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46 Athens (Piraeus) to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Azamara Journey Cruise Reviews

After recent cruises with Silversea and Crystal, chose this port-intensive eastern Mediterranean itinerary for our preferred dates. We liked Journey’s Resort Casual atmosphere, but you get the room size you pay for, with bathrooms ... Read More
After recent cruises with Silversea and Crystal, chose this port-intensive eastern Mediterranean itinerary for our preferred dates. We liked Journey’s Resort Casual atmosphere, but you get the room size you pay for, with bathrooms designed for hobbits. Unlike previous reviewers we enjoyed the entertainment: the excellent Standing Ovations opera quartet sang favourite tunes one night; another time an abridged version of Carmen in English, so you could follow the story. The Azamazing Evening chamber concert at Ephesus was very good but involved a lot of work behind the scenes for 40 minutes’ performance. There’s a good range of dining options. Deck 9 has the pool grill and Windows Café (buffet), both nice places if you don’t fancy much (or even if you do) or want to get to a show, say. The outdoor Sunset Bar is essentially part of Windows Café with a sea view. Portions are huge in the main dining room, Discoveries, though the menu doesn’t change much with just two daily specials. Tables are close together and it gets noisy. For several reasons, we had a disappointing meal there on our first night; after we mentioned this (tactfully) on the guest questionnaire two days later, we were impressed when the Assistant Maitre D’ came over to us to understand the issues and all of us were reassured. Service in Prime C was more refined with excellent steaks. It felt more like being in a Silversea restaurant, and was worth the supplement of $30 a head for a special occasion, but we did miss the White Nights party the same evening. Our fare came with $200 pp Onboard Credit which we put towards unlimited Wi-Fi (inevitably slow) and the Ultimate Drinks Package that includes Nespresso coffee and some of our favourite drinks. Most included wines were mediocre but we had some reasonable ones from New Zealand. We spent a lot of time with the friendly guys in Mosaics Café, but like all bars on Deck 5, it’s used as a thoroughfare. The ship was in port for full days plus some evenings, but we would also have enjoyed sailing by the Greek islands in daylight. We only went ashore ourselves for a few hours each day on organised tours. Most of these were reasonably interesting but no apology or recompense was forthcoming when the cable car in Santorini was suddenly closed and we had to descend hundreds of steps to the port. Tendering was efficient in the calm conditions, and the captain was often at the gangway to greet guests. The embarkation process at Piraeus was rather perfunctory. More irritatingly, on disembarkation day we were put on a coach transfer to Rome Airport that arrived 1½ hours before the bag-drop opened for our flight, even though we had queried the timing with Customer Services and other coaches left the ship later. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We (family of 4 including parents and 2 adult children) were on the Journey in May 2018 for the Greek Islands to Italy 8-day cruise. We chose this cruise as we had previously done this itinerary, and wanted to return with our children as ... Read More
We (family of 4 including parents and 2 adult children) were on the Journey in May 2018 for the Greek Islands to Italy 8-day cruise. We chose this cruise as we had previously done this itinerary, and wanted to return with our children as adults. We were blessed with wonderful weather and we were very happy with the ports. This was our second cruise with Azamara We were very happy with the service and the attention we received from the crew. The cabin stewards, the bar personnel and the waitstaff were friendly, fun and very accommodating. We requested the same waiter every night in Discoveries and an effort was made in order to make this work for us. The senior staff was very visible and interactive, which I very much appreciate. They really seem to love their jobs and take very seriously their obligation to take care of their guests. Unlike some previous reviewers, we quite enjoyed the food on board! We found there to be great variety both at the buffet and in Discoveries, and were very happy with our selections; we liked the different chef’s recommendations as well as the locally flavored dishes (fresh tuna was offered on a few nights and was delicious every time!). We had a special dinner for LCV members which was excellent. 3 of the 4 of us drank the “house” wines—we are casual wine drinkers and could always find one of the 6 available (2 whites, 2 reds, 1 rose, 1 sparkling) which satisfied us each day. There seems to be some dissatisfaction regarding the entertainment on board. The live trio who appeared nightly in the Living Room was great, although the atmosphere early in the evening is low-key in that space. I was the only one of the 4 who attended performances in the Cabaret Lounge: although I am not an opera fan particularly, I found the opera singers quite good and enjoyed the performances; I also liked Eric the cruise director’s show. The live entertainment on White Night was very good. I was pleased with the entertainment provided, but this is not a priority for my husband and I. My 20-something daughters wished that the nightlife was a bit more lively. The gym is very nice and they offer a large number of classes, given the small number of passengers and the port-intensive itinerary. We purchased the unlimited internet package. The Wifi was a little slow, but not awful. It really did not cause me to complain--I have had much worse on a ship. Ports/Excursions: (Theme: leaving the main path, wandering, eating and drinking) We tendered at many of the ports. The tenders run continuously and there is not a long wait for a trip to shore or back to the ship. Mykonos: Took the ship excursion to Elia Beach-4 hours. Great beach, provided with umbrellas and chairs, beach has a bar and restaurant. Very happy with this--efficient and convenient (some folks take the buses to the beach but we didn't want to risk it). Wish it was 1 hour longer. Mykonos town is very picturesque but we didn’t feel that we needed to stay there for hours. Kusadasi/Ephesus: Took the ship excursion Turkish Landscapes: Wildlife, Flora and Fauna. Brought us to a national park and a mountain "town" which we really loved, but was unexpected. The town consists of about 50 homes high up in the hills which are beautiful--it is not a "town" as one would think, with shops, and restaurants. It is isolated and quiet. It is a very interesting and meditative experience. Two guides were wonderful. Kusadasi itself was a little tough to negotiate, with lots of aggressive merchants.The Azamazing evening was at Ephesus and was really wonderful and inspiring; there was no food or drink allowed at the event through no fault of Azamara but that did not diminish the impact of the performance or of seeing Ephesus at night. Rhodes: Crowded port with many shops/carts full of merchandise, from tchotchkes to high end jewelry. It felt very commercial. We got off the beaten path and had lunch on the outskirts of Old Town (Kerasma), then walked one of the less-crowded streets. Found a wonderful shop with handmade olive wood items on Pythagoreas street. Wonderful day! Santorini: Saw Fira and Oia with the help of a private guide (Santorini Private Tours). Had a great lunch, tour and wine tasting at the Venetsanos Winery; enjoyed the Atlantis Bookstore in Oia. Love it here! Taormina: shared a (van) taxi up to Taormina which was 40 Euro total. Walked the crowded street, walked up to the theater. Basically walked and stopped for drinks and snacks all day--this was a short day in port. Amalfi: Took the ship excursion boat to Positano (this was a big boat with 50-75 people, not a small motorboat) where we walked to the top, shopped, walked down, sat in a cafe by the beach, then motored back to Amalfi. In Amalfi, the church is beautiful, we found a wonderful paper shop, and had a great lunch at Taverna Buonvicinio Embarkation and disembarkation were quick and painless, as was the muster drill. All in all, we are enthusiastic and satisfied Azamara cruisers, and this cruise reinforced that. We like the long days in port, and the ease of getting on and off the ship, packaged in a casual, relaxed and friendly atmosphere which we love. It very much suits our approach to life and travel. We will definitely be back with Azamara! