1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. South America Cruises
  4. South America Cruise Reviews
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We chose this cruise for three main reasons. The itinerary went to ports in Brazil that we have never been before. Two, we love the staff and the service on the NCL Sun. Three, the food is always excellent, although we ate at specialty ... Read More
We chose this cruise for three main reasons. The itinerary went to ports in Brazil that we have never been before. Two, we love the staff and the service on the NCL Sun. Three, the food is always excellent, although we ate at specialty restaurants and the buffet, not in the main dinning room. We have traveled on the Sun before in South America, but never out of Buenas Aires north to Brazil. The ship took a long time to sell out, I think for several factors, Americans needed a visa to got to Brazil, the overblown fear of Zika, the expensive cost of flights from North America this time of year, and that it included two holidays that many people spend with family. Because of this the prices went really low and allowed us to upgrade from a obstructed porthole window to a mini suite. Then after final reduction two months out we splurged for a penthouse suite. The ship is usually at least 50% English speaking passengers but with the reluctance of the North Americans to book this cruise there were only 120 English speakers on board. Personally, I thought that made it more fun. Room 9076 was a dream. An aft suite with a separate bedroom, huge bathroom with full size jetted tub, and a balcony that was incredible. The extra services that came with the room like a butler and concierge were nice but did not add that much to the value of the room itself. I know some people complain that NCL nickel and dimes you on their cruises, but I just don't find that to be true. Most everyone gets a free drink package when you make your reservation. If you want better food at dinner, you. buy a specialty restaurant package. The tours are very overpriced and it is worth it to use Cruise Critic or other means to make tour plans on your port stops. The Spa is expensive as well, but no more so than other cruise lines. On any cruise you take there will be a daily service charge added to you account, be ready for that. They don't allow bottled water to be brought onto the ship anymore, so you bring a large water bottle and fill it up on board. I can assure that the water on board is cleaner than most American cities. With the unusual number of Latino's on this cruise, I thought the cruise director and his staff could have done a better job with the music, even if it was just with a DJ. British Rockers just didn't cut it. Other than that, we love the ship. It is not too big. There is always room where ever you want to go. Remember if your going south around the tip of South America the pool area is not covered. The staff has always been incredibly helpful and considerate and will keep us coming back. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2015
Wish I could choose no stars. Half the ship sick as no sanitisation policy, sloppy management (Italian and S. American majority) art auctions...painting and easels all over our muster station, no checking of tender and shuttle bus tickets ... Read More
Wish I could choose no stars. Half the ship sick as no sanitisation policy, sloppy management (Italian and S. American majority) art auctions...painting and easels all over our muster station, no checking of tender and shuttle bus tickets so a free for all and chaos. Thankfully, no accident or it would be worse than a Costa disaster. Library not there...empty shelves! .. (Do not make money so took them out). Entertainment programme dire, as just hard sell all day... Promoting the spa, Effy Diamonds, shops....you name it. Anything interesting was lumped into the first hour so all day could be 'open your wallet'. Christmas and New Year very poor. Atrium is social centre...not big enough for such a big ship so pictures look good......but majority of passengers cannot see/hear/dance/use. Three days at sea and we left ports at 4.30pm?????? Could not see what we wanted....yet next port only four hours sail away?? One port was San Martin, a disused sandy area with NOTHING there......and they had the audacity to charge $16 each to be shuttled ten minutes away to a tiny resort....no taxis to do it yourself. Only there to pick up Macho Picchu excursions and cheaper than staying in Lima.....money, money money taken with no thought of the other passengers....the majority! Lots MORE but needless to say NEVER AGAIN ON PRINCESS. Check their history of diseases! In Nicaragua we had our temperatures taken as we left the tender....'"this ship has a bad record....we do not want here"!! NO sanitasation getting back on and folk going straight to eat at the buffet and restaurants...again sanitisation optional!!!! TempeLong delays getting off in places as immigration checking the loads who used the doctor...same numbers self medicated so iver 700?? Theatre was a cacophony of coughing, sneezing and spluttering but authorities NOT sanitising or cleaning banisters and denying any problem or sickness.......AWFUL! Think Carnival is now pushing money, money money.....so will not be using the other lines under their umbrella. Woukd rather sail, .....enjoy .....and survive!!! Sailed for forty years and this was the WORSE cruise, ship, management, sickness incidence numbers and programme/port times etc. Nightmare 31 days. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We had a family vacation time during the Christmas week, departing from Santos - Brazil heading to Montevideo / Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina)... Our expectation (we had a group of 5 balcony cabins to our family) was ... Read More
