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38 Azamara Journey Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Baltic Sea

We sailed in July with Azamara for the second time. Our first cruise with Azamarawas on the Pursuit in the Autumn of last year. The only real difference we could see between the ships was the Casino, when that is removed and the Lounge ... Read More
We sailed in July with Azamara for the second time. Our first cruise with Azamarawas on the Pursuit in the Autumn of last year. The only real difference we could see between the ships was the Casino, when that is removed and the Lounge becomes bigger it is a definite improvement. However The Journey is a lovely ship, we did not notice any shabby areas, she gleamed! Add to the experience the wonderful crew, a Captain who was so personable and who made in scheduled ‘stops’ so the chef could source local Norwegian berries and cheese and you have a recipe for a fun time. We even did an oil rig safari! Not many can say that! The food, service and overall holiday was first class. We are already booking two back to back cruises with Journey in November, can’t wait. Caribbean here we come! Thank you Azamara for Azamazing holidays Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this cruise because, during a previous World Journey cruise, we were told that the Baltics was where we should go next. We have found that, even though we think we are well traveled, those we spoke with on that cruise made us ... Read More
We chose this cruise because, during a previous World Journey cruise, we were told that the Baltics was where we should go next. We have found that, even though we think we are well traveled, those we spoke with on that cruise made us feel we never left our state. The reason that we keep coming back to the Azamara Journey is because of the intimacy of the experience. The crew continues to make us feel like family. Under the direction of Heike Berdos, they perform flawlessly. Nothing is a problem, but rather a pleasure and a challenge to keep raising their individual bar of excellence. The food was spectacular as normal. We ate in the specialty restaurants most nights, but enjoyed the outdoor grill on a regular breakfast. The Butler service with afternoon canapes and morning breakfast was deal winner for us. There is a "Best of the Best" dinner that shows the imagination of Chef Iwan made the cruise special. Probably the thing we loved the most is the small size of the ship and how we were able to dock only a couple blocks from the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. We saw the other ship docked very far away from city when we visited Peterhof. I would not like that experience. We will be on again in November after drydock and anxious to see what other improvement they have made. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We boarded the ship in Copenhagen and departed in Stockholm after an 11-day journey visiting some interesting ports on the way. We had a Stateroom with balcony booked. The cabin was small but manageable. Only comment we must make is ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Copenhagen and departed in Stockholm after an 11-day journey visiting some interesting ports on the way. We had a Stateroom with balcony booked. The cabin was small but manageable. Only comment we must make is that the design of the bathroom is very small with a shower difficult to manage for bigger persons. The room was very clean, and the bed was comfortable. The room attendants looked after us well. Food was of high quality and came in great variety. The cruise was an all-inclusive one, but there are also drinks on offer that are not covered by the all-inclusive package. We were happy with the drinks of the all-inclusive selection. We used the speciality Restaurants that came with an extra cost of $30 per person. There is a Steak place and an Italian Restaurant. Both are recommendable to give yourself an extra treat. There is also a Buffet and an a la card Restaurant that is included in the package with no extra charge. For a snack inbetween there is the Patio that offered Hamburgers, Satays and Sausages. The staff in general are very friendly and attentive. Nothing is impossible for them to arrange. We only experienced one exception. It must have been her bad day. There are two entertainment venues. The Cabaret a large theatre and the Living Room. We spend most nights in the Living Room before dinner to listen to the resident Mexican Band that played everything from Pop to South American tunes. Very good. The young Guitarist was very talented. In the Cabaret we enjoyed the white night party and a speech by Mr Lech Walenza. Also, the Violin player was very good. However, there were nights we did not go to the Cabaret at all and there were nights we departed before the end of the show, but then you cannot like everything. Azamara is an American owned company and the ship orientation is towards their core market. One thing we did not like was the compulsory tip of 18% for services even so the cruise was promoted to be all inclusive. So be aware if you have a Beauty Treatment or a massage that you are paying more than the advertised price. A price that is already very inflated compared to Australian cost before compulsory tip. Everything worked like clockwork on the cruise. The ship always arrived in time at the ports and the shore departures went very smooth. Because the Journey is such a small ship it is sometimes able to sail right into the heart of the towns. No feeder boats were needed to transfer passengers. We arranged our own shore excursions. In Warnemuende we took the train to Rostock and the tram to the old part of town. In Danzig we just went with the shuttle provided by the ship to town and done our own walking tour. Same in Estonia. We had a two-day tour booked in St Petersburg over the internet. The local tour company was excellent with an experienced tour guide. No upfront payment. We only paid at the end of the two-day tour. They give rebattes for early bookings and we got also a refund because we were not able to see two Museums due to time. This was not their fault, but due to our request to return to the ship early on the first day. St Petersburg was full of tourists and without the tour we booked we wouldn’t have been able to get into the attractions without any great delays. The quey at the Summer Palace was so long that even our guide got excited and took several photos. The Tour Company we used was BEST GUIDES GROUP. Highly recommendable local company. You can find them on the Internet. ANNA the guide was very knowledgeable with a very likable personality. She never lost her patience with all the crowds and went out of her way to please fellow travelers. Also, we feel that two days sightseeing is enough even so most Tour company offer three days. We were a very small group of 10 people that made the tour even more enjoyable. In Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm we used Hop on Hop off busses. They come right to the port and take you around the city and stop on several places of interest. Also, in these cities a Hop on, Hop off boat was included. The cruise was a very enjoyable experience. Highly recommendable. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We are a couple in our 50's and booked this cruise because we wanted to see the Baltics/ Northern Europe and we wanted to try a better quality small ship cruise after getting very tired of the mega ships. We were very happy with our ... Read More
We are a couple in our 50's and booked this cruise because we wanted to see the Baltics/ Northern Europe and we wanted to try a better quality small ship cruise after getting very tired of the mega ships. We were very happy with our choice. The small ship experience is so much better for us. Embarkation and debarkation were totally hassle free. In addition we really enjoyed the excellent quality of the food. Azamara upgraded us from a veranda to a suite and we loved the larger room. We ate in the specialty restaurants most of the time and they were excellent, we ordered breakfast in our room several times and loved that. We ate lunches at the patio grill almost everyday, loved the Greek lamb burgers and hot fresh French fries! The staff is exceptional! So friendly and welcoming. The ship never felt crowded even though it was full. It was so nice that all your needs are included in your fare, the included wines were good and certain ones that we really liked the waiters were happy to get for us on days they were serving different selections. We mainly drink wine so cannot speak about the other alcohol options. The ports we visited were great. St Petersburg was one of the highlights. We took the ships 2 day tour and had a wonderful time and saw so much, it really is a small group of around 20 people, we used the 3rd day to relax after the huge crowds in the museums, etc.. Other ports we used the Azamara provided shuttle (again included) and toured on our own. We did not attend the Azamazing evening since we had been out on a tour for 10 hours that day. I heard it was very nice. The entertainment in the evening was not great every night (but some great performances) but that didn't bother us, one night we saw Tony Arias who was terrific!! So funny and a great singer, loved him! Another night was an ABBA night and we loved that! Our cruise director was Alicia Hill and she's wonderful, she had a great standing room only show. Our next trip is probably South America in 2020 and we most certainly will come back to Azamara. Thank you Azamara for such an outstanding trip! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We cruised the Baltic ports at the end of June on Journey. Previously we had sailed on Quest in Feb 2016, both ships being identical helped in navigating our way around. Both ships have been upgraded since and I was slightly disappointed ... Read More
We cruised the Baltic ports at the end of June on Journey. Previously we had sailed on Quest in Feb 2016, both ships being identical helped in navigating our way around. Both ships have been upgraded since and I was slightly disappointed that the BEIGE look in the cabins dominated, the heavy chairs in the dining room were ridiculously heavy and I needed help in getting closer to the table to eat. The Cabin stewards were wonderful and so helpful especially when i fell ill with sea sickness. My cabin steward brought me three cans of ginger ale and was so concerned about my well being. All crew were polite and willing to help. Food in the dining rooms was good, the speciality restaurants had gone up in price from $30 to $40 per person since we last cruised with Azamara. To be honest they were nothing special and I think the meals in Discoveries were far better. As for the entertainment, well, we didn’t bother as there was nothing to inspire us to go see and from the comments of other passengers we were correct in doing so. Surely, when docked in St Petersburg for three nights local Russian dancers could have been brough on to provide entertainment. The same in Tallin as we were in port until 10am. Cruise tours, no matter which line you travel on are always over priced. We booked a three day tour with Alla tours in St Petersburg which was excellent. So sad to say but, I think the luxury has gone out of Azamara and this worries me because we have a Christmas/NY cruise booked at the end on 2018 Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My wife and I took our son and his wife on this cruise as it was scheduled at a perfect time for us as well as stopping at ports we have found enjoyable every time. Most of the ports were new to our daughter-in-law which made for a perfect ... Read More
