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18 Azamara Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera) Cruise Reviews

We have sailed on many cruises, and Azamara was a new one for us. The Quest looks just like the smaller ships on the Oceana line and except for a few differences they are exactly the same. But only in the ships appearances. We were on ... Read More
We have sailed on many cruises, and Azamara was a new one for us. The Quest looks just like the smaller ships on the Oceana line and except for a few differences they are exactly the same. But only in the ships appearances. We were on the prior segment and wanted to continue to see new ports in this part fo the world. 1 No embarking as we sailed on the prior segment, we stayed onboard and enjoyed the pool area. 2. Our cabin in the Continental Suite area was large but oddly decorated. The carpet was beige and black and always looked dirty. The large desk and counter above low drawers was a fake marble that also just looked dirty although that was the design. The bathroom was ok but had a tub with the shower in the tub. Now this was supposed to be a suite but a cheap shower curtain that didn't close all the way was really odd. Large balcony but rust stains everywhere. The cabin staff never brought in the seat cushions so they are always wet. More air-conditioning issues and chronic sewer smells in the corridor. 3. Dining - Main room was the best with OK meals but nothing special. The specialty dining was Italian or Steak house themed. Both rooms looked nice but the menus never changes. Both rooms had sushi as a special appetizer. Really!! The Italian had only one pasta dish and the Steak house had mediocre meals. Don't get the soufflés unless you like scrambled eggs for dessert. Our experience in the Italian venue: I asked for the pasta as an appetizer and got a well overcooked glop of pasta, could not eat it. While having dessert an 1 1/2 hrs. later the chef came over, apologized for the bad pasta and offered to make it again for me! During dessert!!!!!! And Azamara charges people for this lousy food and service. We had these issues on the first segment and nothing changed. Not even the menus. 4. The shore excursions were abysmal. Inexperienced guides, small 20 seat buses, some with minimal air conditioning. No headsets for walking tours and all guides talked to the air in front of them and unless you were right next to the guides you heard nothing. And so overpriced too. We saw other cruise ship folks getting on big buses and headsets too. After the 1st segment we cancelled all the pre-booked tours me made. Others did the same thing. We then did our own thing for a fraction of the cost and enjoyed the ports on our own. We do this in many places but gave Azamara a chance to see what they offered and they are worse them most. 5. Entertainment - As usual, like so many other ships the in-house productions were amateurish and high school productions are better. They did hire a few individual entertainers who were great but thats rare. The band only played at night, not at the pool area. Oh and Azamara has one night they take you to a special show in one of the towns. They transported at least 600 people in mini vans to an indigenous tribe location for a show. It look almost 2 hrs. each way to get everyone to and from the venue for a 40 minute show and unless you were outside the canopy area you saw nothing. Why couldn't they bring the 15 performers to the ship? A waste of an evening. 6. Staff - Amazing and great and wonderful. They made the cruise bearable. All except our butler. I don't know what he actually does but he constantly asked what he can do for us and we said "thank you we are fine". He served tea at 4:00 pm each day and he thinks that is something special. Even when we put the "do not disturb" sign on the door he called us on the phone asking if we wanted tea. This went on for both segments and during the second segment we just had to tell him to stop bothering us. 7. Public spaces are nice but so dated. Upholstery is warn and faded. 9. Disembarking was delayed and absolutely no organization. No matter what numbers were to be called first, there was a huge crowd pushing and shoving. The shore side folks acted like it was their first day on the job and had no clue. Nothing luxury about the ship. Although the staff did try to keep shorts out of the main dining room, jeans, flip flops, and pullover shirts were plentiful. So many folks in shorts and tee shirts just went to the buffet off the pool area. Some nights it was packed and of course no one told anyone about the dress code in the casino. We met some great folks, enjoyed the crew and saw some amazing things in Central America and Mexico. But no way will we ever sail Azamara. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
This cruise went to places I have been wanting to see for a while, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico. The excursions from the ship were expensive, so on 3 occasions we went with private tour groups, and got better value for ... Read More
This cruise went to places I have been wanting to see for a while, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Mexico. The excursions from the ship were expensive, so on 3 occasions we went with private tour groups, and got better value for money. The staff were always upbeat even during a small outbreak of Norwalk when they were all doing double duty to keep us healthy. The entertainment staff, and officers were serving breakfast and lunch. Luckily no one in my party was affected. This is a small ship, so the onboard activities were more limited, but there was always something to do. Although standard drinks were included, I saw no one who had overindulged, and smokers kept to their designated area. All the dining experiences were enjoyable, the food was perfectly cooked and the wait staff pleasant and efficient. I did not use the fitness area. I wouldn't NOT go again, although this is not my favourite ship. (see my review of my cabin). Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We have sailed on many cruises, (52 to date) and Azamara was a new one for us. The Quest looks just like the smaller ships on the Oceana line and except for a few differences they are exactly the same. But only in the ships appearances. ... Read More
We have sailed on many cruises, (52 to date) and Azamara was a new one for us. The Quest looks just like the smaller ships on the Oceana line and except for a few differences they are exactly the same. But only in the ships appearances. We booked this segment and the next as a back to back of Central America & Mexico. Except for Mexico all ports were new to us. So the itinerary was what got us to book. 1. Embarkment in Costa Rica - We get an email the night before that the location for embarkment is a different location but as independent guests, no further details were given us. Repeated calls to Amamara were no help. Thankfully our driver got us to the new port on time. We had a confusing and odd embarkment through the village of Puntarenas. Then sent to the theater for two more groups to inspect us. 2. Our cabin in the Continental Suite area was large but oddly decorated. The carpet was beige and black and always looked dirty. The large desk and counter above low drawers was a fake marble that also just looked dirty although that was the design. The bathroom was ok but had a tub with the shower in the tub. Now this was supposed to be a suite but a cheap shower curtain that didn't close all the way was really odd. Large balcony but rust stains everywhere. The cabin staff never brought in the seat cushions so they are always wet. Air conditional was non-existent when we arrived. It took 5 hrs. to fix. Why? 3. Dining - Main room was the best with OK meals but nothing special. The specialty dining was Italian or Steak house themed. Both rooms looked nice but the menus never changes. Both rooms had sushi as a special appetizer. Really!! The Italian had only one pasta dish and the Steak house had mediocre meals. Don't get the soufflés unless you like scrambled eggs for dessert. Our experience in the Italian venue: I asked for the pasta as an appetizer and got a well overcooked glop of pasta, could not eat it. While having dessert an 1 1/2 hrs. later the chef came over, apologized for the bad pasta and offered to make it again for me! During dessert!!!!!! And Azamara charges people for this lousy food and service. 