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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
This was our first time on Azamara and we chose it because of the itinerary and because we wanted to try the brand. We are regular cruisers having done it many times on many different ships. Firstly the good bits. Our club continent ... Read More
This was our first time on Azamara and we chose it because of the itinerary and because we wanted to try the brand. We are regular cruisers having done it many times on many different ships. Firstly the good bits. Our club continent suite butler and the other room attendants were excellent. Very efficient, friendly and provided us with moments of great humour. We enjoyed having access to the spa area deck at the front of the ship as it was quieter though people were very guilty of booking loungers and especially the bed and this WASN'T policed at all. The down side was there was no shade other than the one double bed - which was always booked by towels at dawn! I won't say much about the voyage itself or Cuba as a previous reviewer has said most of what I would have said. Cuba is definitely worth a visit but do it by ship as they have no idea about prices and the two tier currency has resulted in way way over-charging for everything - they think tourists are stupid as well as rolling in money. Sadly, hardly anybody bought anything as the prices were simply extortionate which is a pity as we would have been happy to put money into the economy but NOT to be ripped off. If the Cuban government doesn't wake up and realise where they are going wrong tourism will dry up as nobody will go twice or if they do they won't stay there unless it's on a ship. I agree with other reviewers that the entertainment was very poor indeed. We saw only one show that we stayed for and the pianist in the lounge by the casino was entertaining but not sufficient to keep guests happy for a 10 day cruise. Of all the cruises we have been on this was the worst entertainment offering we've experienced. There was no variation in style, too much jazz, and no guest artistes until the last night - when we were all packing. Eric was talented and amusing but that was it!! The Sparkling Trio did not sparkle (though the singer had a good voice) - the keyboard player either looked like he was about to punch someone or lay down and cry. Back to Azamara Journey. I have some dietary needs. I wrote details of these to Azamara several months before we got on board. When we got on board there was a letter saying I would be met by the Restaurant Manager and Executive Chef at a specific time at a specific location. We turned up but they did not. We actually met with someone from the restaurant staff and handed over a further copy of the email I had pre-written to Azamara containing my dietary needs. They mentioned me having to order the previous night for the following day. This is not at all uncommon and I have had to do this on other ships but it DOES NOT work on Azamara. We have taken in excess of 15 cruises in the past 6 years alone. Firstly, other ships ensure you are served by the same servers or at the very least that you are looked after by one individual senior member of staff who ensures that, whatever restaurant you are eating in, you get the menus for the following day and talks through your choices. This only sort of worked c 50% of the time on Azamara and this was because there was NOBODY who took responsibility for it. Additionally, on every other ship the person looking after me has made suggestions for dishes so that what was on the menu could be adjusted or indeed they have made helpful suggestions and ensured that I could have something entirely different that was not on the menu. Azamara isn't even close when it comes to this. Further issues - I was ill several times on this ship due to cross contamination with gluten. The Patio and the Coffee Lounge - both have nothing, or next to nothing, that I could eat so I could not have the same range of choices to eat or even choice of venues to eat. If we got back too late for a main dining area I got nothing!! The buffet ahead of the Azamazing night had a huge range of foods BUT nothing that I could eat. I had to get someone to cook something quickly for me which turned out to be a dry piece of tough meat - THAT IS APPALLING! At the White Night party the only things available to me were lobster, steak and salad - NOTHING ELSE. We spoke to one officer serving at one table and said that it looked like everything had gluten in it and he actually laughed and said yes that's correct. We said it was no laughing matter and walked off. We had to leave the party to go and eat in the restaurant where I had no choices (only one thing suitable for me) because I hadn't had the chance to pre-book. We were invited to the cocktail party for Discovery Plus/Suite guests but AGAIN there was not ONE yes I repeat NOT ONE canape that I could eat. We asked and instead of fetching something for me (that happens on other ships) we just got a "no, we have nothing" response. The so called "Special Brunch" in the Discovery restaurant was a nightmare. Nothing had been labelled properly. I eventually asked to speak with the chef but when he came out his attitude was dreadful. He kicked off by saying "this is all gluten free and you can eat anything". When I asked did that include the muffins in the eggs benedict he said "no, not them" and I then queried whether any of the bread or pastries were gluten free and he again said "no - not these". I pointed out that all of the hot dishes - the chicken, the fish, the beef - all said they contained gluten and he said that was correct. He then turned on his heels and left! You couldn't make this up. The ship's crew knew they had at least 4 gluten free guests on board - I spoke to most of these other guests - but the staff didn't seem to care. I paid the same as other guests and more than many. Indeed we were Discovery Plus Suite Guests but were made to feel like 3rd class guests. I was left a