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274 Azamara Miami Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise as the price was reduced significantly with lots of onboard credit due to the cancellation of Cuba itineraries. We were on this ship 9 years ago and amazingly had the same captain and cruise director -both of whom are ... Read More
We chose this cruise as the price was reduced significantly with lots of onboard credit due to the cancellation of Cuba itineraries. We were on this ship 9 years ago and amazingly had the same captain and cruise director -both of whom are wonderful. We are diehard Princess fans with around 100 total cruises, but we wanted to give Azamara a try. We enjoyed our earlier cruise and read so much about how upscale this cruise line was. It is hard to beat the small ship experience and we have many cruises on the new Pacific Princess which is an identical ship. So much so you may forget which line you are on. There are a number of nice little touches provided such as shoe horn, umbrella, clock, large tv, fresh flowers etc. We had an inside room which while bigger is quite awkward. Would not book again. Toiletries which last time were Elemis, this time were brand x. We ate in the MDR where food was fully acceptable as well as the buffet - our preference for a much quicker meal. We are not foodies. You can order from the outside grill in the buffet which has an extensive evening menu. The night we did - with 5 other tables occupied it took 45 minutes to get our entree. Our biggest disappointment was the wait staff particularly in the buffet and patio. They range from indifferent to downright surly and rude. And not just one or two, but many. You get the feeling you are in their way and don't wish to be bothered. Not quite as bad as the MDR - but there we waited one night for one hour for our first course. Entertainment is almost entirely ships staff. In fairness, however, Eric the cruise director is one of the finest entertainers we have ever seen. But, what happens when he is not there. We had one guest hypnotist - not our favorite type. The singers and dancers are hard working, but it is tiresome seeing them over and over. In short, it simply is not for us. Others in our traveling group were quite happy with the experience. So to each his own. Give it a try and reach your own conclusion. For us we are looking forward to our Island Princess cruise in 2 weeks! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
SUMMARY: It is very easy to recommend Azamara as their exceptionally attentive service will make any cruise a very pleasant experience. Their prices may be higher than RCCL, Celebrity, or Princess but the extra cost will be forgotten ... Read More
SUMMARY: It is very easy to recommend Azamara as their exceptionally attentive service will make any cruise a very pleasant experience. Their prices may be higher than RCCL, Celebrity, or Princess but the extra cost will be forgotten once you've enjoyed their exceptional service. People may ask how Azamara compares to Oceania. While both are Premium “Smaller Ship” Cruise lines, our choice would be Azamara given similar itineraries. HITS & OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT HITS: • Service on the Azamara Journey was exceptional throughout our cruise. George, our cabin attendant was very efficient as well as being very friendly. Our servers in the Main Dining Cabin (JR & Oliver) were also excellent. • The Captain was very visible and cordial. The cruise director was very personable plus was a featured entertainer in several shows. • The shows were all excellent an unrecognized value of any cruise. Live Entertainment was much better than might be expected for a small ship. The ship's band/orchestra was excellent and the on deck band was equally entertaining. The Cabaret Lounge had ample comfortable seating. • Living Room was our favorite place on the ship to hang out and relax or read. It is quiet, had ample comfortable chairs and couches. There is also a bar with finger foods in the afternoon. • Azamara’s complementary self serve laundry was very useful and convenient. • Embarkation and Disembarkation were both very quick & easy. This is understandable since there were less than 700 people to process. AREAS WHERE IMPROVEMENTS ARE NEEDED • Service in the Patio Café was not as attentive as in the Discovery Dining Cabin or the Windows Cafe. • The cabin had a curved large chair / very small love seat that. It was too small for 2 people and the curved shape was a poor use of space in the cabin • TV was disappointing because the content was quite limited. Pay movies were very overpriced at $11.95. • The refrigerator cabinet in the cabin needs venting in order to work efficiently. We had to keep the cabinet door open in order for the refrigerator to get cold. It would be better to simply remove the door to allow adequate airflow that allows the refrigerator to work properly than keeping the door open which was a tripping hazard. • Internet was $19.95 for 60 minutes or $24.95 per day. Logging on or off was same as other cruise lines which many guests found to be confusing and lost their precious few minutes as a result of not completing the process properly. Fortunately, Adriana at the Reception Desk understood this issue and cheerfully restored the forfeited minutes. DETAILED OBSERVATIONS Day 1 - EMBARKATION: Azamara check in was very fast because Azamara's Check In process was very quick and easy because we has pre registered our personal information and we arrived about 11:45 (which was well ahead of the crowd) Lunch was at the buffet with the usual first day confusion. Our baggage arrived just after we had walked around the ship exploring. The mandatory life boat drill to explain the safety procedures was held soon after sail away activities. Our first dinner onboard was excellent with very attentive service. Day 2 - AT SEA: We explored the ship. The weather was warm so many people were in the pool area. The Azamara Journey is not a large ship. We got more familiar with the public areas of the ship. These are named "Living Room, Cabaret Lounge, Den, Patio, etc. The Living Room was our favorite place to sit, view the ocean, read, and relax. They have a small band in the evenings. DAY 3 - LABADEE: The weather could not have been better. A few clouds and 80 degrees. I had pre booked a Kayak Tour of the bay. It was OK but nothing more than a guided Kayak Rental. I also had a nice lunch at the Labadee cafe and a great nap on a nearby beach lounge chair after the excursion. My wife has booked a harbor cruise tour. Regrettably, she felt unwell and did not go on her excursion. DAY 4 - AT SEA This was our second (and final ) at sea day. More rest and relaxation. The evening’s entertainment was fantastic. The 8:00 show featured pianist Peter Rossetti playing a fine rendition of Billy Joel and Elton John hits. The 9 15 show featured the Cruise Director, Eric who sang a medley of Broadway show songs. His voice is equal to Josh Grobin's! We then stayed up well past midnight chatting with new friends. DAY 5 – St Barts This is a small island just over 8 square miles in area. It is too small for many cruise ships so it remains relatively unspoiled. (Pictures attached) The Sea Dream Yacht Club (Sea Dream 2) was the only other small cruise ship in harbor. The weather was typical for the Caribbean during November, mid 80s with partly cloudy skies. I thought it was quite pleasant but it was a bit humid for My wife. We hadn't booked any shore excursions for this island because we didn't see anything that interested us. Since we had a very late night, we took the morning slow by relaxing on the veranda enjoying the view and catching up on this trip report. My wife did a load of laundry in the complementary self service laundry too. Later in the day, we took the ship's tender into the town of Gustavia. The town was named after the king of Sweden during the 1600s when St Barts was controlled by Sweden. The Swedish government gave St Barts back to France in exchange for some French territory during the late 1700s. DAY 6 - St Maarten Beautiful weather. My wife really enjoyed her island tour that visited the Dutch and French sides of the island. Her tour traveled to parts of St Maartin that had not been rebuilt after the devastating 2018 hurricane. She recommends this tour. I booked the Catamaran sail with snorkeling and beach excursion. The boat was well staffed with a friendly, attentive, and compete crew. The snorkeling stop was not the most interesting in the world but still adequate. The beach stop was enjoyable. One unexpected treat was a short stop at the St Maartin airport right under the famous low altitude airplane landing approach. (Picture attached) I would recommend this excursion for people looking for an active activity. Caribbean Nights show was onboard (in place of Azamara’s Azamazing Evening) was a good effort but not really to our liking. Day 8 St Kitts We booked the St. Kitts Scenic Railway excursion. This Narrow Gage train was built nearly a century ago to transport sugar cane from the fields to the sugar mill in Basseterre. We really enjoyed our trip in double deck rail cars that gave us a panoramic journey that circled the entire island of St Kitts. (Picture attached). DAY 8 St Johns Antigua Paraphrasing my Father in Law, "It's another beautiful day in the Caribbean" as Antigua is a beautiful island. My wife enjoyed her city tour of St John. I had booked a more active tour Hiking, snorkeling and kayak excursion that was located on an outer island in St John Bay. Needless to say, I was exhausted after my tour. We can recommend either tour depending on your desired activity level. The evening’s entertainment was the Cruise Director singing Broadway songs. He is a great entertainer. Day 9 Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands We didn’t see any excursions that we were interested in so we spent the day relaxing and the afternoon repacking our bags for the 11 PM Luggage pick-up. Day 10 DISEMBARKATION San Juan Puerto Rico: Azamara’s disembarkation process is similar to most other cruise lines, (instructions and luggage tags issued the night before with Luggage in the hall by 11). The main difference is that there were smaller groups of guests in the customs hall so we were able to find our luggage in under a minute. The Customs & Immigration officers in San Juan were very quick and efficient so we were through their process in under 5 minutes. We completed the entire process well before 9 am. We had booked a San Juan city tour with airport drop off. The 3-hour tour covered the "Old town" as well as "New Town" San Juan. Our driver/guide was very interesting and informative so it is easy to recommend this tour as a way to see the city sights before a late afternoon flight. Earlier flights (not recommended any earlier than 11am) should go directly to the airport which is a 30 minutes ride from the San Juan Cruise Terminal. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Azamara Journey 11-21-19 We booked the Azamara Journey 12 days before embarkation as our planned Galapagos adventure on the Celebrity Xpedition was canceled by the cruise line. This back to back cruise, the “9-Night Caribbean ... Read More
Azamara Journey 11-21-19 We booked the Azamara Journey 12 days before embarkation as our planned Galapagos adventure on the Celebrity Xpedition was canceled by the cruise line. This back to back cruise, the “9-Night Caribbean Highlights Voyage” followed by the “7-Night Caribbean Breezes Voyage” was available at a terrific price and with nice booking incentives. As we had always wanted to try Azamara, this seemed like the best “Plan B” to use our planned vacation time. Wednesday, 11-20-19. We left our Pennsylvania home at 5:45 AM. Our neighbor who drives for Uber picked us up and took us to the Philadelphia airport, arriving just after 6:30. We quickly checked the bags, breezed through “Pre-check” security, and were ordering breakfast from Chick-Fil-A by 6:45. Our flight to Miami boarded promptly and departed on time. We landed in Miami 40 minutes early (!) but it took 25 minutes of waiting before we could park at a gate. By the time we reached baggage claim (quite a walk!) the bags were coming out and literally within two minutes we were on our way to the transportation center. As we were meeting friends we were cruising with in Fort Lauderdale, we took the “Tri-Rail” to the FLL station ($5/each, 40 minute ride) and then walked to the nearby Fairfield Inn. After leaving our bags in our rooms, with our friends we visited the famous “Jaxson's Ice Cream parlor” for an ice cream lunch. We stopped at Dollar General and Walmart for a few needed items that were too hard to pack for air travel. Driving along A-1-A, we noticed the water levels on the inter coastal seemed extremely high, in fact, there was some flooding along the side roads. Finally we stopped at a dive shop for travel fins to use when snorkeling. After a brief rest at the Fairfield, we went to meet cruising friends at the “Big Fat Greek Restaurant.” We were not rushed and had a very nice meal and the plus two hours passed too quickly. Back at the Fairfield we agreed not to set a meeting time for morning. As the Journey was just arriving from a trans-Atlantic, Azamara has asked guests not to arrive much before 12:30. We did agree to set up an Uber XL for an 11:30 pick up the next morning. Thursday, November 21 – Embarkation We enjoyed a good night's rest at the Fairfield. Arriving for breakfast at 8:10, likely about the peak time, it was a little chaotic. All was fine though and we enjoyed breakfast with our friends. We then took an excursion to Hollywood Beach. Being early on a weekday no problem finding on street parking. We enjoyed a nice walk and took pictures along the beachfront promenade. We visited the Margaritaville resort, walking around taking photos of the unusual decor. At 10:30, it was time to head back to the car and return to the Fairfield. We had just enough time to gather our things and wait for our Uber ride. Mr. Uber arrived with a well traveled but clean Grand Caravan for our transfer to the Miami cruise port and the Azamara Journey, arriving there at about 12:10. The porters took our luggage, we checked in (no wait), arranged for specialty dining reservations, checked in with the front desk on DW's special diet needs, and were seated at the Patio ordering lunch by 12:45. Due to the Coast Guard inspection, cabin availability was delayed until about 2:00. After enjoying a lunch of fresh Grouper, we walked around exploring the ship. We really like the layout of “The Living Room” (Crow's nest area) as it is a wide open space with lots of seating, some of it unusual in design but comfortable. While sitting and chatting, an announcement was made that the cabins were available, so we headed down to our outside stateroom, #4029. I took my traditional cabin photos before moving any of our things in. One of our two checked bags had also arrived. No time to unpack as we attended the 2:30 “First time Azamara cruiser” gathering in the Cabaret (showroom). Very nice beverages and Hor d'oeuvres were passed around before Eric, the cruise director, welcomed all the first time folks to Azamara. We returned to the cabin to unpack, and found our other suitcase waiting for us. It took about an hour to put everything away. We went to find the “Swirl & Top” ice cream station and had a small bowl of soft-serve. We took that by the aft bar on deck 9 and enjoyed a beverage while waiting for the 5:00 muster drill. We attended the muster drill, which seemed to take a long time to start due to one missing cabin in our section. After the muster, we went back to the Living Room for “Dancing with the Starlight Trio,” along with Tapas and beverages. There were actually Tapas I enjoyed (dates with bacon and nice chicken nuggets). At about 6:30 we headed down to the Discoveries restaurant for dinner. We were seated at a table for four by a window. Service was terrific as was the food. They took very good care of DW's food sensitivities. I enjoyed shrimp cocktail, Grilled turkey breast (something new for me – it was good but not as good as traditional turkey), and Red Snapper (excellent). Dessert was gelato. We left dinner walking past the Mosaic Cafe (coffee/tea/snack shop) and headed to the Cabaret for the cruise director's welcome and the opening show, “Jump, Jive & Swing.” No boring time before the show sitting around in an silent showroom, the house band was playing numbers while waiting for showtime. Very impressive. “Jump, Jive, & Swing” is a”Magellan award-winning” show. This was certainly full of energy and I was impressed with the performers. The show went until about 10:15 at which time we called it a very full day. Friday, November 22 – At sea It is certainly good to be back on the ocean, as it's been nearly 5 months. We sure did sleep well. I ventured out around 8:00 to the Mosaic Cafe to bring some tea back to the cabin. Almost too hot to carry! I stopped at the front desk as the welcome aboard information asked guests to stop in if they were staying on for the next cruise, as we are. Back at the cabin, DW was ready about 8:50. On the way to breakfast we found the desk for the “Colors of the Caribbean” event tickets had opened early. We were able to get our tickets and also for our cruising friends, so we returned to our cabin to drop them off and delivered our friends tickets. They asked us to save them room at our table for breakfast in Discoveries. Breakfast in Discoveries was very nice, although it took a little long. Maybe it's just the first morning. They have a buffet set up, you can order off the menu, or mix it up. We mostly ordered off the menu but did look the buffet over and I had a small amount of Blueberry cobbler from the buffet. Else my ordered fruit plate and omelet were delicious as well! The cruise critic gathering was at 10:00 in the “Drawing Room.” This delightful library area on deck 10 mid ship has a warm feeling with a painted ceiling like you would see in famous Italian places. Eric the cruise director introduced many of the staff, and had us go around introducing ourselves. About half in attendance were on their first Azamara sailing. We left there to check out the shops, and then toured the suite that is being offered as a prize for the 12:15 bingo game. We thought the suite (8068) was not all that impressive. We headed up to the pool deck and got a table near (but not in) the Patio to listen to the 12:30 session of “Music by Vibz.” They are really good. Not one, but two – 45 minute sets with just 15 minutes between. We enjoyed it all, at times, while in the pool, Lunch was very enjoyable as well. We did a combination of the Windows cafe along with the Patio offerings. The ladies left to attend a “Smartphone photography class” At about 3:00 everyone headed down to relax a while – this cruising can really wear you out! We had dinner reservations at Prime C tonight. Beforehand we enjoyed the Starlight Trio again in the Living Room. A much larger crowd was there this evening. At 6:30 we went to Prime C. We had a most excellent meal and we were very impressed with how well they took care of DW's special food sensitivities. They even made her a crab cake with Almond flour. We left Prime C at 9:10 and headed straight for the Cabaret for the Captain's welcome toast. The Captain has quite a sense of humor and plays well with cruise director Eric. The show was assistant cruise director Meg Young in a solo show “Get happy.” It was okay. We left during the final costume change simply because by 10:30 we were too tired. Tomorrow is our first port call of Labadee, Haiti. Saturday, November 23 – Labadee, Haiti (Royal Caribbean Private resort) Another very good nights rest to the slight motion of the sea. Up a little after 7, I went around taking photos a little after 8:00 as we were sliding by a tree-covered portion of Haiti off the starboard side. I ran into our friends on the pool deck and agreed to meet them aft of the Windows cafe for breakfast. We met up for breakfast and really enjoyed our seats at the aft rail, until the Journey arrived at Labadee and needed to turn for docking so we were then in the sun. Breakfast complete, we headed back to our cabins to prepare for a day at the beach. At 9:15 the clearance to go ashore was announced and off we went. We caught the tram and took that to Columbus Cove, where we were provided 4 beach chairs in the shade. Clean restrooms and a calm sea made for a very pleasant morning. I got out my snorkeling equipment but as this was purely a sand bottom there was nothing to see. At about 11:30 we decided to move and headed over to the Town Square by tram. They were setting up the lunch and again we were provided four beach chairs in the shade. A waiter appeared immediately offering drinks. As Azamara cruisers, we had the same beverages included on Labadee as we have on the ship, a very nice benefit. We enjoyed lunch and I then headed into the water to snorkel. I swam past the “Floating bar” and put on the equipment. There is an assortment of small coral like brain coral in the bay, but visibility was likely two feet or less. I did see a few very small fish, but nothing to photograph. Heading back to our chairs I took a walk with one of our friends to the jetty to watch the waves crashing. We saw a few folks take advantage of the zip line, which claims to be the longest zip line over water. Returning to our chairs, we all got drinks and carried them out through the water to the Floating bar. This is quite a unique feature and it would have been really neat had it been staffed. We certainly understand how not every feature was “Open” as this port is built for 5,000 or more guests and the Journey is only 650 strong. But it sure was nice having the run of the place and never having to wait for anything. By 2:30 we had enough and packed up to head back to the ship. On the Journey, three of us headed to the pool and hot tubs to relax just a little. Then after cleaning up from the day, we all met on the pool deck for sail away tunes by Vibz. I also downloaded all our photos to my Surface and brought this log up to date listening to Vibz. Dinner was enjoyed in Discoveries. We went early attempting to make the 8:15 show (which we just made). A nice window table would have been really nice if it wasn't already dark outside! The waiter and dining room manager took very good care of DW's special needs. The 8:15 show was “Out at sea,” a journey around the world without leaving the ship. The show was excellent. We tried the piano entertainer but found he was just not as enjoyable as others. It was also getting late so we called it a night. Sunday, November 24 – At Sea What a beautiful sea day this is! Absolutely perfect weather, mostly sunny and 80 degrees. No whitecaps, a deep blue sea and sky. After we had a light breakfast delivered by room service, we visited to Lido for another cup of tea and sat out aft at the rail watching a number of birds following the ship. I am pretty sure I spied some flying fish as well. The shops were having a “Black Friday sale” and we found two clearance items at an additional 20% off. That takes care of the “Non refundable OBC” that Azamara gave us for booking. Today was a Sunday Brunch in discoveries, with music by the Journey orchestra. What a truly delightful event this was. The food was excellent as well. We headed up to the pool deck as the Starlight Trio was playing two sets beginning at 12:30. We enjoyed their performance greatly, sitting at our favorite shaded table. We left for the 2:00 scavenger hunt. The four of us, with a quickly determined team name of AzAmazing ended up winning the hunt with 138 points! We had tight competition from a group of youngsters that had 134 points. 3:15 brought the Captain's presentation and Q&A session. Speaking of the Captain, we have seen him and the senior staff “Out and about” interacting with guests all the time. Holland America could take some lessons from Celebrity and Azamara in this regard. We went to get ready for the evening and visited the Living Room for the Starlight Trio set. Dinner was in Discoveries and our waiter, Shaad, does a terrific job keeping the wine flowing of our favorite South African red. He also watches over DW's special food sensitivities. We are asking for Shaad each night. We thought we went early to the Cabaret for the 9:30 show, cruise director “Eric de Gray” with his show from “Vegas to Broadway.” Wow, what a show! A standing ovation ended the performance. After Eric's show we called it a night. Monday, November 25 – Gustavia, St. Barts This was our first visit to St. Barts, an island well know as the playground of the rich and famous. Just our opinion of course, but it is not set up to be friendly for cruisers. 