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23 Azamara Journey Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean from Athens (Piraeus)

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except for some confusion regarding the hop on hop off bus in Dubai with length(1 day or 2 day), where to embark, outdated maps available on the ship.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
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
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
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
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 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
Just a few words to let you know that Azamara is still a great choice for cruise ship aficcionados. Embarkation and disembarkation went smooth. Journey is a medium size ship elegant and quiet like I like. No annoying music around the ... Read More
Just a few words to let you know that Azamara is still a great choice for cruise ship aficcionados. Embarkation and disembarkation went smooth. Journey is a medium size ship elegant and quiet like I like. No annoying music around the pool like other more popular cruise ships. Food is good and varied. Fish, steak and soup are great. Dessert could be better and I would appreciate my red wines to be served a bit colder, especially on the deck. Most of the included wines are good. Some could be selected with more care. Service is outstanding. Everybody is friendly and smiley. Room will be refurbished soon so I will not comment on that now. All the ports of call were nice. I have been in Mykonos and Santorini before but never in those small Turkish cities like Bodrum, Marmaris and (especially) Kas. Lovely places. 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
The purpose of this seven night cruise, our tenth on Azamara, was for some relaxation. It was a port intensive cruise with only one sea day. Only one port was new to us (Patmos). An upsell offer pre cruise allowed us to splurge and ... Read More
The purpose of this seven night cruise, our tenth on Azamara, was for some relaxation. It was a port intensive cruise with only one sea day. Only one port was new to us (Patmos). An upsell offer pre cruise allowed us to splurge and enjoy a beautiful large room at the back of the ship. The passenger mix on this cruise had a good balance between those from the USA, UK and Australia/NZ. Although we did not formally confirm this, we felt the average age was much lower than on previous Azamara cruises. At the conclusion of the cruise we opted for late disembarkation, leaving the ship at 2pm (fee $70 for 2) and from our brief observation of the incoming guests, that longer cruise seemed to have a slightly older passenger mix. Although the ship is due to go in dry dock in January for extensive renovations, we though it was in great shape and we had far fewer maintenance issues in our room than we experienced recently on Celebrity. The public areas are spotless and nothing caught our eye as being old, frayed or worn. We ate in the speciality restaurants and in Windows Cafe and throughout the cruise, everything was beautifully cooked and served. The young Executive Chef is very talented and she is adding feminine twists to her presentations. This lighter style of cooking was very much in line with the kind of meals we like. There are so many option though, you can go light, heavy, be good, be bad, you will not be disappointed. Service is Azamara's undoubted strength and again we were not disappointed. We encountered a very happy team, all working together for the benefits of the guests. Thoughtful touches by the top team set the tone - for example leaving Mykonos (which was windy) 20 minutes late to allow a concert on deck to finish and avoid the guests being caught in the crosswinds. All the officers are friendly, visible and use their time in public places to interact with all guests and not just the cursory supervisor's prowl. This style of leadership and way of managing staff really helps create the onboard experience we so love. Entertainment on board was very good. Being a seven night cruise there was a lot of standard items that had to be fitted in but it all worked. Eric de Grey is a very talented cruise director and he took part in several shows. It was great to enjoy Bruce Parker's singing again and lovely to see Eric and Bruce working with the talented cast to give us one of the best White Night Parties ever. This working and performing together came over as being natural and something all of them enjoyed doing - no prima donnas here! There is not much music around the ship, we heard a guitarist one night but do not recall hearing him again but that may be was us and where we went. Max de Fiaz was as good as ever and this time, because it was port intensive, many late night sail outs, there was no conflict of purpose in the Casino Bar which was a great venue overseen as ever by the best barman ever, Dale. Unlike previous cruises, the Looking Glass lounge had enough guests in it post show to make the after show parties enjoyable and not the painful dozen sitting around we often have experienced - I think this was as much the demographics as the DJ though the DJ played good music except on the last night when I am sure he put on some of the records to try and get us off the floor early! (Can't blame him, other nights were late nights for the staff up there!) Daytime activities were limited because the focus onboard is about the destinations and going ashore. Activities