slip of paper in our suite that contained a long list of gluten free options that were supposedly available. I discovered that this was a work of pure fiction. Many of the supposed choices were not available - even when specifically requested - and other comments were simply a lie. "Majority of soups and sauces do not contain gluten" - this is not true as I often had to have my meat, fish or other items served dry and the soup FREQUENTLY had gluten in it. When I asked for a gluten free version, giving a day's notice, it also turned out to be thin and flavourless - apparently many of your staff believe cream contains gluten! Can I please also respectfully suggest that at least one member of senior management actually tries to eat the current gluten free offerings - the bread, the croissant, the pastry, etc. With the exception of the coconut cookies the rest all taste like sawdust. The Aqualina and Prime C were much better than the other eating areas on the ship (both food and service) but had limited menus. The Patio Grill was unwelcoming and of no use as they said they couldn't keep things separate when cooking to ensure it was gluten free. They cater for Vegetarian and Vegan - because that's a trendy lifestyle choice - but not if the food can actually make you ill!! The main restaurant was poor. They are by far and away the worst offerings I have been served at sea for many years. Gluten free food has improved greatly but - it seems - not on Azamara. The above is the main reason why we would not want to sail with these ships again and why we could not in all conscience recommend them to our friends or family. Additional to the above, the drinks packages are crazy. We paid for the Ultimate drinks package because my husband's favourite tipple is Laphroaig whisky and we also like Perrier water and a decent Gin. I like Champagne, Grand Marnier and nice wine but drink very little. The ship had only one bottle of Laphroaig on the whole ship and this was in the sunset bar that wasn't open after dinner. Furthermore bar staff were mostly too busy (or unwilling) to go and get it so my husband had this only twice on the cruise. We feel decidedly cheated. One evening we asked if we could have a dessert wine. We were told that there were none in the package and only one port available. This is DESPITE the fact that all of the dessert wines and most of the ports cost less than the champagne that IS allowed in the package. This is truly nonsensical - and the staff agreed they found it hard to explain to guests. Most ships do a monetary limit which is clearer and more sensible. We asked what would happen if we wanted a glass of wine or other drink that was 1 or 2 dollars over the cost of the champagne or most expensive wine. We were told we would pay the full cost and not just pay the difference as other ships do. I did bring the problems we were having with getting decent gluten free food and our other queries to the attention of senior officers on more than one occasion but nothing changed. Indeed, we got very fed up with having to raise the problems - we were meant to be on holiday after all. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We recently completed a 10 day cruise around Cuba on the Azamara Journey. This was our 4th cruise in total and our first on Azamara. We chose Azamara mostly because of the itinerary and that it's a small ship experience marketed as ... Read More
We recently completed a 10 day cruise around Cuba on the Azamara Journey. This was our 4th cruise in total and our first on Azamara. We chose Azamara mostly because of the itinerary and that it's a small ship experience marketed as being more upscale and luxurious than the typical mega-ships. We have been wanting to visit Cuba since they opened it up to Americans and thought a cruise would be a great way to see more than just Havana. After some initial snafus with our reservation that was graciously resolved by Bonnie over on the CruiseCritic discussion boards, we boarded in Miami for our 10 circle trip around the Cuban island with stops in Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos and Havana. The most appealing part of the itinerary was the promise of multi-day stays in port rather than the usual arrive-at-8am-leave-at-5pm schedules of other cruise lines. Which leads me to our first big gripe with Azamara: it was only after plotting the arrival/departure times on the calendar that we realized that the "extended" time in port was very misleading. On the itinerary, it listed only 1 day at sea but in actuality we ended up with almost 4 full sea days. For example, days 3 & 4 were listed as in port in Santiago, however, we arrived at 8am on Tuesday and left at 6am Wednesday. That's not 2 days - that's one day + one night. Wednesday turned out to be really a sea day but that's not how it was shown on the schedule. Same for Cienfuegos on Friday/Saturday. We arrived Friday morning but left the dock 8am on Sat and didn't arrive Havana until Sunday evening. That's almost a day and half at sea. We really only got 1 full day at each of these ports and just 2 days in Havana instead of 3. We talked to several others who felt that Azamara was very misleading in the marketing about the time in port. I know that ships can't magically teleport from one location to the next but it would have been less confusing if the itinerary matched reality so we knew what to expect and plan our excursions accordingly. Azamara highlights that they have more immersive itineraries by allowing more time in port but I don't think it counts when that time is spent sleeping. Second major disappointment was the overall lack of service throughout the ship. While the crew and waitstaff were generally good and always very courteous, it was decidedly less than what you'd expect from a "luxury" cruise line. Water glasses frequently went unfilled and you had to hunt around for someone to take your order or answer a question. The exception to that was for some reason the waitstaff was always there in a flash to whisk away your