I travelled on the Journey on her third cruise in May 2007. She was covering the Cape Liberty to St. George and Hamilton, Bermuda, route that first season and she was the perfect ship for a perfect destination (wish she would do that again). Just completed the March 20 Caribbean sailing. Choose this ship based upon previous experience and the seven (7!!) ports of call.
Embarkation and Disembarkation were organized, easy and swift.
The stateroom with balcony was fine but I had forgotten that the bathroom is smaller than on, say, the Celebrity Constellation or Mercury. Two corners were angled and reduced the amount of room. Fine for one person though. Am allergic to feathers and the butler immediately changed out the duvat and pillows. Did need an eggcrate cushion to bridge the gap when the two twins were placed together to form the larger bed configuraton.
The ship is just the right size for getting to know both the other passengers, the crew and senior staff. As a solo traveller, this made for many groups of new friends with whom I could share experiences and activities. The size also made for easy navigation throughout.
The ports of call were good: three were old friends and four were new: St. Johns USVI, St. Barths, Martinique, Dominica, Grenedines, St. Kitts and Virgin Gorda. Good to not be in the frenetic tourist zones. We tendered in four of the seven ports but the service and timing were excellent.
Liked that there was no 'recommending' of island shops and the excursion talks did discuss on what the island had to offer along with slides of recent excursions.
One of the reasons that I chose the Journey was my remembrance of the outstanding quality of food. Alas, I don't believe the main dining room was a 5+ plus, as it was on the 2007 cruise, but more a 4. Service was sporadic - always courteous but sometimes poorly paced (took 15 minutes for the waiter to arrive to take our drink and food orders on one occasion). The buffet was a 3 - not bad but not overwhelming. Food was sometimes undercooked (breakfast potatoes) and generally not hot (despite the quick turnover) and sometimes slow to be replenished.
The entire staff, from top to bottom, was wonderful. Senior staff was evident throughout the ship at many functions. The activities group was young and energetic. The enrichment speaker (from Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland) was marvelous and one of the best I've experienced. I witnessed the cruise director, physician and nurse responding to a medical emergency with professionalism and care.
My major complaint is the lack of support for the Verizon network. Neither the US nor the International systems were functioning for Verizon. A fellow passenger had even checked with Verizon and Azamara prior to the cruise to determine if his service would function; he was assured that it would; but it did not. Verizon is the major carrier in the US so this is a significant problem.
There is wear and tear evident (rubbed finishes on wood, missing tiles at the pool, missing railings, stained stateroom carpeting). Azamara has never been a discount line so this is not good; Azamara Club is looking to compete with the well-known luxury lines and its new pricing structure is evidence of that. What I forgive at the former pricing is not what I will forgive at a 30 to 50% premium. The ship needs to be spruced up now to compete. (On the last day at sea, the entire port side of deck 5 was closed for painting. This was my and several others favorite spot for snoozing and reading.) Need more deck chairs on either side of deck 5.
As a non-flying traveller, I will not be joining the Journey again soon as starting in Spring 2011, the Journey does not embark from the continental US. That is a shame because, with the right pricing and Verizon service, I would travel on the Journey again in a heartbeat.