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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Had a wonderful time on our Azamara Journey cruise which began in Copenhagen and ended with an absolutely splendid, majestic sail right up the Thames in London to end in picturesque maritime Greenwich. We flew the short hop to ... Read More
Had a wonderful time on our Azamara Journey cruise which began in Copenhagen and ended with an absolutely splendid, majestic sail right up the Thames in London to end in picturesque maritime Greenwich. We flew the short hop to Copenhagen a day prior to the cruise and stayed at the Hotel Absalon, three minutes walk from the Central Station and six minutes walk from Tivoli World where we spent the afternoon and evening. The hotel was excellent and I would recommend it wholeheartedly. Around noon, we got a taxi to the pier, Nordre Tolbord, which was close to the Little Mermaid, so much nearer to town than where the larger ships dock. It was pouring with rain so we didn't take advantage of the 10pm departure and venture back into Copenhagen. The ship's crew took our luggage from the taxi and covered us with large umbrellas while escorting us to the port security tent. A look at our passports and it was straight into the ship and the cabaret lounge for checking-in. A most welcome sparkling wine, cocktail, tea and coffee were immediately offered while we sank into the easy chairs before being called to collect our key card and find our stateroom. We had booked a guarantee balcony and were allocated 7115, near the aft. It was a great room and was so quiet and, of course, handy for two flights up to the Windows cafe, pools, patio etc or two flights down to the main restaurant – Discoveries, cabaret lounge etc. It was a very comfortable room and had a small sofa, table, dressing table/desk, chair, bedside tables, tv, fridge with included sodas etc and a few paid-for items (listed on a note above), safe, plenty of storage and hanging space. Flowers and fruit were provided, binoculars and umbrella to use, slippers to keep. The bathroom, as most people note, is tiny but well equipped. (Have to say that the shower is slightly longer than the one we recently had on Sapphire Princess). We enjoyed room service which was always punctual and good and even if we only ordered tea and coffee, the table was always laid with a cloth. The room was kept in great order by Alvin and Edwin. We asked for extra coathangers, pen, writing pads and all were instantly provided. Breakfasts were enjoyed mostly in Windows cafe where there was always a great choice and I especially liked the made to order smoothie counter. Waiters constantly offered more tea, coffee, juice etc and if you ordered an omellete would bring it to you. We didn't try the speciality restaurants this time as the meals in Discoveries were outstandingly good. So different to our last experience on Aamara Quest four years ago when the majority of guests were part of a charter group. The food then was obviously scaled down to their budget and it was incomparable with this time. We felt cheated then as we, of course, paid for a normal cruise. I'm so glad that Azamara redeemed themselves this cruise and the food was wonderful every time. Some impressive buffets were provided – an Asian one, a fabulous seafood one and a German themed one, along with Umpah band. White Night was great fun too. The service from every member of staff was impeccable. One or two waiters were obviously new, as we understand some had transferred to Pursuit, and looked a bit lost at times and not quite up to speed. We always ate dinner around 8.30pm so tended to miss the evening entertainment in the cabaret lounge. We did see a couple of performances by the resident singers and the assistant cruise director, both were okay if a little cheesy – same old Broadway musical and old fashioned songs. We enjoyed going up to The Living Room at the bow of the ship for our pre-dinner cocktails and canapes. There we listened to The Sparkling Trio and enjoyed their laid-back style. We heard two great pianists in Spirits bar and the Library (Drawing Room) The late night disco was good fun with plenty of people on the floor, including us. Our first port of call was Aarhus, Denmark's second city. A nice place to stroll and shop. Next up was Skagen on the northern most tip of Denmark. We weren't expecting anything of this small town but had a brilliant day. The sun shone, the town was 'cute' in the loveliest possible way, the shops eclectic and my husband bought me an elegant Skagen watch for my birthday. We walked all the way along the pristine beach to the end of Denmark and loved every minute. On to Oslo and as we had been here before and visited the Kon Tiki Museum etc decided to catch a tram and go to the beautiful Vigeland Sculpture Park. Next day was a sea day and there was lots to do on board and it was good just to relax