Length: 593 ft
Registry: MaltaBest For People Who Want
Smaller ship convenience with the amenities of a mid-size luxury brand. Butler service in every stateroom, port-intensive itineraries and alternative dining options.Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
Larger ships with plenty of onboard activities; extensive children's facilities, big casinos, elaborate stage shows, short sun-soaked itineraries.Onboard Experience
These ships put their focus on providing the guest with ultimate comfort while taking the ship on unusual destinations. Stateroom amenities including butler service, plush bedding and furniture and spacious bathrooms are accompanied by fine dining and onboard enrichment in the form of lectures and demonstrations. But these are not ships where you will idle away your time on sea days wandering between the pool and the steam room. More likely you will use your stateroom to recover from exhausting shore excursions followed by sumptious meals and then soon to bed.
Suite passengers are given a slate of comfort conveniences such as complimentary soda and bottled water in the room's mini-bar, plus complimentary wine by room service at any time. Generous portions of Elemis bath products are included.Cuisine
The onboard cuisine has been improved dramatically since management by Larry Pimentel and his capable second in command Edie Bornstein came aboard in early 2010. Suite guests are allowed to dine in either of two alternative dining restuarnats at any time with no additional charge. For the rest of the guests the cover charge is $15 per person.Wine is always complimentary onboard for lunch and dinner, with a red and a white wine both coming from a collection of unusual "boutique" wines from unusual places such as South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, etc. Each night, the two wine selections come from similar regions. If the wine is not to the liking of the customer, which is rare (these are not "2-buck Chuck" brands), then other complimentary wines are offered. There is also an extensive list of special wines available for additional fees. Restaurants
The main dining room, Discoveries, features open seating, meaning you can dine whenever and with whomever you please, and the promise of stellar nightly selections not to be missed. Examples of entrees include gulf shrimp with cognac and garlic or a filet mignon with black truffle sauce.
There are two alternative restaurants on board; Aqualina, with the focus on seafood, and Prime C with the focus on steaks and chops. All of the dining rooms feature complimentary wine (red or white) plus an extensive wine list available. Cuts of meat from these alternative restuarants are U.S. Angus aged 24 days before service.Service
The obvious service distinction with Azamara is the inclusion of butler service with every cabin who is generally available to do the special favors a room steward would not do. Want to have a cocktail party for friends in your cabin? The butler will arrange for the champagne and hors d 'ouevres. Want to book a shore excursion or get a reservation in the special restaurants? Just tell the butler what you want, no forms to fill in or lines to wait in. Want a full dinner from the dining room menu served course by course in your stateroom? The butler will do it.Tipping
Gratuities are included in the cruise fare. This covers all service personnel, including the waiters and head waiters who look after guests in the dining rooms; housekeeping staff; and butlers and stateroom attendants.Entertainment
options are simple yet diverse musical offerings that range from upbeat dance bands to intimate piano bar entertainers. The showcase theatre features a talented cast of musicians as well as a host of variety entertainers. There is a small casino with some slots and a few table games like Blackjack, roulette and "Let it Ride." No Craps tables.Cabins
Inside cabins are the smallest at 158 sq. feet. Features include two lower beds convertible to queen size; flat-screen television; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning, direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand-held hairdryer.
Outside staterooms are 170 sq. feet, have either portholes or big picture windows. Features include two lower beds convertible to queen size; flat-screen television; some with sofa bed; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand-held hairdryer. All category 07 staterooms have a panorama window with an obstructed view. All category 08 staterooms have a porthole instead of a window.
Veranda cabins are 175 sq. feet, plus a 45 sq. ft. balcony. Features include a queen size; floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors; sitting area with sofa bed; private veranda; flat-screen television; refrigerator with mini-bar; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; two hairdryers, one in the bathroom and another at the desk. A complete assortment of complimentray bath products from Elemis comes in every bathroom.
Sunset Veranda staterooms are 175 sq.ft with verandas ranging from 46 to 64 sq. ft. Features include two lower beds convertible to queen size; floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors; sitting area with sofa bed; private veranda; flat-screen television; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand- held hairdryer. Veranda measurements are approximate.
Sky suites with private balconies are a roomy 266 sq. feet, plus a 60 sq. ft. balcony with two chairs and a table. Features include two lower beds convertible to queen size; floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors; sitting area with sofa bed; bath tub; private veranda; flat-screen television; DVD/CD player; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand-held hairdryer.
Royal Suites range from 440 to 501 sq. ft. with verandas ranging from 105 to 156 sq. ft. Features include separate living room; floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors; master bedroom with two lower beds convertible to queen size; convertible sofa bed; master bath with whirlpool tub and separate shower; guest bathroom; private veranda; flat-screen television; DVD/CD player; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand- held hairdryer.
