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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Chose the cruise for the port destinations and expected a small ship experience similar to Viking (which I loved). The ship disappointed in numerous ways, with smaller, cramped cabins, an uncomfortable bed, fewer entertainment and ... Read More
Chose the cruise for the port destinations and expected a small ship experience similar to Viking (which I loved). The ship disappointed in numerous ways, with smaller, cramped cabins, an uncomfortable bed, fewer entertainment and enrichment options, fewer and less appealing public spaces and, most notably, far inferior food service. Menu items did not include relatively costly fare standard on Viking (for example, shrimp cocktail appetizers, and berries at breakfast fruit bar); the lunch menu reminded me of what one might expect to find at a school cafeteria (think meatloaf, frozen pizza and white bread) and nothing was ever sufficiently hot. The food routing from the kitchen to the dining room was most likely to blame, probably because the ship is older. Deserts were not inspired. I did appreciate the ports of call and our cabin attendant, Dyna, was absolutely top notch. The embarkation and disembarkation procedures were speedy and efficient. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
This was our 5th Azamara cruise and we were eager to sample the latest acquisition Pursuit. Although we are not fans of the new modern decor, it was ok but a bit Ikea style. Shower over bath was not worth using, easier to run a bath. In ... Read More
This was our 5th Azamara cruise and we were eager to sample the latest acquisition Pursuit. Although we are not fans of the new modern decor, it was ok but a bit Ikea style. Shower over bath was not worth using, easier to run a bath. In the suites the large one person chair, makes it difficult for 2 people to watch tv without one sitting on the bed. Why no sofa ? The food was dreadful this time, very fish based and as I have a fish allergy this meant my choices were few. Used the buffet more because of this but the food was cold there or of poor quality. Entertainment was terrible and Cruise director mostly just made announcements not to usual standard. Dancers did not show up for lessons, very little to do during bad weather and hygiene is normally very high on the list of priorities, hardly ever mentioned and not pushed to use sanitizer. One other thing, there were children on board of officers, running around the public rooms and screaming as iif it was tgeir home. This will be our last. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
We booked this cruise as we really only wanted a short haul flight and enjoy Spain very much. As usual we have a couple of nights beforehand in Lisbon and arranged our own flghts. The flights we booked were GBP150 a person cheaper than ... Read More
We booked this cruise as we really only wanted a short haul flight and enjoy Spain very much. As usual we have a couple of nights beforehand in Lisbon and arranged our own flghts. The flights we booked were GBP150 a person cheaper than using Azamara. We are based in London UK. We have been on the two other Azamara ships and this is identical apart from no casino and lack of interactive TV. I have to say I did miss my slots so might end up back on Celebrity. I downloaded the app before travel but to be honest it was very buggy and like a lot of Azamara IT/back office prettly poor. We had a nice balcony cabin on deck 7 which was clean and tasteful. The shower was tiny and not sure if it was smaller than other ships but really seemed that way. Our cabin steward looked after us very well. The flat screen had a good picture but I really miss not being able to view my account online, order room sevice or book tours. I really feel the app doesn't take the place of this. We had free internet minutes but there was no way to see how many you had left unless you went to the front desk which was very strange. The service was all round very good and we enjoyed our meals. I found the wine to be a very mixed bag with some very mediocre inclusive wines. It's almost like they want to make everyone buy up to to higher drinks package. I also found the all inclusive spirits very strange. I like an odd Amaretto but that isn't free but you can drink a bottle of whisky. It makes no sense to me.I also found the drinks to be full of ice and sometimes just didn't seem to have any oomph. The entertainment was very subdued but that's what Azamara is like. I go to relax so it's not a problem for me. The clientele was mostly elderly Americans as it's not holiday time and there are no kids clubs etc. Mostly very pleasant but i saw some peope talk to the staff like servants which was very uncalled for. I am 49 so did feel very young! We enjoyed out ports of call even if the weather at the begining was poor. Going up the river to Seville was very interesting and a real treat. We also enjoyed Almeria very much. In Valencia we had our Azamazing evening which was not bad. Unfortunately we were right at the back so could not see the full stage which does spoil it somewhat. The venue however was amazing. All in all we had a pleasant time. I think after six cruises with Azamara we will try Regent or Oceania. They seem to offer better value. I feel that Azamara is overpriced unless you book within 3 months and then there are always offers. I also feel their all inclusive drinks package patchy. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Another repeat cruise experience- excellent in 'almost' every way. Capt Johannes Thysse must be the most visible and approachable Capt afloat, as are his main officers. He is a consummate maritime expert and really enjoys his ... Read More
Another repeat cruise experience- excellent in 'almost' every way. Capt Johannes Thysse must be the most visible and approachable Capt afloat, as are his main officers. He is a consummate maritime expert and really enjoys his vocation. Entertainment was less than spectacular due to a change in dancers, which were absent. Nonetheless Eric de Gray is a true star and directing the musicians and singers did a great job and no one complained. Food . A veritable flow of excellent offerings at all times to suit every palate, To avoid repetition, some new dishes should be introduced for longer voyages as this Transatlantic 2 week. Wines included are adequate, unless one is a wine connoisseur. An additional wine list is available, but at ship prices which don't offer good value. Bar alcohol is more than adequate and only top liqueurs Cognacs and Whiskies etc are charged. Cabin Butler service was impeccable. Room service was rapid and perfect. The Hotel Manageress Heike, watching with an Eagle eye ensures the ship is immaculate, and staff care for pax . Indeed all is faultless. Upon boarding Lisbon some new crew joined. Deck restaurant service was at times chaotic for the first few days. Completing a questionnaire to highlight such matters, was responded to within hours by many staff members and of course Heike who ensured more management attention rectified the complaint/observations soon thereafter. They followed up too! NOW A WARNING** Be aware this ship changes dates, port itinerary and times, seven times ..... following booking. So do other Azamara ships. In the event of a complaint to head shore office in Miami, I'm told by other pax that they are always disinterested. A Larry Pimentel problem, common under his management of other ships too. The Azamara company under the management of CEO Pimentel an American, decided; as he did with previous ships he managed, to lower the dress standard. There are NO formal nights, so dont take fancy long dresses nor tuxedos. Dress code is now 'No Jacket Required' which sadly translates into 'American slop scruff order' . Basically whatever you have in a plastic bag will do. No kidding, I noted some pax wore the same few clothes throughout. Many travelling with a carry -on. Few gents wore jackets, and only one a tie. I saw shorts T shirt and flip flops in the dining room, but only once, so guess that was called to order. This critical observation may transmit a scene of ragged vagabonds. You are assured its far from that. Not being snobbish, but perhaps 50% dress shabbily and carelessly. Everyone is extremely pleasant, happy and well behaved. The atmosphere is excellent. It has no style, but as its a small ship, is far far removed from the Carnival ships and other cheap offering,s where heaped plates of some sort of food is virtually thrown on long tables where Tank tops, torn shorts even barefoot is prevalent, so Ive seen on videos. IMPORTANT PLEASE TAKE NOTE ! Cruise lines have added Cuba to their itineraries. Not necessarily because its a wonderful destination, but for its novelty factor. Mainly because they can use this as a major pax rip-off. They conveniently don't advise