We had a family vacation time during the Christmas week, departing from Santos - Brazil heading to Montevideo / Punta del Este (Uruguay) and Buenos Aires (Argentina)... Our expectation (we had a group of 5 balcony cabins to our family) was to have time to relax and enjoy the trip. To make short a long history, we waited for approximately 5 hours to get on board in a very crowd area (even considering that was Christmas time, the waiting time was not reasonable). By the time we finally entered the ship, we had only a few minutes to get to our cabin, pick up the life jackets and proceed to the meeting point. It is not necessary to say that after the emergency exercise all passengers went to the restaurant at the same time to grab some food (considering that the majority of the passengers do not live in the departing city and spent several hours to arrive there before the check-in). Again another patience exercise because the restaurants had no space to everyone and it was a very bad "welcome aboard" message. After this first "lost" day, the trip was reasonable until the stop in Punta del Este, where we noted several (dozens of) mosquitos in our balcony and in the surrounding areas (we had a cabin on the back of the ship, near the external stair). We asked for plague control and a very polite man came to our cabin with an electronic raquet used to kill mosquitos and killed the insects inside our cabin and also the ones located in the balcony - but not the ones in the other balconies near or the mosquitos hidden in the stairs area, even after we alerted him about it. The result was that we were not able to use the balcony after this point of the trip. To conclude our "not so happy trip" the arrival in Santos, Brazil had the same situation we faced during the check-in... You were requested to leave the cabin at 8 AM because they need to clean the cabins to the next group of guests (perfect!) but we stayed inside the ship until 2 PM without access to food or drinks, except if you want to open a new account and proceed to a new check-out before leaving the ship. This is not reasonable and MSC must think a way to allow the passengers to pay the last drinks/ice creams, etc in cash or to sell special vouchers for use during this period. I know the company will say the year end time is complicated and the delay was related to the immigration offices but I would say it does not sound reasonable, because in a previous trip using another ship of MSC in the same itinerary we did not face the same situation... Additionaly, another ship that was doing exactly the same route apparently had no problems with delays... Our group were the last one to leave the terminal. I would suggest MSC to check the procedures again and try to improve the boarding and departing in this port. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Just to be clear at the start of this review. I AM AN AZAMARA LOYALIST so the fact that there are some criticisms should be seen as hopefully constructive criticism. I have been critical of H Office actions such as laundry /internet ... Read More
Just to be clear at the start of this review. I AM AN AZAMARA LOYALIST so the fact that there are some criticisms should be seen as hopefully constructive criticism. I have been critical of H Office actions such as laundry /internet access but would go to the stake supporting the on board experience. In summary for those who may not wish to read further. Good cruise not great. Tango evening in Buenos Aries very good. Ship entertainment good although English female magician was a cross between Jo Brand and Tommy Cooper but good in the end.. I think some allusions may have passed the USA /Canadian audience by. Eric is as Eric does and was good as usual. White night party better than usual but not surprising as it was New years Eve with fantastic fireworks display (20 minutes long) from prime position in front line off Copacabana beach. Food fair Morale on ship appeared to be poor with little leadership shown by Captain. Passenger mix good with no predominant group. I was surprised to see so many non-Christian people on board but maybe they want to escape Christmas as a festival although Christmas decorations were confined to 1 Christmas tree and fake snow on band area in cabaret lounge. We were led astray by bad group in casino lounge most nights so had good time. Now to review/comments Flew down from Newcastle and spent pleasant 3 hours in Exec lounge with a glass or 4 of Champagne before boarding flight to Buenos Aries. Good meal and lie flat bed made the journey faultless. We then emerged into chaos of arrivals at BA . Found rep eventually with one of the smallest arrivals signs I have seen for a long time. Simple transfer to hotel and met people on bus who we had sailed with previously. Hotel fine and had lazy day around pool. Tried to organise taxi for next morning and knowing state of Argentinean peso offered to pay in dollars. Evening concierge was quoting $35/40 plus tip for what appeared to be only a 10 minute journey on Google but was quite insistent we should book now through him. We had transfers booked through hotel so did not make decision. Next morning approached day concierge and was quoted $10 which we took. Advised rep so that bus was not waiting for us. We prefer taxi as it enables us to go when we want and no scrum re bus and baggage. We had a friend who lost hand baggage case which was placed in bus hold but was removed by a thief before bus set off. We always wait now until baggage doors are shut before one of us boards bus. Straight on board at 11.00 to be greeted by Heike and proceeded to make our Prime C reservations. Rather than do a blow by blow account I intend to split review into sep sections. I am fully aware that a lot of people may not like what I write and will say I am nitpicking but how many coincidences/ failures create a trend, All I would ask is read and consider if these were your experiences what would you think? Safety. At one port we were advised of a 30 minute tender journey so therefore a probable 1 Hour 20 turn round. Of the first tender boats the first had an engine failure on the water. Life happens BUT the second ran out of fuel and also had to be recovered with consequent chaos to tender times. Far more serious was if there had actually been an emergency we would have had only half the number of boats available. Totally unacceptable. Comfort. Aircon We commented on cabin air con and despite curtains closed all day and running on maximum cooling it was practically impossible to tell difference between corridors/outside and room. Complained for 4 days but no differences made. Accepted it in the end even though other parts of ship were kept cool. Toilets. Had blockages /overflows on at least 5 days in both toilets as well as elsewhere in public toilets in deck 9. I realise that these are probably client inflicted but not by us as we are scrupulous about items. I can tell you that one of the worst experiences is when (as you do) you get up in the dark to go to the toilet at 3am you most definitely wake up when you enter toilet and your feet get wet. Fortunately clean water