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6 Azamara Auckland Cruise Reviews

This was our 4th Azamara cruise and our third on the Journey. In the past, we liked Azamara because of the small size of the boat, food and service. With 690 passengers, you never feel like you're being herded around. You will get ... Read More
This was our 4th Azamara cruise and our third on the Journey. In the past, we liked Azamara because of the small size of the boat, food and service. With 690 passengers, you never feel like you're being herded around. You will get to know a lot of our fellow passengers. Most, like us, are in their 60s and 70s and seasoned travelers. But, our tastes have changed. The veranda cabins are too small. This is an old boat. Refurbished, but not to modern standards. What was telling were Captain Johannes' comments in a Q&A on one of the last days. He likes the small boats, but he wishes the company would build new boats to compete with the competition. Frankly, we would be happier with veranda rooms with either Oceania or Regent (on their smaller ships). Johannes is an interesting guy - very personable, a sense of humor, and he is visible a lot. Something you will not find on larger boats. We found the service to be first rate as before. We found the food to be a cut below what we experienced before. We had the standard drink package. Two white wines and two red wines each day. Not enough variety, but that was OK. Beer and liquor was OK. Dining - Waves is the buffet and you can always find something there you will like. The Sunset Bar is next to it on the back of the boat and nice to have drinks and/or dinner there when pulling out of a harbor. - Discoveries is the MDR and it was a mixed bag. Two thirds of our main courses were good, the others not. Only half of the appetizers were good. New Zealand - This is the most beautiful place on earth: great ports, uncrowded, wonderful beaches, great small port towns, friendly people, and great weather. Go there if you can! A Little New Zealand History - Nothing to do with Australia, which is 1500 miles away. It was formed by volcanoes - it's in the Pacific ring of fire. Still lots of active volcanoes, like While Island which blew up recently. Australia was populated by Asians 50,000 years ago. New Zealand was inhabited 800-1000 years ago by Polynesians. Our Cabin - We booked cabin 7000 which is a standard sized veranda room, but right in the front of the boat. We thought it would be cool to see 180o coming into port. It was, especially coming into Sydney. Downside is that you get more ship movement than mid-ships. Don't bother if you get seasick. We don't and use patches and were OK. Enrichment Lectures - We were disappointed. Not enough and not the best quality. We had two special interest groups on the boat. One was a golfing group run by Perry Golf. They got six rounds in. The other was a wine group which had multiple visits to NZ vineyards. Ports Of Call - Supposed to hit about ten stops in NZ, then two nights in Tazmania, and end in Sydney. A cyclone prevented us from going around the fjords at the southern tip and stopping in Tazmania. Nothing you can do about that. Auckland - We came in two days early and toured the city. Lovely harbors with restaurants (try "Soul", and make reservations), marinas, and museums. Be sure to visit the Maritime Museum and the Auckland War Memorial and Museum. Auckland downtown is mass construction - subway and new buildings. Hard to get around. The Skytower is worth a visit. All the towns we stopped at had wonderful parks by the ocean. Clean and beautiful. And, restrooms all over the place. Nice. People are friendly. Hardly a smoker in sight. We never used NZ or AU cash - just credit cards. This idea that the Journey is a small boat and it can literally dock downtown wasn't true for this cruise. We docked in commercial ports, most with security, with a 10-30 minute shuttle to the town center - where there was always an info center with helpful people. Tauranga - We took a six hour van excursion to see a kiwi fruit farm and Te Puia where we saw the Pohutu geyser, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere as part of this geothermal area. Followed by the Maori Maka dance. Worth a trip. Napier - Took the shuttle into town and walked 20 min to the aquarium. A waste of time. But, a nice day. Wellington - Took the shuttle into town and toured the Te Papa museum. Very good. Picton - Walked to town. Nice shops and restaurants. Had lunch at local bar. Found some reasonably priced shirts and tee shirts. There was a ferry arriving when we walked from the ship. Fifty + people took the ferry into Picton and rented cars to take off into the mountains. Christchurch - This town was damaged by two earthquakes ten years ago and you can still see open lots and rubble. We took the shuttle and walked to the botanical gardens - worth the trip. Dunedin - Took the Taieri Gorge train into the mountains to see old mining areas. Also saw large lumber areas. Akora - Headed back north and stopped at Akora. Stayed on the ship. Kaikoura- Took the shuttle into a very nice town. Worth a trip. New Plymouth - Our ship excursion was