Thursday, September 19, 2019

Azamara Pursuit…a Short Review

Last Saturday we returned from our cruise aboard the AzamaraPursuit. It was a country intensive voyage that stayed in Israel for 5 nights, as well as a visit to Limassol, Cypress and Heraklion, Crete.  This was probably the best cruise vacation we ever had!  Here's why...

The Ship…this 30,000 ton ship is small in size but large on style and hospitable service. The warm and elegant décor very much resembled a boutique hotel that we once stayed at in Venice.  There are several public spaces filled with groupings of deep comfy couches in which people naturally gravitated to for pre-dinner cocktails or after- dinner conversation.

The Food…whether it was the Discoveries Dining Room, Windows Café, Aqualina or Prime C, (and we ate at all of them) the food on the Azamara Pursuit was delicious! It was nice to stop by The Patio for nachos or a burger in the afternoon and we loved the Mosaic Café for cappuccino and pastries. Still, if I had to pick a favorite meal it would have to be Aqualina’s sea bass and the hazelnut soufflé for dessert! And on Azamara the wines, beers, soft drinks and specialty coffees are included free of charge.

The Entertainment… During the day there was wine tasting, fitness classes, dance lessons, trivia and   The Azamara staff could keep you busy with something new to do every hour if that’s what you wanted.
many other activities.

At the first evening show I laughed when my husband asked where all the singers and dancers were!  This is a small ship and if you’re looking for  elaborate productions you won’t find it here.  Instead there is a brilliant core group of entertainers that put on wonderful musical performances throughout the cruise. There was a show featuring Broadway hit songs and another full of all the songs I grew up singing.  Another night there was a comedian. Honestly, there was a show of some sort every evening in the Cabaret Lounge, though many nights we passed because we were content to chat with new friends while a talented young woman played piano and sang in the background.

The Enrichment Program… There was an archeologist onboard this sailing that did a series of presentations relevant to our itinerary.  He was both informative and entertaining. He proved that learning does not have to be dull or dry and the information he shared really enhanced our touring experience. There were art seminars, photography tutorials and even movies that recounted the times in the historical places we were visiting.   

The White Night Party…This was my third Azamara cruise and the White Night Party was something I really looked forward to.  There’s a buffet dinner and live music with dancing on the pool deck. Tables are set with crisp white linen and the passengers all (well, most) don their best white outfit. Yes, I bought a new dress, too! It’s a great way to party with new friends and we had so
much fun!

The AzAmazing Evening…What can I say? It was AZAMAZING! On every cruise, Azamara offers a unique evening event, included free of charge, that would be difficult to book on your own. For our AzAmazing evening, we took a short coach journey to the contemporary Ashdod Concert Hall, a venue that some say resembles a soaring whale rising above the sands. During the cocktail hour the “Klezmer Group”, a traditional Jewish band, played as guests feasted on local delicacies and sipped Israeli wines and beers. Afterwards, the 40-person Ashdod Symphony Orchestra, joined by two incredible vocalists, performed both modern and traditional favorites. It was a lovely evening!

The Itinerary…I highly recommend the country-intensive voyages as they combine the best of a   
cruise vacation with the destination immersion often associated with a land vacation. Five full days in Israel was perfect as we were able to see ancient towns, holy lands, and modern cities; a truly comprehensive itinerary. Evenings in port allowed for night touring and dinner in local restaurants. I will definitely look into future Azamara country-intensive voyages.

The Laundry Room…You think I’m kidding, right?  This place was busy from day one and all throughout the cruise!  When my son was little we cruised on Disney a lot and loved the convenience of doing laundry because our son was…very messy! However, when we moved on to other cruise lines a self-service laundry room was not available. I guess because Azamara offers so many long cruises and guests string multiple sailings together, a laundry room is a real convenience, after all, not everyone likes sending their underwear to be laundered by strangers! Regardless of how long your cruise, we found it very convenient!

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