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StartrainDD

Celebrity "Elite" tries Azamara - loves it!

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Long story short, we were booked on the Celebrity Xpedition in the Galapagos over Thanksgiving (2019).  Two weeks before our sailing the Xpedition ran aground so our cruise was canceled (we rebooked for 2021).  We had vacation time planned and needed a quick "Plan B."  There were four options (2 HAL, 1 "X", and the Azamara Journey).  We chose the Journey as it went to ports we have not been to before and we wanted to try something different.  We did a B2B, first a nine night Miami - San Juan and then a seven night RT San Juan.  If you are interested in the log/reviews here are the links:

 

11-21 sailing:  https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=672279&et_cid=3214772&et_rid=268596365&et_referrer

11-30 sailing:  https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=672280&et_cid=3214772&et_rid=268596365&et_referrer

 

I would be happy to answer any questions.  These reviews are NOT 'comparisons' between "X" and Azamara, although I do mention X a few times.  Keep in mind that typically there is a difference in the price point between Azamara and "X."  Although, at times the difference between X with 'perks' and Azamara may not be very great. 

 

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Startrain, thank you for posting your review of Azamara.  This was a timely read for me as I have been spending a great deal of time lately researching this sister line.  We are Elite on Celebrity as well and have been looking into Azamara for its port intensive itineraries in the Mediterranean.  Not so long ago I might have been quoted as saying something like, "I won't sail on a ship that doesn't have a casino"...but lately, I've softened on that stance.  I gather that the "living room" is a space where the casino used to be.  I wonder how you liked this space (knowing you don't have a before and after comparison)...did you miss the presence of a casino?  I'm not a huge gambler but I do enjoy some spins in the casino before a show or after dinner. 

 

A few other questions if you don't mind...

 

  • We usually travel in a suite.  As Azamara is semi-inclusive, am I right in assuming that you get a lot of nice perks even if you aren't in a suite?
  • Being on a smaller ship, did you ever feel like there wasn't enough to do?
  • How was the variety of the included drinks (beer, wine, and some liquors)?  Did you feel the need to upgrade your package?
  • I've read that there is a mini-fridge stocked in each stateroom..is this complimentary regardless of stateroom category?
  • What elite  benefits from Celebrity did you enjoy with Azamara's loyalty program?

Thank you so much!

Christina

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5 minutes ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

 

A few other questions if you don't mind...

 

  • We usually travel in a suite.  As Azamara is semi-inclusive, am I right in assuming that you get a lot of nice perks even if you aren't in a suite?
  • Being on a smaller ship, did you ever feel like there wasn't enough to do?
  • How was the variety of the included drinks (beer, wine, and some liquors)?  Did you feel the need to upgrade your package?
  • I've read that there is a mini-fridge stocked in each stateroom..is this complimentary regardless of stateroom category?
  • What elite  benefits from Celebrity did you enjoy with Azamara's loyalty program?

Thank you so much!

Christina


There are very few benefits on Az compared with X as the loyalty program is very different and aimed at giving more benefits when booking future cruises rather than anything onboard. 
 

The Mini bars are all charged ($) even in the suites all the way to the top suites (CW & CO).


I’m a beer drinker and those included in the standard all inclusive package work fine for me. 
 

the size of the ship does make a difference to X and the entertainment etc is very different to X and can’t really be compared as it does work on the Az ships.

 

Suite guests do get a few little extras but as with most things being included with all cabin grades nobody feels excluded or “them and us”.

the 2 speciality restaurants are great but the menus don’t change and you get unlimited access with a suite, but 14 nights of 2

menus can kinda get a little boring.


The main is GREAT which is open seating and the menus are fabulous.

 

with loyalty it’s not about the points like X But the amount of cruises you’ve actually taken with Az, which I do think is better approach to it than who can afford to buy points like with X. Surely loyalty that’s proper loyalty.

 

I’m fortunately toP membership with X but going on Az for my first cruise, the longest cruise ward quite rightly went to the longest “Azamara” cruisers although I had 3x the points they had. 
 

I love Azamara for what it is but will always return to Celebrity. 

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12 minutes ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

A few other questions if you don't mind...

 

  • We usually travel in a suite.  As Azamara is semi-inclusive, am I right in assuming that you get a lot of nice perks even if you aren't in a suite?  We typically are not in a suite, but included 'perks' include gratuities, a basic beverage package, and concierge service.
  • Being on a smaller ship, did you ever feel like there wasn't enough to do?  No - never.  In fact, the sea days seemed to offer many more diversions than recent sea days on HAL or "X."
  • How was the variety of the included drinks (beer, wine, and some liquors)?  Did you feel the need to upgrade your package?  Not at all, but we are not big drinkers.  The included wines were acceptable to us and if you found one you really liked you could ask for that everyday (normally they rotate wines daily).
  • I've read that there is a mini-fridge stocked in each stateroom..is this complimentary regardless of stateroom category?  Yes.  There are some higher end items in the mini-bar that have an additional charge.
  • What elite  benefits from Celebrity did you enjoy with Azamara's loyalty program?  100 minutes 'free internet' per segment, per passenger.  This could be applied to their unlimited package as well.  Only ONE bag of free laundry per cabin, per segment.  On "X" we would have one bag EACH.  But Azamara also has free "DIY" laundry, which we did use.
  • There is a small Casino!  The Living Room is what HAL would call the "Crow's nest."  Forward on the upper deck.

