My husband and I and our 11 year old son have travelled in Europe extensively on our own, but had never been on a cruise before. I started researching ways to visit St Petersburg Russia and discovered that we could actually see several destinations if we took a "Baltic Cruise." After extensive internet research, I determined that a smaller ship might give a more intimate experience and personal service, so I booked an average room on Azamara Journey for June 2010. I was absolutely correct, the service on the ship was impecable, to a person. No request was too much.
Azamara is a port-intensive itinerary, which is what we wanted, but time on the ship was nice too. The food was good and did not become monotonous, even after 12 days. There were several different kinds of food venues and you never had to wear a coat and tie or be very dressed up to eat. The entertainment was okay, but usually we were too tired after a day of sightseeing to go to the cabaret anyway. Azamara is not a "kids' entertainment" line, but our son was treated nicely by the staff and other guests as well.
My only complaint was that I had very carefully planned our shore excursions so we could have certain special experiences. We were informed after we boarded that several of our excursions (which I had paid for well in advance) had been cancelled. I was disappointed, but made adjustments and had great experiences anyway. We took ship excursions, hired a private company in St Petersburg, and went on our own in some instances. This was a good decision because we didn't feel like we were being herded around all the time. The company in St. Petersburg was DenRus Tours - they were fantastic to deal with - even bought our tickets to a premier at the Mariinsky Theatre. Our driver for two days was Vladimir and our delightful tour guide/interpreter was Igor. They made our trip very special. I just can't say enough about the crew of Azamara and DenRus. It was a great experience.