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Old June 9th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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Default Azamara is NOT Luxury

This new cruise-line, Azamara Cruises, is marketing themselves as the Luxury line within the RCC and Celebrity family. Our experience on their Bermuda cruise had the luxury of Carnival topped with the entertainment and activities of the worlds biggest Ferry ride. The staff, food and service were above average (comparable to that of Princess or RCC). However their activities (or lack of), entertainment (4+ hours out of the 7 days total of professional/Broadway grade shows), and guest relations (who were more argumentative then helpful) made me believe the "luxury" billing of this new line will not ever meet expectations. I would NOT RECOMMEND this line.

Here are some examples why:
1) They had a very talented 5-piece vocal group on board. They did a 1 hour show the second night. They did a 1/2 hour show the second to last night. Many cruise lines will still follow the out dated rules Bermuda imposes in Hamilton about not having professional shows while docked. This absence in cabarets during those days are all the more reason to have longer shows the nights out to sea. 1/2 hour?!?! Furthermore the "house band" was in no way up to par and was later released of their duties. You would think a "luxury" line would have a better screening process from the start, and never let nothing but exceptional talent on the ticket.

2) The beverage policy is THE WORST in the business. Their bar tenders/servers (who were excellent, by the way) were not allowed to deliver non-bar drinks (read "complimentary" - juices/coffee/etc...). There was one area out of 11 decks that had self-serve, and you had to serve yourself at all times except at sit-down dining times. If you're in the pool, the staff would not bring you an ice-tea or juice. If you were at the shows at night or casino, and wanted a coffee, you had to walk down to that one deck and get it yourself. Is this luxury?!?

Problems we found like these are not attributed to this line being new. They are the result of paying more attention to the bottom line and less attention to delivering quality and a superior guest experience. This line will be traveling to more exotic places next year. Many other lines do this now with better service and higher ratings. Stick with them.
-Jim
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Old June 9th, 2007, 04:57 PM
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I don't think they are promoted as Luxury line
More upscale than Celebrity but not Luxury.

From what I read about them they may not even be upscale at this point in time
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Old June 9th, 2007, 11:43 PM
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You may want to try Ociana based on this review.
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Old June 10th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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Where have you heard that that they are a luxury line? You should do a better job of researching your cruise before you go. If you want luxury, Azamara or Oceania are not the line for you.
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Old June 10th, 2007, 10:29 PM
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Oceania is about as close to luxury as you can get in my estimation.

JIm, thanks for filling us in. This is very helpful. I will be glad when a few more reviews come in.

NMNita
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Old June 10th, 2007, 10:45 PM
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I believe Ocieana is priced in the area less than what we know as luxury which would put them similar to Azamara.Neither one of them woukd be in the same group as Crystal or Seaborne. On the otherhand we need to compare apples to apples.For my blood I will take three or more cruises than one on the luxury line.
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Old June 11th, 2007, 06:27 PM
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NMNita,

Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
Oceania is about as close to luxury as you can get in my estimation.
Oceana Cruises markets itself as a "premium" cruise line -- the same segment of the market as Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Lines, Princess Cruises, and Disney Cruises. Oceana's fares seem to be higher than the other "premium" lines, but also more inclusive.

The "luxury" cruise lines include Crystal Cruises, Cunard Lines Ltd., Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Seaborne, Sea Dream Yacht Club, and Silversea Cruises. By all accounts I have seen, Oceana Cruises does not rise to their level.

Norm.
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Old June 11th, 2007, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17

Oceana Cruises markets itself as a "premium" cruise line -- the same segment of the market as Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Lines, Princess Cruises, and Disney Cruises. Oceana's fares seem to be higher than the other "premium" lines, but also more inclusive.
Norm.
It is spelled OCEANIA.
I do not think it is the same level as Princess or HAL.
They are a notch above the mass market lines and not up there with Silverseas Etc.. but getting closer as the other seem to be slipping in quality
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Old June 11th, 2007, 06:49 PM
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lulu48,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I don't think they are promoted as Luxury line
More upscale than Celebrity but not Luxury.
I'm not sure about the "more upscale than Celebrity." Celebrity is promoting Azamara as a "premium" line, but Celebrity is also in the "premium" segment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
From what I read about them they may not even be upscale at this point in time
Well, other reviews certainly indicate some start-up pains aboard MV Azimara Journey but that's not without precedent even on the best lines.

