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2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2015
This is our second cruise with Azamara, the first was 5 years ago on the Quest and we felt that there was a noticable deterioration in the service offering; this was especially noticeable in the quality of the food. On our previous cruise ... Read More
This is our second cruise with Azamara, the first was 5 years ago on the Quest and we felt that there was a noticable deterioration in the service offering; this was especially noticeable in the quality of the food. On our previous cruise we ate in Aqualina 2 nights and Prime C for one. We made the terrible mistake of booking Aqualina without first checking the menu: 2 of the 4 choices were veal (something that is not terribly popular in the US these days), one was a fried dish and the specialty menu item was spaghetti. The wine list has been so severely reduced that even the somollier seemed embarrased when one of the Pinot Grigios on the wine list was "too old to be served", the second was not on board..which left us with the one that the waitress said "was the most popular"..wonder why! To pay a $25 surcharge for this restaurant was insulting. The food in the main dining room was adequate, but also of lesser quality that we had previously experienced and in general the wait staff seems to want to push you to "eat and get out". While dining with friends we had to be blunt and simply tell them to go away while we enjoyed our wine and coffees. The WiFi on the ship is an embarrassment. We do understand that internet connections while at sea can be slow, but the application they use has a less than desireable interface and unless you expressly type in "logout" you may remain connected and your precious, and expensive minutes will disappear. There is an e connections lounge but it is only staffed minimally and when the officer in charge shows up there is typically a line of people with complaints and needing assistance. Other cruise lines simply offer free wifi. Whatever money RCL thinks they make on selling internet time is more than lost on passenger ill will. The guest services desk is staffed with people who are not well trained, but fortunately overseen by some knowledgeable individuals. We had pre-reserved our "Amazing" evening several months ago, and it was "confirmed" for Hvar. On the ship the promotion of the evening was for Split (which was indeed a spectacular and amazing evening). When I asked the guest services person if our reservation had automatically been moved from the Hvar evening to the Split evening, her first response was that "we had to go to....."; before she could complete the sentence a more experienced person stepped in and simply added us to the Hvar list, although we never got an answer to my question. Similarly when I asked about where we would find the location of the rental car desks (which are "at the port), we were initially told that they were in the same building where we disembarked. Fortunately an officer was nearby and corrected the young man's very incorrect information. Previously, on the Quest, we felt that the guest services staff was very well trained and informed. Self service laundry is a very important feature for most guests. The laundry room contained 4 washing machines, and from the time we embarked to the time we disembarked 25% of the machines wer broken. We wondered how long it had been broken and how long RCL would allow it to remain so, and assumed that they will just ignore the situation until the ship is pulled out for refurbishing (MUCH needed) in February. Overall we were disappointed to experience the diminution of the level of services provided, while overall the staff is very helpful (with the exception of the guest services staff). We did make an appointment with the cruise sales desk to get information on 2017 cruises, as we had been advised by friends who are repeat cruises on other cruise lines, that booking on board provided substantial savings, savings similarly promoted to us on the Journey. The sales person offered us a whopping 3% discount....the final, insulting straw. We will cruise in the future, but will think long and hard before we would select a ship that is owned by RCL. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
This cruise left from Venice and sailed through Croatia and Montenegro. Service was very good but the ship itself needs major refurbishment which I know will happen next year. The food in the specialty restaurants was good but the main ... Read More
This cruise left from Venice and sailed through Croatia and Montenegro. Service was very good but the ship itself needs major refurbishment which I know will happen next year. The food in the specialty restaurants was good but the main dinning room was average at best. The officers are very visible which is nice to see. We did one excursion through the the ship in Split which was not very good. After leaving Split, we made a stop on the way to Trogir and had wine and some snacks. There were several buses and it was very crowded and enough seating for about a third of the guests. In Montenegro, we booked our own excursion on the boat Monty B for a half day sail and highly recommend doing this. In Hvar, we also did a private tour that was amazing. The email of the company is privateguidesteam@gmail.com. Our guide's name was Ana and she was delightful and informative. We did a cruise on the Quest to Greece a few years ago and thought it was better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2015
How disappointing to pay extra and book an ocean view cabin and have a totally orange lifeboat to look at for 7 days. Our first cruise we had an internal cabin and decided to upgrade on our second cruise to an ocean view, very misleading ... Read More
How disappointing to pay extra and book an ocean view cabin and have a totally orange lifeboat to look at for 7 days. Our first cruise we had an internal cabin and decided to upgrade on our second cruise to an ocean view, very misleading charging extra when it was smaller than our internal cabin and had absolutely no view at all - even if you stood on tip toe all you could see was an orange lifeboat! to top it all I have written twice to Azamara and received a computer generated response and now, three months alter, have still not had a reply. Internet also ridiculously overpriced - a a ship of this caliber should be offering free wi fi. service excellent, entertainment good, facilities great. still had a great trip but annoying to be mislead regarding our cabin choice. a cabin with total window blockage can only be classed as internal and not sold as ocean view. we heard a few complaints about this at our first safety meeting from other people as well. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our first cruise with Azamara. We wanted the smaller ship experience and have to admit we liked it. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and a special price - double upgrade to a verandah cabin. The ship was nice, clean and ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Azamara. We wanted the smaller ship experience and have to admit we liked it. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and a special price - double upgrade to a verandah cabin. The ship was nice, clean and fortunately well functioning. (We had heard stories of plumbing problems.) The staff was generally friendly and the food was good. The food and service were excellent in the specialty dining restaurants but you pay extra for that. The promo on this line is that the fare includes gratuities and complimentary alcoholic beverages. There is a catch. You are still overwhelmed with opportunites to tip more and the complimentary drinks includes only 3 selections of beer and they limit the wine to just one white and one red each day. You know they have the larger selection available - so why can't you get a Chardonnay when I don't like Reisling? With a smaller ship you have to expect less choices in some things but you know the wine is there - they are just going to limit you, so they can sell you another glass for $10 each. The upcharges and extra fees are obnoxious. I'll go to a real all inclusive resort next time. We do have to say the Azamara rep at the airport was fantastic. He handled a late luggage issue and sent us on to the ship, while he waited for our luggage on the next flight from Paris. Within 4 hours we had our bags in our stateroom - and that was a HUGE relief. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
We enjoyed our recent cruise on the Azamara Journey. The staff is outstanding, very friendly and seem to actively anticipate our needs and wants. This is very different from a lot of the other cruises we have been on (14 in the last 4 ... Read More
We enjoyed our recent cruise on the Azamara Journey. The staff is outstanding, very friendly and seem to actively anticipate our needs and wants. This is very different from a lot of the other cruises we have been on (14 in the last 4 years). However, when we were last on an Azamara cruise two years ago, we raved about the food served in the Dining Room. We thought it was wonderful. Not so now. It seems rather run of the mill now. For example, while they served small lobster tails, they were overdone, the rib-eye steak was very thin and we had a portion of what seemed a cornstarch gravy on it; after the first few days the walnuts at breakfast were removed and were replaced by thinly sliced almonds, the seafood was not special, etc., etc. This diminishment in food quality is a disappointment, especially since the prices for Azamara’s cruises seem to be going up quite a bit. Azamara prices now reach into the ‘luxury’ cruise category, yet the food, the cabins, and the fact that you have to pay to dine in the specialty restaurant do not measure up to a ‘luxury’ cruise. Too bad. However we must admit that we did enjoy dining in the specialty restaurants. Alex deserves super kudos for his management and leadership in the specialty restaurants; so does his wait staff. We also thought that Azamara’s excursions are very expensive and were not the best quality. The Azamazing Evening was First Class! It was well organized and managed, the offerings were traditional and local, the transportation to and from the ship was flawless and the entertainment was just special. This event was a highlight of the cruise. We experienced recently, on a luxury cruise line, for nearly the same price, much better food, a suite, a butler, and being able to eat at no extra cost in all of their restaurants, including the specialty restaurants. Will we cruise with Azamara again? Most likely not at their current high pricing. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our first time on Azamara although we have cruised almost 20 times. Having said that, I must come clean and admit my favorite line is Seabourn. I also must admit that I compared the two lines and usually found Azamara came up ... Read More
This was our first time on Azamara although we have cruised almost 20 times. Having said that, I must come clean and admit my favorite line is Seabourn. I also must admit that I compared the two lines and usually found Azamara came up short. I think my biggest problem was in overall service. We quickly learned that we needed to order multiple drinks at the first and usually only opportunity at a meal...in other words, wine, water, tea,etc. Never once did a member of the wait staff offer a refill. I got it myself or overtly sought out someone to refill a glass. Service in bar areas was better, however. We also found the food in the main dining room to be average at best. Service was impossibly slow and the variety of choices was very limited. The buffet offered more variety and since it was self serve, the long waits were removed. Consequently we found ourselves there more often than in the main dining room. We enjoyed the entertainment for the most part and found the entertainers to be the most friendly and engaging members of the staff. We took private dance lessons which were the most enjoyable part of the trip. The only reason we would would consider another cruise on the a Journey would be to take more dance lessons from Alina and Alex before there contract ends. Our cabin was fine. The bathroom was the smallest we have ever experienced on a cruise. I am tiny and I could not shower without the curtain touching my body. My husband is 6', 195 lbs and it was a constant irritation for him. Our stewards did a fine job and our cabin was always well kept. I did not like being up sold. I would prefer to pay a little more and have all drinks, etc. included. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
I was disappointed because I expected a better standard of cabin, food and entertainment. The cabin was shabby. The bed linen had seen better days and the valance was coming away from the mattress . There were stains on the carpet. The ... Read More
I was disappointed because I expected a better standard of cabin, food and entertainment. The cabin was shabby. The bed linen had seen better days and the valance was coming away from the mattress . There were stains on the carpet. The drawers were not easy to use and the furniture was scuffed. The food was mediocre - very dry chicken on two occasions . Fine dining however was very good. Entertainment. the singers and dancers were excellent and enthusiastic but were limited by the space they had. The band was very good and mainly used for backing music.They should have been used more for dancing. On the one night they did play on deck the event was well attended. Activities were sparse. Lectures on places to visit were good and the commentary going through the canal gave a lot of background information. The captain and crew were excellent and I cannot fault them in any way. THE SHIP NEEDS REFURBISHMENT AND ENTERTAINMENT AND FOOD STANDARDS IMPROVED. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Overall a fun cruise because I made sure to have fun and meet a lot of people. Started off with a hitch....upon boarding I noticed that most of the public toilets were "closed for maintenance" but no one was cleaning them, the ... Read More
