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Sail Date: January 2010
Recently cruised on the Azamara Journey January 3, 2010 thru the Panama Canal. We mainly cruise with Celebrity and a few times on Royal Caribbean. Our last cruise was in May 2009 on Royal Caribbean's "Independence of the ... Read More
Recently cruised on the Azamara Journey January 3, 2010 thru the Panama Canal. We mainly cruise with Celebrity and a few times on Royal Caribbean. Our last cruise was in May 2009 on Royal Caribbean's "Independence of the Sea", which at the time was the largest cruise ship afloat. We decided to try a small ship and RCI had the luxury line Azamara cruises under the Celebrity Brand. Embarkation was a breeze but things got a little strange after that. We tried to upgrade to a suite and were told only a Penthouse was available, so we inquired as to what the cost would be and we were told 6K for the upgrade, which was unbelievable and it turns out that on the 2nd night of the cruise they gave it away at the first Bingo game. We also found out that Azamara is now Azamara Club Cruises as of January 1st and no longer under Celebrity Cruises Brand. They no longer honored Captain Club and we only got a few coupons and invitations from the Captains Club. Azamara Club Cruises all-inclusive and upgrades to the ship will start April 10 so our cruise was in limbo. Our luggage did not arrive until 4PM which is the latest we ever had on a cruise with the life boat drill at 4:15 and our dinner at 5:45 things were a little tight. First night dinner was unorganized to say the least and the food ran the gamut of bad to very good depending on what you ordered and the wait staff service was poor. We chalked everything up to the 1st day but as my wife said, why should the 1st day be any different that the previous days they were doing this, so we decided to wait for judgment and by the 3rd day we had come to a conclusion that this so-called luxury cruise was actually not up to Celebrity's standards. The food, the service, the entertainment and the lack of was not what we expected at all from a LUXURY cruise. Cabin: Balcony cabin was, of course, small and definitely needed new bedding which was worn and uncomfortable. The eggshell that our cabin steward put on the bed the next night did help a little. Internet Service: Reception was poor at best. Discoveries, Main Dining room: breakfast and dinner: food ranged from bad to very good and the service was poor to good. Windows Buffet: breakfast, lunch and dinner ranged from bad to good Pool Grill for lunch was great Aqualina's and Prime C the specialty restaurants: food and service was excellent. Cova Cafe the Specialty coffee shop: okay The Martini Bar: very good Looking Glass Lounge: we never used Afternoon Savories were good to very good Luxe Casino is extremely small with limited gaming. Two shops Aqua Spa Service was excellent but the Thalasso pool deck was not worth the $175 per couple. Even though they said they limited membership, the chair hogs prevented you from really using the private deck, and the pool was actually nothing more than a large Jacuzzi. One secret, instead of purchasing the package just enter the pool area through the fitness center or walk directly thru the Spa, they never checked once. Entertainment was poor to good. This was not a cruise for us because of the size of the ship and the fact that we feel that Celebrity is a much superior brand than this overpriced luxury Azamara. I do believe that this would be a great cruise for anybody 70 and over which was 85% of the passengers. It's small, quiet, very little to do except eat, sleep, and read and not care about service and food quality. Did check what their new improvements are going to be as of April and we are not impressed with them and the 45% increase in price. We did 3 shore excursions and missed one other port because of bad weather. The shore excursions we experienced were okay but the variety of shore excursions were poor compared to what we are used to.   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
We took the 12 Night Caribbean Cruise on the Azamara Journey beginning on January 31, 2010. Rather then write a long review, let me summarize the positives and negatives. Positives: 1. The officers, staff, and crew were enthusiastic, ... Read More
We took the 12 Night Caribbean Cruise on the Azamara Journey beginning on January 31, 2010. Rather then write a long review, let me summarize the positives and negatives. Positives: 1. The officers, staff, and crew were enthusiastic, professional, and accessible to the passengers. They made us feel like welcome guests. 2. The food was excellent and abundant and served by a profesional staff. The cuisine in the main dining room was actually superior to the food provided in the "upscale" Aqualina Restaurant and Prime C Restaurant. I would recommend skipping Prime C as the steak quality was fair at best. The level of service in both restaurants, however, was fine. 3. The intinerary of seven ports provided us with a full range of Caribbean islands to visit. Even though we visited these ports in seven consequitive days, we enjoyed them all. Negatives: 1. For a ten year old vessel, the Journey was not in very good condition. There was rust, peeling paint, and other marks that showed that the ship was not getting very good maintenance. 2. The system of providing a butler (instead of a room steward) did not work out very well. The butler did have an assistant, but all this did was lead to a lack of coordination in cleaning rooms. Consequently we would find that the room was cleaned by noon and the bathroom not even mid afternoon. When we checked in on the first day, the bathroom had not been cleaned properly. Throughout the trip, these frustrations continued. I would recommend eliminating the butler and bring back a good room steward. 3. Of the total twelve days, the ship's plumbing system failed on four days; air conditioning on one day. This ties back to improper maintenance. 4. On the last full day of sailing, if guests wanted to print off airline boarding passes, they had to sign up at a significant cost for Internet services. Azamara does not provide the courtesy or service of printing these passes for you. Summary: Overall, this was a fine trip. Is it worth the difference between Celebrity and Azamara? I think not. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2009
After just completing my 6th cruise, I finally feel qualified to review my most recent cruise, the 12 day Baltic cruise on the Azamara Journey, which sailed on July 12th 2009. I am home a week and have been able to reflect on the entire ... Read More
After just completing my 6th cruise, I finally feel qualified to review my most recent cruise, the 12 day Baltic cruise on the Azamara Journey, which sailed on July 12th 2009. I am home a week and have been able to reflect on the entire experience. Overall it was a great experience. I originally chose the Azamara cruise for its 3 days in St. Petersburg, a rarity among cruises and in my opinion an absolute essential, a fourth would be even better, but I know that not possible. I had read many reviews of the Azamara ships and learned early on that the staterooms were small by modern American cruise line standards and the bathrooms downright substandard. So I opted for a "Sky suite" on deck 8. I had a Sky suite on a previous Celebrity Mediterranean cruise and liked the "extra immunities" that came with such an accommodation. Immediately upon entering the room I knew this was no Celebrity sky suite. It was small by sky suite standards. The bathroom was certainly adequate with a tub shower and plenty of storage, but was also not that of its Celebrity counterpart. I also very quickly learned the butler service was also not that of its counterpart. I knew special dining reservations and spa reservations are at a premium on sea days so I, immediately upon meeting my "head butler", gave my request, written down on a piece of paper to him. He then replied, "Oh you can call the restaurant..." and gave me the phone number to the spa and the restaurant. I looked at him in a most perplexed way. I did however, while he was still standing in my room, call the restaurant and got a busy signal, I then handed him back my piece of paper. He did come through in the end, but I knew from that moment I had been spoiled and this was a "head butler" in name only. The butler service only deteriorated from there. The next morning in anticipation of a 10 hour excursion to Berlin I ordered breakfast to our room. Our butler dropped the full tray on the tiny coffee table in the room and left. I took the dishes from the tray and placed them on the table on the veranda. My husband and I sat in sweatshirts and jackets and ate our breakfast while freezing on the veranda. We knew this room service breakfast business was also not going to work. Then there was the issue of the decks on deck 9 getting hosed down everyday at between 8:30 and 9:00 AM. The water was pushed overboard and landed; you guessed it, on our veranda. I complained every morning I saw it happen, the butler assured me he had spoken to the head of housekeeping, yet