Guest Post: An AzAmazing Cruise – Azamara Pursuit

Guest Post: An AzAmazing Cruise – Azamara Pursuit

Those of you who read my blogs, follow me on social media or know me in real life will know that I am…I mean, was… ever so slightly in love with a certain member of the P&O Cruises fleet.  

Having first experienced her in July 2017, myself and my family spent a month on board P&O Adonia in January 2018. We saw some amazing places and have some incredible memories of our time on the ship.

Adonia had quite a history by the time we first tried her, originally built as R Eight for Renaissance Cruises in 2001, she’s had lives under the names Minerva II (for Swan Hellenic) and Royal Princess (for Princess Cruises) before joining P&O Cruises as Adonia. When we sailed on her she’d just come back into the fleet from a small amount of time sailing under the Fathom brand.

We, well, I spent 7 wonderful days from Southampton visiting Bordeaux, Bilbao and Le Havre. We all fell in love pretty damned quickly, so much so my parents stayed on board at the last minute for another 2 weeks, sending me home on my own. 

Adonia had quite a fanbase, all of whom were bitterly dissapointed when it was announced in September 2017 that she would be leaving the fleet.

Well, she’s since had a makeover in Belfast’s Harland and Wolff shipyard and is now sailing under the name Azamara Pursuit. 

My parents recently sailed on Pursuit to see just how much she’d changed – here’s a few thoughts from my mum Jacqui! 

Azamara Pursuit in Harland & Wollf
Azamara Pursuit during her makeover in Belfast – we got quite excited seeing her on our Royal Princess cruise! 

“Well, this is nice” I thought as I was handed a glass of fizz. I’d literally just stepped on-board still clutching my leather Azamara cruise card holder after a very quick and efficient check in procedure.

I knew the ship already having spent seven weeks on-board P&O Adonia in the last year. But look how smart she looks now…..lighter chairs, carpets and curtains give an impression of luxury straight away.

Our cabin again looks brighter and more contemporary than it was before. The bathroom, beautifully appointed with handy storage and lovely toiletries. Wow the balcony looks a little bit crowded with a huge table and two dining chairs but the floor looks great. Wardrobes the same but with a lighter panel on the doors to lighten them up. OMG a light in the wardrobe!

Azamara Pursuit - breakfast on the balcony
The large balcony table makes perfect sense when you get to experience a sumptuous private breakfast on your balcony!

It’s a bit strange to be on a ship which is very familiar, yet not. Although changes have been made around the ship – all of them I think have added to the charm of the ship.

Dinner in the MDR – I was amazed at the amount of choice available. We shared a table with a lovely American couple and had a great time – no doubt aided by our wine glasses which magically kept refilling. I realise that food is subjective but we thought it was very good.

The bed, bedding and pillows were simply gorgeous and we slept extremely well.

This was our first experience of all-inclusive cruising and I confidently announced to all and sundry before we went that this would not alter my drinking habits by one iota. Ha! Within a couple of days – our alcoholic preferences were noted and drinks would arrive when we’d barely sat down!

The service was exemplary, in fact the whole ambiance was relaxing. The staff loved to talk and didn’t appear to be discouraged from doing so.

Buffet breakfast was comprehensive and there was somebody who would toast anything you wanted – hot toast on a ship! As well as hot food, there was salad cheeses, piles of fruit, avocado, smoked salmon…. Dietary foibles appeared well catered for – I noticed that GF and DF were clearly marked.

The Living Room is at the top of the ship and again has been refurbished beautifully. At five each day they offered tapas and it became a regular thing for us to sit there in those comfy chairs with a plate of nibbles and a few glasses of fizz. Getting up to leave was the hardest thing.

Azamara Pursuit - tapas in the Living Room
Tapas and fizz in the Living Room – yum!

This was a port-intensive cruise like most Azamara itineraries and that’s exactly what I like. Each time we came back on-board, we were welcomed back – sounds cheesy but it really wasn’t. Many of our ports required shuttle transfers out of the port area and into the town – these were plentiful and of course, complimentary.  There were overnight stops in Bordeaux (two of them) and Lisbon.

