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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
There were 6 of us on this cruise, one couple with 4 other women. We started our trip with 3 days in London. Some of us had been on the Journey before and looked forward to coming back. Those new to it loved the cruise. We choose this ... Read More
There were 6 of us on this cruise, one couple with 4 other women. We started our trip with 3 days in London. Some of us had been on the Journey before and looked forward to coming back. Those new to it loved the cruise. We choose this for the ship and the itinerary. The service was excellent as expected. We loved "welcome home" every-time we returned to the ship. Embarkation was slow because of a technical problem. Our first stop was Bruges. We did it on our own, took a train into town, the station was right at the dock. Lots of walking but a beautiful place. Next Amsterdam. We did a ship excursion to the countryside to see windmills. Lots of rain all day, but we enjoyed the scenery. The amazing evening was at a maritime museum, we enjoyed the music and the canal boat ride. The next day some of us went to the Rijksmuseum on a ship excursion and others enjoyed the city on their own. The next day was the Kiel canal. It was like a sea day, but so interesting to go through the locks. We did a ship excursion to Berlin. It was a long bus ride (3 hours) and our driver forgot to make a comfort stop. Near the end of the drive they announced that there was a bathroom on the bus for emergencies. Glad I saw Berlin, but was not my trip highlight Next was a sea day. Always enjoy these and we had a wonderful brunch in the dining room. Helsinki was the next stop. We did not do a tour, but enjoyed a nice little marketplace at the dock. The next 3 days were in St. Petersburg, the highlight of the trip for me. We did a tour with ALLA tours and loved it. Only 12 people on a small bus and so much to see. Great guide and lunches were included. The white night was in St Petersburg. The food and entertainment was great but the weather was cold so it was not as enjoyable as it could have been. Tallinn was next. We enjoyed a tour from our travel agent of the old town and visited a manor home in the country where we had a wonderful meal. Our last port was Stockholm and we stayed 2 extra days. We visited the Vasa museum and Old Town. Enjoyed Stockholm except for the rain. There were many tourists everywhere since it was August. So glad we did tours or ordered advance tickets to most places. The cabin worked well for us - plenty of storage space. The bathroom is small, but not an issue. Better internet service would be welcomed. I love Azamara cruises. This was my fourth - 3rd on the Journey. It has been a few years and i wasn't sure if it would be the same. The service was still wonderful and it was nice to see some familiar faces. I enjoyed the Living Room area, but it did fill up at times. The food was still excellent and I enjoyed the included wine. We had several amazing buffets during the trip. The Chocolate buffet was unbelievable. We ate mainly in the dining room; did not do any specialty restaurants. Breakfast was either Discovery, Windows or room service - all were good. We had one lunch at the Patio and I really enjoyed an Azamara burger and onion rings. Entertainment was good, but not as good as I remembered. Cruise director Eric was not on this trip and I missed him although Danny and Lee were good. Captain Johannes was always around greeting people and letting us know what was happening. I still love Azamara and in several weeks I will be on the Azamara Journey around Spain. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We sailed in July with Azamara for the second time. Our first cruise with Azamarawas on the Pursuit in the Autumn of last year. The only real difference we could see between the ships was the Casino, when that is removed and the Lounge ... Read More
We sailed in July with Azamara for the second time. Our first cruise with Azamarawas on the Pursuit in the Autumn of last year. The only real difference we could see between the ships was the Casino, when that is removed and the Lounge becomes bigger it is a definite improvement. However The Journey is a lovely ship, we did not notice any shabby areas, she gleamed! Add to the experience the wonderful crew, a Captain who was so personable and who made in scheduled ‘stops’ so the chef could source local Norwegian berries and cheese and you have a recipe for a fun time. We even did an oil rig safari! Not many can say that! The food, service and overall holiday was first class. We are already booking two back to back cruises with Journey in November, can’t wait. Caribbean here we come! Thank you Azamara for Azamazing holidays Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We booked this cruise to get a comparison of our extensive experience with Viking. We’d lost our affinity for Viking due to a nasty situation regarding a cancelled cruise credit due us. So, we felt Azamara might be our next logical ... Read More
We booked this cruise to get a comparison of our extensive experience with Viking. We’d lost our affinity for Viking due to a nasty situation regarding a cancelled cruise credit due us. So, we felt Azamara might be our next logical choice to try. Embarkation: We landed at 7:00 am in London, waited in a crowded seating area for other passengers to board a bus to Southampton. That was okay, but upon arrival at Southampton we were given instructions to sit in a large waiting area. No estimated time of checkin, no information at all. The soon to become oft-vaunted suite passengers were invited to line up for security and checkin. The remaining dross like us were cattle called into a lengthy line for security, the somewhat shorter numbered lines for checkin. Checkin took three hours from arrival in Southampton. Had I known, I would have booked a private transfer after snoozing in the Virgin Revival lounge available to Delta One passengers. We booked the near-lowest cabin class - an Oceanview Stateroom. Much has been said about the tiny bathrooms and it’s all true. What’s hilarious is you have to upgrade to a suite to get an adequate bathroom. I would have been livid to pay a veranda stateroom price for that same shower that cannot comfortably contain a size 8 woman. The finishes were fine and the toiletries on offer were equal to a two star hotel. We were in 4002 and had no problems with noise from the Caberet Lounge above. We did have some bow thruster noise, but overall, a quiet cabin. Bed quality was just fine. Our stateroom was everything promised - in distant, low-res pictures. Upon closer examination, the noted “full refurbishment” of 2016 has had a hard life, based on our observations. The furniture in our cabin was nicked and worn. It was also mismatched. The carpet was worn and grimy to the point I wouldn’t walk on it without slipper or shoes. It was interesting to note our nightstands didn’t match. There was no clock available except on the standard def tv. This provided