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Azamara Onward replaces library with a bar!


Vagabondvoyager
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8 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

One more thought:  we need to pick our battles.  For me:  #1 deep-six Royal Club once and for all; #2 no loud 'background' music anywhere.

I certainly hope background music throughout the ship dies a quick, natural and painless death. Having cruised many time with Azamara,  I just don’t see the need and I think a lot of others probably feel the same.

 

We all have the opportunity to listen to music we actually enjoy through headphones, without having someone else’s tastes imposed on us. On sea days the pool deck has always been very pleasant and relaxing  - people reading quietly, friendly conversations around the pool and bar, dozing and regenerating after days of active touring, walkers on the track above. The stimulation of background  or live music is just not required IMHO and it’s introduction indicates  that decision makers either do not understand their clientele or want to attract a different market. Of course, special events warrant live music but that isn’t the consideration here.

 

Don’t  get me wrong - I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed and supported live music in the Living Room, Den and production shows at their designated times; and long may they continue. I just don’t want to hear piped background music all day. We’re on a cruise, not doing the weekly supermarket shopping.

 

I don’t want to add to recent negativity as we’ve loved the Azamara experience (hence our cruise line of choice) and we’ve rolled with many changes but this shouldn’t prevent us or anyone else expressing a negative view to a change.

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I am an experienced cruiser and have my first two Azamara sailings booked

We are 50+ travel a lot

I suppose we are the target demographic for the new owners 

We thought we would give Azamara a go.

If I found no cocktail bar, but a silent library and even more a silent pool area I think I'd be a little thrown. I am not looking for party style loud music, those days are behind us, but silence around the pool in the afternoon, is not conducive to a good atmosphere in my book. On a ship I expect to find a cocktail bar that is distinct from the other bars.

Look at how the Saga offer is set, Fred Olsen is trying to shake off its image and Cunard is becoming more lively within its existing traditions

Azamara as a business has choices to make and does what it thinks is best for its business and after than we can choose who we want to sail with.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, boxman52 said:

I am an experienced cruiser and have my first two Azamara sailings booked

We are 50+ travel a lot

I suppose we are the target demographic for the new owners 

We thought we would give Azamara a go.

If I found no cocktail bar, but a silent library and even more a silent pool area I think I'd be a little thrown. I am not looking for party style loud music, those days are behind us, but silence around the pool in the afternoon, is not conducive to a good atmosphere in my book. On a ship I expect to find a cocktail bar that is distinct from the other bars.

Look at how the Saga offer is set, Fred Olsen is trying to shake off its image and Cunard is becoming more lively within its existing traditions

Azamara as a business has choices to make and does what it thinks is best for its business and after than we can choose who we want to sail with.

 

 

Well, on my Christmas cruise on Quest, at the pool, there was an endless loop of the same 70’s/80’s tape. I thought it would drive me mad. Be careful what you wish for 

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, boxman52 said:

I am an experienced cruiser and have my first two Azamara sailings booked

We are 50+ travel a lot

I suppose we are the target demographic for the new owners 

We thought we would give Azamara a go.

If I found no cocktail bar, but a silent library and even more a silent pool area I think I'd be a little thrown. I am not looking for party style loud music, those days are behind us, but silence around the pool in the afternoon, is not conducive to a good atmosphere in my book. On a ship I expect to find a cocktail bar that is distinct from the other bars.

Look at how the Saga offer is set, Fred Olsen is trying to shake off its image and Cunard is becoming more lively within its existing traditions

Azamara as a business has choices to make and does what it thinks is best for its business and after than we can choose who we want to sail with.

 

 

Actually you are right about we have the option to choose with which line we want to cruise . We wish to cruise with the cruise line that Azamara was before COVID and before bars replacing libraries 😉

For people who wish more action there are plenty of other options, for example Celebrity if you wish to pay comparable prices and if you wish to have it cheaper, there are Royal Caribbean or MSC… Plenty of action there. Some even come with animators who will gladly motivate guests to go for some type of competition or who would offer you a hug 😎

Ivi

Edited by travelberlin
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1 hour ago, Mackdogmolly said:

Well, on my Christmas cruise on Quest, at the pool, there was an endless loop of the same 70’s/80’s tape. I thought it would drive me mad. Be careful what you wish for 

Of course one would hope that any music played was done with thought

Many other establishments around the world manage to get the balance right so it's not too difficult 

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1 minute ago, boxman52 said:

Of course one would hope that any music played was done with thought

Many other establishments around the world manage to get the balance right so it's not too difficult 

Well one would think so, anyway.

