We returned to Azamara after our first voyage last year on the Quest. We found that the two ships were almost similar although we preferred the artwork on the Quest better than the Journey. Else, everything was equal and the service continued to be excellent. We thought that the main dining room's menu had drastically improved over the past year and featured a more wide-ranging assortment of choices that were all interesting. The Chef's Table was again amazing. As with last year, despite being fish instead of meat lovers, Prime C was the better experience over Aqualina which again was disappointing (a highly salted chef's special redfish was hardly "special"). Not much else was different other than the White Night this year was spectacular with the local Russian dancers and musicians and the weather was perfect to be on deck. We were also very pleased by the variety and quality of food this White Night as last year suffered some from the "dried buffet" syndrome that often affects big events. Another huge positive was their ability to have Lech Walesa come on board for a talk and Q&A. We understand that they worked on this for some time and it was a special moment for the passengers to be able to hear this world leader and to get our picture taken with him. Well done!
In terms of drawbacks, Azamara continues to price itself into a higher stratosphere for what it offers in terms of complimentary aspects of the cruise (as the house chardonnay was on sale at my local market for 7$ when I returned home vs. the $20-25 bottle on Seaborn/Silversea whose cruise prices Azamar is nearing) and we didn't even try the internet as talking with friends on board suggested that it hasn't progressed past the snail crawl stage that we had last year. Only positive was that they were cleaning out their wine cellar and offering deals on certain bottles but we all agreed that adding a few hundred dollars to the cruise cost to bring up the quality of the wine and house brand liquor would be easily tolerated (as the liquor/beer/and bottle wine packages didn't seem to be worth it for most of us). A couple of other small glitches were found they were very responsive to any feedback either in person or via the early cruise "how are we doing?" form which was followed-up on very efficiently.
Overall it was a great cruise. Azamara again coordinated well with the Perry Golf group and we'll likely return to do another golf cruise in the future. We know that the company line is that since they are almost always consistently full they are OK but If they continue to price themselves into the Oceana/Seaborn/Silverseas price range they need to be aware of what the competition is offering. For the price some of the other lines are more customer friendly.