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Azamara has failed us before we've even sailed!


andreecruisemom
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3 hours ago, Arizonasunshine said:

We are on the Feb 11 sailing. We booked the Tropicana Night Club excursion for the 2nd day of our stay in Havana ( the ship sails at 2:00 am ).  A few days ago I received an email saying our excursion has been canceled. I called the Shore Excursion Department to ask why. The Azamara rep had no reason why the excursion had been canceled. She put me on hold to try to get the reason why this excursion was cancelled. She came back and said she could find no reason for cancelling the excursion, and that her department was not informed of the cancellation before my call.  She said that she would get back to me when she had answers. That was three days ago and I still haven't heard from her. My money has been refunded so I am certain the excursion has been canceled. I still would like to know why, there is ample time for it. This cruise has been so butchered up that I would never have booked as it is.

 

Was your night club excursion planned for the evening that is now the AzAmazing Evening? If so, you’ll find that our previously scheduled evening tours have been cancelled. There was a letter sent to you, or your TA of record, on 12/21 announcing the new AzAmazing Evening in Havana and included a list of the evening tours that would be canceled. 

As for why, I’ve not been told but would say we don’t have the staff/resources onboard to hold an AzAmazing Evening AND operate tours. 

 

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Bonnie wrote :

Was your night club excursion planned for the evening that is now the AzAmazing Evening? If so, you’ll find that our previously scheduled evening tours have been cancelled. There was a letter sent to you, or your TA of record, on 12/21 announcing the new AzAmazing Evening in Havana and included a list of the evening tours that would be canceled. 

As for why, I’ve not been told but would say we don’t have the staff/resources onboard to hold an AzAmazing Evening AND operate tours. 

 

Bonnie; I don't know. If it was because of the Amazing Evening I would have thought that the person I talked to at Shore Excursions would have told me, and If that were the case I would have moved the Tropicana to the other night.

I simply got no answer.

 

Edited by Arizonasunshine
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26 minutes ago, Arizonasunshine said:

Bonnie wrote :

Was your night club excursion planned for the evening that is now the AzAmazing Evening? If so, you’ll find that our previously scheduled evening tours have been cancelled. There was a letter sent to you, or your TA of record, on 12/21 announcing the new AzAmazing Evening in Havana and included a list of the evening tours that would be canceled. 

As for why, I’ve not been told but would say we don’t have the staff/resources onboard to hold an AzAmazing Evening AND operate tours. 

 

Bonnie; I don't know. If it was because of the Amazing Evening I would have thought that the person I talked to at Shore Excursions would have told me, and If that were the case I would have moved the Tropicana to the other night.

I simply got no answer.

 

 

I apologize for that. If you don’t have plans yet, why don’t you see if you can book the Tropicana on the first night.

 

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On 1/3/2019 at 8:31 PM, amusea said:

Having just returned from a cruise that docked for one day in Havana on another line (small ship) I can only tell you my experience which may be of some help.  We had  booked a morning tour of the city with the cruise line.  When our group was called for the tour and we entered the terminal each passenger had to pass through inspection where your photo was taken and unless there was a special problem with your passport, your passport received an official stamp.

Once the bus tour was over we returned to the ship although some folks just went from the bus to privately tour the city without returning to the ship.  In any case whenever you re-enter the terminal your passport is inspected to make sure that it was stamped officially.  Therefore, after lunch on the ship we left the terminal and toured on our own.  When we returned to the terminal we just showed our passport and stamp and that was all that was needed.

I will say however that some friends seemed to have reserved one of the restored American cars for a private tour and they did not leave the terminal with the group.  However, I think one of them had a Cuban passport or some official letter.

But the key is to make sure you take an authorized ship tour and get your passport stamped and you should be OK from then on.

Sorry but this is bad advice.  I've also sailed Azamara to Havana and there is absolutely no necessity to take a ship's tour.  You must comply with US regulations regarding travel to Cuba (discussed at length elsewhere on CC), but this can be easily accomplished by booking private tours or even going the self-guided route.

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10 minutes ago, mnocket said:

Sorry but this is bad advice.  I've also sailed Azamara to Havana and there is absolutely no necessity to take a ship's tour.  You must comply with US regulations regarding travel to Cuba (discussed at length elsewhere on CC), but this can be easily accomplished by booking private tours or even going the self-guided route.

Well stated mnocket.  Been saying the same thing for several days but, people seem to make up their own rules much like Azamara appears to do as well.

 

Everybody would be much better served if Azamara would publish the actual OFAC rules both on their website and on CC rather than posting their interpretation of the rules as well as pushing ships excursions and avoiding saying that private tours that meet the OFAC rules are acceptable as well.