with a book from the well stocked library and a cocktail, of course. I worked my way through the included cocktails over the course of the 11 days! We arrived in Amsterdam in pouring rain and it was too bad to venture forth but by the evening the rain had abated and most guests were taken on a canal boat ride to the Maritime Museum for a splendid concert for the Azamazing evening. The whole experience was truly amazing. As we had an overnight here next day we caught a train (24 mins) to Utrecht. This is the most delightful city with canals, quaint shops, interesting architecture and lots of history. On to Germany and Bremerhaven and some more sunshine. The waterfront is very modern with an extensive promenade housing a zoo, maritime museum, canal boat trips, a large shopping complex and a fascinating immigration museum where we spent the day. The museum won the accolade of being the best European museum in 2017 and we can see why. You can follow the journey of those who emigrated from Europe to the US, Canada, South America and Australia and can even research your own family history if your ancestors emigrated. The interactive features and recreation of ship interiors, Ellis Island reception hall etc were exceptional. Belgium followed and we docked in Oostende, a lovely traditional seaside town. We took the 15 minute train ride into Brugge. The map provided on board was so sparse that we couldn't find the centre of town but at least we had fun exploring. When we reached the centre it was packed with tourists but very beautiful and very 'chocolate boxy'. We didn't have quite so much time in port as the ship's departure time was earlier than previously so we made a hasty retreat to Oostende. Sadly, another couple who went into Brugge had their return train cancelled and they missed the ship, although Captain Tysse waited an extra half hour. Pleased to say they caught up with Journey next day. France beckoned as we sailed off into the sunset and next morning we docked in Honfleur. It is such a pretty town, centred around the lovely harbour. The markets were in full swing and made for a lively, bustling atmosphere. We sat in a cafe with a bottle of local Normandy cider and watched the world go by. We have spent a week in Honfleur so didn't feel the need to visit the nearby D-Day beaches again but some guests spent the day there and said what a moving experience it was. For me, the highlight of the trip was the thought of sailing up the River Thames and mooring in Greenwich, London. We had a pilot on board who commentated on the history of the river and lots more as we sailed in around the twisting turns in the river and at one point the Journey turned a full 360 degrees. We moored up opposite the tea clipper, the Cutty Sark, the old Royal Naval College, the Queen's House and up on the top of Greenwich Park one can see the Royal Observatory where the Greenwich Meridian Line is set. Our final evening on board was the icing on the cake when we were allowed to invite my husband's twin sisters on board for dinner (for a small fee). They were thoroughly impressed and we now hope that they will come sailing on Azamara with us. We live beside Tower Bridge where Captain Tysse told us he would have liked to moor but can't at the moment due to the Port of London removing the heavy duty bouys. We forgive him as it would have been great to walk home but it was just a 15 minute ride from Greenwich. My husband even went into work the same day! Can't wait for next time – maybe on Pursuit. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
An unusual itinerary and a keen price.. The itinerary from which we booked showed arrival in Greenwich on 9th September at 1.15pm tendered. The ship was late and the tendering procedure using local tenders was appalling. The tender ... Read More
An unusual itinerary and a keen price.. The itinerary from which we booked showed arrival in Greenwich on 9th September at 1.15pm tendered. The ship was late and the tendering procedure using local tenders was appalling. The tender journey was short (approximately 5 minutes)but the one tender provided took 30 or 40 minutes to make a round trip. The result was that a huge line built up and we did not reach the shore until just before 4pm. All the local attractions such as the Cutty Sark, Maritime Museum, Queens House and the Observatory closed at 5pm. As a result we had barely an hour to look at anything. This rendered the day a wholly inadequate visit. We made many complaints to the officers in charge of tendering while we were standing waiting but they did nothing to speed up the process. We even asked the captain to get something done but astonishingly he said he was not responsible for the tendering. Azamara must take responsibility for making the completely ineffective arrangements. There was nobody on shore from Azamara and this omission meant there was no one expediting the turn round of the