were listed, I have no idea if they were well attended. Plenty space on the various decks, I was not aware of pool chair hogs. There was very little poolside music - I liked that it was more relaxing. Bar staff were very attentive, it was very hot weather, they regularly brought trays of iced water and frozen towels round. We experienced our fourth Azamazing evening which we really enjoyed - a 45 minute classical music concert in the ruins at Ephesus. You really cannot recreate these kind of events yourself and this addition is something we really love. The logistics were great and provided you followed instructions (eg wear flat shoes) it was an easy walk to the most special venue. The sounds of the goats in the background and the stillness of the night added to the delight. One minor thing, we had taken the precaution of liberally applying insect repellant before leaving the ship and we are very glad we did. There was no guest instruction to do this, I know some people did get bitten so we have suggested this is added to the guest guidance for thus night. It maybe only happens in some weather conditions, but a be prepared hint! Because there are only a maximum of 695 guests onboard embarkation, disembarkation and tendering all were a breeze, no lines, no hassle. Thank you Captain Johannes, Hotel Director Ryzsard, Chef Monica and not forgetting little Eric and all the Journey team, it was a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
When our son announced he was getting married in Spain two years ago, we knew we wanted to add something from our "bucket list" to our second trip to Spain. We decided to add a "luxury" cruise to tick off Greece and ... Read More
When our son announced he was getting married in Spain two years ago, we knew we wanted to add something from our "bucket list" to our second trip to Spain. We decided to add a "luxury" cruise to tick off Greece and Turkey from our list. I think I read every single review about the Azamara Journey experience before I booked our cruise. I was nervous when reading that some previous cruisers thought quality on Azamara trips was deteriorating. But, the Azamara was the only cruise that fit our time-line with the wedding and I was holding my breath until we boarded! Thankfully, we did not find the negatives expressed by some! It was an AMAZING experience! As everyone says, the staff is superb! We felt pampered and we genuinely liked everyone on staff that we met. Because the cruise was after the wedding, as soon as we boarded I booked a mani/pedi it was heavenly! I also booked a massage for my husband... We ate in all the specialty restaurants at least once and the food was very good. We also booked the French Chef's Tasting Table. The food at this additional $$ event, was excellent! I can say that because my son's wedding reception was at a two star Michelin Restaurant in Ezcaray, Spain... which is why I want to say Kudos to Chef Monica and the Sommelier, David who both took the time to thoroughly describe the foods and wines served and answer any questions we had! The daily breakfast buffet's were good, I think better than most ... is the way to describe Azamara regular dining cruise food. During our cruise, the heat was almost unbearable, but always waiting at the dock or by the tender dock, after a hot day of touring, was a group of smiling Azamara staff waiting for us under a tent with cold water to drink and ice cold wash cloths to cool before we boarded again.... Did not see that with any other cruise line! I really enjoyed the AzAmazing evening in Ephesus, it was a picture perfect evening with excellent music. I mean picture perfect... I got some great shots! And, the White Party aboard the ship was a blast! Speaking of music and entertainment... for such a small ship it was EXCELLENT... Those kids put their heart and soul into their performances. You can tell they are there because they love to entertain! My favorite Land Discovery Tour was: Kusadasi Port Insider Access ~ Taste Of Turkish Country Life. I attended that while my husband visited the ruins. I so enjoyed a "Turkish" family showing us, first hand, the customs of their culture. I also was lucky to be on the tour with several Azamara Front Office folks so I was able to express a desire for more "family customs & culture" type tours... I really don't recommend Azamara for young "families"... or really the under 50 bunch. While there was excellent entertainment, it really is geared for the "older" set. I can't wait to book my next Azamara experience... I know that the ships are being refurbished so I'm sure I'll be giving it 10 Stars after my next voyage! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Our first Azamara cruise was very good, but because we have been on Seabourn and Regent cruises we knew that we were definitely not on a five star ship. Here are the major shortcomings: Food in all the buffets was not great. To get truly ... Read More
