Azamara Journey

Azamara

Ship information

Azamara Journey

About Azamara Journey

For destination-intensive itineraries, excellent food, a comfortable onboard experience that lets you leave your tux and gown at home and service with a genuine smile, you can't go wrong booking a cruise on Azamara Journey.

A cruise on Azamara Journey feels a little like coming home, whether you've cruised on the ship before or not (and dozens of repeat cruisers are on nearly every sailing). With fewer than 700 passengers onboard and only five decks with public spaces, it only takes a day or two before the ship feels familiar; you've found your favorite spot to sit in the Living Room, you know where to find free cookies at any time of day and you start recognizing faces (crew and fellow cruisers alike).

The ship's size lends itself to an amiable onboard atmosphere as well. The bulk of the tables in both Discoveries Restaurant and the buffet are designed for two people but pushed close enough together that mealtime conversations across tables are a common occurrence. Trivia sessions, which are held three times most days, encourage team building; strangers quickly bond over themes such as nature, the body, sports and music.

Service is also friendly, as well as efficient, especially in the restaurants. If you find wait staff you like and return to them on a regular basis, they'll get to know your favorite drink order, how you like your coffee and, if you're like certain reviewers, which gelato flavor you need to cap off every day.

Unlike dining and bar service, cabin service can be hit or miss, with several cruisers reporting their room stewards never introduced themselves, nor pointed out some of the unique quirks of the rooms (like the USB chargers hidden underneath the reading lights). It also took us three days to get extra hangers despite asking several times. But ice buckets were always filled, towels rehung in the bathroom and the cabin kept clean overall.

Another hallmark of the Azamara Journey experience is its destination focus. One of just two ships in the Azamara Club Cruises fleet, Journey stops in a mix of standard and off-the-beaten path ports, offering longer stays and at least one overnight on each sailing. On a Greece itinerary, for example, the ship not only stopped at the island standards of Mykonos and Santorini, but also visited Skiathos and Hydra, while on a Central America sailing, the ship not only stopped at Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, but also at Acajutla, El Salvador and Huatulco, Mexico.

The culmination of Azamara's destination focus is the complimentary AzAmazing Evening that's held at least once per voyage. These events are billed as one-of-a-kind and might feature events like a classical music concert among the ruins of Ephesus, a recital by three tenors on a hillside in Tuscany or a ceremonial performance by indigenous people native to Mexico in the foothills of the Sierra Madres. Another special evening that's held every cruise regardless of destination, the White Night Party, is also unabashedly popular, judging by passenger participation.

Cabins

Azamara Journey has 24 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

5 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

5 Outside types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

8 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

8 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

8 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

8 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

8 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

8 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

8 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

8 Balcony types to choose from

Suite Cabins

6 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

6 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

6 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

6 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

6 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

6 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

8 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

Theater

The Cabaret Lounge on Deck 5 serves as the ship's main theater and is in use throughout the day and night. It's a small space with a low ceiling -- there's room for just 450 people, but the lounge's neutral color scheme, dominated by light gold brocades, creams walls and ceilings and gray and silver carpeting, saves the space from feeling claustrophobic. A large dance floor also gives the lounge a roomier feel.

While the Cabaret Lounge is used during the day for various activities, nighttime is when it really comes to life. Most evenings begin with ballroom dancing, sometimes hosted by the pair of Ukrainian ballroom dance champions who are part of the onboard entertainment ensemble. Two shows always follow (usually at 8:15 and 9:45 p.m.), with more ballroom dancing in between. Acts are not always the same, so cruisers have to pick and choose which show they want to see and which to skip (unless they decided to do both and have an early -- and fast -- dinner).

Two to four nights per cruise, the main show is a medley of song and dance numbers performed by the onboard ensemble of six singers and dancers, and sometimes joined by the cruise director (depending on which cruise director you have). As with most cruise entertainment, the singers are better at some songs than others, and the dancing leaves a bit to be desired. Side note: Several of the more gregarious singers and dancers pull double duty as the hosts of daytime activities including trivia, origami, Scattergories and dance classes.

