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Sail Date: April 2009
We are an active recently retired couple who travel. Our preference is for small ship with personal service. For the past few years we have been sailing on European river boats and barges. We thought we'd give this reasonably new line ... Read More
We are an active recently retired couple who travel. Our preference is for small ship with personal service. For the past few years we have been sailing on European river boats and barges. We thought we'd give this reasonably new line a try. This was an audition cruise for Azamara. We'd say they passed. We certainly would book them again. The Azamara Journey is a small ship, holding about 700 passengers. On this 14 night transatlantic cruise it was about 2/3 full - 485 passengers. With a crew of 404, the passenger to cruise ratio was quite favorable. There were no crowds to contend with, which was just fine with us. Disease prevention was a priority for the crew. The Captain made specific note of this and consistent with the policy the crew tried to avoid shaking hands. There were hand sanitizers everywhere and crew stationed at the entrance to dining rooms to not only greet passengers but to kind of assure people used the sanitizer. It was subtle, but it worked. There was activity overload with overlapping activities that would occupy anyone's day. If you couldn't find something to do it was your fault, certainly not the ship's. Besides the usual games and trivia contests there was an enrichment program with one or two speakers a day on sea days. The speakers included Nigel Marven, a British biologist with his own TV series very similar to the late Steve Irwin who was popular in the US. Nigel was extremely entertaining. The second speaker also was quite familiar with sea animals by profession and spoke of these. He also was a historian and gave talks on pirates and Atlantic history. He was informative and dramatic. The third speaker was a horticulturalist. This was a topic that did not interest us, so we didn't attend. One passenger described the cruise as a seven day all inclusive resort followed by a seven day cruise. This is an accurate characterization. There was quite an extensive art program with a very knowledgeable art manager. It should be noted that we had a couple of days of rough seas that caused cancellation of some activities and changes in lectures and entertainment. The service on the ship was exceptional, from the Captain on down. Everyone had a big smile and a warm greeting. They went out of their way to see that everything was just right. We had a suite and our butler, Pravin, went out of his way to anticipate our needs. The cabin attendant, Alvin, and his assistant kept the cabin spotless. We hadn't planned on excursions as we like exploring on our own if we can. Nigel Marven arranged two spontaneous excursions though. We didn't go on the first, but the people who did raved about it. This was a search for a rare bird in the Azores, which they found. We did go on his other trip in Mallorca to search for tortoises, birds and snakes. Found all three. His knowledge and enthusiasm were priceless. We elected a Club Continent Suite (formerly Sky Suite) as we thought we might be spending more time in the cabin on a transatlantic crossing than we would on a typical cruise. The suites gave more space, more storage space and a full bath with shower. People in the standard verandah cabins complained that the showers were too small. The river boats and barges typically had small bathrooms and we had our own sailboat, so we are used to small showers. It seemed to be a concern though. The cabins were well appointed. We read reviews of Azamara dining which complained about the food. Our experience did not bear this out. We felt the menus in the Discoveries were well thought out, the food well prepared and beautifully presented. With the exception of a hotel barge in France the food was the best we've had on a cruise ship. The new complimentary house wine policy was welcome (of course the base price of the cruise has been increased to account for the "free" wine. The wines were quite good, coming from Australia, Spain, Chile and Coastal California. Unlimited complimentary dining in specialty restaurants for suite guests is now part of the new Azamara Club policy. The menus in the restaurants were the same each day and frankly were less interesting than those of the main dining room. The big draw I guess is the choice of steaks in Prime C and the lobster in Aqualina and of course to some the status of dining in the specialty restaurants. The service, as one would expect, was more attentive in the specialty restaurants. A small ship is not going to have the same glitz for shows as the large cruise ships. The entertainment venue was called the Cabaret and that is an appropriate designation. The entertainment was cabaret performers. All were very very good. These included a violist, a pianist, a singer who played leads in Les Mis and Phantom in London's West End, an impressionist and a comedian. The latter two were Las Vegas types. The house band, singers and dancers were excellent. The pianist/singer, Dan Daly, who played the Cova Cafe, had a big and well deserved following. Usually, lounge singers are not our cup of tea. Not the case here. Boarding in Miami and disembarking in Barcelona were both a piece of cake. Overall, a great time.   Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
The Med in April - well that will be nice, won't it?.....Kids at school, so not overrunning the tourist hotspots and warm weather....That was the theory. In reality we only had one really sunny day, and the crossing of the Ionian ... Read More
The Med in April - well that will be nice, won't it?.....Kids at school, so not overrunning the tourist hotspots and warm weather....That was the theory. In reality we only had one really sunny day, and the crossing of the Ionian sea from Sorrento to Corfu was akin to a very rough crossing of the English Channel - across the little used tannoy came the announcement "Ladies please do not wear high heels - as we are experiencing some adverse weather".....No chance me needing any shoes that evening - there was no way I was moving from my bed....Alison, however enjoyed extremely good service in the very sparsely populated dining room. The Azamara Journey holds 700 passengers, and having been on many of the big ships, I had wondered if its relative size would be a disadvantage in terms of amenities, but it certainly wasn't. The food was fantastic - Breakfast buffets included freshly squeezed orange juice and made to order smoothies, Lunch buffets were imaginative, although some of the hot food was a little tepid, and Dinner in the main dining room was great...the open seating meant you could manage your time well, and it was really great to meet so many people.  The food was beautifully presented and the fish was always perfectly cooked, which must be quite a challenge when mass catering. Service was great - our butler, Apostol was efficient and thoughtful....When Alison mentioned her dietary requirements, he arranged for her to meet with the head chef to ensure her needs were met.....He also never failed to make up our room when we were at Breakfast. I must mention Eric Brouman....Magician, comedian and all round entertainer....If he is ever appearing on a ship you are on - do go see his show....the best I have seen on any cruise....He also did a masterclass in how to perform card tricks (am still practicing them...) The Spa was expensive, I usually book a pedicure for the 1st sea day as being pampered whilst gazing out to see is a pretty good way to spend an hour or so, but $60 seems a lot (although of course the exchange rate £ to dollar hasn't helped) Am also a bit of a poker player, so was disappointed by the Pokermate machine, which although you are playing against other passengers, the chat and banter is reduced somewhat by having to play your hand within 90 seconds by pressing buttons on a video machine (C'mon Royal Caribbean - give us the dealers back - they make all the difference) Finally, my only real whine.....We chose the transfer from ship to airport in Venice, now I know the cruiseline want all the passengers off the ship as soon as possible, but getting us to the Airport three and a half hours before our flight when the check in desk opened an hour and a half before takeoff, was not much fun....Will know to make own arrangements next time. Loved the Azamara - Will be back Read Less
Sail Date: April 2009
Wonderful azamara . What else can I say ,first class in every way ,from start to finish it was perfect ,well apart from 48hrs in isolation for minor stomach complaint on my husbands part may I add, but even then the staff could not do ... Read More
Wonderful azamara . What else can I say ,first class in every way ,from start to finish it was perfect ,well apart from 48hrs in isolation for minor stomach complaint on my husbands part may I add, but even then the staff could not do enough for us they were fantastic from our butler soraya and his assitant winston to guest relations especially nafera , hope my spelling is correct, and louise who was a fellow scot.They phoned our cabin at least 3 times every day to see that we had everything we needed, from meals to bottled water to free films, they were great. The ship itself was super everyone was very friendly, all the staff from the captain to the crew  of all the different departments. We are going on her sister ship the Quest in 2 weeks with 4 friends to celebrate my husbands big 60 and I am sure we will have the same wonderful time,hopefully without any need for isolation this time ,my husband has been well warned,but I am sure if the need arose that it would be carried out with the same professionalism as on the Journey. The reason that I joinened Cruise Critics was because of our great time on the Journey and I wanted to share my experience with fellow cruisers. So as this is my first review I hope all the experienced reviewers will forgive any mistakes I have made .Our trip from start to finish went very well ,no problems with flights or transfers they were well organised. In fact we were impressed at Rome airport as the rep even had a trolley for our luggage ready and waiting for us. on to the ship a welcoming glass of bubbly and no hassle having already done our check in on line .Meals were very good and the Aqualina and Prime C speciality restuarants excellent.Entertainment was first class ,the dancers ,orchestra etc very professional,in fact I much preferred the smaller more intimate setting and the audience participation than the more impersonal settings on the larger ships.The cruise director had a really good ,friendly manner and the guest acts were on the whole very entertaining.In fact I would find it very hard to try to find anything to complain about.One person who I better not forget to mention is the captains club representative Leisle,who gave us information about our next cruise which allowed us to upgrade to a balcony from an outside cabin at no extra cost .Our fellow cruisers were friendly and from many different countries which certainly made for some interesting discussions .So here we are 2 weeks to go till we board the Quest and I am sure another great cruising experience . Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
We drove down to West Palm Beach from Jacksonville, the day before, and stayed with friends we met on a prior cruise. We drove into Miami the morning of the cruise and parked our car near the airport, so it would be there when we flew back ... Read More
We drove down to West Palm Beach from Jacksonville, the day before, and stayed with friends we met on a prior cruise. We drove into Miami the morning of the cruise and parked our car near the airport, so it would be there when we flew back at the end of our trip. Although we had transfers from Azamara,(because we had their air for the return portion) we opted for a cab from the car park place. Only $23.00, and much less of a hassle, and we didn't have to wait for a bus on their time schedule, transfer luggage twice, etc, etc. Worth every penny extra. Check in was quick and flawless, and we were drinking champagne in no time. Yay! We were already familiar with this small ship, and snuck off to our room before it was supposed to be ready. We were immediately told it was NOT ready. OK, we knew that.(even though it was) Then off to lunch. Luggage came fairly quickly, unpacked, did life boat drill and then went to looking glass, where the online cruise critics were supposed to be. I didn't see a group, and never could identify anyone as such, so after a drink we went back to the room. The first night, there was a long line to enter the main DR, and my DH was not happy about standing in it, but after a few nights, people got their times organized, and the line was never really very long after that. Not a problem for me. The first night we had "Daniel" for our waiter, and every night we ate in that DR, we asked for him, and usually were able to have him. Sometimes, the Maitre'd, even put us at a table next to his area if he was full, and let him wait on us. Very nice. No request was ever a problem, and service was excellent. If I had any complaint at all, sometimes it was TOO quick. We like to dine at a relaxed pace, and didn't ever care about rushing off to a show. We NEVER had a bad dinner in the main DR. Food was always good to excellent, and usually the latter. WE LOVED Aqualina, and ate there several times. Service was a little more polished that Daniel, but just barely. We ate in Prime C once- had another reservation and canceled it. Not our cup of tea, so to speak, and the least good service and food of all 3 Dining Rooms. Not bad-just not us. Same usual games-trivia, bingo etc, which I enjoy, and played, though not every day. Sometimes we slept till 10 or 11am, as we kept losing an hour 5 or 6 times till we got to Barcelona. We didn't book any cruiseline tours, and mainly wandered around the ports ourselves, doing the hop on hop off bus, wherever possible. Nice little, typical, Spanish towns. Except for Lisbon, which was big and bustling. We tried to find the bus there, but the ship didn't give us good directions, and we walked for almost 2 hours, gave up, took a city bus, and then saw the Hop on thingy, and jumped on. Well, we need the exercise! All the crew was VERY friendly, and they did a very nice CC get together, with alcohol and food( not just cookies, like some ships) The shows we went to were nice. We're not really "show" people, but we enjoyed the comedian, very much. We didn't stay in Barcelona, as we had been there before, and we were taking the train to Madrid for a 4 night stay. Azamara let us switch our transfers from the airport to the train station, on board. Saved us a couple of bucks, and I thought it was a thoughtful touch. Would we cruise Azamara again? In a heartbeat. We had a great cruise. But then, I'm not sure I've ever really had a BAD one. Some are just better than others! Helaine Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
Crossing the Atlantic with six days at sea had an appeal but also a certain dread about it.  My brother, with whom I traveled, had done the same crossing on Oceania two years ago so I was somewhat prepared for the kind of cruise it would ... Read More
Crossing the Atlantic with six days at sea had an appeal but also a certain dread about it.  My brother, with whom I traveled, had done the same crossing on Oceania two years ago so I was somewhat prepared for the kind of cruise it would be.   I had cruised earlier in the decade on the R2 and was acquainted with the smaller ship...actually little had changed from that ship to the Journey.  Previously, the R2 was my favorite ship and so I was curious to see what Azamara could do to improve on it.   My reaction, from check-in to departure, was totally positive!  From the moment we embarked the crew extended itself with outstanding service.  The dining was superb, albeit a bit longer in the main dining room than might have been necessary.  If one wants to spend a lot of time in the dining room, then I would recommend sitting at the tables for eight.  I found the service much more efficient at smaller table arrangements.  But, what the heck.  Where does one have to go in a hurry anyway?   The quality of the food throughout the ship was top-notch.  I am not normally impressed by the buffet room (Breeza), but the Journey delivered marvelously with broad and varied selection as well as little specials like fresh juices squeezed while you wait.  Never disappointed.   Main dining room (Discoveries) menus provided great variety throughout the cruise and my selections always tasted great.  The specialty restaurants seemed to have less consistency in quality and service than the main room.  Food was well prepared, but I didn't feel that it was much better than the fare in the main dining room.  Actually, I had a better prime rib in the main room than I did in Prime C which is the ship's 'steak house'.  Aqualina with its Mediterranean menu was a treat particularly with its choice of lobster.   Cabin service was excellent with Julio our butler and his assistant always available.  We didn't want for anything.  On one occasion, we returned from dinner to find our cabin TV was not working.  Within ten minutes, after a call to Julio, a technician was in our stateroom and the TV was fixed.  Amenities above standard.   The activities aboard were plentiful and varied.  Evening entertainment, for a smaller ship, was excellent.  One could say that the entertainers were more like a Vegas lounge act than the main room in a Vegas hotel.  I was surprised by the caliber of talent particularly a concert pianist who performed twice.   Was I happy I took the 16 day crossing?  Yes.  Was I satisfied with the service from ALL staff?  Yes.  Would I do it again?  Yes.  Would I do it on Azamara?  YES!   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
As backgound we are both mid 60's, started cruising in 1988 and currently cruise about 6 to 8 times a year which equates to 2 to 3 months every year. We have therefore quite a degree of experience of cruising, the varoius shipping ... Read More
