Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review: Celebrity Cruises / Azamara Club Cruises

Continuing Shawn J. Dake’s
Cruise Ships 2012, The Year In Review

Celebrity Cruises added their fifth and final ship in the “Solstice Class” quintet with the addition of the slightly larger CELEBRITY REFLECTION. This latest entry is 126,000 gross tons, 1,033 feet in length and has a slightly wider, 123 foot beam. One feature that a select few of her 3,030 passengers will enjoy, is a two-bedroom 1,636 square foot Reflection Suite. The suite extends out over the side of the ship with a wraparound veranda, a unique glass shower, 24 hour a day butler service and can accommodate up to six guests. The ship also has five Signature Suites, each with a veranda and floor-to-ceiling windows. Both types of accommodations are located on Deck 14 in a private area with key card access. Technical problems on early cruises and the first trans-Atlantic crossing slowed the ship causing a port call in Tenerife to be missed.

CELEBRITY SILHOUETTE at Hamburg.  Photo © Peter Knego 2011.
CELEBRITY SILHOUETTE at Hamburg. Photo © Peter Knego 2011.
Celebrity Cruises’ latest Solstice Class ship, the spectacular CELEBRITY REFLECTION, which made her Miami debut. Photo © Peter Knego Dec 2012
Celebrity Cruises’ latest Solstice Class ship, the spectacular CELEBRITY REFLECTION, which made her Miami debut. Photo © Peter Knego Dec 2012

The CELEBRITY REFLECTION was formally named in Miami on December 1st with four godmothers, Jovanka Goronjic, Megan Mathie, Helen O’Connell, and Rosey Rodriguez, all personally affected by breast cancer, performing the ceremony. The CELEBRITY CENTURY (ex CENTURY) became the first ship to berth at the new floating deep water dock in Sitka, Alaska. Until this September, all large ships visiting the port had to tender their passengers to shore. Celebrity Cruises has a new CEO with the appointment of Michael Bayley, and he is a guy who understands passenger shipping having spent 30 years with Royal Caribbean Cruises in a variety of roles, from working onboard (beginning as assistant purser on the NORDIC PRINCE) to previously holding the position of executive vice-president of international operations. He replaces Dan Hanrahan who had been president or CEO for the past 13 years.

AZAMARA QUEST (ex R SEVEN, DELPHIN RENAISSANCE, BLUE MOON) departs drydock, Cadiz, Spain November 16 2012, courtesy Azamara Club Cruises
AZAMARA QUEST (ex R SEVEN, DELPHIN RENAISSANCE, BLUE MOON) departs drydock, Cadiz, Spain November 16 2012, courtesy Azamara Club Cruises

Azamara Club Cruises continued to operate as a separate small ship, upscale division of Celebrity Cruises. On March 30th, the AZAMARA QUEST (ex R SEVEN, DELPHIN RENAISSANCE, BLUE MOON) suffered a fire in the engine room which left it adrift for a day. At the time of the incident, the ship was carrying 590 passengers and 411 crew. Five crewmen were injured by smoke inhalation. Electricity and propulsion was partially restored and the ship proceeded under her own power to Sandakan, Malaysia (Borneo). The ship was on a 17-day Southeast Asia cruise.

Unlike other incidents this year, the cruise line, captain and crew received praise from the passengers for their handling of the situation following the fire. Later in the year, the ship emerged from an eight-day drydock sporting a new dark-blue color scheme on the hull.

A highlight of the year found the AZAMARA JOURNEY (ex R SIX, BLUE DREAM, CELEBRITY JOURNEY) departing April 10th from New York on a charter voyage to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the White Star Liner TITANIC. The crew and passengers held a memorial service directly over the site where the ship slipped below the surface on her plunge to the bottom of the Atlantic. The ship also called at Halifax, Nova Scotia where many of the victims of the disaster are buried. Each of the Azamara twins carry 694-passengers and measure 30,277 gross tons. In the new year, the line will further upgrade their already fine product by introducing an all-inclusive concept with most drinks included in the cruise fare.

 


Shawn Dake is a freelance photo-journalist and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters.com. For more than a decade he has written his annual “Cruise Ships, The Year In Review” which has now grown to a nearly 15,000 word essay recalling all of the events that have taken place within the cruise industry the previous year.

 

Shawn Dake

Shawn Dake

Shawn J. Dake, freelance travel writer and regular contributor to MaritimeMatters, worked in tourism and cruise industry for over 35 years.  A native of Southern California, his first job was as a tour guide aboard the Queen Mary.  A frequent lecturer on ship-related topics he has appeared on TV programs.  Owner of Oceans Away Cruises & Travel agency, he served as President of the local Chapter of Steamship Historical Society of America.  With a love of the sea, he is a veteran of 115 cruises.
Shawn Dake

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