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Old March 3rd, 2011, 08:44 AM
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Default Will Azamara have a bigger presence for American travelers?

I have read much and become really interested in taking an Azamara cruise over the past couple of months.

I was looking at the Azamara website hoping to find a round trip cruise out of Miami for early 2012 or for Alaska. You can imagine my shock at not finding any round trip cruises for 2012 and the fact that Azamara doesn't do Alaska.

Do you think that Azamara will fill these voids in the near future? There seemed to be plenty of round trips from Miami this year but for me it just wasn't a good time to cruise.

If anyone has any info of up coming plans I would sure love to hear them. From what I have read and heard here lately, Azamara, is one of cruisings best kept secrets!

Thanks
Tim
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Old March 3rd, 2011, 09:24 AM
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Azamara is a great cruise line. When they were created they were basically a subsidiary of Celebrity and shared their reservations and back office personnel and systems. Now they stand on their own and are doing a better job then they were three years ago.

Azamara is a niche cruise line and their "thing" is to offer alternative itineraries with overnight stays and longer cruises. They are more destination oriented than ship oriented. They do offer Caribbean cruises but they are few and for a small portion of the year. This year the itineraries were more Southern Caribbean with stops on the smaller, out of the way islands.

I personally don't see them extending or even continuing their Caribbean itineraries for the foreseeable future. I do believe they may try Alaska on a limited basis at some point.

I personally would prefer if they keep their current types of itineraries and concentrate on other parts of the world and leave the "Homeland Cruising" to their big brothers and other cruise lines.

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Mike
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Old March 4th, 2011, 02:21 PM
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I also found it interesting...

Azamara only has two ships - so they are limited in where they can go, but it seems to me Alaska would be a great place for a smaller ship.

But almost ALL of the R-ships (all 8 of them) seem to go to Europe every summer as far as I recall. It might be different this year.

I asked Larry Pimentel last year why all the R-ships go to Europe when the goal seems to be differentiating them. He basically said they go where the demand is.
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Old March 4th, 2011, 05:03 PM
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I can't honestly see them putting a ship in Alaska when they only have two. Oceania is deeply discounting their Alaska cruises.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 12:02 AM
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Paul, did Larry Pimentel say anything about adding more ships in the near future?
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Old March 5th, 2011, 10:24 AM
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With the "new ships question" they only said what every cruise lines says "we won't rule anything out." - but I didn't really think it meant they were seriously considering it.

Let's be honest for a minute - these small ship/small line cruise lines are hard for these big cruise companies to operate. Carnival sold off Windstar, for example, and Azamara is just now getting up to speed and they had to bring in a major league talent just to operate two ships, and pay him like its a 25 ship fleet.

There were rumors that RCL wanted to sell Azamara for a few years, though they deny it.

First the line will have to be a roaring success like Oceania - then maybe they will add to the fleet. Like at Oceania's per diem cruise fares - they are about 20% higher than Azamara. Oceania has been at that level for years now.
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Old March 5th, 2011, 02:41 PM
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Default Azamara club cruises deployments

Hello to all –

Truck Cruiser, Miami deployments are meant for the mass market lines and for an “upmarket” product like Azamara it is a struggle. This year’s four 12-night Miami “sold-out” departures represent some of our lowest net average daily rates in spite of their higher load factor. For us, this reconfirms that the Caribbean is a price-driven market – you can sell anything if the price is low enough. We made the business decision that it did not make sense to compete in the Miami/Ft Lauderdale market which is dominated by unhealthy distressed-type pricing and an overwhelming number of competitive offerings.

We decided, therefore, to use San Juan in 2012 which offered a better opportunity to achieve our objectives. At the same time, we’re not naïve to think that San Juan will be the panacea for improving our financial results. However, with shorter voyages from San Juan we now have the opportunity to target new clientele from the US and Canadian markets that offer sufficient air service to San Juan and then to communicate our “upmarket” onboard experience on a smaller ship and to position our message as the ultimate in value. For future deployments, we consider South America and the Amazon as a better fit to further build upon our destination immersion pillar and to improve our financial performance to our shareholders. As Mike mentioned “our ‘thing’ is to offer alternative itineraries with overnight stays and longer cruises. They are more destination-oriented than ship-oriented.”

As Trackypup correctly assumed we do not plan to offer Alaska voyages. It’s too mass market which means operating in a totally price and discount driven environment. A key objective in our itinerary planning sessions is to create product that we believe could increase the profit potential from each operation while remaining true to our destination immersion objective and to offer worldwide cruise coverage for both vessels. Alaska does not offer this opportunity.

As Paul mentioned our primary focus is “getting up to speed.” Key to achieving that is building more consumer and travel professional awareness about the Azamara brand and motivation to take or to recommend their first vacation with us. As equally important is to monitor guest feedback as it will guide us forward on our journey to master the art of total guest satisfaction. Perhaps in time there might be an opportunity for fleet expansion.

I appreciate your positive comments about us.

Regards,

Bill Leiber
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Chief Blogging Officer*
Azamara Club Cruises
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Old March 5th, 2011, 09:45 PM
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Thanks Bill and Paul for all the information. I know that one day I will sail on a Azamara ship.

Happy Sailings
Tim
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