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Azamara cruise line sold


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3 hours ago, Sabbycat said:

 

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!)

This is very much what we've seen as well.  We aren't highly focused on cruising, mostly treating it as a supplement to our land trips rather than the primary destination, often booking at the last minute based on what will fit with the rest of our trip.  We've only done one Azamara cruise, but we really enjoyed that one for the size, ports, and passenger demographic.  

 

We kind of grumbled about the tiny bathrooms and showers on Azamara R-class, so we did a couple of cruised on the larger O-class Oceania ships recently.  The extra space in balcony O-class cabins was nice (though we would have preferred they skip the tub and go with a larger shower stall).  The O-class definitely had better on-board entertainment, and was clearly striving for a more luxe atmosphere, but it didn't suit us quite as well.  

 

We aren't wedded to any particular cruise line, but Azamara will remain near the top of our list when we look at cruising again.  It's a niche line, but that niche fits us pretty well for now.    

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1 hour ago, curmudgeon98 said:

We kind of grumbled about the tiny bathrooms and showers on Azamara R-class...

The Club Continent suites on Azamara solve the bathroom issue.  That's why I hope they will keep the extra complement of them on 'Azamara Four' and consider redoing the other ships to match [like all the Oceania R-ships].

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3 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

The Club Continent suites on Azamara solve the bathroom issue.  That's why I hope they will keep the extra complement of them on 'Azamara Four' and consider redoing the other ships to match [like all the Oceania R-ships].

The Club Continent Suites are one and a half times the size of a standard cabin and that solves the bathroom issue. And the extra space and amenities including a butler are very nice. Of course you pay for it!

 

I've personally never had an issue with the standard cabins including the much maligned bathrooms. And it is still a concern to me that giving free specialty dining to all those extra suites and complimentary use of the T-Pool will put added strain on those areas. I hope they mirror the current deck 8 of the Azamara ships. 

 

Phil 

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There no need to change deck 8. That a waste of MONEY! Always thought deck,8 should be all suites like Princess which I sailed  and Oceania. Never been a problem getting into dinner. t pool rarely go  and when I do it around 6 at night.

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1 hour ago, ellbon said:

There no need to change deck 8. That a waste of MONEY! Always thought deck,8 should be all suites like Princess which I sailed  and Oceania. Never been a problem getting into dinner. t pool rarely go  and when I do it around 6 at night.

From someone who always spends on suites your view doesn't surprise me. Not everyone can afford or want to spend money on one though.

 

As for creating an all suite deck that might be nice, but you would be 'losing' 32 veranda cabins and gaining about 20 Club Continent Suites so the ratio on the ship would go from 200/32 to 168/52 which on a smaller ship like Azamara is high. And just because you don't use the T-Pool doesn't mean others don't. I use it and I've seen it get very busy with difficulty finding a seat. 

 

Phil 

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I would be very concerned for non suite guests (the majority on board) getting access to speciality restaurants as frequently as they do now if suite numbers go up. 
 

To be honest we’d now often rather have a veranda buy a package for speciality dining (revenue for Azamara) for at least five nights often more and buy a t pool pass than have a suite. This is a mix that works better for many and fits well with Azamaras classlessness on board. 
 

Setting aside the extra square footage there’s a big disadvantage of suites, their location too many are impacted by noise from above and if you need a walk in shower 50% are no good. 
 

I’d be radical (waits for the howls) I’d move the suites to Deck 6 or 7 and reduce the ratio with tubs to 25%. 
 

An all suite floor or increased number of suites I hope does not feature in the plans but who knows. 

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Mentioning no names, but a few years ago a frequent suite guest stated that since Prime C and Aqualina dining was included they made reservations for every night. If they decided not to go, they would just cancel. This practice locked out other guests from making reservations until a table opened up by cancellation. Adding more suites could possibly aggravate this situation even more, leave non-suite guests few opportunities to dine in Prime C or Aqualina.

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1 hour ago, Tom47 said:

We have never booked a suite due to price, noise from above, and concern over sea sickness in rough seas.  I just want a bigger shower.

In that case you'll have to get showered in the changing rooms. 😉 And I know people who do that. I really like the Elemis Revitalise Me product they have in them. 

 

Phil 

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3 hours ago, Rabo said:

Mentioning no names, but a few years ago a frequent suite guest stated that since Prime C and Aqualina dining was included they made reservations for every night. If they decided not to go, they would just cancel. This practice locked out other guests from making reservations until a table opened up by cancellation. Adding more suites could possibly aggravate this situation even more, leave non-suite guests few opportunities to dine in Prime C or Aqualina.

It never ceases to amaze me just how selfish people can be.  We have one cruise with Oceania (R ship)  and and thoroughly enjoyed it.  But the difference in the crew was noticeable and Azamara also wins in the quality of food. 

