2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose Azamara and this itinerary based on the recommendation of friends who did it a couple of years. ago. We too weren't notified of the change of embarkation point, but noticed the ship in the "wrong port" the night ... Read More
We chose Azamara and this itinerary based on the recommendation of friends who did it a couple of years. ago. We too weren't notified of the change of embarkation point, but noticed the ship in the "wrong port" the night before from the roof top bar of our hotel. Sailing on smaller ships is a great experience. More attention from crew and an altogether sense of community familiarity that just happens among the passengers. We had a balcony room, midship on the deck 6. It was very comfortable and the small shower was adequate. Because of weather or just being out and about we really didn't use the balcony much but it was nice to have. The crew was always attentive, the entertainment very, very good, and most meals were well prepared. However more attention should be given to timing and suggestions as when to eat in the dining rooms if you want to make a show. Any time after 7.15pm creates a rush. Prime C was a disappointment, the food was just ok, the service slow and the room needs to be refurbished. Aqualina though did not disappoint. My only other comment on the food was that there way too much. Something was always there, available and too inviting. We did several exercise classes. More thought needs to given to the space required as many were popular and people couldn't participate. However they were advertised as 45 minutes, but most were barely 30. The Amazing Evening in Melbourne was in a beautiful recital hall with a performance by a top Australian vocal artist. Very enjoyable. The White Night was well done, the production performers professional and personable. Dancing in the Living Room to the Sound Sensations became a nightly destination for us. The crossing to New Zealand was a day and a half of rough seas, but part of cruising. But we found there were too many sea days, especially when they were back to back. All the ports provided something to do, some more that others. Napier was special and unique with its art deco architecture. We don't do cruise sponsored shore excursions. We find better value and choice is always available at the port. Cruise lines ask you think about the environment when using towels, etc, but they don't do anything about the amount of newsletters, brochures, invitations and sale announcements they produce. There must be better and more efficient ways to communicate to your guests and cut down on paper useage. It was ridiculous on this cruise. Overall, there is no reason not to consider Azamara for fun and enjoyable experience. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We sailed for 14 days from Sydney to Auckland. There was a lot of confusion about which port we would depart from Sydney. Was very confusing up until almost the last minute as the original plan seemed to have been the Overseas Cruise ... Read More
We sailed for 14 days from Sydney to Auckland. There was a lot of confusion about which port we would depart from Sydney. Was very confusing up until almost the last minute as the original plan seemed to have been the Overseas Cruise Terminal - located near Circular Quay at the Rocks. Instead we left from White Bay Cruise Terminal. (Apparently they've had alot of confusion as we later learned that Azamara sent a representative to the OCT to redirect guests.) While many chose to be unhappy about it - the silver lining we found was that this allowed us to sail UNDER the Sydney Harbour Bridge - which made for some cool pics and videos. The ship itself seemed to be in good shape. I was surprised to hear that it is scheduled for dry dock in Singapore in a couple of months. Public areas, furniture, and cabins appeared to be in good shape - with nothing standing out as needing updates. We have sailed with Azamara a few times - but always on the Journey. Last time was in 2015. The Quest - as previously reported by others - is the same layout. Since our last sailing, they introduced the Living Room concept on deck 10 - replacing the Looking Glass. We really liked it. On bad weather sea days, it was packed. Service was great throughout the cruise. From bars to restaurants to cabin staff - they did a great job as they have in the past. We had one issue that we weren't initially happy with how they handled it - but then they reconsidered (without our asking) and contacted us to resolve in our favor. To make a long story short, we purchased the Ultimate Bundle - which was really worth it. Includes internet, spa credit, excursions credit, drinks package, laundry, etc. We expected that we would get the $40 credit per person for our status that we would have gotten if we bought just the internet package. They said that applied only to purchases of internet packages and not if it was purchased as part of a bundle. Sounds ridiculous and they finally understood why a guest would be confused between a package and a bundle. As I said, they eventually got it and gave us an onboard credit - which was what we requested. Food was good but not great. Discoveries (main dining room) had a pretty good menu with rotating selections. Always love that they consistently offer shrimp cocktail and french onion soup! Windows cafe was good for breakfast and lunch. We only tried it for one night for dinner and it was just ok. We are not buffet people - so we are probably biased anyway! The Living Room had a nice supply of sandwiches, tea (scones & cakes), and tapas throughout the day. Our bundle included the Ultimate Drink package. They had a nice offering but honestly didn't need it as most of the included wines they poured were acceptable. It's also nice that since our last sailing they have added prosecco to the complimentary list - as it was awkward to not have any bubbles on that list. (Although I should note that I take small offense to them calling it complimentary since we paid for an all inclusive cruise. They should said "included" or something instead." The White Night deck party was alot of fun. Lots of people remembered to pack their whites - so it really turned out to be a nice night. They brought a local band onboard who played fun jazz - followed of course by the ship's entertainers who did a great job leading dances, etc. Our fellow guests were mainly retired folks with a spattering of working age folks (40-60) from all over. Alot of Europeans (especially Scots & Brits), some Americans, and surprisingly alot of Kiwis and Australians (guess its easy to get to or from the ship!). We met lots of folks and enjoyed most. 14 days is a long time with some people - including those who jump in line or ignore that you are next for the bus and take the last 2 seats ahead of you ... Thankfully these folks were the exception and not the rule. Most of our fellow guests were classy and realized that common courtesy was the best way to go. As I frequently remind people who have to be "first" for everything - the cruise lines know what they are doing and never seem to run out of what people want! They take care of everyone! We had a balcony cabin on the eighth deck forward. Even with a few days of high seas, we did ok being forward. Tasman crossings can always be a bit rough they said. They were right! As described as naseum in other reviews, the bathroom (shower in particular) are laughably small. 14 days is a long cruise for us - but we found the size of the cabin to be adequate, including plenty of storage. Ok - now the areas where Azamara could improve ... 1. they seem to have started nickel and diming for some things... charging for movies on the TV ($12 or something) seems a little much ... and charging for a bridge tour or behind the scenes tour .... Seems rather Royal Caribbean, instead of Azamara ... 2. When the Living Room was packed, it sometimes took awhile to get served ... once they saw you needed something, they were helpful. More a matter of not enough servers instead of the staff being lazy 3. Entertainment was the same as on small ships... They could learn from the larger ships and try to make this a bit better 4. Prime C was just ok ... seems like they could improve quality of beef ... (Aqualina was excellent). 5. Excursions were pricey. Disappointed a few were cancelled due to lack of interest. Overall - super happy with this cruise. Kudos to Azamara for having some of the friendliest crew and definitely the most engaging officers at sea. We sail with Seabourn, Oceania, and SilverSea regularly and think Azamara is just as enjoyable and a much better value! Read Less
