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Azamara cruise line sold


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22 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

My understanding is that the weak link in all ship wifi service is the satellite link.  A ship with fewer than 700 passengers has much more bandwidth per passenger on that link, so Azamara should have an edge.

The fact is that Princess (and much of Carnival) do have the best wifi at sea.

 

Likely they will remove all of the equipment as it is leased.  Most cruise lines use MTN (now owned by EMC) for the wifi.  These use high earth orbit satellites -- means higher latency and generally slower speeds because bandwidth is expensive.  Princess uses a different company SES Networks which uses medium earth orbit and can utilize multiple satellites to gain greater speeds.

 

I do not think that Oceania and its CEO would every sell anything to a line called Azamara there is too much bad blood.   Those old R ships (yachts) would require alot of refurbishment.  Been on the SS Galapagos and it is a nice ship but an Oceanliner it is not,

 

Flipping the Azamara line would make sense.  I can see that now they have a CEO who knows the Cruise Industry why not pick up more distressed properties because of COVID (like Crystal, Windstar, Quark) or others.  They are certainly betting that cruising will continue.

Edited by PaulMCO
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Let's look on the bright side - and I think there is a bright side.

 

By taking it private, senior executives will no longer be obsessed with quarterly results, Wall Street and their own obscene bonuses in stock options.  Which would mean that Sycamore intends to build it up as a going concern and then sell it off a few years from now as a successful, profitable business.

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One question that I can't answer [but that Sycamore surely was able to] is whether the back-office services that RCG provided were worth the bottom-line transfers that RCG required.  Maintaining standalone IT, booking, customer service, provisioning etc. is surely going to be costly on an ongoing basis.  But as I said, Sycamore was in a position to cost this out so hopefully the numbers work out in reality as they did in their model.  As Yogi said, "In theory, there is no difference between practice and theory. In practice, there is."

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22 minutes ago, Fairgarth said:

Let's look on the bright side - and I think there is a bright side.

 

By taking it private, senior executives will no longer be obsessed with quarterly results, Wall Street and their own obscene bonuses in stock options.  Which would mean that Sycamore intends to build it up as a going concern and then sell it off a few years from now as a successful, profitable business.

You might be correct however, Sycamore will be no different than any private or public company looking for results.  Likely bonuses will still be there just not stock options for Azamara performance.  And to build it up as a profitable business will require discipline and hard work by the remaining executives because as Host Jazz said above, many more tasks that RCG took care of will now be on the remaining executives plates.

 

Sincerely believe the objections with results will continue  and may possibly be stronger as RCG is in it for the long run and Sycamore is likely in it for short term return.

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Another article (posted on another thread here) has a quote from Mr. Ashford that hints at a plan to build up Azamara itself and/or acquire other cruise lines to make a viable Group:

https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/news/id-love-build-or-buy-more-ships-azamara-orlando-ashford?fbclid=IwAR2L_X_cZ6450oK4SznOyhtyllJ7hk1uXzI4G5YKgrqGjzrBiP6Y7vTOKMk

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1 hour ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Another article (posted on another thread here) has a quote from Mr. Ashford that hints at a plan to build up Azamara itself and/or acquire other cruise lines to make a viable Group:

https://www.seatrade-cruise.com/news/id-love-build-or-buy-more-ships-azamara-orlando-ashford?fbclid=IwAR2L_X_cZ6450oK4SznOyhtyllJ7hk1uXzI4G5YKgrqGjzrBiP6Y7vTOKMk

I'm encouraged by the statement made by Mr. Ashford.  I read elsewhere that SilverSea has taken delivery of a new build, Silver Moon and has 2 more ships on order.  Azamara never got a single new build under RCG.  Since RCG now owns 100% of SilverSea, it seems clear that Az was a stepchild.   About 5 years ago I read an interview w. Mr. Pimental, in which he stated that a new build was not something Az was considering, believing that the luxury/small ship market was saturated w. the start of Viking Ocean.  He said that purchase of a used R ship would be  be possible.

