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12 Azamara Fitness Cruise Reviews

The shame of P&O's fleet, the Adonia, returns from dry dock transformed into the luxury, five star, country house hotel experience aka The Pursuit. What are the chances of that happening? What a load of old blether. The cabin ... Read More
The shame of P&O's fleet, the Adonia, returns from dry dock transformed into the luxury, five star, country house hotel experience aka The Pursuit. What are the chances of that happening? What a load of old blether. The cabin was hideously dusty, the 'bathroom' cramped and badly designed, and the first time since the Heysham ferry I've hated the way a ship performed in slight 'weather'. This from someone who's felt perfectly fine going through a hurricane with 100ft waves in the QEII. Stick a funnel on a margarine tub and you get the picture. I feel thoroughly ripped off. Never having used Azamara before (we're itinerary driven cruisers) we asked other passengers was this the usual Azamara experience? All said a resounding 'no' and 'that the service was way below par'. We met a couple who'd been on the Adonia just before Azamara took her over and said there was little difference save a coat or two of paint! I accept this was only the second voyage for the ship but the crew really need better training. Having young officers openly mocking passengers whilst using the dining facilities is frankly appalling. On seeing an overweight disabled passenger one young officer shouted out 'I can see a whale' as the poor soul struggled past. Shame! Worse still the senior officer present didn't rebuke them. The Captain really has to take responsibility for this. I don't don't want a big 'happy family' of a crew I want a well-structured/disciplined professional framework of command and leave the jokes to the Cruise Director (who incidently was the best thing on the ship). Incidentally first time a ship's crew have tried to alter reality to cover their failings. Howsabout admitting fault, apologising, and try to do better? You will get caught out otherwise. I will never use Azamara again. Emperor's New Clothes Outfit. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise ship on the advice of our travel agent. It was amazing! We chose to spend one day in port on the ship, we planned a couple of excursions on our own through Viator, a couple of transfers through Azamara and one on our ... Read More
We chose this cruise ship on the advice of our travel agent. It was amazing! We chose to spend one day in port on the ship, we planned a couple of excursions on our own through Viator, a couple of transfers through Azamara and one on our own. Everything went perfectly! The one "excursion" that we planned on our own was the Great Italy Tour of the Bocelli Winery and restaurant. Here is the link: https://greatitalytour.com I cannot recommend this tour enough! It was the most incredible and personal day ever! From the first time I reached out to them, to the pickup at the port, touring the countryside, the food and wine and the best driver and tour guide EVER, this was the best excursion we have ever been on in all of our travels. This was the most expensive of the excursions that we planned and almost considered not booking it but, on the recommendation of a friend, we did and are so glad we made that decision. My advice: Spend the money and cut back somewhere else if need be. It's that good! Now, the cruise: The staff of this particular cruise went above and beyond at every turn, the ship is beautifully decorated and we loved that this cruise was all inclusive; beverages, food and gratuities. I honestly don't know how anything could have been better on this ship. It was a perfect holiday! Highly recommend! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
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
This was our first cruise so I must start out by saying that I have no point of comparison. We had been hesitant to go on a cruise but were advised to stick to small luxury ships and the Azamara Quest is in this category. We just loved ... Read More
This was our first cruise so I must start out by saying that I have no point of comparison. We had been hesitant to go on a cruise but were advised to stick to small luxury ships and the Azamara Quest is in this category. We just loved this cruise. Everything worked like clockwork and the staff were fabulous. Our cabin was small but this is the standard size for this ship and it worked. The bed was really comfortable and there was plenty of storage room, wardrobe space and cupboards and drawers in the room to stow all our gear with room to spare. We dined at both Prime C and Acquilina twice. They were great with superb food. We also enjoyed the BBQ events on the ship - the staff did a fantastic job. We also enjoyed the White Night evening. To give you an example of the attention to detail on