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Old December 15th, 2009, 06:06 PM
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Default Azamara, Oceania, Princess small ships - any difference?

All eight of these ships, the three owned by Oceania, the three owned by Princess and the two owned by Azamara (a division of Celebrity, formerly), are all exactly the same design of ships.

They all once belongedf ro Renaissance cruises and were named R1 through R-8. They were all built within a few years of each other, from the same plans and in the same places.

Has anyone tried more than one of these brands and found a significant difference? Please tell me, I am dying to know.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 07:25 PM
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We have only sailed Oceania but some of the R ships did not have the PH cabins on Deck 8 as with Azamara ..they added them to half of deck 8 & left the regular cabins on the rest of the deck
From photos of all ships they all seem to have the same decor in most areas
Some differences in operating
Princess has set dining & I think charge for the specialty dining rooms (not sure on this)
Azamara has open dining & soon to charge for the Specialty dining rooms except for the top suites they get free entry
no formal night, limited smoking areas (2)
new perks include wine with lunch & dinner, specialty coffee included (not sure what that means) pre paid tips to housekeeping & wait staff

Oceania has open dining, no formal nights, limited smoking areas(2) no children's programs, no extra charge for specialty dining rooms though you get limited reservation depending on you cabin Cat (more can had if flexible with time & dates) bottle water & sodas soon to be included

Hope that helps
maybe others will have more info
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Old December 21st, 2009, 03:29 PM
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I just did a fast price-check on these 3 lines, and I have to say I was very surprised:

I would think you have to be very careful when your ships are almost identical to two other cruise lines that your prices remain in lockstep with theirs - or else you lose business. We all know the Azamara ships are virtually identical to Oceania and the small Ocean Princess class.

Here is the dealio - the Princess ships are smoking bargains compared to Oceania, but Oceania is currently selling at a premium to Azamara (I assume they have better food & service?). If larry Pimintel (new CEO of Azamara) is just bringing his prices into lockstep with Oceania and also bringing better food & service he should do OK, I assume, because Oceania does very well.

On the other hand - I just looked up a Princess itinerary, and it is about $282 pppd (balcony) for a fantastic 12-day Eastern med itinerary. Oceania has a more boring 10-day Med itinerary for $442 pppd. Azamara currently has a similar 10-day for 389 pppd.

I would take the Princess in heartbeat - they are very similar ships and the itinerary is great.

Lets be honest - these are average ships, not regent, crystal or silversea. They are small and have no amenities except for decent restaurants. Oceania has great beds, great food, great itineraries. that's it.

It looks like Larry wants to compete with Oceania who is priced higher than Azamara, but with what I see Princess offering with these ships I wouldn't take either Oceania or Azamara. I would take Princess.

The destinations are what most people shop for with these ships - not the ship itself (they are boring, small ships, really). All eight ships from these 3 cruise lines are virtually identical. I wonder how many people do not realize this?
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Old December 21st, 2009, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post

On the other hand - I just looked up a Princess itinerary, and it is about $282 pppd (balcony) for a fantastic 12-day Eastern med itinerary. Oceania has a more boring 10-day Med itinerary for $442 pppd. Azamara currently has a similar 10-day for 389 pppd.
Do not forget that Oceania prices include air & taxes in there bottom line
as long as you are comparing apples to apples Azamara is now almost as much as Oceania.
Oceania has no charge for the specialty dining rooms so that is a bonus

Boring is subjective
We do not need to be entertained 24/7 so the small ships are perfect for us

Good thing there are so many choices
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Old December 21st, 2009, 09:06 PM
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Oceania appears to include air in some of their cruises. Honestly I don't believe the one I was looking at is included in the list of qualifying cruises for "free air" but I will try to doublecheck.

... having checked, I quoted $442/day (10-day cruise) in my message above for a verandah. I dont see any of the "free air" cruises having prices that low in summer 2010 for balcony cabins. The cheapest I see is $490/day and it is sold out.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 11:19 PM
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Oceania appears to include air in some of their cruises. Honestly I don't believe the one I was looking at is included in the list of qualifying cruises for "free air" but I will try to doublecheck.
Not sure what ones you were looking at so cannot comment on the pricing

All the Oceania cruises include air with some exceptions ...the closer to sailing the "free air" is dropped on some usually on the ones with in a month from sailing ..not always
In any case if you do not want to take the cruise lines air you receive a credit.
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 12:42 AM
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I've sailed on Azamara, Oceania and the now defunct Renaissance. The Azamara Journey cruise was shortly after the brand was introduced by Royal Caribbean and there were quite a few instances of spotty service on the previous cruise. On our cruise a new Hotel Manager and Cruise Director came onboard. The passengers who were on the previous sailing said the difference was night and day. The service we had was as good as any other ship we'd been on. Azamara has the "butler" for each cabin but I found the "butler" to be nothing more than a standard cabin steward that wore a tuxedo in the evening. The food in the Prime C and Aquafina specialty restaurants was wonderful and only rivaled by the Olympic Restaurant on Celebrity Millennium.