Azamara also brings on guest entertainers for part or most of all sailings. Acts might include comedians, magicians, ventriloquists, singers and pianists. The quality of the acts ranges from just OK to excellent. On our sailing, as an example, the ventriloquist did a great job keeping his mouth shut while the dummy talked but didn't always get the laughs he was going for, while the guest soprano singer got a rousing round of applause every time she sang.

Daily Fun

Daily activities on Azamara Journey tend to be cerebral in nature (with the notable exception of bingo), with a variety of trivia contests, bridge sessions and cooking demonstrations. In addition, you'll find destination lectures on the countries and ports visited along your sailing, as well as special interest lectures by a guest speaker. On our sailing, an expert in DNA gave talks about how DNA is used to solve cold cases, identify the graves of famous people and link ancient pharaohs to each other, among other practical and historical purposes. Art lectures can be informative as well, but ultimately are sales pitches for Park West. Sometimes the senior crew members or the cruise directors hold Q&A sessions. Activities are held in the Cabaret Lounge, Living Room, Spirits Bar and Discoveries Bar.

Less scholarly daily fun might include dance classes, shop and spa seminars, dart and Ping-Pong contests, charades, open slot play and Texas Hold'em tournaments.

At Night

Evening and nighttime fun on Azamara Journey is a bit subdued, with an hour of unhosted ballroom dancing kicking off the night in the Cabaret Lounge starting at 5:30 p.m. Light live music -- a solo guitarist or pianist -- continues on and off in the Discoveries and Spirits bars, as well as the Living Room, until around midnight. The bulk of the evening entertainment doesn't begin until after dinner; the first show in the theater starts at 8:15 p.m.

DJ'd music and dancing begins at 11 p.m. in the Living Room and is typically over within two to three hours at the latest.

When the ship is out at sea, the small casino (Deck 5, midship) is open for business. Casino lovers might find the selection paltry with only four game tables available (two blackjack, three-card poker and roulette), and a selection of penny, nickel, quarter and dollar slots.

Couples looking to celebrate a special event or rekindle their romance can book Azamara's extra cost Nights in Private Places, which transforms the spa deck into an intimate space for a tete-a-tete with a candlelit dinner served by a private butler, thalassotherapy pool and canopied daybed dressed in the finest linens for sleeping under the stars. In the morning, the butler returns to serve breakfast. Nights in Private Places can be booked with the concierge onboard the ship; reserve early as it fills ups fast.

Azamara Journey Bars and Lounges

You'll find a handful of small bars on Azamara Journey; most are occupied only in the evening before and after dinner. (Discoveries Bar, for instance, is packed before dinner, but pretty much empty the rest of the day.) The exception to rule is the much larger Living Room, which gets going in the afternoon and stays busy for the rest of the day. Spirits Bar can also get busy during the day if an important sporting event is on. (We quickly learned there's not a seat to be had when England plays Ireland in rugby.)

Discoveries Bar (Deck 5, aft): The spot for pre- or post-dinner aperitifs is located right outside Discoveries Restaurant. During the day, the space is used for activities like origami and Scattergories; in the evening, a guitarist plays light tunes for cruisers stopping to have a drink before or after dinner.

Spirits Bar (Deck 5): Also known as the Casino Bar, this bar is located next to, but not inside the casino. A selection of standard beers, wines and cocktails are available. The space is furnished with a handful of armchair and table clusters, as well as a large-screen TV showing sporting events on ESPN and ESPN2. During the day, the bar is used to host activities like trivia and spa seminars. Live music, either a guitarist or pianist, is on offer in the late evening. 

Pool Bar (Deck 9, mid): This small bar, right next to the pool, is not a place to hang out, but rather the spot to grab a drink to take back to your lounge chair. It features the same drinks as all other bars on the ship.

