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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Of the 10 days only about 2 an a half were sea days. The itinerary changed from what was originally offered. We ended up with an overnight in Havana, Cienafuego, and Santiago de Cuba. Great tours in each. Also stopped in Haiti at Royal ... Read More
Of the 10 days only about 2 an a half were sea days. The itinerary changed from what was originally offered. We ended up with an overnight in Havana, Cienafuego, and Santiago de Cuba. Great tours in each. Also stopped in Haiti at Royal Caribbean 's island (Labadee) which was a fantastic beach especially since we were the only ship and less than 700 passengers. Standard alcoholic drinks free in the bars on ship and on Labadee. The drinks and bar service were great. Tips included but gave a few more to room and wait staff. Food and service on the ship were excellent. Shows on board decent but not great but better than river cruise boats. The smaller ship with 700 people made getting on and off easier than larger including tendering. Activities on board were normal cruise ship activities. Actually one of the best cruises ever. I would do Azamara again if the itinerary was unique. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Azamara Journey Cruise November 10 thru November 20, 2018 Cuba Intensive Miami, Santiago de Cuba (12-13), Grand Cayman (14), Cienfuegos (15-16) and Havana (17-19) We recently completed our first cruise on Azamara on the Journey. It ... Read More
Azamara Journey Cruise November 10 thru November 20, 2018 Cuba Intensive Miami, Santiago de Cuba (12-13), Grand Cayman (14), Cienfuegos (15-16) and Havana (17-19) We recently completed our first cruise on Azamara on the Journey. It was a 10 day Cuba intensive cruise from Miami going to Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos and Havana and then back to Miami. The cruise stayed overnight in each of the Cuban ports including 2 nights in Havana. We had booked one of their continental suites, 8068, on deck 8 , which meant we got a variety of included benefits in addition to the regular Azamara benefits. This included unlimited dining in the two specialty restaurants and a 4 bottle bar setup in our room including vodka, rum, gin and scotch. All bottled water is included in your cruise fare which considering Darlene only drinks bottled water on cruises is a really good benefit for us. We flew in a day early to Ft Lauderdale because of the lack of direct flights from St Louis to Miami. We stayed at the Hampton Inn Ft. Lauderdale Airport North Cruise Port. We have stayed numerous times when leaving Florida on cruises. The hotel has a small shopping center next to it so you can pick up any forgotten or just needed articles for the cruise and has always had a clean room and decent breakfast for us to use. This is a good place for people looking for a place to stay either before or after a cruise. If you stay in the area, there is a good Greek restaurant, Mini Pita, in the shopping plaza right next store. They serve wine as well and the food is excellent. We ate a late dinner there the night we flew in so I know they are open until midnight. This meant we had to arrange transportation from the Hampton Inn to Miami the morning of November 10th. I used Wall Street Transportation & Limousine World Wide Company. They sent a Cadillac SUV and driver who arrived on time at 11:15 AM and drove us to the RCL docks in Miami where our ship was. The limo was clean and the driver friendly and I can recommend this company for transportation needs in Miami. After arriving at the port, the process of signing in and getting on the ship was excellent. One we got on the ship, we went to the buffet restaurant on deck 9 for some lunch while the rooms were being made ready. At around 1:30 PM as we were finishing our lunch which included a selection of 2 white and 2 red wines each day, they announced the cabins were ready for occupancy. Generally the wines offered were very good and during the whole cruise we only purchased one extra cost bottle of wine and instead drank the free wine for lunches and dinners. While I don't consider either my wife or I wine experts or wine snobs I do feel the house wines offered both red and white were perfectly acceptable. We did have one red that we tried that we ended up not drinking but it could have just been a bad bottle. Our continental suite, 8068, was a pleasant surprise. There was plenty of space for 2 of us and the bathroom had a nice walk-in shower. Darlene felt it was a little small but it was perfectly functional and we managed to make it with a single sink for the 10 days we were on the ship. The bed was comfortable but came with 2 feather pillows which we should have exchanged as Darlene is allergic to feathers and dusk, But instead I used those 2 pillows and she used the other two. Our suitcases arrived early enough we got them unpacked and put away before the ship sailed at 5 PM. There was enough space to get everything either hung up, put onto shelves or into drawers and still have some extra drawer space for cameras and other items. We went up to the bar at the stern of the ship for sail away from Miami and got a few pictures of the skyline of Miami as the sun set. Then we attended the meet and greet for cruise critic members who had signed up followed by a cocktail party for frequent cruisers. We are Elite on Celebrity and Diamond of RCL so we were given Discoverer status on Azamara and were invited to the Discover welcome back cocktail party. We had made reservations for several nights of specialty restaurant dining when we first got on the ship as I had read on CC that sometimes they can be hard to get later during the cruise. So we ate dinner the first night in Prime C, the Journey's steakhouse restaurant. We ate at around 8:30 and had a really nice meal. This was the only night we ordered a bottle of wine rather than just drinking the “free” wines and although it was a decent red, it really wasn't much better than the daily offerings. We ended up taking the bottle back to our cabin and drinking it there over the next day or so. The next day was a sea day so we slept in a little late and got breakfast in the 9th deck buffet. It was surprisingly not crowded and offered eggs cooked to order as well as a number of items immediately available including fried or scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes, etc. They also had fruit and cereals. The coffee in the buffet was better than on most ship's buffets and the orange juice was freshly squeezed. To be honest the day passed quickly. We went to the sit down dining room for lunch and were not really particularly happy with the selection or the service. Since it was only open during sea days for lunch, most of the rest of time we went to the buffet restaurant for lunch and breakfasts. For evening dinner we decided to try the regular dining room and were seated at a table for 8. The service and the food was a mixed bag. Sometimes it seemed the waiters were being asked to service too many tables and when the main courses arrived they were warm rather than hot. Again the offered wines were good and although you had to occasionally remind the server when you needed a refill, there was plenty for everyone. The next morning we would be arriving in our first Cuban port of Santiago de Cuba so we wanted to try to turn in a little early which we did. We had ordered room service for our breakfast so we would be ready for our ship's tour at beginning at 9:30 AM. We decided to eat on the balcony as the table looked like it was bigger than the one in the cabin. Our butler, Ronald, called at 8 AM to let us know our breakfast was on the way and he arrived with it about 5 minutes later. I had ordered the steak and eggs which arrived hot and cooked correctly. Darlene had an omelet with veggies and cheese. But she ended up getting some of my steak as I couldn't eat it all. We also had berry bowls and a fruit plate we shared and lots of hot coffee. We had decided on doing ship's tours in Santiago and in Cienfuergos in order to use up the $700 in cruise credit we had gotten for booking the suite on Azamara. Another reason was that about 2 weeks before the cruise we were notified that instead of docking at Santiago as was originally scheduled we would be tendering in that port. Evidently their cruise port had been damaged by a storm or hurricane a few months before and had not yet been re-certified for use by cruise ships carrying US passengers. By doing a ship's tour we would be among the first passengers being tendered into the port and would get an early jump on the day's activities. We went to our tour meeting place in the theater at around 9:25 but evidently people must have started arriving much earlier and we were in the fourth bus going on the fort and city tour we had selected. They had rolls, doughnuts, juice, coffee and tea there for people who had skipped breakfast, which was a nice touch. After a short wait we were led down to the tender deck and boarded our tender for what turned out to be a 20-25 minute tender ride to get to shore. I'm not quite sure why the Captain had been ordered to anchor the ship out as far from shore as he did but it made for a long tender ride. After arriving on shore we had to go through Cuban passport control and then stop to exchange US dollars for Cuban CUC currency. Officially the exchange rate is 1 US to 1 Cuban CUC but they charge an extra 12% fee to exchange US dollars. They only do this will US dollars not other currencies so if you are traveling to Cuba you might want to get a few hundred dollars of Canadian money before going and use it to exchange. We exchanged $350 dollars US and got 308 CUC. They rejected one of our 50 dollar bills because it had a mark on the back side so check any bills you are looking to exchange before planning on using them. Once we had some Cuban currency we then proceeded to our assigned bus. The buses were a pleasant surprise in that they were relatively nice Chinese vehicles with good AC and relatively comfortable seats. The tour we had booked was called "Colonial Santiago" and was a full day tour that included a tour of downtown Santiago, a stop at San Juan hill where Teddy Roosevelt and his rough riders fought a battle, a visit to colonial era fort, lunch, and a musical dance program by Cuban musicians. Our guide was a Cuban woman who spoke good English and tried to answer any questions we had. The port we had been taken to seemed to be in a mainly commercial area and our first drive was to the main square in Santiago where their cathedral was. There is also a large public building where Castro gave one of his early speeches declaring his rebellion against Batista. Also off this square is one of the oldest surviving houses which was built in 1545. We also then walked through a shopping area used by the locals and the guide pointed the 2 types of stores, government owned and private owned. Next we boarded the bus for a trip to San Juan hill for a short visit. This was made famous by Teddy Roosevelt and his rough riders during the Spanish American War or as the Cubans call it the second Cuban War of Independence. Here there were statues, cannons and a reconstructed blockhouse. We re-boarded the bus for the drive out to the fort which was on a peninsula on one side of the bay from where Santiago sits which took us about an hour or so. Let me mention here that it was hot the day we were there, above 90 degrees and although the bus's AC worked well most of the places we visited didn't have much shade or any AC which made the day one you needed to drink a lot of water. Arriving at the fort we had to walk up numerous levels of steps to get up to the main gate of the fort. The fort was placed at a narrow entry to the bay on which Santiago sits. Pirates had used the bay as a place to get fresh water from the streams that flow into it and also to restock their ships with other provisions prior to the Spanish building the fort here. Castillo del Morro San Pedro De La Roca was begun in 1619 and