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Pursuit Review--October 12, 2019

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Here's the review I recently posted of our Mediterranean Islands Pursuit voyage.  I'll add a few extra thoughts at the end.

This was our third Azamara cruise--one each on Journey, Quest and now Pursuit. This was the best out of the three.

Our major dissatisfaction with the cruise came at the beginning with embarkation. We'd done online check-in and had our boarding passes on our phones, but the person at the terminal wouldn't accept them--she said we had to have a paper copy. Luckily I did have them on paper, although it took me a few minutes to find them. Once on the ship, check-in was in the Cabaret Lounge. During our online check-in, I'd provided credit card information for onboard charges. The crew member had no record of that, and I had to complete the forms again. We had one purchase beyond our OBC, and I noticed when I got home, it was charged to the credit card I'd provided during online check-in, not the one I'd given the crew member during the ship check-in. I'm not sure why we were told there was no CC on file, when clearly there was.

Our veranda cabin on Deck 7 was very nice with lots of storage, although I had to ask for extra hangers. I never met our cabin steward, but he kept the room in top shape all week. I have the same complaint about the small showers as most people, but it's manageable. For the first time I had trouble with the shower curtain clinging to me, which is an annoyance. I also wish the showers had a foot rest for shaving. I liked the recent addition of the nightlight in the bathroom.

The food on Pursuit was the best we've had on Azamara. I've never been a fan of Azamara's pasta dishes, as I've found them bland. I had a ravioli appetizer that had a wonderful sauce with a nice spicy finish. The filet served for surf and turf was wonderful. I was pleasantly surprised by dinner at The Patio, because in the past the meats were not good quality, and overcooked. I had a beef paillard (a thin steak) that was delicious. One thing I wish the Patio on all Azamara ships would improve is their hamburgers. On all three ships, I've found the quality and taste lacking. My husband said the wings were very good, although if you like them spicy, you have to request double or triple sauce.

The ports on this itinerary (Mediterranean Islands) were great. In particular we enjoyed Sardinia and Mallorca. I'd do this itinerary again simply because there is so much to see. We had one missed port (Tarragona) due to civil protests, but Azamara went above and beyond by providing each cabin with OBC as compensation. Nice touch! We had enough in onboard purchases to qualify for a VAT refund, and while Azamara provides the paperwork, there weren't any instructions on what to do with the form, so I didn't know it needed to be stamped at the airport. An instruction sheet would have been useful for us.

We didn't attend any of the shows, but we enjoyed the pianist/singer that was in the Spirits Lounge. We also liked the extra seating in that area in place of the casino--the space was well-used every time we were there.

I took one Azamara excursion (a bicycling excursion) and wasn't very satisfied. The group was too large and the guide was difficult to hear. Plus of course as a ship's excursion, it was expensive.

We started cruising with Azamara due to their partnership with PerryGolf, and continue to book the PerryGolf cruises. Even without the golf, though, as long as we can find Azamara cruises with interesting itineraries at a price that fits our budget, we'll continue to sail with Azamara.

Additional comments:

We didn't attend the Azamazing Evening in Valencia because we attended it last year and thought it was just okay and not worth seeing a second time.

We didn't attend White Night because we don't usually care for the food and fighting for a seat, and I had a private excursion that day and didn't get back until about 7:30.  We ate in the dining room, and as I mentioned in my review, had the surf and turf.  I really appreciated they had such a nice meal in the dining room for those of us that chose to eat there that night.  I can't eat fish/seafood so they brought me "double turf," and that filet was probably the best steak I've had on Azamara.  I felt overall the proteins were much better in terms of quality and preparation than on our two other Azamara cruises.  I had chicken breast in Windows at lunch a couple times, and it was pleasantly surprised--especially on a buffet chicken can often be dry and flavorless, but both dishes were very good.


