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7 Night Eastern Mediterranean Cruise from Athens

7 Night Eastern Mediterranean Cruise from Athens

Azamara Journey
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Azamara Journey

Azamara Journey - Azamara


Unique programming, friendly service and impressive commitment to destination cruising


Limited entertainment options, including a too-small casino, and hit-or-miss theater offerings

Bottom Line

Great choice for a truly grown-up getaway with more time in port

Cruise Reviews

Food was also above average in both Windows and Discoveries. I was unsure that Aqualina/Prime C was worth the extra money. We did splurge on the Valentine's Dinner in Aqualina, and that was incredible. I loved our waiters ... Read More
Food was also above average in both Windows and Discoveries. I was unsure that Aqualina/Prime C was worth the extra money. We did splurge on the Valentine's Dinner in Aqualina, and that was incredible. I loved our waiters (Philbert and Yolana) in Discoveries. Entertainment was fun. Loved Jessie on the saxophone but sad to hear she was a one sailing fill in. Azamara Evening with the Wellington Symphony and a local indigenous chorus was neat. Added to that is that we all got to sing along with the cruise director Danny in the cavernous cathedral while we waited for the return buses to load. Drinks on the basic plan for me were OK. Mostly gin drinks (they seemed to alternate between Beefeaters and Gordons depending on the bar. The wines in the basic were really inexpensive, but some weren't too bad. The sparkling and rose they had throughout the cruise were solid. Some of the others I could do without out, but some were good. We were in a wine group, so we had plenty of other wine to drink as well. Our stateroom stewards (Carlos and Russel) bent over backward to do everything for us. I did the "Insider's Tour," and that was well worth the $89 or whatever. We got to see the kitchens, environmental, storerooms, laundry, engine control room, and the bridge (where we were served sparkling wine and a snack and allowed to stay as long as we cared to. Captain Johannes was always gracious and even had a get together for other (airplane) pilots one afternoon. Amusingly we ran into him ashore in McLaren Vale about a week after the cruise. Weather and high seas caused us to lose our trip to Milford Sound and Tasmania. But the three additional ports added were neat as well and got to see a few things we wouldn't have seen otherwise like the Giant's House in Akaroa or the opportunity to eat Kuora in Kai Kuora. We also got small refund on our accounts that had something to do with the port changes. Weather also forced the White Night to move into the cabaret. I was less than impressed with the buffet offered for that.use Expedia organized a wine group on it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
This was our 4th Azamara cruise and our third on the Journey. In the past, we liked Azamara because of the small size of the boat, food and service. With 690 passengers, you never feel like you're being herded around. You will get ... Read More
This was our 4th Azamara cruise and our third on the Journey. In the past, we liked Azamara because of the small size of the boat, food and service. With 690 passengers, you never feel like you're being herded around. You will get to know a lot of our fellow passengers. Most, like us, are in their 60s and 70s and seasoned travelers. But, our tastes have changed. The veranda cabins are too small. This is an old boat. Refurbished, but not to modern standards. What was telling were Captain Johannes' comments in a Q&A on one of the last days. He likes the small boats, but he wishes the company would build new boats to compete with the competition. Frankly, we would be happier with veranda rooms with either Oceania or Regent (on their smaller ships). Johannes is an interesting guy - very personable, a sense of humor, and he is visible a lot. Something you will not find on larger boats. We found the service to be first rate as before. We found the food to be a cut below what we experienced before. We had the standard drink package. Two white wines and two red wines each day. Not enough variety, but that was OK. Beer and liquor was OK. Dining - Waves is the buffet and you can always find something there you will like. The Sunset Bar is next to it on the back of the boat and nice to have drinks and/or dinner there when pulling out of a harbor. - Discoveries is the MDR and it was a mixed bag. Two thirds of our main courses were good, the others not. Only half of the appetizers were good. New Zealand - This is the