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16 Azamara Journey Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

We sailed on Journey for 10 nights beginning March 16, 2016. We were notified in advance that due to an inspection by the Coast Guard, boarding would begin at 12:30 with sailing at 5 PM. Boarding: The ship normally docks at Terminal J ... Read More
We sailed on Journey for 10 nights beginning March 16, 2016. We were notified in advance that due to an inspection by the Coast Guard, boarding would begin at 12:30 with sailing at 5 PM. Boarding: The ship normally docks at Terminal J but docked across from Terminal D so we had to park there knowing when we disembarked, we would have to travel to get our car.We live in Florida so were able to drive to the port. Parking is $20.00 per day. Boarding process moved quickly and we were onboard around 1 PM. Stateroom: We had a lovely fully functional veranda balcony cabin on Deck 7. No noise or other issues. The one thing in the refurbishment is the one couch is really for one person. So that caused the need to sit on the bed or desk chair. The room is nicely done! Bathroom has that wonderful shower curtain that likes to cling to you! Food: There are many venues for eating. We would review the Discoveries menu online in our cabin, look at the buffets in Windows Cafe and also The Patio and make a decision on where to eat for dinner. For the most part, Windows and The Patio were our choice. The Irish, Caribbean and Asian buffets in Windows were exceptional. The food in The Patio is freshly prepared and excellent. Portions in Discoveries were small and menus not to our interest. The Living Room with drinks and tapas is something to experience! Wine: They served a different white and red wine each day along with a rose. You could have as many glasses as you liked throughout the day and in any venue where wine was serrved. Crew/Service: All crew were pleasant, smiling and out to respond to your needs. Officers were very visible. Officers served at special events such as the poolside barbeque. The service was high level along with a real sense of caring for your cruise experience. Entertainment: In general, there was not alot to do during the day. Typical activities were bingo, a few presentations, card playing etc. The production shows were not up to the level of larger ships. We went twice and that was enought. Special events included White Night-well done! Good food and so well set up. This is a special evening. Other entertainment included a talented magician and a nightly session of guitar playing. The cruise director performed for one of the nights and he has an outstanding voice. The AzAmazing Evening took place in St. Maarten on the dock with children playing steel drums and a Caribbean quartet. Fireworks were great! Ports: We made our own excursion plans and enjoyed each of the ports. We did not spend much time in St. Barts as it was so crowded and quite hot. Disembarkation: For some technical reason, the ship was almost 3 hours late docking back at Terminal J. The crew did the best they could to expedite those with early flights. As we were driving back, we took advantage of the extra time. The actual disembarkation process was fine when we left the ship. I could see lines building behind us, but there were three custom agents for the almost 700 passengers. Summary: We have sailed Azamara previously and expected a great cruise. We had that great cruise and have booked another Quest sailing. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We just returned from an 11 day cruise on the Azamara Journey. The ship had come out of dry dock prematurely. The company allegedly allowed only 2 weeks to do a complete overhaul. There were weather issues and allegedly supplier problems. ... Read More
We just returned from an 11 day cruise on the Azamara Journey. The ship had come out of dry dock prematurely. The company allegedly allowed only 2 weeks to do a complete overhaul. There were weather issues and allegedly supplier problems. We waited 5 hours at the terminal for " polishing" We finally got to our cabin only to find varnish fumes, wet varnish, no rod in the closet, tv not working and the worst was that the cabin did not resemble the pictures. There was no reading chair. The view was totally obscured by the tenders. The only time you could see out the window was when the tenders were in the water. The crew took care of most of what could be done and were very helpful. I did not know that this ship had just come out of dry dock ( should have, but did not) The crew was great. The meals were good. We did not go to the special restaurants as by the time I thought of it, they were booked. The main dining room was fine. Most of the excursions were good. I would skip island tour of Neves. Virgin Gorda, St John and St Bart's were the best. The ship offered : compensation: in the form of generous discounts on a future cruise. I think a better approach would be to refund money for this one or in the alternative, offer discounts on Celebrity ships. Bridge lessons and games were offered on sea days. Enjoyed them thoroughly. Given the size of the cabin and the drydock issues, this was not a good value. Those waiting at the terminal were divided into 2 camps: first timers and repeaters The repeaters kept saying this was an anomaly. I hope so as the Quest is also scheduled for drydock. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Having read numerous forums regarding Azamara Journey cruises, I hadn't spotted any criticisms - everyone seemed to give glowing reports! We signed up for a CruiseCritics Meet and Mingle party and with more than 25 others doing the ... Read More
Having read numerous forums regarding Azamara Journey cruises, I hadn't spotted any criticisms - everyone seemed to give glowing reports! We signed up for a CruiseCritics Meet and Mingle party and with more than 25 others doing the same the party was confirmed. With flights and a pre cruise stay in Barbados arranged by Azamara, we had a late morning transfer to the ship. Despite there being 78 fellow travellers in the hotel, by transferring us in coaches for about 20 people, the registration procedure at the port was painless with only a short queue to contend with. By 11.45 we were sipping our welcoming glass of bubbly, and being advised that our rooms would be ready by 12.30 (which they were!) A quick trip to the pool deck revealed a small pool with two jacuzzis. The loungers were all substantial teak ones, with thick cushions and white towelling covers, as well as towels - no need to sign them in and out as on other ships we have been on. Our outside cabin was nicely presented with a good size comfortable bed. There was a bowl of fresh fruit and the mini bar stocked - soft drinks being complementary (as elsewhere in the ship). Plenty of hangers in the wardrobe together with two robes and slippers. The shower room was a typical tight configuration but well laid out with a collection of toiletries. The room attendant was quick to introduce himself and despite having no need for any dealings with him throughout our trip it was very impressive that he called us by name when we passed in the corridor! The CruiseCritics Meet and Mingle reception was well attended by about 50 guests together with various senior officers. Drinks kept flowing and there was a lovely selection of nibbles (so don't forget to sign up for the reception!) Also, it seems that passengers registered for M&M are automatically given allocations to tours of the bridge, engine control room & galley, all of which are an interesting insight into the ship's operations. Dining in the main Discoveries restaurant can be busy at times, and sometimes slow, but the quality of the food was excellent. Having commented in the mid cruise questionnaire about service, the attention to us when dining went up dramatically! Opting to share a table meant we did not have to queue for more than a minute or two. We noticed that with the restaurant being at the aft of the ship, there was some vibration and noise from the props. Not a particular problem in itself whilst dining, but it could mean that aft suites would suffer similar disruption, especially while trying to sleep when transiting overnight. The house wines, which were all reasonable quality, flowed freely with dinner, though some prompting for a top up was required occasionally. When service was slow, there was a risk of missing the evening show if we went in after 7pm. The quality of the entertainment was mixed, and my personal feeling was that the routines did not reflect the quality, and bring out the best, of the individual performers. Life around the pool was generally quiet, apart from sea days. There was no disturbance from taped music, though on sea days a duet played on stage for two hours. One evening there was a Caribbean themed barbecue around the pool which was very popular and topped off with a show and dancing on deck. Many members of the crew, including the Captain, mingled whilst we dined. As ever, they were very pleasant to chat with. On the final sea day there was a jazz brunch in the Discoveries restaurant - great selection of food (as ever), and live