As backgound we are both mid 60's, started cruising in 1988 and currently cruise about 6 to 8 times a year which equates to 2 to 3 months every year. We have therefore quite a degree of experience of cruising, the varoius shipping lines and their ships. Some we adore and some we would not board even if they gave us a free cruise. On Celebrity/Azamara we are Elite status and RCCL Diamond status which gives a great indication of who we think does it well.We also have moved past the "island every day" type of cruising that at first glance appears attractive. In fact, if the ship never stopped during the whole cruise this would be fine for us as it is the ship and the cruising that we really like. This view is shared by many other experienced cruisers and for this reason it is why the Transtlantics are so appealing...those six days at sea are simply great!In a world where the sales hype of "biggest is best" abounds from cruise lines and agents alike we most definitely do not subscribe to this way of thinking. In fact we will do anything to avoid such ships as the sheer thought of the logistics of being aboard with up to 5,000 other passengers simply fills us with horror.My wife and I embarked the "Journey" in Miami for our 20th or so Transatlantic crossing. The check-in could not have been more pleasant and speedier...in fact we were on the ship in literally a few minutes. Once aboard we were met with total warmth and friendliness by members of the crew and straight away the same from fellow guests. We quickly realised that the passengers on this ship were a bit "special" and this was most certainly proved to be the case throughout this wonderful cruise. We found that most passengers were very experienced cruisers who like ourselves had "honed" down what they really wanted from a cruise. They were prediminately from the USA with a sprinkling of other nationalities including a sprinkling of us Brits and were to prove to be the friendliest and nicest fellow passengers we have ever experienced. It was a pleasure to be aboard with them.Our first thoughts of the ship were mixed. The narrow staircases and relative smallness compared to her big sisters took some getting used to but within just a few days we started to really appreciate the ship. Be the end of the cruise we did not want to get off which is the reason we are now booked on her again for a 14 day cruise in August/Septemebr 2009.The "Journey" is a very well found ship quite capable of dealing with anything a Transatlantic crossing can throw at her and the cruise itself was superb . The balcony cabin, whilst not being overly spacious, was perfectly adequate for our needs and how we appreciated a "proper" table and chairs on the balcony, particularly appreciated for sitting at when eating our traditional cooked breakfast.The food we found to be superb on all occasions and is one of the important factors why we cannot wait to be aboard her again. We were a tad apprehensive about the anytime dining as this is certainly not our preferred option. However, because of the friendliness which abounded throughout the ship we made so many friends that this was never a problem. The other point I would make is that no matter what table we were at we were always served and treated in a friendly,courteous and efficient manner by all of the waiting staff. Full marks to all of them.The speciality restaurants we liked very much especially the "Prime C" restaurant. Hosted by a superb Maitre' D we ate there on a number of occasions and we would say that for the nominal $5 service charge it represented a superb alternative to the main dining restuarant. However, that is not to take anything away from this main restaurant which is itself superb.My only gripe about the whole cruise is the deplorable lack of red table wine at the "right price". When we are on Celebrity we always have a bottle of the house Celebrity wine every night as it is superb wine at a realistic price. On this ship, although it is in fact Celebrity, they have no such house wine. This resulted in them running out of all of the "value" wines (not really value when compared to the Celebrity housewine) . The result......we simply didn't order any which saved us a fortune and cost Azamara a lot. Short sighted on their part and easily resolved by them ensuring that they have plenty of value for money wine on board. By doing so they will make more money from one of their biggest money spinners and their passengers will be happier.Having said that I must compliment Azamara on their afternoon 2 for 1 drinks "Happy Hour" on the lovely aft deck Sunset Bar. A great place to meet people and enjoy a bargain in the process whilst being entertained by the superb resident band. Well done!The professional entertainers were most enjoyable and acceptable but we also enjoyed the cruise staff events. I have to say that the passengers talent show was simply the very best we have ever seen. Professionally organised and a joy to watch. A great deal of the accolades for this must go to Tony Markey and his hard working staff.As I  have mentioned previously our fellow cruisers were in the main a great people to be with. They were generally a more sophisticated, mature bunch (not necessarily mature in age but definitely in style) who fully appreciated that the point of a cruise is to enjoy it....and what was there not to enjoy about this cruise. Thankyou to every fellow passenger who made this cruise so exceptional and wonderful to have made so many genuine friends in the process. In fact we are cruising with two lovely people from Chicago on a December Transtalantic back to the States who I just know will be lifelong buddies....all thanks to this cruise.From the Captain, permeating down through all the officers, to the general crew they are the friendliest crew that we have EVER experienced on any of our vast amount of previous cruises. I feel sure that as a direct result of this it was very much a happy, "fun" ship and a pleasure to be a part of. A special mention must go to Philip Herbert the Hotel Director whose truly exceptional caring and efficiency, coupled with his genuinely affable and cultured manner, produces an officer of outstanding talent. Azamara, take good care of this man....you really don't want to loose him.Another special mention must go to Tony Markey the Cruise Director...we simply do not know where he gets his energy from! The obvious problem of mentioning certain people is that it precludes all of the others so let me just say a genuine "THANKYOU" to each and every one of them.The disembarkation in Barcelona was on par with the embarkation in Miami....effortless, flawless and superb. Well, as superb as it ever can be when you have to depart a ship you simply do not want to leave!My score for this cruise is a resounding 10 out of 10. Congratulations Azamara ....you have got the product "spot on".We can't wait for the 30th November cruise....counting the days! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2009
After 14 cruises with Celebrity we felt the ships were getting too big for us, and we were looking for something more akin to the experience we used to get on those Royal Viking Ships years ago. Well we found it on the Azamara Journey and ... Read More
After 14 cruises with Celebrity we felt the ships were getting too big for us, and we were looking for something more akin to the experience we used to get on those Royal Viking Ships years ago. Well we found it on the Azamara Journey and we will be back! And, by the way the Embarkation experience was the best we have ever experienced! First of all the itinerary was great - 12 nights round trip from Miami (with 2 sea days out and back) stopping off at smaller, and in our minds more interesting, ports of call - some which we had visited before (but not on cruise ships) and knew quite well from a "yachties" perspective, and others we had not visited. Virgin Gorda, St Bart's, Dominica and St John's were the highlights, although to be honest the shore excursions offered by the ship were not the most enthralling. So we did things on our own, which is what we usually do, and really enjoyed ourselves - scuba diving in Virgin Gorda, Dominica and St Croix; touring by taxi and on foot in other ports, and a memorable lunch at the Eden Rock in St Bart's, with the waves lapping at our feet. The ship was in great shape and immaculate, thanks to the watchful eye of Captain "Theo" who we had met before on the Century. He was aided by a great team in the Hotel Department (Niyazi, Hotel Director) and a terrific Staff Captain Emmanouil Aposkitis. This ran right the way through the ship from the F&B Manager Scott, Chef Ari, the barmen (especially Dale), the Dining Room Waiters, deck staff and our head Butler and cabin attendants - all were fantastic. With just one meeting they remembered your name (and drink!) and any quirks and preferences. They were highly personable and professional. Our cabin was a Royal Suite on Deck 7 starboard, all the way forward, with a terrific view coming into anchorages and ports. The weather was fantastic for just about all the sea days and positioning and we were able to use the extensive balcony a great deal without too much wind (which is always a risk with a suite all the way forward). The service provided by our head Butler Arvind was just as it should be - attentive, personable, discreet, professional and prompt, although we thought having to fill in a card the day before to set the time of delivery of afternoon tea and evening canapes was a bit "tacky". So we asked to be spared this "pre-planning" requirement, which they immediately arranged and the evening canapes were always delivered to us at around 6.00pm - perfect! There were a few dings here and there in the cabin - to be expected - but the the linens, towels, amenities, bathroom etc were superb, and the Elemis products top of the line. And the space - well, perfect for a cruise of this sort. Now, on to the food. In short quite the best we have had on a cruise ship. Both Prime C and Aqualina were excellent and the food was innovative, varied and of very high quality and it ALWAYS came out hot; the fish being some of the best we have ever had on a ship. The variety on the menus was broad enough to permit eating in these restaurants frequently - in fact we only ate in the Dining Room three times! The lunch time buffets were also very good and varied, and eating lunch out in the shade on the back deck (Breeze) was delightful - especially as this was home to Dale, the best barman afloat! We also had one of the best curry's we have had (lots of Indian staff on the ship, so it had to be!), which was made fresh in front of us up in the Window's Cafe one evening. The wine list were extensive and quite expensive, and all the other drinks were as expected from a price point of view. If it's entertainment and Production Shows, you want, then the Azamara Journey is not for you! We don't "do" many of these, so it wasn't a problem for us, but the cast of characters for the shows was quite frankly pretty amateur - high school production standards! However one huge exception was the trio that played around the ship and in the Looking Glass Lounge forward at nights. The Ivory Coast Trio - absolutely terrific, with a huge repertoire and the ability to get people dancing - we closed the place most evenings!! Tony Markey was the Cruise Director, a Brit as is often the case, and he struck just the right note, not too over the top and "party hearty", and he always remembered a face and a name - that's nice. In all, a terrific cruise, on a terrific ship, with a terrific compliment of crew. Definitely takes the Celebrity standard to a new level, and we think creates a niche in the market all on its own. If Azamara can keep this up, keep their passenger demographic (not really for families with kids though), and continue their standards, they have a winning product here. We booked again on the Quest in August, we loved it so much! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
Embarkation went very smoothly. We arrived at the Azamara pier around 11:30 a.m. and parked in the garage across the street. At the pier, we exchanged our 'Express Pass' for a 'Sea Pass' and then boarded the Journey, ... Read More
Embarkation went very smoothly. We arrived at the Azamara pier around 11:30 a.m. and parked in the garage across the street. At the pier, we exchanged our 'Express Pass' for a 'Sea Pass' and then boarded the Journey, where we were welcomed with a glass of pink champagne and allowed to make dinner reservations in Prime C for that evening. We enjoyed a buffet lunch in Windows Cafe, and were told our stateroom was ready about 1:30 p.m. Penthouse Suite 8088 is a spacious, tastefully decorated suite located portside aft, with a sitting room, separate bedroom/bath and a wrap around veranda with 2 lounge chairs and a table and chair set. The sitting room has a sofa and two chairs, dining area for 4, huge buffet with complimentary liquor, water and soft drinks, a separate (paid) mini-bar refrigerator, large flat screened TV and separate powder room. The adjacent bedroom contains a bed which can be two twins or combined into a queen bed, an entire wall of storage with closets and cubbies and TV, as well as a mirrored, seated vanity area, and computer desk. The bathroom has a large sink/vanity area with 2 side cabinets, a WC with self-closing lid (no joke), and a whirlpool tub/shower combo. We were surprised at the amount of space in the suite, and the view from the veranda was amazing, stretching aft to the horizon and around the port side. Our butler and his assistant were always polite, personable and considerate. He saw that we had fresh flowers and fruit daily, was consistently available and often went out of his way to accommodate our requests. The room was always cleaned while we were at breakfast, and the bed was turned down, lights dimmed, chocolate dipped strawberries or other bedtime treat awaiting us when we returned from dinner. Unfortunately, we experienced high seas and winds during our first two days at sea and diesel smoke was blown down the back of the ship, making our balcony unusable and at times seeping into the suite (I am more sensitive to odors than my husband). We also experienced significant motion and engine noise because of the weather. However, the Captain chose a course through the Old Bahamas Channel and once we entered the Caribbean Sea, the cruising went very smoothly and we were able to use our veranda. Of note: 1) Suite 8088 is located under Windows/Breeza Cafe and the few times we were in the suite in the late afternoon we experienced noise when staff moved tables and chairs around in preparation for dinner. 2) The mattresses were a bit tired and sway-backed, and while my bad back noticed this we slept well. 3) The whirlpool tub/shower is set into an alcove and sits a bit high off the floor. I had to grab the handle bar at the side opening and stretch to reach the towel bar on the far side of the tub in order to climb in. Getting out of the tub was almost as tricky - in hind sight, I should have asked for a step stool. However, the shower always had consistently warm water with a strong flow, the toiletries provided were high end, and the towels were oversized but very heavy. 4) When we were unable to unlock our door due to failure of the lock battery, it was opened and fixed within 5 minutes courtesy of the Security and Maintenance staffs. 5) I love to read in the Patio Area on the pool deck as it is usually quiet and relaxing. However, on the Journey, the furniture was so oversized it must have been made for the Jolly Green Giant. It was extremely uncomfortable and impossible to sit in. I would definitely recommend replacement with smaller, more comfortable, people-sized furniture. 6) The pool area is a sore spot with us. Like every large hotel or ship I've been to, people rush up in the early a.m., throw personal items on deck chairs to reserve them, and then disappear, leaving empty but obviously 'in use' chairs. Perhaps Azamara staff could patrol usage and remove items from chairs after a certain amount of time - Oceania seems to have this problem well under control. Discoveries Restaurant and the two specialty restaurants, Prime C and Aqualina, were a delicious surprise. Sample menus offered on line were frankly uninspiring. However, we found that a variety of dishes were offered and we enjoyed everything we selected. The food and its presentation were outstanding, as was the friendly and attentive service. The wine list was extensive and offered a wide variety from which to choose. It must be noted that when serving hundreds of meals occasional glitches happen - and the staff quickly and apologetically exchanged an overcooked steak or lamb chop for the medium rare ordered. We particularly enjoyed the carvings, salads and desserts offered in Windows luncheon buffet. If we have a complaint, it is that we felt rushed on several occasions when dining in Discoveries Restaurant. We were very impressed with the evening entertainment which was cabaret style and exceptionally well performed by a variety of talents. Tony Markey, the Social Director, did a marvelous job and deserves a round of applause! Azamara definitely surpasses Oceania in this area. We took three ship-sponsored excursions and opted for exploring the other ports on our own We particularly enjoyed the 'Best of St. Kitts' tour which visited Brimstone Hill, Caribelle Batik, etc. Our van driver was very knowledgeable and well spoken. In St. Barts, we boarded the yellow submarine for undersea views and then window shopped along the main street - Hermes, Louis Vuitton. . . . On St, Martin, a substitution for the original port of Martinique which was having civil unrest, we took the St. Martin Island Tour which featured an hour stop for shopping the local market, definitely not our thing. On our own, we went snorkeling on St. Croix and St. John, and rented a car to explore Virgin Gorda stopping for lunch at the top of the Baths. On the last night, the flowers and fruit disappeared from our room and room service was to be discontinued at 2 a.m. However, no one answered the Room Service phone after 10 p.m. There were a lot of grumpy, coffee-less passengers the next morning. (Breakfast was available at the restaurants.) Disembarkation was well organized and went smoothly in Miami. We wish to thank Captain Mitropoulos for his warm welcome, and the Officers and Staff of the Journey who were always visible, approachable, friendly and helpful. We had a great time and met many wonderful people! We will definitely cruise with Azamara again. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
This cruise was chosen to get my wife and I away from winter, and it succeeded wonderfully. The small and well appointed Journey is a perfect size for us. It's big enough to have most of the amenities of larger cruise ships and ... Read More
This cruise was chosen to get my wife and I away from winter, and it succeeded wonderfully. The small and well appointed Journey is a perfect size for us. It's big enough to have most of the amenities of larger cruise ships and small enough to provide personalized service and visit smaller ports. Life on the ship is like being at a well run boutique hotel. The food in all restaurants was great, much better than Azamara's sibling Celebrity Cruises. The menus were varied, the presentation excellent and the service was outstanding. The crew is very personable and they get to know your preferences rapidly. In fact, we really loved all of the crew as they made the entire cruise special. Of special note is Sahon, the best bartender we've encountered on any cruise ship (we've been on many cruises) and George, a charming and gregarious gentleman as well as a superlative assistant Maitre'd'. We appreciated both the Harpist and Guitarist who were talented musicians that connected with their audiences. Other entertainment included a pianist (sorry we missed him as we heard good things) a small group of enthusiastic show entertainers, a couple of headliners (comedian and musician/singer), an 8 piece band, a good trio (did some fun riffs) and a staff magician/comedian. Our cabin was well appointed, clean and comfortable. The ships public rooms are warm and inviting. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
