Shoreside Azamara is dreadful

Welcome to Cruise Critic! If you'd like to participate on our forums by joining in the conversation, please Register Now! Be sure to visit our FAMOUS Roll Call forums, where you can meet other cruisers sailing with you and share a tour or shore excursion and SAVE MONEY!

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts
BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
All times are GMT -4.
The time now is 11:30 PM.
#1
278 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Firstly Azamara shoreside is absolutely a shambles. They put us on buses to CDG on Sunday Morning, from Rouen, after a 2 hour drive we were all dropped off at Terminal 2E, everyone on the bus was at Terminal 2A a great distance away, but the driver suddenly developed a lack of English, no Azamara Rep was on board. Oh we never saw Rouen as they miscalculated the tides so we didnt arrive till 7pm not 10 am!

WE finally found a shuttle bus bus to Terminal 2a to find French Commandos searching for bombs.

BA was late due to ‘severe weather in theUK’ we arrived 1.5 hours late (In bright sunshine, no rain) we missed the connection as we needed 1.5 hours at terminal 5 (Same as last tim on Azamara 'Free Air- useless Azamara others from Toronto on Free Air were booked on AC Direct from Paris or KLM via Amsterdam) We had to line up at Flight Connections in London to be rebooked. We got in line at 4pm and were seen at 9.30( 5.5 HOURS!!!!) We got a hotel voucher and was to be booked on a BA at 4 pm today, this was not acceptable so we returned on Air Canada. Oh to get to the Hotel we had to enter the UK, 2 hour wait at immigration. We got to the Sofitel at Terminal 5 at 11pm (WE arrived at 4)

We will NEVER EVER fly BA again, useless, WILL NOT use Azamara free air,shoreside, useless! Will never go to Heathrow. god help the Olympics they are not set up for it. Choice Air refused to deal with Air Transat or Icelandair and would not work with Air Canada Tango fares.

A| fair cruise, Azamara seemed unprepared for a full ship, lots of lines BUT they must talk to their shoreside in France, a english speaker on the bus to ensure we got to the correct terminal. At least they wernt having a verbal row, complete with swearing as the reps at La Guardia.


Keith P
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

#2
Boston
4,676 Posts
Joined Jan 2003
What part of the French Commandos and BA's weather delays are Azamara's fault?

Your first paragraph is interesting and worth discussing here. When you empty the bathtub of issues then you're just complaining.
#3
Ottawa, Canada
1,062 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Sounds like a nasty trip home Keith. Sorry to hear it. I was on the cruise and would say that staff was great, I didn't see any line ups. Also, the delay to Rouen was due to taking a southerly route, and then cutting back on speed during the high seas. The ship can only go so fast to catch up. I appreciated having the nice weather and sun as a result of the Captain's decision.

I do agree that the shuttle was poorly organized. WE ended up walking back to terminal 2A to get to Air Canada and waited outside due to the bomb scare. The drop off was the only thing I could blame ACC about.

Rob
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

Done: QV transatlantic April 2015, Eurodam New Year's 2014, QM2 10th Anniversary TA West May 2014, Crystal Serenity - TA East April 2013, HAL Nieuw Amsterdam New Year's 2012, Azamara Journey - TA East April 2012, QM2 - TA West May 2011

Pictures, videos and stories at: http://transatlanticcrossing.blogspot.com

#4
Florida
2,461 Posts
Joined May 2001
Whether this was Azamara's fault, BA's fault, or the fault of the powers that be, (or an unfortunate combination of them all) this was a lousy way to end a cruise vacation.
#5
278 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Absolutely. The cruise was fine, not as good as previous ones partly due to the large number of passengers. (Steak taking 55 minutes, breakfast 40 minutes in Discoveries) Inability to get coffee in Cova due to it being overcrowded with trivia contestants! This was addressed after a few days.
The shops wer under a new franchise and had little of value, mostly overpriced clothes to 'mop up' the onboard credits.

However I believe the total experience was sullied by the shoreside experience in Rouen/Paris and Azamaras choice of Airlines for some ' but not all'.

However we will probably go again next year on Azamara, its still the best deal around, despite the problems.


Originally posted by tgg
Whether this was Azamara's fault, BA's fault, or the fault of the powers that be, (or an unfortunate combination of them all) this was a lousy way to end a cruise vacation.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

#6
19,358 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by tgg
Whether this was Azamara's fault, BA's fault, or the fault of the powers that be, (or an unfortunate combination of them all) this was a lousy way to end a cruise vacation.
I agree.

