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Beware AZ shore excursions that are not as advertised

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Ann ,

I completely agree that there should be no excuse but I can accept the reality but it just boggles the mind at the proof reading/comprehension skills.

Burb from Visit to Beamish  museum trip (a great visit actually)

 

     Witness the old colliery and meet the folks who worked in the coal mines during its peak year in 1913

 

Not sure how old they will be now but if they were working then they must be 110 years old at least.

Also Durham Cathedra (as spelt in the blurb) was built in 1018 so probably not " Romanesque but more likely Norman.

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21 minutes ago, procter said:

Ann ,

I completely agree that there should be no excuse but I can accept the reality but it just boggles the mind at the proof reading/comprehension skills.

Burb from Visit to Beamish  museum trip (a great visit actually)

 

     Witness the old colliery and meet the folks who worked in the coal mines during its peak year in 1913

 

Not sure how old they will be now but if they were working then they must be 110 years old at least.

Also Durham Cathedra (as spelt in the blurb) was built in 1018 so probably not " Romanesque but more likely Norman.

Far too much faith is put on sites like Wikipedia by some folks on Azamara. We had it in South America where instead of an informed naturalist as promised we had a cruise director reading from Wikipedia.

When I was lecturing I had a series of slides of screenshots showing inaccuracies on Wikipedia to warn students it was an unreliable source. My favourites (ok Wikipedia is now corrected)

David Beckham is a soccer goalkeeper from China

Shops we’re originally built on two sides of Princex Street

 

I also showed them research from America where 97% of Fortune 500 companies found significant errors on their Wikipedia pages. 

 

So so if you’re using Wikipedia Azamara bin it! 

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I was reluctant to wade in here but when I read comments from fellow cruisers who I know personally and opinions I trust I am worried and think Azamara should be as well. Our next Azamara cruise is in an area new to us and because we have lots of OBC we will be doing some Azamara excursions and would expect them to be as described online and in the tour brochure without exception.

Currently I have my own issues with Azamara about being given inaccurate information, and to be frank some of the emails I have received should never be sent to a customer from any organisation whatever the circumstances. Of course they have the right to state their position but should not in the process insult customers.

My take is that Azamara seems to be hooked on impressing the trade press, bloggers and vloggers in all of our cruises we’ve never met anyone who is cruising because they’ve been influenced by these people. I realise it’s probably a plan to get Millennials cruising but please don’t forget us old baby boomers who actually have the time and finances to cruise, we are more impressed with good customer service and accurate descriptions of what we are purchasing.

No I would never give my full name and booking number on an insecure forum, the only person the OP mentioned by name was a senior executive of Azamara and if you hold such positions you have to accept public scrutiny by customers on a public forum I was.

 

Rant over!

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20 minutes ago, Riocca said:

I was reluctant to wade in here but when I read comments from fellow cruisers who I know personally and opinions I trust I am worried and think Azamara should be as well. Our next Azamara cruise is in an area new to us and because we have lots of OBC we will be doing some Azamara excursions and would expect them to be as described online and in the tour brochure without exception.

Currently I have my own issues with Azamara about being given inaccurate information, and to be frank some of the emails I have received should never be sent to a customer from any organisation whatever the circumstances. Of course they have the right to state their position but should not in the process insult customers.

My take is that Azamara seems to be hooked on impressing the trade press, bloggers and vloggers in all of our cruises we’ve never met anyone who is cruising because they’ve been influenced by these people. I realise it’s probably a plan to get Millennials cruising but please don’t forget us old baby boomers who actually have the time and finances to cruise, we are more impressed with good customer service and accurate descriptions of what we are purchasing.

No I would never give my full name and booking number on an insecure forum, the only person the OP mentioned by name was a senior executive of Azamara and if you hold such positions you have to accept public scrutiny by customers on a public forum I was.

 

Rant over!

Excellent post!

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, procter said:

Indeed you are correct re the attribution but the sentiment is appropriate as I do not feel Jonesies comment  " they do not like it etc." is suitable for this board.

Sadly the facts are as shown by many a comment that Miami lets down the brand more times than do the staff on board.

That is the issue.

