In May 2007, many Celebrity crew members joined forces and arrived in Bahamas for the preparation of the Celebrity's Journey to join the fleet after the necessary dry dock. The ship was taken over from Pullmantur cruises which is also a part of the Royal Caribbean brand. We found a lot of familiar faces from previous ships on which we were working. The ship was crowded with contractor workers. We worked very hard same as any other dry dock in the past. When we finished with the dry dock, the ship was heading for Bayone New Jersey. The ship's interior was 80% finished and there where still contractors working hard to put the finishing touches and complete the final 20% in order for the ship to be launched once more. The pool deck needed a lot of work and the first cruise pool was not even opened. We were not aware that this very ship that we were working on would be used in order for Celebrity Cruise to create a brand new company that would cruise the high in locations around the world.
When crew members found out about the creation of the new cruise company, most of them didn’t accept the idea of a new company, a new system of work, as well as a brand new system of payment. The new company – Azamara – and its first cruise ship – Journey – established new rules and it was nothing like any Celebrity ship in terms of work. Most of the old timers decided to leave Azamara and go back to Celebrity. We also had a lot of trainings in order to get familiar with the new Azamara procedures and company rules. Plenty of people from the office came, such as Ramon Santos, and new menus were implemented by the Blue Team from Las Vegas. Celebrity divided to say goodbye to Miche Roux and his menu.
It was hard at the beginning, but then it turned out for the better. Everything came to its place after the changing of the working system, as well as organization. At first, the team from Azamara was led by the Hotel Director, Mr. Niazi, the captain was from Greece who was frequently referred as Captain Buy for Now by the majority of the crew, Mr. Dominique Gamba was in charge of the Specialty restaurants Aqualina and Prime C.
The first couple of months were nice and relaxing because the Azamara Journey had 7 days itinerary from Bayone to Bermuda with an overnight in Hamilton and St George. With this itinerary the crew members, as well as the guests, had lots of time to spend outside the cruise ship and visit the local bars or some of the famous Beaches such as Pink Sand Beach or Horse Shoe Bay. We strongly recommend
the Horse Shoe Bay beach as the sand is nice and the water is clean. Our favorite place in Hamilton was Cairo Bar&Night Club. The food in the local Cairo is great, the drinks are cold and refreshing, and the parties are awesome. When the ship was docked in Hamilton, Cairo was crowded from crew members and guests who were partying all night. Some of the crew members got fired because of returning to the ship drunk, or going to guests cabins when off duty.
During the days when we were off duty, we were relaxing in the Lemon Tree Cafe where we had a quick bite and surfed the Net in order to check on our friends and family back home. Every cruise was full and the guests where exceptional; mots of them from New Jersey and New York.
The cruise ship sailed around the Bahamas for three months and then ship shipped off to South America. By this time, most of the previous Celebrity crew members left the ship and newly hired crew members joined Journey.
In meantime one more sister ship was lunched to the Azamara family, the Azamara Quest. The two ships met each other that same year in Cartagena Colombia, thus everybody from crew and guests had an opportunity to see both ships from inside. These two ships will meet each other again this year, 2012, in Venice which is a rare opportunity for such experience.
Most of the crew members who worked from the birth of the cruise ship company Azamara left, but there are still some of them who stayed and some of them are Brian White who is a waiter from Jamaica, Gerardo Galardo who is a waiter from Chile, Dale who is one of the best bartenders from Jamaica, and Richard Guzman who is a Hotel Director from Poland. If we left out someone we do apologize, but you can let us know by writing in the comment box and give us an opportunity to extend the list and recognize those crew members who worked so hard to start up this young company.
We wish all Azamara crew members and guests a lot of amazing moments and we hope all are well wherever in the world you are.