We arrived at Cape Liberty by car at about 12:30. The port makes up in efficiency what it lacks in looks. We drove directly to the terminal and dropped off our 4 suitcases. The porter did not suggest any tip or warn about our luggage. I gave him $10 and parked the car. Parking is plentiful and costs $112 for a seven day cruise. It is a short walk back to the terminal but shuttles are also available. Once back at the terminal we went directly to a counter showed our express pass and quickly proceeded to the ship. I asked what time the lines were longest and was told for this ship, never! We were on the ship slightly after 1:00 and were greeted by a glass of champagne. There was no escort to the room but you really don't need it since the ship is compact.
We had two adjoining rooms with a verandah (7024/7022) which were in the forward third of the ship. Our rooms were ready upon boarding and were very clean. We met our "butler" who really is a glorified attendant. He spoke terrible English and we had a language problem. He did his job well but he was not required. The room had plenty of closet and drawer space. DW and I had plenty of unused c and d space after unpacking. Room size was on par with a standard X room as was the veranda. Bathroom is small. If you are over six feet your "throne" will not be comfortable and if you are a large person the shower will be very, very small. DW and I concluded that large people will need to keep the shower curtain open. Outside the shower is a drainage channel leading to a drain so the original ship builders must have realized a problem existed. My teens had a minor problem with the beds in their room. We requested separate beds for them. Guest relations responded very promptly to have this corrected. My bottle of Myers rum arrived around 4 and it was a liter. Luggage arrived in mid afternoon. The beds were comfortable and the room was quiet. We had mildly rough seas on two nights with 35-40mph winds and very rough seas (10'-15') one night. DW and my daughter used the bands and thought they worked well. On the roughest night my daughter also took a bonine pill. Since we were in the front I am sure the motion was exaggerated. The motion was mainly pitching with minor rolling. Both ways the wind was at about a 45 degree angle to the ship. Oh, no fridges yet but they told us very soon. The veranda chairs are teak and metal as is the table which also has a glass top.
The ship is beautiful. DW said it reminded her of a nice European hotel. Wood tones are dark and railings on the stairs are brass with black supports and glass panes with a black design. Some ceilings have murals. Marble counters abound. Due to the small size it is quick and easy to get anywhere. Exterior painting continues when in port. The pool area is large even though the pool is very small. Ample lounges were available except during peak hours. Try 11 forward for additional lounges. There were also a number of covered areas on the pool deck. No teak lounges yet but THEY WERE BEING LOADED AS WE WERE DISEMBARKING. So, beginning on the 7/14 cruise the pool lounges will be teak. The casino was never overly crowded. The Celebrity Lounge is the "theater". They had two nights of singers, DW said they were very good, a ventriloquist, great, and two nights with a comedian who was also very good. The singing shows were at 9 and 10:30. All other shows were at either 9:30 or 9:45. Get there early and sit in the first row or two or the first row of the second level (a couple of steps up from the first). As you will be reminded Journey and Quest are "destination" ships and will not offer things like full blown song and dance shows. For some quiet time go to the Looking Glass Lounge, great views and usually empty during the day and early evening. It is also a great place pre-dinner since the Martini Bar becomes very crowded.
We dined in the main dining room (Discoveries) on four nights. It consists of a lower level around the perimeter and a raised level in the center. On the first two nights we had a table for four just a table away from the stern window. Great view but the waiter seemed very disinterested and this level, consisting mostly of rectangular tables, was very crowded. On the final two nights we were in the upper level, by upper I mean about two steps up, which seemed less congested. We had table 90 with a very nice waiter, Ahmed. The food was the usual very good Celebrity fare. On Thursday night you will be presented with a dessert tray consisting of mini servings of five desserts, wow! They were a parfait, a small crème Brule, a small glass of three types of chocolate mouse, a berry custard torte and a bite sized chocolate dipped piece of cheesecake. I think this concept is better than the Baked Alaska. One note, the desserts are not presented to you for choosing. You are given a menu only. We arrived each night at about 6:15 and were seated without a wait. You can ask for a particular table/area/waiter.
