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Good news from Azamara email. Really?


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I'm sure many of you received this email from the COO of Azamara. Good news and one more step closer to a return to cruising?  There are now 74 point best practices that's been put together by Royal Caribbean. I'm left with the feeling of "Good news?  Who are you trying to kid?". 

 

The crisis is so sad for the industry and I know they have to try their best to put a positive view on it, but if their top priority is the health and well being of their guests and knowing the demographic of those that cruise Azamara, how can they possibly spin it like this?  

 

Phil 

Edited by excitedofharpenden
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I have to agree. I read through the 69 page document and it did not leave me with feelings of optimism at all! Not to mention, from what it said about where they would sail, flies in the face of what is actually happening in terms of sailings that should, but aren’t being cancelled right now.
Betsey

Edited by Mackdogmolly
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I agree, for a COO to be very excited about a 74 point scheme that totally changes what was at the heart of made Azamara special I’m worried.  I’d hate to see how she reacts to something really really exciting.....
 

I’m worried for the crew, I know there will be an economic imperative to return for many, but some have had a taste of running their own micro  businesses maybe they will choose to stay home and many crew will not like the restrictions placed on them. They worked hard but they played hard and enjoyed their downtime ashore. They has to get away from the ship - not a surprise- but now massive curbs on that. I’m hoping in the excitement that the risk good crew don’t return has been fully factored in. 

Edited by uktog
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53 minutes ago, flyingshoes said:

Can the email be shared?

Hopefully this works:

 

open.aspx?ffcb10-fe6916737466027c7412-fdc015707c6307747017747166-fe5e157072600579721d-fe9a17747565037977-fdfb1575726c067d761c7174-ff901378

 
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3294373b-090a-4016-bc8f-a8da202c3d01.png
 
Venice, Italy | Looking Ahead to 2021 Discoveries
Dear Philip,
Unfortunately, the world is still confronted with the many challenges resulting from COVID-19, but today I am very excited to share a bit of good news. Through our Healthy Sail Panel, a group of globally recognized experts assembled back in June as part of Royal Caribbean Group, we have been working diligently with world health experts to recommend and develop innovative protocols and procedures that will facilitate a healthy return to service.

This week the recommendations were submitted to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to their request for public comment to help develop future health and safety measures for the industry. The Panel has concluded that with a comprehensive set of protocols backed by health and science experts, cruising can take a step forward to returning and sailing safer in today’s environment.

In total, the Healthy Sail Panel has made 74 recommendations across five core focuses, all based on insights from the most trusted medical and scientific information in the world. If you would like to read the Panel’s 74 detailed best practices, you can do so here. They include guidance on testing, screening, ventilation, contingency planning, and destination and excursion planning.

Moving forward these recommendations are publicly available and all cruise lines and the travel industry at large can leverage these protocols. Our industry has a collective responsibility for the highest safety standards; we do not compete on this. We have one common goal and that is a safer resumption of cruising. And we are determined to get there through collaboration, not competition. Our colleagues at CLIA and other cruise lines have been collaborating in the work and have freely shared important insights they’ve learned from their own experts and successes with early sailings.

There is still some work to be done, but in the meantime, I wanted to reach out and thank you for being an Azamara Circle member and for your continued loyalty and patience. We look forward to a healthy return to sailing and exploring the world safely together.

All my best, 
 
s
s

Carol Cabezas
Chief Operating Officer, Azamara

 

 

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Thanks, Phil.  The inability to leave the ship unless via a cruise line managed excursion will stop us from cruising Azamara.  Another favored line, Crystal, with much more to do onboard, has published their specific protocols and we won't be sailing with them either.  The hospital ship atmosphere is bad enough but the inability to escape on a port intensive line like Azamara makes cruising untenable.  Maybe 2022....

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We totally agree with the sentiments already expressed, it’s bad enough having to live with the restrictions we currently have in daily life but don’t see the point in paying thousands of pounds for more of the same.

It’s sad that the livelihood of so many good people has been put at risk by the pandemic but until there is a vaccine or effective treatment I really can’t see that cruising, or any other form of holiday, are viable.

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Given national governments' need to establish far-ranging policies to control this virus, I am not surprised that these proposed rules are, indeed, a blunt axe.

