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islandwoman

What do I need to know about booking my first Azamara cruise?

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DH and I are considering booking 4 Azamara cruises for a total of 60  b2b days.  Most of our experience is with Princess.  For Princess, we know how to get onboard credit, reduced and refundable deposits, how to change to lower fares after booking, and when we'd need to cancel in order to get a full refund.  How might we do those things on Azamara?

 

I think that in order to be in the same cabin for all 4 cruises, we'd have to book very early (like now !)  So no chance of trying out Azamara on one short cruise before committing to the long one.  We like Azamara's itineraries and we know the ship, having sailed on Azamara Pursuit when she was the Royal Princess.  Is there anything else we need to know about cruising with Azamara before we book?

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Posted (edited)

In which region are you planning to cruise? And are these b2bs marketed as a “Grand Voyage”?

 

There is added OBC for the b2bs, and that could be augmented if they’re combined as a complete “Grand Voyage”.

Edited by snowglobe

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My advice would be to get a good travel agent who knows Azamara and the terms and conditions that apply to your country of residence. 

 

Phil 

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In addition to the good advice Phil has given (I would say essential actually) read around the various reviews.  People may highlight positives (or negatives) that would really matter to you.

Forget about the Grand Voyages hype, its just marketing bundling, and work out the combination of cruises you want, all cruises are given allowances for back to back bookings and the allowance applies to both cruises (but you cannot have two allowances on a cruise) - so if you book b2b2b2b you would have four lots of onboard credit applied.

I agree it is a good idea to have the same room all the way through but it is not essential, Azamara make room changing very straightforward indeed.

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Posted (edited)

I agree with Phil and uktog, get a good TA who knows Azamara well. As far as I am aware the only way to get a reduced deposit if you book direct is when you book a cruise onboard.

For those in the USA Azamara offer a ‘Best Price Guarantee’, which means if you book and your cruise(s) is/are reduced you should be able to get the price reduction - but you might lose any benefits that were part of your original booking (free WiFi/OBC etc as part of a promotion at the time you booked.

As well as looking at reviews you may find it helpful to look at the sticky topic ‘Tips for Azamara Newbies’ in this forum, and at the ‘Azamara Cabins Thread’.

Edited by Host Grandma Cruising

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39 minutes ago, snowglobe said:

In which region are you planning to cruise? And are these b2bs marketed as a “Grand Voyage”?

 

There is added OBC for the b2bs, and that could be augmented if they’re combined as a complete “Grand Voyage”.

Tokyo to Singapore; Singapore to Piraeus; Greece; Black Sea.

As far as I've seen, there is not a "Grand Voyage" designation.

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6 minutes ago, Host Grandma Cruising said:

As well as looking at reviews you may find it helpful to look at the sticky topic ‘Tips for Azamara Newbies’ in this forum, and at the ‘Azamara Cabins Thread’.

 

Thanks Grandma, I missed that.  But now I will definitely read it.  655 replies 😲

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26 minutes ago, islandwoman said:

Tokyo to Singapore; Singapore to Piraeus; Greece; Black Sea.

As far as I've seen, there is not a "Grand Voyage" designation.

It is your Grand Voyage!  And you get exactly the same OBC benefits as the hyped ones - enjoy! 

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Hi islandwoman,

Thank you for your interest in booking Azamara! We look forward to having you sail with us.

Everyone has given you good advice. I second the opinion that using a knowledgeable TA will be very helpful, especially given the complexity of 4 B2B’s.

You asked about our CX policies. At 120-days out, when full payment is due, the penalties kick in. Outside of 120-days there is only a $50 (2019) or $75pp (2020 and beyond) admin fee for canceling. Here’s a link to the webpage with more information:

https://www.azamara.com/int/booked-guests/before-you-board/payment-cancellation

 

In addition, I would suggest you look at our travel insurance, CruiseCare, or your agent could suggest another provider. 

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I would find one of the large travel agencies online that deal in cruises.   There are several, we use one.   We either book with them or we book with the cruise line.   Either way, you're going to get the perks and onboard credit that you're due from the cruise line.   In addition, you will get some back to back booking onboard credit.  In addition, you may get up to $1100 or more additional on board credit per cruise!  Sometimes it's even a good percentage of the total cruise cost.   We just booked two B2B cruises for a total of 25 days on AZ, in 2021 in a club continent suite.  We have combined on board credits for each cruise of about $1800 and $1900.   It definitely pays to let the big TAs get your some great perks.   You need to transfer to them within 60 days of booking.  

We still will check the prices over the next years/months until we pay our final fees, because if it goes down enough we will get that price.   It may reduce our on board credit some, but we let the TA we've worked with for years now help us "do" the numbers.

We went with a little suite this time so we could have access to the restaurants whenever we wanted.     