tender. Since it was a Sunday there were many other people using the Greenwich pier for river trips but Azamara completely failed to get the company they had appointed to provide an acceptable service. The consequence was that the call at Greenwich started by asking us to stand in line for an hour or more and then to be faced with the impossibility of seeing the places we had anticipated visiting because they were on the point of closing. The next day's disembarkation was in total contrast. It went smoothly with many Azamara staff on shore to speed the process. The cruise itself was pleasant but the weather could have been better. We did not like Bremerhaven as all the notices on shore including in the museums were only in German. There was a u boat on display and a railway truck used to transport Jews. Amsterdam was excellent as usual although it was frustrating not to be able to buy museum tickets at the door. The Amazing evening was a classical concert which was excellent if a little short. The dining room chairs in the main dining room looked good but were uncomfortable. The library was furnished badly and used to be much better. We enjoyed the Tapas every evening in the living room (observation lounge). A pity that a third of the front windows were blocked by the bandstand and that some of the sofas faced inwards rather than looking at the view. In contrast the outer ring of sunbeds on the pool deck faced outwards. Apart from the day in Greenwich we enjoyed the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We hadn't cruised in years and only on larger ships (which we didn't like), when a friend recommended Azamara. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation in Venice was incredibly smooth (took all of 10 ... Read More
We hadn't cruised in years and only on larger ships (which we didn't like), when a friend recommended Azamara. We chose this cruise for the itinerary and it didn't disappoint. Embarkation in Venice was incredibly smooth (took all of 10 minutes) and we were soon on board and enjoying lunch. We had an aft balcony cabin that was comfortable and had plenty of storage and the bathroom and shower, while snug, was not as bad as I had been let to believe (lol). Our cabin attendants kept it all spotless. We found the food to be very good. We ate most of our breakfasts in the Windows buffet and dinners in the MDR, although we bought a package for the 2 specialty restaurants, Prime C and Aqualina and the Chef's Table. We found the food at Prime C and Aqualina not all that much better than the MDR, but the Chef's Table is really not to be missed. Outstanding! I can't speak too much about the entertainment, as we didn't partake that much. We found the group in the Living Room that played during cocktail hour too loud to promote conversation, though and much preferred the pianist in the Spirits lounge. The Azamazing Evening was the cellist Ana Ruchner in an outdoor venue in Split - a rock version of Yo Yo Ma - not to my taste, but a beautiful venue and very well organized. MY azamazing evening was a couple nights later when they brought an Italian tenor onboard as a surprise for a late night concert on the pool deck. We only booked 1 ship sponsored excursion, but it was a great one - at Dubrovnik, an excursion to the town of Ston, about an hour away for an oyster and mussel tasting, followed by a fabulous seafood lunch. The rest of our excursions we arranged privately with folks we met on our CC Roll Call. Although we loved all of the ports, we feel we could have used an extra sea day. We ended up skipping Florence (to our regret) because we were just so exhausted from Rome the previous day. We were struck by the friendliness of both the passengers and the crew. It was easy to meet people and because of the small size of the ship, one would tend to see the same people frequently. I feel like I have forged some lasting friendships. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We had previously travelled with Celebrity and Cunard on 2500 to 2800 size ships. This is a quarter of those. The food was good but no better than the larger ships that don't claim to be luxury at the same level. Service was excellent with ... Read More
We had previously travelled with Celebrity and Cunard on 2500 to 2800 size ships. This is a quarter of those. The food was good but no better than the larger ships that don't claim to be luxury at the same level. Service was excellent with very friendly and helpful staff. Most drinks are included and it was nice to have wine with a choice at each meal included. The smaller ship meant that we met friends more easily whilst around the ship. The entertainment was much more limited than for the larger ships due to space and budget. It was more personal but also a bit more amateur. The 'Amazing' evening ashore when Azamara put on a an evening event for all the travellers was brilliant and free. There was also a 'white Knight' barbecue evening on the higher deck which was superb with excellent food. So, the cruise was very good and different from the larger ships. Would we travel again? Probably only if the itinerary fitted. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise specifically for the 3 full days in St. Petersburg. What we liked: --easy getting on board --smaller ship, easier to get off for excursions (other than first day in StP which is due to customs) and you are ... Read More
