For our first cruise embarking from a port outside the U.S. and our first cruise w/ Azamara, what an experience South Africa was! Not that we’re new to cruising. It’s just that the 25 or so cruises we’ve taken over the years haven’t been quite as memorable or immersive as this one. Our key takeaway… We really do prefer the atmosphere, service, and conviviality of smaller ship cruising, and the Azamara Journey delivered on all w/ an amazing itinerary and excellent value.
Many discussion threads on cruise critic praise Azamara for their service. We certainly observed and enjoyed excellent service, except at Mosaic cafe (the coffee bar), w/ plentiful crew and staff. Whether we were in Discoveries MDR, Windows cafe, or The Patio, the crew was engaging and helpful and most definitely contributed to a pleasant onboard atmosphere. Moreover, we did see and chat w/ ship officers, including the captain & master, several times throughout the voyage. As a traveler and guest, they do make you feel appreciated.
While we have been so impressed w/ the cuisine on Oceania, and it has been a standout compared to all the other lines we’ve sailed, we were delighted w/ the choices, presentation, and focus on local South African specialities that were served on the Journey. The overall level and quality were not quite up to Oceania’s gold standard, but the cuisine we enjoyed on the Journey was very good. Not fans of buffet dining, we were genuinely taken aback by the high quality, variety, and presentation at the Windows cafe. We do think Azamara sets the standard here, and white tablecloth and table service make this a surprisingly pleasant evening dining venue especially seated on the aft Sunset Veranda.