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What on earth is happening with Azamara?


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I mentioned on another thread that it strikes me as very odd (and unsettling) that Almost all the other cruise lines, both large and small and major competitors of Azamara have been announcing their scheduled restarts in June and July, and there has been nothing from Azamara.  Silence.  Heike said they were "working on schedules" but that's very vague and doesn't  generate much enthusiasm.  Doesn't Azamara think they need to promote the cruise line outside of their web page?  That's a pretty limited way of advertising in light of the fact that Seabourn, Viking,  RCCL. Celebrity, etc. are making headlines in countries all over the world with their frequent announcements of restarts and new ports  Why the silence?  If this is any indication of their marketing approach, it doesn't bode well for the line.

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Posted (edited)

There's an old saying "You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their back".  As a relatively small company (and newly capitalized), I think Azamara is wise to take a careful approach to restarting.  Azamara doesn't have the corporate resources of the big three, nor does it have the financial pressures of all the new builds and other large cash drains.  It's also a lot easier for the big lines to pull together a few crews and get them vaccinated and in place that it is for Azamara.  

Edited by curmudgeon98
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But since I came on Cruise Critic to ask about Azamara cruises, I'll jump on here and ask:

 

Does anyone have a guess as to when any Az cruises in Europe will start out, or if October is too soon to book a cruise?  I'm tempted to book a cruise that looks pretty good to me, but since our Oceania cruise just got canceled, I'm not sure I want to plunge in right now for a cruise that may or may not go out in October.  But I DO like lesser-expensive rooms, and I know the longer I wait, the more scare they may get.

 

Also, I've never sailed on Azamara, and so I haven't kept up on what changes they've made or plan to make because of Covid.  Have changes been communicated?  Have they said what they might require when they start up in terms of vaccination proof, testing, masks and distancing?  Have they indicated if people will be allowed to go off on their own rather than taking ship excursions?  (I realize the answer to these questions may depend upon the locations that are visited.  But if there are any clues as to what cruisers might experience, I'd love to hear them.)

 

 

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I have done 3 lift and shifts with one still on the books for February 2022. While wanting to be positive I am not booking air and ground till cruises actually begin again and not committing further deposits. I can’t wait to be on the seas again.  I wouldn’t count on this year. Hoping for 2022

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5 hours ago, IWantToLiveOverTheSea said:

, I've never sailed on Azamara, and so I haven't kept up on what changes they've made or plan to make because of Covid.  Have changes been communicated?  Have they said what they might require when they start up in terms of vaccination proof, testing, masks and distancing?  Have they indicated if people will be allowed to go off on their own rather than taking ship excursions?  (I realize the answer to these questions may depend upon the locations that are visited.  But if there are any clues as to what cruisers might experience, I'd love to hear them.)

 

 

Their website says they will follow the protocols recommended by the Healthy Sails Panel put together by RCL & NCL so they will most likely follow the same protocols as those lines, but nothing has been announced yet.

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7 hours ago, IWantToLiveOverTheSea said:

But since I came on Cruise Critic to ask about Azamara cruises, I'll jump on here and ask:

 

Does anyone have a guess as to when any Az cruises in Europe will start out, or if October is too soon to book a cruise?  I'm tempted to book a cruise that looks pretty good to me, but since our Oceania cruise just got canceled, I'm not sure I want to plunge in right now for a cruise that may or may not go out in October.  But I DO like lesser-expensive rooms, and I know the longer I wait, the more scare they may get.

 

 

 

My own feeling is that yes, October is too soon for Europe. At this moment in time I don't see a European season in 2021. If there is it will be much reduced in what it offers. I'm holding off and not rushing in to booking on price. It's all too uncertain for me at the moment. And that includes what the onboard protocols are going to be. 

 

Phil 

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11 minutes ago, excitedofharpenden said:

My own feeling is that yes, October is too soon for Europe. At this moment in time I don't see a European season in 2021. If there is it will be much reduced in what it offers. I'm holding off and not rushing in to booking on price. It's all too uncertain for me at the moment. And that includes what the onboard protocols are going to be. 

