03-07-2011, 02:14 PM
Azamara Club Cruises
Anyone have any experience / insight on Azamara Club Cruises? They are a LL property and I have been looking at their Mediteranean cruises. It appears they revamped and upgraded their cruises a few years ago when "Club" was added to their name. There are good reviews for them on Cruise Critic. I had never heard of them before, so I am just trying to find out all I can.
Thanks in advance for the assist.
03-07-2011, 02:28 PM
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
- Blog Entries
take a look at cruisecritic.com website--they have a comprehensive review there as well as individual comments by ship/voyage
thye've been around for a few years and they offer last-minutes to airline folks but we've just haven't had the itch to cruise for a long time"wherever you go, there you are"
03-07-2011, 07:39 PM
- Join Date
- Dec 2009
Shy, In my report on the NYC/NYT Travel Show I wrote the following:
"On the negative side, when spoken to about a concern about an aspect of cruise ship services, the President of a line, dismissively blew us off, and belittled our suggestion, making the erroneous assumption that we did not know how to use email & web connections. Up until then, that line was on our possibility list. No longer. "
You can connect the dots, by this response.
If my husband needs to check financial markets, and other business, he has certain requirements. It wasn't so much what this man said which was not helpful, but his manner in reply to a concern about the requirements of passengers today and into the future. And the reports of poor, non-existent service which many lines charge excessively for. It reminded me of the attitude many in the industry had (and still have) about providing clear limits & definitions on the matter of smoking on ships. Until a devastating fire on a Princess ship, several years ago, most executives didn't want to deal with the problem, calling people on both sides of the issue, whiners. Then they finally realized it was a safety issue.
The issue of smoking is one of the most contentious around, and we think those who smoke, should have the right to do so in a defined area. But Holland America, for example, says they do not permit smoking in cabins, yet it is not enforced (where it is on Azamara & Oceania & Celebrity) and is allowed on verandas, etc where it apparently drifts into the adjoining areas easily. (Friends went on a Chrystal Cruise last year for over a month, and reported no problem, but I think that is because of the type of patron they shared a long voyage with. There were other reasons why they would not return to Chrystal.)
Have you looked into SeaDream for the Mediterranean? It all depends upon what you enjoy. Stuff in the day or action at night? Relaxed or formal? Do you want the ship to be the destination, or see & touch base with localities?
Quite a few of the lines are having 'sales' up until the end of March. And just like the airlines, additional fuel costs are in the fine print. We hope to do some sailing in the future, with longer stays in the departing & arrival ports.
03-07-2011, 08:17 PM
Thanks Kyshel and ShiningLight for your quick replies. I appreciate the information.
For this trip, we want to focus more on seeing each location instead of looking for a floating resort-type large ship. This will be our first trip to the region so an interesting itinerary is high on our list. Even with all the sales, we can't book anything yet until I'm further along with my shoulder surgery (why does every doctor have to tell us that we will take longer to heal because we aren't 16 anymore? Is this what they teach them at medical school that is supposed to make us feal better? lol).
Thanks for the info. I hadn't thought of SeaDream. I will take a look.
On a side note, we took a Holland America cruise this past October. They were vigilant about their smoking policy, from what I observed. As with other ships - since the Princess fire, they are very concerned about fire safety. I learned my clothes steamer was a contraband item in my room for that reason.
Last edited by shygirl724; 03-07-2011 at 08:21 PM.
03-09-2011, 12:50 PM
- Join Date
- Mar 2011
My name is Bill Leiber and since this past October, I’ve been serving in a newly created position as Azamara Club Cruises’ Chief Blogging Officer. I’ve been monitoring the overwhelming number of “opinions” that float freely on online travel message boards as “facts” about Azamara Club Cruises. My role is to provide you with some straight-talk about Azamara Club Cruises’ operating philosophy and to replace incorrect opinions with facts. Also, I focus on guest feedback as we benchmark across the various areas in our guest service delivery. Consider me as the “company reporter” of what is unique, special and new about our company that will hopefully increase your certainty of a totally satisfying vacation experience as the outcome of your purchase decision.
