After cruising Regent and Seabourn we were looking for a more casual experience coupled with an in-depth itinerary of New Zealand, and Azamara fit the bill. Itinerary included Melbourne,Tasmania and the North and South Islands in New Zealand. We were lucky enough to have great weather in Milford Sound and Captain Magnus did a great job navigating the ship.
We loved the genuinely friendly crew, no formal nights or snootiness, wonderful food and late night/overnight port stays. Passengers ranged from 40s to 70s mainly from Australia, USA and NZ with 60s the average.The ship is immaculate and nicely appointed with modern art, and elevators were never crowded despite a fully booked cruise. Embarkation was fairly smooth although luggage delivery was slow. Our butler Xavier was friendly and helpful throughout. As suite guests we were entitled to dine at Prime C and Aqualina free of charge. We dined at both and they were wonderful, although the food in the main dining room Discoveries was delicious too. However spacing between tables at Windows and Discoveries was extremely tight which felt claustrophobic when fully booked. We really enjoyed the Patio for casual outdoor lunches and dinners as well.
Shore excursions were generally very good but Azamara didn't offer everything we wanted to do so we arranged several tours on our own as well. Entertainment was just OK, although the comedian Simon Palomares was an unexpectedly hilarious treat. Azamara brought on a local high school group to perform a spirited haka dance, a highlight of the trip for us.
Spacious beautiful aft suite with huge curved veranda. Gorgeous bathroom with walk in shower and lovely tub (that we never used). Soot on the deck a minor issue but it was cleaned daily. Loved our cabin!
We took an Azamara excursion to see the "Unzoo" with endangered Tasmanian Devils and free range kangaroos. Too much time spent at kangaroo area and not enough with the lone Devil, but that's just my opinion. Park ranger was passionate about her work and very informative. Fees go toward wildlife conservation and a cure for Tasmanian Devil disease.
We booked a one night post stay at the Pullman Hotel through Azamara. The ship never called our number during debarkation so we had to scramble to get to the van even though we were ready early. Since this was an expensive option and we exited the ship at 8:00AM we had hoped that Azamara would arrange for early check-in but they did not. So we toured Albert Park and the Auckland Art Gallery on our own until check-in at 3:00. Hotel room was tiny and near the elevator. We loved Auckland but not how Azamara handled things.