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Sail Date: September 2007
We are a couple in our early 40's (on this sailing putting us into the "younger" category), and this was our second "modern-era" cruise. I hesitate to go to the effort of a review since the Journey experience will ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 40's (on this sailing putting us into the "younger" category), and this was our second "modern-era" cruise. I hesitate to go to the effort of a review since the Journey experience will doubtless change in a post-Bermuda context, but I want to get my 5-rating into the mix. This was my first cruise as a CC member, and onboard I quickly experienced two drawbacks to cruising in the CC context; 1) my initial experiences and impressions were colored by the prior weeks of research and discussion about the ship, and 2) I spent much of the first days on the Journey writing mental sentences to be included in my post-sailing review, not simply enjoying the increasingly wonderful experience. I feel we experienced the essence of some of the apparent discrepancies between prior reviews: the Journey offers both a "sum of the parts" experience (which in our case would have put it in a 4+ rating zone) and a "whole", which we found to be magic. In assembling notes for this review, at the end I was surprised to see quite a number of minor quibbles, which didn't seem consistent with how we felt leaving the ship, waving goodbye as though leaving a loved one. Perhaps the difference for each traveler is how well his/her experience captures that magic. For the sake of a balanced review, the following are the quibbles I noted, in no logical order: -Sailaway from Bayonne in the fog had all the excitement of a mule barge send-off, as the band was a no-show. -We found the flat screen TV to be low resolution and of poor contrast. -Silverware at Windows buffet was placed on cleared tables, and not typically available in the food areas. While this seemed initially more upscale, it made for real issues when the table was bussed between trips for food. I ate numerous courses with borrowed spare silver, and had several bowls of cereal using a fork. -The scarcity of announcements from the bridge was actually refreshing, but we could have sometimes used a bit more sailing or weather information. -The ship does show some minor scuffs, etc. commensurate with seven years of use. -Our room's alarm clock was a joke, with no setting instructions and no light other than the one that would come on with an irritating beep when a particular button was pressed. -Likewise, our telephone had no visible instructions, and there was nothing intuitive about reaching the front desk, room service, etc. -One evening's experience in the main dining room was consistent with previous complaints: crowded, inconsistent service, passengers and crew figuratively tripping over each other. -Towels for the beach were delivered one evening, but both obtaining and returning additional towels was a "no clue" experience. -The AC in our room was too cold at the warmest setting, and despite a towel (we) stuffed in a vent for the remainder of the trip, never got better. -As discussed often, the shower water got all over the bathroom floor. In the same vein, a random list of positives: -The intimacy of the ship led to more friendships forming between us and other passengers and crew. -We were extremely impressed with the five young singer/performers and backing band -Becky, the cruise director, is a wonderful person with a delightful public address voice. -Our room's bedding, towels and toiletries were great. -Our stateroom's subtly tinted windows were a pleasant surprise, enhancing the vista. -Seas were smooth one way and moderate the other, yet despite my small ship concerns, she sailed amazingly smooth and gracefully. -We enjoyed the little ship-side treats and beverages at both Bayonne and Bermuda. -Our room attendant was just our style: everywhere and yet nowhere at the same time, and the room was impeccably maintained. -We had no dinner waits at Discoveries (on the later side, table for two) -Dinner fashion was somewhat dressier than I expected, which added to the evening's elegance. Now, as far as we're concerned, take the above two lists and throw them out the window. They are only incidental to our experience. We spent an incredible week on a beautiful ship with a great crew and special fellow passengers, eating delicious food and visiting one of civilization's loveliest spots. What more do I have to say? Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
Azamara Journey, Sept. 1, 2007 My wife and I just returned from what was one of the best cruises we've ever been on. We are Kevin and Sue, both 64, and this was our 18th cruise and our 4th to Bermuda. The adventure began in early ... Read More
Azamara Journey, Sept. 1, 2007 My wife and I just returned from what was one of the best cruises we've ever been on. We are Kevin and Sue, both 64, and this was our 18th cruise and our 4th to Bermuda. The adventure began in early 2007, when we decided that we wanted another cruise to Bermuda. At the time there were no Azamara Cruises and no Journey cruise ship. Our original plan was to cruise on the NCL Crown. We soon had a small group of us, ready to sign up. Our group consisted of some cruise friends from the net and a couple who are long time friends of ours. For our long time friends, this would be the wife's first cruise in an electric wheelchair. Our cruise was to be the week before Labor Day. A few months later, Celebrity announced that they had acquired two Renaissance ships, to be named the Journey and Quest, and that the Journey would be doing the Bermuda run, replacing the Zenith. Sue and I had always wanted to do a Renaissance ship, so we talked it up in our group, and we agreed to switch. The decision was further prompted when our travel agent was able to get us some great fares. Our departure was pushed out a week to Sep 1 2007. Finally, the day came. We packed up the car, and were off to Cape Liberty in Bayonne NJ. This was the first time we departed from this port, so we did not know what to expect. Well, the experience was the smoothest and easiest embarkation we've experienced. It took us about an hour and twenty minutes to get to the port, arriving at approximately 11:30 AM. We pulled directly up to the unloading zone, and a porter immediately took our bags. Sue stayed at the terminal, while I parked our car, in a lot adjacent to the terminal. . The parking is $105 plus tax for the week. They had shuttle buses to take one back to the terminal. We were guided to a check in counter, turned over our Express Passes, and were processed in under five minutes. On a side note, our experience is based on boarding the Journey, which has about 750 passengers. I would imagine that the process would be more hectic for the RCI Voyager class ship. This was corroborated by one of the porters in the terminal. After we checked in we went to the passenger lounge, to wait for our fellow travelers. Within a half hour our merry band of 10 was all there. Some had boarded earlier than Sue and me, since we were waiting for our long term friends. We just wanted to be sure that all went well for her boarding in her wheelchair. Once our friends arrived we boarded a bus that took us to the ship. The bus had a ramp that they lowered for Peg to use. When we got to the ship we found that the gangway has steps and Peg had to board where they bring the luggage on board. Even for that she had to be transferred to a manual chair and the crew brought her aboard while her husband brought her electric wheelchair onto the ship. This was the first of many problems on the Journey for someone in an electric wheelchair. From this point forward I will switch to a description of the Azamara experience. Also I will not provide much on Bermuda itself, since we've been there many times and written of our previous adventures. This review is more about the ship, itself. Buffet: As is traditional, we proceeded to the buffet lunch, after