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sabrefan

Oceania vs Azamara

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Maybe I should not be so bold, but "warmth" is one of those unquantifyables that sets off my alarm bells when I read about it here. If the promised warm and fuzzy feelings are not produced, to whom does one submit a complaint? What would or could the recourse be?

 

I'm reminded of some of the best advice that I ever read in Fromers which was to deeply discount brochures in which passengers are depicted as having too much of a good time; as that is a well known dodge, used to pull focus from older or worn out equipment.

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We've sailed with both Oceania & Azamara many times, & we feel that Azamara is our overwhelming choice for booking future cruises. We like them both, but Azamara gains our respect time after time for quality of service, & that's the thing that really brings us back along with their port intensive itineraries. There's a warmth there that is hard to describe... Still...we have enticed friends to join us on our Oceania cruise Oct 4-14 in the Mediterranean, & we know they'll love it. In that case it's all about the itinerary as it's a Bucket List trip that includes Pompeii, Santorini, & Rhodes. This itinerary is just wonderful & Azamara isn't offering anything similar anytime soon...so off we go. I guess my message is that if there were two identical cruises offered by these two lines, I'd choose Azamara every time. I've chosen to sail with Oceania next fall because of their itinerary - my personal bucket list. BUT - my very next cruise will be with Azamara, in late January & I can't wait because I know how wonderfully I'll be treated, & how much I'll enjoy my on-board exxperience. I hope that helps...

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You and some others may only be talking about a courteous recognition. But, we all know that there are some cruisers (maybe fewer on the premium and luxury lines) who relish "seeing and being seen with" ship's officers.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

It's not that we "relish seeing and being seen with" ship's officers.

It's just that sometimes , on a luxury liner, just like in a good class hotel, you would be expected the senior management staff to greet guests in passing, as a friendly gesture (likewise, as a guest, you would be expected to be friendly to staff too in return). You would not expect to be "seeing and being seen with " them - in fact, I find that term to be rather insulting especially when most of us are not like that. It's just a case of everyone having mutual recognition and friendliness towards one another.

 

That is where Azamara wins hands down. Most Oceania captains and hotel directors/managers seem to avoid guests if they can, whereas on Azamara, they do not do that.

 

One wonders why Oceania do not encourage their senior staff to do that , be more friendly, ie more like their junior staff - that way, they will be able to attract some keen Azamara guests to them. After all, they are competitors, aren't they? At the moment, some guests seem to "stick with" Azamara for their friendliness and "personal touch", which seems to be so alien to most Oceania senior managers (captains and hotel directors). It is not on just one cruise, but it seems to be quite pervasive throughout most of the company.

 

What is worse, what happens , as the senior managers on Oceania do not lead by example, that their junior staff begin to behave like their seniors, how would passengers then feel? Would these guests feel it is still alright for the junior staff to behave like their seniors on Oceania?

Edited by Cahpek

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One wonders why Oceania do not encourage their senior staff to do that , be more friendly, ie more like their junior staff - that way, they will be able to attract some keen Azamara guests to them. After all, they are competitors, aren't they? At the moment, some guests seem to "stick with" Azamara for their friendliness and "personal touch", which seems to be so alien to most Oceania senior managers (captains and hotel directors). It is not on just one cruise, but it seems to be quite pervasive throughout most of the company.

 

What is worse, what happens , as the senior managers on Oceania do not lead by example, that their junior staff begin to behave like their seniors, how would passengers then feel? Would these guests feel it is still alright for the junior staff to behave like their seniors on Oceania?

 

Anyone who has met their GM Dominique would disagree with your statement. There are others too, but do agree that their Captains are "Cold Fish" when it comes to passenger engagement. O's preference seems to be is that the CD is their viewable point person. However an approachable GM can be an asset when there are cruise issues that need correcting.

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Maybe I should not be so bold, but "warmth" is one of those unquantifyables that sets off my alarm bells when I read about it here. If the promised warm and fuzzy feelings are not produced, to whom does one submit a complaint? What would or could the recourse be?

+1

I can imagine that if enough people complain about a perceived lack of "warmth" from senior officers, or if Oceania reads this board, they may end up instructing those officers that there is a segment of their passengers that require this.

Officers would then be expected to "warm up".

