1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Azamara
  4. Azamara Journey Review
  5. Azamara Journey Cruise Reviews
Cruise Ratings
See Reviews For
Sail Date: March 2008
My husband and I have over 20 cruises under our belt, from week long Caribbean cruises to a full World Cruise. I believe those of us that cruise are blessed to be able to travel in style and see the places we may have only dreamed of. All ... Read More
My husband and I have over 20 cruises under our belt, from week long Caribbean cruises to a full World Cruise. I believe those of us that cruise are blessed to be able to travel in style and see the places we may have only dreamed of. All ports are different as well as all cruise lines. some just do it better than others. I believe my husband and I have just experienced a perfect cruise on the perfect ship, Azamara Journey! From the moment our plane landed everything went as planned. A rep from Azamara was at the airport to greet all the arriving passengers and whisk us away to the ship. Within 10 minutes after arriving at the Terminal we were on board and enjoying our complimentary Champagne. Our Balcony stateroom had more than enough room for storage and it was very clean and fresh. We really enjoyed the full size table on the Balcony as it allowed us to enjoy many meals under the evening stars. Room service was great except once, which you can forgive if they happen to be busy. Our cabin attendant worked very hard and did a great job. All rooms have a Butler, and while I don't think it works as good as it sounds, he did try hard and did a good job. The ship is small, a little over 700 passengers. What it lacked in size it made up for in spirit. All the staff were friendly and you managed to meet everyone. The Captain, Leif Karlsson, was absolutely outstanding and he set the tone for the whole cruise. He was always around the ship talking to every one and he had a great sense of humor. He always kept passengers informed of what was going on. He was a class act all the way, even standing at the gangway when we left thanking us all. He was certainly the best asset of Azamara. Liesl, the Captains club rep on board, was perfect in her job and seemed to know everyone's name. Another great asset of the ship! Paul, the cruise director did an outstanding job, a true gentleman. As it is a small venue there are no dance productions in the Cabaret. However, all the guest performers, which were mostly singers, were very good. The food on this ship is the best of any cruise line we have been on. Because it is a small ship all food is cooked to order and it shows. Steaks were done perfectly and everything arrived hot. The presentation of the food was a definite 10 out of 10! There are 2 alternate restaurants which passengers can dine in and there is no cover charge. A five dollar tip per person is suggested, and believe me, it is worth much more than this. The food and the service were absolutely perfect. We took this cruise as it visited 4 ports in Brazil and we enjoyed them all. Next year this ship is no longer going to South America and that is a shame. I would have loved to go to Antarctica on this ship. My husband and I would definitely recommend this ship, no matter where it sails! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2008
I am a CRUISE SPECIALIST and terribly critical when I cruise because I am looking for the best for my passengers .... this cruise did not disappoint! My biggest concern was actually getting to the cruise on time as a huge storm had moved ... Read More
I am a CRUISE SPECIALIST and terribly critical when I cruise because I am looking for the best for my passengers .... this cruise did not disappoint! My biggest concern was actually getting to the cruise on time as a huge storm had moved through Arizona on Monday, we actually had blizzard conditions, and then moved into the mid-west causing all kinds of cancelled flights and travel delays that extended over the weekend I was traveling. My original flight from Phoenix was cancelled but I was rescheduled onto an earlier flight which actually worked out better for me and my flight to Sao Paulo, while leaving an hour late actually made it in at our scheduled time of 9:30am on the 22nd. I was amazed to fly over the forests of Brazil and even more amazed at the size of Sao Paulo. My trip through the airport was uneventful and the AZAMARA ambassadors were waiting for us just outside the customs gate with big smiles and within minutes we were on our bus for our 2 hour transfer to the pier. I would love to tell you that I saw a bit of Sao Paulo but I was exhausted and had no trouble falling asleep during the ride. We arrived a the pier and within minutes I was checking onto the ship and was very pleasantly surprised to find that I had been upgraded from an ocean view to a balcony cabin. AZAMARA kept my passport and visa and provided me a receipt. I find this practice a little disconcerting but then when you realize that some of the immigration authorities board the ship at 4,5, 6 AM, I am happy not to have to participate in the passport checks. Cruise card in hand and a short walk directly into a most beautiful, comfortable, friendly and intimate main lobby where I was presented with a glass of champagne and an apology for the fact that my cabin was not quite ready, but, if