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cambriah

Azamara, worth it?

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We have sailed with Celebrity, Holland America, Princess and RCCL.

All had their pluses and minuses.  All in all, we liked each of them with our favorites being Holland America and Princess.

we have heard many good things about Azamara from fellow cruisers and also on Reviews posted on Cruise Critic.

We are two Seniors, ages late 70’s Early 80’s who enjoy quiet dinners, an  occasional show and the not too rigorous land tours.

 

my question:  is it worth the higher price to cruise with Azamara — better staterooms, better food, more desirable land tours, better service — or should we stick to what we know?

These two Seniors would appreciate any comments/suggestions you might have.

 

Thank You 

 

Cambriah

 

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I only been on Celebrity. I know our  MDR food better. Our specialites are different. staterooms are small but is Aquaclass cabins. you have a bigger stage and back stage so the  shows would be better. i think our tours are  a mix from to quiet for me to snorkeling and hiking. Not sure what ius offered on other lines.

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Unless you're in a suite, the staterooms on Azamara won't be better.  The food is better than the mass market lines, and we like the smaller ships for ease of disembarking at ports, and being able to dock at locations larger ships can't.  We personally do not find the service on Azamara better than other cruise lines, but many other posters do.  I've taken a few of Azamara's excursions and they've been hit or miss, but in general, there are fewer people simply because the ships hold fewer passengers.  Azamara usually spends more time in port than other cruise lines.

 

We have a price point for Azamara, and if we can find a cruise that fits within our cap, we're happy to book with them.  We just had our first cruise in Celebrity in June, and have another booked for November.  Celebrity's larger ships provide some options that Azamara's ships don't, but we're good with both!  It's worked out for us to cruise with Azamara for Europe, and mass market lines for the Caribbean. 

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, cambriah said:

We have sailed with Celebrity, Holland America, Princess and RCCL.

All had their pluses and minuses.  All in all, we liked each of them with our favorites being Holland America and Princess.

we have heard many good things about Azamara from fellow cruisers and also on Reviews posted on Cruise Critic.

We are two Seniors, ages late 70’s Early 80’s who enjoy quiet dinners, an  occasional show and the not too rigorous land tours.

 

my question:  is it worth the higher price to cruise with Azamara — better staterooms, better food, more desirable land tours, better service — or should we stick to what we know?

These two Seniors would appreciate any comments/suggestions you might have.

 

Thank You 

 

Cambriah

 

 

A few years ago I would have said yes to your question is Azamara worth the extra.

Now I am not so sure, it is still a very good experience but at current prices it is borderline in my opinion.

Having said that It should be a good fit for what you say you enjoy.

Give it a try, that's the only way you will find out for yourself.

Edited by Bloodaxe

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Without knowing what you are proposing to pay it's not really possible to answer your question.  For sure I will pay a premium to sail on Azamara and forego some of the facilities of Celebrity for a smaller, intimate and for me a more honest service delivery. But I won't pay silly money. 

 

As to your more general question, if you are fit and active then I don't think it's ever too late to trying something different. If there is one thing I've found about Azamara, it's that they make you feel at home very quickly. 

 

Phil 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, cambriah said:

....my question:  is it worth the higher price to cruise with Azamara — better staterooms, better food, more desirable land tours, better service — or should we stick to what we know?

These two Seniors would appreciate any comments/suggestions you might have...

 

I will take the liberty of answering this from a slightly different perspective. We are early 60's with 45 cruises on 15 different cruiselines, including the ones you mention. Recently we tried a relatively short (6 nights) cruise on Crystal, considered to be in the luxury class. Whilst we thoroughly enjoyed it, we did not consider it to be worth the cost and we would only return if a truly irresistible itinerary were available. Our main criteria for cruise choice is heavily weighted towards itinerary these days.

 

With regard to Azamara, we have been extremely fortunate to find a low cost itinerary in the Caribbean which is replacing the now cancelled Cuba cruises....also with very high OBC, which makes it an incredible deal. These sailings are 30 November and 7 December this year from San Juan, Puerto Rico.

