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8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Had a wonderful time on our Azamara Journey cruise which began in Copenhagen and ended with an absolutely splendid, majestic sail right up the Thames in London to end in picturesque maritime Greenwich. We flew the short hop to ... Read More
Had a wonderful time on our Azamara Journey cruise which began in Copenhagen and ended with an absolutely splendid, majestic sail right up the Thames in London to end in picturesque maritime Greenwich. We flew the short hop to Copenhagen a day prior to the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Absalon, three minutes walk from the Central Station and six minutes walk from Tivoli World where we spent the afternoon and evening. The hotel was excellent and I would recommend it wholeheartedly. Around noon, we got a taxi to the pier, Nordre Tolbord, which was close to the Little Mermaid, so much nearer to town than where the larger ships dock. It was pouring with rain so we didn't take advantage of the 10pm departure and venture back into Copenhagen. The ship's crew took our luggage from the taxi and covered us with large umbrellas while escorting us to the port security tent. A look at our passports and it was straight into the ship and the cabaret lounge for checking-in. A most welcome sparkling wine, cocktail, tea and coffee were immediately offered while we sank into the easy chairs before being called to collect our key card and find our stateroom. We had booked a guarantee balcony and were allocated 7115, near the aft. It was a great room and was so quiet and, of course, handy for two flights up to the Windows cafe, pools, patio etc or two flights down to the main restaurant – Discoveries, cabaret lounge etc. It was a very comfortable room and had a small sofa, table, dressing table/desk, chair, bedside tables, tv, fridge with included sodas etc and a few paid-for items (listed on a note above), safe, plenty of storage and hanging space. Flowers and fruit were provided, binoculars and umbrella to use, slippers to keep. The bathroom, as most people note, is tiny but well equipped. (Have to say that the shower is slightly longer than the one we recently had on Sapphire Princess). We enjoyed room service which was always punctual and good and even if we only ordered tea and coffee, the table was always laid with a cloth. The room was kept in great order by Alvin and Edwin. We asked for extra coathangers, pen, writing pads and all were instantly provided. Breakfasts were enjoyed mostly in Windows cafe where there was always a great choice and I especially liked the made to order smoothie counter. Waiters constantly offered more tea, coffee, juice etc and if you ordered an omellete would bring it to you. We didn't try the speciality restaurants this time as the meals in Discoveries were outstandingly good. So different to our last experience on Aamara Quest four years ago when the majority of guests were part of a charter group. The food then was obviously scaled down to their budget and it was incomparable with this time. We felt cheated then as we, of course, paid for a normal cruise. I'm so glad that Azamara redeemed themselves this cruise and the food was wonderful every time. Some impressive buffets were provided – an Asian one, a fabulous seafood one and a German themed one, along with Umpah band. White Night was great fun too. The service from every member of staff was impeccable. One or two waiters were obviously new, as we understand some had transferred to Pursuit, and looked a bit lost at times and not quite up to speed. We always ate dinner around 8.30pm so tended to miss the evening entertainment in the cabaret lounge. We did see a couple of performances by the resident singers and the assistant cruise director, both were okay if a little cheesy – same old Broadway musical and old fashioned songs. We enjoyed going up to The Living Room at the bow of the ship for our pre-dinner cocktails and canapes. There we listened to The Sparkling Trio and enjoyed their laid-back style. We heard two great pianists in Spirits bar and the Library (Drawing Room) The late night disco was good fun with plenty of people on the floor, including us. Our first port of call was Aarhus, Denmark's second city. A nice place to stroll and shop. Next up was Skagen on the northern most tip of Denmark. We weren't expecting anything of this small town but had a brilliant day. The sun shone, the town was 'cute' in the loveliest possible way, the shops eclectic and my husband bought me an elegant Skagen watch for my birthday. We walked all the way along the pristine beach to the end of Denmark and loved every minute. On to Oslo and as we had been here before and visited the Kon Tiki Museum etc decided to catch a tram and go to the beautiful Vigeland Sculpture Park. Next day was a sea day and there was lots to do on board and it was good just to relax with a book from the well stocked library and a cocktail, of course. I worked my way through the included cocktails over the course of the 11 days! We arrived in Amsterdam in pouring rain and it was too bad to venture forth but by the evening the rain had abated and most guests were taken on a canal boat ride to the Maritime Museum for a splendid concert for the Azamazing evening. The whole experience was truly amazing. As we had an overnight here next day we caught a train (24 mins) to Utrecht. This is the most delightful city with canals, quaint shops, interesting architecture and lots of history. On to Germany and Bremerhaven and some more sunshine. The waterfront is very modern with an extensive promenade housing a zoo, maritime museum, canal boat trips, a large shopping complex and a fascinating immigration museum where we spent the day. The museum won the accolade of being the best European museum in 2017 and we can see why. You can follow the journey of those who emigrated from Europe to the US, Canada, South America and Australia and can even research your own family history if your ancestors emigrated. The interactive features and recreation of ship interiors, Ellis Island reception hall etc were exceptional. Belgium followed and we docked in Oostende, a lovely traditional seaside town. We took the 15 minute train ride into Brugge. The map provided on board was so sparse that we couldn't find the centre of town but at least we had fun exploring. When we reached the centre it was packed with tourists but very beautiful and very 'chocolate boxy'. We didn't have quite so much time in port as the ship's departure time was earlier than previously so we made a hasty retreat to Oostende. Sadly, another couple who went into Brugge had their return train cancelled and they missed the ship, although Captain Tysse waited an extra half hour. Pleased to say they caught up with Journey next day. France beckoned as we sailed off into the sunset and next morning we docked in Honfleur. It is such a pretty town, centred around the lovely harbour. The markets were in full swing and made for a lively, bustling atmosphere. We sat in a cafe with a bottle of local Normandy cider and watched the world go by. We have spent a week in Honfleur so didn't feel the need to visit the nearby D-Day beaches again but some guests spent the day there and said what a moving experience it was. For me, the highlight of the trip was the thought of sailing up the River Thames and mooring in Greenwich, London. We had a pilot on board who commentated on the history of the river and lots more as we sailed in around the twisting turns in the river and at one point the Journey turned a full 360 degrees. We moored up opposite the tea clipper, the Cutty Sark, the old Royal Naval College, the Queen's House and up on the top of Greenwich Park one can see the Royal Observatory where the Greenwich Meridian Line is set. Our final evening on board was the icing on the cake when we were allowed to invite my husband's twin sisters on board for dinner (for a small fee). They were thoroughly impressed and we now hope that they will come sailing on Azamara with us. We live beside Tower Bridge where Captain Tysse told us he would have liked to moor but can't at the moment due to the Port of London removing the heavy duty bouys. We forgive him as it would have been great to walk home but it was just a 15 minute ride from Greenwich. My husband even went into work the same day! Can't wait for next time – maybe on Pursuit. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
An unusual itinerary and a keen price.. The itinerary from which we booked showed arrival in Greenwich on 9th September at 1.15pm tendered. The ship was late and the tendering procedure using local tenders was appalling. The tender ... Read More
An unusual itinerary and a keen price.. The itinerary from which we booked showed arrival in Greenwich on 9th September at 1.15pm tendered. The ship was late and the tendering procedure using local tenders was appalling. The tender journey was short (approximately 5 minutes)but the one tender provided took 30 or 40 minutes to make a round trip. The result was that a huge line built up and we did not reach the shore until just before 4pm. All the local attractions such as the Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum, Queens House and the Observatory closed at 5pm. As a result we had barely an hour to look at anything. This rendered the day a wholly inadequate visit. We made many complaints to the officers in charge of tendering while we were standing waiting but they did nothing to speed up the process. We even asked the captain to get something done but astonishingly he said he was not responsible for the tendering. Azamara must take responsibility for making the completely ineffective arrangements. There was nobody on shore from Azamara and this omission meant there was no one expediting the turn round of the tender. Since it was a Sunday there were many other people using the Greenwich pier for river trips but Azamara completely failed to get the company they had appointed to provide an acceptable service. The consequence was that the call at Greenwich started by asking us to stand in line for an hour or more and then to be faced with the impossibility of seeing the places we had anticipated visiting because they were on the point of closing. The next day's disembarkation was in total contrast. It went smoothly with many Azamara staff on shore to speed the process. The cruise itself was pleasant but the weather could have been better. We did not like Bremerhaven as all the notices on shore including in the museums were only in German. There was a u boat on display and a railway truck used to transport Jews. Amsterdam was excellent as usual although it was frustrating not to be able to buy museum tickets at the door. The Amazing evening was a classical concert which was excellent if a little short. The dining room chairs in the main dining room looked good but were uncomfortable. The library was furnished badly and used to be much better. We enjoyed the Tapas every evening in the living room (observation lounge). A pity that a third of the front windows were blocked by the bandstand and that some of the sofas faced inwards rather than looking at the view. In contrast the outer ring of sunbeds on the pool deck faced outwards. Apart from the day in Greenwich we enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our second ocean cruise and on the same ship as our first in 2017 and with the same captain. Everything was great on this cruise as well. We again routinely went to the Living Room for pre-dinner tapas and a drink before going to ... Read More
This was our second ocean cruise and on the same ship as our first in 2017 and with the same captain. Everything was great on this cruise as well. We again routinely went to the Living Room for pre-dinner tapas and a drink before going to the main restaurant about 8 pm. There was a very good, laid back, trio: vocalist, keyboard and an excellent guitarist. Very relaxing after a busy day in port. The only negative I mentioned on the last cruise was the occasional meal that was not hot enough, well this was not evident on this cruise. A fellow cruiser 'Literary Lynne' has given a very detailed report and an excellent summary of the ports visited. I can add a summary on what we did in the ports. All the ports were outstanding places to visit on a smaller ship and the weather was mostly perfect except for Amsterdam where we were given a wet welcome. Arrhus: Walked to the botanical garden where they have a large greenhouse with many wonderful tropical plants then on the way back visited the ARos Art Museum which has an outstanding circular art installation structure on the roof you can walk in and view the city 360 degrees through coloured panels. They also have the unmissable 5m squatting 'Boy' sculpture by Ron Mueck, an Australian. After lunch on the ship we walked around the city and on our return along the docks saw the Danish queen disembark her ship and alight a limo to take her to open a festival in downtown Aarhus. Skagen: Walked to the buried church and then back through the town and visited the Drachmanns Hus. Caught the shuttle bus back to the ship for lunch and a short rest. In the afternoon walked the length of the town to the Skagen Vippefyr a reproduction of an early form of warning light for ships. Oslo: Caught the train to the Munch museum which had a wonderful collection of his works in the "Between the clock and the bed" exhibition. They also have "Starry Night" on display. Then a train to the city centre and the National Gallery. We bought a city day pass at the tourist office which allowed us to bypass the long queue. This museum has a good collection of art including one of Munch's paintings of "The Scream". In the afternoon we walked through the 14th C Akershus Fortress, visited the resistance museum and then went to the city port area and took a round trip on a ferry to the closest island and back. Other than the train trips we walked everywhere else. Bremerhaven: Wonderful port city. The museums are outstanding. They include an open for inspection U-boat 'Wilhelm Bauer' Type XXI Built in 1945 and used till 1982. Many other boats are displayed and in the museum building is the 'Bremen Cog' from 1380. The emigration museum is truly outstanding. Visited the nearby shopping area for a bite to eat and to look for a pair of sandles. Just love the German shops. Leaving this industrial port by ship is a highlight. Think railyards, superlarge car-transport ships, massive new car storage areas and travelling next to a vast container terminal where containers are being stored then loaded onto ships in an automated system. Luckily, had a 10x zoom for this. Amsterdam: Great city, been quite a few times so this time went to the Stedelijk modern art Museum. Admired Roy Lichtenstein's 'As I Opened Fire' and George Grosz 'The Rabble Rouser' from 1928 depicting a Nazi sympathizer encircled by a grinning crowd and many other works. On the morning of the second day caught the ferry to the NDSM area which was an old shipyard area. They were setting up for summer concerts so couldn't visit some of it but it was worthwhile to see how the Dutch treated their manufacturing history. They treat these things with the respect they deserve, like many other nations do. In Australia we, stupidly, tend to demolish these areas and sell the land to developers. We have done this with Sydney's historic Dock areas and even allowed the navy to recently demolish a large historic crane - because it cost a lot to maintain. Last year in Hamburg my heart sunk when I saw the restored cranes next to the Elbephilharmonie. Oostende: Caught the train to Bruges. Plenty to see and do here. The Groeninge museum was a highlight along with Michaelangelo's Madonna and Child. Leaving Oostende in the evening was a highlight. Honfleur: Another beautiful day with the market in full swing. Vintage Calvados a plenty (to buy) visited Musuem Eugene Boudin and Sainte-Catherine timber church. In the afternoon walked around the harbour and through the Le Jardin des Personnalités. Leaving in the evening was another shipping highlight. London: Travelling up the Thames for a first visit to London was another shipping highlight. Perfect weather and an afternoon visit to Greenwich observatory and park topped off the cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are a couple in our 50's and booked this cruise because we wanted to see the Baltics/ Northern Europe and we wanted to try a better quality small ship cruise after getting very tired of the mega ships. We were very happy with our ... Read More
