Recently cruised on the Azamara Journey January 3, 2010 thru the Panama Canal. We mainly cruise with Celebrity and a few times on Royal Caribbean. Our last cruise was in May 2009 on Royal Caribbean's "Independence of the Sea", which at the time was the largest cruise ship afloat. We decided to try a small ship and RCI had the luxury line Azamara cruises under the Celebrity Brand.
Embarkation was a breeze but things got a little strange after that. We tried to upgrade to a suite and were told only a Penthouse was available, so we inquired as to what the cost would be and we were told 6K for the upgrade, which was unbelievable and it turns out that on the 2nd night of the cruise they gave it away at the first Bingo game. We also found out that Azamara is now Azamara Club Cruises as of January 1st and no longer under Celebrity Cruises Brand. They no longer honored Captain Club and we only got a few coupons and invitations from the Captains Club. Azamara Club Cruises all-inclusive and upgrades to the ship will start April 10 so our cruise was in limbo. Our luggage did not arrive until 4PM which is the latest we ever had on a cruise with the life boat drill at 4:15 and our dinner at 5:45 things were a little tight. First night dinner was unorganized to say the least and the food ran the gamut of bad to very good depending on what you ordered and the wait staff service was poor. We chalked everything up to the 1st day but as my wife said, why should the 1st day be any different that the previous days they were doing this, so we decided to wait for judgment and by the 3rd day we had come to a conclusion that this so-called luxury cruise was actually not up to Celebrity's standards. The food, the service, the entertainment and the lack of was not what we expected at all from a LUXURY cruise.
Cabin: Balcony cabin was, of course, small and definitely needed new bedding which was worn and uncomfortable. The eggshell that our cabin steward put on the bed the next night did help a little. Internet Service: Reception was poor at best. Discoveries, Main Dining room: breakfast and dinner: food ranged from bad to very good and the service was poor to good. Windows Buffet: breakfast, lunch and dinner ranged from bad to good Pool Grill for lunch was great Aqualina's and Prime C the specialty restaurants: food and service was excellent. Cova Cafe the Specialty coffee shop: okay The Martini Bar: very good Looking Glass Lounge: we never used Afternoon Savories were good to very good Luxe Casino is extremely small with limited gaming. Two shops Aqua Spa Service was excellent but the Thalasso pool deck was not worth the $175 per couple. Even though they said they limited membership, the chair hogs prevented you from really using the private deck, and the pool was actually nothing more than a large Jacuzzi. One secret, instead of purchasing the package just enter the pool area through the fitness center or walk directly thru the Spa, they never checked once. Entertainment was poor to good.
This was not a cruise for us because of the size of the ship and the fact that we feel that Celebrity is a much superior brand than this overpriced luxury Azamara. I do believe that this would be a great cruise for anybody 70 and over which was 85% of the passengers. It's small, quiet, very little to do except eat, sleep, and read and not care about service and food quality.
Did check what their new improvements are going to be as of April and we are not impressed with them and the 45% increase in price.
We did 3 shore excursions and missed one other port because of bad weather. The shore excursions we experienced were okay but the variety of shore excursions were poor compared to what we are used to.