 

I have researched Azamara ships extensively and, almost without fail, the highest proportion of complaints is about cabin and especially bathroom sizes. Apparently the shower area is very tight with only a curtain which seems to cling and inhibit the showering process. Wouldn't worry me, but maybe something you need to think about. The only way to avoid this is to spend exorbitant money on a suite, as the problem is prevalent with all inside/outside/veranda cabins.

 

Do remember that on other lines it is possible to 'trade up' for better food by using the specialty restaurants. We often do so, and the total cruise cost still comes in way below the likes of Azamara/Crystal/Oceania. Normally there are a number of nights packages offered and the more nights you pick for specialty the less the cost is per night.

 

Whatever you decide, I trust you still have many years of cruising to enjoy.

 

We have seen some very attractive Azamara itineraries in the med for the next couple of years, at crazy expensive prices, but want to ensure the Azamara offering is 'worth the money' before committing.

 

Edited by hamrag

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Don’t forget to take into account the fact that drinks and gratuities are included on Azamara, so long as you aren’t fussy about the spirit brands you drink or too fussy about wines. There’s also the Azamazing evening - but these do vary a bit. We’ve had some wonderful ones and some that were not really to our taste.

We used to cruise with Holland America and Azamara is definitely worth more. The food is excellent and the service is terrific. Looking at your description of yourselves, I think you’d find Azamara a good fit. The other thing we love about Azamara is how friendly everyone is - officers, crew and passengers.

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Posted (edited)

We are returning to Azamara after 4 cruises on Holland America, we haven't sailed with Celebrity or Princess.  We found with HAL we seemed to have our key card out all the time and those small charges add up that's for sure.  We like having the all-inclusive drinks and pre-paid gratuities on Azamara.  The better coffee is extra charge on HAL but it's not much better than the "free", the Mosaic coffee on Azamara is much better.  We went to HAL after the Aussie $ dropped making Azamara a bit pricey. The Azamara buffet is way better in our opinion.  

 

The officers on HAL were out and about and sometimes quite visible but most didn't even bother to speak.  We are not wanting to become best buddies with them but it doesn't hurt to say good morning. In our experience the Azamara officers are always interested in stopping to ask how everything is going and have a chat.  The make you feel at home the minute you get on the ship.

 

The main reason we cancelled our upcoming HAL cruise and booked with Azamara is that HAL don't, in our opinion, pay enough attention to infection control.  We came home sick each time from HAL and have never come home sick from Azamara.  There were people really sick with a flu like illness from day one on each HAL cruise and it went right through the ship.  They did nothing to try to stop the spread.  They were not monitoring the hand hygiene stations at the entry to dining areas, and few used them.  They allowed people to refill water bottles from the water dispensers.  Crew would stand and watch people who were clearly sick filling their bottles with the dispenser inside the neck of the bottle and not say anything despite signs asking people to use a glass to fill bottles.  People would not be stopped from touching food, bread/bisuits etc and returning it to the serving tray.  

 

If Azamara is within your budget give them a go.  We won't be going back to HAL.  For us we are willing to pay a bit extra to not come home sick each time.

Edited by Aussie Bren

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Cruising with fewer than 700 passengers is a world of difference from cruising with 2000 to 5000 on the mass-market cruise lines mentioned by OP.  Warm, personal service vs. being seen as the next person in line.

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4 minutes ago, marinaro44 said:

Cruising with fewer than 700 passengers is a world of difference from cruising with 2000 to 5000 on the mass-market cruise lines mentioned by OP.  Warm, personal service vs. being seen as the next person in line.

I'm afraid the thing that really grates me on Celebrity is the clear distinction between service in the areas for those in suites and guests staying in ordinary accommodation. Much fawning if you are in a suite.  Go out of the suite areas and I took my chance with the service, some of which was great and some to be quite honest shocking.  Everyone is treated the same on Azamara, regardless of the cabin you are in. 

 

Phil 

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There are pluses and minuses to all lines. Depends on the price point, your interests and the itinerary. Also useful to look at what you like and dislike on other cruise lines and see whether Azamara. 