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Sail Date: February 2019
Recently back from my second Azamara voyage, both on the Quest. Overall this Sydney to Auckland cruise was excellent with some notable improvements, however there are areas which continue to disappoint. On the positive side, I found ... Read More
Recently back from my second Azamara voyage, both on the Quest. Overall this Sydney to Auckland cruise was excellent with some notable improvements, however there are areas which continue to disappoint. On the positive side, I found the ship to be spotless and the crew genuinely friendly. Most notable was the main restaurant, Discoveries. I was greeted with a friendly smile and often assigned a lovely window table for 2. Yes there can be short waits at peak times, but if you are patient, it is always rewarded. The food & service were just outstanding both in Discoveries and Windows Cafe. The Patio also offered an alternative, and that was excellent as well. Deck areas were well maintained, and the crew worked hard to clear the many rainfalls which left areas saturated. My cabin, an outside window space on deck 4 was cozy and well serviced. I truly did not miss having a balcony especially considering the weather we had. This location is quiet and very convenient to everything. The self service laundry was very popular and difficult to get in. Still great to have when on extended holiday. I won’t go into the ports of call, but suffice it to say they were brilliant. I was truly blown away especially by the New Zealand stops. I spent a few days post cruise in Auckland and loved that city. Where Azamara continues to struggle are all areas I noted during my first voyage, 18 months ago. First, the front office just can’t seem to put out accurate information. As another reviewer noted, our travel documents stated the Quest would be berthed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) in Sydney. For several months prior to the trip, the Port of New South Wales website showed her berthing at White Bay. I called Azamara several times and was assured by the CSR (and supervisors) that the ship would be at OPT. For those not familiar with Sydney, these locations are not close to each other, about $40 AUD taxi fare. Finally a few days before departure, another CSR emailed the Quest and confirmed it would be White Bay. An email was finally sent out, but many had already left for their travels and not everyone looks at emails on holiday. I overheard several passengers who followed the directions on their docs only to find the ship wasn’t there. This was not a last minute change of berth due to unforeseen events, the Port always listed White Bay. Needless confusion on a simple matter. As I mentioned my cabin on deck was cozy but the in room entertainment was awful. With 3 very rough sea days crossing the Tasman Sea, all the outside decks were closed due to high winds. A newer movie was $11.99 or you could watch Top Gun (circa 1986) over and over. Maverick and Goose- really? The last area was something I mentioned in several venues last time and received no response. Azamara touts itself as environmentally sensitive with signs reminding pax to reuse their towels. Yet, they continue to hand out hundreds of plastic water bottles and use little plastic bottles for shampoo, etc. There are always bins full of water bottles at the gangway, I have yet to see anyone return with an empty. I’m sure some folks try to dispose of them properly, but I’m guessing many just throw them away. It would be so easy to encourage people to bring a refillable water bottle with them or even better, provide one as a passenger perk instead of another tote bag. Fill stations are everywhere now, especially in Australia and New Zealand. An addition of a shampoo wall dispenser would eliminate the thousands of tiny plastic bottles used each cruise. This suggestion fell on deaf ears last time. Azamara is a good product, and I love the size of the ships, and the laidback atmosphere. I will be back but continue to explore the many options out there. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
After cruising Regent and Seabourn we were looking for a more casual experience coupled with an in-depth itinerary of New Zealand, and Azamara fit the bill. Itinerary included Melbourne,Tasmania and the North and South Islands in New ... Read More
After cruising Regent and Seabourn we were looking for a more casual experience coupled with an in-depth itinerary of New Zealand, and Azamara fit the bill. Itinerary included Melbourne,Tasmania and the North and South Islands in New Zealand. We were lucky enough to have great weather in Milford Sound and Captain Magnus did a great job navigating the ship. We loved the genuinely friendly crew, no formal nights or snootiness, wonderful food and late night/overnight port stays. Passengers ranged from 40s to 70s mainly from Australia, USA and NZ with 60s the average.The ship is immaculate and nicely appointed with modern art, and elevators were never crowded despite a fully booked cruise. Embarkation was fairly smooth although luggage delivery was slow. Our butler Xavier was friendly and helpful throughout. As suite guests we were entitled to dine at Prime C and Aqualina free of charge. We dined at both and they were wonderful, although the food in the main dining room Discoveries was delicious too. However spacing between tables at Windows and Discoveries was extremely tight which felt claustrophobic when fully booked. We really enjoyed the Patio for casual outdoor lunches and dinners as well. Shore excursions were generally very good but Azamara didn't offer everything we wanted to do so we arranged several tours on our own as well. Entertainment was just OK, although the comedian Simon Palomares was an unexpectedly hilarious treat. Azamara brought on a local high school group to perform a spirited haka dance, a highlight of the trip for us. Downsides were relatively minor - slow, spotty and pricey Internet service, a cruise industry problem. Azamara's in-room TV and video offerings are pathetically bad. What good is having 2 large flat screen TVs in the suite if the picture is of poor quality with limited stations and on-demand movies are a whopping $11.99 each? We booked a one night post stay through Azamara at the Pullman Hotel which we don't recommend. They never called our number during debarkation so we ended up running to the taxi at the last minute despite being ready early, a chaotic scenario. We met many repeat clients onboard and can see why. Overall we had a fantastic cruise experience with Azamara and already booked another one. Can't wait! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Sydney Harbor for NY Eve reason for trip. Supposed to see fireworks from ship, docked at White Bay - poor dockage - back view of bridge, lack of transportation to/from. Bought an overpriced NY Eve party at the zoo. It was awful, to ... Read More
Sydney Harbor for NY Eve reason for trip. Supposed to see fireworks from ship, docked at White Bay - poor dockage - back view of bridge, lack of transportation to/from. Bought an overpriced NY Eve party at the zoo. It was awful, to their credit, I received a full refund - that can't cancel out an event of a lifetime. Shore excursions cancelled, private transfer booked (shore excursions person to meet me on shore - he didn't, then tried to blow it off as a 'miscommunication'. I called him out - then he said he had something else to do). I was told I received emails (at least 3) I didn't. ..including the final statement - they proudly state they are 'eco friendly' - I would get an email statement (should I pay $30/hour to check my email on the ship...really...shame on them). Thank goodness I asked for the paper statement so I could see my $1000 credit for the NY Eve mess. Crew and passengers embark/disembark at same location on the ship - it makes a mess...long lines to get on/off ship. Buffet was self serve - passengers and crew were coughing and sick...not surprising. Soon people were reaching for the food with their hands, staff didn't care. Staff uses passenger elevators/stairs and are constantly moving tables and chairs thru the public areas. If you are in their way they just push you.It was really bad . won't be back Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Booked this cruise nearly three years ago so, looking forward to Christmas and NY on board ship and especially fireworks in Sydney harbour. The day we boarded in Fremantle, Western Australia the temperature was 41c, like anoven. Great ... Read More