If Azamara continue to use as in Dubrovnik what appear to be poor tour operators then that is THEIR problem.

It  is not as if they have only one choice unless it is based only on the cheapest

If when they come to Newcastle and the tours are bad then that is "unlucky" as it is a maiden port for them.and i cannot expect them to have tried all 5 of the tours

I do hope that is not the case as a Geordie.

 

I did not mean Jonesies comment to be taken literally, just pointing out that some Azamara staff do not seem to like criticism even if deserved.

Edited by Bloodaxe

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Posted (edited)
On 7/15/2019 at 2:44 PM, BBMacLaird said:

 

 Since you’re comfortable using full names and titles of our team members I’m confident you’ll be equally comfortable posting here your full name and booking number.

 

Bonnie,

You stated that I revealed full names of team members.  “Names” - plural.  “Members” - plural.

Let’s examine that assertion.

 

In post #1, I cited the shorex manager on Pursuit who promised to investigate and get back to me.  (He never did).  I did not mention his name.


I described my follow-up interaction with his boss, who also said he’d get back to me, but didn’t. I did not mention his name.


Subsequently, in post #5 I quoted an extract from an email received from Miami in response to an email I sent. I deliberately redacted the representative’s last name (XXXXX) so as to preserve his privacy.


As for disclosing the identity of your Chief Operating Officer, her name is a matter of public record.  Ms. Cabezas is one of the two** Named Officers at the top of Azamara’s executive team. (The other is Larry Pimentel, the Chief Executive Officer). Anyone on this forum, indeed anyone on the internet, can find the name of the COO in about 10 seconds. Here’s the Google search to do so:

https://www.google.com/search?q=azamara+coo


However, one need not consult with Google — her identity is publicly posted on the Azamara website.  Go to the home page at www.azamara.com. Click the About link at the bottom, then click Our Leadership.  That’s it — two clicks. The entire roster of the executive team is displayed, including the COO’s name, her photo, educational and work history, corporate responsibilities, even her place of residence and family status.  So the notion that I’ve somehow disclosed sensitive personnel information is preposterous.


You’ve asked that I publish my full name here. I respectfully decline. See posts #48, #49, & #59. Not to mention the Common Sense Guide to Using the Internet.  If your colleagues in Miami wish to contact me, there is already sufficient information in my posts on this thread for them to connect with me. But frankly, I think Miami’s resources would be better applied to addressing the issues that have emerged in this thread.

 
You said that you will  "make sure this thread reaches the appropriate eyes" . I’ll repeat what I said before - the depth and breadth of what’s surfaced here should be of concern to the executive responsible (i.e., your COO). There are clearly some systemic issues that are negatively impacting Customer Sat.   However, you know the inner workings of the Miami machine better than I do. If there is a more suitable person up the “COC” (Chain of Command) who will get things done, by all means send it to her/him.   Perhaps not the entire thread (which is growing longer by the day). The summary that I collated in post #43 should be sufficient to convey the salient topics and indicate where more corporate attention is needed.

 

 

** Correction - it just occurred to me that Azamara has not two CxOs, but three. My mistake: I forgot about the well-known  Chief Blogging Officer! Although you’re not listed along with the other CxOs, a search for “azamara cbo"  has revealed your own webpage at azamara.com which is nice to see.  It should be required reading by certain on-board staff who don't think you exist!  I know I speak for many CC members when I say that we appreciate your efforts here answering questions and attempting to resolve Customer issues as best you can.

 

 

Edited by screen-gem
correct typo

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I have split off the rest of the posts in this topic, at screen-gem’s suggestion, to a new topic titled Information Sharing on Cruise Critic, as they were irrelevant to the topic title.

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Sadly we have had no update  from screen gem re any progress /interaction from Azamara and maybe Azamara are hoping that this topic will fall off the front page.

Currently 4th from bottom but hopefully this post will bring it back to the top.

The specific topic as evidenced by the number of comments re other poor excursions is surely valid.

I wonder what process is in place to monitor complaints and whether anybody above first line responders actually get to read the comments/specific complaints  or whether it is merely treated as a standard deviation and as long as complaints are below a certain percentage then all is well.

