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