was continually expanded and worked on right up into the mid 1800's. The views from its battlements were really spectacular and it is hard to believe that the fort was taken by pirates several times given its position and how difficult it must have been. The interior of the fort contained a chapel where the guide told us of the legend of the white lady. Evidently the wife of one of the commanders of the fort is supposed to haunt the fort looking for her husband who never returned from an expedition to Florida. We didn't see her but we were not there at night or in the early morning when she is supposed to appear. There was a small museum with items found in the fort and weapons from the time the fort was used. But the fort required climbing up and down a lot of steps and most of it was in the direct sunshine so it was hot. Darlene decided with several other tour members to leave the fort early and go down to the restaurant where we would be having our lunch. When I arrived at the restaurant, she had saved me a seat and they served us Cuba Libre drinks, rum and coke basically. Then also gave us Cuban beer and bottled water. The food was served family style and was a variety of small portions of chicken, pork, fish, beans, rice and fried plantains as well as Cuban bread, This was followed by some cake and ice cream as well as Cuban coffee but no decafe coffee. The food was all right but not great and the restaurant was not air conditioned but even if it did have ceiling fans, it was still hot. There were a number of souvenir stands along the walkway back to the bus and we ended up buying a wood carving that according to the artist is a symbol of the male and female. I think we paid 20 CUC for it and the guy who sold it said it took him 4 days to carve. Our last stop was back in Santiago where we were to attend a Cuban dance presentation by a group of Cuban dancers and singers who have traveled around the world putting on their performances. It was interesting but might have been more so if I understood Spanish. We arrived back at the tender port around 4:00 PM and were able to board a tender relatively rapidly. The trip back to the ship was uneventful but just as long as the morning ride in had been. We had looked at a different excursion at this port which went to the city of Trinidad which is supposed to be a world heritage site. We decided on the tour we did because we worried about the length of the bus ride. Once back on the ship we talked with several couples who we had met the first couple of days on the cruise who did that tour and who were very critical of the length of the bus ride, they said it took almost 2 hours to get there and another 2 hours back with basically boring scenery the whole trip. They also said the lunch wasn't particularly good and that all in all it was a trip they would have just as soon not taken. The Journey stayed in the bay until around 6 AM in the morning and then sailed for the Caymans giving us what amounted to our second sea day. We decided to try the dining room for a sit down breakfast which we often do on sea days when on a cruise. The whole experience re-enforced our first impression of the main dining room. Again the service and the food was a mixed bag. We had arrived towards the end of the serving period and the restaurant was only partially occupied. We said at a table for two but it was arranged close to 2 other tables for 2 on either side both which were occupied when we arrived. One was just getting their coffee and the other looked like they were in the middle of their main breakfast meal. We got menus when we say down but it took a few minutes for someone to come back to ask about coffee and juice. We were surprised to find the menu here wasn't much different from the suite breakfast menu for room service. Darlene ordered the steak and eggs like I had the day before and I got waffles since that isn't something we fix at home. It took awhile for the food to arrive and when it did the steak was prepared correctly but was significantly smaller than the one I had gotten from room service. Getting coffee refills became a matter of watching for waiters and signaling them to come over rather than having them come by and offer to refill our cups. By the end of the meal we had decided to skip future breakfasts in the dining room and either do room service or the upstairs buffet. Grand Cayman is always a tender port and since I had left my extra batteries and charger for one of my cameras at home by mistake, I wanted to go to a camera store and get a charger and possibly an extra battery so around 11 or so we headed down to the tender deck and rode into Grand Cayman. This time the tender ride was only a few minutes as we were anchored much closer with the 3 or 4 other bigger ships there with us anchored out further. I found a tourist map which had one camera store listed “Cathy's Cameras” which was on the main road that runs along the shore. It was located in the lobby of the Sunset House Hotel. Assuming it couldn't be too far a walk we began walking down the sidewalk and just kept walking for what seemed to be forever. Had I known how far it was I would have gotten a taxi but once we were over half way there and in spite of the heat, there didn't seem to be anyway to get a taxi to take us the last half. To make things worse, I was looking for a battery and battery charger for a Canon camera. It turns out Cathy's Cameras doesn't carry any Canon products at all and according to them no one in the Caymans carries Canon products. They did have a generic charger that looked like it would work with the battery in my camera so I spent $45 for it. Unfortunately when I got it back to the ship I got it to work once and then when I tried to use it the second time it failed to recharge my battery at all. So all and all the whole trip was a waster of time, money and energy. We were able to get a taxi back to town and then went shopping for some ribbon or shoe strings that Darlene could use to keep her hat from blowing off her head. We ended up finding some shoe laces in a drug store and decided to head back to the ship for a late lunch. We luckily caught a tender quickly and were back in time to do the buffet lunch upstairs. My plan in the afternoon had been to go to the Sanctuary where they had a hot tub and sauna but instead we decided to do some laundry in the free laundromat on deck 7. They give you the soap for free and the machines which looked relatively new were also for free. We ended up doing 2 loads which took up the rest of the afternoon. That night we went to the other specialty restaurant called Aqualina which is Italian influenced cusine. In Cienfuegas we booked the ship's "Nuestra Senora de Jagua" tour. Explore the history and culture of Cienfuegos on this journey to the Fortress of Nuestra Señora de Jagua, followed by a scenic drive and a walk down the Santa Isabel Boulevard. Your journey begins with a visit to the Fortress of Nuestra Señora de Jagua, located at the entrance to Cienfuegos's beautiful bay. Learn about the city's rich maritime traditions and the history of this fort, founded in 1745. Nuestra Señora de Jagua is the only Spanish military fortress constructed in the late eighteenth century Renaissance style. After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy a panoramic drive through the heart of Cienfuegos. Then, it's off to the Teatro Tomas Terry, a magnificent opera house and theatre that seats 950. Marvel at sumptuous Carrara marble and hand-carved Cuban hardwood decorations. Finally, explore the bustling Santa Isabel Boulevard before returning to the ship. We arranged for 2 days of tours with Fer 2 Havana tours originally and then had to alter our arrangements because Azamara changed their schedule and Fernando was very good at changing our 2 days to 3 days at the same price. We did an evening when the ship arrived and met our guide, Javier (Pepe), met us in the square directly across from the ship at 7 PM. He then changed plans as we had already eaten on the ship and we went to the Hotel National for a drink which has been in Havana forever and has been where all the famous and infamous people stayed. We had very good rum drinks there and enjoyed the ambiance before going on the cannon firing at the fort in a vintage 53 Pontiac hardtop with A/C and then to the Buena Vista Social Club.where we stayed for drinks and listening to the Cuban music. For the cover charge which I think was 30 CUC each we got 3 drinks each. I got Cuba Libre and Darlene had a beer and 2 bottled waters. The music was loud and we left after about an hour and 45 minutes. Our driver had waited for us and drove us back to the ship. The next morning at 10 AM we met Javier again in the square and we did a walking tour of the four main squares of old Havana for about 2 1/2 hours, Then we had lunch at a really private restaurant that was a little expensive 80 CUC for the 2 of us with one glass of wine each. We both got a seafood dish with lobster, shrimp, fish and rice and veggies. We also each got a desert. The restaurant was totally full but many of the people there were from either other Fer Tours or other guides. Javier then met us outside and we walked to where we met our driver for the rest of the day in his 1956 red Chevy convertible. The car wasn't his but the owner had gotten too old to drive so he hired him to take care of the car and drive it. We had the car for 3 hours and saw a lot of Havana with an informative driver. He left us off at the ship at 4:30. Finally the next morning, our ship was in Havana for 3 days, Javier again met us in the square at 9 AM and we got in another old Chevy hardtop with A/C and went to Hemmingway's house, followed by a visit to the town where he kept the Pilar and his favorite bar there. Then we came back to Havana and went to Fusterland. This is an area of Havana an artist began decorating with mosaics and painting and included a visit to his house. If you have been to Barcelona and see Guidi's village there this is similar but maybe more colorful and tropical. Our ship was sailing at 3 PM so Javier and the driver dropped us off at 2 PM by the ship. These were great tours with a great guide, Javier, who is a psychologist in real life. The cost for the 3 days was $480 US which was a fraction of what similar tours thru the ship would have cost. If you are going to Havana give Fer Tours a chance to give you a great time in Havana. The last night after finishing packing we went to a Chef's dinner in Prime C. It was labeled Cuban night and had a variety of Cuban influenced foods prepared by the chef each matched with good wines. There were 5 couples there including us. Several had gotten a free Chef's dinner in a promotion that some cruise agencies were running for people who booked suites. Unfortunately we paid for ours. The food and company was good. It was hosted by the ship's young environmental officer who was from Serbia or Croatia, I can't remember. But he spoke good English and was a personable young man. We only saw the Chef at the first of the meal. The wines and courses were announced by the head sommelier. All in all we enjoyed our cruise and especially getting a chance to visit Cuba. It is a friendly and welcoming country that unfortunately is badly in need of a lot of infrastructure repair. The long USA embargo and the loss of help from the USSR when it fell shows. The old cars in Havana especially were interesting and fun to see. It is amazing how they have managed to keep them running. Our tour guide in Havana, Javier (Pepe), did a great job and we left him with a good tip at the end of the last tour. I hope someday he gets to travel to the USA where he has a sister living in Florida. One of the things we learned from him is how most Cubans his age are still living with parents and in many cases grandparents all in one home. That was the case with him and with the driver of the convertible we were with for 3 hours. He said it was the most common and only way they could afford to live at all. The average wage for a Cuban worker is $30 a month with a few highly skilled doctors or higher governmental officials making more. Given there is no such thing as a home loan, if you can find a home for sale, you have to pay cash which few Cubans can possibly do. Well this is long enough for now. Azamara is a cruise line that we will be looking at for future cruises as we enjoyed the friendly and helpful crew and the ship's size as well as the complimentary wine and cocktails. Have a great next cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Well, always liked Azamara and realized they were doing Cuba with a lot of time ashore. We were led to believe that you had to do prebooked tours to meet Cuban government rules, etc... That wasn’t truly the case. Because we had a lot of ... Read More