I am aware as coming from a customer focussed background that you will always have a number of "try ons"to get compensation etc. 

NOT applicable in this specific case of course!!!!

See sad faces on Facebook etc. 

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It just gets curiouser and curiouser!

I have tried via call centre number to obtain a telephone number for Azamara Uk (land line) for Richard Twynam /PA.

I sent an email re an agreed event for  which our travel agent has received confirmation that they too are invited. 

Normally if he is not available you get a bounceback email from him stating he will be back in touch.

Nothing received after 4 days and no bounce back as undelivered either.

I asked for tel number to contact his PA as he is a busy man.

Am advised "there are no telephone numbers for uk offices.

They do not use them.

Everything is done by email."

Even when I pointed out that this is likely to be incorrect/impossible that is the script.

Will wait and see for next steps.

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Geoff, you won’t get a phone number for Richard Twynam.  It is indeed all done by email (certainly as far as guests are concerned). I’m surprised he hasn’t responded though, at least with an out of office.  He is usually very good at replying.  Send another.  

 

Phil

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41 minutes ago, procter said:

It just gets curiouser and curiouser!

I have tried via call centre number to obtain a telephone number for Azamara Uk (land line) for Richard Twynam /PA.

I sent an email re an agreed event for  which our travel agent has received confirmation that they too are invited. 

Normally if he is not available you get a bounceback email from him stating he will be back in touch.

Nothing received after 4 days and no bounce back as undelivered either.

I asked for tel number to contact his PA as he is a busy man.

Am advised "there are no telephone numbers for uk offices.

They do not use them.

Everything is done by email."

Even when I pointed out that this is likely to be incorrect/impossible that is the script.

Will wait and see for next steps.

Here are a couple of numbers I found for UK offices.  Might work to at least get their attention

 

0844 493 4016

From a customer that this number got to a human:

 

01932 834200

 

IIRC, Azamara is option 3.

 

Yes this number is fine, I've just spoken to them. 

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Thanks for help Phil and Rallydave.

I was aware of the numbers quoted but they simply divert to call centre ex UK 

Have received an email from him timed 14.05 so hopefully now back on track with his agreed event.

Thanks again for the help.

I do find it unusual that you cannot even get to speak direct to someone in UK rather than overseas but no doubt this is what is called "progress".

All is well that ends well we hope?

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, procter said:

Sadly we have had no update  from screen gem re any progress /interaction from Azamara and maybe Azamara are hoping that this topic will fall off the front page.

Alas, nothing from Azamara.  The last contact was the robo-reply from the guest experience team last month that promised a follow-up within 3 business days. And of course Bonnie's request in post #46 that I publish my full name and booking number. 

 

I must say that I wasn't really expecting any meaningful followup. They've had three opportunities:  I provided (1) immediate written feedback about the dud excursion on the Shorex Feedback form, (2) more detailed feedback in a face-to-face with the shorex manager, and then (3) comments on the post-cruise survey.   If I were a fan of baseball, I'd probably observe "three strikes and you're out". But I'm not, so I won't.

 

In the interests of full disclosure, I should mention that the post-cruise survey did result in a reply. It was typical feel-good boilerplate bumf: 'Thank you for responding to the survey. We take all guest feedback seriously. Rest assured your comments will be forwarded to the appropriate department. We look forward to seeing you aboard again soon...'.

 

Quite frankly, the reason for posting here in the first place was not to elicit a follow-up from AZ, but to alert the broader CC community that they may not get what is advertised when they purchase an Azamara excursion.  I think it's better that Customers adjust their expectations in advance (sadly, downward), so as to not be disappointed if the experience does not live up to the promise.   And Customers should also be aware that if they do end up with a sub-standard excursion, they really have no recourse. They bought it, they paid for it;   if it wasn't what was in the description, tough luck. That was certainly our experience.

 

Note that I wrote MAY not get what was advertised. To be sure, Azamara can and does deliver excellent shore excursions. On this cruise, we took a second AZ excursion and it was exactly what one would expect: it delivered what was in the description, the guide was great, and the logistics were well-managed.  That should be the norm for a cruise line that positions itself as a top-tier premium player.   On this voyage, we also took a number of independent (3rd party) tours and excursions, all of which I'd recommend. I can't say the same for the Azamara offerings.

