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6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise because we hadn’t been in this region before and all the ports were therefore new. We weren’t disappointed. We have travelled on the Azamara line 10 times now and have enjoyed our time on board. We had a window ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we hadn’t been in this region before and all the ports were therefore new. We weren’t disappointed. We have travelled on the Azamara line 10 times now and have enjoyed our time on board. We had a window view on Deck 4, which we found more than acceptable. We are aware of the general criticisms regarding the size and spaciousness of the bathroom and shower but due to our size and stature we don’t experience any problems. We ate mainly in the Discoveries restaurant but did venture up to the Windows café whenever they had the Indian night. The décor and amenities throughout the vessel were good. We didn’t go to the entertainment as it just didn’t strike a chord with us this time, but we did enjoy the onboard pianist. It was nice to relax in the living room and enjoy the ambience. One thing that Azamara should consider whenever they are removing the casino is to enlarge the restroom facilities as I feel they are wholly inadequate (being the closest restrooms to the Cabaret Lounge) All the staff on board were extremely friendly and courteous and always said hello. The cleanliness of the public areas and our stateroom were always pristine. The senior staff were very visible and always approachable We were out most of the time so didn’t take part in any of the on board activities. My wife did enjoy the artist Jean Picton and went to her workshops on the sea days. I enjoyed lectures regarding the Tsars and St Petersburg that helped gen me up on what I would see and experience when we got there. The weather was really good throughout the voyage, the only rain being at Copenhagen and as we were going home it didn’t have the same affect. We are looking forward to our next cruise on the Pursuit. It will be nice to see the transformation the refit (in Belfast) will have had. We live close to Belfast and kept ourselves aware of the progress the ship was making whilst it was there. Ports of call Stockholm Embarkation- A nice sail away past all the islands. St Petersburg We booked a private three day intensive tour of all the important sites with TJ Travel before we left home. It was a full on experience which we enjoyed immensely and felt that it was great value for money. We would thoroughly recommend this to anyone who wished to understand St Petersburg’s role in Russian history. We certainly had a great time! Helsinki We just stepped off the ship as it was right in the centre. Did the open topped bus and enjoyed the little market at the waterfront. Riga Another port were we docked right by the centre of the old town. We just walked across the road we were there. The architecture was very interesting and the people friendly. We enjoyed our day there. Klaipeda Another port easily accessed from the ship, and a local folk group was there to greet us. A lot of metal pieces of public art to enjoy as well as numerous sculptures scattered throughout a public park. We had our White Night party in Klaipeda and were entertained again by the folk group, this time on the ship – a real coup! Gdansk We got bussed in to the old city. Again very interesting to see the pictures of the city as it was just after the war and how it looks now rebuilt in the same style as before. We had our Azamazing evening here. We were entertained in the Philharmonic Hall to an evening of music by Fyrderyk Chopin played on the piano by Rafael Lewandowski and accompanied on the violin by Karolina Piatkowska- Nowicka. An amazing evening of culture rounded of by a firework display. We certainly won’t forget that evening in a hurry. Ronne The best day for weather on the cruise. The sun shone all day. It was a nice peaceful little town to walk through, the architecture of the old houses being particularly appealing. This was a very pleasant and relaxing way to end our cruise. Copenhagen A very wet day to disembark and not a particularly pleasant dock, but Azamara had advised us earlier regarding the facilities and had suggested that we avail ourselves of transfers something that we had already done as part of our package. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
As first-timers on Azamara Cruises, my husband and I chose this ship primarily for its port-intensive itinerary and passenger size of ship (less than 700 guests). Embarkation and check in were a breeze - it probably took us 30 minutes in ... Read More
As first-timers on Azamara Cruises, my husband and I chose this ship primarily for its port-intensive itinerary and passenger size of ship (less than 700 guests). Embarkation and check in were a breeze - it probably took us 30 minutes in total from time of arrival at port to getting to the cabin. The ship itself was beautiful, well-kept and clean. Our room club verandah stateroom was well-maintained and our cabin attendants were wonderful. We were pleased that we spent the extra money to get a room with a balcony, and spent a fair amount of time on it when we were in our room. The bathroom is tiny but well cleaned, and you get used to the size. Fortunately we had quiet neighbors on either side of us which made for an even better experience! There was a sufficient amount of dining options to choose from. We ate mostly in the Windows Cafe for dinner - great selection to choose from, and also tried both specialty restaurants once each, as well as the MDR a couple of times. Quality of the food was fine for the most part, and we really enjoyed the Aqualina restaurant. Windows Cafe is buffet style, so with that comes food that may be lukewarm at times. Because the itinerary was port-intensive, we did not partake in too many on-board activities, and when we did it was mainly the daily afternoon trivia contests. Nighttime entertainment was okay - I believe a few of the acts were new to the ship - so it was a bit hit and miss in terms of quality. I'm sure they will work out the kinks as time goes by. The ports themselves were great, with the exception of Amsterdam, which we found quite grimy (cigarette butts and trash everywhere). The only excursion we signed up for was a three-day one through a local operator in St. Petersburg, which was tiring but fantastic. Otherwise, we prefer to explore on our own and the small size of the ship meant we were able to pull right into the city center of most ports and walk into town. Above all, we found the staff and crew extremely delightful, and always with a smile on their faces and willing to assist however they can. Thank you Wilson and Raymond for keeping our room immaculate! Alicia the Cruise Director was always full of energy, and is also a great singer/entertainer. We would definitely sail on Azamara again if the right itinerary came along. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
In 2008, we took our 1st Azamara Cruise in the Mediterranean, 10 cruises later, we came back to Azamara and just returned from the 12 Night Baltic Sea to London voyage. This was by far the best cruise we have taken in years. The food was ... Read More
