Like its fleetmates, Azamara Pursuit spends much of its time in the ports it visits. As such, shore excursions are an important part of the cruise experience. While Azamara prides itself on creating excursions that engage passengers in local experiences, many of the tours you'll find are standard bus or walking tours. A variety of half-day and full-day tours are offered, and they run the gamut from panoramic or coach tours to more strenuous adventures. (The level of activity for each excursion, which you can book ahead of your sailing, is identified on the company's website pre-cruise or in documentation onboard.) Excursions are not included in your cruise fare, and have a fairly wide range when it comes to pricing.
Each passenger can enjoy an included AzAmazing Evening event, the cruise line's signature shore excursion offering, created to be a special and exclusive activity just for Azamara passengers. Events vary widely depending on the port visited but might include activities like a private concert at Ephesus in Turkey or a market visit followed by a bawdy cabaret in France.
Azamara Pursuit provides a shuttle for passengers to use, free of charge, to get from the port into the city center and back. Additionally, it provides a concierge to help with creating and booking private experiences.
The main show lounge onboard is the Cabaret Lounge. It's a well-maintained and intimate space that features an intricate wood-inlaid dance floor. There's also a stage that hosts the ship's in-house production shows, such as "Four on the Floor," a lively blend of music from artists such as the Beatles, ABBA and Coldplay, as well as guest entertainers.
The venue also has a movie screen for films, often related to the destinations the ship is visiting, which are shown during the day. Lectures and gathering ahead of shore tours also takes place in the Cabaret Lounge.
During the day, Azamara Pursuit is light on activities, as most passengers are in port. On sea days, you can expect trivia sessions, often hosted at The Den, poolside music, and Ping-Pong or shuffleboard competitions with the activity staff.
Two showtimes in the Cabaret Lounge (typically 8:15 and again at 9:30) ensure that everyone has a chance to see that evening's performances. You'll find a piano player in The Den (by Spirits bar), tickling the keys on and off all evening. A band might play by the pool or in the Living Room. After 10, the dance floor in the Living Room heats up ever so slightly with DJ-ed tunes.
Azamara's premier event is its White Night Party, a poolside barbecue held once per cruise. Passengers get into it, dressing in white (you'll stand out if you don't) and enjoying a beautiful outdoor buffet, with fresh seafood, grilled meats and incredible desserts. As the evening goes on, the event turns into a real party, with live music and lots of dancing.
Azamara Pursuit doesn't have a casino.
Most sailings on Azamara Pursuit include a guest lecturer, who will give a few talks. Longer cruises might host more than one lecturer. We found lecture topics to be mildly interesting (marine life, maritime navigation), but would have liked to see them more specifically focused around the destinations visited.
Passengers looking to research ports and shore excursions can head to The Den, which houses a small travel book library, along with the shore excursion and future cruise desks to answer any questions about itineraries or activities ashore.
Azamara Pursuit has just a few bars onboard, but there's never any problem finding a drink. The location of the bars is smart, in main public areas, with a late-night option tucked away at the top of the ship. There is no real distinct atmosphere to each bar; it's easy to grab a drink at any and end up sitting or hanging out where the afternoon or night takes you.
While a short list of standard spirits, wine, beer and soft drinks are included in your cruise fare, many of the cocktails on offer at the ship's bars aren't covered. If you're someone who likes to try new drinks or enjoys premium wines, Azamara offers several beverage packages.
Cabaret Bar (Deck 5): The Cabaret Bar serves passengers when activities take place in the Cabaret Lounge.
Spirits (Deck 5): The large bar located in the middle of The Den, Spirits serves up drinks throughout the day and into the evening. It's located at the center of the ship and is the hot spot for hanging out, especially close to dinner. You'll find seating at the polished marble bar, or you can grab drinks in the more intimate table-and-chair setup. There's even an imitation fireplace here, guaranteed to make you feel cozy. A piano player performs and even hosts singalongs at night, while trivia usually takes place here during the day.
Mosaic Cafe (Deck 5): For coffee or tea anytime, head to the Mosaic Cafe, which will provide your caffeine fix in a comfortable setting. The venue feels spacious because of its proximity to the ship's beautiful open atrium. People grab coffee here -- select alcohol is also available -- and linger because it's just a great space for a chat. Mosaic Cafe is open from early morning to late at night.
Discoveries Bar (Deck 5): Located adjacent to Discoveries Restaurant, Discoveries Bar should be a nice, cozy spot for grabbing a drink, but it's open only around dinnertime and feels like less of a destination and more of a convenience. We never saw many other passengers spending time here, making it an underutilized space.
Pool Bar (Deck 9): The Pool Bar is open from late morning until late evening, offering up drinks poolside.
