We sailed from Costa Rica through the Panama Canal and to Miami from Jan. 3, 2016 to January 13, 2016 on the Journey. After I booked the cruise last July, I found out that the ship would go into dry-dock for a multi-million dollar overhaul at the end of our cruise. I was kind of concerned about what condition we would find the ship to be in when we embarked, but it was clean, beautiful, and did not look in need of any kind of repair except the usual upkeep on a sea going vessel.
This was our ninth cruise, but our first on Azamara. We loved it. We were in a veranda cabin which was small, but the storage and the placement of everything was great. There was adequate storage for everything I took and I over-packed. Plenty of hangers, etc. The thing that stood out most of all was the crew and the service that we received. The captain, Johannes Tysse, was the most visible captain of any cruise we've been on. He was everywhere. He was friendly in a very low key way. The entertainment staff did a wonderful job. They were a very talented group led by Eric De Gray. I enjoyed all the shows we went to see. They had to change the show the last night because one of the dancers became ill and on short notice did a great job of revamping the presentation. No one would have known if they had not seen it before.
The young man in the internet cafe was kind, helpful, and very patient. Our cabin steward and his assistant, Earl and Wilvorn, were very efficient and totally unobtrusive. I wish I could remember some of the waiters names that went the extra mile to give good service. We ate in the specialty restaurants 3 times and MDR every night except those three. We ate at Windows for breakfast every morning and either the pool grill or Windows for lunch most days. Nearly all the waiters were courteous and very helpful.
The food was good. My husband is a meat and potatoes person and not an adventurous eater. He did not like the theme nights in Windows, but I would have loved to have tried some of the dishes they served from around the world. We went to the Azamazing Evening. We enjoyed it even though the music was not the style that we like. People began to leave early and it became kind of chaotic because we were receiving instructions on how to exit and reboard the buses from about 3 sets of people and they were not the same. It was at Good Hope Plantation on Jamaica and the entertainment was Third World band, a reggae group. We enjoyed the food and the ambiance of White Nights.
The lecturers on-board to explain the geography, construction, and workings of the Panama Canal and the surrounding areas were very good. They helped tremendously with aiding our understanding of the canal and the places we visited. Embarkation and disembarkation were the easiest we have ever experienced. We did 2 shore excursions from the ship and had two that we arranged ourselves through the internet. We enjoyed all of them. There simply isn't much to see in Golfito and Quepos, Costa Rica. We had been to Costa Rica for vacation a few years ago. We had seen and done lots of the things that tourists do and enjoyed them, but didn't want to repeat them again.
Azamara has done an amazing job with customer service. We would travel with them again because of that. The reason the cabin got a 4 instead of a 5 was the bed. It sloped and there was a definite ridge where the twin beds were pushed together. My husband did not like the theme nights in Windows. The bus driver on the Jamaica shore excursion gave us a wild ride back to the ship from the beach we visited. They may all drive that way, but it seemed too fast and he passed another bus a couple of times. It was like they were having a race. All in all, we had a wonderful experience.
Our cabin was great. It was very quiet. Plenty of storage. Shower is SMALL, but adequate. Bed could have used a new topper when used as a queen bed to keep the ridge from being uncomfortable between the twin beds.
Except for the bus driver, it was great.
We were glad that we had heard the port lecture on the ship since our guide was difficult to understand and provided little information
Our embarkation was simple and well done. We had a driver from San Jose that morning and everything worked our perfectly. We were on the ship in time for lunch. No excursion.