We boarded the Azamara Journey in Barcelona. Very easy compared to the large ships that we are used to taking in Florida. Total check-in process took less than 15 minutes. Then on to board the boat. Greeted with champagne at the door. Our cabin was ready (around noon), however our bags had not been delivered.
After cruising on 35+ cruises, I would have to say this was our favorite. Small touches like the bartender always knowing your drink before dinner, never a crowd for the dining room, incredible meals, etc. The crew seemed genuinely happy, etc. So nice to not be nickel and dimed to death, like the mainstream lines. Hard to believe that Azamara was even a part of RCL...The buffet even had an upscale feel with table cloths and candles at night. The entertainment was top notch. The dancers were incredible and the cruise director, entertaining.
Our first stop on the cruise was to the island of Ibiza. Azamara arranged a 'Hippie Night' where everyone dressed in white or 60's clothing. They bused us to a beach club and served champagne and snacks for a couple of hours. They had a fashion show and played 60's music. It was so much fun.
The rest of the cruise we stopped at ports along the French Riviera. Most of them we were able to dock at, however a couple we had to tender in to shore.
The only negative to the cruise was the super-small verandah cabins. We had a balcony cabin and there was barely enough room to put away our clothes and walk around the bed. No more than one could be in the bathroom at a time. Very small shower with a curtain. I would guess that the boat was around 50 years old because of the small cabins, however it was very well maintained and clean.
We have already booked another Azamara cruise. It was a great experience and well worth paying a little extra for a more intimate cruise.