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Azamara’s new president, Carol Cabezas gave an interview today in which she is quoted as saying Azamara fans “They really love what we do, and they’ve said that they want us to continue doing what we do,” “They just want to invest to grow it.” and “Their reservations, any sorts of promotions, cruise credits, their loyalty program — all of that remains intact,” she added. “And we want to make sure everybody understands that.”

You can read the article here at thepointsguy.com

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3 hours ago, Tom47 said:

I'm encouraged by the statement made by Mr. Ashford.  I read elsewhere that SilverSea has taken delivery of a new build, Silver Moon and has 2 more ships on order.  Azamara never got a single new build under RCG.  Since RCG now owns 100% of SilverSea, it seems clear that Az was a stepchild.  

Those new builds were ordered long before RCG ownership.  In fact those new builds ate up the credit line of SS and force it into RCG's hands.

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21 minutes ago, CHUCKIE50 said:

Azamara’s new president, Carol Cabezas gave an interview today in which she is quoted as saying Azamara fans “They really love what we do, and they’ve said that they want us to continue doing what we do,” “They just want to invest to grow it.” and “Their reservations, any sorts of promotions, cruise credits, their loyalty program — all of that remains intact,” she added. “And we want to make sure everybody understands that.”

You can read the article here at thepointsguy.com

Unfortunately the promotions that are not real are not liked by many people  Neither do we like the extremely high prices for what we get.

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Like many of you, I too don't care for the sales which may not actually be a discount.

 

However I don't see the complaints that the prices are too high for what we get. That is a calculation that each person does based on their budget. I get value in the lodging, food, and transportation between a variety of ports, the lack of tipping, and the included beverages. Everything about the trip is easy and hassle free. I especially value the small ships and the lack of a class system.

 

The other cruise line I have the most experience is Windstar. I love the even smaller ships but do not always want to pay the higher fare, or am traveling with someone who is not a confident cruiser and Windstar feels too small to them. Azamara fits that niche for me. I am hoping to have many more cruises on the Azamara Quartet.

 

 

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We do need some REAL sales. The pricing is really out of whack. Right now British Open 2022 is $18,000 for a veranda cabin. We’ve done that cruise twice and it is usually fairly expensive compared to other AZ cruises but $1,500 a day for AZ in a basic veranda is crazy. There are better cabins to be had on completely AI luxury lines for less than that!

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2 hours ago, AllisonJames said:

We do need some REAL sales. The pricing is really out of whack. Right now British Open 2022 is $18,000 for a veranda cabin. We’ve done that cruise twice and it is usually fairly expensive compared to other AZ cruises but $1,500 a day for AZ in a basic veranda is crazy. There are better cabins to be had on completely AI luxury lines for less than that!


We booked a Club  Continent Suite in the middle of December at $16.1k.  A week ago a CC Suite guarantee was $18.2k and yesterday the price jumped to $24.1k for the CC guarantee.   Glad we booked when we did.  But if that price point is where the new Azamara  expects to be then they will need to up their game.    IMHO a good place to start is with a big upgrade to the included beverages and adding free wi-fi for all passengers. 

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Pricing in general seems to be high but not surprising.  We will see how things play out when the ships actually start sailing again.  I too would like to see better wines/spirits with the included beverages list.  Sycamore if you are listening.....  

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1 hour ago, royallondon said:

Perhaps prices have been going up in readiness for their next big sale!

If so that only reinforces the fact that many of the sales are not really worth very much has many of us have said.

Edited by Bloodaxe
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14 hours ago, PaulMCO said:

Those new builds were ordered long before RCG ownership.  In fact those new builds ate up the credit line of SS and force it into RCG's hands.

