We cruised on Azamara Journey almost 9 years ago and so when we were looking for a Panama Canal cruise to celebrate my husbands 50th birthday, we looked at Azamara and Oceania (who we have sailed with more recently). The Quest cruise matched our dates and what we wanted to do and see best.
The crew are the absolute best. Captain Jose was the most friendly and down to earth Captain that we have ever experienced on a cruise and with leadership like that you are only ever going to find happy and proffesional crew.
The food in the Windows buffet was generally very good. The breakfasts were far better than in the main dining room and the choices were vast. The only negative we have is the live cooking station, was not usually live. Food was still being pre cooked and placed into the covered servers. If it says live people don't mind waiting..... why not cook it to order.
Discoveries, the main dining room, for us was generally underwhelming. Service was either very fast or a bit slow, the tables were quite close together and sometimes the food was not very hot . Where they did shine was the two buffet brunches that were put on a couple of mornings. Everything that you could think of, it was fabulous.
We ate twice in Prime C and once in Aqualina and although all of the meals were very nice they certainly were not outstanding, which was what we remembered when we sailed on Journey. Out of the two, we would say that Aqualina slightly had the edge on service and food. I had the most fabulous Dover Sole that was taken off the bone at the table. The most disappointing thing was that on a 17 night cruise, the menus in both never changed once. In Prime C we shared a Chateaubriand, which was very nice, but it came wheeled to the table on the most enormous white plastic kitchen board....not very classy. How about a nice wooden block or serving platter, garnished with a handful of watercress?? There were some mini doughnuts on the dessert menu that were not too special, but the soufflés were excellent. In all of the restaurants many of the dishes had too much salt. All of the breads were varied, plentiful and high quality. There was a nice afternoon tea served one day in Aqualina, a repeat would have been good. Oh and where has the cheese trolley gone??
The place where we ate most in the evening was the Patio. There was always a fish special and steaks, they were without doubt the best cooked on the ship.
There were two poolside buffets, White Night and Latino Night, plus an officers BBQ one lunch time, these were all first class. There was a huge amount of work setting up for these nights but they were fantastic, everything that you could think of and more. We didn't buy any drinks package but I think that generally the alcohol on the complimentary list was ok, the wines were a bit disappointing, a lot of the same most nights.
The cabin, a balcony on deck 7 was a bit smaller than we had expected but everything was well thought out and there was plenty of storage. It was kept very clean and tidy by the excellent attendants. The bathroom was exceptionally small, with a shower curtain. Maybe for a week, but not 17 nights again......and we are both small.
Entertainment is not something that is high on our wish list, but I think that generally it was very good for a small ship. The best by far was Jakub Trusak, an amazing violinist (with a twist!)
The ports were pretty good. The only one for us which was not great was Puerto Chiapas. The stops in Puerto Quetzal (Guatamala) and Puntarenas (Costa Rica) could have been given more time and miss Chiapas out. We also would have liked longer in Cartegena and a stop in Cuba to break the last two sea days up. Panama Canal was the highlight day, and it ran like clockwork. The gentleman in the bridge that provided the commentary for the transit was excellent, informative and very knowledgeable. We took some ship excursions which were all very well organised and enjoyable. Whale Watching in Cabo San Lucas, Snorkelling in Huatulco, Pacaya Volcano hike in Guatemala.....plus the Azamazing Evening from Cabo San Lucas, a fantastic night. Extremely well organised and high quality, don't miss it!
Unfortunately on the disembarkation day, the ship was late to dock (not their fault) and we had to wait an extra 3hrs. Once off it turned into a bit of a free for all, as transfers really didn't work with the timings skew whiff. An Azamara representative really should have been off ship sorting this out. We cut our losses and jumped in a taxi, but we had prepaid all our transfers.
In summary we had a great holiday, met some great people, did a couple of memorable shore excursions arranged through roll call, as always! We would sail with Azamara again if the itinerary was right and I think with that bathroom it would be 7 nights max. I don't know whether there would be a difference between ships or just that its been such a long time since our last one, but 9 years ago the food blew us away.....sadly not anymore.
Small but perfectly formed! Shower curtains should be abolished... yuk
This is an excellent embarkation port and a lovely city to boot. We did our own thing and boarded later, avoiding any que.....
Cabo Adventures a brilliant, professional company. Great knowledgeable guide. Saw loads of Whales, awesome....View All 90 Whale Watching Reviews
Did the ship snorkelling trip. Guides with sense of humour and good on health and safety. Saw loads of fish/coral in Entrega Bay. Boats not good to get on and off.
Could have spent more time here..... Did ship excursion. Full day hike Pacaya Volcano, good transport, superb guide.
Dock is very close to small town, which has many bars and restaurants. Some shopping, easy to wander round.
Roll call arranged tour with Thumbs up Tours (10 in 1 Combo) was the best. Ali our guide went out of her way to make sure we had the best day and saw plenty of wildlife. My favourite day!
A private tour arranged through roll call. Marely Pena Hall, 4 1/2 hour tour, which covered alot, don't hesitate to use this small company, highly professional.