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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 prefer ... 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. Read Less
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 aware ... 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. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2007
After reading a couple of 'complainers', I decided to write and say how much we enjoyed the Journey. We have only sailed five times, so perhaps we aren't as 'picky' as some of the previous reviewers. We traveled to ... Read More
After reading a couple of 'complainers', I decided to write and say how much we enjoyed the Journey. We have only sailed five times, so perhaps we aren't as 'picky' as some of the previous reviewers. We traveled to Cape Liberty the day before and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard near the airport and took a van to the port on embarkation day, arriving about 11:30. We thought the embarkation was extremely easy, especially after standing in line for over an hour last July when we cruised on the Mariner of the Seas. We had no problem with the stairs and were greeted with a glass of champagne when we got aboard. We looked around the ship - which we had sailed on when it was Renaissance - and is the reason we chose this particular ship to sail to Bermuda. Since we knew it to have a smaller passenger capacity, we were definitely interested in sailing it again. We were on board in time for the welcome lunch, which was very good and found a table easily. We had coffee and juice delivered by room service each morning, promptly when requested. The only complaint that I had was that I thought the coffee was terribly strong - but it was hot, and the juice was good. Later we would go for breakfast and always found a good selection of fruit, cereal, eggs, breads, waffles, etc. We played golf at St. George's - and while it was a short course, it provided many scenic views which we enjoyed. The course wasn't crowded and was less expensive than some of the other options. We had lunch at the White Horse Tavern after playing....and spent some time in the shops before going back to the ship - which was docked near the center of town. We especially enjoyed the pianist - Antonio ? - who was outstanding, and made a point of going to his second show a couple of nights later. We also liked the comedian - Fred Klett (?) who appeared two nights and had lots of laughs with him. We went to one of the Journey shows - which was just okay...but missed a couple of nights when we ate at the specialty restaurant, somewhat later than normal. We ate at the Aquafina restaurant twice and thought the food was especially good - my husband thought the rack of lamb was one of the best he had ever had (and he's had lots of them!). We both enjoyed the chocolate souffle one night and had the chocolate lava cake the other night....of course, by the time dessert arrived, we were so stuffed that we barely had 'space available' for it! We also enjoyed the food in the Discoveries dining room - and never had the feeling that it was crowded or that the wait staff was frazzled as some have stated. Thought the food was excellently prepared and very tasty - especially as compared to our last cruise on the Mariner. We didn't go on any of the shore excursions but went by ourselves to most of the island - we purchased a three day bus/ferry pass from Guest Relations and used it extensively - we took a ferry to the Dockyards one day and rode the bus back, stopping at a couple of interesting places. Also took the bus northward one day and saw many beautiful homes and golf courses - we felt like we had 'seen' Bermuda and still had lots of free time on board. Unfortunately, it was raining on the day of disembarkation, which slowed the process some - but it was still relatively easy and quick. The main problem was people not being prepared with their seapasses, etc. which they needed to exit the ship. We took a shuttle bus to the airport which delivered us promptly. All in all, I would say this was a wonderful cruise and I'm sorry that the Journey is going to South America for the winter, as I would love to go on her again! Read Less
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 ... 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!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
Azamara Journey Sept. 1-8, 2007 I want to preface this review by saying that this is my opinion (obviously) and coming from an Interior Designer who loves the look and style of the Celebrity fleet. Some of this may seem picky but they ... Read More
Azamara Journey Sept. 1-8, 2007 I want to preface this review by saying that this is my opinion (obviously) and coming from an Interior Designer who loves the look and style of the Celebrity fleet. Some of this may seem picky but they are things that are important to me and hopefully others will get something out of my observations. We had booked this cruise in 2006, as soon as we heard about the new ship. This was long before anyone had ever heard the name Azamara so we were expecting a Celebrity experience. We think that we proceeded with excitement but with open minds. We had an uneventful drive to the port from DC. We didn't want to get there too early and arrived about 12:15. Everyone was right about the breeze of a check-in. In all of our 11 cruises this was by far the easiest. We had checked in on-line and we were ready to go within 5 minutes. A short bus ride and we were at the ship. We were greeted by no one as we entered the ship. A bored looking waiter asked if we would like some champagne. His tray was sharing a niche with an art glass vase. We declined and headed up the stairs. We checked out our cabin, 7103, and found it ready to go. It was smallish but attractive and had the promised flowers (none in bathroom however) and binoculars. No fruit but it arrived the following day and was freshened up every day after. As I said, the cabin was attractive but nothing more. The linens were of high quality and the carpet and drapes had a nice updated pattern. The headboard on the bed had a quilted vinyl insert that looked cheap and had seen better days. The cabin artworks were inoffensive botanical prints. The closets, shelves and desk were a handsome dark wood. Unfortunately, the stool and table in front of the sofa were a lighter, cheap looking wood. The table particularly looked like something you might find in a flea market or yard sale and was quite beat up. As others have noted the bathroom was small but well appointed. Our luggage was delivered 2 bags at 3:15 and one at 6PM. Knowing that we needed to get up to the Alternative dining venues to make our reservations we headed on up. There was a short line (you can make reservations at either the Aqualina or Prime C for either or both restaurants) and we didn't have to wait long. When it was our turn they mostly had only 6PM and 9PM slots available. Since this was 12:30PM on embarkation day we were surprised. We were able to make an 8:30 PM reservation for sailing night in Aqualina and Thursday night for Prime C. This was OK for us but we had originally thought we would do it 3 nights but in the end, 2 nights was fine. Next we decided to get some lunch in Windows Cafe. I wasn't surprised that it was quite crowded at 12:45 PM on embarkation day and we had to wait around for a table to open up. Another couple joined us since seating was so tight. They were delightful and we had a great lunch, the food was very good. Also, the coffee is fabulous, you can get espresso or regular coffee. The beans are ground as it is made and as good as many coffee shops around the US. Windows cafe, in my opinion, needs the most work of any space on board the ship. The chairs and tables are nice enough but the chairs looked a little worn. My main problem with the space was the bad design, both in traffic flow and dEcor. Although never a real problem, the food service areas seemed awfully crowded into the rear of the restaurant creating small but unnecessary bottlenecks. I thought the carpeting was OK but found the tile on the floor ugly (sort of a fake slate) and the trim color on the walls was an unappealing flesh tone. There were also many extremely tired murals of what looked like scenes in rural England or Ireland. I'm sure that these must have been left over from the "R" ship days. There are some nice tables and a bar behind the Windows cafe that looked over the aft. This area was very pleasant and said "Celebrity" to me. In every dining venue they had jumbo sized containers of anti-bacterial wipes. While I guess these are a good idea, they look extremely tacky. About halfway through the cruise they started to get a lot more aggressive with handing them out in the Windows Cafe. Although we heard nothing about it, it made us think that there was perhaps an outbreak of something on the ship. We certainly saw no sign of this however. After lunch we toured the rest of the ship and found it quite attractive. As usual for Celebrity, there was a lot of interesting art. Some of it worked better than others as a juxtaposition to the formal tone of the ship. The Titanic staircase, the Cova cafe and all the area adjoining it were lovely and were quite popular areas to relax during the cruise. The harpist played often in this area but as my partner pointed out, there should be a law against singing while playing the harp. The lower lobby area had some furniture that reminded you that it was a Celebrity product and was quite stylish. The Casino was very tasteful and worked well. It was always popular when open and the slots didn't seem to be as "tight" as others I have encountered on cruises. The show lounge had a beautiful entrance on both the starboard and port sides and led you to think that you were about to enter a fabulous space. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The room was furnished in comfortable but not exciting furniture and the ceiling seemed oppressively low. The stage was backed by a flimsy black curtain with white Christmas lights poked through. The size of the room worked well for a ship of this size though but the entertainment (what little we saw) was not of a high caliber. The main dining room was also on this deck, 5, and had a nicely traditionally decorated Martini Bar in the waiting area. The waiting area was essential as we found out. If you didn't dine at 6PM or after 8:30PM, there was indeed a wait. This was not surprising since this is prime time but on our second night we arrived at the dining room at 7:50 PM and were not seated until 8:25 PM. We were told we could leave and come back and we did since there wasn't a single spot to sit in the Martini Bar. We had a drink in the Casino and came back after 20 minutes or so to wait for our table. They do put your name on a list and seem to stick to it. I thought the dining room was lovely if a bit crowded and the waiters had a time maneuvering between the tables. The chairs were extremely comfortable though and the food and service were excellent. We ate three dinners in the main dining room, two breakfasts and one lunch. Everything was wonderful with the exception of our lunch which was disappointing. The room is quite beautiful though and there are lots of windows all around. I guess that since it has been so long since we have been on such a small ship I had forgotten how low the ceilings can seem though. The Specialty restaurants on deck 10 are both lovely with a slight nod in dEcor to Prime C. We ate in Aqualina on the first night and had a wonderful meal. We had the rack of lamb and the veal osso bucco, both delicious. The service was so-so though and we had to finally stand up to leave (after waiting for 15 minutes for someone to come by) in order to get our check. The restaurant was at least ½ empty though so not sure why they said they were so booked up. There was a bit of excitement in Aqualina that night though and we thought we must have made reservations there on "Food Allergy Night". The couple at the next table made a huge deal over the wife being allergic to Beef, Pork and Dairy. She finally settled on the scallops after being assured by the wait staff and even the chef that it didn't contain Beef, Pork or Dairy. She seemed to get concerned though while eating it (I had it too) and ate what she thought were sun-dried tomatoes but after getting the chef back out there, discovered that it was some dried meat product. At the table on the other side of us one of the diners was presented with something with a walnut on it. She said "I told you I was allergic to walnuts!" The waiter quickly took it away. "Don't just pick it off and bring it back" she yelled as they walked away. I assume that they didn't because she was able to finish her meal without further incident. We ate at Prime C on Thursday night and it was lovely too. The service was great and attentive. I had the Kobe steak and loved it. Everything was perfect but I would have to say that we liked the food a little better at Aqualina. We had extremely rough seas the night in Prime C though so that might have accounted for the half empty restaurant. The Looking glass lounge was perfect for Bingo and other activities. Again, a pretty room but nothing special. The new teak loungers on the pool deck, deck 11 and the promenade were wonderful. Really comfortable and there seemed to be almost enough of them. They did have to break out the old chairs on deck 11 on days at sea though. I did notice a number of the new chairs were broken though so not sure of how long they will last. I didn't think that the public restrooms were anywhere near as nice as on other Celebrity ships. The maintenance in them seemed lacking also. There were often no cloth towels and they needed to be cleaned more often. It really was nice being on a smaller ship, hardly any lines anywhere, plenty of deck space and room in all the venues. The service was nice but nothing exceptional. We did enjoy our "Butler" but didn't use many of her services. She was very nice though and always ran ahead to our cabin to unlock it if she saw us coming. The different treats every night were a delicious change too. It was also great to always have ice in the cabin too. I thought the wait staff was wonderful and didn't see any lack of service since going to open seating. There didn't seem to be much cleaning and maintenance going on during the cruise though. There were lots of places with fingerprints and scratched and worn surfaces. The ship did not seem to be up to the standards of the 4 other Celebrity cruises we have gone on, either in dEcor or cleanliness. For example, the first day we noticed 4 coffee cups wedged in the railing on the deck outside Aqualina. One of the cups had a cigar butt in it. I walked by this several times and was quite surprised to see that it was still there the next day, over 24 hours after first seeing it! We also saw remnants from a private party in Michaels Club over 6 hours after the event. The heavy teak chairs on the promenade deck were stacked up for the muster drill and never put back in place. We and other passengers had to move them ourselves. All of the negatives on this cruise were minor. They in no way kept us from having a wonderful time and it being one of our favorite cruises. That said, this is not a "step up" from Celebrity (except in the wonderful food) and we were disappointed. We also felt that for such a large staff there were several times where all you could think was "Where is everyone?" I think that if Celebrity wanted to create a new brand that was nicer than what they already have, they should have built new ships with all the things that we love about Celebrity and taken it to the next level. I would have to say of all the ships I have sailed on Celebrity, this was my least favorite. I liked the small size but to me that was the only (although very nice) advantage. We are planning to sail on Quest a year from December and hope that they have things up to snuff by then. We enjoyed meeting some of the Cruise Critic folks, especially Jan and her three lovely daughters. Her daughter Marcy is extremely lucky though, winning hundreds of dollars on the penny slots and even winning Bingo too! My luck declined if I was even near her. Fortunately, she was nowhere to be seen late on the last night at sea and I managed to win $139.00 on a penny slot machine! There were almost no children on board and that was a plus. It was nice to be able to use the hot tubs and pool without kids in the way. The crowd was well behaved and seemed to be seasoned travelers for the most part. I only saw 2 men in shorts in the dining room at dinner and one really gross man walked through the Cova Cafe shirtless, sporting the hairiest back I have ever seen. He didn't just stroll through though but stopped to pick up some tasty treats from the cart in Cova. He then proceeded to walk down the grand staircase and I assume on to his cabin on deck 3 or possibly steerage where he belonged. These were the exceptions though and it was nice to have such a civilized crowd to cruise with. I'm not sure if these ships will ever be what they are advertising but they are still lovely little ships with interesting itineraries. With a little work on the dEcor and maintenance they will be a nice addition to the Celebrity family. Andy Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
Azamara Journey, Sept. 1, 2007 My wife and I just returned from what was one of the best cruises we've ever been on. We are Kevin and Sue, both 64, and this was our 18th cruise and our 4th to Bermuda. The adventure began in early ... Read More
Azamara Journey, Sept. 1, 2007 My wife and I just returned from what was one of the best cruises we've ever been on. We are Kevin and Sue, both 64, and this was our 18th cruise and our 4th to Bermuda. The adventure began in early 2007, when we decided that we wanted another cruise to Bermuda. At the time there were no Azamara Cruises and no Journey cruise ship. Our original plan was to cruise on the NCL Crown. We soon had a small group of us, ready to sign up. Our group consisted of some cruise friends from the net and a couple who are long time friends of ours. For our long time friends, this would be the wife's first cruise in an electric wheelchair. Our cruise was to be the week before Labor Day. A few months later, Celebrity announced that they had acquired two Renaissance ships, to be named the Journey and Quest, and that the Journey would be doing the Bermuda run, replacing the Zenith. Sue and I had always wanted to do a Renaissance ship, so we talked it up in our group, and we agreed to switch. The decision was further prompted when our travel agent was able to get us some great fares. Our departure was pushed out a week to Sep 1 2007. Finally, the day came. We packed up the car, and were off to Cape Liberty in Bayonne NJ. This was the first time we departed from this port, so we did not know what to expect. Well, the experience was the smoothest and easiest embarkation we've experienced. It took us about an hour and twenty minutes to get to the port, arriving at approximately 11:30 AM. We pulled directly up to the unloading zone, and a porter immediately took our bags. Sue stayed at the terminal, while I parked our car, in a lot adjacent to the terminal. . The parking is $105 plus tax for the week. They had shuttle buses to take one back to the terminal. We were guided to a check in counter, turned over our Express Passes, and were processed in under five minutes. On a side note, our experience is based on boarding the Journey, which has about 750 passengers. I would imagine that the process would be more hectic for the RCI Voyager class ship. This was corroborated by one of the porters in the terminal. After we checked in we went to the passenger lounge, to wait for our fellow travelers. Within a half hour our merry band of 10 was all there. Some had boarded earlier than Sue and me, since we were waiting for our long term friends. We just wanted to be sure that all went well for her boarding in her wheelchair. Once our friends arrived we boarded a bus that took us to the ship. The bus had a ramp that they lowered for Peg to use. When we got to the ship we found that the gangway has steps and Peg had to board where they bring the luggage on board. Even for that she had to be transferred to a manual chair and the crew brought her aboard while her husband brought her electric wheelchair onto the ship. This was the first of many problems on the Journey for someone in an electric wheelchair. From this point forward I will switch to a description of the Azamara experience. Also I will not provide much on Bermuda itself, since we've been there many times and written of our previous adventures. This review is more about the ship, itself. Buffet: As is traditional, we proceeded to the buffet lunch, after depositing our carryons in our cabin. The buffet lunch was quite excellent; in fact, probably the best we've had. We had all but one breakfasts and most of our lunches in the buffet. The breakfasts were superb, with a waffle/pancake/French toast station, omelet station, and a variety of typical, but well prepared choices. There is a juice/smoothie bar where they prepare drinks to order. One comment we all made was that this station is only used during breakfast. We felt it would make better sense if they utilized the space at other times also, maybe as a cookie bar, There are two sources for coffee: the typical ship's coffee, and a coffee machine that makes expresso, cafe Americano, etc. The latter machine makes much better coffee and was self service. The buffet lunch is very similar to most ships, except that the quality is much better. The service is outstanding. The staff assists passengers, as needed, for example, with Peg. because she is in an electric wheel chair, they would help her get her food and carry it to the table. The crew also came around and served juice, coffee, ice tea etc. Cabin: After our initial buffet lunch, we went to our cabin, to check it out, and see if our bags had arrived. We had booked a balcony cabin on deck seven, concierge class. Not quite sure what concierge class gave you, since all cabins aboard provided butler service. The cabin was a reasonable size. The storage space was ample, if oddly set up. The verandah was very small compared to other ships we had been on; but it had a nice table with two comfortable chairs. The bathroom is tiny. The sink top space was barely large enough to place a few essentials. The