Azamara Journey November 10, 2015

Islands in the Sun Madeira and Canaries


Having cruised on many lines I was looking forward to experiencing my first cruise on board the Azamara Journey.

Being part of Royal Caribbean and Celebrity I believe they are the smaller hidden gem of this company.

We embarked the ship in Barcelona in the morning with no line ups and proceeded on board. Every guest is greeted with a Welcome on Board glass of Champagne from a smiling crew member. As the ship was not leaving until 6:00 pm we had plenty of time to go back to the Marina area and enjoy the afternoon watching the boats and people.

On board it was very easy to find our way around the ship as it is 30,000 gross tons and carries 694 guests. The perfect size for getting into smaller ports that the large ships cannot.

The dining rooms and lounges have a very cozy feeling as there is wood paneled walls, bookcases and tables throughout.

The staterooms had adequate storage space for our 15 day cruise.

Dining on board in Discoveries Restaurant is open seating, so after a full day of site seeing there was no need to rush to be on time for dinner. Guest have the choice of dining on their own or joining other guests at dinner. This is a great way to meet other quests and find out how they spent their day.

Prime C and Aqualine are the specialty restaurants on board that you can make reservations for an additional fee.  It is worth it to try them at least once.

Azamara is known for longer stays in port and more overnights giving lots of time to experience the city or linger over that last glass of wine or beer.  This itinerary had overnights in Funchal Madeira Portugal and Malaga Spain. Most other night the ship left port between 9:00 & 10:00 pm.

On every Azamara Cruise there is a White Night. Our event was held on our second night in Madeira. Everyone comes dressed in white for a buffet dinner and the pool deck is transformed into an outdoor restaurant. The entertainment was very good with our Cruise Director Eric singing and leading a Congo line along the pool deck and upper deck.

In La Palma the ship hosted another buffet with a Spanish theme this time and the entertainment was performed by a local song and dance group.  This was very well attended and everyone enjoyed the performance

Our AzAmazing Evening was held in Malaga at the historic La Malagueta Bull Ring. This arena is over 150 years old and opened for its first event in 1876. The arena holds a few thousand people and we had this for Azamara guests only. 

On this evening dinner was served buffet style in the dining room or Lido Deck. Afterward everyone was transferred to the event from the ship for a performance to see the traditions of Toreros and Bullfighting.  The animals paraded and performed, including Bulls, oxen and horses raised for Andalusian Dressage. 

Upon arrival everyone was served beverages and tapas before entering the ring for the performance then after the performance all guests were transferred back to the ship and greeted with hot chocolate.  

The evening was a highlight and the organization from beginning to end went very smoothly and was very well done.

Highlight on our itinerary was Madeira where we took a cable car up the mountain and experienced a toboggan ride down through the narrow streets.  The toboggan looks like an old fashioned sled with runners and is directed through the streets by 2 men that run behind you. In the old city we wandered through the streets marvelling at the painted doors on the entrance ways to homes. It was like walking through an outdoor art gallery.

My Journey experience was AzAmazing and I would recommend this for anyone wanting a smaller ship experience with a port intensive itinerary.

Carol Patterson

This Azamara review and photos on this page are by Carol Patterson, co-owner and cruise professional at Cruise Holidays of Burlington.