 

Phil 

Agree Phil, we moved our September booking to a similar one in August/September 2022 as we thought there was little chance of it happening, there does seem to be a lot of things to work out before normal cruising returns. We will watch with interest how things progress, our next booking (already moved 3 times) is for the Caribbean late January 2022 and will be quite happy to move it again if needs be.

As regards Azamara I think the new regime have the luxury of watching how things progress with other cruise lines and make an entrance once things have settled down.

 

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I think the UK market is now absolutely crowded for this summer.  I see MSC is now planning to chug around our shores.  It just takes one of these lines to have a problem and we will be set back six months not only in terms of the cruising industry but also its impact on us in the UK.  Compared to most countries our level of restriction has been severe and we need to be allowed time just to enjoy the freedoms on land other countries have enjoyed for months.  

 

Whilst I was keen to see Azamara get sailing at the outset, I think their watch and wait approach is fine and I would rather they did that than fill my mailbox with hollow promises of great round Britain and beyond trips that might not happen or if they do happen might be a less than Azamazing experience.  Better they use this time to do dry docks and sort out itineraries for the future taking account of the fact they have a fourth ship, so do something once, rather than announce and then change.

 

The right time to cruise will come one day I am sure and when it does I will be there.

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26 minutes ago, Riocca said:

As regards Azamara I think the new regime have the luxury of watching how things progress with other cruise lines and make an entrance once things have settled down.

 

That's what I think too. The title of this thread is unnecessarily dramatic. 

 

Phil 

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Just to clarify a few weeks ago I said I was concerned Azamara might be missing out on docking options for a UK start now I’m really pleased they are not rushing to squeeze in with the big boys. I’m assuming Azamara had good port intelligence in what was potentially going on and made their decisions based on that. 
I am still very skeptical that all crew on the big boys will be vaccinated as some are claiming. And where will they pick up and manage crew isolation if you are coming from the Philippines and potentially very soon India it won’t be the UK? 

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41 minutes ago, uktog said:

I think the UK market is now absolutely crowded for this summer.  I see MSC is now planning to chug around our shores.  It just takes one of these lines to have a problem and we will be set back six months not only in terms of the cruising industry but also its impact on us in the UK.  Compared to most countries our level of restriction has been severe and we need to be allowed time just to enjoy the freedoms on land other countries have enjoyed for months.  

 

Whilst I was keen to see Azamara get sailing at the outset, I think their watch and wait approach is fine and I would rather they did that than fill my mailbox with hollow promises of great round Britain and beyond trips that might not happen or if they do happen might be a less than Azamazing experience.  Better they use this time to do dry docks and sort out itineraries for the future taking account of the fact they have a fourth ship, so do something once, rather than announce and then change.

 

The right time to cruise will come one day I am sure and when it does I will be there.

Spot on. That is just how I feel about the whole thing. 

 

Phil 

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56 minutes ago, uktog said:

Just to clarify a few weeks ago I said I was concerned Azamara might be missing out on docking options for a UK start now I’m really pleased they are not rushing to squeeze in with the big boys. I’m assuming Azamara had good port intelligence in what was potentially going on and made their decisions based on that. 
I am still very skeptical that all crew on the big boys will be vaccinated as some are claiming. And where will they pick up and manage crew isolation if you are coming from the Philippines and potentially very soon India it won’t be the UK? 

Very important point, I see today that there are reports coming from Israel that the South African variant can evade the Pfizer vaccine. Until there’s more data on how the vaccines deal with all the different variants I can see many governments being reticent to open up international travel. This is going to be at odds with the travel industry who are desperate to get customers back traveling to generate income whatever the consequence might be.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, excitedofharpenden said:

Spot on. That is just how I feel about the whole thing. 

 

Phil 

To me these UK all inclusive cruises to nowhere are potential “booze cruises” 

Booze events in any form still terrify public health as inhibition is muted distance not maintained and louder activity takes place. I hope I’m wrong but I really fear the consequences of big ship “free bar” and pent up effects of very long isolation (it’s now over a year since our bars we’re fully open and unrestricted on numbers/group make up). 

