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snowglobe

Bonnie - NZ cruises clarifications, can you check into this please?

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Posted (edited)

Hi Bonnie,

 

I’m wondering If you could please check into this, as it may be early enough for Azamara to maybe change course and do it right...

 

I’ll be doing a b2b in Jan-Feb 2020 on Journey, starting in Tahiti and ending in Sydney. Both cruises will be focusing heavily on New Zealand ports of call: 6 on the first cruise, and 8 on the ‘New Zealand Intensive’ second cruise.

 

Although not yet in the Voyage Planner, the two AzAmazing evenings look to both end up being chamber orchestra/choir concerts. The first segment ends in Auckland, and that segment’s concert will likely be in a church in Wellington, duration of one hour. The second segment’s is going to be something very similar in Hobart (Australia).

 

Where is the Maori cultural event that they advertise by photo whenever AzAmazing Evenings are referenced in conjunction with New Zealand itineraries?? That is what my expectation was built up by Azamara to be in the first place.

https://www.azamaraclubcruises.com/en-ca/new-zealand

 

How disappointing is a one-hour chamber orchestra/choir in comparison to what could easily be a truly unique cultural event!

Since these two cruises are part of a Grand Voyage, with several cruisers doing these cruises as b2bs, isn’t it awfully boring to be subjected to two very similar lacklustre events?

 

I’ll be looking forward to reading the response that you shall be receiving about this, and the rationale for their decision.

 

In addition:

On the same webpage referenced above, there is a mention of a ‘Noctunal Wildlife’ shore excursion (to be done in the dark). For both my cruises, the start time for this 2.5-hour tour in Wellington is a contradictory 1:50pm. Since I already have an afternoon shore excursion booked, I’m unable to add this one to my Feb. 8 sailing, and I would very much like to...

 

Thank you for looking into this, Bonnie!

Edited by snowglobe
Typo

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It is more than likely there will be a Maori cultural event on board, at least that has been the case on the two N.Z. cruises we have done on Journey & Quest.

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I’m very curious... were these evening events? Which ports?

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Hi again Bonnie,

Today (Sunday Jun 23rd) and yesterday (Sat 22nd), I have been unable to purchase shore excursions in my Voyage Planner, for both b2b cruises.

I can see the available excursions, but when I go to add to my cart, I get the dreaded WHOOPS! page. This is happening on both my iPad and laptop.

Week-ends is the time when both of us, as a couple, can look at shore excursions.

 

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Posted (edited)

One more related issue:

On the Feb. 8th sailing, we were advised on April 25th that the Akaroa port of call has been moved to Christchurch (due to port congestion in Akaroa). Eventually, the shore excursions for Akaroa disappeared and no new shore excursions were offered for Christchurch for a while.

 

Now the shore excursions based out of Akaroa have reappeared for sale in the Voyage Planner, yet we are still sailing into Christchurch. This is silly, and will be frustrating for the guests who are unaware that there is a fundamental problem with these tour offerings (1.5 hr driving distance away.)

Edited by snowglobe

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Hi snowglobe, 

So many questions! I will see what I can find out for you.

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23 hours ago, snowglobe said:

I’m very curious... were these evening events? Which ports?

 

Yes, they were evening events.

On board in Napier.

On board in Akaroa

Azamazing Evening in Wellington Cathedral was a Maori choir.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, snowglobe said:

the Akaroa port of call has been moved to Christchurch (due to port congestion in Akaroa).

I understand that Akaroa is a tender port, which was used as a necessity after the earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010/2011, which made the port unsafe. Reverting back to Christchurch means that infrastructure has been repaired. It will make the timing of tours easier, rather than having to factor in tender times.

Edited by upwarduk

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24 minutes ago, upwarduk said:

I understand that Akaroa is a tender port, which was used as a necessity after the earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010/2011, which made the port unsafe. Reverting back to Christchurch means that infrastructure has been repaired. It will make the timing of tours easier, rather than having to factor in tender times.

 

I completely agree with you.

Which is why it makes no sense to offer tours that begin in Akaroa, and none in/for Christchurch.

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We had a wonderful azamazing evening in Wellington a couple years ago; it was orchestra with a Maori vocal group.  Great evening!

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Thank you Baynanno1 and laurieb, that’s reassuring and sounds wonderful!

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One more NZ excursion issue, this one for the Jan. 23 departure:

 

We signed up & paid for the TATAPOURI REEF WALK & STINGRAY FEEDING shore excursion booked through Azamara, for which Dive Tatapouri is the provider. I contacted them to see if we could extend our time with them, after the shore excursion.

 

Their reply below clearly indicates that this shore excursion that Azamara is selling is not at all possible for the date that Journey is scheduled to be in Gisborne. If we had not caught this early, by pure fluke, alternate tour choices may not have been available to us.