extra fun as I used my phone for an alarm in oft-changing time zones, depending on having an Internet connection to update my phone - no luck there, more later. Storage was adequate, the bed was comfortable, it was easy to control the cabin temp in the cool Baltic weather, and the room cleaning was adequate if not terribly speedy (we’ve seen Viking staterooms cleaned in less than a half hour). Wi-fi service was an expensive rip-off. I spent endless hours simply connecting to the network. I’d log on, move to a new location (once as short a move as two deck chairs) only to be dropped. We never had this issue on Viking except some intermittent issues at sea. All our problems with Azamara’s network took place both in port and at sea. Don’t buy it. Most ports on our cruise worked just fine. We logged onto a giant MS ship in port. Food was generally excellent. Service in the restaurants ranged from ok to terrible. The specialty restaurants were a waste of money. They offered nothing superior to what we could get in the main restaurant and the Italian Aquafina served us the two worst meals we had. Book your own excursions. Azamara’s were expensive and offered poor value. For the most part guides didn’t use the popular headphones/receivers and they had to have us crowd in to hear. One plus was plenty of room to spread out. Azamara’s air booking is fabulous compared to Viking. You get to choose your preferred itinerary and price based on the buying power of Royal Caribbean. Public areas on the Journey were uneven. The furniture in “The Living Room” was grimy and worn. Most windows had eroded finishes and uncared for brasses. Entertainment was okay and varied. I don’t cruise for the floor shows. Once again I think Viking takes this whole category - all finishes are crisp and new looking. The entertainment is geared more toward informational lectures applicable to ports visited. I wish I could take the two lines and pick and choose the best of each to come up with a great value cruise line. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We decided 2 years ago to sail the British Isles for our daughter's high school graduation gift before she went off to college. i'm glad she wanted to see Ireland! One of the nice things about Azamara is they have their ... Read More
We decided 2 years ago to sail the British Isles for our daughter's high school graduation gift before she went off to college. i'm glad she wanted to see Ireland! One of the nice things about Azamara is they have their itinerary's published 2 years in advance and that is one of the main reasons we chose it, even though it was touted as a golf cruise (and prices seemed higher than their other sail dates!) Our cruise departed from Southampton, England which we did not explore because we spent 3 days seeing London and the countryside before our cruise. The night before our sailing we stayed in Winchester, which was charming and well worth the visit, especially if one is a fan of "Last Kingdom" or Jane Austen. The boarding process was fairly smooth. We were in a suite and the ship only has about 680 guests anyway. Compared to NCL's large ships and Carnival's process it was easy. They took security very seriously which we appreciated very much. We have sailed Oceania before so we knew in advance that we looked small ships. The Journey is a nice size ship. She has lovely color schemes meant to relax. The art on board is not garish which I appreciated. The dining options are plentiful and we never had to wait for a table or suffer from long service wait times. We had a club continent suite, cabin 8069. Our Butler, Crook and his team took excellent care of us. The bed was as hard as a rock. we asked them for a foam topper and they found us one which made it better but i was so glad to get home to my bed. I was very surprised about this another cruise lines have invested in heavenly beds. I did think our carpet needed to be shampooed not because it was dirty, but because the room smelled like old skin cells! It did not bother my husband so I did not complain. The entertainment on board was pretty good. Mel Meller the comedian was hilarious and his was the only artist's name I memorized. The casino is rather small and my husband was sad there was no craps or baccarat. It was packed in there until the British Open was finished. There is a complimentary laundry room with perhaps six machines. The one time I actually attempted to check it out, I was given dirty looks by about 7 women crammed in there. I sent the laundry off as I did not have any inclination to join them. When we got off the ship for the various excursions, it was always a nice surprise when the Captain was there to see us off. The officers and crew were genuinely friendly and responsive; the best we have ever had. Halfway through the sailing the cruise director became ill and had to leave. He was quite funny - telling stories from his grandfather (perhaps because most people on the boat were his grandfather's age?) that were quite hilarious. We missed him the second half of the sailing. His wardrobe is another story... Guernsey - small, beautiful island. Would love to have had more time there but it is very tidal and I guess the tender was a problem. Celebrity Silhouette could not tender that day so they missed it! The German occupation during WWII left its mark. We did a nice ship tour but honestly there were plenty of taxis one could have hired and skipped the lines. Cobh/Cork - we had a private tour though Cork Taxi Tours. We visited the Blarney Castle, Kinsale, and the 9/11 Monument on its outskirts - very moving. We saw multiple churches and had a wonderful lunch with our guide Audrey. Holyhead, Wales - we took a ship tour to see Gwydir Castle (really a 45 room house!) with an amazing story. Read "Castles in the Air". Then we had a bus drive through Snowdonia. I heard the train tour was terrible. Avoid that for the cost the ship charges! Liverpool - my husband went to the British Open final day ($400 through the ship) we learned you could taxi there and pay $50 for what he had...I guess you have to learn by doing. My daughter and I took a ship tour to Chester & Erddig House. That was another large house with massive, gorgeous gardens. I am so glad these old pieces of history are being saved! Dublin - we had a private walking tour through Dublin Tour Guide. We had Maitiu'. He was amazing and explained so much about the history of Ireland and he took us into Trinity College and we saw the Book of Kells. Belfast - ship tour to "Live like a Stark at Winterfell" this one was expensive and fun. We dressed up like "game of thrones", visited scenes from the show, had sword fights, did archery, falconry, and met the 2 wolves and their very handsome masters from the "Game of Thrones". We also had lunch in a smoky tent! Glasgow/Greenock - we had a private tour that took us to Loch Lomond where we had a speedboat pub crawl with our very charming boat guide, Joe. I wanted to adopt him! The Loch is gorgeous and full of history! Isle of Skye - we did a ship excursion to the Eilean