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Azamazing Suite Upgrade on Azamara Pursuit

Azamara Pursuit - Argostoli Greece April 23

Let’s face it we all like a bargain and love to be upgraded on airline flights, hotel rooms and of course cruise ships. However, lots of regular cruisers are very wary of cabin upgrades. Will it be in a bad position, underneath the disco or by a noisy lift shaft? For that reason some regular cruisers we know prefer to stick with the cabin they book.

We flew into Lisbon last month to join Azamara Pursuit. Arriving the day before takes away the stress of missing the ship due to unforeseen delays. The night before flying out we read in the news about delays of many hours at Portuguese immigration. We need not have feared, within half an hour of getting off the plane, we were waiting for a taxi. I guess we were lucky. We were soon in the city centre, dropped our bags off at our hotel and on the train to Belem for a pastel de nata at the wonderful Pastéis de Belém.

Pastel de nate were not invented there but at the nearby Jerónimos Monastery. In fact, Portugal owes a lot of its cakes and pastries to monks and nuns. Back then, egg whites were used to starch nun’s habits and this meant there were a lot of egg yolks left over.

The monks and nuns would experiment with different recipes, and this led to the creation of pastel de nata as well as other delicious confections.

The Lisbon Cruise Terminal is very handy to the city centre and if it was not for carting luggage, you could quite easily walk to the ship. On arrival at the terminal, we were quickly called to check-in.

Within minutes David Martinez the guest services manager arrived explaining that there was a major problem with the cabin we had booked and would we mind moving. “Not at All” We were upgraded to one of the two Spa Suites.

David Martinez

Guest Services Manager

Azamara Pursuit

Spa Suite 9002 - Azamara Pursuit

These suites are located on deck nine with access to the spa facilities located right next door. Wow what a beautiful suite with a large tub and an incredible shower with windows over looking the ocean. Honestly l could have spent the whole cruise in the shower. Certainly no clinging shower curtain in this bathroom.

Every suite on Azamara Pursuit comes with a Butler. Ours was Osvy, he was one of only three butlers onboard covering all the suites and obviously had quite a high workload although you always got the impression that you were his most important guests. The crew on Azamara have the distinct ability to always make you feel special, from the officers down to the hardworking utility stewards cleaning the brass bannisters on the companionways.

They are always friendly and welcoming and once again we really felt that we were part of the Azamara Family.

Leaving Lisbon

Sailing away from Lisbon is always very special to me. When l joined P&O in 1973 the very first port that l visited was Lisbon. I still remember vividly sailing past the monument to Henry the Navigator and the Belem Tower, with the giant figure of The Sanctuary of Christ the King a Catholic monument and shrine dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ overlooking the city of Lisbon, inspired by the Christ the Redeemer statue of Rio de Janeiro.

You cannot mention cruising without the mention of food and Azamara is certainly no exception. Most days whether you are eating in Discoveries the main dining room or Windows Café the buffet, daily specials appear, they are often linked to the ports you are visiting or the special theme for the evening. In addition to these two restaurants, there are two speciality restaurants that you pay a supplement for. Aquilina is an Italian-themed restaurant while Prime C is more like a traditional American steak house. These restaurants get very busy during the cruise and I would suggest that you book them as soon as you board the ship. On the first night of the cruise, these restaurants tend to be a little quieter and it is often a better bet to book one of these, rather than Discoveries which tends to be rather slammed on the first night.

American passengers who tend to be the largest group of travellers on most Azamara Cruises normally eat much earlier than European guests, we tend to book speciality restaurants for around 8.00pm. Sometimes you have to wait a few minutes for a table to clear. From past experience I would avoid Prime C on the last night of a cruise.

Although we use Windows Café at breakfast and lunch we tend to avoid it in the evening as we rather like a more laid back atmosphere in the evening with full waiter service.

I Suddenly realise that l have forgotten to mention Mosaic Café. This café is located down on deck 5 near to the shops and is the ideal spot for a coffee or pot of tea during the day. It is hard to resist the light snacks and pastries that are on offer all day and evening.

On our cruise two teenage boys were travelling with Grandma and Grandad, we were surprised to hear that they had ordered steak and chips in their cabin at midnight. I had totally forgotten that you could get 24/7 room service. I can never see the point in dining alone in your cabin when there is much atmosphere and people watching in the restaurants. I suppose in-cabin breakfast could be useful if you have an early excursion. Just not for me.

The ship had a very comfortable 450 guests onboard out of a possible 686. Just under 200 Americans, 155 Brits, around 50 Canadians and an assortment of other nationalities.

We had sailed with Captain Antonio from Spain last year and he was very visible all over the ship. A few days into the cruise Martin the cruise director who we had sailed with in January on “Onward” joined the ship, he was to take over from Emily Love who was going on leave at the end of the cruise. Chief Housekeeper, Edwin we had sailed with before and was charming as usual.

Captain Antioni Toledo

Master of the Azamara Pursuit

The onboard entertainers were pretty good. On the first leg of our cruise, the assistant cruise director was a guy called Nicholas Simpson, he was a tenor and had a great voice, doing his own show. Another star of the first cruise was a young Scottish guy - Derek Dishington performing on the piano, his own show of Celtic music was fantastic he had the Drawing room packed. As most other nights were.

Azamazing Evening at Codorniu Wine Estate - Wonderful Location

We finally had an Azamazing Evening, away from the ship. We were taken by coach to Codorniu Wine Estate for an evening of Flamenco, Spanish Music, and Cava. Once again, our fabulous, upgraded suite got us invited to a private reception at Cordornui and special VIP seats. The Flamenco dancing was a little repetitive and a bit underwhelming, but the marvellous location and dry cava more than made up of it.

At the end of the first cruise, as we were doing Back 2 Back, we had to attend a meeting for guests staying onboard. 20 guests were staying on and the organisation was excellent. Sadly, at this stage, we were kicked out of the Spa Suite. But the new suite was very nice, and we kept the same Butler, Osvy. The strangest coincidence then happened, our cabin attendant was Ramesh a young guy from India, he had been our room attendant on “Onward” in January and recognised us immediately and even remembered the cabin number we had occupied.

That is what is so wonderful about the Crew in Azamara.

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