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19 Rome (Civitavecchia) to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Azamara Journey Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because as first time cruisers we knew what we did and didn't want. Very clear that we didn't want the whole rigmarole of tipping which as far as we could see added a lot to the advertised prices. We ... Read More
We chose this cruise because as first time cruisers we knew what we did and didn't want. Very clear that we didn't want the whole rigmarole of tipping which as far as we could see added a lot to the advertised prices. We didn't want to have to dress up so no evening suits or ball gowns (unless you fancied it). Time was another crieteria, as we'd not cruised before we didn't want to be stuck on a boats for ages. However, as it turned out we loved it. We got a free upgrade as we'd booked it nearly 2 years ahead. Ok so the shower is small but really this ship isn't enormous and if you want big then this isn't really a good choice. The accommodation was very clean and tidy and I think out attendants were in there at least 3 times a day tidying and putting in the programme for the next day, delivering yet more food (chocolates at bedtime). The staff were all very friendly and said 'welcome home 'every time you came back from a shore excursion.On the dock there were cool towels and drinks awaiting and on the way out they gave you water. Entertainers we're good, we thought westend standard.Food - we mainly ate in the self service but had one dinner in the a la carte. We tried to get into one of the pay for restaurants but we were told to 'book on the day' which got a bit lost in translation -so we waited for the day we wanted and it was already fully booked! Forgot that different meanings in USA. Never mind all food fantastic and they made my mum a gluten free cake for her birthday which was really nice. The staff and the photographer put up with our changing our minds about venue and timing in good part! The only thing we thought not good was the on board lecturer, unfortunately there was a lack of knowledge in any depth, went on about a number of things which didn't really link -i.e. The renaissance and Burke and Hare! I think it may have played ok to some of the passengers but all the people we spoke to didn't go back after the first one. Never mind this was such a small detail in what turned out to be our best holiday. Thanks you azumara and the team. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The Cruise was good, the ship is tired, the staff were great but they were no better than our experiences on Celebrity. In fact we felt the dining room staff on Celebrity were more attentive. The drinks policey did not really fit in with ... Read More
The Cruise was good, the ship is tired, the staff were great but they were no better than our experiences on Celebrity. In fact we felt the dining room staff on Celebrity were more attentive. The drinks policey did not really fit in with us, the wines were flat bottomed and cheap, we upgraded to the ultimate package but still had to pay $$$ for a port, which to me is ridiculous. The included drinks does not include any decent whiskey or gin. The wine glasses are cheap and small which I believe is because they offer free wine. If you upgraded to a wine package you were given proper wine glasses (Riedel) otherwise you needed to ask ??? The rooms were small as was the shower we knew this beforehand however the balcony will probably be a deal breaker for us. They are not private you can clearly see people on the next balcony. Room service was fantastic and you can always get a bed by the pool. Maybe this was because of the cruise, the other cruisers were very friendly, however all this wow the officers are ever present didn't see. My overall view is that I just don't get this Azamara are the best you will ever get. It was a great cruise but we always have a great cruise on Celebrity and didn't really see any difference in our overall enjoyment. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Embarkation in Civitavecchiar Italy was painless and quick. Upon entering the ship, which we were handed champagne we were also greeted by many "welcome back" by the some of the staff who remembered us from our last sail on the ... Read More
Embarkation in Civitavecchiar Italy was painless and quick. Upon entering the ship, which we were handed champagne we were also greeted by many "welcome back" by the some of the staff who remembered us from our last sail on the Journey in April. First stop Sorrento, which we easily made after the Captain announced that other ships were docking in Naples because they couldn't come in. Sorrento, Taomino, Chania were all tender ports. No problems at all with the tender boats, very quick and efficient. Two days in Agaba, Jordan, with the first night being the "Azamazing Evening." The idea and execution of getting the entire ship to a remote desert location went extremely well. We were greeted with wine or soft drinks along with some "nibbles". The entertainment put on by the Boudin's was nice, it just needed to be varied. It was 2 hours of watching the dancers do basically the same dance to basically the same tunes. I think most of us anticipated that we watch a variety of men and women dancers. We were handed pieces of homemade bread as we watched the women in the front make this bread throughout the evening. The setting was beautiful under the stars in the dessert and upon our return to the ship were greeted with champagne and music very nice touch that Azamara is known for. The next day we took the ship's tour to Petra, went very well. A fantastic tour, great guide and lunch was included at a nearby hotel. We had some free time to explore on our own, wonderful experience. Two Oman stops, Salalah & Muscat at both locations used the ship tours. I would have to say the tour in Muscat was much better, only because there is more to see. Last stop Dubai arrived in they afternoon. The Captain treated us to a panoramic arrival so we could see the skyline in it's entirely. Fantastic job, created a sailing in party--wonderful. The evening's ship tour of Dubai, not so wonderful. The tour was basically, "look how much money Dubai has", "we are the biggest in the world", etc. The brief time could have been better spent, than waiting in traffic. I would suggest not visiting the outer parts of the island on this tour. We missed our trip to the Souk due to the long time it took to visit highest building in the world and waiting in the horrendous traffic 5 p.m.. We were very late in returning to the ship most of us were grumpy and tired. We were very pleasantly surprised to find out Azamara had set out a late night buffet for us, so very thoughtful and appreciated. The food was great both in the MDR and Windows Cafe and the Patio. One evening had dinner at the Pation wonderful candlelight dinner, afterward a walk around the deck in the dark we were treated to some wonderful star sightings. Azamara has list of inclusive beverages, they have added two whites and two red wines to each day's selection, very nice. They have made some nice changes in the ship in re-decorating, very calming. Unfortunately, the clingy shower curtain remains in the stateroom shower. This is one trip, I do consider as a trip of a lifetime because it included Petra. The staff/crew of the Azamara made it extra memorable as well. Azamara has without question the most friendly, outgoing, attentive staff ever! We were also lucky to have Captain Johannes and Eric our cruise director, both the best in the industry. All the staff/crew from the cabin stewards to the Captain are approachable and they seem to all enjoy their jobs and work together as a family who genuinely like each other and the guests. They definitely know the concept of teamwork. Azamara is definitely our favorite cruise line. The attention to detail, the extra touches, great ports and the all inclusive trip, make it the best way to travel. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Great itinary and perfect weather. Just the tinge of excitement as to whether we would see pirates. We needed a relaxing cruise after a tough few weeks and this proved the best antidote to all the stress. We had been to the ... Read More
Great itinary and perfect weather. Just the tinge of excitement as to whether we would see pirates. We needed a relaxing cruise after a tough few weeks and this proved the best antidote to all the stress. We had been to the Mediterranean ports before so did our own thing but really enjoyed the new ports such as Aqaba, Oman and Dubai. Especially enjoyed going to Petra and the Azamazing evening in Wadi Rum. We found that the dining experience was greatly improved on previous cruises with better menus and choice. There was no need to use the speciality restaurants at all. Service was superb as usual. We had seen much of the entertainment shows before but still enjoyed them and the speciality acts were good. The guest lecturers were very interesting. This is not a cruise line suitable for children and no provision is made for them so we cannot comment on that aspect. What is particularly good about this line is the friendliness of the crew. It is like going home again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Did my first vacation as a Single/Solo traveler and was very impressed with how everyone aboard made me feel as though I was part of their extended family! The Captain was very visible and friendly, far more than any other Captain on ... Read More
Did my first vacation as a Single/Solo traveler and was very impressed with how everyone aboard made me feel as though I was part of their extended family! The Captain was very visible and friendly, far more than any other Captain on other cruise lines. He was always at the gangway when we were going on shore excursions and kept us up to date on what was happening. The respect that he showed for his crew and guests was excellent and this is what made this the best cruise I have taken to date. I'm sure that I put on a few pounds with the excellent food and the staff were very professional but also joked with our group when appropriate. Bar staff knew what I drank and brought it to me once they saw me arrive. The entire ship was well maintained and clean. Every crew member onboard was friendly and did their jobs beautifully. Will be booking another cruise on Azamara very soon! Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
My travel agent found this for me and it had a great deal on single supplements. The service was phenomenal and the ports were really interesting. I had a wonderful time and would travel with them again for sure. I was celebrating my ... Read More
My travel agent found this for me and it had a great deal on single supplements. The service was phenomenal and the ports were really interesting. I had a wonderful time and would travel with them again for sure. I was celebrating my birthday on the trip and my steward decorated my stateroom with happy birthday stuff on the day of my birthday. The bed was one of the most comfortable beds I've slept on. My balcony was lovely and roomier than I expected. The food was fabulous and the wine selections were great every day. The entertainment was top notch and the spa was wonderful. The cruise directors paid special attention to the singles and solo travelers and made sure that they had someone to sit with at dinner every night of the cruise. I met some wonderful and fun new friends on this trip and it will be one of my most memorable birthdays ever. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Chosen based upon past history. Entertainment was very good in terms of cruise director and entertainment group. Service and friendliness of staff was excellent. Great relationship between cruise director and captain. Food was ... Read More
Chosen based upon past history. Entertainment was very good in terms of cruise director and entertainment group. Service and friendliness of staff was excellent. Great relationship between cruise director and captain. Food was good but not exceptional, including the specialty restaurants. Staff was friendly and outgoing. No issues at all with embarkation and debarkation. Some of the ship excursions were more expensive than other shore excursion alternatives. Hard to keep all at the same level. Porto Empedocle was a total bust as a stopping point. Unless you wanted to take in ruins, there was not much of interest in this port. Cruise Critic reception was good and well organized - much better than many expected. Lecturer was hit and miss - some people liked the lectures, some found them less than enlightening. Refurbishment of the ship was very much a success - public rooms, staterooms and all other areas were much more open and inviting than before. Lightening up of the colour schemes game a much 'larger' impression of the ship in general. Very successful redo by the Azamara team. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
My husband and I liked the idea of cruising to Venice, Croatia, Montenegro and Corfu. We had a wonderful time. We sailed with friends from the UK who we met in Galapagos in 2005. The staff was outstanding and the captain was a very ... Read More
My husband and I liked the idea of cruising to Venice, Croatia, Montenegro and Corfu. We had a wonderful time. We sailed with friends from the UK who we met in Galapagos in 2005. The staff was outstanding and the captain was a very personable guy, always mingling with guests. He actually sat down with us at dinner one evening, very interesting gentleman. The first couple of ports were quite interesting and different, but after that the towns started to run together, started to look alike; the old city with the fortress wall, etc. but the cruise overall was fantastic. The only downfall was the size of the shower. You had to turn around in it in order to get your total body wet. I swear it was 2 feet by 2 feet. And don't try to shave your legs ladies, it won't work. The food was out of this world and our favorite waiter, Mohammed was excellent. Loved those 2 cruises! We did a back to back which was the greatest yet. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We have heard so much about Azamara Club cruises that we were thrilled at the opportunity to take this cruise. From the moment that we entered the ship we felt welcomed. The ship is not the most luxurious decor but it was clean and ... Read More