 

I will have to compliment them on how they handled specialty restaurants (this was in 2015 so it may be different now).  I think every cabin had unlimited specialty dining but pre-cruise reservations were limited.  as I recall, in the equivalent to the Club Continent Suite (they call it penthouse and it's the only time we'll ever sail in one) was able to book 2 nights before boarding.  The booking window opened up about 30 days before sailing and each category had a different time.  The higher category cabins got better choices but could not block out the entire cruise. 

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27 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

In that case you'll have to get showered in the changing rooms. 😉 And I know people who do that. I really like the Elemis Revitalise Me product they have in them. 

 

Phil 

Several people told  me that they went to the Spa shower

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Thanks @bob278  I thought Oceania had free specialty dining for all guests and must have worked out a way to ration it.
 

Something no one has mentioned is that switching 32 verandas for 20 CC suites means 24 fewer people in the main dining room, theater, and all other public areas. That benefits ALL passengers.

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1 hour ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Thanks @bob278  I thought Oceania had free specialty dining for all guests and must have worked out a way to ration it.
 

Something no one has mentioned is that switching 32 verandas for 20 CC suites means 24 fewer people in the main dining room, theater, and all other public areas. That benefits ALL passengers.

Oceania definitely rations the free specialty dining for standard cabins; I think we got to reserve one slot at each restaurant on our 10-12 day cruises (and even then the times were limited).  You could show up and try for additional slots (which we did with mixed success, typically sharing a table).  From our limited sample, I thought the Azamara specialty restaurants were a bit better than the Oceania ones, though on the other hand Oceania MDR and buffet/grill were a bit better than Azamara.  

 

 Even though I don't drink all that much, I think I preferred having standard drinks included on Azamara and paying for the specialty restaurants vs the reverse on Oceania.  The net add to our bill may have been about the same, but it just felt more relaxing. 

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55 minutes ago, curmudgeon98 said:

 Even though I don't drink all that much, I think I preferred having standard drinks included on Azamara and paying for the specialty restaurants vs the reverse on Oceania.  The net add to our bill may have been about the same, but it just felt more relaxing. 

On Oceania you can purchase a drink package for unlimited drinks like Azamara (no top shelf) for $60/day/person

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12 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:


 

Something no one has mentioned is that switching 32 verandas for 20 CC suites means 24 fewer people in the main dining room, theater, and all other public areas. That benefits ALL passengers.

Irrelevant if they add oceanview cabins to deck 4 as they've done on other ships. I doubt very much if there is no increase in ship capacity when all is done. I was talking about the suite/veranda ratio and added pressure on venues used by all guests.

 

Anyway what is also true is that we don't know what they'll do. Giving my opinion as you are giving yours and nothing will change either. 

 

Phil 

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5 hours ago, Grandma Cruising said:

Thats quite a lot if you only have a couple of drinks a day.

Not really. According to people who have paid for the drinks package only takes about 4 drinks per day to break even because of the d we xtremely high drink prices plus the mandatory 18% tip added to individual drinks that is includedp in the package 

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1 hour ago, rallydave said:

Not really. According to people who have paid for the drinks package only takes about 4 drinks per day to break even because of the d we xtremely high drink prices plus the mandatory 18% tip added to individual drinks that is includedp in the package 

$60 per day is an outrageous price for a drinks package. On our last Az cruise we had the Indulgence Package and it worked out at around $39 pp per day, that included tours, top shelf drinks, spa, three speciality meals etc

https://www.azamara.co.uk/booked-guests/onboard-packages/experience-more-packages

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40 minutes ago, norn iron said:

$60 per day is an outrageous price for a drinks package. On our last Az cruise we had the Indulgence Package and it worked out at around $39 pp per day, that included tours, top shelf drinks, spa, three speciality meals etc

https://www.azamara.co.uk/booked-guests/onboard-packages/experience-more-packages

Not an Oceania cheerleader and agree $60 is a lot but, you cannot compare the $60 to your indulgence package because you are comparing apple vs. oranges.

 

You price is really the difference between what is already included and the upgraded package while Oceania is the total package starting from zero.

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3 hours ago, rallydave said:

Not an Oceania cheerleader and agree $60 is a lot but, you cannot compare the $60 to your indulgence package because you are comparing apple vs. oranges.

 

You price is really the difference between what is already included and the upgraded package while Oceania is the total package starting from zero.

I do agree and whilst $60 a day sounds a lot I paid I think $64 a day on Windstar. I thought it a lot, but once I'd paid it in one go and weighed it up with the deal I got on the cruise it wasn't so bad and well worth it.

 

The wines I had were extremely good and far better than many of Azamara's package wines. I was also fortunate to be with someone who really advised me well on what to have. 