Our first Azamara cruise was very good, but because we have been on Seabourn and Regent cruises we knew that we were definitely not on a five star ship. Here are the major shortcomings: Food in all the buffets was not great. To get truly great dinners you have to pay extra for the specialty restaurants. Dinners in the main dining room were pretty good but we got a lot more great stuff on the other cruise lines. The most annoying aspect of the cruise is the endless marketing in every conceivable way to get you to spend more money; it never stops. Perhaps the most stupid way of wasting money is on the expensive alcohol packages; the complementary wines, liquors and beers are good enough for most people. Their excursions are expensive and mostly a waste of money. The entertainment was far better than we expected; definitely as good or better than more expensive cruise lines. Service was good, but nearly all the staff were clearly not as experienced as on the other, more expensive cruise lines. Azamara is clearly using lower cost personnel. The balcony was very small. And the main sun/pool deck was very crowded with very little room to get on lounge chairs. On the plus side, the tender service was extraordinary, far better than we have experienced on the more expensive lines. We were satisfied mainly because we got a great deal with reduced fare and significant on board credits. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We sailed from Piraeus on the Journey to Paros, Patmos, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Rhodes, Cyprus and Israel. I could only come up with one little complaint! Only one! The internet connection was so slow that I was unable to complete any ... Read More
We sailed from Piraeus on the Journey to Paros, Patmos, Kusadasi (Ephesus), Rhodes, Cyprus and Israel. I could only come up with one little complaint! Only one! The internet connection was so slow that I was unable to complete any communications or connect with my personal email in 15 min. I mentioned it and they gave me 15 minutes complimentary. This was unexpected and a pleasant surprise. This was by far the happiest cruise experience of my life. I have taken many cruises and none can compare. A majority of the waitstaff were very friendly, always smiling and all were extremely attentive. The Capt. Johannes was seen daily, always out and about making sure things were going well for his passengers. We were so pleased with the food choices in the Discoveries (buffet) dining room that we only ate in the formal dining room twice. They featured a different cuisine each night. We loved sitting outside on the back deck of the ship enjoying the fantastic and delicious assortment of the daily fare. The entertainment was very good in spite of the small cast. Eric de Grey, the cruise director, was a hoot...I won't spoil the surprise for you....(stilletos!). His hairstyle looked like he used a Cuisinart hand blender to style it! And it never even blew in the wind...LOL! There was hand sanitizer at the entrance to all restaurants and they almost MADE you use it! You were squirted with it upon embarkation from every port. Great idea! But it got to be a little tiresome when your hands are full and you need two hands to rub the stuff in. Oh well, it's better than having a ship full of sick people. The beds were super comfortable. Felt so good to sink into and feel the motion of the ocean lull you to sleep. The cabin had plenty of storage with space under the bed for the empty luggage. The bathrobes provided were super heavy. I could barely wear it without breaking a sweat. Need to provide something a little lighter for us lightweights! We used the free laundry machines about halfway through the cruise which turned out to be what everybody else had in mind. Need to plan that a little better next time. They had a guest hypnotist who was pretty average. They had a cellist perform and we really enjoyed him. The vocalist, Anne, who is married to the drum player in the band is so talented. Having free drinks is a nice feature to this cruise line. They offered different wines each day, so you had the opportunity to sample many wines from around the world. I only gained two pounds on this cruise because of the healthy choices that were always available. I only visited the gym once, but my husband frequented the gym and actually lost a few pounds on the cruise....guess I'm the one who found them! The Azamazing Evening in Ephesus was spendid! We sat in an ancient amphitheatre and listened to a stringed orchestra as the sun went down and the lights came on to illuminate the fantastic ruins of the ancient city. What an evening..I had a very hard time getting on the bus to go back to the ship. The thing I appreciated the most about this ship was the size. Because it is smaller, it can go to places off of the beaten path. I will surely book another cruise on Azamara in the future. It was pretty near PERFECT! Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
How can you not love Azamara? If you can afford it, just do it.  Sure it's not cheap, but (for us at least) even the MDR (I'm picking up cruise terminology!) was excellent, and a very good quality. The size of the ship meant we ... Read More
How can you not love Azamara? If you can afford it, just do it.  Sure it's not cheap, but (for us at least) even the MDR (I'm picking up cruise terminology!) was excellent, and a very good quality. The size of the ship meant we would see the same passengers, and crew, quite often, which was nice, but we could still get away and do our own thing if we wanted. The service was fabulous, and the crew went out of their way to please. As tips are already in the fare, that was a pleasant surprise. Captain Johannes was everywhere, we thought at one point he must be triplets, always with a smile and a fist-pump; Eric de Gray was often with him, (twins stick together), even early morning despite entertaining everyone until late each night. The cabins weren't big but perfectly fine, and well looked after, as were we. The shore visits, many by tender, were operated efficiently and we hardly ever had a wait. Being all inclusive, we weren't given the airport security ritual every time we returned to ship, just a smile, a "welcome home", and a cold bottle of water. As the title says, we've already booked a longer trip on Journey, Istanbul to Venice, a couple of years hence, and hope the same people are in charge when we go - can't wait to find out which is the "Azamazing evening". I'm going to guess Dubrovnik.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This is our 2nd cruise ever both on the Azamara Journey. The staff, food, boat is superb. What shocked me is how bad the Azamara evening in Crete was. To my understanding, this was the 2nd time Azamara had help this event in Crete. ... Read More