jazz music too. Windows cafe is the self service restaurant used for breakfast, lunch and dinner (if you wanted). The evening meals were promoted as being themed. On the Greek evening we had a look in hoping to have our own mezes, only to find the only Greek food on offer was a salad area with some feta cheese to make a Greek salad, so we dined in the main restaurant. Very disappointing. We did not check other evenings to determine whether the promos were more appropriately delivered. Having spoken to a few couples regarding their meals in the speciality restaurants, we were not convinced that the experience would be worth the cover charge. From reports, there was no doubt regarding the quality of food, or the more personal service, but it did not seem to warrant the recently increased fee of $50 per couple. Having pre-booked various excursions with Azamara we benefited form the 50% discount which made them worthwhile and competitive, but in most ports there seemed to be an option to make personal arrangements with local taxis or operators if you so wished. All in all, would any of our niggles make us think twice about booking with Azamara again? - No, we would love to join in the experience again! It's a great little ship, offering a high standard of service, and all the crew are very pleasant and working hard to ensure guests enjoy their cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Our cruise was to begin on the 30th of March. We, as always, traveled to Puerto Rico a few days earlier and spent three days at the St Regis resort in the Rio Grande area of PR. I wanted to play a few rounds of golf before the cruise. I ... Read More
Our cruise was to begin on the 30th of March. We, as always, traveled to Puerto Rico a few days earlier and spent three days at the St Regis resort in the Rio Grande area of PR. I wanted to play a few rounds of golf before the cruise. I was able to get in one round and then the skies opened up for 2 and 1/2 days. Very unusual for this time of year. Through the resort we had contracted with First Class Limo service. So we went shopping on the wet days. They also had taken us from the airport to the resort and from the resort to the ship. We had originally taken a Club Continent Suite. We were pleasantly surprised to be upgraded to an Ocean Suite. It was a beautiful space with a lot of room. The bathroom had a Jacuzzi tub and shower. Plenty of storage space. Our butler was very helpful and made sure we wanted for nothing. We had a very functional veranda. A table with 4 chairs where we had breakfast each morning and canapes and drinks each afternoon. We also had two chaise lounges with thick padding, covered with clean towels each day. The living room had a 52" Samsung TV. Great for watching the Masters. You literally had to find a reason to leave the room. We ate in the specialty restaurants each night, except for two. One was special dinner with the captain and some of his staff in the drawing room one evening. The dinner was called the best of the best and it was. The other was one night we wanted to try Discoveries, the main restaurant. My wife and I very rarely eat in the main restaurants on ships, and this was the same. It was noisy and the food was okay, not special. We liked Prime C the best. We are partial to Steak Restaurants. The shows were okay. Typical for a ship, however Hal Frazier was the exception. What a voice. I am a cigar smoker and found the area near the pool adequate for smoking and having an afternoon cocktail. My wife and didn't do any tours, preferring to go on our own for lunch and shopping. I did arrange for golf in St Thomas and in Bermuda. The concierge was very helpful in Bermuda. My wife and I loved the special attention we received on the ship from everyone and I think we will be hard pressed to find another ship as warm and a crew as nice as the people on the Azamara.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We reviewed many reviews before we sailed on the Azamara Journey, mostly 5+ rating, I must say they whole experience was better than 5+, from joining our Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow to returning to Heathrow 14 nights later. We ... Read More
We reviewed many reviews before we sailed on the Azamara Journey, mostly 5+ rating, I must say they whole experience was better than 5+, from joining our Virgin Atlantic flight from Heathrow to returning to Heathrow 14 nights later. We were thrilled the way we were able to get to our hotel on South Beach within a hour of the aircraft touching down at Miami airport (a great start). The checkin process at Miami port was simple and very slick, we boarded around 1pm and the rooms were already ready for occupancy.The ship is small so easy to find your way around (unlike the big ones where it takes days to find your way back to the room), the staff simply go out of there way to help and are always happy to chat, not just on the first day, but everyday. We were at sea for four days on the cruise and we never had any issues of getting a sun lounger, or using the gym which was fantastic.The room was bigger than we expected, although there wasn't must wardrobe space, the whole ship was extremely clean and always had a nice fresh smell, along the corridors, stairways etc.The food in all the restaurants was excellant, there was always something very good to eat and obviously the wine was included with your meals, and if you wanted it was also free flowing.Would we travel on Azamara again, absolutly, as long as they keep the prices competetive then we would always choose Azamara first Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
First cruise on a small ship. Azamara has its act together. Staff is extremely friendly and approachable starting with the captain.Main dining room, Windjammer, specialty restaurants and even pool grill were excellent. Evening buffet on ... Read More
First cruise on a small ship. Azamara has its act together. Staff is extremely friendly and approachable starting with the captain.Main dining room, Windjammer, specialty restaurants and even pool grill were excellent. Evening buffet on deck with fish from market in St. Martin was unexpected treat. Complimentary wines were of good quality and variety. Best breakfast room service menu i have seen on a ship. Smoothie bar in Windjammer breakfast was awesome!Tony was outstanding cruise director and excellent singer. Lloyd from production show group was not only a very good singer but did a 1 hour comedy and singing show that was very much enjoyed. Judy's opera performance was excellent. Enjoyed Carlos Alvarez in Mosaic Lounge every night. I had read reviews which complained about the entertainment but we liked every show except a female singer who joined the ship late in the cruise.Service was amazing. On second day I went to guest relations to ask a question about my on-board credit. Guy was on duty and jokingly told me that if i didn't use all of the credit, his birthday was coming up and he liked a watch in the gift shop. I told him that I would consider it but my birthday was that day and I would probably use the credit for myself. When I told him it was my birthday he asked me to wait a minute, went into a back room and brought me a bottle of wine as a gift!Only complaint was spa. Typical Steiner facility. Sell, sell, sell. Kept me waiting 30 minutes and didn't have time for my full service. Also did the wrong kind of massage which caused me some problems. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Azamara Journey 12 Caribbean Cruise 03-23-2011 - 04-04-2011 Embarkation - Boarding Journey in Miami was one of the easiest embarkation's of the almost 50 cruises I have completed. Absolutely no lines and a minimal wait to embark. ... Read More
Azamara Journey 12 Caribbean Cruise 03-23-2011 - 04-04-2011 Embarkation - Boarding Journey in Miami was one of the easiest embarkation's of the almost 50 cruises I have completed. Absolutely no lines and a minimal wait to embark. Upon stepping aboard, I was greeted with a glass of champagne, and the opportunity to make reservations at one of the alternative restaurants. There was also an area that one could check carry-on luggage, to be delivered to the stateroom or suite. I took advantage of this service, and enjoyed exploring the ship without the hindrance of a carry on in tow. This was a first for me, and very much appreciated. Lunch was served at Windows Cafe, with a nice wine and food selection. I was lucky enough to meet new friends, CC member "Candylady" and her husband. (Sue and David).Suite - I was situated in a Club Commodore Suite on deck 8. The layout was spacious and lovely. The space afforded areas for extensive storage and included a large 10 X 6 balcony (equipped with table, chairs and lounge). The bathroom had a tub and shower and was stocked with Elemis products. A well stocked mini-bar and complimentary bottle of Absolut Vodka and Dewars Scotch was also available for consumption. Flowers and daily fresh fruit were always looked after. The suite attendants were magnificent. I pondered how I could leave the suite for breakfast, and magically the suite was made up while I was away! The suite afforded Butler service. I understand that