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About Riocca

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  1. I believe that it’s been asked in the past regarding Azamara and Cuba and the answer was it’s a US based company. From our personal perspective being in the U.K. there are much easier ways to visit Cuba than with a US based company or from a US port. Although we are interested in visiting Cuba at some time in the future we actually cancelled an Azamara cruise when the itinerary was changed to make it Cuba Intensive. There are cruises on Marella (Thomson) & MSC that would provide us with suitable itineraries without any potential complications.
  2. Here’s a picture from Google Earth of the location: The long red tiled building on the left is the cruise terminal and you can see the taxi drop off are to the left of that. There’s a wooden bridge and Venice’s cobbles to negotiate but we managed with 3 checked bags last year no problem. In Venice the only way to get a taxi directly to a hotel is by using a water taxi.
  3. Bonnie, although I posted on the Azamara board this is purely because we travel most with Azamara and are most interested in this board. In fact I could have posted on any of the boards so it was not specifically aimed at Azamara but the U.K. travel industry as a whole. Richard’s reply is correct but the reason for the campaign but the Competitions and Marketing Authority (CMA) is that just because it’s an industry norm don’t mean it complies and companies should be reviewing their t&c’s. However Richard is incorrect regarding the Viking deposit it is in fact 25% of the cruise fare, so is variable, we in fact had to pay a deposit of over £2000 against the £500 we would have paid to Azamara. Again Viking have the same conditions regarding loss of deposit if you cancel. So as U.K. consumers we have to be 100% sure we want to book a cruise whereas customers in some other markets can book and cancel a whim, this is unfair. Fact is that it would be better for customers and cruise lines alike if our t&c’s were universally applied.
  4. Lottie, agree with everything you say sometimes I think Azamara is built up a bit too much on these boards so expectations of new passengers may be too high, this isn’t helped by current prices. We had 3 Azamara cruises last year and on one there were certainly issues, not all of Azamara’s making but having done so many Azamara cruises we know how to get things addressed. But some of the problems were down to the choice of cruise and itinerary and we would avoid this in the future. We also try other lines with varying success, last year on Crystal it was definitely a star above Azamara however it wasn’t for us, it was clinically efficient but lacked the warmth and friendliness we enjoy on Azamara. This year we tried Viking, it was much closer to the Azamara experience but we encountered problems with both service and food. Again like Azamara there was a mid cruise survey in which we mentioned our observations which were addressed and we were contacted by department heads to apologise. Viking are certainly an alternative for us but prices are very similar to Azamara, our reservation is that although the staff are very friendly the staff/passenger ratio was more at mainstream line than premium. This could of course be the result of growing from 0 to 6 ships in such a short space of time.
  5. And they can cancel with a much smaller cancellation fee, that’s why it would be nice to have a level playing field.
  6. It’s U.K. law for bookings made over here, as it has to comply with U.K. consumer legislation. One point that occurs to me is that if you cancel then the company is within its rights to charge a cancellation fee commensurate with any losses or costs of reselling that accommodation. If you cancel and rebook the same cabin at £1500 less then it’s very easy for them to prove they have incurred a loss. Only thing we’ve ever asked for is a level playing field, if one set of customers get preferential terms regarding cancellation or price reductions it’s grossly unfair.
  7. This is always going to be the problem, the law is to protect customers in circumstances such as a bereavement, illness or redundancy not sure a court would look at a price drop or change of mind with too much sympathy. Most cruise lines are owned by foreign corporations who will take the usual “prove it and make me” stance, also we have a culture of travel insurance in the U.K., in fact it’s a booking requirement in some companies t&c’s. This insurance covers most of the above circumstances and the insurance companies seem happy to pay out rather than challenge the travel companies as it’s easier just to recoup the money in higher premiums. Although I started this thread to raise awareness I don’t think we will see anything change until either the travel insurance companies take a stand or one of the large class action lawyers take an interest.
