Why I cruise with Azamara

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#1
North Carolina
635 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
All - my humble opinion for what it is worth.

Background - I am a retired Army Officer - my DW is a former female paratrooper (tougher than woodpecker lips). We are used to getting what is advertised and understand great leadership from poor management. We decided to give Azamara a shot as we like Princess R-class ships and the itinearies they offered.

We sailed last summer on the Quest. Had a mini-suite. We had spent a number of days in Greece seeing the ancient sights and were pretty tired when we arrived at the port in Athens to board. The boarding process we saw was seamless and respectful. Once on board our butler, Ayup, was right behind us as we entered the cabin. What a super butler. Ayup truly embodied what was advertised by Azamara. A former Turkish soldier, we hit it off like brothers in arms. He was everywhere when we were on the ship! Examples:

Second day on board Ayup was spotted in his full butler attire kneeling down in our closet. What was he doing? Shining our shoes!

Fourth day – Ayup spots us up on deck nine near the pool socializing w/ other Cruise Critic friends. It is afternoon tea time. Ayup brings out hors d'ouvres for all 10 people. No one asked – he just figured he would add something to the party.

Sixth day – All ship officers come up to serve barbeque lunch to passengers. From the Captain on down to the engineering staff to the Cruise Director – all were serving passenger on deck nine. This shows commitment to the passenger but move over respect to the crew. This is something all Army Officers do on holidays – we serve the troops who serve the nation.

Sixth day (con’t) – My DW who loves fresh fish, hears that the =Head Chef bought out the morning catch at the Santorini fish market. Ayup hears the same. As she nears the barbecue, Ayup steps in, helps her find a fine sea bass and tells her to have a seat – “I’ll find you in a couple of minutes!” Sure enough, Ayup shows up with a huge tray with the fish and all the trimmings she likes. He then boned the fish for her right in front of her eyes (all the time in his butler’s uniform). My DW was smiling for two days.

Ninth day – We decided a month before the cruise to go to a local nightclub in Istanbul during the well planned overnight stay in the city. We mentioned this to Ayup, who said, “I know this club well…here, take my card and present it to the manager when you arrive.” He had inscribed a short note on the card in Turkish and said we would have a wonderful time. When we arrived we presented the card to the manager who said, “Ayup! Well…follow me!” We were seated in the best table in the club and as the night went on, a waiter showed up at our table with a bottle of Champaign (complements of Ayup!) and at about midnight a non-stranger appeared at our table to check on us – Ayup in street clothes! We later found out he coordinated our return transportation for us. A Butler indeed!

Day Ten – debarkation. The final statement of what Azamara does for passengers was when we left the ship. As we walked off the ship, we spotted the Cruise Director and the Hotel Manager at the bottom of the gangway – there just to say thank you and wish us a safe return home.

Why am I sailing again on Azamara in August? An entire cruise line’s attitude, a ship who’s crew was spot on in their jobs, ship’s officers who practiced leadership on a regular basis, and a super former Turkish Army tank driver (now butler extraordinaire) who exemplified the term “sergeant” – “to serve.”

Zouave

(p.s. I tried to attach a picture of Ayup but it was too large for the server)
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#2
UK
1,969 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Zoave - that is a lovely tribute to Azamara's wonderful crew and officers and I wholeheartedly agree with your comments. Our butler Ivan actually repaired my broken Birkenstock sandal for me (without me asking him) and it is now better than it was when new. He also arranged for me to have the Truffled Mushroom soup from Prime C as a starter in the Discoveries MDR whenever I wanted it - which was nearly every night - love that soup!

The efforts made by the crew on our behalf is what makes Azamara different - and that can even make me forgive the sometimes "less than efficient but always pleasant" Admin Dept at Headquarters!
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#3
Honolulu, HI, USA
1,202 Posts
Joined May 2003
The tribute to Ayub reminds me of Dimitry on our March cruise on the Quest.

We were about to disembark on the fourth deck - almost reached the gangway - when he dashed down the stairs from our seventh deck cabin with my wife's camera in hand!

We have only traveled on the Quest twice, but have always found that the service and dedication of its staff was five-stars!!!
#4
Edinburgh
9,810 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Ayup is a treasure I do agree - but then we have found all the Azamara butlers are. We have recently enjoyed being looked after Pravin who is another who has to be added to the list of "greats". They are trained in Anticpative Service and that is indeed what they do
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467 days onboard Celebrity and Azamara 2000-2017 and 153 more days booked
#5
Boca Raton, FL
18,774 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Hi Zouave !

Thanks for your inspiring post. We thought the Crew on Journey were by far, the best we ever met. They were incredibly happy and eager to please. The Crew's attitude, dedication, and desire to insure you have a wonderful Cruise, are amongst the many highlights of the Azamara experience.
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#6
Florida
314 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by Zouave
All - my humble opinion for what it is worth.

Background - I am a retired Army Officer - my DW is a former female paratrooper (tougher than woodpecker lips). We are used to getting what is advertised and understand great leadership from poor management. We decided to give Azamara a shot as we like Princess R-class ships and the itinearies they offered.

We sailed last summer on the Quest. Had a mini-suite. We had spent a number of days in Greece seeing the ancient sights and were pretty tired when we arrived at the port in Athens to board. The boarding process we saw was seamless and respectful. Once on board our butler, Ayup, was right behind us as we entered the cabin. What a super butler. Ayup truly embodied what was advertised by Azamara. A former Turkish soldier, we hit it off like brothers in arms. He was everywhere when we were on the ship! Examples:

Second day on board Ayup was spotted in his full butler attire kneeling down in our closet. What was he doing? Shining our shoes!

Fourth day – Ayup spots us up on deck nine near the pool socializing w/ other Cruise Critic friends. It is afternoon tea time. Ayup brings out hors d'ouvres for all 10 people. No one asked – he just figured he would add something to the party.

Sixth day – All ship officers come up to serve barbeque lunch to passengers. From the Captain on down to the engineering staff to the Cruise Director – all were serving passenger on deck nine. This shows commitment to the passenger but move over respect to the crew. This is something all Army Officers do on holidays – we serve the troops who serve the nation.

Sixth day (con’t) – My DW who loves fresh fish, hears that the =Head Chef bought out the morning catch at the Santorini fish market. Ayup hears the same. As she nears the barbecue, Ayup steps in, helps her find a fine sea bass and tells her to have a seat – “I’ll find you in a couple of minutes!” Sure enough, Ayup shows up with a huge tray with the fish and all the trimmings she likes. He then boned the fish for her right in front of her eyes (all the time in his butler’s uniform). My DW was smiling for two days.

Ninth day – We decided a month before the cruise to go to a local nightclub in Istanbul during the well planned overnight stay in the city. We mentioned this to Ayup, who said, “I know this club well…here, take my card and present it to the manager when you arrive.” He had inscribed a short note on the card in Turkish and said we would have a wonderful time. When we arrived we presented the card to the manager who said, “Ayup! Well…follow me!” We were seated in the best table in the club and as the night went on, a waiter showed up at our table with a bottle of Champaign (complements of Ayup!) and at about midnight a non-stranger appeared at our table to check on us – Ayup in street clothes! We later found out he coordinated our return transportation for us. A Butler indeed!

Day Ten – debarkation. The final statement of what Azamara does for passengers was when we left the ship. As we walked off the ship, we spotted the Cruise Director and the Hotel Manager at the bottom of the gangway – there just to say thank you and wish us a safe return home.

Why am I sailing again on Azamara in August? An entire cruise line’s attitude, a ship who’s crew was spot on in their jobs, ship’s officers who practiced leadership on a regular basis, and a super former Turkish Army tank driver (now butler extraordinaire) who exemplified the term “sergeant” – “to serve.”

