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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Ship is nice with a good itinerary. The idea of spending the night in a few ports was attractive. However, the itinerary changed 3 times after we had booked and we booked only 100 days out. These changes actually took out an entire night ... Read More
Ship is nice with a good itinerary. The idea of spending the night in a few ports was attractive. However, the itinerary changed 3 times after we had booked and we booked only 100 days out. These changes actually took out an entire night in Rouen, France which changed the ability to spend an evening in Paris which was our plan. Azamara's goal is to make this a boutique cruise catering to a smaller group of people. Our ship was to capacity with 690 guests on board. The attempt is a good one and the entertainment is definitely top notch. However, to compare this line to Windstar or Seabourne on anything but entertainment would be a disappointment. The crew is friendly, food is good, not exceptional, staterooms are small and the bathrooms are tiny. The idea of all inclusive beverages is a bit misleading as they up sell 2 different drink packages to include certain mixed drinks and certain brands of liquor. On the included drink package if you want to order say a mojito, you must specifically ask for the basic liquor or they charge you for it. There is a very basic list of drinks that can be ordered on the regular package anything that differs from that list, if you don't specifically ask for the included liquor package, will be charged to your room. It cheapens the experience. On other boutique cruise lines all drinks are included unless you specifically ask for the top shelf liquor, then you are charged for a top shelf liquor. On the positive side, they have a wonderful smoothie bar in the buffet every morning. All food in the buffet is labeled for gluten,dairy,vegan etc. Some of the staff are better than others when it comes to accommodating dietary needs. Gluten free was a trick for many and by the end of the cruise I gave up asking for GF items ie bread as it seemed liked too great a challenge and just ate the items I knew were GF. We had a balcony state rooms which was nice. Smaller than other ships but adequate. The bathroom is a joke. Literally, no room for 2 people to stand in the space. To brush our teeth while the other person was brushing theirs, one of us would have to get in the shower to accommodate for space. (We're not large people). Entertainment was by far much better than other boutique lines. Cruise director Eric is extremely talented and ran a fabulous entertainment department. I would sale on Azamara again but I would consider it a nice cruise line not a luxury boutique line. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I just enjoy getting away on my own from time to time and cruising is my favorite way to escape. It is always more fun to have my travel buddies with me but it’s not always possible and cruising is a way to make new friends or hang out ... Read More
I just enjoy getting away on my own from time to time and cruising is my favorite way to escape. It is always more fun to have my travel buddies with me but it’s not always possible and cruising is a way to make new friends or hang out alone, if you prefer. For some reason, “all in the same boat” seems to be the perfect motto for single travelers and the reason to travel that way. Azamara ships are the perfect size for me. Small enough to navigate easily, super friendly staff and management and this last trip, GREAT entertainment! I know you can get bigger shows on bigger ships (with bigger audiences) but this group were out of New York and outstanding! There was a particular young singer/dancer that I believe will be Broadway bound name Michael Bradley. Not only can he perform, he helped Marcio with our iPad classes. Those were so much fun and I learned a LOT! I hope they have them on all their cruises in the future. Of course, the ship is ready for a “face lift” and having been on the Persuit this summer after its rehab, it’s going to be a big improvement. Yes, the showers are still small and will be after the renovation but some big men showered in the spa shower...just a hint. The “White NIght” was, as always, a highlight of any Azamara cruise. Everyone had a grand time and our cruise director who is also outstanding kept everyone on their feet.Eric deGray is one HUGE talent! The Chef’s table dinner with another special evening..additional, naturally. All in all, I believe I got my moneys worth and will certainly be back with Azamara soon! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We decided to go on this cruise because I would celebrate my 70th birthday on the ship, I had never been to the Caribbean, after 10 cruises we decided to try out a more luxury ship and finally we wanted to visit New York for the first ... Read More
We decided to go on this cruise because I would celebrate my 70th birthday on the ship, I had never been to the Caribbean, after 10 cruises we decided to try out a more luxury ship and finally we wanted to visit New York for the first time. We had previously sailed on the Tahitian Princess many years ago. It was also an R class ship, identical to the Journey. We loved the ship and the destinations then. Firstly, the negative things: The shower was very small compared to other ships. We could barely turn around in the shower. On the White NIght evening there were no where near enough tables for the passengers. We managed to obtain a table eventually but many passengers told me they had to eat in one of the restaurants and missed out on all the White Night Entertainment. I was very disappointed on my 70th birthday. We decided to eat at the Aqualina Restaurant as it was a special night. We had a Premium Beverage Package where nearly all brands of drinks are included. The waiter offered us a bottle of wine which I thought was included. He did not tell me till after he had opened it that there would be a $40 charge.for the wine on top of the $30 admission. On other cruises on my birthdays the crew had always sang happy birthday to me and given me a cake and a free bottle of wine. Not on this ship!!! The last thing and most important thing that infuriated us was people getting up early and putting personal items on deck chairs to reserve them for the day. Signs up saying not to do this, but the crew were not enforcing it. On a nice day do not expect to find a free deck chair on this ship. Because of this we may not sail on the Journey again. When we pay a premium for a cruise we do not expect to have to sit in the lounge on a nice day!!! On a positive note. we found the crew exceptional and all passengers very friendly, The atmosphere on this was great and we have made some friends which we will keep in touch with. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We just returned from Azamara Journey Cuba/Cozumel. I thought the ship was meticulously maintained by a wonderful, cheerful staff who could not do enough for you. I think I observed only 1 sourpuss the entire cruise, and that was at ... Read More
We just returned from Azamara Journey Cuba/Cozumel. I thought the ship was meticulously maintained by a wonderful, cheerful staff who could not do enough for you. I think I observed only 1 sourpuss the entire cruise, and that was at breakfast. Maybe she wasn't a morning person...I also liked the ship décor which was very European instead of the new bland, grey millennial style. I understand they are eliminating the casino which was always empty, and is no loss. The cabin had lots of places to store items from the two huge suitcases we brought along (we drove to the pier) and they stored neatly under the bed. Balcony was small--just enough for two chairs and a table. The bathroom was tiny, and the shower so small when I dropped the soap I had to get out to pick it up. My husband couldn't use the toilet, as it's angled and his knees jammed against the wall, so he simply used one of the public marble bathrooms scattered around the ship---which again were spotless. You need to book a club category if you want a larger bathroom. For the second time we never used the balcony, and might not book one again in the future, unless it has chaise space. We used the promenade deck chairs on the days at sea. Cable had CNBC, FOX, BBC, Sky News, and a movie channel (extra charge of $11.95), and music channels. There were also two movies shown each day that were not new--and in fact, some rather old. We eat out almost every night at home, and so I have a fair idea of what to expect in a wide variety of restaurant types. We though the breakfast and lunch buffets offered an astounding number of good choices. For dinner. the main dining room was very pretty (sometimes noisy if it was full) and although we ate at both specialty restaurants, I would not bother on a future trip, as the food in the main dining room and the nightly buffets were more than adequate. The specialty dining rooms are small, with a high level of service, by excellent staff. However, the food was nothing truly special. All of the steaks we ate in any of the dining rooms, would be below an Outback standard, and they should change their supplier. Really. Though I don't like fish, I ordered the salmon two nights in the regular dining room, and it was excellent. Cuba is not a destination for everyone. You have to be a sophisticated traveler to appreciate it's history (we watched 8 hours of Cuban history on a DVD before we arrived) and charms. The people are beyond lovely, cheerful, have absolutely no animosity towards Americans. Their food is rationed, so any show of excess by any passenger should be frowned upon. Also, I did not wear any jewelry in port because I did not want to appear a spoiled American. Respect is warranted here. I heard a few older people complaining on the shore excursion.. I wanted to ask they why they booked the trip to begin with. If you want it to be like home----stay home. If you want to shop and eat on the ship---then don't book a tour and then ask the bus to take you back early. Appalling behavior, as was the guy who had to be first in line on every tour--and always on his cell phone wheeling and deal his stocks. Geez.... It was amazing how many people didn't listen to simple instructions, i.e. you cannot change the Cuban CUC (tourist money) back to dollars if you don't use it all. When they tell you the bus is leaving at 12:30PM, it's leaving at 12:30PM and when you are not there---it's beyond damned rude. This applies to any tour, on any trip cruise or not... We like it so much we are considering booking the New Years Cuba cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This is the third time we have cruised with Azamara. We have previously cruised with Oceania and Seaborne. The staff were as usual very attentive and well mannered and always eager to help. In particular our butler and room attendants ... Read More
