Azamara Pursuit does not, imho, meet the standards that frequent cruisers with Azamara are used to.
This was my 10th cruise with an Azamara ship within 10 years. In a way it was special to me because Azamara was one of my favorite cruise lines, and having cruised 10 times between 2009 and 2019, made me feel like celebrating a milestone. Well, nothing was really special about this cruise with the Pursuit.
There were positive aspects. One of them was the itinerary. As a matter of fact I have chosen this cruise due to the itinerary. My cruise was from Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires cruising in Uruguay (Montevideo and Punta Del Este) and in Brazil (Santos, Para Ti, Buzios and Rio de Janeiro). It was a 13 night cruise. I have been in those ports many times with Azamara and other cruise lines, and I like them. I just enjoy walking around and discovering new things each time we dock or tender at those ports. I do see changes happening, for example In Buzios, but the ports are still worth a visit for me and I would not hesitate to cruise again in the area.
Another positive observation is that my cabin attendants and the managers and waiters from the main restaurant were as usual friendly and efficient. Thank you!
Also positive was from my point of view, the white night in which samba dancers and capoeira performers came to the ship to do the entertainment. I have also enjoyed the Azamazing evening in Montevideo, because I have learned something new about the culture of Carnival in Uruguay. I would not like to repeat though. Other entertainment, like lecturers or solo performers were not to my liking. In room entertainment on the TV was bad. No interactive TV, repeating series on house improvements or ghost...
I have found several negative aspects during this cruise, which have contributed to my overall impression.
First the cabin. As I was traveling solo, I have chosen an ocean view cabin since the balcony cabins were out of question in terms of pricing. I wanted to ensure a Midship cabin and they were some ocean views there which were described as having restricted views. This, I have thought would not be a problem. I was WRONG! My ocean view cabin did not have a restricted view, but it was totally obstructed. In front of the cabin there was a tender boat, which not only blocked completely the view but which had permanent somebody working on the boat, so that I could not keep my window curtains open if I wanted privacy. So my ocean view turned to be an inside cabin. Besides this it was a small cabin that had a TV placed in such a way that in order to look at it I had to lay with my head at the end of the bed, becoming a pain in my neck for the unconventional position. I would never book such a cabin again. I would prefer an inside cabin if price is an issue.
I had received a guest feedback survey from the Hotel Director on the second day of the cruise and I have mentioned the problems I had with the cabin. The ship was not fully booked. On day 9th the guest relation manager offered me to move to another ocean view cabin on the 4th floor. Since there were only 4 more nights to go, I have declined. The guest relation manager gracefully treated me for dinner at Aqualina. Thanks for that.
The ship itself, although it is the same category from the other Azamara ships, did not have the same charm. I am not sure what is the reason. It looks quite rundown and somehow cold in the atmosphere.
I have felt this cold atmosphere, which does not have to do with the ship temperature, many times on the ship. I felt that something or someone is influencing the atmosphere. The crew members do not look very happy to me. Difficult to see smiles. The interaction with officers was rather limited around the ship. I have missed the warm and friendly atmosphere from the Journey and the Quest, which contributes so much to the on board experience.
The food onboard the Azamara Pursuit was comparable to the food at the Royal Caribbean Ships. I have always considered Azamara, as the premium line from Royal, to be around five stars, Celebrity cruises about 4 stars and Royal Caribbean ships and experience about 3 stars. Well, I would give the food on the main restaurant at the Pursuit with a lot of effort, 4 stars. The special buffet brunch was many points below what it used to be before (I remember very well the dim sum that used to be included in the buffet brunch). The buffet restaurant not more than 3 stars at any time of the day. Breakfast was a disappointment with cold waffles and pancakes. Only eggs to order were Ok. No regional food was served. Frozen pizza... (I had looked with envy at the Italian MSC ship anchored next to us in Buzios, knowing how good their fresh made pizza is). Food at Aqualina was also a disappointment. The Branzino (one of the finest fish in Italy) tasted like a simple tilapia. Overall I did not feel that the food on this ship was meeting the Azamara standards.
I have drank the included wines. There were fine for me. However, there was also a difference in comparison with other Azamara cruises. In previous cruises if you liked a particular wine of the included wines, let’s say a Riesling, you could repeat it on other days. This was not possible on the Pursuit. You had to take the wine of the day or buy a wine package if you wanted a different wine.
The LCV experience had the usual things: internet free minutes according to your level of membership, a free laundry bag per cruise and invitations to some cocktail parties and events. I have received two small astromelia flowers for the whole length of the cruise which were dead after 7 days. No new flowers were brought. I have the feeling that the LCV representative is still facing the challenge to learn how to interact with Azamara guests and special with frequent cruisers from Azamara and from Celebrity. She would kind of contemptuously mention that there were many higher tier onboard that “came from Celebrity “. Being myself a “discoverer plus” member with 10 cruises with Azamara, I have asked her how many other discoverer plus members were there. She refused to give me the information saying this is confidential. Well, I wonder why. I have been at so many presentations in which the LCV told us the numbers of all frequent cruises in public without exposing any information which was confidential.
Overall I have enjoyed myself because I love to cruise. Unfortunately I did not have the wow effect, that I always had before at an Azamara ship. It was the first time in all my cruising time that I have debarked without booking another cruise or even buying a next cruise certificate. I would try to cruise again with the Journey or Quest in order to see if my observations are similar. Being a fan of Azamara for so many years, I do not want to judge its performance just based on my last experience with the Pursuit.