many suite passengers enjoyed the lovely tea service and restaurant reservation service he provided. I did not partake in the Butler amenity. The only downfall to the suite was the bedding. My suite had lumpy mattresses that are in dire need of replacement. I understand that the plan is to switch to new mattresses in stages. Originally I was told that this would be done ship wide in the spring of 2012. Luckily, this is an easy "fix".Public Rooms - Azamara Journey's public room's remind me of the first cruise ships that I had ever sailed on in the early part of the 1990's. Warm, "clubby", and classy. Not the glitz that so many ships offer today. The only negative observation is that in the main dining room, the chairs are in need of re-gluing and re-finishing, and the furniture is in need of replacement in the Discoveries Lounge. The computer center had several computers, complimentary printing service and an attendant to help passengers with the equipment, if needed. The gym was extremely well equipped with personal televisions on the elliptical machines and treadmills. There is a separate male and female dressing room off the gym area, with private showers, steam room and grooming area. Adjacent to the dressing rooms is a private "oasis" with soft sunbeds and a large thalassotherapy pool. This was an area I enjoyed immensely. I did not partake in the spa services, but heard from other passengers that they were very pleased with the offerings. Dining Venues and Food - Azamara offers many choices for your dining pleasure. Breakfast is enjoyed daily in the Windows Cafe, with choices from eggs benedict, made-to-order omelets, cereal, fruits, oatmeal and array of typical American breakfast fare. The main dining room is open for breakfast and lunch only on sea days (very enjoyable sit down service). Lunch at Windows Cafe features a daily carving station, sandwich and salad bar, 2 choices of hot soups and daily buffet style offerings. The outdoor pool grill is also a hit with guests, with offerings of burgers (beef, turkey or veggie), chicken wings, hot dogs, fries, and onion rings. Complimentary wines are free flowing throughout all the lunch and dinner venues. Dinner on Azamara is always a special event. It is open seating, dine with whomever you wish, whenever you wish (within reason, of course). The Discoveries Restaurant is the main dining room that offers a variety of items every evening, from lamb, beef, chicken, seafood and a vegetarian offering. The food was very good and consistent, for the most part. There was one evening a fellow diner didn't care for his lamb. The waiter made note of this, and immediately the maitre 'd came over with offerings of a new meal or a substitution. This was one aspect of Azamara I was amazed at. If there is any complaint, as small as it might be, the staff handles the situation immediately and graciously. In the evening, Windows Cafe becomes a casual indoor - outdoor buffet venue, with a usual stir-fry offering. I didn't choose to eat at this venue, but understood that many guests ate there several times throughout the cruise. The 2 alternative dining venues are Aqualina, specializing in seafood and Prime C, an on-board steakhouse. I enjoyed Aqualina 5 times throughout the cruise and found the food and service outstanding. Foie Gras was a favorite starter, the succulent lobster was offered 3 ways, the tuna was excellent, and choices of rack of lamb and filet mignon were right on the mark. Service was impeccable. If a land based restaurant, Aqualina would be rated 5 star. I also enjoyed Prime C, although the food and service wasn't quite up to par with Aqualina. The rib-eye steak was tough on more than one occasion, whereas the Kobe beef sliders were excellent. Service was a bit slow at times, and not consistent. That said, other than a few glitches at Prime C, I found the positive to outweigh any negative I experienced. There is a $15 surcharge to dine at the alternative restaurants, unless you are a suite guest.Service - I found the service, for the most part, excellent and beyond expectation. (The exception was "spotty" beverage service at Windows Cafe lunch. This was noted on my mid-cruise questionnaire, and was personally addressed immediately.) The outdoor pool deck service offered frozen melon offerings, Evian spray, cool towels, and unobtrusive bar service. One afternoon, on a port day, I fell asleep on deck 11, sun deck, and awoke to a large glass of ice water next to my sun lounge. I was amazed, as I was the only guest on this deck! This was service I will never forget. Sham at the pool bar, should be commended for his incredible "service with a smile" and attention to detail. Unfortunately another bartender at the pool bar was quite the opposite. Arrogant and uninterested in making the guest feel comfortable. This was the only service person that stood out as "not Azamara quality". I will not mention his name on this public forum, as I don't feel naming staff in a negative way is appropriate. Service throughout the rest of the ship mirrored the experience I have enjoyed on Seabourn Cruise Line, an ultra-luxury venue. Well done Azamara!Officers and Staff - "Visible" and "hands-on" are two terms I would use to describe the officers and staff. The interaction between and staff and guest were unparalleled in my opinion. I had the pleasure of dining with the Hotel Director, Scott Daniels, one evening, and had many positive interactions with Ngawhira, the "always my pleasure" guest relations manager. This is another personal touch to delight Azamara guests!Entertainment I have to admit, that on a cruise, I tend to make my own entertainment. Although I didn't attend any shows, I enjoyed meeting new friends at the Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle party and coffee social. Socializing with an array of friends throughout the ship and voyage is also one of the best aspects of cruising. Tony Markey, however, was an excellent Cruise Director on my journey.Le Club Voyage - Having sailed with sister company Celebrity, I had 8 Captains Club cruise credits that immediately advanced me to Explorer status on Azamara. Some of the amenities included- over 2 hours of free internet service, a free bag of laundry, a bottle of sparkling wine, and several club parties. After this cruise, I will enjoy 3 more credits (1 for the cruise, 1 for a cruise more than 12 days at length, and another for suite status). This will advance me once more to top-tier Discoverer status that will offer even more perks. What a nice touch, to be rewarded for past loyalty to a sister company!Disembarkation - Always a real "downer", Azamara made disembarking easy. I was able to disembark at my leisure, after the first few colors were called. Guests and staff expressed "Good-bye's" and "till we meet again". Final thoughts - Having sailed on most of the ultra-luxury lines such as Regent, Crystal, SeaDream, Le Ponant and especially Seabourn, this is as close as it gets to the ultra- luxury cruise experience. Actually, I enjoyed my Azamara cruise over my Regent and Crystal cruises. My cruise had the "Open bar" promotion that really added to the luxury "feel" to the voyage. Hopefully this promotion will be offered in the future. A good cruise is when you look back and have fond memories of ship and fellow guests. A great cruise is when you look back and realize that your cruise has now set a new bar for the ultra-premium cruise experience. This was a great cruise.Questions? Email me at hostdan@cruisecritic.com Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
What is it that makes a cruise and for that matter a cruise line special? Could it be that a dazzling itinerary, perhaps the price was amazing, might it be that the comfort is superlative, the food is out of this world or maybe it ... Read More
What is it that makes a cruise and for that matter a cruise line special? Could it be that a dazzling itinerary, perhaps the price was amazing, might it be that the comfort is superlative, the food is out of this world or maybe it is just that your kind of people are attracted to this type of cruise? With Azamara Club Cruises it could be any one of these things but may I suggest that the true catalyst in creating what is to be found on these ships is the atmosphere, the ambience and the huge joie de vivre exuding from everyone on board. It is contagious from the moment you set foot on the gangway and even before that in the embarkation area. This ebullience pervades the whole vessel and lifts you as no other ship can. It has been this way for a long time now. This was our fourth cruise with Azamara and those who remembered us welcomed us as old friends and those to whom we were new welcomed us as though we were new friends, it is a superb feeling to come back into that kind of environment. Now how can a cruise go wrong after that? Well every cruise has top contend with the weather, we still, despite all our ingenuity, haven't managed to change that but we had our own genius on board..... Captain Johannes Tysse, he did things that often wouldn't be allowed; things like changing the itinerary, docking instead of tendering, changing ports so that we were on the leeward side of an island and