This is the third time we have cruised with Azamara. We have previously cruised with Oceania and Seaborne. The staff were as usual very attentive and well mannered and always eager to help. In particular our butler and room attendants were especially good.We stayed in a Club World Owners suite and it was a good size with a large walk through bathroom and seperate toilet and with a lovely huge wrap around balcony. I feel that the suite could do with an upgrade with regards to decor. Prior to this cruise we sailed with Seaborne and I know people say they don't go cruising for the TV entertainment but this was far superior to Azamara. Azamara showed 2 movies per day on a constant loop and some of the movies were very old, in black and white and dating back to the 50s. Seaborne had a huge selection of up to date movies - free of charge. Also some cruise lines are giving free WiFi. We got complimentary minutes but I fell for the price we paid it should have been unlimited free WiFi. Lastly I feel the standard of food in Windows has deteriorated - we prefer buffets.Sometimes the presentation and choice was a bit lacking. We did not go to the White Night Party and the food that night in Windows was quite frankly shocking. I know that the chefs must have been busy doing the food for the party but I feel that this should not have disadvantaged the guests who chose to use alternative dining facilities.We were very happy with the speciality restaurants and Discoveries. We are using Azamara in the future as we were on the whole very happy. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
To preface our experience, my husband is not a comfortable traveller, and i never considered cruising because of the amount of people on board. This is why I chose Azamara, I felt 680 ppl is a do-able size for me. I also purchased the ... Read More
To preface our experience, my husband is not a comfortable traveller, and i never considered cruising because of the amount of people on board. This is why I chose Azamara, I felt 680 ppl is a do-able size for me. I also purchased the "ultimate experience package" so i would have everything covered with no surprises once on board. What a wonderful experience! Embarkation was a breeze, from start to finish we were eating lunch with a pina colada in hand within a half hour of entering the port terminal. 30 minutes later we were in our rooms and unpacking. We had a balcony room which was lovely! i felt there was plenty of storage for all our needs and yes the shower is small.( I put a small magnet on the bottom of the curtain to keep it from moving). The attendants were very efficient and took great care of our room. We had room service for tea every morning and breakfast twice as well they came promptly at the time specified and everything was hot. For any other first timers, they leave info every night on your door with relevant paperwork, tickets and info. Your tv is set up for room service, spa menu, account balance and all other ship info. That was a helpful tool for us.The laundry service was great. Filled a bag twice during the week and it was back the next day clean and pressed. We attended the Chefs Table Italian night which was really lovely. I would highly recommend this evening. My husband has dietary restrictions (no dairy, no seafood) and the chef adjusted all six courses to accommodate him! I was a little worried but they did an amazing job, considering every course contained dairy and seafood. The sommelier was excellent as well. Discoveries was consistently very good, when put into perspective the sheer number of people that are being served. Service was always excellent. We joined another couple one night because the restaurant was full and that was a lovely way to meet wonderful people. Windows Cafe is a great spot anytime although service was hit or miss. With that view, we got over it quick. Buffet food was very good as well. We also dined in Aqualina one night but i thought Discoveries was just as good. Make your reservations for the specialty restaurants immediately when you get on the ship. Not one spot in either restaurant was open when i checked the first morning, all booked. We had the ultimate drink package which was worth it for us. We like particular brands and we more than made up for the package price. Entertainment was meh. The cabaret shows were way too cheesy for us, i couldn't even sit through them. The Ukrainian trio was okay, but american music in a thick accent became not very good after the first few performances. We did love the dj music and made great friends dancing until midnight. It would have been much better had the dancing not started so late (10:45). It was a much older crowd than i expected. I'd say the average age was 70. Excursions were well managed and we enjoyed them all. It was great that our little ship was the only one in most of the ports. Azamazing evening was fantastic! Great reaggae band in St. Maarten. The staff was great organizing this event. We had a great time. We did not eat at the White Night, not realizing that you really need to get there early to secure a table. Not a seat to be had. We did enjoy the music and danced a bit. Captain Johannes was great! HIs daily speaker announcements made us chuckle. What a great sense of humour. The last night he moved the ship around 360 degrees during dinner so everyone could see the beautiful sunset! The dining room was clapping and cheering. Delightful. Although we have nothing to compare this particular ship to, we would highly recommend it to anyone looking for excellent service, very good food, and a more mature experience. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We recently did a cruise on Azamara Journey, 9 day Cuba Intensive. We were very pleased with Azamara, the service was fabulous, the food very good. We switched off between Prime C and Aqualina every night except for White night, the ... Read More
We recently did a cruise on Azamara Journey, 9 day Cuba Intensive. We were very pleased with Azamara, the service was fabulous, the food very good. We switched off between Prime C and Aqualina every night except for White night, the service was terrific in both and the food was very good. We had room service for breakfast all except 2 days as we had early excursions and they did an amazing job at keeping the food very hot , our butler did a fabulous job setting it up so nicely every morning as well! All the days we had lunch on board we ate at the patio and the food was very good, I ordered kabobs every time and they were excellent . They have a brunch on a sea day which we went to , they had a large variety of food and very good. I wish i had seen a post on this before however i will now post , we went to White Night but did not show up before or the exact start time and there were no seats available so we ate in another restaurant and later joined the party, so if you do care get there on time. The pool area was lovely , they really made a point not to save seets which was nice as there was always seats available. We really enjoyed the living room for drinks before dinner most evenings, the music was not good but it is a loveley space. Azamara did an excellent job with everything, we highly recommend Azamara and everyone we met on board was equally impressed! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Chose this cruise for the destination. Originally booked on Oceania but changed to be able to travel as part of a group that provides educational credits for my husband. In my opinion Oceania is in a higher class but Azamara did not ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the destination. Originally booked on Oceania but changed to be able to travel as part of a group that provides educational credits for my husband. In my opinion Oceania is in a higher class but Azamara did not disappoint. Cabin was a good size with plenty of storage. Bathroom unfortunately was tiny. Turning around in the shower was nearly impossible. Cabin attendant terrific. Good good not great. Definitely not a reason to select the line. DJ was excellent at the White Night Party but entertainment is not their strong suit but my husband and I felt it met our needs. White Party Night was terrific as was the Azamazing evening in Havana. They took us to a very contemporary ballet in the courtyard of a museum. It was terrific. We did not book any excursions with the boat. They are way too expensive. Booked all private in advance. Two of the three we booked were terrific in Havana and Santiago de Cuba. Cienfuegos guide was not great. Don’t let the cruise line convince you that you must book with them. Service everywhere was really good. Book your specialty restaurant as soon as you get on. They fill up fast. Only ate in the Italian restaurant. Very nice. Reasonably priced at $30pp. Having beer, wine and cocktails included and available all day is a bonus. No problem to find seats at pool. Could use a little better activities for days on board. All in all would recommend the line and this itinerary. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Three ports in Cuba, three days in Havana. . .all were enticing! Our first cruise on Azamara, a little pricey, but we were determined to make the trip. As others have said, we, too, were led to believe that you needed to participate in the ... Read More
Three ports in Cuba, three days in Havana. . .all were enticing! Our first cruise on Azamara, a little pricey, but we were determined to make the trip. As others have said, we, too, were led to believe that you needed to participate in the high-priced Azamara excursions every day in order to comply with both U.S. and Cuban rules for U.S. visitors. Not true. Although we did three tours because we wanted to, on other days we sought to comply with the people-to-people commitment on our own. Basically, the Cubans care about what you bring into Cuba, but generally not what you do while there. U.S. government cares what you are doing while in Cuba, but were really lax when we returned with no one even asking what we had to declare. Go figure. A couple of months before the trip, the number of days in Havana was reduced to 2 days--disappointing--but apparently beyond control of Azamara. Same for need to be tendered, not docked, into Santiago de Cuba. Tendering took 20 minutes from ship to dock, and was well handled by the crew. For us, Labadee, Haiti--the private resort owned by Azamara's owner, Royal Caribbean--was wasted on us. Azamara passengers appear to average age 72, and I cannot imagine they took advantage of all the outdoor activities offered--again at high prices--or even just lie on the beach for a full day. There was even a charge for a nature walk around the resort. Really?! Lunch BBQ was great--avoid the food set out in the sun--but saddened by watching the under-nourished and water-denied dogs wandering about. Come on, Royal Caribbean. . .even if these animals are owned by locals, put out food & water, and perhaps have them spayed. Since this ship is the original, but refurbished, R6 (now-defunct Renaissance Cruises), we felt very comfortable having traveled on the R1. The Club Veranda Stateroom was very nice. A few minor negatives: smallish bathroom, poor quality of TV set image, magnifying bathroom