Azamara Journey Cruise Review by Geboorse: OK, BUT NOT GREAT
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OK, BUT NOT GREAT
We have cruised frequently, but this was our first with Azamara. The theme for this cruise was WWII and the Normandy landings. That is why we choose this cruise.
Our first impression began with the check in. Check in was unorganized with long lines and long waits. Even though we were to have priority boarding we waited inline inside the port office for about a half hour just to make the initial check in. Not organized to process everyone in a timely manner. Then another long and very slow line to go through security. Next was on to a bus to take us to the ship about 100 feet away. This is where it really got ridiculous. A line longer than the full length of the ship standing still. It nearly reached the point where you would board the bus. Many older people with mobility and standing issues were having to stand in the sun for over a half hour again. Once on board there was yet another line to get your picture and key card. By then we were getting a little cranky, but were More determined to give them the benefit of the doubt and enjoy our trip.
We had a penthouse and the room was great. Lots of closet space. The bathroom was a good size with nice toiletries. Housekeeping was attentive and our room was kept clean and neat the entire trip. Our room attendants were awesome.
The lectures were pretty good with one in particular wonderful speaker dealing with the D Day landings and some of the events that followed the landings. He was a retired judge that had great material and speaking voice was very informative.
The ship was looking a little worn and tired. They only have two ships, so I'm sure it's hard to pull one out of service for refurbishing. They also seemed to be short staffed. The bartender was also the waiter as an example. He was really good however. You just didn't see the number of staff we are accustom to seeing. The cruise director dressed like a beach bum and couldn't decide if he wanted to grow up or not.
The food was mediocre. The presentation was nearly nonexistent. The wait staff were very friendly and attentive, but Oceania is far superior in food taste and presentation.
For the first few days guests are pushed to buy an alcohol package. We did, but if you wanted a selection of wine you paid extra. You were offered sparkling water, but it was extra. Come on.
Then the big annoyance came to our attention. To eat in one of the two speciality restrauants you were charged $25 per person extra unless you were in a penthouse suite or above. Really? We were penthouse so it didn't matter, but that is not classy. Again, Oceania shows better judgement by not making second class passengers.
We took several excursions at the port stops. Seemed like there was always something that caused a delay and that made the return late in the day. That shortened the time you had available to clean up, change, meet for a cocktail, and get to a restaurant before they closed and certainly too late to see a show after dining.
Speaking of excursions, most of the ones we went on were just fine. Good buses and guides. Priced a bit higher than we have seen on other cruises. The excursion in Dover was good until they dropped us off at a shopping center rather than taking us to a well known historical site. That irritated many of the passengers.
Some good things they did was locating a barista on the 5th floor. Nice place to stop and relax. The piano entertainment in the bar was excellent. They put on a great off ship party featuring WWII theam. It was very well done. The ports they choose were good.
In summary, I would rate Azamara as a three star out of five. If you have never cruised on another small ship you would like this. If you sailed on Oceania, you would not return to Azamara unless you had a special purpose. For us, it's Oceania. We are already booked! Less
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