In 2008, we took our 1st Azamara Cruise in the Mediterranean, 10 cruises later, we came back to Azamara and just returned from the 12 Night Baltic Sea to London voyage. This was by far the best cruise we have taken in years. The food was fabulous, not only in the specialty restaurants and main dining room, in the buffet as well. The stateroom and balcony were great. The bathroom a little tight, but plenty of storage. The 3 days in St. Petersburg was perfect. Highlights: Special Azamara night at the Russian Symphony Hall, The White Night Dinner, and long days in Port. Embarkation and Disembarkation was easy without waiting in long lines. The Port Locations were always close to town, except in Stockton. Shuttles were provided, is necessary. We did not attend the entertainment activities, we opted for late dinners, instead. We will return to the Azamara, it was Simply The Best! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was out fourth cruise on the Journey. Loved the redecorating. The crew was very friendly and accommodating. Thank you for providing us with what we needed to have Sabbath services onboard. The apple tarts were delicious. Would ... Read More
This was out fourth cruise on the Journey. Loved the redecorating. The crew was very friendly and accommodating. Thank you for providing us with what we needed to have Sabbath services onboard. The apple tarts were delicious. Would have liked to have a more private setting for the services. There was a lot of noise from the bar and another reception happening. It was wonderful to meet Lek Waleska. The Azamazing Evening was a real treat. Very well organized. The Cruise Critic reception allowed us to meet other couples right away. The food was excellent and we really appreciated accommodating my husband's food allergies. The wine tasting was very good. The wine steward was very knowledgable and did a great job of explaining things to us. Our cabin steward was very thoughtful and helpful He obtained an extension cord for the CPAP machine. We made some wonderful new friends on board. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our third Azamara cruise and we have loved each one! The ship size is ideal for us. The ship's staff could not have been any friendlier. We dined three times in the specialty restaurants and did two of the chef's tables ... Read More
This was our third Azamara cruise and we have loved each one! The ship size is ideal for us. The ship's staff could not have been any friendlier. We dined three times in the specialty restaurants and did two of the chef's tables with wine. All were very good. Also could find no complaints with the Discoveries Restaurant. Very diverse selections. White Night was exceptional! Also enjoyed the Sunday brunch with the jazz band. Thanks to recommendations from other Cruise Critic roll call members, we booked tours in St Petersburg and Berlin with SPB Tours. Highly recommend! St Petersburg was unbelievable! So glad we had three full days there. Due to the small size of the ship, we were able to pull into the heart of St Petersburg. The weather was exceptional for the most part. Just a brief shower one afternoon. It was nice Azamara provided free shuttles from the ship into Tallin and Skagen. Made a number of new friends on the cruise. Another big benefit of the smaller ships. Nice to have a free laundry on board. Embarkation and disembarkation were both a breeze. Enjoyed so much we booked back to back cruises for next year. Counting the days! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose this cruise because we have wanted to visit St Petersburg, and we had sailed before on Azamara and have always been highly satisfied. Because we wanted to see as much as we could with as little hassle as possible, I found out ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we have wanted to visit St Petersburg, and we had sailed before on Azamara and have always been highly satisfied. Because we wanted to see as much as we could with as little hassle as possible, I found out that Azamara has a private tour section. We worked with Zsofia Sarkadi and she provided us with a 3 day tour. It was a fantastic experience. The tour company that Azamara use was first rate. Our guide, Ludmilla Stepanov was as good as they come. She is an English teacher so language was no problem. During the tour, our driver would drop us near the entrance and when we finished that tour, he was always right there. We visited all the places you read about, and a bonus was a canal tour. Again this tour was conducted in English by a young lady that studies English at the University. If you would like to see St Petersburg, I highly recommend this way. It is slightly higher than the larger shore excursions, but so pleasant. The Journey's best feature is their crew. They are very friendly, and after the first day, usually know your name and your preferences. The small ship let us dock right near the town center at most of the stops, so you could just walk off and see the town. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
Great itinerary for sure...and that got us back on a cruise boat (we had said never again after "doing" a few too many huge ships and resenting the lines and unhappy employees. Didn't even know until after booking about the ... Read More
Great itinerary for sure...and that got us back on a cruise boat (we had said never again after "doing" a few too many huge ships and resenting the lines and unhappy employees. Didn't even know until after booking about the special event night (which was a private concert at the St Petersburg Symphonic Hall with their orchestra) and it was a night to remember for sure. Food was well executed even in the main dining room (we did specialty dining 5 nights). Every employee seemed to love their job and want to make us feel good. We are not big into the "entertainment" and didn't see much at all (never in the "cabaret area") but prefer to linger at a later dinner. Gym is great for the size ship. Didn't use the ship's excursions as had booked private ones on our own. The convenience of a shuttle bus to Tallinn was nice. We would never even return to a larger ship. Azamara has the RIGHT size and we hope that they keep that. Unfortunately they have no cruises on the books for the next two years that "float our boat" at the right time of the year for us. But we will keep looking! PS We were surprised to see so many elderly on this cruise but it all worked. The majority of folks on this cruise were out of public areas very early. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
This was our 4th Azamara cruise; our first on Journey. The embarkation process was as efficient and friendly as ever. It was the earliest our stateroom has been available: 1:30. For us, the experience on board was as superb as it has ... Read More
