Good, the bad, the Ugly
Azamara Journey (RETIRED) 571 Cruise Review to Bermuda
Ship: Azamara Journey (RETIRED) 571
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Family (older children)
Reviewed: 8 years ago
There were lots of good things about this cruise to Bermuda, though the way Azamara claims to position itself in the niche just below Seabourn, Silver Sea, et. al. came off as a bit of a stretch. This was our eighth cruise (Silver Sea, Windstar, Star Clipper, Royal Caribbean) and right off the bat were glove-slapped by the nature of our fellow cruisers; not even close to "of the manor born." Lots of kids (two of which we ourselves brought), kind of what I'd imagine a "Carnival" vibe to be. Some had been offered this cruise in lieu of their booking on the (sold) Zenith and I was continually, involuntarily left wondering how llittle they had paid for THAT.
Check-in was as painless as it gets and a "positive" EXCEPT that the two hour estimate for our luggage arriving in the stateroom became five in reality. The ship itself is well appointed and pretty much lives up to what I'd hoped for. Nice touches throughout the common areas
Minor quibbles: No DVD in any non-suite room. The touted "flat screen" TV was LCD with non-existent off-angle viewing, and mounted (sans swivel) well aside the bed. The library and daily English tea therein was quite nice, however the dress code went abjectly unenforced, and the aforementioned Walmart crowd wandered in from the pool to take full advantage.
The closet doors in the stateroom cannot be opened or closed without a loud magnetic latch sound guarenteed to wake a sleeping cabin mate. The pool was miniscule and crowded. Lounges were scarce on the pool deck on sea days would be "claimed" with book and towel by absentee "owners" not seen all day.
The pre-cruise info said the ship arrived back in port at 7am and we planned our homeward flight accordingly. While technically somewhat true, the teaming hoards who had been crowding the choke points in the buffet all cruise long were stacked like lemmings trying to disembark until being allowed to get off no earlier than 9:45am.
The food on the ship was excellent. The main dining room, while ostensibly open seating with no set times, in effect kind've DID have them. If you weren't in the initial "throng" at 6:30, the wait to be seated would be intolerable until they all cycled out sometime after eight. But the food was top notch and that really is a minor quibble. The wait staff was eager to please and gregarious, though they seemed taxed at times and food was a bit slow coming sometimes. The two "specialty" restaurants (for $20-25pp upcharge after the first visit) were absolutely fabulous, however were unable to accomodate our first two reservation time/day requests attempted within minutes of boarding.
The fitness facility/gym is the best I've ever seen on any ship, and was clearly made to be that way by someone who actually uses one, and not some administrator buying from the lowest bidder. It is spacious, well ventillated, and has an intelligent mix of the latest Life Fitness resistance machines, free weights, spinning cycles, and top of the line treadmills that were never unavailable. If I cruise on the Jouney again, that will be one of the reasons why.
The docks used by Azamara in Bermuda are prime. I pitied the countless poor souls on the mega-ships made to dock at the far (and uninteresting) tip of the island at the Dockyards. Being on Front St. in Hamilton and in the heart of St. George were well appreciated.
Talks aboard the ship prior to arriving in Bermuda left me wanting more depth, more history, more overall interesting info about how it came to be like it is as we found it. One lecturer, an educator of some sort, I think got a free cruise out of giving two talks. One, at least, was a slide show that dwelled inanely on the similarities between the architecture of early New England and some features found on the structures of Bermuda. I didn't stay for the end of the first and skipped the second.
Other reviews I've read aren't too kind about the entertainment on
Pros: Dining (food quality), English high tea, fitness facilities
Cons: Some service annoyances