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, ClaudiaB said:

I would find one of the large travel agencies online that deal in cruises.   There are several, we use one.   We either book with them or we book with the cruise line.   Either way, you're going to get the perks and onboard credit that you're due from the cruise line.   In addition, you will get some back to back booking onboard credit.  In addition, you may get up to $1100 or more additional on board credit per cruise!  Sometimes it's even a good percentage of the total cruise cost.   We just booked two B2B cruises for a total of 25 days on AZ, in 2021 in a club continent suite.  We have combined on board credits for each cruise of about $1800 and $1900.   It definitely pays to let the big TAs get your some great perks.   You need to transfer to them within 60 days of booking.  

We still will check the prices over the next years/months until we pay our final fees, because if it goes down enough we will get that price.   It may reduce our on board credit some, but we let the TA we've worked with for years now help us "do" the numbers.

We went with a little suite this time so we could have access to the restaurants whenever we wanted.     

But please don’t rule out using a travel agent that is Not a big box online agency.  Just saying there is more to a travel agent than obc, like being there when you have issues or just need a question answered on the weekend or a holiday.  A good TA will keep an eye on the pricing so you don’t have to as that’s part of a good TA’s job.  

Edited by laurieb

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You wrote that you were experienced Princess cruisers.  The AZ experience is very different, and IMHO, in a good way.  No lines at the elevators, bars or shows.  Higher quality of service and food, etc.  You will get to know your fellow passengers quickly.  No lines, no lines, no lines.  Oh, and did I tell you that there would be no waiting for a seat anywhere?

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On 10/7/2019 at 11:20 PM, tv24 said:

You wrote that you were experienced Princess cruisers.  The AZ experience is very different, and IMHO, in a good way.  No lines at the elevators, bars or shows.  Higher quality of service and food, etc.  You will get to know your fellow passengers quickly.  No lines, no lines, no lines.  Oh, and did I tell you that there would be no waiting for a seat anywhere?

 

No lines sounds fantastic.  I hate lines.  Lines mean lack of organization.  And organization is only a small part of what I expect from someone I pay thousands of dollars to and who operates ships that cost a billion dollars.

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Lines on Princess are somewhat related to a lack of organization.  But in my observation the real cause is the fact that on the 2 ships we sailed, they crammed passengers into every nook and cranny and then dropped fares to as low as $59 per person per day to fill up all rooms.  The few public spaces on board could not handle such crowds, nor could the elevators.  Sadly my fellow passengers thought such crowds were a normal part of cruising.

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Read the terms of the BEST PRICE GUARANTEE carefully. https://www.azamara.com/plan/best-price-guarantee

 

You'll see that between 12 months from sailing date and final payment, you'll be getting onboard credit rather than a price adjustment.  For those that can use the OBC, that's fine.  Others have so much OBC that they don't need any more.

 

In that time period, you will NOT be getting a reduced price.

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On 10/6/2019 at 7:34 PM, laurieb said:

But please don’t rule out using a travel agent that is Not a big box online agency.  Just saying there is more to a travel agent than obc, like being there when you have issues or just need a question answered on the weekend or a holiday.  A good TA will keep an eye on the pricing so you don’t have to as that’s part of a good TA’s job.  

 

+1 on this.  We use a TA that is one person working from her home.  We have used her and her father before she took over the agency for more than 10 years.  She knows us well and treats us a friend instead of a client.  She also fights hard for us when the cruise company tries to screw us.  To me, this is more important than the few bucks that she might save us by going to a big box TA where I will be just one of many clients and identifiable by a number and not a name.

 

DON

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Do use a travel agent, but don’t assume bigger is better. In my experience, service is better with a smaller agency where you’re a name more than a number. Whatever you choose, read the fine print carefully. The agency can charge their own cancellation fee and again, in my experience, it can be extortionate!

Melissa

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On 10/8/2019 at 4:20 AM, tv24 said:

You wrote that you were experienced Princess cruisers.  The AZ experience is very different, and IMHO, in a good way.  No lines at the elevators, bars or shows.  Higher quality of service and food, etc.  You will get to know your fellow passengers quickly.  No lines, no lines, no lines.  Oh, and did I tell you that there would be no waiting for a seat anywhere?

 

Princess was our "go to" cruise line before they went with this Royal class and built the tiny balconies and deemed it too expensive to go with central elevators (don't even need elevators on Azamara) that go from the bottom to the top.  It created congestion on elevators and in main areas.  They also don't invest enough in their older ships.  We loved the Ruby.  At the higher end mass market, we switched to Celebrity and haven't looked back.  Azamara is great, but for us, we'll use it for destination cruising.  As for finding the $1100 to $1400 for travel agent onboard credit, it's out there and easy to find for US travelers.  

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