it continued. I complained to guest services. An "Email" was sent to housekeeping. Finally on the last day of the cruise, upon returning from breakfast, I saw that my veranda was soaking wet. Ah I thought, I am safe, they had done their deck cleaning business for the morning. I went out on my soaking wet veranda to look out at the very sweet town of Lubeck. Then all of a sudden, it started again and I was getting soaked from above. I laugh now, but was I steaming mad! I get on the phone to the butler; he of course apologizes profusely and tells me he is going to call the "Bridge". "Do whatever you want, this is my last day and I am fed up!" I guarantee you the people who are residing in stateroom 8068 are, as we speak, getting their veranda soaked from above. The food in the main dining room was good but by no means exciting. The service in that dining room ranged, depending on the day, from adequate to laughably awful. One morning the entire Waite staff was in such a frenetic disorganized state it resembled the keystone cops. I thought perhaps it was just me. But during an excursion that morning, I was talking with another guest who commented "...what was going on this morning." Dinner one night was so terrible all we could do was laugh. The specialty restaurant Prime C's menu is uninspired. The fillet mignon was typical and the rib steak respectable. The Aquiline restaurant offered a better menu, offering an excellent sea bass however my husband's lobster tails were inferior. But the service was significantly better than the main dining room. The lunch and breakfast buffets on deck 9 were certainly ample, even though by the cruises end I was satiated and bored with the faire. I missed the spa lunches offered on the Celebrity ships. The entertainment was as expected. I knew it was a small ship and their options were limited. The young cabaret singers were charming and full of energy. The guest entertainers were variable, but frankly I was so tired from running all day and into the evening, especially in St. Petersburg, this feature was of little importance to me. The theater however, could use some refurbishment. Right now to me it looks like the all purpose room in my mother's assisted living facility. As for the infamous nickel and diming, yes it is there. Everything from hawking the water at the gang plank before disembarking for a day's excursion to the sign on the bottle of wine placed in the room, drink and pay, to the fee for coffee at the coffee bar. But that is an old Celebrity trademark. It is also that way in every hotel in the world. So I am used to it. I know better so I never touch any of the extras placed in the room of any hotel. Yes it was different on my last Regent cruise and that was nice, but as is very obvious, Azamara is no Regent. The least expensive stateroom on Regent is larger than the Sky Suite on Azamara.Now for what Azamara excelled at. The staff were all courteous, friendly and easily engaged in conversation. They were more than willing to impart any local information and wisdom they might have. On the whole they did try to satisfy. The ship was clean and well maintained. The spa seemed adequate for the number of passengers. The masseuse was excellent. The gym was adequately equipped and nicely laid out. The itinerary was great. As mentioned the third day in St. Petersburg is a must. The two days in Stockholm, wonderful. The last day in Lubeck/Travemunde Germany, was such a nice addition. The shore excursions that I used from Azamara were excellent. The guides were both pleasant and knowledgeable and afforded an excellent overview of the various cities. Disembarkation for the excursions was handled in speedy and efficient manor. However, I must add, I arranged from home for my own visa and private guide for the 3 days in St. Petersburg. She made the trip. She was SPECTACULAR! Therefore I cannot comment on the St. Petersburg offerings from Azamara. Would I go an Azamara cruise again? Probably not, unless the itinerary was such that I couldn't get it on another cruise line, ie: 3 days in St. Petersburg. But I do believe Azamara, at just 2 years old, is young. I believe there is a genuine interest on the part of management to hear from there past passengers and they want their feedback. They are a work in progress and in time will probably find their niche. Will it be for me, I don't know. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2008
Cruise line products are divided into numerous categories, so I was told at an Azamara Journey onboard seminar about the "behind the scenes" ship operations. The categories were described as: Budget/Economy, Standard, Deluxe, ... Read More
Cruise line products are divided into numerous categories, so I was told at an Azamara Journey onboard seminar about the "behind the scenes" ship operations. The categories were described as: Budget/Economy, Standard, Deluxe, Luxury, and Super Luxury. Based on the impressive and beautiful Azamara brochure, my prior sailing experience with Crystal Cruises (my yardstick as a REAL luxury cruise line) and my travel agent's encouragement (she had just returned from an Azamara fam in Europe), I chose the Azamara Journey's Norwegian Fjords cruise. This cruise was my first cruise on a Celebrity/Royal Caribbean product and my impressions are from that viewpoint. Our decision to take a cruise was last minute; we reserved the cruise about a month before departure and we chose to use Celebrity's flight package with transfers. My husband and I are seniors, in good health, and prior "cruisers" on several different lines. The total package price, including onboard credit, was appealing (though not cheap) for a "luxury" cruise. The promotion offered a reasonable base price with the possibility of an upgrade. We did receive an upgrade to a cabin with a large window on the same level as Guest Relations. The more expensive cabins are located on upper decks. First impressions are signals and can be reliable predictors and our first exposure to Celebrity/Azamara was our first warning signal. We requested to leave at least one day early in order to sight see in Copenhagen and to adjust to the time change. We were told that option was sold out because of the last minute booking. Odd, because our flights departed on Friday, a premium day of travel, rather than the midweek travel we requested. The extension at the end of the cruise was also sold out. Our flight details were not advised until almost the departure date and we had no opportunity for modification. We did not like the return reservations, which had two plane changes. The transfers from the airport to the ship and vice versa proceeded smoothly and were essential to weary travelers. However, the first impression as we boarded the ship signaled: This is not the "luxury" of Crystal; the feeling is "Celebrity". The level of polish and training of the Azamara Journey crew did not match that of a luxury cruise line. The "lobby" area was small compared to Crystal and the staircase overpowered the area. A designer jewelry concession was located in that area with the Guest Relations, Shore Excursions and Cruise Sales desks. Although tastefully appointed, it just didn't belong there. Our cabin met our expectations for the price. The bed was the best feature with pillow-top mattress cover, fluffy comforter, and two big, fluffy pillows each. Additional decorative pillows added to the ambiance and comfort. However, the bathroom was tiny; the shower was extremely tiny, not what one expects of a "luxury" product. The closet and storage space was good and nice wooden hangars were sufficient. The room safe was broken from a prior occupant, and getting it fixed and ultimately replaced took a couple of days of contacting multiple sources. The small table that should have been beside the one chair, was missing. Again, the safe and missing table should have been part of the cabin review before we boarded, and any deficits corrected. The TV was a newer flat screen model with remote, but probably had never been adjusted for color and sharpness. TV programming choices were mediocre and I missed having a DVD player, available only in the suites. Our main reason for choosing this tour was the ports. We wanted to see as much of Norway as possible, so we signed up for numerous tours. The first one, an "all day" tour in Eidfjord was the most expensive at $228 each. What a waste of money! The packed bus drove from Eidfjord to Voss where we boarded a train to a lovely historic hotel in the mountains. We arrived after 2:00 P.M. and had to hike about a quarter of a mile from the train station to the hotel. By then, we were quite hungry and although the buffet was sumptuous, the room where we ate was hot and cramped and we were given less than an hour to select our food and eat it. Back on the bus by 3:00 P.M., we rushed down to the cruise ship, stopping twice for five minutes each stop to take photos of waterfalls. Had this tour operated in reverse as described in the brochure, we would have eaten at the proper meal time. The train ride, advertised as featuring scenic views, had brief encounters with daylight; most of the ride was in the dark as we went