mirror was fine if passenger is over 5'7". Large comfortable bed, ample storage space, a zillion hangers in a lighted closet, incredible steward service, free self-service laundry (on level 7). Public areas were comfortable and always clean. Discoveries dining room (main) is large and can be noisy--come early or late to avoid this. Service is wonderful, and the food is good quality. Because of size, however, the occasional buffet there can get a little chaotic. The more casual dining option, Windows Cafe, is always buffet, but better passenger flow. Food is tasty but some items can be more cafeteria-like. Once we saw the additional cost for the two specialty restaurants, we decided to stick with the dining that was included in fare. We're used to not being charged extra on Oceania and Celebrity. Oh, Internet was also extra--not so on Celebrity, Viking, or Oceania. Having been on small cruise ships, we do not expect Broadway shows or big entertainment events. The few singers were very good, although music selections were a little dated. The Azamara Orchestra is really a 4-man band. . .and they were excellent. The 24-year old leader plays piano and delivers witty repartee. The White Nights was much more to our liking with music and dancing from the 70s. Think most of the 600+ passengers turned out for this on-deck activity. There was one enrichment speaker for the whole trip: four presentations in ten days. He knew the material, but his delivery was deadly. I was not the only one who nodded off to sleep while the professor droned on. We will price Azamara voyages in future, but we might find better value for the same trip on Azamara's sister Celebrity ships. Yes, they are larger, but not one of the "Leviathan of the Seas" class ships! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We choose this cruise because of the amount of time that would be spent in Cuba. This was our first cruise on Azamara, and only our third cruise overall (previous cruises were on Regent and Ponant. We liked the small size (690 ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the amount of time that would be spent in Cuba. This was our first cruise on Azamara, and only our third cruise overall (previous cruises were on Regent and Ponant. We liked the small size (690 passengers) of the Journey. We thought our cabin (Club Continent Suite 8064) was excellent - large, plenty of storage, adequate sized bathroom. Only minor complaint was the room chairs were not particularly comfortable. We thought the food was generally very good. We ate in the two specialty restaurants 2 nights each and thought the food was excellent - we felt these restaurants were better than the specialty restaurants on our Regent Cruise. We were somewhat disappointed in the shore excursions. While some were good, they often felt long and repetitive. We booked one private excursion and wished that we had done more that way. In spite of all the concerns the literature seems to indicate, it is very easy to find private companies on the internet that provide much better and less expensive tours than those arranged by the ship. We used a company called CubaOutings and had an excellent tour of Havana with them. We did not attend the enrichment lectures because we heard from other passengers that they were not interesting. The entertainment was fair and was what we expected from this size ship. The cruise director Alicia did a wonderful job and was a talented performer as well. The entire crew was excellent --- friendly and efficient. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We are a British couple in our sixties. This was our second Azamara cruise. Embarkation at Miami took the best part of an hour, complicated by queuing to get and complete the Guest Travel Certification form for Cuba before proceeding to ... Read More
We are a British couple in our sixties. This was our second Azamara cruise. Embarkation at Miami took the best part of an hour, complicated by queuing to get and complete the Guest Travel Certification form for Cuba before proceeding to another queue for check-in. It would have been nice if those of us who had downloaded and completed the form prior to arrival could have been fast-tracked. Journey was being given a thorough clean because of some guests suffering gastro-intestinal illness on the previous cruise. As a result no cabins or suites were available until mid to late afternoon. This also meant no self-service at buffets for the first couple of days. The same thing happened near the end of the cruise, after a handful of guests reported gastro-intestinal illness. I guess this happened pretty regularly. It was a minor inconvenience and a very understandable precaution. The ship was nicely decorated with Christmas trees, poinsettias and lots of other seasonal decorations. On boarding we purchased three meals in the specialty restaurants. We had to decide there and then which three dates we wanted. We particularly enjoyed our two meals in Prime C. In Aqualina the food was fine, but it was almost empty with no atmosphere and each new course arrived immediately after our plates were cleared from the previous course. They said they had had lots of late cancellations. The food in the main dining room was reasonable. We like to share a table for six or eight to meet new people. This didn’t seem as well organised as on our previous Azamara cruise. A few times our table was only partially filled. On Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve they insisted on timed reservations because of expected high demand, but in the event there were lots of empty tables. A couple of evenings when nothing on the main dining room menu tempted us we ate at The Patio. We enjoyed the food there, but the service was patchy. We had no problem finding included wines that we liked. We were a bit disappointed with the lack of variety of activities and entertainment. There were no comedians, magicians or acrobats; only singers and dancers. The Azamazing evening in Cartagena was rubbish. A lengthy coach trip to a lovely theatre for a terrible performance by a very pretentious pianist. Most of the music was pre-recorded. As with our previous Azamara cruise, the friendliness of the staff was a big positive. The sole exception was one of the shore excursions staff who my wife and I on separate occasions found to be rude. Our overall experience of the Azamara shore excursions was not good. A couple of snorkelling trips I wanted to take were cancelled. Two other excursions were just about OK but not as advertised. In Cuba we had arranged independent tours and they were great. Getting on and off the ship in Cuban ports was as quick and easy as everywhere else. Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. We had picked it because of the itinerary and because we liked the idea of going somewhere warm for Christmas or New Year. In both respects it was a success. We loved Cuba and enjoyed being on a cruise in a warm climate over Christmas so much we have booked another for next year (Pursuit – New Year in Rio). Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this ship for the itinerary and do not regret the decision. The ship was small (680) so we felt many of the rocking and rolling. Veranda cabin was smaller than Aqua Class on Celebrity and the bathroom almost laughable. The shower ... Read More
We chose this ship for the itinerary and do not regret the decision. The ship was small (680) so we felt many of the rocking and rolling. Veranda cabin was smaller than Aqua Class on Celebrity and the bathroom almost laughable. The shower was tiny with a shower curtain that randomly wrapped around your body! Service was very good, especially stateroom and dining room. We booked shore excursions through the ship mostly as the literature from Azamara made it seem the only way. Not so! Very disappointed in the shore excursions and with the shore excursions desk staff. The spa was excellent albeit pricey. The specialty restaurants were good and offered a pleasant break from the main dining room at competitive prices. The included beverages of wine and beer was nice. Especially liked mosaic cafe for daily cappuccino. Embarkation was smooth with rooms ready by 1:30. Luggage arrived shortly thereafter. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Azamara We sailed on the 24th November 2018 10 day Intensive Cuba cruise on the Azamara Journey and wanted to share a few long overdue thoughts about the trip. As a bit of background information, we are a quiet couple in our 50’s ... Read More
Azamara We sailed on the 24th November 2018 10 day Intensive Cuba cruise on the Azamara Journey and wanted to share a few long overdue thoughts about the trip. As a bit of background information, we are a quiet couple in our 50’s and 60’s, pretty low key and happy to entertain ourselves. We are originally from the UK but have lived in the USA for 30 years.We cruise for the food and destinations, rather than the entertainment, and for the past 20 years have primarily cruised on Celebrity. However we have found todays Celebrity isn’t what it once was and have been trying a few other cruiselines, (Cunard, Oceania) to see if we can find a “better fit” for us. This time we gave Azamara a whirl as this 10 day Cuba Intensive itinerary (including 3 days in Havana, a day in Cienfuegos and an overnight in Santiago de Cuba), was too good to miss. As a bonus our Elite Plus status on Celebrity was recognised by Azamara so we received Discover Plus benefits with them. We flew down to Miami the day before on American from Reagan National. The flight was uneventful, taking off and landing on time. We spent the night at the Doubletree Biscayne Bay Hotel in Miami. I am allergic to feathers and it is usually quite a palaver to get a feather free bedding request taken seriously in hotels. As soon as I checked in at the Doubletree the receptionist said “…and your room has been made feather free”. Excellent! The Doubletree turned out to be part of a large entertainment and shopping complex and we ate onsite at Casablanca on the Bay and had a very pleasant dinner overlooking the marina. I would definitely recommend this as a pre-cruise hotel. Saturday morning, cruise embarkation / disembarkation day was manic at the hotel, and although they did offer us a shuttle to the port, we thought it would be quicker and easier to take a taxi as the shuttle was dropping people at many different ships. We arrived relatively early and dropped our bags at the kerb. Inside the terminal we were asked to fill out a Cuba visa application, told that $75 per person would be charged to our online account, and we were strongly urged to check the box saying we would be doing Azamara excursions. We were doing a mix of private and cruiseline tours, but as our first tour was private, we checked the “support of the Cuban people box”. When I handed the application back I was again asked to check a different box. I replied that I had checked the box that applied to me. The agent shrugged and handed me two blank visa forms and said we would be shown how to fill them out on board. We finished checking in and were