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12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We selected to try Azamara due to the itinerary offered: 2 sea days from/to Miami; St.John USVI; Terre de Haut - Guadeloupe; Roseau - Dominica (2 months prior sail date replaced by Philipsburg - St Maarten); Charlestown - Nevis; Gustavia - ... Read More
We selected to try Azamara due to the itinerary offered: 2 sea days from/to Miami; St.John USVI; Terre de Haut - Guadeloupe; Roseau - Dominica (2 months prior sail date replaced by Philipsburg - St Maarten); Charlestown - Nevis; Gustavia - St Barts; Virgin Gorda - BVI (replaced during cruise due to bad weather & swells by St Croix USVI). We have sailed with Cunard's QM2; Royal Caribbean's Monarch; Holland America Line (Nieuw Amsterdam & Volendam), Oceania's Riviera , some ships repeat stays as we love them. We have booked verandas or even suites before depending on offered routes. We love to interact with other passengers and arrange also own excursions or join happily other initiatives. Embarkation went very quickly in about 45 minutes we were onboard. The Quest ship is in an excellent state, clean, sparkling and well maintained everywhere from tender dock upwards to the top. Staff is cleaning day&night and it shows. Our cabin 8003 is well appointed with fresh fruit & flowers and the cabin again is kept very clean, even the windows with some sea spray during some windy days in January in the Caribbean (!) are cleant the next day. Erwin & colleague cabin attendant work very hard, who even 'own' half of the ship (with keeping clean the Spa suites on floor up) really know your day rithme and work around it perfectly. Many times already mentioned about the small shower & curtain, only I can say is that the lovely thick bath towels can not dry on the rail as you need to double fold them, so we hang them to dry on the clothes cupboard in the cabin, at least we could use them again the next day one more time. Dining is very good: the food is excellent, whether you take the buffet, the little grill for burgers or the main dining room. Standard is very high. We can only say that due to sailing on a smaller ship, some lines in front of the buffet are more difficult as there is less walking space left to manoeuvre holding a plate. Some passengers live in a bubbly and do not see that 3 other passengers are behind them trying to walk-on, but it is impossible to get around the first person. Entertainment & activities: there was a cluster of lectures on the life of former President Reagan which were held on seadays and one late afternoon. Actually very interesting but I guess I wass the youngest attendee being 50 years old :-). Other activities were there as quizzes or morning stretches which I did not participate. Entertainment was excellent: esspecially of the ship's band played 'live' and the singers & dancers and also Russ the Cruise Director sang along. I enjoyed it because they were doing a real 'live' performance and it was done via the heart and you could feel it. The Azamara's White Night supposed to be completely outside but due to some bad weather, the BBQ was outdoors and the concert with dancing was moved last-minute to the Caberet Lounge. The Captain & staff tried so hard to keep it all outside but unfortunately could not stop the rain. It still was a fun-filled event, well done! Allow me to stress that the Cruise Director Russ was sooo nice and professional! We have seen many CDs and many of them only claim the stage to employe there big own ego. Fortunately Russ is quite the opposite and shows amongst his talents that he has class with his entire team of singers/actors and dansers. Azamazing Evening was organized at the dock in Philipsburg and that is why the Roseau - Dominica port was moved, as the latter could not have coped. St Maarten provided a welcome schoolband with dansers and to follow was two piece drum band and than the Caribbean jazz/classical quartet. All very nice and before everyone rejoined the ship, on the dock was a small musical reception with the ship's band again and a glass of champagne. Staff is excellent anywhere and everywhere. The staff is besides serving you, always setting up or breaking down event set ups, such as chocolate midnight buffet; White Night; flambee stations at main dining room; lunch buffets; cooking stations, it is all hard work but they do with a smile. Azamara does make sure that the smaller ships keeps changing the settings and atmosphere so there should be no repeat possible to bore passengers. Also the hostess in charge of seating at the main dining room for dinner, altough under great pressure to try to seat everyone quickly, had always a smile and remained pleasant. Also the chefs behind the buffets, the servers on popular outdoor deck, the waiters in the main dining room, they work fast and also show a bit of their own character which makes them pleasant to be waited by. Nothing is worse in our experience to have only subservant service and staff is not able to be human or can have laugh on your own expense. Each destination will provide a beach and some have great access via nice shared taxi busses and even offer a snorkel trail like St John. Nevis' beaches are not the greatest but the botanical gardens are a treat. A fellow passenger shared a tip in St Maarten to go kayaking from the French part to Pinel island and St Barts you could have rented beach chairs only for US$100 per bed on Shell Beach! We never book the ship's excursions anywhere as we are not afraid to walk down the pier, finding local transport to bring us exactly where other ships tours will bring other passengers for the third of the price. Of course it is a choice you can make and with a little research (and luck) it goed a long way. Disembarkation was ok, I am just surprised that two on-duty immigration officers handle a 600 passenger ship. There were only two lines open and other officers stood stand-by and replaced the other serving officers. In many other non-USA ports we experience a smoother and more quickly transition, where you would think that Miami knows how to handle this better? Conclusion: we had a great cruise, made specially interesting as we met overall great fellow cruise passengers who all seem to enjoy having friendly talks with everyone and of which some have become now cruise friends for the future. We have heard on-board about comparing Quest with Journey and comparing captains or cruise directors from either ship. We only know Quest but we can say compared to other cruiselines we definately will book Quest again. We could not find any fault (nor that we were looking) and we truly had an excellent time. Due to bad weather the captain and his staff made sure that the ship was sent around the worst bit of weather avoiding wind & heavy (5m.) swells and the captain presented his different route a couple of times during the day. Ensuring all passengers were heard and he even posted weather updates next the Mosaic Cafe and happily personally pointed the new posters to passers-by. I have not experienced this before on any ship and I was glad he selected a route which provided all of us with more comfort. Thank you! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
First, it was a great cruise. Was it outstanding, sorry no. The ship is nice, it´s small but we found everything we needed. Embarkation was good and fast, disembarkation a little chaotic but that was the fault of the passengers that ... Read More
