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A different view on Changed LCV Benefits


cat616
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Hi All,

I logged on to Cruise Critic last night to discover the much awaited LCV Benefits had finally been released. I quickly went over to Azamara via the link supplied by UKTOG and was immediately concerned with the many asterisks attached to the benefit listings. Next stop was to the Terms and Conditions to find out what the asterisks were about. My initial thoughts were of disappointment. How would I cope without my Sparkling Wine in the Cabin, My DH was not going to be pleased with the missing Free Laundry and we would both be displeased without the Internet Minutes. No longer would I get a credit for Booking our next trip on board, it would be replaced with an OBC for the next cruise. I felt like Azamara was herding us all back to Celebrity. I understood that in the big picture a bottle of wine and a VERY small bag of Laundry do not add up to much money, but that is what disappointed me so much. Why would Azamara annoy so many loyal customers over a few dollars.

 

I have not had to pay for internet since moving up to Azamara. I do remember it being pricey on Celebrity and on both lines it was slow and iffy. I have learned to accept this and limit my time online while on board because of the frustration factor. Unfortunately, for business reasons I do need to check email daily just in case my expertise is needed at the office, so for the near future I will be paying for internet while onboard.

 

Today I took the time to review the benefits to see how they actually apply to DH & me. I must say I walked away with a bit of a smile on my face.

 

The best new benefit is the free nights one when moving up a tier so my first check was on my LCV/CC points to see if they were correct and what % actually is from Azamara. Good news, I was surprised to find out I was getting close. OK, so what if I add on the points I will earn on our upcoming B2B and then check the %. More good news, more than 50% on Azamara. We will qualify for free nights within a year or so. OK, now if I can upgrade from a Veranda to Club Continent on the first leg of my B2B then we will qualify for the new tier when the B2B is completed. There are no Club Continents available at this time but I thought how about getting on the waiting list for one should it become available. I could use the upgrade a level @ $199 each new LCV benefit so for $398 more I could get free nights even sooner. Disappointment - that page is not available on the Azamara website yet (not surprised). I will work on that another day.

 

Next stop was to find an Azamara cruise we could book next and see what savings we can accrue by booking on board under the new LCV Benefits. It turned out to be a little better dollar wise than we have been afforded by booking our previous cruises on board. Yes, part of the savings will be given as an OBC on the newly booked cruise, not quite the same as dollars off but it does net out the same in the long term.

 

For me, we will stay with Azamara until we complete our free nights and then we will decide wether we move on or not. We do very much enjoy the smaller ships but the prices are higher now than when we booked our first Azamara cruise and it is time to evaluate the costs against the feel good factor. Many of the things that hooked us into booking that first Azamara Cruise are no longer available. It is not as good a value as it once was for us.

 

Two big problems I see with the new LCV Benefits is that the laundry room will be even more difficult to get into and that many more people will wait until they get onboard to book their Shore Excursions in order to use their OBC. The first is a big headache for many Guests and the second is a headache for the Shore Excursions desk.

 

I know that not everyone will have the same good results as I have found but it is good to know that at least some of us will come out ahead in the near term as a result of these changes.

 

I can assure you if I had just discovered that we had already reached the new tier level and therefore would not be eligible for free nights for many many years I would be a very unhappy camper right now.

 

I see that Azamara is attempting to innovate a new approach to Loyalty Benefits. I can applaud that. Innovation is a good thing.

 

Taking inexpensive benefits away from your loyal guests is a no win situation for Azamara. Surely, the prices we pay already cover a very small bag of laundry, a bottle of wine and internet minutes.

 

Listen to your repeat Customers, do not drive them away. Treat your repeat customers well and they will help you to bring in new customers. Piss them off and they will take their business away and encourage others to do the same.

 

Wouldn't it have been wiser to add to the benefits already given. Everybody would be happy right now if you had only done that.