This is our 2nd cruise ever both on the Azamara Journey. The staff, food, boat is superb. What shocked me is how bad the Azamara evening in Crete was. To my understanding, this was the 2nd time Azamara had help this event in Crete. Logistics were poor as the first group of people were tendered in around 5pm and the last group which I was in was at 6:15pm. The food and show did not start till 6:30ish which meant everybody before use had to sit around on hard plastic chairs for 1.5 hours plus with nothing to do. The food was something that you would find in a cheap cafeteria. The wine was sitting on the table when we got there, and appeared to have been cooking under the sun for 1.5 hours, though one could really not call it wine as it smell more like paint thinner. The entertainers were very skilled dances, but I don't know how many times I can see one group of people go around in a circle on stage. Azamara said that if you confirmed that you were going and didn't show, you would be charged $150 each. I would have rather had $75 each and I could have had a much better time and dinner looking over the seaside. Sorry Azamara, you really need to rethink this one. Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
We have just finished our first ever cruise on the Azamara Journey and it was truly an amazing experience. Right from the very start where we were met outside the cruise terminal, it didn't take long for us to go through customs and ... Read More
We have just finished our first ever cruise on the Azamara Journey and it was truly an amazing experience. Right from the very start where we were met outside the cruise terminal, it didn't take long for us to go through customs and were on board with a glass of bubbly and lunch waiting. Our balcony cabin was spacious enough and although we didn't use our balcony a lot it was lovely to have. The service on board was outstanding, Raymond and Hilda who looked after our room were fantastic and on my husband birthday they had gone in and put balloons and a Happy Birthday banner up, a nice touch. The food on board was very good, we ate in the Window cafe for breakfast and lunch and the discovery restaurant for dinner where we had excellent food and service. The entertainment that we went to was very enjoyable. There is nothing that I can fault about the cruise and I look forward to doing another one. Thank you Azamara Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
My wife and I just got back from the 10/10/10 sailing of the Journey and I have to say that we had an amazing time. The ship size was perfect, suites were immaculate, and the staff was friendly (we wanted to adopt a few of them ;-) ). ... Read More
My wife and I just got back from the 10/10/10 sailing of the Journey and I have to say that we had an amazing time. The ship size was perfect, suites were immaculate, and the staff was friendly (we wanted to adopt a few of them ;-) ). The facilities on board were very good, particularly the spa and health club. Working out was a pleasure and the machines were very well maintained compared to on-shore fitness clubs. Check-in and check-out was very efficient and the handling of shore excursions was really great. At no time did I feel impatient to get off the ship nor did we have to wait very long to debark or for tendering. Up to this point, I give the ship 5 well earned stars. If I have one major gripe about the cruise is the kitchen. The presentation was very good, but the food preparation in the main and Aqualina restaurants left a whole lot to be desired. Inconsistency seemed to be the name of the game for those two. For Aqualina, my lamb came cold and then was reheated instead of being re-fired, lobster came overdone and underdone at the same service in Aqualina. For the main dining room, my wife was served raw salmon, and I had numerous issues with allergies. With regret, I have to fail the ship relating to food. If your goal is a truly exceptional fine dining experience, look elsewhere, like a restaurant. If you have allergies, as I do, you might want to consider another ship until improvements are made. Of the top 5 meals we had during the cruise, all of them were on-shore in family (4) and hotel (1) restaurants. The ships kitchen simply didn't do it for me. I had high hopes for this ship and if the food preparation processes had been up to a decent standard (as we experienced on Celebrity on the previous cruise), the experience would have been the best we ever had. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Our Azamara experience was quite good, and while we did experience some of the elements other cruisers had mentioned (the less positive aspects), overall we really enjoyed the cruise. First of all, we loved our cabin. While the cabin is ... Read More