walking around the ship chatting to passengers as though he hadn't got a care in the world when we really knew that each day he had lost one or two hairs that should be still firmly fixed. What can go wrong when the F & B manager, Scott has to give away delectable wine every lunch and dinner time and he does it so generously even when confronted with the load of inebriates as were on the ship this time and he never stopped smiling even when it rained on his Barbeque? What can go wrong when a man of true fashion, one who can carry off a spotted tie with a striped shirt; he never puts a foot wrong and has to introduce all manner of miscreants who arrive late, who have their peculiar foibles, and who sometimes don't feel too well in the swell, to us demonstrative passengers? Cruise Director, Tony Markey has seen "us lot" and knows "us lot" so well; if it has happened on a ship he's seen it or done it or held it above his head until it went limp. I will let you into a secret, on a previous cruise I dined with him and he has a better selection of wine than the Captain, so if you get a chance ...... well you know! This was the first time we had met Heike, the Hotel Director, other H Ds have had to put up with me before, but she is the one who keeps everyone in line and she like all crew and staff on the ship was never without a smile, although I wasn't present when the Captain just happened to mention to her about the alteration to ports of call and small readjustments that had to be made to the arranged party nights and various other minor things which would have driven Gordon Ramsey into an apoplectic fit. Nary a hair disturbed, and immaculate to boot. And over all of these is the brilliant, beaming bundle of joy, Vicky, Human Resources; always sound to me like a Spare Part Surgery Section. Now if you had her managing you ethics and paperwork you'd be in heaven. We all know that the demands of cruise passengers are second to none and we also know that these guys and gals work more hours than just about anyone. What you see on this ship is a wonderful camaraderie that exists and which must go a long way toward warding off the stress, tiredness and the sweat that goes with the job. You can see the whole ship's company revelling in this elation, uplifted, cushioned and comforted by the ambience that has been created and all that is so evident to us, the passengers I have left out so many of the staff and crew and I am sorry, please forgive me. Other reviews will talk about where we went what we did but we just want to say how much we appreciated everything on board and to say thank you for an outstanding cruise. à bientôt. Jean and David ( Lucy Tania ) Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This was our first cruise with Azamara and it will be very difficult to cruise with any other line from now on. From the easiest embarkation process to the personable captain and senior crew members, we felt at home from the moment we ... Read More
This was our first cruise with Azamara and it will be very difficult to cruise with any other line from now on. From the easiest embarkation process to the personable captain and senior crew members, we felt at home from the moment we stepped on board. We were on the ship within 10 minutes of stepping out of the taxi and from there on in, it was smile after smile. The attitude of the crew is very important to us, and there really is none better than what we experienced. Where else will you find the captain and senior crew members mingling with the passengers on a daily basis and even serving gelato at the pool grill? Having a profession in the management field, I feel that this is the only way to run a business. Happy and personable administration means happy and motivated staff and ultimately happy and returning passengers. The staff was extremely complimentary about the Azamara Brand and that was all we needed to hear. The room attendants, servers, bartenders, and even the cleaning crew were so friendly and helpful. The casino staff was beyond compare! We truly left the ship with new friends from every department and sincerely hope to cruise with them again. We stayed in both a veranda stateroom and(hubby won the upgrade at Bingo, would you believe it?) in a continental suite. Both were very well maintained and IMHO, well decorated. Except for the extra walking space, larger balcony and bath, there really was no difference for us in the overall comfort and care of the rooms. Bed too hard? Just ask for a mattress pad for extra cushion and it will be there before your next sleep. The suite does have a few extra benefits such as the conveniences of a butler, more dining opportunities at the specialty restaurants, and DVDs, but to tell you the truth, we aren't butler-type people, the food was great in the regular dining, and we never had time for the DVDs. To each his own, as they say. We found the public areas quite nice. The size of the ship does make for less room, but we like that while cruising as it feels more intimate. I had read complaints about the artwork and furnishings being outdated, but we did not even realize that. They were definitely eclectic in taste, and who looks at them more than once anyway? The Internet cafe was staffed by the most patient and soft-spoken man I have ever met. Internet service was best in the cafe and very sporadic as wireless service. If you are a return passenger (Club Member), you receive free minutes, making the somewhat expensive Internet time quite reasonable! The fitness center was quite large with nice equipment. They offered many classes but we didn't opt for those. The walking track is 13 times around for a mile, but was expected. The Looking Glass Lounge was the game room and disco-type area at night. We felt it was large enough because the dance floor wasn't that crowded, although a couple of times there was dancing in the aisles (all in good fun!). The Cabaret Lounge was the theater area for music and shows and never seemed over crowded. We felt the pool area was well maintained although the chair situation is a bit tight. We sometimes had trouble getting four loungers together since we had two couples traveling together, but that was minor and hardly a complaint. There really isn't too much walking space between the loungers, but if you want more chairs, something has got to give. We found the food to be delicious wherever we ate. The pool grill had a surprisingly large selection of items made fresh to order and a great salad bar. Our only complaint here was that there was only one person to man the grill and although he never worked up a sweat, sometimes seemed a bit overloaded when there were too many people milling about. It is probably a space issue but some people were needlessly impatient. The breakfast and lunch offerings at the Windows Cafe were fantastic with plenty of options, although there could have been a few more coffee machines around. Mosaic's Cafe was a real treat with coffees, teas, liquors and pastries all day long. Dinner dining at Windows Cafe was excellent with great sushi, seafood, a stir fry station and pasta station with plenty of offerings. Their idea of shrimp on the special shrimp night were actually large prawns! And quite delicious! Discoveries main dining was very good, also. Again there were many choices and they would easily make changes to the dish with no hassle. The brunch at Discoveries that they had on one day was the best we had ever experienced. The specialty restaurants were superb. We dined at Aqualina first and fell in love with the souffles, both the Grand Marnier and the Chocolate-to die for! The Red Snapper was the best fish we had the entire cruise. Prime C was our favorite and we dined there for the Connoisseur's Wine Pairing Dinner. Wow! Every course was superb and the fillet was absolutely perfect. Of course, service was splendid everywhere we ate, taking into account the number of diners, time of day, and meal selections. The boutique wines were quite good at lunch and dinner and we were quite pleased with all the beverages. Our kuddos to the great chef Lisa and the sommeliers. My husband and our friend were the first and only two to purchase the new Beverage package offered. While they enjoyed it on this cruise, their opinion was that if the on-board credit hadn't paid for it, they would have been just as happy with the boutique wines and an occasional beer or specialty drink since the prices weren't that prohibitive. There were two specialty dinner outdoor buffets by the pool. The food was great, some prepared on a BBQ grill. Selections were varied but my favorite was all the seafood. They added tables to the walking track and it became romantic candlelight dining under the stars, in spite of the crowd around you. They had great entertainment, especially the steel drum band on the Caribbean Night. Entertainment overall was quite good. Cruise Director Tony Markey is a wonderful showman and we had the good fortune of having his lovely wife, Christine on board while we cruised. She is an absolute delight, and we tried to follow her wherever she was singing at the time. Dan Redner and the Journey Orchestra are absolutely wonderful. The Journey singers are okay, some better than others, but the sound system unfortunately made it worse sometimes. Again, a problem with space and acoustics that can't be helped. Carlos Avalon, on the piano, is a wonderful performer and a very nice man. We enjoyed listening to him in Mosaic's lounge. Guest performers were very good: a magician,a funny comedian, a wonderful vocalist, Jamila. The harpist in the Discoveries Lounge is also very good, and was a joy to listen to before dinner. I could go on yet for paragraphs about how much we enjoyed our journey on Journey. We really had no complaints and can't wait to set sail on Azamara again soon! (We are hoping that Miami becomes more available as a port option!) Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Exceedingly satisfactory cruise, ship, staff, excursions, food and activities, thereby exceeding almost all of our expectations. We had read many good things about Azamara (most of our previous cruises having been with Regent Seven Seas, ... Read More