I believe that the Azamara Club Cruises is in a unique, NEW and exclusive product category that delivers its own distinctive, one-of-a-kind cruise experience. I consider Azamara to be a “crossover” product that we call “Upmarket” which bridges the gap between the experiences delivered by the premium/deluxe category and by the luxury cruise lines such as Seabourn and Silversea.
Similar to luxury lines, we include in our more-inclusive cruise fare gratuities for housekeeping, dining and bar staff; boutique wines with lunch and dinner selected from our extensive wine cellar; bottled water, sodas, specialty coffees and teas; English butler service for suite guests; and shuttle service to and from ports, where available.
Our moderate size vessels are of optimum size – small enough to visit many exotic and unique ports similar to the smaller luxury vessels, yet large enough to offer a full range of facilities and onboard options - few enough guests to offer intimacy, yet enough to allow a dynamic onboard atmosphere and the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.
Every day, our onboard officers, staff and crew are committed to deliver a one-of-a-kind guest experience that exceeds our guests’ expectations. Our team is trained in “anticipatory service” to be able to expect a guest’s needs and empowered to make it happen during each moment of their vacation. With one staff member for every two guests, Azamara’s personal service and country club- like atmosphere deliver an ambiance similar to that found on luxury lines.
Also, “Destination Immersion” is a core element in our itinerary planning. To deliver on our promise that “You’ll love where we take you,” at 60 percent of the ports that our two vessels visit we stay late into the evening, and overnight in 38 destinations, more than triple of what was offered in the past. Also, in some destinations two-night stays are becoming more common, giving passengers three days of touring along with opportunities for night tourism. As we say in our training to our travel partners, “that encompasses six words and three thoughts: “Longer Stays, More Overnights and Night Tourism
I’ve discovered that Azamara is often compared to many quality competitors such as Seabourn Cruise Line, Silversea Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, and Crystal Cruises and not only to Oceania. At the beginning of my job, I noticed the very prevalent misconception to compare us only to them but it’s understandable since we both share the same hardware. Interestingly, based on our guests’ past cruise histories they frequently migrate between the luxury and premium/deluxe categories of lines.
Many of our past guests consider our value proposition to be the best. Generally our fares are lower than the rest of our competitive set – ranging from 6% to 25%. Since our fares are “more-inclusive” I believe we have created a new level of service that delivers on our promise of a “club-like’ atmosphere and makes each guest feel truly special by eliminating their worry about tipping and by reducing the number of times that their onboard account would be charged for “extra” services.
The value of Azamara lies not in its price point, but in its potential to deliver a memorable, unique vacation experience. Our guests understand that a quality vacation experience successfully delivered at the right price is value. Simply, you’re getting more for the money paid when you select Azamara.
I hope that I have provided you with an overview of how our “upmarket” product bridges the gap between premium/deluxe and luxury.
We look forward to welcoming you aboard your Mediterranean cruise vacation sometime soon.
Chief Blogging Officer*
Azamara Club Cruises
(*CBO is an authorized and compensated representative of ACC)
03-09-2011, 01:45 PM
Thank you for the information.
03-10-2011, 09:20 AM
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
- Blog Entries
I would consider the off/shoulder season and bundle up for some of these cruises. I got a long list of sailings for April--even balcony cabin prices have been sliced. If you're flexible w/miles or last minute air (as in around 21 days) you might work with an agent who can "grab" something--maybe even direct thru Azamara for a special. I like the concept of the smaller ships, too. It seems like service is highly regarded by past pax.
That was some pretty good PR Bill added to the thread."wherever you go, there you are"
03-31-2011, 02:56 PM
- Join Date
- Dec 2009
Shy, don't feel badly about your shoulder problems !!!!
Recently I had reason to go to an 'Orthopod' (as they are known in a med school). As a matter of fact, she was one of 'my' med students (I used to work in a Dean's Office).
