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Sail Date: March 2012
Having been on many cruises with various companies we decided to try Azamara Journey as the itinerary (which is usually how we choose a cruise)was a bit unusual.We had looked at some reviews and seen they were very good and we would ... Read More
Having been on many cruises with various companies we decided to try Azamara Journey as the itinerary (which is usually how we choose a cruise)was a bit unusual.We had looked at some reviews and seen they were very good and we would definitely agree. We booked the cruise through a very good cruise agent and booked our flights and pre-cruise hotel separately(which we have done quite a few times)and there was no problems,apart from the tiring journey to pick up the cruise in San Juan,which was no different than anybody else travelling from the uk.After a night in a hotel in the old town we took a cab to the ship. We had no wait at all at the cruise check in and were quickly on the lovely ship. The ship and our cabin was lovely and yes the bathroom is very small but it did not cause a problem at all.The balcony was small but again it was nice to have the extra space.As mentioned in other reviews the staff are very friendly and seem to be genuinely happy in their work.We had a great captain (Jason) and a great cruise director Tony who seemed to be loving every minute of his working day and he was not at all overbearing and false as others we have met.He was backed up by a great team(alex especially),who provided hours of trivia and games,and along with some good professional entertainment we were kept amused. The food was generally very good and both the windows cafe and the restaurant had good decor and ambiance(all under the control of the lovely Heike),and the free wine when eating went down well(my husband had a beer package but said he would not do it again as the wine was good).The mosaic cafe was a good place to relax and meet people,with great waiters.We loved our time aboard and also enjoyed the ports of call(we had booked a couple of ship excursions at half price before we left)and found them to be good.We did our own thing in St Thomas,Bermuda and New York and also enjoyed that. Disembarkation was easy and relatively quick and we caught a taxi to a bag drop place in New York and went shopping before catching the train to Newark for our flight home. We will definitely travel with Azamara again as they offer friendly ships with what seems to be happy staff,and as an extra we feel that we have met some new friend in some of our fellow passengers. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
We booked the Azamara package so our flights were organised for us. It was a long journey to San Juan from the UK, made worse by a 6 hour stop over in Atlanta. If we cruise from San Juan again, we would consider stopping over after the ... Read More
We booked the Azamara package so our flights were organised for us. It was a long journey to San Juan from the UK, made worse by a 6 hour stop over in Atlanta. If we cruise from San Juan again, we would consider stopping over after the first flight and taking the second flight the next day. The Conrad Hilton in San Juan was lovely - Azamara chose well and everything about it was excellent. Transfer to the ship and embarkation was also very well organised. Our room was ready quickly and was immaculate. It was kept this way throughout by Mannish and Ever. From the moment we joined the ship we felt relaxed. Senior Officers and all staff were very friendly and welcoming. We were very impressed with staff at every level - nothing was too much trouble. Louise on Guest Relations is also a credit to Azamara and was always very helpful. Food was excellent everywhere on the ship. Room service was the best we have ever experienced and so too was the buffet in Windows. All credit to Heike and her team. Captain Jason must feel proud to lead such a wonderful team. Entertainment was fun - lots to do for those who wanted to join in. Tony worked hard and it showed. We liked the banter between him and Activities Manager Chris on the daily TV reports. The itinerary was special and didn't disappoint. Virgin Gorda, Bermuda and New York were the highlights for us. We didn't do any organised excursions but still managed to see everything that we wanted. The other thing that struck us was how friendly other guests were. We enjoyed making new friends and meeting many lovely people. This was our 10th cruise and so far has been our favourite. We will definitely cruise with Azamara again - you really do feel like part of an extended family. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
Journey Review

The Journey is a beautiful ship which although smaller has a more spacious feel than many larger ships. This was our 5th trip on Celebrity and we will be making comparisons between Celebrity and Azamara. We are a 50ish ... Read More

Journey Review

The Journey is a beautiful ship which although smaller has a more spacious feel than many larger ships. This was our 5th trip on Celebrity and we will be making comparisons between Celebrity and Azamara. We are a 50ish couple and were travelling with our 3 children in their 20s.

Embarkation Never been to Cape Liberty and, while I wouldn't want to wander around there at night, it was an easy location to get to and through. Long term parking is adjacent to the terminal. There was no shuttle running from the parking lot when we arrived, but there was one when we returned. The parking lot is huge so a shuttle is a good idea. An alternative is to leave someone with all the bags and have one person park the car. Ironically, there was an attractive waiting area with snacks and beverages even though there was no wait. (We could have used that in Ft. Lauderdale.)

Arrival Onboard We were greeted with the customary champagne, but hadn't realized that we wouldn't have an escort to our room. Even though it is a smaller ship, some directions would have been appreciated. We dropped our bags in the room and went to the buffet where we meet our children who had boarded separately.

Stateroom We had booked one 1A and one 2A on deck 7. Both veranda cabins were nicely furnished with frigs and flat TV which was easy to see. The flowers and fruit were a welcoming touch. There was a nice table on the balcony perfect for breakfast. The bedding was the nicest we have had and mattresses the most comfortable - no need for an egg crate. The bathroom was small but not a problem for us. (Perhaps because I loved the showers at the Spa.) Our rooms were quiet and well situated. The only drawback to 7103 was that when we left the room, we walked right into the cart with refuse from other staterooms.