We have heard so much about Azamara Club cruises that we were thrilled at the opportunity to take this cruise. From the moment that we entered the ship we felt welcomed. The ship is not the most luxurious decor but it was clean and bright and comfortable. We had an outside cabin on the 4th floor Cabin#4033. It was sufficient for 2 people the usual put together bed and a couch with desk and chair. I would say that what sets Azamara apart is their staff. The ship stewards were attentive and efficient. My husband especially liked the complementary shoe polishing. The food was excellent we ate in the complementary dining room and at lunch we ate at the pool grill. We didn't go to any of the specialty restaurants. We didn't see the need. On two nights there were marvelous buffets set up poolside. There were roasted pigs at one and the other night which was called White Night where everyone dresses in white there was a surf and turf barbecue. The entertainment was a little different than the usual fare. One night a wonderful tenor from Naples sang in Italian. The cruise director and the crew entertained us with popular music poolside another evening. On two of the nights the cruise singers and dancers put on variety shows. There was always a DJ later in the evening. A piano player/singer was usually in one of the bar areas and there was some theme for the day corresponding with our stops. Of course there was the Azamazing evening which on this cruise was a concert with soloists in a medieval Cathedral in Mdina Malta. All of the crew were exceptionally friendly and solicitous and surprising called us by name and knew what our preferences were. I would definitely recommend Azamara to anyone who wants to enjoy a wonderful cruise where you feel special and are able to experience the culture of the ports you are visiting. We stopped in Italy, Sicily and Greece. There were on board lectures about the ports and locals on the ship at each port to assist with maps and advice for those passengers who wanted to explore on their own. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This cruise was my birthday present to myself and one of the best birthday presents I have ever enjoyed . The crew were the best I have experienced on a cruise, the unique style that added the little finishing touches that made my ... Read More
This cruise was my birthday present to myself and one of the best birthday presents I have ever enjoyed . The crew were the best I have experienced on a cruise, the unique style that added the little finishing touches that made my birthday so special. Fellow passengers I made friends with are indeed friends forever and already planning other Azamara cruises to meet again. The food was everything I would order in my favorite restaurant for 7 days and nights , My non alcoholic cocktails were amazing, My stateroom with veranda was perfect to sit and enjoy some quiet time in the late afternoon after experiencing the wondrous sites that we explored on the excursions when ashore. My decaf latte plus 1 or 2 mini fruit tarts allowed me to savor the culinary delight from the Mosaic Cafe , The officers BBQ on deck was a feast for all , the taste of the BBQ food, the smells coming from each station topped by the friends around a table by the pool soaking up the sun together with the ambiance of it all was incredible. I can say whole heartily that both the crew and my new found cruise friends made it a 7* experience for me. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This was our first Azamara cruise after several with Cunard and one each with Holland America & Fred Olsen. We booked cruise only and organised our own flights from the UK, hotel and transers. We flew to Rome a couple of days early ... Read More
This was our first Azamara cruise after several with Cunard and one each with Holland America & Fred Olsen. We booked cruise only and organised our own flights from the UK, hotel and transers. We flew to Rome a couple of days early & joined the ship via a shared shuttle service. Embarkation was very quick, cabins were ready and we just had time to finish our glass of welcome champagne before lunch in the Windows cafe. This is a much more pleasant experience than a lot of the self service restaurants we have encountered and it was lovely to sit outside and have our glasses topped up regularly. I was a bit worried about the size of the ship when I booked (my husband's favourite ship is the QM2) but we found no problems. We enjoyed the fact that the Journey visits smaller ports, you very rarely have to wait for anything and it was a very quick trip back to your cabin if you'd forgotten anything. Our balcony cabin was rather compact but had everything we needed. The balcony is also small but it was nice to be able to eat breakfast out there on the dining height table. Room service delivery was always prompt and it was nice to get a warning phone call. We generally ate at around 8.15 in the main dining room and shared a large table for the first few nights and then had a table for 2. Food was good as was the service. We enjoyed the More Inclusive offerings, my husband had chargeable beers a couple of times a day but we still managed to keep our account in credit (just). We were scheduled to call at Capri but when we joined the ship there was a letter in our cabins telling us that Azamara had been unable to resolve a dispute with the Capri boatmen over the use of tenders so we would be spending a second day in Sorrento. Azamara refunded the cost of the ferry across to Capri and the port charges. We really enjoyed our first Azamara experience, I thought I would miss the formality of Cunard but when flying to catch a ship it really does make more sense. Fellow guests were casual without being scruffy. There was a good mix of passengers of all ages and the ship seemed to have plenty of space, despite being small. It was always possible to get a seat in a bar or on one of the very comfortable loungers. For the size of the ship, there seemed to be a reasonable amount of open deck space, although anyone used to the jogging track on QM2 was likely to make themselves dizzy. We went to a couple of shows, the earlier ones were timed at 9.15 so we were still at dinner at that time. We missed the Captain's welcome & farewell parties for the same reason. Although the ship was open dining, it was suggested that on the first night we should dine at 8-8.15pm. That was fine with us but it need mean we missed the crew introductions. We only had 1 sea day on this trip and the activity offerings were a bit uninspiring but it was towards the end of the week and it was pleasant just relaxing on our balcony. We didn't take part in the Azamazing evening but those who did seemed to enjoy it. We made the most of having the ship almost to ourselves. We had dinner outside Windows watching the sun set over the Bay of Naples and then watched Mamma Mia under the stars. We didn't take any Azamara excursions, we prefer to do our own thing and that was very easy on this trip. We had a late afternoon flight out of Athens, I had hoped to be able to arrange a Late Disembarkation. This wasn't possible but the concierge helped me to book a day room in hotel in Athens. We spent a very relaxing few hours around their pool before heading off to the airport. We are looking forward to returning to Azamara soon.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