My Oceania cruise was about six months after the cruise line came into being. I loved the ships but the food and service left a lot to be desired. The bar staff acted aloof and the food, except in the specialty restaurant, was about the worst I've had in any main dining room. It was cold, bland and very limited in variety. Basically fish, steak and pasta.

I love the size of the ships and they have everything that keeps me occupied. A small show lounge, reasonable pool area, small but fun casino, the lounges are smaller but perfect for the 600 passenger size, trivia type activities, enrichment lectures on both Azamara and Oceania and interesting ports. I also like the cabins on these ships. While the standard balcony cabin is on the small size (168 sq. ft.) they are well laid out and the suites are a good size.

Oceania Regatta was like setting foot right back on a Renaissance ship. They still had the same painting in the dining room bar that had been on every R ship. I had sailed the R2, R4 and R8 and they were identical, right down to the artwork.

The Azamara Journey was still the same overall design but they had made cosmetic changes to the color scheme and artwork but you still felt like you were on an R ship and that wasn't bad. It was the ports that I wanted. Both Oceania and Azamara retained the "mini" Titanic staircase that were a standard on all of the R ships. The R ships are still my wife's favorite.

I want to sail Oceania and Azamara again to find out if they have improved their service, cuisine and amenities. While they weren't bad to begin with they will REALLY have to improve to justify the fares they are now charging.

I have not sailed on the Pacific or Tahitian Princess but if the itinerary was right I would jump on the chance.

Still to this day the R ships are my wife's favorite and about the only ones that truly standout in her memory.

Take care,
Mike
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike M View Post
My Oceania cruise was about six months after the cruise line came into being. I loved the ships but the food and service left a lot to be desired.
Take care,
Mike
We sailed Oceania in 2004 & had no experiences that you had so I guess they have improved
I would think if they did not improved service & food since 2003 they would not be sailing full on most trips
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Old December 22nd, 2009, 11:42 AM
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I haven't sailed on Oceania since about 2003, but I thought the food was good then, especially in the Lido grill. I loved sitting out on the back deck during sailaways.

We found the dining room to be pretty slow, especially at open seating dinner, unless you got there right when it opened. The service was sometimes awful but that is because with open seating you really cannot control things if you get a rush of passengers all at once.

I sailed on Renaissance and it was great as well. I tended to think not much had changed between Renaissance and Oceania, since it is almost all of the same executive staff. But now that Oceania is about 7 years old, and it has been so long, it could have changed dramatically.
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Old April 19th, 2010, 08:03 AM
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Swan Hellenic had one of these Beautiful ships a few years back (Minerva II), and she still looked the same as when we visitted R8

We keep trying to get onto the Princess versions, but haven't got there yet

Next year P&O are, at long last, taking one of the ships. The layout still looks the same as in the Rennaissance days, maybe slightly smaller in the casino area, but that's it. We are waiting to book onto her, and the only regret we have is that P&O are going to call her Adonia (yes some of the brouchures have printed the last Adonia / Sea Princess pics by mistake). We were rooting for Victoria, oh well.

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Old August 8th, 2010, 12:21 AM
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Never cruised Oceania, but sailed on Azamara Journey & Royal Princess.

The Royal experience was similar as any other Princess ship, except a small ship. The Journey experience was much more attentive to pax than their sister companies, RCCL or Celebrity.

A few examples of extra attention on the Jouney was:
1. On another website a meet & mingle was planned as is on most ships. But the group got together 3 other times, the ship provided drinks & hors divs each time.
2. My Wife enjoyed sushi one afternoon in the buffet. We wanted some on another day and there was none. She inquired about the sushi and was told they do not have it on the buffet every day. The buffet manager overheard and asked for our cabin #. We had sushi delivered to our cabin every day for the rest of the cruise.
3. We got friendly with a couple who were going to one of the specialty restaurants that night and asked for us to join them. Tried to made reservations but was told the restaurant was full. As we walked away, one of the staff officers asked us how everything was going. We told him we were disappointed we could not join our friends that night for dinner. He asked for our and friends cabin #s. The 4 of us ate together that night in the specialty restaurant.
4. By the 2nd night, the casino manager knew my Wife by name. Not sure if that is good or bad.

As far as the price comparison by Paul, it appears that apples were mixed w/oranges. Paul should do a comparison that includes air, transfers, tips, wine, specialty restaurants and Princess will still be less expensive, but the extra pax attention may be worth it.
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Old December 4th, 2010, 12:42 PM
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Well, I can only compare on cruise at a time. And prices change over time (that is now maybe 6 months old or more).

It sounds like Azamara shaped up really well. I just asked another poster who just returned from Azamara what he thought and he also said "great", so I guess they are really starting to roll with the new management.
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Old December 5th, 2010, 11:44 AM
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Bringing threads like this up from the dead can be very confusing because all three lines have modified their product; Azamara the most, then Oceania and, to a lesser degree, Princess.

