Great itinerary and superb service on Azamara Journey: Azamara Journey Cruise Review by connecticut06

Azamara Journey 5

Overall Member Rating

Great itinerary and superb service on Azamara Journey

Sail Date: June 2010
Destination: Baltic Sea
Embarkation: Copenhagen
We spent two days in Copenhagen prior to the cruise. The Admiral Hotel in the Nyhaven section of the city was wonderful---a nice view of the water directly across from the opera house. It was quite warm and sunny throughout (I regret packing all those warm clothes). We explored Copenhagen on foot on our own and had a great time. The reviews were right---it's awfully expensive but quite enjoyable.

The Journey embarkation process was a breeze (we arrived by taxi at a time when no groups were checking in). Once on board we enjoyed a glass of champagne and were able to turn our hand luggage over in the reception area so we could head to the lunch buffet unencumbered. There wasn't a long wait before our cabin was ready. The only sour note---the soundproofing between decks isn't good. Cabin 6017 is above the Cabaret Lounge and you can "enjoy" the show even if you've not actually seeing it. The cabin itself was quite comfortable and we really enjoyed watching the 2AM sunset from More our balcony.

The breakfast buffet was comprehensive (beware an overloaded plate if you want to try everything). We typically ate at the buffet for lunch as well. The new policy of serving a complimentary (and generous) house red and house white wine during lunch and dinner was much appreciated. Open seating at dinner allowed us to meet a number of other passengers. We found the food to be quite good and beautifully presented (especially the desserts which were works of art). We had gone to the specialty restaurants on a prior cruise and weren't motivated to dine there this time.

As we left the ship in each port, Azamara provided complimentary bottles of water, which came in handy given the unusually warm temperatures. The itinerary was great. We went on an overnight tour to Berlin and Potsdam (SPB Tours). Three days in St. Petersburg turned out to be enough only to scratch the surface (Alla Tours). Stockholm on our own exceeded my expectations. Tallinn was relaxed and quaint stop. Helsinki was a bit boring, but it's nice to have a break from rabid sightseeing.

The shows ranged from pretty good to pretty painful, but that's not what we cruise for. Eric the cruise director is a marvelous performer---don't miss the show if he's in it.

Disembarkation was very smooth. We grabbed a cab and enjoyed one more night in Copenhagen before heading home. It was a wonderful trip. Now I plan to review a ridiculous number of photos and get nostalgic. Less

Published 08/08/10

Cabin review: 2A6017

Located above the Cabaret Lounge. Poor soundproofing. Otherwise fine. Enjoyed the balcony.

Port and Shore Excursions

We opted for an overnight SPB tour in Berlin as it's a very long drive from Warnemunde (3-3.5 hours). There were 8 of us. On day one we went to the must-sees in Berlin (Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, site of Hitler's bunker, Holocaust Memorial, Pergamon Museum, remains of the Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, etc. A lot was necessarily packed into the day. Being a museum junkie, I would have wandered for hours (days?) on Museum Island had I been able. The tour focused on what most people want---WWII history---though I would have enjoyed a bit more about Prussia. We stayed at the Swissotel (quite reasonably priced, very good service and a fine breakfast). Day 2 ---we were off to Potsdam to visit Sans Souci and the site of the Potsdam Treaty signing. Both were enjoyable. We had 2 different guides, both expats and well educated in German history. One caution---even though all the materials from SPB say you can use a credit card, they claim their machine has been broken for a year and you will have to venture off for an ATM (could be quite a problem, as the 2 day tour cost for a couple exceeds the daily limit most banks put on ATM withdrawals). All in all, I'm glad we did this and I can cross Berlin off my bucket list.

Read 153 Berlin Reviews

For some reason (ignorance?), I had low expectations of Stockholm. What a pleasant surprise. Azamara provided a complimentary shuttle from the dock to the center (walkable, but rather long and parts unpleasant). On day 1 we were let off by the Opera House and walked to the Vasa Museum. Quite impressive---not to be missed. One of the best museum presentations I've seen. The old city is a nice place to stroll around, soak up the medieval atmosphere and have a bite to eat (my crazy husband had reindeer for lunch). The palace area is impressive and the cathedral quite beautiful. Day 2 we took in the art museum, went on a canal boat tour (advertised as historical though darned little history was involved unless you count Abba and Bjorn Borg as historical), saw City Hall, and went to the church where a number of Swedish kings are entombed. As we arrived there a concert was underway and the regular admission fee allowed us to enjoy some music as well as gawk at the medieval tombs. We had a wonderful 2 days in Stockholm.

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