As active and lively 80+-year-olds who have been on 4 previous cruises on slightly larger ships, we were pleasantly surprised at how delightful the Azamara Journey with 700 passengers and 400+ crew turned out to be. Food was delicious, in ... Read More
As active and lively 80+-year-olds who have been on 4 previous cruises on slightly larger ships, we were pleasantly surprised at how delightful the Azamara Journey with 700 passengers and 400+ crew turned out to be. Food was delicious, in the care, the main dining room and the two specialty restaurants (no extra charge, just $5 service, but reservations needed). Captain, officers and all crew were from many countries, always greeted us with a smile and were efficient and quick with all services. The Greek captain was often around, kept us up to date on position, problems (we had 3 medical emergencies all handled with dispatch) - he and officers even served BBQ lunch on the last day. Activities crew led trivia games (my favorite) and other good programs. Entertainment included a 7-piece orchestra, some singers, comedians and magician in the small Cabaret lounge not like the spectaculars on big ships, but we preferred these. Even the few tiimes we played black jack, the dealers were very friendly and helpful. The only thing we didn't like - but it didn't really bother us - was the promotion for the art auction and the visiting artists on board - and some guests who we understand were brought on board at low cost or free to bid for paintings. This seemed a big cheesy for this kind of ship. The ship adapted well to cancellation of Guadeloupe and Martinique because of labor problems there, moving to St. Martin and Antigua. We enjoyed relaxing at St. John and Virgin Gorda beaches, taking the St. Kitts scenic rail trip, and just walking around other ports. We did not take any paid excursions but a number of people did. The variety of passengers, about 70% Americans, 20% Canadian, 8% Brits and a few scattered others (my guess at percentages) made it even more interesting. The gym was adequate with good aerobics classes. The pool was small with two hot tubs, and the usual problem with people reserving chaises. All in all, we heartily recommend the Azamara Journey for those who like varied passengers, top-notch food, and casual cruising (no formal nights, no set seating) Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
Now that the bags are unpacked and the tan fading, thought we would share details of our recent sailing aboard the Azamara Journey (February 12, 2009) At 600+ passengers, the Journey was the largest "small ship" we had yet ... Read More
Now that the bags are unpacked and the tan fading, thought we would share details of our recent sailing aboard the Azamara Journey (February 12, 2009) At 600+ passengers, the Journey was the largest "small ship" we had yet experienced...with our previous sailings having been on the yachts of SeaDream, Windstar and Royal Clipper lines. Because of this, we had some reservations prior to booking, as to whether we would enjoy the same intimacy with passengers and crew. The answer is no, but this may be the only shortcoming of Azamara. Having booked with an on-line cruise specialist, we were pleased to discover that we were eligible for one or more credits the cruise line was offering, having the effect of significantly reducing our cruise fare. Because of this, we opted to upgrade to a Sky Suite category, for a little more than the outside cabin with balcony we had reserved. While the room and balcony were indeed larger, it might not have been worth paying extra without the incentives. Check on these when booking. On arrival dockside in Miami, we presented the boarding passes printed on our computer at home. This expedited the boarding process, and we were deck side in less than 5 minutes, greeted by crew and a flute of champagne. Always a nice touch! Though our stateroom was not yet ready for occupancy, we spent about an hour getting acclimated with the ship...its restaurants, lounges, casino, show rooms, shops, etc. We also took the occasion to reserve space in Spa's Thalassotherapy Pool area. Restricted to about thirty passengers, it affords a quiet respite from the general pool area and some shade. Think it was well worth the investment. The main pool area is always in bright sunshine and very crowded, though the chaises are most comfortable. The ship has two specialty restaurants, a main dining room and aft open-air buffet, all open for dinner. Prime C is the steak speciality venue, while Aqualina, fish. The menus in these dining rooms do not vary during your cruise, while the main dining room and buffet change daily. Passengers (depending on room category) have limited access to the specialty restaurants and all unlimited to the main dining room and buffet. It is suggested you book your reservations in the specialty restaurants early after embarkation. Food and decor in each of these rooms is above par, though after a couple of nights you may find yourselves gravitating to the buffet, and simpler fare. While the ship offers various shore excursions, for the adventurous you are better off exploring on your own, the various beaches and local restaurants. Taxis are readily available and the total costs are far less than the organized excursions. You can save here! After dinner, you can enjoy a cocktail under the stars or one of the cabaret shows nightly in the lounge. We had an enthusiastic group of five singers who entertained us with songs from Broadway and television. Shows run about an hour and the last ends around 11PM. For breakfast, we generally had our wonderful butler bring us cappuccino and croissants on our balcony before going deck side for breakfast. Lovely sitting outside in the early morning sun, enjoying your eggs prepared to order. All in all, we believe Azamara lived up to its hype and we certainly would not hesitate another cruise soon. For those of you contemplating booking, we think you will be satisfied at the end of your journey. Good Sailing! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
This was our 7th cruise. We drove from Naples to Port of Miami in less than 2 1/2 hours and used the expensive ($ 240.00 for 12 days) Parking garage at the pier. Boarding - Staterooms With no lines and done in minutes - this was the ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise. We drove from Naples to Port of Miami in less than 2 1/2 hours and used the expensive ($ 240.00 for 12 days) Parking garage at the pier. Boarding - Staterooms With no lines and done in minutes - this was the fastest boarding ever. Before noon we enjoyed our first lunch aboard the "Journey". Staterooms were ready at 1:00 PM and the luggage was delivered by 4:00 PM. Rooms and balconies are smaller than on most newer ships, but nice and functional. Food and Entertainment Both topics are very subjective and we apologize if we don't agree with every-body else. Overall we found Azamara's kitchen a bit below Celebrity's. While the presentation and the choices were equal and excellent, meat at dinner was sometimes tough (beef) or dry (overcooked) and the fish dishes were bland and missing herbs or spices. The two specialty restaurants offer nearly the same food as the dining room, but in a more intimate surrounding. Of course they can't compare to Celebrity's specialty restaurants where you pay $ 30.00 extra. On the other hand, the pastries in the "Windows Cafe" and the "Cova Cafe" were outstanding and can compete with any pastry-cook on land. We are critical when it comes to cruise directors: Tony Markey is an extraordinary entertainer, singer and the "center piece" of the daily entertainment. We appreciated his talent and engagement around the clock. We liked the cabaret-style entertainment, but found too many singers and not enough other soloists or comedians. The 5 singers and dancers, the only comedian and the guitarist were great while the magician and the older singer were ...... We had a good time in the "Cova Cafe" with Carlos Avalon's outstanding entertainment at the piano. Captain's Club and Cruise Critic Parties We appreciated the presence of the senior officers and their participation in conversations with the guests. For the first (but not the last) time we also met the Captain's Club manager Liesl, who got so many positive reviews in Cruise Critic. Not only were these events very informative, but also AZAMARA was very generous serving delicious appetizers and all kinds of unlimited (!) drinks. Service and Staff When comparing cruise lines, AZAMARA beats them all when it comes to friendliness and service! We enjoyed the special atmosphere of a smaller ship. Even with the concept of "Open seating" we got to know the waiters and received perfect service. It was agreeable to choose the dinnertime at our own pace and to be seated always without delay in an attractive location - even when requesting a table for two (without the usual first day fight with the maitre d' on other ships). By the way most guests liked the abolishment of formal nights. A huge difference were the ship's officers: For the first time we enjoyed personal conversations with the captain, the staff captain, the chief engineer, the hotel director and many others. To our surprise senior officers (including the captain!) would act as waiters during the island buffet on the pool deck. As the captain said: On this ship the officers don't hide! Itinerary In order to avoid the rough seas in the Atlantic, the Captain decided to sail along Cuba's coast where we encountered calmer waters. Unfortunately we couldn't call on Martinique and Guadeloupe due to strikes and riots. St. Martin and Antigua replaced these ports. After two days at sea we arrived at our first port: St. Croix: A taxi brought us from Frederiksted to Christiansted - a pretty town with small stores, well maintained buildings and a nice boardwalk along the harbor where we had lunch at the "Rum Runners" restaurant. Most passengers appreciated this port of call. St. John: We spent the day at my wife's favorite place: "Cinnamon Beach" - one of the worlds must beautiful beaches! The natural beauty of this island impressed many of our traveling companions. St. Kitts: We booked the "Scenic Railway and Brimstone Hill Tour" through the ship. This is a relaxing way to see most of the island - not just the shops in the port city, but also the real life in the villages. Informative narration, good banana daiquiris and a choir enhanced this tour. The visit of the huge fortress "Brimstone Hill" - a world heritage site - was very impressive and not to be missed. St. Martin (In place of Martinique): We had to go back to "Orient Beach" = another great place in the Caribbean! The late afternoon was dedicated to a visit of Marigot - a big disappointment to see this little town in such bad shape with dilapidated houses, deserted stores and dirty. Antigua (in place of Guadeloupe): Our first visit here and a big surprise: We discovered "Valley Church Beach" - for me the most beautiful beach in the Caribbean. We shared this natural beauty with less than 30 people (while 3 ships unloaded approx. 7,000 passengers on this island). Before returning to our ship we strolled through the colorful shopping area of St. John's. St. Barths: A private tour showed us this clean and rich island. The view of the island's airport with its risky landing strip is just amazing. The capital Gustavia is the most expensive place for shopping. But you can save your money if you try to shop between 1:00 and 3:00 PM: All the fancy stores close for "Siesta time"! Virgin Gorda: While thousand of tourists invaded the famous "Baths", we chose to spend the day at another well kept secret: "Savannah Bay Beach". Only approx. 20 peoples (including "Grandma Gilly" from Cruise Critic) shared this 100 % natural beach (no facilities) with us. Going back to the "Journey", you had to be careful to board the proper ship: An identical vessel - the Oceania's "Regatta" - with similar tenders had anchored next to our ship. Conclusion AZAMARA JOURNEY is an exceptional ship with an outstanding crew. It is different from the bigger ships, but we would recommend it to friends and book it again if we find a convenient itinerary. We enjoyed a great cruise and send a big "Thank you" to the entire crew! Our thanks go also the members of "Cruise Critic" for all the valuable information, which helped us to prepare this trip. Peter and Dori 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
Embarkation & Departure We arrived at the terminal at 11:45 and were surprised to see only one other taxi dropping off passengers. This was our first clue that this was to be a very "different" cruise from what we had ... Read More
Embarkation & Departure We arrived at the terminal at 11:45 and were surprised to see only one other taxi dropping off passengers. This was our first clue that this was to be a very "different" cruise from what we had previously experienced. Check in was a breeze. We were welcomed on board in less than 10 minutes and were greeted with a glass of sparkling wine. We were not able to drop off our carry-on bags in our room as all the passageway doors were closed so we had to take them with us for lunch. The buffet at Windows Cafe was especially good for a departure day. It was not long before we were given the word that the cabins were ready for occupancy. As we departed Miami the seas became very rough & uncomfortable. Captain "Theo" (Theodoros Mitropoulos) announced that we would have "lumpy" seas for about 3 hours and then it would smooth out. Ten minutes later he changed course which really calmed things down and then came back on the P/A system to say he had notified the home office about his decision to change course even though it added 130 miles to the first port. He said the comfort of the passengers was more important than extra fuel. From that point on all of us really appreciated Captain Theo and his crew. Stateroom & Cabin Service We were in cabin 6060, a category 2A room which has a veranda with 2 chairs and a small table. While it is a tiny bit smaller than similar rooms on the M class ships, we found the room to be quite satisfactory. Replacing the old TV with a flat screen added a significant amount of storage space in the corner locker. Our butler, Luis, greeted us promptly and provided excellent service. He was attentive to all of our needs including ensuring we had a full ice bucket at all times. My wife "caught" our room steward (Derick) on his knees cleaning the bathroom tile floor with a toothbrush. We absolutely have no complaints with stateroom service. We had breakfast on our veranda 3 times which was wonderful. Room service was on time and the food was warm, the servings generous and most appetizing. Do not miss the "savories" which must be ordered every day; they are different every day and quite nice. Dining We found the open seating in Discoveries to be an absolute delight and the wait for a table was never very long. Our Cruise Critic group met in the Martini Bar every night at 6:30 for a bit of cheer. We were accommodated at one of our two desired stations whether we had 6 or 14 people. Other than the popular 7:30 dinner time there was no waiting for a table of any size for anyone. The food in Discoveries was excellent and certainly met our expectations. There was a wide variety of choices and very few items disappointed us. On the left side of the Discoveries menu is a list of dining options available every night. This is a big plus if the daily offerings were not exactly to your liking. My only negative was that escargot was not on the menu until day 9 of our 12 night cruise! We ate in the specialty dining rooms three times: Aqualina twice and Prime C once. Prime C was very good with huge portions but to us it was just another steak house and nothing really special. Aqualina is quite another story as the food options were far more varied, interesting and everything was delicious. Of course the goat cheese soufflE is not to be missed but the fois gras was absolutely wonderful. We could have eaten there every night. We found the Windows Cafe to be a perfect spot for breakfast & lunch. For breakfast the choices were varied whether you wanted waffles, omelets, lox & bagels or oatmeal. One thing we noticed was the bacon was crispy and there was plenty of it. At lunch the variety of options was very good and it changed a little each day. It seemed that they were carving prime rib every other day and all the carved meat was excellent. There was a wide variety of main dish and side dish offerings each day. I know it is a small point but the 8 ice cream options varied every day with lots of toppings from which to choose. We ate at the pool grill a couple of times and suffice it to say it was much better than we have experienced previously. There were more options and everything was cooked to order. Entertainment We did not go to a lot of shows but the ones we did see were good. The theater is on one level and the entertainers performed on a dance floor in front of the band. This is not a large ship so don't expect a lot of glitzy shows or costume changes. The enrichment series of presentations was excellent and well attended. Bar Service We never felt pressured to buy "the drink of the day" even though the servers were always circulating. Everything is low key and most professional. Ben, our waiter in the Martini Bar, made a special effort to recreate a "Sakatini" which was, at one time, on the Millennium ships' bar menus. It was perfected after 3 tries and I had one every night thereafter and never had to order it. Service counts! We purchased some bottles of wine from Azamara prior to departure. We carried it to the dining room where it was opened for us with no corkage fee and no 18% service charge. Ports and Shore Excursions This cruise had a mixture of "heavily visited" and "lightly visited" ports of call. One thing we really liked is Azamara's attitude about shore excursions. They openly talked about passengers' options of going ashore and hiring someone local and told us how to do it. Every other ship we have been on has really discouraged non-ship tours so this was a breath of fresh air and a very pragmatic approach. Passengers are going to book their own shore tours so why not help them out by giving appropriate information. We tendered at four ports and were at the dock for the other three. There was never a wait for a tender whether you were on a tour or not, a nice benefit of being on a smaller vessel. In line with Celebrity's practice, there were always cold towels and cool drinks at dockside upon our return to the ship - a very nice "extra". • Virgin Gorda - I took the ship sponsored "3 Island Power Boat" tour and it was excellent but only for those who want to snorkel. • St. Barts - We tendered