this ship, as we sailed into Venice at 11am and a lot of us were out on deck to watch the spectacle, the staff were ready with bellinis and mini pizzas. This crew and ship have thought of everything. This is just one small example of the level of service and planning that goes into making the cruise such an enjoyable experience. We stuck with the standard alcohol offerings that were included with our fare and they were adequate for our needs. Each day there were 2 red wine, 2 white wines, 1 sparkling wine and one 1 rose wine on offer together with standard beers and spirits. The average age on the ship was quoted at 55 to 57 (and we fit right into that category), however, I would have put it at slightly older for our cruise. There were a few children on board, but not many. This is more a couples cruise. There was a good mix of Americans, Brits, Australians and Canadians onboard - being the main audience for this cruise. All in all, a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We have cruised well over 30 times and this was one of the best experiences ever! It started with Captain Carl Smith. He was so wonderful and full of personality. The crew was exceptional and what's best of all, no samm annoying ... Read More
We have cruised well over 30 times and this was one of the best experiences ever! It started with Captain Carl Smith. He was so wonderful and full of personality. The crew was exceptional and what's best of all, no samm annoying fee's for every liquid beverage. That's right! Drinks and gratuities were not billed separately. The shows, crew and size of the ship was perfect for us! The selection of ports of calls was a perfect pick. Embarkation was the quickest we have ever seen. No long lines getting on and off of the vessel. The food was of great quality and offered a variety of local dishes which is a great way to live local. Rather you are a first time traveler ( we sailed with a couple who enjoyed their first) or a seasoned professional ( as we like to think we are) Azamara is a great choice. Bill and Gladys Mercurio Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I am 25 yr old, traveling alone, and on my first ever cruise. Couldn't have been more impressed with the Azamara Journey. There isn't one single category (crew, amenities, food, security, rooms, atmosphere, activities, land ... Read More
I am 25 yr old, traveling alone, and on my first ever cruise. Couldn't have been more impressed with the Azamara Journey. There isn't one single category (crew, amenities, food, security, rooms, atmosphere, activities, land excursions, etc.) that I can criticize. I was the youngest solo traveler on the ship but was far from forgotten! The crew took time to get to know me and it wasn't long before I was being called by name everywhere I went and they had my food/drink preferences down. There was a large variety of land excursions at each port, and a lot of activities put together by Taylor (activities manager) for those remaining on the ship. Entertainment on the ship was excellent! Eric (cruise director) is VERY GOOD at what he does. The ship's officers, including Captain Johannes, were out and about getting to know the guests which, to me, is very important. The food was outstanding on all levels, from snacks in the cafes, the buffet, and all the way up to fine dining in Prime C and Aqualina. Cleanliness and presentation of the facilities and staterooms was excellent. All in all, Azamara blew me away. I did zero research on the ship before booking this cruise, but from here on out Azamara is the only ship I will choose. Every guest I met on the ship were all experienced cruisers and said Azamara is by far the best. Already booked my next cruise for November on Azamara Journey! Cheers! :) Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our 20th cruise, but the 1st with Azamara. It will be hard to go back to any other cruise line after our Christmas 2013 experience on the Quest. The service is superb; the staff are friendly but unobtrusive; the food was fabulous. ... Read More
This was our 20th cruise, but the 1st with Azamara. It will be hard to go back to any other cruise line after our Christmas 2013 experience on the Quest. The service is superb; the staff are friendly but unobtrusive; the food was fabulous. We hated to see the trip end. The cabin was quiet with no vibration. Location was ideal: near the bow stairway/elevators. Balcony is lovely with an unobstructed view. Near the self-service laundry, although we never heard or saw this facility. Lots of storage space for two people. Bathroom is smallish, but no smaller than on many other ships. Lots of bathroom storage. Luggage easily fit under bed. Tons of hangers provided. Embarkation was fast and easy, as was the debarkation process. Whenever we had a question about *anything* on the ship, there was a rapid, very helpful, very satisfactory response. Our Azamazing Evening was moved from Blackbeard's Castle to the Quest pool deck. We received lots of advance information about this and the ship outdid itself in presenting a fantastic evening on board. We loved the food, the costumes, and the entertainment. The ship's staff, from the captain to every member of the crew, contributed to making this a very memorable event. The ship outdoes itself where communication is concerned: notices on the TV, printed careds on the bed at night, reminders in the "Pursuits" paper, and verbal reminders from cabin stewards and waitstaff. We loved that there are very few public announcements on this ship! No annoying reminders about bingo, art auctions, or other entertainments.