This was our 4th Azamara cruise; our first on Journey. The embarkation process was as efficient and friendly as ever. It was the earliest our stateroom has been available: 1:30. For us, the experience on board was as superb as it has always been: Food: we judged that this was the best set of menus we have had on an ACC ship. My wife has minor dietary issues and, aside from one night, those concerns were handled in the best manner possible. We enjoyed the MDR (Discoveries) so much we felt no need to reserve nights in the Specialty Restaurants. Service: Initially food service was a little spotty in the Windows Café but, by 3 days in, those issues disappeared. Because of a lengthy period of "Noro Rules", the time during which self-service in the buffets was allowed proved to be somewhat limited. Despite the extra effort involved, the staff rose to the occasion and maintained their friendly and helpful demeanour. In Discoveries, the main restaurant, we had very attentive staff. Our room stewards were, perhaps, the best we've have. Several minor issues were dealt with immediately and in an impressive manner. Entertainment: Never a strong suit of Azamara, we felt this was the best entertainment we'd enjoyed on this line's ships. Consequently, we made an extra effort to attend a number of performances. Ship's Condition: Although a somewhat older ship the Journey, as usual, was in immaculate condition. Although the staterooms are smaller than many of the newer vessels, we actually admire and appreciate the layout and efficiency of our balcony cabin. Ambience: Azamara has a policy of encouraging informal and friendly interaction between crew and passengers. This cruise was no exception. Also contributing to that friendly atmosphere were our fellow cruisers, in general a most friendly and sophisticated group. Itinerary: This itinerary is a bit different for ACC, in that it visits many of the typical ports of a Baltic cruise. However, it does provide 3 days in the remarkable St. Petersburg and the ship berths in a more downtown location than many other larger ships. Also, in our German ports, we also enjoyed special presentations of German music. Our complimentary Azamazing Evening of ballet at the Mikhailovsky Theater was outstanding. Not to be missed. Conclusion: We have sailed on 5 different cruise lines, and Azamara is now always our first choice despite the premium we pay in fares. However, if your preference is large staterooms and impressive public areas, as well as many of the diversions offered on newer and grander ships, you might well be disappointed. It offers a much more intimate experience.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2014
This was so much nicer than the mega ships we've sailed on in the past. Everything was top notch. The cabin was not huge but there was plenty of storage for all our stuff and the cabin was kept very neat and spotlessly clean. The food ... Read More
This was so much nicer than the mega ships we've sailed on in the past. Everything was top notch. The cabin was not huge but there was plenty of storage for all our stuff and the cabin was kept very neat and spotlessly clean. The food was good, not gourmet but very good especially in the specialty restaurants. Food presentation was excellent as was the service. The entire staff was friendly and professional. Although we engaged a private guide in St Petersburg the shore excursions offed by the cruise line were well organized and there were several options in each port. Our 3 days in St Petersburg was the highlight but I can't imagine visiting this city with 48 fellow cruisers on a motor coach. We used Alex's Tours & Travel and it was fabulous and easy! There were just 6 of us in a spacious private car with an amazing guide who knew everything about everything. And the cost was no more than the ship's shore excursion. Embarkation and debarkation were very easy and went smoothly and quickly. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Prior to this cruise, our most recent trips were on Oceania (2 times) and on the Norwegian Epic (twice) in a penthouse suite. We thoroughly enjoyed all the cruises. But when we had to put off our next Oceania to 2013 due to travel ... Read More
Prior to this cruise, our most recent trips were on Oceania (2 times) and on the Norwegian Epic (twice) in a penthouse suite. We thoroughly enjoyed all the cruises. But when we had to put off our next Oceania to 2013 due to travel problems linked with olympics in London, she suggested we do Azamara. And I'm glad she did. From the moment we stepped onto the ship, till the moment we departed, we felt cared about by the crew. CABIN - The small size of the cabin and bathroom didn't bother us that much since we had sailed twice before on the old Renaissance cruise ships with Oceania. FOOD - My wife and I thought the food was excellent. Because we spent so much time in the evenings off the ship, we only ate in the steakhouse one night and in the main dining room 3 nights. Two of the other nights they had dinner on the deck, and it was incredible. And even though I hate buffets, especially for dinner, the dinner buffet in the upstairs restaurant was excellent. Now, I didn't eat that much of the heavy stuff, but between the buffets here and the ones on the deck, I had escargots 3 times, which thrilled me no end. We didn't use room service at all. I don't drink wine, but my wife enjoyed the free wine with meals. ENTERTAINMENT - This was a pleasant surprise. We had gotten used to so-so entertainment on the smaller ships, but this group was great. Dean, the cruise director, made the cruise even better with his great humor and terrific singing voice. CAPTAIN - I have to make a comment on Captain Johannes. He was a regular guy - someone you just love to be with - and with a great sense of humor. NEGATIVE - My only complaint is that getting signed up for internet the first 2 days was a fiasco. The computer guy was there only a few hours a day, and people were really getting frustrated. It got so bad that I had to help. I don't think they understand that many (most?) of the passengers are older and not that computer savy. So having someone who I thought was only OK (and that might be generous), working a few hours a day was not good. But we did enjoy it so much that we have booked the Antarctica cruise from Buenos Aires in January. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2012
My family and I have been cruising for two decades, since our kids were small. Now that they're working, it took two years of planing to come up with a cruise that worked for all of us. We chose the Baltic as a location with ... Read More
My family and I have been cruising for two decades, since our kids were small. Now that they're working, it took two years of planing to come up with a cruise that worked for all of us. We chose the Baltic as a location with many fascinating ports, and chose Azamara since we prefer small ships which can dock in the center of town, and overnight in port so we could really see the town. Our cruise started with flawless flights on SAS business class from the US -- great seats and great cocktails ! We coordinated two flights so we all arrived in ARB within 45 minutes of each other, and then took a personalized guided tour before boarding the boat (note to RCCL -- you should have this as an option for those arriving in the early AM before boarding is allowed). The ship itself was a great size -- large enough to have a variety of public rooms and a nice sized suite, small enough to be easy to navigate around, with no need to use the steps (except after a some very long days of touring in Russia). Food on the ship was excellent as well. I would rate the buffet as the best we've had on any cruise -- always fresh, multiple to -- order stations, and it never felt like a compromise to eat there rather than a longer, sit down meal. Aquilina, one of two prime restaurants was nice, but there was really no need to spend extra. And the little grill had great burgers and chicken wings all day. I'll comment on the ports under port reviews but make one major comment here -- if you're making the effort to get to St. Petersburg spend the extra money for a personal guided tour -- either from the cruise or a Russian based agency (several are reviewed on other sites, we used, and recommend Alla tours) Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