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it as great. Ephesus was unbelievable and the private excursion was noteworthy. There were several great features and some poor features. The captain was delightful and went out of his way to be ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it as great. Ephesus was unbelievable and the private excursion was noteworthy. There were several great features and some poor features. The captain was delightful and went out of his way to be visible and friendly. The entertainment director is a very talented singer and entertainer and was a lot of fun. The cabin staff were very friendly and efficient. But the food was sub par and I had to return multiple items that I ordered. The food was served cold most of the time and the bread was stale The internet service very expensive and did not work at all. The Windows restaurant is little more than an average cafeteria. The wine served in the basic package is very low quality, maybe $6 a bottle. The stateroom was tiny and the bathroom smaller than a closet. I will not be back on Azamara. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Great trip with friends sightseeing parts of the world that we hadn't considered before, especially the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. Although a small sample, the various visits gave a good appreciation of Arab culture and Middle East ... Read More
Great trip with friends sightseeing parts of the world that we hadn't considered before, especially the Suez Canal and the Red Sea. Although a small sample, the various visits gave a good appreciation of Arab culture and Middle East politics. The smaller ship certainly allows for docking without using tenders saving time to visit the wonders of Luxor and Petra, which were incredible. Comparing and contrasting the wonders of the old world(Luxor and Petra) to those of the new world(Dubai) are just one of the reasons to take this cruise. Dining options are varied with upscale Prime and Aqualina restaurants top notch. Crew are well trained and extremely capable and versatile. Entertainment and lectures were very well done especially cruise director Eric de Gray, who not only is an extremely capable director but also an amazing performer. Lecturer John and his passion for the universe drew me to his daily lectures while at sea. Excursions were well organized except for some confusion regarding the hop on hop off bus in Dubai with length(1 day or 2 day), where to embark, outdated maps available on the ship. Otherwise the bus provided a good overview of Dubai. A trip I would definitely recommend. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise because of the pricing, OBC, and itinerary. The Azamara Journey crew worked hard to prevent a ship wide outbreak of a GI virus and were successful. Someone(s) foolishly ate some street food. As always the rooms and ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the pricing, OBC, and itinerary. The Azamara Journey crew worked hard to prevent a ship wide outbreak of a GI virus and were successful. Someone(s) foolishly ate some street food. As always the rooms and public areas were clean, the food was delicious, and the land excursions excellent. Every night a different cuisine was served in Windows, the buffet restaurant, giving guests a chance to try different foods. The best place for evening dining is The Patio with table service but one can also visit the buffet line from there. We were able to get to know the different countries we visited. We were delighted to see Eric, the Cruise Director, again. He is so much fun and so entertaining. Standard drinks and tipping are included in the cruise price which means you aren't trying to drink your way through a liquor package and you don't need to worry about tipping too little or too much. They still need to improve their Wi-Fi connection. This was another wonderful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Destinations on offer were varied and interesting. We felt safe passing through the bottom of the Red Sea and into the Gulf of Aden because of the extra security measures put in place. The captain kept everyone up to date. We were on board ... Read More
Destinations on offer were varied and interesting. We felt safe passing through the bottom of the Red Sea and into the Gulf of Aden because of the extra security measures put in place. The captain kept everyone up to date. We were on board for Halloween and Remembrance Day and the crew put a huge effort into marking these occasions for those who were interested. There were many Australians on board and it would have been good for us to have had Melbourne Cup Day recognised. It is always the first Tuesday in November. A few of us got dressed up as is appropriate for this event and met in the Living Room and had a few champagnes (as is indeed appropriate for Melbourne Cup Day). We enjoyed sailing with Azamara last year for the first time and booked back to back cruises for 2017. We would recommend Azamara highly. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Itinerary and reputation. The itinerary took us to Athens, Agios Nicoleos, Suez Canal, Safaga(Luxor), Aqaba(Petra), Salalah, Mucat and Dubai. The specialty restaurants were very good (Aquafina & Prime C), the others were just OK. ... Read More
Itinerary and reputation. The itinerary took us to Athens, Agios Nicoleos, Suez Canal, Safaga(Luxor), Aqaba(Petra), Salalah, Mucat and Dubai. The specialty restaurants were very good (Aquafina & Prime C), the others were just OK. Visibility in the theatre was quite limited as there is no grading in the seating...a lot is missed if you aren't in the front row! Mosaic Cafe has good coffee...including Nespresso but there is a charge for Nespresso..coffee is better here than other venues. Sometimes we received conflicting info on what to do/not do when ashore...do your research! The Living Room is a good place to hangout. It's quiet most of the time and you get a good view there. The Azamazing event was held in Wadi Rum in Jordan. It would have been nicer if the event was held earlier in order to appreciate the sunset. The sound and lighting for the event could be improved a lot since where we were sitting, you could hardly hear anything being said. The lighting was focused behind the dancers, it was difficult to see the dancing in the dark. It would be nice to include some snacks in order to taste some local flavours...all we had was some local bread! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We ended up with a restricted view cabin on 6. ( i dont know why) restricted view is an understatement if i could open the window i could touch the life boat that was our obstruction. A very small cabin really poor, having been on 20 plus ... Read More
We ended up with a restricted view cabin on 6. ( i dont know why) restricted view is an understatement if i could open the window i could touch the life boat that was our obstruction. A very small cabin really poor, having been on 20 plus cruise ships on various cruise lines, using inside ,sea view and veranda state rooms its the worst. Not a patch on sister line celebrity cruises as accommodation goes ,otherwise fine. The food wasnt as varied as i had hoped but pretty good, after complaining about cold plates on one occassion at dinner i am pleased to say this didn't happen again. Although we didn't go on any trips ( having dont them before) i thought they were very expensive compaired to booking independantly. I noted on what appeared to be safari? That passangers , mainly pretty elderly were cramped (6) into these small jeep type vehicles some people appeared to have difficulty getting in and out , i thought at the time they were not really suitable for elderly folk. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
After four years we returned to Azamara because of the route - from Piraeus to Dubai through the Suez Canal and Red Sea. It actually appeared as good value for money and we had loved Azamara in the past. We flew to Athens a day early as ... Read More