4. The shore excursions were abysmal. Inexperienced guides, small 20 seat buses, some with minimal air conditioning. No headsets for walking tours and all guides talked to the air in front of them and unless you were right next to the guides you heard nothing. And so overpriced too. We saw other cruise ship folks getting on big buses and headsets too. 5. Entertainment - As usual, like so many other ships the in-house productions were amateurish and high school productions are better. They did hire a few individual entertainers who were great but thats rare. The band only played at night, not at the pool area. Oh and Azamara has one night they take you to a special show in one of the towns. It rained on the day we were to see this show so they brought all the entertainers on board. The show was to be outdoors and there were more entertainers then guests in the cabaret lounge. And for a 1/2 hr. show?! 6. Staff - Amazing and great and wonderful. They made the cruise bearable. All except our butler. I don't know what he actually does but he constantly asked what he can do for us and we said "thank you we are fine". He served tea at 4:00 pm each day and he thinks that is something special. Even when we put the "do not disturb" sign on the door he called us on the phone asking if we wanted tea. One night he even found us having dinner in the main dining room and asked if there was anything he could do for us. I sure wanted to tell him truly but just said "no thanks". 7. Public spaces are nice but so dated. Upholstery is warn and faded. 8. No disembarking as we sadly stayed on for the next sailing. Nothing luxury about the ship. Although the staff did try to keep shorts out of the main dining room, jeans, flip flops, and pullover shirts were plentiful. So many folks in shorts and tee shirts just went to the buffet off the pool area. Some nights it was packed and of course no one told anyone about the dress code in the casino. I would say this was an experience and would never sail with Azamara again but we had to sail with the for another 14 nights. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
i chose this sailing because of a special promotion which made the price reasonable compared to most other azamera cruises and it had an interesting intinerary.. i had always wanted to sail on azamera due to its excellent reputation for ... Read More
i chose this sailing because of a special promotion which made the price reasonable compared to most other azamera cruises and it had an interesting intinerary.. i had always wanted to sail on azamera due to its excellent reputation for food quality, its small size, the free liquor and free gratuities. it lived up to my expectations, the staff is very friendly, the captain down to the housekeeping, food was excellent, white nights is a terrific event, get there early and grab a table with a very high end buffet. tendering was orderly and had minimal waits. the only 2 reasons it is not rated 5 stars was that we had a botched excursion where the vendor swisstours did not do all elements of the excursion in papagayo, azamera did refund us 50 per cent but we really wanted the complete refund. the second issue was the best entertainment on the ship was the singers and dancers and russ the cruise director who is also an excellent singer. azamera for some reason is letting go of all their singers and dancers as of feb 8th for some type of new format. this cruise had 3 nights of a violinist and a piano player/magician. do i really need 3 nights for classical music and no comedians. the inside cabin we had seemed smaller than other ships the same room size. overall though the cruise was excellent and i would definitely go on this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The main reason we selected this cruise because of friends. We found the Quest to be clean, the food and service good, and the entertainment surprising good. The ship carried about 650 passengers, so pretty intimate. People who ... Read More
The main reason we selected this cruise because of friends. We found the Quest to be clean, the food and service good, and the entertainment surprising good. The ship carried about 650 passengers, so pretty intimate. People who expected a "luxury" cruise were disappointed however, nothing really special about it. We were on a Costa Rica cruise ...very little to see and do in several the ports. In Golfito there was hardly a town, let alone things to do. We did see hundreds of dolphins in the bay there, however. Most of the ports pretty much offered the same thing...jungle and monkeys. Many of the beaches were nice. Our biggest complaints had to do with 1. the transfer package and 2. the tender procedure. We spent $800 for transfers; there was no one to meet us at the airport upon arrival, and we ended up having to pay for a cab back to the airport after the cruise. Over priced and under performing. Very poor communication. Most ports we had to tender. Temperatures were in the 90's, humidity in the 90's also. For some reason the crew would make us wait 15-20 minutes while we sweated and broiled aboard the tender before departure back to the ship. Many people complained but never did see improvement. They need to go every 10-15 minutes instead of having 50-60-70 people waiting in the heat. The passengers were primarily a more mature crowd, so no crazy drunks or wild parties. Bottom line, we had a good time, the ship was fine...B+ Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Azamara Quest Review Costa Rica 15-25 Jan 2018 This was our sixth cruise with Azamara and it was every bit as good as the last five. We stayed in Hotel Bougainvillea in Santo Domingo, outside San Jose, for 4 days before embarkation. ... Read More