asked to sit down for a while as they weren’t yet ready for boarding. After a few minutes they started boarding by cruise status, so we were among the first to board, and get a glass of fizz. As we took the stairs instead of having to wait for the elevator we were the first people in the buffet for lunch. I thought there was a good selection of food, and was happy to get a table in the aft outdoor seating area. There were plenty of bar waiters and they were very keen to pour the red or white wine of the day or rose or sparkling wine. We had a verandah cabin it seemed quite comfortable with ample storage space. The bathroom, particularly the shower was a totally different experience. I had heard that it was small, but assumed that being petite I wouldn’t have any issues. I was wrong, and boy did that shower curtain like to cling!!! Our cabin attendants were excellent and when we first met said that they had removed everything with feathers from our cabin. I was impressed. They kept the place scrupulously clean, and our bathroom was always well stocked with clean towels. A lot has been said about Azamara and Oceania offering a similar small ship product, but with the emphasis on food being Oceania’s strength and the emphasis on the destination being Azamara’s forte. I have to say that the food on Azamara gave Oceania a run for it’s money. We really enjoyed all the food in the dining room for lunch and dinner, so much so that we didn’t bother trying the speciality restaurants. We ate in the buffet the night it was Indian food and we were very impressed by it. The only disappointment with Azamara was the croissants. They always seemed dry and stale, whereas the ones on Oceania were exquisite. It was nice to have drinks anytime included in the cruise fare, and as a wine drinker I never felt the need to upgrade to a higher package to get better wines. I really enjoyed the french rose that was always available and the sparkling wine. My husband got used to drinking Becks, the included beer. What did surprise me was that sparkling water like Perrier or San Pellegrino wasn’t included in the basic drink package. The first couple of days they offered what looked like sparkling water in unlabelled bottles that had very little sparkle in them. I imagined they were perhaps making it themselves with a sodastream machine! In the end we bit the bullet and paid for Perrier. I can’t comment on the shows as they aren’t our thing so we didn’t go to any. We do like live music and listened to the “Sparkle Trio” in the Living Room most evenings. They were from Ukraine and comprised a young female singer and young male guitarist and an older keyboard player who scowled the entire time. We weren’t sure if he was their dad or their minder but he did not seem happy to be there! The other “entertainment” option was a female pianist who sang lyrics we knew to tunes we didn’t, and she seemed incapable of playing and singing at the same time. It was quite bizarre, but she did have a following in the Martini Bar! I really missed a string quartet playing classic music or a singer/guitarist. A lot has been said about Cuba, the Cuban visa, disembarkation in Cuba, exchanging money and private versus Azamara tours. Here is our experience. We checked the “support of the cuban people” box on the visa application, and were given blank visas which we filled out in the cabin. I’m not sure if there ever was help to fill out the visa on board but it was pretty self explanatory, and just required you to copy information from your passport onto it. An FYI, ANYONE arriving in Cuba on a ship that has sailed from the USA, MUST get the visa, even if you are from a country that would not require you to purchase a visa if you flew to Cuba, for example if you were Canadian. As we had a private tour booked at 11am, and as Azamara asked that passengers on Azamara tours be allowed to disembark first, we got off around 10:15am and took about 30 minutes to get through immigration. The official checked the passport and visa, took a photo and waved us through. This was the only time they seemed to really check passports and no one ever asked us if we were on a tour of any kind be it private or cruiseline operated. We changed money at the currency booths in the terminal. There is a 3% fee to change money plus an additional 10% fee if you are changing US dollars. We found some leftover Canadian currency at home and used that! We were out of the terminal by 11am, so ship to street took approximately 45 minutes. We downloaded the app maps.me before the trip and found it very useful to find our way around without having to use wi-fi. We booked a 2 day tour with I Love Cuba Photo Tours in Havana. We booked the tour via email from a recommendation we found on Cruisecritic. The tour was led by Yosel, an ex college professor who is now a professional photographer. His english was excellent. He showed us all the main tourist spots around Havana, and some off the beaten track spots where we got a real insight into the every day life of the locals. We had a car at our disposal and on the second day he rented a huge purple convertible that looked like a spaceship for us for 2 hours! The nice thing about doing this photo tour was that we provided our own SD card and Yosel took photos for us and of us on his camera and also showed us the perfect spots to take some of the Iconic Havana photos from. It was really nice to have his photos of us as a souvenir.

On our 3rd day in Havana we did a private combined walking and food tour with “A Taste of Cuba” aka “Food Tours Havana”. We found the tour recommended on cruisecritic and were able to book and pay online in US dollars. Our guide Ana was brilliant, full of fun and again an excellent english speaker. She toured the central historic district of Havana with us and we visited 7 different establishments to sample food. The Azamazing Evening was the second evening in Havana. It had originally been scheduled for our overnight in Santiago de Cuba but was switched to Havana as there was an issue with the dock there and it became a tender port for us. My husband isn’t a fan of dance and didn’t want to go to the show, so we gave it a miss. From what we heard from other passengers, it seems the show was phenomenal and they really enjoyed it. I feel I should add that in Havana we found everyone to be very pleasant, and the city felt very safe At Cienfuegos we took a ship tour to Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its colonial buildings. The buses were good for the 90 minute drive and our guide, an elementary english teacher, although pleasant, was at times harder to understand than the guides we had in Havana. Trinidad was very interesting and we looked around the museum and a local church and also did a walking tour. The cobbled streets were very uneven and the terrain was challenging to people with mobility issues. We had a buffet lunch at a european style 4 star hotel and while nice I would have preferred something a little more authentically cuban. Our guide was from Cienfuegos and very proud of her city and took us on an unplanned panoramic drive around it at the end of the tour which was an unexpected surprise. We dropped anchor early evening in Santiago de Cuba, and it was a 20 to 25 minute tender ride to the city. We had booked an Azamara evening excursion to a jazz club to hear “authentic Cuban Jazz.” Oh my. Not what we expected at all. I will leave it at that. After the jazz experience the night before it was with trepidation that we boarded our bus for the ship tour to El Cobre as it had a “meet the people” element with a visit to a community centre to hear a steel drum band. We couldn’t believe our ears. They were phenomenal with a repertoire that spanned Cuban music to classical to Michael Jackson and The Eagles! Again a 3 course lunch was included and although it was in an italian restaurant, we were served traditional Cuban food, including rice and beans, plantain, pork, ropa vieja, fish and shrimp. We were seated outside and it was very hot but the staff wouldn’t turn on the fans, and people were complaining that there were no lights in the loos. Eventually the owner very apologetically admitted that the power had gone out a few minutes before we arrived. I was really impressed that they were able to prepare and serve such a lovely meal under the circumstances. Just before we were served dessert the power came back on, the fans worked and we were treated to deafening karaoke versions of traditional italian songs by the proprietors friend. What an experience! The final part of the tour was a walking tour of the historic centre of Santiago de Cuba and this was the only time in Cuba when I felt unsafe as we were surrounded by people begging. The guide was very angry that we were being hassled and bothered, and despite him repeatedly asking them to leave us alone they didn’t. We had one other port, the cruiseline private island. We thought it would be nice to stay on board and have the ship to ourselves while everyone else enjoyed their beach day. It seemed half the ship had the same plan as us! I mentioned previously that we were Discoverer Plus. This level comes with a number of perks including social activities (which we were never organised enough to take advantage of!), and free laundry and a set number of free wifi minutes which we did use. I thought the ship wifi was really slow and very hard to log onto, compared to the speeds we had on Oceania even in the middle of the Atlantic. We really enjoyed this cruise. We thought the ship was elegant, the crew friendly, happy and very helpful. We liked that there isn’t a class system on board with certain areas unavailable to people who aren’t in suites. The cabin was nice. We loved the food, and enjoyed that the drinks we wanted were included. The cruise itinerary was wonderful. I’m not sure we have found our “forever cruise home” with Azamara, but I wouldn’t hesitate to sail with them again if the price and itinerary was right. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We recently completed a 10 day cruise around Cuba on the Azamara Journey. This was our 4th cruise in total and our first on Azamara. We chose Azamara mostly because of the itinerary and that it's a small ship experience marketed as ... Read More
