10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
This was our third trip through the Panama Canal and we enjoyed it as much as our first two. We had been to many of the ports on this itinerary before, so we picked this cruise for the ship - we love the R Class ships. We sailed many ... Read More
This was our third trip through the Panama Canal and we enjoyed it as much as our first two. We had been to many of the ports on this itinerary before, so we picked this cruise for the ship - we love the R Class ships. We sailed many times on Renaissance - it was our favorite line. We have followed the dispersal of the 8 R Class ships after the line filed for bankruptcy (Oceania has 4, Azamara has 2, Princess has 1 and Fathom has 1, going to Cuba) We are both in our 60s and love sea days. We don't pick cruises for the entertainment or even the ports at this point. We never do the ship's land excursions. This was our first Azamara cruise but it won't be our last. We loved everything about this trip (except for the long lines at embarkation in LA). We tend to keep to ourselves and liked the number of tables for two available in most venues (in Main Dining Room they were extremely close to one another). The ship was extensively updated about 30 days prior to our cruise and the smell of new carpet and paint had faded. The public rooms and staterooms have new carpet and furniture. Overall the the ship is in great shape and the crew was fantastic - friendly and helpful. We originally booked a standard veranda cabin on deck 7 but changed to 7116 - an aft facing veranda with a larger balcony. We loved the view of the ships wake and had breakfast several times on our balcony. The food always arrived hot and to order. Room service even calls a few minutes before delivery - a nice touch. The cabin is small but adequate. The bed was firm and comfortable. The bathroom is tiny, with room for only one person at a time but we have experienced that before with no problems. This cabin's balcony does occasionally have particles of soot land on the table or deck depending on the wind. We also had one night of rough seas with some motion, but overall, no noticeable vibration when underway. TV reception was spotty - thank goodness! But announcements over the ship's PA do not play over the TV, so you have to open your door to hear them. The good thing is there are VERY few announcements and in only one language. Gratuities are included in the fare. Cabin attendants were very efficient and considerate but never introduced themselves. The service in the bars and around the pool was fine - not pushy- but a bit laid back in the Living Room on deck 10. We usually had to chase down a server to get a drink. We splurged a few time and upgraded our liquor choice but we were generally pleased with the included beverages. We did not spend time lying in the sun by the pool, so we cannot comment on the chair saving issues. We did enjoy walking the track on 10 and gym was very well equipped. The Library (now known as the Drawing Room) is a quiet and peaceful place to read and has quite a few books. We ate most of our meals at the buffet (Windows) even dinner where they feature a different country's cuisine each night. The grill on the pool deck has nice lunches. At night it is transformed in a sit down dining venue called the The Patio. We only ate there once but it was a very lovely setting. We ate dinner in the Main Dining Room a few times and found the food and service fine. We really enjoyed the Jazz Brunch on our last sea day headed for Miami. We did a package on the specialty restaurants - 3 nights for $20 per person each venue. We made the reservations as soon as we got on board and there was a short wait but not bad at all. The highlights were the chateaubriand in the Prime C and the lemon soufflé in the Aqualina. My wife enjoyed the bridge on the sea days and I enjoyed the lectures, especially the film critic from Canada, Rich Staehling. Azamara has a strict no smoking policy. Smoking is only permitted on the forward starboard section of the pool deck. We are non smokers and we were never bothered by the smell. Well done, Azamara! Our fellow passengers were about half Americans and the other half the rest of the world. The Azamazing Experience was held in Cabo San Lucas. We did not attend and from what we heard, the experience was not great. They tendered 600 people to buses and drove them into the desert for the show and then had to bring them all back. The last did not arrive back until after midnight. In contrast the White Night was held in Cartagena and it was huge success. The food was wonderful with lots of freshly grilled meats. They even did a wonderful Bananas Foster for dessert. We enjoyed the Columbian dancers and lots of passengers danced under the stars to the band. A really fun evening!! So to sum it up - a great trip on a great ship! We loved the all-inclusive more than we thought we would. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
I don't usually write reviews, there are so many good descriptions of cruises and ports I normally don't feel I have a lot to add, but this last cruise was such a disappointment and it was relatively expensive I thought I had to. ... Read More