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55 minutes ago, travelberlin said:

Actually you are right about we have the option to choose with which line we want to cruise . We wish to cruise with the cruise line that Azamara was before COVID and before bars replacing libraries 😉

For people who wish more action there are plenty of other options, for example Celebrity if you wish to pay comparable prices and if you wish to have it cheaper, there are Royal Caribbean or MSC… Plenty of action there. Some even come with animators who will gladly motivate guests to go for some type of competition or who would offer you a hug 😎

Ivi

What we wish for doesn't always come true. I suppose some people whilst not wanting a hug don't want to spend their vacation on a floating nursing home.

At the end of the day as I said people will make their choices and Azamara will benefit commercially or not. Time will tell

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3 minutes ago, KevintheIrishDJ said:

More people frequent the ship's bars than library.

Isn’t that sad? And if you give the drinks for free probably the bars will be quite busy. All inclusive packages in three stars ships show that people seem to think that to go on a cruise is to get the license to drink 😔

Ivi

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I will say that the only times I’ve seen the Drawing Room/Library used in the evening was when it was blocked off for the Best of the Best dinner.  On all other days, if there was more than one person in there after 7pm, that was a lot! 
 

I liked the Atlas Bar very much.  I take my books with me on my Kindle app, so I don’t really need a physical library these day. (The secret advantage is that I can make the print on the Kindle app big enough that I don’t need my reading glasses!)

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36 minutes ago, lisiamc said:

I will say that the only times I’ve seen the Drawing Room/Library used in the evening was when it was blocked off for the Best of the Best dinner.  On all other days, if there was more than one person in there after 7pm, that was a lot! 
 

I liked the Atlas Bar very much.  I take my books with me on my Kindle app, so I don’t really need a physical library these day. (The secret advantage is that I can make the print on the Kindle app big enough that I don’t need my reading glasses!)

 

I also take my books on my Kindle.  However, considering all the unnecessary extraneous noises and background music on the ship the library has always been a quiet pleasant place to read.  I also see people there doing the jigsaw puzzles.  I would disagree about the numbers of people in the library and I still wonder why the ship needs 7 bars instead of 6 of them at the expense of one library.  One hopes that Azamara isn't going to try to emulate the atmosphere of a Carnival ship.  Maybe not Carnival but the possibility of trying to emulate Princess certainly appears possible.

 

DON

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I believe I am also in the targeted demographic they are seeking....and yes I like to have some music at the pool and have no problems with a cocktail bar....although I think they could have done that at one of the many already under-utilized bars on the ship easily and kept everybody happy.  That being said, we don't own the ship, Sycamore Partners does and it is solely their decision.  We should all be thankful they bought up this small line and are re-investing in it when they did....as Royal Caribbean surely would have scrapped them all.  So I can live with the loss of the library.  These ships are still not sailing anywhere near full --- so they are by no means out of the woods yet. 

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11 hours ago, donaldsc said:

 

I also take my books on my Kindle.  However, considering all the unnecessary extraneous noises and background music on the ship the library has always been a quiet pleasant place to read.  I also see people there doing the jigsaw puzzles.  I would disagree about the numbers of people in the library and I still wonder why the ship needs 7 bars instead of 6 of them at the expense of one library.  One hopes that Azamara isn't going to try to emulate the atmosphere of a Carnival ship.  Maybe not Carnival but the possibility of trying to emulate Princess certainly appears possible.

 

DON

I don’t think I ever have seen a jigsaw puzzle in the library in 15 years of cruising with Azamara. I’ve only seen them in the card room, that I can recall. You can still go into the Atlas bar outside of its operating hours (5pm-midnight) and read in peace and quiet.  There is a new area designated as a library along the side of the Living Room which will soon have more books arriving.
 