First, it was a great cruise. Was it outstanding, sorry no. The ship is nice, it´s small but we found everything we needed. Embarkation was good and fast, disembarkation a little chaotic but that was the fault of the passengers that couldnt wait for their color. Our cabin was good. We heard a lot of negatives about the front facing cabins but we actually liked it and the view is gorgeous. Only the bathroom is very small. Food was good but nothing special to rave about. The buffet was so so. Due to it´s small size the selection wasn´t very good. And even as a German, I don´t need a german lunch buffet in the caribbean. We would have preferred something local. The ports were ok, too but probably except of Santo Tomas de Castilla nothing you cannot reach with a "normal" cruise ship. Now to explain why I did not rate it excellent or outstanding. Maybe our expectations were too high because of all this raving about Azamara in the forum and about the friendlyness of the crew. Maybe it was an "unusal" cruise for Azamara like somebody told me on board. The crew was friedly but not better than the crews we experienced on Celebrity or HAL before. Actually we had better contact to both officers and crew on previous cruises. Like always some were better and some were not. Some even looked tired and I overheard a waitress talking to somebody else that she wished she was on another ship. Especially the hotel manager Heike Berdos, who was born in Germany seemed to dislike the Germans on board. We had the feeling she actually avoided to talk to us. Again, maybe it was an unusal cruise because of more than 100 Germans on board but we booked independently and paid a premium. This was not what we expected. The ports were nice, we hadn´t been to this part of the caribbean before, but not that special. Cozumel is extremely touristy (yes, I knew that before), most interesting were Belize and Guatemala. But all ports could be reached by bigger ships, too. One of the highlights was the "Azamazing evening". We were glad they made it even to some problematic circumstances. Due to Weather conditions we had to change the port. The concert at the old plantation was just great , it just could have lasted longer, the firework spectacular.Sadly the white night was held inside. We wished they had resceduled it because inside it was bland. There were opportunities later this cruise that would have been perfect. Something positive at last, we met very nice people on board from different countries. We hope to meet some again, on a ship or here at home. So to finish this short review. Was the cuise good? Yes. Was it outstanding? No. Would we cruise with Azamara again? Probably, but we will chose a different itinerary with smaller ports. Next time we might cruise with Celebrity again. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
This was our first cruise on Azamara and we were not disappointed. The ship is beautifully appointed in attractive neutral colours. Embarkation was simple and fast. Although the stateroom was small, it had ample storage space, mini fridge, ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Azamara and we were not disappointed. The ship is beautifully appointed in attractive neutral colours. Embarkation was simple and fast. Although the stateroom was small, it had ample storage space, mini fridge, safe, and even included binoculars and umbrellas. The restaurants were excellent. We ate in both the Aqualina and Prime C and were pleased with the quality of food and the service. The staff on the Journey are the best we have ever had. No matter where we went, there was a cup of coffee or a drink almost before we could ask for one. The tables in the Windows buffet were never left dirty. The restaurant managers really work alongside the servers and do not hesitate to assist when required. On the pool deck we were continually offered cold drinks, juices, refreshing shots of cold soups....yummy. On hot days a server came to each passenger and asked if they would like to be spritzed to cool them off. Words cannot express how spoiled we were. The passengers were a very pleasing mix of Americans, English, Germans and Canadians. We all had a great time chatting and sharing experiences. We really enjoyed the Azamazing Evening at the Good Hope Estate in Falmouth and the beach day in Labadd. I can't wait to return to Azamara. I think I have finally found the perfect cruise. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Just returned from a 10 day cruise on the Azamara Journey, my 2nd this year on this ship. The ship recently went into drydock and really looks fabulous now. Some big improvements ...added many more 2 and 4 top tables in the main dining ... Read More
Just returned from a 10 day cruise on the Azamara Journey, my 2nd this year on this ship. The ship recently went into drydock and really looks fabulous now. Some big improvements ...added many more 2 and 4 top tables in the main dining room and the buffet up top. This change eliminated almost all waits for tables! The décor throughout was completely refreshed and is very relaxing. The beautiful top level Living Room Lounge was reconfigured and is very comfortable with a view that can't be beat. The spa is very nice as is the fitness center. Overall, the refurb was terrific. The food throughout was excellent. I enjoy dining in the main dining room for breakfast and dinner and the service and food was a solid 10. The buffets at lunch were excellent. I have a gluten allergy and they now label all buffets and menus to assist those of us with special dietary needs...very nice touch. Wine is served complimentary (changes daily) and their choices were very good. The signature Azamara Amazing Evening was outstanding. We went to a Reggae Concert in Jamaica featuring Third World...I saw them on my January Cruise and would see them again in a heartbeat. I also love the Mosaic Coffee bar - they serve complimentary coffee, expresso, etc and feature Nespresso for a small upcharge. Even the internet connection was reasonable fast for a ship. I purchased an unlimited internet package and was very happy. The entertainment was great. Azamara has great Cruise Directors - I saw Eric on my Jan cruise and had Tony this time. Both outstanding, but very different from each other - no cookie cutter cruise directors on Azamara which is nice! Entertainer Marcos French was a wonderful singer/entertainer. The Captains on both cruises were visible and Heiki the Hotel Director was very accommodating. The cabins are nice. The bathrooms, however, are small but manageable. The décor is very soothing. I like Celebrity but have enjoyed my 2 cruises on Azamara so much that I just booked 2 more future Azamara cruises while I was on the ship. I was concerned about having enough to do on a small ship and Azamara proved that not to be a concern - they can visit unique ports and spend more time in each one. Even tendering is a breeze when there are not too many passengers. Azamara definitely focuses on service, and are successful making you feel at home. The best of all worlds for me will be to cruise in both small and large ships. For small ships, I loved Azamara and will sail them again. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
After cruising with Celebrity and Holland America, we were looking for a more upscale experience.we decided to try the Azamara experience and it is an experience. Never have we had such friendly staff. Every morning a waiter in the buffet ... Read More