Overall a fun cruise because I made sure to have fun and meet a lot of people. Started off with a hitch....upon boarding I noticed that most of the public toilets were "closed for maintenance" but no one was cleaning them, the doors were just closed. My stateroom was nice and clean and cabin attendants were very nice..Luis & Eris and happy to please. We sailed off without problems and by the first evening it was clear that there was a MAJOR PROBLEM....something like half of the toilets on the ship were not working. Some overflowed and had raw sewage flow into the staterooms...ew. Apparently the problem existed on the previous cruise (back to back cruisers told me this) but Azamara chose to leave Miami with a dysfunctional plumbing system. We were without plumbing for almost 24 hours in our stateroom. We would have rather stayed in Miami an extra night than sail without plumbing! This caused a major problem for the many people who were not fit enough to search the ship for a bathroom. It was like going on a scavenger hunt to find an open restroom.....NOT what we expected from Azamara. They should have started the cruise with this problem (I would be forgiving if it had happened while at sea but they knew about the problem before we set sail). The problem was fixed in about 24 hours but it was a major inconvenience to all and where was the Cruise Director, Tony, and his staff during this time....trying to make people happy? Trying to take their minds off the problem? I have no idea where they were because I only saw Tony (the entire week) at the evening shows and when disembarking. My one other cruise with Azamara was fabulous, mostly due to the Cruise Director....he was everywhere and made sure to know everyone. Not Tony. Seemed like a nice and talented guy but not a good CD. Once the toilets were fixed we hit high waves for a few days. Lots of people sea sick. Finally arrived in Curacao just as the shops were closing...oh well, it was nice to walk around on land for a little while. Next day Aruba...very nice day, had a taxi take us to a beach and the same guy picked up us 2.5 hours later. Back on ship at about 3pm then on to Cartagena. Took a walking tour with a private guide.....wonderful and fun. Cruised for another 2 or 3 days...can't remember, and went through Panama Canal. Very nice. Able to hear commentary on decks 8 & 9 or in stateroom but I was hanging around on the 5th deck outside and the speakers were turned off there. Docked near Panama City around 6pm and Azamara Evening took place here. Between the buffet dinner, tenders, buses, crowded mob scene at the museum and really awful show it added up to about 5 hours of my life that I'll never get back. The other Azamara cruise which was to the Baltics had a REALLY amazing evening but not this cruise. The next day I did a private tour that I had set up and it was great! On to Golfito..not much going on at this port so we walked around for a few hours then went back to the ship and the local tourist bureau guy sitting aboard the ship gave us a great idea...we took a taxi to the local Wildlife refuge ($5 each way) and paid the $10 per person entrance fee and took a hike to a waterfall. Very nice. On to Quepos were we had another private tour scheduled to Mario Antonio Nation Park and lunch. Very nice. THe White night party was great fun, the food was good, the entertainment was great, the crowd was a lot of fun...best night on the ship! Overall the nightly entertainment was very good. The food was hit and miss but the service in the dining room was really good. We had a waiter on the second night (Jose from Honduras and assistant Ahmet from Mumbi) and we really loved them so requested them the rest of the cruise. Wait staff in the buffet were also very good. The coffee bar staff was very nice also. Used the shower in the spa almost everyday since it is really nice and the shower in the room is really small. I was always the only one in the steam room and shower area. Husband used the gym a few times and said it was fine. If you play trivia there is a lot to do on the ship, otherwise....not that much. I went to the activity "bridge for beginners". The instructor, Chuck, was a very good teacher but I dropped out after about 2 days because the activity was always at 9am which is too early for me when on vacation. The lecturers aboard were nice and knowledgeable. The average age of the guests was about 75-80 but I assume this was because the ship sailed from Miami. Several people were doing back to back cruises. All in all I had a great vacation and a lot of fun but I won't said with Azamara again due to them knowing about the major problem prior to sailing, poor cruise director, so so food and lack of variety of on board activities and the fact that the restructuring of the loyalty program took perks away from me. I like the small ship experience but I will give my money to a different company.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2015
This was our third trip on the Journey. We have not been on any other cruise ships , so cannot compare. Overall it was a good trip. We very much like the small ship experience, no kids ambiance, and the staff are all excellent , and ... Read More
This was our third trip on the Journey. We have not been on any other cruise ships , so cannot compare. Overall it was a good trip. We very much like the small ship experience, no kids ambiance, and the staff are all excellent , and seem to "know you personally". Other guests were predominantly "senior", but well traveled and easy to get into conversation with. The one point many other repeat guests agreed on was the apparently more lax dress code in the evenings. OK they still state "resort casual" ..and I don't want/expect suits/ jackets/ties, but now there are more Hawaiian shirts , polo shirts , and even some T shirts. This lowers the tone..."dressing for dinner" was less of a pleasure. It is a smallish pool area, which can get a little crowded, but the sundeck is always quiet and spacious. As others say , the excursions are way overpriced. At BVI I think they were charging $20 for a 5 minute beach transfer , and the local taxis wanted $5. Also , like everyone else, I want to moan about the drinks policy: I resent the hard sell on embarkation... you really do not need to purchase the package. The free daily wines are fine , and you can always request "yesterdays wine" , or "the Chardonnay" in you want to. The frustrating thing is : no "sparkling" wine available (only champagne at $18/glass!), and the crazy (only -some- are- free) cocktail rules : so you cannot have say a negroni, and the "free " list is hidden at the back of the winelist and consists of weird drinks with no ingredients listed.. The entertainment is a bit mixed: we had an awful unfunny "comedian" (Bruce Smirnoff) , and a harpist , who tried to tell lame stories...The ships little dance troupe however were excellent . It is an older ship : the bathrooms are tiny, and all the port side loos were blocked for almost a whole day..meaning the public loos were not a pretty sight... The food in my opinion is fine. We are vegetarians, and there were always one or two options on the menu. The Head chef tried to be helpful , and offered to make whatever we wanted , but the "off-menu" items were not that successful , so we relied on repeat ordering from known successes. There is a slight tendency to rely on pasta and curry as veg options though. A major plus for us is "free seating" policy : eat when you like , at table for 2 or with friends. There is a slight feel of cost trimming : odd items in the buffet "ran out", and the buffets were not as varied or "sumptuous" as I remember from our first trip a few years ago. Would we go again? probably yes , but ideally we would like to try a more “dressy” experience (but budget could be an issue!) Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Just to be clear at the start of this review. I AM AN AZAMARA LOYALIST so the fact that there are some criticisms should be seen as hopefully constructive criticism. I have been critical of H Office actions such as laundry /internet ... Read More
Just to be clear at the start of this review. I AM AN AZAMARA LOYALIST so the fact that there are some criticisms should be seen as hopefully constructive criticism. I have been critical of H Office actions such as laundry /internet access but would go to the stake supporting the on board experience. In summary for those who may not wish to read further. Good cruise not great. Tango evening in Buenos Aries very good. Ship entertainment good although English female magician was a cross between Jo Brand and Tommy Cooper but good in the end.. I think some allusions may have passed the USA /Canadian audience by. Eric is as Eric does and was good as usual. White night party better than usual but not surprising as it was New years Eve with fantastic fireworks display (20 minutes long) from prime position in front line off Copacabana beach. Food fair Morale on ship appeared to be poor with little leadership shown by Captain. Passenger mix good with no predominant group. I was surprised to see so many non-Christian people on board but maybe they want to escape Christmas as a festival although Christmas decorations were confined to 1 Christmas tree and fake snow on band area in cabaret lounge. We were led astray by bad group in casino lounge most nights so had good time. Now to review/comments Flew down from Newcastle and spent pleasant 3 hours in Exec lounge with a glass or 4 of Champagne before boarding flight to Buenos Aries. Good meal and lie flat bed made the journey faultless. We then emerged into chaos of arrivals at BA . Found rep eventually with one of the smallest arrivals signs I have seen for a long time. Simple transfer to hotel and met people on bus who we had sailed with previously. Hotel fine and had lazy day around pool. Tried to organise taxi for next morning and knowing state of Argentinean peso offered to pay in dollars. Evening concierge was quoting $35/40 plus tip for what appeared to be only a 10 minute journey on Google but was quite insistent we should book now through him. We had transfers booked through hotel so did not make decision. Next morning approached day concierge and was quoted $10 which we took. Advised rep so that bus was not waiting for us. We prefer taxi as it enables us to go when we want and no scrum re bus and baggage. We had a friend who lost hand baggage case which was placed in bus hold but was removed by a thief before bus set off. We always wait now until baggage doors are shut before one of us boards bus. Straight on board at 11.00 to be greeted by Heike and proceeded to make our Prime C reservations. Rather than do a blow by blow account I intend to split review into sep sections. I am fully aware that a lot of people may not like what I write and will say I am nitpicking but how many coincidences/ failures create a trend, All I would ask is read and consider if these were your experiences what would you think? Safety. At one port we were advised of a 30 minute tender journey so therefore a probable 1 Hour 20 turn round. Of the first tender boats the first had an engine failure on the water. Life happens BUT the second ran out of fuel and also had to be recovered with consequent chaos to tender times. Far more serious was if there had actually been an emergency we would have had only half the number of boats available. Totally unacceptable. Comfort. Aircon We commented on cabin air con and despite curtains closed all day and running on maximum cooling it was practically impossible to tell difference between corridors/outside and room. Complained for 4 days but no differences made. Accepted it in the end even though other parts of ship were kept cool. Toilets. Had blockages /overflows on at least 5 days in both toilets as well as elsewhere in public toilets in deck 9. I realise that these are probably client inflicted but not by us as we are scrupulous about items. I can tell you that one of the worst experiences is when (as you do) you get up in the dark to go to the toilet at 3am you most definitely wake up when you enter toilet and your feet get wet. Fortunately clean water but still a horrible moment. I do not consider that a pot plant in dressing area is equivalent to “fresh cut flowers in suite” but probably a Larry cutback. Morale on board Having sailed at least 10 times with Azamara we look forward to returning and seeing regular staff and had even brought Christmas presents for people like Heike, Alex and other favourite waiters etc. It appears that unlike previous times staff are now rotated between Journey and Quest and we therefore saw far fewer staff that we knew. Missing staff included Adel restaurant manager and Dale and Victor head barmen. It was alleged problems with visas was the reason for this but efficiency suffered because of lack of experienced staff. We also had new F & B manager as well as executive chef Iwan. Staff were certainly not as happy or smiling as on previous trips and officers were hardly ever seen on deck or as previous eating in the Windows Cafe. Food We are early risers 7.45 a.m. and were able to dine in Windows outside deck every morning. At no time did we see the fresh orange machine working and after a few days it had disappeared completely. On asking I was informed “Brazilian authorities do not like you to see it” Hey, I am on Azamaras finest not one of Mr Fyffe’s boats. Smoothies were as good as ever and made as you waited. I was not impressed when waiting for smoothie when Captain walked in, was served before me and did not even say “Good Morning, are you enjoying your cruise?” Maybe he thought the vote of thanks I gave at the Captains dinner in the library 2 days before was not fulsome enough. Rest of food fine with fresh eggs made as requested but there did not appear to be as many staff to carry food to your table if required or requested. I do npt expect for myself as able bodied. 