My husband and I recently returned from the 6/27 Baltic cruise on the Azamara Journey. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise very much. Now I will tell you what I liked and didn't like. My biggest complaint was the guest relations desk. ... Read More
My husband and I recently returned from the 6/27 Baltic cruise on the Azamara Journey. Overall, I enjoyed the cruise very much. Now I will tell you what I liked and didn't like. My biggest complaint was the guest relations desk. At any time, there was only one attendant serving a line of guests. But the bigger problem was that I received incorrect information each and every time I asked a question. Other guests told us they had the same problem and then we overheard still other guests complaining that guest relations was either always wrong or simply did not know. The worst of this occurred when I tried to book transportation from our debarkation point in Copenhagen to the airport. Note that I called Azamara several times before the trip to try to get this information, but was told that guest relations would be glad to arrange it. I needed to leave the ship at 5:00AM. Guest Relations told me that cabs should be waiting at the pier and that it would be no problem. (By the way, when we finally did leave the ship, there wasn't a cab in sight). I wasn't really comfortable with that because I had no way of knowing whether that was really going to be the case based on previous misinformation. I asked if they could arrange a taxi in advance so that I could be sure. They said they could and the price they quoted me was "between $70 and $80", she was not sure, but it would be more expensive than if I simply went out and grabbed a taxi on my own, which would cost between $70 and $80. (Wait, does that sound correct? One would be more expensive, yet the prices quoted were the same??). So I said that yes, I would like them to arrange a taxi and gave her my room information. She said that she would bill it directly to the room. Fine. The next day, I was chatting with another couple, who had received different information. Both annoyed, we went together to Guest Relations and spoke with the 'manager', who informed us that the information that we both received was incorrect. She confirmed that yes, an independent taxi would be between $70-$80, but that they could not call one for us in advance. They COULD, however, arrange for a private car to pick us up and that COULD be billed to our room and would be exactly $137. Also, it would be big enough for the 4 of us so that was perfect. Yea! I received a confirmation letter in my room (the other couple did not), informing us that our car had been arranged and to please meet him at Guest Relations at 4:45 so that he could personally escort us out. We were not even surprised when he never showed up. At 5:00 we simply walked off the ship, very annoyed with the whole customer service process. Towards the end of the cruise, my husband contracted the norovirus, despite all of our attempts to sanitize and not touch handrails, doorknobs, etc. He became violently ill, too sick to even go down to the medical office, so he self-quarantined for the day. I stayed out of the room for the entire day. That evening, I asked the stateroom attendant if he would kindly open the sleeper sofa so that we were not sleeping right next to each other. He told me that it was not a sleeper sofa and that it could not be opened. Wrong. We opened it ourselves, only to find a soiled sheet (looked like someone urinated on it). Rather disgusting. Finally, booking a cabin on the 8th floor directly beneath the pool area is a mistake. At about 5:00 AM every morning, they would start dragging the deck chairs around, I guess to clean. It sounded like a freight train was going through our cabin every morning. In the evening it is often rearranged into a cocktail table setting, so around 10:00 PM you are again subjected to what sounds like lead weights being dragged and dropped above your head. Don't count on going to bed early or sleeping late. In addition, if you do sleep late the housekeeping crew starts banging the doors next door and making a lot of noise to wake you up. Early one morning, the crew was actually WELDING something across the hall and sparks flew out and hit me as I walked by! Aside from the above, I actually really did enjoy the ship and the cruise. I liked the size, the decor, the friendliness of the staff, and the food was excellent, equivalent to the specialty restuarants on Celebrity. I really enjoyed the poolside buffets since the weather was so nice and the food was good. I never waited for a drink and I was helped with mostly anything I needed. I liked that there are tablecloths on the tables at the dinner buffet and that waiters will carry your food to your table for you. I love the plaid, wool blankets on the outdoor chairs, nice touch. I liked that the wine, soda, water, etc. was included, as well as the shuttle service into port and the gratuities. I hate being 'nickel and dimed' so this was a refreshing change. Our room was pretty and clean, the fresh fruit, which they replenish each day is a nice touch. That said, some of the public areas (11th deck and pool) seemed a little 'tired' but I was told that the ship is scheduled for an overhaul in January. If you are planning on using the complimentary laundry facilities, good luck! It's like war in there! People guarding the machines etc. I do enjoy the midsize ship. It was so easy to meet and chat with other people and we really had a nice time. We also seemed to be following the Celebrity Eclipse around the Baltic. I was surprised that they were docked so much closer to the cities than we were in many cases. I was told that one of the advantages of the Azamara smaller ships is that you can usually dock right in town. This was not the case. I would consider travelling on Azamara again. We have taken 2 previous Celebrity cruises and 2 RC and we really liked this cruise the best. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2012
Azamara Journey -- Stockholm to Copenhagen -- White Nights June 27 -- July 6, 2012 This was my first time on Azamara Club Cruises. The same company owns this unique brand as Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises but Azamara is operated ... Read More