 

I believe that COO Cabezas did refer to the need for perhaps a more individual approach on Azamara by using the phrase "leverage these protocols". However, it would take a great deal of leveraging to reestablish the Azamara experience. Too much, I would say.

 

However, I take this announcement as it's intended, a step forward. It is certainly not nearly sufficient to bring us back and on board.

 

But is it a glimmer of light down a still very long tunnel?

 

 

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7 hours ago, flyingshoes said:

Thanks, Phil.  The inability to leave the ship unless via a cruise line managed excursion will stop us from cruising Azamara.  Another favored line, Crystal, with much more to do onboard, has published their specific protocols and we won't be sailing with them either.  The hospital ship atmosphere is bad enough but the inability to escape on a port intensive line like Azamara makes cruising untenable.  Maybe 2022....

Protocals make cruise ships more akin to floating prisons. Keep your distance, mandatory masks, multiple pre-checks, daily temp checks, no associating with locals, with underlying risk of solitary confinement. Sounds horrendous.

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6 hours ago, john1970 said:

I know they have to justify their job etc but it's a bit of a cheek to send out emails like this when they are still selling cruises for November cannot possibly go ahead. 

 

Absolutely agree 

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I’m a bit more positive. The protocols (and appointment of the committee) indicates that cruises will restart at the earliest opportunity with little possibility of another Ruby Princess occurring. Given the number of deaths from that cruise, there were, rightly, always going to be strict protocols implemented upon resumption. 
 

The early cruises will have cruisers who will cruise no matter what. There will be further learnings and adjustments as they go. To get destination focussed cruisers back, Aza will have to do a lot of work and have considerable imagination to come up with different excursions to the usual set; which frankly are not that appealing, are either too long or too short in many instances and usually involve considerable price markup compared with self organised tours (organised of course through the wonderful Roll Call on CC). 2 hour walking tours often have ridiculous pricing.
 

On a negative note, we’re booked on Aza cruises in May/June 2021 and if they comply with the report recommendations, I imagine the itineraries and even cruise lengths will be scaled back. So, we don’t even know how the cruises we’ve booked will look. Any date/length changes will also impact on flights and accommodation. So, there are still a lot of unknowns and I’d think it will take them some months to sort out these practical matters. We have until end Dec 2020 to either apply our FCC or seek a refund instead, so Aza may have to push out this deadline if it wants avoid a substantial number of refund requests.

 

Ive looked at the 2022 itineraries and comparable cruises (In consideration of lift and shift if 2021 doesn’t work out). They are all of a shorter length and considerably more expensive, which is another factor to consider. I suspect the whole situation is now pushing us toward seeking a refund rather than continue with FCC. If many others feel the same, then financial viability of the cruise line must also be considered.
 

Even so, while we’re realists and we’ll accept restrictions in the greater good, so many countries are in such a mess at present, I just can’t see us cruising again until a vaccine is found. So, GO OXFORD!

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I’ve been a ‘fly on the wall’ reading the interesting comments put forward by some long time sailing guests of Azamara and fully concur with all suggestions, comments and complaints on how Azamara has proceeded with the debacle of future cruising dates and late repayments of  well earned cash.

 

All that aside, I haven’t read anyone mentioning the repercussions of reduced guest occupancy once cruising starts.  My wife and I have cruises booked for September and December 2021 and to date bookings for Suites & Staterooms are selling extremely well with approx 80% already sold.

 

This raises yet another paradox insomuch Azamara are continuing to sell staterooms when its possible that reduced occupancy will be introduced as per current guidelines………what would be the outcome to guests being told (even though they have a confirmed booking) that their booking has been cancelled!!!

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Having sailed in March on a cruise that had most ports canceled, I would not cruise again until safe. Not much fun sailing and skipping ports again and again. Safe meaning the world is open, ports are open, no masks, no social distancing, etc.  I realize that cruising industry has been hit hard and wants to sail.  Some cruise lines are creating plans to alter the cruise experience to ensure safety.  I wish them good luck and hope that people stay healthy.

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Thanks for sharing your experience.

 

We would concur with your position, although it will be interesting as to how long masking remains sensible even if/when a vaccine is available.