depositing our carryons in our cabin. The buffet lunch was quite excellent; in fact, probably the best we've had. We had all but one breakfasts and most of our lunches in the buffet. The breakfasts were superb, with a waffle/pancake/French toast station, omelet station, and a variety of typical, but well prepared choices. There is a juice/smoothie bar where they prepare drinks to order. One comment we all made was that this station is only used during breakfast. We felt it would make better sense if they utilized the space at other times also, maybe as a cookie bar, There are two sources for coffee: the typical ship's coffee, and a coffee machine that makes expresso, cafe Americano, etc. The latter machine makes much better coffee and was self service. The buffet lunch is very similar to most ships, except that the quality is much better. The service is outstanding. The staff assists passengers, as needed, for example, with Peg. because she is in an electric wheel chair, they would help her get her food and carry it to the table. The crew also came around and served juice, coffee, ice tea etc. Cabin: After our initial buffet lunch, we went to our cabin, to check it out, and see if our bags had arrived. We had booked a balcony cabin on deck seven, concierge class. Not quite sure what concierge class gave you, since all cabins aboard provided butler service. The cabin was a reasonable size. The storage space was ample, if oddly set up. The verandah was very small compared to other ships we had been on; but it had a nice table with two comfortable chairs. The bathroom is tiny. The sink top space was barely large enough to place a few essentials. The shower was also small. There are bathrobes, slippers, and a pair of binoculars in each cabin. There are also two hair dryers, one wall mounted in. the bathroom and the other in a cabinet. The TV is a wall mounted flat screen, with a bizarre remote. The bed was comfortable (a bit hard), and the linens very comfortable. The duvet was rather heavy, so it was warm at night, even with the AC fully cranked. Aqualina Specialty Restaurant: Although we had originally booked our Aqualina reservation for later in the voyage, we rearranged for a seating on the first night out. We had a very early seating, at 6 PM. That was rather early for the first day on board, especially so soon after the required drill, and the sail away party on the pool deck, but that was the only time we could get which we could all agree upon. Despite the early hour, it was well worth the experience. The restaurant is relatively small, with primarily tables for four, with some for two or six. They were able to seat our party of 10 at adjacent tables of four and six. We were pleasantly surprised to find that our server was a woman we had met on the Celebrity Infinity in 2006. The service was excellent, if a bit slow. That did not detract from enjoying the meal, as we appreciated the time spent with good friends. The food was also excellent. The menu was limited, but the choices were all quite good, primarily of a Mediterranean variety. Prime C Specialty Restaurant: We had made arrangements for our Prime C reservation in advance through the Celebrity Captions Club. It was originally set for the 10 of us to dine together at 8:20 on Tue evening; however one family did not want to eat that late. When we got on board we changed ours to 6:30 PM. We agreed to arrive a little early, to enjoy a drink before dinner in the Prime C bar. We were soon seated at a nice table for seven in the corner, overlooking the stern. Prime C is mainly a steakhouse. Again the menu is relatively limited, but the choices are varied. All the various appetizers and entrees were very good, and the service was excellent. In a bizarre twist, our central NJ friends, who were seated about a half hour later, and who had the same servers, complained that the service was very slow. All in all, the experience was worth the $30 per person charge. Main Dining Room: The Journey features open seating in all their dining room. Personally, Sue and I prefer traditional seating, in order to enjoy sitting with the same people, and being served by the same wait staff; however, we wanted to sail the Journey. We made arrangements on our first meal in the main dining room to have a table for the entire group, every evening at approximately the same tome. We were lucky to get the only table for ten in the dining room. This way we were able to emulate traditional seating. This enabled us to enjoy the company of our fellow travelers and have a wait staff that got to know us. The menus were quite good, with interesting variations on the typical cruise fare. The quality of the food and its presentation was the best we've experienced on any of our cruises. There was not a single dish that any of us had ordered that was not excellent. Although we were able to emulate traditional dining, it must be pointed out that, in our view, open seating does not work well. The wait staff was serving different courses at different tables, and the traffic flow of the passengers constantly coming and going, made for a very chaotic atmosphere in the dining room. Further, the arrangement of the tables throughout the room was to cramped. They could have easily reduced the number of table by as much as a third, and greatly improved the overall experience, for both the diners and the wait staff. It should be noted that one of the servers (our friend from the Aqualina) had indicated that when the Journey starts its longer runs in South America, that they most likely revert to traditional dining. Lounges: The Journey, being a small ship, had only a few lounges; however, the few that they had provided good gathering places, with very good bars and bar staff. The bars did not have a particularly good selection of single malt scotches, but did have top shelf vodkas. This is a good point to mention that with the exception of two areas on the ship, there is no smoking allowed. This made for a much more enjoyable experience in the lounges and the casino. There was entertainment in each lounge, e.g. a very talented harpist near the Cova, and a pianist in another. Casino: The casino was surprisingly large for a smaller ship. There were quite a few slots, craps, roulette, and several card tables. Being a Bermuda cruise, the casino was only open for the time when were not in Bermuda, which only amounted to the equivalent of less than three days. Sue spent more time in the casino than I did. I guess I'm getting a little tired of the slots; although this time I did finally walk away with a small profit overall. Entertainment: We really didn't expect there to be much of the type of shows one sees on the mega ships. We were surprised to see that they did have production shows, albeit on a smaller scale. There were only 5 singer/dancers. They were good but not great. They also had a magician/comedian whose comedy was only marginally better than his magic, which was fairly transparent. One night they had the Goombay dancers from the island up in the Looking Glass lounge. They were very good, but their performance was only about 15-20 minutes. Another night, up on the pool deck, there was a local Bermudian steel pan player, who was very good. He performed both traditional Caribbean tunes as well as jazz. (We also ran into him at the Dockyard, and bought one of his CDs.) There was also a lecture series, given by Dr. Joel Klass, a psychotherapist. His talks included "expert witnesses and hired guns", "stress management" and "dream interpretation". We only attended and thoroughly enjoyed the dream lecture; however other members of our group attended all three and said they were all good. As a side note, our group met Dr. Klass on the Promenade deck one evening and during the conversation, the son of one of our group had indicated that he played chess. Joel suggested that they meet later to play. As a result, the two of them played a few times, and Joel was able to teach our friend's son some advanced pointers. The Shops: Again, being a small ship, there were only three shops. Two