The Cabaret Lounge is just that -- a cabaret space, with risers behind it, as opposed to a true theater. Ceilings are low-slung, which makes the space feel more cramped than it actually is. That limits the type of shows that can be offered there. We liked the production show "Voices" and the shows where the cruise director was involved, but we felt the visiting entertainers -- a magician and a guest singer -- were amateurish.
Because it focuses so much on destinations, Azamara Journey doesn't have as many daily onboard activities as you might find on a mainstream cruise ship. There are two trivia sessions each day -- one in the morning and one in the evening -- and a smattering of other pastimes, such as Bridge and origami.
The Drawing Room on Deck 10 is a lovely library, and it's quite large for a ship this size. It's outfitted with books and magazines and is a frequent spot for private gatherings.
Oddly, there aren't a lot of lectures onboard, which is a little surprising given the emphasis put on where the ship is going.
Other than the theater and the bars, there aren't many venues that are lively at night -- probably because the ship is often still docked in port until late.
Casino Luxe is nonsmoking, and it draws a fair crowd to its craps and blackjack tables. There is also a roulette wheel and slot machines.
The White Night party -- held with Santorini as a backdrop on our cruise -- was a true highlight. The ship places tables and white chairs around the pool deck, along with festive white bunting. There's an extensive buffet, the hotel director serves crepes Suzette, the orchestra comes upstairs and plays, and people actually dance. It's a real to-do.
Couples who want to create their own evening entertainment should check out Nights in Private Places, a romance package developed by the line in 2015. For $495, a couple can book the private spa deck outside Astral Spa, which is closed off from the rest of the ship. They'll have use of the thalassotherapy pool before being served a romantic dinner by a private butler. A large canopy daybed is transformed into overnight accommodations, so the couple is sleeping outside under the stars. In the morning, they are served breakfast by the butler. During our cruise, the space was booked on a regular basis, mostly by husbands wishing to mark a milestone birthday or anniversary with a romantic surprise.
Azamara Journey Bars and Lounges
Azamara Journey tends to be a fairly quiet ship in the evening. Popular spots include the Sunset Lounge and the Casino Luxe Bar once the ship has set sail.
Casino Luxe Bar (Deck 5): The bar inside the nonsmoking casino is the de facto nightlife spot for people who don't want to go to the disco. There's a nice selection of special martinis on the menu, presented with just a hint of flash. Too bad the tuneless cabaret singer kept us from spending more time there. It's open various hours in the evening.
Cabaret Lounge Bar (Deck 5): The bar that serves drinks during the shows is only open during performances.
Mosaic @ Night (Deck 5): At night, the ship's coffee lounge remains a gathering place for after-dinner liqueurs and coffee drinks. It's open from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Discoveries Lounge (Deck 5): A rather nice space, Discoveries is adjacent to the main dining room, and it's perfect for pre-dinner drinks. It's open 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Pool Bar (Deck 9): Quieter than most pool bars (Azamara doesn't play music during the day at the pool), this is the spot for fruity drinks of all shapes and sizes. It's open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunset Bar (Deck 9): Situated aft, the Sunset Bar is one of Azamara Journey's prime spots any time of day, with seaside tables highly coveted. It's open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Prime C Bar (Deck 10): As part of the ship's steakhouse, the Prime C Bar is primarily used by passengers with reservations. Three times per cruise, the ship holds a Chef's Table there. Hours are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Looking Glass Bar (Deck 10): At the front of the ship, offering sweeping views, this large space attracts passengers for its board games and card tables and post-show dancing. The refurb will turn this area into more of a true multiuse area, with a card room, a tapas and wine bar, and the ship's computer bank. Perhaps that will give the space more foot traffic. Hours are 5:30 p.m. to late.
Azamara Journey Outside Recreation
Journey has one saltwater swimming pool, two freshwater hot tubs and a thalassotherapy pool within the Astral Spa.
The main pool, located on Deck 9, is no deeper than 5 feet, and it's mostly used for cooling off instead of actual swimming. The two hot tubs are located next to the main pool. We found all of these dipping venues refreshingly uncrowded during our cruise. The pool and hot tubs are open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
A putting green and a shuffleboard court are located on Deck 11. There's also aPping-Pong table outside, under cover, on Deck 10. It was mostly commandeered by the few teens onboard.
Besides the lounge chairs at the pool deck, Azamara Journey has a bevy of loungers on Deck 11 near the front of the ship. This sun deck never seems crowded, perhaps because on our cruise it was simply too hot to conceive of sitting outside anywhere that wasn't near a pool.
Azamara Journey also has a private sun deck on Deck 9 that's part of the Astral Spa. This space, complimentary for suite passengers, has lounge chairs and beds and an almost always empty thalassotherapy pool; passes are sold by the day ($23.60 per person) or length of cruise ($99 per person or $160 per couple). You can also gain access to the space if you buy a spa treatment.
The spa deck area is a nice place to view sailaway, although it can be windy on occasion. The space is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., except when it's reserved for Azamara's Nights in Private Places program.
Azamara Journey Services
The bulk of guest services are located on Deck 4, around Journey's central lobby. Besides the primary guest relations desk, you'll find the shore excursions desk, as well as a concierge and future cruise sales desk and an ATM. When the ship is in port, a tourist representative often has a desk with maps of local attractions. There's also a medical center on this deck.
The ship's smoking area is located on the right forward side of the pool deck. Smoking is forbidden everywhere else, including the casino.
There's a handful of shops off the atrium on Deck 5, adjacent to Mosaic Cafe. Indulgences sells jewelry, watches and sunglasses, while the Discovery Shop has sundries, logo items, beachwear and handbags. The Park West art gallery is also located on Deck 5 off the atrium.
Free self-service washers and dryers are located on Deck 7, detergent included. Be prepared to wait, as Azamara's longer itineraries make this a popular spot. Hours are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Suite passengers receive a free bag of laundry for every seven nights they cruise.
On Deck 9, eConnections is the ship's computer room, where passengers can check their email on ship-provided computers. Wi-Fi is also available throughout the ship; we found it worked better on our tablets and smart phones than through a laptop. Rates are $9.95 for 15 minutes, $18.95 for 30 minutes, $35.95 for 60 minutes, $49.95 for 90 minutes, $62.95 for 120 minutes, $75.95 for 150 minutes and $69.96 for daily unlimited access.