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Tips for Azamara Newbies


Grandma Cruising
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On 10/16/2023 at 10:31 AM, Kailyn said:

I'm looking for correct boarding times for Athens, if anyone knows. On our booklet it has boarding from 1 to 4 pm, with a sail of 4:30, so that doesn't seem right. Our "group" says boarding tome 2-3 pm.

What time should we actually be there tomorrow?

 

This is the least amount of information, overall, I've ever been given for the cruise out of 5 cruise lines 😬.

Around August 2022, in Athens, we had the worst experience boarding.  It was some kind of national holiday in Greece, with parades on the streets which interrupted morning traffic.  

 

I think they told us to arrive between 130 to 2 pm (can't recall).   We waited to enter the ship about 2 or 3 hrs in a hot tent, standing up most of the time, (as many people used the chairs to let their bags rest comfortably).    Bathroom was in another tent, but we didn't want to leave in case they called our number.   And they finally decided to bring bottled water much later.  No food.

 

Some of the contributing factors:  a) we were all still concerned about COVID,  b) nobody respected their boarding times, and the check in crew issued the numbers based on first-come, first-served, and c) it was some kind of holiday.

 

We did nto have problems in subsequent cruises departing from other cities, but be aware that these delays happen.  And let Azamara know that this is unacceptable, even if caused by the third-party check in crew.

 

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1 hour ago, Dynacruiser said:

Around August 2022, in Athens, we had the worst experience boarding.  It was some kind of national holiday in Greece, with parades on the streets which interrupted morning traffic.  

 

I think they told us to arrive between 130 to 2 pm (can't recall).   We waited to enter the ship about 2 or 3 hrs in a hot tent, standing up most of the time, (as many people used the chairs to let their bags rest comfortably).    Bathroom was in another tent, but we didn't want to leave in case they called our number.   And they finally decided to bring bottled water much later.  No food.

 

Some of the contributing factors:  a) we were all still concerned about COVID,  b) nobody respected their boarding times, and the check in crew issued the numbers based on first-come, first-served, and c) it was some kind of holiday.

 

We did nto have problems in subsequent cruises departing from other cities, but be aware that these delays happen.  And let Azamara know that this is unacceptable, even if caused by the third-party check in crew.

 

Sorry to hear this happened to you. 

 

We boarded last week in Athens (October 2023). Although the email said 2-3 pm, we boarded at 12:30 pm with almost no one around, no lines, no waiting. We only saw 2 other couples in the registration area at all.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Azamara newbie here and just wanted to confirm a few details.
 

1. Even though we have sailed many times with X, it now longer has a reciprocal agreement with Azamara, so we’d get no additional perks?

2. I understand standard alcoholic drinks are included throughout the day, does this include soft drinks and cocktails? Is bottled water available too?

3. Are the showers as awful as pax describe on Pursuit?

4. What’s the difference between the balcony and balcony plus? The deal we are considering states balcony plus. Are the plus in better positions as no cabin numbers have been quoted - I have asked for an availability list from the TA offering the deal. Any cabins to definitively dismiss?

5. Will the ship be as stable as the larger X ships (I mention X as there appears to be many names that I recognise from the X boards).
 

Many thanks for any answers/comments you can provide as we are undecided whether to book or not after reading some of the recent reviews on CC (many do mention the disorganised shore-side operations compared to the good experience onboard) - just don’t know what to expect. TIA.

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8 minutes ago, villauk said:

Azamara newbie here and just wanted to confirm a few details.
 

1. Even though we have sailed many times with X, it now longer has a reciprocal agreement with Azamara, so we’d get no additional perks?

2. I understand standard alcoholic drinks are included throughout the day, does this include soft drinks and cocktails? Is bottled water available too?

3. Are the showers as awful as pax describe on Pursuit?

4. What’s the difference between the balcony and balcony plus? The deal we are considering states balcony plus. Are the plus in better positions as no cabin numbers have been quoted - I have asked for an availability list from the TA offering the deal. Any cabins to definitively dismiss?

5. Will the ship be as stable as the larger X ships (I mention X as there appears to be many names that I recognise from the X boards).
 

Many thanks for any answers/comments you can provide as we are undecided whether to book or not after reading some of the recent reviews on CC (many do mention the disorganised shore-side operations compared to the good experience onboard) - just don’t know what to expect. TIA.

I hope the following helps.