pre cruise that a VISA is essential, but advise on board a few days prior to arrival Cuba. There is a compulsory charge of $75 per visa PER PORT see below* Additionally to be allowed ashore they insist on buying a tour see below*, minimum $89 claiming this is a US law compliance. see below* * According to the Cuban immigration inspectors, a Cuban Visa is compulsory and pax must be in possession at arrival. Cost is $25 and cannot be purchased in Cuba. One can be purchased at varying prices previous to arrival from a Cuban Embassy $25, Online agents, travel agents and airlines at varying prices. UK online cost is GBP24. American airlines like their cruise counterparts charge an excessive $75; a big money making scheme. Solution is Buy before you go. Visas last 30 days for multiple entries. Compulsory tours. A bigger money spiinning scheme. They are Massively overpriced and I heard almost everyone who was forced to buy one on board expressing extreme discontent both at the excessive price and quality. The same tour guides are available on shore for a few $ (CUC the local currency) . e.g. The daily rate for a driver and car is CUC25 Incl gasoline ! US law prohibits travel to Cuba but permits tourist visits for one of 10 reasons mainly culturally based. This ruling DOES NOT apply to non Americans who can enter freely (with a VISA) . The cruise ships conveniently and wrongly interpret this to mean ALL pax, so beware. Fact is, a non American citizen does NOT need an official Cuban tour to go ashore! If you find the ship prohibits disembarkation; although I would question the legality of such an action. Buying the cheapest tour to use as a sort of pass to get off the ship, then doing your own thing is perhaps the way to play that game. ...... Cuba is a poverty stricken country where wages are minimal. $20 a MONTH is a good salary, thats a few cents an hour. However they survive very wel and happily off that amount, for everything else is state subsidised. Food is free on coupons. Free health care. Electricity gas etc amounts to less than $2 a month. Havana is changing and improving. They have some paint now, and are able to decorate in small ways. There are serious 5 star hotels in Havana. Beautiful buildings re created from the old special architectural buildings. Kempinsky have re furbished an entire block. Must have cost a hundred million or more. A roof terrace affords fabulous views over old Havana. A Mojito is only 5 CUC. In a back street its 2 CUC. However the room rate is $400+ a night. Spanish hotel chains have also built luxury hotels . Iberostar - Melia- H10 Tourists especially Americans throwing handfuls of $ in tips are poorly viewed. A small tip like $2 is gratefully accepted, a large tip like the ridiculous 20% expected in the US, is viewed with disdain and almost as an insult. I gleaned this from many deep conversations in Spanish I enjoyed with locals. I recommend you book with Azamara you cannot be disappointed, but beware of itinerary changes and especially Cuban schemes. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After taking the Italian peninsula cruise last year on the Azamara Quest,( from Rome to Venice) we were looking forward to another wonderful vacation. Unfortunately we were very disappointed. The ports of call along the Spanish coast ... Read More
After taking the Italian peninsula cruise last year on the Azamara Quest,( from Rome to Venice) we were looking forward to another wonderful vacation. Unfortunately we were very disappointed. The ports of call along the Spanish coast were not interesting and the ports themselves were more commercial than pleasurable with working cranes, ferry boats and warehouses in full view of the ship. The boat docked so far away from the main points of interests that it was a chore to just get to the sights. The main dining room was more often closed than open for lunch and both the food and wine was sub standard. (Evening meals were better, but not the wine selection There was not enough staff to keep things going smoothly. At Cadiz and Gilbraltar there should have been a shuttle to get passengers within walking distance of the major attractions. The cabins looked a bid worn and twice during the cruise there was rattling within the wall that kept us awake. All and all not u[ to our expectations. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
I just took my first cruise on the Azamara Journey and was highly impressed with the ship, crew, food, and friendliness of the passengers. I had received an extremely good deal on an obstructed ocean view cabin and luckily was able to ... Read More
I just took my first cruise on the Azamara Journey and was highly impressed with the ship, crew, food, and friendliness of the passengers. I had received an extremely good deal on an obstructed ocean view cabin and luckily was able to select cabin 6036, which is between lifeboats and thus not very obstructed. I was pleasantly surprised how well laid out this cabin was and it was totally acceptible for one person with alot of closet space. The bed was extremely comfortable and the pillows were soft and easy to sleep on. I enjoyed the smaller ship experience and how friendly the passengers and crew were. The service was exceptional and the food was much better than other, larger ships I have been on. I liked the way the buffet was arranged at dinner with tablecloths and candles, so you felt like you were in a restaurant rather than a cafeteria setting. The ship tours were more expensive but they were much smaller than other ships, with an average participation of about 12-15 persons per tour. It was simple to get on and off the ship and particularly convenient to be docked closer to the ports. I booked several other cruises on Azamara because I felt the higher cost of the line was definitely worth the enhanced experience. It is especially good for solo travelers as Azamara seems to cater to those traveling alone, and the passengers are so friendly and welcoming to everyone. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
Second Azamara cruise, but many others on the ship were 15+ with Azamara. Very loyal following of the line and certain personalities on each ship. 50+ passengers were on the 102 day world cruise. Not a one I talked with had anything ... Read More
Second Azamara cruise, but many others on the ship were 15+ with Azamara. Very loyal following of the line and certain personalities on each ship. 50+ passengers were on the 102 day world cruise. Not a one I talked with had anything negative to say. The Azamara line uses 2 of the R ships. (A third, the Pursuit, is coming on line in August 2018 and there were hints that a fourth may be added soon) Having been on both they are about the same physically. We chose ocean view cabin. I like the fact that there is a big ledge under the window- allowing for all sorts of things to be placed there without fear of them rolling off. Only real complaint is that the shower is a bit small. Dining was good everywhere. The Chefs table (extra $) is a treat worth trying. Entertainment, as you would expect isn't the glitz of the mega ships but was fun and friendly and of good quality. Service was good in most areas, the one exception was the evening before disembarkation, where guest relations did not understand the procedure for the next morning. We were told we would collect our bags in a makeshift tent and have to drag them down the street to buses. In reality Azamara had it all worked out- never had to touch a bag. :) Port choices were why we choice this voyage and getting together with passengers on Cruise Critic Roll Call was a great way to get Tours with Locals. Having been on 15+ cruises we will probably stick with Azamara now. RCL, Azamaras parent seems to have given more autonomy to the ships captains to make on the fly decisions. On our cruise one of the stops was Guernsey. Apparently one of the ships passengers was from there and told the captain that at noon there was a cannon salute every day and we were due in at 1ish. Captain Johannes arrived early enough for the salute. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
We chose our 5th cruise on Azamara as our previous cruises with them had been excellent. This one was no exception with a great itinerary,a truly Amazing evening, great food and service.The only negative being that the evening ... Read More