And btw will never take any cruise lines "Free Air" mystery flights.

Hopefully those in Europe will soon be able to book through Choice Air and pick their flights. Or, Azamara needs to give a credit for those who do not wish to book the "Free Air" with them.
#7
UK
2,053 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Perhaps we have been lucky so far, but our free flights with Azamara over the last two years have all been fine.....good flight times and no hassle at all.

And I don't think Az shoreside can really be blamed for the French Police doing terrorist checks, the abysmal Immigration queues at Heathrow or flight delays due to the appallingly bad weather that we have been having in the UK this last week. Not their fault at all.....but I do appreciate it certainly didn't add to your overall cruise experience Keefy.

I do wish Az shoreside would get their act together re the paperwork for my rebooked Sept cruise though......which was due to the Nov 7th one being cancelled for Quest's extended dry dock. I am really fed up of calling my T/A every couple of days only to be told that Az shoreside have yet to do what they should have done more than 3 weeks ago......it has been nearly a month now and not a peep from Azamara Admin yet. I just want some confirmation that I am actually booked on the cruise!

Having had two cruises cancelled on me in the same week I am understandably a bit nervous about this one.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature






#8
London, UK
413 Posts
Joined Oct 2006
Keith,

I'm really sorry you had such a miserable time at the end of your cruise.

I've flown many times with BA without any bad experiences and some very good ones. The weather in the UK has been absolutely appalling, and on several days we have had very strong winds and driving rain for much of the day, but bright sunshine late afternoon.

The immigration control delays at Heathrow have been making headlines over the past few days. It's nothing to do with BA, and though no comfort to you there are plans in hand to reduce the delays for which the airlines will be expected to pay.

1.5 hours transfer time is OK only provided that there are no delays. We have similar problems travelling to the US when immigration for non residents can take hours, and makes it difficult to plan for onward flight connections.

Paul S
#9
19,358 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Lottie A

Having had two cruises cancelled on me in the same week I am understandably a bit nervous about this one.
I have had two canceled this year (one scheduled for 2012 and one for 2013). The one for 2013 had sufficient notice, but the cancelation on Journey (Egypt cancelation with total new itinerary dates and ports) around the same time as the Quest cancelation was not treated the same as the Quest cancelation. Drydock or not we had a short window too for a 2012 cruise and no price protection or percentage discount and no explanation why Miami treated that Presidents Cruise cancelation on Journey differant than the Quest cancelation.
#10
UK
2,053 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by Jade13
I have had two canceled this year (one scheduled for 2012 and one for 2013). The one for 2013 had sufficient notice, but the cancelation on Journey (Egypt cancelation with total new itinerary dates and ports) around the same time as the Quest cancelation was not treated the same as the Quest cancelation. Drydock or not we had a short window too for a 2012 cruise and no price protection or percentage discount and no explanation why Miami treated that Presidents Cruise cancelation on Journey differant than the Quest cancelation.
I remember your angst about your Egypt cruise Jade.....and I do sympathise with you. However, your Journey cruise was not actually cancelled was it? I believe Egypt was dropped as a destination and you then had Med ports substituted for it? Or am I mistaken?

Our November 7th cruise was firstly changed from a T/A to a Canaries cruise.......and then later cancelled altogether! So our situation was slightly different. I am not saying that you should not have been compensated.....but I think your cruise could still take place despite being substantially altered.....whereas ours was completely cancelled.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature






#11
278 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
A five hour line at BA Flight Connections was totally in the control of BA. DReadful. Second time it has happened in 6 months BOTH flights organised by Azamara.



Originally posted by Lottie A
Perhaps we have been lucky so far, but our free flights with Azamara over the last two years have all been fine.....good flight times and no hassle at all.

And I don't think Az shoreside can really be blamed for the French Police doing terrorist checks, the abysmal Immigration queues at Heathrow or flight delays due to the appallingly bad weather that we have been having in the UK this last week. Not their fault at all.....but I do appreciate it certainly didn't add to your overall cruise experience Keefy.

I do wish Az shoreside would get their act together re the paperwork for my rebooked Sept cruise though......which was due to the Nov 7th one being cancelled for Quest's extended dry dock. I am really fed up of calling my T/A every couple of days only to be told that Az shoreside have yet to do what they should have done more than 3 weeks ago......it has been nearly a month now and not a peep from Azamara Admin yet. I just want some confirmation that I am actually booked on the cruise!

