Sail Date: March 2019
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee ... Read More
Seabourn Quest – The Seabourn Difference 16.3.19 -7.4.19 Buenos Aires to Manaus Having cruised with Seabourn on Odyssey, Sojourn and the little ships, we knew what to expect and were not disappointed. We had booked a guarantee cabin or rather suite, as all cabins are known, and ended up fairly midships on deck 4 near the dining room in a quiet location. The balcony cabins are exactly the same but, as we don’t spend much time in our suite, we forego a balcony in exchange for more cruises. The suites are delightful, spacious, well-stocked and with the most comfortable bed we’ve ever had on any cruise line. You can order whatever drinks you like to have in your suite, so a bottle of Hendryks gin and a Taylors port were happily provided and stored alongside our complimentary bottle of champagne. Our stewardess welcomed us with 4 speciality soaps and kept our Moulton Brown toiletries and everything else topped up throughout the trip. There is a large choice of online films available in your suite and a good number of TV channels. The entertainment is always more limited on small ships but Seabourn offer more variety than other competitors including a guest pianist, guitar players, a comedian, a magician and the Seabourn singers and dancers and all the shows were of a good standard. On two occasions, local groups gave daytime performances – we had a tango show in Uruguay and an excellent local dance show in Recife. Although we weren’t in the Caribbean, the signature “Caviar in the Surf” was held in the pool and created a wonderful party atmosphere. We didn’t get involved in the daytime programme of art classes or lectures, preferring to enjoy the deck side relaxation, although the weather on sea days was not always co-operative. This leads to one of my few complaints. For a cruise line that prides itself on luxury and exceeding guest expectations, the sun loungers are dreadful. Many lines now provide thick mattresses to aid an afternoon siesta but Seabourn’s are a perfect example of durability and discomfort – no mattresses! Years ago, they used to be provided but no longer. In a few locations, there are some mattresses, specifically on deck 11 at the bow of the ship, but even these seem to have been designed for durability not comfort and my 12 stone husband failed to make a dent in the extremely firm foam padding. The ship is delightful and there are always places where you can find a peaceful corner. The décor was good but, unfortunately, they were experiencing significant issues with the pool deck lifting dangerously in several places. This led to drilling and sanding both on sea and port days making the pool deck less than tranquil. It was also interesting to see how they covered all the outside vents as we went into the Amazon with the resulting screen of insects that were unable to get in! The dining options were good with 4 venues available in the evenings. For breakfast and lunch, we chose the Colonnade self-service, mainly because we enjoy sitting outside, although poor weather up the Brazilian coast to Rio occasionally forced us inside. Inevitably, we ended up eating too much. The selection is good and despite good intentions there was always something you just had to try! Another delight was sharing tables with other passengers and lunch could become a leisurely affair aided by complimentary excellent wines. In the evening, you could dine outside at the self-service or by the pool or in the formal dining room. The Grill, part of the Thomas Keller franchise, offered a special dining experience but you need to book, so it is probably better to book online before the cruise. It’s difficult to clearly quantify what makes Seabourn so special. Other lines provide similar excellent facilities, so I think it boils down to the human factor. Nothing is too much trouble and all the staff will try to make things as special as possible. The instances are endless but, for example, we enjoyed a specific complimentary wine in one restaurant that was not offered 2 nights later but the staff willingly went in search of a bottle and brought it to where we were dining. You can request any specific dish at a meal and, provided they have 24 hours’ notice, it will be there. In our case, I very much enjoyed my crepes suzette cooked to order. Another example of them “going that extra mile” occurred when my sandals broke. They repaired them and had them back ion our suite the following day. Perhaps most importantly, the staff were happy to engage but always seemed to know when to withdraw. Additionally, the culture of friendliness seems to rub off on guests and most are happy to chat and interact with you. Frequent hosted tables help with this but there seems to be an atmosphere of camaraderie that we have not experienced on other similar lines to the same extent. Seabourn cruises are not cheap but no doubt that is what allows them to maintain their standards and over 50% of the guests were returners on this cruise. They offer a good incentive scheme to pass the message on, giving $400 onboard credit to both those