Azamara or Cunard?

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#1
Scotland
530 Posts
Joined May 2007
As a previous passenger on Cunard and feeling less and less satisfied with them I wondered whether people thought Azamara might be more our cup of tea (as it were). We were finding the ships a bit too large and we just didnt find ourselves enjoying the large scale entertainments at all. We dont go to the shows or the casino or take advantage of many of the activities provided. (We are obviously very boring!). However, we enjoy quiet, luxury, good food and good company. Would Azamara fit the bill? What are the predominent nationalities of the passengers? Mostly European or North American? Both fine by us but we only speak English and French- potential limitations for communication! Any ideas or suggestions welcomed. We`re looking to next year for a possible Baltic cruise. (River cruising this year)
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Previous cruises: QE2 X3, Viking Pride X1, Arcadia X1, Avalon Scenery X1, Avalon Creativity X1, QVX1. Viking Douro X1
#2
Lancashire, England
437 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
We have been on both Azamara (4 times) & Cunard (twice) and prefer Azamara because of size of ship and the staff on board. We have had a good mix of nationalities on our 4 Azamara cruises, including American, European, Australian, South American, Japanese, but it may depend on the itinerary you choose. The welcome you get from the Azamara crew is wonderful. I hadn't seen the Hotel Director for 2 years on the Quest when we sailed on her last month in Antarctica, but he saw me sat in the coffee bar, came up and gave me a big hug and said welcome back. In our opinion the service levels are better than Cunard and the food is very good. Also with the Azamara ships you can sail into ports the big ships can't reach, e.g dock right in St Petersburg, sail up the Mekong and dock Saigon, or tender into small Italian ports such as Porto Fino.

Whatever you choose to do I hope you enjoy your next cruise.
#3
UK
2,060 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
No comparison Nippy Sweetie......Azamara every time. I have done 7 Cunard cruises on QM2, QE and QV and I think both food standards, service and general quality have declined over the past three years.

Azamara food and service is wonderful, as are the newer entertainment shows. You will become a member of the Azamara family and you will be genuinely welcomed "home" from your day in port.

The passenger mix is usually predominantly North American with a fair few Brits, French and Scandinavians and absolutely no language problems. AZ passengers are usually well travelled, cultured, and friendly so it's no problem to be talking to them way after dinner has finished.

I'd say the only thing you may miss are formal nights, which Cunard still do very well. I do miss dressing up for dinner....most AZ pax are likely to wear what they call resort elegant....which can vary between jeans and a T shirt to an open necked shirt and chino type trousers for the men.....and practically anything goes for the women! Each to his own....but don't expect Cunard standards of dress.

I think once you have done an Azamara cruise that Cunard will be losing you forever!
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#4
1,209 Posts
Joined May 2008
We are sailing Azamara for the first time this summer. We have sailed on Oceania and Cunard's QM2. Never say never but we hope to never cruise the QM2 again. It just wasn't the right fit for us and our cruise was 24 days. We loved the Oceania Regatta but haven't sailed lately because we can't find the right itinerary. My sister and BIL along with our neighbors love Cunard but its just not for us.
#5
Scotland
530 Posts
Joined May 2007
Thank you all-I think thats settled! Will get going on booking up for next year!
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Previous cruises: QE2 X3, Viking Pride X1, Arcadia X1, Avalon Scenery X1, Avalon Creativity X1, QVX1. Viking Douro X1
#7
NJ, USA
1,680 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
I would like to pop in to support Azamara. We sailed the QM2 twice in Princess Grill. Although the dining was excellent, there were few activities to keep us occupied. The crew was good but, on Azamara, they were exceptional from stewards up to senior staff. We made good friends and have visited or kept in touch. Aqualine and Prime C were very good and I nice break from the dining room. We also enjoyed the more inclusive nature and the coziness of Azamara. Although we were never crowded on QM2, with fewer passengers on Azamara, it was a better experience.
#8
Orlando, FL
971 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Add my vote to the mix. AZAMARA! Sailed QE2 and QM2 over the years and just two months ago finally sailed the Azamara Quest and was very happy with the Azamara experience. It's a no brainer and I'll probably never sail a "large format" ship again after that. I met so many friends, and the ship, service and food was top notch. If you can afford it go that route.
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2016 - Oceania Nautica- Beijing to Hong Kong (4 Days in Beijing prior, 3 days in Hong Kong post)
2015 - Oceania Marina - Sydney to Auckland (5 Days in Sydney prior, 3 days in Auckland post)
2014 - Oceania Marina - Southampton to Southampton around the British Isles (with 4 days in Amsterdam prior)
2013 - Oceania Marina - Stockholm to Copenhagen (4 days extra on each end)
2012 - Azamara Quest - Rio to Buenos Aires (4 days extra on each end)
2011 - QM2 - New England & Canada
2010 - Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
2009 - Carnival ??? - E. Caribbean
2008 - Carnival Conquest - W. Caribbean
2007 - Celebrity ??? - E. Caribbean
(COLLEGE & STARTING CAREER )
1997 - Cunard QE2 - E. Caribbean
#9
2,289 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
Oceania...I have sailed both Cunard & Azamara....I have become less enamored w/ Cunard simply due to the quality of service onboard. I loved QE2 for transatlantics & the Panama Canal...but the QM2 is a step down all round.

