Azamara Journey Cruise Review by suec12: It doesn't get any better than this!
Overall Member Rating
It doesn't get any better than this!
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
Our cruise on the Journey was 7 nights of a two week vacation. As much as we love to cruise, we also enjoy being "on the land" in various European countries. We flew in several days early and went to Capri, then up to Rome for one night and stayed two nights extra in Barcelona. Last May we did an Oceania cruise so I will make a few comparisons since these two lines seem to be direct competitors / rivals? although IMO Azamara often is portrayed on the boards as the O wannabe.
Overall we had a wonderful time - there were 3 of us (women!) in an inside cabin and I must admit I was a little apprehensive pre-cruise as to how that was going to work. Our cabin had two single beds and then an upper bunk as we thought that we give us more space. Honestly, I would think if we had had a cabin with a sofa bed it would have been pretty tricky getting around the room when the sofa bed was made up. I was traveling with my adult daughters - they took turns on the upper bunk and reported that More it was not super comfortable but we all managed to get good nights sleep after our busy days in port. We made an effort to keep our clothes picked up and toiletries put away - 3 in an inside cabin worked fine for us. Our butler? and assistant were wonderful - very friendly and eager to accommodate us. There was always ice in the bucket, fresh fruit, bottled water. Before our trip we had talked about the free bottled water - we kind of poo pooed it but really, it was great to have fresh water every day when we headed off the ship.
We went to the port by train from Rome and walked the short distance to port entrance. We were on the ship around 1pm, cabin available about 1:30 and our luggage quickly appeared.
We were already familiar with the layout of the ship from our Oceania cruise - the Journey was very similar and overall in good shape. I think some of the posters on the boards have been unfairly negative to the Azamara ships.
Demographics - this was a more diverse crowd than our O sailing - more Europeans, some Aussies, some South Africans and YOUNGER. We had really enjoyed dining at the larger tables on our O sail and were a little disappointed that it did not work out as well on this trip. Two nights when we requested to be seated at a larger table we were told something to the effect that it was slow and it would be too long until our table would be full. But we did eventually meet up with a family from CC (shout out to Linda!) and enjoyed chatting with them for an evening.
Food is important to us and we were very pleased with the cuisine on our cruise. We tried each of the specialty restaurants, very good, but the MDR also did not disappoint. The food presentation was especially artistic. The waiters would suggest choices and I appreciated that as on O they would never critique the offerings "everything is excellent", well not really. But O did have some very nice sides available every evening and I missed that on Journey. A couple times we tried "mixing it up a bit" asking for a different side than the entree was paired with and about half the time, it created confusion. I thought the beef and lamb were excellent, both in the MDR and in the speciality restaurants. We only ate one night at the buffet on deck - it was Greek night - it was excellent. I am not a wine critic and enjoyed all of the wine choices presented at lunch and dinner.
We really did not access much of the entertainment but I must say that I missed the DVD player that O has in all staterooms and a much better menu of movie choices in the cabin.
Ports - I'm going to include that here - we did our own thing in all the ports. We really appreciated the provided shuttles in Livorno and Barcelona. Also the local tourist reps that came on to answer any question - a huge plus. In Livorno there was a Az. rep on the shuttle bus who patiently explained getting from the bus to the train station, its a bit complicated. Some of the ports we had been to before on land journeys so we strolled around and went to restaurants for lunch that we had enjoyed before. We had not been to Portofino and really enjoyed it. We hiked from Portofino to Santa Margertia Ligure - it was a highlight of the trip.
The 7 nights went by quickly - day after day of life as you please. I hope there will be more Azamara cruises in my future - I love the size of the ship and the choice of itineraries. I think 7 night sails in Europe are a nice choice - as we usually have a two week time frame for our vacations now we can combine land time and sea time. Even with the recent price increases I will be considering future sailings on the Journey or Quest. Less
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Reason for 'Poor' rating