a veranda, but does have the veranda space incorporated into the cabin.
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews