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PSULion

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Posts posted by PSULion

  1. If you are interested in night life and after hours fun, the Azamara is probably not for you. If you are interested in meeting interesting people of all ages but likely a bit older (55-75), you will have a great time, especially if you enjoy good food and great service.

     

    It is likely you at your ages you will be confused for crew or entertainment several times! LOL

     

    Good luck, PSULion

     

    Don't mean to hijack the thread, but I'm 27, considering an Azamara itinerary this spring with my girlfriend. Like the original poster, we were also considering Crystal but the itineraries don't quite work and they're a bit spendier.

     

    This would be my first time with the line so I'm trying to get a pulse check on we'd fit in. Have cruised Seabourn once and really enjoyed it. Was surprised at the number of 20- and 30-somethings (more the latter) on our voyage given what I'd heard about the line. Nights ending at 2, 3, 4 am were par for the course.

     

    Anyway, found a good deal on a Mediterranean itinerary that seems interesting so we're thinking about booking on Azamara. Will we feel like fish out of water? I realize the demographics can change from voyage to voyage, but I'm curious to get others thoughts. I can't get behind the lines with larger ships, just not my style. Windstar also won't work for us because of the itineraries they offer.

     

    Thoughts?

  2. Anyone know why the April cruises out of Nice are priced so absurdly low? Thinking about doing the B2B, but want to make sure I am not missing something.

     

    Thanks, PSULion

  3. The high price of ship internet was always a good excuse NOT to have to stay connected to the office back at home. Now there are no good excuses not to respond to land side emails. :( I wish they would have doubled the charge! LOL

     

     

    This is a very nice new benefit for those who have sailed with Crystal Cruises before (Crystal Society Members) starting September 19, 2014 on Serenity and October 15, 2014 on Symphony that I suspect that most people will enjoy.

     

    Keith

     

     

    CRYSTAL CRUISES ADDS FREE WI-FI

     

     

     

    iPhone-72 dpiLOS ANGELES, January 21, 2014 – Crystal Cruises announces the newest perk to its All Inclusive luxury cruise experience: Free Wi-Fi for Crystal Society members, the line’s “club” of repeat guests, beginning Fall 2014. Effective with Crystal Serenity’s September 19 New England/Canada sailing and Crystal Symphony’s October 15 Panama Canal cruise, each Crystal Society guest will receive 60 minutes of complimentary internet access for every day of the cruise. For example, a 10-day cruise will offer 600 free minutes per person (or 1,200 free minutes per couple), a 12-day cruise offers 720 free minutes per person (or 1,440 free minutes per couple), a 14-day cruise offer 840 free minutes (or 1,680 free minutes per couple), etc., which can be used any time throughout the voyage.

     

    Society members can use the new complimentary access time wirelessly via iPad, iPhone, laptop or other wireless device or on Crystal’s own Computer University@Sea 27” dual-compatible iMac computers. A multi-million dollar Wi-Fi upgrade rolled out in recent months helps guests enjoy maximum onboard connectivity.

     

    Crystal Symphony CU@Sea-72 dpi“We are continually refining our all-inclusive experience to offer an array of choices for our global guests. Since the majority of our guests are repeaters, we opted to expand our Crystal Society offerings to thank our loyal patrons,” said Edie Bornstein, Crystal’s president. “Whether they are on board for a second 10-day getaway or on their 20th time for an expansive 108-day World Cruise, travelers today appreciate staying plugged in. By adding this coveted perk to our All Inclusive experience, repeat cruisers in all stateroom and suite categories have one more reason to choose Crystal as their home base while traveling the world in the finest of luxury and ease.”

     

    The company has spent more than a year planning and installing improvements to the onboard internet experience, including:

     

    · Maximizing satellite bandwidth with the latest technology, allowing for more users and more content to stream simultaneously.

     

    · Expansion of Wi-Fi signal range throughout the ships, making wireless connection available everywhere on board, including all staterooms, public spaces, and outdoor decks.

     

    · The ability to access internet in areas that were previously unavailable, such as Japan.

     

    All full revenue guests who have completed their first Crystal cruise automatically become Crystal Society members, and, thusly, can take advantage of this perk on all subsequent Crystal voyages. Guests wishing to purchase additional minutes for $.75 per minute can do so without an activation fee. Internet packages that reduce the per minute charge are also available.

     

    Crystal Cruises is the world’s leading luxury cruise provider, having earned more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, hotel, or resort in history. Providing worldwide vacations of five to 100+ days, itineraries through early 2016 sail to the Mediterranean, Western Europe, British Isles, Scandinavia/Baltic & Russia, North Cape & Arctic Circle, Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, South Pacific, South America, Antarctica, New England/Canada, Panama Canal, Caribbean, and a sumptuous annual World Cruise. Until February 28, all-inclusive, value-priced “Book Now” fares up start at just $1,215/person.