Having had two cruises cancelled on me in the same week I am understandably a bit nervous about this one.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

#12
19,358 Posts
Joined Dec 2006
Originally posted by Lottie A
I remember your angst about your Egypt cruise Jade.....and I do sympathise with you. However, your Journey cruise was not actually cancelled was it? I believe Egypt was dropped as a destination and you then had Med ports substituted for it? Or am I mistaken?

Our November 7th cruise was firstly changed from a T/A to a Canaries cruise.......and then later cancelled altogether! So our situation was slightly different. I am not saying that you should not have been compensated.....but I think your cruise could still take place despite being substantially altered.....whereas ours was completely cancelled.
Yes, it really was canceled.

Now our Quest cruise in October/November 2011 had Egypt canceled where we had extra days in Israel substituted, which is what is happening on I believe the October 15 cruise this year. However, when a round trip from Suez with Egypt and Jordon turns into a Venice to Athens with new dates and ports that is a cancellation.

There are approx. 4 different types of cancellations going on with Azamara this year.

1. The most serious is a cancellation in the middle of the cruise (Quest fire) which all agree is the most serious situation and was handled appropriately with full refund, alternative vacation so passengers could meet up with their scheduled international flights, and full fare paid (credit) towards another cruise.

2. The next in terms of compensation was the April itinerary cancellation right after the Quest fire with little to no notice, and with some passengers already in transit.

3. November 7th Quest cruise cancellation because of dry dock, and January 2013 Journey cruise that was canceled because of dry dock.

4. A cruise were Egypt was canceled and Cyprus and Israel substituted but the cruise starts and ends in the same ports and is for the same length (our Quest October 2011 cruise and Journey October 2012).

My issue is that the November 2012 Egypt Suez round trip on Journey was canceled and should have been treated the same as the Quest November Cancellation or Journey January 2013 cancellation. In the case of Journey 2013, price protection was given for passengers who wished to rebook on a different itinerary (with some black out dates).

I have to look to see what you were offered (Situation 3) on Quest cancellation in November, but the Journey in November was canceled because it was changed from Egypt and Jordon (and Israel) to a Med Cruise on different dates for a different length and from different ports, Venice to Athens. It was also suppose to be a Presidents Cruise. It was not simple port changes. How is that not a cancellation? Azamara will not respond and unfortunately there aren't others bringing this up.
#13
Louisville, Ky, USA
4,192 Posts
Joined Aug 2001
Some people just never get a break.............
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
"THE WORLD IS A BOOK, AND THOSE WHO DO NOT TRAVEL READ ONLY ONE PAGE" ST. AUGUSTINE
keep on cruising
Robb

plus
Past Cruises

3/98-SUNCOAST CRUISE LINE-CAROUSEL; 5/98-NCL-SEA; 2/99-CELEBRITY-MERCURY; 5/99-RCL; 10/99-PRINCESS-SUN; 3/00-COSTA-VICTORIA; 12/00-RADISSON-PAUL GAUGUIN; 3/01-WINDSTAR-WINDSURF; 5/01-HAL-NOORDAM; 9/01-RCL-LEGEND; 3/02-NCL-WIND; 5/02-CELEB-CONSTELLATION; 9/02-HAL-NOORDAM; 11/02-CELEB-CENTURY; 3/03-NCL-SUN; 5/03-CELEB-MILLENNIUM; 3/04-CELEB-INFINITY; 7/04-RCL-JEWEL; 9/04-CELEB-HORIZON; 11/04-GRAND CIR. NILE-ANUKET; 5/05-RCL-SPLENDOR; 7/05-VANTAGE-DANUBE; 10/05-HAL-WESTERDAM; 2/06-HAL-STATENDAM; 5/06-U of L-YANGTZE-CHINA; 9/06-RCL-JEWEL; 2/07-CELEB.-SUMMIT; 5/07-RCL-LEGEND; 11/07-RCL-Voyager; 3/08-RCL-Brilliance; 5/08-RCL-Liberty; 8/08-Princess-Sea; 11/08-RCL-Freedom (back to back); 11/08-RCL-Freedom (back to back); 3/09-RCL-Splendour; 5/09-RCI-Legend; 7/09-Oceania-Nautica; 2/10-Azamara-Quest; 6/10-Celebrity-Eclipse; 11/10-RCI Voyager; 2/11-Galapagos Explorer II; 2/11-RCI-Vision; 5/11-Diamond Princess;5/11-Diamond Princess (b2b); 11/14-HAL-Zuiderdam; 1/12-Oceania-Regatta; 6/12-Caribbean Princess; 10/12-Regent SS Voyager; 1/13-Celebrity Millennium; 10/13-Celebrity Summit; 11/13-AMALotus; 5/14 RCL-Rhapsody: 9/14-Celebrity Infinity; 11/14-Azamara Quest; 2/15-Celebrity Infinity; 4/15-Oceania Marina; Landtour/River Cruist/Myanmar; 12/15-RCL/Serenade; 3/16-Azamara Quest; 5/16 Celebrity/Constellation; 10/16-Azamara/Journey; 12/16-RCCL/Freedom; 2/17-RCCL/Grandeur