My husband and I recently spent 12 days aboard the Azamara Journey and I can honestly say that our experience was phenomenal.  Embarkation was a snap, and once on board, you notice how beautiful the ship is. All of the public areas were ... Read More
My husband and I recently spent 12 days aboard the Azamara Journey and I can honestly say that our experience was phenomenal.  Embarkation was a snap, and once on board, you notice how beautiful the ship is. All of the public areas were clean and neat, our room was just as promised (we enjoyed the balcony so much), the food was quite good (we ate in all of the venues, MDR, Buffet, Aquilina & Prime C), the entertainment was great fun (attended 10 out of 12 shows), even the casino wasn't too, too bad - lost $3 so I consider the casino GOOD. After dinner on our first night, we went up on the top deck, pushed two chaise lounges together, borrowed a couple of blankets and watched the stars go by. We were the only ones up there - simply magical. This was a taste of the BETTER things that came along. We stayed in room 7021 near the front of the ship. I was slightly worried about my husband getting seasick, but didn't feel much of anything even with a couple of rough days. I spent A LOT of time on the balcony - it was peaceful and quiet. The only constructive criticism I can think of, is the shower curtain. The size of the shower is small but adequate. However it would feel much more spacious if they would outfit the shower with a curved rod on top and weights on the bottom of the curtain to prevent it from blowing in on you - YUK. If your shoes get wet, put them in the closet with the fridge - it's very warm and toasty in there and they will dry by morning. The mix of port days and sea days was perfect - we enjoyed all of our ports tremendously (all of our tours were independent) and the sea days were delightful. And now for the BEST...it has to be the Azamara employees. The warmth and good cheer that all of the crew expressed has to be commended. Several times a day we saw our assistant cabin steward Maxym (always working) and each time he stopped what he was doing to ask us about our day - and he was sincerely interested - the entire staff is like that. This is why Azamara stands out - not only the quality of all of the amenities on board, and they are vast, but the quality of their staff - they make your cruise. I had to add another category SPECTACULAR because of Azamara's decision to stay late in Istanbul so we could watch the fireworks celebrating National Republic Day. We had front row seats, and it was a display not to be forgotten. After it was over, the captain showed our appreciation by blowing the horn - bravo! I probably will never see anything like it again, and I want to thank Azamara for making that happen - also Karen from CC for starting the ball rolling. I would just like to add one last kudo and that goes to Cruise Critic. Without this wonderful tool, we never would have had the trip we did. We met many nice people including our new cruising friends from the UK. Thank you for giving people a voice so we may share strategies, tips and experiences. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
I had some minor concerns before we left, as some recent reviews expressed concerns with the quality of the dining experience on board - we also have had some issues in the past with our meals in the Main Dining Room. This particular ... Read More
I had some minor concerns before we left, as some recent reviews expressed concerns with the quality of the dining experience on board - we also have had some issues in the past with our meals in the Main Dining Room. This particular cruise however, was stellar. If I thought hard, I could gripe about the size of the shower stall and the flapping curtain in the bathroom and maybe the Diamond Heart Duo that entertained poolside (they struggled sometimes) and the Bee Gees who seemed to be on the same CD at the same time in the breakfast buffet........ and that's about it. As you can see, this is scraping the complaints barrel here. There are inherent advantages and disadvantages on a smaller compact ship - but for us the positives are huge. Check-in is unbelievably quick - we were on board with our glass of wine, specialty dinner reservations made and photo taken in under 20 minutes. Tendering in ports is a breeze - we have waited over two hours to disembark from a larger ship with a tendering operation. On the two occasions that we were tendering on this cruise, we walked up to the exit and stepped straight on to the waiting tender. The smaller size makes it so easy to navigate the vessel - and the biggest plus is that you get to know both the staff and fellow cruisers in a way that is impossible on larger ships. Our dining experiences were uniformly positive this time and ranged from good to excellent. We always found an option on the Main Dining Room menu that was enjoyable, the specialty dining was the same high standard and the buffet food again, was imaginative and varied. The excellent service from just about every member of staff that we encountered in all dining facilities only enhanced our experience. Although our cabin steward was pleasant and VERY efficient, we didn't get to know him, unlike out last wonderful steward. This might be because our cabin was at the start of his run of cabins, so we hardly ever got to chat. The new semi-inclusive format is a real bonus, and we thoroughly enjoyed trying the house wines, the excellent specialty coffees and the bottled water on our excursions. The biggest standout on these two ships continues to be the incredible complement of officers and crew. Senior officers are everywhere, checking up and keeping an eye on things. I don't recall any other cruise line where the Hotel Director and the other senior officers are so visible to the passengers - all of them are willing to engage and converse, from the Captain down. Kudos to Azamara for their excellent training programmes for all crew members, as they are not only attentive, but seem to be genuinely enthusiastic about the cruise line and the ports of call. Our Cruise Director on this trip was Eric DeGray who is quite unique, and also made the cruise a very special experience. Our itinerary took us from Civitavecchia over to Greece, Turkey and then finally to Athens. We enjoyed all the ports of call, a highlight being the Independence Day fireworks that took place around us in the Istanbul harbour and on the Bosphorus Bridge. I'm not wholly convinced about overnighting - although we did enjoy our extended stays in both Istanbul and Athens, I would prefer a more port intensive experience with different ports of call. We are already eyeing up itineraries for our next cruise, and Azamara is going to be at the top of our list of cruise lines to consider. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Twelve days of heaven sums up our experience of the Azamara Journey cruise from Rome to Athens via Turkey. I write this report as someone who has previously cruised with MSC, P&O and Cunard. It cost about £500 more for the 2 ... Read More
