Azamara vs Seabourn

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#1
St. Petersburg, Fl USA
5,003 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
I wasn't sure if I should, or would, post this review / comparison, but after my cruise experience on the Azamara Journey, I thought it was well deserved. First of all, I have been on most of the luxury cruise lines, Regent, Crystal, SeaDream and mostly Seabourn. I can honestly say that Azamara rates above Regent and Crystal as similiar cruise lines (size etc) and doesn't compare with SeaDream, as its a totally different animal.

Comparing Azamara to Seabourn is pretty easy, as the service (other than one sole employee) was stellar. The personalized service was spectacular. For example, I was sunning up on deck 11, solo, on a port day and fell asleep. I awoke to a tall glass of ice water beside my lounge! What a feeling of being "taken care of!"

The pool deck experience included offerings of iced melon sticks, evian spray, and cool towels.

The bar service was terrific (again, other than one employee) and the "open bar" promotion was a real hit. Like Seabourn, not having to sign for drinks was a real plus. Most bartenders and waiters knew your drink order as soon as you walked into the bar area! This promotion, including the offerings of complimentary wine with lunch and dinner should eventually be a real "keeper" I hope!

The dining experience was also on par (for the most part). I ate at Aqualina and Prime C mostly, and twice in the main dining room. I would give Aqualina a 100% rating, with Prime C and the main dining room at a 90%. Seabourn, with its alternative restaurant "2" and fine dining- main restaurant would rate a bit better (only serving 200 - 450 passengers, depending on the ship.)

I was in Club Continental suite 8068. This would compare nicely with a typical Seabourn suite, although Seabourn would win with its luxury amenities, such as marble double sinks and jacuzzi tubs. Size and "feel", however, is very comparable. The only negative with the suite was the mattress. It is in desperate need of replacement. This was a very typical comment throughout the ship. I was told that they would be replaced in spring 2012. To wait this long is a huge mistake, in my opinion. Many said that they would not re-book until the mattresses were replaced with new.

The ship itself was in great shape, other than a "dated" pool area, but the pool itself gets higher marks than Seabourn based on size alone. (This is in relation to the original 3 Seabourn ships.) The "hardware" can't compare, as Seabourn is an all-suite cruise line, whereas Azamara offers inside, outside, veranda staterooms, as well as suites.

Based on Service, Food, Ship condition, and amenities, Seabourn would win by a hair. Based on value alone, Azamara wins by a landslide!

I will be writing my official review and experience in a few days, but felt that it was important to make this comparison.

Thank you-

Host Dan
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#2
Edinburgh
9,753 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
Great to hear of your comparisons - we have only cruised on Azamara of the premium lines so it is useful to hear what valid benchmarks might be
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467 days onboard Celebrity and Azamara 2000-2017 and 153 more days booked
#3
19,303 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Host Dan, Thank you for posting the comparison. Please provide the link to your full review here so that we can find it. Thanks!
#4
Boca Raton, FL
18,774 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Hi Dan !

Thanks for your comments. I'm happy to hear you had a great time on Journey. I'm hoping to write a review, but it probably wont be for several weeks, as work is extremely busy this time of year. When tax season is over, I'm sailing on Celebrity in 2 1/2 weeks.

We keep wondering if we are too spoiled for Celebrity, after our incredible Azamara sailing . Welcome Home !
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#5
Scottsdale, AZ
111 Posts
Joined Mar 2008
Thanks for the recent compare/contrast! We are sailing on Azamara Quest 8/6 and can't wait...

I've seen some posts about the bedding; some seem to indicate the beds are/have been replaced--some additional bedding will be done on Journey in the next month I understood.

Can anyone confirm the beds on Quest have been or will be replaced by August?

Thanks again!
Bob
#6
946 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
Bill Lieber has posted that the problem with the bedding seems to be oriented around a mismatch between frames and mattresses. The Quest was launched later than the Journey and apparently didn't have this mismatch issue.

I am not sure about the logistics of the mismatch between frames and mattresses but postings do seem to suggest it is a Journey-only problem and in very limited cases.
#7
St. Petersburg, Fl USA
5,003 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Originally posted by ikelmay
Bill Lieber has posted that the problem with the bedding seems to be oriented around a mismatch between frames and mattresses. The Quest was launched later than the Journey and apparently didn't have this mismatch issue.

I am not sure about the logistics of the mismatch between frames and mattresses but postings do seem to suggest it is a Journey-only problem and in very limited cases.
Yes, I had read that, so I checked... The mattresses fit perfectly in the frame, yet sagged all over (lumpy). Good thing this is a very fixible item!