 

Phil 

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We sailed on Azamara Journey in August 2018 (Baltics) and Oceania Nautica (B2B British Isles) in June 2019 in an identical cabin (the forward oversized OV) so we were able to compare both lines in a relatively similar period of time.    We cruised Azamara once before in November 2009 (pre-Azamazing Evenings and White Nights).   We cruised Oceania twice before (Sept. 2017 and Nov. 2018, both on the larger Marina).

 

Azamara: Captain Gianmario was fairly new so his interaction was somewhat more limited at that time, which is understandable, but he was exceedingly charming.  We did not care for the CD and I don't think she is with Azamara anymore - she didn't seem to have the right personality for A, and I'm sorry to never have had the experience to encounter some of the other CDs I've read about here.   White Night was held indoors and was not a great experience.  The Azamazing Evening was a treat.   First night in MDR was a disaster with poor service and overcooked entree, so frustrating that we didn't even want to order something else at that point.  We contacted the F&B manager to report our experience to help improve service and asked for nothing.   It took 2 days for the F&B manager to get back to us, but when he did, he insisted we dine in one of the specialties complimentary to us, so this was a nice surprise.  We did not add any other specialty dining.  Our diner in Aqualine was very nice. I had arranged private tours in Warnemunde and  St Petersburg (3 days) and we had a nice group.  Other ports were DIY.  Near the end of the cruise I broke a bone in my foot while onboard and the staff in Medical and Guest Relations were wonderful, treating my injury and helping me connect to the airline to arrange an earlier flight home post-cruise.   All in all a great experience, except for not seeing Stockholm post-injury.

 

Oceania:  We were able to make our specialty dining reservations when our scheduling time opened up, and, since our B2B was considered an "extended journey" (one cruise instead of a true B2B), we were able to make them for both legs at that time.  We were also able to get additional reservations onboard.   We found the food on O better than on A, recognizing that food tastes are subjective.   We do not drink alcohol, so we are quite happy that beverages are a separate charge and not built into the cruise fare.  What is a special treat on O, is daily tea service, complete with clotted cream! (first time I gained weight on a cruise).  While we did not have interaction with the officers (not a major factor for us), we found the rest of the staff very warm and engaging.  Our stateroom attendants were fantastic. The laundry room on Nautica was done up so much nicer and brighter than on Journey.  On this particular cruise, the entertainment was very, very good.  We also had some long port days and an interesting itinerary.  This Nautica cruise was one of our very favorites.  All our excursions were either private groups or DIY with active, able bodied cruisers.

 

We've cruised on the larger Marina twice (love those big bathrooms and the fabulous laundry rooms- TVs and sofas!),    Even on the Marina, it's easy on/easy off despite the larger ship size.   On all 3 of our O cruises, we have meet and toured with cruisers similar to those we have met on Azamara - yes, some are older, but we met a lot of well-traveled, active seniors.   The option of 4 specialty dining venues on the larger ships, all with no additional charge, is a real plus.  The evening buffet on all O ships is also unique - not self service, and steak, lamb chops, shrimps and more cooked to order, making it very enjoyable and popular.   We did 3 O excursions on our first cruise with them, and all 3 were very well done, but I will note that I was very careful in my selection process, choosing ones not easily done privately or DIY. 

 

All this being said, we would cruise with either line depending on itinerary.    Our June 2020 B2B on Azamara was cancelled and there is nothing comparable to it on the schedule.  We are currently booked for 28 days on Oceania Nautica for March 2022, so we'll see how that unfolds.

Edited by the mice
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On 1/31/2021 at 12:47 PM, bob278 said:

It never ceases to amaze me just how selfish people can be.  We have one cruise with Oceania (R ship)  and and thoroughly enjoyed it.  But the difference in the crew was noticeable and Azamara also wins in the quality of food. 


Wow, that's the exact opposite of our experience on Oceania, although we were on an O ship.  Food was much better than on Azamara, and for us, no noticeable difference in service.  Our cabin attendant on Riviera was better than any we've had on Azamara.  Since that cruise, though, we haven't found their price point in line with what's included, and have been sailing on Azamara or Celebrity.

The food on our last Azamara cruise on Pursuit in October 2019 was, despite the complaints a lot of people had when Pursuit first joined the fleet, the best of our three AZ cruises (one each on Journey, Quest and Pursuit).  We were very pleasantly surprised.

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11 hours ago, rallydave said:

Not really. According to people who have paid for the drinks package only takes about 4 drinks per day to break even because of the d we xtremely high drink prices plus the mandatory 18% tip added to individual drinks that is includedp in the package 


I don't know if this is still O's policy, but on our sailing, the happy hour was 2 for 1, and we had quite generous pours, so we'd each order a drink and the wait staff would bring the second one when we were finished with the first.  Then at the close of the hour, while this probably isn't standard policy, the staff would allow a "mix and match" if we wanted another drink.

I think there were two evenings on our 7-night cruise that had free open bar for two hours as well.  The OBC included in our booking covered our bar bill for the week.

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