Absolutely Loved Azamara: Azamara Journey Cruise Review by krandco

Azamara Journey 5
Member Since 2012

Overall Member Rating

Absolutely Loved Azamara

Sail Date: May 2012
Destination: Europe - River Cruise
Embarkation: Amsterdam
Our cruise was the 12 night Chelsey Flower Show cruise from Amsterdam to Southampton. The cruise boarded in Amsterdam Netherlands (2 days) followed by stops in Flushing Netherlands (1 day), Antwerp Belgium (2 days), Bruges Belgium (1 day), Greenwich England (2 days), Rouen France (3 days) and then on to Southampton England to depart.

This was our first cruise with Azamara and from the day we booked, back in February, we found a lot to like about Azamara. Our cruise was booked through Travel of America but we did all of our own check-in and tour bookings through the Azamara web site. A quick call to Azamara Customer Service and we were instantly Le Club Voyage members and credited with our previous cruises on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. Azamara's web site was very easy to use and check-in took only a few minutes. Pre-booking tours in each port also proved to be easy and extremely cost effective. The selection of tours to choose from was exceptional (something for every More interest) and the descriptions unbelievable helpful in describing what you would see as well as how long and strenuous each tour would be (important to us since my wife can not walk very far). Finally, since we were booking early, all of our tours were half price, which resulted in a considerable savings (even though the full prices were quite reasonable).

Immediately after boarding the ship and throughout the cruise we found even more to like about Azamara. (Oh, where do I start?)

1. All tips were included! Yea! No trying to figure out how much to tip each time and scrounge up cash for envelopes at the end of the cruise.

2. The small size of the ship (less then 700 passengers, with only 550 on our cruise) made getting around so easy! And, no waiting forever for an elevator. I can't remember once having to wait more them a minute during the entire cruise! Not only that but the layout of the ship was almost identical to the larger Celebrity ships so we pretty much knew where everything was. The entertainment, lounge areas, cafe, gym/spa facilities and dining were also on a par equal to what we have experienced on Celebrity and Royal Caribbean ships.

3. Small ships can go where the big ones can't! Like right into Antwerp, up the Thames River to Greenwich and up the Seine River to Rouen. This meant no 4 hour bus rides to London or Paris, leaving only a few hours to see the cities.

4. Speaking of seeing the cities, all of our ports were a full day, with most being two days or more. This allowed plenty of time for either multiple tours or to see things on your own. We were never rushed in any port and since we had been to several of the cities before, in those cities we chose to spend one of the days walking around on our own. Once again, Azamara made this so easy. In each port there were free shuttle buses (tender service in Greenwich) into town leaving every 20-30 minutes!

5. No formal dress is required in the dining room, which for us resulted in one less suitcase (or more) to have to drag through the airports before and after the cruise. The ship also had a free laundry room on board and, while we didn't use it, plenty of other passengers did.

6. House wine in the dining areas and soda were free, as was bottled water to take with you on tours or while going ashore. Azamara also offered several "Pre-paid Drink" packages which provided a considerable savings over the per-drink price.

In summary, we are now huge fans of Azamara and will definitely book another cruise(s) with them. Their small ship benefits and many included amenities have now spoiled us. We also found the quality of the food, service and entertainment on board to be easily as good as, if not better, then the larger ships we have sailed on. We would (and have) recommended them to anyone looking to take a cruise. Less

Published 06/09/12

Cabin review: V17076 Club Veranda Stateroom

Our cabin was 7076, directly across from the Laundry Room. We were a little concerned about noise from the laundry room but that turned out to not be a problem. The cabin was small but had a nice size sitting area and balcony and was only a short walk from the elevators.

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Port and Shore Excursions

We had previously spent several weeks in Amsterdam and so chose to do the city on our own this time. With its rich history, wonderful architecture, unique modern buildings, many museums and other tourist attractions, this is a wonderful city to spend days in. Walk around the Dam Square area, visit the Rembrant or Anna Frank House, Madam Tousades Wax Museum, the Van Gogh Museum or Amsterdam Historical Museum, take a canal cruise or walk through the Red Light district. Getting around is easy, everyone speaks English, is friendly and happy to help guide you. Renting a car and driving is easy, other then dealing with a canal every block or or two. On the outskirts, visits to the villages of Edam, Volendam and Marken are some of our favorites.

City Tour

We did a self guided walking tour of Antwerp on our own. The city is simply fascinating with wonderful buildings, cathedrals and museums. Antwerp is a chocolate lovers paradise with shop after shop to choose from. Our visit to the International Horticulture Show, Floriade 2012 was amazing and one of the highlights of our trip. Over 168 acres of lawns, gardens, shows, arenas, amphitheaters, entertainment and buildings showcasing horticulture from around the world. Plan on a full day so you can see everything.

Canterbury Walking Tour

One of our favorite tours of the cruise. Picturesque and full of history does not even begin to describe the town or the cathedral. The whole place is so steeped in history that stepping into any shop or pub is like going back to life hunderds of years ago.

Leeds Castle

A smaller castle with a great history. The guides on the tour and at the castle were wonderful. Pictures that could easily come from a post card abound at the castle and the grounds.

Thames River Cruise

Having been to London several times, we did a river cruise from Greenwich pier down to the Eye and back. It's a great way to see the sights in London at a very reasonable price. You can get off and visit individual sights, most of which are only a short walk from the piers, then climb back on the next boat. Don't misses for visiting are the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and a country pub (not one in London). Oh, and don't forget a ride on the Tube if you've never done so.

We did the Paris bus tour and lunch cruise on the Seine. Two minutes into the city and it's not hard to understand why everone falls in love with Paris. Every street brings new oowwws and ahhhhs and is more amazing then the last. There is simply too much to try and pick a favorite area, building or sight so plan on spending as much time as you can. No matter how much time you spend, it will not be enough!
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