We are a couple in our 50's and booked this cruise because we wanted to see the Baltics/ Northern Europe and we wanted to try a better quality small ship cruise after getting very tired of the mega ships. We were very happy with our choice. The small ship experience is so much better for us. Embarkation and debarkation were totally hassle free. In addition we really enjoyed the excellent quality of the food. Azamara upgraded us from a veranda to a suite and we loved the larger room. We ate in the specialty restaurants most of the time and they were excellent, we ordered breakfast in our room several times and loved that. We ate lunches at the patio grill almost everyday, loved the Greek lamb burgers and hot fresh French fries! The staff is exceptional! So friendly and welcoming. The ship never felt crowded even though it was full. It was so nice that all your needs are included in your fare, the included wines were good and certain ones that we really liked the waiters were happy to get for us on days they were serving different selections. We mainly drink wine so cannot speak about the other alcohol options. The ports we visited were great. St Petersburg was one of the highlights. We took the ships 2 day tour and had a wonderful time and saw so much, it really is a small group of around 20 people, we used the 3rd day to relax after the huge crowds in the museums, etc.. Other ports we used the Azamara provided shuttle (again included) and toured on our own. We did not attend the Azamazing evening since we had been out on a tour for 10 hours that day. I heard it was very nice. The entertainment in the evening was not great every night (but some great performances) but that didn't bother us, one night we saw Tony Arias who was terrific!! So funny and a great singer, loved him! Another night was an ABBA night and we loved that! Our cruise director was Alicia Hill and she's wonderful, she had a great standing room only show. Our next trip is probably South America in 2020 and we most certainly will come back to Azamara. Thank you Azamara for such an outstanding trip! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We boarded the ship in Copenhagen and departed in Stockholm after an 11-day journey visiting some interesting ports on the way. We had a Stateroom with balcony booked. The cabin was small but manageable. Only comment we must make is ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Copenhagen and departed in Stockholm after an 11-day journey visiting some interesting ports on the way. We had a Stateroom with balcony booked. The cabin was small but manageable. Only comment we must make is that the design of the bathroom is very small with a shower difficult to manage for bigger persons. The room was very clean, and the bed was comfortable. The room attendants looked after us well. Food was of high quality and came in great variety. The cruise was an all-inclusive one, but there are also drinks on offer that are not covered by the all-inclusive package. We were happy with the drinks of the all-inclusive selection. We used the speciality Restaurants that came with an extra cost of $30 per person. There is a Steak place and an Italian Restaurant. Both are recommendable to give yourself an extra treat. There is also a Buffet and an a la card Restaurant that is included in the package with no extra charge. For a snack inbetween there is the Patio that offered Hamburgers, Satays and Sausages. The staff in general are very friendly and attentive. Nothing is impossible for them to arrange. We only experienced one exception. It must have been her bad day. There are two entertainment venues. The Cabaret a large theatre and the Living Room. We spend most nights in the Living Room before dinner to listen to the resident Mexican Band that played everything from Pop to South American tunes. Very good. The young Guitarist was very talented. In the Cabaret we enjoyed the white night party and a speech by Mr Lech Walenza. Also, the Violin player was very good. However, there were nights we did not go to the Cabaret at all and there were nights we departed before the end of the show, but then you cannot like everything. Azamara is an American owned company and the ship orientation is towards their core market. One thing we did not like was the compulsory tip of 18% for services even so the cruise was promoted to be all inclusive. So be aware if you have a Beauty Treatment or a massage that you are paying more than the advertised price. A price that is already very inflated compared to Australian cost before compulsory tip. Everything worked like clockwork on the cruise. The ship always arrived in time at the ports and the shore departures went very smooth. Because the Journey is such a small ship it is sometimes able to sail right into the heart of the towns. No feeder boats were needed to transfer passengers. We arranged our own shore excursions. In Warnemuende we took the train to Rostock and the tram to the old part of town. In Danzig we just went with the shuttle provided by the ship to town and done our own walking tour. Same in Estonia. We had a two-day tour booked in St Petersburg over the internet. The local tour company was excellent with an experienced tour guide. No upfront payment. We only paid at the end of the two-day tour. They give rebattes for early bookings and we got also a refund because we were not able to see two Museums due to time. This was not their fault, but due to our request to return to the ship early on the first day. St Petersburg was full of tourists and without the tour we booked we wouldn’t have been able to get into the attractions without any great delays. The quey at the Summer Palace was so long that even our guide got excited and took several photos. The Tour Company we used was BEST GUIDES GROUP. Highly recommendable local company. You can find them on the Internet. ANNA the guide was very knowledgeable with a very likable personality. She never lost her patience with all the crowds and went out of her way to please fellow travelers. Also, we feel that two days sightseeing is enough even so most Tour company offer three days. We were a very small group of 10 people that made the tour even more enjoyable. In Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm we used Hop on Hop off busses. They come right to the port and take you around the city and stop on several places of interest. Also, in these cities a Hop on, Hop off boat was included. The cruise was a very enjoyable experience. Highly recommendable. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I learned that cruises are not a good way to see places...you only see a glimpse. Azamara was okay. The waiter service was good. Food was okay...never had a great meal. Everything was average. Customer service desk was poor and ... Read More
I learned that cruises are not a good way to see places...you only see a glimpse. Azamara was okay. The waiter service was good. Food was okay...never had a great meal. Everything was average. Customer service desk was poor and unimpressive. Lacking knowledge and unimpressive personalities. Excursions were not especially impressive either. Little knowledge of local sights. I won't go on an Azamara cruise again. I recommend going to Iceland. Rent a car and see the sights. This is an okay cruise. Nothing to write home about. food was just okay. Not great. I recommend saving more money and choosing a different cruise line. I also found the art auction offensive since it interfered with my experience. This cruise line rents out rooms and that limits your personal experience. Frankly, I will not chose Azamara again. I do like smaller ships but this was a poor experience. Too bad. Met some nice people though. Tacky decor, uninformed customer serviceand average food. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Unfortunately this cruise did not meet my expectations. The food was average....no noteworthy meals. The service was good but the customer service staff and excursion staff was poor and lacking personality. Frankly, I wish I could get my ... Read More
Unfortunately this cruise did not meet my expectations. The food was average....no noteworthy meals. The service was good but the customer service staff and excursion staff was poor and lacking personality. Frankly, I wish I could get my money back and spend more for a better experience. 3 stars. Everything was adequate - neither more or less. For the money, I was hoping for more. I do not plan to travel on this cruise again. Azamara is not for me. Not the best experience. I met some cool people but the food kind of sucked. I really expected it to be much better. Windows buffet was awful. Salad bar was very disappointing and cheese choices was minimal. Entertainment on board was decent but activities were boring. Find another cruise. This one was lame. Never again. I could not wait to get home. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We decided to do this cruise although we have one booked for September on the same ship. We wanted to visit this area and it seemed an opportunity we did not want to miss when we saw it when on board late last year. I admit we are ... Read More
We decided to do this cruise although we have one booked for September on the same ship. We wanted to visit this area and it seemed an opportunity we did not want to miss when we saw it when on board late last year. I admit we are devoted to Azamara. We were disappointed in the lectures this time and sometimes activities were scheduled at the same time - which was disappointing. The trip was to small ports - some people did not seem to realise that it was only villages that we were visiting and seemed to expect bigger places to explore. Also the weather seemed to come as a surprise to some people but if you book a cruise to the North Atlantic surely you recognise it will be cold whatever the time of year. The specialist restaurants are our nightly choice - for the attentive service, food and views out of the big windows. The crew are always exceptional and nothing is too much trouble. We prefer not to eat breakfast but to have something from the Mosaic cafe in the suite. Lunch time on a sea day were often in the MDR as the choice was good and we prefer to be served. We enjoyed the trip - the torrential rain in the Faroes was expected; we hired a car to wander around Reyjavik and saw a lot in two days - eating and drinking in local cafes and bars and enjoying the Icelandic hospitality; in Lerwick we wandered around the town. For us the cruise met expectations and we saw places that we would not otherwise be able to visit easily. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2014
This cruise was our 3 and 4th (back to back) on Azamara. We have taken 30-40 cruises and generally focus on Celebrity and have also done an occasional Oceania. Overall we rate Azamara nearly equal to Oceania. with the biggest difference ... Read More
This cruise was our 3 and 4th (back to back) on Azamara. We have taken 30-40 cruises and generally focus on Celebrity and have also done an occasional Oceania. Overall we rate Azamara nearly equal to Oceania. with the biggest difference being that Oceania does not charge for premium restaurants but does for drinks. We were quite happy with the food on Azamara and prefer to have access to wine and cocktails. Overall we were very happy with the daily wine selection. Mix drinks were generous and well made. We had two Azamara evenings. One in Liverpool was fabulous the one in France not so much but the overall idea was very welcome. Entertainment was decent for a smaller ship but no great shakes. Visibility of the captain was a nice addition. We have never been able to have a captain come table to table at events. This was a nice touch. Overall we are booked on this line again Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
Normally I write only detailled german reviews for german cruiseboards. But than I saw this review from StanleyVa and I thought I have to write down, what our experiences were on this small and intimate cruise ship. Because he gave the ... Read More
