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Azamara, worth it?


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Actually GT would be a negative to me.   I am only concerned with the footage available to passengers.   I would not count wave riders, climbing walls, ice scaring rings or whatever else the mega ships have.   Azamara is a nice size and we never had a problem finding a comfortable shady spot to sit.   We paid less for our CC suite on Azamara than we did for our CS on Celebrity.   The CS suite ( transatlantic) did not include perks.      The CC suite included unlimited specialty restaurants and basic wines and basic alcohol such as Pina Coladas, Margaritas, Mojitos etc.   You can pay extra for a beverage package that includes your favorite liquor.   Gratuities are also always included.   We found Azamara to be worth it and it even costs less than a suite on Celebrity.

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On 8/30/2019 at 8:50 AM, Host Grandma Cruising said:

We like sea days and have found that relocation cruises on Azamara are very good value. We’ve done Athens to Dubai 3 times so far and have it booked again next year!

Is that the cruise that was changed in February from 15 nights to a 17 night cruise leaving late October? If so we are also on it.

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10 hours ago, Covepointcruiser said:

Actually GT would be a negative to me.   I am only concerned with the footage available to passengers.  ...

I'm a bit confused by your statement.  Gross tonnage measures the total space on the ship. So, as I wrote, roughly GT per passenger is a measure of how much space is available for passengers.

Of course, as always, there are nuances.  For example, Regent Mariner and Regent Voyager have identical gross tonnage and number of passengers.   But on Mariner, a larger fraction of the space is devoted to public spaces, at the expense of the size of the cabins; on Voyager it is just the opposite.

And there are also issues like devoting precious space on the ship to a casino, climbing walls, roller coasters (true!), etc. Plus space for the engines, fuel, and more.

The weather also is a factor. When it is cold and/or raining, people will not be out on the decks and patios, so with less available space the public areas can get comparatively crowded.

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17 hours ago, DavidTheWonderer said:

Many posters on the AZ boards mention what debcip called "the vibe".  Although important it is, of course, very subjective and opinions differ for different people. One can also do some quantitative research using, say, Wikipedia.  There are 2 numbers that are easily available.  First is space available, which is roughly the gross tonnage (GT) per passenger (the higher the better). The second is the number of passengers per staff (the lower the better).  Both space and staff cost money. Here are some examples:

 

Regent Mariner:  69 GT / pax, 1.6 pax / crew

Azamara Quest: 44 GT / pax, 1.7 pax / crew

HAL Eurodom: 41 GT / pax, 2.3 pax / crew

Majestic Princess: 40 GT / pax, 2.6 pax /crew

 

Not included above is Celebrity, which has been mentioned repeatedly on this thread.  This is in part because they have two classes of passengers, and I don't know how to separate them in my calculations. I met some folks on Azamara who had considerable experience with Celebrity who had positive things to say.  And some dear friends and cruise buddies are currently booked with Celebrity and I'm looking forward to hearing their report when they return.

 

Of course, I can't comment on whether more space and more staff to look after you is worth the extra money to you.  But for math geeks like me, finding these numbers is a fun way to while away the time until I get to get back on a ship.

Interestingly most of the Celebrity ships have a similar or higher GT than Azamara. Here are some figures I have obtained

Azamara Quest 42 GT

Celebrity Solstice 42 GT

Celebrity Summit 46 GT

Oceania Riviera 51 GT

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3 hours ago, Gordoncruickshank said:

Is that the cruise that was changed in February from 15 nights to a 17 night cruise leaving late October? If so we are also on it.

That’s the one, we booked it in July when it was already 17 nights. Haven’t seen you posting on the roll call!

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1 hour ago, Belfastman said:

Interestingly most of the Celebrity ships have a similar or higher GT than Azamara. Here are some figures I have obtained

Azamara Quest 42 GT

Celebrity Solstice 42 GT

Celebrity Summit 46 GT

Oceania Riviera 51 GT

Like most statistics you can make of them what you want. I've seen Celebrity quoted at mid thirties and Azamara 40 in the Berlitz guide, but of course it depends upon how full the ship is at the time and how many people are in each cabin. And then of course the total size of the cabins has a bearing too. If the staterooms are proportionately smaller then the public spaces will feel bigger. That is certainly how Azamara feels in relation to Celebrity. 

