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This was a anniversary of our 30th Anniversary and our 1st cruise in 9 years. We aftermost sailed on Celebrity’s Millennium, afore that we were on RCCL’s Enchantment of the Seas and afore that NCL’s Dreamward – afore she was stretched. The Dreamward was alone hardly beyond than the Journey and we looked advanced to abiding to the acquaintance of a abate ship. We’ve consistently appointed a balustrade berth in the accomplished about mid-ships, but autonomous to splurge a bit and we went with the Penthouse Suite on accouter 6 aft. I accept to admit, I scoured the Cruise Critic armpit for months afore this cruise – and this absolutely is a absurd resource!
Pre-Cruise: We flew from NC to San Diego a day above-mentioned and appointed a allowance in the Holiday Inn by the Bay – anon beyond from the pier. We’d asked for a bay-facing allowance up aerial so we could appearance the bay and we weren’t disappointed. The Oosterdam was in anchorage aback we accustomed and it was a nice amusement to watch her abandon with the ambience sun in the background.
Embarkation: The auberge was so abutting to the berth that were able to calmly tote all our accoutrements to the berth with no trouble. As others accept alluded to – Azamara makes it so simple to get all your pre-boarding paperwork taken affliction of advanced of time -so abandonment was a breeze and we were on the address in no time. Aback it had been a while aback we’d been on a cruise, we were afflicted with the akin of absorption to sanitization. I’m abiding the account letters of norovirus outbreaks over the aftermost few years accept prompted it – but there were sanitation gel stations in all the accessible apartment throughout the complete cruise – and from what I could see, they were well-used. We were greeted with a bottle of sparkling wine, and in our berth in no time at all. We met our butler, Marlon – who was an complete gem. He fabricated banquet arrange for us, brought us ‘savories’ every afternoon and adulterated us with his catching smile every time he came into the room. Our berth admiral “Alvin” and “Russell” kept our allowance spotless and consistently had a abruptness ‘critter’ for us – fabricated from bankrupt towels. And on our aboriginal night Marlon and the Asst Chief Housekeeper ‘Xavier’ afraid us with balloons all over the berth and a ‘Happy Anniversary’ placard we kept up the complete cruise. It was a appropriate amiable and a commencement to the appropriate akin of account and absorption we accomplished the complete 16 days.
Cabin: We appointed the Penthouse Suite on accouter 6 – and it was aggregate we envisioned. I will say – I’ve credible examples of high-end suites that addled me as ‘gaudy’ – with added allowance than you could use, or amenities that you would never accomplish use of — this berth was absolute – it was ample abundant to be comfortable, yet not so big as to feel you could get lost. It included a ample ‘living area’ with a daybed and several academic chairs as able-bodied as a baby dining table with chairs, and a bar breadth with a wide-screen TV army on the wall. There was a baby crumb allowance adjoining to the active breadth as well. The bedchamber had a ‘large’ queen bed ( we swore it was absolutely a king-sized bed), a baby autograph table, and a coffer of floor-to beam closets – with a abate collapsed awning TV in the wall. There was additionally a bathrobe breadth adjoining to the adept ablution – that had a abounding vanity and Jacuzzi-bath-shower. But the authentication of the berth was the balustrade – ample abundant for two bassinet lounge chairs as able-bodied as a baby table with 4 chairs for dining. The active breadth and the bedchamber anniversary had floor-to-ceiling sliding bottle doors – so the appearance from anywhere in the berth was spectacular. Abundant has been accounting about a botheration with ‘soot’ in the morning in the aft cabins – it was never a problem. Occasionally there would be some charcoal on the accouter in the morning if the wind blew the bankrupt anon off the stern, but there were attic mats present to apple-pie your feet. We alike took a few naps out there at night and never noticed any issues with the exhaust. Another affair discussed on the boards is agent beating in the aft cabins. “Vibration” is somewhat of a claimed definition. Aback we were on the Enchantment of the Seas, our berth was anon aloft the starboard balance – and aback it deployed, there was a constant, loud ‘rattle’ that would actually accumulate us awake. On the Journey, the engines actualize a ‘rumble’ – that is not aggravating at all – in actuality we begin it helped put us to beddy-bye at night. You will acquaintance the ‘clanging’ of the wenches beneath accouter aback the address prepares to berth – but that’s a acceptable arresting that it’s time to get up anyway!
