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Azamara Journey Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
829 Reviews

Great close-in access to ports and wonderful surprise once onboard!

Azamara Journey Cruise Review by Wolrab

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Aug 2017
  • Destination: the Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Club Oceanview Stateroom (obstructed view)

This cruise was selected to celebrate our anniversary and to get out of the extreme summer heat of Florida! Azamara only offered the one sailing for this itinerary, or we'd have selected another time to go since it was PEAK tourist season in all the ports of call. That made the trip stressful at times dealing with the thousands of visitors and hundreds of busses at tight venues, particularly in St Petersburg Russia. We utilized independent tours so I can't comment on the port excursions sponsored by Azamara.

Regarding the ship itself, I submitted concerns about no extended weather forecast on the TV, pay-for-movies which were older than the ship (Dancing in the Rain!!!), the telephone, the short hours for the exercise room, absolutely horribly slow WIFI and a problem with dinner taking 2.5 hours in the main dining room causing us to miss the early entertainment. I was immediately contacted with either personal visits or calls from ship staff members resolving the issues that were possible. To other passengers' surprise they noticed the weather was now being featured along with the information from the bridge on channel 14 each morning! Kudos for such an easy issue being resolved! Dining room staff made great efforts to service us more efficiently allowing us time to enjoy the evenings' activities. The rest of my concerns couldn't be resolved on this sailing, but word was being sent up to corporate for consideration. Nice to know there is customer service out there when you ask for it!

I did bring other issues to their attention via their survey, which I haven't heard back from yet. The 'new' chairs in the Cabaret Lounge were quite deep and no lumbar pillows were to be had anywhere. I observed many people bringing items with them to make their time more comfortable while watching the events held there. My husband and I moved to the bar stools for a better fit. The ship schedule called for a power outage at 1400 hours on the last day in port. The same exact time many passengers needed the WIFI to access their airline check-in and boarding pass printing. However, due to the power outage, the computers went down, and no one would go up to the Drawing Room and reboot the computers/printers until after 1700 hours! Of course that caused a major backlog/line and way too much last minute stress! (We aborted and turned our phones off Airplane Mode taking a hit for a call to check in, etc.)

Regarding the food...even with some dietary restrictions I usually had no issue finding something on the menu or buffets that I could eat. But I did think that they always cooked too much bacon in the mornings as they'd chop it up and sneak it into dishes where it had no business belonging! I was totally expecting it on my ice cream one day! The final day continental breakfast left a whole lot out...like anything to eat after the initial rush ran through! We were into the Windows Café only 30 minutes after it opened and the trays were bare, coffee gone and juice machine sputtering. It took the two lone attendants quite a while to get anything else out, so we grabbed a protein bar from our suitcase and left the ship without much satisfaction there. The warmest day of the cruise the self-serve frozen yogurt machine was out of order, but fixed promptly for the next day.

Regarding onboard entertainment...aside from missing the first 3 shows, we found a mix of excellent to mediocre talent aboard. Considering the size of the ship, I guess it was overall pretty good. The Russian Troupe that performed for White Night on the pool deck were outstanding. They were followed by the ship's own band and vocalists belting out hits that had the dance floor jammed! Great night of fun.

But the highlight was in Gdansk Poland where the ship was welcomed in port by a marching band playing patriotic songs. That evening we had a surprise visit onboard by former Polish President Lech Walesa in Gdansk Poland. After listening to his comments (via an interpreter) about the Solidarity Movement, and pre-arranged Q&A, the passengers had individual photos taken with Mr. Walesa on stage. He was very insightful and amusing. Thank you AZAMARA!

I didn't give this cruise a 5-star rating because I think there were way too many 'little' issues that should never have happened at this level of cruise cost. Hopefully the company will heed the passengers comments and make immediate changes.

Wolrab's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation
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Cabin Review

Club Oceanview Stateroom (obstructed view)
Cabin 08 6039

The cabin is located between life boats so we had a complete view of the ocean/shorelines. However it was turned crosswise which caused the door to swing open into the bed, and therefore the floor space was quite limited for other furniture. The small desktop was useless as it was occupied by an unnecessary phone (could have been hung on the wall next to mirror), a bowl of fruit with plate/flatware, a bowl of flowers rather than a slender vase, the ice bucket/tray/glassware and the much necessary bottles of water. There was barely space to lay the electronic items while they were plugged in for charging! It was nice that they had 4 outlets, 2 110 and 2 240 which we could use adapters with. Upon initial arrival it looked like we'd be leaving everything in the suitcases, but once we started unpacking we discovered that between the 4 closet drawers, the 4 desk drawers and 2 shelves, and the two nightstands, we were able to totally empty the cases and stow them under the beds. But if you are claustrophobic I suggest you get a larger cabin!

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Tour guide was late, and didn't have the sign up to attract the group. Bus got caught in traffic, so was later. Once on road, we seemed to just go around in circles until breaking out and finally seeing different venues. Not worth 5 hours of time.

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Guide Alexander was excellent for such a young man, and was very interesting to be with. Walk wasn't strenuous and nice to sit and visit over light lunch.

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Panoramic portion was a yawn, but loved walking over to the island and getting away from stuffy museums and into fresh air and mother nature. The building and stories that accompanied them were very interesting.

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Vasa Museum was only worthwhile part of this tour. The tour was way too long and time spent wandering around on own need not be included in cost of the tour.

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The bus was late meeting us, and guide quite inexperienced. Gdansk was in the midst of a marathon, a handicapped wheeled race, a dragon boat race and Europes' biggest flea market, along with all the visitors wanting to see the old city. So crowds and road blocks made it quite difficult to enjoy the city. Our guide crashed a poor couple's wedding at the Oliwa Church...so embarrassing! If you pick this tour, hopefully it will not have all these uncontrollable issues to contend with.

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City Tour

I only gave this 2 stars as our particular guide went so far into detail about each thing we saw we were saturated with facts that we didn't want and didn't enjoy seeing what we could (along with the thousands of other visitors at each venue)! Other groups were lucky to have guides touching on best/worst and leaving the rest to the groups to decide what they wanted to see. After 3 days we really wanted out of this port! A pity since there were so many beautiful places to see. Thankfully photographs don't share the boredom we all experienced and will remind us of the wonders in this city.

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We walked around on our own, taking in the Fort and nearby sights closer to the ship.

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