 

Also Azamara avoiding the conflicting all excursions meet the OFAC rules and then the Azamara nites do not meet the OFAC rules thus you have to take another excursion that day in order to go on the Azamara evening even though Azamara cannot verify the privat excursion meets the rules or even simply checking and verifying those attending the Azamara evening.

 

All this and more simply amplify the problems with the home office in Miami that for many people is simply too much to overcome in order to get on board the ships and experience true caring and competent crew.

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At the beginning of my post I mentioned that my experience was with a different cruise line, namely Regent, and it seems that all the rules may not be the same depending on the line.  While the vast majority of the passengers used one of the many ship tours offered which are included without charge on Regent, I also mentioned that there were some friends from the ship that did not take a recommended tour but rather booked privately.  I should have stated that taking a ship's tour was certainly the easiest way to obtain entry since it was handled without any effort on my part and I then had time to book a further private tour if so desired.

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46 minutes ago, amusea said:

At the beginning of my post I mentioned that my experience was with a different cruise line, namely Regent, and it seems that all the rules may not be the same depending on the line.  While the vast majority of the passengers used one of the many ship tours offered which are included without charge on Regent, I also mentioned that there were some friends from the ship that did not take a recommended tour but rather booked privately.  I should have stated that taking a ship's tour was certainly the easiest way to obtain entry since it was handled without any effort on my part and I then had time to book a further private tour if so desired.

Sorry amusea you assumptions/conclusions are not correct.  The rules are the same for all cruise ships departing from a US port and going to Cuba.  They are written of OFAC  and can only be enforced by the US Government.  It's how they are interpreted/applied by different cruise lines that differ.  They apply to all passengers on the ships and the passengers, not the cruise line are responsible for compliance.  

 

For instance a certain cruise line applied the rules to a ship that departed a foreign port and thus the passengers were not subject to the OFAC rules yet the cruise line would not accept foreign passenger Cuban visas and made them pay more for the ship provided Visas.

 

As far as entry into Cuba, the Cuban Government wants the money and their only requirement is that all the passengers including those who choose not to disembark have Cuban Visas in their Passports.  Cuba doesn't care whether the passengers take excursions that comply with the OFAC rules or not or whet passengers do on shore as long as no Cuban laws are broken.

 

Unfortunately too many passengers have not read the OFAC rules and too many cruise lines are pushing their own excursions and leading people to believe that they have to take them.  Also, there are no "approved" shore excursions only a list on the OFAC page of places, hotels, etc. that are not approved.  It is incumbent on the passengers to make sure any business you contract with or do business with is not on that list and that any money given to that company makes its' way to the Cuban Government.

 

The only way the US Government will know that you didn't follow the rules is if they review your journal after the fact or cannot provide your required journal upon request.  The cruise line has no responsibility for you following the rules.

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I found this all very confusing before I arrived in Cuba and like many of the people on my ship we felt most comfortable just booking a tour with the cruise line and not venturing out on our own which seemed to be the safest course in any case.  Thus it was a surprise when we alighted the tour bus that we had the opportunity to tour independently at that point without further restriction. Perhaps that was because of how we had interpreted the information provided by the cruise line.

Unless one reads and understands  all the OFAC rules as you suggest and which I am sure most of the passengers did not do, we relied on the advice of the cruise line.  Also, we were only docked for about eight hours so it was not nearly as involved as those who were staying overnight or visiting other Cuban ports as well.

I am sorry if I misinterpreted the rules but in a way I feel that these posts might be of help to others like myself who assumed that all the cruise lines were on the same page.

When I booked this cruise I was not even aware that Havana was included in the itinerary.  Since I am over 80 I cruise because I feel that I can avoid many of the problems of independent travel and I will book excursions, hotels, etc. with the cruise line even if it is more expensive.  That is why the all-included policy of Regent appeals to me. There were many folks on the Regent cruise who felt the same way.  During cruises to foreign ports I have always relied on the information provided by the cruise line and many times the visa was provided by the line also.  That included St. Petersburg, Russia where the visa situation could be handled either by the cruise line or the authorized tour companies that provided the visa.  And everything was handled perfectly.

I just happened to glance at these posts because I am sailing on Azamara in June.  That will be my 97th cruise so I thought I would help by relaying my experience.  Obviously the whole subject can be  more complicated than it first appears.  Unfortunately, cruise critic passengers are always in the minority on a ship and most rely on the cruise line or travel agents for any special instructions and they do not have access to this extra source of information.

 

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22 hours ago, BBMacLaird said:

 

I apologize for that. If you don’t have plans yet, why don’t you see if you can book the Tropicana on the first night.

 

Bonnie : I talked to another person at Shore Excursions and indeed it was the Amazing Evening Event that caused the cancellation. She is working on moving the event to the day before. This should be complete by 3:00 pm today, at that time I will be a happy camper.