2 days running they ran out of English muffins? It appeared they were on ration as on third day it was like Cpl Jones in Dads Army. If you asked for them they were produced from a cloth covered basket behind the counter!!!! It was great if you liked peach yogurt as this was the only flavoured offered. Surely somewhere in Argentina sells other flavours. Lunch Not great lunchers but soups were fine although the hot dishes could surely have looked better and maybe fresher if they only used half the hot area. Mainly ate freshly made sandwiches and it is the first time I have had an egg mayonnaise toastie as it was whipped into toaster before I could say thank you. Also has on 3 occasions the “room service burger “which according to folk lore is made from tail end of fillets from Prime C. In no way was it the same as on previous cruises. On cutting into it it simply split into pieces rather like mince. Not good. Burger bar at pool area Changes here in that now instead of burgers/hot dogs being prepared as required they are cooked en masse and placed in chafing dishes for self selection. Result is you get a Mcdonalds type bun instead of toasted bun fresh from grill also French fries are kept in same dishes resulting in cool fries. Answer: Cook less per fry and they will be fresh and hot. I would rather wait a minute than have cold/luke warm fries. No extra cost but customer satisfaction. Afternoon tea Had served in suite and I notice now only 5 prawns instead of 6 for 2 people (17 per cent saving) I think they could do away with bits on sticks as they are rarely fresh Whilst on subject the English tea bags are useless and I am NOT a strong teas drinker. Dinner Mainly ate in Prime C and again there is no doubt that the quality of steak has changed dramatically as well as general food standards. It was obvious that they do a good job with pre prepared items i.e. soups, salads, crab cakes and desserts but the fresh items like steaks were often poor. This may be my fault but initially ordered well done fillet steak (major mistake for Americans) but It was like shoe leather. Next time ordered medium which was indeed pink in middle but still completely dry with no juices. Had it sat too long under the lamps? Moved onto halibut which was great but unbelievably they ran out of later in the cruise. How can that happen? They know their passenger load and it must come frozen. Later on they also ran out of Dover sole and one night they ran out between ordering and service. I reordered their daily special of pork steak which was great and came hot and juicy so it is possible. Lamb was not much better and they had no mint sauce except that provided from a bottle which you shook like vinegar over your meal. Mint jelly was so fluorescent it should be in Doctor Who. They provide Marmite and Vegemite for us foreigners surely they could get some Colmans proper stuff? Captains dinner was completely unremarkable as I cannot even remember what we had apart from a Margarita Sorbet which had melted and had to be drunk from the glass. I remember being advised by Chef Iwan whose first Captains dinner this was that we would be served with “Lettuce emulsion “ also “potato spaghetti” . The descriptions were better than the reality as most hot courses were warm/cold. I did not spot the truffels although they were on the printed menu Drinks As previous cruisers we were aware that they normally carry 2 Rieslings which are our preferred choice. Usually a discreet request to restaurant manager would enable us to have this from day 1. This time was advised you could only have the 2 on offer. After 5 days one waiter was bold or stupid enough to comment that there was a Riesling on menu in Discoveries restaurant that night so they then provided the Chilean Riesling. It appeared that the German Diennhard one was no longer stocked although a far better quality. The following comments are from other passengers so cannot vouch for absolute veracity but no reason to doubt them. One couple had friends on previous cruise that raved about a particular daily wine and emailed them about it. They asked if they could have this wine but were advised that it was not possible as it was a free daily wine and not until it was on daily list. No problem they said “Can we pay for it?. Answer “We cannot sell it as it is an inclusive wine.” Also suite members get 4 half bottles of spirits but are not allowed to drink them other than in your room. I understand that Azamara may not want you to drink your own shop bought alcohol but it seems bizarre that if you are sitting in a bar with the provided bottles and using Azamara mixers. You would actually be saving them money as you would not be using their alcohol. Unless my memory is failing I thought that pool bar served draught beer but no longer and the “International selection of beers” is Becks, Bud and Heineken Surely with Inbev reach Azamara could take on board a limited amount of local bottled beer at each replenishment point and use as limited edition. Perhaps our final room service breakfast was a useful metaphor for Azamara on board service. Bacon good, potatoes good, muffin were no bigger than thumb/forefinger circle with an extra inch in circumference, poached eggs bigger than muffins and the weakest orange juice I have ever drunk. Final conclusions The peer of the realm with a party of 16 most certainly will not return and Francis a German lady we have met on 2 previous cruises who received the LCV award on ship for most cruises at 25 will not be returning either. Disembarkation the usual shambles with 3 ships at the same time and 1 hour to check in at Windsor atlantica hotel on Copacabana beach. We were finally dumped at airport 4 hours before departure time with checkout not due to open for another hour. We were all flying on same flight so why was it not possible to delay departure by at least 1 hour.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2014
This is our 12th cruise. We selected this cruise for the itinerary and we had always wanted to do a smaller “luxury” cruise. When we signed on, the offer was for a two-level upgrade. Basically, we received a veranda room at an inside ... Read More
This is our 12th cruise. We selected this cruise for the itinerary and we had always wanted to do a smaller “luxury” cruise. When we signed on, the offer was for a two-level upgrade. Basically, we received a veranda room at an inside cabin price. Leaving from the Wash. DC area, we added 3 days to the front of the trip in Copenhagen, and 3 days at the end of the trip in London. BOARDING The boarding process was very smooth. We were a little surprised that they kept our passports at check-in, with the comment that they’d be returned later in the trip. Buffet was crowded, but not overly so. The room was smaller than we’re used to at 179sf, but there was more than enough storage space. DAY 1 (sea day) The North Sea weather was very bad with swells from 9’ - 27’. Many of the crew were sick as were many passengers. A fellow cruiser said that in over 25 cruises, this was the worst weather he had experienced. Being a rather small ship at 592’ the ship movement was significant to say the least. I’m told that the larger ships have an easier time with this type of weather. DAY 2 (Edinburgh) We toured Edinburgh with friends who live there. Our tour was quite lovely, going to small villages that tour buses could not travel through. Our evening was capped off with dinner in a small pub. DAY 3 We were due to leave Edinburgh, but the Captain announced that the ship was not leaving port due to the continuing bad weather. Needless to say, we were pleased. CONTINUING: Rather than detail each day, we thought we’d cover some highlights and a few overall issues. LIVERPOOL The Azamazing Evening at the Liverpool Cathedral was spectacular beyond words. From the excellent coordination at the ship for buses to the Cathedral and return, to a wonderful musical performance at the largest Cathedral in Britain, to the entire staff, was an exercise in excellence. FOOD QUALITY Definitely a step up from what we are used to on other ships with the lamb needing a special mention. The buffet variety was good, but the crowds a bit overwhelming at times. AQUALINA Disappointing both in the quality of the food and the service. Even though the restaurant was almost empty, the amount of time waiting for a server, waiting for drinks, and waiting in general was unacceptable. DINING ROOM SERVICE The first night was good, but the restaurant was only half full. When the dining room was more than half full, service broke down. Yes, the servers remembered our names, but waiting 15-20 minutes for wine and drinks was not pleasing. There is a small lounge outside the dining room, but that staff also could not handle a crowd. The wait for a table was usually about 15 minutes. TOURS: Best of Dublin and Irish Traditions: The tour of Dublin was not researched very well, if at all, by the Azamara staff. The downtown driving part of the tour was repetitive , seeing the outside of St. Patrick’s three times. We did not stop to see the inside and no explanation was offered. After lunch, we were told that there was shopping nearby alongside a marina. There was no shopping, only restaurants, and the entire group had to wait in the cold and wind for 1 ½ - 2 hours. Back on the bus, the guide said “I didn’t know there was no shopping there.” We complained, as did others, to the Land Discovery desk but did not receive a response. Isles of Scilly: This tour to the island of Tresco was also not researched and there is no excuse for what I’m about to relate. The day before the tour we received information in our room that there were NO FACILITIES on the Isle. I’m fairly certain this info was in capital letters. Because of this, some cruisers canceled the tours that they had scheduled, others dehydrated themselves so that they would not need to use any facilities. We were tendered to the Isle with a short walk to Abbey Gardens and the tour. Not only were there facilities for both men and women, but also there was a nice café and a shaded garden. ENTERTAINMENT Also disappointing. The production numbers were good, the others not so. With so much of the seating at floor level, unless you arrived early you were looking at the back of someone’s head rather than the performers.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2014
The ship was kept immaculately clean and the onboard crew, staff, and entertainment were excellent. As usual, food started out great and the quality decreased over the course of the cruise. We were upgraded from sea view to veranda without ... Read More
The ship was kept immaculately clean and the onboard crew, staff, and entertainment were excellent. As usual, food started out great and the quality decreased over the course of the cruise. We were upgraded from sea view to veranda without our consent and it was not worth it. Having the veranda took space from the interior of the cabin and it was not really big enough for three. My main complaint was with the excursions-particularly in Iceland. Iceland was to be the highlight of the trip. Instead of the volcanic nature walk the excursion brochure described for Rekjavik we were driven through some scenic areas and then dumped at the blue spa lagoon for a hour and a half. We had the spa bathing experience the day before in Ackeuyri and did not pay for or want a double dose of bathing. The excursions were overpriced and overpromised for what we were actually given. Take the cruise but seek excursion options elsewhere. There are lots of reputable local tour operators, such as DenRus in St. Petersburg, out there. Find them. You will be much better served. There was also a great deal of pressure from some of the staff, ie spa, to pay for expensive treatments on the "at sea" days. I felt kind of like I was being run through a money milking machine on the tour of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We have cruised frequently, but this was our first with Azamara. The theme for this cruise was WWII and the Normandy landings. That is why we choose this cruise. Our first impression began with the check in. Check in was unorganized with ... Read More
We have cruised frequently, but this was our first with Azamara. The theme for this cruise was WWII and the Normandy landings. That is why we choose this cruise. Our first impression began with the check in. Check in was unorganized with long lines and long waits. Even though we were to have priority boarding we waited inline inside the port office for about a half hour just to make the initial check in. Not organized to process everyone in a timely manner. Then another long and very slow line to go through security. Next was on to a bus to take us to the ship about 100 feet away. This is where it really got ridiculous. A line longer than the full length of the ship standing still. It nearly reached the point where you would board the bus. Many older people with mobility and standing issues were having to stand in the sun for over a half hour again. Once on board there was yet another line to get your picture and key card. By then we were getting a little cranky, but were determined to give them the benefit of the doubt and enjoy our trip. We had a penthouse and the room was great. Lots of closet space. The bathroom was a good size with nice toiletries. Housekeeping was attentive and our room was kept clean and neat the entire trip. Our room attendants were awesome. The lectures were pretty good with one in particular wonderful speaker dealing with the D Day landings and some of the events that followed the landings. He was a retired judge that had great material and speaking voice was very informative. The ship was looking a little worn and tired. They only have two ships, so I'm sure it's hard to pull one out of service for refurbishing. They also seemed to be short staffed. The bartender was also the waiter as an example. He was really good however. You just didn't see the number of staff we are accustom to seeing. The cruise director dressed like a beach bum and couldn't decide if he wanted to grow up or not. The food was mediocre. The presentation was nearly nonexistent. The wait staff were very friendly and attentive, but Oceania is far superior in food taste and presentation. For the first few days guests are pushed to buy an alcohol package. We did, but if you wanted a selection of wine you paid extra. You were offered sparkling water, but it was extra. Come on. Then the big annoyance came to our attention. To eat in one of the two speciality restrauants you were charged $25 per person extra unless you were in a penthouse suite or above. Really? We were penthouse so it didn't matter, but that is not classy. Again, Oceania shows better judgement by not making second class passengers. We took several excursions at the port stops. Seemed like there was always something that caused a delay and that made the return late in the day. That shortened the time you had available to clean up, change, meet for a cocktail, and get to a restaurant before they closed and certainly too late to see a show after dining. Speaking of excursions, most of the ones we went on were just fine. Good buses and guides. Priced a bit higher than we have seen on other cruises. The excursion in Dover was good until they dropped us off at a shopping center rather than taking us to a well known historical site. That irritated many of the passengers. Some good things they did was locating a barista on the 5th floor. Nice place to stop and relax. The piano entertainment in the bar was excellent. They put on a great off ship party featuring WWII theam. It was very well done. The ports they choose were good. In summary, I would rate Azamara as a three star out of five. If you have never cruised on another small ship you would like this. If you sailed on Oceania, you would not return to Azamara unless you had a special purpose. For us, it's Oceania. We are already booked! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2014