through many tunnels and the lighting in the coaches did not work. Our guide spoke English with great difficulty and consequently, did not provide much information about the sights. Our second tour, in Olden, featured a visit to a glacier. The tour description mentioned a hike of two miles total from the lodge where the bus left us to the glacier and return. The reality was a climb of about a mile and a half one way from the lodge to the glacier, up steep inclines with rough, difficult paths to navigate. This climb was assigned 45 minutes total, including viewing the glacier. The guide never mentioned that small carts were available for transport for one mile of the steepest climb. We had read about the "trolls" and paid dearly for our rides, but we were able to see the glacier. Most of the tour participants never reached the glacier. The third tour, in Geiranger, was terrific. The guide was knowledgeable, fluent in English, and very personable. She and the bus driver enjoyed sharing their love of the country and added extra stops. It was a marked contrast to all the other tours, including the Flam railway tour. We were glad we canceled the rest of the tours and explored the remaining towns and cities on our own. I expressed my displeasure about the first two tours and was told that Celebrity's main office selects which tours will be offered on each cruise. The onboard shore excursion team just sells the tickets and helps facilitate the operation of the tours. In my opinion, the tours are a primary way for Celebrity to make money and because the onboard staff has nothing to do with the actual tours, they lack the incentive to try to improve the product. The one tour they chose to take (of the ones we took) was the one in Geiranger, the best product. They really need to take the others, so they can share the same experience as the guests and can accurately advise guests about the tours. Dining is always an important part of a cruise and I found excellence in one place: Aqualina, a specialized restaurant featuring gourmet Mediterranean dishes with a French accent. The food and service attained the "luxury" standard. However as first time travelers, we were offered the earliest reservation times or the latest, and we made our reservations before our staterooms were available on the first day. The most popular slots for reservations were reserved for guests in the suites and Captain's Club members. Unfortunately, service in the Main dining room was mediocre at best, except for a waiter we discovered halfway through the cruise. The food was attractively presented, but the flavor relied heavily on fat and salt. The beef I ate was the cheaper cuts: tough and filled with gristle. The fish was consistently overcooked and dry. The dessert menu was uninspired, limited and repetitive. Why didn't the chef in Aqualina train the staff in the Main dining room? Why such a well defined difference in quality? The buffet offered similar standards in choices of foods. For example, premium fruits such as mangos and blueberries were never available except as garnishes and when those fruits were offered, they disappeared quickly. The food choices were more varied than in the dining room, but the preparation was similar. Other observations that shouted "Celebrity" brand, not "luxury" were the charges for bottled water and the mandatory gratuity of $12.25 per person per day. The gratuity was excessive, in my opinion, and the charge for bottled water on a "luxury" cruise is tacky. That the entertainment lacked variety or compelling interest reflected Celebrity's way of cutting financial corners. Games, hosted by members of the activities staff, took the place of guest lecturers and only a couple of "enrichment" program options or lessons were offered. One very important service that Azamara needs to make available to all guests is to reconfirm their return flight reservations for them (when requested) and have trained staff dedicated to this task. A number of us were not able to access our reservations in the internet center's computers because, although the flights showed one airline, the international portion was operated by another airline. The Guest Relations staff turned away assisting most people with this problem; I insisted on their help. One of the officers in charge of Guest Relations disconnected the computer being used to help me because she felt that the procedure was time consuming (which it was because of the slow internet connection). After trying again unsuccessfully in the computer center, I returned to Guest Relations where I complained loudly and was ultimately assisted to my satisfaction. My experience with luxury cruises is that they offer to perform this service, in advance, Despite what I consider to be shortcomings of Celebrity/Azamara, the best parts of this cruise were the pristine, scenic beauty of Norway's fjords and the ship's Captain, Karl Smith. His sense of humor and daily announcements were unexpected bonuses. He and his navigational crew accomplished several cruising "firsts", one of which made the news (so I was told). Compared to a true luxury cruise company such as Crystal, Azamara cruise line has not achieved the rating of "luxury". The company can claim to be in the "luxury" category, but just making the claim does not make the claim valid; the cruise still has the "Celebrity" feel. Azamara impressed me as a brand in search of an identity. Good luck with your "quest". Read Less
Sail Date: April 2008
Azamara Journey Cruise-- April 8 to April 25, 2008 AZAMARA is rather a catchy name. We like Atlantic crossings with the great and many days at sea. So, we decided to take the Azamara Journey from Miami the 9th of April.. Being from ... Read More
Azamara Journey Cruise-- April 8 to April 25, 2008 AZAMARA is rather a catchy name. We like Atlantic crossings with the great and many days at sea. So, we decided to take the Azamara Journey from Miami the 9th of April.. Being from California, we had to fly in the day before and had a nice day in Miami. On the 9th we headed for the ship about 12:30 pm to check in. The people at the check-in counters were very pleasant and it took just a few minutes and we were on the ship. We could get our cabins at 2 pm, so we went up top for lunch. They had three names for the various eating spots up there--Breeza, Windows-and I can't remember the other one, so I just call it the Lido. The food didn't look too great at the buffet, so we had a hot dog outside, with wonderful French-fries and fresh fruit. At 1:30 pm, somebody announced that the cabins were ready for occupancy, so down we went. We had a cabin with balcony on the 7th deck and right in the middle of the ship--a perfect location. When we walked in, we found our cabin to be medium size, nicely decorated but with a very small bathroom. The brochure promised us fresh fruit and fresh flowers. There were neither, but about the third day of the cruise the flowers appeared followed by an orange, an apple and a very hard pear. A young lady from Eastern Europe popped in and announced that she was our BUTLER!, which was about the last we saw of her except when she would deliver the ship's newspaper about 10:30 pm. I finally made her understand that putting the paper under the door was more desirable than pounding on the door and coming into the cabin. In addition to this "Butler" there was a male attendant, who was far from the brightest bulb on the tree, and they worked in teams. He told me they had up to 34 cabins to attend to every day. So you can see that the ship was very understaffed, not only in cabin attendants but waiters and deck persons as well. The second morning we went to breakfast in the main dining room at 7:45 am and no waiter approached us, so after waiting 45 minutes we left. Anyway, we asked if it was possible to have our cabin made up between 8:30 am and 10 am. Sometimes it was cleaned in those times, but most often it was as late as noon. Several days we just told them to skip it and give us clean towels The cabin was comfortable. However, the lights, after dark, were very dim so there was no reading in bed. After unpacking and cleaning up for dinner, we thought a before dinner cocktail sounded like a good idea, so we went down to look for a nice cocktail hour spot. There were none. What I call the "Crow's Nest" was usually taken up with bingo, games for the passengers, small group meetings or some such. The Casino bar was not yet open (it was very uncomfortable, noisy, and brassy anyway), so we headed for the little bar next to the dining room. It was the best. of the lot. We met some very nice Canadians there and we dined with them a few nights and because the dining room was closed for lunch every day while in port, we usually got together for a hamburger or a hot dog near the pool (their French fries were wonderful and the two cooks were very affable). Anyway, after having our drink, we decided we'd have dinner about 6:30. Standing in line for dinner took a few minutes. I much prefer assigned tables rather than the helter skelter manner in which you are seated in this dining room. The dining room itself is quite dark, noisy and jammed together, but it was