95% of the information I gather from Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor seems accurate, the information on St. Barts was not. How anyone could possibly report the walk from the ferry terminal to the Eden Rock resort and beach as being 35 minutes and “Mostly flat” they must have had way too many rum punches! In any case, we did make the walk, up over the mountain and down past the airport to Eden Rock. The water was murky and snorkeling didn't allow any visibility. Besides, after that hike over to there, much of which on narrow roads with no sidewalks, I was too exhausted for much exertion in the water. We had a pleasant enough time swimming and floating in the delightful water, then walked down the beach to watch a few airplanes take off or land on the very short runway. We walked back to the airport and caught a cab back to the tender landing. Due to my own error, we did not have any Euros and the cab mark-up for US dollars was 50%. Ouch. Back on board we enjoyed lunch on the Patio and took a dip in the pool before getting ready for the evening. The Starlight Trio was playing in the Living Room and we enjoyed dinner with Shaad as our waiter. Our friends went to Aqualina, the Italian specialty restaurant this evening. After swallowing too much salt water during our outing, I wasn't feeling the best at dinner but by the end of the meal, after eating very lightly, was feeling much improved. At 8:30 there was a deck party, “Cherries Jubilee & Dancing” with Vibz on the pool deck. We were able to get a table for the four of us and really enjoyed the music. We were even able to dance a few numbers. We did not make the one-time show of “Just Dance” at 9:45 as it was a long day and we have an early start tomorrow. Tuesday, November 26 – Saint Maarten We were up early as we had an 8:15 meeting time with our friends so we would be on time for our reserved “6 Hour sailing/snorkeling tour” with St. Maarten Charters. We had a quick breakfast in the nearly empty Windows Cafe at 7:40 and met our friends at exactly 8:15. Off we went, taking our time taking photos in the dock area before following our instructions to walk towards town to Chesterfield's restaurant where we were to meet the Spellbound catamaran for our tour. Our instructions were very specific that the meeting time was 9:00, and we were there a few minutes before nine. We were welcomed by the captain and reviewed DW's dietary sensitivities with the very nice lady on board. Some time after 9:00 the captain told us that he was waiting on seven others and was unsure where they were. At about 9:20 we viewed a very large Carnival ship slowly pulling into port. It turned out that his other guests were on this ship. By 10:00 we were still waiting. I'm sorry, but by nature I am a punctual person and there are few things more precious that port time. Waiting an hour after an agreed meeting time is just not right, at least for those who are on time. We ended up leaving while our friends stayed*. We made our way back to the port, against quite a bit of foot traffic from those heading into town from Carnival. Wow, that is a big ship. We looked around a number of shops at the port complex and headed back to Journey. Once on board, we used the pool and while talking figured out this would be a great time to do our laundry in the self-serve and complimentary laundry. We started our two loads and went to the Patio for lunch. They specially prepared a meal for DW and I very much enjoyed their wings and grilled Grouper. We put the laundry into the dryers and enjoyed some relaxation time in the shade on the pool deck. I looked through Trip Advisor on my phone and found a likely outing for Antigua. I sent them both text messages and filled out a booking form, hoping to hear from them later in the day. I did not hear from them until after 10:00 the next morning, too late to join their tour. We enjoyed the pool deck until about 3:00, relaxed a little and got ready for the evening activities. Tonight is Azamara's first-ever “Colors of the Caribbean” event. We had arranged for 6:00 dinner followed by the 8:00 show. Beforehand we enjoyed Vibz playing in the living room. This event was designed to replace Azamara's “Aamazing evening” on shore, which they claim no venue in the Caribbean could be found large enough to host. This is all new to us anyway, but I will just say that without question this was the 'worst' dinner of the cruise. Most of the 'hot' items in the dining room Caribbean buffet were at best lukewarm. I understand why they went to buffet style in order to move half the passengers through in less than two hours, but the execution needs improvement. We went up to the Windows Cafe at about 7:35 to reach the back of the long line for entry to the pool deck. At 7:40 the doors were opened and we were seated. Nice Caribbean hand foods were available and these were quite nice. We were told the show would not actually start until 8:20, to allow time to enjoy the foods and beverages. A few local artisans also had their wares on display. The show itself was quite enjoyable and ended up with the finale being a conga line at about 9:00. This wasn't intended to be the finale, but the skies unexpectedly opened up and with the electronic equipment, and slick deck for the dancers, they needed to call the show at that time. All in all we had a very nice time, but during the next week's event we will attempt to dine in Prime C if it is open. Afterwards, we called it a night to get ready for the next port, as we now have six in a row! Wednesday, November 27 – St. Johns, Antigua. With no early plans we went to the main dining room about 8:00 and had a leisurely breakfast. I ordered the “Steak and eggs” for the second time this cruise and really enjoyed it. Just as we were finishing up our friends came in so we stayed and talked while they had their breakfast. We left the ship about 9:30 to join the masses leaving from three large ships in port with us. Two of them were on extended voyages round trip Europe, a P&O ship and a “Mein Schiff.” Additionally there was a large RCCL ship, so likely about 14,000 cruisers. Working our way through the many drivers offering island tours, we wanted to visit the local market. Well, the market opens at 5:00 AM and by 10:00 AM many of the vendors are long gone. We did find a number of vendors still at the nearby craft market and made a small purchase. We walked passed the bus station and back along Market street to the town center. After a while the smells were getting to us so we headed back to the Journey while our friends did a little more shopping. Back on board we enjoyed the pool and lunch. After lunch the two ladies went out to look over a few other ships near the other quay, while the men stayed around or in the pool. The evening included a “Discovers” event on the forward open deck on deck 11. This was an extremely nice with all the senior officers greeting their repeat cruisers. We spoke at some length with Eric, the cruise director and entertainer. Dinner was very nice in Discoveries although tonight it seemed the dining room was unusually busy. In fact, we did not see an empty table. Thru a combination of things dinner ended up taking nearly 2 ½ hours, but the wine kept flowing! We went straight from dinner to the Cabaret and secured good seats for tonight's one time show, Eric de Gray's “Broadway Showstoppers” & tribute to Abba. What an absolutely incredible show. Very likely the best show we've ever seen on our 35 or so cruises. The show wasn't over until 10:30 and at that point we called it a night. Thursday, November 28, Thanksgiving Day (US), Basseterre, St. Kitts. We had a plan for the day. The plan included leaving the ship by 9:00 to head to South Friar's Beach. We just wanted an hour on the beach to swim and then planned to return to the ship for lunch, then going out to see some things in town. That was a good plan, but the weather had other ideas. From 8:00 – 9:30 or so it was raining buckets. So when it appeared to let up just a little we did venture out with the Azamara room umbrellas. It soon did stop raining to we visited Independence Square, the Cathedral, walked over to St. George's Anglican Church hoping to climb the bell tower (it was not open), and then headed back towards the port. All-together this was nearly 7000 steps. Back in the port complex we went directly to the Caribelle Batik shop. On our last visit here we were at Romney Manor, where this process is actually performed, creating unique apparel in a multi-step dying process. I ended up buying a shirt and we also obtained a gift for someone back home. After this stop the men returned to the ship while the ladies visited a number of the other shops. As the Journey is the only ship in port they had the stores largely to themselves. We all enjoyed lunch and then the ladies went back out to see the shops. It had become a beautiful day but the beach had much less appeal with the early afternoon sun, so the pool deck was very welcome. We watched the crew work very hard to decorate for the “White Night” party this evening. The ladies returned and it was soon time to get ready for the evening. We had a 5:00 “Back to Back” cruisers meeting in the Cabaret. There are nearly 90 staying on board for the next 7 day round trip San Juan cruise. We met with the dining host to reserve Prime C for the Caribbean night (Barbados) as we thought that was the least satisfactory meal on this cruise. During the meeting much to everyone's dismay it began raining. On our way back to our cabin Eric made the announcement that the White Night party was being moved indoors to the Cabaret. The Thanksgiving deck buffet was moving to the Windows Cafe. Our plan was to dine in Discoveries where the menu included traditional Thanksgiving options such as Turkey and Ham. However, all four of us opted for the Chilean Sea Bass. Wow, that was incredible Sea Bass! In all honesty, it was a great menu overall this evening. We told Shaad that we wanted to be finished by 8:00 to get to the party in time to get seats. The dining room ended up being completely packed out with folks waiting. We were out of there at 8:05 and were able to get seats we liked for the White Night party. During the warm up for the party three members of the senior staff were making Crepes Suzette in the rear of the Cabaret. They were also really into the party atmosphere dancing along with the DJ's tunes. The party itself was a lot of fun. The entertainment staff went all-out, non-stop, for nearly two full hours without a break. They succeeded in getting a great number of folks involved on the dance floor. We took advantage of most of the slower numbers. When the party was over, we were more than ready to call it a night! Friday, November 29 - “Black Friday” (US), Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands This was our first visit to Virgin Gorda. The unique feature this island with a population of 3,500 is best known for are the “Baths.” These unique rocks along the southwest coast of the island are deep-earth rocks propelled through the air by volcanic eruptions at some past time. The winds and sea have sculpted them over the centuries and they have created a unique set of coves, tide pools, and caves just waiting to be explored. Explore we did! We first met in Discoveries for a breakfast of “Steak and eggs” at 7:30. By 8:30 we were heading for the tender. We ended up tendering with three tour groups from the ship. We managed to stay just ahead of one of them upon arrival at the baths. We were instructed to take the path towards Devil's Bay beach and then go through the caves to the baths beach. This was certainly one of the most unique things we've done in the Caribbean in many years. I hope we make it back to Virgin Gorda in the future to explore some more. We also made good use of our snorkel equipment at the bath's beach. With all the submerged and semi-submerged boulders, that became a great spot for coral to grow and many fish congregate there. I shot quite a few underwater photos. Getting out of the water DW was pushed by the waves into a few submerged rock ledges and she and our Around noon we tried to go back into the caves to more fully explore a swimming area in the cave but we were told that the path through the caves was “One way” due to “Two ships being in port.” (We did not ever see another ship...) We were not up to climbing the hill and beginning the process all over again, although looking back a few days later, maybe we should have tried. We did peruse a shop at the parking area and a couple of “Clearance” shirts were acquired as a reminder of our great time at Virgin Gorda. We were directed to one of the open air converted van taxis for the ride back to the marina. It took quite a while to get moving, and we arrived at the marina to quite a line of folks waiting to return to the Journey. We were able to obtain a few cups of cold water and about 15 minutes later we were on the tender back to Journey. Back on the ship we dropped our bags in our cabin and headed up for lunch at the Patio. The staff there take such good care of us, keeping our favorite wines flowing along with 'safe' foods for DW. We enjoyed a little pool time before getting ready for the evening. Dinner in Discoveries was greatly enjoyed with the premier dish tonight being “Surf & Turf.” Most of us had some variety of this. Also this last evening was the “Infamous Chocolate Buffet.” Very reminiscent of what Holland America used to do on each cruise, there is an incredible abundance of Chocolate of every variety, cakes, gelato, etc. My personal favorite was the dark-chocolate covered marshmallows. We bought a few photos at the gallery. Then we agreed to one final nightcap at the Spirit's Bar before heading to our cabin for the final evening. We passed on the show this evening of the guest entertainer, David Knight, a hypnotist. Saturday, November 30 – San Juan, PR, USA The Journey docked very early (before 6:00) as this is disembarkation day for all but 90 of the guests. Our cruising friends were leaving the ship as they are flying back to Florida on Monday. Despite the early docking, no one was allowed to leave the ship (even the walk-off guests) until all the luggage was unloaded, which was not until after 8:30 AM. Sure glad we do not have an early flight next week Saturday! We packed up our non-hanging clothing and toiletries to be moved three cabins to #4023 for the next 7 day segment. We met our friends in the Windows Cafe at 7:45 and enjoyed a last breakfast together on board. At 8:35 we returned to our cabin to find that the housekeeping team had already moved everything into #4023 except for our safe items. We took care of that and secured that material in our new cabin. We took advantage of the time to put most of our clean clothing into drawers in 4023, and then left the ship with our friends at about 9:05. We took many photos along this walk and while approaching the El Morro fortress, our friends heard a bicyclist take a tumble. They tended to this man and called 911. It took 20 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. This happened when we had left them to find water, which we purchased bottles from a vendor nearby for $1/bottle. They ended up using the water we bought for them for the injured man. There is very little shade near El Morro but I did retreat to the shade of a monument. We were all back together and headed to the beverage vendor to obtain four more water bottles. We then walked toward the main pier area as we wanted to visit CVS. On the way, we saw there was a handicrafts market at the La Princesa Promenade so we did view the various vendor's goods. As we neared CVS we did notice an increase in the breeze and some dark clouds approaching. We obtained what we needed in CVS and by then the skies had opened into a downpour. As is typical in the Caribbean, this did not last long, but it was long enough that it delayed us from our planned walk back to Plaza Colon to take the complimentary shuttle back to the Journey, so we called an Uber for the $7 ride. We bade farewell to our good friends who we hope to see during a Florida visit in February. Summary: We have cruised about 35 times. The majority of cruises are on Celebrity and Holland America, with a few other lines occasionally. Really enjoy the smaller ships. Favorite ship was HAL Prinsendam but it was sold. New favorite is the Journey. A few years ago I wrote in a review “I guess the days of 5-star cruising are history.” Well, that is not true. I feel that Azamara gives a five star experience. When we can, if the price fits into the budget, we would happily cruise on Azamara again. The food and service are great! Love the more inclusiveness of the fare. The thing that was very unexpected is the quality of the entertainment. It is hard to remember a cruise where we enjoyed every bit of the entertainment as much as we have on these two cruises. Some of the shows were repeated during the second segment. They are so good we went to see them a second time! So 5 stars for the good ship Journey. May she and her outstanding crew have a long and happy life! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We did a 16 day cruise around the Caribbean.The weather was amazing and the crew could not have been more helpful. My wife and I paid a premium to go on this ship. All gratuities and drinks were included. We have completed about 11 ... Read More
We did a 16 day cruise around the Caribbean.The weather was amazing and the crew could not have been more helpful. My wife and I paid a premium to go on this ship. All gratuities and drinks were included. We have completed about 11 cruises on different ships. This was the first time on Azamara Journey. We enjoyed every part of the cruise except one thing which we consider very important and ruined the overall cruise. That was the deck chairs. For a luxury 700 passenger ship we expected to be able to sit around the pool on a nice day. Unfortunately, we were not able to secure a deck chair on the pool deck most days. On some days we had to sit in the Living room lounge as there were absolutely no chairs available. What annoyed me more than anything else was that there were always about 30 chairs with personal items on them but no one around. They had been "reserved" early in the day by passengers who wanted a deck chair for the day. Although there were signs up saying not to do this, the crew did nothing about it. I was so annoyed I took several photos of chairs that were reserved with personal items on them and went about 45 minutes later and no one had been sitting on the chairs. When I pay a premium for a cruise I do not expect this sort of thing to happen and I do expect to be able to find a deck chair for my wife and I. If you go on this ship do not expect to be able to sit on a deck chair most nice hot days.. I can understand this on a budget ship but not a ship of this standard Until they sort this out I probably will not be cruising with Azamara again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We decided to go on this cruise because I would celebrate my 70th birthday on the ship, I had never been to the Caribbean, after 10 cruises we decided to try out a more luxury ship and finally we wanted to visit New York for the first ... Read More
We decided to go on this cruise because I would celebrate my 70th birthday on the ship, I had never been to the Caribbean, after 10 cruises we decided to try out a more luxury ship and finally we wanted to visit New York for the first time. We had previously sailed on the Tahitian Princess many years ago. It was also an R class ship, identical to the Journey. We loved the ship and the destinations then. Firstly, the negative things: The shower was very small compared to other ships. We could barely turn around in the shower. On the White NIght evening there were no where near enough tables for the passengers. We managed to obtain a table eventually but many passengers told me they had to eat in one of the restaurants and missed out on all the White Night Entertainment. I was very disappointed on my 70th birthday. We decided to eat at the Aqualina Restaurant as it was a special night. We had a Premium Beverage Package where nearly all brands of drinks are included. The waiter offered us a bottle of wine which I thought was included. He did not tell me till after he had opened it that there would be a $40 charge.for the wine on top of the $30 admission. On other cruises on my birthdays the crew had always sang happy birthday to me and given me a cake and a free bottle of wine. Not on this ship!!! The last thing and most important thing that infuriated us was people getting up early and putting personal items on deck chairs to reserve them for the day. Signs up saying not to do this, but the crew were not enforcing it. On a nice day do not expect to find a free deck chair on this ship. Because of this we may not sail on the Journey again. When we pay a premium for a cruise we do not expect to have to sit in the lounge on a nice day!!! On a positive note. we found the crew exceptional and all passengers very friendly, The atmosphere on this was great and we have made some friends which we will keep in touch with. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
You can see photos from this cruise and our other sailings by following the link on our Cruise Critic profile page: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/profile/35108-jgnova/ I had a “zero birthday” coming up and wanted to do ... Read More
You can see photos from this cruise and our other sailings by following the link on our Cruise Critic profile page: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/profile/35108-jgnova/ I had a “zero birthday” coming up and wanted to do something special to celebrate – which provided a great excuse for another cruise. But it had to be something special – new ports and/or a new ship or, even better, a whole new (to us) cruise line. We also had the additional requirement that, because of health issues, the embarkation and disembarkation ports had to be within five hours travel time from our Northern Virginia home. I put together a list of options, which were mostly sailings from Miami or Fort Lauderdale that included the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao). One option stood out because it also included two days in Havana, Cuba, and was on Azamara Club Cruises Journey. This was a 16-night repositioning sailing from Miami to Manhattan, with stops in Havana, Aruba, Curaçao, Bonaire, St. Barts, Sint Maarten, and Hamilton, Bermuda. With four new (to us) ports on a new (to us) ship and cruise line, this became the obvious choice. And we are very happy we made that choice. Ship: The ship is lovely and very well maintained, despite its age – they were even refinishing the corridor handrails near our cabin. Like other ships under the RCCL umbrella, Journey was filled with artwork – paintings, prints, and sculptures (many by Salvador Dali) all over. The ship felt very bright all over – even the staircases and elevator lobbies, despite not having windows, felt very bright and open. The only times the ship felt crowded were when everyone tried to be in one venue at the same time – like White Night by the pool or the last two nights’ shows in the cabaret – and the staff brought in chairs for those events so everyone could sit. Cabin: The cabin had plenty of room for all of our stuff – drawers in the desk and in the closet, lots of hangers. There was plenty of light in the cabin, including extra lights by the desk, the bed, and a working balcony light. The cabin thermostat even seemed to work properly! We discovered that the coffee table by the sofa had a lever that raised it from coffee table height to a height that worked for eating our room service breakfast when we couldn’t eat on the balcony. Food: The food selections and quality were outstanding. With the exception of the AzAmazing Evening, when we ate in Windows (buffet restaurant) because of time constraints, we ate all our dinners in Discoveries (main dining room). We usually arrived around 7 PM and never had to wait for a table, which we usually shared with others, allowing us to meet many new people. Besides the menu selections, each night’s choices also included a chef’s selection and something more international, typically linked to the international themed dinner in Windows that evening. We could choose wines (at no extra charge) from each night’s selection of two whites, two reds, and a rosé – and they would pour wines offered on previous nights as well. We ate most breakfasts on the balcony, which was a treat – the server would even spread the tablecloth for us! The food was hot and usually delivered on time. We could even add things to the menu if we wanted (like a smoked-salmon omelet!). I had a few breakfasts in Windows on mornings when we had an early excursion and the selection was excellent. As opposed to other cruises on which we’ve sailed, instead of placing the omelet order and waiting while it was cooked, I just took a table card with a number and the omelet was delivered when it was done. The servers also provided all of the beverages, including fresh-squeezed orange juice. The ship had a few options for lunch. On days when our excursion returned in early afternoon, we went to the Living Room, where they had small sandwiches and desserts available. (That venue also had tapas in the early evening.) Other days, I would grab a burger (delicious) from the Patio or a salad from Windows and eat by the pool. Service: Service on the ship was excellent. The staff and crew would always greet us – our cabin attendants would open our door for us if they were nearby when we were returning. The pool staff were constantly walking around to clear up towels from vacated chairs and to take drink orders and clear up empty glasses. Entertainment: The entertainment was excellent. The ship’s cruise director and assistant cruise director each did a couple of shows and they were great performers. The ship also had an onboard troupe of six performers (four dancers and two singers/dancers) who did three different shows during our sailing. We were also entertained by a violinist, a magician/comic, and a pianist/singer, who joined the ship at different ports during the sailing. The violinist was a special treat for this voyage because of his work with Cuban musicians and students – and because he was joined for one piece by his young son, an incipient star. This was in addition to the pianist in the lounge and the ship orchestra and instrumental trio playing at different times throughout the ship. Our only complaint was about the volume – the cabaret shows would have been much nicer several dB lower. Ports: With the exception of Sint Maarten, we used the ship excursions in all of the ports. Cuba: The tour guides both days were very knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. The bus was quite comfortable as well. Cuba is a very interesting place to visit for many obvious reasons. There are very few private cars and most people use buses or shared vans for transportation. The six-lane highway leading to Havana was almost empty and there was little traffic in Havana itself, something unimaginable in most other national capitals. Most of the urban-area buildings are in various stages of disrepair, which is a shame because they looked as if they had been beautiful before the revolution. Houses in the outlying areas looked better-maintained. We did the Jewish Heritage tour our first day in Havana and visited a Jewish Cemetery, two synagogues, and a Jewish-owned boutique hotel. We got to meet with a community leader at one of the synagogues and he answered our questions about the Jewish community’s history and current life. Our second day in Havana, we went to Ernest Hemingway’s house in San Francisco de Paula (about 9 miles from Havana), and were able to see how he lived and the tower next to the house in which he did his writing. We then went to one of his favorite bars in Cojimar, where we saw “his table” and enjoyed a daiquiri made the way he drank them. We then went into Havana to another of his favorite bars (how many did he have?) and braved the crowds to have a mojito. We then had time to walk around the cathedral and other historical sections before returning to the ship. Aruba: As we had never been to Aruba before, we took a ship excursion tour of the island. This tour included a visit to an aloe processing plant, a lighthouse, a natural bridge, and the fascinating Casibari Rock Formations, which I’d like to visit again to see the petroglyphs. The tour guide was very knowledgeable and the bus was