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Old December 22nd, 2009, 12:42 AM
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Mike M Mike M is offline
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I've sailed on Azamara, Oceania and the now defunct Renaissance. The Azamara Journey cruise was shortly after the brand was introduced by Royal Caribbean and there were quite a few instances of spotty service on the previous cruise. On our cruise a new Hotel Manager and Cruise Director came onboard. The passengers who were on the previous sailing said the difference was night and day. The service we had was as good as any other ship we'd been on. Azamara has the "butler" for each cabin but I found the "butler" to be nothing more than a standard cabin steward that wore a tuxedo in the evening. The food in the Prime C and Aquafina specialty restaurants was wonderful and only rivaled by the Olympic Restaurant on Celebrity Millennium.

My Oceania cruise was about six months after the cruise line came into being. I loved the ships but the food and service left a lot to be desired. The bar staff acted aloof and the food, except in the specialty restaurant, was about the worst I've had in any main dining room. It was cold, bland and very limited in variety. Basically fish, steak and pasta.

I love the size of the ships and they have everything that keeps me occupied. A small show lounge, reasonable pool area, small but fun casino, the lounges are smaller but perfect for the 600 passenger size, trivia type activities, enrichment lectures on both Azamara and Oceania and interesting ports. I also like the cabins on these ships. While the standard balcony cabin is on the small size (168 sq. ft.) they are well laid out and the suites are a good size.

Oceania Regatta was like setting foot right back on a Renaissance ship. They still had the same painting in the dining room bar that had been on every R ship. I had sailed the R2, R4 and R8 and they were identical, right down to the artwork.

The Azamara Journey was still the same overall design but they had made cosmetic changes to the color scheme and artwork but you still felt like you were on an R ship and that wasn't bad. It was the ports that I wanted. Both Oceania and Azamara retained the "mini" Titanic staircase that were a standard on all of the R ships. The R ships are still my wife's favorite.

I want to sail Oceania and Azamara again to find out if they have improved their service, cuisine and amenities. While they weren't bad to begin with they will REALLY have to improve to justify the fares they are now charging.

I have not sailed on the Pacific or Tahitian Princess but if the itinerary was right I would jump on the chance.

Still to this day the R ships are my wife's favorite and about the only ones that truly standout in her memory.

Take care,
Mike
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