I wanted, someone would take me there so that I could leave my carryon. OK, I am already impressed with the service. I go to my cabin, my card key doesn't work, my escort takes it back to the front desk and returns within a couple of minutes with a working card and tells me that the cabin is ready after all. Fantastic! I promptly put out the do not disturb sign and jump in the shower to freshen up and change into those spare clothes I had packed. (Isn't my TA good?) Just as I reach out the door to change the do not disturb sign I meet my cabin steward, "WEEKLY" and of course we laugh about hoping the service is more like 2 x daily, a joke I am sure he has heard many times and my butler SOOKIMAN. Sookiman asks me if he can unpack for me when my bags arrive, but of course, the one chore I really hate and he WANTS to do it, my smile is getting wider all the time. Up to deck 9 and the Windows Cafe for a quick luncheon ... what a great buffet, salads, carving station, breads galore, very comfortable padded chairs and beautiful tables with quite and gracious servers trying to meet your every need. To the Pool Bar for my first umbrella drink and then it is off to explore. This is a "small" ship but very well designed and it seems to be larger than it really is. The beautiful mahogany and teak walls and floors and the subtle colors immediately made me feel comfortable and at home. Everywhere I encountered staff or crew there was a genuine smile and offer of assistance and whenever I encountered other guests they all seemed happy and excited to be there. The ship is quite easy to find your way around and all the public rooms easily lead from one to another. There is entertainment just about everywhere you look and due to the ship layout one "sound" does not overlay the other. For instance, there is a harpist at the Cova Cafe and less than 100ft. away there is a guitarist in the Martini bar playing at the same time and you only hear the one you are in close proximity of. Fantastic! This also holds true of the passenger noise, it is quite well buffered and makes the cruise even more relaxing. While all the cabins were sold on this sailing there were only 600 passengers instead of the 700+ the ship is designed to hold. Some of the crew cabins have been turned into guest cabins but this may be changing as there were a couple of times that it did seem they were short staffed. This was most noticeable at the buffet area. The pool area is beautiful with a small pool and two hot tubs surrounded by teak loungers covered in thick padding and toweled covers. The Pool Grill area has beautiful wicker tables and padded chairs, a fabulous grill with everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to lamb and ribs and fish and grilled veggies as well as a salad bar, soft serve and drink station that always had lemonade, fruit punch, ice tea and water available. Smoking areas are extremely limited on this ship as AZAMARA promotes themselves as a non-smoking line and I don't believe that I saw anyone breaking the smoking rules. The theatre on this ship is small and intimate but the acoustics are extremely good, to the point that some of the stronger voiced singers almost out sang the room. There were some very good shows and some really fine performers, vocalists from England and Russia, violinists, pianists and the members of the AZAMARA Cabaret group; funny show TWISTED TV mostly aimed at Americans so we had to explain to quite a few people who Martha Stewart is and why her ending up in jail was so funny ya would've had to be there. I took advantage of the small but well equipped spa for manicure, pedicure, hair cut and acupuncture. The gym is very well equipped and had classes of every description. There is a small Thelassotherapy pool with loungers on the bow of the ship and it appeared to be constantly in use. Cruise Director Paul Grant is funny and subtle and quite at ease with all the passengers. His talks and introductions were never over the top and he was truly enjoyable to watch and seemed to remember everyone on the ship. There were fabulous enrichment programs available from art classes, beading, knitting and lectures on history and current events. There were great ballroom dance lessons and language lessons. The mix of passengers was wonderful and the ages were mostly from 40 - 80. I only met 4 children onboard and they were 13, 14, 15, 17 and from Canada. The educational mix was fantastic and the career cruisers made up most of the passengers. There were several couples that were on their 4th sailing of this ship which says a lot since it is so new. Many couples were also on the middle leg of a 3 or 4 leg cruise and were thinking of signing on for additional cruises. Almost every single person I spoke with had top ratings for this ship. Of course there are always people that will never be satisfied and you will find them everywhere. I tried to consider their complaints, which were usually about something that had nothing to do with the actual cruise line or staff, in an objective manner and never found them to have any basis that would make me change my mind. (Things like, why can't the captain out run the wind and rain to ... they should warn us that the ship will be running late when there was a problem that kept us from leaving Recife on time ... something