were the typical shops one expects, a general store and a jewelry shop. The third was a higher priced luxury jewelry shop. Not a very large selection, but that was to be expected on a small ship. Art Auction: As with most cruises, Park West Galleries was on the ship. Their presentation was quite different than any other ship we had been on. There was only one actual auction session. The other sessions were lectures by the Park West rep, discussing various artists' styles, etc. When they did the auction itself, it was all originals, mostly in the mid to upper four figures, and several in the five figure range. Needless to say, there was not much artwork sold. Perhaps this strategy will work better when they do the longer South America itineraries. Bermuda: As I said earlier, I will not report on the island itself, as we have done so in detail in previous reviews. However, I wish to say that we are very disturbed by what appears to be a move by the government to shut down the cruise piers in Hamilton (2008) and St George (2009). This will leave only Kings Wharf for the cruise ships. We personally believe this is a serious mistake. Although they are shifting to becoming a major Re-insurance company and banking center, much like Grand Cayman, the tourist business is still a major economic factor for the island. We spoke with many business people, particularly along Front Street, and they agree. Unfortunately, their concerns are being ignored, so far. Here is the link to our pictures of the Azamara Journey: http://travel.webshots.com/album/560670104YluDWa Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
My thoughts on the 9/29 sailing on Azamara Journey Background: Mid 40's, I have cruise on Rccl, Ncl, Carnival and Princess Embarkation: Drove to Cape Liberty - check-in and embarkation a breeze Ship Info: Beautiful ship...very ... Read More
My thoughts on the 9/29 sailing on Azamara Journey Background: Mid 40's, I have cruise on Rccl, Ncl, Carnival and Princess Embarkation: Drove to Cape Liberty - check-in and embarkation a breeze Ship Info: Beautiful ship...very clean and well-maintained...not as tiny as i thought it would be, easy to navigate..never too far away from where you want to go-it offered as much as possible for a ship that size...great for the bermuda run with a lot of time in port..personally i would need a larger ship with a few more options for anything longer...especially if the pool deck was not an option due to weather on sea days.. Never felt crowded...except in the tiny smoking areas...there were many of us...standing room only- met some great fellow passengers here! Found it more restrictive than i anticipated...missed having cocktails on the balcony and relaxing there...found we were always hanging out there instead Good mix of ages of passengers...expected a much older crowd...the ship was a very early to bed one...not much happening at night Pool was great and really never too crowded to cool off in- we only got to use it the last sea day...way too much to do in bermuda and usually got back too late to hang out there....happy we had a beautiful last day Lots of motion on the way down...to be expected with the rough seas we had...smooth on the way home...could hardly tell you were moving Staff: Awesome crew...always had a smile and seemed happy to be there and to see you- we were especially impressed by our assistant cabin steward...always called down the hallway to us to wish us a nice day when he saw us leaving the cabin...the captain and officers were the most accessible of any of the cruises i have been on State Room: Sky Suite was very large, pretty, comfortable- plenty of storage, great bathroom, comfy bed, nice sized fridge, beautiful furnishings. Balcony was wonderful and large- reclining chairs would be nice..the frosted glass dividers were pretty but allowed light from neighbors balconies/rooms to intrude on the quiet ocean darkness... Dining: Food in main dining room...the appetizers were awesome, main courses were varied and good, desserts were very good, service was great- one kind of frenzied experience but definitely not the norm for us...not a big deal Open seating worked just fine for us- we ate late...9'ish never a wait...told a couple of times by the waiters that it was a good time because the dining room was crazy earlier. Both Prime C and Aqualina were fantastic dining experiences- the food was outrageous, the service professional and friendly- as good as any of the upscale restaurants as I have been to onshore Buffets were great for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plenty of variety...lobster tails were much better and bigger there than the "lobster four ways" in the dining room....we would sometimes go just to snack a little bit before going to a late dinner... The pool grill was a nice option for burgers, dogs, nachos, pretzels if you came back to the ship too late for lunch and needed a little something before dinner..Cova cafe had little finger sandwiches and sweets...until 1am...nothing available after that other than room service....but the ship was pretty much asleep by then anyway...maybe a tray of something near the 24 hour self service coffee/drinks station would be a nice option.. Activities: Casino was a nice size for a small ship...often empty...maybe a correlation between drinking, gambling and smoking? I play video poker slots...did pretty well but found it annoying to have to cash out to go to the ladies room, get a drink, go up 4/5 decks to have a smoke...i like to machines that pay you out with a coupon...just easier... People LOVE to share their opinions about totally subjective matters with anyone who will listen.....for every positive there was someone else who would view it negatively...just go and form your own opinion...facts are one thing...opinions are just that...they're nice to hear beforehand for sure...but try not to let those things jade your view until you experience it for yourself...just my opinion! Enjoy this quaint, intimate and beautiful ship! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
My husband and I just returned from a week in Bermuda on the Azamara Journey. We are very seasoned cruisers and are Elite Members with Celebrity Cruise lines. We have been to Bermuda several times in the past so the real reason for going ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a week in Bermuda on the Azamara Journey. We are very seasoned cruisers and are Elite Members with Celebrity Cruise lines. We have been to Bermuda several times in the past so the real reason for going on the cruise was just to experience the Azamara Journey. What an experience it was! I would like to take a few minutes of your time to let you know how I feel about this new ship. I was so impressed it is hard to put it in words. The minute I walked unto the ship you could see by the smiling faces of the staff that there was going to be a difference in this cruise to the more then 30 others that we have been on in the past. As the first gentleman walked up to us and took our bags out of our hands and escorted us to our cabin we knew we were in for a treat. He seemed so pleased and proud to show us the way and show off the different things on the ship as we passed them. The cabin was beautiful with the dark wood and the very pleasing colors of the bedding. The room looked so inviting with the huge pillows and the fabulous extra soft robes, then the slippers arrived that night! What a nice thoughtful touch. A few days into the cruise we got a form to fill out that asked us what we thought would make the cruise better. Well, we had to think long and hard. Really we did and then we came up with only three things. We thought that the cabin should have a love seat in it and the other was that the Windows Cafe should have trays to make it easier to carry your plate of food and beverage to the table and your glasses should be at least 10 oz glasses and I believe they were more like 5 oz ones. Now that is pretty good when that is all we could come up with. The Cruise Director was perfect! Andrea was just