The Living Room (Deck 10, forward): One of the main additions Azamara Journey received during its 2016 refurb, The Living Room is an elegant, yet comfortable, space designed to be the spot for cruisers to hang out in for socializing, reading, wine tasting, card playing and more. The Living Room features a pleasing blend of neutral colors with dark woods, and bold cranberry and purple chairs, surrounded partly by floor-to-ceiling windows, which give the space lots of natural light.

The versatility of the Living Room makes it the most popular spot onboard Azamara Journey. Depending on the time of day, the space can be a quiet and comfy spot to read a book, a lively area for hotly contested trivia, the go-to hangout for a late afternoon snack accompanied by a solo guitarist, or happening nightclub, crowded with dancers kicking up their heels to tunes ranging from the Beatles to ABBA to Michael Jackson, during theme nights.

Be sure to check out the touch tables, which you can use to send an e-postcard to friends and family for free or look up information on where you want to cruise to next. You'll also want to climb into one of the birdcage chairs at least once; suspended in the air on a metal hanger that resembles a birdcage (thus the name) and stuffed with plush dark purple cushions, they're more comfortable than they look.

From 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., the small Tapas bar serves up hot and cold tapas dishes.

Sunset Bar (Deck 9, aft): One of the most scenic spots on Azamara Journey, the Sunset Bar is located behind Windows Cafe. During the day it's a great spot to chow down on buffet fare, while watching the ship's wake disappear behind you. In the evening, it's a quiet, peaceful spot for sunset spotting.

Azamara Journey Outside Recreation

Pools

Azamara Journey has one saltwater swimming pool, flanked by two freshwater hot tubs on Deck 9, midship. The pool is not overly large so can get crowded on a hot day, though it's mostly used to cool off rather than for swimming laps. The pool is surrounded by loungers, with about half in the sun and half in the shade. Loungers do not typically fill up until 10 or 11 in the morning on a sea day. A smaller thalassotherapy pool is located on the ship's spa deck, which is free for top suite passengers but costs extra for all others. The pool and hot tubs are open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Except during lunch, when the ship's solo guitarist plays light music for about an hour, the pool deck is a quiet space for reading, chatting and cat napping.

Recreation

A shuffleboard court is located on Deck 11 and a Ping-Pong table is on Deck 10. The jogging track is also on Deck 10; it takes 13 laps to hit a mile.

Sun Deck

The Sun Deck on Deck 11 forward is a quiet spot for reading and napping in the sun. The loungers are rarely, if ever, all taken. You'll also found plenty of loungers on Deck 5, port and starboard.

Azamara Journey also has a private sun deck on Deck 9 that is part of the Sanctum Spa. Along with lounge chairs and day beds (including one beneath a billowy canopy), you'll find the ship's thalassotherapy pool here. Access is free for top suite passengers. For all others a day or full-length pass is required. Day passes are $23.60 per person; for the length of the cruise (not including 20+ day cruises), it's $99 per person or $160 for a couple. The space is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., except when it's reserved for Azamara's Nights in Private Places (which it often is) and closes at 5 p.m.

Azamara Journey Services

Azamara Journey's main passenger services are located on Deck 4, in a cozy lobby where you'll find Guest Relations, Land Discoveries (the line's shore excursion program), the Concierge Desk and the Loyalty and Sales desk. Concierge services are available to all passengers, and these can include arranging celebrations, getting flowers and booking the ship's Nights in Private Places experience for couples. Right next to Guest Services are stacks of Pursuits (the daily program), as well as photocopied packets of news articles from regional newspapers (USA Times, The Canadian, Britain Today, Australia Today). Scattered in the lobby are comfortable couches and wooden armchairs with leather cushions. You'll also find a giant touch screen TV with a world map, which you can use to explore the destinations Azamara visits.

