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15 Night Australia & New Zealand Cruise from Tahiti

15 Night Australia & New Zealand Cruise from Tahiti (Papeete)

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Azamara Journey
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Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Tahiti (Papeete)
  • Day 2
    Bora Bora
  • Day 3
    Cruising
  • Day 4
    Rarotonga
  • Day 5
    Cruising
  • Day 6
    Cruising
  • Day 7
    Cruising
  • Day 8
    Cruising
  • Day 9
    Cruising
  • Day 10
    Gisborne
  • Day 11
    Wellington
  • Day 12
    Picton
  • Day 13
    Nelson
  • Day 14
    New Plymouth
  • Day 15
    Cruising
  • Day 16
    Auckland
  • Day 17
    Auckland

Azamara Journey

Azamara Journey - Azamara Club Cruises

Pros

Unique programming, friendly service and impressive commitment to destination cruising

Cons

Limited entertainment options, including a too-small casino, and hit-or-miss theater offerings

Bottom Line

Great choice for a truly grown-up getaway with more time in port


Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this short, six-night Azamara cruise for several reasons: First, although we prefer longer cruises, two weeks or more, we faced some time limitations this trip, including work obligations and also meeting family and friends ... Read More
We chose this short, six-night Azamara cruise for several reasons: First, although we prefer longer cruises, two weeks or more, we faced some time limitations this trip, including work obligations and also meeting family and friends afterward for some spring training baseball games; second, we had heard some very good reports on Azamara from friends who really enjoyed the casual, small-ship atmosphere and we figured this would be a way to try it out without a big financial or time commitment; third, and most importantly, we wanted to visit Cuba, and this cruise included two days and an overnight in Havana. Embarkation at the Port of Miami was easy. We drove to Miami from our home in the mountains of North Carolina because we wanted to have a car for the post-cruise spring training. It is a long drive, and next time we probably would fly (though we hate the MIA airport). We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Blue Lagoon International Airport on a stay and cruise package that included parking and a shuttle. That worked out fine compared with parking at the Port and saved us a little money and a good bit of hassle. It took only a few minutes to get through the formalities of paperwork (including the Cuban visa ($75 per person), which Azamara took care of for us. Soon we were sitting in Journey's buffet restaurant enjoying a drink. Drinks are included in the cost of Azamara cruises, but the included package mostly has low-end brands and house wines. My wife decided to upgrade to the Ultimate package because she enjoys fancy craft cocktails -- unfortunately we would learn that, unlike Celebrity and some other lines most bartenders on Azamara are not up to speed on making complex drinks. Before long we went to our Deck 8 Veranda Stateroom. Having read and heard a lot of reports, we were prepared for the stateroom to be on the small size, and the bath and shower to be tiny. The bathroom wasn't quite as small as I had feared, but I have to say that on a so-called premium ship that the shower is as small as it is. I have rheumatoid arthritis and back problems, and I have to say it was not a pleasure to look forward to a shower. Although the Journey is almost a 20-year-old ship (it was built in 2000 as an R-2 class ship for Renaissance Cruises, now defunct, and then sailed under two names for Pullmantur line), it appeared to be in quite good condition. We liked all the mahogany and other woods in some of the public areas and enjoyed going on several open decks as in the "old days" of cruising. Journey has one of the smallest swimming pools I've ever seen on a cruise ship.The fitness room is pretty well equipped, although smallish and with only one recumbant bike. We found Azamara staff, both officers and guest-contact crew, almost uniformly helpful, friendly and hard-working. That was the case although gratuities were included in the fare. (At the end of the cruise we did tip extra for our room steward, who was excellent, and a bartender who had been extra nice to us.) I have to admit that our overall experience may have been shaded by the fact that my wife had a cold that started soon after boarding (after disembarking she went to a doc-in-the-box in West Palm Beach and was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and an eye infection. A couple of days after board I developed a toothache that turned out to be sinus-related. None of this was Azamara's fault (we didn't hear of any noroviruses this trip), and we probably should have checked with the clinic on board. Dining was certainly adequate on board, but not exceptional. We usually ate in the main dining room, Discoveries, for dinner (everyone has open seating, and only once or twice did we have to wait for a table). Some of our favorite dishes, such as the escargot appetizer, seem to be the same as on sister line Celebrity, but others were mediocre. Service was always excellent, however. We did try Prime-C, the steak house (a $30 per-person upcharge), which was fine but not memorable. The Windows buffet, again, was adequate but with a limited menu compared with other ships we've been on. The Patio on the pool deck, which serves burgers and such, was -- I have to say again -- only adequate. We loved our two days in Havana and wish we could have spent the entire cruise at Cuban ports. Why this itinerary included Cozumel I don't know. We have been to Cozumel many times, both on land trips and on cruises and no longer find it of any interest at all. It is a good dive destination that has been ruined by too many cruise ships and too much commercialization (Cozumel, amazingly, is the 3rd busiest cruise port in the world.) We were not that impressed with the ship excursion staff, who pushed the cruise tours pretty hard, and one of our pre-booked tours was canceled for no reason we could understand. To summarize what we liked and didn't much care for: Liked: Easy embarkation and disembarkation Friendly, helpful staff Lots of "traditional" wood paneling and such The Havana stop -- Havana is amazing, and we only wish we had had more time there So-so: Enrichment offerings (basically one speaker whose knowledge of parts of the Caribbean seemed a little dated -- having written many books on the region I probably knew more than he did) Dining in all venues Entertainment The small-ship atmosphere -- Journey carries fewer than 700 passengers, but we really felt that we had more and better options for places to relax on the Solstice-class Celebrity ships. Didn't like: Cozumel Bartenders' skill -- some bartenders seemed to have no training in making anything but the very basics. The Celebrity ships we have been on had much better bars and craft cocktails; the ship skimped on some ingredients, for example substituting cheap maraschino cherries for Luxardo cherries. I think Azamara should totally rethink its drink policies – just raise the fare a few bucks and make the included drinks cover more options and better brands. Small stateroom, tiny bathroom and ridiculously little shower Bottom line: I guess our expectations were too high. We were hoping to really love Azamara, but at this point I doubt we would go on another Azamara cruise. We prefer its big-ship sister, Celebrity, and hope that Royal Caribbean's purchase of a majority interest in Silversea will result in a true premium line in the cruise family (we have been on Silversea and hope that Royal Caribbean upgrades to new ships). Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We just returned from Azamara Journey Cuba/Cozumel. I thought the ship was meticulously maintained by a wonderful, cheerful staff who could not do enough for you. I think I observed only 1 sourpuss the entire cruise, and that was at ... Read More