Our Azamara experience was quite good, and while we did experience some of the elements other cruisers had mentioned (the less positive aspects), overall we really enjoyed the cruise. First of all, we loved our cabin. While the cabin is right below the dining room, we thought it had a perfect balcony, and we really enjoyed the size of the room. (Room 8070). The bathroom had plenty of space, and the bed was comfortable enough. The service on the ship was pretty good - absolutely loved the spa (definitely ask for Samantha if you're on the ship now - absolutely the best massage I've ever had). The service in the specialty restaurants was excellent - in the main dining room, somewhat spotty (by spotty, I mean that one time my husband didn't get what he ordered and another time we had to wait over 45 minutes for our entrees - and it wasn't that crowded, but other times, it was good. I will say one thing - if you point out an issue, they do jump on it right away. Our room attendant was outstanding, our butler was okay. The entertainment was pretty good (we didn't make all the shows, but the ones we did go to) - and the Cruise Director was really great. He's different from any other one we've had on any other cruise, but he was on one of our tours, and he was just a really nice guy - and really focused on helping all the passengers in any way he could. He was also a very talented performer (Eric DeGray). The enrichment presentations were pretty good - very knowledgeable speaker. Our tours - and we took mostly ship tours - were pretty good. They were long, and if I did this itinerary again, I might do it a bit differently.. We had one bad weather day (it was a Sea day), and I was quite seasick, but that is certainly not the cruise lines fault. The thing I really loved about this cruise (aside from our room), was the fact that since it was a smaller group of passengers, you really got to know a lot of them. It was really easy to meet people (starting with the Mix and Mingle), and that made this cruise really enjoyable - Very friendly group of passengers. Also, since the ship was a bit smaller, it was certainly easy to find your way around (our last cruise was the Oasis - so it was quite a bit different). While the ship was an older ship, it was very clean and well taken care of. It is time for new carpeting and some other updates, but what they had wasn't bad. The Mosaic Cafe had outstanding Cappucinos and Lattes - one of my favorite places to go, but the coffee in the dining room was not that great.... The food was good, and I really can't think of anything that I had that wasn't good..... My only negative comment on the entire cruise was communication - starting from booking the cruise, getting on the ship and communication throughout the cruise. In getting on the ship, they had a line specifically for Suite guests (we thought that was a good thing). Unfortunately, it was only one line, so people in the regular line had the option of going to about 10 agents, while the Suite guests only had 1 check-in person, and they seemed to be having system problems. Many, many people were checked in before us that arrived well after we did for getting signed in. Once signed in, you just walked on in, but it was a bit of a wait. Again - signage was not as strong as it could have been. During the cruise, they sometimes put out multiple letters on changes, and it did get confusing on which was the correct one, and several times you got the word about what was going on through the rumor mill versus from formal communication. I'm not sure if there was a staff change and they just hadn't figured out how to work together, but the quality of getting out information was the worst of any cruise I have been on. I liked this cruise, and might cruise this line again, but the service was not as good as I had heard it was - maybe my expectations were too high. I didn't expect it to be as good as Crystal, but I did expect it to be as good as on RCCL (Oasis) and Celebrity Summit - and it wasn't. Just somehow, it missed. A few people we met said that the service was better (on the same ship) before the tips were included, and it could be something that simple. So - I would cruise them again, but would look at all other options as well. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Comparisons with other cruises are always difficult to quantify accurately. Overall, this was a great vacation experience. The balcony room was just great, lots of room and kept immaculate by our attentive room staff. The food at ... Read More
Comparisons with other cruises are always difficult to quantify accurately. Overall, this was a great vacation experience. The balcony room was just great, lots of room and kept immaculate by our attentive room staff. The food at the three dining rooms was well done, but is not at the level experienced on Crystal Cruises. The casual eating places were full of variety and if you didn't like the food, there was something wrong with you because the range of choices were huge. The room service for breakfast arrived earlier than planned and that was great for the early morning departures that we had in some ports. We took only one shore excursion from the ship (Delos) and it was top notch and actually better than Crystal Cruise experiences. The spa and health facilities were perfectly matched to the guests needs. The food service staff was really good. The staff in every category of the ship's performance was excellent, except the bartenders would get a C minus for their skills. They were clumsy amatuers who barely knew how to handle mixing. Their handling of the