to do with the pilot boat... and one woman complained when she could not get the bartender she wanted ... he had broken his leg while on shore that afternoon and she took it as a personal offense ... go figure people). I will say that I was very disappointed in Brazil as a whole. It is extremely expensive, dirty and graffiti seems to cover every building from the ground to as high as can be reached, historic buildings included and there doesn't seem to be any effort to curtail it. I was traveling by myself and it cost $250 for a Rio by night dinner show (Brazilian bar-b-que and Samba historical dance show) and ½ day city tour (the best part being Corcovado with the misty clouds moving in and out over the Sainto de Christo) and another $108 for ½ day Ilheus (Il-hoos) rain forest tour. In the rest of the towns and cities, a bunch of us just got off the ship and hired taxis and small vans and had just as much fun. The most beautiful parts of Brazil are the forests and plantations; we went to a private native animal reserve that is open to the public and runs on donations there were more tortoise than I have ever seen and green monkeys and an animal that looks like a rabbit in the face but had the body of a large rodent that was really quite cute, lots of fabulous birds and a private Orchid plantation with flowers like I have never seen before. We were treated to a luncheon on one of our tours with amazing rum punch that had a base of passion fruit yum, I can still taste it. AZAMARA feels that the Brazilian government really makes it hard for cruise ships and I was told that they won't be going back there next year. The weather was not as cooperative as I had hoped it would be but it was the end of the summer down there and the days were cloudy and misty and some had very heavy rain so you just made sure you had your umbrella and a cover up. Unfortunately from the 26th of March through the 3rd of April the seas were very high (12 - 15 ft) and it was very windy (28 - 40knots) so navigating the decks was a challenge. I swear there was one night that I became air born and another that I experienced weightlessness ... but as I don¿t ever get motion sick I took it as a challenge and still did as much as possible. Dinner in the Discoveries restaurant was outstanding and I did not have a single meal that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. I also tried Aqualina and Prime-C. Aqualina was my absolute favorite (5 times) and I found the service in all the restaurants to be top notch in every way. By the way, anything special you want for dinner you can let the dining room know and they will accommodate you. You can order from the main dining menu in your cabin as well. The signature Celebrity bread sticks were in abundance and the crème brulee in the Discoveries is only outdone by the crème brulee in Aqualina ... different kitchens. The foie gras with candied oranges in Aqualina is sublime and their seafood platter appetizer is a great meal in itself. Seating in the main dining room is open after the first night and tables range from 2 - 12 or more if you wish. The Martini Bar is beautiful and a wonderful gathering place before dinner and they will accommodate your every whim when it comes to drinks. When I know how much the ship was heaving and moving about it is amazing that there were no guests with dinner or drinks in their laps ... one night we did see a stack of glasses come tumbling down but no one was injured. I was invited to dinner with the Captain, Leif Karlsson, and I must say he is the most approachable, available and involved captain that I have ever had the pleasure of sailing with. The meal was in the main dining room where he dines every evening and the food was off the regular menu, the wines were outstanding and so was the company. I met a very lovely woman from Japan that is a free lance travel writer and she is doing a story on this ship and the Captain. He was really a good sport when we had the Crossing of the Equator ceremony and he was tossed in the pool ... he took 3 other officers along with him! The ship was always clean and the staff was always accommodating. The announcements were few and far between but it was always easy to find information if you required it. There is interactive TV in each cabin that allows for everything from booking shore excursions to daily activities planning to room service and monitoring you expenses. There are first run movies with one being shown daily in the theatre. I also received the ship copy of the NY times in my cabin every evening along with the Daily AZAMARA Pursuits. Additionally there was a hospitality desk available as a courtesy in every port. AZAMARA makes it clear that it is a courtesy only and they are not responsible for the accuracy of the information and it is provided AS IS but it was nice to have someone familiar with each area to talk with. Whenever I needed to contact the customer service desk the phones were always answered quickly and politely. I LOST my glasses in Barbados (left them at a cafe/bar) and someone actually brought them to the ship and when I noticed them missing (10 minutes after having left the pier) they actually volunteered to bring the lost and found box to my cabin so I could see if they were there. I went down and there they were but .... what a nice gesture. I would rate this a 11 out of 10 cruise and will tell my prospective clients that it is understated elegance. No formal nights is a definite plus but it didn't keep many from dressing for the evening I didn't see any tux clad men but lost of nice jackets and ties. I will have no problem fully recommending this cruise line and this ship to anyone. AND I AM MOST DEFINITELY GOING ON THEM AGAIN!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2007