I don't usually write reviews, there are so many good descriptions of cruises and ports I normally don't feel I have a lot to add, but this last cruise was such a disappointment and it was relatively expensive I thought I had to. Six of us booked an Azamara cruise through the Panama Canal based on an earlier cruise I had taken and therefore recommended we ‘upgrade’ to Azamara. Unfortunately this was the worst cruise ship experience we have had so far with any RCCL ship including a Royal Caribbean branded cruise. The good: The staff was mostly stellar and the smaller ship size does make it easier to get around and the ship is less crowded. The entertainment was quite good on this cruise, Tony the director nearly made up for the other issues.. Unfortunately none of this could really compensate for the negatives. The bad: Starting with embarkation things didn’t look good. We were herded into waiting chairs at arrival and made to move a row up now and again to make it easier for the staff to check us in, unfortunately the wait was very long, when we finally moved to the standing line it got worse, the line seemed to last forever. The computers were not working properly and they left us standing with backaches and tired feet with no explanation or apology. On the ship, things didn’t get much better. Three cruises out of dry dock and the ship still isn’t right. It was very disappointing to see a ‘luxury’ cruise line present a ship in this condition. The Televison and announcement systems did not work. No emergency announcements could be heard in our staterooms, fortunately there was no emergency but even the muster call was not broadcast and we had to leave the doors open to hear the hallway speakers. This seems unsafe as well as inconvenient. The TV function such as room service, repair service, entertainment etc. also did not work - we were not told but you could seem to order room service, it just would never show up. If your plumbing backed up in the middle of the night (as it did) the phone system disconnected when trying to call, the TV repair call system did not work and there were no attendants to alert - we just had to wait hours until the attendants were in the hallways to have it fixed. The room condition was poor, rusty shower, broken headboard, broken reading light, dirty balcony, unpainted door jams etc. The general ship condition was ‘unready’, staff were still painting and completing repairs from a dry dock which ended a month earlier. The laundry was out of service the entire 16 nights, two small bags of laundry were offered as compensation, but this was not enough if you pack lightly expecting to wash during the cruise. It was known in advance, but Azamara did not alert us. As for dining, the food quality is far below our previous cruise, below Celebrity, maybe on par with RC. Aqualina was a disappointment but Prime C was fairly good. The Chef’s table was not at all worth the fuss. The main dining was disappointing too, the staff was working hard, but could not compensate for the ‘hit and miss’ nature of the food quality and mediocre wines. As a group of 6, we always wanted to eat together and the front staff at the dining room nearly always seemed to be at a complete loss as to how to get us a table for six, they were bordering on rude several times. This cannot be a rare request and they should be prepared to accommodate groups (or state clearly that groups are not welcomed there), it really put a damper on dinner each night. One amazing failure was during the Panama crossing, the volume of the running commentary was turned up so high (amazingly loud, we had to yell over it to be heard) that I had muffled hearing for a day even after they begrudgingly turned it off in the dining room. The special ‘white night’ was very poorly organized, there was no room at the BBQ dinner, yet staff was diverted there so the dining room was understaffed and unready. The food was tired and cold and I couldn’t even eat it. The AzAmazing evening event was a disappointment and complete waste of time - the show had little to no connection to Mexican Culture as described, was completely amateurish, physically uncomfortable in kitchen chairs sinking into the sand, and very far away from town in a sandy wash somewhere out in the middle of the desert at night. I have no idea how Azamara went from being just right to being all wrong but something happened and we don’t think we'll be taking another Azamara cruise. It’s too bad as I was really looking forward to this cruise. I speak to a lot of high end clients in my business and had dozens asking me how it went when I returned, I couldn’t recommend Azamara at all after this and I’m sorry for the downturn. For well over double what standard cruises are priced none of us felt it was worth it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2009
When we first heard about Azamara, it was on Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas. We have booked passage on Cunard, Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, NCL and Holland America, so we know the general drill and what to expect. ... Read More
When we first heard about Azamara, it was on Royal Caribbean's Splendour of the Seas. We have booked passage on Cunard, Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, NCL and Holland America, so we know the general drill and what to expect. The lure of a more upscale line was just what we were looking for, but were disappointed that we just did not find it in Azamara. We had an ocean view cabin right near Guest Relations on Deck 4, which was a great location and a tremendous value. We purchased the optional spa deck package for $175 + 18% service charge and found that to be a much better way to go than booking a balcony stateroom. The balconies are very small relative to other lines, and in my opinion, not worth the money. Here is What Worked in Favor of Azamara' "Luxury" Spin: Zippered tote bag, binoculars and umbrella in our stateroom were a wonderful touch: especially for a Panama Canal cruise. The tote bag was ours to keep. The bathrobes and towels are a higher quality than other ships. I am a steak girl, and thought I would favor the specialty steak house (Prime C) over the more seafood oriented Aqualina, but I really enjoyed the ambiance in Aqualina more. Also, you can order food from one specialty restaurant (I preferred Prime C's fondue for dessert) and enjoy it with your friends in Aqualina. The Windows Cafe is fantastic for breakfast and Dinner, too! Huge assortment of breakfast food including made to order omelettes, waffles, pancakes, smoothie shakes etc. Also an impressive offering of herring, salmon, bacon, sausage as well as breads and pastries. For dinner, the cafe rotated its made to order offerings: including stir-fry (my personal favorite), pasta, and international themes such as Indian and Greek. We really enjoyed being able to swim and throw on a cover-up and have dinner on the back deck at night. We never waited for a table in the Discoveries restaurant, and you could go to the restaurant any time, with a number of people or just the two of you. The veal was an excellent choice. Loved the coffee: it was strong and fresh! The Captain kept us informed of a delayed arrival time in Aruba caused by rough seas when we entered the Caribbean from the Pacific Ocean. He also explained that, because there were guests that had flights from Miami the morning we disembarked, we could not extend our stay in Aruba. The Guest Relations Desk handled special requests really well. The shows were well-done. The Twisted TV is not to be missed. We found the caliber of the dancers to be better than on other lines. Magician and comedian were also enjoyable: Eric's "how-it's-done" regarding card tricks was my favorite shipboard activity The Cruise Director said it best: "You either like me, or you don't." We really enjoyed her. She is also a talented performer. Her show at the Cabaret is not to be missed. Contrary to other postings, I found that the absence of hovering by bar staff at the pool to be enjoyable. If you patronize them enough, they will find you. LOVED the limited smoking area. LOVED having only 2 little girls on board: though the parents are typically more of an annoyance than the children... The virtual bowling and duck hunting tournaments ala the Wii were great fun. The crew was a little more mature and ALWAYS very polite and helpful Here is what fell short of Azamara's "Luxury" Marketing Spin: 18% Service charge tacked on to Spa Deck was not warranted: Guests often left towels on chairs, and no one attended to it like the main pool area. Adding a service charge implies that there will be a level of service provided. Would have enjoyed a broader variety of excursions: ports offering mainly 6 - 9 hour "best of" bus rides should be offset with more exotic offerings (such as the Swim with the Dolphins in Acapulco. In general, the shore excursion desk staff had limited knowledge of ports and activities. The maps for each port were not to scale and lacked a basic "you are here" moniker. The shops were very limited, as many small ships are, but to not be able to offer postcards from each of the ports of call was disappointing. The enrichment lecturer was dreadful. Dry and monotonous, with a poorly designed PPT presentation. They only thing he enriched for me, was a nap... The "Butler" was really just a cabin steward in a nicer outfit. In listing these likes and dislikes, the cruise really was more enjoyable than disappointing. Azamara, by hyping itself as a "luxury" line, subsequently sets the bar higher, raising the stakes for criticism. Overall, we prefer the smaller ships to the larger mass-market vessels. Bottom line: we would book passage on them again if we found another great deal. P.S. Marty, stop lurking and post one of your own! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
The Azamara Journey is a great ship. Beautiful, stately, small. All the things we like. Attentive service from a multi-national crew. Our bar service guys, Jose Jaimes and Alin were the best!!! Our butler, Angela (Alin's wife, I ... Read More
The Azamara Journey is a great ship. Beautiful, stately, small. All the things we like. Attentive service from a multi-national crew. Our bar service guys, Jose Jaimes and Alin were the best!!! Our butler, Angela (Alin's wife, I understand!) and her assistant Jose (whose wife just had twins!!) could not have done any better for us. As it is open seating in the dining rooms, we had many different servers. Roman and Daniel were superb. Hooray to the head Maitre 'de Marius. He kept me from any allergic reactions and his suggestions were spot on! Our hats off to Mags and her aunt Maria for their invaluable wine selection help. Victor and Bernard in the Looking Glass made the best drinks and took great care of us! Ron Hollywood, the DJ, was always open to our suggestions for dance music. Thank you for all the wonderful NEW music!!! Kudos to you all. The sea days intensive itinerary was just what we needed after a hectic holiday season. The pool was always a welcome diversion. We purchased the thalassotherapy pass for the trip ($175 per couple, $99 single), but had to have them refund us around day 10 due to the pool never being warm. It WAS warm once...at 6pm!!!!! Also there was no service there. It's not very relaxing to have to get up and go to the pool bar when you want something. Why there wasn't anyone coming by regularly is beyond me. The spa was nice tho. Steam room, two different showers, lockers, etc. All included and available to every passenger. Didn't use the gym, the stairs did me just fine. Ate all I wanted and didn't gain any weight!!! Might have lost a pound or two actually. Hmmmm. The shows were cheesy, but in a good way. Geared to an older crowd than we. Juggler, ventriloquist, magic show, group show (singers), etc. YES, this ship does tend towards an over 65 crowd. Not a problem for us tho. (I'm 46, my DH is 39) Sue Denning (cruise director)was a joy!!! Such a trouper, and always entertaining. Her "sidekick" Kelsie was a hoot. The orchestra was always great, and the ship's band entertained us many a day and night at the pool and Looking Glass. There was a pianist in Cova most nights that everyone loved, a wonderful harpist at the martini lounge in Discoveries that was just delightful, and a guitarist who was very entertaining. A great cruise on a lovely small ship. Perfect for those who like long voyages with an entertaining mix from the Britain, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, and the USA. No children's facilities, and that's just fine by me! Read Less
Azamara Journey Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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