Exceedingly satisfactory cruise, ship, staff, excursions, food and activities, thereby exceeding almost all of our expectations. We had read many good things about Azamara (most of our previous cruises having been with Regent Seven Seas, while those with other lines having been unsatisfactory, so decided to take a chance when we learned of their promotion (almost all inclusive) and the islands to be visited. We will return, despite the few matters that force us to consider not having exceeded all our expectations. First, reserved directly with Azamara, then transferred to Costco Travel in order to benefit from their incentives (in some cases cash cards, in other cases, such as this one, on board credit). This time, however, something happened when the reservation was transferred and one of Azamara's promotional benefits failed to transfer (open bar), so had to insist with Guest Relations to honor their promotion (which they finally did after two days). We do not know who at fault--Azamara for not making sure the promotion was clearly transferred in full, or Costco for not registering the promotion in full. Second, contrary to all the other ships we have cruised, the Journey BLOCKS the use of SKYPE, preventing both passengers and crew from communicating with their friends and relatives (as well as business partners and clients, for those who have them). This to us is absolutely uncalled for, detrimental to both Azamara and everyone else, and very very frustrating. Third, but not a major issue, we did find the bathroom (especially the shower) and the cabin rather small, although tolerable. However, the chairs provided in our veranda were small and very uncomfortable, particularly since the SV cabins have very long verandas. It was not until a few days on board that we by chance learned we could ask for lawn chairs, did so and got them. We think these lawn chairs should be permanently installed in the verandas, or made known of their availability either upon boarding or in the website when giving details of the cabins. Having mentioned the negatives, we pass to the positives. Everything else about the ship -- all meals in all places, all the entertainments (but especially the harpist, and we would recommend adding a pianist to interchange with the harpist), all drinks included in the open bar (which we would recommend be extended to all cruises), the layout of the ship (with its decorations and furnishings), the places visited, and of course the very friendly and attentively efficient staff, from those taking orders to those giving the orders, from those doing the work to those supervising them. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
Day 1: check in and departure Pretty much walked through the checkin, pausing briefly - this was by far the quickest we had ever experienced. Glass of champagne / wine to welcome us, and several officers to say 'hello' and ... Read More
Day 1: check in and departure Pretty much walked through the checkin, pausing briefly - this was by far the quickest we had ever experienced. Glass of champagne / wine to welcome us, and several officers to say 'hello' and introduce themselves. No photographer - what the heck? We soon learned that if you wanted a picture taken, you had to go find the photographer - never was badgered ONCE! Cruise Critic meet/greet at 6:00, with appetizers/ wine/ more champagne (actually liked this brand), and we got to meet mostly new friends. This is nice, because the Journey is small enough that you keep running into each other. Then we were advised to attend the Sail Away Buffet on the upper deck - the first of several buffets. This one was pretty ordinary and served as an introduction to the Windows Cafe. I was surprised to find an excellent sushi bar, with a chef in attendance to make up a nice plate of good stuff. Other amenities include a pasta chef to make up some Italian, a wok chef to whip up some Asian mixes, and a good sized dessert selection. The Journey has a chef that is really proud of his macaroons, and you always get some of those (I myself, don't like macaroons....) There is homemade ice cream every night. Ignore the Van/Choc/Strawberry and look over the special of the day - the Mango Sorbet, Papaya Sorbet, Coconut, Butter Pecan.... this guy knows his stuff! Someplace in the middle of all this, the last pallets are finally loaded and we leave a hour late; this is really nice for the couple we saw racing on board only a half hour late. We had flown in to Fort Lauderdale a day early to save the bag fees via Southwest and taken a shuttle down. Day 2: at sea Breakfast on balcony proved to be windy and not a very good idea with all the papers blowing around. Kept busy with the daily Sudoku/Crossword, various trivia and other contests, a lecture, and the usual "bingo the owner's suite", which we lost again. Lunch in the Windows Cafe had carved roast beef with horseradish and mashed potatoes/gravy. Lunch always featured some kind of carved meat. We had dinner there, too (I wanted more sushi) Day 3: at sea Lunch today had the ship's officers dishing up some BBQ, with a couple of suckling pigs and a fresh fruit chef. Fresh papaya was available, but I went for the star fruit (proved not to be ripe enough, but neither was the papaya). Cole Slaw vastly oversalted, inedible. Toured the bridge with the third officer, then the engine control room with one of the engineering officers. Both were great experiences, and just ask at Guest Relations if you want a tour - I think they do this automatically for CC members? Finally had dinner in the dining room: surf/turf, oyster soup, prawns with lime/avocado, crème brulee - all pretty good. They messed up on dining mate Linda's entree and atoned by bring her a desired chocolate fondue from the Prime C upstairs! Day 4: St John, USVI Smoked past St Thomas at 6 AM, seeing a Princess ship in port. Have my favorite breakfast: bagel/lox. Have I mentioned the fresh-squeezed OJ yet? 2 glasses every morning! Tour at 8:30, surprised by the stack of breakfast goodies in the showroom in case you missed breakfast, even more by the free water on your departure. Tour of island good, roads "interesting" (so close your eyes in the worst parts). Beach at Trunk Bay great and we get a half hour of leisure time to enjoy it. Cold towel to soothe our fevered brows and sunburned necks when we get back to the ship. Dinner: had strip steak when the waiter returned and said the grouper "wasn't up to the chef's standards, so he wasn't serving it..." Nancy gets strip, had ordered tenderloin sampler.... Pumpkin bisque excells, beet salad had 4 little bitty cubes of beet in it, cheese raviolis excell, mango ice cream for dessert (excell) Day 5: Marigot, St Martin Breakfast in DR, poached egg on toast (overcooked like always). Just did the town - tried negotiating a mild change in the offered tour, but the Excursions Desk had shot me down on liability issues. I could have been dishonest and done it anyway (I didn't want to take the hike, just sit around and wait for everyone else to finish), but that's not my style. We hike to fort (go around the church to the left and up the hill), then check the native craft vendors - pretty much all the same and unappealing. Back to ship for lunch, then Nancy spends the afternoon reading and I return onshore to do some birding near the marina and lagoon to the west of the landing. This is where the expensive shops are, it turns out. I go along the back of the town (finding out that the area is a lot poorer then the front of the town, but still safe). Have a couple Carib beers onshore at 2 bucks apiece to quench my thirst, then return to the ship. Dinner at Aqualina: Scallops (ex), goat cheese souffle(ex) salad(g), bouillabaise(g), lobster thermidor (with mashed potatoes?), ahi with risotto (both ex, but dish poorly put together with wasabi sauce under the risotta and a balsamic drizzle that conflicted with the ahi). Chocolate Beignier (ex) with expresso mousse(ex) and vanilla ice cream (not congenial). House white tonight was a French Chardonnay that went particularly well with the scallops and a complimentary chicken curry. Then we went upstairs to look at the Caribbean Buffet on the pool deck. Grilled lamb