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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2014
Picked this ship and cruise for the itinerary-- was so pleasantly surprised at how nice so many of the ports are-- you never hear much about places like Punta del Este, Ilha Grande, Ilhabela and Parati, but they have beaches and charming ... Read More
Picked this ship and cruise for the itinerary-- was so pleasantly surprised at how nice so many of the ports are-- you never hear much about places like Punta del Este, Ilha Grande, Ilhabela and Parati, but they have beaches and charming towns that rival anything in the Caribbean. Lopes Mendes beach was so beautiful. The fireworks New Year's eve moored in front of Copacabana beach were just stunning. Indeed, there were many Brazilians on the trip who'd booked the trip mostly for this. Interesting and chatty passenger mix of people from all over-- had many great conversations (Americans, of course, but also, people from Mexico, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, South Africa, all over!) Another highlight was the Iguazu Falls--- not enough time to try to do this on our own, so we booked the ship's excursion for it--- and it was very well done. The Falls are stunning-- "Niagara on Viagra." Its a loooong day, but SOOOOO worth it. And, the excursion lady (not Azamara, their liasion person) called back our bus, when my husband discovered he'd left his cell phone on the bus, waited and waited outside the terminal for it to come back, and then sprinted to the airline gate with his phone and to accompany our group back to Buenos Aires and the ship! She was our hero! As to the Azamara staff and food, we thought the staff was great. We had a Club Continent suite, port side (We gotta have a bath tub!) so our space was great and we didn't experience the problems with noise and A/C that people on the starboard side did. Food was terrific, we're from the Los Angeles area, so we have access to good food-- and we thought the food at Aquilina, Prime C and also the main dining room, was excellent. Went to some of the shows and they were mostly good, too. We liked not having to sign a slip for every single glass of wine, beer, Coke-- we like the inclusive thing, although we tip the room stewards and the people at the specialty restaurants anyway. We had a great time, met LOTS of interesting people and would cruise with Azamara again! Love the size of the ship-- so easily navigable. And this all said, we've been on Silverseas, Celebrity, Crystal and other lines-- and we really liked Azamara! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2012
Our cruise started in Buenos Aires, calling at Punta Del Este (Uruguay), then two days at sea, two nights (3 full days) in Rio De Janeiro, then Buzios, Parati, Ilhabela before finishing back in Rio. We had never cruised with Azamara ... Read More
Our cruise started in Buenos Aires, calling at Punta Del Este (Uruguay), then two days at sea, two nights (3 full days) in Rio De Janeiro, then Buzios, Parati, Ilhabela before finishing back in Rio. We had never cruised with Azamara before though our travel agent and the Cruise Critic reviews suggested that the cruise would be good -- and it was ! My wife and I had been looking for a cruise that visited Rio De Janeiro for Carnival for a few years and had considered a Silversea cruise last year but the price was high. Having been on a Silversea cruise through the Panama Canal we had been impressed by the service, quality of the food and the 'all-inclusive' package something which an Azamara cruise didn't quite offer. Food -- it was excellent. Apart from two nights, we had dinner in main restaurant (Discoveries) where we had good, friendly service in a very relaxed but semi-formal atmosphere. We found that most menus were both interesting and offeried plenty of choice. The presentation and cooking was exceptionally good -- better than we had experienced on Silversea (which was good). Also, although we rarely liked the complimentary white wine (normally a Chardonnay) the waiters would always find us an excellent Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc for which we weren't charged for. Dinner on one of the other two evenings was in the speciality restaurant called Aqualina which was a more formal affair in a much smaller, intimate dining room at a cost of $25 per person (free to suite passengers) where the food and service was even better -- a similar standard that in top London restaurants. Entertainment -- it was OK. We don't go on cruises for the entertainment and tend to eat later so we often miss most of whatever is being presented in the 'showcase theatre'. On our cruise, the emphasis was mainly on singing with some excellent solo artists (including the Cruise Director himself) and a first rate band to accompany them. We were disappointed there wasn't more of a show which included dancing as well. Some of the various lounges also had music including a pianist, harpist and a two piece 'band' playing popular / country style music all of which were good. Service -- excellent throughout the ship. From the restaurant to the open pool deck, Guest Relations, shore excursions, cabin stewards -- they were all good. Our cabin steward and her assistant were especially good as they were always servicing our room without us getting in their way and kept it spotlessly clean. They obviously noted the times we went to breakfast, dinner etc. and then ensured you weren't disturbed beforehand and yet always serviced the room ready for your return. Also, they always seemed to be nearby. We must also highlight how impressed we were with the Norwegian captain. We saw him everyday and he would often stop and talk to passengers listening to their conversation in a very attentive way. He also had a 'dry' but quiet sense of humour which we liked. The ship seemed to very well managed and organised which must be a reflection on the captain and his fellow officers. Arrival in Rio De Janeiro for Carnival -- our one big disappointment as there was nothing special about this ! We were standing on the open decks 9 and 10 sailing into one of the most beautiful cities and for the best carnival in the world but there was no recognition of this. Some nice samba music would have been good along with some complimentary champagne and canapes all of which have been a perfect start to our stay in Rio. Come on Azamara -- you do most things so well ! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
I have to say, having had several large cruise ship experiences (Oasis, Voyager, Grand Princess etc) and having some taste of smaller ships (Paul Gauguin), my Azamara Journey experience was the first to warrant my time to write a bit about ... Read More
I have to say, having had several large cruise ship experiences (Oasis, Voyager, Grand Princess etc) and having some taste of smaller ships (Paul Gauguin), my Azamara Journey experience was the first to warrant my time to write a bit about it. Entertainment - While the quality did quite not match that of the larger ships, the feeling of entertainer interaction and appreciation was much more apparent and no less enjoyable. Cruise Director - By far the most talented cruise director of any ship (19 cruises). Erick is talented, versatile, accessible, hilarious, genuine and quite frankly the face of Azamara as far as I am concerned. My wife and I both felt that he is an asset a young company like Azamara if fortunate to have. In fact, a reason to return. Food - Outstanding, creative and delicious Ports Visited Punta Del Este: Great place for retail therapy for any price range. Easy to navigate and friendly local interaction Rio de Janeiro - We actually participated in the parade. We purchased costumes ahead of time and shared a once in a lifetime experience. As part of the Uniao da Ihla samba school with the theme "from London to Rio", the feeling of exhilaration was indescribable. Buzios: Great local shops, Trolley tour gave us a feel of of the peninsula, Retail Shops along the stone paved streets, along with some nice local restaurants and very friendly people only added to the experience. We would go back for a land vacation to this great spot. Unlike Rio and some of the other ports (almost exclusively Portuguese), a little English and more Spanish can be found here. Parati: Should be stricken from the itinerary. Reminded me of Fanning Island, near the equator and primitive. Ihabela: Similar to Buzios but, in my mind, Buzios gets the nod given the local feeling of friendliness. Ship Staff: Easily among the most competent and friendly we have encountered. Tips: Internet in Buzios and Ihabela costs about $1.50-$2.00 per 30 minutes vs .42 to .65 per minute on the ship. I purchased 2+ packages on the ship for $100 each (.42 per minute). Skype on ship is not supported given the speed capabilities. Thank you Erick, Imade, Carlos, Felicidad and the rest of the Azamara Journey family. George and Lori Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
Our trip to the Antarctic on the Azamara Journey was by far the best criuse we have ever done. The Captain set the tone of the voyage as he was friendly and visible throughout and this attidude went for the whole crew from the Cruise ... Read More
Our trip to the Antarctic on the Azamara Journey was by far the best criuse we have ever done. The Captain set the tone of the voyage as he was friendly and visible throughout and this attidude went for the whole crew from the Cruise Director (Eric) to the waiters and the room stewards. Nothing was too much for them. Embarkation in Buenos Airies was fast and stress free with the Captain at the end of the steps to welcome each passenger (as he was at the end of the cruise to say farewell). We were welcomed with Champagne and taken to our stateroom where there was fresh flowers and a bowl of fruit. It was immaculate and kept that way throughout the trip by Aldo. In fact we had fresh flowers and fruit on a daily basis - not a mean feat in the Antarctic Ice. The voyage was fantastic. Out first port of call on day four was the Falkland Islands - a place we never thought was would get to. We took