most beautiful place on earth: great ports, uncrowded, wonderful beaches, great small port towns, friendly people, and great weather. Go there if you can! A Little New Zealand History - Nothing to do with Australia, which is 1500 miles away. It was formed by volcanoes - it's in the Pacific ring of fire. Still lots of active volcanoes, like While Island which blew up recently. Australia was populated by Asians 50,000 years ago. New Zealand was inhabited 800-1000 years ago by Polynesians. Our Cabin - We booked cabin 7000 which is a standard sized veranda room, but right in the front of the boat. We thought it would be cool to see 180o coming into port. It was, especially coming into Sydney. Downside is that you get more ship movement than mid-ships. Don't bother if you get seasick. We don't and use patches and were OK. Enrichment Lectures - We were disappointed. Not enough and not the best quality. We had two special interest groups on the boat. One was a golfing group run by Perry Golf. They got six rounds in. The other was a wine group which had multiple visits to NZ vineyards. Ports Of Call - Supposed to hit about ten stops in NZ, then two nights in Tazmania, and end in Sydney. A cyclone prevented us from going around the fjords at the southern tip and stopping in Tazmania. Nothing you can do about that. Auckland - We came in two days early and toured the city. Lovely harbors with restaurants (try "Soul", and make reservations), marinas, and museums. Be sure to visit the Maritime Museum and the Auckland War Memorial and Museum. Auckland downtown is mass construction - subway and new buildings. Hard to get around. The Skytower is worth a visit. All the towns we stopped at had wonderful parks by the ocean. Clean and beautiful. And, restrooms all over the place. Nice. People are friendly. Hardly a smoker in sight. We never used NZ or AU cash - just credit cards. This idea that the Journey is a small boat and it can literally dock downtown wasn't true for this cruise. We docked in commercial ports, most with security, with a 10-30 minute shuttle to the town center - where there was always an info center with helpful people. Tauranga - We took a six hour van excursion to see a kiwi fruit farm and Te Puia where we saw the Pohutu geyser, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere as part of this geothermal area. Followed by the Maori Maka dance. Worth a trip. Napier - Took the shuttle into town and walked 20 min to the aquarium. A waste of time. But, a nice day. Wellington - Took the shuttle into town and toured the Te Papa museum. Very good. Picton - Walked to town. Nice shops and restaurants. Had lunch at local bar. Found some reasonably priced shirts and tee shirts. There was a ferry arriving when we walked from the ship. Fifty + people took the ferry into Picton and rented cars to take off into the mountains. Christchurch - This town was damaged by two earthquakes ten years ago and you can still see open lots and rubble. We took the shuttle and walked to the botanical gardens - worth the trip. Dunedin - Took the Taieri Gorge train into the mountains to see old mining areas. Also saw large lumber areas. Akora - Headed back north and stopped at Akora. Stayed on the ship. Kaikoura- Took the shuttle into a very nice town. Worth a trip. New Plymouth - Our ship excursion was cancelled after waiting an hour. Took the shuttle to town. Nice museum, but I had seen too many at that point. Town not that interesting. Sea Days - two to Sydney. Weather was rough. We had patches and were OK. BTW, you cannot buy patches in Australia. Sydney - We sailed in around 8am. We had breakfast in the room and a beautiful view of the harbor, the opera house, and the bridge. Docked about 15 minutes from downtown. Immigration came aboard. Took about ten minutes. We disembarked the next day - a piece of cake. The ship had an optional tour of Sydney - saw many neighborhoods, the opera house, and Bondi beach. Were dropped off near our hotel. We stayed four days in Sydney. It's a beautiful city with bays, tourist areas, vibrant downtown, and lots of traffic. Worth seeing are: - Bondi beach - Sydney bridge - you can walk across the arch! - Opera house (get a tour) - Sydney Wildlife Zoo (check the talk schedule) - Maritime museum - Skytower - Darling Harbor Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Background: 3 61-67 year olds, well travelled plenty of cruises under our belts with RCL, Celebrity, Azamara (10 years ago) and Oceania. 2 carnivores and 1 vegetarian. Picked the cruise mainly for the ports of call and visiting ... Read More