Normally I write only detailled german reviews for german cruiseboards. But than I saw this review from StanleyVa and I thought I have to write down, what our experiences were on this small and intimate cruise ship. Because he gave the cruise only 3 stars and the cruise definitely deserves 5 stars. We are experienced cruisers, with more than 35 cruise on different cruise line. We are used to all sizes of ships, from the smalles one (Journey) to the biggest one (Allure ots). Our preferred size is like the Radiance class with about 80.000 tons and around 2000 passengers. But depending on the itinerary we choose for other sizes. Like a TA we love the big ships. And the Journey was perfect for this cruise around the British Isles. Please excuse some mistakes in this reviews, but english is not my motherlanguage. We started perfectly in Copenhagen with a very fast and smooth check in. We had an outside cabin on deck 4. Okay its small, especially the bathroom, but it has enough space for all the clothes and to stay in the room for a nap, to change clothes or for night time. But we knew that from another Journey cruise and you can check it before you book on the website of a cruiseline, how big or small the cabins are. The seaday from Copenhagen to Edinburgh was rough, many people were seasick. Thats the problem with small ships. Edinburgh was so cold, that we first bought some warm scarfs, which we needed the whole cruise. My husband was happy, that after taking the weight of the luggage, he had some space in his luggage and put a fleeceshirt in it and he had worn it almost the whole cruise. The first evening the dining room was almost empty and we asked for a table for 6 to share with people from other countries. The waiters were not the best, so the next evening we asked for another section and we stayed there the whole cruise, because service from both waiters was outstanding. We had wonderful conversations with so many people from different countries, like Australia, the US, Canada, that some dinners lasted 2 1/2 hours. Not the fault of the waiters, because they were too slow, it was about us, because we were talking so much. And we never had to wait for a table. Normally we dine at 7 pm and before we took a drink in the bar in front of the dining room and told the assistence, that we need a table at 7 pm in our special section. Nothing to complain about it. I agree the other passenger about the AmazingEvening in Liverpool. We had the oppurtunity to talk to the wonderful sopranist and the dean of the cathedral, which was wonderful illuminated and preparred for this special evening. But weather changed when we were in the cathedral. After a wonderful sunny day in a city, which is a fusion between very old and absolutely modern, it was raining so hard, when we returned to the ship, that we got wet as much as possible. But another surprise was waiting for us, a firework as a gift from the city of Liverpool at the side of our ship for almost 10 minutes. A perfect ending for a perfect day. We never had long lines at the buffet, I think the other passenger went to this place other times than we did. But for lunch we preferred to sit outside and got our lunch from the pool grill, every time fresh prepared, every time served with a selection of white, red and rose wine. In the morning you could even order things at the buffet which were not officially offered, like Eggs Benedict. They prepared it for you in the galley and brought it to your table in the Buffet restaurant. I also want to mention the wonderful smoothie bar, where I had my smoothies every morning, and also fresh orange juice. I agreed about the entertainment. The production shows were good, the best was "Voices", my favorite show from all our cruises. And we like it to be so close to the singers and dancers. Yes, you had to be there early enough to get a seat closer to the stage. But we had time and could have a free drink before the show started. So, also, nothing to complain about it. I trained every morning in the fitness center, using the machines, the bikes, and more. All were in very good condition and it was really quiet, when you used it like me early in the morning. Dont know how it was later. But the fitness center deserves at least 4 stars. The service on the whole ship was excellent, in the dining room, in the bars, the stateroom attendants, the front desk, the officers, everywhere. I highly can recommend Azamara, but I have to say, that the usual prices are really high. We got this cruise for a much lower price a few weeks before embarkation. We also mentionend that like on every other cruise line, they cutted down some things. For example: the complementary rose wine from the last cruise was now $8 by the glass. We did not eat in the specialty restaurant, because dining in the main dining room was excellent and we also got special meals, when we asked for it 2 days in advance. We did our own shore excursions, booked it online before we started or in the ports. In the big cities we always take the Hop-on busses to explore the cities and in the small towns we try to walk or to take a taxi for a private tour. Or like in St. Peter Port on Gournsey we took the public bus for 1 pound the drive around the whole island. For every port we had local travel informations who came onboard to inform us close to the front desk. And in every port, where the city was not so close we had complimentary shuttles to get into the cities.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
This is our 12th cruise. We selected this cruise for the itinerary and we had always wanted to do a smaller “luxury” cruise. When we signed on, the offer was for a two-level upgrade. Basically, we received a veranda room at an inside ... Read More
This is our 12th cruise. We selected this cruise for the itinerary and we had always wanted to do a smaller “luxury” cruise. When we signed on, the offer was for a two-level upgrade. Basically, we received a veranda room at an inside cabin price. Leaving from the Wash. DC area, we added 3 days to the front of the trip in Copenhagen, and 3 days at the end of the trip in London. BOARDING The boarding process was very smooth. We were a little surprised that they kept our passports at check-in, with the comment that they’d be returned later in the trip. Buffet was crowded, but not overly so. The room was smaller than we’re used to at 179sf, but there was more than enough storage space. DAY 1 (sea day) The North Sea weather was very bad with swells from 9’ - 27’. Many of the crew were sick as were many passengers. A fellow cruiser said that in over 25 cruises, this was the worst weather he had experienced. Being a rather small ship at 592’ the ship movement was significant to say the least. I’m told that the larger ships have an easier time with this type of weather. DAY 2 (Edinburgh) We toured Edinburgh with friends who live there. Our tour was quite lovely, going to small villages that tour buses could not travel through. Our evening was capped off with dinner in a small pub. DAY 3 We were due to leave Edinburgh, but the Captain announced that the ship was not leaving port due to the continuing bad weather. Needless to say, we were pleased. CONTINUING: Rather than detail each day, we thought we’d cover some highlights and a few overall issues. LIVERPOOL The Azamazing Evening at the Liverpool Cathedral was spectacular beyond words. From the excellent coordination at the ship for buses to the Cathedral and return, to a wonderful musical performance at the largest Cathedral in Britain, to the entire staff, was an exercise in excellence. FOOD QUALITY Definitely a step up from what we are used to on other ships with the lamb needing a special mention. The buffet variety was good, but the crowds a bit overwhelming at times. AQUALINA Disappointing both in the quality of the food and the service. Even though the restaurant was almost empty, the amount of time waiting for a server, waiting for drinks, and waiting in general was unacceptable. DINING ROOM SERVICE The first night was good, but the restaurant was only half full. When the dining room was more than half full, service broke down. Yes, the servers remembered our names, but waiting 15-20 minutes for wine and drinks was not pleasing. There is a small lounge outside the dining room, but that staff also could not handle a crowd. The wait for a table was usually about 15 minutes. TOURS: Best of Dublin and Irish Traditions: The tour of Dublin was not researched very well, if at all, by the Azamara staff. The downtown driving part of the tour was repetitive , seeing the outside of St. Patrick’s three times. We did not stop to see the inside and no explanation was offered. After lunch, we were told that there was shopping nearby alongside a marina. There was no shopping, only restaurants, and the entire group had to wait in the cold and wind for 1 ½ - 2 hours. Back on the bus, the guide said “I didn’t know there was no shopping there.” We complained, as did others, to the Land Discovery desk but did not receive a response. Isles of Scilly: This tour to the island of Tresco was also not researched and there is no excuse for what I’m about to relate. The day before the tour we received information in our room that there were NO FACILITIES on the Isle. I’m fairly certain this info was in capital letters. Because of this, some cruisers canceled the tours that they had scheduled, others dehydrated themselves so that they would not need to use any facilities. We were tendered to the Isle with a short walk to Abbey Gardens and the tour. Not only were there facilities for both men and women, but also there was a nice café and a shaded garden. ENTERTAINMENT Also disappointing. The production numbers were good, the others not so. With so much of the seating at floor level, unless you arrived early you were looking at the back of someone’s head rather than the performers.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2014
My husband and I are both 53 and booked this cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. He wanted to see Iceland and I wanted to be pampered! We booked more than a year ahead of the cruise when I found a good deal (buy ... Read More
My husband and I are both 53 and booked this cruise to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. He wanted to see Iceland and I wanted to be pampered! We booked more than a year ahead of the cruise when I found a good deal (buy inside,upgrade to balcony). We bought a balcony guarantee and were assigned a cabin within days. I was allowed to change the room (within the same balcony category) through my big-box travel agent. We had taken one cruise together before, an Alaskan cruise on Princess. We did not like the large ship with lots of people everywhere and long waits to tender. My mom and I took an Azamara cruise from Istanbul to Athens 3 years ago and loved it. We liked the size, the friendly crew, good food, included wine, and the ability to vacation any way you want. My husband was willing to give Azamara a try. Overall, the trip was a great success! We both loved the flexibility of cruising with Azamara, the much smaller ship, the amazingly friendly and efficient staff, and the ability to relax in every way. We arrived to embark in Copenhagen around 11:30 am and were on board within an hour or so. Very easy and efficient. We purchased the dining package upon embarkation (there was a table right next to the check-in lines) and made our reservations for 2 Prime C/ 2 Aqualina / Italian Chef’s Table. The maitre d’ had menus and the cruise schedule available to assist in making plans. It is a bit odd having to make all of the dinner reservations right away but it actually worked well for us and was one less thing to think about each day. Our balcony room was always clean and tidy. The bed was very comfortable. I had warned my husband about the shower but it was fine; at least the showerhead is adjustable. Plenty of storage and more hangers when we asked. The table on the balcony is much bigger but I liked it - easier to eat a whole meal or have a drink and play cards. The chairs outside are much more comfortable. Our room stewards were very sweet and hardworking. The ship is in good shape and I didn’t really see many signs of wear and tear. The loungers around the pool are super comfortable and no trouble finding one. The MDR looks much better after the dry dock and some of the very ugly public areas rugs were also better. The decor is not really to my taste - a bit too much brass and dark wood, ugly carpeting. Personal taste but….really, what is up with the public art/photos?! Many were modern, some a bit bizarre, most were jarringly out of character for the rest of the ship. I actually liked some of them but they did not fit or add to the decor. And please, get rid of the art auction - it was ugly and unnecessary. Reminded me of cruising on the huge ship and that is not a good thing. The food was good to outstanding. We ate pretty much everywhere. Room service was fine and prompt. The pool grill was just OK for a hamburger one day. The buffet was great - good to great food, fresh, variety, interesting ethnic food (unbelievably good Indian food), and drink service. We ate outside when the weather was nice and enjoyed the view. The MDR was solid - breakfast was not too exciting but hot and good (and they found fresh berries for me everyday!), lunch was variable - sometimes a menu, sometimes a buffet (the greek buffet and the jazz buffet, with fruit cutting station, were excellent), dinner was good with a few outstanding dishes (lamb) and wonderful service. We often ate with others and enjoyed meeting new people - a very friendly, well-traveled, and pleasant group on board. We were seated at the captain’s table for our anniversary (sans captain) and had a lovely dinner with a special dessert and singing with 4 other couples we just happened to be seated with - all of whom had been married much longer than us! The included wines were fine to good and poured generously. With the inclusion of many other drinks (and the list of included wines/beers/spirits is all around the first few days), we only paid for a few drinks - generally just to try something new. The only negatives are the really lousy included beers and tonic water (I didn’t think I would care about tonic water but Royal Crown is awful). There is so much to choose from it was not a problem for us. Try the non-alcoholic drinks/smoothies - yummy. Prime C looks wonderful and we had 2 good dinners there. Great side dishes. Aqualina is decorated a little too fussily for my taste but we had truly great meals there (the sole was the best we have ever had) and wonderful service (thanks, Maria). The Chef’s table was really wonderful and well worth the price. The menu was delicious and well prepared. Pierre, the sommelier, guided us through the interesting Italian wines he had chosen - and he poured some lovely wines. My only food negatives: some of the desserts looked better than they tasted (the gelato was always good) and the bread/pastries, while fresh, were not so delicious and finding interesting whole grain bread was next to impossible. Just as well, even with eating less bread and pastries than I was planning on - the pounds followed me home. My husband has a shellfish allergy and was carefully accommodated everywhere we ate. The entertainment is of little importance to me, my husband liked some of the shows. The dancers were really good. Eric de Gray is very talented, energetic, and funny. Alex, the activity manager, is also a hoot. We didn’t catch much else. The TV was pretty limited. Some movies were also broadcast but very few. I think Azamara should offer more movies (included & pay-per-view), especially on cruises with sea days. We only took one ship’s excursion. We had planned on renting a car in Akureyri, Iceland and driving to the Myvatn Baths but we arrived 3 hours late due to a storm we skirted in the North Sea so we took the ship’s excursion to the baths instead. Good thing we did - the excursion returned to the ship an hour late but, of course, Journey had to wait for us. The excursion was fine, although expensive, and the baths were fantastic but you could easily drive there if you had the time. The AzAmazing Evening was a musical program in Reykjavik at the opera house. The program of 2 Icelandic singers singing traditional songs was interesting but a bit long. Sparkling wine/water and snacks were available. The Harpa Hall is gorgeous and well worth seeing. We walked to the Hall and back to the ship along the waterfront and enjoyed the walk and the views. Everyone else was bused back and forth (in 2 assigned groups, early and late). The event was fine but in no way amazing. Would we cruise again with Azamara? Yes, with the right itinerary and price. The onboard experience IS amazing. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