Donan Castle remains. It is a lot smaller than it looks in the photos! Invergordon - what a depressing little port, no taxis, nothing really here except large oil platforms in the river sucking the oil out and sending the revenues to London. I was very surprised that the only thing open was a small museum that was actually quite moving about the wars and a ship that mysteriously blew up the Natal killing 421 people. We took a tour to go to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle remains (what an interesting history with a really great 7 minute film), ending with a drive through Inverness. Why didn't we dock in that gorgeous town? Global Economy Group should have to invest in Invergordon. It was a sad little town and this was on a Saturday! Leith/Edinburgh - use Uber or call at taxi and go explore. It is a 10 minute ride to the Royal Mile. We did 1 ship excursion - a Scottish Experience - I have to admit I cried. Maybe the wine, but the singing and dancing and wine had its effect. "Caledonia, I love you" made me cry, especially with the pictures of Scotland's beauty playing in the background. Overall, great cruise. We really got to see a lot of the countrysides in each place and met the nicest people. I would have signed up for the South African cruise in 2019, but the schedule was not out yet! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
After cruising on all the "regular" lines since the 70's, my husband and I sailed a step up on Azamara. We mainly chose this line because it was convenient for us. We had our Retirement trip and stayed in Italy for 10 days ... Read More
After cruising on all the "regular" lines since the 70's, my husband and I sailed a step up on Azamara. We mainly chose this line because it was convenient for us. We had our Retirement trip and stayed in Italy for 10 days and wanted to do a trans atlantic cruise back across the pond. Wow are we glad we took Azamara! Everything was excellent. No lines, no screaming children, no rock climbing walls. Just pure relaxation. The beds are fantastic and the linens sublime. The service is impeccable. The food is awesome even in the main dining room and the pool grill. There was always a deck chair and always a clean table at the buffet which was the best I have seen at sea. This is not a "party" ship. Mostly older folks 55 to 70. Since I fit in that category I felt right at home. I now understand why over 40% of the passengers are repeat customers. They only have two ships but for everything the provide including wine, cocktails,sodas and specialty coffees at NO EXTRA CHARGE it is worth every dime. So after 20 something cruises I am now a loyal Azamara fan. Just wish I had become one sooner. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
I've cobbled this review largely from emails I sent home during the cruise, so it may read a bit disjointed at times but I thought there's enough there to give our view of the various places we visited and aspects of life ... Read More
I've cobbled this review largely from emails I sent home during the cruise, so it may read a bit disjointed at times but I thought there's enough there to give our view of the various places we visited and aspects of life onboard. Well, this has been a fantastic cruise. We started in Guernsey, which we anticipated would be a fairly small and dull place. How wrong we were. The island is quite sizeable but St Peter Port is also very walkable. It is a most scenic place - quite hilly and lots of narrow streets which meander around curves; snaking between some absolutely lovely houses and shops. With elevation you naturally get wonderful views. We did the No 91 bus, which circumnavigates the island. What a treat! Tax havens pay! There are many substantial houses with beautiful gardens and also many smaller cottages; narrow, winding roads with hedgerows; tiny villages and some of the most wonderful craggy coastline. Thank goodness for digital cameras. Fortunately about 15 Europeans got off at the airport, albeit that they'd missed the stop they actually wanted, and so we were seated for the last hour of the trip. This was probably the best 2 pounds we have spent so far. We tried to see Victor Hugo's house (where he allegedly finished Les Mis) but after a meandering walk up a demanding hill, we were told we could get in at 2.00pm. We weren't coming up a second time. On the way down we found an elevated spot with panoramic views - wonderful. Although we intended heading to the fort/castle, we turned left, instead of right, on the way down and found ourselves in the pedestrian shopping area; and as you girls know, shopping always trumps WWII history. We were docked right in town and this was a wonderful day; around 19c, which is just ideal for wandering around. Moved on to Nantes, which involved the best part of 4-5 hours into the estuary and Loire River. We docked about 20 minutes bus trip from the Cathedral, which turned out to be the perfect place to be dropped off. When visiting the majestic cathedral, which had the most wonderful symmetry in its high columns, we were treated to a bit of practice by the organist. What acoustics and volume. When the organist finished, the sustained reverberation of the final chord was just exhilarating. As the bus left the port, the first businesses we saw were McDonald's and KFC - just love how travel broadens your mind. Nantes was charming. It has a Chateau 2 minutes away from the cathedral and we loved this place. It had battlement walls to walk, a moat surrounding it (with sentry tortoises and ducks to keep the Visigoths out). After leaving the chateau, we discovered the thin green line. This is designed for tourists to see the highlights and not get lost. What a fantastic idea. Mind you, we didn't really get the green line until later, because we were too focused on finding Wi-Fi. The ship's Internet, which is slow at the best of times, has technical trouble with any newspaper / sports type links at present. The next morning (Sunday) we arrived around 10.00am. No one around and we embarked on the thin green line. 2 hours later we had been past the most wonderful Cathedrals and other significant old buildings. You can't help but marvel at the craftsmanship. After 3 weeks in Europe, we are now experts on Corinthian, Ionian and Doric columns. Nantes is fundamentally closed on Sunday, which meant we couldn't go into any shops nor buildings other than churches. However, it also meant there were few people and fewer vehicles and so the walk was wonderful with no slow, old people or prams to hold us up. We loved Nantes. Near the end of the circuit we paid 10 Euro to go into the Art Museum. What we didn't appreciate was the main museum is closed for renovation and what we experienced was a very specific exhibition of a particular modern art style, which didn't appeal. We spent 3 minutes in the queue and 2 minutes in the museum. I reckon it was about 50 cents per painting and there wasn't a single one we liked. We're now in Bordeaux; having cruised down the Garrone River this morning. I set the alarm for 