This is one of my only ship reviews I have posted, I am very active on the roll call boards, but never felt the need to comment on a cruise ship before now. We sailed on the Journey for a 12 night sailing. The itinerary and the price was the main reason for doing this trip. The Ports were Amsterdam, Vlissingen, Antwerp (3 nights), Bruges, London (docked off of Greenwich, 6 miles from London City) and Rouen, France (one hour train ride from Paris), disembarked at Southampton, England. This was our second time on Azamara, we had sailed on the Quest about 4 years ago doing the Best of Italy for 14 nights, wonderful is all I can say. We have sailed on Celebrity, Royal, Princess, NCL and Carnival before and we have enjoyed each cruise and each line as they are all different in their own ways. As you can see we haven't been loyal to anyone Cruise Line, we go for the itinerary and time of year. I keep looking into land tours but keep coming back to cruising as you don't have all that packing and unpacking. I must admit I now feel that Azamara is the best Cruise Line we have done to date. I have always said I don't care which cruise line we go on, but now I have to admit that Azamara is far and away the best of the best. I will now go out of my way to look for where they are going to see if it meets with our needs to travel with them again. We are in our early to mid-fifties at time of writing. So that all being said I'll go ahead and put down some of the things we enjoyed:
1. They serve a red and white wine at lunch and dinner, complimentary. Now you'll say it's included in the price of the cruise, well at the deal we got I'd have to say no.
2. Mosaics is the specialty coffee house on deck 5, also complimentary. They had cookies, finger sandwiches etc. to munch on. Great place to meet before exiting the ship, if you're not tendering you disembark on Deck 5. Tenders exit on Deck 4.
3. The ship itself is kept in GREAT shape, while on an "R" ship with Princess they started to let it get a little run down because they were transferring the ship to one of their other cruise lines. Everything is cleaned daily. They even re-varnished our railing on our Balcony while we were out.
4. The toiletries in the cabin included shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, body gel and a small bottle of air freshener (that's a great idea).
5. While in port they hang a banner across deck 5 that says "Welcome Home" another great touch.
6. Crew very, very friendly. Always willing to go out of their way to say good morning, good evening etc. Excellent staff and training, they have to work on it and it shows.
7. Cabin, we had a Balcony, Cabin 6068. Great shape a little small by some ship's standards but had a good amount of closet storage and shelves in both room and bathroom. Shower only had a curtain, but I'm okay with that.
8. Balcony, is about 4' wide by width of cabin, it had 2 plastic chairs and a small glass topped table, very clean and in very good shape.
9. The curtains in room are in good shape and had a blackout curtain and sheer.
10. The lounge chairs around the pool have soft pads and are covered each day with clean towels and they place a rolled up pool towel so you don't have to go anywhere to get one, it's right there on the lounge chair.
11. In one corner of the pool deck they have over-stuffed sofas , love seats and coffee tables instead of just the standard hard back patio chairs and eating tables.
12. They have a coffee service set up on the pool deck by the Pool Bar so you don't have to walk to the restaurant.
13. For breakfast you can order your omelet and they bring it to your table so you don't have to stand there and wait.
14. Enjoyed all the food. The Pool Grill makes great hamburgers and fries.
15. I really enjoyed the idea that they don't nickel and dime you every time you turn around, they just can't go too far out of their way to help, the best crew ever on both ships.
16. Azamara took care of our airfare and I thought the air fights were very good. One stop in Chicago for an hour and a half then direct to Amsterdam on Delta. The return was non-stop from Southampton to Los Angeles on Virgin Atlantic.
I could go on and on. Let me just say I love Azamara and the way they take of care you. I guess it's the way cruising used to be before the bean counters took over and started Revenue Enhancement.
I won't get into the ports as we enjoyed them all and our private guides. The ship tours sounded like a great deal being half off (within 4 days of cruising) but we like small groups with private guides.