Well, always liked Azamara and realized they were doing Cuba with a lot of time ashore. We were led to believe that you had to do prebooked tours to meet Cuban government rules, etc... That wasn’t truly the case. Because we had a lot of on-board credits, we did some ships tours. They were very good. A bit long day one in Santiago de Cuba. Overall we wouldn’t have maybe seen some of the great musical talent we did, or experienced a unigue family restaurant if not on these tours. A good mixture of sea days too. They’ve been changing the itinerary as they go to eliminate an issue or two. The ‘ 50’s American cars were quite the attraction. The AzAmazing evening was just that of course. Weather great, if a bit hot. We did a wine tasting on board that was fun, and Marcio the DJ does great I-pad classes. Our favourite spot is always the back deck, the Sunset bar, although our balcony wasn’t bad either! We don’t get into much else, a cruise is good downtime. Been there done that with extra restaurants etc. Havana needs 2 days/ nights for sure. La Taberna, a great bar very near ship. Staff always helpful and friendly. A few newer staff on this one due to the Pursuit. We stayed in Bricknell prior, good choice. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Another repeat cruise experience- excellent in 'almost' every way. Capt Johannes Thysse must be the most visible and approachable Capt afloat, as are his main officers. He is a consummate maritime expert and really enjoys his ... Read More
Another repeat cruise experience- excellent in 'almost' every way. Capt Johannes Thysse must be the most visible and approachable Capt afloat, as are his main officers. He is a consummate maritime expert and really enjoys his vocation. Entertainment was less than spectacular due to a change in dancers, which were absent. Nonetheless Eric de Gray is a true star and directing the musicians and singers did a great job and no one complained. Food . A veritable flow of excellent offerings at all times to suit every palate, To avoid repetition, some new dishes should be introduced for longer voyages as this Transatlantic 2 week. Wines included are adequate, unless one is a wine connoisseur. An additional wine list is available, but at ship prices which don't offer good value. Bar alcohol is more than adequate and only top liqueurs Cognacs and Whiskies etc are charged. Cabin Butler service was impeccable. Room service was rapid and perfect. The Hotel Manageress Heike, watching with an Eagle eye ensures the ship is immaculate, and staff care for pax . Indeed all is faultless. Upon boarding Lisbon some new crew joined. Deck restaurant service was at times chaotic for the first few days. Completing a questionnaire to highlight such matters, was responded to within hours by many staff members and of course Heike who ensured more management attention rectified the complaint/observations soon thereafter. They followed up too! NOW A WARNING** Be aware this ship changes dates, port itinerary and times, seven times ..... following booking. So do other Azamara ships. In the event of a complaint to head shore office in Miami, I'm told by other pax that they are always disinterested. A Larry Pimentel problem, common under his management of other ships too. The Azamara company under the management of CEO Pimentel an American, decided; as he did with previous ships he managed, to lower the dress standard. There are NO formal nights, so dont take fancy long dresses nor tuxedos. Dress code is now 'No Jacket Required' which sadly translates into 'American slop scruff order' . Basically whatever you have in a plastic bag will do. No kidding, I noted some pax wore the same few clothes throughout. Many travelling with a carry -on. Few gents wore jackets, and only one a tie. I saw shorts T shirt and flip flops in the dining room, but only once, so guess that was called to order. This critical observation may transmit a scene of ragged vagabonds. You are assured its far from that. Not being snobbish, but perhaps 50% dress shabbily and carelessly. Everyone is extremely pleasant, happy and well behaved. The atmosphere is excellent. It has no style, but as its a small ship, is far far removed from the Carnival ships and other cheap offering,s where heaped plates of some sort of food is virtually thrown on long tables where Tank tops, torn shorts even barefoot is prevalent, so Ive seen on videos. IMPORTANT PLEASE TAKE NOTE ! Cruise lines have added Cuba to their itineraries. Not necessarily because its a wonderful destination, but for its novelty factor. Mainly because they can use this as a major pax rip-off. They conveniently don't advise pre cruise that a VISA is essential, but advise on board a few days prior to arrival Cuba. There is a compulsory charge of $75 per visa PER PORT see below* Additionally to be allowed ashore they insist on buying a tour see below*, minimum $89 claiming this is a US law compliance. see below* * According to the Cuban immigration inspectors, a Cuban Visa is compulsory and pax must be in possession at arrival. Cost is $25 and cannot be purchased in Cuba. One can be purchased at varying prices previous to arrival from a Cuban Embassy $25, Online agents, travel agents and airlines at varying prices. UK online cost is GBP24. American airlines like their cruise counterparts charge an excessive $75; a big money making scheme. Solution is Buy before you go. Visas last 30 days for multiple entries. Compulsory tours. A bigger money spiinning scheme. They are Massively overpriced and I heard almost everyone who was forced to buy one on board expressing extreme discontent both at the excessive price and quality. The same tour guides are available on shore for a few $ (CUC the local currency) . e.g. The daily rate for a driver and car is CUC25 Incl gasoline ! US law prohibits travel to Cuba but permits tourist visits for one of 10 reasons mainly culturally based. This ruling DOES NOT apply to non Americans who can enter freely (with a VISA) . The cruise ships conveniently and wrongly interpret this to mean ALL pax, so beware. Fact is, a non American citizen does NOT need an official Cuban tour to go ashore! If you find the ship prohibits disembarkation; although I would question the legality of such an action. Buying the cheapest tour to use as a sort of pass to get off the ship, then doing your own thing is perhaps the way to play that game. ...... Cuba is a poverty stricken country where wages are minimal. $20 a MONTH is a good salary, thats a few cents an hour. However they survive very wel and happily off that amount, for everything else is state subsidised. Food is free on coupons. Free health care. Electricity gas etc amounts to less than $2 a month. Havana is changing and improving. They have some paint now, and are able to decorate in small ways. There are serious 5 star hotels in Havana. Beautiful buildings re created from the old special architectural buildings. Kempinsky have re furbished an entire block. Must have cost a hundred million or more. A roof terrace affords fabulous views over old Havana. A Mojito is only 5 CUC. In a back street its 2 CUC. However the room rate is $400+ a night. Spanish hotel chains have also built luxury hotels . Iberostar - Melia- H10 Tourists especially Americans throwing handfuls of $ in tips are poorly viewed. A small tip like $2 is gratefully accepted, a large tip like the ridiculous 20% expected in the US, is viewed with disdain and almost as an insult. I gleaned this from many deep conversations in Spanish I enjoyed with locals. I recommend you book with Azamara you cannot be disappointed, but beware of itinerary changes and especially Cuban schemes. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Positives Friendliness and service from the crew especially Dave at Discoveries for breakfast and Julius in Spirits Bar and other locations. Visibility of the captain and other senior crew members. I am sure the captain was wishing ... Read More
Positives Friendliness and service from the crew especially Dave at Discoveries for breakfast and Julius in Spirits Bar and other locations. Visibility of the captain and other senior crew members. I am sure the captain was wishing passengers a good day as we left the ship at every port we docked at. Food was generally very good, especially the speciality restaurants and the chef’s table, but we had no complaints about the food in Discoveries. Booked the dining package and speciality dining as soon as we boarded with no issues. Entertainment provided by Eric de Gray who was excellent and the other entertainment staff was very good. We attended most late shows and enjoyed them all. The exchanges between Eric and captain Johannes were amusing as were Eric’s grandad stories. AzAmazing Evening with Incanto Quartet in Livorno was excellent and very well organised. Size of the ship was great, nothing felt too far away compared to the other larger ships we have sailed on. Enjoyed the included coffee and snacks available at Mosaic Cafe. Generally bar service was very good and we had no issues with getting cocktails or drinks using the included spirits. We tendered at 3 ports and very rarely had to wait a long time for a tender boat in either direction. Closeness to the city at several ports of call, especially Porto Ferraio and Trapani. Oceanview room was adequate and Paulo our room steward was very friendly and efficient. Embarkation and debarkation were efficient both at start and end of cruise and at ports of call. Friendliness and courtesy of fellow passengers with very few exceptions. Living Room was very nice and the food which was served (especially the tapas) was a nice touch. Negatives Missed not having a balcony (our choice) but it was only one floor up to deck 5. Not being able to walk a full circuit of the ship on deck 5 and it was often closed off in the middle at both sides. Apart from the Windows cafe, unable to get a sea view from the back of the ship which I had enjoyed on other cruises. Other comments We are in our early 50s and whilst not the youngest on the cruise we were definitely at the lower end of the age range. White Night was very busy and queues to get food were quite long and slightly chaotic at times but the local Sorrento Mozzarella and tomatoes was a nice touch. Some of the included white wines were not to our taste, we stuck with included red wines which were generally good. We only had 1 sea day, so it was a very port intensive cruise, not sure how I would have felt if we had more sea days. Regretted missing the Indian night at the buffet because we booked Aqualina on that night because the smell was amazing. For speciality dining only times which seemed to be available for us to book were 18:00, 18:30, 20:00 and 20:30. We only booked private excursions so had no experience of Azamara excursions. I would have no hesitation to sail again on Azamara for the right price and itinerary. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
My husband and I booked this trip for our 20th anniversary. We did a lot of research so I felt like I knew what to expect. We embarked in Rome after flying in two days earlier to spend a bit of time in the city. Embarkation was an ... Read More
