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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
Azamara Journey by Arzz This review is written from the perspective of a frequent Holland America cruiser who has also cruised many other cruise lines. I have never taken a Celebrity cruise. The ship itself is intimate and beautiful. ... Read More
Azamara Journey by Arzz This review is written from the perspective of a frequent Holland America cruiser who has also cruised many other cruise lines. I have never taken a Celebrity cruise. The ship itself is intimate and beautiful. Azamara has done an excellent job of making this ship look almost brand new. The atmosphere everywhere on board is understated, elegant and suggests the ambiance of a fine gentleman's club. We arrived at Cape Liberty around 11:30 am and the embarkation process was really not a process at all. The terminal was configured to handle crowds with many lines all taped off and ready to snake back and forth to move large numbers of cruise passengers -- however, there were no lines. We dropped our luggage with a porter outside the terminal and we quickly passed through all the required check points. Within minutes were on board the Journey. We were greeted with a glass of champaign as we entered Journey's elegant atrium on deck 4. Guest Relations, Shore Excursions and an assortment of comfortable sitting areas wrap around the wide staircase that is featured in so many photos of this ship and her sisters. We sat down, enjoyed our beverage, and met some of the other passengers with whom we would share our week. Since the cabins would not be ready until 1:00 pm and we were a little early to enjoy lunch we self-toured the ship. We previewed the Celebrity Cabaret, the show lounge on board. It is entirely located on a single level of the ship, reminiscent of the lounges used for dancing and shows on the older cruise ships rather than the glitzy, multi-floor theaters of today's behemoths. It has a stage at the front, and for a ship this size we found it to be quite functional and a pleasant change from a large, impersonal, show lounge. We also walked through the classic wood paneled dining room, the Cova Cafe, the casino and past the ship's shops. Throughout the fifth deck the ceilings are adorned with paintings of winged gods, goddesses and cherubs reminiscent of the frescos found on the ceilings of the palaces of Europe. We were often amused, however, when looking at the facial expressions as the cherubs invariably appeared to have a hand buried in the folds of the clothing of some goddess or other. The Cova Cafe is located at the top of the atrium stairs on Deck 5 -- it is not an enclosed space -- it is located between the shops and the dining room so that there is much foot traffic that passes through. As I am not familiar with this area on other Celebrity ships I do not know whether this is an anomaly. We enjoyed afternoons sipping elegant coffees and unusual teas here, as well as evenings relaxing to the music presented by Jacqueline Dolan and her wonderful harp. The on board casino is somewhat small, appropriately sized for the smaller ship's population. It contains several slot machines (penny, quarter and dollar machines) as well as gaming tables. During the few days that the casino was closed during our stay in Bermuda the casino seemed to be completely taken apart and reconfigured. The best that we can tell was that many of the slot machines were moved around, others were removed. The gaming tables were reconfigured and a lounge-like sitting area was created in one corner. The casino was, however, up and running right on schedule as we left the Bermuda coast and headed out into the Atlantic. At the top of the ship is the Looking Glass Lounge, reminiscent of the Crow's Nest on Holland America ships. It is a beautiful space with 270 degree views that I believe was under utilized on this cruise -- but then the four day stay in Bermuda makes a lot of things about this cruise unusual. The only criticism I have of this space was the decision to stage the band at the center of the front windows which effectively uses a large section of what would be, otherwise, prime seating area to enjoy scenic views. As this ship wanders off to places like the Chilean Fjords this deficit will probably be felt dearly by passengers seeking a definitive seat from which to enjoy the sights. Michael's Club is a wood paneled lounge that really looks like the archetypical gentlemen's club. It serves as both a lounge area and a library. We only sampled the cuisine at one of the two specialty restaurants on board, the Prime C -- and it was excellent, but both of these restaurants are elegant and pretty -- they are located on deck 10 so the views from these spaces are as good as the food. The on board spa is again smaller than that found on many ships but they still offered a variety of spa services as well as acupuncture and a small therapy pool. The small gym was well equipped with a variety of exercise machines and free weights. The pool on deck nine is surrounded by incredibly comfy teak lounge chairs covered with thick cushions that during the day are each equipped with a rolled beach towel just waiting to be used (nice touch). Another nice touch is that a few of the lounge chairs are doubles. The Windows Cafe is located on deck 9 and offers a variety of buffet style foods at breakfast and lunch as well as a pretty casual dining venue at dinner time. Our cabin was a deck seven standard verandah cabin. It was a clean, bright exceptionally pleasant space adorned in dark woods, green curtains and a beige paisley print in the carpet. The new carpeting and soft furnishings made it look virtually brand new. The bed was extremely comfortable and was covered by many pillows. The room also had a love seat sized couch across from a small desk. The closets were in the entryway opposite the bathroom. The closets consisted of a double doored space with a clothing rod and a shelf above, a one doored space that had four nice size drawers with a very short hanging space above (we were hard pressed to find garments short enough to hang here -- we would have appreciated more drawers). At the end of the closet was a corner unit that probably used to contain the TV. It now consists of a few open shelves, a cabinet of closed shelves which included a programmable safe, and a bottom cabinet that contains a small, space age looking refrigerator. Not everyone recognized the object in this cabinet immediately as a fridge. It is about the size of a old computer tower but it does have space for a small selection of beverages and liqueurs inside. There was additional storage in the desk -- four small drawers on one side and two shelves on the other. The wall opposite the bed sported a nice sized flat screen TV which was easy to view from both the bed and the love seat -- being wall mounted it was out of traffic patterns and away from potential cabin storage space. Nice feature! Our verandah was small with a table and two chairs that are well set up to enjoy a room service breakfast out of doors. The bathroom is, how shall I say, a tiny, tidy space. We are not particularly large people but we did have to become intimate with the shower wall in order to shower. The sink had a nice sized vanity with a medicine cabinet and a shelf below the vanity for storage. Though small it was very functional and very clean. And, we always had more than enough fluffy towels and face cloths. The food was excellent and well prepared. We had no desire to eat in a specialty restaurant more than once as we were so well taken care of in the Discoveries Dining Room (the main dining venue). The dining room staff could not do enough for us. We are sorry that we did not get to know them better. With the open seating we were served by different people almost every meal. We really did miss assigned dining. We also wonder if the staff will be sufficiently compensated through the auto tipping system. With assigned dining we usually tip extra (above the amount required by the auto tip) at the end of the cruise if we have received excellent service (which we usually do), will the staff miss this additional income? While the food was excellent, we do have suggestions on the food front: We found it very difficult to eat a light and healthy diet on board. We are accustomed to having, on the menu, both a vegetarian selection and a healthy selection among the dining choices. We missed these options while on board. We also found ourselves wishing that there had been more vegetables on our plates. And, we noticed some redundancy on the menus. We would have liked to see more variety. The Oriental duck consomme was on the menu at least three meals in a row (two dinners and one lunch, I think), many of the salads greatly resembled each other and most were garnished with goat cheese (I have nothing against goat cheese, I like it a lot, but it was ubiquitous during the cruise). One day at lunch there was a smoked salmon appetizer that was presented with a dill cream cheese that looked virtually identical to a smoked salmon appetizer that appeared at dinner that same night except that the lunch version was cut into circular shapes and at dinner it was presented as a triangle. For those folks wondering what day the bananas foster is offered for dessert, do not fear that you will miss it as it is on the dessert menu at both lunch and dinner on several days -- and it is excellent. We really truly enjoyed several of the on board amenities such as the fresh flowers all over the ship, but particularly the fresh flowers in our cabin. The in cabin fruit bowl that was replenished and freshened as necessary was very nice to have. We enjoyed both the robe and slippers -- and an amenity that we have not seen before -- the floor mats that were left each night, one on each side of the bed, that said "good morning - good night". We truly appreciated the Elemis products in the larger, 3.4 oz bottles. And, the evening treats that were left in our cabins (cookies, fudge squares, truffles) were a welcome change from the mundane chocolate. Though we did not feel the need to indulge the ability to have afternoon tea daily in the cabin, or receive a plate of savories at mid to late afternoon was really nice. We also enjoyed the use of the binoculars that were provided in each cabin. Things that we missed: The larger cabins that are standard on Holland America. Though Journey's cabins are well designed they are rather tight on space and DH and I had to plan our in room movements to be in concert rather than collision with one another. We question whether the standard cabins have sufficient storage space to properly accommodate the longer voyages that are planned for these ships -- particularly the ones that will require clothes for more than one climate (like South America). We truly missed a self service laundry -- having one on board would have reduced the amount of clothing that we traveled with by about 40%. We do not object to paying for laundry service however for many of our things (especially those that are delicate or prone to shrink) we were unwilling to surrender the control of the temperature settings of the wash and dry cycles to unknown individuals. I really miss the make-up mirrors that Holland America has mounted at the cabin desks. We really miss the wrap around covered promenade deck for walking purposes. We know this is not something that Azamara can fix but due to the small size of the ship, getting exercise on board was very difficult -- the jogging tack on the upper deck is rather small (13 times around equals one mile), and not covered so that it really does not replace the promenade. We would have definitely preferred assigned dining times. The situation was such with dining that if you did not appear at the dining room by about 6:30, you had to wait to be seated at dinner. We do this at restaurants at home and have no desire to do this on a cruise vacation. It is easy to miss shows and other cruise activities when dining times are uncertain. When we have paid a significant daily tariff we consider waiting to dine to be unwelcome, wasted time. I have experienced main stream cruising, budget cruising, and premium cruising. Azamara claims to be a Deluxe cruise line and we believe that the intent is to compete directly with Oceania and other similar cruise lines. If there were no charge in the alternative dining venues and passengers could choose between all of them, I believe that it would relieve the crowding in the main dining room as well as present a more deluxe, overall, cruise experience. Please correct me if I am wrong but I