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  #1  
Old April 5th, 2011, 01:09 PM
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Thumbs up Azamara vs Seabourn

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  
Old April 5th, 2011, 01:13 PM
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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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  #3  
Old April 5th, 2011, 01:35 PM
Jade13 Jade13 is offline
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Host Dan, Thank you for posting the comparison. Please provide the link to your full review here so that we can find it. Thanks!
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  #4  
Old April 5th, 2011, 02:26 PM
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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  
Old April 5th, 2011, 02:34 PM
360Guy 360Guy is offline
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Default Azamara v Seabourn

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
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  #6  
Old April 5th, 2011, 03:20 PM
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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.
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  #7  
Old April 5th, 2011, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ikelmay View Post
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!

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  #8  
Old April 6th, 2011, 01:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Host Andy View Post
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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2009 [April] Azamara Quest - Singapore to Athens, [November] Infinity - Panama Canal
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Last edited by Project_gal; April 6th, 2011 at 01:12 AM.
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  #9  
Old April 6th, 2011, 01:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Project_gal View Post
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  
Old April 6th, 2011, 01:58 AM
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Talking

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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  #11  
Old April 6th, 2011, 07:33 AM
Jade13 Jade13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Project_gal View Post
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.

Last edited by Jade13; April 6th, 2011 at 07:49 AM.
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  #12  
Old April 6th, 2011, 08:28 AM
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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.

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Old April 6th, 2011, 09:24 AM
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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.

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Old April 6th, 2011, 11:37 AM
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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...
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  #15  
Old April 6th, 2011, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevernever View Post
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.

Last edited by Jade13; April 6th, 2011 at 12:18 PM.
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  #16  
Old April 6th, 2011, 12:57 PM
C-Bunny C-Bunny is offline
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Default I agree mattresses need to be changed

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.
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  #17  
Old April 6th, 2011, 08:38 PM
Wogong Wogong is offline
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Thumbs down Seabourn/Azamara

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.
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  #18  
Old April 7th, 2011, 11:15 AM
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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.
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  #19  
Old April 7th, 2011, 05:24 PM
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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!
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Old April 7th, 2011, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jade13 View Post
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.
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Last edited by Jtd724; April 7th, 2011 at 05:40 PM.
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