6.00am, being mindful of the 8.15 arrival. Unfortunately, it remained very dark until 7.15am. Monday in Bordeaux is a lot like Sunday in Nantes, with a lot of things closed. Plenty of businesses closed due to owners away on holidays; museums, etc closed on Mondays; things that are open either close from 12.30 or 1.00 for 90 minutes (after having opened only at 10 or 11); while others don't open until 2.00pm. Every cafe/restaurant full of locals by 1.00pm. I love the attitude but didn't we have a GFC a few years ago? Anyway, it's a very picturesque place and we are docked right in town. The thing that has really struck here and in Nantes is that people, rather than vehicles, rule the place. For many, many streets, much more space is devoted to pedestrians and trams than to cars and other machines. Plenty of bikes, skateboards and roller blades. By the river, there is a very long and wide boardwalk and this evening many, many people and families have come out to walk, ride, skate and take photos of the ship, which appears to be something of a curiosity. I guess when people live on top of each other, in high density housing, they want to get outside when the weather's fine. So far, the itinerary on this cruise has been very enjoyable. The weather has been cool to cold (jeans and jumpers) until today. It's a very friendly cruise and most people we've engaged with have been good company. We've teamed up for trivia with a lovely Adelaide couple that we met last year on an Asian cruise; along with several others who play for the fun of it. There are plenty of Americans and Canadians on the cruise and those we've spoken with have in the main been very pleasant. Of course, there are also plenty of Aussies. The Azamazing evening was to Chateu Giscours in Margoux, near Bordeaux. A bit disappointing as the entertainment was average (the highlight of which was a girls choir of ages 10 - 13 by the look of them). The wine generally flowed ok but a couple of the pourers were stingy e.g. I had to call Cel from the back of the crowd as the pourer wouldn't give me 2 drinks. Nowhere near my idea of a great night but it was at least memorable because it was at a Bordeaux wine chateau. 3 days in Bordeaux was great, being docked right in the centre. There's a great tram system, with a stop for the orange line right outside where we're docked. Bought the 3 day city pass and this was very convenient to use the city tour bus, unlimited trams, admissions. Another very appealing city and quite walkable for many areas, particularly if you use the tram for some of the way. Since Bordeaux, we've had pretty rough seas in the Bay of Biscay, with very noticeable pitch from front to back and roll from side to side. I've been woozy quite a bit (not that it has adversely affected capacity to drink, eat and dance). We've both had unsettled sleep the last few nights. Ship life has been good with pre-breakfast gym followed by morning visits to the destinations and returning usually around 2.00pm, having spent 4 hours or more wandering around these beautiful places. Late afternoon trivia and chats, with a nice gin and tonic (Cel) and scotch and coke (me). Often listen to Nathan, the talented resident singer/guitarist over a pre-dinner cocktail, followed by very good multiple course dinners accompanied by generally nice wines. Then it's off to the cabaret most nights. The production shows are of a good standard with talented singers and dancers; and good content. It's a quite intimate theatre, which adds to the enjoyment. Some nights we've then kicked on at the disco but we are incapable of backing up the next night. In Bilbao, Spain, we had some folkloric performances from the locals, followed by the White Night party; which involved wearing white and dancing the night away to the ship band and the 5 singers. It's always a great night. The Ukranian dancer, Maria, saw my 2 left feet struggling to waltz and foolishly insisted on teaching me. Meanwhile her equally attractive male counterpart, Andre, took Cel for a swoon. All in all, when not ashore, it is a very enjoyable place to be. You're never short of company, food, drink, coffee and pool time. The weather has been consistently cooler than expected, being cloudy every day and rarely higher than about 21c. This has made for very comfortable explorations. We expect the next cruise to be hotter as we move further south. Every destination has exceeded expectations. St Jean De Luz is a seaside holiday resort and in August there are still plenty away on their beach holiday. It has a beautiful long sandy, crescent. Plenty of people having a good time and the sound of kids yelling in delight at the beach. There's another network of narrow lanes back from the beach with mainly tourist and beach type shops. We were tendered and the 3 meter swell was very dangerous, with the tender rising and falling rapidly and swaying back before slamming into the small embarkation deck. One such slam sent me flying off my seat and soon after the tender headed off although only half full. Once past the breakwater the sea flattened out. Ultimately they had to leave some people ashore overnight (Azamara arranged accommodation, meals, transport for them). With expectation of worse conditions next day the captain decided to move on to Bayonne. This was a very good call by the Captain; as was agreed by everyone that we spoke to. We regarded Bayonne as a bonus destination. Very nice place but clearly lower down the economic scale than other places. We fell in love with Bilbao and, in particular, the Guggenheim. What a building! Just the most audacious shape. Sort off yellow peril on steroids. Fantastic massive sculpture out front of a dog made entirely of flowers. Other interesting sculpture around the outside also. Inside, top floor was a Yoko Ono exhibition. Mainly garbage (to us) but we were surprised to actually enjoy a reasonable amount of it. 2nd floor was a Georges Braque exhibition. We already knew and like his cubist paintings but we discovered he regularly reinvented himself with different styles and colours through various stages of his life. Late in his life he turned to the most beautiful abstract landscapes and the circular room these were displayed in showed them off magnificently. Ground floor had installations and these too were great. So this place was a great surprise. We followed the reinvigorated riverfront for 15 minutes to the old town which was typically pleasant like all the other old towns we've walked through. Followed the major shopping boulevard, past gracious buildings (Spain certainly has architectural taste). El Ingles Cortez is a large department store and it has the only genuine sale we've encountered. 