The only structural change in staterooms from the ship's days as the R6 is the creation of 32 Sky Suites on the top passenger accommodation deck (smaller cabins were removed in the process). Calling these cabins suites is a bit of a stretch. The area of these "suites" amounts to only 266 square ft. (with a 60-square-ft. verandah), with a sitting area rather than a second room, more like deluxe oceanview staterooms rather than true suites. Nevertheless, we found this category extremely comfortable, spacious and airy, with copious amounts of storage space.
Along with this new category, all the passenger accommodations have been upgraded in style and comfort from the Renaissance days. All the hanging artwork has been replaced, as has the carpeting, substituting bright warm yellows, reds and tans for the dark and dingy carpeting of the R-Series, while still keeping the turn-of-the-century filigrees and embellishments. The cabinetry, desks and dressers are crafted in rich teak and cherry tones -- in contrast to the Edwardian period paneling and wainscoting of dark mahogany -- injecting a brighter and more modern feel not yet effected in the public areas of the ship.
There are 10 true suites onboard: four Royal Suites, measuring 440 to 501 square ft. (with 105- to 156-square-ft. verandahs) and six Penthouse Suites, each measuring 560 square ft. (with 233- square-ft. verandahs). The smallest cabins onboard are the 24 158-square-ft. inside staterooms.
In total there are 321 oceanview cabins and suites, representing 92.5 percent of the total number of staterooms. Of the oceanview accommodations, 241 or 75 percent have verandahs. There are six staterooms deemed handicapped-accessible. Verandah furniture is contemporary metal frame and teak construction, with webbed seat and back for the chairs and frosted glass top for the table.
A unique amenity of accommodations on Azamara Journey is that each stateroom from the Penthouse Suites to the lowliest inside cabins has the services of a butler. In some ways the butler functions more as a senior cabin steward, but there are enough special services performed by the butler to make the moniker legit, including scheduling of spa and specialty dining reservations, booking shore excursions, delivering full in-suite tea service at 3:30 p.m. and hors d'oeuvres at 5:30 p.m. daily. Butlers will even assist with packing and unpacking. Service is so attentive that I began displaying the "Do Not Disturb" sign whenever I was in my cabin, so intent was my butler on checking on my well-being and satisfaction.
Bathrooms are comfortable but not exceptionally spacious, and I found the lighting to be a bit dim. Each stateroom's bath has a selection of Elemis toiletries -- the usual suspects including shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, shower gel, Frette cotton robes and slippers. All categories of suites have bathtub/shower combinations. The rest, all quite cozy, are shower-only.
Other cabin amenities include refrigerator with mini-bar (checked and filled by the butler), thermostat-controlled air conditioning, phone with voicemail, in-room safe and hand-held hair dryer. The flat-screen television carries the following channels: GPS Navigation, bridge cam, ship and weather statistics, port information, travel documentaries, closed-circuit feeds of onboard events and seven cable networks. The TV also functions in interactive mode, allowing guests to access messages, review their accounts, get general info, investigate and book shore excursions, order room service or wine, or purchase pay-per-view movies. Suites have DVD players as well.
The 18 Category Seven oceanview staterooms have panoramic windows with obstructed views; the six Category Eight oceanview staterooms have portholes rather than windows.
The verandah cabins are very small. Because it is an older boat, there was less than 200 square feet per cabin. Very small bath as well. Tiny shower with curtain. Our cabin was near a stairway and was quiet although we could hear children yelling out in the hallway. Our...continue