My wife and I took our son and his wife on this cruise as it was scheduled at a perfect time for us as well as stopping at ports we have found enjoyable every time. Most of the ports were new to our daughter-in-law which made for a perfect match. In addition, the Journey left from Greenwich rather than the boring old South Hampton or other extended drive ports out of "London". This also gave us the opportunity to sail out of the Thames which is a unique experience compared to almost all the other cruise lines. We also sailed close to the WWII fortifications in the river known as Maunsell Forts … another unique and interesting experience! Embarkation in Greenwich was odd as you actually did most of the paperwork on board. After identifying you, your luggage was portered on board and passengers boarded by tender to the ship awaiting us in the river. Much more pleasant than the masses of humanity queueing to get onto bigger ships. Sail out was great and we enjoyed every port in a similar fashion: sailing up river and close in to the city centers. We stopped in the heart of St. Petersburg on the Neva River and our mooring in Helsinki was just across the road from where Trump and Putin would meet a couple of weeks later. Mooring "close to the action" is one of the reasons we favor Azamara … avoiding two hour bus rides in and out of cities is a benefit that is hard to price! The dining experience was also wonderful, with varied choices each and every night and we did not have a single disappointing meal. Be prepared for more intimate entertainment settings. Azamara focuses more on destination and personal service than entertainment. Although the Cruise Director is a very talented entertainer in his own right, you are not going to get any entertainment with "big production value" … no Broadway style shows, though we did enjoy an excellent, if scaled back, production of Bizet's CARMEN. Our son and his wife thoroughly enjoyed their experience as much as we did. The ships may be older, but they are very well maintained and recently updated. You can't beat high level service, interesting itineraries and personal attention with slick new gadgets and neon lights. Would we sail on this line again? Already booked in January to Antarctica! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This was my second cruise, both with Azamara. I'm not sure how I venture to another company to make a comparison as Azamara is just delightful. We spent 4 days in Stockholm before boarding which was excellent, such a beautiful city. ... Read More
This was my second cruise, both with Azamara. I'm not sure how I venture to another company to make a comparison as Azamara is just delightful. We spent 4 days in Stockholm before boarding which was excellent, such a beautiful city. We found our cabin to be very comfortable, clean and well looked after by our lovely room attendants. Dining onboard is very good. Lots of options and the specialty restaurants and Chef's Table experience are well worth indulging in. The ports were all excellent, even the little town of Skagan where the local bands played on the dock as we sailed out. The ship docks so close to the destination cities you literally walk off the ship and you're in town. We only did Azamara shore excursions in St Petersburg and while they are a little pricey we would highly recommend the "meet a local" tour. A small group of us had afternoon tea with a delightful lady in her family home where she happily chatted about life and answered our questions. It was a great insight into the similarity and differences of life. Without a doubt the jewel in the crown for Azamara is their staff. Every single person you encounter from your room attendants to the Captain are open, friendly and totally engaged. The senior staff are very visible and interact freely with guests, always happy to chat and answer questions. I believe it's the human factor that creates a sense of loyalty to Azamara. I look forward to them adding a New York to Montreal route so I can book my next cruise with them. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Great itinerary for sure...and that got us back on a cruise boat (we had said never again after "doing" a few too many huge ships and resenting the lines and unhappy employees. Didn't even know until after booking about the ... Read More
Great itinerary for sure...and that got us back on a cruise boat (we had said never again after "doing" a few too many huge ships and resenting the lines and unhappy employees. Didn't even know until after booking about the special event night (which was a private concert at the St Petersburg Symphonic Hall with their orchestra) and it was a night to remember for sure. Food was well executed even in the main dining room (we did specialty dining 5 nights). Every employee seemed to love their job and want to make us feel good. We are not big into the "entertainment" and didn't see much at all (never in the "cabaret area") but prefer to linger at a later dinner. Gym is great for the size ship. Didn't use the ship's excursions as had booked private ones on our own. The convenience of a shuttle bus to Tallinn was nice. We would never even return to a larger ship. Azamara has the RIGHT size and we hope that they keep that. Unfortunately they have no cruises on the books for the next two years that "float our boat" at the right time of the year for us. But we will keep looking! PS We were surprised to see so many elderly on this cruise but it all worked. The majority of folks on this cruise were out of public areas very early. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Title says it all. It is nowhere near as good as a Vikings Ocean Cruise. The ship is old has outdated decor (early Renaissance?) which is dark and dreary. The rugs are almost warn out. On the 7th floor starboard the hallway rug has a ... Read More
Title says it all. It is nowhere near as good as a Vikings Ocean Cruise. The ship is old has outdated decor (early Renaissance?) which is dark and dreary. The rugs are almost warn out. On the 7th floor starboard the hallway rug has a severe stain running the complete length of it which looks like there had been a sewage overflow on the cabin side of the rug. The intenet package was impossible to use, using Wi-Fi. I could seldom connect to the internet. When I did connect it would literally take many minutes to download material; uploading material was simply impossible. Internet support was very minimal and often unavailable. Had I paid the $239 for unlited service I would have been very angry. The food was good but not very good. The service was excellent though and very prompt. The same dishes were served almost every day with only a few different side dishes. We did eat in Windows,the buffet restaurant most of the time. The first time we ate in the Discovery restaurant it was so noisy that it was hard to have a conversation. We will not sail with Azamara again. That is sad because we had read so many positive reviews. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This cruise was selected to celebrate our anniversary and to get out of the extreme summer heat of Florida! Azamara only offered the one sailing for this itinerary, or we'd have selected another time to go since it was PEAK tourist ... Read More
This cruise was selected to celebrate our anniversary and to get out of the extreme summer heat of Florida! Azamara only offered the one sailing for this itinerary, or we'd have selected another time to go since it was PEAK tourist season in all the ports of call. That made the trip stressful at times dealing with the thousands of visitors and hundreds of busses at tight venues, particularly in St Petersburg Russia. We utilized independent tours so I can't comment on the port excursions sponsored by Azamara. Regarding the ship itself, I submitted concerns about no extended weather forecast on the TV, pay-for-movies which were older than the ship (Dancing in the Rain!!!), the telephone, the short hours for the exercise room, absolutely horribly slow WIFI and a problem with dinner taking 2.5 hours in the main dining room causing us to miss the early entertainment. I was immediately contacted with either personal visits or calls from ship staff members resolving the issues that were possible. To other passengers' surprise they noticed the weather was now being featured along with the information from the bridge on channel 14 each morning! Kudos for such an easy issue being resolved! Dining room staff made great efforts to service us more efficiently allowing us time to enjoy the evenings' activities. The rest of my concerns couldn't be resolved on this sailing, but word was being sent up to corporate for consideration. Nice to know there is customer service out there when you ask for it! I did bring other issues to their attention via their survey, which I haven't heard back from yet. The 'new' chairs in the Cabaret Lounge were quite deep and no lumbar pillows were to be had anywhere. I observed many people bringing items with them to make their time more comfortable while watching the events held there. My husband and I moved to the bar stools for a better fit. The ship schedule called for a power outage at 1400 hours on the last day in port. The same exact time many passengers needed the WIFI to access their airline check-in and boarding pass printing. However, due to the power outage, the computers went down, and no one would go up to the Drawing Room and reboot the computers/printers until after 1700 hours! Of course that caused a major backlog/line and way too much last minute stress! (We aborted and turned our phones off Airplane Mode taking a hit for a call to check in, etc.) Regarding the food...even with some dietary restrictions I usually had no issue finding something on the menu or buffets that I could eat. But I did think that they always cooked too much bacon in the mornings as they'd chop it up and sneak it into dishes where it had no business belonging! I was totally expecting it on my ice cream one day! The final day continental breakfast left a whole lot out...like anything to eat after the initial rush ran through! We were into the Windows Café only 30 minutes after it opened and the trays were bare, coffee gone and juice machine sputtering. It took the two lone attendants quite a while to get anything else out, so we grabbed a protein bar from our suitcase and left the ship without much satisfaction there. The warmest day of the cruise the self-serve frozen yogurt machine was out of order, but fixed promptly for the next day. Regarding onboard entertainment...aside from missing the first 3 shows, we found a mix of excellent to mediocre talent aboard. Considering the size of the ship, I guess it was overall pretty good. The Russian Troupe that performed for White Night on the pool deck were outstanding. They were followed by the ship's own band and vocalists belting out hits that had the dance floor jammed! Great night of fun. But the highlight was in Gdansk Poland where the ship was welcomed in port by a marching band playing patriotic songs. That evening we had a surprise visit onboard by former Polish President Lech Walesa in Gdansk Poland. After listening to his comments (via an interpreter) about the Solidarity Movement, and pre-arranged Q&A, the passengers had individual photos taken with Mr. Walesa on stage. He was very insightful and amusing. Thank you AZAMARA! I didn't give this cruise a 5-star rating because I think there were way too many 'little' issues that should never have happened at this level of cruise cost. Hopefully the company will heed the passengers comments and make immediate changes. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We returned to Azamara after our first voyage last year on the Quest. We found that the two ships were almost similar although we preferred the artwork on the Quest better than the Journey. Else, everything was equal and the service ... Read More