do believe that when this ship was built there were several dining venues from which to choose and the cost of each of them was included. A nice touch that I heard is a Celebrity tradition, is to offer a cold face towels to passengers as they return to the ship. We do applaud this practice as we really enjoyed it -- but on at least two of our in port afternoons the ship, apparently, did not have enough face cloths to go around and therefore our cabins were left without them. I assume that this is a detail that it should be easy for Azamara to correct. We were caused real stress on board when the baggage that we left at the pier at ll:30 am did not appear in our cabins until over an hour and a half after sailing (after 5:30 pm). We were disturbed by this for many reasons. First we had no way to know for sure if it had made it on board until it was too late to initiate a search at the pier. Second, we like to unpack before the muster drill so that when the ship sails, we are really on vacation. Watching the ship leave the harbor in New Jersey was a large priority for us. And third, if at all prone to seasickness, unpacking while at sea is not a pleasant occupation. DH and I do not ever remember being on a cruise where the bags arrived at our cabins after we had actually left the port. We hope that Azamara could make this a priority and improve the baggage delivery service. Other small concerns -- the coffee served in the dining rooms and the specialty restaurant was terrible. Not up to the standards that we would expect of a deluxe (or even premium) cruise line. --We enjoyed the butler service on board, though we are not sure that our butler was any different than a normal cabin attendant. Our cabin service was, by and large, excellent as small things like the need for replacement soaps and kleenex were automatically noticed without us asking for these things. Once we had to ask for an additional bottle of water. What we found disturbing, also easy to fix, was the frequent knock at our door when we were in the cabin to deliver paperwork -- if we delayed getting the door (say to take the small time to put on a robe) the butler would unlock the door and start to walk in. Each door had a mailbox as well as a space beneath the door that could be used to deliver paperwork. We felt it unnecessary to have these things placed on the bed or given to us by hand -- we got annoyed by the intrusion as this seemed to happen several times during the week. This should be another thing that Azamara could easily fix. Despite the minor deficiencies (and we do consider them to be minor) noted in the last several paragraphs we had a very mellow cruise. Though we are Holland America medallion cruisers -- would we sail this line again? The answer in yes. Would we sail this line rather than HAL if all things were equal (price and itinerary)? -- in that case we would probably choose HAL. But if offered a superior or unique itinerary and a fair price, Azamara Cruises will definitely see us again. 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: July 2007
BOARDING - was a breeze! There was a separate area for suite embarkation but everyone was going through rapidly.We were on board in less than 15 minutes. We were told to go up to the Windows Cafe for our lunch-the cafe was nicely appointed ... Read More
BOARDING - was a breeze! There was a separate area for suite embarkation but everyone was going through rapidly.We were on board in less than 15 minutes. We were told to go up to the Windows Cafe for our lunch-the cafe was nicely appointed and the food enjoyable. When we arrived at our suite-we found it very inviting,although not as large as our suite on the Noordam. SAILING- We went up to the pool which had very comfortable chaises but the hot sun on the dark blue cushions just held the heat-definitely a towel required to sit on. Although the pool is too small for the size of the ship, it still is extremely refreshing. Late afternoon we met up with our butler. He turned out to be a wonderful asset to the line but we felt he was overworked in his position of room attendant plus butler. Throughout our trip on the Journey, we found the staff excellent and the restaurants to be top draw. However, we do feel there are some kinks in the running of the hotel part. On our entrance to our suite,our phone had a message for an earlier passenger and for 7 days nobody could fix it. The shower did leak because there wasn't enough enclosure. A shower curtain or an extension of the panel is needed.On our last full day of sailing with a full ship-passengers didn't have enough teak chaises and the older ones had been roped up so people couldn't find chaises. We helped untie some and move them for some of the passengers but no staff was around to assist.A glaring error was made by the Purser -unbelievable that our bill was placed on our door for anyone to read. It was placed that way for our mid-trip bill and our final bill. It wasn't even put in an envelope! In all my times cruising this was a first.Evidently-they feel that your bill can be placed outside your door for anyone to read. It wasn't even in an envelope-in all my cruising I have never seen it done that way! FINAL THOUGHTS- My experience on the Journey with the crew from the delightful Captain to the Maitre' D to the staff in general was excellent. I do believe that with time and maybe more experience by the Hotel Manager and Purser that this will be a ship definitely worth going on. I know I will most likely be on it again and look forward to an wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2007
Background: We took our first cruise last year on the Celebrity Zenith and thoroughly enjoyed the "Celebrity" experience and our time in Bermuda. So we rebooked for July '07, expecting yet another fine cruise on a mature ... Read More
Background: We took our first cruise last year on the Celebrity Zenith and thoroughly enjoyed the "Celebrity" experience and our time in Bermuda. So we rebooked for July '07, expecting yet another fine cruise on a mature ship with a seasoned crew. However. The Zenith was sold off and replaced with Celebrity's purchase of a former Renaissance ship: newer but about half the size, promising only 700 fellow passengers. For our trouble, we found we were upgraded from a standard ocean-view room, to a luxury veranda room (room with balcony) on the new ship. So bear in mind, our review is based on a relatively low price for our accommodations; those who pay top dollar may differ. There was a rushed $35-million refit in April, 2007 and then, just (barely) in time for the May sailings, Celebrity announced the smaller ships would be a split-off cruise line named "Azamara". Hm. We won't go into the unfortunate details of the ship's first sailings that are already reviewed here in grim detail. But long story short: by the July 14th sailing, the Azamara "Journey" appears to have turned the corner, and, as far as we are concerned, the view is beautiful! With several sailings under their belt, Azamara had time to get their act together. Although not quite as advertised, Journey was pretty much what we had come to expect with one big exception: it is not a pretty ship...it is knock you over gorgeous. Just our two cents of course. Boarding- We arrived at Cape Liberty at 11:45 am, our luggage was taken quickly (more about this later). For those that have left from Bayonne before, they have moved the long-term parking just up the pier from the check-in baggage area, so don't drive all the way back out again (Ahem, as I did). We were boarded right away, had the complementary bubbles and went up to lunch at the buffet. The buffet was tasty and the staff at all times was extremely friendly, and helpful beyond call. The pool area was closed when we came on as they were finally loading the new, long-awaited deck loungers. But walking around we found a beautiful ship with lots of dark wood, warm tones, artwork, etc. Lovely. Cabin/Staff: We were able to go to our cabin right after lunch (6062 - a regular veranda room) and immediately met Godofredo our butler. Now: we have never had butler service, but despite previous postings about butler service, "G" showed every bit of the professional attitude, attention and service I would expect from one. As far as we can tell he worked our area with only one other steward who is equally pleasant and attentive. Our room was straightened several times a day, new towels, ice water, fruit refreshed, evening candies or cookies, flowers on the pillows etc. We did later speak with other passengers that were expecting more from their butler and received less...maybe we had good luck or we're just lower maintenance. It is what it is; we loved it. Cabin wise, if you are new to cruising, be prepared for compact. Unless you want to pay for a suite, even the "luxury" cabins are small. But they are beautiful w/ similar dark wood and warm tones. On Journey, they are about 175 sq ft, plus the outside balcony(~40sqft). As you walk in, a full-length closet, and then half-length closets and drawer spaces are on one side; short of Cher's wardrobe, it is more than adequate for a week's cruise. However, possibly due to our early arrival (first loaded = last unloaded), our last large piece of our luggage didn't arrive until 5:00 pm or so (with the camera inside-oops); so I missed some nice departure shots. I know: always carry your camera. D'oh! The bathroom is the other side of the hallway. The toilet and shower (w/curtain) are standard size but very close together, so if you are not "standard" size, you may have some issues. After much dancing, we figured out there are really few things two people can do here at the same time. If you want to change your mind or anything else, you have to stand outside. The bed sits cross-wise in the room; small tables/lamps on each side and your basic pillow-top queen with very plush, comfy bedding. Beyond this on one wall is a smallish couch (foldout?) and coffee table, and a desk/dresser on the other wall with phone, mirror and lots of sockets. Beyond are thick curtains, both sheers and blackout drapes, over the sliding glass door that lead to the balcony. Enough room out there for a table and two chairs and two people to relax and stare into the horizon. If you like your "horizons" flat, a flatscreen TV is on the wall facing the sitting area and bed, and has the ship info-channels, as well as CNN, TNT, CSPAN and a few 24 hr movies. In another controversy, despite the advertising, the rumor mill says there may or may not eventually be microfrigs in all rooms. I understand you can request a portable unit however. Dining: The main restaurant for breakfasts and (most)lunches, and all dinners on Journey is Discoveries; we only had breakfast there once which was excellent, but their dinners were extraordinary. Rychard (?), the Maitre'd (from Poland), is beyond excellent. While having cocktails in the Martini Bar just outside, I watched him maintain an air of professionalism and calm patience in a couple of situations (read as unreasonable patrons with bad attitudes) that would have sent most folks screaming into the night. Outstanding. The open seating is a controversial point on this cruise, but we did enjoy being able to chat with various folks at adjacent tables without being locked into one time, one table. You may request a certain server or area if available. Now: being wave-motion challenged, I always asked for seating as far forward (the stern of the ship moves around quite a bit when at sea) so we ended up with Edwin (from the Philippines) three times which was a treat. (He even remembered my discomfort two nights later and asked how I was feeling!) We had reservations at "Prime C," (one of the specialty restaurants w/steak and seafood), and cancelled them because the experience was so beyond the par at Discoveries! Specialty Restaurant - We did keep our reservations at the other "Mediterranean" specialty restaurant "Aqualina" our first night in St George. The menu is listed elsewhere on Cruise Critic and is even better than it appears. Yes, as other folks have posted, Dominique the M'd there is a joy to meet as well. We were seated with a beautiful view of the harbor. Extraordinary experience doesn't cover it. As just as we were basking in all this, the Captain and first officer (?) walked up and introduced themselves; they asked how we were enjoying our trip - no, not pleasantries either - they wanted to hear all we had to say. Feeling very royal at the moment, thank you. As an aside, Captain Lekkas makes regular announcements to welcome you to each phase of the trip, detail weather and location, etc. all of which end