Forward suites have direct sight lines of the rope deck on the front of the vessel. And if you're in a forward cabin on Deck 6, you'd better hope you like the orchestra that performs (and rehearses!) in the Cabaret Lounge, as you're right above it, and will be hearing a lot of them!
The Penthouse Suite is 560 sq. ft. with a 233 sq. ft balcony. It features a separate living room; floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors; master bedroom with two lower beds convertible to queen size; convertible sofa-bed; walk-in closet; dressing room with vanity; master bath with whirlpool tub and separate shower; guest bathroom; private veranda; flat-screen television; DVD/CD player; refrigerator with mini-bar; thermostat-controlled air conditioning; direct-dial telephone and voicemail; desk; in-room safe; hand- held hairdryer.
All suite guests recieve complimentary chilled soda, bottled water and two bottles of hard liquor at no extra cost. A chilled bottle of champagne is set in the room before embarkation. Complimentary wine is available by room service at any time.Fitness/Spa
In keeping with the Celebrity Spa style, the ships have an Aqua Spa with Thelassotherapy pools, hair salon services, aerobics, and gym and acupuncture services. The Spa is all the way forward on deck 10 for panoramic views of the sea while working out. Suite guests are also given complimentary access to this thermal suite throughuot every cruise.Children's Facilities
There are no children's facilities onboard.Attire
The dress code is always resort casual with no scheduled formal nights. Formal attire is welcomed if the guest desires to wear it. No bare feet, tank tops, caps, bathing suits, or jeans are allowed in the dining room or specialty restaurants. Additionally, no tuxedo rentals will be available onboard.
Examples of resort casual attire include sportswear, shorts, casual dresses, skirts, and pants in light fabrics such as linen, cotton, silk and wool gabardine for the women. For the men the line recommends sportswear, golf shirts, shorts, pants, and a sportcoat if desired, (but not required) in light fabrics such as linen, cotton, silk and wool gabardine.
What a disappointment! We have cruised on Celebrity 10-11 times in the last 10 years and were expecting a cruise at least equal to Celebrity. Azamara is being publicized by Celebrity as upscale from Celebrity. Boy did they miss the mark.
The small ship (700) passengers was wonderful and the ship itself is beautiful. The crew was helpful and courteous but oh so inexperienced.
We received a questionaire the 3rd day on board asking for comments. They knew they were in trouble. At least they were looking for help.
Problems and Disappointments Pre cruise hotel, booked thru cruise line, had no idea about pick up time next morning. Had never heard of Azamara or the Quest.
Hotel booked thru cruise line was the pits.
No trays in buffet area -- had to juggle plates.
Plates were HOT. They handed out paper towels after a few days of complaints and dropped dishes.
No maps of ports available if you were not on a tour.
Waiters in charge of wine -- no wine steward. Waiters knew nothing about the wines.
Open seating was a disaster. Servers had maps, even on last night, to locate tables. Good luck infinding your wine from night to night, particularly after eating in one of the specialty restaurants.
We like fixed seating where your server and assistant get to know you.
No music channels on TV in stateroom. Same music over and over and over.
No directory of movies on TV.
Movies and shows on interactive TV were few and poorly recorded (some cutting off before movie ended) and insufficient number for a 14-day cruise.
No dessert tray at dinner. You had to guess from the menu and the servers didn't know because they were as new as was the menu.
They replaced Michelle Roux -- what a mistake! Celebrity is well known for its food; not any more. Examples -- no lobster tails but 4 lobster dishes including smallest lobster tail -- 2 bites, and 3 tasteless unidentifiable lobster "things;" excargot in cream sauce, not garlic butter; "soft shell" crab appetizer in a "HARD shell" -- not possible to eat -- no thing to crack the shell; etc.
Limited choices, particularly for healthy eaters; salmon. Alternative was dried out and overcooked both times it was served.
Ice cream bar at buffet had 8-10 choices but NO LABELS, so server had to repeat choices for every single person -- stupid!
Music in theater pre-show and elsewhere was for travelers in their 20's, not in their 60's and 70's. It was awful and much too loud.
Azamara Cruises, a branch of the Celebrity family goes "freestyle" cruising.
We had originally booked to travel on the Zenith from New York to Bermuda and return, but recently Celebrity Cruises sold the Zenith and acquired Azamara Journey, which now sails on this cruise.
We had previously travelled on this cruise on board the Zenith and thoroughly enjoyed the service, entertainment and ambience of the Celebrity Brand, thus the reason for the repeat cruise. When we were advised that the Azamara Journey would be of a higher standard of service etc than the Celebrity, so we were really looking forward to this trip, but we were disappointed
On board the Journey - Attire - Azamara Journey's ambience is always elegant casual; there aren't any formal nights. However, please note that jeans, t-shirts, tank tops, swimsuits, robes and bare feet are not permitted in restaurants and indoor bars at any time” All meals are taken open seating in the Discoveries Dining Room - dinner is served between 6.00pm and 9.30pm.