bar suggested that they may have been from the maintenance department rather than a professional bartending background. We tried all the bars to find one that actually had a competent person and none were found. The guest services and concierge were good, except they did not know accurately at two ports whether or not there was a shuttle supplied by the ship. This was most disconcerting to be told that there was no shuttle only to find one was there when we departed the ship. That seems to be a weakness in their communications before and during the cruise. Whoever organizes the shuttles should get the word out earlier before the cruise and during the cruise. The officers of the ship were always around and frequently joining with the guests at meals. They were much more visible and accessible than the Crystal Cruise officers. This was a nice touch and provided a chance to learn more about the ship and life on the sea. It was billed as a casual cruise with no formal dress nights, but there are always a few people who have to strut around with diamond tiaras and designer suits just to make up for their insecurities. Everyone was welcome in all venues if they just wore casual. The captain had to make a difficult decision twice during the cruise. Once was holding the ship in port because some misbehaving and self-centered cruisers delayed the return of one of the land excursion buses by more than two hours. We thought he should have left the bus at Port Said to provide a lesson to the fools who thought their lifestyle more important that 600 other people. The other was changing ports when the seas and winds were too high to provide for safe anchoring at Sorrento. Both times he gave the ship a full explanation and was available for guests to approach him and the staff for needed clarification of the impact on the schedule. Overall, the Journey 10/10/10 cruise is a real good reason to select Azamara as your next cruise company - we will. Alexandria It was a surprisingly clean and modern city. It had it's old section as well. Lots of very interesting sites. Liked it more than Cairo. Naples Pig sty. Garbage everywhere. Sour people on the streets. Business owners were rude. Stay away. Jerusalem Wow, wow, wow What a place for a walking tour. We spent nine hours walking and had our feet not given out, we would have loved to go for more. Cairo If there were no Pyramids - I don't think they could draw one visitor. Crowded and chaotic - uncivilized. Mykonos Great place and the trip to Delos is awesome. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We have cruised "off and on" for the last 35 years but much more recently on Celebrity, RCCL, NCL, Oceania and now Azamara. We had a Sunset View Balcony at the front of the ship on Deck 7 - has the advantage of no cover over so ... Read More
We have cruised "off and on" for the last 35 years but much more recently on Celebrity, RCCL, NCL, Oceania and now Azamara. We had a Sunset View Balcony at the front of the ship on Deck 7 - has the advantage of no cover over so you can breakfast in the sun with room service. Great to see the crew at work on docking and leaving and first glimpses of a new port memorable. Bathrooms are small but adequate and there is enough cupboard space as on fly cruises 23kg of luggage is all you can take. There is an excellent self service laundromat on board with American washers and dryers but the ironing boards are a bit small!!The ship is extremely well maintained nothing "tacky" or too bright and the staff constantly cleaning. Santizing before all meals and reboarding was mandatory and a good thing too. Open Dining is a big plus as is not having to pack a dinner jacket for formal nights The staff were excellent and after four days the maitre'd of Discovery dining room knew our name and room number! Nathan in the Martini bar, on my second visit, said "your usual sir!" Food first class and Aqualina is certainly to the same standard as Michelin star restaurants in London. Downsides - Brits are a bit aghast at 18% service charge on all drinks and the bar prices are quite high. As there is open dining $12.25 per person per night for gratuities is added to accounts to cover all staff. Shore excursions are very expensive and there is either $10 or $15 for the shuttle bus into town. The internet is a better source for much cheaper shore excursions and with perhaps 6 people joining up through Cruise Critic get much more individual attention and not hanging around for someone on a coach load of 50 people who has disappeard at the last minute to use the toilet. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Azamara Journey - Southeastern Mediterranean (October 11, 2009 - October 25, 2009) "The Pursuit of Excellence" Reflecting on the voyage, I would characterize the ethos of the ship's officers, staff, and crew as ... Read More