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Totally agree that they should have added to the benefits given and not taken the existing ones away. I thought this was the big announcement we had all been waiting for - some great new perks, especially for the higher Discoverer levels. We are not likely to get to those levels but were very happy with the benefits bestowed upon us 'ordinary' Discoverers. Yes, we would be delighted to get an upgrade to Club Continent Suite for $199 but there are none available on our January cruise! We have only just booked this, believing that we would be getting our usual laundry and Internet etc. so this has certainly been a big disappointment. Azamara - just don't do anything to upset your wonderful crew as well or there will be no incentive to cruise with you.

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Great for you maybe. But what about those who have just reached a level. We will reach Discoverer plus on our next (pre January) cruise. To reach the top level we will have to spend about 365 days on board.

Also what incentive is there for those already at the top level?

 

I agree with you Grandma Gilly. I have been lucky in this instance. Many have not.

 

It may be in your best interest to cancel your pre January 2015 Cruise so that you will not reach the next Tier before then. Do the math. Do not forget that 50% of your points must be earned on Azamara to be eligible for free nights.

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I agree with you Grandma Gilly. I have been lucky in this instance. Many have not.

 

It may be in your best interest to cancel your pre January 2015 Cruise so that you will not reach the next Tier before then. Do the math. Do not forget that 50% of your points must be earned on Azamara to be eligible for free nights.

 

We won't cancel as we have been looking forward to this itinerary for some time (Malaga to Rio). We will also sill get our internet and laundry perks on this sailing.

 

Our next Azamara cruise is in April but we face quite high penalty cancellation in the UK. We lose our total deposit.

 

Also we have managed to use frequent flyer miles for both trips which makes the price more reasonable.

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We won't cancel as we have been looking forward to this itinerary for some time (Malaga to Rio). We will also sill get our internet and laundry perks on this sailing.

 

Our next Azamara cruise is in April but we face quite high penalty cancellation in the UK. We lose our total deposit.

 

Also we have managed to use frequent flyer miles for both trips which makes the price more reasonable.

 

How about considering downgrading your cabin to reduce points earned?

 

Check your percentages first as you may have more points from Celebrity than Azamara and therefore would not qualify for Free Nights as you move up the Tier anyway.

 

Azamara has set the Terms and Conditions. It is up to Cruisers to use the T&Cs to their best advantage.

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Azamara has set the Terms and Conditions. It is up to Cruisers to use the T&Cs to their best advantage.

 

I have held off adding my "two cents worth" on this topic but this resonated with me. When I go on a cruise, I want to just have fun and enjoy the experience. I don't want to have to use the T&Cs to figure out what benefits I will receive at the Explorer or Discoverer level. Just as I don't want to have to figure out whether a particular mixed drink that I enjoy will be included in the free beverage list.

 

If I am promised a $199 upgrade, I expect to be able to purchase the upgrade. And the free nights offer, after achieving a new level, actually makes my head spin.

 

The way I read these benefits after January 1 is that the only tangible acknowledgment of my Discoverer level that I will receive upon boarding the ship will be the word Discoverer printed on my seapass.

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The way I read these benefits after January 1 is that the only tangible acknowledgment of my Discoverer level that I will receive upon boarding the ship will be the word Discoverer printed on my seapass.

 

I agree, we waited so long and were promised repeatedly that "good news was coming". When the news is released we find out the only benefit that the vast majority of the loyal passengers will see is a loss on benefits!

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Hi cat616. I'm glad it's going to work for you. For certain those in the lower tiers have an opportunity to move to new levels and work toward the free nights (the t & cs blow my mind and I'm still not sure how it will work in practice). The upgrades sound good, but once again the t & cs are there and it's space available only. The way Azamara seem to be selling cabins last minute makes me wonder how often this will be available.

 

 

For me, we will stay with Azamara until we complete our free nights and then we will decide wether we move on or not.

 

To me this is the most telling statement in your post. Loyalty scheme? You have to wonder.