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Our last two cruises were on crystal cruises which we thoroughly enjoyed, but we wanted a different type of cruising experience for our Asian cruise. We took a chance and booked with azamara club cruises on the Journey for a 14 day trip ... Read More
Our last two cruises were on crystal cruises which we thoroughly enjoyed, but we wanted a different type of cruising experience for our Asian cruise. We took a chance and booked with azamara club cruises on the Journey for a 14 day trip from Hong Kong to Beiijing. This ship is smaller (can navigate down smaller waterways and dock in the cities), there was no tendering at any ports. There are no formal nights on this cruise line so no need to pack extravagant evening wear even though I love to wear really nice outfits, I prefer to decide on my own when I want to wear them. Also prefer nice pants and jackets versus cocktail dresses or gowns. Another pleasant aspect of their cruising style is the dining - everyone can go to the main dining room whenever they want. If you prefer a table for two and one is not available they may ask you to wait but not for very long and time can be spent having a cocktail. They always ask if you would mind sharing a table and many enjoyable dinners were had with different cruisers. We booked into a suite( first time for us) and this gave us much more space. The passengers booked into the suites also received quite a few extracts such as free dining at the two specialty restaurants which were very good and one could make a set reservation. You also had the services of Ronald our butler and he was very helpful in making reservations. The people who worked on the cruise were such a pleasure (waiters, waitress, cabin stewards etc.). I have been on many cruises and these were the friendliest people and seemed to actually enjoy their job.. All gratuities were included but we gave extra to all who assisted us in making our trip a success. The cruise director Eric was a true gem-charming personality, honest, and a great entertainer(he sang and danced in the shows). The captain was very skilled and kept us informed through thick and thin (few rough seas). My only complaints(just so you know) is that the furniture, closets, bathroom etc in the staterooms is a little dated. Not shabby but old -closet doors are creaking and bang. Staterooms are a little dark and could use a spruce up. The beds were super comfy. The food was very good and the specialty restaurants excellent. My husband loves breakfast and said the best breakfast ever on a ship. The shore excursions were good but could use a little tweaking. The guides in all ports ( china and Japan) were totally charming and had very good English. The lecturer on the ship was a great speaker and very informative. We spent four days at the end of our trip in beiijing and had a great time( booked a private tour group called Catherine Lu tours and stayed at the Regent hotel. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We booked our cruise/tour which included two nights in Rome. We were picked up at our hotel and driven to the port. Embarkation was very fast and our luggage nearly got to our cabin before we did. At first glance the ship was on the ... Read More
We booked our cruise/tour which included two nights in Rome. We were picked up at our hotel and driven to the port. Embarkation was very fast and our luggage nearly got to our cabin before we did. At first glance the ship was on the smallish side. The public rooms were adequate but you must remember the Quest only has 694 passengers and this was a very small ship compared to the mega ships now sailing. We had a Veranda cabin and it was very compact and everything seemed to fit into every nook and cranny of the cabin. The bathroom was very small and standard but was very functional. The very over sized towels were too large for the smallish bathroom and the tiny hooks on the door. Hooks were changed during the middle of the cruise to accommodate the large towels. The Fitness Center was excellent and there were seldom anybody using the machines and the steam room in the morning was always empty. Staff were very pleasant and made