who recommend new guests or are recommended. However, there is one major drawback. They will not give you this benefit if you, as the sponsor, opt to take a cruise with some promotional offer of Onboard Credit attached. There is also a further condition, namely you only have 2 years to take advantage of this offer. This means it has the potential to be an empty offer if you happen to choose the “wrong cruise”. This is ridiculous and everyone on Quest who we spoke to agreed. It should be totally separate from anything else and considered in the same way as Carnival share holder benefits in order to incentivise satisfied guests to spread the word. After all, new clients generate considerable financial rewards for Seabourn – not only now but also in the future. We have now made 3 referrals to friends of ours but as we were not allowed to use any one of them on this cruise, we will not be continuing this practice. Wake up Seabourn, this is not good customer relations! Finally, it has to be said that he weather was not particularly co-operative on our cruise with the Equator crossing ceremony being cancelled twice due to rain but this did not detract from what was an excellent trip on a great ship with excellent staff and interesting guests. Definitely recommend. Ports Buenos Aires There were no ship’s tours other than very expensive private cars, so we booked a city orientation with Tangol tours, which was excellent value at £13.27 pp. We took the shuttle into town and met the minibus at the Sheraton Hotel but realised later that they would have picked us up at the port. The minibus took us through 6 neighbourhoods and gave us time to explore at the main square including the cathedral where Pope Francis officiated and Boca, a lively neighbourhood with many tango bars. An overwhelming impression of BA was lots of parks and open spaces, broad roads and lots of statues. Montevideo A ship’s trip took us to the main square but the architecture was not particularly noteworthy. However, we learnt a lot about this small country. We visited a market which had been redeveloped and drove along the very extensive Las Ramblas along the banks of the River Plate, with its brown water due to the soil content. We then visited a quirky house built by architect Pittamiglio who was into alchemy. Definitely worth a visit and we enjoyed a tango show there before returning to the ship. Ilabelha Unfortunately, our beach and waterfall trip took place in rain and grey skies. The sea was warm for swimming but 90 minutes on the beach in rain showers probably wasn’t the best introduction to this island. The Tres Combo waterfalls in the rain forest were also not particularly spectacular. Buzios Once the hideout of Brigitte Bardot, Buzios was a delightful port. Stylish shops and a pleasant beach promenade. We took a schooner trip from the ship which was very relaxing but the water wasn’t very clear and the snorkelling sites were not very productive apart from seeing some coral. However, towards the end we did see the odd small turtle and overall it was a pleasant morning. San Salvador We got off the ship and took the elevator to the upper town (over 65’s don’t pay for this). There were very colourful buildings and lots of churches although many charge a small fee for entrance. The police presence was very strong everywhere and we were warned not to wear jewellery and expensive watches. Unfortunately, one of the ship’s passengers was robbed, so definitely a port in which to be vigilant. Recife We visited Olinda, a Unesco World Heritage Site, which was interesting and provided good views of the city. We visited both the Benedictine Monastery and the Franciscan one and heard how Recife was first for a number of things in Brazil. After a drive along the beach with its shark warnings clear to see, we were treated to a rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus by a local choir at the Golden Chapel – well worth a visit. Natal Not my favourite port. We did an orientation trip from the ship and travelled for an hour to see the largest cashew nut tree in the world. Definitely impressive and in the Guiness Book of Records, but a long way to go for a tree! The city itself had many skyscrapers and much of the old town looked in need of repair. Santarem We were well into the Amazon here and you could see the meeting of the waters in the distance. We did a ship’s trip out to a community which explained the rise and fall of rubber and showed the process of milling manioc (cassava). Santarem is walkable from the ship and worth a visit. The market seems to sell predominantly hammocks for use on the boats which move up and down the Amazon – no seats on these, only hooks for your hammock. Manaus Our last stop on this trip took in the Opera House, a market and the home of one of the founding fathers of the town. We did an organised ship’s trip but it is easily done on your own, with entry to the opera house only 20 Real (£4). These are really the main sights in the town but other guests took a boat up one of the tributaries and reported an excellent trip to see an Amazonian village. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last ... Read More
