We chose this cruise because we were interested in seeing the South Pacific and New Zealand and the package deal we got included airfare, unlimited internet and trip insurance (important, as my husband and I are in our mid-60s). We missed our flight and the ship's sailing from Tahiti, so had to board in Bora Bora, the second port on the itinerary. Checking in was fast and efficient - everything was ready and waiting for us, which we really appreciated. We asked to move from our first cabin on deck 6 because of noise from the band practice in the Cabaret, directly below us. The young lady at the customer service desk, Adina, was so helpful with our request and our second cabin was perfect - no noise at all. The deck 7 balcony cabin was comfortable, had plenty of storage, a small but well designed bathroom (with a shower curtain that was heavy enough it was never clingy) and enough room on the balcony for a table and two chairs. As for dining, we ate at the extra fee Prime C restaurant once, and very much enjoyed the Chateaubriand for two and attentive service; however, we found the service and most of the food equally good to excellent in every dining area. Personally, I found the dining at the Patio outdoor restaurant by the pool, where we had lunch nearly every day, to be really outstanding - their seared tuna wrap and grilled meats, especially the lamb brochettes, were some of the best I've ever tasted. We also very much enjoyed visiting The Living Room on Deck 10 for a glass of wine and selections from their delicious tapas, which were available starting at 5pm every day, and were impressed by the wonderfully authentic German Buffet Lunch, complete with a polka band (I hope this gives you a good idea of how delicious and varied the ship's food offerings were - everyone we talked to enjoyed the food as much as we did.) For such a small ship, The Journey has amazingly spacious public areas including an extensive Library, the previously mentioned Living Room, and the Mosaic Cafe, where you could sit at a small table and enjoy excellent specialty coffees and pastries. As well, a big plus to this cruise were the many people we had great conversations with - the 600 passengers included Americans, Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders and a few Germans and Danes. Most passengers were very friendly and outgoing - even when we thought we would just sit at a table for two and enjoy a quiet meal, we would get to talking to the people at the table next to ours and have a wonderful time. The pool area was very nice and offered plenty of seating, although typically you had to scramble a bit to find shaded seating (there were lovely double wicker seats where we spent lots of time during our 6 sea days). We attended most of the Cabaret shows, which ranged from really entertaining to same-same. The two entertainers brought on board from Rarotonga were both outstanding - a stand up comic, Steven Scott, who was very funny, and a young man who did song and dance routines, Paul Hazel, who was very talented. Highlights of the cruise were the always interesting guest lecturers, talking on subjects ranging from volcanic activity to colonialism in the South Pacific, the White Night event (which was really fun and had some great Maori folk entertainment), and the Azamazing Evening (where we went to the Wellington Opera House to hear the Signature Choir sing selections accompanied by the Wellington Symphony Orchestra - it was just marvelous). We have cruised with similarly upscale Oceania Cruises in the past, but considering how much we enjoyed this cruise, we definitely will be sailing with Azamara again.
Response from BonnieM, CBO - Azamara Club Cruises
Narrow and a bit small, but lots of drawer, shelf and hanger storage, very comfortable bedding, ample seating (in the cabin and on the balcony) and a small but efficient bathroom. Soothing, well maintained decor.
Quick and efficient tenders brought us to the port where shuttles in to town were waiting. Very cute, friendly small city with a beautiful beach.
One of the most attractive cities we've ever visited. We are thinking of emigrating to New Zealand!
Another lovely coastal city. We wish it hadn't been so windy as we would have loved to have rented bicycles and ridden to the beautiful beach we could see from the ship.
Auckland is a marvelous city. We joined a free walking tour, and it was one of the best tours we've ever taken, with an extremely well-informed volunteer tour guide, For more than 2.5 hours we took in many of the sights and really felt that we'd gotten to know quite a bit about the city and its history. After the tour we took the train to Mount Eden and hiked up to the crater rim - fascinating! The Interpretive Centre is not to be missed - it was a great experience, especially for kids.
Unfortunately, we weren't able to tender to the Island because of bad weather and sea conditions.
We boarded at this port, so we didn't get to see much, but we will be back - the Atoll is amazingly beautiful!