My son (4) and I were on the Baltic itinerary. The food was
great. The staff was attentive. But the Excursion Desk overcharged
me by half and simply refused to take it off my bill. The Tour
Manager, Samuela Sambo, accused me of lying about a hop on hop off
bus and said I would not get a refund of 14e. Amazing. I'll never
choose Costa again.
Azamara Journey (Wine & Food Cruise) August 2014
Southampton to Lisbon
Booking & embarkation was both swift & straight forward.
As with many airlines we were able to carry out our check-in
process on line & print the paperwork so that things flowed in
We were greeting with a glass of fizz, and advised that the
self-serve eatery was open where we could relax whilst waiting for
the cabins to be 'released'. This worked very well and we enjoyed a
good selection from the buffet. I should add a note here that
Azamara's ships are small (ex Renaissance R's) so there is no
concept of 24 hour dining,or round the clock room service.
Our cabin was an obstructed outside cabin which afforded plenty of
natural daylight. We were also fortunate that on the tendoer port
days our tender was always in use so our room became an outside
with large window :o)
The cabin stewards (each room has 2) were both very nice & very
efficient, we rarely saw them, yet the room somehow got tidied
& turned up/down without issue. In the minibar they explained
all the drinks on the upper shelf (sodas) were free of charge, as
was the bottled water ( which they added to each day used or not ).
Many drinks, including spirits, wines, cocktails & sodas were
free of charge in all bars at any time. Wines were also free but in
a revolving selection… Day 1 had one red, one white and a
rose, day 2 had 3 more wines added to the selection, day 3 saw
another selection added & so it continued until there were a
total of 19 free wines available, all of which were included in the
cruise cost, some were better than others, but certainly a good
range. It was however with the wines that I had my main
disappointment (see Entertainment below).
In addition to these drinks there is also a lovely coffee bar
(Mosaic) with a good range of hot & cold coffees & teas, we
were a little confused when we first sat there as the drinks list
have prices next to them, but it turns out that these costs ONLY
apply to the 'Nespresso' capsulated coffee, the standard coffee
shop 'Gaggia' type coffees were free.
If you wanted to take the drink away, they provided take away cups,
holders & lids – and many people took drinks from here
into the MDR instead of ordering there. The cafe also had a
selection of light snacks, cookies, cakes, and, hors d'oeuvres
available that you could help yourself to.
- MDR. There was never a delay in getting a table, such is the
beauty of small ship cruising, and we were always offered any table
size we wanted. The food itself was acceptable, but really would
have benefitted from being hot rather than tepid to warm.
Please note that Azamara rarely open the restaurant at lunchtimes,
so it's either eat ashore, use room service, or use self-service.
The exceptions to this were a Pasta Bar which ran one day &
allowed you to have pasta meals cooked in the MDR to your making as
you watched, and something they called the "Azamara Brunch" which
ran on one day from 10:00 until about 14:00, and seemed to be a way
of clearing out any old food that they wanted to shift - but food
is food and despite mostly being cold, was enjoyable.
- Self Service. This area always had a good variety of options,
with 2 soups, multiple styles of bread, a sushi bar, carvery,
pizzas, pasta, cold meats, and a reflection of the options in the
MDR. Although we wouldn’t normally opt for this style of
dining we found ourselves eating here quite often as we were in
port overnight and we either got back late or wanted to eat &
go back out again. Also it was lovely to eat al fresco overlooking
the towns from the back of the ship.
- On-deck grill bar, provided freshly cooked (ok reheated) BBQ
style food, fries, nachos etc. It did get busy, but was always
worth the wait.
- On-deck BBQs. We had 3 or 4 of these, and all had a very large
selection of meats, salads, pasta, and ethnic food, as well as
several types of salads and a wide range of desserts.
- We didn't get to try room service breakfast or afternoon tea, nor
did we use the speciality dining as others were reporting it not to
be worth the money – also time didn’t allow. However we
did get talking to one gentleman who left the payable "Captain's
Table" dinner held in the library as the service was too slow that
it became a painful experience.