The ship sails from Bayonne, New Jersey. The port of Bayonne is in a very isolated area - great if you plan to drive tothe ship and park your car on the pier during the cruise, but difficult and somewhat expensive to get to, if travelling independently.
On arrival at the pier, and even before we were able to get out of the taxi (USA$35.00 from Newark Penn Street Station), we were approached by a porter who was aggressive and somewhat intimidatory in respect of tips. He reminded us that he was responsible to ensure that our bags were placed on he ship. Having suitably rewarded him for his services, our suitcases were placed in a crate for delivery on board.
Check-in was efficient, professional and courteous. We were handed a letter at check-in advising us that Azamara Journey was a non-smoking ship - Azamara Journey has two designated smoking areas. They are located in the aft section of the Looking Glass Lounge, port side, and on the starboard section of the pool deck. Smoking areas have signs (no they don't) indicating that smoking is permitted there Cigar and pipe smoking are restricted to Pool Deck 9 forward starboard section. All other areas of the ship are non-smoking. This includes Public Rooms, Restaurants, Pool Deck, Staterooms and Suits, Verandas and Halls. Unfortunately this was the first we were advised of this policy. We understand that some guests were advised of this policy prior to embarkation but most were not. As a smoker this caused concern. The "corners" allocated were seldom cleaned, ashtrays were overflowing and rarely emptied and there was not enough room for the number of smokers onboard.
The ship and furnishings are however beautiful with exquisite flower arrangements throughout.
However on some of the stairways and bedroom corridors, where there is thinner carpeting, there is a "tinny" feel to the floor.
Being a smaller vessel, the "motion of the ocean" even in the slightest swell is noticeable.
We were occupying an "inside cabin" or stateroom on Deck 8. All Staterooms have their own Butler. Another name for your stateroom steward only dressed with tails. Unfortunately he did not provide or offer Butler Services as defined on other Premier Cruise Lines. The cabins too are well presented and comfortable, although there is limited storage facility, though enough for a 7 -day cruise. Unlike Celebrity Cruises, there is writing paper, pens or postcards of the ship in the cabin information folder, and no Totes bags are provided. There is supposed to be a pillow menu, which we were never offered. The cabin directory indicated that there was an in-cabin bar - this was not the case, nor was there a refrigerator. There was a television, though not an "Interactive Service" as on other Celebrity Ships.
Bath robes and slippers are provided, together with heavenly toiletries.
The telephone messaging system was non-functional throughout the cruise, even though we reported it twice as not working.
Occasionally we were able to hear the conversations of the guests occupying the next cabin.
The Main Dining Room - the Discoveries Dining Room was excellent in all regards - food, variety and service. A feeling of warmth and friendliness abounded.
The buffet - Windows Café is very small in size and thus selection was limited. The food was of reasonable standard and quality. There are no trays and no waiters to assist guests with their food to their tables.
There are two speciality restaurants, Aqualina and Prime C Restaurants (supplementary charges apply) - though guests are offered one complimentary dinner per guest per voyage (beverage charges apply). The dining experience in each of these restaurants is truly outstanding.
There are no "elegant afternoon teas" served on board, nor are there any tableside flambres in the Discoveries Dining Room (Crepes and Cherry Jubilees are pre-pared behind the scene).
There is a luxurious spa on board, offering a full range of exotic and relaxing treatments.
There is one small - very small swimming pool on board and two whirlpools.
Other usual services were available - shopping, photography, shore-excursions and Internet access.
Entertainment was good but not all that good. There were no professional Las Vegas style floor shows featuring singers and dancers - apparently there is not enough room on the stage - a major disappointment for us, as we always enjoyed this type of entertainment provided by Celebrity. Evening entertainment consisted of singers and comedians. The Celebrity Cabaret Lounge, the main venue for evening entertainment has poor visibility of the stage from some of the seating. There were no enrichment lectures.
All bands and music provided throughout the ships was excellent - there was something for everyone.
All the crew on board were pleasant, helpful and wanting to oblige and assist in anyway possible.
For us, Azamara Journey was a disappointment. We missed the little Celebrity touches, the lavish style entertainment and of course the non-smoking policy - but that is just us? Maybe, as this was only the 2nd or 3rd voyage for the Journey that time is needed for things to settle down. There is no doubt a market for this type and style of cruising in specialist areas. I do believe that a mainline Celebrity ship would be more suited on this route. Time will no doubt tell.