2 tops and a dress later we were on our way. This was our 3rd major Spanish city over our journeys (along with Madrid and Barcelona). We certainly like Spanish cities. After Bilbao we visited Porto and Lisbon, both in Portugal. The former was the most wonderful place although you couldn't live there. Anywhere you go it's up hill or down dale - all very steep and much of it cobbled. Don't attempt to get from here to there in a straight line, either as you'll invariably find yourself in twisting narrow lanes and quickly lose a sense of direction. But the old, majestic buildings; dotted on most hill-tops, are most impressive and different again from the French and Spanish architecture. Eventually, we wended down to and alongside the river. It was a hot sunny day and the diamonds were sparkling on the river. It's not too wide, so the views to the other side are very pleasing and there are several graceful bridges. We caught a funicular from riverside to the top. However, to get where we needed to, we had to go down yet another valley and back up the other side. Porto was a tiring but spectacular place. Lisbon, on the other hand, was pretty grotty. It's a long, fairly narrow city, which hugs it's wide river. While there are some graceful wide avenues, it generally feels claustrophobic as all the housing is intense, high density living in tall apartment blocks, most of which hold little architectural interest. We rode a hop on hop off bus for 2.5 hours and there really were not too many highlights. The city looked dirty. Others on the cruise had similar feelings and one American woman, in particular, refused to go ashore the next day as she disliked the place so much. The next day, we went into smug mode as we're staying aboard for the next 10 night cruise. It really is an experience I highly recommend. For about 48 hours you feel special. The staff recognise you and new cruisers are envious of you. They put on a cocktail party for the back to backers and you've rarely seen so many smug people get together in one place. Anyway, when Cel and I deigned to depart the ship at the time of our choosing, having had the onboard laundry to ourselves, we caught a taxi to Castello Sao Jorge and walked away, several hours later, with a greatly improved opinion of Lisbon. This old castle, in a typically commanding position, provides outstanding views over the central city area. We walked from there back to the ship, down very steep cobbled streets and narrow lanes, which was great fun, as you're only sure you are heading in the general direction and every new turn is a surprise. Back aboard and after lunch, we changed into our bathers and had the pool to ourselves, much to the envy of the new cruisers who had to kill time until they could get into their cabins and until their suitcases arrived. Huge smug factor. Met 4 from New Orleans and 2 from Camberwell, of whom Brian is a Bombers supporter. At that time, Essendon were 24 hours away from North's 2nd half bite, so the anticipation was still high. (Australian Rules football finals under way). Next day, we got to watch the last 3 quarters in the Casino lounge, on a big TV and Cel was in fine form loudly applauding every Essendon goal. We were joined by a couple of Doggy supporters and a few Americans watched for a little while, quietly trying to figure out what in the hell was going on. It's official - Essendon's loss is all Claire's fault (an elderly American solo traveller whose attitude I'm sure was the inspiration behind the song Cabaret). When she arrived, Bombers had it in the bag. When she headed off to dance class 30 minutes later the Bombers were in big trouble. So, for Cel's family, you now know who's really to blame for the loss. This second cruise, from Lisbon to Barcelona, has a generally younger clientele but then it's shorter and into hotter places. We've again met some very nice people and we had already gotten friendly with a number of the back to backers. So, it has been good socially. Half way through, we have by now gotten a bit sick of the eating and drinking (not that it's stopping us from indulging). We've missed a couple of gym sessions simply because we've felt tired from constant holidaying. As with the previous cruise, the itinerary has been wonderful. In Cadiz we wandered around the extremely old old city. They claim to be the city with the oldest, longest continuing occupancy. As with Nantes, they have pedestrian routes marked out in a coloured line on the ground. It's an easy way to make your way to all the highlights without getting lost. Then it was on to Gibraltar. WOW! That rock sure is something. The cable car was a fun way to get there and had we caught a taxi we would have seen more of the places to explore up top but it wouldn't have felt nearly as intrepid. Those Barbary apes are cheeky buggers that sneak up on you. Panoramic views. At sea level, we could take or leave it - all about shopping at duty free prices. The biggest difference was booze. 1 litre of Bombay was 8.50; around $15. We haven't got the luggage space. We bought a Tissot watch for my upcoming birthday at a very good discount compared to Melbourne prices. The Azamazing evening was up the rock, in St Michael's Cave. It was a performance by a Bagpipe Band. I can take or leave it musically but the setting for such a performance was memorable. It was a terrific logistical exercise to get 500 or more people up and down the narrow streets so efficiently. Many of the audience just absolutely loved the Pipe music and while I don't care for it, the acoustics and the volume attained were impressive. Then we were on to Valencia for a couple of days and what an astonishingly beautiful city this is. We ventured into the Post Office only to look up to a stained glass dome which could challenge Galleries La Fayette in Paris for bragging rights. The Spaniards certainly accumulated some wealth and put it into buildings. The highlight for us was the vast number of beautiful Art Deco buildings. This was just a great walking city. We did a hop on hop off the first day but we could only sit downstairs, inside and we didn't see much from in there. The reclaimed riverbed provides a generous green living space right through the heart of the city. Next destination was Mahon, on the Balearic island of Menorca. The city is effectively perched on the top of a cliff towering over the port. We walked up a long staircase to the city and enjoyed walking around for an hour. It's a very pleasant place but it's quite small and there wasn't really much of interest. With hindsight, we should have done a shore excursion and seen more of the island. Next, we were back into France, to Port Vendres, a very small mediterranean port. We did an excursion to Ceret, whose claim to fame is its modern art museum. We didn't care much for the collection, much of which revolved around Picasso and, in particular, drawings, paintings, pottery depicting bull fights. We got talked to death about a handful of works, then had an hour wandering around, which we did with Judith, a fellow guest from Sydney whose company we had also enjoyed at the Pipe concert. The town itself is lovely with what we've learned is now a typical maze of narrow, shady lanes encompassing beautiful buildings and pleasant plazas. This place has many beautiful and, to us at least, unusual shade trees. The last couple of days included several highlights, being Dali's Palace in Figueres then on to Monserrat