My husband and I booked this trip for our 20th anniversary. We did a lot of research so I felt like I knew what to expect. We embarked in Rome after flying in two days earlier to spend a bit of time in the city. Embarkation was an absolute breeze. We arrived in the middle of the lengthy window for arrival and it took us only minutes to check in and walk aboard. The room was available right away. We had booked a picture window room with a sleeper sofa hoping that the sofa would give us a bit more space. Well, the room was tiny, the sofa was only an armchair that folded out to a single bed. When I went to ask at the front desk about the sofa they said that it does fold out therefore it is a sleeper sofa. I complained that that was misleading because we wanted the sofa to be able to sit together. The cruise was fully booked, there were no other rooms for us to be switched to that actually had a true sofa. They did end up switching out the armchair for something a tinge bigger, more like a small loveseat and that was the best they could do. The room itself was small but very well organized. There were lots of drawers and plenty of hanging space in the closet. We were able to easily unpack two weeks worth of clothes and stuff and slide the suitcases neatly under the bed. I especially appreciated that there were several shelves in the bathroom, three over the toilet, plus countertop, under the counter and in the shower storage spaces. The shower was small but doable for everything except shaving my legs. I ended up turning the showerhead towards the wall, opening the curtain and putting my foot up on the sink in order to shave. After settling in we explored the boat, overall we were impressed. The ship could definitely use a bit of cosmetic maintenance (lightly peeling wallpaper and some uneven paint in our room specifically), but the overall feel is elegant comfort. The size was perfect (about 600 guests), big enough to include several dining spaces, a spa, pool deck, living room and library etc. but small enough to not be packed with people and long lines for everything. We knew we didn't want a megaship with tons of families and massive buffets. We also aren't big nightlife people, no need for discos and a huge casino. While Azamara doesn't forbid children, they also don't encourage them. We have three at home, and we were looking for a grown up get away. We knew that we are a bit younger than their main clientele and we decided that was fine, we were happy doing our own thing. I would say the target audience for this line is empty nester - healthy retiree. There were definitely some older and some younger but we were some of the youngest on board in our mid-late forties. I also wanted to make a note that Azamara welcomes same sex couples, which I think is awesome. My brother is gay and he has told me that he and his husband avoid certain places because of prejudice and even potential violence. There were at least a handful of same sex couples on board and there was a nightly mixer for the LGBT community. The food on board was very good. We generally breakfasted at the buffet, had lunch at the pool deck patio restaurant and had dinner in the main dining room. You could get pretty much any breakfast food you could think of and many that I don't consider breakfast at the buffet. They had a station that did waffles, pancakes and french toast, and a second station that did eggs and omelets made to order. They also had a carving station with daily specials of roast pork, or beef or turkey, etc. There were both hot and cold buffet stations with fruit, yogurt, pastries, cold cuts, sausage, bacon, all kinds of eggs, beans, you name it. One server manned the several toasters serving toast, bagels, muffins etc. There were also several kinds of fancy coffees and fresh squeezed juice and smoothies. My husband found the lunch buffet a bit overwhelming and too tempting to just over-do everything so we usually lunched on the patio. They had a nice selection of burgers, wraps, and skewers along with a small salad bar. Dinner in the main dining room was very nice. While they do have a minimum standard for dress (no shorts, tanks, bathing suits, baseball caps, etc), they don't expect formal wear. Long pants and a collared shirt for my hubby and a sundress or nicer capris for me were no problem. The menu had several standards that were always available and then a rotating menu of daily options. You could tell that they made a point of always having a meat, a poultry, a fish, and a vegetarian option on the menu. While not vegetarian myself, I have several family members that are so I always note when places are vegetarian friendly and Azamara definitely is, even noting when items are vegan. We did not order any of the special drink or dining plans and we were perfectly happy. Azamara considers itself all inclusive and as long as you don't need high end name brand alcohol in your drinks you will be fine. Every day they feature two red and two white wines. You can also get all sorts of mixed drinks, etc. We particularly liked having a pina colada while out by the pool. We looked at the specialty upcharge restaurants and they didn't seem so much better than the main dining room. My one tiny complaint about the main dining room is that I think they try a bit too hard to be "fancy", especially in the naming of their selections. The entertainment on ship was not our priority. We only went to one evening show, the White Night production. Eating out on the pool deck with everyone dressed in all white was fun and the food staff really outdid themselves but the musical part of the show was definitely a bit underwhelming. We didn't take part in any of the planned activities and entertainments other than one lecture during our sea day which we did find very informative. We were mainly here for the ports and wanted nothing more than relaxation while onboard. We did each get a massage at the spa which was heavenly. Probably our only big complaint about the ship itself was that the wifi was awful to non-existent. We had specifically booked a package that included wifi and we didn't get it working until more than halfway through the trip and even then it was slow and spotty. Just as an FYI, the wifi doesn't work well with Windows 10 computers or any microsoft browsers. We needed to download chrome to even be able to log in and this took two different staff members help and a trip to the IT specialist. While researching options for this trip, the itinerary was one of, if not the most important, driver for our decision to book. My husband had never been to Italy and I hadn't been in years so we wanted to see all the highlights. We did a mix of cruise excursions, privately booked excursions, and just going off on our own. In general our first choice was to book privately because the cruise excursions were extremely expensive across the board but we still did do several because we either couldn't find another option or we were worried about timing and logistics for a specific port. We really appreciated having two days in northern italy and two days in the south. Probably the best stop was either Livorno (the gateway for pisa and florence) or Amalfi while the least interesting was Elba. I was pleasantly surprised by Sardinia, we very much enjoyed seeing the neolithic site there, the countryside was very pretty, and the fact that the excursion included a light lunch of local favorites was welcome. Overall, this was a wonderful trip. We felt that we were pampered and well taken care of by the entire staff. Our steward knew our name and always greeted us in passing after only our first meeting. The food service staff did their jobs with a smile. While it seems a bit silly, it was sweet to be greeted with a "welcome home" by the security team at the end of each day's excursion. The captain and other high level crew were very visible and willing to stop and chat. There were a lot of little touches that were really nice like the fact that they provided umbrellas at the docking point on a rainy day or beach towels if you were at a beachy port. There were always cool towels and water and punch at the dock. I had told them we were celebrating our anniversary when I booked and on our actual anniversary the room was decorated with streamers and a sign. I would definitely consider another cruise with Azamara. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We are experienced cruisers. We are not drawn to the large “resort” ships, except with our grandchildren. Increasingly we are selecting our cruises for the itinerary. The Azamara Journey was a 9 day Italy “intensive” itinerary with ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers. We are not drawn to the large “resort” ships, except with our grandchildren. Increasingly we are selecting our cruises for the itinerary. The Azamara Journey was a 9 day Italy “intensive” itinerary with major stops for Florence and Pompeii, and other stops in smaller ports- suitable for a smaller ship. This was a major reason we selected a smaller ship. The on board service was exceptional, delivered with genuine care by the staff. Little things- like a mid cruise comment card (with real follow-thru by ship department heads) made the whole trip enjoyable. The food was notably better than our past experiences. We had no waiting in the open seating main dining room and never had trouble finding an available clean table in the cafe. The 700 passengers were never the cause of undue lines or delays. The ship was clean and in good to excellent repair. My wife and I enjoyed ourselves and will be back. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Had a wonderful time on our Azamara Journey cruise which began in Copenhagen and ended with an absolutely splendid, majestic sail right up the Thames in London to end in picturesque maritime Greenwich. We flew the short hop to ... Read More
Had a wonderful time on our Azamara Journey cruise which began in Copenhagen and ended with an absolutely splendid, majestic sail right up the Thames in London to end in picturesque maritime Greenwich. We flew the short hop to Copenhagen a day prior to the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Absalon, three minutes walk from the Central Station and six minutes walk from Tivoli World where we spent the afternoon and evening. The hotel was excellent and I would recommend it wholeheartedly. Around noon, we got a taxi to the pier, Nordre Tolbord, which was close to the Little Mermaid, so much nearer to town than where the larger ships dock. It was pouring with rain so we didn't take advantage of the 10pm departure and venture back into Copenhagen. The ship's crew took our luggage from the taxi and covered us with large umbrellas while escorting us to the port security tent. A look at our passports and it was straight into the ship and the cabaret lounge for checking-in. A most welcome sparkling wine, cocktail, tea and coffee were immediately offered while we sank into the easy chairs before being called to collect our key card and find our stateroom. We had booked a guarantee balcony and were allocated 7115, near the aft. It was a great room and was so quiet and, of course, handy for two flights up to the Windows cafe, pools, patio etc or two flights down to the main restaurant – Discoveries, cabaret lounge etc. It was a very comfortable room and had a small sofa, table, dressing table/desk, chair, bedside tables, tv, fridge with included sodas etc and a few paid-for items (listed on a note above), safe, plenty of storage and hanging space. Flowers and fruit were provided, binoculars and umbrella to use, slippers to keep. The bathroom, as most people note, is tiny but well equipped. (Have to say that the shower is slightly longer than the one we recently had on Sapphire Princess). We enjoyed room service which was always punctual and good and even if we only ordered tea and coffee, the table was always laid with a cloth. The room was kept in great order by Alvin and Edwin. We asked for extra coathangers, pen, writing pads and all were instantly provided. Breakfasts were enjoyed mostly in Windows cafe where there was always a great choice and I especially liked the made to order smoothie counter. Waiters constantly offered more tea, coffee, juice etc