1. I do not know about this subject.

2. Soft drinks and certain cocktails are included together with bottled water.  One of the perks of Azamara are that you can upgrade to the ultimate package on a daily basis and if only one of you wants to do this it is permitted.

3. The showers are small, it is a small ship however the trick is to leave the shower curtain outside of the shower so that the water flows into the gully provided. This way I have not had a problem.

4. The balcony plus I believe are on deck 8 but I am not entirely certain, you will receive a bottle of spirits in your cabin, we used to change for spirit of our choice. You will also be entitled to one night in a speciality restaurant.

5. I have sailed numerous times on Azamara and suffered sea sickness once with rough seas. 

 

Azamara delivers a fantastic on board product, good food, great crew, very comfortable cabins and Azamara is now my cruise line of choice.  Sadly their on shore customer service is appalling and I cannot believe that after such a long period of time they still cannot get this solved. 

 

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12 minutes ago, villauk said:

Azamara newbie here and just wanted to confirm a few details.
 

1. Even though we have sailed many times with X, it now longer has a reciprocal agreement with Azamara, so we’d get no additional perks?

2. I understand standard alcoholic drinks are included throughout the day, does this include soft drinks and cocktails? Is bottled water available too?

3. Are the showers as awful as pax describe on Pursuit?

4. What’s the difference between the balcony and balcony plus? The deal we are considering states balcony plus. Are the plus in better positions as no cabin numbers have been quoted - I have asked for an availability list from the TA offering the deal. Any cabins to definitively dismiss?

5. Will the ship be as stable as the larger X ships (I mention X as there appears to be many names that I recognise from the X boards).
 

Many thanks for any answers/comments you can provide as we are undecided whether to book or not after reading some of the recent reviews on CC (many do mention the disorganised shore-side operations compared to the good experience onboard) - just don’t know what to expect. TIA.

1) You’re right that you wouldn’t get any reciprocal perks.

2) Drinks are all day and include soft drinks, cocktails, plain & sparkling water and speciality coffees. There is a range of cocktails (and mocktails) on the included list, but you can ask them to make any cocktail with the included spirits.

3) The showers are OK. They are on the small side but my husband is 6ft and not slim and manages fine. The shower curtains don’t stick to you as they’ve been replaced with heavy curtains

4) Verandah plus are ordinary Verandah cabins but with some extra perks such as a bottle of spirits in your room, a couple of meals in the speciality restaurant, a free bag of laundry per cruise week. 
5) we’ve never had a problem with the stability - but if you think you might have a problem go for midships and low down.

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3 minutes ago, Bonnielass said:

I hope the following helps.

1. I do not know about this subject.

2. Soft drinks and certain cocktails are included together with bottled water.  One of the perks of Azamara are that you can upgrade to the ultimate package on a daily basis and if only one of you wants to do this it is permitted.

3. The showers are small, it is a small ship however the trick is to leave the shower curtain outside of the shower so that the water flows into the gully provided. This way I have not had a problem.

4. The balcony plus I believe are on deck 8 but I am not entirely certain, you will receive a bottle of spirits in your cabin, we used to change for spirit of our choice. You will also be entitled to one night in a speciality restaurant.

5. I have sailed numerous times on Azamara and suffered sea sickness once with rough seas. 

 

Azamara delivers a fantastic on board product, good food, great crew, very comfortable cabins and Azamara is now my cruise line of choice.  Sadly their on shore customer service is appalling and I cannot believe that after such a long period of time they still cannot get this solved. 

 


 

Thank you so much for your comments. We would like to try the small-ship experience and are leaning towards Azamara. Is there a casino onboard? Asking as someone in our party does enjoy a flutter, but it’s not essential.

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31 minutes ago, Grandma Cruising said:

1) You’re right that you wouldn’t get any reciprocal perks.

2) Drinks are all day and include soft drinks, cocktails, plain & sparkling water and speciality coffees. There is a range of cocktails (and mocktails) on the included list, but you can ask them to make any cocktail with the included spirits.

3) The showers are OK. They are on the small side but my husband is 6ft and not slim and manages fine. The shower curtains don’t stick to you as they’ve been replaced with heavy curtains

4) Verandah plus are ordinary Verandah cabins but with some extra perks such as a bottle of spirits in your room, a couple of meals in the speciality restaurant, a free bag of laundry per cruise week. 
5) we’ve never had a problem with the stability - but if you think you might have a problem go for midships and low down.