you feel like a real guest. The enrichment program was available but was not not well attended due to the below average quality of the speakers. The food was above average in the main dining room and exception in Prime and Aqualina. Service in the main dining room was very, very slow. Each meal there took an average of two and one half hours to complete. Management needs to address the potential problem. Entertainment was above average with Sue the cruise director being a ball of fire and getting things going. Eric, Brook, and Lindsay were very good performers and keep the older than average crowd entertained. The Five Azamara Singers and Dancers should be let off at the next port of call because they were very marginal. Hope they had other day jobs on this cruise!!! Jim the lounge piano player was very entertaining and a pleasure to watch. Service was by far the best I've had on any cruise line. Staff called you by name after meeting you only once. They continue to amaze me with their positive attitudes and willingness to service. Maria the Bar Waitress worked at least five different venues and always had a smile on her face. I would rate the shore excursions the weakest part of this cruise experience. All the tours were very expensive and the main focus was to take you to hard sell carpet shops and papyrus factories. The shore excursion team was lacking in communication skills. I went to a presentation by Juan and he was very difficult to understand and did not have the breath of knowledge of the ports of call. Through Cruise Critics we books most of tours at one half to one third the price and saw what we wanted with no hard sells. On other ports you can easily negotiate with the local Taxi Drivers to see all the local sites. In Fethiye we had a five hour tour which included most the major site plus a home visit to the Taxi Drivers home for Coffee and Fruit. The cost was $30 per couple!!! The Tourist Board person at each port provided by the Government was most helpful and provided great maps and local information. The senior staff was very visible through out the cruise. Captain Leif was always on shore, in the dining areas, and very easy to talk with. Captains on other ships I've sailed on were just a figment of my imagination. The Captain's Club Loyalty Program which was associated with Celebrity Cruise is not worth joining. As a member I got a coupon for $5.00 our my laundry. With this five dollars I could clean two pair of underwear. I also got a coupon for 10 minutes of free Internet if I bought a package. And packages for the Internet were NOT cheap. It would be best to do your Internet on shore because it is 2000% cheaper. I read tonight where Azamra is beginning a new program where water, wine, and other drinks will be available free of charge on all future cruises. I know they are trying to break away from the Celebrity Brand/Stigma to create there own loyalty program. Overall I would consider this one of the best cruise experiences I've every had. Great ship, above average food, great ports of call, and Exceptional Staff. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
I learned about Cruise Critic on the Journey, and this is my first review.  I've sailed on 16 cruises previously, including 5 cruise lines Azamara was our 6th.Let me say first we loved Azamara the people are very friendly, and the ... Read More
I learned about Cruise Critic on the Journey, and this is my first review.  I've sailed on 16 cruises previously, including 5 cruise lines Azamara was our 6th.Let me say first we loved Azamara the people are very friendly, and the crew goes out of the way to rectify any complaints.  There are lots of little touches to make the cruise memorable ie hot chocolate, bouillon, and yes, hot wine (chef's personal recipe and WONDERFUL), at the gangway upon return to the ship; an American coffee/expresso machine to avoid nasty shipboard coffee, soft pretzels, a dinner buffet at the pool deck! They even issued a mid-cruise critique specifically for the ship managers so they could identify/resolved problem areas quickly.  The itinerary was unique (our reason for the cruise), and we love small ships.  My reason for the review is that I understand Azamara is categorized as a "deluxe" cruise ship.  My question is why?  I've cruised several of the mass consumer lines (Princess, Celebrity, Royal Carribean) on multiple cruises each, as well as luxury lines Regent and Silverseas.  Azamara is positioning itself between these two markets so I expected an "upgrade" in some things, but not to the luxury level. In 12 days I didn't see anything that would put it in that category, except possibly more attention to passenger issues, but frankly, it's more like a return to what cruising "used" to be before all the lines got excited about 2000+ passenger ships, and the overall quality in all lines went down.  Is that alone enough to qualify as deluxe?  