We just came back from Azamara Pursuit from BA to Rio. We previously sailed on Celebrity, Princess, Holland, Cunard, Oceania, Costa, RCI and Carnival. This was our 12th cruise. Our benchmark is Oceania (we sailed on the Riviera last September). Overall Pursuit is a great ship and we had an amazing time. However we liked the Riviera better. Here is why. The service is excellent, comparable to Oceania. But sometimes things seem a bit less organized. For example, some of the excustions were delayed 15-20 minutes. Never happened on Oceania. Also there are some lines when leaving the ship and coming back. Nothing major, not even close to what you see on big ships, but still slightly longer waiting times than Oceania. The dinner in the MDR is great, but not as good as Oceania. The open seating works very well for us, never had to wait for a table. The buffet is disappointing. Good quality, but selection is pretty limited. It is not bad overall, but few levels below Oceania. The buffet area itself is also very small and feels a bit crowded at times. Internet is probably the worst we experienced so far on cruise ships. 300kbps is not what you would expect from a luxury line in 2019. It is also pretty expensive at $20/day. We paid last year $10/day on Princess (and the speed was 20 times faster). And we sailed on older ships with much higher internet speeds. Major disappointment. Spa does not have couple massage. This is the first time on any ship that we were not able to do a couple massage. The massage itself was very good. Cabin on Oceania was small, here it's even smaller. Not a big deal, we don't spend much time in the cabin. Entertainment is mediocre at best. They don't have a real theater like on larger ships, just a big lounge with chairs. No angle, so if you don't sit on few first rows, the view is pretty limited. They cannot really provide a good evening entertainment when there is no real theater. Also not too many daily activities, and the ship feels a bit sleepy at times. The pool area is small and feels a bit crowded. Usually no problem to get a chair, except for sea days. Hot tubs are smaller than usual and not hot enough. Service is fantastic as you can expect from a luxury line. Staff is very friendly. Very limited food options. If you want to have a snack after 9pm, the only option is room service. Dress code is relaxing, no formal nights, which is perfect for us. The azamazing event was very nice and well organized. Great atmosphere. The show itself felt a bit amateur. The pre even buffet was very crowded and poorly organized. White night was nice, but we came late from our tour in Sao Paulo, and no seats available on deck 9. They simply cannot accommodate everyone on the white night because the pool area is not big enough. Why to do white night on port day like Sao Paulo when the ship is at port till 9pm, and not sea day or port with shorter port time? Excursions were another disappointment. While we appreciate smaller groups, some of them were poorly organized, and some guides were not professional. I believe Azamara made a business decision to focus on certain things and ignore other things. Their customers obviously don't care about internet, or certain daily activities like dance classes, zumba, music at the pool etc. Overall great ship, great service, good food, but we prefer Oceania Riviera. Both lines are still better than mainstream ships from Celebrity or Princess which feel much more crowded, with longer lines. But in my opinion, Riviera offers the best of both worlds: still a small ship, which still feels much less crowded, but at the same time, much better food, more activities, and better entertainment. And it actually has a better crew/passengers ratio than Azamara, so service is at least as good if not better. We did appreciate the excellent service, less crowded buffet, smaller groups on shore excursions, no lines etc. compared to the big ships. I guess we just expected better from Azamara. We might sail with Azamara again if the itinerary and the price are right, but all other things equal, we would definitely prefer Oceania. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We wanted to experience South America. With one exception (Paraty) the ports of call did not disappoint. The Azamazing evening was a Carneval show in Montevideo. It was well organized and great entertainment. We bought the indulgence ... Read More
We wanted to experience South America. With one exception (Paraty) the ports of call did not disappoint. The Azamazing evening was a Carneval show in Montevideo. It was well organized and great entertainment. We bought the indulgence package which was well worth the extra money. We also got upgraded to a suite without asking ! That alone should make it five stars but there were some downsides as well. - One of the ‘guest relations’ staff turned out to be anything but. The others were great. - Because we had a lot of OBC, we booked some tours. The ‘gaucho’ tour in Uruguay was disappointing as we went to a dairy and crop farm. Talk about false advertising. - We had butler although he did not really enhance the experience. - The indulgence package included the specialty restaurants. However, it’s not open seating and booking something was very though. The attitude of the person doing the booking did not help. - The app needs work. It’s not updated and does not match the daily program. There is a lot of paper that could be saved...... The food never disappoints and the staff go out of there way to please you. The entertainment was solid and there are plenty of activities. The specialty restaurants are also top notch in food and service as was the Chef’s table. The staff was great in helping us transfer to another room for next cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