The ship was kept immaculately clean and the onboard crew, staff, and entertainment were excellent. As usual, food started out great and the quality decreased over the course of the cruise. We were upgraded from sea view to veranda without ... Read More
The ship was kept immaculately clean and the onboard crew, staff, and entertainment were excellent. As usual, food started out great and the quality decreased over the course of the cruise. We were upgraded from sea view to veranda without our consent and it was not worth it. Having the veranda took space from the interior of the cabin and it was not really big enough for three. My main complaint was with the excursions-particularly in Iceland. Iceland was to be the highlight of the trip. Instead of the volcanic nature walk the excursion brochure described for Rekjavik we were driven through some scenic areas and then dumped at the blue spa lagoon for a hour and a half. We had the spa bathing experience the day before in Ackeuyri and did not pay for or want a double dose of bathing. The excursions were overpriced and overpromised for what we were actually given. Take the cruise but seek excursion options elsewhere. There are lots of reputable local tour operators, such as DenRus in St. Petersburg, out there. Find them. You will be much better served. There was also a great deal of pressure from some of the staff, ie spa, to pay for expensive treatments on the "at sea" days. I felt kind of like I was being run through a money milking machine on the tour of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
Our cruise started in Copenhagen where the embarkation process was very slick as we were on-board within 10 minutes of arriving at the ship at about 1.30pm. After lunch we went to our cabin to find our luggage waiting for us. The cruise ... Read More
Our cruise started in Copenhagen where the embarkation process was very slick as we were on-board within 10 minutes of arriving at the ship at about 1.30pm. After lunch we went to our cabin to find our luggage waiting for us. The cruise called at 8 ports with the highlight being St Petersburg where we moored for 3 whole days. Being a relatively small ship, Journey was given a berth in the heart of the city which meant little time was spent getting anywhere (except Peterhof which is an hour outside the city anyway). We had chosen the Journey's 3 day excursion which covered the major sights, costs $350 per person which proved to be good value as it was three full days (with 2 lunches) and an excellent guide called Tatiana. Not only was her English good, she was very knowledgeable and spoke with tremendous enthusiasm about the city and it's history. These 3 days were exhausting though fascinating. We enjoyed visiting all the other ports - Travemude (which by chance had a sea shanty choir festival), Wismar, Bornholm, Gdansk, Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm some of which we would never have otherwise visited. In Gdansk, we attended the AzAmazing Evening which was a Classical Concert at the Poland Baltic Philharmonic hall which was exceptionally good. Gdansk was a complete surprise as it's old town has wonderful historic building's. Service on Journey was generally very good as was the food both of which compare favourably with 6 star cruise ships. The majority of the 600+ passengers were from the USA and Canada plus about 80 from Australia and only about 40 from the UK (where we are from). We had previously been on Journey for a Rio carnival cruise in 2012 when there were many more British passengers. Most passengers were aged 50+.   Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
Cabin #7078 (Standard Balcony) Loved the location! Yes, it is directly across from the laundry room, but we were never disturbed from door slamming, foot traffic, etc. The comfort & ease of being mid ship and having the convenience ... Read More
Cabin #7078 (Standard Balcony) Loved the location! Yes, it is directly across from the laundry room, but we were never disturbed from door slamming, foot traffic, etc. The comfort & ease of being mid ship and having the convenience of Windows Cafe just 2 decks up, coffee bar, 2 decks down, was great. Embarkation: We did traditional cruise air with ground transfers (not Choice Air), so we did not have any input in our airline arrangements. I will give a big round of applause to Azamara on the arrangement of our flights. We flew from San Diego to JFK to Copenhagen. Of course, flying such a long distance is NEVER fun, but we really feel like the air arrangements were handled well. Delta offered fairly good service in Economy Comfort (well worth the extra fee!) and I would fly with them again internationally, if their prices were lower than KLM or Lufthansa for a similar route. I must tell you that the Copenhagen embarkation was truly horrible! We were let off of the coach/bus, made to gather our own luggage (remember, this after flying all night long and being exhausted!). The wind was blowing at least 20-30 MPH, temperature was around 55 degrees, the rain was falling heavily... As we were all exiting the coach, we were hoping to get inside the embarkation area (think fancy tent), NOPE! We were left to stand outside, tired/wet/cold/exhausted and being whipped to death by the wind. Finally, after several elderly guests with walkers and wheel chairs were becoming agitated, we found someone who worked for Azamara, or at least the Copenhagen port authority, and told them that we MUST not be left out in this horrible weather. We were informed that since security had decided to set up the metal detectors so close to the door, that they were not able to allow us to enter until it was 'our turn' at security. Imagine our disgust, when we got inside this huge tent (complete with bathrooms, and at least 2000 square feet of wide open space with tons of empty chairs), that we were made to stand outside in such horrible conditions. The c/s rep that checked us in, was quite unhappy that I could not find my Express Pass papers. He made it very clear that I should have kept those with my passport. I asked him if he could just look me up by my name, or my travel companion's name, and let's get this process moving. He finally got someone to help him (and I'm not joking! He really had to ask a fellow team member to assist him!) and after 15 minutes, we were in front of the ship's photographer to get our 'Welcome Aboard' photos taken (complete with wind blown hair, rain streaked makeup and sheer exhaustion, clearly, written all over our faces). You would think that this is the end of our embarkation story... Nope! As we exited the tent, we looked up and could not believe that, in order to board the Journey, we were being forced to climb stairs with our heavy carry on bags, in the rain, with absolutely NO Azamara rep to assist us. The metal steps were very slippery, our roller bags were heavy and it was almost more than we could stand, especially when you filter in the long flight, 3 hour city tour & harsh weather conditions, that we had just endured. Once onboard, we went to Guest Relations, to tell them that we needed to cancel our Copenhagen City Tour that we had booked and paid for, since we just participated in the included (free!) city tour that was included with our transfer. This was a huge run-around. We were told to come back to the Shore Excursions desk at noon (approximately one hour later) and to just go have some lunch and not worry about it. Promptly at noon, I returned to a closed Shore Excursions desk and there was no one there. I went over to Guest Relations and was told that they were now opening at 1 PM and that I would have to come back then to discuss a refund on our City Tour. Normally, this would be OK except for the fact that all tours must be cancelled in advance and our tour began at 12:45 PM. I told Guest Relations that they needed to assist me with this, and that basically, I was not leaving their desk, until we had this matter resolved. I was very nice, but firm. I was clearly not informed that a city tour was included with my transfer and a refund was owed to me. Eventually, the refund was given, but it was not without an argument. Couple this with the rough embarkation experience in the tent/rain/weather/metal steps, and you can see how this day was going. When we landed, there were several Azamara reps waiting for us. After clearing customs, we gathered our own luggage and then, proceeded to large coach/busses to start our Journey. Since it was very early in the AM (around 7:30 AM) and we would not be allowed to board before 11:00 AM, Azamara provided us a 3 hour city tour of Copenhagen. The rain and wind were very bad, and we were all very, very tired and jet lagged, so the city tour was definitely not fully enjoyed. I still truly appreciate Azamara providing this service. Cabin: We were in 7078, a standard balcony cabin.... the dreaded and feared cabin directly across from the laundry room. In researching this cabin, I heard everything from 'high levels of noise' to 'avoid this cabin at all cost' to 'YOU'VE BEEN WARNED'. Well... let me set the record straight...there was basically no noise from the laundry room and for any noise that we heard (which was minimal), it was made up for in convenience factor with being so strategically located by the laundry room. This standard balcony cabin is a bit smaller than the Celebrity balcony cabins I have had before on M or S Class ships, but it was well designed and the storage was adequate. The shower does have the dreaded curtain, but it did not cling to our legs, at all. There was an adjustable shower head that made the tiny shower much easier to take. We also utilized the Spa showers, which were nice! There was almost no transfer of noise, from either of our next door neighbors. I will give Azamara an extra point or two, over Celebrity, for sound proofing their rooms. The linens on the beds were good and mattresses were of good quality. The other wonderful thing are all the hooks on the bathroom door and the large hook in the main cabin area. Very convenient for storing visors, hats, robes, etc. Also, there is a safe that easily holds a 15 inch laptop and 2 SLR cameras, plus plenty of other items. Shore Excursions: Azamara offered the excursions (as long as they were booked in advance and NOT on board) for 50% off. Obviously, this made them a good deal and we booked nearly one in every port on this very port intensive itinerary. Well... This is an area that I am sad to report, really needs to have some attention paid. The shore excursions, for the most part, were far from great. The guide in Brugge Belgium neglected to tell our group that pick pockets were prevalent in the very areas that we would be touring. Well.... You know what's coming next... 2 women in our group had their money and I.D's stolen. This really put a bad mood on the group and might have been avoided had the guide let us know to hold our belongings close. The 2 women that were pick pocketed were each carrying messenger style bags, small to medium in size and zipped up (think Baggalini type of cross body messenger style bags). Even this security minded type of bag was no match for Brugge pick pockets! Also, the grand finale for our very lame tour guide, was when we got off of the canal boat, he was GONE! Yes, that's right! Gone! We had to find another Azamara tour and join them to finish our tour! Couple that with his super quiet, soft spoken ways (there was no amplification provided, so if you were hard of hearing, or not able to literally be standing right next to the guide, you had NO idea, what you were touring). We also had a less than stellar experience on the London Panoramic Tour. The group was picked up right after lunch (think full tummies and bladders!). London has basically no public bathrooms (perhaps due to the tight security for the 2012 Olympics that at the time of our cruise, were 2 weeks away from starting). So, picture this... 50 people on a tour bus...right after unlimited wine at lunch...bumpy cobblestone streets... **NO BATHROOMS**! You can use your imagination to fill in the rest! We all held it pretty good for the entire 3 hours, but as we were finally starting to head back to the ship, several of us began asking (begging!) the tour guide, if there would be a bathroom break, and if not, was it OK to use the bathroom on the bus. The driver and the tour guide told us that the bathroom was out of order, due to a burned out light bulb! Well, after much fighting and arguing, and people threatening to urinate in the seats if they were not allowed to use the bathroom, the driver finally agreed to unlock the door and let us 'go in the dark'. Fortunately, many of had our iPhones with us and used the camera flash as a flash light and managed just fine. After sitting in 2 hours of rush hour traffic, to go **five** miles, we were all thankful that the driver finally came to his senses and opened the door to the restroom. Note to self:, avoid Greenwich (London) between the hours of 4:30 and 6:30 PM at all costs, or be prepared to sit and sit and sit in traffic. Day two in London, we had the good fortune to join some friends on a tour with Keith Bates . This was basically a private tour for our group of 5 and WOW!...what a GREAT day! www.londonbluebadgeguide.me Anyone visiting London, would be well served and very lucky, to have Keith as their guide. He was the BEST at taking old, at times, boring history, and making it more interesting than any show on E! or Bravo! Loved every moment! Also, when he drove us back to the ship in Greenwich, he also got stuck in traffic (for over 2 hours!) and never, ever became cranky or irritable. Just kept us entertained and always kept the mood light, even though, we were all clearly not liking the traffic, the rain, etc. Three cheers for Keith! Food: As always, everyone's opinion regarding food and service is subjective. We dined at Windows Cafe, Aqua Lina (specialty restaurant with $25 cover charge) Pool Grill and the MDR. Pool Grill: Loved the turkey burgers! Fresh burgers, grilled to order, were wonderful! Our friends had the chicken wings, daily, and they were always good. The nachos were OK, not great (they could be great, but Azamara must get rid of that awful liquid cheese and replace it with real, shredded cheese, melted in a broiler); however, guacamole was always fresh and appeared to be freshly prepared. We also loved the soft serve ice cream! The vanilla was always the perfect complement to any of our lunch items. Our only suggestion to Azamara would be to always have blue cheese dressing readily