worth all the inconvenience. We had the best food I've ever had at sea!!! And this was my 157th cruise. The two specialty restaurants on Deck 10were excellent, but we preferred the over the "Prime C". The menu selection was much better as were the waiters and the maitre d whose name was . He was so accommodating, always gave us one of the nicest table, best waiter and a genuine welcome. We had dinner in the five nights. It was much easier than going into the big dining room. After dinner, we usually played the slots in the Casino until the show started. The show was the usual Variety Act thing--ventriloquists, jugglers, comedian, violinist and pianist. None were very good. It seems to m e with all the talent competition we see and hear on television that it would not be so difficult to find talent for a ship. So we usually stayed about ten minutes and then, there was nothing to do but go to your cabin, and since the lights were too dim for reading, you could watch television--mostly CNN from Britain, which was repeats, over and over again. They had about 6 movies on the ship, which they also kept repeating, repeating and repeating. We love days at sea and there were many on this nice itinerary. The weather was beautiful except for a morning in Lisbon. Thank God for a balcony. We just think that we like a slightly larger ship, or maybe go at a time when the ship is not so jam-packed. We were on the Oceania Regatta for 28 days before the Christmas cruise. They're really the same ships. But also, the cruise companies have bragged too much in their brochures and literature about what great ships these are, with the wonderful service, the wonderful shows, the wonderful food and the wonderful BUTLER service. It makes for a very different cruise when very few of these wonderful "comforts" are really available. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
This is a personal view and may not reflect the views of other passengers Azamara Journey Santos to Miami Balcony cabin on deck 8 We boarded Azamara Journey after queuing for about 30 minutes, and after a quick snack on deck we found ... Read More
This is a personal view and may not reflect the views of other passengers Azamara Journey Santos to Miami Balcony cabin on deck 8 We boarded Azamara Journey after queuing for about 30 minutes, and after a quick snack on deck we found that our cabin ready for occupancy. The cabin was not as big as I thought it would be, with two beds and a settee, a flat screen TV on the wall which I kept banging my shoulder on when squeezing between it and the bed end, a large table on the balcony accentuated the narrowness of the balcony and cabin, the wardrobes were adequate for what clothes we had brought for a freestyle cruise, and drawer space was ok, but two of the drawers were broken and would not slide freely in or out, and there must have been 7yrs accumulation of muck and fluff heaped under the bottom drawer. After putting away our clothes a knock on the door produced the (butler?)in trousers that were 4 inches to long, and his help, introduced themselves. The cabin staff were cheerful and polite and worked well, but no better or worse than cabin staff on other ships we have traveled on. A day later as we were leaving for dinner a fitter came to repair the broken drawers that had been reported by the cabin staff, the drawers were repaired but I'm not sure if the muck was vacuumed up, as the drawers would not lift out after the repair. The bathroom was very small and the shower cubicle in this cabin was miniscule, and due to cost cutting there is no shower gel in the shower (not much luxury there) and when showering the shower curtain sucks itself in and sticks itself to you, and whatever you do: do not drop the soap for if you bend over you will hit your head on the taps/faucet handles. Later in the cruise I had to lift the bed settee to find some tweezers that had fallen through, I don't think this settee had been lifted for years as we found from amongst the mass of accumulated muck and fluff, a pencil and a pair of ladies jogging pants. Once at sea the ship seemed to have a funny motion and a shake that could be mostly felt when lying down in bed, perhaps its because it is a narrow beamed ship and gives me the impression that this ship is lively on anything but a very calm sea. As our cruise progressed it became apparent that the crew ratio was not 2 to 1, as multi tasking was evident in certain areas and the towel boy went behind the bar to serve me drinks on one occasion, also the waiter service in the Pool Grill dinning area was sporadic at best, it was much quicker to go into the adjacent Windows Cafe buffet and give your request to a table waiter than wait for the very occasional waiter patrol, food service and the food quality in the pool grill was excellent and the Prime ribs were divine. Juices coffee and iced tea were freely available, although on sea days glasses and cups were sometimes hard to find as many were on left out on deck. Bar waiter service on the Sun Deck was poor and very occasional, and staff only came around occasionally to pick up those empties which were within arms length, indeed glasses and cups amassed not far from my sun bed were still there the day after when I used the same sun bed, and they were still there when we left at 16:10pm. The breakfast buffet at the Windows Cafe and Breeza was also excellent with plenty of choice including porridge cereal yoghurt and fresh fruit Continental breakfast, pancakes and waffles, to several hot dishes including a hot ham carving joint, but the very popular smoothie bar which was only open at breakfast, was painfully slow and with just one waiter serving, was in my view extremely understaffed. Inside, the ship is tastefully appointed, using rich dark woods with browns bronzes and other materials to match. Dinner in the Discoveries restaurant was always a pleasant affair as we were asked on entering by the Maitre'D if we would like to be seated on our own, or with others, and we met some very nice people each evening. The food in the restaurant was very good, although I have had food equally as good on many other ships, what I have not had as good, on "any" other ship was meat as good as this, the meat on Journey was in a class of its own, and it was truly excellent. Wine was expensive starting around $50 dollars a bottle, and I think hit the hundreds, not being a wine buff I only glanced at the list. Aqualina restaurant was as nice as you would expect, the food again was excellent and nicely presented, the Prime C Restaurant was just as pleasant, and the food as you would expect equally as good. Towels were put out on the big wooden sun beds in the morning by the crew, and when it rained they were left out in the rain so that when passengers went out to sun bathe after the rain the mattresses were like a wet sponge, and the towels were being dried out down below, although eventually everybody received dry towels, there was never any attendant help on the sun deck to help with the normal type of plastic sun beds, and passengers had to help each other in lifting sun beds from the stack, and bar waiter service on the sun deck was also very occasional at best. Entertainment on the ship was reasonable although being a small ship the Celebrity Cabaret theatre was on the level with just one step up for the back half dozen rows, viewing was adequate rather than good, and as the ships orchestra took up most of the stage there was no room for dancers, so all entertainment was of the single performance type, (singers, instrumentalists, and a so called comedian ???) the ships singers a troupe of two boys and three girls who I enjoyed, only sang three times during in the 18 nights cruise. Tenders ashore when standing off were regular and efficient, although other than the daily navigational position report, little or no information was offered over the tannoy, indeed we only found out about the shuttle bus into Bridge Town at Barbados when the local traffic marshal informed us of it. The timing and placing of the entertainment seems a little out, for after the 2nd Cabaret show we went to the Looking Glass lounge for more entertainment, where within 10 minutes the Latin American Band had finished its last spot, and a dance instruction class was started, Why?? In the evening the Cova Cafe was the liveliest place on the ship, an excellent pianist played there nightly, but alas it was not the place to drink, sing, and be merry, as it is in a narrow, and very busy thoroughfare with very limited seating between the Celebrity restaurant and the shops where every man and his dog passed through thrice nightly. Michael's Club also gives the impression that it is a Gents club and bar, but it is not, it is a library The ship did not have much atmosphere and was usually very quiet by 23:30 and even the casino was quiet by midnight, the expensive drink prices topped with an added 18% gratuity (which we were told is going up to 20% in the Med) and the $12.50 pp per day added gratuities make sure that most passengers are tucked up by midnight. For photographers this is not a good ship to take photos from, the highest point the sun deck is