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Azamara vs Oceania


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Hi All

We recently returned from an Italy Intensive Voyage on the Azamara Pursuit. It was our first Azamara cruise and we loved it. In our opinion the whole experience was fantastic. We loved the white party, Amazing evening, and we were at the Best of the Best dinner which was just fantastic.

We want to do an Africa sailing in 2021 and we were pretty set on booking Azamara. Our travel agent loves Oceania and Oceania has basically the same itinerary as the Azamara sailing. We have never sailed Oceania.

So my question to the more experienced cruisers which do you like better? Why? Pros and cons of each?

 

We are doing a sailing on Oceania in December in the Caribbean just to try it out as we live right in Ft Lauderdale. Some have said you can't judge Oceania by a Caribbean sailing as it the full experience but we figured we could get a feel for a bigger ship (we are sailing on the Rivera) and Oceania

 

Any input appreciated

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21 minutes ago, Salf777 said:

Hi All

We recently returned from an Italy Intensive Voyage on the Azamara Pursuit. It was our first Azamara cruise and we loved it. In our opinion the whole experience was fantastic. We loved the white party, Amazing evening, and we were at the Best of the Best dinner which was just fantastic.

We want to do an Africa sailing in 2021 and we were pretty set on booking Azamara. Our travel agent loves Oceania and Oceania has basically the same itinerary as the Azamara sailing. We have never sailed Oceania.

So my question to the more experienced cruisers which do you like better? Why? Pros and cons of each?

 

We are doing a sailing on Oceania in December in the Caribbean just to try it out as we live right in Ft Lauderdale. Some have said you can't judge Oceania by a Caribbean sailing as it the full experience but we figured we could get a feel for a bigger ship (we are sailing on the Rivera) and Oceania

 

Any input appreciated

 

To provide clarity, is your Africa cruise on an “O” or “R” class Oceania ship?

 

And the same question applies to your upcoming Caribbean cruise.

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I like Azamara and Oceania.  They both attract similar guests. Both do a good cruise. Oceania has 4 R ships. Azamara has 3 R ships.  They are identical in size. Both cruise lines maintain their ships well. Cabins are nicely furnished with luxury linens and comfortable beds.So what makes them different?  Azamara includes liquor( not top shelf), tips, white night, coffee bar open late,  and Azamazing evening event. Azamara charges extra for shore excursions and specialty dining. Oceania has fabulous food with no extra fee for specialty dining, daily elegant tea, Bvlgari toiletries, and Free internet. Oceania sells cruise only or with O life. O life includes a choice of beverage package, OBC, or shore excursions. O life can also include air. 

Oceania has 2 larger O ships, Marina and Riviera. Those ships are larger, have huge cabins with big marble bathrooms, more specialty restaurants, and offer more activities. O ships are much nicer than R ships. Our first choice is O ships. We also sail on R ships. For us, we decide based on dates, ports, and price. Both cruise lines offer promotions that can attractive.  If you like Azamara, you will like Oceania. You cannot make a bad choice.

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If you care   you see the officers on AZ not on Oceania.  I think the night life is better on AZ. Oceania cabins are better. Even the small R ship has better storage in cabin. The O ships  are much better than their R ships for the food.

 

But my heart with AZ.

 

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One thing I have noticed (experienced on our O and A cruises, and also noticed when in ports on other ships) is that Azamara always seems to get the best docking location while Oceania gets the worst (furthest away).  There has been suspicion on Cruise Critic that 'you gets what you pay for' and O is too cheap to pay up.  Oceania has always been known for over-charging on shore excursions [no cruise line is as cheap as finding a third-party group tour, but Oceania has been the worst].  There have also been complaints that since NCL bought them, Oceania is cutting quality.  Since we weren't that impressed by our pre-NCL cruise on one of the Oceania R ships, I consider Azamara a step up.

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55 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

One thing I have noticed (experienced on our O and A cruises, and also noticed when in ports on other ships) is that Azamara always seems to get the best docking location while Oceania gets the worst (furthest away).  There has been suspicion on Cruise Critic that 'you gets what you pay for' and O is too cheap to pay up.  Oceania has always been known for over-charging on shore excursions [no cruise line is as cheap as finding a third-party group tour, but Oceania has been the worst].  There have also been complaints that since NCL bought them, Oceania is cutting quality.  Since we weren't that impressed by our pre-NCL cruise on one of the Oceania R ships, I consider Azamara a step up.