Twelve days of heaven sums up our experience of the Azamara Journey cruise from Rome to Athens via Turkey. I write this report as someone who has previously cruised with MSC, P&O and Cunard. It cost about £500 more for the 2 of us than a comparable 12 day Cunard cruise. It was well worth the extra money. The two low points were the flights provided by British Airways at either end of the cruise. Seats are not bookable so you have to take pot luck on whether you can sit together. Food on the outward morning flight, where breakfast would have been nice, was a cheese roll. Food on the return flight was a hot meal - but not if you are vegetarian and don't book a special meal at least 24 hours before the flight. So we both went hungry. We are yet to establish whether this is a problem with Azamara or BA. From the minute we were met at the airport and our luggage was loaded onto trucks directly from the carousel, to the time we left the ship, nothing was too much trouble for the staff and our every need was catered for. We are both vegetarians and found the food in all the venues to be very good . On the one occasion when I did not fancy the vegetarian selection in the main dining room I was offered a number of alternatives. The two speciality restaurants ($15 cover charge) were excellent and the head chef in Aquilina prepared a full vegetarian off menu meal especially for us. The on board activities were varied and included a number of enrichment lectures. The entertainment was varied and good and it was easy to make the main show at 9.45 if you ate around 8.00. The evening show was always followed by live music and a themed disco. The itinerary was very good with long stops in all the ports and overnight stops in Istanbul and Athens. We were in Istanbul on a special national holiday and the captain arranged to stay an extra 4 hours so that we could enjoy a firework display which took place in front of the ship - indeed a highlight of the cruise. The Azamara excursions appeared to be interesting and well planned but, as usual, were expensive and we planned all our excursions independently with an American couple we met on the cruise forum. In total, our excursions cost us about the same as those organised by Azamara but they lasted longer, visited more places and we had our own independent guide. To summarise our outings, In Amalfi (Italy) we took a scenic tour of the area and a guided tour of Pompeii; In Souda (Crete) we organised ourselves and visited some of the local museums; in Bodrum (Turkey) we took a jeep safari high into the hills with an excellent driver and guide; In Istanbul we had a 7 hour guided walking tour (in pouring rain) on the first day and on the second day the same guide took us by taxi to the some of the more distant sights; in Ephesus (Turkey) we had a 7 hour guided tour of the ancient town and the surrounding sights; in Santorini we took a half-day guided tour of the Island including visits to 2 wineries (with abundant tastings) and finished by enjoying the sunset; In Athens we did a 3 hour guided food tasting walk around the city on the first day and a half day taxi tour of the sights on the second day. All our excursions were booked before left, using the internet and recommendations from the various cruise forums. If anyone is interested in knowing which companies we used I would be pleased to provide the information. I have refrained from describing the ship in detail because it is everything that it says in the Azamara brochure, plus a bit more. Azamara cruises include complimentary wines at all meals, all speciality coffees and shuttles and allows you to take alcohol on board for stateroom consumption. This helps to keep the on-board costs down. Our total bill for the 12 days was just $180 and we didn't go short of anything. Would we travel with Azamara again? A definite and positive YES, but unless the arrangements for flights are improved we will book the flights independently. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Azamara Journey Sept 19 - Oct 3 b2b. We are veteran ( 20+) cruisers with a wide range of lines from NCL to Regent. Our favorite has become Azamara Club Cruises. This was our 4th and 5th week on The Journey and in our opinion they are ... Read More
Azamara Journey Sept 19 - Oct 3 b2b. We are veteran ( 20+) cruisers with a wide range of lines from NCL to Regent. Our favorite has become Azamara Club Cruises. This was our 4th and 5th week on The Journey and in our opinion they are really getting it down. Our pre cruise involved a too lengthy UAL flight from Chicago to Rome. Too lengthy Due to the poor and unfriendly sky service of some flight attendants that either need to Find a happy face or retire. This was true on our return flight from Munich as well. When we arrived in Rome FCO, we discovered we were missing one of our 2 bags. It turned out it never made it on the plane in Chicago even though we had a 4 hour connection there. Our one night pre-cruise hotel was the hotel Borgo Del Mare, it used to be the Bramante in Chivitivechia. The same friendly staff greeted us there as on our previous stay. It's an excellent option for pre cruisers that do not want to tour Rome. I was on the phone with the airline a number of time along with the hotel trying to get our bag delivered before we embarked but to no avail. Alitalia was handling the lost baggage for UAL and they really did not want to admit that our bag was arriving Sunday morning on the next UAL flight. They said I should go to the airport and look for it. NOT!! They also wanted to try to deliver it to Naples and on to Sorrento. Sunday the hotel provided a free shuttle to the pier and embarkation was very quick and easy (still minus our bag) We were welcomed onboard by Monico one of the waiters We remembered from our previous voyages on the Journey. As soon as we boarded, I went to guest services where they told me to see the concierge about our bag. Well she took this job on and got it done. An hour before sailing we received a call saying our bag would be delivered shortly. No more stress so off to Aqualina the first night and Ivo and his fine staff did their usual great job. Dining overall was very good to Excellent with preparation, variety and presentation all top notch. I've read some reviews commenting on crowds in Windows cafe and not liking the themed buffets. Well there were some crowds at peak times but we never had a problem Finding a table and many offered to share. Breakfast had good variety and about the only thing I avoided were their pre made scramble eggs. It was worth a short wait at the egg station to get