in Barcelona. Both were Azamara excursions and were great value. For both trips, the one bus group was divided into two smaller groups, which enhanced the experience. Our guide at Dali was wonderful - very knowledgable and able to point out a lot of Dali's detail that we otherwise would miss. This place has to be seen to be believed. I fully accept he was a genius. The Monserrat experience was wonderful. A scenic drive up the winding mountain road had its exhilarating moments and some wonderful views. We later drove down the other side of the mountain, taking in expansive views. The monastery complex is spectacular. The whole area reminded me of Rivendell in the first Lord Of The Rings movie. A beautiful and peaceful place. There was considerable low lying cloud and mist and we had some of the most beautiful and breathtaking views, with the clouds closing in and suddenly breaking open. By the time we were leaving there were far too many tourists for the experience to be pleasant and the cloud had settled into a pea souper, obliterating any of the wonderful panoramic views. Arrive early. We've had a great trip and we're both now looking forward to getting home (although the quota of chips and burgers is likely to change for the worse). Before finishing, just a couple of comments about the Azamara aspects. We continue to enjoy the food, entertainment and atmosphere of an Azamara cruise. We've met plenty of very nice people; many of the staff are warm and caring (despite their very long days). Cruise Director Tony was very accessible and we thought he set a very good tone throughout both cruises. The entertainment staff generally are very accessible, through the various activities. Our preference is mainly trivia and we like the development opportunities the singers and dancers are given by interacting with older guests through such activities. We've now seen the production shows and White Night a few times but we still enjoy them thoroughly (with the exception of the daggy swimsuit section in one of the shows; in which they sing "Vacation" among other numbers - they could ditch that part of the show). Really missed Mary, the harpist. Deliberately didn't participate in any of the Art Auction activities. Loved Richard Rubin. We laughed our way through a few of his "Name That Tune" quizzes; and also had a few great nights after the nightly Cabaret show. We loved his humour. Marcio continues to be a happy, accessible person around the ship. We enjoyed the disco on quite a few nights. White Nights is one of the highlights of every cruise we've done. Azamazing Evenings are, to our mind, more Azaok Evenings. Perhaps our expectations were set too high by the marketing as "amazing". It seemed that plenty of people booked future cruises, so that's a fair indication that people loved their cruise experience. The itineraries for both cruises were great. We don't mind shuttle buses - Azamara gets as close as they can (and they also go to places bigger ships can't go). The internet was pathetic on the first cruise - a technical problem which took almost the entire cruise to rectify the service back to the usual crappy speed you get on any ship. The air conditioning was poor - our cabin was often too warm and we had many uncomfortable, restless nights. They need to get some smaller coffee mugs in Windows and some cups/saucers for the tea drinkers. I don't want to finish on a downer, however. We had a great 24 days thanks to the wonderful Azamara people on board, who try hard to make it a great cruise; the fellow guests; and the great itineraries.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
On my previous Azamara cruises, I was amazed. Unfortunately, this cruise was not amazing. I booked directly with Azamara in October. At that time I was told that if I booked my excursions on line at least 4 days prior to sailing, I would ... Read More
On my previous Azamara cruises, I was amazed. Unfortunately, this cruise was not amazing. I booked directly with Azamara in October. At that time I was told that if I booked my excursions on line at least 4 days prior to sailing, I would get a 25% discount. After I paid my final payment, I was told that the discount had been withdrawn without notice. I was upset. I wrote and called Azamara expressing my thoughts about the change hoping that somebody at Azamara might realize that changing the terms was an error. That did not happen. On the ship, I met several people who had the same experience. Some folks had been promised a 50% discount which did not happen. Not booking tours from Azamara was actually a good thing. I did a lot of research before sailing. I booked some private tours and found my way independently. I enjoyed the ports and had a great time doing my own thing. We booked our plane tickets from choice air because they were offering a $1000 discount per cabin if we used their service. Even though the fares were a bit higher than booking directly with the airline, the $1000 discount was too good to pass up. Our air arrangements were good. We had no problems with the air. We did meet people on the ship who did have problems. Choice Air emergency people helped them. I would use Choice Air again. We flew into LHR 4 days before the cruise. I booked a transport from Simply Airports which I have used previously to take us into the city. The fare was good compared to a black taxi. I Paid £37. However, their price to get to Southampton at £160 was high. We took the National Express Coach from Victoria Station to Southampton. Fare was £13 for both of us. I took a taxi on both ends because we had luggage. Total cost from hotel in London City to the ship was £37. It was easy. Embarkation was quick. Cabins were available at 1:30 pm. Our cabin was on deck 7 slightly forward. This was the 3rd time on the Journey staying on deck 7. Deck 7 is between 2 decks of cabins. Best place to be to avoid noise. Our cabin was nice and tidy. Furniture, carpeting, etc. has not been changed since my first time on the ship in 2009. It is showing signs of wear and tear. Cabins need a facelift. Bed was hard. Pillows were thin. After the first night, we had our steward put a foam pad on the bed and change the pillows. Our cabin service was excellent. The entertainment was fair. Richard Rubin was a crowd pleaser. His cabaret piano entertainment was good. Nathan the guitar player was awful. The production numbers were very good. We enjoyed the flutist, hypnotist, and magician. The white night party was fun. The Amazing Evening was not amazing. We missed the harpist and music on the pool deck. The enrichment speakers were okay if you were into British history. I would have expected more wine educated speakers on a wine cruise. There was no wine tasting event. The only tasting on the ship was the included wines for lunch and dinner. Some good, many fair, and some were awful. Often the bottles were screw tops. Since this was a wine cruise, I had expected local wines being served. That did happen on the ship. The Amazing Evening did serve local wine from Bordeaux. In general, the cruise