available for the chicken wings. This is a very normal condiment to request when having chicken wings and on the days that Azamara did not happen to have it on the salad bar, it was sometimes, quite an ordeal to get it. Aqua Lina: Hit & Miss, to say the least. Be sure to go over the menu, thoroughly, before deciding to eat there. The menu (IMHO) is a bit limited and when we asked to please have some French onion soup and a chicken entree from Prime C, we were told a resounding "No" and we eventually left Aqua Lina, asked the maitre'd NOT to charge us the $50 for our party of two, and went to the MDR to dine, instead. We spoke to some of our other friends who were on this cruise, and were also told "NO" from the wait staff and maitre'd, to a simple French onion soup from Prime C, when they were dining in Aqua Lina. The kitchens for each specialty restaurant are right next to each other, so clearly, it would be very possible to honor guests requests for menu items, but Azamara decided to hold firm and let $50 in revenue walk out the door. Main Dining Room (Discoveries): The menu, including the items that never change (chicken/steak/fish/shrimp cocktail, etc.) was good. Food was, for the most part, always hot and served promptly. Service was good to very good...the last night was a bit rough, but we all still had a very good time and no one went to bed hungry. The crème brulee was wonderful, the cheesecake, fabulous. Azamara's breadsticks would rival the famous breadsticks on Seabourn. However, getting additional butter from ones waiter, could prove to be a challenge (picture a nice waiter with a deer in the headlights look!). Room Service: Azamara has fabulous room service! When we did not find what we were looking for on the interactive TV menu, we simply called them, and they did their best to make us happy. The food was always hot (even breakfast!) and promptly served. This was one aspect of the trip, where Azamara shined. Room service, especially breakfast, on large ships, typically runs tepid to cold. Not on Azamara. I was glad I brought lots of small bills for tipping because I was always happy to tip our cheerful room service attendants who carried those heavy trays and got the food to us while it was still piping hot. Entertainment: This is an area that Azamara clearly has the upper hand over Seabourn. The shows are not the Broadway style that you will get on the bigger ships; however, the singers and dancers are all very good and you will definitely be thoroughly entertained for your post dinner entertainment. Also, when we would see the entertainment staff around the ship at bars and restaurants, they were very nice and would always stop and talk. This was a first! Eric De Gray (cruise director) was very visible and always tries hard to keep the guests informed and entertained. Since he is allowed to perform in a couple of the shows, he appears to be very happy since leaving Seabourn to join Azamara. Spa: We paid the $20 admission fee to utilize the spa and the T-Pool / Spa. The sad part of this story was that on the sea day that we paid the admission fee, was a very, very cold/windy/rainy day with high waves. The storm came on quickly and we were all in the T-Pool / Spa. The staff came out and quickly starting securing the pool deck furniture, cushions, etc. You would think that they would have come over and helped us out of the spa. Nope! Not one of the Azamara crew even approached us. They merely went on about their business of securing the spa deck furniture/cushions, etc. When one of the older guests, a female who was probably 70 years of age or older, attempted to climb out of the rocky spa tub, she fell onto another guest and caused her to be injured. Once again, the deck crew did not even approach us to help. Instead, a male guest, also in the spa tub, jumped up, in the cold, driving winds, to assist the older guest and get her out of the tub, up the steps and into the gym, for safety. The waves were getting so rough, that the water was literally being rocked out of the spa tub and the jets were becoming exposed. Not a big deal, until I got hit in the eye with the water when another wave hit. I approached the spa manager, Kelly, after we had all calmed down from this frightening afternoon and told her that I either wanted a refund for my $20 spa admission or a comp'd day for our next sea day. She told me that this would not be possible and that I should have researched the weather before deciding to pay the admission fee for the spa. Uh, no.... Sorry...this is not the guest's responsibility. If conditions become unsafe due to rapidly changing weather, then offer your guests a rain check and escort them to safety out of the spa tub. I went back to the spa desk, 2 hours later, and told Kelly that either she could do the right thing and give me a rain check, or I would take it up with the hotel manager. She finally smiled and said that she would be happy to give me a rain check and allowed me to come back on the next sea day (the weather was much better and there was no drama!). The steam sauna on the spa is very good. I wish it had Eucalyptus but that would be the only area that I think Azamara could do to improve it. The showers are nice but several guests had a hard time getting them to function properly. The one time I had to ask for assistance, a cheerful spa employee was right there to assist. Also, Azamara should take a clue from Princess and other lines, to offer food and bar service in the spa deck area. If you pay the $20 cover charge, and want to relax with friends, the last thing you want to do, is run all over the boat, getting lunch. On day #2, we were able to get the waiter from the pool grill to come back every 20 minutes or so, and take our drink orders. That was a nice touch. This cruise was offered at a heavily discounted price to many of the guests, so that was a bone of contention with the guests that had paid brochure rate. Also, I had to wonder, if the staff had turned down the service, due to such a great number of guests 'getting a low price'? Conspiracy theory, perhaps... but, for the stellar reputation that Azamara has for service and food, we honestly did not experience that. Of course, nothing was down right terrible, not in the least. But, when you see that Azamara's rates vs. Celebrity for similar itineraries are considerably higher, you want to feel that your money was well spent. Yes, we enjoyed the wine at lunch and dinner, and having the tips included was a nice touch (we often tipped extra for outstanding service and always tipped our room service team!), but it always comes down to being made to feel special and having a fabulous experience. Azamara just does not have the finer details down to an art, yet. Things like, the robes, even though they were soaking wet, would not be replaced if they were not left in the floor. Often, we would leave our robes on the hooks on the bathroom door, assuming that our stewards would replace them when they noticed that the robes were soaking wet (from being used around the pool deck). Nope.... The robe belts were re-tied in a pretty bow and left WET, hanging on the door. Yuck! After another guest informed us that we must leave the robes on the floor or they would not be replaced, we happily complied. This worked well except that often times, our 2 robes would only be replaced with 1 robe; thus, making for another call to the Attendant on Duty. For some reason, we also had a challenging time, getting the proper number of towels left in our bathroom when the used towels were taken away. One night, we had to raid the housekeeping cart left in the hallway, in order to take our shower and have a towel the next day. Umbrellas were offered at the gangway, which is a very nice touch. However, Northern Europe is very wet and umbrellas often were gone by the time the majority of the guests disembarked. The one time that we requested that additional umbrellas be brought out to the gangplank, an Azamara employee assured us that they would get them right away (it was a true downpour in Amsterdam). After standing around for literally, 15 minutes (were they building the umbrellas?!), we finally gave up, went through security again, and went back to our cabins to get our room umbrellas. No, not the end of the world, but just a small detail that Azamara should have been prepared for. Also, on embarkation day, when we were trying to unpack, we had to ask our room steward 3 times, for hangers. Each time, she would bring us 5 hangers, even though I told her that we had a lot of clothes and really needed a lot of hangers. The 3rd request for additional hangers, was met w/ the infamous eyeball roll. Not a good way to start off the voyage. Also, she became like the water police when she would only give us one small bottle of water in our room, daily. We asked her if we were just expected to share the water bottle (think germs!), or if it would be possible, to perhaps, get 2 bottles of water, in our room? Eyeball roll, once again, but we did get 2 bottles of water so all was good in our world! Gym: The gym was busy on sea days, like any cruise ship gym, but you could easily get onto a cardio machine (treadmill/elliptical, etc.) if you were patient. The equipment was clean and appeared to be in good working condition. Also, I give a round of applause to Azamara for having chilled bottled water available, as well as workout towels. Pool & Hot Tubs: The hot tubs were well used by our group. We were in them, almost every night (due to the port intensive 'forced march meets German Boot Camp itinerary') to soak our aching legs and feet. The hot tubs were always hot and appeared to be very clean. The pool water was warm, even though Azamara told us that the pool is not heated. Perhaps the hot tub water is circulated through the pool? Whatever the reason, the warmer pool water in this cold climate, was very welcome and wonderful. Also, Azamara leaves the pool and hot tubs open 24 hours a day which is also a nice touch. The waiters at the pool grill were always fun and friendly and made us feel special. Casino: Since this was a port intensive cruise, the casino was only open 3 or 4 times. Fortunately, this was OK since the slots were quite tight and truly, not paying. My friends and I had a good time, and James the casino manager took pity on us for the amount of 'investment' we had made, and gave us each a T-Shirt and a couple of complimentary drinks. Definitely a welcome gift! Thank you, James! We did not use the complimentary Azamara shuttles in any of the ports, but I still want to commend Azamara for having this service available. Interesting sewage smell was noted in the hallway, directly in front of our room, for several days. It was truly YUCK to the nth degree! After three days, we commented to the Guest Relations desk and they confirmed that there were some 'issues' with some of the toilets on deck 8 (it smelled as if the toilet residue was being flushed directly down our walls!). The smell would still come and go, but, basically after day 3 or 4, it was bearable. I am happy to report, that our toilet worked fine and we never had any of the issues that the guests on deck 8 were obviously suffering from (whew!). The Journey is in good condition. Yes, there is definite need of the cabins to be refreshed, top to bottom, during her dry dock, but overall, the ship is lovely. There is fun and lively artwork in each of the stair wells that always makes you smile. Shops: Uh, um...what can I say.... There is basically no shopping on this ship. If you are hoping for a baby version of any of Celebrity's other ships, forget about it! Unlike any of the larger ships that offer the T-Shirt sales, 'clearance sales', daily deals, etc... Azamara does not do this. In fact, it became the running joke in our group that they had the nerve to charge $255 USD for a ladies Ralph Lauren golf shirt. The rub was that a tailored man's dress shirt (not even a golf shirt!), also Ralph Lauren, was $90! Honestly, none of us could understand how in the world they arrived at a price of $255 for what appeared to be, at most, an $80 shirt, at normal retail. Live and learn! Needless to say, we did not have to worry about spending too much money at the Journey shop! Perhaps, Azamara did us a favor?! Fellow passengers: Truly amazing! We met the most wonderful new friends, on this voyage! Jonathan, Maelo, Leonora, Ellen & Lenny...Thank you, all, for the fabulous memories that you gave to us. In addition to these wonderful new friends, there were always wonderful people to meet at dinner, or just hanging out at the pool grill. Maybe it's the wine that's included that puts the fellow passengers in a good mood? Whatever the reason, I am impressed by the camaraderie that was established with these wonderful, new friends. It became like traveling with family. Disembarkation: Process was fairly smooth. However, since as previously mentioned, we had traditional air through Azamara (not Choice Air), and our transfers were being handled by Azamara, I was not sure why we had to be off of the ship by 7:55 AM for a 1:30 PM flight. I asked at the guest relation's desk for a later departure, but was told that since the Shore Excursions team handled that function of the cruise, and they were not going to be open again before disembarkation, that I was out of luck. Needless to say, departing 5 hours early for our flight, made for a very, very, very long day. I know that the departure day of any cruise is never fun, but truly, kicking guests off at 7:55 AM for 1:30 PM flights is a bit odd. The positive spin on this was that we had lots of time to roam around the Amsterdam airport, spend nearly 20 Euros at McDonalds for 2 Chicken McNugget combo meals and go through the duty free stores, looking at items that we would not be able to get home, when we transferred in Atlanta to our San Diego flight (liquor, large liquid cosmetics, etc.). Once again, not the end of the world, but was a bit of a rough way to end our vacation with Azamara. All in all, Azamara is a good, on its way, to trying to be a very good, cruise line. Would I give them five stars.... No, I wouldn't. I know that, in these days of a challenging economy and most, if not all, cruise lines finding ways to cut back, that some things are just going to suffer. I accept this when it comes to portion sizes of food; however, excellent service and the smaller details, do not come directly out of the bottom line of the balance sheet. However, it's these items that a customer remembers. I often say that if I go to a restaurant and the food is only so-so, but the wait staff is friendly, that I will leave happy, tip heavily and return again, to give them another try. However, it's one thing to do this with a meal, it's another thing to do this with such a costly investment such as a cruise. I purchased Open Passage certificates while on board for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity but I did not purchase any for Azamara. I think, that for the difference in price, I will continue to be loyal to Celebrity in Aqua Class (service is the same, if not better, than Azamara). Also, thanks to our new friends that we met on board, we will be giving Holland America a try. They raved and raved about the 5 star service, the amazing food, the attention to detail, etc... For the same 'per day price' that Azamara typically charges, we could do a suite on HAL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
