Having heard so many positive things about Azamara we were anticipating nothing but the best when we embarked for our first cruise. We have never considered a cruise before and have always made our own holidays with flights, hotels/apartments and rental cars. This year one of our trips were cancelled and suddenly we found our self with 2 weeks of spare time to use at "anything". By pure coincidence we stumbled upon a cruise with Azamara and within a few days everything was arranged thru a TA in Oslo. We were going on our first cruise.
We read many reviews before we decided and in line with some recommendations we opted for the interior cabin. It's true what they said. We never spent much time there and the money saved could be used on the beverage package,- among other things. Next time we might go for a balcony, but for the first cruise it was quite OK to just do the interior cabin.
We got a great reception embarking in Nice and the Meet and Mingle Party was held later the same evening. A fine opportunity to meet some fellow cruisers that you only had some contact with via cruise critic.
First port of call was Saint-Tropez. We had plans for lunch at Plage L'Esquinade and had a great day in port. The Saint-Tropez Sailing Week was in progress and it was fantastic to watch all the yachts and large sail boats passing by the Journey as we were tendered close to the port.
Sanary Sur Mer was next port and it was really a quaint little village with a beautiful port. The only negative side to it was that they practice siesta and basically that meant that almost all the shops were closed from 12-3p.m.
If you don't have a port excursion in a place like Sanary Sur Mer is a bit too quiet. IMHO they should do a bit more when they get cruise ships,- I rather feel a bit stranded in a beautiful town when everything is closed. If they don't want tourists I can suggest many places that would be better options, Saintes Maries de la Mer for example.
Barcelona was fantastic- so were the other ports, not going into details, but the excursions we had was very nicely performed by Azamara and their agents. Very professional and surprisingly efficient. We would recommend excursions if you find them interesting because Azamara really make an effort to give you a supreme product.
On board the Azamara Journey everything was pure excellence. The crew, from the maintenance staff to the officers, really seemed to enjoy working for Azamara. That was the first thing that struck me,- these people actually enjoy what they are doing. The restaurants were very good. we dined in all of them and can say that all the options are well worth a visit. The main dining room, Discoveries, was a bit more noisy than the speciality restaurants, but nothing to be bothered with. The food was equally as good, and that is what's important.
We found the on board entertainment to be very good. Some very nice performances by artists flown in for a few days only and some performances from the Azamara artists. They all were high level performers and could easily work in the West End or on Broadway.
We had a fabulous time on the Azamara Journey and will definately go again.