It would have to be a very good price and an itinerary I really wanted to get me back on Azamara. The service and food were excellent, no complaints there, but the organisation left a lot to be desired. As someone has already commented, ... Read More
It would have to be a very good price and an itinerary I really wanted to get me back on Azamara. The service and food were excellent, no complaints there, but the organisation left a lot to be desired. As someone has already commented, embarkation was a shambles. We spent over 90 minutes in a queue, no seats available and lemonade and cookies made available after an hour. Disasters happen but there was no apology from Azamara until I filled in my mid cruise comments card. It left a nasty taste and was not a good beginning especially for someone who was cruising Azamara for the first time. Communication did not seem to be a priority Examples of communication breakdown: The one and only cooking demo [I love these and always go on HAL] had 2 different times in the daily news so half the attendees missed the actual cooking. I didn't get my landing card for Cochin and when I asked at reception, suspecting it had something to do with the overland excursion, they had no idea. There was a note for passengers 'disembarking' at Colombo that did not specify that it was for people leaving the ship and not coming back. Ambiguous at best. Travel agents need to be made aware of the possibility to stay onboard for a late checkout on the last day. This is very handy for some flights. Airport transfer included in post cruise Mumbai package but we had no prior information that this was the case, i.e. no voucher. I almost double booked a transfer through the hotel. Excursions: I chose to the do the expensive overland Taj Mahal excursion as the Taj Mahal has long been on my bucket list. I expected to get information on this once I boarded but I had to chase it up mid cruise. I like to know what I am doing. I suspect that, having booked us to Delhi via Mumbai, when there are direct flights available from Cochin, they didn't want to give anyone a chance to complain. That said, Errol did make sure that I got my aisle seats on all 3 flights and we were very well cared for. Just a shame that we did not get to the lovely hotel in Delhi earlier. Two buses for 26 people meant we had a lot of room. Lunch in Agra was excellent and the Taj lived up to expectations. If you are at all claustrophobic, don't bother joining the queue for the mausoleum. Stay outside and people watch. Fascinating. One other hint for ladies is to be at your pushiest in the toilet queue on the Agra expressway stop. Indian ladies do not queue! This excursion was hot and exhausting but I am very glad I did it. I felt safe and looked after all the way. In Colombo we booked a car and driver for 2 to go to the elephant orphanage and then on the temple of the Tooth at Kandy. We had not been able to get 2 tickets on the Azamara excursion including the train before we left home. Our day was very long but we saw a lot of the countryside as we took back roads. The shore excursion on the train only just got back before we sailed due a to a derailment on the track ahead of them. Except for the Taj excursion I prefer to do my own thing at a much better price and without the crowd. Entertainment. Enjoyed the flautist and the cellist. The rest was woeful. Putting a Russian speaker on 'trivia' was sadistic at best. Thank goodness the poor girl had a sense of humour. I do object to a speaker not being able to pronounce place names like Aceh. Calling it 'haitch' is not funny, nor is showing pictures of people from Irian Jaya and telling the audience they were from Sumatra. Made me so sceptical that I didn't attend any more of his talks. Food and drink. No complaints here. I didn't have a bad dish and the all inclusive drinks deal was great. Courteous and helpful staff. Loved the spicy chicken wings by the pool. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2013
The Good: Our Hotel in Singapore was excellent. Embarkation in Singapore went smoothly and without a hitch. Our Cabin was spotlessly clean and well appointed, with fresh fruit and flowers daily. The bed very comfy. Lyric & Andre ... Read More
The Good: Our Hotel in Singapore was excellent. Embarkation in Singapore went smoothly and without a hitch. Our Cabin was spotlessly clean and well appointed, with fresh fruit and flowers daily. The bed very comfy. Lyric & Andre worked tirelessly to keep things tidy at all times. The Ship as a whole was well maintained and clean. All the Staff, Bar Staff, Waiters etc work extremely hard to make sure our stay on board was a pleasant one. The Captain was very pleasant and was seen every day. The Comedian was good and Terry Dobson Guitarist/Singer was fab & kept everyone entertained in Discoveries Bar & Sunset Bar most days. The Mosaic Café was very good for a Coffee, Cakes & Snacks. We ate in Prime C, which was excellent, from the food to the service. The Grill on deck did some great Burgers. The So So: We ate some of the time in Discoveries which we felt that the food was mediocre and the service on occasions very slow indeed. Windows Café was very average, not much variety of food and on occasions only luke warm. The main entertainment was also very average, we have seen better entertainment on lesser ships. The trips/excursions, were, in our opinion extremely overpriced as were the Photographs at $24.95 Per Photo. Belewan Indonesia Offical Excursions in our opinion were Extortionate, The ship docked in an industrial area, was not a good choice of destination, with No Shuttle Provide we were sent to the Taxi's were very inadequate and dangerous. Day of disembarkation we had to vacate our cabins by 8.30am and off ship by 9.30am ish,, Disembarkation itself was a total mess with a long queue for a long time, to join the buses there was another long queue, which must have taken at least 2hours from leaving the ship to getting on the Shuttles.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2013
This was our third cruise with Azamara and alas it was not to the previous standards. Firstly the advertised boarding time was earlier than advertised and directions at the Singapore Cruise Terminal were confusing. This was a Christmas ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Azamara and alas it was not to the previous standards. Firstly the advertised boarding time was earlier than advertised and directions at the Singapore Cruise Terminal were confusing. This was a Christmas Cruise but compared to previous cruises lacked the atmosphere one would expect and a lot of the Xmas activity timing was too late with nothing to do in between. On board entertainment was average, with the odd exception including an excellent soprano and a Michael Buble show but other shows are just rejigged from previous cruises. On board activities are the same as usual and lack innovation and enthusiasm from the activity staff. However the enrichment lecturers were good and the Art auctions interesting. Room servicing was ok along with in-room dining. Food quality was good in Discoveries Restaurant, as one would expect, but the Windows restaurant dining was marred by food being left on floors and rather slack service at times especially when supervisors weren't present and I did see guests not being asked to sanitize their hands before entering the dining area. The visit to Myanamar (Burma) was a highlight but the basic port is some 90 mins from the city and the roads and traffic are testing to say the least but I guess that's also part of the experience. The organised Azamara Evening event on shore was very good; but the toilet facilities were horrid for the ladies. Other land excursions in Burma were fine but again the commute was a test. Port call at Belawan Indonesia was a complete waste no shuttle services were available and the town was ordinary to say the least. Again at Port Klang Malaysia no shuttle was available and the port is miles from KL which was not publicized beforehand. The average age would be around 65-70 so its not a cruise for hipsters, nor young children although there were a few on board and due to the small size of the ship they tended to be noisy (as kids will be) when most guests wanted quiet. Also the in cabin TV channels are basic and the same videos are playing from 12 months ago! In summary, disappointing overall as Azamara have a good reputation but they need to revamp the product as its becoming rather staid for regular travelers and, for the money, one could well look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
Where do I start? How about at the airport where we were met and herded to a hallway location and left for an hour, only to be put on the wrong bus. Azamara topped that entrance with an even greater exit! We got a letter on our bed the day ... Read More
Where do I start? How about at the airport where we were met and herded to a hallway location and left for an hour, only to be put on the wrong bus. Azamara topped that entrance with an even greater exit! We got a letter on our bed the day before the cruise ended notifying us that our tour of Rome was canceled, leaving us stranded at the dock. Were it not for the extraordinary efforts of Guest Relations Director Nikki Denyer, we would still be walking back to Rome from the dock! She got us into Rome next door to our hotel despite Azamara's best efforts. Azamara's CEO traveled with us, and I would suggest that next time he travels on the Journey, he take lessons on how to run a cruise line from Ms. Denyer who understands customer service! When Ms. Denyer found out she was getting us to Rome for my wife's birthday, she had the stewards decorate our room with baloons and a banner, making up for most all the other disappointments we had. The rest of the officers were pretty much MIA the entire cruise. The Journey, though built about a dozen years ago, looks like something out of the 50's or 60's with dated, threadbare decor like an unrestored Motel 6. The rooms are decent size but the bathrooms are so small, you have to exit them to turn around and change your mind. The balcony is small but decent and we enjoyed it, even when a crewman above dumped water on me by accident. At least he apologized, a concept mostly lost on management. Watch out for security. Sheriff Andy and his band of ham handed Barney Fife ninjas make the TSA look like a bunch of do-nothings! Bring a pocket knife or pen knife and they confiscate it, then replace it with a steak knife twice as long. Belt buckles, coins, watches and wine corks drive them nuts, so be prepared to be felt up or wanded. Don't go by what the TSA allows, Azamara security frisks to their own tune. Azamara brags about it's free Azamazing Evening included in the price. What the don't tell you is that if you sign up and don't go, they charge you $150.00 per person for not showing up. Our concert was three tenors. I hope next time these guys meet before they go on stage. It will help the performance. The on board entertainment is at best average. The stewards we had were great. They kept the room clean and were very pleasent. It seems the farther down the chain of command you get, the nicer and more qualifed the staff is. Most of them almost speak English. Internet service was OK, but beware of logging on and off as they will sock you with more charges than a teen age girl with a limited text plan if you don't watch out! The food is at best average. Think creative left overs. The waiters are attentive and well trained. The premium resturants are just a bit better than the buffet, same food, better recipe, and not worth the upcharge. The pool deck resturant has great burgers, etc. We did like the free wine and beer selections and the premium brands are reasonably priced. Room service is great, and breakfast on the balcony (despite the dousing) was very nice. On shore tours are overpriced, when they chose to run them. Azamara runs the boat and everything else for it's own benefit, not the passanger, so don't expect what you paid for to actually happen when you expected, or at all. I do like the fact that they save on fuel by staying in port longer. It give one a chance to really explore. The time off the ship was the best time for us. I will have to agree with their slogan "you will love where we take you," but you might want to look hard into how they get you there. I think we might look elswhere next time.   Read Less
Sail Date: September 2013
This was our 10th cruise and we and our friends were very much looking forward to it but sadly Journey could not compare to Oceania's beautiful Riviera in any way ( we together with friends had sailed on Riviera twice in the last 12 ... Read More
This was our 10th cruise and we and our friends were very much looking forward to it but sadly Journey could not compare to Oceania's beautiful Riviera in any way ( we together with friends had sailed on Riviera twice in the last 12 months - read my review) and we also felt that Celebrity's own Solstice class ships were also so much nicer for half the price! We found Azamara Journey to be very drab and in need of a total refurbishment. We had a standard balcony cabin (very comfortable bed) which was only ok but the bathroom was very small with an awful plastic shower curtain that would stick to you - very disappointing. No nice bath gelsor soaps. The food in the main dining room was fine but we didn't find the restaurant that one had to pay extra for any better - which was very unusual as on other ships they are outstanding. The breakfast could be much better - always the same melon and no lovely fresh berries etc. lunch was ok we found the breads were poor as were the pastries. Service was always good - but no better than we have had on any other ship it is not quite fully inclusive as not the best quality alcohol was not included therefore we purchased scotch and better quality cocktails and wine. Found it surprising that every day in the ship information they would promote cocktail of the day for $9 - felt these should just be served not charged!! We usually ate late so did not go to any of the shows. No problem in sea days to get a sun bed (these were very comfortable) Average age was approximately 70 - 80 We are early 50s as were approximately 40 - 50 other people Transportation from and to the airport / hotels were very well organised In Rome - stayed overnight in the Savoy - this is definitely nothing to do with the beautiful hotel in London! It was a very average hotel. Coming back from Athens we stayed at the beautiful Grande Bretagne - a really fabulous hotel. Would we go on Azamara again - sorry no......... but will definitely be going back on Riviera with our friends who we always cruise with.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