empty plate or glass - like there was a reprimand waiting for them if they left dirty dishes about but initial orders or refills were often slow to arrive. Other couples we met onboard talked about their past cruises on Regent or SilverSea and how the staff fell over themselves trying to serve you and worked hard to anticipate your needs rather than wait to be called upon. While service was not bad, per se...it just wasn't on par with other luxury brands or even some mainstream brands like Celebrity. This brings me to the third major criticism and that was the food. The buffet was really disappointing as was the grill out by the pool. The food looked very nice and there was always good selection but it was also exceptionally bland and lacking flavor. Almost like salt and spices are forbidden in the kitchen. Several times we were let down by something that looked amazing only to be utterly tasteless. For example, the prime rib was very drab. How a kitchen can make a staple dish like prime rib boring and totally lacking in flavor is beyond me. The main dining room was a bit better and we ate there most nights. Eventually we learned what things to avoid and how to ask for specific items we had had before. Most nights the menu followed a theme chosen by the chef. There were some rather odd choices some nights that really wasn't all that exciting, however you could always order a selection from the a la cart menu. The daily wine selections were usually pretty good and we never felt the need to buy the special bottles listed at considerable upsell prices. We had the Premium beverage package which was adequate for our needs but you could see there are some shennanigans going on with the way liquor selections are structured. It's all intended to get you to go with the Ultimate package instead at $22/day. For us it wasn't worth it and we just paid for the few top shelf drinks individually. The premium package includes all beers and most lower tier "well" spirits and mixed drinks which is fine for most people unless you have a specific liquor preference. Many specialty drinks like caipirinas, desert wines and top shelf liquors are excluded and require separate purchase at full price. It's a little confusing as to what drinks are part of which package and I believe this is intentional. We only got to try the specialty restaurant once and we really liked it in spite of the $30 per person cover. Had we known before that the buffet and main dining would be so lacking we would have made reservations at Prime C or Agualina every night. Reservations filled up quickly however - especially for the last night at sea. Another intentional method to get you to upsell over and above what's included. I booked a massage at the spa for the first sea day and it was very good. I was not expecting the sales pitch for their high priced lotions so just be aware that they'll try to sell you at the end. Also, spa services automatically include an 18% gratuity so don't feel pressured to add extra tip. Otherwise the spa is rather underwhelming and not worth the high prices. There's a special sun deck and hot tub just for spa patrons but I don't see how it's worth the extra price. The exercise room is just off the spa and while adequate for getting a workout in, there isn't much in the way of equipment. The usual treadmills, stationary bikes and nautilus-type weights. We booked a guaranteed outside cabin and the room was fine. A little small of course but perfectly adequate. I should have splurged for a veranda instead but ultimately it was fine for our needs. With the extra time at sea and most of our time in port dedicated to excursions, we didn't spend a huge amount of time in the cabin anyway. Our stewards were fantastic and were like ninjas - always slipping in to replace towels and straighten up while we were out. They greeted us by name each morning. We were assigned cabin 6004 which is an oversized outside stateroom at the very front of the ship on deck 6 port side. It is extra long which allows it much more space than usual - about the size of a typical hotel room. This is due to the space where the balcony is in the veranda staterooms is replaced with a large round picture window approx 4 feet in diameter. It creates a bit of a "fishbowl" experience but it was perfectly fine as we spent most of our time outside anyway. There is a small loveseat and coffee table in addition to the desk & chair. Plenty of room to move around and we were not bumping into each other except for in/out of the bathroom and around the bottom of the bed (which is the same layout for all other non-suite cabins). Being at the front of the ship you definitely feet the movement - both up & down and side to side rocking. Might be worse on really rough seas. We could hear/feel rumblings down below when the boat pitched upward that I suspect were the stabilizers kicking in. It's a smaller ship so this was very common throughout the boat even in the aft dining room. My wife is prone to seasickness and was initially worried about the location, however she did not have any problems. Other issue with the location was the noise from the anchor chains and vibration from the front thrusters when entering and leaving port. This was temporary however and we did not find it too bothersome except for it waking us up at 5am on the last day. As our cabin was directly above the Cabaret Lounge on deck 5, we could hear the bass and drums during band practice and evening performances. This might annoy some people but we didn't really have any problem with it as the shows are rather short anyway. There is a connecting door to the suite next door and we occasionally heard muffled voices thru the walls and from the hallway but somebody suggested putting a towel or bathrobe against the floor and this worked to block out both noise and light. Otherwise the cabin is very quiet, secluded and dark. Bathroom is tiny and takes some getting used to with regards to maneuvering - especially the shower. The shower curtain clings to you but we found if you