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17 Day Oceania vs 15 B2B Azamara


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I have tried searching for an Oceania vs Azamara thread to no avail on this Community search. 
 

We have never sailed O or Az. We have identified two itineraries during May ‘22. One is a 17 night on O which visits many of Spain’s islands that we have not been to, as well as multiple ports we have. The other is a B2B which visits multiple Croatia ports combined with Greek ports. This Az itinerary takes us to more places we have not had the opportunity to visit in the past and therefore is really appealing. If we sail on O we would book Concierge Veranda. If we sail Azamara a Continent Suite on their new Onward (formally Princess) ship. 
 

We have a cabin on hold with the Az sailings, but I am concerned that the experience on Az may not be quite as rewarding as sailing on Oceania. I say this due to all that I have read on this board around the food/restaurants, selection of Alcohol, and service being so outstanding on Oceania.  That said, DH is really attracted to the other itineraries on Az over what I can find at this point in time available on O. 
 

I would sincerely appreciate feedback from those with experience on both lines as to their thoughts. I would like to make a deposit by 6/30. Thanks much. 

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Are you comparing ship size  as O as 2 sizes  one is the same as AZA  the O class ships are larger

That said  I would go with the itinerary that interests you more

 

Not sure what the NEW Azamara will be like compared to when it was owned by RCL

 

Enjoy whatever cruise you choose

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If it were me, I’d select the Dalmatian coast (Croatia) over the Canary Islands. I lived on 2 of the islands for about 18 months many years ago.  Yes, nice scenery, lovely area, just not that much going on IMO. I love Greek and Roman antiquities and ancient architecture, which abound in Croatia and Greece. I have a reservation on an APR 2023 itinerary Rome to Venice on Riviera. I’m really looking forward to it!

But, this is just my opinion, others may differ.

I haven’t been on an Azamara cruise, but I was very pleased on my first Oceania Baltic cruise in 2016.

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OP: Azamara was recently sold to new owners (Sycamore Partners - with zero cruise ship experience) who got their entire fleet for a bargain price. So, it’s going to be a bit of an unknown for the immediate future. And, though just speculation on my part, don’t be surprised if, in a few years (after O’s two new Allura class ships are well underway), you see O acquire whatever Azamara R ship is in the best shape (I fully expect A’s new owners to squeeze what revenue they can out of A and then dump it - again just speculation on my part).

 

FWIW, I was at a meeting about 4-5 years ago with the then CEO of Azamara. To my question about comparing A to O, his answer was: “Azamara is about overnights in port while Oceania is about food.”

Of course, since then, O has added many more overnights in port across various itineraries and the food remains excellent - perhaps the best at sea.

As for which itinerary: You’re only planning on taking a single cruise forever? And while, the ports/antiquities/natural beauty/etc stay pretty consistent (regardless of which ship gets you there), the shipboard experience (particularly food, cabin, service and even passenger demographics) can vary widely and make/ruin a cruise.

IMO, it’s an easy choice in your situation.

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I have cruised on both O and AZ. O would be my favorite, however, I believe the itinerary is most important. We did the Dalmatian coast/Croatia  with AZ and it was a wonderful cruise.

 

One thing about the CC suites on AZ. Choose carefully because many are under the pool deck and the moving of chairs in the early a.m. is not very appealing. Location is important.

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Have done both lines -- more cruises on O.  Az is everything about the ports.  They have better and more interesting out of the way ports.  Food is subjective,  We are not fans of either though the food is better on the larger O ships (we like Jacques and Red Ginger)  and prefer food on SS and Crystal.   Service is good on both. 

 

I would pick the better itinerary (for me would be Croatia).

 

Will be interesting to see what the new owners will do with their new asset.  I am more optimistic that they will pull all the stops to make this a good investment.

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I've been on both O (r class) and A ships, which IMHO are both comparable for food, service, entertainment, cabins & other amenities (although A has removed their casinos for more lounges). A does include basic drinks, has more overnight ports, &  usually gratuities,. I would make the decision based upon itinerary (for me probably Croatia). One caveat, will the new owners of A change the experience. 

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Thank you all for your feedback. We realize we are looking at two completely different sizes of ships and I should have mentioned that. We have in the past several years sailed Viking - which in size splits the two. 
 

I appreciate the warning on CC location. We grabbed 8002 which is under one of the two only cabins on deck 9 so I think it should be okay if we go that direction. We’ve been under a pool deck before. It was a lesson learned. 
 

We aren’t so concerned with entertainment and activities. Casinos aren’t a top priority. We are concerned with cabin, food, service and wine selection. 
 

The O itinerary we are looking at does not sail into the Canary Islands, but rather Palma de Mallorca, Olibia, Valletta, and then Melilla and the traditional Mediterranean ports. 
 

I really do appreciate that all of you speak highly of both with respect to cuisine. I do wonder what the new owners of Az will change. That can only be speculative at this point given their lack of cruise experience bit with a new rebuild I would hope they would want it to be successful? 