This was probably our last Azamara Cruise. We made many cruises with Azamara on both ships, so I will also compare the Journey with the Quest. The friendliness, good atmosphere and the very visible officers, especially at the Azamara ... Read More
This was probably our last Azamara Cruise. We made many cruises with Azamara on both ships, so I will also compare the Journey with the Quest. The friendliness, good atmosphere and the very visible officers, especially at the Azamara Quest, were the big differences with the other cruiselines we tried before. This spring all was still okay on the Quest, though it seemed that Azamara is getting out of money. No new musicians arrived when others left the ship. The food was ok but not how it has been in earlier years. And every morning 3 types of melon at breakfast is boring. On most days I missed the tropical-fruit-selection of other cruiselines. At the Quest, Captain Carl Smith, CD Tony Markey, concierge Guy Brundrett, Navira, Natalja, DJ Alex Mac and others were great as always. Very friendly and approachable. Waiters Xavier and Yan Yang are the friendliness in person and Hotel Director Philip Herbert is probably the nicest man at sea. The entertainment has never been very good and did not improve, to say the least. The pianoplayer was nice, but his playing was not. We badly missed the great Jim Badger! No local shows or musicians anymore. Now, June 2013, on the Journey everything was worse again. Compared with 2 years ago, the officers were less visible and hard to approach. At least Future Cruise Manager Juliana was friendly as always. The way Azamara pushes you to buy a wine-packet at embarkationday, is irritating. Not everybody understood that there are already open wines for free. The Guest Relation Department was unfriendly, to say the least. The Journey is clearly not the Quest. This was our first cruise without contact with our cabinsteward. Well, we met his helper sometimes. The food was worse again, except the good beef at dinner. But there was too often chicken. It must be cheap, for it was the most served meat during the entire cruise as Azamara proudly wrote in the last daily newspaper. Hoever, I don't go cruising on a so called luxuryline to eat chicken every day. Especially not when it's dry and hard. Just like the vegetables every day. (One of) the best white and red open wines were not available during this cruise. Icecream was really bad; especially the sorbets. Apart from 1 juggler, the entertainment was arranged by crewmembers only. Comment not needed. Well, Cruise Director Eric was good, but I knew many of his nice jokes from 2 years ago. On the sea-day there was not much organized onboard, Only bingo and more bingo. It's all about the money. Then the AzAmazing Event on Crete. When our tender arrived, the folkdancing was almost over. After some minutes we already had to move on to a so-so restaurant where we got some some food. The wine-tasting of just 1 type of wine followed and the big show ended with a probable kindergarten teacher and back on the ship fireworks during 1 minute. "AzAmazing" will be a new word, for "amazing that it is less than nothing". If you missed it, you had to pay a penalty! of 150! dollar. Unfortunately we missed Capri, because Azamara was not allowed to use its own tenders and the local tenders were said to be too dangerous.... But most important: When Azamara makes a promise to me, they should not break it. This is a long story and I won't bother you with it. But after my complaint about it, the responsible person at the headoffice in Miami lied to me about it. An email of mine to the headoffice did not change this. Really AzAmazing! For me this is a point of no return when no acceptable explanation follows. I'm still waiting for it.   Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
My husband and I are experienced cruisers, but this was our first experience with Azamara Club, a highly rated cruise line that sells itself as "luxury class." We therefore came on-board with great expectations, which were ... Read More
My husband and I are experienced cruisers, but this was our first experience with Azamara Club, a highly rated cruise line that sells itself as "luxury class." We therefore came on-board with great expectations, which were quickly dashed. In short, the Azamara Journey is a dated, mediocre ship, in need a major overhaul. It's going in to dry dock for a total of eight days. There is no way to fix its many problems in so short a time. In terms of its management, there is an overall impression of confusion and a definite lack of information, which is such an important aspect of a good cruise experience. On to some specifics. The embarkation process was a disaster. We boarded in Mumbai. Yes, India can get confusing, but that should not be a surprise to a major cruise line. Getting into the port to board the ship bordered on the chaotic, with next to no guidance from Azamara representatives. My husband is Indian, speaks Hindi, and even he had a terrible time trying to find out how to get through. I later spoke to someone who paid for an Azamara transfer to the ship, and it was a worse experience: they were stuck on a bus for two hours, with luggage blocking the aisle. Not a great start. Our cabin was a Veranda class with a balcony. It was clean, but the decor and furniture are dated. The bed was hard and uncomfortable. Our cabin attendant (who was very efficient and pleasant) added a comforter to help, but to little avail. The plumbing is sub-par. For example, one had to struggle to flush the toilet: you push the button multiple times, and then it responded weakly. The shower was okay, but not great. The television was nice, but the viewing choices were few, and way below those in quality and quantity of our last voyage, which was on a Princess ship of the same size. However, the worst part was the air conditioning. We were sailing in the Indian Ocean, but that is no excuse for the very poor air conditioning situation during the daytime (at night it was adequate). One's "luxury cabin" should not be a sauna in any given climate. One of their selling points is a free self-laundry. However, there is one for a ship of over 600 passengers. Get ready to really scramble to use the machines. I washed our clothes by hand in the cabin, and only used one of the two (very tired) irons. As for the public areas, the ship is kept clean, but the decor is dated and worn. The public rest rooms were usually clean (there were exceptions), but are falling apart. One young woman was "attacked" in a stall by a falling panel. The air conditioning ranged from very weak to very chilly, reflecting the dated nature of the system. As for the spa and fitness center, I didn't use the spa -- just the fitness center, which is small but OK. They provide free fitness classes, including cycling, which was a very nice service. As for the food, it is good to mediocre, depending on where and when. Soft drinks are free (including in the cabins), and the "house" wines are free with lunch and dinner (and usually very good). The staff is always nice and helpful, but a bit confused at times. Getting a good cup of coffee at breakfast was next to impossible, no matter how much they tried. One of the nicest aspects of the ship is the Mosaic Cafe. They make a nice cup of coffee or tea and provide a nice selection of treats. There are two specialty restaurants, which provide a nice dinner alternative to the buffet and main dining room ($25 each for those in non-suite cabins). On to the excursions and ports. Overall, the excursions were mediocre (like the ship), but priced OK if you purchase them a head of time (one-half price). However, I do not feel the staff was well prepared for unusual nature of most of our ports. For example, they seemed surprised by the customs process in Goa, where there was very little help provided to the passengers as we wound our way through a confusing disembarking process. As for Male in the Maldives, they did not have any preparation, what so ever, for this port. In general, they give a lot less information and guidance regarding the ports then I have seen on most other ships, including lower-end ones such as Carnival. At times, they seemed very confused. We were on an early tender into Galle, Sri Lanka. The tender's pilot had no idea where to go. We cruised around the harbor for about a half-hour until he finally figured it out. On a positive note, they often design longer port-stays then other lines, which gives you more time to explore the destinations with less pressure. Entertainment. Overall, mediocre, but in line of what one expects on a smaller ship. The enrichment series were OK, and included lectures by an Apollo astronaut. The piano player was very talented, as was the on-board band. The Jazz Brunch was fun and the jazz band was excellent. The evening shows are pretty boring, with a very notable exception -- the three production shows, performed by the on-board staff. They were excellent, as were the young, enthusiastic and talented cast. Two of the cast members are competitive ballroom dancers, who also teach the fun sea-day dance classes. Bingo is a rip-off (but no one forces you to play), and the casino is small but adequate. To sum it all up, the staff is nice, there's a general sense of disorganization and a definite lack of information, particularly on the ports and how to navigate customs. The ship is rundown (although clean), with many systems working poorly. Many promises made are not kept, or not kept well (e.g., close to the heart of the ports, shuttles to the ports). It is clearly not a luxury experience, no matter what the hype. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2012
We love to cruise and when the opportunity arose to book aboard the Azamara Journey we swapped a two week voyage onboard Celebrity for this passage. Our voyage onboard Azamara is highlighted below. Should you have any questions, please ... Read More
We love to cruise and when the opportunity arose to book aboard the Azamara Journey we swapped a two week voyage onboard Celebrity for this passage. Our voyage onboard Azamara is highlighted below. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me a message and I will be more than happy to dive into a bit more detail. Happy reading. Embarkation -- 1 out of 5 stars We embarked on Azamara Journey on July 6, 2012 in Copenhagen Denmark. The overall embarkation process and setup was, to be blunt, terrible. We arrived to a rundown pier with no permanent infrastructure but rather a white event tent. We took a private transfer from the airport and were greeted car side by about 5 port agents. While the agents were quick to take our bags, they were stumbling over each other, and frantically tried to get us to fill out new bag tags as they did not think we had our bags tagged (turns out they were unfamiliar with Azamara's tags). After our bags were swept away, we were left on our own. No agents directed us into the event tent and it was our driver who tracked down an agent and gave us directions. Inside, security was setup alongside the entryway. Fortunately for us, we did not arrive in a large group and were able to enter the building without a problem but others were forced to wait outside in blustery and wet conditions in order to clear security. The actual documentation process was terrible. The girl checking us in had no clue what she was doing and did not take our health forms or our passports. This turned out to be a problem when trying to board the ship as we showed up as not checked in. It took another 45minutes at the front desk for the matter to be fully resolved. Room -- 3 out of 5 stars We booked a Club Oceanview during a promotion for a free upgrade to Verandah. Unfortunately there were no verandahs available for the upgrade that could accommodate three guests. During our check-in debacle I asked the front desk agent about an upgrade and we were able to get upgraded to a Suite for a nominal fee. The room was much larger than a normal stateroom but approximately 2/3's the size of a suite onboard Holland America, one of our favorite lines. With the suite you get complimentary butler service, spa admission, upgraded amenities and free liquor in-suite. While we did not utilize many of the rooms features we made good use of the spa and appreciated the larger quarters. Some issues we had with our room included the fact that the sofa bed was completely broken and it took multiple attempts and hours to get to a solution which ended up being a rollaway bed. While this was a fine solution, it took up a significant portion of our walking space and inhibited our ability to access the balcony. While this was no problem at night, after turndown, it was unacceptable during the day. It took another two days before housekeeping, our butler and my party were all on the same page about how to set the room up which was to breakdown the rollaway daily but not remove it from the room, just place it against the wall and move the couch back to allow for balcony access. The housekeeping staff were thrilled we did not want the bed taken in and out daily but struggled with the fact that we wanted to sheets changed daily given the bed would be on the floor. This seemed to be a common theme onboard, having to ask for things that were somewhat commonsense. The last few days of our cruise, our butler was taken out of service which was completely unannounced. This proved to be challenging because, in our case, we did not get a replacement butler, our room rather went unserviced until I continually inquired with the front desk. One last point about the room, when upgrading I asked about the rooms location being below the Window's Cafe. I was told this was not an issue and that complaints regarding noise were seldom. Well, the room was louder than normal and while foot traffic was not noticeable, you got a constant flushing noise from the beverage service section and dragging chairs. We have stayed in aft cabins before and while increased noise is to be expected not quite to this degree. On a positive note, the room was clean and kept tidy excluding the last few days. Spa -- 3 out of 5 stars The spa onboard the Azamara Journey was quite comprehensive for a ship of this size. Upon touring the spa on day one we were pleased by the look and feel of the spa. Unfortunately, the staff overall were quite rude and were more interested in their personal conversations, books and cell phones rather than the guests. For example, upon exiting one day, I handed in my locker key and was handed back a key card that was not mine. When I asked for mine, it had been given to another guest. The reception staff had no sense of urgency, now that someone could be charging