a trip to Bluff Cove to see the penguins (Gentoo, King and Magellenic) then discovered Port Stantley on our own. It was good to see that most of the crew were able to get ashore and also go on the tours - treated by the Captain. We later saw our room stewards photographs as he was very excited by this particular cruise. After this we headed out over the Drake Passage and into the Antarctic Peninsula. The passage down was very kind to us and day six saw us passing Elephant Island and heading into Iceberg Alley. Incedibly scenic. Later we carried on Southwards and day seven brought us into Paradise Bay having spent the morning at the Chilean Research base. Researchers were invited on board to chat to the passengers about their work - very interesting. Later the crew took on a small piece of an iceberg which was used for our drinks - it was quite safe to do so. We saw several further research stations over the course of the next couple of days including the British one. Day seven and we were off Deception Island. Unfortunately the weather had changed and it was too windy to negotiate the narrow passage to enter the crater - a little disappointing. The following day we turned back into the Drake passage - not so calm this time so we could appreciate what the sailors went through in the pioneering days. Our next port of call was Ushaia where we spent the day at the National Park of Terra Del Fuego then we sailed for Cape Horn which we circumnavigated in the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately the weather was still not kind as it was both cold and misty but it was good to have done this. Then it was two days of sailing to reach Puerto Madryn and the Peninsula Valdez National Park then again further sailing days to get back to Buenos Airies and our flight home. Entertainment was very good indeed and in keeping with the age range of the passengers. A lot better than we had been expecting given the size of the ship. The whole voyage was fantastic and the little touches made it better than expected such as certificates for going to Antarctica and rounding Cape Horn (individually named for each passenger and signed by the Captain)together with a voyage map, the chats with the Chilean researchers, the iceberg ice in our drinks, the lectures by a retired astronaut and others and the lack of the culture of trying to get more cash from the passengers for all extras. We had only a very small (less than $100) account at the end of the cruise - and this was mostly for the CD of the photographs taken by the ships photographer. All in all this cruise was fantastic and we will definitely cruise with Azamara again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We arrived at a busy cruise terminal courtesy of Fred at Silverstar Cars (highly recommended) having done our own per cruise arrangements to visit the Iguazu Falls and see Buenos Aires staying at the Hilton (again highly recommended, great ... Read More
We arrived at a busy cruise terminal courtesy of Fred at Silverstar Cars (highly recommended) having done our own per cruise arrangements to visit the Iguazu Falls and see Buenos Aires staying at the Hilton (again highly recommended, great safe location). Six ships were embarking -it was a zoo but out of the crowds came a lady with an Azamara lollipop sign. From that moment we were shown/ escorted through the crowds in what was excellent organisation by Azamara. On board rooms became ready earlier than expected and we were delighted to see Pravin who had been our butler on a previous cruise would again be caring for us this time ably assisted by Hilda and Andrei. A first class team, our room was kept immaculate, sodas topped up, ice always there and every time we met them lovely smiles and conversation. This was a New Year cruise, the ship was full including 130+ Brazillian guests which gave a more lively ship than before which had its positives and negatives. The biggest minus was the number of children, most were well behaved but there were crying babies in the restaurant and parents who did not see the need even after tactful comments from staff, to remove them. You cannot blame Azamara for this and it did not happen all the time so did not impact significantly, but we mention it so future bookers understand there can be children on Azamara ships. We have cruised 3 times before with Azamara and have tended to use the Speciality Restaurants Prime C and Aqualina. These are both still of a high standard, though the recent menu changed has removed a couple of favourites in Prime C so we felt a little more limited in choice there. The biggest difference is in Discoveries. There has been a significant increase in quality there such that on food quality and preparation the difference with the Specialities is so minor as to be insignificant. In all restaurants lunch and dinner very enjoyable wines are included with generous pours and regular top ups. Sodas are off course free all day. Cruising at New Year allowed the ship to pull out all the stops for the New Years Eve dinner and they did- they asked everyone to