After four years we returned to Azamara because of the route - from Piraeus to Dubai through the Suez Canal and Red Sea. It actually appeared as good value for money and we had loved Azamara in the past. We flew to Athens a day early as exploring the city is pleasant in the October temperatures. Boarding was simple on the Saturday although one suitcase was delivered to the wrong cabin and it took time to get more than the 'it is coming' response. The ship is looking good and well cared for with ongoing cleaning and painting etc. The cabin has been improved with the refurbishment but remains relatively small and the shower is as poor as ever with the clinging curtain. Our cabin team were effective, meticulous and helpful. We dined normally in the main restaurant for breakfast and dinner - and for lunch on sea days if the menu appealed. Food generally was excellent and service outstanding. The provided wines were acceptable mostly, although by no means top quality. Our one night in Prime C was as good as we recall from the past. The onset of precautions against norovirus towards the end of the cruise did disimprove the experience in both buffet and dining room but was understood. We had read of Cruise Director Eric De Gray but only having seen him in action on and off stage did we understand the skills, charisma and charm of the man. His own shows in particular were excellent as were the formal shows. The guest artists were a mixed bag. Ports were interesting and well organised for the ships visit. Crete was an interesting new stop and we hired a car to take the ferry to Spinalonga. This was just a taster before the Suez Canal phase - fabulous to wake up and sniff Africa from our balcony. Passing through the canal was a bucket list ambition and a great experience. Saffaga in Egypt is a fairly desolate port but is the base to get to Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. We took a trip organised on the Cruise Critic roll call which was excellent although the four hour run each way was as tedious as was expected! Our armed guard on board the bus was a bonus! Next stop was Aqaba Jordan where the Azamazing Evening took place in Wadi Rhum. It was well organised but the traditional music and dancing became a little tedious. The following day we took another CC organised trip to Petra. Memorable indeed. Jordan seemed a much better organised, cleaner and safer country than Egypt. Our safety team joined us in Aqaba and we were advised next day of the ship slowing down while 'equipment' was delivered on a RIB from a mother ship nearby. We practiced safety procedures and for the next six nights deck 5 was closed off and only tea lights were it on deck 9 - curtains on cabins closed throughout the night. Most ships going through this area adopt similar procedures and most people seemed glad to know we were well protected from possible pirate attack - however unlikely. After four days at sea there was a Salalah call in Oman for a half day and here we took a ships tour which was well run and interesting in this isolated area. Next stop was Muscat Oman's capital where we joined another CC tour managing to actually get into the Sultan's mosque. Muscat was impressive and the people very friendly. After a final sea day it was Dubai and a day there before flying home next day. The disembarkation was simple and indeed all the passport/visa procedures worked well and quickly. This once in a lifetime cruise and we are unlikely to choose it again. It is highly recommended by us as is the Azamara experience. Future prices appear eye-watering at present so whether we choose them again will depend on a reasonable deal coming up. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We sailed on the Azamara Journey 18 months ago and really enjoyed it so we decided to book this cruise from Athens to Dubai. We arrived after 2:30 pm so embarkation was a breeze. The ship came out of dry dock just prior to our cruise 18 ... Read More
We sailed on the Azamara Journey 18 months ago and really enjoyed it so we decided to book this cruise from Athens to Dubai. We arrived after 2:30 pm so embarkation was a breeze. The ship came out of dry dock just prior to our cruise 18 months ago and the refurb is showing it’s age especially in the staterooms. The bathroom shower is wallpapered and starting to peel and the floor of the bathroom is a vinyl tile. This is not what I would expect from an upper Premium cruise line. The menus in the main dining room have meant less choices that our last cruise, especially the lunch menu. Very few choices and a buffet station every day. I find it difficult to understand why one would choose to go to the main dining room at lunch to stand in line for a stir fry or pasta. Some evenings the food was excellent others very poor. We ordered salmon and seared scallops and they were both raw. Considering that we were under a code 3 for norovirus, I would have expected more care to be taken with food preparation. The buffet restaurant was for the most part good, although they now serve frozen strawberries and blackberries for breakfast. This is the first cruise in 30 plus years that I have encountered frozen berries. We really enjoyed the shows, especially anything with Eric. He is fantastic. We particularly enjoyed the Halloween show. It was great! We did not participate in many activities as we had booked a number of Shore excursions and enjoyed the pool on Sea days. Service was excellent everywhere on board. We are having difficulty deciding whether to return to Azamara. We compare to Oceania and think that O may come out ahead. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Our first cruise with Azamara was the 17-night trip from Athens to Dubai on the Journey. The entire experience was perfect from booking through disembarkation. We chose this voyage specifically for the itinerary as there was an overnight ... Read More
Our first cruise with Azamara was the 17-night trip from Athens to Dubai on the Journey. The entire experience was perfect from booking through disembarkation. We chose this voyage specifically for the itinerary as there was an overnight stop for both Luxor and Petra. About two months before we were due to leave we received an email titled “Itinerary Change”. My first reaction was ‘OH NO’. However in this case it turned out to be excellent news. Our ship was to exit the Suez Canal earlier than expected giving us two full days in Luxor. This provided the opportunity to change the long one day excursion I had booked to an overnight trip. Since it was a 3.5 drive each way from Safaga to Luxor, spreading it our over two days was considerably better. We stayed in Athens on our own 2 nights before the cruise then took a taxi from the hotel to the Port about noon. We were on board within 5 minutes and greeted with champagne. Since the staterooms were not ready yet we relaxed, had lunch, and booked some additional excursions for later in the voyage. About 1:30 an announcement was made and we had access to our cabin. We were in a balcony cabin off the back of the ship which afforded a 180-degree view. The cabin might have been a litter smaller than other ships but the balcony was considerably larger because of its’ location. It had all the standard stuff including a nice size closet and bathroom. The bed was really comfortable, with very nice sheets and a duvet. One really nice thing that Azamara does is keep your room fridge stocked with soda and ice. It’s really convenient and an excellent amenity. However, most cruise lines, including Azamara should take a lesson from Viking and get rid of the shower curtains. It’s much nicer to have glass doors. One thing I noticed on Azamara compared to other cruises we have taken is that there is not any overt and constant ‘sales’ pressure. Not for photos, jewelry, drinks, or spa treatments. It’s all pretty low key. Since standard drinks and tips are included, the only extra purchases we made were for a couple shore excursions that I had not pre-booked. I have to say, I was really nice to walk up to a bar and get a cocktail or glass of wine without a charge slip. There was never ANY mention of additional tipping but we did choose to give our stateroom stewards a little extra. The self-service laundry including soap was