Ship: I won’t reiterate what others on this cruise accept acquaint in their reviews – answer it to say that the Journey is the absolute sized address for those who adore actuality on a ship. You apprentice your way about in beneath than a day. There were never any curve for annihilation – alike abandonment – and she was as apple-pie a address as we can remember. And there was consistently a quiet abode to sit – be it about the pool, the sundeck or in the accessible areas. We acclimated the Spa accouter (Thallasotherapy Pool) the aboriginal day at sea as it was a bit chilly, but didn’t go aback afterwards that. We acclimated the gym consistently and begin the agents to be actual amiable and the mix of cardio equipment, weight machines and chargeless weights a abundant way to body acclaim for the day’s meals! I accept to say there is article appropriate about application a cross-trainer while watching dolphins antic all about the address – through the floor-to-ceiling windows that band the gym wall.
Food: Afresh – aliment tastes are a amount of alternative – and we thoroughly enjoyed every meal we had on the Journey – be it the breakfast or cafeteria buffets in the Windows Cafe, the capital Dining Allowance Discoveries or the two Specialty dining apartment – Prime C and Aqualina. We ate three times in anniversary of the two specialty dining apartment – because the atmosphere in anniversary is quieter, slower-paced and added affectionate than in Discoveries – but the aliment is outstanding in all three and the account was categorical in all three as well.
Crew and Staff: We’ve apprehend the added reviews about this cruise and we accept to say it afresh — We accept never accomplished a akin of attention, affability and artlessness as was credible by the aggregation and agents of the Journey. It starts with Capt Tysee – who is the best amiable ship’s captain you will anytime meet. He makes it a point to biking about the address and antipodal with the cartage – and his approachability, calm demeanor, quiet aplomb and wry faculty of amusement filters bottomward to every added aggregation affiliate on the address – from the aegis cadre who abstruse our names on the aboriginal day – to the bartenders and deckhands. Our Cruise Administrator – Tony Markey was a accurate gem as well. For those attractive for a cruise administrator who emcees abdomen bomb contests or decktop horse races, you will be disappointed. Tony is a accurate amateur who has a abiding ‘on’ switch. He can go from singing a arrangement of ‘Danny Boy’ that will accompany tears to your eyes and afresh sit bottomward with you and antipodal about his acquaintance as Cruise Administrator on the Seabourn Spirit that was attacked by Pirates in 2005. The on-screen antics amid Tony and Activity Administrator Chris on their circadian televised ‘highlights’ analysis showed the abundant allure they accept – abnormally aback you apprehend it was mainly ad-libbed. And what can be added about Heike that hasn’t been said abounding times before. This aggregation is absolutely a abundant aggregate of talent, allure and aggregate vision. Azamara begin the appropriate blueprint – and added cruise curve would be astute to booty notice.