Booked this cruise nearly three years ago so, looking forward to Christmas and NY on board ship and especially fireworks in Sydney harbour. The day we boarded in Fremantle, Western Australia the temperature was 41c, like anoven. Great to get on board, no queuing which was good. Didn’t have to wait long for our luggage to arrive. Then up to get some lunch in Windows Cafe. We booked a Club Balcony, Port side. Having been on Azamara ships before we knew what to expect especially the small bathroom and shower with the plastic curtains!! However, all clean. It was a lovely balmy evening when we sailed out of Fremantle although we did head into rougher seas during the night. Our first port of call was Albany which we had been to many times before as we lived in Perth for a number of years. Albany was much cooler and good to walk around and stretch those legs. Christmas Day was spent cruising the Great Australian Bight. We went for the brunch at around 10am, very busy but some amazing choices of food. The main meal being in the evening which was great. No complaints about food on this cruise what so ever, well, breakfast was pretty much the same each morning but, I did enjoy the black pudding!! We did a ships tour when we docked in Adelaide, which to be honest was not great due to the fact our tour guide could not get the microphone to work. Anyway, we toured around Adelaide,headed for Mt Lofty to get some amazing views over Adelaide and the coast. Then headed to Hansdorff in the hills. A stinking hot day 41c. Hansdorff is a very pretty little town settled a century ago by the Germans and still retains a lot of character. The following day we were docked in Kangaroo Island. Then two days at sea before we sailed into Sydney Harbour. Went shopping as the January sales were on. I must say at this point, we did not do any tours as we live in Australia and have been to all the places on this cruise before. Shuttle buses were provided each day we were in port, on NYE they were dropping guests at Central Station from there you can catch a train to Circular Quay and elsewhere in Sydney. This was because a number of roads were closed due to the fireworks that Evening. Day two we were dropped at Darling Harbour from where you can catch a ferry into Circular Quay. All buses ran smoothly each day. New Years Eve, the ship put on alfresco dining on the main deck but, unfortunately there was a heavy down pour at 8pm which ruined everything. Fortunately, we had decided to eat in the main dining room. At midnight we went up on deck to watch the fireworks and although we were seeing them from the backside of the bridge they were still amazing. I gather people who went to the zoo got drenched due to the earlier downpour. So glad we never paid the extortionate price the ship was asking. Day two in Sydney we met up with a friend for lunch in Darling Harbour. Our last port of call was Hobart, Tasmania. Most unusual for Hobart it was stinking hot, 36c. Walked around the dock and took photos of some of the yaghts that were still in dock after finishing the Sydney to Hobart race. Last stop Melbourne where we disembarked. The disembarkation was very smooth as was the coach trip back to the airport, all handled very well. My main moan, too many days at sea, did we really need to go straight from Adelaide to Sydney. The evening entertainment, well 4 opera singers gets a bit boring. Variety is needed. Too many people going down with coughs which I ended up with. Ships stewards were great, always smiling. They work so hard. Food was good, much better than our last cruise on Azamara Journey in July 18. Overall, a good cruise, met some lovely people. Oh, nearly forgot, we did enjoy the Ships Expo they put on for one of our sea days, excellent, good to see and chat to staff who work in the background keeping everything ticking over Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Wanted to see Jakarta, Bali & especially Komodo Island! Fabulous - then found the south-west of Australia was fascinating too!! Our cruise was the first ship allowed to dock overnight in Geraldton, West Australia - the Council and ... Read More
Wanted to see Jakarta, Bali & especially Komodo Island! Fabulous - then found the south-west of Australia was fascinating too!! Our cruise was the first ship allowed to dock overnight in Geraldton, West Australia - the Council and Tourism people put on an amazing evening of food, wine, local animals to have pics taken with, a didgeridoo player, a local artist, info about pearl farming and jewellery making - we had the BEST time!!! Also loved the art classes on board - we are studying watercolour painting and the Welsh artist, Chris Tatam was so informative, his classes grew bigger each time - people got there early and left later as they all enjoyed it so much!!! Please bring them back more often!!! Some people were upset that stops in Broome and Exmouth were cancelled, but Busselton & Bunbury were very interesting and made up for it! Stopping at Geraldton meant we could take the tour out to Kalbarri National Park - wonderful!!!!! Shore Excursions seem quite expensive, compared to what the locals can offer, but of course no-one wants to get back to the ship late and have it go without them!!!! Entertainment only average - magician & music shows not professionally done at all. Crossing the Equator entertainment with Captain Jose was a highlight!!!!!! Coffee wasw a highlight - great piccolos even out of the machine. Mosaic Cafe staff fabulous with their barista and waiting skills!!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Let me say at the outset, I had a great time on this trip -- saw some amazing things and enjoyed many of the passengers and staff, but would I sail with Azamara again? Not sure. First, the good things. As many have noted, the ... Read More
Let me say at the outset, I had a great time on this trip -- saw some amazing things and enjoyed many of the passengers and staff, but would I sail with Azamara again? Not sure. First, the good things. As many have noted, the people working on this ship seem really to like their jobs. There is a strong emphasis on guest engagement, much like on Celebrity, with most all the staff striking a nice balance between service and engagement. I liked most every staff person I encountered. The officers were visible and the captains (we had a change mid cruise) were engaging -- looked forward to their daily announcements. I had a travel snafu of my own making at time of disembarkation and the concierge and help desk were great in helping me sort it out. The AzaAmazing Evening program is a very cool innovation, taking all the passengers off the ship at an overnight port and treating them to something local, in this case, a stunning performance of Balinese dance and music. It ended with what was clearly a story being told by three characters, two monkeys and a regal, but somewhat scary looking figure, but we had no clue what was being portrayed. To have found out the background of this and shared it with the passengers ahead of time would seem to have been easily done, but wasn't. Still, a very enjoyable event. The logistics of this obviously are complicated, but it went off pretty well -- long lines getting back on the ship, but that's to be expected. The White Party also is a nice tradition, with the officers serving grilled food buffet style around the elaborately decorated pool area. Azamara regulars are mad for this event and I liked it too. There is tremendous brand loyalty to this line. Many of the people I met had sailed with Azamara numerous times and were planning the next one while on board. I also encountered some other first timers like me and their reactions by the end of the cruise varied widely from feeling like the ship was a great fit for them to, 'never again.' Why is that? This is for sure not a typical cruise line. While the price point is well above the mainstream lines, Holland America, Celebrity, Princess, etc., it's not exactly a luxury line either. This is not Seabourne, not Crystal, There are endless sales pitches, for one thing, the daily brochure being mostly ads. More importantly, the food and beverage services are not in that category and the cabins are very small. On food, the offerings in the main dining room are okay, but not memorable and the service is harried. This was not a sold out cruise and what that dining room would be like when the ship is full would be something to witness. The wait staff are really good, but they were running like mad things, sweating brows all around. I ate once in the specialty steak restaurant at $30 and it was fine -- nice service and very good food. I also thought the buffet offerings were generally good and comparable to what you see on Celebrity, though maybe less diverse. Finally, on