We returned to Azamara after our first voyage last year on the Quest. We found that the two ships were almost similar although we preferred the artwork on the Quest better than the Journey. Else, everything was equal and the service continued to be excellent. We thought that the main dining room's menu had drastically improved over the past year and featured a more wide-ranging assortment of choices that were all interesting. The Chef's Table was again amazing. As with last year, despite being fish instead of meat lovers, Prime C was the better experience over Aqualina which again was disappointing (a highly salted chef's special redfish was hardly "special"). Not much else was different other than the White Night this year was spectacular with the local Russian dancers and musicians and the weather was perfect to be on deck. We were also very pleased by the variety and quality of food this White Night as last year suffered some from the "dried buffet" syndrome that often affects big events. Another huge positive was their ability to have Lech Walesa come on board for a talk and Q&A. We understand that they worked on this for some time and it was a special moment for the passengers to be able to hear this world leader and to get our picture taken with him. Well done! In terms of drawbacks, Azamara continues to price itself into a higher stratosphere for what it offers in terms of complimentary aspects of the cruise (as the house chardonnay was on sale at my local market for 7$ when I returned home vs. the $20-25 bottle on Seaborn/Silversea whose cruise prices Azamar is nearing) and we didn't even try the internet as talking with friends on board suggested that it hasn't progressed past the snail crawl stage that we had last year. Only positive was that they were cleaning out their wine cellar and offering deals on certain bottles but we all agreed that adding a few hundred dollars to the cruise cost to bring up the quality of the wine and house brand liquor would be easily tolerated (as the liquor/beer/and bottle wine packages didn't seem to be worth it for most of us). A couple of other small glitches were found they were very responsive to any feedback either in person or via the early cruise "how are we doing?" form which was followed-up on very efficiently. Overall it was a great cruise. Azamara again coordinated well with the Perry Golf group and we'll likely return to do another golf cruise in the future. We know that the company line is that since they are almost always consistently full they are OK but If they continue to price themselves into the Oceana/Seaborn/Silverseas price range they need to be aware of what the competition is offering. For the price some of the other lines are more customer friendly. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Last minute decision based on previous cruise and of course itinerary. We also like being on a smaller ship. Although the crew was wonderful, always helpful we felt the quality of the food has diminished since our first cruise with ... Read More
Last minute decision based on previous cruise and of course itinerary. We also like being on a smaller ship. Although the crew was wonderful, always helpful we felt the quality of the food has diminished since our first cruise with Azamara. The first one was 2 years ago. I am not sure why this happened. We decided to take a cabin on the 4th floor without a balcony. It was the typical cabin small with a tiny bathroom and shower. Whether we ate in dining room or upstairs in buffet food was ample but just OK. Told many of the fish choices were previously frozen, deserts looked good but not very tasty. Wines offered were fine, but mark up on bottles was crazy. I love Azamara itineraries and staying late in port. Do not like that some of ports required extra transports to get into city. Will have to be extra diligent in finding out all the details. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I learned that cruises are not a good way to see places...you only see a glimpse. Azamara was okay. The waiter service was good. Food was okay...never had a great meal. Everything was average. Customer service desk was poor and ... Read More
I learned that cruises are not a good way to see places...you only see a glimpse. Azamara was okay. The waiter service was good. Food was okay...never had a great meal. Everything was average. Customer service desk was poor and unimpressive. Lacking knowledge and unimpressive personalities. Excursions were not especially impressive either. Little knowledge of local sights. I won't go on an Azamara cruise again. I recommend going to Iceland. Rent a car and see the sights. This is an okay cruise. Nothing to write home about. food was just okay. Not great. I recommend saving more money and choosing a different cruise line. I also found the art auction offensive since it interfered with my experience. This cruise line rents out rooms and that limits your personal experience. Frankly, I will not chose Azamara again. I do like smaller ships but this was a poor experience. Too bad. Met some nice people though. Tacky decor, uninformed customer serviceand average food. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Unfortunately this cruise did not meet my expectations. The food was average....no noteworthy meals. The service was good but the customer service staff and excursion staff was poor and lacking personality. Frankly, I wish I could get my ... Read More
Unfortunately this cruise did not meet my expectations. The food was average....no noteworthy meals. The service was good but the customer service staff and excursion staff was poor and lacking personality. Frankly, I wish I could get my money back and spend more for a better experience. 3 stars. Everything was adequate - neither more or less. For the money, I was hoping for more. I do not plan to travel on this cruise again. Azamara is not for me. Not the best experience. I met some cool people but the food kind of sucked. I really expected it to be much better. Windows buffet was awful. Salad bar was very disappointing and cheese choices was minimal. Entertainment on board was decent but activities were boring. Find another cruise. This one was lame. Never again. I could not wait to get home. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Our cruise from Hamburg to Copenhagen was our second with Azamara and represented superb 'value for money'. We had a suite on the 8th deck which was spacious, clean and very comfortable with friendly Butler service from Croox. ... Read More
Our cruise from Hamburg to Copenhagen was our second with Azamara and represented superb 'value for money'. We had a suite on the 8th deck which was spacious, clean and very comfortable with friendly Butler service from Croox. The food was first class in all restaurants with friendly efficient service from the staff. The 'speciality' restaurants, Prime C & Aqualina (which we were entitled to use without 'supplement' as we were in a suite) were as good as any first class haute cuisine restaurant. We did not use many of the facilities on board - the WiFi (we had a free allowance as occupants of a suite) and the internet was 'patchy' but we were in the Norwegian fjords where reception is difficult. The shows were very good for such a small ship (700) as was the 'Azamazing evening' which was a Grieg concert in Bergen. We went of two of the ships tours (Flam Railway & North Cape - both well worthwhile) but they were very expensive. In a number of places we chose to 'do our own thing' which was much more cost effective. The Captain and the Cruise Director were 'first class' and many passengers would no doubt go on this ship just because of them - their interaction was amusing and the Captain showed excellent leadership by involving himself with his staff and the passengers - even on one occasion seeing people onto the tenders and saying farewell on the gangway at the end of this cruise leg in Copenhagen. All in all we were most pleased with the whole cruise and will undoubtedly travel with Azamara again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Everything was top notch. The service was excellent. The staff remembered your preferences and were eager to please. The quality of the complimentary wine was excellent. The quality of the food in both the full service and buffet ... Read More
Everything was top notch. The service was excellent. The staff remembered your preferences and were eager to please. The quality of the complimentary wine was excellent. The quality of the food in both the full service and buffet restaurant was also excellent. The Cruise Director was an extraordinary entertainer. If he was preforming then you knew to get to the lounge early as he always preformed to a standing room only crowd. I enjoyed the lectures on the history of Norway, and my mother enjoyed the duplicate bridge. The passengers were mostly well educated upper level professionals, who were delightful. The Captain was engaging, entertaining, and always present. Thanks to the Captain, the ship was able to divert to an inside passage when the weather was creating large swells. The ship also diverted to pick up strawberries and goat cheese. The Captain conducted an Oil Rig Safari commenting on many of the oil rigs we passed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
A Norwegian fjords cruise has been on my list for a long time, and it was a given that I would do it on the Journey with Captain Johannes at the helm, as this is his native land and backyard. He did not disappoint. Narration from the ... Read More
A Norwegian fjords cruise has been on my list for a long time, and it was a given that I would do it on the Journey with Captain Johannes at the helm, as this is his native land and backyard. He did not disappoint. Narration from the bridge on a daily basis, antecdotes about the villages and their people, readjusting the route to maintain the calmest seas and insure the best scenery...all were part of the magical experience he provided us. But for the one rainy day in Bergen, we were blessed with sensational weather, which of course added to the enjoyment. Food was exceptional in all venues; entertainment was outstanding, led of course by the best cruise director around, Eric De Gray. The singers and dancers were great, and all very personable. The White Night party (one of my favorite events onboard) was spectacular..a sumptuous buffet with fresh poached salmon delivered that afternoon, grilled lobster, and enough other entrees, salads, cheeses, sides and desserts to feed a third world country. Add to that more amazing entertainment from Eric and the cast, a conga line around the deck, a beautiful night, and you have the makings for a magical,evening. I won't go into port by port, as the previous poster covered all that beautifully, but rather will share a couple of personal experiences which I think sum up the exceptional experience that I have come to love about Azamara. First: my brand new suitcase was badly damaged by the airline on the overseas flight en route to the ship. There was a gash at least a foot long parallel to, but not in line with the stitching. I mentioned it to Heike Berdos, the hotel director, one night in hopes of getting a strap or something for the trip home. The next day the suitcase was removed from my cabin, whisked to the joiner, and two days later returned in perfect condition. I couldn't even tell on which side the gash had been! No charge, just fixed. Secondly, this was a difficult cruise for me. My husband had passed away unexpectedly in April, and I debated for weeks whether to go on this trip or not. Since it had already been paid for, and I was deep in penalties, I decided to go. Having sailed with Azamara before, I had relationships with many of the staff, so they were aware of my situation. I can truly say that the people of this cruise line become family after being with them once or twice. I was looked after every step of the way by everyone from Captain Johannes to Heike, to Eric to Rob, to Alex, to Jaison, to Lee, and the list goes on. They are all truly wwonderful, caring people, and go way beyond what is necessary to make sure you feel well taken care of. I cannot recommend this line, and particularly this ship, enough. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We chose this cruise line because we had sailed with it the year before and had enjoyed it so much. We like the smaller size ship with fewer passengers thereby giving it a more intimate feel. Also gratuities and complimentary drinks ... Read More