ashore, checked out the huge yachts and very expensive shops and returned to the ship. • St. Martin - We took the ship sponsored "Art Tour" which was excellent and then had lunch at the marina in Marigot. A very nice day. • Dominica - We hired a taxi for $25 pp versus $62 pp from the ship. We went to the same spots and heard the same history. This is a beautiful and almost "untouched" island. • St. Kitts - We joined a group who hired a private van for a tour. Again, about ½ price versus the ship for the same tour. These islands only have so much to see. • St. Croix - I did the "Mini Boat" tour through the ship and it was pretty good but the weather did not cooperate. My wife took a tour of the island which was a disaster; the "tour guide" was a high school senior with no training or experience. This stop should be eliminated. • St. John - We took no tours as we had been there a couple of times previously. We went ashore but unless you are taking a tour or going to the beach you might as well stay aboard the ship. As a side note, several of us wrote up shore excursion evaluations which were less than positive. The shore excursion manager, Kelsey, called our cabin and expressed great appreciation for the input. To me this is great customer service. Debarkation • This was not a "well done" but not a disaster either. We were given specific times to get off the ship but there were no announcements made in our state room as to what colors were free to go or when we had cleared customs. Being such a small ship everyone's time to depart was within 40 minutes or so. We finally just lined up and got off, easily found our bags, got a taxi and went to the airport. Overall Impressions - Negative • One did get the feeling that because all the gratuities were automatically added to your statement, extra service was not extended. We felt this more prevalent in Discoveries dining room than other venues. • I visited the Spa three times to inquire about access to the pool & lounge area. In spite of written notes, I never received the information I requested. • The service level in the specialty restaurants, though good, does not compare with Celebrity's Millennium class ships. There is no preparation done at the table and the waiters wear the same uniforms as in the main dining room. They do a good job but nothing really special. • The 18% service charge seems a bit excessive as it is charged regardless of the service rendered. The Hotel Manager told us the money is "pooled" at the end of each cruise which in some ways keeps the high pressure selling at a minimum, a good thing. • Debarkation was not good but, in fact, a lot easier than on the big ships Overall Impressions - Positive • We sailed on R4 in 2001 but RCL/Celebrity/Azamara has really made this ship something to be very proud of. We will sail Azamara again. • The Captain and his officers were constantly visible and very accessible. They spent a lot time with us at the Connections get together which was unusual as officers rarely attend. • The size of the ship allows you to recognize and acknowledge fellow passengers. • The food was uniformly excellent, regardless of the venue. Aqualina was very special. • We loved the informality of dress; I brought a tie and never wore it. No one abused the dress code on any evening or in any venue. • The Captain changed course on the way South and on the way North in order to have smoother seas. I doubt Captains on other larger ships would have gone the extra miles (literally) for his passengers. This was a wonderful cruise, on a wonderful ship with an even more wonderful set of officers and crew. If you are tired of waiting for your tender ticket number to come up you should give Azamara a try! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
My wife and I took our first "small" ship cruise on Azamara's Journey on 1/31/09. (Port reviews to follow) It was a great experience! The ship made us feel like we were on a scaled down version of one of the bigger ships. ... Read More
My wife and I took our first "small" ship cruise on Azamara's Journey on 1/31/09. (Port reviews to follow) It was a great experience! The ship made us feel like we were on a scaled down version of one of the bigger ships. (The Journey being 30,000+ tons as compared to the 100,000 that we were used to) The Journey, in our opinion, had an up-scale look to her; a lot of wood treatment with more expensive looking furniture. The cruise experience on this ship was one of our best in our nine cruises. (Celebrity, Princess, Holland, NCL) The crew and staff were definitely the best we've ever had. They were all over the place. Captain Theodoros Mitropoulos, Hotel Manager Niyazi Korkmaz, and staff Captain Emmanuil Aposkitis were continually walking the ship! (I know...who the heck was driving!!! LOL) They must have special training in public relations, because they not only were very friendly, but had great personalities! Every working member of the ship must we trained to be overly nice to the passengers, because every time we turned around, there was someone saying "hi" to us. Their service was great! The food and presentation in the main dinning room was good! Yes, there were a couple meals that did not meet expectations....but I have screwed up at home cooking for two!!! The meals in the two specialty restaurants were superb! Outstanding service, presentation and food! The staterooms were typical cruise ship size, but again a lot of wood to make you feel very comfortable. Our butler, Kursaree, was outstanding. Even though we prepaid our "tips", we slipped him a twenty when we first arrived and for the next twelve days he was always around! Keep in mind, like we all have read on these boards, the butler on Azamara is a glorified room steward! No big deal. We didn't use him for anything special. He didn't make SR reservations, but he did make sure we had a new ice bucket everyday at 4PM! The cruise director, Tony Markey was outstanding! What a nice man! I don't think he ever slept, because we saw him in every room at any time! I hear he had a very nice singing voice. We were at most of the shows, but never heard him. I guess he was at the Looking Glass in the late hours. The rest of the entertainment was very good. I was a little leery considering this was a small ship with no "big" stage! But the singers, magicians, comedians, etc., were great! Especially the piano player. (Can't remember his name) We tendered in half of the seven ports. Outstanding!!! Not a minute did we have to wait! The best service we have ever had! Disembarkation....the hall ways were crowed at first, but it calmed down and we were off within ten minutes of our scheduled time. The negatives: Not much! No big deal for us, but there is less to do on sea days then bigger ships. (We all knew in advanced) In fact, I saved a lot of money because they didn't have many Bingo games. It was a little rough getting out of Miami, but the Captain graciously changed courses to please his guest. (A negative turned into a positive) In closing, hopefully someone from Azamara reads this so I can thank then for a wonderful cruise, and also thank Cruise Critic for some new friends that we have met! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
This is our second cruise on Azamara. We took a similar Caribbean cruise on the Quest in November 2007 (it's second public sailing). We travel for the itinerary & ambiance of the ship, not the size & numerous activities ... Read More
This is our second cruise on Azamara. We took a similar Caribbean cruise on the Quest in November 2007 (it's second public sailing). We travel for the itinerary & ambiance of the ship, not the size & numerous activities & large crowds of larger ships. We were obviously impressed with our first cruise on Azamara, but wanted an itinerary with some islands we haven't visited, plus returns to our favorites. We enjoy snorkeling & usually do this 4-5 times each cruise. Amenities included (in all cabins): Butler (glorified stateroom attendant), flat screen TV (limited channels & not much variety), minibar, umbrella (folding - for use ashore if inclement weather), mini-binoculars, large zip-tote to keep, use of luxurious bathrobes & slippers (to keep). Fresh fruit everyday, canapes in afternoon, flowers. This time, a small portable clock was also included. Staff ratio is 1:2 passengers. Most passengers we met were retired though we are not but are in our late 50's. Embarkation  Very smooth since we pre-registered our info online; however, we were pleasantly surprised to find we had been upgraded. We had booked cabin 6005 (oceanview without veranda in forward starboard behind suites across bow) since we had this when we were on the Quest as it has extra interior room since it's at the point where the bow starts to a point but there's not enough room for a veranda. We were delighted with the upgrade, but it did cause a problem with our luggage being "lost" until after we had sailed by over an hour. Apparently luggage delivery people were not told of our change in cabin. Also, cabins were not available until after 2 p.m. & we had embarked around 12:30. Lunch was available at the buffet (Windows Cafe) immediately. Cabin  Cabin was as we anticipated with enough storage for clothes, a loveseat which we used frequently, a table with two chairs on the veranda which we also used a bit, small bathroom, with small shower but toiletries from Elemis Spa in large enough bottles to last the entire cruise. Soap, however was in bar form. Shower controls were two "dials", one for temperature (which did not need to be reset every time you showered) & the other for the water flow. Dining  Discoveries dining room was much improved over our experience on the Quest & we were pleasantly surprised to have the same Maitre'D. Dining is open seating & this worked well every night except sailing night. Upon embarkation, we were asked our choice of dining time that evening only, so we chose 6:15 & were given a "reservation"; however, apparently, many passengers didn't make their "reservation" or just decided to show up when they wanted so we had a fair wait. All other nights, we walked right in or waited only 5 minutes or so. We believe the overcrowding on sailing night was due to the fact that no one used the specialty dining rooms so everyone was in the main dining room. Food was excellent, especially presentation. Specialty dining was just a cut above the main Discoveries DR. Our beef was always prepared as requested & the cuts were superb. We enjoyed the open seating at Discoveries & met many lovely people who we frequently were seated with again by chance. Dress code is "resort casual" with men never requiring a jacket though some wore them & women frequently wearing slacks, not just skirts & dresses. We also had breakfast in the room several times when we had early excursions in port. The variety of menu is good for room service & it was always delivered on time. Breakfast at Discoveries was excellent & had many menu choices. Windows Cafe (the buffet) was available for all meals, but we used it mostly for lunch & breakfast. Public rooms Decor was beautiful for this former Renaissance ship with wood & teak kept in good shape from those days. Though we didn't use it, casino was "large" for the ship's size. Cabaret Lounge is small & therefore there are no large production numbers but for the 5 young talents who performed 3 numbers, it was adequate size. The 3 females & 2 males were slightly better than the ones on the Quest, however, the productions were the same 3 we had seen on the Quest. Fitness center was more than adequate for the ship's size although frequently busyI used it first thing (around 6 a.m.) since I'm an early riser. I did not attend any classes. It was open til 11 p.m. Computer internet room was open 24 hours which was great. Prices were average ($.65/min.), but there were packages available. The Looking Glass lounge was on deck 10 forward (top interior deck) & was used for multiple purposes such as harp demonstration in the afternoon, dance lessons, & dancing in late evening. Also, events were moved from poolside in case of inclement weather to this venue. The library (Michael's Club) is beautiful but we only used it for a cocktail party for previous Azamara passengers (there were 30-40 people there & the Captain took the time to talk to everyone in attendance this bodes well for Azamara). There was a piano there & many board games & cards also available. ShopsSmall but there were "sales" & free logo clothing after spending only $100. Shore Excursions Because Azamara has small ships, there are limited local shore excursions & some were cancelled for lack of interest. We found good snorkeling & water-type tours to satisfy us (the only port we did not do a tour was Antigua because we had been on the one we were interested in previously). Prices were reasonable but the times they were scheduled did not permit passengers to do two tours in one port. We usually were accompanied by someone from the shore excursion desk or another staff member (for ex., the harpist is an avid diver & snorkeler) & they were always congenial, helpful & friendly. Staff & crew  The Captain mingled with the passengers frequently & participated in events other than cocktail parties (he was a judge at a dance contest). He also participated in a question/answer session at the end of the "farewell from the crew" event for about 45 min. His chief engineer & the hotel director were also there. The Cruise Director, Sue Denning, was over the top (her personality) and a good singer. She performed several shows (some impromptu) & also had an hour-long question/answer session. She was from England & our cruise was her last for a couple of months so she could have time off with her family, but she assured us she would be back to the Journey. Eric Brauman, a comic magician from Cleveland was good & he showed us some tricks of the trade at the end of the cruise. The DJ, Ron Hollywood was funny too. The entertainment staff was multi-talented. We also enjoyed the Mirage Trio who were on the Quest in Nov. 2007, although with a new drummer this cruise. They limit their poolside music to the same songs, but in the lounge in the evening they will entertain requests. Dan, the piano bar player was also multi-talented playing other instruments & singing other types of music. In summary, even though all itineraries are at least 10 days, there are 4-5 washers/dryers in a laundry room (nominal fee with detergent included), steamer, iron & baskets to use so one doesn't need to pack more than one week's clothing. There also is a portable hair dryer in the room & shampoo, conditioner & body lotion are provided. The ship's design automatically lends itself to great congenial times with passengers & crew. The crew does not push anything on you as in sales of drinks, photos, excursions or anything else. One makes what they want of their cruise with as little or as much participation as desired. Clocks are in several public areas, unlike other ships where it's impossible to get the time if you don't have a watch. In short, if Azamara has an itinerary we would enjoy in the future, we will most certainly book it. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
We returned last week after a wonderful 15 day cruise from Barcelona to Miami, with stops in Alicante and Almeria, Spain, and four Canary Islands. On both cruises, we had the best food and the friendliest service we've had over the ... Read More
We returned last week after a wonderful 15 day cruise from Barcelona to Miami, with stops in Alicante and Almeria, Spain, and four Canary Islands. On both cruises, we had the best food and the friendliest service we've had over the past 30 years of cruising. Embarkation - both in Sao Paolo and Barcelona, embarkation was a breeze; on-board in less than five minutes, with plenty of staff to assist. A welcome glass of bubbly, a full lunch in the Windows buffet, and into our stateroom by shortly after 1 PM, although we had arrived before the designated time twice. On the most recent cruise, our luggage was in the room quickly and we were fully unpacked and into cocktails before the 4:15 lifeboat drill. Stateroom - we had a Sky Suite both cruises, which is a delight if available and affordable (we were upgraded for free the first cruise). Plenty of room, storage, good (but not great) in-room TV, excellent wireless internet access (for a fee), and fine service. I was surprised to read the review by Keefy, who had limited butler contact or amenities. We saw our butler at least daily (Pras), he was quick to respond to requests for extra ice, TV problems, laundry service, as were Ravin, the assistant butler and Michael, the assistant. Our flowers and fruit were changed periodically, as appropriate. Be certain to order the daily "savories," a beautiful and tasty array of four appetizers, available daily in the late afternoon. They were a highlight of both cruises. And room service breakfast has a menu surpassing most restaurants in selections, presentation, and quality. Don't miss it! Bathroom was adequate; we'd have liked a medicine cabinet but plenty of room under the sink. The rubber mat in the tub slips and slides if you don't push down to set the vacuum cups, but improves safety when you do. Toilet tissue was very thin; next trip we would bring a couple of rolls. The Elemis toiletries were excellent. Dining - Discoveries had a menu and presentation as good as the specialty restaurants on most lines. We especially enjoyed the crab cocktail, Caesar salad, combined broiled and thermidor lobster, and cherries jubilee, but there were excellent choices every meal. Service was exceptional, with friendly, patient, cheerful and helpful wait staff no matter where we sat. The Maitre d' knew us by name, always took us to a table for two when requested, and checked on our happiness regularly (Garan from Macedonia). Probably due to a change in chefs between our two voyages, Aqualina was the better specialty restaurant last spring, and Prime C this time, but both would have been $100+ a couple ashore for the quantity and quality of the food. Friends traveling with us ate in them most nights, but we enjoyed Discoveries so much that we limited ourselves to the three "free" nights in the specialty restaurants. Windows, the buffet site, has more choices than on other cruise lines, although the variety seemed a little less this time than last spring. Entertainment - fair to good. A magician, Alan someone, was average at best. The best shows were the three with the very talented and energetic five singers/dancers who comprise the onboard troupe. Don't miss the "Twisted TV" review which pokes wonderful fun at TV viewing. The last show, "Swing", was the weakest of the three production shows. Don at the piano nightly near the Cova Cafe was wonderful - excellent musician, fine conversationalist, and always entertaining. The harpist was very good, but harp music is not my favorite. We didn't go to the nightclub for dancing, but others seemed to enjoy it. The orchestra was exceptionally talented for a ship this size. Cruise staff - Contrary to Keefy's impression, we found Sue Denning, the Cruise Director, pleasant, available, and entertaining. She always had a "hello" even when in a hurry. Her daily TV introduction to activities is worth watching, although Kelsey, the Activities Director, tends to be too cutesy and interrupts too much. The entire staff of Journey are the friendliest, most cheerful, and respectful of any cruise we've been on; always stop what they're doing to smile and say hello. Spa - we thought the spa was good if not excellent. My wife had a facial and a pedicure and I had a deep massage. Prices were high but not outrageous, and staff was pleasant and capable. The gym/exercise room was very good for a ship this size. Shopping - limited, a little high-priced, but pleasant helpful staff. Casino - Ellen and I enjoy low wager gambling, and this was the best. As a small ship, it has only five blackjack dealers, and we got to know each of them and they us, asking after the spouse when only one of us showed up. Cheers to Madeline from Glasgow, Nina from Minsk, Jack from Capetown, Margaret from Australia, and Svetlana from Alberta (originally from Ukraine). Ports - Barcelona deserves a page of its own. Don't miss it. Best way to see it with limited time is to take the tourist buses which run on three intersecting lines with unlimited on and off. Alicante was pleasant but not outstanding, ditto for Almeria. We particularly enjoyed the free museum in the latter which houses the comical, realistic papier mache figures from their annual festival. The Canary Islands are outstanding. We worried about stopping at four of them, but each island is so individual in geography, views, and highlights that we would have enjoyed even more. Disembarkation - not as smooth as embarkation, but not bad. They should have signage to indicate where each color of baggage (matching the tags we applied the night before) were located, but we had our bags within five minutes. Unfortunately, porters didn't arrive until a few minutes after we dragged our carry-ons and four large bags through the line. Friends traveling with us have sailed Oceania a couple of times and thought Azamara equal, but with better service. We hope to find another itinerary on Azamara which appeals to us for a return. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