I totally agree on docking with AZ.  Been in other lines I think they cruise line thinks tendering us better than laying docking fees.  I have another line I like but their dock space is not great when many ships in port. I wonder if Larry really pay for our great docks.

 

the changes due to NCL do show up in small ways.

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For me it’s Azamara all the way. I love the cabins on the O ships and certainly the food on Oceania is good but then it’s also good on Azamara. I found the entertainment on O to be boring and most people were in bed by 10 pm in order to get up for their very expensive and early morning tours. The Casino was lively though and if you do want a Casino well then it has to be Oceania. 

 

Although the speciality restaurants on Oceania are “free” you do have to share tables with strangers. You don’t on Azamara. 

 

The main difference for me was the passenger mix. I find it very easy to talk to Azamara passengers who are generally easygoing, interesting and well travelled people with no pretensions. I can’t say that was the same on Oceania! 

 

There was no officer interaction at all on Oceania as opposed to the friendly and interesting chats and dinner invitations I get on Azamara. 

 

So yes, given similar itineraries and pricing, I would choose Azamara every time. You would get a different answer from people if you asked the same question on the Oceania forum though! 😄

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36 minutes ago, Lottie A said:

 

Although the speciality restaurants on Oceania are “free” you do have to share tables with strangers. You don’t on Azamara. 

 

 

Having completed many cruises with Oceania we have never had to share a table in the speciality restaurants.

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1 minute ago, Belfastman said:

Having completed many cruises with Oceania we have never had to share a table in the speciality restaurants.

Really? I’m amazed. Every time we asked for a table for 2 we were told there were none available and we would have to share. Of course, the one time on Marina we did get a table for two was when my partner gave the Concierge a “little donation” and suddenly it was no problem! 

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As a matter of interest how prevalent is late itinerary changes or port changes on Oceania?  I’m meaning the kind of late changes for unexplained operation changes not the totally understandable weather related changes.  

Just trying to get a sense of reality from folks who have sailed on both as I still can’t gauge how  reliable the 2020 Azamara itineraries are. 

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31 minutes ago, Belfastman said:

Having completed many cruises with Oceania we have never had to share a table in the speciality restaurants.


We too have done many Oceania cruises, and I have to agree with Belfastman, we have never had to share a table in any of the speciality restaurants. We also love Azamara, and are happy to sail with either of them. We find our fellow cruisers on both lines to be mostly engaging and good company and we have made many friends.

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20 minutes ago, uktog said:

As a matter of interest how prevalent is late itinerary changes or port changes on Oceania?  I’m meaning the kind of late changes for unexplained operation changes not the totally understandable weather related changes.  

Just trying to get a sense of reality from folks who have sailed on both as I still can’t gauge how  reliable the 2020 Azamara itineraries are. 

On all of our Oceania cruises we only ever had one port change which was minor (Portland changed to Newport). This was notified about 9 months before the cruise departure date.

This is only my experience I know there were changes last year on other O cruises in the Caribbean due to the hurricanes.

Edited by Belfastman
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First

THANK YOU ALL FOR THE INPUT!

 

The Oceania cruise we are taking in December is on the Riveria (Is that an R Class? I dont know the difference)

The Africa sailings are on the Nautica which I believe is smaller than the Riviera.

We got a really good deal for the Caribbean Oceania, a penthouse suite for $2000 a person. We live in Ft Lauderdale so its an easy drive to Miami port.

 

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9 minutes ago, Salf777 said:

First

THANK YOU ALL FOR THE INPUT!

 

The Oceania cruise we are taking in December is on the Riveria (Is that an R Class? I dont know the difference)

The Africa sailings are on the Nautica which I believe is smaller than the Riviera.

We got a really good deal for the Caribbean Oceania, a penthouse suite for $2000 a person. We live in Ft Lauderdale so its an easy drive to Miami port.

 

No the Riviera is an O class which is bigger than the R class ships . It carries 1200 people compared to approx 700 on the R class but is more than double the size.

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4 minutes ago, Belfastman said:

No the Riviera is an O class which is bigger than the R class ships . It carries 1200 people compared to approx 700 on the R class but is more than double the size.

Thanks for the help in clarifying this for me!

