Azamara Journey cruise ship review

Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Journey has been completely transformed thanks to a multi-million pound upgrade, says Cruise International Contributing Editor Sara Macefield

They call it ‘reimagining’ – and the classic good looks of Azamara Club Cruises much-loved Azamara Journey have been given a very impressive face-lift.

Furnishings in natural shades of taupe, biscuit and fawn balance classic with modern, and bring a brighter, fresher look that’s more contemporary boutique than country house.

One of the biggest changes is the spacious Living Room lounge at the front of the ship, which used to be more of a night-time venue.

Thanks to the new lighter feel, it is a natural place to come during the day and snuggle up on sumptuous velvet sofas or slip into birdcage-style swinging chairs to relax with a good book or admire the panorama through the bank of floor to ceiling windows.

The swirly cream carpet resembles one of the complimentary cafe lattes that passengers can help themselves to from the new drinks machine.

One of the more novel touches are the interactive “technology tables” dotted around the lounge, where guests can send postcards by selecting an online card and typing in a message before despatching it into cyberspace.

An oasis of peace, the Sanctum Day Spa has been transformed with a new entrance and two new spa suites that include access to the wellness facilities and have their own balcony hot tub.

Guests will find a gym, with lines of exercise machines facing the full-length windows, to give inspiring sea views as users sweat off the pounds they have gained in the restaurants.

Spa fans can even try one of the new treatments, an Elemis Jade Stone Therapy where hot and cold stones are used alternately in a massage which is designed to relax and invigorate simultaneously.

The new-look cabins and suites, where plush textured wall coverings and flat-screen TVs facing the beds give a sybaritic feel. Lines of US and European plug points and USB connections on the lamps ensure that mod-cons aren’t forgotten, either.

The ensuites, with their marblesque tile surroundings, are equally plush and passengers staying in the butler-service Continent Suites can opt for a bathtub or walk-in shower. Outside, the main pool deck has been spruced up with new tiles and “future teak” (that’s artificial teak to you and me).

There may only be one pool, but that is plenty for this ship as nothing ever feels too crowded.

The former Pool Grill has become The Patio, offering al fresco dining and smartening up for the evenings with enhanced surroundings and a special menu, while the buffet-style Windows Cafe has been refreshed with more up-to-date furniture and extra tables for two to accommodate couples wanting their own space.

Overall, the refined elegance for which Azamara is so renowned has simply been given a more stylish modern-day flourish.

Azamara Journey may have been given a facelift, but the essence of the ship has not changed and the classic features that have made it so popular have been enhanced by its more modish surroundings.

GETTING THERE: A three-night Weekend Getaway Voyage costs from £449pp this August, cruise only (azamaraclubcruises.co.uk).

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