surrounded by tinted glass and there is no other vantage point above it to take photos from looking forward, and to take photos astern the only vantage point is to squeeze through the tables in the Breeza cafe on deck 9 aft. After nine or ten days most of the more popular English canned beers ran out, and in the last few days some juices were also missing from the drinks machine. So to sum up, Azamara Journey is not a luxury cruise ship, and falls down in many areas, the butler is just a gimmick, and most cabins and bathrooms are to small for a luxury ship, poor service in some areas (possibly due to a shortage of staff) expensive bar prices, and the inflated and enforced gratuities which some people were told by staff at the front desk (that on orders from head office) they could not adjust do not make Azamara Journey a luxury cruise ship. I just can not understand what market owners Royal Caribbean and Azamara are aiming at, the more affluent customers will not put up with the shortcomings of this ship, or its indifferent service, the ship I am told was very heavily discounted in America, and it looks to me like the company are trying to make back profit on the high bar prices etc. The good points are the good food and excellent meat, and Captain Leif Carlson who was high profile and mixed with his customers most nights, and as a very nice gesture the Captain was also at the gangplank in Miami to say goodbyes to all his passengers that were leaving the ship. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2007
18 day South American cruise just completed, so here are some thoughts. If Azamara seeks to be the "upscale version" for the Celebrity Line it falls short. Overall, This is NO Regent, but you do get a lot of cruise time for the ... Read More
18 day South American cruise just completed, so here are some thoughts. If Azamara seeks to be the "upscale version" for the Celebrity Line it falls short. Overall, This is NO Regent, but you do get a lot of cruise time for the buck. Embarkation: Easy, but our luggage did not get to cabin by sail time. Layout: Heaving the heavy doors on the pool deck to get anywhere must be hard for older folks...why not have sensors open the doors?? The layout of the ship seemed counterproductive. Butler service: In name only. Call them cabin stewards and stop pretending. Stateroom: Adequate, with smallish bathroom and no tub, just shower. Furnishings looked like a garage sale purchase. Captain: Exceptional communications and treated us to Fjord and glacier cruising when he couldn't get into one of the ports. Cruise direction Andrea Olivieri was a delight...and added a stargazing session Food: Unimaginative. Portions are large but seafood was mushy (where were the great mussels and fish that we saw at the ports of call??) and meat came rare even when requested well done. Desserts were flavorless. They definitely need a pastry chef. Waiters seemed to hurry us along, snatching plates even when we were not finished. Some were terrible or untrained, others seemed to respond much better. It was actually more relaxing to dine in the buffet area. Wine by glass: Come on guys, change the selection depending on the night. Very limited. One sommelier seemed clueless, the other knowledgeable. Specialty dining: 2 "special" restaurants with one visit each included in price. Sounds nice but the meals were not any better than the regular dining room. Big deal, ho hum Drinks: Costly, and having to present your room card for a drink at the pool area or in the lounge was annoying. Entertainment: The trio was great, but the orchestra (esp brass) could use some...er, tuning. Harpist was nice touch and pleasant. Comics and featured acts were so-so. Aside from the extra effort by the cruise director, the enrichment talks were abysmal. Excursions...Don't waste your time on Montevideo city tour. Stick to the penguins and scenic tours elsewhere. Azamara tours are costly, but the alternative taxi and do it yourself tours take you into uncharted waters (ie play it safe, take the tour bus and accept the extra costs).. Computers: Get there in the early morning to log on. I think they need to use a different satellite. The IT guy tries hard and was helpful, but the broadband was, ah, narrow. Spa: good Store: $7 for 4 Pepto tablets? Get real. Activities: Bridge tables set up next to the Nintendo Wii arcade. Not conducive to play. Casino: Lotsa slots. Could use some more blackjack tables in place of the video poker table that no one used. Overall, there is a lot of potential, but would benefit from some changes in the layout, the kitchen and ongoing training of the waitstaff. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
Married, 60 and 62 yrs. old, numerous recent cruises including a very similar cruise last fall on Oceania's Insignia. Note: the cost and value ratings are based on Azamara'a standard rates looking at the rate average over the ... Read More
Married, 60 and 62 yrs. old, numerous recent cruises including a very similar cruise last fall on Oceania's Insignia. Note: the cost and value ratings are based on Azamara'a standard rates looking at the rate average over the next 12 months, not the promotional rate on this particular trip. Pre-cruise and embarkation: Fairly standard, but don't look for Oceania's blue leather document folder. Pre and post trip air arrangements were very poor and I would strongly recommend making your own travel plans. Ship: We are very partial to the "R-Ships" so we are biased toward the ship. The Journey shows wear and little evidence of the remodeling that presumably was in mechanical areas of this ship. Also, it does not have desalinization equipment, so it takes on local water at ports (sometimes quite brown). Stateroom: R-ships have slightly smaller rooms, but very nice and the Journey decor and bedding were excellent as was the cabin service. We ever met the "butler", but I suspect he was around somewhere if we knew what he was supposed to do for us. Entertainment: No one ever agrees on ship entertainment, but I can tell you that the five show performers on this boat all have outstanding talent, even by cruise ship standards. Unfortunately, they were bored form lack of utilization. The enrichment series speaker was the highlight; although, the very inexperience cruise entertainment director did everything she could to disrupt his series. But he was so good and patient, it was still the highlight. Food Service: This was hopeless to the point of being comical at times. A few waiters were experienced and many learned during the cruise, but it never met the lowest performance we have encountered on any line. But they tried their very hard, and most everyone was quite patient. Some waiting encounters were so bizarre that all we could do was chuckle. Food: This was well below Celebrity standards. Very average preparation by any restaurant standard. I had the same Ahi tuna 3 times on the cruise. Once it came medium rare, once it was well done and the third time tan and dry. No meal was special or creative; although, the soup chef is superb and should be retained. Presentation is poor with excessive portions of carbohydrates on the main entree. Menus repeated. The lunch dessert menu was unchanged for 18 days! The dinner desserts have very limited variety and are quite average. I lost a pound on the trip. I think I can safely say from many years experience and interest in fine foods that the current chef simply lacks the basic skills to ever compete with Oceania. OH, you should know: No lobster tail night. I would say if you go for the fine dining room meals and service, take almost any other line. Specialty restaurants have excellent service and the lobster bisque is the truly one exceptional preparation on the ship. We had planned 3 or 4 nights in these restaurants, but they were mostly empty which distracts from the atmosphere, so we cancelled most of these. Disembark: They had never been to this port before and there were special issues that they tried to correct, but I doubt they will repeat this disembark port. I will say they made great efforts to make it go well. Summary: Mostly average staff and managers are trying very hard to be something special. We were scheduled to go to Antarctica on the Journey in February and had our own air reservations to correct that problem, but in the end, we cancelled our trip at some cost to us just because we do not want to get on this ship again, but if you are a Royal Caribbean client that has never been on Celebrity or Oceania, you may want to try this. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
Background Information: We were recruited by Azamara directly. We had sailed Celebrity in the past but had stopped to sail on Holland America for our 4 previous cruises. Azamara had offered us a SkySuite for the price of a veranda ... Read More