but still a horrible moment. I do not consider that a pot plant in dressing area is equivalent to “fresh cut flowers in suite” but probably a Larry cutback. Morale on board Having sailed at least 10 times with Azamara we look forward to returning and seeing regular staff and had even brought Christmas presents for people like Heike, Alex and other favourite waiters etc. It appears that unlike previous times staff are now rotated between Journey and Quest and we therefore saw far fewer staff that we knew. Missing staff included Adel restaurant manager and Dale and Victor head barmen. It was alleged problems with visas was the reason for this but efficiency suffered because of lack of experienced staff. We also had new F & B manager as well as executive chef Iwan. Staff were certainly not as happy or smiling as on previous trips and officers were hardly ever seen on deck or as previous eating in the Windows Cafe. Food We are early risers 7.45 a.m. and were able to dine in Windows outside deck every morning. At no time did we see the fresh orange machine working and after a few days it had disappeared completely. On asking I was informed “Brazilian authorities do not like you to see it” Hey, I am on Azamaras finest not one of Mr Fyffe’s boats. Smoothies were as good as ever and made as you waited. I was not impressed when waiting for smoothie when Captain walked in, was served before me and did not even say “Good Morning, are you enjoying your cruise?” Maybe he thought the vote of thanks I gave at the Captains dinner in the library 2 days before was not fulsome enough. Rest of food fine with fresh eggs made as requested but there did not appear to be as many staff to carry food to your table if required or requested. I do npt expect for myself as able bodied. 2 days running they ran out of English muffins? It appeared they were on ration as on third day it was like Cpl Jones in Dads Army. If you asked for them they were produced from a cloth covered basket behind the counter!!!! It was great if you liked peach yogurt as this was the only flavoured offered. Surely somewhere in Argentina sells other flavours. Lunch Not great lunchers but soups were fine although the hot dishes could surely have looked better and maybe fresher if they only used half the hot area. Mainly ate freshly made sandwiches and it is the first time I have had an egg mayonnaise toastie as it was whipped into toaster before I could say thank you. Also has on 3 occasions the “room service burger “which according to folk lore is made from tail end of fillets from Prime C. In no way was it the same as on previous cruises. On cutting into it it simply split into pieces rather like mince. Not good. Burger bar at pool area Changes here in that now instead of burgers/hot dogs being prepared as required they are cooked en masse and placed in chafing dishes for self selection. Result is you get a Mcdonalds type bun instead of toasted bun fresh from grill also French fries are kept in same dishes resulting in cool fries. Answer: Cook less per fry and they will be fresh and hot. I would rather wait a minute than have cold/luke warm fries. No extra cost but customer satisfaction. Afternoon tea Had served in suite and I notice now only 5 prawns instead of 6 for 2 people (17 per cent saving) I think they could do away with bits on sticks as they are rarely fresh Whilst on subject the English tea bags are useless and I am NOT a strong teas drinker. Dinner Mainly ate in Prime C and again there is no doubt that the quality of steak has changed dramatically as well as general food standards. It was obvious that they do a good job with pre prepared items i.e. soups, salads, crab cakes and desserts but the fresh items like steaks were often poor. This may be my fault but initially ordered well done fillet steak (major mistake for Americans) but It was like shoe leather. Next time ordered medium which was indeed pink in middle but still completely dry with no juices. Had it sat too long under the lamps? Moved onto halibut which was great but unbelievably they ran out of later in the cruise. How can that happen? They know their passenger load and it must come frozen. Later on they also ran out of Dover sole and one night they ran out between ordering and service. I reordered their daily special of pork steak which was great and came hot and juicy so it is possible. Lamb was not much better and they had no mint sauce except that provided from a bottle which you shook like vinegar over your meal. Mint jelly was so fluorescent it should be in Doctor Who. They provide Marmite and Vegemite for us foreigners surely they could get some Colmans proper stuff? Captains dinner was completely unremarkable as I cannot even remember what we had apart from a Margarita Sorbet which had melted and had to be drunk from the glass. I remember being advised by Chef Iwan whose first Captains dinner this was that we would be served with “Lettuce emulsion “ also “potato spaghetti” . The descriptions were better than the reality as most hot courses were warm/cold. I did not spot the truffels although they were on the printed menu Drinks As previous cruisers we were aware that they normally carry 2 Rieslings which are our preferred choice. Usually a discreet request to restaurant manager would enable us to have this from day 1. This time was advised you could only have the 2 on offer. After 5 days one waiter was bold or stupid enough to comment that there was a Riesling on menu in Discoveries restaurant that night so they then provided the Chilean Riesling. It appeared that the German Diennhard one was no longer stocked although a far better quality. The following comments are from other passengers so cannot vouch for absolute veracity but no reason to doubt them. One couple had friends on previous cruise that raved about a particular daily wine and emailed them about it. They asked if they could have this wine but were advised that it was not possible as it was a free daily wine and not until it was on daily list. No problem they said “Can we pay for it?. Answer “We cannot sell it as it is an inclusive wine.” Also suite members get 4 half bottles of spirits but are not allowed to drink them other than in your room. I understand that Azamara may not want you to drink your own shop bought alcohol but it seems bizarre that if you are sitting in a bar with the provided bottles and using Azamara mixers. You would actually be saving them money as you would not be using their alcohol. Unless my memory