We chose our 5th cruise on Azamara as our previous cruises with them had been excellent. This one was no exception with a great itinerary,a truly Amazing evening, great food and service.The only negative being that the evening entertainment was poor. The white night deck party was good with an excellent buffet. The Amazing evening at the city of Arts and Sciences was exceptionaly good . The logistics of getting all the passengers to and from the ship couldnt have ben managed better.The location and show spectacular and truly memorable.. Transfers and boarding was efficient and timely. Ports Free shuttles were provided as needed.. We managed our own shore excursions. Portimao walked town and PrIa Da Rocha Cadiz walked town and long promenade Gibralter walked to botanical gardens and shopped duty and VAT free Malaga did a day tour to Alhambra Palace (arranged ourselves) Valencia walked the city Barcelona took train to Gerona . Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Prefer smaller ships as much more personal We loved the itinerary and extra time in port Most of the food was great some not as good at least two items tasted tainted and reheated White wines mainly good Loved the sparkling ... Read More
Prefer smaller ships as much more personal We loved the itinerary and extra time in port Most of the food was great some not as good at least two items tasted tainted and reheated White wines mainly good Loved the sparkling We found the reds very disappointing Very friendly team on board did not meet any officers Guest services were very helpful at any time Don't like comedians so did not go to their shoes Enjoyed the guitarist and pianist Loved the white night but some info pre cruise would have been helpful ie it's a deck party and wear something white!! Cabin looking fairly tired wallpaper beginning to peel off some mould in shower Bathroom cupboard broken and door frame quite dirty needs a good scrub Very comfortable bed and loved the bedding Easy to embark and to disembark although pretty early when you have to be off by 9 am and not get into hotels or apartments till afternoon Some tour guides far better than others but enjoyed the places we visited however the ability of guests needs to be looked at more as we were held up by others who struggled to keep up and so missed out on seeing more Maitre D did fabulous job in the dining room as did the staff in Prime particularly the 2 waiters we had Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, which did not disappoint, and the reviews we had read about how great the Journey looked after her face lift. We agree that the ship looked so much better than it did in 2015. The staff was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary, which did not disappoint, and the reviews we had read about how great the Journey looked after her face lift. We agree that the ship looked so much better than it did in 2015. The staff was still amazing and very attentive to all of our needs. The AzAmazing evening was OK, but many people couldn't see well because of the was the stage was set. If you weren't in the first three rows, it was very difficult to see the performers on the stage. Also the cocktails were minimal, poorly set up and few people knew there was food being passed until it was time to go into the show. The food on board great and every venue showed variety and well prepared choices. The drinks package is OK but Azamara upcharges for certain brands that are included in the basic package for no additional charge on Celebrity. A few more bar and lounge areas would be welcome. The cabins didn't do so well, still on the small size for a veranda cabin and please, those showers are impossible. You cannot turn around, no matter how small you are, without hitting the wall or pulling the curtain in. It shouldn't be necessary to book a suite to get adequate space. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2017
Our previous experiences on Azamara cruises, coupled with Perry Golf's arrangements for golf at several fine Spanish golf courses, made it easy for us to commit to the 9 night Portugal, Spain, & France voyage. We spent 3 days ... Read More
Our previous experiences on Azamara cruises, coupled with Perry Golf's arrangements for golf at several fine Spanish golf courses, made it easy for us to commit to the 9 night Portugal, Spain, & France voyage. We spent 3 days in Lisbon on our own prior to the cruise. The Lisboa Prata Boutique Hotel was comfortable and well-situated for sightseeing--a 5 minute walk to Comercio Square and only a couple of minutes from the pedestrian street. We booked a tour to Sintra and a lengthy city tour through Viator and were quite pleased with both tours. A 10 minute taxi ride got us to the port on Sept 16, where we boarded Azamara Journey very quickly. We were surprised that photos were taken and our sea pass cards generated onboard the ship. The disembarkation process in Barcelona was even easier. This was by far the quickest we've ever experienced in 25+ cruises. Well done! We had not traveled on Azamara since the ships were refurbished, so we examined the ship with a critical eye. We were delighted with the result; everything looked fresh and clean. We appreciated the muted colors and smart changes that have been made, but we were also delighted to see that many features from the original Renaissance ships have been retained. The Patio was a welcome addition to evening dining. Because the cruise was relatively short, we scrambled to try to sample all the dining opportunities. The Chef's Table was wonderful--excellent wines and food from the French menu. We also enjoyed the Prime C specialty restaurant but didn't have time for Aqualina this time. We ate in the main dining room a couple of times and had very good meals both times. However, the golf schedule and several late excursions left us too tired for leisurely dinners a few nights. I generally took ship excursions in the ports, though our 2-night stay in Valencia allowed several of us to take a hop-on hop-off bus on our own for one day. Valencia was also the site for the AzAmazing Evening, which we thoroughly enjoyed at the City of Arts & Sciences venue. I was pleased with all of the excursions, though our excursion to Carcassonne from Port Vendres left late and was just a bit rushed. Though the Azamara cabins are a bit small, they offer good storage and are quite comfortable. We enjoy ships of all sizes, but I have to admit that Azamara's 30,000 ton ships are just about perfect in my eyes. Journey has almost all of the features of much larger ships but on a smaller scale. I love the fact that I can get from one end of the ship to the other in 5 minutes--and that the ship can dock in so many delightful small ports that the big ships have to pass up. From late nights in port to the enrichment and entertainment activities to the friendly officers and crew, Azamara Journey offered us a truly delightful experience. We will definitely go again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We absolutely loved our cruise for many reasons... The staff, the great service, the amazing food prepared by chef Monica The entertainment, free drinks...tips included The staff was so nice, always eager to please,one morning a ... Read More
We absolutely loved our cruise for many reasons... The staff, the great service, the amazing food prepared by chef Monica The entertainment, free drinks...tips included The staff was so nice, always eager to please,one morning a went to get some fruits and got back to my table remembering I forgot a spoon, before I could turn around a member of the team brought one to me? special nights: like a chocolate degustation, Azamazing evening, white nite evening with live music Late snacks.. How clean the ship is and how easy it to 'hop on hop off'' In a word, " Amazing cruise" The 2 specialty restaurant where also outstanding We also had access to a laundry room :washers & dryers and iron and soap no extra fees... All in all we loved our cruise and the crew was perfect, BRAVO !!! I would definitely recommend this cruise to anyone...thank you! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We just disembarked from the Azamara Journey....Lisbon to Hamburg. We boarded the ship in Lisbon in an organized fashion. Registration took place in what is the Cabaret Lounge...some computer glitches...but it didn't take long at ... Read More
