Azamara Onward, Club Continent Suite, Croatia intensive out of Ravenna
Karen | June 25, 2022 | Azamara | Azamara Pursuit
Embarkation in Ravenna – The embarkation terminal looked as though it was temporary, although it had a metal frame, the sides and roof resembled a plastic tent with the odd ceiling fan and it was extremely hot. The ships shuttle from Venice Airport got us to Ravenna for about 12, it took approx. 2 hours. We had a suite check-in queue but it was extremely slow, after check in we had to sit in stifling heat so would not be keen to do a Ravenna embarkation again.
Overall ship condition – The ship was previously owned by Princess, it is not new, just new to the Azamara fleet. It has undergone refurbishment and most of the ship looks new with new carpets and upholstery throughout, but there are areas that have not seen any refurbishment particularly the public restrooms which look very tired which is a shame because the appearance of restrooms is very important. Some of the drinks/coffee tables are the old original dark wood ones with wear reflecting their age, hopefully they will be replaced in time. Having recently cruised on Azamara Pursuit in March/April 2022 we would say Pursuit appears to be in better condition perhaps because it has been part of Azamara’s fleet for longer.
Club Continent Suite – The toiletries appear to be the same as a regular stateroom and whenever we have cruised in a suite they are usually upgraded. The selection of in-room spirits is now a one litre bottle of spirit from a set selection. This was an unexpected change but wasn’t too much of an issue as we both drink Gin but I can imagine that this may not work for some couples who drink different spirits. The décor was all new and kept well presented by the Butler and Attendant. The balcony is not so good condition, the balcony door track is tired with flaking paint and the balcony ceilings are patched, obviously an area that the facelift budget didn’t run to. The balcony furniture although new feels flimsy and the low back chairs were not very uncomfortable. The stateroom did not contain any fresh flowers which we really missed and we didn’t receive a complimentary tote bag, not sure if this was due to supply chain issues or if they are discontinued.
Sanctum Spa – For anyone who has cruised with Azamara before and benefited from having access to the Spa Terrace with the Club Continent Suite, we were told by the Spa Manger that it is no longer included, it is only included for the larger suites, this appears to be a change by the new owners.
Staff/Service – As always the staff go beyond to provide a warm friendly efficient service. Some of the staff have been with Azamara from previous years so have returned after the COVID period which is good for the company and the passengers as they have experience of the standards and expectation’s. Captain and Officers were always around the ship and engaged with the guests.
Cleanliness/Housekeeping – This is the first time ever I have had the need to pass a negative comment on Azamara cleaning but regretfully I experienced multiple ladies restrooms to be empty of cotton hand towels in the evening and the bins to be full to the brim and overflowing to the floor. To be fair to Azamara when I mentioned it, they said they would increase the frequency of checks. I am assuming that the staff to passenger ratio may have reduced since being sold and possibly staff no longer have the time to provide the service that is required and expected.
Destination information – Azamara have started to provide information and a map for every port on the first day which works well as you can plan in advance.
Atlas Bar – This is the new pay bar that is located in what used to be the library area. The drinks are included in the Ultimate drinks package but otherwise payable at approx. $18.00 each. It is a pleasant area and the drinks are quite special. Some guests may be upset that another free area of the ship has gone but the library was often under used unless a private function was held there and you can see why they would want the space to earn them some money.
Food – There is no longer an evening buffet in the windows cafe, it is now themed Al a Carte. Our experience of the Windows Cafe, main dining room, Aqualina and Prime C were all good. Highlight Dessert was in Aqualina ‘Sbagliato Baba Neapolitan – Marsala ricotta sabayon, cookie Amaretti’. Couldn’t see why it was necessary for the guest to sign off that they had been there for accounting purpose’s other than it appeared to be a tipping tool.
Excursions – We did all walking tours and found the guides to be very knowledgeable and also considerate in finding shady spots to stop and talk.
White Night – This was excellent, and we have attended quite a few. The warm evening in Kotor made for the perfect setting. The pool area was well decorated with plenty of Azamara bunting and banners. The food on the pool deck was beautifully presented with something to suit every taste. Eric the cruise director is a real entertainer and he and his team put on a good show.
Entertainment – This always comes down to personal preference, on this cruise we preferred the pianist Vassi in The Den (Spirits Bar) although we would still prefer to see the casino in there as well. Eric’s show was excellent and his grand father stories very funny, we even bought his book this time.
Destination Evening (Az-Amazing) on board – Dubrovnik warm evening and beautiful sunset was the setting for the stunning performance by Cellist Ana Rucner, not to be missed.
Overall enjoyment – We enjoyed the cruise very much, little things have changed and it is difficult to know if they are an affect of COVID, supply chain issues or staff shortages and temporary or a result of the change of ownership and will be permanent. Let’s hope accountants don’t make too many changes “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it”
Be prepared to manage your expectations.
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