I'd prefer efficient, capable officers to be themselves rather than walk around with forced, disingenuous smiles and head nods just to pacify those passengers.

It's remarkable to me that people actually pay attention to whether a senior officer looks and nods at them. If one passes me without acknowledgment, I assume they are focused on something, or that it isn't part of their cultural DNA, or whatever. But clearly it sticks with many people well after a cruise has ended.

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Some people will never understand, misunderstand nor care about hospitality. Fortunately, IMO, many more travelers appreciate it than not...except a few on CC which represents only a small niche anyway.

 

I do however understand that at least one person was afraid of becoming a bobble head having to acknowledge another in a hall or passageway.

 

I've lived in the Midwest and other places in the South were people I didn't know would wave at me as they drove past on rural county/parish roads. OMG I waved back. How horrendous two people who didn't know each other would extend a greeting.

 

I find it funny that there is so much emphasis being placed here on a cruise line's warmth. However what I am really hearing is that if you don't like the warmth, then you find fault with the people who do. At this point, what difference does it make?

Edited by ChucktownSteve

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Anyone who has met their GM Dominique would disagree with your statement. There are others too, but do agree that their Captains are "Cold Fish" when it comes to passenger engagement. O's preference seems to be is that the CD is their viewable point person. However an approachable GM can be an asset when there are cruise issues that need correcting.

 

Earlier, I did indicate that with regards to the issue of "cold/.aloof" senior staff, the was an exception, and that he was was a French hotel manager (GM). That person was Dominique. He frequently stood around and greeted passengers and asked if everything was alright. Trouble was he was the ONLY GM who seemed to have done that on the various Oceania cruises I have been on. The other GMs on Oceania seemed rather ignored passengers as if they are too important to acknowledge those "lowly" passengers , these men (they all seemed to be men, not seen a female Hotel Manager/GM so far) could take a leaf out of Dominique. By the way, I appreciated Dominique's friendly attitude so much that once, I approached him and thanked him for that. I even indicated to Dominique that I wished more GMs on Oceania were more like him - he is like a breath of fresh air when Oceania GMs/Hotel Managers are concerned !

Edited by Cahpek

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Earlier, I did indicate that with regards to the issue of "cold/.aloof" senior staff, the was an exception, and that he was was a French hotel manager (GM). That person was Dominique. He frequently stood around and greeted passengers and asked if everything was alright. Trouble was he was the ONLY GM who seemed to have done that on the various Oceania cruises I have been on. The other GMs on Oceania could take a leaf out of Dominique. By the way, I appreciated Dominique's friendly attitude so much that once, I approached him and thanked him for that. I even indicated most GMs on Oceania were not like him - he is like a breath of fresh air when Oceania GMs/Hotel Managers are concerned ! Why can't more Oceania Hotel Managers/GM be more l like him?

 

Missed that. Dominique also took the trouble to address the guests by name.

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I do however understand that at least one person was afraid of becoming a bobble head having to acknowledge another in a hall or passageway.

Presumably you are referring to me, and needless to say you have misrepresented what I wrote.

It's fine to take potshots but at least be truthful.

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Presumably you are referring to me, and needless to say you have misrepresented what I wrote. It's fine to take potshots but at least be truthful.

 

But if we smiled or tilted our head at every passing stranger we would all look like crazy bobbleheads..

 

Explain then.

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I have my first Azamara cruise scheduled for next September and my first Oceania cruise scheduled for October 2019. I strangely find myself on both sides of this discussion(at times bordering on argument). On one hand it has never bothered me if staff/management doesn't say hello or acknowledge me in passing as long as the service is of high quality and the jobs are done efficiently and safely. On the other hand I was on a Uniworld River Cruise this past June and was sitting in the lounge before dinner as my wife takes a little longer the me to prepare for dinner and the Captain comes by and sits down and we chatted for about 30 minutes. Then the next day he and his family who were sailing with him joined us on a bike excursion. I have to admit I actually found it enhanced my overall experience. If you told me ahead of time that it would have enhanced my experience I wouldn't have believed you. And yet I don't think it will ruin my next trip if the captain doesn't stop by for a chat.