shower was also small. There are bathrobes, slippers, and a pair of binoculars in each cabin. There are also two hair dryers, one wall mounted in. the bathroom and the other in a cabinet. The TV is a wall mounted flat screen, with a bizarre remote. The bed was comfortable (a bit hard), and the linens very comfortable. The duvet was rather heavy, so it was warm at night, even with the AC fully cranked. Aqualina Specialty Restaurant: Although we had originally booked our Aqualina reservation for later in the voyage, we rearranged for a seating on the first night out. We had a very early seating, at 6 PM. That was rather early for the first day on board, especially so soon after the required drill, and the sail away party on the pool deck, but that was the only time we could get which we could all agree upon. Despite the early hour, it was well worth the experience. The restaurant is relatively small, with primarily tables for four, with some for two or six. They were able to seat our party of 10 at adjacent tables of four and six. We were pleasantly surprised to find that our server was a woman we had met on the Celebrity Infinity in 2006. The service was excellent, if a bit slow. That did not detract from enjoying the meal, as we appreciated the time spent with good friends. The food was also excellent. The menu was limited, but the choices were all quite good, primarily of a Mediterranean variety. Prime C Specialty Restaurant: We had made arrangements for our Prime C reservation in advance through the Celebrity Captions Club. It was originally set for the 10 of us to dine together at 8:20 on Tue evening; however one family did not want to eat that late. When we got on board we changed ours to 6:30 PM. We agreed to arrive a little early, to enjoy a drink before dinner in the Prime C bar. We were soon seated at a nice table for seven in the corner, overlooking the stern. Prime C is mainly a steakhouse. Again the menu is relatively limited, but the choices are varied. All the various appetizers and entrees were very good, and the service was excellent. In a bizarre twist, our central NJ friends, who were seated about a half hour later, and who had the same servers, complained that the service was very slow. All in all, the experience was worth the $30 per person charge. Main Dining Room: The Journey features open seating in all their dining room. Personally, Sue and I prefer traditional seating, in order to enjoy sitting with the same people, and being served by the same wait staff; however, we wanted to sail the Journey. We made arrangements on our first meal in the main dining room to have a table for the entire group, every evening at approximately the same tome. We were lucky to get the only table for ten in the dining room. This way we were able to emulate traditional seating. This enabled us to enjoy the company of our fellow travelers and have a wait staff that got to know us. The menus were quite good, with interesting variations on the typical cruise fare. The quality of the food and its presentation was the best we've experienced on any of our cruises. There was not a single dish that any of us had ordered that was not excellent. Although we were able to emulate traditional dining, it must be pointed out that, in our view, open seating does not work well. The wait staff was serving different courses at different tables, and the traffic flow of the passengers constantly coming and going, made for a very chaotic atmosphere in the dining room. Further, the arrangement of the tables throughout the room was to cramped. They could have easily reduced the number of table by as much as a third, and greatly improved the overall experience, for both the diners and the wait staff. It should be noted that one of the servers (our friend from the Aqualina) had indicated that when the Journey starts its longer runs in South America, that they most likely revert to traditional dining. Lounges: The Journey, being a small ship, had only a few lounges; however, the few that they had provided good gathering places, with very good bars and bar staff. The bars did not have a particularly good selection of single malt scotches, but did have top shelf vodkas. This is a good point to mention that with the exception of two areas on the ship, there is no smoking allowed. This made for a much more enjoyable experience in the lounges and the casino. There was entertainment in each lounge, e.g. a very talented harpist near the Cova, and a pianist in another. Casino: The casino was surprisingly large for a smaller ship. There were quite a few slots, craps, roulette, and several card tables. Being a Bermuda cruise, the casino was only open for the time when were not in Bermuda, which only amounted to the equivalent of less than three days. Sue spent more time in the casino than I did. I guess I'm getting a little tired of the slots; although this time I did finally walk away with a small profit overall. Entertainment: We really didn't expect there to be much of the type of shows one sees on the mega ships. We were surprised to see that they did have production shows, albeit on a smaller scale. There were only 5 singer/dancers. They were good but not great. They also had a magician/comedian whose comedy was only marginally better than his magic, which was fairly transparent. One night they had the Goombay dancers from the island up in the Looking Glass lounge. They were very good, but their performance was only about 15-20 minutes. Another night, up on the pool deck, there was a local Bermudian steel pan player, who was very good. He performed both traditional Caribbean tunes as well as jazz. (We also ran into him at the Dockyard, and bought one of his CDs.) There was also a lecture series, given by Dr. Joel Klass, a psychotherapist. His talks included "expert witnesses and hired guns", "stress management" and "dream interpretation". We only attended and thoroughly enjoyed the dream lecture; however other members of our group attended all three and said they were all good. As a side note, our group met Dr. Klass on the Promenade deck one evening and during the conversation, the son of one of our group had indicated that he played chess. Joel suggested that they meet later to play. As a result, the two of them played a few times, and Joel was able to teach our friend's son some advanced pointers. The Shops: Again, being a small ship, there were only three shops. Two were the typical shops one expects, a general store and a jewelry shop. The third was a higher priced luxury jewelry shop. Not a very large selection, but that was to be expected on a small ship. Art Auction: As with most cruises, Park West Galleries was on the ship. Their presentation was quite different than any other ship we had been on. There was only one actual auction session. The other sessions were lectures by the Park West rep, discussing various artists' styles, etc. When they did the auction itself, it was all originals, mostly in the mid to upper four figures, and several in the five figure range. Needless to say, there was not much artwork sold. Perhaps this strategy will work better when they do the longer South America itineraries. Bermuda: As I said earlier, I will not report on the island itself, as we have done so in detail in previous reviews. However, I wish to say that we are very disturbed by what appears to be a move by the government to shut down the cruise piers in Hamilton (2008) and St George (2009). This will leave only Kings Wharf for the cruise ships. We personally believe this is a serious mistake. Although they are shifting to becoming a major Re-insurance company and banking center, much like Grand Cayman, the tourist business is still a major economic factor for the island. We spoke with many business people, particularly along Front Street, and they agree. Unfortunately, their concerns are being ignored, so far. Here is the link to our pictures of the Azamara Journey: http://travel.webshots.com/album/560670104YluDWa Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
My husband and I just returned from a 7-day September 22nd Bermuda cruise roundtrip Cape Liberty (Bayonne), New Jersey on the Azamara Journey. We are frequent cruisers, and found the Journey to be a beautiful, small vessel providing a very ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 7-day September 22nd Bermuda cruise roundtrip Cape Liberty (Bayonne), New Jersey on the Azamara Journey. We are frequent cruisers, and found the Journey to be a beautiful, small vessel providing a very good experience with excellent food and solid service throughout the week. The 700-passenger Azamara Journey is new to Celebrity as of this Spring, having finished a stint with Pullmantours in Spain after beginning life as a Renaissance vessel. She retains the physical beauty of the Renaissance design, with the black and gold iron staircases and trompe d'oil paintings on several ceilings creating a unique setting for sailing within this new cruise niche of 'premium plus' or deluxe category. The cabins are very comfortable, with soft hues and up-to-date bedding; the public spaces feature pleasant reds, golds and blues. We were in a Sky Suite, which was very spacious and well-appointed. Complimentary amenities in the suite included a bon voyage bottle of champagne, sodas and two Specialty Restaurant meals. The butler service was attentive overall - we especially enjoyed afternoon tea service brought to the cabin (with a plate of cookies left behind if we were absent). The ship's staff was very friendly throughout the vessel, and always offered warm greetings. Our only disappointment was with the Activities Staff, which was a bit disorganized and hard to hear when running events such as Team Trivia - it was impossible to tell what was going on from the audience. We were delighted with the Catholic priest onboard, who also offered daily Mass - Azamara's website notes that this feature will go away once the ship leaves the Bermuda itinerary, which would be very unfortunate - passenger attendance was high at every Mass. The waitstaff service onboard Azamara Journey was excellent in the main Dining Room as well as the Windows Cafe. The Specialty Dining experience in both the Aqualina and Prime C restaurants was superb - with the clubby atmosphere a terrific backdrop to Prime C. My advice to future passengers on Journey would be to make the alternative dining reservations onboard immediately after embarkation as space filled up quickly in both venues. There was also a nice array of bars available onboard - there was never a sense of being crowded on this ship, even during sea days. Entertainment was an eclectic mix which worked well for this small ship. The 5-person song and dance troupe was very good at presenting a new 'stripped down' themed medley concept unique to Azamara. It worked both due to the same-level/small stage in the lounge as well as the intimate, cabaret-like experience they conveyed. A traditional production show simply wouldn't have fit this ship. Other acts were more typical of cruise ships - i.e., magician and comedian, which were fine on the small stage. We took a car service to and from the Port of Bayonne. While embarkation was seamless, disembarkation proved more chaotic. There appeared to be a dearth of US Customs & Immigration personnel at the pier, which made for a long line. The main problem, however, was the 'dead zone' for cell phone signals at the terminal entrance. Since cars can't wait in front and there are no public phones, we endured a frantic time period of trying to dial our car service before finding a spot where the signal was successful. Royal Caribbean / Celebrity should offer a Passenger Service Desk at the terminal's main door which would include a staffer with a working cell phone for this purpose - it would be greatly appreciated by older passengers and those who have difficulty walking. As Azamara Journey (and the new sister ship Azamara Quest) will feature more exotic itineraries of longer length, the crowd on future sailings is likely to be slightly older cruisers who have traveled frequently and are looking for a smaller, low-key ship with interesting ports of call. This audience will be delighted with the Azamara Journey. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