Scheduled Cruises

8/17-HAL/Eurodam
10/17-Oceania/Regatta
11/17-Regent Seven Seas/Explorer
#14
946 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
I think part of this problem is perception. The service from onboard staff and crew is excellent, but this doesn't carry over into the groundside activities of Azamara.

Anything other than the seagoing experience on board Azamara is average - some good and some bad, just like any other cruise line. Maybe there's still more of the Royal Caribbean parent on land than at sea?

I'm not justifying anything, far from it. If Azamara wants to claim that it is offering a luxury 'lite' product then it needs to step up its game to ensure that the experience from start to finish is more seamless and more uniformly positive.
#15
UK
2,053 Posts
Joined Mar 2011
Originally posted by ikelmay
I think part of this problem is perception. The service from onboard staff and crew is excellent, but this doesn't carry over into the groundside activities of Azamara.

Anything other than the seagoing experience on board Azamara is average - some good and some bad, just like any other cruise line. Maybe there's still more of the Royal Caribbean parent on land than at sea?

I'm not justifying anything, far from it. If Azamara wants to claim that it is offering a luxury 'lite' product then it needs to step up its game to ensure that the experience from start to finish is more seamless and more uniformly positive.
Ikelmay.....of course you are correct. The service onboard is so absolutely wonderful that we expect the shoreside Azamara service to match it......and I'm sorry to say that it doesn't......not in the UK anyway.

Jade - I do hear what your saying about the apparent discrepancies in compensation for the various Azamara cruises. Perhaps Bill can throw some light on Azamara's reasoning here?

Just FYI Jade - the cancelled Nov 7th cruisers received the opportunity to book another Az cruise at exactly the same rate, with the same cabin grade as we paid for the Canaries cruise - this was a very good offer because the original Nov 7th cruise was a very good deal pricewise, so I think most of us would say we are happy with this.

I know the cruise that I have changed to is selling at almost twice as much as the Nov 7th cruise. We also received $500 OBC and kept any original OBC from the Nov 7th cruise. I am very happy with this result actually as my friends and I much prefer the itinerary on our new cruise. All I want is some paperwork from Azamara to confirm we are actually booked on it!

And Keefy......surely the long queue at the BA desk is BA's fault? I don't really see how Azamara can be blamed for it. I do appreciate your traumatic journey home somewhat spoiled your whole cruise experience though.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature






#16
Edinburgh
9,913 Posts
Joined Aug 2004
The situation at Heathrow was beyond the control of Azamara and was also beyond the control of BA. That is why the matter has been the subject of questions in parliament in the UK this week

The weather was the an issue
The main problem was delays at immigration, this affected all passengers as planes were being delayed to try and accommodated transit passengers booked on them so even short hauls like Paris and UK domestic got in a mess
All terminals at Heathrow were affected not just T5 so this had a knock on effect to every airline and to the take off and landing slots
Flight connections once in a while has to cope with numbers well beyond its capacity and it slows up, and because of demand it's systems also run slower

I am sorry you were caught up in this, it was a perfect storm scenario. BAA who own the airport and BA have been very vocal this week about the root cause - inadequate manning at immigration and that is not something Azamara can control

There is no way round this for Azamara apart from at the airport in Paris, they cannot put staff to help at every point along the way. It's also not relevant to have a flights from Azamara vs do your own debate - either would have been caught up. It's not an avoid Heathrow debate, I've had worse at Schippol and OHare it happens