We chose this cruise specifically for the 3 full days in St. Petersburg. What we liked: --easy getting on board --smaller ship, easier to get off for excursions (other than first day in StP which is due to customs) and you are stopped as close to the city as possible, this is great --self laundry available at no cost and soap provided --entertainment was good --cabin service good, including room service available 24/7 (no complimentary drink service to rooms in our category, but there will be in 2020) --Azamazing evening was wonderful --White night party was very nice --our favourite meal was at Aqualina, followed by white night buffet and then the first night seafood buffet --the gym is very well equipped What we were less fond of: --food & service in the Discoveries restaurant was just average, we eat well and go out to great restaurants so our expectations may be set higher than for some --complimentary beverage list is very limited, even for us who are not big drinkers. White wine was terrible on a couple of days. At this cost why? I understand charging for truly premium brands and great wine for not the rest of it. --we pre-paid 3 nights at the 2 specialty restaurants, we tried to change our reservation for PrimeC as the white night party moved dates - instead of moving us they cancelled our booking and it was an argument to get a new reservation --wifi was horribly slow, we paid for the unlimited package - not worth the cost IMO --I don't know what the purpose of guest services is, not helpful when I spoke with them --one of our pre-booked shore excursions was cancelled and they only notify you onboard - you're then stuck re-booking in US $ which has an impact --we booked 2 shore excursions with the ship, enjoyed the bike tour but the other was "meh", if you know you don't like group tours then keep this in mind --disembarking was a total gong show, booked ship bus transfer to train station which is a TOTAL rip off and they were totally disorganized and ran much later than communicated to us, taxis were really not available - a handful with many waiting for them, both of our bags were tagged #21 but one was placed with the #12 bags--we were lucky to find it Excursions: --we did a private tour with Alla in StP and it was WELL worth the $$ --Helsinki is easy to visit on your own --Riga, Klaipeda are very small towns and could easily be visited on own, we went to Curonian Spit in Klaipeda and it's beautiful but I couldn't figure out how to get there without the tour --Malbork Castle (Gdansk) is beautiful but leaves little time in Gdansk itself. Gdansk could be done on your own --Ronne not much to see IMO Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise for the amazing itinerary--circumnavigating Iceland (we're still reeling at the stunning beauty of the landscapes and seascapes we saw), touring both Ireland (Dublin and Waterford) and Northern Ireland (the Ards ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the amazing itinerary--circumnavigating Iceland (we're still reeling at the stunning beauty of the landscapes and seascapes we saw), touring both Ireland (Dublin and Waterford) and Northern Ireland (the Ards Peninsula outside of Belfast is beautiful), and cozying up to Fowey, Cornwall. The great advantage of a small ship like the Azamara, Pursuit is that it can enter what seem like impossibly small harbors; in Fowey, we were literally docked among the rowboats. The other pluses of the Azamara Pursuit were the efficient and helpful and friendly staff (the embarkation and disembarkation were a piece of cake) and the surprisingly good food in the buffet restaurant, which is usually the low point of cruise cuisine; on the Pursuit, the plenitude of choice at breakfast was probably the best we've encountered on any luxury ship and there were great international buffet occasions (we especially liked the Indonesian buffet). The daily gelato choices were absolutely delicious. But, otherwise, the Azamara Pursuit was a big disappointment. The mostly-beige new refurbishment was more blah than the advertised "understated elegance" (this was only the second voyage for Azamara) and the public rooms, though comfortable enough and serviceable, were the least impressive of any luxury-class ship we've experienced (on, for example, Silversea, Regent, Crystal, Viking, Oceania, and Celebrity). I won't go into the tackiness of what passes for "art" on that ship, which sometimes left me