 

Bonnie stated that she'd make sure this thread "reaches the appropriate eyes".  I hope she does so, and I hope it gets routed to the Office of the COO. The various follow-on replies posted here about poor shorex experiences, inadequate customer follow-up,  and inaccurate (or impossible-to-deliver) shorex descriptions indicate there are some systemic issues that need to be addressed by Miami. Perhaps this thread will catalyze some executive attention, and an action plan to address them.

 

Edited by screen-gem

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I respectfully disagree. You asked me for help and I did as you requested and shared your significant concerns with our senior management. I was then asked to find out how to reach you.   

Subsequently I have asked you twice on this thread for your booking number to enable our personnel to research what you booked and what you received, then have a senior manager call you.

You have chosen not to respond to me. Thus I am no longer your best option for resolution. 

Here is our Customer Service contact information: https://www.azamara.com/contact-us

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11 minutes ago, BBMacLaird said:

Subsequently I have asked you twice on this thread for your booking number to enable our personnel to research what you booked and what you received, then have a senior manager call you.

You have chosen not to respond to me.

Bonnie,

I did not post my booking number on this forum for reasons that were clearly articulated in other replies on this thread. I did not post my full name here as you requested for reasons that should be obvious.

 

Your personnel in Miami could track me down if they so desired, and they don't need the booking number. There is sufficient information in this thread to do so. They just have to figure it out, and look at their own records.

 

If they need to research what we booked and what we received, your colleagues may wish to read post #1 in this thread. I'll summarize.  We booked the Walk the Historic Walls of Dubrovnik off the Pursuit last month. It was advertised on the AZ website as a 3 3/4 hour walk around the walls surrounding the Old Town.   What we received was a walk around the walls that lasted less than half that. We got a bus trip that went well out of town that was not part of the description for the excursion.   While on the wall walk, many of us couldn't hear the guide's commentary since the in-ear radio gadgets didn't have the range required to cope with the physical environment.  That's what we received. What we didn't receive was any follow-up from on-board staff after providing both written and face-to-face feedback.

 

I'd be more than happy to speak with the senior manager to discuss this further and provide some constructive feedback on how Azamara might do things better. You could post his/her name and email (or phone number) here and I will make contact.  Quite frankly, clicking the /contact-us  link you provided is a waste of time for everyone.

 

Thanks for passing on my feedback up the COC.  That's what I hoped you'd be able to do. I trust that it got to a suitably senior person in the Azamara management chain who will be able to address the systemic issues that are impacting Customer Sat.

 

 

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I read the post and it was a request for full name and booking number  , who would do that on a forum ?

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Hmmm...

 

(After grabbing a handful of Kuna at an atm, and purchasing a day transit pass at the port )We took the local #1 bus down to the Pile Gate, walked down the Stradun, and entered the walls near the Ploce Gate right around 9a.  There were only a handful of folks atop the walls at that hour.  

 

It behooves me why someone would opt to pay for a group tour, when one could do the walk themselves at their own leisure and time frame -- A much more pleasant experience in my mind.   YMMV

 

For someone willing to spend so much time and effort for recompense(?), the minimal effort required to self-tour the Dubrovnik city walls seem to pale in comparison.

 

You seem to be very upset about how things transpired, and how your expectations were left unmet.  I hope that you are able to find some resolve and peace of mind in this matter.

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Good organization is vital to any product in the travel business. Without it, you have a mess. Azamara needs to reevaluate itself.  It keeps reinventing itself.  That can be good and bad. Each time that I have sailed on Azamara, there are many changes. Changes can be an improvement.  They can also create stress. 

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I am on Pursuit at the moment and I did a very well organised shore excursion in Malta yesterday. Exactly as described, with a pleasant and knowledgeable guide, reasonable cost and I thought it was good value. 

I have been on some Azamara shore ex with varying quality but I can highly recommend the Malta Island tour. 

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On 7/17/2019 at 5:19 AM, procter said:

Ann ,

I completely agree that there should be no excuse but I can accept the reality but it just boggles the mind at the proof reading/comprehension skills.