chops, jerk chicken, big line for the scallops. Entertainment was a most excellent steel drum band, and that free wine was getting to the crowd, with a couple hundred dancing. Day 6: St Kitts Ease off and have cereal and juice for breakfast. Tour today is the sugar train (ok, but lasts too long at two hours) with the Brimstone Fortress added on(good, always like forts and my favorite is Ft Henry in Kingston, Ontario). Stop a couple places to look around and back to Besseterre. Lunch onshore at the BallyHoo - overlooking the main plaza (with large clock) in town. Fresh Mahi-mahi, fish cakes, Conch in garlic butter. All outstanding, and comes with an interesting carrot-coconut slaw. Soak the mahi in the conch butter and it's really good. Couple of cheap shoreside beers and back to the ship. Dinner in the DR was crab cake(ex), red pepper soup(g) beef stroganoff(g) with dill pickles(?) in it. Becoming a fan of the butter dish - that hommous in it is really good and I always get a double batch. Day 7: Antigua No tour offered of any consequence, so just walk around the touristy area. You don't get a shopping brochure on Azamara, so was surprised to be walking past a Diamonds International! (Big whoop...) Nancy goes back to ship, I go birding to the south (separate writeup of the birds is in the EcoCruising boards on CC) Lunch: carved meat is pork loin with fried apples today. Don't attend the high tea because I resent having to wear long pants, so we have tea on our balcony today, then attend trivia in the Mosaic Cafe to get a dish of those marinated olives. Dinner in the DR: nearly inedible roast strip (tough), lava cake (g), coconut sorbet (no flavor). Day 8: St Bart's Breakfast today had carved ham. Tour the island - narrow steep roads, airfield has a hill at one end and the sea at the other end of the runway. Wonder how many people that land here refuse to take off again? Not much to see on the island, scenery wise, mostly just passing trees and resorts. Return to town, walk to Shell Beach. Directions to Shell Beach - walk to the south along the boat harbor, far end is a park across from the Anglican Church. Go to the right to LeBistro Restaurant. Take the street across from the LeBistro up the hill, turn right at the second corner (green shingled house) and go to the end at the school. Now turn left and continue a couple blocks to the beach. Overpriced chairs and umbrellas, use all your bargaining skills to get the price down from the usual 20 Euros. Start by saying "I'm eating lunch in your seedy bar..." and buying a couple of drinks.... Return to ship for lunch (pork medallions today and carved top round) then Nancy stays to read and I return to land to go birding near Shell Beach. Captain moves ship closer to land, since the Windstar had gotten in first and nicked our close spot. Dinner in Prime C tonight: mushroom soup (ex, needed a bit of salt), prawns (cocktail sauce a little bland), popcorn shrimp (portion too large) and I had to request some more heat in this cocktail sauce and I got a little bowl of Chinese chili sauce that did it), Rib steak (g, cognac sauce g and I make better peppercorn sauce than this), veal chop (massive size). Chocolate fondue: request dark choc, hold the pineapple and double the bananas. The house wines weren't good enough for any of this when tasted, but the wine list was fine, with a Macon and a Cotes du Rhone. Upstairs on the poor deck, they're having an International Buffet, most good stuff with Cherries Jubilee for dessert. Unfortunately, its sprinkling a bit. Day 9: St Bart's #2 Tender #6 blew an engine on the final approach to the pier, so we got pushed in by the next tender - a rough business, but the crew handled it pretty well, in my opinion. It returned immediately to the ship for repair and they lowered another to replace it. We had spotted the yellow submarine next to the landing yesterday, and I had talked to the gal that pilots it (one of the couple that owns it). Leaves at 11, so we go ashore and buy a couple of tickets (ship price $74, shore price 40 Euros). We prove to be the only ones going so we get a private narration and tour. Excellent value, and one of the better bottoms in the Caribbean. Shipwreck, a terrific 3 foot Remora, half dozen sharks, large batch of reef fish, then off to the dozen turtles feeding on the bottom. Take this if you get a chance. We asked the owners for a restaurant recommendation, and Le Entracte was recommended as "good value for the price" (St Barts is pricey, with a lot of talk back on the ship about the 300 Euro T-shirts). It's a small white building about 1 ½ blocks to the south. Doesn't look like much from the outside, but great shrimp in cream sauce, salad with great goat cheese in pastry, crummy escargot, glasses of French wine, and a free after lunch shot of homemade punch for 102 bucks US. Stop at a liquor store on the way back to the ship for some island punch.... Dinner in the DR: shrimp cocktail (fair sauce), bermuda fish chowder (g) Chilean Sea Bass (one piece good, one skunky), and that excellent butter pecan ice cream. Day 10: Virgin Gorda Now they've found the waffle iron for breakfast, with strawberry sauce, etc for toppings. Baked ham again. Nancy has had it with tendering, and stays on the ship "catching up". I wander ashore, join up with a couple of people wandering around, and we negotiate a tour of the island (opening offer: $100 for five, final settling on $80) In true American / British cruising tradition, everyone hands him a 20 at the end! Another tour of steep roads and sharp turns, but these roads are wider then St Barts and there are a lot fewer houses, since most of the island is national park. We wind up at the Baths, which to me a just a pile of rocks with an interesting geological history (none of which they mention) where a couple people leave to take in the sights. I'm back to the town, wander around birding a bit, then back to the ship for lunch. Finally hit the pool side grill for some of the weisswurst sausages. Skip the onion rings, they are all breading and overcooked to boot. Lousy dill pickles, great peperoncini and olives - go figure. At this point with the 2 days left at sea, I quit taking notes. I remember dinners of Osso Bucco and Lamb Shank, both great. There was a tomato tartare dish that had an outstanding TOMATO sorbet that Baskin-Robbins could sell. I'm sorry I do a bit more about the meals, but I think this is part of cruising! I like to have a restaurant "night out" quality meal, which I define as "better than I can make myself" I think the Journey missed on several occasions. The ice cream was excellent, the sushi chef was vastly appreciated (but it was a little monotonous). The little snacks in the cabin every night were great, but never seen at the dessert table. The truffles in the cabin on two occasions were REALLY great, but never seen again. There was some Italian sausage at breakfast that would have really hit the spot in the Windows pasta, but not to be. I was tempted to take a bowl full and show up that night and get them included, but I was chicken. The Thai/Asian dishes coming out of the kitchen were excellent on all occasions. There is no information on entertainment aboard, this smaller ship has only one show at 9:45 and we are the "read before sleeping" types. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was the first cruise we've been on since Renaissance went out of business.It was deja vu getting on the Journey as it looked exactly like the R6! Embarkation was a breeze. We were in our cabin, champagne in hand, by 12:30 pm for ... Read More
This was the first cruise we've been on since Renaissance went out of business.It was deja vu getting on the Journey as it looked exactly like the R6! Embarkation was a breeze. We were in our cabin, champagne in hand, by 12:30 pm for a 5:00 pm sailing. Our cabin was almost at the very front of the ship on the starboard side. This is because we booked a guarantee, so we didn't get to select our exact location, but it was a lot cheaper that way! The cabin was well-appointed and I was surprised at how good the lighting was, contrary to reviews I had read. Our butler came to greet us, but I have to say that I wasn't impressed with his service. We barely saw him and he didn't really go out of his way for us. However, the steward who actually cleaned the room was wonderful and attentive.  We were in cabin 7009. It's very far forward on the starboard side. The cabin is a bit small, but adequate for 2 people. We had plenty of storage space,although they could probably add an additional dresser somewhere. The verandah was very nice but we were able to see our neighbor through the divider. We only had a neighbor on one side of us because the room on the other side had a porthole. The bathroom is small but has good shelf space. The shower is ridiculously small. The cabin was quiet even though there was some sort of work closet across the hall, but you couldn't hear anything inside the cabin. There are staterooms above and below, so no noise from casino or clubs. The only noise comes at around 6:30 or 7:00 am when they drop anchor. The vibrations are really loud, but we were already awake, so it didn't really matter. If you like to sleep in, it's a problem. Also, since the cabin is very far forward, you feel the motion from the ocean, so not a good place if you get sea sick. Luckily, we had calm seas. The staff, overall, is exceptional. So many of them knew our names by Day 2. We were often asked if everything was OK and they went out of their way to help us. We also really enjoyed the other passengers. Most of them were interesting, well-travelled and delightful company. Although we were among the younger set (46 and 49), we felt very comfortable. The food was good, but I wouldn't consider it great. Coming from New York City, we are bit spoiled. Prime C was excellent, Aqualina was good, Discoveries was hit and miss. I had some good meals but some really bad ones too. The wine list is excellent. The coffee is even worse than I expected. We ended up buying coffee at the Cova Cafe every day, where they make good espresso and cappucino. They really need to fix this. The ship is spotless. The entertainment was OK - nothing spectacular, but we were so tired at night, that we didn't really care. I would recommend highly Azamara to others. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