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5 minutes ago, Vineyard View said:

Thank you all for your feedback. We realize we are looking at two completely different sizes of ships and I should have mentioned that. We have in the past several years sailed Viking - which in size splits the two. 
 

I appreciate the warning on CC location. We grabbed 8002 which is under one of the two only cabins on deck 9 so I think it should be okay if we go that direction. We’ve been under a pool deck before. It was a lesson learned. 
 

We aren’t so concerned with entertainment and activities. Casinos aren’t a top priority. We are concerned with cabin, food, service and wine selection. 
 

The O itinerary we are looking at does not sail into the Canary Islands, but rather Palma de Mallorca, Olibia, Valletta, and then Melilla and the traditional Mediterranean ports. 
 

I really do appreciate that all of you speak highly of both with respect to cuisine. I do wonder what the new owners of Az will change. That can only be speculative at this point given their lack of cruise experience bit with a new rebuild I would hope they would want it to be successful? 

Sorry for my assumption; of course Spain has more islands than just the Canaries.

We loved Palma de Mallorca, and Valletta is NOT to be missed! I want to go back! Take a tour that includes the ancient city of Mdina. Wow! Very memorable!

 

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Phd thanks for your comments. It’s an attractive itinerary. Both are. And we are new to either line.  Of course the goal is always to return to new places and not look at this as the last cruise, but it’s been a while and we are anxious to return on one that we never stop talking about! 

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41 minutes ago, Vineyard View said:

We realize we are looking at two completely different sizes of ships.
 

 I do wonder what the new owners of Az will change. That can only be speculative at this point given their lack of cruise experience bit with a new rebuild I would hope they would want it to be successful? 

Which O ship? Riviera and Marina are 1200 passengers. The four Regatta Class ships are the same kind of <700 passenger R ships as you’ll find with Azamara (though O’s R ships all benefit from the new Oceania NEXT interior redesign).

 

You may want to research Sycamore Partners’ reputation for how it handles its acquisitions. 

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I sail both Azamara and Oceania. You can't go wrong with either. But for me, itinerary is a more important consideration. 

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I must say We have never sailed AZ but we have been told it was similar to O. We started sailing Oceania 14 years ago and we have sailed Princess and Celebrity but ALWAYS came back to our Oceania family, both staff and guests. We love both O and R class ships, each has its pluses. 
Like the input I have seen from all on this blog, pick the itinerary that “Floats Your Boat”. 
 

A few thoughts, as you were told, AZ was recently purchased at a fire sale for pennies on the dollar. I think the number was $201 million, a lot of pennies but... Sirena was the last R class ship Oceania purchased from Princess several years ago and O put about $100 million into her to meet O standards and she needed even more. Sirena has also completed her NEXT update so another $25 million.  I am sure AZ will make their latest acquisition quite grand but I would not expect her to reach O standards, JMHO.

As long as Deposits are fully refundable like Oceania’s and not just Cruise Credit, place a deposit on BOTH cruises and continue the product research and decision process. Oceania has a price increase coming July 1 so make whatever deposit decision you want soon.  Something else to consider, next month, O will be opening itineraries on the NEXT Refurbished Nautica for April thru June 2022 in the Med, Greek Isles and Holy Land. No specifics are known at this time however. You might even see an itinerary that you fall in love with. When O releases them they will be sold out In days due to the number of O cruisers out there with Future Cruise Credits that must be used by the end of 2022 and there is virtually no cruise stateroom inventory available into mid 2023.  
 

Good luck with your decision.

Bonnie and Gerry

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Bonnie and Gerry. Thank you. I was not aware of this next O release so that is good to know. I appreciate this additional information on the acquisition as well. Do you know if the Onward, launching in May 22, was in the refurbishment process prior to acquisition and would therefore have been done by Az standards? 

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Have no idea about anything AZ.  My 2 cents, Princess does not sell vessels that are pristine, they need work. You should be able to Google the AZ ship and see where she is being worked on and what the schedule is for completion. I know the proposed date you mentioned but all the shipyards are busy but with Covid reduced staffing.  Keep researching because we have had more than one cruise impacted by ship yards and production schedules.   A couple deposits could keep you from making less than the best decision on which cruise to take. Deposits are cheap. 
Remember, all this chat is going on on a Oceania Roll Call so you know which line is our favorite.  
Gerry

 

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2 minutes ago, mauibabes said:

Have no idea about anything AZ.  My 2 cents, Princess does not sell vessels that are pristine, they need work....

 

Yes - it only took Oceania $40 million to turn the Ocean Princess into Sirena. 
Princess, like HAL and Celebrity, is a pretender trying to convince you that they are “premium”

lines. 

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I would agree that Princess, HAL, and Celebrity try to market as premium. We have sailed on two. No desire to sail on Celebrity. Princess sold the ships we would want to sail on again, and HAL will still get a look from us with the right ship/itinerary. We do not want to sail on large ships. 
 

