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Blocks

Review of my first Azamara Cruise on Journey Oct-2018

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Just returned home yesterday from a 9 day Italy Intensive cruise on Azamara Journey which sailed from Civitavecchia on 6th October 2018. We travelled as a party of 4 and had 2 Oceanview rooms on deck 4. We bought the Chefs Table plus 2 dining package.
 
Below are some comments on our first Azamara cruise.
 
Positives
Friendliness and service from the crew especially Dave at Discoveries for breakfast and Julius in Spirits Bar and other locations.
Visibility of the captain and other senior crew members. I am sure the captain was wishing passengers a good day as we left the ship at every port we docked at.
Food was generally very good, especially the speciality restaurants and the chef’s table, but we had no complaints about the food in Discoveries.
Booked our the dining package and speciality dining as soon as we boarded with no issues.
Entertainment provided by Eric de Gray who was excellent and the other entertainment staff was very good. We attended most late shows and enjoyed them all. The exchanges between Eric and captain Johannes were amusing as were Eric’s grandad stories.
AzAmazing Evening with Incanto Quartet in Livorno was excellent and very well organised.
Size of the ship was great, nothing felt too far away compared to the other larger ships we have sailed on.
Enjoyed the included coffee and snacks available at Mosaic Cafe. 
Generally bar service was very good and we had no issues with getting cocktails or drinks using the included spirits.
We tendered at 3 ports and very rarely had to wait a long time for a tender boat in either direction.
Closeness to the city at several ports of call, especially Porto Ferraio and Trapani. 
Oceanview room was adequate and Paulo our room steward was very friendly and efficient.
Embarkation and debarkation were efficient both at start and end of cruise and at ports of call.
Friendliness and courtesy of fellow passengers with very few exceptions.
Living Room was very nice room and the food which was served (especially the tapas) was a nice touch.
 
Negatives
Missed not having a balcony (our choice) but it was only one floor up to deck 5.
Not being able to walk a full circuit of the ship on deck 5 and it was often closed off in the middle at both sides.
Apart from the Windows cafe, unable to get a sea view from the back of the ship which I had enjoyed on other cruises.
 
Other Comments
We are in our early 50s and whilst not the youngest on the cruise we were definitely at the lower end of the age range.
White Night was very busy and queues to get food were quite long and slightly chaotic at times but the local Sorrento Mozzarella and tomatoes was a nice touch.
Some of the included white wines were not to our taste, we stuck with included red wines which were generally good.
We only had 1 sea day, so it was a very port intensive cruise, not sure how I would have felt if we had more sea days.
Regretted missing the Indian night at the buffet because we booked Aqualina on that night because the smell was amazing.
For speciality dining only times which seemed to be available for us to book were 18:00, 18:30, 20:00 and 20:30.
We only booked private excursions so had no experience of Azamara excursions. 
 
I would have no hesitation to sail again on Azamara for the right price and itinerary.

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Wonderful, succinct review and great link to photos.

Thanks for taking the time to post.

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7 minutes ago, Larabelle said:

You take amazing photos!  How did you like Trapani?

Thank you. We took a private tour in Trapani, we didn't actually go into the city on foot, we drove through it to get to Erice, but we were in the clouds in a thunderstorm for most of the time in Erice but it was very atmospheric although we missed out on spectacular views. We also visited San Vito, Scopello, Castellanmare del Golfo and Segesta during the tour. 

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Thank you Blocks for the cruise review. I'm glad you enjoyed your cruise on the Azamara Journey!

If you have a moment, would you also post it on the CC cruise review section for the AZ Journey? You'll find the link to that at the top right corner "Write Reviews" with an icon of a pen.

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Thanks for sharing your review. Can I ask why you weren't able to achieve the view from the back of the ship at the Sunset Bar, has something changed?  This is also our favourite please to hang out with my favourite view.

 

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12 hours ago, BBMacLaird said:

Thank you Blocks for the cruise review. I'm glad you enjoyed your cruise on the Azamara Journey!

If you have a moment, would you also post it on the CC cruise review section for the AZ Journey? You'll find the link to that at the top right corner "Write Reviews" with an icon of a pen.

I posted it last night.

