First timers on Azamara, have earlier cruised with Celebrity and RCCL and this is the smallest cruise ship we have been on.
Embarkation: We arrived at 13:45 to the port. The embarkation was very smooth, no lines and it took just 10 minutes until we got on board. The state room was ready at 14:00 and the bags arrived soon after that.
Ship and cabin: Over all very good maintained, of course there where showing some signs of wear and tear but much better than expected. She is very clean and tidy! The stateroom is of normal standard and showed almost no wear. The table on the veranda was a nice surprise! Much larger than what we have had on other ships.
It seems that Journy are having some problems with their plumbing system, two times the toilets didn’t work but it was fixed quite promptly.
The size of ship is the smallest we have experienced and on this cruise we had no problems with that. The weather was lovely and with so many port days we could either spend our days on pool deck or exploring the ports. We would not choose this size if it would be fewer port days and/or risk of cold weather. In these circumstances we would go for a larger ship with more to do ”inside”.
The tranquil atmosphere on pool deck was really nice! On sea days the guitarist played one hour, very nice and with a sound level that was enjoyable. The sun beds and towels where also of high standard. Sadly to say there where a number of chair hoggers on board, marking the chairs early in the mornings and then returned a couple of hours later. I overheard one of the pool attendants once trying to explain the rules but was met on a very unpleasant manner. I wish someone with higher ranks should be addressing this kind of things, maybe it would be easier to enforce the rules.
Personnel: Nice and friendly; no more no less than on other ships we have been on. The state room was kept nice and clean by Rayner and Ismael. I did feel that the guest relations personal was a bit tired of their work, no extra there… I was asking a question and found it quite annoying when the person didn’t bother to listening to the end and instead started to look in the computer for an answer I hadn’t asked. I tried to point out that but instead I had to wait until she had found an answer to a question I hadn’t asked…
Cruise director Eric is really talented with a voice much better than the rest of the entertainers. Just loved his Grand Pa stories!!
Dining: We did like free seating not having to be in the dining room on a certain time. We always chose to sit together with others and we really enjoyed all the people we met.
But - After so many good revives over the food we have to admit that we had higher expectations than on Celebrity and RCCL. Unfortunately, we experienced that the food was quite mediocre without coming up to the standard we have experienced on X and RCCL… No seasoning and the result vas mostly tasteless.
I fully understand that it’s difficult to satisfy everybody’s tastes but it is possible to make tasty food without making it (to) hot. A good Chief would have been able to do that.
There were of course exceptions to that, some courses was very good but quite rare.
One evening, the mint sauce to the lamb was served out of a jar with the label still on. Not really what we had expected on an Azamara dining experience.
As we are Elite on X we were invited to a special breakfast in Prime C the same day we arrived to Madeira. Very nice with many officers attending. I’m not a Mimosa lover but the Mimosas they served where the best I ever had!
Complimentary drinks: This was good and we didn’t feel any need to buy anything extra. We loved that we didn’t have to show cards and sign slips to get anything to drink! I’m a Campari and orange juice lover but as it isn’t included I just turned over to GT’s instead.
The entertainment: Of normal cruise standard. We are not very fond of the Broadway shows, but to see Erik as a very tall drag queen was very entertaining! I - on the other hand is not tall and due to the layout of the Cabaret it was quite difficult to find a seat where I could see anything but heads. Maybe I should have a pillow to sit on.
The ”White Night” was one of the two outside buffet nights and took place the second evening in Madeira. A very nice evening with lots to choose from the grill. In La Palma, the second buffet night with a Spanish theme, took place. Also very nice with a local song and dance group that preformed for us.
It’s really nice to see the pool deck transform to an outside restaurant. Do admire the work that’s done to do that, removing all sun beds and replacing them with tables and chairs.
”Azamazing evening”. Took place in Malaga and was a horse and bull performance in the bull ring. It was the first time it was arranged and worked quite well. I’m no ”horse person” so this is not what I would have chosen - but I find the idea of arranging a evening like this very ”azamazing”!
The arena are made to take thousands of people and with only 600 people, it felt quite empty. Don’t know what they had done if it had been raining…. I wouldn’t like to sit there in pouring rain.
When we came back on board we were welcomed with hot chocolate and rum, which was appreciated as the evening was quite cold, just 12 C.
Itenerys and tours: We didn’t do any of the Azamara tours, as we felt that they are much overpriced. Instead we strolled around in the ports by ourselves. In Madeira we did a tuk-tuk tour that was very good, with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable driver. Going by tuk-tuk it was possible to access places that wasn’t possible by bus. We also went to the Botanical garden by two cable cars and took the toboggan ride down.
Of all itenarys we liked Madeira and Gomera the best.
Embarkation: Very easy!
In conclusion: It was a lovely cruise with things we really have appreciated and enjoyed, but also with a few things that can be improved.
Will we cruise Azamara again? Yes - if we find a good offer and a good itenery.
Aft star board. Standard layout. No problems.