There is now a bar in Prime C, outside the MDR, at the pool, in The Den, and in the Living Room. Drinks can also be had at The Mosaic, if that really counts as a bar. The Atlas Bar replaces the never-used bar in Aqualina, so the actual number of bars has not changed. When there was music in the Atlas Bar during bar hours, it was very quiet, and didn’t hinder conversation. I don’t believe there is any danger of emulating Carnival or Princess. 

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When RCI sold Azamara it said it was planning to prior to the Covid crisis. It announced that the sale would not effect its results and after the impairment charge of 170M the deal was worth about 30M to RCI. I think these numbers are correct.

That says to me the brand was not generating profits or anything to merit a return on capital employed.

A private equity business has to generate cash to cover debt and pay a return. They also might well have a strategy for profitable sale in the future. They aren't like the owner of Viking "into the business" there is normally a defined end game plan.

There are normally two strategies employed 1) cut costs and asset strip 2) build revenue to increase profits and/or to get ready for sale

If Sycamore are going down the route of 2 with an additional ship and more revenue generating onboard then I think people should be supportive of that. The alternative of 1 is never pleasant

Change is always difficult but what I have read so far in an incredible difficult business environment they are doing their best 

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37 minutes ago, lisiamc said:

I don’t think I ever have seen a jigsaw puzzle in the library in 15 years of cruising with Azamara. I’ve only seen them in the card room, that I can recall. You can still go into the Atlas bar outside of its operating hours (5pm-midnight) and read in peace and quiet.  There is a new area designated as a library along the side of the Living Room which will soon have more books arriving.
 

There is now a bar in Prime C, outside the MDR, at the pool, in The Den, and in the Living Room. Drinks can also be had at The Mosaic, if that really counts as a bar. The Atlas Bar replaces the never-used bar in Aqualina, so the actual number of bars has not changed. When there was music in the Atlas Bar during bar hours, it was very quiet, and didn’t hinder conversation. I don’t believe there is any danger of emulating Carnival or Princess. 

Until people actually experience the Atlas Bar I don’t think they will appreciate it, I can remember a lot of negativity about The Den as well. There’s still a library area and games area only in a different location.

 

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, boxman52 said:

When RCI sold Azamara it said it was planning to prior to the Covid crisis. It announced that the sale would not effect its results and after the impairment charge of 170M the deal was worth about 30M to RCI. I think these numbers are correct.

That says to me the brand was not generating profits or anything to merit a return on capital employed.

A private equity business has to generate cash to cover debt and pay a return. They also might well have a strategy for profitable sale in the future. They aren't like the owner of Viking "into the business" there is normally a defined end game plan.

There are normally two strategies employed 1) cut costs and asset strip 2) build revenue to increase profits and/or to get ready for sale

If Sycamore are going down the route of 2 with an additional ship and more revenue generating onboard then I think people should be supportive of that. The alternative of 1 is never pleasant

Change is always difficult but what I have read so far in an incredible difficult business environment they are doing their best 

 

Do you know what the history of Sycamore is - option 1 or option2.  Most private equity businesses seem to be of the option 1 model.

 

DON

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3 hours ago, donaldsc said:

 

Do you know what the history of Sycamore is - option 1 or option2.  Most private equity businesses seem to be of the option 1 model.

 

DON

I know that I am not  the one you asked, but I am hoping that they are option 2.  They have a winery, St Michelle in Washington, and I think they are planning to use those wines on board, which makes sense, especially if they are good, which they were the last time I tried them (many years ago).  I also heard that they took over Staples and didn’t strip that for assets, so there is hope!

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This thread reminds me of when we first started cruising with Azamara.  At that time, many on this board were distraught over the loss of the harpist...

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3 hours ago, donaldsc said:

 

Do you know what the history of Sycamore is - option 1 or option2.  Most private equity businesses seem to be of the option 1 model.

 

DON

Sorry I don't but I do know of lots who go for option 2.

There is nearly always an exit plan & I don't think personally it's good for a business to be owned by private equity for too long

Indications are they are investigating & want to grow the brand. However given Azamara can't have been very profitable they need to increase revenue & revenue streams

The Atlas bar I'm sure is one step in that plan

 

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16 minutes ago, laurieb said:

This thread reminds me of when we first started cruising with Azamara.  At that time, many on this board were distraught over the loss of the harpist...

My DW still keeps harping on about this! 🤣

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