Ports of Call: I don’t appetite to absorb too abundant time on the ports. We had some anxiety about Mazatlan and Acapulco due to the contempo abandon appear – but we never acquainted afraid in either place. We appointed a bout with Mazatlan Frank – who we would acclaim to anyone afterwards reservation. He is a accurate admirer and his adulation for Mazatlan is credible with the activity he conveys. In Acapulco we took the ship-sponsored circuit to the Fairmont Pierre Marquis auberge – which was a nice adequate day abroad from the ‘touristy’ areas. Huatulco was a highlight – one of the best memorable canicule for its quiet little bank adjoining to the pier. It’s adverse that Azamara will not be visiting Mexico abutting year – hopefully that’s a acting decision. We took a sailing bout through Pelican Eyes resort in San Juan del Sur – and we awful acclaim that to anyone visiting that port. And in Puntarenas we had a bout with Charlie Soto’s ‘OkeyDokey Tours’ — and our bout adviser Ricardo was outstanding. He took us to the La Suenas Canopy bout zip curve – an acquaintance we won’t anon balloon and he had an astonishing way of alienated the crowds while still visiting all the attractions. The highlight of the cruise was the alteration through the Panama Canal – an engineering accomplishment of such consequence that it’s adamantine to appreciate it was congenital 100 years ago and operates today absolutely as they envisioned it then. Having Bill Fall call the nuances of the Canal over the ship’s intercom as we traversed it provided the best alternate acquirements acquaintance you could anytime have! Cartagena, Columbia was a disappointment. We appointed the Horse-drawn carrying bout through the address and would not do it again. We envisioned a bizarre carrying ride through the old boondocks – in absoluteness we were in a band of horse-drawn carriages traversing a gauntlet of peddlers with badge allegorical the way (one adolescent dressed up like a mime alike hopped on the carrying to allegation for demography his account and there was no accomplishment to anticipate it…) . While peddlers are allotment of the accord in the Mexican ports, ‘No Gracias’ didn’t assume to assignment in Cartagena – as eventually they would stop aggravating to advertise you article and aloof collapsed out ask if they could accept a dollar. If we were to anytime appointment this anchorage afresh – we’d book a clandestine bout as they do a acceptable job of alienated the ‘gauntlets’.
Fellow Passengers: As others accept said in added reviews of this cruise — this was a actual amiable commuter population. We alike commented that we never heard anyone accuse about annihilation for the complete two weeks. I accept to be honest – there was annihilation to accuse about. Addition asked about the age ambit of the cartage on the Journey. We are in our mid-50s and were on the adolescent ancillary for this cruise – and we admired it. We met the friendliest, best outgoing, discreet bodies on this cruise – and approved as we did to break up and hit the ball attic for the midnight hour, the canicule were so abounding and we were so annoyed that we aloof couldn’t do it!
Debarkation: Accepting off the address was as accessible as accepting on. Capt Tysee and all the 1st admiral were on accouter to say goodbye and aural 15 mins we had our luggage, had gotten through community and waited in our shuttle to the airport. If I accept one criticism – and it’s not a criticism of the cruise – and not alike of Azamara – it’s for RCI, the ancestor company. Aback we disembarked from the Enchantment of the Seas, we were shuttled to the airport on a bus apprenticed by a adolescent who fabricated it actual bright he accepted a tip aback we got to the airport. The aforementioned affair happened with the RCI-sponsored shuttle we took afterwards this cruise. We’ve aloof appear off a 2 anniversary cruise area bodies went out of their way to be accessible and alert — in abounding cases afterwards any apprehension of a alms – and the aftermost consequence you get afore activity home is a bus disciplinarian with his duke out. It’s a baby thing, but it stays with you and seeing how the aforementioned affair happened to us a decade ago, I anticipate it’s article Royal Caribbean should anticipate about.
Overall: We’ve been spoiled. From now on – any added vacation we booty – no amount what it is – will consistently be compared to this one. At his ‘disembarkation’ presentation, Capt Tysee encouraged all of us to acquaint our accompany about Azamara – and addition in the admirers said “..NO!” — and I apperceive what she meant — it’s like apprehension a hidden gem that you don’t appetite the blow of the apple to acquisition out about and ruin. Our expectations were met and far exceeded – in means we hadn’t alike considered. Azamara has the appropriate blueprint activity – the admeasurement of the ship, the personality of the agents and the amount you get for the dollars you spend. We can’t delay to appear aback get baby all over again! Acceptable Job Azamara!
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