put the bottom edge of the curtain outside the stall (there is a groove in the floor leading to a drain outside the shower) then it helps to create some additional space. Not a lot of space to spread out so you have to be creative with storage. This is true on any cruise ship however. Bed was super comfortable with nice linens and comforter. A/C was great and kept the temperature perfect. Closet organizer was efficient and adequate with plenty of storage. Mirrors and lighting was terrific. Note to others...do NOT attempt to bring onboard any kind of travel iron or clothes steamer. Ours was confiscated from my wife's luggage upon embarkation. There was no mention of portable steamers being prohibited in the boarding documentation but they said they can set off the fire detectors. The self service laundry on deck 7 has ironing boards and irons as well as laundry supplies. The machines are free but limited so you have to be diligent and strategic about timing in order to get a load or two done ahead of others. One other gripe...the onboard Internet was so slow it was almost completely useless. Thankfully we did not pay extra for this otherwise we would have been really upset. Eric, our cruise director was fabulous and very funny. His "grandpa" jokes were groaners but perfectly pitched for the audience. He and the captain even formed a bit of a comedic duo on the daily announcements. You can tell Eric has a definite flair for Broadway showtunes as the music was decidedly tilted towards that genre. Overall the performances by the singers and dancers were very good and entertaining with a good mix of contemporary and traditional music. I'm sure some of the older crowds didn't fully appreciate the ABBA night show. The lounge pianist was charming and the trio band was pleasant. They played upstairs in the Living Room at night and by the pool during the day and at sail aways. It added to the overall pleasantness of the cruise. Nothing was offensive or too wild - nor was it just Perry Como elevator music either. It was a good balance of entertainment for the crowd which definitely skewed a little higher on the age scale than the brochures allude to. The White Night party was held in port at Cienfuegos and it was the highlight of our trip. The food buffets were over the top and truly gluttonous. Lines were long - especially for the lobster tails but there was something for everyone. The music was fantastic and everyone's spirits were very high. Eric led an actual conga line around the pool area and had a very memorable duet with one of the passengers. It was really a great party and something to look forward to. We ended up booking a couple of Azamara sponsored excursions and a couple independent trips on our own. In Santiago, we found a local taxi driver who took us to a couple of places like Castro's grave and the memorial to Jose Marti. We saw the changing of the guard at the national cemetery and had lunch in a local paladar with our taxi driver. We got to sit down and chat with him about the country and his life which was very interesting since his English was as limited as our Spanish. In Cienfuegos, we opted for the excursion to the El Nicho waterfalls about an hour away. This involved a hike in the mountains over some pretty steep terrain although the views at the end were worth it. We also got to visit an artist commune and watched some interpretive dances which was strange to say the least. Grand Cayman - we had been there before on a different cruise and there's really nothing else to do but go to the beach. We decided to walk which was a mistake in 90+ degree heat and humidity. We caught a bus back to the dock for $5 bucks. We arrived in Havana Saturday night. We booked the show at the Cabaret Parisian rather than the Tropicana. From what we heard the Tropicana was probably a better choice but the shows are essentially the same. It was a late night however as the show didn't start until 10pm and we didn't get back to the ship until midnight. Sunday we had arranged for a private tour guide through HavanaTourCompany.com. Our guide was awesome and even managed to deal with including a couple we met onboard at the last minute. We had a fabulous lunch in Old Havana then took a walking tour and convertible ride through the city and to Fusterlandia outside of the city where we bought some original artwork. We saw all the main sights and learned about the history, finishing up that night with dinner and a show at La Taberna. It's definitely worth it to use an independent tour guide in Havana and not go with the overpriced tours offered by the cruise line. You get better pricing, a customized itinerary and the guides are little more open to talking about their lives than the "official" government approved Havanatur. Monday morning we did the coffee, rum and cigar factory tour. We visited the Partaga cigar factory (which makes 25 other brands like Cohiba and Montecristo). It was a literal sweat shop with 4 floors of un-air conditioned rooms and workers hand rolling cigars for pennies a day. We were then bussed around the city to several government shops to buy cigars and rum getting a bit of a guided tour along the way. Rum and cigars are the same price everywhere (state controlled) so don't feel pressured to buy them on the tours. We were warned not to buy cigars on the street however as there are no guarantees as to quality. It helps to know in advance what you're looking for in terms of brand, sizes and shape. Expect to pay approx 50% less than you can find authentic Cuban cigars elsewhere (Canada for example). Originally the AzAmazing Evening was scheduled for our evening in Santiago but was changed at the last minute to our arrival night in Havana. Since we had already booked a show we ended up passing on this event. We heard it was rather interesting - a special ballet performance at the Grand Theater. Overall, we were pleased with our first Azamara cruise and we even booked a second one to Alaska next July - this time with a balcony. We enjoyed our trip and would