It's Monday, October 1st, and now it's time for me to share with you that the onboard Azamara guest experience will soon include the new AzAmazing Evening, an immersive complimentary destination event ashore featured on every voyage. In addition, we are introducing a selection of complimentary standard spirits, wines and international beers throughout the ship during the bars’ opening hours. Both offerings will begin with Azamara Quest's and Azamara Journey’s next Europe season, March 27 and May 15, 2013, respectively.
To provide you with comprehensive information about these enhancements, I've merged content from today's press release with more program details from internal training documents.
Complimentary AzAmazing Evening event ashore
“Azamara Club Cruises’ guests have an unquenchable desire to immerse themselves in the history, culture and night life of the destinations we visit, which is why we offer them longer stays, more overnights and night touring,” said Larry Pimentel, president and CEO of Azamara Club Cruises. “This new concept is an evolution of Azamara’s core differentiator that resonates with our guests, who love their time onboard, but have made it clear that the cruise experience extends to their time ashore. With these new amenities added to Azamara Club Cruises, guests are offered an unmatched vacation experience at a tremendous value.”
One-hundred percent of Azamara’s 2013 itineraries feature late-night departures and overnight port stays, some as long as two or three days. This concept of slowing the ships down to offer guests the opportunity to experience a city’s night life, is an almost unique concept in the cruise industry that will now be further showcased through "AzAmazing Evening" - destination affairs to remember.
The complimentary evening ashore varies from voyage to voyage, offering guests sailing consecutive voyages a wide variety of experiences. During the events all interested guests will be transported via private motorcoaches to an unforgettable evening. These are "exclusive" events for our guests. You won’t find anyone else who is there from another cruise line or tour group. We have worked with our tour vendors to make sure that AzAmazing Evenings are private and unique.
For example, here are the first AzAmazing Evening events that will "kick-off" the program:
§ Azamara Quest starts on the March 27, 2013 voyage and is called the "Tastes and Traditions of Andalucia." A visit to cellars and sherry tasting, private performance at school for horsemanship, wine and an excellent and abundant array of Spanish foods in the Carriage Museum.
§ Azamara Journey begins on the May 15, 2013 voyage and is a Classical Concert at the Roman theater at Shoni Fortress. A lively Klezmer band welcomes guests as they arrive at this ancient Roman arena. Stands offering typical Israeli food and beverages will be scattered around. A symphony orchestra will add drama to an already striking setting.
Here are other highlights:
§ Guests on the June 22 Baltic Azamara Quest's voyage, will be treated to a private reception and ballet performance at the Mikhailovsky Theater, heralded as one of the most beautifully preserved ballet theaters in the world.
§ Or, on the October 8 Holy Land Azamara Journey's voyage, guests will be treated to a reception and classical concert at the Ancient Caves of Beit Guvrin.
§ Guests sailing a Baltic voyage, for example, could enjoy a private ballet performance in St. Petersburg, Russia, while walking the red carpet and sipping champagne. Or those on a Mediterranean voyage may find themselves sampling Jerez, Spain’s, famous sherry wine at Gonzalez Byass and later enjoying a private equestrian ballet at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art.
The new AzAmazing Evening events will replace the current 50% Land Discoveries Savings program with an exclusively designed customized experience that will provide guests with an even greater value that further emphasizes the night touring concept and highlights a region’s culture and distinct personality. Frankly, our LDS savings program was used by only a small percentage of our guests and now we're offering an experience that can benefit 100% of our guests and deliver memories that can last a lifetime.
In the meantime, the 50% Land Discoveries Savings program will be available for guests who book their Land Discoveries online at least four days prior to the 2013 sailing dates on following last voyages:
§ Azamara Quest - March 14, 2013, 13-night "Florida & Seville" Voyage
§ Azamara Journey - May 1, 2013, 14-night "The Highway from India" Voyage
Note that shore excursion pricing that will be shown on our website, will be consistent and at one level, whether pre-booked online or purchased on board.
AzAmazing Evenings - Program Operation
§ Note that the European voyages that will feature the AzAmazing Evening events have not been open for sale for shore excursions; however, the majority of the Land Discoveries for the full year of 2013 will be available sometime in mid-October.
§ AzAmazing Evening events will be added to the itineraries for each voyage on the website to help travelers choose a voyage based on the AzAmazing Evening that most resonates with them.