We just disembarked from the Azamara Journey....Lisbon to Hamburg. We boarded the ship in Lisbon in an organized fashion. Registration took place in what is the Cabaret Lounge...some computer glitches...but it didn't take long at all. CONDITION OF SHIP: My first impression upon seeing the lounge was that the furniture and ship looked worn....which is a turn-off for me. When we finally went down to our cabin, I had the same feeling that I had when I first entered the lounge....UPDATE BADLY NEEDED. The wall paper was buckling off the wall and the carpet was buckling as well...YUCK! Two days after we were on the ship, we received a note requesting that we tell them when they could fix the carpet.....they said they wanted to change it, but what they actually wanted to do was stretch it. While on the ship, they were either stretching or replacing carpet in the hallways as well. The cabin and ship are clean. Bed linens are changed often....I think every other day. I asked for a new plastic shower curtain which they replaced immediately. The common bathrooms around the ship are very clean. FOOD: FANTASTIC AND PLENTIFUL. We had purchased the 3 night dining package and had dinner two nights in the steakhouse. The chateaubriand for two was amazing. The night in the Italian restaurant was O-K. Jason, in the steakhouse, was our waiter both nights and he was fantastic! The service and food in the main dining room is quite good as well. ENTERTAINMENT: As with everything, this is also subjective. The cruise director, Eric DeGray is an extremely talented singer. I wasn't a fan of the "jokes from my grandfather" which he incorporated into his schtick. I've heard most of them before...not too original. The singers and dancers were talented and really worked very hard at their craft. The White Night party out on deck was a very special event with passengers dancing along to the fabulous 7 piece orchestra....while sailing away from Cherbourg. PERFECT NIGHT! The AZAMAZING evening was a drag for me. We went to a church on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Again, a tremendous amount of effort on the part of the staff, but I'm just not a fan of church organ music and soprano singers....painful! Leonardo is new to the ship. He is a sweet young man from Mexico who organizes trivia and kareoake....he was super friendly. CAPTAIN: Captain Johannes Tysse was very visible and friendly. He can be seen around the ship and always has time to chat with the passengers. Soon after we left Lisbon, he informed the passengers that we would be in for rough waters....and the first night was quite frightening...very rough seas. DINING AND HOUSEKEEPING STAFF: There is always "service with a smile".... Whether you request a cup of coffee or extra towels the staff could not be more accommodating. They work under very difficult conditions, trying to keep everyone happy and things running smoothly and some of the passengers can be very difficult to deal with....but they don't take it personally and do their job to the best of their ability. GOING THE EXTRA MILE: We took a trip excursion from Cherbourg to Mont San Michelle. The excursion was 9 1/2 hours. Aside from the tour guide, we had the pleasure of having Heike Berdos, the hotel director, and Alex, the dining manager on our excursion. Although it was their day off, they made sure to be available to the passengers who were in this excursion. What lovely people. EXCURSIONS: The excursions were all very good with the exception of one. The evening canal cruise in Hamburg....a four hour event .... it was awful! After circling the same port and going through some locks in the river.....we got the point! There is only so much one can say about so little. After the first two hours, the canal boat docked and 6 of us said good -by to the guide,grabbed a cab and went back to the ship....we were thrilled to be able to leave this excursion. PASSENGERS: This is not a ship for children. Most of the people on the ship were 70+. I was thinking we would not be doing much socializing on this trip but fortunately we met another couple whose company we enjoyed..and we spent a lot of time together on excursions and dining together. Meeting like-minded people and making friends on vacation is definitely a bonus....but now guarantee that it will happen. Unfortunately, there are always some passengers who leave whatever little kindness and manners they ever had, at home and are demanding and rude to the staff. This is quite bothersome to me to witness. A large number of passengers have sailed on this cruise line numerous times; some even doing back to back trips. They know the staff, the captain and the cruise director and relish the extra attention they are given for being repeat passengers. VALUE: Wine, soda, bottle water are free throughout the day. TIpping is included in price. We felt that this ship offered good value for the money. The food was some of the best I've had anywhere. Writing this review from a hotel in Hamburg as our flight leaves for home tomorrow. Looking forward to that because, "There's no place like home!" Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
Not new to Azamara so know what to expect and on the whole it does deliver a great experience. However on this journey I did have some niggles, everything was not perfect but once I spoke to the Rob, Guest Services Manager, things did get ... Read More
Not new to Azamara so know what to expect and on the whole it does deliver a great experience. However on this journey I did have some niggles, everything was not perfect but once I spoke to the Rob, Guest Services Manager, things did get better. However as the scourge of many cruise lines the devil is in the detail and the ball kept being dropped. On arrival we had been twinned on an embarkation bus with a Delta flight so sat waiting for an hour on the bus waiting for their flight to arrive. Cabin Door left open for a few hours after the steward had been in, had me listed as cruise only despite the fact I was on fly cruise and for me the service in the dinning room was not as sharp as it could have been. But once you get past that, and they did put everything right, there was no lasting damage and the Azamara experience is a good one and if you are thinking of going don't let the above put you off you will have a good time. The standard of crew service is generally good and the food excellent even though the complimentary wines are very young and generally unheard of Ultimate test, will I go again.... Yes of course and booked to return in October! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2017
We choose this cruise based on the itinerary, so we could stay onboard for the following cruise. We expected it to be good, based on past Azamara experiences, but it was unexpectedly better. Great weather, and the lengths of stay in ... Read More
We choose this cruise based on the itinerary, so we could stay onboard for the following cruise. We expected it to be good, based on past Azamara experiences, but it was unexpectedly better. Great weather, and the lengths of stay in the various ports was "just right". We loved the white night deck party, and really enjoyed the Aqualina restaurant. My wife says the chocolate soufflé was her new favorite dessert. The crew was unfailingly attentive, and friendly. Minor misunderstanding about the shuttle bus from pier to city center in Honfluer (that was not Azamara's fault). Going through the lock into the Amsterdam harbor was fascinating, but I was amazed at how long the approach from the lock to city center actually was. Location of docking in Hamburg was terrific-- very close to city hall, and the approach along the river was pretty interesting-- easy to see why Hamburg has been an important port for so long. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2014
Embarkation: The Journey was docked very close to the city of LIsbon--less than 15 minutes' walk to Rossio Square so it was very convenient. Boarding was easy. We could either take the free shuttle bus to the ship or walk. We had no ... Read More
Embarkation: The Journey was docked very close to the city of LIsbon--less than 15 minutes' walk to Rossio Square so it was very convenient. Boarding was easy. We could either take the free shuttle bus to the ship or walk. We had no bags so we walked. We were handed a welcome glass of sparkling wine and headed up to the pool deck where we had a lunch from the grill. Our cabin was ready at about 1:30 pm Cabin: we were on deck 7 and it was a great location! Two stairs up from pool deck; two stairs down to main dining room. Cabin was a standard veranda, nothing special. Like the Azamara Quest, the couch pillows on the Journey are woefully flat but other than that everything else was in tiptop shape. The bathroom and shower are tiny but at least the storage is good (as is closet space in the cabin itself). Public Rooms: Well-cared for and elegant, a nice mixture of traditional furnishings complemented by lovely modern art. We like it. Out on the pool and upper deck, there's new outdoor furniture. The grill area now has much more seating for two people and there's conversation pit furniture on the high deck: couch, side chairs, and coffee table. Very nice. Entertainment: I'm afraid we didn't see many of the shows as we often found ourselves lingering over the dinner table with our table mates. We did catch the guest violinist who was exceedingly talented, and the guest magician's show, though short, was entertaining. Journey's DJ, Marcio, is outstanding. He had a good crowd dancing up in Looking Glass most nights, and often very late. Lots of fun. Fitness: Sorry, allergic to gyms on vacation so I can't give any overview to this! However, we did walk the walking path at the pool and 13 times around you've done a mile. Enrichment: There was a lecturer on board who gave a series of talks. You can get a preview of who's speaking and what the subject is when you look on your sailing details on the Azamara