On a second note my TA claims that neither he or his agency received any of the notices regarding the changes in itinerary, or shore excursions, on the February 11, 2019 Cuba Cruise; or the port changes for another of my upcoming cruises, the April 27 Circle Japan Cruise.

Is there a way to receive these alerts on my email or does it have to go through a TA?

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Our morning in Cartagena (Spain) has been chopped up for an allegedly-amazing evening in Valencia the night before.

Too bad... I would have preferred more time in Catagena. 

I wonder why they didn't schedule the evening excursion for an evening we already had budgeted in port...Sevilla/Lisboa. 

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2 hours ago, Shawnino said:

Our morning in Cartagena (Spain) has been chopped up for an allegedly-amazing evening in Valencia the night before.

Too bad... I would have preferred more time in Catagena. 

I wonder why they didn't schedule the evening excursion for an evening we already had budgeted in port...Sevilla/Lisboa. 


We had the Azamazing Evening in Valencia on our Iberian cruise last year, and it's also the Azamazing Evening on our Mediterranean cruise this fall.  It was okay, but not good enough that we'll attend a second time.

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On 1/7/2019 at 3:40 PM, hiccups said:


We had the Azamazing Evening in Valencia on our Iberian cruise last year, and it's also the Azamazing Evening on our Mediterranean cruise this fall.  It was okay, but not good enough that we'll attend a second time.

Ours in September was outstanding!  Best we’ve had

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On 1/7/2019 at 9:18 PM, Shawnino said:

Our morning in Cartagena (Spain) has been chopped up for an allegedly-amazing evening in Valencia the night before.

Too bad... I would have preferred more time in Catagena. 

I wonder why they didn't schedule the evening excursion for an evening we already had budgeted in port...Sevilla/Lisboa. 

We had one of our BEST Azamazing evenings in Valencia recently. The venue was breathtaking and the show absolutely incredible. Honestly, whatever it takes, please attend. You will not regret it. 

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We sailed on Azamara Journey to Cuba in December.  We have UK passports but am sure it was the same for US as well.  We had only booked private tours in all 3 of our stop.  We handed our passports and completed visa form to immigration when we left the ship, our passport and visa was stamped and we walked through! We had also booked the Azamazing Evening in Havana and had no problems doing so, despite the fact that we had no other excursions booked through the ship.  We were able to come and go as we wished throughout the 2 days in Havana and subsequent ports as well.

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10 hours ago, Jb-lhr said:

We had one of our BEST Azamazing evenings in Valencia recently. The venue was breathtaking and the show absolutely incredible. Honestly, whatever it takes, please attend. You will not regret it. 

 

We've only been on two Azamara cruises so far, and preferred the Riverdance Azamazing Evening in Dublin to the one in Valencia.  The seats we had in Valencia didn't help--off to the side of the stage (we were in a Deck 7 veranda cabin--suites of course had the better seats).

 

We spoke to another couple on that cruise that had done the Azamara shore excursion that included flamenco dancing, and they said the dancing on that excursion was far superior to the Azamazing Evening.  It was a nice show, but the dancers and aerialists weren't as good as you can see elsewhere.  But for an included excursion, it's enjoyable.  We just probably wouldn't go a second time.  The venue was very nice, and I think I was one of the few people that liked the cocktail that was served!  LOL.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/7/2019 at 11:10 AM, Arizonasunshine said:

Bonnie : I talked to another person at Shore Excursions and indeed it was the Amazing Evening Event that caused the cancellation. She is working on moving the event to the day before. This should be complete by 3:00 pm today, at that time I will be a happy camper.

On a second note my TA claims that neither he or his agency received any of the notices regarding the changes in itinerary, or shore excursions, on the February 11, 2019 Cuba Cruise; or the port changes for another of my upcoming cruises, the April 27 Circle Japan Cruise.

Is there a way to receive these alerts on my email or does it have to go through a TA?

We booked directly with Azamara and haven’t gotten email and letter has not been received 

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On 1/3/2019 at 3:45 AM, diana11 said:

We have done 2 cruises to Cuba within the last 12 months - one of those was on Azamara. Our experience both times was that we could come and go as we pleased with no one checking that anyone had pre booked excursions.

 

We also used Fertours as a private tour on both occasions and both guides were excellent. We also wanted to see a show. We wanted to go to the Parisian and so our guide showed us one of the many nearby hotels that sell tickets for Tropicana and The Parisian. We bought them for that evening and flagged down a taxi to take us there and also arranged for it to come back for us. It was so easy to doit on our own, much cheaper than the Azamara trip......and our seats were right at the front. Brilliant night. 

We have booked our own reservations for the show. How much was the cab and what currency did you use?  Did you pay round trip and if so did you pay at beginning or at end?  How did you find the cab at the end of the show?  Any other ideas that would help us for that night?

Thanks Linda

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