 

Phil

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As we are still waiting for our welcome home gift after reaching a new level, I am not expecting to get 199.00 upgrades and will never reach free nights. I expected something very different than losing the free internet minutes and the reduced # of free bags of laundry. When the Celebrity program was announced, most of us were very surprised that the points earned were the same on Azamara and Celebrity even though the price points for the two lines are completely different. For a balcony or a suite on Azamara, we pay more than double the price than a similar cabin on Celebrity. I was expecting that Azamara would change the point structure of what you earn on Azamara vs. Celebrity and thus reward those who spent more €£$ on Azamara for their loyalty.

But, it no longer matters.......Azamara has shown that they have no loyalty to us. Laundry does not have an impact as the people doing laundry are on the ship anyway and it is not an added expense. The wifi is terrible on both ships....it is better to offer free minutes than to have to refund money when the system does not work.

We are booked on a river cruise next month. Free, unlimited internet is included for everyone. I will miss the outstanding Azamara onboard team. It is a shame that the home office will not miss us.

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How about considering downgrading your cabin to reduce points earned?

 

Check your percentages first as you may have more points from Celebrity than Azamara and therefore would not qualify for Free Nights as you move up the Tier anyway.

 

Azamara has set the Terms and Conditions. It is up to Cruisers to use the T&Cs to their best advantage.

 

They had all of these crazy terms before and you would think they would have learned.

 

Previously, someone switching between Azamara and Celebrity, who by chance earned the next tier while on Celebrity wasn't eligible for the welcome home gift (ever).

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Just curious as I have not researched this but is everyone sure that the $199 upgrade is not for between classes and into new classes? I.e. Lowest balcony to highest balcony not balcony to suite...

 

 

Sent using the Cruise Critic forums app

No, it's interior to ocean view, ocean view to balcony or balcony to suite on a space available basis, other terms and conditions apply.

 

Phil

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No, it's interior to ocean view, ocean view to balcony or balcony to suite on a space available basis, other terms and conditions apply.

 

 

 

Phil

 

 

That sounds decent if you can book at booking early!!

 

 

Sent using the Cruise Critic forums app

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Hi cat616. I'm glad it's going to work for you. For certain those in the lower tiers have an opportunity to move to new levels and work toward the free nights (the t & cs blow my mind and I'm still not sure how it will work in practice). The upgrades sound good, but once again the t & cs are there and it's space available only. The way Azamara seem to be selling cabins last minute makes me wonder how often this will be available.

 

 

 

To me this is the most telling statement in your post. Loyalty scheme? You have to wonder.

 

Phil

 

Hi Phil,

I agree about the upgrades. You do not know if or when you will be upgraded and you have no say in where the cabin might be. A little like a guarantee cabin.

 

My Pollyanna side wants to see it as paying the Upgrade Fairy. $199 each is a better price than paying the difference if a cabin is unsold at the time of sailing. Maybe that is what Azamara was trying to give us with this new benefit but their Marketing Department has no clue how to speak to their Guests.

 

Many of the savvy cruisers on Cruise Critic know about the better cabins and have preferences about were they want their cabin to be. Many of us not only buy a cruise but we are adamant about picking or own cabin. DH & I like the Continental Suites but DH does not like the noises from the public floors above them. We are still trying to find just the right one for us. If we find the right one or two then that will be our only choices for that category. We will buy a Club Continental of our choice if it is available. If our first choices are not available we will buy a Veranda, get on the waiting list for an upgrade but only accept it if it is a cabin we will be comfortable in. I do not hold much hope of being successful with this strategy of using this Benefit, but what else can I do?

 

The only new benefit that is actually useful for us is the free nights. We will go with the cabin upgrade on our next cruise to a Club Continental regardless of it's position if one comes available because a little annoying noise will be well paid for by the resultant free nights. Like I said before, after that we will evaluate the situation to see if we move on or not. I have not been inspired to be Loyal by the new Loyalty Benefits.

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AS for the free night this is from their web site.