My thoughts on the 9/29 sailing on Azamara Journey Background: Mid 40's, I have cruise on Rccl, Ncl, Carnival and Princess Embarkation: Drove to Cape Liberty - check-in and embarkation a breeze Ship Info: Beautiful ship...very ... Read More
My thoughts on the 9/29 sailing on Azamara Journey Background: Mid 40's, I have cruise on Rccl, Ncl, Carnival and Princess Embarkation: Drove to Cape Liberty - check-in and embarkation a breeze Ship Info: Beautiful ship...very clean and well-maintained...not as tiny as i thought it would be, easy to navigate..never too far away from where you want to go-it offered as much as possible for a ship that size...great for the bermuda run with a lot of time in port..personally i would need a larger ship with a few more options for anything longer...especially if the pool deck was not an option due to weather on sea days.. Never felt crowded...except in the tiny smoking areas...there were many of us...standing room only- met some great fellow passengers here! Found it more restrictive than i anticipated...missed having cocktails on the balcony and relaxing there...found we were always hanging out there instead Good mix of ages of passengers...expected a much older crowd...the ship was a very early to bed one...not much happening at night Pool was great and really never too crowded to cool off in- we only got to use it the last sea day...way too much to do in bermuda and usually got back too late to hang out there....happy we had a beautiful last day Lots of motion on the way down...to be expected with the rough seas we had...smooth on the way home...could hardly tell you were moving Staff: Awesome crew...always had a smile and seemed happy to be there and to see you- we were especially impressed by our assistant cabin steward...always called down the hallway to us to wish us a nice day when he saw us leaving the cabin...the captain and officers were the most accessible of any of the cruises i have been on State Room: Sky Suite was very large, pretty, comfortable- plenty of storage, great bathroom, comfy bed, nice sized fridge, beautiful furnishings. Balcony was wonderful and large- reclining chairs would be nice..the frosted glass dividers were pretty but allowed light from neighbors balconies/rooms to intrude on the quiet ocean darkness... Dining: Food in main dining room...the appetizers were awesome, main courses were varied and good, desserts were very good, service was great- one kind of frenzied experience but definitely not the norm for us...not a big deal Open seating worked just fine for us- we ate late...9'ish never a wait...told a couple of times by the waiters that it was a good time because the dining room was crazy earlier. Both Prime C and Aqualina were fantastic dining experiences- the food was outrageous, the service professional and friendly- as good as any of the upscale restaurants as I have been to onshore Buffets were great for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plenty of variety...lobster tails were much better and bigger there than the "lobster four ways" in the dining room....we would sometimes go just to snack a little bit before going to a late dinner... The pool grill was a nice option for burgers, dogs, nachos, pretzels if you came back to the ship too late for lunch and needed a little something before dinner..Cova cafe had little finger sandwiches and sweets...until 1am...nothing available after that other than room service....but the ship was pretty much asleep by then anyway...maybe a tray of something near the 24 hour self service coffee/drinks station would be a nice option.. Activities: Casino was a nice size for a small ship...often empty...maybe a correlation between drinking, gambling and smoking? I play video poker slots...did pretty well but found it annoying to have to cash out to go to the ladies room, get a drink, go up 4/5 decks to have a smoke...i like to machines that pay you out with a coupon...just easier... People LOVE to share their opinions about totally subjective matters with anyone who will listen.....for every positive there was someone else who would view it negatively...just go and form your own opinion...facts are one thing...opinions are just that...they're nice to hear beforehand for sure...but try not to let those things jade your view until you experience it for yourself...just my opinion! Enjoy this quaint, intimate and beautiful ship! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
My husband and I are avid cruisers and have sailed more than 30 times on various cruise lines mostly on Royal Caribbean during the last 12 years. On Saturday, we had a smooth and on-time flight from Indianapolis and arrived early in ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers and have sailed more than 30 times on various cruise lines mostly on Royal Caribbean during the last 12 years. On Saturday, we had a smooth and on-time flight from Indianapolis and arrived early in Newark. EMBARKATION We took the cruise line's ground transportation and arriving at the pier before check-in had begun, we were directed to a waiting area where we were offered fruit punch and cookies. The check-in process started at 11:00. We boarded the ship at 11:30, dropped off our carry-on luggage in our stateroom, and went to Windows Cafe for the welcome aboard buffet lunch. The presentation and variety of choices were plentiful, and the food was delicious. As the ship sailed away from Bayonne, we enjoyed watching the New York skyline disappear in the distance from the panoramic Looking Glass lounge which is the highest vantage point on the ship. During our day at sea on Sunday, we experienced some 8-foot waves, but being experienced cruisers who love the relaxing days at sea, the motion was not a problem. THE PORTS What a beautiful paradise Bermuda is with over 80 islands, all connected by bridges! Our first stop was St. George's which is a quaint interesting little town. We were docked from 10:00AM on Monday, until 6:00AM on Tuesday. We then cruised to Hamilton and docked at 9:00AM. Transportation from either port is convenient since a 1-day or multi-day pass can be purchased for the ferries and buses which we used to visit Horseshoe Beach and Kings Wharf. Hamilton is a great place to shop. We were docked at Hamilton until 3:00PM on Thursday. THE SHIP Overall, I would recommend this ship and cruise line for couples without children unless they are less than 3 years old. The ambiance on this ship reminded me of a fine European hotel with comfortable, traditional furniture and dark wood veneers. It definitely is not for multigenerational family cruising since there are no organized children's/teenagers' activities. It never took us long to get where we wanted to go on this size ship (30,000 tons), and that is a benefit for port-intensive itineraries which this ship is scheduled to do. STATEROOM Our stateroom had an obstructed view window, but we were fortunate that our window was between lifeboats so that we had a nice view. We would sale on Azamara again although on our cruise the Journey was still a work in progress. The mattresses in the staterooms on our deck had not yet been upgraded although the linens were of high quality. Fresh flowers, robes, and slippers were provided as well as daily replenishment of fruit. All staterooms have a "butler" with an assistant who makes up the rooms. We didn't really notice any difference in their service from other ships we've been on other than he offered to make our reservations at the specialty dining room. DINING The Discoveries Dining Room servers (most of who had previously worked on Celebrity ships) were still trying to adjust to any-time dining with all guests not arriving at one specific time. We experienced both great service from some the dining staff and poor service from others. Menus in the dining room and buffet had a nice variety, and the food was excellent. Seating in the Windows Cafe was always available as were deck chairs at the pool and promenade deck. When we arrived at the dining room before 6:45, there was no delay in getting seated. One evening, we arrived at 7:30 and only had to wait about 10 minutes. One nice perk is that all guests can dine once in one of the specialty restaurants (Aqualina or Prime C) at no charge. Guests in suites get two complimentary dinners in the specialty restaurants where reservations are required. For additional dinings, the charge is $20-25 per person. ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES Entertainment was cabaret style with four singers/dancers and two really entertaining comedians. Although bingo, trivia, the quest, etc., activities were available, there were no intrusive in-room announcements made. The ambiance on this ship was more upscale than Royal Caribbean. I didn't feel that it was more upscale than Holland America or Celebrity, the only difference being that it was a small, intimate ship. It was wonderful that it wasn't necessary to stand in line for anything. As Diamond members of Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society, we were recognized as Elite members of Celebrity/Azamara's Captain's Club. We enjoyed the following benefits: - Champagne brunch for Select & Elite members - Captain's Club cocktail party - Tour of the bridge - Elite status coupon booklets - Use of the Select/Elite debarkation lounge DISEMBARKATION On disembarkation morning, we could utilize our stateroom until 8:00AM. After that time, we went to the Select/Elite debarkation lounge and waited for our color luggage tag to be announced. This process was very well organized. It was a great cruise, and I highly recommend a visit to Bermuda. As I was told by a shore excursion crew member, when comparing Bermuda to the Caribbean, "Bermuda is all that is good about the Caribbean with none of the bad"--meaning that Bermuda has beautiful tropical scenery and great weather but doesn't have poverty or crime. We will look forward to finding out about itineraries that Azamara will offer in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