After cruising with Celebrity and Holland America, we were looking for a more upscale experience.we decided to try the Azamara experience and it is an experience. Never have we had such friendly staff. Every morning a waiter in the buffet restaurant would serve us a special coffe...one shot of espresso and then followed by Cafe Americano, this was the best coffee served with a smile. The staff on the Azamara are the best at sea. From the room stewards who were unobtrusive to the servers in the restaurants could not do enough for us. Anastasia in the cafe and casino bar was great, after the first evening, she knew exactly what to bring us , before we had a chance to order. The servers in the main dining room were fabulous. Food quality was really great. Much superior to the so called upper premium cruises. The hotel manager, Heike, was brilliant. She even came to say goodbye and gave us a hug during disembarkation.....this has never happened to us on the past 20 or more cruises. Cannot wait to return to this ship in 2017. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
My partner and I are cruise addicts !We have travelled with most of the major cruise lines,this was our 1st sailing with AZAMARA and we cannot wait to revisit ! We have travelled with their parent company, Celebrity, but in our experience, ... Read More
My partner and I are cruise addicts !We have travelled with most of the major cruise lines,this was our 1st sailing with AZAMARA and we cannot wait to revisit ! We have travelled with their parent company, Celebrity, but in our experience, this was world's apart ! It was also our first cruise on a smaller ship, having been a fan of larger ships before. So how did it all compare ? We made our own travel plans from the UK to San Juan , we flew from Gatwick to Tampa, overnighted at the Marriott hotel within the airport ( excellent ) , the following morning ,we took a flight from Tampa to San Juan, on arrival we jumped into a taxi and 15 mins later we were checking in for the cruise . Check in was efficient and friendly, two thing we were surprised at, firstly, as we passed the check in desk , we were approached by a waiter , who told us there was a seafood buffet available that evening, we said we would prefer the main restaurant, we were told , 'this will be very busy sir, you come at 6.30 or 6.45 pm please?' we politely said we would take our chances and dine later ! We went to the main restaurant , Discoveries , at 8pm , and it was almost empty !!!!! The other surprise was, as we boarded the ship......the dreaded ship photo, complete with static background and ship superimposed !!! On the big 'holiday' ships you kind of accept and expect it, we didn't with this style of cruise. It was no big deal though, just we were surprised ! We boarded the AZAMARA JOURNEY, the lobby as you enter strikes you as being very smart, comfortable, and the thing that hit us was, it was so peaceful ! Ordinarily, when you board a ship, its hectic, noisy, people running around, this was the opposite.....wonderful !!! We were advised our staterooms were not available until 1.30pm, our carry on luggage was taken from us and placed directly in the staterooms for us , so we could go and enjoy lunch in the buffet restaurant. We made our way to deck 9 for lunch, the buffet was superb , as it was throughout the cruise. Ordinarily, we avoid buffets like the plague, not because we don't like the food, but because its all so hectic, difficult to find somewhere to sit, having to wait for the waiters to clear the previous occupants remnants etc. This was completely different ! Again , it was calm, plenty of tables, all prepared for you, waiters would offer to carry your plate for you, if you so wished ! The food choice was excellent , plenty of lovely fresh salads, soups, a carvery,hot dishes, wonderful breads, stir frys;s and heavenly desserts and ice creams ! All this , together with copious amounts of wine, a choice of red or white, which changes daily. Following a wonderful lunch, we made our way to our stateroom, Deck 8 , a balcony cabin. The cabin was beautifully appointed, fresh flowers, mini bar stocked with water and soft drinks ( all included) , flat screen TV plenty of drawer and hanging space. It has to be said , the cabin was actually quite alot smaller than others we have experienced, but with the extra space on deck etc, we found we were actually in this cabin alot less than normal ! The cabin was spotless, no dust anywhere, and beds were fantastic. The showeroom was small, and when I say small, I mean small !! You generally had a fight with the shower curtain in the shower, it would wrap round you and generally it won ! Has to be said though, again it was spotless and plenty of hot water day and night, so you could not really complain ! The main restaurant was excellent, we had some truly memorable meals, and no matter where we sat, we had fantastic waiters every meal, this includes the Buffet restaurant too ! Wine flowed freely and was always superb ! Mineral water and soft drinks , as well as speciality coffees ( lattes , espressos etc ) all available. The menu choice was extensive, with a choice of 'always available ' items such as prawn cocktail , caesar salad, steaks etc. The maitre d , made them selves known EVERY meal time, unlike the big ships, where you generally met the MAITRE d on 'tip night ' ! The deck space on this ship is wonderful, always plenty of lovely squashy sun beds, lovely thick mattresses and towel covers. The pool , although smallish was a perfect temperature , 2 whirl pools available . The gym was superb, plenty of hi tech equipment, and a very personable gym Instructor , a chap from Ireland, who was very friendly and approachable . Entertainment on board, was low key, a couple of shows from the singers and 1 by the cruise director, but the main entertainment for us was the dining experince. The thing that really stands out about Azamara, is the ships staff. EVERY single crew member you encounter , acknowledges you, with a cheery smile and a greeting. This went from Officers down to engineers, every single one was friendly. On this line tips are included, we still tipped a few who really stood out from the rest, this was hard to do, as I say, all the staff were outstanding ! We had a really fantastic experience and I hope AZAMARA is the success it deserves ! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2010
My wife and I made our first cruise to Europe and our first Azamara experience on the April 25th Barcelona to Venice sailing. We have previously sailed on a number of Royal Caribbean ships(have grown to hate the Windjammer) and the ... Read More