wonderful. He made everyone feel so special and was a perfect match for the ship. I know he was leaving to bring the Quest over in a few weeks and it will be their fortune to have him aboard. He is the best I have ever seen on any ship. He danced with all the ladies, ate lunch with so many of the guests, walked up and down the decks greeting people and just talking with them on a friendly basis. He loved his star gazing and so did everyone else. He just made the cruise special in so many ways, what Italian charm he has! The food on the Journey is beyond description! Every day we were amazed at how things were prepared and presented at each meal. Nothing looked like the food we have had on other ships. It was in a class of it's own. The food in the Windows Cafe was wonderful and so different from other Cafes. The selection at the Deli was outstanding. The Discovery dining room food was so good we didn't really need to go to the Prime C specialty restaurant. However, the presentation there was magnificent. I do think the name should be changed to "Prime Sea" to match the Aqualina since then they would both have to do with the ocean. At lunch when we commented to the men serving us on the back sun deck about how they are always smiling, one of them said, "it is because of people like you that we smile, you people make it easy to smile because you are always smiling!" It was easy to be always smiling on the Journey because it was a great ship to be on and the service was so out of the ordinary. We would ask different ones we sat with at each meal how they felt about the ship and it was always the same answer, " We love it!" If you have not booked a cruise on the Journey yet you need to as it is to me the best of the best. I would give this ship a 6 star rating. -- Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
My husband and I just returned from a 7-day September 22nd Bermuda cruise roundtrip Cape Liberty (Bayonne), New Jersey on the Azamara Journey. We are frequent cruisers, and found the Journey to be a beautiful, small vessel providing a very ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a 7-day September 22nd Bermuda cruise roundtrip Cape Liberty (Bayonne), New Jersey on the Azamara Journey. We are frequent cruisers, and found the Journey to be a beautiful, small vessel providing a very good experience with excellent food and solid service throughout the week. The 700-passenger Azamara Journey is new to Celebrity as of this Spring, having finished a stint with Pullmantours in Spain after beginning life as a Renaissance vessel. She retains the physical beauty of the Renaissance design, with the black and gold iron staircases and trompe d'oil paintings on several ceilings creating a unique setting for sailing within this new cruise niche of 'premium plus' or deluxe category. The cabins are very comfortable, with soft hues and up-to-date bedding; the public spaces feature pleasant reds, golds and blues. We were in a Sky Suite, which was very spacious and well-appointed. Complimentary amenities in the suite included a bon voyage bottle of champagne, sodas and two Specialty Restaurant meals. The butler service was attentive overall - we especially enjoyed afternoon tea service brought to the cabin (with a plate of cookies left behind if we were absent). The ship's staff was very friendly throughout the vessel, and always offered warm greetings. Our only disappointment was with the Activities Staff, which was a bit disorganized and hard to hear when running events such as Team Trivia - it was impossible to tell what was going on from the audience. We were delighted with the Catholic priest onboard, who also offered daily Mass - Azamara's website notes that this feature will go away once the ship leaves the Bermuda itinerary, which would be very unfortunate - passenger attendance was high at every Mass. The waitstaff service onboard Azamara Journey was excellent in the main Dining Room as well as the Windows Cafe. The Specialty Dining experience in both the Aqualina and Prime C restaurants was superb - with the clubby atmosphere a terrific backdrop to Prime C. My advice to future passengers on Journey would be to make the alternative dining reservations onboard immediately after embarkation as space filled up quickly in both venues. There was also a nice array of bars available onboard - there was never a sense of being crowded on this ship, even during sea days. Entertainment was an eclectic mix which worked well for this small ship. The 5-person song and dance troupe was very good at presenting a new 'stripped down' themed medley concept unique to Azamara. It worked both due to the same-level/small stage in the lounge as well as the intimate, cabaret-like experience they conveyed. A traditional production show simply wouldn't have fit this ship. Other acts were more typical of cruise ships - i.e., magician and comedian, which were fine on the small stage. We took a car service to and from the Port of Bayonne. While embarkation was seamless, disembarkation proved more chaotic. There appeared to be a dearth of US Customs & Immigration personnel at the pier, which made for a long line. The main problem, however, was the 'dead zone' for cell phone signals at the terminal entrance. Since cars can't wait in front and there are no public phones, we endured a frantic time period of trying to dial our car service before finding a spot where the signal was successful. Royal Caribbean / Celebrity should offer a Passenger Service Desk at the terminal's main door which would include a staffer with a working cell phone for this purpose - it would be greatly appreciated by older passengers and those who have difficulty walking. As Azamara Journey (and the new sister ship Azamara Quest) will feature more exotic itineraries of longer length, the crowd on future sailings is likely to be slightly older cruisers who have traveled frequently and are looking for a smaller, low-key ship with interesting ports of call. This audience will be delighted with the Azamara Journey. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
Azamara Journey Sept. 1-8, 2007 I want to preface this review by saying that this is my opinion (obviously) and coming from an Interior Designer who loves the look and style of the Celebrity fleet. Some of this may seem picky but they ... Read More
Azamara Journey Sept. 1-8, 2007 I want to preface this review by saying that this is my opinion (obviously) and coming from an Interior Designer who loves the look and style of the Celebrity fleet. Some of this may seem picky but they are things that are important to me and hopefully others will get something out of my observations. We had booked this cruise in 2006, as soon as we heard about the new ship. This was long before anyone had ever heard the name Azamara so we were expecting a Celebrity experience. We think that we proceeded with excitement but with open minds. We had an uneventful drive to the port from DC. We didn't want to get there too early and arrived about 12:15. Everyone was right about the breeze of a check-in. In all of our 11 cruises this was by far the easiest. We had checked in on-line and we were ready to go within 5 minutes. A short bus ride and we were at the ship. We were greeted by no one as we entered the ship. A bored looking waiter asked if we would like some champagne. His tray was sharing a niche with an art glass vase. We declined and headed up the stairs. We checked out our cabin, 7103, and found it ready to go. It was smallish but attractive and had the promised flowers (none in bathroom however) and binoculars. No fruit but it arrived the following day and was freshened up every day after. As I said, the cabin was attractive but nothing more. The linens were of high quality and the carpet and drapes had a nice updated pattern. The headboard on the bed had a quilted vinyl insert that looked cheap and had seen better days. The cabin artworks were inoffensive botanical prints. The closets, shelves and desk were a handsome dark wood. Unfortunately, the stool and table in front of the sofa were