food, a dim sum brunch happened one day and was outstanding in every way -- probably the best meal I had on Quest. On the beverages, I upgraded to the mid-level for $16/day, which, for example, got me Woodford Reserve bourbon, a considerable step up for the provided Jim Beam. (Interestingly, the next step up gets you Bulleit and Makers Mark -- Bulleit above Woodford Reserve? Curious.) These beverage packages have no effect on the wine, though. If you don't want what's provided, you have to buy a separate wine package, of which there are two. Needless to say, there is endless confusion at dinner about who gets to drink what wine at a table for six. I was fine with what was provided, but many people were not happy with it. So, I think the first timers who fell in the, 'never again,' category were expecting to eat and drink like they would on Crystal, given what they'd paid. Likewise, they for sure did not want to be hearing about what was for sale every day. Cabins. They are small and the bathrooms, particularly the showers, very small indeed. Storage, though, is quite adequate. Azamara is advertised as a small ship company, small being relative to, say, Princess or Celebrity with 2000+ passengers, and thus able to visit ports the big ships cannot. Well the ship is sort of small, but it has over 700 passengers, about what Crystal carries in a much bigger ship. Where to put them? In small cabins, of course. It's the price you pay and, as a single traveler, I liked the cabin fine, though I'd happily have traded a foot of sleeping quarters for a shower more than 20 inches wide. As before, the, 'never again,' reaction probably also reflected disappointment with the accommodations. At the price point, people expect something a little grander. On the excursions, since I was traveling alone, I relied pretty much completely on those offered and was very happy with all of them. So, would I do Azamara again? Well, Azamara offers a different kind of experience with some big pluses and some minuses as well, but if the itinerary were right and the single supplement low enough, I might. On the other hand, share that cabin? Only with Solomon, my cat, and I don't think that's allowed. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
This is our second trip on this ship...the Quest. We had been taking 1-2 Regent trips per year through 2013 and then have taken a few SilverSea (SS) expedition trips, almost all with LCT, so this line was rather new to us. We upgraded to a ... Read More
This is our second trip on this ship...the Quest. We had been taking 1-2 Regent trips per year through 2013 and then have taken a few SilverSea (SS) expedition trips, almost all with LCT, so this line was rather new to us. We upgraded to a lovely 3 room suite with a huge balcony, huge bathroom and separate bedroom and living room. While my Regent info is dated and I’ve only done expedition trips on SS, my comparison may not be accurate. What I like about Azamara Quest: you get directed to your cab in immediately upon boarding and the luggage is prompt; service levels are very high—superb— uniformly; the specialty restaurants, included for suite guests, are excellent; the cruise tour desk goes above and beyond and is efficient. Ship staff are warm, friendly and responsive. From the stewards to hotel captain, there is an overwhelming pride and focus on details. The Azamazing evening experience in Bali was superb. Azamara general dining in Jewish terms is “meh.” Activities onboard so-so. Lectures not too thrilling. Entertainment has been good; in fact, they are going/coming from Regent. So, about the same quality. The cruise director and performers are very talented and lovely. Service levels are superb. One thing I really like about Azamara is their attention to mid cruise evaluations and making immediate corrections. The hotel director promptly communicates to staff and things are corrected and good performers are told. For example, I don’t drink. We have a bar setup in the room that is free and no one will use. However, I couldn’t have Perrier or Evian as a replacement without taking a beverage package. I also couldn’t have these upgraded waters with meals and was charged for them. After the evaluations and my constructive comments, The staff ensured I got the water free of charge everywhere I went. Evian was sent to my room as well. I also like the ability to accrue free nights. This is so much better than just pressing, laundry and wi-fi. Just from 2 trips, we accrued 6 free nights, a handsome savings. Wi-fi is discounted to 150 for the cruise, we have free pressing and a free laundry bag every 7 days with a suite. Discounts also range from 4-10% onboard discounts on future sailings depending on the number of nights sailed. Add in shipboard credit promotions and it’s an excellent value. All this is enough to have us return. Rooms: Azamara can be very cheap if you go for an inside cabin. Regular cabins with a window or veranda aren’t bad but the bathrooms are teeny. The Continental Club rooms are a good deal. They are a decent size, have a tub with shower, a private spa deck and hot tubs, a veranda and include all specialty restaurants. We stayed in one of these rooms the first trip and were very happy. We upgraded to a Club Oceanview Suite this time, due to a good deal, which is at the front of the ship. It had a nice size living room with a dining table, a full bedroom (king bed) separated from the living area by a door, a powder room with a toilet and a large bathroom with a large soaking tub and a large, separate shower. These corner rooms have a wall of floor to ceiling sliding doors to a very large balcony with two lounge chairs and a table with 4 chairs as well as a large window. It’s light and airy with good storage. Negatives? The rail is solid so it’s hard to see the ocean lying down and there is no outside light. This is the front, so it does rock and roll and you hear the anchor. There are three higher categories of rooms. One is at the back and is a bit bigger with a bigger balcony. Folks were happy with these suites. Another consists of w spa suites. The living space itself is the same as a basic Regent room but it has a HUGE bathroom with a large jacuzzi with floor to ceiling glass windows. The room is contemporary and luxurious but it has a very small balcony. This is the perfect room for colder climates, where you wouldn’t really use a balcony but want a light airy space. It is on the top floor, next door to the spa and very private. It would be my room of choice if I were going alone. There are also owner’s suites mid ship on the sides but I didn’t see these rooms. A perk of having a suite is having a butler,but I am really not a fan of having them. Another perk is expedited embarkation, debarkation, front rows at the Azamazing evening and a fabulous VIP dinner with the staff. You also accrue points for free nights faster, get a discount on internet, free specialty dining, free pressing and a bag of free laundry each week. Doug and I loved the extras and extra room. Food: Breakfasts were fine. It was available in the cafe or in the room. Lunch was okay. I really liked the brunches and felt they were excellent. There is also a cafe with the ability to pick up snacks anytime. There are two specialty dining venues. One is a steakhouse and one is Italian. service and food are as good as it gets. The menu in each is large and there are specials each night. There are chef’s tables at 90 pp (Asian, French or Italian). We did the French one and had a great time. There are also special theme dinners at 25pp but we didn’t try one. I hear they are excellent. The White Nights evening was great, but we missed it this year. Tours: pretty bad. I don’t know whether it was the ports or the tour operator but I wasn’t impressed. Azamara does not make you feel like cattle. Tours are limited to 25 max and they pass on discounts if they go higher. The ports were far away from fun things to do overall and too much time was spent coming and going to the sites. Food offered on the tours were of a very high quality. Azamara also offers private tours. These were awful. I’d never take one again. It seemed that Azamara tried to fill up time even if there was nothing to see. I heard stories of one hour at a statue. We did have several good tours and I’ll go into them in my port reviews, but they required long treks in a bus. That’s what we tried to avoid with the private tours...the long bathroom breaks and uncomfortable buses. With Azamara’s Private Journeys we got poorly planned tours with a driver and no real guide. I found the coordinator Sandra Carola Fernandez Gonzalez lacklustre and she never followed through in following