and if you ordered an omellete would bring it to you. We didn't try the speciality restaurants this time as the meals in Discoveries were outstandingly good. So different to our last experience on Aamara Quest four years ago when the majority of guests were part of a charter group. The food then was obviously scaled down to their budget and it was incomparable with this time. We felt cheated then as we, of course, paid for a normal cruise. I'm so glad that Azamara redeemed themselves this cruise and the food was wonderful every time. Some impressive buffets were provided – an Asian one, a fabulous seafood one and a German themed one, along with Umpah band. White Night was great fun too. The service from every member of staff was impeccable. One or two waiters were obviously new, as we understand some had transferred to Pursuit, and looked a bit lost at times and not quite up to speed. We always ate dinner around 8.30pm so tended to miss the evening entertainment in the cabaret lounge. We did see a couple of performances by the resident singers and the assistant cruise director, both were okay if a little cheesy – same old Broadway musical and old fashioned songs. We enjoyed going up to The Living Room at the bow of the ship for our pre-dinner cocktails and canapes. There we listened to The Sparkling Trio and enjoyed their laid-back style. We heard two great pianists in Spirits bar and the Library (Drawing Room) The late night disco was good fun with plenty of people on the floor, including us. Our first port of call was Aarhus, Denmark's second city. A nice place to stroll and shop. Next up was Skagen on the northern most tip of Denmark. We weren't expecting anything of this small town but had a brilliant day. The sun shone, the town was 'cute' in the loveliest possible way, the shops eclectic and my husband bought me an elegant Skagen watch for my birthday. We walked all the way along the pristine beach to the end of Denmark and loved every minute. On to Oslo and as we had been here before and visited the Kon Tiki Museum etc decided to catch a tram and go to the beautiful Vigeland Sculpture Park. Next day was a sea day and there was lots to do on board and it was good just to relax with a book from the well stocked library and a cocktail, of course. I worked my way through the included cocktails over the course of the 11 days! We arrived in Amsterdam in pouring rain and it was too bad to venture forth but by the evening the rain had abated and most guests were taken on a canal boat ride to the Maritime Museum for a splendid concert for the Azamazing evening. The whole experience was truly amazing. As we had an overnight here next day we caught a train (24 mins) to Utrecht. This is the most delightful city with canals, quaint shops, interesting architecture and lots of history. On to Germany and Bremerhaven and some more sunshine. The waterfront is very modern with an extensive promenade housing a zoo, maritime museum, canal boat trips, a large shopping complex and a fascinating immigration museum where we spent the day. The museum won the accolade of being the best European museum in 2017 and we can see why. You can follow the journey of those who emigrated from Europe to the US, Canada, South America and Australia and can even research your own family history if your ancestors emigrated. The interactive features and recreation of ship interiors, Ellis Island reception hall etc were exceptional. Belgium followed and we docked in Oostende, a lovely traditional seaside town. We took the 15 minute train ride into Brugge. The map provided on board was so sparse that we couldn't find the centre of town but at least we had fun exploring. When we reached the centre it was packed with tourists but very beautiful and very 'chocolate boxy'. We didn't have quite so much time in port as the ship's departure time was earlier than previously so we made a hasty retreat to Oostende. Sadly, another couple who went into Brugge had their return train cancelled and they missed the ship, although Captain Tysse waited an extra half hour. Pleased to say they caught up with Journey next day. France beckoned as we sailed off into the sunset and next morning we docked in Honfleur. It is such a pretty town, centred around the lovely harbour. The markets were in full swing and made for a lively, bustling atmosphere. We sat in a cafe with a bottle of local Normandy cider and watched the world go by. We have spent a week in Honfleur so didn't feel the need to visit the nearby D-Day beaches again but some guests spent the day there and said what a moving experience it was. For me, the highlight of the trip was the thought of sailing up the River Thames and mooring in Greenwich, London. We had a pilot on board who commentated on the history of the river and lots more as we sailed in around the twisting turns in the river and at one point the Journey turned a full 360 degrees. We moored up opposite the tea clipper, the Cutty Sark, the old Royal Naval College, the Queen's House and up on the top of Greenwich Park one can see the Royal Observatory where the Greenwich Meridian Line is set. Our final evening on board was the icing on the cake when we were allowed to invite my husband's twin sisters on board for dinner (for a small fee). They were thoroughly impressed and we now hope that they will come sailing on Azamara with us. We live beside Tower Bridge where Captain Tysse told us he would have liked to moor but can't at the moment due to the Port of London removing the heavy duty bouys. We forgive him as it would have been great to walk home but it was just a 15 minute ride from Greenwich. My husband even went into work the same day! Can't wait for next time – maybe on Pursuit. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
This was our second ocean cruise and on the same ship as our first in 2017 and with the same captain. Everything was great on this cruise as well. We again routinely went to the Living Room for pre-dinner tapas and a drink before going to ... Read More
This was our second ocean cruise and on the same ship as our first in 2017 and with the same captain. Everything was great on this cruise as well. We again routinely went to the Living Room for pre-dinner tapas and a drink before going to the main restaurant about 8 pm. There was a very good, laid back, trio: vocalist, keyboard and an excellent guitarist. Very relaxing after a busy day in port. The only negative I mentioned on the last cruise was the occasional meal that was not hot enough, well this was not evident on this cruise. A fellow cruiser 'Literary Lynne' has given a very detailed report and an excellent summary of the ports visited. I can add a summary on what we did in the ports. All the ports were outstanding places to visit on a smaller ship and the weather was mostly perfect except for Amsterdam where we were given a wet welcome. Arrhus: Walked to the botanical garden where they have a large greenhouse with many wonderful tropical plants then on the way back visited the ARos Art Museum which has an outstanding circular art installation structure on the roof you can walk in and view the city 360 degrees through coloured panels. They also have the unmissable 5m squatting 'Boy' sculpture by Ron Mueck, an Australian. After lunch on the ship we walked around the city and on our return along the docks saw the Danish queen disembark her ship and alight a limo to take her to open a festival in downtown Aarhus. Skagen: Walked to the buried church and then back through the town and visited the Drachmanns Hus. Caught the shuttle bus back to the ship for lunch and a short rest. In the afternoon walked the length of the town to the Skagen Vippefyr a reproduction of an early form of warning light for ships. Oslo: Caught the train to the Munch museum which had a wonderful collection of his works in the "Between the clock and the bed" exhibition. They also have "Starry Night" on display. Then a train to the city centre and the National Gallery. We bought a city day pass at the tourist office which allowed us to bypass the long queue. This museum has a good collection of art including one of Munch's paintings of "The Scream". In the afternoon we walked through the 14th C Akershus Fortress, visited the resistance museum and then went to the city port area and took a round trip on a ferry to the closest island and back. Other than the train trips we walked everywhere else. Bremerhaven: Wonderful port city. The museums are outstanding. They include an open for inspection U-boat 'Wilhelm Bauer' Type XXI Built in 1945 and used till 1982. Many other boats are displayed and in the museum building is the 'Bremen Cog' from 1380. The emigration museum is truly outstanding. Visited the nearby shopping area for a bite to eat and to look for a pair of sandles. Just love the German shops. Leaving this industrial port by ship is a highlight. Think railyards, superlarge car-transport ships, massive new car storage areas and travelling next to a vast container terminal where containers are being stored then loaded onto ships in an automated system. Luckily, had a 10x zoom for this. Amsterdam: Great city, been quite a few times so this time went to the Stedelijk modern art Museum. Admired Roy Lichtenstein's 'As I Opened Fire' and George Grosz 'The Rabble Rouser' from 1928 depicting a Nazi sympathizer encircled by a grinning crowd and many other works. On the morning of the second day caught the ferry to the NDSM area which was an old shipyard area. They were setting up for summer concerts so couldn't visit some of it but it was worthwhile to see how the Dutch treated their manufacturing history. They treat these things with the respect they deserve, like many other nations do. In Australia we, stupidly, tend to demolish these areas and sell the land to developers. We have done this with Sydney's historic Dock areas and even allowed the navy to recently demolish a large historic crane - because it cost a lot to maintain. Last year in Hamburg my heart sunk when I saw the restored cranes next to the Elbephilharmonie. Oostende: Caught the train to Bruges. Plenty to see and do here. The Groeninge museum was a highlight along with Michaelangelo's Madonna and Child. Leaving Oostende in the evening was a highlight. Honfleur: Another beautiful day with the market in full swing. Vintage Calvados a plenty (to buy) visited Musuem Eugene Boudin and Sainte-Catherine timber church. In the afternoon walked around the harbour and through the Le Jardin des Personnalités. Leaving in the evening was another shipping highlight. London: Travelling up the Thames for a first visit to London was another shipping highlight. Perfect weather and an afternoon visit to Greenwich observatory and park topped off the cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because we hadn’t been in this region before and all the ports were therefore new. We weren’t disappointed. We have travelled on the Azamara line 10 times now and have enjoyed our time on board. We had a window ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we hadn’t been in this region before and all the ports were therefore new. We weren’t disappointed. We have travelled on the Azamara line 10 times now and have enjoyed our time on board. We had a window view on Deck 4, which we found more than acceptable. We are aware of the general criticisms regarding the size and spaciousness of the bathroom and shower but due to our size and stature we don’t experience any problems. We ate mainly in the Discoveries restaurant but did venture up to the Windows café whenever they had the Indian night. The décor and amenities throughout the vessel were good. We didn’t go to the entertainment as it just didn’t strike a chord with us this time, but we did enjoy the onboard pianist. It was nice to relax in the living room and enjoy the ambience. One thing that Azamara should consider whenever they are removing the casino is to enlarge the restroom facilities as I feel they are wholly inadequate (being the closest restrooms to the Cabaret Lounge) All the staff on board were extremely friendly and courteous