with a thank you, and "Bye for now..." a little expression everyone grew to love. Getting the impression we are enjoying this?? Ship size: With the size of the ship, you might expect to see all the passengers all the time. Actually we were surprised - we frequently commented, "It's busy, but where is everybody?" It is nice to greet familiar faces on board and on the islands, but oddly, it seldom appears there are even 700 people on board! The Ride: As advertised, this is a small ship and it does move around a good deal - especially up top and in the stern - nothing horrible in relatively calm seas, or for most folks. But. If you are susceptible to motion sickness as I am, prepare in whatever fashion suits you. Various people all espoused the ear patch, wrist band, ginger pills, ferret fur, or whatever works for you. I wore a Transcope patch (Rx) this cruise and on Zenith last year. Works fine except for side effects - sometimes the cure is as bad as the illness. Hm. I might try meclizine next time. Just my two cents. Casino: After some comments here, we were expecting a micro-casino compared to Zenith. It's certainly no AC, and the layout is not as open as Zenith, but as I recall it's not that much smaller. There are four blackjack tables ($5,$10,$25 min), a large roulette table, a three card Poker table, as well as an electronic poker table and the ever-present rows of slots. I did enjoy the Zenith casino better: I won there...sigh. The Crew: Put simply, one of the joys of cruising is experiencing the diversity offered by an international crew; most cruisers have stories of wonderful conversations with the crew about their background and their countries. There is a down side: communication. For all the efforts by cruise lines and the crew members themselves, with a new crew, sometimes there is still a language barrier. Usually you are understood and the service is great; sometimes it's more difficult. If you are patient, it is worth the effort. As an aside, we saw few Americans on staff; one casual consensus has it you won't find an American staff to be as patient and professional as the Journey crew (sorry - just sharing what we heard!). Pool/Hot Tubs - As the ship's photos show, the pool area is smallish. Now perhaps I was there at all the right times, but I seldom saw the pool close to crowded and if you're patient, you can even have a hot tub to yourself. The new teak deck loungers are beautiful and comfy - wood w/ navy blue cushions and head rests. Hm - I wonder if they would have minded if I tried to fold one into my garment bag... Entertainment - We didn't see all the entertainment, but here's a sampling: the Cabaret shows, while perhaps not as large as other ships, were very polished. With blackjack back up the hall, sorry, I didn't see the whole show, but I thought several of the performers were top notch; I spent 25 years as an audio engineer - I found the production excellent. My wife did see the whole show, and said the singers were fabulous. The comedian/magician Bob Brizendine performed two nights, and was very, very funny. If he is on your trip, don't miss him. The standard Newlywed/Not so Newlywed Game is fun enough to watch; however, as the only "20 Yearers" in the room, my bride volunteered us to participate - ah, sweet embarrassment. And I thought there weren't many people watching ... until afterward, when several folks smiled when they saw us and made it clear they were there. Nuff said. The Party Band: Okay, for comparison sake, the band on the Zenith was able to segue easily from reggae with a Jamaican patois' to a Jimmy Buffet impersonation - yes, frightening, but still relaxing to listen to either by the pool or late at night. I suspect the Journey's casual music trio, AKA Mirage, was a last minute addition to this cruise. The band were good musicians no doubt, but as a cruise band? Not so inspiring. Shore Excursions: This year we purchased the three day bus/ferry pass for $28 per person, well worth it if you want to explore the island to any degree. Now. About the Island buses: the ride to your destination can be an event in itself: Bermuda roads are narrow - I mean narrow; the bus drivers are skilled - and fearless. Sit in front if you can - it is as close as you can get to an amusement park ride without rails. Weatherwise, we enjoyed two gorgeous "partly cloudy w/scattered showers" days (they don't seem to get the weather right here either). If you have the opportunity, take a good look at online reviews of the excursions before you get to the island - some are ho-hum, some are great. St George: Unfortunately, we had only one day in St George (my favorite town); it is much more quaint than Hamilton, and beyond the cute shops, there is more Bermuda history there, particularly if you dig under the "visitor" layer. This year, we did try the touristy route and went to the Caverns. At $16 per cave I thought tickets a little pricey, but the estate above the caves is gorgeous and well-maintained, and though brief, the cavern visit is quite something (stalagmites go up right?). A group of a gazillion nine-year olds were waiting to enter Crystal Cave, so the staff pointed us to Fantasy Cave instead. Just remember: for all the steps you walk down you have to climb back up... For those who are utterly exhausted after all this, the famous Swizzle Inn just happens to sit back at the intersection by the bus stop... Hamilton: We visited most of the shops and walked up to Fort Hamilton last year, so this time, we got out of Dodge and caught a bus to "The Flatts" (north center of the island); beyond the little town, the clear blue of the water where the ocean enters Harrington Bay is beyond words and just across the bridge is one of the pleasant surprises of the Island: the Bermuda Aquarium/Zoo. I was half-expecting bored fish, miserable animals, and jaded exhibits. Quite the opposite: the exhibits are well-interpreted for all ages; the fish are stunning, and the zoo appears very well cared-for: seals, birds, monkeys, snakes, the occasional bat, really quite something. Now the flamingo yard (swamp?) is a bit funky - but I understand that comes with the territory. Beautiful ocean overlooks to boot. We spent almost two hours on our visit there. Beaches: From St George, if you want amenities, Tobacco Bay is a good choice. This year we went to Alexandra Battery Beach on the northeast shore. A short taxi ride, or if you want some exercise, it is just over a mile to walk - a good part of it uphill, but a nice view of the town from the top. And worth it: a beautiful spot right next to the old fort with calm waters and lots of sea glass; sorry, no amenities, but the trade off? There were only four other people there. Shhh! Don't tell anyone... From Hamilton, you can go to Horseshoe Bay on the South Shore. It is larger and more crowded especially after mid-day, but if you're willing to walk a ways in either direction you can find your own spot with great waves and pink sand. BTW, last year we walked back up the hill to the bus stop; this year we took the $1 shuttle ride. We endorse the ride... Disembarkation: Two nights before your return, the ship asks for your return plans, i.e., pick-up, flight-info, parked at port; your eventual disembarkation times are set-up accordingly. No surprisingly, on your return, if you don't need a flight or a pick-up, you will leave the ship later. All that said, our official time to end the party was 9:15 am and we left the ship at 9:45 am. Not too bad all things considered! Summary: As stated at the beginning, despite the substantial problems reported with the early sailings, Azamara seems to have done a good job catching up with themselves. Many small problems still, largely in terms of how the line communicates with its customers, how this line is advertised, and as a result, cruisers' high expectations for the ship. In our view, take a cruise to Bermuda on this beautiful ship while you can; is worth that small leap of faith. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2007
Background This was our 13th cruise and our second one with Celebrity. We've always been on the larger ships. We've been on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and now Azamara. Embarkation It was wonderfully easy and quick ... Read More
Background This was our 13th cruise and our second one with Celebrity. We've always been on the larger ships. We've been on Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and now Azamara. Embarkation It was wonderfully easy and quick and very organized. We arrived at the port about 11:30 and were in our cabin by 12:15. Parking at the port was $112.00 per week and you paid that amount when you left your car before the cruise. Ship info We were not sure we would be happy on a small ship as we were used to cruising on the large ones. We were pleasantly pleased however at the beauty and elegance of it. It had a dEcor that was very much a reminder of the ships of yesteryear with all the beautiful woods and upholsteries. Upon embarking, we were served a glass of champagne (it was very good and not watered down as we've had on some cruises.) We were impressed with our veranda cabin at the bow. We had fantastic views at sea and also in Bermuda and it alleviated our concerns of being at the front of the ship. We would definitely book a bow cabin again on deck seven. We had a first hand view of entering and leaving the ports and watching the crew dock the boat. Service The service was splendid. The crew on the ship was definitely the most friendly and seemed to be the happiest that we have ever encountered. I believe they are the cream of the crop. They would always say hello and ask how our day was. When we walked past them and they were busy at a task, they would turn from their work to greet us. I wish all cruise lines had such a great crew. Dining What can I say about the food, other than it was fantastic !!!!! I'd been watching my weight for the last 3 years but gave up when I tasted it. There was so much variety that I tried everything and I mean everything. Now I have to work off the weight that I gained. It was worth it though !! Entertainment The shows are the cabaret type. They are not the big production ones that the large ships offer. They had a comedian, a comedian magician and singers and dancers on the small stage. If you enjoy the large shows that are offered on larger ships, then you might be disappointed. I found that these cabaret ones fit the character of the Journey and were very personalized. It was never difficult to find a seat which was refreshing. Shore excursions We had been to Bermuda before and so we decided not to book any excursions. You can purchase a bus/ferry pass which is great for getting around the island. The bus ride in itself is entertaining. The roads are VERY narrow and the bus drivers seem to think they're on a race course. It was rather thrilling. St. George and Hamilton each have an evening when they close their main street to traffic for a street festival with food and vendors. The stores stay open late that evening as well so there is plenty of time to shop. Disembarkation We were a little later getting off than the time that our color tags stated but it wasn't a problem. We found our luggage easily and got through customs quickly. We went to the parking lot which was an easy walk (a shuttle is available) and we were in our car and on the road back home. Summary This was one of the best cruises that we have been on. If anyone asks if we would sail Azamara again, our answer would be a definite YES !!! The other couple that we traveled with were already getting information on the ship's cruise to the British Isles next year. I hope that the Journey and Quest are successful. I believe that Celebrity has made a wise choice in creating this new line. If you try Azamara, I hope that you have as much an enjoyable and memorable time as we had. HAPPY SAILING ! 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
1st I would like to begin by stating that we had originally booked this Bermuda vacation on board Celebrity Zenith. My wife and I had traveled on Celebrity Zenith twice before and absolutely loved the ship. The two of us also loved her ... Read More
