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2 Seville to Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

We kept hearing how amazing Azamara was: "You will love it." "It's wonderful!" Etc. We certainly enjoyed our TA cruise, but the experience did not live up to advance notices. Embarkation in Seville was super easy. ... Read More
We kept hearing how amazing Azamara was: "You will love it." "It's wonderful!" Etc. We certainly enjoyed our TA cruise, but the experience did not live up to advance notices. Embarkation in Seville was super easy. No one was there when we arrived, so not even a minute's wait. However, the space was very small so if a crowd had arrived at once things would have been problematic. Our first thought coming aboard was, "This is small." We had cruised on two other ships (different line) with about the same passenger count but those ships were significantly larger (roughly 50,000 tons vs. 30,300 tons). The size difference was evident everywhere -- from elevator landings to staterooms to public areas. With only around 500 passenger on board, sometimes this didn't matter, sometimes it did. Some physical particulars: the four elevators were exceptionally speedy which was good as we had a lot of rocky seas when stairs are not the safest option; the bathroom was small, with a very small shower; the cabaret/theatre had a flat floor, which made viewing difficult; the under-utilized casino also doubled as an entertainment space for a pianist and for many games (trivia, etc.); the beautiful library was tucked away on deck 10 and we wouldn't have known it was there if we hadn't checked out each deck completely; the decor overall was very delightful throughout; everything seemed reasonably clean and in good repair. Our stateroom had adequate storage and space. The balcony was largely taken up by a ridiculously oversized table that was permanently attached. I believe it was even larger than the tables for two in the dining room! The bed and pillows were fine -- let's face it, nothing is as good as home, right? Lighting was not great for bedtime reading, but I always bring a book light just in case. The stateroom team was nonintrusive, prompt in service, and took care of everything requested. The wait staff throughout the ship was also very good. This was particularly noticeable in the pool area where it is easy to be overlooked in a large space. Food was decent. The very first thing we heard from a fellow passenger were what dishes not to order/try, which was interesting. Some dishes were quite good. Others were not-so-great. The arrangement of Windows (buffet) and the presentation of the food was superior to most ships we've been on. Much more was available for self-serve (after the traditional 48-hour "we're afraid of germs" period); though you could sit down and order some things (omelets, burgers, etc.) as well. The pool-side grill was okay. Don't order the onion rings (as the first person we encountered said -- he was right), do order the veggie spring rolls. The main dining room was on a single floor with no assigned seating or time. This worked very well with no waiting except when our party of eight requested a particular wait staff (entirely understandable). Some dishes were quite good. The wait staff worked hard to take care of special requests. We once sat with a couple who were keeping kosher and the waiter was very solicitous about their order. Unfortunately the food often arrived luke-warm. We didn't eat in the specialty restaurants as no one seemed very enthusiastic about them. Being a trans-Atlantic, there were many sea days. Unfortunately, Tropical Storm Melissa made many of those sea days less than desirable weather-wise. Since there was no retractable roof over the pool area, people gathered in the limited public spaces. There was significant crowding. Once, when people were gathered for a trivia game in the lounge area of the casino, I watched a waiter look on in dismay -- there was no possible way to thread through the crowd to deliver a beverage or take an order. It was like that for every single game, every single day -- people would share chairs and drag in stools from the slot machines. Mosaics, the coffee bar, was also quite crowded. I never saw a free table in there at any time. The Looking Glass lounge (10th deck, fore) was never too crowded, though when the progressive team trivia took place pretty much every chair was moved into tight knots. I suspect this area would have been utilized more except the top deck is where the ship's movement was felt the most. Granted, all this crowding was probably driven by the combination of sea days and poor weather. However, we were also just slightly over 2/3 capacity, too. The cruise director and some of the social staff seemed rather disengaged. Others were delightful. Actually a lot of the "management" types seemed disengaged. Maybe they'd been reading their rave reviews too much? The passengers were a great group of people -- gregarious, well-traveled, and smart. However, the ship experience did not live up to expectations. Maybe we heard too much praise in advance. Plus, we also heard a lot of complaining on board. We had a good time. We'll sail Azamara again -- if the itinerary and the price is right. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We have been fortunate to cruise with lovely Azamara several times before, and are very fond of these lovely comfortable ships, whose staff excel at making guests feel comfortably at home. This time, we chose Quest for a favourite ... Read More
We have been fortunate to cruise with lovely Azamara several times before, and are very fond of these lovely comfortable ships, whose staff excel at making guests feel comfortably at home. This time, we chose Quest for a favourite Transatlantic crossing, embarking right in the heart of gorgeous Seville. We were welcomed by name by cruise staff who remembered us from previous cruises, and made our home in a comfortable deck 8 cabin. The cabins are on the small side, comfortably furnished , with subtle shades of taupe and navy accenting the dark cherry cabinetry. The one downside is the small bathroom, which only has a shower. After a recent makeover, the balcony furniture is much more comfortable rattan, and the balcony is a pleasant place to relax and read. Dining on Azamara is always a delightful occasion, with a spacious main dining room , 2 wonderful speciality restaurants, Prime C , a traditional steakhouse restaurant, and Aqualina serving a delightful menu of Mediterranean inspired dishes. At lunchtime, and for casual evening dining, the Ocean View cafe offers excellent choices, varying daily. We avail ourselves of the splendid room service breakfast menus, offering a better choice than many other cruise lines, and served promptly, and piping hot. Azamara have now adopted a policy of being more inclusive, so wines, spirits and cocktails are on offer all day long, from a list of complimentary drinks. In reality, daily wine choices are made by the bar manager, though favourites can usually be chosen, and we noted that fellow guests were disappointed by the limited beer choices. Azamara has a wide selection of evening entertainment , to suit all tastes, but we felt it a pity they have moved the grand piano away from the lovely Mosaic cafe where guest tend to gather in the evening, and formerly enjoyed listening to delightful piano melodies. This line excels in organising a myriad of daily activities during transatlantic crossings, keeping guests as busy as they chose to be. The lovely stately home style library has far too few books for the number of guests, relying on too many coffee table type books. A cruise is when many people love to indulge a love of reading, and enjoy the opportunity to choose in a pleasant library. We were delighted to be invited to join the new Captain for dinner, his first hosted dinner on Azamara, and believe future guests sailing under his command will have a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013

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