Living Room (Deck 10): Open the latest of all the bars on Azamara Pursuit, the Living Room is an elegant space with a dance floor that gets moving after dinner and the evening shows. A DJ plays hit music each night, with themes like Michael Jackson or the '70s. Karaoke is occasionally hosted here, as well.
Prime C Bar (Deck 10): Prime C Bar is located at the entrance to Azamara Pursuit's steakhouse. The bar is surprisingly lively around dinnertime, with bartenders serving up cocktails and glasses of wine. Patrons tend to stand in group conversation while awaiting their tables. It's open only during dinner hours.
Deck 9 is the ship's main outdoor hot spot. A good-sized pool serves as the centerpiece; it's flanked by two hot tubs. (A note that with long days in port, we found ourselves wanting a soak in the evening, only to find the hot tubs closed each night at 8 p.m. when everyone was finally back onboard.) There's also a stage, where live music is played. Plenty of padded lounge chairs are available, and a couple of small seating areas with couches and tables invite conversation.
Pool towels and fleece blankets are available for use by the pool, which is a nice treat when it gets chilly. There's a small smoking section on the port (left) side of the ship.
You'll find a Ping-Pong table on Deck 10 and a shuffleboard court on Deck 11.
In addition to the Pool Deck on Deck 9, Decks 10 and 11 are home to sun decks, where passengers can soak up the sun in lounge chairs or covered sunbeds. There are also two funky egg-shaped hanging chairs on Deck 10 that are perfect for snuggling up with a good book and a view.
Most of Azamara Pursuit's services are found on Decks 4 and 5. Deck 4 has the ship's guest relations desk, concierge and medical center. On Deck 5, you'll find the photo gallery (within The Den). This is also where the ship's shore excursions desk and future cruise/loyalty center are located.
On Deck 5 midship, near the cafe, are the shops: Indulgences, a jewelry story, and the Pursuit Shop, which is the gift shop. Sales are held throughout and you can find clothes, bags, small gift items, costume jewelry, perfume, logo items and necessities like seasick medication or sunscreen.
Also in the central atrium area on Deck 5 is Artwave by Azamara, a gallery concept that has done away with the standard ship art auctions. The New York City-based company has partnerships with Steiner sports memorabilia as well as The Dali Universe sculpture collection. Another unique aspect is the artist-in-residence program that brings an artist onboard -- typically from one of the ports visited -- to create and discuss their work. The art is available for sale.
A card room and internet cafe are located on Deck 10. You must purchase an internet package to use the Wi-Fi onboard Azamara Pursuit (unless you're sailing in a high-end suite). Package prices vary widely based on length of sailing, but it's a better bargain to purchase for the full cruise rather than by the day. IT assistance can be found at the guest relations desk on Deck 4.
The Drawing Room, also on Deck 10, has a great collection of fiction and nonfiction books to borrow while onboard, and makes for a quiet pretty place to sit and read. Likewise, The Den, on Deck 5, features a number of travel books for you to peruse while you're sailing.
A self-service launderette is located on Deck 7 (across from stateroom 7076). Here, you can do laundry or iron clothing for free, though you'll be fighting for the clothes iron the closer you get to dinnertime.
The ship's main spa complex is The Sanctum, located on Deck 9. The spa is adequately sized for the number of passengers onboard. Treatments include body wraps, facials, massages, scrubs and body sculpting. Prices are generally higher than what you might pay on land, but there's a nice variety of packages that bundle several treatments together. Spa treatment rooms are relaxing and quiet.
The spa also offers acupuncture. An adjacent salon offers manicures, pedicures, haircuts, styling and treatments, and men's grooming services. An 18 percent gratuity is added to all spa and salon services.
Off the spa, at the front of the ship, is the Sanctum Terrace, a private deck that includes a bubbling saltwater bath and lounge chairs. Passengers can buy one-day or full-cruise passes to the terrace, which offers a quiet retreat. Access is an included perk for suite passengers, and an hour of enjoyment is also offered to passengers with a booked treatment.
Changing rooms feature marble tiles, honey-colored wood lockers and marble sinks. They also have large steam rooms, which are complimentary for all passengers.
Azamara Pursuit features a good-sized fitness center, with cardiovascular equipment such as treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers, weight machines and dumbbells. A number of fitness classes are included in the cost of your cruise. (Think yoga, spinning and Pilates.) Sign-up is required for fitness classes. A jogging track is located on Deck 10; 14.5 laps make up a mile.
Azamara Pursuit doesn't target kids or families, though you'll find a few on summer and holiday cruises. Kids must be at least 6 months to sail -- 12 months for transatlantic sailings. The ship has no kids clubs or programming, so children who are comfortable in an adult environment are best-suited for sailing with Azamara. If a sailing has a particularly large contingent of kids onboard, the staff might arrange for a group activity, but it's not part of the ship's regular programming.