fairly new and very comfortable. Curaçao: Again, this was our first visit so we took the ship excursion for an island tour. We got to see a coastal national park to see the cliffs and rock formations along the coast and watch the strong surf. We also visited a lovely beach, the old salt flats in an unrealized hope to see the flamingos, and a former estate house most recently occupied by a famous local artist. As was the case in Aruba, the tour guide was quite knowledgeable and bus very comfortable. After a quick lunch in the Living Room, I hiked from the port into town to see the old synagogue, which we couldn’t tour because it was closed on Sunday. This also gave me an opportunity to walk across the Queen Emma Bridge, a pontoon bridge that floats on the water and swings off to the side to let ships through. I also was able to get a closer view of the Queen Wilhelmina Bridge, the tallest bridge in the world, and two other small lift bridges in Willemstad. Bonaire: Another new island and another ship excursion tour. The tour guide was knowledgeable, but the tour company used a smaller bus that was not as comfortable, especially for those stuck in the seats over the wheels. We got to see Bonaire’s lovely coastline, old salt flats with many flamingos raising their young, an old house showing how the early island residents lived, some slave huts right on the coast by the salt flats, and a modern salt processing operation. The tour guide was very good, but she had to keep telling the driver to slow down so we could take photographs. St. Barts: Although we had been to St. Barts five years earlier, we had seen only the port area in the capital so we took another island tour. This tour was in a mini-van and the tour guide was not very effective at discussing much about the island characteristics. We did get to see several beaches and the beautiful island geography. The company arranging the tours should have done a better job preparing a guide for the driver to use. Sint Maarten: We’ve been there several times and I decided to have a beach day. I had searched the web before the trip and found that two bars with beach chair/umbrella rental facilities had reopened at Orient Beach so I decided to go there for the day. There is a taxi rank right off the pier complex and the people there will assemble groups to various destinations. I was able to share a taxi with few other visitors (from another ship) and paid only $9 for the trip instead of the $25 the trip would have cost for just me. The taxi dropped us off mid-beach near the Bikini Beach bar, which looked nice. However, someone at the port had told me that Kon Tiki, a short walk down the beach, had better food. I paid $15 for an umbrella and comfortable chaise (including a cushion) for the day. There were attendants patrolling the beach to take food and drink orders, and the bar and restaurant looked great and had brand new facilities. So I had a lovely day on the beach watching people windsurfing and doing other watersports. Bermuda: We’ve been to Bermuda twice before, but we were docked at the Royal Dockyards at the far end of the island. We took ferry trips to Hamilton and to St. Georges, but had never seen the Bermuda countryside. This itinerary had us docked right in downtown Hamilton so we were able to walk around to see the shops and restaurants. We also took a ship excursion that drove along the south coast of the island to the Royal Dockyards, giving us a chance to see the lovely beaches for which Bermuda is famous and some historical areas. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation was fairly smooth with priority processing only for suite guests. While we had completed the forms for the Cuban visas, we forgot to bring copies with us, so we had to take time to write out second copies, which the port people insisted we needed even though we had copies at home. Disembarkation was slower than normal, probably because the immigration people had not planned on the high percentage of non-U.S. citizens, who took longer to process. Once through immigration, we located our luggage and found a porter quickly, who then took us out to the drop-off area. We were picking up a rental car and driving home, so I walked about 2 ½ blocks to the car rental office, picked up the car, drove back to the pier, picked up DW and our luggage, and headed through the Lincoln Tunnel. I think I spent more time in line at the car rental office than it took to get to the office and drive back and get to the tunnel. Overall experience: This itinerary was an excellent balance of port and sea days, with 8 ½ days in port and 6 ½ days at sea. The majority of the passengers were from the United Kingdom, which was a new experience for us, and we got to chat with a lot of people from places we had only read about. With fewer than 700 passengers on a smaller ship, we were more likely to bump into the same people repeatedly and get to know them. Even with open seating at dinner, we wound up having the same tablemates a few times and would greet each other by name when we were walking around the ship or sitting in the cabaret. Another pleasurable aspect of the cruise was that we didn’t feel hassled to spend money. Drinks and wine were included if we didn’t request premium brands, as were coffees. And there was no constant sales pressure to eat in the specialty restaurants, as we’ve experienced on other lines. The senior ship staff were always present and visible – the hotel director would frequently assist seating passengers in Discoveries and we saw the Captain walking around the tables at least once. The captain and hotel director were at the gangplank every morning when we left the ship for our excursions, wishing us a good visit. Captain Johannes and Cruise Director Eric had a constant repartee during the noon announcements, with the captain teasing the CD about his shirt every day and the CD finding something funny to say in response. They obviously have a great relationship and that enhanced the voyage. This was the best cruise we have ever taken, thanks to the ship staff and crew, ship size, passenger friendliness, food quality, and itinerary. We are looking forward to another. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Azamara Journey has become our cruise line and ship of choice since our first 7 day trip down the Croatian coast. We made so many friends on that cruise and again on our Norwegian cruise a couple of years later We have just finished ... Read More
Azamara Journey has become our cruise line and ship of choice since our first 7 day trip down the Croatian coast. We made so many friends on that cruise and again on our Norwegian cruise a couple of years later We have just finished our 16 night Miami to New York that went through Havana, Aruba, Curaco , Bonaire, St Martin and Bermuda and this cruise continued to meet and better our expectations The staff are what makes this ship from the wonderful Captain Johhanes ... always available for a chat and prepared to change things up if it makes the customers experience better...all the way down to the staff who clean the toilets The size is also most important and we love the ease on getting on and off this ship Destinations continue to impress and I believe Norway will take some beating for scenery Special mention to Alec and Mario in the dining room who work tirelessly to accomodate guests needs. To our very good friend Roy in the bar... or this trip the coffee station... who is always smiling and going out of his way to make our cruise better, Melchor, Jolly in security who always welcomes us back on board, Aaron and Agust who made up our cabin every day, JR and Elij in the bars, and our dining room waiter most nights, yevgeniy... they and many others continued to provide amazing customer service The entertainment this cruise was the best we have had so hats off to the cruise director Eric This is not the most stylish ship nor the best cabins around but... it is like home and the vibe is relaxed Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this short, six-night Azamara cruise for several reasons: First, although we prefer longer cruises, two weeks or more, we faced some time limitations this trip, including work obligations and also meeting family and friends ... Read More
We chose this short, six-night Azamara cruise for several reasons: First, although we prefer longer cruises, two weeks or more, we faced some time limitations this trip, including work obligations and also meeting family and friends afterward for some spring training baseball games; second, we had heard some very good reports on Azamara from friends who really enjoyed the casual, small-ship atmosphere and we figured this would be a way to try it out without a big financial or time commitment; third, and most importantly, we wanted to visit Cuba, and this cruise included two days and an overnight in Havana. Embarkation at the Port of Miami was easy. We drove to Miami from our home in the mountains of North Carolina because we wanted to have a car for the post-cruise spring training. It is a long drive, and next time we probably would fly (though we hate the MIA airport). We stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Blue Lagoon International Airport on a stay and cruise package that included parking and a shuttle. That worked out fine compared with parking at the Port and saved us a little money and a good bit of hassle. It took only a few minutes to get through the formalities of paperwork (including the Cuban visa ($75 per person), which Azamara took care of for us. Soon we were sitting in Journey's buffet restaurant enjoying a drink. Drinks are included in the cost of Azamara cruises, but the included package mostly has low-end brands and house wines. My wife decided to upgrade to the Ultimate package because she enjoys fancy craft cocktails -- unfortunately we would learn that, unlike Celebrity and some other lines most bartenders on Azamara are not up to speed on making complex drinks. Before long we went to our Deck 8 Veranda Stateroom. Having read and heard a lot of reports, we were prepared for the stateroom to be on the small size, and the bath and shower to be tiny. The bathroom wasn't quite as small as I had feared, but I have to say that on a so-called premium ship that the shower is as small as it is. I have rheumatoid arthritis and back problems, and I have to say it was not a pleasure to look forward to a shower. Although the Journey is almost a 20-year-old ship (it was built in 2000 as an R-2 class ship for Renaissance Cruises, now defunct, and then sailed under two names for Pullmantur line), it appeared to be in quite good condition. We liked all the mahogany and other woods in some of the public areas and enjoyed going on several open decks as in the "old days" of cruising. Journey has one of the smallest swimming pools I've ever seen on a cruise ship.The fitness room is pretty well equipped, although smallish and with only one recumbant bike. We found Azamara staff, both officers and guest-contact crew, almost uniformly helpful, friendly and hard-working. That was the case although gratuities were included in the fare. (At the end of the cruise we did tip extra for our room steward, who was excellent, and a bartender who had been extra nice to us.) I have to admit that our overall experience may have been shaded by the fact that my wife had a cold that started soon after boarding (after disembarking she went to a doc-in-the-box in West Palm Beach and was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and an eye infection. A couple of days after board I developed a toothache that turned out to be sinus-related. None of this was Azamara's fault (we didn't hear of any noroviruses this trip), and we probably should have checked with the clinic on board. Dining was certainly adequate on board, but not exceptional. We usually ate in the main dining room, Discoveries, for dinner (everyone has open seating, and only once or twice did we have to wait for a table). Some of our favorite dishes, such as the escargot appetizer, seem to be the same as on sister line Celebrity, but others were mediocre. Service was always excellent, however. We did try Prime-C, the steak house (a $30 per-person upcharge), which was fine but not memorable. The Windows buffet, again, was adequate but with a limited menu compared with other ships we've been on. The Patio on the pool deck, which serves burgers and such, was -- I have to say again -- only adequate. We loved our two days in Havana and wish we could have spent the entire cruise at Cuban ports. Why this itinerary included Cozumel I don't know. We have been to Cozumel many times, both on land trips and on cruises and no longer find it of any interest at all. It is a good dive destination that has been ruined by too many cruise ships and too much commercialization (Cozumel, amazingly, is the 3rd busiest cruise port in the world.) We were not that impressed with the ship excursion staff, who pushed the cruise tours pretty hard, and one of our pre-booked tours was canceled for no reason we could understand. To summarize what we liked and didn't much care for: Liked: Easy embarkation and disembarkation Friendly, helpful staff Lots of "traditional" wood paneling and such The Havana stop -- Havana is amazing, and we only wish we had had more time there So-so: Enrichment offerings (basically one speaker whose knowledge of parts of the Caribbean seemed a little dated -- having written many books on the region I probably knew more than he did) Dining in all venues Entertainment The small-ship atmosphere -- Journey carries fewer than 700 passengers, but we really felt that we had more and better options for places to relax on the Solstice-class Celebrity ships. Didn't like: Cozumel Bartenders' skill -- some bartenders seemed to have no training in making anything but the very basics. The Celebrity ships we have been on had much better bars and craft cocktails; the ship skimped on some ingredients, for example substituting cheap maraschino cherries for Luxardo cherries. I think Azamara should totally rethink its drink policies – just raise the fare a few bucks and make the included drinks cover more options and better brands. Small stateroom, tiny bathroom and ridiculously little shower Bottom line: I guess our expectations were too high. We were hoping to really love Azamara, but at this point I doubt we would go on another Azamara cruise. We prefer its big-ship sister, Celebrity, and hope that Royal Caribbean's purchase of a majority interest in Silversea will result in a true premium line in the cruise family (we have been on Silversea and hope that Royal Caribbean upgrades to new ships). Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We just returned from Azamara Journey Cuba/Cozumel. I thought the ship was meticulously maintained by a wonderful, cheerful staff who could not do enough for you. I think I observed only 1 sourpuss the entire cruise, and that was at ... Read More