Azamara Quest Review Costa Rica 15-25 Jan 2018 This was our sixth cruise with Azamara and it was every bit as good as the last five. We stayed in Hotel Bougainvillea in Santo Domingo, outside San Jose, for 4 days before embarkation. The hotel was set in 10 acres of botanical gardens and had a swimming pool. It was great for bird watching. We took a tour from there to La Paz Waterfall Gardens, which was excellent, and went into San Jose by taxi to see the National Theatre (amazing building). The hotel arranged transport for us and another couple to the port. The evening before embarkation we got an email from Azamara saying that due to high winds the port of embarkation had changed from Puerto Caldera to Puntarenas. The hotel was able to rearrange the transport for us, and it ended up costing us $70 a couple in a very comfortable mini-bus. When we got to Puntarenas we found embarkation a little different than usual. We were directed into a terminal building to be given a medical form, then took the shuttle bus along the pier to the ship. Check-in was completed in the Cabaret Lounge. This was all done with very little fuss and little queuing - given the short notice, we felt this was handled very well and efficiently. Our verandah stateroom was very comfortable. Our two attendants did a good job, bringing me lots of extra hangers and making sure our fridge had plenty of tonic waters as we requested. We are most nights in Discoveries (MDR) and found the food to be excellent, with some dishes being outstanding. We like to share tables, but found it quite difficult to do this because we like to dine fairly late and by the time we got there all the large tables had filled up. However we found that even when we had a table for two, we could chat to the couple at the next table. Service was generally very good, although on a couple of occasions we had quite a gap between courses. The included wines were OK and if we didn’t like the day’s offerings, it was usually possible to get some of a previous day’s wine. We booked dinner in Prime C (speciality restaurant - $30 a head extra) one night and, as always, the food and service was superb. We ate breakfast in Windows (buffet), where again the tea & coffee service was excellent. We mostly had lunch in the Patio, though I often went into Windows to get a slice of the roast meat of the day to have with salad. The cruise only had 2 sea-days and we spent these in our favourite spot -deck 11 sun-deck. The Azamazing evening was due to be held in the old part of Panama City, but as the weather was unsettled, the Captain decided to bring it onboard. It was a folk-dancing show and was quite good, but inevitably it lost atmosphere being held in the cabaret lounge. The White Night was excellent. The buffet included lobster, steak, lamb, Frito Misto, Paella and, of course, crepes suzettes served by the Hotel Manager. It was quite an emotional occasion, as it was Captain Carl Smith’s last voyage on the Quest before taking over the new Azamara ship, the Pursuit. The ports we went to were: Panama City - (two days). On the first day we took the Hop On Hop Off bus from Fuerte Amador where the boat docked and got off at the Miraflores lock. We didn’t see any ships going through the lock, but thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition about the canal and how it was built. On the second day we got a taxi into the old town and had a wander around it and around the fish market close by. Golfito - a small town right next to the dock. We had booked a private tour along with others on our Roll call. The tour was a boat trip in the Golfe Dulce to see dolphins, which we did -a pod of 340! We were then taken to an animal sanctuary where we saw monkeys, an ocelot, macaws, sloths and a tayra. Lastly we had the opportunity to snorkel over a small reef. Quepos - tendered port - there seemed to be quite a nice little town next to the tender port. Again we had booked a private tour to Manual Antonio National Park. The tour company met us just outside the tender port and took us to the park, where we walked through the park with a guide who had a monocular and who was able to point out various animals, birds and frogs along the way. The path led to the beach where we had time for a swim before setting off back again. Then we were taken for lunch in a local restaurant. Unfortunately it was a Sunday when we were there so the Park was very busy as the trail to the beach was used by them. We had to queue to get into the park, and then queue along the way to be able to see reptiles, birds, animals & frogs along the way. San Juan Del Tour, Nicaragua,- tendered port. This was a nice little town with a nice beach and lots of beach bars and restaurants, all close to the tender port. We had booked a private half day tour of the town, a visit to the statue of Christ Misericordia perched on the cliff over the town( half the size of Christ the Redeemer in Rio), then to an adventure park where we had a bone rattling ride in 4x4s, to a viewpoint where we could see Lake Nicaragua and it’s 2 volcanoes. From there we could do an included short walk or visit an Iguana Sanctuary, or do Zip-lining for an extra $30. I opted for the zip-lining, which was a first for me - I loved it! We ended up at a seaside restaurant for an included drink and to watch an excellent display of folk-dancing. Puntarenas -the ship was docked at the pier of this small seaside town. This time we took the ship’s tour to the Cloud Forest which was fascinating and included butterfly and humming bird gardens. The tour included lunch and the inevitable stop at a souvenir shop. Disembarkation was, as usual, very easy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We took a back-to-back cruise on the Quest in Central America, the Pacific Coast and Sea of Cortez, from 26 January to 21 February: embarked Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica, exited San Diego. We are an older couple, my wife has mobility ... Read More
We took a back-to-back cruise on the Quest in Central America, the Pacific Coast and Sea of Cortez, from 26 January to 21 February: embarked Puerto Caldera in Costa Rica, exited San Diego. We are an older couple, my wife has mobility difficulties, and long-time cruisers. In both voyages we had an accessible stateroom: first a continental suite, second an ocean view. We had an extended trip on the Quest in Southeast Asia two years before, enjoyed the experience, and decided to travel on Azamara again. That was a good decision. We had just come off a large ship, the Regal Princess in the Caribbean: good but not great. The Quest was a real pleasure, not the least because of its smaller size. Everything was nearer, so easy to get around. Our first stateroom, the continental suite, was excellent: spacious, very attractive, and extremely comfortable. The second stateroom, the ocean view, was also comfortable, if neither so spacious or attractive – but certainly decent. The washrooms in both staterooms were very good. Housekeeping fine in both staterooms. The food on the Quest was generally very good. We ate regularly at the steakhouse Prime C where the meat was excellent, the ambience congenial. The rib steak was particularly delicious. We were not so taken with the other specialty restaurant Aqualina because the menu offered little we relish, but still the two meals we had there were ok. We did not eat often in the main dining room because, especially on the second voyage, the place was crowded and noisy. We did go to supper a number of times to the Windows Café, and the Sunset Bar outside: very pleasant and again fine food. I particularly liked some of the theme evenings at the buffet. Likewise the grill at the Patio and the various BBQs, always delicious and the latter very plentiful. Room service was fast and efficient, especially in the mornings. Yes, there were a few misses – once a seafood jambalaya where the seafood was largely missing, for instance. But these were exceptions: you can eat very well on the Quest. One of the cardinal virtues of the Quest is the staff, always friendly and helpful. The captain Jose was congenial and talkative and often present, as were his senior officers, especially the always gracious Philip, the hotel manager. The rest of the staff were superb, offering a level of service superior to that of any ship I have been on, including the Crystal Symphony (my favourite, where the service is also excellent). Time and again crew members assisted us, important when you have to handle a wheelchair. Special note: the embarkation process at Puerto Caldera and the debarkation at San Diego was exceptionally well-managed. The highlights of the cruise? First the Azamara special evenings, both at Cabo San Lucas, amazing performances of Mexican song and dance, in the desert, around the theme of the day of the dead, made all the more enjoyable with margaritas and assorted delicacies. Second the shows mounted on the pool deck, shows featuring local performers – marvellous. Third, the happy, lively white nights, party and dance on the pool deck. Fourth, on the second voyage (Sea of Cortez) the excursion via the train El Chepe to Copper Canyon, a striking natural formation in northern Mexico. Any negatives? Well, the lack of an in-room dvd player, the uninteresting regular entertainment, also lectures that didn’t appeal, the expense of some excursions (but the ones taken were well-designed). Minor problems really, given the overall quality of the cruise experience. In all Azamara cruises is excellent value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We have cruised with Azamara before and were very pleased. This time we noticed a significant denigration with the quality of the food offered. There were always items at each meal that were acceptable. If we were cruising on a mass ... Read More