recommend it to others with the caveat that it all depends on your expectations going in. Some things were great compared to a typical cruise - most standard drinks are included as are tips. There are some areas where you still get nickle & dimed but it's not nearly as bad as the major lines. The smaller ship is a double edged sword - it's more intimate with much fewer passengers but it's also a rather boring ship with not a whole lot to do if you're the type that requires constant excitement. The demographics skew older with not a single child onboard. Most were in their 60's, 70's or 80's although there were a few younger gay couples as well. The marketing material would have you believe that Azamara is a luxury cruise line - on par with other luxury brands like Regent, SilverSea or Paul Gaugin. In the end, it's a bit like first class on Delta or United Airlines...yes, it is a much better experience than flying coach but it's also no comparison to foreign carriers like Singapore or Emirates. Go in with the proper expectations and you'll have a great time. 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
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We sailed on Azamara Journey from Barcelona 29-Sept-18 to Rome 6-Oct-18. Cabin 7121. This was our first sailing with Azamara, our 15th cruise overall. Anxious to try out the smaller ship we were looking forward to this itinerary and ... Read More
We sailed on Azamara Journey from Barcelona 29-Sept-18 to Rome 6-Oct-18. Cabin 7121. This was our first sailing with Azamara, our 15th cruise overall. Anxious to try out the smaller ship we were looking forward to this itinerary and stopping in some smaller ports the itinerary offered. Embarkation was incredibly easy, only issue was finding the ship location as it differed from the address listed on embarkation documents. We boarded the ship with no lines. Upon boarding the ship we were a bit surprised to see the electronic blackjack and roulette machines in the casino which is located immediately upon embarkation. We immediately booked our specialty restaurants and signed up for the ultimate beverage package. Doing our homework prior to sailing, we knew exactly what we wanted to do. The rooms were ready immediately as promised (1:30 PM) and our luggage was waiting for us. We unpacked and found the room to be adequate for our 7-day journey. We really had no space complaints. The bathroom shower curtain and caulking throughout the bottom of the shower was a little unsettling, but really, this was our only negative review of the room. Everything else was positive. We loved our ports of call. The best part was the Captain making a game-time decision to leave our first port early so that we could safely arrive in Marseille before the wind storm scheduled to arrive the next day. The crew and Captain were wonderful keeping us all informed. Meals were good. We ate at Prime C, Aquafina, Discoveries & Chef Table. Our favorite was Aquafina. We learned upon embarkation that our White Night was in Monte Carlo which was a little disappointing as we had dinner reservations in port that night. We cancelled our dinner reservations to attend White Night party. We arrived a little later as we wanted to spend more time in port only to discover there was no seating and we were rushed to hurry and get some food prior to food stations closing. The staff on the cruise were all very nice. I do say that we miss the evening entertainment of Celebrity martini bar and real dealers in the casino. Its our understanding that the Journey recently replaced dealers with electronic machines. This is too bad and a huge disappointment. The machines even broke down while we were playing them. We hear this isn't the case on the Quest and really hope that Azamara reconsiders the decision to get rid of the live dealers. For the most part we had a great experience on Azamara and plan to return for a 2019 Asian cruise. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After taking the Italian peninsula cruise last year on the Azamara Quest,( from Rome to Venice) we were looking forward to another wonderful vacation. Unfortunately we were very disappointed. The ports of call along the Spanish coast ... Read More
After taking the Italian peninsula cruise last year on the Azamara Quest,( from Rome to Venice) we were looking forward to another wonderful vacation. Unfortunately we were very disappointed. The ports of call along the Spanish coast were not interesting and the ports themselves were more commercial than pleasurable with working cranes, ferry boats and warehouses in full view of the ship. The boat docked so far away from the main points of interests that it was a chore to just get to the sights. The main dining room was more often closed than open for lunch and both the food and wine was sub standard. (Evening meals were better, but not the wine selection There was not enough staff to keep things going smoothly. At Cadiz and Gilbraltar there should have been a shuttle to get passengers within walking distance of the major attractions. The cabins looked a bid worn and twice during the cruise there was rattling within the wall that kept us awake. All and all not u[ to our expectations. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We feel that we are out growing Celebrity and are looking to find a place for us to continue cruising. Sadly Azamara wasn't the fit for us. Azamara is a lovely cruise line but it seems to cater to an older and a more sedate crowd. We ... Read More