- Dance Troupe. Given the restricted area available on this small
ship, the troupe (2 singers, the 2 dancers who also did the daytime
lessons, and 2 fillers) did a wonderful job putting on multiple
shows. The use of a bank of screens to support them was
- Local entertainment. Unlike other ships of this size, Azamara
only brought on local entertainment in one port - Bilbao. We were
overnight in most ports, so they could have done better in our
- Special Events
- White Evening, was a pleasant evening with local musicians &
dancers onboard (see above). The food was a well-planned (if as
usual cold) self-service BBQ, and everyone seemed to have a great
- Enrichment Talks. (Time for me to moan) Why-oh-why were there no
Wine talks on board, after all this was sold as a Wine & Food
voyage, yet there was no effort to offer insight & education
into wines, pairings, different types & methods etc. I had
expected evenings where you would be able to learn about the wines
that Azamara offer to help us learn from the cruise, but nothing.
Very poor and disappointing in my opinion.
The only talks on board were the Port Lectures, which you'd hope
for, plus a REALLY annoying speaker droning on about various
European Royals which really had no bearing on this cruise. We
lasted just 5 minutes so maybe she had some interesting info, we
(plus quite a few others) will never know
Dress Code - very casual to lax, many pax looked liked the had
rolled straight off their sunbeds & stumbled into the MDR in
the evenings. I understand that many pax were flying, but come on
tee-shirts and shorts in the MDR for dinner, are you serious?
Rooms – were very well presented & thoughtfully laid out
– Azamara had the sense to leave the ship in her original
Renaissance format, which worked great. The Casino lounge bar was
always lively with a great service from the guys there. The Looking
glass was a little bit slower, and quieter, as the side areas
weren’t obvious to the waiting staff, so you had to go &
find them or order at the bar. The same was true of the deck bar,
great service once you chased a waiter down.
As mentioned above Azamara have been very clever in using screens
on the stage to give an impression of size & allow shows to be
grander that would otherwise have been possible. Again an excellent
service from the bar staff here.
There is a small lounge with bar just outside the MDR which was
always a good place for pre-dinner drinks or relaxing evening
listening to the very talented guitarist. This is the bar closest
to the coffee bar, so the waiter soon got to know our habits &
had our late night coffee liqueur ready for us to take to the
The gym & spa were of standard offering and charges, so
I’ll save space by skipping over those.
The library still has her Renaissance layout, which was wonderful,
but note it gets closed often as it’s used for group
The internet access was abysmal. Azamara had 2 lines of reply when
people complained, the first was that it is going to be upgraded
later this year & that will solve everything, the second
– which kind of contradicts the first – was that the
signal from a ship has to travel so far that response times are
impacted. So how will upgrading on the ship improve that, unless
the upgrade is a REALLY big aerial to get closer to the satellites
Well I think I have taken up enough time & space here, if
anyone would like more details, or have any specific questions,
please feel free to ask, or PM us & we’ll do out best to
We were on a cruise with MSC DIVINA from Rio De Janeiro -
This was the WORST experience ever!!!!
The buffet food was the same for 20 days, the staff in the
reception was horrible!
And it felt like the ship was more suited for italian och
BUT the worst was the disembarkation in Miami.
Due to a gasleak in the terminal we had to wait for hours.
Imagine over 2000 people in the terminal. It was CHAOS!
We had an excursion too. But when we finally got outside the
terminal, there was some MSC staff holding a MSC sign, telling us
to take the bus on the other side. We then asked about our
excursion. The lady told us it had been cancelled due to the
gasleak. So the bus would take us to the airport right away
We were told to get in touch with our Msc office back home to
get our money back. So we did. We still had the original tickets of
the excursion and told them all about the gasleak.
But the respond we got was horrible! They basically told us that
we're lying about
this. That they have contacted MSC's office in Italy and they are
telling us that there was no gasleak, that we just didnt turn up to
the excursion. So we're not going to get our money back for the
excursion which was CANCELLED!!
Ive never been so badly threated before!
Now they are just saying "Sorry we cant help you anymore".
How can a big company like MSC tell their customers that they
are lying? When other people have written about the gasleak on
different reviews sites on the Internet. Im speechless!
I've never in my entire life met a company as MSC before who
lies and don't care about their customers as soon as they have
disembarked their ships!
I will NEVER recommend MSC to ANYONE. This has been the worst