Service was good and generally efficient, but we just haven't experienced the service others seem to rave about on Azamara.  My husband recognized one of the Discoveries bartenders from our Quest cruise last year, and told him he remembered him because he'd been the only bartender that made Manhattans the way my husband preferred.  The bartender seemed to appreciate the compliment, and my husband made a point of going to Discoveries to get his Manhattan after that.  I assume because we were off the ship most of the day, we didn't see many officers out and about; I only recall seeing one once aside from the CC and PerryGolf gatherings.  Usually the captain hands out the  golf tournament awards on the last evening, but he was (rightly) busy dealing with the port situation, and so Ryzard did the honors (husband brag--my DH won longest drive at the tournament).  I sought out Elizabeth to tell her how much we'd enjoyed the food on the cruise, and she said there was a bit of healthy competition between the ships, so she appreciated hearing positive feedback and said she'd pass along my comment to Monica.  As I said in my review, I wish Azamara would improve their hamburgers and their pizza.  But not many cruise ships have good pizza, so I can't ding Azamara too much for that  🙂 

Thanks to the LCV discount and double upgrade promotion, we've booked another PerryGolf itinerary--South America in November 2020.  Another nod to Azamara--not only did everyone receive OBC to make up for missing the port of Tarragona, anyone that had already booked another cruise received OBC for that cruise as well!  Even though they provided a notice about that, I thought certainly I misunderstood because that was really above and beyond.  By the time we were back home, though, our onboard booking OBC and the additional OBC was already posted to our cruise!  That was totally unexpected and for us, finally an example of the extra service.

As always, PerryGolf runs a first-class operation.  My husband's favorite course was Pevero, on Sardinia (where part of "The Spy Who Loved Me" was filmed), and least favorite was Sperone on Corsica.  The wild boars had done some damage to the course there, but I also think the fact my husband lost a few balls shooting over the ocean had something to do with it, too 😉

Fun little aside--on the first evening, PerryGolf arranges dinner groupings so the golfers can get to know each other.  I grew up in a very small town in rural Pennsylvania, and in talking to one of the other golfers, learned his wife was from my hometown!  She was enough older than me that I didn't know her from school, but when I returned home I asked my parents, and they of course knew her parents--our fathers played golf together.  Never thought I'd meet someone from my hometown in the middle of the Mediterranean  🙂 

We really enjoyed the Mediterranean Islands itinerary and this is one I could see us repeating in the future.  The only thing I'd change is spending that last day in Barcelona, rather than scheduling the half day in Tarragona.

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Thanks for the review and I’m glad that overall you had a great time,

 Did you try the Greek burgers at the Patio? We think they are gorgeous.

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Fantastic review Hiccups!!! So detailed and well written.

Brought back so many nice memories of last month.. thanks!!!💁‍♀️

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On 11/2/2019 at 4:28 PM, Host Grandma Cruising said:

Thanks for the review and I’m glad that overall you had a great time,

 Did you try the Greek burgers at the Patio? We think they are gorgeous.


I haven't tried it, as in general I don't care very much for lamb.  But with this recommendation, perhaps I should try it sometime!

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Thank you for the cruise review hiccups. And for booking another Perry Golf cruise 2020. Much appreciated! 😍

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Don't suppose you remember the bartender with the good Manhattans name? We'll be on the Pursuit and DH usually has to tell bartenders how to make his Manhattans.

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On 11/2/2019 at 10:39 AM, hiccups said:

Here's the review I recently posted of our Mediterranean Islands Pursuit voyage.  I'll add a few extra thoughts at the end.

This was our third Azamara cruise--one each on Journey, Quest and now Pursuit. This was the best out of the three.

Our major dissatisfaction with the cruise came at the beginning with embarkation. We'd done online check-in and had our boarding passes on our phones, but the person at the terminal wouldn't accept them--she said we had to have a paper copy. Luckily I did have them on paper, although it took me a few minutes to find them. Once on the ship, check-in was in the Cabaret Lounge. During our online check-in, I'd provided credit card information for onboard charges. The crew member had no record of that, and I had to complete the forms again. We had one purchase beyond our OBC, and I noticed when I got home, it was charged to the credit card I'd provided during online check-in, not the one I'd given the crew member during the ship check-in. I'm not sure why we were told there was no CC on file, when clearly there was.

