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Azamara Alaska - Success or Failure

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1 hour ago, dhall711 said:

We are on the July 2 sailing out of Vancouver.  An Alaska cruise has always been on my wife's bucket list so we booked last November while onboard the Journey to take advantage of the future cruise discount and OBC.  This will be our 2nd AZ cruise so we are just lowly Adventurers. 

 

I'm a little disappointed to see that the itinerary so closely matches the other big cruise lines with only limited times in port (no overnights except in Seattle of all places) and the same AK ports that I visited on my first HAL cruise almost 40 years ago.  Also a little bummed that we don't go into Glacier Bay although I agree that it's not that big of deal - plenty of other things to do and see.  We booked shore excursions for most of the days as there's not much to do in the actual towns other than souvenir shop with 5000 passengers from the other ships in port that day.  The one bright spot is spending a day in the wine country outside of Naniamo, BC.

 

The real gut punch though is seeing the steep discounts being offered since we booked last year.  For the price we paid for a verandah on AZ we could get a sky suite on Celebrity.  Live and learn I suppose although it would be super nice if AZ threw those of us who paid the higher early fares a bone with some additional OBC or Experience More package.  The AK market is obviously over saturated so maybe it's best that AZ focuses on places the other lines don't go to like Japan.

We are on this cruise as well, and like you, booked early, when prices were higher. Still, I will be happier with the small ship, Azamara experience, although not with the jammed ports! Where are you getting your info as to what other ships are in ports on specific days?

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Some years ago on this board there were a number of requests that Azamara sail to Alaska.

 

Kudos to Azamara for considering those suggestions, and it’s unfortunate that the itineraries have not been as successful as Azamara or many cruisers wished.

 

We have not cruised in Alaska and now regret that omission given the number of ships now deployed in that region.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I agree that the small ship experience is still much better than the mega ships and we plan to enjoy our trip regardless. 

 

You can go to www.cruisemapper.com and look up the future schedule of all ships and their ports.  For instance, I see 4 other ships in Juneau the same day we will be there (Sunday, July 7): 

 

https://www.cruisemapper.com/ports/juneau-port-407?tab=schedule&month=2019-07#schedule
7 July, 2019
Sunday
Le Soleal    
7 July, 2019
Sunday
Coral Princess 06:00 16:00
7 July, 2019
Sunday
Radiance Of The Seas 09:00 21:00
7 July, 2019
Sunday
Ovation Of The Seas 12:00 21:00
7 July, 2019
Sunday
Azamara Quest 13:00 23:00
Edited by dhall711

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12 minutes ago, Mackdogmolly said:

 Where are you getting your info as to what other ships are in ports on specific days?

Each port has a website under Port of .......which tells you which ships are in port and the berth number. You can also search for sites that allow you to see all the ports but sometimes these are not up to date. For example in Juneau on July 7th Coral Princess, Radiance of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas are also there with Quest. As dhall711 noted that's a lot of people.

 

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, dhall711 said:

I agree that the small ship experience is still much better than the mega ships and we plan to enjoy our trip regardless. 

 

You can go to www.cruisemapper.com and look up the future schedule of all ships and their ports.  For instance, I see 4 other ships in Juneau the same day we will be there (Sunday, July 7): 

 

https://www.cruisemapper.com/ports/juneau-port-407?tab=schedule&month=2019-07#schedule
7 July, 2019
Sunday
Le Soleal    
7 July, 2019
Sunday
Coral Princess 06:00 16:00
7 July, 2019
Sunday
Radiance Of The Seas 09:00 21:00
7 July, 2019
Sunday
Ovation Of The Seas 12:00 21:00
7 July, 2019
Sunday
Azamara Quest 13:00 23:00

Thanks. And wow!

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We are on the July 2 sailing. When we booked I compared the price to X, factoring in what is included plus a large OBC Azamara was a better deal, and it is 10 days! The current price for our V2 is significantly more than what we are paying.

The downside to this itinerary is no Hubbard Glacier and I could do without 2 days in Seattle. We normally wouldn’t consider this itinerary but it is unusual to be able to cruise Azamara from the West Coast and at a better price than X. 

