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Azamara Club Cruises: Azamara Journey

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Azamara Journey Review

Built in 2000 for Renaissance Cruises, which ceased operations in 2001, the former R6 was acquired by Azamara Club Cruises and launched as Azamara Journey in 2007—a sister ship to Azamara Quest. With fewer than 700 passengers on board, Azamara Journey is well

suited for her destination-rich itineraries. After an extensive renovation in 2012, she will emerge from dry dock with new carpets, upholstery, and a new color palette in public spaces. In addition, her hull will be painted in a new dark blue color. Azamara Journey offers a mix of diverse seasonal cruises in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, and the Caribbean as well as sailing to Asia and making transatlantic crossing to ply the waters around South America.

At 30,277 tons, Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey are medium-size ships and well suited to the somewhat more exotic itineraries for which they are deployed, whether in the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, or South America. The ships initially entered service for Renaissance Cruises and served in Spain under the Pullmantur flag until 2007. With their entry into the Azamara Club Cruises fleet, a new option is available to passengers who prefer the boutique-hotel atmosphere of a smaller ship without the luxury-class price tag.

Each ship has a variety of signature features, including the Martini Bar in Casino Luxe, a casual sidewalk café–style coffee bar, and the distinctive Astral Spa with an acupuncture suite and expansive relaxation deck with therapy pool. Each ship has two specialty restaurants. The exclusive experience includes butler service in suites and concierge-style amenities in all categories of accommodations.

In a surprise move parent company Royal Caribbean International announced the formation of an all-new, deluxe cruise line in 2007. Two vessels originally slated for service in the Celebrity Cruises fleet, which were built for now-defunct Renaissance Cruises and acquired with the purchase of the Spanish cruise line Pullmantur, were the basis for the new line, Azamara Club Cruises. Designed to offer exotic destination-driven itineraries, Azamara Club Cruises presents a more intimate onboard experience while allowing access to the less traveled ports of call experienced travelers want to visit.

When a cruise line sets a course to break the mold in an industry where the product falls into traditional categories—mainstream, premium, luxury—it's an exciting opportunity for experienced travelers who may want more than what a traditional cruise can deliver. More interested in traveling than cruising, they may still prefer the comfort and convenience that only a cruise ship can deliver in some exotic locales. Azamara Club Cruises gives this underserved group of travelers what they want—a cruise experience that's a bit different. Not quite luxury but more than premium, Azamara offers a deluxe cruise with concierge-style amenities for which you'd have to upgrade to a suite on other cruise lines.

In addition, since its launch Azamara Club Cruises has added a number of more inclusive amenities to passengers’ fares, with no charge for a specific brand of bottled water, specialty coffees and teas; shuttle bus service to/from port communities, where available; standard spirits, wines, and international beers throughout the ships during bar hours; and complimentary self-service laundry.

Extensive overhauls of two ships that formerly sailed for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises have resulted in interiors that are brighter with the addition of light, neutral carpeting throughout, and splashes of bold color in the upholstery and drapes. Areas that once appeared stuffy are now welcoming, with contemporary artwork further enhancing the decor. Each vessel weighs in at 30,277 tons and carries only 694 passengers. While the size affords a high level of intimacy and makes the ships easy to navigate, there is no skimping on features normally abundant on larger ships, such as private balconies and alternative dining. Cruisers may feel that they've checked into an upscale boutique hotel that just happens to float.

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What You Should Know

Pros

  • One staff member for every two passengers ensures unparalleled service
  • Bartenders in the Martini Bar are willing to follow your instructions to mix your favorite variation
  • The quiet sounds of a grand piano add to the ambience of the Drawing Room

Cons

  • Aft-facing Sunset Verandas on decks 6 and 7 are simply standard balcony cabins with larger balconies
  • There are no children’s programs or facilities
  • Upscale amenities don’t quite make up for the lack of bathroom space in standard staterooms
Ship Stats
  • Crew Members 390
  • Entered Service 2000
  • Gross Tons 30,277
  • Length 593 feet
  • Number of Cabins 347
  • Passenger Capacity 694
  • Width 95 feet
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Feb 27, 2017

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Feb 27, 2017

What a journey it was. Highly recommend taking a cruise on this ship

Had a great time with the wife, but probably wouldn't recommend taking kids here since there aren't any activities for kids. The service and attention we got was much better than any other cruise ship we've been on.