It is inexplicable why Azamara, when they drydocked the new to them Pursuit, did not add a pool heater. Although the pools on all the Old Renaissance ships are small and oddly shaped with their two whirlpools “pinching” the pool in the ... Read More
It is inexplicable why Azamara, when they drydocked the new to them Pursuit, did not add a pool heater. Although the pools on all the Old Renaissance ships are small and oddly shaped with their two whirlpools “pinching” the pool in the middle, Oceania made sure to add pool heaters, Azamara apparently cheaper out leaving the pool only functional for most when it is in the tropics. When we were quite surprised and commented to the in service staff we got shrugs and told that is how all the Azamara ships are. So if swimming is important to you as it is to us, beware you probably should choose a different cruise line Having said this, the staff are generally good, the staff/guest ratio and cabins fine (although like all R class ships on the small side. ,. Although I have heard from others that the food on Oceania ships are better, having been on both, I would rate them about the same with the exception of the smaller specialty restaurants on Oceania are free whereas the specialty restaurants on Azamara cost $30 each.3 for $70. On the other hand they have one free outing on shore which Oceania lacks....so on balance....unless you are a swimmer, or like the more frequent activities scheduled regularly on Oceania cruises or simply want to stretch out in a properly heated pool I would rate the two lines about the same...at least in their R class ships...with an edge to Oceania’s slightly larger Marina/Riviera and an edge to them if you are on a longer voyage as the costs of specialty dining in Azamara would more than offset one night’s activity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We were looking for the cruise of a lifetime, in the best cabin. It was our first cruise with Oceania, but our 7th overall. There was a lovely mix of nationalities, mostly American and Canadians, then Brits like us, Aussies and others. ... Read More
We were looking for the cruise of a lifetime, in the best cabin. It was our first cruise with Oceania, but our 7th overall. There was a lovely mix of nationalities, mostly American and Canadians, then Brits like us, Aussies and others. English was the majority main language. We are in our 50s and found we were amongst the youngest onboard. The median age was around 70. Our fellow cruisers were sophisticated, gentle, friendly, polite people who were well travelled. There were absolutely no children on board We treated ourselves to an Owners Suite ....wow! It was stunning, beautifully equipped, with lovely welcome gifts, like champagne, a set of Bulgari toiletries, a tote bag and a beach bag with fluffy towels to take home. Our butler, Abhi, had been well trained and was friendly and professional, arranging anything we needed, even before we knew we needed it. He made us feel so special and so spoilt. Meals were served in suite from any restaurant on board, so we often ate in. There is a bar setup for some suites, so we had a choice of spirits or wine, which was great. We used the suite far more than we would normally because it felt so lovely .....it was like a Manhattan apartment. We thought the standard of food was generally very high.The main dining room was very good, buffet had plenty of choice and was good, Waves grill was OK, Tuscan was variable and Red Ginger was excellent with great food and service. Special mention must go to the Maitre D’ in Red Ginger, Hula from Cape Town who was outstanding. Baristas coffee bar was our first port of call each morning...a lifesaver The small ship was much more intimate than larger ones which meant no queues for getting on and off the ship. We also liked the country club casual dress code and found that people generally dressed up for the evenings. The captain and crew were often seen around and were very friendly. The Captain’s cocktail party was a lovely evening and it was nice to see staff being rewarded for long service. We also enjoyed the farewell from the crew, where we were able to clap them onstage and they, in turn, clapped us out of the lounge. We didn’t really do the shows so can’t comment, neither did we use the bars or enrichment activities. The library was amazing - leave your books at home, there are plenty to suit all tastes. The spa was expensive but I did get a good manicure