Azamara Journey -- Stockholm to Copenhagen -- White Nights June 27 -- July 6, 2012 This was my first time on Azamara Club Cruises. The same company owns this unique brand as Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises but Azamara is operated totally separately and has a unique niche. Their tag line is "you'll love where we take you" and are known for longer stays and more overnights -- Destination Immersion! Love it! Azamara has two virtually identical 694-passenger ships that fit into smaller ports and closer to the action. During this Baltic cruise we docked right in the heart of the city on the Neva River in the city of St. Petersburg Russia. Guests receive personalized service on a ship that offers some big ship features like a great gym and large theatre. Overall this line is in a category above the mainstream lines like the sister companies but slightly below the five luxury lines. Azamara does offer two things that Oceania Cruises (it's competitor) does not. Gratuities are included in the cost of the cruise and boutique wines are offered with both lunch and dinner. CABIN -- We were in a category 6, Ocean view Stateroom so did not have a veranda. The cabin size was fine although I did miss the fresh air. It was smartly decorated and there was plenty of storage space. We were in the front on Deck 4. (Deck 3 also has a few Ocean view cabins.) The ship is small enough that getting anywhere took only a few minutes even when using the stairs rather than the elevator. I tried to do that most of the time to wear off the excellent food! The cabin was only 170 square feet but manageable -- There are only 18 interior cabins but many veranda cabins and some very nice suites onboard -- See Accommodations. Two improvements I would like to cabins would be to refresh the bedding and also to provide a light for the closet. The closet was just on the left when you enter the cabin and when you open the closet door it blocks out the only light available. We literally set a flashlight there to use to find our clothes. My first wish is coming through shortly as both ships are going through refurbishment during dry dock including new mattresses, carpet, gym equipment, deck furniture and more! FOOD --The food on Azamara is quite good and a major step up from mainstream lines. Windows is the cafe that served breakfast and lunch buffets, which were good, thought not exceptional. However the ship was designed so that even with the outdoor seating, there were often problems getting seats on this port intensive itinerary where everyone often got off at the same time. We were in the Baltic so it was often chilly in the outdoor seats but they provided blankets. Azamara has open seating which is much to our liking. The main dining room (Discoveries) is comfortable and there are two Specialty Restaurants available for an extra charge of $25 per guest (free for Suites guests). Aqualina is a Mediterranean style and Prime C a Classic steakhouse. We loved them both and dined at each often during our 9 nights! They were so accommodating and even let us order the Grand Marnier Souffle from Aqualina when in Prime C. Views from the back tables by the water were very nice. During the dry dock a champagne and caviar bar is being added to Aqualina. As mentioned earlier, Azamara offers complimentary boutique wines with meals even in Windows Cafe and they were generally quite good. My husband brought along wines from his cellar (in checked luggage of course) and they professionally served them for only a $10 corkage fee. I have to also mention the Pool Grill outside Windows Cafe. This is a great place for burgers and such and is open later in the afternoon for those coming back late from port. Also very popular is the Mosaic Cafe midship on Deck 5 just up from reception. Its location outside the shops is nice and is a gathering place for coffee, cappuccino, tea and more along with morning pastries and afternoon tea sandwiches. A nice Room Service menu is available however we only tried the morning coffee. The coffee was good and hot but our 7 to 7:30 order arrived at 6:30am! STAFF/SERVICE -- The service was very good and personable on the Journey. Although we were never addressed by name, we felt welcomed and never had any issues. SHIP -- The 30K ton ship carries 694 passengers and is laid out well with nice public spaces. We never felt crowded except for the mornings in the Windows Cafe. The entire ship is quite pleasant. SPA/GYM -Because of the very port-intensive itinerary and my Host duties onboard, I never managed to use the gym but it was quite large and well equipped for the size of the ship. A full range of spa treatments is available and we both had treatments that were very good. It is especially nice that when you get a treatment you can use the Thalassotherapy pool and relaxation area on the front of the ship. Suite guests have unlimited access to that area. One unusual feature onboard is the Acupunture at Sea services.http://www.azamaraclubcruises.com/life-onboard/spa-fitness/acupuncture CASINO -- I only entered to Casino to meet my group for the Shore Excursion but it was nicely designed and had a variety of tables and slots. ENTERTAINMENT -- We were very lucky to have Eric de Grey as our Cruise Director. We had enjoyed his talents previously on Seabourn so knew we were in for a treat. Take a look at his website and book the Journey just to be entertained - http://www.ericdegray.com/EDG_Productions/Welcome_Offical_Website.html. There were nice musical offerings onboard and the White Nights party in St. Petersburg was lots of fun out on the deck. INTERNET -- eConnections -- The center was large for the size of the ship with plenty of large screen computers to use and staffed with a knowledgeable staff member (who seemed to never sleep!). Charges for wireless and computer access in the center were within range of most of the cruise ships but Azamara is the only line I have ever experienced that gave all past guests at least a small Internet package. We were able to get wireless access in our cabin and the system was fairly consistent given our locations. ENRICHMENT -- No one does Enrichment like Crystal but Azamara had a good speaker on board who was very knowledgeable about the Baltic. SHOPS -- There were two shops located on Deck 5 by The Mosaic Cafe which although small were nicely stocked. MISC -- Azamara Club has a unique Past Guest Program called Le Club with three levels that start after your first cruise (and that includes past Royal Caribbean and Celebrity sailings). Besides the typical past guest parties, first level guests are given 89 minutes of free Internet! Embarkation was very well done and all in all the ship was very well organized. PORTS -- A Baltic cruise is a unique and interesting experience and I highly recommend it. Being on a small ship with longer stays and closer access made a big difference in accessing these amazing countries. Read on if you'd like to hear more about each one. All in all, the Azamara experience is a great one and a wonderful value for the memories. Ports of Call -- Day by Day June 25 - Flight to Stockholm We chose to fly out of Newark rather than Philadelphia, because SAS has great non-stop flights to Scandinavia. We have a good parking lot that we trust at the airport and the drive is fairly easy in 1 1/2 hours. We chose to upgrade to Premium Economy as my research had shown that the benefits for the price were good and I would recommend it. Our flight was about 8 hours and arrived right on time into Stockholm. Tuesday June 26th - We took the Stockholm taxi into town, which took about 30 minutes, and for 520 SEK plus tip. We dropped our bags at the Sheraton and walked over to the Canal boats near the beautiful (expensive) Grand Hotel. We took the 10 am Canal sightseeing boat, which lasted about 2 hours and was relaxing after a night flight. We ran across the bridge hoping to catch the Changing of the Guard at the Royal Palace in Gamla Stan (Old Town) but discovered it's a popular attraction so seeing it was difficult with the crowd. If great viewing and photos is a must, then you have to get there by 11:30 am for the noon event. The Main Square (Gustav Adolf's Square) was a 2-minute walk with quite a few restaurants to choose from. We wanted to eat outside so we ended up at De Svarta Faren. All the restaurants provide blankets. Nice! After exploring Gamla Stan with the tiny streets and cute shops, it was time to check into the Sheraton. Our room was small and stark (typically Scandinavian) and we chose not to upgrade to a view