We have cruised with Azamara before and were very pleased. This time we noticed a significant denigration with the quality of the food offered. There were always items at each meal that were acceptable. If we were cruising on a mass volume RCCL ship the food would have been considered good. However, we were on Royal Caribbean's luxury line, Azamara which competes with Oceania. A few examples included watered down orange juice from concentrate, waffles and pancakes pre-made in the Windows Cafe, New York Strip that was thin and tasteless. The "always" available chicken breast was rubbery, like the ones at the supermarket that have up to 10% solution. The frozen yogurt near the pool was excellent. The fish, other than the farm raised Salmon, had fancy names(Red Snapper, Chilean Sea Bass, Florida Grouper), but did not taste or resemble those varieties. We reserved a guaranteed "Oceanview" stateroom. When we opened the door to the cabin for the first time the room was dark like an "inside" cabin. We soon discovered that on the other side of the big picture window was a large lifeboat that completely blocked the ocean view. When I spoke with the customer service desk they offered an upgrade for $1000 more, explaining that some of their oceanview rooms had an obscured view. No part of the pre-booking description from Azamara for an Oceanview cabin warned that we might receive a room with an obscured view. Eric the cruise director was excellent. The bar staff was excellent. The ship should have spent a lot more time in dry dock. Even weeks after the refurbishment there was missing trim in the cabins and glued fascia panels falling off the desks in the cabin. The new mattresses were excellent. Next time I want a luxury cruise it will be on Oceania or Viking Ocean. Azamara's per diems are eqivalent to those lines but well below the other's quality. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This our first Azamara cruise. We have been on similar Oceania R class ships 5 times before. Although in the future we will continue book future cruises based on destination, we would much rather sail with Oceania. There is a much more ... Read More
This our first Azamara cruise. We have been on similar Oceania R class ships 5 times before. Although in the future we will continue book future cruises based on destination, we would much rather sail with Oceania. There is a much more corporate culture on board of providing service. The main dining room's food we felt compared very well to Oceania's. Service and ambiance however left much to be desired. Most tables around the outside are two or four tops, but they all crammed together, so effectively we always sitting with a party of 6 at a rectangular table. You have to make a real effort to ask for a table so you and your spouse, or even another couple can have a private conversation. Waiters are overworked and rarely check back after delivering your meal. Woe is you, if you find the pretty (awful) salt and pepper shakers are missing, empty or clogged. You can mention it after the course is over. Since one free white wine varietal and one red wine varietal is available free everyday, there are no wine stewards around to ask about the wine list. Only 2 sommeliers work the entire ship including the specialty restaurants. While I am on the subject, who in their right mind would pick a Pinotage as a red of the day. A cruel joke. The two specialty restaurants were polar opposites, both with a $25 pp surcharge. Prime C was outstanding. Aqualina was not good. We were warned at the pool that Aqualina by not very good and it lived up (down?) to its reputation. How can an Italian restaurant not know how to make Risotto? Two types of Risotto on 3 dishes were past just being dry. Duck was crisp alright, right to the bone. (the maitre d' even suggested that after sending it back that the dish should be removed from the menu, why would they serve something that is apparently regularly so poor?) A watermelon tomato salad, on 4 different plates had a majority of unripened tomatoes. It was interesting to note that I submitted a mid cruise review on the poor food in Aqualina, and the chef left me a voice mail indicating that he had never heard any complaints before. If the passengers are gossiping negatively about a restaurant, food is being sent back or cleared with food substantially still on the plate, how could a chef not about know it. In our cabin, the TV worked poorly, sound was always breaking up. And as the previous review noted, ship announcements did not work through the TV. The TV is another big difference between Oceania and Azamara. On Oceania all rooms have DVD players and an extensive DVD library. Azamara has pay preview at $12 per movie (Yes adult titles too) and no DVD. Oceania, also has a movie channel with a different movie daily. Azamara plays the same 4 old movies over and over and over on a 12 day cruise, Sleepless in Seattle, Man from Uncle, Crazy Stupid Love and Casablanca. Our cabin steward always had to be asked to provide shampoo or soap when we were running out. Otherwise the cabins are the same as Oceania. Entertainment was overall very good. Probably much better than Oceania, since they rotate acts in and out, and I am guessing intermingling with RC cruises too. Some other irritating events that occurred on this cruise were screwing up dining reservations, and not informing us that they misplaced our credit card information until we were walking off the ship. They took our credit card 3 times; on line at home, at the beginning of the cruise, and the first night when they said they could not find a record of our credit card. Over the next 12 days they never told us that it never made it into their system. At the end of the cruise Disembarkation turned into a disaster. The person at guest services, couldn't figure out how to handle a credit card, didn't tell us that there were two separate bills one for my wife's and I one for me; so we cleared one and then all of sudden we couldn't disembark again because I had a bill. We were already stressed due to issues at home and this put us over the edge. On top of it all, because I said I didn't want to get exciting future cruise offers directly from Azamara, I did not get a cruise review. They will have to read my review here. Unless liquor is your main stress reliever, I would suggest Oceania as a better option. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
After flying in to San Jose, CR we stayed overnight at Apartotel La Sabana (very nice/good value) and toured across CR with a tour that we had arranged with 3 other couples through Odyssey Tours (very nice). Got a great view of Poas ... Read More