website. I can't comment about our particular lecturer because we never got around to going but friends we met said he did an alright job (though not spectacular). Shore Excursions: We took five Land Discoveries excursions and were pleased with all of them save one, which I complained about and the matter was resolved to our satisfaction. One of our tours in particular was excellent and that was in Mahon, with an English ex-pat named Marilyn. She was so interesting, one of the best guides (both ship and private) we've ever had. We thought the shore excursions were fairly priced for what we got. Our AzAmazing Evening in Gibraltar was magical. Dining: the buffet up at Windows Cafe had a different theme every night. French, Italian, seafood, Asian, etc. All good. Dinners at the main dining room, Discoveries, were excellent and well-presented. We liked our waiter and requested him every time we ate there. The soups were outstanding. I think I could have lived on a diet of soup only while on the Journey! Well, except for the ice cream and gelato... Service: Azamara prides itself on its service and the crew did an outstanding job. In particular, the security team we met while leaving and getting back on the ship were very charming and welcoming. Our cabin steward did a great job keeping our room tidy. Bar staff was efficient and cheerful. Value: excellent. Azamara delivers a fantastic onboard experience. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. This review is a shortened version of the one I wrote on the Azamara forum with the same title. The long version includes photos of the ports we visited and random ship photos as well.   Read Less
Sail Date: June 2014
We have been sailing on the r class ships since 1996. The renovation and the updating of the Journey is nothing short of miraculous for such an old ship. The common areas have been well restored with touches of traditional art all around. ... Read More
We have been sailing on the r class ships since 1996. The renovation and the updating of the Journey is nothing short of miraculous for such an old ship. The common areas have been well restored with touches of traditional art all around. The rooms are small! So get over it!!!!!!! Do what I do and take showers in the fitness center after a workout in the well equipped gym. This cruise had nothing to do with how big the rooms were. We started this cruise in Lisbon and traced WW2 from Gurnsey to Paris to London to Amsterdam to Paris. We were honored to have a member of Easy company of the 101st airborne , Henry, and a survivor of the Amsterdam starvation, Johannesburg, with us to give us first heand information of their experiences. Anyone who missed Henry's talk on the last day other cruise missed one of the great experiences I have ever had! Talking to Johanne as we were going through the locks in Amsterdam was riveting and revealing. The series of lectures from Bill about his fathers tank company's fight through Europe was informative and well recited. Of course, the other highlight was the trip to Omaha Beach and the American Cemetary. Walking up St Mere Eglais with Henry was funny and chilling all at once. There were just too many experiences to recall here but this cruise definitely changed the way I will look at this time in history forever. As for the entertainment, it is always limited on a small ship .If you want Las Vegas, go somewhere else! The singers and dancers were very talented and extremely helpful and available...........And then there was Eric! From his Great Getsby wardrobe to his soulful mullet hairdo, this 6 ft 5 inch tower of talent kept us all entertained and informed. The deck show has to be one of the best parties I have ever attended. Kudos also to Larry, Azamaras president, for the organization and execution of the amazing evening in Cherborg. The honoring of Henry's service to the French people by the mayor of Cherborg was genuine, deserved, and executed flawlessly. I guess you can tell I liked this cruise. Sure, the ship was clean, the staff, as usual, was friendly and efficient, the food was good and all the normal mundane things were fine........but that was not the point here! You want to have an experience that opens your eyes and changes your life. This did just that! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2014
We have cruised frequently, but this was our first with Azamara. The theme for this cruise was WWII and the Normandy landings. That is why we choose this cruise. Our first impression began with the check in. Check in was unorganized with ... Read More
We have cruised frequently, but this was our first with Azamara. The theme for this cruise was WWII and the Normandy landings. That is why we choose this cruise. Our first impression began with the check in. Check in was unorganized with long lines and long waits. Even though we were to have priority boarding we waited inline inside the port office for about a half hour just to make the initial check in. Not organized to process everyone in a timely manner. Then another long and very slow line to go through security. Next was on to a bus to take us to the ship about 100 feet away. This is where it really got ridiculous. A line longer than the full length of the ship standing still. It nearly reached the point where you would board the bus. Many older people with mobility and standing issues were having to stand in the sun for over a half hour again. Once on board there was yet another line to get your picture and key card. By then we were getting a little cranky, but were determined to give them the benefit of the doubt and enjoy our trip. We had a penthouse and the room was great. Lots of closet space. The bathroom was a good size with nice toiletries. Housekeeping was attentive and our room was kept clean and neat the entire trip. Our room attendants were awesome. The lectures were pretty good with one in particular wonderful speaker dealing with the D Day landings and some of the events that followed the landings. He was a retired judge that had great material and speaking voice was very informative. The ship was looking a little worn and tired. They only have two ships, so I'm sure it's hard to pull one out of service for refurbishing. They also seemed to be short staffed. The bartender was also the waiter as an example. He was really good however. You just didn't see the number of staff we are accustom to seeing. The cruise director dressed like a beach bum and couldn't decide if he wanted to grow up or not. The food was mediocre. The presentation was nearly nonexistent. The wait staff were very friendly and attentive, but Oceania is far superior in food taste and presentation. For the first few days guests are pushed to buy an alcohol package. We did, but if you wanted a selection of wine you paid extra. You were offered sparkling water, but it was extra. Come on. Then the big annoyance came to our attention. To eat in one of the two speciality restrauants you were charged $25 per person extra unless you were in a penthouse suite or above. Really? We were penthouse so it didn't matter, but that is not classy. Again, Oceania shows better judgement by not making second class passengers. We took several excursions at the port stops. Seemed like there was always something that caused a delay and that made the return late in the day. That shortened the time you had available to clean up, change, meet for a cocktail, and get to a restaurant before they closed and certainly too late to see a show after dining. Speaking of excursions, most of the ones we went on were just fine. Good buses and guides. Priced a bit higher than we have seen on other cruises. The excursion in Dover was good until they dropped us off at a shopping center rather than taking us to a well known historical site. That irritated many of the passengers. Some good things they did was locating a barista on the 5th floor. Nice place to stop and relax. The piano entertainment in the bar was excellent. They put on a great off ship party featuring WWII theam. It was very well done. The ports they choose were good. In summary, I would rate Azamara as a three star out of five. If you have never cruised on another small ship you would like this. If you sailed on Oceania, you would not return to Azamara unless you had a special purpose. For us, it's Oceania. We are already booked! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2013
I have just returned from a 7-night cruise on the Azamara Quest -- originating in Lisbon and ending in Southampton with ports of call in Bilbao, Spain, St. Jean de Luz, France, St. Malo, France and St. Peterport/Guernsey in the UK.This was ... Read More