We chose this cruise line because we had sailed with it the year before and had enjoyed it so much. We like the smaller size ship with fewer passengers thereby giving it a more intimate feel. Also gratuities and complimentary drinks are included so your know where you are so to speak when you commence the cruise. However, the standard of the complimentary wine list for 2016 was not as good as last year. As an example of this, there were no Australian or New Zealand wines available on any day and many Californian ones. The crew from the Captain downwards were marvellous and we could not fault them - welcoming, friendly and attentive. We feel that this cruise line suits people who want a quieter time enjoying talking and mixing with each rather than attending big variety shows - they did have evening entertainment but not on a large scale. The itinerary of this cruise is quite demanding as 4 of the 10 days involved very early starts and late evenings. The food in all restaurants was good but the MDR could supply more vegetables with dishes rather than having to ask for them every time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was so much nicer than the mega ships we've sailed on in the past. Everything was top notch. The cabin was not huge but there was plenty of storage for all our stuff and the cabin was kept very neat and spotlessly clean. The food ... Read More
This was so much nicer than the mega ships we've sailed on in the past. Everything was top notch. The cabin was not huge but there was plenty of storage for all our stuff and the cabin was kept very neat and spotlessly clean. The food was good, not gourmet but very good especially in the specialty restaurants. Food presentation was excellent as was the service. The entire staff was friendly and professional. Although we engaged a private guide in St Petersburg the shore excursions offed by the cruise line were well organized and there were several options in each port. Our 3 days in St Petersburg was the highlight but I can't imagine visiting this city with 48 fellow cruisers on a motor coach. We used Alex's Tours & Travel and it was fabulous and easy! There were just 6 of us in a spacious private car with an amazing guide who knew everything about everything. And the cost was no more than the ship's shore excursion. Embarkation and debarkation were very easy and went smoothly and quickly. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Another spectacular Azamara Journey from Hamburg to the Norwegian Fjords, the North Cape and back to Copenhagen and points between. This is a spectacularly beautiful trip and great fun with Azamara with its many port calls. Best of all, ... Read More
Another spectacular Azamara Journey from Hamburg to the Norwegian Fjords, the North Cape and back to Copenhagen and points between. This is a spectacularly beautiful trip and great fun with Azamara with its many port calls. Best of all, our Captain was Norwegian and because of the size of the ship, we were able to sail into impossibly narrow fjords and go to a couple towns that others could only visit on shore excursions. The service on Azamara is unbelievably great; this was our second time. LOVED the classical music performances in addition to the fine cabaret style entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We love to cruise and when the opportunity arose to book aboard the Azamara Journey we swapped a two week voyage onboard Celebrity for this passage. Our voyage onboard Azamara is highlighted below. Should you have any questions, please ... Read More
We love to cruise and when the opportunity arose to book aboard the Azamara Journey we swapped a two week voyage onboard Celebrity for this passage. Our voyage onboard Azamara is highlighted below. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me a message and I will be more than happy to dive into a bit more detail. Happy reading. Embarkation -- 1 out of 5 stars We embarked on Azamara Journey on July 6, 2012 in Copenhagen Denmark. The overall embarkation process and setup was, to be blunt, terrible. We arrived to a rundown pier with no permanent infrastructure but rather a white event tent. We took a private transfer from the airport and were greeted car side by about 5 port agents. While the agents were quick to take our bags, they were stumbling over each other, and frantically tried to get us to fill out new bag tags as they did not think we had our bags tagged (turns out they were unfamiliar with Azamara's tags). After our bags were swept away, we were left on our own. No agents directed us into the event tent and it was our driver who tracked down an agent and gave us directions. Inside, security was setup alongside the entryway. Fortunately for us, we did not arrive in a large group and were able to enter the building without a problem but others were forced to wait outside in blustery and wet conditions in order to clear security. The actual documentation process was terrible. The girl checking us in had no clue what she was doing and did not take our health forms or our passports. This turned out to be a problem when trying to board the ship as we showed up as not checked in. It took another 45minutes at the front desk for the matter to be fully resolved. Room -- 3 out of 5 stars We booked a Club Oceanview during a promotion for a free upgrade to Verandah. Unfortunately there were no verandahs available for the upgrade that could accommodate three guests. During our check-in debacle I asked the front desk agent about an upgrade and we were able to get upgraded to a Suite for a nominal fee. The room was much larger than a normal stateroom but approximately 2/3's the size of a suite onboard Holland America, one of our favorite lines. With the suite you get complimentary butler service, spa admission, upgraded amenities and free liquor in-suite. While we did not utilize many of the rooms features we made good use of the spa and appreciated the larger quarters. Some issues we had with our room included the fact that the sofa bed was completely broken and it took multiple attempts and hours to get to a solution which ended up being a rollaway bed. While this was a fine solution, it took up a significant portion of our walking space and inhibited our ability to access the balcony. While this was no problem at night, after turndown, it was unacceptable during the day. It took another two days before housekeeping, our butler and my party were all on the same page about how to set the room up which was to breakdown the rollaway daily but not remove it from the room, just place it against the wall and move the couch back to allow for balcony access. The housekeeping staff were thrilled we did not want the bed taken in and out daily but struggled with the fact that we wanted to sheets changed daily given the bed would be on the floor. This seemed to be a common theme onboard, having to ask for things that were somewhat commonsense. The last few days of our cruise, our butler was taken out of service which was completely unannounced. This proved to be challenging because, in our case, we did not get a replacement butler, our room rather went unserviced until I continually inquired with the front desk. One last point about the room, when upgrading I asked about the rooms location being below the Window's Cafe. I was told this was not an issue and that complaints regarding noise were seldom. Well, the room was louder than normal and while foot traffic was not noticeable, you got a constant flushing noise from the beverage service section and dragging chairs. We have stayed in aft cabins before and while increased noise is to be expected not quite to this degree. On a positive note, the room was clean and kept tidy excluding the last few days. Spa -- 3 out of 5 stars The spa onboard the Azamara Journey was quite comprehensive for a ship of this size. Upon touring the spa on day one we were pleased by the look and feel of the spa. Unfortunately, the staff overall were quite rude and were more interested in their personal conversations, books and cell phones rather than the guests. For example, upon exiting one day, I handed in my locker key and was handed back a key card that was not mine. When I asked for mine, it had been given to another guest. The reception staff had no sense of urgency, now that someone could be charging items to my account or better yet accessing my room, but rather asked if I knew who the person from the key card she had given me so I could track it down. After another drawn out situation my card was located and given back to me. Another item about the spa was that on each visit we had to call to ask for towels in either the locker room or by the therapy pool. Furthermore, the lockeroom had a "used" and questionably dirty look on a good portion of the days. One day, when visiting the therapy pool the ship hit a bit of a storm and the weather went from glorious to quite rough. While this is par the course for a cruise, no staff came out to assist or help us out of the pool. Rather, staff came running out to cover the patio furniture but left us to fend for ourselves in 20+MPH winds and beating rain. In fact, an elderly woman fell back into the pool and onto the lap of my travel companion who then banged her head and broke her sunglasses that were on top of her head. Dining -- 5 out of 5 stars Dining onboard the Journey is truly great. Room service is delivered quickly and everything is fresh and warm. The main dining room has a variety of options and provided an overall great experience. Aqualina was always a fantastic dining experience and our server Monico provided 5-star service. The maitre-d's at both Aqualina and the main dining room were FANTASTIC and accommodating. Our first experience at Prime C on the otherhand was terrible with the server being rude and rushing us. Furthermore, the maitre d walked by our table multiple times and did not greet us once. He was upset that we insisted on a 9PM reservation as opposed to the 8:30PM reservation we had originally reserved but had to change when our excursions departure time was changed. To make a long story short, our food came out at different times, items were never brought and we were told by that waiter that he knew we were hungry and would not waste time explaining the menu even though we