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Can You Explain Azamara's "Included" Drinks Policy?


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My wife and I are fairly experienced cruisers (nearly thirty cruises, mostly on Oceania, HAL, Cunard, and Silversea), and we're considering the Azamara Quest for a Lisbon-to-Miami transatlantic in November of 2021. We're also considering a Barcelona-to-Miami transatlantic on the Oceania Marina that same month. Prices are, on paper, roughly comparable for similar cabin types (although I know that the "basic" Marina cabins are quite larger than those on Azamara, and of course the ship itself is larger and newer).

 

At first, I thought the "tiebreaker" might be the fact that "standard" wines and spirits are included in Azamara's price, since we enjoy pre-dinner Tanqueray martinis as well as wine with dinner and often with lunch, too, on sea days. But when I looked at Azamara's online wine list I was surprised to see that what I consider very ordinary wines-by-the-glass---the types that I thought would be the "included" ones---are listed as costing anywhere from (I think) $7.00 to $12.00 a glass. It makes me wonder what they serve as their "included" wines.

 

I also noticed something on the Azamara website about Nespresso coffee drinks being available "for an extra charge." Unless I misread something else on the same website, I thought that specialty coffee drinks were included in the cruise fare.

 

We're usually up for trying out different cruise lines, and Azamara looked great until I started seeing some inconsistencies. Now I'm wondering if they promise more than they deliver. I'd welcome the thoughts of any past Azamara guests.

 

 

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I should have added: Do "standard" spirits on Azamara include brands like Tanqueray gin, Jim Beam bourbon, Tito's vodka, Jameson Irish, and Dewar's Scotch? I consider these to be examples of good, middle-of-the-road brands, but I'm wondering if these, too, would be extra-cost brands.

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41 minutes ago, jimdee3636 said:

I should have added: Do "standard" spirits on Azamara include brands like Tanqueray gin, Jim Beam bourbon, Tito's vodka, Jameson Irish, and Dewar's Scotch? I consider these to be examples of good, middle-of-the-road brands, but I'm wondering if these, too, would be extra-cost brands.

 

None of the above are included except possibly Jim Bean, scotch is Famous Grouse, gin Gordon's, no Irish or Brandy.

The included Spirits are bottom shelf and the Wines similar.

Some people are OK with them but many are not and pay to upgrade.

 

Edited by Bloodaxe
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Here's a PDF link to the beverage packages you can purchase above the included spirits.  You'd have to get the Ultimate Package to get Tanqueray, for example.

https://www.azamara.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/beverage_onboard_flyer_jan_2020_web.pdf

 

The menu at the coffee bar does indicate an extra charge for Nespresso drinks, but as I'm not a coffee drinker, I'll let someone else verify if that's the case.

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Included vodka is either Smirnoff or Finlandia. I drink red wine and find at least a couple that are perfectly ok and if you ask they will do their best to find you one from a previous day if you don't like that day's offerings. The included beer selection is poor as is the whisky.  There's no brandy included. 

 

You can get most coffees made for free at Mosaic Cafe (cappuccino, latte etc). It's just the Nespresso coffee that is extra and few people bother. There's one ship that doesn't have a Nespresso machine at all. Can't remember which one. 

 

Phil 

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Also you can ask for any cocktail to be made with the included spirits. The wines are two different whites and two different reds every day, plus a sparkling wine and a rose wine that are the same every day. As Phil says if you find one you like you can ask for it and they’ll do their best to get it for you.

Speciality coffees are included.

There’s a smoothie bar at breakfast and they’ll make you one of whatever combination you want.

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I’m a Bourbon drinker, and I can confirm that Jim Beam is the included Bourbon.  I don’t feel that Jim Beam, Smirnoff or Gordon’s are bottom shelf spirits, but I wouldn’t say they were top shelf either.

 

The Nespresso machine is a Virtuo, with the larger pods, and larger coffees.  I’ve never had a Vertuo coffee that I’ve liked.  I think only the classic line machines make a decent coffee.  All the normal fancy coffees like cappuccino, flat white, latte macchiato, etc, can be had from the baristas, made with a very good machine, but the results vary wildly with the skill of the barista, of course.

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7 hours ago, hiccups said:

Here's a PDF link to the beverage packages you can purchase above the included spirits.  You'd have to get the Ultimate Package to get Tanqueray, for example.

https://www.azamara.com/sites/default/files/pdfs/beverage_onboard_flyer_jan_2020_web.pdf

 

The menu at the coffee bar does indicate an extra charge for Nespresso drinks, but as I'm not a coffee drinker, I'll let someone else verify if that's the case.

I don't see Brandy mentioned on even the ultimate package.  I thought it was previously included.

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12 minutes ago, Norn Iron Man said:

I don't see Brandy mentioned on even the ultimate package.  I thought it was previously included.