We recently completed a 10 day cruise around Cuba on the Azamara Journey. This was our 4th cruise in total and our first on Azamara. We chose Azamara mostly because of the itinerary and that it's a small ship experience marketed as being more upscale and luxurious than the typical mega-ships. We have been wanting to visit Cuba since they opened it up to Americans and thought a cruise would be a great way to see more than just Havana. After some initial snafus with our reservation that was graciously resolved by Bonnie over on the CruiseCritic discussion boards, we boarded in Miami for our 10 circle trip around the Cuban island with stops in Santiago de Cuba, Grand Cayman, Cienfuegos and Havana. The most appealing part of the itinerary was the promise of multi-day stays in port rather than the usual arrive-at-8am-leave-at-5pm schedules of other cruise lines. Which leads me to our first big gripe with Azamara: it was only after plotting the arrival/departure times on the calendar that we realized that the "extended" time in port was very misleading. On the itinerary, it listed only 1 day at sea but in actuality we ended up with almost 4 full sea days. For example, days 3 & 4 were listed as in port in Santiago, however, we arrived at 8am on Tuesday and left at 6am Wednesday. That's not 2 days - that's one day + one night. Wednesday turned out to be really a sea day but that's not how it was shown on the schedule. Same for Cienfuegos on Friday/Saturday. We arrived Friday morning but left the dock 8am on Sat and didn't arrive Havana until Sunday evening. That's almost a day and half at sea. We really only got 1 full day at each of these ports and just 2 days in Havana instead of 3. We talked to several others who felt that Azamara was very misleading in the marketing about the time in port. I know that ships can't magically teleport from one location to the next but it would have been less confusing if the itinerary matched reality so we knew what to expect and plan our excursions accordingly. Azamara highlights that they have more immersive itineraries by allowing more time in port but I don't think it counts when that time is spent sleeping. Second major disappointment was the overall lack of service throughout the ship. While the crew and waitstaff were generally good and always very courteous, it was decidedly less than what you'd expect from a "luxury" cruise line. Water glasses frequently went unfilled and you had to hunt around for someone to take your order or answer a question. The exception to that was for some reason the waitstaff was always there in a flash to whisk away your empty plate or glass - like there was a reprimand waiting for them if they left dirty dishes about but initial orders or refills were often slow to arrive. Other couples we met onboard talked about their past cruises on Regent or SilverSea and how the staff fell over themselves trying to serve you and worked hard to anticipate your needs rather than wait to be called upon. While service was not bad, per se...it just wasn't on par with other luxury brands or even some mainstream brands like Celebrity. This brings me to the third major criticism and that was the food. The buffet was really disappointing as was the grill out by the pool. The food looked very nice and there was always good selection but it was also exceptionally bland and lacking flavor. Almost like salt and spices are forbidden in the kitchen. Several times we were let down by something that looked amazing only to be utterly tasteless. For example, the prime rib was very drab. How a kitchen can make a staple dish like prime rib boring and totally lacking in flavor is beyond me. The main dining room was a bit better and we ate there most nights. Eventually we learned what things to avoid and how to ask for specific items we had had before. Most nights the menu followed a theme chosen by the chef. There were some rather odd choices some nights that really wasn't all that exciting, however you could always order a selection from the a la cart menu. The daily wine selections were usually pretty good and we never felt the need to buy the special bottles listed at considerable upsell prices. We had the Premium beverage package which was adequate for our needs but you could see there are some shennanigans going on with the way liquor selections are structured. It's all intended to get you to go with the Ultimate package instead at $22/day. For us it wasn't worth it and we just paid for the few top shelf drinks individually. The premium package includes all beers and most lower tier "well" spirits and mixed drinks which is fine for most people unless you have a specific liquor preference. Many specialty drinks like caipirinas, desert wines and top shelf liquors are excluded and require separate purchase at full price. It's a little confusing as to what drinks are part of which package and I believe this is intentional. We only got to try the specialty restaurant once and we really liked it in spite of the $30 per person cover. Had we known before that the buffet and main dining would be so lacking we would have made reservations at Prime C or Agualina every night. Reservations filled up quickly however - especially for the last night at sea. Another intentional method to get you to upsell over and above what's included. I booked a massage at the spa for the first sea day and it was very good. I was not expecting the sales pitch for their high priced lotions so just be aware that they'll try to sell you at the end. Also, spa services automatically include an 18% gratuity so don't feel pressured to add extra tip. Otherwise the spa is rather underwhelming and not worth the high prices. There's a special sun deck and hot tub just for spa patrons but I don't see how it's worth the extra price. The exercise room is just off the spa and while adequate for getting a workout in, there isn't much in the way of equipment. The usual treadmills, stationary bikes and nautilus-type weights. We booked a guaranteed outside cabin and the room was fine. A little small of course but perfectly adequate. I should have splurged for a veranda instead but ultimately it was fine for our needs. With the extra time at sea and most of our time in port dedicated to excursions, we didn't spend a huge amount of time in the cabin anyway. Our stewards were fantastic and were like ninjas - always slipping in to replace towels and straighten up while we were out. They greeted us by name each morning. We were assigned cabin 6004 which is an oversized outside stateroom at the very front of the ship on deck 6 port side. It is extra long which allows it much more space than usual - about the size of a typical hotel room. This is due to the space where the balcony is in the veranda staterooms is replaced with a large round picture window approx 4 feet in diameter. It creates a bit of a "fishbowl" experience but it was perfectly fine as we spent most of our time outside anyway. There is a small loveseat and coffee table in addition to the desk & chair. Plenty of room to move around and we were not bumping into each other except for in/out of the bathroom and around the bottom of the bed (which is the same layout for all other non-suite cabins). Being at the front of the ship you definitely feet the movement - both up & down and side to side rocking. Might be worse on really rough seas. We could hear/feel rumblings down below when the boat pitched upward that I suspect were the stabilizers kicking in. It's a smaller ship so this was very common throughout the boat even in the aft dining room. My wife is prone to seasickness and was initially worried about the location, however she did not have any problems. Other issue with the location was the noise from the anchor chains and vibration from the front thrusters when entering and leaving port. This was temporary however and we did not find it too bothersome except for it waking us up at 5am on the last day. As our cabin was directly above the Cabaret Lounge on deck 5, we could hear the bass and drums during band practice and evening performances. This might annoy some people but we didn't really have any problem with it as the shows are rather short anyway. There is a connecting door to the suite next door and we occasionally heard muffled voices thru the walls and from the hallway but somebody suggested putting a towel or bathrobe against the floor and this worked to block out both noise and light. Otherwise the cabin is very quiet, secluded and dark. Bathroom is tiny and takes some getting used to with regards to maneuvering - especially the shower. The shower curtain clings to you but we found if you put the bottom edge of the curtain outside the stall (there is a groove in the floor leading to a drain outside the shower) then it helps to create some additional space. Not a lot of space to spread out so you have to be creative with storage. This is true on any cruise ship however. Bed was super comfortable with nice linens and comforter. A/C was great and kept the temperature perfect. Closet organizer was efficient and adequate with plenty of storage. Mirrors and lighting was terrific. Note to others...do NOT attempt to bring onboard any kind of travel iron or clothes steamer. Ours was confiscated from my wife's luggage upon embarkation. There was no mention of portable steamers being prohibited in the boarding documentation but they said they can set off the fire detectors. The self service laundry on deck 7 has ironing boards and irons as well as laundry supplies. The machines are free but limited so you have to be diligent and strategic about timing in order to get a load or two done ahead of others. One other gripe...the onboard Internet was so slow it was almost completely useless. Thankfully we did not pay extra for this otherwise we would have been really upset. Eric, our cruise director was fabulous and very funny. His "grandpa" jokes were groaners but perfectly pitched for the audience. He and the captain even formed a bit of a comedic duo on the daily announcements. You can tell Eric has a definite flair for Broadway showtunes as the music was decidedly tilted towards that genre. Overall the performances by the singers and dancers were very good and entertaining with a good mix of contemporary and traditional music. I'm sure some of the older crowds didn't fully appreciate the ABBA night show. The lounge pianist was charming and the trio band was pleasant. They played upstairs in the Living Room at night and by the pool during the day and at sail aways. It added to the overall pleasantness of the cruise. Nothing was offensive or too wild - nor was it just Perry Como elevator music either. It was a good balance of entertainment for the crowd which definitely skewed a little higher on the age scale than the brochures allude to. The White Night party was held in port at Cienfuegos and it was the highlight of our trip. The food buffets were over the top and truly gluttonous. Lines were long - especially for the lobster tails but there was something for everyone. The music was fantastic and everyone's spirits were very high. Eric led an actual conga line around the pool area and had a very memorable duet with one of the passengers. It was really a great party and something to look forward to. We ended up booking a couple of Azamara sponsored excursions and a couple independent trips on our own. In Santiago, we found a local taxi driver who took us to a couple of places like Castro's grave and the memorial to Jose Marti. We saw the changing of the guard at the national cemetery and had lunch in a local paladar with our taxi driver. We got to sit down and chat with him about the country and his life which was very interesting since his English was as limited as our Spanish. In Cienfuegos, we opted for the excursion to the El Nicho waterfalls about an hour away. This involved a hike in the mountains over some pretty steep terrain although the views at the end were worth it. We also