The representative I spoke with when booking my Solstice cruise had some very positive things to say about Azamara. He mailed me a brochure, and I am quite tempted. If you do sail on Azamara, please let us know how it was.
Just based on personal feedback they are both excelent, a cut above the more mainstream lines. I tend to get more consistent rave reviews from Azamara although both are among the best out there. One thing that may be of interest, Azamara has been providing some air/sea specials lately on many European sailings that have been exceptional values. From some air gateways on the dates with such promotions the air is dirt cheap. I know someone will post that Oceania has a free air promotion. Buyer beware of that promo. That promotion is priced with some really high fees attached and if you remove the air, you'll see that the cruise was a whole lot cheaper under other promos making the free air promotion not such a great value. The Azamara program is truely a suppliment on the air costs, not a different marketing strategy to be sure everyone books cruiseline air. I'd shop the two for best itin and best value. You can't really go wrong with either line.
janfred, with your affection for Celebrity I'd lean toward Azamara. They're affiliated as you know and it may provide a familliar feel. Also, you'll get Captains Club benefits for the sailing. Have a great cruise whatever you decide.
Your right on, we have been loyal to Celebrity and reached Elite Status. That was the reason for me wondering if it was time to venture out and try someting new! I never use a TA but I met one and asked her the same question and her answer was this:
Right now, Azamara is still working out the kinks. They're just too new to get great reviews or fill their ships. My clients probably have more complaints than compliments.
The major difference is very clear... Oceania is the forerunner. Not many think Azamara will be at the same level, even in several years.
So, I wanted more openions before we made a choice. Thanks again !
It sounds like the T/A you spoke with either had several passengers on the maiden voyage of Quest or has a completely different demographic than many of us. There were major problem on the first couple of sailings for these ships when they were in the transition period between Celebrity and the new branding and refurbish that became Azamara. I had some folks with issues too, there were mechanical and staffing problems just to name a couple. These issues were quickly addressed and compensated for with those who were unfortunate enough to experience them. Since that time not only have there been no further problems that I'm aware of, other than the usual handful of people that cannot be pleased and they're usually pretty easy to identify. Both ships have had among the best reports back of any lines out there including some of the 6 star offerings. I have overcome my fear of recommending Azamara after their rocky start and am happy I did. I understand the T/A's reluctance at referring you if it was duing that time frame but am willing to bet if you still have contact with her and were ask that same question today you'd get an entirely different answer.
Either choice would be a memorable cruise with among the best in the industry. If I were choosing between the two for myself, I'd probably book Azamara if the itins were similar or just as desirable on each.