also free. Since we only travel with carry-on luggage, we made good use of this amenity. As one can imagine, it was a pretty popular place on a 17-day cruise. Food in the main dining room was outstanding. There were at least 7 or 8 entrée choices in addition to many appetizers, soups, salads, and desserts. Since both my husband and I really like escargot, I was surprised to see it as a permanent menu choice. Whenever I ordered beef or lamb, it came perfectly medium rare, just the way I like it. We did eat at the Italian Specialty restaurant Aqualina one night. It was better than the dining room, but only because of the items available. Most of our group ended up with the Lobster Trifecta: Bisque, Ravioli, and Grilled Tail. It was a great meal to celebrate my huband’s birthday. Since we normally cruise Princess, I have to say the buffet was not nearly as good as Princess. It closed at 8:30 and was considerably smaller. Also missing was the excellent Pizza and Pasta (especially their Fettuccini Alfredo) that is standard on all Princess ships. But then, the dining room was better and the included drinks were a definite plus. Entertainment was good. We spent most of our time in the ‘Living Room’ Lounge where they had either a guitarist or pianist playing. We went to a couple of the bigger shows in the theater. They were all enjoyable but not outstanding. The ‘Azamazing Evening’ was a trip to Wadi Rum to see a Bedouin show. It was NOT amazing. In fact, we didn’t even feel like we saw Wadi Rum. It was basically a small theater set up for tourists out in the middle of nowhere. We got off the bus, got a glass or wine or a beer and sat down on the stone bleachers with big pillows. There were a couple of women making bread on a wood fire which eventually got passed through the crowd so everyone could have a small taste. The music and dancing were boring. We couldn’t really see the sunset due to the position of the theater with the surrounding hills. It was probably the only excursion that was sub-par…but it was free. When we returned to the ship about 8pm there was an excellent buffet set up in the dining room and on deck so everyone could easily and quickly grab dinner. One thing that was amazing was the ‘White Night Party’ on the pool deck. We didn’t know but everyone is supposed to wear something white. The deck was specially decorated and the food was outstanding! They had charcoal grills set up and were grilling lamb, beef and lobster. They were even making Crepe Suzette for dessert! The music and dancing made for a really perfect evening. All the other tours we did off the ship were Outstanding – especially the Luxor Overnight, trip to Petra, and Dubai Bedouin Dinner in the Dunes. In Oman, It was just amazing to see bunches of camels just roaming around blocking traffic like sheep in Ireland. In Dubai we went to the 125th floor of the ‘current’ world’s tallest building. The memories we have from each excursion and country are priceless! Of course we all probably have a couple thousand pictures as well. We did wonder about going through parts of the Middle East as the ship passed between Somalia and Yemen after exiting the Red Sea. Once we left Jordan some heavily armed personnel had boarded as a pirate precaution. It was pretty easy to pick them out as they did not fit the typical cruiser profile. They were all pretty buff plus they had on ‘Protection Vessel’ shirts. This made us all feel perfectly safe. They exited the ship once we reached Oman and probably got on another ship heading north. Disembarkation was extremely easy. We left the ship and grabbed a taxi to a hotel in Dubai. It was an outstanding trip, mostly because of the itinerary but also because of Azamara. We really look forward to traveling with them again! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our fifth cruise with Azamara and our third on the same route. We chose the route twice before as one or other of us had had knee surgery and this repositioning cruise includes many relaxing sea days. The itinerary includes the ... Read More
This was our fifth cruise with Azamara and our third on the same route. We chose the route twice before as one or other of us had had knee surgery and this repositioning cruise includes many relaxing sea days. The itinerary includes the option to visit both Luxor and Petra. On the previous cruises we weren’t fit enough to take these strenuous tours, but this time we intended to, and did, ‘tick off’ both these bucket list destinations. We had stayed in Athens twice before, so decided to look for a hotel in Piraeus and we found a great one. The Phidias Piraeus is a small boutique hotel very well located close to the Zea Marina, which has an interesting range of boats from luxury cruisers to small fishing boats. The road around the Marina has many restaurants and bars, so is an ideal place to find dinner. The hotel itself was great. The receptionist could not have been more helpful. Our room was small but very tastefully decorated in a modern style and the bathroom was nice - everything was very clean. Breakfast was great, too. They took us to the port the next morning at 12 on their free shuttle, along with about 12 other Azamara passengers who were staying there. As usual embarkation was quick and easy and well before 1:00 we were on board sipping a glass of bubbly. We went straight to the speciality restaurants reservation table in Windows(buffet) to buy a 3 meal dining package for the speciality restaurants and make our bookings, then had lunch in the Patio. By 2:00 we were in our verandah stateroom (7021) unpacking. Our steward, Luis, was happy to get us some metal coat hangers to supplement the ones provided. The cabin was very comfortable, with lots of storage space. We had asked for a queen bed configuration, and bed was huge and extremely comfortable. The balcony was small but had a table and two chairs - big enough for us to sit out there. We ate most dinners in Discoveries (MDR) and overall the food was excellent. We had some main courses that were outstanding - lamb chops, surf and turf, filet mignon, lobster with scallops and shrimp risotto. Azamara generally does soups well too - favourites include red pepper soup and Thai seafood soup. There were two or three misses though - garlic soup that tasted of rubber, veal chops that were tough and Thai beef curry that tasted like stewed beef, but these were very much the exception. We usually shared tables at dinner, often with the same group of people who all went to the Discoveries bar at about the same time (7:30) and had many lovely sociable meals. We ate twice in Prime C and once in Aqualina and these were all outstanding meals. We mostly had lunch at the Patio (my husband thinks the Azamara special burger is unbeatable) and breakfast in Windows. Although we were happy with the included drinks, we felt that the quality of the wine was lower than on our last cruise, a year before. After dinner, we often went to the Cabaret Lounge to watch some or all of the show. Mostly these were song and dance shows by the ship’s group of entertainers, including the talented Eric De Gray, the Cruise Director. During our 16 nights aboard there were two guest artists - a comedian and a cellist, but we didn’t see either of them. On a few nights we ended the evening dancing to disco in the Living Room, with the DJ Marcio. On this cruise there was a good crowd up there most nights. The Azamazing Evening was, unusually, a little underwhelming! It was in Wadi Rum, which is a beautiful setting, but the entertainment was folk dancing, which was very repetitive. It was men in white robes (plus a boy) waving swords and dancing. There was wine to drink but the only food was flat bread made by a couple of women sitting at the base of the stage. As we were sitting near the back we didn’t even get to try it! It also became quite cold once the sun set, as the sky was clear. We enjoyed the sea days, as we love sitting on a sun bed on deck 11. That means that I can’t comment on the lectures, art classes or bridge lessons - we didn’t get to any of them. From Aqaba to Muscat the ship was subject to high security - there was a team of security guards onboard and all outdoor areas had to be kept dark between dusk and dawn. We had to close our curtains at dusk and not use our verandah light. Deck 9 was only