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On 5/17/2019 at 1:19 AM, uktog said:

I have been three times to Alaska never to Glacier Bay always seem other fantastic sights I think Glacier Bay is an overhype by those who can sail there to big up their marketing 

The problem with the Azamara offering was it was overpriced and not unique- nothing special virtually no more time in ports than competitors. We considered it indeed were booked until they messed around and swapped to Japan. After it was pulled we discovered we’d have been cheaper in a Celebrity Royal Suite than an Azamara balcony 

 

 

I think this post by uktog is pretty insightful.  

 

If the price is going to be similar, the Millennium offers better prices with more to do on the ship.  We did a family cruise on the Millennium with our college aged kids and had an amazing time and loved Vancouver before the cruise and Seward after the cruise (nice kayaking trip).  No regrets with Glacier Bay.  We like the perks we get with X, especially drinks package and we like X's specialty restaurants and Aqua much more than anything on Princess.  At some point, maybe Glacier Bay makes sense, but not at a $1200 premium.

 

 

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On 5/17/2019 at 4:39 AM, excitedofharpenden said:

In answer to the original question I would say fail. 

 

Phil 

As would I. But it's a shame that the Japan Intensive cruise (we just disembarked from it and it was an outstanding itinerary) will be in August, the month that several guides told us was the worst time to be there. Hot, humid and hot again. We could not rack up the 15,000+ daily steps we took in that kind of weather.

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10 hours ago, critterchick said:

As would I. But it's a shame that the Japan Intensive cruise (we just disembarked from it and it was an outstanding itinerary) will be in August, the month that several guides told us was the worst time to be there. Hot, humid and hot again. We could not rack up the 15,000+ daily steps we took in that kind of weather.

 

Indeed... I wonder what the uptake will be.

My wife really wants to cruise Japan. She has just started researching and freely admits she knows little but she's certain of two things:

--she'd prefer to go in Springtime (cherry blossoms etc)

--there's no way in Hell she'd go in August.

 

I guess the weather can vary year to year like anywhere, but she's intent on playing the odds and I don't blame her.

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For the people who are doing Alaska we are ironing out all the problems for you. Tomorrow is our first port in Alaska and we they were told that they had to renew there alcohol serving license before they could serve alcohol in Alaskan waters. Top marks to Azamara and they provided every cabin two bottles of wine for lunch tomorrow until it’s all sorted. We had medical evacuations this morning that hasn’t changed our arrival time into Dutch Harbor tomorrow.

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3 hours ago, benjoon said:

For the people who are doing Alaska we are ironing out all the problems for you. Tomorrow is our first port in Alaska and we they were told that they had to renew there alcohol serving license before they could serve alcohol in Alaskan waters. 

What! Surely someone should have noticed that before you arrived in Alaska? ☹️

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Oh dear! Hope it gets sorted out soon! And please continue to post. I’m on a July Alaska sailing, so very interested in how yours goes.

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8 hours ago, benjoon said:

For the people who are doing Alaska we are ironing out all the problems for you. Tomorrow is our first port in Alaska and we they were told that they had to renew there alcohol serving license before they could serve alcohol in Alaskan waters. Top marks to Azamara and they provided every cabin two bottles of wine for lunch tomorrow until it’s all sorted. We had medical evacuations this morning that hasn’t changed our arrival time into Dutch Harbor tomorrow.

 

Unbelievable, as part of RCCL you'd think someone would have known and passed down that info! 

Lol, maybe they should have delivered a bottle of booze to each cabin! 😁

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4 minutes ago, lovecruzin said:

 

Unbelievable, as part of RCCL you'd think someone would have known and passed down that info! 

Lol, maybe they should have delivered a bottle of booze to each cabin! 😁

Maybe they should just upgrade everyone to Ultimate when this gets sorted out! 😄

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30 minutes ago, maggie.1008 said:

Hard to believe they didn`t know this long ago. We will be on July 20th.nothin

 

I am no longer surprised by Azamara planning mistakes, they have a history of such blunders..

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2 hours ago, Mackdogmolly said:

Maybe they should just upgrade everyone to Ultimate when this gets sorted out! 😄

People with the ultimate package gets a day refunded.

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2 hours ago, lovecruzin said:

 

Unbelievable, as part of RCCL you'd think someone would have known and passed down that info! 