After 14 cruises with Celebrity we felt the ships were getting too big for us, and we were looking for something more akin to the experience we used to get on those Royal Viking Ships years ago. Well we found it on the Azamara Journey and ... Read More
After 14 cruises with Celebrity we felt the ships were getting too big for us, and we were looking for something more akin to the experience we used to get on those Royal Viking Ships years ago. Well we found it on the Azamara Journey and we will be back! And, by the way the Embarkation experience was the best we have ever experienced! First of all the itinerary was great - 12 nights round trip from Miami (with 2 sea days out and back) stopping off at smaller, and in our minds more interesting, ports of call - some which we had visited before (but not on cruise ships) and knew quite well from a "yachties" perspective, and others we had not visited. Virgin Gorda, St Bart's, Dominica and St John's were the highlights, although to be honest the shore excursions offered by the ship were not the most enthralling. So we did things on our own, which is what we usually do, and really enjoyed ourselves - scuba diving in Virgin Gorda, Dominica and St Croix; touring by taxi and on foot in other ports, and a memorable lunch at the Eden Rock in St Bart's, with the waves lapping at our feet. The ship was in great shape and immaculate, thanks to the watchful eye of Captain "Theo" who we had met before on the Century. He was aided by a great team in the Hotel Department (Niyazi, Hotel Director) and a terrific Staff Captain Emmanouil Aposkitis. This ran right the way through the ship from the F&B Manager Scott, Chef Ari, the barmen (especially Dale), the Dining Room Waiters, deck staff and our head Butler and cabin attendants - all were fantastic. With just one meeting they remembered your name (and drink!) and any quirks and preferences. They were highly personable and professional. Our cabin was a Royal Suite on Deck 7 starboard, all the way forward, with a terrific view coming into anchorages and ports. The weather was fantastic for just about all the sea days and positioning and we were able to use the extensive balcony a great deal without too much wind (which is always a risk with a suite all the way forward). The service provided by our head Butler Arvind was just as it should be - attentive, personable, discreet, professional and prompt, although we thought having to fill in a card the day before to set the time of delivery of afternoon tea and evening canapes was a bit "tacky". So we asked to be spared this "pre-planning" requirement, which they immediately arranged and the evening canapes were always delivered to us at around 6.00pm - perfect! There were a few dings here and there in the cabin - to be expected - but the the linens, towels, amenities, bathroom etc were superb, and the Elemis products top of the line. And the space - well, perfect for a cruise of this sort. Now, on to the food. In short quite the best we have had on a cruise ship. Both Prime C and Aqualina were excellent and the food was innovative, varied and of very high quality and it ALWAYS came out hot; the fish being some of the best we have ever had on a ship. The variety on the menus was broad enough to permit eating in these restaurants frequently - in fact we only ate in the Dining Room three times! The lunch time buffets were also very good and varied, and eating lunch out in the shade on the back deck (Breeze) was delightful - especially as this was home to Dale, the best barman afloat! We also had one of the best curry's we have had (lots of Indian staff on the ship, so it had to be!), which was made fresh in front of us up in the Window's Cafe one evening. The wine list were extensive and quite expensive, and all the other drinks were as expected from a price point of view. If it's entertainment and Production Shows, you want, then the Azamara Journey is not for you! We don't "do" many of these, so it wasn't a problem for us, but the cast of characters for the shows was quite frankly pretty amateur - high school production standards! However one huge exception was the trio that played around the ship and in the Looking Glass Lounge forward at nights. The Ivory Coast Trio - absolutely terrific, with a huge repertoire and the ability to get people dancing - we closed the place most evenings!! Tony Markey was the Cruise Director, a Brit as is often the case, and he struck just the right note, not too over the top and "party hearty", and he always remembered a face and a name - that's nice. In all, a terrific cruise, on a terrific ship, with a terrific compliment of crew. Definitely takes the Celebrity standard to a new level, and we think creates a niche in the market all on its own. If Azamara can keep this up, keep their passenger demographic (not really for families with kids though), and continue their standards, they have a winning product here. We booked again on the Quest in August, we loved it so much! Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
This cruise was chosen to get my wife and I away from winter, and it succeeded wonderfully. The small and well appointed Journey is a perfect size for us. It's big enough to have most of the amenities of larger cruise ships and ... Read More
This cruise was chosen to get my wife and I away from winter, and it succeeded wonderfully. The small and well appointed Journey is a perfect size for us. It's big enough to have most of the amenities of larger cruise ships and small enough to provide personalized service and visit smaller ports. Life on the ship is like being at a well run boutique hotel. The food in all restaurants was great, much better than Azamara's sibling Celebrity Cruises. The menus were varied, the presentation excellent and the service was outstanding. The crew is very personable and they get to know your preferences rapidly. In fact, we really loved all of the crew as they made the entire cruise special. Of special note is Sahon, the best bartender we've encountered on any cruise ship (we've been on many cruises) and George, a charming and gregarious gentleman as well as a superlative assistant Maitre'd'. We appreciated both the Harpist and Guitarist who were talented musicians that connected with their audiences. Other entertainment included a pianist (sorry we missed him as we heard good things) a small group of enthusiastic show entertainers, a couple of headliners (comedian and musician/singer), an 8 piece band, a good trio (did some fun riffs) and a staff magician/comedian. Our cabin was well appointed, clean and comfortable. The ships public rooms are warm and inviting. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Now that the bags are unpacked and the tan fading, thought we would share details of our recent sailing aboard the Azamara Journey (February 12, 2009) At 600+ passengers, the Journey was the largest "small ship" we had yet ... Read More