needed more entertainment. The food was not nearly as good as our previous cruises. We often sent food back that was undercooked or cold. The MDR service was usually good. The best server was Victoria. We asked every night for a table for 2 by the window. In 14 nights, that never happened. I wanted to enjoy the view. Just one night? No!!!!! On our last afternoon in Lisbon, we ate lunch in the MDR at a window. Mosaic Cafe had Nespresso Coffee for an additional charge. Their regular coffee was okay. The trolley with pastry and small sandwiches was nice. The tea was the same as the regular dining service. No premium teas were offfered. The Windows Cafe was the usual buffet with a variety of choices. It was open for 3 meals a day. Dinner theme changed each evening. Nothing special We often went up there after dinner for dessert and coffee on the outdoor deck. Included drinks were okay. There is a sheet of complimentary beverages. Not sure why or why not some things were on or off the sheet. i tried a few cocktails. I usually stuck to Sprite Zero or bitter lemon with and without gin. Some people had a good time trying everything on the list. The included liquor was not an attraction for me. I prefer ice tea or sprite. Bottled water was provided with no limit. I enjoyed the bottled water and soft drinks in the fridge in the cabin. Once the cabin knew my preferences, he stocked the fridge with them. Laundry for us included 2 free bags as Discover level cruisers. You can stuff a lot into the bag. The clothes are returned ironed on hangers. The self service laundry room was very nice. However, the crowds were there all the time. Most people were good about waiting. I did see a fight between 2 people over a washer. They need more washers and dryers. There were 2 opportunities to fill a bag of wash for $30....decent price if we stuff the bag. With the discontinuation of the complimentary laundry from LCV, there will be more people trying to use the machines. Discontinuing the free laundry perk for Discoverer is not a good thing. Shuttles were used in many ports. They were usually on a 30 minute schedule. They did not run late. The drop off locations were okay. We tendered in Guernsey and St. Jean de Luz. The only convenient dock location was in Bordeaux near the Maritime Bourse( not the stock exchange bourse). Often we docked at industrial locations making you ride to where you wanted to be. What did we do? In Guersey we rode the public round the island bus. Cost is 1£. Fantastic value for a great ride. We also bought some stuff. Great shopping in a lovely town. In Nantes, we visited the Chateaux and Jardin. Both were excellent. The chateaux des Dukes has 2 museums. The jardin was gorgeous. We also saw the small Leger exhibit at the Oratory Chapelle. Bordeaux was my favorite port. Visited the Muse des Beaux arts, the jardins, the monuments, and walked the pedestrian zones. Trams and bus service is great. Took a private tour to St, Emillion and visited wineries. Shopping was very good. Bordeaux is beautiful. Missed St Jean because of high seas. Some people tendered. Some got hurt. After that, they discontinued tender service. Ship moved to Bayonne. Bayonne was a nice small town. Rode the free Navette getting on and off. The Basque Muse was wonderful. Bayonne is not a touristy town. It was a pleasure to visit. Bilbao. Took the ship shuttle which left us off close to the Guggenheim museum. Visiting was better than expected. The exhibits were good. The Richard Serra room is spectacular. The Goerge Braque exhibit was excellent. The Yoko Ono exhibit was strange. Ate a tapas lunch at the museum. 3 tapas and a drink for 9€ was an excellent value. We also walked to the muse des Beaux des Fine Arts which was a block away. The asian exhibit was outstanding. In Porto, we took the red hop on hop off bus. Did the 2 hour ride. Nice trip for 10€. in Lisbon, we had a few hours. Took the shuttle, walked around and went back to the ship. Azamara says that You Will Love Where We Take You. I loved the ports. I got tired having to take shuttles to get to where I really wanted to be. Bordeaux was the only port where we docked at a convenient location. I enjoyed my trip. Mostly because of the places we visited. I was not thrilled with cruise. It was too expensive for what you got. I expected a cruise as good as my previous cruises on the Journey. It fell short on many levels. The worst was the food. I lost weight. I can overlook minor details....a bad water, a poor excursion, a stained tablecloth, etc. i cannot excuse bad food. I will not be sailing on Azamara soon. There are many choices in cruising that offer a better experience. Azamara lost me. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
We booked a transfer from Heathrow to Southampton through Onward Travel Solutions, Ltd. When our reservation was confirmed, we received an e-mail with detailed instructions on how to meet our driver as we did choose, for a nominal amount, ... Read More
We booked a transfer from Heathrow to Southampton through Onward Travel Solutions, Ltd. When our reservation was confirmed, we received an e-mail with detailed instructions on how to meet our driver as we did choose, for a nominal amount, the meet and greet option and would book again with this company. While in Southampton we spent an evening at Hunter's Lodge that we can recommend for what we consider a reasonable cost that is clean comfortable, in a quiet location and a 15 minute or so walk to the center of town. The included breakfast was quite good. We can also recommend a pub called Cowherds that is a short taxi ride from Hunter's. See both reviews on Trip Advisor. I'll start by saying that we took a cruise on the Journey in October of 2007 and this cruise was as different as night and day. This cruise was a vast improvement. I'll also tell you that so far this year this is our fourth cruise the others being on Princess, Seabourn and Silversea. Embarkation was easy and fast. Dining - Service was outstanding. The food was much better than Princess, but not quite as good as Seabourn or Silversea....especially the buffets. We tried the additional charge ($25) Prime C and while the service was outstanding the filet mignon was not up to par. A medium rare steak looked off color, tasted OK, but was not like any filet mignon that we've ever had. Now when it comes to the additional charge ($25) that is a different story. The service and seafood was outstanding! The seafood was fresh, fresh, fresh and tasty and well worth the extra cost. Cabin 7093 was comfortable and nicely appointed, but the bathroom is tiny as compared to some other ships. Shore Excursions: St. Peter Port, Channel Islands - On a prior cruise with another line when we stopped at this port, we toured Cornet Castle that was quite interesting and I'd recommend so this time took the Guernsey Island Drive that I'd rate as just OK. The scenery was nice. The surprise of this tour was the Little Chapel that is a true miniature and located down a short path. The bus driver/guide was good, but the bus itself had no air