1st I would like to begin by stating that we had originally booked this Bermuda vacation on board Celebrity Zenith. My wife and I had traveled on Celebrity Zenith twice before and absolutely loved the ship. The two of us also loved her sister ship the Horizon which we sailed on once before. Celebrity sold the Zenith and purchased this vessel from another cruise line and renamed the ship Journey. We were automatically placed onboard this ship is SUPPOSEDLY the same accommodations.....Below, I will share with you my experiences. Arrival at Terminal : Absolutely splendid. I will tell you that Cape Liberty is an extremely organized and well oiled machine. I pulled into the terminal area, unloaded my luggage, and parked my car within 5 minutes. Everyone was extremely helpful and accommodating. We were then led to the check in area. I had reserved this cruise a year ago to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary so we booked a Royal Suite. Because we were in a suite we had a separate check in area and were checked in on the shipped in 2 minutes. I looked through the curtains at the other check in area and they had a line of about 10 people maximum at 12 noon.....I was expecting the circus which normally occurs in New York Terminal. At that point we were escorted to a shuttle bus which drove us to the Boat which was a one minute ride up the block. we proceeded up the gangway, presented our seapasses and had our photos taken for security and were on the boat by 12:15pm after pulling in the parking lot at 12 noon. This is where the Celebrity and Azamara begin to separate....We were then told that the rooms were not ready so if we could go have some lunch in the Windows Cafe we would make an announcement around 1pm we spent about 1 1/2 waiting for the rooms to be prepared. At which point, they made an announcement that you can proceed to your rooms.... Celebrity would never have done that. They always walk you to your room upon boarding the vessel. We arrived at our room and saw a beautiful suite overlooking the front of the boat. We had a great view of NY harbor as we were leaving port. We met Jose our "Butler" and he asked if we would like to have afternoon tea service, I told him that we did and we would like to have that along with finger sandwiches in our room at 3pm everyday. I also requested that we would like to organize our in room massages with Aquaspa and were told that there were none on this vessel. Day 1 : Began by us immediately going to guest relations to organize a baby sitter for the late evening hours. We were told that they would "TRY" but that Baby Sitters are limited on board that it was a first come first serve basis. I was instructed by a "lovely" lady Margaret at the front desk that there would be NO baby sitting organized on the first night. I asked my "Butler" to see if he could find us a baby sitter and he did.... We then ventured to meet the Kids Club staff.... Where's the Fun Factory we asked? There is none! In the back of the Looking Glass night club they have designated a small area for the Kid's Club to utilize.....This is an embarrassment. They also only have two counselors working at any point and time for ALL the kids. So you have potentially 20 kids being supervised by two Young Ladies. In some cases there was only one lady supervising all the children during dinner time. They have all the children together and they all do the same thing regardless of age. I have an 8 year old and a 3 year old who have different personalities......They were in the same age categories and did the same things. My kids were deprived the full experience they should have received. No talent show! No Kids Club T-shirts! We also learned that as of September they are doing away with the kids program entirely.....If you have kids, find another cruiseline. We then made reservations at the main dining room.... Supposedly open seating but you can arrange for the same dinner time if you inquire. We arranged to have some reservations at the more upscale restaurants on board and did so with ease. we ate in the main dining room on the first night.... I have to say, their food in the dining rooms are absolutely spectacular. After Dinner I ventured to their Casino..... What a joke of a Casino. 2 Black Jack tables, a Roulette Table, a 3 Card Poker Table and slot machines.... Lots of slots.... NO CRAPS TABLE!!!! I asked the pit boss why no Craps Table? How can you have a Casino with No Craps Table? I was told that they do not have the accommodations to hold the dealers for a Craps Table....They did have additional Black Jack and Three Card Poker tables with dealers waiting for players but most of the time they had no people at them. I told the Pit Boss, why not use the dealers standing at tables waiting for players to do a craps table.....Anyway, No Craps, but the dealers are wonderful and Azamara probably saved me money by not having a Craps Table.....However, if you like to gamble find another Cruiseline. Day 2: We had Dinner plans at Aqualina, this is there French / Italian restaurant....The Maitre D' Dominique is absolutely unbelievable....Great Guy. Food is outrageous. Wine selection is very nice..... We found out that there are NO MIDNIGHT BUFFETS on this cruise ship. After 12 Midnight no food to be found anywhere except room service. We ordered one night room service to there Cova Cafe and they delivered it there..... Funny stuff. We realized for the kids.... Ice Cream during certain times only..... No Self Serve Ice Cream machine..... Pathetic. Pizza is pretty good and so is the Hamburgers. Day 3: Television service goes out completely in all rooms. When I inquired with the "Butler" he said they were working on it. This is when I started to realize that I was receiving the services of a Stateroom attendant in a Tuxedo..... Not European style Butler Service. If you speak to the Hotel Manager she willadmit to you that Azamara does not offer European Style Butler Service. If you look in their brochures you see that it mentions all rooms have Butler Service.... I was short changed in this regard as well. I inquired with front Desk about the TV's and was told it was a ship wide problem and that they were working on it. Day 4: Ate Dinner at the Prime C Restaurant.....Have the Cowboy Rib eye Bone in..... Its an unbelievable piece of meat. Also, they cook their steaks one temperature higher than you request....If you want Medium rare you need to order Rare. however, food is excellent. Still no TV service, and a joke of a kids club so my kids were freaking out at this point. Thank god the island is absolutely gorgeous.... So we spent most of the time at the beaches. I also could not access my emails beginning this day. The computer Center was down. My office staff had no way of contacting me and almost lost a bid because I had no access to emails. When I asked Margaret at the front desk what was the problem she told me that it was TOO TECHNICAL of an explanation to share with me. I asked her to amuse me and share her info..... She refused and I then asked for her boss who had a similar type of attitude till I asked to speak with the Hotel Manager.... All of a sudden, everyone became very responsive. Amazing. the Hotel manager is Heike.... Make sure you introduce yourself to her as soon as you board. Day 5: Still no TV Service, Nor Computer Center. Day 6: TV Service Resumed and computer Center service but the computers are like you are using some kind of dial up service. I was greeted by 225 emails which took quite sometime to sift through. At this point, I requested to meet with Heike and share my concerns regarding the services they were offering my family. She told me that she would address them. All of a sudden, everyone was jumping through hoops for us... Front desk calling to make sure TV service was functioning correctly. We did get some heavy rains and the veranda doors were leaking into our suite causing the carpeting to get all wet. Day 7: No Grand Finale in the dining rooms.... No Baked Alaska displays..... Nothing special done. Here are some additional items I forgot.... They canceled Bingo on day 4 because not enough players showed up to cover the Pot of $500 so they canceled Bingo..... Azamara can't front a $500 bingo pool? No Cigar Bar.... Very Few Shops....No merchandise onboard with the ship Logo.....Can you believe that? Entertainment???? The best entertainer on board is a ventriloquist and the Harp player..... That should give you an idea of the entertainment on board. No Priority Disembarking for Royal Suite Guests.... We were one of the last groups off the boat. Received our Luggage Last coming on board the vessel. They organize everything from the inside out to the suites. So when you see priority luggage handling and disembarking on the brochure.....Its all fluff. Cape Liberty Terminal is a great experience. Once they let us leave the boat.... we were on the road in 15 mins. If it was not for the Dining Rooms and there staff I would suggest everyone to stay clear of this Vessel. However, do not waste your money on a Royal Suite on this vessel.....They do not service you adequately.....Just get a Ocean view room, you get the same services from your Stateroom attendant in a Tuxedo. Azamara is supposed to be a sister company of Celebrity..... Not in my book.... They better get there act together or this will be a short lived experiment for Azamara. Now I know why Celebrity launched it as a separate brand. Good Luck AZAMARA. You'll never see my family again. 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
Azamara Journey Review June 9-16, 2007 The port of Bayonne, New Jersey is about ½ hour from the Newark Airport (a $45 cab ride). Upon arriving at the port, there is a sense of desolation, as this particular dock has fallen into disuse. ... Read More
Azamara Journey Review June 9-16, 2007 The port of Bayonne, New Jersey is about ½ hour from the Newark Airport (a $45 cab ride). Upon arriving at the port, there is a sense of desolation, as this particular dock has fallen into disuse. Apparently, Celebrity/Azamara is using the port for the summer in the inaugural season to go to Bermuda. Embarkation was easy and organized although two of our bags were lost in the hold for several hours. We boarded the ship around 1:00 p.m., ahead of the scheduled 4 p.m. sailing. We went straight up to the two 'fine dining' restaurants, the Prime C and the Aqualina, to make reservations for dinners. We were given one complimentary seating by the ship and paid an additional $25 per person for the other reservations. More on this later, but the restaurants are on a par with New York dining and service. From this point, we ventured into the very nicely appointed exercise facility where we booked into spinning classes that were offered 3 times per week at 8 a.m. NOTE: reset your clocks on the first night out, as we missed the first session because we had not advanced our room clock. The cabin: we originally booked a Sky Suite but received a call two days before sailing that the suites were overbooked. We were offered a 'sweet' deal to downsize to a veranda cabin. $1500 credit and $300 on board credit later, we were in a veranda cabin one deck below the suites. The A-1 category cabins were just fine and very similar to other Celebrity veranda cabins: ample space for luggage, king bed, a desk with a chair, lighted vanity, drawers on one side, cabinet on the other, flat screen TV with CNN, ESPN, 4 movie channels, veranda (the same size as the Sky Suites) with a table and two chairs, a small sofa and table, triple closet and drawers, room safe and corner cabinet which would presumably someday contain the mini bar which was absent in our cabin. The in-room amenities: toiletries were all ample quantity and quality: Elemis brand. Towels were refreshed twice daily, plenty of supplies. One bottle of Evian was provided at the outset, but there was a charge for additional water, which staff told us was 'very expensive'. Including a bottle of water each day would have been a nice touch, adding to the elite status being sought by the ship. In port, 2 liters of water cost around $2.50. Bedding was very nice, new, comfortable, and refreshed every day. The butler service: The cruise line advertises one butler shared between two cabins unless you are in a suite where you have your own butler. Our butler was excellent, but he was training room stewards so he was responsible for much more than just our cabin. He delivered fresh fruit twice to our cabin, fresh flowers once, 2 canapés on two different nights, and he oversaw the placement of towels, turndown, newsletters, etc. in our cabin. The idea of a butler is very appealing, but for all other purposes, it was difficult to see a difference between butler service and the service of a room steward or cabin attendant. The cruise staff: This is where the cruise line shines. They have gathered the brightest, most congenial group of cruise members that we have ever seen. Each person, from the cocktail server, casino workers, room stewards, line waiters, sommeliers, maitre’d, activities personnel, harpist, piano player…whomever