§ AzAmazing Evening events will also be added to a new 2013 Destination Guide for travel agents and consumers, which is scheduled for release some time before mid-November.
§ AzAmazing Evening events generally range from 2 to 3 hours long and most are unique to each voyage and spotlight the authentic culture and flavors of each destination.
§ At every AzAmazing Evening event, food and beverages will be provided to guests. Some events are sit-down performances with dinner served, while others are reception style with heavy passed hors d’oeuvres.
§ While AzAmazing Evening events are complimentary for every guest and because of the operational per guest cost, we need to ensure that the space reserved for each guest does not go to waste. Therefore, guests will be required to acknowledge their participation in the AzAmazing Evening event by booking the event just like any shore excursion online and the price will show zero. Also, there will be the option to book once onboard; however, for operational efficient, we prefer to know the level of participation at the outset of each voyage and encourage booking online prior to departure.
§ We ask that guests who reconsider and decide not to participate inform the shore excursion desk by 10 PM the night prior to the AzAmazing event so we can plan transportation and event participation accordingly. NOTE: Guests who signed up to participate and did not cancel by 10 PM the night prior will be charged a per person cancellation fee from $100 - $200 depending on the voyage's area of operation. Onboard credits cannot be used to cover this fee.
§ We anticipate a high level of participation because we believe our guests are choosing Azamara for a destination immersive experience but we recognize that some events may not appeal to each and every one of our guests. Consequently, if a guest chooses not to participate because of a difference in their taste or style, we will not be able to offer any onboard credit or a substitution tour.
§ At this time, guests who wish to redeem their onboard credit as payment for Land Discoveries (shore excursions) will be required to so once onboard the vessel and will be charged the same amount shown on website. For guests who want to guarantee their Land Discovery space prior to departure, our online system currently is unable to process onboard credits as a form of payment. Further, guests cannot pre-book their Land Discoveries on the website system with their credit card and then once onboard, cancel and then rebook using their onboard credit. Again, system limitations. We are considering other options to provide guests with onboard credits the opportunity to pre-arrange their Land Discoveries and I'll keep you informed on our progress.
Expansion of Complimentary Beverages - Addition of standard spirits, wines and international beers
Also new, beginning with the 2013 Europe season, is the expansion of Azamara’s complimentary beverage offerings:
§ Azamara Quest, March 27, 2013 voyage
§ Azamara Journey, May 15, 2013 voyage
In addition to Azamara’s existing selection of complimentary boutique wines, served at lunch and dinner, guests will enjoy a wider complimentary selection that includes a selection of standard spirits, wines and international beers throughout the day at any of the ships’ bars and lounges.
As a reminder, Azamara guests already enjoy more inclusive amenities, such as included gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff; complimentary bottled water, soft drinks, specialty coffees, teas, and complimentary red and white boutique wines to accompany lunch and dinner, complimentary self-service laundry; English Butler service for suite guests; and shuttle transportation to city centers in ports, where available.
Our decision to include select spirits, wines and international beers was to enhance the onboard experience by making the beverage ordering process significantly more convenient, while delivering more value to our guests. Also, it is a common offering in the up-market and luxury sectors of our industry.
§ Here are examples of some of the spirits, wines and international beers that will be offered:
Spirits: Call brands
- Rum - Appleton, Bacardi
- Vodka - Finlandia, Smirnoff
- Tequila - Cuervo Gold, Sauza Gold
- Scotch - Cutty Sark, J&B, Johnny Walker Red
Wines: Boutique wine of the day
Beers: International selection of brands
Azamara Club Cruises' Fares to change on November 1, 2012
With the addition of the AzAmazing Evening events and expanded complimentary beverage options, the fares will be increasing on November 1, 2012.
§ During the month of October, you still will have the opportunity to take advantage of current pricing on 2013-14 voyages that already feature AzAmazing Evening events and more inclusive beverage amenities.
§ In addition, our Value Pricing will be offered with up to 50% off brochure fares on all voyages through December 2014. Savings vary by sailing and stateroom category.
§ During this first week of October, we will be communicating these changes, through a digital marketing campaign, to our travel agents, direct guests, and consumers
We believe that with these new amenities added to Azamara Club Cruises that we are offering our guests a wide variety of unmatched vacation experiences at a tremendous value.
Please use this thread for your comments and questions.
Chief Blogging Officer*
Azamara Club Cruises
(*CBO is an authorized and compensated representative of ACC)