My husband, Bill, and I live in Anderson and Charleston, SC. I'm 51; he's 54. We have four adult children. We love to travel on land or by sea. I'm retired; Bill still works (more than full time). This was our 4th Azamara cruise, and we're very loyal to Azamara and Celebrity.
We flew Delta Business Elite into Amsterdam and stayed at the Amstel Intercontinental. It's one of our favorite cities and one of our favorite hotels; I highly recommend it. Then we flew Easy Jet to Edinburgh (tolerable).
Check in was a little disorganized, but nothing really to complain about. Possibly a new company? Once on board, we were welcomed by familiar faces and familiar surroundings. This is one of the best things about Azamara; the ships are the same and the officers and staff rarely change. I think they are genuinely happy to see you.
Both the Journey and the Quest are going to be refurbished in early 2016. Although the ship was very clean and well cared for, it's time for a facelift. We were lucky enough to see the "model" cabin, and it's lovely. I can't wait to see the entire ship.
We stayed in room 7018, a balcony room. We've considered upgrading to a suite, but for us, at this point, it's not necessary. The room was just as we expected. Our stateroom attendant was acceptable, not outstanding which was a surprise. However, his assistant made up for it.
Activities are customized to fit the guests. We love the lectures, trivia, ship tours, etc. There's always plenty to do. The service is always excellent; Philip, the hotel manger, is gracious and hospitable. If you have any concerns, questions or need something, he makes it happen. The Captain and the entire crew are committed to providing the best service and experience for their guests. For such a small ship, the entertainment is extraordinary; I really don't know how they do it. Russ, the Cruise Director, is to be commended.
We're food and wine enthusiasts, so we always sign up for all the Chef's table dinners. We attended the French, Italian, California and Caviar dinner. We enjoyed meeting the other guests. The food, wine and service was as expected. Although, the sommelier and the chef were a little long winded for our taste, but I'm sure others appreciated the comprehensive explanations. There is an additional charge; we feel the cost is appropriate. Sign up as soon as you get on board to insure a seat, space is limited to 14. Other nights in the dining room met our expectations.
The British Open shore excursion was a blast! Our tour guide was lovely and the drive to St. Andrews was very pleasant. Even with the wind, rain, and chill we had the best time and got to see all the players close up. The Lofoten Islands shore excursion was very good and just the right amount of time. All the ports are spectacular (Edinburgh, Bergan, Flam, Gudvengen, Geiranger, Svolvaer, Tromso, Honningsvag, and Olden) and trolling the Fjords was not to be missed. We did several excursions on our own: the Flam Railway, a drive to North Kapp and wondering with friends.
Arriving in Coppenhagen was bittersweet. It's another of our favorite cities, but we hated to leave all our new friends and the ship. Disembarkation was seemless. Of course, everyone was there to say goodbye. Philip even helped load my bags into the taxi.
For us, the reason we are so committed to Azamara is the quality of our fellow travelers. I would describe the typical Azamara customer as those who have "been there and done that". Typically, they're experienced travelers, semi-retired executives/professionals/academicians who are sophisticated but understated and are most interested in the destination.