The only problems that I see with booking two itineraries for the same timeframe would be 2x insurance,  and booking using money/miles for different locations. Those windows open up in about a week. 

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These are just my thoughts.  I like Azamara and Oceania.  They both do a good cruise. I prefer Oceania for several reasons.  I like Oceania larger ships, Riviera or Marina. Not a big fan of R ships. Cabins are small.  Bathrooms are tiny.  Azamara only has R ships. Oceania has 4 R ships.  R ships are nicely furnished, but lack the beauty and space of Marina and Riviera. A regular cabin on Marina or Riviera is huge with lots of space. Bathrooms are gorgeous and very spacious.  On other cruise lines, they would be suites.  They are larger than suites on R ships.  Azamara fare includes drinks. Since I seldom drink, I prefer not paying for the included drinks.  Oceania has better food.  Specialty restaurants don’t charge extra. Azamara keeps increasing surcharges in PrimeC and Aquilina.  They are nice, but not nearly as good as food on Oceania.  Azamara has better entertainment activities. Love the Azamazing evenings.  They take everyone on the ship to an evening event that is often the highlight of a trip.  Azamara often has local entertainment and white night deck parties.  Oceania has a nightly lounge show…can be good or bad. Azamara often stays in ports overnight.  I have enjoyed sailing on both lines.  Not booking on Azamara until the new owners demonstrate how they will proceed.  Oceania, for now, remains a good choice.  

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Good points about ship sizes. We have not sailed on a 700 pax ship. We have sailed several times on Viking’s 900 pax, as well as HAL’s older 1200 pax. I would have to assume that there are less options and things to do on an R ship due to size. Entertainment isn’t important to is really, nor casinos. The port intensive itineraries we are looking at has me wondering how much time we will be on ship - I guess as long as our energy levels hold up! I wonder if the new ownership changes, if there are any, will show up on the ‘21 sailings. 
 

The price Increase is a key driver for decision making. Not sure what percentage O usually implements. 

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If you have not sailed on either line  just go for the  itinerary  & what suits your needs/wants the best

 

If port intensive  you probably will want to have a nice dinner & relax  to get ready for the next day touring

Either ship will be fine

JMO

 

Enjoy

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Vineyard,

Greetings again from Bodega Bay as we try to stay cool and away from the valley heat wave.

July 1 is almost upon us so you will know this week. If you do not already have an O booking, you can do what I call a tentative booking which holds room and price, with no deposit for 7 days and then you must deposit or it is released. That would buy you some time to see what the price increase is. Insurance, you usually have two weeks to add that through a third party after the deposit is made for Pre-existing conditions issues and coverage. If using the Oceania Care insurance, you are not paying for it until Final Payment time anyway as it is included in your booking, if you select it. It can be added and removed at will prior to FP. I do not know how AZ handles their insurance coverage. 

 In the past the increases were more like hundreds and not thousands but this bump is for ALL ships and itineraries. I would call it a Covid directed price adjustment to slow the cash drain. The demand for Oceania’s smaller ship sailings is quite strong as you can see from all the Waitlisted staterooms and cruises. That said, you can expect the people on this RC to be among the first to know some numbers as soon as they are released to the TA’s or on line. 
 

Good Luck

Gerry

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6 minutes ago, mauibabes said:

Vineyard,

Greetings again from Bodega Bay as we try to stay cool and away from the valley heat wave.

July 1 is almost upon us so you will know this week. If you do not already have an O booking, you can do what I call a tentative booking which holds room and price, with no deposit for 7 days and then you must deposit or it is released. That would buy you some time to see what the price increase is. Insurance, you usually have two weeks to add that through a third party after the deposit is made for Pre-existing conditions issues and coverage. If using the Oceania Care insurance, you are not paying for it until Final Payment time anyway as it is included in your booking, if you select it. It can be added and removed at will prior to FP. I do not know how AZ handles their insurance coverage. 

 In the past the increases were more like hundreds and not thousands but this bump is for ALL ships and itineraries. I would call it a Covid directed price adjustment to slow the cash drain. The demand for Oceania’s smaller ship sailings is quite strong as you can see from all the Waitlisted staterooms and cruises. That said, you can expect the people on this RC to be among the first to know some numbers as soon as they are released to the TA’s or on line. 
 

Good Luck

Gerry

There’s a handful of insurers (e.g., Nationwide) who offer PEC waivers for policy purchases up to Final Payment day.

After July 1, expect O to announce added itineraries for replacement of recently cancelled early 2022 cruises on Nautica and Regatta.

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Due to the fact that you like Viking cruises, Riviera and Marina are most similar to the Viking ships in size. 

 

The O ships vs R ships are my favorite. Itinerary should be most important to you, but if ship, food, etc. are a factor, choose the Riviera.  

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