We chose this cruise as it formed part of an Africa experience we wished to undertake by staying in Cape Town area both before and after the cruise. It is an ideal way for first time visitors to South Africa to get the opportunity to visit places they otherwise would not have bothered with and take the opportunity to see the Big Five close up. We met some great people on board who we will keep in touch with.
Embarkation was smooth and we enjoyed a nice lunch. Weather was great during the cruise however, we felt the ports of call left a lot to be desired to be honest ( maybe Knysna, Hermanus should be considered in future, much better than other ports we visited ) but perhaps would have needed tenders to get onshore ? Unless you had booked an excursion aimed at a safari type visit, there was little of interest to see and do where the courtesy shuttle buses dropped you off ( mainly at modern style shopping malls in Richards Bay, East London and Port Elizabeth )
We understand to a certain degree why this was done, mainly for safety reasons, but once you’ve seen one mall, you really have seen them all and more effort could and should have been made we felt for the price of this cruise.
Durban was probably the best port of call where it was possible to do your own thing and see what was happening locally, great beach and many reasonably priced ways to visit local places of interest which we certainly took advantage to do so.
Azamara really need to review the extortionate prices they charge for excursions ! Most people we spoke with were horrified by the huge cost of trips as opposed to what was available at a fraction of the cost if you had the gumption to organise your own thing or join many trips organised by various individuals and groups as mentioned in the Quest pre cruise roll call, well done to you guys.
Having sailed with Azamara previously, we were satisfied with our veranda cabin and our room attendant was excellent, as were all members of staff we encountered during our cruise.
We definitely feel the standard of food has dropped significantly - as others also agreed - and Azamara certainly should look at just who they are sourcing their meats from as we had to send steaks and lamb dishes back as the meat was too tough to eat on 3 occasions. A friend of ours also had to send steak back at the speciality Ranch restaurant which is totally unacceptable when paying a surcharge for a decent steak.
Portions served in the main restaurant at times were less than generous e.g lamb loin which consisted of 3 miniature slivers of lamb posing as a main dish! Even the maitre D was embarrassed when we called him to the table, however, despite our complaints, no one on board followed up to investigate or offer an opinion, very poor customer service we felt and an easy opt out !
Cruise director was excellent as usual and tried hard to ensure everyone was enjoying the cruise. It has to be said that he really wasn’t helped by the troupe of singers and dancers who whilst trying their best and were friendly throughout, they really weren’t any better than semi pro performers who we can se locally anytime we want. Musicians were good and were enjoyable. I would say the best entertainment was when local acts were brought on board, dancers and singers were excellent and reflected how good local African talent can be and that is what guests wanted to see more of in this part of the world especially. The magician was ok, but we felt he suffered with his not very good sense of humour which certainly let his average act down. The AzAmazing evening was the best thing that was arranged by Azamara and we thoroughly enjoyed a spectacular evening. The White evening was also a success, well done.
Based on this cruise, we will be looking to other cruise companies when taking our next trip.
We understand lots of passengers were happy with the cruise, but there were also lots who weren’t and therein lies the problem. Sort out food quality, entertainment and vastly reduce the shore excursion costs in order to regain many passengers faith in this company. Sorry to have to write such a negative review, but I feel the points I have mentioned are valid and constructive and trust someone at Azamara reacts accordingly.
Cabin was kept very clean and tidy by our very helpful and cheerful room attendant and his assistant.