got to visit an artist commune and watched some interpretive dances which was strange to say the least. Grand Cayman - we had been there before on a different cruise and there's really nothing else to do but go to the beach. We decided to walk which was a mistake in 90+ degree heat and humidity. We caught a bus back to the dock for $5 bucks. We arrived in Havana Saturday night. We booked the show at the Cabaret Parisian rather than the Tropicana. From what we heard the Tropicana was probably a better choice but the shows are essentially the same. It was a late night however as the show didn't start until 10pm and we didn't get back to the ship until midnight. Sunday we had arranged for a private tour guide through HavanaTourCompany.com. Our guide was awesome and even managed to deal with including a couple we met onboard at the last minute. We had a fabulous lunch in Old Havana then took a walking tour and convertible ride through the city and to Fusterlandia outside of the city where we bought some original artwork. We saw all the main sights and learned about the history, finishing up that night with dinner and a show at La Taberna. It's definitely worth it to use an independent tour guide in Havana and not go with the overpriced tours offered by the cruise line. You get better pricing, a customized itinerary and the guides are little more open to talking about their lives than the "official" government approved Havanatur. Monday morning we did the coffee, rum and cigar factory tour. We visited the Partaga cigar factory (which makes 25 other brands like Cohiba and Montecristo). It was a literal sweat shop with 4 floors of un-air conditioned rooms and workers hand rolling cigars for pennies a day. We were then bussed around the city to several government shops to buy cigars and rum getting a bit of a guided tour along the way. Rum and cigars are the same price everywhere (state controlled) so don't feel pressured to buy them on the tours. We were warned not to buy cigars on the street however as there are no guarantees as to quality. It helps to know in advance what you're looking for in terms of brand, sizes and shape. Expect to pay approx 50% less than you can find authentic Cuban cigars elsewhere (Canada for example). Originally the AzAmazing Evening was scheduled for our evening in Santiago but was changed at the last minute to our arrival night in Havana. Since we had already booked a show we ended up passing on this event. We heard it was rather interesting - a special ballet performance at the Grand Theater. Overall, we were pleased with our first Azamara cruise and we even booked a second one to Alaska next July - this time with a balcony. We enjoyed our trip and would recommend it to others with the caveat that it all depends on your expectations going in. Some things were great compared to a typical cruise - most standard drinks are included as are tips. There are some areas where you still get nickle & dimed but it's not nearly as bad as the major lines. The smaller ship is a double edged sword - it's more intimate with much fewer passengers but it's also a rather boring ship with not a whole lot to do if you're the type that requires constant excitement. The demographics skew older with not a single child onboard. Most were in their 60's, 70's or 80's although there were a few younger gay couples as well. The marketing material would have you believe that Azamara is a luxury cruise line - on par with other luxury brands like Regent, SilverSea or Paul Gaugin. In the end, it's a bit like first class on Delta or United Airlines...yes, it is a much better experience than flying coach but it's also no comparison to foreign carriers like Singapore or Emirates. Go in with the proper expectations and you'll have a great time. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We sailed on Azamara Journey from Barcelona 29-Sept-18 to Rome 6-Oct-18. Cabin 7121. This was our first sailing with Azamara, our 15th cruise overall. Anxious to try out the smaller ship we were looking forward to this itinerary and ... Read More
We sailed on Azamara Journey from Barcelona 29-Sept-18 to Rome 6-Oct-18. Cabin 7121. This was our first sailing with Azamara, our 15th cruise overall. Anxious to try out the smaller ship we were looking forward to this itinerary and stopping in some smaller ports the itinerary offered. Embarkation was incredibly easy, only issue was finding the ship location as it differed from the address listed on embarkation documents. We boarded the ship with no lines. Upon boarding the ship we were a bit surprised to see the electronic blackjack and roulette machines in the casino which is located immediately upon embarkation. We immediately booked our specialty restaurants and signed up for the ultimate beverage package. Doing our homework prior to sailing, we knew exactly what we wanted to do. The rooms were ready immediately as promised (1:30 PM) and our luggage was waiting for us. We unpacked and found the room to be adequate for our 7-day journey. We really had no space complaints. The bathroom shower curtain and caulking throughout the bottom of the shower was a little unsettling, but really, this was our only negative review of the room. Everything else was positive. We loved our ports of call. The best part was the Captain making a game-time decision to leave our first port early so that we could safely arrive in Marseille before the wind storm scheduled to arrive the next day. The crew and Captain were wonderful keeping us all informed. Meals were good. We ate at Prime C, Aquafina, Discoveries & Chef Table. Our favorite was Aquafina. We learned upon embarkation that our White Night was in Monte Carlo which was a little disappointing as we had dinner reservations in port that night. We cancelled our dinner reservations to attend White Night party. We arrived a little later as we wanted to spend more time in port only to discover there was no seating and we were rushed to hurry and get some food prior to food stations closing. The staff on the cruise were all very nice. I do say that we miss the evening entertainment of Celebrity martini bar and real dealers in the casino. Its our understanding that the Journey recently replaced dealers with electronic machines. This is too bad and a huge disappointment. The machines even broke down while we were playing them. We hear this isn't the case on the Quest and really hope that Azamara reconsiders the decision to get rid of the live dealers. For the most part we had a great experience on Azamara and plan to return for a 2019 Asian cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We feel that we are out growing Celebrity and are looking to find a place for us to continue cruising. Sadly Azamara wasn't the fit for us. Azamara is a lovely cruise line but it seems to cater to an older and a more sedate crowd. We ... Read More
We feel that we are out growing Celebrity and are looking to find a place for us to continue cruising. Sadly Azamara wasn't the fit for us. Azamara is a lovely cruise line but it seems to cater to an older and a more sedate crowd. We prefer a more lively bar scene and love the martini bar on celebrity. We never found a place that really had a big enough bar to allow for a lively bar scene. They did have a DJ in the Living room on the 10th floor in the later hours which was great! but there really was no place to grab a bite to eat after all the drinking before you went to bed so we found ourselves a little hung over each morning when a little food; even a slice of pizza might have helped absorb the liquor. The DJ area was very popular every night with about 100 people so I think Azamara needs to address this problem and put out a few munchies as everyone was asking for the same thing, "where they can get a little bite to eat?" I know there is room service but just a few munchies would solve the problem easily. The people in their 60's are going to be the future of Azamara cruising and when the redo their ships they should try to work this in to their "Living room" allowing for the older crowd to still continue the wonderful experience they love but then adding the top floor for the upcoming generation of cruisers with the more lively bars scene...maybe even adding that martini bar which is a great signature of Celebrity!! Other than that the Azamara line was wonderful, the food and service far higher than Celebrity; a BIG step up in quality! The captain was so accessible and I was surprised with the entertainment they could put out within a smaller ship. You can tell the Journey is in need of a dry dock refurbishment but they try to keep it looking as good as they can.I will check back occasionally to see if they start to "young up" the ship and the activities and once that happens I will definitely travel with Azamara in a minute!!! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because we hoped it would be more luxurious, being the highest quality line that Royal Caribbean became but it was not. I would describe this as better than Celebrity (also RC) but not on par with Seaborne or other ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we hoped it would be more luxurious, being the highest quality line that Royal Caribbean became but it was not. I would describe this as better than Celebrity (also RC) but not on par with Seaborne or other similar ships. The food was decent. The speciality restaurants were not worth the money. The best place we ate was the Patio which was outside. A small menu but you can bring out food from the Cafe, which was decent. My main issue is that dinner ends early and you can’t get food after 9:30 other than room service. Many other cruise lines have a later night option. That would have been nice (if not expected). The rooms are small. The bathrooms very small. We had a veranda. Upgrade to the suite. Easy decision (which we did not make and should have). A suite on the ship is equivalent to a normal sized cabin on other cruises. We stayed on 7097. The main issue was that the service door was outside our room and we heard the door opening all of the time. Stay away from the service door for housekeeping. Laundry room has approx 8 machines. We managed to do laundry 3 times during our 12 night cruise. It can be crowded so plan accordingly. Usually best is if you get back from touring before the ship departs. Avoid the sea day. Three days in St Petersburg was nice. We used a private company (Alla Tours) for our tour. The ship excursions are not worth the money. Bigger complaint was that we stayed until 10:00 pm in Tallin — a total of waste — but left Amsterdam and Coppenhagen but 5:00 pm. That was absurd. We chose a smaller ship to stay later in port. This was a huge planning mistake. Also in Belgium, the trains were on strike. Azamara knew this but made no efforts to arrange for transportation to Bruge. Many people were stuck waiting for city buses that were far too few. Azamara should have arrange for buses — even if at a discount rate — into Bruge. Many people rightly commented that this was an example of how Azamara missed the opportunity to be a quality line. In the end, the trip was good but not luxurious. Better than a 2,000 passenger ship but there are other options for small ships too, like Wind Star. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
