We are experienced cruisers. We are not drawn to the large “resort” ships, except with our grandchildren. Increasingly we are selecting our cruises for the itinerary. The Azamara Journey was a 9 day Italy “intensive” itinerary with major stops for Florence and Pompeii, and other stops in smaller ports- suitable for a smaller ship. This was a major reason we selected a smaller ship. The on board service was exceptional, delivered with genuine care by the staff. Little things- like a mid cruise comment card (with real follow-thru by ship department heads) made the whole trip enjoyable. The food was notably better than our past experiences. We had no waiting in the open seating main dining room and never had trouble finding an available clean table in the cafe. The 700 passengers were never the cause of undue lines or delays. The ship was clean and in good to excellent repair. My wife and I enjoyed ourselves and will be back.
Response from BonnieM, CBO - Azamara Club Cruises
The bedding was newer and very comfortable. The cabin is smaller than we are used to, but functionable. Everything you may have read or heard about the small shower is true.
We found the main dining room quite enjoyable, with rapid seating for our party. The Windows buffet had plenty of seating. They have themed buffet at night. Some of these were very good, and we ate in the main dining room on nights the theme did not appeal to us. The casual grill at the pool had a large variety of food and ice cream and frozen desserts. As I said, the “White Nights” event was quite a surprise, and offered a much better experience and less pretentious than the photos in the publicity.
As I have pondered the real differences between Azarama and other cruise lines, I have decides the experience is much superior to the major cruise lines “upper” offerings and certainly costs less than the cruise lines that suggest a special Luxury experience. The Country Club Casual dress code was a comfortable approach since our cruise had a port call everyday, except one. We found the entire experience very pleasant and relaxing.
I always look for a few details to answer questions that help me decide and prepare for the cruise. Yes, the cabins have both 120 volt and 220 volt outlets in generous supply, but there is not one near the bed, so an extension cord is required for Cpap machines. (The ship gladly provided ne and taped it to the floor, so if you require this, ask right after boarding, it will be provided). The ship has stabilizers so rolling is minimized. The coffee bar is quite handy and always open. Finally the table on the cabin balcony is oversized and appropriate for private dining.