We recently took our first Azamara cruise on the Azamara Journey, and I must say I was quite impressed. Our first small ship, luxury level experience – roughly 650 passengers and 400 crew. A pretty good ratio and it showed. Service was GREAT, food was actually amazingly good, and we met some really great people and even probably made some new lifelong friends.This particular cruise was a 5 day repositioning cruise.
The ship was small and elegant. I actually quite liked the smaller ship – easier to get everywhere and no LONG walks down long corridors to get to your room. Everything was easy access.
We typically aren’t buffet people, but the food was SO GOOD, even on the buffet, we were torn as to where to eat each day. Never long lines or fighting to get to the food at the buffet either. Even the breakfast omelette line was easy – they took your order and then delivered your omelette to your table, no standing around waiting for it. I thought that was really awesome and a great feature. It also prevented the typical “crowding” at the buffet bar. The seating also struck me as elegant. They had table service, as always, for drinks and such. If you forgot something, like lemon, hot sauce, or ketchup, the wait staff was happy to accommodate by getting it for you
Sit down dinners in the main dining room were also all deliciously amazing. Wait staff was terrific and extremely accommodating. The menu varied every night and every meal was delicious. Breakfasts were also amazing! I had the absolute best Asparagus Benedict that ignited my love for poached eggs.
They had a wonderful “white night” dinner party on the main deck, so tastefully done and so much fun. They setup tables elegantly covered in white tablecloths, had an incredible buffet including large shrimp, pastas, salads and more, and table service for drinks. Everyone dresses in their sharpest white digs, and dines al fresco on the main deck. There was live dance music, and we had loads of fun dancing on deck.
The ports were all tender, and it was so easy, on and off. Our first stop, we had a full 12 hours in St. Bart’s, so my husband and I decided to rent scooters and see as much of this 8 square mile island as we could. Being used to my Harley Davidson Softail Deluxe, I figured a scooter would be no problem – but I forgot to make sure my feet reached the ground before choosing my scooter – haha, I wound up on my tippy toes. I was certainly rethinking the flip flops at that point. The roads were very steep, and winding, and the scooter took some getting used to, but we managed to see a lot of the island, take in some terrific views including Anse de Grand Saline, and even got to spend some time at Eden Rock and Pearl Beach in St. Jean and watch the planes take off from the airport right over our heads on the beach.
There’s some great shopping and restaurants right by the port, it’s a nice area you can walk around in and shop. Shell Beach is in walking distance from the port if you don’t want to hop a cab (or rent scooters! 🙂 )
Our only other stop was in Tortola, an 8 hour stop. We got off the ship, hopped in a taxi and headed over to Cane Garden Bay where we had some “killer” Painkillers at Pusser’s at Myetts, right on the beach. The taxi ride was very scenic, too!
I can’t leave out our departure port, San Juan. We arrived a day early and stayed at the Monastery Art Suites, a beautiful little boutique hotel that is very conveniently located in the heart of Old San Juan. We were so pleasantly surprised with our stay here, and would definitely stay here again. It’s important to know that there are definitely stairs to climb here, no elevators, although only 3 floors, so not that big a deal other than getting your luggage up there. 🙂 . Also, cars can’t get on this road, so you’ll be dropped off at the corner and have to walk about half a block.
The rooms are very nicely decorated and very clean. There’s a note on the wall not to flush toilet paper but to place it in the garbage, which was of course was strange for us to do, but we obliged.
Old San Juan is a great little city of shops, restaurants, and bars, and so much fun. We stopped in a shop to buy my husband a hat and then headed to our favorite little spot, Birra & Empanadas, which is exactly that, beer and fresh made empanadas that are so freakin’ GOOD. I had the spinach and cheese while my hubby had the chorizo. Mmmmm so good, we can’t wait to go back so we can have more!
All in all, we loved the Azamara Journey, and we can’t wait for our next Azamara cruise. Two key features that we love about Azamara
- Drinks are included. The base package drinks are included, and it’s a pretty good package if you aren’t too brand picky. You also have the option of upgrading to premium, ultimate, or a wine package for an additional fee. We opted for the Ultimate package, and it was well worth it based on what we drink. Others in our group had the base package, and they were very happy with it also.
- Well-timed longer stays at ports of call. Gave us plenty of time to see and get a feel for the island or city.
As I mentioned earlier, we found we met so many really nice people that were friendly and conversational. We also loved that it was mainly couples on board, most in our age group or older, I’d say the majority were mid forties to mid sixties, although there were some younger and some older. On our particular trip, there were literally only 2 children on the whole ship. Overall, we had an amazing experience on the Azamara Journey and like I said, we can’t wait for our next Azamara cruise!
Want more info on cruises? Susan’s Travel will provide you with information on all of the various cruise line options available to you and help you book YOUR perfect cruise!