up on our poorly planned Bunbury tour. I expect expertise and there was none. Ports: Jakarta was our first port stop. I think I’d rather end my life early then to ever be a citizen in either Jakarta, Semarang or Surabaya. Indonesia's lack of tax authority enforcement leads to the Government having little money for serious developments. In fact, they have only 27 million registered taxpayers when there should be around 120 million people if everyone eligible complied to the tax law. This is due to the severe lack of funding and manpower in their tax office, leading to many citizens having a completely lax attitude towards tax evasion as they probably wouldn’t get caught anyway. It’s port capacity is very poor. This leads to Indonesians having to spend much more if they want to export goods to foreign markets due to a lack of supply of container transportation. It is much more lucrative to base operations in Singapore which has ready made cheap transport for exports. As a result, Singapore has an export level of around USD23 Billion, which dwarfs Indonesia at USD12 Billion, despite having a small fraction of Indonesia's population. As a result, Indonesians find it more profitable to base and list their business in Singapore due to its infrastructure availability and ease of doing business. Indonesia's financial industry is underdeveloped and undersocialized. The lack of availability in financial instruments which could generate higher returns to investors and lack of financial literacy among the Indonesian population is costing Indonesia. As a result, Indonesians react to this by choosing to launder and park their money abroad (mainly Singapore), where they can invest in different types of financial instruments provided by investment banks. I was not prepared for the degree of poverty or filth in Indonesia. Jakarta was our first stop. Slums were the norm. Families were sleeping in doorways. Trash was everywhere. Our tour guide was excellent and did his best to educate us on the city. Jakarta, is the home to 10 million people and is not only the seat of the national government and the provincial government, but it is also Indonesia’s political center. It sits on swampy land, the Java Sea lapping against it, and 13 rivers running through it. So it shouldn't be a surprise that flooding is frequent in Jakarta and, according to experts, it is getting worse. But it's not just about freak floods, this massive city is literally disappearing into the ground. The dramatic rate at which Jakarta is sinking is partly down to the excessive extraction of groundwater for use as drinking water, for bathing and other everyday purposes by city dwellers. Piped water isn't reliable or available in most areas so people have no choice but to resort to pumping water from the aquifers deep underground. But, when groundwater is pumped out, the land above it sinks as if it is sitting on a deflating balloon - and this leads to land subsidence. Our guide says that his in laws use rain water, but that is only available during certain seasons. Most have to purchase water and store it in large tanks held on the roofs. He shared that experts confirm that water management authorities can only meet 40% of Jakarta's demand for water. Day 2 in Indonesia was more uplifting in Semarang. Flooding issues were highly visible with inner city roadways in an awful state but the highway system was rather good. Outside of the city, there were gated communities with large homes against a backdrop of volcanoes. The countryside jungle was lush and beautiful and roadside food stands and shops were rather abundant. It was a Sunday and families seemed to be out and enjoying life together. We were on our way to Borobudur, which is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple in Central Java, Indonesia. It is the world's largest Buddhist temple. It was hot. Very hot. The temple was impressive and very well maintained. I believe it was discovered in the 1200s and later made a UNESCO heritage site. Our lunch was excellent....vegetables were fresh and flavorful, the chicken satay and beef dish were the best I have ever had. We drove through countrysides of coffee plantations and rice plantations with folks hard at work in the fields. Most folks had smiles on their faces and it was a long, 9 hour day well spent! Day 3 was Surabaya. This was our day of enduring 97 degree humid weather, traveling hours by bus and then getting 12000 steps on our fitbits to see nothing. Surabaya is headed by a Muslim woman whose key focus is cleaning up filth and adding greenery. It was clean by comparison to Jakarta but definitely not pretty. We drove through middle class and wealthy areas to end up at our destination....a mangrove river tour. We were supposed to learn about mangrove restoration and benefits. The rubbish in the swampy river was disgusting and the cruise was disorganized and lacked organization, the walk was dull and uninteresting and ‘learning how to plant mangroves’ consisted of giving us a small 2 foot tree to put in a hole. I’m all for helping out a struggling community but I gotta would have preferred to stay on our lovely ship. We all should have been reimbursed for this tour. It was dreadful. Indonesia part 2: 2 days in Bali and 1 half day in Komodo. Day 1 (December 11) We had some choices over our 2 days there. I knew I wanted the Monkey Forest tour and that was day 2. The Azamazing evening was day 1 and I didn’t want too exhausting a day as there would be 2 tours that day and we’d have to get ready and were the first group out. I seem to overbook us and piss Doug off. After the disgusting mangrove tour, I was hoping for something better. Our choices were: a beach resort (Doug is not a beach guy but this is what we should have done), A culture tour, a shopping tour (not with Doug), a temple tour ( doing that with the monkeys), Ubud on your own, Ubud Ridges, Villages and valleys. We chose the latter thinking we’d see Ubud. It was supposed to be a journey with incredible views of the volcano, stunning rivers, discover village life. It was none of these things. I never saw a volcano. It was a long walk through a trail behind resort communities. Boring. We did have an outstanding lunch with gorgeous views, though. Our Azamazing evening was an evening of Balinese folklore at the Taman Budaya Art Center.A dance troupe entertained us under the stars.the performances showcased story telling dance characterized by intricate footwork, eyes and finger movements. Balinese dance is an ancient dance tradition that is part of the religious and artistic expression among the Balinese people and is dynamic, angular and intensely expressive. Bali dancers learn the craft as children and even in the womb they are played Balinese music. They are taught to dance with their hands before they can walk. Official training as a Bali dancer starts as young as 7. In Balinese dance the movement is closely associated with the rhythms produced by a musical ensemble specific to Java and Bali. Multiple levels of articulations in the face, eyes, hands, arms, hips, and feet are coordinated to reflect layers of percussive sounds. Wow! I never knew hands could move like that. It was absolutely breathtaking. I almost cancelled the next day’s tour...Monkey Forests and temple due to the poor tours we’d been having but I like monkeys. We began at the Tenah Lot Temple, famed for its location atop a craggy outcrop set amid crashing waves. The coastal temple Pura Tanah Lot is located in the southern part of Bali. To many people, Tanah Lot epitomizes the romantic island of Bali. Tanah Lot means Land in The Sea, a perfectly fit name for its unique offshore settings. The silhouette of Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most popular iconic features of Bali. The history of Tanah Lot temple was believed to date back to the 16th century. For the Balinese, Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most important and venerated sea temples. However, it has all the authenticity of a stage set – even the tower of rock that the temple sits upon is an artful reconstruction (the entire structure was crumbling) and more than one-third of the rock is artificial. We then continued to the Monkey Forest at the Alas Kedaton Sacred Sanctuary where long tailed macaques thrive in a natural habitat. Alas Kedaton is a popular monkey forest sanctuary - a sacred one at that. The sanctuary is made up of many acres of land purely inhabited by big bats and monkeys. The forest sanctuary is located at Kukuh village in Tabanan and made for a fun hour. The crab-eating macaque is the major breed of monkey found in this sanctuary, and Bali in general, as these primates are