Cruisers interested in browsing and purchasing one or more of the many photos taken by the two professional photographers on the ship can stop by the tiny Photo Shop (Deck 5, mid). Located in the hallway on the other side of the wall from Spirits Bar, cruisers can browse their photos on digital touch screens. A small number of cameras and photography accessories are also available for sale.

Azamara Journey only has two shops (Deck 5, mid): Indulgences, a high-end jewelry and watch boutique, and The Journey Shop, which sells an assortment of Azamara-branded souvenirs, country club-style clothes (think Lacoste polo shirts), perfumes and colognes, Swarovski crystal jewelry and varied sundries and toiletries cruisers might have forgotten.

The Drawing Room (Deck 10) is the ship's elegant library, complete with faux fireplace and stocked with books and cozy couches and chairs.

The Card Room (Deck 10) is tucked away on one side of The Living Room and is the place for hosted bridge games, jigsaw puzzle solving and board games. Right next to the Card Room is In Touch, the ship's four station Internet cafe.  

WiFi is available throughout the ship. Prices start at $9.95 for 15 minutes and go up to $69.95 for a 24-hour unlimited pass (which strangely enough is less than the $79.95 you'll pay for 150 minutes). Most packages can be purchased throughout the cruise; however, a special $30/day package is only available for purchase the first two days of the cruise.

Passengers can take advantage of a self-service laundry room on Deck 7; machines and detergent are free to use.

Dining

Virtually every repast onboard Azamara Journey is a treat -- even if it's not the best you've ever had. The food is good (and the bread baskets divine!), waits for each course are quick and service is friendly and good. Women are served first, and the assistant waiter is always ready with a water or wine refill.

Seating in the main dining room is open seating, but once you find servers you like, you can request them each evening. They'll get to know your likes and dislikes pretty quickly;, our waitress of choice knew within two days that my husband liked red wine with a glass of ice on the side.

Kudos also go to Azamara for recognizing that many diners have special dietary needs. Every dinner menu, in all venues, feature vegetarian (v), vegan option available (vo), gluten-free (gf) and healthy choice (hc) options; many lunch menus have these as well. At least one of each is always available.

Two meals of note you won't want to miss are the once-per-cruise jazz brunch served in the Discoveries main dining room and the Officers' BBQ during which the senior crew lend a helping hand dishing out suckling pig, barbecue ribs, baked beans, macaroni and cheese, make your own Caesar salad and tacos, potato salad and coleslaw.

The White Night dinner is another not-to-be-missed meal; served on the Pool Deck, cruisers can pick and choose from nearly a dozen stations serving a variety of cuisine styles.

Sodas, select wines and beers are always complimentary at meals.

Free Dining

Discoveries Restaurant (Deck 5, aft): You'll find breakfast, dinner and some lunches (on sea days) served in the ship's casual main dining room. Seating for all meals is open; arrive whenever you like during operating hours. Waiting times for a table are generally short, especially for breakfast and lunch. If you arrive during the 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. dinner rush, you might have to wait up to 10 minutes.

Tables come in two- to eight-person setups. If you're seated at a two-top you'll be pretty close to the neighboring tables, inviting friendly chats with other cruisers about your day. Several sharing tables are also available each night for those who enjoy dining with new people.

For breakfast, cruisers will find standard fare like eggs made to order (including omelets), waffles and pancakes, deli meats, cereal, fruit and pastries.

Lunch menus include appetizers, soups and salads, entrees and desserts. Sample items on the lunch menu are rock shrimp with crab cake, nicoise or mixed green salad, Tuscan white bean soup, bacon and egg stir-fry, pasta primavera, barbecue-grilled salmon, turkey club and hamburger. Desserts vary but always include a selection of gelato and sorbet flavors.

The four-course dinner menu includes appetizers, soups and salads, entrees and desserts; most selections change daily but there are a handful of always-available options such as Caesar salad with chicken or shrimp, jumbo shrimp cocktail and escargots. Other appetizers choices might include firecracker shrimp or char sui-style chicken with bacon and broccoli roulade, ginger and toasted sesame seeds.