and my husband had a relaxing massage. We did 6 shore excursions, having bought a discounted package. I disagree with previous poor comments, as we had nothing but good experiences. The tours were professional, with a fair standard of English and buses far exceeded our expectations. Our cruise was from Buenos Aires to Lima, taking 3 weeks. It was amazing, despite a couple of days of bad weather, which is so much more obvious on a small ship. Thank goodness for seasickness patches! There were quite a few sea days, but that is the nature of the distances covered On the negative side, I burnt my hand due to ill fitting lids on takeaway coffee cups and found I was not alone. I cursed myself for having left our reusable cups in the cabin that day! Please get lids that fit or give guests reusable cups, which would be a greener option. Also the vibrations at the back of the ship were terrible and the cabin shook and rattled when going at speed. We did get used to it, but it would put me off spending that kind of money again on that suite. We would absolutely travel on Oceania again and we loved this trip. My husband commented that if he were a billionaire he would employ our butler Abhi in a heartbeat. We can dream...... Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Very disappointing treatment of someone sustaining a serious injury on the ship due to their negligence. Poor medical treatment. Poor follow up from Guest relations until I conveyed my concerns to them that I felt dismissed. My holiday was ... Read More
Very disappointing treatment of someone sustaining a serious injury on the ship due to their negligence. Poor medical treatment. Poor follow up from Guest relations until I conveyed my concerns to them that I felt dismissed. My holiday was ruined for myself and my partner and ship's response was more 'out of sight, out of mind'. The ship is beautiful, restaurants are good. The ship certainly has style decoratively and never feels overwhelmingly large or oppressive. Delightful cosy corners and cafes can be discovered everywhere around the ship which is generally well appointed for most things you need. Cellar bar terribly under utlised and such a shame as it's a delightful space. Packages are worthwhile. However we had a luxury drinks package and there was no Evian water available as this wasn't stocked in error at the port therefore we were only supplied with the usual bottled water. In addition every time I asked for grapefruit juice I was given orange on our cabin breakfast order. I was advised there was none? This was untrue, I discovered different food / beverage outlets don't share, possibly due to their accounting and stock management, none the less it is frustrating. General treatment of anyone injured in my experience disgusting, of course this has negatively influenced my entire experience which for me was very sad. I now look forward to surgery to repair my hand having returned home. Shame on Celebrity also for not advising passengers when they have a concierge class cabin in the corridor under the cafe that there is noise and obstructed views from the balcony, including poor maintenance and peeling paint onto it. Of course my cruise was tainted due to the fractures I sustained and a badly bruised bottom, both of which effected and still effect all my activities of daily living. However, I also believe it exposed some huge deficits in their service delivery, professionalism and ability to know how to effectively deal with challenging circumstances. In the words of a guest relations team member "most of the crew are young and inexperienced, they just don't know how to behave" and in the words of the concierge representative "there is a hierarchy on board the ship and you can't just talk to anybody" . Our dining experiences were good, all food and beverage outlets provided great service and friendly, attentive staff. Cabin once we relocated was a good size and well provisioned, cabin steward was excellent, Imade thankyou. I used the gym once prior to my injury and it is well equipped. Theatre shows were average by comparison to other cruise ships we have been on. Around the ship there was as usual plenty of activities available and something for everyone throughout the day, although almost non existent on port days, which if you remained on the ship could be a bit boring, although there is always the spa. I had a couple of treatments in the spa and visited the salon for a barber shave and haircut as due to my injury I couldn't shave and needed all my hair cut off. Both experiences were very good. Rio shore excursions were excellent, the remainder advertised appeared less so. We visited Buzios and Santos also. Shore excursions were well organised however. Cabin breakfast was generally served incorrectly and / or tepid, also around 20 minutes earlier on average than the time booked (because it suited them to do so I suspect based on the volume of orders, not satisfactory though). Laundry service was poor, always came back later than should have and we had to chase this up with cabin steward, also items should have been ironed and were apparently but quality was abismal. In fact we had them all done again at the hotel we booked into post cruise. I wouldn't recommend laundry use. This ship is more crew centric than customer centric, be warned, I wish I had been. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
