As a fairly frequent cruiser I have experienced many different cruise lines. All have aspects which I have enjoyed since I tend to be a half full person rather than half empty. However there can be little doubt that Azamara as a company are succeeding in every aspect of their product. This was my third cruise with them in the space of a year and they are one of the few lines where I can genuinely say that I would cruise with them over and over again given the opportunity.
We travelled independently from UK using Ryanair to Rome Ciampino, bus to Termini train station and then rail to Civitivecchia. Seamless, easy and economical.
Genuine welcome at port and onboard within ten minutes.
The ship is small and beautifully kept. Lounging chairs teak with towelling covers and soft mattresses. Not for Azamara those awful metal chairs with plastic webbing. Cabins small but very well equipped, especially when you request the steward to remove the table as we never use it. Inside cabin more than adequate since we only sleep there and prefer to be up on the deck with the pool or watching the scenery.
Food in main dining room superb with unexcelled service and anytime dining on tables with company or without. We invariably chose company and met some of the most wonderful and friendly people imaginable. Down side was we seldom left the dining room until after 10.30 as the conversation was so enjoyable. Buffet for breakfast and lunch provided six star food, was never queued, and eating outside in the sun was a delight. Waiters appeared from nowhere to provide iced water or soft drinks and comlimentary wine for lunch and dinner. They knew our names within a short time. Speciality restaurants equivalent to Michelin 2*. Officers, including the Captain, Staff Captain and Hotel Manager were approachable, friendly, informative and human. No airs or graces but just a genuine concern that you were enjoying your cruise. Guest relations were not only efficient, but fun, as well as being informative and helpful.
Ports were interesting and original and included Bonafacio- Corsica, Olbia-Sardinia, Tripani-Sicily, Taormina-Sicily, Sorrento-Italy We were particularly impressed since we have visited all the large ship usual places in the Med and are frankly bored with them. This is why the Azamara small ship concept is so attractive since it goes to places large ships cannot. However I must confess that the ship itself is such a wonderful resort I would be happy to stay aboard and anchor in a small and beautiful bay for the full week. Occasional visits ashore to the beach for a swim and back to the ship for meals is my idea of a perfect cruise. Personally I don't need all the tat for sale in every port, no matter which country. To me, the ship is the resort and Azamara Journey is a 6* resort. If you want loud music, constant announcements, crowds at buffets, mediocre food, high pressure selling and never ending razmatazz do not go on Azamara. They provide a product which is perfect for those who like luxury, superb service, wonderful food, agreeable companions, unique staff and an indefinable something extra. All for a price which, while not cheap, is unquestionably excellent value for money. It is not all inclusive, but very nearly so and provides a cruise which many will return to again and again. Peace, tranquility, no constant announcements, plus total quality and luxury. What more can be required of a perfect vacation?
Congratulations to them on finding a niche which is close to perfection!