cancelled after waiting an hour. Took the shuttle to town. Nice museum, but I had seen too many at that point. Town not that interesting. Sea Days - two to Sydney. Weather was rough. We had patches and were OK. BTW, you cannot buy patches in Australia. Sydney - We sailed in around 8am. We had breakfast in the room and a beautiful view of the harbor, the opera house, and the bridge. Docked about 15 minutes from downtown. Immigration came aboard. Took about ten minutes. We disembarked the next day - a piece of cake. The ship had an optional tour of Sydney - saw many neighborhoods, the opera house, and Bondi beach. Were dropped off near our hotel. We stayed four days in Sydney. It's a beautiful city with bays, tourist areas, vibrant downtown, and lots of traffic. Worth seeing are: - Bondi beach - Sydney bridge - you can walk across the arch! - Opera house (get a tour) - Sydney Wildlife Zoo (check the talk schedule) - Maritime museum - Skytower - Darling Harbor Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose Azamara and this itinerary based on the recommendation of friends who did it a couple of years. ago. We too weren't notified of the change of embarkation point, but noticed the ship in the "wrong port" the night ... Read More
We chose Azamara and this itinerary based on the recommendation of friends who did it a couple of years. ago. We too weren't notified of the change of embarkation point, but noticed the ship in the "wrong port" the night before from the roof top bar of our hotel. Sailing on smaller ships is a great experience. More attention from crew and an altogether sense of community familiarity that just happens among the passengers. We had a balcony room, midship on the deck 6. It was very comfortable and the small shower was adequate. Because of weather or just being out and about we really didn't use the balcony much but it was nice to have. The crew was always attentive, the entertainment very, very good, and most meals were well prepared. However more attention should be given to timing and suggestions as when to eat in the dining rooms if you want to make a show. Any time after 7.15pm creates a rush. Prime C was a disappointment, the food was just ok, the service slow and the room needs to be refurbished. Aqualina though did not disappoint. My only other comment on the food was that there way too much. Something was always there, available and too inviting. We did several exercise classes. More thought needs to given to the space required as many were popular and people couldn't participate. However they were advertised as 45 minutes, but most were barely 30. The Amazing Evening in Melbourne was in a beautiful recital hall with a performance by a top Australian vocal artist. Very enjoyable. The White Night was well done, the production performers professional and personable. Dancing in the Living Room to the Sound Sensations became a nightly destination for us. The crossing to New Zealand was a day and a half of rough seas, but part of cruising. But we found there were too many sea days, especially when they were back to back. All the ports provided something to do, some more that others. Napier was special and unique with its art deco architecture. We don't do cruise sponsored shore excursions. We find better value and choice is always available at the port. Cruise lines ask you think about the environment when using towels, etc, but they don't do anything about the amount of newsletters, brochures, invitations and sale announcements they produce. There must be better and more efficient ways to communicate to your guests and cut down on paper useage. It was ridiculous on this cruise. Overall, there is no reason not to consider Azamara for fun and enjoyable experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Itinerary is what counts and long port stays as well as Quest being a ship we sailed on previously. We love overnights in port so we have longer time in port. We use our ship as a hotel. We don't really care about casinos, shopping ... Read More
Itinerary is what counts and long port stays as well as Quest being a ship we sailed on previously. We love overnights in port so we have longer time in port. We use our ship as a hotel. We don't really care about casinos, shopping or entertainment on board. I want a lovely cabin, great bed and nice common areas. Having said that, the Quest is in need of an overhaul. I was shocked at the condition of our bathroom- its was a bit gross with putty in the bottom of the shower. Wallpaper in the shower??? Not a great idea. the good news- it is going to drydock after the cruise following our departure in Cairns- after it docks in Singapore and it needs it. My only complaint about the service was in the dining room and the buffet in the am- I had to beg for coffee refills and for water!!! Its hot in australia and I don't think on a ship the caliber of Quest I should have to run after waiters to get water or coffee. Otherwise, the service was great. Clearly there were newbees onboard in both areas that did not speak English very well and struggled in that regard. They frequently smiled, said yes and disappeared never to bring what I had asked for. And that is literally the worst thing that happened over the 29 days. Otherwise, the service is impeccable, attentive and the folks on board we traveled with were delightful. I had a really great time and I will say- we have already booked our next 30 days B2B cruise. It will be on Quest- I hope the refurb is still intact when we sail again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