and always said hello. The cleanliness of the public areas and our stateroom were always pristine. The senior staff were very visible and always approachable We were out most of the time so didn’t take part in any of the on board activities. My wife did enjoy the artist Jean Picton and went to her workshops on the sea days. I enjoyed lectures regarding the Tsars and St Petersburg that helped gen me up on what I would see and experience when we got there. The weather was really good throughout the voyage, the only rain being at Copenhagen and as we were going home it didn’t have the same affect. We are looking forward to our next cruise on the Pursuit. It will be nice to see the transformation the refit (in Belfast) will have had. We live close to Belfast and kept ourselves aware of the progress the ship was making whilst it was there. Ports of call Stockholm Embarkation- A nice sail away past all the islands. St Petersburg We booked a private three day intensive tour of all the important sites with TJ Travel before we left home. It was a full on experience which we enjoyed immensely and felt that it was great value for money. We would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who wished to understand St Petersburg’s role in Russian history. We certainly had a great time! Helsinki We just stepped off the ship as it was right in the centre. Did the open topped bus and enjoyed the little market at the waterfront. Riga Another port were we docked right by the centre of the old town. We just walked across the road we were there. The architecture was very interesting and the people friendly. We enjoyed our day there. Klaipeda Another port easily accessed from the ship, and a local folk group was there to greet us. A lot of metal pieces of public art to enjoy as well as numerous sculptures scattered throughout a public park. We had our White Night party in Klaipeda and were entertained again by the folk group, this time on the ship – a real coup! Gdansk We got bussed in to the old city. Again very interesting to see the pictures of the city as it was just after the war and how it looks now rebuilt in the same style as before. We had our Azamazing evening here. We were entertained in the Philharmonic Hall to an evening of music by Fyrderyk Chopin played on the piano by Rafael Lewandowski and accompanied on the violin by Karolina Piatkowska- Nowicka. An amazing evening of culture rounded of by a firework display. We certainly won’t forget that evening in a hurry. Ronne The best day for weather on the cruise. The sun shone all day. It was a nice peaceful little town to walk through, the architecture of the old houses being particularly appealing. This was a very pleasant and relaxing way to end our cruise. Copenhagen A very wet day to disembark and not a particularly pleasant dock, but Azamara had advised us earlier regarding the facilities and had suggested that we avail ourselves of transfers something that we had already done as part of our package. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are a couple in our 50's and booked this cruise because we wanted to see the Baltics/ Northern Europe and we wanted to try a better quality small ship cruise after getting very tired of the mega ships. We were very happy with our ... Read More
We are a couple in our 50's and booked this cruise because we wanted to see the Baltics/ Northern Europe and we wanted to try a better quality small ship cruise after getting very tired of the mega ships. We were very happy with our choice. The small ship experience is so much better for us. Embarkation and debarkation were totally hassle free. In addition we really enjoyed the excellent quality of the food. Azamara upgraded us from a veranda to a suite and we loved the larger room. We ate in the specialty restaurants most of the time and they were excellent, we ordered breakfast in our room several times and loved that. We ate lunches at the patio grill almost everyday, loved the Greek lamb burgers and hot fresh French fries! The staff is exceptional! So friendly and welcoming. The ship never felt crowded even though it was full. It was so nice that all your needs are included in your fare, the included wines were good and certain ones that we really liked the waiters were happy to get for us on days they were serving different selections. We mainly drink wine so cannot speak about the other alcohol options. The ports we visited were great. St Petersburg was one of the highlights. We took the ships 2 day tour and had a wonderful time and saw so much, it really is a small group of around 20 people, we used the 3rd day to relax after the huge crowds in the museums, etc.. Other ports we used the Azamara provided shuttle (again included) and toured on our own. We did not attend the Azamazing evening since we had been out on a tour for 10 hours that day. I heard it was very nice. The entertainment in the evening was not great every night (but some great performances) but that didn't bother us, one night we saw Tony Arias who was terrific!! So funny and a great singer, loved him! Another night was an ABBA night and we loved that! Our cruise director was Alicia Hill and she's wonderful, she had a great standing room only show. Our next trip is probably South America in 2020 and we most certainly will come back to Azamara. Thank you Azamara for such an outstanding trip! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We boarded the ship in Copenhagen and departed in Stockholm after an 11-day journey visiting some interesting ports on the way. We had a Stateroom with balcony booked. The cabin was small but manageable. Only comment we must make is ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Copenhagen and departed in Stockholm after an 11-day journey visiting some interesting ports on the way. We had a Stateroom with balcony booked. The cabin was small but manageable. Only comment we must make is that the design of the bathroom is very small with a shower difficult to manage for bigger persons. The room was very clean, and the bed was comfortable. The room attendants looked after us well. Food was of high quality and came in great variety. The cruise was an all-inclusive one, but there are also drinks on offer that are not covered by the all-inclusive package. We were happy with the drinks of the all-inclusive selection. We used the speciality Restaurants that came with an extra cost of $30 per person. There is a Steak place and an Italian Restaurant. Both are recommendable to give yourself an extra treat. There is also a Buffet and an a la card Restaurant that is included in the package with no extra charge. For a snack inbetween there is the Patio that offered Hamburgers, Satays and Sausages. The staff in general are very friendly and attentive. Nothing is impossible for them to arrange. We only experienced one exception. It must have been her bad day. There are two entertainment venues. The Cabaret a large theatre and the Living Room. We spend most nights in the Living Room before dinner to listen to the resident Mexican Band that played everything from Pop to South American tunes. Very good. The young Guitarist was very talented. In the Cabaret we enjoyed the white night party and a speech by Mr Lech Walenza. Also, the Violin player was very good. However, there were nights we did not go to the Cabaret at all and there were nights we departed before the end of the show, but then you cannot like everything. Azamara is an American owned company and the ship orientation is towards their core market. One thing we did not like was the compulsory tip of 18% for services even so the cruise was promoted to be all inclusive. So be aware if you have a Beauty Treatment or a massage that you are paying more than the advertised price. A price that is already very inflated compared to Australian cost before compulsory tip. Everything worked like clockwork on the cruise. The ship always arrived in time at the ports and the shore departures went very smooth. Because the Journey is such a small ship it is sometimes able to sail right into the heart of the towns. No feeder boats were needed to transfer passengers. We arranged our own shore excursions. In Warnemuende we took the train to Rostock and the tram to the old part of town. In Danzig we just went with the shuttle provided by the ship to town and done our own walking tour. Same in Estonia. We had a two-day tour booked in St Petersburg over the internet. The local tour company was excellent with an experienced tour guide. No upfront payment. We only paid at the end of the two-day tour. They give rebattes for early bookings and we got also a refund because we were not able to see two Museums due to time. This was not their fault, but due to our request to return to the ship early on the first day. St Petersburg was full of tourists and without the tour we booked we wouldn’t have been able to get into the attractions without any great delays. The quey at the Summer Palace was so long that even our guide got excited and took several photos. The Tour Company we used was BEST GUIDES GROUP. Highly recommendable local company. You can find them on the Internet. ANNA the guide was very knowledgeable with a very likable personality. She never lost her patience with all the crowds and went out of her way to please fellow travelers. Also, we feel that two days sightseeing is enough even so most Tour company offer three days. We were a very small group of 10 people that made the tour even more enjoyable. In Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm we used Hop on Hop off busses. They come right to the port and take you around the city and stop on several places of interest. Also, in these cities a Hop on, Hop off boat was included. The cruise was a very enjoyable experience. Highly recommendable. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
As first-timers on Azamara Cruises, my husband and I chose this ship primarily for its port-intensive itinerary and passenger size of ship (less than 700 guests). Embarkation and check in were a breeze - it probably took us 30 minutes in ... Read More
As first-timers on Azamara Cruises, my husband and I chose this ship primarily for its port-intensive itinerary and passenger size of ship (less than 700 guests). Embarkation and check in were a breeze - it probably took us 30 minutes in total from time of arrival at port to getting to the cabin. The ship itself was beautiful, well-kept and clean. Our room club verandah stateroom was well-maintained and our cabin attendants were wonderful. We were pleased that we spent the extra money to get a room with a balcony, and spent a fair amount of time on it when we were in our room. The bathroom is tiny but well cleaned, and you get used to the size. Fortunately we had quiet neighbors on either side of us which made for an even better experience! There was a sufficient amount of dining options to choose from. We ate mostly in the Windows Cafe for dinner - great selection to choose from, and also tried both specialty restaurants once each, as well as the MDR a couple of times. Quality of the food was fine for the most part, and we really enjoyed the Aqualina restaurant. Windows Cafe is buffet style, so with that comes food that may be lukewarm at times. Because the itinerary was port-intensive, we did not partake in too many on-board activities, and when we did it was mainly the daily afternoon trivia contests. Nighttime entertainment was okay - I believe a few of the acts were new to the ship - so it was a bit hit and miss in terms of quality. I'm sure they will work out the kinks as time goes by. The ports themselves were great, with the exception of Amsterdam, which we found quite grimy (cigarette butts and trash everywhere). The only excursion we signed up for was a three-day one through a local operator in St. Petersburg, which was tiring but fantastic. Otherwise, we prefer to explore on our own and the small size of the ship meant we were able to pull right into the city center of most ports and walk into town. Above all, we found the staff and crew extremely delightful, and always with a smile on their faces and willing to assist however they can. Thank you Wilson and Raymond for keeping our room immaculate! Alicia the Cruise Director was always full of energy, and is also a great singer/entertainer. We would definitely sail on Azamara again if the right itinerary came along. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My wife and I took our son and his wife on this cruise as it was scheduled at a perfect time for us as well as stopping at ports we have found enjoyable every time. Most of the ports were new to our daughter-in-law which made for a perfect ... Read More