Azamara Journey is an intimate floating boutique hotel catering masterfully to the needs of its occupants.....Outstanding food....Service.....Entertainment....and an opportunity to visit seven amazing ports....The Concierge as well as ... Read More
Azamara Journey is an intimate floating boutique hotel catering masterfully to the needs of its occupants.....Outstanding food....Service.....Entertainment....and an opportunity to visit seven amazing ports....The Concierge as well as Roxie, the Customer Service Rep. provided professional support to independent travelers.... Despite wretched weather, (It rained during the entire cruise, ) we were able to engage in the beauty and culture of each port... Two days in London provided us with ample opportunities to engage in London Highlights....Bill and I purchased discount tixs at Leicster Square and saw Billy Elliot....(Tremendous!) The Staff was upbeat and energetic.....Disembarkation was orderly and personal needs were attended to up until departure. Our only glitch related to delayed and missed flights on United Airlines....The first flight was delayed one hour and forty minutes due to mechanical difficulties causing us to miss the connecting flight to Copenhagen....We experienced a layover and then we were shipped to Frankfurt from there onto Copenhagen! A stress-filled, nightmare!We unfortunately missed the first half day in Copenhagen and our planned itinerary was kaput! (We had planned a special visit to a Copenhagen Synagogue ((planning to say prayers for a deceased friend!) It never happened because instead of arriving at 7:15 A.M. as had been anticipated, we arrived late Friday afternoon...totally bedraggled ....and unfortunately missed this cherished opportunity to say Kaddish! ((We incurred an additional cost of $300 to Azamara for the privilege of taking the anticipated early flight...The Customer Rep at United advised us that the responsibility falls on Azamara to compensate us for the cost and lost time in Copenhagen as Azamara handled flight arrangements; all payments were paid directly to them. In effect, they were our Travel Agents... Unfortunately we cannot take back the lost encounter at the Copenhagen Synagogue.... Airplane travel always has potential hassles....However we are expecting that Azamara, being the first rate Cruise Line that it represents to be, will be forthright in compensating us for the $300 we expanded for early arrival which never happened.! Azamara offers a truly unique onboard experience! We look forward to future travel...perhaps their upcoming trip to the Balkans circumventing the Black Sea next August! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
We love to cruise and when the opportunity arose to book aboard the Azamara Journey we swapped a two week voyage onboard Celebrity for this passage. Our voyage onboard Azamara is highlighted below. Should you have any questions, please ... Read More
We love to cruise and when the opportunity arose to book aboard the Azamara Journey we swapped a two week voyage onboard Celebrity for this passage. Our voyage onboard Azamara is highlighted below. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me a message and I will be more than happy to dive into a bit more detail. Happy reading. Embarkation -- 1 out of 5 stars We embarked on Azamara Journey on July 6, 2012 in Copenhagen Denmark. The overall embarkation process and setup was, to be blunt, terrible. We arrived to a rundown pier with no permanent infrastructure but rather a white event tent. We took a private transfer from the airport and were greeted car side by about 5 port agents. While the agents were quick to take our bags, they were stumbling over each other, and frantically tried to get us to fill out new bag tags as they did not think we had our bags tagged (turns out they were unfamiliar with Azamara's tags). After our bags were swept away, we were left on our own. No agents directed us into the event tent and it was our driver who tracked down an agent and gave us directions. Inside, security was setup alongside the entryway. Fortunately for us, we did not arrive in a large group and were able to enter the building without a problem but others were forced to wait outside in blustery and wet conditions in order to clear security. The actual documentation process was terrible. The girl checking us in had no clue what she was doing and did not take our health forms or our passports. This turned out to be a problem when trying to board the ship as we showed up as not checked in. It took another 45minutes at the front desk for the matter to be fully resolved. Room -- 3 out of 5 stars We booked a Club Oceanview during a promotion for a free upgrade to Verandah. Unfortunately there were no verandahs available for the upgrade that could accommodate three guests. During our check-in debacle I asked the front desk agent about an upgrade and we were able to get upgraded to a Suite for a nominal fee. The room was much larger than a normal stateroom but approximately 2/3's the size of a suite onboard Holland America, one of our favorite lines. With the suite you get complimentary butler service, spa admission, upgraded amenities and free liquor in-suite. While we did not utilize many of the rooms features we made good use of the spa and appreciated the larger quarters. Some issues we had with our room included the fact that the sofa bed was completely broken and it took multiple attempts and hours to get to a solution which ended up being a rollaway bed. While this was a fine solution, it took up a significant portion of our walking space and inhibited our ability to access the balcony. While this was no problem at night, after turndown, it was unacceptable during the day. It took another two days before housekeeping, our butler and my party were all on the same page about how to set the room up which was to breakdown the rollaway daily but not remove it from the room, just place it against the wall and move the couch back to allow for balcony access. The housekeeping staff were thrilled we did not want the bed taken in and out daily but struggled with the fact that we wanted to sheets changed daily given the bed would be on the floor. This seemed to be a common theme onboard, having to ask for things that were somewhat commonsense. The last few days of our cruise, our butler was taken out of service which was completely unannounced. This proved to be challenging because, in our case, we did not get a replacement butler, our room rather went unserviced until I continually inquired with the front desk. One last point about the room, when upgrading I asked about the rooms location being below the Window's Cafe. I was told this was not an issue and that complaints regarding noise were seldom. Well, the room was louder than normal and while foot traffic was not noticeable, you got a constant flushing noise from the beverage service section and dragging chairs. We have stayed in aft cabins before and while increased noise is to be expected not quite to this degree. On a positive note, the room was clean and kept tidy excluding the last few days. Spa -- 3 out of 5 stars The spa onboard the Azamara Journey was quite comprehensive for a ship of this size. Upon touring the spa on day one we were pleased by the look and feel of the spa. Unfortunately, the staff overall were quite rude and were more interested in their personal conversations, books and cell phones rather than the guests. For example, upon exiting one day, I handed in my locker key and was handed back a key card that was not mine. When I asked for mine, it had been given to another guest. The reception staff had no sense of urgency, now that someone could be charging items to my account or better yet accessing my room, but rather asked if I knew who the person from the key card she had given me so I could track it down. After another drawn out situation my card was located and given back to me. Another item about the spa was that on each visit we had to call to ask for towels in either the locker room or by the therapy pool. Furthermore, the lockeroom had a "used" and questionably dirty look on a good portion of the days. One day, when visiting the therapy pool the ship hit a bit of a storm and the weather went from glorious to quite rough. While this is par the course for a cruise, no staff came out to assist or help us out of the pool. Rather, staff came running out to cover the patio furniture but left us to fend for ourselves in 20+MPH winds and beating rain. In fact, an elderly woman fell back into the pool and onto the lap of my travel companion who then banged her head and broke her sunglasses that were on top of her head. Dining -- 5 out of 5 stars Dining onboard the Journey is truly great. Room service is delivered quickly and everything is fresh and warm. The main dining room has a variety of options and provided an overall great experience. Aqualina was always a fantastic dining experience and our server Monico provided 5-star service. The maitre-d's at both Aqualina and the main dining room were FANTASTIC and accommodating. Our first experience at Prime C on the otherhand was terrible with the server being rude and rushing us. Furthermore, the maitre d walked by our table multiple times and did not greet us once. He was upset that we insisted on a 9PM reservation as opposed to the 8:30PM reservation we had originally reserved but had to change when our excursions departure time was changed. To make a long story short, our food came out at different times, items were never brought and we were told by that waiter that he knew we were hungry and would not waste time explaining the menu even though we had mentioned never being to Prime C before. After talking with our butler and the front desk after this incident we returned to Prime C and were thrilled with the meal and service provided by a new waiter (Ariel). Mosaics and the pool grill also provided a positive experience throughout our sailing. I do wish that Mosaics had been better staffed during peak times but otherwise it was always a good experience with extremely pleasant staff. Overall, the dining staff were the best we encountered onboard and truly delivered a five star experience. Front desk -- 4 out of 5 stars As aforementioned, what I would have considered to be obvious items frequently needed follow-up. For example, we upgraded our room upon embarkation. It took until day 3 for us to finally be recognized as our party versus the guest that had cancelled her cruise thus allowing the cabin to be available. While I understand it would take time for everything to be updated, I do not think it should have taken three days nor should it have needed our party to follow-up to get the problem rectified. Nonetheless, the front desk was very responsive for the most part. Roxy and Lizel (pardon my spelling) were fantastic to deal with and face their challenging jobs with a smile. One item to mention is that it took 4 times before our onboard account was accounted for properly and ultimately I returned home to have an error with my credit card charge (more in disembarkation). Public rooms -- 5 out of 5 stars The public rooms onboard the Journey are beautiful and well appointed. The colors and furniture give a warm and initimate feeling. Furthermore, the staff keep everything clean and were quick to freshen up the spaces throughout the sailing. Shore excursions -- 1 out of 5 stars Prior to boarding we took advantage of the Journey's 50% off excursion promotion and booked 7 excursions. Overall the excursions were disappointing. To start, upon boarding our excursion tickets were never delivered. When we asked the desk about the status we were told that we needed to handle the issue with our stateroom attendant. Well, to make a long story short, the tickets were never delivered and when I went to speak with the manager she found them in a pile on the shore excursions desk in a pile listed as "to be delivered". Upon review of our tickets, I noticed that 3 out of the 7 excursions had departure times that differed from 30 minutes to 1 hours from the booked time. While this created no issue for us it did create an issue with our dinner reservations at Prime C which turned out to be a horrible experience. From a tour experience, in Brugge, for example, our guide did not meet us pierside but rather met us in town. When we were directed to him by another guide we quickly found out that he was hard to understand and was clearly in a rush. He did not allow us to stop for pictures nor did he keep us together in a group but rather we would be looking for the tour sign in a sea of people and commonly found the group to be separated by upwards of 30feet. Part of our excursion was a canal cruise followed by free time for shopping. Upon ending the canal cruise, our guide was nowhere in sight. Turns out he never came back and our group wandered the city until we found another ship guide who directed us to the meeting spot to return to the ship. To make matters worse, yes worse than being abandoned by your paid guide, two members of our tour group were pick pocketed and lost travel documents and large sums of cash. Once back onboard the ship we mentioned our experience to the shore excursions desk and were told that "sometimes the guides are luck of the draw." When I responded that this was unacceptable and that when I book a ships tour I expect to safely go from point a to point b and back we were issued a $20 credit. Our second, almost unexplainable shore excursion encounter found us on another tour where we were delayed on our return to the ship as we were missing one person - the person turned out to be the shore excursion staff member from the ship. The bus driver ended up locating the individual; he was shopping for "more comfortable shoes". Back onboard, we cancelled the remainder of our tours with the exception of our day of departure tour that would take us to the Anne Frank House and then airport. This proved to be another frustrating experience, check the disembarkation review for details. Entertainment -- 5 out of 5 stars The onboard entertainment truly provided a great boutique experience. While the amount of entertainment onboard was limited what was offered was of a high caliber. This holds true from the shows to the music in some of the lounges. The photo staff onboard were also very friendly and provided a pleasant interactive experience. The casino was also well appointed and provided fun memories. Ports -- 4 out of 5 stars Azamara offers great itineraries and this was no exception. While our embarkation pier was terrible, the ship relocated late the first night to provide us with an ideal location