a lighter, cheap looking wood. The table particularly looked like something you might find in a flea market or yard sale and was quite beat up. As others have noted the bathroom was small but well appointed. Our luggage was delivered 2 bags at 3:15 and one at 6PM. Knowing that we needed to get up to the Alternative dining venues to make our reservations we headed on up. There was a short line (you can make reservations at either the Aqualina or Prime C for either or both restaurants) and we didn't have to wait long. When it was our turn they mostly had only 6PM and 9PM slots available. Since this was 12:30PM on embarkation day we were surprised. We were able to make an 8:30 PM reservation for sailing night in Aqualina and Thursday night for Prime C. This was OK for us but we had originally thought we would do it 3 nights but in the end, 2 nights was fine. Next we decided to get some lunch in Windows Cafe. I wasn't surprised that it was quite crowded at 12:45 PM on embarkation day and we had to wait around for a table to open up. Another couple joined us since seating was so tight. They were delightful and we had a great lunch, the food was very good. Also, the coffee is fabulous, you can get espresso or regular coffee. The beans are ground as it is made and as good as many coffee shops around the US. Windows cafe, in my opinion, needs the most work of any space on board the ship. The chairs and tables are nice enough but the chairs looked a little worn. My main problem with the space was the bad design, both in traffic flow and dEcor. Although never a real problem, the food service areas seemed awfully crowded into the rear of the restaurant creating small but unnecessary bottlenecks. I thought the carpeting was OK but found the tile on the floor ugly (sort of a fake slate) and the trim color on the walls was an unappealing flesh tone. There were also many extremely tired murals of what looked like scenes in rural England or Ireland. I'm sure that these must have been left over from the "R" ship days. There are some nice tables and a bar behind the Windows cafe that looked over the aft. This area was very pleasant and said "Celebrity" to me. In every dining venue they had jumbo sized containers of anti-bacterial wipes. While I guess these are a good idea, they look extremely tacky. About halfway through the cruise they started to get a lot more aggressive with handing them out in the Windows Cafe. Although we heard nothing about it, it made us think that there was perhaps an outbreak of something on the ship. We certainly saw no sign of this however. After lunch we toured the rest of the ship and found it quite attractive. As usual for Celebrity, there was a lot of interesting art. Some of it worked better than others as a juxtaposition to the formal tone of the ship. The Titanic staircase, the Cova cafe and all the area adjoining it were lovely and were quite popular areas to relax during the cruise. The harpist played often in this area but as my partner pointed out, there should be a law against singing while playing the harp. The lower lobby area had some furniture that reminded you that it was a Celebrity product and was quite stylish. The Casino was very tasteful and worked well. It was always popular when open and the slots didn't seem to be as "tight" as others I have encountered on cruises. The show lounge had a beautiful entrance on both the starboard and port sides and led you to think that you were about to enter a fabulous space. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The room was furnished in comfortable but not exciting furniture and the ceiling seemed oppressively low. The stage was backed by a flimsy black curtain with white Christmas lights poked through. The size of the room worked well for a ship of this size though but the entertainment (what little we saw) was not of a high caliber. The main dining room was also on this deck, 5, and had a nicely traditionally decorated Martini Bar in the waiting area. The waiting area was essential as we found out. If you didn't dine at 6PM or after 8:30PM, there was indeed a wait. This was not surprising since this is prime time but on our second night we arrived at the dining room at 7:50 PM and were not seated until 8:25 PM. We were told we could leave and come back and we did since there wasn't a single spot to sit in the Martini Bar. We had a drink in the Casino and came back after 20 minutes or so to wait for our table. They do put your name on a list and seem to stick to it. I thought the dining room was lovely if a bit crowded and the waiters had a time maneuvering between the tables. The chairs were extremely comfortable though and the food and service were excellent. We ate three dinners in the main dining room, two breakfasts and one lunch. Everything was wonderful with the exception of our lunch which was disappointing. The room is quite beautiful though and there are lots of windows all around. I guess that since it has been so long since we have been on such a small ship I had forgotten how low the ceilings can seem though. The Specialty restaurants on deck 10 are both lovely with a slight nod in dEcor to Prime C. We ate in Aqualina on the first night and had a wonderful meal. We had the rack of lamb and the veal osso bucco, both delicious. The service was so-so though and we had to finally stand up to leave (after waiting for 15 minutes for someone to come by) in order to get our check. The restaurant was at least ½ empty though so not sure why they said they were so booked up. There was a bit of excitement in Aqualina that night though and we thought we must have made reservations there on "Food Allergy Night". The couple at the next table made a huge deal over the wife being allergic to Beef, Pork and Dairy. She finally settled on the scallops after being assured by the wait staff and even the chef that it didn't contain Beef, Pork or Dairy. She seemed to get concerned though while eating it (I had it too) and ate what she thought were sun-dried tomatoes but after getting the chef back out there, discovered that it was some dried meat product. At the table on the other side of us one of the diners was presented with something with a walnut on it. She said "I told you I was allergic to walnuts!" The waiter quickly took it away. "Don't just pick it off and bring it back" she yelled as they walked away. I assume that they didn't because she was able to finish her meal without further incident. We ate at Prime C on Thursday night and it was lovely too. The service was great and attentive. I had the Kobe steak and loved it. Everything was perfect but I would have to say that we liked the food a little better at Aqualina. We had extremely rough seas the night in Prime C though so that might have accounted for the half empty restaurant. The Looking glass lounge was perfect for Bingo and other activities. Again, a pretty room but nothing special. The new teak loungers on the pool deck, deck 11 and the promenade were wonderful. Really comfortable and there seemed to be almost enough of them. They did have to break out the old chairs on deck 11 on days at sea though. I did notice a number of the new chairs were broken though so not sure of how long they will last. I didn't think that the public restrooms were anywhere near as nice as on other Celebrity ships. The maintenance in them seemed lacking also. There were often no cloth towels and they needed to be cleaned more often. It really was nice being on a smaller ship, hardly any lines anywhere, plenty of deck space and room in all the venues. The service was nice but nothing exceptional. We did enjoy our "Butler" but didn't use many of her services. She was very nice though and always ran ahead to our cabin to unlock it if she saw us coming. The different treats every night were a delicious change too. It was also great to always have ice in the cabin too. I thought the wait staff was wonderful and didn't see any lack of service since going to open seating. There didn't seem to be much cleaning and maintenance going on during the cruise though. There