fresh cooked to order. The breads, cheeses, fruit etc were fresh and of high quality. Windows cafe in the evening was a great option always with sushi, stir fry's, Pasta, etc. White tablecloths good included wines, casual with a flair. I'm not sure how they can keep offering such a variety with such fresh ingredients. Discoveries restaurant in the evening was always good, sometimes very good to Excellent depening on what was ordered. Hint listen to the waiters, they know what to recommend. The veal chop there was as good as any I've had. After one night of not so quick service we had a table Philbert's section and after that always requested him. He is so friendly, quick and efficient. Big gold star for him. Specialty dining was just that, very special, Both Ivo and Mario took such good care of us and our group the second week. You cannot get a better meal on any ship at any price. Many gold stars for Azamara Specialty dining areas Aqualina and Prime C. Favorites were of course the sea bass, veal chop, rack of lamb and the filet in Prime C with a double order of foie gras on top. The $15 cover charge was well worth the price!!! Pool grill was a good option for a quick off meal time snack. The burgers were great, The cooks there so friendly and helpful. Poolside BBQ's ... what a fun option with high quality and great variety. Bar service for the most part was very good, we had some favorite bartenders that took very good care of us. Drinks were fairly priced except for a $10 glass of KJ wine. This was poured about 15 minutes before the included wines came out that were far superior. Included beverages, wines mostly good to very good. Cabin service especially the first week was excellent, moved to a different cabin the second week and unfortunately our steward was pretty new and just did not quite get it. Room service was good, items came as ordered and in a reasonable amt of time. We liked the option that after 6 you can order off the dinner menu. Shrimp cocktails came almost every day while we were getting ready for dinner.... Entertainment was much better than our January trip on the Journey. My only negative is the female half of the Diamond Heart Duo appeared to be in pain as she struggled to hold a note. She had a limited number of songs where she was ok, The rest seemed agonizing. Her male counterpart was very good but he needs a new partner. The rest of the entertainment was quite good. The ship's DJ had his own agenda and program and did not like any requests, I'd have booted him off at the next port if I could. Casino staff excellent as always, even had a good run one night at the blackjack table. Ships officers were always accessible and friendly. We were honored to dine with the Captain one night and it was a very class act coordinated by Juliana the future cruise sales specialist. (we even booked a future cruise with her while onboard) Ships condition was very good, even better than I remembered in January. Le Club Voyage perks really kicked things up a notch with free internet minutes, laundry, cocktail parties, wife even had a mini spa treatment comped. Ports of call..... Sorrento with the overnight stay, it gave us time to do a day trip to Capri, while very crowded still a fun day. We just bought ferry tickets near the tender pier. Quick and easy. Kotor, do not miss the sail in our out! What a gem, our second time there and this is one of our all time favorites. We hired a taxi for 6 hours and saw the countryside, visited some pretty upscale areas near the town of Budva. With the extended time in port, (midnight sailing) we went back into town and found a cafe where we had some wine and very fresh and tasty mussels and pasta. Dubrovnik, took the ships shuttle bus to the old town and walked the wall with the other thousands of tourist there for the day. Even though it was crowded it was quite a sight especially looking at all the new roofs on the renovated buildings after the war. Venice, well, its Venice what more can one say. We got off the ship right away and Toured on our own buying a 24 hr vaporetto pass. Venice day 2 when all our new friends from the first week had to leave, we Painlessly move to our different cabin with the assistance of guest services. We then did some more touring and shopping. Koper... We took the ships bike riding tour which was a good thing since others on their Own said not much too do. We were served a lunch of calamari, fresh bread, fries and wine after a 2 ½ hr ride thru the Countryside. Korcula We wandered the old town on our own, the ladies shopped and we had a very poor lunch at a local place where the entire staff appeared to be hungover. Kusadasi, we hired a local taxi for 6 people that cost us only 50 euro per couple for a 6 hour tour to the ruins, then a carpet factory stop (of course), a visit to a Mosque and a trip to the local bazaar for a last minute frenzy of leather shopping before the ship sailed. The taxi was a great value, our driver spoke good English and was very enjoyable. Santorini ... We rode the donkeys up the hill, hired an overpriced taxi, for a short tour, shopped and had one of the best lunches ashore on the entire trip. Try an authentic Greek pizza, WOW. Istanbul... well, you know its Istanbul we over-nighted on the ship then stayed 3 more nights at the White House Hotel in the old town. We really could have had more time there but It was pretty amazing. We hired a local guide for a walking tour of the old town, Took the "touristo" boat tour of the bosphorus hit the bazaars and even tried The Turkish waterpipes... (tobacco only of course). A couple words of caution, when we left the ship the first day we wanted to go to The spice bazaar for a while. A local taxi tried to sell us (6 of us) a mini tour That would drop us off there and then take us to the Grand Bazaar for a little while. He quoted us 120 euro which we refused. We walked down the road a bit flagged down A couple taxis who then charged us 10 Turkish Lira for both to get to the bazaar. This converted to about $7. We avoided the big rip YAY....Until a few hours later When we ventured out again, heard some music and checked out a bar with a Live band. We asked if we could come in for a drink and were warmly welcomed. We ordered a total of 4 Efes light beers, decided to move on and asked for the bill. Well, the waiter told me 160 Turkish Lira which converted to $106.00 for 4 beers. I questioned this and he said it included the cover charge that was never mentioned. He did say any additional beers would only be 15 Lira each. We then always asked!!! 2 weeks on the Journey went way too fast. Message to the the ships staff, you are what makes Azamara so special. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Cruise to the Holy Land 2009 "Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the ... Read More