 

If others are more adventurous, and that allows cruise lines to survive, I would echo your hopes for good luck and good health for all involved.

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57 minutes ago, ceejilly said:

I’ve been a ‘fly on the wall’ reading the interesting comments put forward by some long time sailing guests of Azamara and fully concur with all suggestions, comments and complaints on how Azamara has proceeded with the debacle of future cruising dates and late repayments of  well earned cash.

 

All that aside, I haven’t read anyone mentioning the repercussions of reduced guest occupancy once cruising starts.  My wife and I have cruises booked for September and December 2021 and to date bookings for Suites & Staterooms are selling extremely well with approx 80% already sold.

 

This raises yet another paradox insomuch Azamara are continuing to sell staterooms when its possible that reduced occupancy will be introduced as per current guidelines………what would be the outcome to guests being told (even though they have a confirmed booking) that their booking has been cancelled!!!

Az are in no position to turn business away so expect they'll be working to 100% capacity - to max cashflow - worry about cutting guests later, so it's a good question. I'd want to know the criteria for selecting who they keep and who to ditch ! Maybe it'll be around FCC v cash, loyalty points, geographics, demographics  .....Or perhaps they'll have an open action  ? 

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@ceejilly, it will also be interesting to see how actually getting to the cruises plays out. There are so many rumours out there at the moment and much to happen, but as a favoured user of low cost carrier easyjet on European destinations I am concerned when I read that they are hanging by a wire. There is much to play out. I continue to be hopeful for a vaccine. 

 

Phil 

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1 hour ago, Cruiser6270 said:

Az are in no position to turn business away so expect they'll be working to 100% capacity - to max cashflow - worry about cutting guests later, so it's a good question. I'd want to know the criteria for selecting who they keep and who to ditch ! Maybe it'll be around FCC v cash, loyalty points, geographics, demographics  .....Or perhaps they'll have an open action  ? 

Maybe they will ask for volunteers to get bumped, like the airlines do when they oversell. And offer a good incentive for doing so. But I doubt it. It is an interesting question though, since I’m pretty sure no ship is going be be able to sail at full capacity in the beginning.

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Might they cancel a lot of cruises in the first half of 2021 and then resell some new cruises on reduced capacity and possibly itineraries that are country intensive to avoid all the changing rules between countries and clearances required

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21 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

@ceejilly, it will also be interesting to see how actually getting to the cruises plays out. There are so many rumours out there at the moment and much to happen, but as a favoured user of low cost carrier easyjet on European destinations I am concerned when I read that they are hanging by a wire. There is much to play out. I continue to be hopeful for a vaccine. 

 

Phil 

 

Phil, like you we are fans of Easyet (who have come good for us on a number of occasions this year). The rumour to which you refer is one which was started by a Union rep and has been denied by the company. Hopefully it's a case of someone stirring the pot, although obviously there are concerns for all travel operators at this time

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3 hours ago, Bobal said:

 

Phil, like you we are fans of Easyet (who have come good for us on a number of occasions this year). The rumour to which you refer is one which was started by a Union rep and has been denied by the company. Hopefully it's a case of someone stirring the pot, although obviously there are concerns for all travel operators at this time

Thanks Ann. It's so hard to sort the wheat from the chaff right now. These businesses must be hurting so much. Even on the routes they are actually flying and speaking to those who have flown those routes, the planes are empty. 😔

 

Phil 

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I find it very exciting that there is a plan to return to cruising and to do it safely. I appreciate the steps to keep me and other passengers safe. I wouldn't want to cruise if they didn't take such measures. I have b2b cruises booked on Azamara for late May/June. If I have to take the ship"s excursions, I'll do it. It's better than staying home. I also have an earlier post-covid cruise planned. If I am lucky, I will be on the newest Princess ship in mid January. I will be happy to be tested, have my temperature monitored, wear a mask, and be able to sail! 

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8 hours ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Thanks Ann. It's so hard to sort the wheat from the chaff right now. These businesses must be hurting so much. Even on the routes they are actually flying and speaking to those who have flown those routes, the planes are empty. 😔

 

Phil 

Not to Kalamata - we flew to Greece on 15 September & the flight was 80% full.

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