This was the 27th cruise for my husband and me, but it was our first time with Azamara. It will certainly not be our last. We were on board for four nights, with our ultimate destination being Monte Carlo and the F1 Grand Prix.
The Azamara Journey is just over 30,000 tons and holds 694 passengers, so she is a small and intimate ship, with plenty of space per passenger. In general we prefer the smaller ships because you get to know your fellow travellers much better and the service tends to be superior, with fewer queues.
Embarkation at Nice was quick and efficient, and we were met with a complimentary glass of bubbly at reception. We were in an ocean view cabin on Deck 4. The cabin was very spacious with lots of mirrors which made it look very light and airy. There was a king size bed, fresh fruit, complimentary soft drinks and a mini-bar. The bathroom was small, but adequate, and contained a generous selection of Elemis toiletries.
Our first impressions of the Journey were how plush she looked, from the ornate main staircase to the immaculate patterned carpets and glowing spotlights. Everywhere was spotlessly clean and tidy and the ship was beautifully decorated.
There are a choice of dining options but we chose to dine each night in the Discoveries dining room. Unlike most other cruises we have done, there is no set dining time and you don't have a set table. The service was excellent, and we found the selection of food, the quality and the portion sizes to be exceptional. Another bonus is that there is free house red or white wine with your lunch and dinner - all part of the service. :-)
We were also surprised to find that Azamara does not enforce any dress code other than "resort casual". Personally I always enjoy dressing up on the formal nights, but I realise it's not everyone's cup of tea.
We found the evening entertainment to be something of a disappointment, although to be fair we were only on board for four nights which may not have been long enough to give a fair picture. The first night there was a mediocre "impressionist" who sang in various voices but it was difficult to work out who he was supposed to be imitating! The second night was a show by the cruise director and he was excellent.
On the third night there was an superb barbecue and deck party with live music, and the free wine flowed. Then, on the final night, there was a very good classical pianist who ended up playing to about a dozen people scattered throughout the room; this is because the ship was in Monte Carlo until 3.00am, so I imagine the majority of passengers would have been ashore. It's a pity she had to play in front of such a tiny audience, as we really enjoyed her show.
The four ports of call we visited were Nice, Portofino, Saint Tropez and Monaco - the millionaires' playground. Needless to say all the ports were fairly expensive, but very picturesque and the weather did not let us down.
All of the staff and crew were very polite and extremely friendly which added to the overall enjoyment of our time on board.
I would certainly cruise with Azamara again and would recommend it without hesitation.