There are really two parts to this review. The first is about the awful virus that spread unchecked that ruined our trip. The second part is about what the ship is like if I don't factor in how sick so many of us were. My husband ... Read More
There are really two parts to this review. The first is about the awful virus that spread unchecked that ruined our trip. The second part is about what the ship is like if I don't factor in how sick so many of us were. My husband and I both became extremely ill on exactly the same evening about ten days into our trip-- we are both in excellent health and among the very youngest on the ship. We went from feeling fine to minutes later having fever, chills, nauseated, extreme disorientation, dizziness, terrible hacking cough. We were in our room for three days, I literally was so ill I didn't have the energy to order room service. When we finally were well enough to leave our room, we heard that half the ship had the same virus, there were lines at the doctor's office, you could hear the same hacking cough everywhere. I tried twice to see the doctor to see what the virus was and if we needed antibiotics-- the first time office hours were cancelled because "he had been up for 36 hours straight" and the second because during his office hours there was an emergency medical evacuation. It was getting to the end of the cruise and I thought we would be feeling better soon. Everyone we talked to had a story about either being sick themselves or listing all the people onboard who had the same virus, and people in our trivia group dropped out due to the virus. When I found out the virus had been going around the ship the whole time we were there with people onboard from the previous segment, I was so bothered that it had not been communicated sooner and that precautions had not been taken by the ship-- they were shaking hands with passengers regularly! Had I known I would have disinfected the room, never shaken hands, avoided the buffet, taken the immune building supplements I carry for travel whenever there is sickness spreading, etc. After we left the ship, whenever I tried to do anything for the remainder of our trip I became ill all over again, I couldn't eat, etc. Once we returned and I wasn't getting well (I was so dizzy I couldn't drive, could only eat soup and bread, couldn't concentrate on work, etc.) I called my doctor who wanted any background information on the Virus. I contacted Viking who said they didn't have to tell me because there were far fewer than 20 cases reported! Now, I literally spoke with more than 20 people who had had the virus. The customer service person was belligerent and accusatory, implying I wasn't really sick and said in a sarcastic tone that if I was sick he was sure I would have reported it. I told him we told the housekeepers we were too sick to leave the room and he said that didn't count. I also told him about trying to see the doctor twice and being prevented one time because of the emergency medical evacuation-- and he told me in a triumphant tone that there was no emergency medical evacuation during my cruise. I replied that it was pretty frightening that hundreds of people onboard were ill with the same severe virus and there was an emergency medical evacuation that hundreds of people watched since it was by the coast guard in open ocean and lasted hours-- yet Viking had a record of neither. I finally told him that since they have no record of this illness I was reporting it now, and he said that didn't count. After spending a fortune on this cruise, being so ill and trying to get information for my doctor, it was so dispiriting to be treated this way. I contracted this virus about a month and a half ago and not only have only started getting completely well in the last two weeks (after taking powerful antibiotics), but I'm still having all kinds of medical tests because of concerns that it was so severe it might have caused a mini stroke and other permanent damage. Now, if I had not gotten a horrible virus that I think could have been prevented, and not been treated so dismissively by Viking customer service? On the positive side, I would say the food was the best I've ever had on a cruise ship (and we are foodies used to high end cruises). As one example, they serve a full traditional tea daily, complete with tiered plates of mini sandwiches and sweets, plus scones every afternoon, just like a fancy tea you might pay for. On Oceania, the tea is from teabags with paper napkins with a few things passed around. Most notably, the general restaurant was as good as specialty restaurants on other ships. I'll compare again to Oceania where the general restaurant was so bad we couldn't eat there and you had to fight for reservations in the specialty restaurants. Another Viking plus was that you could get as many reservations in the free specialty restaurants as you