we spoke with…they LOVED their jobs and it showed. What a great crew! Entertainment: A gracious and talented harpist played daily on the mezzanine level. Also, a pianist who covered everything from jazz to the ‘one hit wonders’ shared the same space or traveled to Michael’s Club on the 10th floor. He was a terrific talent. The ship had a small orchestra and a pool band, neither of which played often enough during the daytime. The Cabaret, where the main entertainment occurred, hosted a very funny comedian/magician who made $20 bills move from envelopes into grapefruits, and cards float through space, as he included the audience in participation and told clever jokes. Another night a low-key humorist enlivened the audience with home grown humor. Two nights held no show time entertainment. Two nights gave us the typical cruise ship shows with ‘That’s Hollywood” and “Swing” type songs and dance done by attractive 20-somethings. The final night was a conglomeration of all of the above, without the comedian/magician from the first night. Overall, the entertainment was good, but not great. Three nights offered two seatings but the remaining two nights offered only one seating. On board entertainment: This is probably the weakest area of the cruise. The old stand-bys of pool games such as pass the hula hoop or pass the orange under the chin, King of the Cruise, Bingo, and Trivia are just overdone. A truly upscale cruise should be able to come up with something a little more innovative and “status” appropriate. Excursions: BEST of the lot! Everything from carriage rides, motorized bikes, snorkeling, ‘snuba’-diving, walks, and taxi tours was included. Look over the offerings and make your plans accordingly as it seems that EVERYONE leaves the ship when in port. The beaches in Bermuda are excellent and it is easy to grab a cab in port and go to the beach. Dining: The Prime C is billed as a steak restaurant and it does have excellent cuts of steak as well as great fish, veal, and pasta. Most folks seemed to think the Aqualina was a seafood restaurant but it has a strong French/Mediterranean influence. Service in both restaurants was impeccable! The menu changes so you can dine more than once, as we did, and get a good variety. Save room for the food, though…servings are ample and upscale, so you will truly want to ‘dine’ while in these venues. Desserts are to die for…and change frequently. The soufflés are well worth the experience. The ship: This particular ship was commissioned in 2000 or 2001 as the former Renaissance Cruise line. The furnishings are completely new in the suites and most of the veranda rooms have new carpet, bedding, etc. Yet there is evidence of the age of the ship in many areas where rust can be seen at the joints of balconies, poles, and stairs as well as bubbles on the finish of the teak railings. The pool looks like an antique compared to the newer ships. The tile is aging and the grout is discolored. The surface is actually quite slippery as there were two ‘slip and falls’ that required surgical care during the week. Crossing the Gulf Stream, this ship had a lot of movement. Several voyagers were ill on the going over and the return due to movement. The waves did not reach over 9 feet, but it could be felt everywhere. Four crew members told us that this was the calmest crossing to date. Our air conditioning went out twice while we were in port for a total of about 15 hours. It was restored both times, but there was no comment made by the guest services. We had to initiate all of the questions and did not receive any explanations or apologies. The Azamara Journey is seeking to establish itself as a ‘cut above’ the rest of the line as an adult venue with class and taste that pampers its guests. The daily papers note that jeans or shorts are not permitted in the dining rooms, yet every day we saw evidence of many diners in jeans and shorts. When we asked the staff about this, no one seemed to be aware that we were being told that there was a dress code for dining. Customer service had called each person before boarding and informed us that there would not be a formal night, yet on the third or fourth night, we were encouraged to wear our ‘gowns and tuxedoes’ and “make it a night at the Ritz”. Azamara Journey has not yet found its niche, but it is making a lot of strides in the right direction by hiring brilliant staff. We look forward to seeing the improvements to be made to make this into a true ‘first class’ journey. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2007
AZAMARA JOURNEY - MY THOUGHTS Azamara Cruises, a branch of the Celebrity family goes `freestyle` cruising. We had originally booked to travel on the Zenith from New York to Bermuda and return, but recently Celebrity Cruises sold the ... Read More
AZAMARA JOURNEY - MY THOUGHTS Azamara Cruises, a branch of the Celebrity family goes `freestyle` cruising. We had originally booked to travel on the Zenith from New York to Bermuda and return, but recently Celebrity Cruises sold the Zenith and acquired Azamara Journey, which now sails on this cruise. We had previously travelled on this cruise on board the Zenith and thoroughly enjoyed the service, entertainment and ambience of the Celebrity Brand, thus the reason for the repeat cruise. When we were advised that the Azamara Journey would be of a higher standard of service etc than the Celebrity, so we were really looking forward to this trip, but we were disappointed On board the Journey - "Attire - Azamara Journey's ambience is always elegant casual; there aren't any formal nights. However, please note that jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, swimsuits, robes and bare feet are not permitted in restaurants and indoor bars at any time" All meals are taken open seating in the Discoveries Dining Room - dinner is served between 6.00pm and 9.30pm. The ship sails from Bayonne, New Jersey. The port of Bayonne is in a very isolated area - great if you plan to drive to the ship and park your car on the pier during the cruise, but difficult and somewhat expensive to get to, if travelling independently. On arrival at the pier, and even before we were able to get out of the taxi (USA$35.00 from Newark Penn Street Station), we were approached by a porter who was aggressive and somewhat intimidatory in respect of tips. He reminded us that he was responsible to ensure that our bags were placed on he ship. Having suitably rewarded him for his services, our suitcases were placed in a crate for delivery on board. Check-in was efficient, professional and courteous. We were handed a letter at check-in advising us that Azamara Journey was a non-smoking ship - " Azamara Journey has two designated smoking areas. They are located in the aft section of the Looking Glass Lounge, port side, and on the starboard section of the pool deck. Smoking areas have signs (no they don't) indicating that smoking is permitted there Cigar and pipe smoking are restricted to Pool Deck 9 forward starboard section. All other areas of the ship are non-smoking. This includes Public Rooms, Restaurants, Pool Deck, Staterooms and Suits, Verandas and Halls. Unfortunately this was the first we were advised of this policy. We understand that some guests were advised of this policy prior to embarkation but most were not. As a smoker this caused concern. The `corners` allocated were seldom cleaned, ashtrays were overflowing and rarely emptied and there was not enough room for the number of smokers onboard. The ship and furnishings are however beautiful with exquisite flower arrangements throughout. However on some of the stairways and bedroom corridors, where there is thinner carpeting, there is a `tinny` feel to the floor. Being a smaller vessel, the `motion of the ocean` even in the slightest swell is noticeable. We were occupying an `inside cabin` or stateroom on Deck 8. All Staterooms have their own Butler. Another name for your stateroom steward only dressed with tails. Unfortunately he did not provide or offer Butler Services as defined on other Premier Cruise Lines. The cabins too are well presented and comfortable, although there is limited storage facility, though enough for a 7 -day cruise. Unlike Celebrity Cruises, there is writing paper, pens or postcards of the ship in the cabin information folder, and no Totes bags are provided. There is supposed to be a pillow menu, which we were never offered. The cabin directory indicated that there was an in-cabin bar - this was not the case, nor was there a refrigerator. There was a television, though not an `Interactive Service` as on other Celebrity Ships. Bath robes and slippers are provided, together with heavenly toiletries. The telephone messaging system was non-functional throughout the cruise, even though we reported it twice as not working. Occasionally we were able to hear the conversations of the guests occupying the next cabin. The Main Dining Room - the Discoveries Dining Room was excellent in all regards - food, variety and service. A feeling of warmth and friendliness abounded. The buffet - Windows Cafe is very small in size and thus selection was limited. The food was of reasonable standard and quality. There are no trays and no waiters to assist guests with their food to their tables. There are two speciality restaurants, Aqualina and Prime C Restaurants (supplementary charges apply) - though guests are offered one complimentary dinner per guest per voyage (beverage charges apply). The dining experience in each of these restaurants is truly outstanding. There are no `elegant afternoon teas` served on board, nor are there any tableside flambres in the Discoveries Dining Room (Crepes and Cherry Jubilees are pre-pared behind the scene). There is a luxurious spa on board, offering a full range of exotic and relaxing treatments. There is one small - very small swimming pool on board and two whirlpools. Other usual services were available - shopping, photography, shore-excursions and Internet access. Entertainment was good but not all that good. There were no professional Las Vegas style floor shows featuring singers and dancers - apparently there is not enough room on the stage - a major disappointment for us, as we always enjoyed this type of entertainment provided by Celebrity. Evening entertainment consisted of singers and comedians. The Celebrity Cabaret Lounge, the main venue for evening entertainment has poor visibility of the stage from some of the seating. There were no enchantment lectures. All bands and music provided throughout the ships was excellent - there was something for everyone. All the crew on board were pleasant, helpful and wanting to oblige and assist in anyway possible. For us, Celebrity Journey was a disappointment. We missed the little Celebrity touches, the lavish style entertainment and of course the non-smoking policy - but that is just us? Maybe, as this was only the 2nd or 3rd voyage for the Journey that time is needed for things to settle down. There is no doubt a market for this type and style of cruising in specialist areas. I do believe that a mainline Celebrity ship would be more suited on this route. Time will no doubt tell. 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
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: May 2007
We booked our cruise onboard Mercury last summer then transferred the booking to the online TA that we have used for many cruises. This review was written as a day by day report to give an ongoing perspective to our experiences. Saturday ... Read More
