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First Azamara Cruise: Good, Bad, and Ugly (Mostly Good)


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Good:   
The stateroom was typical, perhaps even better than average.   There was a decent amount of room of the Veranda.    A good sized table and room to get around it without having to squeeze.     We were in 7078 on the Journey (roughly across from the guest laundry which was more of a convenience than a problem).    I actually had a SMALLER hotel room at the Sydney airport when I went to get a connection.

Food was also above average in both Windows and Discoveries.   I was unsure that Aqualina/Prime C was worth the extra money.    We did splurge on the Valentines Dinner in Aqualina and that was absolutely incredible.   Loved our waiters (Philbert and Yolana) in Discoveries.

Entertainment was fun.    Loved Jessie on the saxophone but sad to hear she was a one sailing fill in.   Azamara Evening with the Wellington Symphony and a local indigenous chorus was neat.    Added to that is that we all got to sing along with the cruise director Danny in the  cavernous cathedral while we waited for the return buses to load.

Drinks on the basic plan for me were OK.   Mostly gin drinks (they seemed to alternate between Beefeaters and Gordons depending on the bar.    The wines in the basic were really inexpensive but some weren't too bad.    The sparkling and rose they had throughout the cruise was solid.   Some of the others I could do with out but some were good.   We were in a wine group so we had plenty of other wine to drink as well.

Our stateroom stewards (Carlos and Russel) bent over backwards to do everything for us.

I did the "Insider's Tour" and that was well worth the $89 or whatever.   Got to see the kitchens, environmental, storerooms, laundry, engine control room, and the bridge (where we were served sparkling wine and a snack and allowed to stay as long as we cared to.

Captain Johannes was always gracious and even had a get together for other (airplane) pilots one afternoon.    Amusingly we ran into him ashore in McLaren Vale about a week after the cruise.

Bad (well, average lets say).
Weather and high seas caused us to lose our trip to the Milford Sound and Tasmania.   But the three additional ports added were neat as well and got to see a few things we wouldn't have seen otherwise like the Giant's House in Akaroa or the opportunity to eat Kuora in Kai Kuora.  We also got  small refund on our accounts that had something to do with the port changes.

Weather also forced the White Night to move into the cabaret.   I was less than impressed with the buffet offered for that.

Ugly:
The internet not only never worked right (I'm not talking slow, I'm talking disfunctional) and there's nobody on board that understands anything about it (other than regurgitating the instructions on how to configure the wifi on your device).   I spent most of my career designing and building internet systems.   Another woman and I were trying to explain to the "IT expert" what the problem was but he lacked any basic knowledge about networking that would have helped diagnose the issue.    The guest services people did give me an unsolicited refund of about half of what I paid for the cruise unlimited plan.

The refrigerators in the rooms are complete jokes.     They won't even hold 20C as near as I can tell and apparently this is just the way they are.    The good news is that the crew kept us stocked with ice to compensate (and even offered up a larger ice bucket).

As I previously pointed out, the information on departure was way inferior to what I've seen elsewhere.

This isn't Azamara's fault, but there were some real petty people on this cruise.    There actually had to be a security intervention in the card room over a dispute involving a jigsaw puzzle and a lesser spat broke out about the positioning of window shades in the dining room during sunset.

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Although I was not on your cruise, I totally recognise the good, the bad and the ugly you described so succinctly.  (Although scary that the security incidents have moved from alcohol related areas to the jigsaw corner!). Your assessment of the IT situation is spot on. I now cannot consider longer cruises on Journey because of it. 
Other than IT staff, as usual, it’s the onboard crew who work the miracles!
Thanks for sharing. 

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Hi flyingron, thank you for the cruise review of your first cruise with us. 

I hope you'll write a review (or simply copy this) onto Cruise Critic's review board (there is a tab above.) 

We appreciate all reviews...good, bad and ugly.

We hope to welcome you back aboard someday!

Bonnie

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I hear you loud and clear about Internet access. Our December trip in South America on the Pursuit featured appalling connection issues. I was chided and demeaned by the “IT” guy who had trouble getting my iPhone (7 for heaven’s sake) connected. Then he discovered I run a VPN and proceeded to lecture me with “so you do not realize the number of firewalls we use” kind of language. Spare me. 25 years in telecommunications tells me you don’t know how I can keep an iPhone 7 working cleanly and quickly! I retrieved my phone, gave up on receiving help, and fixed the problem myself. I’m retired and I’m still my own Helpdesk.

Edited by Harrietq
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We just completed an Azamara cruise which was probably our 5th or 6th Azamara cruise.  I agree w the comments on the IT issues.  The interface was totally user unfriendly and a pain to work with.  It was not even worth the effort to try to use it.  I love Azamara but not anything to do with IT on the ships or with their WEB site.

 

DON

Edited by donaldsc
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Thank you for the information we are to do our first Azamara cruise in November we have done 20 on other lines.

I will take note and stay away from the jig saws. I don't think that will be hard to do !  

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1 hour ago, Doh15 said:

I came across a review recently that had quite a lot to say about the trivia contests— was eye opening for me. 

Lol, don't believe all you read, I was there (and couldn't understand the reviewers comments).  We just go for the popcorn and a laugh and never take it seriously.  We spending more time laughing than thinking.....

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1 hour ago, aussie travel bird said:

Lol, don't believe all you read, I was there (and couldn't understand the reviewers comments).  We just go for the popcorn and a laugh and never take it seriously.  We spending more time laughing than thinking.....

 

It is all about relaxing and having FUN, while possibly picking up a few new bits of trivial knowledge.

At least that's the way it is for us. I read that review also. 🙃

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2 hours ago, aussie travel bird said:

Lol, don't believe all you read, I was there (and couldn't understand the reviewers comments).  We just go for the popcorn and a laugh and never take it seriously.  We spending more time laughing than thinking.....

Totally agree about going for the popcorn and a laugh. 🍿🤣

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It was the next to last day that I found out you got "points" at a lot of the activities toward the Azamara trinkets.   I  would have owned the trivia contests and a few other events if I had known.    It was halfway through the napkin folding class when I realize the two instructors were the dance partners from the evening shows.

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