I would say this is one of the best cruises I've been on, if not THE best.
Some background. I traveled with my husband. We have been on about 37 cruises each and this was our first Azamara cruise. We have sailed on Norwegian, Carnival, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Holland America.
At first, I had concerns about going on a ship this size, having recent been on the gargantuan Allure of the Sea and Anthem of the Sea. I kept saying, "This ship is so small!" But it turned out that what it lacked in size it more than made up for in personal service. I mean, where else do you find a ship where the hotel manager and the food and beverage director personally serve you at the chocoholic buffet?
Embarkation was a total breeze. As suite guests we were 3rd and 4th on board. The who check-in was as simple as simple can be -- no lines, no crowds, and the ship's hotel director was even there to supervise.
The ship is beautiful and easy to get around. They definitely make the most of what they have. For instance, the showroom is really a cabaret space so there are no props and scenery, which puts more focus on the entertainment. The library (the Drawing Room) is a large and beautiful space with a multitude of books. This ship was never crowded, there were always plenty of tables in the patio and we were usually the only people in the elevator.s.
As far as activities, there wasn't really a lot to do onboard, but I had to get used to that. Many of the activities in the daily program were self-led and others were sales pitches from the spa. For those who want gambling, this is not the ship for you and for those who want good shopping onboard, there are only 2 shops. In my mid-cruise customer satisfaction survey, I noted that there was not a lot to do and this was noted by the cruise director, who actually stopped me after one of the shows one evening and told me that he had tried to introduce audience participation events and games you might find on other ships, but this was a different crowd. I appreciated that there was a representative from the port who either came onboard or stayed at the pier to advise us as to where to go in port.Also, the Colors of the Caribbean event (a substitute for the AzaMazing Evening we would have had on the original Cuban itinerary) was phenomenal and truly entertaining! The White Night party was very well done, and the food was beyond delicious! If you love sushi, this cruise is for you.
The service on this ship is beyond comparison! Everyone, and I mean everyone, goes out of his or her way to please you! I must give special thanks to our cabin steward, Kusairi, assistant steward Rowell and butler Alfie; and waiter Godson for fabulous service. Alfie brought us room service on time, and every afternoon we would come back to our room to find wine, fresh flowers, cheese and crackers, hors d'oeuvers, and prosciutto and melon. I also want to mention a wonderful encounter I had with a cleaner named named Sam from the island of Kalimantan in Indonesia. Sam was so proud of his country and literally gave me a speech on the geography, nature and tourist spots in Indonesia.
We purchased several shore excursions on this cruise since we had a lot of cabin credit. In Barbados, we went to Harrison's Cave -- not the best cave we've been to but fascinating nevertheless. In St. Lucia, we went on a coastal cruise to the Pitons, which was very picturesque and well worth it. In Nevis, we went on a snorkel trip, also very lovely. In San Juan, we had time to kill before heading to the airport so we took the El Yunque rainforest tour, which I highly recommend.
Our cabin was beautiful and super-comfortable. We had a Club Continent Suite, which is not a suite per se, but let's say, a cabin with lots of legroom -- almost like a small hotel room. It came with slippers and robes (which we never used) a bathtub, and of course, a butler. We truly felt spoiled.
Dining was amazing. The buffet, although quite small, had a wonderful selection. We like the fact that the waiters came around with coffee and juice, unlike other cruise lines where you have to go to a machine to get your own. Everything in the main dining room was delicious and beautifullly plated. The outdoor Patio restaurant was a great place to eat when getting back late from shore excursions. And we loved the food in Aqualina and Prime C, the specialty restaurants. I'd say this ship had some of the most memorable cruise ship meals we have eaten.
I give the entertainment very high marks! The singers and dancers are energetic and full of talent. Eric De Gray, the cruise director, is extremely talented. David Knight, a hypnotist, performed and I was in the show. The live music on board is fabulous.
I wanted to mention what a pleasure it was to talk with fellow passengers -- all of whom were well traveled and smart -- and very down to earth!
In summary, I have to say that it would be difficult for me to go back to a megaship now that I have been on Azamara Journey. I appreciate the smaller size and the warm, gracious, personal service i experienced on my "Azamara Journey"!