Host Dan
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#8
Cambridgeshire Fens, UK
7,564 Posts
Joined May 2008
Originally posted by Host Andy
We keep wondering if we are too spoiled for Celebrity, after our incredible Azamara sailing . Welcome Home !
Andy

Don't worry too much. We thought this after our first Azamara cruise but our next cruise on Infinity was just as good - in all respects - and we still cannot separate the two experiences. I am sure that you will have the great time you deserve!

Our second cruise on Quest did not match either of these earlier two cruises and, therefore, I found Dan's comparison of Azamara with the luxury lines extremely interesting. We have been consideing these and have yet to be convinced that they will provide what we are looking for.

Sue
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Sue


2018/19 [Christmas/New Year] Silhouette - Southern Caribbean Holiday
Past
2016/17 [Christmas/New Year] Equinox - Ultimate Caribbean Holiday Cruise
2016 [January] Eclipse - Exotic Southern Caribbean
2015 [April] Millennium - Transpacific Shanghai to Vancouver
2014 [November] Eclipse - Broadway and Beaches Transatlantic
2013 [November] Constellation - Westbound Transatlantic, [December] Constellation - Western Caribbean B2B
2012 [December] Eclipse - Southern Caribbean
2011 [February] Quest - Southeast Asia, [December] Infinity - Canal & South America
2010 [November] Constellation - Transatlantic
2009 [April] Azamara Quest - Singapore to Athens, [November] Infinity - Panama Canal
2008 [August] Norwegian Sun - Alaska
2007 [November] Millennium - Transatlantic
2006 [June] Constellation - Baltic
#9
Boca Raton, FL
18,774 Posts
Joined Mar 2002
Originally posted by Project_gal
Andy

Don't worry too much. We thought this after our first Azamara cruise but our next cruise on Infinity was just as good - in all respects - and we still cannot separate the two experiences. I am sure that you will have the great time you deserve!

Our second cruise on Quest did not match either of these earlier two cruises and, therefore, I found Dan's comparison of Azamara with the luxury lines extremely interesting. We have been consideing these and have yet to be convinced that they will provide what we are looking for.

Sue
Hi Sue !

Thank you. I'm fairly sure our Celebrity sailing wont reach to the levels of what we experienced on Azamara. With that said, we've sailed on Celebrity dozens of times, and truly enjoy Celebrity Constellation. I'm sure we will have a great time.

I'm sailing with My Parents, and an Aunt & Uncle. We always enjoy each other's company. For me, being with Family is what makes the Cruise special.
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#10
Asheville
15,560 Posts
Joined May 2007
my mattress seemed fine but my cabin was so cold that twice help arrived but the cabin never did warm up.. eneded up with the cough that lasted weeks. other than hat counting the days until my Baltic cruise.
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Robin
#11
19,303 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Project_gal
Andy

Don't worry too much. We thought this after our first Azamara cruise but our next cruise on Infinity was just as good - in all respects - and we still cannot separate the two experiences. I am sure that you will have the great time you deserve!

Our second cruise on Quest did not match either of these earlier two cruises

Sue
Project Gal, interesting comments. We just heard from someone that we met on Azamara last year. They loved the trip and ship last year, and just returned from the March 17 Quest sailing. They did not enjoy the experience as much as 2010, and said while a lot of people think Azamara is the best, they find Celebrity just as good, including the food. In fact, they said they were bored on the 4 sea days as there was nothing to do on the ship. The Spa was booked for the entire week and the shops were closed for renovations. The trip they were on was heavily discounted and they will not be back at the new prices.

We also heard from someone else on this same cruise and there were port problems. Azamara did not deliver on its promise to take guests to close ports where the mass market lines may not be able to dock. And only one port had a free shuttle. Azamara did not advise people that if the ship is not anchored at the new cruise dock near the Bund in Shanghai, the other port is about 45-minutes away and transfer cost was about $75.00 US by taxi. The port in Tianjin which was advertised as the "gateway to Beijing" was about 2.5 hours by car to Beijing in good traffic, and I believe Azamara was docked there for two days. So, unless someone stayed at a hotel in Bejing, that would be at least 10 hours of travel time over the two days. The port for Seoul was 1.5 hours away.
#12
Perth, Western Australia
111 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
I have never travelled with Seabourn, so cannot comment on its merits versus Azamara. However, my wife and i have now sailed four times on Azamara Quest, including the March 17 sailing referred to by Jade, and the preceding March 5 voyage. I will probably write a review of these cruises when time permits, but in the meantime I think it only fair to remind readers that Seoul and Beijing are not located on the coast, and anyone who had bothered to do their homework would have known in advance that a lot of travelling would have been required to reach these cities from Tianjin and Incheon. OK the location of the new port used in Shanghai probably disappointed a number of passengers. I guess that we all have different interests and expectations, but for those who wished to use the gymnasium, have a quiet read, attend talks by the two guest lecturers, engage in some of the trivia activities, make the odd donation or two in the casino, or simply chat to old and new friends, there seemed to us that there was sufficient to occupy ones time on sea days.