After flying in to San Jose, CR we stayed overnight at Apartotel La Sabana (very nice/good value) and toured across CR with a tour that we had arranged with 3 other couples through Odyssey Tours (very nice). Got a great view of Poas volcano, lunch at Freddo Fresas (great place) and stopped at La Paz Gardens (OK). We boarded the Journey in Puerto Caldera. The boarding experience was routine. We very much enjoyed the small ship experience. Some of the ports visited were not the usual popular ones, but were a pleasant change. We took a great private tour from the Porto Quetzel Guatemala stop to Antigua, where we took the Elizabeth Bell Tour. Well worth the ride to get there. The AzAmazing Evening was OK, but really needed some narration or written interpretation of their dance. There was plenty or food/drink, but we were way in the back so could not see very well. The regular evening entertainment on the ship was quite good. We especially enjoyed Erik, the Cruise Director, who also either performed or had a good joke about his "grandfather". The newly refurbished ship still needed some tweaking, but all in all it was fine. The new common spaces were delightful. There was always plenty of comfortable seating available including around the pool. Food choices were good and we never waited for a table our group of 6 or 8. Service was always very pleasant, but could have been a little more efficient at times. Discharge at LA was very quick and efficient. All in all, we would recommend the small ship experience if the premium over, say Celebrity, is not too great. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our second Azamara cruise, last year we were on the Quest. This year we were looking for and booked a relaxing cruise which we picked up in Costa Rica and disembarked in San Pedro. As we live in Southern California, we had a low ... Read More
This was our second Azamara cruise, last year we were on the Quest. This year we were looking for and booked a relaxing cruise which we picked up in Costa Rica and disembarked in San Pedro. As we live in Southern California, we had a low hassle commute to and from the ship. I wasn't expecting much in port calls and wasn't disappointed. Embarkation in Caldera was not well organized, but doable. Our veranda stateroom was familiar as we have traveled on Oceania's comparable "R" ships. Dining in the main dining room and our three ventures in the specialty restaurants were good. My wife used the fitness center daily and she found it very satisfactory. I enjoyed the on board hosted bridge and trivial pursue activities. Entertainment was good, but I don't expect much in the way of formal entertainment on ships that are of this small. We were not aboard for the initial leg of the cruise from Miami and therefore didn't experience the "ship wasn't ready to go" comments mentioned by other reviewers. As with our previous Azamara trip, service was excellent and the staff was very friendly. "White Night" and "AzAmazing Evening" were real pluses. We are not wine connoisseurs and therefore enjoyed Azamara's standard spirits being included amenities. I expect that we'll continue to enjoy Azamara offerings. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My overall ranking would be good rather than average, but there is no option. They are re-doing the ship as of now. I hope they pay attention to my reviews. I enjoyed the first few days of the cruise. Trip was jan 3=13, journey. Panama ... Read More
My overall ranking would be good rather than average, but there is no option. They are re-doing the ship as of now. I hope they pay attention to my reviews. I enjoyed the first few days of the cruise. Trip was jan 3=13, journey. Panama canal, costa rica & other. My cabin was very nice as i was upgraded. (tiny bathroom but ok.) i thanked the desk on the first day. I bought my special meal package as i boarded, and was firmly told....i would be seated alone. Really? The first two night's dinners 6:30 (too early) in main dining, there was an effort to seat solo passengers together. (after that it was hopeless.) i want to clarify solo. Adults married or not, male or female, every generation, color, ethnic, etc. Simply travelling alone or with a friend or whatever and wants to enjoy company at dining, or random activities. The passenger age, early dining, promoted a eat, show, sleep, ship. Awkward situation for anyone under 65 or not with a partner. I sat with some ladies or men several times & most seats at table were empty. Other activities did not encourage meeting others. There were plenty of things to do, (almost too many) which made activities i attended brief and haphazard. The host dashing away. Trivia was a mixed up mess. Teams of 2 to 6ppl, no cash build pot, 30 min random times, different locations. The 6# teams of course always won. No multiple choice trivia either, which had some teams really left out, experts in. Lectures good. Disco totally haphazard. Too much old music...starts late & ends short. No good lighting, or lively atmosphere. Big empty room the times i went, except one night. A couple of shows were good "voices", and a couple of them average. Live music scattered here and there at random times. All the music players looked exhausted to me.(moving around, setting up.) so much seemed muffled down for old folks. Bars did not open till 5:30 (except pool.) standard bar deal is great... But casino bar (at least) should open earlier. Live music at pool was nice, ho hum, same dude, & songs. Stateroom attendants and most staff generally excellent. Dining is very good. Special dining was good food.... But atmosphere for a solo....stifling. Chef''s table very nice. Drawing room (a library) is basically empty day and night. Would make a great piano bar near fine dining area. Could do quiet piano music 6:00 ish to 8:30...ramp it up with lively music and song, entertainment or singalong late. Use the always boring empty bar at prime c. (set up chef's table early, clear it away, or make it a group table by 8:30 ish.) add club tables etc. Configure seating in prime c, further back by 8. Tell diners there is music after 8. (some may love that, others will dine early !) there is a little corner in casino with piano... But wrong location. "ringading all the time & couch type seating. (trying to get gamblers i guess.) club seating would help. No music in bar near main dining. The line to dining cuts the space. The desk should move inside dining area !! Nice music in main dining room at special buffets. The passengers were generally at least 65 or up and casual in general. There were random lively groups of couples. The two special evenings were outstanding !!! Poolside white night party lovely & azamazing night was unforgettable. Bottom line....tweaking and a real effort for mingling & lively music would really change the mood. The general idea of azamara is really on the edge of something special, but.... For me (and my several travelling buddies) they must make it more lively and solo friendly. Love the dine ashore & overnight stay ideas. Love the value !!! The solo upcharge was very fair ! I would not recommend the line for those travelling alone. I have done (over the years) 16 or so cruise segments. (most when married with children.) it is very hard to please everyone. I am not young and also not dead, so i honestly don't want some wild table dancing singles thing going on and not there to pick up some old dude. I just don't want to feel isolated when travelling alone. Solo travel is certainly a growing market. Azamara.....you are soooo close ! You have it right there....but you need some really good ideas and not just words in a brochure, to get there. Right on the edge of something special ! I would go again, but not until/unless i see a tweaking of things. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Sailed on Azamara Journey through the Panama Canal , from Caldera, Costa Rica to Miami in early January, 2016. Service was , as usual , excellent. Ship was clean and cared for, the last sailing before the much anticipated dry dock, when ... Read More