We feel that we are out growing Celebrity and are looking to find a place for us to continue cruising. Sadly Azamara wasn't the fit for us. Azamara is a lovely cruise line but it seems to cater to an older and a more sedate crowd. We prefer a more lively bar scene and love the martini bar on celebrity. We never found a place that really had a big enough bar to allow for a lively bar scene. They did have a DJ in the Living room on the 10th floor in the later hours which was great! but there really was no place to grab a bite to eat after all the drinking before you went to bed so we found ourselves a little hung over each morning when a little food; even a slice of pizza might have helped absorb the liquor. The DJ area was very popular every night with about 100 people so I think Azamara needs to address this problem and put out a few munchies as everyone was asking for the same thing, "where they can get a little bite to eat?" I know there is room service but just a few munchies would solve the problem easily. The people in their 60's are going to be the future of Azamara cruising and when the redo their ships they should try to work this in to their "Living room" allowing for the older crowd to still continue the wonderful experience they love but then adding the top floor for the upcoming generation of cruisers with the more lively bars scene...maybe even adding that martini bar which is a great signature of Celebrity!! Other than that the Azamara line was wonderful, the food and service far higher than Celebrity; a BIG step up in quality! The captain was so accessible and I was surprised with the entertainment they could put out within a smaller ship. You can tell the Journey is in need of a dry dock refurbishment but they try to keep it looking as good as they can.I will check back occasionally to see if they start to "young up" the ship and the activities and once that happens I will definitely travel with Azamara in a minute!!! 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
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
An unusual itinerary and a keen price.. The itinerary from which we booked showed arrival in Greenwich on 9th September at 1.15pm tendered. The ship was late and the tendering procedure using local tenders was appalling. The tender ... Read More
An unusual itinerary and a keen price.. The itinerary from which we booked showed arrival in Greenwich on 9th September at 1.15pm tendered. The ship was late and the tendering procedure using local tenders was appalling. The tender journey was short (approximately 5 minutes)but the one tender provided took 30 or 40 minutes to make a round trip. The result was that a huge line built up and we did not reach the shore until just before 4pm. All the local attractions such as the Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum, Queens House and the Observatory closed at 5pm. As a result we had barely an hour to look at anything. This rendered the day a wholly inadequate visit. We made many complaints to the officers in charge of tendering while we were standing waiting but they did nothing to speed up the process. We even asked the captain to get something done but astonishingly he said he was not responsible for the tendering. Azamara must take responsibility for making the completely ineffective arrangements. There was nobody on shore from Azamara and this omission meant there was no one expediting the turn round of the tender. Since it was a Sunday there were many other people using the Greenwich pier for river trips but Azamara completely failed to get the company they had appointed to provide an acceptable service. The consequence was that the call at Greenwich started by asking us to stand in line for an hour or more and then to be faced with the impossibility of seeing the places we had anticipated visiting because they were on the point of closing. The next day's disembarkation was in total contrast. It went smoothly with many Azamara staff on shore to speed the process. The cruise itself was pleasant but the weather could have been better. We did not like Bremerhaven as all the notices on shore including in the museums were only in German. There was a u boat on display and a railway truck used to transport Jews. Amsterdam was excellent as usual although it was frustrating not to be able to buy museum tickets at the door. The Amazing evening was a classical concert which was excellent if a little short. The dining room chairs in the main dining room looked good but were uncomfortable. The library was furnished badly and used to be much better. We enjoyed the Tapas every evening in the living room (observation lounge). A pity that a third of the front windows were blocked by the bandstand and that some of the sofas faced inwards rather than looking at the view. In contrast the outer ring of sunbeds on the pool deck faced outwards. Apart from the day in Greenwich we enjoyed the cruise. 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
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise specifically for the 3 full days in St. Petersburg. What we liked: --easy getting on board --smaller ship, easier to get off for excursions (other than first day in StP which is due to customs) and you are ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically for the 3 full days in St. Petersburg. What we liked: --easy getting on board --smaller ship, easier to get off for excursions (other than first day in StP which is due to customs) and you are stopped as close to the city as possible, this is great --self laundry available at no cost and soap provided --entertainment was good --cabin service good, including room service available 24/7 (no complimentary drink service to rooms in our category, but there will be in 2020) --Azamazing evening was wonderful --White night party was very nice --our favourite meal was at Aqualina, followed by white night buffet and then the first night seafood buffet --the gym is very well equipped What we were less fond of: --food & service in the Discoveries restaurant was just average, we eat well and go out to great restaurants so our expectations may be set higher than for some --complimentary beverage list is very limited, even for us who are not big drinkers. White wine was terrible on a couple of days. At this cost why? I understand charging for truly premium brands and great wine for not the rest of it. --we pre-paid 3 nights at the 2 specialty restaurants, we tried to change our reservation for PrimeC as the white night party moved dates - instead of moving us they cancelled