had mentioned never being to Prime C before. After talking with our butler and the front desk after this incident we returned to Prime C and were thrilled with the meal and service provided by a new waiter (Ariel). Mosaics and the pool grill also provided a positive experience throughout our sailing. I do wish that Mosaics had been better staffed during peak times but otherwise it was always a good experience with extremely pleasant staff. Overall, the dining staff were the best we encountered onboard and truly delivered a five star experience. Front desk -- 4 out of 5 stars As aforementioned, what I would have considered to be obvious items frequently needed follow-up. For example, we upgraded our room upon embarkation. It took until day 3 for us to finally be recognized as our party versus the guest that had cancelled her cruise thus allowing the cabin to be available. While I understand it would take time for everything to be updated, I do not think it should have taken three days nor should it have needed our party to follow-up to get the problem rectified. Nonetheless, the front desk was very responsive for the most part. Roxy and Lizel (pardon my spelling) were fantastic to deal with and face their challenging jobs with a smile. One item to mention is that it took 4 times before our onboard account was accounted for properly and ultimately I returned home to have an error with my credit card charge (more in disembarkation). Public rooms -- 5 out of 5 stars The public rooms onboard the Journey are beautiful and well appointed. The colors and furniture give a warm and initimate feeling. Furthermore, the staff keep everything clean and were quick to freshen up the spaces throughout the sailing. Shore excursions -- 1 out of 5 stars Prior to boarding we took advantage of the Journey's 50% off excursion promotion and booked 7 excursions. Overall the excursions were disappointing. To start, upon boarding our excursion tickets were never delivered. When we asked the desk about the status we were told that we needed to handle the issue with our stateroom attendant. Well, to make a long story short, the tickets were never delivered and when I went to speak with the manager she found them in a pile on the shore excursions desk in a pile listed as "to be delivered". Upon review of our tickets, I noticed that 3 out of the 7 excursions had departure times that differed from 30 minutes to 1 hours from the booked time. While this created no issue for us it did create an issue with our dinner reservations at Prime C which turned out to be a horrible experience. From a tour experience, in Brugge, for example, our guide did not meet us pierside but rather met us in town. When we were directed to him by another guide we quickly found out that he was hard to understand and was clearly in a rush. He did not allow us to stop for pictures nor did he keep us together in a group but rather we would be looking for the tour sign in a sea of people and commonly found the group to be separated by upwards of 30feet. Part of our excursion was a canal cruise followed by free time for shopping. Upon ending the canal cruise, our guide was nowhere in sight. Turns out he never came back and our group wandered the city until we found another ship guide who directed us to the meeting spot to return to the ship. To make matters worse, yes worse than being abandoned by your paid guide, two members of our tour group were pick pocketed and lost travel documents and large sums of cash. Once back onboard the ship we mentioned our experience to the shore excursions desk and were told that "sometimes the guides are luck of the draw." When I responded that this was unacceptable and that when I book a ships tour I expect to safely go from point a to point b and back we were issued a $20 credit. Our second, almost unexplainable shore excursion encounter found us on another tour where we were delayed on our return to the ship as we were missing one person - the person turned out to be the shore excursion staff member from the ship. The bus driver ended up locating the individual; he was shopping for "more comfortable shoes". Back onboard, we cancelled the remainder of our tours with the exception of our day of departure tour that would take us to the Anne Frank House and then airport. This proved to be another frustrating experience, check the disembarkation review for details. Entertainment -- 5 out of 5 stars The onboard entertainment truly provided a great boutique experience. While the amount of entertainment onboard was limited what was offered was of a high caliber. This holds true from the shows to the music in some of the lounges. The photo staff onboard were also very friendly and provided a pleasant interactive experience. The casino was also well appointed and provided fun memories. Ports -- 4 out of 5 stars Azamara offers great itineraries and this was no exception. While our embarkation pier was terrible, the ship relocated late the first night to provide us with an ideal location for day two in Copenhagen. Other ports provided a great overview of Northern Europe and the timing of our visits couldn't have been better. One note is that our arrival to our last port of Amsterdam was significantly delayed due to a problem with the locks approaching Amsterdam. While some things are out of the control of the line, it was not until 15minutes prior to scheduled arrival that we were informed of our delay. With people having tours booked, both through the ship and independently, this truly was not the best example of effective communication. After all was said and done we arrived almost 3.5hours late into Amsterdam. Disembarkation -- 2 out of 5 stars Azamara does provide a number of disembarkation options including late departure. For our travel arrangements we booked an excursion with transfer to the airport as our flight left Amsterdam closer to 3PM. Our assigned departure time was 815AM which, while early, was not a problem. At approximately 750AM, I received a frantic call from the front desk that they did not have an authorization for my onboard charges. Well, we had given a credit card pierside and onboard during our check-in debacle. Furthermore, I gave another credit card for our upgrade. Well, to make a long story short, nothing was properly documented. It took another 30 minutes for everything to be sorted out properly, or to what I thought was properly. I returned home to have been charged incorrectly and am still trying to work through the incorrect amounts with the cruiseline after nearly 2 weeks. Our disembarkation excursion was overall very enjoyable outside of the fact that the cruiseline mishandled our baggage which yet again created a delay for my party. Azamara asks that all bags be placed outside of your stateroom by 11PM on the night before disembarkation. I had confirmed with both shore excursions and the front desk that my baggage would be traveling with us on the bus but upon disembarkation my bags were nowhere to be found. After going through 3 port agents we found an Azamara shore excursions attendant who told me that the bags had been mistakenly sent to the airport with the regular transfers guests. She was unable to provide information on where my bags would be or any other details given our arrival to the airport was not for another 5 hours. Once again it was Lizel to the rescue who came down and got the bus driver all of the contact information for someone who would be with my bags upon our arrival to the airport. Upon getting to the airport, it was nearly 20 minutes after the other guests had departed that we were finally reunited with our baggage. Overall -- 3.5 out of 5 stars Our cruise onboard Azamara Journey was a memorable experience. While the trip was riddled with issues and needed a great deal of follow-up we had an overall pleasant voyage. Being avid cruisers, I have been questioned by friends, my travel agent, family and colleagues as to whether we would return to Azamara? The answer is, perhaps. Azamara does provide a pleasant cruising experience however, I am under the impression that at times they have over promised and under delivered. Having sailed over 30nights just this calendar year, on a number of lines, we felt this voyage resembled an inaugural voyage in a number of ways. At the end of the day, I am fortunate to have had the experience to cruise Northern Europe onboard Azamara and look forward to the 4 upcoming cruises I have booked -- which to date are not on Azamara. 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Sail Date July 2012
Azamara Journey is an intimate floating boutique hotel catering masterfully to the needs of its occupants.....Outstanding food....Service.....Entertainment....and an opportunity to visit seven amazing ports....The Concierge as well as ... Read More
Azamara Journey is an intimate floating boutique hotel catering masterfully to the needs of its occupants.....Outstanding food....Service.....Entertainment....and an opportunity to visit seven amazing ports....The Concierge as well as Roxie, the Customer Service Rep. provided professional support to independent travelers.... Despite wretched weather, (It rained during the entire cruise, ) we were able to engage in the beauty and culture of each port... Two days in London provided us with ample opportunities to engage in London Highlights....Bill and I purchased discount tixs at Leicster Square and saw Billy Elliot....(Tremendous!) The Staff was upbeat and energetic.....Disembarkation was orderly and personal needs were attended to up until departure. Our only glitch related to delayed and missed flights on United Airlines....The first flight was delayed one hour and forty minutes due to mechanical difficulties causing us to miss the connecting flight to Copenhagen....We experienced a layover and then we were shipped to Frankfurt from there onto Copenhagen! A stress-filled, nightmare!We unfortunately missed the first half day in Copenhagen and our planned itinerary was kaput! (We had planned a special visit to a Copenhagen Synagogue ((planning to say prayers for a deceased friend!) It never happened because instead of arriving at 7:15 A.M. as had been anticipated, we arrived late Friday afternoon...totally bedraggled ....and unfortunately missed this cherished opportunity to say Kaddish! ((We incurred an additional cost of $300 to Azamara for the privilege of taking the anticipated early flight...The Customer Rep at United advised us that the responsibility falls on Azamara to compensate us for the cost and lost time in Copenhagen as Azamara handled flight arrangements; all payments were paid directly to them. In effect, they were our Travel Agents... Unfortunately we cannot take back the lost encounter at the Copenhagen Synagogue.... Airplane travel always has potential hassles....However we are expecting that Azamara, being the first rate Cruise Line that it represents to be, will be forthright in compensating us for the $300 we expanded for early arrival which never happened.! Azamara offers a truly unique onboard experience! We look forward to future travel...perhaps their upcoming trip to the Balkans circumventing the Black Sea next August! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Cabin #7078 (Standard Balcony) Loved the location! Yes, it is directly across from the laundry room, but we were never disturbed from door slamming, foot traffic, etc. The comfort & ease of being mid ship and having the convenience ... Read More
