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Azamara vs Oceania

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57 minutes ago, roaming_kiwi58 said:

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.

 

I have read many threads about this.  I don't know why they do this, but the net effect is to force people to buy their over-priced ship excursions because when they cancel at the last minute it really screws those with third-party excursions.

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roaming_kiwi58.

 

Thank you for your notation about Oceania's frequency of missing or dropping ports. This is a significant flaw in this particular cruise line. 

 

You are correct about the weather and Oceania's tendency to avoid docking or tendering - has happened to me many times. The docks are filled with competitors but Oceania sails by. Oceania makes NO attempt to substitute ports. On my last Oceania cruise we lost 3 ports for no reason given. People were on AIS looking for dock space at the many cruise ports along the Mexican pacific side, lots of room. When queried by guests, myself included, guest relations would say nothing.

 

After the last Oceania fiasco, I read every Oceania CC review for the past 5 years. Sure enough, many references to missed/late ports.  In comparison, I read 5 years of Holland America reviews, that trend was not apparent.

 

I do concur with your observations about the food quality, Oceania does not deliver the "best cuisine at sea".

 

If ports are important to guests, I would avoid Oceania, I am.

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1 minute ago, ABoatNerd said:

roaming_kiwi58.

 

 

 

You are correct about the weather and Oceania's tendency to avoid docking or tendering - has happened to me many times. The docks are filled with competitors but Oceania sails by. Oceania makes NO attempt to substitute ports. On my last Oceania cruise we lost 3 ports for no reason given. People were on AIS looking for dock space at the many cruise ports along the Mexican pacific side, lots of room. When queried by guests, myself included, guest relations would say nothing.

 

 

It’s really interesting you say this.  I was on Azamara Journey a few years ago with St Tropez as one of the included tender ports which we were to share with Oceania Riviera.  We arrived first thing and evidently the reports our Captain had received were correct. The sea was too rough to tender, so we sailed straight back out and headed for Villefranche where the ship had hurriedly organised us to tender there instead. All the shore excursions team worked on the new port and rearranged for those taking ship tours.  

 

Meanwhile Riviera sailed around in circles outside St Tropez for a while and then had a sea day.  How did I know this?  Our Captain Johannes told me.  I started a thread here about it and how much more effort Azamara will go to.  It was picked up by someone on the Oceania board and I was lambasted there for starting the rumour (which I knew to be factual).  Someone who was onboard Riviera then posted that they were indeed having a sea day.  And I was told by officers on the ship exactly what you have just said here.

 

Phil

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As Host Jazzbeau noted, Oceania deliberately avoids ports as often as they can for specific reasons.

 

There are specific posters on the Oceania board who attempt to crucify anyone who complains about Oceania. This happens on all boards, but more so on the CC Oceania board.

 

For our cruise, there were 10 CC review postings, all very negative, the highest number of postings for a specific cruise I have ever seen on CC. Oct 2018 Regatta.

 

On our sailing from San Fran, there many, many US navy guests. After learning we would miss 3 ports they got going communicating with their colleagues in various navy installations. These navy people challenged the Oceania officers as to and that resulted in on board management taking guests into locked rooms and made them sign papers stating they would not speak of the lost ports again.

 

A cruise line that does this has something to hide.

 

Subsequently many of us still communicate and visit each other. Many are in various mariners organizations.

 

Oceania's reputation is not good amongst navy and sailing organizations.  Some of these navy folks have submitted mechanical information to the US Coast Guard who are reviewing same.

 

Unlike other cruise lines who make an attempt to swap in an alternative port, Oceania does not. 

 

 

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Azamara's port arrival record is excellent. And yes, Azamara attempts and is often successful in substituting ports.

 

For those Azamara patrons considering Oceania, be aware of the Regatta. It has a history of mechanical issues; engine failure being the major issue.

 

The attached report is in the carry of the US Coast Guard.

 

 

 

 

Oceania Regatta.MechanicalLapses.docx

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I will tell a story about my experience comparing to another cruiseline, but this now seems to have got into some serious bashing and I’m not into that.  

 

Phil

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We got burned on missed ports with O in November.

I guess the other side of the coin is Az has cancelled cruises in their entirety to charter ships after airfare has already opened.

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We are fortunate consumers that we have so much information available to us.

 

Being able to make highly informed purchases is important. Making complaints about a cruise line is part of the sharing of information, not dissimilar to Consumer Reports investigations.

 

Shawnino, I had this happen on a Celebrity cruise and a previous Oceania cruise. All cruise lines will do this if it helps their bottom line.

 

Looking at cruise lines with rose coloured glasses harms the consumer.

 

 

 

 

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You will enjoy either Azamara or Oceania.  Oceania larger ships, Marina and Riviera, are the best.  