shaking my head in disbelief. Our standard balcony stateroom was so small that the furniture simply didn't fit it. I laughed when we realized that we would have to move the coffee table to be able to open the door to get to the balcony. We weren't expecting great entertainment on a ship this small but we were expecting good lecturers; there was only one (on astronomy) and I would say that he was only just ok. How great it would have been to have had a lecturer who could hold forth on Iceland! But perhaps the biggest disappointment and surprise was the mediocre and uninspired food in the ala carte restaurant and in the specialty restaurants. This ship had, hands down, the most undistinguished food we've ever encountered on a cruise ship. I always consider the soups the best test of a restaurant; in this case, nearly every soup we tried was so watery and bland as to be inedible. Even the highly-touted "Chefs Table" French meal was nothing special, certainly not worth the hefty additional fee. We met people who had been on many Azamara cruises--but I think I can say with certainty that this will be our last. The Azamara Pursuit simply isn't worth the money. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this cruise for two reasons, the itinerary and to try this new ship bought by Azamara. We have traveled on Journey and Quest multiple times and loved them all. In fact, before boarding this cruise, we had the week before cruised ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two reasons, the itinerary and to try this new ship bought by Azamara. We have traveled on Journey and Quest multiple times and loved them all. In fact, before boarding this cruise, we had the week before cruised on Journey doing the Norwegian Fjords. That cruise was exceptional. The Pursuit was a huge disappointment. Our main complaint was a constant tapping noise along with an intermittent foghorn sound in our room. Our cabin, 8058, was torn up for the good part of two days with the ceilings and walls taken apart. The tapping sound was partially eliminated, but since techs were not ever in our room when the foghorn sounds appeared, this was never solved. They didn’t know what it was causing it. However, we were never contacted by guest relations to ask how we were surviving what I deemed the “insane asylum with good food” even once. Several other passengers suffered similar noise problems and complained. We discovered a few days before the end of the cruise that the foghorn noise was an air conditioning problem. If we turned the AC off and then back on, the noise went away temporarily. We had to do this multiple times a night. I suffered headaches from lack of sleep and while the ports were great, my enjoyment of them was thwarted. We were told there were no suites for us to move,although one day when our room was in shambles, they gave us a balcony room to rest in. Later, friends also with noise problems told us they had been moved to a Spa Suite. Hmm. We were happy for them, but they were at Explorer level, and we are Discover+ with 2000 points. Selfishly we thought we should have been given priority. In fact, on this cruise, we received NO advantage for our loyalty. We didn’t even get an invitation to the CC meeting for the first time although we signed up it. The laundry and internet minutes we received were the same as our continental suite provided. We have never felt so ignored or unappreciated on an Azamara cruise before. Service by wait staff and room stewards were wonderful as usual. The dry cleaner shrunk my pants so they are now too short. Food was good and we thought the entertainment was at times great. We met with the guest relations manager to express our disappointment and sleep deprivation before the cruise ended and he said he would report it. Wow, thank you. When I mentioned my dry cleaning- which I had gotten back the day before- he said I should have reported it. I said I just did. Nada. I asked what he could do about lengthening my pants (which I had on at the time so he could see) and all I got was a blank stare. Maybe he was overwhelmed, but he underwhelmed me. I let him know that for the first time ever I would be leaving a negative review. Also, small thing, but the movies they showed were mostly for children on a cruise with few children. And they repeated several times each on this cruise. Pay movies were not available as they are on Journey and Quest. We have eight more Azamara cruises booked (excited about Africa and Japan) but happily none of them are on the Pursuit. I am sure they will work the problems out, but until then, we will avoid this ship. If we receive any positive response to our nightmare that cost well over $20,000, I will post an update. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
The shame of P&O's fleet, the Adonia, returns from dry dock transformed into the luxury, five star, country house hotel experience aka The Pursuit. What are the chances of that happening? What a load of old blether. The cabin was ... Read More