I have just returned from a 7-night cruise on the Azamara Quest -- originating in Lisbon and ending in Southampton with ports of call in Bilbao, Spain, St. Jean de Luz, France, St. Malo, France and St. Peterport/Guernsey in the UK.This was my 2nd cruise on Azamara (sailed on the Journey to the Baltic in 2011) and I have nothing but raves for them. Embarkation in Lisbon went very smoothly. We had spent a few nights in Lisbon and made our own transportation arrangements to Santa Apalonia. As we exited our shuttle, porters were there to meet us right away, take our bags from us and to show us where to check in. We spent a few minutes on land signing in and then got our room keys from the staff on board in the Cabaret Lounge. By 2 pm, our staterooms were available.About the staterooms... yes, they are small, and yes - in particular, the bathroom is small. But as a solo traveler, I was very comfortable in the room (maybe I would feel differently if I were sharing). The staterooms are beautifully appointed (I probably could do without the big mirror opposite the bed, but otherwise, the decor was lovely.) And the room is very well thought-out. Plenty of room for storage -- even in the bathroom... there were all sorts of nooks, shelves, cabinets, etc. to put items away. And I had a ton of hangers, which was nice... no need to ask the stateroom attendants for more. Self-service laundry facilities are mid-ship on Deck 7. Detergent is provided and there are separate washers and dryers -- unlike other ships I've been on. All self-serve laundry is free. Having been on the road for 10 days prior to the start of the cruise, it was nice to use the first day (pre-muster drill) to get my laundry done. Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one with that idea, so be forewarned that the laundry room was crowded on sail-away day.As a side note, the sail out of Lisbon is just spectacular. Great to be up on deck for it.We ate in Discoveries (main dining room) and each of the specialty restaurants. While they were all very good, we especially loved Aqualina. (Loved it so much that we ate there on consecutive nights). If you go there or to Prime C, do not miss the cinnamon donut holes for desert. The caramel dipping sauce is ridiculously good (and here's a secret -- if you ask specially and have already eaten in Prime C - they'll bring you that dessert in Aqualina!). The Windows Cafe was constantly replenished and the food was very fresh. Discoveries menu was quite diverse.I know there is a bit of controversy of the "all-inclusiveness" of the beverage package. I don't drink much and found the free drinks all fit into what I drink, so I never paid any surcharge. The one thing that I didn't love is the fact that right away at embarkation, they were hitting you with a sales pitch for the upgraded beverage packages. That felt more to me like Celebrity cruises I'd been on. I don't like sales pitches. But all in all, a very minor complaint in such a superb week.Entertainment on the ship was fine -- better than average for a cruise ship. The Cruise Director, Russ Thomas Grieves, was omnipresent. He was everywhere on the ship and was quite charming. The Broadway review was campy and fun. They also brought a pianist/magician (strange combination) on board and he was very good in a Vegas lounge act sort of a way. A special mention has to be made of the morning TV show between Russ and Activities Manager, Helene (who I'd remembered from sailing on the Journey). Those two have tremendous chemistry and I concluded that they should really be the new hosts of the Today Show or something like that. They're fabulous. All in all, for a really great week or two sailing the open seas, I find it hard to top Azamara. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2013
We arrived at the Lisbon Santa Apolonia cruise terminal at 1.00pm on Monday, 3 June 2013 in preparation for boarding the Azamara Quest.  Crystal’s Symphony was moored back-to-back.  We were the only people registering at that time and ... Read More
We arrived at the Lisbon Santa Apolonia cruise terminal at 1.00pm on Monday, 3 June 2013 in preparation for boarding the Azamara Quest.  Crystal’s Symphony was moored back-to-back.  We were the only people registering at that time and so were ‘processed’ immediately and went to our cabin, 8022, in order to deposit our hand cases.  Cabin 8022 is a standard balcony and Azamara had replaced the soft furnishings since our last cruise in 2011.  Unfortunately, the interior designer who chose the colour palette needs to look for a new job, because the colours in the curtains do no match and tone with the carpet, a wasted opportunity.  We were told that the mattresses had also been replaced and we found this too hard for our preference, a common occurrence.  We are used to an expensive bed at home that is sprung properly and does not need to be soft to be comfortable.  Further, our bed at home was chosen based on our weight because heavier people need harder mattresses (we are told) so it is no surprise that all cruise ship beds feel like one is lying on a board after a few hours.  Valentina (our cabin steward) and Russel (her assistant) provided a mattress topper which resolved matters slightly.  However the main problem with shipboard beds is that they are all on a rigid base, so regardless of the depth of the mattress, it is still sitting on an inflexible foundation, unlike expensive beds which not only have a sprung mattress but also a sprung base.  We know these ex-Renaissance ships well and thus their strengths and weaknesses.  The cabin wardrobes are a weakness.  The right hand side door of the main wardrobe opens just in front of the first cabin ceiling light and this means that the wardrobe interior is dark unless the door is held right open.  This means one hand is required just to keep the door open or you scrabble around in semi-darkness.  One would have thought that this would have been addressed when refitting the cabins and maybe an interior light fitted to the inside of the wardrobe, if the cabin ceiling light could not have been repositioned. The drawers in the second wardrobe are also quite narrow.  By way of compensation, there is a good amount of equally narrow drawer space under the dressing table.  Whilst the bathroom is ‘compact’ it is satisfactory for our needs, but sailing on a long cruise could present problems with the amount of drawer space.  Our balcony had been re-floored with teak and sported two chairs with cushion pads and a table large and high enough on which to dine.  However with the size of the new table and the larger chairs, manoeuvrability when on the balcony is difficult, even for slim people.  A further problem here, was that, on two out of seven mornings around 7.00 am, the balcony and chairs received a soaking from presumably Deck 9 cleaning activity, making it unusable until the chair cushions had dried out, which given the weather on our cruise was virtually the whole day.  Black mark to Azamara who ruined the amenity value of the balcony by a lack of care.  We haven’t experienced this on other cruise lines with these ships.  The Quest was in very good shape and looked cared for.  The deck loungers with white covers formerly round the pool have migrated to Deck 11 and been replaced by metal-framed loungers with very comfortable pads.  We’d have preferred to sleep on these than the cabin bed!  We were told that there were only around 400 passengers on our sailing, out of a potential capacity of around 685, and that there were 405 crew.  We therefore expected to receive above normal standards of service, a point actually made by Captain Smith.  However this did not materialise during the course of the cruise, and there were times when stewards were thin on the ground.  Azamara had laid on a CC party at 6pm, a well-judged time.  The safety drill had been at 4pm; we sailed at 5pm and were as far out as Estoril when we headed for the party.  Whilst not quite ranking with Sydney, Cape Town or Rio, the sail down the Tagus at Lisbon is a not-to-be missed event as it offers superb views of the city and its riverside features, such as the monument to the discoverers and the Belem Tower.  The CC party was well attended by passengers and hosted by Russ, the CD.  Both Captain Smith and Ryszard (the Hotel Director) were present, both of whom we know from our last Azamara cruise and both of whom were highly visible and approachable during the voyage.  Full marks to the staff for a well-executed CC party.  Rather than go to the dining room for dinner, past experience had taught us that the seafood buffet being served that night in the Windows Café would feature cooked-to-order items; it did and we enjoyed our meal.  As a rule, we do not like hot buffet food.  It is either lukewarm or dried out, neither being acceptable to us.  This is not a comment directed solely to the Quest but applies to all buffet food.  Thus the cook-to-order of the seafood was good.  As we had expected, the crew were friendly and helpful.  They generally work for eight or nine months straight, so keeping sociable is quite a feat for those nearing the end of a contract and probably tired.  