conditioning and it was rather hot. Bordeaux Day 1- A Walking Tour of Bordeaux was only OK too as the guide was a bit difficult to understand. We would probably have been better off if we had chosen the longer tour that went out to Saint Emilion. Bordeaux Day 2 - Margeaux Wine Tour - OK too. Perhaps the best part of this tour was the vineyards and the villas. St. Jean de Luz,France - Biarritz Walking Tour with lunch. Wow! Such views! We've heard of Biarritz and now know why it is a playground for the rich and famous. The beach is fabulous and the surroundings just beautiful. Lunch that included wine in a hotel restaurant with views of the coast was good too. I'd consider this tour a highlight. Pasajes, Spain - We took the complimentary shuttle bus out to San Sebastian. Once in San Sebastian, we walked around the old city, visited a 15th church and a basillica, and tour a guided double decker bus tour around the city. The beaches are pretty, the city clean and a gem. Bilbao, Spain - We chose the Private Early Morning Guggenheim Museum visit & Panoramic Bilboa that I'd rate OK. Perhaps I don't appreciate art. :-) Porto (Leixoes), Portugal - Splendors of Oporto - When you hear of a visit to a Chamber of Commerce, you might go what? The Palcio da Bolsa (Stock Exchange) was quite a surprise and a must see especially the Moorish Room. The gilded carved wood in the Gothic Sao Francisco Church is worth a look too. Lisbon - Medieval Obidos - This was our second visit to Medieval Obidos and I'd gladly go again. The old walls, narrow streets, whitewashed buildings, shops, and the castle that is now a pousada are worth a visit. Be sure to try the chocolate with a cherry liqueur. We visited Fatima, Sintra & Cascais on prior trips to Lisbon that you might want to cosider. Even the Royal Lisbon tour is interesting. Disembarkation was organized and easy. We chose the ship's transfer by bus to the airport that was comfortable and very reasonably priced. We like the size and casual dining of the Azamara ships and will book again with this line. On a scale of 1 - 10 with 10 being the best I'd give the following ratings: Princess - 3 - Ships are too big and they nickel and dime Seabourn - 10 Silversea - 9 Azamara - 8 Read Less
Sail Date: August 2012
This is the first small cruise ship we have sailed on and we were not disappointed. With around 600 passengers, this is an intimate ship; not difficult to get around and a ship that can call into ports that larger cruise ships cannot get ... Read More
This is the first small cruise ship we have sailed on and we were not disappointed. With around 600 passengers, this is an intimate ship; not difficult to get around and a ship that can call into ports that larger cruise ships cannot get into. Ports included in our itinerary, which are not on the beaten track, include: - St Peter Port, Guernsey - Bordeaux, France - St Jean de Luz, France - Bayonne, France - Pasajes, Spain - Bilbao, Spain - Oporto, Portugal - Lisbon, Portugal Our veranda stateroom was not particularly any better than other cruise ships we have been on, but the difference is the staff (including the Captain and the ships' officers). You really get the impression that the staff want to make your cruise as enjoyable and memorable as possible. Without exception, all the staff we encountered were very friendly and eager to help. Other than the size of the ship and it's friendly staff, the other big winners for us were:: - gratuities are included in the cost of the cruise - shore excursions booked before the cruise (on-line) cost half the the normal rate and compared to some cruise ships, the tour costs are very reasonable - free shuttle buses are provided at ports - a good selection of wines is provided with meals; soft drinks, bottled water and specialty coffees are also provided free of charge 24 hours a day. - longer stopovers are made in some ports. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise on the Azamara Journey and we will most definitely do on another cruise with Azamara Club Cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2010
I was very lucky to experience an absolutely fantastic luxurious 4 nights onboard Azamara's Journey sailing from Greenwich, London to Copenhagen via Amsterdam and the breathtaking Kiel Canal in Germany. I could sense that I was in for ... Read More
I was very lucky to experience an absolutely fantastic luxurious 4 nights onboard Azamara's Journey sailing from Greenwich, London to Copenhagen via Amsterdam and the breathtaking Kiel Canal in Germany. I could sense that I was in for an amazing time and this started from the first moment I stepped foot onto this ship. The first thing that I had to do was to check in which was incredibly smooth and professionally taken care of by the courteous and professional staff onboard and I must say went throughout the ship from stateroom attendants right up to the Captain of the ship who was incredibly knowledgeable and certainly entertaining. On arrival to my stateroom I found it to be spacious and immaculate (I had an outside stateroom 6004) my stateroom attendant Jugoo did an amazing job looking after me for my stay with Azamara and nothing was too much trouble down to replenishing my Elemis bathroom products to turning down my bed in the evening with a nice little touch of a chocolate left on my pillow. I had the opportunity to dine in both speciality restaurants Aqualina & Prime C as well as the Windows Cafe for informal buffet dining and the main restaurant Discoveries. Aqualina and Prime C are most definitely worth the minimal $15 per person cover charge (this is complimentary for suite guests) as the food was exceptionally good and I can highly recommend a visit to both. Each have their own attributes which make them stand out from the Filet Mignon or Mini Fish and Chips in Prime C to the Seafood Platter and wonderfully cooked Sea Bass in Aqualina. Windows Cafe held an Indian Themed evening whilst I was onboard and I can safely say it was one of the best I've ever eaten. Discoveries Restaurant also provided an extensive choice of menus to choose from it took me about 15 minutes to decide what to eat! In each restaurant for lunch & dinner waiters serve you a choice of house red or white wines at your table which is at no additional charge and is freely poured. These wines are matched to each destination and are served by extremely knowledgeable wine waiters and the wine sommeliers are also on hand to offer any advice that you may require. Azamara Journey also has a spa onboard that provides guests with an array of treatments ranging from Hot Stone Massages, Reflexology, Teeth Whitening to Acupuncture which are carried out in the numerous treatment rooms available. Azamara also has a fully equipped gym onboard along with a Thalassotherapy pool and relaxation area which is available for all guests use at a daily charge of $18 (free for suite guests) and beauty salon which provides hair and nail treatments. 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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