We have just returned from a 10-night sailing on the newly refurbished Azamara Journey. When I tell many friends that we cruised on Azamara, the most common question is “who?”. While I admit the only reason I know about this cruise line is because I’m in the business, since cruising on Azamara, I want to shout out to everyone about this line.
Azamara is a small cruise line owned by Royal Caribbean International. Each of their two ships holds just under 700 guests. Azamara is a mostly inclusive cruise experience with standard beverages (including alcoholic beverages) and gratuities included with your cruise fare. Also included is an Azamazing Evening event, which is an evening shore excursion that is nothing less than spectacular. We paid for specialty dining and shore excursions, that was pretty much it.
After taking a course on Azamara last year, I decided that we needed to try out this cruise line. Since we had been to Europe twice in 2015, we were looking for an experience in North America. We found the March 26 sailing to fit into our schedules and pricing was not bad. As previous Celebrity Cruise guests, we were already members of Azamara’s Le Club Voyage which offered a discount for the March 26 date.
I can tell you that the service onboard was nothing short of spectacular. The food was very good to excellent, with the specialty restaurants consistently excellent. We enjoyed the best steak dinner we have ever had, on land or at sea, when we attended the French Chef’s Table.
The service onboard was something that we won’t soon forget. Servers, bar staff, managers, officers remembered you when they met you again. And with the size of the ship, you were constantly seeing familiar faces. This also rubbed off on the guests. While I will admit there are times on every cruise line when you run into “entitled” folks, the vast majority of cruisers we met were friendly and welcoming. We made several new friends onboard. I truly think the cruise line does that to you. We have been on other cruise lines where you just don’t interact with other guest. You just don’t feel like it. I think that is reflective on how you interact with the crew. If they are outgoing and friendly, you feel like being the same.
In future blogs, I will talk about more details with this cruise, including a cost comparison to our Disney cruise last year (here’s a sneak preview – Azamara cost us considerably less when all was totaled). We enjoyed this sailing so much that we are considering a group cruise in the future. What do you say? Sounds like fun, right!?
In the interest of full disclosure, I received an onboard credit of $100 for Bill and I to try both specialty restaurants, which we planned on doing anyway with our onboard credit we received from a booking promotion. My opinions and impressions of this cruise line are independent of any perk I received. While a travel agent rate may have been available, we booked at prevailing rates and promotions, getting a discount only because of our prior sailings with Celebrity, a benefit any other previous Celebrity cruiser would have been eligible for.