Now that the bags are unpacked and the tan fading, thought we would share details of our recent sailing aboard the Azamara Journey (February 12, 2009) At 600+ passengers, the Journey was the largest "small ship" we had yet experienced...with our previous sailings having been on the yachts of SeaDream, Windstar and Royal Clipper lines. Because of this, we had some reservations prior to booking, as to whether we would enjoy the same intimacy with passengers and crew. The answer is no, but this may be the only shortcoming of Azamara. Having booked with an on-line cruise specialist, we were pleased to discover that we were eligible for one or more credits the cruise line was offering, having the effect of significantly reducing our cruise fare. Because of this, we opted to upgrade to a Sky Suite category, for a little more than the outside cabin with balcony we had reserved. While the room and balcony were indeed larger, it might not have been worth paying extra without the incentives. Check on these when booking. On arrival dockside in Miami, we presented the boarding passes printed on our computer at home. This expedited the boarding process, and we were deck side in less than 5 minutes, greeted by crew and a flute of champagne. Always a nice touch! Though our stateroom was not yet ready for occupancy, we spent about an hour getting acclimated with the ship...its restaurants, lounges, casino, show rooms, shops, etc. We also took the occasion to reserve space in Spa's Thalassotherapy Pool area. Restricted to about thirty passengers, it affords a quiet respite from the general pool area and some shade. Think it was well worth the investment. The main pool area is always in bright sunshine and very crowded, though the chaises are most comfortable. The ship has two specialty restaurants, a main dining room and aft open-air buffet, all open for dinner. Prime C is the steak speciality venue, while Aqualina, fish. The menus in these dining rooms do not vary during your cruise, while the main dining room and buffet change daily. Passengers (depending on room category) have limited access to the specialty restaurants and all unlimited to the main dining room and buffet. It is suggested you book your reservations in the specialty restaurants early after embarkation. Food and decor in each of these rooms is above par, though after a couple of nights you may find yourselves gravitating to the buffet, and simpler fare. While the ship offers various shore excursions, for the adventurous you are better off exploring on your own, the various beaches and local restaurants. Taxis are readily available and the total costs are far less than the organized excursions. You can save here! After dinner, you can enjoy a cocktail under the stars or one of the cabaret shows nightly in the lounge. We had an enthusiastic group of five singers who entertained us with songs from Broadway and television. Shows run about an hour and the last ends around 11PM. For breakfast, we generally had our wonderful butler bring us cappuccino and croissants on our balcony before going deck side for breakfast. Lovely sitting outside in the early morning sun, enjoying your eggs prepared to order. All in all, we believe Azamara lived up to its hype and we certainly would not hesitate another cruise soon. For those of you contemplating booking, we think you will be satisfied at the end of your journey. Good Sailing! Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Embarkation went very smoothly. We arrived at the Azamara pier around 11:30 a.m. and parked in the garage across the street. At the pier, we exchanged our 'Express Pass' for a 'Sea Pass' and then boarded the Journey, ... Read More
Embarkation went very smoothly. We arrived at the Azamara pier around 11:30 a.m. and parked in the garage across the street. At the pier, we exchanged our 'Express Pass' for a 'Sea Pass' and then boarded the Journey, where we were welcomed with a glass of pink champagne and allowed to make dinner reservations in Prime C for that evening. We enjoyed a buffet lunch in Windows Cafe, and were told our stateroom was ready about 1:30 p.m. Penthouse Suite 8088 is a spacious, tastefully decorated suite located portside aft, with a sitting room, separate bedroom/bath and a wrap around veranda with 2 lounge chairs and a table and chair set. The sitting room has a sofa and two chairs, dining area for 4, huge buffet with complimentary liquor, water and soft drinks, a separate (paid) mini-bar refrigerator, large flat screened TV and separate powder room. The adjacent bedroom contains a bed which can be two twins or combined into a queen bed, an entire wall of storage with closets and cubbies and TV, as well as a mirrored, seated vanity area, and computer desk. The bathroom has a large sink/vanity area with 2 side cabinets, a WC with self-closing lid (no joke), and a whirlpool tub/shower combo. We were surprised at the amount of space in the suite, and the view from the veranda was amazing, stretching aft to the horizon and around the port side. Our butler and his assistant were always polite, personable and considerate. He saw that we had fresh flowers and fruit daily, was consistently available and often went out of his way to accommodate our requests. The room was always cleaned while we were at breakfast, and the bed was turned down, lights dimmed, chocolate dipped strawberries or other bedtime treat awaiting us when we returned from dinner. Unfortunately, we experienced high seas and winds during our first two days at sea and diesel smoke was blown down the back of the ship, making our balcony unusable and at times seeping into the suite (I am more sensitive to odors than my husband). We also experienced significant motion and engine noise because of the weather. However, the Captain chose a course through the Old Bahamas Channel and once we entered the Caribbean Sea, the cruising went very smoothly and we were able to use our veranda. Of note: 1) Suite 8088 is located under Windows/Breeza Cafe and the few times we were in the suite in the late afternoon we experienced noise when staff moved tables and chairs around in preparation for dinner. 2) The mattresses were a bit tired and sway-backed, and while my bad back noticed this we slept well. 3) The whirlpool tub/shower is set into an alcove and sits a bit high off the floor. I had to grab the handle bar at the side opening and stretch to reach the towel bar on the far side of the tub in order to climb in. Getting out of the tub was almost as tricky - in hind sight, I should have asked for a step stool. However, the shower always had consistently warm water with a strong flow, the toiletries provided were high end, and the towels were oversized but very heavy. 4) When we were unable to unlock our door due to failure of the lock battery, it was opened and fixed within 5 minutes courtesy of the Security and Maintenance staffs. 5) I love to read in the Patio Area on the pool deck as it is usually quiet and relaxing. However, on the Journey, the furniture was so oversized it must have been made for the Jolly Green Giant. It was extremely uncomfortable and impossible to sit in. I would definitely recommend replacement with smaller, more comfortable, people-sized furniture. 6) The pool area is a sore spot with us. Like every large hotel or ship I've been to, people rush up in the early a.m., throw personal items on deck chairs to reserve them, and then disappear, leaving empty but obviously 'in use' chairs. Perhaps Azamara staff could patrol usage and remove items from chairs after a certain amount of time - Oceania seems to have this problem well under control. Discoveries Restaurant and the two specialty restaurants, Prime C and Aqualina, were a delicious surprise. Sample menus offered on line were frankly uninspiring. However, we found that a variety of dishes were offered and we enjoyed everything we selected. The food and its presentation were outstanding, as was the friendly and attentive service. The wine list was extensive and offered a wide variety from which to choose. It must be noted that when serving hundreds of meals occasional glitches happen - and the staff quickly and apologetically exchanged an overcooked steak or lamb chop for the medium rare ordered. We particularly enjoyed the carvings, salads and desserts offered in Windows luncheon buffet. If we have a complaint, it is that we felt rushed on several occasions when dining in Discoveries Restaurant. We were very impressed with the evening entertainment which was cabaret style and exceptionally well performed by a variety of talents. Tony Markey, the Social Director, did a marvelous job and deserves a round of applause! Azamara definitely surpasses Oceania in this area. We took three ship-sponsored excursions and opted for exploring the other ports on our own We particularly enjoyed the 'Best of St. Kitts' tour which visited Brimstone Hill, Caribelle Batik, etc. Our van driver was very knowledgeable and well spoken. In St. Barts, we boarded the yellow submarine for undersea views and then window shopped along the main street - Hermes, Louis Vuitton. . . . On St, Martin, a substitution for the original port of Martinique which was having civil unrest, we took the St. Martin Island Tour which featured an hour stop for shopping the local market, definitely not our thing. On our own, we went snorkeling on St. Croix and St. John, and rented a car to explore Virgin Gorda stopping for lunch at the top of the Baths. On the last night, the flowers and fruit disappeared from our room and room service was to be discontinued at 2 a.m. However, no one answered the Room Service phone after 10 p.m. There were a lot of grumpy, coffee-less passengers the next morning. (Breakfast was available at the restaurants.) Disembarkation was well organized and went smoothly in Miami. We wish to thank Captain Mitropoulos for his warm welcome, and the Officers and Staff of the Journey who were always visible, approachable, friendly and helpful. We had a great time and met many wonderful people! We will definitely cruise with Azamara again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
Azamara Journey Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 1.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.3

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