Sailed on Azamara Journey through the Panama Canal , from Caldera, Costa Rica to Miami in early January, 2016. Service was , as usual , excellent. Ship was clean and cared for, the last sailing before the much anticipated dry dock, when there will be much upgrading. Had an obstructed oceanview, which was fine, although could not see much out the window due to the lifeboat (Cabin 6044). I think cabin next door may have had a bit more view. We had two men onboard who gave great lectures and presentations daily in the Panama Canal and Caribbean. One many narrated all day from the Looking Glass, where the front windows have a great view of sailing through the Canal. Ports: Quepos, Took the Mangrove Boat tour which was mild and interesting. Monkeys came onto front of the little boat and you had to watch your hat. Lunch included at an open air restaurant; very good typical fish, rice and beans. Antonio Manuel Park was closed that day ( Monday). Golfito is a fairly primitive port for cruises. We pre booked a private tour with Changing Tides and they took us first on a small boat to see many dolphins playing in the bay; then a snorkel and swim off of the boat; then to a small Eco Lodge where the owner took us around the tropical garden and a short hike in the rainforest. A bit wet and slippery due to rain the night before. Another great lunch in their open air restaurant. Cartegna, Columbia: took the ship tour , Taste of Cartegena, which was a short guided walk around the walled town and time alone to explore. Saw the fortress but did not go in and glad we did not as it was very hot and the walk up the fort looked tiring in the heat. Falmouth, Jamaica; took a shared cab to Montego Bay, Doctor's Beach (?). We were the only ship in port and few people wanted a cab and the cab driver did not want to take only 6-8 people so we ended up waiting an hour and finally negotiating with him to get us to the beach. Beach was fine, small with a restaurant there; Admission, chair and umbrella ran $15. Azamara treated us to a wonderful time time in the Azamazing evening event at Great Hope House. Bused us there with security leading the way, torches, great little food tidbits and local wines, beer and mimosas. Third World reggae band played a wonderful set and we all had a great time dancing in the open air dance floor. Fireworks at the end! Food in the main dining room was good. The included wine seemed to of lesser quality that I have had on Azamara in the past, and many people complained about the wine. Although the last night they pulled out a wonderful Chianti. Eric and Capt. Johanness were again a fun team to be sailing with. Sea days there were many things to do and there were always pool loungers available. Looking forward to another Azamara in the future! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We sailed on the Journey for a Panama Canal transit and it was wonderful! It was our first time on Azamara. I was a little nervous as it was "a luxury line" and we are just two unassuming retired folks. We found our fellow ... Read More
We sailed on the Journey for a Panama Canal transit and it was wonderful! It was our first time on Azamara. I was a little nervous as it was "a luxury line" and we are just two unassuming retired folks. We found our fellow passengers down-to-earth and unpretentious. The cruise was very smooth. I usually have difficulty with my balance when I get off a ship but I haven't experienced that this time. The staff on the Journey all seemed very friendly and helpful. The wait staff in the Main Dining Room and in Windows Cafe were very attentive and even checked when we had special requests from what was on the menu! We enjoyed most of the shows. The Journey Singers and Dancers did a great job! They had also brought in special entertainment in addition to the Journey Singers and Dancers -- there was a comedian and two violinists. They were both very enjoyable. Dima and Sasha's dancing was incredible and we enjoyed our group dance lessons with them. Natalie, Marcos and Daniel were good singers. Eric was a hoot with his banter with the Captain and his drag dressing for Hairspray songs. The Land Discoveries were good. I would have preferred to have an audio unit to hear the guides, as I frequently held back a little to take pics and I missed some of what was being explained. In Costa Rica the visit to the Carara National Park was listed as strenuous but most in our group thought it wasn't all that taxing. We did get to see some monkeys and birds but not many (but we know you can't schedule nature!). We saw many more at the Animal Rescue Center which was a fun tour. The Azamazing evening was well-organized and the music presented was very good. I thought it was a little rushed and didn't allow much time for exploring the venue. The only negatives were that they changed one port of call several times, even as close as the week before (from Haiti to Montego Bay to Falmouth) and changed some of the Land Discoveries without letting folks who had pre-booked them know ahead of time. I had also asked about Church Services and was given incorrect info from the concierge. After walking to the Church, we found out that the service was over before we docked but the priest was happy that we made the effort and conducted a communion service for us before he left for a mission church service. We enjoyed the open seating and shared a table most meals. Our fellow passengers were fun to talk with over meals. We didn't find anyone trying to upsell the drinks or the photos or artwork. And there was never any mention of tipping except for a few of the Land Discoveries, and even then it was just mentioned. Overall, it was an excellent trip! I would travel with Azamara again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We sailed from Costa Rica through the Panama Canal and to Miami from Jan. 3, 2016 to January 13, 2016 on the Journey. After I booked the cruise last July, I found out that the ship would go into dry-dock for a multi-million dollar ... Read More
We sailed from Costa Rica through the Panama Canal and to Miami from Jan. 3, 2016 to January 13, 2016 on the Journey. After I booked the cruise last July, I found out that the ship would go into dry-dock for a multi-million dollar overhaul at the end of our cruise. I was kind of concerned about what condition we would find the ship to be in when we embarked, but it was clean, beautiful, and did not look in need of any kind of repair except the usual upkeep on a sea going vessel. This was our ninth cruise, but our first on Azamara. We loved it. We were in a veranda cabin which was small, but the storage and the placement of everything was great. There was adequate storage for everything I took and I over-packed. Plenty of hangers, etc. The thing that stood out most of all was the crew and the service that we received. The captain, Johannes Tysse, was the most visible captain of any cruise we've been on. He was everywhere. He was friendly in a very low key way. The entertainment staff did a wonderful job. They were a very talented group led by Eric De Gray. I enjoyed all the shows we went to see. They had to change the show the last night because one of the dancers became ill and on