We just returned from Azamara Journey Cuba/Cozumel. I thought the ship was meticulously maintained by a wonderful, cheerful staff who could not do enough for you. I think I observed only 1 sourpuss the entire cruise, and that was at breakfast. Maybe she wasn't a morning person...I also liked the ship décor which was very European instead of the new bland, grey millennial style. I understand they are eliminating the casino which was always empty, and is no loss. The cabin had lots of places to store items from the two huge suitcases we brought along (we drove to the pier) and they stored neatly under the bed. Balcony was small--just enough for two chairs and a table. The bathroom was tiny, and the shower so small when I dropped the soap I had to get out to pick it up. My husband couldn't use the toilet, as it's angled and his knees jammed against the wall, so he simply used one of the public marble bathrooms scattered around the ship---which again were spotless. You need to book a club category if you want a larger bathroom. For the second time we never used the balcony, and might not book one again in the future, unless it has chaise space. We used the promenade deck chairs on the days at sea. Cable had CNBC, FOX, BBC, Sky News, and a movie channel (extra charge of $11.95), and music channels. There were also two movies shown each day that were not new--and in fact, some rather old. We eat out almost every night at home, and so I have a fair idea of what to expect in a wide variety of restaurant types. We though the breakfast and lunch buffets offered an astounding number of good choices. For dinner. the main dining room was very pretty (sometimes noisy if it was full) and although we ate at both specialty restaurants, I would not bother on a future trip, as the food in the main dining room and the nightly buffets were more than adequate. The specialty dining rooms are small, with a high level of service, by excellent staff. However, the food was nothing truly special. All of the steaks we ate in any of the dining rooms, would be below an Outback standard, and they should change their supplier. Really. Though I don't like fish, I ordered the salmon two nights in the regular dining room, and it was excellent. Cuba is not a destination for everyone. You have to be a sophisticated traveler to appreciate it's history (we watched 8 hours of Cuban history on a DVD before we arrived) and charms. The people are beyond lovely, cheerful, have absolutely no animosity towards Americans. Their food is rationed, so any show of excess by any passenger should be frowned upon. Also, I did not wear any jewelry in port because I did not want to appear a spoiled American. Respect is warranted here. I heard a few older people complaining on the shore excursion.. I wanted to ask they why they booked the trip to begin with. If you want it to be like home----stay home. If you want to shop and eat on the ship---then don't book a tour and then ask the bus to take you back early. Appalling behavior, as was the guy who had to be first in line on every tour--and always on his cell phone wheeling and deal his stocks. Geez.... It was amazing how many people didn't listen to simple instructions, i.e. you cannot change the Cuban CUC (tourist money) back to dollars if you don't use it all. When they tell you the bus is leaving at 12:30PM, it's leaving at 12:30PM and when you are not there---it's beyond damned rude. This applies to any tour, on any trip cruise or not... We like it so much we are considering booking the New Years Cuba cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Meh
Went with a big group from my country club development. The pros were that the size of the ship was very manageable and easy to navigate, no lines or waiting for anything. Staff were friendly and helpful and willing to go above and beyond. ... Read More
Went with a big group from my country club development. The pros were that the size of the ship was very manageable and easy to navigate, no lines or waiting for anything. Staff were friendly and helpful and willing to go above and beyond. Had a standard outside stateroom with window that was small but adequate. Best restaurant was Aquilina by a long shot. The spa was decent The cons are a bit plentiful. The ship is very dated looking and in dire need of renovations. Cabin bathroom was ridiculously small. The food was sub par even tho plentiful and certainly nothing special in either taste or presentation ( except in the aforementioned Aquilina) . The entertainment was amateurish and difficult to sit though. The spa did not inform me that I could use the outside sun deck and whirlpool because I purchased a treatment. The destinations itself, key west and Cuba were disappointing. Key west is a place you can walk around for an hour or so, have a great lunch and drink alcoholic beverages in your choice of at least three establishments per block. The stores are typical tourist stores loaded with shell necklaces and tee shirts and crappy sandals. Cuba is a hot mess. It’s depressing it looks like a bomb hit it except in the tourist area where the ships are docked, those buildings are pleasing to the eye. The shopping is limited in scope, most selling the same cigars, Cuban shirts rum and local street art but u can barter price. Tour guides will try and pester you as will shop owners and beggars, it can be daunting. To each his own, this trip was not for me sorry to say Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our first non mega ship cruise. We usually go on the new ships the smallest was the Disney Dream .Having sailed around Cuba so many times and seeing the lights in the distance. This was our chance to visit. To compare is not ... Read More
This was our first non mega ship cruise. We usually go on the new ships the smallest was the Disney Dream .Having sailed around Cuba so many times and seeing the lights in the distance. This was our chance to visit. To compare is not easy. I think it’s where you are in life and what your looking for. If you want a nice peaceful cruise with a crew who really is happy to take care of you.If you like tea in the afternoon and cocktails before dinner they have it. Cocktails and a vey good piano player with fellow cruisers is quite nice. They had a show one night and it was really good. They sang and danced their hearts out. The costumes were also notable. The Cabins... We had a balcony room and it was the usual. The bathroom was fine and we are not small people and the shower was not an issue. They are all small, on this ship they are very clean.. When they do you room the bathroom gets sanitized when they do your room AM and PM. I liked that and there were no issues.The rooms have quite bit of storage built ins and a closet. Food. We never ate sit down. We liked the Buffet and liked sitting in the back outside.They still have great service and white table cloths The food was good and lots of choices.Everything is nicely displayed.and they have servers to help you. Once again everything is about keeping things clean and you happy. I hate people who Double dip ect this was not happening. You could have as much as you wanted with your clean plate. ..Poolside eating.. They have a nice menu of the usual plus salad, nachos ect . You order they bring it to you.It’s very good and very nice to be taken care of. They also have Steak ect at night and the tables are all done up. Room Service. Added treat Everything is so good and great portions. They have both Gelato and ice cream machines and non sugared is a plus.The ship is quiet and attracts the older cruiser who appreciates good service, and good food. The crew loves them and the feeling is mutual Some people we spoke to had been on more than 5 cruises. It was nice to relax and just enjoy ourselves To be taken care of in the style that seems to be forgotten Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
To preface our experience, my husband is not a comfortable traveller, and i never considered cruising because of the amount of people on board. This is why I chose Azamara, I felt 680 ppl is a do-able size for me. I also purchased the ... Read More
To preface our experience, my husband is not a comfortable traveller, and i never considered cruising because of the amount of people on board. This is why I chose Azamara, I felt 680 ppl is a do-able size for me. I also purchased the "ultimate experience package" so i would have everything covered with no surprises once on board. What a wonderful experience! Embarkation was a breeze, from start to finish we were eating lunch with a pina colada in hand within a half hour of entering the port terminal. 30 minutes later we were in our rooms and unpacking. We had a balcony room which was lovely! i felt there was plenty of storage for all our needs and yes the shower is small.( I put a small magnet on the bottom of the curtain to keep it from moving). The attendants were very efficient and took great care of our room. We had room service for tea every morning and breakfast twice as well they came promptly at the time specified and everything was hot. For any other first timers, they leave info every night on your door with relevant paperwork, tickets and info. Your tv is set up for room service, spa menu, account balance and all other ship info. That was a helpful tool for us.The laundry service was great. Filled a bag twice during the week and it was back the next day clean and pressed. We attended the Chefs Table Italian night which was really lovely. I would highly recommend this evening. My husband has dietary restrictions (no dairy, no seafood) and the chef adjusted all six courses to accommodate him! I was a little worried but they did an amazing job, considering every course contained dairy and seafood. The sommelier was excellent as well. Discoveries was consistently very good, when put into perspective the sheer number of people that are being served. Service was always excellent. We joined another couple one night because the restaurant was full and that was a lovely way to meet wonderful people. Windows Cafe is a great spot anytime although service was hit or miss. With that view, we got over it quick. Buffet food was very good as well. We also dined in Aqualina one night but i thought Discoveries was just as good. Make your reservations for the specialty restaurants immediately when you get on the ship. Not one spot in either restaurant was open when i checked the first morning, all booked. We had the ultimate drink package which was worth it for us. We like particular brands and we more than made up for the package price. Entertainment was meh. The cabaret shows were way too cheesy for us, i couldn't even sit through them. The Ukrainian trio was okay, but american music in a thick accent became not very good after the first few performances. We did love the dj music and made great friends dancing until midnight. It would have been much better had the dancing not started so late (10:45). It was a much older crowd than i expected. I'd say the average age was 70. Excursions were well managed and we enjoyed them all. It was great that our little ship was the only one in most of the ports. Azamazing evening was fantastic! Great reaggae band in St. Maarten. The staff was great organizing this event. We had a great time. We did not eat at the White Night, not realizing that you really need to get there early to secure a table. Not a seat to be had. We did enjoy the music and danced a bit. Captain Johannes was great! HIs daily speaker announcements made us chuckle. What a great sense of humour. The last night he moved the ship around 360 degrees during dinner so everyone could see the beautiful sunset! The dining room was clapping and cheering. Delightful. Although we have nothing to compare this particular ship to, we would highly recommend it to anyone looking for excellent service, very good food, and a more mature experience. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This is the third time we have cruised with Azamara. We have previously cruised with Oceania and Seaborne. The staff were as usual very attentive and well mannered and always eager to help. In particular our butler and room attendants ... Read More