Azamara Journey - Southeastern Mediterranean (October 11, 2009 - October 25, 2009) "The Pursuit of Excellence" Reflecting on the voyage, I would characterize the ethos of the ship's officers, staff, and crew as having a focus on this motivation by demonstrated behavior and actions. For the record, we are in no way connected to the cruise company or any travel business - we are experienced cruisers - on the Azamara Journey and mostly on Celebrity ships but also with Royal Caribbean and Holland America. Now, on to some specific observations and reflections: Azamara - The Product is Cruise Experiences - the Strength is its People After completing our second voyage on the Azamara Journey, our conclusion is that we had two outstanding cruise experiences due to the wonderful people who serve on this ship. This time, the top leadership setting a tone of excellence were Captain Georgios Theodorou, Staff Captain Manos Aposkitis, Hotel Director Heike Cramer, and Food and Beverage Manager Ryszard Gusmann, It can be said that all the crew and staff 'have got it' - they consistently provide great customer service with a smile and go out of their way to please and 'do what needs to be done and do it well'. It was especially heartwarming to renew the friendships with many of the staff whom we had met on previous voyages. Embarkation and Sailing The embarkation process at the port of Piraeus was terribly delayed by the Port's Government officer responsible for passport control. He took 'his sweet time' to get into his station, simply to demonstrate that 'all were beholden to him' - how frustrating for the ship's management who were ready to receive passengers on board but couldn't proceed with the embarkation. The Onboard Experience Eating/Dining Having dined at Three-Star Michelin restaurants in Europe and at other fine dining establishments, leads one to have certain perspectives and expectations with respect to dining out. On the other hand, it is important to keep situations and circumstances in perspective, when it comes to eating and dining at sea. Based on our experience on the Azamara Journey, execution in everyday details is guided and exemplified by great leadership - service with excellence is provided under the direction of Heike Cramer (Hotel Director), assisted by Food and Beverage Manager, Ryszard and his team. The leadership is constantly practicing MBWA—Management By Walking Around, checking and correcting and perfecting. It is indeed a great pleasure to eat and dine great food selections beautifully presented, in a variety of settings: 'Open Seating' main dining in Discoveries Dining Room, various daily buffet selections in Windows Cafe, and the upscale Specialty Dining Restaurants (Aqualina and Prime C). Some special features to be highlighted are the Sushi Bar, the fresh juice and smoothie bar, very good selections of appetizers, main course dishes, and a fabulous baking and dessert presentation. Evening dinners in the Dining Room were always a wonderful experience - being welcomed with a friendly greeting by Maitre'd Moustafa - having great food with great presentation served by several outstanding waiters, Mario, Darren, Philbert. Everyone, at every level, is tuned to providing excellent service with attention to details - the prevailing attitude is 'listening and following up' on any suggestions that are provided. Serving staff and all ship service personnel always greet cruisers in friendly ways and offer assistance at every turn. Stateroom and Service On the R-8 Class of ships, a long voyage is much more comfortable in one of the Sky Suites - more space in every sense - a large amount of storage space, a larger bathroom with a bathtub/shower, excellent products (Elemis) - really a nice way to 'clean up' and perform the 'beautification routines'. The towels are nice and thick and very absorbent and the bedding is great. How were we looked after by our stateroom attendants (butler and assistant)? Let's say it straight - "the team of Arvind, Alvin, and Kevin were terrific". We don't look to a butler to unpack or pack but we expect service with excellence and that is what it has been. These guys aimed to please in every way: extra champagne glasses and a cheese tray and a plate of prawns to host some guests were delivered; soiled shoes after visiting Egyptian cities were cleaned in short order; any small requests were looked after expeditiously - all in all, the stateroom service team performed very well and showed great disposition. Entertainment and Programming The efforts of Cruise Director Tony Markey are recognized. Although the stage entertainment was not always to our liking (obviously, a subjective assessment), we appreciated the high quality of classical and vocal talent being featured. Some of the social gathering areas like the Cova Cafe and the entrance area to the Main Dining Room, became very popular whenever the pianist and harpist performed. Other Amenities Thalassotherapy Pool at the front of the ship, accessed from the Spa area, is overpriced. The T-Pool is fine but not nearly as wonderful as in other Celebrity ships (disregarding the size aspect) - the seating rails are not a comfortable configuration. The Steam rooms (male and female rooms) are really good - marble benches and good space for six people of so. The ship's Internet Communication Service needs to be significantly improved - it works with one of the worst Login and Time-tracking scripts I have experienced on ships. Guest Relations is blessed with some wonderful people with great disposition and patience - Yasemin deserves special mention. Ports and Tours This southeastern Mediterranean cruise was a very port-intensive voyage with extensive tour packages offered. Orientations to ports and tours were provided by the Shore Excursions Director and the outstanding and highly stimulating onboard Destination Lecturer, Jon Fleming. Overall - this was an outstanding cruise experience - reassuring us, that Azamara is continuing its 'pursuit of perfection'. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Azamara Journey Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 1.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.3

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