short notice did a great job of revamping the presentation. No one would have known if they had not seen it before. The young man in the internet cafe was kind, helpful, and very patient. Our cabin steward and his assistant, Earl and Wilvorn, were very efficient and totally unobtrusive. I wish I could remember some of the waiters names that went the extra mile to give good service. We ate in the specialty restaurants 3 times and MDR every night except those three. We ate at Windows for breakfast every morning and either the pool grill or Windows for lunch most days. Nearly all the waiters were courteous and very helpful. The food was good. My husband is a meat and potatoes person and not an adventurous eater. He did not like the theme nights in Windows, but I would have loved to have tried some of the dishes they served from around the world. We went to the Azamazing Evening. We enjoyed it even though the music was not the style that we like. People began to leave early and it became kind of chaotic because we were receiving instructions on how to exit and reboard the buses from about 3 sets of people and they were not the same. It was at Good Hope Plantation on Jamaica and the entertainment was Third World band, a reggae group. We enjoyed the food and the ambiance of White Nights. The lecturers on-board to explain the geography, construction, and workings of the Panama Canal and the surrounding areas were very good. They helped tremendously with aiding our understanding of the canal and the places we visited. Embarkation and disembarkation were the easiest we have ever experienced. We did 2 shore excursions from the ship and had two that we arranged ourselves through the internet. We enjoyed all of them. There simply isn't much to see in Golfito and Quepos, Costa Rica. We had been to Costa Rica for vacation a few years ago. We had seen and done lots of the things that tourists do and enjoyed them, but didn't want to repeat them again. Azamara has done an amazing job with customer service. We would travel with them again because of that. The reason the cabin got a 4 instead of a 5 was the bed. It sloped and there was a definite ridge where the twin beds were pushed together. My husband did not like the theme nights in Windows. The bus driver on the Jamaica shore excursion gave us a wild ride back to the ship from the beach we visited. They may all drive that way, but it seemed too fast and he passed another bus a couple of times. It was like they were having a race. All in all, we had a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
I was disappointed because I expected a better standard of cabin, food and entertainment. The cabin was shabby. The bed linen had seen better days and the valance was coming away from the mattress . There were stains on the carpet. The ... Read More
I was disappointed because I expected a better standard of cabin, food and entertainment. The cabin was shabby. The bed linen had seen better days and the valance was coming away from the mattress . There were stains on the carpet. The drawers were not easy to use and the furniture was scuffed. The food was mediocre - very dry chicken on two occasions . Fine dining however was very good. Entertainment. the singers and dancers were excellent and enthusiastic but were limited by the space they had. The band was very good and mainly used for backing music.They should have been used more for dancing. On the one night they did play on deck the event was well attended. Activities were sparse. Lectures on places to visit were good and the commentary going through the canal gave a lot of background information. The captain and crew were excellent and I cannot fault them in any way. THE SHIP NEEDS REFURBISHMENT AND ENTERTAINMENT AND FOOD STANDARDS IMPROVED. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We had previously cruised on Azamara (3 Journey, 1 Quest) when they were seeking their niche. Now, several years later, the cruises are shorter now and much more expensive. However the cruise was worth every penny. The crew was ... Read More
We had previously cruised on Azamara (3 Journey, 1 Quest) when they were seeking their niche. Now, several years later, the cruises are shorter now and much more expensive. However the cruise was worth every penny. The crew was outstanding, the food superb, and the overall management by Hotel Director Heike left nothing to be desired. Every effort was made to satisfy the passengers. We are long term Celebrity cruisers (about 20) and enjoyed this departure from the norm immensely. We look forward to another opportunity to travel on Azamara again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
CRUISE TO CENTRAL AMERICA AZAMARA QUEST JAN.15-28, 2014 We flew to San Jose, Costa Rica and stayed at the Peace Lodge Vara Blanca 126 Alajuela, Costa Rica (peacelodgereservations@waterfallsgardens.com) We spent two nights there and it ... Read More
CRUISE TO CENTRAL AMERICA AZAMARA QUEST JAN.15-28, 2014 We flew to San Jose, Costa Rica and stayed at the Peace Lodge Vara Blanca 126 Alajuela, Costa Rica (peacelodgereservations@waterfallsgardens.com) We spent two nights there and it was a most magnificent stay. On January 15, 2014 at 9: 00 am Ricky Ricardo met 6 of us by previous arrangements for the trip to Caldera to board the AZAMARA QUEST. Ricky was able to handle all the luggage in his van for the six of us. We made a stop at Zoo Ave on the way to the ship which was an interesting stop to use up some time. The ship the Azamara Quest was built in 2000 and was the R7 until Renaissance broke up. She has also sailed as Delphin, and Blue Moon under Pullmantur. Pullmantur a Spanish Cruise line was purchased around 2005 by RCCL who thus acquired all Pullmantur’s ships. She was refurbished in 2007. She is 30,277 GRT with a crew size of 408 and Passenger capacity of 694. There are 42 suites. All tipping is included, but the service was so good we just had to tip. All the officers on this ship are frequently seen and call the passengers by name. The Hotel Director Phillip and the Cruise director Russ Grieves did amazing jobs doing things to entertain the passengers that were very unusual. They served ice cream and did an Iron chef competition. Both are just so quick witted one could not help liking them. Russ has got to be the hardest working CD I have ever seen. He was dancing on white night, announcing all the time, greeting passengers around the ship and just a bundle of energy. The captain was seen frequently around the ship and stopped to talk to all the passengers. He was even at the gangplank greeting passengers back on board after the AzAmazing evening in PV. I saw Phillip and the Captain at the AzAmazing evening and other officers and ship personal at the function also. My take is that Azamara cruise line would be Celebrity’s answer to Silversea. Having sailed three Silversea cruise ships, I must say that Celebrity has answered quite well. The complimentary wine aboard Azamara Quest exceeded the Silversea complimentary wine. Azamara did not comp. Bombay Blue Sapphire gin except to furnish a bottle to the Owner’s suite. They did comp Beefeater gin and most mixed drinks. The next day January 16, Thursday the ship had sailed about 20 miles to Puntarenas. All passengers boarded in Caldera because of limitation of luggage handling in Puntarenas. In Puntarenas, Costa Rica we took a tour of the Puntarenas Area with Ricky Ricardo (rickyricardotours@hotmail.com) Mob.Tel # 506-8848-1499 Ricky lives in Puntarenas so it was easy for him to meet us for this tour. He was kind enough to come to the Peace Lodge to get us and bring us to the ship. We had a River boat ride on a small