We had booked a air/cruise through a local agency. Our flight was out of Terminal 5, Heathrow to Miami. We were met at Miami International by a rep from Azamara and as we were the last ones thru customs, we left the airport immediately. ... Read More
We had booked a air/cruise through a local agency. Our flight was out of Terminal 5, Heathrow to Miami. We were met at Miami International by a rep from Azamara and as we were the last ones thru customs, we left the airport immediately. A swift and smooth transfer to the Miami Wyndham airport - my only crit of that is that it is far from anything, so were confined to the hotel. The next morning buses were arranged for our transport to the ship, our checking in went smooth and in no time boarded the ship, to be greeted by someone handing out drinks. We were told our rooms were not ready, would be shortly and if we desired could leave our hand luggage to be delivered to our rooms, which we declined. We were told that dinner first night would be at a set time, which we were asked what time suited us etc. we took 8 p.m. for our convenience. We went upstairs to Windows for lunch, which at the time was pretty busy, not surprising as Discoveries dinging room was not open. Even tho, it was no problem to find a table and already meet new "cruisers". it was time for us to go to our stateroom, we were more or less off center forward and found the rooms as we expected. We were aware that the bathrooms were a tad small, but over the 16 days had no problem with the size of the shower space etc. Did find that the carpets looked tired, but for us everything was clean, neat & tidy. When we walked in discovered that the beds had not been made up into a double, but we soon met our assistant "Ever" who said no problem, which we found was always the case, and when we returned after dinner, all sorted. out. Found the ship very easy to navigate We had a problem with the Aircon, realizing on the first day sailing it was not working "properly", we complained to our Butler, who said would report it, in a few hours it wasn't so we then at the CC cocktail party met Philip Herbert,Hotel Director, and within a short while he had everyone running around. Our main reason for doing this cruise was to sail thru the Panama and to be away for the festive season, Our only gripe was that we had two days one was Xmas Day and one Sunday,when we were in ports, which we felt was a waste, do realize that itineraries are difficult at the best of times. We were pleased with the different venues for eating, even tho they say only twice at the Speciality Rests. We had no problem in booking 2 more for Prime C which we loved. We also alternated between Breeze /Windows and the Main Dining Room. My hubby loved the sushi upstairs and I had one of my best pan fried salmon there. We did in the main eat our Breakfast and lUnch out on the "aft" of Windows and when we ate there in the evenings, we were under the stars. Yes there were problems with the hot water and for us from the UK, we do like our Tea Hot and in a Tea Pot - another minor gripe. Towards the end they "ran" out of Butter, that should not happen, I also found had trouble getting honey , used to look for the little pots, but then realized there were always glass jugs by the Tea/Coffee - so that was no problem. We knew that the entertainment was going to by Cabaret Style - only one did we think was a waste. Loved listening to Dan in the Cova Cafe, and found his show good as we did Sue's, the Cruise Director. Joined in a few times in the trivia quizzes in Cova Cafe, which always made me laugh. The sun beds on decks were wonderful. Yes at the beginning some people reserved seats, which to me is ridiculous, if no one ever did, one would always get a bed!!! We personally, found the officers and crew friendly and chatty, they have job to do and do it as best as they can. Not all passengers see things the same and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Did on the odd occasion feel the ships movement, when I did, ate some Ginger, which I took aboard with me - I am normally not a great sea traveller, but had no problems on the Journey. There is quite lot more I could write, if anyone wants to know something from our perspective, please don't hesitate to ask. We would definitely cruise again on the Journey and her sister Quest (which we have not yet been on). We go cruising for the ports and if the itinerary suited us would not hesitate to book Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
First things first, we loved this cruise! We are frequent sailors with Celebrity so some of the comparisons will be with our previous experiences. We began our journey with a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Miami. Hate flying and ... Read More
First things first, we loved this cruise! We are frequent sailors with Celebrity so some of the comparisons will be with our previous experiences. We began our journey with a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Miami. Hate flying and our flight didn't change that view. Everything was OK though as the flight was on time. It was a $22 flat rate taxi ride from the airport to the cruise dock. We arrived early for boarding (around 11 am) and found registration to be quite easy with no waiting what so ever. Unfortunately, not within the cruise lines responsibility, we could not board immediately. The ship was undergoing inspections by both the Coast Guard and Immigration so we were asked to take a seat and wait for official clearance. Less than an hour later they were cleared and we could board. Again, an easy process and quite quick. We had our photo taken for the Sea Pass and were given a glass of Rose Champagne. The rooms were not ready but that was to be expected since we boarded two hours before the suggested time. It gave us time to explore the ship and it's common areas. We had never sailed with Azamara and this was also our first small ship adventure. My first impression upon entering the ship was the ceilings were standard eight foot heights. If you love the soaring atriums and massive open spaces, a small ship like this is not for you. I quickly acclimated though and grew to love the smallness. One of our first visits was to Michael's Club which is on the tenth deck aft. On Celebrity, Michael's Club is a very nice bar with live entertainment. On the Journey Michael's Club is a very nice library but no bar. There was a grand piano which was occasionally used by passengers and as practice by one of the performers. This room was simply lovely with seating in club chairs and sofas and tables upon which you could play games. The book selection was great and the books were filed alphabetically by author. Best selection and best organization I have ever encountered on a ship. There was always a good selection of books available. Very impressive! Michael's Club was also used for various meetings like the Cruise Critic party, the Officer's Cocktail party, some religious gatherings (it was Christmas), and a meeting place for the Connoisseur Dinners (more on those functions later). Windows Cafe is the name of the buffet area located on deck nine aft. It was open for open for lunch and had the only operating bar at that time. We took a break, had a light lunch and a glass of wine while we waited for our room to be ready. The buffet is small but very adequate for a small ship. No trays, simply stacks of plates which you loaded from various stations. It worked on the scramble system where you pick the food station you desire. For the entire trip there were never more than three people in front of me. The food selection was fairly broad and I thought the quality was quite good. There was always a salad station, a cheese station, a dessert station, and a carving station. At breakfast there was cereal, fruits, eggs, a toasting station, an omelet station, and a waffle/french toast station. Full breakfast service lasted until 10 am and a Continental breakfast continued until 11. One of the great things was their coffee machines. There were four of them all located on deck nine. You could choose from regular or decaf coffee, double coffee (cafe american), or expresso from six different buttons. We always had the regular double coffee and it was excellent. The coffee machine also had a spigot for hot water for preparing tea with a selection of bagged teas with milk and lemon available. Next to the coffee machine was another machine with ice and water. And a third machine which had four spigots dispensing iced tea, orange juice, lemonade, apple juice, fruit punch and a tropical blend fruit drink. Only four spigots, so the choices varied with iced tea the only one which was always available. All these machines were available 24 hours a day. By the time we finished lunch, an announcement was made that cabins were now ready. Azamara follows the good policy of very few announcements. Once a day (at noon) was the Captain's report followed by the Cruise Director reporting on the days activities. Our cabin was on the seventh deck forward very near the forward elevators. We were worried about noise from people gathering at the elevators but were never bothered. The cabin was 172 sq ft with a 42 sq ft balcony which is a pretty standard size. It was well furnished and comfortable. The bathroom was quite small with limited counter space but with enough cabinet space to hold our various necessities. There were bottles of Elemis shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion for our use. I have had small verandahs before but this one was made smaller because the furniture took up most of the floor space. There were two chairs and a 2' x 3' table which was just too large for the space. To stand at the railing you had to move a chair to make room. The furniture would have been perfect had the verandah been twice the size. Azamara advertises every room comes with a butler. After a while, ours came by to introduce himself and cover some information on our ship. We found the service to be excellent but the butler concept is really just a cabin steward in a better uniform. He was easy to reach via his cell phone and any time we needed something it was quick and easy to call. Our luggage was delivered in stages over several hours. There was more than enough storage space for our needs. The closets come with removable hangers and there was drawer storage in one closet and also in the desk. Azamara runs their dining room on open seating, no reservations required, and country club attire. We were tired after our red eye flight so we skipped the dining room and went to one of their speciality restaurants for a glass of wine and an appetizer. We didn't have a reservation but they gave us a seat at an upright table which worked perfectly. The speciality restaurants are side by side on the tenth deck aft. Prime C is a steakhouse; Aqualina is Mediterranean. The food in both was excellent and we had several meals there throughout the cruise. Because the ship is small, it is easy to get around. The ship's lounges were also miniature versions of the Cova Cafe and the Martini Bar but perfectly adequate for the smaller number of passengers. The Cova Cafe always had snacks available when open. The Martini Bar was an evening operation only. Both had live entertainment at various hours via a guitarist, a harpist, and a pianist who rotated between venues. The ship's main showroom was called the Cabaret and it too was small but nicely furnished and comfortable. It was basically one level with a show floor that doubled as a dance floor. Entertainers were good but limited by the size with no sets or costume changes for the performers. All together the entertainment was just good not being any where near the variety or extravaganza of the larger ships. So if you desire high level entertainment, the Journey is not for you. We were happy because we more enjoy the entertainment in the small lounges where you can converse over beverages. The main dining room is a single story, prettily furnished room which is supposed to hold the entire passenger load in a single seating. I thought the food and service was anywhere from good to excellent. But the room just seemed to be too busy and not conducive to relaxed dining. The food variety was quite good but I felt they needed more wine servers. Being open seating, you walk up to the maitre de and tell him the type of table you want, i.e., a single, table for six, etc. There was never more than a ten minute wait and that was only once at the popular 8 pm. The Martini Bar was at the entrance to the dining room and was a good spot to either wait for a table or for dining partners. As Elite members of the Captain's Club we received a schedule of events in our room. I was impressed as we attended the Captain's reception, the Officer's cocktail party, the Cruise Critic party, and the Captain's Club reception that each event had waiters with trays of hors'douevers and servers with cocktails and an open bar. Very nice. Plus the hors'douevers were excellent. Also excellent were the daily savories provided by our butler. We had this service previously on Celebrity and were totally unimpressed. So we delayed ordering thinking it would be the same. Big mistake. The savories were actually small servings of appetizers from the speciality restaurants and included things like tiger prawns, foie gras, grilled salmon, pate, and even slices of lobster. We will order every day next time. There were ten sea days on this cruise and each sea day there were two events we loved. Each sea day at 10 am there was a cooking demonstration and at 1:30 there was a wine tasting. The cooking demonstration was done in the Cabaret show lounge by the head chef from the speciality restaurants and mainly featured items from those menus. Delicious samples were served at the end. The wine tasting was done by the cellar master and consisted of five tastes from a specific region. We covered France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Pacific Northwest, and other regions. An excellent idea well presented and informative. In conclusion we loved the ship and the cruise. It was an upscale cruise for the food, wine, and a very nice group of passengers. We will certainly be looking for more sailing opportunities with Azamara. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2008
Azamara Journey Barcelona to Barcelona - November 9th, 2008- Or a Cautionary Tale of an Adventurous Woman with No Means I had been eyeing the Azamara Journey's November itinerary that included Corsica AND Valencia since I first saw ... Read More