Before seeing her, a PA took my med history. I was lamenting the on-set of multiple problems after having been mostly free of such for 55+ yrs. She said, "You look great! Have you seen our waiting room?"
I almost hugged her!
Indeed I had seen their waiting room. Mainly a sad collection of folk with multiple problems with many walkers, canes, crippled fingers, etc. When I repeated this conversation to spouse, he said, "Yeah, and they all look to be 10 yrs younger than you!" I did hug him!
So, find ways to keep traveling & enjoying life, and ask those docs what they can prescribe (PT? Water exercise?) to help you heal sooner. And take a look around the waiting room!
03-31-2011, 04:23 PM
- Join Date
- Dec 2009
Response to Mr Leiber
Certainly agree with Kyshel about the thoroughness of Bill Leiber's response about Azamara. For all the reasons he cited, it was high on our list of possible cruise lines.
"My name is Bill Leiber and since this past October, I’ve been serving in a newly created position as Azamara Club Cruises’ Chief Blogging Officer. I’ve been monitoring the overwhelming number of “opinions” that float freely on online travel message boards as “facts” about Azamara Club Cruises. My role is to provide you with some straight-talk about Azamara Club Cruises’ operating philosophy and to replace incorrect opinions with facts. Also, I focus on guest feedback as we benchmark across the various areas in our guest service delivery. Consider me as the “company reporter” of what is unique, special and new about our company that will hopefully increase your certainty of a totally satisfying vacation experience as the outcome of your purchase decision."
In this case, he seems to be trying to cover for the fact of a dismissive reply to an observation and manner of the words delivered by the prez of same at the NYT Travel Show a month ago. It seems to need some clarifying from us. Mr P was on a panel of cruise ship executives at this show.
As we were already prepared to value his input, based on the value of the Azamara offerings, and the topic of outrageous charges for access to the Internet aboard ships had not been addressed by the panel or audience, after the seminar we approached him. At the time we had no idea about the individual practices of Azamara in this area, but the topic was addressed to him as a cruise industry one. We said we hoped that the excessive charges would cease, based upon the aging of many of the cruise passengers who didn't use the Internet as much, and coming to age of people who upon retirement had more time to cruise and had come to rely on the internet for business.
That as more baby-boomers such as us, came along who used the net extensively, such passengers
would find this service a valuable one and balk at paying such high fees for slow, poor connections, for a service which was important. (Often reported on Cruise Critic.) And that cruise lines might direct more resources in this direction rather than others. (Cruise lines do this all the time, changing a floral space, into a restaurant space, upon the next refurbishment).
His response was to immediately cite passengers who did not know how to use satellite connections to the best advantage, not down loading & saving. And he rushed away. This is a FACT.
To be sure Mr Leiber knows that Mr P was once a chief executive with SeaDreams (and Cunard & another line), but left in a dispute reportedly about expansion (hersay). I believe Mr P does have a good sense of amenities which are valued by many today. On CC there are other examples of similar responses and other more gracious replies.
We are all human and all have our blooper times. But just like the President of the US or of a company, you have to expect to be in a gold fish bowl at such events. After his response, we could not help but think how he would react to a serious problem at Azumara, since this was our only semi-personal interaction with him.
If he had given us a "form letter" type of response ("I'll look into it", "Understand your needs, etc," "The lines have to do a better job with this"), we might be booked onto an Azumara cruise now, instead we are saving a slot on an Oceania ship, participating in a 'sale' which expires today.
We hope Mr Leiber does report this concern about Internet connection costs and speeds, because some lines seem to be doing so and others not (contracting the service out with poor standards), and this is a way Azumara can distinguish itself from the others.
Shy, glad to know HAL is cracking down on in cabin smoking, but understand it is still allowed on balconies. Again it is a situation where they have been saying one thing, and others have been reporting another (On CruiseCritic & CruiseBruise).
I would like to be able to look at them & Celebrity for trans-Panama trips. Am reading David McCullough's, The Path Between the Seas. If you like history, this is fascinating, and he is such a good writer.