My husband and I just returned from a week in Bermuda on the Azamara Journey. We are very seasoned cruisers and are Elite Members with Celebrity Cruise lines. We have been to Bermuda several times in the past so the real reason for going ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a week in Bermuda on the Azamara Journey. We are very seasoned cruisers and are Elite Members with Celebrity Cruise lines. We have been to Bermuda several times in the past so the real reason for going on the cruise was just to experience the Azamara Journey. What an experience it was! I would like to take a few minutes of your time to let you know how I feel about this new ship. I was so impressed it is hard to put it in words. The minute I walked unto the ship you could see by the smiling faces of the staff that there was going to be a difference in this cruise to the more then 30 others that we have been on in the past. As the first gentleman walked up to us and took our bags out of our hands and escorted us to our cabin we knew we were in for a treat. He seemed so pleased and proud to show us the way and show off the different things on the ship as we passed them. The cabin was beautiful with the dark wood and the very pleasing colors of the bedding. The room looked so inviting with the huge pillows and the fabulous extra soft robes, then the slippers arrived that night! What a nice thoughtful touch. A few days into the cruise we got a form to fill out that asked us what we thought would make the cruise better. Well, we had to think long and hard. Really we did and then we came up with only three things. We thought that the cabin should have a love seat in it and the other was that the Windows Cafe should have trays to make it easier to carry your plate of food and beverage to the table and your glasses should be at least 10 oz glasses and I believe they were more like 5 oz ones. Now that is pretty good when that is all we could come up with. The Cruise Director was perfect! Andrea was just wonderful. He made everyone feel so special and was a perfect match for the ship. I know he was leaving to bring the Quest over in a few weeks and it will be their fortune to have him aboard. He is the best I have ever seen on any ship. He danced with all the ladies, ate lunch with so many of the guests, walked up and down the decks greeting people and just talking with them on a friendly basis. He loved his star gazing and so did everyone else. He just made the cruise special in so many ways, what Italian charm he has! The food on the Journey is beyond description! Every day we were amazed at how things were prepared and presented at each meal. Nothing looked like the food we have had on other ships. It was in a class of it's own. The food in the Windows Cafe was wonderful and so different from other Cafes. The selection at the Deli was outstanding. The Discovery dining room food was so good we didn't really need to go to the Prime C specialty restaurant. However, the presentation there was magnificent. I do think the name should be changed to "Prime Sea" to match the Aqualina since then they would both have to do with the ocean. At lunch when we commented to the men serving us on the back sun deck about how they are always smiling, one of them said, "it is because of people like you that we smile, you people make it easy to smile because you are always smiling!" It was easy to be always smiling on the Journey because it was a great ship to be on and the service was so out of the ordinary. We would ask different ones we sat with at each meal how they felt about the ship and it was always the same answer, " We love it!" If you have not booked a cruise on the Journey yet you need to as it is to me the best of the best. I would give this ship a 6 star rating. -- Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
Having only cruised to Bermuda previously from the West Side of Manhattan, Cape Liberty was stress free by comparison. Picked up by cab in Manhattan, except for a 15 minute jam at the Tunnel to NJ, we breezed to the terminal, arriving at ... Read More
Having only cruised to Bermuda previously from the West Side of Manhattan, Cape Liberty was stress free by comparison. Picked up by cab in Manhattan, except for a 15 minute jam at the Tunnel to NJ, we breezed to the terminal, arriving at 1145. No lines at check-in. Met with champagne, we enjoyed a nice lunch buffet (particularly the sea food salad and carving station). Room was ready at 1 PM. Nice fresh fruit and flowers, robes, slippers,fridge. No alarm clock. No interactive TV yet, nor the Room Selection Menu items, which means for example you can pre-schedule to turn your room into a spa-like sensual atmosphere. At the fire drill, my wife met an old friend who she hadn't seen in 9 years. Took a peek at the Spa, which has a "secret" deck in the back with lounge chairs and the free T Pool. Being our first experience on a smaller ship, we found it easy to get oriented, and it was great that we kept re-meeting people we met during the week. And the musicians, staff, and Cruise Director always made time to chat. We liked the waiter (Filbert) we met the first night, and had no trouble being seated at one of his tables all week. And never a line (we dined around 645) The food was generally excellent, although not in a higher class than Celebrity. I thought that Celebrity has more imaginative desserts. But the Bananas Foster and chocolate chiffon pie were fantastic. The latter I didn't initially order - I sampled my wife's and ordered it the next night - luckily there were surplus. But beware the NY Strip Steak - tasteless and dry. But overall, dinner always left me with a warm afterglow.. The grill hot dogs were great, but pizza tasted like frozen fare, not like the Celebrity fresh slices. Maybe this was due to the lack of volume needed. Since this was our first cruise with a veranda, we quickly fell in love with in-cabin breakfast.. And it saved time because we were up early to hit the beach before crowds and heat set in. We did try the breakfast buffet once - the Smoothie Bar is a welcome addition and a diverse selection on pancakes, waffles, omelettes, etc. to meet anyone's tastes. Despite a scaled down show by large ship standards, the 7 piece orchestra, and most of the acts were enjoyable, particularly the comedienne/singer. And the Hollywood review. Didn't care for the Swing review but that's just my taste in music. The ship band, though, not as versatile as others we've heard. The seating configuration is a bit annoying - you can easily be obstructed..so COME EARLY FOR GOOD SEATS. Went to the first Captain's Club cocktail party, so nice to meet staff who seemed genuinely enjoying the conversation. The Captain is a teddy bear. Its a beautifully furnished ship, lighting, art, furniture, is very tasteful and such a natural look - no glitz and smoke and mirrors needed, thank you. Shops were pretty humdrum; didn't partake in bingo or the art auction. Enjoyed being met upon returning from the beach with cold drinks and cold towels at the gangplank. Being our first all casual cruise, I now want to RETIRE MY TUX. Not too many kids, and only one annoying "pressing all the elevator buttons" experience. People still insist on reserving pool chairs all day with their towels - some things never change. All in all, it was a week of pampering, with a crew and staff wonderfully accommodating. The earlier reported kinks seem to be dissipating. We regret that Celebrity / Azamara will be forsaking Bermuda, and Hamilton will no longer be a port for any ship once redevelopment occurs..but we would not hesitate to return to this ship if the itinerary and price is right. Harry and Carol Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
Before setting off on our cruise we were quite skeptical,ie. reviews and lack of pictures of the ship. We were very pleased however, boarding the ship was a breeze. Loved the interior of the ship, reminded me of Titanic, decor. Our room ... Read More
Before setting off on our cruise we were quite skeptical,ie. reviews and lack of pictures of the ship. We were very pleased however, boarding the ship was a breeze. Loved the interior of the ship, reminded me of Titanic, decor. Our room was perfectly adequate in size, we had two twin beds, and a veranda. Beautiful decor, bedding, furnishings etc. Everything we were worried about faded away. Service was exceptional. Food amazing. Our butler Hilda very sweet, but so overworked. Entertainment was very good the first night, didn't really like the magician, he spoke to fast, couldn't understand him. Met some lovely people on deck everyday. Pool very very small, but was fine when you were in the pool. My friend had the massage, was great except for the big sales pitch at the end, not what you want to hear after a relaxing massage. Harpist , jackie dolan, very good, very friendly, great sense of humor. She actually joined us for dinner one night, I'm from Ireland , she's from Ireland, need i say more. Had dinner at Prime C. but dinner at discoveries was much much better.Friday my friend had dinner at Aqulina, I was dying in bed, sea sickness. she said it was the best meal on the cruise. Liked St. George more than Hamilton. All in all i, we , would recommend this cruise. They have really tried to make this a great vacation for all. It took time, but everything was as promised. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
BACKGROUND My husband and I are in our early thirties. We have been on 8 other cruises. We've sailed on RCCL, Carnival and Norwegian. RCCL has always been our favorite, but we loved Azamara just as much! EMBARKATION We had a ride to ... Read More
BACKGROUND My husband and I are in our early thirties. We have been on 8 other cruises. We've sailed on RCCL, Carnival and Norwegian. RCCL has always been our favorite, but we loved Azamara just as much! EMBARKATION We had a ride to the pier so it was very easy for us. As soon as we pulled up a porter was there to take our bags. Check in was a breeze it literally took five minutes. From there we went out to a bus that brought you to the ship. The bus ride was about 2 minutes. We entered mid-ship deck four and were greeted by staff and handed champagne. The whole check in process was the fastest we've ever experienced. Overall we were up at the buffet 15 minutes after arriving at the pier. (The rooms were not going to be ready until 1:00 so they said to go up to the buffet area for lunch.) STATEROOM Having the Sunset Veranda at the back of the ship was great. The balcony was a nice size and it had two chairs and a table big enough to have breakfast on. The room had fresh flowers and fresh fruit everyday. You received one complimentary bottle of water also. There was a refrigerator stocked with soda that you had to pay for if you used anything. The bed was comfortable and you could just tell the linens were new. There was a flat screen TV on the wall so you could watch TV in bed and also if you were sitting on the loveseat. You can also view your account, book excursions, order room service, etc. from the TV. Each room also had robes and slippers, which was a nice touch. The bathroom was a typical cabin bathroom. There was enough storage space. In the evening we received some type of treat. One night chocolate covered strawberries, one night chocolate truffles, etc. That was better than a chocolate left on your pillow! DECK AND POOL AREA The deck had teak lounge chairs with a thick cushion on it. They were so