This was our third trip through the Panama Canal and we enjoyed it as much as our first two. We had been to many of the ports on this itinerary before, so we picked this cruise for the ship - we love the R Class ships. We sailed many times on Renaissance - it was our favorite line. We have followed the dispersal of the 8 R Class ships after the line filed for bankruptcy (Oceania has 4, Azamara has 2, Princess has 1 and Fathom has 1, going to Cuba)
We are both in our 60s and love sea days. We don't pick cruises for the entertainment or even the ports at this point. We never do the ship's land excursions. This was our first Azamara cruise but it won't be our last. We loved everything about this trip (except for the long lines at embarkation in LA). We tend to keep to ourselves and liked the number of tables for two available in most venues (in Main Dining Room they were extremely close to one another).
The ship was extensively updated about 30 days prior to our cruise and the smell of new carpet and paint had faded. The public rooms and staterooms have new carpet and furniture. Overall the the ship is in great shape and the crew was fantastic - friendly and helpful.
We originally booked a standard veranda cabin on deck 7 but changed to 7116 - an aft facing veranda with a larger balcony. We loved the view of the ships wake and had breakfast several times on our balcony. The food always arrived hot and to order. Room service even calls a few minutes before delivery - a nice touch. The cabin is small but adequate. The bed was firm and comfortable. The bathroom is tiny, with room for only one person at a time but we have experienced that before with no problems. This cabin's balcony does occasionally have particles of soot land on the table or deck depending on the wind. We also had one night of rough seas with some motion, but overall, no noticeable vibration when underway.
TV reception was spotty - thank goodness! But announcements over the ship's PA do not play over the TV, so you have to open your door to hear them. The good thing is there are VERY few announcements and in only one language.
Gratuities are included in the fare. Cabin attendants were very efficient and considerate but never introduced themselves. The service in the bars and around the pool was fine - not pushy- but a bit laid back in the Living Room on deck 10. We usually had to chase down a server to get a drink. We splurged a few time and upgraded our liquor choice but we were generally pleased with the included beverages.
We did not spend time lying in the sun by the pool, so we cannot comment on the chair saving issues. We did enjoy walking the track on 10 and gym was very well equipped.
The Library (now known as the Drawing Room) is a quiet and peaceful place to read and has quite a few books.
We ate most of our meals at the buffet (Windows) even dinner where they feature a different country's cuisine each night. The grill on the pool deck has nice lunches. At night it is transformed in a sit down dining venue called the The Patio. We only ate there once but it was a very lovely setting. We ate dinner in the Main Dining Room a few times and found the food and service fine. We really enjoyed the Jazz Brunch on our last sea day headed for Miami.
We did a package on the specialty restaurants - 3 nights for $20 per person each venue. We made the reservations as soon as we got on board and there was a short wait but not bad at all. The highlights were the chateaubriand in the Prime C and the lemon soufflé in the Aqualina.
My wife enjoyed the bridge on the sea days and I enjoyed the lectures, especially the film critic from Canada, Rich Staehling.
Azamara has a strict no smoking policy. Smoking is only permitted on the forward starboard section of the pool deck. We are non smokers and we were never bothered by the smell. Well done, Azamara!
Our fellow passengers were about half Americans and the other half the rest of the world.
The Azamazing Experience was held in Cabo San Lucas. We did not attend and from what we heard, the experience was not great. They tendered 600 people to buses and drove them into the desert for the show and then had to bring them all back. The last did not arrive back until after midnight. In contrast the White Night was held in Cartagena and it was huge success. The food was wonderful with lots of freshly grilled meats. They even did a wonderful Bananas Foster for dessert. We enjoyed the Columbian dancers and lots of passengers danced under the stars to the band. A really fun evening!!
So to sum it up - a great trip on a great ship! We loved the all-inclusive more than we thought we would.
The cabin had plenty of storage in our opinion. Luggage fit nicely under the bed. Very little storage in the bathroom but we managed. The drapes closed securely so sleeping easy. No noise to speak of. The AC was adequate. We asked for service on it and after that it seemed better. We had several days in the 90s!