Thank you so much!

Christina

 

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16 minutes ago, Georgia_Peaches said:

Startrain, thank you for posting your review of Azamara.  This was a timely read for me as I have been spending a great deal of time lately researching this sister line.  We are Elite on Celebrity as well and have been looking into Azamara for its port intensive itineraries in the Mediterranean.  Not so long ago I might have been quoted as saying something like, "I won't sail on a ship that doesn't have a casino"...but lately, I've softened on that stance.  I gather that the "living room" is a space where the casino used to be.  I wonder how you liked this space (knowing you don't have a before and after comparison)...did you miss the presence of a casino?  I'm not a huge gambler but I do enjoy some spins in the casino before a show or after dinner. 

 

A few other questions if you don't mind...

 

  • We usually travel in a suite.  As Azamara is semi-inclusive, am I right in assuming that you get a lot of nice perks even if you aren't in a suite?
  • Being on a smaller ship, did you ever feel like there wasn't enough to do?
  • How was the variety of the included drinks (beer, wine, and some liquors)?  Did you feel the need to upgrade your package?
  • I've read that there is a mini-fridge stocked in each stateroom..is this complimentary regardless of stateroom category?
  • What elite  benefits from Celebrity did you enjoy with Azamara's loyalty program?

Thank you so much!

Christina

You would be at Discoverer level on Azamara. The benefits are here https://www.azamara.co.uk/le-club-voyage/le-club-voyage-programme/member-benefits

 

We have a cruise with Azamara booked for October next year. I will let someone who has been on the ship handle the rest of the queries 

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Although we've taken far more cruises on X, we have taken 2 longer cruises on Azamara. we're elite so you also get a few other benefits on A including 90 minutes free wifi and 2 bags of laundry dry, While the A specialty restaurants are very good, as previously mentioned , the menus do not change it can be boring eating in them every night, besides the main dining room is very good (better than X). Basic drinks are included in , but it's standard well brands. If you like premium brands , you have to upgrade on A. Standard balcony cabins on X are larger than on A.  A specializes in over night stops which is different than X. Service on A also is very good. Agree than entertainment & activities better on X. It all depends on what you like, but both X & A are very good products , but A is more expensive.

Edited by dabear

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We tried Azamara last year and would sail with them again but only for special itinerary.  
We normally sail in Aqua with a Suite here and there.  We were very disappointed in the food in Discoveries, the wait of 20-45  minutes to be seated, and it was very noisy.  The included wines were not to our liking.  DH switched to a cocktail with dinner, I found 1 red I liked but they ran out of it at night 7.  
It may have just been our sailing but ship was dead- living room never had more than a dozen people there pre-dinners and just a few more after dinner , aft bar most late afternoons only 4 of us there,  casino  never had more than a handful of folks.

 

We did love having a table on the balcony large enough to have breakfast, the Patio, the White Night party,  no waiting for a elevator,  uncrowded pool deck and the Azamazing Evening.

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We've sailed three times on Azamara, with a fourth booked for next year, and had our first two sailings on X this year, with a third booked for next year.  We like Azamara for non-Caribbean itineraries because the smaller ships allow access to ports to places mass market lines can't reach, it's easy to get on and off the ships, and they have long port stays.  That being said, Azamara can be expensive, and even with its included extras, I have a price point I won't go above for its cruises because I don't think it's worth it.  Our first cruise with them was beyond that price and I was disappointed with the experience based on what we paid.  It was only on our recent third cruise with Azamara that I thought the food was better than a mass market like X or RCI.

We've really enjoyed our Caribbean cruises on X, and have booked under the all perks included promos, so have received fantastic value.  There's a lot more to experience on the ships than on Azamara. and the level of service we've received on X has been just as good as Azamara.  We've never experienced what regulars on Azamara rave about in terms of service, but honestly, we couldn't care less if we see the ship's officers out and about, either.  The cabin attendants we had on X this year were more attentive than what we had on Azamara, in fact.

We like both lines (actually preferred Oceania to Azamara), but we are also value-driven consumers, so that plays a large role in our decision-making.

Unlike most people, we do make use of our LCV benefits on Azamara--I use the internet discount to purchase a package, and the free bag of laundry is a great perk (self service laundry on AZ is free as well).  Just know that LCV perks aren't combined with those you receive for a suite, like laundry.