 

Terms and conditions of Complimentary nights fro A's web site

 

Complimentary nights have no cash value, are not redeemable for cash, are not transferable, and must be booked within one year after date earned. Complimentary nights can only be redeemed on sailings 7-nights or longer. Guests are responsible for paying pro-rated amount of prevailing cruise fare rate at the time of booking (calculated as the per night price of the cruise times the numbers of nights not covered by the certificate), as well as full taxes, fees & port expenses for total duration of the cruise. Complimentary nights cannot be combined with any other program or promotion or Restricted Rates. Complimentary nights earned when reaching different levels cannot be redeemed together[/color]. A balance of any unused complimentary nights can be redeemed only by Discoverer Platinum members who book 7-9-night voyages within one year of when the complimentary night(s) was awarded. Stateroom category will be based on category guest most frequently purchased on Azamara. The following blackout dates apply: Azamara Journey departing 2/19/15 and Azamara Quest departing 7/4/15, 7/18/15, and 7/11/16. Complimentary nights are earned against original stateroom category booked on cruises departing on or after January 1, 2015. To earn complimentary nights, members must earn at least 50% of their member points on Azamara and must have sailed with Azamara within the past 3 years. Terms may vary by country.

 

For myself its not worth it. I stopped sailing Azamara when they started with the drinks included. But I enjoyed all my cruises with them. Are you still sailing with Azamara or has this changed your mind about them?

 

Here is the link to the info. I think I got it right , at least I hope I did.

 

http://www.azamaraclubcruises.com/ou...e/member-tiers

I don't know about any one else but I would not pay brochure rate. If you pay full price and get free nights, then it just might bring it down to the sale price. Nothing gain

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About the up grades for $199. From Azamara's web site.

 

Loyalty Stateroom Category Upgrade program provides guest the ability to upgrade from Club Interior (categories 09, 10, 11, 12) to Club Oceanview, Club Oceanview (categories 04, 05, 06, 07, 08) to Club Veranda, or Club Veranda (categories (VX, V1, V2, V3) to Club Continent Suite (categories N1 or N2) accommodations, based on availability, for $199 USD per person (including all guests in triple and quad occupancy staterooms) or for $398 USD per stateroom for single bookings. Loyalty Stateroom Category Upgrade is not applicable on Club World Owner’s Suites and Club Ocean Suites (categories CW, CO). Equivalent amount in other currency is available. Program is available for bookings booked under full fare or general marketplace promotions only. Program is not valid for bookings made in guarantee categories (W, X, Y, Z), for bookings created within 120 days to departure, or bookings that change stateroom categories within 120 days to departure. Only one category upgrade of any kind permitted to reservation. To participate in the program guests or Travel Partners must go to AzamaraClubCruises.com/upgrade and submit an Upgrade Request form. Azamara Club Cruises is not liable for any incorrect contact information included on the form and submitted by themselves or their Travel Partner. Once a guest or Travel Partner is notified by Azamara Club Cruises that they are eligible for the upgrade, it is up to the guest or Travel Partner to provide payment. When a guest or Travel Partner contacts the Call Center, an Azamara Club Cruises agent will validate that the guest is on the waitlist and is eligible for the upgrade before collecting payment and processing the upgrade. If a guest is on back-to-back voyages, and an upgrade becomes available while they are onboard, the Cruise Sales Manager, Guest Relations, or Concierge will contact the guest for payment. Once a guest is notified that an upgrade is available, it is still subject to availability until payment is received by Azamara. Single bookings will be required to pay for two guests ($398) in order to receive the upgrade. Requests will be processed based on availability 2-4 weeks prior to departure. Requests will be prioritized based on loyalty level (guest with highest status in a stateroom will be used for these purposes) and then based on time of request. Terms may vary by country.

 

Does any one know what Azamara means by general marketplace promotions ?

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I had thought to downgrade our current V3 reservation to an OV, wait for the magic call from "dedicated LCV" person who would offer us a balcony for $199/each, and thereby achieve a savings.

Not so fast. Per yesterday's (lengthy) phone call, I would need to downgrade to Cat 4 OV in order to qualify for the one category, maybe-upgrade-savings. Rep assured me there were 40-50 balconies still available for my sailing, but just 2 of the 4 Cat 4 cabins remained (these are all the way forward on decks 6 & 7) and at that price, the savings shrank to near negligible.

