We recently had the opportunity to see Azamara Journey after she came out of a major refit. I really wouldn’t call this a refit as she now has basically a totally new interior. Having seen the Journey several times earlier as well as many of the other Renaissance R class ships operated by other cruise lines all I can say is WOW!
I can attest that they actually took the staterooms down to the bare steel and started all over again, witness the several cabins that were not completed at the time of our visit. All of the staterooms received a totally new look and most of the public rooms where completely redone as well.
The cabins now definitely feel bigger with a combination of lighter colors in shades of gray, beige and cream. This color theme runs throughout the ship’s via the newly installed carpeting.
Totally new wall coverings, furniture and cabinetry make these staterooms actually better than new and totally up to date for years to come. Gone is the dark wood in the staterooms and indeed all over the ship. As far as the Public Rooms go many were totally redone as well, however, the ever popular Library was left untouched as well it should be. The biggest change was to the former Looking Glass Lounge that was basically dead space during the day and a dance and music venue in the evenings. Today it is more of multi-purpose room called the Living Room. This room with floor to ceiling windows has great ocean views and now hosts Spanish Tapas, coffees and wine tastings. The more comfortable feel of this room is of course great in the evening for live music and cocktails.
Another major change has been to the former Pool Grill which like on so many other ships becomes dead space after late afternoon. Now called the Patio it is still your typical pool grill during the day but at 6 pm becomes a new outdoor evening dining venue with waiter service. The a la carte menu still includes hamburgers but also more serious dinner options that Azamara is well known for.
From the first time you enter the ship you have that feeling of being onboard a new ship. The entirely new décor, color scheme, furniture and wall coverings have totally changed this ship to a very pleasing contemporary ship that really fits this cruise line’s mantra of being more like a casual club experience at sea.
The itineraries are still one of this cruise lines strong points featuring many overnight or late night stays in popular ports of call. Let’s face it who wants to be in Monaco from 9 am to 5 pm when the action doesn’t start until 6 pm and so it goes with many other popular ports of call around the world. Azamara features special evening events, at no charge, on most cruises as well as evening shore tours.
Now for something really different! A “Night in Private Places” is an opportunity for one couple to have a totally private night under the stars located in an area near the spa with its own Jacuzzi, sitting, lounging area and sheltered sofa bed. Your evening comes with butler service from 7 pm to 10 pm who serves dinner and returns in the morning with your breakfast. We are told this $385.00 package has become very successful.
Azamara is a small two ship cruise line that has become well known for its great itineraries, 5 Star service and extremely good cuisine. While very much like a 5 star ship where gratuities and beverages are included, Azamara’s prices are NOT like in the 5 star category.