Edited by hiccups

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2 hours ago, CruiseImage said:

with loyalty it’s not about the points like X But the amount of cruises you’ve actually taken with Az, which I do think is better approach to it than who can afford to buy points like with X. Surely loyalty that’s proper loyalty.

 

I’m fortunately toP membership with X but going on Az for my first cruise, the longest cruise ward quite rightly went to the longest “Azamara” cruisers although I had 3x the points they had. 

 

Celebrity's Captain's Club has five membership tiers and Azamara's Le Club Voyage has five memberships tiers...  Though the tiers have different names on each of the lines,  both accrue cruise points based upon stateroom category per night with identical cruise point requirements per membership level and points cross-accumulate across the two lines...

 

Through Celebrity's Elite tier [Discoverer on Azamara], the benefits are essentially the same when it comes to laundry and internet time [Azamara's cruise fares include basic drinks/alcohol].  At Celebrity's Elite + tier [Discoverer + on Azamara], laundry and internet benefits on Celebrity are a good bit more generous on Celebrity than they are on Azamara...  And at the topmost membership tiers [Zenith on Celebrity; Discoverer Platinum on Azamara], the loyalty benefits on Celebrity are far more generous [including unlimited internet, unlimited laundry/dry cleaning, premium alcohol package] than they are on Azamara [if so inclined, I pay for such things on Azamara that are complimentary on Celebrity]…

 

Azamara does provide a nice discount--based upon loyalty tier [capping out at 10% at the Discoverer Platinum [Celebrity Zenith] levels--for onboard booking of future Azamara cruises but; as I book when deployments are first announced rather than while aboard ship, I've never used it...

 

For reasons well beyond loyalty perks, I now tend to look at Azamara only when small ship size creates port/itinerary advantage [Asia comes to mind]; otherwise, I'm equally happy--in fact, more so--aboard Celebrity in terms of overall experience... 

 

You are correct that Azamara awards "top cruiser" status based upon loyalty to the Azamara brand rather than collective loyalty to both Azamara and Celebrity brands...  Best I know, Celebrity does the same on a reciprocal basis... 

 

 

Edited by Xport

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2 hours ago, CruiseImage said:


with loyalty it’s not about the points like X But the amount of cruises you’ve actually taken with Az, which I do think is better approach to it than who can afford to buy points like with X. Surely loyalty that’s proper loyalty.

 


Azamara LCV status is based on points accrued, the same as X.  The point value is higher on Azamara--five points per night for a veranda compared to three for X.  Points accumulate across the two lines; your CC and LCV membership numbers are the same.

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7 minutes ago, hiccups said:


The point value is higher on Azamara--five points per night for a veranda compared to three for X.

 

While you are correct today, Azamara did not start awarding five cruise points/night for occupancy of a verandah cabin--it had been three--until 1 January 2015...  By comparison, Celebrity had been awarding five cruise points/night [or an additional cruise credit under the former loyalty accounting system] to those sailing in AquaClass or Concierge Class verandas for years...

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31 minutes ago, hiccups said:


Azamara LCV status is based on points accrued, the same as X.  The point value is higher on Azamara--five points per night for a veranda compared to three for X.  Points accumulate across the two lines; your CC and LCV membership numbers are the same.


i totally understand the point system.

my point is being a Platinum LCV member On an Az Cruise with only 3 cruises doesn’t And shouldn’t make me longest cruiser. Someone with 4 would obviously have more loyalty with Az than I have. 
my loyalty has been with X. 

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54 minutes ago, Xport said:

 

Azamara does provide a nice discount--based upon loyalty tier [capping out at 10% at the Discoverer Platinum [Celebrity Zenith] levels--for onboard booking of future Azamara cruises but; as I book when deployments are first announced rather than while aboard ship, I've never used it...

 

 

 


I was onboard a Azamara ship in October and they had a “double discount” offer on, so its was obviously 20% off for Platinum/Zenith. 
AzAmazing offer !!! 

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2 hours ago, CruiseImage said:


I was onboard a Azamara ship in October and they had a “double discount” offer on, so its was obviously 20% off for Platinum/Zenith. 
AzAmazing offer !!! 


Wow, that's fantastic!  We were onboard in October, too, but they didn't have that deal.  We booked anyway with the standard discount, and then ended up getting extra OBC for our upcoming cruise, in addition to the cruise we were on, because there was a port cancellation.

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Thanks for the review.

 

Many of Oceania's smaller ships are identical and it was a nice experience for us in Bermuda this past August. I would like to try Azamara if the value is decent.

 

Also, don't forget about Silversea. Their small ships are very nice. More expensive, but there is value in their offering with airfare included. Nothing beats easily getting on and off a small ship in a great port. On that note, is there any reciprocal program yet with Silversea?