for day two in Copenhagen. Other ports provided a great overview of Northern Europe and the timing of our visits couldn't have been better. One note is that our arrival to our last port of Amsterdam was significantly delayed due to a problem with the locks approaching Amsterdam. While some things are out of the control of the line, it was not until 15minutes prior to scheduled arrival that we were informed of our delay. With people having tours booked, both through the ship and independently, this truly was not the best example of effective communication. After all was said and done we arrived almost 3.5hours late into Amsterdam. Disembarkation -- 2 out of 5 stars Azamara does provide a number of disembarkation options including late departure. For our travel arrangements we booked an excursion with transfer to the airport as our flight left Amsterdam closer to 3PM. Our assigned departure time was 815AM which, while early, was not a problem. At approximately 750AM, I received a frantic call from the front desk that they did not have an authorization for my onboard charges. Well, we had given a credit card pierside and onboard during our check-in debacle. Furthermore, I gave another credit card for our upgrade. Well, to make a long story short, nothing was properly documented. It took another 30 minutes for everything to be sorted out properly, or to what I thought was properly. I returned home to have been charged incorrectly and am still trying to work through the incorrect amounts with the cruiseline after nearly 2 weeks. Our disembarkation excursion was overall very enjoyable outside of the fact that the cruiseline mishandled our baggage which yet again created a delay for my party. Azamara asks that all bags be placed outside of your stateroom by 11PM on the night before disembarkation. I had confirmed with both shore excursions and the front desk that my baggage would be traveling with us on the bus but upon disembarkation my bags were nowhere to be found. After going through 3 port agents we found an Azamara shore excursions attendant who told me that the bags had been mistakenly sent to the airport with the regular transfers guests. She was unable to provide information on where my bags would be or any other details given our arrival to the airport was not for another 5 hours. Once again it was Lizel to the rescue who came down and got the bus driver all of the contact information for someone who would be with my bags upon our arrival to the airport. Upon getting to the airport, it was nearly 20 minutes after the other guests had departed that we were finally reunited with our baggage. Overall -- 3.5 out of 5 stars Our cruise onboard Azamara Journey was a memorable experience. While the trip was riddled with issues and needed a great deal of follow-up we had an overall pleasant voyage. Being avid cruisers, I have been questioned by friends, my travel agent, family and colleagues as to whether we would return to Azamara? The answer is, perhaps. Azamara does provide a pleasant cruising experience however, I am under the impression that at times they have over promised and under delivered. Having sailed over 30nights just this calendar year, on a number of lines, we felt this voyage resembled an inaugural voyage in a number of ways. At the end of the day, I am fortunate to have had the experience to cruise Northern Europe onboard Azamara and look forward to the 4 upcoming cruises I have booked -- which to date are not on Azamara. 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Sail Date: June 2012
This was our first cruise on the Azamara Journey but sailed previously on their sister ship, the Quest. Both experiences were outstanding. Having sailed on several cruise lines and ships over the past years for a total of approximately ... Read More
This was our first cruise on the Azamara Journey but sailed previously on their sister ship, the Quest. Both experiences were outstanding. Having sailed on several cruise lines and ships over the past years for a total of approximately 20 sailings, including Silver Seas, Cunard, Princess, NCL, Carnival, etc., I feel they all offer fine service and I have no complaints, but Azamara goes the extra mile. This voyage departed July 6, 2012 from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. Ports included Skagen, Denmark; Bruges; London (Greenwich); Antwerp; Rotterdam and Amsterdam. There are several factors that distinguish this line from others. The pricing - their rates are generally lower than other lines for similar itineraries. Also, many sailings are offered with a 125% charge for single occupancy. Complimentary wines are served with lunch and dinner and gratuities are included in the fare. Soft drinks are available at all times and the cabin refrigerator is stocked with soft drinks as well. Their excursions are available at significant discount when booked on their website prior to sailing. The ship's staff, mostly from the Philippines, is outstanding - consistently efficient, polite, gracious and accommodating. In addition to the main dining room, there are two fine optional restaurants: We had dinner in Aqualina which was comparable to any five-star restaurant. It is well worth the $25.00 pp surcharge In addition, there is Windows Cafe where they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet. Each night features a regional cuisine and the restaurant is attractively decorated from that region with white linen and candles. They also have snacks and specialty coffees available throughout the day and night at Mosaic. The pool grill serves salads and grilled items from 11:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. All the food served on board was delicious and bautifully presented. They were always able to accommodate my requests for vegetarian selections in all the venues and my traveling companion had no problem being accommodated with gluten free choices as well including pastries, bread, cookies, etc. Passengers were predominately seniors and only a few children. Out of 650 passengers, 551 were from the U.S. Several venues have live entertainment including a guitarist, a harpist and cabaret enterainer, Steve Green. The main show room had standing-room-only performances every evening with production shows and solo performances by singer Helen Jayne and pianist/comic John Bressler among others - all very entertaining. Cruise director, Eric DeGray promotes himself as an "international singer" and in addition to his duties as cruise director, hosts and performs in several shows. He proved to be a very accomplished entertainer. His repertoire included mostly audience pleasing show tunes from past popular Broadway shows with some theatrical performances thrown in. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2011
This was our first cruise on Azamara. Now we are spoiled! Yes, it is more expensive upfront, but what you get is unsurpassed. Tips, features wines, soda, specialty coffee and teas, snacks, ice cream, even fresh squeezed juices: all ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Azamara. Now we are spoiled! Yes, it is more expensive upfront, but what you get is unsurpassed. Tips, features wines, soda, specialty coffee and teas, snacks, ice cream, even fresh squeezed juices: all included. Even with only 640 passengers, there were 3 lecturers on board the ship: a naturalist, a geologist, and an expert in geo-political of Western Europe. The captain was everywhere with the passengers, but when he told us that he was stopping for some fresh fish as we entered the North Sea from Norway, we really didn't believe him -- until the ship stopped and a fisherman pulled up along side. While we had several sea days, we were so busy learning that we had no time for trivia. Even hearing the cruise director's experience fighting pirates was amazing and interesting. The physical condition of the ship, although older, was spotless and very well maintained inside and out. Seating in the cafe was adequate, even at the busiest times. The dining room was lovely and with true "any time dining" policy that worked well. Even embarkation and disembarkation were smooth and without stress. The entertainment that we liked the best was the incomparable Brooks Aehron on the piano. Whether with the band, with aCD accompanment, or as a soloist, the music was phenomenal. Added to the music were explanations of the composers, the pieces, and the times when the pieces were written. As much as we enjoyed the food in the dining room, we also enjoyed the food in the cafe (aka 'cafeteria'). Everything was well-prepared to our liking. Service was excellent and flexible. If we wanted to stay and chat with our tablemates, that was fine with the staff. If we were in a hurry, that also was not a problem. All featured wines were included in the price for the cruise. However, if the featured wine was not to your taste, the rest of the wines were very reasonably priced. At various times, we sat around the pools, even though they were a bit too cold to use in those latitudes. When we were given the towels, we did not need to leave a deposit on our sea pass to insure the return of the towels. Lap robes were also provided, as were robes and slippers in our cabins. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
We made a late booking after a very good experience on Quest in July/August. The itinerary for the Norway fjords was inviting and so it proved a good decision. The cruise was again very good. The base product of better than usual ... Read More
We made a late booking after a very good experience on Quest in July/August. The itinerary for the Norway fjords was inviting and so it proved a good decision. The cruise was again very good. The base product of better than usual cruise 4* dining quality and options. A very good and interesting Buffet. Add included wine and soft drinks. Provide an excellent service with a smile and this is a winning combination. The smart casual attire made for a relaxing and less stressful experience. Not having to squeeze a DJ and formal clothes into a suitcase made me enjoy Azamara before leaving home. We have been on several cruise lines and our opinion is that Azamara goes straight into our preferred cruise-line shortlist. Both ships provided fine dining with wonderful menu choices and delivered a fine experience which fluctuated from very good to excellent. Another enjoyable feature was the Mosaic Coffee lounge offering lite bites and a good relaxing area, with live music. Both the Main Dining Room and Windows buffet were very enjoyable any slight problems were just that - slight. The overwhelming experience was enjoyment and the Hotel Director must be commended. I have rarely had a more enjoyable couple of evening when the MDR delivered in spades and I made all the right choices from the menu. Great moments like this are treasure. All evenings were quality in dining. The D(esignated Drivers) Captains were as different as chalk and cheese; given a choice it must be Captain Tysse, he adds to the experience and joins in the fun. To compare the two ships on different voyages is a challenge but Azamara managed to achieve a top notch quality in Hotel and Dining on both ships. The variables given the fact that Azamara seem to have nailed down the Hotel and Dining experience is the passengers, entertainment and itinerary. Passengers: on the Norway trip were well dressed, and as well mannered as they were well heeled. I noticed little over indulgence and there was a good spirit and convivial atmospere. Our very recent Med trip was so very enjoyable but had a large mixture of nationalities. Well heeled yes but not nearly as well mannered. There was less esprit de corps. I feel sure that Azamara will be aware that some national mixtures on board may be potentially combustible! Entertainment: obviously varies from voyage to voyage. The Norway cruise seemed far less vital and a little out of fashion in comparison to the Quest. Although the cafe artists and harpist was very good value. The CD has a big impact to the holiday experience. There was a particular vibrancy and sophistication in the Med which was maybe a little lacking on the Journey in August. Itinerary: Azamara offer some rare opportunities to get to places away from the standard routes and the dreaded container ports. They appear to attract a more travelled and sophisticated cruiser. The allure of interesting and glamorous destinations is a trump card for Azamara. I look forward to enjoying more of the intimate destinations in future. Overall: It was fascinating to experience twin ships in a short space of time. Azamara have the core model down to a T. Maybe the variables are more difficult to control. Great Cruise company. in July as the Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Can't say enough good about this cruise. We did get off to a bad start when about 40 of us were left out in the rain (about 20 minutes)at the Copenhagen Airport because of a problem with having a bus available. This was an issue with ... Read More
Can't say enough good about this cruise. We did get off to a bad start when about 40 of us were left out in the rain (about 20 minutes)at the Copenhagen Airport because of a problem with having a bus available. This was an issue with a contracted service, but reflected poorly on Azamara. Once we had completed the efficient embarkation process and were on board, everything went smoothly and Azamara sent all of us chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of champagne, and a complimentary cover charge at one of the speciality restaurants. What an unexpected and nice recovery! Captain Tysse should be a model for all captains. His walk around style and interaction with cruisers and crew was something not experienced before. He knew crew members by name (not just officers). The crew really appreciated the fact that the captain knew them and spoke with them. This positive attitude showed because the service was always great and with a smile - a true reflection of the captain. He also did some neat things like a 360 turn at sunset one day to give everyone a view. Another was the day a fishmonger brought really fresh caught seafood to the Journey while we were underway in a fjord. Dining was very good. It would have been excellent except for one or two entrees that didn't hit the high bar. The complimentary wine was excellent and was served generously - almost a continuous pour. Entertainment was much better than expected. Norway is tremendously expensive. As an example a Burger King Whopper cost more than the equivalent of $15+. Azamara did a good job of arranging excursions so participants could choose one in the morning, come back to the ship for lunch and have time afterwords to do another excursion or sightsee on their own. Excursions were generally good but fairly pricey. Since we sailed on this ship before when it was one of eight like ships used by a cruise line that went out of business, we knew that small size would be to our liking. Nothing much had changed. The staterooms are comfortable and well designed. Common areas are better than average. The ultimate measure of our evaluation of our Azamara Journey cruise is that we booked another cruise on the Journey in 2012 while on-board. We have never come close to booking a future cruise while still on-board any other cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Our party consisted of two couples, both well travelled and sensible about our expectations of what to expect on a holiday be it a cruise or land based package. We chose Azamara because of good previous experience of the brand on the Quest ... Read More