Background: 3 61-67 year olds, well travelled plenty of cruises under our belts with RCL, Celebrity, Azamara (10 years ago) and Oceania. 2 carnivores and 1 vegetarian. Picked the cruise mainly for the ports of call and visiting Tasmania overnight. Booked flights on Singapore/Air New Zealand, good service, food a mix of good and bad, plenty of leg room. Stayed at the Quest Apartments, Queen Street, very good for getting to buses, walk to Quay, etc, good breakfast incl. Booked through Booking.com. This is a long review ut hope it helps others decide on who to cruise with. Embarkation/ship We were supposed to leave from Princess Quay but due to two larger ships being in port, had to go from temporary marquee on Captain Cook's: when we arrived the marquee was already nearly full and staff were trying to find chairs for people, no water stand was set up (they were doing that just as we were called through security). We checked through security after a 40 minute wait and then had to go directly to Cabaret lounge to register, have photo taken for ID, even though we had done this online, only took about 5 minutes. The table for booking speciality restaurants was nearby and there was also one in Windows Cafe. The person booing ours was very quiet and did not smile. On first appearance Journey looks good from the outside, well kept, inside she needs some TLC chairs in Living room are worn and sunbed covers are stained. Lots of rust on railings when you look from balcony and rest all around edge of balcony floor, the windows on patio doors were filthy! We have been on Azamara Quest and Oceania Regatta so know we enjoy the small ship experience. Made our way to Windows Cafe, one good thing Azamara do is take your hand luggage and store it and deliver it to cabin, saves having to drag it around the ship! First impression of food for me, a vegetarian was not good, yes they had some salad items but only had rice (clogged together and cold) and tasteless Dhal, plenty of choice for meat eaters. Nice ice-cream and various taste less pastries! Our cabin was ready at 1.45 and our bags were outside the door when we arrived. Mostly over 70+'s onboard a few under 50's ut not many. CABIN- Club Continent Suite deck 8- Bottle of bubbly waiting for us, 4 bottles of Spirit Skyy Vodka, Bacardi rum, Johnnie Walker Whiskey and Bombay S gin Ice bucket was full lots of glasses and fridge full of soda. Be careful, the red wine and other spirits in fridge are charged for! Very pleased with the size of room and bathroom. Did not like the deep 'kitchen' style pan drawers for clothes you have to pile everything up and they are floor level so makes it hard to get to things. They also look cheap! Nice touch with light in wardrobe when door opened. Plenty of hangers for 3 people, if you doubled up items hanging on one hanger. Bathroom was very nice, although on rough sea days you can hardly stand in bath, not safe. Toiletries average and not that nice. If you are tall i.e, more than 6ft you would not be able to stand up, so bear that in mind and choose cabin with shower cubicle only. The sofa bed advertised is actually a chair and not very wide, in unfolds. Balcony small, just enough room to walk past table we had three chairs so it was squashed, lots of rust around edges of balcony. We did not use the robes or slippers, had plenty of towels, etc. Our butler and other room steward were very nice and kept everything clean and tidy, we did have a couple of roses in a vase but when they died I had to remove them otherwise they would have been left there. Bathmat was thick with mould, not nice! ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES - If you take part in quizzes and some other activities you get points and these can be exchanged for key rings, t-shirts, etc. There were two quizzes in the morning and two later in the day, always one music quiz. They had two speakers on our cruise, we did not attend any lectures, and an art teacher, I did go to one of the classes it is limited to first come first served and only 30 people can take part, unfortunately, not the teachers fault, we only had an hour instead of 3 due to another function taking place in the Aqualina, so everything was very rushed. They also have exercise classes, get togethers, etc. They have lots advertised in the daily insider paper- but many are unhosted, so unless you are very outgoing it is difficult. We would like to have played shuffle board but sunbeds were always tied up across the pitch. The usual talks on spa facilities, etc, we never went to any. Evening entertainment was good, the Smooth Sensations were very good. The resident singers and dancers were loud but good and put a lot of energy into their performances, some of the best we have