Where do I start? How about at the airport where we were met and herded to a hallway location and left for an hour, only to be put on the wrong bus. Azamara topped that entrance with an even greater exit! We got a letter on our bed the day before the cruise ended notifying us that our tour of Rome was canceled, leaving us stranded at the dock. Were it not for the extraordinary efforts of Guest Relations Director Nikki Denyer, we would still be walking back to Rome from the dock! She got us into Rome next door to our hotel despite Azamara's best efforts. Azamara's CEO traveled with us, and I would suggest that next time he travels on the Journey, he take lessons on how to run a cruise line from Ms. Denyer who understands customer service! When Ms. Denyer found out she was getting us to Rome for my wife's birthday, she had the stewards decorate our room with baloons and a banner, making up for most all the other disappointments we had. The rest of the officers were pretty much MIA the entire cruise.
The Journey, though built about a dozen years ago, looks like something out of the 50's or 60's with dated, threadbare decor like an unrestored Motel 6. The rooms are decent size but the bathrooms are so small, you have to exit them to turn around and change your mind. The balcony is small but decent and we enjoyed it, even when a crewman above dumped water on me by accident. At least he apologized, a concept mostly lost on management.
Watch out for security. Sheriff Andy and his band of ham handed Barney Fife ninjas make the TSA look like a bunch of do-nothings! Bring a pocket knife or pen knife and they confiscate it, then replace it with a steak knife twice as long. Belt buckles, coins, watches and wine corks drive them nuts, so be prepared to be felt up or wanded. Don't go by what the TSA allows, Azamara security frisks to their own tune.
Azamara brags about it's free Azamazing Evening included in the price. What the don't tell you is that if you sign up and don't go, they charge you $150.00 per person for not showing up. Our concert was three tenors. I hope next time these guys meet before they go on stage. It will help the performance. The on board entertainment is at best average.
The stewards we had were great. They kept the room clean and were very pleasent. It seems the farther down the chain of command you get, the nicer and more qualifed the staff is. Most of them almost speak English. Internet service was OK, but beware of logging on and off as they will sock you with more charges than a teen age girl with a limited text plan if you don't watch out!
The food is at best average. Think creative left overs. The waiters are attentive and well trained. The premium resturants are just a bit better than the buffet, same food, better recipe, and not worth the upcharge. The pool deck resturant has great burgers, etc. We did like the free wine and beer selections and the premium brands are reasonably priced. Room service is great, and breakfast on the balcony (despite the dousing) was very nice.
On shore tours are overpriced, when they chose to run them. Azamara runs the boat and everything else for it's own benefit, not the passanger, so don't expect what you paid for to actually happen when you expected, or at all. I do like the fact that they save on fuel by staying in port longer. It give one a chance to really explore. The time off the ship was the best time for us.
I will have to agree with their slogan "you will love where we take you," but you might want to look hard into how they get you there. I think we might look elswhere next time.