since we were there just one night. If you like this prime location it offers great views of Gamla Stan or City Hall. Since we are Gold Starwood members we received free WIFI that had a good signal. While my husband checked email I took a quick five minute walk over to see the unique City Hall but was delayed getting back from a fierce downpour. We soon discovered the weather in Scandinavia could quickly change! For our one night on land, we indulged in a restaurant we found top rated online and conveniently located one block away - F12 was amazing and memorable but expensive. Wednesday, June 27th - enjoyed sleeping late (for us) and then walked over to Gamla Stan for shopping and enjoyed the great sunshine. Being careful to get the right taxi company (critical in Stockholm) we went to the pier about 11:30 am. He had trouble finding the correct dock at the pier so the cost of 300 SEK. The line was a little long for small ship but it was sunny and the check in process was easy. It was nice to be able to sign up for specialty dining right there on the pier before boarding, so we opted to try Prime C (the steakhouse) the first night. As mentioned in the review of the ship, Prime C is one of two specialty restaurants, which have a surcharge of $25 a person but we found well worth it. We were greeted with champagne upon boarding and within 1/2 hour we were in our cabin. Such an easy embarkation and of course one of the advantages of a small ship. After enjoyed Prime C (and the fabulous lobster salad), we went to the opening show staring Eric de Grey who was great! Thursday, June 28th Since the ship over-nighted in Stockholm, we were able to take one of the ship's excursions in the morning. It was not all that different from what we did on our own the day before except that the weather was gorgeous and sunny. All our days in the Baltic were in the high 60s or low 70s with low humidity, which was great. Our canal cruise and panoramic tour were quite enjoyable and were back on the ship for a burger lunch and sunny time by the pool. Our sail away was at 2 pm and quite interesting through the archipelago! Not to be missed. Friday June 29th - Helsinki Finland Unusual for us as we like to explore on our own, we again took a ship's excursions. We had a fun and unusual day outside the city at an indoor Winter land including the ice bar, kick sledding and even sledding. Unique Lapland Being small our ship was docked just near the colorful outdoor market, which we enjoyed, but we loved the indoor Vanha Kaippahalli with the wonderful smoked fish and more. Even without buying anything it's a cultural experience to go in. This evening we hosted a private cocktail party in the Looking Glass Lounge for our Vacation.com guests. This is one of the special parts of being on a Vignette Sailing. All the guests enjoyed the special event and socializing. Dinner followed in Aqualina, which was very good! Saturday, June 30th - St. Petersburg, Russia Today was the start of two days of private touring with 4 other couples we found through a cruise bulletin board online. The local touring company was well vetted and priced. The day was quite full with touring of the major sites of St. Petersburg along with a hydrofoil ride over to Peteroff to see the amazing summer palace of Peter the Great. This site is well worth the time to get there (only 30 minutes). Catherine's Palace was also quite astounding and overwhelming. Sunday, July 1 -- second day in St. Petersburg This was our second day of touring with our small group and private guide. We managed to get in our touring despite the blocked streets for the marathon (not something we expected to see in Russia). It was fun to stop into the most famous gourmet store on Nevsky Prospeckt, which is the main avenue in St. Petersburg and the best-known street. The Church of Spilled Blood was one of the highlights of the day and one of the most photographed churches in the world. Alexander the 2nd built it on the site where his father was assassinated and it is so elaborate that it took 24 years to build. We enjoyed a great quick lunch of what the Russians call "pies" -- but really was sweet bread baked with fillings. It was quite good and inexpensive. Last but certainly not least was our visit to the State Hermitage museum with over 3 million works of art and unlike the famous Louvre in Paris, much of the collection is housed in a palace which is a work of art in itself. It's difficult to summary a destination as special and interesting as St. Petersburg but it's worth a visit! Monday July 2nd, Tallinn, Estonia This was the day of our Vignette Exclusive Shore Excursion in this former Russian town that is now a UNESCO World Heritage Sight. We enjoyed a walking tour of the old city where one could easily spend the entire day. Our afternoon was a unique experience of lunch on a local farm and learning about life during the time of the Russian occupation. Everyone was pleased with the experience. Tuesday July 3rd -- Visby, Sweden This was also a unique port as it is on the island of Gotland and is a well-preserved medieval town and also a UNESCO site. There is a 2-mile stonewall surrounding the city and it's easily walkable with nice shops and restaurants. Because our ship did not sail until 11 pm, we came back to town at night for dinner on the outside patio of Donners Brunn watching the locals. Delicious and memorable. Wednesday, July 4th -- our day at sea! Great day onboard. Thursday July 5th -- Full day and overnight in Copenhagen, Denmark. We took one of the ship's tours so we could get an overview of this bigger city. We enjoyed our good guide during the walking tour that began near the Winter Palace where the Queen and two sons and their families reside and you can see the changing of the guard at noon. Our walk ended for lunch (Smushi!) at the Royal Cafe on the famous and long pedestrian street Stroget. Difficult to describe these beautiful open face sandwiches but they were delicious as was the beer. Our day ended with a Canal boat ride back to the ship where we passed the famous Little Mermaid statue (which really is little!) We took the shuttle bus from the ship right back into town to stroll the Stroget and shop. We enjoyed Copenhagen more than we expected. Friday, July 6th -- sadly it was time to fly home. Azamara's debarkation process was easy and well organized. We took their bus to the airport. Would I go back on Azamara Club Cruises? Yes!   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2012
Summary -Having cruised with Azamara Quest 5 times previously,we didn't need much convincing when the opportunity to cruise the Baltic on the Azamara Journey came up. The theme of the cruise was the white nights in the Baltic in ... Read More
