This was our first Azamara cruise after several with Cunard and one each with Holland America & Fred Olsen.
We booked cruise only and organised our own flights from the UK, hotel and transers. We flew to Rome a couple of days early & joined the ship via a shared shuttle service. Embarkation was very quick, cabins were ready and we just had time to finish our glass of welcome champagne before lunch in the Windows cafe. This is a much more pleasant experience than a lot of the self service restaurants we have encountered and it was lovely to sit outside and have our glasses topped up regularly.
I was a bit worried about the size of the ship when I booked (my husband's favourite ship is the QM2) but we found no problems. We enjoyed the fact that the Journey visits smaller ports, you very rarely have to wait for anything and it was a very quick trip back to your cabin if you'd forgotten anything.
Our balcony cabin was rather compact but had everything we needed. The balcony is also small but it was nice to be able to eat breakfast out there on the dining height table. Room service delivery was always prompt and it was nice to get a warning phone call.
We generally ate at around 8.15 in the main dining room and shared a large table for the first few nights and then had a table for 2. Food was good as was the service.
We enjoyed the More Inclusive offerings, my husband had chargeable beers a couple of times a day but we still managed to keep our account in credit (just).
We were scheduled to call at Capri but when we joined the ship there was a letter in our cabins telling us that Azamara had been unable to resolve a dispute with the Capri boatmen over the use of tenders so we would be spending a second day in Sorrento. Azamara refunded the cost of the ferry across to Capri and the port charges.
We really enjoyed our first Azamara experience, I thought I would miss the formality of Cunard but when flying to catch a ship it really does make more sense. Fellow guests were casual without being scruffy.
There was a good mix of passengers of all ages and the ship seemed to have plenty of space, despite being small. It was always possible to get a seat in a bar or on one of the very comfortable loungers. For the size of the ship, there seemed to be a reasonable amount of open deck space, although anyone used to the jogging track on QM2 was likely to make themselves dizzy.
We went to a couple of shows, the earlier ones were timed at 9.15 so we were still at dinner at that time. We missed the Captain's welcome & farewell parties for the same reason. Although the ship was open dining, it was suggested that on the first night we should dine at 8-8.15pm. That was fine with us but it need mean we missed the crew introductions.
We only had 1 sea day on this trip and the activity offerings were a bit uninspiring but it was towards the end of the week and it was pleasant just relaxing on our balcony.
We didn't take part in the Azamazing evening but those who did seemed to enjoy it. We made the most of having the ship almost to ourselves. We had dinner outside Windows watching the sun set over the Bay of Naples and then watched Mamma Mia under the stars.
We didn't take any Azamara excursions, we prefer to do our own thing and that was very easy on this trip.
We had a late afternoon flight out of Athens, I had hoped to be able to arrange a Late Disembarkation. This wasn't possible but the concierge helped me to book a day room in hotel in Athens. We spent a very relaxing few hours around their pool before heading off to the airport.
We are looking forward to returning to Azamara soon.