seen on small ships. We also had Will Martin a singer who was good, Mandy Muden a comic/magician who was very entertaining and two other singers who we did not enjoy at all. The band led by Tina were excellent their big band night was fantastic, shame not more supported them, most of the shows were nearly empty for second sitting at 9.30, service for drinks in cabaret lounge is hit and miss very slow, we had to go and ask someone to take an order one night, they hardly ever come round twice. The drinks were good quality though. The azamazing evening was just that, well done Azamara for the slick organisation and wonderful classical concert with choir in Wellington Cathedral, a perfect evening a buffet was also put on for us on our return. SERVICE - mostly good the staff in Windows do help with plates etc and come around regularly with tea/coffee and juice, some days we were offered wine every few minutes and other days once. We did not use our butler service. Most staff were friendly but I can't say any more so than other ships we have sailed on. We did see the captain and other officers around, but none really stopped to chat, they all smiled and said hello. The security people were the friendliest always said good morning enjoy your day and welcomed you back on board by name. Shuttle buses were very well organised and all drivers good. This was done very well. DINING- this is where it goes downhill!! We have to agree with the review by Captain Povey in January. We did not have high expectations but thought it may have improved in 10 years, not so! The menu may look big but they have some dishes on all the time, they often then have them in Windows Cafe, we found the menu uninspiring, and three nights ate in Windows. The chefs recommend destination Lamb Kofta, had already been served in Windows on a previous day and was on as a special and on the main menu on the same night?? We found the portions small and Azamara, have you heard of vegetables?? Vegetarian food was quite frankly awful either loaded with so much spice it made me choke or tasteless, I have never had such awful food, I was given the wrong info about special meals off veggie/vegan menu, they do not serve them in main or speciality restaurants on first night, you have to book morning before so this service is not available on 1st night. I asked in Aqualina if I could have the Tiramisu for dessert we all had a dessert spoonful as a 'taster' but for some reason I could not have it as dessert? My main meal was dried pasta with pumpkin. The menu for veggie/vegan meals has a few starters, 4 soups and 16 'main' it may seem a lot but on a two week cruise it is not! They often repeated these meals in buffett. The buffet each day was rice & Dhal or curry (pumpkin) and steamed veg nearly always broccoli and cauliflower or salad. . All cold the only hot food I had was the freshly cooked fries in Patio-however they could not, despite having ingredients there, make me a cheese and salad roll, I was told by the manager vegetarians could have the burger or nachos. The burger was a mush of something with raw onion, just disgusting, and I do not consider falafel wrap (with yes...you've guessed pumpkin) or burger or some or the other options fine dining/luxurious, one night I asked for veg with my meal and got two small stems of asparagus. Azamara the service in main dining room is frantic, chaos and not enjoyable, and along with the food, it made for unpleasant evenings. The waiters have far to much to do as they also serve the wine. Most veggie dishes were pumpkin and eggplant or pasta. More fresh fruit in buffett would be nice, the frozen stuff is awful. And can more than a 1/4 strawberry be served. Sorry I could go on, but I would not book this if you are vegetarian or vegan I felt like a second class citizen Oh and two nights may main meal was served way before the other people on table as it had come from downstairs to Prime C- cold potato croquette with a sauce and no veg, this is NOT a main meal, the sides were dreadful 2/4 pieces of broccoli, liquid leeks in a sauce or liquid mash with lumps. This is not luxury or fine dining. My family did have one or two nice meals ,but other than that we often struggled to be inspired. However the pastry i.e. tartlets and quiche were wonderful especially the Canadian butter tart. The coffee and service in Mosaic cafe were very good as was the morning ginger energizer drink. Apart from a special night the cheeses were awful. The wines were drinkable, as was the sparkling wine. I must give praise to Philbert and Joseph waiters in main dining room, Gomer in Aqualina and also Kasih the hostess in Windows and Prime C