We booked the new Azamara Journey as soon as the announcement was made that Celebrity had acquired one of the "R" ships and was going to invest in a new "Upscale" line. We had just come off the Tahitian Princess where we were pampered to no end in their Owners Suite and were sure that the new Celebrity product was going beat the Princess "re-do" hands down. And of course they did in many ways. The cova cafe,their signature pastry and cappuccino bar, is always a treat. Azamara like Celebrity has the most incredible staff that seems to be able to anticipate your every need and is extremely friendly. The new pool chairs and the buffet area for breakfast and lunch are beautiful. The alternative dining areas are also beautifully redone as is the main dining room and the casino. However, our suite left much to be desired. It looked the same as it did when the ship was built. We walked into our quite expensive suite, and I almost cried. There was a small white dorm refrigerator with its wires sticking out sitting on the floor right in front of the little table that you put your keys on. There were only 2 chairs at the scarred day-one dining table,the deck had two miss-matched white plastic deck chairs that barely fit on it- and no cushions. The furniture was original, torn, and had the original accent pillows, the carpet was original and stained, the curtains I think were new because the were badly hung and dragged on the floor. There was no desk or vanity chair and the "new console" that held the "new" flat screen tv with all its wires sticking out did not fit the wall it was on, so you could not reach the curtain to close the drapes. All they had done to the room basically, was change the bedding! The lamps were old and tipped sideways and one was broken. Then we were informed that there was no formal night, our butler was the butler for the entire floor, he was also the cabin steward, so he was so busy, you didn't dare ask him to serve an in- room meal, something you book a Royal Suite for! Halfway through the cruise the "Hotel Manager" sent out a questionnaire asking guests how they were doing. We had heard many passengers grumbling about the open seating, the expensive drinks, and the lack of a formal night.
I wrote all this on my comment card along with my disenchantment with my room...we were invited down for a little conference. It seemed that his main concern was with the water on the carpet that I had mentioned on the questionnaire!(something I almost didn't put down, it had been there as a result of a storm) I asked him who his target customer was. His reply was -the Renaissance customer. Well---If they want that customer, they had better start including wine with dinner and stop adding 18% to all the bar tabs along with the little line under it for an extra tip! They also will need to serve the food that they offer in their Specialty restaurants in their main dining room and they will have to stop gouging their passengers $50.00 per couple to eat a decent meal in the specialty restaurant! In response to the "Hotel Manager-I asked him to take a look at our cruise folio- we had spent quite a considerable amount of money on board- not to mention how much we had spent in the casino- we had paid in full for our cabin, no questions asked, are we not the kind of cruiser he wanted on board? Are our opinions or thoughts not valid? He simply did not care- I wrote a letter to the President of Celebrity, including photos of our cabin, in November-Again, there has been no response.
I am worried that the changes we saw on the Azamara are going to spread across the Celebrity line. We are booked on Royal for Spring and Celebrity for Fall. We will See.