     

    Crystal’s passion for taking care of guests in an inviting environment of extraordinary space, quality and choices has earned the company more “World’s Best” awards than any other cruise line, resort, or hotel in history.

  4. I have ONLY traveled on Crystal (twice--once all-inclusive) and Azamara (once). I actually think they offer a very similar product. The main difference was that the drink selection was quite a bit smaller on Azamara versus Crystal's open bar and the specialty restaurants were included on Crystal (at least at that time). Also, the dress is much more casual on Azamara (I didn't realize how much I liked this), open seating on Azamara (like that too), and the casual dining option on Azarama (Windows Cafe evening buffet), whereas Crystal has limited (if any) evening casual dining options (they might serve something now, not sure, but probably not as extensive as Azamara).

     

    Specifically regarding demographics, I would say Crystal passengers are much more wealthy and generally doctor, lawyer, CEO types while Azamara had a better cross section of "working class" people who have done well in their careers ( I don't mean this to be offensive in any way, just that I met a lot more teachers, travel agents and others on Azamara versus doctors and retired CEOs on Crystal that had apartments in New York or Paris). The age demographic is hard to say because it is often cruise dependent, but generally I though Crystal had more older (80+) AND younger (50-) passengers and Azamara's average age was clustered more around 65 or so.

     

    I recently wrote an extensive review on the December 8th Quest trip that might be helpful, or post/email me questions.

     

    I would travel on either again without a second though.

     

    John

  5. If you drink less than a liter a day, I don't think you are going to go bankrupt!

     

    WHAT A FOOL I AM!

     

    I am a naive idiot; I do not drink alcohol and I ASSUMED that the "all-inclusive" would include my drink of choice, San Pellegrino with Perrier as a back-up.

     

    I do not understand why standard vodkas and gins are free and even some wines are free but a person who drinks a couple of glasses of water a day (less than a liter) must pay so much.

     

    I am not typically so curmudgeonly but I wonder if the concept of free wine, beer, and alcohol makes other people think of free carbonated water?

  6. Loved the review as we are on the Quest March 16 sailing, our first on Azamara. Are dress shorts with a nice polo or tropical shirt an acceptable option for evening dining at the buffet? What about for going to evening entertainment?

     

    Yes, shorts and even a t-shirt are acceptable for the buffet. Same for evening entertainment. The only area where pants and a "nicer" shirt seemed to be required was in the main dining room for dinner. Shorts and t-shirts are also fine in main dining room for breakfast or lunch. Leave the suits home for the Quest, although I did see a few sport coats for the main dining room and specialty restaurants.

  7. I recently returned from the 12/8 Azamara Quest trip and thought I would write a review. I am in my early 40s and my previous cruising experience consists of two previous "luxury" cruises. All rating are on a 1-10 scale, 10 being the best. I broke the review into categories if you only want to read a specific element. I apologize in advance for any typos.

     

    Embarking.

    Fairly smooth at the Port of Miami. Line was a bit longer than I would prefer, but it moved quickly and port agents were friendly and efficient. Once on ship, champagne was nice and lunch in the Windows Café was fine with wine at the Sunset Bar. Bags were promptly delivered to the room. Some upselling on the drink package and spa, but not overwhelming. 9/10

     

    Cabin.

    Originally, was in a window cabin on deck 5. On the second night, there was a water leak that saturated most of the carpet between the cabin door and the edge of the bed. I woke up in the night to use the bathroom, felt the water on my bare feet and thought we were sinking! Was quickly moved to a balcony cabin on deck 7, which was more than adequate. There was an issue with the SeaPass card that the front desk blamed on “Miami”, so I had to call to be let into my new cabin for most of the day. Annoying, but not a big deal. The cabins themselves are a bit smaller than I would have expected. The finishes are rather cheap looking, but clean and well maintained. The bedding was fair, but the linens were nice. Pillows were good and plentiful. TV service was fine, you can keep up with the USA and international news. A fee for the movies was silly, especially since most of the movies were not first-run. The bathrooms were TINY. I seriously would not want to take a shower in that room, let alone use the toilet, if I was anything over a few pounds overweight. The sticky shower curtain is also a hassle. The exhaust fan works well to keep the odors and humidity down. Shower water pressure was very good, except sometimes in the evening when it was peak time for pre-dinner bathing. The balcony was wonderful, EXCEPT for the ridiculously oversized table. The table should be 1/2 to 2/3 the size. It was extremely hard to maneuver around the table to get to a chair. I should have just has the table removed if that was possible. 8/10

     

    Dining.