Our "butler" offered to make our specialty reservations but we had already taken care of it. She did later change a reservation for us to a later time; otherwise, besides the delivery of "savories" twice, the services were those of a stateroom attendant. I think the term "concierge" is more appropriate and less misleading than" butler" and that the descriptions in the Azamara literature should reflect the reality. It is not that I feel more services are needed, rather that they should not be overstated.

One minor change was that we needed to place a card on our door to have our room made up. It seems that open seating made it difficult for staff to plan their cleaning (even though we ate at the same time each night and told our butler this.) One night our room was turned down before we left for dinner

Restaurants This is where Azamara really shined. We had consistently very good food in all venues -beautifully presented with some real gems. Our first night we ate in Aqualina which was outstanding - perfect rack of lamb, foie gras appetizer, excellent sea bass, and chocolate souffle. The setting and service (we requested Carla) were both first rate. (Carla also supervised the room service orders and we would get little notes from her throughout the week.) We had dinner at Prime C on our last night when we were fighting 12 foot swells. It's a beautiful room and the service was excellent. Much less crowded than MDR. The lobster bisque was superlative as was the chocolate lava cake. Perhaps because of the waves or the fact that we had had such good food in the MDR, I found that I preferred Aqualina. Others in my family would disagree. Both are excellent

We were delighted with the room service breakfast menu (it included waffles and French toast - two favorites) and ordered that the first few mornings. As a rule I prefer not to go to the buffet in the morning. However, I was pleasantly surprised when my daughter encouraged me to venture down. Not only were the selections excellent and attractive, there was none of the chaos I had feared. We were always able to get a table (with an ocean view yet). The only time I had to wait for waffles there were only a couple people ahead of me. Even on disembarkation morning, I walked right up to the waffle and smoothie bars. The absence of lines throughout the ship was a big plus.

The breakfast selection was vast with some unusual additions like shrimp hash. Fruit and berries were plentiful. Smoked salmon was always included along with a choice of cream cheese. The smoothie bar and espresso machine were appreciated. In addition to the pancake, waffle, French toast station, there were also made to order omelets.

For lunch the buffet was also great. There were so many choices it is easy to miss some special dishes. Look for the salmon cerviche and Thai vegetable curry. I found the Thai dishes at the buffet and in the MDR to be excellent. There were many international dishes such as moussaka, quesadillas which I didn't try. We didn't eat at the buffer for dinner other than the very good sushi and some cheeses as hors d'oeuvres. (Table service at Breeza had been discontinued on our sailing which we would have liked to try.)

The grill. A favorite of the rest of my family, I had never been a fan. (I used to go to the Aqua Spa Cafe available on M ships). However, one day we returned from the beach after lunch and I was delighted to find excellent gyros at the grill. Also, the fries (which I don't usually eat) are amazing and in great demand. This may be the only thing you have to wait for on the ship. The grill also had fruit kabobs one day.

Cova Cafe was a mainstay for snacks. It had the longest hours and featured tea sandwiches and pastry. Their almond and two varieties of chocolate croissants are wonderful.

Discoveries, the main dining room. As long time Celebrity cruisers, we were skeptical about open seating. We didn't miss the formal nights, but liked the consistency of the same table and wait staff. Since we were a party of five, sitting with others was not an issue. The restaurant manager Richard (wrong spelling) was a gracious and welcoming presence. He seated us at a window table with a very pleasant and efficient team, Jaysingh and Elena. Please tell them "hi" from the family at Table 20. We ate at 8:15 every night.

The appetizers on the menu were excellent and there were often many which appealed. We missed some of the old dinner choices but found most new selections to be sophisticated and well prepared. Some of the labor intensive touches have been restored like wrapping the lemon as Celebrity did in the old days. Favorite entrees were the duck, prawns, lamb chops, salmon, NY strip steak. There was always a good Caesar salad which you could order with chicken or shrimp. While many dishes were innovative, the ingredients high quality and presentation beautiful, the seasoning on some dishes could have been more assertive. This was only the second week for the new menus; the dishes are very good now and can only get better with some fine tuning.

Desserts were strong. I was surprised that my favorites were not my usual chocolate choices which were also good, but rather an apple tart, bananas foster, and crepe suzette. We ate lunch in the MDR twice and had good service and food. Once we went primarily for the apple tart, bananas foster and brownie sundae which are always on the lunch menu.

Overall our service was amazing including being speedy when we once requested that. The one drawback is that the dining room seems to have too many tables. This might explain the absence of the dessert cart - it could not maneuver between tables. The wait staff were friendly but were obviously working very hard. They had to reset the tables after diners left which was distracting to those still eating. We can not evaluate open seating since we asked to be assigned to the same table every night; this greatly enhanced our experience.

Tea and Savories. We went to tea at Aqualina once for tea and it was lovely with harp music and table service. We found that stopping by Cova worked out better with our schedules. We didn't order tea in the room but had savories twice and they were excellent. Being tied down to a time didn't seem worth it except for sea days.