Nevernever
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#13
Perth, Western Australia
111 Posts
Joined Dec 2008
Just remembered that Azamara organised free shuttle buses from the port in Shanghai to the Bund during most of the first day that we were in port, and thus minimised the need to take expensive taxi rides unless you wished to see other parts of the city.

Nevernever
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#14
548 Posts
Joined Mar 2005
Excellent "Executive Summary" of your upcoming review, Dan. First person accounts are always much more valuable (and credible) than hearing what "someone we met" had to say. As for comparing Azamara & Celebrity, as some posters have, they really two different cruising experiences and one is not necessarily better than the other. An additional factor is that some passengers are "big ship people" who enjoy the variety and buzz of the large liners while others enjoy the simplicity and individualized service of the smaller ships. Whatever floats your boat...
#15
19,303 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by nevernever
Just remembered that Azamara organised free shuttle buses from the port in Shanghai to the Bund during most of the first day that we were in port, and thus minimised the need to take expensive taxi rides unless you wished to see other parts of the city.

Nevernever
NeverNever, but you were a btb passenger. I'm guessing that would have been embarkation day for the majority of passengers, and if so, their experience would have been different than yours.
#16
13 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
DH and I have just returned from a 12 night cruise on Journey, and it was our best cruise yet. But, the mattress in our suite was rock hard, so, being aware of mattress issues through Cruise Critic (thanks!), I requested a foam overlay, and it was there within the hour. Much better! BTW, our mattress did not fit the frame, and there was about a 2 inch difference.
#17
Australia
3 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
It have would be nice to make a comparison between Seabourn and Azamara which my husband I were booked on Azamara Quest for back to back cruises starting in June, (we have previously cruised with Seabourn, which we enjoyed immensely) but unfortunately I don't think this will ever happen. Five months before we were to leave Azamara cancelled the first leg of our cruise due to chartering the whole ship for this period. All our air fares and accommodation had been booked and paid for. To say we were not happy is an understatement, so we cancelled the second leg as it was not worth travelling so far (from Australia) for only 7 days. We are reluctant to book again with Azamara as this could happen again.
#18
wine country
142 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Host Dan: I thought your review was right on the money. We had a wonderful cruise
with you and would definitely cruise with Azamara again. The mattresses need to be
replaced. I hope they do go with the drinks and amenities included for our next cruise,
whenever that may be.
#19
Boonton, NJ
845 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Thanks for the comparison. Good to know it is so close to Seabourn but not as expensive. Very excited to get on Azamara Club. Way to go Azamara!
#20
Boonton, NJ
845 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Originally posted by Jade13
Project Gal, interesting comments. We just heard from someone that we met on Azamara last year. They loved the trip and ship last year, and just returned from the March 17 Quest sailing. They did not enjoy the experience as much as 2010, and said while a lot of people think Azamara is the best, they find Celebrity just as good, including the food. In fact, they said they were bored on the 4 sea days as there was nothing to do on the ship. The Spa was booked for the entire week and the shops were closed for renovations. The trip they were on was heavily discounted and they will not be back at the new prices.

We also heard from someone else on this same cruise and there were port problems. Azamara did not deliver on its promise to take guests to close ports where the mass market lines may not be able to dock. And only one port had a free shuttle. Azamara did not advise people that if the ship is not anchored at the new cruise dock near the Bund in Shanghai, the other port is about 45-minutes away and transfer cost was about $75.00 US by taxi. The port in Tianjin which was advertised as the "gateway to Beijing" was about 2.5 hours by car to Beijing in good traffic, and I believe Azamara was docked there for two days. So, unless someone stayed at a hotel in Bejing, that would be at least 10 hours of travel time over the two days. The port for Seoul was 1.5 hours away.

I actually heard from a friend on facebook how much better Azamara was then Celebrity. Better then a few other lines as well. I would like to do Celebrity. I like the idea of the lawn club.