Azamara Journey Cruise Review by krsto
- Sail Date: December 2017
- Destination: Asia
- Cabin Type: Club Oceanview Stateroom
We were only a small group (26 people) for The Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle cocktail party
but the Captain & senior staff still took the time to attend - we were impressed.
A highlight prior to our 8.30pm departure was a grandstand view of the Victoria Harbour Symphony of Lights from the deck of Azamara Journey.
Azamara has rigorous hygiene & sanitation protocols which were instituted for the first 4 days of the cruise (no self service of food & beverages) We avoided any outbreak of Norovirus & greatly appreciated the extra work & effort by all the crew. Service and food in Windows, Patio and Discoveries were all of a high standard.
Captain Tysse and Cruise Director Eric de Grey were both brilliant always highly visible, friendly & superbly professional.
As we expected the ship was tastefully decorated for Christmas.
Christmas Eve (a sea day) was very festive. We had an excellent Christmas brunch and Christmas carols with Eric and the entertainment team.
On Christmas Day we anchored in Halong Bay (a tender port) for an overnight stay. Anticipating an exciting program of Christmas Day celebrations we had booked a Halong Bay shore excursion for the following day. We did not want to miss out on any of the Christmas Day festivities (we also chose not to take the 3 hour drive to Hanoi). We were sadly disappointed! No special entertainment had been planned during the day - neither the piano or guitar entertainers. Discoveries restaurant was closed and Windows and the Patio only had their usual menu. The ship was like a morgue. A crew member said approximately 100 passengers remained on board expecting Christmas Day with all the trimmings. It was a non event until activities resumed with a Christmas quiz at 4pm. and Christmas dinner and very entertaining pantomime in the evening.
I put in a written complaint expressing my dissatisfaction at the lack of a daytime Christmas Day program. I received a call from Hotel Director Heike Berdos. Her explanation was that as we were in port on Christmas Day It was the usual port day program and instead they had organised Christmas brunch & entertainment on Christmas Eve! I pointed out that a lot of passengers had come on this cruise to celebrate Christmas Day and also as we were in a tender port a lot of passengers either did not want to or were unable to go ashore.
Some passengers were also disappointed with New Years Eve as a highlight in the marketing promotion was “see the New Years Eve fireworks in Saigon” a bit difficult as we left Saigon at 4pm! As the Captain had predicted the weather got rough once we were in open waters. However there was a great party mood on board and we all donned (courtesy of Azamara) our New Years Eve party hats and the entertainment staff had done a great job with the decorations. Despite the conditions the wait staff in Discoveries did a heroic job - not sure how the folks fared up on deck 10 in Aqualina and Prime C !
Like many others owing to the ships motion we never made it up to the Livingroom to see in the New Year.
We enjoyed the Azamazing and White Night evenings which are a usual feature of an Azamara cruise however Christmas & New Years Eve cruises are marketed as premium cruises at premium prices and are regarded as an opportunity for a special celebration. Even on “low key” ships such as Azamara we expected a festive Christmas lunch.
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They are also far more comfortable in rough weather.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Bangkok (Laem Chabang)An early start and quite a long drive. Excellent 30mins exciting ride on a long tail boat and then plenty of time to walk around the floating market. Very colourful great photo opportunities.View All 12,789 Bangkok (Laem Chabang) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Bangkok (Laem Chabang) Cruise Port Review
Halong BayThe shore excursion staff on Azamara inadvertently retained our shore excursion tickets - this caused a problem when boarding our coach to the marina and I had to sign a statement to say I had “lost” them! We literally had to “walk the plank” to board a rather dilapidated boat for our 3 hour cruise. We sat on the boat for half an hour waiting for the Captain ( our guide said there was a hold up with the paperwork) when we got to the island to visit the caves we only had time to visit the first cave (which was very good) because of the delays. Our guide assured us it wasn’t worth the effort to get to the second cave -we were told by other passengers it was very good. We then seemed to be in a race with one of the other boats who completely blocked our view of the fishing village as we passed between two islands.View All 40 Halong Bay Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Halong Bay Cruise Port Review
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)Great dock right in the city.e Excellent market. Cu Chi tunnels.View All 164 Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Cruise Port Review
Hong KongVictoria Harbour is a wonderful place to dock the view of the Symphony of lights is magnificent. Hongkong is a great port of call with colourful markets, the tramway to the Peak and a trip on the Ngong Ping cable car to the Big Buddha are not to be missed.View All 314 Hong Kong Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Hong Kong Cruise Port Review