Our veranda cabin on Deck 7 was very nice with lots of storage, although I had to ask for extra hangers. I never met our cabin steward, but he kept the room in top shape all week. I have the same complaint about the small showers as most people, but it's manageable. For the first time I had trouble with the shower curtain clinging to me, which is an annoyance. I also wish the showers had a foot rest for shaving. I liked the recent addition of the nightlight in the bathroom.

The food on Pursuit was the best we've had on Azamara. I've never been a fan of Azamara's pasta dishes, as I've found them bland. I had a ravioli appetizer that had a wonderful sauce with a nice spicy finish. The filet served for surf and turf was wonderful. I was pleasantly surprised by dinner at The Patio, because in the past the meats were not good quality, and overcooked. I had a beef paillard (a thin steak) that was delicious. One thing I wish the Patio on all Azamara ships would improve is their hamburgers. On all three ships, I've found the quality and taste lacking. My husband said the wings were very good, although if you like them spicy, you have to request double or triple sauce.

The ports on this itinerary (Mediterranean Islands) were great. In particular we enjoyed Sardinia and Mallorca. I'd do this itinerary again simply because there is so much to see. We had one missed port (Tarragona) due to civil protests, but Azamara went above and beyond by providing each cabin with OBC as compensation. Nice touch! We had enough in onboard purchases to qualify for a VAT refund, and while Azamara provides the paperwork, there weren't any instructions on what to do with the form, so I didn't know it needed to be stamped at the airport. An instruction sheet would have been useful for us.

We didn't attend any of the shows, but we enjoyed the pianist/singer that was in the Spirits Lounge. We also liked the extra seating in that area in place of the casino--the space was well-used every time we were there.

I took one Azamara excursion (a bicycling excursion) and wasn't very satisfied. The group was too large and the guide was difficult to hear. Plus of course as a ship's excursion, it was expensive.

We started cruising with Azamara due to their partnership with PerryGolf, and continue to book the PerryGolf cruises. Even without the golf, though, as long as we can find Azamara cruises with interesting itineraries at a price that fits our budget, we'll continue to sail with Azamara.

Additional comments:

We didn't attend the Azamazing Evening in Valencia because we attended it last year and thought it was just okay and not worth seeing a second time.

We didn't attend White Night because we don't usually care for the food and fighting for a seat, and I had a private excursion that day and didn't get back until about 7:30.  We ate in the dining room, and as I mentioned in my review, had the surf and turf.  I really appreciated they had such a nice meal in the dining room for those of us that chose to eat there that night.  I can't eat fish/seafood so they brought me "double turf," and that filet was probably the best steak I've had on Azamara.  I felt overall the proteins were much better in terms of quality and preparation than on our two other Azamara cruises.  I had chicken breast in Windows at lunch a couple times, and it was pleasantly surprised--especially on a buffet chicken can often be dry and flavorless, but both dishes were very good.


Service was good and generally efficient, but we just haven't experienced the service others seem to rave about on Azamara.  My husband recognized one of the Discoveries bartenders from our Quest cruise last year, and told him he remembered him because he'd been the only bartender that made Manhattans the way my husband preferred.  The bartender seemed to appreciate the compliment, and my husband made a point of going to Discoveries to get his Manhattan after that.  I assume because we were off the ship most of the day, we didn't see many officers out and about; I only recall seeing one once aside from the CC and PerryGolf gatherings.  Usually the captain hands out the  golf tournament awards on the last evening, but he was (rightly) busy dealing with the port situation, and so Ryzard did the honors (husband brag--my DH won longest drive at the tournament).  I sought out Elizabeth to tell her how much we'd enjoyed the food on the cruise, and she said there was a bit of healthy competition between the ships, so she appreciated hearing positive feedback and said she'd pass along my comment to Monica.  As I said in my review, I wish Azamara would improve their hamburgers and their pizza.  But not many cruise ships have good pizza, so I can't ding Azamara too much for that  🙂 

Thanks to the LCV discount and double upgrade promotion, we've booked another PerryGolf itinerary--South America in November 2020.  Another nod to Azamara--not only did everyone receive OBC to make up for missing the port of Tarragona, anyone that had already booked another cruise received OBC for that cruise as well!  Even though they provided a notice about that, I thought certainly I misunderstood because that was really above and beyond.  By the time we were back home, though, our onboard booking OBC and the additional OBC was already posted to our cruise!  That was totally unexpected and for us, finally an example of the extra service.