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I have my first Azamara cruise scheduled for next September and my first Oceania cruise scheduled for October 2019. I strangely find myself on both sides of this discussion(at times bordering on argument). On one hand it has never bothered me if staff/management doesn't say hello or acknowledge me in passing as long as the service is of high quality and the jobs are done efficiently and safely. On the other hand I was on a Uniworld River Cruise this past June and was sitting in the lounge before dinner as my wife takes a little longer the me to prepare for dinner and the Captain comes by and sits down and we chatted for about 30 minutes. Then the next day he and his family who were sailing with him joined us on a bike excursion. I have to admit I actually found it enhanced my overall experience. If you told me ahead of time that it would have enhanced my experience I wouldn't have believed you. And yet I don't think it will ruin my next trip if the captain doesn't stop by for a chat.

 

I think you described what I was trying to put into words. It does enhance the journey. I do believe that it is in the individual personalities of the senior management and shouldn't be forced.

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On 11/22/2017 at 2:35 PM, sabrefan said:

Have cruised on Oceania 4 times, last time two years ago. We are at Elite level on Celebrity. Just cruised on our first Viking ocean cruise. We came away feeling that we preferred Oceania to Viking. We are trying our first Azamara cruise in February. Interested in hearing from cruisers who have been on both Oceania and Azamara regarding how they compare.

There is very little comparison. Oceania is far better classier operation offering better value cruises in superior accommodation. We have undertaken 4 cruises with Azamara and 21 with Oceania. Our last Azamara cruise on Pursuit was very unsatisfactory. Hope this helps.

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3 hours ago, chrisrich68 said:

There is very little comparison. Oceania is far better classier operation offering better value cruises in superior accommodation. We have undertaken 4 cruises with Azamara and 21 with Oceania. Our last Azamara cruise on Pursuit was very unsatisfactory. Hope this helps.

Just wanted to say that our experience was different.

We’ve had 14 Oceania cruises and have two more booked, so we obviously like them. That said, we were on Azamara Pursuit cruise to Antarctica earlier this year and it was wonderful. No complaints at all - great crew, the best captain ever and the food more or less comparable to Oceania level now. Also unforgettable Azamazing event in Montevideo. Oceania is our favorite cruise line, but we’ll have no problem sailing with Azamara in the future if the itinerary is appealing to us.

 

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While we won't embark on our first Oceania cruise for a couple of months but we have enjoyed Azamara. 

One of the biggest factors for jumping ship is the size of the generic balcony cabin. That goes for the bathroom as well.

It's either book a suite or take fewer cruises and I'm all for additional sailings. Priorities, priorities......

If what I keep reading about O is true I will miss engaging with the captain and his staff.  Having a drink or dining with the staff, including the captain, is not out of the ordinary. It seems to come naturally for many of the officers. We always learn something and that is what makes cruising so enchanting.

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9 hours ago, alcpa1 said:

While we won't embark on our first Oceania cruise for a couple of months but we have enjoyed Azamara. 

One of the biggest factors for jumping ship is the size of the generic balcony cabin. That goes for the bathroom as well.

It's either book a suite or take fewer cruises and I'm all for additional sailings. Priorities, priorities......

If what I keep reading about O is true I will miss engaging with the captain and his staff.  Having a drink or dining with the staff, including the captain, is not out of the ordinary. It seems to come naturally for many of the officers. We always learn something and that is what makes cruising so enchanting.

 

I really like Azamara, but those interactions with senior staff seem to be mainly geared to the regulars, who are treated pretty well.  I couldn't care less either.  In deciding on Japan, we had booked the Pursuit while onboard the Quest and then later booked the Nautica for a better price.  I ended up canceling Nautica, but it was strictly related to itinerary.  In 2021, the Nautica cruise, during the same time period, totally misses cherry blossom season as it goes Tokyo south back to Tokyo.  Azamara does a better itinerary doing a circle, hitting two northern ports during the peak season. Azamara also has a better schedule for the overnight in Kobe (for Kyoto) and later port times.   If I hadn't taken a closer look, I was thisclose to sticking with Oceania.  

 

What I found in cruise search, is that Azamara does cost a bit more, but it's easier for me to find travel agents who will provide more onboard credit.  I would like to do a cruise on Oceania, but I wouldn't book either line on a non-destination cruise.  Both are too expensive.  I would be interested in Windstar though.  It looks like a much different experience for similar cost.  Between Azamara and Oceania, price, ports, and port times would be the factors.  