Or is it just claiming it's a small ship with friendly people?  Is that enough?Examples:a.  I still had to pay for water, soda, and even some non-alcoholic coffee drinks (at the coffee bar).  This I really expected to be included as part of my "deluxe" cruise.b.  The ship automatically charges your bill for tipping (at 18%).  So why do they then have another line on every bill for "additional tip?"  We questioned that, and they said it's primarily for people who patronize the same bar waiters and want to leave something special.  To me it's TACKY.  It suggests that passengers "forget" they've already paid for tipping and pay more; however, if I want to give someone a special tip, I don't need a line on a bill to remind me (and we did give a few select people additional tips at the end of the cruise).  Worse, we had great service from a restaurant waiter one evening UNTIL we didn't put a tip on the additional tip line after ordering 2 bottles of wine when we paid at the end of dinner.  We had liked him and requested his table the next night, but he pointedly ignored us!  I believe that proves my point.  And we raised the issue with the ship, and at least the bar/restaurant manage seemed to understand.  But obviously this is a corporate issue.c.  Each stateroom has a "butler."  Really?  Seemed like they changed the name, with no difference in service.  In fact, I didn't see my "butler" for the first 2 days of the cruise, yet they promote butlers as unpacking for you! (Not that I would want that).  He also failed to resupply our inroom refrigerator twice (we only used it 3x).  Having said that, our "butler" was generally responsive to our requests, but no more so than the "cabin steward" of old.  d.  I've experienced true butler service on both Princess (mass consumer) and Regent (luxury).  In BOTH cases we received appetizers every evening before meals whether or not we asked for them, or we were in our stateroom.  Azamara publishes these appetizers as part of my "deluxe" cruise and presumably I've paid for them, yet while they were available, they asked you EVERY DAY to fill out a form requesting the appetizer, AND required you to commit to being in your room for at least 30 minutes because you had to be there to receive it!!  In short, it's an obvious ploy to claim a service that's rarely rendered because most passengers prefer to be on shore excursions, or playing bingo, trivia, listening to music, losing money in the casino, etc things that the ship should encourage since a passenger in a stateroom is rarely expending money.  So, either they need to commit to providing the appetizers, or eliminate them.  The current way it's offered, with all the qualifications, makes it more offensive than pleasing.  Obviously another corporate issue.e.  The cabin size is outrageous for a "deluxe" cruise.  It's the smallest I've had on ANY ship, and the bathroom can barely hold one person at a time.  The shower is more triangle-shaped, and unless you're a small person, it can be difficult to maneuver in.  But we adapt, and that's the ship.  So in my husband's and my opinion, this is "just" a small Celebrity ship, which has a different name to separate it because of the smaller size.  It's fun, friendly, and definitely worth cruising.  The special touches make an impression.  But just know when you take it that perhaps it's not as "deluxe" as you might expect. Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
Our traveling party consisting of two couples arrived at the dock just a few hours before departure.    By the time we arrived the long lines were gone, we sailed through the check-in process that sometimes can be an anxious time for ... Read More
Our traveling party consisting of two couples arrived at the dock just a few hours before departure.    By the time we arrived the long lines were gone, we sailed through the check-in process that sometimes can be an anxious time for folks pushing to get to the first buffet, or grab the best sun chair on deck.  The four of us are in early 40s, and we were some of the youngest bunch aboard.  Though we have sailed numerous cruise lines like Celebrity, Windstar, and Norwegian in the past, we thought that Azamara might be the right combination of "free-style" atmosphere, the benefits of great food and luxury on board.   This was our first room with a veranda.  It was a nice place to sit down with a hot cup of coffee to start your adventurous day on land.  The rooms were well appointed, and all the amenities were in place, including plush bathrobes and slippers.  The rooms were clean, and items like soap and towels were replaced promptly.  Staff were friendly, there were many opportunities to overindulge in the many fine food selections throughout the day.  So, we made several trips to the gym to work off the second and/or third dessert that we had many nights.  The dinners were the highlight; overall we were pleased with what we had.  