Edited by uktog
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58 minutes ago, uktog said:

To me these UK all inclusive cruises to nowhere are potential “booze cruises” 

Booze events in any form still terrify public health as inhibition is muted distance not maintained and louder activity takes place. I hope I’m wrong but I really fear the consequences of big ship “free bar” and pent up effects of very long isolation (it’s now over a year since our bars we’re fully open and unrestricted on numbers/group make up). 

I had given thought to an Azamara UK guests only cruise if they did one, but I'm having second thoughts about it. It would be a very different Azamara experience and a shipload of Brits does not appeal to me. 

 

Phil 

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It will be interesting to see how the three Viking England cruises turn out due to sail late May early June.  However on past experience with Viking I would be extremely surprised if they turn out to be "booze cruises".

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the only ships that have planned sailings this summer are the very new ships that have the most up to date air filtration systems that all countries require. The Azamara ships are 20 years old as are the 4 that Oceania owns.  I would bet those systems are extremely difficult to update.  The last thing ANY cruise line wants is to start cruising and then have a covid out break on the ship.  That is why only the newest of the fleets are sailing.  Also there are not very many countries you can sail from or to and the list does not seem to be growing   

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38 minutes ago, eggcream3 said:

the only ships that have planned sailings this summer are the very new ships that have the most up to date air filtration systems that all countries require. The Azamara ships are 20 years old as are the 4 that Oceania owns.  I would bet those systems are extremely difficult to update.  The last thing ANY cruise line wants is to start cruising and then have a covid out break on the ship.  That is why only the newest of the fleets are sailing.  Also there are not very many countries you can sail from or to and the list does not seem to be growing   

The reason the cruise lines have given for sailing their newest ships is that they are more energy efficient, so they can sail profitably at lower passengers loads.  That still applies to the Azamara ships, but not as a safety issue.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Anybody hear if Azamara will require all passengers (as well as crew) to be vaccinated? Many other lines are requiring it. Although we've been fully vaccinated over a month ago, we would not be comfortable going on a ship that did not require it. Too much risk.

We're on the 1st cruise to re-start for Azamara (July 10, Greece intensive). Greece is opening up to tourists next month, even though they're undergoing another Covid spike (look at the new daily cases plot). They're clearly prioritizing euros over public health! I wouldn't go to Greece now if you paid me!

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Well Greece is 45 worst in world for rate of 7 day change vs UK at approx 123rd so not sure if Greece is a paragon of vitue although it needs the money. 

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13 hours ago, gnld said:

Greece is opening up to tourists next month, even though they're undergoing another Covid spike (look at the new daily cases plot). They're clearly prioritizing euros over public health! I wouldn't go to Greece now if you paid me!

 

13 hours ago, gnld said:

Greece is opening up to tourists next month, even though they're undergoing another Covid spike (look at the new daily cases plot). They're clearly prioritizing euros over public health!

 

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43 minutes ago, Grandma Cruising said:

But some of the Greek islands are doing well. England is likely to have the Greek mainland on the red list, but some of the islands are likely to be green or amber (Corfu is one of these).

My own feeling is that great care needs to be taken when assessing the situation in Greece. I do fear they are opening up to soon. It seems to have been when you start allowing travel the virus spreads once more. We are getting there, but not out of the woods. Greece is hurting economically, but I hope this restart doesn't come at a cost. 

 

Phil 

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53 minutes ago, Grandma Cruising said:

But some of the Greek islands are doing well. England is likely to have the Greek mainland on the red list, but some of the islands are likely to be green or amber (Corfu is one of these).

This is all true. Greece is prioritizing vaccinations on some of the islands and results on some are good. One must be checking the numbers for each island if they want an island holiday. Most cruises, however, are departing from the Attica region (Piraeus/Athens) and I've been reporting that the conditions are presently poor and could easily get worse.

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