Cabin #7078 (Standard Balcony) Loved the location! Yes, it is directly across from the laundry room, but we were never disturbed from door slamming, foot traffic, etc. The comfort & ease of being mid ship and having the convenience of Windows Cafe just 2 decks up, coffee bar, 2 decks down, was great. Embarkation: We did traditional cruise air with ground transfers (not Choice Air), so we did not have any input in our airline arrangements. I will give a big round of applause to Azamara on the arrangement of our flights. We flew from San Diego to JFK to Copenhagen. Of course, flying such a long distance is NEVER fun, but we really feel like the air arrangements were handled well. Delta offered fairly good service in Economy Comfort (well worth the extra fee!) and I would fly with them again internationally, if their prices were lower than KLM or Lufthansa for a similar route. I must tell you that the Copenhagen embarkation was truly horrible! We were let off of the coach/bus, made to gather our own luggage (remember, this after flying all night long and being exhausted!). The wind was blowing at least 20-30 MPH, temperature was around 55 degrees, the rain was falling heavily... As we were all exiting the coach, we were hoping to get inside the embarkation area (think fancy tent), NOPE! We were left to stand outside, tired/wet/cold/exhausted and being whipped to death by the wind. Finally, after several elderly guests with walkers and wheel chairs were becoming agitated, we found someone who worked for Azamara, or at least the Copenhagen port authority, and told them that we MUST not be left out in this horrible weather. We were informed that since security had decided to set up the metal detectors so close to the door, that they were not able to allow us to enter until it was 'our turn' at security. Imagine our disgust, when we got inside this huge tent (complete with bathrooms, and at least 2000 square feet of wide open space with tons of empty chairs), that we were made to stand outside in such horrible conditions. The c/s rep that checked us in, was quite unhappy that I could not find my Express Pass papers. He made it very clear that I should have kept those with my passport. I asked him if he could just look me up by my name, or my travel companion's name, and let's get this process moving. He finally got someone to help him (and I'm not joking! He really had to ask a fellow team member to assist him!) and after 15 minutes, we were in front of the ship's photographer to get our 'Welcome Aboard' photos taken (complete with wind blown hair, rain streaked makeup and sheer exhaustion, clearly, written all over our faces). You would think that this is the end of our embarkation story... Nope! As we exited the tent, we looked up and could not believe that, in order to board the Journey, we were being forced to climb stairs with our heavy carry on bags, in the rain, with absolutely NO Azamara rep to assist us. The metal steps were very slippery, our roller bags were heavy and it was almost more than we could stand, especially when you filter in the long flight, 3 hour city tour & harsh weather conditions, that we had just endured. Once onboard, we went to Guest Relations, to tell them that we needed to cancel our Copenhagen City Tour that we had booked and paid for, since we just participated in the included (free!) city tour that was included with our transfer. This was a huge run-around. We were told to come back to the Shore Excursions desk at noon (approximately one hour later) and to just go have some lunch and not worry about it. Promptly at noon, I returned to a closed Shore Excursions desk and there was no one there. I went over to Guest Relations and was told that they were now opening at 1 PM and that I would have to come back then to discuss a refund on our City Tour. Normally, this would be OK except for the fact that all tours must be cancelled in advance and our tour began at 12:45 PM. I told Guest Relations that they needed to assist me with this, and that basically, I was not leaving their desk, until we had this matter resolved. I was very nice, but firm. I was clearly not informed that a city tour was included with my transfer and a refund was owed to me. Eventually, the refund was given, but it was not without an argument. Couple this with the rough embarkation experience in the tent/rain/weather/metal steps, and you can see how this day was going. When we landed, there were several Azamara reps waiting for us. After clearing customs, we gathered our own luggage and then, proceeded to large coach/busses to start our Journey. Since it was very early in the AM (around 7:30 AM) and we would not be allowed to board before 11:00 AM, Azamara provided us a 3 hour city tour of Copenhagen. The rain and wind were very bad, and we were all very, very tired and jet lagged, so the city tour was definitely not fully enjoyed. I still truly appreciate Azamara providing this service. Cabin: We were in 7078, a standard balcony cabin.... the dreaded and feared cabin directly across from the laundry room. In researching this cabin, I heard everything from 'high levels of noise' to 'avoid this cabin at all cost' to 'YOU'VE BEEN WARNED'. Well... let me set the record straight...there was basically no noise from the laundry room and for any noise that we heard (which was minimal), it was made up for in convenience factor with being so strategically located by the laundry room. This standard balcony cabin is a bit smaller than the Celebrity balcony cabins I have had before on M or S Class ships, but it was well designed and the storage was adequate. The shower does have the dreaded curtain, but it did not cling to our legs, at all. There was an adjustable shower head that made the tiny shower much easier to take. We also utilized the Spa showers, which were nice! There was almost no transfer of noise, from either of our next door neighbors. I will give Azamara an extra point or two, over Celebrity, for sound proofing their rooms. The linens on the beds were good and mattresses were of good quality. The other wonderful thing are all the hooks on the bathroom door and the large hook in the main cabin area. Very convenient for storing visors, hats, robes, etc. Also, there is a safe that easily holds a 15 inch laptop and 2 SLR cameras, plus plenty of other items. Shore Excursions: Azamara offered the excursions (as long as they were booked in advance and NOT on board) for 50% off. Obviously, this made them a good deal and we booked nearly one in every port on this very port intensive itinerary. Well... This is an area that I am sad to report, really needs to have some attention paid. The shore excursions, for the most part, were far from great. The guide in Brugge Belgium neglected to tell our group that pick pockets were prevalent in the very areas that we would be touring. Well.... You know what's coming next... 2 women in our group had their money and I.D's stolen. This really put a bad mood on the group and might have been avoided had the guide let us know to hold our belongings close. The 2 women that were pick pocketed were each carrying messenger style bags, small to medium in size and zipped up (think Baggalini type of cross body messenger style bags). Even this security minded type of bag was no match for Brugge pick pockets! Also, the grand finale for our very lame tour guide, was when we got off of the canal boat, he was GONE! Yes, that's right! Gone! We had to find another Azamara tour and join them to finish our tour! Couple that with his super quiet, soft spoken ways (there was no amplification provided, so if you were hard of hearing, or not able to literally be standing right next to the guide, you had NO idea, what you were touring). We also had a less than stellar experience on the London Panoramic Tour. The group was picked up right after lunch (think full tummies and bladders!). London has basically no public bathrooms (perhaps due to the tight security for the 2012 Olympics that at the time of our cruise, were 2 weeks away from starting). So, picture this... 50 people on a tour bus...right after unlimited wine at lunch...bumpy cobblestone streets... **NO BATHROOMS**! You can use your imagination to fill in the rest! We all held it pretty good for the entire 3 hours, but as we were finally starting to head back to the ship, several of us began asking (begging!) the tour guide, if there would be a bathroom break, and if not, was it OK to use the bathroom on the bus. The driver and the tour guide told us that the bathroom was out of order, due to a burned out light bulb! Well, after much fighting and arguing, and people threatening to urinate in the seats if they were not allowed to use the bathroom, the driver finally agreed to unlock the door and let us 'go in the dark'. Fortunately, many of had our iPhones with us and used the camera flash as a flash light and managed just fine. After sitting in 2 hours of rush hour traffic, to go **five** miles, we were all thankful that the driver finally came to his senses and opened the door to the restroom. Note to self:, avoid Greenwich (London) between the hours of 4:30 and 6:30 PM at all costs, or be prepared to sit and sit and sit in traffic. Day two in London, we had the good fortune to join some friends on a tour with Keith Bates . This was basically a private tour for our group of 5 and WOW!...what a GREAT day! www.londonbluebadgeguide.me Anyone visiting London, would be well served and very lucky, to have Keith as their guide. He was the BEST at taking old, at times, boring history, and making it more interesting than any show on E! or Bravo! Loved every moment! Also, when he drove us back to the ship in Greenwich, he also got stuck in traffic (for over 2 hours!) and never, ever became cranky or irritable. Just kept us entertained and always kept the mood light, even though, we were all clearly not liking the traffic, the rain, etc. Three cheers for Keith! Food: As always, everyone's opinion regarding food and service is subjective. We dined at Windows Cafe, Aqua Lina (specialty restaurant with $25 cover charge) Pool Grill and the MDR. Pool Grill: Loved the turkey burgers! Fresh burgers, grilled to order, were wonderful! Our friends had the chicken wings, daily, and they were always good. The nachos were OK, not great (they could be great, but Azamara must get rid of that awful liquid cheese and replace it with real, shredded cheese, melted in a broiler); however, guacamole was always fresh and appeared to be freshly prepared. We also loved the soft serve ice cream! The vanilla was always the perfect complement to any of our lunch items. Our only suggestion to Azamara would be to always have blue cheese dressing readily available for the chicken wings. This is a very normal condiment to request when having chicken wings and on the days that Azamara did not happen to have it on the salad bar, it was sometimes, quite an ordeal to get it. Aqua Lina: Hit & Miss, to say the least. Be sure to go over the menu, thoroughly, before deciding to eat there. The menu (IMHO) is a bit limited and when we asked to please have some French onion soup and a chicken entree from Prime C, we were told a resounding "No" and we eventually left Aqua Lina, asked the maitre'd NOT to charge us the $50 for our party of two, and went to the MDR to dine, instead. We spoke to some of our other friends who were on this cruise, and were also told "NO" from the wait staff and maitre'd, to a simple French onion soup from Prime C, when they were dining in Aqua Lina. The kitchens for each specialty restaurant are right next to each other, so clearly, it would be very possible to honor guests requests for menu items, but Azamara decided to hold firm and let $50 in revenue walk out the door. Main Dining Room (Discoveries): The menu, including the items that never