Let's start with if there were problems, they have been or will shortly be addressed. From my Previous Post from the SHIP on the last day (used up the last of our minutes): It was an excellent trip. We made a few new friends and ... Read More
Let's start with if there were problems, they have been or will shortly be addressed. From my Previous Post from the SHIP on the last day (used up the last of our minutes): It was an excellent trip. We made a few new friends and truly enjoyed our cruise. The staff is outstanding, I mean really outstanding, they are friendly and go out of their way to ensure everyone is having a good time. The personal attention we received on this trip far exceeds anything we have experienced on our 6 previous cruises. I, like many of you, have been reading the comments on cruise critic for insight into our cruise. Well, I have to say I was very much relieved once we started cruising. I feel like I am reporting on a completely different ship and experience then some of the previous cruise critic reports. First of all, the dining experience was outstanding. Starting with the embarkation process, Azamara has added a new feature in which they ask you what time you would like to dine at, on the first night only. This seems to have resolved any previous issues with line-ups especially on the first night. We rarely saw anyone waiting, if they did it was not more then a few minutes. For us we chose to be at the same table each night and it was always available and the staff seemed to know we would eventually be there. We dined at Aqualina one night and really enjoyed it, one recommendation, make sure you try the soufflE, it is out of this world! Domenique was on this voyage and he is excellent as some previous critics have reported. We very much enjoyed afternoon tea in Aqualina, again a highlight, the Harpist is very talented. The entertainment staff and the Cruise director Andrea and his staff were all excellent! The Cabaret is very intimate and gave us a feeling of being part of the show for each performance. We enjoyed all of the shows. The performers are very friendly and are often at other events off hours and interact with the passengers on a regular basis, much more then we have ever seen. Special mention to the following crew which we very much appreciated their personal attention: in the Dinning Room, Czjka (hard worker and always upbeat), Nitish, Ghanowa, Mario, and Maria the bar waitress from Columbia, our butleress, Maria Franco, George the officer who I was lucky enough to dance with we even won 4th prize!! SOME SPECIFICS: BACKGROUND Myself, my husband and my in-laws traveled together on this trip. We have all been on 6 other cruises, not the same ones, with a number of different cruise companies between all of us. All of our previous cruises were on bigger ships, the closest to this size ship was the Nordic Prince and the Song of America, otherwise larger ships with about 2,000 to 2,500 passengers. I was particularly worried this ship would rock & roll, but it didn't, not on our trip and we did have some rain days. I was worried about my mother-in-law, she had been a sick on the Nordic Prince a number of years ago and if anyone would feel it would be her, she was fine the entire trip. EMBARKATION The was painless, however one of the bus rides from one terminal building to the other seemed a little over kill we could have walked in one or two minutes, if that. As reported previously they have this process under control, even at the New Port of Santos, for Azamara, everything was quick and orderly. We were given Champaign as we entered the Ship and has some food which was welcome by this time even though we did have a big breakfast in Sao Paulo at our Hotel before leaving for Santos. CABINS The Cabins were a real treat for us as this was the first time we had a balcony, so worth it and someone told me you can't go back once you've had one, that might be true... In any case on this ship I would absolutely recommend it, especially for the difference in price from a window cabin, it's worth it! The bathroom while not big was fine and the shower was fine and not the smallest I've seen. The bath products are actually excellent as reported and they certainly give you plenty. The robes and slippers a real treat, never had that before either. POOL AREA While yes the Pool is small, this is the smallest I've seen, it works well enough and is not crowded. The area around the pool is very nice and chairs were a dream. The Grill has excellent food and while we only ate there twice it was very fresh and the fries are very good. BUFFET Windows was excellent for Breakfast! The blueberry pancakes and omelets are very tasty, The juice bar seems to be an under utilized area, they make any combination of juices to order, I would suggest trying this out. CASINO The is a great area, not very big and it