Upon arrival in Copenhagen we stayed at a hotel that was in the center of the city; we took the train from the airport to the hotel. Copenhagen is such an easy city to navigate, and the people are so friendly and helpful. we found a restaurant (Tight) that was very reasonable, considering expensive Copenhagen, and excellent food as well.
We sailed on a terribly rainy day; however, there was no dampening our spirits upon seeing this magnificent ship.
On to the cruise - the ports of call were each on their own fantastic in their own right.......Amsterdam had a tall ships sail in (meaning we had to dock 20 miles away and take the train into the city, which was fun); Edinburgh had the annual Tattoo, which was just over the top.
The Journey is a 10-year-old vessel, and she does not show her age in any way. She is immaculate and taken care of by a staff that not only does their jobs very well, but are happy in what they are doing. The service by the crew could not have been more professional and there was a constant willingness to go the extra mile in all they do, even in the face of having some(very few, thank goodness) very negative and critical passengers that sailed on this voyage.
Our stateroom was considered a "suite"; however, on many ships it might be considered a mini-suite. That being said, it was certainly large enough, with a decent sized bathroom and the stateroom was very well-cared for by two amazing gentlemen. Thank you Alvin and Pravin for the great job! Nice size balcony as well.
All of the public rooms are well appointed, and well cared for as well.
For dining, there are several options. The Windows Cafe has the usual breakfast and lunch offerings, and so much more. Fresh fish (herring is available - it was a Northern Europe cruise after all!) The presentation even this casual restaurant was something to see, and the service by the caring crew even better. Nice options as well - sometimes stir-fry for dinner; Giros for lunch.
The Discoveries dining room was, to be honest, fair at best. A bit of a disappointment, given all else was so great on the ship. Very pedestrian offerings, and the service here semed to slip a bit as well.
The Journey has two specialty restaurants, Aqualina and Prime C. Aqualina specializes in sea food; Prime C in steaks and such. Both are excellent in their own right, and could compete with better restaurants on land. From the maitre'd (Mario and Ivo are simply, wonderful) to the waitstaff, both are a dining experience not to be missed, and very well worth the $15 per-person charge. The steaks are fork-cut tender, the seafood as fresh as can be. Chefs Monica and Hector have charge of two excellent restaurants.
This was a rather port-intensive cruise; however, a suggestion was heard many times that the guests would have liked spending more time in some of the ports.
At the ports, Azamara includes special touches at the gangway - pipers in Ireland and Scotland; flowers in Amsterdam.
Enough cannot be said about the crew and their dedication to the passengers. Service is at the highest level at every turn.
We had two Cruise Critic gatherings; at both, we were warmly greeted by Tony, the Cruise Director, Scott, the Hotel Manager and senior staff, including The Captain, a warm and witty gentlemen from Norway. The entire staff did all they could to make us feel welcome. The folks we sailed with from Cruise Critic were great to meet and be with.
Just a couple of negatives here - Azamara needs to change their bedding; they have indicated they will be doing so in the near future. As well, with their new pricing point, we heard some indicate, with the considerably higher tariff's being charged by Azamara, one might also want to look at Seaborne or Oceania when searching for a cruise of this nature. We hope Azamara does not price themselves so high as to discourage people from considering future cruises on their magnificent ships.
Overall, despite just a few "hiccups" (The Journey staff needs to better communicate at times with her guests, especially when it comes to going ashore), the cruise was everything we hoped it would be, and so much more.
Azamara also has something liked by most we spoke with(and liked by us as well) - a policy of no formal nights. Country-club casual is the norm, and it saved having to take additional luggage to accommodate formal nights. A nice touch, and the policy was respected by the passengers.
We would recommend a look at The Journey for anyone wanting a service intensive,luxury experience.