select the restaurant and a time slot so they could manage the experience - an excellent move!! Mother Nature threw a few curved balls on this trip and what was so impressive was the way that plans were jiggled and rejigled the Food team were moving buffets inside and out, entertainment particularly during the Rio fireworks reset thanks to the rain. That said, midnight was a wonderful happy experience with crew and guests mixing on the decks in the rain enjoying free champagne and marvelling at the fireworks. We felt sorry for some who had put so much effort into the party plans to have their parade rained on but it did not stop this being a new year to remember. That brings us to the team onboard. It is hard to put into words how good they are, everyone greets you by name and tries to do all they can to anticipate what you want and make your trip happy. Plates are always carried for you from the excellent buffet to your table, chairs pulled out for ladies, drinks brought without asking, cheery smiles and conversation always initiated by them. They obviously love their jobs, are so proud of their brand and are well lead- on this cruise Captain Jason was in charge just ahead of going on vacation and the ever attentive Heike as hotel director. Two people who on other ships come in for flack or are seen as invisible have to get a mention -liesl, the guest relations manager who has a charming team at the desk, and Martina the Chief Housekeeper, friendly and so caring of her staff. A final comment about the staff, at the end if the cruise no one hangs around looking for a tip, no one says make sure you rate our service as excellent or please remember to mention me, my name is ...... - I think that says it all, they all know they have one all they can for you and their managers do as well (that said, extra tips were given and most graciously received and mentions were made on feedback forms) Finally before we come to the ports entertainment. Up to now a weak link, not so on this trip. We had heard before about Eric de Gray but had never met him. All we can say now is wow, what a delightful talented person, he hits the right level for the audiences. Entertainment was also provided by Eliot Finkel ( pianist), Bob Trunell (magician- how did he do that dollar bill trick?) and Bruce Parker an excellent singer who had everyone up dancing as he did soul and Motown. The production shows were good and Eric's role in two shows was outstanding ( where does he get his energy from) Ports of call We were able to take advantage of the 50% off early bookers offer so made most arrangements through the ship. It would have been difficult to choose between some trips but luckily we were back to back guests so could do second choices in the next trip. Punta del Este, an easy tender and we went on the drive round, trip to the Rali museum and Casa Pueblo. I think this was the best value and best organised tour of all we did Rio (first stop, the ship came twice here) we did Sugar loaf - being holiday season it was crowded and long lines but a private guide would have been no better than our great guide Buzios in New Years Day, a port where mother nature had other ideas, tendering was delayed for 3 hours and trips cancelled, we just relaxed on board Parati - a cloudy day but excellent 4x4 trip to the waterfalls and gold trail, safe, informative would thoroughly recommend. Others reported difficulties trying to get a4x4 trip with an English speaking guide on the pier and lost out as a result Rio 2 Corcovada, again very good, first class guide who got us all on the train in the crowds without a wait. In the evening we went on the Dinner and Plataforma tour, dinner was poor, the show good. Maybe if you want to do this and are confident with local taxis ( though some did have issues with dodgy meters) do it yourself or skip it as they had brought a small samba group in ship in any event. Disembarkation As back to back guests cannot say a lot other than it was perfect for us, did not even have to get off the ship if we did not want to. Had planned a tour but it was cancelled due to low numbers so we enjoyed a lazy day instead. We did hear from friend we made onboard that the disembarkation was good and well organised Overall A first class cruise the best way to see the Rio fireworks ( by the way 12 ships were watching but Azamara was front row!) and now let's see in our next review could they keep these standards up Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
This was the first time we had sailed on Azamara. We liked the size of the ship very much and thought the senior crew members were excellent. We liked most ports but felt a few of them could have been missed. The ship tours were way too ... Read More
