We chose this cruise for the ports: Venice, Sibenik & Dubrovnik Croatia, Kotor Montenegro, Corfu Greece, Taormina Sicily, Sorrento italy, and Rome. Then we looked at reviews for Azamara, which we had never heard of before, and were ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the ports: Venice, Sibenik & Dubrovnik Croatia, Kotor Montenegro, Corfu Greece, Taormina Sicily, Sorrento italy, and Rome. Then we looked at reviews for Azamara, which we had never heard of before, and were impressed with them, so we booked it.
This trip certainly lived up to the reviews. We loved the ship, the crew, the passengers, and the ports. I would highly recommend it. Here's a review of the ship and the ports we saw:
Ship: Azamara Journey;
Checking in was easy and fast. The safety drill was so civilized! They sat us down in the dining room, in sections and explained the drill, but we didn't need to bring our own life jackets.
Staff: Wonderful! Captain was pleasant, visible, and approachable.
Concierge was amazing. She helped us to plan some logistics, and even found someone on board to fix the strap of our carry-on (which someone broke in Venice).
Acupuncturist on board did a lecture and really impressed us and we each booked 3 session package (one each day), and she was amazing!!
Entertainment: Not as good as big ships, but not bad. We enjoyed the shows:
Main room - Cabaret Lounge::
Tony, the master of ceremonies was really good and an accomplished singer himself.
Male comic was sooo funny, we actually came back for the 2nd show.
Dancers/singers were good, and we enjoyed the show with them singing Broadway hits.
The female violinist/comic was excellent on the violin, but my husband and I were mixed on the comedy part.
Other: The DJ and guitarist in other rooms were ok
Bingo: We were VERY upset that we paid $50 total to play ONE game each. In normal ships, you get to play the same card for many games. We wouldn't do the bingo again. Felt it was a rip off.
The Pool: Was much smaller than other ships, BUT it was very deep at one end, and not a lot of people went in (because cruise was so port-intensive), so we always felt comfortable in it, and never felt really crowded. Chairs were very comfortable, and staff was great in coming round with drinks, etc.
Main restaurant and buffet cafe, and patio on deck - were good. Not much variety in main restaurant, but buffet cafe had more choices, and patio on deck had burgers, hot dogs, etc. Officers’ bar-b-que, with officers serving us one night was excellent. White party was nice. Overall, food was pretty good, not great -- and they did have gluten free choices.
Other restaurants ($30 pp): Aqualina - food and service were excellent! and Prime - food very good and service ok, but not as good as Aqualina.
We had the regular free plan and were satisfied with plenty of free water and soft drinks, and house wines for my husband
Mostly UK and Australians. Then Americans. Then a smattering from other countries. Very friendly. Like that the setup for meals is many tables for two, all close to each other, so easy to meet and talk to others. They always put you next to at least one other table for two, so fun meeting new people all the time.
There were not many kids, but apparently more than usual, because they made a special announcement that the ship had more kids than usual, and to please prevent them from running around the deck or splashing in pool, so others could enjoy their cruise. I was kind of shocked by this (but very grateful), because we're used to big ships where they cater to kids.
NOTE - when returning to ship/tender after every port, they had cold towels and water/lemonade waiting for us. Very nice!
Venice: Beautiful! Went a day early, but could have used another full day. Get a hotel on the Grand Canal, because the view is amazing! Do what everyone says and don't bother with a tour. Just walk the streets and get lost like everyone else, do a gondola ride (even though pricey), and just enjoy!!
Sibenik Croatia: We just walked along the water at the port. Not much there. Heard Krka National Park (with waterfalls and swim area) is really good, But I was walking with a cane, and it was not recommended for me, so we skipped it. Maybe next time.
Dubrovnik Croatia - Loved it!
Morning: We pre-booked a private tour (just us in a car) with Dubrovnik Shore Tours (got great reviews from trip advisor). Tour was "Dubrovnik, panorama & Cavtat Bestseller Tour (4-4.5 hours long)" for a total of only 200 Euros, plus tip. We had to give 50 euro deposit and the rest in cash. Our guide was Ivo and he was fantastic.
Evening: We did the free AzAmazing Evening from the ship and it was amazing! Saw Concert by famous Croatian Cellist Ana Rucner, in Old Town Dubrovnik. She plays in front of a movie screen, and accompanies herself on the screen. She is passionate and truly amazing.
Kotor Montenegro - did ship's 1/2 day tour of boat ride to church and tour of old city.
Was very hot and bus was very crowded and uncomfortable. Tour guide talked in a monotone and had no personality, but the church part was ok. Story of Our Lady of the Rock church, and the visit to the church were interesting. By the time we got back to old city and 2nd part of tour was starting (tour of walled city of Kotor), we were too hot and tired to go, and ship was docked right there, so just went back to ship.
In hindsight, if we knew the walled city was a 5 minute walk from where we were docked, we wouldn't have done a tour at all. We just would have walked around the city on our own.
Corfu and Taormina - Didn't get off the ship. Just relaxed. Next time...
Sorrento, Italy - LOVED the Amalfi coast We booked a private tour with: Sorrento First Choice Car Service – Amalfi Coast Land Tour (Positano, Amalfi, Ravello) (8:30AM – 4:30PM)
The tour was wonderful, and the ride from Sorrento to Positano and visiting Positano was the highlight for us. Soooo beautiful. We didn't stay long at Amalfi, because we also wanted to spend some time back in Sorrento at the end of the tour, but drove through and it was nice and views were amazing. In Ravella, our guide recommended a lovely restaurant and booked a table for us, outside on the terrace, overlooking the cliffs and shore. We loved it! The views back and forth to Sorrento were magnificent, and we were glad we were in a private Mercedes, rather than a big bus. Back in Sorrento, we walked around the port city a bit (loved the narrow streets and shops), and had some limoncello, and then we asked him to take us back to ship an hour early, cause I was very tired.
But I've always wanted to see Amalfi coast. This tour guide was not as informative as Ivo in Dubrovnik, but he was pleasant and a great driver (which you need here), and was accommodating and answered any questions we had. He was laid back and we liked that, and didn't need a lot of history. We just wanted to soak in the amazing scenery and landscape and shore and beauty, and we saw tons of that! The only thing missing was an extra day, so we could have gone to Capri.
We also heard from others that Pompeii was amazing, but I knew it was strenuous and would be too difficult for me, and I certainly don't regret what we chose to do, because seeing the coast was my priority. Read Less