My wife and I made our first cruise to Europe and our first Azamara experience on the April 25th Barcelona to Venice sailing. We have previously sailed on a number of Royal Caribbean ships(have grown to hate the Windjammer) and the Celebrity Solstice. We can unreservedly say that our experience on the Journey was by far the best yet, and we already have booked for another European cruise next Spring. The small size of the Journey made for a very relaxed vacation without the crowds and stress of the larger ships such as the Freedom, Let me say that my wife and I do not cruise for the glitzy, resort-type activities, i.e. casino, shows, etc., but very much enjoy good food and service. For us sipping a nice cup of coffee at Cafe Cova and enjoying a first-class spa treatment is plenty of excitement. For our needs the Journey was a perfect fit. Our stateroom was plenty large for the two of us, and our cabin steward was first-rate. When we had a problem with our door lock it was promptly attended to. We felt sorry for the first worker who tried to get in by climbing over the balcony in the adjoining cabin. Unfortunately, our sliding glass door was locked. The food was uniformly excellent. We ate at Prime C twice where Marco provided outstanding service. I particularly enjoyed the Kobe beef sliders, while my wife raved about the mini-cinnamon donuts. Aqualina was also good. We were pleasantly surprised with the quality of the food and presentation in the main dining room, which far exceeded our main dining experience on either RC or Celebrity. The complementary wines were certainly a pleasant addition and it was nice not to have to whip out the Seapass card every time we wanted a refill. My wife is a massage therapist and quite picky about spa treatments. She signed up for the massage deal offered at the start of the cruise, and also had a hot oil hair treatment. I had the hot oil and a shave, which is one of my special treats. The service provided by the wonderful Tamron and Teegan greatly contributed to our cruise experience and we certainly hope they are still with the Journey next year. I am a competitive bodybuilder so the gym was important to me. The facility was adequate, though the weights could have been heavier. Likewise it could have used either a smith machine or some more leg equipment. However, I made do and for the bulk of the passengers I am sure it was just fine. Maurice the fitness instructor was quite nice and always greeted me with a smile. We enjoyed all the ports. We flew in to Barcelona a day early, thankfully missing the volcanic ash, and stayed at the Marina Grand Eurostars near the port which was first rate. We spend the day roaming Las Ramblas and, despite all the dire warnings, saw no sign of pickpockets. We did the ships excursion to Pompeii at Sorrento which had an excellent guide. We also did the ships tour of the old city of Taormina which we enjoyed. Taormina with its gorgeous setting overlooking the sea, was probably our favorite port. We also particularly enjoyed walking the walls of the old city in Dubrovnik. We stayed a couple of days post-cruise in Venice which I would highly recommend. Rather than a hotel we stayed at the Al Palazatto bed and breakfast which was quite cozy and centrally located. Once we figured out the water taxis getting around was breeze. All in all, the Journey was perfect for an adult vacation, and we can't wait to next April to board her in Rome next May. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2010
Although we have travelled extensively, this was our first experience cruising and we were thrilled with the entire trip. Mindful of possible inclement weather we chose to fly into Ft. Lauderdale the day before departure to ensure our ... Read More
Although we have travelled extensively, this was our first experience cruising and we were thrilled with the entire trip. Mindful of possible inclement weather we chose to fly into Ft. Lauderdale the day before departure to ensure our timely arrival to the ship. On the sailing day we took a short tour of Ft. Lauderdale as I has spent many Christmas celebrations there as a child and wanted to see if I would remember any places (which I did!). We arrived at the Port of Miami around noon and were immediately invited onboard our new, temporary home. We had a lunch at the buffet and toured the ship to familiarize ourselves with the different things available to us. Our luggage arrived before 3 p.m. so we unpacked; pleasantly surprised with the number of hangers and drawer space. We went outside to watch our departure and waved adios to Miami. It was suggested that we eat at the earlier seating for the 1st evening...this would be the only evening we would have to make a choice of dining times. The next day was spent at sea and although the weather wasn't the best we enjoyed the relaxation time. While on board we took advantage of the lectures, cooking demonstrations, casino, shows, computers, pool, bars, etc. All of the people involved with the day to day activities were very helpful and always had a smile or nice word to say. The 48 nations represented by the crew on the ship can be proud of their ambassadors; they were excellent. The excursions we chose were informative and very enjoyable. The driver and narrator in Dominica were particularly helpful. We were able to eat in the 2 speciality dining rooms a total of 3 evenings. Each meal was memorable from the amuze de bouche to the coffee and desserts and wines. The meals in the Discovery restaurant were also enjoyable however we were a little disappointed with the seafood. We felt that the fish was frozen and were a little surprised at that. We ate in the Windows Cafe twice for a 'lighter dinner' and loved the shushi and sashimi available, as well as the stir-fry and pasta choices. Finally, the disembarkation was extremely organized and well handled. We had transfers to Ft. Lauderdale and were delivered to the airport in a timely manner. To summarize our cruise experience I think we can say it was a great vacation which we would love to repeat, although to new destinations, and we look forward to planning something soon. PS. We visited 7 ports but the ability to select 7 ports wasn't available. Also, loved the 2 days before ports and 2 days after ports "at sea" and would always want this choice. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
As active and lively 80+-year-olds who have been on 4 previous cruises on slightly larger ships, we were pleasantly surprised at how delightful the Azamara Journey with 700 passengers and 400+ crew turned out to be. Food was delicious, in ... Read More
As active and lively 80+-year-olds who have been on 4 previous cruises on slightly larger ships, we were pleasantly surprised at how delightful the Azamara Journey with 700 passengers and 400+ crew turned out to be. Food was delicious, in the care, the main dining room and the two specialty restaurants (no extra charge, just $5 service, but reservations needed). Captain, officers and all crew were from many countries, always greeted us with a smile and were efficient and quick with all services. The Greek captain was often around, kept us up to date on position, problems (we had 3 medical emergencies all handled with dispatch) - he and officers even served BBQ lunch on the last day. Activities crew led trivia games (my favorite) and other good programs. Entertainment included a 7-piece orchestra, some singers, comedians and magician in the small Cabaret lounge not like the spectaculars on big ships, but we preferred these. Even the few tiimes we played black jack, the dealers were very friendly and helpful. The only thing we didn't like - but it didn't really bother us - was the promotion for the art auction and the visiting artists on board - and some guests who we understand were brought on board at low cost or free to bid for paintings. This seemed a big cheesy for this kind of ship. The ship adapted well to cancellation of Guadeloupe and Martinique because of labor problems there, moving to St. Martin and Antigua. We enjoyed relaxing at St. John and Virgin Gorda beaches, taking the St. Kitts scenic rail trip, and just walking around other ports. We did not take any paid excursions but a number of people did. The variety of passengers, about 70% Americans, 20% Canadian, 8% Brits and a few scattered others (my guess at percentages) made it even more interesting. The gym was adequate with good aerobics classes. The pool was small with two hot tubs, and the usual problem with people reserving chaises. All in all, we heartily recommend the Azamara Journey for those who like varied passengers, top-notch food, and casual cruising (no formal nights, no set seating) Read Less
