We’re pleased to bring you this guest blog from Andy Geller. You can find him at the Azamara forum on Cruise Critic, or on Twitter at @HostAndy.
I’ve followed Azamara since their inception. Not too many cruise enthusiasts can say that! While the Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest have undergone upgrades over the years, nothing compares to the recent “Reimagine Azamara” project. In January 2016, I had the pleasure of sailing on the newly reimagined Azamara Journey and absolutely loved the transformation.
A significant investment has been made to completely renovate both ships. Virtually every public area, as well as staterooms and suites have been revitalized. The new earth tone colors throughout the ships pay homage to the colors of nature - including the oceans, rivers, trees, and sand. The colors perfectly complement Azamara’s focus on Destination Immersion® experiences.
Our Club Continent Suite was beautifully appointed and the bedding was heavenly. I enjoyed some of the best sleep I’ve had in years! The bathrooms feature wood tones and plenty of shelf space. Some of the Club Continent Suites feature walk-in showers and others feature bathtubs. There are also brand new Interactive televisions and upgraded Internet throughout the ship. In addition, all suites feature butler service and complimentary dining in Azamara’s outstanding specialty dining venues, Prime C and Aqualina.
Two of our favorite new venues are The Living Room and The Patio. The Living Room (formerly Looking Glass) features beautiful new furnishings, a new card room, and tables with built in monitors that allow guests to send virtual postcards to friends and family. I also enjoyed the addition of a Wine & Tapas bar. We sampled many of the tapas items, served in the afternoon, and they were delicious. Add a spectacular view, some enjoyable music, and it’s the perfect place to relax and make new friends.
The Patio’s poolside location is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing lunch. The Patio features huge, juicy burgers, wings, wraps and tasty skewers of steak, chicken, and lamb. As if that weren’t enough, there’s an awesome salad bar too. The Patio transforms to an upscale experience for dinner, with waiter service and a menu featuring steak, ribs, chicken, lamb, fish, the salad bar, and a daily Destination Immersion® menu item. It’s a great place to dine al fresco, with an ocean view!
These incredible changes are simply the latest and greatest from a cruise line that has reinvented itself several times over the past decade. It all began back in 2006, when Royal Caribbean purchased Pullmantur Cruises, acquiring two ships: Blue Dream and Blue Moon, which became Journey and Quest respectively. Originally, the ships were to sail for Celebrity Cruises. However, a last minute surprise formed Azamara Cruises.
I sailed on the Azamara Quest’s maiden voyage in October 2007 and enjoyed the cruise very much. I fell in love with the ship’s size and beauty. I sensed great things were ahead for this brand, but it was missing something – its own identity.
In 2009, the line was rebranded as Azamara®, with industry expert Larry Pimentel as President and CEO. Azamara found its identity by focusing on Destination Immersion® experiences and an incredible onboard experience. Azamara made its passionate officers and crew and integral part of the experience. I’ve sailed with many cruise lines over the years. In my opinion, Azamara has the best officers and crew at sea. Their dedication makes an outstanding cruise experience even better.
I could go on and on, but my best advice is to experience the reimagined Journey or Quest, and their AzAmazing officers & crew, for yourself. The Azamara Journey upgrade is now complete while the Azamara Quest will be revitalized in April 2016. I’m sure she will be every bit as beautiful as Journey.
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