  8. Interesting article on the BBC today regarding the loss of deposits when cancelling a holiday: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47949915 The paragraph that caught my eye was: ”Any amount it charges should reflect its costs. If the company includes a blanket "non-refundable deposit" demand or cancellation fee in its terms and conditions then this could be an unfair contract, not legally binding, and unenforceable - even if the customer has signed it.” Of course someone would no doubt have to challenge it in the courts but it does show Cruise lines may have to rethink their t&c’s.
  9. The price drop is dramatic and you have every right to be upset about it almost goes back to the early days of Azamara when we booked a 10 night Venice to Athens cruise inclusive of flights, pre cruise hotel and transfers for £1100 in a balcony stateroom. However I’m sure your going to have an enjoyable cruise and the GP itself is a great experience, especially if you enjoy celebrity spotting. Worth mentioning that catering inside the track area was surprisingly cheap, beer was €2 a (plastic) glass, baguettes were €4-5, given we were a captive audience it was impressive.
  10. Ann, strangely the largest contingent of F1 fans were Australian they had arranged a business trip to Germany to coincide with the Monaco GP and found booking 8 days on Journey to be cheaper than 3 days in Monaco. Have to say they were well behaved and fun but definitely not your usual Azamara passengers. When we boarded Heike said to us that Monaco GP cruises are always different and she wasn’t wrong, Quest was also in Monaco for the GP on a shorter cruise and I know that our Travel Agent had a large group onboard on a GP package as we used them for our GP tickets and sat in the same area on race day.
  11. Agree, we were on Journey last year for the Monaco GP cruise where most of the last minute bargain cabins had been snapped up by those already with GP tickets who found the cruise was cheaper than booking a hotel in Monaco. They were certainly a lively crowd who without doubt got more than their monies worth with the included drinks. They didn’t spend anything on extras so there was no benefits for Azamara and it certainly changed the dynamic of the cruise, not saying it was rowdy but for many it was there first cruise experience and they were very enthusiastic.
  12. I always understood that occupancy rates were important to cruise lines as if they sold off cabins cheaply they would potentially recoup revenue from the onboard spend of those passengers. However I fail to see how this applies to all inclusive or more inclusive lines, if cabins are sold at below break even levels and those passengers have zero onboard spend then it would have been better for those cabins to remain unsold. Maybe the criteria applied to RCI & Celebrity is being applied to Azamara without thinking about this point.
  13. It’s difficult to know what is the best booking strategy, used to be booking early but now it’s a lottery. As an example last March we booked a CC suite on Quest for October this year using an Cruise later booking to get the LCV discount. As our usual favourite location was already booked we chose one nearby that we already had a booking for in September last year. Come September we decided we didn’t like the location of that suite so thought about moving but there was nothing suitable then I noticed that a CW suite was £1100 (including LCV discounts) more than we were already paying which was less than Azamara were offering upgrades for on the old system. Plus we would get $900 OBC so it seemed worth losing the £150 Cruise Later deposit to move, so we did, as it happens we were unaware of the rule change earlier in 2018 regarding the Cruise Later deposit which did cause problems that were resolved amicably by our travel agent with Azamara, one good reason for using a travel agent. Anyway as we have a best price guarantee for booking onboard I have monitored this cruise, under the last BOGOHO offer the price for a CW was £6000 more than we are paying and even a CC was £700 more. Under the current offer it’s still over a £1000 more. This isn’t just an Azamara problem we have encountered it with various cruise lines, I can remember P&O selling Owners Suites on Adonia for less than we were paying for a Balcony cabin after final payment and being totally intransigent about being able to upgrade.
  14. No there’s a car park behind the San Basilio Cruise Terminal, all you have to do is walk past the terminal building and go over a bridge and you are into Venice the Palazzo Veneziano is a few minutes walk away. We have done this trip many times in the past few years in both directions. All you have to do is put a note on the car booking that it’s the San Basilio Cruise Terminal. This is the same car park Azamara use for their bus transfers to the airport.
  15. I don’t know which one Mrs Miggins uses but we’ve used this company very successfully in the past https://airportstaxitransfers.com usually the cost for 2 of us is €38.
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