Activities

My favorite activity was the T pool on the spa deck. (It took one day to heat up). While on Celebrity I gravitated to the T pool to escape the noise of the main pool; this was not necessary on Journey. I actually went into the main pool for the first time on a cruise and had the pool to myself.

The Celebrity Cabaret was nicer that I expected and we had no problem with sight lines. The performers were good, but the material was not exciting. The magician had left and we had a piano player instead. The comedian was diverting as was the show about Hollywood. The nice thing was that attending was not a must but was pleasant if you could make it.

The guitar player on board was very good. The piano player outside Cova was not my taste. The harp music was lovely. The pool band was fine. There were the usual activities - we participated in the Broadway name that tune, martini and wine tastings, and culinary demonstration. We also attended the Captains Club reception. We missed the Captain's toast because we were at dinner. There were also some very distinctive events. There was a very nice cruise critic get together in Michael's Club which was well attended by senior staff who were eager to talk and listen. The ship arranged for Shabbat services. The soon to be Captain held a star gazing talk. There were performances by a noted local musician and the Goombay dancers which was outstanding.

Port Experience

We were docked in very convenient locations in both St. Georges and Hamilton. It was very easy to get on and off the ship. Bermuda was wonderful but won't go into here -particularly since only one more sailing.

Return Trip

After having had perfect weather in Bermuda, we returned with winds over 40 mph and 12 foot waves. The Captain made an announcement asking women not to wear heels and for everyone to stay off of the open decks. We had a very enjoyable day anyway. Our rooms were aft and it seems the motion was worse in front of the ship.

Disembarkation

We had a very nice breakfast at the buffet. We were scheduled to leave at 9:10 and weren't called until almost 10 which was fine with us since we got to have some more time on the deck. (Have I mentioned how comfortable the deck chairs are?) Once we were called, we went quickly through customs and to car.

Comparison with Celebrity

Although it seems that Azamara is trying to differentiate itself from Celebrity, there are enough similarities to ensure a comfort level. The main differences from Celebrity are the lack of formal nights and open seating. What you don't have: midnight buffet, baked Alaska night, informal elegant tea, production shows, Aqua spa cafe, children's program, Captain's club gift. What you do have: shorter or no lines, senior staff accessible, less crowding, a very low key atmosphere, different pillow treats every night, tea available in room, more artistry in food presentation. For instance, instead of just plain broiled lobster tails, lobster was prepared four different ways; instead of baked Alaska we were served a dessert sampler. Also, the Journey is non-smoking except for two areas. The bedding and robes were of higher quality and concierge class amenities were in all cabins.

We have always enjoyed Celebrity and also enjoyed Azamara very much. I feel the two lines complement one another and would sail either with pleasure.

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Sail Date: October 2007
We departed on the Oct 20 departure of the Azamara Journey from Bayonne, NJ. The first step after checking in was a short bus ride to ship. After the easy and fast check-in, things went rapidly downhill.

Azamara is trying to position ... Read More

We departed on the Oct 20 departure of the Azamara Journey from Bayonne, NJ. The first step after checking in was a short bus ride to ship. After the easy and fast check-in, things went rapidly downhill.

Azamara is trying to position itself as an upscale brand with upscale amenities. It doesn't quite measure up. The touted "Butlers" are nothing more than overworked cabin attendants in bow ties. This is deceptive advertising.

The ship is old, the doors between inside and outside on all decks are heavy swinging wood. The majority of passengers were elderly and had trouble opening and closing them. In addition, the wheel chair ramps that were put in between doors were very high and I saw several in wheel chairs and their companions struggling to get from inside to out. I would NOT recommend this ship for anyone who is handicapped.

As the ship is 10 years old, so is it's technology. We hit some rough seas on the return from Bermuda, and the 10 year old stabilizers didn't perform as well as newer ships.

The best thing about Azamara are it's crew and staff. They try to be helpful and are always friendly. Unfortunately, after six months, they still have more than their share of problems and communication among themselves.

Meals were good, not great, and certainly not quite as touted. The flowers died and were not replaced during the cruise, the fruit got old and was not replaced.

In addition, the cabins are quite small, there were filled holes in the wall, and the bathrooms were miniscule and the showers a joke. While using the commode, one literally must have one foot in the title.

Azamara has a long, long way to go to get even close to their Celebrity brand. We are not overly critical, but this was the worst of the 12+ cruises we have taken.