Zouave

(p.s. I tried to attach a picture of Ayup but it was too large for the server)
Having never cruised with Azamara previously, I'm wondering what kind of "service" those of us who are not in a suite are going to get?
#7
los angeles area
262 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
We stayed in a Veranda on our Azamara cruise, and found the staff very charming and accomodating. And most of the time, they don't know where your room is! So I don't think you would find inferior service on an interior room!
#8
Dallas, TX
143 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Now THAT is service! Is that typical of Azamara? Stories like this get me very excited for my upcoming Azamara cruise! Being my first cruise, though, I have no idea what to expect in terms of service since I don't have a "base line".

It brings up some interesting questions, though. I'm staying in an ocean view cabin so I will be assigned a cabin steward rather than a butler. So where do a cabin steward's duties end that a butler's duties would continue? What would be an inappropriate expectation of a cabin steward as opposed to a butler? And do the cabin stewards on Azamara have expanded responsibilities over other cruise lines?
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#9
Nova Scotia Canada
4,572 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
We didn't get service like that, but we did not look for or need it either. Our cabin steward and attendant were always around and asking how we were doing and if we needed anything. We didn't.

The staff throughout the ship are welcoming and anxious to serve. And they do it with a smile.
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Sailed:
Eden (Navimag) four nights on ferry up inner west coast of Chile, March 2016
Expedition (GAdventures) Antarctica, Feb/March 2016
Dragon's Pearl Halong Bay, Vietnam 2014
Azamara Quest Far East, March 5, 2011
Victoria Empress, Yangtze River, March 25, 2011
Azamara Quest Ancient Empires, Nov. 14, 2009

Independent land tours:
Skiing in France, then drove to Tuscany, down to Sicily and back to Lyon: March/April, 2017
Argentina and Chile - cities and Patagonia, 2016
Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Seoul, 2014
New Zealand and Australia 2013
China 2011
Argentina and Peru, 2007
Europe, 1985, 91-92, 95, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2011
numerous in US and Canada
Guatemala and Mexico 1971, 1972
Haiti, 1970
Jamaica, 1968-71
#10
The Woodlands, Texas
958 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Originally posted by AlanS17
Now THAT is service! Is that typical of Azamara? Stories like this get me very excited for my upcoming Azamara cruise! Being my first cruise, though, I have no idea what to expect in terms of service since I don't have a "base line".

It brings up some interesting questions, though. I'm staying in an ocean view cabin so I will be assigned a cabin steward rather than a butler. So where do a cabin steward's duties end that a butler's duties would continue? What would be an inappropriate expectation of a cabin steward as opposed to a butler? And do the cabin stewards on Azamara have expanded responsibilities over other cruise lines?
Having been on 2 Azamara ships, Quest & Journey, both times in a veranda, I can only speak for the 2 stewards responsible for our cabin not for butlers or their duties. The steward on the Quest was very attentive, always visible, always smiling, he and his assistant kept our cabin spotless and answered our 2 phone call requests immediately. In addition, when we went to dinner and left a white ball cap in our cabin that had a very visible pasta sauce stain from earlier in the day, we returned to find he had cleaned it spotlessly without our asking. His name was Jimmy Rodriquez. On the Journey, our steward Aldo and his assistant Joseph also kept our cabin very clean and orderly in a timely manner, however, was not always visible (until near the end of the cruise) and we never were ever to reach him directly by phone if we required assistance. Just pointing out the differences, however, both gave us the good service we expected, one was just went over and above what was expected. Yes, other staff/crew members don't know what type of cabin you're in, but probably there are passengers who may be well-known or represent a specific business type category that could be singled out for even more attentive service. It doesn't matter! Azamara gives you good service, good cuisine, and most of all good value no matter who you are.
#12
North Carolina
635 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Originally posted by Grandma Gilly
One day we came back to our cabin and found that Ayup had tidied up all of our computer and phone cables and tied them with elastic bands! What a great guy.
I vote a pay raise for Ayup!

Zouave
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#13
Dallas, TX
143 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Originally posted by Zouave
I vote a pay raise for Ayup!

Zouave
I vote the Ayup gets assigned to cabin 4015.
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