My wife and I took our son and his wife on this cruise as it was scheduled at a perfect time for us as well as stopping at ports we have found enjoyable every time. Most of the ports were new to our daughter-in-law which made for a perfect match. In addition, the Journey left from Greenwich rather than the boring old South Hampton or other extended drive ports out of "London". This also gave us the opportunity to sail out of the Thames which is a unique experience compared to almost all the other cruise lines. We also sailed close to the WWII fortifications in the river known as Maunsell Forts … another unique and interesting experience! Embarkation in Greenwich was odd as you actually did most of the paperwork on board. After identifying you, your luggage was portered on board and passengers boarded by tender to the ship awaiting us in the river. Much more pleasant than the masses of humanity queueing to get onto bigger ships. Sail out was great and we enjoyed every port in a similar fashion: sailing up river and close in to the city centers. We stopped in the heart of St. Petersburg on the Neva River and our mooring in Helsinki was just across the road from where Trump and Putin would meet a couple of weeks later. Mooring "close to the action" is one of the reasons we favor Azamara … avoiding two hour bus rides in and out of cities is a benefit that is hard to price! The dining experience was also wonderful, with varied choices each and every night and we did not have a single disappointing meal. Be prepared for more intimate entertainment settings. Azamara focuses more on destination and personal service than entertainment. Although the Cruise Director is a very talented entertainer in his own right, you are not going to get any entertainment with "big production value" … no Broadway style shows, though we did enjoy an excellent, if scaled back, production of Bizet's CARMEN. Our son and his wife thoroughly enjoyed their experience as much as we did. The ships may be older, but they are very well maintained and recently updated. You can't beat high level service, interesting itineraries and personal attention with slick new gadgets and neon lights. Would we sail on this line again? Already booked in January to Antarctica! Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Second Azamara cruise, but many others on the ship were 15+ with Azamara. Very loyal following of the line and certain personalities on each ship. 50+ passengers were on the 102 day world cruise. Not a one I talked with had anything ... Read More
Second Azamara cruise, but many others on the ship were 15+ with Azamara. Very loyal following of the line and certain personalities on each ship. 50+ passengers were on the 102 day world cruise. Not a one I talked with had anything negative to say. The Azamara line uses 2 of the R ships. (A third, the Pursuit, is coming on line in August 2018 and there were hints that a fourth may be added soon) Having been on both they are about the same physically. We chose ocean view cabin. I like the fact that there is a big ledge under the window- allowing for all sorts of things to be placed there without fear of them rolling off. Only real complaint is that the shower is a bit small. Dining was good everywhere. The Chefs table (extra $) is a treat worth trying. Entertainment, as you would expect isn't the glitz of the mega ships but was fun and friendly and of good quality. Service was good in most areas, the one exception was the evening before disembarkation, where guest relations did not understand the procedure for the next morning. We were told we would collect our bags in a makeshift tent and have to drag them down the street to buses. In reality Azamara had it all worked out- never had to touch a bag. :) Port choices were why we choice this voyage and getting together with passengers on Cruise Critic Roll Call was a great way to get Tours with Locals. Having been on 15+ cruises we will probably stick with Azamara now. RCL, Azamaras parent seems to have given more autonomy to the ships captains to make on the fly decisions. On our cruise one of the stops was Guernsey. Apparently one of the ships passengers was from there and told the captain that at noon there was a cannon salute every day and we were due in at 1ish. Captain Johannes arrived early enough for the salute. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I just took my first cruise on the Azamara Journey and was highly impressed with the ship, crew, food, and friendliness of the passengers. I had received an extremely good deal on an obstructed ocean view cabin and luckily was able to ... Read More
I just took my first cruise on the Azamara Journey and was highly impressed with the ship, crew, food, and friendliness of the passengers. I had received an extremely good deal on an obstructed ocean view cabin and luckily was able to select cabin 6036, which is between lifeboats and thus not very obstructed. I was pleasantly surprised how well laid out this cabin was and it was totally acceptible for one person with alot of closet space. The bed was extremely comfortable and the pillows were soft and easy to sleep on. I enjoyed the smaller ship experience and how friendly the passengers and crew were. The service was exceptional and the food was much better than other, larger ships I have been on. I liked the way the buffet was arranged at dinner with tablecloths and candles, so you felt like you were in a restaurant rather than a cafeteria setting. The ship tours were more expensive but they were much smaller than other ships, with an average participation of about 12-15 persons per tour. It was simple to get on and off the ship and particularly convenient to be docked closer to the ports. I booked several other cruises on Azamara because I felt the higher cost of the line was definitely worth the enhanced experience. It is especially good for solo travelers as Azamara seems to cater to those traveling alone, and the passengers are so friendly and welcoming to everyone. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We chose this cruise because of the Florence, Monte Carlo, and Barcelona destinations. The Monte Carlo Grand Prix was the main event. The ship as always was great....okay, showers are tight but I think everyone knows that before they board ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Florence, Monte Carlo, and Barcelona destinations. The Monte Carlo Grand Prix was the main event. The ship as always was great....okay, showers are tight but I think everyone knows that before they board the ship.....get over it. The bottomline is the crew, the officers, and, even more importantly, the fellow passengers were wonderful. The officers were very present throughout the cruise and the emphasis and training of Azamara staff on crew service was obvious. We were on the Azamara last August in St. Petersburg, Russia and needed cosmetic improvements have been performed and were also very obvious...nice. I would like to compliment the Captain, Safety Office, and crew for their world-class effort to safely bring passengers to the Monte Carlo Grand Prix although the seas were very rough and tenders were required. I have 40 years military experience and the tender execution in Monte Carlo was first rate. The food and beverage service was perfect. The Prime C restauranrt included local produce and treats such as Oysters on the half shell and Oysters Rockerfeller. The veal was among the best I've had and I have dined in ten Michelin one star and higher restaurants in the past year. Prime C is the best restaurant on the ship and well worth the additional charge. Service is perfect. The Aqualina restaurant is also very good and well worth a visit. The white night was great and the effort invested in making the evening exceptional was obvious. The white night food and entertainment was much, much more than I expected....from lobster to crepes, stir fry to grill there was somethibg for everyone. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We (family of 4 including parents and 2 adult children) were on the Journey in May 2018 for the Greek Islands to Italy 8-day cruise. We chose this cruise as we had previously done this itinerary, and wanted to return with our children as ... Read More
We (family of 4 including parents and 2 adult children) were on the Journey in May 2018 for the Greek Islands to Italy 8-day cruise. We chose this cruise as we had previously done this itinerary, and wanted to return with our children as adults. We were blessed with wonderful weather and we were very happy with the ports. This was our second cruise with Azamara We were very happy with the service and the attention we received from the crew. The cabin stewards, the bar personnel and the waitstaff were friendly, fun and very accommodating. We requested the same waiter every night in Discoveries and an effort was made in order to make this work for us. The senior staff was very visible and interactive, which I very much appreciate. They really seem to love their jobs and take very seriously their obligation to take care of their guests. Unlike some previous reviewers, we quite enjoyed the food on board! We found there to be great variety both at the buffet and in Discoveries, and were very happy with our selections; we liked the different chef’s recommendations as well as the locally flavored dishes (fresh tuna was offered on a few nights and was delicious every time!). We had a special dinner for LCV members which was excellent. 3 of the 4 of us drank the “house” wines—we are casual wine drinkers and could always find one of the 6 available (2 whites, 2 reds, 1 rose, 1 sparkling) which satisfied us each day. There seems to be some dissatisfaction regarding the entertainment on board. The live trio who appeared nightly in the Living Room was great, although the atmosphere early in the evening is low-key in that space. I was the only one of the 4 who attended performances in the Cabaret Lounge: although I am not an opera fan particularly, I found the opera singers quite good and enjoyed the performances; I also liked Eric the cruise director’s show. The live entertainment on White Night was very good. I was pleased with the entertainment provided, but this is not a priority for my husband and I. My 20-something daughters wished that the nightlife was a bit more lively. The gym is very nice and they offer a large number of classes, given the small number of passengers and the port-intensive itinerary. We purchased the unlimited internet package. The Wifi was a little slow, but not awful. It really did not cause me to complain--I have had much worse on a ship. Ports/Excursions: (Theme: leaving the main path, wandering, eating and drinking) We tendered at many of the ports. The tenders run continuously and there is not a long wait for a trip to shore or back to the ship. Mykonos: Took the ship excursion to Elia Beach-4 hours. Great beach, provided with umbrellas and chairs, beach has a bar and restaurant. Very happy with this--efficient and convenient (some folks take the buses to the beach but we didn't want to risk it). Wish it was 1 hour longer. Mykonos town is very picturesque but we didn’t feel that we needed to stay there for hours. Kusadasi/Ephesus: Took the ship excursion Turkish Landscapes: Wildlife, Flora and Fauna. Brought us to a national park and a mountain "town" which we really loved, but was unexpected. The town consists of about 50 homes high up in the hills which are beautiful--it