native to Southeast Asia. A baby bat decided to jump on my back and go for a ride. Eek! Last, we ventured over to Pura Taman Ayum, an 18th century temple complex. Tama Ayun is an aesthetically pleasing temple and is located in a mystical park sheltered by trees and ponds and is a temple built to honor various historical deities and gods. The temple has a rift in form of canals and can only be accessed through a bridge that leads you to a wide spaced grassy courtyard, which leads to another courtyard that houses multiple shrines, and ponds filled with lots of lotus blossoms. The best part of the tour was our guide who immersed us in Balinese culture both past and present. Lunch was again excellent. It was a varied, pretty and enlightening day. It was the best trip of the cruise. December 13 was our final day in Indonesia. I’d travelled thousands of miles to see a Komodo dragon in the wild. It was one of my reasons for taking this cruise. Komodo National Park is a World Heritage Site that was set aside to conserve the Komodo dragon and their natural habitat. The world’s largest lizard, the Komodo dragon is arguably Indonesia’s best-conserved large animal. Protected under Indonesian law, the population is relatively stable, with around 2,500 animals in the park. Entrance fees for foreigners were recently increased sharply plus an extra fee for a guide – in a bid to raise more revenue. Currently, the biggest threat to the dragons is the poaching of deer which is their prey, and the rise of human populations. The species shares the park with nearly 4,000 people, many of whom supplement their incomes by selling curios and snacks to tourists. The dragon dominates the food chain and underpins the local economy. We were surround by small and aggressive children peddling small trinkets as we made our way to venture deep into Komodo National Park where we went to search the dry forest for a glimpse of the prehistoric Komodo dragon. They exist nowhere else in the world and are of great interest to scientists studying the theory of evolution. After about 25 minutes of following guides into the park in 100 degree heat, we were told we might not even see them, as they are wild animals. Finally, right near the trance where we walked in 25 minutes earlier, we see our first cluster of dragons. The park staff are armed with sticks – which doesn’t seem like enough in case of a Komodo dragon attack. With their fearsome reputation in mind, I stay well back. At first sight, they do appear “lifeless” – like large seals wearing crocodile skin. When they move, they crawl on their bellies and then suddenly rear up sphinx-like, sticking out their forked tongues and making a distinctive hissing sound. There are five of the dragons in the group. They are grouped around each other, occasionally standing up, walking a few steps and hissing. The guides stand near us with massive sticks, which they will use to beat the dragons back in the event that they come near us. One guide, told me I reminded him of his mother and led me to them for upfront and personal close ups. I hoped he liked his mother. The Komodo can consume very large prey such as water buffalo, deer, carrion, pigs and even humans. It has a unique way of killing by biting its prey - especially when it is a large water buffalo, - surrounding it in a group then wait patiently until the poison in its saliva has slowly killed its victim.  After which it completely shreds apart and devoured with bones and all.  If the prey escapes, it will usually die within 24 hours due to poisoning of the blood that comes from the venomous and bacteria ridden saliva. Surprisingly, we were not rushed and were allowed quite a bit of time with them. Folks, who visited before, noticed that there were decidedly fewer Komodos than they have seen previously. Hot, but worth the experience. The only difference I would have liked—I would gladly have paid the guide for a shorter visit, with no trekking in the humid heat. Three days at sea (12/14-16) and then Western Australia.(12/17-12/22) The seas became rough. Returning to our cabin on 12/15, water was pouring under the glass sliding doors. The movement wasn’t bad. The position of our bed allowed for rocking side to side instead of head to toe (which our room was doing). It was rather pleasant. It was the crashing of the waves—the bang, bang, bang against the hull that ruined our sleep. We found out that a magnitude 6.1 earthquake struck around 1,000 km north-northwest of Perth on 12/15. It was much too rough to enjoy pools, hot tubs or our large balcony during our sea days. The draw of this cruise for many was to visit Broome and Exmouth. Broome is a beach resort town in western Australia’s Kimberley region. Along its Indian Ocean coastline, the white sands of Cable Beach offer a dramatic backdrop for sunset camel rides. At Gantheaume Point nearby, dinosaur tracks are revealed in the beach’s red rocks during low tide. An ideal beach resort that was cancelled. Ugh. Exmouth is a small resort town on Western Australia’s North West Cape. It’s a gateway to nearby Ningaloo Marine Park with its coral reefs, colourful fish and migratory whale sharks. Nearly surrounding Exmouth, Cape Range National Park has kangaroos, sheer cliffs and red, rocky gorges. On the Cape's northwest coast, Jurabi Coastal Reserve's tidal rock pools, beaches and seasonal nesting grounds for marine turtles. This was cancelled too. Ugh. So, 2 nights in Geraldton (12/16-17) replaced these two ports. Geraldton is a major west coast seaport and a logistics center for regional mining, fishing, wheat and sheep. It was a far cry from an iconic beach resort with incredible wildlife and snorkelling. The downtown is struggling to keep alive and shops have a hard time surviving. According to some Australian friends, they had a great day of shopping. The Mid West region of Western Australia is strategically located on an iconic coastline between Perth and the growing economies of the State’s north. There are a host of different economic opportunities - all of which the region intends to capitalise on. Traditionally an agricultural region, the Mid West is now attracting unprecedented investment interest from a range of other industry sectors. The mining industry has quickly become the main economic driver of the region. Strong international demand for commodities and high commodity prices have already underpinned significant mining investment and many more projects are planned for future years. Most folks are positive about the economic stability of Geraldton long term, and attest to Geraldton being one of the best places in the country to live if you're looking for a great balance of lifestyle, affordability, and beauty. There are enough jobs if you have the right skill set or are willing to undertake training or education. There are few better places in terms of beaches and a wonderful outdoor lifestyle. And you don't need to be a multi millionaire to live near the beach, like you would in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth.  But the last decade plus of unquestioned positivity has lead to lots of members of the public being left holding investments that are now worth far less than they paid and many people owe far more on their homes than what they could reasonably be expected to sell them for today.  Rewind to 2006. Property prices around WA were booming, in large part due to the insatiable demand for WA's iron ore from China. Meanwhile, the City of Geraldton was hiking rates like they were in the rate raising olympics. Property, all of a sudden, didn't seem like such a great investment.  Nationally syndicated writers, economists and property "gurus" boldly kept predicting Geraldton was the next "boom town", and that it was a "gateway" to the North West and to the Mid West. Fast forward to 2018. Geraldton was budgeting for the future based on an assumption that Geraldton was going to spike in population within a foreseeable timeline. There was no explanation about how those official sources made their predictions, but the exact opposite happened. Geraldton's population declined in the following few years.  