That said, the original post has all the earmarks of a drive-by post in that it's unbalanced, extemely negative, and posted by new member to CruiseMates (in fact, it was the person's first post). Historically, such posts often have been malicious attempts at "character assassination" of the cruise line. We have been blessed with an absence of such posts on this board for several months, so I really hope that this post does not signal the start of another barrage. Overall, it's best to wait and see if the original poster becomes a regular contributor to the CruiseMates site who gains the credibility and respect of the community. If not, take such posts with a grain of salt.

Norm.
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Old June 11th, 2007, 07:06 PM
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lulu48,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
It is spelled OCEANIA.
You are correct! All these years I have looked at the name and completely missed the "I" in it....

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I do not think it is the same level as Princess or HAL.
They are a notch above the mass market lines and not up there with Silverseas Etc.. but getting closer as the other seem to be slipping in quality
Princess was indisputably a "premium" line a decade ago. I really think that the parent company's "Cost Reduction Programme" implemented in 2001 dropped it a notch, but it's still ranked as a "premium" line in all of the major travel guides. In my experience, though, Celebrity really does seem to be comparable to what Princess was a decade ago. I have no first-hand knowledge of Holland America Lines, so i won't attempt to place that line relative to Princess or Celebrity.

That said, I can guarantee that there are some areas in which Celebrity Cruises is more lavish than Oceana Cruises. It would be completely impossible to stage Celebrity's production shows, for example, aboard any of Oceana's vessels. Celebrity's ships also have a lot more venues for various styles of music, etc., in the evening. I also doubt that Oceana's cuisine and service are more refined than Celebrity's.

The bottom line, here, is that the boundaries between the tiers of the cruise market are not as clear-cut as one might like them to be. Rather, the segments are what mathemeticians call "fuzzy sets" -- there could be some overlap at the fringes.

Norm.
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Old June 11th, 2007, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
lulu48,

That said, the original post has all the earmarks of a drive-by post in that it's unbalanced, extemely negative, and posted by new member to CruiseMates (in fact, it was the person's first post).

Norm.
Maybe a drive by here but there are a lot of reviews on Cruise critic that state the ship is not up to the advertising it promotes.
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Old June 11th, 2007, 10:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
lulu48,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
It is spelled OCEANIA.
You are correct! All these years I have looked at the name and completely missed the "I" in it....

That said, I can guarantee that there are some areas in which Celebrity Cruises is more lavish than Oceana Cruises. It would be completely impossible to stage Celebrity's production shows, for example, aboard any of Oceana's vessels. Celebrity's ships also have a lot more venues for various styles of music, etc., in the evening. I also doubt that Oceana's cuisine and service are more refined than Celebrity's.

Norm.
I have not sailed Celebrity and yes there are no big production show on OCEANIA....they do have some good music in some areas on the ships.

As for the Cuisine and service it is a personal thing but from those that have sailed both lines OCEANIA is above Celebrity's in most people opinions.

In case you didn't notice we love Oceania

In any case... if Oceania was not very good then Azamara would not be trying to copy/compete with them.
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Old June 12th, 2007, 06:24 PM
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lulu48,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Maybe a drive by here but there are a lot of reviews on Cruise critic that state the ship is not up to the advertising it promotes.
I'm not disputing that MV Azimara Journey has had some problems. In fact, my earlier reply acknowledged as much. Again, let's give the officers, staff, and crew a reasonable chance to fix them. It often takes a month or two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I have not sailed Celebrity and yes there are no big production show on OCEANIA....they do have some good music in some areas on the ships.

As for the Cuisine and service it is a personal thing but from those that have sailed both lines OCEANIA is above Celebrity's in most people opinions.
Within a given tier of the market, each line typically has its own strengths and weaknesses. One strength does not, by itself, put a company in a different segment of the market. It's also important to remember that many things, such as cuisine, are a matter of personal taste. Some people prefer strong flavors, while other people prefer subtle flavors. Neither is intrinsically right or wrong. Rather, it's a matter of style.

Quote:
In case you didn't notice we love Oceania
In that case, enjoy cruising with Oceana! I probably won't be spending the money to join you, though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
In any case... if Oceania was not very good then Azamara would not be trying to copy/compete with them.
It's not at all clear that Azamara is trying to copy with Oceania. In fact, the very first thing that Celebrity Cruises did, upon taking over these vessels, was to reconfigure about half of a deck of standard cabins into small suites and refit the ships to provide many of Celebrity's standard features -- IOW, make the ships more like Celebrity ships.

