Soon after we were ushered onto this brand new ship, President of Celebrity Cruises (Dan Hanrahan) had announced the launch of a new cruise brand called “Azamara Cruises”. The Journey is now the official first ship of this new deluxe cruise brand. The Azamara Quest will be the second ship in this fleet when she is introduced in October 2007.
Don’t miss my next blog posting in which I will provide an in-depth review of the Azamara Journey. And, who knows maybe I will share some photos of my experience as a walked around this brand new ship.
Below is a press release issued directly from Celebrity Cruises regarding the announcement of Azamara Cruises:
The launch of a new ship is a momentous occasion for any cruise line, but Celebrity Cruises has made the introduction of their latest liner especially significant. Today, Celebrity not only marked the launch of a 710-guest ship which sets sail tomorrow, but also introduced an entirely new, deluxe cruise brand: "Azamara Cruises."Designed to offer exotic destination-driven travel experiences, Azamara Cruises - consisting of Azamara Journey, which sets sail May 5, and sister ship, Azamara Quest, which enters service in October-will present a more intimate onboard experience, while allowing access to the less-traveled ports of call experienced travelers want to visit.
"We created Azamara Cruises to target an area of the market that we believe is underserved, and an area this product is ideally suited to fill," said Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited, parent company of Azamara Cruises. "This new line falls into what we consider the deluxe category - a category between premium and luxury."
According to Azamara Cruises President Dan Hanrahan, who also is president of Celebrity Cruises, "Azamara Cruises is expressly designed for travel enthusiasts who appreciate what a cruise vacation has to offer, but are looking for something a little different, and a little more special. And what's special about Azamara Cruises is its distinctive combination of impeccable service, exceptional cuisine and off-the-beaten-path destinations, with truly immersive excursions."
Complementing the exotic Caribbean and Europe itineraries for Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, previously announced under the former "Celebrity Expeditions" banner, Hanrahan today announced that Azamara Cruises' itineraries will not only take travelers to some of the most desirable locations in the Caribbean, but will immerse them in Asia, and even transport them around the world. Itinerary details for Azamara Cruises' Asia and world cruises are yet to be announced, but once finalized, the line expects to visit more than 200 ports - most of them new to cruise travelers-in over 70 countries.
While delving deep into the history and culture of remote destinations larger ships can't reach, guests sailing with Azamara Cruises also will enjoy a more exclusive guest experience. Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest offer butler service in every stateroom and suite, as well as concierge-style amenities, including fresh-cut flowers, fresh fruit, Elemis toiletries, complimentary use of Frette cotton robes, two complimentary pairs of slippers, plasma TVs and plush European bedding.
Despite the ships' smaller size, each offers two specialty restaurants: On Azamara Journey, the Mediterranean-influenced "Aqualina" and the stylish steak and seafood restaurant, "Prime C." Guests staying in suites will receive two nights of complimentary dining in one of the two specialty restaurants, while guests in staterooms will receive one. The ships will not require formal attire for dining, and will feature open seating in the main dining room.
Azamara Cruises also presents a wine bar with a spectacular wine cellar offering wine and champagne tastings, seminars, and mini-pairings of food and wine, in addition to its standard menu of fine wines by the glass or bottle.
Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest offer an enhanced emphasis on spa and relaxation, with treatments many cruise travelers have never experienced. Guests in suites can enjoy certain spa services in the privacy of their room. Both ships also will offer an outdoor spa relaxation lounge and an aesthetics suite offering acupuncture, laser hair removal and microdermabrasion.
An onboard "excursion expert" will not only help guests select shore excursions based on their personal interests, but also will serve as a destination guide, offering information about the culture and history of each port of call.The Azamara retail experience onboard also will be enticing to most experienced travelers, with its focus on fine art, sculpture, photography, jewelry, and upscale resort wear. Just prior to setting sail on its maiden voyage May 5, Azamara Journey completed a four-week, approximately $19-million makeover, highlighted by the conversion of 48 staterooms into 32 suites, a complete refurbishment of the dining areas to create the two new specialty restaurants, an expansion of the spa area to include an aesthetics suite, a new Sunset Bar on the aft deck, a new art collection, Cova Café, entirely new carpets and flooring throughout, new exterior decking, new paint schemes, new walls, and entirely new "soft goods," ranging from plush European bedding to cushions, drapes and table linens.
The name "Azamara" is a coined term, rooted in Romance language references to blue ("aza"), the sea ("mar"), and a lesser-known word, "acamar," which, in Classical times, was the southernmost bright star that could be seen from the latitude of Greece. Hanrahan said the company views the new brand as "a bright star on the deep blue sea." Azamara Cruises unlocks the hidden corners of the world for those who desire to immerse themselves in the rich details of every voyage. The deluxe ships - Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest - offer an intimate experience, while allowing access to exotic destinations experienced travelers long to reach. For the 710 guests on each Azamara Cruises ship, every moment at sea embodies the pinnacle of luxury, and each footstep on shore accentuates the difference between visiting a place and getting a true sense of place. Azamara Cruises presents the best of Bermuda and Panama Canal/South America in 2007, elite Asia and the most captivating Caribbean, South America and Europe in 2008, and around-the-world voyages in 2010.