The unveiling of Azamara Friday, May 4, 2007 was the high point of the week for the folks behind the fledgling Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. brand. The event was held onboard Celebrity Journey (which as of Friday is now known as Azamara Journey).
That ship of course was on the tail end of an intense four-week refurbishment that transformed it from its previous incarnation as Pullmantur's Blue Dream (Pullmantur is also a Royal Caribbean-owned cruise line). It was slated to sail on its first voyage some 24 hours later. Of course, we all know now that it did not (the ship pulled away from its summer homeport of Cape Liberty a day late).
Cruise Critic editor Carolyn Spencer Brown chronicled the ship's progression midway through its refurbishment at Freeport's Grand Bahama Shipyard; at that time it was thought that the ship would sail under the Celebrity Cruises banner. Spencer Brown was also on hand to chronicle its conclusion.
She reported then that the ship still felt like a work in progress -- even on Friday, less than 24 hours before its slated maiden voyage departure. Cabins weren't yet arranged. The pool deck was awash in debris, from old furniture that had to be disposed to trash. Its teak-like flooring was not yet in place. Casino stools were being unpacked from huge boxes lying out on the ship's dock.
And yet, even if it was obvious that the four weeks allotted to completely transform this new ship wasn't enough, there was still plenty to show off. Its restaurants, in particular, were beautifully put together -- and the lunch offered to travel agents and media who attended the session was exquisite.
The following is our Shipyard Snapshots photo and video essay of Azamara Journey as it appeared on Friday.
We encourage Cruise Critic readers who travel on Journey in the coming weeks to send us photos -- we'd love to display them. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.