This is the third time we have cruised with Azamara. We have previously cruised with Oceania and Seaborne. The staff were as usual very attentive and well mannered and always eager to help. In particular our butler and room attendants were especially good.We stayed in a Club World Owners suite and it was a good size with a large walk through bathroom and seperate toilet and with a lovely huge wrap around balcony. I feel that the suite could do with an upgrade with regards to decor. Prior to this cruise we sailed with Seaborne and I know people say they don't go cruising for the TV entertainment but this was far superior to Azamara. Azamara showed 2 movies per day on a constant loop and some of the movies were very old, in black and white and dating back to the 50s. Seaborne had a huge selection of up to date movies - free of charge. Also some cruise lines are giving free WiFi. We got complimentary minutes but I fell for the price we paid it should have been unlimited free WiFi. Lastly I feel the standard of food in Windows has deteriorated - we prefer buffets.Sometimes the presentation and choice was a bit lacking. We did not go to the White Night Party and the food that night in Windows was quite frankly shocking. I know that the chefs must have been busy doing the food for the party but I feel that this should not have disadvantaged the guests who chose to use alternative dining facilities.We were very happy with the speciality restaurants and Discoveries. We are using Azamara in the future as we were on the whole very happy. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
As a first time cruiser I was not sure what to expect however with excellent accommodation, excellent food, attentive, competent and friendly staff, there was little that could or did go wrong. Dining...Didn't need to upgrade to ... Read More
As a first time cruiser I was not sure what to expect however with excellent accommodation, excellent food, attentive, competent and friendly staff, there was little that could or did go wrong. Dining...Didn't need to upgrade to any of the packages on offer and ate mostly in the Windows and Patio areas. a delight. Booze....Didn't need to upgrade to any kind of premium package, the wines on offer were excellent as was the rum punch and beer. The Spa...Young lady insisted that I needed a haircut and I did, received and excellent haircut and not overpriced. Entertainment...The house band were excellent, the singers could sing and the dancers could dance. They all came together on the White Night event and were terrific. The set shows however were more high camp and cheesy than anything else, , although 70 this year I was brought up on the Stones and Beatles and Genesis, Pink Floyd etc If anyone plays Sweet Caroline to me again I will probably hit them. We were treated to terrific reggae with Third World and some chap from a West End Show who knew his stuff. In saying all that no one goes on a cruise for the entertainment. Excursions...Didn't go on any of the ships as found them overpriced, It was easy to get a local taxi in most of the Islands to take us round for an hour and cheaper. Everyone worked hard to ensure a good time was had by all. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My friend and I had both lost our husbands and wanted a relaxing holiday in the sun. I had previously cruised with Celebrity and when an offer came for Azamara Journey we booked immediately. From start to finish it was brilliant. We ... Read More
My friend and I had both lost our husbands and wanted a relaxing holiday in the sun. I had previously cruised with Celebrity and when an offer came for Azamara Journey we booked immediately. From start to finish it was brilliant. We loved the outside eating areas, the friendly service,the food ,the staff (especially our cabin staff of 7022 and bartenders Paul and Jestin) Embarkation was easy. The Captain and the Cruise Director had brilliant repartee. The ship is great. We loved it because it was small. Our cabin was excellent and breakfast on the balcony was a real treat . The food was superb and we felt no need to eat in the specialty restaurants. The all inclusive drinks package gave us all we wanted. We didn’t organise shore excursions by choice and just wandered around the ports where we were docked or tendered. We arranged a shore excursion on the last day to the Everglades before transportation to the airport and that worked well .It was lovely that the Captain wished us a safe journey at the end of the trip . We could find nothing to fault . The reggae concert was an experience as was the white night party . Value for money -what can I say? I don’t know how they made a profit . Would we go again ? Try stopping us!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
After years of traveling at this time of year on Celebrity, HA, and Royal, we decided to try a different experience with Azamara. We are a couple in our early 50s, and traveled with my parents. Overall - we loved it! The smaller ship ... Read More
After years of traveling at this time of year on Celebrity, HA, and Royal, we decided to try a different experience with Azamara. We are a couple in our early 50s, and traveled with my parents. Overall - we loved it! The smaller ship resulted in excellent service. Staff remembered our names, what we like to order, our cabin number, etc. We met some lovely people, and played trivia with a fun team we met every day. It was nice to bump into friendly faces around the ship. It was great to have a small number of passengers - we never had to wait long for anything. Not many crowds or lines, Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. The ship was beautiful, very classic in the décor. The cabin was ample in storage and comfort. We had a standard balcony cabin. The shower was stupid! We'd read the reviews and knew what the expect, but it was hard to navigate the tight space and shower curtain. I made it work, my husband flooded the bathroom. :) We found the Azamara experience really excellent. We loved the food in Discoveries and in buffet. We ate one meal in Aqualina and one meal in Prime C. With a very few missteps, the food was wonderful. The specialty dining was well worth the extra fee. The crew did an amazing job. It was pretty wonderful to see the captain around, and the officers. I've never cruised where they were so visible and a part of the experience. The entertainment was very good. They gave it their all! There's not really room for a big production show. It is an intimate space. I wish there was a bit more leveling for better viewing in the cabaret lounge, but we always enjoyed the shows and entertainers. The Azamazing evening was fantastic! We really didn't know what to expect and the top notch Third World reggae experience was so impressive. We loved it. We didn't do any ship excursions. I did spend time in the fitness center, and took a few spinning classes. I also had a nice massage in the spa. We really loved the extras that Azamara provides. The White Night party was really fun. We chose to eat in Discoveries, verus the buffet, but then hit the deck for music and dancing. The chocolate buffet was also pretty unbelievable! We aren't usually huge eaters, so buffets aren't our thing, but this was so beautiful and such great variety. The brunch was a fun experience, too. Overall, we would definitely do Azamara again. We are still working, so finding the right itinerary and timing may take a while, but we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
The first thing to say is that we had a great cruise and would recommend Azamara Journey. The staff members were all friendly helpful and efficient and it seems a very happy ship. It is worth noting that some staff members had been on ... Read More
The first thing to say is that we had a great cruise and would recommend Azamara Journey. The staff members were all friendly helpful and efficient and it seems a very happy ship. It is worth noting that some staff members had been on board for many years and seem loyal to the brand. The ship in general, with the exception of the Discoveries Restaurant at Dinner time, did not seem too crowded. Discoveries could be noisy but the food and service remained excellent. The food in general was a high standard in all restaurants but we found that the ambiance of the Specialty Restaurants along with the high quality of gourmet food and service gave us a refuge and a quiet place to dine. Both Prime C and Aqalina had their own menu which remained the same throughout the cruise but were supplemented by Chefs Specials each evening. Suite guests were invited to a special ‘Best of the Best’ dinner which was an exceptional evening The complementary wines were a reasonable standard, particularly the white wines and there was an adequate selection of included drinks at the bars. The internet is well below the standard expected of Azamara in that when and if you can connect it is slow and tends to drop out. The Suites are given 235 minutes but the package otherwise is expensive and difficult to justify. Our impression was that the decor was dull throughout most of the ship, the exception being the Drawing Room/Library which is very colourful & a very pleasant place to sit. The Forward lounge was another excellent space to relax and enjoy friendly waiter service. We booked private tours of Havana, Vinales, Cienfuegos and Trinidad but decided to use the ships shore excursion for Santiago de Cuba as the ship was due to sail at 15.00. Sadly the latter, a Panoramic tour in Santiago was very poor and a huge disappointment. This was one of the worst tours we have ever taken; firstly we could not hear the guide, Lucia above the traffic in town and she did not have a microphone to help her. Secondly we were not aware that the bus would not stop to see the Revolution Square etc - we drove slowly past the places of interest rather than being allowed time to see them close up. If this is the intention then it should be made clear in the tour description. Finally, we signed up for a tour without a lunch stop (who needs lunch when you are fed so well on board ship) but were in any case taken to a poor quality lunch despite protests from most of the group. We felt this was a waste of time that might otherwise have been enjoyed at the monuments. More importantly, it turned out to be a waste of food as most of the group did not eat much and lots of food was returned untouched. When there is a shortage of food in Cuba and the locals endure rationing, this was also embarrassing for us and our companions. A very comfortable way to see Cuba on Azamara Journey. Worth Knowing: Immigration: Be very careful filling out the Cuban visa which costs US$ 75 and is issued as you embark. The check in agent said any mistakes would mean you having to buy another visa as a cost of US$ 75. The Visa is good for all ports in Cuba. The first time ashore in Havana the Immigration line was long & generally slow. On subsequent days off the ship, it was a quick wave through after a very casual look at the passport. Local Currency You need to change your foreign currency at the cruise terminal in Havana or at a bank in the square outside the terminal. The exchange rate is fixed and common to all banks. If you use US $ you are surcharged 10% making a total of 13% commission. We were advised to use GB pounds and were charged the 3% commission only. This is common to Euros and Canadian $ also. The tourist currency is the CUC which is worth 25 Cuban Pesos, the money used by locals. Rest Rooms Cuba has a strong health service which is free to Cubans but the health care does not apparently extend to public health as is obvious in the state of toilets in restaurants and bars. You should also have some small change for the person manning the toilets. Apparently it is not necessary but fully expected and in return you will be given a hand full of toilet paper. Take some tissue with you in any case. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
First of all, the ship is in good condition as well as the rooms, my wife and I booked a cabin with a balcony and it was really what we expected, maybe a little smaller than in the photos but we liked it. - Food and drink well, maybe ... Read More