    Breakfast was fine in both the Window Café and Discoveries (main dining room). I wish Discoveries would have has some more creativity with their breakfast menu, but everything was well cooked and to order. Windows Café has whatever you can imagine for breakfast. The smoothie bar was a huge plus for me. Coffee was always hot and fresh. The only issue at breakfast was hat sometimes a seat was hard to find at a table. The Windows Café really needs more two person tables as often times it was apparently that table for 4 or more did not want any guests after they spread their books, handbags, etc. across the table to suggest visitors were not welcome.

     

    Lunch was also fine in the Windows Café and Discoveries. Discoveries has some excellent lunch dishes, and I wish I would have eaten lunch there more often.

     

    For dinner, the option of having the casual evening buffet is an excellent idea. I would usually graze at the buffet after they opened and had a pre-dinner appetizer and glass of wine. Since most of the Windows Café evening buffets are themed around a certain ethnicity (i.e. Indian or Turkish), it would seem to make sense to have the appropriate cultural staff to serve the buffet stations and to explain the food, culture, etc. Perhaps the scheduling is too difficult. The authenticity of the cultural buffets left a little bit to be desired, but the food was good nonetheless.

     

    Discoveries dinner was excellent and was a highlight of the trip. Some of the 2 person tables were a bit close, and reconfiguration of the dining room might be in order. If you sat side by side at 2 person tables, you may as well have been at a 4 person table because it was not possible to not overhear the conversation. I actually prefer fixed dining times, but the open seating was easily accommodated. I missed the Crystal 8 person tables where you could meet other people. It was hard to sit with others unless you all showed up at the same time. The selection of food was extensive, and literally everything was cooked nearly perfectly. There were very minor service issues that were promptly corrected. I usually had a complicated order (like 1/2 portion of this or that, etc.), and it was accommodated with no questions. The portion sizes were perfect for me, except for the chocolate bomb thing, it was HUGE! I believe the main dining room far outshines Crystal Cruises for quality and innovation, as well as preparation and presentation.

     

    Prime C as very good. One night was far better than the other. The beef is the way to go here. The second night I ordered the rack of lamb, and lamb chops were served. The lamb had to be sent back as it was beyond well done. The first night I was at a table for 6, and we only had one waiter. It was hard for one waiter to keep up with 6 people, but he did a great job considering the circumstances. I was surprised there was no bus boy type person to fill the water, etc. I would go at least once, but stick to the beef. All the appetizers, salads and desserts were excellent, although not much better, if at all better, than Discoveries. Prime C also has a great bar to check out even if you are not eating there. Both Prime C and Aqualina are gorgeous venues and the experience is worth the charge.

    Aqualina was also very good. Same issue with the service though. Food was very good, but again, not much better if at all better, than Discoveries. I would go at least once for the ambiance.

     

    I only had coffees and an occasionally sandwich in the Mosaic Café. The service was impeccable and the sandwiches were tasty.

     

    Room service was good, but the menu was rather limited. I did like how you ordered from the TV, it was nice and easy did not do in-suite dining.

     

    Overall, I would give Window’s Café 8.5/10, Discoveries 9.5/10, Prime C 9/10, Aqualina 8/10, Mosaic 9.5/10 and Room Service 8/10.

     

    Pool and other Ship Common Areas.

    Pool and hot tubs were great. Pool could have been a bit warmer, but hot tubs were perfect. Plenty of chairs, in fact too many because it was sometimes hard to maneuver between deck chairs. I did not see many deck chair hogs, as there was always an open chair available. The poolside drink service was very good. The grill was fine, I liked how you ordered food and they brought it to your table. The selection was good. The gym was fine, although some of the equipment needed better maintenance. The gym/spa locker room was ok, but there should have been lockers provided for non-spa uses. Steam room and locker room showers were great. If I was a bigger person, and I did not have a suite, I would shower exclusively in the gym. I did not use the spa, but the spa staff seemed snooty to me. The fitness trainer was nice and helpful. I did not use the specialty hot tub adjacent to the gym. Library inventory was somewhat lame, but it was a great space. Ship artwork was very interesting. Overall 9/10.

     

    Destinations.

    Charleston was great, but it was too cold and honestly 3 days was a bit long. Too bad we missed Savannah. The private islands were fine, and because we were usually the only ship in port, they were nearly empty. The food provided at the Royal Caribbean private venues was decent outdoor BBQ type food, and the free drinks were a plus. Azamara was not clear at Cayo Levantado whether the food and drink were included, but it was not big deal as drinks were only a few dollars, and I did not eat there. The tender service and the security to get on/off the ship were quick. I did not use any ship excursions, but I heard from others that it was hit or miss. No rating.