My partner & I did 16 day Miami - San Diego Panama Canal...the size of t he ship is wonderful along w/ service & food. Saying that we found the decor needed help - everything from the mattresses(horrible) to the "Old Country Estate theme" was a bit worn.

Oceania has 2 of the Azamara sister ships and 2 new ships.....friends have sailed on Oceania in Europ last summer & raved about everything.....

I'm inclined to try Oceania next time....I'm tired of sponsored start-ups waiting for customers to pay for the companies needs(new mattreses) while touting a new luxury product.

We too do not take part in shows, casinos etc....a good combo or piano player and something lively at times...a good mix....I do not want to hear another carib band!

Good discrete service, good food & wine & the sea...its simple really.
#10
Orlando, FL
971 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
Originally posted by Rotterdam
Oceania...I have sailed both Cunard & Azamara....I have become less enamored w/ Cunard simply due to the quality of service onboard. I loved QE2 for transatlantics & the Panama Canal...but the QM2 is a step down all round.

My partner & I did 16 day Miami - San Diego Panama Canal...the size of t he ship is wonderful along w/ service & food. Saying that we found the decor needed help - everything from the mattresses(horrible) to the "Old Country Estate theme" was a bit worn.

Oceania has 2 of the Azamara sister ships and 2 new ships.....friends have sailed on Oceania in Europ last summer & raved about everything.....

I'm inclined to try Oceania next time....I'm tired of sponsored start-ups waiting for customers to pay for the companies needs(new mattreses) while touting a new luxury product.

We too do not take part in shows, casinos etc....a good combo or piano player and something lively at times...a good mix....I do not want to hear another carib band!

Good discrete service, good food & wine & the sea...its simple really.
When did you sail Azamara? Was it after the dry dock they just did last November? I didn't find the ship to be anything you spoke of and the mattresses were BRAND NEW for our sailing? That said, I'm excited to try Oceania this August (though we are sailing on the larger Marina which isn't a sister ship to the R-Class Azamara ships).
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2016 - Oceania Nautica- Beijing to Hong Kong (4 Days in Beijing prior, 3 days in Hong Kong post)
2015 - Oceania Marina - Sydney to Auckland (5 Days in Sydney prior, 3 days in Auckland post)
2014 - Oceania Marina - Southampton to Southampton around the British Isles (with 4 days in Amsterdam prior)
2013 - Oceania Marina - Stockholm to Copenhagen (4 days extra on each end)
2012 - Azamara Quest - Rio to Buenos Aires (4 days extra on each end)
2011 - QM2 - New England & Canada
2010 - Celebrity Millenium - Alaska
2009 - Carnival ??? - E. Caribbean
2008 - Carnival Conquest - W. Caribbean
2007 - Celebrity ??? - E. Caribbean
(COLLEGE & STARTING CAREER )
1997 - Cunard QE2 - E. Caribbean
#11
Leicestershire, UK
1,165 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
If you are looking for something different then I would suggest you have a look at Oceania. They have a similar passenger mix to Azamara.
We usually travel in the Grills on Cunard and have no complaints with them, we loved Oceania and enjoyed Azamara (but this was before refit and experienced the most uncomfortable beds we have ever had on a cruise).
Of course Azamara are now offering unlimited alcoholic drinks as part of their package which has bumped up their prices accordingly.
If you are not a 'big' drinker then I think you will get a better fit on Oceania and there is no extra charge for the speciality restaurants. Also Oceania have 2 beautiful new ships.
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Glenndale
#12
UK
58 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
I agree that Oceania have two beautiful new ships although we have only been on Marina last year.