Background Information: We were recruited by Azamara directly. We had sailed Celebrity in the past but had stopped to sail on Holland America for our 4 previous cruises. Azamara had offered us a SkySuite for the price of a veranda stateroom. The online brochure was convincing enough to believe that the line would live up to the expectations. Ship Info: Azamara Journey-- formerly a Renaissance ship. The ship is not new as stated but is new to Azamara-- the ship is in relatively good condition, however it is in need of refurbishment in some areas. Common areas have holes in the walls where there were previous art installations and displays. These holes are visible and not repaired. Chairs in the dining room were severely scratched, dust on decorative areas and art in the dining room. The Sky Suite although larger than most staterooms is still small for the class of this ship. The bathroom has a quirky setup and able bodied people will find it difficult getting in and out of the bath tub. The television is a plasma, however it's rather small for the room-- it is difficult to be viewed from the bed. The thermostat in the room didn't work and the temperature was often too cold. Activities: While the staff tried to make every effort to make the cruise enjoyable-- they were clueless in how to motivate the passengers to participate. Unfortunately the activities were not suited for the people on board. Service: The service on the ship was adequate however-- the issue is that many of the staff were new and unfamiliar with the expectations of service. Unfortunately the staff was not prepared to deliver the level of service that is to be equated with a line of this caliber. Issues included failure to clear dirty dishes, unemptied ashtrays, failure to anticipate needs. Searching for people to wait on you in the cocktail lounges--Butler service was sorely lacking, luggage service was non-existent and most of all the dining room was run like the keystone cops. Shore Excursions: Really were mundane and didn't live up to the expectations set forth by the brochure or the online descriptions. We opted to go elsewhere and had better time doing so. Staterooms were not of the size or caliber of the comparable lines. Dining the specialty dining rooms were impeccable and the actual dining room needed work. Entertainment was better than other lines but if you're seeking the big production shows of the larger liners-- you'll need to go elsewhere. Disembarkation was chaotic. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This was the Journey's first proper cruise after spending the summer in ferry and floating hotel mode on the Bermuda run. The itinerary was the major attraction, Bermuda followed by repositioning to the Caribbean and ending in Miami. ... Read More
This was the Journey's first proper cruise after spending the summer in ferry and floating hotel mode on the Bermuda run. The itinerary was the major attraction, Bermuda followed by repositioning to the Caribbean and ending in Miami. Having sailed six times before with Celebrity we felt very comfortable with the booking. This cruise was booked as the Celebrity Journey but we were later advised that it had become Azamara. The major change was that it was now open seating with no set evening dress code and the cruise experience was to be at a much higher level than Celebrity. A week before sailing we received notice that we would no longer visit the Turks and Caicos, this was a complete loss because all that changed was departing Bermuda at 8:30am rather that 4:30pm the previous day. No kind of compensation was offered. Boarding was trouble free and very fast. The initial impression on boarding was that the ship had a gentleman's club atmosphere, it didn't last. Once a couple of days had been spent on board the rough edges became very apparent in most ship areas, including the staterooms. If Azamara spent $17.5 million on this ship they must have fitted gold propellers because there is not too much sign of it above the water line. During the cruise the window catches round the pool area were faulty so they riveted them permanently closed allowing no air to circulate, very uncomfortable when the temperature rises. Maintenance crews were still on board doing renovation work after several months on the Bermuda run. There is still a great amount of work that should be done and it is not acceptable while passengers are on board. We went to our cabin, reasonable condition but too small to be the foundation of a luxury cruise experience. Because we travel with friends and have never seen a balcony that seats more than two we only book an outside cabin. The lack of attention to detail was apparent with badly finished carpeting and some wood trim missing. We met our 'butler', if this farce is to continue they could at least get them tuxedos that fit. This addition has replaced the standard cabin attendant and an assistant to a butler and cabin attendant, absolutely no gain but a doubling of gratuities. Our cabin staff had been given cabins spread over both sides of the ship, this meant we could never find him. Why not give him a continuous block of cabins so he could be a more visible presence. Get rid of the butlers, we failed to find a single passenger who found any value whatsoever in this, so called, luxury feature. When the first drink was served it was seen that, from the first day of this cruise, they increased the service charge from 15% to 18%. No notice had been given of this and many drinks price lists still showed the 15%. With the already very high drinks prices this did nothing to encourage bar and wine sales. We had arranged to dine late each night with the same waiting staff, we always like to see the same waiters during a cruise. The main problem we found with the open seating was that service was slow, trying to serve all courses at the same time throughout the dining room, especially on port days when the early diners tended to go later. Our personal preference is for fixed sittings. We missed the evening dress code, it's rare to have an opportunity to dress up at home and it makes a cruise special. Even the more relaxed dress code was not enforced with jeans, tee-shirts and shorts being seen in the dining room in the evening, another failure if trying to create the 'luxury' image. Dinner during the first week at Discoveries was very good and well presented. The first seven menus had been well tried and tested during the seven day Bermuda run. Once day eight came things changed. The menus were overcomplicated with some rather strange combinations being presented. We were approached each night by our assistant head waiter for comments, this passenger input must have done some good because the last two nights were back to the first week standard. These new menus should have been fully tested before being presented to guests. Windows buffet was good quality with adequate choices but became very congested and great difficulty finding a table. The buffet layout could be modified to gain a more structured flow and help stop people wandering around aimlessly and making it difficult to move through the serving area. A couple of times we gave up and went to Discoveries for breakfast or lunch. During the first week we went to Aqualina and had the first poorer quality meal of the cruise. It was very quiet and service slow. I ordered Osso Bucco, it bore no resemblance to what was expected with an over-rich collection of chopped vegetables in a very thick, sticky sauce and no rice. If you use a classic dish name it should use a classic recipe. Coincidentally, the next evening it was on the main dining menu, I had it again and it was very good. The experience of Aqualina meant that we did not try Prime C which we had intended to do before sailing. The speciality restaurants were very underused, their waiting staff showed up in Discoveries each night helping out because it was so busy. These venues must be filled every night to reduce the pressure on the Discoveries main dining, which does not have enough capacity, if the open seating policy is to continue. Very few passengers could see any value in paying a surcharge when the main dining is good, a no cost alternate restaurant may be the only way it can work. These restaurants should also be used to cut down the numbers in Windows at lunch time. In all dining locations the staff were excellent. There is a severe lack of activities on board and only one lounge where there could be any dancing. This ship is destined for distant waters and long days at sea, this will be a problem. Because there are no set time dining room sittings, if two shows were planned in the theatre it was common for both times to be unsuitable. The theatre is not tiered and therefor if you are not in the front row of seats your view will be obscured. The few organized late evening events seemed to have been designed more for the entertainment of cruise staff than the passengers. In common with all previous Celebrity cruises the weakest link was guest relations. The job applicants who fail to make the grade in all other positions must be given guest relations. No attempt was made to give guests any port information. On Celebrity cruises a port information sheet was always provided with maps and details about taxis, buses, beach and shopping recommendations etc. On this cruise - nothing, maybe trying to encourage bookings on their own very expensive trips. There is a lot of work needing to be done to bring Azamara up to Celebrity standards and I do not think it is possible to aim any higher with this ship. When we were in Santa Marta, Colombia we were berthed next to the Quest and were able to visit. This ship is identical to the Journey and, after talking to a few passengers, looking at similar problems. If Azamara was a passenger's first experience of Celebrity and they have been told, by Celebrity, this was the luxury end of the brand I doubt if they would risk the 'lower' standards of a Celebrity ship. Would we cruise Azamara again, the right itinerary at a give-away price, maybe. Would we recommend them to anyone, definitely not, friends are hard to find! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
