We took Azamara Journey from Miami to Rome. This was our second trans-Atlantic. We enjoyed the first one so much last year (it was not on Azamara) that we were keen to do it again. Azamara lived up to and exceeded expectations. In this case, the ship is the destination and it’s all sea days. It keeps the cruise director and his staff busy and indeed, the program was so full that there could well be two events that you wished to attend which ran at the same time. There’s lots of interaction with fellow passengers and you get to know them really well.
The daily trivia contest was hotly contested and very well supported. Azamara DOES listen. Somebody suggested that if this was S**b**rn, there would be a barman on duty since we had over 100 people in the lounge. Next day there was. Another passenger suggestion was the old tradition of the ‘noon gun’. From that point on, a name was drawn from the hat every day and a lucky passenger got to blow the ship’s whistle at noon. Cute, eh? Thank you, Captain.
Cruise Director Eric de Gray is one of the best at sea. He certainly must be the tallest. He is not only a talented entertainer, he can keep order with the loud-mouths during trivia and is lightning quick with creative and very funny one-liners in all situations.
We normally have dinner in the main dining room on cruises but used it only three times on this occasion. We did Aqualina a couple of times and the gourmet dinner with wines in Prime C. Both superb. All the rest were in the Windows Café. There are white tablecloths in the evening and a good selection of buffet items. There was always a chef on duty to make the theme dish of the day for you – Indian, risotto, fish & chips, etc etc and he was excellent. It was nice to sit outside aft, look at the wake and watch the sun go down in the west behind you. Wherever you dined, the waiters would pass by with the wines of the day to top you up constantly. The wines are well chosen, not cheap and nasty, and we enjoyed them. Guitarist Steve entertained and would take requests.
Dance instructors Sunny and Dave were superb, the best we have seen. It would have been nice to have more opportunities for ballroom dancing during the cruise. They were quite limited. The band was great, led by the personable and very talented Dan Redner. He also directed the Hi C’s choir which was fun, for the participants at least.
We were on Azamara Journey in the Baltic 18 months ago and it was nice to be recognized by some of the crew including our favourite barman at sea, Dale.
We used the computer room every day and never had to wait for a machine. With very few exceptions the internet worked well.
We made one stop in Gibraltar and took the ship’s tour. It was an excellent day and turned out to be more interesting and enjoyable than we expected. Gib is so compact that after the tour we stopped on Main Street for a pint and fish & chips – old English tradition we are told but not old English prices - then walked back to the ship.