Cruise to the Holy Land 2009 "Call me Ishmael. Some years ago - never mind how long precisely- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off- then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can." We decided to fly from our home in Greece, via Athens airport, the night before our cruise and stayed at Hotel Bramante. This had been recommended by a range of cruisers, mostly because they offered a taxi transfer from Fiumicino at a better rate than cab and limo companies I'd researched and they also provided free transfers to the ship the next morning. It was a very pleasant hotel indeed and we were thrilled with our choice. The breakfast room the next morning was full of people, mostly Americans, off on various cruises, though only one other couple were travelling on Azamara Journey with us and these two soon became good friends on board. Once at the cruise terminal we were checked in incredibly quickly, however and once on board and provided with champagne we began to relax in the gorgeous surroundings of the Journey. It's a small ship but wonderfully fitted out, with many features reminiscent of a gentlemen's club, with tasteful artworks and trompe l'oeil effects in various places. Inside our stateroom we were very pleased to find a bigger room than some of the reviews had led us to expect, with an excellent balcony. This was wonderful for us, since it had a good sized table at which we enjoyed breakfast most mornings. I was pleased to find room-service breakfast on Azamara is much than on Celebrity (and certainly better than the concierge menu), with lots of well-cooked and innovative 'set' dishes as well as a good choice of individual items. Breakfast always came within the requested time, heralded as usual by a phone call The 'butler' of which Azamara make a great fuss is only a flashy stateroom attendant (the butlers wear tailcoats!), but our man Manish was very good, providing an unobtrusive yet efficient service and keeping our room and bathroom scrupulously clean and ensuring we had plenty of water, ice, fruit and chocolates (the night-time pillow treats on Azamara are hand-made, served on a plate and not on your pillow and include such things as chocolate-dipped strawberries, hand-made chocolates and truffles.) Now, I've eaten in some very good restaurants in Britain and can honestly say that the food on Journey competes with the best of those restaurants. We ate twice in Aqualina and once in Prime C , originally intending to go back for more times (you're entitled to two visits but they'll let you have more if there are spaces) but decided that the main dining room, Discoveries, was extraordinarily good. I like the room itself very much and very much appreciated the way the maitre 'd understood quickly which table we liked best and managed to keep it for us every night, so that we could be served by the lovely and very funny Alex. It was in Discoveries that I had what I think might rank as the best meal of my entire life. The lobster main course was even better than the one we had on the Orient Express a few years ago and the dessert involved what I can only describe as a giant Belgian chocolate on my plate, together with a pot made of white and dark chocolate filled with chocolate mousse. What's not to like? Entertainment on Journey is mostly cabaret style, which suited us down to the ground. Musicians around the ship included an excellent harpist, a guitarist and a pianist/singer. Activities staff organised a range of events and both the guest lecturer Jon and excursions manager Jean-Michel gave excellent talks on ports of call. It was good to find that these talks did not include any of the usual 'here are the shops we want you to go to' and concentrated instead on what there was to see and the history and culture behind it. Much of what we liked about Azamara - and what made it a definite cut above Celebrity, is current sister company (though, apparently, Azamara will soon float on its own, though still as part of the RCI family) - were the little 'touches' that were provided at various times. All cabin grades get what amounts to concierge class, but with better extras, such as the two much better quality tote bags. Go for an early morning run round the jogging track and you'll find a table laden with jugs of cold juice and iced water; whilst you wait in the cabaret lounge to go on your excursion there's a table with coffee, tea and pastries, just in case you're still peckish so soon after breakfast. Good quality Elemis 'proper' bottles of toiletries are provided in the stateroom bathroom. Azamara are rightly proud that they don't hound you for every cent they can squeeze out of you like other ships. Like many fellow guests, especially our American, Canadian and Australian friends, we booked this cruise for its itinerary - we had two nights in Israel and two in Egypt, as well as stops in Italy, Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey - and we were not disappointed. The pyramids are awesome, absolutely breathtaking and I have no idea what those who complain about their proximity to the modern city of Cairo are on about. We did some very aggressive haggling with the peddlers at the pyramids and got some great prices on the items we'd set out hearts on buying. Perhaps our greatest coup was achieved by talking to the bloke in both Greek and Italian, neither of which he could speak, resulting in getting a fine table cloth for 2 Euros. 3 t shirts for 10 Euros was another good buy - 14 years previously I'd paid 1 British pound for a t shirt I still have (despite all the warnings from guides not to trust the stuff they sell on the streets) and expected some degree of inflation, but felt 3 for 10E was a good price. We opted to take the ship's tours in Egypt and Israel as we were nervous about booking private tours, perhaps with good reason - on the Egyptian tours there was a fully armed security guard on every bus. There were two passengers who did their own thing in Alexandria and didn't make it back for the sail-away, I'm sorry to say - but I'm glad it wasn't me. On our other stops we mostly did our own thing, having a splendid time on our first day in Sorrento where we bought some good quality Italian wines to bring home (as Greek wine is execrable) and scored some outstanding Xmas shopping bargains. In Rhodes, which we've visited before but never tire of (we were only there in September, in fact, as we have Greek family there) we went back into gorgeous Rhodes town for a wander and a spot of Xmas shopping before re-boarding the ship, which docks right outside the medieval city gates. Chios was a big surprise. It was the last day of the cruise and nobody felt much like doing any sightseeing, so nearly everyone just wandered ashore (the ship docked alongside the waterfront) and walked round the town. It turned out to be lovely - Chios is quite a well-to-do place and has a very lively, untouristy harbour town, which absolutely buzzed on a Saturday morning. We definitely plan to return, hire a car and see what we missed on the island. Disembarkation on Azamara is completely pain-free, civilised and easy; we were off the ship twenty minutes earlier than forecast, in our booked taxi and heading for the Corinth canal by 9.30am, reaching home within two hours. We left the ship at the end of the cruise feeling bereft - we made a lot of new friends aboard - it being a relatively small ship, it's so much easier to meet and get along with fellow cruisers - and greatly enjoyed meeting crew and officers regularly around the ship. We're back on Azamara Journey in a year's time to do the repositioning to Miami, but who knows if we'll hold out that long! Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