accessible after dark by ‘smoker’s corner’ - but the added bonus was that the view of the starry sky was wonderful with no light pollution! As always with Azamara the service was generally excellent. Senior Officers were very evident - we spoke to the captain a couple of times, and the Hotel Director, Heike, was everywhere - directing people to buses in port, welcoming us back to the ship. The other thing that always impresses is with Azamara is the general friendliness onboard - crew and passengers alike, and this cruise was no exception. Ports:- Crete - Agios Nikolas - we went on the little blue land train. We took the 70 minute tour for €13, which went up into the hills to a view point over Elounda and Spinalonga as well as back over Agios Nikolas, then had a walk around this pretty little town. Egypt - Safaga - we took a 2 day private tour with Your Egypt Tours which included Karnak Temple, Luxor Temple, a sunset felucca ride on the Nile, an overnight stay at the 5 star Steigenberger Hotel on the banks of the Nile, the Valley of the Kings, Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple and the Colossi of Memnon - all for $160. We also had some optional charged extras - the Light & Sound Show after dark at Karnak Temple and visits to King Tutankhamen’s and King Seti’s tomb. I loved the Light & Sound Show, but my husband found it boring. The two extra tombs were well worth the extra charge, especially Seti’s tomb - the paintings there were amazing, so fresh and vibrant. Jordan - Aqaba - we went on the ship’s excursion to Petra. A very hard day, but also well worth it. We walked for 5/6 miles on uneven ground - not so bad on the way there as it’s downhill, but hard work coming back uphill. You can pay to go in a carriage, but we didn’t fancy it, they went pretty fast and the passengers looked as if they were being thrown around a lot. The walk through the Siq is interesting as the rocks are amazing colours, then you get your first glimpse of the Treasury - the iconic building that you see in every bit of information about Petra. It’s amazing, but there is so much more to Petra - lots more carved buildings and even an amphitheatre. Oman - Salalah - we didn’t get off the ship as it was very hot (88) and the port was 25km from the town. Oman - Muscat - we took the ship’s free shuttle to The Muttrah Souq, which is huge. The main path is where all the souvenir stalls are, but it’s more interesting on the side and outer paths where there are stalls and shops selling goods designed for locals, such as shops selling abayas (Arab black dresses). We spent a couple of hours wandering around the Souq and the surrounding area. UAE - Dubai - took the ship’s free shuttle to the Dubai Mall. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Having previously traveled on Celebrity and Royal I wasn't sure what to expect. I really like the small ship feel and the personal interaction with the staff and crew. Entertainment was adequate since this was a port intensive ... Read More
Having previously traveled on Celebrity and Royal I wasn't sure what to expect. I really like the small ship feel and the personal interaction with the staff and crew. Entertainment was adequate since this was a port intensive itinerary it was often hard to stay awake. Cruise Director Eric was the best part and worth staying up for. The suite included dining in specialty restaurants and I dined twice in each. The menu never changes.Still trying to figure out how a butler is different than a cabin steward. I would go again on Azamara based on the ports of call, but would not want too many sea days. One every 3-4 days of touring is enough to rest up. The late nights in port were the best part. It was much less crowded as the other ships left and night time walking tours were my favorite. We got to sample food and meet the people in a more relaxed environment Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
It was our first time on Azamara and we wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary in style. We had a wonderful time cruising Creek Islands and were very lucky with worm and sunny weather. Our room was always comfortable and clean. ... Read More
It was our first time on Azamara and we wanted to celebrate our wedding anniversary in style. We had a wonderful time cruising Creek Islands and were very lucky with worm and sunny weather. Our room was always comfortable and clean. Restaurant on a fifth deck had superb service and every waiter try and delivered every wish we have had. Menu change every night and food was excellent. Deck nine buffet had a lot of choices and gelato was my favorite dessert. One more word about an entertainment: I think that our cruise director should change his name to Eric De Great. Eric DeGray really deserves this title. It was a lot of pleasant surprises, including a white night dance party and Russia’s ball room dancers were great. We even had a waltz lesson in a living room, but it was not long enough to really learn to dance. Looking forward to more travels. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We particularly wanted to revist Ephesus, Chania and Rhodes. We prebooked a small group 4wd safari with Chania Adventures and then found we were the only passengers. Nassos was a entertaining and ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. We particularly wanted to revist Ephesus, Chania and Rhodes. We prebooked a small group 4wd safari with Chania Adventures and then found we were the only passengers. Nassos was a entertaining and instructive driver/guide and made our day extremely enjoyable even if we failed his quizz on the life and habits of bees. In Ephesus we had a private tour by Ephesus Port Tours which was well organised with a particulary charming guide. The food on Azamara was very good and we enjoyed the MDR on 6 evenings and had an excellent meal in PrimeC on the other day. Found the Ultimate Drink package to be good value at $21.95 per day . The Azamazing evening in Chania was a triumph of organising skill by the shore excursion team. Captain Magnus made a point of being very visible around the ship and kept all guests informed on weather and sea conditions Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My wife and I were looking for something special to do for our 40th Anniversary. We cruise annually to the Caribbean but wanted something more special - so we looked at a European Cruise. We originally were looking on either celebrity, ... Read More
My wife and I were looking for something special to do for our 40th Anniversary. We cruise annually to the Caribbean but wanted something more special - so we looked at a European Cruise. We originally were looking on either celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean or Holland America but because we had a very limited window when we could travel, we expanded the search and found this cruise. We were first attracted by the itinerary but then became intrigued with the idea of cruising on a small ship. In addition, because this was a Tuesday - Tuesday cruise, we decided to spend the previous Thursday thru Monday in Paris, fly to Athens monday night, pick up the cruise Tuesday and after the cruise was over, stayed in Athens for 3 more days. The initial cost of the cruise was higher than we are used to paying but after factoring in all that is included, beverages, gratuities etc - it wasn't quite so bad. Embarkation - We had a taxi take us to the port the afternoon of the cruise and was on the ship with a drink in hand in about 15-20 minutes. Smoothest embarkation ever. Because this was our first small ship, we decided to explore the ship before our cabin was ready. Truthfully, it felt more like a boutique hotel than a cruise ship. Just 4 elevators on board - 2 fore and 2 aft but never had to wait! Our cabin was nice. The bed and pillows were the best we have had at sea. Unfortunately, the bathroom was the worst - that said we did not let it ruin our trip. I said the little things all add up and they truly do. On larger ships, when you eat at a buffet, you get your food, take it to your table and then go back for water, tea or juice. Not here! Here you get your food, go to your table and a server comes around and asks you what you would like to drink. Soft drinks, wine, rail drinks - all included. Maybe even better