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Sail Date: October 2007
Arriving at the dock and checking in was flawless and quick. Probably the best check-in experience I've had. Upon boarding, we were greeted and offered a glass of champagne which was just slighly cooler than room temperature. Yuk!! ... Read More
Arriving at the dock and checking in was flawless and quick. Probably the best check-in experience I've had. Upon boarding, we were greeted and offered a glass of champagne which was just slighly cooler than room temperature. Yuk!! Since the rooms are not ready until after 1 PM we went to the buffet. After big ship buffets, this one seems very small with few selections, but all selections were excellent. I'm always grateful to Celebrity for their breads and pastries---they fall way below most ship lines in quality and taste and I can therefore resist them. The Journey's breads and pastries were no exception. Desserts were also boring--again, I thank them, although the presentations was always wonderful. Cabins are small---175 sq feet--bathrooms are tiny. Nice table and chairs on the balcony. Decor is scrumptious, new and fresh. The cabin service was just wonderful--we almost never saw our "butler" but everything was always clean and neat. One thing the "butler service" did for me was to convience me that these were services I don't need. I can--and prefer to, pack and unpack myself. My shoes don't need shining. I don't need tea deliver to my door between 4-5PM (especially since I have to order it by 11 AM--come on now, I'm on vacation--I don't want to plan my day that far in advance). Tea is available in a lovely restaurant on deck 10 at the same time. I also don't need tiny sandwiches deliver to my room between 4-5PM--same reasons as above. Other butler services like full breakfast room service was available thru room service. I had room service twice. Once for the breakfast that I order the night before--it arrived ten minutes early and lukewarm. The second time we ordered hamburgers from room service about 3:30PM after returning from shore and they arrived hot and yummy in about 15 minutes. We ate at both speciality restaurants---Prime C on departure night was only half full---it took almost three hours to eat--way too long. The food was very good. Wednesday was Aqualina--much better service--only half full--good food. Neither of the speciality restaurants had exceptional food. The food in the main dining room, Discoveries, was very good and I would have skipped the specialty restaurants if I would have known that the quality difference was so small between speciality and regualr dining. Discoveries has way too many tables set way too close together to give you a fine dining experience. It's a shame because the overcrowding takes away from the experience. I'm sorry that I waited until the last evening to partake in evening buffet--pasta station, stir fry station---much more--they even put white table cloths on the tables. The ice cream is made onboard and very good---sugar free vanilla is exceptional. Shows were good--we didn't see the comedian. Lectures were good and interesting. If you are a Martini fan, don't miss the Martini bar right outside of Discoveries. Mr Martini, AKA Rusti, makes the world's best. The "bar" vodka is Grey Goose. The Martini cost $10.00 but it's worth it. It's so huge that partner & I asked Mr. Martini to split it between two glasses--which he graciously did. Each was the size of a usual restaurant martini. Only funny thing is these tiny little olives--not the kind you'd expect in a quality martini. To show you what a great guy Mr. Martini is, we complained about the size of the olives and the lack of our favorite blue cheese stuffed olives. The next evening we had blue cheese stuffed olives. He had taken these tiny olives and stuffed them with blue cheese himself---not an easy task when they're so tiny. Smoking may cause some problems on Azamara---we traveled with a couple of people who smoke and they were surprised to find that they could not smoke on their balcony--they did anyway-- and got a terse letter from the captain. They will not travel this line again and since we travel with them frequently, we will honor their preference to be able to smoke outside on their own balcony. Without exception, the service is wonderful throughout the ship. This was my first small ship experience and it told me that I'm a "big ship" kinda gal. I found it too small, not enough choices in things to do or places to eat--the ceilings alway felt that they were caving in on me. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
Background Information: We were recruited by Azamara directly. We had sailed Celebrity in the past but had stopped to sail on Holland America for our 4 previous cruises. Azamara had offered us a SkySuite for the price of a veranda ... Read More
Background Information: We were recruited by Azamara directly. We had sailed Celebrity in the past but had stopped to sail on Holland America for our 4 previous cruises. Azamara had offered us a SkySuite for the price of a veranda stateroom. The online brochure was convincing enough to believe that the line would live up to the expectations.

Ship Info: Azamara Journey-- formerly a Renaissance ship. The ship is not new as stated but is new to Azamara-- the ship is in relatively good condition, however it is in need of refurbishment in some areas. Common areas have holes in the walls where there were previous art installations and displays. These holes are visible and not repaired. Chairs in the dining room were severely scratched, dust on decorative areas and art in the dining room.

The Sky Suite although larger than most staterooms is still small for the class of this ship. The bathroom has a quirky setup and able bodied people will find it difficult getting in and out of the bath tub. The television is a plasma, however it's rather small for the room-- it is difficult to be viewed from the bed. The thermostat in the room didn't work and the temperature was often too cold.

Activities:

While the staff tried to make every effort to make the cruise enjoyable-- they were clueless in how to motivate the passengers to participate. Unfortunately the activities were not suited for the people on board.

Service:

The service on the ship was adequate however-- the issue is that many of the staff were new and unfamiliar with the expectations of service. Unfortunately the staff was not prepared to deliver the level of service that is to be equated with a line of this caliber.

Issues included failure to clear dirty dishes, unemptied ashtrays, failure to anticipate needs. Searching for people to wait on you in the cocktail lounges--Butler service was sorely lacking, luggage service was non-existent and most of all the dining room was run like the keystone cops.

Shore Excursions:

Really were mundane and didn't live up to the expectations set forth by the brochure or the online descriptions. We opted to go elsewhere and had better time doing so.

Staterooms were not of the size or caliber of the comparable lines.

Dining the specialty dining rooms were impeccable and the actual dining room needed work.

Entertainment was better than other lines but if you're seeking the big production shows of the larger liners-- you'll need to go elsewhere.

Disembarkation was chaotic.