The real fascination for me is the one saying that I constantly use in the luxury cruise market: "It is the software, dummy!" In other words, the hardware (ships and facilities) are important, but the differences that really matter tend to be on the service side of things. Great service with lesser facilities (think smaller Seabourn ships) can be more attractive than one with all the bells and whistles, but which lacks service...so there are constant frustrations.

As is mentioned in another thread, Azamara has been a cruise line trying to find a home and a message. It has, by those that even know of it, been perceived as "Oceania-esque", but it is making a real effort to differentiate itself by becoming more inclusive, increasing the levels of service and becoming ultra-port intensive. One interesting marketing concept is Azamara insisting that while it is more inclusive it is not a luxury product. That may relate to the size of its standard cabins, but I think it is more of "underpromise and over produce"...which has been a successful strategy for Oceania over the years.

Oceania is pretty much an ala carte experience (you pay for most everything) and little niceties such as complimentary shuttles into town were excluded. BUT, here we go again, it is now starting to include those shuttles in more ports. It is, well and truly, a solid product with a loyal following...and great itineraries. It also stresses its cuisine which is, from the accounts of my clients (some of which also sail Seabourn), acceptable, but clearly not on the level of a luxury line.

Princess uses the R-Class ships as decidedly Princess products. The service, charges, etc. are pretty much as they are on its bigger ships. The level of service is OK, but not near the level of Oceania or Azamara. But its pricing also reflects that.

So be sure you obtain a good understanding of the products today and not those of even a year ago.
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Old December 5th, 2010, 03:39 PM
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Oceania is pretty much an ala carte experience (you pay for most everything) and little niceties such as complimentary shuttles into town were excluded. BUT, here we go again, it is now starting to include those shuttles in more ports.
I am not sure of your definition of most everything.
We do not drink very much so we do not mind the "pay for use system" on Oceania.
We do our own tours usually & I do not think Azamara or Princess include those in their prices

JMO I think Azamara is still trying to find their own niche in the market
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Old December 5th, 2010, 04:01 PM
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"Most everything" is exactly that. Once you strip away that your meals in the main restaurants are included, as is entertainment, other than water and soft drinks, you pay for it on Oceania as an extra charge. It is not a bad thing, but a difference in product. (I think both Crystal and Seabourn are excellent products, but on Crystal you pay for "most everything" while on Seabourn your drinks and gratuities are included.)

More to your point, on Regent Seven Seas most everything is included, even tours, but the price is quite high especially if you don't take the tours or drink alcohol. So for some, like you, it is a bad value from the get-go. For others they think it is the best thing ever.

Each cruise line has a different model of what its guests prefer. My common. ts are merely to elicit the differences between the products; not to decide that there is a perfect product and X is it. They make vanilla and chocolate ice cream for the same reason: People have different tastes.

Azamara is trying to be a very inclusive product without being a luxury product. By comparing the different models used by three different cruise lines using the same ships people can better understand what each cruise line offers and then they can determine what fits best for them...individually.
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Old December 5th, 2010, 05:27 PM
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"Most everything" is exactly that. Once you strip away that your meals in the main restaurants are included, as is entertainment, other than water and soft drinks, you pay for it on Oceania as an extra charge. It is not a bad thing, but a difference in product. (I think both Crystal and Seabourn are excellent products, but on Crystal you pay for "most everything" while on Seabourn your drinks and gratuities are included.)

.
I think the topic here is comparing Azamara, Oceania & Princess not the luxury lines where you pay more upfront & more is included in the fare.

For basic services they compare (not including the new ship Marina which will have extra fees for certain dining venues & Culinary classes)

On Oceania you pay for the usually spa services, alcoholic drinks, personal shopping, internet & excursions

On Azamara you pay for all of the above with the exception of wine with lunch & dinner, there is an extra charge for the specialty restaurants

Azamara & Oceania are very close in what they offer ...neither are luxury line but above the mass market lines

People can decide what works best to suit their lifestyle
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Old December 5th, 2010, 05:38 PM
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Actually this tread is about what makes Azamara different. I raised the issue of comparing them.

Azamara is now headed by a man who is unabashedly from the luxury market and he is installing many characteristics that are usually associated with the luxury market. Showing those differences is what I was suggesting.

And, to be sure, a Princess cruise is not an Oceania cruise which, in turn, is not an Azamara cruise. There are many differences ranging from powdered to real eggs, type and training of staff, itineraries, etc. And let us not forget pricing and overall costs.

One way to compare them is to compare them to what is slightly above their market. It is, I have found in my years, a very useful exercise.

Of course, people should decide what works best for their lifestyle. The point is we are trying to provide that information...so they can make informed decisions.
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Old December 5th, 2010, 09:00 PM
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Actually this tread is about what makes Azamara different. I raised the issue of comparing them.
Thread topic
Azamara, Oceania, Princess small ships - any difference?


I guess we could continue to nit pick but the bottom line is what ever suits your lifestyle & budget
The ships are very similar with a few exceptions on amenities.

Enough said
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Old January 17th, 2011, 03:38 PM
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If you're looking for an actual difference in the ships, I believe Royal Princess is the only one with no Mini Suites. Not sure if that's changed.
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