 

Phil 

Edited by excitedofharpenden
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15 hours ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

That’s the one, we booked it in July when it was already 17 nights. Haven’t seen you posting on the roll call!

We booked it in February while on the Silhouette. Before we finished the first leg of our b2b the ship had been chartered and the 17 night is what our 15 night cruise became.

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  • 4 months later...
On 8/18/2019 at 9:09 AM, 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 

And this has only gotten worse with the new ships (Edge and Apex) as well as the on-going refits.  They have created the "Retreat" which pretty much takes over all upper deck space forward of the pool.  They are also converting a number of previously "regular" veranda cabins into Aqua class.

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On 9/5/2019 at 8:11 PM, Covepointcruiser said:

Actually GT would be a negative to me.   I am only concerned with the footage available to passengers.   I would not count wave riders, climbing walls, ice scaring rings or whatever else the mega ships have.   Azamara is a nice size and we never had a problem finding a comfortable shady spot to sit.   We paid less for our CC suite on Azamara than we did for our CS on Celebrity.   The CS suite ( transatlantic) did not include perks.      The CC suite included unlimited specialty restaurants and basic wines and basic alcohol such as Pina Coladas, Margaritas, Mojitos etc.   You can pay extra for a beverage package that includes your favorite liquor.   Gratuities are also always included.   We found Azamara to be worth it and it even costs less than a suite on Celebrity.

I apologize in advance if you already know this, but GT is actually a measure of volume, not actual weight.  Its based on how much water is displaced by the ship.  1 GT is equal to 100 cubic feet of space on the ship, so things like climbing walls will not contribute.

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On 8/18/2019 at 10:02 AM, 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

 

In my opinion, No.  It's about the same quality as Celebrity, both food and service-wise.  It's quieter, ships are a nice compact size...but no it is not worth any sort of premium over the usual Celebrity cruise.

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It depends what you like. We haven’t sailed with any other lines than Azamara and HAL. Azamara is incomparably better than HAL.

What we love about Azamara is often difficult to describe and quantify. We do like that tips and drinks are included, so no need to spend anything. What we really love is the atmosphere on board and that’s down to the officers, crew and passengers. The officers are very visible and approachable, the crew can’t do enough to make sure you have a good time and the passengers are friendly, well travelled and unstuffy.

We also love the size - no queues for anything, easy to get on and off the ship, you see the same people every day so it’s easier to get chatting. Also Azamara can get into ports that others can’t - for example in Seville they can go up river and dock right in town, larger ships have to dock at Cadiz, a good way away. The same applies in Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok.

 

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I can't say whether they are or not "worth it" as I haven't sailed on them. But... I think you need to take itinerary into consideration.  Are they worth $1,000 a day to go to run of the mill ports? not to me. But, you get some of the more exotic itineraries that are harder to get to and transportation between locations is more difficult, then probably yes.  I don't think you can give a flat yes or no until you know where you're going.

 

We're doing a month land trip to Europe next year for DH's retirement and am looking at adding in a cruise in the middle.  Azamara has a Monte Carlo to Rome, 7 days, decent itinerary but not that hard to do on our own.  I'll probably not opt to spend $900 a day on a balcony for something so easily done on our own. The but the more exotic itineraries, probably would.

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9 minutes ago, Cruise Junky said:

I can't say whether they are or not "worth it" as I haven't sailed on them. But... I think you need to take itinerary into consideration.  Are they worth $1,000 a day to go to run of the mill ports? not to me. But, you get some of the more exotic itineraries that are harder to get to and transportation between locations is more difficult, then probably yes.  I don't think you can give a flat yes or no until you know where you're going.

 

We're doing a month land trip to Europe next year for DH's retirement and am looking at adding in a cruise in the middle.  Azamara has a Monte Carlo to Rome, 7 days, decent itinerary but not that hard to do on our own.  I'll probably not opt to spend $900 a day on a balcony for something so easily done on our own. The but the more exotic itineraries, probably would.

 

It's not just exotic itineraries, but also how close to cities they port, days in port, and times in port.  They do destination immersion very well and can add so much value to your vacation.  The personal and friendly service also has a value and makes for a great experience.  That being said, I haven't and won't pay $900 per day for it and actually are doing an Oceanview in Japan during prime time cherry blossom and wisteria season for $736 per day, which is about $650 after including OBC.  To me, it's worth it.  I could save a lot and do Princess, but if I'm going to the other side of the planet, I'll pay a premium to do a once in a lifetime destination vacation. 