she was a delight. PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS Auckland, did our own trip bby local bus to Memorial museum, for $50NZD you get entry to museum, which is fantastic and also to the Cultural performance, again lively and well worth seeing. We would around the grounds to the formal gardens and conservatory and then through the grounds down to the main road to get train back to Quay. The ticket for the bus was $3.70 which you could use most of day. Went up the sky tower and generally walked around this very vibrant city. Waitangi - Got shuttle to near the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, walked about 750 yds to centre, very good museum and wonderful guided tour of grounds and cultural show, excellent the views are fantastic. $50NZD booked directly with centre online. Tauranga My husband did a self walking tour and climbed Mount Manganui, which he thoroughly enjoyed. Two if us booked ship excursion to Hobbiton, fantastic scenery on route and Hobbiton was magical, a little rushed and as we had 42 people it was hard to hear what guidee was saying, however it was a brilliant day out. If you cannot walk slops or for more than 2 hours this may not be for you, there is a short cut to meet guides but by doing that you miss 3/4 of the hobbit houses and gardens. We finished the tour at Hobbiton with a scone and a mug of beer. Napier- Got shuttle into town and walked around admiring the art deco lovely gardens and nice shops. Not a lot to see or do but still there for 3 hours. Wellington-ride on cable car to get great views of city, then walked back down through botanical gardens an old cemetery and rose gardens to the city, shuttle bus back to ship Azamazing evening fantastic!! Picton- organised our own tour with Mallborough Wine Tours visited 4 wineries fantstic guide small group, just 9 of us, 5 tastings at each winery, a wonderful day. Christchurch- ship tour to Willow bank nature park, took 40 mins to get there, disappointed that half the kiwi house was being renovated, saw the shadow of a kiwi and some other birds, it is all a it rundown. The cultural show was good fun. Spent far to long driving around Christchurch on way back 1 half hours out of a 4 hour trip. Dunedin-really lovely little town, we were lucky enough to be there on the annual street fair day, with local crafts food stalls and live music. Booed seasider train direct with company-very disappointing, lots of tall trees and shrubs blocked the views, just got a few glimpses of the scenery on way back you have to change seats with people on opposite side of train so they get views-very little to see one side, so not really worth the money, however Station is great, truly lovely building. Unfortunately a cyclone was in the way so could not carry on our advertised route, of course safety comes first and nothing could be done, Azamara did some ringing around and we went back on ourselves to Akaroa, a really lovely town, walked around and viewed the older houses, and went on the hop on hop off bus to giant's house, which was lovely, great way to spend an hour. We then went to Kai- Koura, had a whale watching trip saw two sperm whales and some orca, it was very rough and lots of people were ill, a real shame as it was a lovely day. We then went to New Plymouth got shuttle into town, this was the worse port, just a big town, shopping Mall, etc we only stayed for an hour and went back to ship. Then took three very rough sea days to get to Sydney. A real shame we could not go to Hobart, but the ship docked overnight in Sydney in White Bay terminal it takes about 30 mins to get into city, Azamara provided shuttle buses. While in Sydney on the extra day we went to the wildlife zoo, I am not a great fan of zoo's, but we did get to see 4 of the big 5 of Australia and it was very well done, had a walk around. Back on ship for the evening Debarking was the easiest thing we have ever done, walked off at 8am took taxi to city and stayed at Marriott on Circular Quay, taxi from white bay to city centre is $35NZ. Already booked Bridge climb which my family loved, I waled around the botanical gardens which are simply wonderful and free. Took a sunset cruise in the evening and had a meal on the quay, had an inside opera house tour. Sydney is very vibrant, just loved it. Azamara do some things very well, but due to the poor food quality and the awful vegetarian food, rushed and hectic main dining room in the evenings, do not consider this either luxurious or worth the money and for this reason we will not be booking with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
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