Cruise Blog – Ship: Azamara Journey, Date: 5th to 17th August 2010
The experience of a wonderful cruise is a joy and a privilege in itself, let alone the holiday and the ports of call, so we thought we’d write a blog dedicated to describing our experience on “The Journey” as the staff and Captain fondly called her.
By relative standards the Journey is a small cruise ship taking only up to 700 guests. Others take 3,000 or 4,000 and one to be launched soon will take 6,000. Add to that the crew and you are looking at up to 9,000 people on one ship. No, thanks, not for us! Here is a photo of the Journey in the Port of Tallin in Estonia (on the left).
The Journey is a lovely older ship – full of grandeur. It has 1 (smallish) pool, 3 whirlpools, 4 restaurants, a grill by the pool, a casino, a café, 4 bars, 1 cabaret, 1 nightclub, a spa area, an internet room, a library, shops, a gym and a walking track up on deck 9 (it is 10 decks high). The self serve laundry was VERY busy on the at sea days! (Or so Peter tells me as he did our laundry ).
Our room was called a stateroom, which the majority of guest rooms were. It was beautiful with a deck with two chairs and a table, a bed (funnily enough………….), desk, couch, ensuite etc.
Each day when we went to breakfast by the time we got back the room was made up already. Each afternoon when we got back from shore there were soft drinks waiting and an ice bucket full of fresh ice. Nice touch! Of course we couldn’t let that ice go to waste so a drink on the deck watching shore life or islands sail by was in order.
There were a few inside rooms and a few full suites as well. Our steward (the person who looked after our section of staterooms) kindly showed us through one of the suites that was empty. WOW!!! It had a lounge with double doors opening on to a largeish deck at the back of the ship so you had a 180 degree view. A large bedroom, desk and a large bathroom with a spa bath. Apparently if you take one of these rooms with it (and the price!) comes a full butler service, food, drinks etc.
On the last day of the cruise they gave us a sheet of facts about how much food they typically take on board for a 12 night cruise, like ours. Phew! Even the logistics of getting on board, storing and moving around that much of anyone thing would be amazing. For example, 12,000 pounds of beef, (yes pound not KG as it is an American ship), 5,000 pounds of pork, 10,000 pound chicken, 10,000 pound potatoes, 8,000 gallons of milk, 700 gallons of ice cream, 1,500 dozen eggs, 20,000 tea bags, 10,000 pound flour, 900 bottles of champagne, 10,000 bottles of wine…………… it goes on. Amazing! Each day they make all their own bread and pastries, as well as cakes and desserts, hence the need for so much flour.
They also gave figures on the ship itself like it can take 12.7 m2 of fuel, uses 300 metric ton of water a day, has 6 boilers etc. The emergency generator was a 400kw diesel – phew, good to know they had a big one of those!
Getting on the ship on day one was a breeze. No queues. You dropped your bags at the beginning of a large marquee on the port, entered the marquee and went quickly and easily via all the tick boxes needed – health, immigration etc. You were given your room card (one each) and this acted as your key, your on board credit card (uh oh!) and the card to swipe to get you on and off the ship in each port. Also that way they know who is off the ship and when they are ALL back on again, before sailing! It was a great and easy system.
Each night you could choose which restaurant to eat at and what time you liked – there was no pre seating which was great. Sometimes you ate by yourselves and other times you shared a table with others. That is where we met Liz and Wayne from Nova Scotia Canada – and have made very good friends with them.
For breakfast we usually ate at the buffet on the deck where you could sit outside. The buffet was great – for example there was the cereals and fruit, yogurt and milk etc. Then the section with fresh fruit all sliced and presented beautifully. A section with pastries and breads, freshly made that day. Porridge, waffles etc. A fish section with usually about 4 types of fish, usually including salmon. A huge ham to have hot ham off the bone, egg Benedict, etc and also then two men cooking omelets and eggs to your order. Plus other changing items as well. Phew – it made us tired again just DECIDING what to eat! And then there were the freshly squeezed juices, a smoothie bar, tea and coffee………..
I have already mentioned the lunch buffet in another blog but on the next to last day there was a special brunch buffet where there were all sorts of food in a mixture of the breakfast and lunch plus, to Peter’s delight, a huge seafood bar with freshly cooked prawns with their shells already taken off, lobster etc.
Due to the fact we liked wine and ordered from the sommelier we also got invited to the Connoisseur Dinner. Only 11 people were invited. It was a food and wine tasting and was amazing food. We also learnt heaps about the wines from the sommelier.
There were certainly a few fun nights we had on the ship – usually we were eating too late to get to the cabaret (did I mention a lot of older people on the ship………….. so early shows; well 9.30…..) but we did get to see an amazing singer from Canada.
Most nights we ended up in the bar/nightclub called the Looking Glass. It usually had an entertainer / singer and then later a DJ. We got to know DJ Brian and he played P!nk for us! But not on the ABBA night, oh no! We were the only ones dancing to P!nk, by the way……… But we refrained from getting up at teh Karaoke night…….. unlike others……
At that bar we got to meet a few of the staff and got to know them well – it was sad to say goodbye to them at the end. On our cruise there were 42 nationalities of staff. Serbia, Malaysia, Philippines, Croatia, India, etc.
Each day (well the night before) you got a newsletter delivered to your room detailing sunrise time and sunset time. The expected temp, all the ship activities the next day etc. It was very useful and informative. We liked it a lot. But I have to say we did none of the ships activities like bingo, the two step dance lessons, playing cards or scrabble, movies, quiz afternoons etc. Oh, actually that is not quite true, we did do the vodka tasting!
One thing we learnt was that when we saw the amazing fireworks as we sailed out of Werdumunde the Captain chose to sail very slowly so we could see the display. It went on for an hour or more and then he had to go “foot to the pedal” (his words) to get us to the next stop in time. Doing that used a lot more fuel and now he is having to justify that to his superiors!!
So, that is life on the sea for us.
Jo and Peter xx