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15 minutes ago, hubofhockey said:

 

It's not just exotic itineraries, but also how close to cities they port, days in port, and times in port.  They do destination immersion very well and can add so much value to your vacation.  The personal and friendly service also has a value and makes for a great experience.  That being said, I haven't and won't pay $900 per day for it and actually are doing an Oceanview in Japan during prime time cherry blossom and wisteria season for $736 per day, which is about $650 after including OBC.  To me, it's worth it.  I could save a lot and do Princess, but if I'm going to the other side of the planet, I'll pay a premium to do a once in a lifetime destination vacation. 

See, that's exotic :)

 

Very true, which to be honest is another turn off for me on the itinerary I was referencing.  It has an overnight in Livorno...why the he** would I spend $2000 for two days in Livorno when I could either be in the Tuscan countryside or in Florence?

 

Enjoy your cruise, it sounds wonderful

Edited by Cruise Junky
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3 hours ago, Cruise Junky said:

See, that's exotic 🙂

 

Very true, which to be honest is another turn off for me on the itinerary I was referencing.  It has an overnight in Livorno...why the he** would I spend $2000 for two days in Livorno when I could either be in the Tuscan countryside or in Florence?

 

Enjoy your cruise, it sounds wonderful


Thanks and I agree on saving Azamara for destination cruises and trying to find deals too.  Save it for a good one.  By the way, if you're. in Italy for a month, I hope you find your way to Cinque Terre.  

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2 hours ago, hubofhockey said:


Thanks and I agree on saving Azamara for destination cruises and trying to find deals too.  Save it for a good one.  By the way, if you're. in Italy for a month, I hope you find your way to Cinque Terre.  

Already been. We had a fantastic day. We’ll split the month between Seville, Provence and Italy. I do want to return to the Italian Riviera area. Possibly Santa Margarita this time. 

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20 hours ago, Cruise Junky said:

Already been. We had a fantastic day. We’ll split the month between Seville, Provence and Italy. I do want to return to the Italian Riviera area. Possibly Santa Margarita this time. 

Since yo are doing a land trip in Italy, maybe Calabria or Apulia could also be interesting? Not the crowds like in Tuscany or Venice. We have been in Calabria and it was beautiful. This year we are going to Apulia for one week. Matera seems to be very nice and it has been declared culture city I believe.

Edited by travelberlin
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23 hours ago, Cruise Junky said:

Already been. We had a fantastic day. We’ll split the month between Seville, Provence and Italy. I do want to return to the Italian Riviera area. Possibly Santa Margarita this time. 

 

You need a weekend there, not a day off a cruise ship.  The best thing about Cinque Terre is relaxing there.  

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On 9/3/2019 at 2:47 PM, DavidTheWonderer said:

So far almost all the posts in this thread doing comparisons are to lesser priced lines.  I'm coming from a different perspective, with about 160 nights on Regent, 60 on the Paul Gauguin, plus a couple of weeks on Seabourn.  I only have one 7-day experience on AZ, and would happily sail with them again for the right itinerary.  I also have a two-week TransAtlantic on Oceania's Riviera and would not sail with them again.

 

In addition to the port-intensive itineraries, which I really like, the social ambience, service, etc. on AZ compare favorably to the luxury lines.  The AAmazing experience is delightful, as are the White Nights.

Of course, the standard disclaimer applies: your mileage may vary.

 

This explains our very favorable view of Azamara among the 12 cruise lines we have sailed.  The combination of these factors plus food and included amenities [not 'all-inclusive' but good enough for us] is unmatched.  We don't have the 'luxury' experience you list, but we have sailed on Ponant with a wonderful Iceland itinerary but not at all Azamara's level of food and service.

 

We have not sailed on Regent for two reasons:  (1) we rarely take ship's excursions, so having them included [and therefore factored into the fare] seems a waste – which was our conclusion on the value proposition for our cruise on Viking Ocean; and (2) the nastiness on the Regent forum on Cruise Critic leaves me fearful of meeting some of these frequent cruisers.