Having said all of that, I'm still more than a little miffed by the sudden change of names from "Celebrity Expeditions" to "Azamara" that first appeared in a press release announcing that MV Azamara Journey had entered service. I can think of only two plausible reasons for this change. I'm guessing that either

>> 1. Somebody in senior management realized that the distinction between "Celebrity Expeditions" and "Celebrity Cruises" was causing a lot of confusion and ordered the change at the last minute in an attempt to provide a clearer distinction or

>> 2. Somebody in senior management realized that there were problems and ordered the change in branding to minimize the impact on Celebrity's reputation.

In either case, the fact that such a change occurred at the absolute last minute is not good. If I were expecting to embark aboard MV Celebrity Journey for a cruise to Bermuda and arrived at the pier to find MV Azamara Journey waiting for me instead, I would be more than a little PO'd from the start. In fact, I would be quite tempted to return home as soon as practicable, to bring suit for the cruise fare and other expenses incurred based upon fraud, and NEVER to book another cruise with that line. Thus, I really don't blame the people booked on the first several cruises for being really PO'd before they even got aboard the ship.

OTOH, it's not unreasonable to expect such passengers to refrain from abusing this forum....

Norm.
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Old June 12th, 2007, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17
lulu48,


In that case, enjoy cruising with Oceana! I probably won't be spending the money to join you, though.
You probably will not be cruising with Azamara then ...once they leave Bermuda this fall the pricing are in the same range as Oceania.

Quote:

It's not at all clear that Azamara is trying to copy with Oceania. In fact, the very first thing that Celebrity Cruises did, upon taking over these vessels, was to reconfigure about half of a deck of standard cabins into small suites and refit the ships to provide many of Celebrity's standard features -- IOW, make the ships more like Celebrity ships.

Norm.
This from a statement on Cc
" Company executives have been frank about the fact that Azamara will compete primarily with Oceania Cruises. "
http://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/...uiseLineID=104


On the O ships the deck 8 cabins are small PH suites not just part of the deck as AZA did.

In any case time will tell if they will be deluxe or just another Celebrity addition
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Old June 13th, 2007, 05:33 PM
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lulu48,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
You probably will not be cruising with Azamara then ...once they leave Bermuda this fall the pricing are in the same range as Oceania.
That's clearly Celebrity's intent, but the higher price point may or may not hold.

I actually wish that Celebrity would offer the regular Celebrity product in a smaller package on these vessels, much as Princess did, as I really look forward to the "formal" and "informal" evenings -- another reason why I'm in no hurry to cruise with either Disney or Oceania. Of course, YMMV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
This from a statement on Cc
" Company executives have been frank about the fact that Azamara will compete primarily with Oceania Cruises. "
http://www.cruisecritic.com/reviews/...uiseLineID=104
I have not seen anything official to that effect. Many of the rumors surrounding Azamara -- especially those spread on that site -- have proven to be false.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
On the O ships the deck 8 cabins are small PH suites not just part of the deck as AZA did.
There were some internal differences between first five ships and the last three ships of the R1 class. Oceania's ships are three of the first five. Oceania did not reconfigure cabins.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
In any case time will tell if they will be deluxe or just another Celebrity addition
Yes, that was my original point.