Sail Date: January 2009
My wife and I took our first "small" ship cruise on Azamara's Journey on 1/31/09. (Port reviews to follow) It was a great experience! The ship made us feel like we were on a scaled down version of one of the bigger ships. ... Read More
My wife and I took our first "small" ship cruise on Azamara's Journey on 1/31/09. (Port reviews to follow) It was a great experience! The ship made us feel like we were on a scaled down version of one of the bigger ships. (The Journey being 30,000+ tons as compared to the 100,000 that we were used to) The Journey, in our opinion, had an up-scale look to her; a lot of wood treatment with more expensive looking furniture. The cruise experience on this ship was one of our best in our nine cruises. (Celebrity, Princess, Holland, NCL) The crew and staff were definitely the best we've ever had. They were all over the place. Captain Theodoros Mitropoulos, Hotel Manager Niyazi Korkmaz, and staff Captain Emmanuil Aposkitis were continually walking the ship! (I know...who the heck was driving!!! LOL) They must have special training in public relations, because they not only were very friendly, but had great personalities! Every working member of the ship must we trained to be overly nice to the passengers, because every time we turned around, there was someone saying "hi" to us. Their service was great! The food and presentation in the main dinning room was good! Yes, there were a couple meals that did not meet expectations....but I have screwed up at home cooking for two!!! The meals in the two specialty restaurants were superb! Outstanding service, presentation and food! The staterooms were typical cruise ship size, but again a lot of wood to make you feel very comfortable. Our butler, Kursaree, was outstanding. Even though we prepaid our "tips", we slipped him a twenty when we first arrived and for the next twelve days he was always around! Keep in mind, like we all have read on these boards, the butler on Azamara is a glorified room steward! No big deal. We didn't use him for anything special. He didn't make SR reservations, but he did make sure we had a new ice bucket everyday at 4PM! The cruise director, Tony Markey was outstanding! What a nice man! I don't think he ever slept, because we saw him in every room at any time! I hear he had a very nice singing voice. We were at most of the shows, but never heard him. I guess he was at the Looking Glass in the late hours. The rest of the entertainment was very good. I was a little leery considering this was a small ship with no "big" stage! But the singers, magicians, comedians, etc., were great! Especially the piano player. (Can't remember his name) We tendered in half of the seven ports. Outstanding!!! Not a minute did we have to wait! The best service we have ever had! Disembarkation....the hall ways were crowed at first, but it calmed down and we were off within ten minutes of our scheduled time. The negatives: Not much! No big deal for us, but there is less to do on sea days then bigger ships. (We all knew in advanced) In fact, I saved a lot of money because they didn't have many Bingo games. It was a little rough getting out of Miami, but the Captain graciously changed courses to please his guest. (A negative turned into a positive) In closing, hopefully someone from Azamara reads this so I can thank then for a wonderful cruise, and also thank Cruise Critic for some new friends that we have met! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2008
After reading some review from cruisers in Oct. and Nov. I was a bit concerned. I can only say that since the time the ship was put into operation until now there has been great improvement. We were pleased with everything. The Quest is ... Read More
After reading some review from cruisers in Oct. and Nov. I was a bit concerned. I can only say that since the time the ship was put into operation until now there has been great improvement. We were pleased with everything. The Quest is beautiful and very well maintained. We especially liked the small size. The staff were all wonderful and took care of your every need. Becky, the cruise director was outstanding! What a personality! We had a veranda cabin and it was very nice to be able to use your balcony for early breakfasts and going through the Panama Canal. The bed was especially comfortable and the linens we wonderful. The "butler" was always there if we needed something with a pleasant smile and was never invading your privacy. We thought the meals and service in the dining room were done very well. We used the cafe at times and the food selection there was overwhelming. The specialty restaurants were good but I don't think much better than the dining room. We enjoyed the entertainment every night. We didn't use the gambling facilities. The only improvement that could be made was the lounges by the pool. There were not enough lounges in the shade and you had to be up at dawn in order to secure one that was in the shade. Some people left their things on them all day and didn't even show up for hours later. There has to be a better system. Shore excursions were ok.....maybe a bit overpriced. Some of these ports just are not equipped for tourism yet though we enjoyed them all. Embarkation and disembarkation were handled well. All in all it was a great cruise and I would use this Azamara ships again. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
Celebrity promoted Azamara as an upscale experience, more opulent than the premium cruise lines of Princess, Holland-America, Royal Caribbean and competing for the same market as Oceania has targeted. After having sailed on the ... Read More
Celebrity promoted Azamara as an upscale experience, more opulent than the premium cruise lines of Princess, Holland-America, Royal Caribbean and competing for the same market as Oceania has targeted. After having sailed on the "maiden voyage" of the Azamara Quest, I can say that at this point in time Oceania really doesn't have to worry about this new source of competition. The experience is in some ways better than the regular experience on premium cruise lines, but it doesn't quite meet the standard of an upscale experience. Azamara ships are identical in structure to the Oceania ships (Regatta, Insignia and Nautica) and two other Princess ships, however the Quest was not as well appointed as the Oceania ships. A beautiful piano bar was removed from the Quest to make room for the casino. The art consists mainly of photographic. The delightful sitting area, where the concierge on Oceania ships sits, has been converted to a retail area on Azamara. There is no concierge on board Azamara ships. You'll meet some wonderful staff, people with great heart and who really care about the quality of service you get. Sometimes the systems get in the way of what the staff are supposed to do for you. First of all, the idea of a butler to provide for all of your needs isn't quite realistic. When we first boarded the ship (Saturday), we requested a dinner reservation for the following Thursday. The butler said he would take care of it. It finally took two visits to the Purser's Desk, two phone calls and finally a visit to Domenic, the manager of the specialty restaurants, before we finally managed to secure this reservation. For those that are counting it took five days to secure the reservation. While dining in the specialty restaurant, we noticed half the tables were empty and it was pretty obvious that they just weren't organized to handle their offer