This was our first cruise on the Azamara Journey but sailed previously on their sister ship, the Quest. Both experiences were outstanding. Having sailed on several cruise lines and ships over the past years for a total of approximately 20 sailings, including Silver Seas, Cunard, Princess, NCL, Carnival, etc., I feel they all offer fine service and I have no complaints, but Azamara goes the extra mile. This voyage departed July 6, 2012 from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. Ports included Skagen, Denmark; Bruges; London (Greenwich); Antwerp; Rotterdam and Amsterdam. There are several factors that distinguish this line from others. The pricing - their rates are generally lower than other lines for similar itineraries. Also, many sailings are offered with a 125% charge for single occupancy. Complimentary wines are served with lunch and dinner and gratuities are included in the fare. Soft drinks are available at all times and the cabin refrigerator is stocked with soft drinks as well. Their excursions are available at significant discount when booked on their website prior to sailing.
The ship's staff, mostly from the Philippines, is outstanding - consistently efficient, polite, gracious and accommodating.
In addition to the main dining room, there are two fine optional restaurants: We had dinner in Aqualina which was comparable to any five-star restaurant. It is well worth the $25.00 pp surcharge In addition, there is Windows Cafe where they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet. Each night features a regional cuisine and the restaurant is attractively decorated from that region with white linen and candles. They also have snacks and specialty coffees available throughout the day and night at Mosaic. The pool grill serves salads and grilled items from 11:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m. All the food served on board was delicious and bautifully presented. They were always able to accommodate my requests for vegetarian selections in all the venues and my traveling companion had no problem being accommodated with gluten free choices as well including pastries, bread, cookies, etc.
Passengers were predominately seniors and only a few children. Out of 650 passengers, 551 were from the U.S.
Several venues have live entertainment including a guitarist, a harpist and cabaret enterainer, Steve Green. The main show room had standing-room-only performances every evening with production shows and solo performances by singer Helen Jayne and pianist/comic John Bressler among others - all very entertaining. Cruise director, Eric DeGray promotes himself as an "international singer" and in addition to his duties as cruise director, hosts and performs in several shows. He proved to be a very accomplished entertainer. His repertoire included mostly audience pleasing show tunes from past popular Broadway shows with some theatrical performances thrown in.