Lol, maybe they should have delivered a bottle of booze to each cabin! 😁

Two bottles of wine is enough as things should be sorted by the time we leave Dutch Harbor at 2pm. Our first stop after 3 days at sea so I think most people will get off and stretch there legs. Stunning sunny day here today. As an Aussie I was excited to see my first bald eagle.

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On 5/20/2019 at 4:38 AM, Shawnino said:

 

Indeed... I wonder what the uptake will be.

My wife really wants to cruise Japan. She has just started researching and freely admits she knows little but she's certain of two things:

--she'd prefer to go in Springtime (cherry blossoms etc)

--there's no way in Hell she'd go in August.

 

I guess the weather can vary year to year like anywhere, but she's intent on playing the odds and I don't blame her.

Our guide in Kanazawa (a young Brazilian man who fell in love with Japanese anime and taught himself Japanese in middle school; now he’s working on his PhD in Kanazawa) told us that he leaves Japan in August. That told us everything we needed to know, lol. His recommendation was fall (starting in early November on Honshu Island) or spring for the cherry blossoms. Which were magnificent, BTW. We were too late for Tokyo, but found them in full bloom in Hakodate and Aomori, and just a bit past their prime in Kanazawa.

 

Go with your wife’s instincts.  🙂

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18 minutes ago, critterchick said:

 

 

Go with your wife’s instincts.  🙂

 

That's generally served me well.

Thank you for your insight about your Guide. 

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4 hours ago, benjoon said:

Two bottles of wine is enough as things should be sorted by the time we leave Dutch Harbor at 2pm. Our first stop after 3 days at sea so I think most people will get off and stretch there legs. Stunning sunny day here today. As an Aussie I was excited to see my first bald eagle.

 

Since there were no excursions offered in Dutch Harbor, did the ship at least provide a shuttle into town?  

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8 hours ago, SoBaycruiser said:

 

Since there were no excursions offered in Dutch Harbor, did the ship at least provide a shuttle into town?  

They were running free shuttles all the time to a few different spots so you could hop on and off. There was no charge.

 

Still not sure if the alcohol license has been reinstated yet as there was no serving until we were right out of Harbor. 

 

The next exciting episode in the up coming days. We have one sea day before we were due into Kodiak but some serious weather is heading our way They have decided to go another route to shelter from the high seas so we are due to miss Kodiak. After seeing the footage of the Viking ship in high seas we will probably be glad that our captain is taking precautions. 

 

All these things are are not stopping us from having a fantastic cruise.

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1 hour ago, benjoon said:

 

The next exciting episode in the up coming days. We have one sea day before we were due into Kodiak but some serious weather is heading our way They have decided to go another route to shelter from the high seas so we are due to miss Kodiak. After seeing the footage of the Viking ship in high seas we will probably be glad that our captain is taking precautions. 

 

All these things are are not stopping us from having a fantastic cruise.

 

Better safe than sorry.  I’m glad to see you have a positive attitude about it.  We once had to detour 400 miles due to icebergs in the North Atlantic a few years ago.  We got in late to Reykjavik but we were safe and that is what matters.

 

thanks for the Dutch Harbor info,

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As others have said, I think Alaska is oversaturated and AZ really needed to come up with more enticing itineraries with out-of-the-way ports. I was excited when AZ announced they were heading to Alaska, but the itineraries were exactly the same as any other cruise. Even the overnight in Seattle on July 3-4 doesn't stay late enough for fireworks. There was just nothing special that AZ added to the Alaska season and I think a lot of people, like me, didn't bother booking with them.

 

 

Michael

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We are doing the Alaska to Japan itinerary in August (wrong time of the year for Japan, but we'll manage!)  What enticed us were the two ports in Alaska (Kodiak and Dutch Harbor.)   We did an exclusively Alaska cruise (on Holland America) 15 years ago but the two Azamara ports are new to us.   Alaska has certainly become a focal point for many cruise lines but I think they all have a way to catch up to Princess and Holland (who were, I believe, the first to make the area a tourist haven.)   We had, as I remember, a marvelous time with Holland and did a land tour with them pre-cruise.   I think Azamara could make Alaska special if they offered the usual late nights or overnights and did some real destination immersion, but just going to the same old same old ports would not make Azamara stand out in the very saturated Alaska cruise market.

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