 

As a first time Azamara cruiser, the continued issues that keep cropping up around the land portions of our cruise are beginning to really worry me. We’re not cruising to be on the ship per se, but to experience New Zealand from the ship. 

 

“On Jun 24, 2019, at 7:11 PM, <divetatapouri@xtra.co.nz> wrote:
Hi
Sorry for delay in getting back to you, our Reef Ecology Tour runs around the low tides daily, unfortunately on the day you arrive into Gisborne we are unable to offer our tour as an Excursion as the low tide is 4am in the morning or 4.30pm in the afternoon.  This also would impact on the snorkeling option as we use the lower tide on the reef for the clarity of water to view the stingrays.
Regards
Chris
Dive Tatapouri
-----Original Message----- 
Sent: Monday, May 27, 2019 10:13 AM
Subject: Message sent from the Dive Tatapouri website
Hi,
We are sailing into Gisborne on the Azamara Journey on Feb. 1st. I see a shore excursion offered for the Tatapouri Reef Walk & Stingray Feeding.[…]

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Posted (edited)

Here is another NZ shore excursion that is impossible for Azamara to deliver:

 

On the Feb. 8th departure, Journey docks into Napier at 2pm. Azamara is selling a 4-hour tour of 3 wineries, that starts at 2:50pm, when the guests presumably start boarding the bus. The first winery is a 20min drive away from the port. The last tasting pours happen at around 4:30pm, and the wineries’ cellar doors close at 5pm.

 

Unless we all board a Tardis for this tour, Azamara can’t deliver what it advertises.

Edited by snowglobe

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Oh, and I continue to be unable to book any shore excursions in the Voyage Planners for both cruises, for the third day in a row.

 

Still getting ‘WHOOPS!’ from the website...

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Interesting, all the tours for Christchurch have disappeared again, and how do you find out when the Azamazing evening is? 

We are sailing on Feb 8th, mainly doing our own tours, just one booked through ship. Hope the 'changes' are not going to spoil things, we were caught out  10 years ago when they had a change of 'image'. 

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Posted (edited)
59 minutes ago, spiritoftravel said:

Interesting, all the tours for Christchurch have disappeared again, and how do you find out when the Azamazing evening is? 

We are sailing on Feb 8th, mainly doing our own tours, just one booked through ship. Hope the 'changes' are not going to spoil things, we were caught out  10 years ago when they had a change of 'image'. 

Maybe we will just drop the Azamara Shore Ex this time. Christchurch  excursions gone again and no good timing on many others. Voyage planner is also difficult to use since you cannot see the departure times for every excursion. Not a good tool.

Edited by oddjob16

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, oddjob16 said:

Maybe we will just drop the Azamara Shore Ex this time. Christchurch  excursions gone again and no good timing on many others. Voyage planner is also difficult to use since you cannot see the departure times for every excursion. Not a good tool.

 

It’s impossible to filter for start times: morning, afternoon or evening.

To see the actual departure times, we have to click all the way to basket it...

Plus, it’s now the fourth day of the dreaded ‘WHOOPS’ for me. 😞

 

For our cruise, I agree, the timing is just plain off.

 

And, on port days when we’re there the full day and/or also into the evening, ALL the tours are offered at the same time in the morning, and nothing in the afternoons - given that the large majority of tours are between 1.5 and 4 hours, more can definitely be done for Azamara to up their game.

‘Experience More’ -> not.

Edited by snowglobe

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1 hour ago, snowglobe said:

 

It’s impossible to filter for start times: morning, afternoon or evening.

To see the actual departure times, we have to click all the way to basket it...

Plus, it’s now the fourth day of the dreaded ‘WHOOPS’ for me. 😞

 

For our cruise, I agree, the timing is just plain off.

 

And, on port days when we’re there the full day and/or also into the evening, ALL the tours are offered at the same time in the morning, and nothing in the afternoons - given that the large majority of tours are between 1.5 and 4 hours, more can definitely be done for Azamara to up their game.

‘Experience More’ -> not.

Well, in Dunedin they have a pub crawl that starts at 8:30 am. That will be hilarious. 🤣😂😂

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4 hours ago, snowglobe said:

 

It’s impossible to filter for start times: morning, afternoon or evening.

To see the actual departure times, we have to click all the way to basket it...

Plus, it’s now the fourth day of the dreaded ‘WHOOPS’ for me. 😞

 

For our cruise, I agree, the timing is just plain off.

 

And, on port days when we’re there the full day and/or also into the evening, ALL the tours are offered at the same time in the morning, and nothing in the afternoons - given that the large majority of tours are between 1.5 and 4 hours, more can definitely be done for Azamara to up their game.

‘Experience More’ -> not.

Maybe they are all so early because Azamara think everyone will then do their own thing? In Bay of Island the Treat House tour is, if correct at my last look 7.30a.m. I am doing my own tour for 1/4 price all day from 9am! What are they up to? Still I am sure we will have a good time!  