comfortable. We spent a lot of time lounging. You never had trouble finding a chair if you came out early enough. People tend to come out early, put there stuff on a few chairs and then disappear for a couple of hours. It would be nice to see a staff member watching out for this. The pool was quite small, but it was never too crowded. It was just fine to take a dip to refresh yourself from being in the sun. The deck above the pool was used as a track. It was quite small (13 times around equals one mile) and uncovered. There were always servers out there asking if you wanted something from the bar, but not in a harassing way like we've experienced on other ships. On the last day at sea, some of the staff were coming around with cold towels because it was so hot. Later, they went around giving out chocolate covered cheesecake lollipops. FOOD Breakfast: We had room service bring breakfast 3-4 times. You could basically get anything you wanted. Eggs, pancakes, etc. If it wasn't on the breakfast card, you could just write it in and they would bring it. It was always delivered within the timeframe we chose. When we weren't dining on our veranda, we went up to the buffet area, Windows. You never had trouble getting a table and there was never any real wait at the waffle or omelet stations. They always had a variety of things to choose from. Lunch: There is Windows or the Pool Grill for lunch. Windows had your typical buffet: hot entrees, salad station, deli station, dessert station. There was always, a soup, pizza and a carving station too. The Pool Grill had hamburgers, hotdogs, pizza, french fries and nachos. This was a good option if you came back from the beach and the buffet was closed. The first evening we ate at the specialty restaurant Prime C, which was complimentary. (Each guest received one complimentary meal.) It was very easy to make a reservation. We just went up to the restaurant that day and had no troubles. The food was excellent and so was the service. Every other night we ate at the main dining room. Even though it was open dining, there was never a wait for a table for two. We even requested the same waiter a couple of times and didn't have to wait to be seated in his section. The food was amazing and the service was just wonderful. There was always so much to choose from and the presentation of each dish was beautiful. The Cova Cafe is a coffee bar serving espressos, cappuccinos lattes and special teas. You paid for these specialty drinks. They also had little sandwiches and cakes to snack on. ENTERTAINMENT We didn't go to every show, but we did see the singers two nights and a comedian on another night. The lounge where the shows were held was small, so the shows didn't have any fancy sets, but the singers were awesome and very entertaining. The comedian, Joe Mulligan was great too. A couple of nights they had local bands from Bermuda come onboard to entertain. During most days, there was a band playing poolside. In the evening near the Cova Cafe you would find either a harpist or a piano player. ONBOARD ACTIVITIES They had the same basic activities as most ships. Trivia contests, bingo, exercise classes, afternoon tea. EXCURSIONS We didn't go on any excursions, but from what I could tell, they were the usual: snorkeling, scuba, dolphin encounter, glass bottom boat, etc. We spent the days in port at the beach. Tobacco Bay while in St. George and two days at Elbow Beach while docked in Hamilton. DEBARKATION Getting off the ship did not take long at all once it was cleared by customs. Once you color was called you exited the ship, took the two minute bus ride to the terminal, retrieved your luggage and went through customs, which was very organized. Overall, the whole process took about 10 minutes from the time your color was called. IN SUMMARY This was one of the best cruises we have taken. The staff was friendly and attentive to your needs. You never felt it to be over crowded in any area of the ship. The food was amazing. If you are looking to go on a cruise that is laid back and relaxing, I highly recommend sailing on the Azamara Journey! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
Our cabin was an outside cabin that was located on the 7th level in the center of the ship. We were surprised how big the room was. It was a nice size. The bathroom was very small though. The shower was a challenge each time. We had a ... Read More
Our cabin was an outside cabin that was located on the 7th level in the center of the ship. We were surprised how big the room was. It was a nice size. The bathroom was very small though. The shower was a challenge each time. We had a veranda that we loved. We saw a perfect sunset coming home. There was daily fruit basket, fresh cut flowers, 23" plasma television, complimentary use of binoculars, and plush robes in our room. The bath robes smelled like perfume, so we had them replaced. We did not see the umbrellas which would have been nice since the second day in Hamilton it poured all day. The bedding was nice. They changed our sheets once. We did not have any sweet surprise on our pillow each evening, but rather little desserts on a small plate. We did have butler service as there is a butler for each stateroom and suite. We did make use having a sport coat pressed for an additional fee. We did have 24-hour room service and we made use of this service 3 times. We did not receive a complimentary bottle of champagne even though it was our 30th Wedding Anniversary because we did not have a suite, but it would have been nice to see a bottle of champagne waiting for us in our room just the same. Our room was very clean and maintained down to the towels designed into swans one bigger than the other kissing sitting on our bed on our wedding anniversary. Our butler was great! We received cloth travel bags that we used on the beach. I do miss the Ova chocolates! This ship did not have Ova chocolates as did the Celebrity Horizon. We did not participate in the Spa and Wellness Center "Aqua Spa", "Cova cafe" (coffee cafe), or at the piano bar "Michael's Club". We did not participate in the wine and champagne tasting because we did not know of it. I guess we should have read cover to cover the daily schedule. I remember 5 years ago, the Celebrity Horizon that also went to Bermuda gathered all the passengers who were celebrating their anniversary to gather together for an hour and they served champagne on the house. I did enjoy my apple martini's from the "Martini Bar". All alcohol is charged to your pass key. We use the fitness room once. The equipment was great. We tried out the "Lifestyle Fitness" machines before I got a mean sunburn. We looked into the "Computer Center", but we did not make use of it. The patio atmosphere was nice. It has a lot of lounge chairs, 2 spa pools and a pool. The pool was very small. We did not bother to swim in it. The pool bar was nice. The bartender made any kind of drink you wanted. I leaned towards the tropical drinks. Drinks ran from anywhere to 5 to 10 dollars a piece. Also on the pool deck was a smoking area with tables and chairs and ash trays that were emptied often. There was live music mid afternoon that consisted of various songs from reggae, to country, to pop, and also those old classics. Other live entertainment at the "Cabaret" room consisted of comedy and singing. It was geared toward the elder folks of what we heard, so we skipped this part of the entertainment. We did find the casino entertaining. We went twice. I ended the last night winning 450 dollars. I won this money hitting on a 7 and two triples; the last few minutes before the casino closed. We kind of enjoyed the "Looking Glass" nightclub as this was the only place at night to hear music and dance beside the one man guitar player out on the patio at night singing to 2 to 5 people. Back to the Looking Glass, we think the DJ played way too many disco songs. We managed to get the DJ to play two different types of music. We requested Usher and Nickelback to be played just to change things up a bit and the DJ did have it and did play it - just ask. There is a smoking area with tables and cushion chairs. There are ash trays that were emptied often. Main dining for dinner was at the "Discoveries" room. The dining layout was a good size. The problem was if you ate toward the back of the restaurant, your seat vibrated throughout dinner. It was difficult to eat as you felt the engine. You can definitely feel the motion to the ocean. Seating closer to the front of the restaurant was a lot better. Some of the food was good, but the steak dinner we had was not as good; steak was not as tender. The service was excellent. We just love their crème brulee'! "Prime C" was the restaurant that we ate at for our 30th wedding anniversary. We loved the lobster bisque! The filet mignon steak we ordered was very tender. We were very pleased with the food and the excellent service. The cook brought us a chocolate torte that read Happy Anniversary on it. They made our anniversary very special. We had a very nice evening. Since we had dessert already, they asked if they could bring the torte up to our cabin and we agreed. Oddly, it never came. The next day we thought it would show up, but it did not. We asked the butler where our chocolate torte was and she contacted the Prime C restaurant. It ended up that they made us up a fresh new torte and wrote Happy Anniversary on it once again. It was sent up to our cabin late afternoon. We did not eat at the Aqualina restaurant. We were offered as everyone else a free dinner at either the Prime C or Aqualina; otherwise it would be additional fee. We chose the Prime C (steak place). Windows Cafe is where we had breakfast and lunch. There was also dining outside on the "Breeza". For the most part, the food was good. We ate breakfast there only twice as we had room service the other days; no additional charge. At lunch, I loved the manicotti with cheese, beef, and white sauce. I went back for seconds the 2 days that they served it; so delicious. The only thing that bothered me that the glasses were water spotted which appeared to look not clean. The service was excellent. The atrium was beautiful with a wide staircase. There was beautiful art on the walls, and pottery as you walked up the staircase. There was cherry wood trim throughout the ship. The ship was elegantly designed. The ship was not as small as I thought it would be, but still smaller than Celebrity Horizon, the one we cruised on 5 years ago. Motion to the ocean was my biggest issue before boarding this ship. Luckily for me, this happened once at night during the 7 night cruise. We just went back to the room where we did not feel it as much there. The seas calmed down a couple hours later and I was relieved. This cruise was less motion to the ocean than my last one 5 years ago to Bermuda which was Celebrity Horizon. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
This was our third cruise. We booked this cruise for our Honeymoon through our local travel agent. We figured a cruise would be the most cost effective way to see Bermuda. The ride to Cape Liberty in Bayonne was a breeze as we live 30 ... Read More
