We joined the Azamara at Athens after a pre cruise night at the Hilton (expensive but high quality) and embarkation was quick and easy (small ship advantage!). We were asked to book a time for dinner and chose 6.30, only to find that the Cruise Critic get-together had been arranged for then. This was useful, although only about half of the members appeared. The senior staff present went out of their way to make us feel that comments would be welcomed, listened to and acted on. This was reinforced by a form in our cabin halfway through the cruise asking for suggestions and criticisms so they could have time to do something about them.
We had booked a partially obstructed ocean view room which was as we expected, the only problem being that there was only one chair, so that in-room dining would have been difficult, but we prefer to use the dining facilities.
We enjoyed the open seating dining in which we were asked each night if we wanted to join a table or dine at a table for two. We always chose the former as part of the cruise experience is to meet other people. At breakfast we found that the table for two was so close to others that those who wanted privacy would be disappointed, but I suppose they could just have used room service! We also particularly enjoyed the included wine with lunch and dinner. This was of good quality, and on the one occasion when we said it was not quite as good as the previous day, the waiter promptly came back with a bottle of the previous day's offering! The maitre d' was pressing us for comments and the only criticism I could offer was that when you turned down an offer for more wine or coffee, another waiter would ask you a minute later if you would like more wine or coffee!
The food in the main dining room was of such quality that we only booked one meal in Aqualina. It was of excellent quality, though. In the buffet wine was served at your table and only once did the service fall below a high standard when the staff were under pressure because everyone seemed to arrive for lunch at the same time on a day in port.
We had reserved two excursions with the half price offer for early bookers. There was a slight problem doing this online as the website removed the facility to do this, but after a fax from our travel agent, Azamara honoured this. Transport was always provided for those going independently.
Entertainment onboard was not lavish, but of a high standard and good variety. As there was only one performance, we sometimes missed it due to a late dinner.
Post cruise arrangements were excellent, including a private car transfer to the Airport after two days in Venice.