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Jan 13, 2017

Dubai to India

We will never sail with Azamara Club Cruises again. In November we took a 14 day Azamara cruise from Duabai to India on the Azamara Journey. An account of our charges and balance due was shown on our room TV each day. The staff at the Customer Service desk on board verified that the TV balance was accurate. On the last evening of the cruise I viewed the TV before going to pay our bill. Although we had no charges on the last day due to being away

on an excursion, that evening the bill showed multiple charges for the day and increased the overall balance due by about $200. When I went to the office to dispute the bill, the staff indicated that the TV accounting wasn't necessarily accurate and only the final bill was accurate. When I asked why several bogus charges/credits were added on the last day, I was told it was to conform the on-line bill to the accounting kept by the billing office. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told there was no one available. After returning home I wrote a lengthy letter to the President of Azamara, Mr. Larry Pimentel and also attached the letter to the on-line contact form provided by the company. I have received no acknowledgment or response to my letter. Our complaints are not related to the ship, the crew or service provided. Nevertheless we feel the billing issue and the failure to respond reflect badly on Azamara Club Cruises.

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Aug 24, 2014

Mediterranean

This cruise was billed The Ultimate Monaco Grand Prix Cruise. It is nothing of the sort. As first time cruisers we have nothing to compare the boat with so we assume everything on board was how it should be regarding service, entertainment and food etc. but we were interested in attending the Monaco grand prix and the organisation around this was shambolic. It had obviously been organised by someone, or someones, who had no experience or knowledge

of Grand Prix events. We are lucky to have been to a number of Grand Prix around the world but others on the cruise were going for the first time, many as a lifelong ambition for a special occasion and for a number of these the event was a disappointment. Anyone with the most cursory knowledge of F1 motor racing knows that the qualifying event prior to the race is of great interest to anyone attending the race. Although not expecting to attend the track for qualifying it was clear that no arrangements had been made to screen the event on a big screen TV in any of the public rooms on the boat. After representations from passengers a screening was provided in the Casino bar which proved totally inadequate for the number of people wanting to watch. It was also in German because the boat was not equipped to receive any of the live feeds from English speaking broadcasts. For a cruise marketed as an Ultimate Grand Prix event this was pathetic. The other arrangements for the Grand Prix were also shambolic. Whether passengers were able to take food and drink off the boat to the Grand Prix depended on who you asked. We made arrangements but other passengers were told that it was not possible, with one staff member giving the frankly ludicrous advice that it was illegal. Those attending the event through the on-board excursion were also subject to problems caused by the sheer inexperience and ignorance of the organisers. We were happy to go to the event independently but those relying on being escorted by the organisers were initially faced with a departure time that would have delivered them to the start of the race but missed all the supporting racing and events that are the build up to the race itself. Again this was only changed following representations from passengers. So this was in no way a Grand Prix cruise, merely a marketing ploy designed to add passengers to the itinery that included a day moored off Monte Carlo. If you want a Mediterranean cruise it's probably fine. If you want a Grand Prix experience these people are bungling amateurs and you will be better off organising it yourself.

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Dec 27, 2010

Repositioning

This is the first cruise we have taken non any Azamara ship, which was part of the old Reinannance Cruise Lines that numbered their ships R-1, etc . This ship has been renovated in 2007 and is considered an intimate, 694 passenger ship with an elegant and relaxed atmosphere. According to an announcement on board as we sailed there were 531 passengers, thus the cruise was indeed relaxed. This cruise was 14 night transatlantic voyage that left Rome