The end of a cruise is always a time when you feel flat and hit reality of service beyond your protective Azamara bubble and these events must have heightened these feelings for you. However, hopefully on reflection we can all agree that to blame it all on shoreside and call them dreadful is a bit harsh
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
467 days onboard Celebrity and Azamara 2000-2017 and 153 more days booked
#17
Atlanta, GA
293 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
My family has a couple of travel rules:
1. Always book your own flights and transport.
2. Never transit through CDG. Always let you off at E so you have to go through security and passport control even though you just need to go to terminal D. Always a nightmare. Unfotunately, Delta loves to take you through CDG.
3. Never take BA. Bad food, service, etc.
4. Avoid Heathrow at all costs - too crowded, old and inefficient. For that matter, avoid GB at all costs when flying due to their one carryon rule. I don't enjoy repacking just for that rule.

Good cruise ports to start and end travel - Rome and Athens. Love Athens airport. Rome was no problem either if you prearrance a private transfer.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature
ddpe
#18
278 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
Very wise advice. I guess the message finally gets through to my over trusting nature!!!





Originally posted by ddpe
My family has a couple of travel rules:
1. Always book your own flights and transport.
2. Never transit through CDG. Always let you off at E so you have to go through security and passport control even though you just need to go to terminal D. Always a nightmare. Unfotunately, Delta loves to take you through CDG.
3. Never take BA. Bad food, service, etc.
4. Avoid Heathrow at all costs - too crowded, old and inefficient. For that matter, avoid GB at all costs when flying due to their one carryon rule. I don't enjoy repacking just for that rule.

Good cruise ports to start and end travel - Rome and Athens. Love Athens airport. Rome was no problem either if you prearrance a private transfer.
Expand Signature
Collapse Signature

#19
belgium
207 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Hello,

Also I will always avoid Heathrow at all cost, I will not take any flight (even if it is cheaper) going through Heathrow. Also not a big fan of CDG. But Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Brussels usually no problems, even tried Helsinki going to the far east last winter (we only had a short delay because they had to defrost one of the engines (it was very cold).

Regards,
Sonja
#20
shasta, ca
1,642 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
Originally posted by Keefy
Very wise advice. I guess the message finally gets through to my over trusting nature!!!
Hello Keith -

I'm pleased you made it home safely to Toronto following the service shortfalls you experienced following disembarkation from the Azamara Journey in Rouen on April 29, 2012. I'm sure that your frustration level was high and hope that by now, you're remembering your pleasant cruise experiences.

When I saw that you titled your thread about the details of your experience, "Shoreside Azamara is Dreadful," it triggered my memory of your first post on the thread that you started last October 26, 2011 about a similar transportation incident, which was titled, "Choice Air- Dreadful planning!!"

Both threads recount your problems with determining which Azamara air option to select along with the exasperating hurdles your encountered along every step-of-the-way in Heathrow, and now an "instant-replay" in Paris at the Charles de Gaulle airport. Further, on both forums, other Azamara readers freely offered you their personal regrets for the situation along with advice and suggestions about ways to avoid such travel pitfalls in the future. A few offered their personal positive experiences with using our ChoiceAir program.

When I read your response to "ddpe" that you considered his travel rules to be - "Very wise advice. I guess the message finally gets through to my over trusting nature!!! - I was encouraged and hope that these suggestion will guide you as you plan your future vacations, especially when you decide to "go again next year on Azamara, it's still the best deal around, despite the problems."

I believe that every day in life, there is an opportunity for a "lesson learned" moment. For example, during the Quest dry-dock aftermath, Azamara found a "Lesson to Learn" which is to be more forthcoming when communicating to booked guests the timing of dry-dock repairs.

Although it seems "dreadful" is your "go-to" adjective to describe your Azamara "disappointments," I think it's 'right' for describing the lackluster service provided to you by the third-party operators of whom we have no control; however, I'm not sure that it's the right word to describe our shoreside operation. Yes, we need to improve our interdepartmental communication, especially since we share some operations with the Royal Caribbean corporation. But, my statement that our goal is to deliver a "seamless" experience from shoreside to onboard is not an empty platitude, but a commitment to constantly improve our service deliverables. We're a "work-in-progress."

Regards,

Bill Leiber
_______________________
Chief Blogging Officer*
Azamara Club Cruises
(*CBO is an authorized and compensated representative of ACC)