Our cabin team did a great job.  We read over the review of our previous cruise on the Quest and noted a comment about a lack of finesse among dining venue staff.  This has effectively been addressed, possibly by greater experience or training.  We had room-service breakfast once and the selection and presentation was good.  We took breakfast in the dining room twice and were one of the few so to do.  Service and menu options were also good.  On the remaining days we breakfasted in Windows Café and were satisfied with food and service.  The ginger-based energiser drink was a nice touch.  The one area of criticism concerns the pastries and rolls.  The muffins were dry whilst the Danish were chewy and lacked sufficient filling.  One morning, I split a jam Danish open to reveal a minute smear of jam in a gaping interior and so I added more jam.  There was also a general absence of bread or rolls made with wholemeal flour.  Except for one pool grill burger and fries, we ate little at lunch.  Sadly, the burger was a disappointment, largely because the burger bar and stewards seemed unable to cope with the modest demand.  We got our order ticket and found a seat and a steward to give our ticket to.  After 20 minutes we went in search of our food which had been sitting around and dried out and gone cold.  The best part of this meal were the olives, which we laced with extra-virgin olive oil, from the salad bar.  Of the five dinners we took in the Discoveries dining room, none were memorable for the right reasons.  In fact, we agreed this was the ‘it just misses it’ cruise because so much of the food was slightly below par and the pastries have already been referred to.  By far the worst instance was the night when five of the six diners at our table were dissatisfied or extremely dissatisfied with the chosen main course.  Three halibuts were dry and overcooked; one steak was likewise, whilst the lady with lamb could not make any inroads into the meat with her knife!  The waiter had disappeared to attend to other diners’ orders and failed to check whether all was well with us.  By the time he reappeared it was too late to address our dissatisfaction.  Food preparation and presentation across all courses was always very good, portions were plentiful but something seemed to go wrong somewhere because, night after night, the main course was not as good as it might have been.  Maybe it had been overcooked, had dried out due to being kept hot waiting to be served, or perhaps it had gone cold waiting to be served.  We have sailed on the Pacific Princess and found main courses at dinner to be served consistently perfectly, so why Azamara cannot manage this on an identical ship is a mystery.  Returning to two aspects covered already but combining both, on the first sea day breakfast and lunch were only available as buffets.  Whilst the idea of a 10.0am to 1.30pm Jazz brunch in Discoveries was a good one for jet-lagged Americans (170 passengers coming from the USA), this meant neither meal had an option of waiter service.  Azamara has aspirations to be a Premium brand but the lack of waiter service anywhere during breakfast and lunch marks it out as better aligned with Carnival than Oceania.  Matters might have been helped if the surfeit of staff (400 passengers and 405 crew), if waiters had been on hand to carry lunch on the long trek from the central dais in the dining room, to wherever a table was free, but there were none.  We looked around as the ship wiggled in a way typical of these ‘R’ Class ships and gave up.  That evening the Restaurant Manager came to our table at dinner to canvass our views.  Politely, we begged to differ with his assertion waiters had been around at lunch to help carry food.  We were there; he was not.  If Azamara want to be a Premium brand, there should always be waiter staff to assist passengers if a full service meal option is not available.  Big black mark, not least because the Captain had said there would be no excuse for poor service by virtue of the high crew/passenger ratio.  Staying with dining, the Azamazing evening event was held at a Michelin 3* restaurant in the hills, a short drive outside Bilbao.  It was a buffet but not in the usually-accepted sense.  On arrival we were given a glass of wine and a local speciality of hot sausage in corn bread.  Whilst this was tasty, there was nowhere to sit or put down one’s glass.  Thereafter one walked around the venue, where a range of amuse-bouche items were offered at each serving station.  Several different white and one red wines (produced by the restaurant) were proffered at each station.  Again, there was nowhere to sit.  A folkloric performance followed the food and chairs were now available.  We enjoyed the food, less so the wine.  The event was spoilt by the logistics or coping for upwards of 400 diners processing round the food stations.  We canvassed opinions from fellow passengers after the event and failed to find anyone who enjoyed the food, or indeed the “event”.  “We don’t like wine or cheese” was typical.  Azamara spent two years planning the evening and would have spent quite a lot on this event and it is a shame it clearly didn’t work for most people.  It would have been better if had been advertised correctly, as most passengers expected to sit down to a Michelin starred meal, and were not impressed with a morsel on a stick!  Azamara now provide a selection of complimentary wines, spirits and soft drinks.  Starting in the cabin, the cans of soft drinks are free but you pay for the beer in the fridge, as well as “sparkling water” – which we found out to our cost when choosing a Perrier from the in cabin fridge on our last Azamara cruise.  The house red or white wine served at lunch and dinner is also free and usually acceptable but certainly not exceptional.  There is a list of spirits, beers and cocktails that are served in the bars without charge.  ‘Premium’ water and room service liquor are chargeable.  On returning from the Azamazing event around 9.0pm and not wanting any food but being quite thirsty for a soda, we wandered the ship in search of an open bar.  The one in the Looking Glass lounge (Deck 10) did not open until 10.0pm, the Cabaret Lounge was in the middle of a movie and the Casino bar was shut.  This left the small bar/ante room outside Discoveries restaurant as the only place on the ship where we could get a soft drink; totally unacceptable!  We raised this with the HD and he said the Casino bar should have been open.  Leaving this to one side, bar service was very attentive.  As usual, the onboard entertainment was of variable standard.  The pianist was very good but the performances of some of the singers were third rate.  Lots of energy, noise and bright lights does not always mask singing out of tune!  Three of the four places visited were tender ports and the tendering operation was handled very well.  In Bilbao, the only non-tender port, a free shuttle was provided from the pier to the city and much appreciated.  In particular, on our last port of call, a tender in Guernsey where the weather was appalling, low temperatures and strong cold winds, a lone steward was waiting for returning passengers getting on the tenders to return to the ship, with a very welcome cup of hot chocolate and cookies, a very thoughtful and much appreciated service.  Azamara has basically and potentially a very good product.  The line is far from alone in providing inconsistent food quality and service and this area needs to be addressed.  There are some very nice touches and it was the ports of call – Bilbao, St Jean de Luz, St Malo and Guernsey – that attracted us to this voyage.  A number of fellow passengers also chose the cruise for its ports and Azamara should try to visit places other lines fail to include.  Dependent on the itinerary, we would sail with Azamara again and hope that at least some of the issues referred to above, which are easy to address, will have been remedied by then. 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Sail Date: October 2011
This was our 5th Azamara cruise, the first in a suite. We were used to the excellent crew, atmosphere. dining and entertainment. Journey did not let us down. Without port days the cruise experience was focused on the cruise itself. Cabin- ... Read More