On our 7-day cruise, one or two meals stood out, and the rest were fair.  No meal was inedible.  One downside was that were promised to eat in each of the smaller "specialty restaurants" at least once for a small $5.00 fee for the tip. We did get to eat in one of them, but the next day we went to make a reservation for the other restaurant for any available time only to find out that it was booked for the rest of the cruise-very disappointing.  Because the Journey is a smaller ship, getting off and on the ship was smooth.  We chose not to do the ship tours, but instead stayed together as a group of four.  A taxi fare is cheaper, and riding on the local trains was fun.  We saw things at our pace, and loved the freedom.  It was easy to catch a train, and go in any direction to see what we wanted to see.  We watched one show after dinner, and it was entertaining, but our group would rather linger over our meal and relive the day's events, then start planning the next. The staff was effective, friendly, and worked well as a team from our vantage point.  Journey was a big enough ship that there was plenty to do, but small enough that you don't feel pushed or pressured to go with a group of people because that was the thing to do.     As with most cruises, there is limited time, so choose smartly on what you want to do.  One could go shopping for jewelry for the 100th time in this woulderful port, or instead sit at the local cafe and visit with the locales.  Instead of the stuffy motor coach, how about a scooter ride around the island. No matter your adventure level, or desire to rest and relax, Azamara allows you that freedom at a reasonable price. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
This is our second cruise on Azamara. We took a similar Caribbean cruise on the Quest in November 2007 (it's second public sailing). We travel for the itinerary & ambiance of the ship, not the size & numerous activities ... Read More
This is our second cruise on Azamara. We took a similar Caribbean cruise on the Quest in November 2007 (it's second public sailing). We travel for the itinerary & ambiance of the ship, not the size & numerous activities & large crowds of larger ships. We were obviously impressed with our first cruise on Azamara, but wanted an itinerary with some islands we haven't visited, plus returns to our favorites. We enjoy snorkeling & usually do this 4-5 times each cruise. Amenities included (in all cabins): Butler (glorified stateroom attendant), flat screen TV (limited channels & not much variety), minibar, umbrella (folding - for use ashore if inclement weather), mini-binoculars, large zip-tote to keep, use of luxurious bathrobes & slippers (to keep). Fresh fruit everyday, canapes in afternoon, flowers. This time, a small portable clock was also included. Staff ratio is 1:2 passengers. Most passengers we met were retired though we are not but are in our late 50's. Embarkation  Very smooth since we pre-registered our info online; however, we were pleasantly surprised to find we had been upgraded. We had booked cabin 6005 (oceanview without veranda in forward starboard behind suites across bow) since we had this when we were on the Quest as it has extra interior room since it's at the point where the bow starts to a point but there's not enough room for a veranda. We were delighted with the upgrade, but it did cause a problem with our luggage being "lost" until after we had sailed by over an hour. Apparently luggage delivery people were not told of our change in cabin. Also, cabins were not available until after 2 p.m. & we had embarked around 12:30. Lunch was available at the buffet (Windows Cafe) immediately. Cabin  Cabin was as we anticipated with enough storage for clothes, a loveseat which we used frequently, a table with two chairs on the veranda which we also used a bit, small bathroom, with small shower but toiletries from Elemis Spa in large enough bottles to last the entire cruise. Soap, however was in bar form. Shower controls were two "dials", one for temperature (which did not need to be reset every time you showered) & the other for the water flow. Dining  Discoveries dining room was much improved over our experience on the Quest & we were pleasantly surprised to have the same Maitre'D. Dining is open seating & this worked well every night except sailing night. Upon embarkation, we were asked our choice of dining time that evening only, so we chose 6:15 & were given a "reservation"; however, apparently, many passengers didn't make their "reservation" or just decided to show up when they wanted so we had a fair wait. All other nights, we walked right in or waited only 5 minutes or so. We believe the overcrowding on sailing night was due to the fact that no one used the specialty dining rooms so everyone was in the main dining room. Food was excellent, especially presentation. Specialty dining