Summary -Having cruised with Azamara Quest 5 times previously,we didn't need much convincing when the opportunity to cruise the Baltic on the Azamara Journey came up. The theme of the cruise was the white nights in the Baltic in June/July, and the Journey had a jazz themed cruise to the Norwegian fjords a little over a week after the Baltic cruise so we booked that also, and filled in the the intervening time with a river cruise down the Rhine. This review will focus on the 9 night Baltic cruise but the comments apply equally to the later Norwegian fjords jazz cruise. Azamara Journey, like its sister the Quest ( and 5 other R class ships) has a 694 passenger capacity so that socialising with new friends is very easy, as you continually see faces you recognise, unlike on some mega liners where you don't see an acquaintance you met on the first day for the rest of the cruise. Many features distinguish the Azamara product from other lines, but by far the most exceptional is the genuine friendliness of the officers, staff and crew.The crew(mostly from Philippines) didn't just look and appear happy, when you got to talk to them they WERE happy. On the Journey they take service to new levels of excellence, led from the top by the most visible and friendly captain we have ever experienced, Capt Johannes Tysse. Together with a fantastic cruise director, Eric De Gray and the always superb Hotel Director, Heike Berdos, this trio set the tone of high visibility and easy going chatter. We'd been advised that Eric De Gray had a couple of not-to-be-missed quite superb stage shows and we were not disappointed. Eric adds a professional flavour to the entertainment on board which is lacking on many smaller and mid-size ships, including the Quest.Embarkation- After a harrowing 30 plus hours to get from Sydney, Australia to Stockholm, it's hard to put into words how grateful we were that Azamara handled the embarkation so pleasantly and efficiently- we were greeted as if we were old friends returning home. It's little wonder that Azamara enjoys a very hard core loyalty following with its returning passengers. Ports- Of course, all fabulous. Stockholm, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallinn, Visby, Copenhagen. The standout?- probably St Petersburg, we were there 2 nights and Capt Tysse got us docked at the absolute closest point to the town, the Lt Schmidt embankment, as he did also at other ports. We won't give a ports review as places can be subjective for many, suffice to say we pre-booked a Russian travel guide before leaving home and consider that essential for St Petersburg. We did take a couple of Azamara excursions at their half price discount if pre-booked and they were quite good value for money without being spectacular Staterooms- Always a topic of discussion, we took an Oceanview without a balcony because of the port-intensive nature of the cruise,which meant that you sailed during the evening and were parked when you woke, which made a balcony somewhat superfluous. The dimensions of the staterooms are limited, not spacious like, say, Seabourn but very functional - we were able to put away all our luggage for a 37 day European trip easily. Dining- The food was generally up to the constantly high quality we had come to expect,the MDR being usually quite good, the Specialty Restaurants ( $25 pp cover charge)were superb, and the Windows cafe just fine for breakfast, lunch (burgers and dogs at the Pool Grill were superb)and especially a casual dinner of stir-fry,pasta, themed cuisine etc prepared by the happiest group you'll meet on the high seas. We must also pay tribute to the overall quality of the complimentary wines at lunch and dinner, and to the eagerness of the staff to keep your glass full. Entertainment- As stated before, the Cruise Director's singing and performing talents lifted all the other entertainers to a very high level for a smallish/mid-size ship. Entertainment is usually something we don't expect to be spectacular on our cruises - Eric De Gray changed that view. Activities - As we were visiting virtually one port per day, there wasn't much call for activities. Disembarkation - We left independently for an early flight ex Copenhagen so can't really comment on this. Final thoughts - In the areas of service, food quality, friendliness, entertainment ,cleanliness, port selection and access,Azamara ticked every box on this and the subsequent cruise. Sure, you could make a few quibbles if you were a really hard marker, like the onboard shops merchandise wasn't much good and some of the support pianists/jazz group around the ship were only barely adequate, but our only real regret is that Azamara is not scheduled to come to Australia any time soon, so that we'll have to chase this cruise line around the world and suffer the hell of long flights because any other cruise line would, in all probability from our past experiences with some of the supposed best, leave us seriously disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Wonderful experience overall. Staff were lovely, approachable and present, but discrete. Embarkation / disembarkation was seamless. The cabin was small, the bathroom and shower area very small. Elevators easy to obtain and ... Read More
Wonderful experience overall. Staff were lovely, approachable and present, but discrete. Embarkation / disembarkation was seamless. The cabin was small, the bathroom and shower area very small. Elevators easy to obtain and moving around the ship is easy. You hardly feel there are 650 passengers on board and it is easy to mingle and meet people. We chose to dress up everynight, but dressy casual is sufficient. Loved the open dining policy - it really meant not having to look at a watch! The open wine served (although is limited to a glass) is rarely enforced, very nice wines. Food is amazing and often a hard choice on what to select! Or do as I did and eat 2 desserts every night - the velvety cappuccino is wonderful! We throughly enjoyed the Prime C restaurant. The open pool bar has great hamburgers and tacos and the coffee at the Italian cafe is divine, as well as the afternoon nibbles! The lovely THICK mattress poolside coupled with the warm pool made it hard to leave the pool everyday! HIGHLY recommend this cruise line. A nice size ship, without feeling lost. Facilites and food excellent. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This was our first Azamara club cruise and we really liked it, I'm mean a lot. Embarkation was a breeze and the attendants were helpful and kind in Stockholm. Met on the ship with a glass of champagne and knowing the ... Read More
This was our first Azamara club cruise and we really liked it, I'm mean a lot. Embarkation was a breeze and the attendants were helpful and kind in Stockholm. Met on the ship with a glass of champagne and knowing the cruise wasn't sold out (by my constant searching on the web) I asked about upgrades. We upgraded from an ocean view standard cabin to a continental suite for an additional cost. Sure, no sea days and only 7 days on the ship but the bathroom was full size including a real tub and nice balcony. Heaven! We used the typical pool and hot spas which were clean and not over crowded. The ship seemed to flow with people not in a hurry and enjoying each port and port scenery. White and red wines were served with lunch and dinner as well as sodas included in the cost. No problem asking for one and the wait staff cheerfully brought whatever requested. Bar prices were reasonable and even happy hour was a great deal at the pool bar. Pool barbq open until 4PM. I felt like I wasn't nickeled and dimed as I have on other ships,there were cold bottles of water ready for each days departing into ports and drinks ready for us upon our return to the ship. Our Butler had coffee delivered each morning and brought the tea service cart by each afternoon. Since there are less people than other ships getting on and off the ship was no problem. The french toast, caramelized pears and bananas in Windows cafe was outstanding. Prime C steak house had an amazing black angus steak and exceptional service. Overall service on ship was excellent and welcoming. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Azamara Journey - 7-21-11 I've been on many cruises before but this was my first cruise on Azamara and it certainly won't be my last. It was wonderful. As many have said before there were so many excellent features from the ... Read More