 

Have you looked at Seabourn? In my view they are many notches above Azamara. Bigger cabins, more inclusive, better food and service. 

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4 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

I'm afraid the thing that really grates me on Celebrity is the clear distinction between service in the areas for those in suites and guests staying in ordinary accommodation. Much fawning if you are in a suite.  Go out of the suite areas and I took my chance with the service, some of which was great and some to be quite honest shocking.  Everyone is treated the same on Azamara, regardless of the cabin you are in. 

 

Phil 

 

A fair point. Although, buying a speciality restaurant package on Celebrity brings a much more enhanced cruise without the cost of a suite. 

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12 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

I'm afraid the thing that really grates me on Celebrity is the clear distinction between service in the areas for those in suites and guests staying in ordinary accommodation. Much fawning if you are in a suite.  Go out of the suite areas and I took my chance with the service, some of which was great and some to be quite honest shocking.  Everyone is treated the same on Azamara, regardless of the cabin you are in. 

 

Phil 

Agree.  We won't cruise on a multi-class ship.  Celebrity service was so fawning back in the "envelope" days it made my skin crawl, and I had an overwhelming urge to scream "stop with the sucking up."

 

We've learned, to be truthful, not all smaller ship, supposedly "luxury" cruise lines provide warm, personal service.

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12 hours ago, cambriah said:

We have sailed with Celebrity, Holland America, Princess and RCCL.

All had their pluses and minuses.  All in all, we liked each of them with our favorites being Holland America and Princess.

we have heard many good things about Azamara from fellow cruisers and also on Reviews posted on Cruise Critic.

We are two Seniors, ages late 70’s Early 80’s who enjoy quiet dinners, an  occasional show and the not too rigorous land tours.

 

my question:  is it worth the higher price to cruise with Azamara — better staterooms, better food, more desirable land tours, better service — or should we stick to what we know?

These two Seniors would appreciate any comments/suggestions you might have.

 

Thank You 

 

Cambriah

 

Hi Cambrian, and welcome! I hope you will give us a try. I think you’ll like it!

You didn’t mention which itinerary might interest you? We have some great deals on many voyages between now and December 2019, called Last Minute Voyages.

https://www.azamara.com/luxury-cruise-deals/last-minute-voyages

 

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I think as Brits in "envelope days" we never got really special service on cruise lines because it was wrongly assumed we did not tip.  We always prepaid our tips and we will always remember our surprise after many cruises we took our first Azamara cruise and all our room team individually thanked us for our tips mid cruise, something we had never experienced elsewhere.  Then they moved to included gratuities and I remember on an early cruise after that remembering how lovely the last night was onboard after the change - staff were not hanging around palms almost outstretched and guests were all in the bars etc to say farewells and not hiding from staff.  It was a lovely side benefit of included gratuities, the real cruise vibe continued right until disembarkation.

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Posted (edited)

If you have the opportunity to find an itinerary which is special, and the price relationship  makes sense to you taking into account what others have said, I would say give it a try. I belong to those who like very much Azamara. I used to cruise more often with Azamara but due to price increases, I have not been able to do so. Once in a while I find a good itinerary at a price I consider reasonable and up to now I have not been dissatisfied with the onboard experience.

Again, my recommendation is to give Azamara a try and see for yourself if it is for you worth it.

Ivi

Edited by travelberlin

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The concept of “worth it” is so personal.  That being said, I agree with many of the comments here, we’ve sailed on many mass market lines and a few luxury and four AZ cruises — were truly disappointed in Celebrity as it did not meet our expectations and we really disliked the obvious “class system” which you will not find on AZ.  Where AZ shines in my opinion is the intimate, relaxed atmosphere, no lines, and the convenient port access Including the length of time in port and ease of getting on and off the ship even when tendering.  As some have mentioned AZ price to value ratio has been ebbing recently but at a price you like it is worth trying!  And I love the decor/ambience of the ships even if they don’t have all the newer bells and whistles...