is failing I thought that pool bar served draught beer but no longer and the “International selection of beers” is Becks, Bud and Heineken Surely with Inbev reach Azamara could take on board a limited amount of local bottled beer at each replenishment point and use as limited edition. Perhaps our final room service breakfast was a useful metaphor for Azamara on board service. Bacon good, potatoes good, muffin were no bigger than thumb/forefinger circle with an extra inch in circumference, poached eggs bigger than muffins and the weakest orange juice I have ever drunk. Final conclusions The peer of the realm with a party of 16 most certainly will not return and Francis a German lady we have met on 2 previous cruises who received the LCV award on ship for most cruises at 25 will not be returning either. Disembarkation the usual shambles with 3 ships at the same time and 1 hour to check in at Windsor atlantica hotel on Copacabana beach. We were finally dumped at airport 4 hours before departure time with checkout not due to open for another hour. We were all flying on same flight so why was it not possible to delay departure by at least 1 hour.   Read Less
21 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
I cruised on Le Boreal as part of a chartered Abercrombie and Kent expedition including The Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic peninsula in Dec 14/Jan 15. There are many reasons to select Le Boreal/A&K for this ... Read More
I cruised on Le Boreal as part of a chartered Abercrombie and Kent expedition including The Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic peninsula in Dec 14/Jan 15. There are many reasons to select Le Boreal/A&K for this adventure: * Itinerary: every other expedition in this category and with these stops is 20+ days. This was 17, and was certainly not too short. It hit all the highlights you want to see, and there were plenty of expeditions at each stop. * Expedition staff: A&K gathered an impressive team led by Dr. Marco Favero, and cruise director Jannie Cloete. There were several PhDs, and many other skilled naturalists, photographers and historians. From my research, only Lindblad/Nat Geo can compare with this level of experienced staff. * Ship: Le Boreal is new, clean, and incredibly stylish. The cabins are streamlined but comfortable, and the public spaces are subtly beautiful. Look at the Lindblad/NatGeo ships and you'll see old-fashioned, somewhat hokey interiors. I cannot overstate how nice the ship design is. AND, every single cabin has a balcony, which I found incredibly nice. * The price: Though A&K is by no means known as affordable...the combination of the shorter itinerary and discounts for early bookings resulted in this cruise being several thousand dollars cheaper than the alternatives like Lindblad/NatGeo, SilverSeas, etc. And * The ship staff: service and professionalism was at the highest level. The captain and crew kept the bridge open to visitors daily, and navigated skillfully through heavy and icy seas...often changing course to see whales, add stops to our itineraries, etc. Bar and Restaurant staff...a mix of French and Filipino...was tremendously friendly and offered great personal service. You can read the company websites and brochures for day-by-day detailed itineraries so there is no point in repeating those here. Here are some tips/tricks/observations: * You are at sea for several days at a time with no stops, and there is limited entertainment, so bring books, movies, games, etc. Expedition staff will give lectures that can vary in quality, and there are about 20-25 movies on demand...not alot. The onboard library has a small selection of books, and WiFi is available by satellite, but quite expensive. In short, don't go if you are easily bored and you don't like reading or quiet times. * Food is overall good, but a bit on the French hotel bland side. The weakest areas are proteins...fish and meats usually overcooked. But, over 3 weeks with no stops to resupply there was always great fresh fruit, salads, and vegetables. Soups were good, desserts as well. And, breads and pastries were always consistently excellent. There is a buffet and a sit-down restaurant, and both were open for all meals. Cookies and tea were served in 2 bars off hours. A brief room service menu was available 24x7 when the restaurants were closed for meals. * Packing. Everyone but me seemed to ignore the many warnings to limit baggage to a minimum. There were huge suitcases, and about 1/3 of people had packed suits/ties and cocktail dresses for the welcome reception, xmas dinner, new year's eve, and farewell dinner. On this trip, you could rent boots for the onshore expeditions, and I recommend that option rather than bringing them. * Spa and Fitness Center. The spa was roomy and super comfortable...but I didn't hear anyone rave about the treatments. In France, there are levels of massage...with the highest requiring training and licensing and practiced usually in medical offices This is not what you get on Le Boreal. I heard people say it was usually light Swedish massage that was only passable. I got a facial which I thought was pretty good. The fitness center is nice but VERY small...2 treadmills, 2 bikes and a combination cable/weight machine. The end. It gets understandably crowded. * Getting to the ship from Buenos Aires. A&K arranged airport pickup which was perfect, and overnight stay at the Sofitel in BA. Ask for a high floor with a view...because I was on floor 3 overlooking an airshaft. Have patience during the trip to Ushuaia. A&K screwed up our tickets...we got boarding passes to the NatGeo charter flight...so all info was wrong. We also waiting in the airport for quite a while. I get that its hard to move 200 people around, but things seemed especially slow and ponderous. * When to go. We chose the xmas/new year "family" cruise with A&K...and it was a great choice. The demographic was younger than the usual A&K stuffy and pretentious oldsters...which livened up the mood. There were about 30 kids from 7 to 18...and they were all great.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2014
We were on the same cruise as the only British Couple and flew out to Quito On BA and Iberia via Madrid early Boxing Day morning arriving some 12 hours later. We were met at the Airport on arrival (we were the only couple) and arrived at ... Read More