I didnt know the difference

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24 minutes ago, Salf777 said:

First

THANK YOU ALL FOR THE INPUT!

 

The Oceania cruise we are taking in December is on the Riveria (Is that an R Class? I dont know the difference)

The Africa sailings are on the Nautica which I believe is smaller than the Riviera.

We got a really good deal for the Caribbean Oceania, a penthouse suite for $2000 a person. We live in Ft Lauderdale so its an easy drive to Miami port.

 


We've had two cruises with Azamara, with a third booked, and one with Oceania on Riviera.  Hands down, for us Riviera is a much nicer ship.  We also thought the food was much better on Oceania, but our cruise with them was three years ago so I can't comment on what it's like now.

We don't care about interaction with staff or officers, and even if we did, we personally have not experienced the level of interaction on Azamara others here have that they consider an advantage to Azamara. 

Passenger mix is very similar, although because we were on the larger Riviera, we didn't see the same people as frequently as we do on Azamara.

We liked having internet included on Oceania, although that depends if you do the cruise-only fare or one of the O-Life fares.  We also liked that Riviera had TVs with DVD players and a large selection of movies you could borrow, but I don't know if that is still the case.  We don't do much in the way of ship's entertainment unless there is a comedian, which Oceania had on our sailing, but I don't recall any on our Azamara itineraries.

The free laundry on Azamara is a plus for us.

We've booked with Azamara because of PerryGolf, and for two of the three cruises with them, have gotten very good deals--better than I've been able to find for a comparable itinerary on Oceania.  We'd happily sail on either cruise line, but I am very price-motivated so it just depends on where we get the most bang for our buck.  If by adding a beverage package and gratuities to an Oceania fare it would be the same as Azamara, though, we'd go with Oceania. 

Edited by hiccups
I keep thinking of more to add :)
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2 minutes ago, hiccups said:


We've had two cruises with Azamara, with a third booked, and one with Oceania on Riviera.  Hands down, for us Riviera is a much nicer ship.  We also thought the food was much better on Oceania, but our cruise with them was three years ago so I can't comment on what it's like now.

We don't care about interaction with staff or officers, and even if we did, we personally have not experienced the level of interaction on Azamara others here have that they consider an advantage to Azamara. 

Passenger mix is very similar, although because we were on the larger Riviera, we didn't see the same people as frequently as we do on Azamara.

We've booked with Azamara because of PerryGolf, and for two of the three cruises with them, have gotten very good deals--better than I've been able to find for a comparable itinerary on Oceania.  We'd happily sail on either cruise line, but I am very price-motivated so it just depends on where we get the most bang for our buck.  If by adding a beverage package and gratuities to an Oceania fare, it would be the same as Azamara, though, we'd go with Oceania. 

We have done two cruises on Azamara, but not for a number of years.  We are taking our third next week on the Journey.  We have taken two Oceania cruises on the Marina and Riviera (both O ships) and found them wonderful.  We decided to go with Regent when Oceania started to increase their fares and nickel and dine us with gratuities, beverage package, and shore excursions.  My husband did an apples to apples comparison, and with the business class airfare, Regent was a better deal for us.

That being said, one of the best cruises we have ever taken was on Oceania from Capetown to Rio.  They bumped us up to a penthouse suite that made it even more enjoyable.  We found that if we booked specialty dinners at the beginning of the cruise we could always get a table by ourselves.  It was only if we wanted to return to a particular restaurant later in the cruise did we get offered a shared table.  Some of the most fun evenings were spent at one of the shared tables.  As far as the entertainment we found that Oceania won hands down.  On the O class ships they have a dedicated theater that allows them the ability to put on more elaborate shows. 

Our biggest complaint with AZ were the bathroom in the balcony cabins.  That is why we would never cruise the Oceania R ships.  This time we have booked a CC suite to alleviate the problem.  We are looking forward to trying AZ again.

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We've cruise on both O and A on their R class ships , albeit a few years ago. We found both experiences quite comparable, with DW liking the food better on O and I thought both were equal. Recently, I've found O's prices to be higher than A, especially if you choose O Life. We generally book private tours rather than the ship's ones as we don't like large bus groups (often with one or 2 inconsiderate couples who delay the tour). We've found that A's itineraries generally are more interesting to us. Neither have great entertainment, but A's staff is more friendly.