First off, if you are not older than 60 yrs of age this is not the boat for you. They were maybe 10 couples younger than 60.We got shhhh'd everywhere for laughing and having a good time. We embarked out of Newyork harbor on 9/29/07. ... Read More
First off, if you are not older than 60 yrs of age this is not the boat for you. They were maybe 10 couples younger than 60.We got shhhh'd everywhere for laughing and having a good time. We embarked out of Newyork harbor on 9/29/07. Extremely smooth getting on board. When entering the ship you were greeted with champagne and orange juice. We stayed in a Sky Suite. Very roomy with plenty of closet space. The bathroom was pretty big however the tub was smaller than I expected.The balcony could have had nicer chairs, too hard. We did find it hard to get in touch with our butler. Many times the phone just rang. Which led me to believe he had too many rooms to deal with. The room however was very clean at all times. The food was very good both at the buffet and regular diningroom. We only ate at one specialty restaurant. Prime C was excellent. However I do not like open dining. The personal service is lacking and I always enjoyed getting to know all of the wait servers at the old style of dining. We did get to know some staff, however it took longer to develop that. I also find it insulting having to pay a cover charge for the specialty restaurants. I feel you should not have to pay any extra for a product and service that should already be in place through out the boat. Plus it was hard to make a reservation. No one answered the phone or the head waiter was unavailable and he was the only one who could take a reservation. I tried to get help from our butler but as I said before we could not find him. This cruise was sold to me as a luxury higher end cruise with all the upgrades. However I Found dead flowers through out this boat. VERY DEAD flowers. Pictures of Chandeliers on the walls are not my idea of art. They looked like they were bought at a garage sale. The beautiful china closets by the Martini Bar did not have real items in them but real tacky pictures of plates and vases.CHEAP!!!!! and very tacky. The pool deck was redone and the lounge chairs were wonderful, however the pool and it's tile looked older than the boat. They was hardly any music pool side and when there was it was only on one side and too low for anyone else to hear. When asked to make the music louder people complained. It was like sitting all the old aunts and uncles by the DJ at a wedding. Nothing but complaining. Keep in mind I was there for my 20th wedding anniversary and I am not a youngster. The entertainment was the worst. Other than the comedian which I might add no one over 60 laughed at, it was lacking and really bad. The band had no energy and the members looked bored. Not to mention the audience seemed to rather watch them like a tv news program than dance. I was not impressed with this 35 million dollar upgrade. The service needs work and the butler service did not live up to what was expected. When I asked for a Azamara bag I received a bag that clearly had been used. (sand and a receipt inside ) I did use the spa twice and was pleased with treatments. However I left my gold chain on the sink and in less than minute it was hidden behind a fixture. If I had not immediately come back it would have been taken. Clearly someone moved it out of sight waiting for me to leave. The only people there were Myself and the girl who changed the towels. I was not pleased at all. Though I did enjoy our trip. We met a great couple that we had a lot of fun with. Without them we would have been bored to death. I will not cruise Azamara ever again. I hope this is not the standard for this cruiseline and it's parent company. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
The following is my review of my experience sailing on 08/18/07 Cabin 6000 sunset veranda Let me just start by saying that the following review is not only my opinion but also the opinion of my fiancee and my parents who traveled with ... Read More
The following is my review of my experience sailing on 08/18/07 Cabin 6000 sunset veranda Let me just start by saying that the following review is not only my opinion but also the opinion of my fiancee and my parents who traveled with me on this sailing. With that said, let me begin.... A little background about me... I am a graduate student who has sailed on many ships to different destinations for the past 15 years therefore I have been on over 20 cruises, and have experienced the best cuisines, the best destinations and the best service. I know the bad from the good and from the ugly. I am not a beginner cruiser w/no experience. My first impression of Azamara as stated on the website where very positive and I was very excited to get a chance to sail aboard a "luxury cruiseline". The service from the sales reps at Azamara was awful, as was w/my previous experiences with the Celebrity line. I have requested to have my room done a certain way and when I arrived on the ship my requests were not honored. The boarding experience was one of the best experiences that I have had in the past. It is quick, painless, and very easy. I was on the ship within 10 minutes, there were no lines. I got there around 1 pm. The ship itself is small, but it is well decorated. It lacks a show lounge, it lacks a decent size pool, however the decorations around the ship are well appointed w/dark rich wood colors and fresh flowers through out. Our room was nice, it was well appointed and we always had anything that we requested.. (of course everything had to be requested, nothing was just given to you) Our room had a good view, because we were in the front of the ship. However, if we had bad weather then it would be really bad. It was very windy on our balcony and we couldn't enjoy breakfast there every day. You get a chance to get breakfast, tea, and savories in your room every day. You of course, had to ask for everything. Room service was prompt, but sometimes they would forget to bring you a thing or two that you requested. The service..... Oh..boy... it was lets put it in a nice way.... SAD. The front desk people had a very bad attitude, and couldn't answer one question straight. It was impossible to book a reservation at a specialty dining room.. so do it in advance!!!! Only after we complained about the terrible service we were able to book in the speciality restaurant. They claimed that the restaurant was overbooked, but when we got in, there were approximately 10 empty tables. The food and the service at the main dining room was mediocre. I had much better food in May on the Carnival Miracle... Seriously.. The food and the fish especially in the main dining room was cafeteria grade. I don't think it was anything special. However, the food and the service at the "specialty" restaurants was worth the extra 20-30 bucks extra. IT WAS very good!!! I loved the lobster, and the sea-bass especially. The service was also a lot better than it was in the main dining room area. The shows--- were ok. I mean they were not big production/costumes, etc... but the people were talented and we had an ok time watching them try and amuse us. The cleanliness of the ship.... Our room was always clean and warm and we always had great service. THe butler aka stateroom attendant tried to do his best. Idont know why they call him the butler, but whatever works for them, he is nothing but a room steward w/a nice jacket and gloves. The pool was dirty and disgusting. It had hair in the ducts, and it had hair in the showers. It was the most disgusting thing that I have ever seen in my life. I have never been so grossed out!!! The furniture around the ship was very comfortable. Even by the pool, those chairs are very comfy, and so is the furniture in the dining room and other areas. Oh and they don't give you fresh flowers every day, we had the same flowers for the week. They were not that fresh towards the 5th day. Oh and the fruit basket was all rotten on the first day we had to say something to get a fresh one. Over all.. If its the right price go for it. If not... don't waste your money. THIS IS NOT A LUXURY CRUISELINE!!!!! NO NO NO!!! Its a run of the mill regular cruiseline nothing special or unique!!! I would never go on this ship again, unless I was desperate and the price was low. Well, maybe we were just expecting it to be more than it was.. that is why we were disappointed. I guess we were just used as lab rats for the employees to practice on us, before they sail out to the S.Pacific and become a real "luxury" line... Bye for now Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