change (chicken/steak/fish/shrimp cocktail, etc.) was good. Food was, for the most part, always hot and served promptly. Service was good to very good...the last night was a bit rough, but we all still had a very good time and no one went to bed hungry. The crème brulee was wonderful, the cheesecake, fabulous. Azamara's breadsticks would rival the famous breadsticks on Seabourn. However, getting additional butter from ones waiter, could prove to be a challenge (picture a nice waiter with a deer in the headlights look!). Room Service: Azamara has fabulous room service! When we did not find what we were looking for on the interactive TV menu, we simply called them, and they did their best to make us happy. The food was always hot (even breakfast!) and promptly served. This was one aspect of the trip, where Azamara shined. Room service, especially breakfast, on large ships, typically runs tepid to cold. Not on Azamara. I was glad I brought lots of small bills for tipping because I was always happy to tip our cheerful room service attendants who carried those heavy trays and got the food to us while it was still piping hot. Entertainment: This is an area that Azamara clearly has the upper hand over Seabourn. The shows are not the Broadway style that you will get on the bigger ships; however, the singers and dancers are all very good and you will definitely be thoroughly entertained for your post dinner entertainment. Also, when we would see the entertainment staff around the ship at bars and restaurants, they were very nice and would always stop and talk. This was a first! Eric De Gray (cruise director) was very visible and always tries hard to keep the guests informed and entertained. Since he is allowed to perform in a couple of the shows, he appears to be very happy since leaving Seabourn to join Azamara. Spa: We paid the $20 admission fee to utilize the spa and the T-Pool / Spa. The sad part of this story was that on the sea day that we paid the admission fee, was a very, very cold/windy/rainy day with high waves. The storm came on quickly and we were all in the T-Pool / Spa. The staff came out and quickly starting securing the pool deck furniture, cushions, etc. You would think that they would have come over and helped us out of the spa. Nope! Not one of the Azamara crew even approached us. They merely went on about their business of securing the spa deck furniture/cushions, etc. When one of the older guests, a female who was probably 70 years of age or older, attempted to climb out of the rocky spa tub, she fell onto another guest and caused her to be injured. Once again, the deck crew did not even approach us to help. Instead, a male guest, also in the spa tub, jumped up, in the cold, driving winds, to assist the older guest and get her out of the tub, up the steps and into the gym, for safety. The waves were getting so rough, that the water was literally being rocked out of the spa tub and the jets were becoming exposed. Not a big deal, until I got hit in the eye with the water when another wave hit. I approached the spa manager, Kelly, after we had all calmed down from this frightening afternoon and told her that I either wanted a refund for my $20 spa admission or a comp'd day for our next sea day. She told me that this would not be possible and that I should have researched the weather before deciding to pay the admission fee for the spa. Uh, no.... Sorry...this is not the guest's responsibility. If conditions become unsafe due to rapidly changing weather, then offer your guests a rain check and escort them to safety out of the spa tub. I went back to the spa desk, 2 hours later, and told Kelly that either she could do the right thing and give me a rain check, or I would take it up with the hotel manager. She finally smiled and said that she would be happy to give me a rain check and allowed me to come back on the next sea day (the weather was much better and there was no drama!). The steam sauna on the spa is very good. I wish it had Eucalyptus but that would be the only area that I think Azamara could do to improve it. The showers are nice but several guests had a hard time getting them to function properly. The one time I had to ask for assistance, a cheerful spa employee was right there to assist. Also, Azamara should take a clue from Princess and other lines, to offer food and bar service in the spa deck area. If you pay the $20 cover charge, and want to relax with friends, the last thing you want to do, is run all over the boat, getting lunch. On day #2, we were able to get the waiter from the pool grill to come back every 20 minutes or so, and take our drink orders. That was a nice touch. This cruise was offered at a heavily discounted price to many of the guests, so that was a bone of contention with the guests that had paid brochure rate. Also, I had to wonder, if the staff had turned down the service, due to such a great number of guests 'getting a low price'? Conspiracy theory, perhaps... but, for the stellar reputation that Azamara has for service and food, we honestly did not experience that. Of course, nothing was down right terrible, not in the least. But, when you see that Azamara's rates vs. Celebrity for similar itineraries are considerably higher, you want to feel that your money was well spent. Yes, we enjoyed the wine at lunch and dinner, and having the tips included was a nice touch (we often tipped extra for outstanding service and always tipped our room service team!), but it always comes down to being made to feel special and having a fabulous experience. Azamara just does not have the finer details down to an art, yet. Things like, the robes, even though they were soaking wet, would not be replaced if they were not left in the floor. Often, we would leave our robes on the hooks on the bathroom door, assuming that our stewards would replace them when they noticed that the robes were soaking wet (from being used around the pool deck). Nope.... The robe belts were re-tied in a pretty bow and left WET, hanging on the door. Yuck! After another guest informed us that we must leave the robes on the floor or they would not be replaced, we happily complied. This worked well except that often times, our 2 robes would only be replaced with 1 robe; thus, making for another call to the Attendant on Duty. For some reason, we also had a challenging time, getting the proper number of towels left in our bathroom when the used towels were taken away. One night, we had to raid the housekeeping cart left in the hallway, in order to take our shower and have a towel the next day. Umbrellas were offered at the gangway, which is a very nice touch. However, Northern Europe is very wet and umbrellas often were gone by the time the majority of the guests disembarked. The one time that we requested that additional umbrellas be brought out to the gangplank, an Azamara employee assured us that they would get them right away (it was a true downpour in Amsterdam). After standing around for literally, 15 minutes (were they building the umbrellas?!), we finally gave up, went through security again, and went back to our cabins to get our room umbrellas. No, not the end of the world, but just a small detail that Azamara should have been prepared for. Also, on embarkation day, when we were trying to unpack, we had to ask our room steward 3 times, for hangers. Each time, she would bring us 5 hangers, even though I told her that we had a lot of clothes and really needed a lot of hangers. The 3rd request for additional hangers, was met w/ the infamous eyeball roll. Not a good way to start off the voyage. Also, she became like the water police when she would only give us one small bottle of water in our room, daily. We asked her if we were just expected to share the water bottle (think germs!), or if it would be possible, to perhaps, get 2 bottles of water, in our room? Eyeball roll, once again, but we did get 2 bottles of water so all was good in our world! Gym: The gym was busy on sea days, like any cruise ship gym, but you could easily get onto a cardio machine (treadmill/elliptical, etc.) if you were patient. The equipment was clean and appeared to be in good working condition. Also, I give a round of applause to Azamara for having chilled bottled water available, as well as workout towels. Pool & Hot Tubs: The hot tubs were well used by our group. We were in them, almost every night (due to the port intensive 'forced march meets German Boot Camp itinerary') to soak our aching legs and feet. The hot tubs were always hot and appeared to be very clean. The pool water was warm, even though Azamara told us that the pool is not heated. Perhaps the hot tub water is circulated through the pool? Whatever the reason, the warmer pool water in this cold climate, was very welcome and wonderful. Also, Azamara leaves the pool and hot tubs open 24 hours a day which is also a nice touch. The waiters at the pool grill were always fun and friendly and made us feel special. Casino: Since this was a port intensive cruise, the casino was only open 3 or 4 times. Fortunately, this was OK since the slots were quite tight and truly, not paying. My friends and I had a good time, and James the casino manager took pity on us for the amount of 'investment' we had made, and gave us each a T-Shirt and a couple of complimentary drinks. Definitely a welcome gift! Thank you, James! We did not use the complimentary Azamara shuttles in any of the ports, but I still want to commend Azamara for having this service available. Interesting sewage smell was noted in the hallway, directly in front of our room, for several days. It was truly YUCK to the nth degree! After three days, we commented to the Guest Relations desk and they confirmed that there were some 'issues' with some of the toilets on deck 8 (it smelled as if the toilet residue was being flushed directly down our walls!). The smell would still come and go, but, basically after day 3 or 4, it was bearable. I am happy to report, that our toilet worked fine and we never had any of the issues that the guests on deck 8 were obviously suffering from (whew!). The Journey is in good condition. Yes, there is definite need of the cabins to be refreshed, top to bottom, during her dry dock, but overall, the ship is lovely. There is fun and lively artwork in each of the stair wells that always makes you smile. Shops: Uh, um...what can I say.... There is basically no shopping on this ship. If you are hoping for a baby version of any of Celebrity's other ships, forget about it! Unlike any of the larger ships that offer the T-Shirt sales, 'clearance sales', daily deals, etc... Azamara does not do this. In fact, it became the running joke in our group that they had the nerve to charge $255 USD for a ladies Ralph Lauren golf shirt. The rub was that a tailored man's dress shirt (not even a golf shirt!), also Ralph Lauren, was $90! Honestly, none of us could understand how in the world they arrived at a price of $255 for what appeared to be, at most, an $80 shirt, at normal retail. Live and learn! Needless to say, we did not have to worry about spending too much money at the Journey shop! Perhaps, Azamara did us a favor?! Fellow passengers: Truly amazing! We met the most wonderful new friends, on this voyage! Jonathan, Maelo, Leonora, Ellen & Lenny...Thank you, all, for the fabulous memories that you gave to us. In addition to these wonderful new friends, there were always wonderful people to meet at dinner, or just hanging out at the pool grill. Maybe it's the wine that's included that puts the fellow passengers in a good mood? Whatever the reason, I am impressed by the camaraderie that was established