It being August in Europe, the weather was wonderful – Azamara put on the most wonderful deck barbeque with many of the officers manning the tongs. The tables were set with pristeen white cloths and it looked simply amazing. Waiters were everywhere topping up glasses, there was dancing to the live band and great singers. Perfect!  The anticipated “White Night” was even better – and I didn’t spill anything down myself! 

Azamara Pursuit - a deck party under blue skies!
Azamara Pursuit - deck barbecue

Each cruise of seven days and above, Azamara stage a complementary “AzAmazing Evening”. We were bussed to a beautiful old theatre in Bilbao called “The Chocolate Box” and saw a lovely show of local music and dancing. Organising 700 people to and from the ship is quite a feat and they did it well.

Azamara Pursuit - azamazing evening at the chocolate box
What a beautiful venue for an AzAmazing performance!

Most afternoons and some mornings we joined in with the trivia sessions which was a good laugh. You collected signatures on a sheet just for taking part which were swapped for booty on the last day. On most cruises we try and join in with some activities as it’s a bit of fun and a great way to meet people.

So this was our first Azamara cruise and I’d hate to think it was the last. It was such an effortless way to cruise and so relaxing – Azamara have a high quality product and the attention to detail is astonishing. I would love to be able to cruise with them all the time but since we cruise very often, finances won’t allow it. As Arnie said – we will be back!


Thanks for the feedback mum! Eager to get some more perspectives? Visit With Us have a great ship tour video, and Tips For Travellers has some great tips! 

Would you consider cruising with Azamara? Check prices and deals on IceLolly.com!  (affiliate link)


Check out my other cruise blogs!

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4 Comments

  1. 29/09/2018 / 9:38 pm

    I saw the new Azamara Pursuit in Fowey before it was officially christened. I enjoyed reading this post and liked the fact that your mum shared her thoughts on how Azamara had made changes from its P&O days.

    • glutenfreehorizons
      Author
      30/09/2018 / 9:22 am

      Lucky you! I really want to see for myself what she’s like now

  2. Willow Scot
    30/09/2018 / 8:18 pm

    I’m so glad that Azamara have taken over this ship and done it up. I love the little ex-Renaissance ships but the Adonia was one of our worst cruises. It was just before P&O turned the Adonia into Fathom and it was so rusty outside that other P&O passengers laughed at us when we were in port. You had to wear shoes on the balcony so that you didn’t cut your feet on the rust and you couldn’t touch the balcony for the same reason. The noise from vibration was terrible and we actually were given an inside cabin to sleep in! They ran out of gluten free food for my DH. The gluten free people had problems as P&O were trying a new contract and even the scrambled egg mix at breakfast had wheat. Then they ran out of actual eggs. People would say ‘can I have the chicken without the sauce please’ and get told no! Not the staff onboard – but everything was bought in sous vide and they heated it up, so the chicken already had the sauce on it. The best bit was that we were going up the Amazon and even in port, food options were limited. They trashed out suitcase and fixed it with a weird black tarry thing that the airline refused to fly with in case it was flammable, it was a P&O charter flight and at Gatwick they gave us our stuff in bin bags! We had a connecting flight to Aberdeen, the BA staff couldn’t stop laughing when we checked in. Have to say, that it was so bad, that it was funny and we still class it as one our most memorable trips ever! I think I might book an Azamara cruise just to see the poor ship has been returned to it’s former glory!

    • glutenfreehorizons
      Author
      30/09/2018 / 9:18 pm

      Thanks for reading, I’m so sorry you had that experience as it doesn’t sound like the Adonia we know and love – we tried it just after it came back from Fathom and again just before it was handed over to Azamara. Like you we did a trip up the Amazon, didn’t notice any vibration, balcony was a bit in need of a repaint and revarnish on rails but with weeks to til it’s Harland & Wolff makeover wasn’t surprised to see it needed doing. I’ve got to say they were fabulous for gf, even being a smaller ship with more limited kitchen facilities. I’ve never had a problem with P&O (although there are a few things they could improve on, there’s a review of them elsewhere on my blog. It does sound like the areas around the ship have been really done up under Azamara, hopefully I’ll get to try her for myself at some point!

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