Azamara Journey Barcelona to Barcelona - November 9th, 2008- Or a Cautionary Tale of an Adventurous Woman with No Means I had been eyeing the Azamara Journey's November itinerary that included Corsica AND Valencia since I first saw it earlier in the year. I thought I would never be able to make it because my work schedule would be too busy for me to take the anticipated 14 days off it would take to enjoy it. So imagine my surprise when I lost my job two weeks before the ship sailed. With the economy heading for an iceberg, I thought I would take my pleasure first, before I take my pain. I have sailed on cruise ships before (Silversea, Princess, Windjammer Barefoot, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity), in fact, I think I am a cruise junkie. The Journey is, I think, cruise number ten or so for me. I also cruise by myself, which means I have to limit the amount of cruising I do, because it is more expensive, so I try to get the most "bang for my buck." My travel agent helped me to get an extremely good single rate on this cruise, enabling me to have a verandah cabin for less than the cost of an ocean view. I also received shipboard credit, which kept the entire amount of the cruise less than the cost of shorter cruises I have taken on other lines. I made my own flight arrangements, so I have only myself to blame for going through Heathrow (do not do that...it is so annoying), but I highly recommend Expedia, because they allow you to book a hotel for fewer days than your flight plans. I was able to book the round-trip flight from San Francisco and hotel for the night for less than others paid for a round-trip ticket. The hotel I stayed at, the Vincci Maritimo Barcelona, was a very chic, three-star, high-styled newer hotel, near the trendy Diagonal shopping center. A Metro stop was literally at the corner, so I was able to poke around Barcelona after a night's sleep. I took in the Sagrada Familia, the unfinished Gaudi masterpiece of a cathedral. I walked the Ramblas and took in the Barcelona energy. The Spanish have a beautiful city with lots of history to embrace. I was filled with anticipation as the taxi sped me to the ship at around 2:30 pm on Sunday. The pier was not crowded. The security people were unhurried. As I walked up the gangplank, I was struck by how the ship reminded me of a home. The size does not pretend to overwhelm you, as do the megaships. Instead, there is a cozy feeling. A young steward with Champagne who led to my cabin greeted me. My butler emerged and introduced himself, pointing out all the amenities that awaited me. I was in 7029 on the Starboard side, a bit forward. My cabin was gorgeous. Mirrors tricked the eye to think the room was larger than it was. The slider to the verandah opened effortlessly to let me breathe in the sea air....ahh...home again! Every nice day I was out on that verandah for breakfast. Every rainy day I had breakfast in the cabin. It was only toward the end of the cruise that I ever went to the ninth floor Cafe for the elaborate and extensive breakfast fare that most passengers raved about. For me, the ease and quiet of rising and having coffee in my room was an exercise I enjoyed. As many other reviewers will tell you, the bathroom is small. If there are two of you traveling, you will probably notice how small the quarters are, but for those of you who travel solo like me.....jackpot! The toiletries, by Elemis, are very nice. My butler brought me extras so I have some for home. I felt the sail-off was a bit subdued, but then, I think people may have still been exploring the ship. I don't think I realized how many people were on the ship at any time other than at the muster. People really kept to themselves, and I never noticed a crowd or a line at anything. First night dinner I was the guest of a gracious hostess, Doreen Allen. We met at the muster, and I joined her group of sartorially splendiferous, well-travelled friends for my first of twelve gourmet nights of dinners. I just have to tell you that there is not a bad meal on this ship. Although I took the chance to go to both Prime C and Acquaviva, which are sumptuous and the service is a lesson in attentiveness, I would say that you are experiencing fine dining in the Main Dining Room, so if don't get to the specialty restaurants, you will be fine. The veal chop is wondrous. If it's on the menu, you must have it. Our first port, Marseilles, has a reputation of being a motley, somewhat unsavory place. I intended to go inland to Aix en Provence, but instead ended up touring Marseilles for the day. It was wonderful! I think when I had tried to visit it by road before it had seemed forbidding and dark, but from the sea, it was just another port town, full of fish restaurants, cafes, bars, churches, and relics just like any other port. Monaco is an access point for Nice, St. Paul de Vence, Eze, or other interesting places. That it has to be its own little gambling principality is its own business. Portofino drowned in November rain and began the rainy weather we had throughout Italy. The stalwart village faces the sea in its tones of ochre, red, and tan. I highly recommend you take a look at the mausoleum behind the chapel in Portofino. You'll see pictures of the residents, now passed, in their prime. Most are life-long fishermen, or sturdy wives, legacies of families, and some young children. Off in a separate section in the rear of the area, set off by an iron gate, is the Protestant cemetery. A word of caution? If it's rainy, be very careful when walking up and down the stone stairways. I twisted my ankle and was just glad to be able to get back to the ship. If you are unlucky enough to hurt yourself in this way, the Medical Clinic keeps walking boots that will allow you to walk, in a fashion, without crutches. (They'll charge you $30.00 until you return the boot). At our next port, Livorno, many tours went to Florence or Pisa and other passengers made their own arrangements. Just a word of caution on bus tours from Livorno to FlorenceThere isn't time to spend as much time as you might like, even in such off peak times, in the Academia and the Uffizi. With commute time thrown in, there is just time to gloss over the many sights of Florence. The shore excursions from the ship cost $700 for a couple....$350 per person. Some passengers were very disappointed. I heard other passengers were very satisfied by private arrangements they made in smaller groups. Civitavecchia is a friendly small town in itself, and I was willing to forego Rome because of my self-imposed handicap (the boot), however, I managed to stump to the train station, and was able to buy a birg, an all day ticket for train/bus/metro for $9. I ended up leaving the train at Trestavere, where I took a streetcar further into Rome. I then walked up to the Piazza Rotunda, smack into a student demonstration protesting cuts in education. The students were intent on being heard by banging pots, waving flags, and shouting slogans, Police were out, helicopters surveyed from overhead, and Italy expressed itself. I continued up to the Trevi Fountain where no protesters could ruffle the calm of the falling waters around the beautiful sculptured horses and men. I made it up to the Metro station and took it to Roma Termini. I caught the 5:17 to Civitavecchia, due to arrive at 6:37. The ship was scheduled to sail at 6:45. I stumped off the train at 6:37, frantically looked for the tax driver who was not in his taxi cab in front of the station. Three minutes later he appeared and asked, "did you want a taxi?'" We sped toward the ship with me urging him to go faster all the while. He pulled up in front of the ship. The steward opened the taxi door, and as I boarded I was told "no hurry, we are still waiting for one more person." I have never been that late to board—and had pictured myself hiring a fishing boat to catch up to the Journey on its way to Corsica. In Corsica it was still raining. The Moorish looking profile of Bonifacio rose to a height along the Corsican coast. Corsica is a very wild and interesting place, but off season, it is hard to grasp the feeling of the Corsican culture. The launch took us to the dock in front of the old fort of Bonifacio, and the ship offered us a shuttle for $8 that was available to us all day. Well, the shuttle only went about a quarter mile at best, albeit steeply, and was only used by most people once. A group of passengers had formed and our "band of gypsies" from San Francisco, Roseville, Connecticut, Minnesota (and sometimes Charleston), did our best to explore the streets and paths along the Bonifacian coast. I noted some of the Corsican specialties for sale, such as knives, wine and jewelry with a shell in the center. There were also some wonderful little French clothing shops with horrific Euro prices. The rain was daunting though, and I am afraid that Bonifacio got short shrift on the exploration that day. The next day we arrived at Malaga, Spain. Known for its beaches and its location in the Spanish Costa del Sol, I loved this small, ornate city. I hiked up to the ancient Muslim fortress above the city, the Gibralfaro, and walked along the parapets where soldiers must have defended the fort easily. I looked down at the bull fighting ring and the sculptured gardens with its promenade below. I was reminded of how life must have been along this seaside promenade long ago. It is still a lively port. I found my way to Antigua Casa de Guardia, on the main promenade. Opened in 1840, this wine tasting establishment is a way station for locals and tourists alike. Oak casks behind the counter hold wines and ports of local vintage and they are very good. For one euro, you can have a glass of wine. On the wall behind the casks is a picture of John Wayne bellying up to the counter of this popular place. Our first day at sea was a lovely opportunity to savor the amenities of the ship. The Library was full of current titles. The fitness center had lots of machines, all in good working order, and fitness experts who conducted classes in pilates and yoga. Bingo sessions thrived. The Trivia Teams were fiercely knowledgeable. The Art at Sea Auctioneer passed out champagne. The Captain had a reception that was well attended. At 4 o' clock, on my way to Tea, I passed a couple on the stairs. The husband was remarking that he thought they would have so much time to do things today and where did the time go? It seemed the ship was endlessly fascinating. Sometime after nightfall, during dinner, we passed the Rock of Gibraltar, on our way to Casablanca in Morocco. It was a good thing there were stabilizers on the ship, as everyone raced to look out the starboard windows. In Casablanca, I bought a ticket to the land tour of Casablanca and the Hassan II Mosque, hearing that the mosque was one of the largest in the world and one of the most opulent. Indeed, the mosque is quite impressive. It can accommodate 50,000 men inside the mosque, and 75,000 men outside in the courtyard. Oh, and 5,000 women up in the rafters on the second floor. And, come to think of it, where were the women? Occasionally, we would see a pair of shrouded women getting into a taxi, or in a car, but very few women in public. Only men sitting in tea bars, in stores, asking us for tips, taking us into tourist shops. The bus tour took us proudly into the wealthy section of Casablanca, and into the neighborhood by the king's palace. Back on the ship, the mood was very mixed. Most people had not enjoyed Casablanca that much. Those who had gone into the souk (the REAL souk, and not the tourist stores the tour guides deposited us at) came back with stories, both good and bad, of what they saw. The souks can be very earthy the farther back into them you go. We passed the Rock of Gibraltar in daylight the next morning. It was impressive, if partly shrouded in clouds. The amount of ship traffic was amazing. The passage between Gibraltar and the mountains of the North African coast cannot be more than 3 miles. As the day passed, we made our way toward Valencia, our last port on the return to Barcelona. Valencia is an exciting city of contrasts, and my main reason for choosing this trip. I had seen the unreal pictures of Valencia's City of Arts and Sciences in a magazine and had to see it with my own eyes. Architect Santiago Calatrava suspended all rules, it seems in constructing this masterpiece of a public esplanade where museums, theatres, aquarium and open spaces are housed in buildings that inspire. Reflecting pools mirror arching steel structures and lines and curves jut everywhere. The aquarium complex takes hours to visit—I took three hours to visit all the parts, for a ticket price of $25.00. The dolphin show is impressive, as are most of the exhibits. This was only the second time I have seen Sea Dragons in an aquarium. Near the complex is one of the Calatrava's famous bridges that challenges the engineering world. There are five, I believe, in the city. I was energized by this city that apparently considers art and architecture as important basic elements. I visited the Museum of Fine Arts (free admission) as well as their gorgeous tiled train station before heading back to the ship. I began to miss the ship on the last night, as I said goodbye to friends, and realized how quickly I had come to like the ship, and how quickly the staff, the cruise director and the officers had learned my name. I thought about how I would miss coming to my lovely stateroom, finding the bed turned down and my fresh fruit waiting. I'd miss sliding open the balcony door and sitting out in the sea air. I'm still fantasizing about the veal chop for dinner. So, as I brave the worsening job market, I will be motivated to get my next job, if only to pay for my next cabin on the Journey. Ciao bella! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
* Background Information This was our fourth cruise and first on Azamara. Previous cruises were on Celebrity Century and Millennium, so this was the smallest size ship we cruised on. But certainly it was our favorite cruise as it was so ... Read More
* Background Information This was our fourth cruise and first on Azamara. Previous cruises were on Celebrity Century and Millennium, so this was the smallest size ship we cruised on. But certainly it was our favorite cruise as it was so easy to get on and more importantly off the ship without any waits, the ship gad all the amenities of the larger ships but just a little more intimate, the crew and passengers were all friendly and everyone seem to have a great cruise. * Hotel Info In Barcelona we stayed an extra day at the Intergerra Hotel on the top of the Ramblas about a block away. To get to the ship we took a cab ride which we found cabs cheap in Barcelona and we used them the day before to visit sites rather than on the hop on hop off tour buses. * Ship Info The ship was wonderful and anyone who has been on a Celebrity cruise will find the similar facilities in bars, dining rooms, spa etc. What was different is that this was mostly couples, only two children, and the age range was 30 to 70 with most in the 55 to 65 age group. Most seemed to have traveled before and there were a number of passengers from Europe and UK. * Activities We went to all the evening entertainment except one night with the regular dancers/singers as one night of them was enough. They did have some really great acts on other nights including a comedian/magician (great), a female singer/impersonator who was terrific and an excellent classical pianist. The lounge was very intimate and you could get great seats on three sides of the lounge performance floor which was superior to the larger ships with their impersonal movie theater type theaters. Also excellent was the musicians that were in the Martini bar each night before every dinner. You had to get there early to get a seat. * Service This was great. We hardly ever saw our cabin staff but everything was done perfectly without any intrusion. * Shore Excursions We went on three excursions and picked ones that weren't all day so we could visit the ports on our own. The longer excursions were very expensive like $200-$400 while the shorter ones were $60-$90. The ones we took were worth the expense with bus trips to the surrounding country side and visit to a couple olive farms. Since the ship docked right at the ports or had quick tendering to the center of town one didn't need the excursions on this tour. One item that was so great was the tendering when we were at Sorrento and Dubrovnik. It was fast and very well organized. Considering there were only 600 passengers and the tenders are the same size of the larger ships tendering went very fast. On larger ships tendering is a nightmare at least in our experience on two Celebrity ships where it could take hours on both ends to get off or on the ship. On the Journey you just walked down to level 3 and got right onto a tender and off it went with other tenders queuing up. * Summary The best cruise we have taken yet and would definitely look at this cruise line for our next cruise. Note: this is NOT a cruise for kids or families expecting kids will enjoy themselves. This is an adult cruise ship, kids could come along but not run around the ship, screaming like we have heard goes on other lines. * Travel To Port of Embarkation In Barcelona there are lots of taxi cabs and they are quick and easy to get to the dock. Barcelona is NOT a dock you can walk to from downtown. * Stateroom Our stateroom was like other Celebrity ships. We had a nice but small balcony. The room seemed larger than other staterooms of the same size as the corner of the bathroom wall and cabinet on the hallway leading into the room was truncated which made the room seem wider and more open. Everything works great although the TV while being a LCD screen didn't have much at all to watch and the CNN station seemed to repeat the same news over and over every half hour. I have seen comment about the small size of the bathroom and shower in the staterooms. We thought they were fine as one doesn't LIVE in the bathroom. The shower is a little small so it is not for two people sharing. * Dining The main dining room was excellent and we really liked the informal dress and open seating. We asked for tables with 6 people and we met some nice people who also asked to have new tables. We heard you could arrange to sit with others or just enter the dining room at the same time. We ate at both of the "specialty" restaurants which required reservations and an extra $5/person tip. We were pretty disappointed as the food was the same or in one evenings meal pretty awful and we sent back two entries that were almost inedible at the one specialty restaurant. The specialty restaurant had a problem finding our bottles that we had stored at the main dining room and after 30 minutes brought us a bottle which we were sure was not ours and was off tasting. So we were glad to get back to the Main dining room where we had excellent food, lots of variety and very attractively plated. * Children's Clubs i don't think it existed * Entertainment See above. It exceeded our expectations as we new it wasn't going to be a big Vegas production but the entertainment was good, personal and live! * Disembarkation Just walked off the ship and caught a cab - couldn't be easier. Our luggage was all sorted out in small groupings according to the tag colors and numbers and took maybe 15 seconds to collect bags. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
As mentioned in the introduction, we are both seniors and this was our first cruise. We read every cruise review we could find and found the Cruise Critic site to be extremely helpful. Before selecting a cruise, we developed a ... Read More