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Sail Date: October 2007
Both of us are seasoned cruisers-w/myself having just completed a 16 day Hawaiian cruise in Aug. 2007. We wanted a shorter cruise&research lead us to Azamara Journey. Their website touted LUXURY, SERVICE, SPACIOUS Accommodations, ... Read More
Both of us are seasoned cruisers-w/myself having just completed a 16 day Hawaiian cruise in Aug. 2007. We wanted a shorter cruise&research lead us to Azamara Journey. Their website touted LUXURY, SERVICE, SPACIOUS Accommodations, BUTLER SERVICE, ETC. I RESEARCHED iNTERNET AND FOUND NICE PRICE, lower than booking direct w/ cruise line. They did a great job w/ all arrangements, to & from, transfers, etc. No complaints in that regard.

Upon arrival @ Newark airport, we were met (not greeted) by cruise rep. Unlike our previous cruise experiences, no effort was made to assist us w/luggage to curbside for transfer bus, but instead, the rep went into lengthy detail about her not wanting to get injured by assisting w/heavy luggage & only provided info when questioned. The bus was so over crowded, both of us had heavy golf bags wedged on and against our legs and feet. The bus driver had picked up 6 "paying" passengers & those of w/prepaid transfers were wedged in like sardines. Terminal check in went pretty smoothly, but it was obvious that staff needed more training, ours had to get assistance 3 times. Bus transfer to ship was ok, but there was no staff to help w/carryon up the steps to the ship, which were rather steep. The security photo station was crowded, small and ship staff just stood around, more in the way than helpful---we received assistance to elevators and stateroom (?) only when requested.

When the stateroom room door opened, I was shocked to say the least. SPACIOUS, IF WAS NOT, WELL APPOINTED, IT WAS NOT! iF THE CLOSET DOOR WAS OPEN, NO ENTRY TO BATH OR EXIT THE CABIN. Unpacking was one at a time, we did finally realize that by lifting the foot of the bed, we could stow our empty luggage so we could walk around the cabin--can't call it a Stateroom, anymore. The "BUTLER" introduced himself -ok-. Fruit & flowers in cabin, both either rotted or died, only a couple bananas and grapes were added--on 4th night I put some of the rotten fruit out in the hallway. The thermostat never worked in the cabin---it stayed COLD!

tHE FOOD, OVERALL WAS GOOD, ONLY ONE MEAL WAS EXCELLENT, DINING SERVICE IN ALL VENUES was lackluster. There would be 8-10 servers standing around, but if you needed coffee or water refills, you either asked or in Windows got up and got it yourself. The beverage area in Windows was located in the walkway and the floor was always wet, slippery & sticky. On more than one occasion, we picked up dishes in the buffet line that were not properly cleaned, and always had to check our flatware. Sanitation was lacking and not pro-active as I have been accustomed to.

The buffet layout was somewhat confusing, but all in all the food choices were good. Removal of dirty dishes was not prompt, even tho' there was more than sufficient staff. Discoveries dining service was poor and if word got around you had complained, it was obvious. We finally gave up and just at in Windows. Lobster night was joke!, By the way, don't put your appetizer fork down, or the appetizer will disappear--we always felt rushed. Don't expect prompt water refills, nor coffee served on time. The mandatory daily gratuity is 20%+ higher than other ships, the cocktail & wine prices much higher +gratuity, wine pours are, if you are lucky 1/2 glass--unless you balk.

Activities were lackluster, lacking enthusiasm, except for Becky the director.

Boutiques and prices were the worst I have ever experienced! Layout of Cabaret for shows is the worst design for enjoying shows ever, making it difficult for most to even see the performance. The only lounge w/good service was the Looking Glass and Antonio by the smoking area on the pool deck did a great job & was so outgoing.

4th deck disembark area was like a disaster shelter--w/people sitting on stairs & floor. We just waited on 10th deck for 2nd color tag call to let it clear out since we had a 4+hr. flight window.

Access at ports was very good, Bermuda great--we did our own execursions with much less confusion.

All in all, we would never sail Azamara again--they need to be more accurate about their amenities.. Also, this definitely is not a young couple or family w/children experience---I would also question the comfort for passengers w/ physical limitations being very comfortable, especially in the bathrooms---I'm 5ft. tall & weigh 100 lbs, and the bath was small.

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Sail Date: October 2007
Review of the Azamara Journey

Sail date: 6 October 2007

As to some background; we are avid cruise ship travelers, having completed over 50 cruises, of all types, including freighters, river ships, barges and cruise ships. We ... Read More

Review of the Azamara Journey

Sail date: 6 October 2007

As to some background; we are avid cruise ship travelers, having completed over 50 cruises, of all types, including freighters, river ships, barges and cruise ships. We prefer smaller ships and, thus, were glad when Celebrity acquired the Journey, a 700 passenger vessel.

Embarkation: We used Celebrity air to travel to Newark. The flight, fortunately, was uneventful and our baggage actually arrived with us. We were met by shore representatives and were transported to the port with only slight delays. The actual embarkation was, without doubt, the easiest and least stressful ever experienced. We were on ship within 15 minutes.

Upon embarkation we were directed to the Windows Cafe to have lunch and wait for the cabin preparation to be completed. This was done by about 1:20 pm.