Only a small deposit on new builds made at the time of RCG's 67% purchase of SS.  RCG assumed payment schedule and therefore was putting money into SS New builds

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3 hours ago, Tom47 said:

Only a small deposit on new builds made at the time of RCG's 67% purchase of SS.  RCG assumed payment schedule and therefore was putting money into SS New builds

Which is basically saying the same thing as PaulMCO (the new builds were ordered before RCG purchased SS and that the placement of those orders tied (ate) up the credit line).  He did not say that it used up all of their capital, only that it placed a large liability on the books that committed their credit capability.

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14 hours ago, royallondon said:

Exactly, smoke and mirrors most of the time.

I have been pleased with promotions in the U.S. over the years. There are certain times of the year (autumn, in particular) when it seems  easier for the U.S. market to find a very good value on Azamara. I find that it pays to keep your eyes open for deals at all times. Azamara has several distinct markets and I believe that promotion opportunities and timing vary by country. 

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2 hours ago, avw said:

I have been pleased with promotions in the U.S. over the years. There are certain times of the year (autumn, in particular) when it seems  easier for the U.S. market to find a very good value on Azamara. I find that it pays to keep your eyes open for deals at all times. Azamara has several distinct markets and I believe that promotion opportunities and timing vary by country. 

Hi avw.  Yes I do believe “promotions” vary for different markets.

 

Often, we have identified a particular cruise and track and record the price.  When we learn of a future “promotion or sale” we have eagerly awaited logging in with anticipation only to be very disappointed. 

 

Thats not to say we haven’t enjoyed some “good deals”, we have (with many lines) but normally not through an official “promotion” but fortuitous timing or after full payment date.

 

Regards

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On 1/25/2021 at 7:05 PM, Tom47 said:

I think that Oceania is Az main competitor.  If Az really wants to compete, it would commission a new build.

 

Have to agree about the closest competition. O gets the edge on ships with their new build ships only. Their older ships are the same as Az. When I sail O, it is only on the new builds. They are amazing. But with that said, Az is my favorite line, and will continue to be. I am an optimist on this purchase. 

 

With all that said, in terms of luxury and overall experience, O does take the lead over Az. But, O's passenger demographic is skewed so much older, in comparison to Az. I find the passengers on Az are much younger and limber and therefore, make for much more adventurous ship mates! This is particularly important when it comes to booking independent tours, and just general touring. O's strenuous tours are hardly strenuous at all.

 

To me Az is is a niche cruiseline that is somewhere between X, O, and he uber luxury lines. I find it is a great blend of luxury, but it attracts cruisers who are well travelled and adventurous. These travelers are down to earth and totally unpretentious. I love this line, and hope it doesn't change. 

 

While Az doesn't have all the luxurious amenities that O has, I find it is perfect for a line that is focused on the port experience. 

 

And so, with all of that said, I wonder what a new build would bring to the line? Would it enhance the shipboard experience further by providing concierge and suite lounges, mini golf (which was hardly used on Oceania, but I expect would be used a lot more on Az due to the more limber and younger demographic), add a cooking or arts centres to provide of diversions on sea days, or maybe additional specialty dining? It could be interesting. But maybe none of these are necessary given the port intensive long stays in port.

 

With all that said, I will continue to look to Az (as long as things stay the sameish!), as my go-to cruiseline. From there it is either O or X...usually O as they have more unique ports than X. (Unless we want to do a survey cruise then X is just fine...just a little large!)

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When I suggested that RCG might transfer their Millennium class ships to Azamara, the consensus was that you could never duplicate the Azamara 'Personality' on ships that large [and on further reflection, I think they were right].  I certainly didn't feel the 'welcome home' vibe on my Viking Ocean (930 pax) cruise [it was a great cruise, but the staff is not visible and friendly like on Azamara].  I haven't sailed Oceania's new ships, but their R-ship didn't have the Azamara vibe so I doubt they even try for it on their larger (1,250 pax) ships.  I don't know what the size limit is for this type of service is, but I am content that Azamara will be four R-ships for the next little while.

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