We were on the same cruise as the only British Couple and flew out to Quito On BA and Iberia via Madrid early Boxing Day morning arriving some 12 hours later. We were met at the Airport on arrival (we were the only couple) and arrived at the hotel some 45 mins later around 9.45pm. We were lucky to be given an upgraded room. We enjoyed the food at the hotel both pre and post cruise. The included tour of Quito was good and the buffet lunch with traditional Ecuadorian singing and dancing Was excellent. Although we were fairly tired we went out on the afternoon trip to the Equatorial Line Monument. The evening meal was at La Gloria, a local restaurant we enjoyed this too. Now for the Cruise We were sold this as an "adults" cruise. This was not the case and slightly spoilt it for us. Probably being over Christmas and New Year altered the dynamics slightly. There were only 5 or 6 English speaking couples. The rest were made up of family groups, some large with 3 generations and some with young children. Also, quite a number of Spanish speaking South Americans. They all kept to their own groups and didn't mix so dining times gave you little choice of who to sit with. Luckily we made friends with the American couples. One of the American ladies was very upset at the "unsociable"situation. Most of the teens and 20 something's were a pain as far as hogging and sitting right on top of the Wifi "hot spot".They seemed to be on their phones/laptops 24/7. In fact some of them hardly seemed to leave the ship! My husband likes to keep in email contact with his 90 year old Mother. This was virtually impossible. Make no mistake, this is not your usual cruise. It's an "Expedition" ship. It doesn't matter how many cruise lines you've sailed on or how many you have done and we've done over 50 this is totally different. There is nothing to do on the ship during the day as your not expected to be there and have paid a hefty price to go see the spectacular wildlife. Something that LeaderLady failed to mention. We saw Boobies, Nazca and Blue-footed varieties. Marine and Land Iguanas. Galápagos Hawks, Waved Albatross, Tropic Birds, Mockingbirds, Frigate Birds, flightless comorants. Sea Lions, Sea Turtles, Penguins, Giant Tortoises, Darwin Finches,Flamingos and much more to see if you enjoy snorkelling in cold water. Just wildlife everywhere. You had to be careful not to step on anything. The only disappointment as far as seeing wildlife for me was that we didn't see the Red Footed Boobies or the recently discovered Pink Iguanas, both found on Isla Genovesa in the far north and not on any expedition itinerary. The Naturalists all Ecuadorian were all good. Some better than others. I did feel that the Spanish speaking guests should have gone out separately in their own group as there were many occasions when a lengthy Spanish conversation was conducted within the party of which we were not included. Every evening before dinner we were given a talk with slide show on what we should see the following day and the type of terrain and level of fitness required and recommendations as to footwear, clothing and if insect repellent was necessary. This information is also given in your Celebrity Today. Apart from 1 walk we chose the long walk every time. Paying all that money I wanted to see all I could. The ratio of guests to staff was 98/62. Our cabin was made up 3 times a day. There was plenty of hot water. Only a couple of channels on the TV and very little drawer space. The ship did sway a bit some nights but it's a small ship so its to be expected. No, there isn't a lot to do in the evenings after dinner, there was always music and dancing. Karaoke one night. Many went straight to bed. It's very full on and not what I would describe as a holiday. We were up at 6.30, breakfast at 7. The long walk usually started at 8am. Back on the ship by 11.30, lunch at 12. Afternoon walk 3pm back to the ship by 6.pm then cocktail party from 7pm talk at 7.15 followed by dinner. It was hard not to over indulge on the all inclusive drinks. I did suffer one morning after to many Pisco Sours the previous night!! The food was good and the Lobster excellent. We ate out on deck one night, wonderful. Our first night on the ship we were standing at the stern. It was dark and we were watching the stars when we heard a strange noise. We looked down to the landing platform where there were 3 sea lions asleep catching a ride. They were there for quite a while. All in all we really enjoyed this trip. Not the 5 star I expected but a good 4 1/2 I would definitely like to do the trip again at a different season and the Inner Loop. I would just ensure that it wouldn't be during school/college break. Whilst waiting at Baltra Airport for our flight back to Quito I did notice that the newly arriving passengers were all adults and seemingly couples. We booked this over 18 months ago when on the Celebrity Infinity. At that time there were no deals. We had a £400 cruise credit but they wouldn't let us use it for the xpedition. They are doing deals now though. We did a Transatlantic in October when Celebrity were heavily promoting the Galápagos and offering up to $500 onboard credit for your current cruise. So if your thinking about this trip it might pay to book onboard if you have a forthcoming Celebrity cruise booked.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
First time reviewer as we have just completed our 4th cruise, background is we have sailed with Celebrity in 2011 (Med) and got the cruise bug. We then did the Carribean with Holland America and Turkey and Greece with MSC Divina. We are ... Read More
First time reviewer as we have just completed our 4th cruise, background is we have sailed with Celebrity in 2011 (Med) and got the cruise bug. We then did the Carribean with Holland America and Turkey and Greece with MSC Divina. We are aged 35 and 39. We tried to book the full package through Azamara ie flights and cruise, the cruise departed on 27 Dec from Buenos Aires. Azamara wanted us to fly to London on Dec 24 from Scotland. Stay at the Airport on Xmas eve then spend Christmas day in the Airport as the flight was not until app 21.30. Arrive in Argentina on 26 and Azamara would give us a free night in a hotel. When we tried to change the flight to the 22nd as we did not want to spend Xmas eve and day at terminal 5 we were told this would not be possible. We got our own flights. We were really looking forward to the cruise as the ports were really good and the ship has a 5 star+ reputation. The ports were fantastic but the ship is not a 5 star. It may have been when it was