items to my account or better yet accessing my room, but rather asked if I knew who the person from the key card she had given me so I could track it down. After another drawn out situation my card was located and given back to me. Another item about the spa was that on each visit we had to call to ask for towels in either the locker room or by the therapy pool. Furthermore, the lockeroom had a "used" and questionably dirty look on a good portion of the days. One day, when visiting the therapy pool the ship hit a bit of a storm and the weather went from glorious to quite rough. While this is par the course for a cruise, no staff came out to assist or help us out of the pool. Rather, staff came running out to cover the patio furniture but left us to fend for ourselves in 20+MPH winds and beating rain. In fact, an elderly woman fell back into the pool and onto the lap of my travel companion who then banged her head and broke her sunglasses that were on top of her head. Dining -- 5 out of 5 stars Dining onboard the Journey is truly great. Room service is delivered quickly and everything is fresh and warm. The main dining room has a variety of options and provided an overall great experience. Aqualina was always a fantastic dining experience and our server Monico provided 5-star service. The maitre-d's at both Aqualina and the main dining room were FANTASTIC and accommodating. Our first experience at Prime C on the otherhand was terrible with the server being rude and rushing us. Furthermore, the maitre d walked by our table multiple times and did not greet us once. He was upset that we insisted on a 9PM reservation as opposed to the 8:30PM reservation we had originally reserved but had to change when our excursions departure time was changed. To make a long story short, our food came out at different times, items were never brought and we were told by that waiter that he knew we were hungry and would not waste time explaining the menu even though we had mentioned never being to Prime C before. After talking with our butler and the front desk after this incident we returned to Prime C and were thrilled with the meal and service provided by a new waiter (Ariel). Mosaics and the pool grill also provided a positive experience throughout our sailing. I do wish that Mosaics had been better staffed during peak times but otherwise it was always a good experience with extremely pleasant staff. Overall, the dining staff were the best we encountered onboard and truly delivered a five star experience. Front desk -- 4 out of 5 stars As aforementioned, what I would have considered to be obvious items frequently needed follow-up. For example, we upgraded our room upon embarkation. It took until day 3 for us to finally be recognized as our party versus the guest that had cancelled her cruise thus allowing the cabin to be available. While I understand it would take time for everything to be updated, I do not think it should have taken three days nor should it have needed our party to follow-up to get the problem rectified. Nonetheless, the front desk was very responsive for the most part. Roxy and Lizel (pardon my spelling) were fantastic to deal with and face their challenging jobs with a smile. One item to mention is that it took 4 times before our onboard account was accounted for properly and ultimately I returned home to have an error with my credit card charge (more in disembarkation). Public rooms -- 5 out of 5 stars The public rooms onboard the Journey are beautiful and well appointed. The colors and furniture give a warm and initimate feeling. Furthermore, the staff keep everything clean and were quick to freshen up the spaces throughout the sailing. Shore excursions -- 1 out of 5 stars Prior to boarding we took advantage of the Journey's 50% off excursion promotion and booked 7 excursions. Overall the excursions were disappointing. To start, upon boarding our excursion tickets were never delivered. When we asked the desk about the status we were told that we needed to handle the issue with our stateroom attendant. Well, to make a long story short, the tickets were never delivered and when I went to speak with the manager she found them in a pile on the shore excursions desk in a pile listed as "to be delivered". Upon review of our tickets, I noticed that 3 out of the 7 excursions had departure times that differed from 30 minutes to 1 hours from the booked time. While this created no issue for us it did create an issue with our dinner reservations at Prime C which turned out to be a horrible experience. From a tour experience, in Brugge, for example, our guide did not meet us pierside but rather met us in town. When we were directed to him by another guide we quickly found out that he was hard to understand and was clearly in a rush. He did not allow us to stop for pictures nor did he keep us together in a group but rather we would be looking for the tour sign in a sea of people and commonly found the group to be separated by upwards of 30feet. Part of our excursion was a canal cruise followed by free time for shopping. Upon ending the canal cruise, our guide was nowhere in sight. Turns out he never came back and our group wandered the city until we found another ship guide who directed us to the meeting spot to return to the ship. To make matters worse, yes worse than being abandoned by your paid guide, two members of our tour group were pick pocketed and lost travel documents and large sums of cash. Once back onboard the ship we mentioned our experience to the shore excursions desk and were told that "sometimes the guides are luck of the draw." When I responded that this was unacceptable and that when I book a ships tour I expect to safely go from point a to point b and back we were issued a $20 credit. Our second, almost unexplainable shore excursion encounter found us on another tour where we were delayed on our return to the ship as we were missing one person - the person turned out to be the shore excursion staff member from the ship. The bus driver ended up locating the individual; he was shopping for "more comfortable shoes". Back onboard, we cancelled the remainder of our tours with the exception of our day of departure tour that would take us to the Anne Frank House and then airport. This proved to be another frustrating experience, check the disembarkation review for details. Entertainment -- 5 out of 5 stars The onboard entertainment truly provided a great boutique experience. While the amount of entertainment onboard was limited what was offered was of a high caliber. This holds true from the shows to the music in some of the lounges. The photo staff onboard were also very friendly and provided a pleasant interactive experience. The casino was also well appointed and provided fun memories. Ports -- 4 out of 5 stars Azamara offers great itineraries and this was no exception. While our embarkation pier was terrible, the ship relocated late the first night to provide us with an ideal location for day two in Copenhagen. Other ports provided a great overview of Northern Europe and the timing of our visits couldn't have been better. One note is that our arrival to our last port of Amsterdam was significantly delayed due to a problem with the locks approaching Amsterdam. While some things are out of the control of the line, it was not until 15minutes prior to scheduled arrival that we were informed of our delay. With people having tours booked, both through the ship and independently, this truly was not the best example of effective communication. After all was said and done we arrived almost 3.5hours late into Amsterdam. Disembarkation -- 2 out of 5 stars Azamara does provide a number of disembarkation options including late departure. For our travel arrangements we booked an excursion with transfer to the airport as our flight left Amsterdam closer to 3PM. Our assigned departure time was 815AM which, while early, was not a problem. At approximately 750AM, I received a frantic call from the front desk that they did not have an authorization for my onboard charges. Well, we had given a credit card pierside and onboard during our check-in debacle. Furthermore, I gave another credit card for our upgrade. Well, to make a long story short, nothing was properly documented. It took another 30 minutes for everything to be sorted out properly, or to what I thought was properly. I returned home to have been charged incorrectly and am still trying to work through the incorrect amounts with the cruiseline after nearly 2 weeks. Our disembarkation excursion was overall very enjoyable outside of the fact that the cruiseline mishandled our baggage which yet again created a delay for my party. Azamara asks that all bags be placed outside of your stateroom by 11PM on the night before disembarkation. I had confirmed with both shore excursions and the front desk that my baggage would be traveling with us on the bus but upon disembarkation my bags were nowhere to be found. After going through 3 port agents we found an Azamara shore excursions attendant who told me that the bags had been mistakenly sent to the airport with the regular transfers guests. She was unable to provide information on where my bags would be or any other details given our arrival to the airport was not for another 5 hours. Once again it was Lizel to the rescue who came down and got the bus driver all of the contact information for someone who would be with my bags upon our arrival to the airport. Upon getting to the airport, it was nearly 20 minutes after the other guests had departed that we were finally reunited with our baggage. Overall -- 3.5 out of 5 stars Our cruise onboard Azamara Journey was a memorable experience. While the trip was riddled with issues and needed a great deal of follow-up we had an overall pleasant voyage. Being avid cruisers, I have been questioned by friends, my travel agent, family and colleagues as to whether we would return to Azamara? The answer is, perhaps. Azamara does provide a pleasant cruising experience however, I am under the impression that at times they have over promised and under delivered. Having sailed over 30nights just this calendar year, on a number of lines, we felt this voyage resembled an inaugural voyage in a number of ways. At the end of the day, I am fortunate to have had the experience to cruise Northern Europe onboard Azamara and look forward to the 4 upcoming cruises I have booked -- which to date are not on Azamara. 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Sail Date: May 2012
This was my 53rd cruise. I have been on most all of the popular cruise lines. My Aunt and Uncle have praised Azamara to the highest and recommended that I give it a try. Azamara does some things great, but a few things are in need of ... Read More
This was my 53rd cruise. I have been on most all of the popular cruise lines. My Aunt and Uncle have praised Azamara to the highest and recommended that I give it a try. Azamara does some things great, but a few things are in need of serious improvement. This cruise was from May 17, 2012 - May 29, 2012 12 nights from Amsterdam, The Netherlands to Southampton, England. We left our home in Bethesda, Maryland and flew out of Dulles Airport, direct to Amsterdam. We booked the air with Azamara as a package with the cruise. The flight was fine, when we arrived signs were waived in the airport for us to grab our luggage and jump on a clean bus to take us to the ship. As we waited to check in, plenty of comfortable seating was available, as well as coffee, tea, and snacks - nice! Check in was a breeze and we were on the ship. The ship is extremely clean as well as being very small by today's standards at about 30,000 tons, and holding 690 passengers. Our cruise included 550 passengers. The ship rarely felt crowed, and was very easy to navigate. There are two elevators forward and two elevators toward the back of the ship. The wait time for elevators is average compared to other ships. Be prepared to almost always stop on deck 5 - main dining room, casino, shops, coffee bar, and show lounge, deck 7 - many cabins, and deck 9 the buffet, pool deck and spa. Deck 9 - The buffet always had a nice selection for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Service was usually good at this location. Two staff members in this area did an extra nice job- Ernesto- a bar server- always a big smile and bringing me a Sprite Zero immediately every time he saw me. Also Gustavo- he worked at the stir fry station, big smile and remembered my name from the 2nd day on and knew I wanted my stir fry with no pasta or rice. Unfortunately on two different mornings the service in this area was extremely poor. One morning the only three unoccupied tables available needed clearing. I sat at one, and pushed the dirty dishes away while my traveling companion went up to the buffet. Even after I went to the buffet and came back the tables were still not cleaned. I had to hunt down clean silverware, get our own coffee, then get our own juice. I am not sure what was going on that morning. Another morning a similar lack of service was the problem - not good at this level of cruising. Just outside the pool area is a grill that serves a variety of dishes you may request and they give you a number and bring your meal to you. The burgers there were the best, especially with Swiss cheese and mushrooms. Both times I ordered the Onion Rings they were cold- not good! They also have a very small salad bar and a few other menu items. I only did the burgers both times they were so good. The pool area in nice with very comfy padded lounge chairs. And- oooohhh so nice, no need to check out a pool towel with your room card. Towels are around for your use. Two small hot tubs in this area that were rarely used. I got in once and fully enjoyed the relaxing results. The spa/gym is on the front of deck 9 with an ample size gym for the size of this ship. Deck 5 has the nice show lounge called the Cabaret Lounge with no bad seats or poles to block your vision. Saw several of the shows. The entertainment was average- not great, but not poor. The singers and dancers did 3 main shows- the 1st called "Play, Stop, and Rewind" it was average. The 2nd was "Voices" the singing and dancing were superior to the 1st show, but the costumes were super ugly- twisted up looking denim outfits that looked like they slept in them. The 3rd show was probably the best - "Stage Door to Dreams". There was one other show that included the cruise director Eric De Gray - "A Tribute to ABBA" - this was also better than average. Deck 5 also has the casino - about 50 slot machines and several gambling tables. It was only open two nights during cruise and very few people were participating. There are also two small shops on Deck five. One shop has jewelery and the other a few articles of clothing, perfume, and a few odds and ends. Both shops were also only open two times during the cruise. Another VERY nice area on Deck 5 is the Mosaic Cafe opening about 8:00am every morning and staying open until about 10:00 or 11:00 pm. They had a nice variety of free coffee drinks and a small station with elegant snacks- such as small plates of cheese, shrimp, and sweets. The Main Dining Room is also on this level. Food quality and selection were excellent. I just wish the service was as good. On three nights the service was EXTREMELY slow. One night was sat with our menu in our lap for almost 30 minutes before we were offered a drink or asked what we wanted - not good. Another night we arrived for dinner at 8:15. I asked if we could be finished by 9:30 because I really did want to see the show. I requested a table for 2 because smaller tables usually move faster. I was assured we would be done in time for the show and be given to the some of the best wait staff on the ship. We were ushered to a table with 5 other people - that should have been the first sign of trouble. We waited another 20 minutes to have our order taken - sign #2 of a problem. 