 

Great, thank you. I’ve noticed that the balcony plus cabins also include priority embarkation. Does this mean we get to choose a time slot? Obviously not having sailed Azamara previously, we have no idea what their usual boarding process is. 

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1 hour ago, villauk said:


 

Thank you so much for your comments. We would like to try the small-ship experience and are leaning towards Azamara. Is there a casino onboard? Asking as someone in our party does enjoy a flutter, but it’s not essential.

Azamara has been eliminating casinos during drydocks.  My only complaint about Azamara is the very small showers.  Service is excellent and food is very good.  We have never been seasick during 4 cruises.  We book midship  cabins on deck 7 and use bonine and ginger pills.

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1 hour ago, villauk said:

4. What’s the difference between the balcony and balcony plus? The deal we are considering states balcony plus. Are the plus in better positions as no cabin numbers have been quoted - I have asked for an availability list from the TA offering the deal. Any cabins to definitively dismiss?

All veranda cabins are the same layout; prices vary by location.

 

Veranda Plus also get some added amenities, but most posters here don't feel they are worth the upcharge – you may be getting a package deal that changes this equation.

 

Location is a subjective area.  IMHO the best veranda cabins would be the P1s at the aft (but the P1s at the front of the ship are the worst location...), but they go fast.  The other Plus cabins (P2 and P3) are problematic to me:  P3 is high and forward and some may have noise issues; P2 are all under the pool deck so are likely to have noise issues.  To me the best 'usually available' verandas are the V1s (midship on deck 7).

 

I would ask your agent for a price on a V1 for comparison before booking the Plus offer.

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1 minute ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

All veranda cabins are the same layout; prices vary by location.

 

Veranda Plus also get some added amenities, but most posters here don't feel they are worth the upcharge – you may be getting a package deal that changes this equation.

 

Location is a subjective area.  IMHO the best veranda cabins would be the P1s at the aft (but the P1s at the front of the ship are the worst location...), but they go fast.  The other Plus cabins (P2 and P3) are problematic to me:  P3 is high and forward and some may have noise issues; P2 are all under the pool deck so are likely to have noise issues.  To me the best 'usually available' verandas are the V1s (midship on deck 7).

 

I would ask your agent for a price on a V1 for comparison before booking the Plus offer.


 

Thank you for those great tips on cabin location. Our favourite cabins are SV aft on X ships, so it appears we have similar tastes 👍.

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1 hour ago, villauk said:


 

Great, thank you. I’ve noticed that the balcony plus cabins also include priority embarkation. Does this mean we get to choose a time slot? Obviously not having sailed Azamara previously, we have no idea what their usual boarding process is. 

As there are only about 700 passengers max boarding is straightforward. Embarkation starts from 2pm they(say on their website). Just turn up and go to Priority Boarding if you’re in a Verandah plus.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Has anyone taken the Azamara transfer from Civitavecchia to FCO? We will be on pursuit in April and I’m trying to decide on transport options when we debark. Our flight is around 1230. Wondering if I should arrange a private transfer or book Aza transfer. We’ve used private transfers in past after Celebrity cruises. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
2 hours ago, cruisinpoler said:

Tell me more... 

According to this thread, Azamara has been replacing the clingy plastic shower curtains with cloth curtains.  But showers are still very small unless you get a suite.  We last cruised on Azamara in 2019.

Edited by Tom47
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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi all, we are thinking of booking our first Azamara cruise. We have sailed several times with Celebrity and a few with HAL so are familiar with cruising in general.  

 

This thread has been very helpful in answering many of my questions 🙂 

I do have a few additional questions:

 

- the cruise we are thinking of booking is not until Aug 2025.  Does Azamara have any sort of price drop protection up until final payment?  We've managed to take advantage of several price drops in the past with Celebrity so we always book far in advance knowing that we can take advantage if there is a sale and prices drop.  (both with the cruise fare and airfare) 
 

- the cruise we are looking at comes with a Premium Beverage Package.  DH is a big fan of single malt scotch which doesn't seem to be available on this package.  The website says "the value of a complimentary drink is taken into consideration in pricing higher end brands so you pay just a slight upcharge".  Can someone explain how this works?  Wondering whether pay as you go makes more sense then upgrading to the Ultimate Package (how do we upgrade?)  

 

- are all of the pools outdoors?  Any solarium style pools or indoor pools?  We love having an indoor or solarium type pool as an option.

