11 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
3 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
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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