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Posted (edited)

The Bay of Islands is a good example of where Azamara could easily do better - esp. given the wealth of tours & tour providers, for that location, that they could partner with...

 

Even there, there are no afternoon tours. If there had been, then DH may have been tempted with a kayak tour in the morning, then an afternoon activity for the both of us. Or, we would have easily booked a full day Shore Ex tour with Azamara, if they had offered a min. 6-hour tour.

 

Since there were so few workable options/choices with Azamara, we booked with someone else.

Edited by snowglobe

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On 6/23/2019 at 10:54 PM, laurieb said:

We had a wonderful azamazing evening in Wellington a couple years ago; it was orchestra with a Maori vocal group.  Great evening!

 

Hi Laurie,

Is this the AzAmazing evening with the Maori choir that you enjoyed in Wellington?

 

”AZAMAZING EVENING - EVENING SYMPHONY AT WELLINGTON CATHEDRAL OF ST PAUL

Spend an evening enveloped in the world’s greatest musical compositions in a truly inspired setting. Travel into the heart of Wellington to visit its strikingly modern cathedral, completed in 1998, and now a proud icon of the city. Arrive to a selection of savory treats, including mini pavlovas, Kikorangi Blue Cheese on gingerbread biscotti, and tri-colored chocolate truffles. Sip a cocktail and soak up the ambiance. You’ll also enjoy the unique privilege of meeting the Orchestra Wellington Musical Director, Marc Taddei, well-known for his intimate engagement with the audience (which you’ll soon experience). Take your seat and marvel as the Orchestra Wellington performs storied works, such as Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker Suite’ and Grieg’s ‘Hall of the Mountain King’. You’ll also hear iconic New Zealand songs and arias by Verdi and Puccini. Enjoy masterful works amid masterful architecture during this Azamazing Evening at St. Paul’s Cathedral.”

 

Thanks!

 

 

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Hi Bonnie,

Is it customary to have two exact same AzAmazing evenings on b2b cruises that are part of the same Grand Voyage? (both in Wellington, NZ)

 

Today I learned that ALL of the shore excursions in New Zealand are sub-contracted by Azamara to this one tour operator located in Auckland. Several logistical and qualitative issues remain regarding the shorex offerings on the two b2b cruises in Jan-Feb 2020.

 

I am sure that your inquiry regarding the daytime “Nocturnal” tour, and the excursions in the wrong port of call (Akaroa) were behind their removal from the Voyage Planner - thank you.

 

However, two impossible-to-deliver excursions (as identified earlier) are still being sold:

 

In following up my June e-mail, I phoned Dive Tatapouri in Gisborne today and spoke to the owner - she dug out the e-mail that she sent to the Auckland office of the sub-contractor in mid-June, alerting them that they could not conduct the Reef Walk excursion for Azamara on Feb 1st (due to the tides.)  I assert again that the wineries excursion in Napier on Feb.11th is also logistically impossible to deliver as currently sold, due to the mid-afternoon arrival of the ship and the closing times of the wineries.

 

Christchurch still has nothing at all on offer.

 

Can you please pass along to the shorex department the request to contact the sub-contractor in Auckland and follow up? The sub-contractor is dropping the ball and it’s not reflecting well on Azamara. Thank you.

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i wonder if the wineries would stay open later if a cruise ship group of wine fanatics is coming on tour? From a business point of view it could be profitable.

 

However, I agree about how poor the descriptions and attention to detail are regarding shore excursions. I grit my teeth when I push the link for "see all shore excursions" and they are supposedly organized by date. Clearly they are not.

https://www.azamara.com/voyage/jr07m443/7-night-italy-intensive-voyage#excursions  The ebrochure is better but so much more difficult to skim through when browsing itineraries.

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1 hour ago, snowglobe said:

Can you please pass along to the shorex department the request to contact the sub-contractor in Auckland and follow up?

 

Will do so tomorrow. Thank you snowglobe.

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I will show this faximile of a shore excursion in the Azamara Journey Feb 8th cruise from Auckland to Sydney. It describes well how badly this is handled, either by Azamara or by the third party contracter that arranges ALL shoreexs in NZ on behalf of RCI.

A) The pub crawl starts at 8:20 am, but no pubs are open or are allowed to sell alcohol before 10:00am. 

B) According to locals the Tunnel Hotel and Pub is closed and not operating anymore. Hence no visit to the oldest pub in the South.

C) After tossing in a few a stroll over to Speights might be streneous as that place is in Dunedin a mere 9 miles from Port Chalmers. 

 

It seems that all excursions connected to this cruise starts 50 minutes after docking time, with very few exceptions. That is why all excursions in Bay of Islands starts at 07:20. Who would bother with that?

75053E53-EF02-4949-BD85-CC875BD382AA.png

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