our booking and it was an argument to get a new reservation --wifi was horribly slow, we paid for the unlimited package - not worth the cost IMO --I don't know what the purpose of guest services is, not helpful when I spoke with them --one of our pre-booked shore excursions was cancelled and they only notify you onboard - you're then stuck re-booking in US $ which has an impact --we booked 2 shore excursions with the ship, enjoyed the bike tour but the other was "meh", if you know you don't like group tours then keep this in mind --disembarking was a total gong show, booked ship bus transfer to train station which is a TOTAL rip off and they were totally disorganized and ran much later than communicated to us, taxis were really not available - a handful with many waiting for them, both of our bags were tagged #21 but one was placed with the #12 bags--we were lucky to find it Excursions: --we did a private tour with Alla in StP and it was WELL worth the $$ --Helsinki is easy to visit on your own --Riga, Klaipeda are very small towns and could easily be visited on own, we went to Curonian Spit in Klaipeda and it's beautiful but I couldn't figure out how to get there without the tour --Malbork Castle (Gdansk) is beautiful but leaves little time in Gdansk itself. Gdansk could be done on your own --Ronne not much to see IMO 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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise for the ports visited, The Cruise ship for the passenger size and a Balcony Stateroom for watching the world go by. Firstly the ports we visited were all great. some were via tender boat and others berthed close to ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports visited, The Cruise ship for the passenger size and a Balcony Stateroom for watching the world go by. Firstly the ports we visited were all great. some were via tender boat and others berthed close to town. On this cruise the embarkation process took such a long time with the ports telling us we would commence boarding at 11:30am when in fact it was 12:30pm. The luggage did not arrive to our room until 4:00pm after multiple attempts I was advised it was still in the port enclosure even though it was dropped off early at 9:00am. This was not a good start to what I was hoping would be a great voyage. disembarkation took no more than 10 minutes and luggage was sitting in bays to pick up straight away at Copenhagen. The room was nice (could have had a fitted sheet on the bottom cover of the bed though) and the balcony was great but the bathroom was so small when you sat on the toilet you would have to remove the toilet roll to save cutting your leg on the metal holder cover. The Shower was so small that if you dropped the soap you would have to get out of the shower to pick it up and worst still there was no shower glass door only a fabric (Plastic) shower screen. This is unheard off in a promoted luxury cruise ship. The food at all the restaurants was good and we mostly ate at the windows café except to use up our OBC's we ate at Aquilinas and Prime C on three occasions. These restaurants I believe should be free or certainly 1 of each per cruise offered complementary to ALL cabin clases instead of $30:00 each or 3 for $70:00. The complimentary white wines were terrible as many were tried but did not taste very nice this should be looked into with the cruise promotions. The entertainment was not first class and it was a hit and miss thing with 2 of the stars brought on board doing fantastic shows and the on board entertainers just average for a promoted luxury cruise ship. The activities on board were well received and numerous. The room service team and on board staff in all areas we very friendly and helpful in every way certainly a big plus for Azamara recruiting here. The captain was also present a lot and very approachable for a chat. The free laundry service was well used by me and a big hit with other passengers too. The shore excursions were well over priced in all ports so we only took one (to use up the OBC's) as you could not do the tour at Olden independently as there is a closed shop set up between the cruise ships Shore departments and the operators from what I was told to do a tour along the lake I am yet to understand why when Azamara would book in bulk for tours that they are not offered cheaper than the local operators. The Locals are always a third or half cheaper for the same tour offered by the cruise line. All in all we had a great cruise to many ports we would normally not have visited and would like to thank Azamara. For a promoted luxury cruise line I would give it a 4 Star at the Max until improvements are made. . Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because we hoped it would be more luxurious, being the highest quality line that Royal Caribbean became but it was not. I would describe this as better than Celebrity (also RC) but not on par with Seaborne or other ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we hoped it would be more luxurious, being the highest quality line that Royal Caribbean became but it was not. I would describe this as better than Celebrity (also RC) but not on par with Seaborne or other similar ships. The food was decent. The speciality restaurants were not worth the money. The best place we ate was the Patio which was outside. A small menu but you can bring out food from the Cafe, which was decent. My main issue is that dinner ends early and you can’t get food after 9:30 other than room service. Many other cruise lines have a later night option. That would have been nice (if not expected). The rooms are small. The bathrooms very small. We had a veranda. Upgrade to the suite. Easy decision (which we did not make and should have). A suite on the ship is equivalent to a normal sized cabin on other cruises. We stayed on 7097. The main issue was that the service door was outside our room and we heard the door opening all of the time. Stay away from the service door for housekeeping. Laundry room has approx 