Soups and salad sections include, but are not limited to: roasted red bell pepper-corn chowder (v, gf); Louisiana gumbo with smoked chicken, Andouille sausage and okra; fennel and orange salad with arugula and dill (vg, gf); and Tuscany beef broth with cheese tortellini. Entree options might include Tandoori-baked lamb loin with eggplant and spinach roulade, slow-roasted prime rib with horseradish mashed potatoes or baked Norwegian salmon with split pea risotto.

Deserts change daily, though Tahitian vanilla creme brulee, New York-style cheesecake and gelato are always on the menu.

On top of the regular menu, a World Cuisine selection is available every night that matches the country featured in the buffet that evening. Options might include meatloaf on American night, bangers and mash on British night, a chicken enchilada on Mexican night or coq au vin on French night.

Windows Cafe (Deck 9, mid): At the ship's buffet, you'll find breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as enough tables, so you'll rarely have to wait for a seat. Drinks are served by circulating waiters. Breakfast options include smoothies (with ingredients pre-selected for strength, energy or health, or you can pick your own fruit combination), juice (apple, orange, cranberry) and coffee and tea. Lunch and dinner beverages include sodas, three beers (Becks, Budweiser, Bud Lite) and a small selection of red and white wines. 

Breakfast options are mostly the same on either side of the buffet, only differing in that the starboard side features a selection of deli meats, while the port side has smoked salmon, mackerel and herring. Items served every day are: scrambled, hard-boiled and fried eggs, as well as omelets made to order; waffles, French toast and pancakes (gluten-free available upon request); and a variety of sausages, baked beans, oven-roasted potatoes, fruit slices, yogurts and cereal and mixed pastries.

The lunch buffet typically offers a variety of salads, including DIY ingredients and pre-mixed like potato or cabbage salad. Lunch entrees might include beef lasagna, crispy pork, vegetarian pad Thai, Moroccan-style chicken, steamed veggies, chicken cacciatore, Teriyaki-glazed salmon and a carving station with daily selection of beef, pork or turkey. Fresh fruit, gelato and a selection of tarts, pastries and cakes are available for dessert.

Dinner buffets are always themed, usually around a specific style of cuisine (English, Italian, French, Greek and Indian, among others); menus rotate every 12 days. A make-your-own salad bar is always available as well. Dessert selections include one or more sweets specific to the cuisine of the evening, as well as some standard favorites, fresh fruit and gelato.

The Patio (Deck 9, mid): The Patio is a poolside grill by day and an alfresco venue by night. It quickly became our favorite place to lunch during the day; the burgers (beef, turkey and veggie) were always juicy and the fries nice and crispy. Other lunch options include beef, lamb and chicken brochettes; buffalo chicken wings, chicken fingers and fried spring rolls; and soups including a chilled option, chicken consomme and chili. Available sides are grilled veggies, French fries, baked potatoes, onion rings and nachos.

At night, The Patio converts into an alfresco dining venue with tablecloths and table-side service. The menu consists of grilled fare like beef paillard, bone-in strip loin, BBQ pork ribs, tournedos of lamb tenderloin, grilled curried chicken kebabs and salmon steak with pink peppercorns. Also on the menu is lasagna with creamy tomato sauce. Sides are French fries, baked or mashed potatoes. For dessert, you can choose from a daily selection of pie and cake, as well as fruit salad and cookies. And, of course, the frozen yogurt bar is right next door.

Swirl & Top (Deck 9, mid): Right next to The Patio is the 24/7 low-fat yogurt station, with accompanying 15-item toppings bar. (The only thing missing is whipped cream.) The two self-service machines always have vanilla, and will also either have one with chocolate and one with strawberry or both will have the same second flavor.