I digress from our day to give you a handle on the fact we were docked in a port far from touristy things to do. So, we signed up to visit an animal rescue facility nearby and to visit the old town of Geraldton. It wasn’t an exciting day but it was very pleasant. The weather was lovely, the guide good, the animals fun and I had the best scones ever. While we overnighted there, we didn’t arrive until a bit after noon. First stop was The Greenough Wildlife Park which was not the best park for animal interaction, but it was a good learning facility as it was designed as a temporary home for rescued animals, rehabilitation and release. It was small and the animals were all caged. The owner was a former cop and had a warm and engaging personality. We were able to get up close and personal with parrots, crocodiles, dingos, red and grey kangaroos and reptiles. She is the person you call if you find a python or a highly venomous snake around your house. Our guide was Greenough wildlife guru Michelle Jones who was an interesting lady. Recently, she spent two weeks helping scientists conduct important crocodile research at the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in far north Queensland. Ms Jones worked alongside the Australia Zoo’s crocodile team, including Irwin’s widow Terri and children Bindi and Robert. The Greenough Wildlife and Bird Park manager was tasked with helping catch and restrain the giant reptiles so the scientists could safely do their work. Michelle said the research was being used to better understand crocodiles’ habits and, in turn, teach people how to live safely alongside the awe-inspiring beasts. She said she had plans to work with a scientist who was conducting groundbreaking research into social interactions between crocodiles. “We attach satellite and acoustic transmitters to large saltwater crocodiles to track their movements in the river systems up there. The satellite tags allow us to pinpoint where the crocodile lives, and its dive time, which we’ve worked out can be up to 12 hours. The crocodile is processed and back in the water within about 25 minutes; that’s how quick the researchers and the scientists are up there. When the wet season comes, they head up the river systems to certain pockets, and then returning after the season is over to live in rivers where, sadly, a lot of people go swimming. It’s totally uncharted territory. It’s never been looked at before.It will be looking at whether they know their offspring and if they are socially interacting each year through recognition of pheromones.” She also had 2 dingos. The dingo is a type of dog that is native to Australia. Its taxonomic status is debated. Australia is home to so many of these animals that they are generally considered pests. A famous “dingo fence” has been erected to protect grazing lands for the continent's herds of sheep. It is likely that more dingoes live in Australia today than when Europeans first arrived. Though dingoes are numerous, their pure genetic strain is gradually being compromised. They can and do interbreed with domestic dogs to produce hybrid animals. Studies suggest that more than a third of southeastern Australia's dingoes are hybrids.  We were able to pat and meet the dogs. Their fur was coarse and bristly but they acted like normal pet dogs, wanting a kiss or a scratch. I had the unfortunate accident of stepping into a hole a dingo had dug and was plagued by constant knee pain for the rest of our trip. I think it’s finally on the mend. The kangaroos are a hoot. The red kangaroo is large with droopy eyes, a relaxed attitude and a “hey, dude” disposition. The grey kangaroo is a bit more skittish. I had the opportunity to cradle a baby grey one. From there, we went to the Greenough Historical village. There were numerous out buildings dating back to the late 1800s. Quite honestly, we have more interesting places in the US. We were treated to warm scones, clotted cream and jam with tea and these scones made the stop worth our time. Upon returning to the port, the Geraldton port had decide to throw us a welcome party, with local foods, drinks, port information, animals, mining info. It was well done and very enjoyable. Day 2 in Geraldton was an all day private tour to the pink salt lake and the Kalbarri National Park, one of Western Australia's most popular places to visit. It was striking but paled compared to our Grand Canyon. In all honesty, I think the time to visit is when the wildflowers are out, July to September. At that time, You can see the park ablaze with the colours of spring, with over 1,100 varieties of wildflowers are found there. It was a long day for a day trip. You drive through acre upon acre of wheat fields...think Nebraska. You get to your destination, quickly see the sites and have to turn around. I think it’s a place you want to spend a couple of days, taking hikes and enjoying outdoor activities. You can go bushwalking, gorge hiking or canoeing and take a journey back 400 million years, when the tidal flats of an ancient sea formed the striking red sandstone and the mighty Murchison River carved out deep gorges on its way to the ocean. We took a more relaxed experience and drove out to the park's many lookouts for some must-snap vistas, including the famous Nature's Window, The Loop, Z Bend, Hawks Head and Ross Graham, Red Bluff and Pot Alley. What spoiled the outdoor activities a bit was the heat and the swarms of bushflies. These flies look like our flies but are much smaller and swarm around you. They were everywhere we went in Australia. You really needed to wear netting which we didn’t have. The pink lakes: Australia is home to the bizarre pink coloured lakes. They look good enough to drink but are the saltiest bodies of water on earth. Analysis of the water has shown about 10 species of algae and bacteria, which are all predominantly pink. Despite bacteria being the reason for the strawberry milk color, the lake is totally safe to swim in. In fact, the lake's high salt content likely makes the water so dense that you'd float incredibly easily, the way you would in the Dead Sea. It was incredible to look at but mines and factories dotted its shores making it hard to enjoy. The echidna: Driving along we found an echidna in the road and we stopped to rescue it. See pics. So what is an echidna? It has spines like a porcupine, a beak like a bird, a pouch like a kangaroo, and lays eggs like a reptile. Also known as spiny anteaters, they're small, solitary mammals native to Australia. They're usually between 12 and 17 inches long and weigh between 4 and 10 pounds. Their spines are actually modified hairs. Echidnas' bodies (with the exception of their undersides, faces, and legs) are covered with 2-inch long spines. Fur between the spines provides insulation. Echidnas live slow and long. Echidnas have the lowest body temperature of any mammal, 89__°F. Their body temperatures are not controlled in the same way as that of other mammals, and can fluctuate by up 6–8°C over the course of the day. Their long life spans — up to 50 years in captivity, with anecdotal reports of wild animals reaching 45 years — are due to their low body temperature and slow metabolism. Male echidnas have a bizarre, four-headed penis. You might wonder how you mate with a four-headed penis. During sex, two of the heads shut down while the other two grow bigger to fit into the female's two-branched reproductive tract. Males alternate the heads they use between matings. Echidnas form mating trains. A strange process marks the start of echidna breeding season. Males line up nose to tail behind a single female, forming a train of up to a dozen individuals. Trains can last more than a month, with males dropping out and rejoining. When the female is finally ready to mate, the males dig a trench in the ground around her. The males compete for mating honors by pushing each other out of the trench. The last one remaining gets to mate with the female. Strange creatures! Food: We stopped for lunch where we could sample emu, kangaroo, crocodile. The crocodile tasted like, yes, “Chicken.” The others like over cooked shoe leather. I guess it tasted awful because it was too cute to eat? Bunbury and Busselton, Australia.. (December 19 and 20th) These two ports are really close to one another and about an hour from the wine area—Margaret River. I booked a private tour through Azamara Private Journeys for Dec 19 and wanted to see it all. Unfortunately, the white night was being held on 12/19 and Azamara’ should home office wouldn’t change the date to 12/20 since we were told the guide was out of Bunbury. It turned out he was between Bunbury and Busselton. We were picked up at 12:30 and the driver said he was taking us to Busselton. I asked why as we were going there the next day. We were to get an historical walking tour of both towns but he wasn’t informed of that. He did his best with a quick driving tour and then took us on our scheduled plane ride which was foolishly set up as Busselton to Busselton. It was pleasant. Then, he took us to the Margaret River to visit a winery and for dinner. Almost everything was closed by the time we finished one winery and we missed out on the chocolate and cheese factories. Then, we were