yet, the soft drinks are served in real glasses - not the plastic kiddie cups on other ships. The food on the ship was excellent, although we only ate in the main dining room once. The first night was a seafood buffet which was excellent. Alaskan crab legs on the buffet - not only that, the shells were already sliced open so all you had to do was take the meat out. Again a little thing that felt special. Overall the food at the breakfast buffet was very good. The variety was more than enough that i could not imagine anyone not finding something they would enjoy. We were in a different port every day so most days we ate lunch off the ship. A couple of days we came back and ate at The Patio. Again, the little things - you actually place your order with someone at the counter and go to your seat. They then bring you the food and drink when the food is ready. They also served dinner here as well and one night had grilled filet mignon on the menu. We ate twice in Prime C and once in Aqualina. Prime C was a good meal both times. Although you better like meat because if someone in the party doesn't, there is very little to choose from. Aqualina was a very good meal as well. Overall I believe the meals in the specialty restaurants were well worth the money. We bought a package which was $70 per person for 3 meals. Not unreasonable at all. Service at both was excellent. The one night we ate dinner in the main dining room, the service and food were both very good. However, one of the reasons we decided to eat 3 times in the specialty restaurants was that we didn't feel there was a great selection or variety in the main dining room. The White Night party was so much fun. The food was excellent and it was fun to see the two charcoal kettle grills being loaded up over and over again with good sized lobster tails! The band played and between the great music, great food and a beautiful evening - it was a fantastic event! The Az-amazing evening was in Crete and at first we were a little concerned as the entertainment was a pianist. My wife and I love music as much as the next person but we are not big on classical music and incorrectly assumed that was what he was going to play. WRONG! First, let me say getting to and from the venue could not have been smoother. They had to have at least 15 or 16 full sized motor coaches but all was well organized with no issues or confusion. The venue was gorgeous. Outdoors and on the water. They passed wine and champagne as well as plenty of hors d'oeuvres. THe pianist played a variety of tunes and the dancers toward the end were very entertaining as well. It was fun watching the artist Corrine Fallone work her magic and paint a piece during the concert. I wish we could have purchased it but someone else got it before we could decide. The fireworks at the end capped off a perfect evening. Excursions - normally we only use private excursions when we cruise as we do not like large group tours. Azamara told me they limit their tours to no more than 20 - 25 people. We decided that we would use Azamara tours everywhere except for Santorini. The Azamara tours, like everything else - were top notch, well organized and extremely informative. I am very happy we took them and would not hesitate to do so again. In Santorini, we went with a private driver because none of the ship's excursions covered all we wanted to do. Besides it was our anniversary and we figured we would splurge a bit. Overall, I believe I have been spoiled by all of the little things I mentioned and many more that i haven't. My wife and I have a 10 night Caribbean cruise in January with Holland America and an Alaska Cruise with Princess in July - I am definitely looking forward to them but I will very much miss all of the little things that Azamara does to make your time with them feel special. We HIGHLY recommend you consider Azamara if you are looking for that something special the big ships can't and don't give you. I know when we plan our cruise(s) for 2019, we will look to see what Azamara has first! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Priority embarkation, a perk of being in a suite, was a breeze and we were onboard in no time at all. We were each offered a glass of fizz or orange juice. We had a light lunch in Windows then found our Club Continent Suite, 8050, which ... Read More
Priority embarkation, a perk of being in a suite, was a breeze and we were onboard in no time at all. We were each offered a glass of fizz or orange juice. We had a light lunch in Windows then found our Club Continent Suite, 8050, which happened to be next door to a fellow CC poster's friends, so we met almost immediately, on the balcony As we’d cruised on Journey before, we didn’t need much orientation, so we checked out the gym class timetable, which was a disappointment as there were no abs classes and only two stretch sessions. I was expecting daily classes, but only seemed to be one instructor so maybe short staffed. We unpacked our own clothes rather than let the butler assist. He soon introduced himself and explained our perks. We swopped the included vodka for a further bottle of Bombay. As it happened I only consumed the rum, so took the others home for family. Next was the dreaded drill, which is a necessary chore, but those who attend punctually have to wait ages for latecomers. One suite perk is free dining at speciality restaurants so we at twice at each venue and enjoyed great food and service. One night was Azamazing buffet, another White Night and on one occasion we at in the main dining room. The White night took placed while anchored at Patmos, which was slightly disappointing, as it was a bit windy, so sweaters and rugs were required. The food was excellent, but went cold quite quickly. On a warm evening, it would have been much more fun. The included wine offerings were generally disappointing, but when we found an excellent Zinfandel we asked for it on subsequent nights. We at breakfast outside on everyday and mostly ate quite healthily. Food was generally excellent as was the service as you’d expect. We didn’t take any ship tours or use any spa services as we feel they are way overpriced. Eric was a great entertainer and CD, but we were less than enthused by some of the entertainers. We tended to retire early and rise early, to walk around deck and use gym, which provide great facilities. We also liked the perk of using the Thelassotherapy pool, which was very relaxing. We didn’t use the tediously slow Wi-fi much, as most of time we had a 3G signal, allowing us to use our UK data allowance in our included contract. Disembarkation was a breeze. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Rip Off - Imagine this is a luxury cruise which charges $29.95/day for Internet Additionally, they charge $30 for the Specialty Restaurant PER PERSON We have been on several luxury and non Luxury cruises and none charged for the ... Read More
Rip Off - Imagine this is a luxury cruise which charges $29.95/day for Internet Additionally, they charge $30 for the Specialty Restaurant PER PERSON We have been on several luxury and non Luxury cruises and none charged for the specialty restaurants. We would definitely not recommend Azamara Cruise Lines to anyone. The only reason we chose Azamara Cruise Lines is because of the good itinerary which in reality has nothing to do with the cruise ship. They also charge for premium drinks. The term Luxury surely does not apply to these cruise ship or cruise Line. We hope this review helps others considering using Azamara Cruise Lines. The ship was nice and the wait staff were nice but the accomodations were poor. The view from our veranda was obstructed. We would never recommend this Cruise Line to anyone, so please consider our experience when planning your next cruise. There are plenty of other cruise lines which are far better values. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We just returned from an incredible 9 day cruise with Azamara from Athens to Barcelona. Everything from the stateroom, food, restaurants, bars, entertainment and most of all the staff was the highest quality. The stateroom was cleaned ... Read More