new back in the late 90s. If you like visiting grannies and her furniture you may disagree with me. As we sailed on Nuiew Amsterdam when it was app 3 months old and MSC Divina was a week old maybe we have been spoilt on other ships. In relation to the usual subjects here is my opinion Embarkation was spot on, straight through no waiting. We also arrived at midday and got straight into our room. Staff were excellent although the DJ starts at 11pm and if there are less than 14 people he goes to bed. One night there was 14 but he still went to bed. Please note if you like a little music and enjoy a drink and a little fun this cruise ship is not for you. If you are aged 55+ dont like the big ships due to the walking, size and music and boutique type of hotels you will love this ship. We paid £2750 each for a Balcony room for 9 nights and felt there was not the same value for money with the cruise lines mentioned above. We paid app £1000 for MSC and this included all drinks and speciality coffees (1 week). You do get wine at dinner and lunch with Azamara and all wines were good quality. Also the tips for the staff on Azamara are included but we still tipped our cabin team and a couple of waiters. We paid for the drinks package which was 265 dollars each but my wife fell Ill on the first day and was confined to the room for 4 days. Azamara did allow us to cancel the package as drinking on your own on holiday is no fun. Azamara also gave my wife free internet in the room. Saying that 4 days is a long time. We never done any excursions with the ship as we had done most of them on other ships but as stated above the ports were excellent where you did not need a bus or taxi to get to. Uusally we would go to the entertainment every night but as my wife was ill for 4 days, 1 night was New Year and we ate late on a couple of occasions and missed the show. Out of the 2 nights we did go it was OK. Remember that most of the clientelle is 50+. The stateroom is the same size roughly of the other ships we have been on just a little older and more tired. I felt the food in the main resturant was good but my wife disagreed. We both felt in comparison to other ships buffet there was not as good a selection but this will be down to the ships size, buffet was never busy like the big ships. We would not cruise with Azamara again as we feel there are better ships with better value for money. Unlike the previous cruises the ship did not have the WOW factor that we thought we were paying the extra for. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
The follow is actually our mid-cruise evaluation. We have both constructive suggestions and criticisms as well as what we especially like. We are enjoying this cruise immensely and hope to return. Restaurant: Compass Rose -Very ... Read More
The follow is actually our mid-cruise evaluation. We have both constructive suggestions and criticisms as well as what we especially like. We are enjoying this cruise immensely and hope to return. Restaurant: Compass Rose -Very good wine selections -There appears to be no enforcement of the dress code in the dining rooms. We have seen people wearing jeans with holes in them and T-shirts. We feel this is disrespectful when the dress code is Casual Elegant after 6:00. -Attentive bar service and wait staff -The waiters (mainly Filipinos) call us "Ma'am/Sir" to both my husband and me, which is becoming offensive. In other words, my name is "Ma'am-Sir". If I could be addressed as "ma'am" that would be good! Other people are noticing this also. -Most all soup has a lot of cream which for us makes it very rich tasting and fattening! -Breakfast time the food has arrived cold and items like pancakes, waffles and toast are hard and dry with the French Toast being the exception, which is delicious. -We love the different sorbets daily. Wonderful! And we have become addicted to the French bread! The food aboard is generally very good. Signatures Restaurant -Great ambiance and excellent service -My lamb chops were too pink, I sent them back and came back too tough to eat -Keon in Signatures is excellent. Called us by name the entire evening and was very professional and attentive. Prime 7 Restaurant -Wonderful atmosphere and service. -Food selections were very good and tasted good! La Veranda: -Very informal and a grazing buffet daily for breakfast and lunch. Food always the same with a few variations in salads and desserts. It's nice to sit on the veranda in the back of the ship when the weather is calm -Different pasta selections daily and made instantly to your request -In room service is on time, friendly pleasant service and is usually warm -Kirti, waitress, is excellent. Did not call us Ma'am/Sir. Friendly, efficient, darling. Head Somelier-Daniella is excellent. General: -On embarkation day it was an easy check-in, BUT no one to escort us to our room and show us where everything was and how it works. On Day 12 of the cruise we found out there is a navy blue Regent bag for us to have? use? If it had been left on the bed with a note the day we arrived we would have known. -Team Trivia--Disappointing because the same team wins daily. Evidently (but not certain) they have been aboard since Europe and have had heard some of the questions before. -We can tell the staff is willing to please and learn what can be improved -We came back from a muddy jungle trek and our shoes were dirty and muddy. It would have been good to have had someone with a hose or bucket of water and a brush outside at entry for all shoes to be cleaned before entering the ship. A lot of mud was brought into the ship. -Waiting for shuttle buses and tenders for tours is not a good system. We waited over a half hour one day for our number to be called. Generally the tours were quite good. -We have been happy with the evenings' entertainment. A nice way to end the day. -It would be helpful if each night's dining menu were published in the Passages. Overall, we enjoyed this cruise and recommend the cruise line. This sailing had a lot of cruise days which we like. The ports were nothing to speak of except in Manaus in the Amazon and into the Caribbean. Sometimes the port calls were not long enough. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We weren't too sure about embarking on a holiday cruise since we had never been away from the family over Christmas before. We were surprisingly pleased with the atmosphere created on board by the Princess Star. The lovely decor, ... Read More