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Very interesting discussion.

 

We sailed on both lines, one time each. Both are great lines, few steps above Celebrity/Princess. We did find the Azamara staff more engaging. When we disembarked the ship, the captain was standing at the gangway and personally saying good bye to each guest. Was it nice? Yes, very. But we still liked Oceania better overall. The food on Azamara is great, but not as good as Oceania. Entertainment is mediocre at best on Azamara. Oceania is not great either, but still better. Service is fantastic on both lines.

 

So it really comes to what's important to you. In my opinion, you cannot go wrong with both of them.

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So I just returned from my first Oceania cruise after sailing Azamara and loving Azamara. Now I was told a comparison of an Azamara cruise in Europe to an Oceania is not an apples to apples comparison and I get that. We were so excited to try Oceania because of all the good things we heard. Well from boarding to disembarkation it was a mess. We sailed the Oceania Riviera the ship itself is beautiful 
first the good. Oceania has about the most comfortable beds and linens you will find in my opinion. Hands down the best we have ever slept in. The food on Oceania is also amazing even down to the Waves out on the deck. You order a surf and turf sandwich and you get filet and lobster sliced so thin in a beautiful sandwich! Jacques is a French restaurant that will compete with any of the best in a major city. The olive oil and balsamic tasting at the Italian restaurant is a nice touch. Red Ginger is excellent as well. 
sadly that’s where it ends. Ask a restaurant to add 2 people to your table you have reserved for 2 and make it a 4! REQUEST DENIED! yes that’s what they will tell you. 
Ask for a diet coke at pool side and was brought a coke light. I politely said I prefer Diet Coke and the waitress says we don’t have it. I had about 10 cans in my room and I walked over to the nearest bar and asked for and was immediately given a Diet Coke. That was the general attitude of just about the entire staff. We actually were eating at Red Ginger and the Miso Sea Bass was amazing. My wife has a dietary restriction and we explain to the waitress that we were eating in the main dining room the next evening and would it be possible to get a piece of their sea bass in the MDR. She says hold on and comes back and says the chef says it’s ok this is what you tell them when you go in. Great thank you. So my wife had to fill out a menu every morning due to her dietary requirements and writes this down. Later in the day we get a message REQUEST DENIED! So we go and explain that we spoke with someone at Red Ginger who told us what to do. No apologies or explanations that we were mis informed just NO! Their solution was we had to eat in Red Ginger again. Look I understand why they wouldn’t move food from one restaurant to another but we asked. Even so a simple explanation like “we apologize you were given wrong information and we don’t move food, how can we assist you in your dinner plans” would have been fine. It’s the attitude, even when the desk called the chef when we were standing there we heard the conversation and let’s just say it was rude. 
We talked to 2 people upon embarking asking to speak with the F&B or restaurant manager regarding my wife’s dietary issues which are very easy actually. Told go to Privee where they are taking reservations for all the specialty restaurants and ask again for a manager. Told he’s busy can’t speak with us will call us. After the 4th evening and having this Red Ginger issue I mention something to the concierge. They next day I get a call from the manager and he says I didn’t get any message. “Well you got all the food you wanted so what’s the problem?” Again that’s the attitude of the staff. I could site multiple more examples. I thought maybe we were being difficult but in speaking to other passengers they all felt the same. 
As a matter of fact we spoke with 3 couples who were regulars on Oceania and had canceled future sailings on Oceania while onboard because service was so bad, lifts were slow, and everyone was told the same thing, we have trouble on these 7 day sailings because a lot of passengers stay onboard and they are too busy”. 
one last story, upon embarking we went to our room and my wife went to unpack and the drawers in the closet were filthy. Called housekeeping and she came and cleaned them and told us. Go have lunch they are wet inside and have to dry out?? Couldn’t she dry the drawers out? We did as soon as she left. 
 

One other bright spot. A hostess named Ana in Jacques walked by and I asked her what we were trying to get accomplished. She picked up a tablet and sent an email she saw us the next morning at breakfast and Viola she got done in 5 minutes what a discussion with reception, restaurant reservations, and the concierge couldn’t accomplish!