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On 8/18/2019 at 9:09 AM, 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 

 

If class distinctions bother you, I can see how this is an issue.  But when comparing Azamara prices with Celebrity prices you should be comparing Celebrity Suite Class – in which case the food and service are much closer to Azamara.  There is very little reason to 'go out of the suite areas' on Celebrity since they developed the Retreat concept.  My big complaint with Celebrity now is that they have decided that Boomers have one foot in the grave so their shipboard ambience is all directed [apparently not too successfully] at Millennials.

 

An even more extreme example of how to make the class distinction work is MSC – their ships are among the largest in the industry, with the predictable effects on food, service and ambience, but when sailing in the Yacht Club you hardly know you are on that mega-amusement park ship.  The YC Concierge took the place of the dreaded customer service desk, and when we did need to go out of the suite area our Butler escorted us and cut to the head of every line.  

 

As I said, if this VIP treatment would bother you I can see how that would be an issue – but we're from NY, so we know that it's always good to 'know somebody.'

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On 1/14/2020 at 2:27 PM, Cruise Junky said:

I can't say whether they are or not "worth it" as I haven't sailed on them. But... I think you need to take itinerary into consideration.  Are they worth $1,000 a day to go to run of the mill ports? not to me. But, you get some of the more exotic itineraries that are harder to get to and transportation between locations is more difficult, then probably yes.  I don't think you can give a flat yes or no until you know where you're going.

 

We're doing a month land trip to Europe next year for DH's retirement and am looking at adding in a cruise in the middle.  Azamara has a Monte Carlo to Rome, 7 days, decent itinerary but not that hard to do on our own.  I'll probably not opt to spend $900 a day on a balcony for something so easily done on our own. The but the more exotic itineraries, probably would.

 

I just had to face this very issue 'up front and personal.'  We had a cruise booked on Windstar this summer from Lisbon to Barcelona – 'Spanish Serenade' very similar to Azamara's Spain-intensive cruises.  The biggest attraction was that Windstar is doing a major 'cut and stretch' dry dock on their three ex-Seabourn 'sisters' – but the discovery of asbestos in the engine room delayed the first dry dock by three months, and that threw the other two off.  Bottom line, even though our ship is still scheduled to be back in service well before our cruise they decided to completely rejigger its itineraries and 'bye-bye Spain.'

 

In our younger days, we would probably have just rented a car and done Andalucia on our own.  But those days are gone.  So we found a very good land trip on Classic Journeys that will give us much more time in each city than the cruise port visits – BUT the 5 night tour on CJ costs more than the 8 night cruise, AND we have to pack up and change hotels every 2 nights!

 

That's why Azamara's country-intensive itineraries in the Mediterranean are so appealing to us.

 

BTW I got a brochure from Crystal in today's mail.  We enjoyed our cruise on Crystal, but their itineraries are totally 'same-old, same-old.'  Nothing like Azamara.

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5 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

... the nastiness on the Regent forum on Cruise Critic leaves me fearful of meeting some of these frequent cruisers.

The Cruise Critic boards for all lines are not necessarily indicative of the actual passengers on the ships.  But in this case, the prime offender is no longer posting on the Regent board. Many are thrilled by this change.

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4 hours ago, DavidTheWonderer said:

The Cruise Critic boards for all lines are not necessarily indicative of the actual passengers on the ships.  But in this case, the prime offender is no longer posting on the Regent board. Many are thrilled by this change.

 

I'll co-sign that one, but I will say that I found the passengers on our one Azamara cruise to be the most friendly and engaging as I have experienced on any cruise.  We knew nobody going into our cruise, met some nice people on Cruise Critic, and others on the ship and felt very comfortable. The entire ship experience with employees and fellow guests has extra value.  When someone asks if it's "worth it", that's tough to answer because it depends on the price and whether you place any value on that, but you absolutely cannot say that Cruise Critic users define the friendliness of the cruise line.  My dad loved Regent and he was the furthest thing from a snob you would find anywhere.  He enjoyed that everything was first class and he didn't have to do anything.  The excursions were right there waiting for him.  It's not my style, but it was his.  My brother likes Oceania and takes the excursions with OLife packages, loves the dining and fellow passengers and he hated Viking ocean. He is not destination driven like we are and only does warm weather cruises.   Different things are worth it to different people.  

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