A very pretty ship with a very hard working staff. All elements( embarkation, food, exercise etc)of this cruise were as you might expect except the following. They have made three big mistakes. In the redesign, they created their largest ... Read More
A very pretty ship with a very hard working staff. All elements( embarkation, food, exercise etc)of this cruise were as you might expect except the following. They have made three big mistakes. In the redesign, they created their largest suites on the rear of the ship. Large, lovely and expensive. We had 10 rooms including 8091 for my parents 50th Anniversary cruise. The suite was just below the teak decked restaurant on deck nine. Anytime ANYONE moved a table or chair in the restaurant ( which was all the time), it sounded like the inside of a drum in this $7000 suite. The noise was so bad and so persistent, the family had to rotate use on the suite and let my parents sleep in a quiet room on deck four. Repeated attempts at a change of rooms for them yielded nothing as the ship was completely booked. The butler service in this suite could not be called bad, but rather nonexistent. We NEVER saw the man. We finally resorted to gathering our own ice and glasses for our nightly in room cocktails ourselves. Second, while Azamara advertise butler service to all the other rooms, we realized by day 3 that this simply meant the maid wore a tux. It wasn't bad service. It was simply typical Celebrity service and certainly not up to the oversold Brand that has been presented. Third, open seating doesn't work, when your restaurant is neither sized or staffed large enough to accommodate the guests. Every night was met with sour faced people, who couldn't get a table. Every night we would leave the restaurant after our meal and walk by the upset and the cranky (waiters)at the entrance to the restaurant. Bottom line, if you are a low maintenance, deck 4 type cruiser who is sure your will neither want or expect anything other than base level amenities, you will like this lovely ship. As for me, no more Azamara. I'm sticking with the Celebrity model. They truthfully tell you what you can expect and deliver it. Azamara has oversold its brand , which ultimately leads to let down and disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2007
AZAMARA JOURNEY - MY THOUGHTS Azamara Cruises, a branch of the Celebrity family goes `freestyle` cruising. We had originally booked to travel on the Zenith from New York to Bermuda and return, but recently Celebrity Cruises sold the ... Read More
AZAMARA JOURNEY - MY THOUGHTS Azamara Cruises, a branch of the Celebrity family goes `freestyle` cruising. We had originally booked to travel on the Zenith from New York to Bermuda and return, but recently Celebrity Cruises sold the Zenith and acquired Azamara Journey, which now sails on this cruise. We had previously travelled on this cruise on board the Zenith and thoroughly enjoyed the service, entertainment and ambience of the Celebrity Brand, thus the reason for the repeat cruise. When we were advised that the Azamara Journey would be of a higher standard of service etc than the Celebrity, so we were really looking forward to this trip, but we were disappointed On board the Journey - "Attire - Azamara Journey's ambience is always elegant casual; there aren't any formal nights. However, please note that jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, swimsuits, robes and bare feet are not permitted in restaurants and indoor bars at any time" All meals are taken open seating in the Discoveries Dining Room - dinner is served between 6.00pm and 9.30pm. The ship sails from Bayonne, New Jersey. The port of Bayonne is in a very isolated area - great if you plan to drive to the ship and park your car on the pier during the cruise, but difficult and somewhat expensive to get to, if travelling independently. On arrival at the pier, and even before we were able to get out of the taxi (USA$35.00 from Newark Penn Street Station), we were approached by a porter who was aggressive and somewhat intimidatory in respect of tips. He reminded us that he was responsible to ensure that our bags were placed on he ship. Having suitably rewarded him for his services, our suitcases were placed in a crate for delivery on board. Check-in was efficient, professional and courteous. We were handed a letter at check-in advising us that Azamara Journey was a non-smoking ship - " Azamara Journey has two designated smoking areas. They are located in the aft section of the Looking Glass Lounge, port side, and on the starboard section of the pool deck. Smoking areas have signs (no they don't) indicating that smoking is permitted there Cigar and pipe smoking are restricted to Pool Deck 9 forward starboard section. All other areas of the ship are non-smoking. This includes Public Rooms, Restaurants, Pool Deck, Staterooms and Suits, Verandas and Halls. Unfortunately this was the first we were advised of this policy. We understand that some guests were advised of this policy prior to embarkation but most were not. As a smoker this caused concern. The `corners` allocated were seldom cleaned, ashtrays were overflowing and rarely emptied and there was not enough room for the number of smokers onboard. The ship and furnishings are however beautiful with exquisite flower arrangements throughout. However on some of the stairways and bedroom corridors, where there is thinner carpeting, there is a `tinny` feel to the floor. Being a smaller vessel, the `motion of the ocean` even in the slightest swell is noticeable. We were occupying an `inside cabin` or stateroom on Deck 8. All Staterooms have their own Butler. Another name for your stateroom steward only dressed with tails. Unfortunately he did not provide or offer Butler Services as defined on other Premier Cruise Lines. The cabins too are well presented and comfortable, although there is limited storage facility, though enough for a 7 -day cruise. Unlike Celebrity Cruises, there is writing paper, pens or postcards of the ship in the cabin information folder, and no Totes bags are provided. There is supposed to be a pillow menu, which we were never offered. The cabin directory indicated that there was an in-cabin bar - this was not the case, nor was there a refrigerator. There was a television, though not an `Interactive Service` as on other Celebrity Ships. Bath robes and slippers are provided, together with heavenly toiletries. The telephone messaging system was non-functional throughout the cruise, even though we reported it twice as not working. Occasionally we were able to hear the conversations of the guests occupying the next cabin. The Main Dining Room - the Discoveries Dining Room was excellent in all regards - food, variety and service. A feeling of warmth and friendliness abounded. The buffet - Windows Cafe is very small in size and thus selection was limited. The food was of reasonable standard and quality. There are no trays and no waiters to assist guests with their food to their tables. There are two speciality restaurants, Aqualina and Prime C Restaurants (supplementary charges apply) - though guests are offered one complimentary dinner per guest per voyage (beverage charges apply). The dining experience in each of these restaurants is truly outstanding. There are no `elegant afternoon teas` served on board, nor are there any tableside flambres in the Discoveries Dining Room (Crepes and Cherry Jubilees are pre-pared behind the scene). There is a luxurious spa on board, offering a full range of exotic and relaxing treatments. There is one small - very small swimming pool on board and two whirlpools. Other usual services were available - shopping, photography, shore-excursions and Internet access. Entertainment was good but not all that good. There were no professional Las Vegas style floor shows featuring singers and dancers - apparently there is not enough room on the stage - a major disappointment for us, as we always enjoyed this type of entertainment provided by Celebrity. Evening entertainment consisted of singers and comedians. The Celebrity Cabaret Lounge, the main venue for evening entertainment has poor visibility of the stage from some of the seating. There were no enchantment lectures. All bands and music provided throughout the ships was excellent - there was something for everyone. All the crew on board were pleasant, helpful and wanting to oblige and assist in anyway possible. For us, Celebrity Journey was a disappointment. We missed the little Celebrity touches, the lavish style entertainment and of course the non-smoking policy - but that is just us? Maybe, as this was only the 2nd or 3rd voyage for the Journey that time is needed for things to settle down. There is no doubt a market for this type and style of cruising in specialist areas. I do believe that a mainline Celebrity ship would be more suited on this route. Time will no doubt tell. 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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