Just back from an excellent cruise around the western and southern coasts of Australia on the beautiful Azamara Journey. Why do we return to Azamara? - the WONDERFUL Azamara crew who look after us so well and with such enthusiasm.
The ship is in excellent condition, though there are a few issues (gym equipment , elevator indicators) and new carpets in the hallways, and fortunately no further alterations to interior decoration (though we noticed a couple of pictures had been changed). The resident artwork on this ship is wonderful and we always go around the ship revisiting our favourite pieces (atrium stairway sculpture, Michael Eastman photographic prints, etc. etc. It was such a shame that the green marble counter of the Reception Desk was ripped out and replaced with off-white when the original green was so in keeping with the rest of the decor and still in excellent condition. To our mind this was an expensive and unnecessary expenditure.
Our route was from Bali to Sydney with excellent stops along the way. Only Exmouth was cancelled (a town insufficiently equipped to receive a cruise ship) with Bunbury, Kangaroo Island and Melbourne the highlights of our cruise. A similar cruise around the eastern shores of Australia two years ago we found very hot - this cruise was very different with cool temperatures and very strong winds.
Most of the entertainment was similar to that we had seen before with visiting acts coming on and leaving (some of it downright awful, though some was entertaining - we always say, though, If you want to see a Broadway show you have to go to New York [or London]). The special interest talks are generally interesting, though unfortunately Dr. Rebecca was a disappointment - her subjects were interesting but there were too many umms, errs, and ‘you knows’ which distracted from her subject. Our favourite entertainers were the specialty dancers - so graceful and delightful to watch. We used to enjoy the harpist but sadly, their services were discontinued. I rather think that Azamara head office misunderstand onboard entertainment. It was so pleasant sitting in the Discoveries Bar enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail with the subtle sounds of the harpist in the background. A guitarist who wants to be heard and so is amplified is NO substitute as the volume discourages conversation. Consequently we usually find somewhere quiet for cocktails - and miss the harpist.
A really big problem during this cruise was the internet - if you could log on (and that wasn’t always possible, with the little wheel spinning, and spinning, and spinning. . . ) eMails would sometimes download but then try opening them . . . ! Virtually impossible!! The problem may partially be due to the ‘Free Internet’ package offered to some staterooms and it being free they never log off, whereas if the system were to log them off after a period of inactivity it would free the service up for others.
The boys manning The Mosiac coffee station are worked so hard but are always so eager to provide the very best service and always with a smile. I am always shocked when I witness a ship’s passenger treating them as they would a slave with not a work of ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, but they take it in their stride and give immaculate service.
Executive Chef Monica Ortiz and her catering staff are to be congratulated on producing an excellent variety of menu selections in all restaurants. The Indian Buffet in Windows Cafe is always one of our favourites.
When our cruise Came to an end British Airways carried us to Singapore and after a nights sleep and a day in the city British Airways’ A380 service sped us very comfortably home.
Now to plan another cruise . . . Where to this time?
Sadly during the last refit the stateroom walls were covered with a grey/silver/blue vinyl covering which makes the staterooms look smaller and darker. The large wall mirror which reflected so much light into the rooms was removed as was the only picture, making the room rather soulless. The dressing table stool was replaced by an upholstered metal chair so heavy it is almost impossible to move. The bathroom looks nice but so much storage has been removed.
This destinations was cancelled - we were told that the town had only one bus for 30 people therefore unable to cater to cruise ship requirements.
Did our own tour.
Met up with friends.
We wandered around this old settlement town though there is little to see. Should perhaps have taken an excursion.
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We saw dolphins playing in the bay from our stateroom balcony.
Free shuttle provided into the city.