This was our third cruise. We booked this cruise for our Honeymoon through our local travel agent. We figured a cruise would be the most cost effective way to see Bermuda. The ride to Cape Liberty in Bayonne was a breeze as we live 30 minutes away. We arrived at the pier at 12:00 and were on the ship by 12:15. Embarkation was fast and easy... We were greeted by smiling faces and a nice glass of champagne, they had fresh juices too for those who do not drink alcoholic beverages. We were told that our rooms would NOT be ready until after one. We decided to venture to our room anyway and low and behold IT WAS READY. Our butler greeted us with a smile and introduced himself.. we were in our room by 12:20. This was our first balcony and we're spoiled now! :) Our room was beautiful. The bedding was plush and we slept like babies. The bathroom is very small, but they replaced the towels constantly and supplied the most luxurious elemis hair and body products, enough for the whole week and left over to bring home. No toothpaste though. On our previous cruises, we were supplied with everything including disposable razors. Azamara doesn't. Our first impression of the ship was A+. The ship has such an elegant classy feel. Dark wood everywhere. No glitz at all. Very soothing. We were very happy with the ship layout as well. Being that the Azamara is a smaller ship, everything was easy to get to. We didn't participate in any ship's activities. We did use their library. We basically lounged around or lazed in the pool. We were on vacation and were both very tired, we enjoyed the quiet time together. We did use the ship's internet service, but don't bother with this, it took 20 minutes to log on and another 30 to send an email. I was reimbursed with no problem, however, never again. The service on this ship was excellent. We were waited on hand and foot, all of our questions were answered. Our butler refreshed our fruit and flowers daily. Our room steward kept our room clean and spotless. We ordered a full steak and egg breakfast to eat on our balcony on the morning we arrived at St. George. The view was spectacular. They had a protein drink/juice bar. They only had 1 juicer to serve all of the guests and ONLY 2 people working the juice bar. They need to get more equipment and have more people work. It was overwhelming for the workers to get all of the orders correct. We had to wait a while for our drinks but it was well worth it. For you health nuts, this is a must! We ate in both Aqualina and Prime C restaurants (both at no charge because we were on our honeymoon). My husband and I agree that the food, service and extra touches in Prime C made it the best dining experience of our lives. It was magnificent and service was above EXCELLENT. We eat in NYC all the time and have been to many wonderful restaurants, but PRIME C TOPS ALL! Dinner in the main dining room was very good. All of the meals I ate were tasty, and savory. I did not like eating at the buffet for dinner. This was hit or miss. Their lunch buffet was plentiful and tasty. We preferred eating in the dining room for lunch. Delish! We purchased a sail and swim excursion from the ship. Luckily we did, my husband slashed his foot on coral and needed medical attention. This put a damper on the rest of our travel plans, but we made the best of it. Anyway, because we purchased the excursion from the ship, we did not have to pay the medical bill (on the ship). The medical staff was very professional and helpful and made follow up calls to make sure my husband was ok. They even gave him a weeks worth of antibiotics and pain medicine at no charge. There were a few children on this cruise, they were very well behaved! For entertainment, we saw "that's hollywood". It was very good. We enjoyed ourselves. We also went to the captains cocktail hour. The drinks were very good and it was nice to meet all of the ship's crew. St. Georges Bermuda was breathtaking and quaint. The homes were absolutely breathtaking. We went to Horseshoe bay and this beach was indeed beautiful and they really do have pink sand. The surf was a little rough though. We rented chairs and umbrellas for 10 dollars each and I think we got half back upon return. Disembarkation was a breeze. Our luggage was so easy to find and we were out of the terminal in less than 10 minutes. I would DEFINITELY cruise with Azamara again. They have a few things to figure out here and there but they'll make it. It's sad that they will not continue cruising to Bermuda. We had a wonderful time! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2007
Embarkation 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 ... Read More
Embarkation 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. Stateroom 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. Ship 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. Dining 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. Crew 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. Disembarkation 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. Misc 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. General 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). Read Less
Sail Date: June 2007
Embarkation: We drove to Cape Liberty and parked in the port's parking lot for the duration of the cruise. A shuttle bus picked us up immediately and drove us to the terminal, where we were greeted warmly. We were checked in ... Read More
Embarkation: We drove to Cape Liberty and parked in the port's parking lot for the duration of the cruise. A shuttle bus picked us up immediately and drove us to the terminal, where we were greeted warmly. We were checked in immediately - no lines and no waiting. We were again greeted warmly once we boarded the ship and were met with complimentary glasses of champagne. We were told that we could eat lunch or go to our cabin which was ready for us. We chose to walk around a bit first and our bags arrived shortly after us in our cabin. The ship itself: We loved the size and scale of the ship. It was small enough that getting around the ship was very easy and getting back to the cabin from any point on the ship was quick and easy. And, although the size made for a warm and intimate feeling, we never felt crowded or at a loss for privacy. We were able to find a private spot whenever we chose to do so. The decor is one of understated elegance with traditional and contemporary elements nicely combined - lots of polished wood, warm velvets, teak, leather, and other elegant fabrics. We were relieved that there were no towers of glass/chrome/mirrors/garish colors which seem to be prevalent on some of the larger cruise ships. It was often too cold in the common areas on the ship and I was glad we brought sweaters. The pool was small and there are two small jacuzzi tubs in the pool area. There are plenty of deck chairs on the pool deck and the top deck as well. There is a jogging track around the deck above the pool. We very much appreciated the no smoking policy on the ship. Both the Looking Glass Lounge and the Library are very pretty spaces. The Library was supposed to turn into Michael's Club at night, but we stopped by there on several occasions in the evening and there was nothing going on there. The cabin: We had an ocean view cabin with a large round porthole covering most of the outside wall. The cabin was small but not uncomfortably so. There was more than adequate storage for our things and we brought alot of clothes and accoutrements. The bedding was very lush and comfy - high thread count sheets and down duvet. The towels were very plush. The bathroom was tiny but we managed fine with it. There was a flat screen TV mounted on the wall showing a few channels. The food: Overall, the food was very good to excellent, and the selection was fine. There were a few "misses" in Discoveries, the main dining room, a few soups that we did not enjoy come to mind. There were small pastries and tea sandwiches in the Cova Cafe available all the time and they were yummy. The coffee in the machines in the Windows Cafe far surpassed the quality of the coffee in the dining room. The beans are freshly ground with each cup. My husband made iced cappuccino's for us with the machines every day and they were out of this world. By the end of the trip, they had run out of cream, which was a problem for us and seemed an unnecessary slip-up. The same selection of bread, rolls, and bread sticks came with each meal in a bread basket. I would have preferred a little more variety in this area, but we really loved all the breakfast rolls and pastries available every morning in Windows, especially all the different flavors of croissants and the brioche was delicious. Smoked salmon was at breakfast every morning and it was delicious. Beverages: We bought a bottle of wine with our meal at Aqualina and fell in love with the wine. We ordered it again the next night and were told that they had run out :( Alcoholic drinks were relatively generous and of good quality, but they were overpriced at $8 apiece. We felt that the coffee and tea at the Cova Cafe should have been complimentary, but these were all extra and a bit expensive as well. Service: From the moment we boarded the ship until we left, we were consistently impressed with the gracious service we received. The ratio of crew to passengers is nicely high and the entire crew were sincere and attentive. We didn't see that much of our butler, but he was friendly and helpful, and our cabin was kept spotlessly clean. We received small surprises in our cabin every day like chocolate covered strawberries, canape's, chocolates, etc. We were especially impressed with Dominique, the Maitre'D who made us feel very special. Entertainment: The musical and comedian entertainment was of professional caliber and enjoyable. The Cabaret where the shows and other events took place was a lovely space. We enjoyed the cooking demonstrations and enrichment lectures as well. Specialty Restaurants: We ate at both Aqualina and Prime C. We enjoyed both, but preferred Aqualina. The foie gras appetizer at Aqualina was stellar and the steak fries at Prime C were addictive. Open Seating: It worked out quite well for us. It was important to be able to be on our own schedule for this precious vacation time and it was nice not to be tied to the dining room at a particular time every night. We were seated immediately at a table for two (at our request) in every case but one when we were asked to come back in 1/2 hour. Disembarkation: Everything went very smoothly. We disembarked in groups spaced about 15 min. apart. We went through customs in a minute w/no wait and then met our bags in the terminal and were taken to our car in the lot, again w/no wait. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2007
This cruise on Azamara Journey was, by far, the most enjoyable I've experienced! That does not mean it was problem-free; to the contrary, I had some serious difficulties. However, the good outweighed the bad by far. Embarking at Cape ... Read More