wanted. Service overall was the best we've ever experienced on a ship. Loved that there is no corkage fee in the restaurants and they are delighted to open and pour what you bring-- while basic wine was free, we loved to pick up special bottles as we traveled and really appreciated this benefit. The cafe and main restaurant are also really well designed so that you can often get a window seat, and never get the sense of an overwhelming sea of people. They also did a lot of special things that were nice-- bringing local specialty foods aboard, etc. We enjoyed the trivia everyday in port (vs. bingo on some ships), loved not listening to announcements all day and no junky art shows, and the hairdresser was fantastic and very reasonably priced. Generally, a very high quality, lovely experience vs. some of the constant upgrading and rules on other ships-- they seemed super flexible and customer service oriented. On the negative side, be very weary of this boat, I would try the other Viking Ocean boats because this boat does two World Cruise Trips a year and if you do a segment as we did (unbeknownst to most people booking who didn't realize they were taking part of a world cruise) there are disadvantages. First, even with an upgraded room and the paid for perk of being able to get first choice on excursions etc. what this means when you travel with world cruisers is that you get to pick AFTER that half of the boat, so no real perk for upgraded rooms and many segment people were unhappy to see the excursion they wanted sold out on the very first day they were available to book. They were also unhappy to see the world cruisers at events they were not invited to and felt like second class citizens. However, depending on your age and health, the biggest disadvantage is that the average age on the boat seemed to be 70-90. I have never been on a cruise with so many old people and they were not healthy, active old people-- it was a sea of 4 prong canes and a very slow walk down any corridor. For many world cruisers this is a bucket list item, and they frequently didn't even get off the boat, kind of like a last hurrah. We didn't take any of the included excursions because they are basically all 3 hour motor coach rides, but segment people who did said half the time was spent with the old folks getting on and off the huge busses. To be honest, I felt like I was in a nursing home at times. The rooms were a mixed bag. They functioned beautifully and were very comfortable with a nice shower, but they just weren't special, they were very plain. We got the upgraded penthouse balcony for many thousands more and it was maybe a couple of feet wider but that's it, it looked like a very standard ship room-- this was not a worthwhile upgrade. For example, with Oceania the penthouse balcony for about the same amount to upgrade is luxurious and beautiful with special touches like a dining table for two and a huge closet-- I would call it romantic. Viking just isn't romantic. One issue my husband had was that many events were held in the pool area. However, when the roof was closed the chlorine gas was overwhelming and you simply could not be in that room-- yet this is where they were serving all kinds of specialty foods, like when they went ashore for local king crab legs, you could only get them in this area. My husband had to leave the superbowl get together because he couldn't breath the fumes anymore. Finally, I will say that many seemed to like the entertainment but we were disappointed. Too many of the shows were with their in house group and in house band which were both weak-- the vocals and instrumentalists were painful at times. The few shows they brought in from the outside were generally strong. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We have not done an Ocean cruise for 15 years. We have been taking land tours and River cruises instead. Before we stopped we had been on 8 Ocean cruises. I was very excited to discover this Antarctica Cruise and on a ship we had sailed ... Read More
We have not done an Ocean cruise for 15 years. We have been taking land tours and River cruises instead. Before we stopped we had been on 8 Ocean cruises. I was very excited to discover this Antarctica Cruise and on a ship we had sailed twice before (as the Royal Princess!) and had loved! The ship is a perfect size for those of us who like a smaller number of passengers. I thought the redo of the interior was fine. The "living room" is a very popular spot to hang out during the sea days with the loungers always in demand. Passengers "save" seats so I was not able to try them. The following are my impressions of the cruise: .Cabin 7100---awkward furniture, was always moving the coffee table to get to veranda or loveseat, plastic shower curtain made shower dark and liked to wrap around the body.. Ship shore excursions---too expensive. arranged tours online with private vendors for all ports. .Service--room steward great, staff friendly, buffet staff attentive, Discoveries staff needs more training (multiple use of seating charts, we were "forgotten" about during our meal several times and sat for 20+ minutes waiting