We weren't too sure about embarking on a holiday cruise since we had never been away from the family over Christmas before. We were surprisingly pleased with the atmosphere created on board by the Princess Star. The lovely decor, special music including Christmas caroling with snow showers, the candlelight dinner in the dining room on Christmas evening,and MOST enjoyable for us was the special channel on the cabin TV that featured a crackling fire and the playing of Christmas carols. It was a lovely way to fall asleep every night for almost 2 weeks !!' Santa's visit for the children on Christmas morning was an added treat for them as well as games, face painting etc. for the kids (200 of them !) The gingerbread house decorating contest was amazing....what talented and creative people ! WE had absolute SMOOOOOOTH sailing for the first 10 days....like a lake! Next couple of weeks had some "rock and rollin' " for sure. The ports of call were a delight for the most part. The Princess tours were VERY expensive and not always rated correctly as far as E--M--S. For those with mobility problems that can be and WAS an issue where excessive walking was required on what was rated E. We saw some magnificent sights...especially "Glacier Alley"...the Beagle Channel from the Skywalker's lounge. That morning was worth the cost of the entire trip! Some of the ports were rainy or heavily clouded obscuring the view of the volcanoes etc...which is a shame....but can't be helped...nature is nature. We were blessed beyond measure to have a calm sea and SUN the morning we rounded Cape Horn...something the port expert, Joe May said he had NEVER seen in his 120 trips around the Cape. The ship food was outstanding...except for the temperature of some hot foods up in Horizon court....too tepid for fowl dishes. The entertainment was just OK....nothing to rave about....some really good....some pretty awful...some just mediocre. We happened to have a very uncaring substandard cabin steward...which is not our usual experience. Was disappointed in his performance...and we are NOT demanding kinds of passenger. I was disappointed in the service of the photo dept. as well. At several ports they were not out taking photos as usual. The service in the anytime dining room was usually painfully slow...almost always had to figure on a 2 hour dinner at a table for 6....not good ! There also needs to be a better informed shore excursion office and better communication skills. Overall.....I would give this cruise an 8 out of 10. WE thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, met some lovely people, ate some wonderful meals saw some awesome sights and had several truly relaxing "at sea" days. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2012
Sailed a for the Christmas cruise from Rio to Buenos Aires and for the first time on Azamara. This was our first "upscale" cruise (or luxe-light as I've heard it called). We had a great time. Keep in mind this is before ... Read More
Sailed a for the Christmas cruise from Rio to Buenos Aires and for the first time on Azamara. This was our first "upscale" cruise (or luxe-light as I've heard it called). We had a great time. Keep in mind this is before this line went "all-inclusive." PRE-CRUISE: We checked into the Sheraton in the extreme western part of Leblon (Leblon is the very west part of Rio beach area) after an overnight flight. Had already met some people through our Roll Call who were staying in that hotel and met up with them and became good friends and spent a lot of time with them over the next 4 days having dinners and doing the activities. The hotel was good, reasonably priced, but a bit out of the way. Not bad if you are going to do guided tours as they pick you up (we did a 2 day private tour with Manu Picalat - highly recommended and book early as he's busy), but getting back into town on your own will require a taxi or a long walk (and I wouldn't do that walk at night though I personally didn't feel worried at all - but I have lived in very large cities most of my life). We did it a few times by foot, but it's a good 20 minute walk to the beginning of the action. Forget about driving yourself. It's certifiably insane! Overall, LOVED Rio and never felt all the danger people talk of. Very nice place and comes recommended. One tip is to see the Redeemer statue AS SOON AS IT OPENS. No crowds, and great views. I think that was about 7:30am. Also, they had a beach which was nice, but keep in mind it's not private as locals use it too. Not a problem, and never crowded, but the surf was pretty intense so I wouldn't go swimming unless you are a VERY good swimmer! Best part was leaving the sliding door to our balcony open and hearing the crashing surf every night as we drifted off to sleep. LOVED THAT! THE SHIP: Embarkation was super easy and fast (maybe 15 mins?). We REALLY loved the smaller format R-Class ships. We had about 520 people out of the possible 680-ish capacity on board so it was incredibly UN-crowded. This was very appreciated as the big ships drive us bonkers with the lines and crowds. Living in a crowded metro area, we like to get away from crowds. The ship didn't disappoint and we enjoyed the size. It was quite nicely appointed (it had just come out of dry dock and you could tell). Can't fault anything and was quite impressed at the level of detail and refinement. It was much like being in a 4 or 5 star NYC hotel. The public spaces were well laid out and never crowded. I didn't use the casino except to have a cocktail but on sea days or early port departures it got pretty busy in the evenings (it's also tiny so that's why I suspect it felt so busy). The lounges were very nice, and the MDR was fantastic and we appreciated the open seating. We ate many dinners with different friends we met or sometimes just the two of us. The fitness center was surprisingly good, as was the Library. We didn't use the spa. FOOD/DRINKS: VERY good. I wouldn't say the best I've ever had, but clearly they put a lot of effort into the food and it is more or less fired as you order which helps (take the galley tour - fun stuff and makes you feel good about where your food is coming from). Presentations were appealing and the variety was very good for a ship this size. We enjoyed each meal onboard. We ate at both speciality restaurants (twice at Prime C). Both were VERY VERY good. Very accommodating (when in Aqualina we wanted the lobster salad we had had from Prime C as it was really that good - no problem whatsoever). Also, the