This cruise on Azamara Journey was, by far, the most enjoyable I've experienced! That does not mean it was problem-free; to the contrary, I had some serious difficulties. However, the good outweighed the bad by far. Embarking at Cape Liberty gets smoother and quicker every year. Port workers know me now and treat me like a returning friend. We arrived at noon; luggage taken promptly; check-in took 15 minutes total including wait time; short bus ride to ship. The cabin was ready so we dropped off our carry-on things and by 1pm we were eating lunch at the buffet! The luggage was there by time the life-boat drill (a real drill) was over. A funny moment occurred at that point All those with mobility impairments waited in a separate area nearby, while the other passengers marched out, single-file, to their assigned lifeboat. The leader held up a large number sign for the particular lifeboat. Looked like kindergarten kids on an outing. There was a head count for each group. Those of us who were separate were told not to worry, that they were well trained to help us. After everyone was with their boat, our group was brought to the elevators and placed on them. Vedia and I were alone on one and looked at each other as it began moving. We went back (from some floor) to the drill floor and said "where are we supposed to go?" Anywhere we want, was the answer. Seems they wanted us to have free elevators before the crowd came back! LOL! Last year I hated my cruise because the ship was too big, too crowded, too many unsupervised children, too many unhappy and over-extended crew members, and mediocre food. Journey is just the opposite. Small, friendly, well appointed, the best and most attentive crew - top to bottom - I've ever experienced. Also, with a passenger total of 700 one gets to know people very easily. In 24 hours passengers and crew were on a first name basis, and it was one big extended family (without the infighting!) The food was wonderful. CABIN My cabin was big enough. Nice closets, pullout sofa, new furnishings, fridge and minibar, balcony, and real wooden hangers. Also provided at no extra charge were robes, slippers, binoculars, Evian water, Elemis products. There were fresh flowers daily, along with a bowl of fruit, 4p hors d'oeuvres, and different sweets at night (not just mints, but brownies, candies, cookies, and more.) I was not in a suite - they got more!? Note: the 'butlers' are stewards unless you're in a suite! (which is not a putdown because the stewards were immaculate, efficient, and quick.) An Azamara over-sell. DINING The food is excellent. The only down note is room service breakfast, which is basically continental in nature. MAIN The main dining room is anytime with tables for 4 or more. While you can't necessarily get the same table every time, if you're early, you can get the same section and, therefore, waiter if you want. They serve 3 meals a day. Good variety and multiple choices. At dinner you choose from at least 3 appetizers, 3 soups (2 hot 1 cold,) 3 salads, 6 entrees including pasta, fish, red meat and fowl, in addition to the every day choices of shrimp cocktail, steak, roast chicken, and vegetarian selections. One night I had trouble deciding between 2 that sounded great. After deciding on one, he brought both! Desserts are fabulous, and ice cream handmade. The rolls are not warm, but they are fresh and delicious and varied. I never ate lunch there, but breakfasts were very good, and quick. BUFFET (pool deck) Standard fare, good but not exceptional. (7a to 11p) No pizza/pasta section and no ice cream or frozen yogurt mid afternoon. Only on the pool deck can you get free, help yourself, coffee and non-soda beverages anytime. GRILL (pool deck) Nathan's hotdogs, crispy fries, real hand ground steak burgers, and other items. 11a to 4p and VERY popular! COVA CAFE From 4p to 1a there are all manner of delicious pastries, cookies, scones, brownies, and sandwiches free for the taking. You only pay for drinks including tea and coffee. Busy spot around 11p. The food is replaced frequently. ] SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS One time free for all guests, but suites get 2x free. We went to chop house once and it was excellent. The other Med/Italian one is highly praised too. No midnight buffets! LOUNGES There are 5 lounges and bars. Drinks are pricey at $7-12; soda and coffee $2 if without liquor. ENTERTAINMENT Solid, and very enjoyable. There are no big production shows and no off-color comedians, but there are very talented people in the lounges and cabaret! If not enough, there are 4 in-room first run free movie channels. There is a dj and disco, as well. MISC The crew is exceptional. Upper level crew are constantly checking to see that passengers are happy and satisfied, and also learn everyone's name. If someone has a complaint - whether or not justified - it is acted upon immediately. The Captain is very friendly and funny. When not busy, he freely mixes with passengers, and answers questions. The cruise director and staff are friendly and good. Standard activities onboard from Bingo to pool games. There is a spa and acupuncturist. I tried neither. I also did not do their shore excursions, Shopping is very limited. One high-end bling shop. One high-end resort wear shop. One sundry shop, but very few souvenirs and tee shirts. Do shopping ashore! They do provide cold cloths and beverages when you return to the ship's gangway. Very small pool. New deck furniture supposed to be in place by mid-July. Some comfy lounges, but most are motel-type pool lounges for now. Large, flat screen tv's, wi-fi, and cell service. FELLOW PASSENGERS 50+. There were young couples, and some children, but not may of either. This is not a cruise for young people! It is geared toward 50+, and many were very ++! There were young children and a day program for them, but limited. Teenagers and 20-30 something's might be most unhappy. We had few problems with motion. The worst times were crossing the Gulf Stream, and I felt that on the big ships too. Vedia is very subject to motion sickness, but felt fine with just her patch. I, on the other hand, felt sick Friday until 2 Dramamine kicked in! Debarking in NJ was as quick and simple as the embarkation. It took us longer to cross the GW Bridge!! I said in the beginning that there were problems. The ship is not yet finished with the refurbishment. It will be, maybe, by their real season starting October. It was rushed into service much too soon. It is NOT a luxury ship as hyped, at least not yet. It IS a great Celebrity ship, but most Celebrity ships are wonderful! Why are they messing with success? For me, there were serious access issues. It is definitely not wheelchair friendly by design. I understand all R and Oceania ships are the same way. The crew and fellow passengers saw to it that I did as much as possible, but some things I missed like getting out on deck to see my sunsets! I'd send Vedia out with the camera, but it wasn't the same. Still, as I said, the good well outweighed the bad! SUMMARY This is a terrific ship and crew. It is beautiful inside with real wood, wrought iron, gold leaf, nice artwork, and improving rugs and furniture. It is not a ship I would recommend for young families, but more for people who want to relax and enjoy their surroundings. I have great memories for a lifetime. Cherry on cake: good visits with Bermuda friends. Journey is not a wheelchair friendly ship. Having said that, however, I would not necessarily let it stop me from a planned cruise. The access cabins are well laid out. The bathrooms are a good size with a roll-in shower, hand held and fixed shower head; and fold up bench. There are sturdy grab bars appropriately placed. The door to the cabin has a power assist, activated by button inside and out. There are fridges in all handicapped rooms. Corridors are narrow but do-able. There are difficult ridges on the floor everywhere. It is almost impossible to get out to the decks. The pool does not have a lift nor can you get close to it. I did not see it, but I'm told the spa is not accessible. The elevators are roomier than many other ships. The gangway in Bayonne and Bermuda are the worst I've encountered! The Cabaret has ramps to the lower level where you'll have an unobstructed view, but you have to get there early. Once people are starting to sit and the chairs are moved, it is almost impossible to get to the ramps which are in the front. Bermuda does have wheelchair vans but you have to know someone who knows where and how. I can help you if you need this info. If you have limited mobility, use a manual chair, scooter, walker etc, you'll encounter relatively few insurmountable problems. The crew is wonderful and very attentive to every tiny and major need. If you use a powerized wheelchair, it's do-able but I don't recommend this ship. I do use one and can speak from experience, having just been on it. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2007
Just back from June 30 cruise We had a great family gathering to celebrate our 50 anniversary. Ages 9,12.13.15.16,32,40,44,47,47,47,52,60,71,73. Everyone enjoyed the ship. The size was great, the food was fabulous, the rooms were fine ... Read More
Just back from June 30 cruise We had a great family gathering to celebrate our 50 anniversary. Ages 9,12.13.15.16,32,40,44,47,47,47,52,60,71,73. Everyone enjoyed the ship. The size was great, the food was fabulous, the rooms were fine and we had 4019,4021,4033,37,37,41,43,45 which were really convenient. We really enjoyed the spa and exercise room. The pool is not that big but the area around it and the 2 hot tubs were used by many. The windows cafe was very lovely with inside and outside seating with plenty of service. There was always water, ice tea, juice and hot coffee or teas. We often went there for breakfast and lunch and to the dining room for dinner. Martin the maitre d' was great and the food outstanding. The last night we did eat in Aqualina which was hosted by Dominique. The food there is over the top - truly memorable.They honored our celebrations with special chocolate cakes that were exceptional as well.Many people dressed up as we all did one evening and some of us varied from nice casual to dressy on other nights as well. Almost everyone in the dining rooms came dressed appropriately Our butler and steward were very attentive and brought us savories every day we were in our room around 4 inaddition there were fresh flowers every day. The shows were entertaining but not really special but we we went to a few as well as the karaoke one evening. We were satisfied with that. On the fourth of July they hosted a huge barbeque in the pool area with music . The journey band is excellent. The photographer is really excellent and we got some great photos of our family. We did the excursion that took us on a catamaran to a snorkeling area and served Rum Swizzles as well as juice and some cheese and crackers as well. That was excellent as well; a highlight of our week. Try to get to Tobacco Bay to snorkel, Horseshoe bay to swim, Dockyard to see the dolphins, sheep and learn some history, golf if you want some awesome courses and even play tennis in Hamilton within walking distance of the ship very reasonably. Enjoy some shopping, take the ferries and the buses and there is lots to see and easy to travel, We were so happy that our experience exceeded our expectations. With 407 attendants to 750 passengers there were staff to help your every where and they were really friendly. Hope you enjoy as much as we did. Read Less
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