Norm.
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Old June 24th, 2007, 11:17 AM
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Ther was article in local paper discussing the position of Azamara and they are positioning themselves against Oceania as their competion and not near as ellaborate as the luxury lines of Crystal and Seabourne.My opinion ther is definitely a market for smaller ships and time will tell.
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Old June 24th, 2007, 03:24 PM
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With Celebrity coming out with the very large Solstice ships , I hope they will garner the busines of families, leaving M class & Century, Mecury & Galaxy as the more "upscale " adult product for those of us who can't afford Azarama (whatever?) It remains to be seen! With so many cabins available prices may adjust according to demand anyhow..
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Old June 25th, 2007, 06:25 PM
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hcat,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
With Celebrity coming out with the very large Solstice ships , I hope they will garner the busines of families, leaving M class & Century, Mecury & Galaxy as the more "upscale " adult product for those of us who can't afford Azarama (whatever?) It remains to be seen! With so many cabins available prices may adjust according to demand anyhow..
It's pretty obvious that the four ships of the Celebrity Solstice class will pretty much take over the itineraries now operated by the four ships of the Millennium class, excepting the occasional "Panama Canal" itineraries, as the new ships enter service. Basically, I think it will go something like this. Three of the ships of the Millennium class probably will take over itineraries now operated by MV Century, MV Galaxy, and MV Mercury, and the fourth probably will spend summers in Alaska and winters on the Mexican Riviera. That leaves MV Century, MV Galaxy, and MV Mercury. I'm guessing that at least one of these three ships probably will go to Azamara Cruises if the Azamara Cruises product gains traction fairly quickly. It's also possible that one or two of these ships may go to Pullmantur Cruises. If any of these ships remain with Celebrity Cruises, though, one of them probably will take over the Bermuda route in the summer and become an additional ship in the Caribbean for the winter. The rest could well open new destinations in the next decade. Personally, I would like to see MV Mercury become a fifth ship in Alaska in the summer and spend the winters cruising the islands of the South Pacific and MV Galaxy spend summers cruising the Norwegian Fjords and the British Isles, the fall cruising Canada/New England one way between New York and Montreal, and the winter doing longer cruises to the Caribbean.

Norm.
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Old July 20th, 2007, 09:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by You
It is spelled OCEANIA.

You are correct! All these years I have looked at the name and completely missed the "I" in it....
Norm, remembering the initial introduction and announcements regarding the start up of this line, it was originally introduced to the industry as Oceana. Within a few days or weeks, a name change was announced. From Oceana to Oceania. I believe there was some name dispute.

Bonnie B., MCC
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Old August 27th, 2007, 09:54 AM
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Default Re: Azamara is NOT Luxury

Quote:
Originally Posted by jiminphilly
This new cruise-line, Azamara Cruises, is marketing themselves as the Luxury line within the RCC and Celebrity family. Our experience on their Bermuda cruise had the luxury of Carnival topped with the entertainment and activities of the worlds biggest Ferry ride. The staff, food and service were above average (comparable to that of Princess or RCC). However their activities (or lack of), entertainment (4+ hours out of the 7 days total of professional/Broadway grade shows), and guest relations (who were more argumentative then helpful) made me believe the "luxury" billing of this new line will not ever meet expectations. I would NOT RECOMMEND this line.

Here are some examples why:
1) They had a very talented 5-piece vocal group on board. They did a 1 hour show the second night. They did a 1/2 hour show the second to last night. Many cruise lines will still follow the out dated rules Bermuda imposes in Hamilton about not having professional shows while docked. This absence in cabarets during those days are all the more reason to have longer shows the nights out to sea. 1/2 hour?!?! Furthermore the "house band" was in no way up to par and was later released of their duties. You would think a "luxury" line would have a better screening process from the start, and never let nothing but exceptional talent on the ticket.

2) The beverage policy is THE WORST in the business. Their bar tenders/servers (who were excellent, by the way) were not allowed to deliver non-bar drinks (read "complimentary" - juices/coffee/etc...). There was one area out of 11 decks that had self-serve, and you had to serve yourself at all times except at sit-down dining times. If you're in the pool, the staff would not bring you an ice-tea or juice. If you were at the shows at night or casino, and wanted a coffee, you had to walk down to that one deck and get it yourself. Is this luxury?!?

Problems we found like these are not attributed to this line being new. They are the result of paying more attention to the bottom line and less attention to delivering quality and a superior guest experience. This line will be traveling to more exotic places next year. Many other lines do this now with better service and higher ratings. Stick with them.
-Jim
jiminphilly,

Thanks for taking the time to write your review. It is always great to hear someone's opinion who was actually on the ship. Two of our best friends who are Oceania fans were booked on Azamara and after hearing so many problems, from several people, have since cancelled.
When spending that kind of extra money for a cruise you have every right to expect something special in how the passenger is treated. The terms "premium and luxury" are often tossed around, but to me are nothing more than an advertising gimic. I could call myself a gorgeous tall willowy blonde in her early twenties, but if you ever met me you would no doubt challenge that statement!
Thanks again for your unbiased, honest and informative review.
Debra
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Old August 27th, 2007, 05:32 PM
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Our favorite ship is the MV Century. What is going to happen to her?
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