The shame of P&O's fleet, the Adonia, returns from dry dock transformed into the luxury, five star, country house hotel experience aka The Pursuit. What are the chances of that happening? What a load of old blether. The cabin was hideously dusty, the 'bathroom' cramped and badly designed, and the first time since the Heysham ferry I've hated the way a ship performed in slight 'weather'. This from someone who's felt perfectly fine going through a hurricane with 100ft waves in the QEII. Stick a funnel on a margarine tub and you get the picture. I feel thoroughly ripped off. Never having used Azamara before (we're itinerary driven cruisers) we asked other passengers was this the usual Azamara experience? All said a resounding 'no' and 'that the service was way below par'. We met a couple who'd been on the Adonia just before Azamara took her over and said there was little difference save a coat or two of paint! I accept this was only the second voyage for the ship but the crew really need better training. Having young officers openly mocking passengers whilst using the dining facilities is frankly appalling. On seeing an overweight disabled passenger one young officer shouted out 'I can see a whale' as the poor soul struggled past. Shame! Worse still the senior officer present didn't rebuke them. The Captain really has to take responsibility for this. I don't don't want a big 'happy family' of a crew I want a well-structured/disciplined professional framework of command and leave the jokes to the Cruise Director (who incidently was the best thing on the ship). Incidentally first time a ship's crew have tried to alter reality to cover their failings. Howsabout admitting fault, apologising, and try to do better? You will get caught out otherwise. I will never use Azamara again. Emperor's New Clothes Outfit. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We normally sail with Celebrity but had a tight timeline and wanted to see something new. Azamara was going somewhere we hadn't been and exactly on the day we needed to go, so we paid the much higher fare and expected a higher level of ... Read More
We normally sail with Celebrity but had a tight timeline and wanted to see something new. Azamara was going somewhere we hadn't been and exactly on the day we needed to go, so we paid the much higher fare and expected a higher level of service than the normally very good service we have experienced on Celebrity. The best part about Azamara is the smaller ship. Getting closer to the ports is nice and everything onboard is a short walk. Also, no crowds or lines to get into restaurants etc. The bad news about the small ship is the shower is way too small. The below may be an issue with the crew on the Quest as I can't believe a premium line would survive long if our experience was normal. 1) Half our onboard credit was missing, but the problem was really the attitude of Guest Relations. Regarding the OBC, they said it wasn't their problem and would have to be solved by "headquarters." That isn't the type of issue ownership that we see on Celebrity. Also, got wrong information on multiple occasions from Guest Relations that caused us to miss events. They also forgot to give us the requested wake up call on the last day and if I hadn't looked over at the clock, we would have been in trouble. 2) We typically have room service for breakfast as it serves as a wake up call and gives us more time to get ready for the day. 3 of the 7 days we had room service the order was wrong (e.g., hot water instead of coffee, no cream for coffee, no milk for cereal...). 3) Room attendant was below par. One day we left at noon and came back around 6pm and our room hadn't been made up even though we left the "make up room" magnet on the outside of the door. Needed new towels one evening to get ready for dinner and was told they were on break and would be 30 minutes before they could get us new towels. The towels showed up damp, so more likely they hadn't run a load of laundry and gave us towels that hadn't finished in the drier. 4) Dining room wait staff, other than 2, seemed like trainees. Slow service, cold food, missing items. The menu was varied but seemed to just be a rotation of items with different preparations (e.g., several nights of lamb and seabream). As I said in the title, I expected a big jump up from what we experience on Celebrity but didn't get it. At 2-3x the price, we'll be back to Celebrity the next time. Read Less
BBMacLaird, CBO - Azamara Club Cruises has responded
Thank you hennesseystealth for taking the time to write a cruise review. Your comments will be shared with the appropriate departments; though I hope you also let them know while onboard to allow the proper attention? Enjoy our sister company, and should you decide to come back to Azamara, we'll be waiting for you!