First of all, the ship is in good condition as well as the rooms, my wife and I booked a cabin with a balcony and it was really what we expected, maybe a little smaller than in the photos but we liked it. - Food and drink well, maybe you could improve but in the same way it was not bad. - We had a lot of fun during the nine nights that took the cruise, dancers, music, it seemed an important event every night. - Excellent service, especially Mario our concierge who was very kind and helped us with everything that was presented, we even needed to make an urgent call to our tour agency and he gave us his phone. - About the shore excursions, very important, do not book with the cruise. For my tours in each port we booked with Viajes Vintage (viajesvintage.com) and we had an excellent experience, I HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM, our guides were Yunet in Havana, Myldred in Cienfuegos and Lianne in Santiago de Cuba, we had during our excursion our own classic car with air conditioning very well maintained and we paid half of what we would pay with the cruise line. - It was very simple to get off the ship terminal in all ports but in Havana, it toke a while. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was my 8th overall cruise, and I chose this trip for the amazing immersive itinerary of Cuba. From the moment I stepped on the Journey, I appreciated the calming decor. It was so great to be on a ship of only 600 - you really got to ... Read More
This was my 8th overall cruise, and I chose this trip for the amazing immersive itinerary of Cuba. From the moment I stepped on the Journey, I appreciated the calming decor. It was so great to be on a ship of only 600 - you really got to know your fellow passengers...especially if you're an outgoing guy like me. We ate almost every meal at the discoveries restaurant and were VERY pleased with the quality, presentation, and taste of the food. I've been avoiding red meat recently, and they always had at least two fish choices(other than salmon)! i asked for freshly steamed broccoli and they always delivered on any request that I had. The entertainment wasn't extensive - but we did enjoy both shows by our cruise director...the VERY tall and lovely Eric! Please, please, please...book private tours of cuba! Do not take the cruise's excursions. they tell you that it is difficult when you get to cuba and that you can't get off the ship if you don't have a tour booked...NOT TRUE!!! All three of our private tours were AMAZING...private air-conditioned cars from the 50's. Do your research on TripAdvisor - and book with confidence! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Our 9th cruise and our 4th with Azamara. We were initially disappointed that the itinerary was changed from 3 to 2 days in Havana but we found the day in Key West to be very relaxing and a good start to the cruise. We always enjoy the ... Read More
Our 9th cruise and our 4th with Azamara. We were initially disappointed that the itinerary was changed from 3 to 2 days in Havana but we found the day in Key West to be very relaxing and a good start to the cruise. We always enjoy the ambiance on the smaller Azamara ships and appreciated how close we docked to the city on all our stops whereas the bigger ships had to use tenders to take passengers ashore. The staff were very attentive and friendly. We always enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea in the Mosaic cafe and were amazed how Jeston and Mark remembered our preference for green tea. Our cabin was excellent with ample storage, a good sized bathroom, a very comfortable bed and in a quiet position towards the back of the ship on deck 8. Both the food and entertainment were very good with Eric and the Captain forming a very funny double act. We have always enjoyed the White Night party in the past and we were not disappointed this time. We had 2 full days in Havana and booked a guide and driver with Cuban Trip Compass. We had a wonderful time exploring Havana in an old American Chevy with a very competent driver and a guide who spoke perfect English. We can highly recommend this company. Cienfuegos was very easy to explore on our own with the aid of the Lonely Planet guide and we booked an Azamara trip for Santiago as the ship was departing at 3pm. We arrived home with a greater understanding of the history and people of this fascinating country. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
My 7th time on Azamara and 4th time on Journey. This was my 36th cruise so trust my remarks. I have sailed on RCCL, Holland, NCL, Disney, Carnival, Princess and more. I escorted my group of 26 on the Journey for the 9 night ... Read More
My 7th time on Azamara and 4th time on Journey. This was my 36th cruise so trust my remarks. I have sailed on RCCL, Holland, NCL, Disney, Carnival, Princess and more. I escorted my group of 26 on the Journey for the 9 night intensive Cuba. Pre-Cruise hotel: JW Marriott on Brickell, fantastic. Ship Staff: Wonderful as ALWAYS!! From the stewards to Capt Johannes! Ship: Old World Classic Beauty!! My home away from home. Deck 4 Oceanvw, my favorite but I have stayed on every floor in balcony as well. Food: Outstanding as usual!! If you don't love the food on Azamara there is something wrong with you, sorry. Every meal fantastic, we ate at Prime C and Aqualina as well as main dining. Aqualina did not leave an impression on me last few times but a few revisions and it's right on par with Prime C at this point! Chef even prepared Baked Alaska off the menu as 1 in my party really wanted to try it!! Waiter brought out 5 fresh made Alaska's to our table and hands down the BEST I've ever had. And that was in the Main Dining room! White Night: Out did themselves with the lobster tail and shrimp on the BBQ! Never miss a White Night! Azamazing Evening: Ours was in Havana in the renovated theater from 1890 and still had the original wood floors! Incredibly beautiful and wonderful Lintz Cuban Ballet was an emotional experience. I was nearly brought to tears with this performance!! Excursions: Hemingways Havana, loved it! Havana Classic Car ride, loved it! El Nicho Natural Baths and Waterfalls, DO NOT MISS THIS! (Although too difficult for older and or out of shape travellers, you can still enjoy it buy walking upto the falls on the main path, then wait in the shady lovely restaurant while others do the rocky path up!) Tobacco and Rum Santiago, skip it ! This should be renamed and is not a factory as some thought. Not me as I read through the descripton but still not a great tour for me personally. Cuban History and Cultural talks: The best ever! Great insight from the lecturer! Onboard entertainment: Very very nice, not as cheeky as in a few past cruises. Great Spanish Guitar performance. Overall Commments and Tips: This is a truly Immersive Trip not a vacation to a caribbean island. A wonderful, educational experience in an oppressed world. Do not forget this folks as this is for those who want to expand thier minds and learn about Cuba and in an incredible way. Be kind to the Cubans as they love Americans but of course they only know Socialism and nothing else politically speaking. Bring little bottles of shampoo and lotions from the ship, hand them out to any local you meet. DO NOT BRING Canadian money! They will exchange it at the port but you cannot use it on the street like American Dollars or Euro's. Bring small bills of $20 and less, like lots of 5's and 10's. It is difficult to make change with local vendors. Even $1.00 bills, bring 50. You will need them for tipping which is HUGE in Cuba for guides, waiters and drivers, cabs etc. And yes bring little tissue packs and hand sanitzers or wipies! Dress lighlty it is hot in CUBA and Humid! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary - only Cuba with no unwanted stops at resort-like Caribbean islands. And on that score, we felt that we made the right decision. Cuba was absolutely fascinating, and we haven't stopped talking ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary - only Cuba with no unwanted stops at resort-like Caribbean islands. And on that score, we felt that we made the right decision. Cuba was absolutely fascinating, and we haven't stopped talking about what we learned. As for the ship - we love the small size, the same as the small Oceana ships. The cabin was adequate, although the bathroom was a little small. It did have adequate storage and was kept immaculate by the cabin stewards. Now for the reasons that engendered a 3-star rating. The entertainment was the worst that we have ever seen on a ship. There was a feeling that Azamara was trying to economize - (1) instead of nicely wrapped chocolates on our pillows, there were two little pieces cut from a bar of fudge. Because they were not wrapped, I could not take them with me on my next day's tour. (2) the tablecloths in the main dining room were not ironed. If you won't iron the cloths, use polyester. (3) the daily program was printed on a smaller than usual piece of paper that necessitated the use of small font for the schedule. (4) Other than in Prime, the quality of the meat was only so-so. (5) free drinks were only available in public venues. Liquor from the mini bar carried a charge. Bottom line - I would only go with Azamara again if the itinerary was so compelling. Otherwise we prefer Oceana or Celebrity Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Chose Azarmara because we did not want to be on a giant cruise ship with thousands of our closest friends. We chose this particular cruise because we wanted to experience Cuba and not just stop one place for a few hours. Service was ... Read More
Chose Azarmara because we did not want to be on a giant cruise ship with thousands of our closest friends. We chose this particular cruise because we wanted to experience Cuba and not just stop one place for a few hours. Service was stellar everywhere we went. After a couple of days in Windows Cafe, the server called me Diet Coke with a smile because it was a small enough ship to get to know people. Themed food night in some of the restaurants were well appreciated. The white night party on the deck was a fun evening. Lots of dancing! There seemed to be ample seating almost always in the pool area and plenty of activities for those who wanted to participate. The ship put up a big screen for the Superbowl and served Superbowl party foods for dinner which was a great touch. Getting on and getting off the boat at ports was a breeze.The ship was small enough to dock at all three ports so we didn't have wait to transfer to start our vacation. We chose to do private shore excursions, but did do the Tropicana & Santiago de Cuba though the boat, which were both well organized and interesting. Highly recommend the El Cobre tour which included an outstanding steel drum band who played music you would never expect from a steel drum. Our private tours were with Blexie - Havana & Caribbean Pearl Tours which were personalized based on our interests. They were both outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We picked Azamara because of the itinerary: three ports in Cuba. The price was high, but it was billed as a "premium line" so we thought the cost would be worth the experience. We loved Cuba; I had arranged private guides through ... Read More
We picked Azamara because of the itinerary: three ports in Cuba. The price was high, but it was billed as a "premium line" so we thought the cost would be worth the experience. We loved Cuba; I had arranged private guides through FerTours (hats off to Alex!) in Havana and Cienfuegos and through Out of the Box tours in Santiago (Lisandra did an excellent job). In all three cities we traveled in early 1950's cars and the cost was far lower than the bus tours offered on Journey. Our cabin was drab and it was hard to believe the ship had been renovated. The bed was comfortable and the storage was ample. The bathroom was tiny and the shower had been designed for elves. The food on the ship was always available, but the only good meals we had were in the extra cost restaurants. We ate at Prime C twice and Aqualina (delicious Dover sole) once. The service in Discovery, the main dining room, was very slow and the meats (beef and veal) were beyond tough. We discovered that sticking with fish and seafood gave us the best chance for an edible dinner. The food at the White Night buffet was good, but the crowds made getting near your choices very hard. The brunch that was held once was also good. The service on the ship was excellent. Doug Cameron, a fabulous jazz violinist, entertained twice; we could have seen him every night. We will definitely see him if he ever comes to our town. Our trip was successful because we loved seeing Cuba, but we are still wondering why Azamara is a premium line. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
ITINERARY. However, after the fact I'd suggest 2 days in HAVANA (not 3) and 2 days in SANTIAGO DE CUBA (not 1) Cabin & public areas were as expected since I normally sale on OCEANIA. Staff at all levels thru out the ship ... Read More
ITINERARY. However, after the fact I'd suggest 2 days in HAVANA (not 3) and 2 days in SANTIAGO DE CUBA (not 1) Cabin & public areas were as expected since I normally sale on OCEANIA. Staff at all levels thru out the ship were spotty. Some very good or good, a few were less than adequate. The DJ, who often handledTrivia is not as clever as he thinks he is. Very off putting. By contrast the Cruise director was a joy to be around. Her happiness is infectious. Boarding & departure went very smoothly... perhaps the best I've experienced. Food was also very spotty. Mostly good to very good...but every day or so I'd choose something the was just about inedible of average to poor. The cabin attendant did a very good job of keeping the cabin in perfect shape. As I had no special requests I rarely saw him but when I did I was greeted by name. Couldn't't ask for better service. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
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