On night we visited Brezza (Windows Cafe for breakfast and lunch). It is self serve but wasn't bad for this type of venue. Each of us had pasta. A variety of pasta styles are available as well as a choice of meat or marinara sauce. The pasta is pre-cooked. You select the type they dip in hot water and then finish the cooking in a pan with your sauce. They also have sushi here which was pretty good. We stayed out on the deck which was very pleasant.
Windows Cafe for breakfast had the Celebrity standards including my nice wet muselix, an omelet station and yes a waffle and pancake station. You can get your own coffee or tea but once seated a waiter will usually offer to fill your cup. I am not a coffee drinker but I heard a few people comment that the coffee was very good. For lunch you can also use the grill for burgers, dogs and fries.
Prime C and Aqualina were both excellent. My personal preference is Prime C the steakhouse. Our water, Enrique was very friendly and a great person. We saw him many times during the cruise and he had the same friendly demeanor. Aqualina leans more to seafood. At Aqualina try the chocolate doughnut dessert. Imagine a Dunkin Donuts Munchkin but bigger, lighter and more flavorful sitting in a pool of chocolate syrup. Next to it is a scoop of vanilla ice cream and next to that is a small cup of espresso jello topped with espresso mousse. As many people have already stated, Dominique is outstanding (he will be leaving for the Quest in the fall). The service and attentiveness are great. You will have a very enjoyable couple of hours. Each time we had reservations for 6:30 and our table requests were met. The Captain visited us each night at the specialty restaurants. If you dine while in Bermuda, especially Hamilton, ask for a side table not a rear table which will overlook the commercial wharf. In St. George the port side faces land and in Hamilton the starboard side faces land.
Journey had the most friendly and visible crew of any of my prior cruises. The Master of the Vessel, Captain Anastasios Lekkas is from the Galaxy. The upper 3 or four officers are Greek but the rest of the officers are very diverse in nationality and gender. Officers, including the Captain were walking the ship and interacting with guests. I once saw the Captain in Windows Cafe eating lunch. I am sure he was checking up on things but visibility and approachability mean something. Many of the crew also stated haw they loved the ship and the message from the higher officers and crew was that they realized too many mistakes were made with the Journey rollout and that those will not be repeated with the Quest. It appears many of the top people from Journey will be moving to the Quest in the fall.
Not much to say here. We were assigned Lavender 2 and our approximate sailing time was 8:55. We sat in the Celebrity Cabaret and were called at 9:05. We disembarked in about 5-10 minutes and went right on to a waiting bus for the short ride to the terminal. We walked in the door, lavender 2 was just to our right and our four pieces of luggage were sitting next to the door. Walked through customs and then I retrieved the car. The car was packed and we began our ride home at about 9:35. Great job and coordination by all parties.
My hands tire so here are some quick items: * Prior to setting sail from NJ you will be charged tax on your purchases, including soda card. This stopped once we sailed. * Many of the beers you may know by name bit are different. Guinness is special bottled variety w/o the cartridge and is bitterer than Guinness you may be accustomed to but is also 7.5% alcohol, yes 15 proof beer. Grolsch is in an approximately 16 oz bottle and is 5% alcohol. Both were $6 * This cruise had 110 well behaved children * For the most part the dress codes were followed. * Organized kids activities and counselors were part of this cruise (2 age groups) * Smoking was restricted to two very small areas of the ship, one outdoors and one in. I am not a smoker so this was great for me. People obeyed the smoking rules.
Once you adjust to the smallness of the ship you realize it is very relaxing. Activities are not as plentiful as on other X ships but the future highlights of these ships will be the ports not a plethora of on board activities. My older teens were a bit bored but I was very relaxed and hope to return in the future. It is a ship for 40+ year olds without their kids in tow. The concept may be new to X but I think they are now on the right track. If you are booked on Journey or Quest don't cancel. I hope you will be pleasantly surprised, I was. So to quote Captain Lekkas "bye, for now" (sorry, an inside joke for those that cruised with this Captain).