on November 15, 2010 and schddueld to arrive in Miami on 11/29/2010.PS---this is a “no tip” cruise ship with staff tips included in the fare.We found the crusie to be excellant. DINING-----On deck 9 is the Windows Café and outside the Windows Café Outside. The serving areas are well spaced and staggered throughout the area thus there were never long longs to get any particular type of food. For example there were areas on two sides where one could get omelets or eggs cooked to order. Service is extra-ordinary as waiters seem to be everywhere and each asking if they can help you. This is the most helpful and friendliest ship crew we have ever met. If you coffee cup was a little low they seemed to know and would offer to go get a refill for you. Ask for an English muffin and away they went. The food was as good as the service. Lunch time was the same. During the evening there was a theme such as Italian on the first night. What a great change from the crowded long lines on some other cruise ships we have been on. Lunch is served as is dinner. Dinner will include white table clothes and excellent choices for entrees. Once again service is outstanding. Fret wine is served. There is the main dining room, Discoveries, with open seating, where you can also take your meals. The service is outstanding and the food is excellent. Some, if not the best we have had on any cruise and we just came off a Cunard cruise ship a few days before boarding this ship. CABIN----Perhaps we were a little greedy when we saw the balcony cabins all listed for the same discounted price as we went for a “sunset balcony” on the aft of the ship. After the first night of rough seas we begin to think we had made a mistake by not purchasing a cabin more in the center of the ship. This is a small ship and some tossing is expected however we actually got more than we bargained for. The seas were rough, some rain and wind made using the outside balcony next to impossible. And we call ourselves seasoned cruisers. The cabin was very nice with decorations in shades of tan, green and brown with dark woods. The bath is small however more than adequate. There is a fully stocked refrigerator with soft drinks and bottled water being complimentary. Fresh flowers and a fruit basket were also in the cabin. A 24 inch flat screen TV offered numerous programs in English. The TV offers several news channels as well as movies. An alarm clock was in the cabin, along with plush robes and outside balcony seat covers. The TV set welcomes you by name. Ice was delivered to the cabin twice daily and more if you request it. The room is not overly large however more than adequate. The beds, as on many cruise ships are actually twin beds and if one ask they can be put together to form one large bed. In our cabin the mattresses were soft and were uncomfortable for us. The door on the left side of the desk rattled all night long for the first three nights. It was not until day four that I found the door was actually warped and did not fit well. By leaving the door open, the rattling noise stopped. On another cruise we found the sliding glass door did not fasten well and it too produced a rattling sound throughout the day and night. Sometimes if one looks for the problem the issue can easily be resolved without having to call engineering. Air conditioning worked great. Our cabin and balcony was thoroughly cleaned each day with the result being some of the best service we have ever received. There are fresh flowers in the room each day. You can also have your shoes shined for free by leaving them with your cabin steward. And I should not fail to mention that the bathroom amenities are by ELEMIS. Now if you are really in need of additional service the cabin attendant will assist you in unpacking your suitcases as well as packing. Each evening there are d’oeuvres left in the cabin. WHAT IS THERE TO DO ABOARD A SMALL SHIP?------First don’t let the smallness of this ship be a negative. After being on some of the mega ships this was a most refreshing experience. There are plenty of activities. Bingo, ping pong, lectures, poker tournaments, etc. Then on a repositioning cruise such as this one there is plenty of time to take it easy, relax and read a book. SHORE TOURS------The cost of shore tours is among the most reasonable we have seen on cruise ships; however the selection of tours available is somewhat limited and that is most likely due to the fact this is a repositioning or transatlantic crossing. There is a tour desk located on deck 4. Also on that deck is a small medical center and an office where future cruises can be reserved. TIP---if you have already booked your cruise make your tour reservations on the internet and your tickets will be delivered to you cabin upon arrival. The tour into Gibraltar included several stops with the most notable ones being the Barbary Apes, the cave, the airport and the sea coast area. These were all worth the small price paid for this tour. The tour at Cartagena was not as good except for the church we saw at Murcia. The inside is one of the most beautiful in all of Europe. In the Canary Islands we had a nice tour until the tour group let us off at a place loaded with souvenirs and of all things a ½ Euro pay toilet. That’s 65 bents US and everyone refused to pay, It’s bad enough when you get “dumped” at a souvenir stand and really bad when you have to pay to use their rest room. If anyone purchases anything we did not see them do so. Such tour companies need to be taken off the ship’s tour contract. We will be writing them asking that action be taken. SUMMARY - This was an excellent cruise and we very much enjoyed the repositioning cruise and the ship. This is a very small ship and there is not nearly the activity one finds on the new larger ships, thus we think your preference should be the controlling factor. For us we really enjoyed the smallness, meeting the people and having limited distances to walk whether it was to the dining room of fitness center. If one is looking for all the glitz, Broadway lights, swimming pool slides and wall climbing events, then this ship will not fit for you. If you are looking for an upgraded slower pace with outstanding food and service then the Azamara Club should be tried.

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