1st I would like to begin by stating that we had originally booked this Bermuda vacation on board Celebrity Zenith. My wife and I had traveled on Celebrity Zenith twice before and absolutely loved the ship. The two of us also loved her sister ship the Horizon which we sailed on once before. Celebrity sold the Zenith and purchased this vessel from another cruise line and renamed the ship Journey. We were automatically placed onboard this ship is SUPPOSEDLY the same accommodations.....Below, I will share with you my experiences.
Arrival at Terminal : Absolutely splendid. I will tell you that Cape Liberty is an extremely organized and well oiled machine. I pulled into the terminal area, unloaded my luggage, and parked my car within 5 minutes. Everyone was extremely helpful and accommodating. We were then led to the check in area. I had reserved this cruise a year ago to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary so we booked a Royal Suite. Because we were in a suite we had a separate check in area and were checked in on the shipped in 2 minutes. I looked through the curtains at the other check in area and they had a line of about 10 people maximum at 12 noon.....I was expecting the circus which normally occurs in New York Terminal.
At that point we were escorted to a shuttle bus which drove us to the Boat which was a one minute ride up the block. we proceeded up the gangway, presented our seapasses and had our photos taken for security and were on the boat by 12:15pm after pulling in the parking lot at 12 noon.
This is where the Celebrity and Azamara begin to separate....We were then told that the rooms were not ready so if we could go have some lunch in the Windows Cafe we would make an announcement around 1pm we spent about 1 1/2 waiting for the rooms to be prepared. At which point, they made an announcement that you can proceed to your rooms.... Celebrity would never have done that. They always walk you to your room upon boarding the vessel.
We arrived at our room and saw a beautiful suite overlooking the front of the boat. We had a great view of NY harbor as we were leaving port. We met Jose our "Butler" and he asked if we would like to have afternoon tea service, I told him that we did and we would like to have that along with finger sandwiches in our room at 3pm everyday. I also requested that we would like to organize our in room massages with Aquaspa and were told that there were none on this vessel.
Day 1 : Began by us immediately going to guest relations to organize a baby sitter for the late evening hours. We were told that they would "TRY" but that Baby Sitters are limited on board that it was a first come first serve basis. I was instructed by a "lovely" lady Margaret at the front desk that there would be NO baby sitting organized on the first night. I asked my "Butler" to see if he could find us a baby sitter and he did....
We then ventured to meet the Kids Club staff.... Where's the Fun Factory we asked? There is none! In the back of the Looking Glass night club they have designated a small area for the Kid's Club to utilize.....This is an embarrassment. They also only have two counselors working at any point and time for ALL the kids. So you have potentially 20 kids being supervised by two Young Ladies. In some cases there was only one lady supervising all the children during dinner time. They have all the children together and they all do the same thing regardless of age. I have an 8 year old and a 3 year old who have different personalities......They were in the same age categories and did the same things. My kids were deprived the full experience they should have received. No talent show! No Kids Club T-shirts! We also learned that as of September they are doing away with the kids program entirely.....If you have kids, find another cruiseline.
We then made reservations at the main dining room.... Supposedly open seating but you can arrange for the same dinner time if you inquire. We arranged to have some reservations at the more upscale restaurants on board and did so with ease. we ate in the main dining room on the first night.... I have to say, their food in the dining rooms are absolutely spectacular.
After Dinner I ventured to their Casino..... What a joke of a Casino. 2 Black Jack tables, a Roulette Table, a 3 Card Poker Table and slot machines.... Lots of slots.... NO CRAPS TABLE!!!! I asked the pit boss why no Craps Table? How can you have a Casino with No Craps Table? I was told that they do not have the accommodations to hold the dealers for a Craps Table....They did have additional Black Jack and Three Card Poker tables with dealers waiting for players but most of the time they had no people at them. I told the Pit Boss, why not use the dealers standing at tables waiting for players to do a craps table.....Anyway, No Craps, but the dealers are wonderful and Azamara probably saved me money by not having a Craps Table.....However, if you like to gamble find another Cruiseline.