with these wonderful, new friends. It became like traveling with family. Disembarkation: Process was fairly smooth. However, since as previously mentioned, we had traditional air through Azamara (not Choice Air), and our transfers were being handled by Azamara, I was not sure why we had to be off of the ship by 7:55 AM for a 1:30 PM flight. I asked at the guest relation's desk for a later departure, but was told that since the Shore Excursions team handled that function of the cruise, and they were not going to be open again before disembarkation, that I was out of luck. Needless to say, departing 5 hours early for our flight, made for a very, very, very long day. I know that the departure day of any cruise is never fun, but truly, kicking guests off at 7:55 AM for 1:30 PM flights is a bit odd. The positive spin on this was that we had lots of time to roam around the Amsterdam airport, spend nearly 20 Euros at McDonalds for 2 Chicken McNugget combo meals and go through the duty free stores, looking at items that we would not be able to get home, when we transferred in Atlanta to our San Diego flight (liquor, large liquid cosmetics, etc.). Once again, not the end of the world, but was a bit of a rough way to end our vacation with Azamara. All in all, Azamara is a good, on its way, to trying to be a very good, cruise line. Would I give them five stars.... No, I wouldn't. I know that, in these days of a challenging economy and most, if not all, cruise lines finding ways to cut back, that some things are just going to suffer. I accept this when it comes to portion sizes of food; however, excellent service and the smaller details, do not come directly out of the bottom line of the balance sheet. However, it's these items that a customer remembers. I often say that if I go to a restaurant and the food is only so-so, but the wait staff is friendly, that I will leave happy, tip heavily and return again, to give them another try. However, it's one thing to do this with a meal, it's another thing to do this with such a costly investment such as a cruise. I purchased Open Passage certificates while on board for Royal Caribbean and Celebrity but I did not purchase any for Azamara. I think, that for the difference in price, I will continue to be loyal to Celebrity in Aqua Class (service is the same, if not better, than Azamara). Also, thanks to our new friends that we met on board, we will be giving Holland America a try. They raved and raved about the 5 star service, the amazing food, the attention to detail, etc... For the same 'per day price' that Azamara typically charges, we could do a suite on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Azamara surprised us. We have taken 3 Oceania cruises and thought that we wouldn't find similar service levels. Fortunately Azamara surpassed our expectations - wonderful courteous staff; varied menus each night with an extensive ... Read More
Azamara surprised us. We have taken 3 Oceania cruises and thought that we wouldn't find similar service levels. Fortunately Azamara surpassed our expectations - wonderful courteous staff; varied menus each night with an extensive "offered every day" selection; wines from different regions included with lunch and dinner; nice entertainment for a ship this size; friendly passengers; and one of the most visible Captains we have ever encountered! We would highly recommend this line to anyone who enjoys small ship cruising. Their 2013 itineraries are varied compared to other lines and they seem to offer overnights in more locations on every cruise. Embarking in Amsterdam was a pleasure and our bags were delivered to our staterooms which were ready around 1 pm. All of the ports were well done, shore excursions were not terribly expensive and if you pre-booked there was a 50% off discount! Most of our ports were not included in the port review section below - as they were very tiny fjord towns: Molde - where the Jazz festival was happening; Andalsnes, a tinier town further inland from Molde, Geiranger, Eidfjord, and Stavanger.A shuttle was provided in Edinburgh and wasn't necessary in any other port as were right in town. Disembarkation was the only downside to this trip. In Edinburgh there was no direction for taxis and the scene was chaotic. Aside from this, the trip was flawless! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
Our party consisted of two couples, both well travelled and sensible about our expectations of what to expect on a holiday be it a cruise or land based package. We chose Azamara because of good previous experience of the brand on the Quest ... Read More
Our party consisted of two couples, both well travelled and sensible about our expectations of what to expect on a holiday be it a cruise or land based package. We chose Azamara because of good previous experience of the brand on the Quest and the itinerary which was new to both of us couples. We expect pleasant manners and enjoy travelling with like minded people. We treat all staff with respect and believe that mutual courtesy and good manners is the best way of achieving a good experience. We are prepared to pay a premium to enjoy our holidays with fine dining, good companions and little bit of luxury. Creating a friendly atmosphere is certainly something the line does well. The standards we encountered were almost always most acceptable. We most certainly would consider Azamara along with other lines in the future. The positives on the Journey were many and varied. These included the excellent and personable fitness instructors. The leisurely and delicious breakfasts, the good humour of many of the staff, the cleanliness of the cabin and the ease of embarkation. The Good: Cabin Staff were all invariably friendly and professional. The few requests made to our stateroom attendants were handled quickly and smoothly. We are I hope fairly undemanding and just expect a clean hygienic cabin with ice and a restock of drinks. Top marks for the stateroom personnel. The Good: Coffee in the Mosaic Bar with various nibbles available was tempting and a great place to chill. Top marks for the coffee, the waitress service was a little slow. The Good: Windows and the Outside deck areas was always inviting and well managed in terms of service and food quality and variety. On the occasions we dined at Windows after excursion we were well looked after and enjoyed the experience. The general management of the Buffet facility was the among best I have enjoyed. Top marks for Windows, the food quality at times matched the MDR. The Good: Discoveries Dining, overall this was a good experience the attentiveness of the waiters was just about correct, not overly effusive. The sommeliere was a patient and charming professional and extremely congenial. The variety and quality of the dishes was well up to a good standard and occassionally excellent. Top marks for the MDR. Could be Improved: The slow service problem in MDR's on the Ocean's cruise ships also afflicts Azamara. The wait times were not as painful as I have experienced on larger ships and when we mentioned it politely the next evening we were treated very royally. I am sure that Azamara are very aware of this and I was impressed by their response. So Top Marks for at least listening. The Good: Room service was v. v. Good and a credit to Azazamara is the variety of goodies of offer. It was so good our friends rarely made it to breakfast on Deck 9! Top marks to Azamara. Could be Improved: Lunch in Discoveries was very slow at times and was more noticeable because of the comparatively few cruisers choosing this option. The Great: Azamara spring a few surprises on her cargo of fun-lovers. From the moment the Captain described himself as our designated driver for ten days I expected a man with a bit of personality. I was not disappointed. When only half of the MDR could enjoy a particularly beautiful sunset, he turned the ship through 360 degrees so all could enjoy the moment. Throughout the Captain made himself known to all. Of all the my voyages this Captain has struck the right balance between professional seamanship and an genuine appreciation that his passengers were a real part of the ship and he wanted to help their enjoyment as much as possible. I would sail with this Captain anytime at all. Azamara also arranged that James Bond was on board on this cruise in the shape of Roger Moore, now that was a surprise! More Good: The Barbecue, Azamara desserts are truly yummy delicious. Guest Relations were thoughtful and very helpful resolving a problem for our companions. I loved the spectacular views of Scandinavia from the usually deserted Looking Glass lounge. The Guest speaker Col Vargas was very approachable and insightful. The Good: The 'Team' performed a Holywood tribute routine which was most enjoyable and also acted as an introduction to the team as individuals performing as solo artists later in the cruise. This team were competent singers and dancers in all of their performances. The Good and Not So Good: A solo theatre performance by a young singer in the team won over her audience. Her program was an interesting and innovative combination of numbers from musicals and light opera. She beguiled the audience with her coquettish acting of her operatic roles. The audience responded warmly to her and no-one was leaving throughout her performance. By her finale, her version of Time to Say Goodbye the audience were completely in her spell. There was generous applause from the audience. As she made her way to the back of the theatre the applause grew for a fine performance. This applause and appreciation was curtailed by the Cruise Director stealing the moment by interrupting on the Mic to say well done but unfortunately the young singer did not have a cd on sale but he did. This lack of generosity spoilt the performance. That said the CD was very energetic and covered a lot of ground, but for me his stage performances were a little OTT and dated. But of course there are always alternatives if a show is not to your taste. The Good: Guest acts were all very acceptable and worth watching, particularly the Magician. After all you are on a 700 hundred passenger ship- what do you expect Elton John.. well a very competent pianist was doing a fair impression of him and Billy Joel in the Mosaic most evenings. Carla and Ray worked hard and have a pleasant unpretentious stage persona. The Good: Another saving grace was the Harpist who is in danger of unwittingly becoming a cruise ship eccentric (in a nice way) but is very likeable and accommodating. Her hosting of the aperitif lounge is a delight and our party so much looked forward to her company before enjoying our evening. The Good: Disembarkation was smooth and trouble free, and well organised by Azamara. Summary: There are so many positives about the ship, I will probably travel again with AZ in the future as there are many many more pluses than negatives. Did I say Probably travel.....Definitely I will travel with Azamara again!! Perhaps in fairness I should point out that lovely as Norway undoubtedly is; it ain't Monte Carlo, Nice, St Trop etc. So maybe more cruise evenings are spent watching/scrutinizing evening on-board shows. And I have previously cruised with the line and found the entertainment to be very good. I really enjoy Azamara and truly recommend the line to anyone looking for a great cruise experience with fine food and good companions, led by a Captain with a bit of style, just like most of his passengers. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
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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