This was the first time we had sailed on Azamara. We liked the size of the ship very much and thought the senior crew members were excellent. We liked most ports but felt a few of them could have been missed. The ship tours were way too expensive. We were able to get our own for more than half the price with english speaking guides. We had a very pleasant dinning experience in the main dinning room. We had the same waiters most nights and they were very good. We did not experience the best of service in the two special restaurants. The food was very good everywhere and the presentation was excellent. The cabins were fine and the staff was very willing to please. Did not really understand the to do about a butler. He often looked uncomfortable in his tux. Did not thank that was necessary. Did not think the entertainment was wonderful. The ship's dancers & singers were very entertaining but most other nights were so-so. We felt that the last shows were too late starting. The Journey band has a way to go. The combo was much better that played by the pool and in the lounges. The Cruise director was very good. He was very visible and very knowledgeable on all subjects he spoke on. The Casino was ample and the staff very nice. Too bad it had to be closed while cruising in Chile. We would surely cruise again on the Azamara. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
Last year, Celebrity bombarded us with mailings promoting their new cruise line Azamara and after awhile we became intrigued and decided to do some research. We are frequent cruisers and have been on the Celebrity Galaxy several times and ... Read More
Last year, Celebrity bombarded us with mailings promoting their new cruise line Azamara and after awhile we became intrigued and decided to do some research. We are frequent cruisers and have been on the Celebrity Galaxy several times and knew that Celebrity does a good job on a medium priced cruise. We called Celebrity's hot line about Azamara's South American sailings and they happened to be running a special that was too good to pass up. We gave a minimum deposit on the 18 day Chilean Fjord cruise over New Years and Xmas. The cruise started in Buenos Aires on 12/23 and ended in Santiago on 1/10. Although most of the ports were unfamiliar to us, the idea of cruising the tip of South America and through Cape Horn was very appealing. We booked our own pre and post tour arrangements, staying at Starwood's Park Tower in Buenos Aires and the Marriott in Santiago. We had been in Buenos Aires 8 years ago on another cruise and had stayed in the same hotel and loved it -- butler and all. The Marriott turned out to be somewhat off the beaten path but we enjoyed the suburbs and had no trouble taking a cab into the main city. Embarkation was somewhat confusing and took longer than usual with lots of desks to check into but we were in high spirits and soon we were checking out our cabin and the ship. The stateroom and bathroom were small but we are used to this on cruise ships but the closets and the drawer space were adequate for our three suitcases full of stuff. The staff introduced themselves but when we needed to call no one was manning the desks and we had trouble finding our steward/butler. The butler aspect is a nice gimmick but she was mainly a steward and nothing different from other cruises. The bedding was lovely and we enjoyed crawling into our fresh linens every night with a different cookie or chocolate on the bedside table. We loved the open seating and casual dress code aboard ship. The main dining room offered a comprehensive menu and the food was delicious. We found ourselves requesting the same table as we enjoyed our wait staff a great deal and wanted to sit with the same nice people every night. The specialty restaurants left much to be desired. We liked the minimum charge but the food was not all that special and the service was very slow. Lobster was not an option every night as it usually is on other ships. The ship offered a wide variety of activities but we would have liked more specialty lectures about world affairs, etc. We were never quite sure where the band would be playing for pre-dinner dancing. The entertainment was sorely lacking and the band was terrible, although our cruise director Andreas was wonderful. He was truly a jack of all trades, with his informative lectures and late night astronomy sightings. However, we would have liked more comedy shows as the last one was quite good. Also, the show times were either too early or too late and need to be adjusted. We only took two shore excursions and preferred to book our own independent travel. On previous ships, the crew would offer more assistance if you wanted to go on your own. On the Journey, the staff would only explain their own cruises. The ship's excursions were terribly overpriced which needs to be adjusted. Disembarkation went very well and we were off the ship in no time. All in all, we had a wonderful time. Our 18 days went by in a flash. We would definitely cruise on the Azamara line again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
"It's your first cruise and you're going on one that's 18 nights long?' was the common refrain from friends. We had long resisted the idea of a cruise, we tended to make our own travel arrangements, often ... Read More