As always, PerryGolf runs a first-class operation.  My husband's favorite course was Pevero, on Sardinia (where part of "The Spy Who Loved Me" was filmed), and least favorite was Sperone on Corsica.  The wild boars had done some damage to the course there, but I also think the fact my husband lost a few balls shooting over the ocean had something to do with it, too 😉

Fun little aside--on the first evening, PerryGolf arranges dinner groupings so the golfers can get to know each other.  I grew up in a very small town in rural Pennsylvania, and in talking to one of the other golfers, learned his wife was from my hometown!  She was enough older than me that I didn't know her from school, but when I returned home I asked my parents, and they of course knew her parents--our fathers played golf together.  Never thought I'd meet someone from my hometown in the middle of the Mediterranean  🙂 

We really enjoyed the Mediterranean Islands itinerary and this is one I could see us repeating in the future.  The only thing I'd change is spending that last day in Barcelona, rather than scheduling the half day in Tarragona.

 

Could the stop in Tarragona instead of Barcelona have been because of the current unrest in Barcelona?

 

DON

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2 hours ago, donaldsc said:

 

Could the stop in Tarragona instead of Barcelona have been because of the current unrest in Barcelona?

 

DON


The original itinerary had a stop in Tarragona, but it was cancelled because of protests in Tarragona (there were protests in Barcelona as well, of course).  I meant my suggestion for this itinerary in the future would just be to skip Tarragona altogether and sail directly to  Barcelona for that last day of the cruise.  Many of the Azamara shore excursions for Tarragona actually involved a trip to Barcelona.

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1 hour ago, hiccups said:


The original itinerary had a stop in Tarragona, but it was cancelled because of protests in Tarragona (there were protests in Barcelona as well, of course).  I meant my suggestion for this itinerary in the future would just be to skip Tarragona altogether and sail directly to  Barcelona for that last day of the cruise.  Many of the Azamara shore excursions for Tarragona actually involved a trip to Barcelona.

Having been to Tarragona on the Quest in previous years it's a real surprise and one we were so glad not to miss.  It has a beautiful cathedral, historic medieval ruins and architectural buildings so we really enjoyed the city.  People often have pre or post cruise stays in Barcelona (as we did) so it was nice to see some of the regional cities. We also went to Dali's Castle of Pubol from there which was Salvatore Dali's gift to his wife Gala.(this completed the Dali story for us). 

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On 11/7/2019 at 9:13 PM, hiccups said:


The original itinerary had a stop in Tarragona, but it was cancelled because of protests in Tarragona (there were protests in Barcelona as well, of course).  I meant my suggestion for this itinerary in the future would just be to skip Tarragona altogether and sail directly to  Barcelona for that last day of the cruise.  Many of the Azamara shore excursions for Tarragona actually involved a trip to Barcelona.

Hi Hiccups

I actually chose this cruise because of the stop in Tarragona as I wanted to follow the Roman trail, but I was more than happy to be safe and away from the protestors.

 

It was good to meet you on board - just pleasant memories now. Here's to the next time.

Lynne 😀

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3 minutes ago, Literary Lynne said:

Hi Hiccups

I actually chose this cruise because of the stop in Tarragona as I wanted to follow the Roman trail, but I was more than happy to be safe and away from the protestors.

 

It was good to meet you on board - just pleasant memories now. Here's to the next time.

Lynne 😀


Hi Lynne,

I thought the stop in Tarragona would have been nice, but once I saw it was only going to be a half day, that was disappointing to me.  The usual long port days on Azamara have me spoiled, I guess  🙂


Glad we got the chance to chat during the CC gathering--always nice to put faces with names!

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Hi again Hiccups!

I'm so glad you mentioned that "The Spy Who Loved Me" was filmed in Sardinia in your great review.

I looked it up and we passed the hotel they stayed in on our shorex to Porto Cervo.

Thanks for the fun fact.😃

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