After recent cruises with Silversea and Crystal, chose this port-intensive eastern Mediterranean itinerary for our preferred dates. We liked Journey’s Resort Casual atmosphere, but you get the room size you pay for, with bathrooms ... Read More
After recent cruises with Silversea and Crystal, chose this port-intensive eastern Mediterranean itinerary for our preferred dates. We liked Journey’s Resort Casual atmosphere, but you get the room size you pay for, with bathrooms designed for hobbits. Unlike previous reviewers we enjoyed the entertainment: the excellent Standing Ovations opera quartet sang favourite tunes one night; another time an abridged version of Carmen in English, so you could follow the story. The Azamazing Evening chamber concert at Ephesus was very good but involved a lot of work behind the scenes for 40 minutes’ performance. There’s a good range of dining options. Deck 9 has the pool grill and Windows Café (buffet), both nice places if you don’t fancy much (or even if you do) or want to get to a show, say. The outdoor Sunset Bar is essentially part of Windows Café with a sea view. Portions are huge in the main dining room, Discoveries, though the menu doesn’t change much with just two daily specials. Tables are close together and it gets noisy. For several reasons, we had a disappointing meal there on our first night; after we mentioned this (tactfully) on the guest questionnaire two days later, we were impressed when the Assistant Maitre D’ came over to us to understand the issues and all of us were reassured. Service in Prime C was more refined with excellent steaks. It felt more like being in a Silversea restaurant, and was worth the supplement of $30 a head for a special occasion, but we did miss the White Nights party the same evening. Our fare came with $200 pp Onboard Credit which we put towards unlimited Wi-Fi (inevitably slow) and the Ultimate Drinks Package that includes Nespresso coffee and some of our favourite drinks. Most included wines were mediocre but we had some reasonable ones from New Zealand. We spent a lot of time with the friendly guys in Mosaics Café, but like all bars on Deck 5, it’s used as a thoroughfare. The ship was in port for full days plus some evenings, but we would also have enjoyed sailing by the Greek islands in daylight. We only went ashore ourselves for a few hours each day on organised tours. Most of these were reasonably interesting but no apology or recompense was forthcoming when the cable car in Santorini was suddenly closed and we had to descend hundreds of steps to the port. Tendering was efficient in the calm conditions, and the captain was often at the gangway to greet guests. The embarkation process at Piraeus was rather perfunctory. More irritatingly, on disembarkation day we were put on a coach transfer to Rome Airport that arrived 1½ hours before the bag-drop opened for our flight, even though we had queried the timing with Customer Services and other coaches left the ship later. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We love Azamara and this was a Cruise that called at many destinations we had not previously visited. It also departed from and returned to the same port - Singapore. This made flight arrangements much easier. On this cruise we did ... Read More
We love Azamara and this was a Cruise that called at many destinations we had not previously visited. It also departed from and returned to the same port - Singapore. This made flight arrangements much easier. On this cruise we did notice small savings had been made. The food, while very good indeed seemed to lack some of the special touches we have come to love. However when we asked for something special that was not in the menu it was made specially for us. As usual the staff on board made the cruise . They welcomed us like family and could not do enough for us. The only downside of thIs trip was the entertainment. Azamara are trying a new format and no longer have production shows. This makes the atmosphere in the Cabaret Lounge less inviting. In fact this was the first time we have walked out of a show. The opera group,while they have lovely voices, did not sing enough popular tunes. Doing Carmen for a full hour was just too much for many. Also the trio, while good artistes, spent too long on their own material. I am sure that Azamara will listen to all the feedback and review their offerings in this area. That said, we would still,prefer to sail with this line. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
good value for what you get. Ship is wonderful with only 700. Food is excellent in all areas Entertainment was changed from shows to Opera and Sting trio, it was O.K but not for everybody. Should have had more recognizable songs ... Read More
good value for what you get. Ship is wonderful with only 700. Food is excellent in all areas Entertainment was changed from shows to Opera and Sting trio, it was O.K but not for everybody. Should have had more recognizable songs and tunes for all to enjoy. Was a bit average. The talent was first class but not for everybody. All crew were excellent. Port of Bindalu was not what expected as it was the first cruise ship to dock there and they were not prepared. Waiting in the sun for a bus over 1 hour when should have been every 15 minutes. When back a the ship 3 buses there waiting. Not Good. Could have been fixed at the time by ensuring buses were rotating empty or full. Many elderly waiting without shade, water or seats at the drop off point. All other ports were very good. Azamazing evening was first class and ran like a military operation. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We have sailed with Azamara Club Cruises six times now and love both the Azamara Journey and the Azamara Quest. The ships are small and intimate and the itineraries and crew are incredible. With such small ships (700 passengers each), ... Read More
We have sailed with Azamara Club Cruises six times now and love both the Azamara Journey and the Azamara Quest. The ships are small and intimate and the itineraries and crew are incredible. With such small ships (700 passengers each), you get really up-close and personal with the upper-level staff who are highly visible and friendly. The reason I did not give this ship a five-star rating is because of their change in entertainment. I really would have liked to give them a four and a half star rating but that wasn't available. On our latest cruise, round-trip from Singapore on March 25, 2018 - April 9, 2018 (just completed), the entertainment was changed to include some performances by an outside opera company quartet, a string trio from Studio 54 doing their own interpretations of different types of music, a comedian doing one performance, and the cruise director and his two assistance each doing individual concerts and one combined concert. Although all performers were quite talented, we really missed the old song and dance production shows and guest performers. Neither the opera nor the string trio were our "cup of tea". The guest speakers were both outstanding and Dale M Pollock, an American film producer, writer, and film professor, was fantastic. We attended all six of his presentations and really loved all of them. We found his presentations on an explanation of film credits and another on ethics in film making to be both educational and thought-provoking. I have severe food allergies and the staff really went out of their way to ensure that my meals were both safe and prepared well. For breakfasts, we had the same table and staff each morning in the dining room -- which made meal time easy and drama free. Our lunches and most dinners were in the buffet and there were always Gluten-Free options available. We did three specialty-dining meals and all were perfect, worry and hassle free. Standard beverages are included and, although we do not drink alcohol, we really enjoyed the supply of available bottled water, special coffees, and mock-tails Because the ships are smaller, access to smaller ports is easy and the ports were outstanding and interesting. We opted to take the ship-sponsored excursion overnight to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and the tour was top notch and beyond our expectations. The tour guides were outstanding and the accommodations were 5-star. We are hoping that Azamara changes their approach to entertainment in the near future and look forward to our next sailing with them -- booked on the new ship, The Azamara Pursuit, in early 2019. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, plus friends had recommended the Azamara Journey. We loved the lack of formality - no dressing up for dinner or jackets required for the men. The staff were friendly and helpful, service was ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, plus friends had recommended the Azamara Journey. We loved the lack of formality - no dressing up for dinner or jackets required for the men. The staff were friendly and helpful, service was excellent. The food was good - we really enjoyed Prime C but were disappointed with Aqualina. The house wine was average at best. Unable to comment on the entertainment as we never went to any shows, quite happy to have a late dinner then sit in the Mosaic Lounge with our mint tea and crossword puzzles. The quality and choice of films available via the TV was very poor. The lectures did not appeal, we would have preferred lectures on NZ. We went on shore independently as the cost of the excursions was too high. For instance in Dunedin there was a train ride through the Taieri Gorge that was offered for US$209. We booked it direct for a cost of US$66 per person. The only difference was that the cruise passengers went from the ship; we went via the shuttle to Dunedin. No matter what the extras were, Azamara really ripped off the passengers on this one. We have visited NZ many times and took this cruise as it was a different way to see the country and it allowed us to visit with friends in Dunedin and Napier. The ports of call were a great choice. We especially liked our first visit to Tauranga - Manganui was a delightful place to visit, and the climb up the Mount hard work but fun. We stayed on a further 10 days in Auckland staying with friends and visiting family. So, for us the cruise was great, relaxing, calling in at places we had not visited before. If we had wanted to be ‘entertained’ then it might have disappointed. The fitness room was of a high standard. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We have just finished the Singapore to Bali cruise and disembarked at Bali. I thought I would leave the submission of my review for a few days so that I can give a balanced review following the chaos at the end of the cruise. We had a ... Read More