I was looking for a small ship cruise that would not have children dominating the pool and amenities so my Travel Agent recommended Azamara. Overall my wife and I enjoyed our NZ cruise very much, with superb service, unlimited cabin ... Read More
I was looking for a small ship cruise that would not have children dominating the pool and amenities so my Travel Agent recommended Azamara. Overall my wife and I enjoyed our NZ cruise very much, with superb service, unlimited cabin service, wonderful dining and a quiet veranda cabin we were set. On the down side the bathroom was too small for us and the balcony tight without room for a recliner couch. The ship had gone through a major refurbishment in 2016 (I think) so was immaculate. I would recommend upgrading to a better drinks package if you are a scotch drinker for instance. The basic beer and spirits are as described, very basic with only a choice of two beers. The pool and spa were wonderful with constant waiter service. I cannot express strongly enough the wonderful well trained staff on the Azamara Journey. My wife is sight impaired so her escort by a happy smiling staff member to dinner was always a treat. My only real complaint is the ship does not sell DUTY FREE liquour so buy your booze at the airport during transit or you will be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This was our first ever cruise having been well seasoned land travellers and also having visited New Zealand some years back this was a good place to start. it was also pointed out by fellow passengers that we had chosen well for our ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise having been well seasoned land travellers and also having visited New Zealand some years back this was a good place to start. it was also pointed out by fellow passengers that we had chosen well for our first cruise. We agree! Embarkation procedures in Auckland went smoothly, just the usual form filling. Once on board we went up to Windows cafe for some lunch while rooms were being made ready. It was very busy as to be expected. We were seated next to a lovely Canadian couple who gave us the low down on cruising. Off to our state room which had a verandah and we were very surprised. We had read many reviews and were a little apprehensive, but the room was bigger than I expected. The bathroom was much as expected but me being small I was happy, hubby however had other thoughts. Yes, the bathrooms are small. Plenty of wardrobe space with loads of hangers. Richard and Denis our state room attendants were marvellous and kept our room clean and tidy and it was always made up by the time we got back from breakfast. The food in Discoveries was good and the wait staff were wonderful always smiling and friendly. We ate in Prime C once and Aqualina twice, to be honest I wish it had been the other way around. Aqualina was nothing special regarding food infact Discoveries was much better. The ship had a very happy atmosphere about it, fellow passengers were helpful with tips for future cruises. The main gripe about our cruise was lack of free Wifi, while in port this could have been provided. It was quite noticeable the number of people getting off the ship at various ports heading into town to get free Wifi access. For all inclusive it should be possible to be able to check a few emails. Shore excursions seemed overly expensive. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
My husband and I just returned from 13 day itinerary New Zealand and Sydney, Australia. We loved the more intimate smaller cruise, enjoying the ship, getting on and off, longer port days all pluses with less passengers. The staff were all ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from 13 day itinerary New Zealand and Sydney, Australia. We loved the more intimate smaller cruise, enjoying the ship, getting on and off, longer port days all pluses with less passengers. The staff were all very accommodating, and kept all public areas and our room extremely clean. The specialty restaurants had more interesting choices, and executed miles above the main dining room. There were always choices for breakfast and lunch, and the grill available in the afternoon worked well for us, especially after returning from tours. It was a shame that our cruise was one of the last before going in to be updated. Luck of booking when we did. I usually book my tour excursions privately and have always found doing it this way saves substantial money. We did use the cruise tour in one port and it was very good, small number of other passengers, great guides. We would definitely book again with Azamara but only if the itinerary interested us. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
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