This list is a little more comprehensive and includes a cognac and a brandy on the ultimate package. 

 

https://www.azamara.com/booked-guests/onboard-packages/beverage-packages

 

Phil 

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18 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

This list is a little more comprehensive and includes a cognac and a brandy on the ultimate package. 

 

https://www.azamara.com/booked-guests/onboard-packages/beverage-packages

 

Phil 

Thanks.  The link appears to be broken.. Im not sailing until October so there's no rush.

 

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I always enjoy my Azamara  cruise but find the included drinks limited sometimes. I quite like Amaretto which I would consider a bog standard tipple but I have to upgrade the package. I don't understand the rationale and how they come up with the list of what's in and what's not. I'm not a wine drinker but my hubby has grimaced at some of the included wines when tasted. It doesn't stop me from cruising with Azamara but if they are positioning themselves with 6* prices they have to compete with 6* amenities.

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I've only sailed Azamara once.  I enjoyed the cruise, but was very disappointed with the included wines.  I know others are satisfied with the offerings; I was not.  After a couple of days I gave up on trying the wines and only drank the wine I brought onboard.  Often, even items listed for an additional price were not available, another disappointment   If/when I sail Azamara again I will have to factor in the bother of bringing my own wine and the cost of upgrading.

 

 

Edited by mchell810
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Thanks to all who have commented and given some very helpful information. I'm getting the distinct sense that Azamara's beverage policy is a sort of hybrid that does not really live up to the claim of "all inclusive." Knowing what my wife and I like to drink, we'd have to spring for the Ultimate Package, which would drive up the cost of the cruise and make it a considerably less attractive option overall than the Oceania Marina. I realize that Oceania doesn't have ANY "included" alcoholic beverages in their basic fares, but their top-level beverage package is a comprehensive one (e.g., twenty or so wines by the glass including a very good French champagne, plus all the usual "top shelf" spirits).

 

Thanks again!

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To be fair Azamara do not market their drinks as “all inclusive”, but rather “selected”. Personally I don’t have an issue with the offerings, but if I have some OBC that I know I won’t use I do sometimes treat myself to the Ultimate package.  This gives a good selection of spirits and upgrade your glass of wine if you want to.  Something that the basic package won’t do.  

 

I’m not a wine or spirit snob and am happy with either the select or upgraded drinks.  If you like craft beer for instance you are going to be disappointed.  Bring your own. Within reasonableness you can bring on as much as you are able to carry.  

 

Phil

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We all have different expectations re included drinks. In our  11 Azamara cruises we have declined only two reds not to our taste. We are Gordons gin drinkers, not overly fussed re Fever Tree tonic even at home and  husband doesn’t drink beer. To be honest we are more than happy with whats included, we are not bothered about what we can buy it for in a supermarket, if it fits the bill, a mild red at lunchtime sitting at the back of the ship in the sunshine cannot be beaten! Others may not find that acceptable and perhaps have a different palette to ours  but that’s what it all about...... find a package, a cruise line that suits you and make the most of it. Am I correct in thinking that after a couple of days you can upgrade to the paid packages if nothing suits? 

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10 minutes ago, combine said:

We all have different expectations re included drinks. In our  11 Azamara cruises we have declined only two reds not to our taste. We are Gordons gin drinkers, not overly fussed re Fever Tree tonic even at home and  husband doesn’t drink beer. To be honest we are more than happy with whats included, we are not bothered about what we can buy it for in a supermarket, if it fits the bill, a mild red at lunchtime sitting at the back of the ship in the sunshine cannot be beaten! Others may not find that acceptable and perhaps have a different palette to ours  but that’s what it all about...... find a package, a cruise line that suits you and make the most of it. Am I correct in thinking that after a couple of days you can upgrade to the paid packages if nothing suits? 

I’m with you, Combine, and yes, you can upgrade at any time.

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The OP should double check and see if a beverage package is included with his stateroom.   The Ultimate was included with our last bookings.   We never had trouble with the wines.   If the listed wine was not available an equal or more often a better wine was provided.   Does Oceana include the liquor and wines you want with a stateroom?

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9 hours ago, mchell810 said:

I've only sailed Azamara once.  I enjoyed the cruise, but was very disappointed with the included wines.  I know others are satisfied with the offerings; I was not.  After a couple of days I gave up on trying the wines and only drank the wine I brought onboard.  Often, even items listed for an additional price were not available, another disappointment   If/when I sail Azamara again I will have to factor in the bother of bringing my own wine and the cost of upgrading.

 

 

We don’t find bringing our own wine a bother at all; we can drink what we like at dinner for a very reasonable corkage.  I also appreciate that we can bring whatever and as much as we like onboard at our ports and be able to enjoy them, not have them taken away until we disembark.  

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