We spent two days in Copenhagen prior to the cruise. The Admiral Hotel in the Nyhaven section of the city was wonderful---a nice view of the water directly across from the opera house. It was quite warm and sunny throughout (I regret packing all those warm clothes). We explored Copenhagen on foot on our own and had a great time. The reviews were right---it's awfully expensive but quite enjoyable.
The Journey embarkation process was a breeze (we arrived by taxi at a time when no groups were checking in). Once on board we enjoyed a glass of champagne and were able to turn our hand luggage over in the reception area so we could head to the lunch buffet unencumbered. There wasn't a long wait before our cabin was ready. The only sour note---the soundproofing between decks isn't good. Cabin 6017 is above the Cabaret Lounge and you can "enjoy" the show even if you've not actually seeing it. The cabin itself was quite comfortable and we really enjoyed watching the 2AM sunset from our balcony.
The breakfast buffet was comprehensive (beware an overloaded plate if you want to try everything). We typically ate at the buffet for lunch as well. The new policy of serving a complimentary (and generous) house red and house white wine during lunch and dinner was much appreciated. Open seating at dinner allowed us to meet a number of other passengers. We found the food to be quite good and beautifully presented (especially the desserts which were works of art). We had gone to the specialty restaurants on a prior cruise and weren't motivated to dine there this time.
As we left the ship in each port, Azamara provided complimentary bottles of water, which came in handy given the unusually warm temperatures. The itinerary was great. We went on an overnight tour to Berlin and Potsdam (SPB Tours). Three days in St. Petersburg turned out to be enough only to scratch the surface (Alla Tours). Stockholm on our own exceeded my expectations. Tallinn was relaxed and quaint stop. Helsinki was a bit boring, but it's nice to have a break from rabid sightseeing.
The shows ranged from pretty good to pretty painful, but that's not what we cruise for. Eric the cruise director is a marvelous performer---don't miss the show if he's in it.
Disembarkation was very smooth. We grabbed a cab and enjoyed one more night in Copenhagen before heading home. It was a wonderful trip. Now I plan to review a ridiculous number of photos and get nostalgic.