Editor's Note: Prior to its debut in New York on May 5, 2007 -- just a few weeks after our visit to the Grand Bahama Shipyard in Freeport -- the foundling Celebrity Journey became part of the industry's newest cruise line: Azamara Cruises. The ship is now known as Azamara Journey.
Blue Dream's last cruise ended on April 8 in Santos, Brazil. Passengers debarked, and officers and some 315 construction workers then boarded the ship. They immediately began working feverishly -- dismantling cabins and public rooms and installing new features as the ship sailed across the Caribbean Sea. It stopped for a 24-hour call in Trinidad, just to offload debris and such (due to visa restrictions in effect because of the world series of cricket, crewmembers weren't allowed to even disembark for a night on the town, so to speak).
Just about nobody's been busier than the folks onboard who are responsible for reupholstering everything -- from dining room chairs to Cabaret Theater banquettes and from stateroom loveseats to martini bar barstools. The dining room, upholstery central, could almost be a factory there are so many folks operating sewing machines and staple guns, and running scissors through damask.
The workers onboard represent a real United Nations. David Kelly tells us that Uruguayans work on carpentry, Bulgarians handle carpet laying and fitting, and the Europeans (from Finnish to Spanish), with their traditions of cruise ship building and outfitting, are responsible for "finishing" work that ranges from installing pre-fabricated bathrooms to hand painting murals.
Ever wonder how to re-cover a chair?
Here and there are remnants of the ship under its Pullmantur ownership. The budget line (which also operates land tours) is aimed at Spanish and Portuguese travelers. This sign, still hanging in the spa, has a message written in both languages and, of course, English as well.