This was our 5th Azamara cruise, the first in a suite. We were used to the excellent crew, atmosphere. dining and entertainment. Journey did not let us down. Without port days the cruise experience was focused on the cruise itself. Cabin- nice with real bathtub, more than adequate closet space. Wonderful service from our Butler and Room attendant, never obtrusive but very efficient. Food was Azamara, high quality and service. Whether in Discoveries or Windows , Pool Grill or the specialty Restaurants. Because there were only about 350 passengers Aqualina and Prime C alternated nights of opening. This caused no problem that I saw. The free wine option provided excellent 'Boutique Wines' in copious Quantity. The lectures were interesting 'Discovery' and Animal Planet presenter Nigel Marven gave several lectures on his experiences with various wildlife programmes and showed examples, fascinating. A US District Attorney gave background to famous trials and a great speaker taught us to appreciate the enormity of the Universe, complete with nightime event on Deck 11 spying stars in the sky. There was Ballroom dancing classes, Watercolour painting and even Portuguese lessons. The multi talented Entertainment staff headed by CD Eric de Gray with 'sidekick' Chris provided professional shows assisted by guest singers and a comedian. The talented Dan Daly hosted Piano time in the Mosaic cafe even though I sang a song with him as 'Ethel Merman', special mention to Marcio DJ and a great Yorkshire lass Sara-Lou who put up with a lot of good natured geriatric ribbing with great tolerance and humour. If you want a professional, luxury experience with out the stiff formalities of Tuxedos and enforced mealtimes and Table 'Mates' Choose Azamara. Downside, the Hotel Director was almost invisible, not the ever attentive visibility of Heike or Philip, never saw him never made himself known. No one was at the gangway to say Goodbye and as a multiple traveler never got invitations to Dinner with the Officers, Tours of the bridge etc that we enjoyed on previous cruises, but really 'no big deal'. The Hotel PreCruise, the Fenix was central clean and comfortable and good value however the Cruise Air travel booked by Azamara was an absolute disaster. Bad flight planning gave us a connection in London that was impossible to make.After 7 hours rom Canada we missed our connection along with some other passengers, having to sit in London for 5 hours for the next flight. Arriving in Lisbon our, and others, bags did not arrive, there was no one from Azamara to meet us or transfer us. We did get the bags about 30 hours later after doing all the tracing etc ourselves. People arriving on the same route the next 2 days had th same experience. Several cruised without their baggage, one gentleman lost his custom wheelchair. The bus to the ship was supposed to be at 12 Noon, they arrived at 1-15, the hotel had no one to contact. Not a good experience. Leaving at San Juan we were taken in School type buses to the Airport, no room for bags that were to follow in a van, fortunately they did, though we had to wait, unescorted outside the Airport for them to come. Great Cruise line, my advice, handle the transfers and hotels yourself and have a professional Travel Agent at least review any air arrangements before accepting and dont expect any shore representatives to turn up or assist with problems. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
We boarded the Journey in Lisbon on October 10, 2011 for our first transatlantic cruise. We were a bit hesitant to embark on this type of voyage before. No ports of call, open ocean, and small ship all added to our anxiety. This was one ... Read More
We boarded the Journey in Lisbon on October 10, 2011 for our first transatlantic cruise. We were a bit hesitant to embark on this type of voyage before. No ports of call, open ocean, and small ship all added to our anxiety. This was one of the most relaxing vacations for us in a long time. We were port side balcony and saw the sun rise and set 9 out of 10 days. It took a few days to unwind after the flight to Lisbon; but, after the 5th day we were in the mood for sheer enjoyment. It provided about all we ever imagined a luxury crossing would have. From the cabin steward Ramoul to the waiter Jay in Dimensions to the espresso barristas at the Mosaic Cafe to the helping hands in the Windows Cafe to the bar servers and bar staff there was a feeling of sincere warmth and concern for your comfort. After a while we thought we were part of one big family. We thought the complementary boutique wine selections were quite good and diverse. Nothing boring and great attention to detail. One lunch we were served a red wine from Spain. I asked the waiter which grape varieties made the wine. Two days later the waiter came to our table and told us he looked up the wine on the internet and informed us which grapes composed the wine. Food was outstanding in all venues. Smoothie bar in the morning came after our morning mile walk. There was a guy with a cruisecritic.com tee shirt that walked past us a few times. We thought he was probably in a hurry to write another favorable review. With attention to mind, body and spirit, we had room service breakfasts, prayed with the priest, walked with fabulous people, grabbed a smoothie, attended Astronomy, Crime Scene Investigation, and Animal Planet lectures, then perfect cappuccinos before lunch. We attended the magnificent piano concert of Garin Bader one afternoon. His story inspired us to someday visit Chopin's home near Warsaw. We were thoroughly entertained every night by great performers, led by Eric DeGrey. Eric wouldn't start one evening's performance until the Playbills were handed out. Class act, Eric. It was like being on Broadway, reviewing the repertoires of the performers before the curtains rose. It was great dining under the stars serenaded by guitar and song, or Jacqueline Dolan the amazing Tiperrary harp player before dinner. We would ask for the table on the other side of the wall just to hear beautiful music. Harp music fit for a queen. We thoroughly enjoyed our voyage. It will go down as one of our favorite cruises. And I say this after the airline lost my luggage. So, a big thank you to guest services to help accommodate us during an awkward situation. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
26 june we started a back-to-back cruise with the Azamara-Journey from Lisbon to Stockholm. This cruise was just great. Compared to other cruise-lines we travelled with, the officers and the rest of the crew are more friendly and always ... Read More
26 june we started a back-to-back cruise with the Azamara-Journey from Lisbon to Stockholm. This cruise was just great. Compared to other cruise-lines we travelled with, the officers and the rest of the crew are more friendly and always willing to help you and to answer questions. Compared to Oceania.... well there we never saw the officers (we missed 1 meeting at the start of a cruise with Insignia) HAL and Princess maybe cheaper, but these cruise-lines can't be compared. They both use big words when talking about their quality, like "signature of exellence". Well that signature is a negative one. Just mediocre meals with little variety, little service and too many unfriendly crew-members. Oceania is not cheaper then Azamara, but also there the food is just fair, when compared to the much better Azamara. And alas at Oceania you are never sure what will be your next port. The officer(s) there are not honest about the reasons why they skip some ports. If you like to be betrayed, just sail Oceania. See my earlier review of the january-2011 Insignia-voyage: "Not to the Falklands". About our Azamara Cruise: From embarkng till the very end of the cruise all crew-members were really friendly and always willing to help you, when asked. Officers are frequently seen at the dining-rooms, the theatre and the gangway. Captain Johannes Tysse and cruise-director Eric de Gray form a nice duo with more humour then I ever saw before on a cruise-ship. Eric's performance as Dancing-Queen in a show is unforgettable! You have to book a cruise to see this! Alas most of the shows are not much better then at the other cruise-lines. Most singers don't know their limitations and sing louder then their capacities allow. The ever vibrating "opera"-singer was horrible for opera-lovers, but still got applaus. Only the Broadway-show and the Nat King Cole singer (forgot his name) were very good. But we are not Americans who seem to have a different taste here. The Russian folk-group was great. The dancers/acobats and singers did their job very well and the Bass-singer was great. He must be a real opera-singer and a good one. The captain and other officers make the sailing of the ship go as smooth as possible. The ship is docked almost before you realize and when tendering is needed, most of the time you dont have to wait very long. What a difference with Oceania's Insignia, where we waited hours. The ship is well maintained and very clean. The cabin-stewards are also friendly and prompt. Joseph was really great! Especially Saint Jean de Luz, Saint Malo, Rouen, Copenhagen, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallin and Stockholm were great itenaries. Guernsey was a bit disappointing. We made 3 excursions and they were good. Azamara offered a nice excursion in our last port, ending at the airport. We gladly accepted a special offer for a next cruise. Read Less
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