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8 hours ago, Deval said:

Fantastic pics the colors are so vivid.  What type camera?

I have a Nikon D5500 and a couple of different lenses that I switch between.

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5 hours ago, aussie travel bird said:

Thanks for sharing your review. Can I ask why you weren't able to achieve the view from the back of the ship at the Sunset Bar, has something changed?  This is also our favourite please to hang out with my favourite view.

 

I wasn't aware of the Sunset Bar, I saw the bar outside and assumed that this was just part of the Windows Cafe and only open at the same time. We did try to sit outside when at the Windows Cafe but typically the tables closest to the rail were occupied and it was a bit awkward to stand there between the tables.

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Hi Blocks,  really nice photos - thanks for sharing.

Next April our cruise will be stopping at Trapani Sicily.  We have included tours, but have to choose between a   Erice tour and  Segesta tour.  Having a hard time deciding between them .... any insights since you've seen both?

 

Mary

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47 minutes ago, marysb said:

Hi Blocks,  really nice photos - thanks for sharing.

Next April our cruise will be stopping at Trapani Sicily.  We have included tours, but have to choose between a   Erice tour and  Segesta tour.  Having a hard time deciding between them .... any insights since you've seen both?

 

Mary

Hi Mary,

Thank you. Erice seemed really nice but when we went it was in the clouds in a thunderstorm which was very atmospheric but ruined the views of the surrounding countryside that we were told were fabulous. At Segesta, there are 2 parts, the temple was within walking distance from the ticket office although all uphill and was quite impressive but only warranted a 15-30 minute visit. The amphitheatre has a bus service to reach it because it is 1.2km away and over a hill but it only ran every 30 mins when we were there and we didn't have time to visit before we had to head back to Trapani. If it was my choice I would choose Erice but keep your fingers crossed that it is not in the clouds.

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Hi Mary

Getting off the topic of the original post, but if I can just add in here, as I was reading this thread...

Having done both Erice & Segesta, I would also recommend Erice.  Segesta is spread out and a bit like many other temples we have seen elsewhere. Erice is in a gorgeous position (yes, hope for a nice day!) and there is a wider variety of sights, depending on whether you are interested in architecture, churches, museums, souvenir shopping, scenery...or whatever. We had a great day in Erice. You can get a ticket which will get you admission into numerous places of interest at a reasonable price. Definitely a more interesting and varied day in Erice. 

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Thanks for the advice. 

I was leaning towards Erice since I have a soft spot for medieval towns with fantastic views.   But I heard Segesta is an archaeological jewel.   We have seen a number of temples and amphitheatres, so maybe we will give this a miss this time. 

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On ‎10‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 10:42 AM, Blocks said:

Thank you. We took a private tour in Trapani, we didn't actually go into the city on foot, we drove through it to get to Erice, but we were in the clouds in a thunderstorm for most of the time in Erice but it was very atmospheric although we missed out on spectacular views. We also visited San Vito, Scopello, Castellanmare del Golfo and Segesta during the tour. 

Hello Blocks, I've enjoyed reading your review, and I wonder if you can share the name of your guide from Trapani?  We've not been successful yet with finding a private tour to Erice.  Thank you!

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9 hours ago, Ithikan said:

Hello Blocks, I've enjoyed reading your review, and I wonder if you can share the name of your guide from Trapani?  We've not been successful yet with finding a private tour to Erice.  Thank you!

We used Trapani Tours, the owner is called Aldo Trapani. Erice is quite close to Trapani, if you only want to visit Erice then you could possibly just get a taxi from the port, I know one couple from our cruise who did this.

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I have been to both Erice and Segesta which we saw on our independent driving trip to Sicily.

 

If you have been to Mont St. Michel and Eze in France then Erice is more of the same, a bit bigger than Eze and smaller (or less crowded) than Mont St. Michel. It is attractive and touristy and the view on a good day is lovely. You certainly should not need a tour to get there. Take a taxi to the funicular (gondola). When you go back down you will see a taxi stand right there.

 

We also saw the Valley of the Temples in Sicily which is spectacular and not reachable on a cruise stop. We have been to Athens as well. Segesta is great because you can walk all around the temple and very close to it. It is worth taking the bus up the hill to see the ampitheatre which is in a great setting.

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