personal boat of about 10 passengers seeing many different types of birds. A sheet with numbers was furnished each of us to use describing what type bird we were seeing. When the guide spotted a bird he would call out the number and you could then see the name of the bird. This was a wonderful day on the River and we also got to see crocodiles being fed chickens right by our boat by the guide. He was in ankle deep water and the crocodile would leap to catch the chicken in his hand. We had a stop at a local restaurant on the water for an included lunch of Cosada with fresh Sea Bass. This was a very nice stop. We also went on an Aerial tram through the jungle. Lot's of termite nest, but many beautiful birds also. I can highly recommend Ricky Ricardo. He was very prompt and informative and arranged some very nice tours. We stopped to practice squeezing sugar cane with a press. Sugarcane juice with lime is a nice drink. Of course he gave us time to shop. Ricky also stopped on the side of the road to visit some monkeys and they did come close to him for the bananas. On Jan 17,Friday we went to Colonial Grenada, Nicaragua where we saw La Merced Church, dozens of colonial homes, and the convent of San Francisco to see the mysterious stone idols. We had a ride on the Lake for one hour past some of the hundreds of small islands that were formed during the Mombacho volcanic eruptions. We had a Horse & buggy for an hour ride around Grenada. Each of us had taken a lunch and found a nice establishment to stop and get drinks to go with our picnic meal. This tour was arranged through Careli tours. (yescany.sanchez@carelitours.com). I was allowed to make payment for the 8 of us via check to a bank in Florida. The regular tour was upgraded to a buggy ride through the streets of Grenada for $5/person. On Jan. 18 Saturday Our next tour was in El Salvador where we had a ships tour from Acajutla, El Salvador to Nahuizalco and Ataco. Nahuizalco we visited the place of the four Izalcos, cradle of one of the most distinctive handcrafting techniques of wicker and tule in El Salvador and purchased somw nice wicker souvenirs. Ataco or High Place of The Springs offered vivid paintings on the walls of the town's buildings. This tour was billed as the "FLOWERS ROUTE" but was disappointing as there were very few flowers seen. This was a long tour and wore out some people. It was over 7 hours. Jan. 19, Sunday We stopped at Puerto Quezal, Guatemala and visited Lake Atitlan with our private guide Luis sponsored by Tours By Locals. Luis Benjamin Cholotio Tel.# +502-4177-5213 (aweacholo@gmail.com) gave us a very good tour. The ride from Puerto Quezal to Lake Atitlan was about 2 hours so the total tour was about 7 hours but went by quickly. We had very nice rest stops. We boarded a small boat at San Lucas Toliman and visited San Juan La Laguna Luis's hometown and saw beautiful art galleries. We used little tuk-tuk’s to move around town for an extra cost, but it was better than walking. We continued to Santiago Atitlan and visited the Catholic church, and the central park. It was a 2 hour ride from the port to the lake so it was good we brought a lunch to save time and eat while we were cruising the Lake. We decided to just ride by San Antonio Palopo on the eastern side of the lake, but in the interest of time we did not stop. We were getting tired. Luis never got tired. Our guide did tell us to bring some warm cover for the beautiful Lake Ride. We saw textiles and natural dye coloring in San Juan La Laguna our guide's hometown. He took us to visit his home where he lived with his mother. His mother always enjoyed visitors but was away at this time. We met nieces and nephews. This was a very informative trip that was personalized for the 6 of us that participated. Luis gave us very good personalized tour. Monday, Jan. 20 we arrived in Puerto Chiapas, Mexico, I went on a ship tour of a Mangrove and Nature Exploration with 6 people per boat to tour the mangrove streams and lagoons populated by wildlife and birds. My wife and friends cancelled out because of the tour in El Salvador being too long. We saw pelicans, herons, and ospreys (Fish Eagle), cormorants, hummingbirds, egrets, spoonbills, storks and turtles. We had four original reservations, but three in our party elected not go on this tour. We saw a shrimp farm since these lagoons are salt water and have tidal variations. It is a new business not in full function yet. Tuesday January 21, Huatulco, Mexico where I again went on a ship's tour by myself. My wife and the other couple elected to just rest. We went to La Crucecita and scenic drive to see deluxe hotels, and Continue to Conejos Bay for breathtaking views. We visited an arts & crafts museum to see Oaxaca's arts & crafts. Next we visited La Crucecita, a quaint town where participants in the tour are allowed to browse the bustling market. On the way back at the La Entrega Beach we stopped and had a chance to take photos of our Azamara Quest ship from a high vantage point. Thursday Jan 23 after we arrived at Manzanillo, Mexico where the 4 of us went to the Karmina hotel resort for a 4 hour visit of drinking and eating and laying out and visiting the resort. It was a beautiful property and probably could be visited inexpensively after talking to some of the people that were staying there. Friday Jan 24, we stopped in Puerta Vallarta. We took a short cab ride to visit Walmart and Sams which were next door to each other during the morning. More non Mexicans shopping than Mexicans. It was interesting to see the display or raw fish and octopus that we do not see in America. In the evening Azamara had arranged a complimentary show by The HUICHOL INDIANS OF THE SIERRA MADRE MOUNTAINS. This was a very nice experience. They used multiple vans to carry about 600 people into the mountains to visit the property. Large buses would not be able to make it. The Huichol Indians put on a colorful show and we were served margaritas, tequila and many nice snacks. A very nice fireworks show followed. I can say that this was a very nice success. As we went up the rough roads we would see cowboys on horseback with flashlights lighting our way to be sure drivers did not go the wrong way. Sat. & Sun Jan 25 & Jan 26 we spent at CABO SAN LUCAS. On the second day we did a sunset cruise which was very nice with very good eats and drinks. Nice views of the arch and saw a manta ray pop the surface. Mon. & Tues Jan 27 and 28 We had two nice days at sea and arrived in LA and we're trying to get off the ship when we were rejected by a customs hold that came up on the screen when my sail/sign was inserted. Phillip Herbert the Hotel director had no idea why. He called customs and an agent came after some delay and escorted us off. We had a 10:30 AM departure and did get to the airport at 8:30 AM in plenty enough time Unfortunately that flight got cancelled because of freeze in Atlanta, and we spent the night in LA at our usual Courtyard LAX on West Century Blvd. We had rebooked for the same flight to Atlanta the next day Thursday Jan. 30 which we got on the airplane and already had a drink when the captain said we would be delayed for take off for 5 hours. We were disembarked and realized that we could not make our Atlanta to MLU connection. The roads in Atlanta would not allow our daughter to get to the airport to pick us up for an over night stay and all the hotels were booked up so we rebooked for the 7:30 AM Flight to Atlanta on Friday Jan 31, 2014 and spent the night January 30th back at the Courtyard by Marriott on West Century Blvd.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
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