were lots of places with fingerprints and scratched and worn surfaces. The ship did not seem to be up to the standards of the 4 other Celebrity cruises we have gone on, either in dEcor or cleanliness. For example, the first day we noticed 4 coffee cups wedged in the railing on the deck outside Aqualina. One of the cups had a cigar butt in it. I walked by this several times and was quite surprised to see that it was still there the next day, over 24 hours after first seeing it! We also saw remnants from a private party in Michaels Club over 6 hours after the event. The heavy teak chairs on the promenade deck were stacked up for the muster drill and never put back in place. We and other passengers had to move them ourselves. All of the negatives on this cruise were minor. They in no way kept us from having a wonderful time and it being one of our favorite cruises. That said, this is not a "step up" from Celebrity (except in the wonderful food) and we were disappointed. We also felt that for such a large staff there were several times where all you could think was "Where is everyone?" I think that if Celebrity wanted to create a new brand that was nicer than what they already have, they should have built new ships with all the things that we love about Celebrity and taken it to the next level. I would have to say of all the ships I have sailed on Celebrity, this was my least favorite. I liked the small size but to me that was the only (although very nice) advantage. We are planning to sail on Quest a year from December and hope that they have things up to snuff by then. We enjoyed meeting some of the Cruise Critic folks, especially Jan and her three lovely daughters. Her daughter Marcy is extremely lucky though, winning hundreds of dollars on the penny slots and even winning Bingo too! My luck declined if I was even near her. Fortunately, she was nowhere to be seen late on the last night at sea and I managed to win $139.00 on a penny slot machine! There were almost no children on board and that was a plus. It was nice to be able to use the hot tubs and pool without kids in the way. The crowd was well behaved and seemed to be seasoned travelers for the most part. I only saw 2 men in shorts in the dining room at dinner and one really gross man walked through the Cova Cafe shirtless, sporting the hairiest back I have ever seen. He didn't just stroll through though but stopped to pick up some tasty treats from the cart in Cova. He then proceeded to walk down the grand staircase and I assume on to his cabin on deck 3 or possibly steerage where he belonged. These were the exceptions though and it was nice to have such a civilized crowd to cruise with. I'm not sure if these ships will ever be what they are advertising but they are still lovely little ships with interesting itineraries. With a little work on the dEcor and maintenance they will be a nice addition to the Celebrity family. Andy Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
My husband and I are avid cruisers and have sailed more than 30 times on various cruise lines mostly on Royal Caribbean during the last 12 years. On Saturday, we had a smooth and on-time flight from Indianapolis and arrived early in ... Read More
My husband and I are avid cruisers and have sailed more than 30 times on various cruise lines mostly on Royal Caribbean during the last 12 years. On Saturday, we had a smooth and on-time flight from Indianapolis and arrived early in Newark. EMBARKATION We took the cruise line's ground transportation and arriving at the pier before check-in had begun, we were directed to a waiting area where we were offered fruit punch and cookies. The check-in process started at 11:00. We boarded the ship at 11:30, dropped off our carry-on luggage in our stateroom, and went to Windows Cafe for the welcome aboard buffet lunch. The presentation and variety of choices were plentiful, and the food was delicious. As the ship sailed away from Bayonne, we enjoyed watching the New York skyline disappear in the distance from the panoramic Looking Glass lounge which is the highest vantage point on the ship. During our day at sea on Sunday, we experienced some 8-foot waves, but being experienced cruisers who love the relaxing days at sea, the motion was not a problem. THE PORTS What a beautiful paradise Bermuda is with over 80 islands, all connected by bridges! Our first stop was St. George's which is a quaint interesting little town. We were docked from 10:00AM on Monday, until 6:00AM on Tuesday. We then cruised to Hamilton and docked at 9:00AM. Transportation from either port is convenient since a 1-day or multi-day pass can be purchased for the ferries and buses which we used to visit Horseshoe Beach and Kings Wharf. Hamilton is a great place to shop. We were docked at Hamilton until 3:00PM on Thursday. THE SHIP Overall, I would recommend this ship and cruise line for couples without children unless they are less than 3 years old. The ambiance on this ship reminded me of a fine European hotel with comfortable, traditional furniture and dark wood veneers. It definitely is not for multigenerational family cruising since there are no organized children's/teenagers' activities. It never took us long to get where we wanted to go on this size ship (30,000 tons), and that is a benefit for port-intensive itineraries which this ship is scheduled to do. STATEROOM Our stateroom had an obstructed view window, but we were fortunate that our window was between lifeboats so that we had a nice view. We would sale on Azamara again although on our cruise the Journey was still a work in progress. The mattresses in the staterooms on our deck had not yet been upgraded although the linens were of high quality. Fresh flowers, robes, and slippers were provided as well as daily replenishment of fruit. All staterooms have a "butler" with an assistant who makes up the rooms. We didn't really notice any difference in their service from other ships we've been on other than he offered to make our reservations at the specialty dining room. DINING The Discoveries Dining Room servers (most of who had previously worked on Celebrity ships) were still trying to adjust to any-time dining with all guests not arriving at one specific time. We experienced both great service from some the dining staff and poor service from others. Menus in the dining room and buffet had a nice variety, and the food was excellent. Seating in the Windows Cafe was always available as were deck chairs at the pool and promenade deck. When we arrived at the dining room before 6:45, there was no delay in getting seated. One evening, we arrived at 7:30 and only had to wait about 10 minutes. One nice perk is that all guests can dine once in one of the specialty restaurants (Aqualina or Prime C) at no charge. Guests in suites get two complimentary dinners in the specialty restaurants where reservations are required. For additional dinings, the charge is $20-25 per person. ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES Entertainment was cabaret style with four singers/dancers and two really entertaining comedians. Although bingo, trivia, the quest, etc., activities were available, there were no intrusive in-room announcements made. The ambiance on this ship was more upscale than Royal Caribbean. I didn't feel that it was more upscale than Holland America or Celebrity, the only difference being that it was a small, intimate ship. It was wonderful that it wasn't necessary to stand in line for anything. As Diamond members of Royal Caribbean's Crown & Anchor Society, we were recognized as Elite members of Celebrity/Azamara's Captain's Club. We enjoyed the following benefits: - Champagne brunch for Select & Elite members - Captain's Club cocktail party - Tour of the bridge - Elite status coupon booklets - Use of the Select/Elite debarkation lounge DISEMBARKATION On disembarkation morning, we could utilize our stateroom until 8:00AM. After that time, we went to the Select/Elite debarkation lounge and waited for our color luggage tag to be announced. This process was very well organized. It was a great cruise, and I highly recommend a visit to Bermuda. As I was told by a shore excursion crew member, when comparing Bermuda to the Caribbean, "Bermuda is all that is good about the Caribbean with none of the bad"--meaning that Bermuda has beautiful tropical scenery and great weather but doesn't have poverty or crime. We will look forward to finding out about itineraries that Azamara will offer in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
