We've been on more than 10 cruises and this was our 2nd Azamara cruise (first on the Journey). What impressed us the most was the level of customer service on this cruise! The entire crew - from the Captain to all the workers we encountered - were friendly and professional! I cannot recall ever seeing a ship's Captain as I did on this cruise. Amazing! This level of treatment really makes a difference and affirms my loyalty to Azamara (note: we are doing another Azamara cruise in 2016).
Another wonderful part of this cruise was the itinerary. Each day, we traveled to a new port. And we were lucky enough to be in Monte Carlo and Nice during the Formula One and Cannes Film Festival activity. While we tendered in most of the ports, it was a painless operation and much easier than previous cruises where we had to tender. Similarly, embarkation and disembarkation were easy; particularly disembarkation.
The food was okay (not great), but we weren't expecting haute cuisine. We did not do any of the specialty restaurants this time. When we called during the cruise to make a reservation, they were totally booked. Next time, we will make our reservations at the beginning of the cruise.
This was a good mid-ship cabin. Cabin was quiet, and except for a few rude revelers late at night, we didn't hear any hallway noise. There was plenty of room to stow our stuff (and plenty of hangers!). We didn't feel cramped or claustrophobic in the cabin, particularly with the small couch and coffee table, large sliding glass door and veranda. My only complaint is the "puny" hairdryer. Button had to be pressed continuously in order to make it work and it was low wattage.
We embarked in Barcelona. This was not our first trip to Barcelona, so we arrived only a day early, and only had an afternoon to walk around the Ramblas, which was near our hotel. Hotels near the Ramblas are a short taxi ride to the pier.
Sete was a charming port. We walked around on our own and hiked to the top of Mont St-Clair where we were treated to a spectacular panoramic view. Sete wasn't too crowded, which made exploring very pleasant.
The tour guides are right: there's not much to see in St. Tropez except lots of yachts and people "wanting to be seen!" We saw lots of yachts, lots of fancy stores, and lots of people. We were there on a festival day and chanced upon a parade which brought out lots of locals and tourists. We had lunch at the port, did a little bit of shopping, and then went back to the ship.
Monte Carlo is fantastic! It's beauty is breath-taking! First, we walked around on our own and got to see the palace (and some great pictures). Then, we went on a private excursion to St Paul de Vence. Both St. Paul and Vence are historic villages; quite a contrast to the very modern Monte Carlo. In Vence, we stopped at the chapel containing sacred art designed by Henri Matisse.