10 minutes later when drinks arrived nobody got the drink they ordered - it was like musical chairs with drinks - sign #3 there is a problem. Almost an hour and a half later with no entrees in sight and everyone just finishing their salad I excused myself to go to the show, missing what I had expected to be my favorite meal of surf and turf. I just wonder if the staff assigning the seating had a clue as to what they were doing.... more about that below. Deck 7 is mostly cabins and also included the free self service laundry facility. The free laundry is a joke. There are only 4 washing machines and 4 drying machines for the ENTIRE SHIP. The first few days one washing machine was down, and two of the other washing machines did not work properly for the remainder of the cruise even though I did mention it on my mid cruise evaluation. With two of the washing machines, you press the start button and the agitator immediately starts twisting your clothes even though there is no water in the machine. It keeps twisting while the water is filling. The main problem is that 4 washers and 4 dryers are not nearly enough to work for 550 passengers. One day got very heated and a shouting match took place because someones clothes were sitting in the dryer for 3 minutes after the cycle ended. I heard there were a few other heated moments in this area. They need another set of these machines on decks 4 AND deck 8 were most of the cabins are located. I was lucky, I did use this area early one morning, but by the time I left about 10:00 the troops were arriving with their stinky pants in hand for a new round of "Battle for your Whirlpool Washer". And if you make it through round one, round two may be a bit more fun - "How long will your Vanity Fairs Last?" in the dryer that is after the cycle is complete, until someone yanks them out and puts them on display on top of the dryer - skid marks and all. This ship has many good things: Most of the service is good. The staff at the Guest Relations Desk were very nice. Our cabin stewards Husein and Fransisco were wonderful. The food quality and selection is a full step above many of the other cruise lines. Easy to navigate being such a small ship. Ship is very very clean. The free wine at lunch and dinner is very nice, as well as the free soft drinks. We had two very nice cocktail parties and the free drinks were flowing, I do mean flowing, they were not stingy at all. The Mosaic Cafe was fantastic - great staff, great coffee, great snacks - all included in your cruise! My traveling companion purchased on of the upgraded beverage packages and said it was worth every penny! The bad: Some non-service at breakfast at the buffet - two times - bad. SLOW service in the dining room - three times - very bad. Six times our television broke in our cabin - each time I went to the Guest Relations and they helped, but really should the TV die six times?? Really? The laundry on deck seven - I think I have already beat that dead horse above! THE WORST: The mattress on the bed - this needed to be replaced years ago, what are they thinking passengers will not notice? Is it really that difficult to have a nice mattress? The average passenger will be spending 1/3 of the time there, this item should be top notch- especially at this level of cruising. If you want a good mattress one cruise line wins hands down in this area - Holland America - they have the best! THE VERY WORST: On the 6TH evening of the cruise I asked the staff at the desk at the entrance of the main dining room if they could do a small birthday celebration for my traveling companion on his birthday - May 28 - Monday. They said "sure" a cake and singing would be done. I was expecting a cup cake and a few waiters/bus staff to come around and sing Happy Birthday- done all the time on cruises. Two days later I checked AGAIN with the staff at the entrance of the main dining room to confirm that a small celebration would take place, also confirming my cabin number. Each time you go to the dining room they request your cabin number. I even saw them type in what appeared to be a note for the birthday celebration. They assured me a 2ND time they would honor my request. On May 28 the day of the expected birthday celebration we had our complete meal WITHOUT one bit of birthday celebration. I was so utterly disappointed, how could they forget? Do these people really know what they are doing? I did not think my request was unreasonable. This was THE VERY WORST - and absolutely unacceptable. Will I travel Azamara again....maybe, maybe not.....I am leaning more to maybe not - the lack of the birthday celebration was such a major disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
We bought a flight inclusive package from London for a cruise out of, and returning to, Rome. Very excited by the prospect of our first 5.5/6 star cruise. On the Friday before the cruise (which was due to leave Rome at around 6pm on the ... Read More
We bought a flight inclusive package from London for a cruise out of, and returning to, Rome. Very excited by the prospect of our first 5.5/6 star cruise. On the Friday before the cruise (which was due to leave Rome at around 6pm on the Saturday), we had to catch a 7 am flight from Heathrow! What on earth for? We then stayed in a very average hotel (Crowne Plaza), exhausted and in no real mood to go traipsing around Rome. The following day we were eventually coached back in the direction of Rome airport (why not stay closer to the port if we must be taken out the day before the cruise itself?) before turning towards Civitaveccia and embarkation (which was relatively painless and expeditious) Azamara Journey is a 34 year old ship (I was informed) with a capacity of just below 700. It looks its age, has areas of disrepair quite obviously visible (holes in lift walls and in our cabin walls and really drab decor), was not spotlessly clean (as we would have expected) and the welcome aboard was extremely muted - no photographer (when we alighted, although we didn't particularly mind that) and half a glass of cheap sparkling wine each Our stateroom (a category 4 inside cabin) was roomy enough (200+sq ft). However the bed was like two camp beds pushed together (not terribly comfortable), the bathroom a real squash (sitting on the loo was quite a manoevre - I perfected this after a couple of days), the shower blackened around the edges from age/ingrained dirt), a few unplugged holes in the walls (which they kindly patched up with what looked like pieces of wallpaper the size of elastoplasts) and a very cheap uncomfortable sofa (which had someone else's grape from the previous cruise jammed between its edge and a cushion. The window was large. The cabin was well equipped with electrical points taking both US and EU adapters Dining was good in the paid-for specialty restaurants but pretty mediocre at best in the buffet style Windows Cafe Activities pretty much what you'd expect Service on board was, with a few notable exceptions, EXCELLENT (Hooray!!!) Unfortunately the Guest Relations desk was not such a good experience in my view with what could hardly be called a customer-focused approach unfortunately. Furthermore the Captain of the ship must be one of the most interpersonally challenged individuals I have ever come across in such a job - it was as if he just couldn't wait to get off (this was his last cruise prior to a holiday). Overwhelmingly disappointing when part of the excitement of a cruise is the interaction you might have with senior members of the crew One saving grace was a first-class cruise director named Eric de Gray (and his team of performers) who put on some very nice shows. There was also an excellent pianist (Jeff Warren) and a fabulous harpist (Mary Amanda Fairchild). The hotel director was also excellent Port and shore excursions were plentiful and Azamara had given us advanced notice of a 50% offer on everything (which was nice of them!) It's always lovely to travel the oceans and in that respect the cruise was fine. The ship is quite small - you either appreciate the relative intimacy and therefore relish this aspect of the experience, or you crave some space and the ability to secure some privacy other than within the confines of your cabin Disembarkation was efficient BUT again the company decided to ask us to leave at 7.15 am when our flight was at 1.30 pm from an airport an hour away - what on earth for? How incredibly un-customer-focused for goodness sake. Thankfully after quite some complaining we were able leave at 9am - and we still got to the airport 3.5 hours before our flight was due to check-in and 30 minutes before we could leave our bags The best part of the experience was meeting some lovely passengers who quickly become new friends Would I cruise Azamara again? I guess so if I won it in Bingo or something, but not if what I am looking for is a quality experience that justifies the price paid. I have had much better experiences with Holland America, NCL, Princess and Celebrity. The new CEO has got his work cut out for him that's for sure Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
My wife and I just got back from the 10/10/10 sailing of the Journey and I have to say that we had an amazing time. The ship size was perfect, suites were immaculate, and the staff was friendly (we wanted to adopt a few of them ;-) ). ... Read More
My wife and I just got back from the 10/10/10 sailing of the Journey and I have to say that we had an amazing time. The ship size was perfect, suites were immaculate, and the staff was friendly (we wanted to adopt a few of them ;-) ). The facilities on board were very good, particularly the spa and health club. Working out was a pleasure and the machines were very well maintained compared to on-shore fitness clubs. Check-in and check-out was very efficient and the handling of shore excursions was really great. At no time did I feel impatient to get off the ship nor did we have to wait very long to debark or for tendering. Up to this point, I give the ship 5 well earned stars. If I have one major gripe about the cruise is the kitchen. The presentation was very good, but the food preparation in the main and Aqualina restaurants left a whole lot to be desired. Inconsistency seemed to be the name of the game for those two. For Aqualina, my lamb came cold and then was reheated instead of being re-fired, lobster came overdone and underdone at the same service in Aqualina. For the main dining room, my wife was served raw salmon, and I had numerous issues with allergies. With regret, I have to fail the ship relating to food. If your goal is a truly exceptional fine dining experience, look elsewhere, like a restaurant. If you have allergies, as I do, you might want to consider another ship until improvements are made. Of the top 5 meals we had during the cruise, all of them were on-shore in family (4) and hotel (1) restaurants. The ships kitchen simply didn't do it for me. I had high hopes for this ship and if the food preparation processes had been up to a decent standard (as we experienced on Celebrity on the previous cruise), the experience would have been the best we ever had. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2010
Hi to all. My wife and I are both 64, live in West Michigan, and have travelled extensively for both business and pleasure. We went on this cruise with another couple of the same age for Fall trip. This was our sixth cruise - having been ... Read More