of one dinner in the specialty restaurant for every stateroom and two reservations for concierge level. Since we were "42" on a waitlist, it's evident that some people were disappointed Unlike Oceania, Azamara grants you one complimentary visit to one of their specialty restaurants. That's assuming you can even get a reservation into the restaurant. The cover charge for Prime C (the steakhouse) and Aqualina (Italian) ranges from $20 to $25, but for us, the food was not noticeably better than the dining experience in the Discoveries main dining room. The breakfasts in the Windows Cafe on Azamara are superb. They have a wide variety of fresh fruits, an extensive assortment of choices, excellent ham, assorted smoked fish, great waffles and a wonderful selection of cheeses. Lunch and Dinner in our view was comparable to most cruise lines, certainly not better, in fact the cut of meats tended to be inferior to what we have had on Oceania. The biggest disappointment for my coffee-holic wife was the lack of cream. Even in the specialty restaurants they only served milk with the coffee. Also be prepared to pay an $8 surcharge if you want Kobe beef. Caviar is available in the main dining room at a cost of $66 to $71, depending on whether you choose beluga or not. For an upscale experience, neither lobster nor king crab was ever served in any of the dining rooms. One request for a baked potato in the specialty restaurant was met with, "It comes with...." For the fit group they have an excellent smoothie bar along with freshly squeezed orange juice. For lunch and dinner Azamara has an open sitting policy rather than scheduled dining with regular tablemates. This hasn't worked effectively as yet, since the wait for a table during the hours of 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ranged from 25 to 35 minutes. The fitness centre is superb with the latest equipment available. Bring your own headphones, if you like to watch the individual screens on the machine. They didn't have any on board on the first voyage. Mathew, the fitness consultant was excellent. Another pleasant surprise, was an assistant waiter named, Inga, (pronounced in-gee) from Turkey. She was one of those special people you meet on board. A former teacher, it was evident from the start that she was extremely homesick and through the later part of the voyage seasick. Unfortunately, she left the ship in Tampa. It's too bad for Azamara. For those of you old enough to remember those great "Welcome Aboard" cocktail parties of many years ago, Azamara has taken these to a new low. It is now the "Captain's Toast." You are greeted, given a single glass of champagne, the Captain makes the quick obligatory speech introducing the staff and you're out of there in record time! On a positive note, Azamara did a superb job of handling a minor crisis. Tropical Storm Noel was heading towards Miami. The captain wisely decided to change our disembarkation port to Tampa, which left hundreds of people scrambling to change their flight plans since Tampa was a five hour bus ride from Miami and most everyone who flew would miss their return flights. Everyone lined up in an orderly fashion using the ships four phone lines to try to change their flights. The staff was excellent and helped with connections. All phone costs were covered, as well as a reimbursement for any change fees up to $100 per person. Our change fees totaled $379, so it will be interesting to see how Azamara reacts to this. If they react as they did on board the ship, there should be no problem. On this voyage, the flat screen televisions (a nice touch) didn't work properly. The sound and picture were not synchronized so there was a few seconds delay between the lip movement and the sound. Since most of the material they show on the room televisions are older TV shows, they are not converted to high definition so the picture could be quite blurry and misshapen, somewhat disconcerting, but not a big deal. The bedding on this ship is superb and the beds extremely comfortable. Our butler was a pleasant fellow, but his service was comparable to any other cruise line's room steward. We had no "privacy please" or "please make up the stateroom" cards, so on a few occasions he walked into the room on us. Again this was not his fault, but a system error. Smokers should be aware that there are only two areas on the ship where smoking is permitted. You can't smoke on your balcony. Ports of call on this voyage were Playa Del Carmen, Key West and Cozumel. Since the ships are relatively small, (approximately 30 000 tons and 700 passengers, you would expect them to visit more exotic ports of call. In Cozumel the ship docked five miles south of the main town, while the huge Carnival ship docked at the main pier in town. There were a number of berths available at the main town dock since the Carnival ship was the only ship in town at the same time. I assume that's it's cheaper to dock outside town. To summarize, the experience on Azamara is a pleasant one. It's a beautiful ship. The gym is superbly equipped with the latest equipment. It's laid back. The staff is good, and although they can't always take care of your requests (ie cream for coffee), you can excuse their inability to provide something that is not their fault. If you think the butler will take care of your every whim, think again. Entertainment on this ship was according to one passenger better than Oceania, but since we only went to one show, I can't comment on that. The food needs to be improved, especially in the specialty restaurants where even the menu doesn't appeal. Staff was always mannerly. You didn't get what you wanted (ie two days to repair a bedside lamp), but they were pleasant and apologetic, and you had a sense it wasn't their fault. It's difficult to describe the difference in level of service between Azamara and Oceania. On Oceania everything ran very smoothly, and a reasonable request would be taken care of immediately. One final example: We have a samsonite hard shelled suitcase that is too thick to fit under a bed. On numerous previous sailings, on different cruise lines, (we've had this thing for ten years) we always asked that it be stored for us. Not a problem. On Azamara the suitcase sat outside in the hallway after the request for 6 hours. While we were at dinner the first evening, it was placed back in the room, between the bedside table and the couch where it remained for the rest of the sailing. We will be on the Azamara Journey in a few weeks and hope that since this ship has been in service for a longer period of time, they have worked out some of the bugs so that it turns out to be the experience promoted. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
We returned from our 5-night Quest cruise last Thursday (sailing date was 10/26/07), however, between laundry, shopping, etc., this is the first opportunity I have had to post our "review". Please note, that this explains OUR ... Read More