Our party consisted of two couples, both well travelled and sensible about our expectations of what to expect on a holiday be it a cruise or land based package. We chose Azamara because of good previous experience of the brand on the Quest and the itinerary which was new to both of us couples. We expect pleasant manners and enjoy travelling with like minded people. We treat all staff with respect and believe that mutual courtesy and good manners is the best way of achieving a good experience. We are prepared to pay a premium to enjoy our holidays with fine dining, good companions and little bit of luxury. Creating a friendly atmosphere is certainly something the line does well. The standards we encountered were almost always most acceptable. We most certainly would consider Azamara along with other lines in the future. The positives on the Journey were many and varied. These included the excellent and personable fitness instructors. The leisurely and delicious breakfasts, the good humour of many of the staff, the cleanliness of the cabin and the ease of embarkation. The Good: Cabin Staff were all invariably friendly and professional. The few requests made to our stateroom attendants were handled quickly and smoothly. We are I hope fairly undemanding and just expect a clean hygienic cabin with ice and a restock of drinks. Top marks for the stateroom personnel. The Good: Coffee in the Mosaic Bar with various nibbles available was tempting and a great place to chill. Top marks for the coffee, the waitress service was a little slow. The Good: Windows and the Outside deck areas was always inviting and well managed in terms of service and food quality and variety. On the occasions we dined at Windows after excursion we were well looked after and enjoyed the experience. The general management of the Buffet facility was the among best I have enjoyed. Top marks for Windows, the food quality at times matched the MDR. The Good: Discoveries Dining, overall this was a good experience the attentiveness of the waiters was just about correct, not overly effusive. The sommeliere was a patient and charming professional and extremely congenial. The variety and quality of the dishes was well up to a good standard and occassionally excellent. Top marks for the MDR. Could be Improved: The slow service problem in MDR's on the Ocean's cruise ships also afflicts Azamara. The wait times were not as painful as I have experienced on larger ships and when we mentioned it politely the next evening we were treated very royally. I am sure that Azamara are very aware of this and I was impressed by their response. So Top Marks for at least listening. The Good: Room service was v. v. Good and a credit to Azazamara is the variety of goodies of offer. It was so good our friends rarely made it to breakfast on Deck 9! Top marks to Azamara. Could be Improved: Lunch in Discoveries was very slow at times and was more noticeable because of the comparatively few cruisers choosing this option. The Great: Azamara spring a few surprises on her cargo of fun-lovers. From the moment the Captain described himself as our designated driver for ten days I expected a man with a bit of personality. I was not disappointed. When only half of the MDR could enjoy a particularly beautiful sunset, he turned the ship through 360 degrees so all could enjoy the moment. Throughout the Captain made himself known to all. Of all the my voyages this Captain has struck the right balance between professional seamanship and an genuine appreciation that his passengers were a real part of the ship and he wanted to help their enjoyment as much as possible. I would sail with this Captain anytime at all. Azamara also arranged that James Bond was on board on this cruise in the shape of Roger Moore, now that was a surprise! More Good: The Barbecue, Azamara desserts are truly yummy delicious. Guest Relations were thoughtful and very helpful resolving a problem for our companions. I loved the spectacular views of Scandinavia from the usually deserted Looking Glass lounge. The Guest speaker Col Vargas was very approachable and insightful. The Good: The 'Team' performed a Holywood tribute routine which was most enjoyable and also acted as an introduction to the team as individuals performing as solo artists later in the cruise. This team were competent singers and dancers in all of their performances. The Good and Not So Good: A solo theatre performance by a young singer in the team won over her audience. Her program was an interesting and innovative combination of numbers from musicals and light opera. She beguiled the audience with her coquettish acting of her operatic roles. The audience responded warmly to her and no-one was leaving throughout her performance. By her finale, her version of Time to Say Goodbye the audience were completely in her spell. There was generous applause from the audience. As she made her way to the back of the theatre the applause grew for a fine performance. This applause and appreciation was curtailed by the Cruise Director stealing the moment by interrupting on the Mic to say well done but unfortunately the young singer did not have a cd on sale but he did. This lack of generosity spoilt the performance. That said the CD was very energetic and covered a lot of ground, but for me his stage performances were a little OTT and dated. But of course there are always alternatives if a show is not to your taste. The Good: Guest acts were all very acceptable and worth watching, particularly the Magician. After all you are on a 700 hundred passenger ship- what do you expect Elton John.. well a very competent pianist was doing a fair impression of him and Billy Joel in the Mosaic most evenings. Carla and Ray worked hard and have a pleasant unpretentious stage persona. The Good: Another saving grace was the Harpist who is in danger of unwittingly becoming a cruise ship eccentric (in a nice way) but is very likeable and accommodating. Her hosting of the aperitif lounge is a delight and our party so much looked forward to her company before enjoying our evening. The Good: Disembarkation was smooth and trouble free, and well organised by Azamara. Summary: There are so many positives about the ship, I will probably travel again with AZ in the future as there are many many more pluses than negatives. Did I say Probably travel.....Definitely I will travel with Azamara again!! Perhaps in fairness I should point out that lovely as Norway undoubtedly is; it ain't Monte Carlo, Nice, St Trop etc. So maybe more cruise evenings are spent watching/scrutinizing evening on-board shows. And I have previously cruised with the line and found the entertainment to be very good. I really enjoy Azamara and truly recommend the line to anyone looking for a great cruise experience with fine food and good companions, led by a Captain with a bit of style, just like most of his passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Just a few comments about our recent cruise on the Journey. This was our second Azamara cruise, the first one on the Quest in 2009 for a Black Sea cruise. Both of our trips were very enjoyable. We selected this cruise because we really ... Read More
Just a few comments about our recent cruise on the Journey. This was our second Azamara cruise, the first one on the Quest in 2009 for a Black Sea cruise. Both of our trips were very enjoyable. We selected this cruise because we really wanted to visit Iceland, and this trip stopped at two ports - Akureyri and Reykjavik. On this trip, we had one quibble with the food - they served Louisiana Gumbo one night. It did not resemble that dish at all. Gumbo is a spicy, roux-based, stew-like dish. This was bland and broth-based. My husband mentioned it to the executive chef & she said they have to follow the recipe from headquarters. Someone in headquarters needs to go to Louisiana and find some real gumbo. Also, in talking to the wait staff, they told us that other regional dishes weren't really very authentic (specifically Indonesian). Otherwise, the food was quite good. We ate once each in Aqualina & Prime C on this trip; while the food & service were very good, it was not enough better than Discoveries (Main Dining Room) to justify $15 pp. When we sailed with them 2 years ago, the charge was only $5 pp and we ate in each restaurant several times. (I love the Grand Marnier soufflE. The waiter in Prime C was able to get it for us, even though it's only on the menu for Aqualina.) We really like that the officers and senior staff are visible and approachable. Often, Captain Johannes Tysse was at the gangplank when guests were leaving for shore excursions; senior staff were on hand serving cocoa (with crème de cocoa or caramel) when we returned at several ports. The Captain is quite personable and I really looked forward to his daily (or more frequent) updates. We had good weather, which apparently was a first for this summer in the northern Scandinavian area; at every port, people commented that they had been having rain all summer. One of our sea days (between Reykjavik and Torshavn) was quite rough, but we aren't particularly bothered by rough seas. (This is the first cruise where I've seen candied ginger available at Guest Relations, along with seasick pills.) After we left Torshavn, the Captain went "full speed ahead" to get into the lee of islands to keep from having another rough day. One of my favorite talks was on the last sea day; Tony Markey, the Cruise Director, told us about being on the Seabourn ship when it was attacked by Somali pirates several years ago. He gave a very interesting and entertaining account of the attack and its aftermath. Some other Port Info:Geiranger, Norway. We took the ship's tour, hiking to the waterfall. Since there has been so much rain this summer, they had to go with an alternative hike. It still went close to a waterfall. One section of the trail was extremely muddy. Geiranger Fjord is one of the most beautiful in the world. We really enjoyed the sail out. Lerwick, Shetland Islands. We took the ship's tour to Jarlshof. We were very impressed with that site, with its 5000 years of history. Akureyri, Iceland One of the highlights of the cruise. We took the ship's tour, Jewels of the North, which included Godafoss (waterfall)and the Lake Myvatn area with its pseudo-craters and lava formations. Unfortunately, this tour didn't leave us any time to explore the town, except for a few minutes in the port side souvenir shop. Torshavn, Faroe Islands In this port we explored the town on our own. The "old town" was interesting with its grass-roofed buildings. We also found a very nice city park; it was obviously meant for walkers rather that bike riders. We roamed around the park for near an hour. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Very good overall experience. We have cruised previously and we much prefer the style of this ship over the larger ones. Including soft drinks wine and gratuities made for a bigger upfront payment. But it also led to a much more relaxed ... Read More
Very good overall experience. We have cruised previously and we much prefer the style of this ship over the larger ones. Including soft drinks wine and gratuities made for a bigger upfront payment. But it also led to a much more relaxed atmosphere and speeded up the service no end. The smart casual style of dress on the ship was more than welcome and enlightened.Service was very good in all areas and the cabins were well appointed. Food in the main Dining Room was very good but a little slow to arrive at times. The buffet was very good and waiting times were very good. The quality and presentation of all meals were very good indeed. The ship was in good shape and very clean. Entertainment was good in parts with guest acts making welcome appearances throughout the cruise. The entertainment team were kept busy and the singers were good particularly the two girl singers. The Cruise director was far too much and needs to tone it down. The double act with his wife was very poor, like a poor Peters and Lee. I have seen better entertainment on other ships and was slightly disappointed by the uneven quality here. Despite this the cruise was very good and the overall service and politeness of the crew, and food quality more than compensated for any shortcomings. The captain particularly went out of his way to ensure that his passengers had an enjoyable. His tone and approach was just right. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2010
This was a semi repositioning cruise from Copenhagen to Barcelona. Embarkation was a breeze - we were on a very early flight from London and arrived in Copenhagen about 10.00 am - we were on the ship around 11.30! I would endorse heartily ... Read More
This was a semi repositioning cruise from Copenhagen to Barcelona. Embarkation was a breeze - we were on a very early flight from London and arrived in Copenhagen about 10.00 am - we were on the ship around 11.30! I would endorse heartily what Corinium says - excellent food, wine and ports. No complaints at all really, especially not about the staff, who were excellent in every way. Our cabin was familiar as we have been on Oceania a few times and this is an identical ship to theirs. We don't normally take part in many of the activities on board. However, my husband particularly enjoyed the recitals by the Classical Pianist. This was around our 20th cruise and one of the best. We have sailed with a variety of cruise lines from top of the range Seabourn and Silversea as well as a few less illustrious ones and would find Azamara hard to beat. The atmosphere was just right for us and our fellow passengers were delightful. Unlike Corinium, we did eat in Aquilina and Prime C - the latter I think we hit on a bad night but Aquilina was absolutely divine! We thought the choice of the half price wine selection each night was a good touch and used that a few times when the complimentary offer was not quite what we wanted. In fact, we enjoyed the Journey so much we have already booked to go again at the end of November! I only took one ship excursion (to Santiago de Compostella) which was fine - EXCEPT FOR THE RAIN - which was not the fault of the shore excursion staff! Because of the repositioning nature of the cruise, many of the ports are not listed so I have not commented on them individually - we particularly enjoyed Rouen and Bordeaux. 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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