Cabin: We were in a Sky Suite. Overall, the cabin was quite nice and very comfortable. The bath, though small, was adequate. The veranda is small and contains a table and two chairs. The verandas do not offer any privacy due to the transparent frosted glass partitions, which have a large open space surrounding them. HOWEVER, the one glaring error, in the redo of these cabins, is the apparent absolute absence of soundproofing. This is especially noticeable between the cabin and the deck above. The noise of the movement of people, furniture and equipment was overwhelming. During party time, on the pool deck, especially at night, you can forget about relaxing, much less sleeping. In our view, a major mistake, especially considering these are nearly the most expensive cabins, on the vessel.

Dining: The food was outstanding. In fact, we felt this is some of the best cruise ship food we have had in many years. All dining rooms, Discovery, Prime C and Aqualina were very good. Actually, the food in the main dining room, in our view, was the best of the three, although Aqualina was the most attractive. The main dining room tended to be noisy and the tables seemed to be crowded. The Windows Cafe, buffet for breakfast and lunch, was good, but on a par with most other mid level ships. The food was hot, when required and cold when required. Adequate describes it. While the dining areas had disinfecting hand wipes, it seems the liquid dispenser form, like found on other Celebrity ships, would be more effective. As a side note, we would like to see a return to fixed dining as opposed to the open dining concept. Just our preference.

Ship activities: Bermuda is a destination which requires one to spend a great deal of time ashore. As a result, we did not use any of the ships activities. We did note the daily program offered plenty of them. Therefore, for those who chose to stay aboard, I am sure there were lots of options open to them. As with the activities, we did not attend any of the ships shows. That is just our preference. Based on comments from other passengers, it appears the entertainment was standard cruise ship fare, somewhat scaled down due to the ship's size.

Shore excursions: There were pages of options. We chose to use public transportation passes, which were available for sale at guest relations. This because we had been to Bermuda a few times before and knew our way around. Also, this is such a small place that it is very easy to get around. If one wanted to do a tour, however, there were many options and they appeared to be reasonably priced.

General observations: In our view this is a great ship. Comfortable and just the right size. The negatives are few. Cabin noise in the Sky Suites was the greatest complaint. For the life of us, we can not understand Celebrity's insistence on the use of "Butlers". This is an absolute waste. Our "butler" spent the better part of his time assisting the cabin steward. I guess it is just one way of creating another "gratuity" payment.

Would we do this ship again - a resounding yes, but not in a Suite. Would we recommend the ship. Again, yes, but stay away from the Suites.

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Sail Date: October 2007
My husband and I cruised on the Journey's first 14-day sailing on October 27th. It was a great cruise and the Journey is a wonderful ship though they do have some work to do to become what I feel they are trying to market Azamara to be in ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Journey's first 14-day sailing on October 27th. It was a great cruise and the Journey is a wonderful ship though they do have some work to do to become what I feel they are trying to market Azamara to be in comparison to the other cruise lines. The boat is still in need of renovations, repairs and updates; this would not be the expectation on the upscale, luxury lines. But what Azamara is currently doing right, is done with 5-star class, style and service.

The check in was a breeze; we were on board within minutes and eating a fabulous lunch. Though the check in was great, we would get a taxi the next time versus arranging for transfers. We waited in the airport 2 hours for a bus full of passengers to arrive before we could leave for the ship. We were not a happy crowd! A constant theme throughout the trip with one fabulous meal after another fabulous meal. All other passengers commented on the amazing quality and presentation of the food, which certainly includes the service of the personnel. In addition, both of us thought the buffet area and the dining room were very clean.
We are also happy to report no known cases of any viruses on board.

We had an inside cabin and encountered very few people in other inside rooms; the majority of the rooms on board are ocean view and balcony rooms. We felt the room was perfect. We had no problems with seeing the TV as others have reported however there are very few channels to chose from but there were 2 movies running each day. Since we were cruising during Halloween, one of the movies was a horror movie/thriller (Frankenstein, Halloween, The Birds, etc). This did get a little old; maybe a day or two with horror movies but enough was enough! The bedding is as wonderful as others have reported; a very comfortable nights sleep every night while on board. The bathroom is very small for sitting on the toilet and for taking a shower. The Elemis toiletries in the bathroom are great - no need to bring shampoo, conditioner, lotion, bar soap, cotton balls, shower caps, or Q-tips. We opted for evening showers in the spa using the shower with 7 heads on many nights...it was very relaxing. It was rumored that our cruise was the last free cruise to have use of the T-pool, the showers and the changing rooms however I am not certain if that is true. On our first day, the manager of the spa gave us a tour and she did say this was the last free cruise but it was her first day on board and she could have been uninformed at that point. The gym area was never crowded and there was no wait for machines. The T-pool was very hot on most evenings but we still found it a relaxing and very underutilized area. The hot tubs by the pool were not working properly the whole cruise; we did mention this at the front desk and they acted as if this was new information to them. You can ask for berries and grapes in your fruit bowl instead of apples, etc and they will comply unless/until they run out. The flowers were never dead as others have reported. We did not utilize the "butler" service but we are pretty low maintenance.

