The GOOD, the BETTER, the BEST and the SPECTACULAR
My husband and I recently spent 12 days aboard the Azamara Journey and I can honestly say that our experience was phenomenal. Embarkation was a snap, and once on board, you notice how beautiful the ship is. All of the public areas were clean and neat, our room was just as promised (we enjoyed the balcony so much), the food was quite good (we ate in all of the venues, MDR, Buffet, Aquilina & Prime C), the entertainment was great fun (attended 10 out of 12 shows), even the casino wasn't too, too bad - lost $3 so I consider the casino GOOD. After dinner on our first night, we went up on the top deck, pushed two chaise lounges together, borrowed a couple of blankets and watched the stars go by. We were the only ones up there - simply magical. This was a taste of the BETTER things that came along.
We stayed in room 7021 near the front of the ship. I was slightly worried about my husband getting seasick, but didn't feel much of anything even with a couple of rough days. I spent A LOT of time on the balcony - it was peaceful and quiet. The only constructive criticism I can think of, is the shower curtain. The size of the shower is small but adequate. However it would feel much more spacious if they would outfit the shower with a curved rod on top and weights on the bottom of the curtain to prevent it from blowing in on you - YUK. If your shoes get wet, put them in the closet with the fridge - it's very warm and toasty in there and they will dry by morning.
The mix of port days and sea days was perfect - we enjoyed all of our ports tremendously (all of our tours were independent) and the sea days were delightful. And now for the BEST...it has to be the Azamara employees. The warmth and good cheer that all of the crew expressed has to be commended. Several times a day we saw our assistant cabin steward Maxym (always working) and each time he stopped what he was doing to ask us about our day - and he was sincerely interested - the entire staff is like that. This is why Azamara stands out - not only the quality of all of the amenities on board, and they are vast, but the quality of their staff - they make your cruise. I had to add another category SPECTACULAR because of Azamara's decision to stay late in Istanbul so we could watch the fireworks celebrating National Republic Day. We had front row seats, and it was a display not to be forgotten. After it was over, the captain showed our appreciation by blowing the horn - bravo! I probably will never see anything like it again, and I want to thank Azamara for making that happen - also Karen from CC for starting the ball rolling.
I would just like to add one last kudo and that goes to Cruise Critic. Without this wonderful tool, we never would have had the trip we did. We met many nice people including our new cruising friends from the UK. Thank you for giving people a voice so we may share strategies, tips and experiences.