I had the privilege last week of spending a couple of nights on the Azamara Pursuit, the newest addition to the their fleet and increasing capacity by 50%. The origin of the name Azamara comes from the word Acamar, the most southern star that can be seen from Greece. Although not actually new, (the ship was built in 2001 and previously sailed as Royal Princess and latterly the Adonia) however it certainly feels on the new side with a $50 million refit having being completed at the Harland and Wolff yard in Belfast.
The ambience is relaxed and inviting, in a Humphrey Bogart - Lauren Bacall kind of way. You could imagine the two of them sitting alone at the bar late into the evening as the ship sails through the night. The Azamara staff were very courteous, helpful and anxious to please, all the while dealing with the usual snagging problems on a newly renovated ship whilst we were on board.
Well known for its niche upper market appeal, Azamara do try to do things differently, such as longer time in ports, which was certainly what happened in our case, as bad weather forced the cancellation of this particular 2 night preview trip to the Channel Islands. As much as Southampton is a nice city, the decision to stay on board and enjoy the various aspects of the ship was a good one. However, on normal cruises staying in port a while longer is great for those wanting to sample some nightlife and more relaxed visits to a destination - or as Azamara like to call it, “destination immersion” - a rare opportunity for the standard cruise traveller.
With two speciality restaurants (one Italian and one steak-influenced) as well as the buffet and main dining room choices, Azamara guests are well served for culinary experiences. With less than 800 guests this is an intimate ship experience, and whilst the price point is on the higher side, as with everything in life, you get what you pay for.
Azamara Pursuit’s maiden voyage departs on 1 August and heads to Norway, followed by it’s second outing concentrating on Iceland. It will return to Southampton for christening at the end of the month, and be deployed for its first season, cruising in Europe and South America, with a bewildering choice of itineraries available over the next couple of years.
01 August 2018