was just a cut above the main Discoveries DR. Our beef was always prepared as requested & the cuts were superb. We enjoyed the open seating at Discoveries & met many lovely people who we frequently were seated with again by chance. Dress code is "resort casual" with men never requiring a jacket though some wore them & women frequently wearing slacks, not just skirts & dresses. We also had breakfast in the room several times when we had early excursions in port. The variety of menu is good for room service & it was always delivered on time. Breakfast at Discoveries was excellent & had many menu choices. Windows Cafe (the buffet) was available for all meals, but we used it mostly for lunch & breakfast. Public rooms Decor was beautiful for this former Renaissance ship with wood & teak kept in good shape from those days. Though we didn't use it, casino was "large" for the ship's size. Cabaret Lounge is small & therefore there are no large production numbers but for the 5 young talents who performed 3 numbers, it was adequate size. The 3 females & 2 males were slightly better than the ones on the Quest, however, the productions were the same 3 we had seen on the Quest. Fitness center was more than adequate for the ship's size although frequently busyI used it first thing (around 6 a.m.) since I'm an early riser. I did not attend any classes. It was open til 11 p.m. Computer internet room was open 24 hours which was great. Prices were average ($.65/min.), but there were packages available. The Looking Glass lounge was on deck 10 forward (top interior deck) & was used for multiple purposes such as harp demonstration in the afternoon, dance lessons, & dancing in late evening. Also, events were moved from poolside in case of inclement weather to this venue. The library (Michael's Club) is beautiful but we only used it for a cocktail party for previous Azamara passengers (there were 30-40 people there & the Captain took the time to talk to everyone in attendance this bodes well for Azamara). There was a piano there & many board games & cards also available. ShopsSmall but there were "sales" & free logo clothing after spending only $100. Shore Excursions Because Azamara has small ships, there are limited local shore excursions & some were cancelled for lack of interest. We found good snorkeling & water-type tours to satisfy us (the only port we did not do a tour was Antigua because we had been on the one we were interested in previously). Prices were reasonable but the times they were scheduled did not permit passengers to do two tours in one port. We usually were accompanied by someone from the shore excursion desk or another staff member (for ex., the harpist is an avid diver & snorkeler) & they were always congenial, helpful & friendly. Staff & crew  The Captain mingled with the passengers frequently & participated in events other than cocktail parties (he was a judge at a dance contest). He also participated in a question/answer session at the end of the "farewell from the crew" event for about 45 min. His chief engineer & the hotel director were also there. The Cruise Director, Sue Denning, was over the top (her personality) and a good singer. She performed several shows (some impromptu) & also had an hour-long question/answer session. She was from England & our cruise was her last for a couple of months so she could have time off with her family, but she assured us she would be back to the Journey. Eric Brauman, a comic magician from Cleveland was good & he showed us some tricks of the trade at the end of the cruise. The DJ, Ron Hollywood was funny too. The entertainment staff was multi-talented. We also enjoyed the Mirage Trio who were on the Quest in Nov. 2007, although with a new drummer this cruise. They limit their poolside music to the same songs, but in the lounge in the evening they will entertain requests. Dan, the piano bar player was also multi-talented playing other instruments & singing other types of music. In summary, even though all itineraries are at least 10 days, there are 4-5 washers/dryers in a laundry room (nominal fee with detergent included), steamer, iron & baskets to use so one doesn't need to pack more than one week's clothing. There also is a portable hair dryer in the room & shampoo, conditioner & body lotion are provided. The ship's design automatically lends itself to great congenial times with passengers & crew. The crew does not push anything on you as in sales of drinks, photos, excursions or anything else. One makes what they want of their cruise with as little or as much participation as desired. Clocks are in several public areas, unlike other ships where it's impossible to get the time if you don't have a watch. In short, if Azamara has an itinerary we would enjoy in the future, we will most certainly book it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
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