Day 2: We had Dinner plans at Aqualina, this is there French / Italian restaurant....The Maitre D' Dominique is absolutely unbelievable....Great Guy. Food is outrageous. Wine selection is very nice..... We found out that there are NO MIDNIGHT BUFFETS on this cruise ship. After 12 Midnight no food to be found anywhere except room service. We ordered one night room service to there Cova Cafe and they delivered it there..... Funny stuff. We realized for the kids.... Ice Cream during certain times only..... No Self Serve Ice Cream machine..... Pathetic. Pizza is pretty good and so is the Hamburgers.
Day 3: Television service goes out completely in all rooms. When I inquired with the "Butler" he said they were working on it. This is when I started to realize that I was receiving the services of a Stateroom attendant in a Tuxedo..... Not European style Butler Service. If you speak to the Hotel Manager she willadmit to you that Azamara does not offer European Style Butler Service. If you look in their brochures you see that it mentions all rooms have Butler Service.... I was short changed in this regard as well. I inquired with front Desk about the TV's and was told it was a ship wide problem and that they were working on it.
Day 4: Ate Dinner at the Prime C Restaurant.....Have the Cowboy Rib eye Bone in..... Its an unbelievable piece of meat. Also, they cook their steaks one temperature higher than you request....If you want Medium rare you need to order Rare. however, food is excellent.
Still no TV service, and a joke of a kids club so my kids were freaking out at this point. Thank god the island is absolutely gorgeous.... So we spent most of the time at the beaches. I also could not access my emails beginning this day. The computer Center was down. My office staff had no way of contacting me and almost lost a bid because I had no access to emails. When I asked Margaret at the front desk what was the problem she told me that it was TOO TECHNICAL of an explanation to share with me. I asked her to amuse me and share her info..... She refused and I then asked for her boss who had a similar type of attitude till I asked to speak with the Hotel Manager.... All of a sudden, everyone became very responsive. Amazing. the Hotel manager is Heike.... Make sure you introduce yourself to her as soon as you board.
Day 5: Still no TV Service, Nor Computer Center.
Day 6: TV Service Resumed and computer Center service but the computers are like you are using some kind of dial up service. I was greeted by 225 emails which took quite sometime to sift through. At this point, I requested to meet with Heike and share my concerns regarding the services they were offering my family. She told me that she would address them. All of a sudden, everyone was jumping through hoops for us... Front desk calling to make sure TV service was functioning correctly. We did get some heavy rains and the veranda doors were leaking into our suite causing the carpeting to get all wet.
Day 7: No Grand Finale in the dining rooms.... No Baked Alaska displays..... Nothing special done.
Here are some additional items I forgot....
They canceled Bingo on day 4 because not enough players showed up to cover the Pot of $500 so they canceled Bingo..... Azamara can't front a $500 bingo pool?
No Cigar Bar.... Very Few Shops....No merchandise onboard with the ship Logo.....Can you believe that?
Entertainment???? The best entertainer on board is a ventriloquist and the Harp player..... That should give you an idea of the entertainment on board.
No Priority Disembarking for Royal Suite Guests.... We were one of the last groups off the boat.
Received our Luggage Last coming on board the vessel. They organize everything from the inside out to the suites. So when you see priority luggage handling and disembarking on the brochure.....Its all fluff.
Cape Liberty Terminal is a great experience. Once they let us leave the boat.... we were on the road in 15 mins.
If it was not for the Dining Rooms and there staff I would suggest everyone to stay clear of this Vessel. However, do not waste your money on a Royal Suite on this vessel.....They do not service you adequately.....Just get a Ocean view room, you get the same services from your Stateroom attendant in a Tuxedo.
Azamara is supposed to be a sister company of Celebrity..... Not in my book.... They better get there act together or this will be a short lived experiment for Azamara. Now I know why Celebrity launched it as a separate brand. Good Luck AZAMARA. You'll never see my family again.