We booked our cruise onboard Mercury last summer then transferred the booking to the online TA that we have used for many cruises. This review was written as a day by day report to give an ongoing perspective to our experiences. Saturday We arranged for a car service to pick us up at 10:30 from the Residence Inn Times Square which we found an excellent place to stay. We used Marriott points and saved a bunch since breakfast and light suppers were included. About 10 minutes after we left the hotel we stopped to pick up Kelly and Lauren from our Roll Call and headed through the Holland Tunnel to Cape Liberty cruise terminal. Traffic was light for a holiday weekend and the trip took less than ½ hour. On arrival at the terminal, we handed over our luggage and checked in easily with our preprinted Express Pass - very easy and fast check-in with friendly personnel. About 5 minutes later we boarded a bus for the short ride to the ship. We were among the first to board (no problem with two bottles of wine we carried on) With champagne in hand, we headed to the buffet for lunch. We had pizza and salad at a table on Deck 9 aft (outside) with Kelly and Lauren. I left to check on our dinner reservations at Aqualina (which I had made via Celebrity's customer service manager from home). This was my first meeting with Dominic who informed me that the reservation was indeed made for the day and time requested, added a reservation for Prime C and informed me that we were not in cabin 7039 as we thought but had been moved to 8049. I was surprised and wondered the cabin had been changed. During lunch, the announcement was made that the cabins were ready (12:45 pm) so we went to explore our new cabin. What a nice surprise. The upgrade fairy is alive and well and lives on Journey! We had been upgraded from a balcony cabin to a lovely Sky Suite (not as large as we've seen on other ships, but lovely nevertheless). The dEcor was elegant and we enjoyed the gold and burnt orange colors. Nice balcony with a rectangular table and 2 chairs on which we enjoyed room service breakfast several times as well as afternoon wine.The bathroom was large with a tub and shower (design looked lovely but caused water on the floor every day - the narrow glass partition probably should have been wider) Elemis toiletries were in containers large enough to last all week with some to take home. Towels were of very good quality and attractive. The Cabin had plenty of drawer and closet space (two tier hanging rods made hanging longer things difficult) and empty suitcases fit easily under bed. Our butler, Nelson, came in to introduce himself (dressed in tux with tails) and tell us a bit about the ship's services. We told him we needed some things laundered/cleaned due to our week in NYC prior to cruise. He opened our first bottle of wine for us and poured us a glass -...we knew that our cruise had begun and it was sublime. We unpacked and did a quick tour of the ship where we found things in good shape, went to muster drill, and then to deck 11 to take pictures as we sailed past the Statue of Liberty and out of NY harbor. A wonderful start to our long awaited cruise. We went to the Martini Tasting in the Looking Glass Lounge - excellent with larger portions than on previous ships. In fact, we split one tasting and I had to ask to have my final of 3 drinks held until the next night - no problem! We enjoyed having fun there with the bride and her wedding party from the wedding that had occurred on the ship prior to sailing from Bayonne). Dinner in Discoveries - there was ½ hour wait at 8 pm. We asked to share a table and had dinner with a lovely couple from the UK (both of the wives were nurses so we had lots to talk about). Our table was in a very noisy location in the center of restaurant - a location that we didn't repeat. Food was good and the service adequate. We ordered a continental breakfast for 8-8:30 AM. and went to bed early. We slept very well on a comfy mattress with lots of pillows. Restaurant descriptions .....All restaurants are quite attractive. Aqualina is, as you might imagine light with sea colors and Prime C has lots of dark wood. Seating is good - lots of windows and not crowded. Discoveries - the main restaurant/dining room - is attractive with tables quite close together. Suggest you ask for a table of size you wish in the back section (right side is a bit quieter) and chose an early or late time. Most crowded during the 7:15-8:15 hour with waits of 30-45 minutes which makes the Martini Bar crowded and noisy. We found having Martinis in the 10th deck Looking Glass Lounge each evening was quiet with lovely views and a wonderful bartender (Marco from north of Dubrovnik) with beautiful eyes - yes, I did like looking at him ? We really enjoyed the Cova Cafe which got crowded pre-dinner and during evening entertainment. We always found seats but some days it was harder than others. Surprise! Justin Roland, our Captain's Club Host on Mercury last summer was the combination CC Host/Future Sales Mgr. He called and we stopped to see him before dinner - friendly, helpful as always AND he invited us to the Captain's Table for dinner. Thanks, Justin...more about that later. Sunday Our room service breakfast (OJ, French Toast, fruit and hot water to make our own 'good' coffee using portable French Press) arrived after phone call at 8:20 AM as requested. Ordering at least coffee and juice is a wonderful way to get a wake-up call and have coffee first thing in the AM - a must for us. We slept well after figuring out how to reset AC since it was very cold in the room. Awoke at 7 so relaxed, read and enjoyed the balcony until food arrived then had it placed on the table on the balcony. Food was not 'set-up' and attendant refused a tip! Weather was warm and breezy with some clouds. After breakfast, Art headed to the Looking Glass Lounge to read and I checked with Justin to see if Connections party invites had been sent - he didn't know but said he would check. Met Art and saw the few children onboard with a counselor playing trivia, cards and games and generally having a good time. We went to return a book to the library and discovered the Connections party in progress - we had not received an invite (due to cabin change apparently) but got in on enough to hear comments from CD John Howell and ask a few questions. John asked for feedback, answered questions and, in general, seemed sincere. I volunteered to collect comments and send to him. Had lunch from sandwich bar in Buffet area (called Windows) with some cold salad selections and again sat outside on deck 9 aft. Then went to ask Justin about Captain's Club activities. Again found that the list never made its way to our new cabin and we had missed the Senior Officers' Party for Select and Elite members. I was bummed and not happy with the nonchalant response I got...but got over it and obtained a list of other activities. Went to Art Auction (Champagne and enjoyed the bidding - one of our Roll Call members did quite well). Then on to Battle of the Sexes Trivia - which is one of the few games we really enjoy - ladies lost but anything can happen in the battle of the sexes - 2 more times to go! Had little sandwiches and listened to the Harpist at Cova Cafe - she plays beautifully and has a very nice voice. Not crowded and pleasant place to relax. Sat on our balcony until time to shower and dress for our evening with the Captain! I was glad I had brought one dressier outfit (not formal but a bit more than country club casual) which was perfect for the evening. We met Justin and the 3 other invited couples at 7:30 in the Martini Lounge. Introduced ourselves and chatted over drinks until the Captain joined us then were led through Discoveries by Justin who had let us know the appropriate protocol. We had our picture taken at the table with the Captain. Dinner was very nice - a congenial group, active conversation and an engaging Captain! Much fun. After dinner we went to the Cabaret for Showtime with Antonio Salci - an amazing pianist and entertainer - and the wonderful Journey orchestra. A truly terrific show. Stopped by the Casino for the raffle of $500 and other gifts (we didn't win but it was fun to see the winners' reactions). We went to bed early to get up to watch the ship go through St. George's cut - a must do activity. Ordered coffee for 6:30 AM so that we could be dressed and on deck for the 7:45 event! Monday Awakened at 6:30 AM by call saying our coffee and OJ were on the way... dressed and on deck by 7:15 to see the approach to St. George's - got some good pictures of the pilot boat transferring the pilot to Journey on a cloudy morning. Going thru the cut was exciting but those who had done it before were disappointed that the town crier in uniform and canon shot were non-existent. After breakfast we walked from ship to King's Square where we began our self-directed walk through St. George (from Frommer's Bermuda 2007 book). Made a few wrong turns due to poor signage but managed to find all of the buildings on the list. We especially enjoyed the Unfinished Church at the top of a hill...great pictures and interesting plaques explaining why the church was not completed. After 2 hours returned to the ship for rest and lunch - sun had come out and it was quite warm so our spot on the aft deck was a welcome site. We had excellent shrimp scampi salad and a sandwich. Note: Art had been searched thoroughly at Bermuda security where a photo ID as well as ship's pass was required. This often happens to him...hmmm; wonder if he's on some kind of list ? After lunch we went back into town to mail some post cards we had bought that morning - post office is a few minutes walk towards the square - large white building on left side (postcard stamps are 70 cents apiece!). Then we hopped on a #11 bus towards Hamilton - up the steps next to Cafe Latte - and used it as a tour bus to see some of the residential sections of the island. Enjoyed the views and the narrow, curving roads. It was fun to see how many locals greeted each other and asked about family members as they got on and off the bus, passed golf courses, hotels, large beautiful homes, etc. We got off at the ferry landing in Hamilton and took the ferry marked Dockyards/St. Georges. Sat on top deck (both covered and uncovered seats available and I had it to myself with one other passenger - Art stayed below). It was a fantastic ride - beautiful scenery, breeze blowing, great picture taking spot. When we stopped at the Dockyards, I ran downstairs to bring Art to the top deck and we enjoyed the longer ride back to St. George's Island. Bought a couple of requisite Tee Shirts on the way back to the ship - no long security stop this time. Art napped while I showered to get ready for dinner at Aqualina. Still no canapEs delivered to the room. Enjoyed the Harpist in Cova Cafe again and our nightly martini in Looking Glass with Marco (who has figured out that Art wants the same Bombay Sapphire each night and I like to try whatever new one he suggests). So far I've enjoyed his Cosmo, Paradise, and Green Apple martinis with more to come. Aqualina - very good food and service and we loved that it was complimentary (one night for all; 2 nights for suites). I wasn't thrilled with the Paella that I ordered since it was not rice-based but rather small kernels of corn (not bad, but not what I expected). And the crème brulee was beautifully presented (as was all of the food) but not the best. Art enjoyed all of his meal! There is a tasting menu that includes wine with each course that adds $50 to bill. We passed and ordered wine by the glass which was an excellent Sangiovese. Only problem with advanced reservations is that you choose the day and time before knowing the activities onboard that might conflict with your chosen time. After dinner we went to the Cabaret for the Hollywood Stars (singing). They were quite good but too much sea air, food and wine sent us to bed before the show was over ? We made great plans to visit several beaches starting early the next morning. Tuesday Awoke early and thought I heard 'rain'...convinced myself that it was a dream and went back to sleep. Work for good at 8:15 AM and the dream was still playing. It was a dreary, rainy, windy day with, at times, torrential rain. We have a rule to never let the weather hold us back and to not 'sweat' the things we can't control. So....off to breakfast and the Captain's announcement that there would be rain/clouds/showers all day! After breakfast in the dining room, we put on the raingear that we had tossed into our duffels at the last minute and grabbed the umbrella that we had taken from our car and the one in our cabin closet and off we went! We walked down Front Street trying to stay on the covered sidewalks as much as possible, wandering in and out of shops and, amazingly, buying nothing! Wandering on some side streets, we asked a local if there was an Internet Cafe nearby - thankfully, there is one just a block or two from the ship (if you're interested in finding it, cross the street in front of the ship, turn left and make a right on a street whose name begins with a B (sorry but I didn't write it down ? ). It's on the left hand side of the street up a hill. Nice place with helpful employees and complimentary coffee, tea and hot chocolate which we relished in our cold and soggy state. We bought a ½ hour Internet card for $4. Fast connections with an easy to access timer. We left the card with the minutes we didn't use in our cabin hoping one of the crew uses it. We sent a group message to friends and family and posted an early report on CC then went back to the ship soaking wet to mid-thigh! It took 2 days for our jeans to dry! We changed and went to Windows for lunch. We ate with 2 nice couples (one from NJ and one from Pearl River, NY). So far, the tally we've been keeping re: Journey is clearly in favor of larger ships - most people we've talked with had been on Zenith several times and would not have chosen a ship the size of Journey if given a choice. We, on the other hand, although booked on Zenith, love the size of Journey and took the opportunity today to book a Best of Italy cruise on Quest for fall 2008! For us, trips like those in the Med. are so port intensive that having no formal nights and open dining times works much better. And the itinerary is excellent - all Italian with one stop in Split, Croatia and starting and ending in the Rome port. We hope to plan a pre-cruise trip to Tuscany so we were happy campers. After lunch we went to Michael's to enjoy the comfy atmosphere while I wrote in my journal and DH read his book with a nap thrown in! Today we received a survey form from the Hotel Director, David Kelly and we noted the still broken messaging system, public bathroom near main dining room that needed attention, lack of canapEs and almost invisible butler. We made the point that if Azamara wishes to compete with Oceania, these details needed to be addressed quickly. Went for our nightly delicious Martinis by Marco in Looking Glass followed by dinner in Discoveries was good (food and service) but quite noisy. We asked for a table towards the back but we needed to be further back to avoid the noise in the front of the restaurant. Certainly didn't keep us from eating and enjoying dinner. We did not go to hear the piano player, Dan Hodge, as we had heard him lots of times in Cova Cafe. The NewlyWed-Not-So-NewlyWed Game was funny as always with the usual risquE comments by those married the longest. But a fun way to spend a ½ hour. Just relaxed the rest of the evening, chatting with new friends and wishing the Casino was open. The required closing while in port, when you're in port for the bulk of the cruise, left a lot of people with time on their hands in the evening. Wednesday I realized this morning that Alexandra Battery Beach Park was near St. George and not near Hamilton as I had written down. So, after breakfast, we headed to the Ferry Dock to take the ferry back to St. George. We asked for directions from a shop owner in King's Square and she told us she had never heard of the beach. I had gotten the information from a Cruise Critic who had collected beach glass there with his wife (see www.lavasurfer.com/info/bermuda.html for long, interesting and helpful information.) We spent a few minutes looking over two maps and were able to show the local lady where the beach was (she called it Battery Park and told us how to get there). Off we went on a mile long, hilly walk through a lovely residential area to find Cut Road. I was excited to stand near the cut since I had taken pictures of that very spot as we sailed through the cut. I climbed up into the Fort, took a bunch of pictures and we continued on our way down the road. We came upon a rather large fort-like Battery building with a small beach park a bit further down the road. Two women who I had told about the beach the night before had arrived before us (by bus) and told us that since low tide wasn't until the afternoon, there wasn't a whole lot of glass on the beach. There was also a bunch of large jelly fish washed up on the beach so we trod carefully. We collected enough off of the seawall to make me happy and walked to the nearest bus stop to take #11 back to Hamilton. On the way back, I surprised Art with a stop at the Swizzle Inn - highly recommended by lots of guidebooks and posters on Bermuda threads. We had the Rum Swizzles that everyone recommended with a Triple Dip snack plate. We were not impressed. The Swizzles were good but small and the snack just OK....it was quite noisy. We sat on the upper deck and lots of traffic including buses passed frequently. But we have pictures of us drinking there and the bus stop was directly across the street. I wanted to stop at Crystal Caves but we had spent a lot of time getting the glass and I was ready to go back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we took a ferry to the Dockyards. Really enough to do there for several hours, but we just walked around the Crafts Center and watched a few craftswomen showing their crafts. We didn't find anything of interest so we walked over to the Snorkel beach which looked shallow and safe for children. It was cool and windy - we waded into the water, brrrr! It was too late to go into the museum since the last entry was at 4 PM and we thought the $8 admission fee too high for the short time that we would have. So we took the # 7 bus back to Hamilton. It drove along South Road past all of the beaches and some nice hotels and beautiful views crossed the shortest draw bridge and we saw more residential areas. We decided to try to make our last day (we were sailing at 3 PM) a beach day! The bus stopped a short distance from the entrance to the security area to return to the ship. I must include that the Bermudian security people here were the nicest, funniest and most pleasant people I've ever seen in that kind of position. By the time we had left and returned to the ship several times, they were almost our friends - bantering with us and telling funny stories. We went back to the Looking Glass (of course) but I wasn't feeling well (the snack at Swizzle Inn??) so this time I had a Ginger Ale. About an hour later, we headed for our reservation at Prime C. It is a lovely place with very good food (my favorite, though, was Aqualina). Dominic was making his rounds again, stopped to talk to us and was his usual charming self. After dinner, we stopped at the Cova Cafe to listen to the music. Captain Bouzakis walked by and stopped to talk with us. He told us that he would be bringing the Quest online in September. We told him we hoped he was still there when we sailed the following September. I'd guess he will be used to do start ups of other new ships (just my intuition - nothing he said. We then meandered to the Cabaret to see the Comedian/Magician who we really enjoyed. We had seen him (or someone with a similar act) on a previous cruise. He had some very funny interactions with members of the audience. The White Night festivities were later that night but we chose not to participate - masquerade type parties are not our thing. There was a street festival on Front Street and we listened to marching bands and laughter for awhile and then went to bed in hopes of an early start the next day. We had heard that if we got to Horseshoe Bay by 9 AM, the beach would be relatively empty for several hours..... Thursday Last day in Bermuda, so we followed our plan and got up at 6:30, had breakfast at the buffet and hopped a #11 bus to the bus station changing to the #7 bus to Horseshoe Bay. On the way we realized that we had just used expired bus passes. We hadn't used the pass in yesterday's rainy weather and hadn't realized that the 3 days were consecutive. At least we weren't found out and didn't have to spend time in a Bermuda jail?. Only a 10-15 min ride took us to the path down to the beach. There were very few people there as we'd been told. We rented beach chairs ($10 per chair with a $5 returnable deposit) and set them up in the beautiful cove on the right side of the beach that reminded us of Virgin Gordo. I then walked the length of the horseshoe shaped beach - white sand with some red flecks giving the sand a slightly pink tinge. The day was perfect, sunny with puffy white clouds, warm air temperatures but cold water temperature. We spent several hours enjoying the beach, watching the kids play in the shallow water, chatting with others arriving from the Journey and relaxing in the sun on our final day in Bermuda. We waded in the water in the cove - not as cold as in the open ocean - so that we could say that we had been in the water at least once. We packed up to head back to the ship. We had planned to climb back up the hill to get the bus but met a couple going back to Journey and shared a taxi back ($17). We said our final good-byes to our port security friends, dropped our things in the cabin and went to lunch and then started packing. Packing is a chore that I don't like especially when it signals the end of a wonderful vacation. But getting most of it done left me with time to enjoy the last afternoon on board, be on deck for sail away with Kelly and Lauren, and to take final pictures of Hamilton from the top deck. I got back to the cabin in time to watch the pilot boat retrieve the pilot from Journey and to enjoy a glass of wine on our balcony. We went to the Captain's Club party at 6:30 in the Cabaret. We asked for Martinis when the waitress came around to offer wine/champagne/Mai Tais. She was happy to oblige and so we enjoyed our last Martinis of the trip. A couple we met at the Captain's table got the award for the most Celebrity cruises (21) - we were frequently reminded that X and Azamara were part of the same brand. I wonder if this will change as cruisers rack up numbers of Azamara cruises. We had dinner in Discoveries served by our favorite waiter in a quiet area in the back of the dining room. Lobster tails were on the menu tonight - mine was good; Art's was excellent. I found that my appetite was decreasing from too much overindulgence on previous days. We had planned to go to the evening show, but, once again, we were tired from the beach outing and crashed early. Wondered if we're getting old or just relaxed - decided it must be relaxation?. Friday and Saturday Whew...the bitter sweet end of every vacation is upon us...looking forward to picking up our little schnauzer and seeing the family, but sad to leave our relaxing and beautiful Sky Suite and ending our vacation. We decided to be 'served' all day today and asked for and got our favorite waiter and good table locations each time. We had ordered OJ and coffee early so we really had 2 breakfast...but even oatmeal tastes good when it's served with a smile. After breakfast we went to the pool deck, DH in the shade and me in the sun. We read and relaxed until 11 AM when we went to the Martini Bar for the complementary Chardonnay blending seminar for Captain's Club members. The tables were nicely set up with multiple glasses, napkins, etc. Justin, 3 Sommeliers and a Maitre D' and the two of us. After about 10 minutes, when no one else had joined us, Justin gave us the choice of a 'one on one' seminar or a bottle of wine with dinner. We chose the wine and thanked the group. As we were leaving, Justin pointed out that one of the Sommeliers was from Australia. He knew that we are sailing on Mercury in Feb from Sydney and looking forward to a winery tour while there. We asked the Aussie if he could recommend a wine tour and chatted with him for a few minutes. After a light lunch, we went to the Chef's Culinary class which was terrific. The Exec Chef and Dominic had an entertaining repartee going between them; they were very funny. Audience members asked questions and the Chef introduced members of his staff such as the Pastry Chef and Senior Asst Chefs. He demonstrated how to sear and prepare a Filet Mignon, Polenta, veggies and sauce. Then everyone got to sample the food. We really enjoyed this and stayed afterwards to tell them so. Then the final Battle of the Sexes; a large crowd showed us this time with raucous participation from the younger members who had just completed a funfilled karaoke session. Misty was in charge again and kept the momentum going...ended with a tie and a Bonus round with the question being answered correctly by a retired school teacher - a WOMAN! Guess we showed them - by gender and age!! It was a lot of fun and I have a certificate to prove that I get the last word for a year! I spent most of the rest of the afternoon finishing up our packing and leaving out our travel clothes for the AM. We then finished the last of the two bottles of wine we had brought onboard with us and dressed for our last pre-dinner drinks in the Looking Glass. We were supposed to meet fellow cruisers there and have dinner with them, but, unfortunately we didn't have their last names or cabin number, so when they didn't show, we couldn't reach them to see if we had the wrong time. So...we laughed it off, finished our martinis, said good-bye to Mario and Maria (the other bartender/waitress in the Looking Glass) and went to dinner. We stopped for music at Cova and then found that we had a long wait for dinner...which wasn't bad since I wasn't at all hungry. We bumped into the honeymoon couple with whom we had breakfast one morning and offered them one of our 2 bottles of champagne (one in the room when we arrived and the other sent by the CD) since they were driving and we couldn't carry bottles onboard and had no room in our luggage. It was fun to give them a bottle with a Celebrity Label as a momento of their honeymoon cruise. Didn't eat much for dinner...after ordering the Grilled Salmon that is on the menu every night. It was cooked exactly as I liked it, too. After dinner, we wandered around the ship visiting some of our favorite spots and then went back to the cabin and put our luggage tags on and the bags in the hall. Saturday AM Somehow I awoke spontaneously at 5:30 AM -I went out on the balcony just as we passed under the Veranzano Bridge. The sky was pale pink and there was a light mist over the city...breathtaking! I grabbed my camera and woke Art to see the amazing scene. I stayed on the balcony until we were almost at the dock taking some lovely sunrise pictures and enjoying see the Statue of Liberty welcoming us back against a blurred skyline! We dressed and went to breakfast in Discoveries...taking the last bottle of champagne with us to give to someone who was driving home. The majority of our fellow cruisers seemed to be from NJ, PA and NY so a lot of folks drove or had cars drop them at the port. We sat with 2 couples from NJ and they were happy to take our little gift home. Had our final meal with our trusty waiter, retrieved our carry-ons and went to hang out in the Cova Cafe until our 'color' was called. We met our honeymoon couple who thanked us for leaving the champagne outside their cabin door. Disembarkation was a snap...short wait, picked up luggage, short bus ride, quick customs' check and a walk dragging our luggage to the taxi area. We were given a town car for the same price as a taxi and in 15 minutes we were heading to the check-in point for our flight. We had several hours until our flight so were in no hurry...and, of course, getting through security took no time at all ?. Our flight was delayed by 45 minutes but was uneventful. Our shared sandwich of airport food was not what we had come to expect! We spent the waiting time talking about our favorite times on the trip and looking forward to our next cruise in Feb. 2008. In summary,it was a very good cruise for us; not perfect or the deluxe trip we had anticipated, but fine. We look forward to sailing Azamara in the future when all of the kinks are ironed out. The ship was beautiful; we enjoyed Bermuda and we met many very nice people. The people we meet (crew and passengers) always influence our travels more than anything else and they were wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
I have always wanted to visit Bermuda and there is no doubt cruising is the most economical and (IMHO) the best way. We originally booked the Celebrity Zenith in a Category 11 Concierge room. A few months later I was informed of the switch ... Read More
I have always wanted to visit Bermuda and there is no doubt cruising is the most economical and (IMHO) the best way. We originally booked the Celebrity Zenith in a Category 11 Concierge room. A few months later I was informed of the switch to the Celebrity Journey and subsequently the Azamara Journey. I was very happy about this because now I was in a Sky Suite, about 60 sp feet bigger and a nice balcony which the Zenith did not have. Being touted as a step up from Celebrity and on par with the likes of Oceania I was really looking forward to this trip. I traveled with my wife along with my 21 yr old son and his roommate from college (they were in an inside cabin) After reading messages from cruisers on the first 3 sailings I was more amused then concerned since I have NEVER had a bad cruise so here goes: EMBARKATION: In a word EASY. If you are in a suite you bypass the longer line and the photographers! It took us less than five minutes to get on the ship after arrival in the terminal. I also noticed (noon) that the other line was not too long. This is one advantage of a small ship! We also had an extremely smooth ride to Bermuda - smoothest ever out of NYC. CABIN: I was in 8039, one of the new Sky Suites. For me it had plenty of space - the room itself, the closets and the bathroom. I am a big guy and loved the size of the bathroom. The were broken fixtures on the sink that I was told "we know". The bathtub is unnecessary and a little to high to climb in and if you are 6' tall your head will scrape the ceiling. The worst design flaw here is that there is no door or curtain - the floor gets VERY VERY WET ! I showed a couple of senior staff members and all they could do is shake their heads ! They claimed they had no idea. The "BUTLER" was nothing more than the cabin steward in a tux. We did receive fresh fruit a few days and some awful canapes every day but nothing special. SHIP: I love this ship: this is the old R6 from Renaissance and last year I was on the Tahitian Princess which was the R4 so I already knew I would like it. I have to say though that I can't figure out where the $19 million went to refurbish it, a lot was the same as the Princess ship down to the same carpet, fixtures, some paintings and the awfully in need of a refurb pool. Very odd that the front of the ship was much colder than the rear - especially the Cabaret deck 5 forward - many complained it was too cold - I loved it. SERVICE: Mostly excellent. Room service was spotty but is 24 hours, the dining room was mediocre as due to open seating there is no connecting with the same people and the waiters for the most part just go through the motions. There were a couple of exceptions to this. My cabin staff was also quite good. FOOD: Mostly very good. Aqualina and Prime C were excellent, the dining room was very good to excellent (no better than any other cruise I have taken) for lunch and dinner but I found breakfast, both at the buffet and in the dining room to be VERY disappointing. The sushi bar on deck 9 was very good and, on a day that I found odd, on Lobster tail night the buffet had the best Beef Wellington I have EVER had - and no one knew !!! Yes - I did both that night. CASINO: Small but very professional and the best manager I have ever dealt with. No blackjack or slot tourneys and the Texas Hold 'Em machine is a total rip-off. SHOWS: The production shows were only singers and geared toward the over 65 crowd - not my thing. I was disappointed that there were no production shows; I know its a small "stage" but Princess did it really well. The instrumentalist and comic magician were TOP NOTCH. The magician ( Carl Andrews) best I have ever seen on a cruise ! SHORE EXCURSIONS: I did not do any but my son had one cancelled that he ended up doing on his own with the same person! He was told the person cancelled so he called on his own and the person did not even know it was cancelled and was really angry at the cruise line. I do not want to get more into detail but suffice it to say that the shore excursion desk was not truthful. There did seem to be a lot of excursions offered. ART AUCTION: Yes I now the good and the bad but this is a guilty pleasure for my wife and I. I have never seen so little money spent on the auctions this trip. Azamara and Park West thought everyone on board was a millionaire. Ridiculous choices - there should have been much more under $500-1000 I do not want to ramble any further but I was surprised there were no port talks and discussion of how to get around Bermuda. Quite a few old folks in wheelchairs I saw going to Horseshoe Bay Beach(GREAT PLACE) but did not know of the really steep hill to get to it! No midnight buffets or decent food late either. The are some crappy sandwiches by the coffee bar though. Drinks were great but terribly overpriced. I am only trying to be honest. The cruise was excellent and we all had a great time. I think that Azamara will be a deluxe line one day, that day is not today. They need to deliver quickly what they have promised or their credibility will disintegrate quickly. For what they are charging now I would not sail with them again, for what I paid though, I definitely would. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
Cape Liberty was a breeze to sail out of and no lines. With promises of celebrity spa like treatment on our cruise, we anxiously boarded the boat. Our rooms were very nice, and our bedding was exceptional. I did receive that promised fruit ... Read More
Cape Liberty was a breeze to sail out of and no lines. With promises of celebrity spa like treatment on our cruise, we anxiously boarded the boat. Our rooms were very nice, and our bedding was exceptional. I did receive that promised fruit on day one but that went south quickly. What treats or canapes got served at 2pm? I never received one. I wandered around the ship looking for activities and lo and behold they were making masquerade masks for an upcoming ball! Are you kidding me? Paper, glitter and unsharpened preschool scissors! What nonsense. The over 90 group seemed to be having a good time. They had a 2 minute scavenger hunt but the little old lady in front of me had all day to get to the host. Old people were in the library laying on the sofa and frankly between the temperature and the age group I felt like i was on a floating morgue. Food was just good. If you didn't grab your lunch from the buffet by 2pm, you were out of luck. They removed bins as your spoon anxiously scraped the bottom for a tidbit. As far as the gourmet restaurants, they were just ok. You could get the same on either side, I suspect they shared a kitchen. The shows were for old people. Some guy singing Frank Sinatra, boring. Some guy playing the piano, boring!! I've taken cruises with Cirque Soleil shows and this was way more expensive. Very disappointed with the sales pitch of this ship. The entire cruise was misrepresented from the very beginning and we were led to believe this was a once in a lifetime cruise...well it was because I think I'll try an all inclusive next time. This was my honeymoon and it was the most boring cruise ever!! I feel bad for the waiters who gave less effort than I'm used to. I never even got offered an ice tea for dinner. Very disappointed! Wont take this cruise line ever again, It is for the older crowd. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2007
Extreme disappointment is how we would describe our "Celebrity turned Azamara Journey cruise". We arrived at Port Liberty to find it was The Azamara" not the Celebrity, classic bait and switch. After day two we dubbed our ... Read More
Extreme disappointment is how we would describe our "Celebrity turned Azamara Journey cruise". We arrived at Port Liberty to find it was The Azamara" not the Celebrity, classic bait and switch. After day two we dubbed our ship" Azamara Surprise". There was no "early or late" seating as stated. We awoke many mornings to the sound of welding going on outside of our room because the ship was still under renovations. And we're not talking the general touch up paint that one may see while cruising. We're talking having to walk around the partitions that were lined up in the hallway that were eventually installed as separations for our "verandas". One morning one of the workers actually walked into our cabin after knocking very lightly on the door, which we didn't even get a chance to answer before he walked right in! He was looking for the workers outside of our cabin! Many of the wait staff was inexperienced. They told us that they were previously busboys on the last cruise ship and had no experience as waiters but were offered this job. The cafeteria style dining was horrible! Often times there were no coffee cups, juice machines w/no juice and the floors in the area constantly were wet! I feared for the older passengers! We often waited in line to be seated in the dining room. You had to ASK for coffee/tea, the salt and peppershakers didn't work and the server's uniforms were in terrible shape! . The complimentary dinner was very good but these were the types of meals we had on previous cruises at no extra cost! Getting food after 10pm was impossible as there were no little stand type eateries. Hot tub and pools often closed. The best entertainment was the few great karaoke passengers! The best part of the cruise was getting OFF the ship to wander beautiful Bermuda! Read Less
Azamara Journey Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 5.0 4.4
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.5
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.1
Family 1.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.7
Enrichment 4.0 3.8
Service 5.0 4.6
Value For Money 5.0 4.2
Rates 4.0 4.3

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