A Norwegian fjords cruise has been on my list for a long time, and it was a given that I would do it on the Journey with Captain Johannes at the helm, as this is his native land and backyard. He did not disappoint. Narration from the bridge on a daily basis, antecdotes about the villages and their people, readjusting the route to maintain the calmest seas and insure the best scenery...all were part of the magical experience he provided us. But for the one rainy day in Bergen, we were blessed with sensational weather, which of course added to the enjoyment.
Food was exceptional in all venues; entertainment was outstanding, led of course by the best cruise director around, Eric De Gray. The singers and dancers were great, and all very personable. The White Night party (one of my favorite events onboard) was spectacular..a sumptuous buffet with fresh poached salmon delivered that afternoon, grilled lobster, and enough other entrees, salads, cheeses, sides and desserts to feed a third world country. Add to that more amazing entertainment from Eric and the cast, a conga line around the deck, a beautiful night, and you have the makings for a magical,evening.
I won't go into port by port, as the previous poster covered all that beautifully, but rather will share a couple of personal experiences which I think sum up the exceptional experience that I have come to love about Azamara.
First: my brand new suitcase was badly damaged by the airline on the overseas flight en route to the ship. There was a gash at least a foot long parallel to, but not in line with the stitching. I mentioned it to Heike Berdos, the hotel director, one night in hopes of getting a strap or something for the trip home. The next day the suitcase was removed from my cabin, whisked to the joiner, and two days later returned in perfect condition. I couldn't even tell on which side the gash had been! No charge, just fixed.
Secondly, this was a difficult cruise for me. My husband had passed away unexpectedly in April, and I debated for weeks whether to go on this trip or not. Since it had already been paid for, and I was deep in penalties, I decided to go. Having sailed with Azamara before, I had relationships with many of the staff, so they were aware of my situation. I can truly say that the people of this cruise line become family after being with them once or twice. I was looked after every step of the way by everyone from Captain Johannes to Heike, to Eric to Rob, to Alex, to Jaison, to Lee, and the list goes on. They are all truly wwonderful, caring people, and go way beyond what is necessary to make sure you feel well taken care of. I cannot recommend this line, and particularly this ship, enough.
Standard veranda cabin with small bathroom (as they all are). But it is designed well, and my friend who traveled with me and I had no issues getting ready or navigating the space. This cabin is far forward (last one before crew quarters on deck 8), but I loved the location. Quiet and close access to the forward staircase.