is not a "town" as one would think, with shops, and restaurants. It is isolated and quiet. It is a very interesting and meditative experience. Two guides were wonderful. Kusadasi itself was a little tough to negotiate, with lots of aggressive merchants.The Azamazing evening was at Ephesus and was really wonderful and inspiring; there was no food or drink allowed at the event through no fault of Azamara but that did not diminish the impact of the performance or of seeing Ephesus at night. Rhodes: Crowded port with many shops/carts full of merchandise, from tchotchkes to high end jewelry. It felt very commercial. We got off the beaten path and had lunch on the outskirts of Old Town (Kerasma), then walked one of the less-crowded streets. Found a wonderful shop with handmade olive wood items on Pythagoreas street. Wonderful day! Santorini: Saw Fira and Oia with the help of a private guide (Santorini Private Tours). Had a great lunch, tour and wine tasting at the Venetsanos Winery; enjoyed the Atlantis Bookstore in Oia. Love it here! Taormina: shared a (van) taxi up to Taormina which was 40 Euro total. Walked the crowded street, walked up to the theater. Basically walked and stopped for drinks and snacks all day--this was a short day in port. Amalfi: Took the ship excursion boat to Positano (this was a big boat with 50-75 people, not a small motorboat) where we walked to the top, shopped, walked down, sat in a cafe by the beach, then motored back to Amalfi. In Amalfi, the church is beautiful, we found a wonderful paper shop, and had a great lunch at Taverna Buonvicinio Embarkation and disembarkation were quick and painless, as was the muster drill. All in all, we are enthusiastic and satisfied Azamara cruisers, and this cruise reinforced that. We like the long days in port, and the ease of getting on and off the ship, packaged in a casual, relaxed and friendly atmosphere which we love. It very much suits our approach to life and travel. We will definitely be back with Azamara! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Our 2nd Journey trek and we were actually impressed how much the service has actually improved.... and I didn’t think here was much room for that. The staff could not be better....from knowing your drink favorite to opening your cabin ... Read More
Our 2nd Journey trek and we were actually impressed how much the service has actually improved.... and I didn’t think here was much room for that. The staff could not be better....from knowing your drink favorite to opening your cabin door and everything in between. Food...excellent in every way..variety, presentation, quality all good. Prime C excellent as always, Aquilina has good apps but the mains seemed strange. My only single negative is the lack of guitar or string group or soloist. I know it’s an individual like/dislike but it sure would be nice having a quality soloist in Moszaic and around the ship. I don’t dare mention any staff in particular less I forget one. ALL were excellent. I love not having to sign every time you want a drink. I know you “pay” up front but it’s nice. This cruise even the fellow passengers were all fun and interesting. All very well traveled ... what’s not to love about Aussie and UK “stories” over dinner or drinks. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, we had never heard of Azamara. When booking we thought was quite expensive but as I can only travel during school holidays and this cruise fitted in with that. Embarkation was very smooth and quick, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, we had never heard of Azamara. When booking we thought was quite expensive but as I can only travel during school holidays and this cruise fitted in with that. Embarkation was very smooth and quick, but had to wait 2 hrs for our cabin to be ready. The cabin 8021 inside stateroom was pleasantly spacious with a queen size bed and plenty of storage couch and 42" TV. All the crew and staff were always friendly. The dining was superb with plenty of options. We chose to go on azamara excursions and felt we were looked after very well even though they are a bit more expensive i definitely think it was worth it. The one time in banckok we did our own thing we were overcharged for taxi and boat trip etc and did not feel safe so for AsiaI would recommend sticking to ship tours. Entertainment could have been better. Went to a couple of shows which were good but others like opera we are not into. There was the living room for late night entertainment but not much on here. The DJ played the same playlist every night and it got quite boring. They need to up their game here and make it a more fun place to be. Much better fun to be had down at the smoking area where people tended to gather and get their drinks served here instead. Overall we enjoyed this trip. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This is our 2nd trip on Journey but our first to NZ and Australia. The ship is an ideal size. Big enough to have plenty of activities and a good selection of dining options but small enough that you hardly ever have to stand in line for ... Read More
This is our 2nd trip on Journey but our first to NZ and Australia. The ship is an ideal size. Big enough to have plenty of activities and a good selection of dining options but small enough that you hardly ever have to stand in line for anything. Both this trip and the last trip we were on, the Adriatic Sea, the service was excellent. The crew is friendly from the cabin stewards to the Captain and other officers. The ship is tastefully decorated - common areas and the cabin. The cabin was roomy enough for our 2 week cruise. There were plenty of areas to relax in - quiet and lively, indoor and outdoors. We especially like that you normally have plenty of time in port, so you can get to know the countries and towns you are visiting. My only small criticism is the excursions seem a bit pricy so we mainly made our own arrangements. I would recommend a broader selection and more competitive pricing. They also were very concerned on making sure we all stayed healthy with hand sanitizer dispensers every where and requiring the staff to only 'fist bump' with the passengers and each other. The service really stands out on Azamara, whether you are in the restaurants, boarding the ship or just having your cabin cleaned. High grades to Azamara and we would recommend them highly. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
The ship was comfortable, our cabin was kept fresh and clean and had ample storage, we enjoyed diverse excursions and activities (unhosted knitting group was great!), the food was stellar, and the crew never cease to amaze me with friendly ... Read More
The ship was comfortable, our cabin was kept fresh and clean and had ample storage, we enjoyed diverse excursions and activities (unhosted knitting group was great!), the food was stellar, and the crew never cease to amaze me with friendly greetings after not seeing some of them in a couple of years. It was personal and lovely. Azamara is not a child-oriented cruise line. To socialize expect mostly retirees and at the least... Adults. We booked two more Azamara vacations and look forward to those very much. The perks offered when booking ahead while onboard tipped our decision to do so. The officers circulate and make a point of engaging with guests to be sure all is well. They are personable and committed to making Azamara travel a great experience. Recently Azamara entered an arrangement with Feinstein's 54 Below and the performers which came onboard were very good. Also wonderful, in New Zealand, were Maori singers/dancers. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We enjoyed our first sailing on the Journey. We have sailed six times on the Quest and enjoyed every single cruise. Trip went well from embarkation even with the ship completely booked it never felt crowded. The guest speaker was ... Read More
We enjoyed our first sailing on the Journey. We have sailed six times on the Quest and enjoyed every single cruise. Trip went well from embarkation even with the ship completely booked it never felt crowded. The guest speaker was outstanding but we would have liked to have additional speakers that gave us history on the areas we were visiting. Also, expected info on port visits prior to arriving; not referring to ship hosted tours. Tours seem to be getting more and more expensive. Ship's crew and staff were outstanding!! Many remembered us from previous cruises. Dining was excellent throughout the ship and "over the top" in Prime C. Several buffets were served in Discoveries during lunch and dinner and they were outstanding. Azamara is our first choice for cruising and we are looking forward to sailing on the newest ship in the Azamara family, the Pursuit in December 2018. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This was our second Azamara cruise (with a third booked). We like the size of the ship (650 passengers), the quality of food and excellent service from staff, the all-inclusive approach (good choice of included wines and drinks) and the ... Read More
This was our second Azamara cruise (with a third booked). We like the size of the ship (650 passengers), the quality of food and excellent service from staff, the all-inclusive approach (good choice of included wines and drinks) and the itineraries - specifically, the overnight stays in several ports (Hobart, Dunedin and Napier) keeps the pace just right (not rushing from port to port). Captain Magnus (Davidson) did an excellent job keeping his passengers updated. He's calm, informative and gets to the point. (For example, he was paying close attention to "Cyclone Gita" and reassured us we wouldn't be in her path - which we appreciated!) The onboard entertainment was a bit uneven, although strong points were dancers Sasha and Dima, vocalist Alicia Hill, and onboard pianist Max. Our stateroom was comfortable and well-appointed, but the shower needed some attention (peeling wallpaper). Tasmania exceeded our expectations, and Milford Sound was spectacular; Dunedin, Picton, Napier and Tauranga were also beautiful and offered a good variety of onshore activities and excursions. However, compared to cruising with Azamara in the Mediterranean, the Tasmanian and New Zealand docking locations were mainly "industrial" (containers and warehouses), but at least we managed to dock at a pier and walk off the ship at all stops but one. Despite a few quibbles, Azamara gets it "right" for the most part and their staff provide an excellent cruise experience for the price charged. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We were originally planning a driving holiday to New Zealand in February but when this cruise popped up in an email from our travel agent it seemed a great opportunity. We were attracted by the size of the ship and the inclusions. It was a ... Read More
We were originally planning a driving holiday to New Zealand in February but when this cruise popped up in an email from our travel agent it seemed a great opportunity. We were attracted by the size of the ship and the inclusions. It was a bit disappointing that we did not leave from the Overseas Cruise Terminal but instead from White Bay but embarkation was smooth. We thoroughly enjoyed the 14 days. The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra concert followed by the fireworks was truly 'Azamazing'! The organisation and attention to detail in all areas was impressive. It was no surprise that many people had cruised with Azamara before and I think we will also become repeat guests. We were impressed with the food quality and variety especially in Discoveries Restaurant but not big fans of the times when the only option was a buffet. We ate at Aquilina and Prime C but on the whole found we were just as happy at Discoveries. We also enjoyed the breakfast and lunch offerings at Windows, especially good for fresh fruit and salads. The lectures by Dr Fopp were an unexpected highlight. 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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