We just returned from an incredible 9 day cruise with Azamara from Athens to Barcelona. Everything from the stateroom, food, restaurants, bars, entertainment and most of all the staff was the highest quality. The stateroom was cleaned twice a day, the food in all restaurants first class, the entertainment amazing and the ports of call great. The staff are very friendly, and helpful with anything you desire. The captain was very cordial and informative. The main entertainer, Eric deGray was exceptional in the nightly shows. The piano bar with Ed Waters was very enjoyable every night. The ports of call were very good, very interesting and the transfers to and from down very professionally. The tour guides were very knowledgeable of each area. The actrivities on board were varied. Trivia contests every day were fun, the pool and hot tubs were just perfect. I would recommend Azamara to everyone who wishes an exceptional cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Never waste your money on a Club Continent Suite unless you like going to bed late and getting up early - the action on deck 9 will keep you awake. Having said that, the perks of our butler, who was amazing, the food (we could only ... Read More
Never waste your money on a Club Continent Suite unless you like going to bed late and getting up early - the action on deck 9 will keep you awake. Having said that, the perks of our butler, who was amazing, the food (we could only manage 5 specialty nights out of 11, but that was enough because the buffets and BBQs were so good), the size of the room and BATHroom, were all excellent. The crew are just wonderful - they can NOT do enough for you, always with a smile on their faces, and eager to learn your names (Mr Andrew, Madame Elaine!); they remember your drinks, know your likes and dislikes very quickly, and are so lovely they are old friends by the time you have to leave. In fact we were in two minds about taking up squatters rights. One thing we did this time was meet up with a few couples before we embarked, which was lovely, as we got to see them all over the ship and had dinner several times with different couples. A definite good move. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
We loved the Aramara experience! We've cruised with Disney, Royal Caribbean and Carnival in the past, but this was very different. The food was great and that includes the Greek buffet that was served on our sea day. So good! We ... Read More
We loved the Aramara experience! We've cruised with Disney, Royal Caribbean and Carnival in the past, but this was very different. The food was great and that includes the Greek buffet that was served on our sea day. So good! We also enjoyed the white nights event and the staff was so accommodating. At the dinner, we couldn't find an open table, so the staff went into the nearby library and carried out an oak table for us to sit at. Totally unexpected, but much appreciated. We enjoyed the azamazing evening at Ephesus as well as the guest tenor from Florence performing on the ship while docked in Venice. Listening to a beautiful voice, under the stars in a beautiful city is something I will never forget! The captain was also very visible and everyone (including the staff) seemed to enjoy his humor and presence. We are in our early 50s and we were some of the younger cruisers, but enjoyed ourselves immensely. I would definitely cruise with Azamara again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our third cruise with Azamara, chosen mainly for the itinerary. We stayed one night prior to embarkation at the Hilton, Athens. This was part of the package. Arrival in Athens was mid afternoon and about 35°C, so we decided ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Azamara, chosen mainly for the itinerary. We stayed one night prior to embarkation at the Hilton, Athens. This was part of the package. Arrival in Athens was mid afternoon and about 35°C, so we decided against moving away from the pool area! Transfer to the cruise terminal by coach was fine as was embarkation. The ship had very recently received new decor whilst in dry dock, which included carpets, soft furnishings and pool furniture I believe. Signs of wear are already apparent. Our room was very pleasant with comfy bed and new carpet, curtains and bed linen. Bathroom is as before - small ! There is a deep step down and the door barely opens enough to exit without some difficulty. Maintenance was very good. Dining options are varied. After two visits to the main restaurant , where the food was not particularly exciting and other diners next to us had left food too, we chose to eat mainly in The Patio. Much more to our liking and friendlier atmosphere. The White Night produced a very good spread. Minute steaks, which would put the MDR to shame. Prime C was enjoyable, but not really worth the $25 each supplement. The wine choices were okay and starting with the cruise after ours, there would be a sparkling wine offered too. Also sparkling water would be an option to still. Never mind - we missed that! Entertainment was very good or on one occasion very poor. Singers and dancers worked hard and were good. Eric the cruise director, who is 5ft. 18ins, in his words, was always impressive. Very versatile. The Captain and Eric claimed to be brothers, but Captain Johannes was possibly about 5ft. 5ins! This banter cropped up often and was funny. Eric also had a never ending string of funny " Grandad" stories! We generally received friendly service. The crew work very hard. Two in particular excelled and on the other hand two were memorable for their rudeness. We did not take any excursions as we are familiar with all but two of the ports. Not sure we would book with Azamara again, unless it was a suite with a larger bathroom. Debarkation was a muddle as quite a lot of passengers like us had late flights and Venice airport would not allow passengers in more than 3 hours before their flight! This tested Azamara's relevant crew, but in the end they arranged for us to debark later at midday. Our airport transfer was 13.30, so we had to wait at the cruise terminal until then. It was a long day to make a two hour flight back to Heathrow! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Azamara Journey Cruise Review 10 Night Greek Isles & Adriatic Voyage June 23 – July 3 2016 After reading Azamara Journey reviews since January 2016, I had high expectations for our June 23 cruise out of Athens. I was not ... Read More
Azamara Journey Cruise Review 10 Night Greek Isles & Adriatic Voyage June 23 – July 3 2016 After reading Azamara Journey reviews since January 2016, I had high expectations for our June 23 cruise out of Athens. I was not disappointed; they meet or exceeded the majority of expectations. This was our first Azamara experience but will not be our last. My review is based upon specific categories, I hope this helps. • The Ship, Azamara Journey: getting on the ship was the smoothest we have ever had. There was someone with you from the time you started the check-in process until you got on the ship. My wife appreciated them taking our hand luggage to our room when it was ready for us. All common areas were well decorated, a lot of places to meet people and have an adult beverage or two. I found the ship easy to get around and never felt crowded, I really do like this size ship. • Unlike other reviews I’ve read, the staff did not address me my name on day two, maybe I was not that noteworthy, but most were very helpful and professional. The only issue I had was the Customer Service staff was efficient but not very friendly. Call out to Jhon and Victoria who worked at the Mosaic coffee area, both were a pleasure to deal with. • The food at all locations that I ate was very good, both the Windows and Discoveries restaurants provided good selections and service. We ate at both the specialty restaurants and it was worth the $25 each for the meal, for a change of venue. • Our room was on 7th floor with a veranda. I really liked the layout and it was updated as advertised. Good storage, small bathroom but no complaints. Our room steward was friendly and always appeared by magic to clean the room. • The entertainment was the best we have had on any ship. We meet two of the six singer/dancers who provided other guest activities during the cruise. My compliments to them for a great job. The Cruise Director was a master of all things and a great performer as well. • The Captain and the senior officer were very visible on the ship. The Captain was a real people person and obviously enjoyed his job. • We took three of the Land Discoveries excursions offered by the ship. All were professionally done and glad we did them. Excursions were: Mykonos/Ancient Delos , Santorini/Villages and Vintages of Santorini, Kotor/Wonders of Montenegro. • The Azamazing Event in Chania, Crete was a lot of fun, the atmosphere was electric. The White Night on the shop at Kotor was so good, may sure you do this. For my wife and I, this 10 day cruise was more than what we expected, the ports of call and all things associated with the shop, made this bucket list item a big hit. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was my third and last cruise (12 Night Best of the Holy Land) aboard the Journey. The ship is in desperate need of a serious makeover not just refreshing cosmetics. The staff was as friendly as ever. The quality and choices of food ... Read More