Azamara Journey - 7-21-11 I've been on many cruises before but this was my first cruise on Azamara and it certainly won't be my last. It was wonderful. As many have said before there were so many excellent features from the size of the ship to the service, the food, and the complimentary wines with lunch and dinner along with free water, soft drinks and specialty coffees. I traveled with my brother and his wife from NY/JFK on a DL non-stop. Arrived the same day to board the ship. They previously sailed on the Quest in 2010 on a Mediterranean cruise and raved about it. I agree with all of their assessments. We shared a veranda stateroom, which was a little tight at times but we managed fine. Plenty of closets and drawers to store all of our belongings. Also more hangers than I have ever seen on a ship or in a hotel. I slept on the pullout couch and I have to admit it was quite comfortable. The main beds had the new mattresses and they said they were extremely comfortable. My only complaint would be the shower curtain in the bathroom. No matter what you did it always tried to stick to you. They really need to try and put in a door of some sort or at least a curved shower curtain rod. Loved Mosaic Cafe for the coffee, ended up having a light breakfast here several mornings. Went twice to the buffet for breakfast but it was usually too crowded for us. The dining room was lovely for breakfast with excellent service. We only ate lunch twice at the outdoor grill which was very nice and had some wonderful selections to choose from. Wine was poured freely there also. We loved that you can bring bottles onto the ship for consumption in your stateroom. Most nights we would order a snack along with mixers and limes to be brought to our room where we would have a cocktail hour (or 2) on our veranda. We also enjoyed the martini bar where "MA" would play her harp most nights. We ate in main dining room 5 nights, 1 night at Prime C and 1 night at Aqualina. While I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at both specialty restaurants, I thought the food in the main dining room was actually better and/or more interesting choices. Some of my faves; raw tuna appetizers, salmon tartar, most of the soups, quail and red snapper. I normally don't order steak on a cruise because I like it extremely rare and it usually comes way overcooked. I have to say that they cooked it perfectly for me. I was disappointed with a few of my choices in Aqualina but overall everyone else thought it was tops. I thought the size of the ship would feel very small but I actually thought the size was perfect. We had smooth seas throughout the voyage, so don't know how the ship would feel in rougher waters. I loved the greetings you received when you returned to the ship and were "welcomed home" by the crew and officers with cool facecloths and beverages. Once we were even presented with sorbet. Overall, I would definitely recommend this cruise to almost all(not really good for children of which there were very few on board). I hope to sail again with them soon. Port Reviews Stockholm, Sweden I have visited Stockholm previously and been to the Vasa museum and City Hall. The day we arrived it was raining quite hard so we decided to just stay on the ship and unpack (we couldn't get into our room until 2pm anyway) and relax. We explored the ship, had a drink, then dinner then bed. The next morning we all woke up refreshed and took the shuttle into the city. From there we just walked around the Gamla Stan and did some shopping. We then walked to city hall but when we arrived, we discovered the next tour was not for another hour and we would miss the last shuttle back to the ship. We enjoyed the cruise out of Stockholm through the archipelago while drinking champagne on our veranda. Helsinki, Finland I've been to Helsinki before and remembered that there is not a lot to do here. That still seems to be the case. We walked into town and through the market which was mostly fruits and vegetables, not very interesting. We visited the Uspenski and Helsinki Cathedrals then walked into town to look for a liquor store. We were directed to go to Stockman's department store. Wow, what a store, it had everything you could imagine! Clothes, food, plants, appliances, liquor, beer, wine, restaurants, gourmet foods, housewares, cosmetics, etc. I thought it was probably the most interesting thing in Helsinki. St. Petersburg, Russia This was my first time in St. Petersburg. WOW! Unbelievable! So much to see, thank goodness we were in port for 3 full days because I don't know what I would have dropped from our schedule. We signed up for the ship's 3 day tour. I thoroughly researched a number of other companies and either they did not visit everything that this tour did or they were more expensive (albeit they did have smaller groups but I did not mine the larger one). We ended up with 30 on our bus and we had Vikoria as our guide for the duration. She was extremely knowledgeable and fun. We had the headsets so we could wander a bit during our tours. In addition to viewing most of city's major buildings and monuments we had visits to the following: Catherine Palace, Peter and Paul Fortress, Winter Palace & Hermitage Museum, Canal cruise, Palace square & Alexander Column, Church of the Spilled Blood, Uppenski Palace, Peterhof Palace & Lower Fountain gardens plus full lunch on the first 2 days. All were truly Magnificent! My favorites were the Church of the Spilled Blood, unbelievable both inside and out. Also the fountain gardens at the Peterhof were fantastic. The only downside was a visit to a souvenir shop that was ridiculously expensive. Wait to buy until you get to the Peterhof, there are numerous vendors on the property with very fair prices and they will haggle a bit on prices. As an example, at the store I was admiring a replica Faberge jeweled egg which would have cost about $80. I found the exact same thing for $21 at the market. The other downside was we had a heatwave (90F/30C) during our visit and nothing is air-conditioned (except the bus). While the palaces were spectacular I almost passed out at times it was so hot in most of them. The worst was the Hermitage mostly because of the crowds. The other palaces were not so crowded together, it would be just our group together throughout. Tallin, Estonia I had been to Tallin once before about 8 years ago. We took the free shuttle into town. Although it was 10X more crowded this time than the last time I visited, it has not lost any of it's charm. The old town is a wonderful area to visit. The town square had a array of vendors selling many interesting handmade items at fair prices (however much more expensive than the last time I visited especially since now they are on the euro). If you are looking for any amber jewelry, this is the place to buy it. I was not interested until I saw the green amber which I thought was exquisite! I purchased a beautiful pendant and matching earrings at a shop in the upper town. We ate lunch a pretty cafe just below the church and had a nice lunch of delicious pizza. Overall, a thoroughly delightful visit. 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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