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.
While the pool decks on all the R-series ships offered the basics -- a couple of whirlpools, a small saltwater "swimming pool" -- they'd never have won any best of awards. Pretty bland. And the cheap, white plastic lounge chairs, not to mention flooring that absorbed heat to such a degree you couldn't walk barefoot, didn't help.
But, David Kelly tells us, the area will be transformed. If our video doesn't capture sound so well, here's the rundown. Teak-like flooring will replace the standard R-series horrid, hot, cat-sick yellow decking (if you want to experience the pleasures of that, well, Princess has left it there); teak deck chairs throughout; and puffy navy blue -- Celebrity's signature color -- cushions.
From the big picture stuff (aforementioned) to smaller details, this construction worker, who hails from St. Vincent, is painting out Pullmantur's Blue Dream logo from the decorative life buoys.
Speaking of Pullmantur, when the ship pulled into Trinidad to haul off debris, that cruise line forget all about a couple of pallets it had left behind. One was full of boxes of shoe horns with a Pullmantur logo. The other? Hundreds of bath sponges; fortunately, there's no logo on them and Kelly says they'll be used.
Right now the pool deck plays an important role as a trash and debris gathering spot. Its lack of ceilings means that cranes can deliver huge empty dumpsters -- and take them out when they're full.
Then the refuse is dumped into barges and cranes return the now-empty caverns to the deck.
You really have to squint to see these cargo containers. Deck 11's sun deck is being used to hold these contraptions -- which are about the size of a standard cabin! They're bringing supplies and materials. And if you wondered how crew and contractors were able to load luggage onboard (lugging bags up via the Tower of Terror is not an option), we've got the answer. They're put into a container and craned up.