Dinner was a wonderful experience each night. The first night was very crowded and we were escorted upstairs to Prime C for a free meal...a very nice surprise...but we did want a table for 2 only so this was their quick solution. The Prime C meal was perfection in all regards - sea bass for me; surf and turf for my DH. We knew it was going to be a great vacation with a beginning like this! Since we enjoyed Prime C, we opted for Aqualina on our "free" night (inside rooms get only 1 free night). Though we read many reviews noting that Aqualina was their preference, we found our meals lacking in quality, interest and presentation. Lobster for me and a filet for my DH; we both commented that the dining room meals were consistently superior to Aqualina (even the desserts). A table for 2 in the dining room was never an issue though most of the tables for 2 are very close together (a long line of small tables) therefore you feel as if you are dining with other couples but you do not have the obligation of making small talk. We did hear comments from others that they experienced frustration being seated at the larger tables - if someone was having wine(s), was a slower eater, or a talker, dinner could take 2 hours. Even though we agree that vacation is time to relax, we don't have the patience or the interest for this; we opted for a table for 2 every night. We tried Breeza (the evening name for the buffet area) 2 nights so we could enjoy the stir fry one night and the pasta the other; we read many positive reviews and had to agree that this was a nice option after a long day in the sun. The guitar player/singer in the evening added a nice ambience. The morning buffet seemed fairly consistent the days we ate there as was the menu in the main dining room; some breakfast variety would have been nice. Room service was excellent and arrived hot and as ordered. You receive a card each evening to make your selections; you chose your time of delivery. It is an excellent system and it does work! Lunch was varied in the dining room and in the buffet. The floor in the buffet area was very slick (esp in the mornings) - this is a problem that needs to be remedied quickly as it is quite a hazard. The soft serve ice cream machine was working well and was used quite often; chocolate and vanilla were most common but they whipped up some strawberry on some days (it was the best!). The grill was a hot spot in the afternoons; great fries; good hamburger and steak sandwich choices; the veggie burger was perfect.

Entertainment...well, sometimes not so entertaining! The Journey cast was great and everyone turned out for their shows; the 2 comedians were awesome; the international guitar player was exceptional. One entertainer, Loretta Holloway, forgot the words to her song twice and we eventually left. We heard the next day that she was singing to an empty room by the time her show was over. Hopefully she won't be invited back. There was also a steel drum player that was probably very good but his background music drowned out his instrument; I think the crowd dwindled down to a few people by the time his show was over also. The evening party on deck for Dancing under the Stars and the local Bermuda dancers was extremely fun; wish they had done more things like this; great turn out and lots of drinks being sold. We were disappointed that they only had a movie showing once in the theater during the whole 14-day cruise; this is usually a favorite of ours to enjoy a few movies in the theater but we may have been spoiled on Holland America with this option.

Bermuda was as good as reported by everyone; very safe and very easy to navigate by bus. The original itinerary included Grand Turk. Azamara sent letters to some passengers to note that Grand Turk had been removed from the itinerary though we were not aware of this until we were 1 day into the journey. This was a big disappointment to us and to others. We get tons of mail and email from Celebrity, Azamara and all the other cruise lines so we are not sure the problem with us not getting a letter or email notification. Labadee is a great place and very relaxing; we heard too many awful stories about the market so we didn't even venture in. Seemed like most people brought back the usual trinkets so I don't think we missed much. We tendered as early as we could and got a great spot; DH snorkeled and had a great time. They do require you to wear a vest if you chose to snorkel. The meal on the island was awesome but the locals eating with us was very odd. They took food with their hands and really piled it on their plates. A lot of locals were on this private part of the island but no one really seemed to be doing anything unless they knew they would be readily tipped for their service. No need to book a tour for Santa Marta. Once you get off the ship, you will be in an area to take a van tour for $20 each. Definitely a better option than going to the beach or walking around on your own. You see some nice sights, great views, do a little shopping, see the "resort" area; you will definitely leave feeling that these are very happy people that welcome the tourists. We arranged a private tour in Cartagena through Lee a.k.a. "Mister Emerald"; he was very responsive by email and provided a wonderful tour guide and driver. We were a group of 7 Cruise Critic members; $20 each for the tour and $25 for entrance fees to the museums. It was a good deal for what were able to see. Cartagena is a great place to see; plenty of history. Much better to see with a guide than to attempt this on your own; it did not look unsafe but just too expansive to really see effectively without a plan. You won't go wrong contacting Lee and you will feel very safe. On our last cruise, we went through the Panama Canal so we opted for the City Tour offered through Azamara. The majority of people on our bus felt the tour lacking in any substance or quality; I met several at the tour desk the next day filing a complaint form. We did also and received a letter reply (obviously mass produced) that we should have read our Terms and Conditions. I responded to their letter by sending a note stating that we only wanted to get what we paid for and what was advertised. They again responded with a letter that they would bring our complaints to the tour operators attention and they attached a copy of the Terms and Conditions. This was the greatest disappointment of the trip. Don't trust Azamara on the tours; thinking back through the committed itinerary and the product we received, it was not even realistic time wise. Our tour guide even told us he did not like doing tours with the cruise companies; it was obvious to us!! The San Blas Island stop confirmed that we were finished with cruising in the Caribbean for a while. It was just another stop to see the beach and be offered lots of trinkets by the locals. Many took very over priced cabs ($40 each) to see the island but we jumped on the bus for 25 (or 50) cent each - we saw enough of the island; went to the beach and went to the main shopping/tourist area. They take the 1-3 siesta time seriously and all shops were closed then. The most interesting part of the stop was watching the cars, buses, and scooters (with 3 and 4 people on them) go by; seeing the military people; and talking with a few of the locals. Definitely not a place to return to but not unsafe or scary enough to stay on the boat as many did. This was a long tender ride but with such gorgeous water, that was fine with us.