felt friendly, I can say I should have won but I forgot "know when to walk away", maybe next time. I won a free Casino T-Shirt on a raffle so it wasn't a complete loss. ACTIVITIES We especially enjoyed the lecture on The Beauty of Mathematics in Nature, well worth attending. I liked the Food Demo and the talk about Gems. ENTERTAINMENT No there are no BIG PRODUCTIONS but with the space and number of entertainers on board they do a really good job of making each night interesting and fun. We really did like all the shows, some more than others but we never left completely disappointed. As I mentioned above the Ship entertainers are very good and because they are so personable and friendly with the passengers it gives the shows at night a different feel. SHORE EXCURSIONS We actually only booked one with the Ship but it was really good in Parati we went on a "Party Ship" to two different beaches and they sold "Cipirina's" on board which were the best I tasted in all of Brazil. Otherwise we did our own thing in a few Ports, no problem with getting a Taxi and were part a larger group in Rio and Itajai. Loved Argentina, Camboriu and Parati, plus Rio is Rio, loved it too. Speaking the language does help but I don't think it's a must have, not at all. DINING Completely enjoyed this, the portion sizes are just right so you can actually try more different courses. The presentation was excellent. The only issue for me personally is a seafood allergy, so much of the shrimp, scallops were off limits, but they did look really good and my husband loved it. The staff was very attentive to ensure I didn't have anything I shouldn't. My absolute favorite was the soufflE at Aqualina. AFTERNOON TEA This I have never experienced on a ship, we went a number of days while at sea to Aqualina for tea and treats and to listen to the Harpist play, it was every relaxing. DISEMBARKATION I thought this would have taken longer and was surprised how quickly we got off the ship. We had a Taxi waiting for us so it was all like clock work getting off the ship and back to Sao Paulo. I can tell you we loved our Cruise and would recommend it to all! I hope your cruise is as wonderful as ours! A little about our stay in Sao Paulo after the Cruise. SAO PAULO POST CRUISE We stayed one additional night and day in Sao Paulo and even though it rained the second day we had a wonderful time and saw many more interesting spots. For those wondering about prices, the taxi trip from the ship to our Hotel Downtown was $185Reals (Divide by 4 very reasonable). We had arranged with the taxi driver who originally drove us to the ship from Sao Paulo to pick us up, like clock work he was there. Once in Sao Paulo we wondered on foot and took one local cab the first day. If you do stay in Sao Paulo, a hotel near Ave. Paulista is a good location; you can wonder on this massive street and feel very safe, we did. It's a business district and the locals are dressed to the nines. There was a Christmas Show with a group of about 60 kids singing Nutcracker songs the evening we arrived at 6:30 outside of one of the banks. The banks also have their lobbies decorated with Christmas themes like I have never seen before, all free for everyone to wonder through and enjoy. We saw about 30 or so Santa Claus' wishing Christmas Cheer to everyone walking and driving by, this was a really good photo. Speaking of which I took many pictures on this street and again felt very safe. It reminds me of Time Square or Yonge Street a little. We saw a few helicopters making roof top landings to pickup executives at the end of the day. We stayed at the Maksoud Plaza, it was in a great location and very safe. I have to say the city view from the 19th floor from the odd numbered rooms is incredible. We hired the same driver for the second day for $300Reals, this included tip and drop off at the Airport later, (which alone is a standard $100Reals), he was with us from 11 am to 6:30 pm. We went to a number of places, the open market on (15th of Nov St, I think) it was amazing with only people on the street. The Train Station is impressive from the inside, the old churches and buildings are wonderful and the mix of architecture is well... very unique. We tried a local restaurant which serves food by the weight, or the Kilo the first night (just make sure you eat somewhere over $2.50 Reals for 100 grams, you get much more variety and better food, so said our Taxi driver, I think we paid $2.89, the entire meal was less then $40Reals for two with drinks. The second day we tried this deboned grilled chicken that was to die for, again the Taxi drivers recommendation. We went to a shop that only sold hot sauces and teas, I mean really hot sauce, we'll see if we can actually eat it or cook with it.... Too much more to mention, lets just say it was our first trip to Brazil but it won't be the last....I hope not. I should mention we speak Portuguese which in Brazil does come in very handy and now that we have been once, we feel much more comfortable about returning. But if you don't speak the language, downtown you will find many people do, also the Hotels have tours in many languages. Glad we stayed the extra time in Sao Paulo. 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

Find an Azamara Journey Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise