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Lack of transparency


3girlsmom
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I think it’s a sad goodbye to Azamara for us. : (

We are in our late 50’s, retired and cruise 4-6 times a year, usually on Celebrity (Elite +). We had 2 wonderful experiences with Azamara in 2018 & 2019 and were thinking we'd found our new go-to favorite line, we saw a wonderful future together! We booked Iceland for 2020 and lifted & switched to 2021. When that cancelled, we requested a lift and switch to another itinerary that fit the criteria as well if not better than the 2 options offered in the cancellation email. The given options didn’t work for us, 1 due to dates and the other's ports we've already been to at least once. When our request was rejected, our wonderful agent appealed their denial but to no avail, and they wouldn't say why. 
 
We strongly believe Azamara has the right to accept or deny any requests of lift and shift, all we wanted to know was WHY it was denied. I sent an email explaining we wanted to take the FCC and book another cruise but we were uncomfortable proceeding without knowing why, when our cancellation letter said there were "other options" and our choice met the criteria, that our request was denied. The reply I received from Kelly in the Wichita service center completely avoided our question. She reiterated that they are “unable to offer the sailing you have requested” with absolutely no explanation at all. She also made it clear we are not able to discuss our reservation with her or anyone else at Azamara, they will only communicate with our agent. Our agent was cc'd in my email and she had talked to them 3 times before I tried reaching out. She got nothing but a run around as well. 
 
Transparency and having confidence in a company is very important to us, especially these days! Azamara is a great product, no question, but not the only fish in the sea. ; )  We are sad to move on, but are looking forward to our upcoming cruises with Celebrity and maybe trying some other lines. 
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Not surprised that they won’t communicate directly with you.  That is a long-standing policy, which you will find on Celebrity, too.  If you book through a travel agent, all communications must go through that travel agent.

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I understand, but if they won't answer the question with the agent after 3 attempts, I thought it was worth a try! Plus they sent the cancellation email directly to me, thereby communicating with us about the options. 

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Back in the day...  I expect your question would have been addressed by our wonderful, former, Chief Blogging Officer:  Bonnie.  She was employed by Azamara in a communications/ombudsman type role and regularly took on issues, providing a channel for posters on this forum.  The new Azamara would do well to bring her back, IMO.

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1 hour ago, Ithikan said:

Back in the day...  I expect your question would have been addressed by our wonderful, former, Chief Blogging Officer:  Bonnie.  She was employed by Azamara in a communications/ombudsman type role and regularly took on issues, providing a channel for posters on this forum.  The new Azamara would do well to bring her back, IMO.

I was thinking the same thing.  This is the sort of thing that helps distinguish Azamara from the mass of cruise lines.  [pun intended]

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On 3/30/2021 at 2:46 PM, 3girlsmom said:

I understand, but if they won't answer the question with the agent after 3 attempts, I thought it was worth a try! Plus they sent the cancellation email directly to me, thereby communicating with us about the options. 

Your Travel Agent needs to communicate with their BDM; They will get answers that way

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You say the options offered you didn’t work because of the dates.   One of the.   L& S criteria has been the voyage must depart in 2022 within 4 weeks of the original sailing date.   If the cruise you wanted to move to was outside of that 4 week period that would be the reason it wasn’t approved.  

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Good question Jelayne, here's the answer.... We were booked on a 16 night sailing during the 1st 2 weeks of July. The one we requested was a 16 night that left 10 days earlier.

The ones they offered were 14 nights, one was also at the beginning of July (2 days earlier) to ports we've been to multiple times, the other one was 30 days later and went into August which conflicted with a family event we have. 

Again, we have no problem with them saying yes or no to a L & S request, we just asked WHY? If it was the dates they could have just told our agent, we would have taken the 125% FCC and booked something that worked for us. 

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3 hours ago, laurieb said:

Your Travel Agent needs to communicate with their BDM; They will get answers that way

What's a "BDM"? Our agent did go up the ladder to a supervisor but they were evasive as well. 

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3 hours ago, 3girlsmom said:

What's a "BDM"? Our agent did go up the ladder to a supervisor but they were evasive as well. 

Their business development manager.  All ta’s have one, be it through their host agency or consortium. Far different than talking to a supervisor at the call center 

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I had the same thing happen to me. We had (2) cruises within +/- of our 4 week criteria, meeting all lift & shift requirements. The May cruise that we wanted was denied, and we were only offered the June date.

 

I worked through our agent and reached out to Azamara directly. I received a denial with no explanation, and no substitute options were offered.

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Posted (edited)

I have had no substitutions offered when we asked for Cruise with confidence to be applied because our cruise cannot meet the + or - one day criteria. This was the reason given for our refusal and was escalated right up the line with no joy.  We can meet the + or - 4 weeks in the same area criteria no problem. It’s sucks when the reason for denial is totally out with the control of the guest and is due to the itineraries being offered in 2022. Very short sighted as it just encourages you to ask for a refund and book with another line. 
 

A shame newco Azamara couldn’t shake off the narrow revenue focus of their former parent. Doesn’t bode well for now

Edited by uktog
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  • 2 weeks later...

When our South American cruise was cancelled, there was nothing comparable offered the following year.  I asked Azamara about switching to another itinerary in South American that was 14 months later, and they approved that request.  It sounds like we were one of the few that had an exception granted.

When the 2023 itineraries were released, our original cruise was offered.  I contacted Azamara to see if we could L&S to that cruise since it was the original one we booked, but no luck.  We can transfer our booking to that cruise but we'd have to pay the prevailing rate, which is more than 50% higher than our original booking.

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I’m probably missing something obvious but why don’t you cancel, get a refund and then book the cruise you want?  If your answer is “because it’s a lot more expensive” then you probably know why Azamara doesn’t let you lift and shift... 
 

Floris 

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2 hours ago, florisdekort said:

I’m probably missing something obvious but why don’t you cancel, get a refund and then book the cruise you want?  If your answer is “because it’s a lot more expensive” then you probably know why Azamara doesn’t let you lift and shift... 
 

Floris 

Yes it is more expensive and we would lose the perks we had for booking on board, and the promos offered at that time. Azamara has had our deposit for 2 years and our entire balance for over a year now.

 

The email they sent to me when they cancelled said:  (cut & pasted)

"To make it easy for you, we have listed the closest itinerary options for you below. If these options don't fit your plans, please call your travel advisor or Azamara directly to review other options."

 

What we are disappointed about is that there in fact are NOT any other options (then why offer??).... that they won't explain the reason WHY the itinerary we'd like doesn't qualify...... and why, when they tell us to contact them directly to review other options, they wouldn't communicate with us... again, why offer?? 

 

So yes Floris, It is more expensive and that's a part of the reason we didn't take the 125% & rebook. The more important reason is because of the "why's" above. As much as we enjoy the wonderful shipboard experience of Azamara, we sadly don't feel comfortable continuing to support the company. 

 

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