Disembarking was a problem...the boat was not cleared for a few hours for some reason. Then they let everyone get off at once as people were really getting loud about the delay; the luggage area was a zoo and there were only 2 immigration agents to check everyone out; I don't think we can blame Azamara for this but we were not concerned with the details at that point, we were ready to begin our 2 days in Miami. If you opt to stay over, check out the Indian River Hotel...very affordable nostalgic "south Beach style" hotel one block over from the beach and the boardwalk with a wonderful Cuban cafe across the street (Tropical something Cafe - so good we ate their twice - $13 total for dinner for 2). Just a few blocks walk on the boardwalk and you are in the heart of the South Beach excitement.

The boat handles well for its size; we loved the size of this boat! The smaller casino did not appeal to some but it was fine for us since we only spent about $3 in it. There are only 2 shops on board; they pull out the gold by the inch table and the boxed jewelry tables as usual. The art show was priced quite high and people were buying (much to our constant amazement!). Bring some extra wire hangers if you are on a 14-day sailing. We hung a dollar store shoe organizer on the closet door for toiletries, meds, etc that kept us organized since the bathroom was so small; we trashed it instead of bringing it home for a future trip but it was a well spent $1 before we left. They don't do a great job clearly listing all of the times and places to dance/watch others dance with the band. The band is wonderful and there were some very entertaining dancers on our sailing though we encountered them by surprise. The program has a list of activities and then a list of the musical offerings in a different location. Try breakfast in your room a few days; a very relaxing treat for us! Afternoon Tea in Aqualina is formal so they bring the cart around and serve each person; very time consuming so we only did this once. However, when it was offered in Michael's, it was on a cart where you could make your own selections; much quicker. Michael's had a great library and was a relaxing place that was consistently quiet. Michael's, the dining room, the theater, etc were well air conditioned so pack a sweater/wrap esp for evenings. Most took the resort casual theme a step too far but they were on vacation so it was no big deal to us; we did hear a few nasty comments about it from others. A few nights into the trip, resort casual turned into t-shirts; this is obviously offensive to some. There was one little boy on board; no other children; this is definitely not a kid's boat though even in the summer time. We were in port with the Quest and received a pass to go on board and check it out; exactly the same as the Journey though it seemed to be in slightly better repair from our limited surveillance. Your butler will empty your fridge so you can store your wine brought from home or other items as you see fit. We received choc covered strawberries 2 evenings and very tasty treats on the other evenings (some items seemed to be left over from tea time); it was odd that these treats left in your room were not covered in plastic wrap so they would be stale by morning if you chose not to eat them that night (covering food could be a personal preference I suppose!). If an itinerary and price came along that fit our needs, we would definitely sail with Azamara again (though we would not book any of their excursions). It was an overall great cruise!!

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Sail Date: October 2007

Arriving at Cape Liberty was as easy as it could get and embarkation was also fast and orderly.

We arrived about 1:30 pm. Room was ready and luggage arrived shortly. We found the butler and cabin steward to be friendly and always ... Read More

Arriving at Cape Liberty was as easy as it could get and embarkation was also fast and orderly.

We arrived about 1:30 pm. Room was ready and luggage arrived shortly. We found the butler and cabin steward to be friendly and always aware of your needs. Cabin was located at the back of the ship and had a more than ample balcony with a table and chairs and lounge. A little noise from the props served to put one to sleep. The vibration was soothing. The air conditioning was fine, not to cold or too hot in the room.

Room was impeccable and the bedding awesome. The bathroom was tiny but no complaints. Towels were thick and fluffy and plenty big. We enjoyed the elemis products also. Only complaint about the room was the television. Nice enough, but needs to be tilted down so that you can see the screen better. The picture was distorted with how they have it hung.

Food on this ship was outstanding. All restaurants were great and service was fine. Coffee was way too strong and not hot enough. The coffee from Cova was fine and the selection of treats as Cova was wonderful.

The casino was small but never found it to be overcrowded. Actually the ship paid out more money that I have ever received on any cruise ship. It was fun and enjoyable.

Visiting Bermuda was a first for us, and we found it to be beautiful. Rental of scooters was easy and driving around, although a little scary at first, (due to driving on the left) became easy the more you did it.

I would recommend the Journey to any of my friends. The staff was wonderful, the passengers were mostly over 50, and the lack of kids and babies made for a quiet and upscale time. Met some lovely people and would certainly sail on Journey again.

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