Embarkation: what a breeze on such a small boat and the staff took our luggage immediately unlike the experience of some others reported on cruise critic. RCI tells you that you can't board til 3p but from reading the forums I ... Read More
Embarkation: what a breeze on such a small boat and the staff took our luggage immediately unlike the experience of some others reported on cruise critic. RCI tells you that you can't board til 3p but from reading the forums I discovered many do board early and enjoy lunch on board. When we disembarked, staff told us that the Journey allows passengers on as early as 11:30am! I think we arrived around 1p- the entire embarkation process took about 15 mins. Staff- Azamara really shines here. The staff was uniformly outstanding and friendly. There's also a relaxed vibe on board- staff seems genuinely happy- not sure if that's really the case but it appears to be.Food-I would give it a B plus. Dishes ranged from terrific to a few mediocre things but if you get something you don't like, just send it back and try something new. Aqualina- we only ate here once and it was a disappointment- food did not seem to be as good as the main dining room and there was something about the lighting and vibe we didn't especially care for. Prime C was wonderful- since Aqualina shares the same kitchen and chefs I don't know why there should be a difference. Prime C was very beautiful, small, serene with outstanding wait staff. Good options for non meat eaters too.We ate here twice. Reservations were only available at the speciality restaurants for one night each but by arriving very early one night at Prime C (6pm) we got a table.The only food item I found unacceptable were the green beans- clearly frozen and dreadful but advertised as "haricots verts" on the Aqualina menu. These were fat, frozen ol snap beans not haricots verts.Fresh squeezed orange juice in the spa area was wonderful but oj delivered to the room for breakfast was poor and watery. Morning room service coffee also poor. But these are really our only food complaints, for the most part food was delicious and we ate ourselves sick. Ports- a dream come true to finally visit places I've read about for yrs. However, just as in the Caribbean, there are none that I would return to for a visit on a land based vacation with the exception of Ravenna, Italy. (In the Caribbean my exception is Antigua because of its breathtaking beaches).Rome- thought we would hate it- thought it would be dirty and chaotic. Wrong! Rome was clean and fantastic. We would love to return here some day.Sorrento- I've been obsessed with the Amalfi coast for yrs and was thrilled to finally get here but was surprised at the sort of seedy feel of the place. We hired a private taxi to take us up to Ravello. Unfortunately, his English was too good and he talked non stop but did take us to an outstanding restaurant in the village of Ravello. Ravello was very attractive.Corfu gray but we could see the outline of the hills and sea which were stunning. Corfu Town was quite seedy and downmarket. We had a very mediocre lunch here at Rex which other tourists were frequenting. We strolled around the fort area.Montenegro- took the walking tour of the old town- kind of interesting- then hired a taxi to take us up into the hills to a village famous for its ham and cheese. Views from above were breathtaking.Split- took the Palace walking tour- very interesting- then hired a private taxi to take us to a nearby village on the water which was overrun with tourists. Split is a large city with many new bldgs and not very attractive- Dubrovnik is supposed to be prettier.Ravenna- arrived on an official holiday- all the shops were closed but churches and mosaics remained open. A beautiful, affluent town with typical wonderful Italian food. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Wonderful azamara . What else can I say ,first class in every way ,from start to finish it was perfect ,well apart from 48hrs in isolation for minor stomach complaint on my husbands part may I add, but even then the staff could not do ... Read More
Wonderful azamara . What else can I say ,first class in every way ,from start to finish it was perfect ,well apart from 48hrs in isolation for minor stomach complaint on my husbands part may I add, but even then the staff could not do enough for us they were fantastic from our butler soraya and his assitant winston to guest relations especially nafera , hope my spelling is correct, and louise who was a fellow scot.They phoned our cabin at least 3 times every day to see that we had everything we needed, from meals to bottled water to free films, they were great. The ship itself was super everyone was very friendly, all the staff from the captain to the crew  of all the different departments. We are going on her sister ship the Quest in 2 weeks with 4 friends to celebrate my husbands big 60 and I am sure we will have the same wonderful time,hopefully without any need for isolation this time ,my husband has been well warned,but I am sure if the need arose that it would be carried out with the same professionalism as on the Journey. The reason that I joinened Cruise Critics was because of our great time on the Journey and I wanted to share my experience with fellow cruisers. So as this is my first review I hope all the experienced reviewers will forgive any mistakes I have made .Our trip from start to finish went very well ,no problems with flights or transfers they were well organised. In fact we were impressed at Rome airport as the rep even had a trolley for our luggage ready and waiting for us. on to the ship a welcoming glass of bubbly and no hassle having already done our check in on line .Meals were very good and the Aqualina and Prime C speciality restuarants excellent.Entertainment was first class ,the dancers ,orchestra etc very professional,in fact I much preferred the smaller more intimate setting and the audience participation than the more impersonal settings on the larger ships.The cruise director had a really good ,friendly manner and the guest acts were on the whole very entertaining.In fact I would find it very hard to try to find anything to complain about.One person who I better not forget to mention is the captains club representative Leisle,who gave us information about our next cruise which allowed us to upgrade to a balcony from an outside cabin at no extra cost .Our fellow cruisers were friendly and from many different countries which certainly made for some interesting discussions .So here we are 2 weeks to go till we board the Quest and I am sure another great cruising experience . Read Less
Sail Date April 2009
Azamara Journey Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 1.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.3

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