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I like Azamara. I love the small ship and less crowded venues. The mass market ships are too crowded.  Azamara is more expensive sometimes. If you shop prices during sales, you may get a good price. Also, look at quarterly savings cruises. Got an extra 10% off my last Azamara cruise.  Booked during a sale, “  veranda for the price of an inside.”  Paying attention to sales can save you money.  

Azamara does a good cruise. It is more relaxed and has better food than those big ships. 

The basic Az cruise fare includes gratuity, some liquor, and a special evening event. Azamara does not have casino.  Az doesn’t restrict kids. However, there are no kid activities. You seldom get many kids on Az. 

Try Azamara.  I also sail on Oceania. Both cruise lines attract the same group of people.

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14 hours ago, cambriah said:

We have sailed with Celebrity, Holland America, Princess and RCCL.

All had their pluses and minuses.  All in all, we liked each of them with our favorites being Holland America and Princess.

we have heard many good things about Azamara from fellow cruisers and also on Reviews posted on Cruise Critic.

We are two Seniors, ages late 70’s Early 80’s who enjoy quiet dinners, an  occasional show and the not too rigorous land tours.

 

my question:  is it worth the higher price to cruise with Azamara — better staterooms, better food, more desirable land tours, better service — or should we stick to what we know?

These two Seniors would appreciate any comments/suggestions you might have.

 

Thank You 

 

Cambriah

 

Perhaps my Celebrity Azamara comparison will help you.  See.     

 

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As a soon to be first time Azamara cruiser, the biggest complaints I read about are the "too small" shower stalls.  My question is, do people with the small showers ever just go the gym to take showers?  I wouldn't do that in the morning, but in the afternoon, before dinner, that's something that would make sense to me.  

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The showers really aren’t THAT small. They couldn’t be described as spacious but if you are of relatively normal proportions then they are perfectly adequate for their purpose. I would never even think of going to The Gym just for a shower! 

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28 minutes ago, hubofhockey said:

As a soon to be first time Azamara cruiser, the biggest complaints I read about are the "too small" shower stalls.  My question is, do people with the small showers ever just go the gym to take showers?  I wouldn't do that in the morning, but in the afternoon, before dinner, that's something that would make sense to me.  

People do - but then they can have to wait.  Personally way too much hassle and the showers aren't that small - and I am not a small person

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32 minutes ago, hubofhockey said:

As a soon to be first time Azamara cruiser, the biggest complaints I read about are the "too small" shower stalls.  My question is, do people with the small showers ever just go the gym to take showers?  I wouldn't do that in the morning, but in the afternoon, before dinner, that's something that would make sense to me.  

I've spoken to people on the ship and sure, sometimes they say they use the gym showers. It fits with their routine and often seems more about their organisation and convenience when sharing a cabin rather than having a bigger shower stall.  I've never quite understood the preoccupation with the shower size anyway. They are what they are. If one must have a bigger shower then pay for a suite or sail on another cruiseline. 

 

Phil 

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2 hours ago, hubofhockey said:

As a soon to be first time Azamara cruiser, the biggest complaints I read about are the "too small" shower stalls.  My question is, do people with the small showers ever just go the gym to take showers?  I wouldn't do that in the morning, but in the afternoon, before dinner, that's something that would make sense to me.  

I am not sure if people do  from their cabin. But if you enjoy the steam room or had a massage you will see  the locker room busy.  The showers there are not only bigger but have many sprays or needles depending on the one  used. Both are a little different. if i use the steam room i have showed but not washed my hair. That is  to much hassle.

 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

I've spoken to people on the ship and sure, sometimes they say they use the gym showers. It fits with their routine and often seems more about their organisation and convenience when sharing a cabin rather than having a bigger shower stall.  I've never quite understood the preoccupation with the shower size anyway. They are what they are. If one must have a bigger shower then pay for a suite or sail on another cruiseline. 

 

Phil 

 

This will do.  Not going to take a long relaxing shower, and I probably will use gym showers on some afternoons.  

 

 

azamara-quest-azamara-23650.jpg

azamara-quest-azamara-35542.jpg

Edited by hubofhockey

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