Tapas in The Living Room (Deck 10, forward): From 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., a small tapas bar serves up four hot and four cold tapas dishes. A for-fee tapas and wine tasting session is also offered most nights toward the back of the Living Room; reservations are recommended but not required.

Mosaic Cafe (Deck 5, mid): Mosaic Cafe is the ship's small, but popular coffee bar. It's not quite a lounge as the groupings of tables and chairs are simply on either side of the space through which passengers walk to get to the shop. Mosaic is stocked with a variety of free and for-fee specialty coffees, as well as an all-day selection of complimentary finger sandwiches and small pastries. Coffees are ranked by intensity level.

Room Service: Complimentary room service is available 24/7. Breakfast is only served from 6:30 a.m. to 10 a.m., and is ordered via doorknob cards, which must be hung by 1 a.m. The morning menu includes eight breakfast combinations, as well as made-to-order eggs, steak, griddle choices, cereal, fruit and baked goods. Lunch and dinner menu items are identical and include beef consomme, Caesar or spinach caprese salads, club and seafood club sandwiches, Mediterranean or chips and salsa platters, three types of pizza, strip steak, grilled chicken tenders, oven-baked Norwegian salmon and pasta Bolognese. During dinner hours, you can also order off the main dining room menu.

Fee Dining

Aqualina Restaurant (Deck 10, aft); $30: One of Azamara Journey's two specialty restaurants, Aqualina serves a delicious, traditional four-course Italian dinner: antipasti, soup and salad, secondi and dessert. Antipastis include beef Carpaccio, seared tuna wrapped in veal, tuna tartare and tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella. The soups and salads include minestrone, lobster bisque tomato, onion and farmer's cheese, and a watermelon, tomato and basil salad. Entrees include mushroom risotto with duck confit, grilled garlic shrimp, eggplant roulade and sole with tomato risotto, among other options. For desert, we recommend the flourless chocolate torte, the limoncello souffle and the tiramisu. As with the rest of the restaurants onboard Azamara Journey, the dress code at Aqualina is casual; only jeans, shorts and bathing suit tops are unacceptable. Open for dinner; reservations are recommended but not required.

Prime C Restaurant (Deck 10, aft); $30: The ship's steakhouse, the second of Journey's specialty restaurants, is paradise for meat lovers, with everything from lamb and veal to five cuts of steak, all cooked to specification. Diners generally put their meals here in the top 5 steakhouse dinners they've had. Even vegetarians can enjoy a good meal with a tasty vegetable enchilada on the entree menu and a large selection of sides -- including delicious creamed spinach. The four-course meal includes a starter, soup or salad, entree and dessert, as well as an unlimited number of sides. Menu items include (but are not limited to): tuna tartare with popcorn shrimp, roasted beet and arugula salad, herb-coated rack of lamb, T-bone and ribeye steak, veal tenderloin, filet mignon, Cajun-spiced grilled swordfish, vegetable enchilada and chateaubriand for two. Sides include potato hash, zucchini pancakes, creamed spinach, sauteed or steamed vegetables, Belgian endives with ham and cheese as well as steak fries. Open for dinner; reservations are highly recommended.

Chef's Table; $95: Usually held in the front area of Prime C, the Chef's Table dinner is offered several times per cruise, with a rotating menu (there are three in total) and accompanying wines. The five-course French menu includes tuna tartare nicoise, smoked potato leek soup, scallops, filet of beef or seared sea bass and crunchy apple and pear fusion for dessert. On the Italy menu you'll find chilled crab panzanella salad, celery and turnip soup, house-made black pepper tagliatelle, roasted veal tenderloin or olive oil poached halibut and chocolate amaretto panna cotta. The third menu, California, features lobster and avocado salad, smoked tomato veloute soup, surf and turf, herb-roasted prime Angus New York strip loin or potato-crusted sea bass and macadamia nut chocolate mud pie. Chef's Table is always hosted by either a senior officer or one of the ship's guest speakers. Reservations are required and can be made at the guest services desk or through the concierge.