unlimited wine was free flowing with lunch and dinner and honestly, very good and varied... (and I mean this was truly a "please stop filling my glass after every 3 sips or I'm going to pass out" unlimited). The Lido buffets were really good and had a really great selection including sushi, several hot stations, etc. Left absolutely nothing to be desired! I will add that we had purchased the top-shelf beverage package which used to be $39.95 pp per day as we like our top shelf spirits and it was super convenient to be able to order whatever, whenever from wherever. For us this was worth it, however now that they have gone all-inclusive, this probably is a moot point. Also, the Mosaic coffee bar was tops - and included (even without the beverage package). Delish coffee-house drinks and nice littler finger sandwiches, etc. You won't go hungry or be disappointed, this I can promise. We used room service one morning and it was nice, but we get up early so we just headed to the lido for the most part... STAFF/SERVICE: Here's where I think you can REALLY see the difference between the mass-market ships an a more boutique line. Everyone who worked on that ship was engaged, friendly, and basically three steps ahead of any need/desire you had. I'd walk into the MDR bar before dinner, and of course our "pack of new friends" would be there and the amazing bartender (who I sadly cannot remember his name) would have the drinks poured and ready to go. Everyone was super engaging and would just chat, chat, chat with you. Some were quite busy (such as the cabin stewards) but they still made time to talk to you and make sure everything was just how you wanted it. We had brought on some spirits we bought in Rio before embarking and our steward saw this and made sure we had fresh glasses, mixers in the mini fridge, and ice at least 3 times per day. Nice touch! The CD was fun and engaged, and there were some fun activities. They also had a very good DJ for the Looking Glass lounge at night and he would go until pretty late, even though not many were there.... We ate it up being night owls. Honestly, can't say enough good things about the staff on this ship!!! CABINS: We were in the lowest class of Verandah room pretty mid ship on the 6th deck. It was fine, but not very large at around 170 sq ft. We expected this so we weren't disappointed per se, but you will want to maintain organization! The bathroom, on most any cruise ship, is insanely small, but it works. Plenty of storage. The entertainment system was fine with the typical... a few channels of TV, some movies, the bridge cam and room service ordering/folio review. What was pretty nice is each day they put the various menus for the restaurants on there so you could start your salivating early. :) The balcony was fine and as expected with two chairs and a table big enough to eat on. Also, it was quiet. No noise at all and we slept like babies on the very comfortable beds. One thing to note that we loved is announcements (which are rare anyways) are NOT piped into the rooms. Such a nice change. Several times we'd have to crack the door open to hear what the Captain was saying. Overall, my advice is don't overpack (and keep in mind they have free laundry facilities... more on that in a bit). ACTIVITIES: Each day we received our "Pursuits" guide, and it was pretty typical of your daily guide. Not a whole heck of a lot going on like a 3000 person ship, but again expected. Slots tournaments, enrichment lectures, some tours (do the tours of the bridge and the galley if you can) and the like. We really didn't participate as we had a fairly intensive port schedule and were quite worn out from many late nights in Rio. I will say it was perfectly acceptable for the size of the ship, however. EXCURSIONS: We used all ship sponsored excursions, though some ports we just struck out on our own. This is where your research will help you out. The prices were high, but not extreme, and for the most part we enjoyed each. Some were just "OK" but nothing was bad and everything went smoothly. PASSENGERS: Almost exclusively older, well traveled (mid 40's to ....?). A handful of maybe 10 kids with their parents. Very few 20 and 30 somethings. Most were from the US or Canada and a few from Brazil. Very well heeled group and there was little to know "drama" or anything of the kind. The ship goes to bed fairly early (11pm) and rises early (7am). We are a gay couple and never had any trouble fitting in, and in fact met 6 other gay couples on board... Everyone was very gracious and we made some great friends straight or gay! MISC STUFF: The free Laundry on deck 7 was great - EXCEPT it gets incredibly busy. The facility consists of three washers and three dryers. The detergent is automatically added to the machine (marine friendly) so you only need to bring dryer sheets if you are so inclined. There is also two ironing boards. My advice is do laundry on off hours like dinner or while in port. Embarkation day I made a bee-line to the facility even before really unpacking since we had already been in Rio for 4 days and we packed light (and changed 2x a day due to the heat/humidity). I lucked out. When I went back 40 mins later to move my clothes from the washer to the dryer, there was a line of about 7 people. And it mostly stayed that way for the duration of the cruise... Also, I'd like to suggest you set a reminder on your phone/watch so you know when the clothes are ready to be moved or removed, mostly as a courtesy to others... Trust me, when it gets busy people will do this for you and then you have wrinkles or wet clothes sitting on a dryer. Smoking (which I thankfully kicked) is allowed ONLY in one small section of the pool deck, but this should be a consideration if you smoke. Finally, if the weather is inclement (or in our case, our boat took on a bunch of weird non-biting mosquitos overnight one day in the middle of the ocean - which was promptly taken care of) the lido can be hard to find a seat in for breakfast. My advice here is head to the MDR. They have plenty of capacity and breakfast service is rather quick. OVERALL: YES I would said with Azamara again, in a heartbeat. I'm curious of the new all-inclusive offerings. I am still in the "exploring the lines" phase, so it will have to wait a few years as I have sailings on other luxe lines and a river cruise set up, but I think when the dust settles, you'll see me back on an Azamara ship! Read Less

Find a Cruise

Email me when prices drop