As for changing ports, it happens for a variety of reasons.....weather, port problems, strikes, unrest, etc.  it can be disappointing or it can be an opportunity to visit a new port.  You have to be adaptable.  On a recent Windstar cruise, we staying docked in Oporto for 3 days waiting out a storm.  We then skipped 2 ports. Not thrilled. Still enjoyed the cruise.  On my last Oceania cruise, 3 ports were changed.  Got to visit a new port for me, Corsica.  In July, was on Azamara in Alaska. Ship docked at all ports. We had been scheduled to tender in 2 ports.  Just lucky.  Cruise lines schedules can change.  Just accept it and make the most of it. 

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I think the issue is the reason for the schedule changes.  Weather or situations beyond the ships control including some operational reasons are totally accepted.  Operational reasons to suit marketing or enhanced profit motives after guests have committed air fare, annual leave bookings or other activities connected with the cruise are where patience runs very thin. 

All I know is for seven years I never had an Azamara cruise altered significantly or cancelled apart from an ill fated cruise when Journey got crocked. The last three years - and it aligns with I believe some Head Office changes of personnel and responsibility virtually every cruise has been changed and none for the better.  Four have been cancelled, one for reasons beyond Azamaras control three because Azamara marketing decided to pursue a different deployment strategy.  

So in my experience messing with itineraries has moved from the exception to the norm.  

In the past on these boards Azamara explained rationale, now as you can see on the thread re Greece port changes, the requests for explanations are ignored.

As I said on that thread, weighing it all up, we couldn’t trust the published itineraries so have dumped a provisional plan for 28 days at sea on Azamara in favour of something else where there is more certainty.  

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You certainly have been very unlucky - or we’ve been lucky - maybe both.

We’ve done 8 Azamara cruises,  6 in the last 3 years, and had only one itinerary change. That is to our Lisbon to Rio TA for Nov 2019, and we were happy with the change. 

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We've had eight Azamara cruises with major itinerary or sailing date changes--both changed on five of the eight--between right now and next May:  three to add Japan intensives this summer; three to add Cuba intensives this fall and winter; and two to undo those Cuba intensives.  Booked passengers?  Hard cheese.

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Over the years we have had many changes with many cruise lines for many reasons, such as weather, political situations and charters.

Our next cruise is a round trip from Hong Kong so we are watching the current situation there as no doubt are Azamara.

Following that we have a River cruise in December and we are well aware there could be alterations due to river levels.

Then in March it's a round trip Dubai cruise as with Hong Kong we are well aware of potential changes due to the security situation.

Azamara have already changed our following cruise from a Denmark Intensive to a Northern Capitals itinerary.

Are we unlucky? I don't think so, it's just a reflection of the times we are currently in. Changes can be challenging but we no longer get upset as it's not something we have any control over so we just deal with if and when it happens.

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We will have our first cruise on Oceania next year.  We have previously cruised on Azamara, as well as many many times on the more main stream lines.  What we have found, and I am sure that most will agree, is that there is no cruise and no cruise line that is perfect in all aspects and in fact, perfect for every one.

All of the lines have strengths and weaknesses. 

Why did we choose Oceania this time.  My wife summed it up stating, "...we have never cruised this line before".  The cruise (Trans-Atlantic) had a great itinerary and this was also one of the major factors.

Looking forward to giving Oceania a try.

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22 minutes ago, Riocca said:

Over the years we have had many changes with many cruise lines for many reasons, such as weather, political situations and charters.

Our next cruise is a round trip from Hong Kong so we are watching the current situation there as no doubt are Azamara.

Following that we have a River cruise in December and we are well aware there could be alterations due to river levels.

Then in March it's a round trip Dubai cruise as with Hong Kong we are well aware of potential changes due to the security situation.

Azamara have already changed our following cruise from a Denmark Intensive to a Northern Capitals itinerary.

Are we unlucky? I don't think so, it's just a reflection of the times we are currently in. Changes can be challenging but we no longer get upset as it's not something we have any control over so we just deal with if and when it happens.

As I have said before, I have no issues with changes due to the circumstances you cite above or in the case of your Danish cruise where the reason for the change is clearly explained. My issue is the "operational reasons" that no one on board knows what they were or given the changes happening on the 2019 Greek itineraries no background that can give any comfort for a 2020 booking.  Yes stuff happens and if you travel as often as you do, statistics will stack against you,however I still believe there are changes made that completely lost sight of the guest and are very poorly communicated. I am at the stage that I want more certainty for a good proportion of our annual travel plans -  nothing can be 100% certain but I want more.  I had previously thought a trip heavily based on Greek cruises could have had the level of foreseen certainty but the changes made after payment in 2019 and no responses to queries coupled with the very intensive email marketing of these cruises has given us fright

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uktog - precisely said.