     

    Entertainment / Activities.

    For a small ship, they did a good job. It seemed like a male dancer was missing after the first few days as the shows were unbalanced. Singing and dancing was top notch. Cruise Director’s show was good. The show with the video screens was excellent. The British comedian was good. Pianist was good, but not really my cup of tea. The ping pong tournament should have been held earlier so players would know who played ping pong throughout the cruise. The location of the ping pong table was a bit annoying if you were trying to relax at that end of the pool deck. The art auction seemed to be enjoyed by some passenger. There was no pressure to buy anything other than flyers in the Pursuits bulletin. There seemed to be a lot of jewelry and other items on tables in the hallways. I did not like that. There was also an overabundance of photography, but no pressure at all to buy any. Casino never seemed very busy. I heard good things about the trivia. Iron Chef competition was fun. Overall 7.5/10.

     

    Azamazing Evening.

    The evening on the Yorktown was very good. Transportation to the Yorktown and back was well organized. The food provided was good, but really passed appetizers and drinks would have been adequate. Drink service was fine, although the wine was not very good. The choice of the African-American tribal group was a bit odd, seemed out of place on a military vessel. I could not really hear anyone at the microphone, so I did not understand why the group performed. A tribute to veterans would have been nice as I saw many veterans on-board the Quest. Overall 8/10.

     

    Fellow Passengers.

    The demographic on this cruises was apparently skewed towards a slightly older crowd, with a number of Canadians and Europeans. Everyone was very friendly and there were no issues with fellow passengers. There was not much of a nightlife on this ship, although the DJ tried to get things going in the Looking Glass at night. This is definitely not a ship for children, and many of the passengers I spoke with agreed that they like Azamara because of the lack of children. That being said, if a child is well behaved and the parents do not expect a children’s program, I would not see a problem. There were two service dogs on the ship and were well behaved, although one night one of the service dogs was gnawing on a rib eye on the carpet in Prime C. I guess you can stay the Quest staff is most accommodating to all of their guests. No rating.

     

    Drink Service.

    I thought I would buy an upgraded drink package, but realized since no upgraded wines were included, it was not worth it for me. I am very disappointed no sparkling wines were available on either the base or any upgraded package. I can only drink so much in a day, and between the inclusive liquors and wines, I was more than happy. The wines are adequate for a casual wine drinker that is not a wine snob, but more upscale wine drinkers might be disappointed with the inclusive selections that are mostly $10-$15 wines that are commonly available. There was no problem requesting a previously served wine. Overall 9/10.

     

    Officers/Staff/Crew.

    Overall very good. The officers are very friendly and heavily interact with the crew. Generally, most of the staff are friendly, although a few were cold and basically did their job without a smile. My cabin steward was amazing and did a most excellent job. Most of the bartenders were very good and they knew their drinks. I did see a few issues with people ordering drinks that were not included, and sometimes a premium drink got poured down the sink when the person realized they had to pay for it. Cruise director was very good. Maintenance staff is unobtrusive, and I honestly do not know when they clean the common areas as I rarely saw anyone. Front desk staff seemed frustrated with “Miami” and the computer system. Overall 9/10.

     

    Disembarking.

    This was a bit of a mess. They wanted us out of the rooms by 8 AM, but then everyone congregated on deck 5 near the gangway. There was a delay in leaving, and the updates from the staff were far and few between. Some people said the message were not broadcast throughout the ship either. It was not a big deal to me as I was not in a rush (i.e. no plane to catch), but others were a bit stressed about early flights. Customs was fine and relatively quick. Those customs officers always put a chill down my spine for whatever reason. Overall 4/10.

     

    Overall.

    Azamara has a very nice product, and closely rivals, if not exceeds, the other luxury line in some areas. Azamara’s full fare pricing is quite high, and I am not sure full fare is worth it. I would definitely take another Azamara cruise with a good itinerary and with a special pricing offer. Overall 9/10.

     

    Cheers! John R.

  8. I wanted some clarity to see if I am reading Azamara's website correctly.

     

    The beer package is $11.95.

     

    The first tier liquor package is $12.95, and it INCLUDES the beer package.

     

    Sooooo, for $1 extra (i.e. $12.95) you get both the tier 1 liquor package and the beer package?

     

    Is there additinal tax or VAT on the package pricing, and can shipboard credit be used to purchase the package(s)?

     

    Thanks, JS

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