taken to dinner at a holiday hotel. Since there was a function in the dining room, we were seated in the lobby, amid screaming kids, drunks and dogs. The dinner was about the equivalent of a poor man’s Pizza Hut. We had to get our own food, which was inedible. Moral of story: Do not ever sign up for Azamara’s Private Journeys. We were toured out and just did Busselton on our own. It’s a nice little beach town with cute shops, a great kids’ playground and a long jetty with a natural aquarium at the end. The jetty is said to be the longest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere and is the second longest wooden jetty (pier) in the world. The jetty construction commenced in 1853 and the first section was opened in 1865. The jetty was extended numerous times until the 1960s, ultimately reaching a length of 1841 m. The last commercial vessel called at the jetty in 1971 and the jetty was closed the following year. It passed into the control of Busselton Shire and has been gradually restored and improved since. view the event. The aquarium was opened on 13 December 2003 descending 8 metres below sea level where one can view the corals and fish life through eleven viewing windows. It was interesting but no WOW. If you are in the area, I suggest spending your time in the lovely Margaret River area, playing tourist, sampling wine and cheese and chocolates, enjoying the scenery and watching out for kangaroos dotting the fields. If you want to save money and enjoy the ship, you can safely wander both Bunbury and Busselton. Don’t waste your money on tours. Final day: Perth My husband thought I was crazy signing us up for a 12 hour tour for our final day, especially given the quality of the tours. Each of these experiences could be enjoyed as day trips from Perth unto themselves. It’s foolish to combine them all in one day unless that’s all you have. Our guide was excellent and was an encyclopedia of information. It could have been a great day if it had been timed better. Our day started out with the Caversham Wildlife Park. We should have spent a few hours here but only had 40 minutes. At Caversham Wildlife Park there are a variety of daily attractions that you can come and see and get involved with which include: Meet the Wombat and Friends, Feed the Kangaroos and Meet the Koalas, feed the Kangaroos. It was a fine stop and a shame to have had so little time there. Each of these destinations is 90 minutes from Perth. Our next stop was the lobster processing factory which offers the complete lobster experience from lobster pot to cooking pot! The Lobster Shack provides a close up encounter with the most valued single species fishery in Australia; the Western Rock Lobster. We were able to see how the lobsters are processed in the factory and packaged up to be sent LIVE to destinations all over the world. However, Azamara cheaped out and served us fish and chips while other table was diving into lobster dinners . We gladly would have paid an up charge. Everyone was quite angry. I suggest that this stop could be a day unto itself. As a day tour, you can go out on a lobster boat and go lobstering and then indulge on a lobster dinner. Or, you can just visit the processing plant, have lunch and then go to the Pinnacles. The Pinnacles is pretty far, so I’d either combine visiting it with The Lobster Shack or the white dunes. It takes about an hour, more or less, to visit. Within the park is the ancient Pinnacles Desert, which is an area with thousands of limestone formations called pinnacles. Standing tall in the shifting sand dunes lies thousands of large limestone pillars that were originally believed to be a lost city. The first records of identification date back to the 1650s. Following this, there are no known records of the Pinnacles until 1820 by Philip Parker King. With very little discovery, the Department of Lands and Surveys included the Pinnacles Desert in the Nambung National Park (created in 1956) in the 1960s, and it was through this inclusion that the desert became a popular destination. The Pinnacles Desert has been home to Aboriginal tribes for many years – with artifacts found dating back 6,000 years. Many theories have been proposed about the formation of the Pinnacles. One of the theories is that they formed as a result of kastification, characterized by underground drainage systems with sinkholes and caves that weathers rocks, such as quartzite, given the right conditions. Another theory states that the pinnacles were formed through the preservation of tree casts buried in coastal aeolianties. A third theory states that the Pinnacles were created by plants. It is beautiful and well worth a visit. We then went to Lancelin for some dune buggying and sand surfing. We never really got to do either. When you visit the legendary Lancelin sand dunes you could squint and imagine you’re in a post apocalyptic dystopian world with David Lynch writing the script. It’s trippy. The sand is white like icing sugar rather than Sahara desert golden, and some dunes are as big as three story buildings. We headed off on a dune buggy bus. Up a dune; down a dune. Wavering at the top of a dune, our driver tried to stop but couldn’t reverse, so down we went into a sand crevasse. We all left the vehicle so the driver could dig us out. Uh uh. We were stuck in the middle of the desert with no one around, the sun growing dim on the horizon. Stuck. We had no choice but to climb the dunes and walk back to our awaiting bus. No sand boarding time for us. This was our misadventure. The tour escort called the ship as we were so late all dining would be closed. We were met by the hotel director at the bus doors and told ‘not to worry’ as the restaurants were kept open for us. What an end to our tour experience Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this ship 3 years in advance because of the itinerary and we were sailing back to back for the second cruise. We reserved Continent Suite 8043 as it seemed to suit our needs of more space and being midships. Unlike one of the ... Read More
We chose this ship 3 years in advance because of the itinerary and we were sailing back to back for the second cruise. We reserved Continent Suite 8043 as it seemed to suit our needs of more space and being midships. Unlike one of the previous reviews, when we entered our suite, we were impressed with the amount of space we had with plenty of storage. We had chosen to have a suite with shower only and we found the bathroom very adequate. We thought the decoration was very inviting, being light, bright and airy. As there were no formal evenings, the wardroom space was good as were the large drawers and the cases fitted easily under the bed. We felt very comfortable during our 31 nights on board and we were well attended by our butler, Xavier, and the stewards. We found the dining format to be very acceptable whether in Discoveries, Windows or on the patio. Because of the standard of these main dining areas, we did not find going to the speciality restaurants a particular treat. Throughout the long voyage, we found the staff to be so friendly but not over familiar and they all worked well together. We were most impressed with some of the senior officers, such as Philip, the hotel director, who always seemed to be visible and ready to assist at all times. One felt that the caring attitude started from the top and cascaded down. The complimentary drinks were surprisingly acceptable so rarely did we bother to buy any others and we were not pressurised to buy an 'upgrade'. Having booked this cruise so far in advance, one of the attractions was to visit Broome in the Australian summer (we have been there twice in the winter) but the itinerary was changed such that we stopped at neither Broome nor Exmouth so had three days of sailing from Komodo to Geraldton. As we were the first cruise ship to stay overnight in Geraldton, we were given an enormous reception by the town who made us so welcome. We have never experienced such a welcome before and neither had the ship's crew. Although giving a poor rating for 'enrichment activities', it was for the first cruise but the second cruise we would give it a 5 for Professor Johnson on Music. My wife is not musical but I persuaded her to attend the second in the series and she enjoyed the rest.. Read Less
Azamara Quest Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 0.0
Dining 4.5 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.5 0.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 0.0
Family N/A 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 3.5 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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