to be checked on .Dinning/food---BUFFET food greatly improved, theme of buffet advertised daily in program, DISCOVERIES menu posted outside restaurant only so had to make trip to check its menu before deciding where to eat daily, menu lacking in variety and food was not outstanding, no soufflé/bananas foster/prime cuts of meat/lobster. Main dinning room has suffered from having specialty restaurants as only place to enjoy those foods. AQUALINA specialty (ate X2) no change in menu from one week to the next, soufflé outstanding but majority of food did not stand out. Two brunch meals in Discoveries were outstanding events! Chocolate buffet was crowded due to small venue area. .Activities--daily activities have not changed in 15 years. I spoke to Tony the cruise director two times about this and he was very receptive to my criticism. Enjoyed: ABBA dance night, photo contest/lectures from professional staff photographer, enrichment lectures (including NASA lecturer who hosted eclipse viewing) , movie nights, Polar club. HIGHLIGHTS Azamazing event & White night party! All in all this was an exciting itinerary! Was happy with the change of dress to "country club casual". The ship captain was very interactive with guests and went out of his way to maneuver ship for exceptional scenery viewing. Would recommend this itinerary/ship with the knowledge that dinning in Discoveries is not a highlight. I hope this review helps other cruise lovers pick their next adventure! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I had put off too long a trip to Antarctica and finally took that long awaited itinerary. I wish we had done so earlier!! The entire experience (with one small exception) went off without a hitch and, as usual, we enjoyed the ... Read More
My wife and I had put off too long a trip to Antarctica and finally took that long awaited itinerary. I wish we had done so earlier!! The entire experience (with one small exception) went off without a hitch and, as usual, we enjoyed the family-like Azamara experience. This being our 10th Azamara cruise we had a pretty good idea of what to expect, though The Pursuit is a recent addition to the Quest and Journey. The layouts are identical so it was just like returning home. A number of the crew were familiar transfers from the other ships so it really did feel like family. The ship was renovated before being put into Azamara service with the new Deck 5 layout sans Casino. Honestly, on this size ship, the casino was little more than a nice diversion and the extra space in the newly converted "Den" was put to good use. Though we had a 7 day stretch where we were limited to staying on the ship, it seemed to pass quickly with the interesting "cruise by" itinerary of the Alaskan peninsula. Passing a number of HUGE icebergs was also a favorite of all onboard. Best of all, we were lucky to have pretty calm seas passing through the Drake Passage twice and the horror stories some people told us about never came to pass. Entertainment was varied, though by necessity it is limited to guest entertainers and a small ensemble of singers and band. Still, they were excellent, professional, and interactive. The stops were all interesting and fun, and the AZAMAZING EVENING in Montevideo was a presentation of the Urguayan Carnivale and was one of the top two AZAMAZING EVENINGS we have experienced! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose the cruise for the destinations and the company were advertising the cruise as an upmarket experience. We boarded at Lima, no issues. The main problems were, the food served in the buffet, this was nearly always luke warm ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the destinations and the company were advertising the cruise as an upmarket experience. We boarded at Lima, no issues. The main problems were, the food served in the buffet, this was nearly always luke warm ie,fried eggs not fully cooked and kept at luke warm temperature. Chicken kept at luke warm temperature, not hot. There were so many issues and we saw lots of food being sent back. Many times we spoke to staff who told us they would pass our concerns on. There had been gastroenteritis on board and everyone was advised to wash hands and use sanitiser around the ship! There were guests who have travelled with Azamara several time before and the told us not to judge Azamara by the Persuit, they stated the Pursuit was not up to standard. The entertainment was very poor, the cruise entertainment director was more interested in selling his CD’s and the assistant entertainment cruise directors discription of tours on the TV was appalling. If you like Jazz the type where all the notes are’in the wrong order’ this is the boat for you. One evening the pianist microphone was off, no one told him, that’s how bad he was. Communication on board was not informative, unless you booked a very expensive trip with the ship there was little information on Ports. Speakers gave wrong information, which the captain had to apologise for. The list goes on and on. This was not the amazing cruise it was advertised as. Read Less

Find a Cruise

Email me when prices drop