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The Riviera is my favorite ship. ( have cruised on 12 different lines ) The size is just right and we enjoy the 4 specialty restaurants. 

We just came off a cruise on the Azamara Quest. We had been away from Azamara for 7 years. We found the food and the complimentary wines had gone down hill. 

The White Night Party was one of the best nights ever. We also enjoy the friendly crew on Azamara. 

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6 hours ago, uktog said:

As a matter of interest how prevalent is late itinerary changes or port changes on Oceania?  I’m meaning the kind of late changes for unexplained operation changes not the totally understandable weather related changes.  

Just trying to get a sense of reality from folks who have sailed on both as I still can’t gauge how  reliable the 2020 Azamara itineraries are. 

 

A year or so ago there were some complaints about Oceania ships missing ports.

 

Can’t remember the context, but perhaps the search engine on this board will help. Although I must confess that I personally haven’t mastered that service.

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This was discussed in another thread on this board.   Here is a detailed comment I posted then (comparing Azamara Journey August 2018 to Oceania Nautica June 2019 - both are R ships and we had the same cabin).    It is post #28 in the thread.  (click on title to go to the thread).

 

 

Edited by the mice
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A very good question considering the 2 lines operate very similar equipment, re: the R ships.

 

Have done multiple voyages with both lines in the past 5 years.

 

I would give Oceania a slight edge in food (which is going downhill since their new menus in August 2018), and the fact they have the O ships which are significantly better than the Azamara R fleet. That is it.

 

Oceania is considerably over rated overall in the scheme of things. Oceania is resting on their past product.

 

* Highest notations on CC (threads and reviews)  for missing ports, late ports. Oceania does not refund port fees. If itinerary is important, be aware that Oceania is not reliable in that regard. This is a major reason I will not sail with Oceania again,

* Their Regatta has major mechanical issues which has been in the carry of the US Coast Guard. 

* On board management, including the guest relations and shore excursions, are the most arrogant, unhelpful of any cruise line I have sailed. Another reason I will not sail with Oceania. 

* Excursions are way over priced and way under managed by Oceania

* The MDR food is over rated by far. People confuse quality with the size of the menu. Oceania has a very large menu in the MDR and specialities, designed to impress, but that does not mean quality in execution. The Pepin salmon was disgusting and so basic that I would not serve it to my family.

 

Azamara has a high quality product but limited by the R fleet.  The on board atmosphere is more lively and engaged. The staff and management are visible and have been helpful when the inevitable hiccup happens. The food is almost as good as Oceania.  It is overall a strong product.

 

Interestingly, we now are engaging Cunard which has a splendid fleet of good size ships and excellent itineraries. Their staff are the equal to anything I experienced on Oceania and Azamara.  The only negative to Cunard is their MDR and casual eating area is lower quality than it should be. But...their alternative dining is spectacular - the Veranda is better than most specialty restaurants and their Alternative themed Aztec, Smokehouse, Bamboo and Coriander provided me with the very best food I have had on a cruise ship. For $20pp, it is amazing.

 

I am looking at Azamara but not Oceania.

 

 

 

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We have done 6 Azamara and 3 Oceania cruises, and this month are due to do our 7th Azamara. Tried many other cruise lines too. 

In our opinion Azamara are ahead of Oceania in all respects. But we have only sailed in Oceania's R ships, and not tried the O ships.

 

Every time we do an Oceania cruise I am bemused as to why people say their food is so good. We are not foodies, but we have had many very ho-hum, even poor meals on Oceania. We love the variety of food on Azamara, with their themed buffets, when they have one of the meals also available in the MDR.

 

We have had many changed ports on Oceania, usually not advised until the day of embarkation, even though they obviously knew weeks before sailing (eg some of the Egyptian ports). We have also had ports dropped because of weather – understandable, but no effort to replace with something else – just an “enjoy your day at sea”, announced very late, when everyone had worked out we weren’t going to be docking anywhere. Poor communication. On Azamara when we had a port dropped due to weather they rejigged the itinerary and put in another port to replace it.

 

We do not care about interaction with officers, but prefer the general ambience on Azamara, compared to Oceania.

Itinerary is a big driver for us, so if Oceania have an itinerary that attracts us, we will book them, but they are certainly not our first choice.

 

Fortunately everyone is different, with different likes and dislikes, so we are lucky to have so many choices for cruising!

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