8 machines. We managed to do laundry 3 times during our 12 night cruise. It can be crowded so plan accordingly. Usually best is if you get back from touring before the ship departs. Avoid the sea day. Three days in St Petersburg was nice. We used a private company (Alla Tours) for our tour. The ship excursions are not worth the money. Bigger complaint was that we stayed until 10:00 pm in Tallin — a total of waste — but left Amsterdam and Coppenhagen but 5:00 pm. That was absurd. We chose a smaller ship to stay later in port. This was a huge planning mistake. Also in Belgium, the trains were on strike. Azamara knew this but made no efforts to arrange for transportation to Bruge. Many people were stuck waiting for city buses that were far too few. Azamara should have arrange for buses — even if at a discount rate — into Bruge. Many people rightly commented that this was an example of how Azamara missed the opportunity to be a quality line. In the end, the trip was good but not luxurious. Better than a 2,000 passenger ship but there are other options for small ships too, like Wind Star. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We cruised the Baltic ports at the end of June on Journey. Previously we had sailed on Quest in Feb 2016, both ships being identical helped in navigating our way around. Both ships have been upgraded since and I was slightly disappointed ... Read More
We cruised the Baltic ports at the end of June on Journey. Previously we had sailed on Quest in Feb 2016, both ships being identical helped in navigating our way around. Both ships have been upgraded since and I was slightly disappointed that the BEIGE look in the cabins dominated, the heavy chairs in the dining room were ridiculously heavy and I needed help in getting closer to the table to eat. The Cabin stewards were wonderful and so helpful especially when i fell ill with sea sickness. My cabin steward brought me three cans of ginger ale and was so concerned about my well being. All crew were polite and willing to help. Food in the dining rooms was good, the speciality restaurants had gone up in price from $30 to $40 per person since we last cruised with Azamara. To be honest they were nothing special and I think the meals in Discoveries were far better. As for the entertainment, well, we didn’t bother as there was nothing to inspire us to go see and from the comments of other passengers we were correct in doing so. Surely, when docked in St Petersburg for three nights local Russian dancers could have been brough on to provide entertainment. The same in Tallin as we were in port until 10am. Cruise tours, no matter which line you travel on are always over priced. We booked a three day tour with Alla tours in St Petersburg which was excellent. So sad to say but, I think the luxury has gone out of Azamara and this worries me because we have a Christmas/NY cruise booked at the end on 2018 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
After recent cruises with Silversea and Crystal, chose this port-intensive eastern Mediterranean itinerary for our preferred dates. We liked Journey’s Resort Casual atmosphere, but you get the room size you pay for, with bathrooms ... Read More
After recent cruises with Silversea and Crystal, chose this port-intensive eastern Mediterranean itinerary for our preferred dates. We liked Journey’s Resort Casual atmosphere, but you get the room size you pay for, with bathrooms designed for hobbits. Unlike previous reviewers we enjoyed the entertainment: the excellent Standing Ovations opera quartet sang favourite tunes one night; another time an abridged version of Carmen in English, so you could follow the story. The Azamazing Evening chamber concert at Ephesus was very good but involved a lot of work behind the scenes for 40 minutes’ performance. There’s a good range of dining options. Deck 9 has the pool grill and Windows Café (buffet), both nice places if you don’t fancy much (or even if you do) or want to get to a show, say. The outdoor Sunset Bar is essentially part of Windows Café with a sea view. Portions are huge in the main dining room, Discoveries, though the menu doesn’t change much with just two daily specials. Tables are close together and it gets noisy. For several reasons, we had a disappointing meal there on our first night; after we mentioned this (tactfully) on the guest questionnaire two days later, we were impressed when the Assistant Maitre D’ came over to us to understand the issues and all of us were reassured. Service in Prime C was more refined with excellent steaks. It felt more like being in a Silversea restaurant, and was worth the supplement of $30 a head for a special occasion, but we did miss the White Nights party the same evening. Our fare came with $200 pp Onboard Credit which we put towards unlimited Wi-Fi (inevitably slow) and the Ultimate Drinks Package that includes Nespresso coffee and some of our favourite drinks. Most included wines were mediocre but we had some reasonable ones from New Zealand. We spent a lot of time with the friendly guys in Mosaics Café, but like all bars on Deck 5, it’s used as a thoroughfare. The ship was in port for full days plus some evenings, but we would also have enjoyed sailing by the Greek islands in daylight. We only went ashore ourselves for a few hours each day on organised tours. Most of these were reasonably interesting but no apology or recompense was forthcoming when the cable car in Santorini was suddenly closed and we had to descend hundreds of steps to the port. Tendering was efficient in the calm conditions, and the captain was often at the gangway to greet guests. The embarkation process at Piraeus was rather perfunctory. More irritatingly, on disembarkation day we were put on a coach transfer to Rome Airport that arrived 1½ hours before the bag-drop opened for our flight, even though we had queried the timing with Customer Services and other coaches left the ship later. 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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