Hi to all. My wife and I are both 64, live in West Michigan, and have travelled extensively for both business and pleasure. We went on this cruise with another couple of the same age for Fall trip. This was our sixth cruise - having been on Royal Caribbean, Costa, Renaissance, Oceania, and NCL before. None of us are overly picky but all appreciate nice touches and good, not overly attentive, service. Food is important but it's not the end-all/be-all for us. It's more about the variety of ports being visited and doing different things without having to pack and repack or deal with transportation over a week or so. We chose Azamara for three primary reasons - first and foremost was the size and character of the ship. We don't like mega ships, long lines or waiting for about anything. The Journey is the same size and configuration as the Oceania ship and the Renaissance IV(in fact it was a former Renaissance ship) we had sailed on before and enjoyed. Second, and almost as important to us as the ship, was the itinerary. We wanted to see most of the places the Journey was going. Lastly - time considerations. Azamara offered a seven-night cruise that fit well with our schedules. None of us are retired and taking two weeks or more off for vacation just doesn't work for us yet. With the Azamara cruise, we could spend two nights in a hotel in Venice before sailing and a final night in a hotel in Istanbul before returning. Cost was also a factor - albeit not an overriding one. We didn't want to spend the money that a true luxury cruise (SilverSea, OceanDream, Seabourn) requires mainly because we didn't want the amenities that the premium dollar gets you. We really don't need or want a butler - we had one on Oceania (due to a last minute upgrade) - and we really never felt it was needed or even desirable. We booked the cruise directly from Azamara - their quoted prices were a bit higher than ones I found on the Internet but Azamara offered us a shipboard credit that was almost 50% more than the difference in prices. We booked our airfare and hotels separately to be sure that we had flight times that suited our schedules and hotels that we knew we would enjoy (based on past experience or recommendations from others). Transfers were not an issue - although they are quite expensive in Venice, especially if you opt for a door-to-door water taxi from the airport to your hotel (€110) which we did - and it was totally worth it!!!! PRE-CRUISE COMMUNICATION (2 out of 5) Communication with Azamara before the cruise was not very good - there was not much communication and what little there was came only via email. I did have some questions and a call to the call center answered them quickly and efficiently. But, it would have been nice to have a cruise booklet prepared for us with Q&A, port information, etc. There was also some confusion about where to board the ship in Venice. The Port of Venice website clearly said one place but the Azamara people apparently told others (based on threads seen in the Forum) it was to be boarded at the other terminal. There's no excuse for that - the Venice Port people were, of course, right. EMBARKATION & BOARDING (5 out of 5) Boarding was handled very efficiently and smoothly by the cruise line personnel. It was quick, painless and very much appreciated by us. We boarded at about 2:00 PM and our bags had been delivered to our room by 3:00 PM. SERVICE (3 out of 5) Service on the Journey was extremely spotty. The crew was very friendly but they just didn't attend to things as well as they could have - especially in the dining venues on deck 9, i.e., Windows and Breezes. Many times the wait staff would be standing around rather than clearing tables or getting passengers silverware, napkins or placemats. Other times, even when crowded, we had great service. Bar service was almost non-existent while lounging around the pool. Go figure. The materials published and distributed at the end of our cruise showed that the passenger to crew ratio was 2:1. When I asked my wife and friends to guess the ratio, two said 3:1 and one said 4:1. It sure didn't seem like 2:1 to us. THE SHIP ITSELF (4 out of 5) We like the English men's club dEcor that was originally outfitted by Renaissance when the ship was built, but my guess is that we are in the minority. The public areas are nice and very well maintained. The on-board shopping in the 4th deck shops was pretty bad according to my wife - who bought nothing. Same with the 'art' that was for sale. In the Azamara publications I read (at least the ones I read online since I never saw anything in real print), the dress required or requested of passengers was "country club causal." Apparently, lots of the folks on our cruise had never been to a country club because they showed up at Discoveries for dinner wearing jeans, t-shirts, hats, shorts and flip-flops. Although most people did dress appropriately, there were lots of people that looked like they should be eating at the Old County Buffet rather than at a nice restaurant on a supposedly upscale cruise. If Azamara DOES want a country club atmosphere on the ship, it needs to let people know what that phrase means and politely suggest to people who are not dressed appropriately that they might prefer to dine at the buffet restaurant. God, I sound like a snob but a lot of people really looked pretty shabby. The casino was well appointed and well attended! The crews manning the tables were friendly even though they conspired to deal me terrible cards throughout the entire cruise. My wife won enough at the slots to almost cover my losses. The pool deck was very nice and there seemed to always be enough deck loungers when we wanted them - even without resorting to getting up early on an "at-sea" day to stash a towel or book on the better seats. Some thoughtless passengers did this and then didn't return for three to four hours. I did have to use the EConnections Internet service a couple of times. The cost of $0.65 per minute would have been OK but the connection speed the first time was so slow that I spent 13 minutes just to read one email and to send out a reply. Yikes! We never used the spa or any of its features so I cannot comment on that. Same with the entertainment. We did not attend any shows so I can't comment. But, the poolside entertainment, the harpist and the piano player were all really good and we enjoyed hearing them. The Oceania cruise we took in 2008 offered a 2-for-one happy hour each night in the bar located at the front of the boat. On the Journey, that was the Looking Glass bar on deck 10. The first time we went there, we were told it was reserved for a private function but that we could have a drink at the side of the room next to the smoking area. No thanks. The next time we went there, there was no furniture by the windows and no service from the people at the bar. So we left Looking Glass again and had drinks on our balcony. Never went back. But our biggest disappointment was the [lack of] outdoor space at the rear of deck nine - more on that later. OUR STATEROOM (4.5 out of 5) We and our friends had adjacent balcony staterooms on deck seven. Being adjacent allowed us to open the glass door on the balcony when we were in port making the extended balcony a wonderful place for us to have cocktails or to merely relax. Also, having tables on the deck were a nice idea and allowed outdoor dining with room service! The stateroom was very nice and comfortably furnished. Many posters here have complained about the mattresses being unsatisfactory. Maybe they were a little hard but they weren't worth complaining about. We certainly didn't have any trouble sleeping. Linens used on the bed were very nice. The bathroom was small but perfectly suitable for our needs. The furnished toiletries were OK but nothing special. Towels were plentiful, large and very soft. Closet space was ample. The primary TV channels offered were awful. The only news channel was Fox News - no CNN or BBC - and very limited other offerings. There were a couple of generic port information channels but nothing specific about the port that was coming up or what you might want to do there (other than to take an Azamara shore excursion). This could really be improved upon. Our stateroom steward - Rosalie - was the best! Never was our stateroom not clean and made up when we returned from any meal. I don't know how she did it but she was great. She also made sure that we had ice and snacks when we asked for them. PORTS OF CALL (2 out of 5) Venice, Santorini, Kusadasi and Istanbul were all fantastic - albeit overly crowded - but that's not the fault of the cruise line. Great places draw big crowds. Also, the island of Korcula in Croatia was a wonderful surprise. It was a very quaint and interesting port town to visit and was probably a good choice over Dubrovnik - which can get very crowded at this time of year. But now let's talk about Koper, Slovenia. I know that Slovenia is a beautiful country with beautiful mountains. But Koper is not. It is the worst port we have ever visited in our cruising experiences. Sure, there were shore excursions but the only two that were remotely interesting, i.e., Lake Bled and Ljubljana, required two+ hour bus rides each way and cost almost $300 per couple. We had ZERO desire to spend five hours on a bus. Instead, we spent about an hour wandering through the streets of Koper's 'old town.' The old town was that - old. It also very gray and totally devoid of charm, joy or anything of interest other than lots of cats. There was nothing to buy, nothing to see and nothing to do. The most interesting thing we saw was a worker cleaning the town fountain with what smelled like hydrochloric acid. I have no problem with Slovenia wanting to develop tourism through Koper - but this is not yet a developed port for a 'top rate' cruise line to visit unless and until more is developed for passengers to do. I feel I almost deserve 1/7 of our cruise price back from Azamara for making me stop here for some unknown reason. There were other ports that could have been substituted for this one. Bottom line, I would not recommend any cruise that stops at Koper unless the itinerary for what was to be done there was fully explained and organized - a day at sea would have been preferable to our time spent there. OVERALL DINING (4 out of 5) Included Wine and Soft Drinks (5 out of 5) We do like wine and the choices that Azamara provided each day for lunch and dinner were very interesting. The wines ranged from California to South Africa and it was nice to try differing varieties with your meals. Some were really excellent and some were just OK. We sure didn't send any back. We understand that wine preference is a purely personal choice and that others may feel that the included wines were not worth the effort. We thought it was a really nice touch. Same with the soft drinks - they were included and they should be. Discoveries - Main Dining Room (4 out of 5) The dEcor and atmosphere of the main dining room, Discoveries, was very nice. We only waited once to get a table for four. Most of the entrees and accompaniments at Discoveries were excellent. The appetizer courses were well done. The soups all were excellent - especially the chilled soups (we actually thought of having the Pear soup again for dessert!). The beef - prime rib and steaks - were better than I expected. However, many of the fish dishes seemed to be bland and without much flavor. Desserts were just OK. Requests for levels of doneness of tuna and beef were usually just as ordered. Acqualina (5 out of 5) This is a great restaurant that really is worth the extra $15 per person. The menu, as well as the service, were wonderful. All of us had lobster in some fashion and it was not at all rubbery as it frequently can be in large scale dining facilities. The soufflEs were also great - especially the chocolate one! We really liked Acqualina - as apparently everyone else did too. We were able to only get one reservation there. Prime C (4.5 out of 5) Prime C was almost as nice an experience as Acqualina but .... The menu was really beef driven and that's what you would expect from a restaurant called Prime C. The portions of beef were really large - too large actually - and could have easily been split. The sauces provided were very good as well. They only served one type of bread that had lots of onion flavoring. I liked it but not everyone may. The service was very nice. But, Acqualina had better service and a better overall menu. Still, Prime C was worth the extra cost and is highly recommended. It just wasn't that special. Breezes poolside cafe (3 out of 5) The problem with the poolside grill was that very long lines tended to form right when you wanted to eat and there were not enough cooks or servers to address the desires of the people waiting in line. Again - spotty service. The burgers, wings and hot dogs were tasty but it took forever to get them. Windows (2 out of 5) Dining at Windows for breakfast was pretty much a disaster every day. Very long lines and slow wait times to get an omelet or a fried egg. Just four stations for 700 passengers. They needed more. We finally gave up and ate at the Discoveries restaurant or had room service for breakfast. Same thing with lunch - Discoveries was overly crowded due to the restaurant's design. The layout of the restaurant makes no sense requiring all diners to converge in a narrow space between two parallel buffet lines. The thing we liked most about our dining on Oceania and NCL was having the ability to eat breakfast and lunch on the rear deck in the open air. On the Journey, the rear deck area was taken up by a huge, and mostly unused, wraparound bar rather than being used as space for dining. On the Oceania ship, the rear deck had three to four rows of tables that are available for outdoor dining. On the Journey, there was one row of about eight tables with umbrellas and the rest were stuffed to the sides under the overhang of deck 10. The eight or so bar stools mounted to the deck were the most uncomfortable stools I have ever sat upon and were rarely used. Every morning, passengers grabbed a cup of coffee and perched like vultures over the few tables that had an outdoor venue hoping that the current users would quickly end their meals so that their table could be snarfed up before another passenger swooped in to claim it for their own. Buffet Nights (????) We didn't do any theme buffets so I can't comment on them. I would note, though, that the ship did depart Santorini, Greece at 8:00 PM. And, on that night, the ship chose to have an Indian themed buffet around the pool area. WHY NOT GREEK FOOD WHEN IN GREECE???? I like Indian food but not when I'm in Greece. Apparently, everybody else thought the same thing because the other dining rooms were overwhelmed by diners that night apparently opting to have their curries another time. Room Service Dining (4 out of 5) We only had breakfast delivered to our room - and then only once. The orders were all correct, delivered right on time and were nice and hot. However, we didn't get any salt or pepper and the orange juice tasted more like Tang than being fresh-squeezed. Oh well. DEBARKATION (5 out of 5) Worked like a charm. We were out of the ship, with our account cleared and gathering our luggage within five minutes of our designated time. OVERALL (3.5 out of 5) We had high hopes for this cruise - some were realized and others were not. First off, Azamara has a ways to go in terms of service and ambiance to match Oceania. It just didn't feel as good as did the Oceania experience. There needs to be more attention to detail to get to the next level - except for our steward, Rosalie, who was the best we have ever had on any cruise line. I'd guess that the average passenger age was about 65. This cruise had more passengers in the 35-45 range that I would have suspected - many of which seemed to be with a corporate group that might have skewed things a bit. Also, the passengers were more internationally diverse than the Oceania cruise that seemed to cater almost exclusively to Americans. There were a lot of Brits, Germans, and other Europeans on the Azamara cruise. Food quality was very good but not quite up to par with Oceania - except for Acqualina and Prime C. Ports of call (with the exception of Koper) were fine and what we wanted to see. Shore excursions were not very well described or marketed - hence we did ours on our own and had a much better experience. Hope that this is helpful to those who read it. Read Less
Azamara Journey Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 5.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 1.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 5.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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