As mentioned in the introduction, we are both seniors and this was our first cruise. We read every cruise review we could find and found the Cruise Critic site to be extremely helpful. Before selecting a cruise, we developed a "wish list" of expectations. First, we wanted to see as much of Europe as possible. We were interested in a relaxing atmosphere which ruled out children of all ages. (We're not anti-children, but there's a time and a place). We didn't want Las Vegas type glitz, but we also didn't want a strictly "seniors cruise." We wanted to avoid having to mingle with huge gaggles of humanity, and while we preferred to avoid the rigidity of a very formal atmosphere, we did not want to go too far in the direction of "casual" which all-to-frequently degenerates to "grungy." Finally, we hoped for some interesting dining experiences. We are very pleased to say that the Azamara Journey fulfilled all our expectations. The ship's capacity was 700 passengers which was perfect in every way. We never felt crowded, never had to wait to be seated in a restaurant, nor when leaving or returning to the ship. This cruise did not offer babysitting services nor did it have a "game room." Combine that with the time of year, and it was an all-adult passenger list. We experienced 10 ports with one day at sea. Because we were not familiar with any of the ports and did not feel comfortable touring on our own, we availed ourselves of many of the ship excursions. We were not disappointed. We were very pleased with the food preparation and choices as well as the wide selection of beverages. We had a choice of restaurants ranging from a casual buffet and pool-side grill to a main restaurant and two specialty restaurants. We also used room service on occasion. We were amazed at the quick response time for room service. We frequented the main restaurant for dinner. We always asked to be seated in an area served by one head waiter and his assistant. They were a real "dynamic duo" who not only provided excellent service, but entertainment as well. The ship's staff and crew were very friendly and helpful. We had arranged for a room with a balcony which was well worth the additional cost. We used the balcony frequently when we were arriving at or departing from ports, and occasionally we ate breakfast there as well. Since this was our first cruise we were fascinated watching the pilot boat bring the harbor master out to the ship at each port to guide the ship into port. We were able to view this process each morning from our balcony. The ship was maintained beautifully. It was clean, neat, and nicely appointed. The service staff was excellent and made your comfort their priority. The entertainment was good and varied. The variety of excursions offered at each port was more than adequate. They ranged from mild to strenuous, and on two occasions we selected "strenuous" excursions which were still manageble for us. On a scale of 1 to 10, our tour guides ranked between 7 and 10 with a preponderence falling in the range of 9 and 10. We were able to tune to video introductions to each excursion from our rooms each evening so we had some idea of what to expect during the tour. We pre-arranged with private car services for tours of Rome and Sorrento and we were very pleased with our choices. In Rome we used Fabrizio Melaragno's "All Around Italy" car service that can be accessed at allarounditaly.net. Fabrizio was extremely animated, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. We saw more of Rome than we had ever imagined possible in one day. He also arranged for us a to have a personal guided tour of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica and Square. In Sorrento we used Renato Cuomo's Limousine Service which can be accessed at www.carsorrento.it. Our driver, Paolo, was wonderful. He knew everyone everywhere we went. We learned a great deal of information about Sorrento, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast that he shared with us from his personal knowledgebase. He made us feel very comfortable and welcome. We would strongly recommend both of these car services. We had such a wonderful experience on this cruise that we are already starting to plan our next one. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
This was our 6th cruise since coming back to cruising in the late 90's, and first on Azamara, having cruised with Celebrity (big ships) and Star (small ships) in the past, and I must say that by any measure this is the best cruise we ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise since coming back to cruising in the late 90's, and first on Azamara, having cruised with Celebrity (big ships) and Star (small ships) in the past, and I must say that by any measure this is the best cruise we have experienced, which is saying a lot as all the others have been truly marvellous experiences! Starting with the ship, Journey at 30,000T while classed as a "small" ship, and while not having the vast, and often unusable, cavernous space that the big ships have, still has very spacious public areas, and most of the functionality of big ships, but with only 700 passengers at no stage was there ever a perception of a crowd. Also I never saw anyone waiting in a queue for longer than a minute or two for anything, at the likes of Customer Relations and Shore Excursion Desks, or the buffet and main dining areas, and the shore excursions were a breeze running smoothly and mostly on time. At no time, even on our one sea day, did I see all the lounges around the pool in use, as there are many to go around, and so comfortable as well. The cabins and facilities appear to be the same size or even just a little bigger than those we have experienced on Celebrity, and while small, the bathrooms are pretty well standard for cruise ships and are even bigger than ones we have experienced in Hotels in Europe and Hong Kong! Then there was the Food, which we found to be quite exceptional, and never disappointed us, and here I must say we did not eat in either of the two speciality restaurants, as we never felt the need, as the menus and selection in the Main Dining, Buffet, and pool side Grill met and exceed all our needs and expectations. The service in every aspect and in every area, dining, cabin, customer, excursion, shops and bars was first class, the Journey Crew are the most kind, considerate and friendly that we have experienced and they just could not do enough for you. The Captain, which Azamara has recently poached from Star Cruises, and was the captain of the Superstar Gemini we cruised on last year from Hong Kong to Singapore via Vietnam, is one of the best "small" ship captains sailing today, his seamanship in "parking" the Journey in spaces that Mrs C would have trouble parking her car in, was something to behold. The likes of his decision to anchor just a couple of hundred meters off the Old City of Dubrovnik rather than berth alongside in the commercial wharves some distance out of town, so that not only did we have stunning views of the old city but it only took 5 minutes to tender ashore right into the city, just made the cruise so much more special, this man is a treasure. The shows at night, while not the extravaganzas one gets on the bigger ships, were in their own way excellent, from Off Broadway shows, Concert Pianist, Opera Singer, Ventriloquist, through to the Enrichment Lectures, solo artists and dance band all provided a rich tapestry of entertainment. The cruise itself and the Ports of Call were just as we had imagined and more, and there is no way that I could do justice in trying to describe the likes of Venice, and sailing down the Canale Della Giudecca, past the Pizza San Marco, just as the sun was setting, is an image that will be etched in my mind for many a long year, and is simply beyond description. What can one say about the likes of Split, Dubrovnik, Bari, Sorrento and the Isle of Capri, Monte Carlo, Marseilles and Barcelona, each having their own unique beauty, and they are all outstanding Ports of Call. All but on the one day when we experienced some showers, the weather was glorious, and the beautiful blue Mediterranean was for most of the cruise as flat as a mill pond, only one night did we feel any motion of the ship. All in all this was a cruise to remember, and I can unhesitatingly highly recommend both this particular Cruise, and certainly the Azamara Journey. Having said all of the above was there any down side, and here I must say that I regret and pity those who let what on the surface is just a petty or minor problem spoil their cruising experience, I am confident that their normal lives are not that perfect that they would not experience any similar small problems, that would create such an upheaval in their "normal" lives, so to them I say "get a life people"! The only couple of down sides were, too many, in fact most men other than a few of us, took the "casual" part of the "Country Club Casual" dress code literally, many turned up for dinner in the main dining room looking quite scruffy, and the Captains Club Cocktail Party where the Crew were in dress uniform, some turned up as if they just came back from a shore excursion in crumpled slacks and polo shirts, I was ashamed for the sake of the Crew, and apologized to some of them for what I believe was somewhat rude. I know that the Crew would not say anything, nor do I expect that Azamara will enforce their dress code, so I expect it is up to individuals to do the right thing and here I don't mean Tux's but a business shirt, with a tie as optional, and a sports coat would not go amiss, come on people put in a bit of an effort please! Another down side was the bacon, and here I start to sound a bit like those I have scolded for their petty complaints, however they cook this thin tasteless beacon to suit the taste of most north Americans, in that it is burnt to a crisp, I am quite happy for them to continue to provide this for those who know no better, however for the rest of the world how about some real thick cut bacon rashers that are not burnt! Finally, and I know they all do it, but why are we cruising and being subjected to the endless promotion for the sale of Art is beyond me, this is a cruise people, not an art gallery, it's a bit like going to the Opera and trying to be sold bulk meat packs. All joking aside, apart from these couple of minor irritations which pale into insignificance given such a wonderful cruise, may I take this opportunity to thank Azamara, and most importantly the Captain and Crew of Journey for a most memorable cruise. Bruce J Crane Perth, Western Australia Read Less
Sail Date: October 2008
An introduction to us - married couple, aged 52 and 57, living in central London, cruised around a dozen times previously. After trying various cruise lines in the early days including Star Cruises (Far East - very good), Thomson (UK ... Read More
An introduction to us - married couple, aged 52 and 57, living in central London, cruised around a dozen times previously. After trying various cruise lines in the early days including Star Cruises (Far East - very good), Thomson (UK holiday company - terrible) we found Celebrity and cruised with them seven times, enjoying their product immensely, we decided to try Azamara and were absolutely wowed! Journey to the Journey - We had a ten minute taxi ride to London City Airport for our two hour flight to Barcelona - what a doddle! Another taxi to our overnight hotel in Barcelona - Hotel Jazz, just off Las Ramblas, which was ideal; a beautiful place to stay and breakfast was included. We would stay there again. The next day it poured with rain but we bought a brolly and enjoyed time exploring Barcelona. We had an excellent dinner in the evening in a nearby brasserie. Next day, around 12noon, we headed off by taxi (15 euros) to join the Azamara Journey. Our cases were taken out of the taxi for us and the next time we saw them was in our stateroom, straight after lunch. Check-in was over in a couple of minutes with no waiting at all. We were greeted with champagne and introduced to the officers and new Captain Leiff Karlson (think that's spelt correctly), who was absolutely delightful. He could be found chatting to guests throughout the cruise and keeping us all well informed of our position, weather forecast etc. All the officers and staff went out of their way to please throughout the cruise and we were to be part of the happiest team you can imagine for the next 10 days. The ship is the prettiest, most sumptuous one we have sailed on and we loved our time on board. Rooms were not quite ready when we arrived so we enjoyed a splendid lunch in the buffet and in under an hour we were able to go to our rooms and unpack. We were invited to have our carry-on bags delivered to our room to await us, if required, but as we were carrying our valuables in those we opted to take them to lunch with us. Stateroom - We were in stateroom 4020 - an outside room with window. The room appeared to be about the same size as those on X ships, with loads of storage space. A queen sized bed - very comfortable, with excellent quality bedding, a two seater sofa bed, coffee table, desk/dressing table with plenty of drawers/cupboards, a large wardrobe, safe, mini bar. All the furnishings were of very good quality. I asked for an extra 40 coathangers and these were provided immediately. A bottle of Evian water was included, as were fresh fruit every day and fresh flowers. The bathroom was small, but well equipped with Elemis, shampoo, conditioner, soap, body lotion (no shower gel), tissues, cotton buds, cotton wool and the most luxurious towels/face cloths. Wonderfully thick bathrobes were provided (to use) as well as slippers (to keep), a nice tote bag (also to keep), binoculars (to use) and an umbrella (to use). There was a flat screen tv with interactive section for 24 hour room service, on-board account, movies etc. Early morning tea/coffee, afternoon tea, evening savories can all be freely ordered. The evening savories were delicious (not like the boring canapEs on X). Nothing was ever too much trouble and everything was delivered with a smile. One evening we were sent a free bottle of wine (nice touch). Two hairdryers were provided - one wall mounted in the bathroom and a hand-held in the stateroom. Dining - We had wondered whether we would enjoy the open dining arrangement but found it worked very well. You could sit at a large dining table, which we did a couple of times, but when sitting at tables for two you could easily chat to people on either side, or not, if you wanted a tete-a-tete with your partner. There was never more than a three minute wait for a table in the Discoveries main dining room (we ate around 8.30pm) and the food was always exquisite in presentation and quality. We found that although we might only be served by a waiter on one occasion they always remembered our names and on seeing them again they always called us by name. Now, that IS impressive! We ate once in the Aqualina restaurant and once in Prime C. Both were absolutely splendid and if we had only eaten in the main Discoveries restaurant we would be have been thrilled with the food but the two speciality restaurants were 'out of this world'. In Aqualina, after soup, I chose the seafood platter as a starter. This was served on a bed of crushed ice and comprised half a lobster, green lipped mussels, clams and huge prawns - it was a feast for the eyes and the stomach. There was also a buffet dinner available; this included sushi, ice cream etc and also a daily speciality such as a curry menu or an Italian menu. Breakfast at the buffet was also excellent with waffles, French toast, omelettes - all cooked to order, as well as the usual fare. What I especially liked was a smoothie/juice bar where the waiter would blend whatever you asked. Once morning we were too late for the main breakfast, which closed at 10am (reduced breakfast was available 10-11am) and the waiter at the juice bar had cleaned down the area. I said 'no matter' and went off to find something else, but the waiter came and found me and offered to make up a smoothie to my requirements - again, going the extra mile. That was what made this cruise so exceptional. Entertainment - As we spent so long with new friends chatting over pre dinner drinks in the Cova cafe or Martini bar - fabulous Martinis - listening to Kenny Stringer, an outstanding singer/guitarist, and even longer over dinner, we hardly ever got to see the evening entertainment in the main Celebrity Cabaret lounge but what we did see, we enjoyed. The Cruise Director was Sue Denning, from Blackpool, UK. A very talented, warm, funny lady who went out of her way to ensure that everyone on board enjoyed themselves. In some ports Sue and her colleague, Kelsey, even did a 'port walk' so that those who wanted to could just explore the place together (no charge, just a lovely gesture). Places to relax on board - Michael's Club/The Library was a wonderful place to relax - the library is huge compared to most ships and extremely well supplied - ideal for this size ship where the whole ambiance is of luxury, comfort, exquisite dining, quieter (not dead) pursuits, impeccable service and a sense of pampering and wellbeing throughout. The Looking Glass lounge on deck 10 forward is another lovely place to relax, watch arrival and sailaway and enjoy listening to the band or joining in the dancing at the late evening disco. Pool areas - The only 'oddity' on the ship was the thellasotherapy pool which was situated forward of the spa. It was uncovered, had a dozen or so loungers around it and cost $99 per person of $175 per couple for use throughout the cruise. As our cruise was in November, it really was not worthwhile. If only it could be covered in, enhanced with plants, nice lighting etc then I'm sure people would be prepared to pay that sort of money (we would). The main pool was heated and the two whirlpools beside it were hot (bath hot). We swam almost every day. The pool loungers have the thickest pads on them, encased by white toweling covers and there were always plenty for everyone. Spa and Gym - My husband enjoyed a pedicure - cost was reasonable and the pedicure was good. The gym was quite small, but well equipped and the staff very welcoming, although after our initial visit, we didn't use the facility so cannot comment on quality of classes, services etc. Other Services - The Medical facility was opposite our stateroom and open twice a day. There is a self-service laundry on deck 7 but we didn't use it. There is also a laundry service and a free shoeshine service available in-stateroom. Guest relations staff were very helpful and again assisted over and above what you would expect. We saw one of them helping to carry a guest's numerous shopping bags off the ship and into a taxi for her at the end of the cruise. The three shops were, well.....just there. A gift/supplies shop, a jewelry/perfume shop and another more exclusive jewelry shop. I think more promotions could have taken place but at least there was no hard sell and none of those leaflets in your stateroom every night pushing sales. There was an art auction - why, oh why? Half way through the cruise we were asked to report anything that we found under par or indeed anything we particularly liked or wanted. Looking hard, all I could find was that the undersides of the outdoor bar stools had some rust marks on them. Unless you were sitting at eye level you wouldn't have noticed. The Hotel Director, Philip Herbert, personally thanked me for noticing and, sure enough, within two hours the stools were like new. Ports of Call - On leaving Barcelona at 5pm on the Thursday, we spent two nights and one day sailing to Tunis. The seas were fairly high in the Med, sometimes the waves reached 15ft and the ship rolled somewhat. Some guests were unwell, but we were absolutely fine and had no problem enjoying meals and all the entertainment and facilities. It was great to meet friends from Cruise Critic together with many of the ship's officers, at a cocktail party. Hi Maritsa and Theresa and Jack, especially. Tunis - We had been to Tunis previously and decided just to walk off the ship into town, but the map we had been given on board led us to believe that the ship was docked right next to the main street into town, which was not the case. We ran the gauntlet of local, persistent, taxi drivers and could hardly force our way out of the port gate. We made the 'mistake' of turning right instead of left out of the port (it looked as though the road led to town) and hurried away, being constantly pursued by taxi drivers. In the hassle, we had turned the wrong way but enjoyed the stroll into what turned out to be La Goulette, the beach resort. We walked, saw and enjoyed local life, stopping for