But having done a cruise on Journey recently I would say that Azamara is definitely a better fit for us. We liked the food better, there was a lot more going on with the entertainment and well there is just no comparison in how the crew interacts with the passengers.

IMHO Oceania is good but Azamara is better. And to show that we have just booked two more cruises with them.
#13
2,360 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by Glenndale
Also Oceania have 2 beautiful new ships.
And these have nearly twice the passenger capacity of the R-ships, an important consideration for many of us who like small ship ambiance. No, thanks.
#14
Leicestershire, UK
1,165 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
I'm not a cheerleader for any particular cruise line. I have only travelled on Nautica on O and Quest on A, for me O is the best fit especially taking into consideration A's 'enhancements'.
The OP is used to travelling on ships with at least 2000 pax on Cunard so even O's 'big' ships would seem more intimate.
Isn't it wonderful that we have so much choice? Something for everyone.
Just for info I've taken 40 cruises with 11 different cruiselines.
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Glenndale
#15
2,289 Posts
Joined Oct 2001
It was a winter trans canal cruise..16 days....the size of the ship is wonderful - we were just put off by another company touting a premium experience & experincing a lot less - we are pretty easy going but expect a clean comfortable ship w/ good service. Put a ship out that represents what your marketing...we probably won't be back because they just did not deliver....the laest they could of done was replace the matresses before the ship was put in service....everything from the linens to some of the diningroom seating (a couple of times dining chairs were removed because of loose legs - happened to me 2x & others). They basically had all the materials but certainly were not managing it well.

I know the economy has been tough at times especially for startups - but as consumers we are tired of subsidizing sub par products.

I hope you'll let us know about your Oceania experience - we are looking to book an Autumn cruise w/ them.



Originally posted by corpkid
When did you sail Azamara? Was it after the dry dock they just did last November? I didn't find the ship to be anything you spoke of and the mattresses were BRAND NEW for our sailing? That said, I'm excited to try Oceania this August (though we are sailing on the larger Marina which isn't a sister ship to the R-Class Azamara ships).
#16
Phoenix
625 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Originally posted by GreenEyedKat
I agree that Oceania have two beautiful new ships although we have only been on Marina last year.

But having done a cruise on Journey recently I would say that Azamara is definitely a better fit for us. We liked the food better, there was a lot more going on with the entertainment and well there is just no comparison in how the crew interacts with the passengers.

IMHO Oceania is good but Azamara is better.
And to show that we have just booked two more cruises with them.
I couldn't agree with you more. I've taken 7 Oceania cruises, and will not be taking any more on that line, for a number of reasons. Azamara far outshines Oceania in the way it treats its passengers and the extraordinary
Azamara crews, as well as the "perks" Azamara offers it's repeat passengers. And "O's" new ships are too big. MHO.
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ciao for now, travelinjudy


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Azamara Journey -Singapore to Hong Kong 2-03-14
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#17
France
143 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
Azamara is streets ahead of Cunard in its Carnival guise.

We sailed on Caronia 12 years ago and it was great as good as Azamara is now. In the pre Carnival days Cunard was 5 star, but not any more. We found QE in 2011 to be a floating geriatric Butlins, and the food was awful!

Azamara treat you as a valued customer - nothing is too much trouble.
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11-14-2012 Azamara Journey





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