"It's your first cruise and you're going on one that's 18 nights long?' was the common refrain from friends. We had long resisted the idea of a cruise, we tended to make our own travel arrangements, often meandering through Europe by car, or finding out of the way Caribbean locations off the beaten track. But then my wife found this trip by a new cruise line that seemed to fit. Free style seating, no formal nights, a relatively small number of passengers and an itinerary that sounded perfect; Buenos Aires to Valparaiso, rounding the Horn on New Year's Eve. So for the first time in our lives we put all our travel arrangements in the hands of someone else (the cruise line) and hoped for the best. The flight to Buenos Aires meant a connection in Chicago, but once we got there, Azamara took over and we began to experience the Azamara "touch". We had booked an extra night in BA to experience some of the delights of that wonderful city. We stayed at the Sheraton, located near the famous Florida shopping street, and not far from El Temo and the docks. As expected all luggage was handled efficiently by the line and their representative at the hotel gave us several wonderful tips on enjoying the city. We even decided to eschew the free transfer to the ship in favor of spending more time at the famous El Temo flea market. A quick cab ride from the hotel brought us to the embarkation shed at the port of Buenos Aires. The embarkation procedure went very smoothly, and soon we were on the ship, handed a glass of champagne, and escorted to our stateroom. Thanks to Cruise Critic and its message boards, we had a pretty accurate idea or what to expect, our Veranda stateroom was snug, but well laid out. It was larger than some of the European "boutique" hotel rooms we've stayed in recently. The R-ship's newly renovated cabin had a flat screen, a comfortable bed and enough storage space to accommodate our three weeks worth of clothing. We were greeted by our butler, Natasha, who turned out to be absolutely wonderful, anticipating most of our needs and remembering all of our preferences. The television provided much of the onboard information we needed. We went up to the specialty restaurants to make our one free reservation, only to be told that the policy was changed beginning with our cruise. No surcharge would be assessed, so we happily made reservations for the entire cruise, alternating locations. Our dining experience was therefore somewhat different that most, and it was fantastic. The waitstaff was utterly professional and beyond friendly. The maitre d', Zoltan, made every evening a truly luxurious dining adventure. The food was truly to die for. Every dinner we ate was the equal of some of the best restaurants in NYC. A special thanks to Domenique, the head of food services, who spent time with us and gave us a real appreciation for the way in which the ship was provisioned. So we began to really enjoy and appreciate the "Azamara experience". As the cruise settled into its first week, we could not get over how genuinely friendly the entire crew was. They created such a nice atmosphere, that as we meet other passengers, one of the first topics of discussion was the crew and the atmosphere they were creating for the passengers. As we traveled down the coast of Argentina, moving into Patagonia, the "culture" of the ship became more apparent. They might not have the largest shows, but the jazz combo playing at cocktail time was just right. The activities on board were designed for those who absolutely needed them, but most of the cosmopolitan mix of passengers did their own "thing". The gym was well utilized, and the activities there were excellent. Tanning on pool deck was a favorite activity while the weather held. But for most, the scenery and ports were the major activity. (Personal disclaimer: We did not take any of the excursions offered by the ship. We made our own arrangements in each port, either renting a car and driving ourselves, or renting a car and driver for the day). The captain and crew kept us informed of any changes in our itinerary. When high winds prevented us from docking at Comodoro Riverdivia, resulting in an unexpected day at sea, the crew quickly set up new activities to take up the slack. When high seas threatened mass sea sickness, the captain took us through the Beagle Passage for an unbelievable morning wakeup at the Garibaldi Glacier, which was absolutely stunning. All during the voyage, crew members showed real interest in our daily excursions. And at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve, we rounded Cape Horn Island, and headed into the Pacific. When we finally reached Valparaiso, we had had the trip of our lives. We had made new friends, both among the passengers and the crew. Perhaps the voyage was best summed up by a crew member, who, when asked by my wife if it was possible to get something after the lunch buffet had closed, replied, "Madam, on Azamara everything is possible". And it was. Read Less
Azamara Journey Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 1.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.3

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