We have just finished the Singapore to Bali cruise and disembarked at Bali. I thought I would leave the submission of my review for a few days so that I can give a balanced review following the chaos at the end of the cruise. We had a group travelling on the cruise and stayed in different types of cabins. I stayed in one of the suites - the cabin was of a very good size and well fitted out. Our room butler and stateroom attendants were of the highest standard. In summary, I was more than happy with the room. The general areas, stairways etc of the boat were in very good condition. We ate at the buffet, grill, Discoveries Restaurant and both specialty restaurants. We thought the food to be of a very high standard and better than the food on other non-Azamara cruises we have been on. The service at all eating venues was excellent. In fact, I thought that there is really no need to eat at the specialty restaurants in light of the high quality of food and service at the non-specialty areas. Front desk and the excursions teams were also extremely helpful with a range of questions - many of which were not straightforward. They were always pleasant and very keen to help. The casino was a real disappointment - the blackjack and roulette "tables" were computer screens. There were no dealers and no "life" in the casino - it was the most boring casino I have ever been to. Disembarkation day was at Bali - it was pouring with rain. I am not certain what was more of a shambles - getting off the boat or once we had got off the boat. On the boat there was a very lengthy queue trying to get off with a conga line snaking around level 4. There were elderly people sitting on the floor - no-one from the cruise took charge and it was a circus. Fortunately, the passengers behaved in a civilised manner - it would have taken only one irate/"over the top" passenger to have really set things off. Azamara also need to invest in a canopy covering the gangway so as to provide some sort of protection against the rain. Once we were off the ship and in the port terminal area it was like we had just got off a ferry in Morocco. To be fair, the collection of the luggage was very well organised. After that, it was a shemozzle. Only one exit door open, people with their luggage everywhere and who were not certain where they were supposed to go, people trying to get on tour buses, dodgy "taxi drivers" etc. I genuinely felt for the elderly or unwell - it would have been a nightmare for them. I only saw one senior person from the boat in the area and he was standing back and "observing". There needed to be 4 or 5 senior people from the boat (do not just leave it to the the onshore contractor) in the area providing direction and general assistance. Perhaps the real solution was back on the boat - if someone had taken charge on the boat then they would have been able to then regulate the chaos once off the boat. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I am today off Azamara's 7 day Singapore to Bali cruise, 14-21 January, 2018. Azamara Journey is a fine ship, almost a twin to Oceania's Nautica, with good food and excellent, cheerful, service. Cabin 6042 was fine for me on my ... Read More
I am today off Azamara's 7 day Singapore to Bali cruise, 14-21 January, 2018. Azamara Journey is a fine ship, almost a twin to Oceania's Nautica, with good food and excellent, cheerful, service. Cabin 6042 was fine for me on my own but would have been a real squeeze for two (my wife sat this one out as she does not like hot, sticky weather!). The nuts and bolts of the cruise all worked well, starting with an efficient boarding process in Singapore. Service in the main dining room was excellent and I never had to wait to be seated, sharing with others at a table of six. The food was good, taking into account that they are preparing food for hundreds of people. Given the short nature of the itinerary, I did not use either of the two speciality restaurants. If I had to name one food item at which Azamara excel, let it be their cookies; as soft as delicious as Princess but of a smaller, more modest dimension. I made it to Borobudur, which was the overriding reason for choosing this itinerary, and it was magical. However, the manner of our getting there left me perplexed and questioning whether Azamara understands the concept of 'responsible tourism'. I was on an Azamara tour, in a series of buses. We travelled as a flying column, with a police escort fore and aft. The police sirens sounded almost constantly, scattering the locals to the left and right, as we thundered along through town and countryside, ignoring speed limits, red lights and holding up traffic at intersections, just so we could arrive at Borobudur more quickly. I found this behaviour embarrassing, for what right did we have to take precedence over other traffic? I heard it said that this was the only way to get to Borobudur and back in the day but this is piffle, as others made independent arrangements and completed the return trip to Borobudur just fine. I have no idea how many people we inconvenienced, even if only in a minor way, or how many grudges may fester as a result. Yes, many children were waving at us but car and scooter drivers were shaking their fists. I have travelled pretty widely, on business and as a tourist, in groups large and small, in countries with traffic worse than in Indonesia, yet I have never experienced the like. If tourists were allowed to behave like this in the U.K., where I live, there would be a riot. I raised my concerns with a very senior officer on the Azamara Journey and his response was to throw his head back and laugh. Perhaps he was embarrassed or caught unawares but it was an odd reaction. At the end of the day, Azamara are responsible for how their tours are run and, to my mind, such conduct as I experienced was shameful. In short, I am surprised and disappointed that Azamara allowed this to happen. If they wish to convince Indonesians that tourism is a blessing not a blight, they need to change their ways, and rapidly. If they simply p**s people off, then at a certain point some idiot will decide to do something about it. Clearly this is only a personal view, my impressions of an experience, and I would welcome the response of others, who may have made the same journey to Borobudur, on this occasion or previously. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
Boarding in Singapore was fine. Cabin quite small, especially the bathroom, but overall fine. Bed very comfortable. All staff very pleasant and helpful, though one particular waiter in Discoveries got people's orders wrong more ... Read More
Boarding in Singapore was fine. Cabin quite small, especially the bathroom, but overall fine. Bed very comfortable. All staff very pleasant and helpful, though one particular waiter in Discoveries got people's orders wrong more than once. Free self-service laundry very well-equipped and useful. Overall decoration etc. very good. Food in main Discoveries restaurant extremely good - we never felt the need to pay to go to one of the speciality restaurants. Complimentary (white) wine quite nasty a couple of times. The 'crossing the line' ceremony was fun. Entertainment rather disappointing - I know it’s more difficult in a ship this size but there wasn’t much we were attracted by and the one time we did try to go to the Cabaret lounge after dinner it was already full. Why not have one of the 2 performances earlier so some people could go before dinner, to ease pressure on seats? The 'enrichment' lecturer was, to put it kindly, not exactly sparkling. My husband fell asleep. The Azamazing evening, to see a performance by Balinese musicians and dancers, was enjoyable but rather short considering the huge logistical difficulties. It would also have been much more interesting if we’d been given some sort of idea what the dances were meant to be showing - probably telling the story of a Balinese myth or legend but we had no way of knowing. This was the rainy season in this part of the world but there was no attempt to move or cover sun loungers when it rained, so every time there was a shower the loungers remained wet for many hours afterwards. Even when they looked dry on the surface, sitting on one for a few minutes often produced wet marks and left the sitter with a damp rear! We are not interested in using the casino but if you are walking through it or in the Spirits bar there is no avoiding the entreaties of the 'virtual' blackjack dealer (low-cut dress, big boobs, naturally). Creepy and tacky. The Spirits bar area was full between 5 and 6 every day for the quizzes, which were very good, but apart from the 2 sea days the bar itself was closed at that time. Why? We went on 2 Azamara-organised trips. One, to a mangrove plantation and river trip, was OK but could have been a lot better. The guide gave information about mangroves during the journey there but there‘s not much point holding up small pictures at the front of a coach full of people. Once there he didn’t volunteer much info about the plants or wildlife and on the river trip was too busy chatting to boat crew to notice the alligator some of us saw, so most people missed it. The other excursion, Cultural Heritage of Singaraja, was much better - fascinating places to visit and a very good guide. However, the coach we travelled in (about an hour each way) was without exaggeration the most uncomfortable one I’ve ever been in. The seats were so close together anyone over about 5ft 6 could not sit straight as the legroom was so limited. Luckily our coach was only about half full (deliberately?) so most people could get a double seat to themselves and sit half-sideways, which I did on the return journey, but the whole experience left me with knee pain and backache. I gave feedback about the coach at the Excursions desk on the ship but the man I spoke to wasn’t interested and gave no apology, just saying the coaches were the best they could get. I don’t know if all the Balinese excursion coaches are like this or if we were just unlucky. Tall people and those with potential knee or back problems beware! Disembarkation was a shambles. Obeying the broadcast announcements, crowds of passengers were coming from all directions and converging near the exit, but there was no-one to direct the integration of the different queues. Once we got off, it was even worse. Luggage collection was ok and Azamara couldn’t help the pouring rain but they could have given port staff a lot more assistance in telling passengers where to go for the different onward options. There was a huge crush of people trying to shelter from the rain and avoid the taxis driving around, and not knowing where they should wait to be collected or how the collecting driver would recognise them and vice versa. Overall we felt that there could have been a lot more information given to passengers. As first-time Azamara cruisers we sometimes felt the staff were only really interested in the repeat passengers. Would we go with Azamara again? Yes, maybe, and we enjoyed our cruise, but it didn’t quite live up to our high expectations. Read Less
Azamara Journey Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 1.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.3

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