 

Ok so the last day ship docks in Miami, our butler didn’t bring our breakfast and the I asked him what terminal are we docked so I can call our ride. He says “A”, I confirm “A” as in Apple or E because he had an accent. He says “A”! So I don’t have any faith in anyone by this time and I call the front and as guessed we are at terminal “E”. Just everything was wrong. 
Now I will say a penthouse on this Oceania sailing was very reasonable. We had sailed Norwegian in The Haven and loved it but we wanted to try this “luxury “ line. Norwegian was just about 100% more expensive than Oceania so it was a very good bargain. 
Yes maybe we didn’t do everything right by notifying them 2 weeks in advance of dietary requirements, we didn’t go directly to our concierge, whom we didn’t even know existed, she never sent a note, made a call, or anything to let us know she was there. Even on RCL the concierge sends suite guests a personal email weeks before the trip asking if we had any special requirements or was there anything he could do for us. 
 

Azamara almost anticipates your needs and doesn’t know the word “denied “

 

 

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This thread still going on?

 

I haven't been on an Oceania ship in a while but on Azamara. No idea why people think Azamara is warm and fuzzy. They weren't on our Japan cruise; servers were competent, but the ones on HAL ships are warmer and fuzzier to stay with this image. I don't think I saw an officer engage with passengers on the Azamara ship. The enrichment speaker was incredibly incompetent with factual errors. The excursion team was not much  better. The balcony was cluttered with a huge table. And that bathroom! The special evening ashore was mediocre. The price for the cruise was in the luxury segment range. What was good? The itinerary and the food. 

 

Obviously we did not experience Azamara's finest cruise.  I just know that I won't return to a shower curtain at that price point.

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13 hours ago, Floridiana said:

This thread still going on?

 

I haven't been on an Oceania ship in a while but on Azamara. No idea why people think Azamara is warm and fuzzy. They weren't on our Japan cruise; servers were competent, but the ones on HAL ships are warmer and fuzzier to stay with this image. I don't think I saw an officer engage with passengers on the Azamara ship. The enrichment speaker was incredibly incompetent with factual errors. The excursion team was not much  better. The balcony was cluttered with a huge table. And that bathroom! The special evening ashore was mediocre. The price for the cruise was in the luxury segment range. What was good? The itinerary and the food. 

 

Obviously we did not experience Azamara's finest cruise.  I just know that I won't return to a shower curtain at that price point.


 

Well I guess that’s the beauty of this board it shows us no line is perfect and we all have different experiences even on the same sailings. I’m sure people who were on my sailing loved it. Good open communication so we all get to do read others experience and decide for ourselves. There really is no right and wrong. 

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FWIW, not that it would make much difference in your disappointment but Coke Light and Diet Coke are the same thing. The Coke Lights were left over from a European itinerary where they don't use the Diet moniker as it has negative connotations there. Sorry you had other issues. 

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11 minutes ago, ORV said:

FWIW, not that it would make much difference in your disappointment but Coke Light and Diet Coke are the same thing. The Coke Lights were left over from a European itinerary where they don't use the Diet moniker as it has negative connotations there. Sorry you had other issues. 

I dont have a bone in this debate as I do not care but I am not sure this is correct:

What Is the Difference Between Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Lite?

The difference is the sweetener mix and availability. Diet Coke is sweetened with Aspartame, while Coke Lite is sweetened with a combination of Sodium Cyclamate, Acesulfame K and Aspartame. There is a slight difference in taste, and some people claim a difference in the carbonation. If you are concerned about the content of Aspartame in the Diet version, the Lite version also contains the ingredient.

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2 hours ago, drkitkat123 said:

I dont have a bone in this debate as I do not care but I am not sure this is correct:

What Is the Difference Between Diet Coke and Coca-Cola Lite?

The difference is the sweetener mix and availability. Diet Coke is sweetened with Aspartame, while Coke Lite is sweetened with a combination of Sodium Cyclamate, Acesulfame K and Aspartame. There is a slight difference in taste, and some people claim a difference in the carbonation. If you are concerned about the content of Aspartame in the Diet version, the Lite version also contains the ingredient.

I would  drink water than all those chemicals  LOL

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