We returned from our 5-night Quest cruise last Thursday (sailing date was 10/26/07), however, between laundry, shopping, etc., this is the first opportunity I have had to post our "review". Please note, that this explains OUR thoughts, OUR experiences, etc., and may not (and probably WILL not) conform to what anyone else may say. EMBARKATION Our 13th cruise and this was by far the easiest (and quickest) embarkation we have ever had. The crew did a wonderful job of welcoming us aboard no more than 10 minutes from the time we got off the hotel shuttle bus. EXPLORATION OF THE SHIP We explored the ship (easily done on a small ship). It is absolutely beautiful and so elegant and classy. My DH says she is "a classy Lady". POOL ,Deck 9 As stated by an earlier poster, it is a small pool with two hot tubs surrounded by lots of lovely wooden chaise lounges with thick blue padded cushions and towels. There are several seating areas. The seating areas are very similar to sitting on someone's back patio or in their sun room. Relaxing, and the chairs and tables are very tasteful. My one "negative" comment on the pool is that I wish there were a part of it slightly shallower (only by a few inches). Standing on my tiptoes I could barely keep my chin above water. (Okay, not their fault I'm only about 5'5"). We do water exercise at home and I had hoped to do some on board by couldn't manage it without setting my feet down. And if that is my only complaint, you can tell I'm NOT worried about it. INTERNET ROOM ,Deck 9 We visited the internet room three times, and failed to find it operating successfully on any occasion. We do not have a laptop to take aboard with us (though I've heard others say they had better luck that way). Plus we were told that "if" the connection (which they had earlier in the evening) did get made, it would take approximately 8 minutes to "connect" ... 8 minutes being charged to you. Picky me - I objected to being charged approximately $5 IF we obtained a connection, before accessing anything. SPA ,Deck 9 fwd Just past the internet room, is the small spa. We did not use the spa on the 5-night sailing, however we did use the spa pool area in front of the spa (accessible through the locker rooms in the spa), at a charge (it is available without charge to passengers making use of the spa treatments). Very relaxing. SHOPPING, Decks 5 and 4 Two small shops on Deck 5. Typical shops on a ship, no particular bargains. MOSAIC CAFE, Deck 5 This replaces the COVA cafe on Celebrity ships. Pastries, specialty coffees and small sandwiches are available. There are small tables set with tablecloths and arrangements of roses on the tables. A guitarist, and a very good harpist who also sang performed at the Mosaic Cafe. We spent time at the Mosaic every evening for a Cafe Mocha (very good) and had the opportunity to talk to various officers and crew while there. CASINO LUXE, Deck 5 A small Casino - probably very adequate in most respects, however the lack of a crap table saved a few of us a lot of money. IMHO they would be better off getting rid of the video poker table (rarely occupied when I walked through) and putting in a crap table. DINING Windows on Deck 10 is the casual buffet. The food was good. Yes, I've read the various postings about not having sanitizers available, but in all honesty, we travel with our own, and that did not effect us. The specialty restaurants were WONDERFUL. Yes, the service was somewhat slow (as another poster stated), but when dining in a top quality restaurant, who hurries?? They allowed us to eat at our own pace, without feeling rushed. The food was beyond fantastic. Prime C - the Kobe beef was "melt in your mouth" wonderful. Aqualina - we all (there were 4 of us) enjoyed our meal there and they make a chocolate soufflE (you can also request it in Prime C) that is really fantastic. Service in the Discoveries restaurant was extremely slow, more than 2-1/2 hours. It seemed that the waiters had been assigned too many tables to try and keep track of. Something that can be corrected easily. The food was good, not great. I ordered a chocolate martini as "dessert" when others at our table ordered their dessert and it did not arrive until after everyone else (table of 8) had received their desserts, eaten them, and left. Breeza (evening in Windows) was very good casual dining. We sat on the deck and enjoyed a wonderful dinner there. Sushi, pasta bar, stir fry, salad bar, and various other choices. The hamburger grill did a great job of fixing the burgers, hot dogs, nachos, fries, etc. The omelet station (as well as the pancake/waffle station) was great. My eggs were fixed exactly as ordered every time. I cannot comment on the juice bar as I never ordered anything from it. I will the next time. STATEROOM/ SERVICE We did not expect perfection, but (as stated by another poster) we did expect more than we received. All minor matters, easily corrected. First, the thermostat was broken and our cabin (and everyone else we spoke with from the 8th level) was ice cold (okay, not "ice" but seriously, the thermometer on my travel clock showed it was 61 degrees). They did get that fixed in our cabin while we were on board. Our 'butler' was a sweetheart, but stayed constantly busy. The rose in the bathroom was beautiful when we arrived. Unfortunately it was dead by the next day. Evidently the 'butler' or her assistant did not realize you are supposed to put water in the vase. It was not replaced (I did not expect it to be on a 5-night cruise, however, it would have been a nice 'touch'). The balcony was adequate and the table and chairs of better quality than usually seen. The bed is very comfortable (pillow top). The pillows will be great for those who like soft pillows. Unfortunately for us, we prefer firm pillows, and none of the type offered were actually firm. They do offer a choice. The towels and washcloths are great. Very luxurious. The bath towel (bath sheet?) is absolutely huge! Will it come as a surprise that the shower stall is a bit ... small? But it works, and that is what counts. The shampoo and conditioner are nice. On a 5-night cruise I did not require replacement bottles, but I'm assuming that if we do, they will be provided. SHORE EXCURSIONS This is an area I sincerely hope Azamara will improve. First, the excursions on the 5-night, and somewhat on the upcoming 14-night do not seem to be the 'step above' they advertise they are going to have. And they are very expensive. I have spoken with a number of people who did, or are planning to, book private tour companies because they can get more and pay less. CREW Having cruised on Celebrity a number of times, and also having cruised with RCCL, HAL, NCL and MSC, I must say that the crew was some of the friendliest we have yet to meet. Even when seeing the crew members in town they were stopping to inquire how we were, what we were doing or if we needed anything. They were always smiling, always friendly. DISEMBARKATION Disembarkation was smooth and fast, with only one problem. My DH had signed the necessary papers authorizing me to sign on his card, which has never given either of us a problem in the past. As we put our ship cards in the slot to show we were leaving the Quest, my card alerted a red light and I was told I would have to go to the Customer Relations desk. What?? My DH waited outside that area for me while I went back in, stood in line (with a number of other passengers who had the same experience) to learn that I (not DH) had failed to pay my bill! (All $63 of it). I explained that DH had signed the necessary paperwork (etc). They told me that for those of us signing the paperwork at the dock, there had been a "glitch" in the system at the dock when we boarded. Fortunately I had my credit card (same number) with me and did not have to get my husband back on board to bail me out! (Hmmmm. Would they have let me stay on board, do you think? Would I have had to wash a LOT of dishes?? Or would DH have bailed me out??) Yes, we did have to disembark in Tampa, due to Tropical Storm Noel, but ... on a small cruise ship in bad weather, better safe than sorry. There were a lot of "rumblings" from passengers about the change, but those same passengers would have been equally upset if Azamara had insisted on taking us through the bad weather and high waves and someone had been injured (especially if it was them). Azamara allowed many people to use the ship to shore phones to make alternate flight or travel plans or advise those picking them up of the change. If Azamara had made the original air arrangements, they handled the change for the passengers. The bus ride to Miami was an event, in that our bus was 'getting' a flat tire (it wasn't flat ... yet ... but there was a definite "burn" smell, and the cords were showing through) and we exited the highway and pulled into a Walmart parking lot a block or so off the highway. Another bus stopped and picked up some of those on our bus who had the most need to arrive faster. A second bus was on the highway, empty, in case of trouble, and that bus arrived within 20 or so minutes and we were loaded up for the last leg of the trip. Putting a better spin on it ... it was a new bus with better seats. (Okay, I'm making lemonade). Do we believe Azamara needs to make a few changes? Yes. Did we have a good time anyway? Yes. Will we cruise with Azamara again? Definitely yes. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
THE CRUISE OF A LIFETIME We are select members with Celebrity Cruise lines, and Azamara Cruises is their new approach to cruising from a more mature aspect. We sailed aboard the Azamara Quest's 12 night Western Caribbean including ... Read More
THE CRUISE OF A LIFETIME We are select members with Celebrity Cruise lines, and Azamara Cruises is their new approach to cruising from a more mature aspect. We sailed aboard the Azamara Quest's 12 night Western Caribbean including Panama, Costa Rica and Columbia. Azamara Quest and Journey are smaller ships with around 700 passengers, cater to a 50' and up,experienced, yet, laid back travelers. We met everyone from artists to doctors to stock brokers. Our voyage did not originate in Miami as planned. Captain Apostolos Bouzakis had reported seas of 20-25 feet heading for Miami with Tropical Storm Noel, so he was rather astute in caring for our comfort, and turned his ship towards Tampa. Even though most of us had to board a bus in Miami from the port for the ride to Tampa, in the end it was well worth it for we had smooth sailing leaving the Gulf side of Florida. Captain Apostolos Bouzakis made a smart decision. Our boarding once reaching Tampa was over the top!!! The welcome check-in took just a few minutes, and we walked up the covered gangplank where we were greeted by photograghers and port staff, making sure we were all ok after the bus ride. We were immediately greeting by the hotel director and other staff officials. My husband, Al, and I were handed a nice glass of cold champagne and asked for our stateroom number. Immediately a cabin attendant took our bags and led us to our rooms (that was a first in my cruising career)! I didn't want to go, because my mouth was wide open, looking at the beautiful woodwork, and wrought iron fillagre on the banisters. The carpets spotless, the artwork gorgeous! Maybe it was the interior of the Titanic??? Beautiful! THE ROOMS We had a balcony room mid ship. At first the room appeared small, and we didn't think everything would fit, but drawers and cubby holes kept popping up and before you knew it we unloaded 6 suitcases and still had room under the shelf in the bathroom. Put your empty suitcases under the bed. We brought some wine with us too, so we had extra to drink if we needed it. OUr cabin #7063 has a butler,(Vazio was wonderful)& cabin attendant. Also free shoe shines which Al loved. The beds are fabulous! You will love them, they are all brand new and so cushy! The robes are soft and cuddly, and always the butler leaves a small treat in the evening for you. We toured the ship, about 1/2 the size of the Century, met our Events Coordinator & Captains Club coordinator:Melanie Mowat. She is helping us plan our WEDDING on board the ship. We had 28 cruise critics planning on attending our renewal:We were the grand prize winners of Celebrity's Newlywed not so Newlywed game. Our prize included a vow renewal package which was TO DIE FOR!!!Huge bakery heart shaped cake, champagne, Andreas, cruise director, had the most beautiful vows I have ever heard in my life, even the captain came to watch. The kleenex box was passed around freely! We were the first couple for the ship since becoming Azamara Quest.All the cruise critics came, and Melanie put it all together. Everything was perfect. Thank you Melanie!!She was on Galaxy last year 12/06 T.A. PORTS WE VISITED Georgetown,Grand Cayman: Tiny port town.Had lunch at Breezes,good conch chowder and fried calamari, and the MOJITOS were to die for! You only needed one! Guy Harvey, the artist was at his shop, and I got his autograph upstairs. Too rough for snorkeling. Cabs are readily available to take you on a number of fun trips if you haven't booked a shore excursion. Beautiful aqua water. Santa Marta, Columbia: Too primitive a town for my taste. The van driver took us on a 5 hour tour, but it really wasn't set up for visitors. Visited Simon Boliver's retreat. The best part was the Folklorico Show on the port tarmack, as our ship docked. Not not well kept. Cartagena, Columbia: Awesome,can't say enough, and wish we wouldn't have stayed for 2 days at this port. Beautifully painted buildings with flowers and ferns, tropical hidden 5 star hotels, Emerals? They were everywhere! We took a taxi city tour with another couple for &80.00. We were gone all day. Our driver stayed with us as we shopped, and we felt safe. Very friendly people, taxi driver explained history of city. Colon,Panama: Booked the Gamboa Aerial Tram, drove through 1/2 of Panama Canal, saw toucans, butterfly's and east and west ship crossing at the same time, a rare sight! Limon, Costa Rica: Did the Zip-lining through the tree tops! Best excitement since Tower of Terror! Loved it! Lush landscape! Bought local crafts close to ship. San Andre's Island, Columbia. Took a cab downtown and bought our EMERALD at half the price in Cartagena!! Playa del Carmen: Good shopping, great tequila shops, nice resort area north of time. Food on Board: Excellent, more today's cooking. Chef's gave gourmet cooking demonstrations, we had food and wine pairings,excellent service, a chardonnay blending. Cellar Master very knowledgeable. Sat next to the captain for dinner one night! He spoke perfect English. So refreshing to be able to communicate with him and all the staff in English!! All Pax received 1 free speciality dining credit. We enjoyed the open dining arrangement. Please don't wear shorts to dinner. I missed the elegance of dressing for dinner, which many said they missed, but liked the open seating to go when you wanted. Enrichment series: Fabulous lectures. Cruise Director: Andrea Olivieri is so smart. We had a geometry lecture and an astronomy lecture followed by 2 evening star gazing classes. Lazer light pointed at the stars. Captains Club events included chardonnay Blending, Casino, captains cocktail Party and Senior Officer's cocktail Party. I took a peak at the galley and the bridge, but they don't give tours normally. All and all we came home relaxed and raving about going again on the Azamara fleet. Thanks especially to Captain Apstolos Bouzakis, Melanie Mowat:Event Coordinator, Andrea Olivieri:Cruise Director, George (head waiter),and Vazio our Butler in #7063. It was a dream trip I will never forget. Read Less
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