 

Seasoned travellers know that itineraries can change.

 

What we are talking about is the perceived tendency of cruise lines, some more than others, of changing itineraries with less and less regard to guests. This includes limited to no explanation - no explanation = something to hide.

 

This happens when a corporation takes their guests for granted - ie high bookings = lemmings to be exploited and ignored, because well, the lemmings will rebook again and again.

 

This is basic marketing 101 and business - the more repeat guests, the more you can downgrade your product and increase booking costs - cause well, they are lemmings, of course. This is the sweet spot of your business cycle.

 

This is the cruise industry, at the moment.

 

uktog - there are many other vacations options other than cruising. We just completed a 3 week Austria/Switzerland and France and Germany Glob--us bus tour - simply outstanding. Moving from cruises to land tours and another booked in South America with private guide and car and driver. 

 

If a cruise line, restaurant, doctor, landscaper will not explain changes/downgrades - they are fired. I am the consumer and I am the boss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 8/9/2019 at 3:57 AM, Lottie A said:

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! 😄

Entertainment varies from ship to ship and cruise to cruise. It can be great one night and awful the next. No cruise always has good entertainment. It is just a matter of luck. Booking agents supply performers. I never pick a cruise thinking that the entertainment will be great. I hope that it is good. If not, there is always other ways to enjoy the cruise.

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Azamara is tops

 

We have four weeks on board in Oct/Nov this year  on the Quest, and Sydney to Singapore on the Journey March next year, we constantly review all the medium size ships and Azamara still suits us best, plus we like the included drinks

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On 8/11/2019 at 6:21 AM, ABoatNerd said:

As Host Jazzbeau noted, Oceania deliberately avoids ports as often as they can for specific reasons.

 

There are specific posters on the Oceania board who attempt to crucify anyone who complains about Oceania. This happens on all boards, but more so on the CC Oceania board.

 

For our cruise, there were 10 CC review postings, all very negative, the highest number of postings for a specific cruise I have ever seen on CC. Oct 2018 Regatta.

 

On our sailing from San Fran, there many, many US navy guests. After learning we would miss 3 ports they got going communicating with their colleagues in various navy installations. These navy people challenged the Oceania officers as to and that resulted in on board management taking guests into locked rooms and made them sign papers stating they would not speak of the lost ports again.

 

A cruise line that does this has something to hide.

 

Subsequently many of us still communicate and visit each other. Many are in various mariners organizations.

 

Oceania's reputation is not good amongst navy and sailing organizations.  Some of these navy folks have submitted mechanical information to the US Coast Guard who are reviewing same.

 

Unlike other cruise lines who make an attempt to swap in an alternative port, Oceania does not. 

 

 

And, don't forget with O missing ports is a profit making situation since they don't spell out port charges and taxes (of course they are included in the total fare) they fail to make any refunds for missed ports.  Instant pure profit.

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3 hours ago, rallydave said:

And, don't forget with O missing ports is a profit making situation since they don't spell out port charges and taxes (of course they are included in the total fare) they fail to make any refunds for missed ports.  Instant pure profit.

 

And they get to keep their casinos open :classic_wink:  So another nice thing about Azamara is they don't have this conflict of interest in their decision-making.

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1 hour ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

And they get to keep their casinos open :classic_wink:  So another nice thing about Azamara is they don't have this conflict of interest in their decision-making.

I really do not think that the fact that Azamara is doing away with their Casino's will be a major factor as to whether the ship misses or does not miss a port.

Wondering if the cruise ships have had to cancel their port visits to Hong Kong.

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On 8/11/2019 at 7:12 PM, Shawnino said:

We got burned on missed ports with O in November.

I guess the other side of the coin is Az has cancelled cruises in their entirety to charter ships after airfare has already opened.

We missed the ports due to storms as I recall. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2854595/Popular-holiday-destination-Canary-Islands-battered-80mph-winds-freak-storm-uproots-trees-sends-waves-crashing-beaches.html

Sensible, safe decision by the captain.

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12 hours ago, stevenr597 said:

I really do not think that the fact that Azamara is doing away with their Casino's will be a major factor as to whether the ship misses or does not miss a port.

 

I wasn't suggesting that about Azamara, but it has been suspected as a motive for some other cruise lines.

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17 hours ago, Glenndale said:

 

Not sensible/safe at all.

Decision was made before we even reached Malaga. As a pax who worked for NOAA explained, they had no idea where the storm was heading. Way too early to say whether we should have sailed north or south or hidden behind the islands. Decision should have been made much later. 

The safe play was to make the first port in the Canaries, then decide north or south. 

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