 

Thanks in advance...Really appreciate the help!!

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There is no price protection in the UK, but I’m not sure about the situation in Canada, perhaps someone from there can answer this one.

The premium drinks package includes several single malt whiskies 

‘ Select Cask, The Glenlivet The Master, Destiller's Reserve, Highland Park Aged 12 Years, The Balvenie Triple Cask 12 Years, Laphroaig 10 Years, The Macallan Select Oak’

 

On Azamara if you want a drink that’s not included you pay the full price of the drink. The difference between the Premium & Ultimate package is that the Ultimate Package includes some better wines by the glass, such as Champagne. You can upgrade at any bar once you’re onboard, you just pay the difference between the two packages (Currently $8 a day pp). If you’re not sure whether you need the better wines you could try the included wines for a day or two before upgrading. 
 

The pools are all outdoors.

 

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We have been told by our TA and AZ staff there is price protection until final payment is due.  We booked an Aug 5,2025 through our TA last August because we loved the itinerary.  On board in September we added loyalty benefits and both our TA and the AZ staff told us to monitor prices and make contact with the TA to request a price reduction if we saw it.  Unfortunately the itinerary of that cruise has shifted and we will be cancelling (likely reselecting  another cruise ) and that will at most cost us $75 per person (we anticipate getting that refunded if we select another cruise).

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38 minutes ago, Whitby100 said:

We have been told by our TA and AZ staff there is price protection until final payment is due.  We booked an Aug 5,2025 through our TA last August because we loved the itinerary.  On board in September we added loyalty benefits and both our TA and the AZ staff told us to monitor prices and make contact with the TA to request a price reduction if we saw it.  Unfortunately the itinerary of that cruise has shifted and we will be cancelling (likely reselecting  another cruise ) and that will at most cost us $75 per person (we anticipate getting that refunded if we select another cruise).


Thanks for your post on price protection.

 

We just had our TA transfer our Aug 05, 2025 reservation on Quest to August 30, 2025.

 

I am no expert on reading the invoice but I don’t see any fee for the change. 

I would also mention that it was handled very quickly by the Azamara office.

 

Hope your experience is as painless as ours.

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2 hours ago, nordski said:


Thanks for your post on price protection.

 

We just had our TA transfer our Aug 05, 2025 reservation on Quest to August 30, 2025.

 

I am no expert on reading the invoice but I don’t see any fee for the change. 

I would also mention that it was handled very quickly by the Azamara office.

 

Hope your experience is as painless as ours.

We will likely be moving to August 30 cruise as well.  I just need to get through the next week and approach it with a clear head.

It seems from the currency post that you will be travelling on another ship prior to that cruise.  I’d suggest speaking to AZ on board and requesting your onboard loyalty benefits.  We did this recently and got them (additional OBC).  We explained we booked upon release of the new itinerary to secure a good cabin and as loyal AZ members didn’t want to wait to book while on our next cruise.  AZ rebooked us , gave us the  benefits but charged us $75 per person. Our TA got that waived when we transferred the booking to them when we returned home.  We also had to move cabins while on board (couldn’t hold 2 cabins) but when we returned home our TA switched the room back.

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9 hours ago, Grandma Cruising said:

 

The premium drinks package includes several single malt whiskies 

‘ Select Cask, The Glenlivet The Master, Destiller's Reserve, Highland Park Aged 12 Years, The Balvenie Triple Cask 12 Years, Laphroaig 10 Years, The Macallan Select Oak’

 

 

 

that appears to be the list from the Ultimate package rather than Premium. Premium only has blends for Whisky

https://www.azamara.com/gb/booked-guests/onboard-packages#link-beverages

 

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58 minutes ago, Whitby100 said:

We will likely be moving to August 30 cruise as well.  I just need to get through the next week and approach it with a clear head.

It seems from the currency post that you will be travelling on another ship prior to that cruise.  I’d suggest speaking to AZ on board and requesting your onboard loyalty benefits.  We did this recently and got them (additional OBC).  We explained we booked upon release of the new itinerary to secure a good cabin and as loyal AZ members didn’t want to wait to book while on our next cruise.  AZ rebooked us , gave us the  benefits but charged us $75 per person. Our TA got that waived when we transferred the booking to them when we returned home.  We also had to move cabins while on board (couldn’t hold 2 cabins) but when we returned home our TA switched the room back.


Thanks for the suggestion. Really appreciated.

Edited by nordski
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