Azamara Journey

(10:25 a.m. EDT) -- Azamara Club Cruises has scrapped plans to replace a popular aft bar with a for-fee specialty restaurant during the upcoming refurbishment of its ships Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest.

Both ships are slated to get extensive renovations that include upgrades to cabins, public areas and the spa. Azamara Journey will enter dry dock in January 2016 in the Bahamas, and Azamara Quest will receive the changes during an April 2016 dry dock in Singapore.

When the "bow to stern" refurbs were announced in June, past Azamara passengers greeted most changes to the 15-year-old ships with enthusiasm, with the exception of Kibo, a new Asian specialty restaurant. The a la carte restaurant, open for dinner, was to be located at the back of Deck 9, replacing the Sunset Bar and an outdoor eating area for the ships' buffet, Windows Cafe.

Many passengers were disappointed that the aft area, popular throughout the day, would be taken away. "After much discussion internally, we decided not to move forward with it," said spokesperson Signe Bjorndal.  "The area will be upgraded, but function as it does now."

The space will remain open on both ships, she said. The Asian restaurant will not be added to either ship.

Cruise Critic members, who have been discussing the renovations for months, greeted the change with gusto. "The aft deck at Windows is a unique and special place for many Azamara devotees," said gymfreak. "Maybe they are listening to the majority and if so thank you to the powers that be. Hopefully now I can start planning for many more wonderful cruises on my favorite cruise line."

--By Chris Gray Faust, Senior Editor

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