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Azamara Journey

Cruise Ship Tour of the Azamara Club Cruises' Azamara Journey

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The Azamara Journey is one of two identical 694-passenger ships (the other being the Azamara Quest) owned by Azamara Club Cruises. The mid-sized Azamara Journey features exciting itineraries to worldwide destinations. This premium category ship includes many elements found only on luxury lines such as complimentary bottled water, soft drinks, and specialty teas and coffee; complimentary wine at lunch and dinner; no tipping; and excellent personalized service.

With only two ships, many cruise travelers haven't had the opportunity to experience this great little cruise line, which is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. However, on my 12-day Azamara Journey cruise to the eastern Caribbean, most of my fellow travelers seemed to be already planning their next Azamara cruise.

Let's take a tour of the Azamara Journey.

Azamara Journey Overview

Azamara Journey
Azamara Journey (c) Linda Garrison
Frequent cruise travelers will find the Azamara Journey to have a familiar layout. She's one of the original eight "R" class ships built by Renaissance Cruises. These eight ships are now owned by Azamara Club Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Princess Cruises, and P&O Cruises. The Azamara Journey has been carefully maintained, and the size (694 guests) is large enough to have multiple dining venues, but small enough to provide an intimate, comfortable cruise experience. The staff is both efficient and friendly, and it makes you feel important when they call you by name and then remember your earlier drink (or omelet) request.

The Azamara Club Cruises' motto is "You'll Love Where We Take You", and this destination-oriented cruise line sails much of the world with its two small ships. For example, the Azamara Journey was in the Caribbean for the winter of 2011, will travel to Europe for the summer and fall of 2011, and then reposition to South America for the winter of 2012. Many cruises are unique, and booking back-to-back trips is a good option for those with more time.

Azamara Journey Dining and Cuisine

Azamara Journey - Appetizer
Azamara Journey (c) Linda Garrison
The Azamara Journey has four main dining venues plus a couple of places to get snacks all day long. On my eastern Caribbean cruise on the Azamara Journey, I thought the food was excellent, with creative dishes and interesting menus. All restaurants serve complimentary wine at lunch and dinner.

The main dining room, named Discoveries, has open seating and features leisurely, multi-course, diverse, delectable meals. Of the two specialty restaurants, Aqualina serves Mediterranean cuisine and Prime C serves classic steakhouse fare. The Azamara Journey's buffet restaurant is named Windows Cafe, and has both indoor and outdoor seating.

The Azamara Journey also has 24-hour room service.

Azamara Journey Owner's Suite and Other Accommodations

Azamara Journey - Owners Suite Living and Dining Room
Azamara Journey (c) Linda Garrison
The Azamara Journey has interior, oceanview, and veranda cabins. The ship also has three levels of suites. All accommodations come equipped with many amenities including Egyptian cotton bed lines and duvets, terry bathrobes and slippers, tote bag, refrigerator with mini-bar, hair dryer, flat screen television, welcome fruit basket, and two lower beds that convert to queen-sized.

I felt like a millionaire when I stayed in one of the ten Owner's Suites on the Azamara Journey. These large suites are larger than some apartments and have 1.5 baths and a huge balcony. Our butler and cabin staff could not have been more helpful and were always friendly.

If your cruise travel budget can't afford a suite, the veranda cabins are quite nice. Being able to start the day by stepping outside onto your own private balcony in the morning and wondering what each new port of call will bring is one of the joys of cruising.

Azamara Journey Public Areas

Azamara Journey - Grand Staircase
Azamara Journey (c) Linda Garrison
The Azamara Journey public areas are elegant, quiet, comfortable, and tasteful. The furnishings and artwork are classic, much like your would find in a country club. There's no packed lounges, frenetic activity, or ongoing announcements like you will find on the mega-ships. The Azamara Journey has singers, musicians, comedians, and cabaret-style entertainment, but no large production shows.

Azamara Journey travelers can enjoy many of the same onboard activities found on larger ships--lounging on comfortable lounge chairs by the pool, gambling, playing games, taking dance classes, working out in the gym, having a spa treatment, and browsing the shops. The basic cruise experience on this smaller ship is much same as you will find on its sister companies--it's just more subdued and calmer.

Azamara Journey - Summary and Conclusion

Azamara Journey
Azamara Journey (c) Linda Garrison
Azamara Club Cruises was launched in 2007. Since the cruise line only has two ships and is dwarfed in size by its sister companies, it has taken a while for cruise travelers to discover the small cruise line.

Many on our 12-day Caribbean cruise either found the cruise line somewhat accidentally while surfing the Web or first heard about it from a knowledgeable travel agent. I spoke with many seasoned travelers on our cruise, and all but one person loved the ship and hoped to sail again on her one day. (One male guest missed the "excitement and big ship feel of Royal Caribbean".) The cruisers loved the varied itineraries and exotic destinations, but loved the ship's size, included amenities (wine and tips), and terrific service and cuisine even more. If the percentage of cruisers planning to spread the word about Azamara Club Cruises on other voyages is the same as on ours, this cruise line won't be a secret much longer.

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.

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