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On Azamara we ate in the Specialty Restaurants every evening.   The basic menu did not change but there were always new appetizers, salads and entrees every night.   You could also request different entrees by requesting them in the morning. We never were bored with the menus as they did always have new offerings.   It is very reasonable to upgrade your beverages.   The ultimate was just $21 extra per day and with it you received premium wines and whatever spirit you desired.   If you are happy with Celebrity you shouldn’t switch lines.   We don’t want any more competition for staterooms on Azamara.   As for Silversea, they do have a dress code that is usually enforced.

 

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, Xport said:

 

While you are correct today, Azamara did not start awarding five cruise points/night for occupancy of a verandah cabin--it had been three--until 1 January 2015...  By comparison, Celebrity had been awarding five cruise points/night [or an additional cruise credit under the former loyalty accounting system] to those sailing in AquaClass or Concierge Class verandas for years...

Actually it is not too many years. Celebrity changed their system to the current one between October 2013 and February 2014 (these were dates that we were on cruises under the old and the current system). Before that it was a credit per cruise, and extra one if in AQ and above and an extra one if it was longer than a particular number of nights (10 seems my recollection but I am likely to be wrong) so a 14 night in AQ gained 3 credits/points and a 1 week in a veranda received 1. Elite was at 10 points.

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On 12/17/2019 at 1:54 PM, StartrainDD said:

 

Just a quick correction for the benefit Georgia_Peaches who asked the question.  Only Journey has a small casino remaining and this will be removed when she dry docks in October to be converted to The Den as is on both Pursuit and Quest.  A way better use of space it’s been generally agreed, given the limited time the casinos can open on a port intensive and late night stay like Azamara skews towards.  

 

Glad you had such a good time!

 

Phil

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I alluded to the former "Cruise Credit" system in my more recent post above...  On Celebrity, it awarded..

 

  • One Cruise Credit for sailing...
  • An additional Cruise Credit for cruises of twelve nights or longer
  • An additional Cruise Credit for guests occupying an AquaClass veranda, a Concierge Class veranda, or a Suite...

Under the "Cruise Credit" system, the maximum number of credits one could earn for a single sailing was three...  And you are correct, one earned Elite tier status [highest at the time] in Captain's Club upon earning ten Cruise Credits...

 

On 23 November 2013, Celebrity announced that they would be converting from the former "Cruise Credit" system to a new 'Cruise Point" system [points/night based upon level of accommodation], added two new loyalty tiers [Elite + and Zenith with associated benefits], and redefined [or defined] the number of Cruise Points required to achieve each membership tier for effect with sailings on or after 1 January 2014...

 

At that time, each Cruise Credit earned under the former system was converted to thirty Cruise Points under the new system with some minor adjustments--as I recall--so that those who had earned a level of membership status under the former "Cruise Credit" system would retain equivalent membership tier under the new "Cruise Point" system..

 

Since Azamara then used--and may still use--Celebrity's loyalty accounting system, they had no choice but to move to a "Cruise Point" measurement approach on coincident date...  That said, Azamara did not implement new benefit structure [""Discoverer" level (Captain's Club "Elite" equivalent) was highest during 2014] or tweak the number of Cruise Points associated with sailing in a veranda stateroom until 1 January 2015.

 

 

 

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Thank you for reminding me that the cruise length for the extra credit was 12 nights, It certainly helped us when we started with Celebrity, 4 cruises in AQ, 3 of 14 nights, one 8 nights and 11 points which made us Elite after 4 cruises. 

 

Our daughter, who is joining us on the Silhouette and sleeping in our lounge, will have achieved Elite in 2 Cruises provided she makes it to the ship in February. 

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On 12/17/2019 at 5:10 PM, CruiseImage said:


I was onboard a Azamara ship in October and they had a “double discount” offer on, so its was obviously 20% off for Platinum/Zenith. 
AzAmazing offer !!! 

But not a universal offer - there were limitations as to what cruises it could be applied to

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Just now, uktog said:

But not a universal offer - there were limitations as to what cruises it could be applied to


Great deals still to be had though - who worries about limitations, just make it happen 😋

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39 minutes ago, CruiseImage said:


Great deals still to be had though - who worries about limitations, just make it happen 😋

Who exactly just has to make it happen? - limitations matter a lot to cruisers who want particular itineraries - Azamara is about the destinations so if there is a limitation there is no deal to be had.  I don't cruise just to snag points/cruises there has to be a destination.  Currently against my criteria I struggle to find a great deal on Azamara but I will keep watching.

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I was looking at a cruise around Japan April 2021 it’s a 15 night cruise. I am Elite on Celebrity and love Celebrity but I thought the itinerary looked better on Azamara.  Inside cabin from $5000 pp.......expensive!! 

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