We have just returned from the Baltic White Nights cruise on Azamara Journey this cruise departed from Amsterdam on June 10th and finished in Stockholm on June 20th.
It was our first Azamara cruise and it lived up to all of our expectations and we would endorse the many other highly positive reviews published about this ship.
We were very lucky with the weather with only a little rain on day 2 in St. Petersburg, as a consequence we were able to eat all but one breakfast and lunch on the outside area of windows cafe or around the pool when a couple of special events were organised.
Food was consistently excellent with a wide choice to suit all requirements, if you ordered food from the patio grill this would be brought to you wherever you were sitting. We ate breakfast once in the main dinning room (day 2) and it was disappointing so we did not use it again
Evening meals were excellent and we sampled all the venues, the seafood buffet on the first night was recommended to us and we enjoyed this as well as the Greek night on day 3, the main restaurant served excellent food and was very busy most nights, we were a party of 4 and on 2 occasions had to wait for around Â½ hour for a table, not an issue as the Maitre D arranged to have the restaurant wine served to us as we waited. We also enjoyed the lamb chops one night and these were provided again, by request, later in the cruise
Rosalie and her deputy kept our cabin spotlessly clean with bottled water topped up on a daily basis.
"Free" wine no problem with either the selection or quality or indeed quantity apart from one issue detailed below
We booked a number of excursions at 50% off and they represented good value for money, the tour groups were small and the departure from the ship was well organised with very few queues and in some cases collect you sticker and walk straight of to the coach. In St Petersburg we were the first group into Catherine's Palace and one of the first 3 groups into the Petrhoff palace
We sampled both speciality restaurants and our preference was Aqualina, as the food was more to our taste, Prime C is I suspect more geared to the preferences of American guests
We tend to eat around 19.30 to 20.00 and so missed the main shows but did enjoy music and coffee in the mosaic cafe most evenings.
This is a relative term as they are more observations than actual complaints and may be a reflection of our personal tastes and experiences.
Breakfast in the main dinning room was poor, slow service and a very dry omelette, we were very happy with Windows so not an issue.
One evening may wife sent back a glass of wine as it was off, rather than just change it the staff discussed it got someone else to taste it and then change it, the mistake was compounded by serving that wine to the next table who also sent it back
Service in Prime C on the last night was poor and we felt rushed despite asking for time between courses.
The ship is spotless and staff are constantly cleaning
Bathrooms are a little small but we knew that when we booked
Pool side loungers are very comfortable and you could always find one either in the sun or shade
Would we sail with Azamara again, yes, in fact we paid a future cruise deposit whilst on board.
Azamara have found a well balanced niche between Celebrity and the cruise lines that are described as 6 star and having sampled a number of cruise lines over the last 5 years our preferences are now Celebrity, Azamara and Seabourn who meet our needs and will continue to recive our custom when the price and itinerary are appropriate and they maintain the standards that took us to the companies in the first place.