EMBARKATION—Prior reviews have pretty much covered this. I will add a couple of details, however. Don't be at the port until 11 AM. This is when the staff come out to start embarkation paperwork. We were told we could not board ... Read More
EMBARKATION—Prior reviews have pretty much covered this. I will add a couple of details, however. Don't be at the port until 11 AM. This is when the staff come out to start embarkation paperwork. We were told we could not board until noon but we actually were allowed on about 20 minutes before noon. Staterooms were ready right at 1 PM. Luggage was a little later than I've experienced on other cruises. I ended up wearing my travel clothes to dinner that night. I saw several others in jeans and shorts that night. STATEROOM COMMENTS—We were in a Sky Suite on Deck 8, 8054, which is a perfect location for anyone with mobility issues. It is right outside of the elevator/stair corridor and only one deck below the Windows Cafe and pool deck. The stateroom was a good size with an equivalent balcony. I was concerned, based on prior reviews, that it would be small. It was not. The bathroom was a perfect size, but I now understand some of the drainage comments from previous reviews. When the ship was out to sea, rougher seas caused the drain to flow back up a bit. We are not talking sewer here but some moldy water settled on the bathroom floor. In our suite at arrival was a chilled bottle of champagne. This started the trip off right! In the evening we received some type of goody. One night chocolate covered strawberries, one night fancy chocolates, and other comparable treats. I thought this was a simple but special touch. SHIP SIZE—This is a really nice size ship. Normally I feel rushed and crushed at breakfast with people hovering for clean tables. On the Journey we sat on our first sea day (Sunday) for about an hour, enjoying coffee and several trips to the buffet. POOL AREA—I was concerned that the pool would be too tiny for the ship based on prior reviews. It was a fine size. However, on Saturday our first day the pool was closed for maintenance. This didn't seem to concern anyone. We were too busy doing other first day things. There was no issue with number of chaise lounges despite the usual "reserving" of chairs first thing in the morning. FOOD—The food is where Azamara shines. At breakfast, don't miss the waffle and pancake station stuck in the corner behind the luncheon meat/cheese area. In the buffet at dinner, there are two sections. The first is the normal Windows cafe if you want to go really casual. If you'd like one step less casual, make a reservation for the Breeza section of the Windows Cafe. Same place but with service and the ability to eat outside. I can't vouch for the food or service because I didn't know this opportunity existed until the last day of the cruise. In the main dining room, Discoveries, we never had a wait for dinner for two, even at prime times. I did see some people waiting in Michael's in front of the dining room but these were larger groups. PRIME C (Specialty Restaurant)—This is the only experience we had that was not up to snuff. We made a reservation for 6 PM Sunday night, our first sea day and the first reservation of the night. We sat until about 6:30 PM before we received any service and were told it was because everyone came at once. "Isn't that normal?" we asked. "Well, yes," was the answer. So in our opinion they should have been more prepared. It seemed as if the restaurant staff was overwhelmed. The next night at the Discoveries main dining room, we sat next to another couple who had the same experience with a reservation at 8 PM. Suggestion—eat at Prime C later in the cruise when others have already used their one night at a specialty restaurant. My meal was very good. No problems. However, my companion ordered a medium rare NY strip steak which came in well done. She was offered a new steak but at this point we had been in the restaurant for approximately 1 hour 45 minutes so we didn't want to wait another 30 or so minutes for a new steak. Later, the assistant maitre'd brought the head chef of Prime C, Anthony, to our table to apologize. When asked what he could do, we asked for a free glass of wine when we ate at the next specialty restaurant, Aqualina, a couple of days later. (This request was granted, by the way.) I will say that if I were in a regular restaurant, I would have had the steak taken off of the bill. You don't have this leverage on a cruise line. AQUALINA—This was the best meal we had on our cruise. The service was impeccable also. It was Thursday, Lobster night, so if you went on a cruise just for the lobster, eat at Aqualina on another night. However, there is lobster bisque and lobster Thermador on the Aqualina menu every day. I wanted to try the tasting menu, with 7 courses and wine, of course, but I didn't think I could do it. They might want to lessen that to 5 courses. Be sure to try the chocolate souffle. GYM—I work out normally every day so I was looking forward to doing so onboard. The gym is a decent size. I didn't see anyone waiting for cardio or weight machines any morning I was there. I would recommend that they spend money on a second trainer or perhaps a more gregarious trainer. Most of the time I saw the trainer at the front desk for the spa, not in the gym area. My companion took both a spinning and a pilates class with the trainer and was underwhelmed. SPA—My companion and I both had massages. These were good. However, my massage therapist started before my companion's did and finished after. So I guess I got the better value. It's a decent spa for the size of the ship with an adjoining salon (whose services I did not use). If you want a hot tub, behind the spa is the place to go. I saw few people out there. ACUPUNCTURE—Acupuncture at sea seems to be the new thing. I convinced my companion to go to Fran after I attended one of her information sessions in Michael's. My companion, who has knee pain, said she appreciated understanding the acupuncture concepts and thought it might have given her some immediate, short term relief. If you want to know more about the process, this would be good, non-threatening exposure. Maybe they should do chiropractic sessions also? ENTERTAINMENT AND ON-BOARD ACTIVITIES—Again, for a ship this size, I was surprised that they had the same basic activities as a big ship. Trivia contests, bingo, exercise classes, afternoon high tea, Friends of Bill & Dorothy, wine tastings, you name it. The Azamara folks must have been reading the prior criticisms of the entertainment on board. The outside band was very good with a wide range of songs and genres. There was always someone playing at the Cova bar, either the harpist or the pianist. Both suited the area in which they played—low key, not obtrusive, but entertaining. The evening entertainment was better than I had expected given prior reviews. There was a troupe of 5 singers who did a cabaret style act on two of the nights. They were suitable for the stage size and the crowd on board. Two other nights a pianist/signer performed. His style was a little too low key for me, so I have to admit I didn't stick around. I was hoping for a comedienne or magician somewhere on board but didn't find either if there. EXCURSIONS—We did two excursions. One was a scuba trip; the other a biking and beach trip. Both were great fun. However, we found out that the cruise line padded the scuba fee by about $55. I don't mind paying for the convenience but I think $55 is a bit much. I recommend working directly with the local businesses unless you have a tight deadline to meet returning to the ship. Then it makes sense to use the cruise line vendors because the ship becomes responsible for your return, theoretically. On a somewhat related issue, take advantage of the ferries and buses in Bermuda. Both systems are great and affordable. Get a recommendation for a beach and ask the bus driver to stop there for you. It's easy. Also, we pulled walking tours off of Frommers.com for Hamilton and St. George. Both were worth the time. GENERAL COMMENTS—The Journey could use another 2 months or so of drydock time to fix minor, mostly cosmetic things. Examples—Locks and other hardware loosening off doors, external painting and rust eradication. A good clean up job. I suggest they dump two things—the whole tuxedoed butler concept and the afternoon "canapEs". Save the money and spend it elsewhere. We don't want uncomfortable stewards and we certainly don't need more food. I really enjoyed the cruise but do feel that Azamara is missing the mark on being a class above its sister, Celebrity, and any of the other comparable cruise lines. The only place I really saw the upgrade is in the food. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
