Living the Dream

Travel Bloggers Rhonda & Jeff Albom recently cruised the waters of South America and took a John Miles Shirt along for the ride. 
A worthy additional to Jeff’s cruising attire he commented “loved the ease of care, comfort, and look of the shirt”
Check out their article below –

Our South America Boutique Cruise on Azamara Pursuit

From the first moment I stepped onboard the Azamara Pursuit, I was home. A boutique cruise, the ship’s understated elegance is unmistakably welcoming, as is the crew. The Azamara Pursuit caters to fewer than 700 passengers, yet our worry that there might not be enough to do on this smaller ship melted away as we absorbed ourselves into daily life. Best of all, Azamara’s desire to provide immersive shore experiences translates to longer port times than any cruise we had taken in the past.

Azamara Pursuit

The newest of three ships in the Azamara fleet, we sailed during the inaugural season of the Azamara Pursuit over Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Subtle festive signs were interweaved throughout the Azamara cruise ship, although there were no religious overtones.

Azamara Pursuit anchored off Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Looking down on the pool deck.

The elegant staircase across from guest relations is decorated for the holiday season.

Azamara Shore Excursions

Azamara’s strength goes beyond her ability to visit ports that are too small for many larger ships. Their excursion program focusses on individuality and cultural immersion. It starts on-board with destination expert lectures that concentrate on daily life as much as on key sites.

Add to that longer shore time in each port, local guides, and shore excursion groups not to exceed 25 passengers, and the result is an intimate cultural experience in a fascinating community.

However, passengers do pay quite a bit for this advantage. We opted to do a mix of independent and Azamara excursions, taking full advantage of the longer port times, especially some of the evening and night options. After all, we picked the Azamara Pursuit for the ports.

• AzAmazing Evening

A nearly perfect name for this shore excursion, the AzAmazing evening distinguishes the Azamara group from its competitors. This complimentary evening of culture and fun went way beyond our expectations. We were taken to a magnificent historic theatre in Montevideo Uruguay where we were enchanted by a lively carnival-style show from Museo de Carnaval. After the stage performance, we followed rhythmic drummers outdoors, where our evening continued under the stars while we donned masks (provided) and enjoyed drinks and fireworks.

Colourful dancers on stage during the Azamazing event at Teatro Solis, Montevideo Uruguay.

Outdoors just after the stage performance portion of the evening.

The vibrant entertainers took time to pose with us. A late night, it was perfect for my new shawl (purchased in Buenos Aires) and Jeff’s new easy to wear, super comfortable, and quick dry travel shirt from John Miles of Australia.

Our South America Ports on the Azamara Pursuit

The addition of the Pursuit to the Azamara fleet allowed expansion to more destinations. While South America was relatively new on the Azamara itinerary, the staff seemed knowledgeable. If you are a frequent cruiser on other lines, be sure to notice how long we were at each port.

1. Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Argentina’s vibrant capital city.
  • Our port of embarkation.
  • More coming soon.

2. Montevideo Uruguay

3. Santos, Brazil (coastal city for São Paulo)

Santos Brazil.

4. Paraty, Brazil

5. Buzios, Brazil

  • An open-air trolley took us to over 20 beaches before we walked the streets of this former fishing village.
  • Port time: 10 hours.
  • More coming soon.

6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Standing at the base of Christ the Redeemer, we enjoyed the panorama of the city. The impressive sweeping view was only one of several high points in Rio de Janeiro.
  • Port time: 2 days and 2 nights including New Year’s Eve fireworks over Copacabana Beach.
  • Discover Rio, one of the most intense cities I have visited.

Fireworks over Copacabana Beach on New Year’s Eve in Rio de Janeiro Brazil.

7. Itajai, Brazil (an added port due to bad weather ahead)

  • The captain added this port to the itinerary due to poor weather ahead at Punta del Este. It’s a walkable town with delicious seafood and a nice beach.
  • Port time: 10 hours.
  • More coming soon.

8. Punta del Este, Uruguay (rescheduled to one day to avoid the weather)

  • Its white sand beaches make this town hugely popular amongst Argentinean holidaymakers. We enjoyed a walking tour.
  • Scheduled for 1.5 days with an overnight, we lost a day due to bad weather. In the end, we had 9 hours in port.
  • More coming soon.

9. Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Returning to one of my favourite cities was a thrill.
  • Port Time: 2 days, with an overnight stay and disembarkation.
  • More coming soon.

Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos, Aires, Argentina.

Life Onboard the Azamara Pursuit

• Azamara Restaurants

Like all cruises we have been on, food is a central feature. However, the Azamara’s all-inclusive style means wine flows freely at dinner, specialty coffee is always available (at no extra cost), and we could even have frozen drinks out at the pool or spirits in the evening. The impeccable food presentation was matched by a combination of flavours reflecting the theme of the evening’s Azamara menu.

Surf and Turf (steak and lobster) in the main dining room, a beautifully presented appetizer (also main dining room), and desserts from the buffet.

Other dining options include a grill, afternoon tea, specialty restaurants, and a coffee shop where you could find me every sea day afternoon.

Lattes, espressos, and other specialty coffee drinks are included in the cost of an Azamara Cruise.

The Chef’s Table dinner (extra charge) was an impressive masterpiece. Like the Chef’s Table we enjoyed on a prior Royal Carribean cruise, it was by far the best meal on the ship. We also enjoyed a meal at each of the speciality restaurants onboard.

The flavours are even better than the presentation.

•Azamara Dress Code

Cruise clothing, like street styles, range from overstated to underdressed. Azamara encourages a “friendly yet sophisticated onboard environment.” Therefore, the general daily dress is “resort casual”. The only “rule” I saw was no bare feet, tank tops, baseball caps, bathing suits, shorts, or jeans allowed in the dining room or specialty restaurants. However, there is no formal night on an Azamara Club Cruise.

 

• Azamara White Night

A signature feature of the Azamara Club Cruises is a white night, with a candlelit poolside dinner. Passengers are normally encouraged to wear white, but on our New Year’s Eve cruise, they named it “black and white night.”

We are overlooking the White Night event as the guests begin to arrive.

• Azamara Spaces

The pool was a perfect way to cool off on a hot South American summer day or evening. In addition to traditional lounge chairs, there were random, relaxing options not usually seen at shipboard pools.

Have you ever seen anything this cool on a cruise ship before? In the first shot, we are facing the pool.

There are also plenty of quiet spaces onboard. The Living Room and Drawing Room are my two favourites. These and other spaces on the ship are also used for daily trivia games, art and dance lessons, enrichment lectures, exercise classes, social meetups, and weekly religious services. And, late at night, the Living Room converts to a disco.

Floor to ceiling windows at the front of the ship bring in light, but it is the espresso bar and afternoon tea sandwiches that lured me into the Living Room.

The Drawing Room offers fewer distractions and is a great place to find a book to read. On this particular occasion, a very talented guest played the piano. We spotted three pianos onboard.

The cabins are tastefully decorated in a modern minimalist fashion. While I think our Club Verandah stateroom might be smaller than other ships, it did an excellent job utilizing the space, providing plenty of storage, a decent size shower, a usable desk area, and an easy to access and relatively private deck with a table and two chairs. Once we turned the couch to face the sea, we felt like we had more space.

Our Club Verandah stateroom on the Azamara Pursuit.

• More Onboard the Azamara Pursuit

The smaller ship meant we never had to walk far for anything. Like other boutique cruise ships, it offered unique opportunities, yet many of the general tips for cruising still applied.

  • Nightly entertainment in the cabaret lounge rotated from dedicated Azamara performers to guest entertainers including a hilarious comedian, beautiful dancers, and a Las Vegas singer.
  • Our cruise package included Azamara wifi for two devices.
    • Pro Tip: It works for two devices at a time. So as long as you log out of one, you can log into another using the same password. The downside is that the internet is a bit slower than what we have seen on some of the other ships.
  • The gym is a quick reminder that this a modern cruise ship, featuring the newest of everything.
  • Massage, facials, hair, and nails are amongst the standard services offered by the Azamara Spa.
    • Pro Tip: We found the spa prices to be very high, even for a cruise ship. However, there were near daily specials. Rather than scheduling in advance, twice I read a daily flyer, rang up, and had a fabulously relaxing treatment for nearly half price.
  • And if all this isn’t enough, there is a chocolate night.

One small section of the chocolate buffet.

Last minute cruising

We often get the best prices when we can travel last minute, as cruise companies don’t like to sail with empty cabins.

 Click here to check for last minute cruise deals on Azamara and other lines

https://www.albomadventures.com/boutique-cruise-on-azamara-pursuit/

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