I have recently had a very enjoyable tour of Azamara Journey and had the most superb lunch onboard. Azamara is rarely in the UK so when I received the invite to go and see her in Liverpool I knew I might not get another chance. Journey was in the middle of a Round UK cruise which had departed from Copenhagen and had mainly north American passengers for this itinerary.
The weather in Liverpool on Sunday was glorious and I had to keep reminding myself that I wasnt in the Mediterranean. Azamara Journey looked quite large standing alone at her berth on the Mersey but in reality she is a baby by today’s standards at 30 277 tonnes and only 180 metres long. She carries 694 passengers and is of course one of the original R8 series of ships. I have seen 3 of the R8 series now, so feel I will know P&O’s Adonia like the back of my hand when she arrives next May.
There are a few inside staterooms, 9 obstructed view staterooms, and deck 3 and 4 has oceanview staterooms. Being such a small ship the staterooms aren’t massive but the use of space was good and all very well thought out with a high standard of furnishings.
Club balcony staterooms had a balcony with upright table and chairs. Sunset View balcony cabin were basically the same but had a deeper balcony overlooking the aft.
I loved the Owners suites overlooking the aft corners of the ship (I would!) the layout was superb and offered a separate sitting and dining area to the bedroom area, plus there was a large area of fitted wardrobes and bathroom with Jacuzzi bath with luxury fittings. A lovely large wrap around balcony with table and chairs plus sun loungers. The Ocean suites were similar but overlooked the bow of the ship.
Windows Cafe on deck 9 had seating both inside and outside and a very good selection of hot and cold food. Decor was very tasteful and not at all cafeteria like. There were also table and chairs on the aft deck for al fresco dining, and a bar area for drinks and deck service.
On deck 9 by the pool is the aptly named Pool Grill offering all the usual poolside fayre.
Discoveries is the main dining room down on deck 5 aft. Discoveries Lounge is ideally situated just prior to the entrance to the dining room which would make a perfect venue for pre and post dinner drinks. The restaurant itself is open sitting so guests can dine at whatever time they wish during the evening. Tables of all sizes with nice comfortable dining chairs.
Prime C on deck 10 is one of the alternative dining options offering a fine selection of steaks. Along L shaped room which wrapped around the aft, so im sure it would provide stunning views.
Aqualina is in the opposite position on deck 10 and is only usually open during the evening, but we were fortunate to dine in here for lunch. Aqualina offers a Mediterranean inspired menu. The food and service, was amazing, beautifully presented and a fillet mignon which really did just melt.
Both Aqualina and Prime C carry a $15 cover charge, apart from for suite guests.
Whilst mentioning the dining I should also point out that all wine is included with all meals, and they do just keep pouring! During dinner there are two high quality selected ‘house wines’ which change on a daily basis. Other wines can be purchased.
At the top of the Grand Staircase on deck 5 is Mosaic Cafe offering teas, coffees and very yummy looking cakes and pastries. A great people watching venue.
Outside Deck area
The main pool deck on deck 9 looked very inviting. Teak sunloungers with very deep mattresses lined the main pool areas. Two Jacuzzis either side of the main pool. There was the Bar at one end and a small stage at the other and perfectly adequate for the size of ship and amount of passengers. For those that wanted to sit quietly in the shade there were some luxury double bed loungers and selection of single ones and comfy chairs.
Sundeck had more setaing area and shuffle board and a jogging track wrapped above the pool are on deck 10.
The spa area was situated forward on deck 9 with all the usual treatments available including acupuncture. A small well equipped gym with views out to sea.Outside and foward of the spa was a thalassotherapy pool and tranquil seating area with sunloungers and rattan furniture. Fresh iced water and fresh fruit is always available.
Bars and Lounges
The Looking Glass offered panoramic views out across the bow of the ship. During the day it is very much a quiet reading area but during the evening live entertainment and dancing is offered and becomes the hub of the social scene.
Casino Luxe is the other main bar area, which as the name suggests is the Casion are but also offerws a more lounge type area close to the bar area and plenty of bar stools for those that prefer to sit at the bar.
Beyond the Casio is the main Cabaret Lounge and is one of the largest rooms on the ship. Entertainment is much more low key with no dramatic Las Vegas style productions.
The main staircase that runs between decks 4 and 5 is a major feature on all the ex R8 ships and is very titanic like in a miniature sort of Way.
The Guest Relations desk is at the foot of the stairs and Shore Excursion is just to the side. Azamara like to bring the destination onboard and where they can they bring local teams onboard to provide on the spot local knowledge of attractions etc.
Azamara offers a sophisticated, yet relaxed, way of cruising. The size of the ships means that they can offer far more exciting destinations than many of the other larger cruise lines. The fact that gratuities, unlimited house wines with meals, soft drinks, bottled water, tea and coffee, plus shuttle buses in port are included makes them exceptional value for the type of cruise that it offers.