Sail Date: August 2018
We boarded the ship in Copenhagen and departed in Stockholm after an 11-day journey visiting some interesting ports on the way. We had a Stateroom with balcony booked. The cabin was small but manageable. Only comment we must make is ... Read More
We boarded the ship in Copenhagen and departed in Stockholm after an 11-day journey visiting some interesting ports on the way. We had a Stateroom with balcony booked. The cabin was small but manageable. Only comment we must make is that the design of the bathroom is very small with a shower difficult to manage for bigger persons. The room was very clean, and the bed was comfortable. The room attendants looked after us well. Food was of high quality and came in great variety. The cruise was an all-inclusive one, but there are also drinks on offer that are not covered by the all-inclusive package. We were happy with the drinks of the all-inclusive selection. We used the speciality Restaurants that came with an extra cost of $30 per person. There is a Steak place and an Italian Restaurant. Both are recommendable to give yourself an extra treat. There is also a Buffet and an a la card Restaurant that is included in the package with no extra charge. For a snack inbetween there is the Patio that offered Hamburgers, Satays and Sausages. The staff in general are very friendly and attentive. Nothing is impossible for them to arrange. We only experienced one exception. It must have been her bad day. There are two entertainment venues. The Cabaret a large theatre and the Living Room. We spend most nights in the Living Room before dinner to listen to the resident Mexican Band that played everything from Pop to South American tunes. Very good. The young Guitarist was very talented. In the Cabaret we enjoyed the white night party and a speech by Mr Lech Walenza. Also, the Violin player was very good. However, there were nights we did not go to the Cabaret at all and there were nights we departed before the end of the show, but then you cannot like everything. Azamara is an American owned company and the ship orientation is towards their core market. One thing we did not like was the compulsory tip of 18% for services even so the cruise was promoted to be all inclusive. So be aware if you have a Beauty Treatment or a massage that you are paying more than the advertised price. A price that is already very inflated compared to Australian cost before compulsory tip. Everything worked like clockwork on the cruise. The ship always arrived in time at the ports and the shore departures went very smooth. Because the Journey is such a small ship it is sometimes able to sail right into the heart of the towns. No feeder boats were needed to transfer passengers. We arranged our own shore excursions. In Warnemuende we took the train to Rostock and the tram to the old part of town. In Danzig we just went with the shuttle provided by the ship to town and done our own walking tour. Same in Estonia. We had a two-day tour booked in St Petersburg over the internet. The local tour company was excellent with an experienced tour guide. No upfront payment. We only paid at the end of the two-day tour. They give rebattes for early bookings and we got also a refund because we were not able to see two Museums due to time. This was not their fault, but due to our request to return to the ship early on the first day. St Petersburg was full of tourists and without the tour we booked we wouldn’t have been able to get into the attractions without any great delays. The quey at the Summer Palace was so long that even our guide got excited and took several photos. The Tour Company we used was BEST GUIDES GROUP. Highly recommendable local company. You can find them on the Internet. ANNA the guide was very knowledgeable with a very likable personality. She never lost her patience with all the crowds and went out of her way to please fellow travelers. Also, we feel that two days sightseeing is enough even so most Tour company offer three days. We were a very small group of 10 people that made the tour even more enjoyable. In Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stockholm we used Hop on Hop off busses. They come right to the port and take you around the city and stop on several places of interest. Also, in these cities a Hop on, Hop off boat was included. The cruise was a very enjoyable experience. Highly recommendable. Read Less
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