This was our third cruise. We booked this cruise for our Honeymoon through our local travel agent. We figured a cruise would be the most cost effective way to see Bermuda. The ride to Cape Liberty in Bayonne was a breeze as we live 30 ... Read More
This was our third cruise. We booked this cruise for our Honeymoon through our local travel agent. We figured a cruise would be the most cost effective way to see Bermuda. The ride to Cape Liberty in Bayonne was a breeze as we live 30 minutes away. We arrived at the pier at 12:00 and were on the ship by 12:15. Embarkation was fast and easy... We were greeted by smiling faces and a nice glass of champagne, they had fresh juices too for those who do not drink alcoholic beverages. We were told that our rooms would NOT be ready until after one. We decided to venture to our room anyway and low and behold IT WAS READY. Our butler greeted us with a smile and introduced himself.. we were in our room by 12:20. This was our first balcony and we're spoiled now! :) Our room was beautiful. The bedding was plush and we slept like babies. The bathroom is very small, but they replaced the towels constantly and supplied the most luxurious elemis hair and body products, enough for the whole week and left over to bring home. No toothpaste though. On our previous cruises, we were supplied with everything including disposable razors. Azamara doesn't. Our first impression of the ship was A+. The ship has such an elegant classy feel. Dark wood everywhere. No glitz at all. Very soothing. We were very happy with the ship layout as well. Being that the Azamara is a smaller ship, everything was easy to get to. We didn't participate in any ship's activities. We did use their library. We basically lounged around or lazed in the pool. We were on vacation and were both very tired, we enjoyed the quiet time together. We did use the ship's internet service, but don't bother with this, it took 20 minutes to log on and another 30 to send an email. I was reimbursed with no problem, however, never again. The service on this ship was excellent. We were waited on hand and foot, all of our questions were answered. Our butler refreshed our fruit and flowers daily. Our room steward kept our room clean and spotless. We ordered a full steak and egg breakfast to eat on our balcony on the morning we arrived at St. George. The view was spectacular. They had a protein drink/juice bar. They only had 1 juicer to serve all of the guests and ONLY 2 people working the juice bar. They need to get more equipment and have more people work. It was overwhelming for the workers to get all of the orders correct. We had to wait a while for our drinks but it was well worth it. For you health nuts, this is a must! We ate in both Aqualina and Prime C restaurants (both at no charge because we were on our honeymoon). My husband and I agree that the food, service and extra touches in Prime C made it the best dining experience of our lives. It was magnificent and service was above EXCELLENT. We eat in NYC all the time and have been to many wonderful restaurants, but PRIME C TOPS ALL! Dinner in the main dining room was very good. All of the meals I ate were tasty, and savory. I did not like eating at the buffet for dinner. This was hit or miss. Their lunch buffet was plentiful and tasty. We preferred eating in the dining room for lunch. Delish! We purchased a sail and swim excursion from the ship. Luckily we did, my husband slashed his foot on coral and needed medical attention. This put a damper on the rest of our travel plans, but we made the best of it. Anyway, because we purchased the excursion from the ship, we did not have to pay the medical bill (on the ship). The medical staff was very professional and helpful and made follow up calls to make sure my husband was ok. They even gave him a weeks worth of antibiotics and pain medicine at no charge. There were a few children on this cruise, they were very well behaved! For entertainment, we saw "that's hollywood". It was very good. We enjoyed ourselves. We also went to the captains cocktail hour. The drinks were very good and it was nice to meet all of the ship's crew. St. Georges Bermuda was breathtaking and quaint. The homes were absolutely breathtaking. We went to Horseshoe bay and this beach was indeed beautiful and they really do have pink sand. The surf was a little rough though. We rented chairs and umbrellas for 10 dollars each and I think we got half back upon return. Disembarkation was a breeze. Our luggage was so easy to find and we were out of the terminal in less than 10 minutes. I would DEFINITELY cruise with Azamara again. They have a few things to figure out here and there but they'll make it. It's sad that they will not continue cruising to Bermuda. We had a wonderful time! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
Before setting off on our cruise we were quite skeptical,ie. reviews and lack of pictures of the ship. We were very pleased however, boarding the ship was a breeze. Loved the interior of the ship, reminded me of Titanic, decor. Our room ... Read More
Before setting off on our cruise we were quite skeptical,ie. reviews and lack of pictures of the ship. We were very pleased however, boarding the ship was a breeze. Loved the interior of the ship, reminded me of Titanic, decor. Our room was perfectly adequate in size, we had two twin beds, and a veranda. Beautiful decor, bedding, furnishings etc. Everything we were worried about faded away. Service was exceptional. Food amazing. Our butler Hilda very sweet, but so overworked. Entertainment was very good the first night, didn't really like the magician, he spoke to fast, couldn't understand him. Met some lovely people on deck everyday. Pool very very small, but was fine when you were in the pool. My friend had the massage, was great except for the big sales pitch at the end, not what you want to hear after a relaxing massage. Harpist , jackie dolan, very good, very friendly, great sense of humor. She actually joined us for dinner one night, I'm from Ireland , she's from Ireland, need i say more. Had dinner at Prime C. but dinner at discoveries was much much better.Friday my friend had dinner at Aqulina, I was dying in bed, sea sickness. she said it was the best meal on the cruise. Liked St. George more than Hamilton. All in all i, we , would recommend this cruise. They have really tried to make this a great vacation for all. It took time, but everything was as promised. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2007
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
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
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
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
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
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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