We just returned from Azamara Journey Cuba/Cozumel. I thought the ship was meticulously maintained by a wonderful, cheerful staff who could not do enough for you. I think I observed only 1 sourpuss the entire cruise, and that was at breakfast. Maybe she wasn't a morning person...I also liked the ship décor which was very European instead of the new bland, grey millennial style. I understand they are eliminating the casino which was always empty, and is no loss. The cabin had lots of places to store items from the two huge suitcases we brought along (we drove to the pier) and they stored neatly under the bed. Balcony was small--just enough for two chairs and a table. The bathroom was tiny, and the shower so small when I dropped the soap I had to get out to pick it up. My husband couldn't use the toilet, as it's angled and his knees jammed against the wall, so he simply used one of the public marble bathrooms scattered around the ship---which again were spotless. You need to book a club category if you want a larger bathroom. For the second time we never used the balcony, and might not book one again in the future, unless it has chaise space. We used the promenade deck chairs on the days at sea. Cable had CNBC, FOX, BBC, Sky News, and a movie channel (extra charge of $11.95), and music channels. There were also two movies shown each day that were not new--and in fact, some rather old. We eat out almost every night at home, and so I have a fair idea of what to expect in a wide variety of restaurant types. We though the breakfast and lunch buffets offered an astounding number of good choices. For dinner. the main dining room was very pretty (sometimes noisy if it was full) and although we ate at both specialty restaurants, I would not bother on a future trip, as the food in the main dining room and the nightly buffets were more than adequate. The specialty dining rooms are small, with a high level of service, by excellent staff. However, the food was nothing truly special. All of the steaks we ate in any of the dining rooms, would be below an Outback standard, and they should change their supplier. Really. Though I don't like fish, I ordered the salmon two nights in the regular dining room, and it was excellent. Cuba is not a destination for everyone. You have to be a sophisticated traveler to appreciate it's history (we watched 8 hours of Cuban history on a DVD before we arrived) and charms. The people are beyond lovely, cheerful, have absolutely no animosity towards Americans. Their food is rationed, so any show of excess by any passenger should be frowned upon. Also, I did not wear any jewelry in port because I did not want to appear a spoiled American. Respect is warranted here. I heard a few older people complaining on the shore excursion.. I wanted to ask they why they booked the trip to begin with. If you want it to be like home----stay home. If you want to shop and eat on the ship---then don't book a tour and then ask the bus to take you back early. Appalling behavior, as was the guy who had to be first in line on every tour--and always on his cell phone wheeling and deal his stocks. Geez.... It was amazing how many people didn't listen to simple instructions, i.e. you cannot change the Cuban CUC (tourist money) back to dollars if you don't use it all. When they tell you the bus is leaving at 12:30PM, it's leaving at 12:30PM and when you are not there---it's beyond damned rude. This applies to any tour, on any trip cruise or not... We like it so much we are considering booking the New Years Cuba cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first non mega ship cruise. We usually go on the new ships the smallest was the Disney Dream .Having sailed around Cuba so many times and seeing the lights in the distance. This was our chance to visit. To compare is not ... Read More
This was our first non mega ship cruise. We usually go on the new ships the smallest was the Disney Dream .Having sailed around Cuba so many times and seeing the lights in the distance. This was our chance to visit. To compare is not easy. I think it’s where you are in life and what your looking for. If you want a nice peaceful cruise with a crew who really is happy to take care of you.If you like tea in the afternoon and cocktails before dinner they have it. Cocktails and a vey good piano player with fellow cruisers is quite nice. They had a show one night and it was really good. They sang and danced their hearts out. The costumes were also notable. The Cabins... We had a balcony room and it was the usual. The bathroom was fine and we are not small people and the shower was not an issue. They are all small, on this ship they are very clean.. When they do you room the bathroom gets sanitized when they do your room AM and PM. I liked that and there were no issues.The rooms have quite bit of storage built ins and a closet. Food. We never ate sit down. We liked the Buffet and liked sitting in the back outside.They still have great service and white table cloths The food was good and lots of choices.Everything is nicely displayed.and they have servers to help you. Once again everything is about keeping things clean and you happy. I hate people who Double dip ect this was not happening. You could have as much as you wanted with your clean plate. ..Poolside eating.. They have a nice menu of the usual plus salad, nachos ect . You order they bring it to you.It’s very good and very nice to be taken care of. They also have Steak ect at night and the tables are all done up. Room Service. Added treat Everything is so good and great portions. They have both Gelato and ice cream machines and non sugared is a plus.The ship is quiet and attracts the older cruiser who appreciates good service, and good food. The crew loves them and the feeling is mutual Some people we spoke to had been on more than 5 cruises. It was nice to relax and just enjoy ourselves To be taken care of in the style that seems to be forgotten Read Less
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