I was convinced to take a cruise on the Azamara Journey in March this year to the Caribbean. Having only been on two previous cruises, both larger ships, Adventurer of the Seas and Granduer of the Seas. I was slightly apprehensive as to the stability of the smaller ship as I get sea sick. I say smaller ship, that is a bit tongue in cheek as the Azamara is not a small ship. It turned out that on the first night at dinner a did feel a bit queazy but on a vista to the fist aid on board I was given some pills, very reasonably priced at $3.00 and one around 5 pm did the trick and they weren't needed the rest of the trip. The on board level of comfort and cleanliness is next to perfect and there were portable hand wash machines everywhere. I also noticed the level of hygiene was very good at the serving areas. Although, watch out for your follow passengers as I did witness a guest poke around the cold section at breakfast with their fingers. I did mention it to a member of staff who, to their credit, did follow it through with the passenger. 10 out of 10 there. The quality of food was 8 out of 10 in the buffet, I would recommend when you want eggs to go to the omelette bar and have the made to your own preference. The staff are constantly on hand to take over and bring your food and drinks to you at the table and forever friendly. I did find it difficult to get a aft terrace seat at the busy times but if you are a late breakfaster you should have no trouble, but don't leave it too late or you will miss a hot breakfast. The table are well looked after but don't leave half glasses of drinks for too long as they will be cleared away as the staff are very attentive.
The entertainment is fine for a smaller ship but only 7 out of 10. Don't sit too close to the entertainer if you are a little reserved as all the entertainers whilst I was on board did like audience participation.
On all parts of the ship there was lots of room with exception to dinning at the peak times.
I found the coffee bar above reception very nice in the afternoons on returning after a day trip between getting back on board and dinner.
The pool area was in general very comfortable and the sun beds of good quality and as usual plenty of towels. Only problem was as usual, empty beds with personal belongings left on them to reserve the bed. I found the best way to solve the problem is just to take them to a member of staff and they then put them in lost property for the guest to find them later. I don't like confrontation so that solved the problem. The pool was very small though and in need of a refurb. The BBQ night on board was a great success with lots of atmosphere and all the guests seemed to take part. With the officers and captain mingling and doing the PR work. Captain Johannes was a star and a man with a dry sense of humour and apps, ( joke on board) as he referred to his phone a lot when he needed to answer a technical question.
It worked very well for him..
The general decor was of a more traditional style and not modern retro so don't expect large splashes of colour and weird furniture. This is not to say the young wouldn't enjoy a quite cruise.
The shore trips where different as we anchored offshore in most ports and took the ships tender to shore.
This was an excursion in itself if you like river trips. When we got to shore everything that was promised was there and very well organised. In particular, we did a BBQ in Mayreau and the crew and staff had arranged everything prior to us arriving on shore, what a wonderful day we had there.
All the other ports were equally beautiful in there own way and we had not trouble whatsoever at any time.
We did have lunch on a beach bar in St Barts, for 4 it was $130 but you are on holiday in a very special place, you would pay as much if not more in the UK in London, Edinburgh etc.
I did try to arrange an excursion and scuba diving in St Martin and missed out as the staff had gone ashore. However, we did it by ourselves on arriving at the drop off point by going into a shore side shop, try saying that after a few glasses of free wine, I would highly recommend arranging your own trips as we found it very easy with the help of the locals and saved ourselves over $100 for the very same trip and we had more time on the beach. On all dar trips I recommend getting off the ship early to get the most out of the day and it also allows you to return to the ship if the town doesn't suit you for some afternoon sun.
I was disappointed with the casino as I had some dollars left from my last trip and was looking forward to some roulette or blackjack but there was only one roulette table and it was taken over by one guest and his wife who liked to cover the whole table and the minimun bet was $10 on the blackjack. The organisation for all transfers and excursions was 10/10 and in general nothing was too much trouble for any member of the crew. I finish by saying that the all inclusive Azamara Journey was 10/10 as gratuities, soft drinks and wine & coffees are included make it a very reasonably priced holiday which I will be doing again very soon.