Burb from Visit to Beamish  museum trip (a great visit actually)

 

     Witness the old colliery and meet the folks who worked in the coal mines during its peak year in 1913

 

Not sure how old they will be now but if they were working then they must be 110 years old at least.

Also Durham Cathedra (as spelt in the blurb) was built in 1018 so probably not " Romanesque but more likely Norman.

 

This is a tough crowd.

 

Reading the blurb "meet the folks" at the Beamish Museum, I would take that figuratively not literally. Would I find re-enactors on the site? Would there be examples of cultural artifacts that would illuminate the lives of the original inhabitants?

 

What term does Durham Cathedral use to identify its architectural style?

 

As an occasional proofreader and editor for scholarly works and popular articles, I found that process exceptionally difficult. 

Those who do it well have a special gift.

 

Therefore, as you can see,  I always am sympathetic to those who engage in that rather thankless task.

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Posted (edited)

You know, it’s not really the nit-picking details that are at issue in the shore excursion descriptions - it’s the substantive ones, for example:

- the OP’s experience of a tour delivery that differed greatly from what had been booked.

- a nature tour that is dependent on the tides being currently sold, when the sub-contractor themselves have said that the tour will be a no-go (because the tides will be wrong when the ship shall be in port.)

- a tour also currently sold for a ship that arrives in port mid-afternoon, for a visit to 3 stops that close by 5pm, hence logistically impossible to deliver as described.

- or tours sold for a different port of call (this one caught by CCers, not Azamara itself.)

 

At issue is being able to trust that the product that you buy from Azamara will be the one that you will actually get to experience. Your expectations, as an Azamara Guest, are built on being presented with accurate shorex/land product descriptions.

 

- Be it Romanesque or Norman, you expect to see Durham Cathedral.

- If you buy a shore excursion to ‘Walk the Wall’, that is what you should get.

- If you buy a tour that promises wine tastings at 3 wineries in 4 hours, you should not be rushed to do them all in the first hour or so. etc., etc..

 

The fact that one can do any given activity or tour independently than with a ship-bought shore excursion is besides the point... a Guest should simply get the product that they have bought from Azamara, with a reasonable expectation of satisfaction in the experience.

 

The OP did not get that, and many guests will also not get satisfaction with some of the current shore excursions being sold by Azamara in their Voyage Planners.

Edited by snowglobe

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9 hours ago, Lottie A said:

I am on Pursuit at the moment and I did a very well organised shore excursion in Malta yesterday. Exactly as described, with a pleasant and knowledgeable guide, reasonable cost and I thought it was good value. 

I have been on some Azamara shore ex with varying quality but I can highly recommend the Malta Island tour. 

Was this the "Panoramic Malta Tour"?  I'm trying to make the most of my port visit there in October.  It's also the location of our Azamara Evening.  Was that the case with you?

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Sorry to see the "dismissive" reply from Azamara H O .

I am sure that it may not reflect Bonnie's thoughts on the matter.

What would be ideal would be for Ms Cabezas to post her email address on this board so that screen gem can communicate directly!!??

Not likely I fear but maybe a one off address could be used? 

I cannot believe that the ship does not have a record of the meetings involved at ship level and therefore already has this information.

Equally I do not doubt that the purpose of the original complaint is not for compensation but merely to draw attention to shortcomings in land operations of which there are quite a few judging by some comments including my own.

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On 7/19/2019 at 4:48 PM, BBMacLaird said:

I respectfully disagree. You asked me for help and I did as you requested and shared your significant concerns with our senior management. I was then asked to find out how to reach you.   

Subsequently I have asked you twice on this thread for your booking number to enable our personnel to research what you booked and what you received, then have a senior manager call you.

You have chosen not to respond to me. Thus I am no longer your best option for resolution. 

Here is our Customer Service contact information: https://www.azamara.com/contact-us

Surely there is a solution to what has become a very uncomfortable stalemate. I note that some Hosts, e.g., Jazzbeau, have a cruise critic e-mail included in their signature. I know Grandma Cruising does not. But perhaps someone associated with Azamara could post an e-mail address on this thread to which OP could then send his contact information?

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