Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 408 out of 500
Accommodation: 156 out of 200
Food: 292 out of 400
Service: 320 out of 400
Entertainment: 78 out of 100
Cruise: 294 out of 400
Overall Score: 1548 out of 2000
Azamara Journey Statistics
Size: Small Ship
Cruise Line: Azamara Club Cruises
Former Names: Blue Star, Blue Dream, R6
IMO Number: 9200940
Builder: Chantiers de l’Atlantique (France)
Original Cost: $150 million
Entered Service: Feb 2000/May 2007
Length (ft/m): 591.8/180.4
Beam (ft/m): 95.1/29.0
Draft (ft/m): 19.85/6.0
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel (18,600kW)/2
Passenger Decks: 9
Total Crew: 407
Passengers (lower beds): 676
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 42.7
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 1.6
Cabins (total): 338
Size Range (sq ft/m): 151.0-818.0/14.0-76.0
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 249
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 6
Wheelchair accessibility: Fair
Cabin Current: 110 and 220 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 1
Hot Tubs (on deck): 3
Self-Service Launderette: Yes
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: No
Onboard currency: US$
An informal ship with country-house decor and fine food
Overview. The Azamara Journey, virtually identical to Azamara Quest in features and fittings, suits mature couples seeking to get away from the crowds aboard a contemporary, mid-size ship with a wide range of bars and lounges, at a slightly lower cost than the luxury lines.
The Ship. The ship’s exterior has a deep blue hull, and white superstructure topped by a large, square blue funnel. A lido deck has a tiny swimming pool, and good sunbathing space. There is no outdoor walk-around promenade deck, although a short jogging track encircles the pool deck (one deck above it). The uppermost outdoors deck includes a golf driving net and shuffleboard court. There are no wooden decks outdoors, but they are covered by a sand-colored rubberized material.
The interior decor is in good taste, and is a throwback to ship decor of the ocean liners of the 1920s and ’30s. The public rooms are spread over three decks. The reception hall has a staircase with intricate wrought-iron railings. A large observation lounge (The Looking Glass) is high atop the ship. This has a long bar with forward views - for the barmen, that is, as passengers sitting at the bar face aft. There’s a bar in each of the restaurant entrances, as well as a Martini Bar. There’s also a Mosaic Café, a Luxe Casino, and a shop (Boutique C).
The Drawing Room (the ship’s library) is a beautiful, restful room, designed in the Regency style. It has a fireplace, a high, indented, trompe l’oeil ceiling, and a good selection of books, comfortable wingback chairs with footstools, and sofas. Smoking is permitted only in designated spots on the open decks.
Standard drinks and wines are included (premium brands cost extra). Gratuities to housekeeping and dining staff are included in the fare. Shuttle buses are provided free when needed in ports of call. Note that an 18 percent gratuity applies to spa treatments. Big niggle: art auctions simply don’t belong to a nice product like this!
Accommodation. There are several suite and cabin price grades. The price you pay reflects the size and location of your chosen accommodation. All have so-called butler service (but they are simply better-dressed cabin stewards). All of the standard interior and outside-view cabins (the lowest four grades) are extremely compact units. Azamara Journey calls them staterooms, but they are simply cabins - and rather tight for two persons, particularly during cruises longer than seven days. The bathrooms are postage-stamp-sized and you’ll be fighting with the shower curtain, as well as storage space for toiletries. The standard cabins cannot, in any sense, be considered luxury, and even premium is stretching it a bit.
All cabins have two lower beds that can be converted to a (sleep together) queen-sized bed, good under-bed storage areas, flat-screen TV, good closet space, thermostat-controlled air conditioning, hairdryer, direct-dial telephone and voicemail, and 100 percent cotton towels. Most cabins also have a personal safe, and refrigerator with minibar.
For the extra cost, it’s wise to choose a suite or cabin with a balcony. Some cabins have interconnecting doors while 18 cabins on Deck 6 have lifeboat-obstructed views.
Deluxe ocean-view cabins with balcony. Approximate size: 215 sq ft (20 sq m); balcony 38 sq ft (3.5 sq m).
Sunset verandah cabins. Approximate size: 215 sq ft (20 sq m); balcony 154 sq ft (14 sq m).
Sky Suites and superior exterior view cabins with balcony. Approximate size: 323 sq ft (30 sq m); balcony 57 sq ft (3.3 sq m).
Royal Suites (Decks 6, 7). In reality these are large cabins, as the sleeping and lounge areas are not divided. Approximate size: 538 sq ft (50 sq m); balcony 173 sq ft (16 sq m).
Penthouse Deluxe Suites with balcony. Providing the most spacious accommodation, these are fine, large living spaces in the forward-most and aft-most sections of the accommodation decks (particularly nice are those overlooking the stern, on decks 6, 7, and 8). Approximate size: 603 sq ft (56 sq m); balcony 215 sq ft (20 sq m). Suite occupants get priority boarding, tender service, specialty dining venue reservations, light bites at 4pm, in-suite spa treatments, in-suite portrait sitting, free espressos/cappuccinos, bottled water, and silk-wrapped hangers. Note that suites/cabins located at the stern can suffer from vibration and noise, particularly when the ship is proceeding at or close to full speed, or maneuvering in port.
Dining. Discoveries, the main dining room, has around 340 seats, a raised central section (conversation at these tables may be difficult, due to its low ceiling height), and open-seating dining. There are large ocean-view windows on three sides, several prime tables overlooking the stern, and a small bandstand for live dinner music. The menu changes daily for lunch and dinner, and wine is included. Adjacent to the restaurant is a Martini Bar, with a cozy fireplace.
Other dining options. Aqualina Restaurant is at the aft of the ship on the port side of Deck 10; it has 96 seats, windows along two sides, and serves Mediterranean cuisine. A $70 per person Tasting Menu includes wine.
Prime C is located at the aft of the ship on the starboard side of Deck 10, and features premium-quality steaks and grilled seafood items. It has 98 seats, windows along two sides, and a set menu.
Both Aqualina and Prime C incur a $25 cover charge (no charge for occupants of the top-grade suites).
The Windows Café has indoor and outdoor seating (combined, for just over 150, not really enough when cruising in cold areas or in the winter months). It is open for breakfast, lunch, and casual dinners, and incorporates a small Sushi Café.
All dining venues have open-seating dining, although reservations are needed in the Aqualina Restaurant and Prime C, where there are mostly tables for four or six (there are few tables for two). Suite-grade occupants get unlimited access. All cappuccino and espresso coffees cost extra.
The Mosaic Café serves Italian coffees, as well as teas and pastries (no extra cost). Additionally, a Poolside Grill provides fast-food items (some items are grilled to order). A self-serve soft ice cream machine is located adjacent to its beverage station. Coffee and tea are free 24 hours a day.
Entertainment. Celebrity Cabaret, located forward, is the venue for all main entertainment events. Evening entertainment consists of a mix of classical concerts, revues, comedy, and drama.
Spa/Fitness. The Astral Spa has a gymnasium with some high-tech muscle toning equipment, an extra-cost thalassotherapy pool, and several treatment rooms. The spa is staffed and operated by Steiner Leisure. An ‘Acupuncture at Sea’ clinic provides treatments that are operated independently of the spa (but also as a concession). Outside on the Lido Deck, there are a small swimming pool, two hot tubs, and a jogging track (one deck above the pool).