a couple of espressos and luscious ice cream while watching the local trains speed by, doors wide open, youth hanging out (no nanny state here), people fishing, kids playing, cats sunning etc before strolling back along the beach to the ship via the old town walls. Sunshine all the way and a great day. It's good to get lost sometimes and we encountered no hassling, once away from the port gates. Malta - We arrived in Malta late morning and there she was glowing golden in the sunshine. The wonderful sandstone of the island - (honey/melita/Malta). I had been to Malta many years ago and wanted my husband to see Mdina, the silent, walled city on the hill, the old capital of Malta. We took a ship's excursion, visiting two palaces and gardens and Mdina. It was good value and husband was suitably impressed by Mdina which stands proud in the middle of the island, visible right across the plains. Another day of sunshine. Taormina, Sicily - We were tendered into Taormina. It is not possible to walk into town on your own. We took the ship's shuttle, which was very worthwhile, as it took about 20 minutes to reach Taormina up many hills and hairpin bends. You get off the bus at the foot of Taormina and go up in a lift to the town center. It's a beautiful place with glorious views, lots of history, beautiful churches and the Greek amphitheater. The shops are good and prices were not too expensive. We enjoyed the antique shops, especially. We endured a short shower and dived for cover in a bar/restaurant in the main square - which was expensive but worth it. Sorrento, Italy - Another tender into port and although you could walk the steep climb into town, we chose to take the local little bus (1 euro). As you walk away from the tender and into a little square, the buses are there but you need to buy a ticket at a booth just at the back of the square and on entering the bus validate your ticket by putting it into a machine (the driver will show you). The bus drops you in the main square in Sorrento and to return you just need to be on the opposite side of the road (where the flags are, looking down onto the steep road leading to the port below). You can just buy you return ticket on the bus (we were searching round for another ticket booth). It cost less than on the way up for some reason! Sorrento was pretty and you mustn't miss the street full of artisans, making and selling wooden inlaid goods, pastries, sweeties, leather goods etc. It runs parallel with the main street. We walked in the opposite direction to the Museum, but it was closed. We enjoyed the walk, as always. Weather was good again. Back on board for late afternoon tea, a swim then prepared for the evening, listened to Kenny Stringer in the Martini lounge, before another wonderful dinner with new friends. Florence, Italy (Livorno) - When we married 17 years ago we wanted to visit Florence for our honeymoon but ended up in Paris. At last we were able to visit Florence. Because of the distance from the port of Livorno to Florence and the unreliable Italian railways, we decided to take a ship's excursion. We chose 'A taste of Florence' which offers a 2.5hour walking tour of Florence followed by 3 hours free time. This was perfect - the guide was very knowledgeable and we certainly saw places and learned things that we wouldn't easily have found for ourselves. I am not a shopper but in Florence I was persuaded. The fine quality, jewel colored leather and suede and stylish jewelry were mouth watering. We ended up doing most of our Christmas shopping here - handbags for everyone (well, just the women, of course!). Costs were not outrageous either, even with the UK pound so low against the Euro. Florentine architecture and history need no new superlatives and although we only visited one church internally, we have vowed to return for a 5-day trip to do justice to the galleries, churches and to buy a leather coat and gloves. Let's hope it's not another 17 years before we return. A long day of 9.5hours but well worth it. Again the weather was great, but not too hot for trekking around the city. We had a shower of rain as we headed towards the bus for the return ride to the ship, but that was it. Rome, Italy (Civitavecchia) - We had visited Rome this time last year and so decided just to walk around Civitavecchia. Whilst there is nothing of any huge significance here, we enjoyed our day. There is an excellent local market which are always fun to wander round. The fish is always different to what we see at home, the fruit, vegetables and general goods - all colorful. We visited the local Museum and enjoyed a few drinks, people watching, at a beach-front cafe/bar. A very relaxing day after Florence. Portofino, Italy - Another tender into tiny Portofino. Early morning rain persuaded us to delay our outing until the sun came out late morning. Portofino is a beautiful little place with all the brightly painted shops, cafes and bars huddled round the slipway. Most were shut for the season but one or two opened their doors, at a cost! Everything was wildly expensive - more than anywhere else that we visited. However, we headed up into the hills, through fragrant botanical gardens to the church, Brown's Castle and on up to the lighthouse on the cliff edge. A good stiff walk with splendid views over the coast. Monte Carlo, Monaco - Another fine day and we were able to dock in the harbor and stroll off the ship. Monaco exudes luxury, high living, exclusive shops etc. As usual, we walked for several hours enjoying window shopping, people watching etc. Amazingly, we bought the cheapest coffee, beer at a cafe in a pretty little park, overlooking the sea, than anywhere else on the holiday. As a keen sailor, my husband was in his element walking around the port drooling over the yachts. Barcelona, Spain - We docked in Barcelona around 7am, enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the dining room, waited for our 'color' to be called in one of the lounges at 8.30am and joined our shore excursion and transfer to the airport around 1pm. It was like saying goodbye to family as we left. Philip, the Hotel Director, Sue, the Cruise Director and Captain Leiff were personally on hand to wish us a good trip home and a welcome return next time. For us it was a sad goodbye, another short hop home to London and an end to our perfect holiday. We will be back. Highlights: The luxurious ship, the exquisite food and ALL the staff, notably the Captain, Leiff Karlson, Hotel Director, Philip Herbert, Singer/guitarist, Kenny Stringer and Cruise Director, Sue Denning. We WILL be back. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2008
This was our first oceanic cruise (we did a river cruise in August 2007 between Budapest and Nurenberg/Prague with Amadeus Waterways). I knew pretty much that I would like a cruise, but my partner was not too sure just yet, so it was a ... Read More
This was our first oceanic cruise (we did a river cruise in August 2007 between Budapest and Nurenberg/Prague with Amadeus Waterways). I knew pretty much that I would like a cruise, but my partner was not too sure just yet, so it was a test. Choosing Azamara made things easier for him and for me - smaller ship/smaller crowd, open seating and no formal nights were all important aspects for us. We flew a day in advance and stayed in Barcelona at hotel NH Duc de la Victoria. Excellent location, close to Plaça de Catalunya and La Rambla. We had a chance to sleep a bit, then get out and visit. First meal was a nice little tapas restaurant where the food was good and the wine was even better. Watch for those prices... the euro having the value it has, the bill goes up fast! The driver who took us from the airport to downtown was very honest. He said there were a ton of one-ways around the hotel and it might be long to get there. So he suggested leaving us at a specific spot at Plaça de Catalunya (which was actually a taxi stand), and explained how to get to the hotel. Once we figured it out, it was just a short walk. Very nice of him. And we were not the only ones dragging our suitcases! Again, when we were ready to go to the pier for embarkation, we just walked up to Plaça de Catalunya and got a cab who took us there promptly. Overall, the fares were pretty good. Embarkation Embarkation was a breeze. We showed up fairly early, as it was recommended, to allow for delays. We were processed at the counter within what seemed like minutes by friendly, courteous staff. We embarked on the ship and were shown to our cabin. It all happened quite fast. The cruise facilities in Barcelona are very nice and modern, and well designed. Somehow, we did not get the welcome drink when we made it past security and had to come back for it. Disembarkation Disembarkation, again, was a breeze. It was organized by color coded tags and it went extremely well. Very efficient. We retrieved our luggage at the carousel and off we went to get a cab back to our hotel. We had to wait a bit for a cab, with the crowds coming from the ship, but nothing overly long. We had been told there would be a shuttle bus to downtown, but upon disembarkation we did not see an indication for this service and it was difficult to find Azamara staff to ask. The shuttle ended up being the bus that goes to the Columbus monument at the foot of La Rambla. Downtown is indeed a vague notion... Stateroom (with balcony) Decent size, plenty of closet space and drawers for everything, nicely appointed and decorated. Fruit plate waiting for us, flowers were brought the day after. The bathrobes are very comfortable and quite nice to have. Bathroom is functional, not overly big by any means, and as others before have stated, the shower stall is smallish. The shower curtain clinging to my body every now and then brought back memories of my time in a student residence at university! I appreciated the fact that Azamara had the environmentally friendly approach to towels - leave them on the floor if you want them changed, otherwise, hang them if you intend to reuse them. Considering their thickness, they must take an awful amount of water/detergent to wash when so many are handled. Luggage storage was not a problem for us. We had one average size suitcase each with one carry on. One suitcase was easily stored under the bed the other went into the closet. If we each had another average size suitcase they could have fit under the beds as well. However, looking at the size of the suitcases of many travellers at the airport, some people might have difficulty storing suitcases, particularly if there are two people to a room. Overall, for my needs, there was lots of storage space in the room. Soon after arriving in our room, we were greeted by our butler, Victor, who came to introduce himself and his assistant. Nice touch. We took advantage of his visit to ask that the beds be put together (which had been requested at booking and was on file when I went on the website, but was not done). It was taken care of in the following hours. However, we were very impressed later that day when returning to our room, and we were about ten to twelve doors away from ours, the assistant in question noticed us and opened the door to our cabin for us! We had met this gentleman only briefly and he already remembered our room number. We certainly made good use of the balcony for breakfast and drinks, or to just sit quietly to read and write postcards; it was definitely very nice to have spent the extra money. I would highly recommend it. Also, when we booked, we noticed that our room was over the cabaret and were concerned about the level of noise we might encounter. We did not hear any sounds emanating from below us! Service Overall, service was impeccable and friendly, whether it was at the bars, in the dining room or at the various venues around the ship. My personal experience at the guest relations desk was mixed. Once it was fine; the other, the person did not seem to understand my request, even after explaining it twice. I gave up. Dining Room Open seating in the dining room worked out very well, we did not wait often, and when we did, it was just a few minutes. Daily menus were extensive and food was very, very good. Nice size portions. The wine list was also fairly extensive, and the prices were reasonable. Service was excellent, and we must say, the dining room staff works very hard to make our experience pleasant. Hats off to all of them. Being able to save an unfinished bottle of wine for the following evening was a real bonus. We ate twice at Prime C and once at Aqualina, but in our humble opinion, the food is as good in the main dining room. Aside from the cosy atmosphere, we really did not see why we would not simply stick to the DR, especially with a different menu every day. We both enjoy food a lot and we were very satisfied with our experience. We would love to be able to take four or five more cruises to be able to sample all the menus they offer! Activities We did not take part in activities much. Between the martini and margarita tastings in the Looking Glass Lounge, a bit of walking around the track on the top deck (one has to justify a tiny bit eating so well!), exploring the ship a bit, setting some time aside for doing absolutely nothing, going on excursions and meeting some new friends, well there is not much time for other things. We can't say much about the shows at night, since we were too tired to attend the late shows. However, there were a number of trivia games organized during the day at the Cova Cafe, and some other activities, including meetings for Friends of Bill W (AA). The computer center offered, for a fee of $20, some one-hour workshops on basic computer use (surfing the Web, PowerPoint presentations, for example). I used the center to keep in touch with my office and their Internet speed was actually much faster than I expected. I was pleasantly surprised. Mind you, the rates are not cheap and time seems to go fast when you're using the network. They offer Internet use packages, which lower the per-minute rate. I should have taken one in the first place! Shore excursions We took the three of ship's shore excursions. The first one in Monaco was to Nice and Eze, another in Valencia and one in Casablanca. The Eze/Nice excursion was pleasant: a good guide, interesting visit, plenty to see, enough walking, and fantastic panoramas. In Valencia, the guide was very good, we had a nice stroll with comments and the overview of the city was quite good. The visit to the City of Arts and Sciences was not as interesting as I would have expected. Perhaps I was not in the mood. An art museum would have been better for me (personal taste). In Casablanca, the visit was interesting. The guide was trying to teach us arabic words. The visit of the Hassan II Mosque was very much worth it. The rest of the tour… well, how many façades of buildings and fancy gated neighborhoods can you see before you get bored? All in all, it's good to have seen a bit of Casablanca, but I still have mixed feelings. We were not taken to the Medina, but instead to a government run shop where you could not barter and I was left with the impression that we were overcharged for our purchases. In the other ports of call, we did our own thing. Portofino is quaint, but there is not much to see and do, unless you choose an excursion. Restaurant prices are outrageous! I wish I had spoken enough Italian to ask for the menu they give the locals… In Malaga, we walked around, also sat at a restaurant for some food and good wine and then had the opportunity to stumble into the cathedral during Sunday service. We kept a low profile and walked around. What an amazing church! Don't miss it if you have a chance to stop in Malaga. In Marseilles, we took the "Petit Train" to go up to Notre Dame de la Garde cathedral. Impressive, but couldn't visit fully because of Sunday service. Beautiful panoramas. We visited a small museum called Musée Grobet-Labadie. We came in at 11:45 and were admitted for free since it is free until noon! What a beautiful collection. Would have gladly paid the small admission fee anyway; well worth it. Check on Frommers.com for info. We stopped in Ajaccio (Corsica) instead of Bonifacio because of the weather. Nice little town. The Fesch museum was under renovations, so we couldn't visit. However, the attendant at the tourist office did not point it out, even when we asked where it was located… he's lucky I am not in charge of his yearend bonus! In Pisa/Florence and Rome, we had booked private tours with Rome in Limo and Rome Cabs respectively, and were very pleased. These tours were booked by a group of CC members who met through the roll call. The driver/guides were quite pleasant, knowledgeable, the tour was well timed and organized, and we even had time for a decent italian lunch. However, even with a small group of eight, we felt a bit rushed and were not totally satisfied. Imagined if we had been stuck on a big bus with 50 or so other tourists. We were taken to out of the way spots that were not accessible by large tour buses and provided with some amazing vistas, and plenty of information. The fact we felt rushed had nothing to do with the driver/guide, but with the fact that these two cities require a few days to really have time to visit, see, taste and get the full experience. We would definitely book again with both Rome in Limo and Rome Cabs. CruiseCritic.com members meeting The nine of us who were planning the tours to Pisa/Florence and Rome had decided we would meet one night to get to know each other a bit before the tours and to finalize our arrangements. We decided to do that since the Azamara website indicates that 25 registered CC members are required for the ship to host a reception. We were surprised when we saw a CC members reception scheduled for the day we were to get together ourselves! We learned that no matter how many CC members are registered, they will hold a gathering. We gathered in the library for sparkling wine and hors-d'oeuvres. We had a very pleasant and relaxed meeting with the Captain, the Food and Beverage Director, the Hospitality Director, the Cruise Director and the Future Sales manager. We provided comments, suggestions and first impressions, and they provided answers and comments about future cruises by Azamara. These people stayed with us a full half hour. Is it a sign of how much they value CC.com and its members? Most likely. We thank them very much for their hospitality. Suggestion for Azamara: Offer free shuttle service when you decide to offer it. This $10 charge adds to a nickel-and-diming feeling that is not pleasant. As we know, there are many other places where the company makes up its money: Cost of cruises, shore excursions, alcoholic beverages (and that 18% gratuity where most other companies charge 15%). Summary We had an amazing experience on Journey, my partner is now hooked on cruising - so much so that we are booking a seven-day Caribbean cruise for April, at his suggestion! We will definitely sail again with Azamara, it is just a question of when. 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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