This was my third and last cruise (12 Night Best of the Holy Land) aboard the Journey. The ship is in desperate need of a serious makeover not just refreshing cosmetics. The staff was as friendly as ever. The quality and choices of food one expects from a cruise line that aspires to luxury branding was lacking. Even visits to the specialty restaurants fell short. Tour guides did not seem to be adequately vetted so the quality of the excursions was quite variable and expensive. Marathon commentary of excruciating trivia was not uncommon. Wise travelers arranged for private tours, in advance. Others arranged for taxi tours upon arrival at a port. They all seemed more satisfied than many on the ship excursions. The "carrier pidgeon" internet was a disaster. It was so unreliable and time consuming to use, that too often purchased minutes were often wasted trying to logon. Adding insult to injury, guests were often required to buy additional time to replace the wasted minutes. The internet problem has existed on all three of my Journey cruises and the tired excuse that all will be fixed when the ship is overhauled doesn't help. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
THE SHIP We picked a 9 port-intensive itinerary for a 9 day cruise: Athens RT, Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, & Santorini in Greece, with Bodrum, Kas, Fethiye, and Marmaris along Turkey's Turquoise coast. Because we enjoyed the ... Read More
THE SHIP We picked a 9 port-intensive itinerary for a 9 day cruise: Athens RT, Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, & Santorini in Greece, with Bodrum, Kas, Fethiye, and Marmaris along Turkey's Turquoise coast. Because we enjoyed the ship's activities, food, and entertainment so much, I would definitely look for a voyage with some sea days! It is great the ship is almost entirely no smoking, reserving only a small seating section on the pool deck for smokers. And I never saw more than a dozen smokers anytime I passed by this area, even though the ship carries a bit over 650 guests. Given that the ship will be refurbished entirely (and yes the renderings look cool and sophisticated) I was delighted the Journey is still a looker. I found the Mosaic Cafe a great place for complimentary Nespresso coffee & tea with snacks mid-day. And The Drawing Room/Library was a richly appointed room like an old fashioned English club room. An excellent getaway for privacy as it seemed rarely used. I borrowed a book to read but never had the time to do so. The Discoveries Lounge outside of the main dining room also an intimate "living room" setting. For those worried about sea-sickness, on this itinerary we had smooth sailing and motion never was an issue, though a couple of the tender rides proved to be quite choppy on return to our ship. I would definitely choose this size ship for the remarkable friendliness of the crew who become like family, and would love it for a longer cruise as well. Yes, I was hiding tears upon disembarkation....which by the way is just as swift as embarkation...and at the end of the gangway saying goodbye you'll find senior officers. CASINO Never really saw too much action in the casino (except at the bar), and with only 1 roulette table, 1 blackjack table and one 3 card poker table, both DH and myself would find a craps table and a live Texas Hold-em table an enticement not found on other ships; I expect millennial future cruisers would as well. Can't say I saw the one-armed bandits getting much action either...so the space could be made available...hint, hint. PORT CALLS Even though we had long days in ports, most of them were morning departures noting moderate to strenuous walking and steps were the norm. Given the age of these historical cities, I understand you can't change the terrain. But it would have been nice to have an on-shore cooking class or art-class or even a city shopping tour for those who didn't want to board buses or walk thru ruins. I met fellow guests who appeared capable of the tours, but chose not to press their luck based on the stated activity level. For those who liked the quiet of the ship in the morning, afternoon tours would be welcome as well. Didn't know what to expect of "small tours" but it appears to only mean the bus isn't full, but still will have 30+ participants. ACTIVITIES Fitness Center: nice to have a morning stretch class, but if you are departing on an 8:45am tour, it's impossible to attend the 8am class. A small facility but appears to be sized right for the ship size as I only ever saw a few users and I was one of them on 5 mornings. I think the Spa personnel are shyer than most of the crew, and they are noticeably different in terms of friendliness. A length of cruise pass for the Thalassotherapy pool was only $99 (so $10 per day) but it was not available for guest use 4 or 5 nights after 6pm because of private use (Cool Nights in Private Places?) so it didn't make sense for me as my days were full. The hot tubs on the pool deck sufficed. Park West Art Auction: I like a glass of champagne as well as anyone and I love art, but seriously, I'm so tired of seeing these auctions on ships. I'd like to see a replacement revenue source for Azamara so they could remove them and really differentiate from all the other cruise lines who continue auctioning the same artists again and again. Bingo, Lotto, Trivia: small loyal (and competitive!) following...forming trivia teams helped in meeting fellow guests and was fun. Hint: inquire about bridge and galley tours....they won't appear on the daily schedule. Shops are small but lovely, with the normal tempting evening sale pricing. Entertainment: The Cabaret Lounge was the setting for quality Broadway type productions and guest performances both of which drew capacity crowds. Elsewhere a guitarist and pianist draw their own fans. After 10:30pm The Looking Glass becomes the disco and when we were energized enough we enjoyed dancing here. DINING I heard a wide variety of opinions, but generally the word on the ship about food was positive. Personally, my group of friends enjoyed it all: dining at Discoveries, the main dining room, themed dinner buffets at Windows Cafe, lunch at the buffet or at the pool grill. Never a shortage of beautifully prepared and assorted entrees, salads, and desserts. Our gluten-free friend always found foods to meet her needs, and she was delighted with the special attention to be sure the menu suited her tastes. I'm sure all of our waistbands are a bit more snug because there was always something tempting. It was great to walk into the dining room whenever you wanted instead of worrying about rushing to an early seating or getting hungry before a later seating. Since cocktails are included, any minimal wait was always good for an aperitif or glass of wine. When we preferred a previous night's wine with dinner instead of the featured choice (twice), one server promptly found the other wine, while the other did so reluctantly...even suggesting he couldn't serve a previous wine (wrong answer/wrong attitude). YES, I enjoyed Azamara and look forward to another Journey or Quest! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Azamara Journey Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 1.0 4.1
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 5.0 4.6
Value for Money 5.0 N/A

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