Of interest, this was my 2nd call. The first call, 24 hours earlier, offered me the downgrade to a Cat 5 on Deck 4, for what I consider reasonable savings.

Bottom line: all was moot, as I was directed to go through my TA for any changes. So for others who may be pursuing this particular discount chimera, I'd advise paying close attention to which cabin category is under discussion.

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AzamaraClubCruises.com/upgrade

 

Am I looking in the right place?

Hi shipsoul,

See post #17 on this thread, it's a copy of Azamara's new 'benefits.' As I mentioned, the "category upgrade" seems to be open to interpretation. However, both AZ agents with whom I spoke told me "the forms are not ready yet," and they offered to take my name and update my file. Perhaps this is why the link is not yet available - no forms? Evidently there will be no getting around speaking with an Azamara rep, at least for now.

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My head is spinning after reading all this! Am I wrong or are there so many terms and conditions that achieving the free nights or upgrades is a practical impossibility? (or that the savings are illusory as one has to purchase the original fare at brochure rates?)

 

Just like I discovered when I thought I'd take advantage of the new BOGOHO promotion...prices had been raised so much since we originally booked, that the new promotion turned out to cost more!

 

Bottom line is that for the most loyal customers there are very few who will qualify for the "enhanced" benefits. Azamara Joel can spin it however he wants but what the majority of us take away from all of this is that we have lost benefits.

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About the up grades for $199. From Azamara's web site.

 

Requests will be processed based on availability 2-4 weeks prior to departure. Requests will be prioritized based on loyalty level (guest with highest status in a stateroom will be used for these purposes) and then based on time of request.

 

 

Even if you book your cruise 2 years before the actual sailing the upgrade request wont be processed until 2-4 weeks before the sailing. By that point normally there are very few high level cabins available. It will be VERY hard to get the suite upgrade. Also unless you are Discoverer Plus or Platinum you wont get it either.....

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I asked my travel agent to enquire about the $199 upgrade for a cruise we have booked for next year. After 2 days no one got back to her so she called again only to be told no we are not eligible as we booked under the double upgrade promo.

As most cruises seem to have some kind of promo such as by one get one half price etc I can't see many instances where the upgrade will be available, plus it seems to be a gamble as to whether the cabins will be available before you sail, Oh and you cant leave it to the last minute too as the T&Cs state that the cruise needs to be booked more than 120 days out.

So if you book a lower grade cabin in the hope of an upgrade you will most likely be disappointed.

Not such a good perk after all.

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Even if you book your cruise 2 years before the actual sailing the upgrade request wont be processed until 2-4 weeks before the sailing. By that point normally there are very few high level cabins available. It will be VERY hard to get the suite upgrade. Also unless you are Discoverer Plus or Platinum you wont get it either.....

 

Like I said in another post, the bottom two levels might as well not exist. New comers may well consider collecting points that will have to go over 300, to potentially get anything from Azamara, as a spend on cruising too far. The loyalty scheme will meen nothing to them. You need an average of 100 days costing in excess of £30,000 (10x 10 day cruises @£3k) to get the chance to engage in a lottery for an upgrade or extra days which you will pay for anyway by losing any promotion options.

 

Yvonne

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OK, now if I can upgrade from a Veranda to Club Continent on the first leg of my B2B then we will qualify for the new tier when the B2B is completed. There are no Club Continents available at this time but I thought how about getting on the waiting list for one should it become available. I could use the upgrade a level @ $199 each new LCV benefit so for $398 more I could get free nights even sooner.

 

But unless I've missed something, I am not sure that those upgraded as a result of a successful $398 upgrade bid will be awarded Cruise Points based upon the new, higher level of accommodation or the cabin category originally purchased... On some cruise lines, those who receive complimentary upgrades--and I realize that these are not complimentary but they're not full price either--do not earn additional loyalty recognition when "points" are determined--in total or in part--based upon stateroom level...

Edited by Xport
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